A Relic of the Past

Session 24
Disorder in the Court

Soberday, 1844 Rain 27

  • Armed with a few magic wands, the Roathians coordinate an attack targeting the evidence guards.
  • One of the Roathians grabs the Void Stone. He tries to activate it, but Veluar and Szordrin work together to counter it temporarily.
  • Many bystanders escape.
  • Szordrin is struck down but saved at the last minute by Vayol‘s healing magic. He’s grateful, though a bit confused.
  • The Roathians are dispatched. In the chaos, the Codex page and the Relic are both missing from the table. However, the Void Stone is recovered, and there are no casualties.
  • Iris Rothschild dismisses the charges and promotes Vayol to Pilgrim. He instructs him to recover the Codex page and gather all the others together.
  • Vayol asks Veluar to begin investigating the Void Stone.
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Session 23
The Trial

Soberday, 1833 Rain 27

  • The party is put on trial for a variety of crimes against the Church and the City of Baleton: conspiracy, trespassing, grand larceny, assaulting an officer of the City Watch, resisting arrest.
  • The Accuser, an officer of the Church of the Vigilant Eye, explains the phases of the trial.
    • The first phase is accusation, where the Accuser attempts to prove the charges to the judge. It ends when the judge issues the verdict. (The judge in this case is the new Iris.)
    • The second is sentencing, where the judge pronounces the sentence for the guilty party.
  • Due to the sensitive nature of the items in question, the first phase is closed to the public.
  • The Accuser would much rather skip the whole thing and have everyone confess. She offers reduced sentencing already approved by the judge. The party declines.
  • It comes to light that Elias has already plead guilty to conspiracy. Following Vayol’s earlier instruction, he is telling the truth.
  • The witness stand is enveloped in a very powerful zone of truth. The evidence is on full display yet well-guarded.
  • Each member of the party testifies. Other witnesses include Elias, Veluar, some of the guards (including the one the party saved).
  • The Accuser plays up the amount of secrecy and mistrust, particularly between Vayol and Elias.
  • Elias is profoundly uncomfortable being on the witness stand, and he fumbles quite a bit.
  • Vayol’s main defense is that he was operating under direct (albeit posthumous) orders from Iris Edwin Price.
  • The trial concludes, and Iris Sebastian Rothschild IV retires to deliberate. People are invited to review the evidence themselves.
  • The party notices several figures hiding red robes moving through the crowd toward the evidence table.
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Session 22
Arrested Development

Zealday, 1844 Rain 24th

  • The party makes their way to the Vawaryn manor.
  • D’Jango notices a few people in the crowd that look like they’re watching the house. They opt to use the back entrance in the alley.
  • Curious about what the surveillance team is up to, they try a couple of different ways to lure one into the alleyway. Zora waits in ambush while D’Jango and Vayol make a scene. Eventually they succeed and they manage to knock a female member unconscious.
  • After tying her up, they spend some time debating how to proceed. Once they have their plan, Vayol wakes her, and she reveals she’s part of the City Watch. During their banter, it becomes clear she’s stalling. Her backup arrives—City Watch in full uniform with crossbows trained on the party—shouting instructions to back away and keep hands visible.
  • The party surrenders to the cops. They are placed in iron manacles and searched.
  • Inspector Szordrin T’sarrim of Dabokva arrives. He explains he was personally requested by Iris Sebastian Rothschild to investigate the murder of Iris Edwin Price. He outlines how reconstructing the events leading up to the Iris’s death led him to track a package to this house, and now he’s found three individuals who
    • have assaulted one of his officers,
    • roughly match the description of those in the Grand Library’s vault, and
    • are in possession of items from that vault.
  • Szordrin invites them to offer an explanation, because he loves to hear a good story.
  • D’Jango explains that they were operating at the direct instruction of Iris Price. Szordrin retorts, “That doesn’t sound like a denial. That sounds like a justification, which isn’t my concern. That’s up to the new Iris.”
  • Vayol starts to explain what the Roathians are trying to do, but Szordrin dismisses it as the ravings of a madman. He instructs his officers to cart them to prison. D’Jango shouts for Veluar. The party tries to resist arrest, but Szordrin throws out a hypnotic pattern, subduing the party.
  • Veluar emerges from his house as the party is being dragged to the paddy wagon. He and Szordrin exchange words. Veluar watches helplessly as the wagon departs. He shouts after them, “I’ll free you somehow! You saved my life!”
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Session 21
All Hail the New Iris of Baleton!

