The Burning Sage's Demesne

Relain's moto

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

DM catches up on storyline

Please excuse all brevity in this accounting. This is an attempt to summarize the events that happened from the last post on Obsidian portal. The party was “stuck” inside the obsidian keep in the plane of ice trying to figure out how to break the curse that trapped the keep in a limbo between planes.

After acquiring a frost giants butter knife, the party has the tool they need to break the magic circle which holds the keep to the plan of ice. Xyrella, wielding the implement was able to pierce the circle and return the Obsidian Keep to The Prime. They then talked to the Burning sage’s apprentice Radinnal, who promised them each a piece of his masters power. Maelin the Sage’s consort offered to aid the party if they call her. The group made their way back through the keep to inform the Azer’s of the good news. Gorblam was overjoyed to hear the news, and even more so when he received their blessing to start recruiting more Azer’s from his home plane of Lava.

Before embarking on their journey back to Englestad as heroes, each member of the party receives part of the promised power that the Burning Sage held. This gave them a small amount of control over the keep, and was expressed in a different way for each person.

After the group rested, they made ready to head back to Englestad through the Meth forest, but the moment they stepped outside the keep a group of half-dragon’s attacked them. The group was lead by a Red Dragon, who left the destruction of the party in the hands of it’s evil offspring. After defeating the half-dragons the party regrouped back inside the Keep, only to be ambushed by the Red Dragon when they again tried to leave. Luckily Jolokar’s Silver Dragon mentor came to the rescue. The battle was fierce, with Tharur (silver dragon) taking a mortal wound after severely wounding the Red Dragon and damaging one of it’s wings. The Red Dragon fled, barely able to fly, and Tharur fell. Luckily, or perhaps by the divine will of Bahamut… and certainly his healing power, Xyrella and Jolokar were able to stabilize their guardian and bring him under the protection of the keep.

The decision is made to leave Xyrella to tend the wounded Tharur and for the party to go with all haste to Englestad. Before passing out, Tharur is able to relay some very troubling information. Englestad is besieged by an entire army of the abominable half-dragons and will require aid or is sure to fall.

08/25/2014 Update

The party passed quickly through the Methwood forest, dodging patrols of kobolds led by half-dragons almost the whole way back to Englestad. As they stepped out from the edge of the forest overlooking Engelstad the party was faced with the sickening site of their City surrounded. They were then pursued by an elite scouting party back into the forest. Under cover of darkness, and a wonderful distraction, they made their way to the walls of Englestad.

After spending the night in the town, the party splits up to see what good can be done in the town before tackling the threat outside the walls. A few days after assessing the town’s strength and the enemy there is shouting on the walls. Guards have spotted battering rams coming out of the forest, and straight for the main gate. The heroes quickly discuss a battle plan, and gird themselves for a bloody battle. Another call goes out from the eastern wall (near the dragon’s chrysalis), there coming over a rise is a formation of Knights in gleaming armor! Lances flashing, they begin charging toward the Dragon in hopes to catch it weakened and put an end to the foul beast. There is also an army of foot soldiers that moves to engage the main body of Half-Dragons attaching the main gate.

The party moves out from the city to aid in the destruction of the Dragon while it is weakened. Before any of the forces of good are able to engage with the beast, it bursts forth from it’s chrysalis and makes good it’s escape over the water. The party meets with the leader of their rescue, and have a parade.

The end

Jolokar's Mission Log 4
4th Entry

I sit down to write for the first time in weeks. The preceding days and weeks have been filled with danger and wonder. What is happening to us? The changes that we have undergone are both wonderful and alarming all at once. Xy has become more heavenly than before. Something I didn’t think was possible. Abslon went running off saying he had something to do and came back with a creature right from the plane of Fire! We have forever been changed by the power of the Burning Sage. I am still coping with my personal transformation. I went to the Burning Keep to learn something about the being that could defeat two Green Dragons.I have learned much. I have gained the wonder of flight from this amazing power. This comes much sooner than I could ever have dreamed. We have only unlocked the beginnings of this awesome force and already I wonder if we will be worthy of it. The Burning Sage used magic to artificially extend the length of his life. Barring any unnatural ending to my life my people can live for years without end. We are as the Mother is, without ending. Was this power meant to be kept for years unnumbered? I give thanks daily to the Mother and to Bahamut for the blessings I have been given and the power that has been entrusted to me. I will use it as best I know how. I will trust their plans for me and take these changes as a blessing.

