THE HISTORY OF THE COUATL
“The Old Warlords”
Count Dovinyae : Druid from the Unknown Lands. Bargains freely
with other people’s souls.
Count Amren : Ophyrish ranger
Captain Alrek: Indorian Warrior
Daragru the Terrible: Drychtnothian Warlord who is now a member
of the Couatl.
Samahdi the Uxorious: Ingaran archmage. Founder of the Twilight
Gathering. Brother of Thigru Thorkisen.
The Time : 8th Age, 6th Year, 26th Thomtain through the 4th of Xaul. (winter).
The Place: The Long River (Dream World); Itsitlawikanah (Lamapacher); Xethelclerat (Drychtnoth); Tegclerat (Drychtnoth); Nightmare Lands (Dream World); Avernus (Hell)
Notes on Itsitlawikanah:
Itsitlawikanah, though it is now gaining fame as the base of operations for the Twilight Gathering, it is still well remembered as the capital of Lamapacher during the reign of Lord Komaaks Nagutsikatsenu Wayu Tlasinukagenodla. Itsitlawikanah is the name of both the castle and the city that surrounds the castle. The city is only recently being developed. It used to be a city composed almost entirely of orcs, but now it is becoming a powerful city for the humans who live there. It is ruled by Sir Raloth of Silvergate from Castle Itsitlawikanah. The castle sits on a tall mountain with a flat top. The mountain is spiraled by a path leading from the base to the castle gates on the top. The mountain is a magical construct created by Thigru Thorkisen in the Sixth Age. The castle was built on the orders of Lord Komaaks and was built by orcs. It is a very sound and functional fortress built in a hive pattern. It lacks ornamentation, as neither Lord Komaaks or his orcs cared for pointless garnishment of war machines. The ghost of Tregillish Mul, one of Lord Komaaks’ henchmen still walks one of the rooms upstairs. Even the Twilight Gathering hasn’t managed to evict him.
The Couatl traveled via dreamland to Itsitlawikanah. Daragru had to use his part of his small supply of dream willow bark to transfer the group out of dreamworld physically, since Capt. Ragnar and his second mate wasn’t available to work the transition. It is unknown where Ragnar, Sir Xavier, Toki, and Xamn Doge went. All that is known is they weren’t around when the rest of the Couatl woke up in the morning. It is believed that Ragnar and Sir Xavier fell asleep in a dreamland city somewhere and Captain Toki decided to help out some poor unfortunates at another town in dreamworld, serving food to them so that they would not starve. Count Amren divined that they would be in no immediate danger, so the remaining Couatl decided not to waste time searching for them.
Dovinyae, Alrek, and Amren asked Daragru to join the Couatl. Daragru accepted the offer. The number of the Couatl is now seven. Seven is now the number of the Couatl. Not six. Not eight. Seven.
The Couatl arrived in the city behind a tavern. Dovinyae recalled from the smells why he hated cities. Odor and disease. Alrek could smell the reason why he loved them. Women and alcohol.
Amren gave Daragru a black cloak to wear over his red robes. They could see the tall spire of Mount Komaaks overlooking the city, surmounted by Castle Itsitlawikanah. Dovinyae suggested going into the tavern to get information. Alrek said they should just go straight away to the castle. That is where the Twilight Gathering is. Dovinyae and Amren regarded this as a wise and direct course of action and they went to the mountain, passed through the guards, and went up the mountain toward the castle. At the gate they met Armuth the Ghost Strangler who took them into the castle. Here they were greeted by Samadhi the Archmage and Khasmaphet. Samadhi was dressed in cream colored robes and was sporting a sword at his side. Khasmaphet, a young, blind, Khemian girl, was dressed only in a kilt, sandals, and some bracelets around her arms.
