Sol'sora

23. Pants Off In Front of a Fire

At sunrise (5:45am), we walk. Through wheat. For hours. We’re not alone, though! There’s a stream of geckos walking parallel to us in the wheat.

Eventually, Fen peels off to go to the bathroom. And doesn’t come back. For an hour. Also there’s smoke. Eventually we go after her and find her crouched over a smoldering fire pit, pants down. She was trying to summon Andraki as a familiar, but gets a normal frog instead, and we all go on our merry way. Except Fen forgot about the fire.

FINALLY, four hours after we discover the resulting blaze, Betha puts it out all by her tiny lonesome and sleeps the sleep of the righteous firefighter on Tana’s back. Kaiva ties herself to Fen to avoid further Incidents.

They keep walking, and are quickly approached by someone running flat-out towards where the fire had been. We convince her that the fire’s out for really serious and she collapses in exhaustion for a bit.

She is a very pale person, with visible veins and elf ears, and her name is Lone Wolf. Wolf for short. Wolf travels with them back towards Wheatfield, and so do the geckos.

Finally Seru uses magic to talk to the geckos, because she can. She makes friends with one gecko, who tells her they were sent to watch us by a woman in blue who likes knowing things. The gecko, Tiny, promptly joins the party, climbing all over everyone and generally having the time of his little gecko life.

Wolf casts Tiny Hut and the party troops inside for some rest. Remi sees something big fly overhead and talks about nightmares with Yannic. Later, Fen sees someone walking towards them, finally untethers herself from Kaiva, and goes to investigate. Long story short, she’s the Queen of the Geckos, similar to Morthred in aura, and she tells us about a party in four days that we’re invited to. Dress nice!

Tiny stays with us, and in the morning we make it to Wheatfield, a cloud forming over Gathering. Wolf goes a-looting, we go to the tower and then quickly realize what a HORRIBLE IDEA that is (or some of us do, anyway), and we go get crunk in the tavern instead. Also we learn about Planar Blades, but your fair summarizer was having an anxiety attack and didn’t take notes on that part.

Next up: A series of incredibly terrible decisions.

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22. 28 Cabbages Later

The party books it out of the study as soon as the curtain goes up. It’s roughly 6pm the next evening, and Fen has a huge stack of cabbages she’s counting. She has 28 cabbages. Twenty-eight cabbages. That’s as many as four sevens, and that’s terrible. So Seru feeds one to Tana, and now the total is 27.

Kean, while very happy everyone’s alive, has ants in his pants and needs to go. The party packs up the cabbages and head back to their transport; Kean teaches Yannic and Betha how to ‘zebo on the way. Yannic gives Kean an earring, so Kean can teleport more accurately and not have to walk through a million miles of wheat.

Which is what we’re doing. We decide to head back to Wheatfield, both to see if the people in Remi’s dad’s tower still need help, and to use a teleportation circle to get into Gathering to undo the time-stop (the ’zebo only goes to Gorloris’ palace, which we assume is a particularly fiery hellscape at this point). The plan is to teleport to the University, which is a) probably safe, and b) the workplace of the Grand Megas Stygia.

I say ’we’ – we’re down one golden boy, sadly. Ondelin peaces out just before the ’zebo heads back to Wheatfield, leaving everyone confused and Remi heartbroken.

There’s no more green light at the tower, the party notices as they walk, and then they notice nothing but wheat until they’re back at the set for the CSI: Sol’sora special. The party decides to camp out in the house for some form of shelter. The first watch passes uneventfully, and then a big fuck-off hellhound starts pacing the house and then busts through the door.

It’s no match for this traumatized bunch of unlikely heroes, though, and we dispatch it without too much issue. The body is HOT, being a hellhound, and those who know how drag it to the middle of the road and Banish it. As the watches continue, Yannic sees someone walk down the path, stop at the Banishing point, and keep going, but otherwise the night is uneventful until sunrise.

