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 <absent>;
Nikolai, Suloise human initiate of Lendor;
Sabian, gnome thief;
Tarqualan, high elf mystic (Vesve Forest)
Now that MonCon is finally over, we rejoin our intrepid band right where we left them, in the chamber where they’d found the crystal skull.
Shortly after securing it in his pack, Sabian heard a voice whispering to him in his mind, offering knowledge and service in exchange for “a bit of his soul, and occasionally a slice of his vitality”. (As the skull explained itself, once bound, it would be able to provide him with the names of any of his enemies, wherever they might be, as well as answer any sort of other question…. at a price). Sabian, looking slightly paler, soon announced that he knew the shorted way to Iggwilv’s library, to the amazement and suspicion of his fellow party members.
Explaining himself, Sabian told them a little of his deal with the skull (Ja’vhan) and that their destination led that-away. Nikolai and a few other members of the party took to shouting at Sabian for his willingness to ally himself with the skull, and their shouts soon bore fruit in the form of another of the ranacoor demons emerging from a side corridor. Though soon dispatched, the need for caution and quiet was re-impressed upon the party, who set out on the path that the skull indicated.
After a few turns, the group came upon a strange sight, even for these demon haunted halls. Before one of the great doors they had faced before stood a quartet of stone statues, three female, one male. Of them all, one of the female statues was broken, and an examination of the doors themselves revealed a milky-white sword blade wedged between the great doors, partially breaking one of the magical glyphs emblazoned there.
While observing all this, Kalik and Dracon soon recognized the male in the stone party as their friend Lucian, the Knight of Pelor they had traveled with earlier in their adventures. Deciding that perhaps the sword was part of the problem, Kalik and then Marcus fought to pry it from the doors, and Marcus eventually pulled it free, which broke whatever paralysis had held the others in stone.
After questioning each other, it was determined that Lucien had accompanied Shallane, Mirella and Felicia (deceased) to this place, seeking to aid them in sealing a large gate that was located nearby. As it turned out, the three ladies were all followers of Dalt, the god of locks, keys, and portals, and it was their sacred charge to seal gateways not of their own creation. The two groups decided to join forces, and soon they passed through the parted doors and down the marble steps below.
Behind the doors lay a globular chamber ringed with five other doors and circular stairs leading down to a flickering white flame that burned at the center. Sabian led them down and through it, followed by the others, and finally the two female followers of Dalt. As they passed, the flame flared and died, closing the gate permanently.
Beyond the stairs lay a short hall, and then a grand reception hall, decorated with murals detailing the rise of Iggwilv to power. As they stood admiring the artwork, a lovely young woman, garbed in a gown of sea-green and belted with gold approached them; as she grew nearer, several members of the party noticed that the only flaw in her beauty was her complete lack of eyes. She introduced herself as Nadine, and asked the party their business in her Mistress’ house.
Marcus explained that they came there seeking information, and asked for permission to peruse the library. Nadine consented to permit Nikolai and Kendradell access, and summoned two squat, armored guards to take them there. Once inside they spent three hours perusing a wide variety of fascinating books; histories of the ancient Suloise and Bakluni, the diary of a man enslaved by a member of ‘the Host’ who had served his master as an archivist in the Inferno, a sketchbook detailing not only the construction of an apparatus of kwalish, but several of da’Vinci’s creations as well…. but no texts detailing the location of the temple of Tharizdun.
Worried that their companions were making no progress, Kalik was escorted to hurry them in their search, but eventually they had to conclude that the information they sought was not there. On hearing this, Sabian consulted the skull, and upon paying it’s price, knew for certain the location of the temple. The group, thus reunited, was asked to leave…
After much shuffling of feet, they finally owned up to the fact that the gate behind them was closed, and that they now requested the use of the
other gate located nearby. Nadine declined them access to that gate, stating simply that her Ladyship Drelzna was now awake, and would deal with them as the intruders they were. Almost at that same moment, the doors ahead of the party burst open, and a raven haired woman in gold-chased plate armor entered the room, surrounded by fifteen or so of the squat guards. A melee ensued.
During this battle, Lucian was entombed beneath the floor of the reception hall after summoning a fire elemental (where he remains), and Drelzna used her magic first to warp the steel blade of Marcus’s axe into something more like a mace, and then, after he called upon his god for salvation (which lit every one of his companions’ weapons aflame with a flaming blade effect) turned the wood of his axe handle to air when he finally reached her and struck her with it once. During the battle, one of the Daltians vanished, and the other was nearly slain by the swords of the guards, but in the end the party stood victorious, though the mist-like form of Drelzna escaped through a secret door.
As the party searched for Drelzna’s lair, they uncovered more secret passages leading to and from the guard’s barracks (which connected both to the throne room beyond the reception hall and to the hall itself. Nikolai and Kendradell returned to the library, where they collected those volumes which interested them the most, while Kalik and Milik located the secret door behind the throne that led off into darkness….
And so ends another evening…