Thebes: Equinox

The Hunt for Tarja
Roland's Log

Our travels lead us to the city of New Thebes, which lies behind a portal in the basement of the high tower of Birth. Unlike Birth, New Thebes is heavily stratified economically by a series of walled off plateaus. In the lowest plateau, which is referred to as the trench, people live in absolute squalor and misery. This is also where we were allowed access to the city, after a suspicious trip through customs.

As we ascended the tiers, Mars stopped off at a bank and exchanged some of her gold(which is illegal here… perhaps as a means to prevent people from owning any true wealth?) for an absurd paper currency. I have taken a vow of poverty and even I think it is ridiculous. I suspect that this is also a view shared by the wanted fugitive, Tarja. Another bank further up the city exploded into the street, and Tarja stood over the rubble with somebody official looking from inside, whom she executed in public. She then fled into the chaos. I gave chase alone, to the chagrin of my comrades.

As I chased her, I realized I was living out a dream I often have about chasing the seeress through strange and filthy streets. In the dream I nearly catch her but she falls off a cliff. In the waking world she was even harder to catch, somehow bending time or reality to blink in and out of my perception. She was acutely aware that I was chasing her, which hurt my feelings a little because I was doing so as a pretty bird. She jumped from the top of the tier into the district below and gave me the slip.

The people seemed to be celebrating spontaneously in the streets below. In my search, I found another element from my dream. A tavern called the two torches. There, I inquired about the seeress as I know her from behind time, which led me to the table of Scarlet. Her name matched her long hair. She carried herself like she knew her way around in a fight, and she wore an eye patch to conceal her constant and obvious desire to wink at me throughout our conversation. I learned that she too was hunting the seeress, whom she knew as Tarja, but with nefarious intent. She proposed that we work together to find her, and that to prove myself I should knock over a jewelry store owned by a man named Datsielk. I assume she had an engagement ring picked out and hoped that when I saw it the mood would strike me to propose to her. Alas, fate had other plans. We stand on opposite sides of Tarja’s well being, so had to part ways. She made some kind of dig about how we might need her help to escape the city. A desperate ploy. I realize now that if we do find a way out of the city, it will be as it’s liberators and not smuggled out in a basket or whatever she had in mind.

I reunited with my comrades, and we finally found some city officials who were willing to take us seriously. We were put up in a tower and offered fresh clothes and accommodations. I of course decided to fly around the city some more and explore. I followed my nose to a massive fallen mage tower that still layed strewn across the city. Supposedly an angel fell from the sky sixteen years ago and knocked it over. Hoping to find the seeress, I instead found a pair of bickering mages. They seemed to be imprisoned and thought maybe I could help them escape. Not knowing whether or not they could be trusted, their captor opened the cell door. White Elf. White elves don’t taste so bad.

United by a common enemy, we set about escaping the apparent secret tower prison complex with a gaggle of their scryer mage friends and a myriad of other desperate seeming prisoner types that always seem to litter white elf habitats. After a wrong turn or two and some combat with some first bemused and then very concerned white elf B team guards, we found our way out of the mazelike structure and back into the trench.

After finding a place to lay low, my new friends told me that my comrades had been captured after I left, and taken to a discouragingly secure location. Strangely, Harolde and Cho were held in the least secure place, and had managed to cause some trouble on their own before I arrived. I laid down some magic, and was perhaps a bit overzealous about jumping into the fray. And hey Tarja was there shooting arrows on our behalf! When the combat finally seemed to be going our way, she signaled some kind of warning and quit the battle. She escaped what we did not; some kind of indigo orb that lit up like a black sun and forced us into some other plane of being. Here, it seemed we could perceive the souls of the living and the dead. Obviously, we had to fight our way through both to destroy the black orb thingie. Speaking of dead souls, my favorite vampire [Violiana] showed up to aid us! The ship she planned to take out of birth turns out to be none other than the Equinox, and that lovable scamp [Winston Scarsdale] won’t leave town without us.

