Pact of the Ancients

Are you ready for a trial?

Guarding Gyyrune was getting incredibly boring when finally my party returned bringing Storvik in tow. Apparently this city no longer seems like a safe place to keep Gyyrune, so we planned to leave for Cerdan as quickly as possible using a Scroll of Sending. Storvik beseached me to gather a group of dwarves and make an attempt to find DeepReach, and I assured him that I would see what I could do after dealing with the immediate matters at hand. While talking with him I learned of Zardkeran, the dwarf who lead the mission that got the closest to DeepReach so far, and apparently only avoided losing his own life after finding the city of Maelbrathyr.

I wanted to learn more about this city of Maelbrathyr, especially since Perion mentioned that it might be related to the Throne of Anguish, so I took Amarius and Nick with me (anything to separate Amarius from Lhankor) and headed down to talk with Zardkeran. Zardkeran gave off the vibe of being a small town thug or mobster from the feel of his game room which included props of powerful artifacts, his assistant, and the lavish style of his clothing. The conversation went well, and we learned a good deal about his trip to DeepReach and Maelbrathyr. We learned that grell were protecting what he thought was the entrance to DeepReach. We also learned that Maelbrathyris a city of duregar and tieflings and that the Horn has a strong presence there, in fact he was quite concerned when he learned of the presence of Gyyrune in town and encouraged us to get him out immediately. As we returned to the prison to transport to Cerdan it appeared that we were followed by some of Zardkeran’s henchmen. They didn’t appear to mean any harm to us, and I had a civil if somewhat terse conversation with them.

Upon arrival in Cerdan we imprisoned Gyyrune in the tower we transported to and had a conversation with a high something or other about the plague. Really, all that I remember is that he was higher than the tallest clouds and they mentioned that this plague may have been used before against the City of Brass.

He seemed to know nothing so we went to visit an old friend of Nick’s. On the way we learned the shocking revelation that Nick had previous been married to Elizabeth Salario!!! We met Nick’s friend, Konstanstin, in his tiny rectory at the back of the massive church he served in. He knew nothing about why the plague would be turning people undead and mentioned that the Malchien’s have been holding all plague victims in exile outside the city so he hasn’t had an opportunity to see the effect of it and what could be done to slow or cure it. He suggested that we could head to the City of Brass to do additional research on the previous instance of the plague, or maybe try and destroy a powerful undead artifact such as the hand and eye of Vecna might stop the plague.

For now it seems that we will be residing in Cerdan for a little while at least while they figure out what to do with Gyyrune, so it seems like the best current course is to work with Konstantine to get him access to a plague victim to learn more about what can be done. After that, our options are many. We could go after Vecna, which seems like a suicide move, head to the City of Brass for additional research, or even head back towards Maelbrathyr since we already know that there is a connection to the Horn there we might be able to find out how to stop the plague there as well.

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Fear and Loathing in Forgehome

Fear and Loathing in Forgehome

Together with some of the dwarves freed from the mine, the company soared above the hellstew and through tunnels, guided by the former slaves. They landed in what looked like a one of the hideaways Perion had known as a child, but from the looks of the graffiti, dwarves had been gathering there almost as long as Forgehome had been settled. As The Company approached the gates of the city, one of the prisoners they had freed announced them, and the door slid open.

The welcome was warm, but brief. There was the pressing matter of getting Gyyrune secured and moving on before he could find a way to free himself; an audience was demanded and the governor made the time. Though he took Gyyrune to a jail (where Kildrak followed- security was a must), Governor Vorgrim extended his courtesy no further. He offered no aid in moving on, and insisted that The Company stay the night as he deliberated with his advisors; without so much as handling lodging for the foreign noble, his military liason, or the rest of the group who had just broke the siege and freed captured citizens of the town. As the group was lead to a local inn, Nicholas snuck off to see why the man was such a dick.


At inn, met Storvick. Sang, drank, talked about deepreach, talked with Amerius.
Nick spied on Storgrim, discovered council wanted to kill Gyyrune, but Storgrim said no.
Bought Scroll of Sending. Gotta teach Amerius there are times to keep your mouth shut, if we’re headed to Kotham. Almost blew negotiations with the scroll seller by insulting him with crazy lies.
-———-

Text of sending:
Byron have Gyyrune need Portal
Location in Cerdan. Also have
Valuable information on plague. Gyyrune
Needs fair trial in Cerdan
Away from Talon.

