The Singing Mercenaries

T is for Trebuchet
Tortoisomiento movemento

As the Singing Mercenaries burst into the room, a flash of light revealed Tattered Onion and Hemerias. Speaking quickly, as elves are prone to do in excitement, Hemerias explained that he had re-opened a portal bring the others out to safety, and that all would be explained when they were returned to Fallcrest. However, Tattered, distracted by the sight of his friends, let go of Hemerias. As Hemerias scrambled to gather the group together, another flash of light ferried him and Sasz away, the plan unsuccessful.

However, the Singers were not dismayed, and approach their foes with courage. While the strange creatures unleashed an opening assault, the weakness caused by their attacks did nothing to prevent the fury that boiled over. Alain rushed into the gray, locking down the large, bloated creature that hovered over the battlefield, while Winward, Tattered, Mark 9 and Valmir attempted to control the region near their entry point.

Eventually, Alain conjured enough mental power to warp a large illusory desk into a strong grip around the creature he faced, while Winward and Mark 9 locked down three other opponents between them. The Singers noted with some pleasure that the items upon the desk, notably coin and other loot, scattered around the room, a strange but welcome surprise that would certainly be theirs provided they could stem the enemy assault.

Mark 9 continued to use his powers to considerably aid the Singers, particularly by enhancing Tattered Onion’s weapon with Acidic and Radiant powers. His assistance was also granted to Valmir, who was able to improve his defensive capabilities when the enemy approached to strike him. Winward remained calm and focused throughout, providing assistance, and notably for two strong drives against the enemy, which held them at bay while the Singers rallied to a defensive position.

Although charged with a new and awesome power, Valmir’s opening assault was hindered by weakness, along with the Tattered Onion. At first, Tattered Onion was severely crippled, but as time went on, grew in strength, batting around enemies as they ventured near. Valmir cursed his opponents, but like Tattered, struggled to cause enough harm to his enemies. Perhaps this unsettling experience led him to start firing wildly, as his magics and talents were squandered without causing any grievous injuries to the foe.

Just as things seemed to be sliding in the Mercenaries favor, the portals which had been opened in the room glimmered, and a new foe proceeded through the rings of power. Alain quickly found himself facing three enemies, while his allies attempted to curtail the distanced magics being fired upon them from an ugly creature with a large red eye. Eventually tiring of the irritation, Tattered Onion assaulted the creature with fury, mashing it into a bloody, spasming pulp.

Heartened by this action, the Singers morale grew, and redoubled their efforts into ending the conflict. Alain, with Tattered Onion’s help, was able to lock down and slay the three opponents nearest him, and avoid a death that seemed inevitable until Tattered Onion’s intervention. Conjuring his strength, he recovered his footing, and turned towards the remaining creatures.

Although the shouts and din of battle had settled somewhat, the Singers still found themselves engaged in a battle without clear meaning or resolution…

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I Duergar You To Do It
Interrogatione Ridiculoso Allegro

17889772The Singers, now free of danger, proceeded to surround and confront the duergar they had forced into submission during their Welcome to Fauxcrest. Putting Alain on watch, Sasz, Valmir, Winward and Mark 9 pulled away to discuss their strategy. Realizing the duergar was injured, they made a decision to be careful, with Sasz standing by to address any health problems that arose during the enhanced interrogation.

The duergar, a foul mouthed rapscallion, soon earned the ire of Mark 9, whose metal backhand sent the duergar reeling in pain, and opened the line of questions. Through the skillful manipulation of mind and will, the Singers ascertained that Valmir did indeed work for Asmodeus, although they did not dig into the nature of the relationship. However, the duergar confided that Asmodeus was concerned regarding the Prophecy of Galaxis, and the Singers potential role in that conflict.

24462321 duergar rangerQuestions from Valmir and Winward proved the duergar had no idea how to get out of the pocket dimension, as he had been cut off from his allies, and presumably the skills necessary to teleport out of the dimension. But, after coercion, he did explain how he was able to manipulate the illusions, which functioned as an inverse of a normal illusion. The secret was apparently to allow one’s self to believe the illusions were true, therefore granting a connection to them, and forcing the illusion under direct mental control.