We destroyed the orb, and made a temporary escape from the grounds to lick our wounds. On the way out we freed Harolde’s friend Felipe! He is a very hairy man. Violiana very much wanted to head back to Birth. She is understandably antsy around white elves, since they are notoriously good at controlling the undead. I hope that we become friends, Vi and us, and that she can take some comfort in the fact that we do not abandon our friends to torture and death, even if that requires us to raid the seven pointed structure that seems to be the seat of power for the seven kingdoms in New Thebes. I would prefer to do more planning, which means that Harolde must be beside himself. But there is no time for that, our enemies don’t treat their guests as nicely as we do. Arcturus, Mars, Dietlinde. We are coming.

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The exodus of Borehole
Roland's Log

The city of Borehole, we soon discovered, was doomed. An overwhelming army of blugori and white elves approached from nightwise, a second goblin army breached the city from within it’s own mines. There was no time to prepare. I ran ahead of the crew in an attempt to corral as many people as possible into the caverns that run beneath a massive swath of the landscape. Unfortunately, the rest of the crew decided to attempt a baffling combat manuever, and we were separated. I can only assume that as I navigated the nightmare network of tunnels with thousands of panicked refugees that the crew worked tirelessly to find us and safely expedite our return to the surface.

Our path through the tunnels required us to pass through drider territory. After some bargaining, their leader agreed to grant us safe passage through their lands as well as the Minotaur territory in exchange for five percent of the surviving populace. I refused to strike such a bargain on my own, and brought it to the people. There were more than enough volunteers. I was both moved by their bravery and saddened to require it. I felt like I had failed them somehow. The driders promised that they would not be harmed, and in fact planned to deliver them to Violus; an ancient Orek leader with whom we already have business. I had the brave volunteers mark their hands with a scar, which I share with them, so that they can be easily identified when I return for them.

The driders’ word was good, and we reached the surface safely. The equinox was not too far away, and we begun the construction of a fleet of boats that could safely bear the refugees to the port of Zechar near the city of Birth. Over the course of the month we investigated a vision of Dietlinde’s which led us to the former home of Cerra; the corporeal form of the Seeress. I also was able to finally deprogram Mars of the destructive worldview inflicted upon her by her mother and her cult. It means a great deal to me to be to able to call upon her as an ally. If there is hope for Mars, who was literally born into the cult of the black flame to find a better path, then there is hope for nearly anyone.

To describe the city of Birth is difficult. Firstly, it is a bureaucratic nightmare. Otherwise, it is a massive and beautiful place. As we ventured deeper into the city, we passed through a series of increasingly secure and elaborate curtain walls. Near the center wall, we again encountered Katarine, the emissary sent to greet us after traveling the fire road. She took us into the Silent House(actually a series of towers), a place she stewards, and has offered us a great deal of assistance within the city.

I think most importantly, she fast tracked us an audience with the high zha. We marched up through the elaborate central tower and gained an audience with….. a tiger. I’m not judging mind you, it’s just that tigers are harder to read than people when it comes to conversation. We were sent away with two scrolls. The first was a call for assistance asking us to enter the city of New Thebes through a portal in the lower reaches of the building. The catch is that nobody who has returned from the portal for the last 15 or 16 years. The second scroll was a call for assistance with an emerging goblin menace on the plains.

Our business in the tower concluded, we went to the forge district to meet the immortal of the district’s namesake. The immortal, as it turns out, is actually a sentient forge. It mysteriously generates shields every day. One of the shields generated that day seemed to be tailor made for Harolde.

I knelt and touched the forge, telling it of our plight, and asked for guidance. I received a vision of the white elves carrying a squirming bag through the portal to New Thebes 15 or 16 years ago. Shit. I should have known. The vision was physically taxing, and I was badly burned. If the forge wanted me to shave my head and eyebrows, it could have just asked.

On our return trip we encountered the kindly greylen vampire who assisted us when we crash teleported night side. It seems that her city has fallen to the Red Army. Apparently, they command a great deal of control over the undead. Our experiences with them thus far seem to confirm this. She was off in seek of guidance. I hope she finds it.

