It’s been a while since I updated, I know, but things got crazy amounts of busy here. I’ll try to post a general update later, including talking about the awesome experience of meeting the crew of Sneak Attack! but for now, here is a quick summary of what’s been going on in Risenstone!
So, on the run from the Dwarves guards and desperate to find a way into Neddwan, the party traveled down into the secret tunnels used by royalty in the Arcane Kingdom. While they headed in the general direction of the Neddwan border, they happened upon a giant Owl Lion, which they woke up by stepping on its wing. Unhappy with these adventures and confused as to how they found it, the Owl Lion asked that they contribute to its collection of personal trinkets. At first, the party resisted, not wanting to entertain the beast, and offended, the Owl Lion caused Viara and Carric to switch places. Now feeling compliant, Viara gave up one of the gnome rings that has a mysterious connection with her missing sister; Melon gave up a lute that had been dear to his grandma; Carric offered up an explorers pack that he’d found when searching for his lost friend Sovelis, but instead the Owl Lion healed the scar on his face. Then, Viara and Carric returned to their normal bodies as Amber and Serenity offered their sentimental gifts.
After being allowed to pass, the party got a gander at the items the Owl Lion had collected, but no one dared try to remove anything, so they continued on. After a rather long discussion about what to do when they reached a river, they eventually crossed it with only a few damp party members and moved on.
They next stumbled upon a giant library and were ambushed by animated armor, set on destroying anyone who got in the way of a mission the party never tried to discover. Three sets and a sword occupied the team while two more dashed upstairs and began setting fire to the library. Scared and confused, the party downed the three sets and swords and broke through a door back into the mountain tunnels. They fled the library and let the books burn.
Tired and drained, they pushed on even further until they reached an ornate room, presumably a bunker for the King, but it had not been touched. Here, they rested for a short time, and Melon sang for the party. But while the other party members were asleep, the Prince Arcane awoke from his slumber and tried to convince Amber to untie him. However, Serenity’s amulet began glowing, tipping Amber off to something not-right with the Prince. She tested him with knowledge of their intimate past, but he could not answer the question correctly. Angered by failure, the “Prince” attempted to escape, resulting in a Wild Magic Surge. Amber then attempted to knock the Prince out, but dealt more damage than expected, and the Prince crumpled to the ground. Melon and Viara helped to heal him.
As this happened, Carric and Serenity worked together to open a locked door at the back of the room, managing to disarm the trap and break into a giant safe of armor, supplies, and more. They looted the King’s reserves as Amber picked the Prince up and prepared to continue carrying him. They traveled on, and eventually Carric sent Derek ahead as a scout, but he didn’t return. Unable to leave Derek to an unknown fate, the party moved after him, many falling under a charmed spell that forced them forward. The party struggled to break the spell, and as each member tore free, they realized they were in a giant domed room carved into the mountain. In the center, broken crystals or glass jagged into the air to form a strange, unsettling round structure. All along the walls, terrifying sigils and symbols screamed out at them. Toward the center of the room, a single body could be seen on the floor, and as they approached, the walls shook and the unnatural choral music they had been hearing spiked.
Then, without warning, Melon, Serenity, and Viara were transported away and found themselves in the entry way to a giant structure. Colorful light shined in through stained glass windows, and when they tried to peer out of the building, they found themselves peering in through a window behind them. Greeting them on the floor where they entered, a scroll read “Heroes are to be tested for bravery if they are to do my will.”
The three stranded party members explored the chapel, discovering a table of food with the sign “if you eat, eat completely, if you thirst, drink wholly, but all you do, you do for me and my glory.” Nervous and unsure of what kind of contract they would be taking if they ate, the party shied away from the food. But then Melon, attracted by an alter and giant organ, went to investigate what sat on the alter, finding three trinkets, one of an owl, one of a spider, and one of an eagle. But as his back was turned, a large deer appeared behind him, and Viara, being the druid, cautiously investigated. The deer then spoke to her in Druidic and returned the gnome ring she had given up to the Owl Lion earlier. The deer told Viara that her sister was alive and waiting for her “where the wings are,” before exiting to the side of the alter through an entrance that materialized before it.
The party members then decided to explore the great building further, and as they moved toward the praying mats in one corner, five pedestals rose before them. Writing the pedestals appeared on the wall, reading “take what you need, not what you desire.” On the pedestals sat a bag of holding, healing potions, some rope, gems, 100 gold, and batons. Tempted but still weary of the possible contract they would be signing, the party decided to desert the pedestals and go through the door the deer had created. Upon deciding this, the contents of the pedestals appeared in the bag of holding magically on Serenity’s belt.
The party entered the next room, which was unnaturally dark, and saw three doors leading into small confessional-like rooms, along with a door to there left leading out. Above the doors read “The shadows will cower at the light,” and below this above each door read an individual phrase: “The orphan will be loved,” “The storyteller will be the hero,” and “the lost history will be found.” Intrigued, Serenity tried to open the third door, releasing a shadow monster that attempted to surround Serenity and drag her into the room. Two more shadows appeared from the other doors, attempting to do the same for Melon and Viara. The shadows managed to drag Serenity and Viara into their box, where they experienced traumatic visions of their fears; for Serenity it was the slaughter of the Tiefling people, for Viara the attack on her camp by an Owl like monster. But after some close calls, the group managed to down the shadows, and light filled the room.
Now, safe from harm, the party picked the lock on the door leading out and entered a large library filled with Tiefling text, old letters, and many many tomes of history, diaries, and the like. When they tried to take a book from the shelves, it reappeared where they had taken it after they finished reading. Books also appeared on the shelves as they searched the room, appearing burned but then healing as they materialized. Melon added to this collection a bundle of letters they had received from the haunted farm house, and upon doing so, another Owl Lion appeared from a dark corner. It thanked Melon for the contribution and asked how they came to this place. The characters explained that they had just been transported there, the Owl Lion nodded and then turned away, disappearing into the shadows. A rope appeared in the party’s hands, and they followed this through the shadows, traveling along time before seeing a light in the distance. They headed to this without hesitation, entering a brightly lit hall where the Owl Lion waited to the side. Once they arrived, the Owl Lion moved to the side of a throne where a woman with long black hair and white eyes sat. This woman welcomed the party, introducing herself as Elsbeth, the goddess of this world.
The party bowed, although Melon and Viara were slightly confused. Elsbeth told the party that she was grateful to them for finding her amulet in the Underdark, but refused to take it back when Serenity offered it. She explained that they would need it in the future to guid them and then gave Viara a collection of rounded stones, promising that if she used them in dire situation, she would receive the help she needed. Viara asked why Elsbeth was using them, and Elsbeth explained that it had worked out that way, an answer that didn’t satisfy Viara. The party then asked where Carric and Amber were, and Elsbeth told them that she was woking on getting them back to them safely. Elsbeth also told them to continue onto Neddwan, and she would send her guardians (motioning to the Owl Lion) to assure their safe crossing. In Neddwan, they would receive more answers.
Then, the party was transported back to the domed room in the mountain, the ground shaking as they returned. There, they saw Carric and Amber, who looked just as confused. Before them, on the other side of the jagged statue, someone stood, the sigils on the wall glowing green. The walls shook, and the party prepared to fight.