Gift of Eomar

Shacklefield Burning

The companions find themselves deep within the no-man’s land of the grounds around the Tower of Solastarum. They hide among the rubble left from the charnel monstrosity. The Tower activates with the grinding of gigantic gears and the front door lifts into the mechanical structure. From which, hundreds of clockwork soldier automatons march in perfect harmony.

They take notice of the group and send a small contingent to investigate, but with the quick thinking of the Hand are soon distracted. The companions escape across the field, quickly scaling the Central Curtain and taking cover among the fortifications.

Eager to gain more information on the automatons, On’ogg tosses his shiny Crystal Heart from the gatehouse heights into the latter end of the line of automaton. There is a few moments of chaos as the clockwork soldiers are set upon by the stone elemental. The smaller contingent of soldiers are cleared away, but at great cost to the elemental. The stone creature bends open the gates to allow the companions to escape and is then sent towards the tower.

Elbanor takes possession of some of the scrap from the machines and is able to open some of the security doors with it’s remains. The Hand ponders the nature of such odd constructions and finds herself able to mimic the simpler routines of their communications.

The companions trudge wearily into Shacklefield, finding the whole area to be engulfed in flame. The further they press inward, the more intense the inferno became. The find little among the destruction before coming to a large pub of sorts. Eager to salvage what he can,
Sayer investigates a trap door behind the bar. Happy with the found resources, he presses deeper into the underchamber, finding a door to the alley above.

Outside he encounters a death knight, and attempts to lay an attack on the foe before backtracking to his friends. Not only does the attack fall short, but the lumbering knight whispers a word of magic and holds Sayer fast, frozen in his step.

Taking his time, the mysterious knight closes the distance to the helpless swashbuckler. With a great heft, he swings his huge sword in a vicious arc in what must surely be a killing blow. At the last moment, a circle of arcane runes shield Sayer, shattering like a heavy glass plane. Elbanor had protected his friend from assured death.

The sword deflects slightly and strikes to tremendous effect. Still relatively intact, Sayer collapses on the ground, barely conscious. With the last of his energy, he struggles to stay awake as he feels himself lifted by his collar. Up he rises until his feet nigh even touch the ground. Opening his eyes, he looks down on his assailant; glowing blue eyes are lit with a frozen cold energy deep within the helm of the knight. In a surge of violence, Sayer is slammed headlong into the wall and he falls immediately into a pool of black.

~

The rest of the companions come to investigate after Sayer fails to rejoin the group. The find the alleyway bereft of any life. Indeed, not much shows the passing of the moments prior besides Sayer’s sword laying in the middle of the passageway. Overwhelmed by ill omens, the group chases signs only minutely picked up by the Hand. Signs of a dark creature’s passing through the area.

The group is temporarily separated by falling debris from the fires. Ogg continues on alone. He comes to the edge of a large open marketplace, with what seems like a huge, frozen portal of sorts in the center. Dozens of icebound pillars surround the portal. The figure of the death knight is seen on the far side, holding an unconscious Sayer aloft. With some motions of his free hand, the death knight bounds the cavalier in a frozen block of standing ice, not unlike the other pillars in the area. The death knight turns to On’Ogg at the paladin’s approach.

With Ogg beckoning the unholy knight of darkness, the two meet in combat. Swords clash, and though Ogg lashes out with radiant power to great effect, he finds himself at a disadvantage to the hulking knight’s sheer size. Ogg uses the environment to shield his movements, diving out of the way of the death knight’s world cleaving blows.

After a few moments, Elbanor and the Hand catch up. With some quick thinking, they see that the portal seems to be important to whatever this creature is plotting. Noticing it’s made entirely from a form of glass-like ice, Elbanor casts a shatter spell on the structure. Ogg experiences a small respite from the onslaught of the death knight’s attacks as the foe turns it’s attention on the portal.

The Hand hears the scream of what seems to be a young girl. With her keen eyes, she spots the ghostly outline of a young human female being pulled in an uncanny fashion toward the vortex of magic that seemed to now be circling the crumbling ruin of the portal.

