Conscientious Objectors

End of a Reign

Aware that Izmiara was going to be a challenging opponent, Reethna-Onatee time some time to prepare for what he hoped would be his final conflict within the Moonscar. Anselar helped out by casting some spells on him.

While this was happening, Aremcesca attempted to confront Izmiara. Unfortunately it only took one hit from the Insatiable Queen to slay the human.

Lena-Karik, meanwhile, decided to try her hand at seducing the succubus queen. She started by removing her boots and tossing them to Arael, and managed to keep the queen’s full attention while doing so.

This worked until Izmiara saw that Coraline was trying to sneak away with the magic mirror. With one strike, the previously-uninjured Coraline was slain.

Reethna-Onatee was finally ready to wade into combat with her, and they traded blows without either of them significantly harming the other. Arael managed to teleport out, find Maurinaxian, and teleport back in. This attracted Izmiara’s attention, and, sadly, it wasn’t long before the huge gold dragon lay dead at her feet.

By this time, though, Reethna-Onatee and Lena-Karik were ready. Between them they slew the Insatiable Queen, ending her twelve-thousand-year reign in the Moonscar and freeing many prisoners in the process. There were sufficient scrolls of raise dead that all the allies were again united.

It didn’t take long for for Iomedae’s herald, the Hand of the Inheritor, to project himself into their midst. He congratulated Reethna-Onatee on the completion of such a mythic trial and offered his mistress’s power to any of the heroes who would swear allegiance to her. Lena-Karik was the first to accept, followed by Maurinaxian, Arael, and Aremcesca.

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Less Stink Than Anticipated

The stinking door was locked and made of cold iron. While bashing it damaged the hinges, it proved not to yield easily. A magical voice came from beyond the door asking to be left alone, and Lena-Karik negotiated with her. The group would return in an hour, at which point the person on the other side of the door (Betcezia) would converse with her.

Descending to the next level proved costly, as a disjunction trap got rid of all of Reethna-Onatee’s currently-cast spells. Fortunately his gear, including Folba-Onatee, all survived the experience. The rest of the group teleported down, then went down a hall and opened a door. Behind it was a symbol of death, which had no effect on anyone.

The other hall, however, had three large prison rooms containing dozens of prisoners. Lena-Karik was able to see that three of the prisoners were actually huge demons in disguise. The group killed one, drove off two more, and killed the human guard.

All that remained was taking on the Insatiable Queen herself. The group advanced toward her boudoir.

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Another Job Well Done

More time back in Westcrown was spent watching humans eat in front of each other and then spend hours and hours sleeping, just like they do each and every night. In spite of all that wasted time, the group managed to heal up and acquire some resources.

They elected to leave Vintari the lillend behind and instead take along a human cleric of Iomadae named Arael. He was clearly in awe of Reethna-Onatee.

The group teleported directly back to the third level of the complex beneath the Moonscar. The humans, of course, brought light sources with them, and this quickly brought down the wrath of the marilith. Combat was engaged, and Varia was able to damage the demon severely. The demon was accompanied this time by several others, namely two vampires and Zakiyya, who was revealed to be a succubus.

Mindful of their oath to track down Zakiyya within ten years and slay her, Varia and Reethna-Onatee made very certain to slay her, thus keeping their word.

They managed to kill one vampire and drive off the other, and the marilith was forced to keep teleporting around in order to attack them. Finally she’d had enough, and left entirely.

Most of the rest of the level consisted of exposed sarcophagi and vampires, which proved easy marks. The only room left before descending stinks terribly, but the group prepared to brave it.

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Not Another Snake-Bug-Elf!

Adult gold dragons are really big. There was basically no comfortable way for Maurinaxian to accompany the party onward, so she went up to the surface of the moon to fly around and dispatch any demons who might try to harass the freed prisoners. This freed up Aremcesca to return to the group.

The spellcasters combined their efforts to suppress the magic on the locks of the suspended cages, allowing Mayor Arvanxi to pick them. This freed the last of the prisoners on the level, so the group descended the hole to the next.

A maze of twisty passages awaited them nearly two hundred feet below. They found fifteen statues of a succubus scattered around, and one of the humans touched one and was injured. Soon afterward another human touched a different statue, and was also injured. Reethna-Onatee got firm with them and told them not to touch any more statues. In the process they also found the two dead demons who had washed down the drain from the floor above. Eventually they found some stairs, descended them into a vrock ambush, slew the vrocks, and found another long tube downward.

Things were going fairly well for the group, so down they went. They almost immediately met a demon of the same type as Snake-Bug-Elf. Coraline got into combat and was immediately rendered unconscious. Reethna-Onatee held off the demon while rescue operations were underway, but he was unable to damage her. Anselar struck her with a single enervation, but other than that she was unharmed.

A general retreat was sounded, and two scrolls of interplanetary teleport got the group back to Westcrown.

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Very belated postlude
I kept forgetting I hadn't posted this

Lunge. Parry. Riposte.

Gethedar allowed his mind to wander as he completed his morning drills. He felt a surge of pride as he noted his form had improved, but tempered it with a reminder that he still had much room for improvement. Refocusing, he moved to the next kata, holding in his mind the goal: divinity.