Zealday, 1844 Rain 24th

  • D’Jango pays a street urchin to invite Elias to meet Vayol at The Ugly Mastiff. However, D’Jango also disguises himself as an old man and tails the urchin to observe the delivery.
  • The new Iris arrives in Baleton: Sebastian Rosthchild IV. He gives a brief speech assuring the populace that he will seek justice for the former Iris while also investigating a recent break-in. During the investigation, however, the entire Grand Library will be closed to the public.
  • D’Jango overhears Sebastian berating Elias, specifically picking out the phrase “personally responsible” as the new Iris points at him.
  • After the speech, Elias is visibly shaken. The urchin delivers the message. Elias stops at his apartment on the way to The Ugly Mastiff. He emerges ready for a long journey.
  • When Elias reaches The Ugly Mastiff, he explains that he’s the primary suspect in the vault robbery.
    • Elias thought it would be done quietly and with no one noticing until it was too late. Instead, the explosions attracted a lot of attention.
    • The surviving guards explained that the maintenance crew had wiped out the invaders, yet the vault had been cleaned out.
    • And who scheduled the maintenance work? Elias.
  • Elias explains he’s been summoned to testify in a zone of truth, and he’s not sure what to do. He is prepared to leave town, perhaps to join Vayol and his allies.
  • Vayol instructs Elias to tell the truth and gives him the former Iris’s letter, heavily redacted, as proof:

[REDACTED],
If this missive reaches you, waste no time mourning my death. The ranks of the Church have been infiltrated by Roathian heretics. No doubt their goal is to bring about a second Great Burning, setting civilization back millennia. I trusted you with [REDACTED], and your isolation has kept you free from their influence. Now I charge you, by the Axiom, to continue my work of rooting them out and foiling their plans.
However, this must be done from outside the Church. I know not where the loyalties of the other Irises lie, and the High Pupil has been sequestered 20 years now. Exercise wisdom and keep your circle small. Regrettably, in times such as these, Knowledge is most potent in a sea of ignorance. Retrieve the contents of the Library vault before my successor discovers them.
Belief and truth,
Edwin Price, Iris of Baleton
[REDACTED]

  • The group decides to visit Veluar and ask him about the Inscrutable Codex. On the way, they defend a homeless old man from a group of young thugs. Zora has little hesitation escalating to lethal force, chasing after one of the fleeing teens to stab him in the back.
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Session 20
Lore Dump!

Zealday, 1844 Rain 24th

After a successful heist, the party meets at the Ugly Mastiff and takes inventory:

  • Two sets of scale mail, sized small and medium, each emblazoned with the symbol of the Church of the Vigilant Eye.
  • A bag of gems, all worth about 400gp.
  • A bag of currency: 31pp, 18gp, 66sp, 190cp.
  • Slip of paper written in Edwin Price’s hand:
    • 1821 Songs 6th: Received jawbone of Adrian Roathe, also known as the Mouth of Heresy.
    • 1825 Hearths 17th: Silenced its whispers with a precise primordial ward discovered by Azdrid Alestone. Only an entity of pure chaos could unwind it.
  • A page describing something called the Inscrutable Codex.
    • It resists being copied. Attempts come out as gibberish that doesn’t match the original text.
    • It was separated into 6 pieces after the destruction of the Lamprow Grand Library by Adrian Roathe.
    • Each piece resides in a Grand Library vault.
  • Treatise on the Roathian Heresy, a work in progress by Iris Edwin Price. Its contents include a description of the Roathian heresy, its refutation, and what lessons can be taken from the whole ordeal.
    • Roathe’s core claims were:
      • He understood the Inscrutable Codex.
      • Its contents were dangerous and it ought to be destroyed, even if it meant destroying other knowledge.
    • Roathe’s claims were not true Knowledge:
      • “Belief without Truth is delusion.” His claims were unverifiable.
      • “Truth without Belief is doubt.” Even if he was correct, he was unable to convince others by rational means and unwilling to share what he claimed to have understood. When charisma failed, he resorted to violence.
    • What we can learn:
      • Avoid centralizing contents to a single Library.
      • Reverence for the Letter is crucial in the spread of Knowledge. (This section is incomplete.)

And the party levels up.