Next up: More wheat.

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21. One Month After Boom Boom Day

The group wakes up, partakes of some nourishment, and then it’s on to the next room! This one’s Ondelin’s, and it starts with the party (save Ondy) in a box, and Ondy standing in the middle of a massive courtroom, surrounded by winged peers, and facing a huge lady with four white wings.

The room shifts into a typical kindergarten classroom, the huge lady in the role of teacher, Ondy shoved into a little desk meant for a five-year-old. The lady (General Lanthwin) tells him that he’s a traitor and he will be executed if he can’t pass the exam, which is to identify colors and write down what plane they’re associated with. Only problem? Ondy is colorblind.

The party cheats using Betha’s Message cantrip, and Ondy passes. Lanthwin is displeased. It comes out that this exam is set three weeks in the future, about a month after the Boom Boom Day, and Ondelin has rebelled against the celestials and become a freedom fighter.

Ondelin is horrified and says that he would never, except that the party doesn’t let up and he reveals that yeah, maybe he did kind of want out of the military hierarchy of the celestials, and maybe he requested his posting for a breather, and maybe there’s one answer he could get from the Lady of Learning that would make this all come true. Kaiva and Remi strike up an impromptu performance so Ondy can whisper his lesson to Lanthwin (who, as we soon discover, wasn’t actually Lanthwin), and then it’s back into the study and out to the next room.

As soon as the room comes into being, Fen (but a Fen with a mullet and an eyepatch, and sans one arm) starts dragging Kaiva towards a set of tables with a group of people scattered throughout. One table is empty, one contains Morthred (who smiles and winks at her), and the other has Keanvari, a lil Andraki hyena, and two unidentified people (one woman who reads as celestial, and someone we dub Milktoast, a very boring male with no discernable aura).

Once again we’re in the future! It comes out that this is a meeting to negotiate terms of surrender from us to the Hot Topic Twins, which Kaiva wrangled using her friendship with Morthred. Fen is super DUPER nervous about the whole situation, and Keanvari is Displeased to see Yannic.

Also, Betha reveals that we’re near Hellenhell, the place of the original fey banishment.

Kaiva learns her lesson, which is that she is important and capable of doing important things, and gets her answer: Soul Fire is an attack on anything that has a soul. The undead are those whose souls managed to withstand the Soul Fire attack and are therefore alive and also dead. They’re motivated by the need for food, shelter, safety, and sometimes revenge; they are those souls that burned that are still fighting.

We made it!

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20. Step 2 - Put Your Kean In That Box

The group decides that they’re good to keep carrying on without a rest, since Betha’s room caused mainly mental trauma and no one needs too much healing. Onward! Into the same room as before, but with a pedestal in the middle, and a shiny coin sitting on top.

Unfortunately, Seru (whose room this is) has had this conversation before, and is damned tired of it, so she cuts straight to the end and tells everyone about her backstory – this coin is the symbol of her clan, she gave it to someone who was starving without knowing what it was, got exiled and stripped of her name, yadda yadda. Only, whoops, turns out the coin’s loaded anyway, so fuck everything, basically. Seru reveals her original name and the door appears. (Also Fen is there and Seru’s still not sure why.)

The Lady of Learning is not entirely satisfied with Seru’s recital of the lesson, but decides it was good enough to get a “good enough” answer to her question.

Again, no one’s down any hit points, so on to the next room! Which isn’t a room, it’s a tower roof, with a swirling mass of Soul Fire being contained by someone who looks an awful lot like Remi. Spoiler, he’s Remi’s dad, and he’s a huge dick. But he’s also busy protecting at least twenty people inside the tower from the massive explosion of Soul Fire, so there’s that. #yfap

Kaiva and Seru decide to go find the survivors in the tower, and promptly find themselves back in the dark study. They find a couch and strike up a conversation that starts as Seru trying to express some insecurities about their friendship lately, and ends with Kaiva discovering that Remi and Ondelin may like-like each other.