The Singers cut their interrogation short to test this, unfortunately leaving many questions unasked. As they attempted to control and manipulate the nearby houses, they all failed in succession, which resulted in the party being teleported to the entrance of Fauxcrest once again. They were yet again greeted by the large hovering illusion of the Gorgori, which was pleased to see they had mastered the situation. It urged them to continue their quest to free themselves, and let them know it looked forward to seeing them in person. Winward tried to manipulate it, but it tossed him back and laughed.

Once started down the same worn paths, they saw recreations of all their earlier events, with the same individuals who had come and asked for their help before, which led into the first trap. Realizing that what they saw was an echoe of what had come before, the Singers made their way up to the beacon which had lit the darkness and gloom of Fauxcrest. Coming to a bridge, Winward manipulated it, which allowed them to cross the river safely, only to realize that they needed to go to the middle of the river. Thus, they transformed the bridge again, and walked onto the island.

Observing a large building, Mark 9 was able to determine that the locus of magical energy was centralized there. Instead of going in the front door, the Singers tore down the tower which hooked around the building, leading them to an empty room, with a door, some illusory furniture, and a switch. Pulling the switch, the mercenaries were granted access to another chamber, this one with a strange teleport device on the floor – the first real object they had encountered in the plane. While Mark 9 was unable to make it function, he recognized there were magical auras or power sources coming from nearby.

Trebuchet1The party ventured into yet another room, and Valmir noticed a strange sigil on the floor, with an inscription in deep speech. None of them were capable of reading it, until Valmir manipulated the illusory sigils to “make sense,” leading to a very plain translation of “To activate the portal, remember to pull all the levers.” The Singer continued on, until they reached an illusory door, which they transformed into one way glass, allowing them to see through…to the back of what was likely a large throne.

Deciding they had had enough, the door was opened, and Mark 9 turned the throne into a trebuchet, with the hope that whatever was seated upon it would be trapped. Unfortunately, no one was seated upon it. In the room, they could see a weird rite being attended, with several strange figures working runed, floating circles. However, the creatures were caught by surprise, allowing the Singers to launch a blob of hellfire and acid into their midst, creating confusion, and killing one of the creatures outright, while visibly harming another.

However, Winward noticed several more creatures lurking in the shadows, and one descended from where it had been flying above. With such an entrance, the Singers had gained a temporary advantage, but the portal was still open and the battle was to begin in earnest…

(Oh, and the duergar? He got roped in along with them…)

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Welcome to Fauxcrest
Adventuroso Starto Multo Vivace

17889772The Singing Mercenaries, having recently escaped their trials in Sigil, were teleported back to Rantalia with the barkeep Ostermann’s assistance. Returned to Fallcrest, their happy band thought a period of rest might ensue, before they were called upon to to aid Jett in his quest to recover an artifact of great import to his cause against Mindartis. However, upon their arrival, a series of strange events unfolded that seemed to dash all hopes that this might be the case.

While the party had traveled with Tattered Onion, Thorn, Sasz, Mark 9, Jett, Roiclem a Cleric of Erathis and Hemerias, it seemed that only two of their party made it through the portal, along with the shawl Jett had been carrying for the purpose of enshrouding the artifact he sought. As Mark 9 and Sasz gained their bearings, they noticed a short, but familiar figure cut through the gate – Winward, Gnomic Bard and founding member of the Singing Mercenaries, had returned. Soon after, a portal opened through which Valmir,the other founding member and himself a Tiefling Warlock indentured to the Prince of Frost, was spat out.

TeiflingWinward had been careening through space and time in a dimensional rift, which forced him to survive countless planes and dangers, until a fortuitous accident caused his unstable dimension to collide with the material plane, bringing him back to Rantalia. Valmir, however, seemed to have been thrown out of a portal, which made it difficult to ascertain where he had come from. However, his appearance had changed. Instead of the shadowy, hooded figure, he appeared in crimson, standing arrogantly, and seemingly boasting of some new inner strength…

As the party began exploring the town, they were shocked to notice that the entire location seemed devoid of people, until they came upon their old hideout. From the north of their location, an armor clad figure, Alain, a Knight of The Kingdom of Nerath, approached them to discuss his puzzlement at being in such a location. While they were not certain he could be trusted entirely, his confusion and agreement to their terms provided an outlet for temporary alliance.

