Return of the Lich

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This is a storyline that took place in the Platinum Instance during 2019 - . Official title is "Return of the Lich".

Return of the Lich

24 Lumnea: Wehnimer's Landing and Environs

Seika found Jeofrey's lab and attacked him, reducing him to "a single sliver of a red gem". Jeofrey fears that Seika may have acquired his latest creation, a new daughter. Jeofrey created this "new daughter" to fight Seika and named her Annebella. He tasked those gathered to find Annebella; she was sleeping in his lab when Seika and her undead minions attacked him.

Jeofrey was also in the process of creating a new body for himself that should look vaguely elf like as he hadn't completed it. He also fears that Seika found his notes on how to transfer his essence to this new body.

The group of adventurers ventures out into the Lower Dragonsclaw forest in search of Annebella and eventually find her wandering the forest trails. Annebella is convinced to come back to town with the group and they head to the Wayside Inn to discuss their next move.

It is suggested that Jeofrey be handed over to Leil of the Mage's Guild to restore him, but he is loathe to be made a lab rat by the mages of the guild. He thinks he may be able to barter for Leil's help in exchange for access to his lab.

Seika makes a brief appearance in the form of a floating eyeball to gloat.

To make matters worse, Jeofrey's current state is not sustainable and he will ultimately perish if a new vessel is not acquired soon. He explains that he needs a cleric and Chayka before he can attempt to transfer his essence to the elven body he created.

For the time being, Jaired and Leiana take possession of Jeofrey's shard and pledge to safeguard it.


26 Lumnea: Wehnimer's Landing and Environs

The shadows of the night seem to deepen and all goes quiet again, in the area surrounding Landing. The hot night air is heavy with soemthing, something that doesn't feel quite right, the feeling of something baleful watching from the distance.

Seika has been unable to break the protection on the new body that Jeofrey created and in frustration sends a large force of undead to attack Wehnimer's Landing.

The undead are annihilated by fire that is rained down from above by a floating figure above the Raging Thrak Inn. Onlookers say the figure was wearing a hood but red hair was visible.

Various people gathered at the Raging Thrak Inn to discuss the town's defenses and what to do next. The crowd eventually turned their focus to Qualeric and his apparent bond with Seika. Fearing that he was a traitor in their midst, a few individuals performed a gruesome examination of his body, cutting into his flesh many times to look for a curse mark. No such mark was found.


7 Koaratos: Solhaven, The Revelry

Whick has learned that Jaired and Leiana are keeping Jeofrey's shard somewhere aboard their vessel, the Muse, and he enlists the aid of a small group in order to infiltrate the vessel and acquire the shard. The party travels to Wehnimer's Landing via the Chronomage Portals and boards the Muse under the guise of invisibility to search for the shard.

As they search the vessel, nothing stands out except for a cat and three magical seals. The seals are discovered to react violently to any magic cast at them. Believing the seals are hiding Jeofrey's shard, the group attempts to disable and overwhelm the seals by casting powerful magics at them.

The seals are actually more of a warning device to alert Jaired and Leiana to the presence of intruders. Leiana returns to her vessel in a fury and lashes out at her unwelcome guests with words and magic. A couple of the intruders are made to flee the vessel, but Whick appears from his shroud of invisibility and subdues Leiana with a sleep spell. He sends a thought to the others that he found the shard on the collar of the cat and for them to quickly retrieve it.

The sorcerer, Daeoas, helps due subdue Leiana by subjecting her to constant mind jolts. Fearing that her power will overwhelm himself and Whick, Daeoas casts a powerful nightmare upon Leiana and makes her relive being burned alive. The others report that they were unable to remove the shard from the cat's collar and that the cat has now disappeared along with the shard.

Whick orders a retreat and they run from the vessel. To keep Leiana occupied though, now that she is no longer being subdued, the group sets fire to the Muse by hurling fire bolts at it. The conspirators make their escape and regroup aboard Whick's vessel, the Revelry in Solhaven. He advises them to keep a low profile for a time as he concocts a plausible story to twist events in their favor.

7 Koaratos: Darkstone Bay, The Muse

Smoke drifted in through the porthole as she lay on her bed, exhaustion both mental and physical suffusing her bruised body. She tilted her head to gaze blearily out the small window to the sea and let out a soft sob, tears brimming to drift down her soot-smudged cheeks. They had come to pilfer the gem that held the remnants of Jeofrey's essence.
Finding that more difficult than expected, they had tortured her to buy themselves time while they worked on retrieving it. They ransacked her things. They set her boat on fire.

