Outcasts and Refugees

Outcasts & Refugees

Our story begins…..
You have heard the legend. A ghost of prophecy hidden in a long lost world. A lady, they say, that will entertain a single question and answer with purest truth. How could you resist taking the chance?
You have traveled far, heeded the advice of others who have walked these lands, and finally you see the tower that marks the ruined city called Spellgard. Your future awaits…

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Session 1

While in the small town of Loudwater, a young man named Aedric Swordson ran across a dozen Dwarfs who were the members of a trade caravan seeking extra guards on their travel, in exchange for a fair amount of coin. Aedric, being a lost soul of sorts, jumped at the opportunity for travel, company and what seemed like fairly easy earnings. So he joined on to travel with the group, to the ancient ruins of Spellgard. The three day journey went along fairly easy and on the morning of his third day, the caravan stopped to pay respect at the burial site of a great Dwarven champion known as Taransen. Here they met another dwarf, unusually thin for his kind, adorned with simple gray robes and chainmail armor barely hidden beneath.
The dwarf was a holy man, with a symbol of Kelemvor, made of gold surrounding a bone disc. His unusual sense of humor immediately triggered Aedric’s curiosities. Though he was stand-offish at first, arrival at Spellgard saw that Aedric stuck close to the dwarf, Dvallin Durin, of Clan Durin.
Dvallin’s breif descriptions of his travels from the region of Impiltur triggered a strange sort of unknown feeling in Aedric. The Dwarf went on to explain his hatred of a villain known as ‘Szass Tam’ and the undead that dominate the region of Thay.
Upon seeking answers about the lady of Spellgard, Dvallin and Aedric spoke with Allendi, the keeper of the Monastery of the Precipice. It wasn’t but moments after that a beautiful, crimson haired woman emerged from the rentable living quarters. She overheard the conversations between the Dwarf and the young warrior and moved closer. She introduced herself as ‘Rivyet’, and engaged in the ongoing conversation about Lady Saharel, as they came to know the spirit by name.
After speaking with Allendi again, he told them of Kuryon, the builder of the monastery, and mentioned that if they wish to speak with him, that they go out into the courtyard. There they saw it, a polished wooden burial marker with the word “Kuryon” engraved into it.
Disenchanted, they went in to try and socialize with the other seekers who were present at the monastery. But right as they did, the dinner bell rang and all social endeavours were halted.
At the same time, the front doors were brashly, even violently, thrust open and a Teifling woman in leather armor burst in with two axes behind her back. She headed intently toward the kitchen and looked around for the supposed merchant who were supposed to have arrived.
The four found themselves seated at the same table and conversation slowly grew. She introduced herself as “Darcary Orcslayer”, sworn to avenge her lost love and slain family. Upon exchanging pleasantries and reasons for being in the city (for those who felt like sharing.), Sister Cherra, a former seeker who now tends to the monastery’s distillery, came over and added some insight to the group’s conversation. She spoke of a slim leather bound book somewhere in the library. A book that Kuryon wrote, called “The Analects of Kuryon”.
The group finished their meal and headed off to the library to search for the elusive volume. After a fair bit of searching, Darcaryn finally identified the book hidden in one of the many stacks. A search for relevant information hilighted three passages of poetry. The group pocketed the book with the intent to return it, once their business was done. It was agreed upon there that they would sleep and reconvene in the common room, first thing in the morning.
The next morning, the group ate their porridge (a double helping for the always hungry Dwarf) and headed out into the ruins of Spellgard. The group decided to investigate the curious “broken tower” that stood crumbling, but very close to the monolithic Scepter Tower. They headed into the guts of the exposed walls when suddenly a trap sprang upon the Dwarf in the lead. A crude, blunt pendulum swung down, batting the dwarf aside. Before the group could even properly assess the situation, they found themselves surrounded by Kobolds. Several guards within the shadows of the broken tower, and two elites guarding one of their shamans, hiding behind one of the broken walls.
The four seekers immediately united in defense. They fought against the Kobolds, each displaying their unique skills. Even the much doubted Rivyet proved that her condescending attitude was a small pain, compared to her biting control of arcane forces. Aedric and Darcaryn sliced through the ranks with unstoppable, enchanted steel. While Dvallin held his ground and seemed to enable his new friends with a drive not previously known to them.
In the end, the Kobold shaman and one of his guards managed to flee. But Dvallin used his healing arts to revive one of the fallen creatures on site. A quick interrogation revealed that the Kobolds assumed the group was trying to invade their tunnels. An entrance to which, was located in the shadows of the broken tower’s rubble. A deal was made, for Dvallin to revive the remaing fallen Kobolds, in exchange for a guide. The Kobold would take them to the rampart where supposed wererats hide.
According to the Kobold, the wererats collapsed the tunnels that the Kobolds dug, which led to the catacombs beneath the ancient city. Acoording to the beast, the wererats are the only ones able to access the passages underneath Spellgard. Though he wishes to stay a safe distance away from the wererat’s new home, he offers to lead you on your way with no trickery.
And so, it seems the group is on it’s way into a further development in their quest for Lady Saharel.

