How U Mine 4 Fish?

Gathering of the Elements Part 2
All That Was, Never Was

Attempts to converse with the master of the Order of the Still Mind were thrown off with anger, and eventually just dismissal when even Zacharaia tried to console him. Through their dialogue, however, they had learned they had defeated the lot of their warriors (killing a portion as well), effectively destroying their structure as an Order. As to the function of their Order, they made a permanent and nearly undetectable base on the Material Plane in the hopes of stopping the efforts of Mind Flayers, who would make a future where in they were the conquerors of reality. If the party really sought the Orb of Air, then they ensured such a future, for taking the Orb would destroy their abode. While he was uncooperative with nearly everyone, Velveeta was able to talk some sense into him, even manage to convince him in assisting them on the hope of rebuilding their order in secret.

Whilst the Master was being reasoned with, Sig Ollivander took the time to search through the dead and unconscious bodies of the Githzerai monks for magical items, seeing them no different than any of the other combatants the party defeated in the past. Razeil Kashar took afront to this, saying that no member of their party would do such a thing as long as he was around, which prompted Sig to teleport away to Corneria. With Sig gone, the rest sought a means to transport the Order of the Still Mind to a location that could not only accomodate them but also keep them secret. They eventually contacted Randall Thay, who revealed he was in Restful Valley, and that they could bring the Githzerai to the church of Wee Jas tended to be Fillian Malls.

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Gathering of the Elements Part 1
An Order Destroyed

The next day, the party was brought forth to King Connery and Viktor once more, and presented a letter to them which they claimed was from King Farook, sent from an envoy who went through the Gate from the previous attack. It read as follows…

Dear “Heroes” of Corneria,

We were introduced during surrender negotiations with Slingham, but I don’t feel we ever truly met, and there’s some misunderstanding. I’m under the impression you all see me as some wretched and unjust tyrant, who deserves to be slaughtered like a pig for countless crimes. An unfitting belief, I’m afraid, and one lacking of vision and determination, but it can be forgiven if you’re finally willing to listen to reason.

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Into the Old Mushroom Kingdom Part 2
The Hand of Hextor makes his move

While Macronian contended with Maya Holdstein, Sig Ollivander mocked the fact Marria was a Halfling as to being the reason as to why her attempts to disintegrate the crushing wall trap failed, and cast two of his own to bypass the remainder of the pressing wall. While that was going on, however, a woman wearing an apron walked up to them. Her name was Velveeta, and she claimed to have woken up in one of the bunks rooms, where she did not originally sleep. While Velveeta didn’t know why she was here, it was likely for a reason, and she thought it was best to assist whomever she found till she could get home.

Back with Mac, Maya Holdstein made it clear (mostly when Zach made attempts to bring more potions of Spider Climb to the party) that she felt uncomfortable with bringing anymore people into the room other than Mac, and was willing to fight due to being threatened. With a little convincing, however, she was willing to allow at least two others to discuss matters with her. Maya explained that she intent on having her presence in this locale otherwise kept a secret, and that her being seen didn’t sit well with her…even though their appearance could possibly be of use. The door she was in front of was secured and trapped in such a way that she was otherwise hesitant to open, and should Mac be of proper use, she would be willing to allow them one of the artifacts held within. Otherwise, they would need to convince her they would be silent about her presence in order to walk away unscathed, because while she was certain they could overwhelm her, she also knew they couldn’t guarantee all of them leaving alive.

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Into the Old Mushroom Kingdom Part 1
Vecna's "Hand" Discovered

After gathering some of Elan Gwaren’s faithful soldiers, the party was able to speak and settle things with the king. Aside from making sure allies were on the way to assist Corneria, Macronian inquired about having Wildflowers rebuilt. Elan explained he had no qualms with doing so, but with the current plague spreading about, open travel had become too dangerous. In the meantime, Elan would protect the Halflings Mac brought with, and Mac would assist the party in their endeavors. Marria then prompty teleported them back to Corneria.

They returned to Viktor to report in, and met on the way an Inevitable named Erred Tour. As Viktor explained to them, Erred Tour was part of head security for the Fortress of Disciplined Enlightenment, a location in Mechanus which contained codex’s of the greatest laws the cosmos held. As such, acquiring Erred Tour services required something more than a simple sum of gold, but something to demand it forgo duties it was built to uphold. And so to the end that security would be tight and their army properly supported, Viktor offered the Inevitable the Book of Everlasting Divine. Since Erred Tour arrived, it had begun to Dimensionally Lock locations within the city to prevent planar travel (along with other details).

