Four figures on four raised platforms awaken in a plain stone room. They are strangers to each other. There are three doors, in front of which lies an almost-dead body. The man speaks of three portals and a seal before he dies. The four introduce themselves. The scantily-clad wild elf is Hanadel, called Han. The half-orc in red robes introduces herself as Engong, and the paladin presents herself as Lia. The monk stutters quietly that he is Pallo. Han and Engong laugh at "P-P-Pallo." They decide to go through the glowing red swirly portal on the right, which leads to a gothic cathedral. Engong enjoys herself by desecrating the holy water and otherwise mutilating holy artifacts. They find a secret door behind a white banner.
The four explore the bowels of the cathedral and fight much which is not holy - skeletons, zombies, imps, and dretches. All kill their share. In one spot there are four handholds. When held, Engong's and Han's turn red, while Pallo's is grey and Lia's is white. Pallo has a dream: in the grey haze, he hears a female voice - "at last, a chance for balance is restored - trust in nothing but yourself and order." They gain a round object with six slots.
They exit the cathedral and explore the beach outside, where they are collected by guards who exclaim that the barrier is down. They ditch the guards by agreeing to make their way to the capital to get registered. In town, Han seduces two farm boys. On their journey to the capital, they fight four bugbears. Lia kills one and Han downs two, but one escapes. Pallo is forced to give the promise of a future "favor" to Han in exchange for healing from Engong.
The bugbear is tracked to a desert, where the group find themselves surrounded. Engong kills one before running away ensues. Pant, pant…back on the road. They camp for the night near a hill. The signposts on the road read "The City" … "The Sea" … "The Mountains" and the like. Something is very odd about this place. Hanadel and Engong try to sneak off, but an attack by wights and var gouilles thwarts their evil desertion plans. Lia kills a var gouille, Engong turns undead, and Han kills the other var gouille (but not until after Engong was kissed by one). The wights vanish. The valiant companions run away, reach a river and ford it to get to the Green Hag tavern in town. Han employs her profession while Engong sleeps in Pallo's room. Engong notices that her head is starting to look like a var gouille, and she shatters the mirror. She goes to the town cleric, who manages to stop her head from floating off her body, although she gets slightly less intelligent and is left with a bald head and a pair of small tentacles on her chin. Pallo pays for the healing.
They take the ferry across and go through the barrows. Someone hails them from a tree - Terminsteral. Engong tries to hit him, but he disappears and reappears behind them. They ask about seals but are not given much information. He proceeds to tell a story about a power that came into the world and the three sides that didn't like it. The sides conspired and fashioned the seal for a prison, locking the power up in a crystal castle. The seal was split into seven different parts and placed around the globe, and then the people forgot about it. One person later discovered it and had a three sided contest…then Terminsteral asks the group for a story and when he isn't told one, he disappears.
At this point the spires of very tall towers can be seen in the distance, and camp is made. Han hears a howl in the distance, begins to panic, and wakes everyone up. There are glowing red eyes in the distance. Pallo also begins to panic. Eight flying hounds approach. Han kills one. All bay, and three move in. Engong does sonic damage, and they get closer. The party runs. Loud horns are sounded by charging horsemen running out of the city, and the pack runs away.
The four enter the city and go to the census bureau in the palace. Engong scares the old guy there, and he has a heart attack, which lands all of them in cells. They are taken to see the High Inquisitor, who tells them that the seal is part of an ancient weapon created by the neutral third side. It destroyed the extremes, and uniformity became the rule. Then the weapon was stolen and broken. All of their packs and weapons are taken from them and they are put back in cells. Hanadel strategically thrusts her chest at a guard and grabs his thigh while digging the seal piece out from the bottom of her pack and hiding it in her pants.
Sitting in jail, sitting in jail…Engong sings while the rest sleep. Han discovers the privy. Engong pays a guard 16 gold pieces for information. All are separated into separate cells, and Engong passes her 200 gold pieces off on Pallo. Han casts light and dances around after the lights go out. Engong throws a sound blast. Nobody comes to investigate. Engong casts bull strength on herself and tries to open the bars. The guard from earlier comes to Han's cell. She removes the seal from her person and hides it in the hay before working her profession while feeling him up for keys. After taking the keys, she takes him out with some bones in the cell. Han does some nasty things to the body before sneaking out. She lets Engong and Pallo out but leaves the paladin. They get weapons and explore. The paladin gets out, but other bars close down, and they hear the baying of yeth hounds while hiding in the torture chamber. The weapons there are coated in silver. The yeth hounds come in through the top of the door. Pallo helps to kill one. Engong kills one, then another. Pallo awesomely jumps on a table to hit one. Lia's dagger accidentally stabs Engong, who hits her with doom (which doesn't work, as Lia, being a paladin, is immune to fear). Engong tries to kick her instead and stubs her own toe. Engong finally kills the last one.
The bars are inescapable, so they crawl through a hole. It opens into a room with four open cages. Han opens the cabinet lock and finds gold in a chest. Reminded by this, Pallo returns Engong's gold. Armor and a longbow with a transmutation aura are found in the cabinet as well. Engong takes the armor, and Han tries to shoot Lia with arrows. Lia retaliates with smite evil. Han falls unconscious. Engong heals her a bit, and Han threatens Lia, who is unimpressed. The path is now open, so they go up the stairs. Han tries detect magic on the seal, but it blinds her for six minutes. The escape seems almost too easy. They go to a tavern, where Pallo hears about an "item of power" and a "dead city" before sleeping. The paladin hears that there has been a great disturbance in the Woods of Sharp Teeth east of the city.
They try to get out of the city, but lack of official papers makes this impossible, so they seek out a place where they can climb over the wall. Over the wall is a moat with alligators. Engong talks with them and convinces them to let the party across. They go into the creepy forest. Trees move against the wind, and an ominous bird spirals in the distance. There are eyes in the forest and beast noises. It is a heavy pine forest. Lia and Engong get stuck in a web, and ettercaps (humanoid spidery things) descend. Pallo employs flurry of blows, and Engong kills the one Pallo beat up badly. Lia buries her longsword in a tree, and Han tries to shoot the paladin. Engong kills the other with a spiritual weapon. Onward. Han sees flashes of feathers. They hide and discover that it is an owlbear. It sees Lia and Engong and fighting occurs. Han "accidentally" shoots Lia (really, it was an accident this time). Its mate appears. Engong creates obscuring mist. Pallo kills the female. The mate is mad and hits Pallo. Engong puts fear in it and then gets knocked unconscious. Pallo heals a bit, and Lia revives Engong. Han's arrow accidentally hits Engong. Lia goes unconscious. More obscuring mist is created, and Engong drags the paladin into it. Pallo stabilizes Lia.[Everyone argues, we're done for the semester. Heavy sigh.]
Walking through the woods, walking through the woods…what was happening again? Oh yes, arguing. Should they go in the direction giving off feelings of foreboding, or should they follow Pallo to the road? They vote to go foreboding, as Pallo doesn't want to give Han her "favor." Han and Engong tie up Lia for their sinister and evil reasons, and they enter the sinister straggly trees. Engong talks to a bear (and the DM does a wonderful bear voice). A paladin named Tsen joins the party and is shocked to see her sister paladin tied up. Han and Engong aren't that thrilled about being joined by yet another good law-abiding citizen. A foul darkening comes from the east, and the bear runs away. They walk away and run into an invisible wall. The seal vibrates. Obscuring mist is cast again, Han kills monkeys with fire (and sets the forest on fire), and Han and Engong eat roasted baby monkeys. The party gets down to business and checks the wall as the storm gets closer. Engong does a rain dance, and lightening strikes her. Zip the rogue sorcerer joins the party, and all head east.
Smokey clouds fill a clearing, and in front of the group is an ancient temple. Inside this temple are huge bookshelves and a rotunda area. They go up a spiral staircase into what might be another plane. There are six doors. The first door is carved to represent air moving. Inside is a vast trackless plain with a metallic thing in the distance. A swarm of humans with whirlwinds where legs should be appears, and the party sees a strange well - the rim has peculiar markings on it. They engage the mephits in battle, and although they kill many, more keep coming out of the well. Han puts the seal into a groove on the well, and some of the mephits die. She repeats this action in more grooves until the wind stops and the bodies disappear. The grinding of metal machinery is heard…
Slightly freaked by the grinding, they glance at the well before leaving door #1 and entering door #2, which has ominous flames upon it. The inside is lit by a glow, the air is thick and hazy, and there is a well thirty-five feet in, around which fly six winged devils (more mephits). Han puts the seal in the well as the rest fight. The battle is won, grinding is heard, and the victors exit. They notice that the stairs have moved up. They enter door #3 with a plan to take the four corners of the well. This door interior is a scene of lovely rivers of lava. The same routine is fought with winged lava creatures with the same results. Door #4 consists of hard rocky hills with dwarvish winged creatures. Pallo runs fast and puts the seal in all the grooves. Door #6 is ice with little snow and ice humans. Pallo pulls the same trick but gets knocked down by a snowball on the third. He manages to put the seal in the last groove, however. Door #5 has fishy people. Pallo does an awesome jump over the river, runs around with the seal, and falls in the acid river on the way back. Acid = evil. There is a thrumming in the rooms, and platforms come up all of the wells. They hold a punching dagger, a longsword, a dwarven war axe, a great axe, a shortsword, and a quarterstaff, which is hexagon-shaped and cold to the touch.
