Chornalth Adventures - Liga (Current: Emerald & Diamond)

Break Between Campaigns
Change of Systems Inbound...

After the end of this campaign, I switched to D&D 3.5 for my next campaign in the same setting.

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RQ Evening 26
... and your past comes back to haunt you...

578 CY

Our cast of characters…

Demios Blackhammer, dwur initiate of Clangeddin (Lortmils);
Kalik, halfling initiate of Avoreen;
Kendradell, female half-elf bard & initiate of Lydia <absent>;
Marcus, half-elf initiate of Heironeous <absent>;
Milik, halfling sorcerer;
Murray, human wizard <absent>;
Naazi, chenxa (centaur) warrior of Tenh <absent>;
Nikolai, Suloise human initiate of Lendor;
Tarqualan, high elf mystic (Vesve Forest).

[18th of Wealsun, 578]

Kind of a slowly paced evening tonight, as several members of the group were absent. The first order of business for the evening was a meeting called by Nikolai, the primary purpose of which was to rally the group and refresh everyone’s memories on why they were working together. According to Nikolai, the group faced several dangerous enemies, including the following: Captain Elias and the unknown (female) necromancer he served, the priest of Tharizdun they had left in control of the lost temple in the Yatils, their former companion Sabian, who was in the thrall of the demon skull Ja’vhan, their former associate Mirella and whatever force currently dominated her, and finally whoever or whatever (Graz’zt?) stole the ore from the upper works of Delvenbrass.

After laying all of these facts out on the table, Murray elected to discontinue his association with the group, and was last seen outside the Cargo Gate, presumably seeking passage elsewhere. Demios, though newly joined with the party, elected to remain, and Tarqualan cited the knowledge that since Capt. Elias presumably still served the Hierarchs of the Homed Society in some capacity, anything which weakened them was to the betterment of his own people in the Vesve. The others cited various personal reasons for continuing their quest, and it was agreed that time and information were valuable commodities to be sought. As the others left, Nikolai called Milik aside and informed him that according to another vision he’d had, some demonic force had taken an active interest in the hobniz sorcerer, so he might want to take extra precautions with regard to his lodgings and whatnot.

After the meeting, Kalik sought out Sabian’s whereabouts by questioning his father, a boot-maker off of Marsh Street. The father revealed that Sabian was still alive, though had apparently taken ill since his return to the city, so much so that his father feared for his life. He gave Kalik directions to his son’s apartments after measuring him for a pair of winter boots. Kalik stopped along the way at a bakery (the same bakery that his former companion Ivan’s ex-girlfriend, Melisande had lived at the last time he’d been in town) to pick up a variety of pies, doughnuts, and other pastries. He also stopped in across the street where Kendradell had resumed singing for the primarily dwurin patrons, thinking to bring along Demios, but he was by that time far too inebriated to be of much use.

Arriving at Sabian’s apartments, Kalik was stopped by a leather garbed guard, interrogated, and stripped of weapons before being led into Sabian’s presence. At first, Sabian, who was a withered, wizened shell of the gnome he used to be thought that Kalik was someone else come to kill him, but eventually he realized he was only an old friend and was greeted with an hours-long nonstop monologue that detailed Kalik’s adventures since they had last seen one another, punctuated with Kalik feeding Sabian pies and pastries as he talked (and talked, and talked). Eventually Sabian revealed in whispered gasps that he had lost the skull to Mirella, and that he had risen high enough in the Slayer’s Guild with the skull’s aid prior to that point to have the prices on all their heads lifted.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, Milik used several spell matrices supplied by the College of Magic (at great cost, of course) to craft himself a familiar. The (currently unnamed) statuette of a winged man with eagle’s claws for feet and bat-like wings upon it’s back was crafted from solid steel and enchantments were laid upon it to give it sentience and motion, and finally it was bound to Milik as his familiar.

Nikolai, meanwhile, cloistered himself in the temple of Lendor, casting divination magics to learn as much as he could about the coming days. He learned initially that in ten days time, Captain Elias would be in the city of Fax, that Mirella had stolen the skull from Sabian six months prior to his question, and that if left unopposed, Captain Elias would achieve his ultimate goals in eleven years, four months, and seven days… but what those goals might be were unknown.

Tarqualan spent many hours in the libraries at the Gray College seeking more knowledge about Crystal skulls, and learned that two primary types were known to exist. The first, created by the Suloise, were demonic bindings created for the most part in the days before their empire fell. The second type were sacred to Nerull, and came in a variety of colors, typically crafted from a large gemstone instead of crystal.

