Legends of Adamast

King in Death

After a short rest, and discussion about the strange note they found, the party with Jalissa and Sertanian in tow backtracked in hopes of finding the young boy, Thurann. Heading through the doors to the north from the main room where they found Jalissa, the party moved down a flight of stairs to find a strange pool of water. The pool seemed completely ordinary until the surface of the water was touched. As the ripples from the touch spread out across the surface of the pool, the party saw images of the dungeon they were in, rooms they had visited and ones they had not, including the room that held Mirtala the cook tied to an alter. While the images only lasted seconds, it was enough to see and be forwarned. Pressing forward, the group came upon a large room with the image of a sun in dark stone built into the floor. The room was not empty, and the undead guardians that were currently in the room rushed to attack.

Two ghouls and three zombies attempted to eat the party. The ghouls were more intelligent and tried to paralyze each victim before going in for the kill and the ghouls tried to get the more mindless zombies to follow their lead. However, the zombies just decided to attack whatever was near them. The strange stone in the center of the room seemed to have two purposes. One, it absorbed light making everything seem dim and spooky and two, it seemed to heal the undead. Eventually, the group was able to overcome the power of the dark sun and put the undead to rest at least.

Sahir was the first to hear the small cry of the boy nearby, and rushing through the rooms, they found him tied to a fountain. Quickly untying him, the party discovered that according to him Zerriska the witch is being held in a room with mushrooms downstairs, reminding the group of what the goblin told them earlier. Sertanian was quick to let the party know that Zerriska was just old and not a witch, but Eman didn’t seem that convinced. The boy asked if they had found his father, and somewhat cruelly, Eman let it be known that Kartenix is dead. Sertanian did his best to comfort the boy and Jalissa urged Sahir to be his wonderful self and find the right thing to say. The boy just cried until Trazelle starting moving up a hallway to the north. Both Jalissa and Thurann expressed that they were never allowed nor were they ever taken up that hallway, Trazelle pressed on curious about the large room. As she moved in further, she could tell that something was very wrong in that room and Vesis sent in the floating lantern to light things up more. Peering into the room, it was a throne room of sorts, and sitting on the throne was a nasty looking wight and his or her undead bodyguards.

Seeing Trazelle, the wight ordered the room to attack, and 5 piles of bones became five unliving skeletons bent on killing the party. Trazelle charged into the room and attacked the wight to some effect, but the wight shrieked pushing Trazelle away. As the group all rushed in, the body guards went on the attack. From a distance, the wight shot Sahir with a bolt of evil, freezing him in place while Trazelle and Vesis did what they could to keep the bodyguards busy. With one blow, Sahir killed one of the skeletons, only to have it rise again and attack a moment later. Eman and Merric stayed back, trying to pick of the skeletons and the bodyguards, but they just kept coming back to life. Vesis managed to severely wound on of the bodyguards only to have it shed off an outer layer of bone which is blasted across the room like tiny bullets. Sahir moved as best he could across the room, trying to keep on the wight who was proving to be an annoyance with his long distance shadow attacks. As they fought, the skeletons kept dying and coming back, firing arrows into the backs and fronts of those they could reach. Each bodyguard pounding on the group and blowing out shards of bone as it was bloodied. Eman tried to set the wight on fire, which worked but only for a short time. Working together, Sahir and Trazelle made their way to the wight and Eman called the judgment of her god upon the wight. Unable to act, the creature was finally put down. However, it didn’t stop the other threats in the room from carrying out their orders. Merric kept down the skeletons that he could with his crossbow and using his magic to keep the others healed, while Vesis tried to isolate the bodyguards to finish them off. Each time one died, it exploded sending even more bone into the air and Vesis soaked up most of the blast each time. Eventually, they managed to end the threat of all the bodyguards and within seconds, killed all the skeletons in the room which broke the spell keeping them alive. With everything done in the room, they could feel the evil presence of the room life and could hear the voice of Lord Rivenroar screaming in frustration as his unlife came to a final end and he hold on the world gone forever. Underneath the throne, they found a treasure drawer with gold and an excellent crossbow. The final possessions of the Rivenroar family.

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Not in the face!

With a couple of choices ahead of them, the doors to the North possibly leading to Mirtala and the stairs to the West leading to Jalissa – according to the dwarf – they chose the more certain route. With Sertanian dutifully behind, they climbed the stairs upward. Carved into the last three steps were the words “Von Adrez Kauthin Crypt” and at the top waited a host of Goblins and their pets, some spitting drakes. The drakes were the first to protect their home, lobbing gobs of acid upon the party. Undaunted, Trazelle rushed into the room killing one of the goblin grunts, while Eman and Merric peppered the others with ranged attack, killing them quickly. Vesis charged to the back of the room, attacking the spitting drakes who were keeping their distance and at the sight of the goblins a change came over Sertanian. Leaving his former self behind, rage filled his eyes and he screamed curses at the top of his lungs while he charged at one of the goblin grunts. For an older man, his anger saw him through and he killed the grunt but that wasn’t enough for Sertanian and he kept stabbing it until the goblin was little more than pate. From the south, one of the goblin’s hexers entered the fray and filled to room with vile and choking smoke. Trazelle and Sahir broke off and moved toward the hexer and a drake, while the others attempted to deal with the last two spitting drakes. Vesis kept one completely occupied while Merric and Eman did their best to hit the quick darting drake. Just as Vesis killed one, the other shot a wad of acid into Eman’s face but thankfully doing no permanent damage. Moving on to the other drake, Vesis, Merric and Eman wore it down until there was nothing left.

