Dark Shards

The Forge of Fury Finale
Khundrukar, Reaping Week ???, BCY 14500

Session 17

DM When last we left our heroes, they had pulled back to allow Shael’s charm to undermine the dastardly soulforger Snurrevin. Now, we join them to see the results. Will the duergar become their ally? Or their mortal foe? Read on and find out!

Snurrevin “Yes…that’s it! You fool, you’ve given everything away!” Snurrevin begins incanting, but Shael cannot pinpoint the location. The entire forge begins to buzz and hum with vile green energy. Smoke pours forth from all of the forges, flames shoot up to the ceiling, and then…nothing. He can feel nothing. The other heroes feel their mindlink break.

Kryss “Gentlemen?” Kryss asks through the smoke as he enters the room.

DM The smoke slowly fades. All that is left is the fabulous wealth of the dwarven lords.

Julian Julian rushes in to see what has happened, Lightbringer at the ready.

Kryss Kryss looks around for Shael.

DM Snurrevin is gone. So too is Shael, although that is nothing to be alarmed about at this point.

Julian “Huh. I guess… they’re gone.” Julian states the obvious. He inspects the fabulous wealth of the dwarven lords for consolation.

Kryss Kryss joins him in looking through the forging supplies

DM Besides specialty tools and blacksmithing equipment lying about, there appears to also be a stock of handbooks and journals, perhaps detailing smithing secrets lost to the surface world hundreds of years ago. Rare ores in raw form ripped from the deepest depths of the earth are also piled in various stocks throughout the foundary.

Julian “Wow…” Julian eagerly pages through. “Do you think the ancient dwarven lords knew about making war wagons?”

Kryss Kryss is happy to collect anything of note to review with Fapas. “We’ll have to get all this back to town right away.” he says. He test swings the hammers, holds the ores up to the light inspecting them. Even the tongs get a few test squeezes. It is obvious the dragon has found something exciting here.

Julian “I’m sure they knew all about them. If only I could read Dwarven…” Julian concludes sadly.

Kryss “Perhaps Shael will be able to translate or Rollo?”

Julian “Yeah. Ooh…” Julian’s attention is quickly captured by other riches.

Kryss “I think this is black iron. Green? Ive never heard of it!”

Julian “I bet Rollo would know all about it. Is that… is that mithril? I didn’t even think that was real!”

Kryss “Mithril! Adamantine!” Kryss is growing more and more excited as he identifies the ores. “This is a major find. Wait… whats this?” Kryss asks, holding up the soulsteel.

Julian “Kryss, we’re going to be armed like kings. Is that what the… Durgeddin’s people were talking about? Maybe we should ask them about it.”

DM Within the soulsteel’s gleam, a face appears momentarily, then vanishes, most likely simply a trick of the light.

Kryss “It must be. When I tough it I can almost feel…” he stops and drops the steel billet on the floor.

DM The agony and suffering were probably similar tricks.

Julian “What?”

DM That crazy light.

Kryss “I dunno. Crazy light playing tricks on me. I wont know anything for sure about any of this until we get back to town.” he arranges a few pieces of the mithril in a rough daisy pattern on a table. “We should find Shael and get moving.” he suggests

Julian Julian nods and starts setting things in order.

Kryss Kryss sketches the design of one of the forges, paying special attention to the way the baffles pull air while Julian makes arrangements.

Julian Once everything is as ready to go as Julian can get it, the paladin waits for Kryss to be done sketching. He tries out the throne in the great hall for size while he’s at it, looking around half guiltily before he flops down.

DM The chair is perfectly sized for him.

Kryss “Ok, lets go find out friend.” Kryss says at legnth, satisfied. "Lets poke around over here a little more

Julian “Yeah, I’m up for a little more poking around.” Julian doesn’t get up. “Pretty good view from here.” he admits.

Kryss “Im sure but I expect Shael will be right over here.” Kryss walks to the east. Following the stream.

DM The stream running through the old dwarven bladeworks meanders into a natural cavern and finally tumbles into a great chasm, easily 100 feet long and 50 feet wide. You can see nothing but darkness below, although you think you hear the roar of distant waters over the shrill sound of the waterfall beside you. Across the chasm, a second small ledge is partially hidden by a spur of rock.

Julian Julian regretfully levers himself up and follows. “Huh. A whole nother level.”

Kryss “Xi?” Kryss asks aloud, “Do you think you could look around over there?”

Xi “Sure, a glorified scout and punching bag, that’s what I am.”

Kryss “A trusted advisor.”

Xi “Are there any orcs waiting to feather me with arrows this time, you dunderheaded buffoon?”

Kryss “I… Im not sure. If there are then feel free to shout a warning.” Kryss closes his eyes, attuning with the dragon.

Xi “Or perhaps an ogre waiting to devour me. I’m sure passing through its bowels would be preferable to living out this disgrace.” Xi begins winging across the chasm. “There’s a chain ladder on this side,” Xi calls back. “Just the sort of thing to slip and fall to your death from.”

Kryss Kryss sighs to himself. “Anything at the top? Is there a way to get to the ladder from where we are?”

Xi “You’d need to go around. No doubt one of these cramped dwarven halls leads over to that side. I can see the worked stone from here.”

Julian “Well, sounds like we need to clear out this level first, then, before we go down. Best that way anyway – make sure we leave nothing that could hit us from behind.”

Kryss Kryss turns to Julian. “Theres a ladder leading down that we can access but Im pretty sure Shael wouldnt go investigating a mysterious hole in the ground without us.”

Julian “Yeah. Honestly, Kryss, I’m pretty sure he’s using a spell to follow us around invisibly. Then he’ll jump out when he’s most needed. Isn’t that right, Shael?”

DM Shael does not jump out.

Julian “…”

Kryss “Agreed then. Xi? Please stay close to me and keep your eyes open for anything interesting or dangerous.”

Julian “Bah.” Julian starts heading around to the unexplored rooms.

Kryss Kryss follows, his familiar berating him along the way.

Xi “Please? Danger? A dragon craves not these things.”

Julian Julian tries the first door on the south.

DM Surprisingly, this room has not been looted. These were once the personal quarters of an important dwarf, decorated with tapestries and furnished comfortably, although age has taken its toll on the room’s contents. A beautiful rug easily 20 feet across covers the floor in the center of the room, and a simple bed and writing desk stand in the southwest corner of the chamber.

Julian “Wow, nice rug.”

Kryss Kryss keeps a guard while Julain investigates. “It would last mere moments at the forge.” he replies.

Julian Julian moves over to go through the desk.

DM The rug suddenly twists and attempts to smother Julian. The paladin fights it off.

Julian “Aah!”

Kryss Kryss panics as the rug wraps around his companion. Shatterspike comes down upon it.

DM It opens a savage tear in the fabric. And just like that, the rug is in tatters. Two beautiful unanimated tatters.

Julian Julian flails at it with Lightbringer. “Gah! What the hell?” He stops as Kryss makes short work of the thing.

Kryss “Are you ok?” Kryss unwraps Julian.

Julian “Yeah… thanks. Wonder what it was doing here…”

DM (True Believers, the rug was animated by the high priest of Moradin in life and ordered to kill any non-dwarf who set foot upon it.)

Kryss He lifts a half of the rug, “I suppose you could put it in your house if you like…”

DM Beneath the bed lies a small wooden chest containing silver and copper coins, and a square of silk in which are folded a star sapphire and a pair of matched blue topaz stones.

Kryss “Lets check next door.” Kryss suggests.

Julian Julian nods after taking stock of the coin. He moves on to the next door on the south.

DM This looted room has lain untouched for centuries. It contains several stripped orc skeletons.

Kryss “Why would looters have skipped the last door?” Kryss ponders as Julian looks around.

Julian Julian makes sure that these skeletons aren’t the animate type, then moves on. “Maybe the rug killed them. Didn’t see any bodies… I wonder if it ate people…”

Kryss Kryss’ puny human arms grow goosebumps at the idea.

Julian He tries the third southern door.

Kryss “What the…?! Something is happening to my skin!” Kryss sounds alarmed.

Xi “It typically precedes the loss of your male reproductive organs,” Xi offers.

Julian “Huh… poison?” Julian wrinkles his brow.

DM Rows of empty weapon racks and a dozen or more stands for missing suits of armor indicate that this room was once an armory. Some debris litters the floor—wrecked stands and hacked arming dummies, but nothing of value is readily apparent.

Kryss “I certainly hope not!” Kryss replies, rubbing his arms.

Xi “Humans who have no use for them typically shed them after their skin prickles like that.”

Julian “Well, I’ve got healing ready if you need. Let me know if you start feeling ill.” Julian investigates to find the no doubt vast heaps of treasure not readily apparent.

Kryss He waits again while Julian looks around.

DM An arming dummy animates and attempts to spar with Julian…lethally. It pops him solidly on the jaw. “Keep your guard up,” it growls in Dwarven.

Julian Julian does just that with Lightbringer.

DM His blow rings off the arming dummy. His followthrough though, nearly shears its arms off.

Dummy “Good shot. Stand your ground.”

Kryss Kryss moves in smoothly, assessing the dummies balance before swinging low and then high.

Dummy His low blow knocks it off its feet and the high one smacks down hard. “That’s enough training for today,” it grumbles in Dwarven before tumbling over.

Julian “Huh… that’s the second one like that. Maybe there’s more.”

Julian “Thanks again.” Julian continues his interrupted investigation.

Kryss “Perhaps they would be good training aids for the town guard.” Kryss wonders aloud.

DM The investigation turns up nothing of value. Any useful weapons have been long removed from this armory.

Julian On to the northern door just across.

DM This looted room has lain untouched for centuries. It contains smashed furniture that appeared to be of high quality before its ruin.

Kryss “Another bedroom?” Kryss asks.

Julian Julian nods, moving west now and trying the other doors in turn.

Julian He’ll investigate them all once they know that all four are clear.

DM Dwarven corpses, smashed furniture, nothing of value…all the rooms have this in common. His careful investigation turns up only a confirmation of this.

Kryss “Nothing eh?”

Julian “Just ruins. There’s more down here, though…”

Kryss “Each room is another door closer to finding Shael.”

Julian Julian moves into the room at the end of the hall.

DM The hallway itself led to a second open chamber about 30 feet deep and 40 wide. Three doors open into this room, and another dark pool waits in a low stone basin in the center of the chamber. This room is littered with the remains of old warriors. No less than seven dwarven corpses lie where they fell a hundred years ago, surrounded by at least a dozen orc warriors. Someone went to the trouble to strip the dead of their arms and armor, leaving behind a handful of broken weapons and shattered shields.

DM As for the rooms at the eastern end of the hall…orc bodies, stripped like the dwarven ones.

Kryss Kryss is careful not to step on any of the bodies as he walks across them.

DM Nothing of value.

Kryss “What about this door to the south?” Kryss asks as he opens it.

Julian “If I have my bearings right, it’ll probably take us towards that pit again…This time from the ladder side.”

Kryss “Xi mentioned the hallways circle this way.” Kryss confirms

DM This room was once the library or study of a scholar. Bookshelves stand against the walls. Several piles of books rest on reading table in the middle of the room, and the room reeks of moldy paper. Two doors exit to the east and the south. A slender woman of medium height and long, blonde hair sits in a chair at the table, looking extremely sad. Her clothing looks well worn, though it does little to detract from the beauty of her appearance.

Idalla photo Idalla_zpsee56787a.jpg

Idalla “Have you come to save me?” she asks.

Julian “Hey! Who are you?”

Kryss “Do you require saving?” Kryss asks.

Idalla “My name is Idalla, and I’m bound by a thick enchantment.”

Kryss “Tell me more Idalla, and we may be able to free you.”

Idalla “The sorceress below has ensnared me in mystic bonds. I need heroes to break the enchantment.”

Julian “A sorceress?!”

Kryss Kryss takes a few steps forward, “Then fortune favors you. We have come to break the curses on this land.”

Idalla “You will let me leave with you?”

Kryss “Where do you wish to go?”

Idalla She looks intently at Julian as she asks. “The sorceress who bound me swore to unleash a horror from the deep upon this region.”

Kryss “Why?” Kryss asks.

Julian “Tell us more,” Julian urges, “what and why? And I’m sure you can come with us, but what about that enchantment?”

Kryss “How can we help you? Are you from Blasingdell? Do you know the Constable there?”

Idalla “I am not from Blasingdell, but from a settlement some distance away. The enchantment keeps me from leaving on my own, one of you simply has to carry me out to free me.”

Kryss “Then stand aside and allow us to continue our search. We will return and take you with us once we have found our companion. Do you need food or water? Wine?” Kryss suggests as an afterthought.

Julian “We c…” Julian shrugs as Kryss determines their course. “All right, that works. I suppose that way we can escort you out and see no harm befalls you.”

Idalla “I’ve been eating rats and drinking the water that flows through here. I’d love real food.”

Kryss Kryss digs in a pack and pulls out some fruits that have only been in there a week. He offers her this and his wineskin.

Julian Julian grabs some food and sets it out, adding to what Kryss did. “I’m pretty hungry too. Hope you don’t mind if I share the meal.”

Kryss “Are you injured? Sick? What can we do to make you comfortable until our return?”

Idalla “I’ve been in here for who knows how many weeks…if you could carry me free to the grand hall, I’d at least be free…” She shakes her head when Kryss asks if she’s sick or injured. “Unless I’ve caught something from eating raw meat,” she grimaces.

Kryss Kryss looks back to Julian. “Should I carry her back to the hall?”

Julian “How did you get here? And do you know anything about what lies beyond? What about this sorceress, tell us more?” Julian plies her with questions throughout the meal. “I don’t see why not.” he replies to Kryss. “Soon as we’re done eating. No need to wait till we get back, and this way, if something happens to us…”

Idalla “No, him,” she points at Julian. “He has to carry me. I…I understand a little bit about magic and…something’s off about you, brave stranger. I do not think you can break the curse.”

Kryss Kryss glowers. “I assure you that I am plenty strong enough to carry you.”

Idalla “I believe you, and I don’t mean to offend. Let me tell you about the sorceress.” Idalla begins telling them about the raven haired sorceress who ensnared her. She could weave magical prisons, illusions and had incredible control over water. Idalla tries to beat around the fact, but it seems that the sorceress’s ‘enchantments’ weren’t purely of the magical kind.

Julian Julian doesn’t press that point. A woman’s love has never been highest on his list of priorities. “Does she have any weaknesses?”

Idalla “I don’t know…she mentioned she was working for someone named Andor Kralik…he sounded terrifying.”

Julian “Huh. Never heard of him. Was she connected to dragons at all? Or dwarves?”

Idalla “A dragon supposedly lairs far below here, she did say that. I don’t know if she was telling the truth.”

Julian “Last question… is there anyone else? Either on her side… or did you come with anyone?”

Idalla “I came for her, so if there’s anyone else, I don’t know about it. A dwarven ghost floats around here sometimes, I don’t know if you saw him. He’s from the old days of this fortress…he used to be a priest.”

Julian Julian nods. “Second-last question.” he amends belatedly. “What’s her name?”

Kryss Kryss finishes the meal as Julian finishes interrogating her.

Idalla “Nattskalla.”

Julian “Huh. Another new one.”

Kryss “What will happen to Julian when he carries you into the main hall?”

Julian “All right, well,” Julian wraps up the leftovers, “let’s get you out of here. I…” He pauses, brow furrowed, as Kryss asks his question.

Idalla “I assume he’ll feel like a big strong hero, which I suspect you get to do all the time.”

Kryss “She seems to be on the level,” Kryss shrugs and holds the door for Julain.

Julian “Hey, easy now. Kryss is a big strong hero.” Julian laughs and stands, offering his hand.

Idalla She takes his hand, smiling.

Julian Julian picks her up easily and heads for the door.

DM As soon as he moves her through the door, invisible chains shimmer into view and shatter.

Idalla “Free!” she gasps. “Oh thank you so much!”

Julian “Anytime.”

Kryss “If you care to wait, we will escort you to Blasingdell shortly.”

Idalla “Honestly, I don’t care to wait, but seriously, thank you so very very much.”

Kryss “Out of curiosity, why wouldnt the magic have not worked for me?”

Idalla “Probably because you’re a dragon,” she remarks casually. “And not that pure of heart.” Her voice has taken on a harder edge, she no longer appears to be anything like a damsel in distress.

Kryss “Ah yes. That would explain it.” Kryss answers.

Julian “You know your way out? We’ve cleared out most of them, but there might be a few bands of orcs in the countryside. I’d hate to send you out alo…” Julian trails off as her demeanor changes.

Kryss “Off you go then, miss.” Kryss slaps her rump as he turns to return to the library.

Idalla She puts one hand on her hip, and despite Julian’s lack of interest in women, it’s hard to avoid noticing. Kryss notices, because when he went to slap that hip, he somehow tripped and fell at her feet. “I can take care of myself now that you boys were nice enough to free me.”

Kryss He stands and dusts himself off. “Good to know. Safe journeys then.”

Julian “Well, ah…” he smiles, helping Kryss up distractedly, “safe travels to you…” Julian fights to keep his eyes where a paladin’s should be.

Shael Shael observes the maiden curiously, his gaze taking in any magical auras despite his laconic blinking. “Who’s this, then?” he wonders aloud.

Kryss Kryss’ eyes linger despite himself. His human hormones rage through him. “Actually, perhaps we should get to know one another.”

Kryss He steps closer to her again. “We could get to know one another really well…”

Idalla “Sounds fun. Look me up if you’re ever in Istancian.”

Kryss “Why wait? Say, do you like rugs?”

Julian Julian frowns as Kryss moves in.

Kryss His voice takes on a roughness, “We found a room earlier with a really nice rug. We should go look at it. Together.”

Kryss He looks around the room. “Just us…”

Idalla “You wouldn’t have as much fun as you think. And it wouldn’t be very nice to pay you back with anything less than a fun time.”

Shael “Where is that? Istancian?” Shael asks suddenly.

Kryss Kryss’ face turns red as she puts him off.

Julian “Huh?” Julian is jolted out of his thoughts. “Uh… Istancian?”

Idalla “In the Scarlet Sea, off the Reckless Coast.”

Julian “Don’t think I’ve ever heard of it. Not around here, that’s for sure…”

Kryss He grows quiet as he fights away the urge to get all Red Dragon-ish on her.

Shael “The Scarlet Sea? The Reckless Coast?” Shael inquires, “Stilll not familiar names.”

DM “It’s not. I came from pretty far away. Still, you guys were nice enough to help me out. Keep these, and maybe someday you’ll visit the Cage.” She tosses them jade coins.

Julian “I haven’t heard of any of that either. Come on, Kryss, we can’t press on a lady.” Julian mutters uncomfortably, his attention quickly returning to the other two.

Kryss “Where have you been anyways?!” Krys asks Shael.

Idalla “Just be careful, Cutie,” she winks at Julian. “Not everyone is what they appear.” Her eyes grow red and she slowly fades out of focus for all of them.

Kryss Kryss scowls. “I dont think she was what she appeared to be.” he says.

Shael Shael observes the jade coin curiously. He looks up at the woman again and asks, “How will you return?” his head tilted to the side he gazes into her labrinthine gaze as she slowly fades away.

Julian “Whoa. That’s for sure.” Julian looks down at his coin uncertainly.

Julian “Is she… gone?” This to Shael.

Kryss Kryss stuffs the coin in his pocket. “We found a library. Come look.”

Shael “The Ethereal again…” Shael mutters before pocketing his coin. He glances at Julian and nods absently, “Yes… Oh?” he becomes animated as he follows Kryss.

Kryss “She was standing over there.” Kryss says as he leads the party back into the library.

Julian Julian lingers, turning his coin over in his hands. “I’ll catch up…” he mutters vaguely.

Kryss Kryss keeps a watchful eye while Shael looks around the room.

Kryss “She said she was eating rats.”

Shael “What part of them…?” Shael wonders curiously to himself as he pours through the room carefully.

Kryss “I usually eat them whole after a good roasting.”

Shael “There are parts of an animal you cannot roast.” Shael minds.

DM The tomes are of dwarven history. Fairly extensive and detailed dwarven history.

Kryss “None that Ive ever found.”

Shael “History, very extensive and… even fairly precice.” he murmers. Looking up he wonders, “What’s through those doors?”

DM The old bedchamber reeks of mold and rot. It is clear that it hasn’t been opened, Idalla certainly wasn’t in there.

Kryss “I expect the south door leads to the large chasm we found east of the foundry.” Kryss replies. “She said she was here for weeks and she never used any room other than the library.”

Kryss “What do you think she tasted like?” Kryss says, still trying to shake off his urge to own the woman.

Shael “Weeks.” he wonders aloud and intends to remind himself to ask Ghara about her later.

Kryss “Lets try this door. Hopefully Julian will be along shortly.” He chuckles to himself at the pun. He opens the south door.

Shael “Hmm? Oh… pitted iron, I’d imagine.” he answers and follows along to the southern door.

Kryss “Yuck.”

Julian “Huh…” Julian tucks the coin away. This might end up being another thing he’ll have to not show the Lady Inquisitor, he thinks, as he rejoins the party. He investigates dutifully while the others mess around with doors.

DM It becomes rather clear that the chambers Idalla was in do not in fact, lead to a southern passage to the ladder that Xi spoke of.

Julian “A secret door?” Julian wonders. He investigates fruitlessly for some time.

DM The back room is simply piles and piles of books, more dwarven histories, some irrepairably damaged, lying in ruin on the floor.

Kryss “The chasm is on the other side of this wall. Im certain of it.”

Xi “Perhaps you better tug one out before you go blathering about any certainties on your end, you oaf,” Xi mutters.

Julian “Maybe there’s a secret door in the moldy room.” Julian braves the mold to look for it.

Xi “Never been so disgusted with an empathic link in my life…”

Kryss “You dont mean that.” Kryss replies.

DM Julian does not find a secret door, but the former occupant of the moldy room does have treasure squirreled away. Six fire rubies are buried in a small iron chest beneath his bed.

Julian “Hey, look at these!” The secret door is momentarily forgotten as Julian emerges bearing the treasure chest stuffed with gems.

Shael Shael is picking up the ruined books, salvaging what he can as he sorts them into the library room.

Kryss “Thats not a secret door,” Kryss says with disappointment.

DM “You’re at least twenty feet east of where I saw the ladder, you oaf,” Xi growls.

Kryss “Then where is the passage to the ladder?” he asks.

Julian “Huh. So… we missed it further west?”

Julian Julian retraces his steps.

DM “Does that fleshy human brain not have any room in it for vectors?”

Julian He investigates some more.

Kryss “This fleshy human brain has little room in it for anything. In fact, right now its full of ways I could prepare you for consumption.”

Xi “It wouldn’t be the first time, you incompetant turd.”

Kryss “Just figure out how to get us to the ladder, Xi?” Kryss pleads.

Shael “It’s back through the forge.” Shael murmers, still absorbed by trying to repair the books.

Kryss “The passage was blocked from that direction.” Kryss says.

DM Julian locates the secret door while the dragons argue.

JulianFOUND IT!” he calls.

Shael Shael looks up, surprised. “Oh. I feel like I was just there…”

Kryss “Hang on!” Kryss calls back. “I think Xi is about to find the secret door!”

Julian “Hey Shael, does Ghara want to come?” He eagerly opens the door, short on patience after so much searching.

Xi “I’ll find your secret door, you boob. Course there’s nothing secret about that back entrance, disgraceful pissant that you are…”

DM The door leads to a passage that leads south, and forks off to the east.

Julian He explores the junction that leads back towards the dwarven halls while he waits for his friends to catch up. The dwarves must have used the door for something.

Julian Something like stashing bags of gold?

DM Er, West. Not the east. Shit.

Julian West it is!

DM It seems the passages were not in fact, used to stash gold, but they did not appear to be found by the duergar during their squatting tenure.

Shael “She’s gone.” he tells Julian; oh. Julian is gone. The struggle to leave the books behind is obviously visible on Shael’s expression.

Julian Nothing here, then. Back east Julian goes, and then south.

DM “Hope this isn’t an ugly ladder, because you’re bound to slip and hit every rung on the way down,” Xi continues.

Kryss “We can come back,” Kryss suggests.

Julian His now far off companions hear a muffled “Come on!” faintly audible from somewhere.

Shael Shael frowns and sighs loudly as he follows Kryss.

Kryss “Were coming!” Kryss answers as he stuffs Master Xi uncerimoniously back into the hood of his cloak.

Julian Julian meanwhile eagerly uncovers the mysteries of the southern hallway.

DM His empathic link detects the strains of the familiar to pass his bowels in the hood, although the effort surpasses his ability.

Kryss “I have it on good authority that Master Xi is here to assist me.” Kryss mentions to Shael as they walk.

Shael Shael nods, “Yes, I suppose that is true. It is one way of looking at it, at least.” he agrees.

DM The southern hallway leads to a door. The door leads to a ledge. The ledge has a ladder. It leads down…and down.

Julian Julian tests the ladder, ready for it to crumble under his weight.

Kryss “Should I send ‘You Know Who’ ahead of us?” Kryss asks, motioning to his hood.

Shael “Out of curiousity, what do we expect to find down there?” he wonders, also examining his companions to see if any of the legendary dwarven forged steel is hanging from halberd or anything.

DM It is dwarven forged of iron, and bears his weight easily. However, the spray from the waterfall does make it slick.

Julian “Sure. Idalla told us there’s an evil sorceress. And a dragon.”

Kryss Kryss mentally instructs Xi to take a look below them and report back.

Julian “Why,” he pauses with his foot on the first rung, “do you think we should explore somewhere else first? There’s those caves back on the other side of the iron door… Don’t know whether they lead anywhere.”

Shael Shael frowns, “What does that have to do with us?” he shrugs, “We’ve already found the treasure we were searching for… below, that is a whole new land, I think. I’m not saying we shouldn’t explore it… just that, perhaps, we could take some time to consolodate our gains.”

Julian “Hm. Well, we’ll see what Xi finds.” Julian settles in to wait.

DM Xi heads on down, muttering the entire way. Eventually he fades from sight.

Julian He sits on the rim of the pit, dangling his legs, absentmindedly kicking.

DM An hour passes. Then another.

Julian “Do you suppose the dragon… the other dragon ate him?”

Kryss Kryss settles back against a wall and attempts to see through Xi’s eyes. “No!” Kryss answers.

Julian “Just curious.” Kick. Kick. Julian flicks a pebble down into the pit.

Shael Shael is napping, a book he brought with from the library open in front of his closed eyes.

Kryss “Hey you should start translating these journals if you have time to kill.” Kryss kicks him and drops the smithing journals into his lap.

DM Kryss sees stone, waterfalls, nothing of interest as Xi slowly wheels down the tunnel.

Shael “Ack!” He asserts. He grumpily eyes the smithing journals and scans through them after invoking a ritual of comprehension.

DM The cascade feels fresh on Kryss’s face as he senses Xi playing in the water on the way down.

Julian Julian rubs his brow, removing his circlet with its burning star to run his hands through his hair. “Well, okay then. It sounds like whatever’s down there is a long trip, at least.” Julian says after yet more time has passed. “Let’s get a rest. And sure, Shael, we can look at the other place first. Afterwards.”

Julian The party settles down for a long rest.

Xi Xi returns after three hours. Naturally, after he passed over a hundred feet from Kryss, the dragons lost telepathic contact. “It’s a dragon’s lair,” the tiny dragon spirit informs them. “I’d bet his life on it.”

Kryss “Did you see any dragons?” Kryss asks.

Xi “Nope. Smelled it.”

Kryss “Who was it?…So who was it?!” Kryss asks again, growing irritated.

Julian “What kind of dragon?” Julian wonders.

Xi “A kid. Nothing impressive enough to deserve me knowing their name. Can barely keep their lair clean. Back when I was a juvenile dragon, we had respect.”

Julian “Another white one?”

Xi “None of this shit laying all over the place.”

Shael “It’s a different age.” he reminds Xi.

Kryss “Male or female? This body is stupid. I should have smelled them from the main road.” Kryss curses.

Xi “Probably a girl. Had a sketching of Bruticus up on one of the walls.”

Kryss “Could you tell what color she was?”

Xi “Stupid fangirls. But maybe it was a gay male. I didn’t see the dragon, because I wasn’t dumb enough to go flitting around in this useless form all over their lair. Kid or not, still quick enough to eat me.”

Kryss “You could have talked to him. You are the living embodiment of a powerful draconic bloodline. Besides, Id have just summoned you back.” He turns to his companions. “Im going to have to go down there.” he says matter of factly.

Shael Shael sniffs the air, “Probably black.” he murmers. He takes to the ladder and begins descending. “Give me a bit of a headstart.” he reminds them.

Julian “All right. Let’s go.” Julian gives Shael a bit of a head start, then descends.

Kryss Kryss waits a moment and follows the group. Might be best to lay low and test how sensitive this dragon is before he reveals himself.

DM The descent is long, and their arms are aching by the time they descend…a mile? Half? Into the depths of the mountain. A thundering spray of water fills this small chamber, pooling and flowing out to join a larger river to the north. The air is damp and the roaring of the waterfall is deafening. A broad ledge heads north toward the river and then turns out of sight to the east. The muddy banks of the pool look like footprints or tracks of some kind might have disturbed them.

Kryss “We should have rested down here,” Kryss rolls his shoulders. Swinging hammers and climbing ropes are two different animals. Kryss looks to Xi. "So? Sniff him out! Is he alone?

Shael Shael moves to take a closer look at the footprints/tracks.

Kryss Kryss looks in his hood, Xi is nowhere to be found. He pats his pockets and checks his bags. “Xi?!” he looks above them. “I forgot to tell Xi to follow me down.” he says sheepishly.

DM A massive bipedal lobster, hulking eight feet in height, blasts up from the waters, snapping at them with its huge claws.

Kryss “Xi!” Kryss calls, his back to the beast. “I know you can hear me Xi!”

Julian “Look out! That’s no dragon!” Julian states the obvious and rushes in with Lightbringer.

Kryss “Youre darn right he’s not a dragon!” Kryss shouts back, hoping to be overheard. “He’s a worm! Come down here!”

DM Lightbringer cuts savagely across the strange creature’s chest.

Julian “Aargh!” Julian agrees.

DM The creature retorts with a massve pincer to Julian’s waist.

Kryss “You hear how much you’re embarrassing me right now!?” Kryss calls up the tunnel.

Shael Shael compares the prints to the creature’s legs and grunts. “Kryss, attencion.” a second invocation begins roasting the sea-foo.. ahem.. creature.

Xi “If I could aim my defecation…” comes Xi’s growl as Shael’s flame roasts the creature in its shell.

Homarid It still struggles to crush Julian.

Julian Julian, it seems, is not easily crushed. The paladin hews at the pincer with Lightbringer.

Kryss Kryss finally turns. “Oh! What?!”

DM The struggle is over quickly. Lightbringer cracks open the claws, revealing the tender softly roasted flesh inside.

Kryss “Where did he come from?” Kryss asks.

Julian “Underwater.”

Shael “I made dinner.” Shael asserts, helping himself to the meaty flesh.

Julian “That DOES smell good…”

Kryss “I apologize, I was distracted.”

Xi Xi sniffs around again.

Julian “No problem. Hey, try some roast crab.”

Kryss “Smells good,” Kryss says, not forgetting the other dragon nearby.

DM A fast-moving underground river roars under an old dwarven bridge, moving from east to west. On the south bank a rusted old chain ladder leads up into darkness, while on the other side of the bridge, the ledge continues to the east. ‘’A second bridge seems to cross the river again about 40 or 50 feet to the east, but you’d first have to cross the river here to reach it,’’ Xi reports.

Shael After having his fill, Shael joins Xi in checking out the surrounding area. “Well, let’s get along then.”

Julian Julian nods and heads for the bridge.

Kryss “Indeed, which way is the dragon, Xi?” Kryss asks

DM Xi glares at the loudmouthed giant. “East,” he whispers.

Kryss “Any idea whats up the ladder?”

Julian “Want to bet that it’s under the water as well?” Julian mutters quietly. He picks his way across the dwarven bridge, following Shael east.

Shael Shael continues eastward, undaunted.

DM As Kryss crosses the bridge, it begins to sway, and crumbles, dumping him uncerimoniously into the water. He expertly leaps from falling rock to falling rock, avoiding the fall and springing to the other side as the rocks clatter and clash.

Kryss “I hope theres another way back around.”

DM Disturbed by the rubble, two of the lobster creatures emerge from the water.

Kryss “Behind you!” Kryss shouts.

DM The dilapidated bridge leads to another ledge that winds southeast alongside a very large lake, the source of the underground river. The cavern is quite large; the lake’s far shore is lost in shadow, and the echoes of water seem to indicate a very sizable cave. The lobster creatures lurk below them.

Shael Looks back and down from Kryss’s feat of dexterity. He considers whether they are a danger, but doesn’t seem to be convinced.

DM One of the creatures moves north, away from the heroes.

Shael Shael hops along further into the cavern, letting the creatures mill about. He casts a spell on himself to ensure the surety of his leaping.

DM While the party is looking at the lobster men, they hear a small splash and catch a glimpse of a small green light moving in the darkness. Then the water erupts in spray as a black-scaled dragon the size of a small horse bursts out of the water!

 photo Nightwing_zps1rbz8uvl.jpg

Nattskalla She hisses, spitting acid on Kryss.

Homarid The lobster man swims around angrily.

Kryss Partially blinded, Kryss falls back to recover. He quickly quaffs a potion from his pack.

Julian Julian covers him, a blast of magic sending waves rippling from a detonation point just between the dragon and lobsterman.

DM The dragon hisses and ducks lower in the water. The other lobster creature swims nearer to shore. A mass of mosquitos buzzes up from a spawning pool and begins swarming over the heroes.

Shael Waving the mosquitos out of his face, Shael spits out a spell of expiditious advance and leaps across the lake like some kind of super man. Standing on the islet, he turns to face the dragon – “I am Shael the Protector, who is it that stands against me?”

DM The dragon merely snarls at him.

Shael “The clouds came alive and dove to the earth! Hooves flashed among the dark army, who fled before the spectacle of fury.” Shael incants and a flash of bright light closes the distance between the two, slashing at the dragon.

DM It cuts the dragon across her face, and she hisses in rage again.

Shael “Reveal yourself to me.” Shael demands, “I will not offer succor to an unknown beast.”

DM “Nattskalla, foolish meat. I will be your doom.”

Shael “You will not be the first…” Shael mutters as he prepares to meet the dragon’s advance.

DM Contrary to her words, she dives into the water and swims away.

Shael He stands upright and murmers, “Uh…” peering into the depths of the water.

DM The lobsters make a beeline for the shore where Shael is.

Kryss Kryss tactically retreats having surveyed the battlefield. Now is the time to plan.

Julian “Shael, we’re falling back, away from the water. We can’t fight her on her ground.” Julian calls to warn the mage of their plans. “If we can draw her out, maybe… at least we could fight her on even terms away from the lake.”

Shael “Oh, sure!” He shouts back, still peering into the water. “I’ll catch up!” he notices the lobster-fellows closing in on him and devises a plan for them.

Julian Julian falls back with Kryss, shielding his face as he pushes through the mosquito swarm. They make for the ladder and quickly ascend.

DM The heroes retreat, the dragon is entrenched, defended, and able to carry the fight at will. Shael leaps in front of Kryss to suffer a blast of acid that would have melted the slower warrior, while Julian calls on Tal for help. They retreat up the ladder, away from the almost certain death below.

Julian Julian all but collapses at the top. Climbing, it turns out, is much more tiring than descending. Still, with shaking hands he tries to heal his friends’ wounds.

Shael Shael smiles and calls on his own mysterious patrons healing magic as well, “Thanks.” he murmers. “Toldja, might wanna consolodate first.” he reminds his friend with a chuckle. “Still, I think I could have taken her. Nattskalla… I’m glad she’ll live. The world needs her magic.”

Julian Julian raises an eyebrow, examining Kryss’s freshly healed acid wounds with concern. “You’re a strange one, Shael, anyone ever tell you that?”

Shael “Every night.” he agrees, “Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?” he wonders.

Julian “Well, come on. Let’s bar the doors. I don’t think she can get up this way, but I’m not about to test it.” Julian spends some time ensuring that the portals leading to the shaft leading to the great subterranean lake are thoroughly barred.

Shael “I wonder what happened to the sorceress.” Shael asks as they bar the way up from the lake.

Julian “Maybe it ate her.” People getting eaten certainly seems to have been on Julian’s mind ever since that rug…

Shael “Did the woman say there ‘was’ a sorceress down there or there ‘is’ one?”

Julian “Hm. It was all in the past tense, now that you mention it. But wait…”

DM Come to think of it, Idalla said that the sorceress’s name was…Nattskalla…

Julian “She said the sorcerer’s name was… Nattskalla!”

Shael Shael smiles, obviously pleased. “Oh, good.” he pats the barrier lovingly. “Come along, then. She’ll be fine.” he reassures the paladin.

Julian Julian scowls, glancing around uneasily. “Not everyone is what they appear, I guess. To put it mildly!”

Shael He chuckles merrily, “Aren’t they? A thing is always the thing itself, however it appears to you is your own mind deceiving you… not the thing.”

Julian “Uh… OK.” Julian allows Shael to draw him along, returning to the dwarves’ company. Come to think of it, they might be this place’s strongest bulwark if the dragon DOES try to cause trouble.

Shael Shael finds the room that Alaegnus is guarding and stops outside the door, waiting politely for the spirit’s attention.

DM The priest and the rest of the guard ring Durgeddin’s tomb.

Shael Shael clears his throat to gain their attention, “Ahem.”

Alaegnus Alaegnus looks in his direction. “Defenders of Durgeddin.”

Shael “Alaegnus.” he replies. “We will be leaving soon, though we will return once again before we take our final leave…” he pauses at length, “…unless… I have a concern, and an opportunity…” he trails off uncertainly.

Alaegnus “Speak.”

Shael “Snurrevin is gone – but, certain that he has found the key to soulforging. I… can only hope he found the truth in my words I wished to share with him.” he pauses at length and glances at the other warriors, “I know the secrets of his race… and yours in their making. For that reason, I have some sympathy for them…”

Alaegnus Alaegnus’ brows furrow.

