While the Kompanions are resting from their battle with the minions of the Shadow Lord, Imp Express returns with another message.
You have done well indeed. You have destroyed Gibran’s strongest sons and this is good. I was, uncertain of you but now you have proven your ability. I apologize for doubting you.
Now you know the name of the demi-god you call the Shadow Lord used before he was elevated. His servants call him Great One, The Master of Shadows, the Lord of the Night. Gibran was his name before that. Knowing this name does not give you power over him for he has protected his True name very carefully but it gives me satisfaction to diminish him so.
You must be wary of Yazid and avoid him if you can. He was not born in the Great Palace, he does not have the habit of assuming all those who are not born of Gibran to be of inferior stock and easily defeated. Gibran’s children have had many easy victories as the gods of Law have preserved his lands from the forces of Chaos. Only Gibran’s children and his chosen are permitted to have magic. The people of the south have potent magic and this is why Yazid fights them.
Yazid has taken many apprentices and given even junior officers magic weapons and items. All are commanded to give over such items to the magisters in the Great Palace where Gibran and his family lives. Yazid defies Gibran. Yazid does not fear Gibran and wishes for death with honor. None have been able to give it to him. Gibran is too smart to slay this willful though useful slave. Gibran has power over Yazid. Yazid serves Gibran though he does not love him.
Yazid is withdrawing his force from the southlands to their border forts. He will leave his men and come to the Pass of the Dead with his most potent servants. They will be cautious and bring all the power they have at hand to get the army under control. Yazid is a deadly foe and cunning. He will be busy for some weeks reestablishing control over the routed forces. Many have died and many more will die in their attempt to escape the funnel they have been poured into.
You may be able to pass through to the eastern side of the mountains by following a narrow path among the rocks. My servant has left signs that you will be able to see with your magical abilities. The narrow paths through the mountains are dangerous and contain creatures who are not friendly to Chaos. They will not suffer you to pass without challenge. Perhaps Yazid will look the other way and pretend to not notice you if you sneak through the Pass of the Dead. Or perhaps he will fight you, hoping that you can bring the gift of death to him.
Ever Your Ally,
- The Kompanions decide to leave the army in the hands of Pompous Maximus to defend the Pass of the Dead.
- The party had wiped out their supply of potions and the wizard they hired to make them was not finished setting up his lab yet.
- Akbar teleports everyone to the Temple of Chaos and they travel to Nightside through the Hall of Infinite Doors to buy potions
- While Akbar and Rexor are buying potions, Stilgar decides he will do a little “stealing from the rich” and finds the wealthiest looking individual he can in the bazaar. A man who is obviously quite wealthy, wearing a fine caftan, many rings on his fingers and a fine leather messenger bag over his shoulder and a jeweled dagger is followed through the Street of the Artificers by a group of men similarly dressed. Stilgar cuts the strap of the man’s bag and runs away before they can react. They are fast, supernaturally fast, but they can’t catch Stilgar. He runs back to Villa Vigilum with his prize.
- Back at the Villa Akbar inspects the contents of the bag. Inside is a finely made flask covered in magical sigils and runes. It detects as heavily magical but Akbar isn’t able to identify it until they get back to his library at Vanessa’s Lament. Back at his tower he determines this is an Iron Flask; a magical device that can be used to capture a extra-planar entity. It is unclear whether there is something in it or not. The Kompanions decide there is almost certainly something it it.
- Potions procured, the Kompanions return to Castle Fuligin via teleport
- Using Akbar’s Gem of Sight, the party searches for a sign placed by the minions of The Adversary
- They come across a boulder with the sigil of the Adversary and a narrow path, little more than a game path leading into the mountains
- After two days of travel on the flying carpet without incident, Akbar is preparing his spells as the others are breaking camp.
- Seven large creatures fly into the pass from further east. Akbar recognizes them as the legendary Shedu. They are like winged lions with the bearded heads of men. They are servants and guardians of Law. Their leader tells the Kompanions they cannot pass. He smells the stench of Chaos on them.
- The Kompanions attempt to catch them off guard by being friendly but that doesn’t work and the creatures attack.
- The leader attacks Rexor with his powerful claws. The other six fly in a circle around the Kompanions as Akbar casts Prismatic Sphere. Einar has no ranged attacks and Stilgar wants to remain invisible.
- Rexor engages in melee with the leader of the Shedu. One of the lesser Shedu uses telekinesis to fling a boulder at Stilgar even though he is invisible. The others attack Akbar with mental attacks which the prismatic sphere does not protect him from. Akbar attacks with meteor swarm.
- Stilgar shoots back with his cross bow. The Shedu continue their mental attacks. Rexor’s sword of sharpness decapitates the mighty defender of Law. Akbar casts power word stun and sends one of the lesser shedu crashing to the rocks.
- Four Shedu swarm Rexor to engage in melee and revenge their leader. Rexor shifts to the ethereal but the shedu have that ability too and follow him. Stilgar shoots one of the remaining shedu and kills it.
- Rexor defends himself, defeats the remaining shedu and shifts back to the prime.
- The Kompanions use their magic devices to recover from the attack and continue on. There are no further problems in the mountains.
- As they pass through the mountains, Akbar’s memory seems to be returning. When he first came into the west, he had developed amnesia and forgotten much of his past. He was now remembering passing through this trail with others but only one of them had made it. A mysitc name Feyad who had been blinded on an adventure several years ago and was now a beggar in the streets of Silverside.
- As the Kompanions leave the goat path on the east side of the mountains, they come out onto a plateau. On the plateau about a mile away is a temple. It is lit up by magic and glows like the light of the sun. One could see it for some distance. Huge statues flank the doors. Akbar has a memory of his youth return to him. He remembered kneeling before a great block of stone within the temple. He also remembered the guardians of the temple. Massive bears with the hands of men and knowing eyes.
- The Kompanions were using their magical resources to avoid detection, saw no benefit to exploring the temple and avoided it. Traveling down into the arid badlands beyond the mountains they traveled east. There was a glow in the sky to the south indicating a large city or other gathering, probably the army of the Shadow Lord.
- They came upon a wide paved and well maintained road. Every eighteen miles or so were fortified walled enclosures manned by a small garrison. Akbar sent out invisible stalkers to scout and bring back food and water.
- Akbar remembered that the Great Palace of the Shadow Lord or Gibran as the KoK had started to call him was to the north. The Kompanions traveled that way for several more days before they came near the city.
- To the north there snow capped mountains. On the south slope of the mountains was a city. A great canal came down out of the city and then thrust off to the east. The sides of the mountain were terraced and smaller irrigation canals off of the great canal with sophisticated gate mechanisms fed farms and villages along there terraced mountain side.
- The city had mighty walls, towers and great buildings with roofs of gold lit with faerie fire and glittering with gems. A great deal of traffic was coming and going down the canal and the roads to the east and south. Merchants, pilgrims, farmers and soldiers in the mix.
- Akbar found a small group of merchants with a few carts camped along the road. He cast charm on them and asked if the Shadow Lord was present in the city. The merchants said they did not know for they were headed their now with their tea to trade in the bazaar. Finding them of no further use, Akbar used the terrible power of the Shadow Staff and slew them with a death spell. The Kompanions decided it would be a good way to enter the city by disguising themselves as merchants and passing through the gates.