… ortuitous surprise to befall us, but at the most unfortunate moment, Balthazar is shorter (for a human), slightly portly, with a big brown beard, deeply singed, he’s wearing a blacksmiths apron and looks like he’s been hard at work.
We immediately try to convince him to come with us as Isabella and her terrifying companion rise from their seats. Chai casts a sphere spell around him and Growbeck tries to lift it and run, the bandaged man raises his hand and locks it in place and tries to pull it back, but Growbeck and Chai hold fast.
I try to prevent violence and suggest that we discuss this over the reception dinner as the grounds are full of guests and we’re in the presence of our host, Lady Chance, but to no avail.
Holly turns to Roza and asks her bluntly if Balthazar is her guest, she replies a quiet yes, Lady Chance then turns to the Canniths and asks them forcefully to leave saying that they’re being rude to her daughter and her guest. Isabella glares at us one last time, turns and leaves, her party in tow.
We explain to Balthazar why he was summoned, and the help we need with our Feywild issue, he’s only half listening while timing something on a pocket watch, after a while he turns to us and says that if we can get him out of here, he’ll help us with our little problem.
We start making our way to the portals as the other guests are rapidly leaving, I ask our butler friend if our weapons and equipment can be ready for us on the way out, he gives a nod and dashes off.
Heading over the grounds, we’re approaching the portal when it disappears, violently dispelled, above us we hear an awful hum, as airships come into view, surrounding the grounds and house, we hear Roza’s mothers voice, magically amplified, “FAMILY MEETING” it cries. We see the table set up, stocking everything we handed over when we entered yesterday, we quickly tool up and follow Roza as we can see the household staff rushing around, arming themselves and setting up defenses.
We approach the study, a butler posted outside holding an enormous axe, Growbeck exchanges appreciative words with him, before declaring “mine’s bigger” as we enter the room. Roza’s family are there, Holly, James, Laurel and Posy, as well as her grandparents and Felix, there’s an open window and we can see the vast eye of Obelix.
“Unfortunately, the Chance household appears to be under siege, and we don’t lose, the Canniths will pay for this rudeness”
At this point an enormous fireball crashing into the house, then we feel the building start to move “the house has woken up”
The passage in the floorboards is opened and Lady Chance tells us we can get out this way, she instructs Felix to go with us and makes sure he knows it is his duty to protect Roza, as the house shakes once more.
She speaks into a crystal and her voice reverberates around the house “Those cannons are chipping the paint, please stop them”, suddenly, they stop.
Laurel and Roza hug as she says goodbye, I thank him for his gift and cast guidance on him.
We head down the passageway, built of the same stone as the rest of the home, Koronus has managed to convince Di to join us.
As we descend we plunge into darkness, going deeper and deeper, we enter a rectangular room with a vast stone door, in the shape of the face of a dragon.
Balthazar tells us that he isn’t a fan of his family, that they’ve tried to kill him several times, he states it matter of factly though, without malice.
We investigate the door, within the nostrils there seems to be room to reach your arm inside, Koronus notices there are mechanisms at the top, inside one of them there is an arm, the flesh has been charred away, leaving just the skeletal remains, and there are signs of acid damage where it cuts off.
Roza recognises the door from childhood stories, it is the Brass Dragons Maw, a gift to defend House Chance, gifted from one of the first dragons to marry into the family.
Chai and Roza team up to use sending to contact Holly Chance, they ask about the door, and if there are any traps, she says to beware, there are shackles that lock you in place, to choose a friend you’re not fond of, and to hurry as the Canniths are breaking through.
Koronus reaches his hands inside, Chai and I cast enhance ability and guidance to assist him, as soon as his hands are inside the shackles snap shut, before we can react, flames shoot out, burning most of us, Chai’s concentration breaks as she’s badly burned, and the door starts moving, pulling backwards, it drags Koronus through a pool as acid as it goes, burning him, in his pain, he can’t free himself. As the door is pulled away and the room gets longer, turrets are revealing, they fire acid at us, I manage to repel most of the shots with my shield, but get burned by one, it’s corrosion biting deep into my armour. Roza tries to take them out with multiple firebolts, but doesn’t make the impact she desired. I cast protection from energy on Koronus, protecting him from acid as Chai recasts Enhance Ability. Growbeck is back in the tunnel, using rope and pitons to make it as difficult to pass as possible, hopefully slowing the Canniths when they get here. Chai places a Guardian of Faith here to help.
Koronus disarms the manacle and jumps clear of the flames onto the dragons head. Roza, erupt the ground around him, bringing the turrets down with a mighty crash. I raise my hammer and bring a healing light to all of those hurt.
Con’nor smites divinely and Chai and I use radiant magic to destroy the rest of the turrets, Roza uses erupting earth to collapse the tunnel behind us as Koronus finally manages to disarm the trap and open the door.
We head past it, just as the Canniths break through behind us, the bandaged man shattering the rubble from the tunnels with a way of his hand, his troops run past, one getting snagged on Growbecks trap and falling face first into the Guardian of Face as he’s evaporated in radiant light, the Bandaged man dispels it and strolls ahead, entering the room as the dragons maw door closes in front of him.
