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Brother of Venom
(2/9/04 7:44 pm)
Session Forty (Part 4/4)
The Champion of Elemental Evil
Hedrack pulls the ochre robes on over his magical full plate mail. He then drapes the purple robe of Tharizdun over his shoulders. For good luck, he taps the belly plate of the dwarven armor draped over one of the life-sized statues in his room. Chuckling, he mutters to himself, “Thanks for the armor, Shangor. Remind me to get that refitted some day.” He walks towards the door then turns at the last moment, winking at the suit of armor, “Oh, and you need to lose some weight.”

The Master of the Outer Fane casually strolls to the Greater Temple, twirling his tentacle rod at his side. The grisly flesh golems step out of their goo-filled alcoves, trailing bits of the greenish sludge onto the floor, only to be waved back into guard duty by the High Priest. The bits of goo ooze back into the alcove of their own accord. The golems are remarkably clean and well-preserved, a result of the greenish organic material that fills the alcoves.

Hedrack rubs the Horn of the Eye as he passes through the vestibule. He whispers to the artifact, “I’ll return shortly, my sweet.” The vestibule is bitingly cold, but the unnatural temperature cannot penetrate his magical cloak. Before stepping through the magical darkness to the Greater Temple, Hedrack turns westward on a whim. He passes through the darkness and stands before a translucent, lilac-colored wall. He glances out into the Blasted Yard through the series of walls, barely making out the southern half of the Black Spike.

On a black pedestal in front of the wall, a small gray statue of an obese, grinning demon suddenly perks up. The statue looks up at the intruder and asks, in a cold, hollow voice, “Who?”

Hedrack grins and responds, “Unariq VoTalsimol.” With a muted hum, he disappears.

After a momentary sensation of dislocation, he finds himself kneeling down on a twenty-foot diameter black circle within a large hexagonal room. Two railings made of a deep purple stone and fashioned into writhing serpents flank a long, wide corridor to the north. A half-dozen scowling demon statues rest on stone cantilevers projecting from the east and west walls, silently mocking the High Priest. To the south, a short flight of steps leads up to a raised platform made of gray stone with black and purple flecks. A black altar draped in a lavender cloth is atop the platform. Two tallow candles burn in tall obsidian holders on either side of the altar, giving off a pungent aroma reminiscent of burned flesh.

Hedrack prepares for the Inner Fane by casting antilife shell. Tychon’s pets are not the smartest critters in the world, so it is better to be safe than to have to take time out of his busy schedule and kill Tychon for his incompetence. Not for the first time, anger brews within the powerful cleric. Why does Tharizdun torture me thusly? I am far stronger than Tychon and most of the other Doomdreamers! I deserve to take my place among them! He considers that idea for a moment. No, I deserve to lead them. I should be part of the triad. He takes a moment to gesture rudely at the mocking statues before he wills himself transported to the Inner Fane.

Aldoroc and Kale lift the heavy bar to the north door and the fighter leads the way up the spiraling stairs. At the top, another corridor leads west, paralleling the other to the south. The first room on the left is an empty storage area. The next room to the right leads out onto the balcony from where they originally saw Fachish on their way to the Water Temple with Virith and the salamanders. While exploring, Aramil hears the sounds of chanting start up from down the hall, further to the west. The language is unusual and the dragon disciple surmises it to be auran, the language of air creatures.

The party gathers together and prepares a few protective spells, casting haste, bless, and protection from evil. They think that there’s a reasonable chance to encounter Infinitus, assuming that he has had no reason to leave yet. They head towards the Air Temple proper in tight formation and turn to look at the altar. The eastern stairs are wreathed in darkness, but a fat priest in ochre robes, full plate armor, and a heavy shield stands on the wide circular alabaster pattern in the center. The structure itself is about fifteen feet tall and very long and wide, with stairs on the eastern side and western side.

Fachish laughs at the adventurers, gesturing rudely at them. Spittle flies out of his chubby lips as he yells a challenge. “Do you really think you can defeat me? Even Infinitus had no chance!”

Shangor mutters, “Oh great. Another lunatic.”

Hedrack finds himself standing on the bottom floor of a large tower without windows. It is fifty feet in diameter, made of black iron and reinforced with adamantine. The purple Dreaming Stone extends five feet through the ceiling, which is about thirty feet in the air. On the west wall, a railing-less wrought-iron staircase winds up to the next floor. Adamantine support beams run from the floor, up the walls, and across the ceiling like the giant spokes of a wheel, supporting the huge stone in the center. Reddish brown stains cover the floors and even parts of the walls. Here and there are bits of bone.

Lying down on the eastern side of the tower is a massive beast, a blue half-dragon tyrannosaurus. Its wings are plated with armor and electricity crackles around its mouth while it sleeps. Its brother, a black half-dragon tyrannosaurus notices the intruder first and leaps to the attack with a thundering roar, attempting to pounce on Hedrack and swallow him whole in one bite. The monster ricochets from the antilife shell, about ten feet from the High Priest. The other beast wakes up and similarly jumps to the futile attack.

Hedrack remains calm during the onslaught, considering whether or not to kill the foul creatures. He speaks slowly in draconic, “Don’t you idiots recognize me? I’m H-E-D-R-A-C-K!”

The two half-dragons pause in unison. The blue one, slightly smarter, asks, “Hatrack?”

Hedrack ignores the creatures and walks between them to the south wall where the secret panel is located. “Imbeciles.” As footsteps on the staircase signify Tychon’s entrance, Hedrack flips up the panel and presses the stone stud underneath it. He disappears from the room and reappears in Sublevel One of the Inner Fane.

He breathes in deeply. “Ah, the sweet scent of death and pain. My favorite smells.”

A scream echoes in the Cathedral of Pain as Yrthuk Innar, the Master Torturer, works an elven victim. The half-earth elemental looks up from his gruesome work at the unexpected visitor. “Lord Hedrack. Care to join me in some fun?” He jabs a thin needle into the elf, illustrating what type of fun he means.

A series of fresh burn marks cover the elf’s naked body. It takes Hedrack a moment to realize that the burn marks are actually obex symbols. Hedrack appraises Yrthuk’s work. “You’re doing well, Yrthuk. He must be a cleric, yes?”

Yrthuk smiles at the rare compliment, particularly from the Master of the Outer Fane. “He’s a cleric of Ehlonna.”

At the sound of his deity, the elf moans, barely able to stay conscious. “Ehhlonnnnaaa...helppp meee….”

Hedrack smiles at the elf’s agony, but speaks to Yrthuk . “Not today, Yrthuk, perhaps soon.” Yes, Yrthuk is one that I will keep alive. He is very useful, and he knows his place. “I may bring you some fresh captives soon. Strong ones. They will last a long time.”

Yrthuk bows his head, “Thank you, Lord Hedrack. Your generosity is appreciated.” He pauses, and then adds, “The Second came through here not more than an hour ago. I’m not sure where it was heading, or why.”

Hedrack starts towards the secret panel, and then speaks without turning. “Your loyalty will not go unrewarded.” He presses the right stud and appears in Sublevel Two.

The great map of the Tourbillion appears to have been set for the environs near the old Temple of Elemental Evil, about one hundred fifty miles to the east. Hmm, we are getting closer if they have start excavating one of the Nodes already. I wonder which one? The High Priest grabs one of the poles and waits for the formless mass of stone to animate, taking on a roughly humanoid shape. “Stay back. I command you.” The stone golem obeys and sinks back into its inert state. If the Triad only knew that their pet obeys me. Praise to Tharizdun.

