Aftermath

Aftermath Log 16
New Haven arc 2

The group returned with their equipment to the manse of Dame Solara, who hailed them as conquerors. After some discussion the group chose, rather than to accept payment in gold, to accept payment in contraband items found within one of the rescued crates – to the sum of two Truedeath Crystals. The Lady suggested at future work, hinting of revenge, but offered up rooms in her own home for the group to use while resting and recovering. During breakfast the next day, she explained the details of the new job:

Each year the Legion of Ash, the city’s private army, invited mercenaries from across the world to join in an a grand tournament. However, rather than skill at arms, the tourney measured the ability of the teams to work together and to problem-solve under pressure. The teams were allowed no equipment or gear, and each competed against the clock in a series of 10 encounters. The top three finalists (and sometimes the top 5) were usually offered invitations to begin a series of trainings to assess their capability t join the ranks of the Legionnaires.

According to Dame Solara, a group calling themselves the “Blue Blades” were planning on entering the contest. Her objective, given to the group, was to insure that the Blue Blades did not walk away the victors of the event. She hinted that there was some bad blood between herself and the Blades, but would not discuss specifics. After having a few days to rest and recouperate, the group made their way to the Ashen Legion’s Challenge of Champions.

Each Challenge permitted only 4 team members to participate, and so prior to each test, the group had to decide which players to bring to bear on the particular challenge. after several very successful tests, one of which earned an applause from the test’s proctor, the group found themselves struggling with a challenge they’d overcome but forgotten the keyword to open the final door. Reeling from this defeat the group pressed through its final tests and found themselves in 3rd place, behind an unknown group of contestants and the champions, the Blue Blades. Unable to accomplish their mission, and unable to find motivation for genuine dislike of the Blades (despite an evening of inebriated fact-finding), the group found themselves face-to-face with the dillema of their paths. They had thrown themselves with such fervor into seeking deliverance for Sully and the pursuit of their haunting dreams of a tortured otherworld, they now found themselves lost and seeking for some meaning in all of it.

The group decided to head back to the Redoubt and seek for some answers there. They headed back across the poisoned no-mans-land and through the Redoubt’s gates. There they split up, some going to pay obeissance to the Tree, while Asha and Nuana went to the Eidonite Shrine for answers. They got few, but were directed to a monastery several miles outside of town. The group at the tree also found the note left for Lyshkara, and noticed that it had been changed – stamped with a strange sigil in no language they knew. So, while Ipster idled his time picking pockets in the streets, Nuana, Asha, Anast, and a new companion met during the Challenge _, headed out of New haven and up to the top of a high hill where they found the Eidonite monastery.

They were greeted at the gates by a man calling himself Brother Asden. He gave the group a brief tour of the compound, which seemed to be a communal dwelling for individuals and families within the walled protection of an abandoned watchtower. They spoke at length of the difference between fighting darkness and bringing light – violence only brings further violence, but the call of St. Eidon is to bring the light of Truth. During their meeting, they showed the Brother their note and the new glyph. He explained that the glyph represented a group called the Ca’ayidim, a word meaning the Faceless or Soulless or Unmen. He explained that these person believed they could defeat the darkness by literally setting it ablaze, but when pressed further Br. Asden became confused to the point of not even remembering the sigil or their discussion about it. As this conversation ended a young woman brought in refreshments, and as she left, Anast noticed the marks of a vampire on her throat. When he asked Br. Asden about them, he replied that it was Sister Malandra’s story to tell, not his own. As the meeting broke up Anast went after Sister Malandra, while the other went outside to catch their breath and think on the days events.

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Aftermath Log 15
New Haven arc

The Redoubt turned out to be a section of the city which served as the final holdfast of the defending forces during the Siege of Kittering. A long causeway traced its way along the ridge of a natural dike leading from the city proper to the Redoubt. This stretch of land, a few hundred yards across and perhaps a quarter of a mile long, had once been a no-mans-land between the the wall of the Redoubt and the entrenched siegeworks of the Kingdom of Shadows. So immense had been the outpouring of energies and so intense were the emotions on both sides of the conflict that the magics of the siege had been burned so deeply into this small stretch of ground that they had begun to take on a life of their own, as non-sentient living spells now spontaneously erupted from the haunted soil making crossings a dangerous event. However, guided by a Cuthbertite priest and two guardsmen of the city watch, Ashah and Nuana made the trek across to the Redoubt.

There they found a collection of temples and hockers, worshippers and tradesmen, and at the center of it all, the Tree of New Haven. It is believed that these trees, planted in several of the major cities in the area, were responsible for stemming the flood of the Taint. Since the Tainting of the Empire, these trees had become the center of various cultic practices from diverse religious traditions, all of which sought to lay claim tot he power of the Trees – and none moreso than the Tree of New Haven. On and around this tree lay the hopes and dreams and prayers at the base of the Tree – and on the advice of a local cleric, Ashah and Nuana prominently left a note for Sister Tully Dawnbringer, in the hopes of finding help for the healing of their companion and some answers to their dreams.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city, a ruined wasteland of razor-edged rubble and destroyed buildings, the entire section of the city having been destroyed beneath the feet of the invaders and the waste turned into a field of killing shrapnel and jagged-edged horror, the same way the defenders of Bolseau brought their city down around the forces of the Kingdom. Here, in the midst of the Ruin, Ipster found a single building, a large tavern filled with noise and music and the sickly-sweet smell of tobacco, black lotus, and devilweed. He was introduced to the master of the house, a man called Maias, who gave Ipster a good price for the quantity of taintweed he salvaged from Keira’s pack in the flooded wreckage of the Legion Playhouse in Wight Hall. Ipster departed with the offer of a job upon further meetings.

