The Shadow of Chaos

Session 23: Murders: Attempted and Actual
Disappearances in Telos

Following their destruction of the Yuan-Ti temple and their securing of a trade deal with Lady Viala of Gazeshore, the party returned to Telos with the loot they had taken from the temple – unbeknownst to Viala – and a caravan of relief supplies from Viala. Meeting with Melentia by the edge of the city, who warned them of strange happenings in the town, they entered Telos.

Alta, one of the three leaders of the settlement, met the party outside. After a brief conversation, it became clear that the party though Corsairiph was still in Telos, but Alta believed Corsairiph had returned. Pushing that concern out of the immediate attention, Alta began to bring the gawking settlers to the caravans to speak with the Empthery and take them into the settlement while the party waited. After about fifteen minutes, she led the party – followed shortly by Martin, one of the other leaders – to the office of Hazdron, the last of the three leaders.

Hazdron was wrapping up a conversation with a man named Tarn – something to do with his workers stealing or vandalizing his workspace – when Alta entered. Tarn quickly left, leaving the party to fill in Hazdron on what had transpired, and ultimately give their opinion on the Empthery. Wilhelm expressed concern that the Empthery were creatures of Chaos, not order, which may make long term compatibility impossible. He also mentioned that the Empthery were once human and that, while the Empthrax and Empkaorti should not be trusted, the Empthery themselves were likely someone that could be worked with. Donald also mentioned having issue with the severe slave culture of the Empthery. Around this time, Siara, the representative sent by Lady Viala, entered the room. Hazdron and Alta remained to speak with her, but Martin was not interested, and he asked the party if they could come with him, as he had a request to make of them.

At his tent in the training ground, Martin informed the players that the settlement had turned the small woods growing out of the city's former park into a farming ground, and that over the past few weeks there had been several attacks by strange brain-like floating tentacled creatures on the farming ground, mostly at or near the night time. The first attack had resulted in the death of Eon Flightling, a former monk of the Hazatarian Monastery.

Martin requested the party's assistance in tracking and killing these creatures, as they likely made their homes outside the protective dome of the city. After requesting that Martin take special care of the party's wagon, Martin instructed second lieutenant Aven to show the party to the site of the attack. 

Aven, a halfling warrior, led the party to the farmland, but in a round about way. As they walked, he told the party that he was taking them to Corsairiph; there had been an assassination attempt on Corsairiph, who had been in hiding since, and he reached out to Aven for help. The party reunited with their friend, who told them he had been ambushed by a woman named Beatrice who shot him thrice with a heavy crossbow, almost killing him. Aven and Corsairiph were unable to get any significant leads, other than that Hazdron had disagreements with Corsairiph about how Hazdron was structuring the finances of the settlement.

After agreeing on how they would reintroduce Corsairiph into the colony and deal with this threat, the party ventured to the recently uprooted woods and now tilled farmland. Aven called over the overseer, Trent Killspire, who quickly and nervously gave information to the party about the creatures (whom Corsairiph was able to identify as Gricks), eyeing Gilly the whole time.

Gilly talked to a worker and a guard to gain more information on the creatures to track them, and then went to speak with Trent, whom she recognized as a foreman on her slave farm. Trent denied knowing her, and the conversation escalated  until Trent threatened to strike her. Pulling out a concealed dagger, Gilly stabbed Trent in the stomach, then sliced his neck, killing him. Donald, who was watching this incident, immediately cast Fog Cloud. The guards noticed the commotion and surrounded it. Donald led Gilly out, followed by Lilthic who had run in. After "dispelling" the cloud, Donald and Gilly explained the foreman had gotten aggressive with Gilly, cutting her, and she had reacted in defense. The explanation convinced Aven enough not to place Gilly in custody, but he informed them some sort of investigation would need to follow.





Session 20: A Chalice of Blood
Arc: Diplomacy in Gath

As the Empthery army began their assault on the temple, the party charged the western gate, now lightly guarded. While the ghost Man possessed a Pureblood, the party felled the sentry Malison and other pureblood without any difficulty. 

They then crept around the temple exterior and found three broodguards and two Malisons guarding the temple entrance. Rienna and Avi possessed two of the broodguards, while the party went about eliminating the remaining.

