Dark Skies

Upsetting the Balance
The party is called to account for Daren and Farr's actions against Zatch's minions

Shortly after Daren and Farr return from the assault on Zatch, Mika returns from her foray into the city with news that she has located a sister of her rare bloodline. The party’s reunion is interrupted by the inn-keeper who evicts the company. Kantan is quickly evacuating and the factions have fortified themselves, due to rumors of the compact being broken.

The city is eerily silent and High Spot is closed. Answers are found at Murkle’s compound, as well as a confrontation among The Thirteen. Daren and Farr are implicated in the massacre of Zatch’s minions and resolution is sought through trial by combat.

The trial’s outcome, and Val-Drek’s meddling during it, leads to upheaval among The Thirteen.

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Divine Providence
Daren and Farr massacre Zatch's minions in Kantan at the behest of Sa-Nah-Gig's envoy, further risking open warfare among the factions

The already battle-weary Daren is awoken by the presence of Sa-Nah-Gig’s envoy, Marss. Korvak’s permanent return to The Gloom has allowed Sa-Nah-Gig to reveal The Blight’s betrayal of her goals. She entreats Daren and Farr to wage war against Zatch and the Night Priests in exchange for her favor.

The pair embark in the pre-dawn hours to locate Zatch’s stronghold. Along the way, they find a gang of thugs fencing a living symbol of Lir’s grace. They acquire it and the location of Zatch’s stronghold, with the help of Murkle.

They storm the arcane fortified dome, risk their lives to slay the minions contained within, and snuff out the relic anchoring Zatch’s presence to the location. Before Zatch’s presence is banished, he implies the Night Priest are marshaling forces and will soon pour across the Feral Sea.

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Wild Gambit
Several members of the company undertake bold actions to uncover what has become of Pau.

With victory officially theirs, but Pau lost within Korvak’s Gloom Vortex, the company retires to the inn. Boroff knows of a finding ritual that could locate the monk, but lacks the materials. Pau’s closest compatriots and Lir’s deputy, forego rest and seek the means to locate him, should he still be alive.

The search begins at the raucously festive High Spot, where Malharath calls in an old favor. While there, the company comes to suspect Xil’Tol’Napp may be hiding a connection to the Thorns, confronts a Night Priest and forces him to reveal his true visage among The Thirteen, and learns who among the slavers are strongly allied with the Ro-Rexians. The recently returned Korvak is also among the celebrants.

The ritual is completed, and Pau is indeed among the living, but in great peril. A dangerous rescue is made, a mortal enemy is vanquished, but not without risking death and the breaking of the compact.

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Witnesses to The Gloom
Korvak, The Blight's most feared champion, enters the arena and displays the awesome power of Sa-Nah-Gig's faithful

It is the morning after the victory over Old Eyes Hive. Mika has gone missing, reportedly slipping out in the night. Qq pleads with the company not to enter the arena against The Blight. Korvak, their most feared champion has declared a personal vendetta against Malharath and all his allies, and they have spent a massive amount of coin to ensure the match.

The company splits to learn what they can before the it is time to give Qq a decision. One group heads to High Spot, witnessing the might of The Herald, learning what The Blight spent so heavily to secure, and why Korvak is so feared, while the other unravels the workings of the arena.

The arena match is unexpectedly moved up and the party opts to fight rather than acquiesce to Qq. What ensues is the most brutal arena match of the season. Victory is won, but both Pau and Korvak fail to escape the clutches of The Gloom.

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Ascending The Ladder
The party joins the ranks of the battle hardened survivors of Kantan's games

Success brings a night’s respite, and the following morning all, including Tarak, are recovered. At dawn, Malharath and Bami depart for errands in the city with Qq’s leave, while he takes the rest to High Spot to be seen among the upper echelons of Kantan’s factions. A number of slaver cheifs and owners are there, including the Three Winds, Burning Robes, Cold Hands, House Dun’ka, and their upcoming opponents, the Old Eyes Hive. Intrigue abounds, and Garret makes arrangements to secure an advantage in the next match.

Before long, the time for the day’s bout has arrived. The trial pits them against a band of Shrikes, strange insect-like constructs, and their hive mother. Pau and Garret are paired off directly with an opponent, while the others start from the arena edge. From the outset, the party does not fare well, Garret and Pau are badly wounded by their opponents and swarms of larva released by the Hive Mother. With bloody determination, they turn the tide of battle back to their favor, but Pau and Garret nearly pay dearly. Finally, Daren closes upon the Hive Mother and slays her with two righteous blows.

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The First Rung
Factions begin vying for power in earnest, both in and outside of the arenas

Qq is quite pleased with the performance of his company, and their admission into the games. Immediately after the bout, Tarak’s wounds begin to show signs of infections, so Qq, Boroff, and Malharath escort him to their lodgings, while the rest of the party head out to meet Bami. Along the way, the party is solicited by the Three Winds leadership to join their ranks in the games. They refuse, primarily at Pau’s urging.

Outside, Bami is retrieved, and Tet, a draconic servant of the Iron Riders passes the party a message and means of contacting his comrades in the coming days. While returning to their lodging, the party witnesses an assemblage of the God-Emperor’s men being drilled by General Torq.

