Xymor

The Fetters are Broken

Long into the future in a land far, far away…
Arien-gil Bihari, Nolofinwe Tasartir, Craven Witchborn, Flint Ironfist and Samir bin Mu’adh al-Talib continued their long trek through the secret tunnels to Shukalgau. Flint managed to climb out of the tunnel and found himself in a Derro garbage dump. He immediately came under attack from a hidden metallic claw. He jumped back down the hole and told the others of the attack. Meme, their Derro guide, mentioned that it was the guardian and would attack any non-Derro that emerged from the tunnel.

Craven convinced Meme to take Baby Graki to His Excellency Captain Major Emperor Dongle Judd. The cleric of Muerath told Meme that the Derro should begin their takeover of the Duergar because Baby Graki demanded it. Meme fled as Samir put pass without trace on them all to try and sneak past the guard. They decided Flint would go up first to distract the creature then the others would follow Truneseeg.

Flint was easily discovered by two nearby humans once he emerged. The humans announced “dibs” on the dwarf and shifted into hybrid rat creatures. Everybody quickly climbed into the garbage dump, but the machine-like guardian breathed fire onto Arien and Nolofinwe. It continued its attacks against Nolo as the rest of the companions tried to flee from the machine. The heroes managed to kill the wererats and get away before the guardian could do more damage.

They scurried silently toward the Central Market to find Takgar, breathing hard against the choking heat and putrid air. As the ground trembled violently, they ran into a Duergar patrol. The Duergar where no match for the companions, especially after Nolo conjured a swarm of giant bats, but then an earthquake hit, knocking most of them to the ground. Vermelda suddenly appeared, claiming the fetters of Xymor were broken and hoping the wretched piles of pig shit suffered long before they died in the chaos to come. She then disappeared again.

The back wall of Shukalgau exploded. What looked like a large ship pummeled through the wall, a ring of fire around it. But wrapped around the bow of the ship was a huge squid. However, where a squid would normally have fin lobes, this creature had large wings that resembled a dragon’s. Geometric objects tumbled from the ship, resembling the spheres and cubes of the Machines or Contraptions. The ship and the octopod crashed into Shukalgau in a great explosion. The fiery ring around the ship exploded.

Blasts of lighting and fire in the opening of the back wall thundered as rocks crumbled to the city below. Through the opening came several more flying ships, but these had sails and no ring of fire. Painted on the sails were a symbol only Arien had ever seen before: a left-handed gauntlet held upright and four octopus-like, black tentacles wrapped around the palm…

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Shukalgau Falling

Long into the future in a land far, far away…

Arien, Nolofinwe, Craven, Flint and Samir, along with Truneseeg defeated several Duergar in Shukalgau as the chaos of invasion and battle erupted around them. Before the companions could decide their next move, an invisible Duergar snuck up behind Nolofinwe. Two blades burst through the druid’s chest, ripping him in half.

More Duergar appeared poised to deal with the rest of the heroes. The dark dwarves proved unprepared to deal with Craven’s spirit guardians and Truneseeg’s lethal poison, but one fled the battle with Flint giving chase. The dwarf quickly caught up with his prey and put an end to the creature. With the ground of Shukalgau trembling and airships launching alchemist fire into the city, Arien had little time to mourn the death of her friend. She gathered a few of Nolofinwe’s belongings and set him afire.

They hurried toward the market and saw one ship head toward the wreckage of an elemental airship and the other head toward the Obsidian Palace with both firing their weapons. Flying Machines and insect-like creatures that produced an ominous drone poured through the opening against the cavern’s back wall. Through the opening, they could see flashes of more battle. A booming voice echoed through the chamber, “Shukalgau is liberated! Destroy your chain masters! To arms! To Arms for Freedom!”

The party entered the Central Market where they spotted Takgar under attack. The group managed to surprise his attackers and take them down. Takgar was pleased to see Truneseeg but revealed that he had no knowledge about the attack on Shukalgau. He did explain that with the fetters broken, the companions could now exit Xymor trough the massive tunnel beyond the back wall of the cavern. Several docking bays for unloading slaves and supplies were housed there. The treasonous Duergar knew of a way through the Obsidian Palace to the forges, where they could access the bays.

