The Rise of Sellenmar

BB6: Approaching the Fort
Blood for Blood

Calastril 28th, 4715

The fiercely territorial Aurumvorax leap out of their den viciously savaging Alex. Gregor rouses, and joins the fight along with the rest of the party. Eiji makes a few clumsy swings as Louis uses his bombs to precisely strike the Aurumvorax without injuring his compatriots. Eventually, the group takes down the Aurumvorax. Afterwards, Louis and Alex explore the burrows, eventually finding a cache of money and magic items, including a Ring of Climbing and a +2 Defending Kukri. As the party presses on, they see ettin wandering in the distance, but do not engage.

Pharast 1st

The group enters a new hilly area. No new tracks were found, but the party crosses an old encampment. Several humanoids had camped there 4 or 5 days ago. The night passes uneventfully.

Pharast 2nd

The land turns to grasslands, and the party sees several burned out homesteads as they explore the region. Night passes uneventfully

Pharast 3rd

The party nears Fort Drelev. They decide on a few goals before approaching. First, they aim to find out where Terrion Numesti is being held. They also decide to find out where the leaders of the Pitax and Tiger Lords are. After a bit of recon, they plan to sell the gear they have found on their travels. As they press on, they see signs of the land being ravaged as they approach the fort, including more burnt farmsteads.

In the later afternoon, the Founders catch their first sight of Fort Drelev, mounted atop a hill, situated on the shores of Lake Hooktongue. The location of the town grants a clear view of all approaches. However, the wooden stockade surrounding the fort has two large gaping holes near the western gate. The group can see guards and ballistae on the towers of the fort, but notice that the ballistae are aimed inward. The Founders prepare to approach the settlement and discover just what exactly is happening inside the heart of Hannis Drelev’s domain.

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BB5: Hallucinations of Grandeur
Blood for Blood

Calastril 25th

After the battle with the shambling mounds, the treants inform the party that the amount of wildness in the local creates has been increasing as of late. Attacks by predators are becoming more numerous. Gregor remains unconscious, his left arm missing below the shoulder. Before leaving, River Shoulders dressed the half-orc’s wound with a complex arrangement of medicinal plants. Not wishing to remain in the cloudberry field, the Founders travel to the west, towards Fort Drelev.

Calastril 26th

In the morning, the group is rejoined by Louis, who helps heal the weary party after their ordeal with the shambling mounds. Then, they press on to the south west, following the edge of swamp, seeing the land rise in elevation to their other side. The trip and night is again uneventful.

Calastril 27th

The group presses westward, aiming to approach Fort Drelev from the east ultimately to disguise the fact that the are headed from Sellenmar. The land transforms into hills. The group enters a small, steeply graded valley. Near the end of the valley, on the northern wall, odd stains can be seen, though their true nature hard to discern from the distance. Alex carefully scouts the far wall, spotting charring above the reddish brown stains near the top of the cliff wall. The stains terminate at the mouth of a cave centered within the charred rock. At the base of the stains, on the valley floor, a bell like plant is seen amid a large clump of weeds. As Eiji and Louis approach, the bell-like plant attacks, spraying strange spores that stun Okoto before Louis and Eiji manage to slay it. Okoto flees as Alex approaches.

Shortly after approaching, Alex inhales some of the spores and begins to hallucinate. Eiji attempts to help him, before moving to join Louis in exploring the cave’s mouth. Alex begins to warn the party that something approaching, but his frantic cries are dismissed as more hallucinations. The rest of the party continues to ignore the elf until 3 chimera swoop into the valley, returning with their kill of fresh wild horses. Acting quicky, the party fortifies in the cave, and attack the chimera as they return. Using flight and invisibility, Louis flings bombs at the chimera, as Eiji uses a potion to enlarge and attack the flying chimera while Alex looses arrows. After a short fight, all 3 chimera are slain. The party collects meats from them to support their merchant claim to approach Fort Drelev.As well, the find a wand of lightning bolt in the cave, identified by Louis casting it on himself. The night passes uneventfully, though a slight whiff of ozone could be detected anytime Louis passed near.