They go up the newly risen stairs into a room with shelves full of books. The ceiling has an elaborate mural on it. Also in the room are plaques with words and desks with pieces of a book. Tsen the paladin picks up a page and there is a magical current. A zombie thingy attacks. Pallo shouts magical words that he found on a plaque, and his magical quarterstaff becomes frosty. Magical weapons are slightly dangerous, however, and Engong accidentally hits Pallo with her flaming great axe. After the zombie is killed, they pick up pages 101-200 of the book. Pallo touches the book in another section and fights another beastie. He gets hurt badly but knocks the thing's head off. The book's binding is mysteriously gone. Pallo wants healing; Engong the evil cleric wants another favor for Han. Pallo bluffs that he's a eunuch, but gets groped and is found out. Damn. At the next desk, Engong touches the papers, and a monster appears. While hitting Engong its arm falls off. Engong hits Pallo and Tsen again (ouch). The group now has pages 101-300. There is more fighting, and Engong gets knocked unconscious. All of the papers are finally gotten. Inside of the book is an inscription: "Vanessa - I know you're into this kind of thing. - D." They rest to heal themselves, but when they awaken the invisible wall has closed in upon them. Engong produces the binding; after binding the book and touching it to the seal, the book glows and becomes a red piece. Han puts it in the seal, and there is an explosion. The barrier disappears.
The party goes downstairs and finds that the foreboding is gone. They go west. Engong summons the bear, and she and Han "tame" it. The group throws berries, and it follows them. At the edge of the forest it stops and goes back, much to everyone's disappointment. Sniff, no more bear.
Back to civilization on the road heading west. Engong and Han plan the demise of the paladin Lia as the group moves in to the city. The city has strangely become a sprawling metropolis, and it now has a name: Narshadda. The forest also now has a name: Greenthorn Forest. New stuff is everywhere, as the seal is causing the extremes to creep back in. However, there is still no magic, making Han the wizard rather disgruntled and the rest vaguely uneasy. Han talks to an old woman who doesn't believe in magic; in response, Han casts magic missile on a table and almost kills the old lady. The guards of the city are now called the Hands of the King. Han stands on a box and preaches about magic. Engong gets into a bar fight. Han snags two to practice her profession while a man and woman try to make a deal with Engong involving robbing the High Inquisitor's personal storehouse. Engong and Han talk while the others look for a better inn to spend the night. Everyone goes there and sleeps; the paladins share a room, and Pallo sleeps on the floor in Han and Engong's room.
Later that night, Engong and Han sneak out of the room without waking Pallo and break into the paladins' room and attack them. Engong kills Lia with her deadly axe, and both of them contribute to Tsen's death. Engong casts obscuring mist and they both jump out of the window when they hear an angry mob coming towards them, awakened by the paladins' death cries. The mob visits Pallo's room, and a confused and frightened Pallo jumps out of the window, where he runs into Han and Engong, who are both without supplies and respectively naked/in a nightie. Pallo runs and hides, Engong runs, and Han hides in a barrel. Engong escapes into the sewers with the man and woman while Han sneaks naked back into the inn to get her and Engong's stuff from their room. The man and woman are quite angry with Engong because due to her little stunt she is more noticeable now. Pallo disguises himself as a beggar and sleeps on the street. Han finds Pallo, and they search for Engong. After finding her, the two evil ones tell Pallo a made-up story to account for the previous night's events, and gullible Pallo believes them. They avoid the nice inn and stay instead in a seedy tavern.
The Ballad of Paladin Lia
1 The paladin Lia woke up one day In a place of a different order; A plain stone room with three strange doors And three other bodies beside her. 2 One of the bodies belonged to a monk, Another to elven Han; The third one was the figure of A half-orc named Engong. 3 Though the four of them had never met, A body on the floor Told them about a seal then died, Leaving them to pick a door. 4 On the other side of one of the doors Was a gothic cathedral; There they cut down zombies and imps To gain the back part of the seal. 5 After Engong had spilled holy water and blood (For an evil cleric she was), They pondered on what the seal could be And set out to seek the cause. 6 The cathedral sat upon a beach Which was guarded by many men. They seemed surprised to see the four And sent them City-ward then. 7 They slew bugbears and wights with magic and sword That met them on their way, And Han, she practiced her profession, Pleasing men in tavern Green Hag. 8 After narrowly escaping the flying hounds, The four to the Capital came; They tried to sign at the Census Bureau But instead got a rise in fame. 9 For Engong was just a little too scary For an old man's heart to take, And for this crime the adventurers all Were put in a cell to bake. 10 At least Han managed to hide the seal When guards took all their supplies, And she seduced a guard, then hit him real hard And nastily made his demise. 11 Han opened the cells of Pallo the monk And of the devilish half-orc, But in the end left the paladin behind Her own escape to work. 12 Poor Lia broke out and discovered the others And fought off hounds called Yeth; But when Han tried to shoot her with arrow from bow She smote evil and left Han near death. 13 Engong healed Han and all of them left, But they had to climb over a wall, And below that a moat with alligators filled, Daring the "heroes" to fall. 14 The alligators listened to cleric Engong And let the travelers cross; Then into a creepy forest they ran And very soon became lost. 15 Lia and Engong got stuck in a web And fighting with spiders ensued. The paladin got her sword stuck in a tree And the battle began anew: 16 For after the spiders an owlbear attacked And Lia nearly died; So Engong cast obscuring mist And in it all did hide. 17 They hustled through straggly sinister trees And another paladin joined. Together they traveled the darkening path Until a temple they spied. 18 Inside the ancient library Were rows and rows of shelves; And up the spiral staircase tall Were doors which had to be delved. 19 When the seal was set in all the wells Inside of all the doors, Machinery ground and the stairs were raised Up to a new floor. 20 Pages of a book were found That turned into a piece. The seal more complete, the travelers left But their arguing did not cease: 21 For Han and Engong loved chaos and evil Which paladins despised: They stood for lawfulness, good and truth; Each plotted the others' demise. 22 That night in the city while Pallo slept, Innocent of evil creed, Han and Engong quietly crept, Intent upon their deed. 23 They snuck into the paladins' room And poised with sword o'er their bed; If the two of them had their way, By morningtime Lia'd be dead. 24 Engong chopped down with her fiery ax And Han with her scimitar of woe, And due to the power of Engong's arm Poor Lia was first to go. 25 The paladins' screams and the laughs of delight Wakened the rest of the inn, So covered with blood in pajamas to boot The two evil ones fled from their sin. 26 They jumped out the window and fled down the street Leaving Pallo within the mob's sight; Good being defeated and chaos triumphant, They both disappeared in the night.
Han spends this episode away in the Ladies Guild after a forceful invitation from a fellow Lady of the Night.
After the demise of the two paladins, two new strangers appear in the inn - Amber the human monk rogue, and Leo the gnome bard sorcerer. Pallo and Engong meet Leo at breakfast. The man from the previous night comes in, and Engong goes over to talk to him. He says that the group will be sent on a test run when the sun sets and gives Engong a meeting place. Pallo is frustrated with all of the innuendo (thanks, Engong). They learn that the City is ruled by King Gresham IV; under him is the Council of Guilds, the Hands of the King, and the Ministers, one of whom is the High Inquisitor. Pallo tries to enter the inner city but is rebuffed. Leo leaves the shady Bloody Wench and checks out the scene of the crime at the Jumping Dolphin Inn. He lies that he and Amber knew the paladins in order to get their belongings. Pallo gets the idea to forge papers to get into the inner city but cannot forge them, as he is lawful. Engong practices her favorite sport of intimidating beggars.
All meet at the clock tower as the sun sets. Engong leans on some guy by accident - their "contact," a man over six feet tall with a stony complexion, an angular cloaked figure, jet black hair, and a deep voice. He calls them the "pieces." His name is Tyrannus. Their mission for the night is the liberation of the Star of Kazaz, a fire opal the size of a fist that is almost priceless. He opens a cool folding hole in the wall of a house in the inner city and lets them in. Engong howls and two trolls appear. Engong's fire elemental sets a troll on fire. Burn, troll, burn. They fight each other for a bit. After one dies, Engong shatters the door and finds the Star of Kazaz. The other troll is killed, and gates close around Engong. They get her out and escape outside, earning Tyrannus's approval. Something flies off into the night.
Han comes back and all go to bed. The next day, Pallo goes and gets Han some pain reliever - she has a "guild medallion" which gets a discount (the clerk looks at Pallo kind of funny…he figures out that the man behind the counter thinks that he sells his services and is rather embarrassed). Han goes on a search for the perfect apron - a blue one with daisies, ruffles, and pockets. Later in the evening, the inn gets quite a crowd. Engong barks for the gnome bard: Come one, come all…Leo sings a song about Pallo and Engong - eww!!!
Love Ballad of Engong and Pallo
Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, A tale of a love so sweet It'll make your poor teeth rot, my friends: This monk and a half-orc priest. Now Pallo, he's a fine young man Even with a stuttering tongue But a tongue works best when put to the test When it's kissing all night long Yes, kissing all night long And Engong..well, she is a girl As manly as she seems She's a great big orc, a great big gal It makes him want to scream Yeah, it makes him want to scream So when it comes to making love They each know many tricks: Her tentacles His screams of pain Her tender claws And his *cough* Her pointy teeth His soft, soft flesh Ain't they great? Monk and a half-orc priest
Pallo is, once again, beet red. (The vendetta against the annoying gnome begins…)
The man gives Engong a bag of money and tells her to have the group meet at the same place, same time tonight. Tyrannus is there to lead them to the High Inquisitor's place. They go through the city to the moat, where they take a raft across to a small grate. Tyrannus bends the bars, and all go through into the sewer. There is something odd about Tyrannus - he's not human, unnatural, and doesn't seem to belong here. The sewers are twisty, turny, and smelly. Exiting another grate, Tyrannus leads the party around lumps on the ground - fresh dead bodies. At a wall, Tyrannus puts up his portable hole again, and all except him enter the garden. Engong has a spiffy cloak that aids with hiding. The garden is very vast and well kept. There are no people, and it is very quiet. Engong has a note from the man, and she passes it around:
They go up to a small door. Pallo's head clumsily hits the door. The bard knocks on the door, and the gardener answers. Han tickles his nose with a feather, and she, Leo, and Pallo pretend that they have come to clean. They enter and start cleaning while Engong sneaks in, followed by Amber. Lots of bluffing ensues, and when the drunks finally pass out, the party goes on down the hallway and narrowly escape being seen by guards. Han loots a room and gives everyone a cloak with a white hand so that they can impersonate members of the Hands of the King. They go up the spiral staircase and stop at level thirteen: nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I mean? with the two guards there. They notice that one of the guards went off (perhaps stopping was a bad idea…). At level thirty, a guard blows a whistle. Han shoots him and kills him. His partner puts up a fight…Pallo hits him, he stabs Han…but finally he dies. They cross the dais and open the door. It is the same room they were tried in by the High Inquisitor the last time they were in the city. Engong runs across the room and is hit by three arrows. There are stairs at the base of a chair. Engong picks up the gnome and drops him on a stair, making him get injured when spikes pop up. Eventually they wise up and walk on the gnome's bedroll.
