Dramatis Personæ

Brother Mendel (Herodian)
Dane Sardock (Winston)
Gabriel Auditore (Rigil Kent)
Gestlin the Unpredictable (CommJunkee)
Magnifico the Clown (Feste)
Merasiël Alethmist (Melissa)
Rainald North-Hammer (Gigermann)

Of Gems and Stones

13 May 2014

Continued… The giant serpent squeezed Rainald, who struggled against it with some success in spite of the creature’s bulk, while the other Heroes set upon it to slay it. Gabriel sprinted forward to engage the serpent’s head with his blade, stabbing it through the eye; he was joined by Merasiël who did the same. Dane loosed arrow upon arrow into the creature’s head as he could achieve a clear shot from the other side. Gestlin, still exhausted, threw a small Fireball or two at the serpent’s hind parts. The creature now blinded in both eyes, its many wounds caused it to lose hold of Rainald, who began to strike it mightily with his hammer where he stood. The serpent attempted to flee, but ceased not far away, dead, or near to it. Afterward, the Heroes noticed as the large black cat that had followed them leapt down from its tree-perch and slinked back into the forest, as if, somehow, disappointed.

The Heroes continued onward along the path, still following Magnifico’s Seeker spell, and crept up to the small village as closely as they could without raising the alarm, up to a clearing in the forest that preceded it. Gabriel and Dane sneaked ’round to scout its defenses, but the village’s sentries had spotted the Heroes’ main force and assembled themselves into a shield-wall, armored and ready with long spears for the inevitable attack. While the scouts circled around the village houses to the rear of the formation, the others advanced openly toward the defenders’ ranks. As discussed briefly at the treeline, Magnifico performed some comedic routine before the village fighters, which received little apparent notice, though it served only to focus their attention upon Rainald, who produced from its wrapping the head of the slain Medusa and held it high; in moments, the entire formation of sentries (and perhaps some onlookers beyond) was turned to stone.

bs-persphoneAt this outrage, the goddess Persephone emerged from one of the houses and approached the scene, very sorrowful after her now-petrified subjects, and demanded to know why the Heroes had done this. Magnifico responded that they had brought a message, and mimicking Hades voice as if he were “possessed” by his spirit, entreated her to return to him. She was not tricked by this, but became angry, making it known that she cared not for her husband at all. She backed away from the Heroes, knowing Hades had sent them to slay her, though she could do them no harm for the spell he had placed on them; the grass about her grew up thick and tall, forming a tangled barrier against the Heroes, even as Gabriel and Merasiël circled at a distance to get behind her, prepared should they be required to attack. At Brother Mendel’s urging, Magnifico instead told Persephone the truth of their intentions, that they wished not to slay her but to convince her to return and treat with Hades, so they could destroy this false place. But she knew already that this place was not real, and even so, wished it to remain as it is, and would not agree to help them or have anything to do with her husband, whom she declared had not the power to release them as he had said. A tree suddenly sprang up behind her, as it would when she would travel through a tree-portal before. The Heroes instantly sprang forth to prevent her; Merasiël had chanced to notice a gemstone on a fine golden chain about Persephone’s neck, hidden below her bodice, and vaulted over the tangled grass-barrier to seize it; at Merasiël’s shout, Gabriel also tumbled over the hedge and produced his sword to cut the charm from the goddess’ neck; Gestlin had activated his harness and took winged flight, placing himself between the goddess and the tree, and swept her feet from under her with his staff, such that she fell, and the chain still in Merasiël’s grasp snapped from off the goddess’ neck, leaving the necklace in her possession. In moments the Heroes watched as the life in Persephone’s eyes faded away, and she became as the other lifeless, mindless shades that populated this realm. Thereafter, the light in the cavern also faded to darkness, and Brother Mendel cast a Continual Light spell upon a coin to light their way, and they could see that the forest remained, though no longer living and beautiful as before.

