After escaping New Thebes, we traveled along the road to Skybridge City. Along the way there were some partially abandoned towns which we encouraged to fully evacuate in preparation of the approaching army. This led to an ever growing gaggle of refugees which made increasingly slower time along the road. This marks, by the way, the third mass of displaced peoples I have helped to relocate. Before we entered the Forbidden Valley, Vi left us out of concern that her presence was worsening our corruption. By the way, our entire party is apparently corrupted by some trixie white elf magic. Iris has it the worst, so we agreed to expend one of our limited wishes to lessen her load.
Also of interest, we were approached by a sphinx which knew all of our names, gifted me with the hookah from the Towers of Silence, and began following Luitgard as an animal companion. It’s name is Iseret, and it is somehow linked to Hananniah.
The first half of travel through the valley was as uninteresting as Luitgard and Ashley promised it would be. We eventually approached two angels who were locked in battle, frozen in time. Some exploration led us to an abandoned bard school in the forest, which had apparently been founded by Iris’ parents! We found a journal written by her mother, which I read to and then gave to Iris. Iris wailed on an organ in the building, which attracted the attention of a former tenant of the place. We spent the evening on the beach and ate fish, and he told stories about Iris’ long lost parents.
The following day we made our way back to the frozen angels. Iris touched one of them, and experienced what seemed to be a great deal of unpleasantness. This summoned two figures who appeared before us in a flash of lighting. They were aspects of Roc and Whisper, and they invited us to travel with them to their hidden city. We accepted, sending the mass of people on without us. They shouldn’t have been too difficult to catch up with…
They led us through a mountain pass, which led to a massive and verdant forest. An impossibly large staircase jutted up from the forest floor and eventually led to the city itself.
The Forbidden City was composed of concentric rings suspended in the sky. The streets were paved with bisected opals set in gold. Even the “lesser” living spaces were beautifully decorated. What I’m trying to say is that the city was impossibly well appointed.
The two immortals granted each of us two boons. For mine, I chose to have Iris cured of her corruption. For the other Roc offered to teach me his lightning teleportation trick, to which I agreed. They also gave us some salient information regarding our quest to save existence. For example, there are four quasi elemental pillars holding everything up. Three of them have already been defiled using some super secret scrolls stolen by some asshole. The fourth scroll, I suspect, is hidden in the hookah I carry. We were also given some tactical information on the battle that will likely ensue for Skybridge City. We left the Forbidden Valley with renewed purpose.
Speaking of purpose, where the hell did our massive throng of refugees get off to? We managed to track them to a point in the road where they seemed to just up and vanish. Further investigation led us to a mysterious house a fair distance away near some hills. The interior of the house seemed to be a lively party attended and worked by people who lived nearby at least hundreds of years ago. Harolde grew tired of this and dispelled the illusion, leaving us in a strange and dilapidated structure. The basement had an elaborate iron door that seemed almost organic in nature. Cho ran his face into it a few times, and managed to pry it off the hinges.
This led us into a sort of organic metal cave, or perhaps it would be better to call it a gullet. Our refugees were chained in massive lines where they were being dropped, one by one, into a massive furnace. Their deaths seemed to feed the structure we were in somehow. Freeing them took some creative spell work and elbow chain ripping grease, but eventually we managed. I had to stoneshape a hole in the side of the building, which caused the house to groan and shake. As people escaped the house, it became louder and more erratic. I suspected that this was only going to get more dire, so used that nifty trick Roc taught me to lightning teleport us all to safety. Standing a fair distance away, the house shook loose from its place in the hills. It seems it was constructed around a massive iron clockwork beast, and it seemed to be angry that we stole it’s meal from it’s stomach. We fought and destroyed it, and excavated the magical contents that animated it. Conveniently, those contents are made of pure gold and gemstones.
We travelled onward towards skybridge city, after a short detour to the crater where our former space home used to be(along with evidence of Winston’s brother). Near Skybridge we approached a large and well fortified keep. This keep is apparently where Luitgard’s mother lives. I encouraged her to accompany us up there for a visit, since Mars is likely of some relation and seemed to have some interest in exploring her mysterious past. We learned that her mother, Gerta, is something of a sadistic libertine. This makes it more likely still that she is connected somehow to Mars, since her mother and grandmother and on down the line were sadistic psychos.
Inside the keep there seemed to be some kind of orgy party happening, and the guards seemed bemused and bored. Perhaps even lazy. Upon entering we were greeted by Gerta, who was incredibly angry at her long lost daughter. Mars was also angry. Gerta led her daughter by the arm up to her quarters, got dressed, and ran back down to sick the pack of white elves that were apparently hanging out in the house on us. We dispatched them, and in the heat of battle Harolde also killed Gerta.
After scavenging the necessary materials, and no small amount of convincing both Harolde and Mars that Gerta should be resuscitated if for no other reason than she’s Luitgarde’s damn mother, she was returned to life. She, like Felipe, returned with eyes similar to our own. The new eye color made her no more cooperative or less hellbent on assisting the enemies of all who exist, so I regaled her with a few words of creation. The words, as they often do, moved her to reexamine many of her past deeds. She asked me at one point what I did to her, which I resent somewhat. The calling does not control or twist the mind as she implied, but instead cleans some of whatever tainted her mind and soul in the first place that caused her to act in opposition to all life around her. I helped expose her truer, more undiluted self. The white elves have the ability, it seems, to twist the people they capture into agents of darkness. It stands to reason, then, that there should be someone who can untwist them. And so it shall go wherever we travel; the people who have been under the yoke of evil for so long that they have forgotten themselves will be made to remember, and together we will drive back the seven kingdoms into the void that spawned them.