They enter the door on the right, and there are bookcases in the reception area. Han finds a bookcase with echoes behind it. Pallo accidentally finds the trigger, and the bookcase swings up, revealing a stone hallway, a desk with papers, and a tapestry. Leo finds research on the seal complete with a map; Leo takes the map, and Pallo stores the papers in his backpack. The others open the stone door and find lots of gold and jewels. Guards are heard, so Engong casts obscuring mist and closes the secret door. Mass chaos and much that is unwise ensues. Everyone takes as much loot as possible. Then they discover that the window is 200 feet from the ground, while the party collectively has only around 150 feet of rope. Whoops. Engong throws gold out of the window and climbs down the ropes, then jumps the last fifty feet (you can do it in video games, after all). She goes unconscious. The rest of them go down the wall the best they can - Amber gets hurt, and Leo falls on Han. They run along the roof and out along the wall back into the garden. Pallo uses his monkly slow-falling skills to jump over the wall and run and fetch Tyrannus, who whips out his hole and rescues the rest of the party. All go back into the sewers and out of the inner city.
Miki the half-elf rogue meets the bedraggled crew as they climb out of the sewers. They give Tyrannus the booty from their raid, and he gives them letters of writ for 10,000 gold pieces, courtesy of the Black Hand. Tyrannus sends Miki along with the party.
The papers that Leo and Pallo found in the High Inquisitor's place concern the legend of the seal. On a list scribbled in haste are seven places - great cathedral (4), forest library (3), school (8), sea (1), dead city - Logoth, monastery (6), glass castle (7).
The rest of the party stays at the inn, but Han grabs Pallo and decides to go camping (she takes Pallo with her because she is afraid of the dark). The next day shopping is done, and Leo sings some more. Pallo donates money to the Sisters of Silence in order to appease his consciousness over stealing for thieves. Han drags Leo out the door, and the group finds a Black Hand wagon packed with food. They take it and leave the city, driving past the downs into a little town. Han finds the guild, but the wagon keeps on moving. Engong carries the little man that saved her head the last time they were in this town, but a guard from the cathedral recognizes her, so she tosses the old man at the soldier and runs after the wagon. They leave town. Later a heavily cloaked man riding a black horse with white feet passes us, and afterwards a black shape flies across the moon traveling in the same direction as the wagon.
The next encounter is a small town, where guards stop the wagon in order to warn its occupants that wild animals have been attacking. They request that the group spend the night, so they pull into the Greasy Dragon to sleep. Engong goes into a temple, stands on the altar, and says that their god has forsaken them. She gets blinded and falls off the altar. Angered, she creates water all over the temple and is booted out by its shocked priests. The rest sleep quietly in the inn. Miki gets some inside thief info and letters from Tyrannus. She learns that a pricy jewel is going through town tonight. An old lady approaches Pallo about spiders, and Pallo, Leo, Amber, and Miki go to her house. The old woman disappears. Engong and Han show up and contemplate burning the house down. Pallo opens a door and finds a huge spider.
Engong and Han leave and go to the temple, where they throw cursed water on the altar. They attempt to escape but are forced to surrender to the guards. Engong and Han: Nonviolent protest against good! A priest wants Engong dead. They are led to the garrison outside of town.
Meanwhile, Leo opens a window and casts dancing lights to distract the spiders. As they enter through the doors, a shadowy figure goes into a trapdoor.
Engong casts obscuring mist, and they escape and run to the house.
The spiders are engaged. Miki and Pallo get poisoned and lose strength. The spiders finally bite the dust. Miki finds a box under a chair in the trapdoor with three sacks of gold inside, and Engong shows up and heals Pallo and Miki (Miki in exchange for a bag of gold). Pallo talks to impressed townspeople who curiously have never heard of the old woman. They make their way back to the cart, and Miki drives them…there is much argument about where they are going and why, as none of the rest know about the jewel, and Han and Engong get mad at Miki for driving them in circles. An old strange man stops them and leads them to the outskirts of town - he is Terminsteral. He advices the group to go to the glass castle quickly - he calls himself an "observer in the game." The old man gets up on the cart and drives - he rubs his hands together and the world moves - a line is apparent with old decaying buildings on one side and a vibrant city on the other. There is something bright and shiny in the distance. He tells them to investigate the old towers first.
They walk into the city - an ancient, decayed, deserted city with five towers, one of which is partially sunken into the ground. There is also a domed building with a chain over the wooden front doors. Amber picks the lock and all go inside. The stench of death permeates the air. There are desks in the balconies, and at one a corpse sits holding a pen. By him is written:
At the base of each of the four towers is a door, and the door in the shortest tower is open. They hear a guitar playing a very ancient lullaby from the top of the sunken tower. Han spider climbs, and they go into the tower with the open door. Up the stairs is a kitchen. Pallo eats an apple. It seems that a meal was in the middle of preparation. Engong takes meat, and Leo puts a pot on his head. Next is a dining room with 15 places set. Up the stairs further is a bunk bed dormitory. Further up yet is another dormitory (this one with lavatories). Up still some more are rows of desk set in a half moon around the main desk. Continuing upward are still more desks, and more, and more…Han finds notes for a lecture and concludes that this might have been a school. Fifteen floors up is a locked door, behind which is a storage room/attic with many curiosities. One of the paintings is of what things looked like before "it" happened. There are references to a lift system and portraits of old men dressed in archaic school robes as well as a harp. The building radiates magic, and the harp is magic, related to the building's magic. Leo plays the harp, and a pulse of magic comes from another tower. Pallo hears an echoing melody. They leave.
One of the doors on another tower is swinging open (the tower closest to the sunken one). The door is very ornate. This tower is similar to the first, but it seems a step above in style. In one bedroom there are two beds side by side. In each is a desiccated corpse in a grimace of pain - one man and one woman with robes similar to the robes worn by the people in the paintings. Engong uses her clerical powers and speaks with the dead man:
The tallest tower is the shabbiest. Leo finds a slip of paper and shows no one. One room houses a most lavish bed chamber. The dead body of an extremely old man occupies the room. Engong speaks with him:
They find papers stating that attacks have increased and that something is drawn to anything magical.
The fifth previously-sunken tower is small, made for only a single occupant.
It is ornate in the extreme, the stuff of kings. There are scraps of paper in the bedroom.
After much work, all of the scraps are put together and ordered:
The music is heard again from a location to the South as the sun dies. At the edge of the courtyard is a tower with an open top (an eyrie), and the adventurers espy movement on the top. Up in the tower they discover hay and bundles in the corners. The bundles are freshly slain torn apart bodies. There is also a dark cloaked figure surrounded by four things. They hear the music again - it is coming from a small metal music box held by the dark figure, who is none other than Tyrannus. He wants the seal so that he can leave the plane and get back to his kinsmen. He already has a part of it - the music box. The four gargoyles surrounding him attack the party.
The group fights Tyrannus and the gargoyles, slaying all of the gargoyles. Injured and defeated, Tyrannus throws down the music box and flies away. Han shoots him out of the sky. The box joins the seal with the same effects as happened previously.
Traveling out of the Academy, they notice a distinct change in the population of this land that they found themselves thrown into: there are other races than humans, which greatly excites the elven, half-orcish, and gnomish members of the party, who were greatly tired of pretending to be oversized/undersized humans with pointy ears. They get to a seaport and separate - Han and Engong go to a shady inn on the dock, Amber and Leo go toward a nice inn, and Pallo wanders around. Engong gets drunk and dances on a table before passing out. Han accompanies a one-legged captain back to his ship. Those who inquire around the place learn that the Greenwitch festival is going on. Han gets kidnapped by the captain, who puts out to sea with her still onboard. The rest of the party gets back together. A drunken Engong talks to her god, trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Engong gets everyone passage (a.k.a. work for a ride) aboard the ship Hell's Heart with a one-armed captain. Meanwhile, Han throws all of the captain's stuff overboard in a tantrum. Both ships are heading towards the mountains.
The Hell's Heart sails into a gigantic cavern, where there is a makeshift port. One of the ships there is the one Han was on. They are led to the top into silk rooms, where they talk with the captain. One day five captains awoke in this cave, and they learned that the seal would help them to get back to their old ships again. The captain tells of an island shaped like a six-legged starfish where there is another part of the seal. The group agrees to go there and find the seal piece. They find a magic store in the cave (there is finally magic!) and buy neat stuff. Then they enter the Purgatory pub, where Engong orders grog. Han tries to water it down and the glass flies into someone. A brawl ensues, obscuring mist appears again…next they go to the Blue Bunny, where everything is pink. They sleep the night, and Han sleeps naked. The next morning they are summoned by the captain and are sent to the ship's cabins - they each get their own. Han's animal companion appears, a wolf named Hotohori. On the voyage the bard gets sick, but no one is sad about that. They bring the ship into a dark hole on the island.
They disembark the ship and go into a tunnel cave-system underneath the island. In a cave they find rocks coming up from the ground; they go around the edges and then enter a vaulted chamber spiraling down with a light hovering in the middle. They reach a lake and see three passages and a climb to a summit out in the lake where the light is. Engong gets hit by a stone for angering the great DM in the sky. Light is cast on Leo's toad Chicken, and the bard jokes that they are "not in toad-al darkness." All groan. The water is strangely oily, and the captain, who has accompanied them thus far, goes into it to retrieve two skeletons. There is magic rippling underneath everything, especially the light on the pillar in the center. Engong talks to her god Gruumsh, who gives a cryptic answer: Black and light work below, above us only fire.
