OOC note: This is backdated to the game time. Also you can kinda tell who writes the recaps by the choice of voice.
After a brief, creepy conversation with a being who spoke via corrupted hound corpses, the group ventured onward. Harrod decided to guard the entrance while the rest continued, as being cured of the Demon Plague twice started to give him… odd feelings. Alithor discovered more about his complex, realizing that the doors were rigged with Explosive Runes traps triggered to a command word he knew. However, the angelic crew did not need these traps to overcome a horde of plague zombies and an undead grey render. Raguel was mostly impervious to the creatures’ attacks, and Hanuman perforated swaths of undead with his manticore spines.
Alithor saved many corrupted Lantern Archons by removing the plague from them; however, this destroyed them in the process. The group destroyed Archons who attacked the group, as they appeared beyond saving. On the last floor, Alithor decrypted the final set of commands. First, Alithor found some precious gems and art, a mug that refilled with any nutritious drink at will, some propaganda books regarding themselves, and a green, magical gem. With some decrypting, this floor also opened to an elevator located in the space between rooms, which went to a force-walled aerie above the mountain’s peak.
There awaited a pale white, Star Elf form of Astor the Terror, the corrupted angel personally slain by Alithor the Herald in their fateful battle, along with a complement of undead minions. But for divine fortune, Astor may have driven away Raguel and Hanuman in fear. The party overcame several of Astor’s attempts to seize them in terror and quickly brought down the maniacal elf with magic missiles, grappling claws and manticore spines. Astor the Terror’s form melted into snow and slush, and he promised they would meet again; the undead minions quickly fell without their master.
Alithor soon discovered the purpose of his Sanctuary. First, from the vantage point of the Aerie, he could see and communicate with any point inside his sanctuary. Second, Alithor determined he could broadcast his voice to most of the continent. He used this to reach Kalea, but not otherwise. Third, Alithor found a crown, which could only be seen or wielded by him. He put on the crown, and it bestowed some of Alithor’s lost angelic power. Importantly, it also provided him some memory of a spell-component to a mysterious ritual. Alithor doesn’t know the exact aspects of the ritual, but he does know the spell component acts as a kind of magical stabilizer for a great amount of energy. The herald can’t actually cast it, yet.
Upon leaving the cleansed sanctuary, the group found Harrod healing himself near a pile of construct-like body parts, mostly smashed against the wall. He informed the group that the law-constructs previously in the entry hall did in fact get off some sort of signal, but they didn’t seem to know what was going on or who was in the temple. While Harrod apparently took care of the first wave of assailants, he implied they would continue looking for him. It would be best, for now, if he parted ways and allowed the group to continue their quest while he drew the attention of the lawful investigators.
On their way back down the mountain, Alithor attempted to settle a growing dispute between the two hill giant clans, Kaaj and Meren. The angelic half giant had already convinced clan Kaaj to trade with the humans, and within the days they were gone it had already benefited Kaaj… except Meren was consistently raiding his nemesis’ newfound supplies. Against all odds, Alithor used his great words and silly diplomacy checks to bring the two clans together, to watch Kaaj and Meren (brothers, actually) honor dueled for the right to rule all the giants near Kalea’s Rest. Kaaj won, and Alithor convinced the followers of Meren (except Meren’s son, who ran off) to follow Kaaj in peace.
The group then decided to return to Omopolis for more information from The Man in the Lonely Tower. Here Alithor learned his previous fun times at Omopolis’ party and love festival led to the miracle of a child, who gestated quickly, like a half celestial. He convinced all involved to keep the child’s angel birth a secret, and to let the clergy of Sharess (technically responsible for all children conceived during their festival) help protect the child.
The faceless Elan and his beguiler companion received the party and provided more information. His library contained a book appropriately titled “The Champions of the Titan’s Eye”, describing each fallen champion via heroic propaganda. He also answered questions about the nature of Astor’s slushy demise. It was some sort of simulacrum-based effect, although he wasn’t sure if it was the “new” or the “old” simulacrum. The new one works as normal, but the “old” version could use “more power” to grant the simulacrum more of the original being’s power. (DM Note: a bit of ret-con to give me flexibility)
The lonely psion also provided more information on the magical emerald. Alithor had already found that it was a power source of some sort, with summoning, abjuration and transmutation magicks. However, the faceless Elan recognized it as a specific power source, actually a key to one of his past master’s travel-based prototypes. After learning this revelation, a new point on The Map opened up, to an island in the southeast; a path also accompanied this point. No one took up the psion’s offer to extract hidden memories, as Alithor had done.
The group’s original plan was to deal with the new discovery after figuring out their individual points on the map. However, upon landing at Fort Jotun again, the group learned of a Kuo-toan menace based in the same location. Apparently the Kuo-toa were at war with a confederation of other sentient sea creatures, and they were using strange new alchemical tools to turn the war to their favor. Seeing that the Kuo-toa’s acts may be related to their newfound information about ancient prototypes, and as Alithor wanted to help the more goodly nation against the usually-evil Kuo-toa, the party decided to investigate.
Shortly thereafter they found that the Church of Procan was funding a similar expedition, so the party decided to join forces and share their map-based information. The priests of Procan discussed the party’s path as a potential “sacred path of Procan.” The Procan-ian vessel eventually encountered some resistance, in the form of a small band of standard Kuo-toa trying to scuttle the ship from below. The angels went under and easily dispatched the frog men, but more was to come…