The Ravaillac Revolution

The Vivus Well Epilogue

After escaping the Vivus Well, Ancalagon gives the First Light to the heroes, and says he wishes never to see them again. He then disappears into the darkness below. Devils emerge from the well itself in pursuit. Palio, Bastion, and Cathexis fight them off while Slim and Bombik prepare a catapult to knock a stalactite into the well to seal it. The Prince in Chains tries to command Ar-Pharazon, a Pit Fiend and commander of legions of devils, to remain in Hell, but his command is ignored and he is dragged in. Cathexis goes in to save him, and Palio drags both out. Slim and Bombik launch the weapon at the stalactite and it collapses onto the well.

In the aftermath, they talk to Aeschere about getting his fellow Aeschenreia to help out in the coming battle. Aeschere refuses, as he believes none would ever want to conquer Aeschwold. He does agree to help hinder and harass the elves who have been slaying Nonmen.

The heroes go east to Severeign. Palio’s cleric is raised from the dead. Cassamyr is healed, and kneels before Cathexis silently. Slim talks to his sister, who remembers the storm that destroyed their family but has no recollection of a brother. Palio talks to the head of the Iomedaen order in Severeign about sending Thron, or the Prince in Chains, back to Arborea for healing and redemption.

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The Vivus Well Part Two

The heroes enter the Vivus Well and fight their way through a dangerous and shifting maze. They face down Onnahan, who kills Palio’s cleric. Palio kills him in revenge. They find a secret room with Aeschere, the founder of Aeschwold, who has been trapped there for hundreds of years with runes keeping him his current age. He tells them about how the Vivus Well was once a planar junction for numerous planes, but has been unhallowed by Asmodeus to the point where it no longer takes people anywhere but Hell.

They enter Hell, specifically the realm of Caina, a land of rusted bridges and chains. Aeschere tells them to find Khyedkyev, a Celestial warped into a Hellmouth who can take them where they want to go. Khyedkyev is caged just above the Dustbringer, an ancient world-destroying machine forged by Gorum. The Prince in Chains and a few kytons come to kill the heroes. Bombik takes a piece of machinery off the Dustbringer. The other heroes kill the kytons and knock out the Prince in Chains. When he awakes, they try their best to remind him of who he used to be, with Cathexis using the Moirae to take him back mentally to when he had been Thron.

Khyedkyev sends them to Stygia, a realm of swamps, where the Academy of Lies resides. There, the souls of the people bound to the Vivus Well are being written upon by a fleshwarp scribe. Cathexis kills the fleshwarp in a single blow and rescues the souls.

Ancalagon has the First Light, and offers it to the heroes in exchange for a brief truce to help them all escape Hell. He flies through the Hellmouth back to Caina, and from there, to the Vivus Well. He tries hurling the Prince in Chains back to Caina, but Palio saves him.

The heroes emerge from the Vivus Well with a host of devils closing in behind them.

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The Vivus Well Part One

The heroes find elves trying to get into Grailwarden to regain something stolen by a dwarven criminal. After interrogating the elves, they learn that the item in question contains the heart of a Nonman, one of Cathexis’s kin. The dwarven criminal was already tried and executed, and his possessions handed to the king of Grailwarden. They also find that these elves have arrows of slaying designed to kill Nonmen. The elves have been using the anti-divine properties of Nonmen in rituals to weaken Asmodeus’s wards over Terund.

Bombik and Cathexis sneak into the dwarven treasury and take the heart of the Nonman and flee while Palio keeps the king occupied with diplomatic matters, including giving the dwarves a share in Ancalagon’s hoard in exchange for their aid in the coming battle.

As they move towards the Vivus Well, Cathexis performs a ritual to put the Nonman they had rescued back to peace and true death. This weakens him and that, combined with the knowledge that only his sentient blade knows where the Vivus Well is, lets an older avatar, The Pale Man, overtake him.