When the party finally met up again, they all returned with Ipster to Delacroix’s Folly in the Ruin. Here they met Maias, had a strange interaction with a madman called Wren (who agreed to help them research a way to open up the haunted city of Sigil in hopes of finding a way through to other worlds), decided also to begin researching if Truename magicks might be able to open such a portal, and they recieved the prospect of a job working for a local woman known to hire adventures for various jobs around the region.

After much travel and discussion, especially with a scholar at the Library of Kittering, the group realized that its hopes of traveling into the infernal realms were without any hope of ever returning, and decided to pursue more grounded quests, while still keeping a weather eye on the horizon, hoping to find some way to bring closure to the task of the twisted winged-swordsman and clarity to Ipster’s dreams in the ruins. Meanwhile, they met with the Lady Solara, and agreed to assist her in retrieving several shipping crates which had been stolen from her cargo vessel earlier that week, and were introduced to a new traveling companion, a weathered dwarven knife-fighter.

After investigating for some time, and getting into an altercation in the city’s alleyways with a strange iron man, the group discovered that the merchandise had likely been stolen by a group in New Haven’s undercity calling themselves the Brotherhood of the Sightless Lady. The group found and attempted to infiltrate the Sightless Lady’s compound in the Undercity, and succeeded in breaking up the criminal organization and sending the Sightless Lady (now known to be a blind medusa) and Suriel (who now appeared to be working for a new master, or perhaps still the same through other means?) off into hiding, but their efforts left several team members gravely wounded, and Sully dead at the hands of a migrated assassin. The group quickly gathered together what loot they could (and discovered the reason for their employer’s concern in a false bottom of one of the packing crates – several truedeath crystals being smuggled with the rest of the shipment), dealt with Sully’s body as the need dictated, and headed back to the Lady’s compound with her recovered items.

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Aftermath Log 14
Mortairi arc 3

The party gathered supplies and headed south en route to the city of Dusk. While in transit they were attacked by a group of the shadowy creatures they encountered on their way into Wight Hall. However, before they could attack, the shades were intercepted by the same twisted winged creature who confronted Nuana Kornis and Henric in the alleys of Lamid. Drawing its massive greatsword, the creature quickly dispatched the four Umbral Reavers, and then turned to address the party. “Have you found the Yellow Sign?” it repeated to them again. They explained that they had destroyed the King’s Players, but the creature seemed uninterested. “Have you found the Yellow Sign?!” it demanded again. “Find the Sign. Seek the King. END THE MADNESS!” it growled before disappearing, leaving the party with the growing awareness that they may not have seen the last of the King in Yellow.

Upon reaching Dusk, the group sought out the chapter house of the Order of St. Cyprian. At the chapter house the group was greeted by Sir Laeorn, who was keenly interested in the news the group brought from Lamid and Wight Hall. The group learned that Ian, Mot, and Maegan had never arrived in Dusk, and Laeorn had had no word from them since sending Henric to Gale. The Knight also had cautionary words for the party regarding the changes they were seeing in Sullivan Keth. After resting the night from their journey, the group decided to head toward New Haven in the hope of finding more information about how to seek out the voice that called to them from the dark crypt and to seek salvation for the caitiff, Sully. Henric, however, decided to part ways with the company, both in order to seek the Tome now missing along with Ian, and because of the continued fallout surrounding the betrayal of Sullivan. And so less one companion, the troupe found passage on a ship toward New Haven.

The passage to New Haven led through the Gilaki city of Umbral Haven, where the party disembarked to explore the city. Long before sighting the city of New Haven the Beacon Lights bere seen glowing on the horizon. During the Siege of Kittering, the defenders placed permanent defensive wards on the city’s walls, turning them into walls of holy fire. Though the defenders were now gone by-and-large, the defenses remained. The party landed at the docks and made their way into the city. The group, with the exception of Ipster headed for an area of town called “the Redoubt”, having been told that it is the spiritual center of the city. Ipster, through his contacts, found a potential buyer for the “herbs” recovered in Kiera’s knapsack, and so headed into a section of the city called “the Ruin” to find a tavern call “DelaCroix’s Folly”.

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Aftermath Log 13
Mortairi arc 2

At breakfast the group was introduced to a new face, a young raven-haired woman called Ashah Morran. The discussion over breakfast fell mostly to the betrayal and Embracing of Sullivan Keth. Beyond the obvious dangers posed by bringing a predator into the party, the group was concerned also with their own distrust of the Kingdom of Shadows and of those who freely ally themselves with it. Adding to these stresses was the knowledge that the turned vampire is thrall to its Sire, meaning that Eoluk was likely to now have control over Sully’s mind – which was likely how he had known about the paperwork they had failed to hand over to him the previous evening.


Meanwhile, in the catacombs beneath the manor house, Sully was undergoing a profound change. Eoluk’s consort, Fahna, asked to be allowed to turn the new brother – a request granted by the Primogen. As he was drained and fed from Fahna’s own veins throughout the next several days, Sully became increasingly aware of new strengths and abilities awakening within him, as well as the growing thirst, a craving so depraved that he could hardly master it. His Sire watched his first attempts at feeding from the her own thralls, careful to pull him away from killing, trying to begin instruction on how to pull back before the act of killing.