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To Try or Not To Try
Personal journal of Lhankor Traslocare

To Commander Cromblade,

Since I am addressing this directly to you, you can assume that the other members of the group know that this journal can be used to communicate with you. Of course, this is information I volunteered, so you will know that this is also extremely urgent.

As I am writing this, we are currently flying through the underdark on my eagles, heading to Forgehome. We have in our possession one Gyyrune, who we have captured in a Duegar settlement, above the Hell Stew. He put up quite a fight, but in the end we were victorious! We have kept him unconscious and have bound and gagged him, as well as blindfolded him. We are taking no chances with him. I did use one of my rituals to try to understand him a little better. There wasn’t much useful information besides background. I assume he was a poor Tiefling that was blinded by ambition and convinced that dragonborn were scum of the earth…so really just your basic garden variety Tiefling. He’s tried to kill them all various times, and is apparently responsible for this plague that’s going around.

We debated what to do with him, but I argued for a trial. This would be the best possible outcome. We get to interrogate him, we find out what he knows, then we execute him as a show of what happens when you fight the Talon. That’s why we’re going to Forgehome, as it’s the nearest “safe” location. I’d rather take him to your encampment or even Kotham, but we don’t have time. This is why I’m asking you for any assistance. I guarantee that any trouble you go through will be worth it when we get into this monster’s skull.

Another thing you should be aware of, we are apparently harboring a tiefling turncoat now. He attempted to help us during the last battle, and says he is reformed, but summons devils and spouts hellfire. As you can guess, I’m not extremely enthused. He’s shared some information with us, but I highly doubt its authenticity. I trust him about as far as I can throw him while dead drunk and with both arms tied behind my back.

I will send another missive shortly.

As always, your faithful servant,

Lhankor

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Best Laid Plans...

From the Journal of Redemption of Armarius Tiber-Farrum

It had been two weeks since my infiltration of the Rekaad mining outpost, I knew that Kildrak and his allies should be close to me but there had been no word. Gyyrune was always attended by two risen Teifling brethren, likely the same fate he had in mind for me when he struck me with his dark magics in that temple in Tyrrn. Little did he know I was close enough to put my new blade through his heart, I just needed to wait for the proper time to strike. A bloody and beaten raider came into the base reporting that they had come across a very formidable party of adventurers while attacking a Dwarven outpost not far up in the tunnels. The party consisted of a Gnome, Deva, 2 Dragonborn, a Human and a Dwarf; this had to be Kildrak and his allies. Arandur described Kildrak at nauseum to me before I set out and what would stand out the most in the caverns gloom was the sigil on his shield. I summoned forth my arcane familiar and set it to its task, find Kildrak Stoneheart and report back to me. The undetectable sprite came back much sooner than I had anticipated but by that time Gyyrune had everyone in the base mustering to strengthen defenses, including setting his sister to summoning a powerful devil.

Kildrak and his allies were close just on the other side of the Hellstew cavern, they would likely be coming by way of the ancient Duragar entrance to Rekaad. I had hoped to get more time to sneak away to make contact with Kildrak and plan a coordinated attack, but that plan was quickly put to rest. Explosions had rocked the cavern roars of battle and the sound of the the dragon spawn were echoing into the cavernous room where Gyyrune was preparing to meet the party head on. Gyyrune still hadn’t realized that I was there, he barked an order at me to take a group of devils to await the coming battle and flank Kildrak’s Party. The moments passed with very little pause in the sounds of battle, then they stopped suddenly. The tense moments passed as I waited among these enemies, I ordered the devils to hold their ground and follow my charge I would have to reveal myself in the midst of the combat.