Calastril 28th

The Founders head west, deeper into hill country. They eventually come across and follow a branch of the Sellen river to a steep stone cliff, littered with holes. Louis flies by to investigate the burrows, but sees nothing. As the party approaches, two ferocious aurumvorax leap out, surprising the party.

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BB4: Into the Swamp
Blood for Blood

Morning, Calastril 21st

The Founders and their companions decide to scout towards Fort Drelev, following the trail of the invading force into lands around the The Hooktongue Slough. Striking out on horseback, the Founders have a successful day scouting, and an uneventful night.

Calastril 22nd

Dipping south, the Founders move along the edge of the Hooktongue Slough. The army did not come this way, and another day passes with a new mapped region and nothing eventful.

Calastril 23rd

Heading back north, the Founders regain the path of the army.

In an area of sloping, rolling hills split by a brook, the group is ambushed by a group of ettin, initally a pair, but are soon joined by 4 more. A quick fight later, the ettin are slain, and several magical items are found among their belongings.

Calastril 24th

After another uneventful night, the party approaches a bridge spanning a gorge over the East Sellen River. The bridge is a sturdy stone construction at least several centuries old. There is also remnants of an old road in the immediate vicinity of the bridge. At either end of the bridge, stone Wyverns sit unmoving, in their ancient vigil. Today, common birds nest within the folds of the statues, that have been otherwise undisturbed for a very long time. At one point, while the road was still in good repair, this bridge was most likely played a critical role in an important trade route. Investigation of the bridge reveals signs that a large number of humanoids crossed the East Sellen River here within the last week. The bridge crossing, and the following day and evening pass uneventfully.

Calastril 25th

The party passes many meadows, and discovers a vale covered in cloud berry bushes. While investigating, the group spots a glittering coat of mail peeking out from under a pile of rotting vegetation brush. As the group approaches, they are suddenly be ambushed by 6 shambling mounds. The founders all take heavy hits from the onslaught, and are nearly crushed by the deadly vines of these forest predators. Gregor manages to cast speak with plants, and negotiates a truce with the shambling mounds as Eiji stands on guard and Alexander frees himself and uses his cloak to fly out of range.

Gregor challenges the main mound to see if he can grapple him in exchange for his freedom. However, Eiji was not aware of this plan, and lashed out, inciting the wrath of the mounds once more. As Gregor falls, greviously wounded by the shamblers, a pair of treants charge out from nearby and rescue the party from a verdant doom. Duke Gregor is in terrible shape and near death. His left arm has been ripped from his body, and lays mangled among the cloudberries.

After the shambling mounds are destroyed, the party requests the Treants aid for their fallen Duke. The treants, who speak common, assist in saving and stabilizing Gregor, although repairing his missing arm is beyond their knowledge. Gregor will require powerful magic for a full restoration. The remaining founders speak briefly with the Treants (one treant was named River Shoulders) who tell them that they have been busy quelling disturbances in their territory recently. Evidently, something dark and troubling has been stirring up the local predators of late and they have had their branches full. Shortly thereafter, the treatants retreat as the founders recover and plan what action to take next.

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BB3: Words and Swords
Blood for Blood

Date: Calistril 19-21

Ameon Trask is found to be unwilling to share information with The Founders, despite several attempts to cajole or threaten him into talk. Recognized during the battle, a skilled alchemist, Louis Alexander, attempts to assist the party as well in the interrogation, with no luck.

Seeing the impass, Gregor proposes a duel between Trask and Eiji, Sellenmar’s Royal Executioner. If he wins, Trask may go free, but if he loses, he must reveal what he knows of the force still in Fort Drelev or other information we require. After some thought, he accepts.

Facing in the town square, Eiji and Trask circle each other breifly, before Eiji, unable to control his strength, lands a true blow, decapitating Trask. The head is collected and preserved to attempt interrogation via other means at a later date.

Despite Trask’s death, Kisandra Numesti again is able to aid the party with information. She suspects the residents of the besieged Fort Drelev would gladly join their power and lands to ours if we are able to free them from the control of Hannis Drelev.

She is able to give information to aid the founders in their attempts at this. She names a Satinder Morne, a gambling hall proprietor who is not at all fond of Baron Drelev, and provides them an ornamental ring to present as a sign of trust to her.