He learned also that his own family, House Creliam, was rumored amongst the other clans of the Kingdom of Shadows, to be the fabled 13th clan – the clan that walked with men. Sully learned that the man he believed to be his grandfather, Marcian Creliam – the self-styled Emperor of Harad, was actually much much older than Sully had ever imagined. Further, it seemed that Sully’s turning at the hands of the Eoluki clan might actually have been a severe breach of etiquette, since the clans generally understood that the family connected to the clans was clan blood. It was possible that Fahna’s action could be understood as theft not only against House Creliam, but against the Umbral Throne. Fahna and Eoluk, however, seemed unconcerned. “Blood is blood,” she told him one evening. “The God-king can set the boundaries of our realms and relationships, but no one holds sway over the Hunt – not even the Umbral Throne.”


The remaining group was taken to the manor house for their training. Over the rest of that week Nuana Kornis, Henric Tyrson, and Anast trained with the Eoluki weaponmasters in the Primogen’s Armory. Nuana and Henric chose to increase their own martial training, adding new techniques and weaponry to their arsenals. Anast had intended to train with the swordsages as well, but when they saw the blade he carried and recognized for what it was, Anast was taken on a journey to begin awakening the dormant abilities of the Isbari Glaive. He learned that the Glaive had been the weapon of Isbari Kane, rumored to be the first swordsage and Master of the Nine. His weapon took on and enhanced that abilities of the wielder, and became a burning brand of the Desert Wind discipline in Anast’s hands – who took the blade deep into the bowels of the earth beneath Wight Hall to plunge the blade into a river of molten earth in the midst of a deep cavernous foundry. Ipster was taken into the catacombs beneath the manor house and inducted into a strange esoteric order called the Altegnostic Disciples, who began training him in the arts of shadowdancing – a mystic style of combat based on the drauish art of obfuscation.

The group was surprised at the end of the week by the sudden appearance of their missing comrade. Initially the group pushed his away, refusing to meet with Sully until the middle of the next morning. During this meeting, the group openly rebuked Sully, explaining their distrust and his betrayal. After much debate the group put an ultimatum on Sully. Unless he chose to seek redemption for his own evil, the group would disown him and count him among their enemies. Anast was on the verge of leaving the group in order to allow Sully to seek out his redemption apart from fear of reprisal from Anast’s hand, when Ipster mentioned a line from his own dream in the ruins of Coldstones Keep. This odd snippet caught the attention of Ashah who asked the quote’s source.

After explaining the dream, Ashah pointed out that the speaker sounded like a prisoner, and that the vast desert Ipster described in his dream sounded very much like a part of the Infernal Plane called Pazunia. The group then began to realize the full scope of the dream Ipster and Kiera had shared, and began the process of deciding how to best go about answering the call of the one who called himself the Slayer – possibly the great Dawhain Mortair himself. They decided, with the input from Henric and Ashah, that their best path was through the Red Queen, who could likely also provide crucial assistance in the case of Sully.

Before leaving for Dusk, and the hope of catching a boat to New Haven, Henric, Ipster, and Sully went back to the manor house one last time for Henric to ask a final boon. When asked to wait, Sully went quietly, but immediately, into the catacombs to find a thrall to feed from. After returning, the three were greeted by Fahna, who said that the Primogen was indisposed. Henric asked Fahna if she would relinquish her control of Sully over to him. Confusion, and possibly hurt, played over her features as she asked, “You wish to be free – to withdraw from my Embrace, to cease being one of our Blood? Would that you had asked aught else in all the worlds. But it is the one boon no Eoluki may refuse.” With that she made a small cut on the palm of her hand, and extended it toward Sully while chanting in a strange tongue. Sully began screaming as his body arched then stiffened, small trickles of blood flowing from his nose, his mouth, his eyes, his ears, and so it seemed that every pore of his body was relinquishing droplets of gore forming a blood-haze around his body. And as his screams echoed through the cold hallways, Fahna drew the blood into the cut on her hand until the cloud was gone and a single bloody tear rolled down her cheek. “Take the caitiff with you,” she said, coldly gesturing to the prone shaking form of Sully, before turning noiselessly and disappearing from the chamber.

The next day, the group left Wight Hall behind them, and began a slow trek south to the coastal city of Dusk.

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Aftermath Log 12
Madness Followed arc, conclusion / Mortairi arc 1

The amorphous monstrosity, risen to its full stature, now began the task of unmaking the Legion Playhouse. Timbers and pilings flew through the air, air gangrenous tentacles crushed pew, beam, and flesh. The party attacked. Anast, Henric Tyrson, and Kiernan found themselves face to face with the beast, while the rest of the party leveled shots and bolts from afar. However as the mass slivered further into the theatre, the combatants found themselves wrapped tightly in the crushing gelatinous tentacles, and pulled deeper into the midst of the crushing suffocating mass. Shots range out in the hall, as the melee fighters struggled against the grappling gooey arms. The mass continued its ravages, crushing theatre-goers and leaving a trail of destruction. Then, suddenly, the rift in the air pulsed again with the sickening light, and the rift, the corpse of Sophia, the jelly-mass, and the riven pallid mask, were sucked back through the portal that closed up with a roar and a hiss, leaving behind only the party, standing in calf-deep fetid water in the midst of the playhouse, staring at the now-floating body of Keira, crushed and cold.