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Session 19
Uninvited Guests

Zealday, 1844 Rain 24th

Roathian heretics have blasted their way into the Baleton Grand Library’s private collection, where the party is in the process of accessing its vault at the direction of the former Iris.

  • The explosion and gunfire are loud. The party expects Library guards to show up any time.
  • Vayol is already in the vault. He grabs the treasure from the chest, the papers from the desk, and the small set of armor on the armor stand. When it’s clear the Roathians are headed his way, he closes the vault door almost all the way and hides.
  • D’Jango, Zora, and the other guard try to hold them of. The Library guard is severely injured and falls back, and the two party members regroup.
  • When the Roathians see an open path to the vault, they rush forward and their squad leader emerges. His spiritual weapon spell proves to be a nuisance.
  • The Roathians plant explosive charges around the vault doors and blast it open, creating a cloud of dust and smoke that obscures them. It also gives Vayol an opportunity to exit the vault undetected.
  • As the dust begins to settle, a melee breaks out near the vault entrance. Five more Library guards enter the private collection from the main entrance. Four of them rush forward. One takes his fallen ally to safety.
  • As the guards are rushing forward, the Roathian leader commands one of his bombers to detonate himself. Surprisingly, he obeys. The explosion vaporizes two of the Library guards, destroys an entire section of shelves, and creates another cloud of dust and smoke.
  • Vayol engages the leader and receives an inflict wounds spell for his trouble. He’s hurting badly but persistent about repelling the attack.
  • The other bomber detonates himself, even though doing so will kill one of their archers. The guards near him are hurt but they survive. Zora is seriously injured but survives. Another section of shelves topples over.
  • Zora finishes off the leader, but not before he speaks into a sending stone: “It’s not here—”
  • The surviving guards are very surprised that these nobody electrical workers could be so formidable combatants. D’Jango uses friends and spins a tale about being part of a secret strike force within the Church. He then orders them upstairs to evacuate the building, assuring them his team will secure this area. The guards oblige, but the party is on the clock, as friends doesn’t last long.
  • Zora grabs the other set of armor from the vault, and Vayol quickly picks a few important-looking items off of the leader’s corpse.
  • The party flees through the blasted tunnel, which emerges in a back ally several blocks away.
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Session 18
Inside Job

Truesday, 1844 Rain 23rd

  • The party discusses several options for getting into the vault, including pressing on the engineer who did the electrical work in the private collection. They eventually decide to approach Elias, who seemed to be loyal to the former Iris, and confirm his loyalties.
  • Vayol returns to the Grand Library and tracks down Elias. Elias is reviewing the same books Vayol had looked at earlier.
  • Both clerics are very suspicious of one another. D’Jango and Zora stay where they can watch and intervene if necessary.
  • The two clerics go to lunch in a loud public place where they can be seen but speak privately.
  • Vayol convinces Elias to voluntarily fail the save for a zone of truth spell. He grills Elias about his allegiances. Satisfied, he reveals the former Iris’s letter.
  • D’Jango and Zora witness the waiter seemingly preparing to poison Vayol. Elias sends the drinks back. (He was in on the plot but changed his mind.)
  • Elias is willing to help them enter the vault. He schedules maintenance of the electrical systems in the private collection for early the next morning.

Zealday, 1844 Rain 24th

  • The party disguises themselves as laborers. They smuggle their gear in using large bags usually used for tools. A single Library guard accompanies them.
  • While they’re down in the Library’s private collection, one of the emergency doors is blasted in from the outside. Thugs with swords, bows, and apparently guns and bombs (!?) rush into the private collection.
  • With the help (perhaps an overstatement) of the one Library guard who accompanies them, Zora begins to repel the attackers.
  • D’Jango and Vayol use the dual key system to enter the vault where Vayol retrieves its most prominent feature: an ancient document with inscrutable writing under a glass dome on a pedestal. He hides the page inside of a stray book to keep it intact in his bag. There are a number of other items in the vault but not time to grab them all:
    • Two sets of armor (one small, one medium) on racks.
    • A desk with a handful of documents.
    • An unlocked chest in the corner.
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Session 17
An Audacious Dying Wish

Truesday, 1844 Rain 23rd

Vawaryn Estate, Baleton

  • Vayol and D’Jango stay with Rif and her family in the guest suites at the family estate.
  • A package arrives at the Vawaryn Estate containing a letter to Vayol:

