Suli: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the Green Room! This is a special, extradimensional space where we Kingdom of Darkness characters can look back over our recent adventures together! W-
Altaire: WHY was I not told about this place?!
Suli: Well, I asked around, but you were out at the time, so we just kinda… came here without you. But you’re here now!
Altaire: …We’re gonna talk later.
Lili: Space big! (flies around the room excitedly)
Suli: …Yes, Lili. Yes it is. Anyhow, today we’ve got Silhren, our paladin, Hroth, our archer, Altaire, our summoner, and Lili, his lovely eidolon, with us to help add colorful commentary to our latest… um…
Suli: Uh… Sure, that!
Silhren: (gives a graceful nod)
Hroth: (attempts to nod. Fails and bites his tongue through his missing cheek)
Suli: Uh… You okay? Y… You’re bleeding a little bit, there.
Hroth: I am fine. (blood seeps from his mouth and cheek)
Silhren: No, stop that. (heals Hroth)
Suli: …Welp, this’ll be interesting.
Altaire: Alright, let’s get on with it, then!
Suli: Sounds like a plan! Cue the playback!
Upon attempting to climb to the next level, the Arbiters were perplexed to find the stairwell empty; after some careful thought and experimentation, they figured out that the stairs up were made of shadows themselves, so light made them disappear. Before the heroes doused their lights, Lili decided to fly upstairs and scout out the next floor; within seconds, she came hurtling back down, a number of undead shadows following behind her. The party engaged the shadows in combat; the fight would have been quite difficult, but Kot, Saya, and Silhren were all appropriately equipped to damage these creatures, so the heroes made short work of the threat. Once the shadows had been defeated and everyone had been restored to health, the party put out all of their light sources and ascended the stairs in darkness, the party members with darkvision guiding those without.
Altaire: Ugh, those damn stairs. Y’know, it’s not comfortable for me to go up them; heights are bad for gnomes!
Suli: B-But… You ride on Lili all the time…
Altaire: I trust a large woman I created over stairs. Anyway, those were shadow stairs; can’t trust them things.
Lili: Lili no like meanie shadows… (shivers)
Suli: Yeah, those things are unnatural… All that darkness really rubbed me the wrong way, too.
Altaire: (bites his tongue to avoid commenting inappropriately)
Lili: (reading Altaire’s mind) …Suli, what foreplay?
Suli: Uh! Um… (pauses for a moment, then smacks Altaire lightly upside the head)
Altaire: What?! I didn’t SAY it!
Suli: (long-suffering sigh) … Moving on.
Once they arrived upstairs, the Arbiters noticed another stairwell on the other side of the room; like the previous one, it was choked with shadowstuff and inaccessible, but Daylight had no effect on it this time. Next to the stairs, the heroes found a plaque; it indicated that there were a number of bells on the floor, and when all bells had been rung, the way to the stairs would be cleared.
Altaire: So, where was Sym during all of this?
Suli: Y’know what? Let’s find out!
Meanwhile, back on the ship, Sym could hear strange noises coming from below deck; he descended into the hold with Roko to investigate their source. After a moment’s searching, the two discovered that the sound was a voice, and the voice was coming from a small box. The voice was continually muttering about being impatient and wanting to “do it now”. Unfortunately, Roko knocked something over, alerting the creature to their presence; it demanded to know who was there, then immediately attempted to burst out of the box. When it did emerge, both Sym and Roko were able to recognize the creature as a type of rakshasa; it called for Sym’s death and attacked him. The creature fought hard, but in the end, it could not match Sym’s magical skill (or the viciousness of his monkeys), and it was defeated. Deciding not to speak of the creature to anyone, Sym quickly departed for the keep and was reunited with the group an hour later.
Altaire: Ah, these damn rakshasa! I swear, one of these days, one of Sym’s little ambushes is going to get us all in trouble!
Suli: Well, I’m sure he’ll warn us about all this soon, so everything should be okay, right?
Silhren: Yeah, he’ll come around eventually…
The upstairs atrium had six doors, with three on each side of the room. In order to speed up the process, Kot and Saya took on the left-hand doors, while the Arbiters chose to explore all the right-hand doors. First, both groups decided to investigate the rooms closest to the far stairwell; the Arbiters found a luxurious bedroom that had clearly not been furnished with sleeping in mind. As they entered, Silhren detected an evil presence behind the other side of the bed; Roko was sent to investigate, but he was suddenly torched by a gout of flame. Barely alive, Roko returned as a succubus arose from behind the bed, a babau demon in tow. The two attacked the party, dealing damage and crude threats in equal amounts. Thinking quickly, Altaire summoned a pit directly beneath the babau; the demon fell to the bottom of the pit, and Lili used her great strength to push the giant bed over the mouth of the pit, temporarily blocking the creature’s escape. As the babau made it to the top of the pit, Altaire immediately dismissed the old pit and created a new one, trapping the demon yet again with Lili’s assistance. The Arbiters continued to fight bravely, and they proved themselves victorious in the end.
