So we’ve had half a session and four eighth, but not in that order.
First up, each character had a small solo-adventure to provide context for their levelling. Big changes happened to three out of them, so it seemed only appropriate.
Deep in slumber, Iona the necromancer dreamed of meeting her undead patron Matheus the Scorpion. He offered to undo mistakes in her personal development, and his dark promises caused her to retrain several feats. Now her undead servants have become orders of magnitude more powerful, able wreak havoc and chill with a mere touch. But before he could twist her even more with his taint, Iona was saved by her brother Gabriel. He left her with two simple words: Never fear.
On the rooftop of lord Hao Hao’s estate, Shaarhu sat in meditation. She focused on the tenants and mantras of her organisation and used Rumi’s ice dagger as a concentration aide. Suddenly! She found herself within that shadowy other world known only as The Nether, and talking to the goddess of death Herself! Shroude (or is that Morte?) gave her a pep talk, and a kiss on the cheek that implanted even greater determination to walk the path of the spy. With an invitation to return any time, Shaarhu awoke back in the world of the living to discover she had gained ice-based Dragon Style powers.
Beneath her feet, Rumi was invited out by a voice at his window. It was an examiner for the assassin-training organisation the Guild of Knives, and this drow was about to have his entrance exam. Led to a building like any other in the streets of Shianxi City, Rumi was instructed to silently kill whoever was behind an upstairs window. He opened it, to find a little girl asleep in her bed. Fighting uphill against his own moral code, and with shaking hands, he brought the blade down against her neck… only for her flesh withstood his attack! The examiner was at his side, and explained that this had been a test Rumi’s conviction instead of skill. He had passed, and no blood had needed to be spilled. Shaarhu emerged from the shadows to congratulate him, and the always-boisterous drow had suddenly taken on a much more fell mood.
Back at the estate Torik worked in his portable forge, and found that his hands were moving of their own accord. He had a vision of one of the six Divine Machines of Moradin: Al-Thyas, To-Stand-Tall-Against-The-Weight. He was commended on his tenacity and endurance through dark times, and told he would one day free Al-Thyas from his unworldly prison.
The next day, it was time to interrogate The Assassin in The Small Room deep beneath the estate proper. Torik and Shaarhu cracked the seal to find her unconscious, and had the good sense to cast Zone of Truth before waking her up.
She was tearful, and afraid, and desperate not be touched again. But she was also cooperative, and revealed everything she could about her former master Leaf-Tongue. He was working for some ‘higher order’, and referred to himself as a soldier in a secret war. And also of a place ‘elsewhere’ and ‘outside’ called Hecantonchier. This greatly troubled Torik, as that was the Common name of another of Moradin’s Divine Machines! They left ‘Anichkaar’, as that was her name, to a quiet room and promises of protection.
Not wanting to be left out, Rumi and Iona used the latter’s Speak With Dead spell to have a friendly chat about his motives. They confirmed that he had dealings with Hecantonchier (“It is a temple. It is a fortress. It is outside this world. And it is ours.”) and claimed to work directly for a ‘Stardust Dragon Razergent’.
All this was discussed over a modest breakfast of rice and steamed vegetables, and Shaarhu was reminded of an old prophecy the party had once come across. A painting of a shrine near her hometown, in flames and marked with a hammer and mask. Leaf-Tongue’s mask, in fact. They set off then and their, airship ready to reach the shrine within a day and a night.
The Post-Mortem: All around a good session, as the plot was advanced and everybody had something to do. Rumi has become more sullen at his own willingness to take an innocent’s life, but he’s working to get over it.
Today’s Lesson: Death can’t stop you being a snitch.