Laima's Legacy

Session 3: Harmless Fun

Thursday June 4th, 799 GE

You thought you’d never get out of there. Between the incessantly thorough Arbiters of the Raven and the scrambling news reporters you barely had time to sleep. At least the hotel patrons’ testimony cleared you of any suspicion in the matter. Even though the Tidewater was badly burned, they remain in your debt. You’ve received trinkets of remembrance from several people, including a leather bracelet from Maggie, the granddaughter of the old Farnsworth couple you met on the ferry. Several men have sworn they will only cheer for Gruudash’s clan in the Big Fight from now on.

But the fact remains: you have missed your ferry. Gruudash and Skollur, you are now stuck in Southport.

Old Man, you have nowhere to be at the moment. Your next move is your own.

Alyss, you are expected to report back to Ilye Parnome to report on your mission. Your tutor, Koehetio Cyredtylar’quis, has promised to teach you your next summon. Having companions would make your journey safer on the road, and you have already witnessed the prowess of these people in battle. Everyone except for Skollur (who decides to seek his fortune on his own) agrees to accompany Alyss and they find an airship to carry them to Rilma.

The city rises from the plain, a jewel adorning the glittering Naltie River. One has an amazing view of the carpet of farmlands from the vast bridge connecting the Helyanwe airship port to the city proper. Upon arrival the party decided to visit the marketplace, but soon the afternoon storms roll in chasing them to the University. There is no shortage of impressive sights on the way there however: details invade Elven architecture down to the cobblestones. Plants heaping with blossoms spill from window-gardens, enticing smells waft from open windows, and chocobo-drawn wagons bring all sorts of products to market. At points it’s almost impossible to see the sky for all the spires crowding so close, but light is never a problem here. Water trickles gently around every street, throwing shifting patterns of light onto the crystal buildings. As they near the center the buildings begin to spread out and rise into the sky. The University itself is the tallest spire in Rilma, capped with The Lightning Temple. There summoners practice harnessing the magic flowing through the earth. The entrance arch itself is 50 feet tall. Alyss’ contact waits in his office on the first floor, next to the Imperial Archives.

Koehetio Cyredtylar’quis’ office is well-furnished, but crowded with books and tomes of all kinds. There is barely space for the four of you to stand. The plaque on the oak door declares him “Professor of Summoning, Conservator of the Imperial Archives of Magic”. He seems critical of his new pupil, but gives him access to the Archives for purposes of studying. He also invites the party to a function being held in the University ballroom on Friday: the empire’s yearly Trade Convention Gala. ….if they can meet the dress code. The vermin problem in the sewers provides the perfect opportunity to earn some quick money.

As Alyss heads excitedly into the archives, the rest of the party leaves for the sewers. On the way out they see the Conservator’s page, Cay Emett. The mousy teenager is overloaded with books, but staunchly refuses the party’s aid. When Gruudash tries to help Emett in his stubbornness drops them all. A bottle on top filled with golden powder shatters on the ground, enveloping the party. Emett seems inconsolable, knowing this will land him in trouble for sure. Maladietz takes the opportunity to steal a few old tomes while Gruudash tries to apologize. (Magical Oddities in the Jungles of Dongou and Targ Midwinter’s Travel Journals vol. 3: Turtle Cave)

The party ventures into the surprisingly clean sewers to fight the hoard of rats which until now had been kept in check. However the usual exterminators (a batch of teenagers, if the foreman’s mumbling is to be believed) have not shown up for their weekly duties. The party also finds that rumors of giant rats were true! Assailed by the squeaking swarms Gruudash and Maladietz watch in amazement as the Old Man exhibits a power the likes of which they have never seen! For a mere moment he seems to be in the prime of his life, glowing with immense magical energy and wisdom! They barely dodge a giant fireball that instantly kills the huge rat. But when they look back, the Old Man is back to his normal senile self.

Having made their money the party turns in for the night. Alyss is given quarters in the University dorms while the rest shack up at the Cheerful Chocobo, the local traveler’s inn just outside Rilma’s walls.

Friday June 5th, 799 GE

Maladietz decides to do a little gambling at the local gaming hall and ends up winning so much the management gives her a VIP room!

Gruudash and the Old Man spend their earnings buying fancy clothes for the gala.

