For Glory, For Empire

Session 23, 5/22/2017

When Rebecca Comes Back as a Baby Eater

The session rejoins our intrepid adventures as Arturian’s musket misfires, with Ts’ao Hai and Kalum ducking out of the way. The close-by, yellow pillar of corundum in the strange arrangement lights up strongly at the the explosion, with the orange pillar and green pillar resounding less strongly.

The others stand beside the deceased form of Rebecca. Rebecca’s body starts to float upward. Alarmed by these events, Moccan climbs on top of the body and holds her down. As they watch, an ethereal form begins being pulled out of the body, the spitting image of Rebecca. It reminds Arturian of certain sacred Bea’txo rituals involving soul transfers. Art manages to figure out that the well is attempting to draw in Rebecca’s soul.

Arturian and Ts’ao Hai begin to examine the pillars and find that the yellow pillar has become cracked. While the two Bea’txo are performing their analysis, the party attempts to devise a plan to keep the soul and body united long enough for Moccan to complete his reincarnation ritual.

Moccan mounts Mia the pegasus and hangs on to the body as it floats towards the rocky overhang where the fight started, as the rest of the party prepares weapons in case of trouble. Once above the overhang, the body goes over the overhang and begins traveling horizontally. Moccan now travels through the dark, following the body as it changes orientation, now descending vertically. Moccan clings to the body as he desperately tries to complete his ritual. Finally, the last sacred syllable is spoken and the body begins to transform. Because of the pitch black lighting conditions, Moccan can’t tell what or where Rebecca is now.

Rebecca awakens only to be promptly dropped by Moccan into a pit of ink black liquid, which is now spreading out responsive tendrils to clutch at the horse. Moccan brings forth light, and realizes his profound error. Thanks to some quick reaction, Moccan manages to haul Rebecca’s new form out of the liquid. It is six and a half feet tall, bristling with muscles, bony ridges, and clearly built for war. Moccan and Mia see doom in the eyes of this being, though they can recognize it as Rebecca.

Moccan suddenly realize that his hands, covered in the strange liquid, desire to be placed back into the pool. Moccan tries to wipe his hands off and finds the material to be rather clingy. Having found no solution to this problem, Moccan tries to follow Mia, with Rebecca-thing following him.

Meanwhile, Art decides to try an explosion in the shallow pit between the pillars. After his improvised explosive goes off, all the pillars light up, which are spotted by Moccan as he stumbles through the dark. Rebecca-thing decides to try and call for Mia, successfully retrieving her horse, although Mia refuses to get too close to Rebecca’s new body. Rebecca then follows Moccan towards the pillars of radiance.

Back at the pillars, the group examines them following the explosion, finding that the other pillars are now cracked and the yellow pillar is undamaged. All the pillars vibrate, and after a little while the cracks repair of their volition and the vibration stops. Up above, Rebecca and Moccan arrive at the edge of the overhang and manage their way down. Talis examines the goop and determines that it is very, very evil.

Kalum starts hosing the horse and the druid down, while Art uses a levitate potion to float up and meet the “new Rebecca.” Art is quite taken aback, and manages to prevent himself from fleeing as he draws a crossbow and prepares to end the threat; Rebecca now looks more like the creature that slew her than her former form.

Rebecca somewhat manages to convince Art that she is herself and not a monster come to destroy them all. Having been reassured that this is Rebecca and not a fanged imposter, Art manages to figure out a way of getting Rebecca down from the cliff. Ts’ao Hai gets one look at “new Rebecca” and runs off, a primordial instinct telling him to run from this creature, and warn all of his loved ones. Ts’ao Hai sprints up a ramp, through several traps, and ends up in a winding tunnel leading to a flat ledge high up the cavern before he decides he is safe. Ts’ao Hai resolves to return to the settlement to warn Yu-Chen and everyone else about the fearsome baby eater as soon as possible.

Everyone fails to identify what Rebecca actually is now. Talis casts Detect Evil and finds out that Rebecca does register as Evil, but it might just be the strange black goo still covering her. In the meantime, the party spots the light from Ts’ao Hai’s ioun torch. Mia goes to Ts’ao Hai to transport him back to the others, but Mia refuses to land and Ts’ao Hai gets a mid-air healing shower courtesy of Kalum.

The party decides to return to the ledge leading to the black pool, via Mia relay and levitation potions. Arturian spots the spirit of a ratfolk as he is pulled down onto the ledge, heading in the direction where Moccan thinks the well is. The party arrives at the lip of the well, wherein the goop on Rebecca reaches out towards the pool. The pool reaches out for her, and Talis raises her nimbus, which blasts away the dark substance.