The party informs Qq of what transpired and gains some insight into the history of Three Winds, their dealings with General Torq, and what success in the games means for a slaver faction. Shortly thereafter, an emissary arrives to request everyone’s presence at an undisclosed meeting.

The meeting is with Val-Drek, and his dead body-double. The God Emperor’s speaker informs them of murderous dealings in Kantan instigated by a faction known as The Thorns that threatens to upset the truce between slavers. He insinuates that the party should help uncover this faction, lest eyes fall to them as possible perpetrators, and then departs, leaving them the thorn ring the murderer left as a calling card.

The intrigue of competing factions comes to a stop as the evening’s bouts begin, and the party hoists Qq’s banner in their match against the minions of Cold Hand’s Import and Trade.

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Savage Initiations
Even with Qq's guidance the final journey to Kantan and entry into its games is fraught with trials

The evening passes without event in the ancient hall of Lir’s temple. Decisions are made regarding the allocation of the group’s few items of power, why Rannor has abandoned them through the rune portal, and whether to continue onward to Kantan as arena fighters for Qq.

Qq and his last henchman guide the party towards Kantan as best they can. The journey leads back to the main canyon, then east, and upwards onto the high plateaus. Upon the plateau, the travelers are overtaken by the start of the month-long rains. Travel is miserable. The mud, streams of caustic water, and cold, affect everyone in the party to varying degrees and slow their progress. Three days into their pilgrimage, when spirits are lowest, a miraculous discovery is made. An initiate of Lir, the bearer of an ancient relic, is found unconscious, partially entombed in mud, and near death. Once revived, he rejoices at finally fulfilling the prophecy given to him by Lir, and swears himself to the party and whatever errand they are upon.

At last, Kantan, the city carved from the mountain and empire of the slavers, is reached. Within it’s walls the party recovers from the debilitating rains, fences their spoils, and the tardy Qq submits the party to combat against “The Dregs” in order to gain admission to the games.

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The Price of Corruption
An ancient survivor reveals another facet of chaos corruption
Ogolo closeup

Far across the chamber, the Ancient known as Og’olo, once a druid companion of the great Corala, is presiding over the dismemberment of one of QQ’s men. A shackle bound and unconscious QQ, along with four of his companions, await a similar fate. Rande, still weak from reincarnation, is overcome by the strange corruption of the laboratory and collapses into torpor. Boroff orders Rannor to carry Wodewick to safety before flying into a rage. The party must overcome not only the abominations created by Og’olo’s use of flesh binding, but also a room fortified with raw arcane energy and guarded by a host of failed creations.

A long and chaotic battle ensues, with Boroff ending the confrontation by committing the coup de grace of Og’olo. He then uncovers the chaos orb used to power Og’olo’s life siphoning sarcophagus before setting to the destruction of the entire structure.

Outside, the party discovers that Rannor has likely departed with Wodewick by means of an ancient rune portal. A portal that will not work, unless the operator possesses a Fey Fuser. Everyone takes shelter in the Temple of Lir, and some contemplate whether another of their company has been lost to deception and betrayal.



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Lir's Deputy - Reborn
Deep in the Broken Mountains, Lir's emissary is called forth by The Secret

The party has a final parlay with The Speaker during the night. Mika is brought into the fold, by the swearing of oaths upon The Secret, in the pre-dawn hours.

The journey continues eastward, with the fortune of shelter, water, and food being found easily enough while on the tracks of the wagon and its captors. During the third night of travel, a lone Zatch scout is discovered near camp, ambushed, and slain, prompting the wary seekers to immediately break camp. The trail turns northward, where two survivors of QQ’s fighting men, Tarak and Bami, are found. The familiar fighting men join ranks with the party and continue the pursuit of what all hope are QQ’s company.

Pursuit continues for another three days through the side canyon. Strange ancient ruins and glyphs are seen with increasing frequency, until on the final day the canyon opens into a massive bowl lined with cliff dwellings and two massive sets of stone doors. A frantic Boroff leads the party through the far door into a pristine and grandiose ancient temple of Lir carved from the stone itself. While inside, the party experiences the reincarnation of Lir’s chosen son, Rande, and learns the tragic details of Garlic’s sacrifice of Lir in order to summon the draconian and banish Ro-Rex.

From there, the party follow the tracks into the second door, where the smashed wagon and its captors are found. The aberrations are quickly dispatched, the strange complex is explored, and it’s demented denizen’s confronted.

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A Shadow of the Past
A narrow escape is followed by betrayal and loss

Before the party has time to contemplate their next move, the massive flying stone galleons begin converging from all directions. Their escape aboard the skiff is aided by the unexpected arrival of forces loyal to Malharath’s tribe. Flight takes them across the Lir Khan silt sea aboard the overladen skiff. At Boroff’s urging, they make landfall south of the tower in order to find materials necessary to bring Wodewick out of his coma.

During the night, Mika the warlock discovers the party and senses the presence of The Secret. There is some mistrust of her motives, but she provides invaluable knowledge to the party, and joins the journey north to the tower.

Things take a worrisome turn at the tower, which is strewn with recent signs of battle. Disregarding the setting sun, they turn east into the mountain to follow what they hope is the last of QQ’s caravan. During the night they are confronted by the servants of the God-Emporer, lead by an ancient nemesis of Boroff who seeks The Secret for his master. The party is betrayed, and the battle is won with great cost.

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