The Pale Man flees from them, sets up traps, and then attacks the other heroes. Bombik uses magnetism to pull the blade out of The Pale Man’s grasp, while Slim hits him in the hand with an arrow. The blade plummets and Cathexis returns to his previous state with knowledge of how to enter the Vivus Well.

After explaining his previous avatar and its role in shaping history, as a creature designed to make humanity fight back, Cathexis leads everyone up the mountain to a group of shambling mounds with a lightning elemental in the midst of them. The lightning elemental is the key to activating the runes. Bombik chases off the shambling mounds while Cathexis and Palio catch and return the lightning elemental. The runes activate and they find themselves within the Vivus Well.

They walk down a long hallway with bioluminescent plant life carved into Infernal. it reads:

Where lies the strangling fruit that came forth from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of the damned to share with the worms that gather in the darkness and forms that could never be writhe with impatience at their corporeality. In the green water, shining at midnight, those fruit shall come ripe and in the darkness of that which is golden shall split open to reveal the revelation of the fatal softness of the earth. The shadows in Hell are the petals of a monstrous flower that shall blossom within the skull of the saint and expand the mind beyond what any man can bear.

At the bottom they find a strange creature calling itself The Scribe who was writing the prophecy. He tells them about the well below, the saint (Cassamyr) and the short ones (Onnahan and his clones) the chained ones and the others who are brought down and turned into his kin.

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Peace

The heroes go to Menneren, stock up on supplies, and have a meeting with the Exultant, his Seneschal, and his daughter about what to use the dragon hoard gold on. They then head north to Remparenon, where they meet Qadmon, who teleports them near the Wisp Forest—the site of Welkin’s greatest failure. The druids he and Cassamyr were supposed to save were instead tortured and killed, and their bodies remained at the Nemetos Shrine.

When the heroes arrived in the woods, the treeline pressed on so there was no retreat, and the spirits of the dead whispered to Cathexis. At the shrine itself, elementals started coming out of each stone slab. When they were defeated, the heroes gave each druid a proper burial. Before departing, the ghost of the head druid told Cathexis that the Cassamyr that first arrived with him before the battle and the Cassamyr who returned after his home was destroyed were different beings—Cassamyr had already been taken captive and cloned at that point.

While burying two druids in water, Slim noticed a spirit in the distance that looked like images of the dead god Aroden. It calls itself the Steward of the Skein, and is a servant of Pharasma. It reiterated that fate itself is coming undone. There is a blind spot to the north of Ravaillac. And, most importantly, Ravaillac’s very existence is anathema to the restrictions of fate.

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Hoarders

The group reaches Remparenon, where they exorcise Qadmon of the Thanadaemon inhabiting him. In the middle of this, the scion of the Kardunia, who had escaped from jail, tries to assassinate Kisasi. Both the daemon and the assassins are taken out in short order. Qadmon thanks them and says he will help the best he can.

They head cross The Expanse and manage to avoid sandworms, then enter the dragon’s cave. They find footprints of other people and eventually track them down. They’re three terrified humans from Menneren who were sent here by the Exultant to find a path so Menneren can take the treasure it so desperately needs. The heroes slay the Dragon Disciples that had terrified the Mennerenians and discover that according to Draconic prophecy, Ancalagon will return. They reach the dragon’s treasure.

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Interrogations

The heroes capture Qadmon and Onnahan and bind them, then take them south. They interrogate Onnahan and find out that there are at least eight of him, and that he is doing this to protect Terund from the chaotic incursions of demons and daemons plotting against it. Palio executes him.

They have a discussion about Cathexis, and what it means for him to be truly free. When they discuss what caused him to break from his chrysalis in the first place, they notice Eldairen looking visibly anxious. When questioned, he reiterates that Prince Regent Amaranth was asking for information on Cathexis’s past lives, and Eldairen was not certain why.

Qadmon awakes, and is also questioned. They find out he is a daemon named Thanatos, a servant of the horseman of Death. Just as Onnahan had said, they created the rift to fight back against Terund’s wards, specifically to weaken Asmodeus.

