Buried Secrets

Chapter 15: Ghosts of Ragnar's Past

Ragnar awakens after being resurrected by a dark cleric. He is quickly knocked out by the third party that commissioned his resurrection.

Upon awakening, Ragnar finds himself a prisoner of the Whispering Blades assassins’ guild, of which The Lord of Mirrors claimed Ragnar was once a member. The guildmaster Vorkith believes that Ragnar – or “Halden”, as he names him – was spying on the guild for some outside agency, and this new identity is part of another ruse. Ragnar assures him it is not. Vorkith then brings Marianne into the room – a woman who has appeared in Ragnar’s dreams, and is possibly his wife – and threatens to kill her if Ragnar doesn’t talk. Ragnar talks Vorkith down from immediate violence, and Vorkith decides to leave Ragnar in his cell to reflect on his crimes. Vorkith tells his lieutenant Burrick to remove Marianne to a safe place, and to take the runestones they found in Ragnar’s effects to another room for study.

Ragnar interacts with the other prisoners in the room. Dariel is a Warforged and a member of the Clockwork Rebellion, a group that opposes the enslavement of Warforged bu the ruling class of Averdi. He was captured while spying on a new slave-trading operation that the Whispering Blades are embarking on. The other prisoner was the object of that transaction – an angel that had entered the realm through the Sigil gate that Ragnar’s allies had opened a few months past. The angel had been overpowered by the Whispering Blades, its wings were cruelly amputated, and now they kept it in a drugged stupor in advance of its sale.

Using some of his simplest magics, Ragnar acquires his Spellbook from his stash of gear across the room and discreetly begins to prepare spells for his escape. The lieutenant Burrick enters the room with a roguish lackey, and transfers the angel into his care, with instructions on where to meet the buyer for a post-midnight rendezvous. But after the other guild members leave the room, Burrick quietly palms a cell key to Ragnar, giving him directions to an exit and telling him to listen for a distraction! He also indicates that Ragnar was once his mentor, to Ragnar’s complete confusion.

When Ragnar hears an explosion a half-hour later, he quickly frees himself and the Warforged Dariel, regaining his freedom and his gear. Exiting the brig, he realizes that the runestones have been triggered, summoning the loathsome Foulspawn into the assassins midst. Rangar follows his benefactor’s advice, evading detection and finding Marianne in the process. Burrick joins the group, admitting to Ragnar that he triggered the runestones to create the distraction, figuring that summoning monsters into a den of killers was poetic justice. The group uses a secret exit into the sewers to make their escape.

After travelling in the sewers for some time, Dariel announces that he can lead Ragnar and Marianne into the Clockwork Rebell’s secret hideout, but he cannot trust Burrick as a member of the Whispering Blades. Ragnar tells Dariel to take Marianne to the hideout and return for him, as he has many questions for Burrick.

Left alone, Ragnar quickly discovers that Burrick’s answers are not to his liking. Burrick says that Ragnar was once a powerful wizard, and the head of an order that guarded the dangerous words embedded in the runestones. Ragnar had recruited Burrick into the order as an acolyte years past. When the order decided it should use the power of the words for its own ends, Ragnar betrayed them and fled. He then began destroying his own memory, creating a cycle of amnesiac cover identities to hide the knowledge of the Unspeakable Words from his fallen order.

Burrick had been stationed in the Whispering Blades as a mole, as it was Ragnar’s last known association and the Order thought he may return. Originally, the plan had been to return Ragnar to the Order for questioning, but a sudden research breakthrough during Ragnar’s brief death has made them realize that his cooperation is unnecessary …

Recognizing Burrick’s insanity, Ragnar moves to engage. What follows is a spectacular – if brief – wizard’s duel, as Burrick unleashed fiery magics while Ragnar summoned an infernal succubus to his aid. Whether due to instinct or some long-forgotten memory, Ragnar threw up defenses that blunted Burrick’s fire attacks, and the insane young wizard fell. Ragnar quickly killed his former student, and left a warning for any assassins or mages who might follow him.

Dariel returns a short time later, unaware of the vicious battle that had been fought here. He leads Ragnar to his hideout, where Ragnar encounters the Clockwork Rebellion, a commune of warforged and other constructs living in freedom underground. Dariel informs the leader of the group, LZ-1, about the plight of the captured angel, who was removed from the assassins prison before the Foulspawn attack. LZ-1 also notes that the Brotherhood faces potential discovery, as a group of adventurers has loudly announced to the powers of Starwhisper that they have the body of 137, a former member of the Clockwork Rebellion. If the Mage Guilds were to access his cortex, they would gain valuable information about the Rebellion.

Ragnar recognizes the descriptions as matching his adventuring companions, and he assures LZ-1 that they are mostly honourable and can be trusted. LZ-1 proposes a test, and sends the party an anonymous and mysterious note about the slave trade scheduled to occur later that night…

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Chapter 14: Skullduggery in Starwhsiper

Moments after defeating The Lord of Mirrors’ beholder, the party discovers that Ragnar has died. His body fades away, leaving only his staff. The staff also fades away, but the party grabs it and prevents it from vanishing.

After taunting the heroes one last time, The Lord of Mirrors banishes them. They awaken in a strange city, which they quickly determine to be Starwhisper, capital of the province of Averdi and the primary seat of magical learning within the empire.

The party gained lodging at the Dragonlight Inn, and then investigated the Temple of Bahamut. Batal requested aid in discerning the whereabouts of Ragnar. Met Father Solthis, a silver Dragonborn cleric of Bahamut. Solthis recognized Batal as a member of the Sons of the Dragon and promised his full cooperation.

