Archer Entry 5

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Karavakos haunted my dreams tonight. The foul tiefling wizard from a time ancient when Bael Turath was founded had been locked away in a demi-plane after his failed deal with infernal powers. Valiketh, I, and a few other stalwart souls ventured into this Pyramid of Shadows and thwarted his intended escape – though we nearly brought it about instead. Spells, mind powers, and cold, hard steel proved sufficient to rid the world of this threat permanently.

But the memories remain, and my dreams often take forms familiar to my recollection.

The tiefling’s dead eyes stared at me from the misty form of his severed head. He had oft appeared to us while we sought the means to enter his cell at the apex of the pyramid – his visage an insubstantial illusion. However, then he had always appeared…whole. He spoke riddles in a tongue just beyond my understanding. Stray concepts would reveal themselves to me every fourth or fifth sentence, but it all seemed to be macabre gibberish. Clocks winding backward, specters wailing, and monuments to long-forgotten heroes entwined to create a panoply of nonsense.

After breakfast, Obanar spoke with us once more. Though perhaps “at us” would be a more accurate description. The man seems to have an aversion to getting to the point and giving us information that might help us be more efficient in completing the tasks he believes necessary for the defense of Argent. Eventually, it came down to him asking us to seek out the tomb of a former hero by the name of Qwor – whose remains rested in a crypt within the walls of the city. There, he hoped we would find something that would tell us where we might find “star metal,” a component he claimed to need in order to recreate a number of relics that would aid us against the giants.

I was not expecting the necropolis to be guarded by the corporeal spirit of a former bureaucrat.

Just past the gates, the revenant stepped from behind a stone mausoleum and ordered us to leave at once. We informed him, in no uncertain terms, that we were there at the behest of a guardian of Argent, but the undead creature sneered. We had to somehow prove that we were worthy to wear the Silver Cloak that was the badge of office for defenders of the city. After a terse words, the damned guardian stepped aside after Rowan took advantage of the distraction provided by the conversation and simply crept up behind it. With her blade to its throat, the ghoul seemed convinced that we were worthy to seek the tomb of Qwor. What a bizarre encounter…

We entered the catacombs leading to the hero’s final resting place, where the ladies disarmed a few mundane traps intended to dissuade grave robbers. Afterward, we proceeded down a seemingly endless series of halls. I knew that barring extradimensional tomfoolery, such a thing was impossible. To confirm my suspicion, I cast my senses out into the aether, seeking evidence to support my hypothesis. With my Sight, I detected a current of magical energy and locked onto it with an arcane tether. Alerting the others to my discovery, I then led the group toward the source of the magical flow.

Bypassing another trapped stone door, we came into a large chamber with a checkered floor. Zara noted that the floor was trapped, and so I took a careful look around the vast room. The architecture brought to my mind a book I had once read detailing Erathis’ Grand Bastion in Nerathum, the capital city of ancient Nerath. I am blessed with an eidetic memory, and so I was able to recall with perfect clarity the blueprints of these types of structures – including a safe path to circumvent the traps. With a simple cantrip, I marked the safe path with magical lights, and then walked it to ensure it was safe. I was gratified to be proven correct once again, and whispered a quick prayer of thanks to Erathis and her clergy for having standardized security measures.

We met Qwor in the chamber beyond the doors at the end of the hallway. A limestone sarcophagus dominated the center of the room, and the specter of the Argent hero stood beside it. He was far more genial than had been the undead gatekeeper, and once we explained what we were about and assured him that there was no one else coming to the city’s aid, he agreed that it would be best if Obanar recreated the relics sacred to the Silver Cloaks. The last set had vanished into the abyss along with the heroes bearing them over a century before. He knew of no current stockpile of star metal. Before we could lose all hope, he suggested something…incredible.

In order to secure the metal we sought, we would need to go to Bael Turath, six hundred years ago. I frowned, certain I had misheard, so I asked for clarification. He confirmed that he was talking about going back in time to the dawn of the tiefling empire and steal the star metal, returning with it to the present. Astounding!

In order to achieve this, he said that we would need the gem locked within his trapped sarcophagus. The crystal contained the memories of the fallen empire, and we would need it find the right place and time with the ritual that would take us there. The ladies proved up to the task once more, handily circumventing the traps. Our new elven ally laid claim to the crystal, staring at it strangely. I must admit to feeling a fair amount of avarice over such a treasure myself. I am also not certain that my face did not show it. Artifact secured, we thanked Qwor and returned to the surface to tell Obanar what we had learned.

The old man seemed confused at first (an expression I grow weary of seeing on his face), but soon after he confirmed that it might just be possible to go back into Bael Turath’s past and abscond with the needed star metal. He left the research of exactly where and when to us. Zara accompanied me to the library while Cirrig, Rowan, and Valiketh went to speak with Urthix, in case it knew of a hoard that would save us the temporal journey. My prayers that the dragon did not were answered. I am excited about this opportunity to visit the past. I will not ask forgiveness for that enthusiasm.

The elf and I spent hours in the library researching. She asked a lot of questions during that time, and though I didn’t mind answering, I wondered at her curiosity. Eventually, we found a lead on an obscure inventor named Acererak who once dwelt in an out of the way manor upon Diamond Lake – or so it was known then. It was isolated, and the texts suggested that the man had collected quite the supply of star metal for use in creating a number of golems and other mechanical devices. Confident of our research, we returned to the others to share our findings.

Valiketh held some concern that meddling in the past might destroy the present, but we were able to convince him that the risk was almost incalculably small. I was shocked to speechlessness when Zara pointed out the paradox that if stealing the metal would have prevented heroes in ages past from forging the self-same relics we ourselves intended to build, the world would have already been destroyed. I was…surprised by the revelation that this seemingly humble ranger could reason so abstractly. There is definitely more to this woman than I had originally assumed.


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Archer Entry 5

The Piranoth Chronicle zero