Thursday, May 3, 2012

Kingmaker:Second Darkness Story Conclusion

You have defeated Allevrah Azrinae, once among the staunchest defenders of elven culture, but in her latter years the greatest threat that Golarion has ever faced, though an amazingly small number are aware of her existence, much less the massive rock that would have spelled their doom if not for your heroism. 

You were aided in your endeavors by the Incindiery Cohort, colloquially known as the children of Wrath who were portalled into the Blood Basilica to cover your flank.  They assisted in keeping the soldiers and priests of House Azrinae from supporting Allevrah in battle.  You choose to return with them to Xin-Shalast where Lord Protector Desdemona Valetti awaits you.  She is not dressed as an archmage, or even as her custom in garments befitting a coquette, she is dressed in simple sturdy work clothes and belted with magical and mundane tools and instruments.   

There in the Chamber of the Runic Occulum you are greeted warmly by your ally, who encourages you to watch the show.  She directs you to a massive gold and mithril machine of lenses and magical scrying pools focused into the violet skies outside the glass walls of the spire.  Even without magical aid you can see the tops of clouds, the shifting of light upon the far horizon, deep violet skies giving way to the blackness of space and the stars more clear than ever seen from the surface of the world.  The lenses are attuned to magical energies, forces  of nature and refined specifically to examine the forces of gravity and aboleth glyph magic.  The devices focus lens appears as a hovering disc of energy, crackling and white at the edges, but upon that surface you can see the great comet snared by Allevrah and the eddies of gravity and magic that affect it.  The display is further enhanced by vector lines describing it's path and it' projected impact upon Golarion.  The display shows a solid hit upon the planet, meaning it's doom.  Then the lines waver, change, paths blend, blur and break and the comet veers, just a hair, barely visible to the eye, then again, and finally it resolves.  The trajectory shows it brushing the upper atmosphere, missing the moons, but certainly visible from the surface.

The room is empty save for your companions and the archmage Desdemona.  You each react according to your natures, though the brutality of this adventure has left you raw and exhausted and you are still covered in the gore of your enemies.  She kisses each of you, congratulating you personally.  She does not treat you as her lessers or even allies at this moment she is genuinely grateful to you and in your debt.  You are offered a chance to rest in the Spire of Xin-Shalast, a place like none you have ever experienced.  You are cared for, pampered, fed, wined, and seen to in whatever matter you desire.  The baths are like none you have ever experienced.  A spherical chamber of gold, filled with alabaster curving walks and stairs leading to small grottos, gardens and even flows of crystal clear water floating, moving through the air, rivers without soil to hold them.  Creatures like nymphs tend to these waters and offer their services to bath and pamper you.  These were once the Pools of Xin, crafted to remind the ancient archmage of something left behind in Azlant, but eventually merely Karzoug's pleasure chamber.  Now it serves for relaxation and peace.

You spend two days in Xin Shalast, even exploring the Lower City where chaos still reigns.  Despite the best efforts of the Lord Protectors of Varisia this city is still the strange and dangerous place it was in the time of Karzoug.  Lamia, trolls, ogre magi, medusa, giants, orcs, and less definable creatures walk the streets.  The most common humanoid species are actually in the minority, though the population of the city is still not great.  In truth with the great causeway destroyed only the most determined may reach this place.  Those creatures already acclimated to the upper Kodar who have gained their knowledge from the former vassals of Karzoug have found their way here.  The Lord Protectors chose instead to implement laws rather than try and force them all out.  The laws are simple, blunt and without equivocation and are enforced by elite troops and an army of golems immune to bribery or seduction.

You return home to Wyldegarde to find your advisors and council members awaiting you.  The vast sum of money thrown through a portal into the teleportation chamber let them know something was happening, and when you did not arrive they waited patiently, unwilling to risk interrupting you while you were saving the world.

It is a happy homecoming.  Svetlana makes you all dinner, unwilling to let some lesser cook feed you.  Oleg cracks open the first barrel of a new beer, Comet Breaker Ale, made especially to commemorate this occasion.  Kesten Garess embraces you all, thanking you sincerely for your bravery.  The party is private but enthusiastic, but you all know the work is not yet done. 

As per your discussion with Desdemona you begin your part in the plan to save as many as possible.  The forges in Kundrakar, Jovvox and Stag’s Gate work around the clock, every smith, engineer and clockmaker toil endlessly to build components to the specifications given by the Verces engineer.  Wizards and clerics enchant and harden the made products and daily they are transported to the Spire of Xin-Shalast where the ship will launch.   Dana and Pilla see to these preparations along with the aid of Jaegar.

