Runelords Hensehold

24 Rova 4707 (3/28/2014) – The Ruins of Ancient Thassilon

from "The Journal of Siȝecraft Ælfsiȝe Ælfwine"

Tōketsu, Draethor, Ro and I escort Tsuto to the Sandpoint Garrison. He provides no resistance. We meet Ralph, the town guard acting on behalf of Sherriff Hemlock. We explain what occurred at the Glassworks and Tsuto is incarcerated in one of the three empty cells. Ralph shows less respect for us than Sherriff Hemlock has and is evasive in his answers. I get the impression he’s playing at being more ignorant than he really is. I cannot determine the strength of Sandpoint’s defenses from him.

I ask Ralph if Gint is still alive and if we can see him. Ralph’s response is very confusing, indicating we need to wait and ask Sherriff Hemlock. It becomes clear Gint has died from an accident while locked in his cell – Ralph’s knuckles are bloodied over scabs. I don’t blame him for his actions but I regret not being able to determine if Gint could have identified Tsuto.

Inquiring into the services of a young man about town to accompany us as a messager, Ralph volunteers the services of Mort, another town guard. Mort doesn’t appear eager but he does appear capable. With Mort following, we bid our farewells to Ralph and commit to informing Mayor Kendra Deverin next.

A town clerk opens the door at the Sandpoint Town Hall. We request to see Mayor Kendra Deverin but are informed she has left for the day. We advise the clerk we’ll seek her at her mansion.

Before visiting the Manor we stop by the Sandpoint Cathedral. We relate the tale of the Glassworks to Father Abstalar Zantus. The good Father begins to heal Draethor and Ro as we relate the tale of the Glassworks. Father Zantus commits to retrieve the body of Lonjiku and perform the proper reverence.

We’re greeted by a butler as we knock at Deverin Manor. He inquires who he should say is calling. Boldly I state “The Heroes of Sandpoint”. He looks at me slyly but invites us in. Draethor demands something to drink which the butler dutifully brings. Mayor Kendra Deverin appears momentarily and we relate the tale of the Glassworks again. Kendra suggests asking Hannah Velerin about the smuggler’s tunnels. Hannah Velerin operates Hannah’s, serving the community of Sandpoint the local apothecary. This shop can be found at the end of Hook Street, near the docks on the southern end of the town.

Kendra takes the news of the goblins within her town very seriously and commits to ask Ralph to send a rider on a fast horse to intercept Sherriff Hemlock and speed his request for additional armed men. I ask Mort to perform this task right now and to meet us at the Glassworks afterwards.

I give Kendra my advice on how to strengthen the town’s defenses. For the most part it appears she’s listening politely, but she does indicate water and sand/earth are being prepared to fight fires and she will call up the town’s reserve militia and other able bodied men. We explain we’re going to explore the smuggler’s tunnel and ensure it poses no immediate threat and I commit to reporting to her on the morrow.

Returning to the Glassworks we find Father Abstalar Zantus and his acolytes already at work chiseling out Lonjiku’s body from the solidified glass that is securing him to the floor. I ask my questions about Nualia and gain much information.

Nualia – ½ Demon / ½ Celestial Mastermind?
Nualia was found as a babe in the woods near town by hunters and taken to the Sandpoint Cathedral. A search was made around Sandpoint for the parents but no trace was ever uncovered. Father Tobin adopted the baby to raise as his own. Nualia is possessed of white hair, even as a child, and was “ethereally” beautiful. She was said to be “touched by Desna”, and her touch could cure minor ailments. These traits, combined with a deep shyness, earned her taunts from the other children of Sandpoint.
As she matured into a woman, Nualia entered into a relationship with a local Varisian youth named Deskeita (sp?). Nualia became pregnant with this man’s baby before the fire of 4702 AR. Nualia was presumed to have perished in the fire since her body was never found. Father Zantus admits Nualia could have survived the fire but she has never been seen again.

Father Tobin was kind and loving with Nualia but he didn’t really know how to handle being an adopted father. He was disapproving of the relationship and pregnancy but still loving of Nualia.

The origin of the fire was never determined. It happened in the middle of the night and was too far in progress before being noticed. It may have started in the kitchens – or, rather, that has been the popular theory since the kitchens were the only part of the cathedral with a fire burning regularly. Father Zantus admits the fire could have started anywhere and by any cause.

