After the events of Liberty’s siege, Silas was taken by Belladonna after claiming he would fulfill her vision for him and long as she helped save the city from slaughter. After leaving a horde of demons behind for the Farmonian army to deal with, they held a private conversation, where she introduced the Babau assistant she had taken under her wing: Grigori. In the Abyss, he would have been as any other Babau, save for the fact he could teleport others rather than just himself and some possessions. Not only that, but against ones will as well. This ability made him a prodigy among demonkind, but due to being a simple Babau, he would had simply died in the struggles for him, had not Belladonna found him. Since his release (which Tallum had accomplished long ago), he had been groomed to be on par with even the greatest demons.
And in speaking of Tallum, that was Belladonna’s first wish: to have Tallum free from the dungeons of Port Onus. She had long ago given him a gift she intended him to use, and in the coming Chaos to follow, that gift would prove to be most useful. Given that Silas had already made plans to free Tallum along with Jaynus, that he was going to receive assistance in that endeavor was most welcome. This assistance came in the form of Grigori, who immediately pondered if there would be a form of payment to him. Knowing that they would call upon Mac to assist him, Grigori pondered if he would be able to attain Yondalla’s Mercy as payment, for it would a horrible thing to be teleported over the ocean. Silas said Mac would likely refuse, to which Grigori asked why didn’t he assist in convincing Mac, seeing as it would benefit him in the long run, to which Silas said that he would at least make an attempt.
Seeking out Jaynus first, they discerned his location via Belladonna’s circlet, and found him in Incarnum, apparently free of whatever charge the Inevitable who took him for back in Liberty. In summary: the Inevitable was in the right to seek Jaynus, for there was indeed a violation of the Law, but the Law of Incarnum was being manipulated and pushed aside by powerful leaders within the city. Given that Jaynus came forward to face the Law as the Inevitable requested, its duties were complete, and it rode off to find other transgressors of Law.
Next were Zaden and Mac, who were still in Liberty attempting to rebuild the city after the assault. They were aided in this endeavor by Slingham (Dragon Riders and Protectors), which was working with Loard Holdstien (raised from death by Zaden, along with his cohorts) to make things more civilized in the city. And while the populace was against such ideals, they were willing to take on any help given. Mac took great offense to the presence of Grigori, who had helped and hurt him in the past when Belladonna once commissioned Mac to kill Loard. Silas made use of his relationship with Mac (and took back his Ring of the Phoenix), saying Grigori was there to assist in freeing Tallum from the dungeons within Port Onus. Concurring with this, Grigori explained they had at least two weeks to prepare for the prison break, given he needed proper contact with allies in the city, and the marching Farmonian army needed to pass before they could risk such an attack. Till then, Grigori’s services were at their disposal, for as a demonic prodigy capable of bringing others with him when he teleported, he could quite literally take them anywhere and whenever they wanted.
Silas made the most of this ability, going back to Smallville to retrieve Dimble and made sure Walerby was keeping the container of Isgarik safe while he was away. He also traveled to the Way of the Shalm south of Port Onus (Marria’s assistance, for Grigori said he’d never been there), to buy a scroll of Fire Seeds. They were immediately set upon by animals, elementals and druids, who were not keen on having sudden visitors in their otherwise small (yet powerful) collective. After transactions of the scroll took place, Silas pondered on their thoughts to the presence of Slingham, given they were blotting out the life giving sun, and were using Farmonia (whom they loathed). The Shalm claimed indifference to the presence of Slingham, for they were actively using their own druids to supply sustenance to the wildlife. That Farmonia still existed was a stain to the Shalm, given their past alliance, but given that the pact had since been broken, what they did in regards to them mattered on the actions of others.
Mac had recently noticed his shadow was acting erratically under the shadow of Slingham, and recalled he was still cursed with whatever he wished for over a year before. Hoping to be rid of his curse so he could make the best of his abilities (and not create shadows in the process), Mac went to the ground troops Slingham had within Liberty and asked to see if any of their spellcasters could free him from his cursed shadow. Explaining what Mac had was beyond what their spellcasters on the ground could do, they asked if he would be alright with coming with them to the mainland, to which he agreed. Once on the mainland, however, soldiers immediately took note of Mac who had escaped during an attack over a month ago, and set upon him. Mac was only able to escape once again via the assistance of Marria.
