Sunday, June 14, 2015

Session 53 Synopsis

Previously, on Phoenix Rising...
… Asphodel gave Telliann her own quarters and told her to feel at home, that she could stay as long as was needed. Then she asked some of her friends if they would be interested in having positions of power at her castle/settlement. There wouldn’t be much now to do, but as the place grew in inhabitants, their services would be needed more and more. Zerak was offered the Magister’s position which he accepted graciously. Jobi was to be the new head priestess in charge of all the temples and shrines that were to be built. Zola gladly accepted the position of General. And Sir Oakley decided that the Marshall position was best suited for his talents – training guards, teaching Bahamut’s litany, and making sure the settlement runs smoothly. Blackwell and Kel weren’t actually offered any positions since they had their own settlements to work on and be in charge of.…

Our heroes have been on a long deserved break for about the last three months where they have worked on their personal projects / issues. The much needed rest comes to an end when Zola experiences a very peculiar and graphic vision while sleeping. She realizes that this vision is of something currently happening and was sent to her by her father. Throughout the break Asphodel had been keeping to herself a lot and was usually pretty difficult to find quickly. Today proved no exception to this. Zola urgently searched for, and eventually found, Asphodel and told her about the vision-dream. Then the two decided they needed to gather everyone together to let them know what Zola has seen. Asphodel also included Telliann, Sir Oakley, and Donamira, her cohort in this meeting since the decisions that the group would make may very well affect them as well.

Once gathered in Asphodel’s conference room, Zola recounted her vision-dream to everyone there:

You see a beautiful woman lounging in a large overstuffed chair. This shapely female humanoid has dark hair, dark eyes, a pair of small black horns just above her eyes, and small black leathery wings protrude from her shoulders. She is almost completely naked except for some straps of black leather with wicked looking barbed studs protruding out of the leather at her shoulders, elbows, the sides of her thighs, on her knees, and the backs of her hands. She is holding a cat-o-nine tails that is dripping with fresh blood.

The room’s décor suggests that it is located somewhere hot, possibly near a desert. All the colors are light and the floor is tile or worked stone. The windows have light colored curtains and no glass, allowing a slight breeze to waft into the room. There are four very large and muscular canines lazing on the ground near her, oblivious to what is going on around them. They have maws full of sharp teeth and inky black coats that almost seem to drink in the light around them. Near her is a naked human male tied upright between two metal poles by his wrists and ankles located in front of a large bed. It looks like all his hair has been shaved off carelessly for he has numerous razor cuts on his head, arms, legs and other places. His bloody lash marks across his back, chest and thighs are still welting and thin lines of blood are running down and forming small crimson pools on the floor under him. What appears to be a Mage Hand spell is slowly stroking his manhood to life while he feebly and unsuccessfully tries to avoid the contact.

The woman speaks, “So darling are you ready to perform for me or do I need to persuade you some more?” The man gasps out, sobbing with fear and loathing that his body’s desires betray him, “Mistress Arrealle (pronounced Ar-ree-alla) I am ready to perform for you. Please … use me as you wish.” With that Arrealle smiles, stands up, cuts the ropes binding the man’s wrists and ankles and pushes him forcefully onto the bed. Then she violently rapes the man, causing him severe wounds all over his body. She laughs with abandon as the man weakly screams from the pain and his blood flies everywhere. Finally, with her legs, stomach and arms covered in the man’s blood, she finishes with him and gets off the bed. The man is silent, unmoving except for his ragged, shallow breathing.

Arrealla then walks over to a nightstand and retrieves a small glass cylinder, about the size of a potion vial, and removes the cap revealing three two inch metal prongs protruding from the top. She then turns to the man lying on the bed amidst the blood soaked sheets and says to him while smiling and caressing his chest, “Oh I just love a good fuck, don’t you? Now for your reward for pleasing me: You get to join the others in The Afterlife Machine.” She jams the three prongs deep into the man’s chest and he starts to scream but no sound comes out as he writhes in agony as she again laughs maniacally. The man’s body starts to wither like it is being drained of his very life essence. Soon the man is dead and just a withered, deformed husk is left.

Arrealla smiles as she pulls the prongs out of his chest and puts the cap back on the cylinder, which is now softly glowing with a translucent blue light. She then turns to the four lounging canine creatures and says, “Come on puppies! Let’s go give The Afterlife Machine some more souls to corrupt!” And the three “puppies,” which are nearly the size of ponies, jump up and happily nuzzle her. One starts to lick the blood off of her thigh which makes her giggle and she playfully scolds the beast, “Stop that, silly. You’ll get a treat a little later.” And they follow Arrealla out of the room.

