Feb 8, 2017

Sarril Visits Otto and Bigby

While Pontus and Jarrus were sitting in jail in Hommlet, Sarril decided to use the mirror as a gateway to go to Chathold and see his master. When he got to his house, he was led into the kitchen, where Otto was cooking while talking to another man.

"Greetings Master," Sarril says.

"Sarril! My boy!” replies Otto, “Come in, come in!"

"Have I got news for you!" says Sarril, excitedly.

"We were just cooking up a fantastic meal that I learned about from a merchant in Onwall. He managed to get me some prized sea serpent meat, which I am boiling in. . . "

Otto gets cut-off by the other man, "No, we were discussing important matters"

"Nothing is more important than feeding oneself. You can't think on an empty stomach, now can you?" says Otto in an incredulous tone.

Sarril jumps in and says "I have important matters to discuss as well.  As much as I would love a great meal... There is much to tell”

"Ah, no better place than over dinner. Step over here" says Otto, motioning with his hands. As Sarril steps forward, Otto starts handing him utensils and instructing him on stirring various things and shaking various spices. Otto then says "Oh, where are my manners. . . now, see, this is what happens when we don't eat. Bigby, this is my apprentice, Sarril, the one I was telling you about. Sarril, I don't know if you remember Master Bigby, it was a while back."

Not able to withstand the excitement of what he is about to say Sarril blurts out.  "I made the Old One dance!  He danced the jig!  Your spell worked on him!!!"
Bigby looks at Sarril funny. Otto spits something out of his mouth. They both stare at him for a few moments.

"I am dead serious" Sarril says. "St Cuthbert arrived and took him away before he could kill us all."
Otto finally breaks the silence by bursting out laughing

"Here, it’s all in my journal” Sarril says, trying to reach into his bag while stirring the pots.
Otto looks at Sarril, "Sarril, I was about to offer you some wine, but I can see you clearly don't need any.”

Sarril maintains a serious look and says "I know that its Zuggtmoy that’s locked in the Temple of Elemental Evil. Master, I am telling you the truth.  We rescued Prince Thrommel from the temple as well.  He has returned." He shows them Prince Thrommel’s medallion.

Bigby says "Oh, enough of this!" and snaps his fingers. Two disembodied hands appear out of nowhere and pick up the cooking utensils and start stirring. He then steps aside, grabs a goblet and starts pouring some wine "Sounds like we all need to talk"

Otto says "Oh, very well." He grabs a small plate, places some pieces of food on it that Sarril does not recognize, and begins to eat.

Bigby looks at Sarril and says "We know Prince Thrommel has returned. He arrived in Furyondy just a few days ago."

"On an Ebony Fly that I gave him,” interrupts Sarril.

Bigby continues, "I was asked to inspect him personally. To validate it was him. Much to everyone's surprise, it really is. That is why I am here. It seems King Archibold of Nyrond isn't too happy about Thrommel's return. The idea of a combined Furyondy and Veluna makes him feel threatened. Especially if they annex back the Shield Lands."

He turns to Otto, "Otto, this if your territory. You need to turn your attention to Nyrond. They are more of a threat than you think. The Scarlet Brotherhood has infiltrated their ranks at every level. And now that the Theocracy of the Pale is in full civil war, they will have no buffer between Tenh"
Otto replies "yes, yes, I'm on it. . . now Sarril, tell me more. I want to hear the story. Tell me everything."

Sarril asks "You have the information that Krek gave you, want me to start after that.  Or back up and start from the beginning?"

Bigby says "Who is Krek?"

"My Orrek familiar."

"An Orrek. . . most peculiar. And you are a cleric of Boccob also?"

"Yes, I am. I am a Curate / Magician."

Bigby looks at Otto. Otto looks back at Bigby and shrugs his shoulders. Bigby says "Go on. Otto can fill me in on the earlier stuff"

"We found a secret entrance into the Temple of Elemental Evil.  It took us to a secret part of the third level.  There we fought a mage name Falrinth, his imp familiar, and a half orc assassin. He was a follower of Lloth. It was from him that we came to possess the mirror of mental prowess, the golden orb, and improved our spellbooks. We also found a crystal ball that was linked to Zugtomy.  We since have destroyed that item."

