At the top of their ascent of tower magnificent…
Light – brilliant, bright, yellow-orange sunlight filtered through the skysea; that’s the first thing that strikes you as you emerge from the long ascent pillar of Tower Magnificent. The structure’s bluish-tinted crystal composition catches the afternoon sunlight along the many-varied surface of the tower pinnacle. Borne on an invisible current of magic, you rise with perfect smoothness from a hole in the ground ringed by an ornate decorative railing.
It seems natural and comforting to step once again on solid ground after so many minutes. The surface itself though, is strong and unyielding, and strangely resonant under your feet. The rooms themselves up here (and there are several) are sparsely adorned with the accouterments of wizardry. Bookcases of rich dark wood sport thick tomes of yellowing paper and flaking bindings. Other signs of habitation are evident, but through the slight distortion of the clear crystal walls you spy no bed, nor any chamber pots. You see here and there at least two unseen servants going about the tasks of keeping the pinnacle clean.
After a time of exploration, you spy a figure, regal and tall and clothed in the iconic dark purple robes favored by Kayal wizards. He stands on a rail-less balcony, gazing outwards towards the magnificent view of the surrounding mountains. Paravahl, a dark blot in the sky, hovers ominously in the distance. To his left is a podium-cage of polished glittering bronze, holding within it a floating albino snake with a forked tail. To his right is a simple writing desk – atop which rest the tools of a scrivener. No breeze kicks up to disturb the parchment or the arcanist’s robes.
“Impressive,” Kettoras said, greeting the party, “I expected that the Age of Silence may have ended, and here I am presented with proof.”
After a brief moment of discussion, Kettoras attacked the party – and though irritating to pin down, he was defeated without too much trouble and fled by jumping off the high tower. During the battle, it was revealed that the being they faced was a mere simulacrum of Kettoras – an old one at that, left behind to watch over the abandoned valley.
Simulacrum-Kettoras’ prisoner in the bronze cage identified himself Abihu, a Hypnalis originally from the lost ethereal plane. In thanks for his release, he promised to carry the tale of his rescue to his people in story and myth – a favor to be owed.
After a bit of looting, the party returned to the halflings, left safe and warm in Fee-air-fin’s cave. They led them out into the reclaimed Eldoreem Valley – the re-founding of the Kingdom of Concopion. There the halfings founded the city of Sanctum among the buttresses of Tower Magnificent, and elected the leaders of their community:
- Pimpernell – Mayor
- Bolger – Sheriff
- Figgery – Head of Temple Hospital to Cyrus
Sanctum was founded that day, on the principles of peaceful independent existence for all halfling slaves, and mercy and healing for those in need. A dark shadow was formed that day as well in Porto, who kept vengeance in their hearts for the oppressive Paravahlians.
In deference to the Emerald Regent, several halflings began their lives as ambassadors to the fey nation and the start of a druid faction within the community.
Their work done, the party continued East, making their way to the port city of Penumbra, an annex of Paravahl…
This port is a true annex of Paravahl – decadent decay drapes everything in a twisted apocalyptic elegance. Murky water tainted with sewage swirls about the buildings, all built upon stilts to make space for the vast fields of rice, aqueducts, and windmills.
The party quickly discovered the strange and morally decrepit inhabitants of Penumbra – the wayang. Odd little creatures of twisted shadow they were, conniving at the behest of their Kayal masters and worshiping desperately the empty shadow. Karucil was a prime specimen of his race, and obviously selected by Paravahl to ease the party’s transition through and out of Penumbra as quickly as possible.
The party wasn’t content to leave the city alone however, as they quickly discovered among the sins of the city was the hospitality offered to Verito – a human slavelord. Instead of fighting the slavelord directly however, Cyrus overpaid for the freedom of Verito’s halfing slaves. Such an act inspired the halflings, who informed the party of a dire situation forming for the halflings of Penumbra.
With Paravahl’s enchantment restored, the city no longer had to rely on the rice teleported into the city from Penumbra to fill its populace’s bellies with gruel. The value of rice had plummeted, and so had the usefulness of the halfling slaves that worked the fields. The fate of the slaves was in jeopardy.