She also asks us to try to release her father, currently imprisoned within the Fort, who may be able to help us, and provides the code word “lil Sandy” to gain his trust.

After resting, the Founders, along with the newly joined Louis Alexander, head out to back track the path of the attacking force. The force moved straight and hard to Tatzlford, seemingly singularly focused, though wreaking havoc to farms along their direct path.

During the travels, Kisandra shares more of what she knows of the powers that be in Fort Drelev as it stands.

The Baron’s wife is Baroness Pavetta Stroon-Drelev, a noble from Brevoy, with a dog that some rumor to be a demon.

As well, Baron Drelev is rumored to have a succubi lover.

The leader of Pitaxe is a man named Castruccio Irovetti, and the Tiger Lords are currently united under a currently unnamed warlord.

Taking in this information, the Founders pause to decide on their next course of action.

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BB2: Attack on Tatzlford
Blood for Blood

Calistril 18-19, 4715

Upon hearing word of the force moving on Tatzlford, the Founders decide to assemble a militia and send them to defend Tatzlford, as well as riding ahead of the force to prepare the town for it’s defense. Before departing, the mage Abados vounteers his magical aid to the party, and the founders take him along with their group.

On the way, the Founders encounter a pack of Tiger Lord barbarians, which they quickly defeat despite taking a few wounds.

They shortly after reach Tatzlford and meet with the mayor, who leads them to a woman who has willingly left the attacking force. The woman, Kisandra Numesti relays to the Founders the surrender of BaronHannis Drelev to the bandits of Pitax and Tiger Lord barbarians. To ensure the Baron’s good behavior, Drelev is forced to provide 6 female hostages picked from the leading families of his demense to the Tiger Lordsof Drelev (one of whom was Kisandra’s sister). To show his loyalty, and hopefully begin to reassert his power, Drelev, on his own initiative, assembles a small army of barbarians and mercenaries to march on the Sellenmar town of Tatzlford to claim it as his own. Drelev hopes this move will put him into a position to gain even more territory and power so that he can eventually turn the tables on his new overlords. The incoming force, while formidiable, was described to the Founders in detail by Kisandra. She identified the leader of the force as Ameon Trask.

Upon heading this news, the Founders work with the towns folk on fortifying the town against the invaders, including setting up archers on the bridge and snipers in the trees, traps in the woods, and barricades within the town. During this time, the militia from Fort Shrike arrives to bolster Tatzlford’s ranks.

Soon, the invading force reaches the outer defenses of the town. While the overwhelming Drelev force managed to reach the outer wall of Tatzlford, they do not do so without heavy losses. Once they reach the town, Trask unleashes 6 trolls upon the town.

The Founders attack the trolls with blade and spell, finishing them off with acid and fire. With the death of the trolls, the Drelev army is broken and the survivors begin to flee into the woods. As the fighting ends, Tatzlford still stands, though with minor damage to a few buildings. Ameon Trask is is captured and is being prepared for interrogation

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BB1 Dire Warning
Blood for Blood

Calistril 18, 4715

My Lord! Urgent news from Tatzlford!

A deeply concerned Akiros Ismort, Sellenmar’s Warden, is admitted into Duke Gregor’s solar with the remaining Founders in tow.

This missive arrived by messenger bird an hour ago. When I learned of its contents, I immediatedly gathered your companions and sent orders to muster our militia.

He hands Gregor a wrinkled note from Loy Rezbin, Tatzylford’s mayor. It reads:

‘Greetings, my liege lords! Would that I had the opportunity to contact you via missive in gentler times. Since its founding, Tatzylford has faced many challenges, but recent rumors of a much more disturbing sort abound. A woman has come to Tatzylford bearing warnings that, if they are to be believed, indicate we may face a terrible threat. She speaks of armies of bandits, hordes of barbarians, and worse organizing to the west beyond the Hooktongue Slough. To date we have had no trouble with these elements, but this woman is quite convincing. She tells us an army is marching on Tatzylford. If this is true, we will need your aid in defending our homes. Please come as soon as you can.’

