How U Mine 4 Fish?

The Will of the King Part 2
Invasion from the Astral

During all this, Razeil Kashar was rushing from the lower portions of the Iron Giant, arriving from the chamber of the Encompassing Mind ready for battle. Ulrich attempted to stop him from his position on the ground, but was rushed by Luvais Ziegler, who asked to to stop and surrender. Upon Ulrich’s refusal, Striker cast Harm upon him, killing him instantly and rotting his body beyond recognition. Felix and King Jörg were appalled at this action, but both went back to focusing at the battle at hand. As such, Felix rushed at Raziel, and discovered how dangerous the Githzerai’s kama was as it left bleeding wounds upon his person. In retaliation, Felix sundered the weapon in a single stroke before focusing his attack against the Githzerai.

Meanwhile, King Jorg cast Divine Power and began casting a collection of Spiritual Weapons to deal with certain members of the party. Three were set upon Zacharaia, two on Sig Ollivander (whose Mirror Images and Displacement took up the brunt of the blows), and one upon Striker, who was his target for the battle (perhaps because he was a traitor to the kingdom). After Zaden Holdstein took slew the Trumpet Archon, he mad sure to pair of with Striker and his summoned Avorals to take on King Jorg.

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The Will of the King Part 1
Centuries of Contingencies Destroyed

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.

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Against the Iron Giant Part 3
The Lord of Rosefield...defeated?

With the Encompassing Mind shut down, the Walls of Force that had previously blocked it, the adamantine platform and ceiling trap door were gone and could thus be explored. A wheel with three gems slots (one filled with a green gem), and after filling it with at least two other gems was found to control the platform movement, as it levitated by magic. With only four people capable of going up the platform at a time, all but Zach got on while he moved the platform up, the trapdoor opening for them when they were about to come upon it. They were immediately set upon by an ambush of Farmonian soldiers, who were backed by a Guardian Construct and a Dire Bear whose bite and claws have been modified with the ancient technology provided by the Iron Giant. One of the Partisans threw a sunrod in the parties direction, which the Dire Bear immediately charged at, pushing members of the party out of the way before destroying the sunrod, then turned its eyes to the party.

Zach immediately lowered the platform just enough so that it could allow him to come through, which unbalanced the Dire Bear, falling upon the platform and pushing off the rest of the party. Zach then rushed through the opening, passing by the bewildered Dire Bear with ease, which Zach then struck until it was almost at death’s door. Striker confronted the Guardian Construct, only to have his weapon torn from his hand, forcing him to pull out a less potent weapon, which still got the job done, and the ancient construct was rubble soon enough. After rushing out of the mess of the battle, Sig began casting his magic, taking out a larger bulk of the ambush party. With a large portion of the ambush now gone, archers from two adjoining rooms rushed forth to assist, though they too were quickly subdued. All the while, the Dire Bear sat in terror, waiting to pounce upon anyone who would attack it. This paid off in the form of Zaden swinging at him, and the warrior was quickly grappled, and they continued to wrestle till one of the party laid a killing blow to the beast.

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Against the Iron Giant Part 2
The Encompassing Mind Watches

Otherwise safely inside the right foot heel of the Iron Giant, the party healed their wounds from the attack. After seeing to his wounds, Thad opened the door to the rest of the foot, but due to the fact he did not disable the trap attached to the door (or at least find the bypass), everyone within the heel was struck with a Flame Strike. In addition, an Ogre Mage (head covered by a hood made of seemingly black mesh) was waiting for someone to come through, throwing a Bead of Force at Thad, and while this did not capture him it hurt even more members of the party.

Almost immediately, the Iron Giant began to move once more, tumbling almost everyone about the foot. The Ogre Mage was unaffected by the rocking of the foot, for it floated just above the floor via its magical flight. Sig grabbed hold of the interior of the Giant’s foot as he grasped for a potion of healing, while the warriors of the party rushed the Ogre, only to be stopped by prone humanoid skeletons it had made invisible (also unaffected by the rocking via being prone). While they struggled to get to the Ogre Mage and remain upright, Striker cast Air Walk upon himself to walk above the floor as well, going straight for the Ogre Mage.

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Against the Iron Giant Part 1
The Devourer Defeated

With the party back in Corneria, they split up and made preparations to find the rest of the Orbs of the Elements. Zach and Raziel went to atone for their sins, the latter losing contact with Pelor for his recent actions with the Drow Queen Camilia. While visiting the church, Father Elijah gave him a gem worth 8000 GP before directing him to Archabald, stating it was made (with assistance from Randall Thay) from the sands Raziel brought from Pelor’s realm. Sig secluded himself and made use of his time to finish writing a magical scroll, while Striker called for a Miracle to discover where the Orb of Water was located, and was told, In the sea between Corneria and Elfland rests a lustful dragon. Thad read the remainder of the books they had gathered from the Retreat, finding they were all cursed before selling them to Randall Thay (not before trying to sell them to two others however). And Xavier broke ties with the group, saying Kord came to him in a vision and said one with the blood of Krum Stoneheart walked the lands, and if his people were to survive they needed a king to rally behind.