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Session 2
Were there's rats, there's cheese...

Following their adventures in Kobold diplomatic relations and field medicine, the motley group of adventurers made their way across the ruins of Spellgard. Upon reaching its northern edge, their Kobold guide pointed out an encampment where the wererats previously resided and the ramparts in which they currently dwelt. Having taken the group as far as his reptilian cowardice allowed, the Kobold guide retreated leaving our heroes to explore the ruins on their own.

Upon examining the ramparts, the group noticed that this building was indeed much better maintained than the remainder of the crumbling city. Exploring its eastern face, they came upon a great wooden door that upon closer inspection, was blocked from the other side. Aedric, claiming to know “a little something about opening doors” gave it a mighty shoulder with his shield in hand. Unfortunately the door’s barricade left much to be desired and Aedric crashed through much more easily than expected, nearly falling flat on his face. Luckily, his athletic prowess won the day and he deftly balanced himself amongst the freshly made rubble.

Upon entering the ramparts Aedric, followed by the rest of the group, came upon an irate Halfling with a sharp tongue and a rather cozy setup for a random adventurer or visitor. Aedric informed him that they had come “hunting wererats”, but the Halfling claimed to know of none. As each member of the group filtered in and questioned the hairy-footed liar further, he became increasingly nervous. This culminated with an ill-fated attempt at stabbing Aedric, which sadly for the halfling, only managed to make him mad. After being knocked back by the capable worg-pelted warrior, the halfling made his way to what appeared to be an alarm rope, during which time he changed form from Halfling to Wererat in a manner of seconds.

Hearing the clatter of more approaching Wererats from beneath the spiral staircase in the center of the room, Aedric deftly delayed the hoard by dashing the Wererat’s desk and chair to pieces on the stairs themselves. The other group members unleashed an onslaught of melee strikes, curses, and holy incantations upon the wererat, but he managed to escape through the room’s western doors. The group decided to wait for the approaching hoard and get the drop on them as they clamored up the stairs. This tactic proved most effective, as the small group of wererats were taken completely unaware by the diverse but capable group that lay in wait for their emergence. Darcaryn cut deep into their rancid fur with her mighty axes, Aedric became a wall of steel, Rivyet melted minds and cursed souls, while Dvallin mended the wounds of his compatriots and sent volleys of divine attacks at the rats themselves (with only mild success).

During the battle Aedric suffered a nasty bite to his shoulder which festered and weakened him almost immediately. At the conclusion of the battle, Dvallin determined that Aedric had contracted one of the many plagues and fevers that Werecreatures carry. Though he could press on in his current state, Dvallin determined that if his conditioned worsened, they would be forced to stop and tend to his wounds more carefully and allow him to rest. The implication was that if they didn’t, Dvallin would have to play the part of priest instead of healer. While Darcaryn brashly explored the underground hovel from which the wererats emerged, eager to find Lady Saharel or slake her thirst for more rat blood, Dvallin excised some infected tissue from Aedric’s wound, applied some salves, and quickly bandaged him up.