He then adjusts the four poles and lights the torches of revealing to cast Nulb in the shadows of the two forward poles. A swirling vortex of energy fills the room and above the map a three-dimensional image of the ghost town appears. Hedrack walks straight through the image, only to feel a fleeting disorientation as he is transported to the exact same spot.

At the rear of the party Verilia draws her scimitar and begins applying a black syrupy liquid to it. The halfling druid, once dwarf once halfling, acquired the deathblade poison from Firre Oranac’s fetal chest, without Shangor’s approval of course.

The High Priest casts confusion amongst the heroes, affecting only Aldoroc. Sylvan places a dispel magic between the center of the darkness and Fachish, hoping to remove the area effect spell and a buff spell on the priest. The darkness remains, however. In his confusion, Aldoroc sees the priest as a threat and runs up to him, skirting the edge of the darkness only because it doesn’t envelop the whole staircase to the altar. Aramil moves down the north side of the altar, dropping a relatively unsuccessful targeted dispel magic on Fachish. Verilia follows, dripping poison as she moves.

Suddenly the darkness bursts into action and moves up to Sylvan, Shangor, and Kale, blocking their vision. The nature of the creature within it becomes apparent, however, as the large air elemental forms a whirlwind and, with a tremendous whooshing sound, picks up Sylvan and knocks the other two around. Sylvan realizes he is not in a normal darkness spell when the unholy aura of the damning darkness injures them. The wizard tries to escape and fails as Kale moves south and fires an arrow at Fachish. The arrow hits a wind wall, though, and changes direction mid-flight, shooting up towards the ceiling.

The high priest chuckles at the archer, and steps away from Aldoroc to cast hold person on Kale, but the ranger resists. Shangor casts spiritual weapon and lets the force-based warhammer streak towards the enemy priest, but cannot penetrate his full plate armor. Fachish’s plan to ignore Aldoroc, hoping the powerful fighter would attack someone else, proves to be his downfall. Still within the confusion, Aldoroc chooses to attack the nearest target, Fachish. Four quick strikes from the holy battleaxe strike the priest, who dies even before his blood splatters the alabaster platform.

Sylvan manages to concentrate despite the whirlwind and casts dimension door, appearing on the opposite side of the altar. The air elemental heads back into the temple area to defend it, attempting picking up Kale and Shangor on the way, but they dodge out of the way. Kale drops his bow and draws his two swords, attacking the elemental in the darkness. Aldoroc gibbers unintelligibly, still gripping his weapon. Verilia appreciates the idea that Aldoroc could attack her at any moment, so she decides to retreat to the west into the next area.

Sylvan casts a spell and flies upward toward the ceiling to recuperate, quaffing a couple of potions of cure light wounds. Shangor attempts to dispel the damning darkness, but fails. Aramil also casts dispel magic on the darkness and succeeds, finally revealing the air elemental. The air elemental then successfully picks up Kale and Shangor, carrying them all the way to the balcony and flinging them out into the Stalagos. In the swirling winds, Kale never sees his magical darkwood longbow get hurled about a hundred feet further into the lake. Kale easily swims to the surface, and drags the dwarf with him, heading towards the Water Bridge landing.

When the elemental goes back down the corridor, it is met with a deadly barrage of magic missiles and fireballs from Sylvan and Aramil. It disappears in a puff of violet colored smoke, which rises to the ceiling and escapes through unseen cracks. Eventually, Aldoroc breaks free from his confusion and even Verilia returns from her investigation of the next chamber. They haul the high priest’s corpse to the long hallway outside the balcony area as Aramil polymorphs into a gold dragon wyrmling and retrieves Shangor and Kale from the water.

Hedrack walks down the bridge of Nulb and stands on the bank, looking into the slow-flowing river. A shadowy form rises from the ground nearby and similar, ghostlike undead flow towards the living priest from the ruined buildings of the town. Almost casually, he grabs his obex, turns to the undead, and channels potent negative energy. “By the power of the Dark Lord himself, I command you to obey me.” The undead immediately stop moving and fall under the control of the powerful cleric.

He summons a large water elemental and instructs it to retrieve the body at the bottom of the river. A few seconds later, the elemental tosses the bloated corpse of Lareth the Beautiful onto the bank. The priest grins at the corpse. “Lareth, pleasure to see you again.” He picks up the body with one hand and casts word of recall, appearing within the circle in the Greater Temple.

Dropping the corpse onto the floor, he pulls out a special violet diamond just for this purpose. He casts raise dead, beseeching Tharizdun to override Lareth’s will and bring him back from the realm of the unliving. Lareth attempts to resist, not wanting to inhabit the same, scarred body, but he cannot refuse the insurmountable bidding of his god.

Lareth spits up water as his body slowly deflates, changing from a bloated corpse into a living human. “Hedrack you son of a bitch. Some day I’ll kill you for this.”

Hedrack merely smiles at the younger cleric. He sees something of himself in Lareth. A young man, far stronger than his peers, trying to prove himself in the world. Or, trying to destroy it. “Try, you might. Succeed, you will not.” Hedrack stands up and steps outside the circle. “It is time, Lareth. You must speak the words I taught to you long ago. When you do, great power will be yours and I will give you even greater power.”

Lareth stands up as well. Despite his death at the Herb Shop in Nulb, and his previous death at the moathouse so long ago, he looks in remarkable shape. He is an impressive physical specimen, not only very strong, but extremely agile as well. He rarely, if ever, gets sick and he has an extremely capable gift in casting divine spells.

Lareth sneers at Hedrack. “Very well. It’s the reason I came back.” He glares at the older priest. “You had better live up to your offer, though.”

Hedrack replies, “Should you succeed, I will happily give you power. It is the prophecy after all.”

Lareth merely turns to look at the altar and recites loudly, “Dread Tharizdun, power of the Elder Elemental Eye and master of all destructive forces, I am the Champion of Elemental Evil and am ready to carry out your wishes.”

Shangor pulls out his holy warhammer and beats on the circular platform, destroying it in a few moments. He then quickly retreats down the hallway as the temple ceiling predictably caves in. “Aye, that’s it, lads. Last one.”

Kale goes out onto the balcony while everyone else stands around the dead body, looting it and feeling good about destroying the final Temple of Elemental Evil. The ranger peers into the water, trying to determine where his bow was thrown. A buzzing sound interrupts his search, however. A whole squadron of spider eaters and riders emerge from behind the nearest tower. Lightning crackles in the air and dark purple clouds block out the sun. Kale’s heart leaps into his throat and butterflies go mad in his belly when he looks up into the sky. The clouds above Mt. Stalagos gradually coalesce, forming a giant two-step pyramid. An obex.

Kale calls out to his companions. “Hey, guys I think you want to see this.” Except for the druid, the others join him on the balcony, first seeing the spider eaters, and then looking up after Kale points to the clouds.

Shangor looks up, “What is it, lad? Oh, sh….” The expletive is drowned out by the buzzing of another squadron of spider eaters from a second tower.

(2/10/04 12:13 am)

Re: Session Forty (Part 4/4)
I2K, it sounds like you're running a great game. I'm gonna immigrate to Florida, and soon.

Another beautiful write-up.

Siobharek is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/17/04 1:55 am)

Re: Session Forty (Part 4/4)
pulling this thrread back to the top so that more people read it!


~Tux, Lord of Destruction~

Deathmantle Cultist
(2/17/04 1:14 pm)
great job..
Lareth the Beautiful.. HAHAHAHA.. you plays him very well, so I give you five star!

The only quesiton is what is your plan with him? Will you raise his levels? What is the connection between Hedrack and Lareth??

Crimson Coil Cultist
(2/18/04 5:55 am)
Re: great job..
Great stuff. The cut-scenes of the bad guys really bring this story to pun intended. :) Keep it coming!!


