Children of Nimón

Prologue

Artán—the known lands—are shattered. The Confederacy of Five Kingdoms, once an enlightened bastion of progress and plenty, now wars amongst itself for the fetid remains of a dying continent. The Highlords grow fat on blood and madness while the people weep and pray.

In the south, the Doomwind screams onward toward the Alabastre Citadel on the northern coast, devouring rock and sea and sky and man without prejudice, its insatiable hunger peeling away the continent as it churns and roils. In the face of such fury, the magical Order of the Hoi-Ghisté have squandered their every resource to no avail, and now turn their collective gaze northward.

Diviners have discovered a fissure in the ever-impassable wall of burning mist floating on the Somber Sea. Too well timed to be a coincidence, the passage beckons travelers up into the weird wilds of the continent of Nimón, known only in legend.

What kingdoms remain true to the cause of the Confederacy now gather their finest ships and bravest men together to undertake a blind venture into dangerous and untamed lands. The people of Artán hold out hope that those who now sail into obscurity might one day return with salvation in tow, while the learned whisper that the land is doomed and curse the children of Nimón for what they truly are—a candle flame drawn from a dying bonfire and sent into the unknown in order to protect civilization’s legacy from dark, cold oblivion.

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Chapter One
Landfall

We find our party on one of the four ships headed to Nimon. As they sailed towards the mysterious continent, they were hit by something- multiple thuds sounded, and Sheera went below deck to find out what happened. While Sheera was below, strange merpeople boarded the ship, and Lavanya cast Comprehend Languages to understand more about what they were saying. After a few misunderstandings, they were able to piece together what the merpeople were saying, and with tactful use of diplomacy, allowed them to go about their business- namely, harvesting and stunning the strange octopus creatures that had broken through the hull of the ship. After they had left, Sheera fixed the hull, and the journey continued- at least, until the other nearby ship raised a distress flag.

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Chapter Two
To The Lady's Rest

The group set off to find the Lady’s Rest. While traveling, they come upon a strange, ogre-like creature in search of metal. The party confront him and find that he employs a pair of large, magical swords. Dee is severely injured in battle; Ish comes to her aid and in a moment of desperation, reveals his true nature when he magically heals her.
The group defeats the ogre and takes his swords before finding the Lady’s Rest. The group splits up: Ish, Lavanya, Sheera, and Dee have an audience with the Lady while Crux’xia and Alan stay behind. In the Lady’s hideout, the Lady herself speaks of a familiarity with Ish that drives her into a panic.
Topside, Crux’xia is entranced by what she believes is a vision of her long-abandoned monestary appearing in the woods. Alan watches as she wanders towards the edge of a cliff and sees her body set upon by dozens of long, transparent tentacles that descend from the sky. Before he can free her, he too is seized by the same tentacles which both begin to drag them up into the sky.

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Chapter Three
Moonbeams & Mental Breakdowns

We find our party split into two groups- one of which went down to meet the Lady, and the others stayed up at the cliff. While the four who had gone to see the Lady. Lavanya, Ish, Dee and Sheera, were absent Crux’xia was charmed by a large spider monster. Alan came back to find Crux being lifted up into the air by these tentacles made of silk

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Chapter Four
Run Like Hell

We begin this session with our party split yet again into two groups- the Settlement Party has the majority of the people and supplies, and the Runaway Party consists of Crux’xia, Lavanya, Rune, and one of the bandits that survived the attack on the beach camp. The Settlement party eventually encounters a caravan of insectoid creatures who trade a life-draining battleaxe for Alan’s chain mail, before going on their way, and the party goes on to find a place to call their new home. There, they build a smokestack, a longhouse with a tower, a stable, and an emergency hiding spot. Alan and Sheera construct defences for the settlement.
Once reunited with the rest of their party, Lavanya and Crux’xia learn that for them, two weeks have passed since leaving the beach, compared to their one week separated. As Alan and Sheera focus on strengthening the camp’s defenses and Ish turns his attention towards providing the group with fresh vegetables to sustain themselves, Crux’xia confronts the bandit captain who reveals to her the nature of he and his group’s presence on the expedition. In retaliation, Crux’xia fells the bandit captain much to the shock of Lady Aelia. She has Crux’xia apprehended.

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Chapter Five
Bump in the Night

A day passed since the murder of Estrod at the hands of Crux’xia. The monk was confined to a large rock near the edge of the sanctuary and awaiting interrogation as the others went about their duties. Overnight, Ish managed to grow crops of his own, while Alan resumed training two of the more promising fighters in the company. Dee spent her day gambling, eating, and map making. Lavanya came to Crux’xia searching for answers, but the monk remained silent despite the wizard’s more sincere attempts to get her to open up. Lavanya also took the mysterious blades to Bruus to investigate. He helped determine two things: that one was too damaged to use, but that the other could be attuned by Lavanya and possibly even wielded by her with enough understanding and training over the magic used to operate them.