My ramblings done, my mind finds focus and purpose. We studied in the library for some time and felt we should explore some more. We returned to the entrance to the keep where we met an Ice Giant

Musings in the library of the Burning Sage...
A discovery in least likely places.

… We are at a dead end. Radinnal has disappeared after leading us astray and admitting his guilt in twisting a spell the sage was casting. In doing so the burning sage is trapped in what appears to be a summoning circle ensorceled with some kind of fire. Strangely this room resonates with me, I am unsure why.

Our group went back to the library, where I for the first time have had time to write in my journal. This journey to find human kind has left me in the oddest of circumstances so far. I spend time perusing the books, some dusty and open on the floor, some near the desk, and none from the walls – as it is unlikely anything still on the walls would have been used recently. After spending much time attempting to read or understand these tomes i believe I have found tomes relating to the psionic arts from the perspectives of a wizard… the wording is strange, and the thoughts are incomplete on most levels… But it appears he has spent much time researching these arts….

Is it possible that he was attempting to blend some of the ideas of psionic powers with his magic? Was it possible he found a way? Could Radinnal have possibly helped the sage if he had but known he was attempting to bring psionic force into sustaining arcane circles?

I wander back to the Circle… I still feel oddly attuned to this room. A thought strikes me as I think about the effort must have put into researching psionic force… is it possible we could destroy the circle with force? Perhaps something that could attack the dead might have a chance as well? This I know not, I will bring this up with the group after meditation, revitalization and watch…. Perhaps we can save the sage. Perhaps not. Perhaps the little one may turn up in this, the sages and our, most dire hour with some more information and thoughts.

Jolokars' Mission Log 3
3rd Entry

We are trapped. If we are unable to undo the damage Xys’ brother has wrought then we are truly doomed. My race may live for years unnumbered, but what kind of life will it be? Trapped within stone walls like the sepulcher of some human king. The thought is simply repulsive and disquieting. Yet I digress.

We left the lair of Bruuhl after recovering from the battle. Quoice is gone. We can find no trace of him. While this alone is not unusual, his continued absence worries me. Of all my companions I cherish him the most for he is nearly as close to nature as I am. I know he would not abandon us without good cause and hope nothing untoward has happened to him. If something bad has happened to him I would blame myself. I feel it is my duty to protect the little guy. We searched for him in every room, hallway, nook, and cranny we came across yet we still haven’t found him.

We continued to search and clear this side of the keep. Room 14 on my map held a pitiful and revolting encounter. The cat creatures, krenshar by name, we were forced to put down in self defense were in the same shape as the Troll. Mostly starved and living in their own filth. They may have been Orestians’ pets at some point in time but starvation had done a number on them and they were beyond feral. Radinnal better have one hell of an explanation and a plan for atonement for what his actions have wrought or I will enact the vengeance of Natures’ Wrath upon him!

We moved to room 8 and it had the appearance of a meat locker with chains everywhere. Any meat in there would surely cook in this infernal place. Medium rare anyone? We were beset upon by a chain demon and it was a tough fight indeed. The demon appeared to be immune or resistant to the power of my breath. The demon was slain and still no trace of Quoice. At least we haven’t found his diminutive body crumpled in death.

We exited the chain demons’ lair and decided to clear the remaining area in this side of the keep. As we approached a crevasse in the wall a bolt of lightning shot out and struck me. The forces of nature harnessed for evil, just despicable. We fought several Driders and dispatched them with relative ease. Still no sign of Quoice!