They were all eventually summoned by Viktor, who brought them before a chained and beaten Zaden Holdstein, who came to Viktor of his own volition. Due to the fact Zaden had previously attacked and killed Saint Cuthbert guards on more than one occasion (the latter in front of Viktor), he was immediately captured and brought to the court. This action was all the more justified when word had recently been given he participated in a prison break in Port Onus along with Silas, Jaynus, Mac and their companions. Hundreds were killed in the process, and now some of the worst criminals of the neutral zone were wandering the country. Mac and Dimble were cleared yet still under watch, but arrest warrants were still out for Silas and Jaynus (and anyone claiming to be affiliated with the Order of the Phoenix).

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The Prison Break of Tallum
The Order Lives Up to its Name

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.

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The Rouge's Test Part 3
The Drow Queen's Family Reborn

The Mirror versions of Raziel, Zach and Thad quickly went about attacking the party, using their deadliest abilities: Mirror Zach make quick use of his own Orb of Fire and cast Flame Strike upon some grouped members, the most harmed being Sig. Mirror Raziel tried to take advantage of this with a Fire Seed, which Sig luckily dodge due to a casting of Displacement earlier. And Mirror Thad did what he did best, which was rush in with rage and kill whatever stood in front of him.

While caught unaware, the party quickly gathered their wits and pulled a counter attack. While Striker’s attempt to Energy Drain Mirror Raziel failed, the rest of the party managed to damage Mirror Zach and Thad enough for Raziel to slay Mirror Thad with Harm. Zach also managed to grapple Mirror Zach so as to lower his defenses, and was eventually slain in turn. The same fate was shared by Mirror Raziel, who was slain by his normal counterpart. With all the Mirror versions killed, they and all their possessions faded into black mists, leaving them alone in the room.

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The Rouge's Test Part 2
No Love for Love Stories

With the chess battle under way, the party came to the correct conclusion that they needed to follow the rules of chess, but what rules to follow and how they would apply to the match would have to be figured as they fought for their lives. As they discovered, every time they made a violation of the rules, the game board hurt them. The pawns of their side also couldn’t move of their own volition, and required a King to order them (which was Sig Ollivander in this case).

The White Pawns and even their own Black Pawns proved to be the most hindering, for their restricted piece movement sometimes couldn’t be accommodated for the Pawns single-minded actions. Those who weren’t restricted by this were the casters, who made good use of their abilities against the stronger chess pieces and especially the White King, which they had to defeat in order to win. This same strategy was used by the White Set as well, however, with the Bishops casting Flame Strike and the Queen Cone of Cold almost against the entire Black Set. Battered down by the enforced rules and spell assault, Striker sought to instantly end the fight with a Destruction spell, yet it had no effect upon the White King. Sig’s own Disintegrate worked far better, and the White King became a pile of dust after the second ray. This prompted the remainder of the White Set to surrender, but they quickly plane shifted away when the party refused.

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The Rouge's Test Part 1
The Council of Kings calls the Storm

Gathering themselves for teleportation back to Corneria, the party quickly discussed matters with Viktor‘s assistance, who wished their presence on behalf of the kingdom. With the king of Farmonia and the approaching Slingham arriving with allies for the next day’s council, it seemed appropriate for Corneria to show its own mettle. When Striker asked if they would be given proper clothing to represent the country, the assistant said they would be provided for free of charge (as long as they didn’t rough house in them).

Going about their own business, Xavier and Thad went to buy new magic for themselves and Spoony, Sig made use of a token at the brothel given to him by a bouncer he previously tipped, and Zach had Randall Thay remove the Quest put upon him by an Archon as a means to read the Book of Exalted Deeds. More importantly, Neolezreich was given reproach by many of those around him, not just because he was indeed a Black Dragon, but the coming army of dragon riders.

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A Slumbering God Stirs Part 2
The Mercy of the Cudgel

During a night while riding to Berrick’s Expedition, Luvais Ziegler returned to Slingham via word of recall and sought the armor he had Sebastian make for him some weeks ago. The streets around the home he arrived in were abuzz with action, to which Sebastian explained that they were finally at war after so many years. The last war that took place was before Luvais was even born, but now they were ready to fight a new enemy below the floating country: Corneria, allied by Farmonia (which was already defeated). When Sebastian asked if Striker would be joining them, he explained he had unfinished business in another land, but would return soon enough.

Meanwhile, back at the army camp the rest of the party were confronted by soldiers who noticed a large creature who was hiding in the distance watching them. While they had since passed by that location, the creature had continued to follow them since. Seeking to sneak upon the creature, they were clearly noticed by it for it came out to greet them: a large Black Dragon, wearing a cloak and glasses. Introducing itself as Neolezreich, it explained he was a former mount to a dragon rider of Slingham, which used them are their primary fighting force. Slingham had recently fought and defeated Farmonia in the midst of its siege of Liberty, and during the fight his rider was slain, freeing him of the Tattoo of Bondage the rider bore.

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