Eberron: The Mourning After

The Friends We Made Along the Way
Making Amends

After a few days of rest and recovery, the heroes pursue aiding their long standing allies. They approach Braethe first, and discover that her business is with an organization the party is familiar with; the Black Lotus Monks.

She tells the party about how she lost her former friends and troupe, The Flying Luck Blades, after they stole an important scroll from a Black Lotus monastery. One by one, her allies died as she protected the scroll until the heroes initially came to her rescue. Since then, she has held the weight of her deeds around her neck and is finally ready to be done with it. Torn between returning it, or completing the work, the party convinces Braethe it may be best to return the scroll—but not without taking proper precautions first. Placing several contingent traps upon the scroll should someone attempt to read it, they also approach Seven Devils Wise and ask for his advice, as well to gauge his knowledge and intentions. He informs the group that he had no idea that the scroll was ever stolen, and in truth, he has not been a member of the Black Lotus in some time. He does however inform them, that returning the scroll will gain them reprieve at the very least from future attacks by the monks.
Armed with he both a plan, and a bit of knowledge about who they are dealing with, the party sets out for Karnath, to find the monastery in the mountains. The village they find is poor, and under suspicious eyes, they seek the temple underground temple where they are introduced to Master Unyielding Winters. He parlays with the party for a time, but ultimately withdraws any outstanding marks on Braethe’s life, and the lives of her friends, before retiring to contemplate the traps left on the scroll. But not without Elsbeth surreptitiously warning him about them.
The heroes now begin the second leg of their journey, to find out who contracted Braethe for the work, and go to the drop off point she was expected to reach several years ago. Still operating, the party uses a teleportation circle hidden in a back alley in Lazhaar and are immediately transported back to X’endrik; and inside an active volcano, with a palace at the heart of it.

A Simple Misunderstanding
And Other News That Isn't

The heroes cross the final threshold and are confronted by an large familiar. Unsure of what to make of the creature’s presence, they begin to tussle with it, and are immediately made aware that not only is it stronger than an average familiar, but by proxy so too must be its master.

Karne and Roy challenge the mistress of the Pale Palace, now seen to both of them, and the three demand answers back and forth. A debate of who invaded who’s home first leads to the realization that though her methods were unholy in nature, they were not born of malice, as she was attempting to save the Mror Holds from the demon incursion; if only her efforts had not come later than the heroes. The undead army was her own, sent to fight back the scores of demons, but due to a time anomaly between dimensions, she was delayed in her response.

She introduces herself as Soirsee Redheart, the Red Terror, and it is revealed that she was one of the instructors at Shazaraak. Humbled but undaunted, she offers to make amends for the trouble her actions may have caused and the party immediately employs her to retake and assume command of college once again. She agrees and leave the Pale Palace with the party.

Once the heroes make it back home to Stormsreach, they take some time to recover, before they are confronted by Bad Apple!! who has noticed Maki is not with them. Kolt and Karne break the news that Maki was slain and Bad Apple!! has an explosive response, blaming them for Maki’s death, before she departs to be alone.

Elsbeth and Kolt go off on their own to sulk about the results are each confronted by their closest allies. Lie assures Kolt that these things happen, and time heals all things, if allowed. While Æoriel is less than helpful, Seven Devils Wise points out that Elsbeth is taking it too hard, as she not only didn’t acknowledge Maki, but also has failed to acknowledge anyone else and leaves it as food for thought.

The party, recovering over a few days are now prepared to go back out and continue helping those that they can.

Win Some, Lose Some
A Less Than Exquisite Rendezvous

The hero’s investigate deeper into the heart of the Pale Palace, and are met with chill death; literally. After reigning over their enemies with superior fire power and talent, Maki is the first to fall, reaped by a Greater Shadow. Overwhelmed with grief, Perqu abandons the mission, taking Maki’s lifeless body away.