Lilthic, in the process of eliminating another Mailson, climbed atop one of the guardtowers, from which he could see that the force that had been aboard the boat was nearly spent; however, few, if any, of the Empthery appeared to have been killed. To the south, the Empthery army was sustaining losses, but near to breaching the wall.

After only a half minute, the first of the Empthery from the souther force entered the temple courtyard. One Empthery, a elderly woman and newly made cleric of Umberlee who faith Donald restored, healed the party of the minor wounds they had sustained. The Empthrax leading the forced informed Lilthic that they would guard the temple entrance while the party infiltrated, but under Lilthic's advice, the Empthrax sent a portion to try and free the prisoners by the boat.

Wilhelm, meanwhile, took to examining the temple door. While wooden, it was incredibly thick and sturdy, with two beams inside holding it close. Advising the party to stand back, Wilhelm cast Shatter on door. While the door was not destroyed, the beams cracked and fell. Donald stepped forward, and with a blow of his hammer, beat the door open.

Inside the temple main floor, there was a raised altar upon which sat a black chalice filled to the brim with blood. Six pillars surrounded the altar, and a ring of blood filling a gutter in the floor connected the pillars.

As the door flew open, two Nightmare Speakers in wait beside the altar cast four Eltritch Blasts; three of the beads of force slammed into Donald's chest, but he still stood. The party flooded into the room, but soon realized that an enchantment on the chalice maintained a force field around the pillars. After a few failed attempts to unmake the barrier, the Donald and Melissa forced themselves inside to battle the Nightmare Speakers, followed quickly by Lilthic, and soon the Nightmare Speakers were deceased, but the field remained.

Despite Wilhelm twice casting Shatter on the chalice, it seemed unharmed. Donald attacked it with his weapon. It cracked, and a burst of energy 




Session 19: March on the Temple
Arc: Diplomacy in Gath

The army of Empthery supplied to the party by Lady Overseer Viala of Gazeshore, was marching to do battle with and stop the ritual of the Yuan-Ti when Lilthic, who was traveling ahead of the party, noticed some of the trees beginning to shift. He ran back and warned the army in time to prevent a full front ambush, but not enough to completely prevent the conflict. A number of Twig Blights charged the front of the army, followed quickly by large, hulking Chaos Trees which ran forward and began laying waste to the army with their a breath of purple mist.

With the quick thinking of the party and the assistance of the three ghosts, however, the party and the army managed to fell the trees quickly without significant loss. Donald aided the injured following the battle; Gilly attempted to assist, but accidentally crushed an Empthery's esophagus instead.

Skirting the woods and going north, the army eventually met the boat they had sent upriver and rested for the night. After a brief strategy session, the party determined that they would like to scout out the temple itself. They decided Wilhelm would follow Lilthic to the temple, and when they came close, he would turn Lilthic invisible so he could scout the temple. Gilly would accompany them as well, to provide additional security for Wilhelm.

The three stalked through the forest until it came to a relative clearing. The trees became trimmed, and seemed to be planted rather than growing wildly. Where this break occurred, there were statues of an Anathema which circled the entire perimeter of the Yuan-Ti territory. Moving more carefully, the party managed to avoid one Yuan-Ti patrol. At about a mile and half from the temple, Wilhelm cast Invisibility on Lilthic, and then Wilhelm and Gilly fell further back down the river near the edge of the Yuan-Ti territory.

Lilthic ran next to the river so that his running footfalls would make it harder to hear him. Narrowly avoiding on patrol, he made it to the temple. He saw an empty bay the size of the ship the party had stolen guarded by a number of Yuan-Ti who seemed to be awaiting the vessel's return.

Lilthic continued to the temple ground, and climbed the exterior wall to view the camp inside. The camp was tense, and somewhat empty for its size. Purebloods scarcely walked about the camp and sentries kept guard at the entrance. At the temple itself, two Malisons stood guard in at the step that led up to the temple's massive wooden door. The top of the temple, he noted, was a closed pyramid, despite Viala's statement that the ritual would be on the top of the temple's exterior.