Back in Wheatfield, Remi talks to his dad (and does not punch him off the roof, despite the ghostly voice of Fen and the real voice of Ondelin telling him that maybe he should do that) and realizes that while his dad is awful, he’s awful in the neglectful way, and not the track-you-down-and-drag-you-back way. The door appears, and Remi gets his question. The answer is that to undo the time-stop in Gathering, there is an intricate device in the core of Gathering, most easily accessed via a secret hatch between Supreme Megas Stygia, in a drawer with the combo 0482.

This time, the party takes a bit of time to explore the books. They’re all ridiculously specific textbooks. Remi flips through one, for example, on a very very ancient society from Way Back When. Then it’s onto the next room.
Immediately upon entering, Kean screams and then vanishes, and before them appears Hot Topic Kean, now officially confirmed as gasp Keanvari. He makes a door back to wherever-they-came-from and offers to let them leave while he deals with Kean. Yannic is going nowhere without that nerd, though, and the Rules of Friendship mean that no one else is going anywhere without Yannic. They follow Keanvari down a hallway, a weird portal thing that spits them back out where they were but with a more visible hallway, and then two glass coffins. Keanvari drops some truth bombs – Kean is his clone! Keanvari will inhabit Kean’s body when Keanvari dies! Kean’s a fiend but has a brooch that makes him read as celestial! Yannic’s soul belongs to Keanvari! – and then takes Kean away for a spot of torture.

We get a bit of Yannic backstory while we wait – he met Kean at a festival, and Kean lent him some of his own magic and started to teach him. After a short time, Kean returns, a bloody mess, and then starts the most epic footrace any of them have ever run as Keanvari also reappears. Highlights: Ondelin carrying Remi bridal-style, a giant fire wall, a clutch Banish spell from Kean.

Kean and Yannic both get questions – Yannic asks how to help his mother. Apparently she’s been suspended by Kean in the moment of dying, so the way to help her is the same way to help the rest of Gathering stuck in the time-stop. He could also let her die and bring her back as undead.

Everyone is tapped out after this footrace, and it’s sleepytime. Kean and Yannic hold hands while they sleep. It’s adorable. Seru pumps Remi for information on the Elvish word(s) for ‘light’, and then everyone settles in for the night (night? I’m assuming night).

Seru’s answers:

Save the still intact banishing tower and find alternate power sources for the other two
Go to 3 places to interrupt extraplanar bases

  • Hellenhell
  • Excelsior
  • Gehenna
    Stop or destroy the following:
  • Necromancer Galyara
  • Callum the Hungry God
  • Dossana the Soon-To-Be Conquerer
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19. We're Getting Aesoped

After the most uneventful night of watches we’ve ever had, it’s time to set off for the trial. Kean wakes everyone up at 4am, because as some of the party knows, the mountains tend to have big murderous storms that happen in the afternoon, so the sooner we get to where we’re going, the better. (Also, the mountain range is home to what is essentially a fight club between fiends and celestials. So there’s that.)

Kean activates the teleporting gazebo, and it Apparates us to the mountains! Specifically, we land five feet away from a cliffside, and it’s a bumpy landing. No safety inspector has ever cast an eye over this teleporting gazebo, and in the absence of seatbelts, Yannic is flung out of the gazebo and over the cliff. We get him back up with the aid of the Friendship Rope, and Kean (looking discomfited) leads the way.

The way is made up of well-constructed bridges and a clear path, manmade and not natural. Eventually we come to a fork in the road and Kean leads us into the valley area.

Finally, about six hours after we landed, we come to a round, tall building with a tiny settlement around it. This is the Ascendancy Point for the God of Knowledge. Seru tries to hand Tana’s reins over to Yannic, but Yannic has decided to go in to keep Kean from dying as much as possible. Displeased, Seru passes Tana over to Fen. Fen spends the rest of the day trying to make friends with the townspeople, and taking their money via animal races with Tana.