On the 23rd of Wealsun, Kalik left the city to journey to the village of Fadadia where he had originally taken his vows and had first heard of the Sword of Nogre. His mission was two-fold; first, he hoped to meet once again with the minstrel who had first told him the story of the sword, and second, after having heard so many of Nikolai’s visions, he went seeking solitude to perhaps receive on of his own…

The days rolled past while the party searched various sources of information, but eventually on the 2nd of Richfest their idyllic existence was shattered when they learned that the night before, as the Inn where she was performing was serving their last round of drinks, a dwur and three humans had sprung from the crowd, knocked Kendradell on the head, and hustled her out onto the street before any of the (mostly intoxicated) patrons or workers could react. She was then tossed into a waiting carriage and spirited away; her pet mountain lion appeared to have been drugged, as it neither rose to her defense nor could the frightened staff rouse it until the next morning…

[2nd of Richfest, 578]

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RQ Evening 25
...and off with you, you silly axe-wielding k'niggitL.

578 CY

Our cast of characters…

Kalik, halfling initiate of Avoreen;
Kendradell, female half-elf bard & initiate of Lydia;
Marcus, half-elf initiate of Heironeous;
Milik, halfling sorcerer;
Murray, human wizard;
Naazi, chenxa (centaur) warrior of Tenh;
Nikolai, Suloise human initiate of Lendor;
Tarqualan, high elf mystic (Vesve Forest).
and introducing: Demios Blackhammer, dwur initiate of Clangeddin (Lortmils)

[24th of Coldeven, 578]

We rejoined our group this evening with them finally riding out to visit the keep and lands granted them by the Voorman of Perrenland, only to find it occupied by an unknown armed force of men. Initially, only Marcus and Kendradell rode up to the gates, whereupon the men on the walls began whistling and making suggestive comments regarding the bard’s beauty. After calling out for entry to ‘their’ keep, they were denied by a man who gave his name as Baricus; who cited “possession being nine-tenths of the law in such cases” and pointing out that Marcus and Kendradell hardly constituted a besieging force. Though they initially elected to retreat, they were soon joined by Kalik, and after trading more insults, an offer was made whereby the bandits within were offered ‘official’ positions as guards and tax collectors….

Once within the keep (which Marcus kept referring to as a castle, to the great amusement of Baricus), negotiations were made in good faith, but it soon became apparent that while not precisely an evil man, the shades of distinction between taxing the populace and raiding/robbing them would be difficult to impress upon him. At one juncture they reached an impasse, and Baricus signaled his lieutenants to kill the party, thinking that they were at his mercy….

The party quickly barricaded themselves inside what passed for a main hall within the keep, preventing Baricus or his men from fleeing, but one man did manage to signal their compatriots outside that battle had been joined. While the party within finished off the leader and his lieutenants, the bandits outside the keep and on it’s walls made good their escape, hamstringing the war-horses and ponies the party had ridden in on, and stealing the other riding horses for their own.

By the time they emerged from the central hall, the bandits were nearly a mile off, and could be seen quickly scattering into the hills. A more thorough search of the keep revealed a makeshift dungeon off of the root cellar, where three men and a dwur were imprisoned. The dwur introduced himself as Demios of the Blackhammer clan of the Lortmils Mts., while the men were the mayor of West Kaversford (the nearest village), Genrel, a merchant from Exag, and Vesper, a member of the bandit gang that had recently departed.

Vesper explained that he had been locked up by Baricus after he stabbed a fellow bandit over a woman while drunk, and that he’d been left there for several days since the incident. Genrel, once led above ground, moaned and bewailed the loss of his caravan, the remains of which littered the interior of the keep. Kensal, the mayor, was relieved to be released, and when the group got down to cases with Kensal and Genrel, arrangements were made for both honest guards, a potential Castilian, and the resumption of honest management of the region.

Uncertain of what exactly to do with Vesper, Kalik offered him employment as a companion/henchman, based on Kensal’s recommendation that while a poor farmer and a belligerent drunk, as a youth he’d been a nice enough lad and had fallen in with bad company after the failure of the farm his father had left him. Vesper then led them to many of the sites where the bandits might run to in retreat, permitting some, but not all, to be recaptured and brought to justice.

Two weeks after arriving at Kaverknoll, the party was ready to begin their travels north to the Bumeal, where Mirella, the servant of Dalt who had accompanied them on their last foray into Drelzna’s lair had said she would be. Before they could depart, however, a messenger from Schwartzenbruin arrived bidding them to return with him to meet with the Voorman who had important business to discuss with them.