He dropped down and skirted the walls, then darted to the temple. Unlike the haphazardly constructed cobblestone walls, the temple was made of smooth, grey-green stone that, despite being ancient, still stood firm. Lilthic climbed onto the temple and began walking up the steep slop to the top. Halfway up, he saw a trip wire and a small grove, and turned back to try the door. As he landed, one of the Malisons heard him. Lilthic tried to go inside quickly, but the door was bared. The Malison swung at the invisible monk, but Lithic just managed to avoid the strike, and the Malison returned to his post. After a few minutes, the creatures suspision died down. Lilthic tried the door again, but it was definitely barred shut, so he climbed back onto the temple exterior.

Lilthic stepped over the wire and the grove, and headed to the top. As he neared the top, his head hit stone . . . unseen stone. He fingered the stone and followed it around the perimeter of the upper level of the temple. As he rounded about, he heard whispers, groans, and the hissing of hundreds of snakes. Then, an incantation. Fear began to take root in his mind, but he was stronger. Realizing his luck was nearing an end, he began to run back down the temple and out of the gates. As he ran, though, one lucky arrow shot by an unseen creature atop the invisible structure pierced his shoulder. Lilthic still made it out without any further harm, but, it would seem, the Yuan-Ti were alerted to the scout.

Lilthic returned to Wilhelm and Gilly, then to the party left behind at the boat. Deciding that the Yuan-Ti may not think too much of a scout, they elected to proceed with attacking the following morning, as previously decided. A number of Empthery would disguise themselves as Yuan-Ti and sail up to the harbor, then those below deck would attack. Due to the harbors close proximity to the temple, they would be able to get this surprise force almost on the western doorstep of the Yuan-Ti. Meanwhile, the bulk of the army would head up the river and, after the surprise attack had drawn out the Yuan-Ti forces, attack the southern gate, which Lilthic believed would be the easiest position to hold if necessary. Lastly, the party would infiltrate from the east, breakdown the temple door, and face whatever might be inside.

The following morn, the party and their army set out. They encountered only one Yuan-Ti patrol along the way, which was quickly dispatched. As they neared the temple, they split from the main force. They heard the attack of the boat begin, then, shortly after, the army begin their assault. A number of Yuan-Ti left to go face the invading force, but a few stayed behind to guard the western entrance and the entrance to the temple itself.

Session 18: Preparations
Arc: Diplomacy in Gath

In the aftermath of a sudden assault on Gazeshore by the Yuan-Ti, the party raced across the hilly landscape which surrounded the town in an effort to track down and stop the Yuan-Ti who had kidnapped some thirty Empthery. They were successful, and ambushed the Yuan-Ti just before they escaped down river in their vessel.

After healing any wounded and taking anything of use from the fallen foes, the party and the freed prisoners climbed into the boat and sailed upriver. Though no one was a particularly gifted sailor, Donald, with his experience as a cleric of a storm deity, was able to guide one of the Empthery and they were able to guide the boat safely through the river.

As the boat neared Gazeshore, a number of Empthery saw the Yuan-Ti and began firing at it. At first, Wilhelm threw up a message in the air displaying they they were friends, but the illiterate Empthery kept firing until the boat was close enough for Donald to yell out with his Thamaturgy. Without further incident, they docked at the shore.

As the party left the ship, an Empthrax met them and told them that Viala wished to see them the moment they arrived. Upon arriving at Viala's home, they found her pacing furiously whilst Siara stood in the farthest corner watching. Viala hastily confirmed that the mission was successful, after which she noticeably relaxed.  She continued to inform the party that her predecessors who learned about the Yuan-Ti ritual determined it would take place at the first full light of the new year from examining Yuan-Ti texts. However, they never bothered to question whether the Yuan-Ti calendar was the same as the Empthery calendar. As such, Viala stated that the party had to assume the first full moon of the Yuan-Ti new year was in thirteen days.

The party retired to the inn, and decided that they would have numerous Empthery board the boat and sail up to the temple as a distraction while the remainer of the army attacked.  The following day, they met breifly with Viala as the army assembled, and then headed out.

They marched for several days, with some commotion on the second as the Ghosts appeared quite suddenly, though Wilhelm managed to calm the Empthrax and consequentially the Empthery.

On the second day, the army had entered the forest. As they neared the rendezvous point, Lilthic, who had taken point, began to notice some of the shrubs moving. He ran back, shouting for the army to stop, as a line of Twig Blights and Chaos trees began charging the army.


