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Defenders Adventure #49: Chicken 1, Castle Diamond 0

Party Roster:

Felix, 6th level fighter, 59 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 6th level fighter, 56 hp, played by Joel
Kodo, 4th level woodsman, 47 hp, played by Rob
Morgan, 6th level fighter, 35 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 7th level druid, 31 hp, played by Jeremy
Cassian, 5th level cleric, 31 hp, played by Katherine
Kain, 4th level cleric, 27 hp, played by Jeff
Donald, 5th level mage, 27 hp, NPC
Nakumanu, 3rd level fighter, 25 hp, henchman
Alduin, 5th level thief, 19 hp, played by Vic
Rooster, NPC

The party was bored.

This is very dangerous.

Winter rolled on—endless rain, dreary days… and then one February day, Morgan was strolling along the beach, and happened to find a gold ring with diamonds in the sand. Impressed, he kept it. Days later, pirates were captured by Gelpus and the guard, waterlogged and begging for mercy. They had mutinied against their captain, then gotten caught and trashed against the rocks near Restenford. They were sent off to Barnacus. The pirate leaders, all wanted men, were dead.

Kain spoke with some fish, and Cassian and Felix used Waterwalk to investigate the wrecked ship, and found a treasure chest with 1300 gp in it!

Life settled back down, and Quentin finished training the animals to guard the house in case it blows up again. Ah, carefree are the Defenders.

Over the winter, we decided to send our Bestiary information to Gram. Specifics will be sent out soon. The information is as complete as we can make it, but a few of the locations are sensitive and thus left out.

In late March 2179 we set off for Teft in the hopes of finding something to do. We asked around at the Phaulkonian Church, Silban Church, Petethalian Navy, and the sage of Teft.
The Silban church had nothing challenging to offer, and the navy didn’t have anything yet. The sage of Teft had an interesting proposition—we could go to an island among the Orc Islands and investigate an orcish temple that had been taken over by goblins. Close, but not the same place we went to last time. Of course, for the same reasons, we couldn’t explore this island either.

Three days later, the Phaulkonians had a mission for us. Brenard, a cloud giant worshipper of Phaulkon, spoke with Cassian about it. (Yes, this is the same Brenard that will help Warwick on the Brothers quest in 2186)

Brenard had been following a cloud he thought was occupied by ki’rin, very powerful servants of Kor. He had been hoping to talk, but grew somewhat suspicious when he noted that the cloud was drifting with the wind rather than being directed. He spotted a smoke plume from a location where the cloud had stopped a few days earlier and went down to investigate (these cloud chases take place over days). One hundred and fifty Nevronian nomadic dervishes (fanatical Nevronians) were dead, and their stuff had been taken. They had been attacked by 10 or 20 humans (according to Brenard’s tracking), who had descended on a rainbow bridge (perhaps like the 5th level cleric spell).

The disturbing part about all this was that a ki’rin’s cloud would disintegrate a few days after its death. Ki’rin are ranked at about the power of a lich.

Brenard noted that there was a large crystal castle on the cloud. He broke off the pursuit and continued on to Teft, where he informed the high priest there. We decided to accept the mission after receiving an ambiguous astrology that night.

The plan was that since the cloud could travel faster than a ship (marginally) we would use astrology to nail down a date and predict weather to nail down a location. We discovered that the cloud would be over the Sea of Pastures in a few weeks and eventually hit the Sarkian coast.

The Petethalian navy agreed to ferry us around for a 25% service charge +reward if this was in fact a danger. This was after they nearly laughed at us when we explained what was going on.

It was becoming apparent that the castle would pass somewhere near the southern coast of Lendore Isle. We sailed to Barnacus and hatched a plan. Assuming we could catch the cloud over land, we would attack the raiders when they descended on the rainbow bridge. Then we would either charge up the bridge or use our alternate plan: 2 flying potions and Levitate as well as a flying Quentin, plus 2 Invisibility 10’ Radii. This would allow the entire party to ascend invisible onto the cloud, though it would close with the Flying potions.

We bought two flying potions from Bostun Barr in Barnacus. Our astrological lucky number was 6. Our lucky color was all of them. Astrologies had nailed down the auspicious day and location: April 30.

About a half mile north of Barnacus.

Belatedly it occurred to us we should probably inform Duke Haermond of Barnacus that a flying castle was going to be passing over his city. We were surprised by his reaction.

He formed a town militia and ordered all warriors and adventurers to prepare for a possible ground assault. Then he detached 20 cavaliers and paladins to help us defeat the raiders at the rainbow bridge.


That changed our plans a bit—it seemed that we could let the knights take care of the raiders attacking, and take advantage of the confusion to assault the castle directly using our alternate plan.

On April 30th, a cumulus cloud floated innocently near Barnacus, though the crystal castle was briefly visible. It settled north of Barnacus and we waited in a farmhouse. The cloud suddenly stopped and shot a rainbow into one of the fields and then stopped.

We were confused. This wasn’t the day-lasting rainbow bridge that had been used earlier. A few paladins and the already half-invisible party (Donald had to spell-shift) went to investigate.

There was a perfectly normal farm field there. Kodo did some tracking (invisibly) and spotted a small crater (about 4 foot diameter) with a glowing crystal in it. Odd.

