Adventure Luna 4 ~Rebirth~

Into the Desert
In the arid desert of southern Gou

In their quest to gather more power and resources to prepare for open war with the Kalsh Empire, our heroes set their sights on the arid desert of the southern region of the Gou Empire, said to hold many rifts containing crystallized aether. By using a ritual found in the formula for crafting magical arms and armour, our heroes plan to focus the aether of a cluster of crystals into a single shard, which can then be used to further increase the potency of their weapons and armour.

They bought passage on an airship across the Central Ocean and found themselves in the river town of Sakahi, where they stocked up on water and supplies before setting out across the desert. The trip was dreary, hot, and uneventful, but they did meet a pair of esper archaeologists and their guards, who wanted to trade for water.

They had managed to avoid danger so far, but they’re not out of the desert just yet.

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Plans for the next adventure
Interrupted by a monster hunt!

Our heroes decided that their next best course of action would be to gather more crystal shards to further strengthen their arsenal. To do so, they’d have to find one of the many rift canyons scattered around Arald, most of which seem to be clustered in the southern reaches of the Gou Empire, in an arid region. As our heroes planned out their next trip, a panicking villager came to them for help!

A large shipment of salted fish was bound north for another town when it was attacked by a malboro. Everyone made it away safely, and the malboro took all the fish, but the real danger was a malboro this close to civilization. Malboros are normally reclusive creatures that stick to their swamps, but this one had come as far as the boreal forest near Gilbridge and was brazen enough to attack humans for food. It had to be put down!

With the promise of a reward from the Monster Hunters’ Guild, our heroes set out and tracked it to the nearby woods, where they followed its sproutlings to a clearing where the malboro had stashed the stolen salted fish. There, they fought a pitched battle against the foul creature, but came out victorious. They were rewarded a handsome sum for defeating such a dangerous monster, which would help fund their long trip to southern Gou.

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Return to Gilbridge
Reunion with old friends

Having successfully mapped out and left the ruins on the south coast of Bolla’s Domain, our heroes booked passage on an airship back to Gilbridge to see if Watts could do anything with that adamantine the party found. Watts agreed to craft weapons for them, and said there was enough adamantine for a greatsword for Danava and a longsword for Iruc, with enough left over for a dagger for anyone to use. Thaos wanted help from Watts and Junius to fix up the mining tool he retrieved from the large mining automaton, but in the meantime, asked for Su Nen’s help in performing a ritual to enchant a light crossbow for Aisling.

The purpose of the trip was to accumulate wealth and power in order to ready themselves for the inevitable war when the Kalsh Empire finally invades Arald and comes after its crystals. Do our heroes feel ready? The Empire might come knocking even if they aren’t, and Gilbridge is mere days away on foot from the southern Luna Gate.

The other two gates are in even less hospitable places: The far north of Arinoa, and the middle of the desert in southern Gou. Are they worth investigating, or should the heroes travel through the Luna Gate by Gilbridge and take a look around themselves? What of the elezen sage Diodore, who said he was going to try and find Anfini’s missing water crystal?

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South Coast Ruins part 3
Discovering the mines

Our heroes opened the third and final sealed door in the ruins. This hallway led deeper into the mountain and led to what appeared to be a mine, full of possibly-inactive clockwork automatons designed for mining. Bypassing them without a fight, our heroes then discovered a slick and slimy alcove that might be home to some kind of burrowing monster. Fortunately, the monster was nowhere to be found.

Moving on, they reached a dead end with a huge clockwork miner and what appeared to be a vein of adamantine. On approaching, the clockwork miner reactivated and attacked, but it was handily defeated with some teamwork and luck. In addition to 12 pounds of adamantine, a thunder-blasting device used to break rock was also taken from the clockwork miner — it would take time and work to fix it and make it man-usable, but it could be useful.

With the ruins completely mapped out, our heroes have only one task left: Leave the ruins.

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South Coast Ruins part 2
A clockwork automaton factory!