With Slingham now aware of his presence in Liberty, Mac went straight to Randall Thay, who explained his shadow had become a conduit to the Plane of Shadow. While all shadows touched the Plane, Mac’s shadow had become attuned to it, and was transferring it power through him, making shadow monsters of the slain Mac left behind. To free Mac, Randall simply needed the proper payment and would call for a Miracle from Boccob (Saint Cuthbert didn’t realize he prepared more spells than necessary when allowed to do so). After calling out to Boccob, Mac felt as if something was ripping from him as his shadow flailed wildly, eventually separating from his body completely. The shadow became solid as if a real live shadow, and ran from Mac before it could be slain.
Aside from selling and buying new gear, other small events included Zaden gathering his men to find a building for which to set up shop, intending to make use of the spoils of war and his own goods once things were settled. Another involved Jaynus drinking resentfully at how Slingham and the One True Way would likely outlaw everything he appreciated. Grigori also made a move to ask for the sling held by Mac, which Belladonna had known about for months, but could not seek it for reasons unexplained. If Mac gave him the sling, maybe he would make sure he was accurate with his teleports, or even more, gain more power from him in the long run. Mac refused, stating it was a symbol and relic of his people, and even if he wasn’t using it, he was going to defend it at all costs. Grigori laughed, saying at least he tried to pull some wealth for his own, given that he was going to assist them anyway.
Plans and preparations in order, Grigori dropped them off within a bar that doubled as a church to Olidammara. He explained contacts they had within would lead them to Tallum, and left them within the dark room. Not long after Grigori left, a man named Faine came in, revealing himself to be an associate of Tallum’s past. He has once “owned” Tallum, and other gangsters took note of his skills and “coerced” Faine to sell him to them. Faine had a special place for Tallum in his heart, however, so when he heard Tallum was within Port Onus’s dungeon, he immediately went to work to break him out. To assist them in their goal was also Iam Noone, who had cured himself of his self imposed blindness (he would never allow anyone to heal him before). Having cut all ties to the Way of the Shalm, Iam needed to see where he was going if he was going to be any assistance to them in saving Tallum, whom he felt responsible for in leaving behind on their way to the Order.
As Faine explained it, Tallum was within the deepest part of the prison dungeons, which were a select number of cells given to the worst criminals of the land…usually. Sometimes they were too dangerous to be killed, couldn’t be killed, were merely held on ransom or similar reason, and in the case of Tallum…left to rot. The only one’s who had jurisdiction to meddle with who went in or out of the cells were the city officials…or Dravo Madaras, whose hand in trade and control of the Assassin’s Guild put many officials under his thumb. Given Dravo was now dead and the city was now under control of Farmonia and the Church of Hextor, there was no telling what would happen to Tallum after this point, so getting him out was top priority.
They were lead through the Church of Olidammara to a passage that went through the sewer and eventually into the black market district, which sold goods that weren’t very legal in terms of commerce. Due to the coming of Law, there wasn’t much business to be had these days (though the Assassin’s Guild seemed to continue as usual). However, the black market was kept around due to the fact it doubled as the entrance to the city prison and dungeons, which was where they needed to go to. Faine told them to wait a moment while he caused a diversion, after which he expected them to dash into the prison and bust Tallum out.
The party was left alone for several minutes, and during the wait they got anxious and decided to check on the prison their own, invisible from sight via Marria’s Mass Invisibility. They found the entrance officially guarded by two men, but there were several more around the area, making sneaking in with invisibility otherwise impossible. This was verified when they all tried to walk in together, and their movements were noted by at least one of the guards, alerting the rest. They whispered conversation about possibly attacking them after casting Slow to make them otherwise powerless. Before they could act, the voice of Tallum could be heard crying out from the black market, claiming they would never take him alive. All the guards except the two official ones rushed to the market to see what the fuss was about, even though they were still leery of what they did or did not see.