Having cleared this side of the keep we pushed out onto the bridge. The heat intensified as we moved over the lava flow and even through the magical protection I could feel it. We were harried by some Fire Mephits as we crossed, but came through to the other side without much trouble.

We met an enchanting celestial woman named Maelin next. She asked for our aid and explained what had happened. The keep had been put into an elemental flux due to the interference of Raddinal in one of the Burning Sages’ spells. We vowed to help any way we could. We moved along and met Raddinal. He tried to embrace Xy but was in some sort of flux along with the keep and ended up doing her harm. I could tell she was deeply disturbed by the interaction.

We moved towards the summoning room in an attempt to end this atrocity once and for all. There was a large fire blocking the doorway to the room. I called forth the Icy Breath granted to me by Tharur and extinguished the flame. The world was turned upside down. The keep that had once been blisteringly hot was chillingly cold. My affinity to cold protected me but I could tell several of my companions were alarmed. I concentrated on the teachings of Tharur and extended my affinity to cold to my compatriots. It is my duty, my station, and my pleasure to protect them as I can. We entered the summoning room but were unable to ascertain a means to end the calamity. We searched the remaining rooms on this side of the keep and found what can only be the Burning Sages’ library. Books without number line the shelves. The knowledge in this one room is quite impressive. Without further leads we set down to do some research and rest.

As I sit here in the library of the Burning Sage I can’t help but be in awe of the man. The control he has exerted upon the natural world to allow this keep to exist this close to an active volcano is amazing, and frightening. If only he was alive so I could speak with the man.

Jolokars' Mission Log 2
2nd Entry

Gracevyre and Fruben have suffered greatly in this oppressive environment. A heat unlike any I’ve felt before. They lack the constitution required to continue on our mission. They agreed to stay in the safety of the #2 room. Gorblam felt confident in their ability and willingness to defend his remaining people and volunteered to aid us in removing the undead scourge.

I have to admit I have felt the heat weighing on me, it just doesn’t let up. I can tell Quoice suffers as well, his tiny chest rising and falling with his quickened breath. Most disturbing of all though is his drinking…it has almost completely stopped. Lucky for he and I, Gorblam was prepared and blessed us with his divine power and we are better able to “stand the heat.” I noticed Xy made a prayer to Bahamut as well and appears to be sweating a little less now. Thank the mother earth for that. A lady she may be, but she reeks as bad as a starved troll when she sweats inside that iron cage.

Speaking of starving trolls, we found one. Gorblam led us to a secret door through the #2 room. Quoice foraged ahead and waved the all clear. We did a tactical advance, checking rooms as we passed them. We agreed that leaving a possible enemy position behind us was a very bad idea. As we passed a door we heard something from the other side. Xy kicked in the door and rushed inside. I was right behind and the sight was ghastly. The troll had obviously been there for some time, and I nearly retched. It was crazed with hunger and raked Xy with its’ clawed hands. The blood flew over me in a warm mist as I passed her. Calling upon the power of the Destroyer I dealt the beast a wicked blow and stunned it. The rest of the party quickly dispatched the beast. Lucky for us Absylon remembered that fire is needed to finish off a troll and Xy had some lamp oil she pulled from somewhere. After the battle I laid a hand on Xy’s shoulder and let the healing light Tharur showed me flow into her, her wounds mending. The power of Dragons will forever amaze me. Creatures that can destroy on a whim yet those like Tharur can also heal even the most serious of wounds.

As we gathered our thoughts we heard shuffling and scraping sounds coming from the next room. Xy reached into her sack again and pulled out a hammer and spikes, directing Quoice to spike the door we had just come through to slow a possible flanking force. Where does she get all this stuff?!