The death knight breaks of his attack completely from the orcish paladin, moving in a full run toward the girl. It seemed to try and prevent the slide of the ghostly figure into the vortex, but could not grasp her outstretched hands. With the last seconds of the collapsing energy, the girl and the knight both fall into the energy and disappear from the area.

The companions are thoroughly stunned, finding themselves among the open marketplace alone. The icy pillars seem to be melting quickly without the magic of the portal to sustain them within the area, for the flames still burn heartily in the surrounding buildings.

They quickly recover Sayer, who though clearly in a state of serious injury, seems capable of a recovery over time. They also notice that the rest of the figures frozen in the ice seem to wear the armor and trappings of Minutemen.

They set up a quick triage area and the Hand begins stabilizing the survivors when suddenly they hear the iron march of clockwork soldiers from the streets beyond. The companions stand ready to defend their fallen friends against another wave of danger in the city of Khalsbrad.

View
The Charnel Ruins

The companions fall back to the refuge of the Black Star, thoroughly harried by the events at the Arcanum Severatum. Nearly in a state of collapse, they gain a much needed respite and after a rest convene in the offices of Boswell Dunbar to plan their next move.

A delegation from the Aurens reports of enemy activity at the site where the churn-house colossus fell. Wanting to avoid a further engagement with the monstrosity at it’s most potent form, the group decides to investigate the site, hoping to thwart whatever recovery had been initiated.

Escorted by the Auren scouts, the group find their way to the outskirts of the site. Soil from the Balefire Egress lay in great mounds through the city streets, prohibiting their progress. Nearby there are advanced scouts of Aurens, with whom the companions coordinate an improvised distraction.

The scouts gain the attention of several gaunt warriors and fall back to a position back away from the egress. With the initial forces cleared, the companions press the attack up the side of the grounded colossus. Though the pathway through the area is crooked and they are set upon by long dead corpses arising from excavated resting places, the companions are able to converge on a seemingly intact mausoleum.

Within they find the empty sarcophagi of a pair of brothers and a rough hewn passageway leading deeper into the colossus. Through the twisting path they find a small circular passage with the form of a grotesque figure channeling some fel incantation. As the sorcery reaches a crescendo, the companions feel the entire structure lurch forward.

Rushing forward to destroy the foe, the heroes are thrown about as they interfere with the delicate machinations of the colossus. When they finally destroy the creature within, the are overwhelmed by the sickening sensation of losing elevation at a rapid pace.

Rushing out of the chamber, they are pitched forward violently. The Hand loses her footing and barrels out of the hallway in free fall, with the ground nearly fifty feet below. Just outside the chambers she feels herself flung into strands of sticky substance, thin but strong. threads. A giant spider with flamboyant coloring creeps from the side, Akasha rescuing her friend from a messy death.

She winds together a strand of the cord and the companions scale down the crumbling colossus, debris falling around them. Once grounded again, they find themselves deep within the fields between the city wall structures and the Tower of Solastarum itself. A no-mans land, deathly still. The proximity of the Tower itself overwhelming the group with ill omens, it struck out from the landscape like a singular skeletal finger breaking from the grave.

View
The Descent into Madness

The companions leave Constance to her grief in the great hall of the Arcanum Severatum, venturing out to investigate the building more. On’ogg finds the remains of several charred corpses strewn about in one hall; there might have been six in all. Though they were none more than charred bones, he found that they seemed to have met their fate within the last two days and did so while attempting to move a large trunk.

Being still intact, he drew it forth to his companions. Within they found a stash of several powerful artifacts and magical items. After distributing them to one another, they continued their investigation.

Sayer climbed a large statue on the far end of the hall. Turning his attention to an open book that the statue held aloft some twenty feet high, he noticed it to be some crude map, depicting the main continents of the known world. Three swirling lines crossed over the map from three far corners, each converging on a circular island in the middle.

Elbanor, Akasha and the Hand meandered into a large chamber in the western wing containing a library circled around a huge arcanolabe. The curious, spherical object dominated the room.

