The team must finish the challenge of Ertinfert’s occupied Lodestar! Fahima and Uggo come face-to-face with their own doppelgangers, while Siv, Lily, and James work to free the captured Warden. What could possibly go wrong?
It started as a simple Dungeon Run…
A quick adventure to raid an abandoned Dragon’s lair for treasure. And what treasure it was! The Secret Keeper’s Amulet. An object of powerful chaos magic, capable of poking through the barrier between realities to communicate with… you. The watchers of the time stream. Watchers, who are also able to affect our reality with forces of good… or forces of evil.
Our team learned this fact from Torvalt the Timid, one of a group of wizards known as The Natural Order, whose mission is to maintain balance in the Realms of Ain.
From his makeshift camp, Torvalt sent our team to investigate a fallen tower in the woods, where they rescued Diphthe, a mysterious Sky Child, and former steward of the fallen tower, who urged them to make their way up to a similar structure, still floating in the sky, resting on the clouds. Called Lodestars, these towers were once beacons - sanctuaries for magical flying creatures. But this one seems to have been taken over by a mad tinker named Fardinald Ertinfert.
When our team arrived at the floating Lodestar in the clouds they found it retrofit with strange mechanical contraptions. One of these, appearing to be an unlocking mechanism at the front door, randomly sliced Uggo and Fahima, and transported their severed flesh up to Ertinfert’s penthouse at the top of the tower.
More surprising still, when they entered the main chamber of the Lodestar, Siv, Fahima, James, Uggo, and Lily saw this. Something they thought only existed in stories. A Warden. One of the sovereign protectors of the Realms, who - the stories say - were put in place after the great War of Ideas, hundreds of years ago, to watch over the lands. The Wardens are said to be the reason that the Realms have stayed safe for generations. And yet no one has laid eyes on one for nearly as long.
Well, until now. Chained. Imprisoned. Shackled to multiple floors of this massive tower, attended by an army of clockwork automatons, and seemingly powering the strange mechanical constructions with its elemental lightning surges, the massive Storm Warden stands before you, helpless.
Last week, our team ascended the tower, battling and beguiling numerous robot attackers on floor after floor, solving the bottom-most lock and freeing the Warden’s feet.
When we left off, Siv and Lily had turned to the Amulet for help in figuring out the second Warden lock, and James, Fahima, and Uggo had dashed their way to the topmost chamber of the tower, attacking the small, gnomish man they found there. But not before he managed to pull a lever. The door at the top of the stairs swung open. Revealing two naked, grey, amorphous figures, smoke rising off of their shoulders, features ill-formed, dripping and wet. Two creatures that look shockingly like… Uggo and Fahima.
Freeing the Warden
The Fahima clone casts Flaming Sphere at Fahima, James, and Uggo, who manage to mostly dodge out of the way. It also lands hard on Ertinfert, as the clone slams the door shut again. Siv refuses Lily's request to hit her, instead picking her up and carrying her with him, sprinting for the next set of stairs as she beeps in fake protest. James pulls Ertinfert out of the flaming sphere to the top of the stairs, putting out the flames on him. Lily, upon being set down by Siv, pulls a piece of paper out of the urn, and gives it to him, pretending to threaten him with it. Symbols on the paper match the next lock. Fahima pulls the lever, opening the door and moving to chase her clone, but Uggo grabs her before she can go. Through the open door, James glimpses the clones, and 4 more lauging Ertinferts, waiting for the party on top of the tower. Uggo grabs the lever, closing the door again, yelling "Trap!"
Siv takes the paper from Lily and tries entering a combination, which fails. James begins investigating some papers on a nearby desk, but struggles to make sense of them, so he starts heading back down the stairs. Lily moves to try to distract the robots from Siv's attempts to get through the lock. Fahima, arguing with Uggo about not letting her continue up the stairs, begins looking around the room, finding notes that suggest that Ertinfert is trying to overcome some sort of power limitation, then moves to follow James. Uggo charges 2 robits, swinging his maul, but missing. He yells for Siv.
Meanwhile, Siv succeeds in figuring out the lock, powering off a section of restraints around the Warden. He begins heading up the stairs, urging Lily to follow him. James Tolls the Dead twice on the robit being attacked by Uggo, doing very little damage to it. He continues to speak in the mind of the Warden, to try to calm it. Lily runs up the stairs after Siv. Fahima runs past several robits, heading for a third lock. Uggo grabs one robit, tossing it into another nearby one. The warden, now with a hand free, swipes it across one floor, smashing several robits. Ertinfert's voice rings out, taunting the party again.