At the other side of the room, Sahir and Trazelle were keeping the last drake and hexer busy. Every so often, Merric would get a shot off against their drake, while the hexer tried to keep Trazelle pinned down with a curse. Sahir kept on the drake and stuck to it like glue. Merric used a bard trick to confuse the drake, causing it to stumble away. That gave Sahir an opening to sweep in and with Trazelle, the last drake was put down. Fearful, the hexer backed into the other room, but Sahir not about to let him get away. Swearing an oath to see the hexer dead, the goblin was unable to break free of Sahir and Trazelle was able to pull the goblin back toward her and they finally ended his life. Jalissa, held captive by the hexer, was overjoyed to see Sahir and immediately clung to his side announcing him as her hero. Sertanian finally snapped to his senses, the rage leaving him and the group found that the goblins had desecrated another set of tombs. Working together, the party managed to open the tombs to see the damage and recover some lost items. With some mundane items, they found a Robe of Breaching and a Collar of Recovery, obviously taken from elsewhere. Taking a moments rest, the group tried to suggest that Sertanian and Jalissa stay behind for protection, but Sertanian was unwilling to remain back until the treasures were recovered. Jalissa didn’t want to be alone, nor did she want to leave Sahir’s side and followed the group.

Heading westward, they came upon a strange room with 8 foot tall menhirs dotting the room. As the group investigated, they became aware that the menhirs were cold to the touch and that spending too much time next to one would cause freezing. Trazelle slowly made her way to the north side of the room and after checking the doors, pushed them open to find Sinruth and his general waiting to attack. Caught off guard, Sinruth and the general attacked Trazelle and brought her close to death before the others could fully engage. The pair were formidable, the general with his flail and Sinruth with his chain whip. Working together, they were a tough match for the party but they managed to end the life of the general before turning fully to Sinruth. Enraged that they dared invade his headquarters, Sinruth attacked viciously, wrapping his chain around Vesis and slamming the dragonborn into the spikes on his armor. Sahir and Trazelle helped to flank and confound Sinruth, keeping him turning and fighting on multiple fronts. Merric could see that the group needed something extra and rallied the party with a stirring shout against Sinruth. Invigorated by the bard, the party pressed the attack. Seeing them as a real threat, Sinruth wrapped the chains around Vesis’ feet and pulled him to the ground. With a swift stomp and kick of his metal boot, Sinruth sent Vesis sliding across the floor and turn his attention to Trazelle. But the fight against the group was wearing him down, Eman firing from a distance, Merric peppering him with crossbow bolts, Sahir stabbing him from one side, Vesis stabbing him from the other and Trazelle slamming him with her hammer. He again wrapped his chains around Trazelle’s feet and brought her down, slamming and skidding her with his heavy boot. Eman moved in for a better attack, and Sinruth broke free to try to end her life. However, she was more resilient than he expected and he was pulled back into the fray against the others. With a quick shout, Sinruth turned to face Merric just as Merric fired the perfect shot from his crossbow. The bolt entered Sinruth’s left eye and exited out the back of his skull and the warchief fell lifeless to the floor.

Sertanian rushed to spit on the warchief when he noticed that the goblin dared to wear the gauntlets stolen from Brindol. He hastily grabbed them and ripped them off the dead body. Jalissa was quick to Sahir’s side, complimenting him on his bravery and great skill. When Merric attempted to correct some of her facts, she paid him little mind. As Trazelle looked at Sinruth’s body, she found three scraps of paper which she gave to Merric for investigation. Meanwhile, Vesis entered the room where Sinruth had been sleeping finding the dragonhelm from Brindol atop the sarcophagus in the room. Much like elsewhere, Sinruth has been storing treasure in the tomb, and Vesis found a stolen vengeful greataxe and Sinruth’s money. Merric studied the documents closely. Two were maps, one of the countryside around Brindol and the other pointing out the great hall of Brindol. The other was a note that read:

“Brave Sinruth, The Red Hand will rise again! The other remnants take great cheer in your recent attacks on commerce coming into The Blight That is Brindol.

We’re particularly pleased with your ability to inspire a fighting spirit in others, whether they have true goblin blood or merely wish they did. To be blunt, we think you should have many more soldiers under your command. Many, many more.

And recent events have rendered some remnants leaderless. With a bold stroke on your part, the remnants would rally to the Red Hand you so proudly display.