Three bronzen rings dominate the device. Through the use of magic detection, each seems to associate itself with an essence of arcane powers; positive energy, negative energy & the neutral energy in between.

The companions find the ceiling covered by an elaborate mural of the night sky, complete with accurate depictions of constellations. They find a plate in the upper hemisphere of the globe, where the three rings nearly converge. The plate is triangular, made of the near convergence of the lines.

Akasha is surprised to see that she can read the unfamiliar writing on the plate. It seemed to give information on three supreme essences of the magic realms; Solinari, goddess of positive arcanum, Nuitari goddess of neutral arcanum and Nuitari, god of negative arcanum.

They are described as three siblings. Though they seem to be diametrically opposed in there energies, there is no sign of conflict, as is typical in depictions of astral figures of good versus evil. While Akasha narrates the scriptures, the rest of the group attempts to discern the puzzle.

Eventually they shine a light through the small eye in the middle of the plate. It sends a beacon through the chamber, between a heavy bookcase into a crystal pylon at the top of a statue, where it refracted up to the mural above.

~

The mural reveals visual depictions of the three twins. The group ponders this some time then continues on.

They find several chambers along a hallway in the eastern wing. Sayer and Elbanor investigate further, walking into the darkness. Ogg, Akasha and the Hand watch as they are enveloped into the darkness. The next moment, the room shows no trace of their passing.

Elbanor and Sayer find themselves on a large wooden platform with a spotlight shining down on them from above. They are set upon by a figure dressed in the caricature of a noble knight. The knight responds to them, beseeching their help in vanquishing some great evil in the land. With quick thinking, they respond in affirmation, and ‘gallop’ off into the darkness.

Meanwhile, Ogg is deeply troubled by the disappearance. The Hand senses a strange flow of magical energy swirling in a vast whirlpool. From their present location, they seemed to be at the edge. The strife between the two come to a head and they have a short spat, where they part ways for a short time.

~

Sayer and Elbanor seem to find themselves in a gawdy play of sorts, during which they slay a spooky tentacle creature. The applause of the audience fades slightly until they find themselves in a well furnished office of sorts. They hear a series of meows and purring noises.

They notice a pneumatic tube that still seemed operational. Writing a brief message to their colleagues, they send the note through the vacuum. After a minute or so a note in the form of a paper triangle soars out of the tube and around the room in gentle circles. Unfolding the paper, they find a crude depiction of a somewhat lewd nature.

Perplexed, they continue out of the room. Within the first step they find themselves hurtling sideways, with the laws of nature bent on itself. Just barely holding to the edge of the door frame, they grip tightly above the chasm of the hallway pit.

~

Ogg and the Hand eventually come back together, deciding it best to press forward as a group. Though Akasha seems to prefer staying in the form of a cat, they persuade her to attempt to send a message by magical means to the separate party members.

They continue on, finding a set of steps leading to the levels below. Experiencing their own imbalance of gravitational discord. With varying degrees of expertise, they descend to a hall laden with what seems to be an extravagant feast set on a long table. While Akasha and the Hand dine a bit while Ogg resists the temptation of the delicious looking food.

He notices a yelling coming from the chambers without, and with swift motion charges the door with a long piece of table. It slams through the doorway, just barely catching a falling Sayer and Elbanor, who had just fell off of the ledge in the room adjoining.

Though Elbanor ricochets off the table and onto a large statue protruding from the wall below, they eventually recover and come together. Using a length of rope to scale down the rest of the chamber, they find themselves in a large chamber with a dark sorcerer sat upon a resplendent throne of sorts.

The figure stands at their approach, dismissing his seat with a flick of the wrist. He wore black robes the color of midnight. They flowed down onto the ground around him and seemed to be constantly buffeted around by a furious wind emanating from himself. Long swathes of black linens wrap most of the exposed areas of the dark wizard. A single fiery eye and an hideously grinning mouth was all that could be seen of the face beneath the cloth.

He beckons them forward; seemingly interested to see the faces of those who would dare disturb him in his realm. “Ah … it is you who have disrupted my work. I shall make your deaths TERRIBLE!”

