THE HISTORY OF THE NEW INZELADUN HEROES
“The Mace of Alisander”
Dovinyae : Druid from the Unknown Lands with wild psionic talents.
Presumably a Forest Druid.
Ragnar : Runcaster from Indor, seeking for more runes. Impressive
warrior who enjoys the dual weaponed approach.
Alrek : Indorian warrior ready to fight at a second's notice. Also very willing to risk everything for a bit of loot.
Xavier : Paladin on quest for a holy sword to further his
war against Evil. Born a Drychtnothian, he joined a
monastery in Amn to be trained as a Paladin.
Toki : An Indorian warrior living in Alisander after the dragonship he was serving on was sunk by the Merchant Fleet of Amn.
The Time : 8th Age, 5th Year, 24th Day of Drauj (late summer)
The Place: Lamapacher (Alisander)
Notes on the City: Alisander is beginning to feel the ominous pressure of Yam ibn Saud's advance. General Al-Madhiri has been systematically destroying the satellite villages that support the great city. Portents of doom begin to make themselves present in the large city. The Ghost of Alisander, founder of the city, is seen walking the streets. This has always been taken as a poor omen, for, according to legend, his spirit only becomes restless when the city is in extreme danger. No new merchant caravans have arrived in town for the past four days, signifying more dangers. Tax Collectors, sent out on the 18th of Drauj, have not returned from the outlying villages. At this point rumors are spreading throughout the city, but panic has not yet set in.
Dovinyae returned to Alisander in the afternoon. He had just acquired a new staff with wolf-headed ends. He had a magic stone this time. It was a small granite base to a statue of an elephant, a creature he had never seen in person, but knew of from repute. He had found it inexplicably outside in a small wood and was drawn to Alisander by the small stone. It began to rain when he entered the foul-smelling city. The rain started out slow, then began to really pour from the heavens.
Ragnar the Runecaster from Indor and Xavier the Pure was with him. Ragnar had received his silver hammer from the silversmith and had gone out on this fourth day since the last adventure to meet with Dovinyae. Xavier had bought himself and excellently made bastard sword prior to joining Dovinyae and Ragnar on this day. Amrem's location was unknown to the others. Alrek the Indorian was looking to steal "Dagthol", a battleaxe reputedly forged by Dwarves, but currently in the keeping of a human weaponsmith.
Dovinyae, followed by Ragnar and Xavier, wandered around the streets of Alisander as the druid tried to follow the stone base to whatever destination it seemed to draw him toward. During their apparently random wanderings, Ragnar ran across "Xum Thanill's Library" on one of the more deserted streets. Ragnar and Xavier went inside the ramshackle building. Dovinyae continued his meanderings, following the impulses afforded by the granite block. The druid took it to a smith and tried to bash it with a hammer, but it only made the sound of an elephant and did not break.
Inside the library, there were three persons. The first one Ragnar met, an elderly Khemian, pointed the runecaster to the next person, a middle-aged Drychtnothian, as being the Librarian. "That is the man you seek, Ragnar," the Khemian said. "I would like to speak to you after your business with him is concluded." The Indorian was a bit amazed at the knowledge of the strange man, but, in true Indorian fashion, went on directly to the point of his quest and addressed the librarian, asking if he was Xum Thanill and if he had purchased a rune scroll from the temple of Modab Om. The librarian indicated that he was and he did. Ragnar requested to purchase the scroll. Xum Thanill counter offered with a request for aid. If Ragnar would cast the runes for him on his experiment, he would give the runecaster the scroll. Ragnar agreed and followed Xum Thanill down into his laboratory while Xavier the Pure began to converse with the elderly Khemian.