Suli: Okay, so that one? THAT was impressive.
Altaire: (whispering to himself) Glad it worked…
Lili: How come Lili no get to jump on bed at home?
Suli: Lili, if you ever find a demon coming out from under the bed at home, you can jump on it as much as you want.
Lili: YAY! Lili want demon now!
Suli: …This may have been ill-advised.
After quickly checking to ensure that the room was secure, the Arbiters opened a door in the back of the room, revealing a giant bell with a long pull-cord. Needless to say, the heroes rang it, bringing themselves one step closer to their goal. As they rang their bell, they could hear the sound of a second bell ringing along with theirs; Kot and Saya had succeeded in their room, as well. Judging by the embarrassment on Kot’s face and the mischievous glee on Saya’s, it was clear that the room they had investigated had been designed for ulterior purposes, as well.
Temporarily regrouping in the atrium, the heroes agreed that the bells were most likely going to be in the four corner rooms, so they decided to search the two rooms in the opposite corners next. Saya and Kot split from the group again to search the door to the southwest, and the rest of the heroes opened the southeastern door, ready to face what lay beyond it.
Upon opening the door, the heroes found a maze of bookshelves punctuated by statues with arcane eyes. They remembered the statues from the floor below; it became obvious that having one stealthy person attempt the room would be wiser than having the entire party traipsing inside. After some deliberation, Nochte was selected for the job; Altaire used a spell to make him invisible, and the ranger headed inside. Using his innate stealth, Nochte avoided activating any of the arcane eyes, moved a bookcase aside from the door, rang the bell, and made it back out with little incident.
Altaire: Lili could’ve done it better and faster.
Suli: But Nochte did a perfect job! He rang the bell and didn’t get caught once!
Altaire: …Well, Lili could’ve done it faster.
Suli: But… Nochte did it in great time! He was in and out of there before the invis-
Altaire: I BUILT A STEALTHY EIDOLON. I’D LIKE TO USE IT.
Suli: Lili doesn’t strike me as the…. stealthy… type.
Lili: (jazz hands) LILI NIGHT!
Suli: …Yeah. Good for you, Lili.
After ringing their own bell, Kot and Saya met back up with the heroes. Everyone turned expectantly to the stairway, but they found to their surprise that it was still blocked; assuming that there must be a final bell somewhere, the group decided to enter the middle door to the east, in search of it. They did not expect what they found: a lillend, bound in a magic circle, with a tiny bell around her neck. Suhaila spoke with the lillend, asking her why she was there and if she desired to be freed. The lillend, Valencia, explained that Zalor had been nothing but kind to her; she gave her presents, talked with her, and listened to her music, though she hadn’t visited as much as of late; upon being told of Zalor’s crimes, she was shocked, but she seemed to accept it as the truth. The party was able to convince her to part with the bell, but under one condition: Zalor was not to be harmed if at all possible. The party agreed to this and invited Valencia, so she could talk to Zalor herself; the lillend agreed, and the heroes unbound her.
Once the group returned to the atrium, they discovered that the stairwell had been cleared; before ascending, however, they decided to open the remaining door, just to ensure that they had missed nothing important. Inside the room were a set of wax dolls; one of them looked very much like Kot, but with metallic wings sticking out of its back. The group deduced that the wax dolls were the physical manifestations of the curses Zalor had cast, and that breaking them could break the curse; without hesitation, Kot snatched up his doll and broke it. Instantly, he underwent a strange transformation; his hair grew long, his armor began to gleam, his skin turned to steel, and huge, metallic wings sprouted from his back.
Suli: I’m so glad we didn’t break him… I really thought he was broken for a second, there.
Altaire: Well, something snapped.
Lili: Altaire, Lili want metal wings!
Altaire: C… Can I do that? I… I… Uh… Lili gets feathers!
Altaire: No, Lili, you get feathers.
Lili: (Spreads wings) LILI KNIVES! (Feathers fly around the room)
Suli: Well, at least they can’t just blame me for the feathers anymore…
Without missing a beat, the newly restored Kot turned and headed for the stairs, intent upon finding Zalor and bringing her to justice; the party hurried after him. Before he could climb too far, Suhaila caught up with him and stopped him. She asserted that, if Zalor was repentant, she could better atone for her sins alive, and she begged him to give the woman a chance to be redeemed. Reluctantly, Kot agreed.