Moments later they are in combat. He seems a highly potent spell caster, blasting them with crackling lightning. “How can you hope to defy such power..? Is it not easier to give in to the madness?!!”

Several mirror images of himself shield him from the initial attacks. As each illusion is shattered, it splatters with a sickly splatter against one of the walls, the viscous fluid glowing ominously. After a moment the liquefied remains of the images seem to change their structure and a strange scene is displayed, as if through a window in the wall. From these newly derived portals flow a group of small black creatures with hateful glowing eyes.

With Sayer and Ogg thoroughly engaged and taking the brunt of this dark caster’s focus, Elbanor and the Hand plunge headlong into the portal with Akasha in tow. “If you seek to shoulder this burden .. YOU SHALL HAVE IT!”

They find themselves in a circular room with rough hewn stone walls and a round catwalk coming around the expanse. From three points in this walkway there are small bridges to a central platform, where who they recognize to be a much younger Nozzalthorp Frayfeather a middle aged wizard are arguing. They seem to not pay the intruders any heed, but there are several guards standing at attention around the room which turn and his horribly at the newcomers.

Outside, with Sayer dealt with and Ogg being overwhelmed by the critters, he throws a strange wall of force around himself and begins the incantations of a powerful spell. “The stars align; FEAR THEIR PORTENT!”

A cataclysmic crash blasts the chamber from above. It seems as if the dark wizard is calling down the fires from the sky above to obliterate the trespassers. “You shall pay for your invasion into my city!”

Within the portal, the Hand, Elbanor and Akasha fight their way toward the central platform. The gnome and the wizard seem to be at odds as to the discharge of the Surge Needle, a device that they had apparently build to tap into the ley line. The wizard, who they surmised to be a young Madrygos, seemed incredulous that Frayfeather would try to halt their long work so close to it’s completion.

Outside two more ruinous meteors blast through the building from the heavens, exposing this dungeon chamber to the hideous laughter of the insane magus. Sayer has fallen and Ogg stands alone against the deadly foe.

Within, the others charge the central platform, having dispatched the shadowy guards. As they reach the scene a bubble seems to pop and they are expelled from the memory. As they do so the wall of force drops from around the dark wizard, his eye turned to the black sky, a fiery red orb in it’s reflection.

The heroes brace for impact, running from the hole in the ceiling but ultimately are wrecked outright by the carnage. Ogg and Elbanor especially are severely injured.

There is only a pile of fine ash remaining of the black sorcerer, who they discover to be Madrygos himself, turned by some horrible black magic into one of the Black Guard. Among the ashes they find a curious bracer of powerful arcane energy. The Hand slips it on her wrist, as the group hobbles to out of the chambers. The streets were deathly calm as they descended back into the relative safety of the sewers and staggered back to the Black Star.

View
Gale in the Gallows

The companions journey back from whence they came; up and out of the rancorous Asylum, through the eerily silent halls of the Garrison eventually coming back to the courtyard outside the medical billets. They climb the blockade at the vast doors and scale down the outer wall, soon slipping into the sewers and making their way to the Black Star Tavern.

After a short respite the companions come together to formulate their next move. They decide to seek out the Arcanum Severatum and its apparent abundance of powerful trinkets and magical artifacts. With the goal set they settle into a well earned rest, drifting apart to enjoy their down time in different ways.

Sayer the Swashbuckler and Thranka Suun fall in with a group of Boswell men. All seem eager to drink and gamble their circumstance away for a time. Sayer wakes after a time in the presence of Thranka. He notices that her vast tattoos seem to have intricate details and hidden details. When attempting to investigate further, he wakes her and she vacates the area quickly.

Akasha finds a comfortable place in the main room of the Black Star and crafts a musical hymn that bolsters the psyche of those who hear it. Many survivors who had been content alone in their chambers meander into the main room and lounge about in the warm light of her song.

The Hand of Acheron trades in a bawdy calendar illustration for additional helpings of soup. They warm themselves by the fire while affixed to Akasha’s music.

