Desert stretched out before the adventurers. In the distance, what appeared to be a large swirling mass of air columned into the sky. Beyond that, there was nothing to be seen, so it was decided to make for the twister. It was a long trek through the sandy terrain and it didn’t take long for Desira and Al’ev to come to the conclusion that this was the elemental plane.
Their first obstacle made themselves known when large mounds of rubble formed up into rock elementals. One, which appeared to be the leader, was larger than the rest and formed up right in the path of the adventurers. Threateningly raising it’s large stone arm and pounding the ground, it spoke in a language that nobody recognized.
Sindri decided to try an converse with the elemental anyway, using a language that none of the other adventurers recognized though it sounded much like the noise that would be made from air passing through various objects. Auran.
The effort didn’t gain them much knowledge though it wasn’t difficult to figure out that the creatures didn’t want them to pass. Crim decided to try something a bit strange then and ran forward yelling “ROAR I’m a dragon!” using his knowledge of red draconic.
To the astonishment of the group, the creatures retreated. Taking this as a sign that they could intimidate their way through, the group collectively made their way through the elementals and were able to continue on to the twister. During this muscle flexing, the group discovered that several of their spells and magical items had become immensely more powerful. Several guessed that the increase of power only affected elemental based spells as they were in the plane from which such power originated.
Upon reaching this cyclone, Sindri tried to use his knowledge of Auran once more and was successful this time as it turned out that the cyclone was a wind elemental. He told Sindri of how “soft ones” had bound him here and he had been stuck for quite some time. Sindri noticed the runes on the ground and immediately attempted to release the wind elemental. Borrowing a dagger from Caramel, Sindri attacked the runes but the dagger was stopped by an invisible force inches above the face of the rune. Then a jolt of power sent the Halfling arcing through the air. Velius tried his best to catch him.
The adventurers had seen protection runes before and Al’ev as well as the Alchemist, who had revealed his name as Blasphemy, attempted to decipher which of the runes were responsible for protecting the others. The were unable to figure it out.
Sindri had been conversing more with the wind elemental while the two intellectuals busied themselves studying the rune patterns. He learned that he may be able to find some assistance a bit further in a direction opposite from the one they had come from. Without explaining exactly why, the Halfling flew off in that direction, leaving the remaining adventurers slightly frustrated with him. After a few moments, they followed.
Sindri arrived at his destination after a short time. A large pool of water stretched out before him. He noticed that this pool of water had a binding circle of runes as well, though this one seemed to be missing its protection runes. He attempted to converse with the pool of water just as the rest of the group caught up and received no response. Being able to properly identify which of the runes were protection runes, Sindri immediately took off back for the air elemental.
The heroes did not follow him as the energetic Halfling had still not shared anything with them.
Al’ev reflected that the Halfling had to learn a lesson about accepting help from others and insisted that they wait until he came back for help.
“5 Gold says he gets zapped again.” Al’ev said jokingly.
A few minutes later, Sindri arrived back at the wind elemental and picked out the protection rune using what he had seen from the water elemental binding circle. He attempted to disable it.
Back at the water elemental’s circle, the adventurers noted a bright flash in the sky and knew what that meant.
Sindri wasn’t about to give up after one try. He had to free this wind elemental who said he was connected to the material plane. He would help them return to where they should be and then he could go check on Al’ev’s brother Zell and perhaps pick up some women. He tried again to disable the magical rune.
The adventurers noted another flash in the sky and Al’ev shook his head. The halfling should be coming back soon.
Sindri still wasn’t about to give up, though his body was now hurting all over. He tried once more and another flash lit the sky, this one sending him flying backwards. He landed in the sand, panting.
Al’ev recognized his mistake right away. Most people he knew would come back for help instead of continuing to try to do it all on their own. But that just wasn’t in Sindri’s personality. He should have guessed. He began to worry when he didn’t see a fourth flash on the sky and decided to go make sure the Halfling was still breathing. The adventurers all went back to the air elemental then and found Sindri laying in the sand. He looked to be in a lot of pain.
“Maybe now you have learned a lesson?” Al’ev remarked, shadow over the Halfling.
Desira used a healing spell and a good portion of Sindri’s wounds disappeared. He immediately got back up and charged back to the rune circle to attempt to disable it once more. He returned via rune travel, again.
“Woah there Singedri. How about explaining what you’re doing before you get yourself killed? We may even help you out.” Al’ev stepped in his way just as he was about to dart back towards the runes.
Sindri hurriedly explained that he was attempting to disable the protection rune over the rune system. Al’ev saw that he wasn’t going to give up until either Sindri or the rune was destroyed and decided to try his own hand at it.
He recognized the rune’s intricacies when he took a closer look at it and figured out what the Halfling was probably missing. Using this knowledge, and what he gathered from Sindri’s previous attempts, he was able to disable the rune. Much to his dismay, the Halfling went over to another rune and raised the borrowed dagger in an attempt to destroy a binding rune.
Al’ev tackled him and began to ask him why he was so certain that this elemental should be freed.
Sindri explained that the elemental had said it was connected to the material plane and that it would help them return. Al’ev didn’t trust anything that easily but when he saw Caramel attempt to destroy the rune and get tackled by Neo, he knew there was no point in trying to stop them all.
He refused to let his blood influence him.
