Mid-Winter, Hadrer 21st (The Month of Protection), 151 AV in The Free City:
Leon and Zoltan enter the City of Doors with the fragments and pieces of Zhou Pan in a sack. Not having much experience with the City of Doors religious orders nor having any favor with them, the pair decided to use a spell to shift themselves back to Scarn and to the Free City. Zoltan worked the magic, but his aim was off and Leon and Zoltan found themselves plunging towards the Blossoming Sea. As they fall, Leon recognizes the coastline and profile of Gull Island and the Coral Lighthouse before hitting the water. Leon surfaces quickly. Zoltan in his heavy plate armor is less likely. He comes back to the surface, but quickly recognizes his peril as the armor begans to drag him below the surface. Seeing the distance of swim required, Zoltan sheds his armor and he and Leon begin swimming towards the distant lighthouse as the sun begins to go down.
Leon stews as he swims on their situation and the likelihood that his brother will die at the hand of the devils he just escaped. Leon and Zoltan reach the lighthouse as the setting sun paints the sky with the hazy pinks and purples of dusk.
Going inside, the famished pair quickly set about ordering some food and drinks from the innkeep, Clayson, and his pet dire ape, Pongo. Declining the rowdy and noisy taproom full of sailors and other unsavory characters, Leon and Zoltan sit out on the porch and enjoy their morsel in silence, stained with blood of compatriots and devils, and soaked to the bone. Several nearby sailors laugh a little too loudly at the condition and sad state of the pair bringing a fuming Leon to attention and quickly in their faces. A challenge ensues and the dukes come out. Leon and a sailor begin circling each other dishing out vicious punches and kicks. Leon quickly gets the better of the man, jabbing him in the face. Half dazed, the leathery sailor throws a wicked slap against Leons ear stunning him momentairly and seeing his advantage grabs the ear and rips it off flinging it into the sea. Leon shakes off the dazed feeling as the pain from his ear hits his system and he sees crimson red not only spraying from his head, but also in his target. A huge gut punch and a right cross to the jaw send the sailor to the ground and Leon proceeds to curb stomp him a few times before the sailors’ friends and Zoltan can drag him off the unconscious and helpless man. Zoltan treats Leon’s ear wound with healing magic, but the damage is done.
In the mean time, many of the sailors’ friends and crew members begin to gather and it becomes apparent that the pair of adventurers may have to fight the whole lot of them. Being tired from the swimming and extremely wounded from their battles in Stygia, the pair begins backing up towards the inn. Zoltan quickly shouts inside for the owners help and in moments 750 lbs of dire ape comes out of the door beating its chest and roaring. The ship crew decides to leave before things get out of hand (Pongo is known to pull peoples arms off) as they swear and curse Zoltan and Leon for being feckless cowards.
Retreating back inside, Zoltan converses with Clayson about making it to the Free City. It seems that all the normal skiffs and row boats that go back and forth have already made their last trips. Leon, still smarting and worried about his brother, says they need to get their tonight to minimize time. Seeing the pair’s desperation and time of need, Clayson has them meet him out back the inn. There they see Pongo carry out a small rowboat from the Coral Lighthouse and set it in the water. Clayson explains that the rowboat is magic and will quickly take the pair where they want to go and then return if they tell it to do so. The pair thank Clayson for his trust and aid in their time of need.
Sitting down in the rowboat, Leon says “Free City” and the little boat shoots off at rapid speed quickly avoiding the reefs prevalent in the area. In a short time, the pair see the lights of the Free City and notice that some of the warehouses, docks, and homes that made up the port side area are still burning from the terrible attacks perpetrated days earlier.
The pair get out of the rowboat and bid it back to Gull Island. Heading towards the gates of the Free City, they are challenged and stopped from going inside until one of the watchmen recognizes the pair and vouches for them. After a brief discussion of the recovery efforts and a warning to watch out for rioters and undead remaining from the attack, the pair head off into the ruins and remains of the city. Hazy black smoke still hangs over the Western part of the city where fires still burn and carts of dead and the slain undead are seen throughout the city, as well as burned down blocks or structures tore down due to the deadly sorcery being employed by the minions of Kyuss.
Walking with purpose, the pair make it to the Cathedral of Fortunes, which though damaged appears to have came out less damaged than most of the surrounding buildings. Discussing with an acolyte they recognized from previous visits, the pair are ushered into an audience with Amanita after a short wait. Discussion of some of their exploits follows and the need for Amanita’s skills in ressurecting the brave monk from the realms of Nemorgha. Amanita sets the price and it is something that Leon and Zoltan cannot afford; Zoltan decides to wager his family heirloom sword in a wager with Amanita to entice the priest. His diplomatic entreaties work and the wager is set; however, the wager does not go in Zoltan’s favor that day. Amanita takes the sword and other payments and agrees to get the necessary herbs/components as well as make contact with Sarina of the Shroud, priestess of Nemorgha. With Sarina’s help, Amanita is confident that they can perform the ritual of resurrection and bring back Zhou Pan if he wants to return.
Tired but glad to have a path to restoring their friend, Leon and Zoltan find their way to the Crooked House, still open even after having a section burned. They quickly get some rooms in the almost vacant inn, much to the appreciation of the halfling owner Tarquin.