Arriving in the capitol, they party, now strengthened by Demios, met with the Voorman and Nerek Festil, the court sorcerer. Franz quickly explained that what his investigators believed could only be a vampire was stalking the Low Quarter, and several members of the party realized that the bakery that Mirella had placed her gate within lay in that same region. After several days of staking out that location, they were rewarded when the gate they had thought closed swirled to life, and a heavily cloaked figure emerged from it.

Though surprised by the flurry of spells and missiles launched upon it’s arrival, the figure quickly stepped back through the gate, pursued initially only by Marcus, Kalik, and Demios. As they chased the figure back towards the main reception hall, Kalik noticed that the place had subtly changed, and showed signs that a great battle had been fought there recently.

As the trio of warriors entered the main hall, they noticed immediately that the floor of the hall had been excavated in two places, and even as the thought occurred to them, the cloaked figure before them revealed itself as Lucien, former Knight of Pelor… now a vampire!
Though obviously distraught at the prospect of having to kill his former companions, Lucien choked back his tears of shame and prepared to meet them in battle. Using the amulet given to him by the priest of Pholtus, Marcus was soon encased in golden sunlight, and as he strode forward to engage Lucien, he released the Light Elemental contained within the amulet, as well.

Though his skin was slowly charring from the glow emanating from Marcus, Lucien managed to croak out a spell that negated Marcus’ control of the elemental. Almost simultaneously, however, Milik arrived behind the tableau and unleashed a spell at Lucien that eroded his armor seconds before Marcus brought his battle axe around in a killing blow… ,

Lucien crumpled to the floor before Marcus, his body streaming into mist. Marcus stepped forward, bringing the mantle of sunlight he bore directly upon the mist, and as he did so Lucien’s body clotted out of the mist and fell heavily to the floor. Knowing that their former companion had once asked that his dead body be exposed to the light of Pelor should he ever fall, they spent many anxious moments wondering if the body that lay before them now was restored to life from unlife by the same mechanism that he’d hoped would function against normal death. Though desperately weak, Lucien seemed hale and mortal enough once more. Using one of the more powerful spells at his command, Kalik healed Lucien completely as the rest of the party began to take a closer look at Iggwilv’s stronghold…

Signs of battle were everywhere, with broken weapons laying in comers and traces of fire everywhere. When questioned on the matter, Lucien revealed that Mirella and a force of soldiers had arrived an unknown number of weeks before and slain Drelzna and all her defenders. He himself had survived only because the location of his resting place was unknown to her; once he’d fallen and fled there, Mirella apparently looted the place and left, leaving the gateway between the basement and this place open.

When asked, Lucien revealed (hesitantly) that he had somehow been restored to life by Drelzna, who then took his life in her own fashion, reanimating him as a vampire like herself. She had seemed quite pleased by the irony that a knight dedicated to the Sun God would now be unable to ever again stand beneath it’s rays without facing certain death. Under her control, he became a killer to survive, and her lover whensoever she required it of him. His humiliation was more than obvious, and his sorrow more so; those in the party who knew him best promised to escort him back to a friendly temple and plead his case for him should such be necessary.

Emerging once more from Iggwilv’s hidden fortress, the party briefly returned to the Voorman’s palace and explained what had transpired; inquiries were made concerning Mirella’s whereabouts, and Nerek made contact with the priests of the temple said to be hidden in the Bumeal, only to discover that Mirella had never arrived there as she said she intended; further communication established that as far as the priests could tell from communing with their god, Mirella had been lost to the cult for many months, apparently under a strange but unshakable compulsion to serve some other, unknown power.

As the party rode south into Veluna and Furyondy, they speculated greatly on what power Mirella had fallen to; from further commentary made by Lucien, Marcus decided that somehow Iggwilv herself had possessed the young initiate, and had used her body to reclaim her lost works. The only flaw in that idea was (much) later pointed out by Nerek Festil, on one of their brief returns to Perrenland, who claimed that whatever else her faults might have been, Iggwilv doted on her children, and while the Old One might have greater fame and power, Iggwilv had held great hopes for her daughter, as well.

As the weeks passed, Lucien was delivered to his ‘home’ temple and accepted back for ‘cleansing of the spirit’. As they visited their individual sanctuaries in the region, they told their tales and it was Nikolai who first learned that Mirella had visited the small temple to Lendor he frequented nearly a month or more past, claiming sanctuary for herself and her companions (a contingent of soldiers wearing black, unadorned surcoats) for a night before riding south.