The Heroes then began their journey back the way they had come; they took pity upon Persphone, and brought her with them. They made their way through the forest and back up the waterfall-cliff. They passed through the mists of the gorgons’ lair and found the other side. They continued through the marsh, seeing the bones of the undead creatures they had fought before littered about the entrance where they had gathered, now harmless and broken. They picked their way carefully across the room of many stairs, now robbed of its magic, forcing them to climb awkwardly to reach the entrance. They emerged within the labyrinth, which no longer shifted about them; Magnifico cast a Seeker spell to find them a safe path to their boat that Brother Mendel had created, still resting ashore where they had arrived, and they pressed onward, as Gestlin flew above to help guide them along. They found the boat unmolested, and rowed it back across the river to Hades’ city. They traversed the city of the dead, and found Radskyrta there as before, mindless, and brought him also with them, that he might be restored with them.


bs-Hades_1The Heroes’ will had been greatly drained from them by the time they arrived at Hades’ abode, but they entered boldly and presented the evidence of their victory over his wife, Persephone. He took no apparent interest in the lifeless woman, but immediately demanded the “heart” of them, greedily, and the Heroes suspected they would be betrayed, though they knew it not in truth. Without warning or discussion, Brother Mendel commanded Merasiël to put the necklace back ’round Persephone’s neck, and in an instant, the goddess’ former life and power was returned to her. She was very wroth with her husband for his treachery, and they argued fiercely, and fought together; though neither could do the other any direct harm, their fury was wrought upon everything near to them, both living and unliving, and the temple crumbled around them, in fire and tempest. The Heroes fled from the temple for their lives, taking Radskyrta with them.

CharonThey ran as fast as they could to the river below, to the Boatman, hoping they might somehow convince him to take them across to the land of the living while the gods were distracted, but the Boatman would not in any way acknowledge them. Suddenly, mindless Radskyrta suddenly slammed himself into the Boatman and knocked him into the water, and seized the pole; the Heroes climbed in behind him immediately, and Radskyrta began to propel the boat across the river. They believed their old friend’s mind restored, but looked upon him to see that he was now clad in black robes as the Boatman had worn, staring blankly ahead with lifeless eyes. As the boat reached the far shore, Rasdkyrta spoke not a word, but stiffly pointed a finger toward the archway through which they had arrived in this place—whether commanding them to go, or wishing to go himself, they could not say. After they had exited the boat, they looked to their friend once more to take him away with them, but his face was now hooded and covered in shadow, as he pushed the boat away from the shore, and disappeared back into the mist.

Now before them were the heavy stone doors, wide open as before, guarded by the massive, three-headed dog creature, no longer a statue but living flesh; it growled a loud warning. Rainald did not hesitate to once again bring forth the head of Medusa, and he held it high, and the creature became a statue once again, posed just as it was before. The Heroes cautiously walked past the guardian statue, and each in turn passed over the threshold of the doorway.

At once, the Heroes found themselves, as if waking from a long sleep, in and around the banks of the river where they had fallen fighting the many-headed dragon-creature before. The wounds that had slain them were no more, and their belongings remained as they had fallen in battle. They started as the heavy stone doors at the far end of the cavern began slowly to close, as they had when they were trapped with the creature before; the Heroes did not tarry, but scrambled out of the waters of the river to flee, lest the creature catch them up and slay them once more; Dane saw the others through and was the last to exit, but was nearly caught by door except he passed through it as if a ghost, to the surprise of all. They continued down the tunnel as they had entered, and found the rope-ladders still fixed in their place, and each climbed up out of the excavation within the ruined temple, to see the sun once again, as if only moments had passed.


  • Merasiël’s player rolled a Critical Success to notice the gem around Persephone’s neck, well-concealed as it was; but in her position at that moment, she could not tell anyone what she had seen without alerting the goddess, until she tried to escape. Of course, once the “heart” was pointed out, we all knew what it really was that Hades was after
  • We were all in general agreement that we would rather not kill Persephone—assuming we could anyway—but we started piecing things together at that moment that made us wonder if Hades’ motives were true. When we were before him, and he demanded the heart, something in the way the GM phrased it caused red-flags to wave furiously—whether or not he intended it so. The GM had not forseen the plan to restore Persephone to herself, and was caught completely off-guard; he eventually decided to let the players dictate how the story would end after that, and after much back-and-forth, we arrived at a general consensus
  • Due to the way the post-restoration events were generated, even afterward, there were differing interpretations of the results—mostly revolving around Radskyrta; what I have recorded here is my interpretation
  • Dane’s having phased through the closing doors is the result of the Quirks of Mendel’s previous RPM casting of the portal, finally manifested