Seeing this as an opportunity to make use of his skills, Mac silently walked by both the guards and into the prison. Other members of the party got restless, being unable to see or hear how things went, and eventually acted on their own. The guards took notice of their invisible presence and cried out, which was noted in the prison by Mac as a Hill Giant brandishing a powerful looking greatsword took a hidden position next to the stairway (failing to notice Mac completely). Despite the alert the guards gave, they were quickly subdued, and Mac eventually came back to them to explain the situation about the Jailer. With only Silas, Dimble and Zaden visible, they thought it a good idea to cause enough uproar down the steps to pull the Jailer’s attention to them, rather than those who were still invisible.
Mac took position behind the Jailer (once again failing to notice Mac), while the party sang and sung jokes, hoping to also calm and/or dissuade the Jailer. The Hill Giant was amused, but took his job seriously, and immediately attacked Silas when he was within reach, almost killing him in that one blow. Mac attempted a back-stab upon this attack, but the Jailer’s full plate proved too strong. With the party otherwise stuck in the doorway to the prison in fear of the Jailer’s blows, Iam Noone and the other invisible members did their best to move along without the notice of Jailer, while the rest soon realized they may have miscalculated their enemy. This point was slammed in all the more then Zaden was not only hit with a strike when he came in, but was cleaved in half after the Jailer focused his attention on him before going to Jaynus.
Upon seeing what had happened to Zaden and what would likely happen to Jaynus in turn, Iam cast Barkskin upon Jaynus from his staff, claiming he had no more use to hold onto the precious few charges anymore, and that while it would likely serve himself better later on, he felt he was not going to survive this delve…which was alright with him. The party continued to keep their distance from the Jailer and assist Jaynus as they could, for he was indeed the only thing keeping the Hill Giant away from the rest. More deathly blows were exchanged, till eventually Jailer was knocked back into the jail cells, near death, but finished off by Mac.
The jail cells eventually erupted with sound of hopeful freedom, and the party thought it a good idea to release the prisoners to cause enough panic so that guards would be kept away while they continued searching for Tallum. Jaynus attempted to use the keys upon Jailer’s person, but was immediately shown futile as Mac opened up almost all the doors in as much time it would take Jaynus to find the correct key for a single door. In total there were 27 rooms, which came out to a grand total of 96 assorted humanoids, 2 ogres, and 1 troll. Thinking the troll (given the common name William) could be useful to them, they managed to convince him to follow with the greatsword and full plate worn by Jailer, along with the promise of more treasure in the future. They attempted this with the rest, but the humanoids just wanted treasure and no risk, and they had no extra weapons or armor for the ogres (and were disgusted at hearing Silas had a supposed mistress, though not knowing who it was).
Taking notice of vents which brought air in from the surface, the party realized they still could go deeper into the prison and find the dungeon, for the vents went deeper as well. Going down a large spiral staircase, they came upon a large double door, which Mac immediately noted as being trapped with Dragon Bile, wiping it clean before attempting to unlock the door. The lock was one which Mac had never seen before, and it could be said the one who made it was an artist. However, Mac’s skill had since surpassed such locks, and the door was open soon enough. Before them was the dungeon, which was a thirty foot cube room. In the center was a solid column which held up the ceiling and a platform balcony, of which platforms went to the vents the party noted above. thirty feet down were a total of 22 grates, of which were covered by thousands of vipers.
Hoping not to set off any traps as they walked, Mac took the lead and the party followed behind slowly. Despite this, a Hezrou appeared upon one of the four platforms in front of the vents, and began to attack the party. Once again bottle necked upon a walkway, the party threw caution to the wind and spread out into the room, quickly slaying the Hezrou before it did too much damage. Dimble eventually began a search of his own, and upon inspecting near the central column, he realized it was an illusion, and was actually an open space occupied by a Marilith, posed to cause more chaos as it remained hidden in the illusory column. With her cover blown, the Marilith immediately cast Blade Barrier around her upon the platform, not only severely injuring members of the party, but also making attempts to get at her or away dangerous.
