Wasteland Campaign

Rendesvous-ie with Louis

Timeline: 25 AQB back to several months before 0 AQB, Days 1-7

Ketyl’s POV

We travelled to meet Orin and went back in time. We arrived near the Northern Kingdom, and headed towards a lit town. They let us in once they recognized Korbin.

We had a week until the meeting, so we decided to sell off some of the treasure we had accrued and I even got a chance to play for an audience again. It’s honestly just not as fun playing for the same people who just roll their eyes every time you pick up your instrument.

After each doing our own thing for a few days, we met up and learned that Korbin had bought a ton of explosives as a plan to ambush Moldark before the meeting even began. While initially annoyed that Korbin hadn’t seemed to understand the concept of a recon mission, we decided to tweak his plan slightly. Knowing that the Lich relied on True Sight to see through illusion, we hid the explosives under a small layer of gold coins in several standard chests.

If anybody asked what was in the chests, we could honestly respond with gold, thus not triggering Louis’ astounding ability of insight into lies.

As we were led deep into the Underdark, we saw seemingly bottomless chasms of darkness while being pulled in some form of carriage by giant spiders.

Once we arrived, Lyc revealed herself to not be Ziggy and we told Louis that Ziggy had asked us to come in his place to see what the deal was. I got a good look at our enemies for the first time: Morael, the lich, was a skeleton covered in the finest of robes and accessories; Moldark, the vampire, surprisingly lithe compared to the horrendous slob I had seen in Shao Khan’s throne room; and Louis Arizona, the fallen angel, who truly put to shame all description of an angel’s beauty.

And above all of us, a truly colossal worm (practically the size of a town from the looks of it) suspended by several chains as Drow bled it to be used for Slurnbase and some other drug.

Louis wasn’t happy that we crashed his party, but went on with his spiel, revealing that pretty much everything that went wrong with the future started here. This worm was in fact a restrained demon lord that Louis had been draining for a long time and using it to fuel the barbarians fighting the Northern Empire and his own drug trade. And he had now found a way to make the drug even more powerful and planned to use it on the highest bidder as an attempt to gain allies and to kill Shao Khan. Further, this demon worm was also the source of all the zombie worms that Morael had collected. But we also learned that anybody who consumed this “Super-Slurn” and the worms were weak to consecrated salt.

During this talk, Korbin set up the gold explosives strategically around the room. Kronk volunteered to be the one to take the super-drug so that Moldark couldn’t have it and Louis agreed under the condition that Kronk sign a magical contract forcing him to kill Shao Khan.

We discussed the contract for a few minutes before returning to Louis with plans to worry about the “killing Shao Khan” part later. But Louis had already started hooking up Moldark to the machine, complaining that we took too long to decide.

So, Plan B (and really what I wanted in the first place), we managed to take the villains by complete surprise, exploding the cave around us and teleporting out simultaneously. Just before we disappeared, I saw Moldark transform to a cloud of mist, meaning my plan had worked.

As we appeared in Silotown, I was fairly certain that we had not killed the demon lord, Louis and certainly not Morael. But hopefully we had at least delayed their plans for a little while. If the explosion triggered a cave collapse, it would take a while to dig out that demon worm.

So my teleportation to Silotown had two major purposes: one, have an actual guaranteed place to escape an exploding cave; and two, we’d need allies who already have a vested interest in getting rid of Morael’s influence and preventing Moldark’s ascension to the throne. Plus we’d need a hell of a lot of consecrated salt water and who better to go to than the Church of Ashava?

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There’s a Starman stuck inside an Orb

Timeline: 25 AQB, Day 5

Ketyl’s POV

Unfortunately, as soon as I began explaining the situation to Boss Ash, he boomed that he actually was allies with the Elder. Whelp.

During the heated battle, I teleported to the next floor past the closed iron doors to see if I could free Ziggy, who was surely trapped somewhere. I saw a glittery form writhing in an orb surrounded by fire.

I spun a quick lie to some fire giants that were guarding him, but they saw through it and tried to push me out the door. I turned invisible and walked past them to the orb, where I saw a small slot. I aimed a crossbow bolt and shot so true that the bolt hit my target.