Shael “…but, they are still dangerous. Regardless of my sympathy, regardless of the truths, I know that. I want for them to prosper, but not at the expense of the true dwarves… I will not cajole, but I want you to know there is an opportunity for you to guard more than just one hero. Soulforging is an abomination… but, it is an abomination because it steals the will of those unable to protest. The willing, those who would sacrifice themselves, cannot become corrupted… but, nor could the just ever ask for that sacrifice…” he trails off and looks away, troubled.

Alaegnus Alaegnus looks away at the same time, his countenance troubled as well. They look back at each other in the same moment. “Perhaps…perhaps you are right. Durgeddin’s finest masterpiece was lost in the looting. It lies…somewhere below here, I can sense. Return it to us and we shall attempt…this sacrifice.”

Shael Shael nods, “It may be in the lair of Nattskalla — it will take some preperation, but I will make it so.” he agrees. Shael withdraws quietly, contemplativly, and rejoins Julian.

Julian Julian has been talking with Rollo about the future of the halls.

Shael “What is your greatest ambition, Rollo?” Shael wonders, unintentionally interupting.

DM The dwarf intends to return to his clan and migrate back to reclaim the fortress, sometime in the next twenty years.

Shael Shael smiles, “Yes, that will do nicely. Want to help us subdue a dragon before that?”

Rollo Rollo considers. “My kin need to be told. When did you intend to root out this dragon?”

Julian “There’s one way down in the depths. A strong one, too. I’m in no hurry to test it again.”

Shael “Soonish.” he glances at Julian as they speak together. “Maybe a month?” he asks the paladin.

Julian Julian frowns. “Maaaaaybe. Kryss came about a hair’s breadth from dying, Shael.”

Rollo “A dragon is nothing to fool with,” Rollo frowns. “Not idly.”

Shael Shael shrugs vaguely. “She’s the treasure we came for. Durgeddin’s masterpiece and more.”

DM “She’s as in ‘has’ or ‘is’?” Rollo asks.

Shael “Has. When you leave to gather your clan, I mean for you to take that masterpiece with you… find it’s rightful wielder.”

Julian "Has. But she “is” dangerous, Shael, and she “will be” our bane if we venture back down there without new tricks in our pockets. That trick she has, hiding under the water, hit and run… we’ll have to find a way to fight that. Anyway. I think right now our path leads back to town."

Shael “Sure… but, we didn’t actually do any of ‘our’ tricks, eh? We just let her do hers.” he nods, “Exactly.” With a nod, Shael agrees.

Julian There’s much loot to gather, and a bear to make friends with with magical aid. Julian does both.

Shael Shael gathers up the books.

Julian Before long the party sets out for town, much burdened down by enormous quantities of loot. Not before Julian has enjoyed some more time on Durgeddin’s throne, though. It certainly is an attractive seat…

DM And so they head to Blasingdell, where they make plans to head out to the festival at Brindinford. Sir Miles Berrick sends a representative to them with a message inviting them to his house for an elaborate dinner party. There they are greeted by Sir Miles himself, who invites them to mingle for a while. Local bards and musicians are playing music for dancing, and the wine is flowing freely. At midnight, Sir Miles stands up, raising his glass of wine and smiling broadly. “Beside me sit some fine adventurers! Their courage in the face of the orc threat allows us to continue enjoying a life free of the shadow of tyranny and fear! Let their bravery be an example to us all!”

Shael Shael loiters near-center of the outskirts allowing well-wishers to approach, he shakes hands and makes small-talk with any who seek his attention.

DM The townsfolk are extremely pleased with the heroes who drove off the orcish menace led by Great Ulfe. A few grizzled greybeards do wonder aloud what might happen if the next ogre band has more ogres and less orcs.

Shael “We’ll have to come back, I suppose.” suggests Shael with an easy grin. “But, there’s plenty of heroes among you, too.” He targets several of the guests near him and reminds them of ‘heroic’ deeds they accomplished themselves while he’s been in town. Helping their neighbors, defending the dignity of their friends, loving and being loved – each a task difficult even in the best of times.

Julian Julian is all smiles, and he mingles freely at the party, giving his time to the noble and the common alike. He keeps an eye out to see whether any of the church people are present.

DM Melantha is present, scowling and dressed in what is probably her finest outfit. Brother Culver is there as well. Elmo and Alonsa are not, no doubt at the temple.

Julian Julian makes some time to talk to her aside from the others. An Inquisitor is something to be wary of… but at the same time, they are on the same side. Sort of. It’s complicated.

Julian “We slew several Forsaken that were roaming about the old halls.” he warns her.

DM Melantha is in the middle of explaining why corporal punishment should be employed on children, teens and young adults who are caught in compromising situations when Julian approaches and takes her aside.

Melantha She looks pleased, or at least less pissed off, when Julian tells her the news. “I thought you were a soft living good for nothing when we first met,” she offers him as a compliment. “It seems I’ll need to revisit that judgement.”

Julian Julian smiles. “Well, there’s worse ways to win a better name than by slaying Forsaken.” The smile quickly fades. “There was one we didn’t slay, though. I’d say he got away, but… the truth is, we couldn’t have beaten him if he stayed. The leader, I think. If they have leaders.”

Melantha Melantha frowns, well, frowns further. “The leader of the Forsaken?”

Julian “Of all of them, I don’t know. But of these, at least, that’s my guess.” He describes the Rag Man.

Melantha Melantha’s face drains of color as Julian brings up the Rag Man. “I…I thought he was just a myth. A boogyman, to scare weak limp wristed pansies from doing their duty to Tal.”

Julian “No myth!” Julian speaks forcefully. “After we fought, I was left standing before him, and I dealt him a two-handed blow, right on his brow, that could have split an ogre down to his belly.” he tells her. “And I know, for I did just that to one. But he… the blade rang and turned aside, and there he was, barely a wound.”

Julian “Then he spoke a word that split my ears and struck straight to my heart. I’d lie there still, where I fell at that one word, if Grendar hadn’t dragged me to safety.”

Melantha Melantha sets her jaw. “This news must be taken to the Primata, so that all the centers of the faith can be warned. The Rag Man walks among us.”

Julian Julian nods gravely. “Other than those who were with me then, I’ve told no one but you. I don’t want to sow fear among the people. But I hope that you can spread the warning to those that need to hear.”

Melantha Melantha purses her lips. “If you pass through Alsoor, seek out the temple and give your message to the Primata. I ride for the Sunless Citadel on the morrow, when I finish there I shall head to Alsoor.”

Julian Julian nods. “I will. God speed, Lady Inquisitor.” With a troubled look he takes his leave.

Shael In time, Shael finds himself breifly alone with Sir Miles. “Have you decided what to do about the pregnancies?”

Miles “The women will be given support…no matter what their decision,” Sir Miles offers. “They’ve been through enough, we need not make their ordeal extend longer.”

Shael Shael smiles vaugley. “Support? And what of the children?” he wonders.

Miles Sir Miles shrugs. “That will be up to their mothers.” His thoughts are grim…he believes few half orcs and fewer half ogres will be quality citizens, but he is committed to giving them the chance to prove him right before he enacts justice upon them.

Shael With a sigh Shael gently minds Sir Miles, “Love is the answer.” he gathers the ruler’s gaze, “People are people. You are people, orgs and ogres are people. If you love people, they will love you… if you hate them then they will hate you.”

Shael He shrugs and looks away, “You wanted an answer, I thought you all might find it on your own.” he apologizes. “A thing is a thing, it does not matter how you see it… the thing is still itself… but, if you help shape the thing, what is it then?”

Shael “When you are uncertain, remember that your mind will deceive you… ask the thing what it is and believe it.”

Miles Sir Miles sighs himself. “Your optimism is encouraging, but I have a people to answer to. To defend. Love and hope did not protect farmers in the night from Great Ulfe. Faith in one hand, and my blade in the other.”

Shael “Do you love your people, Sir Miles?” he asks, stonefaced and unyielding.

Miles “No. I rule them. I defend them. Not because I love them but because it is what is right, and it is what is demanded of me.”

Shael “Then you will fail.” Shael mourns, “I am sorry, but I will still love you and your people. Failure is not enough to dim my hope.” he smiles sadly.

Julian Julian passes by, catching the last of this. “You’re talking of the women, I am sure.” he asks, despite missing most of the conversation. Evidently he has been thinking of it as well. “If you’ll hear my own thoughts on it, Sir Miles, I’d not have anyone strongarmed against their will one way or another. To keep or to give up.”

Shael Shael sniffs Julian’s thoughts to divine his intent and nods, “You wondered for my answer but I was not here.”

Julian “But no matter which they choose, I’d like to leave something to help them in their choice.” Julian is thinking about all the silver he took from Ulfe’s son. “And maybe to mollify those families who would strongarm them just because they are already at the edge of their resources.” Most of the silver likely came from these people anyway, Julian is thinking.

Shael Shael subtly nods his agreement.

Julian “Can I entrust you with a fund to support them? I know you would administer it wisely and not allow it to be frittered away, but see that it were invested for their benefit.”

Miles “A true warrior of Tal,” Miles pronouces. “I had intended my own coffers support the…situation, but I will add to that with this.”

Julian “Thank you, Sir Miles.” There is a brief discussion of amounts and details, and then Julian nods and looks back over the gathering. He catches sight of the Lady Inquisitor again.

DM She looks over, catching his gaze.

Julian He says nothing, mouth tight. Well, you got her attention now, he is thinking. For better or for worse. I don’t think she has any reason to suspect me…. yet. But I can’t hide forever.

Shael Shael smiles, “The better.” he murmers so only Julian can hear, still by his side. He raises his glass to the inquisitor, “She is a fine woman, I’ve seldom met better… if ever.”

DM Perhaps the frown is for the Rag Man. Perhaps it is simply her face perpetually relaxed in that form. But maybe…just maybe…he has not hidden from her at all.

Julian Julian nods gravely to his fellow warrior and now confidante. He glances sidelong at Shael at the latter’s words, but does not reply. Sooner or later, he is thinking. She’ll find me out.

Shael “You’ll do well together. You’ll change the world.” Shael replies before vanishing into the crowd to pursue his own agenda.

DM And so our time in Blasingdell comes to a close, True Believers! We will return here before too long, but for now, we look to the west, where a festival promises to provide our heroes with their first true attempt at a war wagon. What dangers and intrigues await us in Brindinford? Find out next week!

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The Forge of Fury 3
Khundrukar, Reaping Week 1.4, BCY 14500

Session 11

DM When last we left our heroes, they sent the lovely Courana and boorish Geradil packing, headed back to their homes. Hopefully the pair can avoid the orcs roaming the countryside and reach their house. Meanwhile, the giant Kryss wakes early and heads into the dungeon by himself.

Kryss “This is a really good idea. I will be able to defeat the Orcs before Julian wakes. That way he wont get hurt.” Kryss says to his familiar as they stroll into the entryway

Xi “Why do you care if a human gets hurt?”

Kryss “What? I dont! Im a dragon. Stop twisting my words.” Kryss replies.

Xi “I don’t care if you get hurt, and you’re supposedly a dragon.”

Kryss “Im still a dragon where it counts. I will be restored soon enough.”

Xi “In fact, after sending me into a hail of arrows, I actually am quite looking forward to you getting hurt. Seems to be a pattern with small draconic individuals around you, isn’t it? Sending them into arrowfire?”

Kryss “You sent yourself into a hail of arrows. Perhaps you could spend more time teaching me about my destiny and less complaining about your treatment.”

Kryss “And Meepo wasn’t my fault. Ive been shot before a few times myself you know.”

DM “Your destiny is to become orc shit if you don’t quiet down and start using some stealth through here. Stop advertising your entry.”

Kryss Kryss pauses and looks at the huge door to the complex.

Kryss He reaches down to one of the nearby corpses and soaks some of the rapidly congealing blood into a rag. He uses the soaked rag to write “Azario was here” on the door before venturing further.

Kryss “Do you suppose Grendar’s crew will be profitable?” he asks the tiny dragon.

Xi “Shh. Move quietly. And listen.”

Kryss “Ah, right… of course.” he hushes and moves as stealthily as a mountain.

DM Following the dragon spirit’s advice, Kryss moves through the complex carefully. Beyond the bridge, he senses four orcs, grumbling as they drag bodies.

Kryss Kryss steps lightly and cautiously across the bridge into the darkness. When he reaches the other side he ducks for cover behing a pillar before he is seen. He sets his eye on the closest orc and charges.

DM It is pitch black, so his eyes are unable to be set on anything. However, his draconic senses have given him a rough idea of where the orc stands.

Kryss “Get me some light in here!” Kryss orders as his attack lands.

DM The orc howls in pain, having not been aware of any hostile creatures in the vicinity.

DM Kryss won’t strike as easily next time.

Kryss Xi flies off with a torch from Kryss’ pack to light on the brazier.

DM Before he can however, the orc retaliates with a savage blow from his axe. In the darkness, Kryss finds it hard to dodge.

DM Blood splatters the floor.

Kryss Kryss attempts to swing wide and low to better his chance of catching his unseen enemy.

DM The lights suddenly come on, the orc blinks, and his head rolls away.

DM His bretheren laugh as they charge in.

Kryss Kryss dances back to avoid any missile attacks

DM The orcs rush him, putting his back against the wall. They hack away, slashing furiously with their massive axes.

Kryss Kryss works his axe and shield equally furiously.

DM Maybe not quite equally.

DM His axe bites hard, throwing blood from the orc on the wall.

Kryss He moves even more furiously.

DM One orc drops, causing the others to laugh even harder, and his attacks bite into the middle orc, nearly disemboweling the savage. The laughter echoes.

Kryss He tucks back behind his shield, looking for another opening.

DM The orcs batter at the shield ineffectually.

Kryss Kryss responds with vicious precision.

Kryss His axe and shield work the orcs weapons lower and lower untiil he swings across high and catches them off guard.

DM The penultimate orc falls, and the remaining warrior appears to waver between fleeing and pressing Kryss further.

DM He howls in Kryss’s face and runs, screaming for help.

Kryss “Coward,” Kryss grunts, and he takes a few running steps after before throwing a hand ax.

DM It sticks in the orc’s back, and he falls to the ground.

Kryss Kryss removes his ax, wipes it off, and searches his victims. He makes sure to collect all the ears this time.

DM The orcs were hauling the previous day’s victims away, there are twelve corpses in addition to the four new ones with ears for him.

Kryss He takes the time for a short break before moving on.

Kryss Kryss cautiously follows the left wall towards teh north as he proceeds.

DM Haphazard stacks of crates, barrels, sacks, and bundles litter this long, narrow cavern. The orcs appeared to have had some success in their raids of the small settlements and mountain roads in the area, it is littered with coin and plunder. To the north, two finished stone passageways lead east and west; to the south, an old well is full of murky water.

Kryss He searches through the crates for anything especially interesting

DM Other than the coin, most of the plunder is high bulk, low value materials taken from farmsteads, like foodstuffs, ale, blankets,

DM tools, timber, pitch, nails, wool, and similar goods.

Kryss Kryss keeps the coin and moves on.

DM “Damn it, stay quiet, and start listening. If that ogre and his sons catch you, you’ll not get off with just a few scrapes like that orc pack gave you.”

Kryss “Dragons do not fear ogres,” Kryss replies at a whisper. He does take the advice though.

DM “They ought to when they are trapped inside puny little human bodies…” Xi mutters.

DM “Stop.” Xi orders, in a hushed voice. Kryss detects a note of panic.

Kryss Kryss lets the comment go and listens for opponents.

Kryss Kryss freezes.

Kryss He slowly turns, panning the room for threats.

DM “There are about five orcs to the west of us…but I hear at least two worgs breathing to the east….and the scent of ogre.”

Kryss “Then we go west.” Kryss decides.

Xi “You’ll be outnumbered and won’t take them by surprise this time. Keep them from surrounding you.”

Kryss “Ill do my best,” he whispers.

DM At the end of this passageway stands the statue of a fierce-looking dwarf in heavy mail armor. The stone warrior holds a sword in one hand and a smith’s hammer in the other. The statue stands on a large stone pedestal; the whole structure is about 7 feet tall and must weigh many hundreds of pounds.

Kryss “A smith…” Kryss mumbles as he inspects the statue.

DM Kryss spots a pressure plate just before he steps on it. No rogue, he cannot tell what it does, precisely, but it probably isn’t good.

Kryss “Oh…” he carefully steps around the plate to get a better look at the statue.

Kryss “One day…” he mumbles again before moving off the the west.

DM It is a well forged stone statue, honoring Durgeddin the Black.

DM Kryss’s inspections locate reservoirs in the mouth that unleash gas, no doubt the pressure plate’s trap.

Kryss Kryss thinks that it would look good standing in front of Fapa’s shop but he doesnt disturb it right now.

Xi “Beyond this door are the orcs,” Xi whispers. “And they’ve heard you.”

Kryss “I have a plan.” Kryss replies. He kicks hard at the door.

DM It flies off the hinges, smashing the nearest orc in the mouth.

DM This large chamber is filled with rough-hewn bunks, tables, and chairs, and the floor is strewn with filthy pelts. At a glance it appears that perhaps a dozen or so humanoids might live here. Five orcs are currently here, ready to attack. The hulking specimen in the front is dripping blood from the door that smashed him in the face.

Kryss “Ack!” Kryss shouts, surprised, and he turns and runs.

DM “Get him!” roars their leader, an elderly looking orc.

DM They rush after him, and Xi leaps onto the pressure plate as they pass. The statue’s bearded face slides open, rather like an oversized nutcracker, and greenish gas billows forth! The orcs curse and choke, but continue rushing after Kryss.

DM One of them appears seriously nauseated by the gas, the others shrug it off like it was nothing.

Kryss Kryss backs into a defensible corner.

DM The orcs pile in after him as best they can.

DM The choking one pops off a shot, but it misses. The lead orc draws blood.

Kryss Kryss responds with a blast of fire breath. Then again. He also bashes the lead orc twice in the face with his shield but fails to do any significant damage.

DM The orcs collapse into charred skeletons. The old orc catches the blast on his face, scorching it horribly. It melts halfway off.

Kryss Kryss settles back into his stance, waiting for him to charge.

DM He screams in pain, but does not stick around to fight a losing battle. He rushes down the hall towards where Xi claimed the ogre laired. “GREAT ULFE HELP ME!”

Kryss Kryss throws a hand ax after him. The hand ax clatters off the wall and Kryss makes a dash for the room the orcs vacated. He stops as he thinks about what hes done and turns back

Shael Shael approaches from the south, catching up with Kryss, and notices the fleeing orc. Thinking quickly, he incants a spell and whispers loudly, “Quick, hide over here!” waving for the Orc to follow him.

DM The orc blinks, coming to a halt, shaking his head and trying to clear it. Seeing Shael, he changes course and heads for the mage.

DM “There’s a…fire?” he tries to explain to Shael. His face’s left side is burnt to a crisp.

Kryss Kryss cautiously approaches from the orc’s blind side.

Shael Shael holds his finger to his lips to motion for quiet and leads the orc back towards the entrance. “I can heal you once we are safe.” he reassures the orc, “My name is Shael.”

Yarrick “I’m Yarrick…I used to be this band’s leader.”

Old Yarrick photo Old Yarrick1_zpsf6lxzmax.jpg

Shael “Used to be?” Shael seems surprised, “What happened?” he wonders quietly as they sneak away from the dragon.

Kryss Kryss follows the pair as they move towards teh entrance to the comples together. He wisely doesnt speak for fear of interrupting Shael’s enchantment.

Yarrick “Ulfe…Great Ulfe,” Yarrick corrects himself, as he explains.

Kryss Once they get settled to speak, Kryss attempts to take a short rest.

Shael “Ah.” Shael says as if he understands, but his expression clearly shows he does not. “You should still lead, I think…” he frowns ponderously, “…unless you don’t want to?”

Yarrick “They call me ‘Old’ Yarrick now. My wife left me for Great Ulfe.”

Shael “Listen, Yarrick. I’m gonna play you true, now — we, that is the dragon and I, don’t have any quarrel with you. I can tell you’re a fighter, the sort we’d not want to tangle with if we could avoid it… but, Old Ulfe in there…” Shael makes a sour face, “…he doesn’t sound the sort we like; taking your wife is a foul deed. Maybe we can help you out?”

Yarrick “She went willingly!” he moans. “She wanted big ogre balls slapping against her chin! What kind of wife is that?”

Kryss Kryss raises an eyebrow.

Shael “What she wants is one thing, what Old Ulfe allowed is another, eh? But, if you don’t have no grudge against him, maybe I’m wrong?”

Yarrick “No, I hate him! I’d kill him, but even his damned sons are too strong for me..”

Shael “Are they with him, now?”

Yarrick “No, they are out raiding. Damned giants.”

Kryss “Giants?” Kryss asks.

Yarrick “The filthy things that crawled out of my wife’s womb after he banged around in there.”

Shael “Damned they will be… with your help, Yarrick.” Shael smiles slightly and offers his hand to Yarrick.

Yarrick “They’re like orcs, but huge.” Yarrick sighs. “Why am I even siding with humans? I’m pretty sure you’ve killed everyone who wasn’t out with Alfe and Olfe besides me and Burdug. And those human women Ulfe has been impregnating.” He doesn’t appear to realize how chatty he’s being.

Kryss “Dont look at it as siding with humans. We are more than we appear.”

Shael “Neither of us is truly a part of the human world… we are, in some ways, closer to you than them.” Shael agrees.

Kryss “Is there anything around that might give you an advantage when we kill Ulfe and reclaim your bride?” Kryss asks.

Shael With a few words of spellcraft, Shael’s hand glows with healing light and he holds it again towards Yarrick.

Yarrick Yarrick scratches his head. “Can’t find any fault in your words, but I should…strange. What do you mean, the advantage? He’s a massive ogre, he’s got the worgs on his side, when his sons get home, he’ll have those too.” He shakes Shael’s hand absently.

Kryss “How soon do you expect his sons to return?”

Yarrick “Alfe should be home in a few days, Olfe in a week.”

Kryss “Ah, that will give us plenty of time to deal with the situation here and set an ambush for his sons.”

Shael “Certainly. What about the treasure?”

Yarrick “The stuff we took off those weaklings?” Yarrick asks.

Shael “Nah, the ancient dwarven treasure… is that real?”

Yarrick Yarrick looks troubled. “We…don’t go below. There’s stuff down there that we don’t want to mess with.”

Kryss “The statue over there is of Dumaguadin.”

Yarrick “The Black Hammer,” Yarrick spits.

Shael “Ah… well, after we help you sort your lot then we’ll be heading that way. We won’t bother you anymore, eh?”

Kryss “What can you tell us about he Black hammer?”

Yarrick “He killed a lot of orcs a long time ago.”

Kryss “This was his lair then?”

Yarrick “Whole damn fort, until the orcs took it from him. Killed every last damn dwarf.”

Kryss “Dwarves are the worst. Many of my kind have been driven from their homes by dwarves.”

Yarrick “Dwarves are…not the worst. Almost worst. Worst are faeries.”

Kryss “Why faeries?” Kryss asks, curious.

Yarrick Yarrick shudders, but does not answer.

Shael While Kryss rests for the battle ahead, Shael continues to question Yarrick trying to gain any other useful information he has including the layout of the room they’ll be fighting in.

Shael And any other details Yarrick can share about the lair.

Kryss Kryss shrugs and stretches his neck. “Well, I think Im feeling up to meeting your boss.” he says.

Kryss “Would you like me to introduce us?” he offers?

Yarrick “It’s about so long by so wide,” Yarrick explains, pacing off about thirty by twenty five feet. “Vak and Thrag are the brains of the operation, and they guard Ulfe at all times. Even when he’s fucking my wife.”

Kryss “Tell us of Vak and Thrag?”

Yarrick “Worgs. About the size of a horse.”

Kryss “Why are they loyal to Ulfe?”

Yarrick “For the same reason I am, because Ulfe is ungodly strong and happy to cut people in half who don’t listen to him with his axe.”

Kryss “The same has been said of others Is it customary to knock?” Kryss asks.

Yarrick “No. Ulfe summons you or you leave him alone.”

Shael Shael hands an alchemist’s fire to each of his companions then pulls out a wand and backs away from the door.

Kryss Kryss tries the doorknob

Shael He signals “1, 2, 3” and waves his hand for Kryss to open and throw.

DM Kryss throws his shoulder to the door, but it does not budge. A snarl comes from beyond the door. “Go away, the master is busy.” Kryss can smell the scent of orc sex from beyond the massive stone door. Both men hear grumbling as the ogre is disturbed.

Kryss He sneezes and looks back at Shael.

Shael Shael points towards the door and nods.

Kryss Kryss hacks at the door with Shatterspike.

DM The door shudders as the axe’s magic activates. It takes less than half a minute for Kryss to dismantle the fine dwarven stonework. A short flight of stairs leads up to a large, ironbound door. A bloodstained human skull is fixed to the center of the door by an iron spike. Beyond the door lies a small chamber covered in poorly cured animal hides and illuminated by smoking torches in bronze sconces. The smell is indescribable. A monstrous creature of about 10 feet in height with warty, brown skin and greasy dark hair steps forward, a massive axe in one hand. Two huge wolves snarl before him. Behind him, three female orcs stand at the ready, bare breasted and covered in disgusting fluids.

 photo Great Ulfe_zpshmtnvpi5.jpg

Ulfe ‘’You think to challenge the Great Ulfe?’’ the creature booms as it rushes at you. ‘’Vak! Thrag! At them!’’ The wolves spring forward, and the being charges with a roar of rage!

Shael Shael brandishes his wand, which glows with power, and vines lash out from the stone walls to grasp and restrain those within their sway.

Yarrick Yarrick rushes in. “Burdug!” he screams, heedless of the others in the room. He flings a hand axe at his unfaithful wife. It flies over her head.

Burdug “I call upon the powers of Luthic, Orc Mother!” Dark lightning crackles from the priestess. It extends out around her to about fifteen feet away.

DM The two worgs tear into Yarrick.

DM A massive javelin, cast by Great Ulfe, impales the orc through the chest.

Kryss Kryss sticks to the plan. The bottle of alchemist fire sails toward the back of the room.

DM Yarrick coughs up blood.

DM The bottle splashes across the free worg, and the creature howls.

Shael Shael takes Kryss’s place on the defensive line and several darts of force manifest and streak towards the priestess as he readies his spear while shouting arcane words of power.

Burdug Burdug howls as the darts strike her, in laughter. “Fool! My goddess will smite you. If my belly filler doesn’t get you first.”

 photo Burdug_zpsqjwf8xy2.jpg

Shael “That is not something I forsee.” Shael disagrees, “You should commune more earnestly with her; she would warn you to be wary of me.”

DM A spear manifests before Shael and pierces the air next to him.

Burdug She curses.

DM The free wolf lunges at him, while Great Ulfe flings another javelin the size of a pike.

DM It flies wide.

DM The orcs, unable to get a good position to hack Shael from, fire at him with their bows.

DM The arrows fly wide.

Shael Shael dodges almost ahead of each blow, as if he knows where each will land, and when once he seems about to be hit a piece of masonry from the shattered door falls and blocks the arrow. He smiles wickedly at the priestess and her entourage.

Kryss Kryss cautiosly steps forward and throws a hand ax at the burning worg.

Shael Shael sets himself in a defensive stance, light on his fight with his shield raised and his spear ready, and provokes playfully, “Well, come along, then?”

DM It strikes the burning creature, angering it further.

DM The worg lunges at Shael again, who dodges. As it leaps away, he blasts it with a magic missile, nearly killing it.

DM It is the burning flames that put it down.

Shael Shael shouts with triumph, “RAARRRGGHHHAHAHAHAHA! What says your Goddess now?!”

DM Not much, as the worg’s mate leaps at Shael’s throat.

DM Missing, she pulls away as well. Ulfe moves in.

DM “Stupid! Stupid! How I miss?”

Shael Shael cracks his neck, “Takes more than just muscle to put me down, big guy.”

DM The two orcs leap in, but neither can manage to hit the dodging mage.

Kryss Kryss sees an opening and darts in.

Shael Shael launches another magical attack at the priestess, magical missiles firing through the crowd.

DM The orc female attacking Shael staggers as Shatterspike cleaves into her hip.

Burdug Burdug howls, and her lightning collapses.

DM She snarls again as her mystic spear fails to strike Shael.

DM The orcs lash out, but fail to harm the heroes. They move away, suffering cold and blade as they flee, and the remaining worg leaps at Kryss. Grabbing the giant by his heel, the worg tugs him off his feet, savaging his crotch as he falls. She then leaps away, allowing Ulfe to stride in.

Ulfe Ulfe scowls as his axe misses. “Stupid humans!”

Julian From a darkened corridor to the south, a paladin appears! “Your reign of terror is over!” Julian proclaims, and his words crackle with thunder.

Kryss Kryss looks up from the floor. “Well timed.” he says.

Julian Small objects shatter and the floor itself cracks as the thunderclap rolls out from the paladin towards his foes,.

DM His holy words cause their sins to pour forth from their noses and ears as they sink to the ground, senseless. A trickle of blood oozes from Ulfe.

Kryss Kryss comes to his feet, hauling his massive axe up with him in a vicious uppercut at Ulfe’s midsection. At the peak of his swing he spins, bringing the side of shield around at the ogres knee.

DM The blows sink into thick, leathery flesh, and the ogre screams in rage. No orcish laughter here, the leader of this band does not appreciate being hurt at all.

Shael Shael feints with his spear as he incants a cantrip of flame which materializes on his shield arm side and strikes at the ogre.

DM Nor does he seem to think the flames engulfing his face are terribly funny.

Burdug “Do not worry, my womb stretcher, Mother Luthic cares for you as well.” Burdug channels healing energies into the ogre from the rear while her spear attempts to stab Shael again.

DM Finally it does!

Ulfe Ulfe on the other hand, fails to harm the warrior before him. He staggers back, allowing the orc her turn.

DM She fails as he failed.

Shael “Wouldn’t want you to see your goddess as a complete failure.” Shael tells Burdug, whiping the blood from his face with his sleeve.

Julian Julian’s eyes begin glowing bright as the sun, and he fixes them upon Ulfe. Ulfe finds that his face is not the only thing burning, as his armor begins to glow red hot.

Julian “Tal is with us.” Julian moves to stand shoulder to shoulder with his friends.

Kryss Kryss twirls Shatterspike to reseat his grip before bringing it across in a vicious strike at the orc’s neck.

DM Ulfe’s orcish concubine, that is. And it kills her. She dies. Her head falls off, and wipes some of the fluids on Kryss’s chest as it goes.

Shael As her body hits the ground, Shael takes off with a start charging into Ulfe with his spear leading the way.

DM He takes the spear in the gut with a grunt.

Shael “See how you like it, eh?” Shael winks.

DM Burdug’s spear takes him again as she continues to pour healing energies into the ogre.

Shael Shael chuckles, “Can’t say as I mind, even from such.. uh… ‘low hanging fruit’?”

Julian Ulfe’s armor continues to burn.

Kryss Kryss dashes into the room, dropping and sliding past Ulfe to bring his axe to bear on Burdug.

Julian A javelin follows, seeking the priestess, but clatters off the ogre in between.

DM Burdug splatters all over the wall in a pattern eerily similar to the one that Ulfe has splattered all over her.

Shael “Splat.” Shael describes, “Overripe…” he complains as he manuevers around to the other side of the ogre loosing his final volley of magical missiles in between jabs and parries.

DM Great Ulfe staggers, bleeding from his chest, his hip, his knee, and the damnable flaming armor still searing its way into his skin…he screams like a giant toddler throwing a temper tantrum.

Julian The heat of the sun reaches a new pitch as Julian draws Lightbringer and moves in to strike the ogre’s head from his shoulders.

DM His axe smashes the ground next to Shael. Julian’s blow takes a corpse’s head from its body…the metal had already burnt out the ogre’s meager brain.

Shael Ulfe’s swing at Shael would have split the mage in two… if the mage had not slipped on a huge sploog of jism. His head would have still been split on the floor if it had not been cushioned by the bloody mess of a discarded afterbirth. It is uncertain what fate the mage would have preferred.

Shael He quickly rolls out of the way of the falling ogre.

Julian Julian lowers his sword, breathing hard. “Ha!”

Julian “….what… am I standing in?”

Kryss “This was the ogres mating room.” Kryss explains.

Shael “Don’t ask… I’m burning everything.” the wizard shudders. He wretches as he crawls to his feet, sticky and moist.

DM Yarrick pulls himself forward with his bleeding hands, clawing toward Burdug. When he reaches what’s left of her corpse, he scoops it into his mouth, chewing it up, laughing weakly as his life bleeds out onto the ground.

Kryss Kryss searches the shattered and broked corpses. Kryss also searches Yarricks body. His ear collection continues to grow.

Julian “That sounds like a good idea. You know, I’m just going to keep the spell going for a while.” Ulfe’s armor continues to glow red-hot as Julian backs away.

DM The heroes find the following within the ogre’s lair, and its surrounding environs. 440 gp, 1,600 sp, a potion of spider climb, a masterwork rapier, two sacks of silver containing 320 sp, two healing potions, another sack of silver with 250 sp, a strongbox with 180 gp, a supply of dwarven holy water (enough for x20 flasks), 210 gp, two 50 gp onyxs and a topax worth 200 gp. Plus, to the south, they find eight heavily pregnant women chained in the priestess’ quarters.

Kryss “Was he breeding an army?” Kryss speculates

Julian “Not on purpose. He was being an ogre.” Julian scowls. “Kryss, let me borrow that axe again.” He strikes off the chains.

Kryss Kryss frees the women. “We are here at the request of the one known as Azario. We free you all in his name. May he be… extremely famous.”

Shael “I would guess so…” Shael says under his breath. He moves among the women sharing water and food and tending their wounds as he is able.

Julian Once Shael has tended to them and gotten them walking, Julian leads them out into the daylight, leaving Kryss to finish searching the rooms.

Julian He seems less bothered by them anyway.

DM And so our heroes have bested Great Ulfe’s orcish warband and saved the prisoners! What lies in store for them now? Blasingdell? Deeper delves into the Glitterhame? Only the future knows for sure!

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The Forge of Fury 2
Khundrukar, Reaping Week 1.2, BCY 14500

Session 10

DM Well, the frigid mountains appear to hold a great deal of cold, savages, and bitter cutting wind. At the foot of the Stone Tooth, a carefully constructed path winds up the hillside to some unseen height above. Durgeddin’s clan cut the path carefully to conceal its presence as much as possible, but years of wind and rain have eroded away its cover, leaving it exposed and visible from the valley floor below.

Julian “Looks like our path.” Julian looks around for any signs of life before starting up it.

Kryss The adventurers travel carefully along the path, tied together around the waist like mountain climbers.

Kryss Kryss takes the lead, watching for signs of ambush.

Kryss “Are you certain this is the way?” Kryss asks Julian, who has the map.

Julian “Yes, definitely. In fact we should get to the doors, or gates, or whatever it is, any minute now.”

DM The path climbs up one last steep switchback toward a bare shoulder of rock. The hillside climbs steeply on your right and drops away precipitously on your left. Debris and rubbish lie scattered over the last hundred yards or so of the path – discarded waterskins, bits of charred bone, and splintered casks or kegs discarded carelessly from the path. Up ahead, the path opens up onto a wide ledge and then doubles back sharply into the mountainside. Two bestial humanoids in scale armor stand watch on the ledge. They appear to be inattentive and bored with their duty.

Kryss “Seems we arent the first to hear the legends.”

Julian “Definitely not. Are those orcs?”

Julian “Anyway, if we approach quietly, I don’t think they’re paying much attention.” Julian leads the way…

Kryss “I dont know. Do you suppose we’ve stumbled onto their home base?”

Julian “Well, an abandoned underground fortress… since they know it’s here, I don’t see why they WOULDN’T use it. It’s a perfect hideout.” Julian quickens his pace.

Kryss “You mean to parlay?”

Julian “I’m an expert at orc diplomacy.” Julian draws Lightbringer.

DM Chatty Cathy is a step behind the paladin as the orcs slowly realize the noise is conversation.

Kryss “Oh!” Kryss pulls his axe as he realizes Julians intent.

Julian Before they have time to think too hard about it, Julian is running at them. He aims a heavy overhead chop at the foremost.

DM He trips as he moves in, disasterously missing the scout.

Kryss Kryss follows more cautiously, a step or two behind.

Julian The paladin tries to recover his balance on the backswing.

DM The blade bites deep, and the orc roars in fury.

DM “Wark crush! Wark smash! Like little infant skull!”

DM Axes flash, and Julian finds himself flanked and overwhelmed as his blood spills.

Kryss Kryss moves in to support Julian. He lashes out with his axe before drawing back behind the protection of his shield.

DM His axe hits Wark’s spinal cord and the orc drops.

Julian Julian shakes away blood and turns his attention to the other orc.

DM The orc blocks his blow with the haft of his axe. He looks at the two outnumbering him and begins to laugh. The snarls of a warchant are on his lips as he lays into Julian.

Julian He works his way around the orc’s flank as they parry each others’ blows.

Kryss Kryss see his chance and brings up axe in a vicious uppercut.

DM The blood geysers out of Thark’s back as Kryss hits him unawares. He screams, and it is unclear if it is in rage, admiration or holy worship of pain.

Kryss “Put him down!” Kryss says.

Julian As the orc drops his guard, Lightbringer sweeps around into the foe’s neck.

DM His body drops, the head a few moments later.

Kryss Kryss wipes his weapon off on the dead orcs clothing and searches the bodies.

Julian “Tough bastards.” Julian allows. Trying to walk it off, he approaches the mountainside, listening for any approaching commotion in case the noise has drawn attention.

DM Besides their rusty scale armor, greataxes and javelins, the orcs are carrying little of value. Kryss finds the fingerbones of a human, though too small to be an adult, laced around Warg’s neck.

Kryss Kryss takes the fingerbones for future inspection and tests the heft on one of the greataxes.

DM Broad, shallow steps lead up a steep fissure to the south and turn east into the mountainside. Here, a broad entrance has been carved out of the stone. Marble steps cracked with age and veined with green moss lead up to a strong double-door of carved stone, 8 feet wide and almost 10 feet tall. Two arrow slits high on the north and south walls command this area.

DM Julian hears growls and bustling from beyond the slits.

DM Clearly someone heard Thark’s yell.

Julian Julian mutters a healing charm. Clearly more battle awaits.

Kryss “Are they approaching?” Kryss asks.