As Ragnar and Xum Thanill went down the dank stairs, they passed his guardian ape, a carnivorous species native to the jungle isle of Bakari. Xum Thanill explained that the ape would attack anyone not accompanied by him. They passed through a door, which Xum Thanill locked behind them. In the room was tables and tables filled with glass beakers, tubes, and bottles filled with noxious chemicals and malodorous liquids. The rule was full of books, scrolls, and containers of human body parts. On one table was a partially disassembled (or partially assembled) corpse. Xum Thanill gave Ragnar the scroll and Ragnar began to inscribe the "Iron-Can't-Bite" rune on a wooden disk for insertion into the cadaver. As he scribed, Xum Thanill decided to use Ragnar's brain and his hands for his incomplete golem. After the rune was scribed, Ragnar began to scribe the second rune, "Limb". Xum Thanill bonked him on the head with someone's severed forearm and knocked him unconscious.
Upstairs, Xavier the Pure was conversing with the Khemian, who introduced himself as Neb Rekhis. Xavier asked Neb Rekhis if he knew anything of Holy Swords. Neb Rekhis, amazed at the accuracy of a barbarian shaman's divination a week earlier, told Xavier to seek "The Swords in the Stones". He gave Xavier one of the stones he had found when he arrived in Lamapacher, a diamond with a sword-shaped blemish in the center. He told Xavier that there were sixteen of these stones and that when he had them all he should travel to Mount Krethum in Drychtnoth where a circle of depressions could be found. If the stones are placed in the depressions, then the Holy Sword should be found. (It should be noted that Neb Rekhis has no personal confirmation of any of this, he is simply repeating what a barbarian shaman told him a week ago, but one of Neb Rekhis' faults is that he likes to appear all-knowing and wise, so he neglected to mention the source of his information to Xavier). He gave the holy sword's name as Wraithbane.
Neb Rekhis found himself liking the paladin, but he held off on giving him the other four stones he had in hopes of enlisting his aid in finding the Mace of Alisander (which is why Neb Rekhis is in town). The druid finally decided since he couldn't destroy the granite block he may as well ignore it. He was introduced to Neb Rekhis (the druid felt something was fishy with the Khemian, but couldn't put his finger on it). Dovinyae tried to sell the block to Neb Rekhis. Neb Rekhis recognized it for what it was and wondered if Dovinyae could have been the thief who had stolen the others in the set, but decided he was much too young and obviously didn't know what he had. Neb Rekhis considered the offer, but decided against buying the magical block because he did not have time to search for the rest of the set, and he wanted the goodwill of the druid so that he could possibly get some help later from them. He offered instead to sell the rest of the Elephant Statuette of Vendulamon to the druid for 25 gold pieces. After some bargaining, they settled on the price of 15 gold pieces. He gave the druid the magical statuette with no strings attached.
Downstairs, after Xum Thanill tied Ragnar to a table, a hideous snake man entered the room through a secret trap door in the floor. Xum argued with the abomination and said he was done with them. The serpent-man shrugged and assumed the face of Ragnar. He made Xum give him Ragnar's belongings, and with a quick psionic embrace, he copied Ragnar's personality and knowledge. The Snakeman, seeking Neb Rekhis, went up the stairs, psionically stunning the carnivorous ape. Xum Thanill shuddered and went on with his grisly work.
Upstairs, Dovinyae became suspicious at Ragnar's lengthy absence and approached the door. The door to the stairs opened and the Snakeman in Ragnar's guise came out. The Snakeman looked around for Neb Rekhis, but did not see him (he was hidden from view by a bookcase). He suggested to Dovinyae and Xavier that they go outside and look for Amrem and Alrek and leave Alisander. They suspected the city would soon be in danger from all the rumors flying about town. They left the library.