Unfortunately, it didn’t unlock the orb, but it richocheted and opened the door for my friends. As I saw them rush up, the guards immediately gave up, knowing that their boss was no more.

Korbin produced some strange key-like dagger… a keyblade, if you will. He took the dagger and freed Ziggy, with the unfortunate side-effect of being trapped instead. We intimidated one of the guards into taking Korbin’s place, while the other one fled.

We took the opportunity to talk to Ziggy and learned about the Elder’s one weakness, the keyblade that Korbin held. But it had a catch, it would slowly drive the user insane as it took on the traits of the outsiders that it killed.

We also learned several key details about Louis Arizona, that he was a powerful angel who fell from grace after consorting with the drow spider goddess, Lolth. We also learned that Moldark was undefeatable while he had his phylactery, and that he had a powerful magic item that allowed him to cast multiple spells at once!

We also learned about Morael’s lair was a horrific maze that phased in and out of existence on an 8-hour timer, filled to bursting with treasure, undead guardians, and lesser dracoliches.

Knowing all this, we planned to use Lyc’s changeling powers to impersonate Ziggy and keep it a recon-only mission. Discretion would be the better part of valor here. But would we pull it off without Louis or Morael suspecting? Or would we have to fight our way out as usual?

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Lava Looms

Timeline: 25 AQB, Day 4-5

Ketyl’s POV

We decided that Ziggy needed to be consulted if he had any info on defeating the Elder. We could go back in time to the meeting afterwards. And the phylactery certainly wasn’t going anywhere.

So we took a rest and went to Doomwake Cinders’ territory near a volcano. As we arrived, we were greeted by all manner of humanoid creatures who seemed to be living in indentured servitude. A young pig farmer claimed that a new boss had taken over the Doomwake Cinders, a fire giant known as Boss Ash. He also explained that life was a lot easier as a slave under Boss Ash than it had been under Boss Coal, the boss who had been around in our time.

So we continued on toward the mountain. On the way, I summoned the genie and laid out my contract, confident that even he couldn’t find a loophole to exploit. He chuckled and granted my wish, which sounded ominous. But I got my wish! The Ollamh Harp was more beautiful than any story could have described it. The craftsmanship was astonishing, even with the power of a wish.

I decided to wait to attune to it until I could get Dan to identify it. Have to make sure it isn’t somehow cursed.

I caught up with the rest of my party at the base of the volcano where they were talking to a fire giant and some salamanders. The giant was being dodgy about whether he knew of Ziggy, so I volunteered Korbin for a rock-throwing contest with the prize being info. Korbin won, of course, exploding a pig with the power of super steroid drugs.

The giant didn’t reveal much more, only briefly saying that Boss Ash had cloistered himself away and had banished all bards. But why? Does he hate the sound of music? That could be useful info. The giant brought us in for a tour. He babbled for a while about how great their smithing was, until I asked to meet with Boss Ash, bluffing that I had a message for him.

But, of course, Korbin had to ruin a perfectly good talk by opening his mouth and blowing my cover. Why, man? Who does that benefit? So now we have to fight through the entire volcano. I managed to charm these ones into dropping their best treasures and fleeing as far as possible. The others took care of the hellhounds while Kronk and I tried to get to the controls for the lift to the next floor. After some debate, we managed to get the gnomes to help us. Kronk smashed the lever so they couldn’t turn it off. Smart.

I flew past the second floor to get to the third floor. Maybe if I got to them before Korbin did, I could still resolve this peacefully. As fun as it would be to loot this place, it’s unwise to do so when everyone is on alert.

I managed to trick the giants that I was a representative of Orin’s from Silotown who had a message for Boss Ash himself. One that could only be told to him personally. Parts of the story are lies, but enough is true that it’s easily verifiable. I’m able to convince them to put away their weapons while Boss Ash comes to hear the message.

The rest of my party, sans Korbin, showed up and went along with my story. I passed them off as bodyguards, claiming that it would be bad if I got captured before delivering a message. Lyanna quietly warned me that it would become a brawl if Korbin showed up. Hopefully, he had stayed behind in a considerate attempt to give me time to smooth things over. Likely, he just wanted to fight a bunch of giants.

I nearly blew it for a moment when I ask if they want to hear a song, and the giants nearly shit themselves in anger. I managed to fix the problem by making unfunny fart sounds with my armpit. Can’t believe I nearly ruined my own attempt at diplomacy. How stupid of me.

