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The Arrival: Legacy
Session 33: Of Gods and Kings [Expanse Epilogue]
The session opened in the Diamond Bazaar mere moments after the F.I.A had vanquished the demon witch Auntie Ashheart and saved Yalba from a demonic incursion. The party immediately split up to ascertain the whereabouts of their allies. Midzaynov set off to search for Aldritch, and eventually found him outside the city walls. The wyvern had successfully caught her paladin friend, but he had succumbed to his wounds before she arrived. Midzaynov had no magics that could bring the dead back to life, and too much time had passed for Zari to use revivify. Midzaynov carefully positioned Aldritch onto her back, and made a somber trek to the Temple of Kielel.

Wykeera and Thane made their way to the Sultan’s Palace. Inside, they found the body of Farza al-Kharii, one of Abdul’s younger brothers. The adventurers confirmed Raha and Abdul’s safety, and then followed a long trail of blood into a throne room. They discovered the sultan, whose corpse had been disfigured beyond recognition. The adventurers broke the news of their father’s passing to Abdul and Raha, who bore their grief in different ways. Looking over Atka, Thane asked how much money it would cost to buy a slave. Picking up on his intent, Raha said that she would draw up the necessary paperwork to have Atka freed.

Meanwhile, Hagar took on a task of even greater importance: terrifying the owner of Belet’s Baklava. In his defense, it was likely unintentional. Hagar inquired about buying the store from the tiefling who owned it, who was unaware that the danger that faced the city had passed. Hagar spent a few moments touting the amazing deeds that the party had accomplished to random citizens as they passed by, demonstrating his immense pride in the sixty foot tall spear that had embedded itself into the cobblestone of the district from their previous battle.

Zari went to check on her family at the Temple of Kielel. They were unharmed, but busy - the temple had been converted into an impromptu infirmary during the assault on the city, and many wounded lay strewn across tables and pews alike. Zari helped her family by tending to the injured as best she could until Midzaynov arrived with her fallen aasimar friend. When Tulsi pronounced Aldritch as deceased, Midzaynov began to cry. Quespa attempted to comfort her, and was pulled into a tear-strewn embrace. The party agreed to attempt a raise dead spell within the next few days with Tulsi’s aid, who cast a gentle repose spell on their fallen ally to keep the body preserved in the interim. When the party informed the Cobalt Company of Aldritch’s passing, their reactions were varied. For Shivalis, Aldritch’s death was the last straw in a long list of events in which the F.I.A had caused her allies harm. When they heard of the F.I.A’s plan, Zaeshir and Lidda focused their worry on if Aldritch would even want to return to life. Zaeshir admitted that none of them knew Aldritch as well as they wish they had, and that his drinking problem hinted at a darkness that may interfere with Tulsi’s divine magic.

Meanwhile, Hagar took some baklava to Raha in the Sultan’s Palace. While it was a bit stale, the princess greatly appreciated the chance to decompress after the life-or-death battle that had just taken place. The two humans ate baklava on the princess’ bed and mused about Hagar's true lineage until a knock rang out at the door. Behind it, Hagar discovered, was his brother Malkar! He explained to Hagar that he was here as part of the Galmranian relief effort for the city, and asked to speak to his wife alone for a moment. Hagar left the room, anxious about the implications of his brother’s presence in Yalba.

Three days later, Sultan Abdul al-Kharii gave a grand pronouncement at The Furnace. He spoke of the dangers that Yalba now faced in the aftermath of the attempted fiendish invasion. Abdul explained that witnesses saw the dao Calvinia unleash a wickedly strong earthquake beneath the city’s barracks in the initial stages of the attack, causing the majority of Yalba’s military presence to be wiped out in an instant. The sultan then gestured to the empire soldiers who flanked him, and explained that their Galmranian allies would be bolstering their military forces in this time of need. Then, Abdul rewarded the F.I.A for their deeds for the city. The adventurers received platinum, medals, and a new home in the Gold District to replace the one that had been destroyed during the attack.

A few hours later, the F.I.A was shown their new property. Nestled comfortably in the Gold District, the manor featured high glass windows and intricate stone archways. When they opened the doors to their new abode, they were faced with Abdul’s final gift: several courtesans of every race and gender who were available for conversation or intimate activities upon request. The party was flabbergasted, but decided to engage in pleasant banter with the courtesans. The night was proceeding somewhat normally until Thane spiked the wine with the Philter of Love that they had pilfered from the Palace of Pleasure. A farcical night ensued, in which each member of the F.I.A regarded one of the chamber’s inhabitants as their true love … at least for a time. Thane spent his evening with tiefling triplets, and promptly forgot their names when the sun came up.

