68. Thoughts and Prayers

All injured and with Reya incapacitated by the Helm of Torm’s Sight, The Levellers picked their way back to High Hall to seek the help of Pherria Jynx, who set up a space in which to lay Reya down and begin a series of healing prayers in the hope of bringing the young paladin back to consciousness.

The rest of the party took shifts to rest and join in the ritual, while Pherria kept going for about 12 gruelling hours.

Animated GIF from the gameboard, showing Reya in the centre of a prayer circle surrounded by Tunwéya, Hinnerk, Leofric, and Pherria Jynx. The diminutivie hollyphant Lulu sits close to Reya in the centre of the circle, where a strange orange and purple pulsating light emenates.

Lulu stuck close to Reya and, by virtue of her telepathic bond, formed a connection with her that allowed her to report on what Reya seemed to be dreaming.

Reya’s dreams were fragmented, comprising of a mixture of visions from Torm and parts of her own experience of and imagination about questing alongside her friends since joining The Levellers. The dream played out in several sections:

“Where is her sword?”

In the first, a multitude of devils were collecting their dead following a large battle on the Avernian sands. Beneath a pile of dead devils they came across a battle-bloodied but living angel of astounding beauty. The devils made way for their leader, who approached the angel, removing his left glove and asked his soldiers: “Where is her sword?”

A tall devil in robes of red, gold, and black sits atop a throne.

The Three Generals

Reya found herself in the grassy fields of outer Elturel of some century long ago, standing at attention alongside a group of similarly-uniformed knights, each with a twin-sun emblem upon their shoulder. Looking carefully, some of her comrades seemed familiar, like they were her friends Hinnerk, Leofric, and Tunwéya.

In front of them, the angel from the battlefield dismounted her enormous golden-furred mammoth to join a woman with dark hair and a bearded man. The trio were approached by a third man, whose herald introduced him as Haruman, Lord Knight of the High Hills. Those already present were introduced as Lady Yael of Idyllglen, Lord Olanthius, and the angel Zariel, Solar of Celestia. Haruman removed his right gauntlet and shook hands with each of them in turn, and then shook the trunk of the mammoth, who introduced herself as Lulu.

Haruman then inspected the troops, and shook the hands of each (except for the one that looked like Tunwéya, who saluted), before the vision faded.

Zariel’s Request

Back on the parched landscape of Avernus, Reya saw Zariel kneeling in the dust, pushing her sword into the hands of Lady Yael. Yael was reluctant to take it, but Zariel insisted, saying that she must ensure it does not fall into the hands of the forces of Hell.

Lulu arrived, warning of an incoming attack, and Zariel said a sad goodbye to her elephantine friend before giving her one final order, to “protect Yael”.

Yeenoghu’s Gambit

Reunited with her friends, Reya found herself arriving at the scene of an epic battle in a village of the mortal plane. A multitude of gnolls was facing off against a mostly-human army, and The Levellers were among their ranks. Zariel commanded The Levellers and the knights in their entourage to recapture the Easternmost of the two river bridges in the village and reinforce Haruman and Olanthius there while Zariel and Lulu pushed through the mob to the Western bridge.

A flind with a three-headed flail; each flail head is a spiked skull and leaves a trail of dark smoke through the air.

The party fought bravely, assisted greatly by area-of-effect spells from Tunwéya (who brought down storms and tidal waves) and Leofric (whose swirling ball of tentacled monstrosity helped sever many of the gnolls from a portal created by one of their leaders), but it soon became apparent that Yael, at the other end of the battlefield, was in trouble. Hinnerk slashed a path through the gnollish wall allowing Reya ran to the rescue… but she repeatedly slipped on ice left from Tunwéya’s ice storm and couldn’t get there before a flind mage, the general’s neck in its gauntlet, dragged Yael through the portal.

Voices in the dark

As darkness took her once more, Reya heard two voices. The first, distant and scratchy, asked:

“Where is the sword?”

The second, weak and disoriented, replied:

“I don’t know… I don’t… I used to know, but I don’t any more. I don’t.”

Torm’s Wish

Now, Torm spoke directly to Reya, His voice booming and blowing away all the previous dreams. He said:

“You must seek Zariel’s blade. It is the key to her heart and her greatest desire. With it, Elturel’s chains can be severed. Even from my sight is the Sword hidden. There is only one who knows and she knows not. She must seek the kenku. In her memory they speak.”

At this point, waking-world Lulu began relaying the voices of the other Levellers via her telepathy, and Reya heard them speaking to her. Swimming through the darkness towards their voices, she finally woke up.

Reya flung off the helmet but, as Pherria went to pick up the artefact, thought better of discarding it and scooped it up. The party began to discuss what to do with the information from this dream.

Reminded somewhat of her history, Lulu insisted that she get up high, and she flew (with Reya in persuit as far up the cathedral as she could go, and Tunweya transforming into a small creature to ride on her back) way up towards the tained Companion. There, in the distance across the Avernian plane, she was able to point out a squat, flat-topped mountain-like protrusion, which she described as being “a fort shaped like a hand”, which was where the kenku could be found.

Hellrider Sergeant Ulmarra Eintin; a black woman with purple eyes, wearing chrome-and-gold coloured armour adorned with lion head motifs.

Meanwhile, Hinnerk and Leofric spoke to Ulmarra Eintin, who’d returned from patrol to report that the Hell Knights were on the move: they’d constructed some kind of infernal mining machine and were readying it, presumably to come this way and dig down to the catacombs, which – by the magical protection of the Crypt of the Unknown Hero – had previously seemed impenetrable to their evil.

They decided that High Hall must be evacuated, and made an impassioned plea to the people sheltering there. Most all agreed to follow the Levellers to the Redeye Coster on the West Docks, which the party decided was a safer location; only Wöbaer Triest and his followers opted to remain in the catacombs.

Before leading the column of refugees to safety, though, the party took a walk to the cliff edge to survey the River Styx below and talk about their best options for getting off the plateau and down to the Avernal plain (while avoiding the river itself, which gave them all the heebie-jeebies).

The city of Elturel floats above hell, pulled down my epic chains. Four figures can be seen leaping from its edge.

They resolved to use Tunwéya’s shrink-self-and-ride-Lulu trick, plus Leofric’s feather-fall magic, to get the party and up to three others down safely. The shortest route to the destination Lulu picked out would be from the side of the city near Skullbask Gate, but after some discussion about the relative merits of crossing Hell Knight territory, decided instead that they’d leap from the end of the West Docks instead.

They picked out a few Elturians to join them; some took more persuasion than others. In the end, they were to be accompanied by (in order from most-willing to least-willing to accompany The Levellers):

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