From the Ashes
What follows is a summary of the events of this plot. This is obviously not a substitute for actually reading the logs.... but I won't presume on anyone's time or motivation. You probably wouldn't read them. So!
Summary of Chat Sessions
Several months ago children began to go missing from areas surrounding Doma. This attracted some official attention, so a few adventurers were called upon to check it out. Kerov Altec, Damon Callisto, Stephan Hyral, and Kei Seigi were the volunteers of the hour.
Upon investigation the kids were found in the care of a green-haired young woman named Dawn Valerian. Dawn and the children were living in a heavily-landscaped estate east of Doma capital just past the town of Biddeford. They were apparently well cared-for and many had come from homes of questionable merit in the first place. The residents were being guarded by a huge helberd-wielding (and as Kerov noticed--evil) Yuan-ti abomination named Glinss't.
The boy who spent the most time with the outsiders was an 11-year-old named Joss. He was on a mission to recover an item belonging to his family, and basically couldn't return home until he'd slain the giants who were its current owners. The party assisted him with his quest to reclaim the honor of his family, and in the battle with the giants Joss displayed some surprising powers. The boy was very talented with fire, and more useful than his juvenile bravado had hinted he might be.
Kei also met a pair of children named Rilla and Rendon. Rilla refused to speak with anyone, and in fact ran away as the girl seemed to be deathly afraid of men in general. Rendon did his 12-yr old best to put Kei back in line for scaring his twin sister. He did, however, discuss some of the aspects of his situation with Kei. He wouldn't let on anything other than that he and Rilla had had good reason to leave their home.
When the results of the inquiry were brought to General Silvar's attention, he alerted those present to the fact that Dawn is a psionicist who used to be in the employ of a necromancer named Elaith Thenswick. Dawn was killed in the assault on Thenswick's base which eventually led to his defeat, but has returned without her master with plans of her own.
The estate where Dawn had been living with the children is now deserted. Biddeford was shortly thereafter almost totally razed by the very angry ghost of a young boy named Azrim. Yadali Volpecula found Kei, Kerov, Stephan, and hired at random a troglodyte named Char'rynn. She got them together to investigate the oddity.
His remains had been taken from the estate after his death and were later found in a subterranean Yuan-ti settlement. While underground, the party found a young woman named Eve and her friend Lyminali.
Everyone returned to the village to bury the child. Discussion of the origin of all these problems led to discussion of Dawn. After some psionic investigation, combined with what everyone already knew, it became clear that Dawn was apparently the leader of some form of cult... a cult full of children. Eve began acting a little more freaked out than seemed justified, even for such disturbing news. The boy was laid to rest, and the town in question should return to normal after some major rebuilding.
Not long after that, the Jade Dragon Inn was burned down in a fire that scorched nearby structures but did not seriously damage them-- except the one across the street. Burned into the front of the building was the image of a large bird, wings outstretched. While everyone tried to figure out what the hell was going on, Joss was sighted in front of the crowd of confused Domans. The party gave chase and came face to face with Dawn, Rilla and Rendon as well.
After some bantering between opposing sides, Dawn outed Eve, calling her Eva and telling those present that Eve is her sister. Dawn teleported away, and Eve made a break for it. After she was caught, she became panicked, condescending, and all-around irritating. So Stephan smacked her across the face, causing her to teleport away. Lym paid Stephan back by making him hit himself. Intraparty conflict ahoy.
Yadali met up with them again and they reported to General Silvar, who shared the sentiment of the group. "What? My bar?! KILL HER."
General Silvar also shared some information. He and Darin were in the process of investigating a major temporal disturbance that Silvar was really hoping wasn't related to the trouble with Dawn. The resident seer could only discern that someone had disturbed time by travelling through it. Silvar left to go research with Darin, and until his return the party will have to make due with the magically-induced headaches of Silvar's research tome Time Cubism, which is totally incomprehensible even for a book on time travel.
The group was next called together by Yadali, who requested that they meet her in the park. She couldn't find Char'rynn, but the others were informed of the meeting via squirrel. When they got there, she informed them that there had been a minor increase in arson and accidental fires lately, moving from southwest to northeast. She offered to scry on Dawn, but wanted a healer nearby since it was, for some reason, kind of a painful process.