We gathered at the door and Xy again booted it in. She’s one tough woman. The room was filled with the walking dead. My sense of revulsion and hatred threatened to overwhelm me, enhanced as they are with the aspect of the destroyer. I can not suffer the risen dead to exist. Xy raised on high her symbol of Bahamut, brandishing it towards them, and in a flash there they were…..gone. My pride and respect for this woman grows by the hour. Such a champion of light and destroyer of the living dead ranks high on my list. The sole occupant of the room after that was obviously Bruuhl, the unholy abomination we had heard so much about. She was at the back of the room and before I could act she lowered a hideous skull topped staff at Xy and let loose her black powers. There was nothing I could do as the pulse of dark energy struck Xy full on, staggering her. She was obviously weakened, but I sent a silent thanks to Bahamut that she was not slain outright.

We entered the room and charged Bruuhl. Absylon, Gorblam, and I forced her into a corner while Quoice fired arrow after diminutive arrow at her from across the room. One in five attacks missed or were turned aside by her scaly hide. Her dragon blood was evident in her impressive abilities. Gorblam let loose a divine fiery inferno upon Bruuhl and it obviously had an effect. Bruuhl summoned several rats, though no rat I know of from the natural world. These rats were bigger than Quoice, who shifted his volley to them and covered our backs while we continued to struggle almost impotently against Bruuhl. Later I learned that more of the undead had broken through the rear door and Xy had again turned them to dust. I knew my next move surprised a few of my companions, for they gaped in amazement at the awesome power. I blew forth the frigid tempest as Tharur instructed me yet again. A cone of ice, sleet, hoarfrost, and frigid wind exploded from within me. Let Bruuhl taste the Dragon’s breath! The battle was looking grim with us nearly unable to so much as land a telling blow on Bruuhl. In the end we got lucky. Skill combined with luck allowed several of us to finally get through her defenses and draw her blood. We decapitated then crushed her head for good measure.

After some discussion we decided to rest in this room with the dead and twice dead around us. Bruuhl had sapped our strength and we were stretched thin.

My hope now is that any influence Bruuhl had over Xy’s brother is gone with her. For all our sakes.

Xy's Journal 2

After some discussion of the limitations of our bodies to withstand the rigors of the Burning Sage’s keep, two of our party have sadly decided they must remain with Gorblam’s folk. Thankfully, the priest has himself agreed to accompany us for a time, at least until we destroy the undead that still threaten his people.

Fruben and the Druid seem to have the weakest constitution and Gorblam managed to protect the Killorian and the Gnome with his divine providence. After some hesitation I did the same for myself. It was my initial intention to keep Bahamut’s gifts in reserve against needing to wield his power to heal my companions, however the oppressive heat of this place has changed my mind. I must be in top form if we are to triumph.

A quick investigation of the area by Quoice has revealed nothing but empty hallways and I accepted my companion’s suggestion that we might investigate the Sphinx before venturing further. They are rumored to be quite knowledgeable. Perhaps it could aid us.
Before we reached its chambers though, we passed a door and heard something behind it. Loath to leave an enemy behind when we might encounter more in front, a consensus to investigate was reached. I kicked in the door without ceremony and strode in confidently to confront what lay behind.

I was prepared for undead, however the monster that leaped out with claws reaching for my flesh was a half-starved troll instead. Having been stuck here for some time it was thrown into a frenzy upon seeing so much fresh meat. Although we were able to fairly quickly dispatch it; I sustained some small injury. I am apparently not the only one with healing gifts; Jolokar used a slightly alien but quite effective touch that sealed the slashes the beast gave me.

Also I value Absylon’s knowledge about properly disposing of it; the flask of lamp oil I soaked it in made a good funeral rite. I may never get the scent of the burning troll or its disgusting lair out of my nostrils. My relief at the monster’s demise was short-lived, even to my ears within my full steel helm the sound of scrabbling and doors slamming beyond the room we were in.

Hearing enemies on the other side of door sent my companions into a flurry of activity, but before they could fling the door open, I tossed a spike and hammer to Quoice ordering him to spike the door we’d come through lest we be surrounded. Turning back, I shouldered the door open to reveal a reptilian monster that I could only assume is the creature Bruuhl standing behind ranks of skeletal undead. Their eyes burned with unholy light.