Inside the buliding is a huge library, with a single person’s name on each book’s spine, roughly chronologically. Kean darts off and pulls a book of the shelf and settles in to read the. entire. thing. while the rest of the party waits. The party’s own books are on a circular table around a statue of a cloaked woman (the Lady of Learning). Seru’s has a name on it that is not the one she goes by now, and one book is labeled “Keanvari’s Left Ring Toe.” There is no Fen book, and whenever anyone opens their book, they discover a narration of that exact moment.

Kean, after finishing the book he started, starts reading the Left Ring Tome. Ondelin does a lot of pacing (as does Seru), and they ask a priest for instructions. They learn that the trials are in the basement, and are designed to teach a lesson. You have to accept and recite the Lady of Learning’s lesson, or she won’t answer your question.

Finally, Kean finishes reading and takes the Left Ring Tome into the trial with them. He pulls Yannic aside and tells him that if he dies, Yannic is to read it, and also the book labeled “Andra Keyberry.” A half-Orc named Tiller gives them five days’ worth of provisions and they go down.

The first room they enter turns out to be Betha’s. It’s completely bare, and the door disappears once they close it behind them, and also her Wild Magic has gone out of control. Out of her control, anyway, as it seems to be directed by Sivoreen, who claims she was brought there by the Lady of Learning to help Betha’s lesson.

This backfires slightly, as one of Betha’s Wild Magic bursts winds up blinding Sivoreen temporarily, and Sivoreen gets MAD. She starts hurling abuse at Betha, saying it was fun when she killed her, and she doesn’t know for sure if Betha was worth all the trouble. She tries to attack Betha but Kean manages to freeze her in place.

Everyone sits down and Betha tells everyone about how she got her magic when Sivoreen accidentally killed her while playing tag, and then tried to bring her back and make her fey (it didn’t work so well). She stands up to Sivoreen once Kean’s spell wears off, and Sivoreen freezes, and the door reappears.
Betha can see a lovely study inside, with a cloaked figure at the desk (everyone else just sees pitch darkness). She asks her question, and the Lady says that the people responsible don’t seek to destroy, but to conquer and control – they cannot control a population that is entirely dead, after all. However, they do expect pandemonium on the plane, and a huge battle when they finally find Gorloris. She offers the party the use of the room to recuperate, and then disappears, letting the rest of the party see the study now.

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18. Nerd Out In The Wheat Field

The bedraggled forest crew makes it back to the gazebo! Yannic and Kean also make it back to the gazebo, and promptly nap. Kaiva wakes Seru up, but can’t get her out from under the bench, because the world is a terrifying place for a few more hours.

Sweet sweet Remi tries to strike up conversation with Ondelin, and gets no reply. Remi accepts this and goes back into the gazebo, where they all wait until 2pm and the charm is lifted! Everyone is suddenly able to think about things other than personal safety (although Seru is a bit twitchy for a few more hours).

It is discovered that the gazebo is a map of the world, and one can use the gazebo to teleport anywhere in said world (although you can’t be sure of a clean landing; sorry, Former Owner Of Fen’s Sick New Red Boots).

Remi, by this point, is concerned about his golden boyfriend, and makes his way up to the roof of the gazebo, to find Ondelin unconscious in a pool of his own blood. Remi wakes him, but he’s mostly catatonic, and also his skin is a little dull? Seru uses her Divine Sense and only gets one Celestial ping, from the figure asleep on the bench. Uh-oh. Eventually, with the aid of the group’s trusty Friendship Rope, Ondelin gets lowered down to the ground and healed up a bit, and then it’s time for Kean to Shell Out Some Answers.

Gathering is split into sectors as a result of its security measures, all of which are under timestops. Some are safe, some are not. It’s a mess. There are only two ways he can think of to figure out how to undo it: 1. Find Gorloris; 2. Consult the God of Knowledge.

