Firestorm

Game Eighteen:
The Labyrinth

Dangerous delving below the sunken ship reveals a waterfall, a cavern, and a magical door. Beyond it — The Labyrinth — a place of puzzles both ancient and devious.

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Game Seventeen:
A Watery Grave

The great city-ship, El Aman-Iral, the Sun Sail, lies buried even deeper in the vast, underground complex beneath Pacht. Flooded by seawater, this titanic vessel is haunted by the images and spirits of bitter rivals and a love gone wrong.

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Game Sixteen:
Catches the Eye

The heroes lay a trap for the monstrous Beholder that dwells beneath The Prison floors. Once slain, the rest of the forgotten dungeon is easy pickings.

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Game Fifteen:
Trolls and Dwarves

In the dark center of The Prison, the party is betrayed by untrusting humans and given over to a Greenskin ambush, but the tables are turned.

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Game Fourteen:
The Wight King and The Prison

The Defenders of Pacht defeat the dreaded Wight King and travel ever deeper into the great dungeons below Overlook Hill.

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Game Thirteen:
The Mausoleum

The Second Seal of Surzil opens and the party descends to investigate the hidden secrets of The Mausoleum.

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Game Twelve:
In Plain Sight

The Dark Elves attempt multiple kidnappings, but the Defenders of Pacht intervene once more.

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Game Eleven:
The Rescue of Princess Winifrey

Shaken but not undone by the fires and riots in the Canal District, the citizens of Pacht press on with the midsummer festivities, holding races and tournaments for all to see. Hasnim ebn Alzi and Miched Dufraine enter some of these contests of martial prowess and carry themselves well, but it is Haldis the Sage and his skill with darts that earns the trophy on the archery pitch.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Samael Thrushton and his commanding officer, Colonel Odolphus Griest are playing host to visiting Haelmgood royalty: Prince Friedrick and Princess Winifrey Loyalsworth, who are heirs of the king and two steps away from the throne. But all is not well, for a plot is begun as the first lances of the joust are broken.

Ever watchful Samael discerns that Princess Winifrey has not been seen for some time, and hurries to check on her, only to find her servant murdered with Dark Elf silk clutched in his still-warm hand. Calling on his friends and the loyal men of neighboring Haelmgood, the troop sets out, Hasnim’s tracking senses picking up the trail out of the city. The Defenders of Pacht quickly pull ahead of the scurrying soldiers and waste no time in their pursuit of mounted miscreants.

As night falls, they come upon Manafax Abbey in the distance, and a lone rider speeding toward it. This is none other than Lt. Stene Drummond, rival to Samael and suspect in both the kidnapping and other foul deeds. The Duke’s son can spare not a moment if he hopes to rescue his princess, for even as they ride to the ruins, her screams echo from within. Samael charges through the rotting doors and gallops full-out into unknown dangers, his friends near behind.

Out of sight and moving swiftly, Miched intercepts Drummond in the tall grasses and duels him in the darkness. Finding himself outmatched, the wicked traitor (who helped arrange the kidnapping to make himself look the hero when he came to the rescue) flees in terror. But a good sky-pirate never leaves an enemy at his back and he kindly dispatches the honorless officer on behalf of his friend, Samael.

Meanwhile, inside the ruined abbey, a strange congregation has been assembled. One-hundred enchanted peasants, weak and weary, stand sentinel around a cloaked wizard who seems to command them with only his will. He is The Choirmaster. They sing out with eerie voices in a strange tongue, and it is this song that seems to fill the enchanter with vast, infernal power. He hurls spells at the intruders, but their mounted charge down the ancient hall drives him back. As Hasnim climbs to the choir-loft to free the Princess from her bonds, Haldis peppers the foe with magical bolts and Vadran takes up his blade in anger for the first time in many years. And good that he does, for The Choirmaster is more than simply a wizard… he is the First of the Five Infernals sent to raze the Free-City and kill the Interlopers.

With sword and spell, Samael’s band strikes down The Choirmaster before he can retaliate with his arcane might. The Princess is freed and the singing slaves regain mastery of their own minds.

But the Dark Elves who brought Winifrey to the abbey are nowhere to be found…..

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Game Ten:
Victory in Flames

Leaving the buried Fort Overlook under the protection of a captain of The Ruby Knights (though they know not why The Hand of the Viceroy sent him), the Defenders of Pacht think up plans for dealing with their enemy-of-the-moment, The Water Cult. With only days before the Summer Solstice and a score to settle, they choose to serve their dish of revenge as hot as humanly possible.