Calling upon Bahamut’s cleansing vengeance, I held forth my holy symbol and summarily banished the scum from the Prime Material Plane. Bruuhl’s feral scream of rage set my teeth on edge, however Absylon and Jolokar were already positioning themselves and attacking.

With a terrible smile, she lowered a black staff topped with a human skull that had curling ram’s horns sprouting from it and pointed it at me. A bolt of black and silver energy crackled from it, slamming through my shield, my armor and my body. I staggered back, my life force leeching away and my vision momentarily going black.

A shout of defiance brought me back to myself, Jolokar, Absylon and Gorblam had backed Bruuhl into a corner. Even Quoice was firing arrows at her from across the room. Their fierce determination and certainty of victory bolstered my own rattled nerves. The door behind me burst open and all I could see beyond was the burning eyes of the dead.
Summoning Bahamut’s strength once more I sent the spirits of the undead back to the Plane of Shadow where they belonged. I noted with sadness that these skeletons were of a similar stature to Gorblam. These had likely once been his comrades. My heart hardened further against Bruuhl; she must be slain.

The battle raged on, she summoned rats the size of hunting mastiffs to fight for her, and seemed immune to the attacks leveled at her through physical means. Even the mightiest strikes were less effective than they should have been; her scaly hide deflecting the majority of the damage.

Gorblam unleashed a spell of holy fire upon her and while she was wreathed in the blinding light I could dimly see Jolokar and Absylon striking out with their weapons. When my vision cleared, the monster who had corrupted my brother lay on the smoldering stone floor with her head hacked off and my companions were leaning on their weapons, smiling with the heady rush of victory.

After some small discussion, we decided to rest here for a few hours so that we could recover from the battle. I felt it would be prudent to wait at least eight hours so that Gorblam and myself could recover our magical power. With Bruuhl gone now, it wasn’t likely anything dangerous would threaten us. At least that is our hope.

Before I retired, I assisted Gorblam in conducting the rites to send his former followers to their properly intended afterlife instead of an eternity of enslavement. Afterword I gave praise and thanks to Bahamut in all his grace, power and wisdom for granting me these stalwart companions. Now if only I could shake this feeling of terrible foreboding about my brother. If my gut is to be trusted, this has been but the first trial I must endure before I am able to redeem him. The Platinum God be praised I have these strong and capable warriors at my side.

Jolokars' Mission Log 1
1st Entry

I was interviewed by Lady Diege and with an endorsement from Darnakar I was picked as a member of the team. The day came for the meeting at the Manor and I was ready to depart. I paid his tab at the Flotsam Inn plus a generous tip, and bid my new friends goodbye. I made my way to the Manor and was escorted to the meeting room. From my interactions with Lady Diege the room fit perfectly with her personality. It was very…spartan, I liked it. I entered the room with a group of 4 others. None were wearing armor, carrying weapons (other than the human with the chain wrapped around him), or a pack. Were we not leaving today?

I entered the room, walked to the other side following the human, and placed my pack, map cases, and shield against the wall. I took a seat near the end of the table and watched as the other members entered. Only one human in the party when we were in a city almost exclusively populated by humans. I was pleasantly surprised by the composition of the group.

The human with the chain, Absylon, had shared his tea with me. There was something different about him, he was not like the other humans in the city. I like Absylon. He had shared his tea, an obvious sign of respect and friendship. I can’t help but respect him.

I was pleasantly surprised when I found out Fruben was on the team. While Fruben may outwardly display the countenance of a glutton, I knew he was a capable tracker. Fruben would guide us well, and his defense of Luthadel put his integrity beyond question.