Investigating their strong house, the Singers uncovered a chilling fact – the entire town seemed to be a powerful illusion that could not be dispelled. While it was clear that the illusion made things seem as though they were real, the shadowy interior to the buildings and lack of people indicated it was not strong enough to provide a complete masque. The illusion, unfortunately, could not be dispelled by force of will or perception, which was unusual. However, attempting to enter into the building causes a strange reaction – the Singing Mercenaries found themselves at the entrance where they had been reunited.

Black sword by dark x strikeAs they gained their bearings, a huge and terrifying creature floated towards the gate, before resting upon it and speaking to the Singers, taunting them with confounding ideas. A brief moment of insightful history reminded them that one of the objects they had acquired in the past, one of the Gogori, The Blades of Orcus, could be the present projection in front of them. What they might not have realized was that it had the power to corrupt and overcome whatever it came in contact with. Seeing as they had left it in the hands of an Archpriestess of the now defunct Temple of Bahamut, it stood to reason that it had corrupted her, given that the god’s power had waned when he was chained by Orcus.

The Nightfang, as it seemed to refer to itself, was interested in testing the Mercenaries, playing with them as a cat might a mouse. It revealed a great beacon to the northwest, and told them to seek it out when they were ready to leave, provided they passed its tests. Quickly moving away from that location, the party of Mark 9, Valmir, Winward, Sasz and Alain set out to seek this beacon and find a way home.

As they looked to the north, a wall of bodies blocked a path that had been there not moments before – the corpses too thick to travel…or so it seemed. Heading south, the Mercenaries unexpectedly encountered a group of survivors near the cliff face leading down to the lower sections of Fallcrest. Approached by a mourning father, the Singers were asked to help located one of his sons, who had apparently been teleported to this strange location sometime between the Mercenaries first teleportation and the second.

Mephistopheles james j himsworth 3While the Singing Mercenaries agreed, they diplomatically suggested that the group of survivors remain on the high ground until the child was found. Descending yet again into the town, they heard cries for help, which led to an investigation of buildings near the river. As it turns out, the Mercenaries had been lured into a trap – the child itself was in fact an illusion, a fact brought to light when the erstwhile father appeared and revealed himself. The mourning father proved to be a devilish creature, which led to the discovery that Winward and Valmir were in fact imposters, Doppelgangers sent to impersonate them. As Alain, Mark 9 and Sasz began combat, two duergar burst out of two nearby buildings, exploding the illusions. Combat ensued, wherein the real Valmir and Winward were discovered by Alain.

Trapped together and manacled by warded cuffs, they soon joined the combat. While the combined forces of the enemy proved to be no match for the might of the Mercenaries, they did succeed in slowing them down for a time, as the devilish figure used his charming powers to dominate the allies, time and time again, while the Doppelgangers screened attacks for the duergar to launch a sickening and fiery poison at the adventurers. However, as the enemies fell, even the intervention of Devil Legionnaires proved insufficient in stemming the collective determination of the Singing Mercenaries.

As the mourning father was put to earth, he cried out that Valmir would pay for this treachery, and that somehow, the Singing Mercenaries were involved. Although it did not make much sense, it did prompt the Singers to try and take a prisoner. Finally, conjuring every bit of willpower they had, the Singers defeated all but one duergar, whom Valmir intimidated into submission. However, in an almost nonchalant manner, the duergar seemed ready to comply with their requests, as the interrogation began…

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The Return

Many of the Singer’s adventures in Sigil have been lost. It is known they battled and defeated Justicar, and were forced to flee the city after a great battle between the city’s various factions broke out shortly after their victory over the dark paladin. They returned to Fallcrest thanks to the help of Osterman, the proprieter of the inn they had been staying at.

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Mind Your Manors (Part II)

The Mercenaries were relieved to be out of the line of fire, but faced the prospect of having to fight again in the hallway. Yet, as they took a breath, suddenly, Tattered Onion wandered off, and Mark 9 disappeared in a flash of light; while unsettling, both had been known to do these things before. The remaining Mercenaries, Hemerias, Sasz, and Jett, joined now by the cleric Roiclem, prepared for the worst, but soon heard the footsteps running up to them. Thorn, who had tracked the party from their prior battle on the rooftops, had come rushing to find them, having been filled in by Magdalena.

