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Session #39: Into the Hornet's Nest Once More
Irthir and Lena exchanged a few messages with each other by arcane means in order to find each other on their journey through the forest, which had now grown right up against the southern mountain range. Once they found one another outside, but near Telor, they exchanged all of the information they had all gathered over the course of the last few months. Lena and Elohar were intrigued by each other. Seeing that Elohar was no longer needed in rescuing Lena, he elected to depart. He urged the Pillarmen, however, to abandon their missions and quests, and to abandon Lena's spell-book, as well. When Lena was insistent on retrieving Silas' spell-book and also rescuing her father, Elohar sighed and bid them meet with his people should they successfully escape Telor unscathed. He imparted to them a symbol which, if left on trees in the forest, would indicate to the Moon Elves who they were. He offered some parting warnings: Artel is not the kind of man to forgive offenses -- he is too prideful, and the authorities that govern Telor are willing to do anything to achieve their goals. Elohar left.
In accordance with Akasha's request, Lena asked Igan if he could somehow get a message into Telor to her, direct. Using divine assistance, Lena and Akasha exchanged limited dialog before Akasha took over the delivery of the messages by her own power. They were concerned about Artel's ability to scry on the party, and were trying to come up with a plan for getting into Telor undetected. Over the course of their limited conversation, Akasha devised a plan to take advantage of the confusion wrought by the dragon attack. When the messages ceased, Lena went in search of a Unicorn for an immediate journey in the woods. The search proved fruitless. That evening, though, Akasha suddenly materialized near the Pillarmen. She presently silenced them all and directed them to stay a certain distance away from each other at all times and remain utterly speechless. She bed down and gesticulated for the party to do likewise.
The following morning, once Akasha had awoken and after brief studies, she indicated silently that the party ought to suddenly regroup on the count of three. After the count-off, they all came together and Akasha teleported the Pillarmen inside the walls of Telor, inside her home, into a pitch-black room without any furniture or ornamentation. After a brief few words expressing the importance of continued silence for the next 24 hours, she separated the troupe by a certain distance once more and left them alone. She knew that there was a possibility that a member of the party was being scryed upon at the moments of her interactions with them, but she tried her best to keep the Pillarmen hidden from Artel.
During their respite, Sklooh slept the day away in the warmth of his necklace, Lena spent time reviewing facts and turning over information in her mind, and Igan and Irthir prayed or meditated to their patrons. Irthir felt invigorated being in Telor, so close to the entity responsible for his powers. Igan contemplated how to get back in Keala's good graces, having received the troubling vision before about not understanding the essence of war. As he turned the thoughts over in solitude, he was taken once more into a vision on the War Plane. He discussed various aspects of War with one of Kaela's angelic hosts, but the celestial was unconvinced of Igan's progress. He offered Igan the advice to rely on allies. Wars are not won alone. Igan was released from his vision.
After 24 hours passed in darkness and silence, Akasha returned and began a certain magic ritual. After a minute or so of reciting incantations, bending the weave with somatic expressions, and offering up material components, Akasha summoned a gateway in the room and beckoned for the Pillarmen to join her in walking through it. Once inside, they were amazed to behold a magnificent mansion. Akasha announced that all were safe and that they could speak freely in her demi-plane. They sat at table and enjoyed a feast while discussing their plans.
Violent altercation to obtain the spell-book was ruled out. The authorities governing Telor were too powerful. Finding and stealing the confiscated spell-book was possible, but unlikely -- the item was sure to be well-guarded and difficult to find. Akasha said that the only way she envisioned Lena getting her book back was by bargaining for it or giving the Black Coats something else they wanted. Something more valuable to them than a spell-book they couldn't decipher. Nevertheless, Irthir thought that the best immediate course of action was to investigate his patron. Of course, his judgement wasn't the best after feeling the overwhelming presence from inside the cavernous walls of the city. They all convinced Akasha that this was the best course of action, and despite tremendous worry, she offered to go with Irthir to help him avoid detection and help him out of a pinch.
They left Akasha's home and the feeble woman could not calm her nerves. It was obvious that she truly feared these people and had never defied them to such a degree. She tried to act natural as they descended to the lower levels of the city, but she could not. When addressed by a fellow mage, she lost her ability to communicate. A small inquisition began in which Irthir shamelessly revealed Akasha's identity and involvement in illicit activity. Akasha, overwhelmed and distraught by the situation, did the only thing she could think of doing -- bribing the mage. Seeing as how the Pillarmen had already made her exhaust much of her currency by casting spells and had made her a traitor to the state, she didn't see the harm in parting with her coin in order to see the mission through...
After the mage accepted her bribe, they continued down to the mining level where they sneaked past the security detail who seemed not to be paying attention. They entered the tunnels and Irthir was overcome with the presence of this beast beneath the mountain. His mind began to cloud and his body went numb. He seemed intoxicated by the effects of this creature. They continued until they found the head, which had been excavated to reveal a huge maw and large, bulbous eye. Irthir was confused by the powerful and ancient instincts of this dormant leviathan. He attempted to make contact with it by reaching out his telepathic tendrils towards the creature's unconscious mind.
Suddenly and without warning, the creature's eye opened and focused in on Irthir. Overwhelming pain shot through his body and he screamed out in agony, seizing on the ground. This went on for what seemed like hours, or maybe days. When the pain finally stopped, Irthir felt as though he had been saturated by the being's magical essence. Akasha was concerned and worried about the commotion, and tried to convince Irthir that the whole ordeal had been over in a matter of seconds and that the great eye had not so much as twitched. She urged Irthir to stand up so that they could retreat back to Akasha's abode and the safety of the demi-plane.