Session 17: Hostage Negotiation
Arc: Diplomacy in Gath

Following the surprise assault on Gazeshore, the party, victorious, began to rush about the aftermath of the battle. Gilly, along with the Empthery rushing to the scene, began putting out the fires on huts. Donald, with the assistance of two Empthery, healed many of those who recieved near mortal wounds in the battle, drastically decreasing the number of soldiers claimed in the assault.

About ten minutes into this endeavor, Wilhelm noticed smoke rising from the direction of the inn. He, Lilthic, and Melissa ran and found the inn billowing in flames; the first floor was nearly devoured by the fire and the second  was beginning to burn as well. Lilthic immediately ran upstairs to get his belongings. Wilhelm ran into the flames. As the heat seared his skin, he searched for and eventually found a large barrel of water behind the bar. With his magic, he swirled the water about, slowly, but surely dosing the flames before they could do any major damage to the inn's structure or the party's goods. He and Melissa searched the area and found a single, burnt out torch that had been thrown down on the ground. 

The remaining parties members arrived soon after, as did Viala. Viala dismissed the inn's attack, stating that the Yuan-Ti may have learned of the party, or they may have just assumed important guests may have been staying in it. She stated the that Yuan-Ti had attacked on three fronts, with the largest being at the center, and the Empthery at the flanks had fared very well. However, the Yuan-Ti's goal was not to pillage; it was a cover. During the attack, they kidnapped around 30 Empthery. This was all the more troubling when Gilly informed the party that the creation of a Yuan-Ti Anathema required the creature to bathe in the blood of its enemies.

Given that the ritual was not to take place until the first full moon of the new year, which was several months away, Viala could not understand why the Yuan-Ti would attack now. She left to go research the matter in her home. Corsairiph mentioned that someone ought to warn Telos against a possible assault; he volunteered to use the Pocket Bubble in Gath to transport himself to Telos, despite the dangers of traveling through one.

Meanwhile, the party went to the residencies where the Yuan-Ti had kidnapped the Empthery. Gilly discerned that the Empthery had gone directly west; Wilhelm sent his owl to scout, then went to speak with Viala about the possibility of sending out Empthery to reclaim the hostages. Viala stated that the party would be most capable for the task and that she could not spare many Empthery, as many were wounded and she needed to guard against as future attack.

While Wilhelm was gone, Donald mentioned the posibilty that Viala orchestrated the burning of the inn to erase any hesitation the party may have about attacking the Yuan-Ti. Additionally, it was possible that the Yuan-Ti and Viala were working together for some ulterior purpose. While the party did not outright dismiss the idea, they agreed to keep it in mind but to prioritize the hostages.

Lilthic, Melissa, Donald, and Gilly began searching through the residence for signs of how the hostages may have been taken. Melissa noticed paired footprints and dragmarks on the ground, indicating that some hostages were drug along, but others followed willing, or at least on foot. When Wilhelm returned, they agreed to go after the hostages, whom Viala suggested may be getting led to the river. Wilhelm's owl returned to confirm that the Yuan-Ti were now heading east, toward the river.

They found Viala and asked her for aid, and in a half hour, she was able to find a few soldiers to accompany the party, one of whom was Tarvish, the Empthery Donald, Gilly, and Lilthic had spoken to the previous day.

With the aid of Gilly's keen tracking abilities, the party was able to follow the Empthery even at a breakneck pace. They traveled for two hours at their limit, and as they crested a hilltop, they saw a river, a boat, and fifteen Yuan-Ti leading Empthery towards the vessel. Some Empthery were stuffed in bags while others were following under the influence of a Suggestion spell.

The group of ten managed to sneak up on the Yuan-Ti unnoticed. While Donald destroyed the ramp to the boat, the rest of the party attacked the unsuspecting Yuan-Ti. The party made short work of the Yuan-Ti and freed the prisoners. 


Session 16: Assault on Gazeshore
Arc: Diplomacy in Gath

Weary from the battles and negotiations that the day had brought, the party went about their own devices following their six hour negotiation with Viala. Most went to sleep immediately, or two spend time in their respective rooms. Only Gilly and Wilhelm did anything of note; the former memorized the maps which Viala had given for their review and Wilhelm began the long process of fully fixing the Companion Cube.