Engong gives all tentacle directions; of the six tunnels, they go in cave 5. Behind stone is a decayed door containing living quarters like those of the Academy. Farther down it gradually becomes a marble hall, and within the doors are fancy rooms. There are old constellations on the ceiling. They go down another cave, and the magic users find that the magic powers of the ceiling focus towards the centers. Han finds a letter. Eventually six such letters are found:Memorandum
Engong and Leo get attacked by sea hags. The rest hear combat and start heading towards it. Engong is dazed, and Leo loses strength and falls to the ground. Pallo hits a hag and kills it. Three hags are dead, but Engong and Leo are still sick. After discovering a stairway leading down in cave 4, they go back to the ship to heal up.
On their second trip down, they discover that the lake is lamp oil. They go down the stairs in cave 4, and once again the stone becomes marble. The stars on the ceilings suck magic. Through a door is a cylindrical chamber with five doors. One is biological research, two is magic research, three is pens, four is extraplanar research, and five is elemental research. Sahuagin attack the party in door three, and all of the monsters are killed. Rings of water breathing and gold pieces are discovered in their pouches. Further down are doors with symbols - render, OM, TR, and two with none. Inside the TR door is a Tyrannosaurus rex in a stasis field that deactivates when the door is opened. They quickly close the door. The OM door contains an ogre mage. The mystery doors are dimly lit and appear to be empty. Something is not quite right in them. One empty room is more magical than the other. Inside the render room is a grey render. Engong shoves Leo into a stasis field and tries to shut the door. A hidden door in the less magical room reveals a grand elaborate staircase. Engong falls down the stairs onto a stone jetty going into a dark room. Water boils, and out of the water rears a huge skull-ish head - the head of a dragon. A black dragon. Thrintar the black.
They fight the insane black dragon, mad from being in the dark loneliness for so long. And it spits acid. Eww. Leo fascinates it. Then it wakes up and deals out ouchies. The party attempts to deal it ouchies in return. Engong hits it hard and loses her weapon. Then the dragon goes away. The party sets the fire on water. The dragon reappears and grabs Engong, who had dived into the water to get her spear. Han dives in after Engong while the rest hold onto the rope that is tied to her. The dragon disappears again and then hits Han with acid. She goes unconscious, and the rope with her tied to it is pulled in. Han revives and kills the dragon with magic missiles. The seal is glowing. When touched to the dragon's head, it gives off a bright light. The skull tears away and turns into a piece of the seal.
The ground around them rumbles. They run up and away while the whole island shakes. When the reach the cove, the sea appears to be sinking: the island is rising into the air. They hear a cloister bell. The marble and the star patterns are now fully recognizable, and there is a big crystal with a man inside it. The spell casters lose cantrips. The man speaks of the Riptide project, dedicated to cleansing Logoth from the biological contamination therein and to avoiding the Gold and Red. The island was in hibernation, and only the "director" is left - the man in the crystal. The island itself seems to be back to the way it use to be. It is flying towards Logoth. Leo gets shoved into a stasis chamber by Engong again. Pallo rescues him.
A sharp alarm sounds: Bioterm 357 loose, shapeshifter loose. Han and Pallo find it by the ship. A sailor turns into a sliver and tries to escape. Han and Pallo capture it, and it changes into Han. They take it to the director, who informs them that it's from evil Logoth. The crystal man kills the sliver - he is the magical steward of the island.
The ship captain wants to become a sky pirate. Han and the captain vote for Han to be the new director. Han now has a code to control the island's functions. In the magic lab spells of darkness, light, fire, mist, etc. are discovered. Han names herself Captain of the island and takes over the director's cabin and treasury, calling them the "Captain's Quarters."
They determine that the magical stuff from the laboratories is as follows: a potion of magic vestment +2, a potion of heroism, a potion of invisibility, a potion of bear's endurance, a ring of sustenance, a ring of blinking, a ring of protection +4, a scroll of Tenzer's floating disc, a scroll of hold person, a scroll of nightmare, bracers of armor +2, eyes of the eagle, elixir of truth, a manual of gainful experience +1, an apparatus of kwalish, a pearl of power, and a periapt of wound closure. Han finds a chaos diamond and an amulet of health +4, and Engong locates a crystal ball with telepathy powers, which amuses her greatly (all hail the all-seeing Engong!). Everyone takes an iom stone. Leo plays with the apparatus of kwalish, which turns into a pinching machine (the Barrel!), and the rest of the loot is divided up.
A week passes as the island sails through the air. The pirates are having vivid, bad dreams, the spellcasters are losing two cantrips a day, and all others feel tired. Pallo meditates: the debating hall in the towers of the Academy is filled with people arguing. One of them turns into a gold dragon, and a girl leads them in fighting it. Then dream-Pallo floats into the sky and sees a circular valley filled with water, in the middle of which is a pedestal. On the pedestal is a house. He goes down into a cavern under the earth and sees a slot for the seal before menacing glowing eyes from behind force Pallo out of meditation. The others see odd things too through dreams and crystal balls.
Leo says Han has squishy breasts. Han hits Leo.
Pallo relates his vision, but no one else decides to share much of what they saw.
Leo teaches the pirates the Ballad of Pallo and Engong. Engong chews off three of Leo's toes (good thing for him that he took that periapt of wound closure). Leo attacks with the kwalish Barrel in retaliation. Leo insults Pallo's sister. Finally land is sighted.
Pallo is used to insults to his person; however, Leo's insult of his sister upset the normally placid monk.
Pallo fosters a very strong inward desire for revenge, and to get back at the gnome he retaliated secretly with some of his own medicine.
Recalling every bawdy and raunchy ballad and insult he had ever heard in inns
(as well as the fine collection he gathered from the pirates), Pallo wrote out a lovely ballad of his own.
One night while the pirates were sleeping he placed it near one who appeared literate,
hoping that the pirates would take to the song as readily as they had taken to the ballad of
Pallo and Engong and sing it frequently around the annoying little bard.
The next morning the pirates belted out:
The bard is actually pleased with the little ditty.
They reach land, flying over a desert and then foothills surrounding a lake. The island finally stops over the lake.
The sky and the lake are both gray. Han strikes a gallant pose as it touches down at the end of a long pier.
The end of each of the lake's piers a road begins. The city by the lake is more or less deserted, filled with ruined buildings.
Pallo tries to enter a building and narrowly escapes falling beams. They are in the city of Logoth.
Engong drinks some really old ale and falls unconscious. Han tickles her with a feather.
They separate to explore - Han and Pallo go to the schoolyard, while Leo and Engong head toward the gate.
Han and Pallo find five towers and a central building with a jagged dome.
Pallo runs to get the others, who are looking at the oldest part of the city. Engong smashes a pile of skulls that she finds.
Pallo, with much coaxing and singing, gets them to follow him to Han. Engong takes a couple of the skulls along to use as hand puppets.
She talks while making the long-deceased mouths move, and it freaks Pallo out.
They go into the dome and see a giant crater that looks to have been created by something clawing its way out of it.
The place seems similar to the Academy.
Engong tackles Leo and eats more toes while Han finds the remains of shattered magical glass and a pedestal - these used to form a case.
The towers act as a focus for magical energy. Engong and Pallo go up in a tower, but there is simply a staircase, just there for show.
Engong tries to use her crystal globe and has a Pippen moment. She falls down the stairs. Leo flirts with Han.
They think they see a cloak on a tower and send Han's wolf Hotohori to investigate.
There is a temple - the patron deity of the city appears to have been chaotic neutral. They head over to the river, which Engong jumps in.
There are leeches. She tries to toss Leo in the river, but Han intervenes. It starts to rain.
Engong runs, worrying about lightening in her armor. The cloaked figure goes into a building.
The wolf tries to make Engong come back, but Engong gets into the island and hides under a bed.
Han, Pallo, and Leo go to investigate without her, and Han's wolf gets the captain instead.
There are signs of recent habitation - fire, cloth, and bones. Non-human footprints lead out of the building.
They go back to the island, where Engong has made a sock puppet. It is still storming.
Han practices her trade, and Leo finds a guy pirate and…enjoys himself. The pirate who is secretly in love with Engong cries.
The gnome gets his Barrel and they go back out into the city to the bridge. Over it are more ruined buildings.
There is another spot of recent habitation. They see a flicker of movement outside of the gate.
They reach the crossroads and are met with javelins. Bugbears. Lots of bugbears.
Pallo kills one for once, Engong casts inflict mass wounds, and Han sends her wolf out of combat.
They fight endless bugbears. Han kills the leader, and the women and children flee.
Wands of magic missiles are EVIL.
The battle weary group investigates where the women and children left and then go into a building to sleep.
The Barrel-gnome sleeps in front of the door. Engong ruins the interior decorating of the Barrel. Leo complains.
Engong speaks with a dead bugbear - Supreme Leader Tar-tok the Mighty:
"Engong Had a Little Gnome"
(sung to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb")
Engong had a little gnome
Engong had a little gnome
Whose wit was paper-thin.
And everything that this gnome did
this gnome did
this gnome did
Everything thing that this gnome did,
It truly was a sin.
One day Engong got fed up
got fed up
got fed up
One day Engong got fed up
And whilst he did repose,
Engong crept into his room
to his room
to his room
Engong crept into his room
And gnawed off three o' his toes.
The next day Han asked Engong why
The next day Han asked Engong why
She'd gone for his bony feet?
"He has other appendages
He has other appendages
That'd be more tender meat."
"Well," said Engong, "I have heard
I have heard
I have heard
"Well," said Engong, "I have heard
A story or two you see -
It's said he has a tiny prick
It's said he has a tiny prick
And the balls of a flea.
Although he tries to compensate
Although he tries to compensate
With music and machine,
The only action he can get
he can get
he can get
The only action he can get
Is from his mandolin.
Because, although he flirts with girls
flirts with girls
flirts with girls
Because, although he flirts with girls
Our bard never gets laid;
And so I'm happy to propose
So I'm happy to propose
Our little gnome is gay!"
