Legends of Moonsong City

Sometimes the Fight Picks You

The heroes continued to mourn the loss of Sven. Milo began to hear tales of a small girl who had been asking his street urchins about him. Sensing a trap, Milo began to search out this little girl as she seemed unwilling to come to him.

After encountering the girl on a street late at night, he immediately sensed that something was amiss. The girl had a demonic visage, and attempted to get him to chase. Not falling for that trap, Milo instead gathered his friends to see if he could again encounter the demonic girl.

Success led to Arnie charging into a bar crowded with people, enchanted both with and by a human female singer. The girl was somewhere within. Arnie swam the crowd towards the singer, feeling something was amiss. He was strong enough to push his way through, but the crowd was also tight, and he didn’t wish to harm them.

Until the singer placed her gaze on him and attempted a magical attack of some sort. Arnie, enraged, began to charge the stage. The crowd, either unwilling or not noticing the initial attack, immediately turned on Arnie, as he attempted to get to her. “Save ”/characters/helen" class=“wiki-content-link”>Helen!" the crowd roared out, and Arnie found himself now surrounded by a sea of innocent people who didn’t fully understand the circumstance.

It didn’t get better. The girl had reappeared in the crowd, and smashed a small wooden box. Out of the box, sprang a number of shadows. The undead looked hungrily on the crowd, as the shadow demon leaped out of the previous controlled little girls body and attempted to possess Arnie. By the grace of the gods, the giant man who could slay handfuls of people with his bare hands was not taken by the demon, and a battle ensued instead. A few members of the crowd were killed by the shadows and rose quickly as additional shadows, but Maximus was able to contain and destroy most of the foul undead.

The last standoff occurred between the party and Arnie. He wished to end the witch’s life, but was eventually persuaded to stand down.

The party tracked down the shadow demon, heading into the undercity to seek it out. In a close battle, they were able to defeat the shadow demon, although not without cost. Tifa, rent by the shadow demon’s lust for blood, was consumed by the shadow and rose again as an undead. Luckily, the party was able to subdue this perverted form of Tifa, and headed back to the surface to attempt to restore her to life.

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A Safe Spot Exposed

The heroes stepped through the portal opened by Axiomus the Magus. Within the halls smelled of dust that had laid dormant for centuries. Within the still halls, nothing moved. At least until our heroes came down the halls.

Within the still rooms, humanoids began to shuffle. Crystals embedded in their chests and foreheads flared to life and they started to shuffle down the still passageways towards the heroes.


When the battle had ended, the crystal soldiers laid strew about. A shadow demon had been dispatched. But not before he had told them of the horror that is the crystal soldiers. They were once men. Embedded with the crystals, they had their bodies slowly taken over by whatever malignant force controlled the crystals. Driven slowly mad as their spirits are consumed, slowly, over an eternity as a slave to the crystal and refashioned into an essentially a mechanical man.

The shadow demon suggested that they had the way to create more, and to create more was the path to the power that they sought.

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Death of Sven
The Rise of Tondemo Sanshe

It was a sad evening at the Drunken Priest.

Tifa was dead. Sven was gone, not even the priests of Balamut could call him back. They said his spirit did not want to return, so no amount of mortal divine magic could force him to give up his reward and return to them.

What had gone so wrong…

They had heard that the Azure Dragoons had lost the arcane rift that had been discovered. Determined to help regain control of that rift, they headed down with such confidence. Even when they discovered a lone survivor, panicked and terrified at what he had seen, they still pressed on. While they had been able to handle the initial guards, they were not ready for Tondemo Sanshe. The armored skeletal man had easy brushed aside their strongest attacks, and laid them low.

Now, whatever activity Tondemo had been sent to safeguard, continued. The men they had saved in the attack were under the care of the Dragoons. At least they had saved them. Tifa’s divine magic restoration had been a success.

All in all, it tasted bittersweet.

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Arabella's Interlude

You’ve been quietly studying while the group plays rescue the dirt poor farmers. Glad to not have been on that trip with it’s spoils of copper pieces, instead you’ve been studying the arcane arts while you’ve got access to the libraries and laboratories of the Dragoons.

After a couple of days, you begin to notice that something is a little off. Not sure what it is right away, you make the decision to quietly watch and more importantly listen to the various conversations in the Azure Dragoons abodes. Nicholas works as a fine spy in these sorts of circumstances where some vermin are always expected and most expect a snake or a cat to be there to ward off mice and rats.

It would seem that the Azure Dragoons have lost control of the arcane rift. They had paid a fortune for the information about where it was, and supposedly had secured it some weeks ago. But now there was talk of an expedition to go and take it back.