Elbanor spends much time crafting small batch concoctions in an effort to better ready his friends for the hardships to come.

On’ogg meditates on what he has learned during the recent trials… and perhaps tries to consider that which failed to completely grasp. He also cleans his sword quite a bit.

~

The companions come together again after their long rest. Before leaving the Black Star they go to Boswell. Apprising him of their circumstances, they restate their intent to assault the Tower at some point. He still seems non-committal, but has assisted in small ways that he was capable up to this point. Satisfied for the moment, the companions take their leave.

A small group of Boswell’s men stop the companions as the leave; it seems that Bartholomew and Constance had not checked in. They had been rather regular in their movements, so while their absence is not an absolute cause for concern, it is noteworthy.

~

After venturing through the underbelly of the city, meeting minimal resistance, the companions excavate themselves into a large open air park in the city. Looming just ahead of them some twenty yards is the Arcanum Severatum. A large building, well over fifty feet in height, the Severatum sits atop a set of wide, angled stairs. Huge pillars line the front of the building, which is as wide as a city block. An eerie green light emanates from deep within the cavernous maw of the entryway.

With a dreadful apprehension, the companions advance up the many steps leading to the Severatum. Coming to the open entrance, they see into a great hall lined with a dozen columns along each side reaching forward to the far end. At the far end seems to be some arcane structure; three craggy spires surround and pour a fel green power into a central, swirling vortex of the energy. Each spire stands at about ten feet high, like crooked skeletal fingers rising from the ground.

Within the whirlwind was suspended a humanoid figure, unrecognizable at this distance. Hand creeps along forward and notices a limp body on the far side of the area. Slipping forward, they recognize their associate in Constance, seeming to be completely unconscious. They also see that Bartholomew is the figure within this terrible energy.

Upon closer inspection, he seems to transition slightly between that which they recognize and a large creature of fang, claw and feather. The rest of the companions slip up to the area as well. In spite of their efforts, they seem unable to elicit a response from the mage.

Finding the spires to be deeply disturbing, they attempt to destroy them. As the first of the three breaks away, the bulk of is takes form into vaguely humanoid things and attacks the heroes. Hand is able to stave off death from Constance who slowly becomes aware of her surroundings after a time.

After a small melee, the companions destroy the rest of the first spire. Caught in the explosion, Bartholomew is thrown aside violently. With one of the spires destroyed, the balance of energy seemed to break apart in a blast of energy. The force of which seems to lessen some grip that contained his form. With a burst of bright light, the young mage is revealed to be an creature of celestial energy.

npc_-_bartholamew_revealed.jpg With some understanding, Ogg approaches the creature and attempts to pour his divine healing into him; but Bartholamew had suffered far too great a wound to recover. Constance stumbles over to him in confusion.

Apologizing for his deceit, he explains that the deceit was necessary to continue his interaction with this community unimpeded. He had found human civilization fascinating and hoped to learn more from such a charming young race. He also stated that his affection for her had not been a ruse, but an unexpected delight.

He had an understanding with the Madrygos, keeping his form secret to all but the Master of the Tower. It would be easier this way, they had decided. Madrygos had been a friend to him over the many years of his visiting Khalsbrad. That friendship had compelled him to the Arcanum Severatum, though Bartholamew could not divulge more information than that.

There was a moment shared between Constance and Bartholamew before he passed. The tiefling was overwhelmed by anguish and decided to sit vigil over her friend as his essence dispersed into the wind.

View
Frayfeather's Prison

The companions begin their descent into the bowels of the Asylum. In the small chambers on the upper floors they found a scattered filing system for the dossiers of the interred. Soon they came across one marked as Nozzalthorp Frayfeather.

It seemed remarkable in it’s equivocal nature. He had been marked as criminally insane and imprisoned for seventeen years, though the file itself only contained one leaf of parchment. The crime itself only stated ‘disturbing the peace’; quite trivial. It did state that he was chambered in Cell Block F, so they continued their search with renewed vigor.