As this scene fades it is replaced with a transparent image of your father’s face hovering over a map. His head is looking down and he is crying. His tears are falling onto the map and turn into bright pin points of light landing somewhere in the Storval Plateau …

Kel and Donamira all looked shocked and a bit embarrassed at the graphic nature of the vision. Jobi also appeared a bit shocked but not as much as the others. Zerak just stared forward, meeting Zola’s gaze whenever the assimar looked at him, but said nothing for a long time. Then when Zola said something about it, all Zerak said was, “All you have to do is ask.” It took Zola a few moments before reacting, but she soon recovered and asked the group for help in tracking this Arrealla and her Afterlife Machine down. Everyone quickly agreed that this was something important to look into, even as Jobi mentioned that the time off was nice and seemed too short for her. Zola brought out a map of the world and they planned their travel route to the Storval Plateau.

The first part of the journey would see the heroes on horseback for a few days till they reached the Storval Stairs. At this point Asphodel had her henchmen take the horses and wagons back to her castle and made it known that Donamira was to be obeyed as if she herself were giving the orders. Then the group spent the next day climbing up to the top of the Stairs where the air was noticeably drier and hotter, even as night descended upon them. From here on out, they would travel by foot and limited flight.

For the next two days they traveled North, following the Iron Peaks mountain range, until they made their way to the northern edge of the range and were able to follow the Lampblack river east as far as the eastern shore of Lake Skotha. There they now had to head straight east into the desert where their next way-point would be the Storval River. After about a day’s travel east of the lake, our heroes encountered a massive sandstorm. I moved so quickly that Zerak did not have time to cast a shelter spell and so they had to resort to hunkering down in the sand and covering themselves with blankets, tarps, whatever they had on hand. Jobi was very familiar with these types of storms and warned everyone to cover their faces as much as possible to avoid sand and other debris getting into their eyes and lungs. Zerak had difficulty getting himself completely covered before the storm hit and suffered a bit of damage from inhaling sand.

Hours later, the storm had subsided and Zola and Jobi were able to help Zerak recover from the damage to his lungs. The next day they were now within territory that some of the locals guarded jealously. The group was attacked by some strange looking barbaric creatures that Zerak and Zola recognized as Trox – large 6 armed, cloven hoofed, and ill-tempered creatures that could burrow through the sand. The battle with them was relatively short, especially when Asphodel lost control of herself and went into one of her rages. Fortunately this time, there were no party members within thirty feet of her after she mutilated the Trox she was fighting. This allowed her to regain composure in only a few rounds time. Zola was nearby to remove her fatigue so she could still be able to travel for the rest of the day. Asphodel had decided not to recall her eidolon after the rage, just so she could get a rest from the powerful feelings she had when it was summoned to her. Jobi showed some concern for Asphodel’s well-being after this latest episode of uncontrollable rage and spoke with her at some length about it. Though nothing was able to be resolved, the conversation did let Asphodel know that her friends were concerned about her.

Now that is was getting quite a bit hotter the further they ventured into the desert lands, they made a plan to break up their travel to allow them to rest and shelter from the hottest part of the day while still being able to make decent travel each day. But this required them to travel some of the time during the night when possibly other predators were out and about.

The next evening brought another attack by some more locals. This time they accidentally walked into a nest of seps – large armored snakes. While most of the party saw them in time not to be surprised by them, Zerak was pretty blind to them until they struck him with their sharp, poison-filled fangs. The four babies were around 7 feet long and at first the battle did not seem to be much of a problem. That is, until the parents showed up. The two fully grown seps were all of thirty feet long and had very nasty bites and poison. The group also found out that as they wounded the seps, they had acid-laced blood and had to dodge out of the way of the blood backsplashes in order to not get burned by it. In addition, their poison had a bad side effect of draining their victims’ endurance. Blackwell, Zerak and Jobi felt these effects as they were bitten and failed to ward off the poison for a time. Our stalwart band was able to overcome the seps without anyone succumbing to their poisonous bites after a few rounds of battle with them. They did have to use significant amounts of restoration magic to heal the damage to their constitutions caused by the poison, but it wasn't a big concern since they were nearly done traveling for the day anyway and rest would replenish their magical abilities. Our heroes only traveled a little distance from this last encounter before settling in for the rest of the night.

Next week we will continue the adventures as the group wakes – ready for another day of travel, and hopefully, finding Arrealla’s domicile without too much more time or difficulty…

No comments: