The Mark of Tyranny

The Adventure Mega Recap

Umm... How'd this go again?

The story of Lyssandra and Leta, as told by their dashingly handsome Co-ruler and Mage Spectacular, Harzen Scorchedskull.

Sit down a spell, and listen to this tale I have to tell you.

MHMMFM! MMMFFF!

Fine, don’t listen, I’m not letting you out of that chair. Forgive me if I ramble while I work, it helps me focus.

MHMNFGH

Now, it has been a month, or so my memory tells me, since we defeated the Thrax claiming to be Kalak’s daughter and opened a portal to Kalak’s quarters in the Golden Tower. Now, I have my theories as to who the Thrax really was, but I doubt it was Kalak’s daughter. Never saw her before. Let’s call it a hunch. We entered Kalak’s chambers, prepared for whatever lay inside. Well, I already knew what was in there, but the others steeled themselves. Inside, we found a number of wondrous sights, most impressively Kalak’s private Lab. Can’t be a Sorcerer-King without some manner of secret chambers. The control rod for the Golems was in there, though they managed to grievously damage my Ziggurat while mucking about with it There was also the Soul Forge, where my body was kept alive through a particularly unpleasant process. Blood and gears and impaling, oh my. Kalak’s journals occupied several bookshelves, detailing his debaucheries, studies, projects, and suspicions. I destroyed the one that detailed my grisly resurrection, would rather no one did that again.

Oh! Of note as well, we found the Sending Stone Kalak used to communicate with the other Sorcerer-Kings. Through sheer dumb luck, the two of them managed to communicate with Nibenay, and arranged an alliance with that city in trade for some Iron. I swear, those two bumble their way into success. Well…. I say that, but they immediately afterwards managed to explode themselves out of the window of Kalak’s chambers, which rest… oh…. around a thousand feet or so off the ground. I believe it was through their utilization of my genius invention, the drake skin glider, that they survived. Oh, and that accursed Phoenix, Pyrdin. Being linked with her has proved to be more trouble than it is worth.

Oh, did I forget to mention? Yes, it appears my fiery inclination is partially attributed to being linked with a Phoenix. Makes sense, undeath, or rather, rebirth, is associated with Phoenixes. Phoenixi? Whichever. I say the fiery inclination is only partially attributed to the Phoenix, because of what else the two of them discovered in that tower. But I get ahead of myself.

After surviving their plummet from the clouds, the Genasi and Hengeyokai made their way back to the Golden Tower. More the fools them I suppose, I tend to avoid or render passive what almost kills me once. Anyhow, on their way back through the tower, they bypassed many of the defenses, now knowing them on their second trip. They encountered the High Vizier of Kalak again, and thankfully he was impressed by their skill in dispatching the Thrax on the upper levels. Apparently he had been at war with her for almost a year, with neither gaining the upper hand. He rather altruistically offered to take the two of them across to the smaller observation tower, which he had been guarding against all intrusion. The Arena Master and I stayed behind, though the Dragonborn was understandably anxious.

However, his intentions were not as altruistic as they seemed! Ha! I fooled you, subverting your expectations. Oh, stop squirming. You’re the worst test subject I’ve had all week.

Inside the Observation Tower was the chained heart of Tranos, the Unbound Primordial. Well, he calls himself Unbound, but I think he is simply the least bound of the Primordials who were imprisoned. Crazed from being forced to watch all of history, unable to do anything to alter anything he saw. Or so I think, who can understand the mind of a being older than time itself? It would seem the Grand Vizier wished to use their blood to reinvigorate the seals on the chains, which were failing. With the marked drop in living creatures in the Golden Tower, it would seem the fuzzy and flaming ones would be his only hope at maintaining the Heart’s prison. After what I’m sure was a pitched battle, full of reanimated templars, fire washing the stones of the tower, and a heated high-air anti-gravity battle, the seals broke, slaying both the Grand Vizier and Leta instantly, destroying the smaller Observation Tower, and somehow… changing Lyssandra. The Arena Master leaped off the ruined bridge that once connected the towers, and somehow survived, tearing through the rubble towards Lyssandra’s body. I attempted the same trick. Lost my arm, though temporarily. Bloody inconvenient.

Leta’s body was nowhere to be seen, though I was told later that she had been snatched away to the Grey at the moment of her death. One deal with an immensely powerful Demon named Archon and she was back on the street the next day! Only one caveat. She had a month to find a soul of equal importance/strength, or Archon would reclaim her soul, permanently. At least she had gained a greater control over her shadow powers, and her mastery of soul manipulation was growing impressive indeed!

Lyssandra was brought back to the Manor, seriously wounded. Moiraine went to heal her, but found something unusual. Her heart was no longer her own, it was the heart of Tranos himself! This was concerning to me, as I had alluded to earlier, I am linked to that heart as well. Still, barring a few outbreaks that almost set fire to the manor, or froze it, Primordial hearts being tricky to tame, she was back on her feet.

Leta and Lyssandra decided to take some time to train themselves in their new powers. Leta was aided by he shadowy familiar, the demon Mesaana, once imprisoned inside the Ziggurat, now a servant of Archon. Lyssandra recieved aid from that Tree-Hugging Elf, Adran, as well as the infernal bird, Pyrdin.

As their training progressed, their ally, Cha’ka began exhibiting strange symptoms of some sort of internal turmoil. Snapping at people, attempting to challenge people to duels to the death, the sort of behavior one always associates with the brutish Kreen, assuming they have only heard of them in stories. As Cha’ka grew more erratic, his… companion, Elthea of Nibenay, grew more anxious. The first delegation from her home city was to arrive shortly, including a High Consort of Nibenay, though she did not know which.

Elthea, clearly filled with some sort of conflict, insisted on meeting with Leta and Lyssandra at midnight at the makeshift hospital. Not that I’d know anything about that, that would be silly. I’m sure someone just told me about it after the face. Regardless, she was there to give them a book, Tectuktitlay’s notes on Golem Creation. A fascinating read. But before she could say where she got it, calamity struck!

MHNFM

Don’t worry, I won’t leave you in suspense. She was struck by an arrow the size of a small child, impaling her most thoroughly. Wish I’d seen it, impaling has always been a passion of mine. Very… dramatic. Oh, where’d I leave that spike? Eh, after. Needless to say, Leta and Lyssandra took this rather roughly. Leta was off like a shot chasing after the Assassin, and Lyssandra carried Elthea to the only person capable of healing her still in the city, Adran. See, the irony of this was, Moiraine was out of the city at the time, leading a group of soldiers against the bandits outside the city, scrounging up some extra souls for the Tribute. Why is it that two of our most powerful Council Members are magical female elves? I’m liable to feel quite oppressed. More undead representation, that’s what I say! Leta caught up to the Assassin, but he was already dead! The Assassin Assassin, as I would call them, had escaped. Lyssandra managed to get Elthea to Adran in time, though it was apparently a damn near thing. Cha’ka, paragon of calm that he is, swore a blood oath to find those responsible, and set off into the city with a vengeance.

I’ll say this for the Kreen. They track with terrifying efficiency. Before a full day had passed, Cha’ka had tracked the culprit to an inn in the Caravan District. A few stabbings, a heated battle against a towering woman with a black and white tattooed face, and they had themselves one Assassin prisoner. They really make me proud sometimes, their first thing they did was imprison and torture the Assassin! Makes my old heart proud. They got remarkably little out of her, and eventually Cha’ka beheaded the woman. Berserk doesn’t begin to describe it.

On the day of the Delegation’s arrival… well, I say Delegation, but I truly mean army… the fuzzy one was just finishing up her training in snatching souls from the living and unliving alike, and the burning one had communed sufficiently with Tranos to channel a portion of his power without killing herself. As the leader of the Nibenese forces approached the wall, Leta, Lyssandra, Cha’ka and Elthea rode out to meet them. Saerith, the Prime High Consort of Nibenay had led the delegation, and through some heated debate, parlayed her way into securing the rights to build a fortress outside of Tyr for her forces. The Nibenese meant to stay. Most surprising though, at Saerith’s right hand was a woman that could be the spitting image of the Assassin they had beheaded the previous night. Cha’ka, furious at realizing that Saerith must have been behind the murder attempt on Elthea, began becoming more enraged, and the source of his disturbance became apparent. His mind had been altered by some manner of Psionic manipulation.

As they should, they came to me for aid. Mental Manipulation is but one string to my bow, as it were. Don’t know who carries so many bowstrings for a single bow, but it is an apt enough metaphor. I was able to help them enter Cha’ka’s mind, and track down the source of the manipulation. It traced to the Brain Rats below the city, and their fearsome mistress. Betresh-Lal, a tall, pale woman in a flowing, translucent dress. Powerful psionic ability, though she claimed to be a Pyreen. She informed us that our old friend, Titarion, that bastard, had managed to usurp control of the Brain Rats, and was planning on taking back or destroying Tyr with them. In exchange for power and knowledge, Lyssandra and Leta made a deal with her, allowing her to enter Lyssandra’s mind. I tend to keep my mind clear of powerful Psions, but what do I know? Betresh-Lal taught them how to make a powerful poison to feed to the Tribute for the Dragon, to weaken Borys a great deal. She also detailed where the Brain Rats were being controlled from, as best as she knew. Titarion was ever willing to take a shortcut to power. Born a noble, arranging the death of his kin to make his way to the top of his house, using his nobility to become a high Templar of Tyr, then turning around and betraying Kalak the moment a new plan came along. He must be… removed. But first, there was the Assault on Under-Tyr!

While Lyssandra and Leta were inside Cha’ka’s mind, cleansing it of outside influence, Titarion seized this chance, and launched his assault from beneath the city. Resurrected Titans, mutated Brain-rats with wingspans of several feet, terrifying clawed beasts with chitinous exoskeletons! And I missed almost all of them, because I was busy staring into a Kreen’s excuse for a mind! It fell to Davion, the defiler Half-Giant, and the Dragonborn Arena Master to rally the troops of the city, and push them back underground. The majority of the battles were kept restricted to the Warrens thankfully. Moiraine’s timely return with the forces that had been hunting bandits didn’t hurt, nor did her ability to heal. Elthea went to the Shadow Brides outside the city for aid, but we heard no word from them. Once awakened, Cha’ka, Bite, Slice, Mr. Bread, Leta, Lyssandra, and of course, myself, mounted up onto Pyrdin and Stormchaser and plunged through the Ziggurat into a hidden entrance to Under-Tyr.

Exciting battles against Titans, Brain-Rat Matriarchs, and disturbingly camoflagued horror-beasts ensued! We ascended the Citadel inside the cavern of Under-Tyr, to find, what we thought, would be Titarion, pulling the strings on the Brain-Rat army. Imagine our surprise when we instead found a terribly mutated Losk, dominated by Titarion and being used as a relay for him to control the Brain-Rats without being there. Fighting a Losk empowered with psionic power and mutation was no easy feat, especially considering the dominated Megapedes she had surrounded herself with. We managed to subdue her and break the connection, but Titarion had planned for this as well, the aggravating son of a bitch! Burn him, burn his family, and burn his goddam irritating self-righteousness!

AAAAAAAAHMMMMFF!

Oh, sorry. Got a bit agitated. Well… I always wondered how well a dwarven liver would respond to defiling magic in such high amounts. Hooray for happy accidents! You won’t need it for much longer anyways. Anyhow, where was I?

Titarion had managed to retain a portion of control over the Resurrected Titans, even though he was losing control of the rest of the Brain-Rats and their ilk quite swiftly. He stopped the Titan’s from assaulting the forces of Tyr, and instead had them turn their immense strength on the ground itself. All around us, the ground started to crumble, and collapse. Tyr itself began to collapse, starting with the Warrens. As it collapsed, the Titans themselves began to plummet into the hole, but the damage was done. The warrens, and a good portion of the Caravan district plummeted down. Unfortunately, a number of Tyrian soldiers were in the collapsing ruins, including Davion, who was leading the troops and had been heavily wounded. Lyssandra plowed through a wall of the Citadel, and landed on Pyrdin, and Leta followed somewhat less recklessly, astride Stormchaser. Dodging rubble, crazed flying Brain-Rats, and falling Titans, they managed to catch Davion as he plummeted and even managed to slow the collapse of the city. Davion lived, but was rendered paralyzed from the waist down. But don’t you worry, I have plans for that. For all intents and purposes, the battle with the Brain Rats was about as successful as it could be. Titarion’s true location was even found out while breaking his link to Losk!