With the party regrouped they expected the foe to be upon them, but were surprised to have the doors to the main hall slam shut. Stunned by this unexpected turn of events, the Mercenaries pondered what to do. Thorn suggested they burn the doors down, but Jett wanted to try to force his way in first. So, Jett ran back, and charged into the door, aided by Thorn, who pushed him forward as he sped along.

Unfortunately, things seldom go as expected in the heat of battle, and Jett slammed into the door, only to injure himself, and was put into a daze. On the other side of the door, one of the people inside let out a mean spirited laugh. The Mercenaries determined that someone was holding the door shut, making entry much more difficult. It looked like there were few options left, even as Hemerias tried to determine if the hinges of the door could be forced with a crowbar.

Taking Thorn’s suggestion to heart, Hemerias grabbed the nearest torch, and using his wilderness
training, determined which part of the doors would likely burn faster, based on grain density and
construction. With the doors alight, Roiclem added another torch to the blaze, and attempted to punch through, hopefully hitting the enemy holding the door shut.

Eventually, Sasz, recovered enough from his earlier exertions, hit the door with a blast of wind, and burst them asunder, sending flaming chunks of wood and shrapnel into the room, and knocking a knight square on. However, the enemy had been expecting them. Eight mage knights and several knights of the Light’s Dawn were already prepared for battle. Led by a knight’s charge, the force attacked the Mercenaries without warning, and hit their front line with their force spells, causing several party members distress. At this, Sasz flew into battle, and unleashed a devastating spell upon the foe, rendering many of them dazed.

And, in a few moments, they noticed that Tattered Onion had rejoined them, simply distracted by a
butterfly as it flew across the fields. However, as Sasz was at the center of the room, he came under heavy fire. Not wishing to see his ally overcome, Hemerias summoned the grace of Sehanine, and healed Sasz of his afflictions. Following this, Thorn flew in to attack, and came under heavy opposition as he was surrounded by multiple foes. Hemerias pulled back to engage from a distance, while Tattered Onion, Jett, and Roiclem moved in to engage. Thorn continued to dish out punishment, though still surrounded by enemies.

Eventually, they slowly began to kill the knights and mage-knights, although it cost them, as Sasz was completely exhausted. Some of the mage-knights again retreated back up to the balcony, and began raining down blows. As Roiclem began healing his comrades, the attacks still had not stopped…

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Mind Your Manors

The next morning, the Singers were met by a cleric, named Roiclem, who said he was sent by Magdalena to lead them to the chapter house of Magdalena’s order. Winding through the streets of Sigil, the Singers were taken back the same direction, past the great square where their earlier troubles had began.

The chapter house was a large, wooden building, tucked behind several older stone buildings. Roiclem lead them into the foyer, which was adorned not only with the cross of the Light’s Dawn, but with the heraldry and honors of the order as well. Magdalena was waiting for them. Having exchanged greetings, they were soon met by Magadelena’s abbess.

The Abbess explained to them that the Light’s Dawn was not as cohesive as it might seem from the outside, and that Justicar was one of many within the Light’s Dawn known as the Templars, who considered it their duty to bring about the cataclysm mentioned in the Prophecy of Galaxis. She continued that Justicar had been collaborating with Chaos-tainted elements within the Kir’Sar, specifically the Kir’Sar’s Jinrai master.

Mark 9 expressed disbelief that Jinrai would be involved with the forces of Chaos, but the Abbess simply stated that if he sought answers, Justicar would be able to find them. Mark 9 further inquired if the entire organization was tainted, and the Abbess explained that, like the Light’s Dawn, the mages were fractured as well, that one of them in particular, Mindartis, was combating the taint within the Kir’Sar.

Confused, the Singers inquired as to what the Abbess wanted them to do. She explained that while Justicar needed to be investigated, the Light’s Dawn could not act overtly, especially not towards its own members, without attracting the attention of the Lady of Pain. They had hoped the Singers, who already were on poor terms with the paladin, would be willing to act on their behalf. Remember their earlier encounters with him, the Singers readily accepted the proposal.

After leaving the Abbess, the Singing Mercenaries were led to Justicar’s manor home by Roiclem. Upon their arrival, they noticed a heavily armed tiefling female, with a symbol of Bahamut who appeared to be guarding the entrance. Not itching for a fight, the Mercenaries tried to convince her that their mission involved resolving Light’s Dawn business – in short, they had to meet with Justicar.