Within moments the front door were filled with silhouettes and shouts as the city guard burst into the room. The party quickly made arrangements for the body of their companion to be looked after as they were hustled away to the manor house in the midst of the city. They were led into a large dining hall, and told to make themselves comfortable. Still ill-at-ease, their fears were even less assuaged when they heard a bolt being fastened on their door from outside. After investigating their surroundings and discovering little more than a well-stocked bar and a strange translucent painting of an entity they could only assume must be the Primogen Eoluk, the party settled down on sofas, divans, well-stuffed chairs in search of a brief bit of rest from their journey and toils.

In the early hours of the morning, the door was flung wide and numerous armed men entered the room, followed by half a dozen others armed not simply for defense but rather for assault and destruction, and behind them a coterie of servants, porters and robed figures all attending to the well-dressed man from the portrait on the wall and the slender drow hanging on his arm. “It appears,” he said quietly and intensely to the party, “that I am in your debt. It would appear that you have not only destroyed a powerful enemy but that you have saved from city from a fate too horrible to contemplate.” His eyes coursed over each member of the party as he smiled and ever-so slightly bowed his head. “You have but to ask, and if is in my power, I will see your wishes granted.”

He looked to Nuana Kornis, Anast, and Henric, “Perhaps a short stay with our weapon-masters to begin unlocking newer and deeper mysteries of the martial world?” His glance shifted to Ipster, “Or maybe you would desire new training with those who dance in the shadows?” And then he gaze rested on Sullivan Keth. There was a pregnant pause in which he gazed, and then seemed to scent the air as a cruel smile broke over his features. “Perhaps you wish the gift of citizenship through migration?” His eyes narrowed again, staring at Sully, “Or perhaps a greater gift?” The Primogen turned to the young woman hanging on his arm and whispered coldly in Deep, “What do you think, my love? Should we Take him?” And then turning to Sully, “What do you say, boy? Ask a boon and I shall grant it. Do you wish to come into my Embrace?”

The air grew cold and still, as the party’s eyes studied Sully and the Primogen, and then the young archer said, “Yes, I wish it.” Eoluk motioned to the porters to escort the young man away, and began to leave before turning to the party and pointing to one of the servants. “This is U’akan, my chamberlain. Ask your boons of him and he will see that all of your needs are met. Do you wish to stay the rest of the evening with us?”

The party quickly glanced at each others’ stunned faces before refusing. “Pity,” replied the Primogen. “Perhaps we shall meet again soon. You have my deepest thanks.” And with that the entourage exited from the room leaving behind the party, now missing two members, and the Primogen’s chamberlain. They asked after a house of the Eidonites, and were given taken to a nearby residential neighborhood and ushered into a “chapterhouse”. There they sat in the safety of a friendly hearth, but now faced the numbing cold of true sorrow over their fallen friend, and the creeping anguish and rage over their betrayal by another. After discussing their way forward, they settled down to sleep.

The next day, before the group had a chance to break fast they were summoned by the chamberlain to an audience with the Primogen. They found themselves once again in the manor house, this time led into an immense library (filled, they learned later, with numerous works “rescued” from the burning library at the Siege of Kittering), and led through a secret passage way deep into hidden vaults below the manor. In a well-furnished and small library they found Eoluk seated behind a massive desk, papers, notes, and maps strewn about, studying the script of the now-infamous King in Yellow. He looked up for his work and welcomed the travelers to join him.

“It has come to my attention,” he said, calmly with a degree of measure in his voice, “that there are certain documents from the King’s Players that you have gathered during your journeys, but with all of the excitement and exhaustion of last evening, forgot to bring to my attention (it was then that the party began to more fully understand the implications of having one of their own number Taken by a Primogen). Perhaps we might sit and peruse them together.” The group produced the notes Sophia left behind in her room in Gale, along with the public notices they had collected from Lamid, as they began retelling their experiences hunting the Players. Eoluk was keenly intrigued by their first meeting with the Players in the Morass and by the strange book that they had sent away with Ian Salzen. He wondered openly at the wisdom of setting loose such a book without knowing the true power it might possess, but then began discussing the issue of the play itself.

“I know who this King in Yellow is,” he told them, “or at least I know of him. Some centuries ago, a conflict not unlikely that described in Lasilaran’s play broke out in the City of Doors, and in the madness that followed a new ruler rose to power. It calls itself the King in Yellow, though it’s true name is older and more powerful than the simple name suggests. After the King gained control over Sigil, he transformed it into the drowned and haunted city of Carcosa, which you all glimpsed. It may even be that you have, through some means I don’t fully understand, have visited the city, from your descriptions of the disappearing Inn in the Corthyn Morass.

“What still makes no sense though, is why, if Faltak were involved as you all seem to suggest, why he would send these players into my own holdings. He and I are certainly not friends, but neither do we have any animosity between us and our trading relationships have been most fair. Nor does it makes sense for him to wage such an attack, even through subterfuge, against another Primogen with whom he is not in direct contest. Such behavior, as he well knows, quickly draws the ire of the Umbral Throne. So why send the Players to me? To what end, this madness?”