Upon exploring the lower lever of the room, the group discovered what appeared to be living quarters and an unlocked chest within. Inside the chest was a small pendant, which Rivyet quickly determined was of Netherese origin and likely was made in reverence of Lady Saharel. The group pocketed the trinket, hoping it might aid them in the journey to find the lady of questions. The lower room also contained a western door, much like the ground floor one that the first wererat had fled through. The spiral staircase appeared to travel up several more levels as well. Recalling from the Analects that Kuryon himself had ascended a spiral stair during his journey, Dvallin suggested the group explore the upper floors before proceeding forward.

The 2nd level of the ramparts yielded naught but arrow-slits and fire-beetles, the latter of which did not take kindly to the group’s intrusion. Though the beasts themselves were relatively easy to dispatch, the group quickly discovered that they had a nasty habit of glowing red, swelling up, and spewing flames at those who had aroused their ire. Darcarcyn, in her haste to find the Lady Saharel and continue their journey, had neglected to bind her wounds between the battles and was facing certain mutilation at the hands of these beasts. Luckily, her Tiefling heritage won the day and protected her from their fiery onslaught. Dvallin made quick work of her wounds during the battle, and the group proceeded to dispatch the beetles with relative ease. No sooner had the last beetle been slain, then their wererat master emerged from the floor above, infuriated at what the group had done to his “pets”. Before the group could take the angry wererat to task, however, he fled down the stairs and presumably westward as his companion had. The battle resolved, the group continued their exploration of the ramparts.

The top floor yielded little save for a good view of the surrounding countryside, so the group decided to make their way westward, through the ground floor doors that the halfling wererat had fled through. Having traversed a long hallway containing no traps or clues, the group came upon another door, behind which may lie adventure, answers, or certain doom…..

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Session 3

Nothing happened, or page lost.

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Session 4

Nothing happened, or page lost.

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Session 5

Nothing happened, or page lost.

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Session 6

Nothing happened, or page lost.
House rules take effect from this point on.

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Session 7
Let's get ready to RUUUUMMMMMB- Oh shit. :/

After defeating the vampire priest, Barthus, the group made their way through the more hospitable looking area of the catacombs. Finally arriving at a smaller room with a low ceiling, it stank of mildew and was littered with bones and worn weapons and armor. Slowly they descended the short length of stairs, toward the stairs and door on the southern wall. But suddenly one of the flagstones on the floor depressed and water began to rush into the room through newly opened grates along the ceiling. If that wasn’t bad enough, several of the piles of bones and armor began to rise and form full humanoid forms and advance of the group. The skeletal guards were brought down with relative ease, but the water quickly flooding the room proved to be a much more difficult matter.
They searched and searched, troubleshooting the many possibilities, but found that this trap was outside of their skill set. With the dwarf seconds away from being completely submerged under the roaring flood, the fighter and ranger bashed at the locked door with all of their might. Just as it seemed that their bodies would spend eternity in this watery tomb, the doors cracked and burst open, sending a wave of water down the long hallway before them.
The group marched onward and was soon met with a fork in the hall, with a set of doors a few feet down either side. Choosing to go straight ahead, they opened the doors to see a large room, cluttered with crates and barrels, and several large spiders accompanying a strange humanoid with four arms and insect like features.
The fighter rushed in at one of the spiders, while the other two leaped across the room, surrounding him. It was then that Rivyet, the Warlock, and Darcaryn, the Ranger, revealed their hidden arachnophobia. They tried to aid the fighter but retreated as they did, leaving him to escape through his own might. The ranger ran as fast as she could, around the corner of the hallway, presumably toward the other door. Finally Aedric, the fighter, got free of the group, and Dvallin, the dwarf, helped him hold shut the door.
Reconvening in the hallway, a horrible argument broke out between the fighter and the ranger. Finally the ranger challenged the fighter to lose their weapons and settle their dispute through fisticuffs. The fighter smiled and dropped both shield and sword. The ranger threw missed blow after missed blow, each one followed with a direct hit from the fighter. The sound of tenderizing meat and cracking bone echoed in the hall, as Rivyet and Dvallin looked on in horror. Finally, the fighter grabbed the ranger by her leather collar and dragged her to her feet. He stared at her blood soaked, swollen, disfigured face with a look of pure contempt.
“You will do exactly what I tell you, when I tell you, until we escape this vile place. I don’t care where you go or what you do after that, but until then, your ass is mine!”
The Ranger, horrified by her defeat, slowly lowered her head and nodded in agreement.
Just then the doors to the west hallway burst open! Five more of the hideous insect-like humanoids rushed into the hall, waving greataxes. They took the team by surprise and maintained a position that cut off Rivyet and Dvallin from Aedric and Darcaryn. After a few blows were delivered, the dwarf and the warlock had no choice but to flee down the long tunnel, back the way they came. Aedric and Darcaryn stood their ground, trying admirably to get the most advantageous positions, but were soon dropped by the overwhelming brutes.
Light faded from the eyes of the combatants as they lost consciousness. From the other side of a wooden door, where water had just stopped pouring, the dwarf and the warlock listened as the heavy sound of their comrades’ bodies hit the stone floor. There were some clicks and chitters, as though of conversation from the beasts, and soon those sounds faded as well.