-In good faith, your obedient and humble servant, Mayor Loy Rezbin

Akiros continues, ‘Minutes after we received this message, a group of trappers working the northern reaches of the Narlmarches rode in bearing ill tidings. Two days ago, they spotted a large force, several hundred strong, moving through the forest, headed in the direction of Tatzylford. Before they could get close enough to count their numbers, they stumbled into a scouting party and were forced to flee. Afterwards, they rode hard for Fort Shrike, warning anyone they encountered along the way. In a few days, the the entire country will be set afire with rumors. nevertheless, by their estimate, the force will reach Tatzylford in a day, day-in-a-half at most. Founders, what will you have us do?

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VV27 Back to Sellenmar
Varnhold Vanishing

Neth 12, 4714

The party arrives at the Centaur camp as the celebration continues. The reason was apparent as they were greeted by Xamanthe, who escorted them to her mother, Aecora. Once they were in her presence, the priestess thanked the group for their efforts, and acknowledged their role in assisting Neilis with the rescue of her daughter. She invited them to join the feast in his honor and explained that he was now a full member of the Nomen tribe. As a token of their esteem, Aecora granted Neilis the tribal heirloom bow Skybolt. For their role in the rescue and their defeat of Vordakai the Founders were granted the status of “Allies of the Tribe” to the Nomens. Alex attempted to broach the topic of a formal alliance with Sellenmar, but Aecora was hesistant to ally her tribe with a human nation despite her respect for it leadership. The wounds incurred by the violent history between the Nomen and human settlers cannot be so easily forgotten. However, Aecora did seem to be in favor of formal truce. This truce represents the first successful diplomatic contact between a human nation and the Nomen and is nevertheless very valuable indeed.

The next day, the party started on the long trek back to Sellenmar, declining to stop in at Restov after the waves they made the previous time, and headed direct to Fort Shrike.

Neth 19, 4714

As the Founders return home, they are met at the gates of Fort Shrike by Neilis and, much to their surprise, Gregor. After visiting the centaur camp, Neilis was able to arrange for Gregor’s ressurection, but the experiences scarred the half orc’s mind, causing him to be paranoid of undead. He has developed the odd habit of frequently compelling people near him to drink healing potions to confirm their true life. In short order, the Founder’s release the rest of the Varnhold townsfolk from the soul jars, discovering Ervil Pendrod, Kesten Garress, and a plain but well respected man named Sammuel among the trapped.

Ervil was quickly reunited with his student Jemanda, and Kesten re-acclimated to his dutes, and the party learned a bit more of Sammuel.

Kuthona, 4714

A letter from the Retov arrives, simultaneously praising the Founders for their diplomatic achievements with the Nomen centaurs, and officially severing ties with the kingdom. A formal recall of all issued charters was instated.

Intrigued by more pressing matters, Kolya, Celestia, and Sammuel, attempted to open and examine the Lich’s spell books. Unfortunately, despite an extensive set of magical wards, Sammuel slain by a Symbol of Death inscribed on the interior of the book. But his sacrifice not in vain as the book held and untold wealth of arcane knowledge. Using a portion of the wealth recovered from Vordakai’s tomb, the party resurrected Sammuel and offered him the role as Magister of the kingdom. Eiji was moved into Bei Lin’s old role of Royal Enforcer, and appointed Kesten assumed the responsibility as Sellenmar’s general in the wake of Penelope’s death.

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VV26 Against All Odds
Varnhold Vanishing

Neth 3, 4714 – Neth 12, 4714

After ensuring everyone was healed and ready, the party pushed in past the door, opening to a chamber, the line of water leading to a pool circled by kneeling forms, with a grisly altar to the side. Two alcoves sat near the door, one a true alcove while the other led to a stair blocked by debris.

At the end of the chamber, Vordakai with a giant, blood-red ruby glowing in his eye socket, regarded them from his throne of bones.

“So you have defeated my ceustodaemon’s” he rasps in a deep voice that seems to speak in all languages and none. “You are tenacious mortals, I’ll give you that. It is no wonder you have attracted such powerful enemies. If only you knew…but it is of no consequence, they will one day know my wrath just as you will today. Spare yourselves unimaginable agony and submit. One way or another, you will serve Vordakai.”

Upon seeing the group would not be cowed, the party moved in to face the lich.