Buying up barrels and barrels of lamp oil (not to mention all the Greek Fire and Smoke Powder they can find) the party sets about constructing a surprise for the evil priestesses and their leader, The Daughter. Gathered together with their remaining undefiled altars in The Old Waterworks in the Canal District, the cultists suspect nothing when the charmed worshipper, Boc, obeys Haldis’s magically-enhanced suggestions and delivers barrels to the various supply rooms inside the tall structure. Once their mole is clear of the building, the real fun begins…

Hasnim, using a fire-arrow made by men who failed to kill him only days before, ignites the first barrel, which explodes so violently that the ancient ruin that is The Old Waterworks teeters on the point of collapse. When the second and third barrels blow, the citizens of Pacht experience pandemonium. Fire and blood. Explosion after explosion until the towering skeleton of dead industry starts to fall.

Acting quickly to remedy a situation beyond what was planned for, the party abandon their hiding places in the nearby warehouse and set themselves around the conflagration. Samael and Haldis the Sage take down a cracked pillar to direct the inevitable fall of The Waterworks. Miched tries his best to save the innocents in harm’s way. And Hasnim keeps the Cultist priests busy with arrows.

Soon enough, the building falls. Flame and dust and screams of final agony fill the air. Out of the rubble come only the strongest — elite bodyguards, now terribly injured, and The Daughter, high priestess of Essasae! The battle is on!

Summoning rats, storms, and turning the ground to mud beneath her foes, the witch proves formidable. But not immortal. Steel and spell sap the last of her unholy strength, and with her death, so too dies Essasae’s goal to resurrect the Gargantuan Graygle.

…………

Now, the Canal District smolders, the fires causing more chaos than death, though some visiting foreign ships are damaged badly at the nearby docks. Many have died, but far less than might have if the Titan had been brought back to life on The Solstice. The Water Cult is effectively no more. Riots force The City Watch to close the bridges to the poorest and most desperate part of Pacht, but The Summer Festival is at hand, and the celebration must go on.

For much more than the outcome of peasant races and knightly tournaments is about to be decided in The Free-City. History is in motion, and time is not on the side of Good.

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Game Nine:
The Second Seal

Bound and trapped beneath an upturned, sinking boat-hull, Samael Thrushton III, Haldis the Sage, and Hasnim ebn Alzi ebn Is’a of the Fallen Moon Tribe face a breathless death. The troupe manages to free themselves from both rope and spell, but the dangers of drowning and powerful priestesses above them remain. Boldly, they break through the shoddy, wooden tomb, flooding their last, airy refuge with cold canal water. As they swim desperately for the surface, the three men prepare for a fight they cannot possibly win.

Breaking the waters and at their most vulnerable, they find… nothing! No guards or waiting clerics. Only the sound of battle nearby.

Outside the Hat-in-Hand Boatwrights, an elite squad of powerful adventurers, hurriedly hired by Vadran, priest of Fyros, dispatches the unruly mob, sinking magical blades into the wicked cult witches while spells of mastery silence their dark prayers forever. These saviors came at a high price in gold, but take victory with ease. They lead the bewildered three back to The Adventurers’ Guild, where a smiling Vadran patiently waits.

Reunited, save for Miched Sanel Dufraine, the party turn their attentions to Overlook Hill, where that wayward companion has been sequestered for far longer than is necessary, merely if he were scouting for trouble. They go there, calling on Her Ladyship Marsa Crimwall at Proudfire Manor, who informs the companions that Miched and two servants, Devon Miller and Peele, have, only moments before, gone across the avenue to Gildengate mansion in an attempt to rescue the elderly Margravene imprisoned therein.

Rushing to help, they barely arrive in time to save Miched and his hapless warband from being overwhelmed by the trained killers inside the house. Striking on two fronts, the heroes confound the enemy despite their numerical advantage, sending them scurrying from the top floors into the dug-out basement, where an excavation marks what surely must be more of Gray Lord Ravenix’s foul work.

The fight is a bloody one, and few remain unscathed. But Margravene Tessy Hallowday flees to safety while the adventurers press on and down. Beneath Gildengate lies a massive, buried complex that once was Fort Overlook — a grand, five-walled fortress with outbuildings and stone keep, now caved-in and crumbling. The last of the kidnappers takes flight to the innermost chamber and are coaxed out without much effort, having seen too many of their peers slain beforehand.

Within that chamber, another Seal of Surzil is discovered… this one far more complex and certainly more powerful than the one in The Canal District. But a strangeness prevents Haldis from learning more. An ice-like formation of magical crystal shields this second seal from tampering, and the group deduces rightly that the Gray Lord might be learning from his earlier mistakes.

But more is gleaned from Fort Overlook, for like the houses built above it, it was not the first thing mankind put upon the earth, here. Below Overlook Hill sit eight ages of history, each one boasting a structure of some kind built above the abandoned remains of its predecessor. From Mausoleums to Labyrinths to things beyond ancient reckoning, there must be many secrets hidden below. Was one of these what Gray Lord Ravenix sought when he dug up this place? Or was he interested only in The Seal, itself?

Only time will tell…

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