As your bold stroke, do this: Attack the The Blight That is Brindol by night. Focus your efforts on their Hall of Great Valor, for it mocks the many hard-won victories by the first Red Hand of Doom. Take from them the spoils of war they shamelessly hang on their walls and bring those antiques back to Rivenroar. Do this before the moon is next full. And with regard to your previous question, turning over captives to your unliving allies at Rivenroar is perfectly acceptable. War sometimes makes strange bedfellows, and we appreciate how you’ve united such disparate forces under your banner. Whatever prisoners you take from Rivenroar you can give to the wight.

Fight with the valor of your ancestors, Sinruth. And keep your hands stained red with the blood of the weak!

I will visit you again next month, at a time of my choosing.

The Emissary”

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He slimed me

Following the directions Adronsius provided, the group took the west door in the entrance and found the room that smelled of goblins. The small force of goblins that called this room their bedroom were surprised at the appearance of the party and attacked immediately. Vesis and Trazelle blocked the hallway, making it impossible for the goblins to get at Merric, Sahir and Eman who easily starting picking off the goblin grunts. The north door of the room suddenly opened and two goblin archers charged in and attempted to make Trazelle a pin cushion. While their crossbow bolts did some small damage, it wasn’t enough to turn the tide and the goblin grunts and soldier quickly fell to the party. Seeing that they were outmatched, the goblin archers attempted to flee, but not before Trazelle and Vesis were on them. Locking one down, the other fled back into the hallway from where it came. The party made short work of the remaining goblin archer, while Trazelle chased the other into the hallway. The long hallway had a large open pit that fell away into the darkness. Seeing that the goblins used ropes to swing over, Trazelle leapt across the gap and confronted the archer on the other side. Merric followed into the hall and using his bardic magic, confused the goblin archer causing him to fall into the pit and to his death.

A quick scan of the room showed that there were bags that must have once held goods, but they were now empty. It was clear that the treasures the goblins stole were not going to be out in the open. Trying to follow Adronsius’ directions once more, they came to the crackling room. A large, shimmering portrait of a dark and dangerous looking Castle in a swamp took up most of the room and gave off a strange glow. As the group tried to figure out what it was, the portrait shuddered and an ochre jelly slide into the room and attacked. Its acid touch was deadly, but it aim wasn’t that good and the party was able to keep tormenting the creature without much ill effect. Unknown to the group, two other creatures invisible to the eye had slide into the room and made their way toward Merric and Eman. Without warning, the cold hands of the specters touched Eman and Merric making their evil presence known.  The ochre jelly was unable to fend off the three party members and split itself in two to even out the playing field. Leaving Vesis to deal with the now split ooze, Trazelle made her way back to Eman and Merric to help with the specters. Each of the specters attacked with unholy wails, and all but Trazelle found their efforts laughable. Vesis and Sahir quickly finished off the pair of jellies, and the specters soon followed. With the treat dealt with, the group studied the portrait. Vesis recognized that it was a one way portal from that castle and Sahir remember fables of a castle in the swamps devoted to Vecna and evil. It would seem that the stories of the Rivenroar family was true.

Continuing on, the group found the room that smelled of death, the tomb of the Von Urstadt family. As they entered the tomb, the northern door opened itself summoning forth two magma claws that immediately sought to repel the tomb raiders. While the group contended with the magma claws, two spriggan prowries leapt out of their hiding places and attacked. But this meager force was no match, and was quickly put down to rest. Looking at the tombs, it was clear that the lids of all the tombs had been opened and the tombs themselves were used as storage. Coins and clothing had been dumped inside making it impossible to tell what was from the tomb and what had been stolen from merchants. Trazelle found a glorious set of Astral Fire Chainmail, but it was quickly ripped from her hands by Eman who felt it was better served in the hand of her order. Sahir could hear the slight gasping of pain from the room beyond the doors to the north and quickly discovered that the tomb also had a prison. Sertanian from Brindol was locked inside, and he greeted the party as if he belong in the dungeon and his trails were nothing more than a minor glitch in an otherwise ordinary day. Merric picked the lock and let him out, while he stressed the importance of rescuing the treasure and saving the others, but it was clear he was more concerned about the treasures. He also knew that Mirtala the Cook is being in a room near a spiral staircase. Deciding to rest up, the group blocked the doors and hunkered down for the night in the strange prison. While Sertanian attempted to find out more about his rescuers, Trazelle would have none of it and immediate fell asleep. The others followed.

Upon waking, Sertanian grabbed a torch to help light the way and the party continued on with the directions. Finding another flight of stairs heading up, the party came to the sticky room. A family of ettercaps had taken over the room and each said a silent prayer of thanks that breakfast had wandered into their lair. The party would not be so easily eaten, and even though they were sprayed with webbing and stuck to the floor, the ettercaps fell to the renewed might of the group. Searching the room, they found the dead body of the captain of the guard, Kartenix, who had been poisoned and feasted upon by  the former ettercaps. Below him was his possessions and gold, 100 of which Sertanian made the group promise would go to his child who was still left somewhere in the lair. Sertanian and the group cut free Kartenix’ body and wrapped him to give him a proper burial back in Brindol.