Julian “Come on, Kryss, they’ve heard us. Let’s not give them time to prepare.” Julian follows the stairs up towards the door. If there are arrow slits waiting for them, best to cross the gap before archers can reach their position.

Kryss Kryss charges alongside Julian to close the gap.

Kryss He shifts the angle of his shield to deflect inbound missles.

DM Arrows fly out of the slits as they sprint down the stairs. The doors are cracked open, it seems the orcs did not want to constantly shift them open and close. Possibly a fatal mistake.

DM Arrows glance off armor, shields and helms, all failing to strike home.

Julian Julian doesn’t waste time taking advantage of the open door. He bulls forward, into Durgeddin’s Hall.

Kryss Kryss growls as he follows at his heels.

DM The great door opens into a large hall. You are standing on a narrow ledge overlooking a deep, dark crevasse that cuts the room in two, completely obstructing passage to the opposite side. A dangerous looking rope bridge, frayed and thin, spans the gap. Water gurgles and rushes somewhere far below. Two copper braziers burn brightly on either side of the door, illuminating this half of the room. Beyond is darkness.

Julian “Left first.” Archers on either side, clearly. Better to clear them now than to be outflanked. Julian breaks left.

Kryss Kryss follows

DM Confusingly, there is no path or tunnel leading to the archers. Perhaps a door is hidden somewhere here?

DM As they search for such a door, two arrows fly out of the darkness. They might not be able to see beyond, but the copper braziers clearly mark their own position.

DM However, orcs clearly are not as good of shots as they are axemen.

Kryss “We have to cross before they cut the bridge.” Kryss suggests.

DM Kryss is looking for the door when all of a sudden his senses swim. He can barely recall his draconic life these days, but this sensation hearkens back to then, when he could sense the very tremors upon the earth.

DM A door lies to the north and south in this room. A secret door right…here.

Julian “They won’t cut the bridge till they’re desperate.” Julian is saying just as Kryss transcends. “It’s their bridge too. We can’t let them cut off our retreat if we need it.”

Kryss Kryss crashes through the secret door.

DM In the darkness, he senses an orc rushing towards him.

Kryss “There!” says a voice in Kryss ear. He swings his axe as directed.

DM The blade cuts the orc down in a single blow.

Kryss He follows with a shove from his shield, attempting to push the orc out of the way.

Kryss Kryss smashes it with his shield as he continues moving into the room.

DM What a goddamn sicko, but he smashes the corpse’s skull into the wall.

DM It cracks open like a pumpkin, leaking all over the ancient dwarven stonework.

Julian Julian produces the party’s magic candle and tosses it into the room, then follows, ducking around the dead orc to engage his living mate. The paladin keeps the wall nearby to guard his flank.

DM Lightbringer stabs into the orc’s stomach, and it begins to laugh.

DM It’s a nasty hit too, the entrails are slipping out around the blade…still the orc just laughs as he swings a flail.

DM It glances off Julian’s armor.

DM The second orc laughs as well, bringing his blade down on Julian’s skull.

DM The third orc tries to attack Kryss, but ends up gutted by Shatterspike. This causes the other two to howl even louder in laughter.

Kryss Kryss tucks back after his counter, reseating his footing, and lashing out again.

DM The blow nearly brings the orc to the ground, inducing more laughter from his companion, but grunts of pain from the victim.

DM The shield glances off his wounded body like an insult.

DM An insult delivered by a master bard, that is.

Kryss Kryss rips the axe from the orcs chest, doing further damage.

DM The shield imbeds itself in the orc’s skull.

DM It makes a wet schwicking sound.

DM The orc falls dead.

Julian Julian is too busy inspiring Kryss to pay much attention to his own attacks.

DM The orc deflects the blade. Then burries his in Julian.

DM Buries, perhaps.

DM It’s hard to tell without spellcheck.

Kryss Kryss charges at the last orc with his weight behind his shield, attempting to mash the orc through the arrow slit behind him.

DM He’s a real fucking psycho.

Julian “Ngggh… those axes are pretty serious…”

DM The orc’s body squirts out the arrow slit as the dragon crashes into him.

Kryss If the gore bothers him, Kryss doesnt mention it.

Julian “Right. That’s six.” Julian calls on healing magic.

Julian “Kryss, they’ll be behind us. Get ready to chop down anything that comes into this room, would you?”

DM They hear a final orc rushing them.

Kryss Kryss steps next to the door and prepares to greet their visitor. With his axe.

DM It’s a hell of a greeting.

DM The orc’s head bounces down the hall.

Kryss Kryss takes a few moments to search the bodies as well as collecting the loose head of the last orc to make a mistake.

Julian “All right. Now we can go shoot down those two across the bridge.” Julian picks up the magic light.

DM The orcs have dingy scale armor, greataxes (one of them had a flail), and longbows, as well as a hundred arrows.

DM One of them has a dried human breast.

Kryss “I hate arrows.” Kryss complains. He does take a bow and a handful of arrows however.

Kryss And the breast.

Julian “Wow. Uh, don’t touch that.”

Kryss “You mean the rations?”

Julian “…yeah.”

Julian No time to get into it right now.

Kryss “Perhaps it belonged to a wealthy woman whose family will pay to see her restored?”

Julian “We can find out later. For now…” Julian makes his way back down the hallway, pausing to allow Kryss to take the lead.

Kryss Kryss steps forward into the entryway. He stretches out a hand and allows a wisp of smoke to escape from his sleeve.

Kryss “Fool!” the tiny dragon exclaims. “Ill not do everything for you!” The pseudodragons complaining likely gives away its position but it flies off as instructed.

DM Two arrows fly out.

DM One lodges directly in his skull.

Kryss He disappears in a cloud of smoke. “Youll pay for this Fool!”

DM Kryss gets the impression of a middle finger, two orcs with bows and pain right before the contact cuts off.

Kryss “He’s not going to be happy about that…” Kryss mumbles.

Julian “Time for the old fashioned way, then.” Julian takes advantage of the orc’s distraction, ducks out of cover, and throws the magic candle across the chasm.

DM Their shots already spent on Kryss’s friend, they fail to nock arrows in time to hit the paladin.

DM The candle lights them up, but the heroes will have to act fast before one of the orcs throws it in the chasm.

Kryss Kryss nocks an arrow and fires at an orc

DM It glances off the stone pillars the orcs are using for cover.

Kryss The arrow bounces off the stone randomly before somehow finding a target.

Julian “The grace of Tal!” Julian pronounces.

DM The orc howls in anger. Melee attacks seem to be funnier than arrows that ricochet into their arse.

Julian He considers his actions. Something quieter than a thunderclap seems in order…

DM One of the orcs rushes for the candle, while the other shoots arrows at Julian.

DM At Julian being fairly relative.

DM They’re more at Julian than Kyrss, for instance.

DM The other orc grabs the candle.

DM Down the hatch it goes.

Julian Julian’s eyes begin to glow.

Julian The offending orc begins to feel hot. Then uncomfortably hot.

Julian Within moments he is burning from within.

DM “Argh!” The orc bends over, trying to hurk up the candle that is clearly immolating him.

Julian Julian takes cover to concentrate on his spell.

Kryss Kryss lauches another arrow at the other orc

Kryss It disappears into the darkness.

DM The arrow penetrates the pillar he was using for cover, pinning him to it for eternity.

DM The orc forces his fingers into his mouth, gagging himself and coughing up the candle.

Julian Incredibly he does not stop burning.

Julian He is however now nicely lit.

DM A confused look is cooked onto his face as his skin continues to flare. He falls to the ground, smoking.

Kryss Kryss stands at the bridge, trying to figure out a way to smash a shield into the corpses without crossing.

DM Because he’s a fucking psycho.

Shael “There are more orcs coming from the east!” Shael announces.

Julian “Okay Kryss, now, you’re going to hold the rope that’s tied around my waist while I… oh jeeze.”

Julian “Forgot you were there.”

Julian “Hey, do you know how to conjure light?”

Kryss “My Protector is always at my side.”

Kryss Kryss throws the orc’s head at the incoming orc.

Julian “Want to light up the far corner of that bridge? Then we won’t have to worry about the candle.”

DM The head goes soaring over the approaching orc.

DM The orc draws his axe and howls a laughing battlecry.

Shael A ray of ice splits through the air targeting the orc, Shael’s magic targeting him.

DM “Targeting” him.

DM The ice frosts over some dwarven script in the stone.

Julian Julian stays behind cover for now, waiting for the orc to approach.

Kryss Kryss fires another arrow in disgust at the practice.

DM It punches through the orc’s armor and chest, though the maniac continues to charge.

Kryss “I hate this thing.” he complains.

DM The orc rushes right down the bridge, trips, falls over the ropes, and plunges to what is almost certainly his death. The party hears guffaws echoing down the pit.

Julian Julian steps out of cover to meet the charging orc with a javelin right between the tusks.

Julian It ends up following him down the chasm.

Julian “So.”

Julian “I’m not crossing that bridge.”

Shael “No?” Shael wonders, looking down into the depths curiously.

Julian “Neither of you should cross that bridge.”

Kryss “I weight more than 25 stone.” Kryss agrees.

Julian “Nobody should cross that bridge.”

Julian Julian considers the bridge, contemplating alternatives.

Kryss Kryss sizes Julian up, looking from him to the other size. “How much do you weigh?” he asks.

Shael “Huh…” Shael tests the bridge curiously, pulling on the ropes and checking its sturdyness.

Kryss Kryss takes a step towards Julian. “It looks a little more narrow right here.”

Shael Shael wanders over the bridge.

Julian “Look, let’s see what else is on this side.”

Shael “Oh…” Shael says, looking back from the other side of the bridge.

Julian Julian resolutely turns his back on the bridge and goes to see what else is on this side.

Julian They didn’t really have time to search the other room before.

Shael Shale wanders back across the bridge to join his companions.

Kryss Kryss follows Julian, looking at Shael sideways.

Julian “Look, you’re a sorcerer, you probably don’t have any weight. That’s how sorcerers fly.” Julian is unmoved.

Shael “Hmm?” Shael wonders of Kryss, “Is everything allright?”

Shael “Me? No, I’m nothing like that.” he says back to Julian. “And, I certainly cannot fly.”

Kryss “Not right now apparently.”

Julian “Hmph.” Julian’s response comes from the next room where he is searching the slain orcs, and the room, for piles of platinum.

Shael “We’ll surely make it across, of course. I have no doubt of that…”

DM The secret door slides aside to reveal a narrow passage descending a flight of stairs to open up into a small chamber below. Light from outside slants into the room through a series of narrow embrasures, posts for archers watching the entrance to the dwarf-halls.

DM It appears that the bridge is the only way deeper into the Glitterhame.

DM In one sense, literally.

Julian An intense sense of foreboding warns Julian away from the hallway leading out of this room.

Kryss “Lets move on.” Kryss suggests

Julian “The bridge… only way.”

Julian The paladin’s voice is thick.

Shael “Yeah, we’ll be fine.” Shael crosses the bridge again and looks back to wait for his companions.

Julian Julian wanders across the bridge in a daze.

Kryss Kryss follows carefully, recalling days when a short glide like this was nothing to him.

Kryss After a couple close calls, the giant makes it across.

Shael Shael watches his friend closely while he crosses the bridge. Once he’s across, the wizard claps him on the shoulder and then moves along with the others more deeply into the ruins.

Julian When he reaches the other side, his wounds have faded to mere small red marks. Julian blinks.

Kryss “Everything ok?” Kryss asks.

Julian “Yeah… fine.”

DM And that’s when the orcs jumped out at them.

ShaelAAH!” Shael jumps in surprise.

Kryss Kryss stares deadpan at him.

DM And they murdered Julian because Kryss never moves his token forward.

DM Blood sprayed from the paladin’s neck and forehead as the axes rained down on him like a summer storm.

DM When it cleared, it appears that it wasn’t as bad as it appeared.

Kryss Kryss is lagging behind but seeing his comrade in trouble springs him to action. He tears into the trio with a fury a mortal man could never match.

DM One of the orcs falls like wheat before the thresher.

DM Two. Two orcs. Like wheat. Before the thresher.

DM Except Kryss never moved.

Kryss Kryss takes a deep breath

DM So we’ll never know.

DM Which orcs might have died.

Kryss He steps over his prey to assist with the final orc

DM The sickly looking one.

DM The slow one.

DM The one who failed to even get near Julian with his sad axe bow.

DM blow

DM Not an axe bow, because that’s dumb.

Kryss The near-giant looms over the sickly orc and growls deep in his chest.

Shael Shael moves forward and absently fires a series of magical darts at the final orc as he looks around the corner to see what else lays before them.

DM The orc explodes into a bloody mess all over Kryss.

Julian “I’m getting a bit tired of those axes.” Julian mutters.

Kryss He dusts his shoulder off and turns to the south.

DM This chamber is a natural cave with carefully smoothed walls and floor. Wet stone gleams, and you can discern at least four exits leading off into darkness. Red coals glow in the darkness of the far righthand passageway, and a crude wooden cage bars the closer right-hand passageway. The room is littered with orcish sleeping furs, loot, and rubbish.

Julian “Tired enough to rest, even.” He looks around.

Kryss “Are you going to be ok?” Kryss asks.

Kryss “Maybe you should sit down and drink some water.”

Julian “Yeah, I think I’ll be all right…” Julian rubs his head, hand coming away all bloody.

Shael Shael shakes the bars curiously.

DM A row of rough-hewn sapling trunks forms a crude but serviceable cage across the mouth of this small cave. A door locked with an iron padlock secures the room. Inside, you see two filthy prisoners dressed in tattered rags, crowding close to the door. “Thank Tal!” the first one cries out. “We’re rescued!”

Julian Julian squints. “Hey, why are there two of each of you?”

Julian “Look out, Shael, they’re doppelgangers!”

Shael Shael moves in position motioning towards his companions that more orcs are on the way.

Julian “Wait, you have one too!”

DM The prisoners look concerned at the knight they thought was here to rescue them.

DM He’s clearly not well.

DM Suddenly glad there are bars between them and him, they back away.

Shael Shael turns back and shushes his companions waiting for the approaching orcs to get closer.

Shael BEFORE HE ATTACKS!

Julian Julian sways and raises his two swords, turning towards the sound of the approaching orcs.

Julian His vision clears slightly as the axe blow to his head starts throbbing a little less, and he moves to take up an ambush position in a side tunnel.

DM Two orcs come wandering around the corner.

DM They blink as a javelin slams into the wall next to them.

Shael “Haha!” Shael shouts out, clearly surprising them.

Julian Julian grins at the four orcs. “I got one!”

Julian He darts back into cover.

Kryss Kryss tosses a hand ax at one.

DM It catches him in the throat, and nearly takes his head off. The orcs find this hysterical, and start laughing.

DM The wounded one leaps at Kryss.

Kryss Kryss settles in his stance as the orc dancing with his companions.

DM Eyes on the prize, it is skewered by Julian and Shael.

DM “Heh..heh..hurgh.”

Kryss Another hand ax spins at the other orc.

DM It sticks in the orc’s skull. Brains are leaking out…well, presumably. The orc can’t stop laughing.

DM It charges the first thing it sees with its failing eyesight and swings for the moon. It misses.

DM Doesn’t even get close.

Shael Dodging aside, Shael lashes out with an electrified kick at the orc.

DM It stops a foot away from the bestial humanoid.

Julian Julian blinks hard and shoulders his way around the melee.

Julian His solution is simpler. More elegant.

Julian Sharper.

DM The orc falls in two halves.

DM The third orc rushes in.

DM Julian’s blood sprays.

Kryss Kryss races to rescue Julian.

Julian Julian shakes his head hard. At least his double vision is gone.

Julian Hard to see much but blood now.

Kryss He grabs the little mans shoulder so hard it hurts but he pulls him out of immediate danger.

DM The orc moves in, swinging on Shael, laughing.

Shael Shael attempts to acrobatically move past the Orc and flank him for his companions before attacking.

Kryss Kryss shifts his grip on his ax and spins, putting more poweer into his swing. He almost resembles a mighty drake striking with a mighty tail whip.

DM The spear plunges into his back, drawing more roars of laughter from the orc.

DM Kryss’s axe bounces off.

Kryss The axe misses but he follows it with a huge shield.

DM Except of course, it’s not Kryss’s turn.

DM Meanwhile, Julian is…

Julian Julian is catching his breath, providing a golden opportunity to not retcon anything.

DM The shield knocks the orc’s tusk to the side, and tears actually form in his eyes from the rib splitting chortles.

Julian He wipes away the blood, seizes a javelin, and aims between the eyes.

DM The orc takes the javelin directly in the head. He touches it curiously, yanks it out and lunges at Julian before slumping over. He manages a grin before he passes on.

Kryss “Orcs are stupid,” Kryss says.

Kryss “You two should see to the prisoners, Ill keep an eye out for more.”

Julian “Yeah… hit like a cart of bricks, though.”

DM It seems quiet for now.

Julian “Hey, Shael, I figured it out. No doppelgangers. Just seeing double. Heh, those two to the head barely hurt at all.”

Kryss “You need to rest.” Kryss says. “Let me make you some food.”

DM “So ah…praise Tal?” comes the tentative call from the prisoners.

DM “Rescued?” the woman asks.

Julian “Funny how that happens, isn’t it? Cut your finger and it hurts like hell, break your skull and you can barely feel a thing…” Julian trails off.

Shael “Hm, okay.” he smiles and heads back to the cell. Looking through the bars he tilts his head to the side, “Who are you?”

Julian “Oh. Yes! Praie Tal!”

DM “I’m Geradil,” the man proclaims. “And this lovely woman is Courana.”

DM Geradil is a rough, ugly looking man. Courana is quite pretty herself, if she were perhaps cleaned up…right now she looks disgusting, in a ratty garment, in a prison that clearly doesn’t have a chamber pot.

Julian “Let’s get you out of there. Can you bear arms?” Julian squints.

Shael “Ah.” he examines the lock, “What are you doing here?” he inquires, prodding at it expirimentally.

DM “Orcs captured us. And yes, of course I can bear arms,” the man proclaims.

DM Kryss can tell he is lying.

DM Not by the tone of his voice, but the manner in which he conducts himself.

DM Julian has his doubts too, but the blood loss might have something to do with that.

Kryss Kryss glares at the man.

DM “We’re just farmers,” Courana explains. “Not fighters.”

Julian “Great. Here, Shael, Shatterspike steel will make quick work of it.” Julian borrows the axe and splits the lock with a blow.

Kryss “And liars.”

Julian “Oh. Well, then, better get you to safety and not bring you into peril.”

DM Geradil looks humiliated.

Shael Shael stands up and says, “Well, now we can’t use it if we need it later…” complaining just a bit as he replaces his thieves tools.

Kryss Kryss gives Julian a dirty look as he inspects the edge on his axe.

Shael “Why are farmers so far from… anywhere, really?” he wonders of Geradil.

DM “We’re only a few days from the city!” the man exclaims.

Shael Shael glances at his companions, “Are we? I guess I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Shael “Will you be able to make it back on your own, then?” he inquires.

Kryss “What do you know of the denizens of this place?” Kryss asks.

DM “Great Ulfe!” Courana squeaks.

Shael “Bless you.” Shael says, accidentilly wasting a spell.

Kryss “What?” Kryss presses her.

DM “He’s a huge disgusting ogre,” she shudders. “And his sons are even worse.”

Shael “Ah, is this where they are lairing? Convenient, I’d rather wanted to dispatch them – heard they’ve been causing quite a bit of trouble locally?”

Kryss “Do they guard the way to the rest of the complex?”

DM “We’ve never been past here…Ulfe was going to take her tonight…” Geradil mutters.

Julian “What can you tell us about them?” Julian sits down heavily, removing his helmet. A small bloody stream is liberated and trickles down his breastplate.

Shael Shael glances at the others, “We could probably gain an advantage by waiting for him here…”

DM “His sons are Elfe and Olfe. They…they look smaller than him, like orcs. But bigger than orcs.”

Kryss Kryss opens his rations and offers to share, first with Julian and then with the prisoners.

DM “And there are black wolves as big as horses that Ulfe walks around with all the time.”

Julian Julian nods. “Are there many of the orcs?” He chews and swallows. “We’ve slain… eight, nine, ten… eleven.”

Julian “Twelve, thirteen, fourteen.” he finishes.

DM “They raid in gangs of four to eight, but I don’t know how many are here total.”

Shael “What’s with the laughing?”

DM “Laughing?”

Kryss “I know! Theres something wrong with fighting enemies that enjoy dying.”

Julian “You must have heard.”

Shael “You didn’t hear them?” Shael says, jabbing his thumb towards those they just slew.

DM “I thought those were terrifying roars.”

DM The heroes can tell these pathetic peasants aren’t cut from the same mettle as themselves.

Julian “Ah, well.” Julian racks his brains for more insightful questions. Pain makes it a bit difficult.

Julian “Do the orcs come through here often?”

Julian “Or only when there’s raiders leaving or returning?”

DM “I’m not sure how many days it has been, but it seems like they go out about ever four or five sleeps.”

Kryss “Lets get these two back to the entrance and send them on their way. We can camp and get a fresh start later.”

DM “Usually a second band leaves before the first one returns.”

Julian Julian nods and starts back towards the entrance, offering Courana a helping hand. “Are there two bands out now?”

DM She nods. They are struck by how much more observant than Geradil she is.

Shael “Better if we keep them here, then, rather than having them run into the other bands. Eh?”

DM “Yes, take us back to the entrance and send us on our way,” Geradil proclaims. “I am a ranger, I will lead her home safely.”

Julian Julian eyes Shael, having the same thought. If orcs had happened upon their very own camp a few nights ago, what about this defenseless woman?

Julian And Geradil too, of course.

Julian “We’ll discuss what to do once we’re out in the fresh air. Come on.”

DM The peasants follow the heroes.

Kryss They take great pains to ensure everyone crosses the bridge safely. Kryss leads them into the northern room and suggests they use the arrow slits to provide security.

Kryss He himself takes up a position beside the secret door. A dragon makes an excellent guard.

DM He might be surprised as the peasants keep heading towards the promised fresh air.

Kryss “No, the other band could be back any time. We need somewhere defensible.”

Kryss Kryss shoulders them aside as he places his hands on the huge door and pushes it closed.

DM It takes a long time and lot of effort to close the door.

Julian Julian interrupts the long time and the lot of effort. “Maybe we should leave an escape route.”

Julian “You know, in case we need to use Plan A again.”

DM But that’s a tale for another time, True Believers! Will Great Ulfe get his prisoners back? Will our heroes best this scourge of the region? Find out next week!

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The Forge of Fury 1
Oakhurst, Wealsun 4.5, BCY 14500

Session 9

DM Our heroes have been in Oakhurst for a week now, where their heroic exploits have become the talk of the town. Sharwyn Hucrele remains catatonic, her protector Sir Braford the same. The sad fate of Talgen and his sister aside, their mother has at least closure on her missing children.

DM One upsetting aspect has been the offloading of treasure…very little can be offloaded in Oakhurst. The small town simply does not have the resources to do so. The party decides that Alsoor is the closest location they can travel to in order to divest themselves of their bulky gains.

Kryss Kryss has spent his time at the inn eating while reading his newly aquired Dragon Tome.

DM Our heroes have been in Oakhurst for a week now, where their heroic exploits have become the talk of the town. Sharwyn Hucrele remains catatonic, her protector Sir Braford the same. The sad fate of Talgen and his sister aside, their mother has at least closure on her missing children.

DM One upsetting aspect has been the offloading of treasure…very little can be offloaded in Oakhurst. The small town simply does not have the resources to do so. The party decides that Alsoor is the closest location they can travel to in order to divest themselves of their bulky gains.

Kryss Kryss wakes one morning and knocks at Julian’s door.

Julian “Come in!” Entering, Kryss finds that Julian’s room is spartan save for a small shrine with a lit candle.

Julian “What is it?”

Kryss “We should be leaving. The inn wont have more pork until friday.” Kryss says.

Julian The paladin nods. “I’ve been making arrangements. I have enough food for the journey for the three of us.”

Julian “I thought we’d walk. After all that time in a little cell, I can’t get enough of walking.”

Kryss “I havent seen my Protector in what feels like a week. He will show up when we need him. He always does.”

Kryss “I expect he is at the Hucrele house anyway.” Kryss hefts a few bags over his shoulder. “Nothing can happen to us on the King’s Highway anyway.”

DM “Old road,” one of the nameless old men corrects him.

Julian “Oh? Well, all right then… I’m going to go say my goodbyes.”

Kryss “Your what?”

Julian “My goodbyes? Like, bid farewell to people?”

Kryss “People die. Why bother trading words with someone you will never see again?”

Julian “Ah, hm. We should talk sometime, I think. I’ll meet you on the south road.”

Julian And indeed Julian does so. After saying his goodbyes.

Kryss “Today will be a good day for travelling.” Kryss says.

Kryss Once they meet up further down the road.

Julian “No more goblins to worry about, either.” The paladin is in a bright mood.

Kryss “There was a time I could snatch you up and with a single beat of my mighty wings carry you to Alsoor.” he replies.

Julian “Oh?” Julian glances at Kryss. “Well, I don’t think I’ve heard the tale of how you came to be here.”

Kryss “There is an air channel that follows the valley down the mountain. A dragon could sail for days on that current,” he scans the sky wistly.

Kryss “I fell victim to Wild Magic. I discovered an item in my horde that gave me this form.”

Julian “Why don’t you tell me your tale? It would be a welcome way to pass the time.”

Kryss “Mortality does not become me,” he pulls his great coat over his neck. “Thats about all there is to tell about it. I abandonded my horde to seek a wizard to change me back.”

Julian “Ah well. I will not pry. But what now, then? Are you still seeking a wizard, or do you have other goals?”

Kryss “I have made… arrangements. After a term of service someone will restore me.”

Julian “And then?”

Kryss “I will return to my horde, drive out any usurpers, and sleep I suppose.”

Julian “No further ambitions?”

Kryss “Such as?” Kryss seems confused.

Julian “Hm.”

Julian “Well, that aside. Where does the Protector come in?”

Kryss “I am assigned to him. His wishes are my wishes. I will follow him until my time is complete.”

Kryss “What are your… ambitions?” Kryss asks.

Julian Julian looks away. “I have something to prove.”

Kryss “You plan to spend your miniscule time here proving something? To whom must you prove yourself to?” Kryss asks bluntly.

Julian “To people, to the Church… it’s complicated. But I think I took a great step towards it down there.”

Kryss “But there was only us there. Your church did not see your deeds in the citadel.”

Julian Julian looks sidelong at his companion. “And what is minuscule to a… dragon? is long to a man, I think.”

Kryss “You will live, 25 years? 30 at most? Likely less given your choice of careers. What could you do in a mere 30 years to make any difference?” Kryss words come out harsh but he seems genuinely curious.

Kryss “If you were dragon, you would have all of time to accomplish your goals.”

Julian “I can show that a magician can be a paladin.”

Julian “You dragons are solitary creatures most of the time, are you not? Sleeping alone on your gold and such, as the stories say?”

Kryss “I am not taught by other dragons and so I do not know how they spend their time. I know that is how I spent my time. Unless i was disturbed.”

Kryss “It stands to reason that other dragons would feel the same.”

Julian Julian shrugs. “So you dragons have a long life, but when it does finally end, there will be not much left to say of it.”

Julian “In my wildest dreams, if I succeed in paving the way, there will be a hundred men walking my path even after I myself do not.”

Julian “I’m not really sure how to explain living in a society to someone who… doesn’t. But it is different.”

Kryss Kryss walks along in silence for a long while. At length he asks “How did you learn your… ambition?”

Julian “How did you learn to breathe fire?”

Kryss “What?” Kryss looks at him, “Its like flying, or walking, you just know.”

DM Our guys were headed to Alsoor via wagon, when suddenly lightning ruined everything. We pick up our story now.

Julian “The road goes ever on and on…” Julian hums.

Kryss “Did you say it would be 2 days and nights to get to Alsoor?” Kryss asks for perhaps the 300th time.

DM Four. Julian said four.

Kryss “I could swear you said two. We should stop to eat again soon.” Kryss complains.

Julian Four it is.

Julian “If we stop to eat often enough, maybe we can stretch it to five.”

DM It was a day and a half to get to the Sunless Citadel, which lies along the Old Road, not quite halfway to Alsoor.

Kryss “Lets keep marching then. Hopefully my Protector will arrive with the wagon soon, and then we can nap.”

Julian Julian marches on stoically, thinking about horses and how he should have bought one. Not that that little village had a serviceable beast for a soldier…

DM Perhaps in Alsoor.

Kryss “Is Alsoor a large town?” Kryss asks.

Kryss “Never mind. Ill just walk silently awhile.”

Julian Julian nods in agreement. His friend will find out soon enough.

DM They come up upon Alsoor late morning of the fourth day, having been passing by outlying farms throughout. It is a small city, bustling with people going about their business.

DM Two guards stand on duty, call them to halt and state their business.

Kryss Kryss looks to Julian. This is normally Shael’s area.

Julian “I’m here to buy a horse.”

Kryss Kryss is impressed by Julians master of diplomacy.

DM The guards look Julian up and down. “You one of the Primata’s men?”

DM Julian recognizes the title as a mid ranking priestess of Tal.

Julian “No, I’m a church man, though.” Julian shows his cavalry insignia from his service as a paladin’s squire. “Lost my horse in a goblin attack.”

DM The guards nod, put at ease by Julian’s simple and nonflamboyant manner.

DM Who would have known that it would be this easy to get into a town?

Julian Julian nods to the guards and the pair proceed.

Kryss Kryss trudges into town behind Julian, his newly aquired great coat adding to his already large size.

DM They are given a brief set of directions to guide them about the town, and the guards go back to watching the Old Road.

Kryss “Should we eat?” Kryss asks.

Julian “We ate half an hour ago…”

Kryss Kryss simply stares back.

Julian “Let’s do our work first. Work up an appetite.” Julian seeks out the mercantile districts to sell the group’s assorted goods, and asks around for the best stables.

Kryss Kryss stops at the first stall. “We are looking for Jan Hucrele. Please give us directions.” he says to the shopkeeper.

DM Directions to Hucrele’s shop are given in short order. Julian hears the names Ysayth and Malcan when it comes to stables. Competing individuals.

Julian Julian works perhaps slower than Kryss would like. He attends to their business first and also makes arrangements for a room and bath. “It is polite to wash off the dust of the road before calling on a leading citizen.” he insists to Kryss.

Julian He also visits the stables, calling on Ysayth first.

DM Ysayth is a large, loud man, whose booming voice does not change whether he is indoors or out. Julian finds his stock to be fairly run of the mill horses, draft and riding, as well as several ponies.

Julian Julian thanks him and calls on his competitor. It wouldn’t do to buy without seeing both options.

Kryss Kryss follows behind dutifully.

DM Malcan is an asshole. His horses have nicer coats than Ysayth’s, who tends to allow them to roll in the dirt. However, from the moment they set foot in his place of business, Malcan talks down to them, as though they were children, or worse, women.

Julian “Some of those beasts would be well suited to drawing the wagon. Shael was making pretty slow progress with just the village horse, a team of two would be better.” Julian mentions as they approach the second stable.

DM They know that it would be worse, because he mentions several things to that effect.

Julian “Hm.” Julian doesn’t hide his scowl, but he tries not to let it affect his judgment of the horses.

Julian Eventually he takes his leave, to sleep on the question.

Julian “Now,” he says after freshening up, “let’s go see master Hucrele.”

Kryss Kryss follows.

DM Hucrele’s Trade Emporium is a massive three story affair, full of trade goods and exotic delights.

Kryss “Jan Hucrele,” Kryss says to the worker at the door.

DM He shakes his head, pointing in. The lovely Laila greets the pair as they enter. “Looking for anything in particular, my lords?” she asks.

DM She introduces herself, managing to draw their attention to three different pieces of equipment in a casual manner as she does so.

Kryss “We have urgent news for the Hucrele family from their kin in the north,” Kryss answers flatly.

Julian Julian nods. “News from Kerowyn Hucrele of Oakhurst.” he clarifies.

DM “Is everything alright?” she asks, concern in her eyes. “I have not heard from my aunt in a few months.”

Kryss “Are you Jan Hucrele?” Kryss asks, unwilling to share private information.

DM “No, he is my father. As I said, I am Laila, Laila Hucrele. I run the Emporium.”

Julian “Ill news, I fear. Is he here?”

Kryss “There is an illness. Your cousin has taken sick.”

DM “No, he is north, in Blasingdell, making arrangements with our kin there. A shipment of dwarven steel.”

Kryss “Shaerwyn,” Kryss replies.

Julian “Ah. Well, in that case, I am sure you will pass our news on to him. Is there a place we can sit, Lady Hucrele?”

DM She breezes through the store, leading them around to an office, where she gestures that they have a seat on the luxurious fur covered couch within.

Kryss Kryss stands beside the door gestures for Julian to sit.

DM “My cousin is ill. Does she need medicine? That hamlet they live in likely lacks such accomodations.”

Julian Julian sits stiffly and shares the story of Talgen’s demise and Sharwyn’s affliction, or at least an overview. No need to go into the more indiscreet details of magecraft and the like.

DM “Oh!” Laila is far more upset about the death of Talgen than she is about Sharwyn’s condition.

Julian “I am very sorry to be the bearer of such bad news, Lady Hucrele.” Julian concludes.

Kryss “After we made certain Lady Hucrele was safe and secure we offered to deliver the message for them on our way to sell our goods in town.” Kryss says leadingly.

DM “That was…kind of you. Goods I assume you recovered from the goblins?”

Julian “Just so.”

Kryss “Gained justly as we rescued your cousin, ill as she is. We also recovered your other cousin’s body, so that he may be buried as your Gods dictate.”

DM “Tal is the one god worshipped here in Alsoor,” she replies. Laila takes stock of their loot, wanting to separate out any illegals like poison or drugs, although she offers to handle any such as well.

Julian The pair sell that which is to be sold. Julian also asks her if she recognizes the maker’s mark on Lightbringer.

DM “Oh! That’s a Durgablade, right? You should show Baron Althon! He collects them.”

DM A representative from the tax collectors’ guild bursts in. “Laila! I demand an accounting!”

Julian “Durgablade? The name is news to me. It is a fine weapon, though.”

Julian Julian steadfastly ignores any thoughts of taxes.

Kryss Kryss stuffs his big bag of gold in his coat and walks out, brushing roughly past the tax collector.

DM “Oh, I’m no good with dwarven names,” she frowns, waving the tax collector away for now. “You’ll get them, Henry, when I have them ready for you, and not a day before.”

Julian “Well perhaps I will call on the baron now, Lady Hucrele. Will I need a letter of introduction?”

DM She points to the blade. “That’s introduction enough, truthfully. I can’t really emphasize how much he loves those things.”

Julian “Then thank you. I am sure we will speak again. Until then, I am very glad to have met you, my lady, and I wish it were under better circumstances.” Julian takes his leave.

DM She thanks him and waves good bye.

Julian Julian seeks out the Baron’s household.

DM The baron lives in a modest yet defensible house…likely the second largest in town. Julian finds it in short order, and with a simple flourish of his fine blade, is shown directly in to meet with the Baron.

 photo rsz_baron_althon_1_zpswwtjbi3v.jpg

<julian> “I’m here to see the baron! And THIS is my letter of introduction!” Julian brandishes his blade to the doorguard.

<julian> “Ok, ok, just joking around.” he adds hurriedly. “I hear that the Baron is a collector of these blades.” He lets himself be ushered in.

DM The dark haired nobleman is enjoying a brandy and cigar, and excitedly greets Julian as he enters. “I understand you have an actual Durgeddin broadsword?” He offers both tobacco and drink to Julian.

Julian “Thank you, my lord.” Julian accepts the drink. “Durgeddin… Well, I have heard you are the greatest expert on them in these parts. I trust you can verify whether the blade is a true one.” He displays the maker’s mark.

DM The baron inspects the blade with undisguised glee, pointing out several features that indicate the pedigree. “This is indeed, a true Durgeddin blade,” he says, handing it back to Julian. “I would gladly pay you three times the market value for it, but it looks like you are the sort who puts it to a true use.”

Julian “I am indeed, my lord. How is it that you came to know of Durgeddin’s work?”

DM “I am a bit of a dwarven aficionado, and Durgeddin’s weapons are one of this region’s high points. His fortress was said to have been lost in the mountains far to the east of here, and a cache of his work, including enchanted metal, is but a small part of the plunder.”

Julian “His fortress… hm…” Julian pulls out the ancient dwarven note the party found. “I cannot read the script, but I was told this spoke of such a fortress.”

DM “Hmm.” The baron pours over it. “This is the Gliterhame! Amazing. Ah…there should be a map with this. Right here, this is newer writing. ‘Once you have Shatterspike, bring it and the map to me in Blasingdell. Untold riches await you in Durgeddin’s stony redoubt … and, I fear, the chance to be a hero. Your fall from grace will not be in vain’. Did you find a…shatterspike?”

Julian “Yes, indeed… an axe that we discovered in the depths of the fortress. My companion bears it now.” Hm. Fall from grace? “I’ll send a runner to fetch him.”

—————————————-

Meanwhile…

Kryss Kryss follows his ears to the sound of a ringing forge.

Kryss He watches from a distance as the smith pounds out the rough shape of a shortshord. The sparks, the smell, there is something about this profession.

Kryss Perhaps it is the cadence to the hammer hitting the metal. Perhaps it reminds him of his mothers heartbeat as she protected her eggs. That was a long time ago.

DM He finds himself near Coror’s Forge, the powerful blacksmith’s metalworking beating out the rythmn of quality.

Kryss At length the mighty dragon turned man approaches the weapon smith. “Rurik of Oak Hurst says fine things about your work.”

Kryss He continues, “Im in the market for a weapon. He claimed it to be beyond his skill. He sent me to you.”

DM “A weapon? What thort of weapon?” the man asks.

Kryss “A mighty claw that I might rend a dragon’s heart from its chest. It must be strong enough to crack steel and sharp enough to pierce plate mail.”

Kryss Kryss hands the man a scroll with a detailed drawing of a great sword on it.

Kryss "The blood channel should we this wide and this deep. Id like the handle done in this frog hide.

Kryss And the handle, full tang of course, must be half again as long as both my hands. Youll want to take some measurements."

Kryss “I would like to trade this battle axe for it as part of the cost if possible.”

