The Day The Sky Fell
The Sacred Blades assembled in Waterdeep and prepared for battle. It was time to return to Luskan and find Alagar the Mad. Covertly entering Luskan, this time instead of a straight-out attack they gathered allies instead. Pirate guilds and ruffian gangs were befriended, bribed and intimidated. All were tempted with the offer of controlling Luskan. It had been dominated by pirate captains once in the past, and working together it could be again. Greed and vanity were appealed to and every seedy element in Luskan agreed that working together they would drive out the so-called “Empress of Luskan” and control the city jointly.
An overwhelming joint attack forced the Empress to escape with a few mind-controlled allies. What trouble might a united Luskan cause for the region? That question was left for another day. Other heroes would have to deal with an emerging pirate state; today the Blades had other concerns.
The Blades sifted through the wreckage while pirates and thieves of Luskan gathered loot and prepared for a new order.
In a forgotten basement beneath the Empress’s ruined base sat Alagar the Mad. A broken shell of a man. He stared lifeless into space and drooled down his shirt, rocking slightly in a wooden chair. Alone. And this was the man that could tell the Blades how to thwart the Cult of Karsis? This was the escaped wizard wanted so badly by Netheril?
He must still be under some influence of the Empress. The air around him shimmered ever so slightly. He practically radiated magic. The Blades tried to dispel whatever malady afflicted him (perhaps a feeblemind spell?). Finally, fed up with all the magic-talk, Fibbit decided to handle things his way: kill Alagar and bring his corpse back to Waterdeep for some old-fashioned magical interrogation. The halfling had always been unconventional but this suggestion made everyone raise an eyebrow. Before objections could be raised Fibbit was already at the man’s throat.
Past, Present, Future
As the dagger struck and the other Blades’ magical investigations were interrupted, the air in the room shimmered further and changed. They found themselves in a city seemingly built of coral. Looking down they were all human, even the halfling Fibbit, and all simply clothed as Netherese commoners. Ghostly citizens bustled in the streets – which the Blades quickly recognized as Sakkors, a floating city and current home of the Cult of Karsis. A far younger-looking version of Alagar walked alone some distance away.
The Blades approached him, wary of some trick. Alagar greeted them warmly until they asked what he knew of the Cult. Then his demeanor darkened and he looked around for eavesdroppers. Alagar ushered the Blades into an alley and told all he knew.
Alagar resisted the Cult’s influence in Sakkors. Alagar tried to bring Nethereil He told the Blades that Sakkors was well defended: there was only one teleport circle in the city, well-guarded. Only certain members of the nobility could use it, of which he was one. Assaulting Sakkors via air or other means was suicide. Teleporting other than through that circle was prevented by the city’s Mythallar, an artifact that gave Sakkors the power of flight and protected it from harm. Since the Mythallar was invulnerable from attack by anything short of another artifact, they would have to use the teleport circle…
The Blades of course had an artifact, the sword, and now they knew the Cult base was vulnerable. The memory of Sakkors faded and the Blades now floated through the remnants of Alagar’s fractured mind. Fragmented memories floated here and there. They saw Alagar being warned by a mysterious man that “all the bounty hunters in the planes would soon be after you”...Alagar fleeing from assassins in Waterdeep…Alagar traveling to Luskan…Alagar paying the Empress to erase his memories and keep him hidden. He was trying to forget something.
One memory loomed larger than the rest. It seemed miles away, a giant floating rock. It looked flat on the top, pointed at the bottom. Willing themselves towards it, they soon recognized it as Sakkors; the spires of the city could barely be seen rising from the top, a full moon above. Below it a forest appeared, the High Forest. Soon the Blades saw the stone pillars constructed for the coming ritual. Closer still they saw a robed man at the center of the pillars, holding a massive red stone. Black torrents of energy began to channel from Sakkors down through the pillars and stone focus into the man. He grew larger and larger, the size of a giant when the ritual ended and the dream went black.
Back in the basement in Luskan, Alagar continued to drool. They were out of the dream – or whatever it was – and nothing seemed to change. The Blades knew that returning a captive Alagar was the key to entering Sakkors, that somehow they could drop the city from the sky using their Blade. And it all had to be done in two days, before the full moon predicted in the dream. And if they failed, the ritual would complete and some unknown horror would be introduced to the Realms. A new god of dark magic, if the cultists were to be believed.
The master gnome illusionist Pim provided a disguise, turning the Blades into planar bounty hunters: githyanki. As long as they avoided combat it should hold against even magical detection. A portal to Sakkors was opened and they marched through with Alagar in tow.
The teleport circle was heavily-guarded and instantly dozens of guards were upon them. The guards called for magical support while they reverently looked upon Alagar.
“Finally he has returned home,” they said.
“The descendant of Karsis has been found!”
“The ritual can begin.”
Alagar was led away to his fate, drooling and unaware. The ‘githyanki’ were awarded a small fortune and invited to stay in Sakkors to witness the magnificent return of Karsis, god of Netheril and god of all magic. Great would be the reward of those who helped his return…
The Day The Sky Fell
In two day’s time the disguised Blades had plenty of opportunity to scout out the Mythallar. A guided tour, even. On the day of the ritual, so confident were the Netherese in their invulnerability that the artifact that kept Sakkors afloat was lightly guarded. Nearly every mage in the city was on the ground below, awaiting the return of Karsis through his blood-descendant Alagar. Besides, it took an artifact to harm. As the ritual began none considered that the Blades would be aboard Sakkors, ready to crash it into the ritual below.
Several golems and a single archmage guarded the Mythallar. Energy already streamed out of the Mythallar to the ritual far below, part of the plan to channel Shadowfell energy and return their god. The archmage was quick to summon shadows and activate his golems. A chaotic battle broke out. Rolen was banished to a pocket plane, alone to sit out the action. The shadows assumed the forms of their enemies, taking on the likeness of Kriv, Fibbit and the others. It was hard to tell friend from foe.
Kriv stuck to the plan as others bled around him. He smashed the extensive Mythallar piece by piece with the artifact of Selune. The sword practically sang to him now, so eager to defeat the Netherese.
As Kriv neared the last piece, all Shadowfell energy stopped. The ritual had completed; the Blades were too late. Just then Rolen returned from his banishment. Kriv smashed the last piece of the Mythallar.
Gravity took hold of Sakkors, plummeting the mountain to the ground – directly on top of the ritual that had just finished. A quickportal was opened by Rolen and the Blades dashed through to Waterdeep. As he stepped through the portal, Rolen’s magically-tuned senses noticed a faint trace of the Elemental Chaos amid the strong Shadowfell presence from the ritual.
Happily Ever After?
Weeks passed and things mostly returned to normal. Netheril withdrew from the Grey Vale region, but not before an empty Loudwater was razed to the ground in retribution. Llorkh was ruined and left abandoned. Both would be rebuilt in time. Netheril was free of their Cult but lost a city in the process; they were none too happy about the loss of face.
Rumors spread of odd happenings in the crash site and stranger things happening in areas that had one been spellplagued. Elturgard sent concerned diplomats to discuss disturbances at the ruins of Darkhold. Something had been awakened by the ritual and moved unseen. What, exactly, was an open question.
As for the Sacred Blades, their artifact seemed invigorated now, speaking with Kriv and even the others, eager for slaughter of heathens and enemies of Selune. It urged them on to greater deeds.