The party began looking through their notes, Sophia’s comments on the crowd (which Eoluk explained as likely being a result of the portal’s desire to gain permanence through the drawing of souls – enough power would be needed for the portal to become permanent and the King in Yellow to begin assimilating the city into the realm of Carcosa), through the notes on the play, and the maps of the region. All this they discussed for sometime when Anast, out-of-hand, mentioned that maybe the message had gotten muddled somehow. After a brief pause and a careful thumbing-through of the notes, the Primogen began to laugh. “Pretend, my young friends, that you are mad. Look at this map as the mad would. Do you decipher script? Didn’t you notice the atrocious handwritting of Sophia? Look at the H’s and the W’s – see how see misforms them?” But the group remained puzzled. “What do the cities of Nightfall and Wight Hall have in common?” The group began thinking politically, economically, and socially, but the Primogen reiterated his statement. “What do they have in common? Think like a madman. What do they have in common?”

It was Anast who captured the notion first. “They rhyme?”

“Exactly. Follow the path the Players took. The began in Caer Fiah and headed to Gale. From Gale to Lamid and from Lamid to Wight Hall. Look at the map. could not the orders have easily have been to head from Gale along a similar mirrored path toward Kalit and then on to Nightfall? Remember the W’s and H’s – could not the insanity led the woman to misread her own handwriting.”

“So all this, all the death and destruction, the pain and suffering, all of it was nothing more than a mistake? One big mistake?” the party wondered aloud.

“If only you knew more of the world, my young friends,” was the Primogen’s chuckling reply, “and you would know how often the great deeds are little more than a simple mistake, a bit of poor judgment, and meaningless rotten luck. But that is beside the point. I’ll give you the day to yourselves, and plan to send my chamberlain to you tomorrow morning to receive the boons you would ask of us. Until then, I bid you all a good day.” And with that the group was ushered back into the maze of passageways and out in the bright sunlight through a new hidden doorway. Arriving back at the safe house, the group found their Eidonite hosts sitting down to breakfast, and were eager both to sup and also to mull over the path that lay before them.

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Aftermath Log 11
Madness Followed arc, 2

The party made haste for Wight Hall, hoping to at least reach the city before the the players, if not overtake them on the road. As the afternoon reached its peak the group stopped to water the horses, and in the distance Nuana Kornis saw a strange shape moving toward them at an uncanny speed. As it drew closer it seemed to flicker in and out of the shadows near the road, making it impossible for anyone to get a good look at the creature. Then it disappeared into the shade of a tree several yards away. The party strained to see the entity when, without warning, it emerged from the shadows at the feet of Kiernan and plugged a blade into her back. The party reacted to the new danger, and tried to surround the creature. Ipster felt a strange compulsion to rush into melee, and seeing an opening in the creature’s defenses, drew his rapier and rushed at the creature. With a single swift motion his plugged the blade into the back of the attacker, forcing his weapon up to the hilt, as the creature collapsed in a heap on the ground and began slowly to melt away into a shadowy pool at their feet. They bandaged Kiera’s wounds as best they could, and began the ride toward Wight Hall.

As the sun began to set, the group had a hard decision to make – to press ahead and risk injuring their mounts, to split up their forces, or to remain together and risk arriving too late to avert catastrophe. They decided to split their forces, and so Henric Tyrson, Sully, and Anast pressed ahead, driving their horses hard toward the township, leaving the rest of the party to catch up when they were able. After gaining entrance to the city, the forward party searched the town for sign of the King’s Players. Their search was short though full of ill-omen. The Player’s were here, said the gate-guards, but the show had commenced nearly an hour past. They rushed to the Legion Playhouse, only to find the doors barred against them from the inside, likely porters hoping to turn away stragglers from the sold-out performance while they enjoyed the show from the balconies. Sully began working to unhinge the side-door to the stage, while Anast and Henric stalked around the front door, trying to make entry – but their advances were all turned back.

Finally the second group arrived on the scene, and were able to convince one of the guards to come with them to see the horrific effects of the Player’s shows. Together they smashed in the front door, but were surprised to here nothing beyond the normal sounds of a play in progress. The guard went into the theatre to examine the show, but did not return. Likewise the nasiph of Lamid slipped into the playhouse and found a comfortable seat at the rear of the room. Hoping to in some way disrupt the show, Henric moved toward the inner hall of the playhouse, but found only a pleasant and intriguing story enacted by the four minstrels they had met at the charnel house while adventuring in the fen some weeks prior,

...a story so intriguing in fact that he opted to have a seat next to Nasiph Bresnik.

Now the party found themselves at a loss. Nuana, frustrated by the lack of action on the part of her friends slipped into the theatre, but found nothing odd within. With a slap, she brought Henric to his senses and they left the theatre through the front doors. Now suspecting sorcery, but unsure of how best to disrupt the performance, the party moved toward the side door, just as Sully smashed the door from its frame. The party rushed in to engage the Players. However, as they moved several curious occurrences seemed to happen simultaneously. Several of the members of the party, upon hearing the strange and senseless lyrics from within began fighting amongst themselves. Other rushed into the playhouse intent on visiting violence on the Players. Still other stood bewildered and senseless as other turned and fled out into the twilight of the city. Then the fighting began. Several of the Players brandished blades and whips and moved to halt the on-coming attackers, however this rash of violence did little to interupt the performance. Instead, the leader of the group, Sophia Lasilaran, clad in loose garb and donning a pale white mask emblazoned with the Yellow Sign, began rewriting the lyrics of the play to fit with the attack of the party, improvising a new performance that drew cheers and boos from the crowd.