“Are you so eager to perish mortals? Very well, I will oblige your foolish whims,” he intoned as the party advanced.

The ancient creature hit hard, and many of Eiji’s, Alex’s and Gregor’s counterstrikes were nearly ineffective. Varelyn attempted to slow the lich with an Obsidian Flow and an Illusory Wall spells, but this created difficulties for her allies, making the ground harder to traverse, and hiding their enemy behind a wall that did not to affect him.

After briefly engaging Gregor and Eiji, the lich started casting a spell. Varelyn, unsuccessfully attempted to counter the magic, and the spell washed over the party. It seemed to have little effect, until Eiji turned and viciously cut down Gregor in cold blood. Thus ended the life of the first regent of Sellenmar.

Confused, the party scattered as Eiji regains his sense and trades blows with the lich, finally driving him off into a dimesion door. Before he escaped, Vordakai managed to drain away much of the samurai’s strength.

Taking advantage of the lull in the battle, the party explores the room. In a back room, rows upon rows of jars are found. Identified as soul jars, Gregor’s brother Kolya is found healthy and alive, if a bit confused when his jar is shattered. As well, the surly brew master of Varnhold, Jasin Blusk and 2 younger girls were freed in this room.

The rest of the party explored around the lich’s throne, finding a large amount of treasure, including Eiji’s lost Naginata, which he recovered in favor for the loaned longsword. Seeing his arrows having little effect, Alex takes up an unidentified flail from the pile as Kolya reclaims his fallen brother’s axe. Meanwhile, Neilus packed a few heavy tomes from the lich’s piles as Varelyn looks at other books. Soon after, the lich, fully regenerated, reappears, and the battle is renewed.

“My patience with you wears thin mortals. Your lives are at an end!” the murderous warlord roars.

Alex finds his new weapon to work better on the lich, while Eiji is able to attack from further back with his favored weapon. Kolya moves in, using axe and spell, eventually simply casting magic seeing the effect it is having. The lich casts a few spells, blinding Alex for one. As the lich moves to start using it’s dangerous touch attacks again, Eiji summons up a hidden reserve of strength, cursing Vordakai name before splitting the lich in three pieces with a stunning display of expert swordsmanship.

The lich’s body turns to dust, all but the red gem used as his eye. Varelyn picked up the gem to inspect it, but then was overcome with the urge to gouge out one of her own eyes. Fortunately, she is saved by Eiji and the gem is knocked free. After this incident, the party decides to carefully store it in a box for transport. While the rest of the party started to reclaim the treasure and jars, Neilus wandered back to retrieve Xamanthe. They could be heard returning to the door outside Vordakai’s chambers, but after a mysterious yelp, the pair vanishes. Concerned, the party starts working it’s way back, taking the three freed citizens of Varnhold with them. Taking a small detour, the party returns to the hidden room with the carving of an eye on the wall. Using the edge of his cloak, Eiji places the gem in the wall, the room filled with a blinding light, as they find themselves back in the room of the inverted eye.

Varelyn casts a Scrying spell on Xamanthe, and sees the pair walking through a snowy mountain landscape, shivering, but making good time. After some discussion, the party decides to rest another night in the island crypt, the casters preparing uses of Dimension Door and Fly to transport the party back outside and over the lake, in preparation for an icy journey home. Once ashore,the remaining group members find themselves surrounded by cold, blowing snow.

With no other means, the party starts the long trek back, stopping to hunt occasionally, staving off starvation before the approach the slightly warmer grasslands. They quickly discover that their mounts are gone. Another days march brings them to the edge of the centaur camp, the sounds of merriment within. While suspecting the reason for the celebration, the party cautiously enters, hoping to find out if Neilis and Xamanthe were within.

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VV25 IT'S MY FAULT!!
Varnhold Vanishing

Neth 2, 4714

As Vordakai departed the chamber, his ceustodaemons moved in to attack the party. One cast Hold Person on Alex, while another moved in to cut down the helpless elf, but not before Varelyn was able to confound the daemon with an Illusory Wall. Neilus pinned down the other two with a well placed Ice Storm as Gregor and Eiji moved in to deal with them hand-to-hand. After a relatively brief battle, all three ceustodaemons were slain, leaving the party to explore the room.