However, the tiefling was not convinced, until Sasz used his status as a Chosen of Bahamut to convince the tiefling that something was afoot. She mentioned that she felt great unease working for Justicar and his knights, to the effect that what they were involved in seemed antithetical to the Light’s Dawn’s professed work. With that, she left, and the Singing Mercenaries entered the building.

In the entrance hall, they noticed a wall with two large doors. Behind the doors, they could hear the sound of individuals. Because of their bad fortune with sneaking in to other locations, they debated if they would attempt to sneak in, but eventually opted for a clear, bold entrance into the room. Upon doing so, they startled a group of knights, and a sword mage.

In that instant, weapons were drawn, and words were discarded as the Mercenaries were attacked. The knights drove the Mercenaries back towards the door, with Tattered Onion and Jett taking the brunt of the assault, and took a mental and spiritual toll on Sasz, who was forced to exert himself. Fortunately,Mark 9 had prepared for these contingencies, and unleashed several useful alchemical items, granting some forms of protection to Tattered Onion.

However,unbeknownst to the Mercenaries, a group of mage-knights had gathered on the balconies
above, and launched heinous spells, which caused a gripping force to be applied, until the sufferer could fight off the effects. This severely limited the party, and required a reassessment of the situation.

In the course of battle, several knights were slain, along with the Sword-Mage, who had been at the front of the fight. But with knights continually charging in on the party, and the mage-knights raining their sorceries upon the Mercenaries, a call to retreat was sounded. But, instead of running, Sasz used his divine favors, and teleported the entirety of the Mercenaries towards the entrance, in the hopes of escaping the assault. As the group pulled back, they began to form lines for the enemy, hoping they would be followed…

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Day of the Dead
A Mysterious Assault

Arising from a peaceful slumber at the Oak and Crosier Inn, and blissfully unaware of the strange goblin’s visit, the Singing Mercenaries proceeded to break fast at the bar. On recommendation from Osterman, the barkeep, they decided to make for a local celebration of the Festival of Portals, a tribute to the Lady of Pain. Pushing their way through the thronging crowds, they arrived at a tower that Osterman had suggested they view the proceedings from. Many of the Singers attempted to make conversation with the locals, but their obvious ignorance of Sigil’s customs rendered them outsiders.

Wandering about the balcony, Thorn proceeded to the inside of the towers, only to discover a devil, dressed in fine silks and wearing many precious jewels. The devil introduced himself as merchant, and offered Thorn a drink, but the creature could not entice Thorn, who knew better than to take any proposition from it.

Hemerias, on the other hand, wandered in a few minutes later and accepted the devil’s proposition, reasoning that not many could say they had drank Firewater with a devil. Thanking the creature, Hemerias proceeded to the upper balcony. Looking around he noticed a heavily armed cleric, but his curiosity was cut short as the ceremony began.

The crowd parted as members of the Light’s Dawn and the Kir’Sar proceeded into the great square to make tribute to the Lady of Pain. The Singers could easily pick out Naramus, the one who had accosted them the previous night, among the Kir’Sar, and wondered why the two opposed groups would be making tribute together.

As the procession reached the platform in the middle of the square, shouts suddenly erupted on the balcony. On the lower tier, several ghosts had appeared admidst the crowd, and several skeletons were trudging up the stairs. Ignoring the panicking crowd, the Singers leapt into action. Thorn and Sasz immediately summoned their holy powers to fell the abominations, but Mark 9 quickly realized that Hemerias was alone.

On the upper level, a similar wraith had appeared, immediately cutting down the cleric before she was able to react. Incensed at the presence of the undead, Hemerias made to engage it, but as he drew his bow, he felt his senses overwhelemed: the firewater he had drank was taking its toll, rendering him unconscious.

Knowing Hemerias was alone, Thorn called upon the power of Bahamut. Bathed in light, silvery wings appeared on his back, and he flew up to the balcony to confront the other undead, only to find the wraith standing over the prone forms of the cleric and Hemerias.

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Strangers in a Strange Land

The Singing Mercenaries were stunned. They had no clue where they were, but it was clearly a hostile situation. The leader of their antagonists was a strange creature, and he was backed by two battlemages and two swordmages. As the heroes made ready to defend themselves, Jett realized the swordmages employed his same swordmage style. Confused, he demanded to know how they learned the secret arts, but they were not forthcoming.