The God of Knowledge has his oracle set up in Regartipal, or the Pale Mountains, which are either holy or cursed at any given time. This medium is not a happy one. If you make it through the trials, you get a full and complete answer to one question, but all Kean knows about the trial is that it has to do with your worst fear. This puts a damper on the party’s enthusiasm for this particular plan.

Nonetheless, they decide that it is probably the best plan they have, and set about deciding who will go in and what questions they will ask. Betha says her worst fear has to do with fire, Remi’s is a particular wizard, and all Kean will say about his chunk of the trial is that when they get there, they are to do EXACTLY what he says, when he says it.

What follows is, in our universe, at least an hour of careful formulation of the perfect questions to ask the God of Knowledge, because the DM still won’t let me live down the “What’s your next step?” incident. In-game, it takes several hours at least, up through 6pm/7pm. Betha starts making potions, and then steps into the wheat (effectively disappearing) to call Sivoreen. Kean and Yannic set a magical barrier around the gazebo and bond in a heartwarming, nerdy way. Everyone settles in for a long rest, planning to head out in the morning.

QUESTIONS:
1. What practical and immediate actions can Yannic, Seru, Remi, Fen, Kaiva, and Betha take that would ensure the maximum number of people who survived the explosions on the most recent Banfey continue to maintain their ‘alive’ status without losing their free will? – Seru

2. What is the most practical and safest method, for Yannic, Seru, Remi, Fen, Kaiva, and Betha, and for the survivors in Gathering, to release the time-stop mechanisms in Gathering? – Remi

3. What large-scale destructive events are expected, by the instigators of the planar event that began on the most recent Banfey, to occur as a result of said planar event before the next Bancel? – Betha

4. What is the specific process that led to the large-scale creation of the undead that appeared on the most recent Banfey? – Kaiva

Kean and Ondelin have their own questions. Yannic and Fen have no intentions of going in. TANA IS NOT GOING IN.

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17. Tree's Gonna Hit Ya

There is a gazebo-looking structure with a domed top in the distance. As several members of our party are utterly convinced that we must find safety this exact instant, we head for it. Halfway there, Betha goes stealth, because she is a tiny gnome in a field of grains taller than she is.

The gazebo is fairly standard as gazebos go, save for the intricate carvings along the columns, some of which are glowing. Seru and Yannic put their heads together and determine that these are magical glowing carvings, specifically full of teleportation magic to many different destinations; also, the carvings are a map.

Seru crawls under a bench, Tana by her side, and proceeds to reboot her hard drive. There’s been some software updates released in the past few days as well, so she spends the next handful of hours having a screaming breakdown, and then falls asleep.

Betha attempts to get onto the roof. Kaiva, being the tallest in our party, assists her, and Betha notices a small forest about 5 hours away. She flops down off the roof and stealths again, making for the forest. Because she is a tiny gnome in a field of grains taller than she is, no one notices for many hours. Specifically, Kaiva notices after a while, and somehow manages to corral Fen into helping her track said tiny gnome.

They find her after about four hours, but Betha is a very small gnome and manages to slip away into the forest, climbing a tree and settling in for the night. Fen and Kaiva track her into the forest and out of the forest and then back into the forest (a process which includes Fen yodeling and Kaiva yelling “YODEL” at the top of her lungs). They eventually find her, and settle in for the night, which passes uneventfully. Except for that Fen picks a fight with a treant and they all get thrown out of the forest. Whomp.

Rewind: Back at the gazebo, Ondelin is taking his turn on the roof, in a deep sulk because Celestials aren’t supposed to be able to be charmed. Whomp. Remi is as supportive a boyfriend as he can be from the ground, and also tries to comfort Seru, and then gives up and starts playing his flute lute. Yannic is going through his own software update process, but recovers enough to pull out his Magic Kean Note and scribble something down.

