Session 25 (Rinn 17): The Belly of the Bastion (We Didn’t Start The Fire)

4 Sydenstar (Grissen/Monday) 845 PD

Quick Call Home

Victor is off, heading to New Vasselheim on top of a very speedy moose. Before our group of heroes start heading off to Old Vasselheim to try putting out the pillar of flame with the magical gem-liquid they made the day before, they decide to ‘phone home’ one last time. (Rinn very much tries to be the one just holding the stone so he can escape being on/in the call, but unfortunately his plan fails as Fisch sets the stone up so no one has to hold it.)

A younger female gnome answers it, Kaylie, Scanlan’s daughter! She calls for the others, and chats with them a bit, dropping the info that Percy and Vex have been having some very intense discussions since Percy talked to them via the stone yesterday. (Rinn can guess exactly what they were talking about, and flushes red.) Kaylie does say it’s good to see Tāmarai and Stubby, and mentions what happened in Whitestone after those two (and others) disappeared: the town got ransacked for four days being searched, Scanlan and Percy jumped down a dragon gullet and had to blast (shoot) their way out, and so on.

Finally, Percy and Vex show up, and Kaylie takes off. (Vex looks at Rinn, and comments “I see.”) They introduce Fisch to them, and explain about the other talking (Aware) animals here around Old Vasselheim. They also explain what they’ve done, and go over their plans for the pillar of fire and the rebellion in New Vasselheim. During which, Stubby shows off her brand new Raven Queen armor, which finally reassures Vex that this is what caused the armor swap, and that Rinn and Stubby probably are NOT sleeping together. (Though she still keeps watching Rinn.) Stubby notices this, and starts bragging about Rinn, telling about his magic and that is why Vanya brought him here- though Rinn still has no idea how Vanya knew, did not know any of her plans, and is still VERY uncomfortable about his magic being discussed.

When they talk about how they’re heading to the Bastion, Percy mentions that before the explosion, they had all sorts of guardians there (stone golems, for example), and he doesn’t know if those things would still be there, so be careful- and the stone goes out. (The time it can remain active varies.) 

The group heads back. Fisch takes them on a shortcut, and luckily they don’t encounter any trouble. Into the city, and Victor’s stone automatons are back by the stairs to the Bastion and go up with them. The group checks around the area again, and decides on the magically-blasted out former privy hole down to the sewers and tunnels around the area. The stone automatons guard the perimeter so they don’t have to worry about anyone/thing cutting the rope and stranding them down there, and down they go.

Under the Bastion Sewer Crawl

The tunnel is far wider than a normal privy hole would be (Fisch fits down it easily enough), and is smooth like glass. The original magical explosions seem to have blasted it out. (The whole area is ‘clean’, any refuse has dried, composed, and dried again enough that it is gone.) It empties out into a large- very large- sewer system of pipes and tunnels, and they see some light down the way. 

Stubby sneaks off to check it out, and spots a couple swarms of rats. (Not friendly ones.) She messages Rinn, and continues sneaking forwards while the others make their way over as well. Unfortunately, the rats hear someone (*cough cough* Tāmarai), and start moving. Stubby gets one of the swarms, and init!

Fisch, Tam, Rinn, Rats, Stubby

Fisch realizes they aren’t trying to be quiet anymore, and rushes forwards to attack. He slashes with his glaive, hitting some, though the swarm separates around his second swipe- through Tāmarai shoots and hits the last few remaining ones. 

They reconvene. There’s a chest in the open area the rats were in that Stubby wants to investigate, while Rinn peeks around the corner, spotting a large, purple mushroom- that is slowly advancing. Tāmarai is quick to explain what it is, a Violet Fungus that does prey on other living things. Rinn draws a dagger across one of his bracelets and tosses it- and splatters the moving mushroom with a nat 20 on a sneak attack with Booming Blade. Usually it takes fire to completely, permanently destroy one of these things, but that all might have done the job anyways. Rinn grabs his dagger and cleans it off.

Back in the room, Stubby IS investigating the chest, checking it for traps- only to find that it is a trap. It’s not a chest but a mimic. It attacks her, getting a hit in-


Rinn, Mimic, Tam, Fisch, Stubby

Rinn runs back over, and tosses a dagger with Booming Blade for a hit- the second dagger (no magic) misses. The Mimic grabs Stubby again, dealing more damage. Tāmarai shots it with her crossbow, hitting it. Fisch leaps over to attack- and leave it to the bear for Two nat 20s- one to cut off the pseudopod holding Stubby, and another to cut the mimic nearly in half to kill it.

Stubby’s not looking her best, and Rinn pushes a healing potion on her, while telling her she should be more careful of random boxes and chests. She wants to refuse the potion, (while arguing that ‘they all can’t be mimics’), so he gets Tāmarai to help him convince her. Tāmarai tells Stubby that her parents will get upset at her (Tāmarai) if Stubby is hurt, and Rinn adds in “they already don’t like me, so they’d kill me”. In that discussion the whole suspicion her parents have regarding Rinn and Stubby come out, with Stubby thinking it is hilarious- and it dawns on Fisch what they’re talking about- “Oh, they think you’re having sex!” Rinn blushes, and stalks off. 