Early in the morning, before the lights in the sky had begun to shine again, the party awoke hearing a distant but growing conflict. Donald could see a small conflict in the farmlands from his window, but Wilhelm looked out his window, which overlooked the residencies, and was able to make out fires, battle, and snake people: the Yuan-Ti.

 Wilhelm woke Marcellus, and after a minute, the two had gathered their weapons. Lilthic was waiting in the hallway to speak to Wilhelm about something, but when Wilhelm conveyed the urgency of the situation, Lilthic followed him and Marcellus out of the inn.

Meanwhile, both Donald and Melissa, who had misjudged the urgency of the battle, began strapping on their armor, with the assistance of the three ghosts. Corsairiph also left his room a little late, but after checking in on both Melissa and Donald, went off towards the battle.

As Wilhelm, Lilthic, and Marcellus left the inn, they were met by Viala, who was coming out of her home to investigate the conflict. Though the battle was initially blocked by the inner wall of Gazeshore, the four quickly came to the opening where they saw not three hundred feet away the fires and the battle, and they broke out into a sprint.

Lilthic, who was faster than the rest, and Wilhelm, whose spells had recently taken an exceptionally long range, were able to engage in the battle soonest. As they neared, they saw a horde of Yuan-Ti Broodguards under the command of Malisons and a Nightmare Speaker. The Empthery guards who had been at the conflict from the start were nearly exhausted. Among the fray, they also saw Gilly.

Gilly had fallen asleep in her armor and began running the moment she heard the conflict. On her own, she had been slowing the Yuan-Ti's advance, but now, as the Empthery on the front lines were falling and the Yuan-Ti were turning their eyes to the halfling archer, she was beginning to fall back.

As Wilhelm, Marcellus, Lilthic, and Viala (along with some Empthery she called to her aid) joined Gilly on the battlefield, the tide of the battle slowly began to turn into the favor of the party; Gilly held at bay the Yuan-Ti forces who were attempting to flank the party; Lilthic engaged the front line of brood guards, and Wilhelm, Marcellus and Viala provided support with their ranged spells and area of effect magic.

As the battle waned, Marcellus and Gilly fell (later healed by Corsairiph), but, ultimately Wilhelm dealt a killing blow to Nightmare Speaker with his magic missile while she futilely tried to hide behind the fallen bodies on the battlefield, and Viala bared her claws and teeth as she took to shredding the opponents still on the battlefield, showing the party that the claws on her face could be used for burrowing into an opponent's flesh.

In the aftermath of the conflict, Viala left to survey the rest of her colony while the party stayed behind to rest and recooperate. Donald, who arrived as the fight was ending, tended to the Empthery who had fallen, saving several who would have otherwise died.

As they stood among the dead, the ghosts appeared. Rienna yelled "She's coming!", and the three fled into Melissa, Donald, and Corsairiph. Several moments passed. Then, a faint whisper, noticeable only to those possessed by the ghosts, filled the air, increasing to a horrible, vapid howling shriek. Dread overcame the possessed. Then, the felt a tug; something pulling upon the ghosts inhabiting them. Corsairiph and Melissa were able to keep the ghosts inside of them with the strength of their sanity. For Donald, however, it was too much, and he reflexively tried to cast out Avi, who inhabited him; but she kept her hold on him. The dread howl grew fainter, and the oppressive darkness lightened. One could only assume that Dendar, the Night Serpent, God of the Yuan-Ti had come and passed.

Session 15: Rules of Negotiation
Arc: Diplomacy in Gath

After a long morning that proved nearly fatal on several occasions, the party found the deadline for their meeting with Viala nearing and their plan for said meeting underdeveloped. On top of that, a half hour from the meeting itself, Marcellus came to the party, and declared that after learning what evils Viala was inflicting on the Empthery – and learning that one Empthery was his still living mother – he wished to come up with some plan to free the Empthery.

There was little time to discuss this proposition, as an Empthery shortly after appeared at the door with a letter from Viala which contained the rules and procedures for negotiating Kaorti culture. By the Kaorti Negotiating Customs, Corsairiph inferred that the negotiation with Viala has already begun. If the party were to cancel or delay it, as they were currently planning, their ability to negotiate further would be either at Viala's mercy or forfeit altogether.

With this  in mind, the party was forced to table any discussion of how to manipulate Viala into freeing the Empthery and save that discussion for a later day when they had more leverage. In the meantime, the focus would be securing food for the settlement.