But there was no time to rest on our laurels. The Dragon’s Tribute was rapidly rushing towards them, and the prisoners they had been gathering had to be hurriedly corralled and set on their march to the site of the Tribute. Elthea returned to the city, and informed us that Saerith had held her, and refused to let her take troops to aid Tyr during the Brain-Rat assault. Furious at this affront, Elthea insisted on accompanying the party on their way to the Tribute, refusing to remain anywhere near Saerith until she had planned her next move. Cha’ka, ever the loyal companion, insisted on accompanying her. Nihlus and Mr.Bread offered to come along, Mr. Bread for his own reasons, and Nihlus on the caveat that he accompany them to take down House Tsalaxa afterwards. The Dragonborn Arena Master offered to lead the troops guarding the Tribute, as he was the only military leader the city had that was unwounded. Well, I could have led them, but I preferred to stay in the city. My work was far too important to be interrupted by an invasion of fleshy monstrosities or the threat of a giant dragon demanding souls. Leta and Lyssandra led the column north, in what sounded like quite the exciting journey.

Giant Gears sticking out of the desert, Thri-Kreen Weaponry apparently made for giants, a Rampager, the fear of the Green Age, unearthed and angered! Hyenas, blood thirsty plants, and many more! Leta died, only to be brought back as a wight by our old friend Betresh-Lal. A prisoner escape plan put in place by an ex-slave called Inenek! Hehe, one day I shall have to tell them the joke behind that name. And of course, I took custody of 3 of the 4 pieces of the Heartwood Spear. To keep it safe, and not anger the Dragon, of course. Regardless, they made it to the village of Shazlim, at the entrance to the Dragon’s Bowl, where the tribute was to take place. There, they met an odd woman named Iorveth. She…. is an unknown piece. As I am told, she wears a strange mask inscribed with a laughing face, with no holes for air or eyes. Tight fitting leather, and twin Carrikal. She claimed to be a new High Praetor of Balic, but most jarringly, she knew of Betresh-Lal, and had apparently made a deal with her as well. The tribute from Balic was entirely saturated with the poison meant to weaken Borys. With a bow and a cheerful farewell, Iorveth led her Tribute down into the bowl, following the Tyrian prisoners.

Mhm….zzsnk…

Oh cheer up, you don’t need to last much longer! You’re almost out of blood! Where was I? Oh yes. The Tribute was… an interesting affair. Started off well enough. Socializing between the different delegations, a Nibenese templar expressing her wish for the party to slay Nibenay, a Raam templar extending her wish for them to deliver a message to Moiraine. The Dragonborn Arena Master was reunited with his mercenary half-brother! I recall seeing the two of them duel in the arena years ago. Can’t recall who won. The tall one with the armor and the giant gods damned sword. However, it wasn’t until the Dragon arrived that things really went to hell.

Started off fine, with a giant angry defiling lizard landing, giving an impressive speech, and then beginning to drain the souls from the Tributes. However, it’s here that the poison and that Iorveth gal turned up. Recall how I foreshadowed them a short time ago? Yes, it seems that while everyone else was paralyzed with fear or awe, she was climbing up the altar while Borys was distracted. Cut to the poison taking some effect, a cry of pain, and one furious Dragon. And of course, since there’s no calamity that the two stooges can’t exacerbate, that was the exact moment for Lyssandra, the Elemental made Flesh with the Heart of a Primordial, to tap into a previously unknown depth of her powers. While Borys raged, disintegrating soldiers, slaves, templars, whoever was within reach, causing earthquakes and the canyon itself to begin to collapse, Lyssandra channelled the essence of Tranos himself, growing to a great size, drawing Borys’s ire, rescuing Tyr’s troops, and scorching Borys’s wing, knocking him from the sky before hiding herself and all her allies inside the ruins of what was once Shazlim. Borys, having lost track or killed everyone else around, set off towards Balic, the city Iorveth purported to champion.

And that’s where I stepped in. The following morning, we began evacuating citizens of Tyr to the tunnels under the city, fearing Borys’s counter-stroke against the city that dared to defy him. I continued my work, and switched on the Device after connecting with Leta, Lyssandra, and… confusingly, Mr. Bread. The results were… not what I expected. A rift opened, and pulled all of us into it. We were catapulted into an alternate timeline, 20 years ahead of where ours was. Not that they knew that immediately. I was fortunate enough to exit the rift near my own future equivalent. Though, he was quite different than what I envision myself to be in 20 years, let me tell you that.

………
I…. hmm… dead. Well, I’m not going to ramble at a corpse. That would be crazy. Well, guess you don’t need these bones any more! Jenora! Bring me another one! Preferably an elf! I want to try something with it’s liver.

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