Gryphons Parliament in Obsidia, By Lady Kali of the Dragons

November 28-30, 1103

(Disclaimer: My apologies for any inaccuracies or misinformation, this was written from my perspective completely by memory as I had no time to take notes throughout the weekend. Every attempt was made to be as accurate as possible. Please send notification and corrections if gross errors are noted.)


Friday evening, a number of people were attacked by members of the Claw as they arrived for the Parliament via the transport circle. Some guests who were attacked included a High Elf Lord and his brother who had just arrived to assess the worthiness of the Elven Alliance to be considered for further communications. Throughout our entire stay in the area we were under regular attacks by this group, some of whom wielded powerful high magics and many of whom carried enchanted weapons. Apparently the Claw have invaded and taken at least one city in central Lyonesse and were spreading south. The new city of Obsidia was under attack by the Claw army during our Parliament, held at the ruins of the old city, and it was uncertain as to whether or not they would hold against them.

In between fights, a few people worked on translating a text that had been unearthed by the archaeological team digging in the area. It described in detail the method for opening the stone seal covering a cave entrance nearby. The seal was covered in ancient elvish script that no one present could translate. A debate ensued as to whether or not the seal should be opened. It was surmised that the presence of the Claw in Obsidia was specifically for the purpose of gaining access to the cave and what was held within, as well as possibly acquiring artefacts from the site.

I spent some time conversing with Master Lasha, aka the Tome of Fire, about the events that took place at the time of the destruction of Obsidia during the race wars. He remembered quite clearly being wielded by the Emperor Tebron. He became very animated in his description of the beauty of the city and how hotly it burned. He seemed to relish in describing the agonizing screams of the elves as they perished in molten obsidian rock. He did not believe that the cavern seal could have existed at that time as it would not have survived unscathed by the fiery attack. He seemed disappointed when he failed to elicit an emotional response from me.

The archeologists had also unearthed a glowing red jewel that the text indicated was necessary for the successful completion of the ritual breaking of the seal. The decision was made to go ahead with the ritual as it seemed certain that the Claw would manage to gain entry anyway, so we should try to beat them to whatever lay within. Additionally, the ritual had to be performed at a specific time of day (midnight) so if we didn’t go through with it on Friday night we would have to wait 24 hours to have another opportunity.

The ritual team used themselves as a conduit to bleed off energy from the magical seal, then the jewel was placed in a hollow in the keystone and the seal was broken. It very specifically stated that this procedure was the exact opposite set of steps that were necessary to create the seal. Unfortunately, no one thought to remove the jewel after the seal was opened and it was stolen sometime during the next day, presumably by the Claw.

Lord Moloque scanned for the presence of unliving, but none were in the immediate vicinity of the cave opening, except, surprisingly, for one of the guests. Inside the cave tunnels were many golems and deeper down a small army of unliving. At one point during the evening what appeared to be a barrow wight came out of the cave and asked what year it was, when told 1103 he seemed confused. He said “it is the wrong time”. Vixen asked him when he expected it to be and he replied “the year of the founding”. When asked what he wanted, he replied “revenge!” and his minions proceeded to attack us. Once the unliving inside the upper tunnels had been dispatched, a cursory examination led to the discovery of what appeared to be several pages of a diary, with numerous entries spanning at least a few months time, possibly longer.

Eventually Lord Moloque confronted the unliving guest and was shocked by the response given upon further discernment. He, Cerydwenn and a number of their followers attacked the guest quite vigorously pasting the individual into the muddy ground. Members of the faction, including Lord Morpork, Maranwe, Lady Ash and many others rushed to aid and revive the guest. Harsh words were spoken by Cerydwenn, who labeled Lady Ash an “unliving lover” then left via the transport circle to return to Moonhaven. It was obvious there was an underlying hostility present that this incident had only served to exacerbate. The guest agreed to undergo any tests requested by Lord Moloque to prove that the unliving status was not accurate. Moloque was stunned in the realization that his ancestor had been mistaken.