Exploring deeper into the ruins, our heroes traveled to two rooms marked on Steim Donnegal’s map. The first contained a spherical device that Steim’s team was unable to identify, but Thaos correctly identified it as a barrier generator of some sort, and one significantly more advanced than the ones the Kalsh Empire uses. Iruc suggested that this barrier must have been an aversion barrier, which creates a field that plants a mental suggestion to stay away, rather than generating a physical barrier.

They moved on to a room marked on Steim’s map as being for controlling local weather and the flow of aether in the region, but the devices had since failed and were non-functional. Moving on to the next sealed door, our heroes were immediately attacked by a horde of clockwork automatons! Partway through the battle, a gigantic clockwork colossus appeared, complicating the fight!

Fortunately, with clever tactics and the exploiting of weaknesses, our heroes triumphed. The room appeared to be a factory of some sort, specifically for the construction of clockwork automatons. They found a non-functional device in the corner for moving raw material from one place to another, suggesting the presence of a mine as part of the ruins.

Only one sealed door remains!

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South Coast Ruins
At the southern edge of Bolla's Domain, adventure!

With a brief stop at a port city, our heroes — with the Sage Kri Va Ti paying their fare — made their way to the southern coast of Bolla’s Domain, where they traveled into the mountains, following the trail left by the explorer Steim Donnegal. With his directions, they found the entrance to the ruins easily enough, but were immediately attacked by giant scorpions once inside!

After a fierce and drawn-out battle, our heroes emerged victorious (but not unscathed) and resumed exploring. They found what was no doubt living quarters for the Ancients, full of non-functional devices and decayed, dormant, or dead clockwork automatons. One clockwork servant was still active, but feeble and in extraordinarily poor repair thanks to nearly three thousand years of wear and tear.

They found some interesting and powerful magical artifacts inside one of the sealed rooms, but there was still a lot more of the ruins to explore. With the ruins having been opened to the outside for so long, there was bound to be more wildlife present. The remaining functional clockwork servant also said something about manufacturing and mining — what was it the ruins were designed to manufacture?

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The Fire Temple Revisited
Another new ally, and plans for the future

Our heroes made their way back to the Fire Temple via airship, bidding farewell to the craftsman Watts, the magitek pilot Junius, and the mage Diodore. While Watts and Junius elected to stay in Gilbridge to fix up that magitek armour, Diodore resolved to return to Anfini to try and find the missing Water Crystal himself.

On the first day of their trip on the airship, a sharp-eyed member of the party noticed another light in the night sky flying from Anfini, and south toward the Luna Gate near Gilbridge. Rather than a cluster of lights like the refugees or the Imperial scouting party, this was a solitary light.

Upon their arrival at the Fire Temple, our heroes informed the sage Kri Va Ti of what transpired, and that Arald’s crystals may be in great danger from the Kalsh Empire, who seek to gather the crystals from all of Emla’s moons at any cost. The sage agreed that all the temples must be informed, and that the nations near the temples must be convinced to lend their military might in the name of protecting the crystals. The sage also gave our heroes two gifts: A Bag of Holding, and several crystal shards, powerful aether-charged crystals that can be used to power the devices of the Ancients, including unlocking sealed doors in ruins.

However, their conversation was interrupted by a newcomer — a defector from the Empire, a young sorcerer who sought to aid the Crystalmarked in their fight against the Empire. He claimed to have training in the operation of the Empire’s magitek armour, their frightful walking siege engines, as well as knowledge of the Empire itself.

With the advice of the sage, our heroes then decided on their next course of action: Gathering power. Their best bet seemed to be exploring ruins of the Ancients, since the most powerful weapons they’ve found were all recovered from ruins. It didn’t take much time in the Fire Temple’s archives to discover mention of a recently-explored ruin in the mountains on the south coast of Bolla’s Domain, conveniently nearby, that mentioned several sealed doors.

Our heroes then set out for the ruins, stocking up on appropriate tools and supplies for what might be a multi-day trek deep within another set of Ancient ruins.

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New Allies, Separate Ways
The Kalsh Empire looms!