To be concluded with a rousing chorus of:
I know a gnome that gets on everybody's nerves
I know a gnome that gets on everybody's nerves
And this is how he goes (oh wait, he doesn't…)
Part the Twentieth: February 24, 2005
The bard is actually pleased with the little ditty.
They reach land, flying over a desert and then foothills surrounding a lake. The island finally stops over the lake. The sky and the lake are both gray. Han strikes a gallant pose as it touches down at the end of a long pier. The end of each of the lake's piers a road begins. The city by the lake is more or less deserted, filled with ruined buildings. Pallo tries to enter a building and narrowly escapes falling beams. They are in the city of Logoth. Engong drinks some really old ale and falls unconscious. Han tickles her with a feather. They separate to explore - Han and Pallo go to the schoolyard, while Leo and Engong head toward the gate. Han and Pallo find five towers and a central building with a jagged dome. Pallo runs to get the others, who are looking at the oldest part of the city. Engong smashes a pile of skulls that she finds. Pallo, with much coaxing and singing, gets them to follow him to Han. Engong takes a couple of the skulls along to use as hand puppets. She talks while making the long-deceased mouths move, and it freaks Pallo out. They go into the dome and see a giant crater that looks to have been created by something clawing its way out of it. The place seems similar to the Academy. Engong tackles Leo and eats more toes while Han finds the remains of shattered magical glass and a pedestal - these used to form a case. The towers act as a focus for magical energy. Engong and Pallo go up in a tower, but there is simply a staircase, just there for show. Engong tries to use her crystal globe and has a Pippen moment. She falls down the stairs. Leo flirts with Han. They think they see a cloak on a tower and send Han's wolf Hotohori to investigate. There is a temple - the patron deity of the city appears to have been chaotic neutral. They head over to the river, which Engong jumps in. There are leeches. She tries to toss Leo in the river, but Han intervenes. It starts to rain. Engong runs, worrying about lightening in her armor. The cloaked figure goes into a building. The wolf tries to make Engong come back, but Engong gets into the island and hides under a bed. Han, Pallo, and Leo go to investigate without her, and Han's wolf gets the captain instead. There are signs of recent habitation - fire, cloth, and bones. Non-human footprints lead out of the building. They go back to the island, where Engong has made a sock puppet. It is still storming. Han practices her trade, and Leo finds a guy pirate and…enjoys himself. The pirate who is secretly in love with Engong cries.
The gnome gets his Barrel and they go back out into the city to the bridge. Over it are more ruined buildings. There is another spot of recent habitation. They see a flicker of movement outside of the gate. They reach the crossroads and are met with javelins. Bugbears. Lots of bugbears. Pallo kills one for once, Engong casts inflict mass wounds, and Han sends her wolf out of combat. They fight endless bugbears. Han kills the leader, and the women and children flee. Wands of magic missiles are EVIL.
The battle weary group investigates where the women and children left and then go into a building to sleep. The Barrel-gnome sleeps in front of the door. Engong ruins the interior decorating of the Barrel. Leo complains. Engong speaks with a dead bugbear - Supreme Leader Tar-tok the Mighty:
There are not even any animals in the deserted city. All are on edge, especially Hotohori the wolf, who thinks it's very creepy. Engong sings an orcish dirge. They go into the temple and see the untended place where people once worshiped the goddess of this city. In the place with the jagged dome, they inspect the pedestal again for any clues. Engong talks to Gruumsh:
They discover the fourth part of the city, which is a nasty slum. There is a large black shiny obsidian-ish mound in the opposite corner from the adventurers, who see spots of movement centered around the mound. They roll down the grassy knoll and go through the slums. They are met by a figure walking out, a figure with bloody sockets for eyes and shaggy hair - a worse for the wear Tyrannus. He wants to take them to the Mistress. He says that now that he is otherwise attached, he has no wish to leave this world [interrupted by a spasm of pain]. On their way toward the mound something tails them. They are told that the mound is her breeding place - she has children that complete and augment her. They are warned not to touch any of her children. Although it appears stone-like, the mound is not stone - it is a tough crystalline dark amber resin. The Mistress was the one who ravaged the town - she had been created and then broke out of the pedestal and destroyed all. Inside the mound are corridors with illuminated phosphorescent walls. It is warm, moist, stuffy, and sloping downward. Inside the archway on the left are bugbear corpses. On the right are small round boulders curled up tadpole-like. Something skitters across the surface of their minds. They are going in a spiral. They see the dead bodies of livestock lying among the boulders. Engong tries to stick a tentacle in Han's ear. Something is dashing along the ceiling. The mind searching theirs is curious and expectant. They go around the inner spiral -there they see storage rooms with humanoid creatures that are pale brown with white eyes and a torso with two tentacles and a claw extending from the chest. Their heads are long and swept back. They solidify into two little boulders. They learn that the creatures are called slivers. In each room is a large sliver, seven feet long with transparent skin, taking care of the babies. The numbers of these creatures are enormous - 10 boulders in a stack, 8/10 rooms containing stacks, 10-15 feeding, 3 only in boulders, 1 adult each in 3 rooms…80-90 total. The walls are getting more jagged. The wolf is not at all happy. Han runs with her controlled elf stride. Further on the slivers occupy slots on the wall - they are of all shapes and sizes.
They enter a cavern with a large opening in the middle. Slivers cover the wall and ceiling going everywhere, like a giant ant hive. Some carry boulders and others food, including the female and children bugbears. This is the "spiral of blades" mentioned by Gruumsh. Slivers jump on the gnome's Barrel. They go down into the cavern and are visually struck by the Mistress - she is rose and gold, as large as giants and dragons with scythe-like claws, sharp spikes on her back, tentacles with stingers, and a huge brain. She is surrounded by sand and treasure, and she and the walls around her are covered with slivers. A line of slivers proceeds from her carrying babies. She communicates within their minds. Han tries not to think about the seal. Leo purposefully thinks "your mama" jokes and receives a rap on his brain. She wants the party to find the rest of the seal. It was she who was affecting Engong's crystal ball. Her purpose [as she was created by the wizards] was to end the war and stop all of the extremes. She will destroy all good and evil when the seal is finished and then leave; the group would be returned to their world. She says that Tyrannus retreated to Logoth to die and wandered bleeding into the hive. He was offered a deal: in exchange for giving up hope for return to his world, he could become part of her brood, an internal half-brother. Han takes out the seal, revealing the three slots filled out of six. She instructs them to bring her the seal when they have the second to last piece. A small egg in front of her is warm to the touch. Han touches the seal to it - there is a flash of light, and it joins. She offers to let them sleep there in the sand.
The party leaves the sliver cavern and follows Han back to the island. Han plays fetch with a stick with Hotohori; then she plays fetch with Engong. The pirates are amazed that they returned alive. Han gives the island-ship a lock of her hair and a wad of spit so that it can track her. Pallo asks the director about a mountain place on the map and is told that it was a stronghold of the Gold.
They leave the island and head southeast. Han and Engong hunt - Han gets a deer, and Engong jumps an antelope. Leo does Iron Chef in his Barrel. They go along the mountains and reach a crossroads, a toppled stone marker. The road heading east appears to have been used with some frequency, but the one west that heads into the forest is overgrown. They go east into the mountain pass and come to a trading and mining town populated by dwarves, humans, gnomes, and possibly even a half-orc. The group comes to a tavern called the One-Breasted Woman; Engong is disturbed and leaves, choosing instead to go into the One-Legged Man. In the corner is Brock the evil dwarf. Someone didn't pay him, so he buries his pick-axe in the man's scull and drags him out. Leo attempts to enter in his Barrel, but the bartender says, "No droids allowed." Engong bangs on Leo's Barrel; Leo retorts, "I know you're desperate, but don't bang me while I'm in the Barrel." Engong gets herself a drink. The dwarf leaves the dead body in the street and reenters the bar.
Han sees a pipe-smoking elf, does a cool spinny chair thing, and flirts with the him. The elf tells Han that his bow is for spiritual enlightenment - it is an extension of his being. They go outside, where the mysterious elf explains to Han more about his bow philosophy. He shoots an arrow at the wall and hits a bullseye, explaining that in the act of shooting he is one with the bow and knows exactly where it will land. He claims to have experienced it first while shooting a bear. Han says "one with the universe" and shoots almost dead center. The elf walks away with a nod of approval. Han is touched by him and his Order of the Bow and is quite sad that he left - she runs after him, but he has disappeared.
Meanwhile, Engong puts her crystal ball on a table and pretends to tell fortunes - "you will meet a short person in the near future who will tell you something you need to know." Brock the dwarf comes over to get his fortune, and Engong tells him that the Barrel will sing. Brock hits the Barrel and puts a gold piece in the side, and Leo comes out to perform. The drunken dwarves love Leo's rendition of the group's trial for Tyrannus (the one involving the jewel, troll-fighting, and Engong getting stuck in the gate). People in the bar buy Leo lots of ale. Leo sings the Pallo and Engong song, and Engong stands up on a table and loudly tries to tell the story of Leo and buggering pirates by using the word "buggering" six times. Then everyone starts singing "I know a gnome that gets on everybody's nerves…" Han comes in and finds an arrow on the elf's chair. She considers this a reassurance that he'll come back. Han thinks that she is in love and spills her guts to Pallo, who pats her on the shoulder and looks sympathetic. Brock drinks a lot, Leo continues to sing, the whole bar is drunk because it's payday…Pallo retreats to his room to meditate while Han finds a depressed guy and does a strip tease for him upstairs. At three, most are quite drunk and passed out on the floor. A very drunken Leo falls on top of the drunken dwarves carpeting the room.
Next morning, Pallo and Han feel fine. Leo, however, is very badly off, and the barkeep lays him in a chair in the corner. Engong is slightly hung over, but Brock the dwarf is fine. Engong drums on the Barrel, and the unnecessary noise irritates all in the room. The barkeep (complete with Australian accent) pulls out a crossbow, and she goes back to tormenting Leo instead. Han in the meantime discovers magic, and she "whispers" in Pallo's ear: "MAGIC!" She goes to the dwarven temple and asks if they have any magic. She tells them the whole story of the seal and the group's adventures, but they ask if she is curse and think her addled. She instead inspects the simple magic. Leo crawls into his Barrel, which Brock knocks on before going back to drinking. Leo then insults Engong's femininity again, and Engong shakes him by the hair.