Night Beast
(3/6/04 12:07 pm)
Session Forty-One (Part 1/3)
The First Wave
“Retreat, lads!”

The heroes withdraw from the Air Temple balcony. At the base of the stairs, they setup a defensive position, with Kale and Aldoroc ready to attack pursuers and the others ready to cast spells. That is, the others except for Verilia. In the hallway, Aramil finds the halfling druid enucleating Fachish’s eyeballs with a sharpened stone.

The dragon disciple is too busy preparing for the impending battle, however, and decides not to interfere directly with the druid. “Uh, Verilia? We got company coming. Bad company. You plan to help us?”

Suck on the eyeballs! Eviscerate his brain!

“Sure, Aramil. One second.” She finishes removing the eyes of the former High Priest, placing them in her belt pouch. She stands up and raises her still-poisoned scimitar, grinning evilly. “Let’s do some killin’.”

The walls vibrate and the buzzing grows louder, but drops off dramatically as a few of the spider eaters land on the balcony. Moments later, an opening door and footsteps herald the approach of the first riders and their mounts. Aldoroc readies his battleaxe and Kale readies his flaming shortsword. Around the corner at the top of the stairs, one of the mounted riders spots the defenders and rushes down to the attack.

Apparently he was not fully briefed on the power of Aldoroc’s battleaxe, because his mount dies on the first two swings and he gets cleaved in twain from the backswing. Aldoroc moves in and up the stairs, not really desiring to be on the defensive. Another rider falls, but the spider eaters pile in and crowd the stairwell. Kale stands at the bottom of the stairs and does his best to help. Sylvan steps in the doorway behind the ranger and casts confusion, affecting all of the visible spider eaters and tower guards.

Verilia, instead of joining the battle, she opens up the nearby door into Fachish’s lavish bedchamber. She closes the door behind her, somewhat in Aramil’s face. The beautiful suite has a wooden poster bed covered in blue satin blankets and pillows, two wooden wardrobes, a chest of drawers, a circular Kalilean rug intricately woven in silver and sky blue, a desk and chair, a round table with two padded chairs, and a pair of wooden shelf sets. An open brazier on the table lights the room, dimly illuminating some books on the table and eight portraits in elegant frames. Verilia immediately recognizes Prince Thrommel as one of the portraits and decides to appropriate it. She takes a few minutes and cuts the painting out of the frame, stuffing it into her backpack.

One mount turns and attacks another. Two of the guards flee to the balcony while the second spider eater returns the attack on the first, killing it. Aldoroc then withdraws back into the hallway and they shut the door again, hoping to draw more spider eater riders into the deadly trap. No more come, however, and after a few minutes of waiting, the buzzing sound diminishes until it is gone. The adventurers open up the door and carefully head out onto the balcony. No spider eaters are nearby and only one flies about the nearest tower.

Kale dashes to the railing and points out into the water. “I’d guess that the air elemental tossed Soulmover about there.”

Sylvan casts fly and then detect magic. “Okay, wait here. I’ll look for your longbow.” The wizard flies around in concentric circles, every growing, looking for the sunken weapon. Aldoroc joins the ranger on the balcony while Shangor, Aramil, and Verilia loot the new bodies.

One spider eater with two riders flies from around a far tower to the left. They rider on the back casts a spell and points to the middle of the balcony. A fireball erupts around the heroes, injuring Kale and Aldoroc. Kale pulls a spare composite longbow out of his quiver and shoots at long range, but misses. Aldoroc shakes his battleaxe in anger, impotent without a ranged weapon. Sylvan futilely continues searching the Stalagos for the magic longbow.

Another fireball erupts around Sylvan, who shrugs off a majority of the blast, but maintains concentration with the detect magic spell. Hearing the blast, Aramil runs outside and returns the fireball, killing the guard and hurting the sorcerer and spider eater, who quickly retreat to the nearest tower. Aramil growls deep within his golden throat, “Damn.”

Night Beast
(3/6/04 12:14 pm)
Session Forty-One (Part 2/3)
The Demonstone
Sylvan returns to the balcony. “Nothing, Kale.”

“Double damn.” His fist tightens around the spare bow. “At least I always carry a few spares in my efficient quiver.”

The heroes eventually decide to just leave the Air Temple and head back to the dwarven bolt hole to rest, and deal with Verilia. The trip is short and Verilia doesn’t catch the few furtive glances in her direction. She keeps her weapon in hand, however, though, because it still drips with the deathblade poison and she doesn’t want to waste it by wiping it off. Her belt pouch also drips, but from a different, more gruesome substance.

In the secret room, Sylvan finally turns to the druid. “Verilia, hand me the luckstone.”

Eat his liver raw!

“Um, no?” She responds derisively. She grips her scimitar tighter when she realizes that Aldoroc and Kale stand to either side of her and the others look ready for a scuffle.

Before anyone else can act, Sylvan casts dispel magic and Shangor casts remove curse, but they have no effect. Verilia yells and stabs ferociously at the wizard, cutting him a glancing blow on his shoulder. The wound is superficial, but the poison quickly courses through the weak elf. Sylvan manages to shrug off the initial effects and backs away, his face turning ashen.

Aldoroc attempts to grab Verilia and she swings her weapon around. The poisoned blade glances off his armor and he easily grabs a hold of the little halfling and pins her against the wall. Kale steps in to help and without a better course of action, they quickly pummel her into unconsciousness. She screams and yells the whole time, cursing at them in abyssal, a language she does not normally know.

Sylvan clutches the wound at his shoulder, feeling the poison run through his body, quickly reaching his heart. With a look of fear in his eyes, he begs, “Help me, Shangor!”

Shangor touches the elf, granting him the powerful protective ward of Moradin. “Lad, that is all I kin do. I dinna prepare neutralize poison today and the blasted Outer Fane took me last scroll.”

As Kale binds the druid with some rope, the others watch Sylvan struggle against the powerful venom. Sweat beads upon his brow, but it soon subsides as he manages to resist its effects. He silently nods thanks to Shangor for the protective ward, without which he may not have survived. He then sits down on one of the palettes, and drops off to sleep. The others do likewise, with two people maintaining a watch throughout the night, despite the relative safety of the secret area. The night passes without incident, except for Shangor, who has a lucid dream.

The smell of dust and freshly mined rock fills the cleric’s nostrils. The faint sound of hammering reaches his ears, reverberating throughout the extensive underground caverns. There are no torches or lamps, but the dwarf’s darkvision mitigates the need for such surface comforts.

Shangor presses his calloused hand against the wall, feeling the vein of diamonds underneath. The incessant pounding of the hammer on anvil draws his attention though and forces him onward. After what feels like days later, or minutes, he finally arrives at a forge. The flames cause his face to redden and he takes off his helmet due to the stifling heat.

A grizzled, bare-chested dwarf wields a great hammer, pounding a piece of iron on a gigantic, adamantine anvil. With each swing, the dwarf’s muscles bulge, showing a truly marvelous physique, unmatched by mortal beings. The smith doesn’t turn or even stop his work, but speaks in a melodious, deep, and resonating voice.

When the four are lost,
The One will be found.
When the moon is lost,
The traitor will be found.

Shangor realizes he is now intruding about the man’s work, so he wordlessly turns and heads back down the passage.

In the morning, Shangor informs his companions about the dream. They briefly discuss the dream, but instead they concentrate on ridding Verilia from the evil demonstone. Sylvan casts analyze dweomer to identify some items, including the evil artifact. The demonstone, however, is unaffected by the spell.

“Oh, bugger.”

Aramil looks concerned. “Uh, Sylvan, what’s the matter? What else does the luckstone do?”


“Nothing, lad?” Shangor asks, finished with his morning prayers. “So what’re ye worried about?”