Kerov was pulled aside by a messenger, who was apparently being controlled by their green-haired friend. After delivering her message, the woman proceeded to kill herself, dying on the grass in front of a rather perturbed Kerov.
When Dawn next appeared, she offered to discuss matters with one emissary. Kei volunteered. Dawn left after the two arranged a meeting outside the city gates the next evening. Kei went to set some safeguards in place for the meeting and get her affairs in order in case she was killed or otherwise put out of commission by Dawn.
Some cryptic remarks about Eve led the party to split into two groups. One would research potential ways to counter Dawn's powers, and the other would go find Eve. Lym and (oddly enough) Stephan went to get the girl, while Yadi and Kerov headed to the palace library.
Yadali and Kerov, realizing that no one with them could cast the spell they needed, considered magical items. They also needed someone else for that. Yadali suggested a woman she met briefly. Kerov seemed less than excited with the credentials "She likes knives" and "No, she's a good fighter she killed our healer" (or the accompanying explanation: "It's okay, she was Nikumu then. It wasn't her fault.").
Nonetheless, he went to find her. She was right where Yadi said she'd be-- buying knives. Myrnal agreed to help, and Kerov got her a guest room at the castle. When Kerov returned, Yadi had commissioned a few scrolls of antimagic field for their use.
Lym and Stephan found Eve in her subterranean hideout. Lym and Stephan managed to convince Eve that she was safer with them than she was on her own, and she returned with them to the castle. Eve was given a castle ID pass and a guest room as well.
Summary of Board Events
After everyone spent the night in the castle, they got up the next morning to decide their plan of action. After a somewhat risky breakfast in which Lyminali ate things no man should consume and had a rather...inauspicious conversation with Myrnal, the party slowly started filtering into--wonder of wonders-- a bar.
The plan so far was to meet Dawn outside the city gates as promised. The party would ambush her and get some information if not actually capture or kill the telepath in the process.
Stephan was not thrilled at the prospects for this mission, and so he decided to dull his nerves a bit and Kei stayed to babysit. Eve disappeared from the castle, teleporting off to take care of business she didn't care to explain.
Kei left so that she could prepare herself to meet with Dawn, writing up her will, preparing protections against mental domination, the works. Myrnal followed her in the interests of staying in groups, but promised to let Kei meet the psion alone as per their deal.
Meanwhile, Eve had been gone for half an hour. When Lym decided to look in on her, he found himself slapped with a scrying ward that so far only Dawn knew. Worse than that, Eve had apparently been sitting and chatting with her sister for quite some time. Lym popped into a conversation that was at least partially about him, and Dawn alerted Eve after the fact that Lyminali was watching them. When Eve left to return to the party, Lym met her on the way. After a brief conversation, Lym agreed not to tell the others about where she'd been, and the two came to a tentative conclusion about their feelings for one another.
When everyone had met in the bar, it became apparent that their technical "employer" had need for Kerov. She dragged him off to Ka'thalar to retrieve her people so that they could rebuild the Jade Dragon Inn.
Kei's conversation with Dawn was strained at best. Dawn was careful not to suggest she had anything but honorable intentions for her students, emphasizing the conditions most of them had left to come to her. Dawn hinted at her former alliances, and gave some explanation for her targeting of the Jade Dragon.
While the party eavesdropped on the conversation, they heard a ruckus a bit down their street. Describe the ruckus, you say? When Stephan and Eve went to investiage, they found two kids of about twelve were standing in the middle of a large crowd, arguing with a street vendor. It was Rendon and Rilla Hevell. They had been shopping in the city and a shopkeeper, thinking they were there to steal from him, had inadvertently picked a fight with them. After learning a bit about their background before meeting Dawn, Stephan decided to keep an eye on them as long as Dawn was in the area. He bought them a couple of pretzels and stuck around.
Dawn and Kei continued to assess each other as their conversation continued, and Lym prepared the others to make their move. Before Lym could get to the gates to meet with Kei and Dawn, he was intercepted by a man claiming to be James Silvar. Abandoning their attack at his behest and eventually ditching Rendon and Rilla, the party let Dawn go and reconvened back at the Ivory Horn.
James, by his own account, had come from the future. Or at least, one possible future. In his time, the party failed, Dawn's plan succeeded, she resurrected her master Elaith Thenswick, and everything just plain went to crap. Hakaril Silvar and Darin Prentiss had sent him back to find a way to prevent the whole mess. The first thing the party needed to know was Dawn's plan, something James was all too familiar with.