The group eventually decided to ride to Greyhawk City, as they felt that old enemies had had too much time to grow strong in their absence. Besides, they reasoned, the prices on their heads might well be long forgotten, their not having been in the region for over a year…

After nearly three weeks in the city, nobody seemed to be hunting them especially, and while there Marcus undertook extensive training, and took the vows of an acolyte of Heironeous, while Milik joined the University and began laying the plans for crafting his familiar…

[15th of Wealsun, 578]

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RQ Evening 24
Working the mine...

578 CY

Our cast of characters…

Dracon, human initiate of Obad Hai & Beastmaster of the Wegwier;
Kalik, halfling initiate of Avoreen;
Kendradell, female half-elf bard & initiate of Lydia;
Marcus, half-elf initiate of Heironeous;
Milik, halfling sorcerer;
Murray, human wizard;
Naazi, chenxa (centaur) warrior of Tenh;
Nikolai, Suloise human initiate of Lendor;
Tarqualan, high elf mystic (Vesve Forest).

[20th of Readying, 578]

When we last left our group, they had slain a room filled with xvart-ghouls, and were preparing to venture through the door they
guarded. After checking the door for traps, Marcus swung it wide open, revealing a vast, oval shaped chamber filled with wooden crates. Each of these crates radiated dim magic to Tarqualan’s enhanced vision, as did the 12’ tall human (?) who stood near the far end of the chamber.

As the party approached the man, he called out to them in Bakluni, berating them for their lateness and demanding that they take up their tools and report to the first mine entrance for their assignments. A few of the party picked up the tools as they were instructed to, but Marcus attempted to slip past without doing so, and was stopped by the large man and asked if he were there to work or to fight. Sensing no evil from the man, Marcus elected to pick up a pickaxe and exit the chamber through the far exit, but he left it aside as soon as he was out of sight of the exit.

Farther down the corridor the giant had indicated, the group encountered a great cyst within the earth. roughly capsule shaped, it was 120’ in diameter, rising 15’ further overhead and dropping nearly a quarter mile beneath them. Along the sides a fairly wide ledge, roughly 20’ wide, corkscrewed counterclockwise down the inside of the cyst, over a dozen exits could be seen along the walls at various points, but it was the floor of the capsule that caught the most interest; it could be seen to swirl and bubble, even at their distance from it, acting much like lava but emitting no heat.

Following the instruction given them by the giant above, they follow the first cavern exit they come to nearly 500m until they come to a chasm that splits the tunnel, but the bridge built to cross it is broken. Tarqualan flies across to the far side where he discovers the skull of a xvart, but little else of interest. Returning for rope, a hammer, and pitons, he begins hammering to anchor the rope so that the rest of the group may cross; but as he does so he is attacked from behind by a quartet of mobats.

Tarqualan withstands their first assault, then teleports himself back to the safety of the group. As the bats turn and come within reach of the party, Marcus smashes one, Dracon casts a spell of control upon another, Kalik and Kendradell both dodge the bat swooping for Kalik (causing it to plow into the wall, stunning itself) but Milik is successfully grabbed and lifted high over the chasm. Before the bat has a chance to release Milik to fall into the chasm below, Milik grabs hold of the leg that is clutching him and holds on for dear life.

Nikolai sets his temporal spirit upon the bat, freezing it and Milik in a moment of time as Tarqualan flies out over the chasm to rescue Milik.
First he ties a rope around Milik’s midsection, then he severs the leg of the bat just above where Milik has it in a death grip. As he does this, the mobat under Dracon’s command attacks it’s fellow bat relentlessly, until it finally is commanded to smash itself into a wall. When Nikolai finally commands his spirit to release Milik and the bat, Milik blinks as he sees the bat above him lurch forwards as the rope around his midsection pulls taught (his hands still gripping the now severed hind leg of the bat for support!). As the bat begins to fall down towards the rocks below, so does Milik, at least until he begins to swing backwards from the point where Tarqualan holds the rope above him. As he is lowered to the ledge where the bulk of the party stands watching, he continues to stare at the severed leg in his hands, wondering exactly what has befallen him.

Eventually, the party crosses the broken bridge and travels another 300 meters before the ground before them becomes littered with bones, mainly those of xvarts. As the tunnel they are in eventually widens to the main mine head for this part of the dig, they find the floor covered in bones, and a forgotten ore cart lying in one comer. As the group surveys the dig, they find what was obviously the vein of ore that was being excavated, and When Milik draws near it, he begins to feel a strange warmth and tingling sensation the closer he comes to it.

