Shieldbashers

Gaze of the Demon Queen

High above the Demonweb Pits, the Demon Queen of Spiders, Lolth, stands on her observation deck. Below her, her massive Chaos Ship, formed in the image of a huge spider, rumbled deep with its unending power.

It had been only a few minutes since her strike team had teleported below to the Pit of the Old Gods, but it was still a few minutes too long. Oh how she wanted that dagger. Oh how she wanted to know the secrets of the Dawn War chambers, lost so many thousands of years ago. When she saw the flash of red, signaling the teleportation of the Sheildbashers, she sighed. Her eyes narrowed.

“This isn’t over,” she whispered. Raising a hand she examined the ragged nail from where her Aspect had been spawned.

“Fuck”

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Weston

“I was a good man once,” Weston keeps his black eyes on the table in front of him. The thumping of the music in the Three Wishes vibrates through the table, but your attention is clearly on the man, if he can be called that, in front of you. His hands hold a cup filled with a warm red liquid Azonia had brought to him. You find how quickly she came to it a little alarming.

“I was a good man, once,” Weston repeats. “But not now.”

“I believed in what Zovelle was doing. I believe it even now. I could lie to you and tell you I didn’t know about the diabolical machine, but I did. He needed it to survive. A beast like him always hungers for blood. A beast as large as he requires so much of it. He served a purpose in Sigil. He got rid of those who needed to leave. We didn’t go after the workers. We didn’t go after those who produced things and who made Sigil a better place. We went after those who prayed on others. We went after those who grew fat from the sweat and torn bodies of others. So we tore their bodies as well.”

“He isn’t dead,” Weston looks to you and you see the tiny pinpoint of red light in the center of his black eyes. “Not really. Zovelle has been here a long time. His web of influence grows deep within Sigil. You may have cut apart his body, but his life lives on in the web of influence he created. His servants, though they do not think of themselves as such, will not stand for your actions. There will be repercussions for your actions. I can help you a small bit with this, but I was never a smart one. I was his master-at-arms, his enforcer. When he had a dirty job that needed to be done, and you can only imagine what dirty jobs existed that one such as himself would not do, I did them.”

“I want you to know this before you make your decision. I will serve you. I will not lie to you. I will ensure your bar is safe. I will act as your cooler.”

“But when I leave for an evening, do not ask where I go.”

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Monster's Ball

After recovering two of the weapons of the Dawn War for Sinodel and Rosa, the party attended Zovelle’s party. There they found that Zovelle had been processing nobles in some huge terrible infernal machine. This machine grinded them up and chewed them out into a Blood Vault below Zovelle’s manor. There, the party battled Zovelle in his true form, that of a vampiric dragon.

After returning to their brothel, the party was addressed by Weston, Zovelle’s right hand man, who wished to work for them.

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Vlax

Sixty seven years ago…

The cabin door opened sending in the rushing hot winds of Chaos. Captain Irik narrowed his one remaining eye at the intruder, the young one – Vlaxx.

“You wanted to see me?” said the young Gith. Irik nodded and motioned for her to sit. In the center of his Fey-oak table sat a small orb no larger than an eye. It swamp with red and orange light, the same light of the massive Chaos engines of the ship in which they sat.

“Take hold of it with your mind, Vlaxx.” Said Irik. Vlaxx smiled at him and concentrated on the orb. It rose from the center of the table and spun in the air. “Difficult?” asked Irik.

“No,” said Vlaxx, with a smile. Irik stood and circled around her. From his belt he drew a curved knife of shining silver and put it to her to her throat. The orb wavered.

“If it drops, I will kill you where you sit.” said Irik.

He pressed the blade in. A small drop of green blood rolled down her slender neck.

“I will cut off your head right now. You will never see the skies of chaos again. You will never laugh with the crew. You will never get out of that chair. You will die staring at that orb laying on the desk. I will pick up your body and throw it out the back of the ship and not a single soul will ever mention your name again or spare you another thought. It will be as though you have never been.”

The orb wavered but held. Irik pressed the blade deeper, pulling it slightly. Her blood now flowed from the cut on her neck She held her breath but the orb remained steady in the air. A moment passed and Irik saw what he was looking for. She was not afraid. She expected to die here. Yet the orb remained in the air.

Irik removed the blade and draped a cloth over her shoulder. He reached out and clutched the orb in the air before walking back around to the front of the table. Irik held the cloth to the wound around her neck – a would that would follow her for the rest of her days.

“Holding the ship steady, even with death staring you down. That is a hard lesson to learn, young one.” He stared at her with his one eye, standing over her with the light of chaos behind him.

“Always hold the ship steady.”

