Pointer-left Cd787b2d5635deab1635c1114102414d--anvil-tattoo-raven-bird_thumb
Posted by the GM
The Arrival: Penumbra
Session 36: Murder, Mushrooms, and Mayonnaise
The session opened with the party traveling north through the streets of Yalba, unsure of their next steps in the aftermath of Teoshi’s al-Surai’s demise. On their way towards the Sultan’s Palace, they noticed a conclave of guards gathered at the Athenaeum. According to Raha al-Kharii and Nurata, who were overseeing the apparent crime scene within, a break-in had occurred the night of the ball. The two librarians who were tasked with guarding the quarters of Racha’s gynosphinx had been killed! The party decided to lend their preternatural abilities to ascertain what had occurred at the Athenaeum before dealing with the owlbear in the room: the fact that the F.I.A was still not in agreement about their next steps.

With the hesitant approval of Sekmet al-Id, the F.I.A was allowed temporary access to the hallway that led to the divine gynosphinx. Before entering the darkened chamber, Midzaynov used her Headband of Thoughts to scan the mind of Nurata, who was also examining the crime scene. Midzaynov picked up on a few errant thoughts as she was speaking to the party: “Contact,” “Network,” “Investigation,” “Conspiracy,” and “The Weavers.” The party also learned that Nurata was not a member of The Hellraisers, although she was closely affiliated with them. Entering the chamber, Wykeera found that both humanoid footprints and an irregular, amorphous shape had made its way through the ancient dust and gravel that lined the chamber’s floor. Deductible deduced that the large, winding shape was consistent with the tracks of a massive snake. The tracks revealed that whatever creatures had entered the gynosphinx’s chambers had also left it.

Examining the guards, the party determined that their cause of death was most likely a series of deep cuts on their torsos. Wykeera deduced that the cuts were made by a bladed weapon from an especially high vantage point. The librarians were close to their posts at the time of their deaths, meaning that whatever killed them was able to get close without alerting suspicion. Examining the floor next to the winding double staircase that led to the gynosphinx’s chambers, Thane found a translucent pliable convex object with an emerald-colored center about the size of his thumb. It was a contact lens - a rare object usually coveted by elites who can afford such a commodity. The party recalled the only individual that they knew who had emerald eyes: Sisava al-Surai. At the moment, however, there appeared to be no concrete evidence to link her to the crime.

As the party geared up to leave the Athenaeum, their investigation completed for the moment, Hagar pulled Raha aside. He informed her that their party was soon leaving for the Feywild, and offered to stay behind in Yalba and help to rebuild the city in the meantime. Raha nodded slowly, pulled Zari away from the rest of the party, and asked her when she was planning to tell her best friend that she was leaving for an epic adventure on another plane of existence. They caught up in the brief time they had, and Raha informed Zari that Makaria would act as her retainer for the immediate future. The two had a tearful farewell that was in no way interrupted by Thane. The F.I.A had officially decided on their next step: they would enter the Feywild to answer the Queen of Air and Darkness' invitation. Hagar would stay behind in the interim to nurture the growth of the Yalban Parliament, build the FIAting Pit, and reinforce the strength of his network of contacts.

The F.I.A began to prepare for their extraplanar journey. Zari decided that she should tell her friends and loved ones that she was leaving Yalba for the foreseeable future, and casually informed the party that she had slept with Zaeshir. When Zari visited her home temple to tell her family of her impending adventure, she found Rashad speaking to her mother in the main foyer. Her on-again off-again romantic partner was wearing ... ceremonial robes of Kielel!? Zari immediately broke out in a cold sweat. She was here to unofficially break things off between them, but was he about to … propose? No. He couldn’t be. He wouldn’t. They hadn’t even talked about it, why would he -

And then he dropped to one knee.

Zari just about had a heart attack before she realized that her tiefling companion had simply dropped a ceremonial bangle and had knelt down to pick it up. The shell-shocked cleric let her heart rate slowly fall as Tulsi explained that Rashad planned to help out around the Temple of Kielel for the time being, seemingly anticipating her daughter’s growing sense of wanderlust. Before she departed, Tulsi reiterated the situation with her siblings. Twenty years ago, when Zari was too young to remember, Tulsi decided to scatter her children to the corners of the earth in a desperate bid to keep them safe from Urilesh. Tulsi had taken Zari’s magic potential as a child as a sign that Kielel had a special plan for her, and kept her under her watch Yalba. When several years had passed and the Miszas thought that the threat of Urilesh was behind them, they had Hamza. Tulsi explained that she gave each sibling’s caretaker an amulet, and instructed them to never let the child be without it. With one amulet, another amulet could be found - that way, even though Tulsi would not know her children’s whereabouts, they could perhaps find each other one day when the danger had permanently left them.

