Saggitarian Nexus

Leaving the Garden of Graves

We were all right on our last legs by the time the corrupted body of the dragon Angot went down, and every round that needed to go our way did. Caelyn pulled a Legolas and nailed the thing in the head, from on its back, with a point blank shot and Arista rolled about 8 crits. The last words spoken before it died were, “Guys, I only have at-wills left. Ok, Twin Strike.”

We figured out the last little bit of the riddle and discovered all the runes about were some sort of eldritch energy funnel, though we don’t know where it was funneling. When we switched it off, there was a flash and something both ancient and eternal started howling and was immediately silenced. When we came to, we were in the feywild jungle, the graveyard apparently returned to the middle realm.

We decided to make our way to the Gloaming where stories mention strong crossover points, in the hope of getting back right away. We came across a lot of creepy fauna, including a Yoda-like little gnome and [on separate occasions], a psychic hag with trolls [and blasted regen]. Apparently she’s “been watching us,” wanted to “test” us, and thought we’d “do just fine.” We scared her off, finished the encounter, and are set to start tracking her, apparently because we’re tired of bullshit.

Eventually, she spilled the beans: she makes trolls, and one got intelligent and stole an artifactual crown [perhaps not in that order] that she wants back. I don’t remember what we get in exchange. Hopefully something. The artifact attracts or is fueled by the souls of great dead. It sounded like it wasn’t something we wanted a hag to have.

Back in Eberron, we got Kasarin’s lady rezzed and back to the boat safely. She’s the cook, now. A colony in the Demon Wastes had been destroyed while we were gone [about 2 months] and a number of Houses Tharashk and Lyrandar members were stranded with the boat. We dropped them off on the way to Calmachia and got an offer to become Tharashk mercs to run supplies around the western end of the continent. Unusual activity in the Demon Wastes, but then what isn’t. Went to Calmachia and
Taskar got his wingalings in the form of fleshforged remnants from the forge’s dragon form.

Shae was there and informed us that The Eyes struck against Cannith too late. The House was in
the process of leaving the city [or nation] and Brelish forces really only caused minor interference. Shortly thereafter, Thrane and Karrnath started fielding warforged armies, enough to reasonably conclude that Cannith has a forge and is in full production. Both nations started skirmishes with Breland and Shae doesn’t know if the war’s back on or what. Specifically, Thrane raided some border villages and Breland was either unwilling or unable to defend or retaliate. Best case scenario, Shae says maybe Cannith/Thrane has something on the king to prevent him from acting. Worst case scenario, the Brelish king is dead.

After Cannith left Sharn, warforged came out of the woodworks. Shae suspects Cannith had intended to conquer the city as proof of concept to future buyers, but because they were run out early, it
mostly just caused havoc. All the nobles and House Enclaves that could fled, leaving the entire
upper tier deserted. It doesn’t sound like warforged are a problem anymore so much as anarchy.
The Ghallanda enclave started offering sanctuary until it was forced to seal up against the
hordes and Kundarak is under siege.

We grabbed Shae and 7 or 8 Eyes members, everyone he had left, and sailed to Zilargo where we hired a legit crew so Celeborn and Marris could stay mobile. We also stocked up on magic items.
From there, the party and Shae and his boys magic circled into the Eyes’ old headquarters in Sharn. The plan is to secure Ghallanda for humanitarian purposes, then raid a bunch of old Cannith caches to see if we can secure documents explaining what’s going on, then secure Kundarak, and finally, retake Sharn.

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Vralkek

The crew, at this point comprised of Adair, Aosid, Arista, Caelyn, Celeborn, Marus, Rhuvanna, Taskar, and Tavarius, are taken unawares to Calmachia’s island where Taskar has a strange conversation with the forge about “bettering” things. That done, the team hits the high seas. After a bit, they put The Captain’s Pajamas into port at Vralkek in Droaam for supplies. They were greeted strangely by a wide variety of folk that founnd the combination of elves and other [monstrous?] races in the party confounding. While shopping for ritual components for Arista’s new dragonmark-given abilities, they learned of a traditional yearly footrace occurring the next morning, the grand prize being a carver! Or as Arista strangely describes them, “dinos!” Without second thought, the Eladrin enters the race. The rest of the group do their best to keep her alive and other people behind her. After much struggle and surprise help from an orc identifying himself as one of the Kasarin, Arista takes the day, the gold, the dino, and the strange ale! Set for the time being, and with a new member of the team, the group heads north, planning to stop on Marsharian shores when next supplies are needed.