Shard goes to Kyonin to visit his sister, to present Queen Telandia with the body of Allevrah Azrinae.  The winter council is no more and the surviving members serve as her advisors, only speaking when directly asked for their opinion.  It is in this meeting that Shard learns that the surviving members of House Azrinae are not content to let things lie, and that a war is coming.   No one can guess where they will strike and so it is suggested that a pre-emptive strike against them in their home would be the best deterrent, lest they interrupt the launch of the ship.

Hodor and Shard work together to gather and lead men suitable for this fight beneath the earth in the middle of hostile territory held by creatures that are the very stuff of murder and dark magic.  No one has ever assaulted a drow city before.  It will be a first.

The Night Haunters of Nightsgate, The Hammerhands of Kundrakar, The Incendiary Cohort of Prosperity, three units of Shin’Rakorth and the Shattered Rune Company of Jorgenfist are assembled.  Kobolds, dwarves, men, elves and giants assembled for common cause, under the command of Hodor and Shard in two pincered assault forces.  They are to be supported by allied spell casters and lamia who have chosen to serve the new Archmage of Xin-Shalast.  Further supporting this effort will be demolition teams of gnomes and Forgotten Ones. Even a company of Lashunta warriors who relish the idea of war against new species, making war on a new planet have joined hoping for glory.   House Azrinae will burn. 

On the wide plateau beneath the hungry eyes of Massar Massif stands a host unlike any other.  This site was chosen for it’s unique properties.  An elevation so high that without magical aid breathing is impossible, a planar wall thin and membranous allowing for enhanced teleportation magics for those that know the keys.   Assembled are the allied forces of Varisia, Kyonin, and Wyldegarde.  The new Runelord of  Industrious Commerce Hasif leads a contingent of wizards from Korvosa and Magnimar who will fly into the furthest reaches of the atmosphere upon his Shory Citadel.  The Verces have brought their best engineers through the planetary portal network.  Ramona Valetti of Sarenae rides a great Phoenix.  Carlo Valetti of Desna rides upon his fantastic moth.  The ship is launched to great fanfare rising steadily from the earth, carrying with it the again repurposed Runewell Occulum of Karzoug, this time to serve as a great burning ray, in hopes it will destroy the largest chunks of ice and interplanetary stone.  Massive portals open raw hungry wells of magic that the soldiers and warriors pour through, leading them directly into the heart of the drow city of Zirkanyan.  The Shory citadel, and the magical transports of the heralds launch into the sky. Even Queen Telandia of Kyonin stands at the ready, not as a queen but as a wizard ready to do as commanded.

Battle is met in the bowels of the earth.  Blade and hammer and spell maim and kill.  Explosions rock the city. Walls are crushed or reshaped to the attackers needs.  The drow have fought for centuries amongst themselves but they never expected this kind of assault against them.  The brutality of the assault quickly convinces the other Houses to stand aside and Azrinae stands alone.  Unfortunately Abraxas is not as willing to let things go as such.  As the last defenses fall one hundred drow commit suicide and summon forth a greater demon, a nascent lord, a challenge for even the greatest of champions.  The demon does not engage the champions however.  It avoids them, leaving them tied up with other great warriors of the drow, and murders as it will, while lesser things die so that it may take vengeance.  Unwilling to be left out of the matter any longer the demigod Isabelle returns to the mortal plane, just long enough to fight the nascent lord and send it back to the Abyss.  Hodor and Shard are victorious, personally claiming the heads of matriarchs and mages of House Azrinae.  Nothing remains.  They are destroyed to the last stone. 

In the skies above Golarion the mismatched flotilla finds that the comet is not without guardians.  Insane creatures of ice and shadow float in its wake.  As the comet brushes the ionosphere it begins to break up, chunks of it shattering and falling to earth.  The creatures become incensed and attack, and it is obvious their kind should never touch the soil of Golarion.    Fire and lightning are effective and the combined spellpower of four metropolises and the avatar of a fire god are laid against the icy comet and its children.  The battle is not without cost but they are able to save many from death. 

On the surface across all of Avistan the comet is seen from the surface.  Tides rise out of turn, boats overturn from the tidal wake, hundreds die in coastal villages.  A great fiery streak covers the daylit sky and there is no question that on this day the world could have ended. You are heroes and the world will know it.

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