Brother Falorin,
If this missive reaches you, waste no time mourning my death. The ranks of the Church have been infiltrated by Roathian heretics. No doubt their goal is to bring about a second Great Burning, setting civilization back millennia. I trusted you with their talisman, and your isolation has kept you free from their influence. Now I charge you, by the Axiom, to continue my work of rooting them out and foiling their plans.
However, this must be done from outside the Church. I know not where the loyalties of the other Irises lie, and the High Pupil has been sequestered 20 years now. Exercise wisdom and keep your circle small. Regrettably, in times such as these, Knowledge is most potent in a sea of ignorance. Retrieve the contents of the Library vault before my successor discovers them.
Belief and truth,
Edwin Price, Iris of Baleton
P.S. Hand Contract 86177 is declared completed and paid in full. See enclosed.

  • Also enclosed in the package:
    • Two iron keys bound with a leather strap with a slip of paper encircling them.
      • The paper reads: “Turned in turn, flesh will burn. Jointly spun splits the sun.”
    • A small sack containing 150 platinum pieces.
  • Rif elects to stay with her family for now, given recent events.
  • Vayol plans to head over to the Grand Temple of Baleton to get an idea of where the vault is and what kind of security is in place.
  • D’Jango looks to hire a thief and/or meat shield.

The Bloated Bowel Tavern

  • D’Jango finds exactly what he’s looking for in the mysterious mercenary “Shadow” (Zora). D’Jango offers 25 gp. Zorra counters 30.
  • A half-orc interjects, harassing D’Jango about the job.
  • D’Jango agrees to pay 30 if Zora can deal with the half-orc. She proves herself by easily slaying the half-orc.
    • Seriously, two critical hits in one fight?

Grand Temple Library of Baleton

  • Vayol has been to this library before. He served as a scribe there in his early days and was here recently researching Veluar’s ailment. The ground floor and its upper level are open to the public. The private collection is in the basement. Scribes labor away, and a concierge welcomes Vayol.
  • While he’s there, he does a bit of research on the lesion on his arm, the one he received when he was bit by a gibbering mouther. He learns about a theory of an axiomatic/anarchic dipole running through the planet. The location of the axiomatic pole is known (near Potterstead), and the anarchic pole is believed to be on Pandyssia. The Church of the Vigilant Eye funded two expeditions there, but neither returned.
  • He also lingers a bit too long near the vault and is scrutinized by another cleric Elias.
  • Despite all this, Vayol is able to produce a fairly accurate map of the lower level. He also learns that the security and lighting run off of electricity.

Vawaryn Estate

  • The group decides to try to cut power to the library after dark.
  • Vayol wants to buy supplies.
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Session 16
Thoughts in Chaos

Soberday, 1844 Rain 20th

Vawaryn Estate, Baleton

With the orb in hand, Dr. Suterre explains the ritual to the party. First, he will separate Veluar‘s soul from his body. Normally, that kills someone, but the orb anchors the spirit and keeps it from drifting into the afterlife. Next, he’ll need to repair the damage to the soul. What form that will take he isn’t sure. Usually it’s a twisted projection of some formative moment from the subject’s life, so it’s important to have those familiar with the subject present. Finally, he’ll need to restore the imbalance that caused the damage in the first place.

Vayol had learned that Veluar was experiencing an imbalance of law and chaos. Some source of chaos is needed to draw from. While Rif‘s wild magic is briefly considered, it happens that both Vayol and D’Jango had been bitten by the gibbering mouthers, and each has a roiling, chaotic growth on his body. So one of them could be cured by this ritual as well.

There’s one catch, Dr. Suterre explains. The orb draws spirits indiscriminately. Any loose spirits around the city will also be drawn, and their intermingling with Veluar’s soul could irreversibly change Veluar in an unpredictable way.

The ritual begins. Dr. Suterre, Rif, and Lythie focus their efforts on the ritual while Vayol and D’Jango fend off the spirits. A scene from Veluar’s memory—the birth of his daughter Rif—is projected above the group. It’s broken into 12 pieces, and they are out of order. The three ritual celebrants work to restore the memory. Lythie was, of course, present for the birth, so she is able to provide beginning/middle/end structure to the memory. However, complications during the birth required Veluar to intervene magically, and she’s not as familiar with the sequence of those scenes.