Meanwhile, while all of the previous was happening, Alrek the Indorian decided to try to steal the Dwarven-made battleaxe from the smith. He boldly walked into the weapon shop and spoke with the smith. The smith told him to go on and look around and returned to work. Alrek walked to where the axe hung on the wall, attached to the wall with a short chain. The large Indorian grasped the axe and, with all of his might, attempted to yank the chain out of the wall. He succeeded in making a lot of noise and cracking the wall, but it did not break free. The smith, a red-hot sword in one hand, a hammer in the other turned to face him. Alrek pleaded that, upon looking at the blade, it had but fallen. The smith turned back to his work, but kept an eye on him. Alrek tried again, and failed. The smith stood and told him to leave. Alrek yanked one more time and it came free. He dove out the nearby window into the rainy streets. The smith followed, hollering for the town guard. Two guardsmen took to the chase immediately on horseback, barreling through the sparse crowd. Five more soon followed. They caught up to the Indorian and tried to lance him. They missed and Alrek slew one of them with the axe. From a nearby house, another Indorian saw the combat. His name was Toki. Bored, he decided to help the underdog and attacked the second guard and stole his horse. Alrek tried to steal the horse of the guard he slew, but mismounted and fell. He was quickly caught up to by the remaining five guards. Toki rode back and tried to fetch Alrek, but Alrek mistimed his leap and again missed, falling to the ground whereupon he was captured.
Naked and in a jail cell, Alrek waited in chains. Toki abandoned his stolen steed at a nearby tavern and went to the jail, disguised as a bounty hunter. He bribed the guards and was allowed to lead Alrek away, naked and on a leash. Alrek suggested going to the Temple of the Silver Tree, knowing they would clothe him. So they headed through the rain to the temple.
At the Temple they found the priest, Jamby Niil, dead outside of it. A dagger was in his heart. The dagger had strange words written on it in a strange language.
The Snakeman led Dovinyae and Xavier into an alley where it chose to attack them, hoping to give some of his fellows their identities. He attacked using one of Ragnar's warswords and a Snakeman knife. Using the power of the Elephant (and his own psionic power of Ectoplasmic Form to escape the beating he was getting) he managed to capture that which he thought was Ragnar. Piercing through the illusion, he discovered the Snakeman and bashed in its head.
The combat, near the Temple of the Silver Tree, caught the attention of Alrek, who ran to help, Toki in tow, holding on to Alrek's leash.
Upon realizing the substitution, Dovinyae led the group into the library. Neb Rekhis watched them run down the stairs, a naked man on a leash in the rear. He wondered what was up, then shrugged and continued to read the scroll he had picked up.
They ran downstairs and Dovinyae stopped the carnivorous ape with an animal friendship spell. The ape knocked down the locked door and they discovered Ragnar, strapped to a table, with markings all over his body, and Xum Thanill prepared to begin his operations. They attacked and quickly subdued the mad scientist. Xum Thanill admitted, under pressure, that he had helped the Snakemen get into town and that he would rather die than betray Iss'ul. Dovinyae ordered his throat slit and Xum Thanill died.
Neb Rekhis walked downstairs and found out what was going on. He told the group that he was on the run from Iss'ul and would rather not get too involved in his affairs. He also told them he was seeking the Mace of Alisander so that he could kill the Generals Al-Madhiri and Morgul. He told them he was a high priest of Khemt. He would not tell them at this time who had commissioned him. Alrek told Dovinyae, Ragnar, and Xavier about the death of the priest. He showed them the dagger. Neb Rekhis translated the Midani script on the pommel to mean "Iss'ul walks among you."
Dovinyae wanted to leave town, but Xavier and Ragnar convinced him that the priest needed to be avenged. Quickly Neb Rekhis gave them a key to uncovering the snake men. The phrase "ka nama kaa lajarama" not only could not be spoken by a snakeman, but it would dispel their human masquerade.
They stopped briefly at Toki's home and re-outfitted Alrek. At that point all of the town's bells began to sound in unison. They learned that this meant a siege was beginning and in two hours the town's gates would be closed, permitting no one to leave and no one to enter.