I was amazed when Quoice revealed himself to us. I have no doubt he could remain hidden from us all if he wished, for the forest has blessed his people with amazing stealth. It is odd to see one of the Forest Gnomes away from his home. Something must be threatening the forest for him to have left. I shall have to speak with him and offer my aid. He is an odd little gnome. He seems to constantly be ingesting strong liquor yet suffers no ill effects. The fortitude of nature is strong in this one. Another champion of nature makes me confident we will succeed.

There is an Elven Druid in the party as well. Gracevyre is her name. I am heartened by the number of staunch nature allies we have, for I worried I would be accompanying a group of humans. While I do not dislike the humans, it is in their nature to destroy. The elves I have heard are staunch allies of nature, and we have many Killoran Druids.

Lastly I write of our leader Xyrella Kra’alin. I couldn’t help but be impressed with her. She is obviously not human. The eyes, the hair, and the…wings. She is a Cleric of Bahamut and this is good. I revere the Dragon Father as does Tharur.

We left the following morning upon our mission. I packed my own provisions for the trip even though Xy offered to carry the food for everyone. I trust her, but I have been traveling alone for so long that I am not ready to rely upon someone else completely. The extra weight doesn’t slow me down. As we were leaving Engelstad Xy was giving money to the beggar children. I had noticed these children in my studies of the humans in Engelstad. What was their role in human society? Who looked out for them and taught them? Why did Xy give them money? There is much I still don’t understand. Maybe I’ll ask her one evening. We began to get mobbed by more and more children making our progress slow. I prepared to frighten them away but Xy released some kind of….power. It had such a calming effect on everyone, including me, that we were able to walk through the throng of children after she convinced them to leave.

Our goal was the Obsidian Keep. We had talked about several paths and decided with the vast experience many of our members had with nature we would cut right through the Methwood despite the Troglodite infestation. I had faith in our scouts. Quoice, as a Forest Gnome, would be our best scout in the forest. As we traveled we rarely saw him, but it seemed as if the forest itself was covering the noise of our travels. We made it through the Methwood without incident.

The day we moved from the forest to the barren foothills of The Smoking Mountains I meditated when I woke. I searched within me and around me for the power to manifest the Aspect of the Destroyer. The raw power of nature is mine. I know some of my companions were taken aback when my hair and eyes turned from green to black and my skin darkened. We moved through the foothills with our scouts out again. Xy gave Fruben a ring for some sort of protection spell in case he was caught alone scouting. Absylon gave him some sort of crystal as well. What does that crystal do? He didn’t explain it. Absylon is a reserved fellow and I didn’t want to pry.

We made it to the Obsidian Keep. The raw power and majesty of the lava flows was incredible. This is why I revere the mother. What force could fight the volcano? We debated stopping to rest or not but decided to press on. The head was incredible. It is lucky that Diege gave Xy the key to open the door, for without it we would have failed immediately. The keep seems to be made from Electric Obsidian. I knocked on the door and was shocked, no pun intended, by the obsidian. Just a singed hand, nothing major. The entry to the keep seemed to be seldom used and the last entry in the log book was 8 years ago. This does not bode well.

We went through a strange perversion in one room. Trees and vines made of metal. The fiery dwarves we met next almost attacked us. I intimidated one quite nicely before the battle was joined and we all came to realize we were friends. They are servants of the Burning sage. They stated his apprentice Radinnal, Xy’s brother, had interrupted a very powerful summoning ritual the Sage had been performing in another area of the keep and had thrown that half in a kind of flux. Their leader Gorblam told us of a Sphinx friendly to the Sage, a demon, and a necromancer. The necromancer evidently is Radinnals’ secret benefactor.

Xy wishes to take the undead head on immediately. Myself and others wish to try and enlist the aid of the Sphinx first. I can’t help but wonder if Xy has led people before. Maybe it is my fault partially. I should support her more. She was given leadership by Lady Diege, and I respect her choice as I respect her. I will try to support Xy more.