Mid-Winter, Hadrer 22nd (The Month of Protection), 151 AV in the Free City:
Most of the day is spent recovering and resting. Late in the day the pair goes out hunting for some armor for Zoltan.
Mid-Winter, Hadrer 23rd (The Month of Protection), 151 AV in the Free City:
In the morning hours, Leon and Zoltan go to the cathedral of Enkili. They find a weak Zhou Pan meditating in the temple as Amanita, Sarina, and acolytes of both clean up the ritual area. Seeing the pair approach, Amanita greets them and tells them what was done. Amanita takes them into the gambling hall attached to the cathedral and they sit down for a drink at a dice table. After a refreshing liquor, Amanita explains that the city and temple wants to show appreciation to the adventurers for their timely service to the Free City and to itselfs own person during the battles with the followers of Kyuss a few days ago. Thus, he/she offers them the chance to forgive their debt for bringing back the monk if they can roll a seven on the two jeweled dice in front of him. Zoltan picks up the dice and invokes Corean for aid; he rolls snake eyes. Amanita smiles in androgynous fashion and says “Perhaps fortune’s face will smile upon you in the future, but it doesn’t do so today”. Zoltan goes to hand the dice back to Amanita, but Amanita says to take them as a “token of my gratitude”.
The trio leave and bring Zhou Pan up to speed on what has happened and how he met his untimely end at the hands of the devils of Stygia. They return to the Crooked House, with barely enough funds to cover the food and bills for their stay. Leon says they can at least sell the jeweled dice, and when Zoltan opens his pouch containing the dice he instead finds diamonds, lots of diamonds. Leon and Zoltan happily offer a short prayer of thanks to Enkili as they head off to visit Maldin and Elendari’s Magical Goods and the rest of the shoppes.
Meanwhile, Zhou Pan veered off back to the Cathedral of Fortunes where he met with Amanita and bargained for Zoltan’s heirloom sword. Agreeing to fight in a future rendition of the Free City Arena Games, Amanita agreed to the arrangement and relinquished the blade.
After a bit of bargaining and dealing with the vendors, the adventurers gathered back up and made way to Fangsfall via Zoltan’s priestly magicks.
Arriving in the Corean Chapterhouse, the trio made way to the Mithril Inn for rooms. They visited a bit with other worthies at the Chapterhouse gathering a few supplies for their travels. Leon goes to Cestarian’s Tower and has a female apprentice send out a few magical messages trying to gather Feflin and Moreto to his side to aid in the fight against the devils. Feflin’s message returns but it will be a week before he can join them. Moreto’s message does not return. Leon also inquires about passage to the City of Doors, and the apprentice explains that their is a portal within the Fangsfall. Located in the basement of the Horn and Skull Tavern, the barkeep can be bribed to open the portal though he keeps it barred and chained elsewise to prevent any unwelcome visitors.
Leon gathers the diplomatic Zoltan and they set off for the Horn and Skull Tavern. The tavern is owned by a scarred dwarf who wears a sapphire encrusted eye patch. After a few drinks and a little gold to convince the dwarf, they set up plans to use the door in the morning. Returning to the Mithril Inn, the pair meet up with Zhou Pan, who had been helping the poor in the slums outside the walls of the city and spend the evening in the plush beds of the Mithril Inn gathering their strength.
Mid-Winter, Hadrer 24th (The Month of Protection), 151 AV in the City of Doors:
The adventurers go to the Horn and Skull Tavern early in the morning. After beating on the doors and a bit of cursing, the tavern master is awoken and takes them down into the cellar. There they see the normal sundry items expected (kegs, foodstuffs, etc.), but back in the back they see a stout door made of fine woods, lined in silver metal, with a silver door frame. The door is barred, and has multiple chains keeping it further closed attached to stout iron rings set into the walls. The tavern master unlocks the pad locks and removes the chains, then unbars the door. Throwing it open, he bids them enter the shadowy passage revealed. They enter and find themselves in exiting the threshold of an archway in a dark alley. Heading out to a street, they see that they are a mere block away from the Grand Bazaar in the Sigil.
Leon makes contact with the tiefling Melwood for the rental of a sled team to aid in the travel from the portal to Stygia back to the city of Tantlin. After a bit of bartering, the tiefling sets them up such they will not have to spend the many days it normally takes to travel in icy wastes instead taking about 15 hours. Anxious to go, Leon sets up the time for departure very quickly, apprehensive that his brother may not be alive when he gets there.
The adventurers quickly depart the City of Doors and find themselves back into the cold, unforgiving clime of Stygia. Leon notes that he can still feel his brother’s empathic link once back in the plane and excitedly pushes the teams forward. Outrunning a few creatures intent on having the group for dinner, the sled teams prove their value as the trip to Tantlin quickly goes by. After many long hours of travel, the group approaches the giant iceberg that houses the city in its icy interior. They climb the giant iceberg whose hollow inside houses the town of Tantlin and made their way through the icy cave that lead to the town. As they travelled, they noticed a grisly head of a great devil on a spear, obviously put in the path so that all would see; a plaque below said “the fate of all who challenge mighty Ingacka”. Late in the day and tired from the bone-numbing cold, the group heads for the relative warmth of the Polar Opposites inn, where merchants and other outsiders are allowed to gather when doing business in Tantlin.