How U Mine 4 Fish?

While the party had originally intended to follow the rest of the Farmonian army on the road to Smallville, Johnathan Multanious requested they leave the Iron Giant behind so that it could fortify their position against the opposition at Wilson’s Point. Zacharaia and Zaden Holdstein were for this idea, while Luvais Ziegler and Sig Ollivander (with a little coaxing) found the idea sound. They reasoned against the Iron Giant’s stay because of the ease at which they could take care of the Farmonian forces, especially if they made use of the Anaxim again (after powering up the heart, that is). In terms of the pace of the army, Johnathan confirmed the Farmonian army just passed through Kancun and would likely reach Smallville within a week or two. In addition to this army, the chance of the Giant being stolen while the party left it in Wilson’s Point felt too risky (despite Johnathan’s oath as a Paladin it would come to no harm).

On the subject of powering up the heart of the Iron Giant, the party eventually realized that Sig had an inkling to how that was done, and after no answers decided to question the Encompassing Mind itself. With the verification that the Heart was fueled by souls, Johnathan made it clear that such an act was unbearably evil, for it took souls away from the cycle of life, destroying one’s reward at the end of their life all for the sake of a weapon (powerful that it was). To fight do evil ever for the good of all was still an evil act, and damned the soul of whomever chose such an action.

Their discussion lasted through the day, and they needed to shelve it for the next. Before resting, they made sure to give their spoils of their fight through the Iron Giant to the city, to which Johnathan said he would give proper value for (which was enough for a small kingdom). During the night, Zaden had a nightmare in which he saw Liberty burning and thriving with undead, appearing to be under the command of Loard Kat. Zaden awoke fatigued, as if he did not sleep one bit. The next morning they gathered to continue their talk, and discovered Sig was not present after several minutes. Recalling that he left to study the spellbooks obtained from the Farmonian wizards, they rushed to his room and found him in the midst of reading such a book, his body turned to stone. Not having any magic prepared at this time, the party returned to Corneria to seek immediate aid.

They first sought Randall Thay, who explained he did not have any proper spell prepared, but said Viktor could possibly assist them. Realizing the great deeds the party had accomplished, Viktor called out to Saint Cuthbert to restore Sig, who survived the process of having his flesh restored. After this, Zaden shared his dream with Viktor, who explained that he had been in communication with Loard Holdstein, and that the city was otherwise fine (save being surrounded by Slingham troops.)

In addition, Viktor explained what he found out about the Order of the Still Mind: they were a Material Plane bound monastery of Githzerai, whose whereabouts were unknown and dealings with the world were slim. In terms of who could possibly know the most about Githzerai (besides Razeil Kashar), Viktor told them to see Father Elijah (who raised Razeil). Elijah was hesitant on sharing what he possibly knew, but relented when he was informed of the serious circumstances which didn’t allow time for prudence.

He brought forth a coded Githzerai journal, which detailed the thoughts and life of a member of the Order they sought, and was none other than Raziel’s father (also named Raziel). He was a member of a Rrakkma (hunting party which killed Mind Flayers), and was employed as not only the spy, but the team’s assassin. As such, it was revealed he had spent years training and earning the trust of the Assassin’s Guild, honing his skills to slay the Rrakkma’s foes (a fact Elijah had hoped to keep from Raziel). The last few entries spoke of a plot which put the Rrakkma in danger, and Raziel (senior) was on the run with his son (conceived with a member of the Rrakkma). He would place the child in a location known to the Rrakkma to be picked up, and be on his way. Other than a few drops of old blood on the paper, this was the last placed before Raziel (junior) was found before the Rrakkma could get to him first. Other than that, words spoke of and alluded to the Order of the Still Mind, but didn’t give any specific information, other than the fact it was being built, and resided in the air. Elijah made sure to point out he was aware of how the Orbs of the Elements resides near gates to their respective planes, but that the Orb of Air was nowhere near the gate to the Elemental Plane of Air. After that, Sig brought them all back to Wilson’s Point via a Teleport he had memorized from his last batch of spells.