After 6 hours of studying Alyss ascends to the top of Ilye Parnome to practice summoning Rahmuh. As the afternoon thunderstorms roll in lightning strikes the tower violently, releasing energy through the tower’s supports making the walls and floor glitter with power. The Conservator watches and waits to see if this new pupil will measure up to his other students. Alyss diligently meditates, connecting himself to the storm and to the laylines below. His first attempt, promising at first, backfires spectacularly, and Cyredtylar’quis shakes his head and leaves. But the young summoner doesn’t give up. Gathering himself he tries again! This time something seems to click and soon the booming cry of Rahmuh echoes the thunder all around him. He revels in the majesty of the creature for a while, then prepares himself to do it all over again as his tutor will inevitably ask him to repeat the feat in his presence. But turning back he sees Cyredtylar’quis standing in the stairway, smiling at him.

Later that evening the party dons their formal attire and takes in the glowing gala ballroom. Decorations are lavish and exotic, this being a trade convention, and the music perfectly arranged. The buffet table is strewn with all manner of delicacies including ripe tropical fruits from Sun Islands, mounds of berries from Dongou the color of jewels, meats cooked in garlic and fennel, Quail roasted with citrus stuffing, plump buttered shrimp from the Twin Cities, Honeymead from Deepmead (which Gruudash discovered was very weak), and of course melt-in-your-mouth pastries and subtle sparkling wines from Rilma.

In attendance were many of the empire’s leaders including the Prefects of both continents and the head of the International Trader’s Guild. Guests flocked to the party with questions, entranced by their sheer oddity. Alyss convinces Maladietz to steal a book from the Archives for him about the summon of Metal. She slips away just before the strangest sound of the night: dissonance. The music stops and heads turn to see the musicians slumped over on their stands! Murmurs fill the room – perhaps it’s some kind of statement or performance piece? Or did they simply fall asleep? There is no time for speculation however, as soon those on the dance floor have fallen as well! Party-goers begin to gasp and look for any sign of cause, but the wave spreads rapidly. Soon everyone from the highest dignitary to the lowliest servant is spread out on the floor: sound asleep. Except for Gruudash and the Old Man. (In the chaos the Old man is the only one who sees a young man fleeing on the rafters. It’s Cay Emett, the Conservator’s page!)

It doesn’t take long for the clank of mythril armor to sound in the hall. Finding their comrades asleep, they quickly survey the room.

What have you done?

Gruudash and the Old Man run, tripping up the guards with magical thorns and non-magical fists. Eventually the orc is surrounded in the street and is subdued, but not without giving the Star Knights an excellent challenge! The Old Man ends up being so obvious that no one sees him, and makes his way back to the Cheerful Chocobo without incident.

Session 2: The Tidewater Hotel
We keep pulling you back in.

Wednesday June 3rd, 799 GE

As the sun flirts with the western horizon and the day’s storm clouds move in the patrons of the Greenwater Ferry approach the Tidewater Hotel, free vouchers in hand. It looks more like a motel, really, constructed of wood and stone and featuring a tavern on the first floor. Prominently displayed in old grimy frames are posters declaring the place to be a historically-recognized1 Haunted Landmark! They look to be quickly put together with stock images of white-sheet ghosts and badly painted fire. A chalkboard sits clearly visible on the sidewalk announcing a special 100th Anniversary Ghost Tour this very evening. Skollur’ and Gruudash’s spirits sink as they realize once again they have been pulled into a tourist trap.

However one old man seems to be enjoying himself immensely. He claims to be a powerful mage, but seems to have no control over his abilities. (Or his train of thought.) The desk clerk approaches the man, hopeful that he is here to take care of their problem. Apparently the hotel’s hauntings have been getting worse recently, and several patrons have complained or outright abandoned their rooms. When the manager hears her explaining this he disciplines her for such ridiculous thoughts.

But a robed White Mage soon arrives, speaking via chalkboard and sign language. The desk clerk secretly gives him a free room and ticket to the tour as thanks for exorcising their dead.

After settling into their rooms and carousing at the bar, the old mage proceeds to embarrass and/or annoy everyone in the party. Soon it comes time for the ghost tour. A large crowd, including the old couple from the ferry, have assembled in the lobby. As he leads them through the halls the tour guide explains the tragic story of the old Tidewater Hotel, which burned down 100 years ago along with everyone inside. The only salvageable piece was the basement. The patrons are allowed past the check-in desk and into the cellar, for dramatic effect, and the dark musty surroundings certainly don’t disappoint. However now it seems to be used only for storage purposes. There is a small freezer in use by the bar and a side room of cleaning supplies. The party can find no other clues but are certain the answers lie here. However the tour guide shuttles them out and into the gift shop before they can explore further.

