The Madness of a Falling God

Knowing they are close to the Gian Crystals, the underdark expedition proceeds on the directions they have. The way is quiet and in a couple days they perceive a vibrant green glow ahead that is familiar to Evren.

They continue and soon their tunnel opens on a massive cavern where a glowing green crystal towers from floor to the ceiling hundreds of feet overhead. Other deposits are scattered across the cave floor and walls and among them patrols a stone giant like those Fardaya had described to them.

Evren probes the giant’s mind and learns that he feels pretty complacent, and that the drow were recently driven from the place again. She delves deeper into his mind looking for a place he’s worried someone might hide that he can’t reach. This probe turns up several locations, one of them a small cave near the large crystal. When the giant turns his back, they make a run for the cave, sliding down into it apparently unseen.

In the cave are three drow corpses, seemingly drown. Fissures in the cave wall let green light pour in like that of the crystals above. With some magic and a pickaxe they manage to harvest a few pounds of crystal, understanding that they have the capacity to enhance magic from the behavior of their enchanted equipment with each blow of the pickaxe. Satisfied and tired, they magically embed a teleport anchor token in the stone wall of the cave before teleporting back to Fort Gollant themselves.

In Fort Gollant they learn just how obscenely wealthy the dragon’s horde has made them. Exhausted from over a month walking 12 of every 20 hours with only one break period in the dismal underdark, they determine to spend some days at least in leisure. During this time, they study their magical items found in the horde, switching to better equipment as able and determining that some of the magical gems they found fit the description given to them of the three crystal deposits below Gnomish lands.

With Hilbrent gone among the Stormguard goblins (negotiating a peace between them and the elves), they are unable to fathom some of the items. After a week of study and rest, Emil Gollant summons Benquil, Evren, and Leo to his office where he informs them that a large minotaur army has been reported approaching, assumed to be some hundred miles East of Fort Gollant (not yet as fortified as the name implies).

Despite still suffering the aches of their long journey, Benquil has grown bored with waiting for Hilbrent’s return and leaps to his feet, volunteering the party to go out and learn more of the coming army.

They leave at dawn and with great tenacity come upon the army about 60 miles from Gollant in the evening of the second day. The army is setting camp and as Benquil and Evren approach, minotaur guards hail them. Benquil manages to convince them to take him to their leader and they are escorted to a tent, opulently decorated, where Benquil sees the god Margon himself.

Margon credits the damage to his temple done shortly after their party’s departure to Hilbrent or Lamila, but doesn’t seem particularly vengeful. He is preoccupied with his rapidly declining power and has become obsessed with leading one last campaign against Vardor, feeling innately that this is the only thing that can keep him from losing his godhood. Evren accesses his mind, learning that this conviction extends to his very core.

Benquil persuades Margon to wait 2 days while they return and consult with Brimahil, looking for a different way to protect Margon’s power. They leave the camp and rejoin Leo, who had been scouting and estimates there are less than five thousand minotaurs and men in the army, but certainly far more than Fort Gollant can withstand without the reinforcements still a few weeks out.

Upon teleporting back to Fort Gollant, they consult with Brimahil and learn that it is not unusual for gods to go mad when confronted with a final list of their power, especially upon experiencing a sudden weakening of their connection to the world. Most gods languish at their temples in physical form when the madness takes them, slowly becoming irrelevant, but Brimahil knew one Gnomish god who, being a raiding god, took physical form and made a fleet of his raider followers his temple, wreaking havoc until he had lost all power. She believes Margon shares this myopic lust to perish once again in a blaze of blood and glory. Given her experience with the Gnomish god, she is not optimistic about restoring Margon to sanity.

Benquil, however, is determined to prevent a costly and pointless war. During their week of rest, he had received a package containing an enchant he commissioned before their expedition in the underdark. The purpose of this enchant was to restore the multi-god temple within the borders of the new Gollant March as a gift to Brimahil. The enchant is designed to charge itself over time, then release its restorative material power to augment restorative spells cast near it. While its power is minor now, in a year it will have charged up enough to restore the temple complex.