Off in the distance one direction he hears what sounds like a faint scream, possibly a half-Orc shouting “YODEL,” and off in the distance the other direction, he hears a figure fall out of the sky. Yannic sees a tiny tiny figure off in the distance. Remi decides to ignore the yodel.

At about 4:30am, the tiny figure who fell out of the sky reveals himself to be a normal-sized figure, Original Recipe Kean, and he and Yannic hug it out and go somewhere else for a private chat. The forest adventurers make it back to the gazebo by 9am, and lo, the party is unsplit.

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16. Practical Uses for Teleportation

You know that bit in Gladiator where Russell Crowe walks through the wheatfield, running his hand through it and looking Masculinely Contemplative? That’s where we start, only instead of Manful Crowe, we’re a bedraggled group of paranoid apocalypse survivors.

There’s an odd rustling in the wheat – is it the wind? Is it something more sinister? Spoiler alert: It’s sinister. Over the next few hours, a huge mass of birds gather together, of all types and sizes, the only commonality their black color palettes. As they approach, it becomes increasingly clear that they’re headed for Morthred specifically.

Yannic reveals a letter from Kean, in which Kean tells him that his mother is in a blue crystal in the keeping of a woman named Mercury, and also that they should ditch Morthred and book it. To everyone’s surprise, Morthred agrees. While everyone is debating the ethics and practicalities of this plan, Morthred wriggles off Kaiva’s back and starts walking towards the birds, who deposit a humanoid and then attack Morthred, hyenas and frogs spilling out of the wheat.

The humanoid looks familiar, almost as though Kean got a gift certificate to Sol’soran Hot Topic for his birthday and went all-out. As Seru cuts through the birds, a big flash of black and red light happens in the wheat, and out walks Andraki, also in her finest Goth Leather Armor.

Hot Topic Kean sends a fireball at Kaiva and Seru (the closest of us to him) and starts muttering a spell; Andraki, in a fit of luck, casts a Sleep spell that hits Yannic and also Tana (out of what looks like a Planar Blade hilt???? Hmmmm). Apparently she’s never seen a sleeping donkey before, because she wastes her next turn laughing about it.

Betha wakes the sleepers up, and Morthred, with one last exasperated look and shake of the head at the group that cut him out of a giant heart, Planar Shifts away.

Ethical quandary now disbanded, the group books it as fast as they can in the other direction. Hot Topic Kean teleports to Yannic and stares at him, and then casts Mass Suggestion, effecting everyone but Kaiva, Yannic, Fen, and Tana The Hero Donkey. Everyone else is struck with a compulsion to get somewhere safe and stay there. The goth duo then Planar Shift away, presumably to look for Morthred.

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15. CSI Sol'Sora

Imagine, if you will, a merry band of adventurers gathered around a piece of paper, desperately trying to recall everywhere they’ve been in their lives and realizing, with a slow, mounting horror, that they cannot remember. Imagine then a gentle wind whipping around their faces, a soft whisper of voice from an all-knowing DM in Colorado, and then they all relax and say, “Wait, hold on, I totally know the geography of this place I’ve lived my whole life.

Eventually they settle on a location provided by Remi, a town called Wheatfield on the same level as Gathering. He very does not want to go back, but is a good sport about it because there’s literally no other viable option. Fen wanders off outside and is promptly knocked unconscious by a rock sliding off the roof.

Most of the civilians bolted as soon as Andraki showed up and then teleported (#relatable); of the three remaining, two are in a state of catatonia, and the other is a very hardy-looking woman named Brinna, in town to have a look at the cows of Floy. She opts not to come with us, instead going to stock up on beef jerky. (Floy Jerky: The Best In The EmpireTM!)

We head outside to look for Fen and find her, unconscious, with no signs of struggle or any clues. Betha wakes her up and asks her what happened? Was she attacked?? Did she see anything???