But there are five more violet fungi up ahead. The others catch up to Rinn, and they quickly conference on how to just get rid of the moving mushrooms. Stubby preps a molotov cocktail, giving Tāmarai and Rinn a few moments to get some shots off, and Fisch throws rocks. Stubby tosses the bottle. Many are down, and Fisch, tired of dealing with things at a distance, just steps up and kills the last one. 

They continue on their way, Tāmarai’s directional sense hopefully taking them closer and closer to the base of the pillar of flame under the Bastion. Stubby keeps shooting at random things to prove a point to Rinn- though what this proves, no one knows, as this latest target proves to be a mimic as well! Init!

Rinn, Mimic, Tam, Fisch, Stubby

Rinn gets in a “I fucking told you so” to Stubby, and tosses two daggers at the attacking mimic, (one with a Booming Blade cantrip), and hits with both. The mimic then goes after Rinn with a long pseudopod, but misses. Tāmarai steps up to take a swing at it with her sword (misses), and tosses one of her hair darts at it- and tells it off. Fisch takes a couple of swipes at it with his glaive, and the mimic isn’t looking so good, so Stubby then sends it on it’s way with her Raven Feather Dagger. 

Behind it, what seemed to be a dead end- a tunnel is revealed, heading in the right direction. It’s a bit of a tight squeeze for Fisch, but he manages to follow the others through…

The Pillar of Flame

Into a large room, with a bright blue glow coming in to one side. (There is also a ‘dead’ stone golem seen up ahead.) Into the room, and they can see four grates surrounding a large, white marble circle inscribed with five creatures on it. A green goat, purple unicorn, red dragon, white owl, and a blue merlion. This is the base of the pillar of fire, which starts about thirty feet above the floor.

In case the flame does start on the floor (and they just can’t see it, like a gas flame), they test it out by tossing a couple stones and items onto the white marble. Nothing happens, so it seems safe enough, and they all step into the actual room itself (not onto the marble areas yet). When they do, on the four grates surrounding the white marble circle, four elementals appear- Air, Water, Fire, and Earth. (NOT lined up with the inscribed animals that correspond with those elements.) Some writing around the marble lights up, in Undercommon/Xhorsian. Tāmarai translates for them: 

First came the water of life, second the land was shaped, third the air itself was given breath, next the flame to light the dark. Last came magic to give us the power to alter time. 

Then the animals carved on the floor light up, light from them twining up to meet the base of the pillar of flame up above, the magic from both ‘feeding’ both ways. Obviously they are connected, so they need some way to break that connection. 

The elementals spaced around the room don’t react to being talked to (no matter what language), or offerings, or gifts. They do respond if attacked, but stay where they are. Tāmarai uses Mage Hand to take in items to the animal elemental symbols on the floor, something symbolic of the element they represent, but nothing happens from that either, so maybe something more is needed…

Tāmarai manages to coax and persuade the Water Elemental to follow her around the outside of the marble circle, and it does- and then onto the appropriate elemental animal symbol (the blue merlion)- and it disintegrates, flowing into the energy and stopping it. That seems to be it, then!

And in the order of the saying in Xhorasian. Earth is next-

But the Earth elemental is not so cooperative. It follows Tāmarai, but will not go into that spot, reaching out to attack her. Init! 

Rinn, Stubby, Earth, Fisch, Tam

Rinn tries using Lightning Lure to pull the Earth Elemental into the proper spot, but the spell fails. The Earth Elemental tries to go after Tāmarai again, but she gives it the slip. Stubby tries using Thunderwave to shove it, but the Earth Element keeps proving really hard to shove (or pull) around. Fisch does a special bear move- Charges it and tries to body check the Elemental into the spot, but not even a bear’s strength works to get an Earth Elemental to go where it doesn’t want to! And it pushes Fisch back! Tāmarai moves around, hoping it will go after her (and step into the spot), but it doesn’t follow. Rinn tries Lightning Lure again- and again, it fails. Stubby goes to help Fisch to shove it, and the Elemental attacks Fisch again, getting in at least one blow. Fisch charges, and shoves- and with Stubby’s help gets the Earth Elemental onto the proper spot. It is pulled into the green light shining from the green goat on the floor, and disappears- and so does the light. 

Rinn tries to use Lightning Lure to pull it to the spot, fails. Earth goes after Tam- hits. Stubby tries using thunder waves to shove it, doesn’t workFisch does a bear move- Charge (double normal distance), and tries to body check the earth element in- but it pushes Fisch back. Tam hopes it would follow her, so she moves around, but it doesn’t follow. Rinn tries Lightning Lure again, but it fails. Stubby holds to help Fisch, and Earth attacks Fisch, hits once, then misses- And Fisch charges again, shoving it with Stubby’s help- into the spot- and it is pulled into the greenlight that goes up and damages. 