Over the course of the next few days, the party ran various errands. Hagar had a tense conversation with Malkar in his new office in The Spires. The barbarian did not trust his brother’s intentions for coming to Yalba, and some old wounds were re-opened. With Meekroot’s help, Wykeera continued to use stone shape to recreate the wall that once contained a fey crossing beneath the streets of Yalba. Midzaynov messaged her mother and negotiated with a gnome by the name of Gerrbat, a member of a minor archaeological society within the city. She convinced him to excavate the archalium sarcophagus within Auntie Ashheart’s old lair without alerting Iomine, to use Bip and Bap as laborers, and to deliver it wholesale to Artificer Saadia in the Sultan’s Palace.

When the time for the raise dead ritual was at hand, Tulsi and her daughter made the necessary preparations; they burned incense, drew the necessary arcane runes, and provided the requisite diamonds. The members of the F.I.A and Cobalt Company took turns attempting to petition Aldritch’s soul to return to his body. Midzaynov tearfully insisted that Aldritch’s work in this world was not yet done, and Hagar apologized for his terrible first impression of him. Shivalis took a turn speaking to Aldritch as well, but whispered her message into the corpse’s ear. Zari, perceptive as ever, was able to pick up on a few phrases during her pleas, chief among them that “the plan is not done yet,” and “there is still too much to do to rest now.” Once the spell’s magic had been released, there was a long pause before Aldritch shot up from the table and asked everyone why he was being stared at. Midzaynov hugged her friend, and relief spread throughout the chamber, as infectious as Aldritch’s laugh.

Over the next several days, the F.I.A mused over what they had learned. They asked themselves: What was Shivalis whispering to Aldritch about? What was Galmran thinking by sending military over to help the city? What was the empire’s intent? These questions and more swarmed through the adventurer’s minds as they walked to the Yalban Auction House, ready once again to bid on new items of arcane creation. Several magic items were bought at the auction, including a Saddle of the Cavalier, a Headband of Intellect, a Clasp of Proof Against Detection and Location, and a Circlet of Thoughts. Hagar attuned to the headband for a brief moment and found himself unable to enter his barbaric rage. The party immediately begged for him to remove it.

Midzaynov then paid a visit to Heskan, who she had not seen since their argument several days ago. Within Heskan’s chambers, Midzaynov noticed that the excessive items that had once adorned the space had been removed. Not five words were spoken between them before Heskan began a long apology. He explained to Midzaynov that the nightmares that were implanted in his mind that had caused him to act so strangely involved her. He had been sent on a pilgrimage from the dragonborn city of Kel in the north to spread the teachings of the Scaled Protector, but quickly ran into trouble when he arrived in Yalba. There were very few dragonborn in the city, the established temple was in a dangerous part of the city, and he lacked the charisma to truly influence Gavriel’s followers in a way that he felt was meaningful. In his nightmares, he explained, Midzaynov took over for his inequities, and led the church into a new state of success that he would never have been able to achieve on his own. Heskan explained that he believed that his holy mission from the Scaled Protector involved him protecting her flock and elevating their lives, and to be replaced in that mission meant that his life had no purpose. The night hag’s malignant influence had conflagurated his insecurities and poisoned his mind. Midzaynov gave Heskan a new pair of prayer beads made of residual archalium scrap. She explained that it was to serve as a reminder of his internal self-worth, and that a wealth of material belongings did not equate spiritual wealth. Heskan smiled, and asked if Midzaynov wanted to undertake her official paladin oath.

One day later, Midzaynov took her oath of redemption. Reciting the tenants of the Scaled Protector, a holy light surrounded the dragonborn. In that moment, the newly-sworn champion received a vision of a tall, angel-like being. A divine voice asked for Midzaynov to be her instrument in a world full of evil. It warned that there were those with strong ties to Kar’duuth in the region, and to silence their rituals. Midzaynov accepted, and a new paladin was created.

In a task of equal importance, Thane utilized ancient magics of great and terrible power to buy hard drugs. Appearing through the teleportation circle within the circle of the Iron Circle, Felsira’s foremost pirate faction, Thane inquired about the drugs that Zaeshir had mentioned in the Wyvern’s Rest Inn several weeks ago. He learned that the drugs were highly addictive, imbued with dangerous magic, and bore the name Death’s Dirge. Thane bought two doses of Death’s Dirge, and spent the rest of the day tracking down the elf who could operate the teleportation circle. As he left, Thane recited the motto of the Iron Circle with another member. “No Gods, no Kings.”