Before violence broke out, things were timely interrupted by a paladin and two knights, who menaced the mages. The paladin, who named herself as Firella, ordered the mages off. Before the mages left, one of the swordmages told their leader that Mindartis would want to know about Jett, but their leader waved them off.

At the mention of Mindartis, Jett flew into a rage and had to be restrained by his fellow warriors. Firella identified herself as a member of the Light’s Dawn, and the mages as members of the Kir’Sar. She realized they were new to Sigil and directed them to the Oak and Crosier Inn, then departed.

As the Mercenaries were discussing what to do, they were approached by a tiefling, who recognized they were mercenaries. She gave them 1000gp out of hand and directed them to the Dove & Raven Inn, where she stated they could find work. The Mercenaries pretended to accept her offer, took the gold, but made their way to the Oak & Crosier instead.

As they traveled, they marveled at their surroundings. This place known as “Sigil” was strange indeed: the city circled up and over their heads in a great ring, they could see the faint shapes of other passersby in the streets above them.

At the Oak & Crosier, the Singers sidled in, ordering refreshment from the barkeep Osterman, only to be shortly joined by none other than Thorn. Thorn explained he was on a final errand for Bahamut’s Temple, but that he also craved companionship for a time, and joined them.

They encountered more Light’s Dawn knights, as well as some of the regular patrons. Jett continued to ask everyone in sight about Mindartis, but was constantly shot down, with several of the bar’s patrons simply telling him that not asking questions was a good policy.

Eventually, one of the tavern wenches came screaming out of one of the Oak & Crosier’s private rooms, followed by two drunk orc mercenaries. Jett antagonized the two orcs, who both proceeded to hit him in the face, and a barfight ensued. Jett thought himself more than a match for the orcs until their leader, a hulking, 10-foot tall half-ogre emerged from the room.

Fortunately, the fight was halted by a mysterious cloaked figure and several Genasi, whom the orcs and their leader seemed afraid of. Undaunted by recent events, Jett questioned the orcs about Mindartis, but was again stone-walled. Frustrated and tired, the mercenaries retired, with Mark 9 opting to stand outside their doors, as the magical construct did not require sleep.

That night, Mark 9 was approached by a mysterious goblin, who approached wreathed in shadow. The goblin, who simply identified himself as a servant of a powerful entity in Sigil, told the construct that his employers were aware of the Singers’ presence in Sigil, and recognized they could be allies.

Mark 9 inquired as to the nature of the goblin’s employers, but the goblin was vague, simply stating they were those who could use the skills of the Singing Mercenaries. Mark 9, his mercenary inclinations rising, told the goblin that the Singers were always looking for work, and indicated the goblin should let his masters know they were open for employment. The goblin then faded again into the shadows.

The next morning, the Singers arose. Mark 9 made no mention of the midnight encounter, and they proceeded to the Oak & Crosier’s bar for breakfast, wondering what awaited them in the vast, new city.

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Voyage Across Nothing
A New Chapter Begins

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Triumphant, The Singing Mercenaries took stock of their situation. They had removed the emerald heart of the mysterious Grove of Graves, but had yet to make contact with any living, friendly being. They not solved the mystery of the changing dimensions within the Grove, and Valmir was clearly becoming more agitated, as they had not completed the task set before by his master, the Prince of Frost.

Intrigued, Sasz continued to inspect the runes that now lay silent across the walls of the room. Suddenly, the room began to suddenly feel unnaturally cold: a bone-chilling grip the wrapped around the very souls of the mercenaries. Suddenly, a portal erupted around the now-broken machinery of the room, swallowing it entirely. Ice began to quickly seep from the portal, encasing the entire room in a matter of seconds. Out from the portal stepped a graceful, yet terrifying, male Fey. He made no hostile action, but several of the Singers sensed that if he wanted to, he could destroy them without much effort.

Looking at them disdainfully, the Fey addressed them. “Pathetic mortals, your bullheadedness can always be counted on. You’ve broken in here, ignoring the dangers, only looking for what was in front of you. Yet, it has served you, and in turn me, well. Unknowingly you have rendered service unto me, and helped along my ‘faithful’ servant, Valmir.”