The divine had always been merely a concept until the events of the previous year. Duelling with Ydersius, being awed by the presence of Iomedae, and the subsequent battle with the three other re-emerging deities had taught him a great deal about the raw essence of the divine, and the pursuit of the pure infusion of meta-physical power had taken him to the current leg of his journey.

He stopped a moment at the window and took in the sight of the bustling city of Axis. Taking a deep breath, he sighed, turning back to the calm of the dojo and beginning again.

Lunge. Parry. Riposte.

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I have a shrunken monkey head

Mayor Arvanxi hardly had time to get her breath back before the three acid spitting betentacled millapede things burrowed up after her. The group fought them and, while there was a bit if pain, were victorious. They pushed the carcasses off the plateau, went into the jungle a bit, and used a scroll of magnificent mansion to give the rescued prisoners (and themselves) a decent place to spend the night.

In the morning they all went down the tunnel, leaving Lord Dioso behing to look after the prisoners, and soon found themselves in a prison for celestials. Reethna-Onatee was particularly distressed by the sight of three dead archons. The only prisoner still alive was Vintari, a feebleminded lillend. Reethna-Onatee unhesitatingly cast heal for the first time, bringing her back to herself. She told the group about the Insatiable Queen and how she had captured Himotae, a human poet for whom Vintari served as a muse. She chose to join them in the quest to end the kidnappings, saying that they needed to find the Boudoir of the Insatiable Queen on the Ring of Ecstasy.

The next room had several hezrou demons in a massive whirlpool. Two of them were knocked unconscious and were whisked away, and two more were slain.

More human prisoners were beyond them, and though these were all insane the group was careful to free as many as could survive and put them out of harm’s way.

Finally they found an enormous cavern of a room, with cages hanging from the ceiling and a large statue of a succubus straddling a door.

“Classy,” remarked Reethna-Onatee.

Guarding the room was a huge gold dragon, and Lena-Karik was able to use Zig-Tarrin’s borrowed goggles to realize that the dragon was possessed by a shadow demon. The group feel into detailed discussion of how to fight the dragon without killing her in hopes of freeing her from the demon’s possession. It looked like it was going to be a very tough fight.

“Or,” said Lena-Karik, “I have a shrunken monkey head.”

Investigation soon revealed that the Zenj Spirit Fetish was intended for exactly the purpose of expelling shadow demons, and she quickly put it to use. The dragon, Maurinaxian, was very grateful.

PCs:

Lena-Karik
Reethna-Onatee

Guest PCs:

Anselar Harth
Coraline Arvanxi

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Meeting Chinchilla On the Moon

Reethna-Onatee’s quest to eliminate the demonic threat pressed onward. A large, black tower loomed on the horizon, and its guardian moonbeasts looked even more ferocious than similar creatures back on Golarion, possibly because they were in their native environment. Fortunately, Reethna-Onatee had brought Lena-Karik along, and she made short work of them.

The tower turned out to contain what appeared to be a large gathering of very relaxed worshippers of Shelyn enjoying art, beauty, alcohol, and each other’s company. Chinchilla was among them, much to Lena-Karik’s delight.

Mayor Arvanxi found a pool of hot, swirling water containing several partiers, and used her dust of dryness to empty it. As Lena-Karik had immediately seen and told Reethna-Onatee, about half the people at the party were actually alu-demons. This surprised all of the humans, and two of them were almost instantly subjected to their mind-influencing magic. Mayor Arvanxi was forced to restore the pool while Lord Dioso gave up her polearm and began to doff her armour.

While the fight ensued, Anselar was flying around outside mostly ignoring it so that he could vandalize the tower. A couple of demons attacked him, but not enough to make an event of it. For the most part Reethna-Onatee and Lena-Karik (and Mayor Arvanxi, once the compulsion was ended) made short work of them.

Some scouting ahead revealed that the purpose of the tower was to spy on Golarion, though Anselar had made a bit of a mess of that. Reethna-Onatee pondered destroying the tower completely in order to hamper the spying, but took no precipitate action.

A quick look behind the tower revealed a tunnel heading straight down. Mayor Arvanxi scouted ahead, but was doused in acid and had to make a quick retreat back to the surface.

PCs:

Lena-Karik
Reethna-Onatee

Guest PCs:

Anselar Harth
Aremcesca Dioso
Coraline Arvanxi

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Why Yes, This Is Indeed the Moon

One of the (many) problems in a journey alongside humans is their fragility. The particular humans accompanying Reethna-Onatee and Lena-Karik needed food and sleep already, and it had barely been any time at all. One of them had even died from hardly any fire giants chopping at her with their greatswords, so clearly their weakness was unfeigned. The humans invited Reethna-Onatee and Lena-Karick back to their home in Westcrown (by which they meant that they needed the serpentfolk to teleport them there), and while there the group picked up some supplies specific to their mission.

They were waiting near the Somal Gate by sundown the next day, at which point it filled with purple energy. Leaping through, they found themselves on the moon. They were almost immediately ambushed, but quickly dispatched all but a single demon (who teleported away). They took some time to examine their surroundings, and realized that they were in the Moonscar, an abyssal jungle growing across the southern hemisphere of the moon.