Up in the gallery, the party found a mostly empty room, aside from a door leading deeper into the complex. Neilus, cast detect magic in the direction of the door, and sensed an overwhelming auras of divination and conjuration somewhere beyond. Upon this revelation, he ended the spell early, warned the party and quickly moved to depart viat the stairs leading back down to the feasthall. Deciding to leave the door for now, the rest of the party followed him eventually exiting the feast hall and preparing to enter through the door emblazoned with the supplicants and Charon.

Beyond, they found a long hall with burial alcoves spaced evenly along the walls, empty and appearing to be recently disturbed. At the end of the long hall, the room turned sharply to the left into a shorter hall of alcoves. At the end of this short hallway, the group discovered a recently dead, decomposing body of a human male lying in a corner. After a cautious approach, a cursory search of the body revealed that it belonged to none other than Willas Gunderson, the penner of the journal found back in Varnhold. He had apparantly died in battle, as evidenced by the gaping axe wounds in his chest. While searching the body, a distant whisper echoed through the chamber, gradually growing in volume, until the disembodied voice screeched “IT WAS MY FAULT!! IT WAS ALL MY FAULT!”. At that moment, a shade rose from Gunderson’s corpse and sprang to attack. Eiji took a hard hit that seemed to drain a portion of his lifeforce, but after several good shots of Gregor’s Searing Light and other magic, the shade disappeared, it’s ghastly message delivered, insinuating that Gunderson had done something to draw the ire of Vordakai upon the citizens of Varnhold.

Neth 3, 4714

The party retreated from Gundarsson’s crypt and took a rest before returning back to the unexplored gallery door and the overwhelming magic beyond. Girding themselves in protective magic and proceeding through the gallery door, they followed the passageway into an octagonal chamber vaulting to over twenty feet high. The ceiling was composed of multiple slabs of opaque, white crystal fitted together to form a dome in the distinctive shape of an inverted eye, it’s gaze focused into the room below. The walls of the chamber were covered with arcane symbols, stylized line art, and images of cyclopes. A twenty foot diameter circle was incised inot the stone floor directly beneath the eye-shaped dome. Skirting the edge of the circle the party discovered a door leading deeper into the tomb but not before noticing a single, raven’s feather tucked into a corner of the octagonal chamber. Neilis confirmed that the source of the overwhelming magical auras was the room itself, it’s function remaining unknown. At this news Xamanthe departed the group, fearing to take one more step forward. “I will wait for you in the gallery” she said with a lingering gaze directed at Gregor.

Proceeding through the door leading outside the octagonal room, the group traversed a short staircase leading down into a chamber dominated by a large fountain of sulfurous water, a small trickle running under a large set of bronze doors on an adjacent wall. As the party investigated the room, an enormous, fiendish water elemental rose from the pool, to menace the heroes. A concentrated effort from the group felled the creature, flooding the room briefly as the water elemental fell apart. Working on a time limit with their magics, the party prepared themselves for what lay beyond the door.

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VV24 A Grisly Dinner
Varnhold Vanishing

Neth 1, 4714

Before taking a direly needed rest, the party decided it would be in their best interest to examine the remains of the corpse wizard before retreating to rest. Vareyln used her arcane powers to grant Alex the ability to fly, so that he could cross the boiling tar over to the ledge where the wizard was slain. First, he crossed over to the ledge opposite the entrance to the cavern and discovered a heavy set of stone doors blocking the way through another passage. Then he crossed over to the other ledge and examined the body of the mage. Despite the extensive decomposition he recognized him as Cephal Lorentus, Maegar Varn’s wizard companion and Varnhold’s magister. Gathering up the items that looked to be of value, he returned to the group.

One of those items was an odd-looking short sword that turned out to be Eiji’s cold iron wakazashi. His katana and naginata however,were no where to be found. A set of magical items were also found, including the wizard’s spell book. Away from the group, Vareyln and Gregor open it to see what secrets it contained, only to have the book explode in their faces, due to an explosive rune inscribed on the first page. Despite the destruction, several spells were able to be recovered. After doling out the items from the wizard and Bei Lin, the party disappeared into an extradimensional pocket to rest courtesy of Varelyn’s rope trick spell.

