Mythic Silvermote: Architects of the Manse

Travel Through the Mistrealm
How The Party Learned To Stop Worrying About the Chaos Beast, and Bear With It

After securing transportation for the party on Squesme's wagon, the party set off into the blinding mists.  As time passed, the party eventually hit an area of travels where there was some peripheral awareness of where they traveled in the eerie silence of the echoes of clopping mule hooves.

Suddenly, something snatched the dwarven driver from his seat, sending him screaming into the mists, and causing his wagon team to bolt. With a swift kick-flip, Torvald managed to land in the driver's seat and take the reins, though it took him some time to get the team under control.  In the meantime, the slumbering Dixxie was knocked from the back of the wagon, only to be snagged midair by Yenven.  Unfortunately, the rudely awakened druid tried to take wing, and her struggles knocked the paladin and herself from the wagon.  A quick intercession by Limebead allowed Yenven to regain his place on the wagon, and Dixxie took to the air and caught up with the terrified team of mules.

Only though the quick intercession of the party's monk did the wagon and team not go crashing into the form that suddenly loomed before them in a clearing of the mist, beyond a sharp turn in the road.  A colossal aberration of terrible proportion, bent on destroying the party.

Salome!

Torvold managed to stop the wagon just short of a collision or overturn of the wagon.  In response, the gigantic monstrosity spewed a gout of foul ichor onto the team (it seemed she intended to hit the party in the wagon).  Limebead attempted to tap his Mythic power to force the attack to go awry, but the demonic cephalapod hybrid managed to overcome his powers with one of her own, which caused all her golden jewelry to flare with amber light. 

The ichor exuded shadow essence, and ate away at the flesh of the mules like the most virulent acid, leaving blackened bone behind, which slowly dissolved in the puddle of deadly mud.  Limebead contemplated trying to save the mules for a moment, but realized their demize put them past his abilities.

Just as soon as she appeared, she was gone, leaving the party to search for their lost guide and wagonmaster.  Dixxie enlarged one of her companions, and had the roc help move the wagon until the party came upon a clearing where the road had clearly been churned up, and a tree was knocked down to the south side of the road.

The party pressed on until they reached the end of the curve in the road they had lost the dwarf on.  Here they found a dry creekbed, a decrepid wooden bridge across it, and a fork in the road they had not seen before.   The party decided to move on.

Eventually, the party came upon another large puddle of acidic mud, blocking the road ahead, as well as a clearing in the mist, and a number of overturned trees.  This seemed the likely location that the dwarf had been seperated from them!

The druid enacted a spell to detect life, and flew over the puddle, hoping to find either the remains of, or the living concealded dwarf.  Neither were immidiately obvious.  As the druid searched, strange noises – hissing, clicking, and rustling in the underbrush emerged from the side of the road to the north and south of the party.  As the druid descended, attempting to get a better sense of what surrounded them, she suddenly detected undead, which caused some consternation amongst the party.

The oracle and the druid called upon their Mythic abilities to conjure magics which would shroud them from the hampering properties of the mistrealm, allowing them to see more clearly around the road.  What became visible was far from settling – a veritable battalion of mistbound ghasts, surrounding the party to both the north and the south!

Before a course of action could be determined, the druid was nearly knocked senseless by the sudden appearance of a monstrosity descending from above, whose fluctuating lifeforce seemed to defy the bounds of sustained detection without imperiling sanity.

The druid recognized a horrific abberation of nature almost immidiately, while the monk, bard, and oracle conferred about what it might be.  The oracle knew of only one creature so awful, with tentacles full of eyes within fanged mouths – a Chaos Beast! The monk knew lore of such creatures, which suggested they were both resistant to magic, and warped the minds and magic of those around them.  The bard remembered a passage from the Grimoire of Pendral Fen, who wrote of a similar creature as "The Hound of the Atropals", whose very touch carried a curse that could warp flesh irreperably.

Greatly intiimidated by the monstrosity's presence, the party attempted to parley with the creature, Peliaos donning his ring which would allow him to comprehend languages.

What resulted was a horryfing cacophany, as each of the mouths spoke a different tongue in a different voice.  It took all of the bard's concentration to even understand the ravings of the beast, and even then, the voices were not always in agreement with each other's statement.