All finally are dragged out of town, and they learn that Brock also woke up in this world one day. They skirt around the mountains, and Brock takes the group to a river, where they camp. Han thinks that she sees a cape fly across the moon, and she holds her bow and chants. During Pallo's watch, they are attacked - a boulder flies out of the sky and crushes the campfire. A gang of giants storm out of the mountains and throw big rocks at the party. Engong inflicts critical wounds to bring one down while Brock hits with his dire pick. Leo's spells and singing help Pallo to hit. Engong makes another one bite the dust. Leo attacks with the Barrel's pinchers, and Pallo manages to hit with all of this three attempts. Han shoots with her spelled arrows, and Engong drops yet another. The two remaining ones recognize Engong's threat and both attack her. Han becomes one with the bow and kills another by hitting it in the eye. The last giant touches the stone ground, turning it to mud, and he runs away. Han shoots it and Pallo throws a shuriken, killing it. After swimming out of the mud, Brock aids Leo in removing some of the Barrel's dents, and Engong is kind for once and heals all.
They leave the battleground and find a road following the course of the river. Eventually they come to a small village, deserted except for cows. Gnome in Barrel lures a cow; then Engong jumps out from behind and hits it with her flaming short spear. Leo does a victory dance with his claws while Engong stabs it some more and Han butchers it. She leaves coins to appease the irate Pallo. Engong puts raw meat on the Barrel, and Han cooks the rest. Pallo finds a hole in a basement. It's beginning to snow, so all go down the hole. The tunnel appears to have been burrowed. After 30 feet, the tunnel was collapsed in on itself. When they get back to the surface, they discover that there are fewer cows than before. The cow carcass is missing, and four other cows are gone with mounds where they use to be. Silhouetted against the moon is a small figure on a building - a child in a blanket lying on the roof. Han pokes the child, and he is terrified. He latches onto Pallo. Han gives him a pretty stone, and Engong talks with a sock puppet. There are five cows left - "good for one more night." Engong is slightly creeped out and casts sanctuary, as there is something that took the people and cows. The sock puppet "eats" some cow meat. The gnome on the ground hears a strange trilling noise. They pull the Barrel up to the roof as Pallo tries to comfort the shrieking kid. As the Barrel goes up, the ground opens up and a big mouth comes out. Then it disappears. The gnome now owes Han a favor.
The house roof creaks, and Han ties the Barrel to the chimney. They hear a grindy raspy breathy sound again. There are now three inches of snow on the ground. Engong asks her crystal ball to see what it is and is shown darkness with a streak of white. The building shudders as the creature burrows and eats away the underside of the walls. Pallo jumps off the roof, runs to a tree, and jumps up just as a frostworm erupts from the ground and nearly consumes him and the kid. It attacks the dwarf, grapples him, bites him, and swallows him. Brock attacks it from the inside while Han shoots it and Engong throws a searing ray at it. A high-pitched scream stuns Han. Brock cuts his way out and then gets swallowed again. He again tries to get out and finally succeeds. Pallo throws a Molotov cocktail of burning oil at it - it freezes into a pillar of ice and then shatters, showering the party in ice shards and knocking out half of them while killing all of the cows. The little kid is sheltered with Pallo's body but faints from shock.
Han contemplates converting to good and then buries the thought deeply. Pallo tucks the kid into a bed and sleeps on the floor. Han cuddles with him - Pallo wakes up and is disturbed. Han thinks that she sees a cloak in the morning by the forest. A foot of snow covers the ground, and there is a hole that someone slept in but no footprints. She sighs and walks back. The little kid's name is Jim. Brock again fixes the Barrel, and Han plays with her wolf. Han hears a humming sound and sees a guy with a cloak walking up. It is a greatly aged Terminstral. He tells the party that they are heading toward the Bowl - an ancient and disused stronghold. He says that he will take Jim to an orphanage, and Pallo hands Jim a shuriken to remember him by. Terminstral speaks of the bowl … lake … island … monastery … something ancient … an item of powerful importance. He knows the cloaked elf archer, whose name is Yoshitsume. Leo manages to get in some insults, and Han kicks him as he walks away. Terminstral sighs as he departs. Pallo goes to meditate while Engong and Leo sled on the Barrel. Engong looks in her crystal ball and tries to read ten minutes into the future: she sees herself trying to read ten minutes into the future. Leo composes yet another ballad. Engong finally sees mist … "obscuring mist obscuring mist obscuring mist…" Pallo regains his previous vision and sees more of the monster in the abandoned monastery, a tunnel underground, of great age, a leftover conflict, the lowest level…then there is a push of will and great eyes, and Pallo is forced out of his vision. Han and Engong make snowmen and knock them down, then make snowballs and throw them under the light of the full moon. Leo says that he sees Han's guy, but Han smothers him in his Barrel with snow. Han casts spells on her snowballs, and Engong casts obscuring mist and runs away.
Pallo finds a room to himself and locks the door. Han picks the lock, and she and Engong sneak in. Engong sticks Pallo's finger up his nose, and he sleeps on. Han removes his clothes without waking him. Engong cuts flowers out of his pants. Han drapes herself over Pallo and falls asleep. Pallo wakes up the next morning, screams, throws her off, and wraps himself rapidly in a blanket. Han kisses Pallo. He runs away. She succeeds in pulling the blanket off. Engong sticks her head in and Pallo chucks a doodad at her. Han give Pallo back his blanket. The party finally resumes their adventure. Han has to put up with Leo interjecting periodically, "Look, there's that guy!" They follow the river and find a waterfall. Leo discovers a goat path to the top. Up at the top they see the bowl. It is completely smooth. The gullible Pallo believes that he was raped.
They are at the spot of what was originally the confluence of four mountains, but the walls have been smoothed and hallowed out, curving up towards the mountains. In this bowl is a lake shrouded in mist, and in this lake is an island with a monastery on it. Brock takes out a folding boat and drops it in the lake. Engong picks up a stick and pokes the floating Barrel with it while Brock and Pallo row. They hear fish jumping and see an old temple with long white columns and faint carvings.
Leo's Barrel suddenly disappears into the water. Pallo, Brock, and Han jump in after it while Engong stays on the boat and watches in her crystal ball. A giant squid grapples with the Barrel. The Barrel pinches a tentacle, and Han shoots at it. Pallo fails to swim down far enough, and another squid attacks the boat, grappling and throwing the boat's occupants into the water. Leo manages to cut a tentacle off as the squid tries to eat the Barrel. The tentacle floats to the top, but the Barrel keeps going down. Brock blasts the tentacle that has grabbed him (and the next one as well). Engong kills one by inflicting critical wounds while the other one grabs Han and squeezes her. The Barrel cuts off another tentacle; Han shoots yet another tentacle and makes it go slack. Pallo finally makes it down there, but he can't hit anything. Brock hacks another tentacle, and Engong casts searing light at it, at which point the squid takes off with the Barrel. The Barrel severs another of its arms. Han fires after it. All are surrounded by ink. Pallo tries to swim and fails again. Brock sinks. Engong tries to swim. It attacks the Barrel and bites off its own arm before swimming away. The Barrel floats up, and the rest bob to the surface. They manage to get to the boat and then the island.
After collecting themselves, they set about exploring the island. Pallo has been nervous since the "raping" incident, and he stutters so badly that no one can understand him. Leo disbelieves that there were two squids. Han salvages a tentacle to eat - except there's nothing to cook it with. Engong eats one raw. They go into the temple there, and Han tells Pallo that the deity of the temple is good and not humanoid. Pallo pays his respects at the altar and receives a kick in the bum from Engong. Han detects magic on the altar and beneath. Pallo meditates, Brock and Leo shove the altar, and Han studies the altar intently. Engong draws Gruumsh's symbol on the altar with blood from her finger. The blood soaks in and disappears. Han tries to massage Pallo - he can't meditate anymore and runs away. Pallo tries to hide but fails, and Han comes up and gives him a hug. She says that he wasn't raped, but he doesn't believe her. She gives him an arrow in trust of faith. Meanwhile, Brock and Engong grapple with Leo in an attempt to sacrifice him on the altar. Engong wants to chew off Leo's fingers to prevent him from casting fireball. Brock gets frightened at the mention of fireballs and lets Leo go, at which point Engong hits Brock and walks away. She did get a finger, though. Brock walks around the altar chanting "For the greater glory of good." Leo plays his lute with a missing finger.
It is finally determined that an offering on the altar is required. Han puts an arrow on the altar, and it disappears. She hears a deep rumbling and then is someplace else. Brock stands on the altar. Nothing happens. Leo puts music on the altar and also disappears. Engong and Brock put a squid arm on the altar. Then they try ribs left over from the cow. Pallo puts a shuriken on the altar and disappears. Engong finally succeeds with her sock puppet, and Brock tries again with a bottle of brew. He finally gives up his dagger and appears with the rest in a simple stone chamber (similar to the one the original four found themselves in when they entered this world). They go through the single door to a stairwell, where Brock decides to push the gnome down the long spiral stairs. Pallo runs down the stairs and catches him. Leo tries to hug Pallo; Pallo drops him. At the bottom are three doors. Han picks door number two, on the other side of which is a tunnel. They enter it, go through another door, and find some stairs going up. Engong goes in front with a spell-lit coin, and Han casts another light spell on an arrow. Upstairs is a room with two opposite doors. Han marks the staircase with chalk. Picking the door on the right, they go down a corridor to a door at the end. Engong tries to open it, but something sticky on the handle knocks her out. Brock feeds her a bear's endurance potion, and she gets back up. Pallo opens the door with his ruined pants and hands them over to Engong for use in opening things. Suddenly there's an absence of the feeling of the floor. They retreat and take the stairs down instead. Brock the dwarf figures that they are about 100 feet below the surface. They go through another door on the right. Engong looks up, sees no ceiling, and falls sixty feet. They drop a rope down and pull her back up. The gnome volunteers to go first. Most use the rope to get across the pit, except Engong, who hits the bottom again and throws a holy (er, unholy) fit. There are suits of armor standing along the next room. Han spider-climbs along the ceiling and learns that the room continues further than usual. Leo flicks a coin down the hallway, and axes on both sides fall when the coin hits head height. Brock pushes one suit over, and they all fall over. Han opens a couple doors and comes to stairs going down. Engong cures mass moderate wounds, and all sleep.