Captain Alrek handed Samadhi the amulet of Nok in a very noble gesture that impressed the leader of the Twilight Gathering. Hathmael the Not Overly Bright entered and let Amren and Dovinyae know that Raloth was in the castle. Dovinyae poked a little fun at the dim-witted undead slayer and then he and Amren entered the throne room of Sir Raloth. Samadhi took Alrek aside to discuss the Twilight Gathering with him. Khasmaphet went with them, holding onto Samadhi’s hand so she wouldn’t bump into the furniture.
Dovinyae, Amren, and Daragru went into the throne room and met Sir Raloth, Lord of Itsitlawikanah.
Amren asked Samadhi to join them on their quest for the Rune of Resurrection. Samadhi agreed. Dovinyae had another plan however. This plan was to seek out imprisoned ex-warlords. The Couatl thought this to be an excellent plan and, together, they decided to do this before going to Hell on the quest for the Rune of Resurrection.
Samadhi teleported himself and the Couatl to Xethelclerat. They appeared behind another tavern. Daragru, a warlord, led the couatl through town. The townspeople parted before him. The warlord arrived at the Imperial Prison, the Tower of Xethel, and procured an entrance for the group. Daragru met with the warden of the prison and insisted Amren, Alrek, Dovinyae, and Samadhi be given guard positions.
Daragru went to the warlord of the territory, Gradam III. It is Drychtnothian custom for a visiting warlord to visit the hosting warlord when traveling through the various kingdoms. Daragru had met this warlord on several previous encounters at Imperial gatherings. Daragru was granted a private audience.
Amren and Samadhi went to see if Elium, the priest of Byleth Hob, was in town. They left their posts and traveled to the arena in town, but Elium was not scheduled to fight, at least not in this city. Samadhi turned Amren and himself invisible.
Dovinyae met the torturer, an insane soul who now derives his pleasure soly from the pains of others. The torturer send Dovinyae to fetch the three prisoners of the day for their torture. Dovinyae incapacitated the insane man and interviewed the three prisoners. He found that they were former warlords, some imprisoned for political errors, others imprisoned for evils that even the rulers of Drychtnoth could not tolerate. They complained of nightmares. Amren and Daragru entered into the dreams of the prisoners that night as they slept. The nightmares consisted of the prisoner being taken to a room, preceeded by a girl who lit the candles. The prisoner would be strapped to a table. A black-masked man came in and put his fingers on either side of the prisoners’ heads. The prisoner would scream, faint, then be taken away. Dovinyae tried to convince Daragru that psionic manipulation was being used very effectively by the Council of Warlords.
Samadhi identified the magic protecting the building as a contingency that would kill the old warlords if they left the prison.
Daragru meets group at the tavern in town after their shifts were up. Information gathered was disseminated. Samadhi said he could disrupt the magic. Dovinyae looked at the weather and said he could provide for the actual escape.
The Couatl went into the prison again and gathered the fourteen former warlords they chose to rescue. Samadhi cast Mordenkainen’s Disjunction. The warlords and the Couatl fled from the prison tower. Dovinyae summoned the power from the Statuettes of Vendelamun. Everyone started to disintigrate in the rain, going up into the atmosphere and becoming part of the storm. Dovinyae controlled the storm and took it to Castle Couatl. The trip took three days. The rain fell as did the parts and pieces of the Couatl and the warlords. Slowly they were reintigrated.
Amren, Alrek, and Dovinyae decided to make the warlords part of the Castle staff. Although they could no longer cast spells, presumably due to psionic damage, the former warlords still were methodical and efficient. The foreman of the mines was introduced to the former warlords, though their status as escaped prisoners was not mentioned.
The Couatl decided now to rescue Elium, the priest of Byleth Hob who had befriended them in Kharzho. His location was soon found by Amren and Daragru. The Couatl traveled (via another Teleport by Samadhi) to the town of Tegclerat and bought Elium. The priest was safely taken to Castle Couatl and given his freedom.
A messenger from Neb Rekhis arrived at Castle Couatl. The messenger said that Neb Rekhis was now a priest of the Silver Tree and wanted to offer his aid should they needed. Samadhi had some difficulty with this concept, but accepted it. Neb Rekhis was summoned and the newly ordained priest began his journey to Castle Couatl.