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Last Season Summay

The island contained an abandoned creation forge, still running under the oversight of the curiously sentient construct Calmachia. The doppleganger was found and killed in the bowels of the forge, as were two Brelish agents, Jelia and Marus. During a brief visit to Cliffport, Kyr communicated her intent to close the Bookhouse Boys and depart for regions unknown, leaving a parting warning concerning a blue dragon of mutual acquaintance.

The party returned to Sharn in the hopes of finding an authority to deal with the forge, and hit on the King’s Eyes, a pseudo-secret branch of the Brelish government. Jelia was imprisoned for being stupid, among other things, and Marus signed aboard the newly christened Captain’s Pajamas.

The Nexus set out with Shae, an operative of the Eyes, to secure the forge for the Brelish crown. On return, they found that Celeborn and Marus were kidnapped. Investigation led them to believe House Cannith was making its own play for the discovered forge, and two attacks by house personnel in the streets of Sharn solidified suspicions.

The party infiltrated a government tower, finding their friends, but no clues concerning Cannith’s curious behavior. Chased out of the tower by a massive metal construct, the party went underground.

Amid general pandemonium, Shae asked the Nexus to sniff out the one man who would surely have information concerning the odd happenings: Merrix D’Cannith, Mayor of Sharn and One of the candidates for leadership of House Cannith. The party located a sinister lab hidden in the middle of the city, and though the mayor remained elusive, they also found clues concerning the house’s alarming plans.

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On the Consequences of Being Assertive

In need of information, the Nexus follows up a clue given them by Rettissh, searching the docks for evidence of missing silver. They find the ship in question, and discover that it travels daily in and out of the city, taking on cargo at port, and returning empty.

The party waits for it’s return the following morning, then confronts he sailors loading cargo. The crew remains obtuse and rude, and is about to leave port, when Taskar escalates the matter with a well timed scaly fist.

A large-scale battle breaks out, with the Nexus eventually wresting control of the ship from the sailors and speeding out of the dock, a naval vessel in pursuit.

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Sidetracked?

The party awakes to some commotion, and soon finds out that the people of Thardis have discovered the dead bandits. An impromptu celebration is held. Lord Ashley gives the party a sack of gold in exchange for retconning his hiring of the Nexus. Ale is served!

Back in Cliffport, the Nexus finds Kyr in some distress. She sends the party on an emergency mission given the BB by Astranth. They travel to an old castle on a hill, and dispatch a young white dragon with… um… dispatch.

On their return, Kyr grants the party a full explanation of her organization’s ties with Astranth, namely the blue’s habit of using the business to add to his horde.

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Trail of the Doppleganger

Tavarius and Taskar Rence wait cautiously in the headquarters of The Bookhouse Boys . After a few moments, Kyr enters, followed by Aosid and Rettissh. She claims that Rettissh has spent the last week in Cliffport’s prison, and further questioning reveals that he had no knowledge of the deal that he was supposedly involved in the day before. With coincidences mounting, the party becomes more and more certain that their doppelganger foe is hard at work. Mistrustful of their employer, but out of options, they return to the sight of yesterday’s bandit ambush in search of answers.

A trail leading into the wilderness is found, and despite some spotty guidance by the Paladin, they find themselves at the dead bandit’s camp, nestled at the top of a large plateau overlooking a wooded valley. The camp has been deserted, though the ranger thinks that no more than a day or so could have passed since the exodus. A more detailed examination is about to take place, when the armored members of the party activate a magical message interred in the still burning fire-pit. A sepulchral voice speaks of surrender, servitude and a fatal promise before extinguishing. The ritual’s end summons a grand serpentine beast of flames and bone which attacks without hesitation. At the battles end, the Nexus questions whether they are the intended recipient of the strange message. Caelyn’s only clue is his knowledge that magic of great power and evil was used in the creation of the monster, a feat much too difficult for the likes of roadside bandits.