A truly enormous giant with two large, untarnished shields flanked by regular fire giants began to come down the lift from an upper floor. Boss Ash had arrived. As soon as he got to me, my plan would begin in earnest.

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So Many Questions!

Timeline: 25 AQB, Day 3-4

Ketyl’s POV

An apparition arose from the dead body. He told us that he was not, in fact, Ziggy, but another man who claimed to be his right hand man. He called himself the Jacketless Man. He had actually sent us the letter, intending to meet us as Ziggy before revealing the truth if we were trustworthy. The letter was not a trap, but it must have been intercepted by these mercenaries.

Ziggy had disappeared shortly after an argument with a man known as Johnny Langua while in Rennin. Apparently, Ziggy had been obsessed with a specific book that he had borrowed from the Guardians and had intended to go fight Morael.

Perhaps this was an earlier iteration of the book we possessed now? If this Johnny Langua had obtained the book and returned it to the Guardians, that would still match up with our current timeline. We offered the Jacketless Man a chance to return to life, but he declined, preferring to move on. Once we collected the belongings of the fallen, we went to rest before heading to Rennin on the lightning train.

As I stepped off the train, my first thought was that not much had changed in 25 years. The smell was the same, some buildings had shifted but otherwise the same. The only thing that seemed odd was the rats. They’d always been rather friendly, following you around in groups, but they seemed unusually…organized. Studying their exposed brains and behavior, I quickly put together that they were a hive mind that became more intelligent in close proximity to each other. This explained why there were so many rats in one place compared to when I lived here. I put together that these must be spies for Johnny Langua, especially once a nearby bard told us not to mess with the rats. So I performed a song to let Johnny know we were here to meet with him. I’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t very good since I didn’t have much time to prepare. Regardless, it got us an opening act for Johnny’s concert that night.

Dan insisted on a rider as part of our performance. I’d never done a rider before because I wasn’t particularly well-known before I went to the north. My performances had always been covers for my criminal activities anyway, so it had never really occurred to me. So I simply asked for 30 inflatable fish in the green room. I didn’t really want that, but I didn’t have time to think of it. I was too busy coming up with a song for that night.

As the lights fell, we took to the stage. My nerves filled me with a restless energy, as I’d never performed on this stage and never for this many people. The potential for a good performance is more daunting than any dragon or slaad, I can tell you that. As I strummed out the melody, the crowd grew quiet. I began to sing, as explosions of light came from behind me. I couldn’t see what my party was doing, but the audience was loving it. As I finished my song, I felt my heart soar. The audience loved us. This would surely be one of my greatest performances.

We went to the green room afterwards to meet with Johnny Langua. Apparently he was a djinni, along with his fellow band members, who were genies of different planes. He claimed that he was very interested in meeting us and that he had a vested interest in eliminating Moldark and Morael, though he was very dodgy about the book or Ziggy’s whereabouts. Using a truth-ensuring spell, we traded information on our enemies’ weaknesses and whereabouts, including that Lyanna was doomed by prophecy to meet her end at the hands of a Rakshasa, the Elder. With this, there could be no doubt that we had caused the Elder to be able to travel through time somehow. Sounds like he is the puppeteer that is controlling Moldark and Morael from the shadows.

Further, we learned the location of Morael’s phylactery to the exact location. We also learned that Louis Arizona, the same drow we had stolen a drill-car from, had something to do with Moldark’s sudden burst in power. Going back in time to stop it from ever happening could cause a paradox, but perhaps we could convince Louis to reveal how to reverse the process.

Not sure if we could trust Johnny at his word, we asked him what his weakness was. He claimed that it was a whiskey flask that could trap him, hidden somewhere in Rennin. Interested, I looked around the room and my eyes felt drawn to a specific bottle. As I touched it, the frog-like marid cursed as he was sucked into it. Johnny laughed and said that the marid was now obligated to grant me one wish, though the marid would likely “be a cock about it.” I’d have to be very careful in how I word my wish to prevent any unintended consequences.