The light from the Hellstew gave a dim light to the cavern as Gyyrune started to boast that he would destroy the intruders there was a sudden twang of a Crossbow firing and a shout of surprise from Gyrrune at the far end of the cavern. There were more shots fired through the dim light of the cavern in Gyyrune’s direction and I waited for the first sign of one of my soon to be allies to help me take out Gyyrune. There was a high note strung on the air and I heard the echo of a splash of something falling into the Hellstew, most likely an enemy. The first ambush party in an alcove on the other side of the cavern joined the battle and I saw a small figure that seemed to be running across the Hellstew. Then a stout figure appeared at the end of the narrow tunnel that led to where I was waiting in front of the large group of lesser devils, I recognized Kildrak from the sigil on his shieldat once. I ran to get beside him calling him by name as I approached there was no hesitation in his strike, as he began to smash his hammer at my ribcage I shouted for him to stay his strike but to no avail. Arandor had said he was stubborn and a heavy drinker but I didn’t expect him to be that stubborn nor drunken when he entered a life or death battle. Despite having my ribs fractured I turned and lashed out with my conjured blade of annihilation to cut down the first devil that was following behind me the look of surprise was quite satisfying as I absorbed a portion of its life-force.

Kildrak seemed to take the message that I was not going to attack him but the rest of them didn’t seem to get the message, between slashing at the devils and being attacked by Kildrak’s allies it was difficult to explain my actions. I heard chanting coming from the other side of the Hellstew, Gyyrune was trying to summon some fell creature from the Shadowdark. Kildrak and I had cut down four or five of the devils but I had to do something to try and disrupt Gyyrunes summoning, I told Kildrak that it was going for Gyyrune, using my arcane powers to slip out of his hammers reach just in case he tried to hit me again. There were calls from the Deva, likely a dog of the Talon judging from her arraignments, not to trust me that they should attack me as well after I summoned my infernal ally, a Spined Devil bound in thrall to me. I commanded it to attack Gyyrune where he huddled behind a boulder avoiding deadly accurate fire from a ranger that was facing down the first ambush party. There was a commotion that sounded like a mix between a roar and some monster clearing its throat. Looking over my shoulder I saw the Dragonborn Paladin hurl a ball of frozen cold that exploded among the devils on the far side of the cavern by the ranger, freezing many of them solid.

A massive cloud of blackness appeared behind me engulfing the devils, Kildrak and the paladin, the sound of battle rang from the darkness but I could not see it. Than Gyyrunes chanting hit a crescendo then stopped and to my dismay a hulking insectoid figure seemed to coalesce through the stones of the cavern then began wreaking havoc. . I composed myself for battle, called upon my Devils Boon granting me the wings and protective spines of my thrall flew into the air and drove my blade of energy into the back of the massive hulk cowing it from the Idea of attacking me with my majesty. The Hulk turned to crush the Dragonborn with both of its massive claws then brought him into its clicking mandibles, as the Dragonborn’s blood flowed he howled in pain and struck back. The Gnome cast an arcane healing spell to keep him from dying. This beast joining the fight was not expected I had taken more damage than I had anticipated in a very short time. The dragonspawn pet Gyyrune kept was hurling fiery blasts at everything in range, the devilish minions were swarming to attack me at that point as well. The Ranger cast a portal onto the shoreline by the rushing Hellstew, appeared close to Gyyrune and started unleashing death in his direction. I called out to Kildrak appealing to him that I was not an enemy but an ally, but he seemed to not understand my plea.

There was a shout and a splash as I looked back the ranger had been flung backward into the rushing Hellstew, I cast an attack at the Hulk and flew to the ranger’s aide. After helping him from the rushing river he and the rest of his allies got the hint that I was there help them, the ranger and I focused our attacks on Gyyrune to drive him back. Gyyrune managed to use his infernal powers to throw the ranger back into the Hellstew and he was swept away by the rushing waters. As I saw it happen my heart sank, the Hulk was oozing a black ichor that must have been its blood but the outlook was grim, all of Kildrak’s allies looked ragged, they seemed to had been fighting constantly for the last week; the hulk was still in good fighting condition, and it was playing tricks with their minds. I focused my wrath on Gyyrune, if I could destroy him, the creature he had summoned should go back to the Shadowdark. As I faced down Gyyrune his chilling attacks took little toll on me from the cold imbued into my very blood. The battle raged and after a few moments I heard the strum of the crossbow again join the clamor behind me, that was a welcomed sound.