One day later, Hagar organized and attended a historic meeting between a few members of the F.I.A, Sultan Abdul al-Kharii, the leader of the Pit Vipers, and their various bodyguards. The place of assembly was as dramatic as it was symbolic: the ashy remains of the Leviathan's Pit. Utilizing both his knowledge of governmental structures from his Sidunian education and his own wealth of experience from living in Yalba's shanty towns, Hagar made a passionate argument for establishing a Yalban parliament and reducing the city's reliance on slave labor. Pakt, who lived outside the city’s walls, would gain significant political clout in exchange for reduced income from the slave trade. Abdul would gain a foothold towards abolishing the slave trade, but risked diluting his political influence and isolating the nobles who relied on slave labor. In the end, despite the risks, both parties agreed to support the creation of a parliament.

Back at the Temple of Kielel, Zari had a fated encounter with a man whom she would only learn later was her grandfather. Urilesh, a dashing tiefling man who did not appear to be any older than thirty, entered the temple and commanded that Zari answer two questions. He demanded to know how close she was to being able to kill him, and the location of the rest of her siblings. They fought briefly, and Zari was quickly overpowered. Tulsi appeared in the doorway to the chamber, causing Urilesh to teleport away with a smirk. Zari’s mother tended to her wounds and led her into the temple’s basement chambers. There, Tulsi explained that the man she had just fought was responsible for the fiendish heritage running through their bloodline. Shortly after the Arrival, Urilesh made a deal with the archdevil Krynora. In exchange for great and terrible arcane power, Urilesh cursed his future family. Zari learned that the reason that her family members lived unusually short lives is because of this curse: the years that are cut short from Misza family are added to Urilesh’s lifespan, hence his youthful appearance. Finally, Tulsi revealed to her daughter that she had more siblings than just Hamza; they had been sent away at a young age to keep them safe from Urilesh. Accompanied by a vision from Kielel herself, Tulsi bequeathed Zari with the Cryptkiller Flail - a magic weapon passed down through the Misza family.

The F.I.A’s adventure thus far had not been an easy one. Over four months ago, the surviving members of the F.I.A were tasked to find a Janavian prince after demonstrating their worth by fending off assassins at the wedding of Malkar Terroc and Raha al-Kharii. They met Zari Misza, a cleric of the Matron of Souls and minor authority figure within the city of Yalba, Janav’s capital city. The adventurers traveled across the Great Expanse, the world’s largest desert. From there, their journey would take them everywhere from the sacrificial basements of the super-rich to the largest fighting pit in the country as they searched for the missing prince. They would meet old enemies in a new light, become enslaved in a lamia’s torture palace, and fend off a shadow creature that rivaled even Xeridal in their sheer might.

Once Prince Abdul was recovered, a new plot would unfurl: that of the grim nightmares that had been plaguing the major members of Yalba’s clergy. The F.I.A uncovered the presence of a night hag within the city - a fiend with the power to instill doubt and fear in her victims to the point of absolute corruption. A game of cat and mouse ensued, in which the ethereally-bound fiendish forces attempted to kill the F.I.A before their plot could be halted. Botanical buildings were destroyed, catacombs were explored, and the lair of the night hag Auntie Ashheart was eventually located. The hag was battled once beneath Yalba’s streets and once more above them. The battle for the soul of Yalba ended in climactic fashion with the hag smote far above the city by a would-be paladin of the Scaled Protector.

Over the course of their desert-bound adventure, the party had grown more powerful in both might and bond. New monsters were discovered and defeated for the greater good, several magical implements were added to the F.I.A’s inventory to bolster their strength, and a new member of the party had been all but officially inducted into the party’s ranks. After being pushed to their absolute limits both physically and mentally from the literal and psychological torture that their enemies had put them through, the party desperately needed the space to heal. As the session drew to a close, the F.I.A collected themselves in the central living area of their new home. Their newest mission: to laugh, love, and celebrate life with their closest friends over Starfall.

And celebrate they did.
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Shogaming DnD campaign 1
The Ghost of Captain Jetrel
“Now you are ready to do what I could not.” said the ghost of Captain Jetrel, “Be warned though. Even without the ability to cast illusions, the mind devourer is still a powerful foe.”