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Session 8
Of Arcane Interlopers and Courageous Kobolds

As the last clatter of their companion’s battle dwindled beyond the broken door, Dvallin and Rivyet were afforded a few moments to recuperate and assess their options. With two members of their party out of commission, the odds were not in the spellcasters’ favor. Feeling somewhat responsible for not providing a voice of reason amidst the torrent of foolish martial bravado that his comrades unleashed, Dvallin wished to stay. More importantly, however, a possibility remained that undead still roamed these ramparts and Kelemvor’s servant could not ignore that fact. Rivyet, being a bit more practical saw little point in risking their lives for a legend that may not even exist (especially in the face of ever increasing resistance). However, she was also aware that they likely couldn’t make it out of these catacombs alive without the fighter and ranger to take point in battle. Though the ettercaps took their companions deeper into the ruins, there still remained a large contingent of wererats at their backs.

The pair agreed to press on, with Dvallin taking the brunt of any melee attacks and allowing the warlock to unleash psychic horror unperturbed. Returning to the scene of the battle, the two followed the blood-soaked tracks of their party through the unexplored room from where the ettercaps first emerged. Ready for an onslaught of webbing and venom, the two were surprised to find nothing in the way of guards or resistance. All that remained was the continuing trail of blood leading towards a foreboding staircase.

Meanwhile, bearing both the bruises the gave each other and many new ones, the two headstrong warriors awoke in a small but relatively well appointed makeshift cell. Apparently their lives were worth more than their equipment, though that was nowhere to be found. Beings of some kind could be heard in the distance beyond the locked door, but nowhere close. Aedric’s keen eyes were able to make out the wooden bar which held fast their cell door. All it would take was something small enough to fit through the space in the door frame and lift the bar, and they would be free. A frantic assessment of the room ensued, but a table and iron-framed mattress were all that were available to the would-be rogues. The table legs were too large, but the strong, thin bars of the bed frame were a possibility. Drawing on their combined strength, the fighter and ranger mangled the frame but did not manage to free a bar before their racket was noticed by their captors. A guard shuffled to the door, and for a moment the unarmed pair stood breathless. However the guard seemed less convinced of their escape than annoyed by the cacophony they created. A few more hushed wrenches to the frame, and an iron bar was procured. Carefully the fighter balanced the wooden bar on his make-shift lockpick. One false move meant all elements of surprise would be forfeit. Luckily for the two bloodied prisoners, Aedric’s nerves won out and the wooden bar was carefully placed to the ground. Knowing that neither of them would survive without some sort of melee weapon, the two quietly dismantled the table and lashed a rope to the underside, fashioning a crude shield for Aedric and yielding a pair of clubs for the ranger. Though his sword still remained at large, Aedric paired his shield with the iron bar, and the two carefully crept from their confines into the circular top floor of the tower.