I struck a mighty blow against my vowed foe after he spouted some garbage about destroying me, he clutched his side and began to retreat to a tunnel at the back of the cavern; but I was too fast for him. I cut off his escape by summoning a storm of icy shards that pushed Gyyrune back and the light left his eyes as he slipped into unconsciousness. The satisfaction of his death would have appeased my vengeful infernal prince’s nature but the newly found good inside of me thought of the big picture, with his death the solution to the plague would elude us for gods knew how long. So against my infernal nature I stopped the raging storm of icy shards before it removed the last threads of life from Gyyrune’s body, turning I saw the massive creature begin to sink into the floor and I took a sigh of relief but too soon. It rose through the floor a short distance away from where it had gone into the floor, it gazed at the allies with strange alien eyes and drove them all mad once again. I flew forward shouting in my most intimidating form drawing on my infernal heritage and cowing the beast once again, it quickly abandoned its assault retreating back to the Shadowdark. Kildrak still maddened slammed his hammer into the Dragonborn’s temple and he fell to the ground in a heap dying. The others shouted and called out to him to stop but he could not shake the madness but before he could strike at the helpless ally he was moved by arcane forces and stuck at the closest ally he could. After the attack he shook the madness he and the others killed the last devil that remained then rushed to take care of the downed paladin. I have to be prepared for the coming interrogation of Gyyrune, convincing Kildrak and the others to ignore the ranting of the hatemonger in their midst will not be easy given my heritage but I must face this; I will stop this plague that has been set upon the first work and redeem my people of the dark past that hangs over us.

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The Enemy of my Enemy
From the Journal of Nicolas Hauxworth: 19th of Ingray, 988

Traps, there is always another trap. Just for once I would like us to get the jump on the enemy. Even our best laid plans get brought low. Days of planning for us and they can wipe it away in a few hours, their cunning is almost scary. It makes me suspect that we have a turncoat in our ranks.

With Gesh’s well-placed lance of frost there was one less tiefling that could rat us out, a little bit to be thankful for. While Lankor and Perion inspected the staff (it appears that it can warp the effectiveness of summoning extraplanar creatures) I noticed the beautiful sapphires in the devilish bas-relief in the rear of the summoning room. With a few well-placed shots to act as footholds I was able to climb up the statue and pry out the four gems, good thing I remembered my trusty thieves tools(haven’t used those for many years now). No need to preserve this carving, though still wouldn’t mind coming back once all this nonsense with the tieflings is done. For now I must stay focused on finding the cure for the plague.

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After grabbing our pickings it was time to explore the remaining tunnel in this mining cavern and hopefully find that poor tiefling that ran from the dwarven outpost ambush. We could hear the cascading of a waterfall as we rounded the corner and entered an enormous cavern dimly lit by the glowing blue waters of tributary rivers which I presume would flow into the Hell Stew close by. And, as alluded to by my opening, was a group of tieflings awaiting our arrival lead by none other than Gyyrune himself. He was guarded by two undead tieflings as well one of those pig dragons from earlier. I could not forget that smile for the last time I had seen it was when it was engulfed in flames. Seeing other legionnaires nearby Gyyrune I took a step to a strategic location and started raining down death. Gyyrune was obviously unaware of my pin point accuracy from such a long distance and quickly ran to cover as his minions started closing the gap. Perion let out a whoop of joy as he surfed down the river and waterfall with his shield that was floating above the water. The rest of the party crossed the small river and headed to the greater part of the room while Perion and I stayed to the right side. As we moved down and I continued to fire pain and death I Perion and I heard a battle wail coming from the nearby alcove. Streams of enemies ran out to greet us with a tiefling blademaster at the helm. With a quick shot I helped stave off a vicious attack against Perion but our odds got just a tiny bit worse. I still wasn’t worried. So so when Torrin hurrled a huge gob of frozen dragon goo that decimated the enemy ranks, when did he learn how to do that?