They continue their exploration of the dungeon, using the toad Chicken with a light spell for a torch. At a stairway, they hear a voice faintly yelling from downwards through holes in the stairs: a frantic man shouting, "No, don't leave me here!" They encounter him and learn that he just appeared here - he was previously in an inn. His name is Elric, from the town of Naris, where he was studying at a school of magic. He smells musty. Han flirts with him. Down the stairs is a room with three doors. They put a blindfold around Elric's eyes and spin him around until he stops, pointing in the direction of the left door. They bicker amongst themselves as they enter a large long room with rows of bunk beds on either side. There are also shafts leading up. The right door reveals a mirror image of the other room. The middle one is a long hallway with alcoves. There are ten small alcoves, each containing a small chair, a lectern/pulpit, and a tattered gold banner. Through another door is a large circular cavern with four tables with benches on either side. A chandelier above them lights up the entire room. There are four doors. The first door on the left has a fetid smell emitting from it - it was the kitchen, but the food left out by previous occupants had spoiled. The back door leads to a small hallway intersecting with a large hallway. Small draconic writing on the top of the hallway indicates that only the highest members are allowed to enter. Elric seems to be able to read it. They reach a door and see light from above, a dazzling sight. There is a treasure there greater than the treasure from the flying island, fourteen hoards all lumped together. There are impressions in each of the piles, indicating that these are dragon hoards. There is a heavy layer of dust and cobwebs over everything. It has not been visited in ages. Han detects magic. Engong wiggles her toes in the gold. It gradually slopes up into a pile that dwarfs all of the others. Brock begins to scale the pile. The top of it is piled around a column that has a small circular slot dug out of it where the seal would fit. Han also mounts the pile. Brock has his mug stuck in the slot - Han throws it out, and he throws her off. Elric brings the mug back. Han goes back up and sticks the seal in the slot. Nothing happens.
Engong looks in her crystal ball and sees that Elric does not show up in it. Engong and Han sit on either side of him. He finally begins to talk: they need another piece of the seal to get it to work. He says that when it went off, he was too close…everything is different now. He says that they make him sick. He sighs, slides down the pile, and goes to the middle of the room. He wants them to give him the seal so that he can bring everyone back. He claims his goals are righteous and good: he just wants to rid the world of evil. Elric turns into a gold dragon and warns them: "One last chance…give me the seal and die for a cause, or I will kill you." Unwilling to give up the seal, they fight. Pallo hits him, and the dragon hits them with a cone of fire. Engong summons fiendish giant wasps. Han shoots it. Engong goes unconscious and is healed a little by Pallo's gloves of the paladin. Leo casts cure serious wounds into Han's bow. The dragon casts magic missile. Han yells, "Stop it!" Brock throws his pick-axe and is disarmed. Pallo throws a shuriken. Engong and Leo both go unconscious. Han shoots Engong with a cure serious wounds arrow. Brock chucks gold at the dragon. It slowly sinks down from up where it was flying. Pallo heals Leo a little before the dragon falls unconscious on top of the party (ouch). Han checks the dragon to see how far gone it is; Brock tries to coupe de gras it, but Han casts hold person on him, ties him up, and goes back to trying to stabilize the dragon. Leo casts cure light wounds on it, and it wakes up. Han shoots it and makes it go unconscious again. Engong cures minor wounds so that it stabilizes. Brock succeeds in escaping from the ropes binding him and kills the dragon. Han touches the seal to the dragon: it twitches. The body is lifted up and illuminated, shrinking into a golden piece of the seal, etched with a dragon. There is something odd about the seal. They hear a distant rumbling - the floor shifts toward the giant pile around the pillar. Gold slides into a sluice, as does Leo, who goes through with the gold into the lake. Han climbs up to the pillar and sticks the seal in: it shocks and shorts out - something is not quite there. Their minds are brushed by something. Pallo goes into the sluice to fetch Leo.
They all slide down the chute into the lake and find the Barrel. Brock whips out his boat again and makes it a big one this time. Han uses her knowledge of privateering to steer it. Han: "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me." Leo: "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's whore is me." The flooding caused a lot of devastation to the surrounding area. They climb; halfway down Engong falls and tries to grab Leo, who also falls. They are cold and wet. They sleep and get colder. A rumbling behind them announces a snowstorm back at the monastery.
They finally get back to the empty village, where they see that someone had been there recently. Han was carrying Leo - she drops him and looks for tracks. She finds a small pile of stones with an arrow sticking out of it. The rest of them huddle around a fire in one of the abandoned buildings. Han builds a similar pile and marks the kanji for heart into her arrow. Brock cooks ribs. The ground now has two feet of snow upon it. Leo hides in the linen closet with blankets. Han looks for blankets, and Leo tumbles out. There is an icy patch by the door - "Careful of the icy patch!" Brock smashes bureaus for firewood. The closet is dubbed "Leo's Love Closet." Han makes bunk beds in it. Leo's shelf breaks, however, and he falls on Han. She smashes him against the wall. He snuggles against "pillows." Han wakes him up nicely and then stabs him. Then she shoves him out and steps on him. Pallo, in his room, locked and blockaded by heavy furniture, tries to meditate to forget the horrible bloody nastiness. Han tries to get outside, but the snow is drifted three feet deep by the door. There is snowball throwing and archery practice. Leo yells out insults, and Han shoots him. Pallo's meditation is strangely quiet. Leo throws the arrow in the fire and makes an "L" on his forehead. Engong tries to get Leo to play chords for her song.
You'd say, we've got nothing in common No common ground to stand on My Barrel's falling apart. You'd say, the orc has come between us My toes have come between us But they'll come back one day. And I said what about roasted monkey She said I think I remember the taste. Yes I recall I think, we both kinda liked it And I said, well that's the one thing we got I see you, the only one who's chewed me Tentacled and drooley Stupid drunken orc What now? The elf says now we're over. She's left me for her new lover What's so cool about a bow? And I said…etc.
Han's arrow from the stone pile is missing. There are no tracks. The arrow that was left there is lighter and better than the average arrow. Han dances. Engong sees the island moving over white in her crystal ball. Brock fixes the Barrel. Han paints the Barrel white. Engong writes the song on the Barrel in orcish. There are blanket wars. Engong locks Leo in the closet with just one blanket. Han makes stew. Engong opens the closet to eat two more gnome toes from each foot. That night, Leo pours oil over Engong and cuts off a little of her hair, which he puts in the stew. Han finds Engong covered in oil, draws her bow, and goes gnome hunting. He is hiding in the Barrel in the snow. Outside there is very little light - the island is right overhead where Han's head is. They go up into the island, where they are updated by the director. The pirates are nowhere to be seen. Han checks her quarters and the arrow place. The gnome bluffs that the oil incident didn't involve him. Han and Engong tie a rope to the Barrel, and the island takes off. The rope breaks. Oww.
A flock of something approaches from the northeast. They try to escape the slivers, but then Pallo remembers that they wanted the party to come back after they obtained the next part of the seal, so they let them aboard. They want the group to go back to the queen, so they go. Han tries to have a conversation with them and wants to touch one of them. It is apathetic. She pets it - it is smooth and hard and warm with breaks in its plate of armor. Pallo tries to meditate. Brock tries to intimidate. Pallo puts on warmer clothes and a scarf. Engong challenges Leo and Brock to a drinking game. Leo has to drink a combination of oil, tomato juice, ale, and vodka - he passes out. They take his clothes off. Brock does strange things with a sausage. Engong cuts chunks out of his pretty blond hair. Brock draws pictures on him of men. Engong tries to cut off his toe hairs. Lightening strikes her [the DM in the sky has a special sensitivity to toe hairs]. Han finds evidence of their mischievousness in the morning. Leo wakes up disoriented in his odd state. Han makes the island deal out shocking grasp to the responsible parties (i.e. Engong, Brock, and Leo). Brock attacks the ship, which casts hold person on the dwarf. Leo shaves his head. Leo: "I provide moral support, or immoral support, as the case may be."
Half of the slivers leave - they are agitated. The rest become more sluggish. Han names her sliver "friend" Yoritomo. They reach Logoth, and a gong sounds. Han's voice is heard throughout the ship: "Thank you for flying the island…" Yoritomo accompanies them off the ship and into the hive. The queen receives them in the main audience chamber and requests the use of the empty chamber in the bottom of the island. Pallo has mental angst about being lawful neutral and going along with a queen who wants to annihilate both good and evil. Han is struck by a connection between the arrow and the sliver - close to the Order of the Bow, let loose for a purpose. They settle on a compromise of Yoritomo and five of his brothers accompanying them instead. Han leaves an arrow there in promise of keeping her word. Yoritomo gets stronger from being near other slivers. Back to the ship, back to the mountains, traveling really fast…
Leo with his bald head pretends to meditate like a monk. The bear waves at them as the island flies over the forest. Night falls as they reach the mountains and the entrance to the Red stronghold. There is heavy tectonic activity there. There is a hollow in the mountains with heavy wisps of smoke: a volcano. They go in the large side entrance. There are stairs on both sides of a magna lavafall. The chamber within is as huge as a cathedral. The walls are bannerless, and the remains of pews are the only structures in the dark red room. The room itself is cross-shaped. Lava comes down from the walls and forms alcoves. Engong invokes the name of Gruumsh in orcish; two forms congeal out of the wall and walk towards the party. They fight the fire elementals, and Pallo gives both their death blow. Leo decides not to tick anyone off in here - lava is very hurtful. Han detects magic emanating from the back wall, where there is a secret door. Lava from the right arm of the cross abates, and the passage opens. The doors on either side are valves that turn the lava off. They go in the right one down a twisty and turny hall. Amber finds a trap and tires to disable it. They try to jump over a slab, and Engong and Leo get hit by a swinging pendulum. They continue onward and find another trap, one where the floor falls through to the lava beneath. They enter a room with columns and flickering lights - pale, bluish, unworldly lights. The seal vibrates. The light radiates from ghostly pale figures wearing red, gold, and gray clothing who are dancing through a battle fought back when the seal was activated the first time.