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The Elite of Elfland Strike Part 2
A King Hidden in Shame

While the party was dealing with the chaos at Elan Gwaren’s castle, Macronian, Marria and Alton Tealeaf were arriving to see the king. What remained of their village was waiting within Corellon’s Shield, and they hoped to gain assistance from Elan in transplanting and retrieving their land from the ruin it was likely in. The obviously didn’t expect to be walking in on a battle, and were soon bombarded by spells from invisible attackers above. Mac and Sig Ollivander quickly recognized each other, and the gray elf brought the halfling up to speed.

Meanwhile, Zaden Holdstein rushed at the casters who struck him with lightning, activating the same traps which affected Razeil’s side earlier (who was attacked by a wizard as well, which was quickly slain by a Flame Strike). He slew the Randian Wizard with a single blow, forcing the other one to teleport in retreat. The wizard Thad attacked did the same action, while the one Zacharaia held was beaten into unconsciousness. The majority of the party began to follow in Raziel’s direction, who discovered an opening which housed the rubbish, trash and waste of the castle, which he quickly passed for fear of checking dirty of at the very least getting the smell on him. Zach managed to pass by him and run ahead, which had soldiers and wizards waiting for someone to spring a trap, encasing Zach inside the room with bars of magical force. Attempts to Dispel the magic had failed on Raziel’s account, though Zach was able to escape due to his martial and spiritual training. He killed two of the four wizards assaulting him and the two mercenaries assisting them, whilst the other two teleported away.

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The Elite of Elfland Strike Part 1
The Githyanki retreat with their Prize

Whilst the rest of the party was working to get to the Planar Raider, Zaden Holdstein cleared out the Githyanki forces upon the ground, noting Chromatic Dragons fighting and losing against some of these forces. He let a few die against the assault instead of assisting, but eventually saved a White Dragon. Introducing itself as Bubba (given to him by his former Rider), he was doing his best to fight off the Githyanki, for Slingham was his home after all. Noting that the bigger fight was above them, Bubba allowed Zaden to ride atop him, and flew up to assist the party.

When Zaden arrived, Aksalič was still making the rounds around the ship, attacking those he could. Zacharaia began to direct the ship down to the land below, which prompted the Black Dragon to rip through the already widening hole of the ship, his nature making him immune to his own Acid Fog. Razeil Kashar and Sig Ollivander prepared for Aksalič to come to them, for they obviously had no escape, save a magical one by either of them. Backing them into a corner, the Black Dragon was impressed by Sig’s gall, who had not only offered him treasure in the past, but bypassed his magical resilience, and even managed to survive his physical assault. Realizing neither of them would survive another assault, Sig attempted to Teleport Raziel and himself back to Corneria, only to have Aksalič crush his body, as if the Dragon knew exactly what the wizard was doing despite his level of concentration. With Sig now unconscious, it was Raziel who took them away from the ship, and into the courtroom of Viktor within Corneria.

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The Will of the King Part 4
A New Way is Found

The party attempted a few other methods to solve the Endless Maze, but all attempts failed. Razeil Kashar eventually cast Detect Magic, discovering that the entryways around the grid of 3 × 3 rooms were enchanted with conjuration magic, which Sig Ollivander deduced could have been planar magic which warped the rooms in an endless loop. Knowing where the edge of the grid now started, Luvais Ziegler had the Solar cast Greater Dispel Magic upon one such entryway, which dispelled the magic momentarily, showing a path leading out of the Endless Maze.

The path lead to a giant circular room surrounded with columns, the center of which the floor appeared to be glass (there was actually no floor), and a blue light flowed from below. In the center of this “floor” was a silver cross with a red gem at its center. Attempts from the party to search or enter this space were impeded, a magic not even the Solar could dispel. Striker, however, could freely walk upon this space, and upon stepping on the gem of the silver cross, blue light filled the room, and from within the mind of Striker a voice asked, “What is the will of the way?” Thinking that King Jörg’s death ended the One True Way, saying as such only prompted the voice to ask, “Then what is the new will of the way?”

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The Will of the King Part 3
Into the Heart of the Continent

The next day, Sig brought back Zaden Holdstein from the Iron Giant to Corneria, leaving it under the guard of the soldiers from Wilson’s Point. With the group back together, a discussion was held to decide on the next possible action they could take. During this discussion, a minion of Viktor came to them, saying the high judge had more updates for them. They noted this, and the minion let them get back to their discussion.

Namely, the most important task was to find the Orb of Air, yet finding the location via magic had all but failed for some unknown reason. However, stopping the Floating Continent of Slingham from falling upon the land was important as well, a point Luvais Ziegler strongly stressed. He made it a fact he needed to get back to the Continent and assist the army against the Githyanki, for the Dragon army was weakened, and there was no telling the state of the Protectors at that time. More so, he pointed out how he was going to be King in place of King Jörg, and would need to revive Felix and Ulrich for those goals.

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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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