“They came from behind me!” Fen says, going with it. “I didn’t see anything.” Betha, however, has a nose for deceit, and quickly finds the offending rock. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief (except Fen, who’s a little disappointed).

The party teleports to Wheatfield, which is full of wheat! The wheat is alive! And there’s a tower off in the distance, which from here on out slowly begins amassing a big cloud of green badness around the top. Remi is nervous, and everyone is very concerned about Remi’s nervousness. They head towards Gathering, which is still partly aflame to the west; chunks of it are slowly falling out of the sky.

They decide to walk to a monorail stop and teleport into Gathering from there, if all seems safe, and they head out. Seru mucks about with the Star Blade, and then they come across the cart of a deceased tailor. Morthred is delighted, and once he and Kaiva have pants on, so is everyone else.

A bit beyond the tailor’s cart is a townhouse, which appears at first glance to be abandoned but is, in fact, not abandoned. There’s a bird-man creation inside, which mimics Yannic’s words and then flees when Morthred tries to make friends. Poor Morthred. He’s dressed so nicely, too!

Inside, they find the B-plot of this murder mystery episode – two (uncharred) corpses laid out on the bed. Both are women, and they appear to have been strangled elsewhere and then brought to the bed. Everyone dons sunglasses and thinks very very hard, and then gives up; Betha burns the bodies, and they move out. Roll credits.

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14. The Great Sol'Soran Geography Quiz

When we last left our heroes, they were blinking awake after Remi woke them all up (with the exception of Morthred, who I imagine could sleep through anything after several hundred years in a reverse Tell-Tale Heart situation). There are two general reactions to the situation, one exemplified by Betha (who tries to get Fen to come back inside) and the other by Seru (who waves back at Andraki, because why the hell not).

Encouraged by this show of friendship, Andraki moves to enter the administrative building. In doing so, she sets off Yannic’s alarm spell. So once again our location is being loudly broadcast to whoever’s out there looking for us. Yannic tries to talk her down, and while he does, Kaiva moves over to her sleeping backpack and wakes him up.

Morthred is DELIGHTED to see his old friend Andy, and demands that Kaiva carry him closer to her. Kaiva (reluctantly) complies, and as soon as our dear Frog Lady catches sight of him, Andraki.exe stops running for a few moments.
She recovers herself when Kaiva puts him down and he starts walking towards her on his own two feet, enough to nope out of the reunion and teleport out of the whole damn building. Morthred is upset at this cold reaction, as they were once old war buddies! They were opponents after that, but still.

Also outside the building are several vaguely humanoid-looking shapes huddled around the teleport, as Seru and Morthred discover when they settle in for their watch. Seru invokes the Cheeky Campers Code and cashes in Kaiva’s favor with Morthred for a peek in at her home temple. It’s mostly standing! And mostly safe! Not entirely, and not everyone is still alive, but at this point Seru will take it.

Dawn arrives, the sun peeks over the horizon, and KAIVA CAN STILL HEAR BOB. Faintly, in a one-word-only type of way, but still. Our grumpy dragon is not lost forever. Kaiva asks if Bob can tell her anything about the new undead. Bob’s answer? “YES.” And then the connection fails.

The humanoids around the circle have reduced in number, but Ondelin points out that we may need to go that route anyway, as there is a SECOND massive cliff to traverse. “But wait!” several of the party object. “We tried teleporting a zombie to Gathering! It died instantly!”

“Giant. Cliff,” replied the rest of the party.

It is eventually decided, after much debate and back-and-forth, that the party’s best bet is to teleport not to Gathering itself, but to a city near Gathering, in the inner-most circle of the Gathering Hollow. Where to specifically, you ask? Good question.

What follows is an impromptu geography lesson, revealing that the adventurers know VERY LITTLE about the world in which they have been adventuring, but what they do have is a sneaking suspicion that this conversation is going to be retconned in a few minutes, as the players end the game there to do some frantic mapmaking and backstory-fleshing-out.

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