That didn’t seem to overly bother you. You figured it was just the bugbear/goblins working back to the rift to get another chance at creating more abominations like before. They would figure that out, how bad could goblins be.

But then Nicholas started hearing another phrase being repeated in these halls that you hadn’t heard before here. “Praise Erathis”

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Max's Interlude

Max:

You have been personally summoned by Heran, the chief priest of Bahamut to the temple. This is unusual at best, and unnerving at worst. You understand your duty is to serve Bahamut and his chosen embassies here on earth, so you proceed to the temple as quickly as possible.

On arriving at the temple, you can see that some of the more highly placed clerics are looking at you with contempt, from some, even jealously. This is unusual. Normally they dismissed you as a bouffon, but now they seem genuinely threatened by you.

Heran arrives in the temple, and as required, all turn to him and bow lowly. He looks shaken, maybe even a little ashen, but he wastes no time dismissing most of the guard and the clerics that were in the main temple chamber. When they have been cleared and the doors closed, you are brought through a non-descript door that had previously been off limits to you. Deep within the temple, you are led to a small chapel, ordained in precious metals, religious artifacts, and holy writing. There is a haze to the room as pungent incense burns from a number of braziers. Within this sanctuary, you can hear the low murmur of the prayers in the courtyard above, although there are no visible windows or openings for the sound to come in from.

Heran dismiss even his personal guard now, telling them that he is perfectly safe, and that they may reopen the temple above. Once they have left, the heavy doors pulled shut, and their footfalls are no longer audible down the corridor you came, Heran begins to tell you that you have not been the only one who foresaw great things for you.

When you had entered the temple to present yourself to the clerics to study, serve, and learn, the dreams and messages from Bahamut had begun. Heran tells you that he has been comforted by dreams of your great glory; where you stood as a paragon to justice, leading the humans of this region to great heights of civilization and brotherhood. But he has also been haunted by the nightmares of what would happen should you fail. The anguished cries of the devoted to Bahamut, chanting in course and empty voices; “Praise Bahamut”.

For some time Heran goes on, recounting many dreams of your glory. Defeat of the goblinoids to the east, the replenishment of the great crystal desolation, Moonsong City built into a gleaming city of silver and gold, dragons flashing in the sky above dipping their wings in deference to your great wisdom.

For each of these dreams of glory however, there is also a twisted nightmare of despair. The city laid to waste, a vast necropolis where the undead cultivate humans to have their spirits drained and destroyed, their flesh devoured as they cry hopelessly and woodenly to an uncaring god to save them.

Heran falls to his knees and begs your forgiveness, so that he may be made whole with both you and your god. He explains that while you have always thought that you were destined for great things, he had harbored his doubts as had his most close advisors. He had watched you from afar and was troubled by your follies and missteps. When you required a powerful magic to have your soul restored to your body, this reinforced his belief that he had read the signs of your pivotal role wrong. But he had clearly misjudged you, and in so doing had sinned against Bahamut.

Clearly, he sobs, you were always meant to wield Lendyi’s Wisdom.

Your breath quickens at the mention of a magical artifact that is something that the religious of your order have whispered about, but it’s existence or purpose was something that had been a closely guarded secret.

He takes up a heavy tapestry and reveals a polished wood chest. Mummering some magical words over the chest, he then opens it, revealing within the nondescript mace. A hardened spiked ball of dull metal, connected to an equally dull metal shaft. It’s handle was worn, leather wrapped around it tightly. The leather was old, but very well maintained. Heran hands it to you reverently.

“This mace, Max, it has called to me to give it to you since you first took orders. It has been passed down in the order of Bahamut for many centuries, even though the time of Glimmer, from the ancient temples of Bahamut in the Crystal Kingdom. Into your hands, I pass this treasure, so that you may use it as you see fit, in the service of Bahamut, the great, the mighty, the wise, the just. May you use it well.”

Lendyi’s Wisdom (Mace +2 of Disruption)
Communication: Empathy
Alignment: Lawful Good
Any undead creature with HD equal to or less than the wielder’s level must succeed on a Will save (5th level Cleric Spell) or be destroyed utterly if struck in combat with this weapon. Spell resistance does not apply against the destruction effect.
Spell Immunity 1/day as a standard action
Continual Light on command, centered on the mace as a free action
Can cast Protection from Evil at wielder’s level 3/day as a free action

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Milo Mission

Mid afternoon a cleric of Bahamut has arrived at the Drunken Priest to seek you out. It is unusual for one of the clerics to come himself, they would not normally leave the temple, but would have instead sent a lackey. His armor is shining, and his regal bearing looks out of place in the squalid ale house, but inwardly you smile because he reminds you, at least on the surface, of your companion Max’s bluster.