From several floors below, Dvallin and Rivyet did their best to make their presence unknown (no easy feat with the dwarf’s clattering enchanted armor punctuating every footstep). Luckily for them, the first group they came across were loud and drunken enough to let a paladin of Glittergold pass unnoticed. Several ettercaps and a fancily dressed gnome circled a barrel of spirits and carried on with little concern for the stairwell. However, the mirth within their drunken hearts was soon replaced with unspeakable horror as the floor went black about them and the nightmarish hellscape of creatures brought darkness to their eyes and tentacles to their flesh (courtesy of the pact betwixt Rivyet and Haddar). Figuring the be-robed gnome to be some sort of spellcaster and therefore the most unwieldy target, Dvallin charged into the room and pointed his finger to where he knew the tiny arcanist stood amidst the demonic chaos. A ray of light as thin as a needle but bright as a desert sun cut through the darkness, guided by the Kelemvor’s bony hand, and struck the gnome at center mass sending him to be judged in the world beyond. The ettercaps, confused as they were intoxicated, managed to stumble out of the engulfing blackness and make for the heroes. The pair laid waste to all but one of the ettercaps. That one met his end not by the words of a caster but by the point of a spear thrown by none other than the kobold that had been following them with Gollum-like tenacity for quite some time. The kobold identified himself as Skerg, and told the pair that their bravery against both the wererats and the unknown horrors of the catacombs had given him the courage to follow them. Being particularly impressed with Dvallin’s heroics, Skerg handed the dwarf a bit of parchment bearing the title which the kobold hoped to earn in the eyes of the dwarf: Squire. Mutually impressed with the gumption of this tiny reptilian warrior, Dvallin agreed to let Skerg join them in their quest to rescue their companions and see their journey to the end. Both heroes agreed that if the kobold had managed to follow them this far undetected, he should take the lead that the two might stay further back and retain some small measure of stealth.

While their friends continued upward having gained a new ally, Aedric and Darcaryn put their differences aside and made their way into the top of the tower, ready to take their captors unaware. Though they had naught but their smallclothes to armor them, this allowed them to proceed forward undetected and get the drop on one of their jailors. A short search of the tower’s apex revealed a room full of training gnomes whose defeat necessitated only the human’s strong words and the pair’s frighteningly savage appearance. Their efforts in intimidation were justly rewarded, as this chamber contained not only a king’s ransom in gnome piss, but their weapons and armor as well. Taking a brief pause only to suit up and catch their breath, the two proceeded to make their way downward only to find a cadre of arachnoid creatures ranging from humanoid to…not so much. Though they now had their weapons in hand, the silken treachery of their foes overtook them once again, pinning Aedric to the wall and blocking Darcaryn from making her way down the staircase from which they had emerged. Rather than using this as an opportunity to knock each others’ teeth out, however, the ranger cut Aedric loose and the two retreated back the way they came and took to the the spiral staircase whose existence meant more than just their continued survival.

Having slaked their thirst for the blood of arachnoid people, Skerg, Dvallin, and Rivyet proceeded further up the tower, eventually coming to a crimson curtain which the warlock noticed glimmered with arcane energy. Seeing no other threat and unable to discern what manner of trap this might represent, Dvallin passed through the barrier only to emerge naked as the day Moradin made him on the other side. Skerg, upon passing through, was similarly disarmed and disrobed. Deciding that it would be better to shed her belongings and know where they were, Rivyet stripped down in an epic act of fanservice and proceeded through the barrier naked but unchanged. Just as the awkwardness of the moment was about to really sink in, a pair of human wizards emerged from the room adjacent to the adventurers and proceeded to both impede and ridicule them simultaneously. Though they seemed to have no animosity towards the group, they seemed to be well paid for their arcane guard duties and would not let the heroes pass at first. However, between the dwarf’s steely resolved to see all undead obliterated and Rivyet’s charms (both arcane and mammary), the group managed to convince the wizards that they were in fact not after whatever they were protecting. Furthermore, Rivyet highlighted just how thoroughly their talents were wasted playing watchmen for their master Thorin. Realizing that greater fortune awaited them with treachery than with blind obedience, the wizards returned the magically stolen equipment to the dwarf and kobold, leaving Rivyet the only one naked for a short while longer.

