CONCORDANT MIRROR

S1E14: A second downpour

Where the league gets some exercise on the train, accepts new member, makes a decision and starts a midnight ride.

Convalescing from their wounds and losses, the party has a chance to examine the dispatches captured from the Sisterhood (see appendix II) learning many things. Edmond is returned to the party, escorted by a Fire Giant guard.

They board the train for the Faerie Market and the Eldarin outpost. Along the way they fend off an assassination attempt by a band of Prussian spies with the help of a mysterious elf who goes by the name of Ylmaterä. 

Exiting the train, Malagar sells one of the assassins to a merchant.

Arriving at the outpost, the adventurers inform Fingolin that Baba Yaga has ceased her assault on the Shifting Zones and tell him the reason why – thus fulfilling their part of the bargain.

Fingolan leads them to a set of stairs which spirals deep into the shifting zones. The stair leads to s single room with two doors — The WHERE door, which will send them anywhere they want to go and the WHEN door which will send them anywhere along their shared timeline.

The party is left to choose.

After some debate it is decided to go back to before the sacking of Prague, try to thwart the assassination of the Archduke and forestall the start of the war. The party walks through the door.

The rain pours down on their heads, they stand amidst the Brevard Militia, haggard, worn but with their memories, equipment and newfound abilities in tact from their adventure on the other side of the mirror. They stand in the exact same places they stood mere (days?) before, outside the Old New Synagog, in a standoff with the community that has come to defend it. Looking to his side Edmond sees Kerstas, the back of her head a cavernous hole. She puts her finger to her lips and disappears into black mist.

The pounding on the door of the synagogue ceases abruptly as the Golem within reverts to simple clay – the slip of parchment with the name that gives it power now in the party’s possession.

As he did once before Edmond charms his uncle, who leaves. He then disperses the militia — sending them away with Holg and Bolg, the half-orc brothers, now alive again.

Back at the inn, Madam Gerber has Alphonse’s belongings packed and gives him exact directions to catch up with the party. Ylmaterä, who was also curiously in Prague at the time, meets them as well.

The party uses a mixture of coin and Braddock/Brevard influence to wake a stable master, procure horses and, in the middle of the night, they speeds toward where the Archduke, Baron Jaeger and the Vampiress Mina Jaeger await.

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S1E13: Storm of loss

Where the party confronts the sisterhood and says goodbye to a friend.

A storm forms over all of Diaspora an angry living thing that lets the party know they have little time. The party tracks the sisterhood to The Diaspora Grand hotel where they are awaiting their train.

The hotel itself reveals Lord Nylund’s (Centuries long?) fetishizing of the human world. It’s style is pure European opulence designed to impress Giantkind and intimidate “human” sized visitors. As such it is built on a precipice — jutting out from a sheer drop not he mountain city’s edge.

As Diaspora is a major trade city it is set up to accommodate all sizes and tastes and is located directly across from the North end train station. It’s lobby and halls are opulent and the former is well serviced with Hill Giant lobby boys and bell hops Stone Giant receptionists and a Cloud Giant Concierge.

Using Alphonse’s glamor ability the party alternately walks through the front door and sneaks around the side all the side with Quincy acting as both sniper and look out.

Confronting what they later learned was the last remnants of a once larger delegation, the party defeats the sisterhoods minions including a Drow warrior and an Illithid. The party had prevailed but at a terrible price. As Kerstas falls Ollie discovers a room where two once-human clockwork automatons are somehow transmitting and deciphering messages from the sisterhood. After exacting his revenge on the remaining Drow Warrior Malagar recovers lady Asstrid’s contract and a second small chest, identical to the one they had just won from Lord Nylund.

Pursued by the cloud Giant concierge and his staff the party flees into the presence of the Lord of Storms, a massive Storm Giant monarch with Lady Astrid and a penitent Lord Nylund by his side.

