The days in this place have wonder, mystery and danger have flown by and much has happened. Its been 15days since our companion was cursed and this lost city has been full of activity. Where to begin…
The strange women Ceredwyn vanished in the night after only two days with us. Whether she will be a threat later, driven to continue her own quest, or merely a casualty of this deadly place is unknown. We had littel time to dwell as alll the factions from Fort Pliskin began to arrive here in the lost city of Bantu Asparr. We managed to parley with the Farstryders, inviting them into our camp, as well as connecting with the Vertitas and forming a secret alliance with them. An alliance, in fact, that Khaine and I already had as we learn the truth of them and their leader.
The Boss, was really the crown prince, wrongfully accused of treason. At least that is the tale we believe and as such continue to support him as members of his Red Wolves. An agency that only Khaine and I are members of, and we have still kept from our companions.
Still, with our public and secret alliances in place we felt more confidant to explore the ever growing population of this ancient city. Even securing passage with Veritas to secretly take Palomar back to his temple in hopes of they could cure him. We handled the exchange prior to the Farstrider’s join us at our base in Chimera Keep. Worried about agents of our enemies we felt his condition should remain secret for now.
Once the Farstrider’s moved in we spent time share what we learned and getting to know them. Ever vigilant of infiltration I have taken it upon myself act as head of security. Studying each member of our enhanced camp, learning names and mannerisms. Also making sure to set strict security guidelines and insert us in the command structure. A fact Lord Primrose does not seem to be incredibly found of but as long as Jemmrand Sorrowtongue and Nicholas “Nik” Ablestein continue to appeal to the Lords vanity and we continue to uncover the secrets of the city all should be well.
We had gotten into a rhythm in camp and the Merchant District by Day 14. Hiring on a stout dwarven cleric named Grunevard “Grune” Brighteye. Making contact with Casandra Nevar, providing us some intel on Midnight Brotherhood and a warning that they have aligned with the Red Orcs.
We also took out a major threat in the Government District, A Rakshaha and a large number of barbaric Aspari warriors. It was unclear of the just how many Aspari lived in this part of city, but I admit I cut them down with no small amount of enjoyment. They were however larger and stronger than the two we have seen and did not employ magic or guile. They were… barbaric and tribal. It is unclear what this means but they bleed all the same. The additional defeat of what we think was their spiritual leader was an added bonus as Rakshaha are creatures of legend and very powerful. Certainly not one to be left alive as an enemy.The day after that assault The Alliance was preparing to head out to the Artist district before returning to the city city when word of a fallen party of strangers had gotten to us. We went to investigate and saw what looked to be the aftermath of a battle. Human and Ketch. In the center of the downed bodies was an odd statue. Looking at the bodies we noted that one was our old fellow castaway Ness Ramora. She seemed to still breath so Khaine and I rapidly approached. It was then that we realized too late the true danger. There was magic coming off the statue that effected our minds and we dropped into a deep sleep before we even reach our old friend.
No… not sleep… a memory…
The artifact sent our consciousness into the past were we lived lives as denizens of that time. It felt real and true and who we were was initially suppressed by the souls of the bodies we inhabited. We say the past, felt the ancient hatred and even battled as our host had battled. A spark of recognition between Khaine and I allowed our personalities to come forward and we were able to battle a common foe in this history. A demon touched orc shaman who sought something under the great city. We were pulled out of the mind trap before we could learn more, but the memory did tell us much. That there were catacombs beneath the city, and that for a moment, the ancient elves and orcs were united against some greater evil. But there were no Aspari in this memory. Is this the same evil they seek or is this yet another threat we must contend with. For every answer we receive two new questions.
The saving of Ness paid dividends right away as she was able to send a new comer our way. An odd mystic named Almaran Kithalil. She sent him to us as she was concerned about his safety with the Pirates of the Captains Court plus felt he could render us some aid in our greater quest to stop the Aspari. It was a nice reminder that we did have friends in these other factions. I wondered again about Shiro Gok as he was now the only fellow castaway we have yet to re-connect with.Almaran, passing our initial scrutiny traveled with us to the Artist district were we cleared a swarm of vipers from a noble site dedicated to an elven hero. THE elven hero, Vacara, if we are to understand the histories and our new mystics words. This was the spot of a great defeat of an evil and her statue marked that. It also marked that Bantu Aspar had to be built here. Which with the new knowledge that their is, or was, levels below ground caused the group to speculate WHY the city had to be built here. And causing them to consider that what the Aspari seek may not be in the city, but below it.