Benquil purposes that if the staff can be charged by Brimahil’s power, he could use it to restore Margon’s palace in Taurkiev and strengthen his godly tie to the world. Brimahil agrees to appear and help reason with Margon and on the morrow they again walk to his camp, arriving on the evening of the second day.

They are again brought into Margon’s presence where they present their plan. Margon is suspicious they are just trying to stall his campaign until winter, but agrees to hold off his attack for two more days while they go to restore the palace. If he has not felt an increase in his bond by then, he will proceed with his war plan.

They teleport back to Fort Gollant where they are happy to find that Hilbrent arrived during their trip to Margon’s camp. He agrees to fly them all to Taurkiev, including Emil Gollant himself who has convinced Vardor to personally attend the restoration ceremony and lend some of his power.

On the way, they stop in at Margon’s camp and try to convince him to receive a teleport token than would allow him and some of his worshipers to attend the restoration. He refuses, and while there they see that he is breaking camp, intending to march nearer Fort Gollant during the two days.

In Taurkiev, Margon worshipers not fit for the campaign gather as the restoration entourage lands before the long abandoned palace. Vardor and Brimahil appear and Benquil announces his intent to restore the temple in minotaur.

He decides to cast the spell from the high tower where he first conversed with Margon and enters the palace, unthreatened by the mighty wolves living therein. He reaches the tower and casts his spell, visualizing the palace restored. Power pours forth, restoring the rotting wood and the faded paint thereon. Banners whose remains can barely be seen on the parapets remember their original form, becoming bright and full again. In the gardens below, choking weeds fade and the plants flower once again. In moments the entire ruined edifice was again fit to house a king.

The gathered Margon worshippers were struck silent with awe. Eventually an exciting murmuring began among them and they surged toward the palace doors, entering amid joyous howling from the wolves. After admiring his work a while, Benquil descended, finding the interior as beautiful as the outside, with carpets, furniture, curtains, and draperies all vibrant as in the days Margon ruled there. Among the minotaurs was discussion of how well Margon’s campaign must be going to have won such allies and concessions as this great palace represented. Elder priests of Margon in the shining throne room were agreeing that the palace should be made into the new temple with the temple fixtures currently used in the squat stone structure they had built to house them being moved to there for more deserving worship.

Entrusting the continued restoration of the palace to these priests, Benquil rejoins the others. Brimahil and Vardor depart and they all teleport back to Fort Gollant. There they receive reports that Margon’s army was last sighted encamped 40 miles east. Since it will be morning before they receive reports of if they broke camp, Benquil, Evren, and Leo begin the familiar hike to go meet Margon’s army. By nightfall, they have gone far enough to wonder if they missed them on the way or if they never broke camp in the morning. They continue a little longer seeing no sign of the army’s passage and make camp themselves after another couple hours.

The next day, they proceed to where Margon’s camp was last reported and find them still there, with sounds of celebration rising from the camp. Drunken guards greet them at the perimeter and invite them in. They go to the center of camp where Margon stands atop a wagon, leading his army in battle hymns and songs of celebration. While Leo and Evren hang back, Benquil joins the party, eventually conceding to offers of alcohol. After four hours in the crowd, Benquil is recognized by Margon and invited onto the wagon. Margon announces to the army that Benquil has restored his palace and they will return to build his kingdom anew. When night falls, Margon sends his men to their bunks, taking Benquil and Evren to his tent. There they learn his history, recording it with a spell provided by Hilbrent in a cylinder he has created a machine to read.

With war averted, they return to Fort Gollant once again, continuing their recovery from the underdark expedition. During this time, Talia Stormborne arrives with Elba Seron and a full clergy of Vardor disciples. She has been chosen as the high priestess of Gollant March. Benquil spends much of his time accosting travelers to learn what rumors have spread of their exploits. He learns of several that took place while they were in the underdark. He realizes there must be imposters acting in their name (specifically Benquil, Lamila, and Hilbrent). Sending a representative to the Vardor king, they learn that these imposters falsified evidence against nobles, using their names to legitimize it. They also learn that they are in the habit of accepting free drinks at taverns surrounding the capital. They are determined to seek them out and put an end to their charade.

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One Response to The Madness of a Falling God

  1. Pingback: The Vardor Locality, YV 235 | Mind Weave Role-Playing Platform

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