Cassian’s hawk, Eurides, was sent up to scout out the castle. It was a hexagonal building with six towers representing each color of the rainbow (except indigo). There were some “large birds” (giant eagle sized) in between the towers. Several humanoids emerged from the building and dragged another humanoid (unmoving) back into the building.

We were more confused than ever. Quentin suggested that perhaps one of the people had attempted to cast something powerful off of a scroll and failed, injuring or killing himself.

Why were these people stopped over Barnacus anyway? And why wait to a raid if you’re going to do one? Had something gone wrong? Who were they?

Quentin flew up and began to check out the castle. He reported that the “giant birds” were in fact giant wasps in nests. There was an unfamiliar symbol on the front door. There was also a bloodstain on the edge of the cloud where the human had been dragged from. That edge of the cloud was overlooking the exact spot where the paladins and cavaliers were.

Quentin also noted the presence of two “chicken-like things” at the back. A look in the Bestiary indicated that they were cockatrices!

It is uncertain as to whether gaze or beak attack injects poison into you, but you will be petrified one way or the other by them. The Bestiary states that they have a weakness—the “crow of a cock will slay them instantly.” Or so rumor has it. Well, it was time to test out the rumor. We threw an electrum piece at a farmer and scooped up a rooster.

We stuffed the chicken in a box. Eventually, the person best suited to use the chicken was… Morgan! (And Morgan crests the ridge, Thunderstruck shining gallantly in one, a rooster crowing in the other…)

We turned invisible (along with the confused and lightly clucking chicken) and made our ascent. The flying potions were close—Balinor and Felix made it up in plenty of time, Kodo made it with a moment to spare, but Morgan suddenly ran out of gas just short of the top.

A quick grab of cloud fluff saved the usually lucky elf from plunging to his death!

Gasping for breath, Morgan climbed back up and we regrouped at the top. We approached the door—Alduin identified the symbol to be that of the archmage of the province of Wunka in the Realm.

Huh? What on Telvar would he be doing here?!

We were unable to open the door through any subtle means, and decided to wait for someone to emerge. An hour later, a group of four humans, one in Tugutan field commander armor (like Felix’s) emerged. They moved to the edge of the cloud, said something, and then the man with the polearm and no armor suddenly turned into a raven and flew down.

When the warriors returned to the compound we snuck in behind them (the doors closed automatically but not quite quickly enough when were ready for it). They spoke a command word in Human to open it: Castle of Diamond.

We were more confused than ever. The men headed off through one of the interior doors (which were normal). The place was walled by smoky materials (in texture), and light streamed in through the semi-translucent ceiling. The effect was beautiful and bizarre. We decided not to follow the men and began to explore.

We cracked open the first door and noted a group of gargoyles tearing something apart. We shut the door.

We opened another that opened into a long hallway with many doors. We avoided double doors and noted that the walls changed color to match our location in the hexagonal building. We tried to open another door—and someone said in human “took you long enough.”

Morgan let the door continue to swing open and we hoped. The man said “what the…” and began to shout. Kain nearly prevented it with a hasty Command, but his pronunciation of the Human word for Die was off and the man was unaffected. Felix moved quickly and slammed him very hard in the head, but didn’t quite kill him. Morgan was forced to swing and finished the man off. He had been equipped with a glowing bastard sword and plate armor, but had been unhelmeted.

The room itself would have been a lovely luxury suite—had there not been three beds in it instead of one. Kodo was doing a preliminary search while we saved the man for an “interview.” Unfortunately, the only visible person who could speak Human was Balinor, by no means a master of the language, or of diplomacy.

With Alduin invisibly coaching him from the side, Balinor questioned the man about what the heck was going on. This was a particularly interesting conversation since Balinor was speaking in a grunted heavily accented version of Human, and Alduin had to translate the big words occasionally.

We concluded that he was either a “charmed panzy” or a zealot—he was utterly loyal to his “mistress.” Remember that only Morgan, Felix, Balinor, Kodo, Kain, and the chicken were visible (though the chicken was behind a sheet).

When the man clearly was not intimidated, Balinor upped the pressure a bit by referring to the “bird of death” under the sheet. Knowing about the cockatrices, the man began to sweat a bit here and laid down the usual threats, but ultimately wouldn’t tell us much about his purpose.

When asked if he hated all Nevronians, he replied, “Only those that try convert the entire world.” Interesting. If he was telling the truth, he wasn’t such a bad guy. Of course, we need more information.

He claimed to member of the Royal House of Wunka. We were completely shocked when he thought we were enemies of the state—he accused Felix, “the Tugutan.” He also scorned the “mountain men” we were and ordered us to heal him and leave the ship.

This was totally insane. We did get the man to admit that they had “made a mistake” and would be leaving shortly. Balinor stated in no uncertain terms that we could not trust them if they would raid and kill people. The man was enraged when it was suggested that what they were really after was loot and not the noble purposes he claimed.

Balinor, representative of the Keystone Kingdom, negotiating with the Realm? Had the world gone mad?

The man claimed that patrols would kill us the longer we stayed.

We have a few more questions for him—is he after the Duke or the Archbishop? Why does he like his Mistress so much?

This is totally weird.



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