Kryss “Could you craft the pommel in the shape of a dragon egg? About the size of my fist please.”

Kryss “Do you have any heavier armors in stock?” Kryss scans the shop. “I find chain catches my accursed short hairs.”

DM Coror looks at the battleaxe. “You want me to make…a greatsword from an axe?” He shakes his head at the armor question. “You want armor, you go to Faradur. I don’t truck with that.”

Kryss “I want you to make me a greatsword. I will pay you 200 gold and give you this ax in exchange. Either that or I will simply give you 25 gold.” Kryss replies matter of factly.

Kryss Kryss stares at the buffoon for a long time and finally realizes the man is dumb. “Perhaps Ill return another time.” He exits the store in frustration.

Kryss He gruffly asks for directions to Faradurs armory.

DM “I can make you a greatthword. With the handle and froghide. I’ll have thomeone else craft the dragon egg pommel…not really my forte. It will cost a hundred gold pieceth.” He looks at the notches on Kryss’s axe and tries not to look too puzzled. “You can keep your axth.”

DM “Faradur is that way.” Coror gives them.

Kryss “How long would it take to make?” Kryss asks.

Kryss Frustrated at the time it would take to have a proper greatsword crafted he thanks the man and leaves. He follows the directions to the armory before he is stopped by a messenger with news that he is wanted at the Barons house. “This is likely from Julian.” Kryss says and heads to the manor house.

Julian A messenger boy soon finds Kryss and directs him to the Baron’s dwellings. No doubt this happens after his business with the smith is done.

DM “Who did you take Shatterspike from?” the baron asks curiously. “If it is indeed this individual…”

Julian “A knight who had fallen under a curse. Sir Braford was his name.”

Julian Julian pores over the message as well while waiting for Kryss to arrive, wondering who “me” is and what this has to do with the town of Blasingdell. “I wonder, could Blasingdell be related to Durgeddin’s hidden redoubt? Odd to see them mentioned on the same page.”

Julian “I wish it were less cryptic.” he grins, “but it certainly sounds like it would bear investigating.”

DM “Well, this right here, with Blassingdell and falling from grace…that’s all written on the original script, but it’s much newer. The dwarven alphabet didn’t even use these particular figures until about a hundred and fifty years ago.”

DM “So basically someone vandalized a piece of dwarven history to write a note to someone on.”

Julian “Well, it is odd. Parchment is not quite so dear as that. Do you know of Blasingdell?”

DM “Yes, Miles Berrick is the knight protector of the city. It lies at the east end of the New Road.”

DM “…in the mountains…”

Julian Julian nods.

Julian “I think this lead is worth pursuing, Baron, don’t you?”

DM “I do. I tell you what, any Durgeddin weapons you find that you don’t want to keep, I’ll pay you a premium for, a thousand gold crowns above market value.”

Shael “I wonder, does this sword have any history? I’ve never seen one made quite like it…” Shael shows the Baron his katana.

Kryss Kryss is escorted into the room by one of the Baron’s attendees. “I received word you needed me?” he asks Julian.

DM The baron starts, but realizes Shael has been there quietly the entire time. “This seems like foreign work, honestly. I wouldn’t know the history, myself. You might need to track down a sage specialized in the study.”

Julian “If Blasingdell does lead to Durgeddin’s stronghold, I shall certainly give you first rights to any more blades of Durgeddin’s make that we turn up.”

Julian “Yes, Kryss. Or at least your axe. This is Shatterspike.”

Shael Shael smiles politely and quietly fades back into the background.

DM “May I see it?” the baron asks.

Kryss Kryss displays the axe to the baron. “I took it justly from one who no longer could carry it.” His eyes narrow at the Barons request.

Julian “Trying to solve a mystery.” Julian explains to Kryss.

Kryss Kryss offers up the ax at Julians suggestion.

Kryss His hand drops to his handaxe.

DM The baron takes the axe, and twists the handle along the bottom. It slides out, and a crumbling parchment falls onto the table. It is a map.

Julian Julian’s eyebrows rise.

Julian “The missing map.”

Julian He bends over it.

Kryss “It is good you found that. If it had come loose while I was slaying a foe I could have been inconvienienced.”

DM The baron frowns at the bloodstains all over the axe, and begins polishing its blade idly while observing what Julian finds with the map.

Kryss Kryss waits patiently to hear what Julian has learned.

Kryss Actually, he fidgets.

Julian Julian studies…

Kryss Kryss fidgets.

DM The map is that of a mountain range, with one, Stone Tooth, marked out clearly. The door to Khundrukar lies marked as well. It places the mount a few days travel north of Blasingdell.

Julian “Ha! I was right! Durgeddin’s hidden fortress!”

Julian “I wonder what is left there…”

DM “By Tal, you’ve done it, old chap! Marvelous!”

Julian Julian glances to Kryss and Shael. “What do you say? Are you willing to join me and explore the place?”

Kryss Kryss looks to Shael, loyal to a fault.

Shael “Yes, of course.”

Shael Shael asserts, “We have some matters to attend to first, I think… but, an expidition can certainly be planned at the same time.”

Kryss Kryss looks satisfied at the decision.

Kryss “Well need to find a sponsor to fund the expidition.” Kryss says.

Kryss “Perhaps the Hucreles.”

Kryss “Theyll likely ask for first choice of any spoils.” he thinks aloud.

DM If the baron gives him odd looks at his hyper suspicious behavior and then incredibly tactless awkward breakdown, no one notices.

DM No one notices the orcish assassins either.

Julian Julian’s mind is on something other than sponsors. He asks the Baron whether he will write a letter of introduction to Sir Berrick to ease the group’s way in Blassingdell, and also advises making a copy of the map to keep safe with the Baron.

Shael “Right then! We’ll get it sorted.” Shael says suddenly. “Expect to hear from us within the week, Lord, and we’ll have an estimate on when we will return with the spoils.”

DM “Thenmehtar, my best scribe, will copy the map.”

DM “And naturally I will write a letter of introduction to Sir Berrick.”

Julian “Thank you, my lord. And thank you for your help in this matter. We’d best see to our preparations, then. By your leave?”

DM The baron gives him an excited smile. “Absolutely, my new friends! May you have the best of luck!”

Julian The party takes their leave and makes preparations.

Kryss “Id like to buy some armor soon.” Kryss says to his friends.

Julian “By all means.”

Shael “Now that we’re in the city, I have a few matters to see to as well… should we find lodging first so we have somewhere to regroup?”

Julian “All right.”

Shael “What do we want: cheap, good, or great?”

Julian “Neither luxury nor squalor.”

Kryss “Somewhere with rare meet.” Kryss adds.

DM The party decides to stay at the Bitter Arrow. Insensitive Banburr runs a tight ship. They serve beef and pork.

DM As requested, it has neither luxury nor squalor, and is a middle of the road option.

Kryss Kryss is happy with beef and pork. He eats, informs Shael of the items he requires if available, and retires to his room.

Shael He winks at his friends and says, “As promised. I’ll return before full-dark.”

Shael The young wizard then sets out to inconspiciously gather several things he needs as well as to find out more about the local arms and armor market.

Shael While he’s about it, he asks occasionally about the sword on his back and whether there is anyone who might know how to use it well.

Julian “Okay…” Julian stays up for a while shooting the shit with the other patrons, then turns in himself.

DM Few people have seen a blade like Shael’s at all. One old veteran has, a man from distant Thorn, who fought in the goblin wars.

DM “They call it a katana, which is just goblin for sword.”

Shael “Huh, is there any combat style associated with it? Or just the same as any other blade of this size?”

DM “If you can ask a goblin, you might get an answer to that. We were too busy killing them to stop and find out.”

Shael Shael chuckles grimly, “Same…” he sheaths it, “…if it wasn’t obviously of fine make I’d have left it on his body.” he says, simplifying the truth.

Julian Julian spends the week making preparations. In between, he visits the Baron a few times to make sure he is filled in on any relevant Durgeddin lore, pays a courtesy visit to the temple of Tal, and keeps in touch with the Hucreles.

Kryss Kryss spends his time studying his new book and training.

Shael Shael spends some time tracking down Selcane, the artist, and talking to different wagon-makers in the city about their craft.

DM And so our heroes set about preparing for their next grand adventure, locating the dwarven fortress of Khundrukar, on Stone Tooth Mountain. When they are prepared, they set forth from Alsoor to Blasindell, where they hope to stage their expedition. What awaits them in the frigid mountains? Find out next week!

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The Sunless Citadel 8 (Finale)
Sunless Citadel, Wealsun Week 3.5, BCY 14500

Session 8

DM When last we left our heroes, they were sorting out the treasure taken from Balsag. With Shael and Julian busy with Durgeddin’s sword, Kyrss takes it upon himself to look around.

Kryss “I suppose there’s no trouble with me checking this door over here?” Kryss says to his companions as he tries the western door.

DM Two rows of dragon-carved marble columns march the length of the hall, though most are completely smothered in luminescent fungus. The cobbled floor is cracked and stained with much use, and it holds many small wooden tables. Table contents include mortars and pestles, bowls filled with crushed leaves, chopped fungus stalks, and other plant specimens. The many doors leading off this hall are all partly open, and sounds are audible from beyond them.

Kryss Kryss sniffs at the cacophony of smells assaulting his nose. Alchemy has never been his strong suit. He checks the first door looking for someone to beat up.

DM Snores are audible from this rough goblin barracks. Sixteen small pallets woven of matted hair and fur cover the floor. Two pallets currently hold sleeping goblins.

Kryss Kryss ducks into the room and closes the door silently behind him.

Kryss He lifts a hand axe from his belt and he does what he is good at.

DM The goblin dies without a sound.

Kryss Kryss moves to the next one in order to repeat the performance.

DM His loud stomping awakens the sleeping scum.

DM The goblin shrieks and dives for his weapons.

DM Too late, because Kryss’s axe separates its head from its body.

Kryss Large boots make large noises. As does a handaxe whistling towards ones face when they first wake up.

DM The goblin doesn’t stand a chance.

Kryss He surveys to room, pats down the bodies, and covers them with blankets.

Kryss Having looted this room he cracks door and moves across the hall to the next

DM A crude mashing, straining and cask facility here allows the goblins to create goblin liqueur. Two goblins currently stand barefood in the mashing tun, squashing potatolike roots into pulp. A dirty straining bin stands nearby, as well as ten 2-gallon casks of the end product.

Kryss This time Kryss uses his battle axe and throws a shoulder into the mashing tub, attempting to knock both goblins prone.

DM Goblin liqueur splashes in his eyes, burning horribly.

Kryss Kryss staggers to regain his footing and slashes across at one of the goblins.

DM His wild strike goes wide, even on the unarmored creatures. They rush for their arms.

Kryss Kryss dashes after them and attacks again.

DM His one mighty swing kills them both.

DM For some reason he batters their corpses with his shield.

Kryss Kryss eases the door closed and searches this room as well.

DM Other than goblin arms, armor and silver, there are also the ten casks of liqueur in this room.

Kryss Kryss ignores the booze and pockets the silver before checking the hallway again.

DM Two goblins monitor the health of a dire rat, which is strapped spread-eagle onto a wooden bench. The dire rat suffers from horrible tumors that look vaguely woody and fruitlike. An elixir is in the corner of the room on a stand in a fancy crystal vial.

DM The goblins are clearly tormenting the beast.

Kryss Kryss turns the torment upon them.

DM Another cleaving strike leaves two dead goblins in its wake.

Kryss Kryss puts the dire rat out of its misery and searches the room

DM Goblin arms, armor, silver are all he finds in addition to the aforementioned elixir.

Kryss Mortal spirits do not interest him. He moves across the hall to the next room.

DM Two goblins currently repair dirty goblin armor with cord, iron needles, leather patches and other crude implements of tailoring.

Kryss Kryss stumbles as he enters and swings wildly.

DM His shield rings off the lead goblin’s skull, and the creatures shriek in alarm.

DM The warm acrid scent of goblin piss fills the air.

Kryss “Shut up!” the man-dragon whispers and he swings his axe again.

DM His axe and shield leave no living creature save himself.

Kryss Kryss shuts the door and listens carefully for anyone answering the alarm.

DM He hears no one. These goblins have all been intent on their own work, and likely remain so.

DM Within the room, goblin arms, armor and repair materials, in addition to their silver.

Kryss Kryss eases the door open and moves on to the next room.

DM Extra weapon stores include five battered shortswords and thirty javelins. A door leads out to the east of the room.

Kryss Kryss leaves the weapons for his companions to inspect and moves to the last hallway door.

DM This area stands empty, with a caved in back wall leading off into the dark.

Kryss Curious as a dragon, Kryss steps into the dark, a torch held in his left hand.

DM The tunnel is interrupted here by some past geologic violence that rent the earth. The tunnel continues past the rift, though it has shifted ten feet to the west.

Kryss Kryss eyes the chasm and considers.

Kryss Cursing his missing wings he turns back to the north.

Kryss reconsidering, Kryss turns back to the south and explores the hall.

Kryss He turns right at the tunnel, hoping to rejoin his companions. Surely they are done searching one room by now.

Kryss Kryss reenters the original chamber from the south door

DM “Ok, these findings are very exciting,” Shael informs them. “I’m going to keep studying them…if you don’t mind the Dragonpriest watching over me while you guys explore?”

Kryss “Miraak, I charge you with this man’s safety. Please protect him as you would me.” Kryss says to the ancient one.

Julian Julian catches up after collecting a few javelins. “South next?”

Kryss “Friend,” Kryss says to Julian, “Would you help me search these halls to our south?”

DM This is suspicious. Kryss doesn’t call anyone friend.

Kryss Kryss leads the way to where his search left off

Julian Julian quashes his suspicions and agrees, advancing with Lightbringer at the ready.

DM The stone door at the end of the severed tunnel is shut and stuck.

Kryss Kryss attempts to persuade it open

DM He is remarkably persassive.

Julian Julian sees if some muscle will unstick it.

DM The door is unstuck like a motherfucker.

DM Faded mosaic tiles still cover parts of the wall, but most have fallen and shattered. Situated at the center of the chamber stands a slim pedestal of obsidian shaped like an upright dragon. In the dragon’s mouth rests an empty tray.

Kryss “I really enjoy the decor here.” Kryss mentions as he searches through the rubble.

Julian “I don’t know. It doesn’t really speak to me…” Julian shrugs after glancing over his shoulder to make sure Miraak is not listening.

DM Miraak is back with Shael, watching over him.

DM Not even visible from where Julian now speaks with Kryss.

DM “Sen….gir…” the call comes as the room fills with mist.

Kryss “Aw hells…” Kryss recognizes the mist.

DM “Help us…we lie…trapped…by Sengir….”

Kryss Kryss looks at Julian, weighing his response.

Julian Julian glances sidelong between Kryss and the mist as he grips his sword.

Julian “So… you saw mist like this before too?”

Kryss “Before I was sent to the past.” Kryss confirms.

DM “We were…deceived…by the serpent.”

Julian “What do you know about it?” Julian mutters, half concentrating on the ghostly voices and half on Kryss’s response.

Kryss “Nothing.” he replies, “We were there, and then we werent. Next thing I know Azario is gone.”

DM “…Hector…Forgemaster…staked our Master…with a cursed spear…”

DM “…poisons the land…around us.”

DM “…free us…”

Julian “Azario and I both saw it up above. It was…” Julian considers, “not nearly this loud.”

Julian “Who are you?” Julian decides to try talking to the mist directly.

Julian Maybe it can hear.

DM “…dragonsworn.”

Julian “And… free you? What happens if we do?”

DM “..we go…to our…judgement…free from…this purgatory.”

Julian “Hm.” Julian frowns. “To your judgment. Words that might move a paladin above all else.”

Julian “What is a dragonsworn?”

DM “We…pledged our souls…to Ashardalon the Mighty.”

Julian “And….”

Julian “Who is your master?”

DM “The First Champion of Lady Tiamat. We worship him…in this…his church. Founded by his saint.”

DM “Gulthias…Sengir.”

Julian “A man cannot serve two masters.” Julian mutters.

Julian “Begone, bound spirit, and let us consider your words in peace.”

DM The mist clears.

Kryss “Spirits speaking in riddles. We should move on.”

Julian Julian nods. “Up above, it showed me the image of… something I have dreamt of.”

Kryss “I expect this entire ruin is a chapel to this Ashardalon. The dragon I saw in my vision of the past.”

Julian “If it knows to do that, it knows to use words that would appeal to my heart. And so its words cannot be trusted.”

Kryss "In my vision I met a dragon and a vampire lord. They ruled this ruin in their time.

Julian “Ashardalon and Gulthias Sengir.”

Kryss “Indeed. We are seeing imprints of their power.”

Julian “Well. Let us press on. If we cannot trust the words of the dead, still, we can trust our own judgment.”

Julian Julian goes to see if the rift they crossed leads anywhere.

Kryss And so the pair continued on. Kryss leads Julian through the rift and back to the room with the unexplored door.

DM The rift leads on further west, or back to the goblin baracks.

Kryss “…and in that room there were goblins making spirits. I slaughtered them as well.” He narrates for his companion.

Julian “Hang on, I want to see if this goes anywhere in the other direction. It’s pretty wide…”

DM The rift eventually deadends far to the west, although there is a southern tunnel that leads to a small cavern.

Kryss “I thought the rift dead ended down here.” Kryss mentions.

Julian “It looks like it, but look, there’s a southern tunnel!” Julian investigates.

DM The rift widens here, creating a stone antechamber. Small, foot long diameter holes riddle the node. A fiery light shines out of one such hole.

Kryss Where a mortal may be cautious around firey holes, Kryss trusts his dragon blood to protect him and looks in the hole to determine the source.

DM A blast of flame erupts from the hole, as a twisting fire worm emerges.

DM The creature lunges against Kryss’s armor, but fails to harm him.

Kryss Kryss lashes out at the worm.

DM The creature’s segmented body shudders as Kryss strikes it, but the orange-white heat from its body causes Kryss’s axe and shield to light up with fiery heat.

Julian Julian comes around the other side. “Ha! It carries the sun’s light even far beneath the earth! What a wondrous creature.”

Julian He winces as he sees the creature’s heat leap out at Kryss. “I suppose that means there’s no way of keeping it…”

Kryss Kryss’s massive hands clench his weapons tight, ignoring the pain.

Julian He strikes out ruefully with Lightbringer.

DM The weapon cleaves open the worm, unleashing its fire upon Julian as well.

DM It lashes out in anger and fear at the men, but fails to harm them due to their stout armor.

Kryss Kryss swings his massive axe again.

DM He cuts the creature in half.

DM Again, he takes to pounding the corpse with his shield.

DM Cracking open its shell, this reveals two fire polished sapphires.

Kryss “Wonderous or no, it was worth killing,” Kryss says.

DM Seriously, this dragon is likely a sociopath.

Julian “Well, there is a fine blessing in it. One for you, one for me.” Julian tosses a sapphire to Kryss.

Julian He wrings his fingers as the gem is still fairly hot.

Kryss Kryss catches the sapphire and drops it in his pouch. “Whats in the other holes?” He asks.

Julian Julian shrugs and investigates.

DM The entire room appears riddled with these holes, but they are merely from the passage of the worm.

DM No items of value other than those within the beast are located.

Kryss “Lets continue,” kryss suggests.

Julian Julian nods, and heads back towards the finished rooms with unexplored doors.

Kryss When they arrive Kryss listens carefully at the door.

DM He hears a very muffled sound, perhaps some large individual walking back and forth many feet away from the door.

Kryss “Something big is behind this door. Should we talk or fight?” he asks.

Kryss Quietly.

Julian “We’ll see what it is. We can talk if it will.” Julian murmurs, and opens the door quietly. Maybe they will get the drop on this pacing foe.

DM Opening the door leads to a tiny chamber, not even ten by ten. Another door leads east.

Julian Julian tries this next door.

Kryss Kryss waits for Julian to open it.

DM Luminescent mists blur the edges of this octagonal chamber. Nodules of glowing fungus dot both the stone walls and ceiling, as well as the caps of toadstools and mushrooms, small polyps, puffballs, lichens, and less identifiable growths. The humid air reeks with rot. A massive goblin swings a scythe, clearing out burnt vegetation like that from the previous room.

DM When it sees them, it raises the scythe and charges.

Julian Julian shakes his head. Goblin means likely foe. He piles into the room.

Kryss Kryss follows, ready to fight shoulder to shoulder.

Kryss The dragon man sees his chance and charges to meet the goblin.

DM The goblin is obviously of the bugbear variety, although it does not seem to shrink from battle like Balsag did. Instead, it brings its savage scythe down on Kryss like the grim reaper.

DM Unable to secure a strike with the business end, he drives the butt into Kryss’s stomach.

Julian Once again, Julian slides around the flank.

Julian His blade gleams opposite Kryss’s axe.

DM Roaring in pain, the bugbear shakes his scythe at the vicious warriors.

Kryss Kryss hacks at the bugbears knees.

DM “Why? Why would you kill an innocent gardner? I just…wanted…to grow…the nicest…radishes…” the bugbear collapses. Kryss again smashes his shield into the corpse. Seriously, what the hell is up with this guy?

Julian “A likely story.” Julian shakes his head and looks for signs of platinum plate mail.

Kryss Kryss doesnt wipe the grime off his shield as he hangs it from his back. “Vegetables are not food.” he says.

Kryss He rolls the bugbear over and searches the body roughly.

Julian “Also, kiiiind of need the sun, right?”

Julian “At least for radishes. I don’t know about this, uh… stuff.”

Julian Julian expands his horizons from the bugbear’s platinum plate mail to encompass the room they find themselves in.

DM Besides his arms and armor, they find gold, silver and a packet of special herbs on the bugbear’s corpse.

Julian That is to say, he looks around.

Kryss “I have no use for plants. Lets save this for Shael.” he suggests.

Kryss “Shall we try north?”

Julian Julian nods. “He’d… probably? like it?”

Julian “Sure.”

DM Like the previous hallway, modules of luminescent fungus hang from the ceiling and walls, and grow in clumps upon the flagged floor. The vaguely nauseous light illuminates portions of grand bas-relief carvings on the stone walls that are not covered with the self-same fungus. The carvings from the previous room extend here as well, consisting of dragons in various stages of raining fire down upon terrified men, elves, dwarves and other people. Soil and compost cover half of the chamber’s floor, which allows a variety of wan grasses to grow. More simple gardening implements rest along the west wall, carved from kobold skeletal systems.

Kryss “I really like the decor,” Kryss says again as he admires the murals.

Julian Julian wrinkles his nose. “Okay moving on… east?” he mutters.

Kryss “No one to kill here, im happy moving on.”

Julian “I think it’s east. Kind of lose track down here.” Anyway, Julian opens the “eastern” door.

DM Luminescent mists blur the edges of this octagonal chamber. Nodules of glowing fungus dot both the stone walls and ceiling, as well as the caps of toadstools and mushrooms, small polyps, puffballs, lichens, and less identifiable growths. The humid air reeks with rot. Three skeletons spread compost throughout the room.

DM They swivel around as the door is open.

DM Jerkily they raise the gardening implements and lurch towards the intruders in a stop-motion like gait.

Julian Kryss rushes to meet the nearest foe.

DM His axe bites deep into the ribs.

DM The skeletons surround him, slashing mercilessly.

DM Most of the attacks bounce off his armor, but one hoe sticks deep in his neck.

Julian Julian holds his holy blade high. “Back!”

Julian Kryss takes advantage of the distraction.

DM The skeleton rocks back from the blow even as the three of them submit to Tal’s might and flee his holy presence.

Julian also

Julian no withdraw

DM A terrible rumbling shakes the complex.

Julian Julian gives chase, his eyes shining. “See, Kryss!”

DM The skeleton explodes as Julian strikes it.

Julian The dragonman seems nonplussed, but he does take advantage of the opportunity to crush the final skeletal warrior.

DM Only the one who fled out of the room remains.

Julian Julian pursues it.

Kryss Kryss chases after.

DM It has fled to the south, where a room full of goblins is readying their weapons. They fire as the heroes approach.

DM It’s rather pathetic.

DM Seriously, the arrows go all over the place.

Kryss “I hate arrows!” Kryss roars.

Julian The roar echoes, and echoes… bouncing of each wall and growing louder as it does.

DM One goblin falls to his knees, bleeding from his eardrums. The others fall dead. Ribs and pieces of skull fall off the fleeing skeleton.

Julian Julian skids to a halt. “Wow, Kryss. I’m impressed.”

Kryss Kryss charges on, hitting the final skeleton at full speed. His axe flashes in the pale light.

DM The skeleton flees, and the axe splits the goblin before him in half. He contines on, smashing into the skeleton with his shield, reducing it to powdered bone upon the wall.

Kryss “We are impressive.” Kryss agrees.

DM Luminescent mists blur the edges of this octagonal chamber. Nodules of glowing fungus dot both the stone walls and ceiling, as well as the caps of toadstools and mushrooms, small polyps, puffballs, lichens, and less identifiable growths. The humid air reeks with rot. Several of the growths in this chamber appear scorched and dead.

Julian Julian scowls at the foul surroundings, but ventures in to search the defeated foes.

Kryss “It appears they all harvest for the druids research.” Kryss offers.

Kryss “He wont be pleased we’ve ruined his business.”

Julian “No, I don’t think he will.”

Kryss “As long as he tells us the fate of the final Hurcrule I dont care what his opinion to be honest.” Kryss answers.

Julian Julian pokes around a bit more before settling down for a rest.

Kryss Kryss settles in too and opens a ration. He throws the crackers and candy to the side and forces down the dried meat. “Do you suppose my Protector has finished searching around?” he asks.

Julian “I can’t imagine there’s that much to look at back there.”

Kryss “If theres anything of note, the Protector will find it.” Kryss assures.

Julian “Mmm.”

Julian “I wonder if this druid knows we’re coming by now.”

Julian “None of the goblins you fought earlier got away, right?”

Kryss “Not with their heads.”

Julian “Maybe we’ll catch him by surprise, then.”

Julian Julian pauses, head tilted.

Julian No distant sound of gods roaring with laughter. That’s a promising sign…

DM No one hears any laughter.

Kryss After the rest Kryss decides they should go back and check on the rest of their companions.

Kryss And so they do.

Shael Shael awaits the others in one of the previous junctures. “Did you eat Durnn’s body, Kryss?” he asks queitly, looking at the next door.

Julian “Uh, hi to you too, Shael…”

Kryss “I did not, Protector,” Kryss replies. “I was looking for it myself actually. Do you suppose Balsaq ate him?”

Shael Shael blinks languidly and observes Julian curiously, “I do not.” he replies to Kryss.

Kryss The dragon man reaches into a pocket and tosses a packet of herbs to Shael. “We found this. Thought you might be interested in it.”

Shael With a smile he remarks, “Hello.” catching the herbs out of the air and inspecting them.

Shael He tucks the packet into his satchel to inspect more closely later. With a yawn he asks, “Any trouble so far?”

Kryss “Youve likely noticed that we’ve made something of a mess of the druids agriculture operation here.”

Shael “Yes, excellently done. You were a bit loud earlier — arrows, niether am I a fan.” he assures Kryss.

Julian Julian nods. “I counted seventeen down overall from the druid’s forces.”

Kryss “I hate arrows.” Kryss replies. “Anyhow, we havent checked this door yet.”

Shael “Wait…”

Kryss “Theres also another to the north.”

Shael Shael mouths the words eighty, eighty-one, eighty-two, eighty-three, eighty-four, “Okay, now is fine.”

Kryss “So… which door? North or east?”

Shael Shael opens the eastern door and rushes through it.

Julian Julian shrugs. "Lead on, Lord Kryss.

DM “What is your goal?” Miraak rumbles.

Kryss “We are looking for the cretin who has claimed this hall. We will kill him and reclaim it for a dragon.” Kryss answers.

DM “…” Miraak does not respond.

Kryss Kryss turns and follows Shael.

DM Meanwhile, Shael has discovered…

DM Several of the growths in this chamber are scorched and dead. A glowing hole nearby appears to hold the reason for this.

Kryss “Fire worm.” Kryss warns, readying his axe.

DM That reason being another fire worm! It leaps out to consume Shael while Kryss and Miraak are yet talking.

Shael “Aghck!”

Shael Reflexively, Shael throws out his arm while incanting a spell and sending a lancing beam of cold towards the creature.

DM It appears less robust than the one Kryss and Julian defeated earlier.

DM The creature does not like the cold at all and hisses as it lunges at him.

DM It’s jaws close around his fucking head, and then..it’s a miracle, because he stumbles, falling out of its grasp. It snaps at him again, but he gets his shield spell up in the way and it bites on nothing but eldritch force.

DM *Its, because we’re not on fucking facebook here.

Shael Caught in the throws of his shield spell, Shael takes the opportunity to pepper it with another lance of frigid cold.

DM *throes, because we’re not on fucking facebook here.

DM This time, the lance bounces off the creature’s exoskeleton.

Julian Julian moves in and interposes himself between the beast and Shael.

Julian Lightbringer flashes.

DM The magical blade takes a clean bite out of the creature, and flaming blood pours onto the paladin.

Kryss Kryss races to give the worm a choice of targets. His axe hacks at the worm.

DM His shield does, anyways, that badge of sociopathy he carries around. It doesn’t quite kill the beast, although flames pour over Kryss as well.

DM The creature flails ineffectually at the heroes.

Shael Shael carefully sets himself before incanting this next spell, aiming with more intent at the creature before sending another lance of cold towards it.

DM The creature freezes solid.

Julian Julian smashes it apart with Lightbringer.

DM A fire polished agnate falls to the floor with the rest of the creature’s frozen corpse.

Shael “You two all right?” he inquires.

Julian “Yes, thanks.”

Kryss “Another stone. I already have one.” Kryss says.

Julian “Yeah, this one’s yours, Shael.”

DM “If you mortals are done playing around with thoqquas?” Miraak asks.

Julian Julian nods. “Let’s get moving.”

Kryss “You know where the druid’s lair is?” Krys challenges him.

Julian “O Lord Kryss.” he adds.

DM “This way,” Miraak gestures north.

DM It is of course, the only unexplored direction.

Julian North Julian goes.

Kryss “Lead on,” Kryss replies.

Julian A door bars his way, but not for long.

DM Luminescent mists blur the edges of this octagonal chamber. Nodules of glowing fungus dot both the stone walls and ceiling, as well as the caps of toadstools and mushrooms, small polyps, puffballs, lichens, and less identifiable growths. The humid air reeks with rot. A massive goblin swings a scythe, clearing out burnt vegetation like that from the previous room.

DM It does not appear to notice their entrance.

Kryss “Hold,” Kryss states, “This one might have information.”

Julian “We’ll spare its life, then, my lord.” Julian breaks left.

Kryss “If you could introduce us?”" Kryss says to Shael.

Shael Shael charges straight at the goblin and raises his shield in a defensive stance – “Surrender or be destroyed.” he demands.

DM The goblinoid responds by swinging his scythe at Shael’s neck.

DM It arcs over his head.

Kryss “Destroy the floor then.” Kryss demands.

Kryss *fool

DM The backswing misses too.

DM “Why won’t anyone let me grow cabbages?!?!?” the bugbear roars.

Julian Julian’s backswing doesn’t.

DM The creature howls in pain.

Shael Shael spins around, lashing out acrobatically with his spear.

DM The spear takes the bugbear through the shoulder. It gasps this time, agony slowing it.

Kryss Kryss enters the room, dodging past Shaels acrobatics, and takes his turn hurting the bugbear.

DM His blows shear most of the creature’s face off. It drops its scythe, crying. “I surrender! I surrender!”

Kryss “Hold!” Krys raises his shield.

DM Miraak enters the room, lifts the creature up and snaps its neck. A sickly green glow passes from the bugbear to the dragonpriest. “We do not have time for this.”

Julian “Aye, we are in a great… rush…” Julian trails off.

Shael Shael recovers his spear from the bugbear, “Huh… yeah, that’s a thing that happened.” he eyes the dragonpreist expectently.

Kryss Kryss assesses the dragonpriest. “I am in charge. Are we agreed?”

Julian Julian collects what there is to be looted and looks around. Door to the… east? West?

Julian He’s lost track. But there’s only one.

DM “Do you mortals care for goblin fodder in this era?” the dragonpriest asks, confused.

DM Julian finds that other than the creature’s arms, armor, silver and gold, there is a strangely shaped key in the pouch of the goblinoid.

Kryss “We care for information. Knowledge is power. We also care for loyalty and obedience.”

Julian The key from his dreams. Julian pockets it.

Julian He’ll look at it more closely tonight.

Kryss “I appreciate your service, but we will do this my way.”

DM “…naturally.”

Shael “If we’re in a hurry, let’s be in a hurry.” Shael asserts.

Kryss “My thanks. Are we ready to continue?” Kryss asks the others.

Julian Julian opens the door. If someone is not, they’ll soon learn to be quicker on the draw.

DM Dragon-carved granite blocks tile this chamber’s walls and ceiling, though many are crumbled and broken, creating stony debris on the floor. A huge marble statue of a rearing dragon still stands in the curve of the western wall. The eye sockets of the dragon are empty, but a red glow lingers there, providing reddish light throughout the chamber. The effulgence casts an inky shadow behind the statue’s wide wings. A crumbling five foot diameter circular redstone tile is inset in the floor in front of the rearing dragon carving. Runes are carved around the circular tile’s inner edge.

Kryss “I really love this place.” Kryss says.

Shael While looking around, Shael notices a loose stone and begins to try and pry it open.

Kryss Kryss takes his sapphire from his pouch and considers the statue.

Julian Julian tries to read the runes.

DM The statue’s shadow does not shift, even in the torchlight.

DM “Fallen, fallen is Ashardalon the Great! He has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.”

DM “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of his immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality for him, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of his power.”

DM The dragon shadow reaches out for Shael, about to consume him…and a torch light inexplicably cuts across it, causing it to lose its power and surprise.

Julian “Shadow demons!” Julian raises his magic light high, along with his sword.

DM His blade banishes the shadow.

Shael Shael glances back, rather oblivious to his near death experience, and wonders, “What are you doing, Julian?” as he continues to try and pry free the loose stone behind the dragon statue.

Julian “Ha!… what?”

DM Within the stone hole Shael found are 34 gp and two flasks stoppered with clay in the shape of a dragon’s head.

Julian “There was a shadow demon. It tried to eat you.”

DM “I saw no demon,” Miraak rumbles, entering the room.

Julian “Or maybe possess you. I guess it could have been possession.”

Julian “Didn’t you hear it?”

Shael “Oh.” he glances at Kryss curiously, wondering about their companion suddenly. “Well… thank you for saving me?”

Kryss “Are you quite alright?” Kryss asks.

Julian “Yes, Lord Kryss, I am not hurt.”

Shael “I hear a lot of things.” Shael asserts blandly, shrugging his shoulders and recovering the gold and flasks, “I wonder what these are?”

Kryss Kryss stands to his full height, stretching to see if he can tell what is creating the light from the dragons eyes.

Julian "Magic words… “Ea serpenta rau kaluva nyawisti…”

Shael Shael shrugs and sets them aside, “I guess I can figure it out later…” he buddies up with Julian and points towards the floor, “Ea serpenta rau kaluva nyawisti…” he says in sync with the paladin.

Kryss “Indeed.” Kryss replies quietly.

Kryss “Are we ready to move on?” He asks.

DM But before he can impatiently interrupt, something happens.

DM Something requiring deep power.

DM “What are you three up t…” Miraak is cut off as a blinding light envelops the heroes, charging them with power.

DM The heroes emerge from the power with light in their eyes, and the dragonpriest does not dare gainsay them. They move on.

DM Leaning and completely fallen stone bookshelves fill this chamber, though a clear path connects wooden doors on opposite walls. The litter of torn and burnt pages, bindings, and scrolls form disordered piles in the corners. They find a tome of draconic lore that can be read later, and two scrolls.

DM Moving on, damp and crumbled steps descend sharply.

DM A ten foot wide, eight foot high stone corridor passes below the chamber above, the steps descending nearly fifteen feet. Upon the other side, more steps lead up. A vein of moisture leaves the passageway in a perpetual state of disrepair.

DM They continue through.

DM A layer of soil covers the floor here. Rough wooden shelves, filled with a scattering of tomes and scrolls, line the north and east walls, while a rough-hewn desk stands in the center of the chamber. Fungus on the ceiling provides light, apparently in sufficient quantity to nourish several small bushes and pale saplings that grow in the soil.

DM Most of the written material here contains seasonal records of growth, precipitation, harvests and similarly less than useful records of the surrounding upper lands for the last dozen years. One interesting tome is titled ‘Treasures of the Fire Lords’. There are also two scrolls and a tome written in Druidic.

DM Four goblins sort twig and root piles on the floor of this sagging chamber. The collapsed southern wall opens on a vast cavern. Pustules of luminescent fungus on the rough walls and high roof loom over a twilight grove of sickly briars, bushes, saplings, and other woody plants. Ruined walls and hollow towers protrude from the briars like islands in the sea.

DM The goblins are quickly defeated by the heroes.

Kryss Kryss bashes their bodies with his shield.

DM Pale, spindly briars coated with tiny barbs press close. The violet light above casts nauseating shadows on the earthen floor, creating the illusion of movement among the branches, though no wind blows here.

DM The party, bolstered by Erky and Pug, make their way through this dismal place.

DM A courtyard wall of heavy stones creates a half-walled clearing among the briars. Several varieties of plants grow around the perimeter, including a few suspicious-looking saplings, but their importance pales before that which stands at the courtyard’s center. Beneath the venomous fungal light grows a singular tree of evil. Its blackened, twisted limbs reach upward, like a skeletal hand clawing its way from the earth. Human figures stand near the tree: a woman and two men. A 3-foot-long tree frog squats next to one of the men. And finally, a familiar face in battered armor. Durnn. He snarls as he sees the party approach.

 photo rsz_belek_zps7vsnirx5.jpg

DM The druid cries out, “Hold a moment! You know not what you do!” In his hands appears to be a staff carved from the same evil wood as the tree.

Kryss “Speak quickly, Druid. You harbor a fugitive.”

DM “She is of the Tree now.”

Shael Shael advances several steps forward while motioning to his companions to fan out to either side, “She better get un-part of the tree… now.” he says dangerously.

Kryss “Or pass us her signet ring.” Kryss adds.