Sylvan sighs. “When I said ‘nothing’ I meant ‘nothing’. I get nothing from the analyze dweomer. Either the luckstone is intelligent and resisted the spell, which is highly unlikely because I didn’t get that sense, or,” Sylvan pauses, takes a breath, “Or, it’s an artifact of some power.”

Aldoroc stands up. “Put it on the floor then and let me destroy it.”

Sylvan quickly grabs the luckstone. “Hold on there, Aldoroc. We have no idea what will happen. Let me take it to the Silver Consortium in Khorasan and get some advice on it first.”

Moments later, the elven wizard teleports to his apartments in the castle at Khorasan. Upon his arrival, the majordomo announces that he successfully sold Lord Skassik’s unusual suit of mithril plate armor to Lord Hajid, leader of a small town named Tahmista to the west. The armor is very expensive, however, so instead of money, Lord Hajid traded a scroll of wish, a ring of mind shielding, and a large emerald. With the current hostilities in the world, armor and weapons are trading for nearly full value, even if it has to be reworked to fit a humanoid.

Sylvan takes the items as he heads to the Silver Consortium. There he finds out that head of the Consortium, the great sorcerer Juelihm recognizes the artifact as a demonstone.

The High Magician comments over a sparkling glass of white wine. “The foul thing is actually the petrified heart of a 5,000 year old demon, lovingly shaped and caressed into the image of the same demon by all the possessors of the artifact over the millennia.”

Sylvan frowns, “So, it has obviously affected Verilia. What can I do about it?”

“The demonstone should be destroyed in the Artifact Destruction Room, located belowground.” Juelihm puts his glass down. “I’m not sure if there will be a side effect to its destruction, but I don’t think you have an alternative. If you keep the accursed item, I believe it will manage to affect everyone who possesses it.”

Sylvan stands up, ready to do battle with the artifact. “Very well, then.”

“One moment. Let me make this quick, Sylvan. I’d like to offer you a job here at the Silver Consortium. Basically, I need someone of your ability to help run this place.”

Sylvan considers the offer, but quickly declines. “Perhaps when we are finished with the Temple of All Consumption. My business there is more personal, and important.”

The elf thanks the great sorcerer for his hospitality and help with the demonstone, and then heads to the basement. He prepays the 500 gold piece rental fee of the Artifact Destruction Room and enters through the large double adamantine-laced doors. The huge round chamber, about fifty feet in diameter, has scorch marks on the walls, and unspeakable stains on the floor, particularly near the center. A few pedestals line the walls, and a rack of weapons stands across from the doors, which automatically close behind the wizard.

Sylvan places the demonstone on the adamantine anvil in the center of the room and hefts an adamantine hammer. “Well, here goes.” He closes his eyes as he swings the heavy weapon into the statue. He expects the worst, but instead the item merely cracks, and then crumbles into dust. A strange wind blows, taking the dust with it and within moments, the statue is but a memory. “What the….?”

Sylvan shrugs and puts down the hammer, and then he exits the chamber via the doors. He teleports back to Rastor and informs his companions about the destruction of the stone. They are already aware of its destruction, however, due to the change in Verilia, who is crying in the corner, in remorse from her actions over the last couple of days.

Sylvan and Verilia then teleport to Khorasan. The Grand Druid at the grove of Obad-Hai performs a ceremony to atone Verilia. In the morning, rested up and prepared for the Temple, they teleport back to Rastor, again.

Night Beast
(3/6/04 12:17 pm)
Session Forty-One (Part 3/3)
The Dark Communion of Hedrack
Hedrack steps inside his quarters and waits for the door to slowly close behind him, grinding upwards silently. He smiles pleasantly at the young man chained to his private altar and at the two beautiful women, one blonde and one brunette, standing on their tiptoes in the Boxes of Pain.

“Hi, honeys! I’m home!” The High Priest chuckles to himself at the joke and removes the purple robe of Tharizdun, draping it over Shangor’s dwarven plate mail. He drops to the floor for a few quick pushups, despite the constricting magical full plate mail. Getting up, he looks at the chained prisoner. “Ah, nothing like a good bit of exercise to rejuvenate the spirit, eh, Tommy?”

Tommy knows better than to reply. So do the women.

Hedrack picks up a glass goblet, fills it with red wine, and drinks deeply. On a whim, he throws the glass at one of the women, the brunette. She vainly tries to dodge, but the box keeps her from moving quickly. The glass hits her shoulder and shatters, throwing glass over her nude body and that of her companion. She inadvertently steps down in the box and screams in pain as the mildly poisoned needles in the Box of Pain stab into her delicate heel. The blonde merely closes her eyes and does her best to ignore the shards of glass and maintain her precarious balance. Tears stream down both their faces.

Hedrack pays them no more mind, ignoring their silent pleas for release from their torment. He turns to Tommy, “Well, my friend, are you ready?”

Tommy looks up, a piece of glass stuck in his cheek, “My Lord Hed…”

His reply is cut short by the gauntleted fist of the High Priest smashing him in the face. “I don’t remember giving you permission to speak, mongrel pusball.” He then prepares the altar for the ceremony of the Dark Communion. It is tedious, but an hour later he is ready to beseech the Dark Lord for aid. With one hand, he flips Tommy onto his back and holds him down onto the altar. With his other hand, he draws a curved dagger from a sheath at his waste and plunges it into the startled slave’s chest.

“Wha…?” Tommy’s blood quickly pours out of his chest and onto the altar. Hedrack takes out the dagger and licks some of the blood off the blade. The altar seemingly soaks up the blood as the ceremony continues. The High Priest kneels on the floor and supplicates to Tharizdun, initiating the questions for the commune.

“Has excavation of the nodes begun?” Yes, finally.

“Will I ever become a Doomdreamer?” Not in this lifetime. Hedrack shifts nervously at the unexpected reply.

“Will I ever become part of the Triad?” No.

“Will the intruders attack the Outer Fane?” Of course, you imbecile. The high Priest grits his teeth, knowing that Tharizdun does not brook idiocy and wishing he could take the question back.

“Will the Doomdreamers help the Outer Fane in the event of an attack?” What an utterly stupid question.

“Is there a traitor in the Outer Fane?” Always.

“Is there an ally of the intruders in the Outer Fane?” Yes. Hedrack frowns. This is clearly not good news, though not entirely unexpected. Something happened to the rest of Sylvan’s and Shangor’s equipment. It couldn’t have just disappeared.

“Is the ally of the intruders Naquent?” No. That’s the expected answer. She didn’t reveal anything in bed last night.

“Is the ally of the intruders Thrommel?” Not really. Thrommel’s always been a wildcard.

“Is the ally of the intruders Varachan?” Yes. At this point Hedrack flies into a rage and loses concentration on the commune.

He shoves Tommy’s still dying body off the altar and smashes a nearby, priceless chair with his fist. “My second in command! How could you!” He then glares at the women, daring one of them to make a sound. The blonde is a veteran of Hedrack’s moods, however, and maintains her composure, such as it is. The brunette, still suffering from the Box of Pain, squeaks quietly, but loudly enough to provoke the powerful cleric. He casts destruction and the beautiful woman disappears in a puff of violet smoke.

Momentarily sated from his destructive rage, Hedrack picks up the hook of dissolution from its peg on the wall. With murder in his eye he leaves his room and turns right, past the Greater Temple and into Thrommel’s room. He waits till the vampire appears, standing just outside the area of silence. “Thrommel. I have some good news and some bad news.”

The former crown prince materializes from gaseous form, his great sword in hand. “Hedrack.” Thrommel is one of the few beings who dares address the High Priest without prefacing his name with Lord. “What’s the bad news?”