“How did this dwarf’s spirit become trapped here for 500 years?” Teejak whispered to Asbjorn.

“Don’t die with regrets, man,” Asbjorn whispered back.

The rest of Team America gathered in the final chamber of the Temple of Quantum Knowledge, gaining what information they could on the aboleth by conversing with the ghost of Captain Jetrel.

“This should be a good place to develop a plan of attack,” said Asbjorn, “I don’t think the aboleth can detect us in here.”

“The cleric is correct,” said Jetrel, “The mind devourer can see through all sources of water in the vicinity of its lair, but this chamber is completely isolated.”

“Jetrel, do you have any gear on your body, that you won’t be needing in the afterlife, that might help us against the creature?” asked Asbjorn.

“My armor was enchanted in the forge of spells,” said Jetrel, “My captain of the guard wielded a truly remarkable halberd that empowered his holy smites. Perhaps you encountered it in the mine?”

Kyron deftly spun the Halberd of Improved Smiting, “It has served us well indeed.”

“Do you know what to expect in the creature’s lair?” asked Jetrel.

“We have met the creature in its lair before, near the shore of the underground lake in Wave Echo Cave,” Asbjorn explained.

“I see.” replied Jetrel. “The shore in Wave Echo Cave is but a small fraction of the underground lake that the creature dwells in. The heart of its lair is an island at the center of the lake. An island composed of pure celestite.”

“We discovered a map in the mine that indicated a secondary entrance to the underground lake near the site of these ruins,” said Asbjorn.

“Yes, I assume that the circular spring due north of here must originate in the underground lake. My men and I did not bother to investigate, as we did not wish an accidental confrontation with the creature.”

“So, the aboleth may attack us before we even reach this island you speak of?”

“Perhaps. The creature will be at its most powerful in the heart of its lair. But it will attack you wherever it feels it has the advantage. The aboleth has a memory spanning backwards for thousands of years. It remembers countless encounters with adventurers such as yourselves. Expect it to use that knowledge against you.”

“That will be its weakness,” said Teejak, “I don’t know what I’m doing so it can’t possibly figure me out.”

“I hope you are right,” replied Jetrel.

“It’s just a big fish, I’m not worried,” boasted Teejak.

“You remind me of myself when I confronted the creature 500 years ago,” sighed Jetrel, “how naïve I was…”

“Team America fears nothing!” exclaimed Teejak, “Plus, this aboleth has enslaved Asbjorn’s lover, so there is nothing else to be done but kick his ass!”

Jetrel looked coldly at Asbjorn, “Your lover is likely already dead. Aboleths gain the memories and experiences of those they consume. If it knows you are coming, the mind devourer will not hesitate to kill those you love to gain information on your group.”

Asbjorn whispered a quick prayer to Ozrikotep for Quelline’s safety. The lens had shown him a scene of her weak but still alive…

“Fear not Asbjorn!” said Teejak, “We will rescue Quelline, I do not believe she is dead. And if the aboleth does have her memories then it is probably covering in its cave at the thought of us coming for its head.”

Setting aside his concern for Quelline’s safety, Asbjorn continued developing a plan of attack.

“Is there some way we can weaponize the posion gland from Venomfang?” Asbjorn turned toward Ash.

“I’ll see what I can do,” replied the ranger, “It should be possible to craft several poison arrows or crossbow bolts, but it will be delicate work.”

“Take your time,” said Asbjorn, “we will take a short rest here while Ash works.”

The cleric next turned towards Gayjon, “How are Magic’s wounds?”

“Magic is a little weepy, but he insists on riding into battle with us,” replied the five-eightsling.

“So be it,” replied Asbjorn, “who will wield the Lens of Truesight in battle?”

“You have fallen victim the the Aboleth’s illusions in the past, and you are the most emotionally invested in this quest,” said Teejak, “Perhaps you should keep it.”

“Yeah I agree,” said Gayjon, “Asbjorn seems pretty weak minded.”

“Very well.”

After a brief rest, Ash had finished crafting several poision arrows and Team America prepared to depart.

“I wish you well,” said the ghost of Jetrel, “You are either very brave or very dumb for doing this, I’m not sure which.”

“It’s a little of both,” replied Nutella and Teejak in unison.

“However, the Lens of Truesight should give you the advantage that I lacked,” said Jetrel.

“Your disadvantage was that you died,” replied Asbjorn.

“…..yes….” said Jetrel, confused. “…..It was….”