The group decided that Takgar’s plan seemed most reasonable. Unfortunately, several Machines landed to attack, killing Takgar and badly wounding Arien. The heroes fled the area, with Craven staying behind to provide cover for Arien, his sworn ward…

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The Fog of War

Long into the future in a land far, far away…

Arien, Craven, Flint and Samir, along with Truneseeg fought the Machines that descended on them in the Central Market of Shukalgau. With Craven in trouble and Arien badly wounded, Samir came up with a plan. He told Flint to run with Arien and Truneseeg to the Obsidian Palace while he rescued Craven. They would all meet up at the Palace.

Flint refused to leave his new comrades behind, but Samir cast a darkness spell in front of the dwarf, effectively blinding the nearby enemies, and then teleported near Craven. The Machines flew out of the darkness with several focusing their attacks on Craven and Samir. Craven’s spiritual weapon proved nearly useless and Samir’s aim with his bow fared little better. Suddenly, two enlarged Duergar appeared in the market, toppling tables and tents as they barreled through. They took aim at the Machines as they ran past but ignored Craven and Samir. In the confusion, the Machines were defeated and the duo ran to meet their companions.

Meanwhile, as Truneseeg fled the market, he stumbled upon several Derro. The pitiful creatures, now fighting for their freedom from Duergar slavers, began attacking him and Arien. The Derro severely wounded Truneseeg, but he eventually made his way through the creatures. With darkness hindering his progress, Flint stood behind Arien and positioned himself to take the arrows and javelins launched by the Machines. The projectiles harmlessly bounced off his shield and hardened skin as Arien used her sorcery and magic wand to slay the mechanical beings.

With their enemies destroyed, the companions reunited and fled through Shukalgau. They were able to survey the battle happening above. A third flying ship similar to the other two appeared through the opening in the back wall of the cavern. The elemental airship that held the Machines lay smoldering on the ground to the north and several other fires burned in the city. The ground continued to shudder and the disturbing drone continued.

Weary and weakened from continual battle, Truneseeg led them to the cellar of a bakery to hide. Flint blocked the cellar entrance with barrels and sacks of fungi flour and the compatriots discussed their situation. It seemed there were two, or possibly three factions in the battle. Nobody knew the motives of the attackers, except that the Derro were fighting for freedom and a booming voice earlier called for rebellion. Arien again brought up the symbol on Roman’s tattoo being similar to the one of the sails of the flying ships. Without knowing much more, they decided to wait for the battle to die down and a victor to emerge.

Arien was once again contacted by Morgath. The vampire expressed grief over Roman’s death and urged Arien and her allies to seek safety in Massar. Before she could answer, the group heard commotion above.

They remained still and silent as the cellar door flew open…

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Flight of the Kongamato

Long into the future in a land far, far away…

Arien, Craven, Flint and Samir, along with Truneseeg, tried to remain silent as something tore at the barrels and sacks blocking the entrance to the bakery cellar where they hid in Shukalgau. A dog-like creature surrounded in purple flames stood at the entrance and howled, causing terror in Craven.

Flint threw up his shield to prevent the creature from proceeding into the cellar as his companions took shots at the enemy. But a voice from behind told the lich hound to enter and the beast disappeared. Flint then saw the lich hound’s master, a ghoulish creature wearing armor. The ghoul announced that Blackheart wanted to speak with them and they could choose to come willingly or unwillingly.

The heroes prepared to fight the lich hound in the close quarters of the cellar. When it finally appeared, they quickly attacked and eventually destroyed the beast with a final shot from Arien’s magic missile wand. The ghoul tried to attack Flint, but slipped at the top of the stairs. The company hammered the creature and it too fell back to death.

The heroes debated on finding a new hiding spot or staying put as the battle raged above. They decided to stay and rest for the night, but they made the bakery appear looted and smell like shite to deter further incursions. In addition, Craven sent Artemis outside to keep watch. Flint told the group he knew the name Blackheart. He was an elven pirate that plied the waters of his home world, Kraggen.