Deeper they sink, passing through cell blocks in horrendous states of decay. The sound of chains clanking and inhuman croaking wafts from many dark crevices. The smell alone served as a fierce deterrent against excessive investigation.

They eventually come to the area of the asylum where they expect to find Frayfeather. A great many cells line the floor below an expansive catwalk above. They descend from this walkway to the floor below.

The Hand notices that the ground below seems to dissolve all forms of magic. It ponders the use of such a force field for some time.

On’ogg smites down one of the vile, grasping creatures within the cell. It explodes in a flash of necrotic energy, leaving many more of the shambling horrors erupting in screams mingled with the clanking of chains.

Sayer and Akasha nimbly sidestep the rest of the cells, finding a quiet little gnome attempting to ignore as best he can the noise.

With some coaxing, they are able to get Frayfeather to converse with them. They learn that he has in fact chosen to be interred here, in an attempt to be near his finest and only creation; the Tower of Solastarum. Apparently, he and Master Madrygos had some sort of falling out during the final phases of the Tower’s construction.

Frayfeather had warned that the ley line in which they would be tapping should not be disturbed; that though it hold great power, there was an innate magic of ancient origin that they did not fully comprehend. He seemed content with staying in the cell until the companions apprised him fully of the situation outside. With the news of the Tower having fallen into another’s control, he felt compelled to assist.

After some effort in the form of a convoluted discussion and a narrow rope ladder, they extricate Frayfeather from his cell. With the master builder in tow, they fall back to the Black Star.

View
The Memories

The group confront Thranka, who has utilized the equipment in the armory to arm herself appropriately. Sayer is able to diffuse the situation short of violence. They all continue towards the Asylum.

After crossing a small bridge high above the city streets below, they find Dixmont Asylum in a state of complete disorder. There are the echoes of those still confined far below mingled with the continual din of rodents moving freely throughout the chambers. Finding a passage marked as ‘Arcano-Misanthropical Interment’, they climbs the narrow stairs to investigate.

As they continue, they find the rats moving about the passages more and more numerous. It becomes apparent that not only are these rodents scurrying about the edges of the chambers and halls, but scrambling through the walls themselves.

They come upon a centralized chamber at the top of this parapet; there is a large rotary chair in the center and mysterious rune discs in a circling perimeter. To their horror they find a corpse in the chair. His entire head seems to have been gnawed off.

The heroes soon realize that they are in the midst of hundreds of rats now. They seem to hold value in an array of crystals throughout the chambers around the main room. When become agitated when Ogg disturbs the arrangement.

It seems that in the weeks prior, a prisoner in the tower had bent the rats to his will. Before they would commit themselves to whatever nefarious plot the prisoner had concocted, the Luminus Nocturne struck, disrupting all within the city of Khalsbrad.

It was heralded in the asylum by a dark figure, who set the crystals with some ill purpose. The horde of rats have used it as a sort of psychic sustenance. The companions had much discussion on the morality of such perverse creatures. They concluded that if the horde would abstain from devouring the arcane energy within the crystals that they could be sanctioned.

Feeling a little out of his element with the complicated arcane arrangement, Ogg gave Thadeous the crystal. The gnome felt a presence within; it was … familiar. With a gasp Thadeous recognized what he had in his hands. Memories of his childhood flooded over him. There was a love that he yearned for, paternal in nature. He had finally found what had been stolen from his father and soon reclaimed the crystal associated with his mother.

He disclosed briefly the sorry state of his beloved parents. Then after a few words of warning about the vile necromancer who had cost him so much, he wrapped about him his magic cloak and was off to return to his beloved parents.

View
Prisoner of Circumstance

The companions come together after their rest in the ‘rope trick’ brought about by Bartholomew. The more observant among them noticed the camaraderie between the young wizard and his friend Constance. It was earnest, familial. The disparity between their small friendship and the current tension between the companions was palpable.

Thadeous successfully removes the cursed affliction from Sayer. Though he recovered fully, Sayer still carries a darkness mood. He seems particularly distraught about being abandoned by his friend Ogg while he was suffering the curse.