Daunted but not undone, the party presses on battling with more Greater Shadows, Witchfires, and Bonestorms. Michelle’s Lament, Karne’s radiant gift from the Daughters of Sora Kel, continuously draws the undead to the party, resulting in a nearly nonstop battle royal against the dead, but eventually the staunch the flow of enemies and begin to earnestly explore the castle.

Their exploration reveals another human wandering the halls, Roy Viridescent, a fighter with dark talents. His intentions seem pure, but more importantly, aligned with the party and he agrees to join them.

During their continued raid of the Pale Palace, the party begins to discover peculiarities, such as an ancient portrait of a younger Asherat being flanked by four other unidentified individuals, dwarven structures and riddles, and even a hot spring nestled within the undead fortress. They encounter a hidden wall, which leads to a frozen courtyard. The bizarre becomes macabre as they face more undead and two massive gates of raw positive and negative energy, both threatening to tear the party apart.

Helen, whom Elsbeth chose to bring with them, recalls a series of doors that involved depictions of celestial combat and the party makes their way for it, hoping for a clue on how to bypass the two enormous gates. Passing the minimal barriers, the heroes unveil a massive well of roaring positive energy, and without a word, Kolt darts forward to it and is immediately flooded with overwhelming power; power that threatens to destroy him if not released soon.

Now the party splits, half looking for the other energy key while Kolt and a handful of others make their way back to the positive energy gate, before his body erupts from the power. It is for naught however, as Kolt’s fear of imminent destruction causes him to panic and injure himself, prematurely releasing the stored energy. Elsbeth splits off from Karne and Roy, all three searching for the negative energy equivalent. Elsbeth uses magic to open a previously barred passage and finds the seething darkness the party was searching for, while Karne and Roy investigate other corners of the castle and uncover- a laundry room(?). While all three turn back, Elsbeth makes it back to the gates first, likewise concerned that the darkness will eat her from the inside out, and Tetren immediately grabs the reconstituted positive energy font and follows suite. Two gates unlocked at once, and Kolt, Elsbeth, and Tetren find themselves under the assault of a pair of Banshees.

Without the aid of the paladin, cleric, and undead hunting fighter, the odds are not in the favor of the two dwarves and half-elf who are nearly brought to the brink of death, before finally emerging victorious.

The party finally convenes just before reaching the final gate, calling out to a primal pulse within each of them. Unsure of the trick behind it, they send the Tetren’s Iron Golem first, which is met with no response from the gate. Elsbeth, confident in the protection of her magic, attempts to interact with the gate- and is subsequently pushed to the edge of death as it draws her life force out of her body. A fortunate thing, she held on to an item that immediately brought her back to consciousness. The party racks their brains attempting to understand the nature of the gate before them, before Karne casts a spell to potentially protect himself from the threshhold of death. He touches the barrier and is consumed from within by the voracious nature of the Blood Gate, though he is spared being knocked out as the barrier seems satisfied with the punishment it has dealt.

Though it was a clever plan, it is immediately undone as a burst of dispelling magic wipes away the heroe’s most potent spells- including the Deathless magic that had sustained Karne, further endangering him.

Now, past the final barrier and severely wounded, the party faces another monstrous foe, a hulking being of stone and flame, at the pit of the ice castle.

When Hell Freezes Over
Invasion From the Pale Palace

Tetren manages to convince the super-computer brain, Egogalis, to end his assault on the party and join forces with the party. Though they lack the means currently, Karne suggests potentially returning to the ship and resurrecting the derelict for their own personal use. The party considers it, but for the moment, their business is concluded and they return home for some well-earned rest.

The away team returns with a partial victory, but everyone in tact. They inform the heroes that they cleared out a minor Remorhaz invasion, but were unable t locate the source with their limited resources. With the passage of time, the party’s raids conclude, and their followers return with reports of their success; all but the soldiers that were sent to Noldunthrone. While they were able to clear out an incursion of demons, they were immediately beset by a wave of skeletons. A gate to an unknown dimension had begun to birth an uncountable number of skeletal foes, incurring the ire and concern of Karne. The party follows suite, and make immediate departure for Noldunthrone.