His eyes take a minute to adjust to the dim light and smoke in the alehouse compared to the brilliant sunlight outside. But soon enough he notices you and strides purposefully towards you. You quickly get to your feet, if your order could somehow be of service well then, you’d best give a good accounting of yourself you think.

“Master Milo, I presume?” the cleric asks in a clear voice. Without waiting for you to confirm his assertion, he continues; “I wonder if I might talk with you somewhere more private?”

Finding a room quickly isn’t a problem for you anymore, the patrons of this alehouse will quickly make space for you. They may not always be so enamored with your companions and the trouble that seems to find them, but your kindness to the helpless and your patience with the unworthy has made you a popular fellow here.

“Master Milo. I am here at the request of Heran, our chief priest, and conduit to our lord and god Bahamut.” The cleric starts. You wonder if he might even introduce himself, or if that wasn’t part of his instruction. “I am to ask you to take special care of your companion Max.”

Okay, that was different you think to yourself. Suddenly, those guys like Max? Luckily, you don’t often wear your emotions on your face, so your surprise, you hope, isn’t evident. The cleric continues. “Heran himself has received signs that Max is pivotal to our lord and god Bahamut’s mercy and justice continuing to bless our people. Since it is known that you are a righteous man, bound by duty, it is being asked of you to protect Max until such time as this glory is revealed. This protection may and should be rendered up to and including death, should it be required.”

He pauses to let that sink in.

“Master Milo, will you be able to take this burden and perform to the utmost of your abilities, this service to your lord and god Bahamut?”

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Interude

Arnie spends most of his time at the bar. Let that apparition that Milo says is following me around deal with the fact that only one of them can get drunk. In the normal press of the pretty girls that liked to hang around him and drink with him and Sven, the ale flowed freely and there was a lot of very familiar physical affection. Tifa hung close, although it seemed more that she wanted to make sure that at least one of them was sober if trouble came up.

A good couple of ales in, when the world was a little woozy and warm, Tifa started pulling on Arnie’s arm. “Doesn’t it seem like these girls want to know an awful lot about us?” she said with some disquiet. “I don’t know that I like you answering all of these questions.”

“Hey!” shouted Sven. “Hey! She said they are writing a song about us. Get that Tifa? A SONG! Hell, I’ll tell them everything they want to hear if it’s a good song sung by … let’s see… that one. But only if she’s dancing at the same time…. C’mere you…..” Sven attempted to crawl over the table towards one particularly fetching young woman. She giggled and feinted disapproval.

Tifa sighed and turned back to Arnie. “Really? Can’t you see this is a bad idea?”

Arnie’s head heavily swung from side to side. “Nah, what are you worried about. I can punch whatever it is anyway.” He looked back down at his ale, then looked up excitedly. “Hey! Is me punching stuff in the song? It had better be!”

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Enter the Hunter

Milo Ambergrass has made many friends in The Flats and he is now being sought out by the various commoners who don’t have the ability to solve their own problems or the cash to hire mercenaries. A farmer convinced Milo to take his band to his farm. A pair of ogres had been shaking down the poor family and Milo’s heart was touched and agreed to take on the work for some vegetable pies that the farmer promised his wife would make.

The rest of the band was not as happy with Milo’s choice in missions as perhaps the farmer was.

The ogres were quickly dispatched, but the party noticed that they had been watched by a large wolf. They attempted to give chase, but even Arnie was not fast enough to catch the giant beast. After tracking it with their new companion druid they settled in.

It was then that Milo began to feel uneasy. Something unnatural and evil was tracking him. By concentrating hard enough, he could localize it to a very faint apparition of the torso of an armored man in chains. The apparition could communicate crudely by answering some yes or no questions. It was through this they deduced that the hunter was coming for them.

It attacked that evening, with skeletal champions and wolves. The party struggled with armor and being tripped by the wolves, leaving themselves open for punishing attacks by the skeletal champions. Throughout the battle, the hunter rained in ethereal arrows that would materialize once they struck flesh. Arnie attempted to run down the hunter, but he used his apparitions to sight in the party, attacking from impossible ranges and without showing himself.

The party returned to town, where they discovered the apparitions doubling them had now doubled. One on Milo and one on Arnie.

Unable to determine a reasonable course of action to either force a confrontation or escape the surveillance, the party hunkered down in their favorite watering hole, Drunken Priest.