“Be forewarned,” Jetrel continued, “If what you’ve said is true, and the mind devourer has already captured your friends, they may no longer have their own free will. You may have to harm those you love in self-defense.”

There was a brief pause.

“Anybody else bored by this ghost?” asked Gayjon. “Nothing personal man, but you are so 500 years ago…”

“Yeah let’s roll out,” said Teejak.

Before departing, Asbjorn said a quick prayer for Jetrel, “Jetrel be praised. Ozrikotep will guide you. Tell him Asbjorn sends you.”

Asbjorn moved closer to Jetrel’s ghost and began singing, “You once were lost but now am found, may beer rain down on this dwarf’s soul. Praise to the holy keg in the highest. To the father, to the son, and to the holy beer keg. Amen.”

With that, Asbjorn splashed holy beer on the ghost, causing it to dissipate into a beam of radiant light. No sooner had Jetrel disappeared, Nutella moved up and tried licking up the remaining ectoplasm that the ghost had left.

“That’s disgusting!” yelled Teejak.

“Tastes like ecto-cooler!” said Nutella, as the party departed the Temple of Quantum Knowledge for the lair of the mind devourer.
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Shogaming DnD campaign 1
The Temple of Quantum Knowledge
After the battle with the manticores, Team America began surveying the rest of the ruins of Illefarn. Just as Jetrel had described, portions of the ruins were constructed with mineral celestite and seemed to rearrange randomly when no one was looking. The largest, and only intact, structure remaining was a 60 ft pyramid by the shore of the stream. At this point the sun was beginning to sink below the western ridgeline of the Sword Mountains. Battle weary, tired from hiking uphill all day, and wanting to confront the aboleth with their full strength, Team America decided to make camp for the night amongst the ancient ruins. As usual, Teejak took the late watch of the night. Just before dawn, he thought he detected something out of the corner of his eye, but when he turned there was nothing there.

Morning came, but it was still several hours before the sun rose above the high peaks to the east of the stream. Asbjorn said his morning prayers as the party broke camp and began their exploration of the pyramid. Stairs on all four sides of the pyramid led up to a circular platform at the top that was about 10 feet in diameter. Elvish runes inscribed on the platform read, “I am the killer of shadows.”

“According to Jetrel’s journal, to enter the pyramid we will need to cast a darkness spell on that platform,” said Ash, “That should cause it to rise up and reveal an entrance.”

“The person who wrote that journal also mysteriously disappeared in this pyramid,” replied Teejak, “we should exercise caution.”

“Yes, but the journal entries do not indicate that anything went wrong until some time after entering the pyramid,” said Asbjorn, “It should be safe to at least open the entrance.”

“A darkness spell will not a problem,” said Nutella, “But I’m going to stand back aways…”

Magic, whose torso was lashed to GayJon’s backpack, whispered something into GayJon’s ear.

“Magic says we should just go in a cave and smoke a bunch of weed and we can figure this all out without even thinking about it,” reported the five-eightsling.

“Let’s put it to a vote,” declared Asbjorn, “Magic, what limbs do you have to vote with again?”

“Ozrikotep would not endorse the mocking of disabled persons,” said Teejak.

“Oh, so now you are an expert in my god!?” replied Asbjorn.

“You go to beer hell!” said Gayjon, “You dickhead!”

“I don’t need limbs!” Magic shouted, speaking up for the first time since departing the ashes of Phandalin, “I am on the back of the greatest warrior in all the land!!!”

Asbjorn, slightly buzzed from his breakfast beer, climbed on top of the circular platform while everyone else kept their distance.

“Nutella!” shouted Asbjorn, “Do it!”

With a wave of her hands and a quick chant to her patron, Nutella cast the spell. However, no darkness appeared. Instead, the sound of grinding stone could be heard as the platform began to spiral upwards… causing Asbjorn to drunkenly tumble 10 feet off the side of the platform as it stopped rising abruptly.

Asbjorn!” Teejak yelled as he ran up to the cleric, dusted him off, and helped him to his feet, “Are you alright?”

“You are a big, dumb, drunk alcoholic,” mocked Gayjon, still wounded by Asbjorn’s insulting of Magic.

An opening in the side of the platform contained a spiral staircase that descended to an archway leading into magical darkness. Elvish runes above the archway read, “Temple of Quantum Knowledge.”

“Fuck it!” shouted Asbjorn, “I’m going in there. I’m going to save Quelline!”

The cleric began lumbering down the stairs, his armor clanking loudly, before Teejak stopped him.