The companions are given a key by Constance. Now with access to the Minutemen garrison proper. They come across a guard’s room, but find it of little use. They take an opportunity to outfit themselves in the armory, then continue on. While wandering the halls, they hear a disembodied whistling noise… They are unable to glean it’s origin right away.

They descent into the chambers below, finding more footnotes on local happenings in the militia. They also find a large clockwork elevator, but it seems out of order. They also find a large room with heavy desks and dossiers on recent criminal activity in Khalsbrad.

The companions continue on and find a small set of cells with a very alive, very unruly young woman within. She seems as wary of them as they of she, and hesitates to explain her situation in detail. Ogg is unconvinced of her good nature. He casts a spell that should keep her from falsifying her story, but senses that she is able to resist his charms.

They eventually release her. She panics a bit when they tell her of the current situation and there is a small altercation. She runs off in the scrum and is soon lost in the chambers above.

The group splits to find signs of Thranka. Akasha, Elbanor, The Hand and Thaddius find themselves searching another set of light cells. It seems that others had found themselves in a similar predicament as Thranka, to a grimmer end.

They are caught unaware by a grim specter, apparently attracted by some commotion nearby.

~

In a few chambers over, Sayer confronts Ogg, ready to crash into him with wave after wave of bad feelings. Through his pendant of mind reading he reveals a great sadness that he has been keeping to himself; a story of his crewmate’s malignant transformation. The loss he felt. The hope of a new companion in this orcish knight, and the betrayal he felt when Ogg left him to chase the next big monster. When this last use of the pendant is expanded, the ruby held within cracks.

It’s at this point that they hear the noise of their friends battling some ghastly creature.

~

Just before Sayer and Ogg rush into the fray, the abhorrent specter flashes a wave of necrotic energy outward. Finding the light to be painfully bright, everyone averts their eyes; with the exception of Thaddeus. He stares on into it’s deathly gaze, and falls over unconscious.

Watching his new friend collapse into a dreadfully pale pile of gnome, Elbenor calls out with the words of his divine power and banishes the specter. Ogg and Sayer rush in, painfully ignorant of much of the happenings. There is a little time left before the spell would consume in on itself.

They take position to engage this creature should it pull it’s way out of the banishment. There is but moments hanging in the air before the spell runs out of magik juice. They await with bated breath. Surely it will tear it’s way back in any moment.

They are shocked by the sound of Thranka whistling nearby, and with a bellowing roar Ogg runs up a flight of stairs towards the sound.

View
Rise of the Colossus

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.

npc_-_karth_transform.jpg

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.

View
Reunion at Balefire Egress

The companions assist in the recovery of Elbanor. Though On’ogg is able to heal him, his hand is lost in the process. After sending Margot, Bartholomew and Constance back to the Black Star Hideout, they decide to investigate the strange lights emanating from the nearby Balefire Egress.

They move through the Cedar Quarter, careful to not attract any unwanted attention. A peculiar figure, bereft of strong description follows some distance behind, strangely compelled to find them. The companions are largely unaware of it’s presence, and it becomes easily distracted by wonderful new sensations as it progresses along.

~

The companions find their way to the edge of a large park, the bulk of which is in the shape of a shallow bowl with a large stone pavilion in the center. A dense mist with a sickly green hue settles on the area. Where they had once seen signs of ten or so large green fires burning, now they find only four.

Moving forward, they find a large mob of skeletal horrors locked in combat with large beasts. The creatures move at a speed that makes it difficult to discern much detail. Though they fight with great ferocity, the seem to find the numbers of their assailants overwhelming. A pair of skeletal warrior move among them, causing much havoc.

The companions rush in to fight off the abhorrent undead, finding themselves fighting alongside several large werewolves. This continues for a short time. Suddenly a fiery blast emanating from the temple entrance destroys several adversaries directly among the companions. The magic seems to bend around them, sculpted in an all too familiar fashion. They turn to see their old friend Thadeous Wobblegrinder among the combatants!