Daragru took the Couatl back into dreamland with his dwindling quantity of dreamwillow bark. Ragnar, Sir Xavier, Toki, and Xam Doge was still nowhere to be seen. Capt. Alrek unfolded the boat. Once again they traveled on the Long River. They took it straight into Nightmare Land.
Nightmare Land was dark and forbodding, but Daragru chanted the ritual to stave off the denizens of the area. Samadhi also cast spells to ward off evil. Soon enough they arrived at the Gates of Hell. They disembarked and folded up the boat. They approached the wrought iron gates. The gates had the words, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here,” written across the top. Two horned devils, cornugons, stood guard. They would not let the group pass. Alrek demanded to see their superior officer. That officer was summoned. Averlagon the Gelugon appeared, a huge ice devil. Dovinyae offered to sell the devil Xam Doge’s soul for passage. Averlagon laughed and said that if one of their number could defeat him, they would be issued infernal passes and allowed to enter into Hell. Alrek accepted the challenge.
Alrek and the devil fought long and hard. Alrek had difficulty hitting the large creature, but the devil had a hard time doing any substantial damage to the well armored Indorian. Finally three powerful blows from Alrek struck home, destroying Averlagon. The two cornugons gave the Couatl their passes and allowed them to pass through the Gates. They needed an eyeball to open the gate, and this was provided for them.
They found themselves standing in a barren wasteland. Fireballs exploded in the sky. They heard a voice.
“You - travelers!” the voice boomed. “What’s your business here?” A tall, winged fiend, covered with scalles and brandishing a whip, stepped forward. Another horned devil, a cornugon. The Couatl offered violence. The cornugon, who introduced himself as Montelado, laughed at their threats. He told them that Bel’s Legion was about and that Bel would know if the gate-guard was slain. Samadhi offered the guard 500 gp worth of gems. Montelado agreed to let them pass.
Avernus, the first of the nine layers of Hell, is little more than an empty, blasted plain, so the Couatl saw only rocky wasteland, stretching out endlessly in all directions to the horizon, where it met the spotless blood-red sky. The air was lit by fireballs careening across the lanscape, ducking and rising before exploding like flaming flowers. Those bursts were the only sounds thy could hear (apart from the occasional screams that seem to ring across the entire plain).
Concentrating on the lair of Tiamat the group began to slowly make its way across the stony layer. It is unknown how long they traveled. Hell may be a Lawful plane, with the hours and days passing in succession, but the sky never gets any darker or lighter and Hell has no sun or stars, so the only way for the Couatl to mark time was a rough on - how often they got hungry or sleepy seemed to be the best method.
The Couatl, on approximately the second day of infernal travel, encountered the Pillar of Skulls, a tower of hundreds of living, disembodied heads. Samadhi recommended passing around the Pillar, which the Couatl wisely did. They next encountered the River of Blood. The slow river of partially clotted blood smelled badly. They decided to follow the River of Blood to the River Styx.
An unknown period of time passed, but it seemed like two days before they reached the River Styx. This dark, rancid waterway was about 400 yards wide. Samadhi cast the spell to summon one of Styx’s boatmen. One arrived. Samadhi paid the boatman and it took the Couatl across the dark river. The stepped off the skiff and continued on their path to the lair of Tiamat.
Each Player was awarded 16,250 exp. for accomplishing the adventure.
Each player also received 2,000 exp. as a role-playing bonus.
Current Events : Larbius the Gelugon took one hundred elves from Kharzho. Elah, Gesh, Neria, and Tho’ef arrived in Southern Drychtnoth to rescue them. Larbius killed Elah and fled. 88 elves were rescued.
Notes on Samadhi: Samadhi is the founder of the second Twilight Gathering. He is the grandson of the last member of the original Twilight Gathering. Samadhi began hunting the Undead early in his career, hunting the lich Endrath, who killed his grandfather and ended the original Twilight.