On the third day, Lady Aehlia gathered those in the company to witness the interrogation. When asked “why?”, Crux’xia was mum at first, only hinting at Estrod’s ties to a greater threat. Though she tried her best to convince Aehlia, her words fell on deaf ears, and finally Aehlia reminded Crux’xia that she could either inquire on good faith or by divine force. Crux’xia broke down and began to reveal not only more about Estrod’s employer, but his ties to her: a being known only as The Arcanist kept Crux’xia and dozens more of other half-breed (half-elves, half-orcs, dragonborn) as test subjects for cruel, arcane experiments which Crux’xia managed to escape.

Crux’xia ended her confession by pledging her allegiance to the safety of the company. Aehlia agreed to let her go and together, the party had their first official group dinner under one roof. Over a hearty dinner prepared by Ish, Sheera and Alan discussed ways to develop a forge for the compound as Dee seemed preoccupied by her maps. Lavanya used this downtime to rely her and Crux’xia’s hellish journey through Nimón to rejoin the others. Two figures in her story - the horned scarecrow who guided them to safety and the mysterious pale rider who led an army of the weird, faceless creatures that attacked them- stirred theories about this new world in Ish, and how it might relate to the gods themselves.

Over the past three days, a slight rapping had been heard behind the cellar door, but mostly ignored as it was assumed to either be some kind of vermin. Midway through dinner though, the gentle rattle swelled to an intense banging, like fists beating against the wooden door trying to escape. Dee stayed with the rest of the group as the others went to investigate.

As the party approached the cellar door, it burst open with a powerful gust of wind; then, silence. Lavanya understood this wind to be arcane in nature, and out of curiosity, descended into the cellar first. The others followed, and inside, all seemed calm, aside from a pair of large barrels among the rest of their goods, one of which seemed to be leaking some strange pale powder. Ish successfully determined that the powder was actually finely-ground bone, and upon further investigation, noticed that the pile seemed to swirl and gather on its own on the floor, as if struggling to reach out for something. Ish asked Sheera for her waterskin; she obliged and Ish drizzled a couple drops into the pile. The powder suddenly began to teem and coalesce into a solid mass before their eyes!

Sheera and Crux’xia went back to the surface to fetch Bruus and Lady Aehlia to see if they might have answers regarding the strange barrels. They returned with Bruus and Lady Aehlia in tow and together they investigated the barrels. Though they had stamps from Artan, Aehlia plead that she had no idea how these barrels came to appear in their inventory. Bruus looked the contents over but had no real insight to their nature. Excitedly, Ish showed off just how quickly the bone dust had developed: in his hand, the once undefinable mass had now shaped itself into a femur bone that seemed to continue to develop. At Crux’xia’s urging, Bruus set fire to the contents of the mysterious barrels (much to Ish’s disappointment, but leaving Alan with iron to use in future projects!)

Before the party decided to head back up top, Alan and Lavanya continued to search the rest of the cellar and came upon a strange entrance whose threshold had carved into it some very dark warnings in dwarven runes:

WALK WITH ME IN THE REALM OF DEATH. ALL IS DECAY. ALL IS DOOM.”

They peaked through and found a long, dark corridor, the apparent end of which had standing in it a bipedal entity. In the darkness, its features were hard to determine, but the being appeared large, and horned…


Ish’s Tarot Readings
Past: Two of Wands R & Ace of Cups
Despite landing in a new land of Wonder, Trouble and Fear, our colonists have managed to scrounge together a place for themselves. A new home.

Present: The Devil and the Hanged Man
A violence has been committed, one rooted in deep emotion. Their fate would seem all but certain, but an element would turn such assumptions upside-down.

Future: Page of Wands & The Lovers R
A young man will seek a young woman, hoping to fix a failed relationship between them. Either that or he seeks her despite their failings.

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Chapter Six
Every Dream Home a Heartache

Dee rushes down to the cellar to find the others gathered in the corridor. The Wendigo roars and develops flesh. Crux approaches while Sheera reviews the dwarven runes but deduces nothing. Lavanya reasons that the beast is in pain. Alan approaches and taunts the beast and its profane presence in the hallowed dwarven halls.