The next day an opportunity presented to definitively prove the point as a weapon of living bane was captured from a fallen foe. Lady Astrantia requested that the guest pick up the weapon, whereupon said guest complied and was inflicted with severe wounds to the hands and extreme pain. The weapon, a black staff, was carefully pushed onto a large shield and transported by Astrantia to Moonhaven, where it was placed in a vault within a shielded crypt for safe keeping. Lady Cerydwenn returned with Astrantia, though she appeared to be still quite angry.

Meanwhile King Giblet of the Redcaps and Master Memphis al Fayed of the Halls of Commerce were having ongoing heated arguments regarding Lady Gwendoline de la Croix, now renamed Layla al Fayed, who was present despite her recent banishment from Gryphon lands for the attempted murder of Cerydwenn, Priestess of Anwyn, as well as various other offenses. King Giblet was insistent in his accusations that Gwennie had also murdered a Blackcap. He demanded her blood in revenge. Upon our return from exploration of the caves, we were informed that King Giblet’s body had been found at the transport circle nearby. Memphis openly admitted that he had slain him, but claimed that Giblet had attacked him on a few occasions throughout the evening and he had acted in self-defense, fearing for his life. Lord Morpork ordered an investigation and a trial to be held the next day. Memphis was released on his own recognizance and asked to avoid leaving Obsidia until after the trial.

Attacks by the Claw were ongoing throughout the night into the early morning hours, coming in waves about an hour apart. I stood the night watch along with half a dozen others, including Marshall Harli. We were finally allowed to retire at 6 am as the morning watch came on duty.

The next day much time was spent working on the translation of the parchments and piecing together the fragments of pottery which had been recovered by the archeological team. The parchment was indeed the last 9-10 pages of a diary written by one of the Masters of an ancient sect of the Earth College of magic that had been based in the old city of Obsidia. Apparently, this Master became possessed or controlled by “the Dark Lord of Obsidia” and entered into a course of action independent from the mainstream of his college and kept secret from the other Masters. He set about converting others to the worship, or following, of this Dark Lord and delving into the dark arts of necromancy. He converted his own apprentice, Azoic, but had to drug his tea to make him vulnerable to corruption by the Dark Lord. Azoic proved to be much stronger than his master had imagined and he quickly grew in strength in the Dark Lord’s service and began corrupting many others of the college. At some point the Dark Lord’s power became overextended by the sheer number of followers recruited by Azoic. The Master came to his senses and realized what he had done. In an effort to stop the spread of the corruption he had started, he sealed off the cavern (though how he did that from inside I am not clear), then made for the ritual circle with the intention of disabling it

It should be noted that a ritual circle was found in one of the tunnel complexes accessed through the cave and there was an overwhelming imbalance towards the element of Darkness in the circle. I felt strongly drawn to this powerful nexus of Darkness. We could not access the circle for closer examination due to the presence of a large translucent obsidian dome covering it. All our efforts to pierce or break through it were inconsequential. We could see the bones of a humanoid lying in the middle of the circle. It was assumed that it was the remains of the Master who had sealed himself inside, where he died, either of starvation or asphyxiation.

Throughout Saturday evening the attacks by the Claw continued, including attack with vaporous fogs that did fatal, poison and disease damage to anyone unfortunate enough to breath them and which produced horrible nausea in those outside the more deadly range. Some individuals were observed entering and leaving the cave and it was assumed to be members of the Claw. A group went in and checked, but it appeared that the Claw were having no better luck at their attempts to access the ritual circle than had we as the obsidian dome was still intact. It was decided to examine the manuscripts more closely to see if a clue could be discovered on how to deactivate or remove the obsidian dome.

Master Cutter led a scouting party through the surrounding countryside and noted that numerous areas, not identified by the archeological markers, had been recently dug up. We received reports that the new city of Obsidia was not faring well in their battle with the Claw, though the walls had not yet been breached. The invading forces had set golems and constructs to work digging tunnels under the city walls. It is interesting to note that both the Claw and the ancient earth college described in the texts relied extensively on golems and constructs. Perhaps there is some connection. Certainly the Claw were anxious to get their hands on the knowledge that might be found at the Obsidia site, and perhaps were looking for specific artefacts that are unknown to us.