Still stuck on a choice of what to do with the Iron Giant, Johnathan reminded them that whatever the party had decided, he would accept, for the Iron Giant was their reward to do with as they wish (though he couldn’t deny he wished to have the Giant stay). Split down the middle, the party eventually decided to flip a coin, and whichever side shown up would decide their path. As such, they loaded up into the Iron Giant (sealing all physical entry with nonmagical fire) with Cornerian soldiers and marched off to defeat the rest of the Farmonian army.

The next day, the Iron Giant (controlled by one of the Cornerian soldiers) walked near Shire, which appeared to have unusual animal activity. Upon closer inspection while walking by, it appeared the area was invested not only with rats, but wererats as well. The soldier asked if they should attack or at the very least investigate, to which the party said catching Farmonia’s forces were priority. They passed the area without resistance, and the next day, everyone began to feel an odd sensation, as if everything felt wrong around them, as if something were missing. The feeling was soon forgotten, for a horde of dragon and dragon riders descended upon them from the sky.

Atop the shoulders of the Iron Giant, Striker devastated a swath of dragons with a Fire Storm, while Sig did so with a Cone of Cold, all while the controller used the Iron Giant against groups of them at once. All attacks were being focused on the dragon riders where possible, so that the dragons could run free and possibly turn on the army they used to serve. Eventually, Striker summoned a group of Avorals and even a Solar for assistance, the latter of which was ordered to cast Miracle to break the bonds the dragon riders had with their dragons. Immediate chaos broke out as dragons turned on their riders, ran off from battle, or even continued as if nothing happened. All the same, the tide immediately turned in their favor (despite the damage the Iron Giant was taking from the assault).

However, the Encompassing Mind notified the party that individuals had arrived in the heart of the Iron Giant, and when Sig went to investigate, saw that it was King Jörg accompanied by Ulrich (who in turn was accompanied by a Trumpet Archon). They had arrived via a Gate, and Sig immediately retreated to wait for assistance. Zaden teleported to the room instantly via the security cloak of the Iron Giant, and Ulrich set the Trumpet Archon upon him, which was soon on the defensive and required a Blade Barrier to keep himself save from attacks. Ulrich went to one of the shoulders to cast a Flame Strike, killing almost everyone in the room (Zach unaffected), and destroying one of the orb pedestals which made the stairway to the brain descend. Jörg meanwhile opened another Gate to call forth an immense Marut called Kershaw. Apologizing for bringing him here when he already had a stated purpose, but his assistance was needed in destroying the heart, which Kershaw began immediately.

Outside, an invisible Felix landed near Striker, asking him to stand down. Refusing, Felix cast Righteous Might intent on facing him in battle. Striker then gathered all his summoned creatures together to go into the heart, an effort Felix could not stop even after striking with his sword. The summons were set upon Jorg, who immediately countered by casting Banishment, sending over half the creatures back to their home plane (including the Solar). Sig finally came out of his room now that backup arrived, and cast Disintegrate at the Marut, who was immediately effected, putting him on the defensive. After another Disintegrate and even a Polar Ray, Kershaw became a pile a rubble, which put Jorg into a rage, saying they had slain his brother’s intended killer.

Over in the other shoulder, a scuffle could be heard, for Felix had somehow arrived and slew all who came at him, destroying the other pedastal in the process. The stairway to the brain now open, Ulrich began his climb, but was tripped by Striker who called upon divine strength to assist him. Striker and Zaden took position around him, while the Trumpet Archon went right back to Zaden, who was also the focus of Felix as he entered the room, casting a Searing Light at the warrior.

Meanwhile, outside the controller of the Iron Giant contended with the swarm of dragons which were still assaulting him, all the while dealing with Felix’s dragons, Wolfgang and Mor. Wolfgang was eventually grappled and crunched between the Giant’s hands, its body dropped to the ground, while More cried out in rage as he landed on the Giant’s shoulder.

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