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The same cry was heard of the other side of the cavern where Kildrak placed himself, this would be a cork that would bite back. I couldn’t really see what was going on but it appeared that the tiefling raidmaster was trying to reason with Kildrak, a poor choice as I heard the satisfying crack of Kildrak’s hammer hit tiefling armor and flesh. The next thing that happened was very strange indeed as it appeared that this tiefling was helping Kildrak dispatch the devils as that ran out of the alcove, it was still too dark to tell. The fight continued with Perion and me slowly making it to the rest of the party. As we got closer it did appear that this tiefling was indeed helping us, I even heard him scream a curse to Gyyrune as he summoned a spined devil to attack the necromancer. The fire beast attempted to bathe the group in a huge gout of flame but the resistance granted by Lankor held true and all that was felt was a tiny bit of heat, not even my arrow fletches were burnt. This tiefling ally is very interesting, it has been such a long time since I have seen one not looking to end my life I am not sure what to make of it. It does suit my needs against the xenophobic Talon view. He continues to plead peace with Kildrak mentioning an old friend Arandur whom I have only heard of (that is his totally alive). With the onslaught of legionnaires gone it was time to finally end Gyyrune’s life for once and all. But that shrewd bastard wasn’t done with his tricks as a gigantic blackish purple umber hulk erupted from the ground. It seems we have another blockade before we get to Gyyrune but he will be dealt with soon enough. And before I send him back to the 9 hells for the last time he will tell me the cure for this plague that has done so much damage to Cerdan and the rest of Endisa.

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Miner action

The cave-in made Perion nervous- he couldn’t see the exit, and if he couldn’t see it, he couldn’t make a quick escape. The dwarf instinctively began to dig out the collapse, and the gnome began to join in, but Lhankor told them their paranoia was ridiculous. Perion’s paranoia had saved his life many times, but given the wide-open room right next to them, he was forced to agree. “Maybe she makes a good point, occasionally.”, he thought, as the party moved on.

Nicholas scouted ahead, stealthily climbing the rock face. A familiar clench in his muscles told the group there were foes on the cliff, and the party launched into action. Kildrak leapt up the wall and took a defensive stance. Perion slid Torrin through a shortcut in the feywild, dropping him in the midst of the fight, and began to scale the wall himself- and as he reached the top, a horde of at least a dozen miners & their tiefling guards stood before him. He paused for a moment- as Lhankor approached the base of the cliff- perhaps now was a time to be clever?

No chance for that- one of the miners threw a pick that grazed his face, and Nicholas came in shooting. The forces clashed, and Kildrak took the brunt of the assault as Torrin held a chokepoint to cover the flank. More miner and guard appeared from the darkness deeper int he cave, but Perion saw an opening- two eyes in the middle of the horde. He jaunted through a wall of guards, made a quick dash past miners, and gave a brief prayer to Corellon, whose reply washed out from him- a half dozen enemies died from awe and fright. Inspired by his deeds, the party seemed to surge, fighting harder and nearly eliminating the horde before even more poured from the cavern.

Advancing towards the darkness, Lhankor and the gnome both smelled the high ringing of a summoning, behind the seemingly endless supply of enemies. The Deva went to the source of the smell-sound, invoking a few miners to kill eachother as she marched past. As the rest of the group fought to clear the remaining guards and miners, Lhankor peered into the weave of magic and saw a powerful devil of whips and chains coming from the nine hells. She ripped at the fabric of the spell damaging it as she advanced into the further recesses of the cave. Nytheria the Enchantress, sister to Gyyrune, stood before a summoning circle.

The party wiped most of the remaining forces, save for one surprisingly sturdy miner who held his ground to the last. “You’ve fought bravely, but the battle is lost. Leave now, while you have your life!” Perion shouted- and the Duergar dropped his pick and ran. Lhankor continued to disrupt the summoning as Torrin charged in front to block the thin passage, and the devil burst through. Nytheria’s clever magics kept her and her bound monster safe for a while, but Nicholas’s assault could not be stopped. Arrow, sword and hammer wore the devil down, and then the focus fell on the enchantress. She teleported herself past the party and used her charms to drive the knight & paladins away, but still Nicholas continued to fire- it was nearly not enough. As she turned a corner, almost safely away from the group, Gesh hit her in the back of the head with a shot of dragonfrost, freezing it solid. As she fell to the ground, her head shattered.

The battle over, the group took her staff and …..