The interrogation of their two prisoners was informative and enlightening. The black mage and magitek pilot our heroes captured were fairly forthcoming: The Kalsh Empire is indeed seeking out the crystals of every moon of Emla, but do not know — or will not tell — the true reason. They also revealed that Albel, the moon that the Kalsh Empire comes from, is inhabited by humes, genasi, and tieflings. Genasi are humes changed by the power of the four crystals and bearing elemental powers related to the crystal they were changed by, while tieflings are humes changed by the void — and they make up the upper class of the Kalsh Empire, voluntarily undergoing the change in order to gain magical powers.

The pilot, a young hume named Junius, revealed his willingness to help the party in exchange for his life, his loyalty to the Kalsh Empire having been broken by the destruction of his hometown for sheltering a Resistance cell. His former comrade attempted to kill both himself and Junius with a spell before he could betray the Empire, but thanks to quick casting by Su Nen, the fireball was neutralized and the black mage was subdued.

Our heroes then decided their next course of action was to inform the Crystalists at the Fire Temple of their discoveries and of the impending danger of the Kalsh Empire’s invasion of Arald. First, however, they retrieved the still-functional scout-model magitek armour Junius piloted, bringing it back to Gilbridge so the dwarf Watts — an acquaintance of Diodore — could have a look at it and repair it. Diodore announced his intentions to return to Anfini to seek out the missing Water Crystal, and parted with the heroes.

And so, our heroes set out to return to the Fire Temple. What new dangers await them?

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First Encounter with the Kalsh Empire
Ambush!

With the refugees safe and sound in the nearby port city of Gilbridge, our heroes spoke with Diodore about the crystals, noting that humes and their language are common to both their worlds, and that Arald, Anfini, and Albel each have their own set of four crystals. However, their discussion was cut short — lights in the sky from Anfini signaled the arrival of Kalsh Empire forces, likely a scouting party!

At Diodore’s urging, they set an ambush and managed to take the Imperials by surprise. Even with the element of surprise, however, the battle was hard-fought — the presence of a suit of Magitek Armour, a walking siege engine powered by magic, made the battle even harder.

However, our heroes triumphed and managed to capture both an enemy mage and the magitek armour’s pilot — and they kept the magitek armour in working order. Now it was just a matter of getting their prisoners back to town for interrogation.

And what are they going to do with that magitek armour? Nobody in the party knows how to pilot it, and Diodore hasn’t been trained in its operation, either.

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Travelers from the Third Moon
A new ally and a new threat!

Our heroes finished up at the Fire Temple and, for a hefty price, booked passage on an airship leading from the Fire Temple to the port city of Gilbridge, on the southeast edge of Medon. There, they gossiped with the locals and discovered that the stone circle they seek was theorized to be astronomy related, since the stones apparently line up with the movements of the sun, Emla, the moons, and other celestial bodies and constellations. On their chocobos, the heroes then set out.

After two days of travel, they arrived in the early evening around sunset, and discovered the magical standing stones on a hilltop overlooking the ocean. After some poking around and stargazing, they noticed that Anfini — the third moon — was rather bright for this time of night and at this distance. It soon became clear that it wasn’t Anfini, but a great light that seemed to be flying from Anfini toward Arald! The light showed itself to be a cluster of lights that converged above the stone circle, and then descended in a series of flashes, revealing a group of twenty or so people.

The people were primarily humes, but among them were strange hume-like creatures, some tall and elegant with pointed ears, others short and stout, called elezen and dwarves, respectively. The leader among them, an elezen in mage robes, introduced himself as Diodore. He bore a crystal mark just like the heroes, and claimed he had led these people from a village called Tomra.

He told a tale of his world, Anfini, coming under attack from an invading army from the fourth moon, Albel. This army, called the Kalsh Empire, was seeking the crystals of Anfini, and would no doubt come to Arald to search for theirs, likely using the same method the refugees used to travel here: The Luna Gates.

The heroes agreed to guide them to Gilbridge, which on foot would be about three days away. The promise of invaders looms in the future. What does the Kalsh Empire want with the crystals, and why are they so ruthless in their search?

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