Continuing on we encountered the local denizens of this district. I was pleasantly surprised to find elves still lived here, but while civilized, they were still fairly tribal. I admit I was a bit disappointed at this. A drive for me has been to learn more of where I come from. My uncle had always done right by me but my lineage is still one of mystery. Windspitter has revealed to me my name and a hint of my line. But I need more and hoped I could find answers here. Not today it seems.
Still the leader of these people, Ozond, was guarded but open. And after helping defend them against a planar attack from the Twilight Takes and a vampiric diseases spreading creature we won an audience with their protector. A power, and barely stable, being known as the Radiant Muse. With that meeting we also formed a treaty granting safe harbor and passage through their district. I made a mental not that time permitting I would try and help these elves regain their greatness and also learn as much as I can of their lore.
Day 18 we had pushed further into the city. Passing along the outskirts of the farming and temple districts. Both had denizens that we were not yet prepared to engage. Instead we sought to enter the residential district. Several days earlier we saw smoke and heard the faintest sounds of battle echo from the boarder of the military and residential districts. Assuming the Red Orcs warred with someone we were seeking them out to see if the enemy of my enemy could indeed be our ally. What we found instead was quite disturbing.
The entire district was overgrown with fungi of all types, benign and deadly. Vegipygmies roamed the zigurat and the quiet reminded us of the Silent Isle off of Sailors Hook. Exploring more we encountered a creature you would never think to see in your waking moments. Nightmare Spinner.
This dream spider of eminence size, whose web and toxins can alter the mind in terrible ways, made a home in the only passage we’ve found so far leading below ground. We enticed it out, fooled it with magics and set fire to its web. We then set to destroying they massive creature. The battle was tough and the toxins from the burning web threatened to dizzy our minds. But as The Alliance ever endeavors to do, we pressed on and defeated the creature.
However at our time of victory, we were dealt a power blow. An augmented harpy, empowered by unknown magics swooped in with speed we have never seen. It snatched Jemmrand up in its claws and continued on its way. We gave chase as best we could with Almaran and Grune using their magics to fly after the creature. But to no avail as it was too fast. They did see it fly back towards our part of the city before they lost sight of it. This gave us a little hope that our companion was abducted for a reason beyond food for some beast.
With the fires of the web still going for all of the cities inhabitants to see, and the loss of our companion we thought it best to had back. I desperately wanted to get a message to Cassandra about Jemmrand, curious if he was perhaps captured by the Orcs or the Brotherhood. Has we did one more pass of the area we managed to rescue two souls from the webs. An elven woman from the Tribe of the Sacred Serpent and surprisingly a Nord. They were both deep under the effects of the toxins so there would be no answers to their tale. We aided them back to the Artistic district and left them in the care of the elves there.
The following day we received more gratitude from the elves for retuning one of their lost, and learned that a group of Nords had settled into the city. According to this survivor, Baa’reek, they had settled in the Temple district and he was part of a scouting party attacked by the nightmare spinner. Nords being strong and powerful, we thought they could be the allies we seek to handle the combined might of the Brotherhood and the Red Orcs. A partnership that, according to a missive from Cassandra was having issues maintaining.
Heading to the temple district we sought to return Baa’reek and seek audience with their leader. It was a fools errand as the district was clearly in the control of Troglodytes who forced us out by sheer numbers. We thought to challenge them anyway but logic ruled over bravado and we returned to Artist district. Baa’reek said if his people are not still in the Temple district then they most likely had moved to the borders of the Military district. He is unsure how long he was in the web, but this could sync up to what we saw and heard. Perhaps it was the Nords battling the red orcs after all.
With that knowledge we discussed as we walked a way to safely get to that part of the city. As we entered the Artist district we were met be runners. Based on their words, Cassandra had come her looking for us and had word of Jemmrand. She left directions and mentioned time was of the essence.
Leaving Baa’reek with the elves we quickly headed out to hopefully rescue our friend…