I can’t help but be concerned with Xy’s place as our leader. She obviously has a vested interest in this endeavor as her brother is a pivotal player. Will she be able to do what may need to be done when the time comes? If her brother is under the influence of the Necromancer will she be able to destroy him? The news we got from the fiery Dwarves puts him at fault for trapping the Burning Sage. Was that the plan all along? I feel she is a good person, and can only have faith that she will do the right thing when the time comes. Or I will.

Xy's Journal 1

After a week of waiting Deige has finally assembled the adventurers she thinks would be most compatible and capable to accompany me to find Raddinal… or in their case to investigate the Burning Sage. I read the report she gave on each of them, and admit I am a bit surprised; it seems there isn’t a human among them. I’m not sure if this is because of me being a non-human myself or if these were the strongest among the townsfolk who applied. Likely it is the latter for the Baroness doesn’t seem to be one to take tender feelings into account; she is much more utilitarian.

We have Gracevyre, an elven druid. She must be a wild elf, as I was under the impression they were more modest, however she has the silent reserve I thought the woodland folk would have. I trust she will be a capable companion.

I worry a bit about Fruben, the halfling seems to fit some stereotypes that are not very condusive to a long trip of any kind, much less the exploration of difficult terrain and dangerous castles. Although his love of food and timid manner are cause for concern, I believe in giving chances to those who desire them. Besides, I doubt the Baroness would recruit an unworthy party.

Absylon appears human, although his dossier suggests he is a slightly different race known as an ‘Elan’ that is unfamiliar to me. He is quiet and reserved, although I believe the crystalline chain that wraps around his chest is some sort of weapon and it takes either a fool or a highly skilled individual to use such a thing. The look in his eyes makes me doubt that he’s a fool.

I don’t know of the strange Fey woodland race of Killoran other than the scant bit written here, but Jolokar seems a capable sort. He alone came fully prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. I am heartened by what must have been a prayer or benediction to Bahamut or a blessing from him when I was explaining my allegiance to the Dragon God.

The diminutive gnome Quoice should at very least be able to blend in or get away from trouble if need be. His woods lore should also be a good compliment to Gracevyre’s skills. His drinking gives me pause, for that amount of brandy in that small of a body seems incongruous. I noticed no signs of inebriation however, and it shouldn’t be a problem once we are on the trail in any case for he can’t possibly carry enough to last for more than a day or two, even if he carries no other rations.

The Baroness has kindly offered to outfit us with whatever we need. I have taken requisition requests only for food, and need nothing for myself to survive the rigors of the wilderness. Since the ones who know the wilds and the surrounding area far better than I have asked for nothing untoward I assume the area isn’t anything all too unusual.

In spite of my slight feeling of foreboding, I must remind myself that this is merely an investigative trip. If there was any doubt of the safety of such a great wizard as The Burning Sage Orestain I am certain that the Baroness would dispatch a far larger force.


Thankfully, the smaller of our party moves as slowly as I do in my full armor. I will not be an impediment to our progress due to my insistence on wearing it… other than the ten minutes it takes me to don it in the morning that is.

We are finally out of the forest and either we are exceedingly lucky or our scouts are very top notch because we encountered no trouble at all. Of course none of them mentioned even seeing any of the rumored Troglodyte hordes… perhaps the Baroness has finally beaten them into submission.

The mountain region seems to me to be more foreboding, but perhaps it’s just the lack of greenery. Forests are such pleasant places, even if they can be dangerous at times.I begin to believe it truly is my reliance on the skills of our scouts that has allowed this to happen. I don’t even need to issue the orders I was afraid I might be required to issue… they know their work and simply set to it. Being city bred it is a relief to me; I have brought myself through some difficult terrain, however I’m not certain I’d be able to do the same with an entire group without help.

In any event, we reached the gates of the Obsidian keep without any trouble. As we approached the final rise I could see the keep itself seemed to be quite literally in the center of an active lava flow. The others didn’t express much more than a passing concern about the environment though. I offered to pause and change spells for more protective based ones that we could more easily endure the extreme temperatures but when my companions seemed nonplussed I decided they must have their own protections and we pressed forward.