The party begins the ritual, with Ts’ao Hai and Rebecca standing an uneasy watch in Talis’s nimbus. Moccan, Arturian, Talis, and Kalum begin to set up the ritual. While they do so, they notice that Moccan is slipping closer and closer to the well. Talis helps Moccan snap out of it, but then Arturian succumbs to the well’s influence as initiative is rolled.

Arturian almost lunges into the well, but Ts’ao Hai grabs him and helps him shake it off. Rebecca suddenly tries to shove the two into the well. Talis repositions them and scolds the naughty hell beast that is now Rebecca. Arturian realizes that the weird pillar structure they found earlier is the most valuable thing in the universe, but maintains control of himself.

The party gets back to work, but now Talis falls victim to the well’s influence. Perceiving it as a giant leathery winged monster, Talis attempts to smite the well by diving into it. Ts’ao Hai dives in again for the save and fails miserably this time. The other party members fail to stop Talis, except for Kalum, who blasts her back 15 feet from the well. Eventually the group manages to shake Talis out of her vision.

After another hour of ritual, Moccan succumbs to the well’s influence and tries to dive in. Tabitha gets a chunk of Moccan while trying to stop him, and Ts’ao Hai dives onto the druid and puts him into a full Nelson, breaking the curse. Yet another hour of ritual work commences, and this time no one falls under its sway.

Suddenly, the party comes under assault from more strange horrors, the same sort as the original attacker. The party take them down, but not before one throws a pot into the well, which causes the black tendrils to rise up and snatch at them. Another nimbus blast destroys the tentacles, and the work continues.

Finally, preparations are complete, and Arturian begins to enact the ritual. Tendrils suddenly reach out and grab at the party, interrupting the execution of the ritual. Tabitha manages to drag Moccan back from the edge, but Ts’ao Hai fails to assist Talis in the same fashion. Talis activates her nimbus, allowing the party to complete the ritual, creating a silver aura across the top of the well. Shortly after, negative energy drives the party away from the well, but the party rests well next to the cliff, knowing they have completed their task.

The party uses a spell from the Druid to soften the walls of the pillar chamber, allowing them to collect some precious stones. 121 stones are collected by the party, to be divided later.

The party takes one of the elevators in the pillar room up as far as it will go, arriving in a cavernous room held up by metal support beams. The party decides to take the southmost tunnel, following mine cart tracks, hoping to arrive in the Lotus room that they used originally used to descend.

The party comes to a place where the tunnel intersects another hallway perpendicularly, with the tracks they are following rising above another tunnel going east to west below them. The party passes over this tunnel across the tracks, arriving in a round central room with many passages. In the middle of the room are four constructed carts, surrounding a lidded pit. The party paused to debate their next course of action, deciding to go up a narrow southwest passage that gently slopes upward. They run headlong into another wall across the passage with a Grugan adventurer frozen into it. Arturian determines that this is likely the remnant of a trap, and figures out that the rock is not very thick. Talis and Rebecca set to work trying to break down the wall, managing to pry it at the seam where it joins the wall. An avalanche of coins pours out, bludgeoning the party with a tide of wealth on one of the most painful windfalls of their career.

The party decides to spend an hour collecting the most valuable coins up to as much as they can carry without overburdening themselves. Trying to crawl past the stone wall, the party turns into the trap that created the trapped Grugan. Talis falls into the spray, becoming encased in stone. The party hurries to break Talis free, managing to do so before she suffocates.

Art jams the trigger plate into position, and the party can finally crawl past the trap and into a new six sided chamber marked by several troughs in the floor. Following a gentle inclination up, the party comes to an intersection in the troughs, and decides to continue heading up. Art notices something odd about the wall that the trough originates from. After examining the spooky relief there, Art figures out that it is a trap and warns the party. Mia unfortunately triggers the trap, which sends a stone hurtling down the trough, knocking Moccan prone and sending Tabitha sliding back down the shaft. Tabitha manages to overcome over the boulder before it turned fatal, and Mia evades the worst of it.

Reaching the top of the shaft, the party discovers a wide chamber and a light. Ts’ao Hai is deployed as an aerial scout, finding Mirari, one of the Azkaderra, placing a wall of force over a set of ornate doors. She quickly explains that the rest of the Azkaderra have been possessed by “a fragment of the builder" and are behind the door she is holding the door shut. After Mirari talks to Mia and tells her the plan, the pegasus returns to to the party and collects Arturian and the climbing kit. Using the pitons and some flasks of Alchemist’s Fire, Arturian jams the door and pours fire into the cracks of the door. Mirari then tosses Ts’ao Hai off the pegasus and hijacks Mia, flying off as the session ends.

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