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I'm here to rescue you

After securing the information, the party met in private about how best to approach the goblin encampment. Eman, still naturally suspicious of the Half-orc and her sudden and unexplained appearance, kept her eyes on things and waited for the right time to speak about the odd occurrences of late. Merric , Trazelle and Vesis worked out the rough amount of time it would take to get to the encampment, roughly 8 hours all told. Planning things to get there as dusk fell, the group readied to leave. Sahir’s normally bubbly personality was a bit subdued as he thought about the strange message he was given.

On the trail, Eman seized the moment to quiz Sahir about the scroll. Telling the group that the scroll told him to make sure the sword returned to Brindol, Eman began to question Sahir about the nature of these monks and what their purpose was. While Sahir assured her of his order and their good will, Eman seemed less than convinced but let the matter drop, at least for the moment. Sahir laughed it off with his usual ease and helped Trazelle to navigate through the woods and up the hills of the mountains where the encampment was located. A few hours into the trip, the skies opened up and the party found themselves trudging through cold rain and muddy paths. In silence, the group dealt with the downpour for the next 3 hours as they walked, Trazelle and Sahir keeping the group well on path and avoiding any sudden dangers the rain presented. Once as the rain stopped, the winds off the nearby mountains blew into the group adding a new misery to their hike. But soon enough, their destination was in front of them. A small door leading into the catacombs of a destroyed Castle.

Merric quietly scouted the area, but could find no guards or traps waiting for them. With the path clear, the party attempted to quietly enter the catacombs. However, it was just inside the doors that the guards were placed and a battle ensued. Two goblin archers held back, one of them mysteriously opening the far door. Two hobgoblin soldiers waited and took the first wave of attacks from Vesis and Sahir. Tazelle darted past the soldiers as Eman and Merric pelted them with range attacks, and attacked one of the archers. Suddenly, the two large braziers that lit the room moved and in a brilliant display of magic, tossed fire in a slight arc between them. Unfortunately, Trazelle found herself in the way of this display of art and magic and was burned. Angered, Trazelle took out her frustrations on the goblin archer, turning the poor thing into mush with one blow. Vesis and Sahir worked like a team on the soldiers and with the fine support of Eman and Merric, brought quickly ended the threat of the soldiers. With one archer left, they subdued the goblin to ask it questions. Merric, understanding how the moving braziers work, closed the far door, halting the menace of the fire. Questioning the goblin provided only slight information. Sinruth, the leader, was farther in and that the door north lead to mushrooms but not having a head for numbers, the goblin had no way of telling them how strong their forces were. Offering up all the information he had, he cries for mercy were ended with a final blow from Vesis.

Three door led out of the room. To the north, a plaque read “To Rivenroar Family”. On the West door, “To Von Urstadt” and on the East the plague read “To Von Jallach”. Trying to remember the past offered little information, but there were rumors that the Rivenroar family was dealing with evil forces and died when their castle was under siege during the orc war. After a bit of discussion, the party entered the Von Jallach crypts to the east. After a small hallway and a turn, they could see some stranges glowing runes on the floor in the crypt ahead.

Moving to investigate, they were faced with some guarding Needle Drakes and a nasty looking spriggan. Vesis discovered that the runes were electric as be passed over one to get to the spriggan. Trazelle rushed in to take on the drakes and nearly fell to them if it weren’t for Merric keeping his eye on her. Sahir and Vesis took out the spriggan, and Eman used her divine might to force one of the drakes onto the runes as well. Soon, the party swarmed the guardian drakes and defeated them. Finding some keys on the spriggan, the party went through the only unopened door in the room. There they found Adronsius, the dwarven alchemist, chained to the wall. Badly beaten and barely hanging onto life, the dwarf recoiled in fear when the Half-orc entered, but soon was talked down from his fear. Thrilled to be free, he let the party know that he knows that Mirtala is alive but isn’t sure where Mirtala is located. He also told them that until recently, he was housed with Jelissa and even though he was blindfolded when he was taken here, he could remember how to get back to her since dwarves have a good sense of direction underground. “Go back upstairs, across the entryway, turning left into a room that smelled of goblin, then left again in the room with the crackling sound, around two right corners, then through a room that smelled of the dead, then up the stairs to a room with a sticky floor, right and up another set of stairs, then through a dusty room and left through a door.” While he spoke, Trazelle was able to tend to his wounds, and the dwarf softened a bit in his harsh stance toward the Half-orc. Armed with knowledge, the group helped the dwarf bar the doors to keep him safe until they could return and bring him home to Brindol.

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Invasion

After some additional information was gathered, the King and Captain dismissed the group to get ready for their trip to Brindol. After saying their goodbyes and gathering supplies for the trip, the party mounted their horses and made their way to Brindol to check out the rumors of goblin attacks. In Igros, Merric had heard that goblin attacks were actually down recently, and people have been seeing fewer and fewer goblins of late. The extra guard the King had ordered for the big celebration must be working, was the common thread among the commoners.