True to the reports, a massive gate had appeared, but the skeletons had gathered and set up a patrol, rather than force a sustained assault. The party wades into the battle, to find the skeletons are animated by lower level necromancy. Once the threshhold of the portal is reached, the party shores themselves up to cross the border into an unforgiving frozen plane, where an ominous castle of ice looms on an starless horizon with the goal of finding the source of the undead invasion.

If I Only Had a Brain
Opportunity Is Behind Every Pneumatic Door

Elsbeth uses a recovered battery to restore emergency power to the submerged ship. While it isn’t enough to bring everything back to full functioning power, it does open several doors. Including a room with trapped illithid liches, and what Four deduced to be one of their late victims.

Maki uncovers a communication room that reveals the name of the ship and a final emergency message. The Stargazer has flown for the last time, and the party now digs though her corpse for the secrets that brought her down. It is Tetren that uncovers the nefarious Iron Lich, Sy’thocyxx, armed with overwhelming psychokinetic power. He begins as a dangerous encounter, but soon more of the party arrives to even and overturn the battle to their favor. The danger overcome, Tetren turns his attention to the abandoned console that the illithid was studying and is able to determine that there are three rooms currently offline. With only enough power to restore two of them, Tetren decides to re-energize the armory and the mainframe.

He immediately darts off to claim his prize, along with Four, and is immediately corrected for his over-eagerness as Egogalis, the Mainframe of the Stargazer, greets him with fierce outsiders, creatures beyond simple imagination.

The final battle for the Stargazer has begun.

Into the Depths
Escape from Death, to Find More Death

The heroes square off with the remaining giants, while simultaneously defending against Momento Mori, the death-enriched Eidolon. Elsbeth, Maki, and Kolt manage to keep him off-balance however, by changing their tactics moment to moment, and increasing the number of threats and difficulties he’s forced to deal with, until Elsbeth is able to finally wear his defenses down and land a critical spell, to remove him from combat entirely. Karne finishes off the remaining Storm Giants with the aid of Four and Tetren and the party goes about deciding how to handle the issue of Momento Mori’s massive scythe, Necrofantasia. Realizing it will not only fail to respond to anyone that is not its master, but even feed on their life force, Elsbeth takes a gamble and has Four take hold of it. Though it is unwieldy for her, the Shadow manages to hold onto the weapon without sufferance, settling the debate of what to do with it.

Tetren scouts the coast line before finding the resting place for his undisclosed prize, and the heroes prepare for a deep dive into the stormy waters to find the wreck of the Stargazer, a ship of foreign make. Once aboard, the party begins to plumb the depths of the alien vessel, its design, markings, and layout utterly exotic to them.

The heroes split up, with Maki, Perqu, Karne, and Tetren in one group, and Elsbeth, Four, and Kolt in another. The two teams encounter horrors lurking within, including desiccated and violent Mind Flayer liches, and a new type of aberration, that feasts on the magical and psychic energies of those it encounters.

A Giant Problem
An Unexpected Reckoning

The heroes has barely rested a day before a new issue is brought to their attention. Navir has left, recalled to Balinor’s side. Four has also departed though she has gone in search of a dwarf, a friend of Ace’s, somewhere in Shargon’s Teeth in the northern coastline. Uncertain of her motives, the group collects themselves and moves out to potentially rescue Four and her dwarven charge.

When they arrive, they find it was restlessness that drove her to rashness, but now that they are there, they see a ship graveyard scattered with giants searching for something, presumably the same something the dwarf is after.

Deciding to clean up since they are present, the heroes, Four, and the dwarf descend upon the giants and begin to remove them as a threat. As the fighting begins to wind down however, Elsbeth is visited by a specter from their past, and Momento Mori materializes.

“You have toyed with forces without exacting a toll. The universe has sent me to claim its blood debt from you.”

