Current Situation (in The Realms)
The guardian demigod Phaemyra of the pocket plane Escalon is getting weaker as the population of blood (the monks) binding it to the monastery shrinks, so does its power. The reality of the situation weighs heavily upon the few dozen or so monks left. The accumulation of all the knowledge would be invaluable to their kind, but they must pass through the lands of six circles in order to escape with it. The interest of the dwellers on the prime material plane is disrupting their schedule and accelerating the attacks. If they leave the monastery though, the protections of the six circles will unravel. The monks cannot escape without exposing themselves to a massive danger of everything being lost and all of them being killed. Always there was a fear of the inhabitants of Limbo discovering them… now this fear has become a reality.
There is a convergence of attention now – the Slaad are aware of what power is there, for their taking. The greedy primes seek to take knowledge from the monastery, and the monks seek only to escape a doomed place that was once a bastion of learning and knowledge – taking as much as they can with them.
The Role of the PCs (from the perspective of the Monks)
The fall of the monastery is inevitable, by the reckoning of the monks; The PC’s specifically represent a new hope to escape with some of the accumulated knowledge of ages and their lives. The PC’s arrival came at propitious moment – during a sacred meditation, which reveals it to be a sign to the monks that there is both hope and that the PC’s are the fulcrum on which it rests. The monks will provide them time and a place for the PC’s to prove themselves and gain strength… there is perhaps a hope that they can even avert the “time of hopelessness”. The PC’s might be able to serve as a guard force while the monks slip away. In exchange, they will gain access to knowledge beyond the normal travelers. And advice from the Githzerai.
Recent Prime Material Interference
An accidental discovery by a student, Laura Mathisse of the Mattaf Order of South Drift. The failed transmuter William Enders of the Halas Blaze school sacrificed his inner fire for a vision – and the dark god Sun Stealer gave him one – a “vision in the dark”. It was a glimpse into The Pattern not even the dark god himself could understand, which showed him the animus font under Emerald Falls. For untold centuries the chaos influence of Limbo had caused all seekers of the hidden chamber to become lost, and for the Flame of Oruu to be hidden away all this time. The ‘vision’ of William Ender protected him from this unique effect and he was able to find the Flame, which was calling to him to fulfill a destiny. If he could enact a great sacrifice, he could become as powerful as the lords of winter; undying, power, minions… he worked for years setting up the right conditions to maximize his sacrifice. After the party thwarted him, and defeated the forces at Emerald Falls, she was part of the team that went to explore his cult lair. She discovered one of his hidden journals which told of a path under the falls. She discovered the chamber with the font and the flame – and it triggered an obscure memory from one of her readings. The flame does not radiate magical power – if one was not looking, one would never find it amidst the crystals growing around it. The book on the southlands describing it she found in the library was obtuse and so she sought out the local “witch” to get her a potion to giver her a burst of inspiration and insight. Instead of revealing her answer, it revealed the witch was something else. Laura recorded her visions in her own diary, concluding that the local witch was a hag – a monstrous hag of the kind that stole children. She went to the hags to get magical power and she succumbed to their evil, quickly charmed and made to serve them. Knowledge of the new location of the Flame of Oruu, along with knowledge that Laura had found an an ancient Thanes Library at South Drift was a book that revealed the name of the priestess who summoned the guardian of the monastery (in the south connected to the Flame of Oruu). The hags found the resting place of the priestess and broke into the crypt outside of Thurlow, using speak with dead determined the real name of the guardian. They made Laura a sea hag – drowning her in the process… but she came back to life – the power of chaos, the hag’s power, and the Frost Sigil of her order turning her into a monster not even they could control.. She fled into the tundra, mad and alone.
The hags hired ultraloths, ___, nd ____ – the army of modrones kept them at bay. The knowledge of the guardians name is useless if they can never confront it. They involved the slaad – and got them to turn their natural desire to see it dissolved to chaos – they believe the Slaad will wipe out all the guardians except the Sacred One, and that once unleashed the Sacred One will wipe them out – they will then destroy the weakened Sacred One and take the place for their own and all of its knowledge.