He examines the contract, destroys it and deems that the party has done his kin a service, a service he repays by allowing the party to leave Diaspora unharmed on the next train.

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S1E12: Vitreous Humor

Where the party gains an ally defeats a misshapen fool, and tracks down a band of insurrectionists.

“Why is a candle maker likely to come to a bad end? Because all his works are wicked and sure to come to light”

The contest begins with … a joke. It seems Chambord is more than a misshapen giant, the stare from his bulging eye is deadly and his fool’s staff had magical abilities of its own. He presses his advantage in both size and performance keeping the team off guard and even trapping Edmund into an irresistible dance before he can cast a spell. The sudden appearance of the pugilist Ollie Harris aids the party and slowly the tide turns.

Attacks from every direction divided Chambord’s attention keeping him from leveling his full magical and physical might on any one party member. Soon the outcome of the battle was no longer in dispute, no longer a matter of sport.

Chambord pleads with his master to intercede. Lord Nylund, once jovial, now, his pride wounded, turns from his faithful servant in disgust. Wounded, beaten and on fire, Chambord finally falls when Malagar cuts his ankle and Ollie delivers the coup de gras with a blow to the head.

“Why is a dog like a tree? Because they both lose their bark once they are dead.”

The contest over, Lord Nylund hands over the locket around his neck and prepares to destroy he party himself but Lady Astrid, perhaps spurred to action by the Giant floating castle that has just made landfall with Diaspora assumed her full height and power and stops him.

She makes a bargain with the party – she will see them safely from the castle if they retrieve the contract that binds her, a contract she was coerced into signing by the sisterhood.

The party exits the castle, quickly.

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S1E11: Fountain of fools

Where the party heals, rests, receives payment for their heroism and a enters into a risky wager with a giant lord.

Carrying the catatonic body of Kerstas into the town of Diaspora, the party seeks a moments rest at the The Altoclef, a hotel run by high elf in the human-sized section of town. There Kerstas is violently healed by a Drow healer.

The hotel is, itself, downstream from “The Fountain” a once semi-clean water well now used as a privy dumping station by hill giant servants of visiting giant dignitaries.

It is here that the party reconnects with Quincey Morris and the Brownies who have been spending their time scouting the area which includes a gigantic modron arch. A mirror to one being constructed in Berlin. 

The party gathers with their lost comrades and gains entrance to Diaspra Manor, residence of the 7th Earl of Diaspora, Lord Nylund a vassal of an unnamed Giant King who’s castle is drifting closer to the manor, presumably to attend the wedding.

The party is lead to the chambers of Melania where they are ask five questions. Among other things they learn that A delegation ( they sisterhood agents they have been following) have already arrived and met with Lady Astrid, known to be the true power behind Diaspora and the house of Nylund. Indeed when they meet later Lady Astrid has a voluminous white silk scarf around her neck.

They also learn that the delegation traded what is presumably the heart of Baba Yaga (or at least one of the Baba Yagas) to Lord Nylund in exchange for a military alliance.

Though the nature of the venture is unknown it appears certain that the Prussians, or factions within it, working with the sisterhood is preparing to capitalize on the chaos resulting from the recent fall of Prague.

Lastly the party learns that Lord Nylund is a arrogant and vain with a weakness for gambling. Gaining an audience to his private drawing room, they decide to risk all on a wager with the party setting the terms and the cloud giant setting the contest.

Lord Nylund chose as the mechanism a contest of arms. The party must defeat his fool — a thirty foot tall Famorian named Chambord. The contest is to the death.

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S1E10: Green, white and brass

Where the party takes refuge in a small missionary town, escapes a bird of prey and delivers on their part of a bargain with a Giantess.

Critically wounded in the battle of the cornfield, Raven is given over to the doctors of New Tampere forcing the rest of the party to take a rest. During the following three days they learn that the town of New Tampere contains a stable mirror portal, little more than a small garden gate that `opens once a year to a crossroads in the woods just outside Tempere, a city in Finland. The gate is a lifeline, allowing trade in goods, news and people with the material world for a fortnight.

