IC The Gates Have Opened

DarkMum

Godamn Catwoman
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Katrin shrugs and sadly replies "Perhaps my trust is misplaced, as they say, but without it being given, even grudgingly, there is no change for the better."
 

Ominous presence

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Mander is somewhat surprised at this turn of events. Mere hours ago, Mayvreen was an enemy he'd not have held back against on the field of battle. However, Mander knew firsthand the positive effects that a bit of trust could have on one who is habitually shunned.
 

Cerulean Lion

Social Justice Christian
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Mayvreen (softly): "I know I am not entitled to your trust. I must earn it."
Katrin: "Perhaps my trust is misplaced, as they say, but without it being given, even grudgingly, there is no change for the better."
Alain: "Earn our trust then. What does your commander mean to do? How can we stop him?"

Mayvreen: "When last we spoke, Athanon meant to use the Gate in the caves to open the way to our realm, there to recruit a few more like us. Then he would take power from the Darkness-- the Horrors as you name them--share it with his followers and claim this world for us."
She looks at Katrin. "As Lady Katrin guessed, he hopes to take the servants of the Fivefold for his own; not in dribs and drabs as you saw me doing but wholesale."

Sarlona, who has come up unnoticed, exclaims: "You're planning to take over from the Fivefold Queen!? How powerful is this Athanon!?"

Mayvreen looks at her. "You're one of the Seduced, then? Or were, I should say. The Queen is only one of the Five, girl. There is also the Great Cold One, the Burning Wrath, the Merciless." Pause. "There is a fifth but I never learned its name."

She looks at Alain, then at Katrin, then Mander. "I suppose your best chance is to gain control of the Gate. That will thwart Athanon and block the flow of reinforcements for the Five."
 

Talisman

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Sarlona, who has come up unnoticed, exclaims: "You're planning to take over from the Fivefold Queen!? How powerful is this Athanon!?"

Mayvreen looks at her. "You're one of the Seduced, then? Or were, I should say. The Queen is only one of the Five, girl. There is also the Great Cold One, the Burning Wrath, the Merciless." Pause. "There is a fifth but I never learned its name."
"The Fivefold Queen is but one of five?" Alardan says, surprised. "Strange gods - or monsters, or whatever they are. Are the others . . . interested in this world, do you know?"

She looks at Alain, then at Katrin, then Mander. "I suppose your best chance is to gain control of the Gate. That will thwart Athanon and block the flow of reinforcements for the Five."
"A sound strategy, assuming we can hold it - it would be useless to seize control of the Gate only to be overwhelmed by whatever comes through. Can you tell us anything about the Gate itself, how to control it, how to deactivate it?"
 

DarkMum

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"Mayvreen, if you wish to return home, would that be possible, by any way other than the Gate?" Katrin asks, then explains "If it is closed or destroyed, that would leave you and the others that came from your world stranded here, I assume, unless other means were found."

She looks pensive a moment, then adds "I do not wish to leave any of your kind trapped here against their will, but if destroying the Gate is the only way to stop another invading force, we may not have a choice."
 

Cerulean Lion

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Alardan: "The Fivefold Queen is but one of five? Strange gods - or monsters, or whatever they are. Are the others . . . interested in this world, do you know?"

Ranadath: "As a group they seem interested mainly in taking control of this world."
Mayvreen: "Ruining it as they ruined the world of the Azlyn."


Alardan: "A sound strategy, assuming we can hold it - it would be useless to seize control of the Gate only to be overwhelmed by whatever comes through. Can you tell us anything about the Gate itself, how to control it, how to deactivate it?"

Mayvreen: "The Gate is stable, but must be wakened for each use. Athanon knows the procedure. I know only that it takes blood."
Chirt (who came up along with Sarlona): "Do you mean the gate demands a sacrifice?"
Mayvreen: "Whether it needs death, Sir Azlyn, I know not. Perhaps it is enough that the mage cut her arm and bleed for it."
Alain: "And maybe not. Remember the spite-birds?"
Mayvreen smiles sadly. "I remember them well, Knight of the Dragon. Yet I tell the truth--I know not."

Katrin: "Mayvreen, if you wish to return home, would that be possible, by any way other than the Gate? If it is closed or destroyed, that would leave you and the others that came from your world stranded here, I assume, unless other means were found.
"I do not wish to leave any of your kind trapped here against their will, but if destroying the Gate is the only way to stop another invading force, we may not have a choice."