Father Zantus agrees that Nualia likely has celestial blood; one of her parents may have even been a full blooded celestial. Father Zantus does not believe Father Tobin could have been the father. He did not find Nualia – she was abandoned in the woods. And, Father Tobin was “not a man of the flesh” (including men and women).

Leaving the good Father and his men to their grisly work we descend into the basement and then the smuggler’s tunnels. Tōketsu takes the lead, being the stealthiest among us. He’s followed at 100’ by Sanliss and Kodlak. Sanliss casts Message on Tōketsu and me, and I follow Sanliss and Kodlak by 100’. I cast Message on Draethor and he leads the rest 100’ behind me.

The worked stone passage exiting the Glassworks continues almost in a straight line for 1,700’ northeast to a secret door that opens into smuggler’s cave overlooking a narrow beach on the Varisian Gulf. The cave contained bedding for 30 goblins and evidence of recent passage. The cave opens onto a narrow beach that curves around to a wider beach where it could not be seen. The cave could be seen from the sea.

From the point of the secret door, a natural stone passage runs 200’ to the south where there is an east-west split. The east tunnel runs 400’ and ends in a rock fall. The rock fall is at least a year old although none of us can really tell how long it have been here. The west tunnel continues for 50’ before encountering a broken down brick wall similar to the ones in the basement of the Glassworks. The wall has been destroyed from this side. The natural tunnel continues another 50’ before turning north for 100’. There, in addition to more natural tunnels, we encounter worked stone and Sinspawn.

Tōketsu identifies the presence of the Sinspawn before they detect him and whispers the information to Sanliss (who relays to me, and I relay to Draethor). Tōketsu advises we attack, which I question. Draethor assures me that Dion is up to the challenge of supporting us and we make ready by closing the distance. Before we can reach Tōketsu the Sinspawn notice his presence and attack. Whispers are relayed and I run down the tunnel with my Dancing Lights. I pass Sanliss and Kodlak and take a position on Tōketsu’s left flank. The Sinspawn close and attack. I clumsily miss my aggressor with the longspear as he closes, the other two attacking Tōketsu.

The bite of the Sinspawn on my shoulder immediately caused my mind to be filled with burning thoughts of sinful rage. In addition to the physical pain I was also immediately sickened. The raging thoughts lasted for several minutes even after the foul creatures were dispatched.

Tōketsu tossed one of his alchemical fire bombs into their mist, flames wrapping around to the right and left of me but not touching. Kodlak struck the one who had attacked me with an arrow and I followed up with an acidic Burning Hands to all three (felling the middle aberration). I could hear Darius’ singing and the sounds of the others closing the distance as my assailant bit me again. With my mind already raging I became staggered and stumbled back.

The rest of the fight is blurry. Draethor arrived, Kodlak continued his steady fire and Tōketsu threw another bomb (his last prepared of the day). They dispatched the last two Sinspawn without my help.

Sanliss searched the Sinspawn for magic but revealed none. The natural side cave they were residing in contained the gnawed upon bones of rats but nothing else. Sanliss healed me with witchcraft and Dion bestows the blessings of Cayden Cailean upon me (I was the only combatant wounded) but the sinful thoughts do not subside for several more minutes.

We discussed whether to continue on today or after a good night’s sleep. Tōketsu had no more bombs and my spells were almost completely depleted. Sanliss’ witchcraft affects the mind – he told us it was ineffective against the Sinspawn. Dion had almost exhausted the blessings of Cayden Cailean today. But, brave Darrius (who was quick to run away in the graveyard) adamantly expresses his desire to continue on since he feels he can sing some more. Tōketsu suggested we could continue under stealth but retreat if further resistance is encountered. We decided to continue exploring.

We soon found a worked stone tunnel of indeterminate age or origin. It branched into two tunnels. Pursuing the first tunnel we found a jagged black marble altar set upon a raised dais. Argentines immediately approached the altar. Sanliss cast a Detect Magic and determined the brackish water in the concave of the top of the altar and the altar itself are magical but fails to discern their properties. Tōketsu Identified the water as Waters of Lamashtu. They are unholy water of the Mother of Monsters. Drinking, or being anointed by, the water attacks the target’s constitution (Fort save -4). They will drive the target ill, sick and mad and may also cause monstrous transformations. We wonder if the waters transformed goblins into the Sinspawn we encountered.