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Platinum, Devils, Dragonspawn and Traps Oh My!
From the journal of Torrin Stormtooth

The smell of brimstone, sulfur, dust, singed hair and my layer of burned scales still lingered in the air while my companions and I searched the bodies of the Devils and Duergar “slaves” that had attacked us. Nicholas found a strange round device on one of the Duergar that must have been what they hurled our way that created the explosions that sent me flying down the tunnels during our skirmish, Nicholas quickly decided that we should keep it and pocketed the device. I thought about what would happen if that thing activated in his pocket by accident… could be amusing for a moment or two but then Perrion or myself would have to heal him, something that we may not be able to afford given the resistance we have met so far. After searching the area more extensively we realized that this portion of the cavern is a platinum mine, we gathered the loose ore and surveyed the room to determine our next move.
The sound of the battle had surely echoed through the tunnels and more enemies would certainly be heading our way, a small stream flowed through the room from a hole in the wall that looked big enough to crawl through. On the opposite side of the room a path of natural stone leading up into a tunnel that we would have to file trough single file and above that about 8 feet above the floor was a small tunnel that I found suspicious. I offered to lift Perrion up to have look, as Perrion peered into the tunnel and relayed back to me what he saw I figured that the main passage and this smaller one above would converge somewhere ahead. I suggested that we split into 2 teams, one high, one low; Kildrak however gave a grunt and stated something along the line of it was a waist of time and forged ahead down the main tunnel Gesh and I took up the rear of the marching order as everyone filed into the tunnel. There was a sudden twinging sound of a tripwire and a grunt of a dwarvish curses as a section of the wall above cascaded down onto Kildrak, Nicholas, and Perrion burying them and leaving a wall of debris that would be difficult to traverse. I looked to Gesh and bade him to follow me, there were enemies approaching quickly from the other end of the tunnel, the stream had to connect to a chamber beyond and likely behind the enemy ahead.
The sounds of battle started ringing out from the tunnel behind, Kildrak and Nicholas must have dug themselves out of the rubble, because there was a raging battle cry from Kildrak and the sound of Nicholas’ crossbow firing. The tunnel the battle was taking place in was too narrow for Gesh and I to get around and joint the fray. I crawled into the tunnel my broadsword aglow with Kord’s power lighting my way through the gloom, Gesh followed close behind. A sturdy steel grate barred the way, I had Gesh move up beside me and focus his elemental magics on the bars freezing them solid I pressed my shoulder into the frozen bars and summoned my strength to shatter them like twigs. The sounds of battle seemed to be coming from both ends of the small tunnel Gesh and I were crawling through, I sensed my allies being attacked by the enemies just on the other side of the stone through my divine powers, for a moment I considered calling on Kords wrath to draw one of the unseen enemies into the stone, that would be very funny.
The end of the streams tunnel came quickly, dumping Gesh and I into a waist deep pool near the base of a 10 foot high wall, there was an ominous growl from above. While it seemed familiar I did not have the luxury of time, my allies were under attack by some more devils and their Duergar companions, I rushed into the fray using the powers Kord bestowed upon me along with a trick from my past that allowed me to enter the fray and attack my target while avoiding drawing any unwanted attention from the other enemies. The enemies that remained fell quickly and one proceeded to surrender and beg for his life in a more gravely than normal form of dwarven, spewing lies about how he was a slave and following orders. Using my powers of… persuasion to get him to tell s some truths, a dragonborn threatening to freeze you solid before smashing you to bits will make just about any enemy disown any loyalty he may ave remaining, as well as anything remaining in his blatter HA!
The Duergar captive spilled his guts, what little of them he had, I demanded to know what had made the growling in the next room. Dragonspawn, red dragonspawn to be exact, the beasts had the powers of dragon kind but none of the cunning, the captive spewed some nonsense about doom awaiting us and the usual fair and we brushed it off. Then while we were debating on whether to kill him or restrain him he blubbered out a name that made us all stop. Gyyrune was here, he was in this very camp making calls and sending raiding parties into the tunnels above, after he cast himself into the hell’s under Geldrums Tower I though we had not seen the last of him. My companions bound and gagged the dark Dwarf and knocked him out, and continued on without resting to the next room to attack the Dragonspawn. Nicholas crept up the wall beside the pool and through the gloom he spotted the massive beast approaching, Nicholas signaled to kill the lights, I focused and the light radiating from my broadsword went out. after a few moments of waiting for the dark to erupt in flame from the maw of that dragonspawn above we all heard the familiar thump of Nicholas’ crossbow releasing its deadly volley.
Lhankor and I brought the lights back up just in time to see the blood flowing from the wounds opened from the where crossbow bolts struck. I scaled the wall and challenged the beast with my divine powers and striking with a blow that slowed the beast. Kildrak joined me atop the wall slamming his hammer into its maw, the great beast responded by showing us a cavernous maw with swirling flames about to spew forth, when a crossbow bolt slammed into the dragonspawn’s head just behind the eye instantly killing the beast. As I was about to call out about the nice shot Kildrak and I were enveloped in flames from a second dragonspawn that had appeared from the adjacent room. The flames subsided leaving Kildrak and I burned severely, Gesh scaled the wall and summoned a great storm of cold that pushed the dragonspawn under the arch that connected to the next room. Nicholas pulled the strange orb from his pocket and looked it over for a second, after doing something to it he it began sparking and shaking and he hurled it at not the dragonspawn that was bearing down on us but the archway above it. The orb itself turned out to be the explosive that our enemies had hurled at us not too long ago, with a great blast of fire and stone the archway collapsed onto the dragonspawn crushing and killing it.
With the entrance to the room beyond sealed by rubble we could only guess that it was the main entrance beyond, we tended our wounds and turned to the path ahead, another steep wall and into the caverns beyond. As we move forward and the light from our party illuminates the path ahead we steel ourselves for battle with the force that seems to be a key figure in the recent woes of the world, Gyyrune will meet his end by this sword of mine, the power bestowed on me by Kord will allow me to attain even more glory by battling this foe.