The Chaos Beast was apparently curious about the party "the it/them/yous more chaotic than itself".  The monstrosity wanted to know "Where the it/them/yous were going".  The party explained they were on a journey across the Mistrealms.  When pressed for more information, they revealed they were on the way to an exit from the realm.

With poorly disguised interest, the Beast ham-handedly attempted to conceal its intent to follow, and flew higher into the mist, out of sight.  At the departure of the creature, one of the ghasts, near-mad with hunger, stumbled to the edge of the road, glowering at Limebead.  When the dwarf addressed the slavering undead, it howled and leapt at him, only to miss horribly.  The druid-in-mammoth form rapidly descended, putting an end to any further attempts by the ghast to cause hostilities. 

In examining the remains which stained the druids thick coat, she noted that the creature was, indeed, somewhat composed of mist, which was quickly dispersing in the wake of the destruction of the creature.

As the party attempted to determine a course of action, the ghasts all began hooting and hissing, as they clawed their way into the ground, disappearing the mist-crowned loam.

The bard examined Squeseme's wagon, determining it to be an artifact of several points of significance – it was the anchor for several intra dimensional spaces, it allowed a bonded driver to get to places they could not normally go, and it allowed a rudimentary sense of direction on a purposefully stated goal.

As that research went on, the party's druid came to understand the signifigance of the lost mounts – natural living creatures born in the Mistrealm could navigate the mists as if they did not exist!  There was little chance of replacing the lost mounts with similar ones, deep in the bowels of a mist-driven forest, but Dixxie determined an alternative form of recruiting assistance.

Using her druidic magics, fueled by the Mythic power of her fellows, she attempted to call a cadre of bears to aid the party.  These bears, native to the Mistrealm, would be able to help guide the wagon, recently left immobile by the death of the mules.

The spell was a success, drawing a cub, it's mother, a young male, an older female, and a venerable male over a period of six hours.  After the bard fascinated the bears, the druid attempted to establish a friendship with them (successfully), only to fail twice to get the bears to take on the reins of the wagon.  Yenven helpfully offered a suggestion that would assuage the bears' concerns about being bound to the wagon, only to find the druid incapable of getting the bears to accept the proposal.

Ultimately, the bears agreed to lead the party, and the druid took on the form of a bear herself, bolstered by the oracle's magics to help pull the cart by herself. Tacitly, and still wary of the creature surely following them, the party pressed on into the mist…

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Sympathy for the Unlucky
Sometimes Dumb Luck is the Only Luck You Can Count On

After attempting to size up the half-elf, Peliaos determined that he was a cleric of an ancient order of a dead Faerunian godess, Tymora.  After much prying and bantering, it became apparent that what the half-elf was most interested in was a game of chance.  His name was asked by Limebead, who relayed that he went by many names, but based on his current luck, the party should call him "Streak".  When Dixxi pointed out that this likely meant that he was lucky, Streak pointed out that was not nessicaritly so.

The following conversation drew the Tengu and the gambler into deep contemplation, as the druid proferred a treasured possession – a shiny ring that shed light.  Streak offered a game of knucklebones agains the druid, and offered up a small crystal sphere full of prismatic energy,both shiny and bright.

Once the terms of the bet on the game were agreed to, Streak proceeded to describe the game of knucklebones to the druid, who did not seem intimate with the rules.  The gambler then produced ten metal caltrops from his bag, and a small red rubber ball.  The point of the game, he stated, was to bounce the ball, then gather up the small caltrops before it bounced to the ground again. 

The gambler allowed the druid to attempt play first, which led to a stunning example of manual dexterity.  After managing to secure seven caltrops, the druid retired.  The gambler only made two passes before scattering the caltrops in a botched grab.  The Tengu won the bright shiny, which was revealed to be an axiomatic crystal sphere, containing a compressed wild magic surge.

Limebead went on to question the gambler, and came to find out a bit about him.  Apparently, he was a god, berift of his "divine spark" (a talisman which apparently allowed him to access the powers of his godness).  Part of the faith of his church was to bestow this spark, and it's related powers to one of his faithful priests (called Fatespinners) at dawn each day, after a contemplative roll of sacred dice.