The altar room contains a door on the opposite wall from whence we entered. Sanliss cast Detect Magic and determines it has an Alarm spell. He made ready to attempt to disable the trap before Tōketsu and I point out there’s more open tunnels to explore that aren’t trapped. We backtrack to the turn in the worked stone tunnel.

The tunnel branches again. We follow one branch into a rubble filled room that contains another door. After searching the room we backtracked again.

The tunnel branches again with one branch leading to descending stairs. The other branch opens into a room with a magnificent red marble statue. In her left hand she’s holding a large book with a seven pointed star. In her right hand she’s holding an actual ranseur. The ranseur is made of metal and ivory and encrusted with jewels. I realize this is a status to the Runelord Alaznist.

Alaznist, last Runelord of Wrath
Alaznist (pronounced a-LAZ-nist) was the last Thassilonian Runelord of Wrath, who ruled for many years over her realm of Bakrakhan. She is believed to have retreated from view along with the other runelords during Earthfall, and it is unknown whether she survived that cataclysm. She ruled from her capitol of Xin-Bakrakhan.

Runelords
Thassilon was founded more than 11,000 years ago by First King Xin who had been exiled from his homeland of Azlant for promoting heretical beliefs. As the empire grew beyond the bounds of Xin’s ability to control, both militarily and administratively, he appointed powerful arcanists as governors to oversee his lands. The mightiest of these were the runelords, seven of the most skilled (and power-hungry) wizards in Thassilon, if not all of Golarion. Working secretly to secure power for themselves, the opportunity to fully escape servitude under First King Xin appeared when he, in his old age and after having ruled Thassilon for more than a century, destroyed himself and much of his palace in a mysterious magical event. The runelords seized the opportunity and subjugated those loyal to Xin – including his own son, who became a puppet emperor – while each plotted within his or her own lands to become ruler of all Thassilon.

The runelords forged alliances with dragons and enslaved giants by using secrets of rune and glyph magic stolen from the aboleths in their efforts to increase their own power. With their enslaved giant armies, the wizards of Thassilon built massive tombs, enormous magical constructs, and staggering monuments that survive today, mute testimonies of a mysterious age long past.

As all evil empires must, Thassilon fell. The reason for this fall remains a mystery, but as the end drew near, the seven runelords retreated into the depths of their greatest monuments, entombing themselves with orders for their minions to release them later to reclaim their empire. Alas, Thassilon’s minions were enslaved or slaughtered. No one was left to waken them, and so the wizard kings of Thassilon have slumbered for countless ages.

Earthfall
Earthfall is the name given to the cataclysmic event in which of a swarm of meteors – including the Starstone – impacted Golarion in -5293 AR. It resulted in the destruction of the human empires of Thassilon and Azlant, which were consumed by earthquakes and massive tidal waves, and the creation of the Inner Sea. The cloud of dust thrown up by the Starstone’s impact settled in Golarion’s upper atmosphere and blotted out the sun for a thousand years, creating the Age of Darkness.

The worked stone room containing Alaznist’s statue led to another set of locked doors but was also breeched by the primary natural fault / erosion tunnel. We followed the natural tunnel a few yards to find that it ends by opening up into the roof of a 10’x10’ cell. Bars cover the far wall with a barred door inset into the wall. A large pit or well takes up most of the cell. After a brief discussion Argentus drops into the cell. Immediately he sees more Sinspawn outside the cell (and also notes stairs outside the cell leading presumably to the statue room). Someone fires an arrow at the Sinspawn. I urge retreat before we are flanked from behind. Argentus is raised up from the cell, causing the Sinspawn to retreat from the room. I offer Dion to come with me, preparing to exit. I begin to exit but Draethor insists on approaching the double doors in the statue room to lay an arrow against the door. A savage pounding from the other side knocks the arrow down. As the others pause to consider what to do, I urge Dion again to follow me as I make way to the intersection with my Dancing Lights. More savage pounding finally decides the matter for the others and we make our exit to the Glassworks.

The Glassworks are empty when we arrive – no sign of Mort.