Donald, Wilhelm, and Corsairiph were selected as those who would directly negotiate with Viala as the Prime Negotiators, while the rest of the party would act as secondaries – advisors, if you will. Viala greeted the party, and invited them into negotiations. Viala began by questioning who exactly the party was, though she was mostly satisfied with Donald's answer of a 'dwarf', then moved more quickly into what they wanted and what it was that they could offer for it.

Corsairiph began by mentioning how their own blacksmith had unique designs which could be sold and taught to those in Gath. Viala was underwhelmed by this, while interested, and stated that if she was to take the risk of opening trade with an unknown race, she would need something more enticing. Donald, also in an attempt to stall negotiations so that they could have more time to discuss amongst themselves, mentioned the possibility of a slave revolt. Though trying to pass it off as an idea they were not considering, Viala seemed suspicious and grew noticeably more hostile. Her secondary negotiator, Sariah, suggested that negotiations cease altogether. Viala did not respond. Fortunately, the party realized this was a trap to get them to break the rules of negotiation.

Donald, Wilhelm, and Corsairiph together managed to calm down Viala's suspicions. Then, Viala offered a proposal of her own; in order to build trust, she wanted the party to undertake a task which would be to their mutual benefit.

In the woods, the race known as the Yuan-Ti were beginning a ritual to create a Yuan-Ti Anathema, which Gilly recognized to be a nearly divine creature which, when created, had a tendency to forge empires. In exchange for stopping this ritual, she would open trade with the settlement as well as provide a credit balance which the settlement could use on goods from Gath. Corsairiph thought this to be a very good deal, but Donald declared that, if the Empthery could defeat the Yuan-Ti as Viala claimed they could, it was clear the party wasn't needed at all. Corsairiph began to reprimand Donald, but then Marcellus whispered a Suggestion spell into his ear that he go along with what Donald said.

For the first time in the conversation, Viala's imposing control lapsed, and she increased her reward as well as offered the party a small amount of free assistance from her militia if they accepted to do this. After a decent amount of time discussing, the party agreed. Viala did add one more condition – that she be the ambassador to the settlement from here on out, to which the party agreed after some attempts to not.

Corsairiph and Viala spent the next several hours writing the Trade Agreement Between Gazeshore and the Colony at Telos. Viala provided two maps, one of the woods and one of the Yuan-Ti settlement, and then the party bid goodnight, and returned to the inn to rest and to plan at dawn.


Session 14: Sleeping, Shopping, Touring and Sleeping
Arc: Diplomacy in Gath

After narrowly escaping the clutches of the Gazebo Alpha, the party reached the shore by the fishing docks in Gath. Wilhelm immediately leapt off the boat and ran to his room in the inn to begin work on the Companion Cube, followed by Corsairiph. The others remained at the dock while Donald healed their injuries, but they followed quickly, as they felt the mental strain of the Realm of Chaos, a result of being near the edge of the companion cube's range.

While Gilly and Lilthic went to their rooms, the others went to find Wilhelm. Donald, after making sure he would not interrupt a critical part of Wilhelm's work, spun Wilhelm around and confronted him; during the battle with the Gazebo Alpha, Gilly was lying unconscious, yet Wilhelm stepped over her body to grab another of the tentacles instead of healing her. Wilhelm cut the conversation short, explaining that he was not a healer and that they had a mission and that, right now, he needed to work on the companion cube. Donald stormed out of the room and went to his own quarters.

Over the course of the hour, in which Wilhelm managed to stabilize but not fully repair the companion cube, the party rested and convened to discuss their plans between now and their meeting with Viala. Marcellus declared that he would like to go out on his own, and then left. The remainder of the party decided to look around the town.

They began with the marketplace. While more of a trading post, it did have a few items that posed minor interest to the party; Wilhelm bought some vials, Gilly fishing equipment, and Corsairiph spent time parusing the weapons while also testing their quality to see if smithing was a capability the colony at Telos could offer; he did determine that, in Gath, anyway, the capabilities could certainly be improved.

They then walked northwest, and soon heard whips cracking, followed by moans which came from a tall rectangular structure enclosed in stone; they had found the torture grounds of Gath. Wilhelm did not wish to see what was inside that structure, so he continued on his way, followed by Melissa and Corsairiph.