The ride to Brindol was peaceful, but still a bit awkward as the new ‘friends’ start to get to know each other. The five days of travel were uneventful and the weather remained nice and pleasant. It was dusk when they finally arrived in Brindol. The local guard brought them to the town hall where they were greeted by a nervous worker, who informed them that he would send for a council member right away since they had all left for the evening and suggested that they spend some time at the nearby tavern, The Antler and Thistle. The tavern ideas rubbed Eman’s sensibilities the wrong way, but she was overruled and the party went to the tavern to eat, drink and gather information.

The tavern was busy, but not crowded. Groups of people sat and drank together, a lively game of cards was played in the far corner and the barmaid rushed around the tavern with food and drink. Sitting alone was a half-orc female, whose presence was somewhat upsetting to the people of Brindol. And while Merric eased into conversations with the people of Brindol, Eman demanded answers from the Half-orc. The Half-orc clearly wanted to be left alone and had no information to share and Eman soon moved on to chastise the group playing cards. The rest of the party decided to grab some food while Merric confirmed earlier reports of fewer goblins in the area. While the party was just about to enjoy some drinks, the doors to the tavern burst open. Goblins and hobgoblins rushed into the bar, carrying bitumen torches meant to catch the place of fire. The bar erupted into chaos as fire spread and patrons were attacked and wounded by the invading force. Quick to react, the party fought back the attackers with the help of the Half-orc named Trazelle and quickly put the fire out. But it wasn’t just this bar that was being attacked. All of Brindol was being invaded.

Running out into the street, the party saw an ogre pulling a wagon full of casks with two goblin archers riding in the wagon. The archers were handing the ogre lit casks of pitch which the ogre was using to light buildings on fire. The group attacked the wagon and ogre, trying to quickly put an end to this madness. Luckily for them, the ogre was bound to the cart and could not move as well as it normally could, allowing them to pepper the ogre with attacks and wear the beast down. The ogre did manage to get one clean hit on the half-orc before succumbing to the attacks, and the goblin archers were quick to follow suit. As the party tried to put out some of the fires, Councilman Eoffram Troyas and a platoon of guards rounded the corner and demanded the arrest of Trazelle as a spy. Some quick words from Merric calmed the Councilman down and kept the guards from trying to arrest Trazelle. Informing them of the size of the attacks, the party ran off to help around town to repel the invaders. It was nearly midnight when the last of the goblins were driven off and the party rested in the plush accommodations provided by Councilman Troyas.

The next morning, Troyas informed the group that seven hostages were taken and a number of the treasures from Brindol were also stolen. Those kidnapped were:

Jalissa, an acolyte of Ioun
Sertanian, the castellan of the Hall of Great Valor
Kartenix, the guard captain
Thurann, the 8 year old son of Thurann
Mirtala, a cook
Zerriska, a crone and town elder
Adronsius, a dwarven alchemist

Also, the treasure of from the Hall of Great Valor included:

A dragoncrest helm
A ceremonial platinum longsword
A set of three shields with the Red Hand insignia
A set of iron gauntlets
A heraldic battle standard depicting two hands clasped in a handshake.

Troyas asked the party to track down the goblins, rescue their people and return the treasures. While the town doesn’t know where the goblins are hiding, they did manage to capture a goblin from the nights raid. The party quickly ‘convinced’ the goblin, Morrik, to give up the location of the goblin stronghold. Proving to be more than a match for the pitful goblin, the creature drew them a map to the stronghold and embarrassed himself in the process by pissing his pants in fear. Information in hand the group returned to Troyas, but Sahir was slipped a scroll by a mysterious man. It was a message from his order and meant only for him. Sahir told the group he would let them know what the scroll said in a more private setting.

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A special mission
Start of Adventure 2

Once the party dies down, and the guards head back to their duties, the King and Queen summon the group to a small war room for a meeting. Seated at the head of a long oak table, the King urges the group to sit down so he can explain. “Your great bravery proved to us that there is merit and worth in such a small group of skilled individuals. Thus, we have made you our special guard. You will work for us, but appear to be just another band of adventuring heroes. This will give you, and us, more freedom to take care of the kingdom. Each of you will have a badge that will prove that you work for us. We ask that you use it sparingly.”

“We have a situation that we need you to look into. To the north, about 5 days ride from here, is the town of Brindol. Perhaps you have heard of it.”

(Brindol is a city more than a town. It was occupied by Orcs during the war, and their memory of that time and hatred toward Goblins and Orcs is well known.)

“For weeks now, the fair people of Brindol have claimed that they have been attacked by Goblins. Their governing council tends to see Goblins in every field, but we can not delay their requests any longer. We are sure that it is nothing.”

Captain DeFleur speaks for a moment, “Or it could be a Half-orc. There is a nasty character named Vician who keeps eluding our capture.”

The King nods, “Indeed. We are sure that it is nothing, but we want you to head to Brindol and find out the truth. If the Orcs are back, that is something we must know about immediately. You will leave in two days. That will give you time to prepare.”