So she'd fled.

The Landing had been a place of comfort for her since she was a child and now it was a place of uncertainty and fear. She'd lost things more important to her than she could bear to admit, and she'd found something she'd never known was possible; both in that place. And now she was fleeing it without a true understanding of where she was going or what she was going to do, only that she had to get away to survive. She could recall how they looked as they set her boat on fire while she stood on the bow - the smirk on Whick's face as he nodded to his crew and they left the docks, and her, to burn.

"Them".. she thought bitterly to herself. Whick and that sorcerer, Daeoas - the two who had forced her to submit to their search of her boat by knocking her out and then subjecting her to the nightmare of burning alive. It didn't matter that she'd grown immune physically to the elemental magic cast by those who were skilled enough to wield it. This was mental torment - to relive what it felt to have flames licking at her skin, suffocating her, and the terror that it brought as she remembered sitting in that chair while Whick set her on fire.

Krasus - the one healing her so that they could do it all over again.
Ezabell - the one who joined Whick and the sorcerer to cast fire at her boat.
Balatra - the one who had been standing on her deck as if it were her own when Leiana had arrived.

They would pay. ALL of them would pay.

For now, however, she was fleeing the town she had called home for so long and all that was in it. She hadn't even had time to alert Jaired. She'd just run.

8 Koarators: Wehnimer's Landing, Docks

"Whick, Daeoas, Krasus, Ezabell, and Balatra," Cat slowly repeated as Jaired crouched at the end of the dock where the Muse was at rest just the morning earlier. Five names.

"Who was the target? Jeofrey or Leiana?" Jaired mused cooly. Despite it all there was a certain ease to the question that, if he were honest with himself, caught himself a bit off guard. He supposed when the same thing keeps happening you just get numb to it after a time... or maybe it was something else.

"Knowing Whick? He never passes up an opportunity," Cat morosely lamented, his gaze downcast and distant. Jaired gave him a comforting scratch between his sagging ears. It wasn't Cat's fault, but the feline wasn't about to be receptive to the idea.

"Mmm... gotta be careful, they're going to attempt to make this look like it was her doing. Fire and all," and indeed the smell of fire and ash was still on the air. He needed to get to her, but he also needed her to be as strong as he knew she could be for just a little longer, "I'm going to report the incident and name those involved and press formal charges."

Cat let out a surprised 'mlep' of sound and turned abruptly to face Jaired, "What? Y... you can't be serious."

"As I said, we have to be careful with these games," he lifted his gaze towards the horizon, somewhere out there his home and the love of his life was smoldering.

"Oreena is practically in his palm!" Cat hissed with a confused, side-to-side flick of his head.

"Or he is in hers," Jaired admitted, "They want us to look like monsters. They 'want' me to do what they expect it is that I'll do. What they expect 'us' to do."

"That is what you SHOULD do!" Cat practically roared, "This is what happens when good does nothing!"

"Hunting them down and killing them will only serve their agenda," Jaired slowly rose to a stand and brushed the ash from his knees.

Cat was absolutely furious, his black fur bristling along his spine until he noticed Jaired's eyes and the subtle glow surrounding them. More than that he saw the pain.

"This way Oreena is forced to address those that attacked us," Jaired continued as he turned to make his way to Moot Hall, "for the entire Landing to see. We can't execute our own justice this early on."

Cat watched as Jaired walked away in an almost silent wonder. This early? He couldn't bring himself to follow, but chimed after him, "Then what!?"

"We react," Jaired uttered quietly as the glow faded from around his eyes, "Tell Leiana I'm on my way... we'll need to limp the Muse to safer shores for now. I won't be long."

Cat turned away with a spat and vanished.

They could probably have just asked him for the damn shard, but he couldn't blame them for their short sightedness. Leiana and him could, and would, however... ultimately punish them for it. He just needed her to be strong for a little longer. So did he for that matter... as this was hardly the last storm they were going to have to weather, and he intended to weather them all.

8 Koaratos: Darkstone Bay, The Muse

Jaired let out a long, slow breath as he pulled back at the heavy oars. The small craft didn’t move fast but the Muse was still only adrift, so he’d catch up eventually. A thin, wispy trail of smoke blurred at some of the stars above to let him know his course. It gave him time to reflect, and usually that meant something or other was about to interrupt.