Lord Morpork called an assembly in the early evening to address the murder of King Giblet. He announced that there was no need for a trial since Memphis had admitted to the deed. The sentence pronounced was death. However the sentence was suspended due to the extenuating circumstances that Memphis had acted in self defense. He was placed on probation for 5 years during which time he will be on house arrest in an unnamed location in Estragales and be required to ask permission of the Gryphons command to perform any of his duties for the Halls of Commerce or to leave the place of his house arrest. Violation of his probation will result in immediate execution of the sentence by the Militia or the agents of the Lord Gryphon. Memphis agreed to the conditions imposed upon him.

However, Cerydwenn was outraged and challenged the decision of Lord Morpork. She insisted that the conflict and the death of Giblet was the direct result of the presence of Gwennie de la Croix/Layla al Fayed at the Parliament the previous evening and demanded an accounting. Lord Morpork admitted giving permission for her to accompany Memphis despite the fact that she was banned from entering Gryphon lands. At this point Cerydwenn, Moloque, Astrantia and the rest of their group stood forth and announced that they would no longer support Lord Morpork as Lord General of the Gryphons, though they would continue to act in the best interests of the Gryphon faction and they walked out of the command hut. I do not know if this was later resolved, but it seemed all parties were working harmoniously in concert the next day.

Additionally, the Redcaps were seen to be arguing incessantly among themselves and on one occasion I observed Havok attack another of their group. Their Queen shattered his sword and led him away for a stern telling off, while someone else healed the one he had felled. I don’t know if the conflict was due to a challenge for leadership of the group or some other internal matter, though I did overhear one Redcap having a go at Havok for failing to perform his primary duty of protecting King Giblet.

The Sunday dawned with increasing bad news. First we realized that we could no longer leave Obsidia via the transport circle as the Claw had tampered with it and it was now emitting billowing clouds of the noxious vapors used to attack us the night before. Then we received word that the new city of Obsidia had fallen and the harbor was inaccessible. The army of the Claw were forming up to head our way and a golem with gigantic claws was inside the tunnel trying to dig its way under the obsidian dome. With all other routes of escape blocked, we decided to attempt to gain access to and reactivate the Dark ritual circle in the cave tunnels. Just as we were realizing that we had no one among us who was capable of that level of ritual circle control, an Ambassador from House Galantir of the Sylvan Elves arrived in hasty retreat from the new city of Obsidia. After much debate and consideration, the Sylvan Elven council in northern Lyonesse had decided to intervene and take sides against the Empire to aid the Gryphons. They had completely closed their borders at the onset of the war a few months ago and were adamantly refusing entry to any who were not Sylvan. Their envoy’s presence in Obsidia marks a significant change in their previous political stance.

We split up into an advance group to penetrate the caves and a rear guard to keep the Claw at bay as we worked our way through the tunnels. This plan quickly disintegrated as we were pressed hard from the rear and found ourselves pinned in the chamber outside the Dark circle with the Claw forces bearing down from the surface tunnels and yet more earth golems emerging from the deeper tunnels behind us. Meanwhile the digging golem patiently continued his task magically melting through the obsidian surface as he dug by way of some sticky substance on his claws. We had to hold out for almost an hour before he broke through to the ritual circle. The fighting was very hard and we quickly used up much of the healing power available to the party. The claw forces, composed mostly of hideous constructs with magically enhanced limbs, attempted to drag off anyone they managed to drop and we repeatedly had to rally and surge forward to rescue individuals who had managed to get stuck behind their forward advance while at the same time trying to protect our backs form the stream of golems which issued forth from the depths. We agreed protecting the Sylvan ambassador was the highest priority as without him none of us were going anywhere.