Weary, the party marches out of the wilderness and returns to Thardis, where they locate the town’s single tiny inn and settle in for the night.

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Arrival In Cliffport
The Nexus finds city life to be a tad more complicated.

Kyr leads the party to Cliffport, a bustling trade city on the western shore. Feeling obligated to the heroes who recovered her soul, she offers the travelers a place to rest, and a job.

The Nexus is tasked with escorting a cart of goods through known bandit county. True to the warning, the party is attacked while passing through a ruin. Fending off the bandits, they continue to the rendezvous near the small hamlet of Thardis.

The party meets a band of smugglers led by Rettissh, who tells the Nexus that payment for the goods has already been made. The smugglers are insistent on receiving the crates they claim as their own. Unable to strike a deal with the party, Rettissh attacks, escaping in the Nexus’ cart with half the cargo.

During the ensuing battle, a Gnoll and Tiefling are captured, though an interrogation reveals that neither will betray their employer. A quick search of the surrounding countryside leads The Nexus to what appears to be the smuggler’s hideout, though it has been recently looted. Unsure of who to trust, the party makes their way back to Cliffport to search for answers.

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Down from the Bluff

All You climb the bluff. You see nothing out of the ordinary until you reach the top. A small, ornately wrapped parcel sits in the precise middle of the surface, surrounded by the young-but-still-quite-enormous tracks of Donnyx.

Taskar looks around and then cautiously approaches the package. He lifts it, hesitant to inspect if further, and presents it to Arista, who has followed closely behind him.

Suln rocks back and forth on his heels.

Arista says: “I wonder what this could be… a million gold wouldn’t fit in here… but the equivalent in astral diamonds….” With an expectant giggle, Arista eagerly grasps the parcel and deftly opens it. No one’s sure they even saw how she did so. With a flourish she reveals…

*All* Some stuff! Incidentally, nothing horrible happens to Arista. There are some items that seem to be larger than the parcel originally was:

Draconic Gilding: This can be applied to your shield, reinforcing and “pimping” it, allowing you to stylishly force your opponents back.
Power (Daily): Free Action. Use this power when you hit an enemy with a melee attack. Push the enemy 1d4 squares after applying the attack’s effects.
Level 15: Push 2d4 squares.
Level 25: 3d4 squares.

Ghost Bridle: This standard harness shimmers with the wind. If you concentrate, you can put your hand straight through, and if you wear it like you were a pack animal, you and whatever depraved being is riding you gain an ethereal, ghostly appearance.
Property: The mount gains resist 10 necrotic.
Power (Daily): Minor Action. You and your mount gain phasing until the end of your turn.

Cor’s Vengeance: This greatbow was apparently crafted by loving, skillful hands for someone named Cor, whose name is etched into the grips. The length is painted with elaborate images of a Shifter warrior slaying an enormous red dragon and protecting his village. There are burn marks on the upper end and a large blood stain on the bottom third.
Prof. 2, Damage 1d12, Range 25/50
Enhancement (
2): Attack and damage rolls
Critical: +1d8, or +1d12 against dragons
Property: This weapon provides 5 resistance against dragon breath attacks.
Power (Encounter): Free Action. Use this power when an attack hits a bloodied ally within 10 squares of you. Gain a +2 power bonus to attack rolls and +1d10 on damage rolls against the attacker until the end of your next turn.
Power (Daily): Minor Action. Your next attack with this weapon against a dragon, if made before the end of your turn, gains a +5 power bonus to the attack roll and automatically ignores any resistance the dragon has.

Staff of the War Mage: As you hold it, you sense that it will alter its appearance to obey your whims. Also, your name becomes more difficult to pronounce.
Prof 2, Damage 1d8
Enhancement (
2): Attack rolls and damage rolls
Critical: +2d8
Power (Daily): Free Action. Use this power when using a power that has a blast or burst effect. Increase the size of the blast or the burst by 1.

There is also 1,500 gp in precious gems and a note in a florid Draconic script:

“I admit that these tokens are a mere fraction of what I could offer you, but I trust that you have no issue with them. A few of them came from my rival Vulk’s cache–you may have noticed his remains on the bluff. At any rate, go forth with my thanks, but do not hold it lightly.”