Several centuries before, the clergyman whom he had bestowed his fabulous talisman upon lost it in a gambling match with the dwarf, Squeseme (who allegedly cheated in the match). 

The loss of his spark left Streak bereft of many of his powers.  He managed to turn the tables on the dwarf, duping one of the business partners of his company into gambling away the magical satchel which connected all their vaults of wealth, then winning it handily.

When the dwarf confronted the former god for the return of his purse, Streak doubled the wager, stating he would bet the satchel against the dwarf's soul, which he would exchange for his divine talisman if he won.  The dwarf agreed, and lost.

This led to a further altercation, accusations of cheating, meddling, and a full review of the text of the rules of ten-pin rockslither in dwarven, ancient dwarven, and draconic. After much argument, the dwarf proposed a wager he felt he could not loose, in an attempt to regain his soul while still keeping the divine talisman he had aquired.

Squesme bet Streak that he would not be able to resist wandering away from a certain crossroads in the Mistrealm they were both familiar with.  Streak offered a counter-bet that he could stay, and that the dwarf would be unable to resist attempting to steal the satchel the former god had fairly won.

So it was that centuries of proxy attempts to thwart the terms of each other's bets occured.  According to Streak, the dwarf had sent over a thousand souls to try and beguile or force the satchel out of the hands of the former god.

Unwilling to gamble further, and armed with new insight, the partty navigated to the correct road, and returned to the dwarf.

The party offered a go-between trade – they got the gambler to agree to relenquish the bag in exchange for his divine spark.  Streak seemed to think that the dwarf would never part with the talisman while the former god held the bag.  The party was determined to prove him wrong.

Unfortunately, the party came to find that the dwarf did not have the talisman any longer.  He had long-ago lost it to the foul machinations of a dragon, trapped deep within the bowels of a mountain, too ponderous to exit from any of the crags it slithered into as a young wyrm. 

Squesme confided that he had indeed sent hundreds after the gambler, but further pointed out that he was certain from the moment he had met the party that they were special.  The party first encountered the dwarf ferrying souls to the dragon – a wagonload of dwarven and gnome souls, with a single elven soul in the mix, which was met outside the mount of the dragon by wierd cultists, strikingly familiar to the ones that had attacked the party recently in Waterdeep.

The dwarf further confided to the party that he had encountered the dragon researching the Nexus event the party was allegedly at the center of, when they first met up with the dwarf on the prime.

Peliaos bargained passage back to the prime, using his force of personality and a honeyed tongue.  For the low-low price of 1gp per passenger, the dwarf agreed to carry them back to retrieve the spark, though he suggested in the future the party might be better served not selling themselves so cheaply as a dockside doxie.

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New Beginnings
The Party Starts a Journey

After shaking off the effects of the magical blast, the party quickly realized they were back in the Mistrealm, and back under the inpatient watch of Squeseme.  After some bantering with the dwarf, it became clear that the only thing keeping their strange assailants at bay was the fact that they were in the Mistrealm, so bargaining with the beardless dwarf to have him provide passage back to Waterdeep would likely result in further conflict.

The party resolved to try and reclaim some aspect of protection against the inquiries of the twisted chronomantic cult which hunted them.  Thier prior actions and sacrifice had destroyed the Manse, their only other haven against detection.

Peliaos wondered if it didn't make sense to traverse the Mist back to the domain of the Gentlemen Caller, and bid his aid in the goal the party was trying to loosely. define.  Limebead offered up the lore of two items in his possession, a fragment of a Nether Scroll, and a Tome pilfered from one of the remnants of a Manse, instructive in it's construction and function.

The party quickly realized that if the goal was to rebuild the manse, first they would need a pocket dimension to store it in.  This was problematic, in that they lacked the ability to create a demiplane, and further lacked the knowledge on how to sustain such a place.

The dwarf offered to take the party to someone with that knowledge – Squeseme cited two people he knew of with the requsite skills – the Lord of the Tower that Wibbles and Wobbles, or the gate leading to the Demiplane forged by the Bladelich Dresden.

When inquiring further about the Lord of the Tower, the party learned that the Tower was sealed – it's master alive, but nobody had seen him for centuries.  His apprentice, the Geomancer Roweena Stoneblood, in her centuries of trying to reunite with her former master, had determined a rough magical means of predicting where the Tower would apparate, when it did so within the Mists.