Shael Shael hisses at Kryss.

Shael “We require her whole.”

DM “The Tree has accepted them. They were the first supplicants.”

DM “They now answer to the Tree, you…cannot save them.”

Shael With a growl, Shael answers, “You better figure out how, then. What is that thing? What do you mean they are a part of it?”

DM “It’s beautiful, no? It lives, yet it looks dead. It drinks the blood of the earth. Many years ago, a vampire was staked to the earth upon this very spot.”

DM “The spear was of green wood and took root. So grew the Gulthias Tree, reverberating with dark power to those who can tap it.”

DM “But I am being rude. I am Belek, also called the Outcast. The druidic circle expelled me, the fools. And why?”

Julian “Gulthias…”

DM “Because I dared to expand nature’s mighty reach in ways their puny minds could not fathom!”

DM “I care not for their censure. I have found what I sought, here in the Gulthias Tree.”

Shael Shael taps his fingers against the seam of his trousers impatiently. His gaze follows the outskirts of their enclosure, “You have ten seconds to assert that you will free her, and then a minute to comply.”

Kryss Kryss growls deeply. “We need the girl alive.” he says gutterally, more for the dragonpriest than anyone.

DM “A pity. While your remains will enrich the compost here, I had hoped to have you as supplicants.”

Shael “Nine.”

Julian Behind Shael, Julian starts in on a bolstering charm.

Shael “Eight.”

DM “Very well. You will behold the power of the Gulthias Tree.”

Shael “Seven.” he begins walking towards those who have decided to become his enemies.

Julian The three companions feel themselves filled with might.

Kryss Kryss maintains a protective position beside Shael.

DM Erky and Pug ready themselves.

Kryss “Count faster.” he whispers.

Shael “Six.” he continues walking forward without a hint of fear, full of wrath and purpose.

DM “Take their champion,” Belek sighs, not to the warriors before him, but to the tree…

Shael “From womb of nothingness sprang this place of beauty, purity, and hope realized.” Shael intones, mystic power wrapping him in a cocoon of divine protection.

Julian Kryss is wrapped in protective auras as Erky works a spell of his own.

DM Miraak stiffens as the tree’s veins glow red.

Kryss Kryss charges forward, faster than a man that large should be able to move, and unleashes fire upon his foes.

DM The flames roll over the druid who grits his teeth, and his frog. The man before Kryss merely hefts his axe and stares, no indication of the pain.

Kryss Kryss smashes him with his sheild and the flat of his axe.

DM The paladin does not flinch in the slightest.

Julian “Spare him if he falls, Lord Kryss, in hope they can be saved.” Julian asks.

DM The blows clearly bite deep, but he shows no pain.

DM Black and red vines crawl forth around the heroes from the ground.

Julian Julian’s magic flares as the vines attempt to drag the party’s dragonlord down.

Kryss Kryss seems to succumb to the vines but flexes and breaks free.

DM Sharwyn stares at Kryss without any comprehension in her eyes and blast him with a bolt of fire. It splatters off his armor.

 photo Sharwyn Hucrele_zpshou6wtby.jpg

Julian Julian moves in, hurling a javelin directly at Belek’s black heart.

DM It hits. Perhaps not directly in his black heart, but it certainly hits. He grimaces.

Belek “You…you are the one my goblins captured?” he calls to Julian. “I showed you a mercy then…I will not show it again.”

Shael Carefully picking his way between the lashing vines, Shael makes his way around the flank and casts another spell of protection.

Julian “You will not have the chance.”

Kryss Pug seems confused and wanders around looking for a hiding place

DM “Traitor. I’ll have your hide,” Durnn growls at Pug.

Julian Erky calls forth the sacred flame against the nearest blight while he concentrates on warding the reckless Kryss.

Shael “You must still feel my curse upon you, such brave words when your failure is inevitable.”

DM The blight collapses in flames.

DM Sir Braford lifts his axe and chops, emotionlessly at Kryss. In a flat voice, he calls out guidance to the villians. “Hit at his weak armor, in the joints. Cut at his ankles and he will fall.”

 photo Sir Braford Southern Paladin_zpsnrdmhz63.jpg

Kryss Kryss spins from the blow and swings the top of his axe up into Sir Bradfords chin.

DM The paladin accepts the blow and brings his axe down hard upon Kryss’s armor, cutting through the chain easily.

DM “You. Priest. Why are you fighting me? We are both apostates, you and I, hated for what we are.” Belek advances upon Julian, Kulket bounding into position behind him.

DM Kulket snatches Julian up with his tongue, grappling him while Belek stabs his gnarled staff into Julian’s chest. Julian groans as his lifeforce is sucked out of him and into Belek, restoring the man’s health.

 photo Kulket_zpsn8t0lbyg.jpg

DM The blight charges at Shael, only to pull up short and blankly look at him. Miraak moves in on Erky and savagely attacks the gnomish priest’s back, draining the very life from the small hero. And Durnn snarls at Kyrss. “You cost me everything. Goblinville. Calcryx. I’ll have my revenge!”

DM He moves in, slashing exactly as the paladin instructed.

DM Roots arise from the ground where Kryss falls, seeking to drain his blood for the Gulthias Tree. They fail to find purchase.

DM Sharwyn looks at Shael with dead empty eyes. She lifts her arm to blast him with magical power, and…pauses.

Shael Shael winks at Sharwyn, “C’mon, love. You don’t want to do that, eh?”

DM She swivels to Julian and unleashes the blast at him.

Shael Glancing at Julian, Shael winces and mouths, ‘Sorry!’

Julian “Pug, Plan Rat! Shael, get Kryss!” Julian trusts that Shael is capable of this, grabs Erky, and retreats.

Shael Shael wanders around the outskirts of the battle and comes up next to the small melee surrounding his friend. With a ‘tsk’ he kneels beside him and intones, “Your enemies will pound upon the door of your defenses, but only you shall have the key, and it is the key of life.”

DM Julian is horrifically dragged back by Kulket and pounded by Belek’s vile staff.

DM “Get their wizard, you imbeciles! He’s undoing our work!” Belek screams.

Shael Shael growses at Durnn while Kryss groggilly comes to, “You afraid you fall down another hole if you attack me?” he snickers and glances at the zombie paladin hoping he’ll laugh at the joke.

DM The paladin does not laugh.

DM Shael notes that his appearance is actually closer to…wood, than undead flesh.

Shael “Wizard, what, where?! All I see is a dead man and a sourpuss.”

Kryss Pug fires an arrow at his former masters back.

Shael Shael points at Braford, “That’s you… you’re the sourpuss. Lighten up, it’s just a fight to the death.”

Kryss Pug ducks back behind a boulder, hoping Durnn didnt see him.

DM Durnn saw him.

Julian “Pug… get out of here. You did all right by us.” Julian gasps.

Julian “Get out while you still can. Plan Rat!”

Kryss Pug shivers and stares at Julian.

Julian Erky makes a dash for it.

DM Sir Braford swivels and advances on Shael.

DM He kicks Kryss in the teeth as Shael’s magic prevents his action.

Shael Shael smiles vaguely at him, “Do me a favor, just stand there for a minute…” he starts rummaging in his pack, “…like, don’t move. Please?”

DM “Fool!” Belek advances on Shael himself.

Shael Shael looks up as Belek advances, grinning wickedly, “Ah, yes… the plant food wants to play? Come to me, I will show you the world you love… I will feed you to your darling child.”

DM He thrusts his staff at Shael’s face.

DM It twists in his grasp.

Shael Shael chortles darkly.

DM The twig advances on Shael and does nothing.

DM Miraak breaks free of the control and attacks Kulket. The frog’s life is drained away before Julian’s eyes.

DM “What!?! NOOOO!” Belek screams.

DM Durnn charges after Pug.

Shael Glancing over, Shael does his best not to let his bravado slip to express his extreme releif at Miraak’s reassertion of control.

DM Durnn leaps over Kryss’s half hearted axe attack and drives his curved blade through Pug’s heart.

DM “That is the fate of traitors.”

Kryss His eyes widen as they lock with Julian’s.

Kryss His mouth works open and closed as though trying to talk. A huge bubble of blood wells up in his throat and pops.

Kryss Kryss scrambles for cover, confused.

Kryss He staggers to his feet and takes a deep breath, surveying the battle.

DM The tree attempts to reassert its control over Miraak.

DM She stares at Shael and then aims at the fleeing dragon knight.

DM A scorching ray hits him in the ass.

Julian Finding himself free, Julian takes a deep breath. “…”

Julian He staggers away.

Shael Shael uncovers the shackles he was looking for triumphantly, they clink and clatter as he attempts to affix them to Braford. “Stop fussing.” he murmers as the paladin’s movements just make it easier for the diviner to bind him.

DM The paladin looks confusedly at Shael, uncertain how the chains ended up on his forearms.

Julian Erky too calls on healing powers, mending his wounds.

Shael “Tada!” Shael elates. He turns on the druid and wonders aloud, “So, how will I deal with you…” he puts his thumb and forefinger to his chin, pondering.

DM The paladin looks blankly at Shael, moving to attack and then…nothing.

DM The druid rages, his staff swinging over Shael’s head.

DM Miraak lunges at Durnn and the two engage in a vicious battle.

DM The twig blight sways back and forth.

Shael “So, how do you talk with the tree?” Shael inquires of Belek, ducking the blow fluidly, “Don’t you think it would find you a tasty treat? All fat and gristly with succulent langoir?”

Kryss Kryss looks at Julian, then at Shael, and makes a Bad Decision.

DM “You clumsy wizards, imagining you know the secrets behind the multiverse…the power lies below you, in leylines throbbing with pent up energy!”

DM “But you’re too much the fools to see!”

Kryss He races around the tree and unloads more fire breath on it.

DM The flames crackle over the dead bark as it shudders.

DM The tree attempts to dominate the undead warrior again.

DM Shael aims a blast of fire at Kryss, unable to follow the command to strike Shael.

DM Ah eh.

DM Sharwyn aims the blast.

DM Not Shael.

Julian Julian leans on a twisted piece of wood, looking back over his shoulder. Smoke rises as the tree looms above the battlefield where his friends, refusing to retreat, struggle for their lives. Another deep breath.

 photo The Gulthias TreeJPG_zpspaednbz5.jpg

Julian “…”

Julian The tree…

Julian “…”

JulianTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL!”

DM The rumbling sound flings Sharwyn to the ground like a rag doll, she does not get up.

DM Belek covers his ears as they start to bleed, but does not otherwise flinch.

DM The tree however…weakened by flame, it cracks, first along the roots, then racing upwards along its skull like contours. Belek looks at it and screams as it explodes into jagged shards.

DM The twig blights immediately collapse.

DM The staff in Belek’s hands writhes horrifically.

DM Sir Braford turns, his eyes still dull, but now he stares at Belek.

Shael With blood trickling down his face from the shards that raked his skin, Shael turns away from Belek contemptuously and begins walking towards Durrn. “I took your tribe, I am your bane… you had best know the truth of it. But, I haven’t taken everything… I’ll have your pride, now. Run, child… run away and know that you could not defeat me again. Know the fear of my curse, know that you will never rest, know that your life is as good as over… but, I grant you one more day.”

Durnn “I will cut your heart out, Witchman.”

 photo Durnn_zpsfscextfn.jpg

Shael “What heart?” Shael asks calmly.

DM Durnn’s knees go weak for a second, and he sags.

Julian Julian gasps painfully. “Erky… a paladin can retreat, when he must. But not when his friends fight on. Help me with my wounds – please.”

Braford Braford swings, his strike impeded by his shackles, at Belek.

Belek “NO! This will not happen! I call upon the ancient spirits!” Belek swells into a monstrous creature with huge fangs and claws.

DM Meanwhile, Durnn’s fight has been stolen from him by Shael’s threats, but Miraak does not care. He grabs the hobgoblin by the throat, and begins draining the life from him.

Kryss Kryss draws his hand axes and throws one at Belek.

DM It catches him in the back of the neck, and the monster roars.

Julian Julian turns back to the battle, looking for his friends. But his eyes are no longer a man’s eyes.

Julian Instead they burn with the molten fires of the sun.

Julian Under their gaze, Durnn begins to burn too.

DM He screams as the solar flare begins to bake him.

Shael “Ah, it appears your time is up… you were a great man… but not greater than me.” Shael’s gaze falls past Durnn to the limp form on the ground and he sighs before turning back to the remaining foe.

Shael Walking calmly behind the beastman, Shael gathers his power – lightning crackles through the room and gathers upon him – before lashing out against the druid.

DM The lightning scores the writhing pustuled flesh of the creature.

Julian Erky’s next spell fills the companions once again with the blessings of the divine.

Shael “You’ve lost, Belek… such a sad creature, I wonder if any in the world will even remember you when you’re gone?”

DM Braford’s axe cleaves deep into the creature, and Belek can no longer maintain the form. He reverts to normal. Furious, he strikes at Shael.

DM Held in check by the magic, his eyes could murder…if Shael’s spell would allow it…he breaks through, shattering its safety, and brings his staff down on…the floor. The godsdamned floor.

DM This really isn’t a villainous druid’s day.

Shael “You missed again… have you ever done this before?” Shael looks concerned.

DM Durnn and Miraak continue to battle it out, though the hobgoblin’s fear has stolen his skill.

Kryss “He relied on the tree for power. The fool thought he could count on magic that wasnt his own.” Kryss says.

Kryss He tosses another hand axe.

Shael “Yes, I was going to sever him from it…” he glances at the tree, “…but, that worked just as well.”

Kryss kryss moves towards Julian.

DM Kryss’s axe hits Belek in the back spinal cord and he jerks. “No! Gulthias! You must still be there! Answer me, my lord!”

Julian Julian strides across the battlefield, tiny flames dancing in his footsteps after he passes. He reaches Kryss and extends a burning hand.

Kryss “We destroyed your tree, Belek. True power comes from within. Fool.”

Julian Durnn’s armor begins to glow.

DM Belek stretches out a hand towards the shattered remains of the Gulthias tree, but the black mist pouring out of its ruined shell avails him naught.

Shael Closing his eyes, Shael’s power surges into Belek again as the lightning surrounds the two of them dancing along the floor and sparking towards the ceiling. “Above them all is Truth, and Truth must be set free. If the wings of Truth are clipped, the voices will fall silent.”

DM The lightning leaves behind a charred and blackened corpse, that collapses over the ruins of the Gulthias Tree.

DM Sir Braford stands blankly as Miraak lifts Durnn up bodily. “Your soul…is mine!” Again, the energy drains from the goblinoid to the dragonpriest, who casts aside the withered corpse.

Kryss “Well fought.” Kryss says.

Julian Julian exhales, one more deep breath. The air shimmers with the heat that is leaving his eyes.

Shael Lightning withers away slowly from Shael’s body and he moves quickly to Sharwyn’s side, checking for signs of life and then gathering her into his arms.

Julian He blinks, and they are dark again.

Kryss “I am tired from battle. Lets rest here.” The huge man is asleep almost before he finishes laying down.

DM A plate mail boot lifts him in the ribs. “No. You will leave here now.” Miraak’s gaze is cold.

Julian As the last spark leaves him, Julian’s eyes roll, and the exhausted paladin pitches to the ground.

DM “Take your wounded, and leave me.”

Kryss Kryss looks up. “So our contract is no longer valid?” Kryss asks.

DM “You have what you came for…do not return here.”

Shael Shael narrows his gaze at the deathless creature.

Kryss “You are mistaken. I came to restore this ruin to its former glory. You swore to aid me in that.”

DM “You sought to deceive me. Leave now.”

Kryss “Keep your ruins then, Oathbreaker. Rot here for eternity.” Kryss replies.

Shael “Fine.” Shael asserts on behalf of his companions, “But if I hear of you causing mischeif here, I will return.”

Kryss The party collects what they can find and leaves.

DM And so ends their foray into the Sunless Citadel! What adventures await our heroes in the future? Only time (and Shael) know for sure!

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The Sunless Citadel 7
Sunless Citadel, Wealsun Week 3.5, BCY 14500

Session 7

DM When last we left our heroes, they had gotten sweet loots from the delighted kobolds, who were happy to have their mascot back. After placing her back in her cage, our heroes have decided to tackle another secret of this Sunless Citadel…

Kryss “…and thats why it should just be the 4 of us.” Kryss explains. “Besides. What have we to fear from dragons?”

Azario “Personally I think that is a terrible idea, but seeing as neither Julian nor Shael seem the least bit interested in opining I suppose we’ll go with it.”

Kryss “We could sit here and wait to be mauled by an owlbear.”

Azario Azario is unable to answer as he is transforming his familiar into a familiar skirge. He does not know how he knows how to do this, but he does.

Kryss Kryss patiently waits for Azario to finish before opening the door

Erky Erky tries to position himself clear of the door.

Azario “…exchange this world for…!” and it is done.

DM The masonry walls of this twenty foot wide hall are in poor repair. The far end is especially bad, as it has completely collapsed, filling the southern section with rubble. The western wall is in much better shape than the other walls, and it holds a stone door with a rearing dragon carved in relief upon it. The door contains a single keyhole, which is situated in the rearing dragon’s open mouth.

Kryss Kryss inserts the kobald key into the dragon’s mouth.

DM Upon its turning, the door slowly grinds open. Within the next room, a massive dragon awaits. He is speaking to a priest, who appears…not quite alive. The dragon is black and shadowy, although Kryss easily identifies it as a red dragon in shape and form. Ancient, by its size. Azario realizes that the priest is a vampire. They are speaking as the door opens.

 photo Gulthias Sengir_zpsscmdkoec.jpg

Vampire “My lord, preparations are almost complete. We will subjugate those outlying lands and then drive straight for the capital,” the vampire informs the dragon.

Azario Azario decides not to interrupt.

Kryss “Ahem,” Kryss interrupts.

Dragon “Excellent. I will return after I have eradicated the druid circle in the…” the dragon is interrupted.

Kryss Kryss looks to Azario to speak.

DM Two pairs of evil eyes transfix the party.

Kryss He nudges him with an elbow. “Perform for them.” he whispers.

Azario A third pair transfixes Kryss.

Dragon “Who are you fools?” the dragon commands an answer.

Kryss “This, my lord, is Azario. He is a very famous performer.” Kryss answers. “I am Kryss,” he says in draconic. “We are looking for some humans that came into the ruins.”

Azario “I am Azario,” Azario replies reluctantly.

Vampire “The ruins?” the vampire asks. “What ruins do you speak of?”

Kryss Kryss gestures around him, “As I have only seen the ruined entrance and goblin swarmed halls I may be selling this place short. Is there a more well kept section that we have not explored yet? Perhaps the druid’s demesnes?”

DM As he glances behind him, he sees polished and gleaming floors.

Vampire “Entrance ruined? You four have blundered into Fortress Twilight, past our guards, and you have the gall to call it ruins?” the vampire is visibly angry.

Kryss “I apologize for trespassing of course, but I must be about finding my quarry. Could you share any information?”

Gulthias “I am the lord of Fortress Twilight, Gulthias Sengir. I assure you, if your quarry came in here, they are now mine.” The vampire’s fangs gleam momentarily.

Kryss Kryss locks eyes with the undead man, “I was not addressing you.” he replies flatly.

Azario Azario ponders all of regrets, both those things done and those left undone. He look up at little Osario, and wonders what will happen to them beyond the grave.

Kryss He looks to the ancient dragon and asks again, “We are seeking two humans. A male and a female. Do you have any information that would help me on my way?”

Dragon A rumbling chuckle comes from the dragon. “Foolish little wyrmling, you would speak so brashly to our lieutenant and still address us? Your male and female humans are definitely not here. We wonder how you are here. The guards still stand, no alarms have been sounded.”

Kryss “I expect magical interferance Great One. I myself lost my True Form to Wild Magic. I presume it has done me ill again. We were exploring a goblin and kobald filled ruin but now it seems I speak to you in the prime of this city.”

Azario “Fortress,” Azario corrects.

Kryss “Fortress,” Kryss agrees.

Gulthias “My fortress, if you have forgotten,” Gulthias snarls, moving towards the pair. Erky and Pug are frozen in fear. “You would speak to me of magic? I command the eighth circle!”

Azario “So…not the 9th circle then…”

Dragon “No, that would be reserved for us,” the dragon rumbles, his voice shaking the very ground.

Kryss “We have no quarrel here with you Lieutenant. We only seek answers, much as you i expect. Great One, would you destroy an envoy from the future?” Kryss stands his ground.

DM A crystalline sounding song plays on in the background.

Gulthias “Across time you come here?” the vampire wizard sounds dubious.

Azario Azario attempts to set the song to memory.

Kryss “I have no command of circles so I cannot say for certain. Perhaps a test?” Kryss suggests.

Dragon “What test would convince us?” the dragon asks.

Kryss “I couldn’t help but here as I walked in that you are planning an affair. Tell me of the land you seek to dominate and I will tell you if I know of such a place. If your plan is successful then a student of history would have heard of the battle.”

Dragon “What does that possibly prove, other than a knowledge of basic geography? What would stop you from lying to us?”

Kryss Kryss replies in draconic, “A dragon doesn’t need to lie.”

Dragon “The land is known as Terisiare.”

Kryss “Terisiare,” Kryss mumbles as he thinks. “Rest assured that your plan will not destroy the continent in our time then,” Kryss replies. “I do recall an attempt, but that was so long ago as to be myth.”

Gulthias “How splendid for you to claim such,” Gulthias sneers.

Kryss “Splended or not, this is what I recall from your vague discription.”

Dragon “Begone from here, little fools from a future that shall never come to pass.” The dragon rears back and breathes flame across the party.

DM Agonizing pain sweeps over them all, burning them to ash. When the pain ends, they are back in the ruins.

DM The dust of ages, long undisturbed, covers every surface in this large gallery. Three alcoves are on the north wall, and one is located in the south wall. Each alcove contains a dust-covered stone pedestal with a fist-sized crystalline globe upon it. Although the globes in the northern alcoves lie cracked and dark, the globe in the southern alcove glows with a soft blue light. Faint tinkling notes spring forth from it.

Kryss “Next time we meet a dragon,” Kryss informs Azario, “You can talk to it.”

Azario “Really? That’s all you have to say about all that? You are impossible. You really can’t be allowed outside of Shael’s sight.”

Julian “What plan?” Julian inquires.

Azario “Where the hell did you come from!?”

Julian “Sorry, I thought I heard something about a plan, but I was… kind of distracted. I was here…” Julian wrinkles his brow. “Not like I’m just going to wander off by myself in this place.”

Kryss “We were having a discussion with a dragon. It turned out poorly.”

Azario “I…I need a moment. YOU deal with our child.”

Kryss Kryss looks confused. As confused as he is, he still takes the time to inspect the globe that is glowing and singing.

Azario Azario leaves the corridor and goes to sit on the floor in the large round room.

Julian “Yeah, OK. Anyway, Kryss, something about a plan will fail?”

DM Kryss hears the music swell in his ears as he gets closer to the globe.

Kryss “You heard that?” Kryss asks, “The dragon told me that it was planning to attack the continent.”

Julian “That sounds… bad.”

Kryss He picks up the globe and looks at it as he explains. “I believed we were images in the past, when this ruin was a FORTRESS!” Kryss yells the last word towards the round room and Azario. “I dont recall any specifics of a Dragon/ Vampire army but it rings a bell.”

Julian “Oh. So, maybe it already did destroy the continent? Or at least the people who lived in this fortress?”

Kryss “I guess it was long enough ago. The vampire said his name was Senghir and he ruled the fortress.”

DM Kryss suddenly begins walking out of the room after setting the globe down. Julian feels the urge to leave, but he quashes it.

Julian “Hey, there’s a spell on that thing! I felt it!”

Kryss “What?” Kryss asks. “What sort of spell? I felt nothing.”

DM He continues walking past Azario who is brooding quietly on the floor with Osario. He appears to be headed for the exit.

Julian “Azario, make sure he doesn’t wander anywhere dangerous, he’s bewitched!” Julian investigates the globe. Perhaps there is a way to deactivate it…

Kryss Kryss continues to walk.

Azario “No YOU make sure he doesn’t wander anywhere dangerous! You…ugh, how could you even understand?”

DM Kryss gets to the stairs and finally feels like he has reached his goal.

Kryss “Well then. That’s done. I guess Ill go see to the others.” and walks back into the ruin.

Julian “I heard a story about this… move it and the spell is broken.” Julian lifts the globe and retreats from the chamber to join Azario.

DM As soon as he steps from the room, the mental urges cease. A simple pressure on the globe controls the volume of the sound.

Azario “See, he’s already on his way back.” Azario gets up from the floor.

DM Tap it twice and it turns off, tap it once and it turns on.

Julian “Well, that’s good. Hey, do you want a magic musical orb? Seems like something you might like.”

Azario “Is that what made Kryss leave? Then yes.”

Julian “I think it won’t do that outside of the chamber the spell is guarding. But it can still play accompaniment. We’ll leave it here and pick it up on our way back out.”

Azario “Oh goodie, a second member of my troupe who can only play one song.”

Julian “Come on, Kryss, the spell is broken.” Julian re-enters the globe chamber and searches for hidden treasures or signs of how to proceed.

Azario Azario follows.

DM They locate a hidden door on the western wall. This entire chamber has an inch of dust within it, no living creatures have been here in centuries.

Azario “The kobolds held on to this key, but never bothered coming inside. I suppose I don’t blame them.”

Julian “Well, it also means that any treasures left here were likely never disturbed…” Julian speculates. He stacks up in marching order, whatever that is, and enters the room.

DM The secret door leads to a narrow passage. Azario notes to himself that a dragon of the size they saw could never have fit through here. Julian notes a panel on the floor that would unleash arrows upon those within the tunnel.

Julian “Trap!” Julian warns. He investigates how to disable it.

DM Bypassing the trapped panel is simple enough once they know where it is, and the door at the end of the hall opens to a simple pressure on the left. Dust fills the next hall like a layer of gray snow. In the rounded northern end of the chamber, they see a sculpture of a dragon carved from red-veined white marble.

Azario “I am growing to destest the decor in this place.”

Julian “It is kind of monomaniacal.” Julian investigates this room as well for surprises, secrets, or perhaps even mountains of platinum.

Azario Azario looks for more jewelry.

Statue As he approaches the statue, it speaks. “My tines are long. My tines are short. My tines end ere, my first report.”

DM Meanwhile, Azario finds a hidden door, but no way to open it.

Azario “Oh good, the statue has cutlery. Maybe we can fork this door open.”

Julian Julian scowls. “What has prongs and makes a loud noise?”

Kryss “A tuning fork,”

Azario Azario begins shooting the hidden door.

Julian Julian shakes his head. “No, a report is more like a bang than a note…” He frowns.

DM The blast rebounds and hits Azario in the chest, knocking him down.

Statue “My tines are long. My tines are short. My tines end ere, my first report.”

Azario “And I am done. I am completely done. I am going to lie here uselessly in the dust.”

Kryss “Could you do it quietly? We’re trying to solve a riddle.”

Julian “I guess bolts of darkness can’t solve everything.” Julian mutters. He frowns and looks at the statue. What kind of dragon is it?

Kryss “It’s obviously a red dragon. I wonder if that ties in.”

Julian “A draconic dragon.” he concludes. That was helpful. “Fire? Fire doesn’t have tines.”

Kryss “Demon forks do.”

Julian “No, we’re missing something. Long… short… arrives before first report…”

Kryss “Shael could figure this out…” Kryss laments.

Julian “Some sort of very fast fork… faster than sound…”

Kryss “Lightning forks.”

DM The door shudders open.

Kryss “Ah there we go. Shael will be pleased that we figured it out.”

Julian “Oh, yeah. Duh. Lightning.” Julian frowns and peers into the next room.

DM Dust cloaks the twenty foot wide hall. Three narrow alcoves line both the north and south wall. Each alcove holds a humanoid figure carved of red-veined white marble, except for the southwest alcove, which is empty. The figures resemble tall elves in plate mail. The far end of the hall opens via a stone arch into a wide room, from which greenish light trickles. A dark pit is situated before the western archway.

Kryss Kryss is extremely interested in the plate mail on the statues and looks closer.

Julian “Hey, at least it’s not more dragons.”

Kryss “I like dragons.”

DM It is carved of marble, and only resembles plate mail.

Azario Azario gets up and follows.

Kryss “Why is this one missing?” Kryss asks as he examines the empty space.

Julian Julian shrugs as he pokes about.

DM Kryss notes that some of the dust has been disturbed here. Julian realizes that it has been dozens of years since it was disturbed.

Kryss Kryss shrugs in return and goes to inspect the green lit room.

Azario Azario throws a handful of dust into the air.

DM The dust glitters from the green lighting as it falls to the ground.

Julian “Well… there’s something in here. Or was, long ago. Maybe it was locked in.”

Kryss The dragon man attempts to leap the pit.

Azario “In here? Past the other rooms? …does that mean there’s more than one way in here?”

Julian “Either that, or someone wanted whoever it was to stay locked up here forever.”

Azario “Well I’ve already died once today. No point in clinging to life now.”

Julian Julian waits to see if Kryss falls to his doom. If the pit seems jumpable, he follows.

DM Kryss clears the pit easily, but midway through his jump, he feels a sharp stabbing sensation.

DM He lands on the edge of the pit as a vicious creature comes shimmering into view.

Kryss “Ow! I felt a stabbing sensation!” Kryss turns to see the vicious creature. “Oh dear.”

Skirge photo PhyrexianSkirge_zps71349aff.jpg

Julian “Shit!” Julian throws a meaningful look at Azario.

Kryss “What the heck is that thing?” Kryss asks, readying his axe and shield.

DM Erky and Pug seem to be caught off guard by this development.

Julian Julian’s javelin is less meaningful, soaring into the room beyond.

Azario Azario shrugs and then casts a bolt of dark power. Seeing as that’s all he’s good for.

DM Hopefully he does not measure his worth by the bolts of dark power at his command, because it splatters off the wall next to the skirge.

Azario Azario is about this close to giving up entirely and just tossing himself down the pit.

DM The skirge appears to savor his dispair, but Osario pats him comfortingly on the shoulder.

Kryss Kryss attempts to send the monster back into the pit. The dragon man drops a shoulder as though attacking again.

DM A voice that sounds like a fork being chewed through mocks the party. “Koilos awaits you.” Kryss’s axe cleaves through its skull, and it hisses. “Complete…you…” it gasps out as it falls into the pit.

Kryss “Gross,” Kryss wipes goo from his axe.

Julian Julian peers into the pit to make sure it is dead.

Kryss “Come across, Friend, Ill assist you.”

DM The creature is definitely dead. Its head is crushed, its neck is at an awkward angle, and it is leaking black oily blood.

Julian Julian nods and jumps the pit. “Must be what made the tracks. I’d lock that up forever too if it was up to me.”

DM The final room awaits them. Whatever the door guarded lies here.

Azario Azario teleports over the pit. The 2nd circle has some perks.

DM Violet-hued marble tiles cover the floor and walls, though all are cracked or broken, revealing rough hewn stone beneath. Wall sconces are attached to the walls at each corner, but only one still bears a torch, and it burns with a tiny, greenish light. A massive marble sarcophagus, easily 9 feet long, lies in room’s center. The stone possesses heavy carvings with dragon imagery, and the head of the sarcophagus resembles a dragon’s head. Bone clasps firmly lock down the lid of the sarcophagus.

Pug “Should we wait here, Master?” Pug calls, ignoring Erky.

Julian Julian jumps as Azario appears next to him. “Whoa. Yes, wait there, it might be dangerous. Who knows what this thing was guarding.”

Kryss Kryss investigates the sarcophagus.

Azario “Oh get. Over. It. It’s magic. Arcane magic. Evil wicked arcane magic that I’m going to get hanged and burned for because it’s so so terrible by the pious and wonderful priests of Tal.”

Kryss “What?” Kryss looks at the performer.

Azario “I am going to die in this damned pit and then my soul will fall into some other damned pit and that will be the end of Azario. And no one will care. No one will even remember me.”

Julian “Well… we should talk, some time, about all that. After we get out of here.” Julian mutters.

DM The sarcophagus is held shut with the bone clasps. It seems to be a simple matter of strength to undo them.

Kryss “Perhaps when I tell people about your fall, they will tell the story to their friends and you will become famous that way?” Kryss asks as he unlocks the lid.

Julian Julian gets ready for another skeleton to leap out.

DM As Kryss shatters the bone clasps one by one, the light seems to grow dimmer in the room.

Kryss “Do you still have the magic candle?” Kryss asks.

Julian “THAT’s ominous…”

DM As the final clasp is broken, a very feint tremor runs through the chamber.

Azario “Kryss you’ve firmly proved what your words are worth these days. And yes, the candle is right here.”

Kryss “Good, its getting dark you know.”

Azario “Shut. Up.”

Kryss “Fine, fight in the dark. I don’t care.” Kryss shoves the lid off the sarcophagus.

Julian “Uh, guys…” Julian tries to draw attention away from the domestic dispute and towards the ominous battle that is clearly looming before them.

DM In the sarcophagus lies the withered body of a man, clad in full plate mail. The mail is decorated with a draconic motif.

 photo Dragon Priest_zps36ef2fcb.jpg

Kryss “This is lovely,” Krys admires the armor.

Dragon Priest The man sits up. “Is the time to assault the bastion upon us?” he asks. His voice sends a shiver of fear through the party.

Julian “Yeah, okay, I’m chopping off his head before you wake him up by messing with his stuff…shit, too late!”

Kryss “Not yet.” Kryss answers, “We need to go over the plan again.”

DM Azario vanishes in a blast of brimstone.

Julian “Shit! Ahem…” Julian tries to recover from Azario’s sudden disappearance.

Dragon Priest “The plan? We assault Saithinar’s troops, calling upon our lord, and drive them to the river.”

Julian “Yes, the vile Saithinar…” Julian scowls. “And then… triumph!”

Kryss “Actually, Saithinar is no longer our target.” Kryss says.

Julian Julian blinks.

Dragon Priest “Wait. I was…imprisoned here. For supposed heresy. Why have you released me? Is Gulthias no more?”

Julian Maybe he is the reason that they need to go over the plan again.

Kryss “Gulthias is no more. The plan failed. We must rebuild our empire from here. You have been released to assist us in reclaiming the Fortress.”

Dragon Priest The undead warrior lifts himself out of the sarcophagus. “Who holds the fortress?”

Kryss “We have cleared the upper level. We know not what monstrosities await us below. It has been many years since you were imprisoned here and the fortress is now a ruin.” Kryss explains.

Julian “Yet with the aid of our bold leader, who is blessed in his form, we shall retake it.” Trying to keep up, Julian nods at the draconic Kryss.

Dragon Priest “Agreed. But why does mortal blood flow through your veins?” he asks Julian.

Kryss Kryss nods back. “The mortal is my right hand. His loyalty cannot be questioned.”

Julian “I live only to serve.”

Dragon Priest “Strange. In my day, you would not live to serve. No matter. Our task lies before us. Lead on.”

Kryss “Times are different now. Tell us more of your time. What else do you remember about the fortress? What lies below?”

Dragon Priest “The floor level of the fortress,” the dragonpriest answers.

Kryss “Who are you and how did you come to be imprisoned for heresay?”

Julian “I shall rally our companions, Lord Kryss.” Julian gives a military salute and hops back across the pit.

Miraak “I am Dragonpriest Miraak. My faith was questioned by Gulthias when Lord Ashardalon fell, and I was entombed here. And let us be clear. I was entombed for heresy, not hearsay.”

Julian He seeks out Erky and draws him off, out of earshot, to explain the plan about tricking the dragonpriest and then attacking it later in a moment of weakness.

Erky The gnome priest’s eyes widen, but he nods his agreement.

Kryss “Miraak, I am Kryss. I intend to retake this ruin and restore it to its former glory. Will you swear to serve as my counsel and sword in return for a place among my court?”

Shael Shael looks past Julian and Erky to see what they’re talking about.

Julian “Oh, hi, Shael, you’re awake. Yeah, uh…” Julian explains about the undead abomination currently chatting with Kryss.

Miraak “You wear the form of a man, but your blood is that of the sacred draconic. You have my loyalty.”

Kryss “Together, with my companions, we will clear the filth from this place and rule the countryside. But first, do you think we should trade armor?” Kryss suggests.

Miraak He draws a short sword, almost an oversized knife, from its sheath, to make his pledge. “My armor? What foolishness is this?”

Julian Julian returns to the edge of the pit, peering in at the smashed guardian. Perhaps the priest would know of it.

Kryss “A thought. No matter. Carry on.”

Julian A good time for a distraction. “Dragonpriest, Gulthias placed a guardian over you. Have you seen the like before?”

Shael He hefts a battered shield he found somewhere, rolling his shoulder and seemingly oddly uncomfortable about something. He follows along behind Julian and observes the tabluex.

Julian He points out the creature’s remnants.

Miraak Miraak looks upon the creature. “Strange. They speak of such abominations in Halcyon.”

Julian Julian asks some followup questions as the priest and Kryss rejoin the party and they prepare to move out, back towards the lower level. What is this Halcyon, and what do they say of such abominations there?

Miraak “Halcyon is the capital of the Thran Kingdom, of the Azlantic Empire…how is it that you do not know of this? As of late, there has been much talk that a serpent has entered their council and turned it against its own people…imps such as this one have been sighted skittering back and forth.”

Shael “That is all history, now.” Shael says quietly.

Julian “Perhaps the rumors were true.” Julian mutters darkly.

Shael “What rumors?” he asks, curious.

Julian “Of the serpent, these creatures… corrupting this Halcyon and turning it against itself.”

Miraak “Where to now, then?” Miraak asks.

Julian The party arrives at the pit leading to the lower level. Almost as if to answer his question.

Shael Observing Julian wryly, Shael asserts, “Of course — to the depths.” the latter is in answer to Miraak, looking down into the pit.

Kryss “There is a druid below us. We suspect he has information we need. I expect you to help us gather this information.” Kryss explains.

Julian While Kryss brings Miraak up to speed, Julian breaks off to speak with the goblins.

Julian He asks about the gear belonging to those still missing.

Kryss Seeing no reason to keep his priest in the dark Kryss explains how much time has passed and what brought the party to the ruins.

Miraak “Gathering information?” Miraak sounds confused. “My powers lie more along the lines of slaying those who stand in our way.”

DM The goblins inform Julian that the twins and their knight protector were sent below to Belek.