The town itself is suspended on vines and branches of what the townsfolk call The Great Hedge, an overgrown piece of flora that is part of system of delineating borders in the Giant Kingdoms. Suspended above the town is a beehive of at least the same size. Indeed, Tamperian Honey, a delicacy across Europe, is the town's chief export. It is unclear if the Humans of New Tampere have domesticated the Fey hive or of there is some quid-pro-quo in exchange for the honey that is harvested. When pressed on the subject, the citizens are stubbornly elusive. 

They also learn that while the town has always suffered from sporadic Goblin attacks that, in the past three days goblin shore parties (from their flying skiffs) have increased dramatically. It is clear they are searching for something.

While investigating the local shops for supplies, Malagar reluctantly follows a girl who shows him, through a tiny pair of glasses that see through Faerie Glamour, that the doctor treating Raven has been replaced by a Hobgoblin who has hooked Raven to a steam powered apparatus connecting Raven's brain to that of a lobotomized Grell.

In the ensuing fight with the Hobgoblin and his Goblin allies, it seems that the while the Goblins regularly employ a number of creatures (Grells, Manticores) they have a particular penchant for creatures that turn their enemies to stone including the petrifying touch of the Cockatrice and the gaze of the Basilisk. Somehow the goblins appear to be immune to such effects.

During the fight a Pixie is slain and the players learn a secret of the Fey.

Knowing that the Goblins were closing in the players decide they can delay no longer. They place Raven inside their portable hole and climb upwards to where an overgrown hedge overlaps the Modron tracks high above. They are warned to beware of the owl – the scourge of Human and Hare alike who nests somewhere above.

They look around for Angus, Eric, Dougal, Ewan, and Malcom. They are no where to be found and neither is Quincey Morris who, days ago, went to scout ahead and never returned.

The climb is taxing and, though they sleep in shifts none get any significant rest for three days time. While on watch they hear Goblin parties searching for them. On the third day they approach the top and begin to come across the remains of the owl’s victims —  hundreds of Humans, Goblins, Modrons, Elves and others.

Malagar uses a gift from that he believed to be from his god to speak to a skull, asking it of the owls habits. It is at this point that the entire party realizes that they share this ability to speak to the dead and it comes, not from their individual sources of power, but from the artifact they cary.

The partly climbs higher and emerges into a huge opening. Before them is the Owl itself — titanic, terrible and thankfully sleeping.

The players decide to use the Pixie Dust to fly past the sleeping owl. The only problem is there are three of them plus Malania and only three pinches of dust. Kerstas decides she can ride out the flight inside the portable hole. In lowering herself in however she realizes that the space is truly extra dimensional. There is no light, no sound, no sense of time or even touch. Once closed in she will be cut of from everything from every senseEven knowing the danger she confidently lowers herself into the aperture, confident her strength of will will see her through. She was wrong.

Unaware of her distress, the remaining players continue on — managing to avoid conflict with the owl save for Edward who summons the artifact to his hand and uses I to animate nearly all of the remains below, bending them to his will and setting them to attack the owl — all powers the party was unaware he possessed.

The owl takes off from it’s nest and pursues the fleeing party. At one point Malagar manages to drive it off by donning a Hobgoblin fear mask he recovered from the battle In New Tampere.

The entire party eventually makes it through the Modron portal where on the other side they see a mountain stronghold adorned with multiple representations of the crest of the ruling Cloud Giant family — The House of Nylund (see HouseofNylundv3.png – attached). Attached to the walls of the stronghold and surrounding town is another city – though more numerous in structures it is human sized and even at first glance it clearly lacks the wealth and sophistication of the Giant town.