Alternatively, the party could seek out the Seer of the Mists, who could Fortell where the Tower would next manifest. 

Leaning towards exploring the findings of the apprentice, the party attempted to barter with Squeseme, who quickly ascertained their lack of liquid funds.  This led to a parley on payment terms – a service for a service.  The dwarf offered two options – either retrieve an item lost to him, or deal with a former associate whom the dwarf desperately wanted to be rid of.

The party opted to retrieve the lost item – a magical purse linked to the vaults of treasure amassed by Squeseme and his compatriots in their grand multiplanar alchemical wholesale distribution system.

According the to dwarf, the purse had been lost in a game of chance to a former associate of Squeseme, who the party was directed to retrieve it from. The gambler in question apparently staked out a crossroads in the center of the Mistrealm, which the dwarf would provide transportation to.

The party neared the crossroads and were let off, with the dwarf retreating, promising to return when the party regained the purse.  Barely a quarter-mile from where they were deposited on the side of the road, the party happened into a break in the Mists, exposing a crossroads anchored by crow's cages – three occupied by moldering corpses, the fourth open and being used as an elevated seat by a curious half-elf.

The half-elf was of middle years, gentle looking, handsome, and clean-shaven.  He sported blue and silver robes, and sat hanging out of the crow's cage flipping a coin in each hand.  As the party watched, somewhat mesmerized, some of the more observant members noted the metal of the coins, their size and makeup, and even what appeared on their minted sides seemed to change variably.  At times, the minted heads of the coins were esoteric symbols, or the coins lacked a clear heads or tails – other times, the coins sported heads which were rough simulacrums of the members of the party.

 Peliaos was tapped to parley with the gambler, after some initial inquiries by Dixxi. Ultimately, the party seemed to be deadlocked on what to put up in a game of chance against the gambler. They also struggled with a specific plan in regards to a game of chance.

The party continued to plan telepathically, as the gambler sat quietly flipping his coins, a bemused smile on his face, and a dangerous brightness in his eyes as he watched the mental proceedings before him.

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Architects of the Manse
Prelude

The attackers struck like a bolt of lighting on a clear summer’s day – suddenly, savagely, and shockingly. It had been only a few minutes before that all that remained of the Silvermote Company was standing miles beneath the surface, stuck between a portal to the hells, and the profane goddess of the drow.  Three times she entreated them to her service, and three times she was denied.  With a snarl that turned to a sudden smile, she granted the request to return them all to the surface.

 

Torvold held a deep breath, reveling in the cloudy skies above Waterdeep at the same time he inwardly gagged at the stench and press of the throngs of the city.  Despite it’s name, Rainrun Street saw little in the way of precipitation, nestled in the shadow of Waterdeep castle, but it was a common thoroughfare for everyone who labored nearby.  At midday it was loosely packed with tradesman and hawkers working a milling crowd flowing in both directions over the rough cobbles of the road.

 

The monk suddenly missed his home, his monastery, and the other members of hs order. A twinge of guilt, bordering on panic coursed through his normally serene psyche as he considered their situation in the context of recent revelations of their adventures.  Running a calloused thumb over the jagged shard of the once-powerful platinum badge he kept in the pocket of his robes, the monk closed his eyes and took another deep breath.  Now that they were free of the accursed Underdark, perhaps he could make contact with the monastery and..

 

“Torvald, to arms!”

 

Yenven’s shout, like most of his actions, was direct and to the point. As the monk snapped out of his self-imposed reverie, he noticed a throng of individuals, similarly garbed, though wearing different shades of fabric, suddenly appearing within the crowds on the street, and moving towards the party with clearly malicious intent.  The most numerous of the sudden foes, wearing darkly-stained crimson robes were armed with a motley collection of staves and slings.  Behind each cluster of red-robed assailants was a pair of lieutenants – one dressed in blue robes with blue-white scythes, glimmering in the overcast haze, flanked by hulking green-robed bodyguards with wicked-looking spiked chains.