Meanwhile, Aedric and Darcaryn’s retreat and subsequent descent yielded not the freedom they sought, but an suspiciously out of place old man amidst a setting that rang true with the Analects our heroes had taken in what seemed like ages ago. Further inquiry revealed this being to not be an old man, but an Oni both great and terrible. As the creature grew to epic proportions, further flight down the staircase seemed the only viable option. Before the pair departed, though, the human left a parting gift for the great demon in the form of a vicious head wound that left the creature stunned for just long enough for them to make their escape. However, it seemed that the descent down the spiral stair wouldn’t provide the sanctuary they were after. Though the two had managed to evade the Oni’s claws, they had traded them for a feasting table full of ettercaps whose meal had just gotten underway. The first course had been finished, and it would seem that Aedric and Darcaryn were to be the second.

Just below them, however, an arcane alliance of ever expanding membership had just made their way into a kitchen full of busy kobolds being overseen by yet another dangerously overqualified wizard. This time, however, our heroes knew what to expect and managed to convince the arcane task-master to set aside his duties as lead chef and join his companions in taking what was truly theirs from Thorin. No sooner had the prospect of battle left the room and a shank of animal entered Dvallin’s mouth, though, Aedric and Darcaryn exploded from above with no small amount of hell at their backs. Stunned faces gave way to excited grins as the party had been reunited at last. Their joy would be short-lived however, as the full force of their captors gathered just a few dozen paces above them….

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Session 9
Companions unite: the end in sight....

Having just reunited with their party, elation and confusion washed over the group of adventurers as kobolds roasted meat on spits and wizards pondered the meaning of the word treachery. A quick exchange of words was all the group had time for before a hoard of feasting ettercaps would be upon them. It was quickly decided that with their ranks swelled and their resolve strengthened, they would stand their ground against the arachnoid onslaught. Though the kitchen was small, cramped, and swimming with kobolds, the dwarf suggested that the group remain within in order to bottleneck their assailants in the stairwell and eliminate them one at a time.

Dvallin took up a position behind a table just around the corner from the stairwell while Darcaryn and Aedric held the line up front. Kobolds filled whatever gaps remained and the casters kept a safe distance at the back of the room. No sooner had the group taken up their positions before the first wave descended, a small contingent of ettercaps accompanied by several hooded humanoids that the warriors identified as dark creepers. The first volley of blows were effective, but soon the door behind Darcaryn swung open and she found herself pinned between the stairwell and a fresh batch of ettercaps who had rushed to join their companions. Surrounded and hopelessly out-armed (both literally and figuratively), the ranger was almost out before the fight had truly begun. Dvallin, expecting his enemies to encroach upon the room more than they had, was unable to see his companions and provide the healing Darcaryn so desperately needed. Luckily for her, it wasn’t long before the wizards unleashed a coordinated lightning attack of sith-like proportions, giving her just enough time to maneuver her way past her freshly scorched enemies and the throngs of reptilian henchmen beyond. At the same time, the dwarf took up a more advantageous position to better attend to his comrades and keep track of his enemies. With the ranger finally in sight, Dvallin was able to speak Kelemvor’s words of healing and bring Darcaryn back into the fight. With their position more thoroughly secured, the group laid waste to the hoard of feasting fiends that seemed to be ever present in the stairwell. Though many kobolds fell, the constant onslaught of javelins, blades, and various forms of arcane awesomeness made quick work of their enemies.