On the way south, they pass by the ruins of Empok, which had been a mining town. When the ore dried up, rather than waste their time transporting the slaves, they simply tossed them into a pit and sealed it up and let them die of starvation. Now, horrible undead patrol the land and prevent the people of Taurinorum from leaving. The heroes face off against the undead.

The orcs now want to be free to go north to their brethren in the northern wastes on the road to Severeign. The dwarves want to remain in the mines. Kordic Brand was trying to convince them to help them out. Palio speaks of survival, Slim of freedom, and Cathexis of fate, and the dwarves agree to become an engineering corps for Ravaillac while the orcs become their scouts. They head towards Crossroads to defend against a possible Mordantian onslaught. The heroes also send messages to the other people they have met along the way in the hopes that their combined forces can keep Ravaillac strong.

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The Rift

The party regroups and discusses what happened in the Keep of the Seal and the Neocognomina. They then head to Solacium. The topography shifts and they walk into night, with constellations none of them recognize. Bombik realizes the Plane of Shadow itself is making an intrusion into their plane. A wall of dead bards tries to ensorcel them, but those who resist it bring the others back to their senses.

They follow tracks to a small cul de sac where Tartellagio, the Lord Commander of the Keep of the Seal, has hidden his men. They have been fighting back hordes of daemons, demons, and aberrations. Only fifty remain, and they are wounded and exhausted. Palio confronts Tartellagio, who had been convinced by a demon that Iomedae had told him to break the wardstones and enter Solacium. Palio relieves him and sends them all back home.

They then head towards the rift itself. Onnahan is performing his ritual to bring the Prince in Chains into the mortal realm, and is surrounded by kytons, minotaurs, a forgefiend, a pale stranger, and an iron golem. The heroes go in to face them down. Behind them, they hear Ancalagon the Black crow out a challenge to Onnahan. He is furious that Onnahan is trying to summon the Prince in Chains, or as he calls him, grandfather.

Kisasi hurls the iron golem into the rift. Rift energy starts to lash out in different directions. Ancalagon flies down and tries to attack Cathexis. Cathexis darts out of the way and stabs Ancalagon’s other eye, then manipulates the moirae and the rift energies to grab Ancalagon. Both are being dragged towards the rift. The Prince in Chains arrives long enough to get hit by a dragon and knocked back in. Ancalagon’s acid attack burns Cathexis and his Nemesis staff, with its assorted manacles, is burned off and falls into the rift while Cathexis himself slides free.

Then, as if a gift, the rift spits out Qadmon.

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Don't Split The Party

The party splits to cover more objectives quickly. Bombik and Slim head to the Neocognomina, where they undergo blood tests and a zone of truth to make sure they are who they say they are. Bombik goes into a psychoscope which shows him the truth of what he did those many months ago. He knew Qadmon was lying to some extent, and followed along anyhow, out of fear and curiosity.

While Bombik recuperates, Eldairen sneaks down to Bombik’s old laboratory in order to find what he can about Bombik’s theoarcana converter. Slim tails him and calls him out, ultimately making him give up his goods.

Bombik’s recollection of the events and the information he had accumulated building the first one makes him realize just what he will need to undo it. As the theoarcana converter had a sphere of annihilation—a magical artifact of pure destruction—to undo it they will need an artifact of pure creation. The best option is The First Light, which was the only light to exist in the universe before Rovagug’s destruction and binding. It is the key to freeing Rovagug, and it is currently owned by Asmodeus, in Hell.

Meanwhile, at the Keep of the Seal, Palio and Kisasi realize something has gone wrong as the people all treat Kisasi as if he is a paladin, and do not recognize Palio. Kisasi is given the honorific of First Blade. Cassamyr is in charge of the building and completely coherent, and does not recognize that his holy sword is the exact same wooden toy sword he had given Palio over a decade earlier. Even the books have all gone blank. As they investigate further, they find out that the wardstones that keep out the energies of the Rift have been destroyed. They enter the basement and face down demons that have taken root there. One of the demons mocks Palio and claims that the paladin order’s own leader has fallen prey to them.