A shard of a childhood memory swims to the surface, allowing Milik to identify the strange ore as ligablood, a fact which he does not share with the rest of the group initially, feigning ignorance while planning to return on his own in some year to do a little prospecting of his own. He does warn them that the ore is poisonous, which does not dissuade Nikolai from chipping off a bit to have analyzed later. The idea that this vein of ore is what the hundreds of crates above contained raises both concern and greed, but is lain aside for the moment.

Returning back the way-they came, the party listens closely for the sound of mining elsewhere; and those with keen ears can detect the sound of metal on stone far beneath them. The next outlet on their passage down seems quiet, to they continue downwards, and are rewarded by faint sounds emanating from this exit. After traveling nearly a kilometer down the well beaten tunnel, they hear the sound of a wooden cart coming from up ahead, and the group squeezes against the sides of the walls to permit it’s passage. The cart proves to be pulled by a half dozen xvarts with weary expressions, while a robed man rides atop it’s cargo of pottery jugs. This man, like the giant above, addresses the group in the Bakluni tongue, asking them their business, and upon hearing that they are not miners, demanding that they leave his master’s property. As he surveys the group, he seems to notice the small chip of ore Nikolai carries in his pack, and demands it’s return, cursing them all as thieves. Marcus, who detects the evil in this gentleman, finally has enough and strikes him with his axe; in response the man fairly explodes into a cyclone of dirt and stones.

Milik and several other party members immediately retreat before this onslaught, but Marcus stands his ground as does Dracon. As she runs for cover, Kendradell remembers that the Bakluni were famous for their friendship with the various djinni races, and cries out that the robed man must be some kind of dao! Dracon, hearing this, quickly chants out a spell of dismissal, which fails. The dao lashes out at Marcus, tearing his shield from his arm and inflicting massive damage. Stunned by the intensity of the dao’s attack, even Marcus retreats, finally rejoining the party on the stairs in the cyst.

Not knowing how closely the dao pursues, they quickly make their way upwards, only to meet a flood of xvarts pouring out the exit they originally came in through. One is scooped up and blurts out that something (or someone) identified only as Graz’zt has come, and that all must flee him or perish.

Nikolai, the only character with demonology (thanks to the books recovered from Iggwilv’s fortress) recognizes this name effortlessly, and informs the group of whom it doubtless must be. For her part, Kendradell remembers a bit of a ballad concerning xvarts, their god, and a demon prince he once served, just enough to convince the group to take care in advancing.

As they arrive in the great oval chamber that once held so many crates of ore, they all stare at the emptiness that now surrounds them. It is with hushed tones that they exit the complex, regain their horses, and ride back to the Olven Court to apprise them of the situation beneath Delvenbrass. For their part, the elves seem less concerned with the doings of ancient Bakluni sorcerers than they do in the presence of a shrine to Nerull, explaining that their have been recent clashes with agents of the Homed Society, and that it is disconcerting to discover a place of power for their enemies located inside their territory. Marcus is partially released from his geas, but charged to return when he feels he is equal to the level of challenge before him.

As the party rides south into Furyondy, Dracon bids the group farewell, expressing a desire to return to his people, having had enough of the troubles his time among civilized folk have brought him. He sells his interest in Kaverknoll to Marcus for 100 silvers, and rides northward with his wolf familiar.

Once in Furyondy, the group splits off into groups, visiting this friendly temple or that. Nikolai and Kalik return to the Temple of Pelor they had sought help from before, and learn much of certain old enemies, while Marcus visits a temple of Heironeous and is told that he might well be considered for advancement in the cult if he were to show equal zeal in his book learning as he showed in his combat abilities. A side trek to a nearby temple dedicated to Pholtus results in his being granted the use of an amulet that will provide him with a reflective shield against magic, as well as one service from a spirit friendly to Pholtus’s cult.

Once reunited, the group rode north once more into Perrenland, narrowly avoiding one of the final snowstorms of the winter to finally visit and inspect the keep they had been awarded for their actions against Iggwilv’s ancient keep the previous year. As they arrived at the gates of ‘their’ keep, however, they found the walls manned by guards not their own…

[24th of Coldeven, 578]

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RQ Evening 23
Delving into Delvenbrass...

578 CY

Our cast of characters…

Dracon, human initiate of Obad Hai & Beastmaster of the Wegwier;
Kalik, halfling initiate of Avoreen;
Kendradell, female half-elf bard & initiate of Lydia;
Marcus, half-elf initiate of Heironeous;
Milik, halfling sorcerer;
Murray, human wizard;
Naazi, chenxa (centaur) warrior of Tenh;
Nikolai, Suloise human initiate of Lendor;
Tarqualan, high elf mystic (Vesve Forest).