We agree to report into Ralph. On the way to the Sandpoint Garrison we notice the busy signs of local militia making fortification and on patrol. On arrival at the garrison we find Ralph and discover Mort lounging. I attempt to chastise Mort for not meeting me at the Glassworks as was agreed but he shrugs it off. “You weren’t there and I got bored waiting.” Better to find out early he can’t be trusted – I still need to hire a messenger boy. Ralph will place four guards on rotation (two in the basement, two on the ground level) at the Glassworks. They will be armed with fireworks in order to sound an alarm if the tunnels are breeched. We commit to report to Mayor Kendra in the morning and leave for The Rusty Dragon.

Kendra is not in the common room, likely in shock and mourning privately. I ask Bethana Corwin if it would be possible to see Ameiko. She replies she’ll inquire and leaves. Ameiko enters the common room a few minutes later.

Ameiko is holding up well considering the circumstances. I apologize for disturbing her during her time of mourning but ask if I can pose some questions. She agrees:

• Why did you fight with your brother years ago? Tsuto was angry with Lonjiku
• Why did you leave town? to travel and adventure
• Why did you come back? for mother’s funeral
• What was the fight with your father about two nights ago? Lonjiku did not like Ameiko entering into commerce. He likely created the tunnels for the smuggler’s and may have had connections with the Sczarni. During Ameiko’s life he was not kind to his wife (Atsuii).
• Who was Tsuto’s real father? [Ask Tōketsu as well.] no idea

Ameiko suggests if I’d like more answers I might seek out Veznutt Parooh, the gnome proprietor of The Way North. He has a large and varied collection of maps and nautical charts. Also, Brodert Quink is the resident sage, one of the most intelligent and educated residents of Sandpoint. I thank Ameiko for her time and say good evening.

It is around five bells after noon and the town’s shops will be closing soon. After making arrangements with Draethor to partake of the Pixie’s Kitten later tonight, Tōketsu and I make to visit Brodert Quink. Sanliss decides to meet with Veznutt Parooh on his own instead of going with us to see Mr. Quink.

Brodert Quink – Male Human Sage and Scholar of Ancient Thassilon
Brodert Quink’s house is adjacent to the Old Light. An ancient human answers our knocking and introduces himself as Brodert Quink. The house is filled with books, scrolls, charts and what I guess are Thassilonian artifacts. I feel a thrill of excitement as I introduce Tōketsu and myself. Quickly, almost with the glee of an apprentice reporting a new discovery to his master, I relate our tale of what was found under the Glassworks – specifically the Thassilonian ruins. I can see the excitement fill Brodert’s eyes with each detail. His eyes become wide as I explain the encounter with the Sinspawn. “Please, describe what they looked like.” I do with as much detail as I can recall.

“Oh yes, Sinspawn. They are aberrations created by a Rune Well, an ancient artifact of the Runelords. Each Rune Well is inscribed with the specific rune of the Runelord. The souls of creatures who die in proximity to the Rune Well with an affinity to Runelord’s domain (e.g., Wrath in the case of Alaznist) would be transformed into a corresponding Sinspawn.”

I inquire if the pit we found in the jail cell could be a Rune Well – Brodert immediately dismisses it as not possible. Likewise, he dismisses the possibility of the altar of Lamashtu (especially with no rune).

When I ask Brodert if the goblins, Lamashtu and Runelords could be interrelated he explains that the Runelords were wizards. Lamashtu is a demon raised to godhood. It is quite possible a Runelord worshipped Lamashtu and would build an altar to her. Brodert adds it’s quite possible the Runelords made the natural tunnels – they were adept at working earth magic and making earthquakes.

Brodert expresses an interest in seeing the ruins and I invite him along. He chuckles and explains he’s an old man not capable of adventuring. When the area has been secured from all threats he would be happy to visit but for now he would love to hear the tales. I commit to coming back to tell him what we discover and also ask if I may be permitted to visit his library. Brodert seems happy that someone would share his interest in Thassilonian lore.

Veznutt Parooh – male gnome proprietor of The Way North
Sanliss, speaking to Veznutt, uncovers the names of the last runelords:

Alaznist Runelord of Wrath
Belimarius Runelord of Envy
Karzoug Runelord of Greed
Krune Runelord of Sloth
Sorshen Runelord of Lust
Xanderghul Runelord of Pride
Zutha Runelord of Gluttony

Veznutt has maps – I must visit him soon.

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