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What's in the Mine is Mine

An except from the Journal of Lhankor Traslocare

…and then when we had finally wiped out the ambush, we had taken a prisoner. There was some browbeating and threatening, but we eventually learned that the guard considered himself dead regardless of what he told us or not. This meant to me that further prodding wouldn’t help, but they kept at it. We learned that they were mostly expecting us, and that there were several traps set up for us. Since we knew of another entrance, we decided to give that a try, since it might help us spring a counter trap. Hopefully there isn’t a counter-counter trap further along.

We made it up the wall to the secondary entrance, and we found that there were some sleeping duegar there as well as a couple guards. There was a loud mining sound coming from further on in, but that was actually an advantage as we were able to subdue (read: destroy) them before the others were alerted. After the customary looting, we moved further along toward the sounds of mining activity in one of the exit passages. Fortunately it seemed that the sounds of mining had masked our battle and no alarm had been raised.

More duergar and guards awaited us. The dark dwarves were demolitionists who turned their explosives on us to some effect , but since we had already dealt with their brethren, this wasn’t much more of a challenge.

Now, we have to figure out where to go from here…

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Advanced hide and seek

From the journal of Kildrak Stoneheart

Having defeated the ugly, brutish umber hulks I convinced the party to delay our return back up the shaft that dropped us down here until we had at least explored the immediate vicinity. We were immediately rewarded as we found the disgusting remains of many an umber hulk meal, and within the remains we found the remnants of what these poor victims had on them, including a fair amount of good and jeweled dagger. Further exploration of these lower caves proved less fruitful as we traveled toward a rushing air sound that became unbearable with the noise along with a scent of sulfur and increasing temperature. Examining the map revealed that we were heading toward the Hellstew, which seems an appropriate name from the smell of it.

We returned back to the upper tunnels and proceeded towards our targets only to once again be confronted with the scent of sulfur; however without the rushing air sound it was more manageable at this level. Eventually we entered a large cavern that was illuminated with a vivid blue color, and which had a rope bridge running across it to a massive stalagmite in the middle. Looking below the bridge we could see where the blue light came from, swirling eddies of shifting, shimmering blue floating on the surface of the waters that form together to create the Hellstew. The beauty of it was mesmerizing, particularly when the heat from the thermal activity would cause a bubble of fluorescent blue to float upwards and burst in midair to light up the whole cavern.