Mayvreen: "I would submit to exile without complaint if that would save your world, Lady Katrin." Briefly bitter. "Likely it would be better than the punishment that awaits me at home." She takes a deep breath, holds it a few seconds, releases it. "We were sent here by a temporary gate. To return home we must return to out point of arrival and signal for retrieval. Destroying the enemy's Gate will do us no harm."

Ranadath: "Athanon wants control of the Foulgate so he can bring his own allies from our world, not to go home himself."
Mayvreen sighs. "There may be something else. Ranadaath"--she looks up at him from her seat on the bench--" perhaps I was not the only one seeking allies among this world's powers."
Ranadath winces. "And that, sister mine, is a very dark thought indeed."
Mayvreen to Katrin and the rest: "I had begun the worship or the goddess Sss'thasines, a power of your world. I am not her priest--you defeated me before I could go so far as that. Perhaps Athanon has gone further, or plans to."

OOC: IC post #762 for reference.
 

Cerulean Lion

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Between your own knowledge, what the refugees can tell you and what Mayvreen and Ranadath know, you have a pretty complete picture of the lay of the land around your target.
Lake Mourncry is surrounded by light forest. The land immediately around the lake is mostly open for a few hundred yards from the shoreline. There are some scattered hamlets within a few miles of the lake, and two small fishing villages on the shore, both on the northern side.
The Foul have set up a village of their own on the western shore, where enthralled servants live and work. Maybe a few hundred humans, a few halflings and dwarves. About half that many of the Foul, with a lot of leader types.

There are three main entrances to the Caves. One is about half a mile directly west of the lake, and large enough that your big wagon could be driven into it.
Another farther north about half that size. A much smaller entrance southward and westward of the big one, used by leader types: forbidden to servants.
The largest entrance has a village around it, maybe a hundred Enthralled and Foul. Distance from the western shore village to the main entrance village: about half a mile through light forest.
All the main entrances are guarded.

There are numerous small openings on the surface, varying from large enough for a human to walk through if they crouch, to crawlways that might be wide enough for a halfling or Azlyn.
The entire area has enough activity that sneaking in will be difficult; but Mayvreen thinks no sentries posted at the small openings.

One of the smaller outposts is directly between the Refuge and the caves. You will need to either sneak around it or destroy it first. According to the refugees there may be forty or fifty people there, a mixture of Foul and enthralled servants. Expect at least one spellcaster.

The layout of the caves is less well known. Many large rooms, most natural but some near the entrances have been enlarged over time by lake dwellers using them as storage places. There is a network of smaller tunnels leading away from the few central tunnels, and many small caves/rooms. It would be easy to get lost if one is careless.

According to Mayvreen (who admits her knowledge is imprecise) the Gate is perhaps a quarter mile from the main entrance and in a central room. You can expect more than one spell-user besides the main priestess, and of course Athanon.
At least one of the Shattered Realm party (beside Vinven) is still unaccounted for.

Right now it's late afternoon. If you leave now you can't expect to reach the main cave entrance before nightfall.

Aside from Keventh and Sarlona you have some volunteers to join the party and act as guides so far as they can.

Keventh has a new spell. He can surround himself with an area of semidarkness about ten feet in radius. Within that, he can still be seen but only as a vague hard to hit shape. A little experimentation shows he can make allies within the semidarkness equally hard to hit. He has to designate each ally. Anyone not designated has trouble seeing clearly within the darkness.
Also he can now throw four witch darts at one go.

Have you any questions?
 

Mitch

Flying high
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Nigel sketches out an annotated map. “What sort of magic can we expect them to use?”, he asks.
 

Talisman

The Man of Talis
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One of the smaller outposts is directly between the Refuge and the caves. You will need to either sneak around it or destroy it first. According to the refugees there may be forty or fifty people there, a mixture of Foul and enthralled servants. Expect at least one spellcaster.
"I think we should destroy it," Alardan says firmly. "If we've a chance to free more people we should take it, and I don't like the idea of leaving something like that active at our backs. Between us we should be able to handle the Foul, and once we do, the thralls will no longer be our enemies."

He turns to Mayvreen. "That reminds me. This mental dominion the Foul wield over mortals; is there any way to break or block it? A quicker way than simply slaying all their masters, I mean."
 

Elfwine

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Elerran nods in agreement with Alardan.

"The sooner they're free, the better. And the Foul weakening seems like it would help all of us."
 
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