The City Resubmerged
This is the final session of Jeff's mini. Chad should be back from his trip next week, so we'll be back to normal.
We emerge from our battle with the gelatinous cubes, and continue navigating the maze much more carefully. We manage to get through the next two hurdles without issue. The final part does involve a bit of a leap on Nera Fionn's part though.
We go through the exit door, which as a pleasant surprise, isn't locked. If it was, someone might have had to open in with their face.
The rest of the fortress seems to have been composed of multiple laboratories of some sort.
At the far end is a door that Opex says is the memory room, and he runs into it, sensing that our goal is close.
The room is filled with aisles and aisles of shelves. Opex raches one aisle and starts clambering to top, knocking slates shattering to the ground, until he finds the one he's looking for. He says it is his, and he runs back to the another room, one with a table with shackles.
He touches a crystal embedded in the table, and an image swirls in front of the tablet.
In the image, a figure sits at a disk, with face very long and pale, similar to the one embossed in the door outside, but unlike the one on the door, one cheek is oozing with some sort of necrotic infection.
We don't understand the language, but Opex reprograms the image, and suddenly the figure speaks in perfect common.
The figure's name is Imbadrek, chief archmage of the Exscarran military. The disease continues to spread, but he has a plan. He will replace fallible flesh with metal, and his people will be saved.
The image gets fuzzy and shifts into a different image, one of an Elven druid shackled to a table. He struggles, but the restraints prevent his movement. He snarls at his captors, "Unnatural beasts, your world is finished!"
Imbadrek is standing at the table, seemingly pleased with himself. "Celinor, you make an excellent test subject," he says. "One resilient enough we should be able to learn to perfect the process."
He fiddles with something, and Celinor's innards explode out of his body and fly into jars which have been carefully laid out. Magical lights scatter the room, and after they fade, the organs still show life, the heart most of all, beating in a stead rhythm.
Imbadrek seems even more pleased with himself now. "Now, we must move to the brain!"
But the image shifts again. Imbadrek looks devastated. A construct body lays behind him.
The experiment was not successful after all. He could not figure out how to transfer the memories. The aristocracy will have his head.
The only option remains is to move all the memories to the archive.
The figure behind Imbadrek stirs. "What is this?" But it's Opex's unsteady voice.
Imbadrek mutters, "This is the apex of achievement."
"Opex? Is that my name?"
Imbedrak curses at him, and the image fades again.
The gem shakes and then shatters, and lights shoot into Opex's head.
Opex fails to his knees, and then stands. His voice is shaken. "I am myself again. I remember everything. I remember the song, the one I used to lower the city. The one I taught to the hymnthrushes."
He transforms into a bird, and carries us away.
We land in front of Hexen.
The door behind us speaks, telling us the masters arrive.
Right on cue the violet fog lifts, and we see three figures stride forth. Two of them look like normal Exscarrans, but the one in the middle is an abomination, with a rotting head attached to a large spider-like frame.
The rotting head belongs to Imbadrek.
"Ah, you got rid of that stupid cat. Now I can fix what I've done wrong."
He charges us, and as he does a mechanical bird flies from his back. He swings his giant mechanic arms at us, barely missing us.
Nera gets really angry, striking Imbadrek with his axe. Can't say I blame him. Opex shoots a lightening bolt into the creature as well, but the the hovering bird siphons some energy from one of the Imbadrek's companions, healing Imbadrek.
Andry yells for Opex...Celinor, to destroy the bird, since he is most capable of dealing with it. He complies, and smashes the bird into the ground. Imbadrek seems try to attempting to produce another bird, but nothing happens other than the clanking of machinery.
I take more of a support role, while Nera obliterates one of its legs, and Andry eviscerates Imbadrek's fleshy bits.
Upon seeing his former master fall, Imbadrek's remaining companion sits down, as if he has no more purpose, but Celinor walks up to the construct and talks with him.
We exit the Exscarrian lands the way we came, and make it back to the druid encampment without incident.
Celinor is filled with a confidence he had not had when he had last called himself Opex, and he walks up to Archdruid Vernon. Vernon seems surprised, and soon Celinor comes back over to us, and asks us to help defend against the forces while he performs the ritual.
There's one other thing he still needs to figure out though. Since he was displaced into his mechanically aligned body, he is no longer able to convey the song to the Hymnthrushes properly.
Oh, we know someone who might help with that. James Jovian, the halfling. He's around here still.
After resting, we march to the city, along with the small force of the remaining druids.
Vernon has shown us a map of the plan. They're called artist not drawers. He's not an artist, he's not good enough, so he's a drawer. The ritual takes place just outside the city, and we stay close to James and Celinor while they perform the ritual.
The ritual begins, with Celinos doing strange drawings in the Earth, and James playing his loot. In the distance, we can hear songthrushes being to sing, as if following James's lead.
The city begins to shake, and a portal rises from the ancient city's stones, with dark magics swirling around.
A figure flies out of the portal. It's the female construct we had fought, but she seems wounded. She turns to us. "Evon has betrayed us. He's not one of us. He's not an Exscarran. He's not a master. The devils...they come..." She stops moving.
The portal disappears, and several more large portals open, and devils pour out.
We fight them. Several chain devils, some bearded devils, spiny devils, imps fall to our blows.
Jeff makes noises with his mouth. It's final battle music. Okay.
The final wave of devils includes a bone devil bone druid, and we manage to dispatch them.
There's a respite, but it only lasts until the orb in Andry's pocket starts emitting laughter. Before she can do anything about it, a portal opens, and we can hear the laughter from the portal as well.
Gas pours out of the portal, and we manage to get out of it. Several druids are less lucky, including Vernon. Celinor throws some acorns at us. They'll protect us, he says.
A creature walks out of the portal. It's a devilish creature with red wings and an intense face. He confronts us, "You may have fought bravely, but it is to no avail. This land will be mine."
We don't take kindly to this. Especially Nera, who was already pretty angry.
Evon is adept at blocking our attacks, and worse, Nera is taking quite a beating. Nera's recklessness attacks connect though, and I do my best to keep him standing.
Finally, Andry lands a killing blow, and Evon curses at us, and explodes in a burst of fire.
Right on cue, the ritual takes effect, and the city lurches and rapidly starts sinking. We can hear and see magical bursts across the city, and before long, the city is completely submerged in the marshy land, with only a bubbling pool of murky water remaining.
Nera Fionn gets his axe back from the blacksith, but it has one less notch in it. He's angry about that.
Celanor and Vernon rebuild the order. Celenor is thankful to us for having his sanity and memories restored. He thinks he might be able to restore his body. Andry suggests he helps the Exscarrans regain their memories, and Celanor thinks that is a good idea too.
Knight-Captain Stonebreaker gives us all medals. The baroness won't be seeing the light of date again, he tells us. He's also recommended me for promotion. I promise we will do our duty.
James Jovian is shaken by the events that transpired, but with the story of a lifetime, resolves to spread his story to all who will listen to his song.
My companions and I go on many grand adventures, and after many years, we return to Myremoore.
Steve Yersley built another unneeded statue of us. Elder Arragen passed away years ago, but Steve has taken up the role of mayor since then.
Grelin Warteye is now known as Grelin Glowglue, and has made a business out of selling her potions made of glowsacs, and she has grown rich.
The Everstone family built a wall to protect the town, and Ober Everstone has grown up learning the ways of the barbarian. Nera gives him his axe, and young Ober's hands tremble in anticipation and fierce determination in his eyes.