He released Sindri and the Halfling destroyed the rune. The air elemental wasted no time in flying into the sky leaving them all behind.
It had left them all behind and, after an earth elemental rolled out from under where the cyclone had been, they all saw another circle. This one looked very similar to the portals they had seen across the material plane. The ones created by the Sylvans.
Sindri activated the portal. Crim and Velius dove right in….and found themselves unable to move on the other side. They seemed to be encased in some sort of crystalline material. After a few moments, Crim recognized what lay beyond this material. It was the room in the desert in which they had first fought the white dragons.
Using a rarely used ability, he was able to free himself and saw that Velius and he had been stuck in the gem that had been dissolving anything it touched only now, there seemed to be no wind in the room.
The adventurers took a while getting around this new obstacle, seeing Velius stuck on the other side of the portal. They managed to all make it through with the use of Sindri’s passwall spell.
Al’ev and Desira went straight to the alcove in which they lost a friend and prepared to remove the corpse of Garyuu Reddaile as they had promised the monks of the Iron fist monastery that they would.
Remembering that the portals like the one Garyuu’s body laid behind were activated with a small bit of magical might and the proper key phrase, Al’ev activated this portal himself and the adventures found themselves back in the sewers of Trinity. Shortly after that, they arrived at the guild hall and split off to take care of a few things.
Several of the group received items they had requested a week earlier. Others puzzled over what they should do next.
Al’ev asked if anyone else found it odd that, after freeing the air elemental, the wind no longer appeared to be flowing through the crystal in the desert. They all paused for a few moments, and then went back what they had been doing. It seemed to him like they simply didn’t think it mattered. Or perhaps they just didn’t know what to think about that.
Eventually Al’ev asked Groatal if he had heard any news and they learned that it had been quite some time since there had been word out of Varalon. T’lemya and Desira seemed to be worried by this and Al’ev too as Goat had also mentioned that, after the red dragons had attacked Trinity, they seemed to be moving off in the human capital’s direction.
Al’ev weighed their options. Azar was still searching for he Phoenix, but he would be no closer to finding Caramel now then he had been before they had left to rescue Goat. So that could probably wait. There seemed to be little they could do about the massive ghoul armies forming on the opposite side of the Larian Mountains.
Considering these things and more, he put forward a plan of action. They would first visit Varalon to assess the situation there, then they would move on further south, passing through Kassadin on their way to the southern coast where there had been rumors of some sort of sea creature wreaking havoc. Perhaps they would be able to return Garyuu’s body to the monks and get an idea of what the enemy movements in the area were.
The adventurers didn’t have any other plans of action so they they set out in the morning and two days later saw the smoke rising from the human capital. Varalon had been attacked as well.
Sensing the worry spreading throughout the group and within himself, Al’ev summoned horses and nearly everyone rode into Varalon with urgency. The scene they found was very similar to what they had all seen when they arrived in Trinity just after the attacks. Much of the city had been raised, the lower ends of the City seeming to take a good portion of the damage.
T’lemya immediately made for what had been the dodgier part of town. The heroes followed and watched, some with a bit of worry, as she went from hideout to hideout, looking for Little John. Eventually she learned that he had moved to a midtown establishment called Fronty’s, by threatening a young street urchin. Some of the group didn’t approve of this, though they didn’t stop her from taking the actions she did.
They arrived at Fronty’s and several were less than pleased to see that the establishment was a Gentleman’s club. T’lemya rushed inside and Sindri right behind her. Everyone else waited, planning to go in after them if they hadn’t heard from them in a few minutes.
With a bit of effort, T’lemya was able to arrange for Little John to meet with her in the back of the club. Sindri, in the mean time, had failed to try and make it into a blocked off section of the club after attempting to pass himself off as the child of one of the exotic dancers who worked in the establishment.
The heroes waiting outside saw T’lemya briefly come outside and grab Al’ev by the arm then dragged him inside.
Al’ev knew that the tiefling was going through a lot seeing her home like it was now. He knew that Harry probably understood too. They had both lived through it before, after all. So he didn’t fight T’lemya as he was dragged through the club, though it wasn’t apparent why she had done so until they got to the back area where he saw many armed guards.
She wanted him here with her just in case they had to fight their way through the guards that had been posted about. Understanding why he was here, he kept careful watch on as many of the guards as he could while T’lemya met with the young man whom the group had rescued from goblins three months previously during The Trek to Varalon.
Much information was exchanged between Little John’s Lieutenant and the information broker himself. Al’ev found that as the conversation went on he was beginning to like the guy. John seemed to be wiser than most beings his age and knew many things that Al’ev was taught when he was younger. He could understand why T’lemya showed such loyalty and the kid earned a few points in his book by treating T’lemya as another person and not a monster.
Many of the details and much of what he learned of T’lemya, he decided he would keep to himself unless circumstances dictated he not. Though hearing the name Asmodeus during part of the conversation rang some bells in the back of his mind. He couldn’t quite place it and decided he had better ask Desira about the name when he got a chance.
As he filed this away he watched T’lemya suddenly slap John after he said something then hugged him. He felt a ping of hurt in his chest and had to will himself back out of his past lest he drop his guard.
Learning little from John that they didn’t already know, except that there was less Illundra activity in Trinity since the attack, they left Little John behind and gathered up the party from Fronty’s before they ventured forth once more…