The party is faced with the remaining giants and Mori, and ultimately decide to leave the fatal duel in Elsbeth’s hands, as he warns them that it is her and her alone that he seeks.

A Tail as Black as Night
Tears from Memory

The party pushes through the halls of the Daedalus, continuing their assault. The fight attack ends with a spectacular conflict between the remaining Tailors, and the Vulpes Black Tails. Descending upon Maki and Elsbeth, the Vulpes proove why they should be feared, wielding massive strength and size, but are cut down by a combination of blade and magic, and the heroes working together to support one another.

Bad Apple!! retrieves her missing companions (a mechanical wolf, cheetah, and owl) leaving her beyond grateful, and the party begin their return to Stormreach.

While traveling back, Elsbeth finds a clue among the documents she’d liberated; The Tailor, an entity whom she is unfamiliar with, but who is recognized around an outsider. Maki secludes herself, rattled by the encounter, while Kolt studies the weapons they retrieved from the Master Tailor Gunners, an intricate pistol with more unique parts than anything before.

Once returned to Stormreach, the party begin preparing for the next outing but not before mingling with their allies. Elsbeth informs Riot she’d like to start an expedition into Shaazarak, but he tells her people are already prepared to go- they just lack the current personnel to make it happen, and advises her against setting out too hastily. Bloodess informs Karne that she’d like permission to use group funding and a small team to convince a potential captain to join their forces, to add another ship to their growing fleet. Meanwhile, Viral sets up a small wager with Kolt, putting his subterfuge to the test against Kolt’s line of sight, more for pride than any sort of winnings, and Edge requests to study the strange firearms that were returned with the group. In her own roundabout way, Æoriel checks in on Maki, encouraging her to return to the world of the living rather than wallow as she has been.

Deadman's Switch
I'll Take Turrets for Two-Hundred

The heroes carve a bloody path through the Daedalus, providing Bad Apple!! all the time she needs to finally overcome the internal defense. Perqu and Maki join forces to take down a pair of Black Tails, staunching years of blood flow, if only for now.

While the party congregates for a final assault, Elsbeth uncovers an interesting item; a magical scroll containing the Cyran National Anthem. Though the magic of the scroll is beyond her capability, she concedes to claim it, along with multiple other documents and scrolls as well.

Despite Bad Apple!!’s success at shutting down the turrets, Kolt still manages to trigger one by interacting a bit too indiscriminately with it, causing it to target and attack the gunslinger and anyone else too close to it, thus breaking the stealth they had recaptured by arriving undetected.


Break In Bad (Apple!!)
It's Just a Super Fortress- What Could Go Wrong?

Lie finally confronts her past, down the barrel of a gun, but the party ultimately talks her down from becoming an angel of death. Convinced there is a better way for both her and Jool, her final target, Lie concedes to do better. With the final matter resolved, the party set off for Breland, to handle Bad Apple!!’s request.

The gnome reveals that she was one of the designers of the super fortress, Daedalus, which has now become partially defunct since the end of the Last War. Still dangerous to assault head-on, Bad Apple!! devises a simple plan; a distraction team draws away forces and fire, while she sneaks in with a stealthier team to disable the security. Splitting up, the party proceeds, with Karne,Magnus, Kolt, and Robobonobo in the Annihilation Squad, and Maki, Perqu, Elsbeth, and Bad Apple!! in the Infiltration Squad.

Both teams acquit themselves well, and instantly, the Annihilation Squad find themselves caught under a hail of bullets, magic, and flying elements. Meanwhile, the Infiltration Squad continues to sneak through the darkened halls, now on alert from intrusion, as planned. However, in incredibly close quarters, Perqu and Mika come face to face with the bane of their liveliehood; a member of the Black Tails (a Felis) who is pursuing would-be intruders. Unable to contain himself for long, Perqu follows the Felis into the dark recesses of the command center to settle a debt with blood.


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