Blood spilled on the stage, but the audience sat awe-struck until, with a roar, Anast struck down the player at center-stage dressed a king draped in yellow robes. Then, as the king’s head rolled to the stage floor screams echoed through the hall, and the gathered crowd erupted into chaos. As they pressed toward the doors, the fight continued on the stage. Swords clashed and whips cracked, the combat constantly punctuated by the spell-songs of the King’s Players. More confusion saw party members struck dumb, others terrified, other enchanted beyond their own will, and several fleeing in panic. Henric, having shaken off the earlier spell, found himself blocks away from the playhouse, and began his long rush back. Sully, found himself in thrall to Sophia, following her every bidding. The violence continued as the whipateer and the swordfighter fell to the efforts of the party, leaving only Sophia.

Yet more confusion broke out, and those still in control of their own mental faculties found themselves facing nearly a dozen Sophias. The group continued their fight, until finally, the images vanished as Sophia Lasilaran fell the floor of the Legion Playhouse, dead. The enchantments fell away, and the party seemed to resume their calm, when, as they reached for the body of the bard, the Pallid Mask seemed to rip itself in half, and blinding flash of yellow-green light roared through the empty playhouse. A shaft of sickly yellow light stretched through the air above her body as the air itself seemed to be ripped apart. Slowly fetid water began to pour into the playhouse and the party found themselves staring through the rift across the drowned ruins of what must have been Carcosa. And standing at the portal staring through the lifeless eyes of an ornate mask was a towering figure wrapped in robes of yellow, a hideous twisted crown upon his brow. Holding out his hand, the Yellow Sign seemed to dance and twirl in the air, and then the King in Yellow disappeared and into the room poured a monstrosity – “a terrible, indescribable thing… a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light,”

All eyes and tentacles and snapping maws, it poured through the fissure in space, this Thing That Should Not Be, pooling into the now-ankle-deep water in the playhouse, only to reform into a monstrous mass of protoplasmic ooze and roar as it attacked…

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Aftermath Log 10
Madness Followed arc, 1

Upon reaching Gale, the group found the town in ruins – blood pooled in the streets, fires had raged unabated, and strange inhuman tracks covered the streets, and everywhere was scrawled a strange sigil the group remembered on the forehead of the white mask of the gypsy caravan. Sometimes in yellow paint, sometimes in blood, sometimes clawed into the wall, they found the sign staring back at them from every wallspace they could see. The group was further horrified to hear, within the remaining walls of the town’s buildings, sloshing slurping noises the farther into the town they moved. They had just decided to begin investigating the towns buildings when a horde of misshapen forms poured out of the former tavern and the maddened villagers began attacking the party, to be joined by the formidable visage of Saral Xern, the town’s former constable.

Just as the party was finishing putting down the townsfolk, a massive green slug (which Ian later identified as a planar aberration called a whyste) burst through the burned-out wall of the tavern. The party rushed in to destroy the creature and finish off the last of the mutated tentacular townsfolk. They then moved throughout the town to try to find some explanation for the strange transformations and madness they found in the people of Gale. While searching the the quarters of the nasiph, which the group realized must have been the space given to the players to prepare for their show, the group found a series of notes scrawled in a chaotic hand, retelling a story about a strange vision of the vast drowned city of Carcosa, and containing a list of the names of townsfolk “likely to attend” a performance. Written after the names was a final note: “Likely not enough…Lamid, perhaps?” Hidden behind the bookcase, as though left in a hurried forgetfullness, they found a strange tome, written in a language only Ian could read, and the margins filled with the same scrawling bizarre script the group found in the stack of notes.

Upon returning to the Shantytown, the group conferred. They knew that Lamid meant traveling into the territory of Eoluk, but they couldn’t bear the thought of the doom that became Gale falling on an even larger populace if they could in any way prevent it. However, this left the matter of Maegan. After some discussion, Ian decided to take Maegan and the strange book with him to Dusk, in the hope of finding healing for her and answers for the others. Mot decided to travel with them as a guard against the hazards of the wilderness, and begin her search for the woman called Lyshkara in the city of New Haven. With decisions made the group decided to rest and leave at first light, along with their new friend, the Eidonite paladin, Henric Tyrson.

The group pressed on throughout the next day, arriving at Lamid in evening. But as they drew near, they saw a city in chaos. Fires burned everywhere, and roars and strange cries echoed throughout the city. Everywhere was panic, death, and destruction. As the party drew near the city’s centered, they picked up a floating bit of rubbish that turned their hearts cold. The King’s Player’s had been here, a larger town this time, and madness followed. They moved into the city center and met a small group of guards and militia trying desperately to hold a barricade. They were introduced to the town Saral, Colbert Radcliff, who explained that violence had erupted following a flash of sickening yellow-green light at the end of the play. The guard had been called, but a huge mob now controlled the Amphitheatre and the town center, and were only just being held back by the hastily-constructed barricades. Worse, somewhere in the madness was the nasiph of Lamid, a man named Bresnik. The party was called on to rescue the mayor and put down the mob. As Ipster and Sullivan Keth moved to the rooftops to give covering fire, the party scaled the barricades and descended into the madness of the square.