BACKGROUND: A student of House Mataff in South Drift was uncovered a deep secret in the caverns under Emerald Falls. The group she sought aid from has cast her down and now seeks to use the knowledge she had for their own ends. Laura’s fate on the cold tundra is unknown while the Group of 3 pursue the knowledge she sought – even traveling to Thurlow.
SETUP: Temeri and local forces ask that you investigate the disappearance of Laura Mathisse of the Mattaf Order of South Drift. After spending days under the falls after the battle, she began to scour birth and death records in the local hall of records (Thane’s Library of South Drift). Then she has not been seen in four days.
The PC’s will need to trace her actions. It will be up to them, but assuming they find the right means, the following information can be discovered:
Laura’s Place: Has 300sc worth of stuff in open – nothing missing really. She has lots of drawings of a column of greenish flame with a ribbon-like covering winding around it. Many doodle copies stuck in many books. No book with any notes or description on this column missing (she was meticulous and ordered; an indentation can be seen as if the top book of a stack was taken), drawings… she was obsessed, many sketches; her spell book is gone!
Laura’s Place in Mataff: Apprenticed since she was 10. She was a 3rd level Wizard – divination specialist. She was an active archeologist. She had no “cravings” for power, but was an aggressive archeologist. Season did not bother her. She did not like Creb Navarood.
The Shadow Demon: Enemies have planted an agent to keep the party from discovering anything. A Shadow Demon has been summoned and set to watch over any intruders and stop them from getting far. It has been given a lightning branch (2 uses Lightning Bolt; a item constructed by hags with the help of their bound master Sun-Stealer – it can be identified as a coven item; too odd since a Sea Hag was killed in Emerald Falls battle).
The Deeping Seed:
Tales of the Flame
Long ago, the elves and Ducateon of the Steel Realms, and humans alike would gather south of Ynth on the plains before the time of The Sundering. Written accounts of its location have lead to the inescapable conclusion it was destroyed in that great cataclysmic event – all that is left is in ancient libraries. The greatest scholars and their warrior guards would embark upon missions to a place called Ecaslon, a place that lied beyond the flame-gate of Oruu. It is written that in “Escalon” was a place of great knowledge named “Zermai”, that the druids would seek the creatures there for council when the path was even unclear to them. In Dargu Vale sat the sacred Flame of Oruu. The flame was a twisting emerald vortex, that pulsated and twined around those who would seek the wisdom of the dwellers of Zermai in the land of Ecaslon. The “flame-gate” was a twisting column of green fire. By its description it was likely a animus font – though it was never explicitly given this label in writings from the times. It was a place of pilgrimage for those who sought answers that the gods themselves tried to secret from their followers – a place of enlightenment… and risk that comes inherent with knowledge. The Sundering saw to its demise – Dargu Vale, the temple of Gaia and the Briarwyld gate and all its inhabitants was split in half – literally torn two in The Sundering of CY 5000 and cast into the chasm. Many attempts were made later to summon the “flame” of animus, but all failed. The path to enlightenment was closed forever. So, everyone thought the flame had died out – never to be re-kindled.
The monks of Zermai and their own records tate simply that the flame reappeared, further north and under the Emerald Falls of the Hinterlands of the Steel Realms. Deep within the chambers covered by the falls as a vein of emerald, that was cracked and broken – grist for the mill of magic to transport such a massive item. At the moment of its demise, the dwellers of Zermai moved the “fire” to a hidden path, the falls and its magic was a natural disguise to the heat of the animus font – the monks then simply hoping to be left in peace. Its power remains untapped for fear of drawing attention – no longer where the monks sought out for their wisdom, which kept it safe, but the lack of seekers took its toll. Over time, the monks stopped breeding, death was not replaced with life. The bulwark of defenses against the constant pressures of chaos grew weaker and weaker. The dwellers simply continued to study in peace, a bulwark of order amidst the chaos of limbo, but they were dying – Zermai, their home, was dying. The accumulated knowledge of millennium meant nothing without seekers. The monks lack vision, direction, and their normal powers seem to not be enough to keep their home protected any more, as those on the plane of the Steel Realms have once again found a way to access it.