The next morning, they woke refreshed and Craven communed with Muerath for divine insight. His goddess told him that the surest way to escape Xymor was to leave through the opening in the back of the cavern above Shukalgau. She also warned that Xymor would soon fall. It was then that large tremors shook the ground and Artemis reported that the flying ships that had invaded the city were beginning to leave.

The heroes decided to magically fly away, but there wasn’t enough magic between Arien and Flint to convey the whole group. Flint then had an idea. He recalled a giant flying beast from his home world called a kongamato. He could use his magic to transform two of his companions into the beasts and Arien could transform one. Then, he and Arien could ride on the backs of two, allowing all five of them to pursue the flying ships and escape.

The companions agreed. Craven, Samir and Truneseeg were polymorphed into fearsome kongamatos. Arien climbed on Craven’s back and Flint climbed on Samir’s.

They then took flight…

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Undead Overboard

Long into the future in a land far, far away…

Arien, Craven, Flint and Samir, along with Truneseeg, found themselves trying to escape Xymor after Craven received a warning of impending doom from the goddess Muerath. With Craven, Samir and Truneseeg polymorphed into fearsome kongamato bearing Arien and Flint as riders, the companions chased down several flying ships that were fleeing Shukalgau.

As they approached, a giant insect demon flew toward them producing a disturbing drone that caused the kongamatos to crash to the ground. Flint sputtered and cursed, getting KongaSamir back into the air. Arien and KongaCraven followed. The demon was quickly dispatched and they sped toward the last ship leaving the cavern.

The vessel defended itself with ballistas and arrow fire, but Arien cast a lightning bolt from her hand to kill the pilot. The vessel began to falter and nearly slammed into the cavern wall before another pilot took the wheel. But it was enough to allow them to catch the ship. The heroes engaged in hand-to-hand battle with the undead crew.

Then, KongaCraven grabbed a dragonborn wraith in his massive jaws and dropped it over the side to plummet to its death. This new tactic proved popular with the other komgamatos and several more undead plunged over the side.

As the ship made its way through the hole in the back of the cavern and into a large vertical tunnel, the heroes could see more warfare above them. Two elemental airships with crews of Machines had created a blockade, but one was on fire and several of the insect demons were accosting the remaining airship.

It was then that a bright orange light flared from the depths of the tunnel, the area violently shuddered and the light seemed to be coming toward them…

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The Destruction of Xymor

Long into the future in a land far, far away…

Arien, Craven, Flint and Samir, along with Truneseeg, continued their flight from Shukalgau as an explosion threatened to destroy the ship they were hoping to commandeer. The ship’s pilot, seeing its allies killed by the polymorphed kongamato heroes and their riders, steered the ship toward the wall and down toward the oncoming flames. Flint attempted to wrestle control from the pilot, but failed. He urged his companions to abandon ship and the group took flight to escape.

However, Arien decided to give it one last try. She used her powers to teleport back to the ship and took over the controls. Despite Flint’s protestations, her compatriots arrived to help defend her from attack by more enemies that emerged from below deck. After trying to push the ship beyond its limits, Arien realized she would not be able to exit Xymor before the ship was engulfed in flames. Reluctantly, she climbed on the back of KongaCraven and the heroes managed to evacuate Xymor before it was destroyed.

Upon exiting, they discovered that Xymor, their prison for years, was nothing more than a giant sphere covered in machinery and metal, and that here was also a second “Xymor”. Both floated about an immense ice-covered mountain side, but both soon erupted in explosions and fell into the clouds below.

The companions flew clear of the explosions and the airships battling in the skies nearby. However, two insect demons did notice the gigantic flying kongamatos and initiated pursuit…

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A Cold Welcome to Arkull

Long into the future in a land far, far away…

Arien, Craven, Flint and Samir, along with Truneseeg, fled from the insectoid chasme demons that chased them from the exploded ruins of Xymor. Craven, Samir and Truneseeg had been magically transformed into giant kongamatos with Arien and Flint riding on their backs. The chase proved too strenuous for KongaTruneseeg, who fell behind as the rest of the heroes found a crevasse to hide in.

