Spring 13, 500 A.O.V.
The last week was a stressful time to be a government employee in Risur.
Since the attempt on King Aodhan’s life, word of Duchess Ethelyn’s treachery spread throughout all of Flint. The RHC did its best to keep a lid on the whole ordeal, if only to prevent wild rumors from cropping up and misleading their attempts at investigating what really happened that night.
For the most part, our heroes (known around the RHC office as Team 2) were kept out of the larger investigation, their hours filled up with paperwork and low-level interviews. But even without clearance to see the latest information, there was a palpable tension in the office all week. The appearance of fire sprites on the Coaltongue suggested fey involvement, and the Unseen Court proved unreachable for comment on whether they supported or condemned the actions of the king’s sister. Of course, it didn’t help that she was the official liason between Risur and the Court…
Finally, Stover Delft called the constables into his office, introducing them to Lya Jierre, Danor’s Minister of Outsiders and niece of the soveriegn. Without so much as a formal greeting, she laid out a puzzle of magnets and rooks on the table for the party to solve. They managed a creative solution which seemed to impress her, given that there was no two-dimensional solution in the first place.
After the puzzle, Lya and Delft explained the state of affairs: rather than taking her forces onto Risuri soil and starting a civil war, the Duchess led whatever primalist military forces that would follow her to Axis Island, where she apparently caught the Danoran defenders by surprise. With the island swiftly and brutally brought under her control, Danor’s congress began pushing for an armed response, one which could very well bring about a Fifth Yerasol War even if a Risuri civil war could still be prevented.
Han Jierre had no wish for another conflict, and so sent Lya to bend the rules a bit and defuse the situation before things escalated out of control. Her plan: to use Risur’s own forces to remove the Duchess from the island, and to have the RHC officially return control to Danor within three days. The duchess would of course have to be taken alive to prevent her from becoming a martyr to sympathetic Primalists across the nation.
To make this happen with as little bloodshed as possible, a small team would need to sneak onto the island and open the sea gate that protects the harbor at Axis Fortress, allowing the King’s fleet to sail in and rain down cannonfire on the outmatched rebels. For this, Delft recalled the decorated members of Team 1 from their new positions in Shale, but he asked Team 2 to accompany them since they had the most experience with the Duchess’ operatives, thanks to the Coaltongue incident.
The party agreed to the mission (though Nathan Jierre, if they could. Despite Lya’s iciness toward and Qiyet, Nathan was seen as an innocent in all of this, so the constables agreed to find and protect him if at all possible.had reservations – he’d been on the island before during the fourth war, and seen one too many strange things happen there), and left to outfit themselves for the journey, but not before Lya asked them one favor: to look out for her cousin,
Captain Rutger Smith met them at sundown that night; he and the crew of the R.N.S. Impossible had been charged with taking them to Axis Island ahead of the rest of the fleet so they could begin their mission. Along the way, they rendezvoused with another ship and brought Team 1 on board: a four-member squad led by a half-elf shaman named Tanya.
Tanya outlined a basic plan – to go in through an underwater cave at the northwest end of the island, using a water breathing ritual to swim through into the mine beyond, trailing a length of rope. Once through, they’d give the all-clear to Team 2, and both teams would make for the fortress, where they’d storm the lighthouse by force and then defend it while the fleet sailed through the opened sea gate.
The plan went almost instantly awry when a freak cave-in caused by some kind of wild magic surge crushed Team 1 under a few tons of stone. Only Burton, a goblin rogue, survived, and Drew was forced to hastily amputate his pinned leg to free him while he screamed about purple skies and yellow frogs. Qiyet returned Burton to the Impossible, offering a simple “Sorry” to Captain Smith before returning to her comrades.
Now going solo, Team 2 decided to forge ahead on their own. They surfaced in a large underground chamber lined with wooden platforms, and were instantly set upon by an irate Danoran miner wielding strange magic, and aided by two elementals. Defeating him was problematic, since the old man was leisurely firing upon them with a pistol, well out of range of most of the party’s attacks. Eventually he was defeated, thanks largely to the athleticism of the more melee-capable members.
The miner, Nicolas Dupiers, confessed that he was no arcanist – the source of his powers were a pair of golden icons, keyed to the heavenly bodies of Nem and Urim, bestowing strange power over shadows and earth. The party confiscated them both, along with his pistol, and found a third icon keyed to Avilona embedded into a broken pillar in the center of the room.
Upon leaving the mine, the constables were confronted with one strange and unsettling scene after another. Grisly battlefields where riflemen fought against trees, strange voices that only Darsys could hear, heavy footsteps, and even a gut-wrenching moment where the entire party found themselves standing in a swamp with yellow frogs under a blue sun… for all of three seconds before warping back with their shoes still wet.
Dodging a patrol, the party used a scroll of passwall to enter the fortress, where they proved themselves to be the least stealthy individuals on the entirety of the RHC’s payroll. Somehow, they still managed to get to the lighthouse before being confronted by the rebel forces, but they were in rare form as they dispatched the collection of soldiers and casters defending it. Firing off a flare using pyrotechnics, the sea gate was opened and four separate waves of enemies were repelled before the fleet finally arrived.
Captain Smith started handing out cigars, but warned that the mission was not yet over – not until the Duchess was found and arrested. The moment he finished speaking, one of the King’s ships erupted in a horrific fireball out in the harbor. In the towering flames, one figure could be seen striding across the burning deck, waving a firey sword. Smoke seemed to coil about him as he lept to the sea wall and vanished into the night…