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Arabella Deals with Frill
And Nicholas starts to talk...

The anger radiating from Arabella spiked as Frill sat down. With a flick of her wrist, she sent the two potion bottles she’d recovered from Kilhgarrah tumbling across the tabletop. Frill stopped one with his right hand. The other slowly rolled in a circle, it’s oily contents sloshing gently inside.
“Don’t you ever put my team in danger like that again.” Arabella hissed. Her hand shook almost imperceptibly. She took a deep drag on her cigarette.
Frill recovered quickly. “I hate him.”
“I don’t care, " Arabella replied, blowing smoke at him. “He’s part of my team. Your stunt could have gotten him and my whole team killed. You ever do that again there will be consequences.”
“Do you even know what he is?” Frill asked, his voice tinged with disbelief.
“Of course I do,” Arabella returned, perhaps too quickly.
“Have you seen what color he is?” Frill’s anger was apparent. His words hung in the air accusingly.
Arabella leaned back. She took a second long pull on her cigarette, held in the smoke for a breath as if considering something, then let it drain slowly from her lungs.
“I don’t care” she repeated softly this time. She leaned forward over the table to catch Frill’s gaze over the tops of her darkly tinted lenses. “What you are doesn’t dictate you who you are.” She paused and sat back. “If anything, I am proof of that.”
Frill glared at her. The awkward silence stretched on.
Finally Arabella sighed and shifted the topic. "So, do you want to know what my team learned about this so-called “master” in the Descent?"
-—————————————————
A couple of hours, a few bottles of wine and many cigarettes later, Arabella slipped out of the bar and with a quick spell into the guise of a toothless old crone. She made her way home through the sometimes dangerous streets of the Flats. Thanks to her disguise, she was largely ignored. That was good since she was lost in thought. As was her habit when in such moods, she started talking to me. I guess she felt that was better than talking to herself.

“It was a near thing in the Descent….Max was basically dead, and Sven and I were not far behind. If Narni hadn’t gotten a hold of that magical rod, we might have all died down there.” She took a deep breath. “You know what Nicholas?”
“What?” I replied, poking my head out of her sleeve.
She stopped dead in her tracks.
“What?” she echoed incredulously, staring at me.
“Chicken butt!” I snickered. “Gotcha good that time. Hissss…”
“You talk?” she said again, ignoring my admittedly juvenile joke. Her eyes widened behind her glasses.
I paused. She’d understood me? This was new.
“Uh…I guess so…”, I ventured. “You never understood me before…”
“All you ever did before was hiss and stick out your tongue occasionally”, she replied. “Now, you’re forming full sentences…”
If I’d had shoulders, I would have shrugged. “What can I say, maybe you’re just finally listening to me.”
We stared at each other for a bit, absorbing this new development in our relationship. Finally, I broke the silence. “You were saying…something about almost dying?”
She shook her head. Then resumed walking. And talking…
“Yeah…I guess, I realized I think of the horde, moronic as they can be, almost like they were part of my real family.”
“I suppose after all you’ve been through with them they kind of are, aren’t they? Kind of like Corris,” I paused, waiting. “Or me, right?” I paused again.
“Of course! Yeah…you, Corris, yeah. I just never thought of them like that before. It surprised me.”
“Hiss. So now what?”
“Well, you heard Frill. Now that I’ve told him everything we learned about the master, he’s agreed to get us a guide to Giles’ hide out. We really need to end that guy.”
“Hiss. No argument here. Rats give me the creeps. They don’t even taste that good. Mice taste better any day…”
“Yeah…and hopefully with some of the cash we recovered I can help the team be better prepared for whatever we are going to face. Giles has been amassing power for a while, so it certainly won’t be easy.”
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” I reminded her helpfully.
“Yeah…you’re right,” she said. “I need to have a talk with Kilhgarrah.”
“I gotta say, hiss, it is pretty cool that he is turning into a dragon, even if it is a green.”
“Assuming that’s what’s happening, yeah.”
“What do you mean? It sounded like you knew…”
Arabella grinned at me. I was glad the disguise didn’t include smell…with that many rotten teeth her breath would have been awful.
“I knew something was up with him…but I’ve been busy and haven’t tracked down the details yet. I couldn’t let Frill know that though could I?”
“I suppose not,” I said. “So how do we find out what’s really going on?”
“Ask him I guess. If he doesn’t know or doesn’t want to share then we figure it out on our own…probably have to do some research…”
“Who do we know at the library?” I asked.
“Nobody yet…guess I’d better get on that…”

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