[13th of Readying, 578]

When last they had met, our intrepid band had split up to spend the winter months either studying, visiting relatives, or having their injuries repaired. Once reunited, Marcus told the others of the quest that the Olven Court of the Vesve had lain upon him, that he should journey to the ruined castle Delvenbrass and put to rest whatever continued to haunt that ancient site. After pausing a few days to learn more about the place, the party set forth to explore the ruin for themselves.

As they traveled, they pooled their knowledge, which amounted to the following. The castle had been built nearly 800 years before, by a Bakluni sorcerer named Vendrake bel’Adiin, who was supposedly a member of a mystical society known only as the Court of Stone. Some ancient texts mentioned that the fortress was built in remarkable time by servants who seemed to be made of the very earth itself, thus speeding the process immensely. Sometime over the next 200 or so years, his slaves carved miles of tunnels beneath the castle, and finally uncovered a source of powerful conjuration magic that was buried there… but the item discovered somehow overwhelmed the sorcerer and his allies, slaying them all and leaving none behind to tell of what had truly happened.

They arrived in the vicinity of the ruin almost a week later, but their approach to the castle was interrupted by a flight of tremendous bats overhead, that seemed to arc out over their position and then return to the castle. Before they entered the grounds themselves, Dracon stalked one of the deer native to the region and laid his will upon it, and with his magic asked it what it knew about the castle. The deer replied that the ivy that grew upon the walls of the castle tasted bad, and that many small two-legs, armed with “sticks that bite” could be found there.

A quick survey of the upper works of the ruin found it to be bounded by a square ruined wall, and a triangular shaped keep within.
The outer walls of the castle were in a state of advanced decay, though the brass-roofed towers at each comer were still mostly intact. The inner grounds held a ruined stable and abandoned smithy, as well as a roofless well near the back. Not trusting the stable to contain their horses (and suspecting that leaving them there merely shortened the flight path for their becoming bat-food) the party scouted the woods surrounding the ruin for a good place to hobble the horses.

While searching for such a place, they came upon the carcasses of four other horses, all of which were a week or more dead. Nearby the horses they found a pile of saddles, saddlebags, and packs, and in one of the packs they managed to recover an inlaid wooden box that contained a variety of letters written in a script that none but Kendradell (thanks to a necklace she owned) could decipher. While the name of the intended recipient was never mentioned, the writer called himself Barzail, and outlined the preparedness of the various olven settlements within the Vesve for assault. By consensus the group decided that the letters were most likely intended for Iuz, though the Hierarchs could not be ruled out, either.

Soon thereafter, a place was found for the horses, and the party returned to the ruin to explore the triangular keep itself. The first room they explored proved to be ceiling-less, brought down by the massive piles of guano from above. Several keen eyed members of the group noted that one of the piles of guano was oddly misshapen, and when Marcus drew back on his bow to send an arrow into it, a small humanoid form broke and ran towards the back wall, but was captured by Nikolai’s pet spirit and frozen in Time before it could escape. It was brought outside, cleaned up a bit, and recognized as a xvart.

The captured xvart gave his name as Qat, and claimed that “thousands” of his brethren dwelled below, and that they would soon rise up out of the ground to slay the party. After awhile, he began (through an interpreter, mind you) to hail Naazi as his leader, and congratulate him on the clever ruse by which so many hated over-worlders could be brought to the cook pot. The party soon grew tired of his obvious lies and knocked him unconscious, and left him tied to one of the poles that remained supporting what once was the roof of the stable.

A search of the other rooms off of the main corridor revealed only a variety of decay and broken ceilings, though the last room on the left seemed oddly shaped. The final chamber at the end of the hall proved to be a grand reception hall, with two sets of stairs leading down and one up; Nikolai’s keen eyesight spotted a door set along the wall where the stairs led up to the second floor, but when Marcus pried it open he was knocked off the stairs and to the ground by a giant bat lunging at him.

As the bat emerged from the door, a xvart could plainly be seen riding upon it’s back, but a quick burst of magic missiles from Murray sent the bat crashing to the floor near Marcus. Though dazed, the xvart quickly rose from the body of it’s steed but was quickly squashed by the party.