As you open the note, a pendant slips out from the folds. It bears an emblem of an arm holding a golden sword with the bows of a deciduous tree growing from the blade. You might hear Kyr stifle a small gasp.

Taskar takes the note from the very much distracted Arista and reads it, barely catching the pendant. He then holds out the bag of holding and clears his throat several times. Eventually, he wrangles the jewels from the rogue, letting her hold on to a couple to play with.

As the others dig in, Taskar steps over to Kyr and holds the pendant out for her inspection, looking at her inquisitively and somewhat sternly.

All Reluctantly accepting that the Nexus has a way of seeing the truth of things (somehow), Kyr raises an eyeridge and refrains from talking just long enough to be coy.

“That old bluebird is so hard to predict. I can’t say much in the open air, but I will tell you this: you have friends in Cliffport you haven’t met yet. They’re definitely.. ah.. your type..”

She shoots Taskar yet another LOOK.

“Except they’re worth knowing.”

Suln: Figuring that it his continued disregard for the Dragons was what put this loot in front of him, Sūln decides to continue that course of action. He pokes each piece in the collection and bites the Gilding, impressed. He attempts to juggle a few jewels before ignoring the horde.

Unsure what sort of LOOK is being shot, Taskar does his best to make his response as neutral as possible: “That type are particularly difficult to come across, aren’t they?”

As Caelyn and Prince continue playing with their new toys, Taskar goes over to examine the gilding. Taking it over to Sūln, he offers it to the dwarf.
“We owe you a bit more than this, but for now stories of rescuing dragons and a pint once we reach Cliffport will have to suffice.”

*All* The party heads west to Cliffport, lead by the ever-amused-except-when-she’s-being-eaten Kyr. As you walk, you notice a slight shift in the physics of the world. You wonder what strange events will follow in the bustling, airship-filled metropolis.

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In a Creepy Room
Where nothing creepy is bound to happen

Taskar sat on his haunches a respectful distance from the other dragonborn as she lay unconscious. He was trained in two healing arts. The first he regularly employed in battle, calling upon his companions to find reserves of strength in themselves. The second was a traditional technique he’d learned from a disheveled monk he’d befriended after mistaking him for a pile of rags. He had administered both in this situation to the best of his abilities, bandaging what he could, salving the rest, all the while muttering words of what he hoped were encouragement. He didn’t rightly know how to assuage spiritual wounds.

He now watched the rogue and ranger claw their way into the trap door. He’d tried the stone over the door again, to no avail. Despite their taunting, Taskar did have at least a fraternal connection to the unconscious female. Despite his best efforts to become worldly and to make himself more than just another dragonborn warrior, he had in no way become calloused. He was still compelled to help when he could. This compulsion seemed amplified in the presence of one of his own race. For the time being, at least, he’d done all he could. He closed his eyes and began clearing his mind for meditation.

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Wherein Taskar Finds a Girlfriend (Maybe)
Soul-Eater Explosion!

So, after thoroughly destroying [read: exploding into a blinding, inky mess] three of four Dark Ones, and watching a Lady Dragonborn smash a Flaming Skull that the party first thought may have been their wayward magical halfling buddy, the dragon-woman called the party by name and beckoned for them to follow as she ran into a cave. The already-smitten Taskar eagerly ran after her, while Caelyn, Arista, and Prince followed more cautiously. Once inside the cave, the dragon they’d been following appeared in her true form as a Doppleganger and ran around the corner. They followed, only to discover an empty corridor where her tracks ended abruptly before a sealed trapdoor. Prince immediately ran into the next room, and then out again, screaming, sending a fireball over his shoulder for mega-damage.

The rest of the party arrived behind Prince just as a huge Desolator rounded the corner, the female Dragonborn from earlier curled up in his translucent belly. He proceeded to vomit on Arista a horrible digested-soul necrotic slurry. During the ensuing moments, Taskar continually worried aloud about the lovely female whose soul was being devoured and asked the party to help him save her. Caelyn responded by telling the warlord to “keep it in [his] pants,” to which Taskar replied, “it’s too big!” Eventually, the Nexus managed to slay the hideous creature, luckily, just before it killed the lady inside.

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