Karavakos No More
The ceiling of the ritual chamber in the Pyramid of Shadows shimmers and fades away, bright afternoon sun streaming in on the party for the first time in what feels like weeks. They shield their eyes from the glare, relieved to be finally free of the prison; free of Karavakos. With the tiefling’s horns in hand, they watch as the sunlight turns the warlock’s body to ash. The remains of the many fallen adventurers perish similarly, their remains blowing away with the breeze.
“Where is my Lady Vyrelis?” Asks a concerned Telthoris. The party searches around the top of the pyramid, but find no trace. As they search, the Satyr Andaran woops and slides down the side of the pyramid, laughing and frolicking joyfully into the woods. He skips past a kneeling figure bowing over a handful of fresh earth, dressed in flowing silks. The party slides down the pyramid and approach, and they see it is an eladrin woman. Telthoris gives her time to finish whatever ritual or prayer she might be speaking, and at last she stands to face the party. They see Vyrelis, alive and well, dressed as she must have been the day she was trapped in the pyramid. Her beauty knows no match.
“Telthoris, brave companions, I cannot thank you enough for the service you have done to me. Who can know how long I would have remained trapped in that prison had you not saved me? My gratitude is eternal.” She bows to Telthoris and company, who bows back. The lady Vyrelis holds out a slim ivory rod and a bulging satchel to the party, “these items I had in my possession just before I was pulled into the pyramid, and I offer them to you now as thanks. The rod was one of Karavakos’s, powerful indeed. The pouch contains enough residuum to perform a mighty ritual, though it was never carried out. They are yours to do as you wish, and though they are but trinkets they are all I have to offer.” She hesitates. “Well, not all… ask me any question, and if I know the answer, I will answer it truly.”
The party recalls the cryptic message from Karavakos before he died, and show her the tiefling’s horns. “So, he wishes you to take his essence to Argas, does he. Interesting indeed… Argas is the Forge Father, so he must mean that the horns need to be crafted into something that will aid in your fight against the Blanks. You will find the God of the Forge on the southern island of Erghos, deep within the volcano. But one does not simply visit the Forge Father without great need, nor without great gift. You must find a mighty offering for Argas, one that suits his craft. If it is worthy, you shall fare well.”
She steps back and asks Telthoris to thrust his sword into the patch of soil she was kneeling over. As he does, she incants an unfamiliar elvish ritual and suddenly a white well appears. “I also have ties to the White Lady, dear Telthoris. I thank you again for your services, and for sending me home. If you are ever in the Fey, seek me out and I will repay you further…” She gives Telthoris a lusty kiss and disappears into the depths of the well, which then vanishes.
The party notices that the sun is in similar position as when they left, and as Gumbo climbs back to the flat top of the pyramid he sees the airship flying away from the drop sight, as if they were just deposited. He sends up a show of sparks to grab Farlister’s attention, and they soon see the ship turning back around to pick them up. The gnome is surprised and annoyed to see them. “I just dropped you off, was nobody home?”
“Nobody home is right” quips Gumbo, “and sorry to deprive you of your alone time with my wife but we need to move this ship post haste!” Farlister grumbles as he prepares the ship for another voyage, asking where he should face their heading.
The party discusses the many options that lie before them. While questioning what gift to offer Argas, the Godhammer is proposed but they are unsure whether it is rightfully theirs to give, or if Argas would accept a tool of his own crafting as tribute. Gumbo recalls that he has a Consult Mystic Sages ritual, and so they perform it to gain further insight. The Mystic Sage confirms that the tool of his own crafting would be a fine tribute, and so they commit to the Godhammer. Rather than showing up to Kaellen Deep unannounced they decide to make for Veren Mir, home of the elves and domain of Aelar’s father Lolindir, the elven king. There they can use the sending stone to alert King Braghor Undermountain of their task, as well as resupply in the elven city.
Their trip takes a few short days with no interruptions, and soon they are touching down in an ancient cobbled courtyard in front of Lolindir’s meeting chambers. A dozen elven guards quickly cover the ground beneath where they hover, curved bows pointing deadly arrows at whomever might reveal themselves. Aelar smartly decides to call down first and, in daring swachbuckler style, dashes over the balcony on a strand of rope to clap down upon the cobblestones with seemingly little effort. The elven guards are shocked, and then recognize their favorite Prince of Veren Mir; a cheer rises from their lips as they joyfully welcome him back home.
Hours later they are at a banquet feast in Lolindir’s hall, this time with no trace of the undead… Lolindir proposes a toast to the heroes and wishes them well on their quest, and any mundane supplies he might be able to offer to help them on their way. Early in the speach, Farlister ducks out of the hall to make sure the airship is being looked after. Lolindir gift his son Aelar with the suit of hide armer that he wore during the War of Thunder, and they all enjoy a joyful night of frivolity. Celenwyn is not far from Aelar’s side, grateful to once again be with her brother.
In the morning the party rises late and makes their way to Lolindir’s personal chambers to activate the Sending Stone. Lolinder had warned not to call on a dwarven king before he’s had his morning beer or there’d be a harder bargain to be made…
King Braeghor’s voice is soon heard through the stone sphere, and at first he seems his normal self. Aelar and Gumbo notice the king seems to be short of breath and muffling coughs during their conversation. “Are you not well your grace?” Asks Kamesh, to which he is answered by silence. They hear the voice of another dwarf, though they can’t make out the words. “Chancellor Kiergar, is that you?” Asks Kamesh again, and after a deep sigh they hear the gruff chancellor acknowledge the party, giving them the traditional dwarven greeting.