A survey of the small chamber beyond the hidden door revealed a small platform and two ladders, one leading upwards and the other down. It was quickly realized that Naazi would find it impossible to traverse either ladder, so Tarqualan transformed him into a large python and he began gliding down through the hole in the floor. Eventually, there came a point where there was more hole than snake, and Naazi began trying to signal his dilemma to the group. Thinking that they could hold his tail and lower him down some more, Marcus tried lifting the tip of the tail… Naazi, feeling this, thrashed to free himself, and in the process wound up dropping down the hole in an uncontrolled fall.

As the stars cleared themselves from his eyes, Naazi saw three more xvarts fleeing from the room he had just fallen into, and soon the heard of a clattering alarm could be heard in the corridors outside the room. Nothing happened until the entire group was assembled, however, and Naazi, returned to his proper form, opened the door the xvarts had fled down. Naazi nimbly leaped aside as the ballista at the end of the corridor let fly, but Dracon, several meters behind Naazi and unaware of any impending danger was not so lucky. A massive bolt pinned him to the wall with a crippling injury to his right leg.

While Kalik and Naazi (?!) scouted the hall where the ballista bolt had come from, Tarqualan tried to use his magic to heal Dracon’s wound, but managed to injure his companion far more than even the trap had done. Seeing that her companion was so close to death, Kendradell sang her most powerful healing song over him, restoring him to complete health.

As Kalik advanced down the right branch of the hall, he heard a strange sound coming from another intersection ahead and saw a veritable carpet of rats bearing down on him. He turned back towards the safety of the group, but as Naazi rose into the air in flight decided that it would be easier to climb aboard. The rats quickly passed beneath them, and Murray cast a flaming sphere within the doorway to the hall which killed nearly all the rats that tried to run through it.

While the bulk of the party either clung to the rungs of the ladder that led upwards or scurried about squashing those rats that made it into the room, Naazi and Kalik took the left branch of the tunnel before them, but soon ran afoul of a small band of xvart archers, who could see them far better than they could be seen. Once the tide of rats behind them was finally quenched, Murray sent the flaming sphere down that corridor, scattering the archers.

Further exploration of the winding tunnels brought them before a door where chanting could be heard; wasting no time, Marcus bashed in the door and quickly slew the xvart shaman, but apparently not before the spirit it had summoned had received it’s commands. As Kalik and Tarqualan made short work of the shaman’s assistants, the spirit in the summoning circle attacked Marcus, weakening him slightly. Nikolai soon struck the spirit a killing blow with his enchanted silver sword, killing it before it could possess Marcus.

The door at the end of the hallway they stood in proved to bear a symbol Kendradell recognized as belonging to one of Nerull‘s many sub cults. Again, Marcus opened the door to reveal a skeletal figure dressed in robes and holding a golden scepter. Calling upon the powers granted to him by Heironeous, Marcus’s axe shattered the skeletal form in one telling blow. The broken form on the floor showed little sign of reanimating, so the rest of the party joined Marcus in examining the other contents of the room.

Further exploration of the chamber revealed that one of the doors bore silver glyphs invoking a curse upon any who passed: “Those who pass this portal shall have their souls ripped from their bodies and consigned to the Lowest Reaches of Nerull’s Halls”. Opening the door showed naught but darkness, which proved to be magical to Tarqualan’s sight and which detected as evil to Marcus. The decision was made to ignore that door for the moment and to concentrate on the other, which proved to lead to a larger room full of xvarts that had been transformed into ghouls. As we ended for the evening, it was mutually agreed that the ghouls were eliminated handily, leaving the party free to explore what lay beyond the door at the far end of this room

[20th of Readying, 578]

View
RQ Evening 22
The battle continues...

577 CY

Our cast of characters…

Dracon, human initiate of Obad Hai & Beastmaster of the Wegwier;
Kalik, halfling initiate of Avoreen;
Kendradell, female half-elf bard & initiate of Lydia <absent>;
Marcus, half-elf initiate of Heironeous <absent>;
Milik, halfling sorcerer;
Murray, human wizard;
Naazi, chenxa (centaur) warrior of Tenh <absent>;
Nikolai, Suloise human initiate of Lendor;
Tarqualan, high elf mystic (Vesve Forest).

{7th of Sunsebb, 577]

We picked up this week in the middle of the battle we didn’t finish the week before. As the battle continues, several members of the party notice that their attackers seem to possess strange abilities; on several occasions, the warriors simply stare at their opponent, who then feels his mental defenses (magic points) being stripped bare. Marcus is overcome by some force that inflicts unending agony that constantly distracts him, diminishing all of his skills. Dracon teleports himself into melee range with their leader, and discovers that some sort of electrical charge surrounds him, inflicting damage equal to that done to him to whomsoever attacks him.