Someone had obviously been taking care to clear away the undergrowth and provide a path from the gate to somewhere else, so the group set out to find where the trail led. Before long they ran into a jotund troll who called himself the Trailblazer. He used his massive scythe to get rid of the rapidly-growing jungle, and was about to attack the group when Coraline (one of the humans) convinced him that they were supposed to be there. They pressed onward rather than linger near him.

Skirting around a lake, they saw the albino eye of a froghemoth poking above the water. The humans had never seen one, but Reethna-Onatee and Lena-Karik were able to describe it to them. Taking care not to wake it, they crept onward into the jungle on the far side of the water.

A couple miles past that they discovered an altar with embedded shackles. They debated the appropriate response, and decided that the best action was no action at all. Leaving it undisturbed, they pressed on toward the black tower at the top of the nearby hill.

The tower had no visible windows and apparently only one door. It was guarded by three moon beasts. Uncertain how to proceed, the group begain discussing tactics:

PCs:

Lena-Karik
Reethna-Onatee

Guest PCs:

Anselar Harth
Aremcesca Dioso
Coraline Arvanxi

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The Moon!?

Reethna-Onatee knelt before Iomadae as she gave him his next mission: return to Golarion and investigate the means by which demons on the moon were abducting people, and put a stop to it. She left him a whisper of the mythic power she had granted him while they fought evil ascendant deities together, and directed him to Korvosa to seek out Lord Anselar Rosala, a descendant of one of Aroden’s angels.

Lena-Karik learned that Chinchilla had abandoned his pregnant girlfriend and run off with another woman. She quickly realized that he had been subjected to some sort of mind control, and was surprised to encounter Reethna-Onatee while she was on the trail. Together they sought out Lord Rosala and his companions (Lord Mayor Arvanxi of Westcrown and Lord Aremcesca Dioso), and set out on their search.

Eventually they found themselves on the Growling Skald, an active volcano in the Mindspin Mountains. There were ancient Azlanti ruins, which they explored, and a squad of fire giants, which they fought. Aremcesca was killed, but Folba-Onatee was able to bring her back from the dead. One of the fire giants, Zatzka, surrendered; Lena-Karik christened him “Frosty”.

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Dreams Do Come True

We’d escaped with our lives and not much else. As the battle raged (and I was locked in combat with the most… resilient… tyrannosaurus rex I’ve ever fought), I saw my nemesis enter the fray. I swore I would kill him. I swore I would claim bloody vengeance.

No, not Ydersius. Not even Vyr-Azul.

Cuddles.

Oh, I saw him. Though he didn’t see me.

As my duel with the tyrannosaurus went on… and on… and on… and so forth, my compatriots managed to behead Ydersius, steal his head, and… teleport out. I could see my nemesis so close! But no, I was forced off field. Forced off field to save Lena-Karik’s mother, and Varya, and save Kyras’ corpse. Forced off field without killing Cuddles.

As my rage boiled within, I did the only thing I could, prior to teleporting. I knew he felt my stare, I knew he felt my hot rage. As he turned, and our eyes met…

I veiled as Brea once more and smiled.

As I teleported away, I saw the dawning comprehension in his eyes, heard the beginnings of his scream, felt the deliciousness of his impotent hatred. I left him there, deep in serpentfolk territory. With hostile serpentfolk surrounding him. I left him there, and it felt right.


Years later, after the fighting (I won’t say it was in Iomadae’s name, but I felt I owed her a debt… I’m not one to leave debts to gods unpaid), I finally opened that little bar I’d been talking about. My taxidermy skills had improved by leaps and bounds, and I now had quite the collection (properly mounted for display, of course). I’d even managed to track down a second camulatz, an endeavour that took the better part of a month, and the most terrifying aerial battle I’d ever engaged in.


It’s a bitter winter evening, and as it grew late, the fire in the hearth grows low, and I see the last few tipsy regulars out the door, I close up shop for the night. As I wipe my rag over the counter and clear the last few flagons into the dish tray, I hear the door open, then shut. The driving snow and brutal wind sounded just terrible, and I’m thankful they have little chance to intrude on my cozy, quiet evening. And, though I hated to turn a customer away…

“We’re closed” I say, barely glancing up from my cleaning.

When there is no response, I look up. The four figures silently step forward into the waning firelight. The two serpentfolk drop their veils, and start to circle around the counter to the left. The wood golem circlee to the right.

But the menace of their movements was of little concern to me. Instead, I grinned at the short figure in front of me. He was older, wearier, and sporting as many ugly scars as I had, and wielding a vicious-looking war axe. But it was him. It was him.

“Brea,” he hissed. “I… hate… you…”

I reach under the counter and pull out a large peacock feather

“Cuddles. I’d hoped this day would come.”

I spread my wings and vault the counter, swinging the sword with both hands, every last ounce of hatred behind the swing. With a snarl, Cuddles leaps towards me, his axe coming around in an equally fast, equally purposeful blur.

At last.

Our reckoning.

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