As Zari was leaving, she found a strangely beautiful tiefling man closely examining the Temple of Kielel. The mystical figure introduced himself as Zaric, an emissary from the Queen of Air and Darkness who had been sent to ensure that the F.I.A reach their destination of the Winter Court safe and sound. Zaric had an airy, otherworldly quality about him. He had traveled to Yalba with the aid of a former enemy - Raam the jackalwere! The three of them made introductions and caught up. Meanwhile, Hagar visited Belet again, and Midi gave him 10 platinum to give to the beleaguered tiefling. As Midzaynov was wishing Quespa farewell, she told her to not steal from people unless they were bad, and promised to take her to Kelkenheim one day. Thane gave Atka spending some spending money to live off of while they were away. The party bought supplies in the form of rations and spell material components, bade a temporary farewell to Hagar, and head to the River Room within the Yalban Catacombs to begin the next chapter in their journey. Utilizing the fish scale that Meekroot had given Wykeera, the F.I.A passed through the azure glow of the recently-restored Fey Crossing by immersing themselves in the river’s currents. When the F.I.A broke the surface of the water once more, they had emerged in another world.

This realm, known as the Feydark, was brightly-colored, otherworldly, and filled to the brim with magic. Thane made the decision to travel in his changeling form for the time being. As Lyndra emerged from the Fey Crossing, a new form was revealed. Citing a phenomenon known as “Planar Vitality,” Lyndra revealed that her humanoid-sized form was due to her re-emergence into her home plane. She explained that there are certain creatures in Aldion who have a unique connection to one of the planes of existence. For those creatures, a return to their connected plane can lead to a resurgence of vitality; by the same token, being separated from their plane for long periods of time can lead to their gradual enervation.

As the F.I.A traveled through subterranean tunnels, neon-hued mushrooms gave electrum coins as thanks for interacting with them. The party traveled through winding passageways and past flora-covered rocks until they came across a wide cavern full of bipedal mushroom-like beings. The party consented to the apparent wishes of these mute, ambulatory mushroom creatures and were herded towards the center of their settlement. Glowing spores shot from the caps of these myconids, allowing for a psychic form of communication between the two groups. Between immense, moss-covered stones, a towering myconid made their presence known. This myconid sovereign introduced himself as Bulon, and welcomed the F.I.A to Penumbra Grove. The party made note of several elven spore servants - fallen beings who were found in the underdark and reanimated by the myconids to serve as temporary labor.

The F.I.A was informed that because they entered the myconids’ domain peacefully, they would be allowed passage through their home. Upon hearing of the F.I.A’s goals, Bulon offered them an escort out of the Feydark in exchange for a favor: embarrassing a cyclops known as Grusktooth. The Feydark was full of cyclopes, but this one in particular apparently found great pleasure in dismembering the myconid scouts who left from Penumbra Grove to gather resources. The myconids were a peaceful race, so outright violence was out of the question. A bit of mischief, though … that was acceptable. The party was also warned of a race of giants known as fomorians - perceptive and hideous beings who had betrayed the fey queens in an age long past and now commanded the cyclopes of the Feydark. The party agreed to Bulon’s request, came up with a plan, and left Penumbra Grove to find Grusktooth.

The F.I.A successfully followed Bulon’s directions on their way to the cyclopes’ den, stealthed past humongous beetles that occupied the top of the massive cavern, and passed by a crevice in the cave wall that seemed to contain a campsite. The F.I.A created a very realistic-looking replica of a myconid using druidcraft and Wykeera’s basketweaving skills, and then filled it to the brim with four gallons of mayonnaise created from the Jug of Alchemy. The party used Zaric’s invisibility spell to sneak into Grusktooth’s den, which contained dozens of menacing one-eyed giants. The party found Grusktooth mouthing off to two other cyclopses in the main thoroughfare of their makeshift underground city, found a suitable hiding place beneath a large crack in the stone of one of their streets, and captured Grusktooth’s attention just enough for him to see the myconid replica. Grusktooh picked the myconid up with one massive hand, and began waving it around, indicating to all of the other cyclopes in the vicinity of his capture. Just as Grusktooth was about to crush the myconid in his hand, Zaric unleashed two eldritch blasts at the dummy! The myconid replica exploded, unleashing mayonnaise into the cyclops’ eye. The giant screamed, grabbed at its eye, and stumbled backwards … right into Midzaynov’s unseen servant. Grusktooth lost his balance and fell ass-first onto a lighting fixture, causing the roar of dozens of cyclopses’ laughter to shake the very foundation of the Feydark itself.

Unfortunately, there was one enemy that the party was not able to fool. Catching onto Zaric’s second eldritch blast, a formorian made its hideous presence known, stomping directly for the F.I.A’s hiding spot! The party turned invisible and ran before the giant could use his massive hand to upturn the small section of road that they managed to hide under, barely escaping their dire straits. The session ended as the party returned to Penumbra Grove, excited to tell their tale to the myconids ...
Viewable by: Public