“Let’s try a stealthier approach…” said the rogue.

Teejak snuck the rest of the way down the staircase and passed silently through the archway into the darkness. Just as the journal described, after passing through a thin barrier of darkness the interior of the pyramid was brightly lit by a glowing crystal. On three of the four walls, beautifully detailed paintings depicted the war fought between the elves of Illefarn and the aboleths. One painting clearly showed an elf clutching a large magnifying glass that seemed to be dispelling illusions sent forth by the aboleths. The fourth wall displayed elvish runes that read “to reach the lens of truesight, remember the quantum rules.” A raised platform was constructed against the fourth wall. On this platform a large rectangular slab of mineral celestite would sometimes appear. However, like all mineral celestite it seemed to vanish when Teejak had his back to it, only to reappear later when he turned his back again.

“I’m coming Teejak!” said Asbjorn drunkenly as he descended the stairs and attempted to walk through the archway. When he did so, it was as if he had attempted to walk through a brick wall. The cleric fell over backwards and hit the ground.

“The journal did also mention that only one person seems to be able to enter the pyramid interior at a time…” said Ash.

Team America: Dungeon Police struggled for some time with this apparent dead end.

After Teejak exited, Asbjorn entered and used Lightbringer to search the room thoroughly for any sign of secret doorways, switches, or locking mechanisms. He found none. Gayjon attempted to enter next but forgot to unstrap Magic from his backpack and became stuck in the archway.

“Nutella can you watch magic?” asked Gayjon as he unstrapped the limbless halfling drug dealer, “Just don’t leave him in a corner… he hates corners.”

Gayjon then entered the pyramid and tried striking the glowing crystal with his sword, to no effect.

“I told you he doesn’t like corners!” shouted Gayjon as he exited the pyramid and discovered Magic weeping in the corner Nutella had left him in.

Nutella entered next. To her surprise, even her magical darkvision was unable to pierce the darkness shrouding the archway. She entered the pyramid and tried licking the celestite slab to ensure that it was not rock candy. After leaving the archway, Nutella prayed to her patron.

“So… what’s the deal here?” she prayed, “I’m supposed to have magical darkvision! I gave you like… a soul… I was hoping to get a little something in exchange.”

Teejak observed Nutella praying and confronted her, “Are you praying to your patron demon, warlock?”

“Oh, yeah,” replied Nutella, “It’s just me and Jerry.”

“Have you become completely addicted to the powers granted by your pact with a demon?” asked Teejak.

“Oh, no,” said Nutella, “I’m not addicted, I could stop at any time…”

Somehow Teejak doubted that claim.

“By the way, Jerry says that to figure out this puzzle we need to remember the rule of quantum entanglement,” said Nutella, “No idea what that means.”

Asbjorn was beginning to despair. He was cureld in the fetal position.

“Quelline!” My baaaaaabyyyyyyy!” he screamed as tears streamed from his eyes, “You dead bitch.”

In a moment of inspiration, Teejak thought of a possible solution.

“That celestite slab must be going somewhere when it teleports… What if we could move with it… But it won’t move while a conscious observer is watching. What if I stopped being an observer… what if I was completely blind?”

As the others watched, Teejak fashioned a blindfold from some spare cloth and entered the pyramid.

“Here goes nothing,” thought the rogue.

Teejak placed one hand on the celeste slab, with his free hand he pulled the blindfold over his eyes. His vision was completely black. After a moment, Teejak removed the blindfold. The light from the glowing crystal was gone. As Teejak’s darkvision kicked in he realized he was no longer in the same room.

“Teejak, you brilliant bastard!” he whispered to himself.

The new room was slightly larger than the first room, but also had four walls. On the wall opposite where Teejak now stood, elvish runes read “Illuvae,” or “light” in the common tongue. An archway opened in the wall to Teejak’s right. Like the first archway, this too seemed to lead into magical darkness that Teejak’s darkvision could not pierce. Above the archway, elvish runes read, “to view a quantum object, to view an image of a quantum object, these are the same thing.”

Pondering this, Teejak repeated the blindfold trick to return to the first room and retrieve the painting that showed the Lens of Truesight. He repeated the teleportation trick again and brought the painting back to the second archway. He tried reaching into the painting to pull out the lens but merely touched the canvas of the painting.

“Thought that would work….”