“We have a traitor, an ally to the intruders, in the Outer Fane.”

“Well, that’s not entirely unexpected now, is it?” Thrommel licks his fangs, studying Hedrack’s throat with a look of pure hatred.

Hedrack ignores the hungry look in the blackguard’s eyes, subconsciously fingering the obex at his neck. “No, it is not. But, it is not who I expected either.”

Thrommel peers at his greatsword, Dirge. It is a good weapon, but a poor substitute for the power of Fragarach. He sheathes the weapon and crosses his powerful arms, circling the cleric warily. “What’s the g…go…other news?” The vampire just can’t bring himself to utter certain words.

“It’s your old friend, the one who made you into a vampire.” Hedrack pauses for dramatic effect. “Varachan.”

(3/6/04 2:13 pm)

Re: Session Forty-One (Part 3/3)
very nice: :)

thx a bunch infiniti!

~mlowen, council member of the Circle of the Depths, Fluvenilstra, Garden City of the Lowerdark~

Briar Beast
(3/6/04 6:50 pm)
Re: Session Forty-One (Part 3/3)
Excellent read. Are you planning to make Hedrack a Doomdreamer? Your other thread (about the Quadrangle et al) implied yes, but this one implies no. If you do go for yes, I'd recommend having him draw from the Deck of Many Things -- IMC, I've decided that the Ritual of Chance is an integral part of becomming a Doomdreamer. Of course, that might cost you Hedrack... but that's Tharizdun's Way, isn't it?

Night Beast
(3/7/04 8:58 am)
Re: Session Forty-One (Part 3/3)
Hedrack definitely won't become a Doomdreamer. And, he won't become part of the Triad. Hedrack, through the use of Infinitus, has killed 3 PC's and basically defeated them all. He has accomplished lots of other goals (behind the scenes, of course), so I'm thinking he has earned lots of experience. If he defeats the PC's again (either totally, or killing at least one and then escaping), I'm raising him a level. He will not take Doomdreamer, but I might give him another PrC, like Heirophant or something, or just L15. At that point, he'll be strong enough to challenge the Triad and, if given time (say that the party recuperates for a week or so), he will take over the Triad, turning it into the (insert name of four-member leadership). I like the idea about the DoMT, but I also think that would be reserved for the Doomdreamers, which Hedrack will never be. He is bringing on a new age in the Cult of Tharizdun. Perhaps it will be a brand new PrC.

Night Beast
(3/14/04 1:22 pm)
Session Forty-Two (Part 1/5)
The Death of a Traitor
The party rests for a few days after the fight at the Air Temple balcony. Shangor’s dream vision is nearly forgotten until the morning after the new moon first arrived. He finally decides to cast scrying on Varachan, using the bloody letter as a focus.

Shangor sees a broken, bruised, and bloody body on a stone floor. One leg is twisted gruesomely behind the back and one arm has been hacked off rudely at the elbow. One eye is missing from its socket, lying on the floor next to his head. The man’s black robes are smattered with gore, and he still clutches his remaining hand to his stomach, in a vain attempt to keep his intestines from spilling out. It is a miracle, or extreme skill in the torturer, that he still breathes.

At the edge of the scrying vision, one armored person stands casually, partially visible and leaning on a greatsword. Another armored man, his back to the scrying point steps into view, wearing ochre robes under full plate mail and a purple robe of Tharizdun over the top. One hand wields a tentacle rod, which he uses to grip the body of the traitor and lift it two feet off the floor. The man is powerful, his muscles flex as he pulls a gaff from his belt. He holds the weapon high and swings it at Varachan’s chest. As the hook of dissolution pierces the first few ribs, the traitor’s body shudders and then implodes into a pile of dust.

The scrying spell ends as the subject dies. The heroes are crestfallen, and Shangor in particular feels terrible that he failed to act upon the warning of the dream vision. They rest another night so that Sylvan can prepare his higher level spells again. That night, Shangor has another dream vision wherein Moradin’s avatar berates him for his inaction.

Lad, the moon has come and gone. Ye missed yer chance, now the traitor is lost. Ye kinna wait forever.

In the morning, Shangor suggests that they wish for Varachan’s dead body and then use the scroll of raise dead. Sylvan and Verilia immediately agree, and the other three merely abstain from the decision. Aramil, born a slave, has no great desire to use such a powerful magical item on someone they don’t even know, but cannot think of a better use at the moment.

Sylvan attempts to use the scroll of wish, but fails. Fortunately, he does not cause a mishap. He considers putting the scroll away, deeming it be Varachan’s fate, but upon urging from Shangor he decides to give it another try. This time it succeeds, and the naked, but uninjured corpse of a human appears at their feet. Shangor uses the scroll of raise dead, and Varachan heeds the call of Moradin, joining the heroes for the first time.

Kale drapes a spare cloak over the naked man, who clutches Shangor’s hand, weeping uncontrollably. With tears streaming down his face, Varachan promises, “I hereby swear to uphold the teachings of Moradin and to fight with all my ability against the accursed Temple of All Consumption and to defend the world from the followers of Tharizdun.”

Shangor places a hand on Varachan’s forehead, “Aye, lad. I be expecting no less. We are lucky to have ye on our side.”

A few quiet moments pass, but then Verilia interrupts with a dose of reality. “Well, Hedrack I’m sure will not have a clue you are alive. I suggest you take a new name so that we do not accidentally tip him off that you are alive again.”

Varachan turns to the halfling. “You are wise, indeed, my druidic friend. However, Hedrack will be scrying you constantly, or having someone scry you constantly, so if I’m even in your presence it will be likely they know of me soon enough.”

Verilia harrumphs, “I knew you guys should have let me reincarnate him. Then, Hedrack would never know.”

Varachan says, “Be that as it may, it will do no good to talk about what you should or should not have done.” He turns toward Shangor, bowing his head, “For a new name, it would be a great privilege that I take the name of your deceased father. I think a dwarven name is appropriate and I know of no better person to honor. I promise, upon my life, that I will not dishonor his name and I shall uphold all the righteousness of Moradin and your clan.”

Shangor grunts, considering the request. “Very well, lad. Under these unusual circumstances, I kinna see why not.” He pulls out a spare holy symbol to Moradin, placing it around the new cleric’s neck. “Stand and join us, then, Siobharek, of clan Steele.”

Night Beast
(3/14/04 1:25 pm)
Session Forty-Two (Part 2/5)
The Rebirth of Varachan
After his rebirth, Siobharek receives an atonement from Shangor and fully embraces the teachings of Moradin. He sits down with the adventurers and gives them a thorough accounting of the Outer Fane and the plans of the Doomdreamers. With a piece of parchment and some ink, he even provides a detailed drawing of the Outer Fane and locations on all the inhabitants, including the secret areas and other dangers.

Siobharek sips his herbal tea as Shangor grimaces. “Sorry, Shangor, my stomach cannot handle dwarven ale.” The former cleric of Tharizdun dips the quill back into the inkwell and continues writing on the parchment. “The Outer Fane has four entrances, each door intrinsically tied to one of the four elements and guarded by a creature related to that element. Most importantly, the Fire Door is guarded by Chymon, a powerful red dragon. Of all the inhabitants in the Outer Fane, including myself, only Hedrack and Thrommel are stronger.”

Kale interrupts, “Thrommel? What do you mean Thrommel? Former Crown Prince Thrommel?”

Siobharek sighs. “Yes, one and the same.”

Astonished, Kale asks, “Why would Prince Thrommel, a powerful paladin of Pelor follow the Cult of Tharizdun?”

Siobharek puts down the quill. “It was not easy…no, you deserve the truth.”

Shangor says, “The truth about what, lad?”