The square was filled with chaos. A mob roamed the area, and the town-center was filled with pools of blood and what remained of the corpses on which the mob was feeding. At the center of the square, sunked into a natural hollow, was the Amphitheatre of Lamid, now filled with waist-deep murky foul water, and in the midst of the pool stood a man (matching Radcliff’s description of the mayor) screaming encouragement and nonsense to the roiling mob.

“The King came for us all and gave us the wisdom of lost Carcosa!” “He chose his flock and we are his children now.” “The Harbingers brought us gifts from the King in Yellow!”

The mob, already filled with a wanton bloodlust, on seeing new prey drop over the barricade, moved to attack and violence erupted in the square. Kiera was savaged by the rough hands, booted feet, and savage tentacles of the swarm. Gunfire, shrapnel and arrows rained from the rooftops. Swords clashed, blood flowed, new bodies fell to be crushed on the hard cobbles, and finally the mob scattered leaving the party to swarm and put-down the largest beast of the mob, a heavily armed swarthy brute whose head had become a mass of writhing snapping tentacles. After the mob dispersed the party separated to aid the militia in clearing the city of as many of the twisted monstrous humans they could find.

While traversing the byways and alleys of the town, Henric and Nuana Kornis were each individually confronted by a twisted winged visage that seemed to flicker toward them through the shadows until it stood toe-to-toe with them, it’s golden eyes flashing and it pungent iron-tinged sulphurous honey scent enveloping the alley. “Have you found the Yellow Sign?” it demanded. As they stood confused it demanded again, “Have you found the Yellow Sign?!” They began to explain about Gale when it cut them off demanding even more forcefully, “Have you FOUND the Yellow Sign”, and then before they could speak, it growled, “Beware. The Limper has put Reavers in your shadows. Find the Sign. Seek the King. End the Madness.” At that it leapt into the air and flew out of sight.

Still confused about the creature and its message, the party found out that in all the confusion following the flash of yellow light, the King’s Players had headed out of town on the road toward Eoluk’s chief keep, Wight Hall. The group rested for the night, and then mounted swift horses and headed out the next morning, hoping to reach Wight Hall in time to prevent the large city falling to the fate of Lamid and Gale.

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Retired Characters
even imaginary people move on

Mot – left the party to seek her fortune in New Haven, hoping to find her “place” in the world.

Kiernan – fell during combat with a shoggoth while trying to close the portal opened by the King’s Players between Wight Hall and the haunted-city of Carcosa.

Henric Tyrson – left the party to complete his quest from the Order of Saint Cyprian, finding the fell tome now lost in the possession of Ian Salzen, and as a result of tensions within the party related to the turning of Sullivan Keth.

Sullivan Keth – fell striking down a migrated assassin during the party’s assault on the Undercity holdfast of the Eyeless Lady in New Haven. As a result of his vampiric blood, the party made the decision to cremate his remains.

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Aftermath Log 9
Fiend's Embrace 3

The group awoke to the sound of Nuana screaming. Over a cold breakfast they discussed the signs and portents of their dreams. All see a common thread of the need to seek out “the King” and his sign and to uncover why this lost city keeps invading their thoughts and nightmares. With that, the party decides to use the boats taken from the now-dead Fingers of Iuz, and return to the Shantytown – stopping first at the home of Slyrazz the Potion-maker. The party took time to buy healing poultices and undead-hunting equipment, but ended their shopping abruptly when Kiera noticed a horrible looking brand on the woman’s left arm, a brand that (even though she didn’t recognize it) made her neck bristle (she later spoke at length about the image and its meaning with Ian).

After several days, and many more encounters with the soggy denizens of the Morass (including a hydra and a surprise attack from the ghouls of the Ghoul Bridge), the party finally nears the end of their journey. However, still nearly a day’s travel from the edge of the Morass, Sully suddenly lets out a screaming and fall out of the boat. Mot and Anast quickly leap into the water to save him from drowning, and he lies twitching in the bottom of the john-boat. After several minutes he awakens, though it is still a little while before he is able to speak. “The Lady visited me in my mind. She had a message to convey to us.”

She said, “I don’t know what you are doing and I don’t care. Stop harassing G and get back to Gale as fast as you can. Something has happened there. Find out what’s wrong and if Faltak is involved.”

The party decides to heed the advice, and though they found much of what the Lady said confusing (and even Ian was forced to admit that he couldn’t understand how sending such a message was even possible) they continued north at a hurried pace. As they neared the Shantytown they were attacked by hideous winged creatures that Nuana had seen in her dreams. The party fended the creatures off well, and reached the Shantytown only to find a different paladin waiting there in the place of Brother Laeorn.

Childe ben Yaza introduced the newcomer as Henric Tyrson, a Harrier of the Order of St. Cyprian and paladin of St. Eidon. Henric explained that he had been sent south by the Order to investigate a strange band of minstrels and a lost tome in their possession. He sought out Sir Laeorn in the city of Dusk, but the knight had no information to give him. Instead Brother Laeorn sent him with provisions to Shantytown to await the return of Ian and the party, possibly with information. Ian told him about the gypsy band and their strange disappearance, and that they had been headed “north toward larger crowds – maybe even to Umbral Haven”.