Rushing through the now thick crowds they ran to the Temple. The rain slackened, but still it fell. They found the simulacrum of the priest and they surrounded him. They asked him to say the phrase. His illusion faded and the snakeman tried to run through them. Dovinyae, Ragnar, Alrek, and Toki killed the beast and Xavier held the altar so that the snakemen below could not get out. Dovinyae found a barrel of oil. He lit a brand and Alrek empty the barrel on top of the eight snakemen in the secret room. Dovinyae tossed in the torch and the eight snakemen fried to a crisp.
Outside, standing in the rain, they found Neb Rekhis. The Khemian priest told Ragnar that he should seek out Ktc, the runecaster by the Wall. He also asked them all to come with him and help him gain the Mace of Alisander, which was rumored to be in Alisander's tomb at the palace. Wanting to leave the doomed city, they declined. Neb Rekhis left them.
They ran to the gates. The carnivorous ape followed Dovinyae and made passage easier, but it still took them over an hour to leave the town. In half an hour, the gates would slam shut. They raced through the rain over the outlying fields to the woods, only to find it full of Azraelite soldiers cutting down the trees for siege engines. No escape there. They tried to reach the river. The Shanto River was filled with Azraelite warships and the burning hulks of Alisander's craft. Swimmers were being picked off by archers on the warships. No escape there either. On the main roads they could hear the death cries of the fleeing Alisanderites. Legions of archers launched deadly storms of arrows into the crowds of fleeing humanity. There was no escaping here. The gates to the city closed as hundreds tried to swarm back into the walled city. Men on the walls lowered ropes to rescue as many as they could, bringing them back into Alisander. Dovinyae, Alrek, Ragnar, Toki, and Xavier took this manner of egress back into the doomed city.
Dovinyae hypothesized that Neb Rekhis may have taken advantage of the confusion to get into the palace. They went to the palace. At the guarded walls of the royal palace, Dovinyae noted ruby lodged at the base of the wall. The ruby had a sword-shaped blemish within it. A little peeved that Neb Rekhis had held out on them, they knew he passed this way at some point. They searched and found a secret passage. Down the stairs they went. They entered into a hallway. Several side passages connected with this one and they soon spotted another small stone in one of the side passages. An emerald with the distinct blemish in the center.
They went down past one hall after another, finally finding a jacinth with the sword blemish in the center. They soon ran across the ghost of Alisander. Upon Dovinyae's declaration that they intended no harm to the city, the ghost vanished. Ahead, they found Neb Rekhis' body stapled to the wall with the Royal Sword of Alisander. Upon removal of the sword, the dead body reanimated and they presumed it was another snakeman. They uttered the magic phrase, and the snakeman stood revealed. They killed it and went on. They found Neb Rekhis ahead on the floor, two daggers in his shoulder blades, but still alive (probably because of the powers of the Ankh of Life he wore). He asked them to pull the daggers out but to be careful not to touch him. "An Eastern prejudice," he explained.
Neb Rekhis revealed the Ankh of Life and healed two members of the party with the words "By the Power of Osiris, Brother of Set, Husband of Isis, I command thee to heal." Dovinyae forced Neb Rekhis to reveal who had commissioned him and made Xavier detect evil intent on the Khemian. Neb Rekhis said he had been commissioned by the priest Khamis. Xavier did not detect evil intent.
They found the Tomb of Alisander and found it sealed. Neb Rekhis discovered that he was unable to enter it, as he had feared. Dovinyae activated his psionic power and entered the tomb as Ragnar and Alrek pounded on the tomb with a hammer. Several (about seven) hours later Dovinyae returned with the Mace of Alisander and said that the ghost of Alisander had given him instructions not to take anything else from the tomb. They left the Royal Sword of Alisander leaning against the damaged door to the tomb and left. Dovinyae gave the Mace to Neb Rekhis. He asked Neb Rekhis to vow that he would never strive to harm any of them. Neb Rekhis made that vow easily. The Khemian High Priest tossed a final stone to Xavier the Pure, a piece of amber with the sword shaped blemish. Neb Rekhis left them and realized that he liked them. He vowed to himself that if they should ever need him, he would endeavor to aid them in the future.