However, KongaCraven decided to save their companion with KongaSamir following right behind. They found that Truneseeg had transformed back into his normal Tiefling form and was bleeding profusely from his side as he tried to fend off the two demons. The party rallied for their ally, destroyed the chasme and then flew far from their former prison into a cavern for much needed rest.

Craven communed with Muerath to discover their location. She relayed they were still in Materia on a world called Arkull. He was again urged to protect Arien. The next morning, Craven and Truneseeg were polymorphed into kongamatos to continue their flight down the immense mountain as a light snow fell.

After many miles of barren snow and rock landscape, they spotted a lone human being chased by three huge beasts. Each had a humanoid upper body with massive tusks protruding from its shoulders, and a shaggy mammoth lower body. The barbarian turned and stood his ground to attack the mammataurs that gored and stomped on him. The heroes decided to join the battle on the side of the human.

Arien cast acid orbs, KongaCraven and KongaTruneseeg pecked and clawed them, and Samir fired with his bow. Flint jumped from KongaCraven onto the back of one of the beasts, but nearly fell off after a missed swing of his fiery blade.

Then Artemis shat in its face, allowing Flint to quickly strike some powerful blows…

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The Un"bear"able Trek

Long into the future in a land far, far away…

Arien, Craven, Flint and Samir, along with Truneseeg, continued their battle against the mammataurs that were chasing a beleaguered barbarian down a massive mountain on Arkull. Craven and Truneseeg, both plymorphed into giant kongamatos, pecked and clawed at the shaggy creatures while Arien lobbed chromatic orbs and shot lighting from her hands to slay the beasts. Samir used his mighty martial skills to break a mammatuar’s knee, dropping it to the ground. And Flint swung his fiery sword to kill the last remaining enemy.

But as the battle waged, the severely wounded barbarian fled from the fight. The group sped to cut him off. He tried to barrel through Flint, but the dwarf grabbed him and he was eventually calmed. They were able to determine his name was Thelmid, a member of the Ursmar Clan led by King Staunn. He lived at the Dendom of Staunn, four days by foot from their current location on Mount Vysok.

He told them he was on the mountain to keep watch over the orbs floating near Vysok and was returning to the Dendom to relay that they had exploded. The group deduced the orbs were Xymor and its twin and told the barbarian they were from inside one of the orbs. Thelmid was wary of magic, which he called the dark arts, and held deep suspicious of Arien. But because they saved his life and may have information for his king, he agreed to lead them to his home.

During one evening in camp, Flint used magic to change his appearance in jest to look like Thelmid. The barbarian chafed at the use of magic and fled the cavern to sleep alone. Craven sent Artemis to keep watch over the barbarian and was shocked when Thelmid changed into a giant polar bear. The next morning, with Thelmid again in human form, they continued their march to the Dendom without revealing their knowledge that Thelmid was likely a werebear.

He led them to an icy canyon where they were met by guardian wasps. Thelmid went forward to secure permission for the heroes to enter the Dendom and gain an audience with King Staunn.

When he returned, he told them, “You have been given an audience with the king. It is upon my word, so if you insult him or the Dendom, it will be my debt to pay. Do not look the king in the eyes unless he is speaking to you. Keep your eyes to the floor. And do not speak until he speaks to you. When he enters the Set, kneel in reverence of his power until he sits on the throne and tells you to rise. King Staunn is just, but he is quick to anger, as is his right…”

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An Audience with King Staunn

Long into the future in a land far, far away…

Arien, Craven, Flint and Samir, along with Truneseeg, were led by Thelmid to the Dendom of Staunn to seek an audience with King Staunn, the leader of a barbarian werebear tribe. Thelmid explained the proper etiquette when addressing the king including kneeling when he arrived, keeping one’s eyes low and not using any dark arts.