Sasz and Hemerias had both suspected the terrible being before them was indeed the Archfey, but his claim to Valmir, and Valmir’s cowering in the corner, almost comatose, confirmed their suspicions.

Moving foward, the towering Fey pointed at Tattered Onion, who was still greedily clutching the emerald heart of the Grove of Graves. “You don’t know what that is, do you, simpleton?” The Prince reached toward the emerald, only to find Tattered’s huge arm stopping him. No sooner had the Goliath halted the Archfey than the ice that was now completely encasing the room erupted from the ground, locking Tattered into a coffin of cold crystal.

The Grove of Graves’ emerald heart clattered to the floor. “To think,” the Prince continued as he reached down for the emerald, “such a petty thing was keeping me from this place. But no more, thanks to you. As I said, you have rendered me a service, and for that, you shall not be preserved. However, it is time for you to begone from here.”

With a wave of his hand, the Archfey dismissed the Singers. As he did so, a rip in the planes opened behind them, a purplish-black wound enveloped them before they could react.

Confused and disoriented, the Singers soon found themselves hurtling across a great black void, buffeted by invisible storms. Sasz quickly informed the party that, despite his knowledge of planar travel, he had no clue where they were, surmising they had been banished to the Void between the planes. Helpless, and without direction in the great nothing, the Singers could do little to discern a direction, only swim amongst the cast-off astral winds that buffeted them in the darkness.

All seemed lost for the mercenaries, until Hemerias spotted a floating object, far off in the swirling energies of the void. His discovery was accompanied by wretched screams: swimming toward them with alarming speed were abominations that could only have originated from the Far Realm.

Grell

Turning their attention from the distant object to their attackers, the Singers unleashed their fury on the abominations. The creatures were clearly starving, and while ravenous, were weak and easily dispatched by the hardened warriors.

In the meantime, the object slowly made its way towards them. As it jumped and twirled through the void’s invisible storms, the adventurers eventually realized it was a spelljammer of some sort. Eventually, the craft came alongside them, revealing that none other than Mark 9 was piloting the craft. Overjoyed to see their metal-golem friend, Tattered, Sasz and Jett gathered around, asking what had happened to him.

Mark 9 briefly explained that he had wandered the plains, but had eventually become trapped in the void, and by chance had managed to come across the spelljammer they now stood on, which he had dubbed The Beta. He then inquired as to the presence of the elf, whom, the others explained, had taken Nyktas’s place.

The party was suddenly interrupted from the screams of a new pack of the horrid creatures, who were bearing down on them in the distance. Mark 9 quickly explained to the party that, while the ship could be marginally controlled, they would have to repair it if they were to escape the fast-moving creatures.

The Beta was obviously damaged: one of her sails had been ripped from the rigging, Mark 9 noted the rudder was mostly unresponsive, and the ship seemed to founder in the great void as it leapt and swerved amongst the great storm.

Rushing astern, Hemerias noted that there was a small, glinting object stuck in the rudder chain, which was clearly limiting its motion. Drawing his bow, the Ranger-Cleric let loose a shaft, perfectly hitting the glinting object. He could only wonder what it was as it was rushed off into the darkness. Taking over for the elf, Tattered began to strain against the newly-freed runner, but with the sails not in place, among other things, it took all the Goliath could to keep the ship on course.

Meanwhile, Mark 9 and Sasz had rushed below deck. The howling of the void storms almost defeaned them as they discovered the ship’s hull was damaged, and that ship’s power source, a magical sphere, was cracked and leaking its enchantments. With Sasz providing raw energy, Mark 9 was able to re-shape Sasz’s powers in order to reform the sphere. When they had finished, the ship immediately seemed to speed up, but its motion was now much more fluid, but they could tell the damaged hull was still hampering the ship.

While this was going on, Jett was gamely climbing into the rigging, and had clambered out onto the high yardarm, armed with only his strength and a length of rope that he had run from the bottom of the sail, hoping to secure the wildly flapping sail of the leaping spelljammer. His balance and poise proved not enough, however, as he lost his grip and was sent hurtling into the void, the only thing saving him was the rope he had secured to the mast.

