We open with Pietr, an up and coming young priest of Erathis on the world of Oerth. He is summoned to Prelate August Mirovar who tells him of a vision he was granted by Erathis. Pietr is taken to meet Estevan, a trader and traveller, who offers him a place out in planes helping link cities together with trade and founding colonies. Estevan also promises to use his influence to get Pietr to the city of Hestavar, where Erathis resides, at some point in the future so he can find out more of what his goddess wants of him. As is typical with Estevan, he fails to offer details of when or how, but Pietr still has his fingers after shaking Estevan’s hand so it all seems okay.
Greth is the first to awake. He finds himself weakened and dazed by disease, he’s still exhausted and feverish. He manages to wake Sioned and Rook, but Sim can’t be woken from his fever, and a young woman who was in bed w. Sioned can’t be woken either. They look around a bit, and after looking out the window discover they’re in the upper floor of a building in a small village.
Pietr asks Prelate Mirovar’s permission to follow Estevan, and after being granted the Prelate’s blessing he gathers his goods and follows Estevan through the Wardrobe Gate. On seeing Sigil, he has a moment of panic, but manages to hold himself together. Together they go quickly through the Lady’s Ward and the crowds of the Market Ward to the Tradegate. Passing through Estevan leads Pietr through the burg of Tradegate, which is still burning quarantined buildings but still has some trade, to the House of Rhea. He passes it and enters a small alleyway that has an iron door set into the stone of a building’s wall at the end of it. After some effort picking it’s lock and cracking the warding spells Estevan manages to open the gate and leads Pietr through it to the village where he says his agent is recovering. He warns Pietr that once he enters this gate there’s no going back through it again and that if he comes he’ll have to find his way out with Sioned for Estevan will be leaving them for a bit. Pietr agrees.
Back in the room Sioned discovers a letter from Estevan for her. It describes how she and her men have been stricken by a disease that has ravaged Tradegate. He says he bought cures for the four of them and Di’Ahna, the daughter of Melina. (Sioned recognizes the name, Melina is the head of the House of Rhea, a powerful PTC trading house in Tradegate. She’s very much a peer of Duncam’s.) He further says that they were all forced to flee down a one-way gate before a mob. He is off to find his way out. He leaves Sioned with instructions, find your way out, return to Tradegate with a caravan of goods for sale, and if possible also return with a permanent trade-route. He expects to see you in a month in Tradegate. He also leaves Sioned a small velvet purse with 14 platinum pieces in it inside her pack. He mentions he’s hired a healer and minder for Sioned.
A day has passed for Pietr when he returns to the upstairs room in the inn at Kurdu. He’s been off collecting leeches for his patients. He sits down briefly for a rest and some prayers to his Lady Erathis. Then the door opens and a badly diseased, but barely conscious, Greth is standing in the doorway. Behind him are Sioned and Rook, as ready for anything as they can be. After brief introductions they collapse into chairs to talk.
They learn a bit about the village of Kurdu, and it’s terrible mistress the cannibalistic Lady Y’larra. (if a non-human monster who eats humans can be called a cannibal that is)
The next day everyone is still feeling like hell, but not suffering from dazed or weakened any more. So they begin to investigate the village for a way out. They find few palatable possibilities, it’s said the Lady Y’larra has a portal in her castle. Pietr speaks with Merek, an elderly priest in the village who warns him away from the Lady, and begs his aid in destroying some undead that have recently risen in the local graveyard. He offers to help, and no one disagrees, so the party takes a break from their investigations and heads to the cemetary.
In a crypt they fight off a swarm of zombies, a wraith, and a corruption corpse. Though the fight takes a bit it’s never really in question. Much harder are the trio of ghouls that sneak up on them as they take a short rest, they drop both Greth and Sioned, repeatedly, before finally falling to the radiant power of Erathis. (aided handily by the rest of you as well, of course) In thanks for their help Merek gives them an ancient magic item, a pair of Iron Armbands of Power, which Greth takes. He also tells them that perhaps they should go speak to the wizard Akalabeth, who dwells a day’s travel to the northwest in a great Black Tower.
Sioned begins the day’s travel with a ritual to help them along. Combined with some good rolling on the party Endurance checks and a spectacular Nature check from Pietr the group travels the day and comes out into a forest clearing near sunset. Before them is a huge, like 20-30 stories tall, black tower. The door is warded with vicious and powerful magics. The party’s knocking is answered by a kobold who says he’ll let them in and will inform the “Lord” Akalabeth of their presence. Some minutes later Akalabeth, a gray-haired human woman comes down the stairs.
Akalabeth says she’s sorry but she doesn’t know of any portals out of here, but she will allow them to use her library to do some more research into the subject since Sioned was so charming. (a really exceptional diplomacy roll) The party begins searching and after some time find religious references indicating that the nearby city of Aglubiet has a temple to their god that contains a portal leading to Acheron where he dwells. Akalabeth offers to feed them and let them rest for the night in the Black Tower before returning to Kurdu to check on Sim and Di’Ahna, her fare is excellent and the conversation stimulating and provocative. Akalabeth has some interesting moral views, views a lot of people would regard as EVIL with all caps, tempered slightly by the fact that she is a highly refined and civilized character. She also agrees to help Greth by enchanting his Ki Focus to a +1, at the cost of the reagents, since she rarely gets visitors and relishes the chance to show off her arts to fellow practitioners. Her arcana check, from “take a 10”, is stellar, she is clearly an Epic tier character.
Returning to Kurdu the trip is even easier. And we will leave our heroes there, as they walk into the village of Kurdu late one day, just an hour before sunset…...