Braving the darkness, Teejak stepped through the second archway. Once again, Teejak emerged into a brightly lit room. Two crystals, identical to the one he encountered earlier, illuminated the room from the ceiling. Another archway was carved into the far wall, but it seemed to be completely sealed off by solid stone. On either side of the archway was a marble dais. Each dais had a small 1ftx1ftx1ft cube of mineral celestite on it. One of the cubes was marked with the elvish rune for “Truth,” the other was marked with the elvish word for “Lies.” Further to either side of the archway, a pair of alcoves each contained another dais. One was marked “Truth,” the other, “Lies.”

Initially, Teejak went with his gut instinct and attempted to move the Truth cube to the Truth dais. He then tried to move the Lies cube to the lies dais but found that he could not do so without breaking line of sight on the truth cube. As soon as his line of sight was broken, the truth cube would teleport back to the original dais it was on.

For some time, Teejak tried moving the cubes in various sequences, as well as stacking them. But nothing he tried allowed him to put the truth cube on the truth dais and, simultaneously, the lies cube on the lies dais.

Back outside the pyramid Gayjon and Magic were passing the time by practicing vocal harmonies. As they practiced, Gayjon had the distinct feeling that they were being watched by someone not in the party. For just a moment, Gayjon swore that he could see something in the reflection of a small pool of water beside the stream.

“What is it?” asked Asbjorn, “you look live you’ve seen a ghost.”

“I had an acid flash back I think,” replied Gayjon, “That puddle over there looked funny.”

“Did you see an orb or anything?” asked Asbjorn, “It’s possible we are being magically observed.”

“I would have told you if I saw an orb. I’m not sure what I saw. Gaytanamo Bay changes a man. There was something in the puddle but I don’t know what.” Gayjon and Magic resumed their vocal practice and began singing “old black water, old black water.”

Asbjorn stood and walked over to the puddle to investigate. As he did so, he heard Quelline Alderleaf’s voice in his head.

Asbjorn, my love, please help us! You must hurry!”

The cleric thought carefully about what he had just heard.

“Fool me once, aboleth, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!” muttered Asbjorn. “Quelline, I know you are in grave danger and I’m coming, but I won’t let this monster charm me so easily into a mistake this time!”

Asbjorn rejected the voice in his head and for the briefest of moments he thought he saw the mind devourer’s reflection in the pool. Asbjorn smashed the still water with his hammer.

“Where’s Teejak!” the cleric shouted as he descended the staircase and touched his hand to the surface of the magical darkness. To his surprise, he was able to pass through the barrier this time.

“Teejak!” shouted Asbjorn, “Where are you!?”

There was no sign of the rogue. However, having seen Teejak enter with the blindfold Asbjorn decided to try the same celestite trick himself. Sure enough, he too was able to teleport to the second room. Asbjorn marched directly into the magical darkness of the second archway and promptly hit the ground as he bounced off it like a brick wall. Teejak, who was still struggling with the cube puzzle, heard the noise of Asbjorn’s fall.

“Who’s there!” Teejak called out, “Show yourself or I’ll be getting mighty stabby!”

“It is I, Asbjorn,” shouted the cleric, “I was retracing your steps. It appears that once again only one of us can enter the room you are in.”

Teejak exited the archway and rejoined Asbjorn. The rogue explained the puzzle and the elvish runes.

“I feel like I have tried all combinations here… I’m at a loss.”

Asbjorn then entered the archway and began to experiment, with no success.

And then it hit him…

“To view a quantum object, to view an image of a quantum object, these are the same thing.”

Asbjorn tried drawing a crude image of the celestite cubes, hoping that by continuously looking at this image the cubes would stop teleporting… to no avail.

“An image of a quantum object… could be… it’s relfection!” thought Asbjorn. He looked down at his polished, curved shield and devised a plan.

By positioning his curved shield properly, Asbjorn was able to use the reflection to look at both the truth and lies daises simultaneously. This allowed him to place the truth cube on the truth dais and the lies cube on the lies dais. As he did so, both cubes glowed with blue arcane energy as the stone passageway beneath the archway opened up.

Asbjorn walked through the archway into another chamber, lit by two glowing crystals similar to those from the previous room. And altar lied before him, with three identical artifacts arranged in a row. The artifacts appeared to be magnifying glasses of a sort. All three had been inserted into cylindrical slots in the altar so that they could stand upright. The lens of each magnifying glass was aimed at a point in the center of the raised altar. Elvish runes were inscribed above the altar, but Asbjorn was unable to read them. To the right of the altar lied a skeleton wearing what Asbjorn recognized as dwarven armor from Wave Echo Cave.

