Greyhawk 636 CY: The Rise of Asmodeus

More Than a Henchman

Reaping 1, 636 CY

Dearest Thereca,

While we all enjoyed our time in Geoff celebrating, there were pressing matters to attend to. We took the airship as far as we safely could into the northern reaches. The last hour we spent on foot. Our spellcasters laid out alarm spells during the trip so we would be alerted when Taren and Bartholotwo arrived.

We also able to set up some traps, which proved very effective at funneling the group. Along with Bartholotwo and Taren, Qui’s sister, Haruka, and a number of other monsters were part of the entourage. Idrys’s explosive traps and walls of force hung from immoveable rods worked very well to trim down their numbers. As soon as they spotted us, the battle was started.

As we fought the winter wolves, Taren and Bartholotwo started to argue. She stressed they needed to get to the City of the Gods while he saw an opportunity to rid himself of us. After rashly dismissing the gnome as a mere henchmen, Bartholotwo sealed his own doom. Taren, furious, pulled out a powerful magic axe and sliced Bart’s arm from his body — the arm that was chained to the Codex of Infinite Planes.

Working quickly, I sliced off Bart’s other arm when he tried to cast a powerful spell. Marsys then used our staff of rays to cast disintegration on him, turning him to dust. The book, now without a host or a connection to our timeline seemed disoriented and Tulla dismissed it back to where it came from.

Taren then summoned a giant, fiendish badger and began burrowing under us to get to the city. Qui jumped down into the tunnel to chase her, but Faern summoned an earth elemental which brought the three back to the surface. It seemed the poor mad gnome was prepared, though, and used a spell to transfer damage from herself to Marsys.

Meanwhile, Haruka attempted to use some sort of strange flying sled to bypass us, but was stopped by Faern’s expertly aimed hammer. She was thrown into the snow where Ardes moved to fight her. With a nicely placed wall of force blocking her escape, Haruka thought to leap over his head, but found Ardes’s skills with his reinforced scarf more than she bargained for. Wrapping the fabric around her neck, he started trying to knock her unconscious.

I wanted to ask you, since I know you’re very interested in marriage ceremonies, are there any betrothal traditions I should be adhering to? I remember mom sayings something about not needing a chaperone until we were older, but I think she might have been joking? Are there any gifts I should give him or things that I’m supposed to do? I’d rather not embarrass anyone by just not knowing what to do. Thanks!

Worried for her halfling friend, Tulla put herself as close to her sister as possible to prevent Taren from using any more damaging spells, knowing her twin wouldn’t risk harming her as well. Qui, attempting to disarm Taren, grabbed the magical axe. But learned it was much more powerful than it seemed. The axe wrapped itself around her arm and dragged her along the ground, knocking Ardes over and freeing Haruka. Taren took the opportunity to teleport far away rather than hurt her sister when Tulla removed the curse from Qui. The axe, which Tulla informed us had to be the weapon of Garl’s brother Gelf Darkheart, then merged itself with Haruka’s armor.

The antipaladin was confused, but undaunted. She cast a spell that created a pocket of incredible, dense darkness which allowed her to move without being seen and blinding her attackers. Kylie dismissed it just in time for us to see Haruka raising a hand to stab her sister Qui! Having waited for her movement, Ardes knocked Qui out of the way and caused Haruka to miss her blow and giving Loreli an opportunity to use her acid breath powers. Haruka fell to the ground unconscious, dropping the strange syringe she had tried to stab her sister with.

The axe unbound itself from her armor and seemed ready to attempt escape when a small hand reached out of the ground to grab it. Garl Glittergold emerged and beat the sentient weapon into submission. Before he left, he tossed a piece of paper folded in a shape that let it glide through the air to Tulla.

Jack mentioned something about buying me a jewel. I don’t think this is necessary. He already got me the necklace when we were kids — I should as for that back, shouldn’t I? But maybe I’m supposed to give him something. Maybe I’ll talk to Hanna. She was betrothed to Villius. Though, I suspect the Frost Barbarians have some different traditions than we do… Where was I? Oh yes.

Kylie used some of her drugs to knock Haruka out even further and we made haste for the Isle of Pearls since we saw no need to go into the city. Once we got to the Isle, we were immediately ushered in to see the Emperor Akihiro. He seemed quite calm despite all the fuss. He asked to see the syringe, but as Kylie made to give it to him, Ardes raised a hand to intercept. The syringe was knocked to the floor where a spike of wood shot out and began to melt! It seemed to be a splinter of the Shaft of True Night, a weapon meant to kill Pelor himself. Having been playing possum, Haruka leapt to her feet but was turned to stone by Tulla’s quickly cast spell. Akihiro quietly used his magic to freeze the spells progression so that Haruka would remain a statue until they decided what to do with her.

Ardes explained his actions to us, “I generally assume everything is poisoned.” And then warned us if we were going to tangle with the Scarlet Brotherhood, we should all start assuming the same. Now that they were without their leader, Bartholotwo, the Scarlet Sign is a complete unknown. He volunteered to assist Sir Christopher’s spies in gathering information so we wouldn’t be taken by surprise.

It seems that our next stop is the Clockwork Dungeon, where Taren has already been preparing for us. It was nice to have some real success, however, and we’re free of at least one of our enemies now. Hopefully Emperor Akihiro and his people can find some way to bring Haruka back to her senses as well. All in all, I feel this was a win.

- Yours devotedly
Wilhelmina Stalwarth
PS. Did you get the chance to talk to Adam yet? I hope he wasn’t too upset…

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