Investigated both Grigor’s Golems and Living Weapons to determine who would be the best vendor to approach for a cortex reading. Established that Living Weapons engraves an eye above the sword hilt as its insignia, whereas Grigor’s Golems uses a magical aura to inscribe a stylized shield with “GG” inscribed. This led to the conclusion that the Warforged “137” had been built by Grigor.

Grigor inspected the damaged 137 and quietly noted the manufacturing number. He demonstrated that the cortex had been booby-trapped after manufacturing, suggesting that 137 was modified by the Clockwork Rebellion. He suggested that the party leave the matter alone, but they asked for the identity of the original owner.

The party then moves to the Hall of Phantasms to request an audience with Assistant Guildmaster Raleigh. There they meet Acolyte Jonas, who wears a tag assuring visitors that he is real. Jonas took their information and promised to send word to the Temple of Bahamut.

With no immediate task to complete, the adventurers chose to research the fallen Eladrin Kingdom. They presented themselves to the Eladrin community within Starwhisper and met Quin’al, who considers herself the ambassador of the Eladrin Kingdom-in-exile. She explained that the capital city went during the King’s marriage, and no attempts to contact it since have been successful. Furthermore, a great swamp has grown around the city, and a monstrous creature is said to prowl it.

The party earns Quin’al’s trust by explaining how they laid the tormented spirit of Princess Yelena to rest. Quin’al reveals that she never trusted the King’s second fiancee, and that her suspicions led to her exile from the kingdom. She also mentions that she was very fond of the King’s first fiancee, Princess Yelena, and that although eladrin scouts were unable to find Yelena’s body, they did find her dowry chest. The heroes provide the key that Yelena’s spirit gave them … revealing a large pile of treasure, and a key to the Star Gate, the magical barrier that isolates the eladrin capital. With this valuable find, the heroes and Quin’al agree to begin preparation for a future expedition to discover what really happened to the Eladrin kingdom.

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Chapter 8: Mysteries in the Basement

The party focused on exploring the Embassy. They have discovered that it is a portal to Sigil and they are the key holders.

Regild has encouraged the party to enter Sigil and assert their claim to the gate to give them bargaining power against the Empire. the Imperial Wizards will have sensed that the gate has been opened.

Wrathy and Elzin briefly explored the Embassy’s Sigil-side. They heard noises indicating some inhabitant on the upper floor above.

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Chapter 7: Rumble with the Inquisition

When last we left our heroes, Wrathy had just dove for the runestone that had dropped from the cloaked stranger’s pouch. Elzin recognized the pouch as belonging to their murdered patron, so while Inquisitor Callifell appeared to be trustworthy his cloaked ally was most assuredly not!

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Callifell drew his sword and demanded that Wrathy return the runestone. This decorum cost him dearly as Wrathy’s allies attacked his cloaked companion. The stranger then used his powerful mental abilities in an attempt to turn Batal against his allies. Batal’s iron will fought off this violation, and the stranger instead imposed his will on the nearby townsfolk, drawing them into the fray.

Although Wrathy threw the runestone into a nearby stream to keep it away from its bearer, Ragnar observed that the stone flashed each time their foe used his psionic powers. Suddenly, the stranger was pulled into the air by the runestone and enveloped in a column of green energy!

The alien will that created the stone now used its pawn’s telepathy to broadcast its dark magic throughout the town. All around them, the heroes saw innocent people being transformed into grotesque organic portals to the Far Realm. Ragnar was able to resist this magic after his previous exposure to it, and the other three party members found themselves strangely immune. Few others were so lucky.

Setting aside their differences, Batal and Wrathy teamed up with Callifell to dispatch the doomed townsfolk as quickly as they could. Despite their efforts, a number of Foulspawn were able to cross the threshold into the Prime plane. Furthermore, three unstable rifts had opened around them. If these stabilized, the Far Realm would quickly infest the region.

While Wrathy and Batal dealt with the bulk of the invaders, Elzin and Ragnar focused on the rifts. Exposure to the runestones had partially restored Ragnar’s memory, and he believed he knew a countersign to close the portals. He was worried it might take too much time however, so he decided to pit his magic directly against that of the runestone by casting Dispel Magic. He surprisingly(*) succeeded! The rifts shrunk to an non-useable size and the stranger fell to the ground with the powerless stone.

With enemy reinforcements cut off, Batal and Wrathy dealt with the remaining invaders. Callifell fell under a combined assault from the two most powerful Foulspawn, one of which had the towering height of an ogre. A quicker monster grabbed the runestone that had fallen to the ground, but Ragnar used his most powerful magics to burn it and trap it under an acidic ooze.

As Batal hammered away at the Foulspawn hulk, it and a new wave of minions managed to incapacitate Wrathy. Elzin sprinted across the field to heal her dying ally, and this distraction provided Batal with the opportunity to slay the hulk. The battle for Sunvale had ended.

The heroes immediately tended to Callifell, who had survived both the runestone’s corrupting magic and the horrors it had summoned. Ragnar ensured that the rifts were properly sealed while Wrathy, Batal and Elzin visited the old warlock Telsis. He had survived the attack without injury. Now the party has two runestones; dangerous to possess, but even more deadly in the wrong hands. They have learned that the rocks were fragments of a great meteor that struck the town of Moonshire several days ago. Telsis has suggested that they might be able to dispose of the rocks by travelling to a sub-dimension that connects to all mirrors … but this course of action may bring them into conflict with the Lord of Mirrors, a devil which Wrathy bargained with long ago.

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