“I’m proud of you…” a voice came from in front of him in the boat. See? Told you.

“Are you?” Jaired droned, his words heavy with disbelief and a sprinkle of disdain, “Or would she have been?”

Whatever this apparition was before him, it wasn’t actually his mother. He wasn’t a spirit walker anymore so it wouldn’t make sense that he’d be able to talk to her as he was anyway. Rather she was an echo or a reflection of herself. It probably wasn’t even really worth figuring out.

“She is,” the voice of his mother retorted in a deliberate, matter-of-fact staccato, “I’m more of myself than you now realize.”

“Stop,” Jaired coughed, his voice still raw from the earlier exchange in Moot Hall, “Lectures later, okay? This isn’t the time…”

“It is always the time.”

It was a good thing he was so intent on rowing that damn boat, because it kept the parts of him that wanted to lash out focused upon the task at hand. He had to get to her. It took killing a certain part inside of him to go to the Hall first instead of rushing to find his wife, but he needed to get to Oreena before ‘they’ did with whatever story they had in mind.

He had grabbed a couple of dock workers to act as witnesses and made a proper scene in the Hall. Apparently their aggressors had been gallivanting around in plain sight and a bunch of people even saw them setting the Muse on fire. Having the advantage of the truth would be convenient. He wouldn’t have to convince anyone to lie for their sake.

There wouldn’t be a story to keep straight when he kicked the door into Oreena’s office.

The two guards outside were loyal but they were also smart. They’d get dressed down afterwards but they’d be alive. Jaired probably just looked like someone that wanted to talk anyway… and that is exactly what they did. They had a nice little talk. So nice and loud that a small crowd had begun to gather by the time it was over.

He named those five names. Accused them of boarding his home to steal the shard of the golem Jeofrey, accused them of torturing his wife, and then accused them of setting fire to the Muse that was now adrift in Darkstone Bay. The pale faced dock workers nodded and chimed in when appropriate, but it was his final words to her that rang loudest.

……

“Whick’s history with Leiana and myself is documented. Everyone knows what happened down in that torture chamber of his,” he slammed his gauntleted fist upon her desk as he seethed, “YOU lifted his banishment, and whether or not you knew what he was… I’m going to remind ALL of them!”

The wide gesture he made implied that everyone was going to be talking about these events over breakfast for the days to come.

It was in her court now.

……

Now he was just rowing that boat. The smoke began to grow so dense across the night sky that he could begin to see its reflection upon the choppy waters as a flicker of light caught in the corner of his eye. He quickly swiveled in his seat to see a lantern being waved about followed by a distinct, ‘Ahoy!’

Jaired was helped aboard and quickly pushed his way through the circle of crewman that worriedly surrounded Leiana. He thought he’d grown numb to seeing her in pain. He was wrong. He was so, so wrong.

“Damn it,” he roughly cursed as he dropped to his knees and pulled her into his arms. Why were they just letting her lay there like this? He knew why but that didn’t mean he had to be happy about it. Her unpatched eye rolled about for a while before blearily focusing on his gaze.

“Hey,” she uttered through a muffled sob, shakily reaching a hand upwards to caress at his cheek.

“Hey…” he responded in a whisper while pulling her close. The tarnished silver locket around his neck began to glow as a comforting, familiar sensation of warmth spread itself outward.

Leiana’s gaze slowly drifted opposite of Jaired and went wide with wonder. He couldn’t see or hear any longer in this way but he had a real good idea. He’d chased that flame.

“Mommy?”

Yes… I’m right here, Pumpkin…

He gave them a good long while but eventually she turned her attention back to Jaired and dragged the elephant right across the Muse’s charred deck.

“What do we do now?” she asked.

“We need you to be dead for a little while…”

8 Koaratos: Wehnimer's Landing, Town Square Central

Chayka and Annebella appear in town square central to speak with adventurers gathered there. Annebella believes she has a lead on a priest that may be skilled enough and inclined to perform the ritual necessary to help Jeofrey transfer his essence to a new body. She tells those gathered that she will be leaving Wehnimer's Landing for a time in order to search for this priest.

In order to spare Wehnimer's Landing and other towns from various attacks, Chayka decides to accompany Annebella. Seika's continued attacks on Wehnimer's Landing were due to Chayka's presence in town, without him there she will have no reason to attack the town further. The two depart in search of the priest.

Credits

~GM Skhorne
~GM Naionna