Gorlen Blackhammer - Journal Entry #174
“Oh, it wasn’t that long ago really……” the old gnome says as his voice trails off and his eyes think back in time; his listeners, several patrons of the Drunkin Ogre who have gotten to know Gorlen over the years ,ever since he came to the Manaverse during the last great sync. They all know when the Gnome is about to begin a story.
Across the sea, near the Lost Coast is a town called Esagend, what’s interesting about the town is it contains a fully operational Spelljamming port, and the “Library of Arcanum”.
“Can’t say how long I spent in the Library days, maybe weeks actually, I was hoping to find any references to the Manaverse, our enemy’s the Laputans, or a potentially new civilization to trade with.” Out of the corner of Gorlen’s eye, he catches the watchful glance of the bartender, in the past he may have gotten a bit too holy and forgotten to pay, yet he has always settled up, though it may be the next morning before he does. The Drunkin Ogre now has a new bartender, and she seems to be keeping a close eye on Gorlen.
Gorlen slyly winks toward the barkeep assured the barkeep he would settle up on his bill, before leaving, versus being drunk by the end of the night and forgetting, stumbling back to his shop like so many times in the past. And every time an Ogre bouncer named Ikug is there to meet him, over the years I have gotten to know Ikug, smart for an Ogre, has potential, he’s a decent fella.
Digan, a dwarf from Kheg Moldur who visits V’Ral periodically trading with Gorlen usually comes to the tavern with Gorlen, mainly because he usually buys. Digan, waves his hand in front of Gorlen’s face… “Old gnome your mind is trailing off again”, Gorlen’s focus snaps back … “Ohh right! Where was I?” Many of the patrons around Gorlen’s table begin to snicker, and from across the bar, on the stool near the door Ikug yells, “Library”. “Ahh yes the library”, tipping his mug in appreciation of Ikug youthful hearing.
Soo in the Library I recently learned something interesting about the Laputans, approximately 400 years ago there was a chronomancy league within their ranks, more of a cabal really, that is believed to have destroyed a long-lost realm called Gunula. I couldn’t get any details on what happened, save for the mage who escaped safely, leaving the entire land mass of Gunula to a laboratory beneath the Ocean of Irionen.
What little lore remains, is the chronomancer’s that survived was Aion, along with his apprentice who was able to grab some treasure, and books before the chronomancer shifted them into the mana-ethereal plane. Now here is where it caught my interest, the Cabal had been commissioned by the Laputan Capital to build a Fortress in the Manaetheral plane for research that will aid in conquering this world, or at lease bring about the next great age of Laputan. What I discovered is the Laputan Fortress was built in the ManaEtheral plane on the edge of the Deep Mana-Ethereal plane. Yeah you heard correctly … take a moment to take that in, it was the Deep Mana-Ethereal plane.
For years Aion continued his research slowly rebuilding and recruiting Laputans for expeditions into the deep mana-ethereal. Aion made it to the deep mana-ethereal plane, but later disappeared under circumstances not entirely clear as to why. His apprentice, Remus, after many years had grown in power and had become a force to be reckoned after years of Aion’s tutelage. Taking up the mantle of the Temporal Mage. Little was known from the from the books in the Library about the Fortress, and even less about the deep mana-ethereal. What I did learn is while it was called a Fortress, really the structure is a single cylinder (tower-like) built from matter brought from the Prime and proto-matter from the Deep Mana-Ethereal, measuring roughly five stories in height. The interior of the Fortress conforms to the weightlessness of the Mana Ethereal-Plane, and so instead of stair cases, a central open shaft connects to all the rooms from one end to the other. A decorative metal span runs through the very center of the shaft, glowing lighter or darker in response to the will of castle’s master and providing light throughout.
Before Aion’s disappearance into the Deep-Mana Ethereal he had been collecting the deep mana-ethereal proto-matter and mixed it into an alloy with what the Laputan’s called power mithril to create a new form of golems, it is said he built 10 in total, to act as defenders of the Fortress and the Laputan forces that resides there.
“Now as you can see, after learning this a few months ago, I had to go see this for myself, so I set off for an expedition into the Deep-Mana Ethereal”, signaling the barkeep for another round.