(Feel free to send me questions in e-mail or anything that you want to do while in town before you leave.)

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Demons and thier toys

Eman, Sahir, Vesis and Merric pushed onward into the cave, while Per quickly made his way back to the kingdom. The cave was natural, a part of the mountain long forgotten and perhaps the natural base upon which this strange prison was built. Slowing making their way forward, the remaining members of the party could hear familiar yipping and gnashing of Gnolls ahead. The lights from the lanterns the Gnolls had set around the cave gave them the advantage they needed. Rushing forward, Vesis took a stand as two Gnoll claw fighters charged at him. Experience and skill were more than a match for the savagery of these claw fighters, and Vesis easily brushed off the attacks. From further down the cavern, a Gnoll Huntsman opened fire, but was unable to strike any of the invaders. The party surged forward, Merric and Eman firing off attacks from a distance while Sahir and Vesis mowed through this early warning system. The claw fighters were quickly dispatched, but the huntsman danced just out of reach and slowly fell back to deeper in the cave. The party quickly pursued while the huntsman yelped out a warning to what had to be other Gnolls within the caves. But the huntsman was overcome by the group and finally taken out.

They were much farther into the caves now, and a small narrow passageway led away from the cave proper , slightly sloping upwards. Merric’s small size and natural curiosity made the tight passage too much to resist. Scampering away from the party, Merric began to explore this strange passage, but he was called back to the group when Sahir noticed another Gnoll up head, trying to get into position for something. Disappointed, Merric returned and the party charged into a much larger cavern where the forewarned Chief and his trusted advisor awaited. They were crazed, much like the other creatures they had encountered in this prison, and they charged the party with unmatched ferocity. The Chief was deadly with his large flail and Vesis would feel the brunt of his attacks. His advisor was equally as deadly and while the party was blocked in the hall, the advisor summoned up hordes of spiders to attack the party. Millions of small white spiders poured out of the ground and began to bite and poison the group. Only Eman was not pinned down by the eight legged beasts, and it gave the Chief more time to attack. Pounding on Vesis who was weak from the poison, the Chief managed to knock Vesis unconscious while his two claw fighter guards tried to destroy Sahir. Sahir’s vengeance was too much for the claw fighters and he easily dispatched them both. The advisor wasn’t finished and summoned down his swarm of bats to attack the group. Merric was overrun by spiders and bats and was unable to resist the poison causing him too fall in battle. Eman waded through the spiders, dodging the bats as best she could, to get to Vesis’ side. She stabilized him just as Sahir was feeling the full wrath of the Chief. As she got Vesis back to his feet, Sahir fell before the combined attacks of both the Chief and his advisor. The Chief grew more enraged that Vesis was back on his feet and took that out upon poor Eman, knocking her out cold.

As Sahir struggled to remain living, Bahamut granted him with renew vigor and he joined the battle once more. Teleporting past the Chief, he took his vengeance out on the advisor, a foe clearly not used to fighting up close. Eman also felt the touch of her god and the power of her house, calling her back to life and to the fight. Regaining her footing, she made her way to Merric. While Vesis and Sahir battled the Chief and advisor, Merric battled for his life. He stood on death’s door when Eman drew. Perhaps it was the power that Eman radiated or something deep inside Merric that finally awoke, but new life surged through the halfing and he rose to his feet before Eman could heal him. The party’s new found life quickly turned the tide and the advisor fell to the combined efforts of Vesis and Sahir, and the Chief soon followed. Battered and beaten, the group found the book that the advisor was holding. Unable to make much sense out of most of it, they did find two rituals that the creature was trying to learn.

All that was left was the demon itself, which was waiting for them. Knowing this could be their last stand, the made their way to face this power but were stopped by the ghost of Heath. Gone was his ugly appearance, he looks more like the statue in his honor. He was inspired by their heroic stand which reminded him of his own past. Understanding that his time was done, he gave them the last bit of strength that was keeping him tied to this world. The light of Pelor healed and refreshed the group while Heath slowly faded away, his ghostly existence at an end. The party turned to face the demon, a creature of shadow and anger who stood before a small jar. Merric gasped at the sight of the jar as if its existence shook him to the core. The creature smiled and was thrilled to have new things to play with as his old toys had broken. The group could see the bodies of 4 Gnolls on the ground, broken and withered. The demon smiled and let them approach, even allowing them to attack first. But he was prepared for their attacks. Merric attempted to destroy the jar, hoping to affect the demon, but that seemed to be part of what the demon wanted. He even allowed Vesis the first attack in hopes that his great ax would shatter the jar. However, the group quickly caught on to his plan and the demon went on the attack. Becoming a tornado of darkness, the demon lashed out as it spun through the room, striking the party and getting into place. It was after Eman, that was clear. As the group rallied around the demon, it unleashed its last surprise, bringing the husks of the Gnolls to their feet. His zombie minions swarmed Vesis, but it was clear that they demon lacked his full powers as the zombies fell at the lightest of hits. The demon wanted Eman and sunk its tendrils into her, slowly draining her of her life. Merric did what he could, his words of inspiration however only spurred the demon to drink more deeply from Eman. The party continued to attack and beat back the demon, and slowly they drove him to the brink of destruction. Unwilling to be destroyed, the demon fled back to the jar to recover, and the group quickly covered the jar and made their way back to the castle.