A tear forms in his eye as he remembers with tremendous remorse the deeds of his past. “Thrommel.” With red-rimmed eyes, Siobharek looks at his new companions sternly. “Thrommel is, was, my greatest success, and my greatest failure. At the end of the Battle of Emridy Meadows, we found him unconscious. As the forces of good demolished the Temple of Elemental Evil, we made good our escape with the mighty paladin. It took me five years. Five years of pain and suffering inflicted upon many people. Five years of evil. All to turn Thrommel from the path of good and onto the path of evil. When he finally kneeled at the Greater Temple in supplication to Tharizdun, the Dark Lord bestowed upon him the gift of vampirism.”

Shangor draws in a deep breath and lets out a low whistle. “Aye, lad, ye’ve done great evil.”

“I know, Shangor, and for that I shall repent till the end of my days. I dread but do not doubt that I shall spend my afterlife in the endless wastelands of the Abyss.” Siobharek wipes his eyes on his cloak. “It is fortunate that we never found Fragarach, though we searched everywhere.”

Kale points out, “Fragarach? We found it, and turned it over to the emperor.”

“You’ve found Fragarach? That is great news! It is far better in the hands of the emperor than in the hands of the Temple of All Consumption.” He sips again at his tea and picks the quill back up. After he finishes the description of the Outer Fane, he gives them what information he has on the Doomdreamers. “Know that the Outer Fane, namely Hedrack, reports to the Inner Fane. The Inner Fane is also known as the Black Spike and is located in the center of the crater, inside the Outer Fane. It is composed of a combination of iron and adamantine, reinforced so that it can hold up the massive Dreaming Stone in its center. I’m not sure exactly what the Dreaming Stone is, except that the Doomdreamers use it in their worship of Tharizdun. The Inner Fane has multiple levels, both up and down, and I know that somewhere inside, probably in one of the sublevels, is a talisman of pure good. This powerful item has been placed in a bowl of concentrated pure evil in an effort to turn it into an artifact of evil. It was our, their, hope that the pure evil also be used to turn Fragarach.”

“There are two ways into the Inner Fane. The quickest way is by holding a tentacle rod and standing on the black circle of the Greater Temple. You must then will yourself to the Inner Fane. You’ll end up on the first level, probably in the middle of the two half-dragon tyrannosauruses, the second guardians. The problem with this method is that first you will have to contend with the dangers of the Greater Temple, but also it will only teleport one person. Unless you have multiple tentacle rods, I would not recommend it because the guardians are extremely nasty. The other method is merely to get through the front door, the primary guardian. First, you need to get through the Blasted Yard, the cracked and uneven volcanic rock between the inner walls of the Outer Fane and the Black Spike. Besides the danger of the gaping pits opening up into pools of magma, there are a number of dark wights. With Shangor on hand, you should be able to deal with them, but a few restoration spells ready would be advisable. The door itself is intelligent, communicates via telepathy, made of adamantine, and nearly indestructible. You either need to convince it to open or destroy it, which will not be easy, though not impossible. The whole Spike, including the door, has a high degree of spell resistance, so don’t expect your spells to always function. Also, keep in mind that even if the door is open, the spell resistance of the Black Spike will not allow you to teleport in or out very easily.”

“There are three methods to get to the Blasted Yard. One is to fly over the top of the Outer Fane, but that will be exceedingly dangerous unless you eliminate all the towers. Even with electricity resistance, they are capable of shooting a lot of lightning bolts. The other method is via the force wall doors from the vestibule in front of the Greater Temple. These are easily bypassed by answering the question posed at each door. The first is ‘Who are you?’ The answer should be your name. The second question is ‘What do you bring before me?’ The answer should be whatever you are holding in your hands, possibly nothing. The third is ‘Where are you now?’ The answer is the Outer Fane. The fourth question is ‘Why have you come here?’ You must answer honestly to this question. The fifth is ‘When shall I be free?’ Again, you must answer truthfully. The sixth and final question is ‘Who am I?’ The answer, obviously, is Tharizdun.”

Siobharek stops to get a drink and the silence is deafening as everyone thinks about what he has said so far. Finally, Aramil asks, “What’s the connection with the Elder Elemental Eye and Tharizdun?”

“They are technically one and the same. Tharizdun is so powerful that it took all of the other gods combined to merely imprison him. Just before imprisonment, Tharizdun plucked out his own eye and cast it towards the Inner Planes. There, it grew and took on strength, spawning the princes of elemental evil, Ogremoch the Prince of Earth, Imix, the Prince of Fire, Olhydra the Princess of Water, and Yan-C-Bin the Prince of Air. There are rumored to be other elemental beings of power of the quasi-elemental and para-elemental planes, but they are not as strong. From what I understand, the Eye and the Dreaming Stone are the two links he has to the world outside his confinement.

Aramil then asks, “Who are the Doomdreamers?”

“They are clerics who worship Tharizdun and are the leaders of the Temple. Unlike the clerics of the Elder Elemental Eye, they know the true nature of the False God and plan to free him in a mad effort to annihilate everything in existence. It is every cleric’s desire, those in the Temple of All Consumption, to become a Doomdreamer and eventually a member of the Triad itself.”

Sylvan asks, “Does the Triad lead the Doomdreamers?”

“Yes. The members of the Triad are simply called the First, Second, and Third. Their real names are unknown. The First is extremely powerful, stronger even than Hedrack from any indication of Hedrack’s reactions after visiting him. As far as I know he is a simple human. The Second is an aboleth, a creature primarily of water and an aberration. It is very smart, however, so don’t let its appearance fool you. The Third is a half-air elemental human and she is also strong, almost as powerful as Hedrack.”

Aldoroc asks simply, “If Hedrack is so powerful, why isn’t he already a member of the Triad, or even a Doomdreamer?”

Siobharek chuckles. “Hedrack himself asks that question everyday. I suppose it’s because they need or want someone of Hedrack’s strength commanding the Outer Fane. Perhaps it’s his punishment for the dreadful failure at the old temple.” He pauses. “Perhaps you were unaware, but Hedrack was the High Priest at the Temple of Elemental Evil near Hommlet fifteen years ago. From what I understand, the forces of good, namely Prince Thrommel himself, struck down the High Priest. However, the First had him resurrected and for his punishment set him to commanding one of the temples in the Crater Ridge Mines. Over the years, he became strong and eventually took over the leadership of the Outer Fane. Indeed, he is one of the Temple’s greatest assets, but he is also one of its greatest threats. He is probably the one feared most by the First.”

Sylvan groans in disgust. “So, by killing Hedrack we may in fact be doing the Triad a favor. Nipping the upstart before he wipes them out. Blast.”

“That’s right. You also did the Triad a favor in wiping out the Crater Ridge Mines, though you knew it not. Nor did you have a choice, realistically speaking. The constant death and violence is said to provide strength to Tharizdun himself, even if you are slaughtering his own worshippers.”

Verilia bangs her tiny fist on the table. Despite her small size, no one present has any illusions about the awesome power she commands. “So what in blazes do we do? We cannot just leave them alone; otherwise they’ll succeed in this mad plan. Speaking of which, exactly what is the plan?”

Siobharek takes a bite of cheese before continuing. “The plan to free Tharizdun has basically four steps. The first step is to acquire the artifacts. You probably witnessed one of the many hundreds of excursions looking for them back at the moathouse in Hommlet. One of these artifacts has been found and is now located in the Black Cyst. It is the Orb of Silvery Death. If the Orb is fitted with the four elemental power gems, the other artifacts, then it can be used to summon the great princes of elemental evil, the third step. The second step, however, requires the finding of the Champion of Elemental Evil, the Chosen One who is able to summon them using the Orb, and excavating the elemental nodes in the old temple. The fourth and final step should be obvious.”