Ragnar, Dovinyae, Alrek, and Xavier regrouped at Toki's home. Dovinyae proclaimed that though the city may starve, they would do well and feast like kings nontheless. Then they settled down to plot their escape from the ill-fated city.
All characters were awarded 2000 exp.
(and 3 character points if the character moved up a level).
Current Events : General Al-Madhiri arrived to surround Alisander. The general sent two diplomats into Alisander to offer terms of surrender. His diplomats told the Lord of Alisander that the city would be put under siege in two hours if he did not surrender the town and give fealty to Emperor Yam ibn Saud. The lord of Alisander ordered the heads of the diplomats thrown over the walls. He would surrender nothing. This was his kingdom, and if any wanted to rule it or him, they must take it by force. Knowing he had two hours left, he ordered the temples' bells rung in unison, giving the warning. Al-Madhiri, angered at the cold hearted murders of his diplomats, arrived earlier than the diplomats promised and he slaughtered the fleeing fools who thought they could escape the siege. Al-Madhiri was promoted from Captain just prior to his arrival at the great city by Yam ibn Saud himself. Once the city was surrounded, he dug himself in and waited for the arrival of General Morgul's reinforcements.
The terrible surge of dark energy called the Dark Intrusion continued to slide out of the unknown lands, reaching into the edges of Lamapacher and Indor, attracting the attention of the Twilight Gathering.
In Itsitlawikanah (Lamapacher), a drawing of an open-mouthed face was discovered in various places around the city by Raloth the Paladin. The renderings were left behind by the Dim Triad. Seeking sages to discover what it meant, Raloth soon, after three days, was given some interesting information. The face depicted the Devourer, indeed it was called “The Sign of the Devourer”. This sage, named Ahrens, found an ambiguous phrase in a crumbling scroll, a treatise on the plane of Negative Energy. This treatise claimed that everything - light, life, and knowledge- is ultimately drawn into the Final Void of the Negative Energy Plane. The phrase that had caught Ahrens’ eye was “And when the Devourer is truly one with the Final Void, all knowledge will be his, and he shall be like unto a god.” Ahrens also discovered the name of a mage who, at one time, was also interested in the Sign of the Devourer. That wizard was a powerful, but secluded, mage called Desatysso. Desatysso never attempted to influence the world or even be a part of the outside world, but Ahrens had discovered where Desatysso’s home was. Raloth the Paladin decided to travel there.
Also of note on this date, folklore holds that Iss'ul had a short conference with the demigod Yam ibn Saud on this date about Grindill and his possible motivations in a matter unrelated with the Alisander siege.
History of the Elephant Statuette of Vendulamon: Created during the reign of Ashoka on the Isle of Bakari 896 years ago by a sculptor mage named Vendulamon. The elephant statuette can grant the casting of Maximillian's Stony Grasp and is rumored to summon a stony elephant steed if the proper command is known. It is one in a set of three artifacts from the city of Pataliputra. They were created in 688 V (the 688th year of the Fifth Age). They are powerful Shakkul artifacts and are rumored to have powerful effects on the natural world and the animal kingdom when used together. The other two in the original set are a Cobra Statuette and a Shark Statuette. In 703 V, Vendulamon created two more statuettes, a Tiger and an Ape, but they are not as powerful as the original trio. In 728 V the five statuettes were taken from the Bakarin Empire by Vendulamon's son, Batramal. Batramal, fleeing the unrest caused by the death of the emperor, arrived on the shores of Khemt. The Khemian priesthood took the powerful artifacts from him when he tried to start a Shakkul monastery in their lands. Over the centuries, the artifacts were passed around, traded, bought and sold amongst the Khemian priesthood until 50 VI (fiftieth year of the Sixth Age) when four of the five statuettes were stolen by an unknown thief. The Elephant Statuette was broken during the theft and the thief only came away with the base. The actual form of the elephant remained in the priests' hands, eventually coming to the possession of the High Priest Neb Rekhis. Neb Rekhis, for 15 gold pieces, sold it to Dovinyae the druid.