We get to the end of the tunnel, it comes out into a hidden cave, there wouldn’t have been a way to see it from the outside, above us we hear the hum of an airship. Roza asks Balthazar how they blocked the portals, but he doesn’t know. We make a break for the woods, Koronus scouts ahead, finding a small camp from a Cannith patrol, we head around them and reach the edge of the forest, we debate making a break for the train station, or allowing Felix to transform and carry us in his dragon form, this seems the more risky option, but he’s sure he can outpace the airship and we wouldn’t risk any surprises like we would trying to bungle our way onto a train.
Felix transforms into a magnificent, shining Crystal dragon, I marvel at the structure of the Crystals on him, he’s a handsome half elf, but a truly beautiful dragon. We climb aboard as he readies himself and launches into the air, blasting off into the sky, Roza looks back towards her home in the distance, obscured by pillars of black smoke.
Chai tries to send a message to Holly, but receives no response.
Felix says that we should rest, so we land and manage to sneak onto a sleeper train car at a nearby village.
We send a message to the Outpost and ask them to get ready for the Cannith attack as they’ll inevitably be coming for us, Balthazar has also advised what he requires to build the gateway and relay the information for this. I also reach out to the Lord Regent of Greywall, Pro’bass with the same info, he responds and say that Greywall will stand with us.
I talk to Balthazar about the Canniths and their role in the Abjuration, he responds that maybe they were trying to stop it and the workshops were a response to everything that was happening, he seems to be telling the truth as far as I can tell.
Roza is still distraught at the last sight of her home, I reach out to Laurel by casting sending on her behalf, he says that he, Posy and their Grandparents are safe, but their parents are missing and the house has fallen.
Con’nor and Growbeck guard Balthazar while the group rests, the next morning we awake, ready to return to outpost, but one of our number is missing. Koronus has gone, and taken Balthazar with him, we’ve no idea how he managed to scoop him out from under our noses, Con’nor and Growbeck don’t seem to have answers either, but he has left a note.
Well it's been fun has it not (well I had fun anyway). It looks like I have stabbed you in the back, but you're not really shocked are you
So, I had a little contract with house Cannith (My patrons if you will).
While we have been at this beloved event, I have been a little busy. Yes, retrieving our visitor was no mean feat, but that is not to what I refer.
I in fact refer to the goings on at the outpost while we have been at this blessed event. My friends have
been busy to which I must offer you an emends...
To begin with, there has been a little fire at the docks, I needed to retrieve the houseboat, well it is the
property of house Cannith and it was naughty of you to steal it. But that's not the reason for the fire! needed a diversion for the other items which brings me to my amends...
Connor-my first amends goes to you, I could not have pulled off this without the help of your little Militia team. Admittedly it took a little time to get some of my guys in there but once I did things have gone like
clockwork. A little misdirect her and there allowed me access to things I needed to retrieve
Kharduum, I have borrowed those seed things when I let my guys know about them, they went wild...! used what we had learnt from the vault to retrieve some items....
Roza-To better understand what I had taken, I had to borrow some books from the library thanks for getting me a library cards but there may be some late fees...
Re-awakening the dead, movement between the planes, Mystical creatures, and their properties etc...
I have also taken some of the Dragon blood stones but not to fear I have not touched your as I had plenty
of my own to begin with...
I have taken my mind blocking ring well it was a gift.
As for the rest well, I could not have done this without you.
Well, I did say I was a scamp...
So, as I was saying it looks like I have stabbed you in the back... Or did I?
With my contract up I am now a free agent (bare that in mind when we next meet)... to that end I have left a gift for you guys back at the outpost..
Ask for Ront Axbrekka and let him know the Gingerbread men have come to collect their things.
If that does not work ask for the items behind the Jasper tree.
Well I hope to see you soon (but not too soon)
Kronos - Citizen of Cannith
That traitorous, villainous scoundrel, we’ve fought alongside him, I’ve saved his life more than once, healed his wounds, and he does this to us, everything we’ve been working towards, the fall of the Chance house, all undone thanks to the selfish actions of such a vile, wretched creature.
But he’s left another note, not of his hand, coded. Growbeck and I decipher it, it reads “ We know you seek Balthazar, deliver him and your debt is paid”, so it sounds like he was being blackmailed, but still, he should have come to us for help, may his Gods have mercy on his soul.
I don’t know much of the world before the Abjuration, I was just a small child when it happened, I grew up in the shadow of a quiet temple, nothing but small villages nearby, hoping to eke out a life in the wake of such volatility.
I traveled to the Capital and joined the Guild in the hopes of helping to bring stability to the barren lands, to allow people to prosper under the watchful light of Moradin. I’ve made friends, had adventures, and helped those in need. But I’ve also seen horror and despair, I’ve seen people so utterly devoid of empathy, seeking power and control just to satisfy their own twisted natures.
I will never forget the look on Roza’s face upon realising her house and those within were gone, and the sting in my heart at being betrayed by one I called an ally.