Another order of business: the great library. Katarine set aside some books for us concerning the civil war of the angels. Finally, some knowledge about where we come from and whom we’re up against. The author of the book, Zachariah Gallows, viewed what he called angels and demons with a similar lens, and seemed to think what was left of the universe better off without them. I will admit, it gave me some pause. If and when we find Cerra, our purpose in doing so is to assist her in becoming an angel. I wonder what old Zachariah would say about that. I also wonder if it would matter to any of us.

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The flight of The Equinox
Roland's Log

Having landed by surprise in a snowbank on a dark and hostile part of the planet, we set about trying not to die. The poor souls that were standing on deck when the atmosphere suddenly shifted to sub arctic temperatures were wounded gravely. One sailor in particular had his wind pipe frozen, and he proceeded to cough up frothy black blood as I set about saving his life. The image lingered in my mind for some time after.

We attempted to repurpose the solar flare function of the harmonics bay to warm the air immediately around our ship and perhaps even melt the snow enough to grant us some water to float on. It did warm the air somewhat, but the boat slowly sank into the surrounding snow.

We were eventually greeted by a greylin woman who seemed to not be bothered by the cold. This was because she apparently counted herself among the undead. She had taken the liberty of dispatching a furnace golem to our location as well, which proved to be of some use later. Not only was she the first undead creature we’ve met who didn’t try to kill us, but she proved to be quite helpful and forthcoming with useful information.

She offered to take the crew to her sanctuary in the south, which, she claimed, was populated by more undead. She insinuated that the dead have more rights than the living there. Grateful as I was for her help, it seemed a bit too ominous to subject our crew to, unless as a last resort. The second option she offered was to ignite for us what she called the fire road. If we followed it lightwards, we would eventually find more hospitable climates. This also seemed like a grueling task to inflict on the crew. In addition, I would prefer not to abandon Dietlinde and the ship.

First officer Harolde chimed in with a seemingly ridiculous idea that turned out to be our best option; reconfigure the harmonics crystals to emit wind instead of fire, and outfit the ship to glide over land. We had enough strong synthetic friends to weather the worst of the hazards outside and complete the task.

Before leaving, I inquired about one of the beings who was sitting at the table with us in the place outside of time, who claimed to be hermited away in an arctic wasteland not unlike the one we found ourselves in. We have almost nothing to go on and push us forward to our goal, so it seemed sensible that the forces of fate would place her along our path. And it was so, the alchemist was indeed a few short miles away, though not wearing the body she wore at the table. This is troubling to me, because it means that the seer could be even harder to find than I first imagined.

Slowly, gingerly, I piloted the equinox across the frozen tundra from the harmonics bay. After three days the atmosphere became more hospitable. After a week, we found ourselves at the end of the fire road, although it was never lit, and the strange lodgings resting at it’s zenith. At the end of the road there were structures with beds and shelter for most of the crew, and a nearby tribal zachai village supplied us with food and wine and music. Their only request was that we await an emissary from the north.

So, wait we did. We explored out surroundings, which in addition to zachai were populated by a great number of suprisingly docile tigers. Zekkyra climbed one of the mountains to investigate a strange light at the top and returned with an amulet.

The emissary arrived with a small retinue of guards. She had many questions, and I explained to her at length our story up until that point. One of her guards knew of a pass to the south that would be big enough to navigate our ship through and continue lightwards.

Another week of air sailing went by. It was painfully slow going at times, and the tribal zachai villages that dotted the planescape were not as trusting or hospitable as their cousins. None the less, we found our way to the sea. We also located our long lost probe droid. And a strange city called Bore Hole.

Bore Hole seems to be mostly populated by phobans. They run a loose ship, to say the least. Despite this there seems to be a worthwhile vein of merchants and sages for the crew to mine. Based on what information I could gather there is a road that passes through the city we avoided earlier, and on into the magically preserved ruins of a planet called Thebes. I suspect that our lost seer resides there, although we have no way of knowing for sure. Fate has put us on the path, and now there is little else to do but walk it, for now.