King Staunn entered the set as a large polar bear and transformed into his burly human form before speaking. He asked them questions pertaining to Xymor and the flying ships around it, but he refused several times to answer their questions until he was fully satisfied with their answers. Staunn then divulged that there were actually three orbs like Xymor that circled Mount Vysok and all were destroyed. In the past, other orbs would come and go with up to five circling the mountain at any one time. However, this was the first time any of them had been destroyed.

The heroes inquired about more civilized areas on Arkull and Staunn said he would give them a map to such a place once they fulfilled his request. A snow cat tribe, led by a witch that mastered the dark arts, had stolen his pet silver dragon and he wanted it back. Then Craven asked Staunn about his hatred of the dark arts, causing the king to grow angry.

Despite protestations from his companions, especially from Flint who actually tried dragging Craven from the set, the follower of Muerath continued to prod the king. Staunn transformed into his hybrid werebear form and appeared ready to attack Thelmid as he had vouched for the strangers. Flint stepped forward to protect Thelmid and the king roared, causing Arien and Craven to feel the fearsome power of the mighty Staunn.

Arien fled the set, only to come under attack by several of the king’s guardian arctic wasps and other werebear tribesmen. Flint turned Samir and Truneseeg into savagers in hopes of increasing their power, but the werebears and king were able to shake off all their attacks. SavageSamir burst through the side of the set to help Arien who was now surrounded by enemies and hurting badly.

Sensing the situation growing dire, Craven pleaded for the king to cease his attacks. He apologized for his impertinence and offered up his life in exchange for ending the battle. King Staunn cooled his blood and ordered his minions to stand down. The party quickly agreed to retrieve the silver dragon in return for the map to civilized lands and left the Dendom of Staunn shaken over the events and Craven’s rash actions.

They rested around the warmth of Flint’s sword during the evening and rose early the next morning to seek the snow cat lair with Craven’s guiding hand pointing toward their destination…

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An Audience with Queen Emeah

Long into the future in a land far, far away…

Arien, Craven, Flint and Samir, along with Truneseeg, continued their cold and dreary march toward the snow cat lair to retrieve the pet silver dragon stolen from King Staunn. They noticed that following them at a distance was an arctic wasp and assumed it was sent by Staunn to keep an eye one them.

On the second day of their journey, a huge remorhaz burst through the side of the canyon to make a meal of the heroes. As his companions dove for cover, Flint stood his ground only to be clutched in the maw of the gigantic creature. Craven sent Artemis to heal Flint and then placed Muerath’s blessing on himself, Samir and Truneseeg as they gathered to rescue their friend.

However, the dwarf had other plans. He tossed his potion of diminution into the creature’s mouth, shrinking it down and forcing it to release its grasp. He then polymorphed into a titanosaurus and stomped the creature to death. At Samir’s urging, Craven sent Artemis into the beast’s tunnel to explore. She found a burrow with a young remorhaz sheltered, along with a frozen corpse and scattered treasure. TitanoFlint squeezed through the tunnel and stomped the young remorhaz to death as Craven, Samir and Truneseeg plundered the dead.

They traveled over a plane of ice and drew closer to the snow cat lair. The group decided that since the creatures were supposedly led by a queen, Arien would be their spokeswoman. At the entrance to the lair, they were halted by a hidden snow wereleopard that urged them to leave. Arien convinced the guard that they meant no harm, and since they came from The Orb, they may be of interest to their queen.

The party was given entrance and noted that the cavernous lair was warmed and illuminated by activated magmium. In addition, several of the wereleopards had Machine parts as jewelry. They stood before Queen Emeah who inquired about their knowledge of The Orbs and their dealing with Staunn. Arien told the Queen of their directive from Staunn, but assured her that they had no intention of honoring the deal. Queen Emeah insisted that the Ursmar Clan was actually abusive toward Shylle and that the wereleopards rescued her. Arien had earned her trust and the Queen told them of a civilized land to the south named Qeld. In addition, she mentioned that she knew of the elemental airships flown by the Metal Ones, but had never seen the ships with the red designs on the sails.

Arien then asked where the wereleopards got the Metal Ones jewelry. The Queen told them that an elemental airship was found, grounded right inside their glacial lair…

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