As the party traveled up the long stairwell, Kot fell in step with Altaire, who was riding on Lili’s back. He talked to Altaire of leadership, explaining that he had seen a potential leader in him. He went on to assert that size had nothing to do with capability, and that a leader should be able to stand tall on his own two feet. Moved, Altaire dropped from Lili’s back and continued up the stairs on his own, thinking carefully about what had been said.
Upon reaching the roof of the building, the Arbiters were less than happy to see Spencer standing out in the open, surrounded by fetchling corpses; they watched in horror as he casually snapped a fetchling soldier’s neck with one hand and turned to a clearly injured Zalor. He demanded that she give him the artifact she had been hiding from the cult; she refused. Noticing the presence of the heroes, Spencer grinned and told Zalor that she would be forgiven for her transgressions against the cult if she killed the Arbiters; then he disappeared. Before Zalor had the chance to do anything, Altaire bravely stepped up to the front and addressed her. He explained that this was her chance to turn things around; mistakes could be corrected, and if she wanted to be free of the cult, the heroes would help her in any way they could. Zalor broke down in the face of such kindness and shapeshifted into her true form: that of a young shadow dragon. She explained that she had only joined the cult to provide her people, the fetchlings, with protection; she apologized profusely for her past wrongdoings and agreed to work with the Arbiters to atone for what she’d done.
After a moment’s struggle, Kot agreed to give her the chance to prove herself; however, he no longer knew what to do with his life. He was primarily a machination of the light; he talked about having no real memories… until he was very soundly slapped out of it by Saya. She told him that she was his family, and if he didn’t have any memories, she would just have to drag him out into the world and help him make some. The Arbiters reminded Kot that he had friends in them, as well. After a moment’s deliberation, Kot agreed, thanking her and the others for their support.
Suddenly, everyone heard a voice from above; Spencer had been watching from a turret to make sure Zalor killed the Arbiters. He flung a deadly bolt of lightning at the shadow dragon; Suhaila immediately threw out a spell of her own, closing Zalor’s wounds as they formed. She and Valencia rushed over and healed her until she returned to consciousness, at which point the lillend and the remaining fetchling soldiers helped Zalor flee to safety. Still not seeing the heroes as a legitimate threat, Spencer summoned a nightwing and told it to kill them all, then teleported from the scene.
The fight was over in seconds. Taking careful aim, Hroth fired a mighty volley of undead-slaying arrows; many of them struck the creature in vital areas, engulfing it in a veritable pillar of fire and lightning. Severely wounded, the enraged nightwing attempted to charge at Hroth, intent upon killing him; however, Silhren threw himself in the nightwing’s path, spurred on by his affection for his companion; as Lili jumped from his shoulders and Suhaila channeled energy into his weapon, the Shelynite paladin swung his glaive and cut the evil creature in half with a blinding slash, leaving behind a swirling trail of feathers and prismatic light. At the pinnacle of her jump, Lili accurately kicked both halves of the monster off of the roof and down the side of the keep, where they were impaled upon the shadowy spires before fading from existence.
The remainder of the day was a somber occasion; the bodies of the fetchling soldiers who had died in defense of their queen were gathered, blessed, and buried with the proper rites. Afterward, the Arbiters discussed the possibility of moving the keep to a location near the Kortos Mounts, so that Zalor and her people could ally with both the Kortos tribes and the people of Absalom; Zalor agreed and decided to accompany them back to Absalom to help set things in order. Valencia elected to accompany her, and the group reboarded the ship, bound for Absalom.
While they were sailing, Kot took the time to speak with Suhaila about growing into one’s angelic blood; they discussed her recent wing growth, and Kot provided Suhaila with some much-needed advice on problems for a developing aasimar.
Meanwhile, Hroth was talking with Silhren and demanding to know why he had stepped in front and protected him during the fight with the nightwing. Silhren simply replied that he did it because he really cared about Hroth, not just because it was his calling.
Amidst all this, Altaire and Saya decided to drink away their time on the ship. One thing led to another, and two Alter Self spells later, the two of them made some romantic choices that were questionable at best.
After a few days, the group finally disembarked in Absalom, ready to tell new stories and make new plans for the future…
Suli: So, tragically, it’s been hard to get people into / staying in the Green Room (some sort of spatial-temporal glitch, I’m sure), so we’re just posting the rest of this as is! We dunno how long this is gonna take to fix, either, so for at least the next few logs, we won’t have anybody here. Still, if any brave souls want to try and comment on an episode, feel free to let me know, and we’ll see what we can do! Apparently, it can get you something called “hero points”… I have no idea what those are, but they sound pretty awesome!