Iam Noone was one of those damaged the most, and attempted to jump away to another platform. He not only came up short and began to fall into the viper swarm, but was struck by one of the Marilith’s longswords, which left bleeding wounds upon his person. Mac immediately jumped in and struck, causing severe damage via the assistance of Zaden upon the other side. Not appreciating this, Mac was almost slain by the Marilith’s vicious looking blade, while her other blades came to bear upon Jaynus and Zaden. The party whittled her down, many spells and attacks thwarted, and she was slain by once again from a mighty blow by Jaynus, cleaving her serpentine body.
Despite the death of the Marilith, the Blade Barrier still stood, closing off the rest of the party from those within (height of barrier all the way to the ceiling). Mac lay upon the the floor dying, and Alton was about to jump through to save him till Eddie (already within the barrier) came forward and healed him himself. Dimble cast forth a phantom steed and pulled Iam Noone away from the vipers, then using his Staff of Fire to cast Wall of Fire and incinerate the vipers so they could safely investigate. While those within the Blade Barrier waited for the spell to end (still several minutes to go), those outside climbed down a rope to investigate the grates.
The grates were built solid into the stone, with no physical means to bypass them other than breaking them or some sort of magic. Under each of these was a shaft that went 20 feet down to a cell, which was flooded with water and the corpses of eaten snakes. Almost each of these contained a prisoner, which could be seen looking up at them with wonder and hope of escape. Each prisoner clamored for their assistance, and when asked what it is they did wrong, it eventually sunk in they all either were victims of circumstance, or really deserved to be down in the dungeons.
The first prisoner to take Silas’s eye was a Pixie, who claimed to be under arrest till she complete a job for those who deemed her be put in the dungeon. Silas called for William, who said he took care of a guard who happened to be checking on things up above, and they likely only have a few minutes until they were attacked by not only guards, but Farmonian soldiers. All the same, they brought him down to crack open the grate, which the Pixie flew out of and pointed them to other grates after it opened. She pointed out one which held a Satyr friend, and another which held a Copper Dragon, soon to grow too big for his cell. To free him, Silas made use of Stone Shape to widen the shaft, which the Copper Dragon gratefully climbed out of.
Thinking there were more prisoners like them which deserved freedom (and potential allies for future endeavors), Silas began to search each grate, much to the annoyance of Mac, who claimed they were only there for Tallum and not for any other prisoner (the majority of which better left inside). As if almost in response, a Mindflayer Sorcerer spoke up to them, asking if they intended to free him or not. From there, they discovered a multitude of other prisoners: a Harpy Archer (high ranking leader), a Barbarian claiming to be the son of Krum Stoneheart, an Orc Chieftain dedicated to Gruumsh, a Weretiger, a Lizardfolk Chieftain of the swamplands north of Port Onus, a Frost Giant Jarl from a tribe north of Spira, a Gauth, three assorted men and four assorted women (one of which claimed to be scarred as it hid her face). Aside from what looked like otherwise two empty cells, they also found Buggle and Chatter, who were imprisoned not to long ago in an attempt by Farmonia to take out any resistance from Restful Valley before they arrived.
Making good on the words of Mac and focus on Tallum, they thought to investigate the two seemingly empty cells, seeing as every other cell had a prisoner. However, soldiers began to arrive in the dungeon to stop them, but were immediately stopped by a Wall of Force from Marria, followed by a Wall of Fire conjured behind it. With resistance otherwise nullified for the time being, Silas cast Spider Climb upon himself to climb down into the shaft after it was opened. The first cell held nothing by a gray ooze, which had digested the occupant of the cell at some unknown point. The second contained the one they were looking for, Tallum, who had been resting and was otherwise angered to see who had finally taken the time to come and bust him out.