When the torrent of arachnoids finally stopped, and the bodies of ettercaps were stacked dwarf-high, the adventurers regrouped and decided to take to Thoran’s chambers above. As they made their way through the blood-soaked anteroom at the base of the stairs, an all too sobering reality set in: no matter how they took to the staircase, the group would soon find themselves bottlenecked in exactly the same manner as their now-slain foes. The more armored amongst the group decided to take the lead and ascended the stairs in an order of least to most magical, trailed by the stalwart kobolds that remained.

Upon reaching the top of the stair, Aedric spotted a contingent of ettercaps and dark creepers just a few yards beyond him. Seizing the moment and opening up the stairwell for his companions, the brash human rush in, sword drawn, ready to unleash anywhere from 4-5 hells. No sooner was he upon his foes, however, then Thoran’s most fearsome creeper weaseled her way around the fray and flanked him mercilessly. The dwarf, his thoughts occupied by roasting meats and dead zombies, had not the reaction time to aid his companion before he was summarily bloodied. Rivyet, being quicker of mind and more present than the Cleric, rushed in next and flung open the door to Thoran’s chambers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the room contained not salvation but the gruesome visage of Thoran himself. He drew a sword from which dark flames licked the air, ready to sear whatever foe was unfortunate enough to be within his reach. Rivyet suffered the fate of all casters who find themselves in melee, and things looked dire from the get go. A pair of ettercaps closed in from the hallways beyond Thoran’s chambers, leaving Darcaryn just enough time to emerge from the stairwell before it was blocked off by enemies. With the cleric’s healing prayers just out of reach, the rest of the adventuring party soon found themselves closer to Kelemvor’s judgment than they had been in some time. Just as Aedric’s blood began to soak his armor and it seemed that the stalwart adventurers might meet their end, Rivyet invoked a pack with the feywild that until now had been a mere thought in her mind. She had never tried it before, but if there was ever a time for risks, this was it. Giving her psyche over to a place where time and space are but playthings of greater forces, she soon found herself surrounded not by the many arms of her foes, but by the stone walls of the stairwell and the spears of her allies. Where Rivyet once stood, Dvallin now dwelled, gazing up at the surprised but intimidating visage of Thoran himself. The trick had worked, and a wry smile crept over the dwarf’s face as he tapped his holy symbol and brought his allies the healing respite they so desperately needed.

Swords fell upon the two melee combatants at the head of the fray, but with each blow that was struck Kelemvor bound their wounds and cursed their enemies. Slowy but surely Aedric was able to push through his many-armed adversaries and get his back to the wall. Finally in a tactical position in which he could not be flanked, the tattered human from Luskan began working his way back down the hall, cutting down all who stood in his way. Thoran and his dark creeper lieutenant tried to cut down the source of Kelemvor’s mercy, but found the dwarf’s enchanted armor and seemingly endless tolerance for pain to be a greater challenge than the warlock’s martial prowess. With their cleric in an optimal position, their warriors no longer flanked, and their enemies even divided, the Raiders of Spellgard could finally carve an opening for their casters and spearmen to ascend the stair and take up positions on the other side of the room. Their spells replenished and their resolve strong, Rivyet, Pellegro, and his young comrade laid waste to Thoran’s personal guard while kobold spearmen did their best to prove they could wield more than just a kitchen knife.

As his guards fell and his enemies continued to gain more ground, Thoran found himself in an increasingly dire situation. Knowing it wouldn’t be long before the group’s combined firepower was focused squarely on him, the dark master fled up the stairwell to the Oni’s chamber. As the last of Thoran’s minions joined their companions upon the blood-soaked floor of his chambers, the adventurers banded together once more to assess their options. A handful of paces above them, Thoran and his enslaved demon lay waiting, surrounded by the alabaster pillars that our heroes had sought since they first crossed paths. Dare they ascend the spiral stair and face their destiny?

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