“We don’t have any of the elemental power gems yet, to the best of my knowledge.” Siobharek looks at each of the heroes, “The other night, though, as you destroyed the Air Temple, Satau revealed the Champion to Hedrack. It is Lareth, a former priest of Lolth, though human, and once called Lareth the Beautiful. He also served the old Temple of Elemental Evil under Hedrack himself, who had him raised on a whim and placed him in Nulb.”

Kale says, “Nulb? We met a hermit in Nulb. If that was Lareth, then I can assure you that he is dead and no longer poses a threat.”

“You assure me of nothing. Do I not stand before you now, testimony that no death is really final? This is particularly true for the Champion of Elemental Evil, he who shall be the focal point in freeing Tharizdun from his eternal prison. By now, chances are that Hedrack has already given Lareth the Orb of Silvery Death from the Black Cyst. However, without the elemental power gems, you still have time to destroy the Outer Fane and possibly halt their mad plan right here. Either way, you should not leave Hedrack at your back.”

The heroes look at each other. As one, they nod. Shangor grimly states, “Aye, we came ‘ere to kick ass and drink ale. And, we’re all outta ale.”

Night Beast
(3/14/04 1:29 pm)
Session Forty-Two (Part 3/5)
The Outer Fane, Breached At Last
Armed with a greater key of earth, the heroes decide to make their first foray against the Earth Door. They travel to the south door and head counter clockwise to the Earth Bridge. They cast protection from electricity and resist electricity spells, just in case the towers can hit them on the bridge, and cautiously walk across, expecting an aerial attack at any moment. It never arrives so they reach the door without incident.

Sylvan casts fly on Aldoroc and few more shorter duration protective spells are used. Aramil taps the Earth Door with the key and everyone gets ready for battle. The room is large, square, and dusty, with a wide corridor leading north from the back of the room and huge mound of rubble in the western half. As expected, the mound of rubble forms into a huge elder earth elemental, yet it still leaves much of the rubble behind.

Aldoroc flies in to take the elemental head on, but provokes an attack from it and gets hit hard, despite the fact that he’s in the air. He returns the favor and injures the creature, but it resists part of his blow. Aramil drops a fireball in the back of the room, injuring the elemental in a fiery blast. The creature reacts slowly to the spell and decides to pummel the dragon disciple something fiercely through the doorway. Kale also moves in to take on the creature, dual wielding a magical longsword and the flaming short sword. He hits, but fails to damage the elemental with the longsword. Shangor casts prayer. Sylvan, at the back of the party about fifteen feet down the bridge, casts ray of enfeeblement, hitting the monster underneath his flying companions. Verilia casts barkskin, affecting her animal companion as well.

Aldoroc then hits the elemental with a powerful attack, but misses twice. From outside the door, Aramil steps back and casts magic missile. The elemental then turns to Aldoroc and hits him with a couple of devastating slams. With the fact that Aldoroc is flying and with the detrimental effects of Sylvan’s spell, the damage is far less than it could have been. Kale hits with his longsword twice, doing nothing, and hits with his short sword once, injuring it only just barely with the flame from the blade. Shangor casts righteous might and moves in, getting pummeled for his trouble. Sylvan fires a darkbolt and injures the elemental badly. Verilia casts control winds, stirring up a hurricane force storm in the room behind the elemental.

Aldoroc hits again, but still misses wildly, concentrating more on the power in his blows than on his accuracy. Aramil fires another magic missile, whittling down the big pile of dirt. Not able to get at Aramil and tired of the constant onslaught of Aldoroc, the elemental sunders his holy battleaxe in two mighty blows. The axe falls to the floor in a mess of pieces. Kale looks aghast at the remainder of the battleaxe, but relentlessly continues his nearly futile assault, barely even injuring the elemental with his flaming weapon. Shangor attempts to cast dismissal, but fails to maintain concentration while casting defensively and there he loses the spell. He curses harshly in dwarven, though only Verilia understands what he is saying. Sylvan targets a lightning bolt under his companions, injuring the elemental again. Verilia follows suit, calling a lightning bolt into the elemental out of the storm brewing behind and above it.

Aldoroc draws his secondary magical battleaxe and hits the elemental, but the lack of holy damage is noticeable. Aramil steps forward to reactivate the Earth Door, tapping it with the greater key still in hand, as it slowly begins to close. The elder earth elemental continues to pummel the burly fighter, still not able to reach the spellcasters who are really hurting it. Kale hits yet again with the flaming short sword. Shangor finally swings his mighty holy warhammer, striking true, and expects a retaliatory sundering of his prized weapon. Sylvan targets another darkbolt, but amazingly misses the huge creature. Verilia calls another lightning bolt, the hurricane force winds driving the power behind the spell.

The elder earth elemental, frustrated at the ability of the fighter to withstand its onslaught, decides to press the attack, knowing that it has served its purpose. After a couple more slams against Aldoroc, it perishes under the attacks of Aldoroc, another magic missile from Aramil, and, unbelievably, two lucky strikes from Kale’s flaming short sword. Apparently, Kale’s efforts were not futile after all.

Night Beast
(3/14/04 1:33 pm)
Session Forty-Two (Part 4/5)
The Breach Closes Up
Aldoroc flies to the floor, agonizing over the pieces of his broken holy battleaxe. He looks up at the ceiling, waving his fist, “Argh! St. Sherman, where were you this time!” Disgusted, the fighter flies away.

Shangor asks, “Lad, aren’t ye gonna pick up yer axe?”

Aldoroc shakes his head, not wanting to talk about it. The cleric picks up the pieces anyway and dumps them into a sack. Shangor and Verilia toss around a few curing spells and Kale uses his wand. Verilia concentrates momentarily on her control winds spell and reduces the storm in the western part of the room to something far less than a hurricane.

Verilia turns the corner and sees a number of archers at the end of the hall. Before they can even launch a volley of arrows, however, Sylvan places black tentacles over the entire lot. Aldoroc and Kale move in to kill the stragglers in hand to hand combat while Aramil fusses that he wasn’t able to use a fireball on them. One particularly strong orc barbarian stands near the back and summons help from down the corridor.

The barbarian is tough, but clearly outmatched by Aldoroc and Kale. Sylvan dismisses the black tentacles and two of the guards are left alive for questioning. Sylvan intimidates them, not difficult considering he just spared their lives, into helping loot their friend’s bodies. Eventually, the door opens up at the end of the hall and a warrior leaps out, moving quickly down the hall and into the middle of the heroes. Kellial Unm tumbles through their ranks and attempts to spring attack the eleven wizard, but misses. Aldoroc smiles at the tactic, one he favors against strong opponents like the bebilith and the fiendish girallon and casually rips into the fighter. Aramil launches a fireball through the open doorway, however, injuring the female cleric in the next room. The door closes as she moves out of sight to the east, calling loudly for Hedrack.

One of the guards turns to Kale and point at the weapon tied to Kellial’s back, “Hey, Kale, Kellial took your bow!”

Kale growls, and with renewed vigor, attacks his opponent. As Sylvan moves closer to the west wall, he spots the secret door that supposedly leads to the Grinder. The information from Varachan is surprisingly accurate. Kellial does not last long despite his maneuverability. He is killed at about the time Verilia hears a familiar buzzing emanating from outside the Earth Door. With the help of the other two guards, the adventurers gather all of the loot in the main room to the south.

The heroes gather in the main room and get ready for the impending assault from the spider eater riders. Eventually the door opens up and a few riders enter with their wasp-like mounts. The ones who enter have short lives, but sorcerers from outside the door launch lightning bolts, fireballs, webs, and even a stinking cloud into the room. The intruders retaliate as fireballs from Aramil and Sylvan decimate the tower forces flying about outside.

