When we last left the Bastards they had just put the finishing touches onto repairs of their cart using words and diplomacy rather than tools.
Early in the morning, the band of adventures had packed up their camp, nicely set up by Oliolio beside the road, and had ventured to the north-east; the Shelf growing taller as they grew ever nearer. After several hours of walking the group was only a short distance away from the Shelf. Suddenly, a loud snap and the crash of swords to the ground notified the Bastards that the axle and wheel of the cart pulled by Geldof and Ed had broken into fine splinters. The crew set to work immediately thinking of possible solutions to their new problem. Barakas, Bael, and Castanza walked an hour west to where they had seen a cottage some distance into the woods which lined the road. Turning to see his friends leave, Xan noticed a covered wagon coming up the road from behind them and immediately ran towards it and jumped into the brush, ready to ambush, slaughter, and take what he needed. Tahiquitz realized Xan’s intentions and decided that maybe not every problem was solved with innocent blood. Walking past Xan, Tahiquitz approached the cart and spoke the people inside. They were refugees from Tersk, which now was apparently a burning pile of rubble in the distance; two families, each with young children, and one with a father who was near death from burns sustained back in Tersk. After talking for some time, Xan sauntered out of the bushes and approached the wagon. Maintaining his balance in the extreme middle of a scale of moral extremes, Xan offered to heal the burned man. Unfortunately, the families could not offer any assistance to the group, and so they were begrudgingly let go. In the meantime, Ash had unloaded all of the supplies from the wagon and organized them neatly on the ground. When they arrived at the cottage, Barakas and Bael knocked politely at the door while Castanza waited in the trees around back. They were all surprised when someone knocked back heavily on the other side of the door. Barakas opened the door and a festering mutilated body fell forwards onto the leaf covered ground, worms and ooze running in and out of sores on his body. Not waiting to ask questions, from something that clearly wouldn’t give many answers, the three adventurers unleashed furious magic and steel. The deformed figure had chunks blown off and slices cut deep into it, releasing torrents of black pus and worms which writhed on the ground, but for this creature, death was further off than Barakas, who he charged and slashed with dirty hands. Barakas was hit and released a scream loud enough to shake the trees. Ash saw birds fly off from the trees in the distance. The retaliation was fierce and the figure was dispatched, but not before it dealt significant damage to the naked bird. Within the cottage, which was slowly catching on fire from magic within the battle, the group found wooden poles originally used to make traps, but equally good for making an axle.
The three returned back to the cart to find Ash, Tahiquitz, and Xan gone. Barakas sent his bird up into the air, who after fighting with some sparrows, which Barakas popped with magic missiles, squawked down general directions to where the shifter, tiefling, and dragonborn had gone. The group walked down the road and found themselves, back with the rest of their group in an arcanaus sponsored excavation site. The lead excavator, Rickard Everett, had already made a deal with Ash that he would provide the group a wheel if they would simply listen to him talk and potentially help with the excavation while he went to eat lunch.
Barakas went along with Everett to join him for lunch, Bael cloaked himself in a disguise appearing identical to Everett and ordered some men to place the aforementioned wheel on the Bastard’s cart, and the rest of the group began digging and inspecting the interior of the excavation site. After digging within the sunken cylindrical stone site for a small time, Castanza came upon a strange green orb which he promptly hid from his friends. Ash shortly after, based on a pattern he noticed within the revealed stones of the floor, began digging in the middle of the pit and discovered a large dark green pad with a silver trim contained a single indentation roughly shaped like a finger.
Immediately pressing his finger into the indentation, Ash began a chain of mechanical events which resulted in the floor stepping down around the pad, forming a spiral staircase, which led into an underground chamber.
Within the chamber the group discovered hundreds of green orbs, similar to the one that Castanza had found, but with differing runes on their surfaces. Castanza attempted to steal more of these, but failed. In the centre of the room, directly under the green pad Ash had found above, was a large black blur, like that of a coin spinning incredibly fast. The group looked at it and questioned its purpose, proposing ways to safely engage it. Barakas and Bael walked down the spiral stairs just in time to see Xan run and dive head first into the blur with everyone around him shouting and palms to their faces. Xan connected with the blur and time seemed to freeze. Within the next instant, the group saw thousands of rooms just like the one they were in, in thousands of different places, and they saw thousands of times in history. They all passed out, and when they awoke they felt their brains throbbing with knowledge, while the spinning disc lay shattered on the ground.
The group gathered themselves up and investigated another room connected to the main chamber. Within this room they found a small silver pillar in the shape of an arm, runes covering its surface, holding a dark black sphere. Ash touched the sphere, and after flashing blue it revealed to him a sky with clouds drifting past, and then movement. Right before the sphere shut off, Ash swore he saw a face obscure the sky in the sphere, a face with 3 glowing blue eyes. Before he could attempt to use the sphere again, or inspect it further, Xan smashed it to pieces with his Trikal and a blue beam of energy shot through the roof. Ash ran outside just in time to see his hopes of knowing more disappear along with the blue beam of energy, now a small star within the sky. He let forth the second bird stirring scream of the day in frustration, but was not able to stay frustrated for long as he soon realized that Everett and the guards were shouting. One of the guards had grabbed some kind of green orb from the pit and run off into the woods. Ash planted his feet and sprinted off into the forest in the direction that Everett pointed. Dodging in and out of the trees like a deer, Ash soon saw a figure cloaked in black in the distance. He gained slightly more ground and then dropped down, immediately pulling and releasing an arrow from his bow which sailed through the air, piercing falling leaves as it flew, and then planted itself as firmly as a tree into the calf of the running man, who let forth the third bird stirring scream of the day.
Ash caught up with the fallen man and found out that he was a thief, commanded by Devire to undertake this mission. Ash was in a moral dilemma and attempted to take the middle ground at first by trying to help the thief. He pulled the arrow and several ligaments out from the man’s leg and then stuffed the ligaments back in with his fingers. He asked the man how he could help him out, where he was going when he was running, and many other questions which the thief all answered by essentially screaming, swearing, and yelling at Ash for shooting him. There was talk of wolves eating the thief, and attempting to use a longsword to defend himself, but eventually Ash reached the end of the high road and plummeted down to the low road as fast as the arrow from his bow pinned the man’s head into the dirt.
Returning to the excavation site with the thief’s body as well as the orb, Ash returned the orb to Everett who was ecstatic and offered to give the Bastard’s the wheel for the cart. After they had secured the wheel exchange, Barakas informed Everett of all of Xan’s brash and reckless actions.