The door itself was made of something called ‘electric obsidian’ which seems to take some of the heat of the volcano and convert it into electricity. An attempt to open the doors by hand earned me a sharp shock; thankfully my body protects me against mild electrical currents and I was not harmed.

The door opened smoothly when I presented the key the Baroness had given me. She said it only had one use, but perhaps I can get it recharged for her. The foyer had obviously not been used for some time. According to the log book, the last party to enter came eight years ago; obviously Orestain comes and goes by other, likely arcane, means.

It appears the Keep is largely abandoned, although we did encounter some… well I’m not certain what race they are, but they appear to be some kind of Dwarven race. Their leader is named Gorblam, he informs us that his people have been trapped here for some time.

More disturbingly, it seems my brother’s mysterious benefactor is indeed not benevolent, or even human. She is named Bruuhl and is the offspring of the green dragon Skuthosiin who was slain by Orestain and a Troglodyte sorceress… who apparently is the other ‘dragon’ Orestain slew. Whether he perpetuated the myth of killing two dragons or simply allowed it to thrive, it is clear that everything we thought we knew about the Burning Sage might not be gospel truth.

Gorblam claims my brother is also directly responsible for the fall of the Sage… that he interrupted some great summoning ritual and threw half the Keep into the pillar of gray flame. In the wake of the failed experiment, the foul Necromancer Bruuhl invaded this side of the Keep and has taken up residence along with many undead slaves.

Others have expressed an interest in visiting a sphinx that the Sage often consulted with, but I seek only the destruction of the Undead scum and to free my brother from whatever folly has resulted from his foolishness. First the undead. Then I will free Raddinal.

A great mage's retirement

Approximately seventy years ago, Orestian, a mage of great prominence, retired to continue his study of heat, fire, and other related spells. He announced his retirement at the 23rd Festival of Fire (commemorating his defeat of a pair of green dragons which were ravaging the countryside) and further announced he would select an apprentice at the 25th Festival of Fire. He promised that his apprentice would return in to choose another apprentice at the Festival of Fire five years subsequent. This process was to continue – every five years, his apprentice would announce the new apprentice at the Festival of Fire – and in the event of his death, instead of announcing the new apprentice, his old apprentice would announce his death. He did this for several reasons – he wished for his legacy to remain alive in the world through his apprentices, he wished to have “new blood” every so often to offer a fresh view on his research, and he knew he would need apprentices to perform various household duties. He used mighty magics to raise a keep on the rim of a volcano, knowing full well that the location in and of itself would help discourage frivolous seekers of information (it also provided a wonderful setting to study fire magic). He spent a year searching for someone suitable to be his first apprentice, and settled on an attractive 19-year old woman (he of course wanted some companionship – which would include the role of consort – in his retirement). She announced the apprenticeship of another beautiful woman – this one twenty years old – five years later. After two more female apprentices, his apprentice was announced as a male (the old sage had found a consort from one of the outer planes by this time) and the apprentices were roughly evenly split between male and female from that time. The local rulers (as well as certain other powerful individuals and organizations) have on occasion sent groups to ask the sage questions and glean advice over the intervening seventy years. In the first year, they sent three expeditions. Two turned back from the volcano, but the third returned with a map to the keep. The requests for aid became more infrequent over the years, as the rulers more or less forgot about the resources the sage had (which suited him just fine) and the last request for aid was sent eight years ago by his third apprentice (who still resided in the town). She perished of old age about two years ago. The 100th Festival of Fire took place two weeks ago and it has been five years since the last apprentice was chosen – a young foreign man named Radinnal Kra’alin. This year, a new
apprentice should have been chosen. But Radinnal never appeared at the festival. Concerned, the local ruler has procured a map from Resrov (the leader of the last expedition to the keep, which occurred eight years ago) and is now searching for a hardy adventuring band to go to the keep and inquire as to the state of the sage.


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