“Aye,” says Kiergar, “I’m afraid King Braeghor is not quite himself lads, since you left a sickness has fallen over him.” The party cann hear Braeghor arguing with Kiergar, but the feisty chancellor gets his way and continues on. “His grace decided to have his engineers reassemble the broken anvil, cracked though it might be, and his grace has been using it to craft weapons day and night. We fear the strain has take a toll, as well as something… else. It loathes me to say that his veins have blackened from his hands up to his elbows, and his grace is often sicking up a foul blackness. I have found no cure that seems to stave off this illness so we have sent for a healer from Port Klaenth, though I fear it will be over a week before they arrive, if we are lucky. Might you be making your way back north?”
The heroes explain their plight, and their idea of gifting the Godhammer to Argas in exchange for revealing the power of the tiefling horns. Braeghor seems hesitant at first, but decides that since the Godhammer was gifted to the dwarves ages ago, it will likely make its way back to their halls. The king invites them to visit with all urgency, and wishes them safe travels. The party agrees, and decide to gather whatever medicine they can from Lolindir’s healers. They gather up 4 vials of powdered Pegasus feathers, as well as 3 whole feathers to be offered to the dwarven king.
As they gather their things to leave Lolindir’s chambers, the gnome Farlister bursts through the doors and skids to a halt. He looks terrible; shirt untucked, hair wild, bags under his eyes, but there is a grin on his face and he shouts “You must see what they’ve done!” The heroes follow the gnome as he rushes back outdoors, and when they exit into the courtyard they stare in amazement at the transformation that their ship has undergone.
Raised scaffolding has been erected, and a dozen elven carpenters and engineers work to put the finishing touches on upgrades to the airship. The hull is now encased in a silver metallic armor, durable yet light, while in the aft of the ship stabilizer wings have been crafted from smooth oaken beams to help her fly more smoothly. “Isn’t it beautiful!?” asks Farlister, now hand i hand with his halfling wife. “And best of all, Lolinder’s best sages began questioning my ideas for the engine and we’ve worked out a way to add thrust from the Floater! She hasn’t been tested, but Merrin’s eye she’ll fly twice as swiftly as before! When do we leave, eh?”
Although at first eager to fly, they decide that if the ship has really doubled in speed, they are already ahead of the schedule they thought they had. They instead decide to rest for one more day, restock their supplies, and have the engineers install two ballistas at the front of the ship, offering them some aerial firepower. With the rising of the sun on the next day, they are bid farewell by a gathering of elves wishing to see the airship in flight. Farlister lifts the hull up above the spires and trees of the elven city, and opens her up. “Hang on to your arses, lads!” They thrust forward, northbound to meet with the King of Dwarves.
The trip takes half the time originally thought, a mere five days to travel most of the length of the western continent. They soon are setting the airship (still without a name) down at the main entrance of Kaellen Deep, and the heroes each drop down to the waiting escort below. The dwarven guards bring the party into the dwarven halls, but instead of taking them to the king’s audience chamber they are brought to the main forge room. The chamber is immediately familiar, as it is where the assault from the duergar and driders took place. Thelkion shudders as he looks over the ledge to the lava below that nearly claimed his life.
They find the king down in the anvil room, resting in a wooden chair with the Godhammer slung over his chest. Kiergar soon meets them at the door and says “he doesn’t often leave this chamber, as you can see, and he tends to daydream these days. He is not eager to let the Godhammer out of his sight since the attack. Your Grace?” At Kiergar’s call, King Braeghor snaps out of his daydream and finally notices the party. A half-grin appears on his face and he welcomes them to Kaellen Deep. The party notices the broken anvil propped up so that the broken halves seem whole again. It takes some convincing, but the king finally agrees to move to a more suitable chamber to discuss matters at hand and they make their way to the cozy chamber behind his audience hall where they first met Aelar.
As they make themselves comfortable, the party notices Braeghor seems to be clutching the hammer tightly, and uses is as a walking stick. They present the Pegasus feathers to Kiergar, and he immediately prepares a bandage and poultice to apply to the king’s arms. Within minutes Braeghor seems to be returning to his former, jovial self, and he greets them again in a more hearty manner. The party explains the plight of the Blanks, Karavakos, and their task to meet Argas. Before they can even ask, Braeghor agrees that the Godhammer is the correct offering. Anything short might insult the God, who is known among dwarves to have a fiery temper (the better to heat his forges!). He hesitates for only a moment and then thrusts the Hammer to Kamesh, who is knocked to the ground and nearly crushed under the weight and power of it. “Falmon’s Boots I forgot, lad!” He slips off the Ring of True Giant Strength and gives it to Kamesh to be able to wield the Godhammer. The Paladin twirls the hammer in his hands, basking in it’s might before setting it back down.
“We must not linger long, good King” says Gumbo, and after exchanging a few short pleasantries they are seen to the exit by Braeghor himself. He gives a hearty laugh at the sight of the airship. “Haw! Now that might have been a worthy gift to Argas!” The day is still young as the heroes push full speed out of their airship, southbound to the awaiting island of Erghos.