Descending from the sky a Cloud Giant guard kneels and welcomes Malania and removes the spell on her – revealing her to be a Cloud Giantess herself, though still of young age. The guard informs her that her guests have already arrived including a delegation from the Sisterhood who wish to speak with her before the ceremony tomorrow. She leaves with the guard to prepare for her wedding – an  arranged marriage to Lord Nylund’s nephew. Before departing she reminds the players that they have 5 questions they may ask. 

The players are left to enter the town on foot.

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S1E9: Pearls of terror

Where the party traverses a swamp, a forest and a hedge.

Extricating themselves from the ruined Goblin skiff, the party scavenges what they can, eventually forming a small, makeshift raft. Quincey Morris climbs high in the spiked and gnarled vines to gain a better vantage point, especially as it relates to the seemingly irritable Ettiness and her children.

Having lost the pathway the players take to the south to search for it using the sparse islands to block themselves from the sight of the Ettins. Their paddling, especially from the smaller boat made by the Brownies  attracts the attentions of the giant frogs as well as Fredrik & Lars and ultimately Reeta & Katjåa. 

The party rallies to the defense against the frogs and Edward uses a fog spell to allow them to escape the Ettins and make I to the southern shore where they spot a rough cobblestone path. It is at this point that Quincey reappears and lets the party know that Hannah & Ilkåa have not only broken their “doll” but have other toys (human children) in her basket.

The party rescues the children by distracting Hannah & Ilkåa with some clever spell work by Raven. While the players complete the harrowing rescue Angus McDonnel & his troop help themselves to a king’s ransom in pearls. The party eventually escapes and follows the path. Along the way, a small hut appears and soon is surrounded by a fence topped with human skulls, lit like lanters and a adjacent path is seen to be “growing” into focus, reaching out to the path the party is on. 

The party decides to move on.

Emerging from the forest the into a cornfield filled with Hill Giant farmers of a titanic size who, thankfully, failed to notice the adventurers. The same could not be said of their farm dogs, in reality Dire Wolves.  The party avoided the dangers as long as they could but with the hounds closing in and alerting their masters it looked as if all was lost until they were saved by riders who had seen the commotion and come to rescue, taking the party to New Tampere. A small Finish Christian missionary village in the heart of a great hedge marking the border of the farmland.

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S1E8: A journey derailed.

Where the party is delayed on their quest by a hoard of Goblin Pirates and crash lands in territory controlled by the giant kings.

Giant harpoons plunge into the sides of the Modron train and bring it to a abrupt halt 100s of feet above Shadowfel. The party rallies itself to action as do the Prussian soldiers in the next car. Thought they are initially disorganized, and scared a single spheroid Modron enters the cabin and violently removes the head of the Prussian leader, implanting himself in it’s place. Though horrible, this does not seem to be an unfamiliar occurrence to the soldiers. The leader, now in direct and instantaneous telepathic contact with the other Modrons, organizes the defense. The soldiers fall in line and prepare to repel borders. Surely goblin losses will be extreme.

The first wave of Pirate attacks proves not to be goblins at all but a swarm of cockatrices, who board through giant brass coring tubes the Goblins use as gangplanks. Though the Prusssian guns rang loud they soon fell to stoney silence

Outside the windows of the party’s train car the pirate captain and his crew prepare to board. A series of desperate battles ensue with Raven and Kerstas fighting off the advancing cockatrices while saving a young elvish girl (though not her mother) while Edward and Malagar board the goblin train itself. At one point Edward holds the Goblins at bay by levitating the trains coal supply and sending it at the hoard in the next car manipulating the floating mass to look like a dragon.

The party is assisted by the sudden appearance of tall, stern faced fighting man with an unknown accent and strange weapons including what appear to be a pair of repeating pistols a rifle and a cruel knife.

The captain himself flees at the sight of Malagar boarding his flying skiff as the Gobiln train, still attached to the Modron train begins to fall.

After a series of harrowing maneuvers including Edward hanging from a line below the ship, all board the skiff and defeat the Goblins there. All save Raven who is trapped aboard the speeding engine, having successfully separated it from the rest of the train.