Otto perks up at the sound of the mirror

"The mirror is how I got here,” Sarril states in response, before continuing the story. “We continued to search and clear the 3rd level.  Fighting our way through all sorts of things.  It was here that our companion, Gareth, was killed by an umber hulk. We rescued Jarrus, son of Coreal.  He joined our party. While searching the 3rd level we found the body of a dead drow.  The drow had a letter on her to her Mistress Eclavdra. More searching and we found and rescued Thrommel."

"With the 3rd level cleared we moved up to the 2nd.  We found 4 elemental temples up on the 1st and 2nd floors.  Destroying them all.  Earth, Fire, Water, Air. I have books that tell many things about the temples.  It was there that we discovered that the 4th Level, the Greater Temple was control by Hedrak, a cleric of the old one. We made our way to the 4th level and encountered the forces of the Greater Temple.  Slaying many of them, Hedrak, Senshock, giants, ettens, bugbears."

"Stop," interrupts Bigby, "Did you say CLERIC of the Old One?"


"I won’t say his name.  He is more pissed at me then he is at you. " Sarril says looking at Otto.

Bigby asks, very intently, "Did you see this ‘Hedrack?’ Did he cast spells?"

"Sure. We killed him twice. He cast Slay Living on Jarrus, Hold Person on me."

"Did he have a Holy Symbol?"

"Yes.  I can describe it."

“Draw it for me. Otto, give the man some paper"

Otto waves his hand and some paper and ink comes into the room. Sarril takes the paper and starts drawing.  As he is drawing he keeps talking "With his last breath, Hedrack called out to his master.  A few seconds later,” Sarril holds up a drawing of Iuz, “This thing showed up.  The old one.  He was in our heads, telling us things."

Bigby nods, "That's him. One of his forms anyway."

"He was pointing his finger at people and they died on the spot."

Otto says "he isn't as pretty as the last time we saw him."

"No," Bigby says. "That's what I've been trying to tell you. He's changed. And grown in power as he has. And now we know why."

Sarril continues, "He wanted Gareth’s finger and the Orb. He got Gareth’s finger, then I read your spell from my scroll and it got through his resistance and he danced the jig! Oh, how pissed he was at that."

Otto laughs and claps his hands "Oh, I wish I could have seen that!" Otto looks at Bigby and says "not so silly of a spell NOW, is it?"

Bigby shakes his hand and says "you are lucky to be alive, but it might have been better for you if Iuz had killed you on the spot."

Otto says "oh, stop being so gloom."

Sarril keeps telling the story. "We tried to run, but a wall of force was put in front of us. Just as he was about to kill us and take the skull.  A loud booming voice we heard.  and St Cuthbert showed up. They exchanged a couple words and both disappeared, but not before raising all the dead.  We had to fight again."

"Here, it’s all in my journal, even our conversation with Jaroo and his daughter afterwards."  Sarril places his journal on the table.

Otto says, "do you have the skull now?"

"Athan has it.  Jaroo wanted us to give it to him, we said no."

Bigby picks up the journal and starts perusing it. "So Jaroo wants you to destroy the skull?" he asks. "Does he think he knows what that will do?"

"Athan is Alyndra's apprentice. But we think she is dead."

"So sad,” Otto says, “We believe the Horned Society was behind her fate."

"It was definitely devils. From the way Athan described the encounter” Sarril responds. "Oh, did I mention that the Old One said he is making deals with Lloth, it’s in my journal if I skipped over that."
Otto says "I'm telling you, they are most assuredly the threat. The temple distracted everyone from them, but devils are patient. They will wait for the demons and their worshippers to destroy each other, then swoop into the void."

Bigby says "that may be so, but if Iuz has accomplished what it seems like he has, then our focus needs to be clear."

Sarril cringes at that word.

Bigby says "oh, it's just a word. If it had any real power, we could be done with him by now."
"Yeah, but being in his presence, feeling him in my mind, and again when I touched the skull.... I am not an arch mage like you two..."

"Keep making creatures like Iuz dance and you will be soon” Otto says with a smile.
"Please don't encourage him. This is serious business." Says Bigby as he continues reading the journal.