After the wardstones are in the process of being repaired, things start heading back to normal. Palio learns about the real leader of this building, Tartellagio, taking five hundred men into Solacium and vanishing. He and Kisasi leave with ten low-ranking paladins at their side.

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Crossroads

The group teleports from Onnahan’s mansion in Arete to an empty barn near Crossroads. They head off towards Solacium, and run into Vilkas Arcantell, who tells them he rescued Cassamyr from a fort nearby, but he found both draconic and elven tracks there. Slim notices copious tracks in formation heading west.

In Crossroads, they learn that Kyran D’Allaire and his men took off to try to reclaim Vollein. They pick up extra horses. Palio teaches tactics to Roland Wynthorpe’s men. Bombik sells a steam-powered shovel.

They head to the fort nearby, and find an elf in the middle of a fight with a drake, and worshippers of Ancalagon. They kill the drake and dragon disciple, but not after the dragon disciple feebleminds Cathexis. Cathexis, under such influence, shifts quickly between several of his avatars. He is cured by Palio, but still quite out of it.

The elf, Eldairen, says he was tasked by his Prince Regent to study all three of Cathexis’s avatars without realizing how they were linked. He also tells Bombik about Qadmon, and how Qadmon had been mind-wiped by a device and though they managed to cure most others it had been done to, he traveled too far and was taken into the rift before he could be saved. He is more victim than villain. He believes all of these convergences are because of the weakening of Pharasma.

The group has a decision to make: Go to Solacium and stop Onnahan, go to the Vivus Well and prevent more Onnahan clones, or go to the rescue of Kyran D’Allaire and Vollein and keep Ravaillac stable. They head off towards Solacium.

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The Fall of the House of Onnahan

Aboard the Smerdyakov, they cross into Terund, and are beset upon by various devils and an escaping water elemental. While Palio, Slim, and Cathexis face off against the devils, Bombik uses his glider to catch and eliminate the water elemental.

The heroes smuggle themselves into Arete. Palio contacts Rasken Harsk, a cleric of Iomedae who has been pretending to be a cleric of Zon-Kuthon for years and has a face covered in scars. They infiltrate the Galete Thermae, where Onnahan spends much of his time. He’s not there, and some people believe he’s went north while others think he’s at his manor house. They examine the books he’s been using for research, and find that he’s especially interested in the Vivus Well.

They spy on his manor house. When Bombik sends Codsworth in to spy, Onnahan merely waves and beckons them in. Clockwork servants open the door. Immediately, Odd whips spice into his eyes and mouth. Onnahan collapses and soon, his heart seizes.

Slim notices tons of secret passages all throughout the house. When Kisasi goes to grab at Onnahan’s body, Kisasi disappears. Odd and Bombik follow suit, while Slim guides Cathexis through the secret passages to arrive in Onnahan’s workshop.

The workshop is a two-story sub-basement with kytons, clockwork soldiers, and a forgefiend. The heroes fight their way through it, separated by one another. The forgefiend destroys the ceiling above Odd, and Odd leaps into another pit to escape. Below, Odd encounters a Zebub, a spy-devil, which he convinces to show him secrets:

Onnahan has been scrying on the party the entire time. He has also been using the Vivus Well to create copies of himself. The version that was killed was an intentional piece of dangling bait who had taken poison before they had even arrived. Another version of Onnahan has headed north towards the Rift to summon the Redeemer of the Dark, the Prince of Chains. And obviously, a third is at the Vivus Well, to be manipulated as Cassamyr is.

Palio and Bastion burst in, telling the others the dragon is here. Ancalagon has destroyed the docks and is heading towards Onnahan’s Manor House. As he destroys it, he continues to ask why he can still smell Welkin.

Cathexis grabs one of Kisasi’s immovable rod arrows and flies up towards the dragon. He hurls it into the dragon’s mouth and escapes back downwards. Bombik, meanwhile, sees a glyph with four holes and manipulates lasers into it, which creates a teleportation glyph. As Onnahan’s manor house crashes around them, they all dive onto the glyph and are teleported away.

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