We retired to our rooms. In the morning, I learned that the efreet, Fiery Watts, had come to inform us of Ziggy’s whereabouts. His spies had supposedly placed Ziggy at the volcano in Doomwake Cinders’ territory. Fiery Watts mentioned that Johnny Langua would not be happy that he revealed this information, but Johnny had claimed under the zone of truth that his band-mates could not be trusted.

So what would we do now? Would we go find Ziggy even though we had our information? Would we go find Louis Arizona to learn how to weaken Moldark and then go take out Moldark? Or would we foolishly try to take on an ancient undead blue dragon? And what would I do with the power of a genie’s wish?

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Ziggy’s Not There?

Timeline: 25 AQB, Day 3

Ketyl’s POV

I woke up in the morning to learn that Korbin had commissioned some “Dan’s Time Dudes” patches. How the hell am I supposed to put that in a song? Not many things rhyme with “dudes” that would make sense. Moods? ‘Tudes? Nudes? Broods? How am I supposed to work with that?

Anyway, we set off to Lumbertown via the lightning train car. I’d heard of such a system even in our time, but it wasn’t nearly so expansive. We parked and waited until noon with no sign of Ziggy. As I was heading to town to search for him, I got a message from Dan that they’d found him on a hill. Cheera and I raced back over on Chamomile’s back to see Ziggy fall over dead with large claw marks on his chest. His body shifted to some bland nobody.

As soon as his body hit the ground, we were surrounded by some grotesque, insectoid creatures that I recognized as Yugoloths. After some quick back and forth between Korbin and their leader, I learned that someone had paid them to ambush and kill us. Somebody sent us that letter in Ziggy’s style in order to draw us into a trap. It had to be the Elder who set these mercenaries upon us. A Rakshasa would certainly have access to extraplanar creatures like these.

The battle began in earnest as I struggled to keep Chamomile flying. I tried to fight them off by polymorphing Cheera into a tyrannosaurus rex. Unfortunately, my poor steed eventually fell to their blows and she disappeared in a twinkle of light as I floated softly to the ground. One of them kept chasing me down as I fired off fireballs at some of the smaller minions until I managed to lead it back to Korbin. I figured his beefy physique could serve as a good shield while I recovered my composure.

By the time I led it back to Korbin, the others seemed to have wiped out the other side of the battlefield. I had taken quite a few blows, but I’d managed to distract them often enough that the wounds weren’t too deep.

As I glanced over where Chamomile had fallen, I felt a pang in my heart. Sure, she was just a spirit who could be summoned back at any time. But there’s something distressing about seeing a pegasus’ noble form being struck down, especially as I’d grown rather fond of her over the past few days.

Now to find out if this corpse really had been Ziggy. I seriously doubt it, he was an incredibly powerful bard, unlikely to be taken down without a fight. Although it would make for an interesting tale of a man: blessed with talent, but chose to take on another physical form to more suit his particular art form and aesthetic.

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Letter to Lyc #1

Hey Lyc!

I missed you while we were at Limber town, it was super cool! We had to go there to see Ziggy, you know, the best bard in existence who can tell us more information about Moldark? Anyway, he asked to see us in Lumber Town!

You and Auntie were summoned to the moon before we headed out so I didn’t get to say good-bye, but I hope you’re having fun up there!

Anyway, in Lumber Town, which is, by the way, COVERED in beautiful red woods, we meet some lumberjacks who tell us all about the town. They mostly care about cutting wood and being really great at that, which me and Korbin could definitely do, but I prefer a farm with animals to cutting trees for a living.

I made you a cool crown of leaves, I can’t wait for you to wear it so you and I can match!

After Ketyl and I searched around the town, we got a call from Dan on the Stone if Far Speech to meet them up on top of the hill just outside of town. And wouldn’t you know it, we got ambushed!

Ketyl turned me into a T-Rex which was SUPER AWESOME! You would have be proud. Auntie might have liked it, it’s hard to tell sometimes if she likes the cool things I do.

Anyway, it was a hard fight but we emerged victorious in the end (I even ate someone!) and there was a treasure chest too! I can’t wait for you come back so we can go visit Limber Town together, or maybe we can walk around the beautiful forest of redwoods? Whatever we decided to do, I’ll be happy just being by your side.