Samahdi was born in the first year of the Sixth Age, 12 days after the birth of the Doombringer. He had a brother who was four years older than him. The elder brother was a cruel child until Samahdi was born. He had a lot of love to give to his younger sibling. They played a lot and grew up happily for seven years. A prophecy had been given to Samadhi’s parents, “If the first born learns magic he shall be an instrument of Chaos and then of Evil”, so the elder child was not permitted to learn magic. Both children had a lot of interest in magic, indeed their grandfather was known to the Twilight Gathering as “The Light” and was powerful in magic. When the elder brother met a traveling gypsy, who taught him a cantrip, he was turned over by his father to the grey robes. They took the elder child and abandoned him in the ghettoes of an Ingaran city where he was left to die.
The elder child was never heard of again, but Samahdi was given the blessing to learn magic. He started to study magic at the Grey Robes schools at the age of 15, but they intentionally sabotaged his learning, afraid of prophecy and their own master. Fed up with continued failures, and sure he could succeed, he, when he was thirty four, traveled to Itsitlawikanah to study under Thigru Thorkisen and the Blue Robes. After achieving a few levels of magic, he was trapped by the lich Endrath in a magic mirror and remained there for several years. Rescued by Raloth the Paladin. Together they destroyed Endrath and the Twilight Gathering was reborn.
Samadhi found in Endrath’s lair the Mshek, a crystal artifact of great power. This took the form of a staff. Samadhi also, for a short time, held the completed Rod of Seven Parts, an artifact of Law. This led to the creation of Law magic. Samadhi is one of the foremost proponents of Law. His mate was Lalla Aetherlil, a planar humanoid from Sigil. She was a grandmaster of fencing and she was also the first member of the new Twilight Gathering. Samadhi was made an archmage by Isaxar the Vile and Tomodachi, the lord of magic. Although he refuses to believe he has a patron, Thomtain Hob keeps an eye on his activities.
Samadhi recently was turned to stone by a trap in the Tomb of Horrors. He was rescued by Khasmaphet from the clutches of Kherit. Samadhi’s allies include Raloth of Silvergate, Isaxar the Vile, Tomodachi the Lord of Magic, Neria the Bladesinger, Groll the Lord of Time, Elah the Mystic, Ammrah the Wild Mage, and Diandain the Wildmage.
Notes on Raloth: Raloth is a paladin of the Silver Tree and is from Silvergate. He found and retrieved the Holy Avenger of Han Dirgon, Palex Amir. He led the assault on the lich Acererak in his Tomb of Horrors, he spearheaded the attack on Endrath the lich, and he instigated the destruction of Tsareth, the Lich-Queen of Golgaryllgar. Although not a member of the Twilight Gathering, his aid has been invaluable to the fledgling group. Raloth also performed the ceremonies on Neb Rekhis, a mummy, that turned him from an instrument of evil into a tool for good. Raloth killed Kreon the One-Eyed, an Great Wyrm that lived in the mountains between Itsitlawikanah and Alisander. Raloth is currently lord of Itsitlawikanah.
Notes on Armuth the Ghost Strangler: A member of the Twilight Gathering, Armuth is a fifth level warrior. He is a former Drychtnothian gladiator. He strangled a ghost, rescuing the life of a warlord trainee. He was granted his freedom by Isaxar himself and told to seek out the Twilight Gathering. He is a fanatic about killing the undead and has a remarkably bad temper.
Notes on Khasmaphet: A member of the Twilight Gathering, she was formerly a slave of Kherit, Pharaoh of Khemt, but she betrayed him by rescuing Samadhi. She is a fourteen year old psionicist of the 9th level. She received her psionic training from the Lord of Magic, Tomodachi, in the future. She was placed back in time and made a slave so that Samadhi could eventually be rescued. Of note, she is blind and immune to most poisons.
Notes on Hathmael the Not Overly Bright: A member of the Twilight Gathering, Hathmael is a first level warrior, with some contacts as a smuggler. An Indorian, he is compulsively honest and is afraid of the dark.