Now getting to the deep mana-ethereal plane isn’t as easy as it sounds, see the Laputan Fortress is built on a weak point in the curtain between the mana-ethereal and the deep mana-ethereal. Finding an entrance either thru Sigil is hard enough, near impossible via the use of magic. So, getting to the Mana-Ethereal plane is easy enough, but you have to hike it to a weak spot in the curtain between the planes to get to the deep mana-ethereal. I suspect the Laputans sought to control the entrance, as they apparently sent many expeditions thru.
It’s easy to get turned around, with pulsing fields of mana, no gravity, time moves erratically, and the native mana creatures are not always friendly. Spells and spell-like abilities function in very wild ways, always chances to go awry. It sort of reminds me of some of the first proto-power masters back in the day, the crazy spell mishaps that occurred…
Once I had gotten to the location of the weak point into the curtain is when I discovered the Laputan Fortress, built right on the event horizon of the weak point in the curtain. I tried to get as close to the Fortress as I could when I realized I haven’t seen any patrols, or guards. Moving in closer I discovered a pair of shattered proto golems at its entrance, which gave me pause, but I pushed forward into the tower. Once in the tower there wasn’t any sign of any Laputans, all the golems have been destroyed and left behind, but no bones, corpses, not even blood. Normally, in situations like this I think Alchemist, but an Alchemist strong enough to smash these proto-Golems, wouldn’t be interested in Laputan reagents… there had to be a different reason, so I continued to press into the tower.
After some time, I was able to largely search and loot the entire tower, whoever wiped out the Laputan’s took something very specific, or had no need for stuff. Aside from some of the interesting raw materials I found in the forge, they did have a small library the I spent the better part of 6 weeks pouring thru. I know, I know Gorlen looking at Digans expression on his face, Laputan’s are a bunch of wankers, but those wankers…do keep good records.
I found a couple of interesting things while I was there, apparently the Laputans were trading with what the Laputan’s called the Argith, they are a form of ghostly elves, they read a lot like a version of Deep Mana-Ethereal Drow. The Laputans also had an incredible research interest in what they referred to as wave spiders, they had a remarkable ability to manipulate mana waves, time, magnetic pulses, resulting in several lost Laputan patrols to them. There were also a few notes on coming across a few Phaerimm variants, an establish mind flayer outpost, and a hexagonal prismatic tower and in the footnotes, it said Spellweaver question mark.
Now for whatever the reason, there was a journal in Remus’s chambers, that detailed a stealth expedition were the Laputan’s were to research a couple of nests of Wave Spiders in the hopes of finding a way to neutralize them. One of their assassins called Pandora, apparently got greedy, while on her intel mission, and stole a Huge, egg-shaped artifact from one of the nests. He looks up at Digan, I suspect this is what happen to the tower. There was ~8 hours of time, as noted in the Journal, from when the artifact made it back to the tower, and the horde of wave spider descended upon the Laputans. Remus couldn’t learn much in such a short time, other than the artifact radiates an unidentifiable divinity that he believes resides within the deep mana-ethereal plane.
At this point, I was about 2.5 months into my exploration, and I was ready to step thru the curtain. About 3 days in, remember time and distance is all a bit wonky in the deep mana-ethereal, I came across a silvery light glow, that turned out to be one of the elven ghost cities. Yeah, I got to close and was quickly discovered by one of their primordial channelers of Vezule (no idea who that is), I was able to shake them after about a day of running, I think they just got tired or bored and left me alone. Unfortunately, my theory wasn’t true, I doubled back after some time to make sure they had given up on the gnome and found them ripped apart. Bad for me, the mana-ethereal marauders that ripped them apart had set a trap for me, long story short I died.
Digan looking up confused because Gorlen is sitting in front of him, Gorlen waves his hand dismissing Digan’s confusion, not the first time for it to happen, I deal in exotic materials, it goes with the job. I always have a ton of contingencies just for this reason. Eventually the mana-ethereal marauders celebrated their hunt and drank themselves of Gorlen’s top shelf brew, after they all passed out, I got up brushed myself off and headed back home. At this point I had been away from my shop a good chunk of time, and needed to resupply, realizing I need to rethink my approach to exploring the deep mana-ethereal. My next expedition will be in ~6 weeks.
In the meantime … Gorlen fumbling around in his bag, I was able to find some of this raw power mithril ore at the Laputan Fortress in one of their storage rooms … handing it over to Digan. I was hoping to see what your people could discover or possibly make with it. If the forgers in your mountain like’s it, I’m going back in 6 weeks, I’ll try and grab some more… if possible.
To be continued.