Now, air. Tāmarai and Stubby manage to coax that one into the right spot without any trouble. It fades away, and the light from the White Owl on the marble circle goes out.

Fire, not so much. It moves to follow them, but after that does NOT want to cooperate. Init!

Rinn, Fire, Fisch, Stubby, Tam

Rinn tries Lightning Lure one more time- and FINALLY it works! The Fire Elemental is pulled onto the Red Dragon and disappears, and the red light stops feeding into the pillar of fire.

Now with the lights from the four elemental spots gone, they turn to the last, the spot with the Purple Unicorn, and see what was hidden from them before. A spectral figure, a drow woman wearing worn, but gorgeous armor. Around here are three long-dead skeletons wearing armor of the Platinum Dragon- priests, clerics, or even paladins that had been helping once. She is still standing there, holding a grey, glowing dodecahedron in front of her- a Luxon. (The Luxon that Tāmarai was hoping to find.) Tāmarai saw a portrait of this woman in the Xhorhasian Embassy- this is the Ambassador’s wife, Raelle, thought to have been killed in the explosions that leveled (Old) Vasselheim.

She may not have died then, but she is nearly dead now. Speaking Xhorhasian (which soon somehow translates for Stubby, Rinn and Fisch), she has been thwarting the Empress. Raelle has been spending her own magical energy and lifeforce to keep the Luxon from adding its energy to the pillar of fire above- a pillar that the Empress has been drawing power from. The Empress might have thought she was getting power from the Luxon as well, but she hasn’t- but Raelle cannot keep this up for much longer. Even if they cut the connection and put out the fire, she is gone and there is no saving her- she has no life yet and knows it. 

Stubby ransacks through her belongings, and pulls out the little sound recording device. A few tweaks, and it should work to record an image as well as sound, and she lets Raelle know that she can record a message for her wife Lanna Kryn and they will make sure she gets it. Raellel’s message is quick, simple, and heart-breaking: “I love you. I will find you in our next life.”

Tāmarai has the small stone crucible with the magical stone liquid. Raelle directs her to pour it on the Luxon, holding it down so the gnome can reach. The energy flowing to and from is nearly gone, Tāmarai holding back one last drop, and Raelle tells her to use it all- which she then takes up with her finger tips and touches it to the last connection-

There is a flash of purple light, blasting everyone back-

(only Tāmarai)

Tāmarai and Raelle are floating in space. Raelle is there, young and healthy again. She apologizes to her for having to ask Tāmarai of this, but if she can please return the Luxon beacon to their people. Raelle also asks Tāmarai for her coin from Ioun. Tāmarai hands it to her, and Raelle takes a ring off her finger and hands it to Tāmarai in trade. The coin splits into two in her hands, she places them on her eyes and fades away.

Everyone falls back from the blast. The white marble circle is gone, leaving just the normal stoney ground of the sewer and tunnel system. Standing there is Tāmarai, holding the Luxon-

A slightly different Tāmarai! She is taller (a bit, still a gnome), and her features have refined a bit more towards ‘adult’. Her hair and clothes have changed as well, hair pulled back into microbraids, and clothes are darker and more reserved and formal. Stubby gets up and runs over to give her a hug.

Looking up, the pillar of fire is still there, but it is a much lighter blue, slowly- slowly!- fading out. They estimate they may have 2 days before it is gone completely. Carefully they backtrack their way out. They find a few more monsters- all dead, somehow.  Up above ground by the ruins of the Bastion, there are friends- a couple of moose who know Fisch, and volunteer to give the other three (Rinn, Stubby and Tāmarai a ride to the Birth Heart Tree on the Abundant Terrace. Waiting there for them is yet another Moose, with his antlers festooned with garlands and wearing a cape of leaves. Fisch makes introductions in Primordial, translating his name as the others say it in common. (Rinn chimes in a comment, leading Tāmarai and Stubby to give him a look- he understands them?) They learn that there is fighting in the city, but it’s not from the rebellion- not yet. The druid moose (Charlie!) starts explaining.

This afternoon, they managed to deliver their friend, the ‘Mistake Man’, and there was a sea battle going on, with large tentacles coming out of the ocean. Tāmarai pulls out one of her hair sticks (bought back in Session 11), that shows some sort of sea creature. “Like this?” The moose that had been down there didn’t see it herself, but they think so, yes. The fight seems to be going well, the people in the city are chasing it away, and the dolphins (who tend to be ‘assholes’) were helping. Once the sea battle dies down, things should be alright, but this would certainly be a good time to take advantage of such a distraction for a rebellion.

Sending them through the tree (Teleport Via Plants) might be tricky, since it may not work, or they could be noticed. Some other moose could run them down there, but they’d be tired. Or, Charlie could rest a bit (and they could as well), and he can try again. He did do it earlier, and Fisch’s sister and parents are now down in the city helping the people!

They decide to rest and see if Charlie can open the way in a little while for them….

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