Unfortunately Kerstas, who had ironically saved the train itself only seconds before, and the others could only watch in horror as the train engine crashed into a closed Modron portal some miles away. The party arrives in the skiff to find the portal damaged but open and Raven dangling from the end of a rope having saved his own life by leaping from the train while throwing a grapple.

Edmond maneuvers the ship through the portal but not without injury to the hull and sails fatally damaging it’s ability to stay aloft. Just before crashing in a dismal swamp the party sees a titanic hedge in the distance with some overgrown branches actually reaching the tracks high above. The tracks lead to another portal a short distance away. Through the portal could be briefly seen a large town on a mountainside — the intended original destination of the train.

The swamp is inhabited by giant frogs who’s backs seem to secrete perfect black and white pearls — a king’s ransom if the quality matches the size. Against a tree sleeps one head of an Ettiness. Her two children seem to be harvesting the pearls while she rests, gathering them in a colossal picnic basket by their mother. The children are bickering loudly and one is complaining her doll is broken.

It is at this moment that Angus McDonnel and his brownies reveal themselves, look around and reminisce about the battle all too loudly.

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S1E7: A shift in time.

Where the party gains a breather, does a bit of shopping and boards a train.

Initially the party struggles with Edward who is reluctant to put the Rod away but eventually it is sealed inside the casket once more.

Stopping outside the Faerie Market, the team takes a rest and waits for the Eldarin tower to open. Before it does the group is surrounded by Eldarin soldiers who question them and finally allow them into the tower where they are allowed to eat and rest for an uncertain number of days. During that time they see a train made of copper, brass and iron arrive and depart from unknown locations. The train itself is manned and maintained by various types of geometrical creatures with clockwork exoskeletons (i.e. Modrons). 

Upon gaining an audience with Fingolan the party is informed that he can, indeed, help them on their way. In fact he lets them know that the Shifting Lands are in the care of his people and, for those who know, the path between them can be continuous and unbroken. He offers the players a bargain: investigate the cause of Baba Yaga’s recent destructive actions and stop her from systematically destroying the pockets of Shifting Lands she has been visiting and he will open the towers pathways, sending the party where and when they need to go.

It is clear that Baba Yaga has been convinced or influenced by the Sisterhood and, indeed, a small delegation of them (Three of the Sisterhood (a drow and two other races hidden by veils) plus four attendants) has been seen in the market.

The party agrees to these terms and is well supplied by the Eldarin and given free passage through the market. Just prior to leaving leaving the party sees themselves entering the tower. Once in the market they are offered many strange and unusual things in exchange for … esoteric forms of payment. Primarily the party makes no deals with the exception of Raven who purchases seven shots of gunpowder from a goblin merchant selling blunderbusses for a single moment of inspiration.

Once close to the train it has become apparent that it has, in the recent past, sustained serious damage. The train itself is populated by all manner of strange races and even some humans, the most notable wearing Prussian military uniforms

Boarding the train, the party settles in to their comfortable private cabin and the train stands, on the same legs that the Modrons do and walks through a great brass and iron archway (a dimensional gateway) where it retracts it’s legs and runs on rails suspended 100s of feet in the air.

The train has left the small island of fey and is now entered Shadowfell itself. Outside the window they can see they are approaching the same area the city of Prague exists on the other side of the mirror. As the party looks down they see tens of thousands of souls approaching the city, waiting for the slaughter, looking for hosts. The area on which the city stands is itself covered in a vast dome of the same opaque white marble that stands in stark contrast to the pervasive darkness of the realm of shadow. It is the same white marble that the room concealing the artifact and the weightless cube in Valagar’s pocket is made of.

No sooner is there train past Prague than a Manticore flies past their train. On it’s back is a howdah with four goblins trailing two streams of vermillion ribbon. As the creature passes the ribbons go taut forming red rails upon which speeds a sinister train filled with goblin pirates that is gaining on the party.