I think you’re the coolest,
Cheera

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Contacting Ziggy

Timeline: 25 AQB, Day 2

Ketyl’s POV

In the morning, I went to pick up my purchases. Then, I went to the brunch with Dale. I explained the situation to him and we learned that Ziggy is not someone you can just arrange a meeting with. He’s the kind of person that finds you if you pique his interest. Much as I expected, we’d have to appeal to his love of good stories.

Time travel, romance, a weird guy in a speedo, what’s not to love? So I went off to spread the word to the bards at Chez Kipp. They were a little skeptical at first, but I managed to convince them of the veracity of my words. Afterwards, I went to go pick up Ethel, knowing that she likely would drink herself stupid.

Then I went to go see Orlaaz. I tried to explain that these were his inventions from the future, but he seemed only interested in improving the inventions. Whatever, I guess.

I returned to the pub to receive a message from one of the deputies. Apparently, our efforts had made the rounds far faster than I had expected. Ziggy had sent us a note in his signature golden script that we were to meet him in Lumbertown by noon tomorrow. Ethel and I drank into the night and things get a little fuzzy at that point. I remember the guys getting back at some point and I gave Dan the notes?

I woke up in the morning with less of a hangover than I expected. Why do I keep doing this to myself? I managed to get some extra money to buy an endless money pouch. Not exactly what I needed, but it will do. I met up with the rest of the Time Splitters in the morning (that’s the official name, I don’t care what anybody says.)

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Silotown in its Prime

Timeline: 25 AQB, Day 1-2

Ketyl’s POV

Before we had time to really catch our breath, we were confronted with the booming voice of another dragon, demanding that we release his slaves. Naturally, we refused. Hell, we already came this far. With a roar, a huge scarlet-colored dragon burst over the dunes with a smaller one in tow.

Dan managed to imprison the large one like before while we took care of the smaller one, presumably still a child in comparison. My voice rang out, encircling us with a protective wave of energy that shielded us from the flames of the dragon’s breath. Well, all except Lyc. The flame managed to pierce my spell and incinerate her, knocking her out. We managed to get her moving again, but there were soot marks all over her clothes and the ground around her. After the smaller one went down due to our teamwork, we prepared to take on the huge one.

Cheera and Korbin dropped in from above using their jetpacks, scoring valiant blows on the creature. I whispered the dying cries of its children to give them another chance to take him out. But before we could strike the final blow, the fiend dove onto Ethel, tearing her with its mighty claws before snapping her in twain with its strong jaws. We saw her the pieces of her body disappear, though her lifeblood remained spilled on the sand.

We slew the creature, but it was too late. Despite knowing that Ethel would likely return, it is still sobering to see a friend be torn asunder like that. I can only imagine Cheera’s feelings on the subject.

But there was no time to rest as another huge dragon trudged onto the overlooking dune! But lo, a burst of lightning surged through its body, cooking the creature from inside out. With his hand still crackling, a lone man in a cowboy hat stood triumphant on the ridge. Dale, the SIlotown Savior we wanted to meet, had arrived. We quickly caught him up on the status of the survivors as he produced some strange device from his pocket, claiming that it was about to open. A portal opened in front of us, and we managed to get all the survivors and even the dragon corpses through the portal to SIlotown.

As we came through the portal, we were confronted by an entirely new vision of Silotown much like the one we would see 25 years from now, but not quite as advanced…and also a lot more bustling! It seems that, at this point, Silotown was still a thriving metropolis. As we gathered together, we decided to split up with the dragon corpses, trying to sell them or get them fashioned into armor or whatever. Ethel appeared in a burst of moonlight and promptly announced that she was off to the tavern, and I grimaced to think of what she’d drink to get over her very recent dismemberment.

The others managed to slip my notice, leaving me with two of the corpses. So I decided to get what I could for them. I managed to convince the smith to create some dragon-scale armor for my trusty steed, Chamomile, and even to upgrade my own studded leather in exchange for the rest of the materials. I even managed to get some gold and an overnight job, since I expected our team would be easily distracted and want to leave immediately.

By the time I returned, there was some hubbub at our temporary lodgings for the evening. Apparently, Cheera had finally revealed her romantic feelings for Lyc, though I still doubt whether Lyc truly understands the cultural meaning of the word, “girlfriend.” Regardless, I’m happy for them, as it means I can finally regale them with all of the love songs I can manage. Korbin was saying something about taking Orlaaz’ inventions back to Orlaaz? I guess that could make it a grandfather time loop. I haven’t even used that megaphone yet anyway. Probably should, though.