Dawn succeeded largely because Eve had allowed herself to be sacrificed to Reshtaha in order to persuade the god of death to relinquish Elaith. It wasn't immediately clear why Eve was fated to be such a relevant factor, but compounded with the general impression that Dawn had found a way to sacrifice herself, Eve realized how both could be accomplished at once.
Dawn had access to a power that allowed her to replace its target with herself, right down to knowledge and abilities. The resulting person would be neither caster nor target, but a combination of both. It is permanent and irreversible. Killing this person would do two things: It would sacrifice the person closest to Dawn, as well as Dawn herself. Two birds with one stone.
The party decided that at least some of them ought to go to Gunnir Academy for advice. Stephan and Myrnal then went to see Joss, the boy they'd met at Dawn's estate. While it was obvious that Joss was involved in some dark and creepy semi-religious activities, it was equally obvious that he wouldn't flip out and kill them just for being nearby. Stephan attempted to talk some sense into Joss, with dubious success.
Back at Gunnir, the others tracked down Dawn's old advisor, the head of Gunnir's Psionics department. Malachi Lee was helpful enough, and seemed surprised and dismayed that Dawn was causing more problems. They got information from him and from Archmagus Wray about Dawn and her master, and Lee gave them an artifact that would give them an advantage, as well as an amulet to protect Eve. In Archmagus Lee's office, the party met a man named Damian Smith, who heard enough of their discussion with Lee that he wanted to assist.
The party decided to stay the night and pick up Stephan and Myrnal in the morning. After breakfast, the Gunnir group retrieved their comrades and they all decided to check on Dawn's estate again. Joss had mentioned that it had been razed and the destruction blamed on the party, and at least it was likely to have more information.
When they got there, the base had indeed been torn apart, buildings pulled down and nearly everything burned. Lym sensed that Dawn had been there for the destruction, as had some Yuan-ti. Upon closer investigation of the conference building where they'd first met Dawn, they found a stairwell down to the basement. At the bottom were dormitories, a kitchen (complete with fresh cinnamon rolls), and a big set of typically-ominous double doors.
Behind the door was the Yuan-ti Glinss't. They could hear him moving and chanting quietly from their side of the door, so the party pulled together their sneaking resources and ambushed him. When they got inside, they found the Yuan-ti, with his halberd, standing in front of a nice black altar. The party had apparently found a chapel, and Glinss't (encouragingly affiliated with Nikumu) was in charge. Before him were two kids, lying together on the altar. One was a little blonde girl, and the other was Joss.
After seriously killing the everloving hell out of Glinss't, the party looted like good adventurers and discussed what to do with the kids. They hadn't stirred during the battle raging inches from their still forms, but they seemed to be alive. From Eve's inspection both of them had likely been decerebrated and would eventually die.
Deciding not to leave near-dead children on an altar in the basement of an enemy stronghold, Eve and Damian took them back to Gunnir. Eve and Damian brought the kids to Malachi Lee. After he was past his paranoia enough to converse, Joss informed the party that he and his friend had apparently been granted their "Descension" early. You're apparently not supposed to be sacrificed to Reshtaha until you're fourteen, but Dawn apparently jumped the gun a little.
Most of the party decided to keep investigating Dawn's base, with Lyminali and Damian staying with the kids. The search party came across Dawn's quarters in a collapsed dormitory building, and in her room was locked some kind of bonded demon. After killing it, they discovered a small, discreet altar to Nikumu. There really could not be any question as to Dawn's patron at this point. They destroyed the altar and went back to Gunnir. According to Joss, Nikumu revived Dawn and interceded with Reshtaha on Elaith's behalf. All that remained was for Dawn and her kids to finish their end of the bargain.
The party agreed to move the next morning on Dawn's base near Inustan, leaving Joss and his friend Alya at Gunnir. Eve teleported them close, and they found their way inside. Shortly thereafter they were met by one of Dawn's lieutenants, a pixie named Danwn, or Danny for short. With little ceremony, Danny vanished and immediately slaughtered Lyminali, presumably because Eve's sister disapproved of him. The party avenged their fallen comrade, and killed the annoying little bug.