 

Torvald snapped into action, dropping to a crouch as most of the commoners on the street fled in shock and surprise at the sudden appearance of the horde of strange assailants.  It was only once the street emptied out that Torvald realized that their garb, aside from the strangely significant coloration, was almost identical to his own.

 

Torvold quickly counted their foes, as his land bound comrades settled into a defensive posture, the druid and bard both taking to the air.  The monk felt a momentary pang of concern for the strange pipes nestled within his magic bag, knowing that if he fell, so did the bard.

 

There were probably fifty opponents on the street – eight clusters of assailants, closing in the party in a deadly weave that again tickled the monk’s memories.  This is how his strategy instructors had taught him to fight in groups in tight quarters! Snaking out into two hastily gathered, but dangerously ordered groups, the odd monks began their attack with the intonation of a single word by fifty voices: “Phoo!”

 

Before he could spend any time considering the further ramifications, the strange monks struck, with deadly efficiency.  Sling stones rained down on the party from half the groups, while the others sprang towards the party in a magically augmented sprint.  Before closing with a half-dozen assailants, the monk noticed most of the lieutenants had also taken to the air.  His flying comrades were going to be badly outnumbered!

 

As the melee ensued, Torvold lost himself in the patterns of combat.  His flowing stances and ki-powered abilities quickly dispatched two of his six assailants, but there were more closing quickly, and he had taken a hit for every three he delivered.  Out of the corner of his eye, the monk saw Yenven screaming wordless battle cries as his great maul shattered bone and weapon alike in an indiscriminate threshing of his opponents.

 

Somewhere between the two clusters of melee fighters, Tovold heard the now-familiar incantations of his dwarven companion.  With a loud crack, one of the clusters of fighters was flensed by an aura of magical force, staves splintering as skulls and chests split like melons.  Yenven continued his brutal assault, catching a few blows, but none seemed to be penetrating his armor.

 

Above, the battle was quite different.  The pair of winged defenders traded spells in an opening probe by the eight blue-robed monks, floating menacingly in midair like carnival lanterns lit by deadly intent. The green-garbed bodyguards split into two groups, one group of four that stayed to defend the cluster of spellcasting monks, as the others sped towards the bard and the druid.

 

The monk blinked in the blinding brilliance of a rain of lighting shooting down from the low-hanging clouds in a sudden torrent of ozone and death.  When the purple haze cleared from his eyes, after a quick blink, Torvold was astonished to see that the lighting not only had no effect on the strange blue monks, but appeared to have empowered them somehow, as they all were now ringed in a sparking corona of magical electricity.  

 

It was back to the battle then, and the monk had to worry about keeping his blood in his body more than whatever was happening above the street.  A few onlookers who had emerged from the Yawning Portal seemed garbed as adventurers, and were weighing the risks of joining the throng when the Waterdeep Watch arrived, along with a Magister and six bodyguards!

 

Torvold smiled grimly as the tide turned.  Though he had to dodge two well-intentioned quarrels shot off by the well-meaning Watchmen’s crossbows, the red-robed monks in the street fared far worse, as did the green-robed monks above, as the air was suddenly alive with dozens of quarrels, summoned by Peliaos’ battle magics.

 

The blue-robed monks responded to the speedy arrival of new foes without hesitation. The watch patrol was decimated by several overlapping ice storms, as streams of lightning shot out from their curious swirling sparkshields, stabbing out at the bard and the druid, both of whom shouted in pain and outrage.

 

It was only then that Torvold noticed the crimson smoke oozing from the wounds of of a fallen monk near his left flank.  There were three more red-robed monks ready to join the fray, but they seemed to be waiting for something.

 

The cobblestones of Rainrun street flew as the bodies of the red-robed monks exploded in blasts of flame and force. Torvald barely managed to hold his feet, but Yenven was shot into the air like a child’s toy, landing a dozen yards from where there was now a smoldering crater in the middle of the once-bustling thuroughfare.

 

“Right, forgot about that.” said the monk to himself, his ears ringing with a deafening whine.

 

The monk snapped back into a defensive posture, and tried to put some space between himself and his assailants, but they matched his speed without much effort.  As the monk racked his brains for the best forward course of action, the air took on a panicking weight, forcing him to a stop as the world crawled to a halt all around him.