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S1E6: Dawn of twilight

Where the party frees their horses, Phillipe makes an unexpected appearance and they cross into the mirror.

Phillipe, now a vampire, catches up to the party and holding his undead nature at bay through sheer faith imparts the following facts. Baron Jaeger is, himself a thrall in the service of his wife the Baroness Jaeger, formerly Mina Harker a full vampire and a member of the Sisterhood of Illimitable Filament. 

It is she who is orchestrating the assassination attempt though certainly she is in league with other governments or factions of thereof. Philipe tells the party that her power has grown recently (perhaps due to the awakened artifact) and she has decided to remove subtlety from her plot and summon all the city’s dead to raze Prague and everyone in it to the ground (including, of course, the archduke). When she plans to do this is unknown but the process would certainly be deep ritual magic and the party may have set her back somewhat by dispatching three of her chief minions.

Philippe holds himself in check long enough for the party to dispatch him whereon he is consigned to Hell. Edmond recovers several of his effects and the party flees into the woodland path where riders have proceeded them to the nearest communities. Now wanted with prices on their heads, the party defends itself against a misguided attempt by some local merchants to collect the reward and again flees west through the night eventually taking refuge in a wooded glenn by a pond and a small alter down the hill from the ruins of a once-great tower.

As dawn rises the half light in the glenn takes on a strange quality, almost as if it is not dawn but twilight. As the light develops the party hears sounds above them and begins to notice, webs hanging like silk from the branches, an assemblage of faeries hiding amidst the trees, a small hut in the far edge of the glenn, something moving in the water and a green glow from the alter.

As the hut’s door opens and an old woman’s silhouette could be seen. At this moment the glenn is filled with the smell of fresh baked cakes as the trees come alive with ettercaps. The half-spider creatures gather fey into their webs and move to block the party’s retreat.

While the party defended themselves, Edmond discovered the Key to Perdition in his hand and was afforded great powers including the ability to summon and control the powerful Green Knights that were at rest beneath the altar. The knights attack with unstoppable ferocity and, once Edmond is safe, bow and reinter themselves.

The party reached safety at the glenn’s edge, saving five brownies in the bargain. The brownies, a troop lead by Angus McDonnell (certainly not his “true" name) figures that the party numbering four an his troop numbering five he owes the adventurers “four n' a quart’r fav'rs”.

Now free of the glenn, the party confirms they have crossed into the mirror where the sky is now twilight, and the tower, no longer ruined, is tall and garrisoned with an peoples of an unknown livery. The road that led the party to the glenn is now a footpath that splits, heading east (back toward Prague) south toward the tower and continues west into an open faerie market. From the far side of the glenn a chicken legged hut stands and paces off through the woods. 

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S1E5: Under the water, over the bridge

Where the party decides flee Prague to keep the object from converging interests.

The episode began the day after the Bravóst fire. The party, being well known and having fled the scene the night before was tracked down to their inn where the Prague city guard descended upon them. Edward, calling upon an old sailers trick summoned a fog bank to hide his compatriots and all took to the bottom of the Prague river, breathing by means of another spell from Edmond. The party traversed the bottom for some hours until reaching the university bridge which was actually a dense mini community made from ramshackle buildings added to it by the locals, all open space dominated by a thriving market.

The sodden party did their best to disguise their water logged appearance and, posing as toy merchants, made their way across the bridge, narrowly avoiding the city guard who, by now, had their descriptions.

Upon exiting the city they passed through a military graveyard where they noticed names matching Ulrich’s conspirator list. Clearly Baron Jaeger “the wolf”, who Kerstas knew to be a vampire, planned on raising the dead to aid his plot.

In the town beyond the wall, the party purchased a three horses and a cart and additional supplies and started off west when they were attacked by three female vampire thralls wearing Austrian uniforms (House of Jaeger) but carrying Prussian made pistols and ammunition. The Party narrowly defeated the vampires at the cost of one of the horses.

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