Kryss “If he holds his information from us then you will be used exactly along those lines.” As Kryss talks to his priest he rigs a rope to help the party descend into the pit.

Julian “What else is down there?”

Goblin “Balsag,” the goblin whispers.

Julian “Ballsag?”

Goblin “The Hunter.”

Kryss “Well, he’ll be among the hunted if he stands against us. Follow me,” and Kryss leads the way into the pit.

Shael “Kryss – allow me?” Shael requests.

Julian “Tell me everything.” Julian demands while he waits his turn on the rope.

Kryss “Of course.” Kryss lets Shael go first.

Shael Shael nods and calmly begins the descent into the pit. Once his head is even with the ledge he looks up at his companions, “Give me a thirty second head start before you follow.”

Goblin “The Hunter is a shadow that snatches goblins who do not go to sleep at night from their beds. He kills without thought. He murders all that’s good.”

Julian Too bad Azario vanished like that, Julian thinks to himself. “Have you ever seen him?”

Goblin The goblin shakes his head. “He’s only been there singing songs in my head.”

Julian “Oh…” Julian looks around uncomfortably as he risks being left behind. “Well on that note…” Down the pit he goes.

Miraak The dragonpriest follows.

DM The party descends into the darkness below. Luminescent fungus clings to the walls and ceiling, shedding violet light. The air is damp, chilly, and redolent with the odors of loam and decay. A layer of earth, mixed with rotting vegetation and the remains of cave animals, covers the floor of the wide cavern. Several varieties of mushroom and fungus grow on the detritus, as well as a few saplings. Two gaunt, cloaked figures busily shovel well-turned earth onto a makeshift sledge.

Shael Shael remains quietly watching them until his companions reach the bottom along with him unless they notice him.

DM They do not notice him. But that can’t last forever.

Shael Shael observes the creatures closely, since his friends are a half-minute behind him.

Kryss Kryss drops down shortly followed by his left and right hands.

DM The saplings appear to be more of the twig blights he has already faced. The hooded figures are shoveling well turned earth onto a makeshift sledge.

Julian Julian is not far behind Kryss.

Kryss “Are either of you the druid Belek?” Kryss asks aloud.

Shael With a pensive frown, once the others have rejoined him, Shael approaches and calls out – “Halt and face me.”

DM The twig blights uproot themselves and lurch towards Shael. The hooded figures look up at the mage…red pinpoints of light in their skeletal visages.

Shael With a growl, Shael prepares for battle against the mindless creatures.

Kryss “These creatures are in our way,” Kryss informs the priest.

Miraak “I am not a dull creature,” Miraak informs the dragon.

Kryss “Indeed, I am simply giving you leave to wreck havoc upon them.” Kryss replies.

Miraak He strides forward, the silver knife in his hand flashing. It fails to strike the blights.

Shael Shael shifts forward and feints at the nearest skeleton, his shield waving in its face.

Kryss Kryss charges at one of the hated blights.

DM It dies beneath his axe.

Kryss He roars in victory and sets his gaze on the others.

DM The skeleton before Shael misses as the mage dodges. The blight and remaining skeleton fail to penetrate the dragonpriest’s full plate.

Shael Shael grumbles as he fails to keep their full attention on himself.

Julian Julian comes around the flank against the larger group of foes, bashing a skeleton with his mace.

DM It shatters into a hundred pieces.

Julian the paladin grins fiercely. “Tal!….ons of Ashardalon…” he continues after a beat, remembering his company.

Miraak The dragonpriest does not appear to notice his slip, but his silver blade makes shortwork of the twigblight before him.

Shael Shael swivels around to one side, using his shield to drag the skeleton’s posture along with him, and repositions to give Kryss a perfect shot.

Kryss Kryss sees the shot lined up and goes for it.

DM He splits the creature in half.

Shael Tossing the bones that collapse against him aside he looks at the others and nods, “Well accomplished.”

Julian “Any sign of this hunter? The Ballsag?”

Kryss “Well fought, Champion.” Kryss respectfully says to the Dragon Priest.

DM Julian’s question is answered with an arrow through the chest.

Julian “Urk…”

DM No one saw a shooter. The light flickers wildly.

Kryss “Damned arrows!” Kryss exclaims as he readies himself.

Shael In a fluid motion, Shael pulls the arrow the rest of the way through and slams his hand against Julian’s chest, “In the gathering there is strength for all who founder, renewal for all who languish, love for all who sing.”

Julian “…think it missed my heart, though. Thanks Shael. Where is he?”

DM A javelin strikes Shael. Again, from nowhere.

Miraak The dragonpriest scans the area, looking for the culprit. “He’s there, to the north!” He runs off from the group towards what he sees. “Foul rodents!” comes the exclamation.

Kryss Kryss darts down the hall after the dragonpriest, “Lead on Champion!” he shouts.

Shael Shael follows more cautiously after the two, hugging the wall and watching his back.

Julian Julian produces the magical light the party recovered earlier to banish the flickering shadows, and follows.

DM This rough cavern’s floor is stained as if regularly drenched in blood. Luminescent fungus reveals the eastern niche, which holds a matted hair and fur pallet, a wide wooden board on which a variety of crude but deadly weapons are affixed, and a greatcoat of patchy black fur hung on a slender pole. To the edge of the niche are two large nests made of fur and refuse. Two massive rats, diseased and foul, snarl as they approach. Farther back, a body, wounded with a hundred tiny cuts, lies slumped in the corner.

Julian A javelin meets the first.

DM The javelin misses the rat, bouncing off the floor nearby.

Miraak The dragonpriest jerks, a javelin protruding from his neck.

DM A laughter seems to come from the entire cavern. It is a low throaty chuckle.

Miraak The dragonpriest glowers, and slashes with his silver blade across the spine of the nearest rat.

DM It does not die, and instead lashes its tail.

Shael Shael continues peeking around the corner to try to locate the enemy.

DM Shael does not locate Balsag.

Shael With a grumble, he incants quickly and a lance of ice lances out towards the nearest rat.

DM It freezes solid.

DM The rat gnaws on the dragonpriest’s greave, but fails to do any serious damage.

Kryss “These tight confines are not a good choice of battleground against a dragon,” Kryss thinks as he sizes up the room. “Well then…” he launches firebreath sucking the air from the cavern.

DM The rat roasts.

Julian Julian holds his light high and blocks the door so that their foe cannot escape. “If someone can point him out roughly, I have a trick…”

Balsag “That’s rich…” the voice comes from all corners at once. “You think you have me trapped in here with you? You’re trapped in here with me!”

Miraak “I do not see him.”

Kryss “Do you have any way to force him into the open?” Kryss asks.

Miraak “Find him and stick my blade through his chest cavity.”

DM Shael spots him lurking along one of the walls.

Shael Tilting his head to the side, Shael continues listening intently. Upon spotting him, the wizard incants: “Opposite Law is Grace, and Grace must be preserved. If the strands of grace are unraveled, its design will be lost, and the people with it.”

Julian Julian sings a hymnal note in the wake of Shael’s witchfire and the area begins to glow with pale blue light.

DM Balsag comes into view. He’s a hulking monstrosity of a goblin, a bugbear. Julian’s power and Shael’s light have cost him his ambush locations however.

 photo rsz_balsag_the_hunter_zpsgj6yxact.jpg

Kryss Kryss rushes the coward. “Hide from this.”

DM His weapons score purchase against Balsag’s scale armor.

Balsag “You killed my hounds. You’ll die for that.”

Kryss “Those were rats you sick coward.”

Balsag “Hounds. They slip through the cracks,” Balsag chuckles and brings his blade down on Kryss. “Blood! Blood for the blood god! But don’t worry shadows, I’ll feed you too, yes I will.”

Kryss Kryss leans into the blade, blood pours. “Today you die, Ballsack.”

Miraak Miraak moves in, his silver blade flashing, drawing blood. “In my time, you bugbear filth were slaves to your betters.”

Balsag “The darkness calls to us all. And I answer. I answer. I answer…”

Shael The lightning linking the bugbear to Shael pulses weakly.

Julian Julian rushes into battle as well, swinging his blade overhead. “You’ll not shake this light, Ballsag! Not till the shadows take you for good!”

Balsag Balsag bleeds profusely now. “It is my time? It was his…his time, but I did not have enough time with him, did I now, no I didn’t.”

Kryss Kryss shakes off his shield and swings for the fences. The force of the blow sets the Dragonpriest up for another shot at his throat.

DM He catches the axe with one hand, laughing, when Kryss suddenly lurches forward, grabbing his skull and smashing it down on the axe in his hand, even as he brings his knee up, snapping the bone like a twig. Balsag falls back, stunned. “Art..is…tic…” is all he manages to slur out before his head falls into two bloody chunks.

Julian “Whew. Nasty bastard.” Julian investigates the area.

Shael Shael walks around the corner, the lightning fizzling and popping as it drains the last of Balseg’s life from his body. He looks towards the injured man in the rear of the room and approaches to check if he is still alive.

Kryss Kryss searches the body. He struggles to check the bugbears pouches due to the blood pouring down his arm.

DM The human man is definitely dead. He is also missing one of his fingers. He has been cut and stabbed and hamstrung. It is clear he died badly. The smell of shit comes from his voided bowels.

Kryss “Is it one of the twins?” Kryss asks, coughing.

Shael With a quiet cantrip to disguise the smell, Shael checks.

Julian “Hm? Oh! Lord Kryss, let me heal your wounds.”

Kryss “This damn mortal body.” Kryss complains. “There was a day a steel sword could not pierce my armor.”

DM On Balsag, besides his longsword which appears to be of exquisite make, his longbow and scale armor, the bugbear carried a total of six javelins, a pouch containing 10 gp and 165 sp, and a potion. A string of goblins and human fingers is tied around his genitals. A ring is on one of the human fingers. Within the refuse, a small store of coins is found.

Julian Julian hefts the sword, admiring its workmanship.

DM The weapon racks hold spears, javelins and a bastard sword.

Kryss “A fitting sword for a paladin, Ive met a few of your ilk before you know,” Kryss says.

Shael Shael glances back but doesn’t say anything before returning his attention to the body.

DM Dwarven script runs across the fine blade, although it is impossible to read through the blood and gore.

Kryss “Is that dwarven script? Meh, take it. Its a toothpick.” Kryss says.

Julian “Look, a maker’s mark. Yes, Lord Kryss. This shall be my blade. May it always serve you well.”

Kryss “Give it a name. Perhaps Toothpick will serve?” Kryss offers.

Julian Julian shakes his head. “Since light laid its former master low, it shall be Lightbringer.” The party takes a short rest to recover from its battle. Julian spends much of it thinking about his new sword.

Kryss “Mizraam, we will rest here. Keep a watch and alert us of anything lurking about.”

Julian “It’s almost as if it is speaking to me… I feel like I can hear the voices of ancient dwarves in my head.” Julian mutters, studying the runes. “Is it just my imagination? Or…”

DM Having cleaned off the blade, Julian is informed by Shael that the blade’s mark is that of Durgeddin the Black. As he focuses, the word becomes clear to him as well.

Julian “Dur… durgeddin. Durgeddin the Black! Yes, Shael, I see it too!”

Shael Shael smiles dimly and snaps his book shut before moving closer to the opening of the cave inlet, a slightly pleasing smell hangs about him warding off the more wretched smells of the hovel.

DM And so their initial forray into the lower levels of the Sunless Citadel has been a resounding success! What awaits our heroes now? Find out next session (which might be in a week, True Believers), same Sunless time, same Sunless channel!

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The Sunless Citadel 6
Sunless Citadel, Wealsun Week 3.5, BCY 14500

Session 6
DM When last we saw our heroes, they were on the run from the hobgoblin guards. However, their patron Calcryx sent those troops on a wild goose chase around the Citadel, affording our brave adventurers enough time to sleep off their bumps and bruises. A new day dawns, although here in this forsaken fortress, no actual dawn rays will be shining through. What awaits us now? Read on and find out!
Azario “Alright, round two then.”
Julian “Yeah. Hey, I was thinking…” Julian spends a few minutes planning with the party.
Azario “These are excellent ideas. Except the one where we waste time blocking more doors with corpses.”
Julian “All right, all right, I’ll lay off the corpses thing. It never really worked out how I imagined anyway.”
Kryss “Corpses are an excellent resource to provide a strategic advantage.” Kryss says.
Azario “It’s okay, we should just let the bodies hit the floor. Nothing wrong with that.”
Kryss “So you wish to hunt Durnn again?”
Azario “Something’s got to give.”
Julian “This time we won’t be weary from slaying two score goblins first.”
Kryss “Perhaps we can find something to alter the balance in another room? I’d like to investigate the room with the dragon door. I expect there will be more dragons in that room and we will force them to follow Calcryx’s Will.”
Calcryx Calcryx overhears. “Did you sieze the keys from my former wouldbe masters?”
Julian Julian shrugs, not knowing the answer. “That would be before you found me, I guess.”
Kryss “We did not My Queen. Durnn cowardly refused to face me in battle.”
Calcryx “Wrong masters, wretched mate. The filthy little lizards.”
Kryss “Of course. We will return to the Palescales and relieve them of it if you wish.”
Calcryx “I wish for Durnn’s head on a spike and rule of the Durbuluk tribe. How you accomplish that matters very little to me,” Calcryx sniffs.
DM It occurs to those who treated with the kobolds that they are unlikely to give up their treasure before their dragon is returned, unless force or subterfuge is employed.
Azario “Well let us away then.” Azario is about to leave the room when a small creature appears before him. He’s never seen it before but it looks…familiar.

Osario photo armorthrull_zpshz0kpnuf.jpg


Kryss “Your Will be done, Lady Queen.” Kryss replies and leads the party and any familiars back to the Palescales. When the party is well out of even draconic earshot, Kryss stops.
Julian Julian stops too.
Azario Azario grabs his familiar by the torso and follows before stopping himself.
Julian “What is it?”
Kryss “Let me be clear. I have no intentions of serving a wyrmling for any longer than necessary. It will be 50 years before that foul snow snake can lay eggs and I intend to have my own horde reclaimed well before then. Will any stand against me when the time comes?” Kryss whispers.
Azario “Oh heavens no! In fact I was worried you were actually falling for her.”
Julian “…man I will HELP you as soon as I feel like standing up to her won’t get me frozen to death immediately.”
Erky Erky shakes his head.
Kryss “I have no plans to throw our lives away for that fool but for now she provides a respite. Let us go to the Palescales, inform them of their new loyalty to Calcryx, and see if we cannot find something to prevent her feeble breath from destroying us outright.”
Julian “I have to say though I’m not sure we shouldn’t finish off one foe before making another. Divide and conquer and all that. Better to kill off the goblins, THEN piss off the lizards… right?”
Erky “Is there any way to get this key without…pissing off the lizards?” Erky asks.
Julian “Not sure. We could try the other door first, though. See if there’s anything useful behind it.”
Kryss "I disagree. The “Lizards” are closer to the door. I think we should destroy them first to prevent them from blocking what may be a dangerous escape."
Azario “We could tell them it is part of our long-term plot to trap the queen.”
Kryss “I dont think we can risk word getting back to her.”
Erky “To…Calcryx?” Erky asks. “Who would tell her? We’re the only ones moving freely throughout this place.”
Kryss “Would you chance that with your life, Friend Erky?” Kryss asks.
Julian Julian points to the door they happen to be passing just now, the relief-carved stone door that stands on the western wall.
Kryss “Oh, I suppose we can check this door on the way.”
Julian “This one doesn’t look like it even needs a dragon key.”
Kryss Kryss lays a hand and listens for anything on the other side.
DM He hears the deathly silence of…er…death.
Azario “Let the bodies hit the floor…let the bodies hit the floor…nah that would be a terrible song.”
Kryss “Shhh!” Kryss listens intently
Julian After Kryss has finished listening, Julian tries the door. A paladin’s heart quails not at the deathly sound of death. Unless it be death by freezing breath.
Azario “I feel like we were supposed to have a moment, you and I,” Azario says to his familiar. “They kinda ruined that for us, huh?”
Familiar “Sorry, Master,” the familiar murmers.
DM A scything blade arcs over his head. Had Julian been a few inches taller…
Kryss “Trapped!” Kryss steps back.
Julian “Shit!”
Kryss “Did it reset?”
Julian “Err…” Julian inspects the trap.
Azario “No it’s fine, it’s their fault actually. Do you need a name or something?”
Osario “Oh…zario,” the creature wheezes. “I…will be…very famous.”
Azario “Yes you will. Alright sit here on my shoulder for now.” Azario props up Osario so that his hands are free.
DM Julian realizes that the trap does reset, and triggers upon touching the door without removing the lock. The lock itself seems to only respond to divine power.
Julian “I deduce that the trap does reset. Furthermore, do you see these partially hidden symbols? Clear indications of divine power…” Julian explains. “Erky, I think you can open it. See, if you stand here and channel divine power…” he continues.
Kryss “Excellent. Azario is a very famous divine spell caster.”
Julian “Or Azario. Yeah, that works too.” Julian coughs.
Azario “I am a very famous performer. My magic is fairly unknown. But let’s have Erky handle it.”
Kryss “Erky?” Kryss motions to the door.
Erky Erky presents his holy symbol with authority, but the gnomish gods are silent.
Azario “Hmm…let’s give that another try Erky. Try presenting it…harder.”
Kryss Kryss slaps the gnome on the back, “Excellent attempt, Friend.”
Julian Perhaps Tal’s might can succeed where the gnomish devils failed. Julian makes an attempt.
DM Julian’s god does answer, with a soft pale light glowing from his holy symbol. It shines on the door, and the audible sound of the lock releasing is heard.
Kryss Kryss pushes the door open, his battle axe at the ready.
Azario “Huh. I have to learn how to do that.”
Julian “It’s a good thing to know. Maybe I can teach you sometime.”
DM Five dusty sarcophagi stand on end in this silent chamber; three stand on the north wall, and two stand on the south. The carved stone sarcophagi each resemble a noble Azlanti in ceremonial robes. A shrine carved of obsidian is set in the center of the west wall, on which a single candle yet burns.
Julian “Hey, I bet that’s a magic candle.”
Kryss Kryss steps back to watch for threats while the others inspect the room.
Julian “I wonder if they buried their dead with treasures…” Julian muses. He inspects the room.
Azario “Magic candle…sarcophagi…absolutely nothing can go wrong in here.”
Kryss “There were walking dead in the entrance.” Kryss warns.
Julian “Yeah, uh, maybe you should go first after all, Kryss.”
DM A visual inspection of the room does not appear to disturb any defensive traps or guardians.
Kryss "If you like. Would you have me attempt to open a sarcophogi or simply blow out the candle?”
Julian “Open ‘em up. We’ll stand ready for any walking dead that jump out.” Julian readies his sword. Then he reconsiders and readies the mace instead.
Azario “You see Osario, this is how we do things around here. We take what we want and run away if it gets dangerous.”
Kryss “Make ready then.” Kryss inspects the sarcophagus on the south wall nearest the entrance.
DM Skeletons literally explode out of the sarcophagi, flinging the stone slabs aside like they were made of paper. A blue glow lights the long dead corpses.

Fight Theme

Kryss “Skeletons!” Kryss exclaims.
Skeletons They attack Kryss, drawn by the sound of his voice, but he defends ably.
Erky Seeing as he has a weapon well suited to smashing skulls, Erky gets to it. He may have forgotten that he can’t really reach skulls.
DM His miss is as unfortunate as his race.
Azario Azario decides to try to prove his half-race as superior: with an eldritch blast.
DM The skeleton explodes into bone shards.
Osario Osario slips into the melee in a tiny defensive dance.
Azario “This is how it is done, Osario!”
DM The third skeleton, attracted by Erky’s attack, also attacks. Its weapon is a strange rod, that it presses against the gnome, causing Erky’s muscles to seize up in pain.
Julian Height problems plague Julian’s smashing attempts as well.
DM The strange rod is useless against Kryss’s armor. Extremely so.
Kryss Kryss attempts to bring the flat of his battle axe down on a skeletons head.
DM Trying to deal bludgeoning damage with a slashing weapon is cause for the disastrously horrific miss he suffers.
Erky Erky aims for the knees this time.
DM A tiny speck of bone flies off the skeleton’s kneecap.
Azario Azario tries to go for two for two.
DM Another skeleton explodes.
Osario Meanwhile Osario slips through the skelecrowd to prove some flanking.
DM The Ebon Hand smiles.
Skeletons A rod fails to strike the paladin.
Julian Julian takes advantage of the flank.
DM Ribs splinter and shoulder blades crack.
Kryss Kryss recovers from his last disaster and attempts his trick again.
DM The skeleton before him crumbles to dust. The shield smashes into the one next to him.
Kryss Kryss follows the shield with another axe smash but misses due to his poor balance.
Osario “Sorry, master’s friend! Osario was helping with the other one! Helped good! Spread the word! Osario will be famous!” The thrull’s words come at a distracting moment for Kryss.
DM The rod touches the man-dragon’s skin and he feels pain.
Azario Azario feels like he finally has the little brother he always wanted.
Kryss Kryss scowls.
Erky Erky keeps working his morningstar. Even with questionable strategies, it seems the gnome has gained a level of commitment to the idea of savaging this skeleton’s knees.
DM His mace tears through those knees, and up into the pelvis, crushing it. The skeleton falls to the ground, destroyed.
Azario Azario lobs a third blot of pure arcane malice at the last skeleton.
DM The final skeleton drops.
Azario “Good work Osario. Now we do a victory dance.”
Kryss Kryss takes a knee to enjoy a short rest while his companions search the room.
DM Osario capers madly around the room.
Azario Azario’s victory dance is adequate.
Azario Slightly more than adequate.
Erky “That was… oddly exciting. Not sure I’m cut out for it though…” Erky is breathing hard.
Julian Julian, who is not, gets to the business of separating the dead from their treasures.
Azario “You can stay back and shoot things with magic if you’d prefer. It’s what I do.”
Kryss “You fought well, little man.” Kryss assures him.
Julian “It sure works well for you.”
Azario Azario inspects the still-lit candle.
DM It has burned for ages in this sealed chamber. It does not flicker nor smoke.
Azario “Osario, it is your job to hold this magic candle. Keep it safe.”
DM One of the coffins bears an inscription that Kryss reads in Draconic. “Ashardalon, I need your power in my life. I face impossible circumstances and am desperate for a miracle. Show me your power in my life today. For those who have a small view of you, help them to find comfort in the knowledge of how mighty and enormous you actually are. Thank you for sending your son. It is in the all-powerful name of…" The rest of the text is unreadable.
Kryss “It seems Ashardalon granted his followers the miracle of unlife.”
DM A strange whistle is found as well. ‘Azan-gund’ is inscribed on the whistle in Dwarven. It is carved from a transparent metal in the shape of a dragon.
Azario “Hmm…should I blow it?”
Kryss “Certainly. Youre a very famous entertainer after all.”
Julian “Uh…”
Azario “Yes, Julian?”
DM Azario’s investigations reveal that if he blows it over a corpse, the corpse will animate.
Azario “Oh ho ho ho! Man where is a pile of bodies when we need one?”
Kryss “I know where to find one.”
Julian “Well, that’s, uh, definitely one way to even the odds.” Julian looks uncomfortable.
Azario “This whistle will animate a corpse. Not sure if it will control it. Hmm.”
Kryss “Perhaps we can negotiate a trade with the Palescales. …or keep it. Whatever. Lets go see if we have to kill a room full of kobalds.”
Julian “I think… Azario should decide whether we go to the kobolds to trade, or attack them first, or strike against Durnn now.” Julian suggests.
Azario “Why don’t we just go kill that stupid hobgoblin?”
Julian “You proved your worth in this battle.”
DM By the time the rest is over, they have acquired the treasure of this shrine. Julian feels…at peace.
Kryss “I agree with Julian. Azario, I am happy to follow your lead.”
Azario “Alright, now where was the biggest baddest thing we’ve killed so far? I’ll raise that to aid us.”
Julian “You think… Guthash?” Julian looks disturbed at the idea.
DM He also remembers that they took pains to destroy the bodies of those rats to avoid this very thing.
Azario “Hmm…I’m not sure there’s enough corpse left to raise.”
Julian “Oh yeah, we hated them so much we blasted them to bits.”
Azario “It was all metal and skin by the time we finished it.”
Kryss “Save it and use it on the first of Durnn’s guards.”
Julian “I wonder how Tal would feel about this…” Julian muses as he stretches from his rest.
Azario “Well, let’s see if they’ve left one of the hobgoblins out without a proper burial.”
Julian Should have paid attention in religion class.
DM Somehow, Julian feels that Tal, whose church punishes all forms of arcane magic, would not look too kindly upon necromancy.
Azario Azario leads the way back to the goblin town, looking for any leftover corpses along the way to raise.
Kryss Kryss looks to the doorway he held open last time he was here.
DM He notes that the corpses of the goblins they killed before have been taken.
Julian Acting upon his unease, Julian seeks Erky’s advice. “Hey, Erky, what do you think about this whistle thing?”
Erky Erky frowns. “Nasty business, raising the dead? Black magic.”
Julian “Yeah. I… don’t see it going anywhere good either. I don’t know if either of those two would be willing to give it up while we’re stuck down here, but maybe once we get out of here, we can convince them to get rid of it.”
Erky "I’ll follow your lead…I saw what you did today. That was the power of true faith.‘
Azario Azario pretends not to overhear this conversation, for the sake of dramatic tension. “Kryss, lead us in to Goblintown. Pug, I want you to repeat everything I say out loud in the Goblin language. Translate.”
Julian “Tal will guide us.” Julian fingers the hilt of his black dagger.
Kryss Kryss seems too distracted by Pug to pay attention. He spends much of the long walk explaining to Pug exactly how bad it would be for him to fail to convince the goblins to give up Durnn’s head.
Pug “Pug understands. He hopes Master will understand that it will be bad for Pug before Master ever sees him again.”
Kryss “… just like a ripe napple!” he says with a clench of his fist. “Ah here we are. Should we knock this time?”
Azario “Just…no! Barge in!”
Kryss Kryss kicks the door in. Again.
Goblins A hail of arrows is released from the goblins, striking the party mercilessly.
AzarioHEAR ME GOBLINS. IT IS I, THE GREAT AZARIO. BRING US THE HEAD OF DURNN AND YOUR LIVES WILL BE SPARED.”
Goblins The goblins of Goblintown, the commoners, have been pressed into a makeshift archery battery. They tremble as they pull their bow strings back.
AzarioOPPOSE US AND I WILL SEE TO IT THAT EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU IS SLAIN.”
Kryss After Azario finishes speak Kryss slams the door to give the goblins time to think. “We need to go around the other way,” he whispers.
Azario “Dammit if you just ruined my ultimatum…”
Kryss “Im so tired of being shot with arrows.” Kryss replies.
Julian “No, it’s OK.”
Pug Pug pulls the arrow from his gut and struggles to stand. “Don’t worry, Masters. I will go see what their answer is.”
Julian “If there’s a chance of it working at all, it’ll work best if they have time to think about what will happen if they don’t.”
Azario “Alright. Go see their answer Pug.”
Julian “Hold on, Pug. Give em a few minutes to stew over it.”
Kryss “Meanwhile we can use this door and go straight into Durnns throne room.”
Julian And for us to recover from multiple arrow piercings…
Kryss “This feels like a trap.” Kryss watches all the doors in the previously smokey room, ready to act if one flies open.
Julian “Hey, it was your idea.”
Azario “Alright Pug, go see what their answer is.”
Pug “Don’t worry, Masters. Pug feels that the evil one has most likely terrified his people and they will be amenable to his demands.”
Kryss “Ill be at your side, Pug.” Kryss and Pug crack the door and peek through.
Julian Julian stays out of the line of fire this time.
Azario Azario, in a rare case of introspection, ponders if Pug is right about him. He looks at his new whistle. And his freakish familiar holding a candle. All he wanted was to be famous and not die horribly at the hands of something more powerful than he.
DM The two approach the goblins. One trembling specimen informs Kryss and Pug in no uncertain or negotiable terms that they will not die for them on Durnn’s blades, but neither are they willing to die for Durnn either. They can attack the throne room with impunity.
Kryss “Get back in the little room then, cowards.” Kryss instructs. He then passes the message back to Azario and Julian
Goblins The cowards file into the little room with their bows and armor and all the treasure they can carry.
Azario Breaking out of his reverie, Azario nods. “Well I wasn’t expecting them to actually turn on him. Oh well. Maybe if the other hobgoblins had heard it…”
Kryss “Should we try Durnn’s door again?”
Azario “Hmm…we need a smarter approach than just waltzing in.”
Julian “Right then. So we go with the plan from earlier, then?” Julian finds some good cover, ready to fire a few missiles at the goblin chieftain and then withdraw.
Kryss “Im in favor of a smarter approach.”
Azario Azario walks into the room with his familiar. “Something here I’m not quite getting, though I try I keep forgetting…like a memory…long since passed…”
Pug Pug takes up a position further back. “Pug will cover evil one’s retreat. Like with rats.”
Osario “What is it, Master?” Osario asks. “What are you forgetting?”
Azario “If I knew I would remember it…oh well…”
Julian “Anyway, no time like the present.” Julian mutters. “Kryss?”
Kryss Kryss kicks at the door
Julian And kicks at the door.
Kryss and kicks again.
DM After several embarassing tries, the doors finally fly open. Arrows fly out.
Kryss Kryss responds by ducking behind his shield and trying to ensure his allies can cast past him.
DM Suddenly in a blast of smoke and fire, a wizard appears!

Victory Theme

Azario “This plan just got better!”
Erky “Aren’t we supposed to keep a hostage with Calcryx…?” Erky trails off.
Azario “We’ll deal with that later!”
Grenl Grenl’s magic splatters off Kryss’s armor.
Shael Shael snorts, “If she notices me gone maybe she’ll come help.”
Erky “I think this calls for a more bold approach.” Erky works a blessing spell.
DM Their noses immediately grow large and bulbous.
Erky “Feel the power!” Erky boasts.
Durnn The hobs wait, looking to their warlord for direction. He gives it to them. “Kill them!” An arrow takes Kryss in the leg, but bounces off his draconic skin.
Kryss That’s really human but is still dragon deep down where it counts.
Azario Azario walks over to the doorway and points at the hobgoblin he sees through it. “APPROACH.”
Hobgoblin The hobgoblin’s eyes glaze over. “Yes, my lord.”
Osario The familiar waits.
Shael Shael quickly incants a spell and lances of faintly glowing force dart through the air to impact against the enemy passing out orders.
DM The missiles impact on Durnn’s flesh, drawing blood. He grimaces.
Julian “Hey, that’s handy! I bet he’d rather send his men out than turtle up and eat those.” Julian grins. He works his spell of heroism on Kryss. “All right, now back up a bit, draw ‘em out, Tal’s grace will keep you hale and whole…”
Shael “You are my mark, be prepared fiend!” Shael shouts at Durnn.
DM A hail of arrows fails to strike Kryss.
Pug Pug rattles off a shot that bounces off the jamb of the accursed door.
DM Truly, an adventurer’s worst nemesis.
Julian “Azario, when you are famous, can we get together on architecture? Like, encourage wide arches instead of doors throughout the land?”
Azario “Yes. YES. None of this protective enclosures!”
Kryss Kryss throws a handaxe at turn and spins out of the doorway. He tries the handle to the door.
DM It’s locked.
Grenl Black goblin magic wafts over the concentration of arcanists in the center of the room.
Julian Erky tries this hang back and blast with magic thing that works so well for Azario
DM The goblin dodges it.
Julian He ducks into the room just long enough to put eyes on his opponent, then falls back again.
Durnn “It seems, if you want something done properly…” Durnn grumbles, and dismounts from the throne. He draws a curved exotic looking blade from a sheathe on his back and cracks his neck.
Shael “Yes, come to me, fiend. I want your head for a trophy.”
DM He leaps across the pit in a single bound, an easy jump for one of his talents. Horrifically, however, something goes wrong. Did Shael’s goading causes him to misjudge his leap? He disappears into the depths, clutching futilely at the edge of the pit.
Shael “It is as I saw it.” Shael decrees grimly.
Azario “Huh. Well then, goblins, what’s it gonna be!?”
Shael “Yes, who wants my attention, next? Who will take lead the others so I may take my trophies?”
Hobgoblin “My lord…” One of the hobgoblins lurches towards Azario.
Hravek “Durnn is dead. I am leader of the Durbuluk now. We have no wish of war with you,” The largest of the hobgoblin guards speaks placatingly.
Shael Shael growls, then looks to Azario to see if he should stand down.
Grenl “Traitors! Maglubiyet curses your cowardice! I, high priestess Grenl will never surrender!”
Azario Azario shrugs, as though this were the most natural thing in the world. “Alright, we’ll kill her at least.”
Shael “MY NEXT TROPHY DECLARES ITSELF!”
Kryss “Prove your loyalty then, New Leader. Crush her.” Kryss demands.
Hravek “Do you want me to throw her down the pit after her fallen master, or…?” the hobgoblin leader asks.
Azario “Oh yeah, throw her down!”
Kryss “NO! Crush her skull in front of our eyes. I want to see her corpse.”
Azario “Shut. Up. We’re done here.”
Hravek “Send Maglubiyet my regards,” the hobgoblin grabs Grenl and hacks her head off with his blade, before dropping it on the ground and stomping it. It’s actually a bit harder to crush a skull than one might think.
Azario “Good. Fine. Great. We’re done here. Oh, quick question, are you guys stealing the golden apple trees? Just curious.”
Hravek “No. We sell the apples to the townspeople, we don’t steal anything.”
Kryss “Where do you get the apples?”
Azario “Huh. That’s weird.”
Julian Julian snaps his fingers at one of the little goblins. “Climb down and bring Durnn’s head back up.”
Hravek “Belek provides them.”
Pug Pug translates if needed.
Azario “Oh damnit why are we bothering with the head!?”
Julian “Maximum surprise.”
Azario “We do not need a head for that!” Azario looks like he’s about to blow a gasket.
Hravek “Belay that. He’s not going to be going anywhere, least of all down into Balsag’s lair,” the hobgoblin leader cuts in.
Kryss “Absolutely. We need to march the entire tribe into her lair.”
Hravek “Lair?”
AzarioAUGH! WE ARE LEAVING NOW. GOOD BYE. REMEMBER ME, AZARIO.”
Kryss “Youre all servants of Lady Calcryx now. She demands a meeting.”
Hravek “Look, I agreed to stop fighting. Serves no purpose. But the Durbuluk do not answer to you. As far as I’m concerned, we can have peace. You guys do what you want in the citadel, and I’ll make sure the Durbuluk don’t bother you.”
Shael Shael smiles faintly in approval, quickly quelling the expression, he then glances at the others to see how they take it.
Kryss “You have a chance to do something here. Help us defeat Calcryx. Let us drag her to the Palescales and never hear her name again.”
Julian Julian adds his words to Kryss’s, pointing out that the dragon, if she remains free, is likely to be a threat to his new chieftaincy. Honesty will do the trick here. “Calcryx lusts after your position.”
Kryss “If you do not claim her horde now, shell only grow stronger.”
Hravek “No. We are done fooling with dragons, druids and kobolds. I am going to lead my people from this cursed hole and form a tribe far from here. Your fight with the dragon is your own.”
Kryss “Wait, druids?” Kryss asks.
Hravek “Belek.”
Kryss “Ah. Ok. We we will go deal with Calcryx on our own then.”
Hravek “Best of luck.”
Julian Before the party confronts Calcryx, Julian makes sure that they are rested up and healed, and both he and Erky cast their spells of strengthening.

The Betrayal of Calcryx
Kryss Kryss leads the party down the hall and then asks, “So are we going after her right now?”
Julian Julian nods.
Kryss Kryss nods in return. The party rests and then walks back into Calcryx’s lair. “My queen,” Kryss says, holding the bag aloft. “We have brought you glory.”
Calcryx “You have been gone too long, wretched Mate. I had better see a hobgoblin head, or I’m going to eat one of you…perhaps two.”

 photo 400px-Calcryx_zpsswryd117.png


Kryss “I am unworthy to bear that title. I bring you not only Durnn’s head, but news as well.”
Julian “Aye. At last, Durnn is dead by our hands!” Julian’s eyes flash.
Azario “All is as you desire.”
Calcryx “What news?” Calcryx asks crossly, quite impatient. It is clear that she does not suspect a thing.
Kryss “Upon Durnn’s death we also bring you news of an impeding assassination attempt.”
Azario “Indeed.” And so the assassination attempt begins.
Calcryx “Treachery! I’ll kill you all!”
Kryss “You useless wyrm, filth. Useless and brainless. You thought to rule a mighty Red?” Kryss continues debriefing his queen.
AzarioLONG LIVE THE QUEEN!”
Shael “The queen is dead.”
Kryss “The idea of a mere white as my mate sickens me. I’d prefer to breed with a corpse.” Kryss does not raise his voice as he addresses his queen.
Calcryx “Ow!” Calcryx looks furious at the attacks on her, and tears form in her eyes at Kryss’s words.
Julian Julian adds his blade to Azario’s magic.
DM Blood drips down her wounded chest and flank.
Julian “You caught us by surprise once, ‘O Queen.’ Not this time!”
Kryss “Can you smell that, my queen?” he sneers at her. “Mortal weapons draw your immortal blood. It is clear you are Inferior." Kryss sneers.
Calcryx “Stop saying that!” Calcryx screams as she blasts those wounding her with frost. She wings to the top of the room. Julian pins her down with a stab to the wing.
Kryss “You will rot in a kobald’s cell for centuries.” He whispers, and lashes at her.
Azario “Okay maybe…” Azario doesn’t finish his thought.
Calcryx She strains mightily against Julian’s blade, tearing her flesh, when Kryss’s axe takes her across the skull. Her gaze locks with Kryss at the moment of impact and her watery eyes match her trembling jaws.
Kryss “Disgusting.” Kryss says in Draconic.
Julian Julian’s eyes flicker about at the arcane words. “Did I miss something?” he mutters to Azario.
Shael Shael looks sadly at his companion, he murmers, “I am glad I did not dream of this… living it once is enough.” he leaves the room.
DM Once was enough indeed, True Believers! What lies in store for our heroes? For our villains? Find out in two weeks!