After what seemed an endless inspection of the circle, he announced that one of the power nodes was missing and although he could reactivate the circle it was highly unstable and unlikely to function properly. We had to crawl through on our bellies, one at a time through the small opening made by the golem. Lord Morpork ordered the evacuation to begin immediately and we discovered that the circle would only support removal of 5 or 6 people at a time who were randomly transported from whatever group was inside the circle. In addition, it seemed to take much longer than one minute between transports, though that may have been a perceptual error due to the extreme circumstances. I was in the rear guard charged with transport of the final group if Fitzwilliam fell and was unable to do so. There were about 12 of us holding our ground as the others transported out. At one point, Lord Harli rushed forward to save one of the fallen, who he managed to rescue, but then he himself fell and was dragged behind their lines. We pushed forward repeatedly but were unable with the few of us left to break through to him. Fitzwilliam ordered everyone into the circle and the last two transports activated. I got transported in the second to last group. The last thing I saw was Strongoak and Jaratha of the Elven alliance trying to block the opening to the circle with their shields.

Among those survivors waiting around Trafalgar circle an argument broke out, as some wished to return to aid those left behind and others were trying to stay them to prevent further losses. A group decided to return and I went with them. We were able to go in with a full complement of 15 though transports out were still limited to about 6. We arrived to see both Strongoak and Jaratha lying face down in the antechamber outside the circle, with the few others still fighting madly but unable to push back the Claw fighters to get up through the hole under the obsidian shield. With the added numbers we were able to push forward and get to Jaratha, he was pulled back into the circle and one group transported out with him. We could not get to Strongoak however and we saw the claw starting to cut the arms off of Harli. Some of the party almost went mad trying to get to him, but it was too late and we were greatly outnumbered.

Fitzwilliam again ordered a group to transport out and again I was sent with the second to last wave. When the final group came through, they did not have Strongoak with them and for the first time in my memory I was brought to tears at the loss of one of my kind. I knew there was still time left and found myself wishing I had an ancestor I could call on for help. Lords Moloque, Fitzwilliam and Morpork said it was too late, both Harli and Strongoak were lost and they would not allow more to risk their lives for dead men. Then someone pointed out that one of them had been carrying the Gryphons sword and shield and we should make the attempt to retrieve them. I ran with Maranwe back to the circle and a found we again had a full complement of 15 volunteers willing to return. The bravery of my kind and their associates never ceases to amaze me. When we arrived, the Claw forces had pulled back from the circle, thinking we were gone, and we could see them cutting Strongoak’s arms off. This was too much. We boiled out of the small opening and charged them, bowling over those nearest Strongoak and snatched his body from their grasp. Someone picked up the Gryphon sword and shield that were lying on the ground nearby and we beat a fighting retreat back into the circle. The Gryphon healing cloak was thrown over Strongoak’s mutilated body and we transported out in two groups. When we arrived, to everyone’s surprise and relief, we discovered that Strongoak was still alive, barely, though missing two appendages. He was hastened off for quiet to allow the regenerative magic of the cloak to heal him.

We mustered for a final debriefing a little while later and all swore to return to avenge Harli and all the others we had lost to the Claw. While Lord Morpork was wishing all a safe journey home, a pair of runners came panting into our midst, breathlessly gasping it is a miracle! Once they caught their breath, they announced that they were relaying a message from Rouen. Apparently at the exact time that the Dark circle under Obsidia was reactivated, a second linked circle of Light appeared outside the city of Rouen. All the local peoples came to wonder at this amazing sight and suddenly those with life-long disabilities were being miraculously healed. Cripples could walk straight and the blind were made to see. There was great rejoicing all across the land and praises were being sung to the Light Ancestors for this miracle.

But I am haunted by the atrocities of Tebron preserved in obsidian forever: elven bodies with heads of all manner of beasts attached, dog skeletons bearing the heads of elves, mutilated desecrated bodies littering the chambers of holding cells, a large skeleton folded around a very tiny one both half embedded in obsidian rock. These images will be with me for the rest of my days.

And the Dark Lord of Obsidia still waits below.

(c) 2003 Cherie Bond, All Rights Reserved.