As they spoke they were interrupted by a girl staggering into town from the direction of Gale. She was covered in blood, mud, and filth, and obviously had not eaten in days. She stared terrified at the camp until soothed by Childe ben Yaza (who recognized her as the daughter of of a local merchant named Brimsworth – Maegan he thought her name was)and the gift of water and bread. Even after seeming in some way to calm down, she still said nothing but incoherent babbling. “I just wanted to see the show…I never get to see shows and I just wanted to see the show…it was so pretty…such a pretty king on a pretty stage…I just wanted to see the play…but there was so much screaming and dying and bleeding and screaming and slithering – always slithering…so much screaming…I hid the outhouse and the dead slitherings never found me…I just wanted to see the play…i just wanted to see the play…”

ben Yaza had heard the sounds of a play two-nights past. but the town had been silent since. Ian approached the young women to try to calm her and gain some more clear images of what had happened, but as he approached her she locked her eyes on something on his torso and then began clawing and screaming and fled into the camp, into the arms of one of the Cultists.

A strange reaction sparked their desire to uncover the source of the child’s madness. And so the party grabbed their gear and headed into Gale.

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Aftermath Log 8
Fiend's Embrace 2

The party, after brief deliberation, headed up the small hillock to the house. As they drew closer they distinctly heard the sounds of a man singing to himself, very off-key. They called to the house, and were coldly greeted by a surly boorish looking swamp-dweller, who demanded that they get off his property. The party stood confused, until the man demanded they leave him alone again. In a fit of annoyance, Nuana threatened the man’s property, which threw him into a fit of rage, and he attacked the party. Using eldritch tendrils, Ian was able to root the man to the floor and give the party enough time to escape the raving madman and his greatsword. They continued their trek into the swamps.

After several more hostile encounters with the beasts and walking dead of the marshes (including a band of immensely inept gnolls), the party reached what Sir Laeorn’s map called the Potion Makers Hut . The group cautiously hailed the shack atop the ruins of a once-mighty tree, and were greeted with an invitation to climb the ladder. The group was then met by a hideous and scarred old crone, who vocal peculiarities caused both mirth and discomfort amongst the group. She disclaimed any knowledge of other groups passing through the area, but gave directions to the Keep, and offered anything in her stores for purchase. Nuana picked up some alchemical stakes, and Sully purchased similar arrows to be picked up at a later date. But, ill-at-ease by the crone’s appearance, manners, and collection of “ingredients”, the group chose to find lodging elsewhere and continue their journey.

Shortly before dusk the next evening, the group came upon the Keep, a ruined fortress sinking into the morass. After cautiously making entrance, the group ran afoul of an aquatic troll, or scrag, in the Keep’s courtyard. They explored the first floor of the castle, disposing of it’s new residents when necessary (though this unfortunately included driving off the now-familiar visage of the serpentine creature they now associate with Kiera. Descending into the bowels of the place, they found themselves in a flooded basement, and almost immediately fighting for their lives against a massive tentacled bulbous caterpillar. The carrion crawler did its best, but finally succumbed to the assaults of the party. The party then discovered the flooding in this area was intentional, the water trapped by a make-shift dam.

After breaking the dam the group split in half to see what lay beneath the now-drained waters – and both groups came face to face with another scrag. The battle was short and bloody, leaving several party members, especially Anast, gored and torn, and the two trolls dead on the floor, unable to regenerate outside of their water – and from one of these corpses the party retrieved a hideous cloak, made from scaled hide, and bound with a red-silver clasp in the shape of a clawed six-fingered hand. As the rest of the group recovered and reloaded, Ian carefully bound the cloak up and hide it away in his pack. However as the smoke cleared Sully noticed his new companion, Kresh, acting strangely, as though disturbed by something up the stairs tot he first floor. The group tried to proceed up the stairs, but were met with an explosive trap laid for them.

Searching the first floor for signs of the trapsetter, Kiera noticed, through the cracked main doors, persons moving in the courtyard. The party soon realized they were about to walk into an ambush, likely laid for them by the group they had been sent to intercept. The party decided to try a two-pronged attack, hoping to lure the enemy into error. The ranged fighters moved to the second-floor balcony and the fighters remained hidden in the first-floor entryway. As the fighting began, the group found themselves well-matched by the Fingers of Iuz. One of the mercenaries, hoping to flank the fighters on the roof, bolted through the entryway and was cut down before he reached the hallway. The fighters then poured into the courtyard, and the melee began. Sully, from the balcony took aim at what he perceived to be a caster, and buried an arrow deep in her chest. She responded by hurling a heavy steel rod through the air at him. When it made contact, Sully fell to the ground in a screaming heap of agony, blood running from his eyes and ears and beneath his nails.

The party responded quickly, moving to down the resistance on the ground, while the ranged fighters, with Sully still writhing in screaming agony, struggled to suppress the projectiles falling into the courtyard from the battlements. However, as the combatants fell, the tide of the battle began to shift, and soon all of the Fingers of Iuz lay dead in the courtyard of Cold Stones Keep. Mot took one look at the rod laying next to Sully, who was now sitting against the battlements, exhausted and nursing the torn nails on his left hand, and before snatching it up and flinging it, with a roar, high into the air over the wall and deep into the Morass. She later explained that the item was a piece of a torture pole that the caster had turned into a weapon, a painful memory to her of her own unwilling crucimigration. The party further explored the ruins to discover that as they explored the basement, the Fingers of Iuz had been upstairs, trying to retrieve what they had found wrapped around the neck of the troll. The party decided to bed down in the ruins, as the only dry land to be seen, before leaving the next day, on the skiffs the Fingers had used to gain speedy passage through the Corthyn Morass.

However, their sleep was plagued by fell dreams...

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