We went to our rooms to rest for the night. Being in a city again made me feel uncomfortable. So much had happened in so little time. Within a month’s time (by my own timeline), I had gone from amusing a tavern with some bawdy songs to fighting dragons and travelling through time. I talked to mechanical men, went to a different dimension, got killed by vampires, went to the moon briefly. I shook my head and laid down, preparing for our meeting with Dale in the morning. We had business to discuss.

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Dragging the Dragons

Timeline: 25 AQB, Day 1

Ketyl’s POV

As we exited the time machine, we were immediately greeted by the sounds of battle. I’m starting to sense a pattern.

As we crested the hill, we saw a tower built into a mountain where two eldery dwarves were being swarmed by kobolds. As we mopped up the creatures, we spoke with the dwarves. They informed us that they were still rebelling against the red dragons and had contact with the Silotown Saviors, specifically the one known as Dale. He had sent a letter saying that he would protect them from the dragons, but hadn’t shown up yet. They were planning to flee soon, but we convinced them otherwise after I intimidated a captured kobold into revealing that this was the dragons’ plan. Korbin forbid me from getting any more info, as he’d grown oddly attached to the creature who would surely try to kill him, given the chance.

Since we needed a Savior’s help to find Ziggy, we had no choice but to help these dwarves survive until we could meet up with Dale and get his help.

During the night, more kobolds came, flanked by two large red dragons. Korbin had created a small rock wall to keep the kobolds away from the doors. I animated some coins to slowly bludgeon one of the dragons to death while Dan and Cheera disabled another one temporarily.

Kronk and Korbin managed to wipe out all the kobolds by themselves as the dwarves hid in Dan’s sanctum inside the tower. As we took down the last dragon, we knew that more would soon be on the way.

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Mucking Around with Morlocks

Timeline: 34 AQB, Day 6 back to 25 AQB

Ketyl’s POV

As Korbin disappeared to the moon, I had to sigh. With this, my plan suddenly fell apart. One of the few times I needed his vehicle prowess, he disappears.

Cheera quietly mentioned that she could pilot the car as well, but never mentioned it before so as not to step on Korbin’s pride. The hoarse, husky voice protesting let me know that Ethel had returned from the moon. Lyc had also returned, blue as ever thanks to the chaotic side-effects of her magic.

As we hid from the Drow, they met up with the Not-Beholder, who called itself Ocular Superiority 5, to discuss some sort of transaction for the drillcar. The plan had to go into action now before anything else could go wrong. I grabbed Cheera and told her to hang on as I teleported us into the drillcar.

As expected, the vehicle was swarming with Morlocks. I accelerated the growth of the plants around the drillcar to slow down any further intruders. As I saw Cheera get swarmed by the creatures, the job fell to me to get the car moving.

As I pointed out the different buttons to Cheera, I struggled to close the doors as I kept getting pulled at and scratched by the foul little bastards. I even fell asleep at some point, but Cheera woke me up. I felt the machinery rock around me as the creatures’ bodies were smashed against the wall from Cheera’s powerful shockwave.

Finally, I managed to get us underground and surfaced on the ridge. As I opened the door, the rest of the party opened fire on the Cyclops that had managed to squeeze itself in there. I also noticed that the not-Beholder had managed to follow us before being frozen in place, presumably by that Blue Sign in front of him.

We blasted away towards the castle and left the drillcar in El Chuch’s care. Godspeed, you magnificent little weirdo. As we met up with Orin, he surmised that we had gotten through the “El Chuch loop,” and asked us where we wanted to go next.

We originally considered going after Morael’s phylactery, but Dan’s research into the ritual described in the books obtained from the library revealed that Morael had managed to seal it into an undead ancient blue dragon that had faced off against Princess Rihann many years ago. We decided that fighting it was a little above our paygrade right now, so we decided to seek out Ziggy Stardust for more information and perhaps prevent his disappearance.

So we piled into the machine and set off for 25 AQB. To think that I would get to meet the most famous bard in living memory! If I’m lucky, he might even agree to a jam session!

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