We raided the septagram to rescue our friends. With some magic we sneakily entered through the sewers into an office. The building was even larger than it first appeared, due to a vast substructure. In the floors below there were fields of glass tubes with people sleeping inside. We later learned that they were duplicates of people who lived within the city, and the duplicates could be awoken and manipulated while their other slept. Manipulated to what end, I’m still not sure.
We found Mars chained up in what they referred to as a break room. We left the floor of that room slick with blood. No stranger to torture, she composed herself quickly and assisted us in freeing the others. We found Arcturus in a tower below the clone fields. The tower had countless gaians affixed to it, harnessing their psionic energy. The tower seemed to feed down into a glass atrium where Dietlinde was being held and tortured by a cadre of blight nymphs. After extricating Dietlinde from the nightmarish room we met briefly a man named Datsielk, and his young charge Violet. He expressed interest in us, and left us on our way without a fight. He seemed curious to see how we would escape the compound.
On our way out we also had the opportunity to free Violianna, who took it upon herself to ‘rescue’ us when it seemed we were in particular danger. We escaped through a different office and back out into the sewer. That’s when things really began to fall apart…
Our goal was to find a safe place to rest, so I decided to hold up at the two torches, a tavern operated by Scarlet, whose double we ‘rescued’ in the clone fields. It seemed the incident drove her a little mad, and she began killing any pale red headed woman in sight, of which there were a surprisingly large amount. She had been arrested and was being escorted to the septagram so, already exhausted and drained of resources, I went in search of her. Finding the wagon was not too difficult, but it was surprisingly well guarded, and my allies were far behind. As a bird, I entered the wagon hoping she would be alone inside the wagon at least. To my horror, Violet was riding along with her. We conversed briefly, and she sent me on my way. I then endeavored to at least kill the horses pulling the wagon in the hopes it would give my allies time to catch up and formulate a rescue plan, but I was somehow noticed casting spells in the sky. With regret, I quit the scene.
While this was happening, riots were erupting all over the city. One of, or perhaps the only, honest politician had been unjustly arrested, and people were taking to the streets. I decided to stir them up, hoping some unrest might allow us at least some distraction to rescue Violet, if not the politician, when another serious situation presented itself. Iris would supposedly be performing not too far away. I woke the party and drug them reluctantly to the event, which was filled with generals of the red army. There were two stages. On one was a woman I had not seen before with a band of performers, and on the other was Violet with her own troupe. I approached the stage, and was able to detect an illusion cloaking the strange woman. Then, chaos seemed to be erupting in the back of the venue. My attempts to subtly douse the flames of the chaos led me to believe that the woman singing was somehow causing the fires to spread beyond my or anyone else’s control.
We quickly scoped out the rest of the building and realized that it was only a matter of time before the fires reached a still in the basement, and the entire building would explode. Harolde and Cho forced a door open into the street and escorted the confused and frightened crowd to safety. I held out hope that perhaps Iris had some kind of master plan. Judging by the look on her companion’s face however, it seemed she no longer cared about her or anyone else’s safety so long as the generals burned. I grabbed them and her companion directed us to a secret escape tunnel in the basement right before the building was consumed by flame.
Iris, for her part, didn’t seem to know or care who I was, and didn’t seem overly grateful for the help. As we ran through the sewer it became apparent that traps had been laid in it to slow her progress, and we were being pursued by Violet. Also, despite her agility and prowess, Iris is blind. Her other senses seemed to be almost supernaturally developed to compensate, but they were of little use in the snowstorm we found raging above ground.
Also above ground was Mister Datielk. This caused Iris to all but shut down. My allies were just around the bend, but things seemed bleak. I stood between Datsielk and Iris and told them to run. He smiled politely and inserted some pointy objects into my abdomen as Iris and Sindall(Iris’ companion) meekly ran for their lives. With my friends still close but too far, I resolved myself to the fact that I was probably going to have to die to give Iris even a slim chance of escape. I retreated with them, but remained between them and Datsielk. He took out some kind of animated chain from an orb of darkness he had summoned behind him. Did I mention there was an orb of darkness? He took his chain and coiled it around me. Was he toying with us? Just then my allies turned the corner. Harolde took one look at the situation and ran in the other direction. The supposedly evil Cho heroicly ran into the fray and attempted to wrest the chain from Datsielk’s grip. This would have been foolish if Violiana had not somehow managed to paralize Datsielk and his animated weapons. With a mixture of shame and gratitude, I escaped with my friends.
With a surprising amount of reluctance, Iris led us through the sewer to a tavern called The White Stripe, where her and her allies apparently reside. The establishment is owned by Luitgard, a zha kai with a striking resemblance to Mars. Also of note is Ashley, whose ancestors had apparently made some sort of pact with demonic forces long ago, leaving her with a most unusual countenance. Unlike Iris, her friends were hospitable and warm. Iris at one point wanted to storm out, but was convinced to stay easily enough. Finally, we rested.
The next morning, we set off to rescue Violiana from Datsielk’s mansion. Iris begrudgingly accompanied us, having spent some time there in the past. Of course the district underwent a swift and brutal attack as we tried to leave, which we dealt with, and after a quick pit stop to cure some potential insanity on my part, we were off to the races. The races, in this case, is Datsielk’s house. The city had descended into utter chaos. Some unfortunate souls seemed to be mutating into mindless beasts, fires raged across the city, and death squads were going door to door killing and/or abducting residents.
Datsielk’s house, like the man himself, appears stately and refined. Inside however was a labyrinthine horror show that Iris was kind enough to help us navigate. We found our way to the library Vi was being held in, and encountered…. Scarlet! She was dressed funny, casually dining on the heart of one of her doubles from the clone fields. She had a smoldering red eye where her patch used to be that caused us discomfort when briefly uncovered by her hair. She didn’t put up a fight while we freed Violiana from her bonds. Harolde attempted to cast a spell in her direction, however, and she fled into the walls of the house. The stately countenance of the house disintegrated into mist, and the once beautiful home appeared bleak and menacing, and was filled with a multitude of ghosts. After a pit stop to pick up some personal effects of Iris’, we fled the house. Scarlet, for now, remains at large.
After taking a few moments to get our bearings, we discovered that a massive army was marching through the gate into Birth City. This army would undoubtedly destroy it from the inside, and had to be stopped at all costs. With a well placed spell, I destroyed the main support pillar between the two cities, and the bridge collapsed, sealing off the portal forever. There was now an army standing in the middle of the city with nowhere to go, and what few residents remained in the city didn’t seem to notice or care that everything had gone so horribly wrong. Something had been done to them. We had to leave.
On the way out, I collected Harolde’s young charge Philipe, who happened to be travelling with Clive, my scryer mage friend. Philipe had been heroically slain saving a bag full of children, but his corpse was magically revived by the power of Harolde and Ashley’s prayer! He returned with eyes that resembled our own…
We escaped the city. There was a town directly outside that had been laid to ruin. We travel now along the road that leads to Skybridge City. There are towns along the way, and we will not abandon their residents to the undead armies that are coming from New Thebes. Slowly now, we meander through the roads and jungle on our way to the FORBIDDEN VALLEY!