Neth 2, 4714

The night passed uneventfully, aside from Neilis complaining of a dark dream. So troubled was he about the dream that he decided to stay back to meditate on what it might mean. The party headed back to the cavern of burning pitch, and devised a plan to cross the large, dangerous gap.

Using water-soaked cloths to gird themselves against the fumes of the room, the party, enacted their plan to cross to the pool of bubbling tar. Vareyln created a make-shift bridge by casting a Wall of Ice over the gap. The “bridge” held, althought the intense heat of the room caused it to immediately begin to melt, adding billowing clouds of steam to the already foul air of the room. While Xamanthe made it across quickly, she retreated back to the other ledge to allow Gregor, Eiji and Alex through to work on opening the door. It was well stuck, and the fumes still make the group naueous, making the task of pushing the door open a longer one than expected. By the time Eiji, Gregor and Alex got the leverage to push open the door, most of the ice bridge had cracked and fallen away leaving Xamanthe on the other side. Using her arcane powers, Varelyn granted the young centaur huntress the ability to Fly which enabled her to get across the burning pool safely.

Reunited, the party found themselves in another worked stone hall, the sides lined with carvings like most of the rest of the dungeon. Proceeding forward as the hall ascended and turned, the party eventually found themselves before another rune covered arch, much like the one at the tomb’s beach entrance. Varelyn examined the edifice, and attempted to dispel the magical wards anchored to it, but could feel that her spell had no effect. Expecting an alarm, the party prepared themselves for battle, and Eiji took the first step through the arch, hearing a brief hum in his head, then nothing. As he ascended a staircase just beyond the arch, a ceustodaemon appeared in a cloud of brimstone down the hall, spurring him to challenge and charge the vile daemon. Shortly after, a second appeared behind the party carrying a strange looking pole and immediately attacked Gregor, Alex, and Xamanthe who were acting as a rear guard.

The party fought hard against the daemons, eventually forcing them to retreat via dimensional rifts. After a quick period of recovery, the group pressed on, and the hallway eventually ended in an alcove with two sets of doors. One was covered with the eye carving seen many times before, while the other depicted supplicants giving offerings to Charon. The party decided to proceed through the eye door first, opening it once again after some effort, revealing a large feasthall beyond. Thick pillars surrounded a long table, and a grand, winding staircase in the back led up to a large gallery twenty feet above. As the companions entered, they could see people the table apparantly dressed and ready for dinner. However, these unfortunate dinner guests had met a grisly fate, as it quickly became apparent that each had the top portion of their heads removed, exposing their brains to the air. Most of the brains had already been excised but a few scraps remained. To make matters worse, a contingent of dread zombie cyclops were gorging themselves on the remaining contents of the skull’s.

A tough fight ensued with Varelyn leading off with a Fireball and Glitter Dust as Eiji, Gregor and Alex went toe to toe with the zombies while Xamanthe fired on them from afar. One looked as if it had felled Gregor, but pulling on his orcish ferocity, he kept his feet long enough to heal himself and continue fighting, as Alex dogged a blinded zombie with the spear Gordrang and Eiji savagely cutting down the last of their foes.

With their enemies dispatched, the party entered further into the hall to examine the bodies. At the head of the table, the party recognized one of the dinner’s attendants as a very dead Maegar Varn, seated next to an equally dead Caspar Morgarion. It was evident that the rest of the people were likely townsfolk or Varnhold. None of the people in the feasthall were from Sellenmar’s exploration parties nor was Gregor’s lost brother Kolya in attendance. As they took in this sight, a resplendantly dressed, gaunt, undead cyclops appeared in the gallery and regarded the group with a stare of supreme malice through the gleam of a large red gem set in his eye. Speaking in the dark tongue of the abysss, he boomed in a dry, raspy voice “So these are the troublesome mortals? Make an end, my thralls.” Suddenly three ceustodaemons appeared on the gallery stairs as the cyclpean warlord departed deeper into the gallery above.

Battle-weary and running low on resources from the previous battle, the party once more prepared themselves to engage this new threat as the ceustodaemons moved to attack.

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