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The Sheviathon

You step through the tunnels underneath Sigil into a sight beyond mortal vision. “The Docks” does not do this place justice one single bit.

Above you swirls the entryway to the Astral Sea, an endless expanse of swirling mist dotted with the tiny points of a thousand thousand worlds. Below you is a vortex to chaos where the elements blend into streams of molten rock flowing from massive earthmotes and thousand-mile-wide funnels of storm.

Massive airships are anchored to huge stone docks. Some of them are as beautiful as the celestial servants of the Gods. Others are as hardened as a black iron blade. Huge iron statues stand upon massive blocks of stone from the surface of the docks. It would appear the entire complex floats on a giant earthmote itself sitting between the Astral Sea and the Elemental Chaos.

“The Shieldbashers, I was wondering if you’d make it here.” A thin being with yellow skin dotted with black smiles at you. His face is narrow and his red hair is pulled back into a topknot. “I’m Rake, an associate of Kylie.” says the Githzerai. “We’ve been keeping a quiet eye down here looking for your friends. The agents of the Ghoul King are definitely around.”

“We don’t know which of the ships here has hired out to the Ghoul King. That’s for you to find out. However, be subtle or his agents will become aware and they will know of your queries. You can try down at the [docks themselves], at the [warehouse district] to my left, or at the [Point of Light], the local warf bar. Be careful, however. Every beast that has sailed through the Seas above or the Chaos below flows through here and not all of them are friendly.”

The party battled the Githyanki on board the Sheviathon, a chaos ship hired by the Ghoul King to smuggle crates filled with pieces of Timesus the black Star. The party cut down the crew and defeated the captain, Captain Vlax. They then convinced her to join them and give over her ship.

The party is now in possession of the Sheviathon.

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Zovelle's Letter

Zovelle letter

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The Smuggler's Run

After some investigating in the streets of Sigil, the Shieldbashers become aware of a safehouse used by agents of Orcus for their smuggling operation. The party crashes into the safehouse and faces four empowered knights of Orcus, each with a burning blue sigil of the demon prince on his shoulder. A vampire also joins the battle.

After a great battle, the party emerges victorious.

The party travels down a trap door in the safehouse to a large sewer system below the city. There they encounter a great tentacled beast but are able to avoid engaging in it as the beast will have nothing to do with the chamber beyond the sewers.

From the sewers, the party travels into a very old summoning / teleportation chamber guarded by three vampire knights and an ancient insectoid slaver. After the defeat of the vampires, the party interrogates the insectoid beast and learns it is quite good with numbers. They offer it a job in accounting at the Three Wishes.

They also learn that the vampire’s master, a man named Zovelle, has allied himself with the forces of Orcus – something that Zovelle’s own servants do not agree upon. They find a note stating that there is a party coming up in Zovelle’s manor in two nights and that shipments of the Black Star are still being brought to the Docks at Sigil.

The party agrees to investigate the Docks before going to Zovelle’s party in two nights.

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The Ghoul King and the Black Orb

A bloated moon hung over the bone dust of the White Kingdom. The Ghoul King sat on his throne. The sound of the tormented dead sang their song to him, but it was not because of this that he felt pleasure in his black dead heart.

Doresain gazed into the orb in his hand, marveling at the tiny shard that burned within it. Such power he held. Such a force destined to change the very face of the multi-verse.

“Our shipments are on schedule,” whispered a voice behind him. A woman, gray-skinned and cloaked in black, stepped forward. “They should all be here within eight moonrises.”

“Excellent, my dear.” said Doresain. “All is in hand.”

Doresain placed the black orb on a pedestal of bone with a clawed hand holding the orb in place. It sat among four others, one green, one blue, one red, and one yellow. Each pulsed with an internal glow.

“The reawakening will begin soon.”

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The Ghoul King Comes to Sigil

Night never falls on Sigil, yet this night the gray haze of Sigil’s day faded into shadow. As the final steps of last patrons passed over an iron sewer grate in Sigil’s Merchant district, the grate began to move, to shift. A gray long-fingered hand reached out from under it. It had claws of yellow dripping with a sickly white liquid. From below a force pushed up on the grate and something snapped. The grate pushed away and the first ghoul rose from the dark depths below.

The ghoul pushed itself to its feet with a dexterity not normally seen in the undead. It stepped aside and another rose behind it. Two more rose behind those and more followed. Soon two dozen of the ghouls stood in the shadowy streets. Two more crawled up from the depths dressed in black swirling robes adorned in the silvery shifting patterns of the tormented dead. The other ghouls stood back as these two scanned the street. Seeing no one, one of them knelt and whispered down into the sewer.