Known information about Neb Rekhis : An elderly Khemian priest who travelled to Alisander to find the Mace of Alisander. It is unknown how he crossed the Sea of Storms (or, alternately, made the arduous overland journey at his advanced age). Apparently Iss'ul is hunting him for unclear reasons. He claimed that he sought the Mace as a result of a commission from another priest named Khamis. He had found the five "Sword Stones" upon arriving in Lamapacher and during his journey via caravan to Alisander. He wasn't sure what they were about, but a barbarian shaman he met divined that he would meet a paladin who needed them to find his Holy Sword. The shaman also divined that he would meet a runecaster named Ragnar and that the group the paladin and runecasters would help him and indeed would be his friends. Neb Rekhis found it unlikely that he would make friends among these Western savages, but kept the blemished stones just in case. Evidence suggests that Neb Rekhis was either unwilling or unable to enter the Tomb of Alisander and would need help to gain the mace in any case. He met a runecaster at the Wall, but it was not Ragnar. Neb Rekhis is one of the six highest ranking priests in Khemt and is a direct representative of the power of Khemt's pharoah, Sapanema Kherit. He is rumored to possess one of the five Ankhs of Life, a rumor substantiated during this adventure. It is worthy to note that, as powerful as he is, Neb Rekhis fears Iss'ul.
Note about Priests of Khemt: It is notable that "priests" of Khemt are not priests as the Western world defines the priest class, but are actually members of the mage class. Neb Rekhis was an archmage of great necromantic power. Khemt has very few actual Priests, and those few are often considered to be related to the gods in some way and are almost never part of the religious hierarchy. Neb Rekhis was able to cast the healing spells only with the magical Ankh of Life, which, when the words "By the Power of Osiris, Brother of Set, Husband of Isis, I command thee to heal" are spoken, heals others. It is also presumed to have regenerative powers for the owner, but this is unproven except in the fact that the wounds Neb Rekhis suffered during this adventure healed very quickly with no spilled blood.
About Xum Thanill : Xum Thanill was an eighth level alchemist. He fled from Drychtnoth after his first creation began to commit murder in his hometown. King Mydthylux, the lord of the region, sent his warlord, Thylrus the Transmuter, to destroy both creation and creator. The monster was killed by the warlord, but Xum Thanill managed to escape into Lamapacher. Used to big city life (where corpses can often be obtained easily), he naturally headed toward the largest city. En route he purchased the ape from a travelling carnival. While there, he was caught stealing a corpse by an agent of Iss'ul. The agent blackmailed the hapless alchemist into sneaking a dozen illusionist snake-men (Yuan-Ti abominations) into Alisander. Xum Thanill also became a worshiper of Modab Om and gained the confidence of Modab and was able to purchase the runescroll from the rogue in hopes to make his next "son" more invincible. On the 23rd of Drauj he managed to complete his end of the bargain with Iss'ul's agent and was hoping that they would now leave him alone.
History of the Mace of Alisander: Alisander was a former companion of Grindill the Archmage during the Fourth Age (over 2000 years ago). He wielded a +5 mace of disruption and he used it to combat the undead. At his death, he was buried with his mace.
Notes on Iss'ul: Iss'ul is an mysterious assassin. Everyone in the East knows his name and fears it, but no one knows who he is. Rumors persist that he is a demon or an angel. Some believe him to be a spirit of vengeance who possesses people close to those he chooses to slay and, thus, has no true mortal identity. Others say he is a Yuan Ti Lord or even a Yuan Ti god. Some rumors link him with the demi-god Yam ibn Saud. Other rumors link him with the demi-god Grindill. He has been heard in conversation with Yam ibn Saud's general Al-Madhiri on two occasions, but managed to escape the Azraelite camp unseen by any others. He is said to speak softly with a poisonous tone. He is only recently becoming known in the West.