The party decides to turn in for the night, except for the White Mage, who takes the time to explore the halls. The latent energy from the local layline certainly seems to be causing some disturbances. A woman’s voice appears and disappears along with a gentle breeze, guiding him in circles.

Meanwhile, Gruudash, Skollur, and the old mage try to sleep with varying degrees of success. Gruudash is jolted awake by disembodied voices screaming obscenities. Skollur, just in the next room, arrives to see him wrestling with his bedsheets, which the Orc swears was attacking him a moment earlier. They try to return to bed, but soon enough Gruudash is awakened by noises from the bathroom. A gout of flame pours from the mirror, lighting the whole room aflame. The old mage, lured out of his room by the smell of burnt toast, arrives to see Gruudash and Skollur running from the blaze. However as soon as they look back into the room all seems normal.

They soon meet with the silent White Mage who was driven from his room by similar experiences. After waking to a freezing room and the woman’s voice pleading him to help “them,” he too saw the inn catch fire and then return to normal in the blink of an eye. They all agree to search the basement.

All seems lost until they notice an odd breeze coming from one of the walls. Tearing down the bricks reveals a hidden stairway, rusted with age. They barely make it down before it collapses, leaving them alone in the dark, putrid-smelling catacombs beneath. Having no where else to go they venture forward. Old tombs line the walls, filled to varying degrees with corpses and other funeral trappings. The side passages are blocked, flooded, or both, and it’s obvious these tunnels haven’t been used for years.
Soon the corridor opens to an octagonal altar room festooned with murals of death, chaos, and destruction. It seems 3 women are the center of the images, but most of them are too old to make out clearly. Four corpses lie about the floor in crimson robes, and from the look of the char on the altar and ceiling their task was to burn sacrifices here. A mark in the shape of a mapmaker’s compass is seen several times throughout the decor. Unable to glean more, the adventurers press on.

But wait! Now the three candelabras are lit! A voice can be heard, an angry voice, his boastful shouts echoing through the corridors:

“You think the authorities will help you? We told you your father is dead to you, and now you will be dead to him!”

The group rushes back in to see the altar room’s horrible splendor restored, the scene laid out a gruesome one. A young woman with long silver hair lays chained upon the altar, screaming for her life. The head priest stands manically grinning, motioning for his assistants (ravaged a bit more by time—they are walking skeletons) to bring forth the torch. A fight ensues during which the old mage shows a glimmer of his power. He manages to command the Head Priest to distract him…. by making a sandwich. But it works! They do not have to contend with his fire spells, for now.
But after beating the cult skeletons and their hellish statue hounds the party hears a great cacophony in the corridors beyond. A hoard of moaning, ravenous zombies pours forth at the command of the High Priest. The woman, having escaped her bonds, is the first to run in terror. The party follows as she leads them through damp tunnels, eventually passing through a large oak door. With the zombies getting closer Skollur and Gruudash barely manage to bash it down. A shower of plants, dirt, and insects flows from the opposite side, but everyone manages to climb the stairs. They lead, of all places, to the rear courtyard of the Tidewater! The Head Priest pursues madly, lobbing fireballs which seem real; in fact they catch the hotel on fire!

As the party fights back the hoard of zombies guests begin to panic. Ghostly patrons appear as well, running for their lives. Some see the silver-haired girl and immediately turn on her.

“If you hadn’t been snooping around none of this would’ve happened!”

But then they catch sight of the High Priest. Joining together they seem, for the first time, to scare the man. The ghostly throng rallies behind Gruudash as he smashes the Priest’s bones to dust. Without a commander the zombies fall as well, leaving the courtyard a pile of rotting corpses.

However the inn is still on fire. All exits are blocked and the party fears the worst. But at the last minute the White Mage is inspired. He rushes to the basement freezer and rips out the refrigeration crystal. When it’s smashed the resulting wash of freezing magic instantly douses the flames.
Patrons—alive and deceased—rejoice. The silver-haired girl approaches the party with a beaming smile.

“Not only have you saved the hotel and it’s patrons, you’ve cleared my name. Thank you. A million times thank you.”

She then ascends to the skies, leaving the party with only ashes and a warm breeze.

….but, as the old mage stands amid celebrations in the lobby, he notices something on the wall. A familiar symbol, etched into the plaque honoring those who donated to rebuild after the first fire. The principal donator is the Dock Merchant’s Association. And their symbol is a mapmaker’s compass.

GM: I’m not sure about the placement of all the hauntings. Feel free to correct me! What were the most memorable parts of this session?

1 Petition currently on file with the Southport Historical Society pending ratification.


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