Personally, I hope we find a way to maneuver the ship fully or at least closer to our destination, wherever that may be. I feel so close to making a breakthrough with Mars, and trying to manage a prisoner on the open road feels… daunting. Further, I know that many of the crew are quite attached to the ship, and I wouldn’t want to leave Dietlinde behind.

The ship is overpopulated though. Some crew members have expressed interest in departing. Perhaps Some of them will decide to live in Bore Hole.

Equipment:
Ring of ForceShield +2 ac shield – Harolde
Ring of Climbing +5 climb – Zekkyra
Amulet of False Life, +1d10 HP for 10 hours, 30 charges – Zekkyra

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Captains log star date 17
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Pages are missing…

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Captains log star date 16
asdf

Right before entering the portal we find ourselves at the round table talking about plans. The plan on how we will be born in reality and bring into being an angel. After going through the portal we appear again at the table which is now smaller and missing some people. The Sear asks us if we want to continue because we are going to go past the point of no return. Roland speaks up saying we pretty much must go on. We are asked to find her avatar which looks like her. Roland asks about the blue comet fragments but gets nothing of note back.

After going through the portal bright light almost blinds us. After gaining our view we notice islands with one of them projecting an elemental sphere. Upon closer inspection we notice a war broken out. Joining the fray we destroy every ship but one that escapes! There was a giant circle, some orcs, and a planet. The evil guys had shot some rocks at the main planet that is covered in ice.

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Captains log star date 15
Fire, fire everywhere!

Harolde and Winston looted the enemy ship finding two rings and several magical swords. During the search several ships appeared some Uroks and one of the enemy ships similar to the one we were looting. The Uroks tried to talk Cho into joining them on a journey to find all the lost citizens of the world. I pondered what about the Zephyr? More searching reveals notes with writing similar to those ship blueprints found long ago. Also a key found inside a locket. Breaking down doors is hard but 3 vials secured of some liquid. Busting open a chest an explosion of fire engulfs the room. The chest starts making some sound so we wander to the next room. Inside more magical weapons (2 rapiers) and a foot locker.

Going back to the other room… it is now on fire! Zekkyra and I attempt to put out the fire cause this is fun and we want to spend the entire night trying to put out a fire. We failed.

After some random logistics are put together our party heads out. Noticing three huge ships made of a crystal with a doughnut around it emerging from the freeze. The doughnut is covered in a mushroom forest. Roland has a brilliant idea of using a covert ship as a kamikaze ship and sends it into one of the ships. Upon getting closer to the ships we notice they have created a vortex. Then for some reason he decides to send us all through a vortex.

Passing through the vortex we come out on the other side. On the other side there is some sort of defense mechanism that opens fire upon us.

Ring of ForceShield 2 ac shield
Ring of Climbing +5 climb
2d4
3 potion of healingx3
13 magical swords
2 magical rapiers

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Captains log star date 14
mist kills all

We spend a bunch of time getting down to the harmonics bay and then Winston instantly cuts a hole in the bay which spews out red mist. We attempt to help people out of cages while this mist will just turn them all into zombies.

Leaving them we go back to the island ship and taunt the insect creature. After luring him away from the library we banish him. Back through the library we head down to the harmonics bay.

Once in the harmonics bay Roland closes the door and sets the entire island a flame. Purifying the ship with fire. Then he soothes the ship with cooling winds.

Roland then interviews the crew on the enemy ship to find someone that can use the Zephyrs harmonics bay to create an escalator to bring everyone down. We destroy a magical sword that the bug creature was using. And we attempt to salvage some gear from the enemy ship…

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Captains log star date 13
shrooooms

Roland stumbles upon two children playing. In his usual diplomatic mode he attempts to negotiate with them. They agree to show us to their leader. Along the way more children join at a large mushroom. Samual, Felipe, and Adelaide are all attracted to the mushroom. Roland and Cho attempt to restrain them but the children try to intervene.