Thanks to Per’s warning, the party was met on the trail by reinforcements from the King. The group quickly returned to the castle where the King, his advisors and members from the House Aedem took the jar and disappeared behind closed doors. Captain DeFleur met the group and expressed her great relief at their safe return and gratitude at the tremendous task they had just performed. They were honored quests in the castle and each person was set up with a luxurious room within the castle. Sneaking off a bit, Merric listened at the door and heard some strange rituals being performed by House Aedem, most likely to reseal the jar. But before he could learn much, they were shown to their rooms after learning that Lady Mannus had left the city with Per for reasons of her own. After a wonderful nights rest, Captain DeFleur met them again, and told them that a special ceremony and surprise waited for them. After having them dress in their finest, the group was brought to a special hall where the King and the entire retinue of castle guards awaited. The King gave a flowery speech about their bravery and good dead, awarding each of them a medal of honor and one last surprise. After meeting with the heads of the noble houses and getting full agreement, each member was now working for the King directly as special agents for the King. The room erupted in cheers and congratulations at the high honor and while some members of the group were thrilled by the news, others found the sudden change less than welcome. And while the celebration got into full swing, each of them noticed that there were only strangers in the room to see their honor, none of their friends were present.

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Out of the fire...

The demon of the prison had spread its influence and corrupted the once peaceful members of this kitchen. The elemental that provided fresh water and the elemental that burned steady and clean had both become tainted with darkness. Beyond any reason and far beyond salvation, these two elemental forces sought to kill those that came into the kitchens, while the last vestiges of the cooks of the prison tried to do their job by cutting up the meat. Unfortunately, the party was the target of the ire in the kitchen and nearly fell to the onslaught of the kitchen staff. Their focus pulled in many direction, they managed to end the threat from the chefs, Sahir’s radiant vengeance was a force to be reckoned with, only to fall prey to the weighty fists of the water elemental. Per, being somewhat immune to fire, keep the fire elemental busy while the others dealt with the water. After sustaining heavy damage, Merric found strength within himself to rouse the party to fight harder, he very words filling them with vigor upon each hit to the water beast. Blows were exchanged, and Vesis bravely took the brunt of the attacks, and they seemed to have the upper hand until the water element split itself into two creatures, a purely defensive action. But the madness kept it fighting and while one tried to kill Vesis, the other went after Eman. Eventually, both threats were dealt with and while the party took a moment to rest, they found a book of recipes magically preserved against the ravages of time. Much like the writing on the walls, the writing in the book was in an ancient dwarven language and would fetch a pretty penny to the right customer.

Heading to the last door, the party decided that a much longer rest would better prepare them to face the demon. Seeking refuge in Heath’s shrine, the ghostly paladin paid a visit once more. Curious about how the demon was sealed in here the first place, Heath was slow to remember the details at first, admitting that he was more of the hit it until it bleeds or dies type. However, he managed to remember that it was a female Eladrin named Aedem who cast the magic that sealed the demon away. Aedem would later found a house in the lands, and the story struck a strong cord with Eman, a representative from the current House Aedem. However, before they could get more of the story, Heath left them to rest and wonder.

Upon awakening, they went through the final door where the demon awaited but the demon wasn’t there. What they found was a hole in the wall, shattered bones of the former guards and new fresher corpses. But not all of the guards were dead, and the few remaining did their best to keep these new intruders out. With few choices, the party fought the remaining guards and won, but not without some heavy wounds of their own. Closer inspection of the corpses showed them to be Gnolls and that the wall that had collapsed broke the seal of the prison. The demon was gone, down the tunnel that led away from the room. Per volunteered to return to the kingdom to inform them of what was happening, while the others followed the trail into the caves.

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Into the rabbit hole, Adventure 2

Working together, the party tied a rope to a secure part of the crumbling monastery and tossed the other end down the pit into the darkness. Vesis bravely decided to descend first, slowly lowering himself down into the darkness. As he worked his way down, lanterns along the walls suddenly lit allowing the group to see clearly. It was a dungeon of some sort, and from the style and craftsmanship of the flooring it was clear that it was of dwarven origin. As the party got familiar with their new surroundings, they noticed strange writing near the top of the wall where it met the ceiling slightly above the lanterns that were magically adhered to the wall . Only Merric was familiar with the dwarven written language and even he was hard pressed to know exactly what it said. It was a form of the dwarves’ language older than anything he had seen in the past, and the best he could guess was that it said ‘bind’ over and over and over again. Every wall had this strange command written in a repeating fashion in the same place, carved into the wall like some strange banner. Any attempt to remove the lanterns was met with frustration.

