The Dark

Interlude: A Life Observed Through Death
A Life Returned Through Friendship

Written by Explodinator

The spirit of the Eladrin Bard, the weaver of song and the bringer of joy to many, stood and watched unbeknownst to his allies as Belgarde carried his beaten and broken corpse to the wooded glade where he would bring him back among the living. Soveliss was excited; he had watched his friends suffer another loss at the hands of a medusa. He had seen a creature with horns the size of himself join the fight and then turn on his friends, plotting and preparing to slay his old friend at a second’s notice.

Soveliss saw his friends, with the inclusion of a confused cushani warrior commander, lay his body down and leave Belgarde to his work. The tiefling was the eladrin’s most trusted friend and it was only appropriate that he had taken the responsibility of bringing Soveliss back to the living. The tiefling asked that the others leave the room and began his preparation.

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Interlude: A Dance with the Devil
The Resurrection of Soveliss

Written by Nate The Great

Laughter filled the halls as Belgarde skipped back to the room where they had laid Soveliss’ body to rest. It was perhaps the first time ever that this prison had heard the sounds of true joy. A brilliant smile split his face as he reached the eladrin’s body. “Zoon mon ami, zoon we zhall have you back with ze living,” he spoke to his friend.

As the others set about securing the room for a much needed rest, Belgarde buried his head in the ancient tome. While the others rested Belgarde continued to read. His concentration unwavering, Belgarde never even noticed his companions taking their turns at the nightly watch.

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Session 31: White Dragon's Lair
Unleash the Beast

29 April (Continued)

Belgarde could not detect any magical auras from the steel plates or the wall surrounding them and Cage’s keen eyes could find no mundane secrets lurking within the unadorned chamber. The group made their way back towards the demonic face corridor at the top of the stairs from the first level of the pyramid, passing Kegan’s statue as well as the bodies of the medusa and her pet ogre. Back in the hall, they made their way north to the eastern passageway that terminated in another double door. They proceeded to this closed portal, the beastly Tarrantus taking point.

More hallways greeted them beyond the door, a north-south ending in doors to the south, and a corridor heading off further east past an opening that housed a staircase heading farther up. Passing this by for the moment, they came to the end of the eastern hall and found the doors there were cold to the touch. Having even fewer reservations than the petrified battlemind, the minotaur shoved at the chilled wooden doors. A blast of freezing air assaulted the minotaur as the doors reluctantly swung open. The floor ahead was covered with a thick sheet of ice that looked dangerously slick. Frost coated the walls and the five other sets of doors leading out of the hallway. Within, they were surprised to find a heavily armed man with decidedly leonine features.

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Session 30: Second Tier
In Which Kegan is Petrified

29 April, 103 CY

The party awoke and entered the doors in the southern hallway. They opened into a bending corridor that terminated in the other side of the trapped hall where they’d lost Soveliss. This confirmed, they made their way back to the wide chamber near the icy prison – the only door remaining to them. Kegan led the way.

A wide set of stairs rose before them, up into the gloom above. Ascending these proved to be a challenge, because each step was remarkably narrow, even for Cage’s small feet. They entered a wide chamber; more stairs wrapped around the walls of the room, leaving a deep pit some thirty feet across in the middle. The stairs and landings were dimly lit by some ambient magic, but the pit was deeply dark. Feh brought his everburning torch over to the edge and noted the bare stone floor of the pit was only twenty feet down. Still, the stairs had no railing and a fall from the increasing heights would certainly hurt.

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Session 29: Deception
Karmic Backlash - Not Just for PCs

28 April (Continued)

Kegan led the others back up the rope bridge to the entrance pit chamber. A groan preceded a hair hand reaching up to grab hold of the ledge. The heroes tensed as a horned head raised from the pit, and a fierce-looking minotaur blinked up at them. Propping itself up with one arm, it reached back and grabbed a massive axe in its free hand. “Hold!” commanded the battlemind, freeing his own sword from its sheath. The minotaur growled low in its throat, and the adventurers readied themselves for combat.

Mon amis, ztep azide. Ze Belgarde knowz ze language of zese beazts,” said the tiefling, taking a few steps forward. He cleared his throat and said in a very serious tone, “Moo, moo moo, moooo moo moo moo-moo.”

The minotaur ground its teeth and then the beast spoke in a decidedly masculine voice. “I’ll not be mocked by the likes of you, fiend!” In one fluid motion, the minotaur swung himself up onto the ledge, crouched and ready to charge in a moment. Taking a measure of the group, he asked, “What is this place? Who are you?”