"I have a question,” Sarril says, “I keep hearing or reading references to Nexus's.  Almost like the temple is on one.  And another might be found near Perrenland.  What are they referring to you think?"

Bigby answers as he continues to read "some sages believe that there are places were the fabric of the prime material plane is weak. This could result in anything as benign as the hair standing on one's arms, to weird effects like teleportation, or gravity not working as it should. Basically, the laws that govern the prime material plane in these places are weak. It is a sound theory and seems relatively harmless. But some believe that there are nexus points where the veil between this world and the void beyond is such that raw energy seeps through. Places like Tovag Baragu are said to be built on such nexus points. This isn't anything that we would understand. Even the existence of a void itself is just theory. No one has ever been to or seen such a thing."

Otto jumps in "but if the void exists, that explains many spiritual things. Like, what happens to a soul when a raise dead spell fails? Where does it go? Where did the planes of existence that we know of come from? Everything must have a beginning."

"Is that why they built the temple there, so she could use the nexus to build her demi-planes?" ask Sarril.

Bigby continues "So of course, the cult of the temple, which we now know was serving Zuggtmoy, even if they weren't aware of it, is seeking the Elder Elemental God, whom they believe was banished to the void eons ago."

"Banished by the other gods, some say, while others say it was Lolth who did so" adds Otto.
"Clerics of Lolth claim that, but clerics of Celestian reinforce that myth,” adds Bigby, continuing "Cults of the elder elemental God crop up from time to time, but history has shown us that each time, it is either a complete farce, or another power manipulating things. That is what you are seeing in the temple here. Humans would never worship a god of fungus. But if they believed she was helping them tap into something greater. . . Maybe." Bigby is still reading as he talks, then he stops, looks up and says "Zuggtmoy wanted Hedrack dead?"

"Well, each of the Elemental Temples had priests.  As well as elemental forces, inside.  But the temples seemed to fight each other more than the outside world, but that was what Hedrack wanted. So yeah, seems he wasn't trying to free her. He was stopping the elemental temples from Freeing her, actually.  That is why Kella is sorta mad at us for killing him."

Otto says "it is typical of chaotic evil. It always turns on itself. Alliances are always short lived. Once one has used the other to get what they want, they turn on each other. That is why I don't worry about demons so much."

Bigby states, "Clearly, Iuz was using Zuggtmoy for something. Whatever it was, he got it, and now he wants her out of the way so she doesn't become a threat. He could try to kill her, but if he succeeds, she would just go back to the abyss. It seems her imprisonment is perfect."
"See, that is what I said,” says Sarril.

Otto says "but if Iuz has succeeded in becoming a Demi-God, then what real threat could Zuggtmoy be to him? . . ." (A long pause, then) he looks at Bigby, "you don't think?" Bigby says "I do."
"The rest of the party were like ‘let’s go kill her.’  I said ‘Why? We’d just free her and send her back to the abyss.  Leave her stuck there and weak.’" Sarril is staring at them back and forth, waiting to see what is so eye popping as he realizes they are not paying attention to him.
Bigby gets up, if you will excuse me, "Otto, we'll catch up on that other stuff later. I need to go see Mordenkainen."

“Um, nice to meet you again" says Sarril as Bigby leaves.
Otto says, "This is quite the dilemma. Leave her there, and the temple will become active again. Someone will eventually free her. Look at all the spies we had there trying to prevent that and it still almost happened. Kill her, and she goes back to the abyss, but maybe that's not such a bad thing if she is going to be a problem for Iuz. But destroying the skull might weaken them both. This should be your primary focus right now.”

After the talk, Otto gave Sarril a scroll with “Otto’s Irresistible Dance” written on it. “Do try to be more careful this time,” at which point, he heard a loud crash in the kitchen Otto and Sarril ran in and realized that since Bigby left the house, the disembodied hands in the kitchen were now running out of control, making a mess and destroying everything Fantasia-style. Otto dispelled the hands and started the magical clean-up process, while complaining about his wasted dinner. He then turns to Sarril “I guess I am going out to eat. You still have clothes upstairs. Go get cleaned up and changed, and I’ll take you with me to Greyhawk.”

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