Eventually, the Earth Door closes again, but an area of darkness moves down the hallway from the north towards the heroes. Sylvan dispels it successfully, but apparently there are two darkness spells in effect because it doesn’t go away. As the darkness approaches Sylvan, it gets overpowered by the daylight on Verilia, revealing Thrommel, who cuts viciously into the unprotected elven wizard.

Thrommel stands almost six and a half feet tall, outfitted in dull black clothing and gleaming mithril plate. He wields a greatsword casually in his hands, swinging it back and forth with a muted hum. The weapon gives off a faint violet aura, visible only in the bright light, though it seems to absorb the light more than anything. He appears to be about only twenty-three years old, frozen in time. His strength, grace, and immense personality radiate a feeling of royalty. Clearly, this man, this being, was born to lead. Crown Prince of Karacul, Grand Marshal of Khorasan, vampire blackguard of the Outer Fane, Thrommel glides forward silently towards Sylvan.

Sylvan promptly and wisely retreats after a relaxed, but deadly swipe of the greatsword cuts him viciously across his shoulder. Verilia steps forward, leaving Bucky behind and tries to reason with the undead Crown Prince. “Prince Thrommel! There is no need for this. What would Jolene think if she saw you now? She still loves you.”

Thrommel pauses. He looks at the little halfling in confusion. “Jolene?” A mixture of emotion plays about his pale face as he looks to the floor in consternation. “Jolene is dead. They told me so.” His face suddenly contorts in rage, the chaotic reaction surprising even Aramil. “How dare you mention my beloved? She is gone, do you hear me!” He charges the druid and attacks with all his strength, nearly slicing her in twain with a single blow. “Gone forever!”

A beautiful blonde cleric of the Elder Elemental Eye stands just beyond the undead prince, smirking at the reaction of mentioning Jolene. She casts bless, only to be hit by magic missiles from Sylvan and Aramil. Sylvan calls out, “Time to leave!”

As others grab a piece of armor, Sylvan touches Bucky and Verilia and teleport out while Aldoroc, Kale, and Aramil form a circle with Shangor who casts word of recall. They appear back in the Temple of Moradin in Rastor, their current safe house, breathing deeply.

Verilia leans tiredly against her warhorse, bleeding profusely from the vicious wound, “Ow!”

Night Beast
(3/14/04 1:35 pm)
Session Forty-Two (Part 5/5)
The Wrath of Thrommel
Thrommel marches to the pile of weapons and armor lying on the floor where the intruders had left their loot. He hacks at the equipment with his magical greatsword yelling, “Jolene!” Pieces of swords, shields, and plate mail fly about the room like shrapnel as the undead knight sates his anger.

While he continues the rampage, Choranth pulls out a wand and cures herself. She gazes at the destruction Thrommel wreaks and wisely says nothing. Instead, she checks her former lover Kellial for a pulse and, finding none, shrugs. “Pompous idiot.”

Finally, Prince Thrommel turns to Choranth and the two guards. Soundlessly, he gazes at the guards, dominating their feeble will. They stand as one and move into flanking positions around Choranth, who seems oblivious to the inescapable peril. Thrommel sheathes the greatsword and saunters silently towards the young priestess, smiling ingratiatingly. “Ah, my dear Choranth.”

The blonde cleric puts away her wand and looks up, only now seeing the danger. She puts on a brave face, though, and curtsies. “My Lord Prince Thrommel, the infidels have escaped us. We did not expect them to flee like such cowards.”

“We? I think you mean ‘you’.” His perfect white teeth, two fangs each an inch long, glisten in the hallway torchlight.

Choranth takes an involuntary step backwards, stopped by the guards, fear now clearly showing on her face. “My Lord, please! There was nothing I could do!”

“Perhaps not.” His grin broadens. “But there soon will be.” He strikes like a snake, biting deep into her smooth throat. She gasps first from the pain, and then the pleasure, as two rivulets of blood drip down her neck, and between her firmly rounded breasts.

Thrommel drops the body to the floor, “Take her to my coffin.” He slowly turns to mist, disappearing into the cracks of the wall to the west, through the secret door.

(4/11/04 1:23 pm)

Re: Session Forty-Two (Part 5/5)
All too late I came to this. I'm greatly honoured. Thanks, Inf. Your idea, I presume?

Siobharek is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Night Beast
(4/16/04 11:15 am)

Re: Session Forty-Two (Part 5/5)
Yup, my idea! Although, my wife (Nekkira) says, with a suspicious tone in her voice, "Hey, isn't he one of those DM's on the forum?"

Btw, my apologies for the huge delays. I have so busy at work and with the preparations for the upcoming baby...*sigh*

(4/23/04 10:50 am)
They Live!
Very good stuff. I really like the way you've made the CRM come alive. I look forward to seeing the rest.

Night Beast
(5/13/04 6:23 pm)

Session Forty-Three (Part 1/3)
The Water Door
The party rests for the night, planning to resume the attack the next day. This time, they hit the Water Door, expecting to fight the elder tojanida, some minotaurs, and a powerful quasit. At least, it’s powerful for a quasit. They breach the door and Verilia immediately summons an adult tojanida into the pool, sending it to a quick though temporary death. Kale and Aldoroc enter and move up the stairs to the right. Verilia and Bucky move up the stairs to the left. Shangor enters the room and moves off to the right, slightly up the stairs. Sylvan flies up to the thirty-foot ceiling to the right and stays in the corner. Aramil steps just inside the doorway, staying on the ground.

As expected, the three minotaurs come out of the guardroom, but what is not expected is that they are flying. Two of the beasts surround Kale and Aldoroc and the third flies up to Sylvan. They dish out a tremendous amount of damage as the heroes realize all three are raging barbarians. Verilia nails one with a called lightning bolt and Sylvan flies to the ground, out of the minotaur’s area, but provoking an attack. The elven wizard appears badly injured from the savage attacks. Aramil dispels all the magic on the same minotaur, including the apparent haste. Unfortunately, it happens to drop next to Sylvan and quickly knocks the fragile wizard unconscious.

Aldoroc dispatches one of the minotaurs and moves down to help Aramil. The quasit finally appears and stings the halfling druid, but she’s immune to the effects of poison. Verilia ignores the quasit and casts neutralize poison on her animal companion. She then casts faerie fire on Insentorix as he flees from the room, so that he can be tracked even when invisible. Kale continues a prolonged battle against the other minotaur, which is still flying on the staircase. The Water Door guardian finally appears, emerging from the water and attacks Aldoroc, latching on to the strong fighter in a crushing grip. The minotaur squeezes into the narrow area to continue fighting with Aramil, who surprisingly holds his own against the bovine barbarian.

Kale tumbles down the stairs out of the minotaur’s reach to help Aldoroc, but he is too late. The tojanida withdraws into the murky water taking Aldoroc with him, continuing to crush him. Shangor cures Sylvan, who flies up and presses against the ceiling still lying down. With a feral snarl, the golden dragon disciple dispatches his opponent manually, by tooth and claw. Verilia eliminates the remaining minotaur with a timely lightning bolt.

Underneath the water, Aldoroc struggles and miraculously breaks free after a few moments. The water walking spell bears him quickly upward. Verilia finishes her summoning spell and sends three sea cats into the pool to hold off the guardian. Sylvan flies closer and uses his wand to levitate the human fighter from the surface of the water and harm’s way. Everyone else heads to the door at the top of the stairs to exit this dank chamber, leaving the summoned allies and the elder tojanida to fight it out in the unknown depths of the pool.

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