The beast’s vocal chords begin to form and it begins to speak Abyssal, it’s eyes locked on a terrified Dee. Crux approaches cautiously, and it flails its greataxe at Dee in fear. Sheera approaches with a pack of rations and offers it to the beast. The beast eats, pained, and bows his head to Sheera. Sherra offers up her waterski and the beast chugs it. Lavanya tries to ask why he’s here, and the beast tells her “You must all run! The destructor, the bringer of unsolvable mazes is here. You must flee!”

“Why are you afraid of Dee?”
“She is the bringer of unsolvable mazes!”

Lavanya notices an small slit with wind coming through. Ish draws a series of shapes with chalk by the entrance. Alan, displeased with the situation, but Lavanya gives him permission to chop his head off if he attacks. Dee hesitantly begins to approach, hands up. As she approaches, he roars and raises his axe. Dee walks away as Ish comments “that was probably bad idea” as he sketches his symbols. The beast attempts to push past Crux, but she effortlessly keeps him at bay. He raises his axe and she strikes him in the leg with her staff and causes him to stumble. She karate chops him twice.

“They don’t breed good in Hell!”

Sheera moves aside and continues to investigate the scene of the corridor. She sees a depression in the wall, a small hole in the wall that resembles a keyhole. She continues to reason that the creature is simply trying to be free, though the others are less convinced. Lavanya misty steps away and fire bolts the beast in the shoulder. She notices Ish drawing on the floor and reasons that the symbols on the floor are focusing circles.

“Since when do you use magic!?”

Ish responds by drawing his shield as Alan brings up his axe. “Seems we have a conundrum: you want to leave, but I want to smash you to bits.”
“I think it’s safe to smash him to bits!” Crux cries out.
Alan swipes but misses, smashing his axe against the stone.

Dee hears the commotion and runs back into the hall, jumping over the focusing circle. Dee cries out and commands the beast to cease. It screeches as it she comes back into view and attempts to rush Dee. Alan misses but as it charges past, Crux delivers a sweeping kick causing it to stumble. The beast rushes over Ish as it charges at Dee. Crux pursues, leaping over Ish and drives her blade between it’s shoulder blade. The beast howls as Crux breaks it arm in attempting to disarm the beast.

Sheera continues to investigate the keyhole and while she doesn’t find anything to fit the hole, she sees a faint light coming through between the cracks in the wall behind her. Using her sword, she drives it in between and chips away a few stones, revealing a false wall concealing a dwarven mosaic:

“Your inheritance is the key. My father, and his father before him, held sharp dominion over these realms”. The mural shows a dwarven king with arms wrapped out and downward around a dwarven prince.

Lavanya shoots off another fire bolt which narrowly misses Crux, but burns off more of the beast’s flesh. Ish uses his viper strike (poison spray) on the beast. Alan rushes up the corridor and whiffs it again. Dee leaps up angrily and, lantern in one hand and sword in other, she jams the blade deep into its developing eye. She leaps over the back.

“You want the greataxe?” Lava asks Alan.
“Better I get something out if it.”

They find a string of beads wrapped around its neck. Crux doesn’t recognize the pieces found on the beast but suspects the necklace is has historical, almost tribal, importance. The beast lays down dead, almost fully reborn.

Sheera makes a rubbing of the mosaic as Ish and Lavanya watch. Ish asks if Alan bled, wondering if dwarven blood might be royal as well. Lavanya attempts Find Familiar but realizes she is without components. Lavanya confronts Ish about magic use, which he denies and Dee supports him. Alan spends his time reviewing the corridor.

After being confronted by Crux and the others, he goes into the keyhole as a spider, much to the party’s surprise. Inside the keyhole, Ish is hit with a blast of force out of the keyhole with a howl of wind, hitting Lavanya in the face on the way out. He waits on the tip of Lava’s nose and she lowers him to the ground. Alan cuts his hand open and drips blood on one of Lava’s arrows. She unlocks the key and the stones glow with amber light. Alan looks at the arrow and realizes he might have the wrong key, and realizes that the key might actually be something on his person: his father’s razor. He coats it in more blood and inserts it. More amber light pours into the room and the chamber begins to shape. The high pitch sound erupts into a painful shriek into silence. The room looks different, and the razor is now coated in glowing intricate geometric shapes and lines.

Crux recognizes a staleness in the air. She tastes decay in the room. Dee feels the walls again and feels not stone but bone. Lava goes back to the main cellar and finds Aelia and Bruus are gone, the party now alone. All the barrels are intact and unburned. Sheera carries off one of the barrels and begins to head topside. Crux searches the corridors and finds the mural no longer vibrant but now greyed.They follow Lava and Sheera up top and find a town square. She hears fleeting whispers in the air, followed by a soft muttering sound, the shuffling something against wood.