Notes on Xethelclerat and the Imperial Prison: A city in the kingdom of King Jotelth. The prison here is for important imperial prisoners only. Usually people the Emperors (or the Council) deemed to important for an execution, but wanted out of the way anyway. The city is rather large and has several concentric walls for defense. The city’s primary export is fish, grain and livestock. The warlord is Gradam III, a powerful necromancer. The city has a large population of mediums. Although most of these are charlatans, there are a few with real talent for communing with the dead. The city houses the largest known library on spiritualism, necromancy, and forbidden tomes on the Created. Copies of the works of the notorious Ingaran alchemist Zaius Rathe can be found here, but special permission is needed to see them.
Notes on Tegclerat: A city ruled by Baron Ykern. The city is not in any proper kingdom since Ykern rebelled against King Xorelth to the south. Baron Ykern is attempting to establish his own kingdom and has attacked both Xorelth’s kingdom, and Jotelth’s kingdom in the north. The city’s primary export is iron ore, coal, and diamonds. This wealth has allowed the city the means to keep its own army and funded the original rebellion and the recent attacks on neighboring kingdoms. This city is well known for its large colliseum for gladitorial combats. Chariot combat is a local favorite.
Notes on Avernus: The first of the Nine Hells. This is a rocky wasteland with a dark red and starless sky, though the landscape is lit by spheres that weave and flare into fiery explosions. The blasted plain is scoured by savage legions, ready to repel invaders. This host is led by Bel, a pit fiend, eagerly earning honors from the infernal archduke of this plane. Tiamat, Queen of Darkness, guards the entrance to the next layer. The River Styx flows through this layer.
Notes on Montelado: A horned devil, or Cornugon, who once served as a retainer to a pit fiend general in the Blood War, but was demoted to gate duty for two centuries after losing several battles to the Demon Hordes. He despises his new position and often lets visitors through for a bribe.
Notes on Bel’s Legion: The Pit Fiend Bel sweeps across Avernus with his immense army of devils, repelling invaders and marshelling Hell’s forces for the Blood War. Bel is currently on a run of the plane, snatching up lemures for his armies.
Notes on the Pillar of Skulls: This grotesque tower’s made of hundreds of living, disembodied heads, all squashed together to form a solid mass at least 10 feet around and 20 feet tall. A person will usually hear the pillar before he gets close enough to get a good look at the vile thing, as the decaying heads talk almost incessently, cursing, arguing, discussing, etc. Most of the heads are of human or humanoid races, but there are a few that even planars would have a hard time giving a name to.
Notes on The River of Blood: The first assault of this flow is its sickening stench. A slow river of warm, partially clotted blood streams down through the wasteland, its slippery, scabby banks pulling in any fool who comes too near. The river dumps into the black waters of the Styx. Upstream, it eventually leads back to the source, the Lake of Blood, a fetid body nestled in the Stigmaris Mountains.
Notes on the River Styx: This dark, rancid waterway cuts right through Avernus on its winding passage through the Lower Planes. A person caught in the wasteland without drinking water might be tempted to ignore the foul stink and take a sip, but the oily liquid’s got a lot more potency than just its smell.
Notes on the Boatmen: The charonadaemons are the servants of Charon, the Boatman of the Lower Planes, and like their master they pilot their small skiffs along the river Styx. These thing, grey, pale-eyed humanoids are more easily summoned than their master, but are more cunning and malevolent. Any harm made to a charonadaemon will not get a reply to future any future summoning made.
Notes on Tiamat: A Lesser Power, the Queen of Darkness is the destroyer of life and the matron of evil dragons. She never ceases in her efforts to cause mischief and destruction, and it’s about all Bahumet, the King of Good Dragons, can do to keep her in check. Tiamat is vile through and through and would lay waste to the planes if she could. Her realm in the hills of Avernus is a sprawling cave complex guarded by her offspring and her lovers. Tiamat guards the only gate to Dis, the second layer of Hell. She is a five-headed dragon, one head for each color of evil dragon.