 

A new figure had arrived at the scene of the battle, garbed head-to-toe in black, and surrounded by an umbral aura.  The size of an ogre, and bulging with misshapen dissymmetry beneath a black robe, the creature resembled the rotting remains of a dragonborn.  In two bone-clawed hands it clutched a stave of ebony, carved in a corcksrew spiral, capped by a black dragon’s head.  Though the monk could do little about it, it seemed the newcomer and the staff were the cause of the sudden stillness over the battleground, as a stream of  arcane emanations from the staff slowed time to a stop.

 

The black-robed monstrosity made an awful noise from deep within its cowl, coughing up a putrid lozenge of slime and what appeared to be rainbow-colored glass shards.  With the disgusting glob in one hand, and the stave in the other, it began to enact some sort of fell enchantment.

 

Torvald racked his stores of arcane knowledge on how to escape hsi situation, when it dawned on him that he shouldn’t even know about his situation.  Time stop magic generally left those affected by it completely unaware of what is going on around them, yet the monk could see everything else stopped, and the strange creature croaking out the incantation.

 

Perhaps whatever affected us in the Underdark lingers still? The monks inner thoughts found no answer, but with a supreme effort of will, he found his hands inching towards the artifact strapped to his back, hoping to combat the incoming enchantment with the abilities of the Sakin Asa.  Just as his fingers, trembling with the effort of moving against the impossible inertia of the magical time stop, closed around the ivory handle of the artifact, the black-robed monstrosity seemed to notice that he had moved.

 

In a blink and a pop, the creature loomed over him, floating an arms breadth above the ground.  Its rotten draconic face peered with a combination of wariness and rage as the lozenge of goo and glass slipped to the ground where it landed with crackles and hisses as it ate into the cobblestones.

 

With a grotesque squeal of dried tendon and bone, the hulking undead once again took its staff in two hands, this time adjusting its grip to strike an overhand blow on the monk, barely capable of motion below it.

 

Torvald focused his will, called upon all his meditative focus, the remains of his internal ki reserves, and the raw power of the Sakin Asa to try and counter the incoming attack, which he could tell would be fatal if it connected.  Just as the fangs of the dragon-headed staff were about to pierce the monk’s skull, the hold of the magic binding him loosened.  Reflexively, Torvald brought his ivory artifact into a blocking position, hoping to absorb the force of the deadly attack.

 

Instead, both the staff and the rod shattered.

 

There was a moment of absolute stillness, as lines of black etched themselves through the rod in the monk’s hands, and cracks of white exploded from the ebony staff.  Time seemed to slow again, with Torvald taking in every minute detail of the two items breaking into hundreds of shards, and gravity starting to carry them away.

 

Then time, or reality, or something caught back up, and everything exploded into white.

 

When Torvald awoke, he gasped in agony. Every inch of his body, inside and out, burned with the stings of a thousand thousand bees.  So great was his agony that the monk momentarily lost consciousness again, only to regain it when he focused on the greater pain of his loss – his failure.

 

A palm's width of his artifact, his charge, his responsibility, lingered still in his right hand. Lying on his back, clutching that shard, he began to focus past the pain, and regain control of his tortured muscles.

 

Torvald had no idea how long it took, but he eventually regained control of his limbs, though he was still blind, and deafened, so far as he could tell.  Struggling to his knees, he attempted to stand, only to fall to the ground again.  Dimly, he could sense he had gotten some dust in his mouth when he recollapsed, but he could not taste it, only sense the grind of the powder against his clenched teeth as he struggled back into a sitting position.

 

Over another indeterminate period of agony, the monk’s sense started to return – hearing first, and judging by the groans and moans about him, his comrades were in similar straits.

 

The monk tried to express something other than a response to the dull pain that was his body, but failed to do so with any eloquence.  

 

It was only as the monk tried again, falling back to the packed-dirt ground beneath him, that he realized in addition to his groans, and the agonies of his allies, he heard the jingle of chain, the creaking of a wagon, the grind of metal-rimmed wheels, and the clomping of of hooves.

 

Then the familiar dwarven-tinged common before he lost consciousness…

 

“Oi! You lot again?  I thought I just got rid of you?! Och, well, the Mist giveth, and the Mist taketh away…”

 

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