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The Sunless Citadel 5
Sunless Citadel, Wealsun Week 3.4, BCY 14500

Session 5
DM Welcome back, our heroes killed a rat and now holy shit let’s find out!

Azario “Well let us be on our way to kill those bad goblins! The sooner the better am I right gents?”

Kryss “I should be in charge,” Kryss insists again as they follow the hall to the goblin leader.

Azario “No. No. No. NO.”

DM They have taken Erky with them, as the dragon queen decided that Shael will be her pet for the time being.

Kryss “Im much larger than both of you.” Kryss replies

Julian “I’m getting really tired of all this disrespect just because I’m short.” Julian mutters.

Azario “You also need a guardian because you make bad decisions. Remember? Now your guardian is a prisoner, so that means…Julian is in charge.”

Kryss “He’s extremely small to be in charge of things,” Kryss pouts.

Azario “Look how about you walk ahead? That way you’re leading us.”

Julian “And let’s try the door just north of the prison first.”

Kryss “Fine. I will lead us there.” Kryss answers.

Julian “Go ahead and open it.” Julian suggests once they reach the door in question.

Kryss Kryss opens the door.

DM The north and south walls of this chamber are stacked halfway to the ceiling with ill-made barrels, boxes, and crates. A clear path allows easy access between the west and east doors. The chamber is used to store brackish water, putrid jerky, oil and several barrels of pudding.

Azario “How long has this…food…been here? How does jerky go bad?”

Kryss “Why do they store rotten water when they had a mephit to summon all they needed?”

DM Upon closer inspection, it seems that the jerky is made from little children, hence its description as putrid.

Julian “You don’t even want to know what they made it out of.”

Azario "Oh…oh… Let’s move on, shall we?

DM Kryss hears noise from beyond the western door.

Julian Julian nods.

Kryss “I wonder what sort of spice they used to cure the… whats that sound?” He listens to the side of the door.

DM If Kryss were to guess, it is about six small sized humanoids.

Kryss The fighter’s mighty boot crashes into the door.

DM It explodes open, and the goblins are caught with their pants down.

DM Literally.

DM One of them is asleep and two others are peeing on it.

DM The foul yellow stream is catching it right in midsnore.

DM Several torches mounted in crude wall sconces burn fitfully in this chamber, filling the air with a haze that blurs sight. A double row of marble columns carved with entwining dragons marches the length of the hall.

Azario Azario strolls in and shoots one of the peeing goblins.

Kryss “Where is Durnn?!” Kryss roars as he brings his foot down on the sleeping goblin.

Julian Julian rushes into battle. Perhaps a timely beheading will encourage the others to answer Kryss’s demand.

DM One goblin explodes, unable to get to its shield in time to block Azario’s blast. A second goblin head rolls to halt at the peeing goblins’ feet, severed by Julian’s blade. All four of the remaining goblins are peeing now, in dread fear of Kryss’s question. Whimpering, they point to the door they guard.

Kryss Kryss charges at the goblin by the wall.

DM The blow clatters off the wall in the haze.

Erky Erky flashes the goblin by the other wall with divine light.

DM The goblin screams.

Azario Azario continues to blast without remorse, shooting the same goblin Erky hit.

DM It explodes against the wall behind him.

Julian Julian darts forward, strikes at the same goblin as Kryss, then falls back a pace to guard Kryss’s flank.

Goblins Two of the goblins fearfully rush Kryss, failing to harm the mighty warrior. The others grab their bows rather than their shields and morningstars, and unleash a hail of arrows. Erky takes one to the knee.

Kryss Kryss swings his massive axe sideways at the goblin in front of him, clearly hoping to crash through into the next.

DM The damned haze and awkward confines of this hall do not play to Kryss’s strength.

Erky Erky uses more divine light on the same goblin.

DM The goblin barely stands after Erky’s divine assault.

Azario Azario shoots one of the back goblins with a bow.

DM It blasts through the goblin and his wounded companion. Their bows fall to the ground.

Julian Julian focuses on the goblins attacking Kryss.

Azario “Ah ha ha!” Azario gives a silent nod to the Ebon Hand.

Goblins The goblins are hard pressed to harm either Julian or Kryss.

Kryss Enraged, Kryss sets the room ablaze with his fire breath.

DM The goblins die beneath the flames. The smoke stings the party’s eyes.

Azario “Put out these damned torches!”

Julian Julian smothers the torches with whatever is handy.

Kryss Kryss sets to work following instructions

Azario Azario moves to the closest one to smother as well.

DM The room is plunged into darkness. A massive bustle is heard from beyond the door.

Julian “All right, so it sounds like the chief is through that door.” he adds.

DM There are…an indeterminate number of goblins beyond, but if one were to take their best guess, it would be…

Julian “Got a less smoky light?”

Azario “Sounds like a lot of goblins are beyond that door. Any ideas?”

Kryss “Ill let some air in when I kick that door down.”

Julian “Erky, light just one torch, would you?”

Julian “And let’s block off that south door. Take them one at a time.”

DM Erky is shrugging into some goblin armor. “I will, Julian. Give me a second?”

Azario “Why would they charge us if we block the door? They have bows, probably.”

Kryss “There are at least 6 goblins through the south door. More than 12 through the other.”

Azario “They’ll just turn Kryss into a pincushion.”

Julian “I mean block it closed.”

Azario “Then we can’t move forward.”

Kryss “My armor will shed any attacks from mere goblins.”

Azario “You said six in the south? Let’s get them first.”

Julian Once light returns Julian uses goblin weapons, corpses, and the like to jam the south door. He simply waits for Azario to realize that there are two doors.

Kryss Kryss crashes through the south door as instructed.

Julian “…Or that.”

Julian “Not too bright, is he?” Julian inquires of Azario.

Azario “Oh shove it. There were more in the other door, genius.”

DM The door, blocked as it is, explodes off its hinges. Once again, the goblins are caught off guard. Two of them are playing dice, one of them is trying to dip its balls into the open mouth of its sleeping companion, and the last two appear engaged in copulation. It is not entirely clear whether or not it is willing on both sides.

Julian “Never going to unsee that…”

DM The chamber is used to store more brackish water, putrid jerky, oil and several barrels of pudding.

Kryss Kryss sets about exterminating all those who do not call his consort, Queen.

DM Ironic, since the queen is their mascot. Now that they have stolen her from the Palescale.

Julian Julian charges fearlessly into battle.

DM The goblins fucking die beneath Kryss’s blade.

DM Er, the fucking goblins die beneath Kryss’s blade.

DM The goblins that are fucking, die beneath Kryss’s blade.

DM Julian severs the nutsack off the teabagging goblin, dropping it into the sleeping goblin’s mouth and choking it to death.

Azario Azario blasts at one of the goblins near the doorway that he can hopefully get to.

DM Azario’s blast removes the better part of the penultimate goblin’s skull.

DM Only one goblin remains.

Azario “See? Easy.”

Kryss Kryss steps back into the doorway to ensure the goblin doesnt slip by him.

Julian “Maybe you’re right. I was being too careful after that nightmare of a rat queen.”

Azario “Well we have…a Kryss now. So that changes things.” Azario blasts at the last goblin.

DM He nearly takes Julian’s head off.

Azario “Not intentional!”

Julian Julian thanks his lucky stars that he is so dextrous as he straightens back up.

DM The goblin smashes his morningstar into Julian’s kneecap. His lucky stars seem rather fickle.

Kryss “They strike low.” Kryss offers as advice.

Julian “Ah, that stings.” Julian thanks his lucky stars that the goblin is weak and pathetic.

Azario Erky was kind of hanging back so he doesn’t really have a chance to help.

Julian He fends off the goblin with his blade.

Kryss Kryss rolls his eyes and throws a hand axe.

DM It shaves the top of Julian’s hair.

Julian “Okay, not funny anymore.”

Azario Azario tries to kill the goblin again and not Julian.

Kryss “It is good you are so small,” Kryss answers.

DM The goblin is thrown back against the wall, a blasted corpse hits the floor.

Julian “All right. So here’s the plan. For the battle with the chieftain, I’ll just stay behind you, Kryss, and concentrate on filling you with the righteous strength of Tal.”

Kryss Kryss tunes his keen ears onto the door to the east.

Julian “Definitely not getting between you and the enemy.”

Kryss Kryss twists the doorknob and pushes it open.

DM It lacks a knob, but it does open, at his push. An L shaped hallway lies before them. It appears that they are headed back towards kobold territory.

Julian “Wrong way. Durnn was through the other door, remember?”

Azario “Oh a short cut. Okay back to killing goblins.”

Kryss He pulls the door shut behind him and returns to the smokey room.

Julian Julian picks up a goblin bow and arrows.

DM The smoke has cleared now, in the absence of the lit torches.

Kryss “Same as before?” Kryss confirms.

Erky Erky calls upon his god for light and douses his own torch.

Azario “Alright be ready for anything. They’re probably making barricades and stuff.”

Julian Julian finds some cover of his own, behind a column. He prepares to fill Kryss with the righteous strength of Tal just before the warrior kicks open the door.

Kryss Kryss kicks this door in as well.

DM What may once have been a cathedral is now a goblin lair, thick with the filth of years of goblin life. Scores of wall and floor-mounted sconces filled with violet-glowing fungi provide illumination. In the sickening light, dozens of goblins had gone about their daily business, which before they were scattered, seemed to be sleeping, preparing food, arguing, eating, sleeping, fighting, sharpening weapons, sneaking, sleeping, shouting, fighting, sewing, and sleeping. The southern wall is home to a heaping pile of assorted items, including wagon wheels, broken armor and rusted arms, chests, small statues, antique furniture, and artwork. Unfortunately, the stash doesn’t seem to be particularly well cared for. As the door explodes, the village stops, staring in horror for a moment before bursting into chaos. Several guards begin making their way to defend against the intruders, while the rest of the citizenry runs in panic.

 photo cardart_goblinrabblemaster_zpsghhx3kcs.jpg
Julian Julian ducks into the room long enough to slice at the nearest goblin, then retreats behind Kryss.

Kryss Kryss roars flame into the panicked populace. “MY QUEEN SENDS GREETINGS TO DURNN!!”

Azario Azario pokes into shoot one of the approaching guards then backs off.

DM Five goblins scream as they are reduced to ash. Two of the hobgoblins stagger, but do not slow their advance. Oh yes…there are hobgoblins here. Taller, meaner goblinoids, with far better equipment, they move with military precision.

Kryss Massive Kryss does not back down and follows his breath with a hand axe spinning toward a hobgblin.

DM It flies off, catching a fleeing goblin in the back and severing its spine.

Kryss He doesnt watch where the axe lands as he settles behind his shield and raising his axe defensively.

Azario Erky uses divine light on one of the goblins he sees straight to the rear of the room.

DM It sears the vile creature.

Azario Azario steps in, lobs a shot at the hobgoblin to the north, and backs back in.

DM As their sole target, the goblins focus fire on Kryss. The arrows pierce through his heart and vital organs, but he shrugs off the blows because he still has enough hit points to annoy Azario.

Azario NOW Azario steps in, lobs a shot at the hobgoblin, and backs back in.

DM It splatters on the hobgoblin’s shield.

Julian Julian repeats his Parthian maneuver against the nearest hobgoblin. Who knows who the Parthians are, but their tactics seem to be effective.

DM The largest of the hobgoblins takes the blow with a grunt.

Hobgoblins The three of them move in on Kryss. Only one of them possesses the skill to strike the draconic warrior, but he does so with a vicious fury. Aided by his companions, who distract the man long enough to provide a minute flaw in his guard.

Kryss Kryss replies with a mighty swing of his own.

DM It clatters off the chain armor of the hobgoblin.

Kryss He misses but a deep breath returns his strength

Erky Erky uses more divine light on the middle hob.

DM A spark singes the mighty hobgoblin’s fur.

DM He blinks.

DM Coughs.

DM Ash comes from his lungs.

DM He falls to his knees, no longer able to ignore the savage wound Julian dealt him.

DM The spark bounces to his weaker companion, who screams as it engulfs his entire torso.

Erky Erky looks at his hands in amazement.

DM Four arrows fly out and shatter on Kryss’s armor.

DM The rest of the citzenry rushes away.

Azario Azario kinda…sorta…steps into where Kryss is, shoots the upper hobgoblin, then backs back out.

Julian Julian’s goblin arrow goes wide.

DM The hobgoblin blinks, having missed a close call.

Hobgoblins Then they kill Kryss. Or at least attempt to. Sadly for the defense of Goblintown, their attempt fails.

Kryss Kryss has had enough of this, and swings his axe in a wide scythe, cutting down both of the hobgoblins like so much wheat.

Erky Erky strolls in and shoots a goblin with light

DM Its eyeball explodes as the hand of a gnomish god touches it. Goblin arrows fly and Erky falls to the ground bleeding. One sticks in Kryss’s shoulder at the armor joint.

Azario Azario walks in but who cares why he shoots something

DM The goblin dies, a hole smoking in its chest.

Azario Azario stares blankly at the rest of the goblins.

Julian Julian ventures past Kryss’s guard, grabbing Erky and dragging him to safety.

Kryss Kryss charges into the room and hacks at one of the archers. He follows with a swing from his shield.

DM The goblin crumples from the axe.

Azario Erky heals himself more

DM The goblins open fire. An arrow takes Azario in the gut, but fel forces seem to absorb the blow.

Julian Julian ducks back into the room long enough to lay down some covering fire.

AzarioDIE!” Azario shoots back

Goblin The goblin ducks underneath Azario’s shot, and it blasts into one of the cowering goblins in the back of the room.

DM Julian’s shot takes one of the remaining goblins in the throat, it dies gurgling.

Azario “I’LL KILL YOU ALL ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.”

Kryss Kryss rushes the last goblin, tucked in behind his shield.

Azario Azario realizes that would be better said in goblin, not common.

DM The fearful goblins appear to get the message. In fact, six more goblins throw open the door to the back room.

Julian “I feel they have reinforcements back there.” Julian opines.

Azario “I’ve got just the spell if they want to mass.” Azario strolls down, plants his foot in a goblin’s skull, and shoots at one of the goblins in the next room.

Julian Julian moves about, seeking a clear shot and then ducking back behind cover.

DM The shot takes off the two heads of the goblins in the immediate doorway.

Azario Now the Ebon Hand is pleased.

Kryss Kryss looks back to Julian for instruction as the goblins heads explode into mist.

Julian “Charge them, Kryss. Tal will protect you.”

DM Indeed, behind the door, one of the goblins lies in a pool of its own blood, Julian’s arrow lodged in its breast. What hopes and dreams did this young guard have? Who will tell his story?

Julian If only there were a minstrel about.

Azario Azario begins whistling an old ditty about goblins dying.

DM The goblins explode out of the room, firing their bows and one leading the charge towards Kryss. His morningstar bounces ineffectually off Kryss’s armor.

DM However, another arrow finds Azario’s boisterous breast. Again, fel workings prevent any damage.

Azario Azario wonders if he’ll ever get used to pain being so real…yet so temporary.

DM In fact, were one to look in the spirit world, they would find the souls of the dead goblins suffering in Azario’s place.

Kryss Kryss hacks tirelessly at the goblin in front of him.

DM It dies.

Kryss kryss moves as the goblin falls

Azario Azario approaches, his hands engulfed in flames. Burning, one might say. Except its actually another eldritch blast

Julian Julian continues the barrage of arrows even as his spell constantly restores Kryss’s might.

Goblins One of the goblins takes the arrow in the eye and keeps on fighting. Arrows fly back at Kryss and Julian. They clatter off armor and doorways.

Kryss Kryss answers with his axe and shield again.

DM The goblin dies.

KryssWHERE IS DURNN?!” Kryss roars as he destroys another bowman.

Azario Azario doesn’t really give a chance for the goblin to answer.

DM The remaining goblin risks a glance at the door to the northwest, and trembles. “I’ll…” Azario didn’t really give it a chance to answer. Its head explodes as the Ebon Hand claims its soul.

Julian Julian’s arrow follows close behind. Impaling the already-dead corpse to the wall.


Kryss “You didnt really give it a chance to answer,” Kryss says.

Julian “There’s others. Durnn!” Julian demands. Not speaking Goblin, one-word queries seem best.

Kryss Kryss takes a moment to collect his hand axes.

Goblins They cower and point towards the northwest door.

Julian Julian takes the same moment to collect treasure with Azario.

Kryss "Theres a door to the north as well.

Azario Azario takes a look at the treasure as well.

DM The door to the direct north lies open, several noncombative goblins having fled through it during the battle.

Kryss Kryss takes a position beside the northwest door.

Julian After the moment passes, Julian nods to Kryss. “You first. My spell has maybe another few moments left, and I can cast one more if he’s tough.”

DM Although no one speaks Goblin, Azario can hear the sounds of soldiers setting up and commands being barked through the doors to the northwest. It does not seem that Durnn cares much for his people, and more for himself.

Azario “Yeah, he’s there. I think he’s getting his goblins ready to protect him.”

Azario “Erky, grab yourself a shield and stay back. You’ve got shot up enough today.”

DM The goblins whine and complain, but make no move to stop the heroes from looting their treasure.

Azario “Oh that’s right, the goblins. Still…literally bunched up right there.”

Kryss Kryss barely notices the living as he piles corpses to block the northernmost door.

Julian Julian uses whatever munitions are left over to jam the northwest door. Plus a quite enormous pile of goblin corpses.

DM It’s quite clear that jamming the northwest door isn’t going to happen. The door opens inward.

Julian The other door it is!

Kryss “No, this one.” Kryss corrects.

Azario Azario slips on the rings. “I don’t see any elven inscriptions so this probably won’t go badly for me.”

Julian Soon almost twenty goblin corpses block the way.

Julian “All right. Now, once I cast my last spell, Kryss, you’re on point for the other door.”

Azario “I wonder if they locked that one.”

Julian “Oh, hm. Well, open it, then I’ll cast. Can’t hurt to see.”

Kryss “I wont matter.” Kryss says.

Azario Azario thinks to himself he said it, not me.

Kryss “Get the others in the storeroom.” he suggests.

Julian Julian also picks up a shield while he’s at it, and shoos the other goblins into the storeroom out of the way.

DM Storeroom: The stench, garbage, rotted carrion, and half-eaten legs of strange animals speak of the years of use by unsanitary tenants. Tattered hides form six unstable hammocks around a much-used fire pit. Battered cooking equipment lies mixed indiscriminately with broken or worn arms and armor.

Azario “I don’t speak goblin. If they don’t run that’s their problem.”

Julian “Shoo.” he gestures. “Go on. Shoo!” Julian sighs and raises his sword. Maybe they’ll understand that.

DM The goblins file in.

Kryss Kryss roars loudly.

DM The goblins scream in terror. Little do they know they now serve these terrible warriors’ dread queen.

Kryss Satisfied, Kryss knocks politely on the northwest door.

Julian “OK. Now let’s kill Durnn.”

Azario Azario palms himself in the face so hard he nearly eldritch blasts it.

Durnn “Who dares?” comes a growling voice from beyond the doors.

Azario “The Great Azario and his merry minstrels!”

Kryss “We come for Durnn. Surrender him with or without his head and the rest of your kind will live to serve Calcyx.” Kryss demands.

Julian “We have already slain a score of warriors!” Julian adds.

Azario Azario turns back to Julian. “Wait is he seriously loyal to the dragon?”

Kryss Kryss knocks again.

Durnn “The mighty Durnn does not negotiate with terrorists.”

Julian “I’m starting to wonder.” Julian mutters.

Kryss Kryss kicks the door.

Durnn “Leave my domain lest I hunt you down like…” the door shudders.

Azario “Terrorists. Oh we’ll show you terror!”

Durnn “Are you…kicking my door?”

Azario “He is kicking your door!”

Kryss “Come out and fight, coward.” Kryss demands.

Durnn “You come in and fight, coward! Once you get through my barred door, ha ha ha!”

Kryss Kryss kicks again, the power of Tal rushing through him.

Azario “Kryss stand back I’m going to shoot the door.”

Durnn “Seriously though, Graax, go down and get Balsag, tell him he needs to get up here now.”

Julian “Too late!”

DM The doors explode inward. Arrows fly out.

Kryss Kryss raises his shield.

Azario “Oh dammit.”

DM Julian feels his connection with Tal, already so distant, fade further. Arrows whiz around them, some finding their marks.

Julian Julian strides into the room and hurls a javelin at the source of his discomfiture. “Show me a sign, Tal!”

DM A circular shaft pierces the floor of this forty foot diameter domed chamber. Dim violet light shines out of the shaft, revealing the sickly white and gray vines coating the shaft’s walls. The light from the shaft is supplemented by four lit wall torches set equidistant around the periphery of the chamber. A crudely fashioned throne of stone sits against the curve of the northwestern wall. A large koa wood chest serves as the throne’s footstool. A wide stone pot that once held the twig blight sits next to the throne.

 photo Durnn_zpsfscextfn.jpg


Julian After casting his spear, Julian steps back behind Kryss’s heroic wall of defense.

DM The javelin takes Grenl in the chest and she shrieks. “Maglub…gurk.”

Durnn “Move it, fools!” Durnn clearly believes in leading from the rear.

Grenl Grenl takes cover behind the throne and calls upon her god to save her.

Kryss Kryss rushes a goblin and attempts to throw it into the pit.

DM The goblin screams as it flies over the edge of the pit. All its magic items will surely shatter as it hits…whatever lies below.

Kryss Kryss scrambles back to the doorway to protect his companions.

DM It takes an unsettlingly long time before the screams fade.

Azario Azario steps in, shoots the goblin that wasn’t shoved, and backs back out.

Julian “OK, so, that sounds really deep. Be careful.”

DM Azario’s blast splatters off its thick leather armor.

Kryss Kryss works his axe and shield furiously to defend the attacks.

DM Arrows fly out, sword strokes are made, even a scimitar from the well armed goblin guards of Durnn…none of it matters. It is all to no avail.

Erky Erky shoots some divine light at the nearby goblin

Julian Julian casts another javelin, moving across the doorway to get a clear shot, but this time the shaman’s bane gets to him as his hand trembles.

DM Plus the whole exploding goblin thing.

DM Erky’s god destroys the damn thing, and its gore splatters all over…a man named Heinrick, far away in the future.

Azario Azario says a short prayer for his great descendant who he doesn’t know of yet.

Julian After casting his javelin Julian keeps moving.

Durnn Durnn draws back a mighty arm and flings a javelin at the fool in the doorway.

DM It catches him in the skull.

Julian “Best spell ever.” Julian mutters as his enchantment absorbs the worst of the wound.

DM The twig blight tears itself free from its pot and rushes towards Kryss, intent on committing suicide.

Grenl A blast of dark energy flies towards Kryss’s skull, but only manages to burn the javelin down to a stump.

 photo rsz_pzo9433_goblin-iconic-sorcerer_tkldotcom_zpsboa4bzd3.jpg


DM Who knows where it came from? Probably the dark priest, but she’s hiding again.

Kryss Kryss swings at the hobgoblin near the doorway.

DM The hobgoblin’s head flies off.

Azario Azario blasts point blank at the blight since he only has one target now.

DM It disintegrates beneath the power of the Ebon Hand.

DM Under Durnn’s barked orders, the archers fill Kryss full of arrows.

Azario Erky lands hands upon Kryss. Eventually he decides to heal him too.

Julian Julian’s streak of poor javelin throws extends to two. Has Tal truly abandoned him?

Julian He falls back a distance. “I think a tactical withdrawal would be good.”

DM Maglubiyet’s whispers sound in Julian’s cursed soul.

Julian “You know, disciplined retreat. Withdrawal with honor. That sort of thing.”

Azario “Is that what you tell yourself? Oh well I’m not complaining. It’s good enough for rats.”

Durnn Durnn has yet to draw his sword. He flings a spear at Kryss.

Kryss Kryss staggers, the javelin penetrating his chest.

DM It punches through Kryss’s armor. No javelin, but a full bore spear.

Julian “We did some good damage here. Come on and close the door and let’s come back rested.”

Azario “This is bad. I don’t think they’re gonna back off like the rats.” Azario is mostly talking to himself.

Grenl Dark energies flare up around Kryss. The priest is…not as well hidden this time.

Kryss Kryss turns to look Julian in the eye. Through gritted teeth he says, “Free Spear!” and turns and darts down the hall, Durnns spear still in his chest.

Azario “So, gentlemen, I want you to all remember this name. Azario. I am a very famous performer! Azario!” Azario pulls the door closed behind him and heads off after Kryss.

DurnnAFTER THEM!” Durnn screams. Then he switches to Goblin and repeats himself, so that his men understand.

Julian Julian lingers by the second door, the one into Goblintown, long enough to rattle off a few arrows from behind cover and discourage overeager pursuit while his friends head for Calcryx’s protection. But quite soon, he follows. “Ha!” Bearing several free arrows to add to Kryss’s free spear, Julian rejoins his friends.

Azario “You guys can’t get killed, I need TWO merry minstrels at minimum. Else it’s no longer plural.”

DM Well, perhaps not the most graceful of exits, True Believers, but our heroes certainly have quite the story to tell! Dead goblins lie in their wake, a town has been sacked, and the goblin warlord is headed their way! Will this be the end for our brave adventurers? Or will they succeed in bringing down this threat to the human villages above the Citadel? Find out in two weeks!

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The Sunless Citadel 4
Sunless Citadel, Wealsun Week 3.3, BCY 14500

Session 4.5
DM We’re not completely back True Believers, but half way there! While Kryss and Shael rest up, we find Julian and Azario making ready to head out into the Citadel.

Calcryx “You need to kill her and bring me back the body,” Calcryx is explaining. “Leave one of the females alive, because I want a rat army, but Guthash and her diseased legions need to die.”

Azario “Of course! Is that the only body you want, or would you like others?”

Calcryx “Stop hitting on me, Man, my mate is right here.”

Azario “As you wish. So, Julian, let’s get to killing.”

Julian Julian moves towards the next door, the one that they tried to barricade during their abortive battle.

DM It has been opened in the intervening hours. The goblins did not dare the dragon’s chamber, but they have fled the area.

Julian “Pug, where do you think they will have gone?”

Azario “Come, Pug, we’ve got a dungeon to scour!”

DM The stench, garbage, rotted carrion, and half-eaten legs of strange animals speak of the years of use by unsanitary tenants. Tattered hides form six unstable hammocks around a much-used fire pit. Battered cooking equipment lies mixed indiscriminately with broken or worn arms and armor. Shining gold coins lie scattered across the floor as well. Something large appears slightly buried beneath a mound of dirt.

Julian Julian investigates.

Azario Azario carefully begins collecting the gold coins.

DM Azario sees the gold coins disappearing as soon as he puts them into his pouch. Julian does not appear to notice this, distracted by what appears to be the crossguard of a holy avenger buried in the dirt.

Julian “Wow, look at that.”

Azario “Awww hell these coins are an illusion…Julian get ready for action!”

Julian Julian pauses reaching for the sword. “Wait, what?” He grabs his mace.

DM Mist begins to gather within the room.

Julian Julian takes up a position by the door so that he can flee precipitously if necessary. Or possibly so that he can heroically guard the door while his companions escape. It could be that.

DM The mist fills the room obscuring all vision. It then begins to fade. The faintest whisper of a voice can be heard within. “-sengir…”

Julian Julian looks at Azario. “Uh…”

DM When the mist has faded, the illusory coins have gone as well.

Azario “Sengir? I hardly know ’ir!”

Julian “Well. I have no idea what that meant.” ulian looks to see if the holy avenger was an illusion as well.

DM Alas, the goblins did not happen to have the legendary weapon of a noble paladin in their odd room.

Julian Julian sighs. It seemed so real…

Azario “Hey Your Majesty if you see any gold coins in this room over here they are probably an illusion. So anyways we’re going after the rat now. See you soon!”

Julian He makes his way with Azario towards the northeast. “Come on, Pug, you too.”

DM This section of hallway contains six doors, all slightly ajar, leading into small cells. They are wide enough for a halfling to slip through without pushing them open further, but humans, even those who are only half such, will not be able to avoid dragging them open if they wish to explore.

Azario Azario knocks the first cell wide open. On the left that is.

Julian Julian readies his mace to bash in the skull of whatever may lie within. Hopefully not famished goodly prisoners.

DM Only an abandoned dire rat nest lies within. However, the noise appears to have disturbed one of its neighbors. Even as Azario notes some human seeming tracks, it leaps out, snapping with its diseased jaws.

Azario “Kill it!”

DM Julian catches a nasty festering bite on his hand.

Julian Julian attempts to fend it off with Azario’s mace.

DM He crushes its skull. Other rats can be heard gnashing their teeth beyond their own doors.

Julian Julian inspects the nasty festering bite on his hand. “I think it’s diseased.” If only we had a way to open the doors and then kill them from down the hallway before they got close…"

Azario “Pug, do you have a bag? I think we should collect these rats, just in case we kill the queen without knowing it.”

Pug “Pug has no bag. Pug will use Master’s bag if Master has one. Or Pug can carry large rat in hands.”

Azario “Nah, I’ll keep my bag clean. We’ll just grab them later. For now, I’m going to stand at the end of the hallway. You open the doors one at a time and hide behind them, hopefully the rats will come at us and we’ll kill them dead.”

Julian Julian nods. “Better than getting bit again.” He readies several goblin javelin’s taken from the group’s collective loot.

DM A rat emerges from another cell.

Azario “Kill it!”

Julian Julian does so.

DM The javelin transfixes the creature.

Julian “Yeah, this works much better.”

Azario “Come on stupid rats! Let’s go!”

DM The squeaks and gnashes get quieter.

Julian Julian draws and readies new javelin.

DM No more rats emerge for the moment. The path north lies ahead.

Azario “Pug, fling all the doors open!”

Julian “Be ready to dodge if another rat comes out.”

Pug Pug gulps. “Yes Masters.” He moves up, trying to open the doors. He starts with the first one on the right, jerking it several times before it becomes unstuck. When the rat leaps out on him, he shrieks in terror.

DM The jaws close on his throat.

Julian Julian tries to skewer this rat too with a javelin.

DM It screams and squeals as the spear catches it in the meaty portion of its leg.

Azario Azario blasts with “divine” power.

DM The gods are good, the rat dies. Pug gurgles, lying in a pool of his own blood.

Azario “Do you know anything about medical care?”

Julian Julian raises an eyebrow. “Hey, that was… interesting. Well, I can heal wounds with magic. Disease is beyond me, I’m afraid. Erky might know.”

Azario “Pug go back to Erky. He might be able to keep you alive.”

Pug Pug considers, and gets up. “The gnome? No thanks. I’ll take my chances with you. Look, it doesn’t even hurt that much!” He shakes his head back and forth, sending a spray of blood onto them.

Azario “Alright, another door then.”

DM The rats have grown silent. If there are more left, they are lying in wait.

Julian Julian sighs. “For Tal’s sake…” He stomps forwards and opens the last few doors.

AzarioCOME ON OUT STUPID RATS!”

DM The doors reveal only rat nests, no rats themselves.

Julian “When we find the mama rat, we should get some… cheese? Or something? So that we don’t need to use ourselves as rat bait.”

Azario “That’s actually a common misconception: cheese tends to be overpowering to their dumb little rat noses.”

DM Julian spots a coin in one of the rat nests…perhaps these creatures have lined their nests with valuable trinkets?

Julian “Hey Pug, if you’re going to stick around, make yourself useful and search those nests for valuable trinkets. Labor omnia vincit.” Including gaping wounds.

Azario “Hey! We speak Common in this nation!”

Pug Pug crawls through the nests, digging them up and turning over the shiny loot.

Julian “Hm? Oh, just an old saying. Something to do with work making things better. I don’t speak it either, but it’s the motto for one of the friar’s orders.”

Julian Julian pokes his head into the next room while Pug works.

DM The cobblestone floor contains two trapdoors blocked open by iron spikes. It’s obvious that if the tops of the trapdoors were flush with the floor, they would be difficult to spot. The north wall holds a dry fountain carved with the bas-relief of a dragon. The western wall has a door.

Azario “Open the door, Pug! Mind the traps.”

Pug Pug moves in and opens the door.

Julian “Great. With these traps not many rats could come at us at once.” Julian backs off a few steps, behind Azario, mindful of his wound.

Azario “Pug, is it safe?”

DM The stench of rotting meat suffuses the air, rising from much-chewed carcasses of several cave rats, reptiles, smaller vermin, and some suspiciously humanoid looking bodies. The cadavers lie upon a floor of filth, old bones, hair, and fur that combine to make a particularly large and vile nest. The northern wall is smashed, opening on rubble-strewn darkness. The screams of angry rats echo in their ears, along with a far deeper one.

Julian “…I am not going in there. Get back behind us, Pug. Let them come to us.”

DM The first rat misses Pug, and the others hold back, waiting for something.

Azario “Remember, our majesty wants one of them alive.”

Azario Pug disengages, attacks the goblin, then moves backwards.

Julian Julian swallows. “Wow, that’s a big rat.”

 photo Guthash the Bloated_zpsbvmju11w.jpg


Julian “Okay, look… you’re going to have to forget about this later.” Julian speaks words of arcane power. Azario fills his spirit swell with heroism. “With this might behind you, you will be all but invincible!”

Pug The rat has its skull bashed in by Pug’s morningstar.

Azario “Good job Pug! And good job Julian you HERETIC!”

Julian “Apostate. Technically, apostate.” Julian mutters uncomfortably. “Cmon,” he mutters, shifting backwards slightly, “we’ll hold the doorway.”

Azario Azario shifts to a better shot to shoot a rat Then he moves backwards.

DM The rat evaporates in a splatter of bones and fur.

Azario “Alright we need to not do that to the last one. Maybe just knock it silly.”

DM The ‘last’ one charges Azario as he moves in, snapping furiously.

Azario Pug shoots the last one with a nonlethal arrow.

DM They might want to check it sooner than later, the non-lethality of a fired arrow may have been overstated by Pug. But the rat is down.

Julian Julian puts away his least pointy javelin since Pug has done the job. He moves to join the others and readies himself to respond to aggression.

Azario Azario moves in to blast mama rat, then afterwards backs off a little.

DM The blast strikes the massive diseased creature, half buried in the refuse on the floor. It wounds her, and one of the pustules on her body explodes. A rat swarm flows out of her rather than blood.

Azario “Oh hell!”

Julian “Urgh…”

Julian “That’s vile.”

DM The rats flow towards Azario. He fends them off.

Azario “I am too handsome to die! To me, faithful companions!” Pug does not advance, just his arrow does.

DM The arrow does not seem to harm the swarm all that much. It sticks in one of the squirming creatures and more rush to take its place.

Julian Julian rallies to Azario’s side and hurl’s a javelin from close range. Azario feels inspired by his companion’s faithfulness. Then he backs away again…

Azario Azario blasts the swarm all around him.

DM The rats die by the score, but more take their place.

Azario “I knew I should have learned some other spell!”

DM “Pug thought the gods give you your magic?”

Azario “Yes, and I should have learned some other spells from them!”

DM Guthash erupts from the ground, thundering towards Azario, but merely bites herself, opening up another stream of rats from her body.

Julian “Ohshit.” Julian is too distracted by the enormous charging diseased rat queen to closely parse Azario’s words.

Azario Pug shoots at the rat swarm again

DM Less rats, but still too many to count.

Julian “Let me try something a little… different.” Julian works another spell.

DM Guthash collapses, snoring loudly. The swarms continue to protect her.

Azario Azario blasts the swarm near him again, then decides to move away, consequences be damned.

DM The rats bite him savagely. The healthy swarm moves in, waking Guthash back up. The wounded swarm seeks out fresh meat. Barely any rats remain in the swarm, but they are still enough to inflict a nasty set of bites along the paladin’s arm.

Azario Pug whacks at the rats.

Julian Bereft of his meat shield, Julian collapses.

AzarioAUGH!” Azario attacks the swarm, hoping to save his…well not friend…but guy person.

DM Enranged, his blast scatters the remaining rats.

DM Er…enraged.

Azario As best as he can, Azario attempts to drag Julian back to home base.

DM They flee the mighty Guthash and her disgusting spawn.

Azario “Hey you guys, make sure Julian doesn’t die. We still need to kill that rat.”

DM Vigorous conversation with small creatures ensues.

Erky Erky frowns. “It seems the gods do not answer as well here. Do you need more of the sacred milk of my god, Julian?”

Julian Coming to, Julian mutters something about how it’s completely normal for rats to be able to slay a grown man in seconds. It’s not that he’s short.

Azario “Yes he needs all the healing he can get. Also he’s diseased maybe.”

Erky Erky works his magic, feeding Julian all sorts of disgusting concoctions until he manages to puke his way healthy.

Julian Julian politely does most of his puking in the next room. Horrible rat diseases are no excuse for bad manners.

Azario Sinister laughter fills Azario’s head as he rests. But he suddenly feels far more persuasive and deceptive. “Alright, I feel ready to kill everything I come across. Let’s start with the rat mama.”

Julian “Yeah, let’s go.” I think I managed to puke that disease out of my bloodstream."

Azario “Good.” Azario leads the way back to the room where they were hanging out and killing swarms.

Pug “Do the masters want Pug to come?”

Azario “Yes come along Pug.”

DM As they advance up the hallway, they find the northern room full of rats.

Azario “It’s time for the showdown!”

DM Two more giant rats bare diseased teeth, and two swarms rush around. Guthash is nowhere to be seen, but the bodies of the slain rats do lumber on, driven by pure evil.

“Heroic Rise”:https://app.box.com/s/nz6t5wefhh6sw5b9656dw629iy1o86gq

DM It is time to arise!

Azario Azario tests his newfound power on the dire rat before him

DM Wounded, the rat screams and makes to rush him.

Pug Pug fires to finish it off.

DM His arrow goes wide, into the dimension from which blood and gore emerge to shower Heinrick. The rat charges. It leaps up, teeth slashing across Azario’s chest. Fit as a fiddle, he does not succumb to disease. The swarms pour forth.

Julian Julian retaliates with crushing sweeps of the mace.

DM Rat heads explode like tiny geysers of diseased blood.

Azario Azario attemps to finish off the dire rat.

DM He blasts through several tiny rats swarming him to do so. It explodes.

Azario Azario feels dark power well within him.

Pug Pug shoots at the swarm swarming Julian

DM He skewers three of the rats with a single shaft, not even nicking the paladin. The final dire rat charges Azario It climbs over its dead mate’s body to bite his throat.