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Session 28: The Charnel Lord
In Which One of our Heroes Dies

27 April (Concluded)

The heroes emerged from the false hillside and crossed to the door on the northern wall of the well chamber. In the room beyond, the floor, ceiling and walls were covered with thick, rich earth. They saw a dense thicket that reached from floor to ceiling, forming a living wall of vines, leaves, and sharp thorns. A dim yellow glow filled the chamber, and as they took a few steps farther in, they saw that it formed a sort of hedge maze. More arboreans, a dire boar, and a howling hag whose very voice brought maddening pain to the adventurers heads occupied the room – briefly.

After the last of the arboreal threats were dealt with, the heroes discovered that the chamber connected back to the pit chamber through which they had first entered the pyramid. Belgarde discovered a winding hallway in the back corner of the room and convinced his companions to try it first. It wound back to the north after a short distance and came to a closed door that opened into a wide stone hallway. A statue of a robed figure stared down the length of the corridor toward an exact duplicate on the other end.

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Session 27: Pruning

26 April (Continued)

Camnor could sense Urso’s unease at the sounds of battle coming from the vineyard where he’d assigned sentries to watch for invaders. He did what he could to soothe the cave bear’s nerves, because he had faith. The feeling he got from the φυτό κήπου could only be described as anticipation. He trusted in his god to lead his people, the arboreans, to ultimate victory even during this, their time of great trial and suffering. He placed a leafy hand on Urso’s fur and bid him to patience.

They hadn’t long to wait.

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Session 26: The Hermitage
The First Splinter

26 April, 103 CY

The group returned to the library and climbed the ladder to the top of the bookshelves lining the walls, making their way to the doors on the north side. They did not appear to be trapped or locked, and once most of the heroes had taken up hidden positions to the sides, Kegan cautiously opened the way. A stone angel, its wings folded around its body, stood on an ornate pedestal. The gleaming symbol of Ioun was cradled in its hands, its eye gazing directly at the heroes. An L-shaped table and a heavy cabinet stood against the opposite wall with a closed door between them, and another door stood in the back corner to the left, behind the angel.

The battlemind strode into the room, and when he drew near the statue, the holy symbol pulsed with malignant energy, assaulting his mind. The magical aura persisted and began to grow, slowly filling the entry chamber. The psychic attack caused great pain and left its victims dazed – which proved a great irritant when the voidblades entered from the two wooden doors. The party engaged the eaters of knowledge before a tiefling appeared in the storage room to the north and launched a lightning bolt at the party. “There he is!” Vyrellis shouted. “Arat Karavakos! Destroy him and find his key!”

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Session 25: The Criminal and The Library
Gharash Vren and Friends

25 April (Continued)

The party moved through the empty chamber to the west and north into an antechamber decorated with statues of humanoids in heroic poses. The only other exit from that chamber was blocked by heavy wooden doors bound by iron braces. With a little effort, this obstacle was shoved aside to reveal a handful of dirty human brigands in a small room with an open door to the north. The one in the back called out through the door, “Gharash, we’ve got company!”

The fight was joined and the heroes began slowly moving through the entry chamber and into the larger room occupied by the dragonborn and his lackeys. Pillars supported the ceiling and several doors exited the large hall, one of which had had a great deal of debris piled before it – as though to keep something in. Still, between the archers, the thugs, and Vren himself, the adventurers had little time for conjecture.

The archers proved to be just as dangerous as those they’d fought before, and Feh fell senseless to the stone floor before he could be revived by the bard. As the last of Gharash Vren’s men fell, the dragonborn snarled, “You’ve seen my best men. Now witness my worst!” He rushed the debris-blocked door and started tearing stones away from it while yelling, “Ference! Wake up! Fresh meat!”

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Session 24: The Chapel

24 April (Continued)

The adventurers questioned their captive, one of Gharash Vren’s outlaws, a human called Walt. They decided that he couldn’t be left to roam free, but neither did they want the blood of a prisoner on their hands. They decided they would imprison him in the Moonstone room by hammering pitons to secure the door. However, Feh was at the end of his strength, having been sorely wounded in the encounter, and so the group took the man back to the Moonstone room and settled in for the “evening.” It took a couple of hours before sleep took them, and the others left Kegan on first watch while they settled in to rest what passed for “night” in the pyramid.

While the others slept, the outlaw struck up a conversation with the mercenary, beseeching him not to leave him trapped in the chamber. Buying into Walt’s tale of a man fallen on hard times and doing only what he needed to survive, Kegan felt a sort of bond with the bandit. He decided to take a chance on the man, offering to hire him for five gold (which Walt admitted was higher than his usual pay) to guard the charnel pit where the party had landed when they’d been drawn into the pyramid.

The outlaw didn’t have to be told twice, and after spending several moments undoing the lock, he crossed the slick platform and splashed into the flooded room, crossing the water to the south in order to retrieve his weapons. Kegan did not see or hear Walt coming back through the water, which he would have had to do to get back to the pit. Sighing heavily, the battlemind hoped that his decision would not come back to haunt him.

Naturally, it did.

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