Roland turns into a wolf and combat begins. Roland attempts to subdue Adelaide. Samual, Felipe, Adelaide, and Zekkyra all begin to crawl towards the mushroom. Cho grabs one of the nymphs. The nymphs start chucking balls of acid at Roland and Cho while the rest continue to crawl. Eventually Roland thinks we are all doomed and he escapes to find another way. Leaving everyone else. Shortly after Zekkyra and Samual shake off the spell effects. Samual notices Cho is leaving the party and requests help with Felipe. Gathering the rest of the party we walk away, however, we are being followed…

The group meets up with Roland and then talks back to Harolde. Upon arrival Harolde notices the nymphs hanging out. Hearing that they are evil he attacks. Then the entire party gets a hankering for mushrooms except Harolde! Slowly every party member gets pulled back to our ship but they still want mushrooms. So Harolde commands us all to go to the enemy ship instead so adventuring can continue.

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Captains log star date 12
The plague is upon us.

…pew pew pew still shooting this massive ship. A bright light comes from the side of the ship, upon further focus it appears to be Roland! Harolde directs the science bay to dispatch the tank drone to fly out to grab Roland. Harolde commands the X-Ray gun to see what it can see, it notices some weird spell being cast and the front of the ship opening. Firing a dragons breath shell the front of the ship bursts in flames. The man on the X-Ray gun shoots at some crystal that seems to be pulsating.
Roland makes it back and says that there are a bunch of caged people on the ship. He also confirmed what the X-Ray gun guy was seeing with the spells. After several shots of Flachette and X-Ray gun the spell ends. Everyone in the party escapes the ship via the tank bot.
Back upon our ship, Rad brings a blighted creature with him. Dietlinde implores us to rid the ship of the blight, which we do via FIRE.
Then Roland sets his mind to how to secure the cages from the other ship. At the same time Harolde keeps firing upon the enemy ship via Flachette and X-Ray guns.
Winston salvaged some useless equipment from another ships while we sat around and rested. Winston placed the equipment in the hull and noticed some of the blue rocks had turned into regular rocks.
Samuel, Felipe, Rad, Cho, Adelade, and Roland marshalled over to the Zephyra. When arriving on the Zephyra they notice that there is a reddish mist billowing from the tree ring.

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Captains log star date 11
Where is the other party?

…with shots firing towards the enemy warship the equinox jolted forward to get into close combat and assist the shadow ship. The warship had some huge pontoons and a main structure that looked like it was swept back by the wind. The back of the ship had a huge crystal structure that looked like a scorpion stinger. The pontoons fired what looked like a blue ribbon.

The shadow ship, under enemy fire, did what any self respecting mage ship would do, a mirror image! The warship destroyed two of the shadows while still being fired upon by everyone else. Now at close range the Equinox kept firing until the shields were down. With the shields down the enemy ship began to dissipate the water around it. Winston had seen this before and noted that the enemy ship was attempting to do some evasion maneuver. Harolde commanded that we extend our bubble over the ship to keep it tied down in the water.

With no where to go, the enemy ship resumed combat. Obliterating one of our ships in a single strike of the blue ribbon! Knowing that this was a do or die moment we kept fighting. Unfortunately, the next thing you know, the enemy ship had destroyed all but the shadow ship, the Zephyr, and us.

Cancelling the extension of the bubble and firing full force we attempt to disable the harmonics bay by firing discord rounds. It appeared to have worked! The enemy ship seemed disabled as it leaned to the side some. Since they could no longer fire at us, they attempted to board us via some harpoons. With a giant arc of fire, Dietlinde melted all of the harpoon chains.

The warship started to drift, relentlessly we kept firing. After awhile it was noticed that the ship was drifting right into the Zephyr. The two ships careened together. Harolde, not wanting the Zephyr to be demolished, had Dietlinde surrounded the warship in a bubble again. Pushing the ship away from the Zephyr, destruction continued…

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