Finally out of the cell, Tallum asked for a weapon so he could get some payback to whoever he came across in the prison. Jaynus inquired as to what happened to him since Dravo took him from them over a year ago, and Tallum explained he was tortured day in and out. It was all for the sake of the ruby teardrop he had in his possession, and no matter how many times he threw it to them to make the pain stop, it would always return to him. The torture eventually became so extreme Tallum broke, believing the ruby teardrop was Dravo’s all along, and after it finally came into Dravo’s possession without leaving, Tallum was left to rot in the dungeons below Port Onus at Dravo’s orders. Upon hearing Dravo was no dead, Tallum was ecstatic, though rather miffed he couldn’t do the act himself. There were still plenty of his supporters around, however, and that fact made him smile.
With Tallum free and their mission complete and the Blade Barrier finally down, Mac started bringing up everyone from below, intent on leaving. Silas, however, looked at the remaining grates and had William assist him in breaking out every other prisoner, and those prisoners help him in turn. The majority took their breakout cautiously, with the most oblivious of what was happening being Buggle and Chatter, who were hugging each other through tears. The more sinister of the bunch looked around for an opportunity to turn the situation in their favor, but after each new prisoner released and noting the power the party held, held their hand as they assisted in the jailbreak. Case in point with the last prisoner to be pulled out, who was not a horribly scarred woman but a Medusa, who understood using her gaze upon them would likely kill her in the long run. To make sure they knew who it was they should thank for their freedom, Silas made sure they knew well his name and the Order of the Phoenix.
Through all this, Dimble’s Walls of Fire continued to keep the soldiers at bay, and with every possible prisoner now free, Silas planned to fight his way through the soldiers to the surface. Mac attempted the idea of possibly going through the vents and climbing to the surface, but Silas ordered Dimble to lower the Wall and have everyone charge. They fought through well over one hundred soldiers, all the way back to the Church of Olidammara, where the fights spilled out into the streets of Port Onus. In the Chaos around them, the party had a moment to figure out what was to be done next, only to find not only Grigori upon the entrance to the Church, but Belladonna as well. Iam Noone became enraged upon seeing her, and began to cast from his Staff a summoning spell. Silas immediately subdued Iam, eventually knocking him out cold when he continued to resist.
Belladonna laughed, and exclaimed how very beautiful this all was to Mac, who starred at her with hatred. Saying they had best be on their way, Grigori would take care of all of them, while she tended to the form of Iam Noone, capable of being towed by her magic now that he was unconscious. And thus she took Iam Noone to some unknown location, while Grigori whisked them away from Port Onus, Tallum once more free to roam the lands.
Grigori took them to the presence of Dion, who not only seemed to be expecting them, but knew Grigori (if he knew it was a Babau demon in disguise was unknown). He quickly identified all the treasure they gathered while while Dimble expressed dissatisfaction over what they did, saying he had been Silas’s friend to derail him from such actions. Silas explained if Dimble wanted to leave it was fine with him, for he now had a Troll (William) to do what he wanted. After Dimble severed his relationship with Silas, the ranger said he would be by to see Walerby to pick the Container soon enough, to which Dimble paused and eventually said maybe he would keep it. Dimble made it clear where each of them stood by further explaining Walerby followed orders from him rather than Silas, and was in fact the only one who could recall the Container from the Ethereal Plane, putting Silas in a difficult position.
Belladonna eventually caught up with them and explained Tallum had a skill she taught him long ago, and that skill could best be used against Farmonia in the war by targeting influential people in the country (politicians, generals, etc.), whose deaths would cause enough disruption to the invasion to hopefully give the other side a chance. That Tallum took this offer was unknown, but he left with Jaynus toward Thermopoly where the Teleportation Circle to Liberty rested, just in case the inkling got to him. Meanwhile, Silas went with Grigori while Dimble and Mac went toward Smallville to make sure all was well with their home. And Zaden, feeling he was most useful in the forefront of the battles to come, sought out Viktor so he could somehow absolve his crimes, for they kept him from Corneria: the focal point of Slingham’s attack.
News of the prison break eventually reached Viktor, and warrants were written for the arrest of Silas, Jaynus, Mac, Zaden and their companions for questioning. Mac, Dimble and their companions were quickly released, under the authority they would help the kingdom and recapture the criminals, or be placed under arrest for their crimes.