After that, they were met in the next room by two people who would not let them pass: Rendon and Rilla. Forced into combat with the twins, the party suffered heavy losses but eventually prevailed... killing both of them. The party navigated through a partially-animated basement that totally ignored all laws of physics to locate Dawn at the back, in her private garden.
On their way in, Dawn took control of Myrnal. She wanted the artifact that Lee had given them to help defeat her, and she was planning to use Myrnal as a hostage and an unwilling ally. James threw a potion at her, the vial breaking against the ninja and casting a spell that would buy them all about one minute of time before Myrnal was under Dawn's control again.
They rushed in, pressed for time. It seemed that everything they did to Dawn had a serious backlash on everyone near her. The party nearly lost Damian, Stephan, and Myrnal in the process, but they killed Dawn. She, at least, was dead. But there was still the army of over two dozen juvenile cultists she had left behind.
Eve claimed that she was having trouble teleporting through the basement's arcane interference, so they navigated a ways on foot. They were attacked by some kind of incorporeal manifestation of the basement's animated self, and it targeted Eve so heavily that she temporarily shut down her body in order to escape its attention. Finding its favored prey gone, it vanished, leaving the party to continue on. When Eve came to, she pointed out that it was attacking psionicists, and unless they stopped it, the specter would target the crowd of trained psions upstairs.
The party, not particularly interested in allowing the children to fall prey to Dawn's basement, found their way back up to the surface, and joined the fire-slinging cultists in vaporizing the predatory creature.
After the battle was a tense conversation in which the cultists levelled accusations and the party offered explanations. It came to light that one of the remaining cultists was Alya's brother, and the party brought them all back to Gunnir so that the kids could see that their friends were unharmed. Once there, some of the students decided to stay at Gunnir for lack of anyplace else to go. Joss and Stephan had a talk that started out strained and quickly became hostile. They parted on rough terms, and Joss was the first to leave Gunnir. Eve was next, and one by one the others followed. They went home, back to their families, back to their jobs, back to their lives. Even James found his way home, thanks to the assistance of his godfather Darin and the mages at Gunnir.
Elaith is dead, and so is Dawn. Her subordinates have either been killed or given a new chance at a future for themselves. The party returned to their lives.
The Jade Dragon
An update. Those people in my RP should keep in mind that this takes place after the conclusion of From the Ashes. So... as far as your characters are concerned this hasn't quite occurred yet.
Recently a large team of what can only be druids has been frequenting the remains of the Jade Dragon. I say that these elves can only be druids because they are all dressed in shades of earth-colored tones and many are accompanied by animals who roam the site, seemingly without supervision. One of these druids is known to some as Yadali Volpecula. Two others are Hare and Namil Bensha, her parents. They seem to be the leaders of the work-group, as they are the source of any orders or direction.
Hare is a tall and stately woman with her blond hair pulled back in tight braids which fall to the middle of her back. Namil is actually an inch or two shorter, and his hair is braided back into cornrows to keep it out of his way. Many of the other druids have appearances fitting a similar theme, often wearing small bone ornaments as jewelry or simple decoration. Slightly more "primitive" than the average Igalan druid population.
These druids have been ranging the city for a day or two, seeking out the sites of recent arsons. They report back and then return to begin rebuilding. A team of three or four druids are sent to each site, where the foundation is magically re-formed, the walls and roof are rebuilt, and occasionally furniture is even replaced. It is not uncommon at all for elaborate gardens to be added in the front yard when the druid workers find themselves momentarily distracted. Most residents haven't minded the free construction and landscaping services, but all complaints may be relayed directly to the Benshas or Yadali.
The druids working on the Jade Dragon are taking special care. The goblin staff of the inn has been enlisted to assist, and the Benshas themselves are often seen poring over structural maps of the Jade Dragon Inn. The foundation was fixed in a day. The druids added onto the basement, making space for an extensive wine cellar at Namil's urging.
The goblins helped the druids gather building materials, and in general taking care of heavier tasks that the elves are not strong enough to do themselves.
The Inn is nearly finished, and all that remains is finishing up the interior of the structure. Passersby will note that the outside has been faithfully reproduced, with one small exception. There don't seem to be any nails or bolts in the structure. Careful inspection reveals that any seams in the wood have been magically fused rather than nailed together.
Some of the druids have been seen hunting and foraging in nearby wooded areas, but beyond that they seem to be constantly busy with their construction duties.