They go down another corridor and then down stairs. Leo casts invisibility on himself and sneaks ahead on Han's floating disc. Through a door with a very warm handle is a large walled chamber with pools and corners of lava. The party decides to rest before going on. After sleeping, they go down to the room and are struck by the heat. All break out into a sweat. Above them is a huge red dragon. It knocks Pallo into lava, injuring him greatly. Han shoots Pallo with a spider-climb arrow so that he can get out of the lava. Brock goes into frenzied berserker mode - when his enemy the dragon disappears into lava, he turns on his teammates and kills Amber. The dragon reappears, and Brock jumps onto it. Pallo throws a dagger to Brock, but the dragon grapples him and both go under the lava. Han casts mirror image, creating five of herself all singing the Scotsman song in draconic. Brock manages to make the dragon think that he is dead, so the dragon shrugs his "body" off onto land. The dragon attacks the five Hans. Brock attacks and kills the dragon. Pallo and Brock have lost their clothes and all nonmagical items. Han gives Pallo a cloak after slapping his butt. Engong wants to raise Amber from the dead but can't because she lacks the diamonds needed for this magic. Han brings the seal to the dragon and touches them together. The dragon becomes the red last piece of the seal and takes its place opposite the gold one. There is a thunder burst without sound. The lava pool drains and a pillar rises out of it with a circle in the middle. It is evil, made to achieve the will of evil. One of the doors opens, and Yoritomo peeks in. Han breaks an arrow and is ready to put the seal in the evil pillar when all of the "ghosts" run into the room…
Red, Gold, Gray, and Slivers all run into the room and fight around the party. Engong raises Amber from the dead in the confusion and then tries to hogtie a Red. The slivers form a circle in the middle. Pallo stands in the circle and looks confused. Han stands next to the seal column and fights everyone. Engong strikes at the good. The slivers pick up Leo and Pallo and fly off while Amber, Brock, and Engong keep fighting. The Slivers fly over the site of a giant battlefield, a seeming reverse of history where the Gold has attacked the Red. Giant dragons occupy the mountains.
Finally only the Red are left. Engong edges over to Han. She convinces the Reds that Han is her prisoner. Amber and Brock are also prisoners. Brock falls down but is forced to get up. They stab the bodies of the dead, and Engong feels nostalgic. Engong is told to guard the three of them with a dwarven guard, who tells her that they are in the temple of ultimate evil. Han sings her Scotsman song and dances on the desk. Brock smashes chairs. Amber sits in the corner. Engong casts silence and hold person on the guard; Han's song and Brock's smashing go silent. Engong coupe de gras him. Engong tries sonic burst on the door, but it doesn't work with the silence spell in effect. She goes to use the guard's keys, but then Brock smashes through with a chair. Brock steals the dead guard's cloak and hip flask. Engong silently goes: "Yay me!" Han stabs Brock for not following her plan. She and Engong walk away and Brock splats her. They leave the silenced area and are beset with the clank clank clank of Engong's armor. Han smears blood over an arrow and throws it at Brock, declaring a blood vendetta. They hustle down a deserted hallway and go upstairs to a door that opens onto the side of the mountain. The island is nowhere in sight. Brock goes back down into the mountain. Han and Engong look out and are grabbed by a red dragon. Han says that there is one more tasty on the inside. Amber dodges the intruding dragon. Brock has disappeared.
After a half hour of flying, the slivers put the two down in the forest. Yoritomo pushes them onward until bolts cut the slivers down. A party of green cloaked gray clad men step out, including Terminsteral and Yoshi.
The dragon says to Amber: "Come out or I'll roast you out." It grabs her and Han's wolf, and two dragons fly away over the battlefield up to a man in blood red chainmail. He thanks the dragons for the escaped prisoners. The dragon takes Engong's red cloak for her bluff that she was trying to chase her compatriots. The dragons were mad about them being up in the eyries. The man wants to know where all six pieces (the party members) are, and where it is. They are led at sword point back to the cathedral. Engong complains and wiggles her tentacles until she is given what she thinks is her cloak.
Terminstral inspects them to make sure that Pallo and Leo are who they say they are and then leads them to the base, telling Leo to be quiet.
The three are put back in another room and deprived of their weapons (the apparent ones, anyway). A human and dwarf stand guard. Han objects to doing it with dwarves. The man comes in and tells them that escape will be impossible, as their description is out. Engong contemplates her tentacles - she doesn't like them, but they have their uses. A man comes in and offers Han and Engong a job (he's not sure about Amber). Their cause is the destruction of all good: they need to join the cause or else be subjected to questioning, torture, etc. He insults Engong by calling her a him and then leaves to let them confer. They plot quietly in a corner about double-crossing. Then there is the matter of hiding the seal…watermelon? Too little time for it, though, as the man comes back. Engong won't talk to him, but Han talks to him about torture and is sarcastic like venom. He says that they will have the perk of being on the winning side. Han wants to go back to her past life; the man is confused. She asks what year it is: Nargold 53, Rintof 62, when the war beings. To calculate the number of years would require an abacus. He demands that they join them or die. Han gives him a list of requests: she wants time to find her husband, to put to death the one who betrayed them, and to spare Yoritomo. He'll meet her demands. They are issued uniforms and given a place to rest.
Leo and Pallo follow the uniformed ones to a clearing, where there is a log cabin guarded by sentries with bows. In the cabin there is a map on the table weighted down. A woman stands with two older men behind the table. Leo and Pallo are told to come quietly; Leo fidgets and his toad croaks - Chicken gets a ray of frost. They get to tell their story, and Pallo tells of where they've been and how the queen still lives in Logoth.
The other soldiers think that Amber is Han and Engong's servant. Engong tells her to clean her shoes. Han adds that she do it with her tongue. They are in a bedroom with a small "servant" room attached. Han searches for spying devices. They are both given keys. Engong jumps on the bed. She then takes off her armor and walks down the hallway, trying to be quiet. She listens at doors and hears nothing interesting. Engong interrogates someone, who says: "Sir…ma'am…oh my god!" Engong asks directions to the bathroom and kitchen. A very high level spellcaster gnome is chopping vegetables in the kitchen.
Pallo stammers through the story. The lady disdainfully asks if he can get his stutter fixed. Leo and Pallo are asked to join their group of Grays. A man gallops in and announces that the glass castle has opened. The two of them talk to Terminsteral - he has a sense of déjà vu about having met them before but doesn't remember.
The others somehow meet up with Brock.
Terminsteral finally remembers them, and they talk. The lady Vanessa yells for them - the castle opening means that the seal is all together. The seal is the key. Whoever enters the castle gets their wish granted. The Red now have the seal, so fighting must be done.
The four party members ride out and charge into the Gray camp but find it deserted. A runner comes - the Reds have been attacked, and there is much carnage. They ride back nonchalantly with their troops and try to command them. A huge battle is taking place in the plain in front of the mountains. All the stops have been pulled out - dueling dragons, arrows, magic everywhere, enlarged people, fireballs… A small Gray party is on one side, while the others are on the opposite side. Han sees Yoshitsume with the Grays and goes towards him. They try to bypass the battle. Slivers come in from the northeast. The seal vibrates faster. Han and Amber sneak through the battle while Engong and Brock command their troops. Han and Amber reach the Grays and are surrounded. Pallo tells Han about the glass castle and the seal key. The Gold and Red both have to pause in their attacks of each other to fight off the slivers. Han and Leo vote for making a run for it and going to the glass castle. The sliver attack is patterned towards Han. The sliver queen sends her a mental image of the broken arrow. There is a moment in time where they have an epiphany - one has to make the purist wish of one's heart.
Han goes up to Yoshi and tells him that she has the seal. The island appears above the battlefield and rains destruction on the slivers. Han instructs it to beam the party up, along with Yoshi. The ship is full of Grey people. The director is no longer a frozen crystal. He was locked out from controlling the ship, however, because of Han. He wants to destroy the slivers while the party wants to go to the castle. Leo tells him that they have the key. The director commands that Leo be held. Han commands the ship to take them to the glass castle. The slivers follow, and the ship keeps firing. Brock goes drinking. Han tells Yoshi that it will be ok. She shows him his arrow that she got from the village. He says that he dreamed of that once. Yoshi and the director talk. Brock is drunkenly enlightened. Pallo asks Yoshi what is going on - they originally wanted to kidnap the leaders of both sides to achieve balance, but they don't know what to do with the key. Natural balances between all of the alignments must be achieved, but it must be the deepest wish of the heart. Leo is convinced that here is home, but the rest think that elsewhere is home. Engong asks the party what they want: Pallo wants to reclaim his homeland from orcs; Brock wants blood and carnage; Amber wants order and balance; Engong wants to go back to her temple to serve her deity; Leo wants home, wherever it is; Han wants to be with Yoshi. The slivers are catching up. Han says, let's do it all again. Yoshi wants to speak with the director. Break the cycle? Wish for truth? No one knows quite what to do. The ship slows down and groans as slivers land on it and cut into the ship. Suddenly the party is down in front of the castle. The ship, still in the air, pauses. The queen sliver comes, and the ship turns and then shoots forward, crashing into the queen. There is an intense mental backlash - an arrow being broken, a purpose being negated. Yoshi and the rest are gone.
There is a circle on the door with six spots where hands can be placed. There is a slot for the seal with "To thy own self be true" written above it. They place their hands in the slot and are surrounded by either red or gray light (although Han's is pink). Han puts the seal in, and the world goes dark. Each stands alone. Each hears a voice: What is your wish?