As the group moved to investing this strange dungeon further, they found their way to what was once the sleeping quarters to whomever lived here before, and was now a room full of dust and the undead. The former occupants awoke at the smell of the living and attacked. The party easily dispatched these undead foes, and the group discovered an item that managed to survive the ravages of time. Per knew that it was called a restful bedroll, and that whoever used to at night awoke more hale and vitalized. A small pile of what was once the gold of these ‘guards’ spilled from a rotting chest in the corner as well.

Undaunted, the group continued down the hall when Sahir noticed one wall suddenly had hundreds of tiny little holes, which was unlike any of the other walls they had passed by. A quick scan of the area revealed a hidden door and what surely seemed to be a trap. Despite Merric’s best efforts, the trap was sprung upon opening the secret door and a horrid hissing sound came from the holes. Sahir was quick to react, and teleported into the room behind the secret door and pulled Merric inside. The others were not so lucky, and the once very precise trap exploded into a spray of poisoned needles. Eman, Per and Vesis were all struck and poison weakened the further. Diving into the new room, they rested for a moment to recover from the poisoned attack. Inside the room were four small stone plates, one in each corner, covered in sand and burned incense. At the far end opposite the door was a statue of a very noble and heroic man, a paladin of Pelor as best the group could tell. While examining the room, a ghost drifted through the wall and began to question their reasons for being there. The group worked well together, and put the mind of the ghost to ease, convincing him that they were on his side. He introduced himself as Heath, and told them that he had been dead for a long time, maybe 500 to 700 years but it was hard for him to really understand time as a dead person. He informed them that they were in a prison that kept a vile demon captive and that everything there were telling him spelled bad news. He informed them of the other trap and asked them to be careful. The demon was a powerful corrupter and not something to be thought about lightly. To help their efforts, he gave them his former cloak of distortion, transforming the stone on his statue into a more usable item, and a potion of healing. He bid them good luck on their quest.

Newly informed, the group moved on finding the old dining hall and kitchens. Upon entering the kitchens, it looked as if the old chefs had just lied down on the ground and died. The water in the sink still flowed and the fire still burned in the stove. Most everything else had rotted away. While searching the room, the two chef skeletons on the floor rose once more, thrilled that fresh supplies had finally arrived. The water from the sink burst forth and formed into an elemental, as did the fire from the stove, each elemental looking crazed with hunger. Without a second thought, the chefs set about carving up the fresh supplies that had foolishly walked into their kitchen.

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Adventure 1

The celebration at Igros was in full swing, a week of parties and plays, drinking and singing, and general frivolity. With three more weeks to go of the month long celebration and throngs of people, it was hard to imagine that even more were still coming to celebrate. The King and Queen were thrilled at the success and their plans to call on the noble houses to add some extra security was a solid one. They had good members in own guards, but knew that there were more able bodies in the employ of the nobles. All should chip in to the cause. Arrangements were made with the Captain of the Guard, Captain DeFleur, to have a small group of guards to help keep watch over the Prince and Princess during their big day out in the city. However, when Father Benjamin arrived from the mountain monastery badly beaten and near death, plans changed. All Father Benjamin could say was that he had been attacked by bandits on the road back from the monastery before he passed out and was rushed into the care of the royal healers.

Arriving in the meeting room, Captain DeFleur looked at the group that has been assembled for her. The holy woman Eman from the House of Aedem was there. The Captain new very little about the House of Aedem, but trusted that they had sent their finest. Sahir, the eladrin who had recently joined the royal guards, was present and accounted for. As was Vesis, the dragonborn fighter they had hired in the City. She hoped that he proved to be as strong as he looked. She looked at the halfling Merric from House Mauer. She hadn’t known them to have Halflings on staff, but then again, she could never keep up with the local gossip. And then there was the representative from House Mannus. Lady Sylvia Mannus was know for her eccentric views on the world, and to have sent a Tiefling only underlined her strange ways. Not many were friendly toward Tieflings, but they were at least better than Half-orcs. Captain DeFleur took some comfort in that. After carefully explaining what happened to Father Benjamin and the bandits, she set this group off to take care of business. It should be easy, after all bandits were cowards in their hearts.

The trip to the monastery was strange. As the group travelled, they found no signs of a struggle, no hint of bandit activity. As they drew closer to the monastery, they became aware of a foul smell and death. Leaving their horse behind, the group approached what was once a lovely and peaceful spot. Now, it was in ruins, roofs missing and walls falling down. There was a large fire pit in the center of the cluster of building, and surrounding it were undead monks. Pitiful creatures trying to cling to the life they once had, seeking warmth from the death that had taken them. Unaware of the party at first, once the smell of life approached, these zombies went crazy with hunger and attacked. The party proved to be as well suited for these tasks as the King and Queen had hoped, and the zombies were released from their curse of unlife. However, the zombies were not the only strange thing that the group found at this sanctuary to Pelor, for in one of the houses the floor seemed to be rotting away from inside the wood. Vesis easily chopped through the floor and found a pit leading to a room some 40 feet below. This was certainly not on the map. As the group looking into the pit, something dark spoke to their minds, whispering strange and unsettling words. Just what was really going on?

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