Alan remarks on the dark beauty of the place, loudly. Lava and Crux see a strange, circular object being dragged away to the sound of some muffled strange language. Lava suspects it to be orcish in nature. Sheera finds traces of decayed dwarven items preserved by this place. Lava tries to stealth but fails and catches Crux on her way down. Crux stays behind and watches while Lava gathers the others. Sheera finds a well filled with coagulated blood.

Lava fires off fire bolt after fire bolt in every direction. Something tugs at Alan’s mind and he catches sight of a building to the north. From what he can see, he recognizes it as a temple from the city that he grew up in, a temple devoted the dwarven god Iorvith, God of Hammer and Hearth.

Ish passes over the threshold and Lava pulls him aside as a bone spear shoots out of the chamber, zipping past and jamming into Sheera’s barrel. The barrel leaks a purple substance: the blood of grapes. In the temple, a statue of the god with a hammer in each hand across his face behind a hearth. The temple itself is desecrated, covered in bone dust. Alan approaches a brazier and tries to relight it. Lava offers to relight with prestidigitation. The hearth bursts into weird, grayish white light. Alan and Lava clean up the statue. Crux asks if the god has any enemies, to which Alan replies “I don’t know a dwarf who doesn’t have an enemy.” Alan sees bed chambers and four dwarven beds with foot lockers at each.

As Alan retrieves an amulet in the shape of a hammer hanging from a rusty chain. As he takes it, Sheera shrieks! Coming down the bridge is a small army of undead of various races. Crux tears a piece of her tunic off, wraps it around the head of her staff, and uses the flame from the brazier to light it ablaze. The vision of the shambling dead recalls to mind the nightmare Sheera had about the dead woven into the landscape of some strange dream world. Sheera rolls her broken grape barrel down the bridge and slams into them; the couple in the front take the most damage as the wood explodes against their bodies, while the ones nearest the edge tumbles off the edge of the bridge. Lava conjures a shatter spell, lifting the stones off the bridge and exploding them against the zombies in a loud echo. The sheer force of the spell cracks the bridge, shifting it. Ish asks the group if they want him to “burn or control”, to which the ground unanimously votes “burn”. Ish chucks a small moonstone orb into the air and conjure a blue moonbeam from it, striking at the zombies. Dee approaches and throws a series of ball bearings down the bridge. Alan follows suit with bearings of his own. Sheera rushes forward and ropes around the pillar, creating a trip wire. The first line of zombies falls prey to Alan and Dee’s trap and fall prone.

Lava casts shatter once again in her attempt to break the bridge and she continues to chip away at both it and the horde. Crux throws a zombie into the ball bearings and burns it with her fire staff. Ish guides his moon beam closer to the party. Dee retrieves a piece of fabric and fashions a molotov cocktail from a flask of oil, setting it on fire with Crux’s now flaming staff and chucks it into the horde. Alan uses his recently acquired axe and cleaves its limb from its body. The zombies continue forward, moving past the moonbeam and ball bearings to Alan and Crux. Just as the horde clogs the entrance over the bridge, the bridge finally gives way and falls, pulling down with it the bulk of the horde. The bridge falls out of hearing, never being heard. Lava fires a jet of acid and blasts one zombie in the face. The residual acid falls off and melts the other’s torso. Two zombies attempt to knock into Crux but they miss. Another shambles across the bridges and slams into Lava but she releases magic from her arcane ward. The zombies continue, Crux swings and hits with her flaming staff and kicks one off the bridge. Ish summons a thorn whip and yanks a zombie away from Lava. Dee throws a second flask, burning one whole and lighting two ablaze. Alan calls out to the others to retreat into the temple before cutting into a zombie. Sheera fastens the trip wire onto a javelin before retreating to attack the zombie against Ish.

Crux is surrounded and almost taken down by the zombies. Ish rushes forward with his arcane needle and thread and begins to heal her but trips and falls as he does, getting slammed by a zombie. Dee fells a nearby zombie while Alan commands Ish to roll away. Sheera attempts to grab Ish and pull him away but Ish protests. Instead, Sheera bashes the skull on another nearby zombie, clocking it in the head and knocking it from the bridge. Lava continues to rain down acid on the zombies as they continue to move.

The zombies bring Crux down and as she lay motionless, she separates into two beings. The white haired elf fells two zombies as the brunette human lay motionless. Dee attacks then flees while Alan attacks and misses. Sheera goes to support and cracks it in the head with her hammer, and kills a second. Lavanya fells the last rime-covered, limb missing zombie with a single fire bolt.

“Its not uncommon for people undergoing heavy stresses to develop multiple personalities~” Ish says this as Cruxxia leaves and sort of trails off as she leaves.