Donald, Gilly, and Lilthic stayed, however, and climbed a ladder onto the plaform. Inside the enclosed space were six Empthery crawling on the ground – four of whom were in the boat that aided the party that morning. Two Empthrax – one of whom was Bator – were lording over them with notched whips, striking the Empthery when they tried to rise, or fell, or stopped moving.

The three debated what to do, but Donald ultimately suggested the ghosts possess the Empthrax and let the Empthery free. Soon after, Rienna appeared behind Bator and attempted to possess him. She failed, and Bator turned on her with his whip. While taking several repeated strikes, Rienna tried multiple times to signal the party to look away, finally succeeding, and then used her Horrifying Visage against Bator and the other Empthrax. While the later resisted, Bator fled in terror, and his body aged decades. Rienna fled, leaving Bator curled up against the wall, still weeping in terror. At a loss, the other Empthrax went to find Viala.

The Empthery quickly fell off their knees, relieved to have reprieved, but only one seemed remotely interested in engaging the party – a younger looking Empthery named Tarvish, who had been on the boat that helped the party earlier that day. He explained that the Empthrax in charge of the docks considered his claim that they had helped the party a lie, and that was enough to sent them to the torture grounds; there was a quota that needed to be met, so it was standard for small offenses to land one in the ground. Tarvish himself claims to have been tortured 10 times over the last month. When Donald asked if Tarvish had ever considered revolting, he plainly lied as he said "Of course not, that would be stupid". Gilly attempted to convince Tarvish and the others to escape, but they declined, not wishing to earn Viala's wrath.

When Viala arrived, she apologized for any inconvenience to the party, then went to examine Bator. She whispered something in his ear, then told the other Empthrax that Bator would be among the tortured today. As she left, she told the party that it seemed Wilhelm appeared to have been injured, and that he was in the inn.

Meanwhile, Wilhelm, Melissa and Corsairiph made their way to what the found to be the cemetery. The land was bare of vegetation. In the far end, there were gravestones, but the rest was a common burial plot. Many of the graves had been upturned, and bones littered the cemetery. The three walked through it to look at the gravestones, finding that most were written in common, and many were upturned. One of the upturned graves belong to Mark Karelli, who died at age 36 ten years before the Shadow of Chaos.

As they were walking about, Corsairiph notices a white, spectral woman rising out of the burial ground; she rushed forward and let out a harsh, loud, shriek that racked the three's minds and bodies with pain, and Wilhelm, still injured from the encounter with the Gazebo's, fell. Melissa and Corsairiph scrambled, struggling with their fear of this creature and their desire to stay and help their friend. Melissa tried to stabilized Wilhelm, but could not. Corsairiph, who originaly was going to run, turned back to bring Wilhelm back to consciousness. As the three began to flee, another banshee appeared, quickly making her way to them. Corsairiph and Melissa ran around to the entrance while Wilhelm scrambled over the wall. They all made it out, but as they did, the banshee unleashed another scream, felling Wilhelm once more.

Melissa and Corsairiph rushed Wilhelm back to the inn after stabilizing him. On they way, Viala saw them; she asked the Empthrax, Siarah, who ran the trading post, to give Wilhelm a healing drought to bring him to consciousness. The three then went back into the inn to regain their breath.

Not two minutes later, Donald, Gilly, and Lilthic burst into the inn asking for Wilhelm. Wilhelm, having gone unconscious three times in the past three hours, was nearing his breaking point. He suddenly burst out a stream of apologized to Gilly for not tending to her when she was unconscious; he knows how it feels now and he never should have prioritized the tentacles over her. He then went upstairs to sleep, leaving Gilly rather confused, until Donald explained how Wilhelm had been a jerk. 

An hour and a half later, at around 11:30, Marcellus returned, and the party assembled to talk about their rapidly approaching meeting with Viala. As the conversation began, Marcellus quickly interjected, raising his head to reveal hateful eyes red from crying. While on his own, he had asked around the town and found that one of his family still lived; his mother. He had learned of the torture Viala had inflicted upon the town and upon his mother, and he declared he had a goal for the the meeting: force Viala to free the Empthery, and to rule them henceforth fairly, justly, and kindly.


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