Julian “Third time will be the charm.” Julian falls back.

Azario Azario disengages and runs

Pug Pug shoots at the swarm again, not really getting the charm reference

DM The rats swarm over him, but he is able to hold them back, somewhat.

Julian Now that they have a moment’s breather, Julian cures Azario’s wounds.

DM Only a single swarm gets around Pug to snap at Azario

Julian He then falls back a little further himself, mindful of his own nearly dead state.

Azario Azario attempts to finish off the swarm about him

Julian But not so far that he could not work his heroism spell if time allows.

DM He casts his power at his feet, and when the smoke has cleared, no rats trouble him.

Azario Azario then backs up to give more safe blast space

Pug Pug disengages and moves back and then attacks

DM Pug the Ratkiller fells yet another of the hideous vermin. He fends them off yet again.

Julian Julian throws a javelin at… Pug? Swarm? Nope, definitely swarm.

DM The swarm. Three rats die.

Azario Azario tries to make more rats die.

DM He does.

Azario Pug pulls out his morningstar and shield and whacks away and then disengages and moves.

DM Pug sweeps all of the rats away from him. He killed every last one of those bastards, my friends.

Julian Julian looks around. “Hey, I have an idea.”

Azario “Hmm?”

DM “Yes Master?”

Julian “Before we do anything else, Azario, pulverize the bodies a couple times with your blast. Till they’re soup.”

Azario “With pleasure!”

Julian “So that they can’t come back again.”

Azario Azario positively bombards every last rat corpse with so much magic the foundations might shake. “There’s still some zombie rats up ahead. Ready?”

Julian “OK, but one more good hit will do me in. I can enchant you up again, but I think we should hold a defensive position by the door. You in front, we’ll back you up behind.” Julian hands Pug a dagger.

Azario “Hey are you even using those? Give it back.”

Pug “Thank you, Master. I fear no rat.”

Julian “Good, Pug. That’s good.”

Azario Azario forcibly parts Julian with his other gifted dagger. “You can use my handaxe instead if you want. I’m better with this thing.”

Julian “Works for me.”

Azario Azario marches up the hallway to create a barricade with his corpus

Julian Julian proceeds back north, staying behind Azario.

DM The zombies move in on him as soon as he enters the room.

Azario Azario steps forward and introduces the zombies to burning, then steps back

DM The zombie rats flip like ninjas out of the flames’ path. It doesn’t matter though, they light on fire all the same. Nothing remains but ash in the wake of Azario’s blast.

Julian Julian raises an eyebrow. “I’m impressed. That leaves just one question. Attack the mother now… or come back fresh?”

DM The question is answered.

Azario “I get the distinct feeling she’s just going to keep getting reinforcements. Let’s at least hurt her some more.”

Guthash As Guthash smashes through the doorway, sending a spray of stone into the group. She picks Azario up in her mouth and shakes him like a rag doll before spitting him back out.

Azario “Oww…”

DM The trapdoor creeks ominously as her bulk rests halfway upon it.

Azario “Back, back I say!”

Pug Pug moves back

Julian Julian’s magic helps Azario feel the heroic side of this situation. Then he too falls back.

Azario Azario disengages, hoping to lure the rat into a trap.

DM Guthash barrels into the narrow hallway, but missteps and falls into the trapped pit. The metal spike holding it open finally collapses under her weight, and she screams as she plunges down.

Pug Pug moves a little closer and shoots an arrow

Julian Julian moves close to Azario and tries a javelin.

DM Neither are proof against the pit of DOOM!

Azario Azario shoots more magic blast

DM Angling it perfectly off the rim, it hits something within, and Guthash howls.

Guthash She lunges up and out of the pit, swarms of diseased rats pouring out of her ruined eyes. Barely a living creature anymore, she is the embodiment of rodent rage. Blood and hatred, wrapped in a massive bloated body.

Azario Pug shoots at the blood and hatred

Julian Julian casts a javelin, then backs up.

DM It sticks in her nose, pulling much of the flesh off of her face. She screams again.

Julian Surely his spell will keep Azario safe without Julian’s immediate proximity.

Azario Azario unleashes more fire on…whatever is left of this thing

DM She shifts her bulk, allowing most of the flame to pass her by.

Pug Pug drops his bow and grabs his dagger and shield and stabs away

DM Stabbing the vicious creature right to her brain. She drops in a massive crash, and the swarms scatter upon her death.

Julian “Praise Tal.” Julian mutters. He goes about making sure she Guthash very, very dead.

Azario “No one’s buying it, mage.”

DM Julian finds…threads of sinew and bone that have a very familiar feel to them. Metallic…and not just any metal. A black, nearly organic steel.

Julian “There’s more important things afoot here.” Julian points. “This was no ordinary giant rat. Look. Enhancements. Have you ever seen the like before?”

Azario “No, really? Not an ordinary rat? I’m shocked.” Azario takes a look.

DM He sees what Julian was talking about.

Julian “The old tales speak of such things… but not since the Artificer’s Wars.”

Azario “Look at that. What sort of place have we gotten ourselves into?”

Julian “I don’t know.” Julian shakes his head. “I’ve only seen this once before. And that creature was dead a hundred years.”

Azario “Let me guess, you’re actually a thousand year old sentient golem. Just like the others are an angel and a dragon. I am so sick of you children trying to show me up. It won’t work! I am Azario! And I killed a metal rat! I killed a lot of rats!”

Julian “A student from Tal’s knightly orders. No more. And indeed you did. I will make sure the others know of it.”

Azario “I told you, no one is buying it! Not sure why you’d be so keen on worshiping a god who wants us all dead.”

Julian Julian shrugs deeply. “If we find my gear, you will see my cavalry insignia there…Didn’t you say your power came from Tal also?”

Azario “Oh please. I’m about as pious as that dead rat. But you’re in no position to judge, so we can both just keep quiet on it.”

Pug “I killed rats for Master,” Pug inserts into the conversation.

Azario “Good job Pug.”

DM Guthash’s lair remains filthy and undisturbed.

Julian Julian raises an eyebrow. “Interesting. Well done, Pug. As a reward, why don’t you be the first to shed light on the creature’s lair?”

Pug “Master?” Pug asks confused.

Julian “Go search the lair, Pug.”

Azario “We’re checking the lair for loot.”

Julian “We’ll keep guard against any straggling rats.” Julian turns back to Anzario, looking the other man over. Can he be trusted?

Pug Pug runs off, and returns shortly. “Master, Master!” He has a fist full of silver pieces.

Julian The moment passes, and Julian holds his peace.

Azario “Good job!” Azario goes in.

Pug Pug runs off, and returns shortly. “Master, Master!” He has a fist full of gold pieces.

Julian “Very good job!”

Pug Pug runs off, and returns shortly. “Master, Master!” He has a fist full of three gems.

Julian “Fantastic job!”

Pug Pug runs off, and returns shortly. “Master, Master!” He has a dead human body.

Julian “…We were on such a good streak, too. That is not loot, Pug.”

Pug Pug runs off, and returns shortly. “Master, Master!” He has a dead hobgoblin.

Julian “OK. That’s enough corpses. Are there any more gems?”

Pug “Leave their stuff too?” Pug asks.

Julian “No, definitely bring that.”

Azario “You know what let’s just go in ourselves.” Azario heads into the lair.

Julian Julian waits. It looks even filthier than the rest of this hole.

DM Azario finds shit and gore, along with the corpses’ gear, that Pug gleefully is gathering up. The hobgoblin had a longsword, dagger, some other familiar looking gear to Julian. The human had daggers, studded leather armor, a shortbow, a healing potion, a pouch, six arrows and a gold ring engraved with the name Karakas.

Azario Azario helps himself to the armor, potion, pouch, and gold ring.

Julian The news of familiar gear is enough to draw Julian into the shithole against all the protests of his senses. He takes stock of his possessions. Longsword, leather… yes, all here. And a certain weapon…?

DM Indeed.

Julian He quickly wraps the serrated, black iron blade in a cloth and stows it away.

Azario “So why’d you lie about seeing that metal monster type thing before? Just want to impress me?”

Julian Julian looks blank. “What now?”

Azario “You said you saw something like that rat before.”

Julian “With Tal as my witness.”

Azario “And we know what THAT’S worth. Oh well, I suppose we’re all just a bunch of liars, aren’t we?”

Julian “How do you think I recognized it?”

Azario “Do you play anything?”

Julian “Like, cards?”

Azario “Ugh, Instruments man!”

Julian “It’s usually best not to play instruments, Azario. If you’re looking for a minstrel, you’ll have to look elsewhere.”

Azario “It’s like you want me to hate you.” without accompaniment, Azario plays himself back to the dragon’s lair.

Julian “Come on, Pug.” Julian follows after. Well after.

DM Guthash is dead. Calcryx may be appeased despite their failure to return a living rat for her pleasure. Who knows? Find out next week!

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The Sunless Citadel 3
The Sunless Citadel, Wealsun Week 3.2, BCY 14500

Session 4
DM When last we left our heroes, the human and half elf were bumbling around trying to properly pronounce the draconic word Nainarya in front of this strange fountain. Will they manage? Will they walk on by? Will they return to the town to purchase supplies and chat with random townspeople instead of finishing the adventure? Read on and find out!

Kryss Kryss and Meepo watch them mumbling to each other.

Shael “Haha, still nothing, mate.” he replies to Azario, “Meepo, Kryss? Want to give it a try?”

Kryss “What are they doing, Meepo?” Kryss taps his chin, considering what he knows about historical draconic languages. “Are you certain you want me to say the word?” Kryss asks thoughtfully.

Meepo “Meepo couldn’t possibly presume upon their actions, Great One. Much less yours.”

Shael “Call me curious.” Shael replies with a ready grin.

Kryss “It is an ancient word to invoke flames. I imagine your human frame would be burnt to a crisp.” Kryss warns.

Shael Shael takes several steps back, “Ah, well, yes, carry on…” he takes several more steps back.

Kryss “Nainarya.”

DM Reddish liquid wells in the basin. Dripping from the dragon’s mouth.

Kryss “Interesting.” Kryss remarks

Kryss “Do you know anything about this room, Meepo?”

DM “This is the path to the wretched goblins, Great One.”

Shael “Is it??” Shael inquires from the back of the room, standing on his tip-toes and trying to see what’s happening.

Kryss “What is in the fountain?”

Meepo “It appears to be reddish liquid, Great One. No doubt conjured by your masterful pronounciation of the sacred tongue.”

Kryss “Master Hydrobulous? Do you know what the liquid is?”

Hydrobulous “Does it possess magical qualities, Mortals?” Hydrobulous asks imperiously.

Shael “So… it isn’t fire, then? Great billowing gouts of fire?” he settles to his heals and approaches curiously. “I could check, I suppose… but it will take a while to set up.”

Kryss how long?” Kryss asks

Shael “Not too long, several minutes I suppose.”

Kryss “Search the rest of the room, Meepo. Do not disturb Our Protector.” Kryss orders. “Tell me of everything you find.”

Shael Taking out a piece of chalk, Shael begins jotting symbols onto the floor in a vaguely circular pattern. It takes him about ten minutes and when he is done he stands in the middle and observes the pool. At several points he needs to reference a book that he produces from one of his pouches.

DM The liquid is in fact, magical. No doubt it could be bottled and utilized as a potion.

Meepo Meanwhile, Meepo looks over the room that the others have already searched.

Shael “It is…” he says at long last. “…interesting. Do we have any containers?”

Kryss “Did you purchase some from the town?”

DM Naturally they do, as Madam Hucrele was insistent upon them getting any goods they required. Look at that, a bottle in their new rucksacks!

Shael “Oh, yes!” he produces several and carefully attempts to bottle the liquid.

Kryss “Lets ask our Good Friend to do that.” Kryss suggests

DM Too late, Shael is already clumsily pouring the liquid into the bottle. Some of it splashes on Kryss.

Shael “I got it!” Shael says excitedly.

DM Kryss coughs a few times, exhaling smoke.

Kryss “Interesting.” Kryss remarks. “Shall we continue?”

Shael “Great stuff!” Shael says, obliviously filling his containers before distributing them between Meepo and Kryss, “Yeah, let’s go!”

Meepo “Absolutely Great One.” Meepo sets out to the north. He turns left at the next fork, rather than heading up through the hall. Meepo opens the doors to the room. Empty and lightless, this lonely chamber is home only to reptile droppings, crumbled flagstone, and nameless stains. “Onward!” He urges. “Meepo must become Keeper of the Dragons again!”

Kryss Kryss surveys the room, always alert for danger

Shael Shael follows blithely along, little in the room catching his attention.

DM The door to the north is the only noteworthy entity.

Meepo Meepo opens the door, and a bell clangs loudly. “Meep,” the kobold exclaims.

Kryss Kryss snatches Meepo out of the doorway.

DM The 10-foot-wide hall is liberally strewn with sharp caltrops. The northern door is missing, but the room beyond is partially blocked by a roughly mortared 3-foot-high wall, complete with crenellations. Goblins pop over the wall, firing at the group.

Shael Shael fills the doorway, his dagger leaping into his hand.

Kryss “Protector? I think i might be uniquely suited to handle this threat.”

Meepo Meepo slumps in his arms. “Great One…” he whispers, dying.

Kryss Kryss tosses the now-useless corpse to the floor behind him.

Shael Shael nods towards Kryss, grimly he says, “Do it.”

Hydrobulous “Hurry up, Mortals, clear my path,” Hydrobulous commands.

Kryss Kryss slides past his Protector and strides into the room. He opens his mouth halfway through and speaks in True Draconic, “NAINARYA.” Flames pour from his mouth and wash over the battlements at the opposing door.

DM An arrow bounces off Kryss’s chest as the flames wash over the goblins. One screams as it falls off the wall, and the other looks nearly charred. It only just managed to duck behind the wall before being as baked as its companion.

Shael Not wasting a moment, Shael chases the fire with a trio of glowing darts invoked by a magical phrase and a gesture.

DM It is overkill, the first dart explodes the goblin’s head, the others ruining its body entirely.

Kryss “Fall back to our door and get ready for a counter assault!” Kryss warns. Hearing no movement, Kryss stands aside to allow Shael to take the lead again.

Shael Shael reaches around the door and rips the bell off it’s perch. “Hells.” he says, turning his gaze to Meepo as his arms flex around the instrument. “What do we do?” he asks Kryss.

Kryss “About what?”

Shael “They killed our friend, our ally… they murdered him without an opportunity for parley… what do we do for him? What do we do to them?” Shael seems uncertain. Uncertain, but angry.

Kryss “He was Lesser. We continue on. Watch for caltrops in the hallways moving further.”

Shael “No he wasn’t!” Shael protests, “He was brave and honorable! Dedicated to his calling and clan… wars have been fought for less.”

Hydrobulous “Well, you have destroyed the scouts, but it is clear we have now entered goblin territory.”

Kryss Kryss tilts his head at Shael. “Honor? I suppose you are correct. We must make this right.”

Shael “But what can we do? I was hoping to negotiate with the first goblins we encountered for passage, barter with their leader… I… I have no idea what to do now.”

Kryss “Would you like to bring the caltrops with us?”

Shael Shael nods absently. “Yeah, yeah sure… we might need them.”

Kryss “I believe the term humans use in this situation is that they drew ‘First Blood.’ This is war. I know how to war. Ill need time to plan.”

Kryss Kryss thinks for a moment. “Plan is, crush goblins. After that we recover the corpses and return to town to collect our reward.”

Shael With a grimace, Shael nods. “Agreed.” he glances at Hydrobulous for his input.

Hydobulous “Acceptable, loyal subjects. Onward.”

DM As they step over the small crenellation that the goblins used for cover, Shael catches the sound of goblin breathing. And arguing.

Shael Shael holds up his hand to halt his companions and signs ‘five’ and points ahead before shrugging.

DM The layer of filth on the floor, stains on the walls, shabby hides, and much-used fire pit attest to the years of use this room has seen at the hands of creatures not overly concerned with hygiene. The eastern door on the southern wall is gone, replaced by a crudely mortared half-wall, complete with crenellations.

DM Up ahead, dozens of blunted and broken javelins lie on the cracked cobblestone floor, though a few actually protrude from three crudely sewn human-sized targets hung along the center of the south wall. The northern third of the room is separated from the south by a crudely mortared and crenellated half wall. A permanent camp of sorts lies north of the wall, complete with a fire ring and several small clay cook pots. Four goblins are there, arguing and caught unawares.

Azario Azario holds up his hand in a blasting motion.

Kryss Kryss nukes the two by the door as introduction.

Shael Shael nods and lances another with fire.

Azario Azario blasts with ‘divine’ power.

DM Two goblins die screaming underneath dragonbreath. A second scrambles for his shield, too late, and is immediately covered with third degree burns. A blast of divine power sails over the head of the last goblin, who grabs his bow.

Azario “That, um, that’s never happened before…”

Shael “…never? Well, there’s a first time for everything… and also a last.” he says encouragingly.

Kryss Kryss throws a hand axe at the injured Goblin.

DM It misses. So badly that it falls into the goblin’s own hand. He has armed his foe.

Shael Shael rounds the corner and launches another lance of fire, “Fall before me!” he commands.

DM The flaming lance is caught by the goblin’s other hand. He’s now doubly armed.

Meepo Meepo’s corpse shifts awkwardly. Had his companions buried him, he would be turning over in that grave now.

Goblin The goblin throws both the lance of fire and the handaxe back at the foolish adventurers.

Shael Shael raises a shield against the attack, growling in frustration.

Azario Azario gives divine power another try.

DM The shield deflects the blasts, and the handaxe bounces off Kryss’s armor. The divine power cleaves a chunk out of the goblin’s head. It drops.

Azario Azario is visibly pleased with this.

Kryss Kryss steps forward, crushing the skull of the dead goblin nearest him. “Here is your chance to serve me.” he states flatly to the living goblin.

Goblin The goblin drops its weapons. “No kill!” it begs.

 photo Pug_zpspeqx8mdz.jpg


Shael “You’d better listen, he’s hungry.”

Kryss “Go sit by that wall until I address you.” Kryss tosses Meepo’s corpse to rest where he indicated.

Goblin “By…kobold?” the goblin asks uncertainly.

Kryss Kryss glares darkly. “That kobald was…” he looks aside at Shael. “uh… my friend. Your kind murdered him.”

Goblin “You want I sit next to friend?”

Kryss “Yes. He is your friend now. Shut up.”

Goblin The goblin does so wisely.

Kryss Kryss addresses Shael. “What should we do?”

Shael “We need to know the layout, how many more are nearby…” he eyes the goblin murdously as he outlines their needs for intelligence gathering.

Kryss “Answer him, Fool or I will use you to open that door.”

Azario “I think you guys are being unnecessarily harsh. Who has a key to this door by the way?”

Goblin Meepo’s new friend waves a hand cautiously.

Azario “I’ll take that.” Azario holds his hand out to the goblin expectantly.

Goblin “Durbuluk Tribe is many hands,” the goblin answers. He gives the key to Azario. “What is layout?”

Kryss “He wants to know what is on the other side of that door.”

Pug “Prisoners.”

Kryss “Whos prisoners?”

Azario Azario uses the key on the door.

Goblin “Durbuluk Tribe’s”

Kryss Kryss watches Azario’s back while he opens the door.

Azario “Oh, is the Durbuluk Tribe all goblins, or are there other things?”

Goblin “We goblins.”

DM Squalor reigns in this long, low dungeon. Three small, horned humanoids are roughly tied with crude ropes to a large spike near the entrance. Farther back, a battered gnome languishes inside a bone cage, which is small even for his frame.

 photo Erky Timbers_zpsqwq6dhh7.png


DM Several sets of makeshift manacles are connected to the walls, which remain empty except for the occasional crumbling skeleton, and the living human. Who looks like…

 photo rsz_julian_zpstgddtxxu.jpg


Julian A dirty man in a dirtier, faded uniform blinks blindly at the bright lights by the door. “What now?”

Kryss “Its a human. Shut that one and try another.”

Azario “Good question! I guess I am your hero today. You’ve probably heard of me: Azario!”

Julian “Wait, who are you?”

Azario “What did I just say!? Ugh, forget it.” Azario begins the thankless task of freeing the prisoners. Human first, then gnome, kobolds…maybe.

Kryss “We are foes of the goblins. How did you come to be here?”

Gnome “Ugh…caught. On the road.” The gnome speaks slowly.

Julian Julian blinks as his eyes adjust to the light. “Uh… thanks. Hey, Erky, I told you!”

Erky “You did.”

Shael Shael taps his fingers against his thigh thoughtfully, he eyes the wall seperating the room and glances at Meepo’s ragged corpse.

Julian Standing free of the manacles, it soon becomes clear that this man is quite short, and his uniform, though rather travel-stained, bears the insignia of a cavalryman. He looks up at the towering warrior in the door. “Uh, hi there.”

Azario “Yeah just ignore me. That’s fine. He wasn’t even going to OPEN the door.” Azario gets to work on the gnome.

Kryss “Hello Child. Do you require food?” Kryss replies.

Julian “Erky probably needs food more than me.” Julian glances at his fellow prisoner. “Azario, right, sorry. I’m Julian.”

Shael “I’m Shael, that’s Kryss; you’ve met Azario and this is the Aqualord Hydrobulous.”

Julian “How did you get down here?”

Kryss Kryss slaps the goblin in the back of the head. “Tell him your name!”

Pug “Pug! Sorry!”

Kryss “This is Pug.” Kryss states.

Julian “Hydrobulous, Shael, Kryss, Azario, Pug.” Julian looks around. “So what are you here for? You didn’t come for us, I guess.”

Azario “We might have! But no we didn’t.”

Shael “We’re here to find a pair of twins who were exploring the ruins… heard anything of the like?”

Kryss “We are looking for a pair of twins. Man and woman. They were here just over two weeks ago. We are hunting them. How long have to been here Child?”

Azario “You aren’t a twins by any chance, are you Julian?”

Julian “No. But I haven’t even been here a week, I think.”

Erky “You mean the girl and her brother?” Erky asks.

Kryss “Indeed. Tell us everything you know about them, Child.”

Erky “You realize I’m older than you, right?” Erky draws himself up to his full three and a half feet, stretching his back as he does. “Ah,that’s it.”

Julian “I am not.” Julian informs Azario. “Huh, you didn’t tell me they were twins, Erky.”

Erky “I didn’t know until now.”

Azario “Kryss, they aren’t children they’re just small. Wait do you think I’m a child too?”

Erky “But they were here, along with the paladin they had protecting them.”

Shael “And the ranger?”

Erky “Not that he did that good of a job. Ranger? Never saw one.”

Kryss “This is no time for games. We need to return these children to their guardians and continue with our search.”

Erky “Talgen and Sharwyn, they were the brother and sister. Sir Braford, that was the knight of Tal.”

Shael "Sounds right, what do you know of them?

Erky “They were only here a week though, before Belek had them removed. He wanted them for something. Dunno what. Never saw them again.”

Julian “Hey, big guy, I know it’s dark in here and I’m small, but I’m not actually a child. Been through the knights’ academy myself, I have.”

Kryss “Theyre not here anymore? Who is Belek?”

Erky “He’s…a bad seed. Some priest of the ancient ways, tends an enchanted garden below here.”

Kryss “Do you know the way?”

Erky “Never been there. The goblins caught me over a year ago on the Old Road. The goblins get enchanted fruit from it though.”

Shael “What about you?” his gaze falls on Pug.

Erky “Grows on the Gulthias tree…” Erky stops talking as Pug becomes the focus.

Julian “Erky has been telling me stories. It’s pretty sinister.”

Kryss Kryss rests a hand noticably on his really big battle axe.

Pug “Never been! Durnn don’t let no gobs down there!”

Azario “You’ve been here a year? I’m astonished you’re even alive.”

Shael He nods and returns his attention to Erky.

Kryss “So who is Durnn?”

Erky “He’s the hobgoblin leader,” Erky offers as Pug replies, “Goblin king.”

Julian “Tough bastard too.”

Kryss “He guards the way to Belek?”

Pug Pug nods cautiously. “Well, he no guard. But throne room has pit.”

Kryss “Then show us the way to Durnn. I will have his head.”

Azario “Are we doing anything with these three?” Azario references the three horned humanoids.

Julian “So you are going on to find these twins, huh?” Julian nods. “That’s a good cause. I’ll join you if you’ll have me.”

Shael “Um, what.. I mean, who are they?”

Kryss “Who are who?”

Kobolds “Humble, insignificant kobolds. No harm. No hurt. Let go and no bother. Hungry. Will eat goblin.”

 photo Kobold 2_zpsq5p6zgxw.jpg


Azario Azario looks at the others. “That alright?”

Shael “Untie them, we were helping the kobolds…” he glances sadly towards Meepo.

Shael “…the least we can do is free their comrades.”

Kryss “Send them back with word that Belek and Durnn are soon to die.”

Julian “You are with the kobolds?” Julian inquires. “That’s… interesting.”

Azario “So wait are we feeding our other prisoner to them? I think that’s against some kind of code. Julian? Is that against a code?”

Shael “I think they meant the dead ones.”

Azario “Alright. Kobolds, only eat the dead goblins, alright?” Azario begins untying them.

Julian “Well, look, feeding people to other people is a bit stiff for me. Even goblins.”

Kryss “But they’re goblins. They killed Meepo.”

Azario “Oh and take Meepo back to your boss. Tell them he died bravely.”

Kryss “Meepo stays.”

Azario “Always someone contradicting me…” Azario mutters.

Kryss “He is proof of the goblins transgressions against the kobalds. I will have him with us when I bring Meepos wrath against them.”

DM The kobolds pause, seeing that they are not going to be able to eat Pug. And maybe not even the others.

Kryss “Kobalds,” Kryss hisses in draconic, “Do you know who Belek and Durnn are?”

Kobolds They shake their heads. “No hurt. No harm.”

Shael Shael moves closer to the wall and examines the other side.

Kryss “Then go back and inform your mistress that you are to be well fed. Leave now before I change my mind.”

Julian Julian turns to Azario. “Hey, is it too much to hope that you all have a good strong broadsword to spare?”

Azario “I have a mace. And some daggers.”

Julian “If we’re going against the goblins, that is.” He grins. “I could try to kill him with harsh words, I suppose.”

Pug Pug looks awkward.

Julian “A mace and daggers is something…”

Kryss “Youre coming with us.” Kryss informs Pug.

Julian “Hey, Pug, where did they take my sword?”

Pug “Ah. Fug has.”

Julian “Who’s Fug?”

Julian Julian wishes he had paid better attention to goblin names during his week of captivity.

Pug Pug palms something and holds it behind his back. “Fug is brother of Bug and Dug. Son of Nug.”

Julian “Can’t imagine why I kept losing track…” Julian mutters.

Kryss Kryss lifts him from the ground by his shoulder. “What are you hiding, worm?” he demands.

DM A silver flask falls from his hands.

Kryss He gives him a few warning shakes.

Shael Shael throws his leg over the wall and climbs to the other side to check both the doors carefully for any traps he can see on this side while the others interregate the prisoner(s).

DM Shael finds no traps on the doors.

Azario Azario strolls right on over.

Kryss “Whats in the flask, Pug?”

Pug “Lick her.”

Kryss “Where is their equipment being kept, Pug?”

Pug “Good goblin lick her.” The flask may contain goblin liquor, but it is finely made and of dwarven craft.

Pug “Ah. In Goblinville. Home of the Durbuluk.”

Azario Azario opens the north door. Or tries to, at least.

Shael Shael looks wryly up from the other door.

Julian Julian collects the mace and daggers if the offer is still open. “Looks like the sword won’t come without a fight either way. I’m sure Tal will smile on you for the loan, Azario.”

Azario “Here’s hoping.”

Erky “I’ll go with ye too,” Erky offers. “Gaerdal Ironhand has kept me alive this long.”

Kryss Kryss tucks Pug and Meepo under an arm and moves to stand by Shael. “I have a shield,” Kryss offers, “If you are strong enough to lift it.”

Erky He takes a morningstar and dirty leather off a goblin.

DM A dirty hallway lies past the door Azario opened to the north.

Julian “Ah, don’t need a shield, I think. I’m pretty quick.”

Erky Erky sneezes.

Azario “Will you merry minstrels hurry up already?” Azario proceeds through the dirty hallway and opens the next door.

Julian Julian blinks in surprise and shuts up with a wary look at Azario.

DM Azario plummets to his death. Or at least ten feet towards it. The pit trap opens up beneath him and he grabs for a hold.

Shael Shael dives to catch him.

DM Denied by fate, he continues to fall. Coming to a painful stop at the bottom.

Azario “Ow.”

DM A layer of filth and ambiguous bone fragments have broken his fall. And possibly his hip.

AzarioSHAEL YOU MISSED A TRAP!”

Shael Shael looks over the edge and murmers, “I missed… wait, wha’, I didn’t check this side yet!”

Julian Julian leaves it to the taller to fish Azario out.

Kryss “Protector! Are you not paying attention? What is troubling you?”

AzarioYOU USELESS FIRESLINGING SON OF AN ORC.”

Shael He reaches out for Azario, “Can you reach?”
Julian He turns his gaze to Pug instead. “Hey, Pug. How about you tell us about any more traps like that coming up?”

Pug Pug considers.

Julian “Seems to me you owe us for stopping those kobolds from eating you.”

Pug “Yes. I will. Dragon in next room. We steal stupid kobolds’ mast cot. No good for sleeping or sailing but good for keeping meat cold. And also for killing stupid goblins who get too close and yank on tail. Vug dumb. Vug gone. Popsigoblin.”

Azario Azario lets Shael pull him out of the pit.

Kryss “Are there more goblins in there too?” Kryss asks.

Shael Shael pulls Azario out and helps him back to his feet, “You need a nip of this?” he holds out a healing potion.

Azario “I’m not even hurt. And that’s not bravado!”

Julian “That’s lucky. Not sure if you heard down there, but Pug says there’s a dragon.”

Kryss “We arent worried about a dragon.”

Azario “That’s unbearably tragic. Meepo died so close to it.”

Shael “Haha, excellent.” he pats Azario on the shoulder and looks towards Pug and Julian, “Do we want to free her?” he asks Kryss.

Kryss “I think we should look at here before we decide.”

Azario “Oh definitely. I’m sure it will be happy to see us.”

Julian “Free a dragon?” Julian raises an eyebrow.

Kryss “Whats wrong with dragons?”

Shael Shael joins Kryss’s regard of Julian.

Julian “Well, this one sounds kind of angry. How are you going to stop it doing for you like it did for Zug?”

Kryss “We wont pull its tail.”

Shael “And maybe introduce ourselves nicely.”

Pug “Vu..” Pug thinks the better of it.

Julian Julian looks skeptical.

Kryss “Dragons are very intelligent. And I speak draconic.”

Azario “Can’t be that smart if it got caught by goblins.”

Julian “That’s nice and all. Aren’t they usually burning down towns and eating virgins and stuff? That’s how the stories go.”

Shael “Well, it was caught by kobolds first I suspect… I think it’s likely it has at least some story to share.”

Azario “Oh I have stories!”

Kryss “It ruled the Kobald clan. And virgins can be very high is unsaturated fats.”

Shael “Yes, Azario would know if the stories are true.”

Julian “I don’t know what that word means, Kryss. But well… I admit, you kind of look like an expert.”

Kryss “It means a woman that has not known a man.” Kryss explains patiently.

Pug “Pug has known a man.”

Azario “Oh dear gods can we move on!?”

Julian “All right.” Julian’s skeptical look does not fade.

Shael Shael laughs suddenly, “Sure.”

DM They can, in fact, there is a small ledge you can bypass the pit trap upon.

Azario "Check the door, Shael. You seem to enjoy doing that.”

Shael Shael checks the door quickly and opens it when he can safely.

DM No traps on this door. It would be overkill, considering the pit trap right in front of it. I mean, if this were a chest, sure check it. But this is a door. No traps. Not with a floor trap. So the door opens.

DM Mounted and stuffed animal heads adorn the walls. The mounting job is sloppy, and the assortment of heads includes cattle, rats, and other not particularly impressive specimens. However, a few grisly trophies share the wall with the animals, including a couple of kobold visages. Smashed and broken cabinets and small tables litter the periphery of the room, mute victims of some sort of rampage. A snapped wooden pole stands askew in the center of the room, trailing a broken chain of bronze links. Fumes rise from decaying sections of the walls, floor, and debris.

Julian And naturally the bold and brave Pug will not let his companions down.

DM Almost as though his life depends on it. However, his warning here was unheeded. The dragon within the room attacks!

Julian “They can’t say we didn’t try to warn them.” Julian assures Pug.

Pug Pug swallows awkwardly and glances at the northern door.

Julian “We warned them about ALL the dangers that could threaten them.” Julian continues, not paying much attention to the actual dragon. Probably it slows his reaction time or something.

Shael “We’re here to rescue her!” Shael turns around to explain to the paladin, seemingly unaware of the impending danger behind him.

Pug “Maybe…we be quiet here and goblins in next room not hear us,” Pug offers. “They not want to guard good anyways.”

Julian “Right. I’m going to jam the door while we deal with the dragon.” Julian mutters. “Shael, turn back around, that thing is about to bite your head off.”

Shael “That is incredibly unlikely, why would she? She’s like a damsel in distress, didn’t your stories cover this?”

Julian Erky moves to help jam the door with whatever might be at hand.

Shael With Julian’s prompt, Pug takes initiative and starts blocking the northern door on his behalf.

DM The door is tentatively jammed. Goblins milling around can be heard, they do not seem immediately concerned.

Kryss Kryss strides forward. “Do not fight us” he says in Draconic. “We are here to bring you home.”

Calcryx “Fool. I do not wish to go home. I am queen of the goblins. Flee and perhaps I shall only eat one of you.” She considers. “Well, you sound persuasive. Flee and perhaps I will not eat any of you. Fair’s fair. Now leave me alone.”

 photo 400px-Calcryx_zpsswryd117.png


Julian “I took an oath of honesty, you know. I’m literally oathbound not to lie to you. And I promise that dragon is not a damsel in distress.”

Kryss “No deal,” Kryss says as he throws an axe at the dragon queen.

Shael “Your oath is bound by your understanding; if you think something that is wrong is true than you’re not technically lying about it, are you?”

Azario Azario starts to wonder about Shael. “She did say he was going to kill us, you know.”

Shael “Well…” he glances back at the altercation and grumbles, “…I mean, yeah we know that now.”

Julian Julian folds his arms. Yeah, all this chatter is really hurting his reaction time…

Calcryx She screams and swoops in to breath shards of ice onto everyone. “Calcryx curses your shortsighted denial of her rule!” Azario and Kryss turn into ice statues before the party. Shael falls to the ground, shivering uncontrollably.

Shael As Shael falls, his last thoughts are that he’s very happy with his last words.

Death Theme

Calcryx “I’ve changed my mind. Surrender immediately, Meat.”

Julian “Surrender sounds reasonable. Please allow me to demonstrate my worth to a mighty queen by showing you my mystic powers.” Julian lays healing hands upon Shael.

Calcryx “Bring my new decorations into my throne room.”

Julian “Shael…” Julian whispers, “I kind of surrendered. I guess I’m getting used to this prisoner thing. Cmon, Pug, Erky, let’s do it.”

Shael “Agh, but my last words were so good…” he croaks. “…wh..what happened?”

Julian “You owe your life to the ineffable divine music of Tal. And like I said… we surrendered.”

Calcryx “Hurry up.” Pug and Erky lug the ice statues into the…throne room? Even lair would be generous.

DM The ice statues fog at the mouth.

CalcryxHURRY. UP.” the dragon commands.

Julian Julian helps them hurry up.

Shael He turns his head to the side and sees the aftermath of Calcryx’s wrath, he lays his head back on the ground.

Calcryx “Now then. I am queen here. Do you acknowledge my rule?”

Julian “How could I not?”

Calcryx Calcryx glares at Shael, as Erky and Pug nod.

Shael “What does it mean to be queen?” He asks from the ground. Pulling himself up and moving towards his draconic friend he says, “I must understand what you mean to acknowledge you… I am sorry for being so feeble, but it is my stake in the world.”

Calcryx Her eyes glow, and the ice slowly flows from the statues, leaving two helpless but conscious adventurers. “You are to be my mate,” she declares to Kryss. “I like the way your words tingle my scales.”

Shael He nods and says, “Yes… that is a royal act.” he smiles vaguely.

Kryss “Our clutch will rule the skies for eons. You will be a fine mate.” Kryss replies.

Calcryx “And you loud little man, you should be grateful that my mate was in the line of fire,” she snarls, it is not entirely clear if it is towards Shael or Azario.

Calcryx “Well, subjects, what am I to do with you?”

Julian “Some of the goblins are recalcitrant and do not acknowledge your rulership.” Julian observes.

Azario “I could sing…or we can tell the kobolds up top that you’re not coming back.”

Julian “Perhaps we could lay them low for you.”

Calcryx “They think to make me their slave instead of pay me the tribute I deserve.”

Shael He shrugs, still seeming a little out of it, “Send us on a mission, maybe… isn’t that what all loyal knights are bound to?”

Calcryx “Yes. Go and kill that pig Durnn, and turn over the goblins to me. I will keep…” she looks between the group. “You,” pointing at Erky. “To ensure that your companions do not simply run away. If you do not bring me Durnn’s head, I will snack on this gnome.”

Azario “That’s pretty generous all things considered.”

Julian “Durrn’s head, then.”

Shael Shael nods in agreement.

Calcryx “Durnn’s head,” she specifies. “I have no interest in Durrn.”

Kryss “It will be done, my mate.” Kryss agrees.

Calcryx “Then we will take over the Palescale Tribe. And I will be queen of the Sunless Citadel!”

Kryss “That is only the beginning of your rule.” Kryss states..

Calcryx She laughs, sounding like a cross between a crocodile being buggered by a hippo and the nails of a witch being run down a chalkboard.

Azario “So are we leaving immediately? I’m having trouble moving my…anything, really.”

Calcryx “You’ll need to thaw out,” she pronounces grimly.

DM (Almost as though they’ll be forced to take a long rest, True Believers!)

Azario “Let’s thaw the night away, Kryss.”

Julian Julian settles in for a rest.

DM And now the slaves of the dragon queen, our heroes find themselves precariously balanced between the competing factions in this dungeon! Will they survive? Die? Be heavily rewarded? Find out in two weeks!

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