Hemerias was dismayed to see his friend cast from the yardarm, but even more to his chagrin, he spotted yet another group of the horrid creatures approaching the ship from the starboard side, these appearing to be faster and even more ravenous than the original flock that was still giving chase. Nocking two arrows at once, the elf displayed his skill by piercing two of the creatures with one shot, but it didn’t seem to faze their fellows.

Desperate to seal the damaged hull, Mark 9 and Sasz search the fore of the hold, finding extra materiel. Remembering his studies, Sasz managed to recall the design and structure of such spelljammers, and, with the help of Mark 9’s mechanical limbs, was able to create a serviceable patch for the hull. Tattered could immediately feel the ship respond, having to use much less strength to keep the Beta on course, and the abominations were gaining much less rapidly.

Unable to do anything further, Hemerias inspected the captain’s cabin of the vessel. It was finely furnished, with a handmade desk on one side, a large bookshelf, and huge chart dominating the aft wall. Upon closer inspection, Hemerias realized it was a map of the great void, and in one corner was a ship, slowly moving across the mapped expanse. Curious, the elf placed a hand upon the moving ship. The Singers were suddenly thrown to the deck as the ship suddenly stopped, then lurched off with the void’s currents.

Those on board heard the terrible screams of the abominations, horrible sounds of delight as their prey now buffeted around with no propulsion. Pulling himself to his feet, and realizing his error, the elf tried touching the ship’s marker on the map again, but to no avail, the Beta continued to founder.

Desperate, the elf tried to touching the closest other marker on the map, a swirling portal. The instant the elf’s figner touched the portal, the Beta leapt foward, and the elf could see the ship’s marker on the map heading straight for the portal marker. Hemerias wasn’t surprised to see Tattered and Sasz burst into the cabin to see what was going on.

Realizing the ship was bringing them ever closer to to the portal, the mercenaries desperately searched for a way to control the ship. Tattered rifled through the captain’s desk, but, unable to find anything useful (due to his inability to read), the Goliath ended up slicing the desk in half with his blade.

The bookshelf was of no help to Sasz, as it simply contained charts of the astral sea. From the deck, Jett began to shout that he could see the portal, and that everyone needed to brace themselves.

The Singers awoke in a strange alley, with several warriors standing over them, led by a one-winged blue creature. The creature stood over Mark 9. Inspecting the construct, he leaned over it and simply said “More intruders in Sigil. You will have to die.”

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Gates of the Dragon God

Flama 23rd, 332

Having taken their leave of the dwarves, the Singing Mercenaries emerged from the high mountain cave several days later, continuing their journey over the high ridges on the very spine of the Dawnforge Mountains. Variel, their guide, seemed to become more irritable as the journey continued, but none could tell whether he was simply tired of their company, whether the journey was taking its toll, or if their was something else bothering him.

They spent many nights sheltering under small overhangs, shivering against the encroaching cold. Eventually, after what seemed months, they came across a stone door, cut into the face of the tallest peak itself. Unfortunately for them, the entrance was surrounded by a horde of undead, lead by a necromancer who was attempting to break the Temple’s magic seal.

The Singers lead a surprise attack on the undead, only to be confounded by the weather. Snow swirled around them, blocking their view of the evil creatures. Despite this, they managed to defeat the monsters and their necromancer master. The Singers easily entered the Temple, its doors opened wide on their own once the evil undead had been cleansed.

Upon entering, the Singers moved cautiously. Surmising that any intruders would be treated as hostile, both Variel and Nyktas scouted ahead through the Temple’s halls. The party could hear the movement of soldiers, but did not encounter any.

The two shadowy mercenaries continued to stalk the halls until they came to the back of a great statue of the dragon god. Peering from behind it, they could see a cloaked figure praying in front of the statue. Unfortunately, although Nyktas remained hidden, Variel could not escape the notice of the kneeling figure. Leaping into action, the figure shouted a warning aloud as he bounded behind the statue before the two mercenaries could react, pinning Variel with his sword.

Hearing the commotion from the next room, Mark 9, Winward, and Tattered rushed through a side door into the large room that contained the statue. Seeing more intruders enter, the worshipper raised his arm. In a flash, angels descended into the Temple, pinning all of the Mercenaries but Variel, whom the warrior still had at swordpoint. “Intruders!” he cried. “You will pay for your blasphemy in blood!”

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