After a moment, Asbjorn heard a gruff male voce call out, “Nargroth! Is that you? I’ve found the lens!”

Startled, Asbjorn jumped back and said, “Jetrel, is that you?”

“Yes! It’s me old friend! I’ve solved these damned riddles!”

“Why didn’t you escape if you solved the riddles, Jetrel?”

A ghostly dwarven figure rose up from the armored skeleton.

“I… I… chose poorly…” Jetrel’s ghost trailed off, “You aren’t Nargroth, are you?”

“I am not,” replied Asbjorn, “Jetrel, I discovered your journal with my companions. We too fight the same aboleth you did. It now threatens the safety of the realm. We came here, like you, in search of the Lens of Truesight. Tell me, which choice did you make? In return I will find any potential descendants of your and let them know what happened here. Our bard will sing of the bravery you showed to push through this darkness!”

“I… see… How long have I been here?”

“It has been 500 years, Jetrel.”

“By Dumathoin! 500 years! Did anyone survive the orc attack on our mine?”

“Very few survivors I surmise, we encountered vast numbers of undead in the mine. I did my best to send as many as I could…”

“Thank you, good cleric.”

Jetrel looked at the altar, he seemed to be deep in thought.

“I believe… I chose… That one…” Jetrel pointed toward the rightmost lens, directly beside where his skeleton now lay. “I’m sorry I don’t remember it perfectly. Sometimes my death feels like it occurred an hour ago, sometimes it feels like I have been trapped here for ages. It is difficult to explain.”

“It’s ok,” said Asbjorn, “I understand the dead well. I believe I was once dead myself. Do you know what these runes read?” Asbjorn pointed at the inscription above the altar.

“It reads: to be worthy is to face the truth, and choose.”

Asbjorn approached the altar and examined each of the lenses. From a distance, it appeared as if each lens was showing something moving. But the altar where they were pointing was completely empty.

“Jetrel, what do you see in these lenses?”

“I see nothing. What do you see?”

“Something is moving, I don’t see how this is possible.

“In my haste I chose randomly… and look what it has cost me. I remember grabbing the lens on the right… yes I think it was right. But I will never forget what happened when I touched the lens. I felt chilled to the bone, as if my very living essences was drained from my body.”

“Did something attack you when you grabbed the lens?” asked Asbjorn, “some types of undead are known to siphon the life essence of the living.”

“Not that I detected. I have been alone here for… quite some time…”

Asbjorn drew out lightbringer and illuminated the room brightly, “specter or other spirit, I sense your presence. The light of Ozrikotep guides me and this mace here will cleanse your soul!”

Nothing happened.

“I know that mace!” Jetrel exclaimed, “Lightbringer!”

“Indeed Jetrel, I recovered it from a wraith in Wave Echo cave and I fear no evil spirit with it in my hand.”

“I’m glad that something of my people’s craftsmanship remains to this day,” said Jetrel proudly.

Cautiously, Asbjorn moved close enough to the alter to make out the details of what each lens was showing. Through the middle lens, Asbjorn saw a scene of himself, Quelline, and Pip happily reunited in Tresendar Manor. Through the left lens, Asbjorn saw a scene of Quelline laying alone in a dark cavern. Her skin was pale white and it was difficult to tell if she was even still breathing. Through the right lens, Asbjorn saw a scene of himself and his clan reunited and enjoying some beers, their disease had apparently been cured. Peering through the left lens one more time Asbjorn thought he could see very faint signs of Quelline breathing.

“To be worthy, is to face the truth and choose…” Asbjorn muttered, “Ozrikotep, the truth hurts, the truth is I need to act quick.”

Asbjorn pulled out his beer-filled watersking and took a swig

“Bless my beer, bless my strength, bless the brass balls that this takes!” the cleric called out.

With that, Asbjorn grabbed the leftmost lens and pulled it from the altar.

“You chose… wisely,” said Jetrel’s ghost.
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Hello Epic!
Long time ago, I have been thinking about being "super", but, as we all know, we can't. I have been a bit frustrated about how we, humans, are at the top of the food chain but we're the weakest.

I just came to my senses that why can't I be the character I want to be in my imagination?

There was once a night I thought about what I was thinking. I was under a full red blood moon, not until I realized it was. Then there, I had lots and lots of thoughts.
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Under the wire
A goodnight to the long night in the underdark
That undertaking finally laid to rest
We strode and strove against all
Until the ground was made sacred
And our passage was marked

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