Siv, seeing one of the robits falling down the stairs at Lily, sprints down, flips over the robit, and grabs Lily, pulling her out of the way. James casts Shocking Grasp on one robit, killing it, then runs to the next lock. Lily investigates a damaged robit, finding it badly damaged, but still functioning. Fahima runs to the lock, finding a button next to it, and presses it, earning a vocal hint in the voice of Ertinfert.
Siv runs up the stairs with Lily, finally catching up with Uggo. James, figuring out the puzzle on the lock, opens it, continuing to free the Warden of its restraints. Uggo gives Lily a big hug, and the team quickly compares notes on what they've seen. Lily heals Siv up as the Warden pulls at its neck restraint.
The team's reunion is quickly interrupted, as a ball of fire lands nearby from the doorway. Lily asks the Warden to punch the doorway, if he can. Fahima casts her flaming sphere toward their enemies, incinerating the Ertinfert they had saved. The Warden punches the doorway, smearing the body of Ertinfert and sending lightning crackling through the top of the tower.
The team rushes up the stairs, with Uggo charging at the fake Fahima, Lily riding on his back, viciously mocking the clone as she braids Uggo's hair. The Ertinferts welcome the team with taunts, as one of them finishes working on a contraption which turns out to sprout mechanical wings. Siv throws a magical leech at one of the other Ertinferts and charges at him. James uses Toll the Dead to on the "Fakehima", killing it. Uggo grabs the fake Uggo, throwing it through the glass above the Warden. Ertinfert tries to fly away, but a certain magic boomerang comes flying back through the air, striking him and taking him out of the air. The tower breaks up around the team as the warden breaks free.
Falling from the Sky
The team is now free-falling out of the sky, from 6 thousand feet. Fahima yells "Get to me!" and Siv kicks off the nearest Ertinfert toward her. James tries to scrabble toward her, but can't really manage it. Lily puts in Torvalt's earring, urgently telling him of their predicament. The team gets battered by debris as they fall, but Fahima manages to get off a Feather Fall spell as they approach the ground, slowing most of them to a safe speed, except for Lily who is not in range.
Just as Lily is about to hit the ground, a portal opens under her, and she goes tumbling across the ground at the same velocity at which she was falling, getting gravely injured in the process. She finally comes to rest tangled up in one of the tents in Torvalt's camp, as the team spots Torvalt standing, exhausted, having cast the portal. Siv dumps a healing potion into Lily, and they rush her to Torvalt's tent.
Torvalt immediately sets to work making a potion, sending most of the team looking for a yellow poppy with black spots from his garden. Uggo stays behind, sobbing as he holds Lily's hand. Uggo demands that the gods of the amulet save her, and a healing potion immediately pops out. He administers that too, as the team rushes back with the flower that Torvalt needed, and he administers that potion as well, healing her up.
As Lily comes to consciousness, broken and hurting, she realizes...she left her flute in the tower. Uggo pledges himself to lily for the rest of his life, heartbroken at her near death experience. Torvalt tells them all that he could have saved the warden with his portal, but chose to save Lily instead. He promises them great reward, and asks for them to go find the fallen warden as soon as possible.
The team begins to settle in for the night. As Uggo guards the door to Lily's tent, Siv shares a poem with her, saying that she has made him a better person, and he is trying to change his ways. James sits next to Uggo, and notices some pulsing of electrical energy in the distance. Fahima and Diptha have a conversation about the nature of trust, as Fahima shares with her that they were unable to find the keeper of the lodestar.
Uggo confides in James that he killed his own father. James apologizes for his initial reaction to Uggo, telling him that Uggo reminded him of bullies in his past, but now it's clear that Uggo is not like those bullies. Uggo hugs him and pledges himself as a a blood brother to James, and they both cut their palms to seal the commitment.
In the morning, the team helps Torvalt and Diptha to pack up the camp. They begin to hike in the direction of the remains of the lodestar, stopping along the way to investigate any debris they find, eventually coming to a huge swath of destruction where the warden fell. They find the warden tied down, and guarded by orcs.