The heroes are confronted by Karth Drachum, twisted and malformed into a vicious death knight of the Black Guard. He was sent here to oversee the completion of the charnel monstrosity.
Combat ensues; On’ogg and his nemesis clashing in the most epic of ways. Karth fights a top a black stallion of nightmare for a time, but the creature eventually vanquished. Bereft of his dreadful steed, Karth undergoes a self induced transformation.
Nearly doubling in size Karth attacks with renewed intensity, swinging a giant axe with unholy strength. There is a bloodthirsty joy in his assault; he has truly become an aspect of death and destruction.
The companions remain steadfast, with Ogg bearing much of the brunt of the attacks. He lashes out radiant energy and is able to defeat his nemesis. A last look of confusion washes over Karth’s stupid face as he is destroyed. Ogg burns his remains with the flame of his vengeful sword.
Everyone takes the time to reconvene in the lower levels of the Auren stronghold to discuss the happenings. The graveyard colossus seems to have moved away from Balefire Egress and is now wading through the city. Any companions that had been suffering from signs of soul crushing apathy seem to have waves of relief wash over them as Karth’s second death is wrought in flame.
Jotun Borzegar recommits his Aurens to help the companions overthrow the evil in the tower, stating that when the time came he would be there to help. Until then he agreed to continue scouting the area, reclaiming supplies from the area. They would also hold the Temple at Balefire Egress, as it seems to hold some degree of power against the darkness.
With the Aurens appropriately tasked out, the companions decide to return to the Black Star Tavern. Two Auren scouts escort them to the tunnel systems within the city. About 100 paces from the stronghold, they notice that the group is being followed.
With animal cunning they loop around and catch their assailant unaware; toppling their query over directly. They find a peculiar little person. They claim to have some connection to Elbanor .. indeed, most of it’s form is a bland white with the exception of it’s right hand. It had the look of the same hand that Elbanor lost in the days prior.
The one striking feature of the Hand is it’s eyes; they mist over a deep black when it casts magic; which seems inherent to the being. The group knows not exactly what to do with this person, so they allow it to come along for now. Also, it seems able to change it’s appearance at will.
The group returns to the Black Star, does some things, then heads out to search for the Minuteman Compound. Still traveling in the sewers below, they elude contact with monstrous colossus. They meet little resistance. Small groups of rather stupid skeletal minions are scouring the tunnels, but they make short work of them.
Emerging in a side street near the compound, they creep along to the curtain wall circling the facility. Somebody attracts the attention of several skeletal archers, who appear in windows overlooking the open space. Ogg is hit, and is wracked by vengeful energy. He cannot find a straight way to dole out retribution to his attackers, and is caught in a quandary of sorts.
Thankfully, Elbanor takes the choice out of his hands by enveloping the entire area in dense fog. Ogg lowers a shoulder and charges the general area where he seen the door to the fortress to be. He plows headlong into it. Parts of the door collapse, but it holds. Determining that there is quite a bit of barricading on the inside, they endeavor to find an alternate route inside.
The archers seem befuddled by the dense cover of the fog and fail to give proper chase. Indeed, the Hand also seems rather confused by the scene and almost falls headlong over a terraced wall. Though the idea of experiencing a fall to their death seems new and exciting, they deem it necessary to survive some time longer (though they do not rule out an eventual nosedive for some other time).
The companions sidle down the edge of the wall a ways, eventually finding another entrance. They find several offices in a general state of destruction on the inside. A large gate blocks their advance in one direction, so they continue in the other direction.
What they find is a medical facility of sorts, with rooms full of files, ready rooms, examination rooms, etc. They are able to loot some useful herbs, but find little by way of clues. Moving on they come to a large open courtyard with signs of the barricade along one side, a long tower on the other and a long cabin across the way.
Investigating further they find a mound of corpses; some seem to be freshly brutalized soldiers while other seem to be medically preserved. The Hand takes the form of a young woman, not much out of her teenage years. She does so without much apprehension while the rest of the group look on horrified.
Before much interaction can ensue, a horrible creature lumbers out of the tower entrance way. No smaller than an ogre, it dragged a gore drenched body in it’s hand. Where it’s face should have been was only large round whole, circled with small pointy teeth. Gross!
The companions engage. At some point, the creature radiates a horrible magic. Sayer the Swashbuckler is blasted by it; he immediately suffers violent looking rashes on most of his upper body as his face swells grossly.
The companions eventually defeat the creature. They find Sayer severely debilitated by the curse and move to the cabin. They find a small morgue of sorts and clear a space to rest. Setting a guard, they settle in.
When Ogg has his turn for watch, he slips out into the night. He goes to investigate the tower by himself. He finds the bottom level drenched in blood and gore, with a few limbs thrown sporadically around. He continues up the tower by himself, finding a haphazard barricade at the top of several flights of stairs. It seems several Minutemen made a last stand here. The barricade was in shambles.
Akasha and Elbanor notice that Ogg is missing and slip out to recover him. They start up the tower, finding him fumbling with a contraption that seems to move large ballista up through the ceiling. With combined efforts, they figure out how to use the device to kind of auto-load a huge seigebreaker on top of the tower.
They accidentally drop a massive bolt off the tower, spiking violently near the cabin below, which wakes up the rest of the group. Though they want to come aid, they are encumbered by Sayer’s unfortunate growths.
With Akasha watching through a distance finder below, Ogg and Elbanor begin firing the uber-ballista at the colossus. The first blasts is lost visually until it hits a building nearby the colossus. The near miss causes the hulking mass to begin moving from it’s place across the city.
Elbenor casts a light spell on the tip of the next projectile, illuminating it so that they could watch it’s progress. They fire again, and watch it streak across the sky, blasting the colossus in it’s hulking mass. Hit!
With the bolts now lighting up the sky, they seem to notice a reaction from the Tower of Solastarum. They continue to fire on the colossus, scoring several hits among a few misses. At this point large flying creatures begin assailing them, attempting to knock them from the summit of the tower. One final blast is needed, as they expose the core of the creature.
Ogg and Elbenor strike out. Direct hit! The creature goes down. As they flee, several more flying beasts almost succeed in knocking Elbenor to his death, but Ogg succeeds in holding his friend fast. Finding Akasha below, they flee down into the tower.
They meet up with the rest of their friends and run back to the medical facilities, barely making it before the flying beasts close on their position. They run into Bartholomew and Constance, who brings news of a mad gnome held deep within the Dixmont Asylum who should have knowledge of the Tower of Solastarum.
Bartholomew opens a ‘rope trick’, allowing a safe place to recover while they all plan their next move.