A final figure rose silently from the depths of the sewer, wrapped in a cloak of gold and black. The Ghoul King’s eyes opened, shining blue light, and beheld the streets of sigil. The Ghoul King, Doresain, spoke in a whisper and somewhere a child cried out and died in the night.

Most of the ghouls dropped to all fours and raced across the street into the shadows, climbing up the walls of the nearby buildings as easily as spiders.

The Ghoul King, flanked by the two black-robed Ghoul Favored Ones, walked the streets as his small army danced in the shadows and across the rooftops. Few crossed paths with the dark contingent as it traveled from the Merchant’s district down to the Hive. Those that did never remembered seeing them passed, for such a memory was simply too horrible to hold.

Soon the Ghoul King stood in front of a building unlike the crumbling rotting shells that filled most of the Hive. This one was clean and large and strong. A small group stood outside. The deep rhythmic thump of music vibrated the ground under the Ghoul King’s feet. A massive ogre with a steel fist pushed away a would be troublemaker. The Ghoul King looked to the sign that hung above the double doors of the establishment: “The Three Wishes” it said in a swirl of glowing red and violet script.

The Ghoul King looked to the buildings adjacent to it and saw the red burning eyes of his servants, each of them powerful enough to destroy a city in the world of mortals. He smiled and returned his gaze back to the brothel.

Blood would spill this night. And Doresain would meet the Shieldbashers himself.

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The Time Vault

For five hundred thousand years the mystery of the Shieldbashers has been passed from father to son, from priest to student, from god to worshipper. Its origin has always been hidden in these stories, tales of battles that had yet to pass. Both good and evil followed the trails of these legends, trails that all lead here, to this battle, tonight.

Tonight, the true story of the prophecy of the Shieldbashers will finally be told.

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Like a splinter in your heart, the high priest Arantham has followed every step you have made since before you were born. It was he who fathered Kalarel’s twisted darkness. It was he who sent Thrax to slay Rosa, only to fail and create her instead. With every breath in his dark lungs he has sought your destruction. You are a blight upon his plans.

And tonight, you will have your chance, slim as they are, to stop them.

The chamber ahead of you is a cacophony of contradiction. The sands of time have torn across the dwarven stone walls of the chamber for half a million years, yet ahead you see ajoining walls that appear to have been carved only months before. A set of stone steps cross this half million year divide, leading to a platform. On the platform, you witness the Time Vault, a cylinder of twisting smoke and floating shapes. Once it imprisoned the Black Star but now it is empty.

Standing on the platform is your nemesis, Arantham. Dark father of the the murderer priest Kalarel and leader of Orcus’s secret order, the Ashen Covenant. Behind him, you see four dark figures carrying an iron box out throu a recently excavated tunnel in the back wall. Arantham smiles at you, in another circumstance it mint even be a kind smile. “You’re late.”

A barrier of scintillating colors separates the room, cutting you off from the platform. Two massive statues of stone reside to your left and right. Within their chests you see orbs of the same scintillating color. Splashes of red blood paint the front of the statue’s massive chests.

With a terrible screech and a deep rumble of moving stone, the two massive statues animate and attack. It is only now that you see the Orcus’s glyphs etched into them.

*In a great battle, the Shieldbashers smashed down the two statues, once guardians of the old Gods but now twisted to the will of the Ashen Covenant.

The barrier collapses. Arantham looks behind him, ensuring the final crate has left the chamber. As he turns back, You see a look of serenity on his face, a look of near kindness. He stares into the black orb in his hand and then back to you.

“It doesn’t matter what you do to me, my job is already done.”

“I have read your tale, and it ceases today. There are no more words of your deeds. Anywhere. Your destiny ends here. Right now.”

“There is no fate. There is no prophecy for you. You are destined for nothing. You’re going to die like everyone else – like everything else.”

In a great battle, the Shieldbashers faced the final Black Star hosts of Arantham and the high priest himself. Using an orb of great power, he twisted attacks against him to his minions, including a vampire ambassador.

Masjo stole the black orb from his hand and pushed him into the time vault. When Arantham came out beaten down by the powers of the old Gods, the party finished off the old priest. Only three words came out of his mouth:

“I’m sorry, Sara.”

The party parlayed with the Old Gods, a conversation spread across 500,000 years through the swirling of the Time Vault. Asking for information, Fausto tossed his journal into the Time Vault whereupon it reappeared 500,000 years older in an old bronze canister filled with an inert gas to preserve it. Within it were new notes written by the Old Gods, portal spells that would lead the party to weapons of great power used in their battle against the Black Star.

The Black Star itself has been absconded from the chamber, packed in large iron crates and transported somewhere through Sigil.

The danger of the Black Star still hangs over the multi-verse.

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