Meanwhile, shades pour through the walls. They float slowly toward the center of the room, and the two halflings have their hands full. Magic seems to work well, as well as D’Jango’s magical rapier. Vayol uses Turn Undead to send a group of the shades away. Rif takes a break from the ritual to blast a few herself, at the expense of forward progress on the restoration. When there is a lull in the influx of shades, the halflings contribute to restoring the scenes from Veluar’s memory to the proper order.

One spirit does make it through and destroys one of the scenes utterly. By luck, the lost scene was not key to the memory’s continuity.

At the end, the restored memory plays out, showing how Rif acquired her sorcerous powers. Attempting a sort of magical cesarean section using planar magic, Veluar failed and lost his daughter. She spent nearly two years drifting through the Far Realms in a stasis bubble before Veluar was able to track her down and bring her back.

At this point, Vayol insists that D’Jango be healed of the bite from the skirmish at Potter’s Cove. Dr. Suterre is able to draw the chaos out, restore balance to Veluar’s soul, and put it back in his body. The glow of the orb fades, and Veluar’s eyes flutter open.

Dr. Suterre quietly takes his leave as the family celebrates. Lythie comes to an understanding with Rif about her power and how she practices it. Veluar gives his eternal gratitude to Vayol and D’Jango.

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Session 15
Research and Development

Soberday, 1844 Rain 20th

The Dreamer’s Wake arrives in Baleton. The talk of the town is the recent and mysterious death of the Iris of Baleton. D’Jango’s payday will have to wait.

The Vawaryns’ servants begin unloading the ship while the family gathers in the parlor. Veluar, unable to speak, is reclining on a couch. Lythie summons his personal physician. The physician can’t help him. Vayol suspected as much when the ailment started reaching more advanced stages. However, a local necromancer owes Lythie a favor. She calls it in.

D’Jango and Rif stay with the family to wait for this necromancer while Vayol visits the Grand Library Temple. The Grand Librarian Iris is indeed dead. One of the Pilgrim Irises is set to come in and act as interim until the High Pupil appoints a replacement. He’s expected to arrive in a few days and lead the investigation into the other Iris’s death.

While he’s there, Vayol performs research at the Grand Library. His two main questions are about what ails Veluar and details about the relic. The Library’s vast resources and supurb organization make this quick work.

Regarding Veluar: He learns that Veluar’s ailment is “axiomatic” in nature. The usual balance of law and chaos has been disrupted, and he is tipping increasingly toward law. An influx of chaos administered correctly could restore the balance.

Regarding the Relic: He finds vague references to ancient talismans, some more than 1000 years old. He hits a dead end though when he finds references to works that aren’t present in the Library.

When Vayol returns to the Vawaryn estate, the necromancer Erit Suterre is explaining that Veluar’s ailment is indeed spiritual in nature. He needs a magical item from his lab to proceed with diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, an experiment gone wrong has barred him from the lab. The party agrees to investigate, and he leads them to his lab at the Collegia Magicka campus.

The windows are boarded up and covered with thick curtains. Erit explains that sunlight disrupts his experiments. There is also an inky mist filling the laboratory. Erit’s experiment was tied to his own life essence, and he created a negative energy field that can draw his life essence from his body. The orb in the center of the lab is the source of the field. “It only affects me,” he explains. “All you have to do is go in and deactivate the orb. The process is magical, and you’ll understand how the orb works when you touch it. I can’t enter the lab until the field is disrupted.”

The party slowly enters the lab, which is made up of several rooms connected by wide hallways. They feel no effects from the field. As they make their way toward the orb, they note the stalled dissections of cadavers in several of the rooms.

Rif reaches the orb and touches it. Immediately, she understands that this orb is like a Pearl of Power, a magical item that can store magical energy. At that moment, the cadavers in the lab start to move.

Vayol and D’Jango fend off the zombies while Rif pours spell slots into the orb. Each time she does, the orb’s color becomes lighter, and the negative energy field field shrinks. She takes a break to shoot a fire bolt at the zombies when it’s clear that D’Jango is overwhelmed. From outside the room, hearing the battle, Erit shrieks, “Don’t hurt them!” It’s not clear if he’s talking to the party or the zombies.

After loading the orb with several spell slots, Rif manages to dispel the negative energy field entirely, and the zombies crumble to dust. The party gives the orb to Erit, who accompanies them back to the Vawaryn estate.

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