Ish confronts Crux about her dual self while the others head west. Alan feels an eerie familiarity with this place, as if he grew up there.

They come upon a room and they enter Alan’s childhood home and inside he sees piles of bones from various beings, with a single path cleared. Alan is confronted by a black being, its face white as bones carrying a bone sword and a brown sack of something. The being brings his blade across Alan, and he feels a poison seep in. Dee stabs at the being and strikes but the physical wound heals as she draws the blade back. Lava fires off a single, pathetic fire bolt. Sheera attempts to javelin it but it misses. In response, the creature empties the sack and out comes a naked, bloodied half orc. He attempts to take Alan into the sack, but Alan shrugs it off. Ish rushes in and casts frostbite on the creature. Crux runs up and strikes the creature with her flaming staff, which chars it flesh from tar black to stone grey. Alan cuts into the creature with his ruby battle axe. It tears off chunks of his torso flesh. As Dee hacks at the beast, she recognizes the half-orc man clinging to life. It’s her friend from the ship, and she shouts his name in shock! Lava attempts to fire bolt again but misses. Sheera tears the brown sack out of its hand with her grappling hook.

The being reaches out trying to reach out and grab Alan but overreaches. Ish heals the half-orc with his cure wounds suture kit spell. Crux continues to smash it with her flaming staff as Alan continues to chip away at the beast with his ruby axe. As the creature turns from Crux, Alan greets him with an axe to the face. His body falls and Lava lights the body ablaze. Ish tends Benny with his healing skills.

Alan sees a hunched figure in the shadows as others investigate the house.
“Another one of you? See what I did to your friend!”
“Alan, is it you?”
“Dad?”
“No, it’s me, Alan. Don’t you remember me?”
“Come out into the light!’
The creature comes into the light. It is his fiancee, carrying a bundle. But, her body is corrupted, as if a walking corpse. In her arms, the bundle reaches up with small dwarven hands. Alan drops his arms. Lavanya realizes the small bed she was looking at was a crib, she turns to see Alan approaching the mother and child.

“Get away from it! It’s not what you think!”
“Everything else here is real enough.”
“No,

Lava tries to convince Alan to leave, who seems to have given up sanity. He threatens that if start to stop him, he will force his way through. The baby begins to shriek as the fiancee pleads with Alan to not leave her. Finally, he stutters a bit and looks his betrothed up and down. He slowly steps away, entertaining the possibility that Lava may be right. The beings reach out and cry. They leave the pair, screaming and pleading. Sheera hears a small giggle at the edge of her torchlight. In the dark, she sees a small figure do a jig before falling out of range.

Alan is cupping his ears and Lava escorts him away. Ish examines Benny at Crux’s behest. Together, they follow Lava, while Alan is still hysterical. Lava hears the same giggles pulling in and out of range. They make it back to the summit. Ish and Crux carry Benny out while the others gather supplies to carry out, with Lava using Floating Discs. Lava asks Alan for more of his blood on the razor, handed over with shaky ends.

They return topside and in what seemed like a few hours was actually only minutes for Aehlia and Bruus. Alan strides past everyone and goes back into the house. Lava fills Aehlia in Aehlia fears that the Arcanist may have access to these dark tunnels. Lava beseeches to go back down to retrieve supplies, but the other vehemently oppose. Benny comes to and mutters about the twisted things below. Dee calms him and together with Ish and Crux, take him back to his quarters to rest.

Lavanya and Aehlia discuss the strange phenomenon. Aehlia urges to collapse the cavern, but Lava convinces her to not, instead using it as a potential extra shelter. Dee and Crux’xia spend their time bedside with Benny while Lava spends her night researching the strange book she retrieved. She hears another giggle. Aehlia hears the giggles turn to playful banter. Aehlia threatens to kill them but the voices scoff it off. She hears them in the parlor in the rafters. The voices fade and in their place is a parcel, wrapped in parchment and tied with black flesh. She opens the package with mage hand and inside she finds the matching locket of her beloved niece. When asked where she can find them, they utter: “In the mountain.”

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PAST: Ace of Wands & The Hanged Man®
A civilization is made and those in it begin to settle into the trappings therein, each attempting to make that which they they were designed for.
The efforts at this point are selfish, hoping only to survive the night.

PRESENT: King of Swords & Ace of Cups®
Judgement was held, its results entirely unexpected.
Those that are in fault contains a false heart, a creature of mutation and revolution.

Future: The Devil & Seven of Pentacles
Business with a creature of vulgar emotions will be conducted.
Predestination will be a topic of conversation, and fate will be woven.

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