As the tide begins to turn against the party, two things happen quite quickly; Tarqualan casts a spell of command over one of their assailants and discovers that all of them are joined together mentally; for the price of one spell he gains command of three of the enemy. Meanwhile, Dracon, sensing that all might soon be lost, calls upon Obad Hai for assistance in defeating his enemies, and is heard (though at great cost). Vines begin growing from the walls and floor, entwining his enemies and holding them tight, allowing the party to cut their throats. The enemy leader and one of his servants still manage to escape, vanishing from within the vines that held them.

A closer look at the bodies that remain reveal that all bear a similar if unusual countenance… all are pale, with solid red orbs for eyes. What passes for hair on their heads is a thick, spagetti-like substance colored white. None of the more learned members of the party recognize their species, however.

After pulling themselves together again, the group moves down the hallway towards the main audience chamber where they last saw their fallen companions. As Marcus reaches out to open the door to the small reception area that leads to the larger chamber, his companions gasp as he visibly shrinks, struggling clumsily inside armor that is now several sizes too large for him to wear comfortably. As Dracon and Kalik consult on what might restore their friend to normal, Dracon is struck dumb (Stupefied), and though Kalik quickly dispels this magic, it is beginning to dawn on the party that the lady vampire that they hoped they’d killed is obviously very much alive and toying with them.

While Mirella uses her spells to remove what appears to be glyphs warding the door before them against passage, several members of the party sight a shambling demon creature coming down the hallway towards them. Milik casts a fire spell in it’s direction, which causes it to sprint in his direction. As Kalik and Dracon attack it with swords, both learn the hard way that the demon in question uses acid for blood, costing Kalik his armor and very nearly the Sword of Nogre, as well.

Sensing time pressing against them, the party hurriedly passes the reception room into the great hall, and as they stand over the spot where Lucien lays entombed, their unseen assailant strikes again, this time filling Milik with poison and very nearly killing him in the bargain. Mirella observes at this point that perhaps retreat might not be out of order, and as if to punctuate her words, the closed doors behind the party slam open, inviting the party to leave. After a hushed conference, the party agreed, though Marcus inquired of Mirella if she had sufficient strength remaining to close the gate they’d entered through, lest Drelzna use it to follow them back to Perrenland

Skulking back out the way they’d come in, the party stood guard over Mirella as she closed the gate, an act which left her far too weak to even think of reopening it any time soon. The party, defeated and badly in need of rest, retired to the city to make further plans. A bit of research on the parts of Nikolai and Kendradell reveal that the strange warriors they fought are known as the diurge, a race of beings from another world strong in both evil and the mental disciplines (psionics).

Though the gnawing pain soon left Marcus’ body, his size and dexterity did not return. Not knowing what else to do, Tarqualan decided to bring his half-olven companion back to his homeland, to seek aid from the gods of his own people. Kalik and Nikolai elected to return to Umst to report their failure to their temples, though Countess Dianetta gave Nikolai a farewell he would not soon forget.

Dracon, so close to home, elected to travel north and try to rejoin his family for the coming holidays, though his clan’s wise woman gave him no peace about the foolish choices he’d been making recently. Milik elected to remain in Schwartzenbruin and train with Nerek Festil, the court sorcerer.

Once the mages of the Vesve Court have restored Marcus’ size and dexterity, they name their price for their services… must undertake a quest to clear out the ancient ruin known as Delvenbrass, located in the eastern reaches of the Vesve and the source of many troubles there….

And so the party split up, vowing to meet once more in Schwartzenbruin the following spring, on the 13th day of Readying, 578…

View
RQ Evening 21
Opening and reopening doors...

577 CY

Our cast of characters…

Dracon, human initiate of Obad Hai & Beastmaster of the Wegwier;
Kalik, halfling initiate of Avoreen;
Kendradell, female half-elf bard & initiate of Lydia;<absent>
Marcus, half-elf initiate of Heironeous;
Milik, halfling sorcerer;
Murray, human wizard;
Naazi, chenxa (centaur) warrior of Tenh <extended>;
Nikolai, Suloise human initiate of Lendor;
Tarqualan, high elf mystic (Vesve Forest)

We began this with Naazi departing to undertake a quest for his unnamed patrons, while the rest of the group trained while waiting for Marcus’ leg to regenerate. Once everyone was ready to travel once more, Kalik insisted that they visit a temple of Pelor, so that they could gather what aid they could in rescuing their sometime companion Lucien, whom they had left entombed in stone in Iggwilv’s fortress.
Upon their arrival, Kalik was