We were on a mission, however, so we proceeded forward across the bridge to the stalagmite and across the bridge from the stalagmite to the other side of the cavern. As we approached, it became obvious that this was the entrance to a Duergar city built to mine the minerals in this area, and when we finally reached the other side we found that they were prepared for our approach. Two duergar appeared from behind pillars and got the jump on us. Distracted by the appearance of these foes, who focused their attacks on me, we didn’t see the two duergar flesheaters who appeared as if from nowhere and laid vicious blows on Nicholas and Torrin before we had even prepared our initial attack. While I traded blows with the duergar hammer wielder before me, the rest of the party fought as strongly as usual against the other duergar. In the blink of an eye Nicholas had landed critical shots on 2 of the duergar and Perion finished off my foe. That left only 1 flesheater who was smart enough to surrender.

After a careful interrogation, we were able to learn that the duergar of this city have been told by their citadel Glastezé to follow whatever orders the tieflings provide them. Torrin and I were also able to scare him enough to learn of an additional entrance to the city from the adjacent cliff face. It looks like it is time for a climb.

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Befuddled, muddled, and tumbled
19th of Ingray 988

From the journal of Nicolas Hauxworth

Nothing like roper guts to clear the senses! And quite the gullet that the beast had, a sad day for the poor adventures that were left behind. After cleaning off the valuables and storing them in our extra-dimensional bag we were on our way again. It seems that the anomaly of the fungal forest was just begining of this underground ecosystem for as we ventured further into the dark the surroundings started to get musty with the buzzing of strange subterranean insects who once landing on a black goo were swallowed up whole. It also appears that some large creature has expanded these tunnels for large claw marks were all over the stone work…some of it fresh. Truly fascinating! Winston would love this place, I will have to make sure to bring him down here once we have some time to spare…who knows when that will be.

Just as think about what other sorts of properties this black goo would have Torrin and Kildrak disappeared from view (note: I must teach those how to listen to the very earth itself, maybe it is best if I stay near the front). Torrin screamed like a little baby, quite amusing actually. The same could not be said for Kildrak for all heard was a grunt followed by some dwarven expletives that quickly got quieter. I could hear the distance shouts of Kildrak but do not think that they could hear my responses. Lankor approached the newly created hole, cast a spell on herself, and gently started to descend. This didn’t seem like very much fun to me and I assumed that we would need to have a way back out so I found a nice sturdy stalactite and with the help of Gesh and Perion I secured a nice not. Then I jumped down the hole. What a blast this was! Though I wasn’t prepared for the sudden stop at the end, it was a good thing that I hadn’t eaten anything for a while. I could hear Gesh and Perion following down behind me, much safer it seems. Lankor, as graceful as ever slid past me(I must have past her..can’t remember that during the downhill rush) and floated to the ground. Once we all got down we found Kildrak and Torrin, a little beat up but it looks like they would manage. It appears that we had landed in a cavern carved much the same as the tunnel above, with those strange claw marks. We started to get the party back up the chute that we had slid down when Lankor and I heard a chittering sound, it seems like our retreat would have to wait a little while. I shot a few warning shots but they seemed to wide or not stop the oncoming threat.

Soon emerging into the light was the creator of the cavern as the tunnels above, an umber hulk. It lumbered forward with its massive claws and four strange eyes. The ensuing conflict was mostly a blur for me as those strange eyes warped my equilibrium throwing me into walls and dark corners. I know I landed a few shots but I am not sure how much good they did. When I was lucid what I could see was the combined might of Kildrak and Lankor using the umber hulks tricks against the beasts themselves. I am still suprised by Kildrak’s bravery, I watched him bang his shield and force the foes to attack him above all else. I swear that one time I sensed fear in the beasts and they tried to retreat, but as this party is want to do we utterly destroyed them. Maybe I need to rethink this blood lust that comes over me during a battle. Though the creature was attempting to kill me I do not think it was out of malice, I was just food to it. Maybe if I can just exert my alpha predator status then I do not have rip my enemies to shreds.

I’ll start with creatures, the same can’t be said against tieflings.

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