With their combined efforts, they are able to destroy the pair of lich brothers. The werewolves seemed to not be hostile, so they all convened within the structure, where the large beasts turned back into several dwarven priests. One had fallen in combat. All but one filed down into the structure below.

The lone dwarf introduced himself as Jotun Borzegar, a member of the the Aurens. He explained his sect to be non-denominational clerics in the service of honoring the dead among the city of Khalsbrad. The companions were at first apprehensive, but soon realized that Jotun and his brothers provided a great service to those in the city.

Taciturn and solitary, the Aurens performed the vast majority of the burial rites for the departed of Khalsbrad. With their great respect for their work, the dwarves found the desecration of the area profoundly vexing. They gave the companions food and shelter, and were soon convinced to join in their efforts to assault the source of evil within the Tower of Solastarum, when the time came.

The group relished the reprieve from the dangers of the city, outfitting themselves as best they could and debriefing Thaddeus of his own adventures. Akasha found the werewolves to be profoundly beautiful, finding fellowship with their struggles. Sayer assessed their equipment stores. Ogg thoughtfully asked of Jotun more information on their work.

Finding the young orc to be sincere and trustworthy, Jotun brought him to a ritual held behind closed doors. Ogg witnessed them giving a ceremony to their fallen comrade. Though he found some aspects of the ritual disturbing, he remained respectfully quiet in the back. Jotun later explained that since they were unable to return their dead back to the stone, that the blood concord would serve.

After gathering their strength, the decide to attempt to signal the Callehad. Sayer and Thaddeus hold the main level with the Auren warriors. Ogg and Akasha ready themselves on the spiral steps of the pavilion. Crawford and Elbanor climb the parapet above and prepare to relay the signal light.

As they transmit the message, they notice the last of the green bonfires is extinguished. A deep rumbling seems to be shaking the grounds all around the temple. A great shifting throws tumbling rock in all directions, the earth itself was rising. The companions look on in horror as a gigantic arm took shape from the turned cemetery ground, pulling up more and more as a colossus unearthed itself.

When it was about waist height, it reared back it’s huge fist as to strike the top of the parapet. Just as Crawford and Elbanor finished their transmission and fled back into the tower, the arm crashed down. A flash of bright light enveloped all as the stonework first shook, then resisted the assault. Indeed, vast chunks of earth bouldered down on the grounds around the temple.

Then from the mists marched another mob of skeletal horrors, this one with a Black Rider among their numbers. He lifted a dreadful hand and pointed to those taking refuge within, and when prodded into response by Sayer’s provocation, responded in orcish ‘you will all die this night’ before laughing horribly. Throwing off his mantle, he revealed himself as Karth Drachum, twisted by a horrible undeath.

View
Things Lost and Found

The heroes fall back to the Black Star to establish the best coarse of action. They decide to search for Margot DeVry, considering her to be not only an asset to their cause, but their responsibility.

They navigate the tunnels below the city, emerging topside within the Cedar Quarter, normally a fashionable area of town. Investigating the area, they find the Gilded Goose Inn, where they know Margot to have been last seen. Finding several cleverly made traps intact, they venture forth with new found hope. Indeed, they find not only Margot, but her colleague Bartholomew along with his regular escort, Constance.

While they debate the plan of leaving their defended position, Sayer and Constance both witness a group of dark riders in the streets outside. A sheer panic overwhelms them both, spinning their psyche out of control. They are deeply affected for a time, but the group eventually ventured outside again.

They move towards the southern curtain wall, where they knew the Callehad to have been docked, but they found it to have taken flight and was now airborne. Periodically the ship would send a volley at the barrier, but it seemed to have little effect.

Thoroughly perturbed, the companions felt themselves falling into the depths of despair. Dissatisfied with the lack of definitive information about the barrier in front of them, Elbanor strode forward and pushed his hand into the dark energy. His body began to convulse in wracking fits as his lifeforce was sucked out through his arm.

Energy burned his appendage up to his elbow; in it’s wake was left an ashy shell of his arm. A cold wind blew through the area, shattering the remains into a fine dust. He watched it be carried away as he fell unconscious.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.