The Dark

Session 23: Failure to Communicate
Parlez-vous Draconique?

24 April (Continued)

Tuesday Evening

While the others helped Kegan and Belgarde out of the charnel pit, Soveliss answered the call. The walls of the alcove from which the voice had come were lined with hooks, each with a grisly trophy – the freshly severed head of various humanoids. One of the hooks held a heavy bag instead, and as the bard examined further, the voice came again – from the bag. He looked inside, expecting to see another head, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the bag instead contained a black orb a little larger than his fist. He pulled the orb out, and his eyes widened as the disembodied head of an eladrin princess floated into view in the orb. She smiled at him and said, “What a refreshing change of pace. I thought I would be stuck in that bag for the rest of eternity.”

Fascinated, Sovellis said, “And who are you…my lady?”

Her gaze passed over the chamber and the other occupants within it before she looked back to the bard. “You seem to keep…interesting company,” she continued. “I am called Vyrellis.” Her tone became more businesslike, then. “You have been drawn into a prison from which there is no escape. Unless, of course, you remove its reason for being. In order to do that, you will need my help.”

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Session 22: Into the Pyramid
In Which The Heroes Begin Their Work

17 April, 103 CY

Tuesday Noon

Soveliss sang to the scattered lunch crowd gathered at the Nentir Inn Taproom, still trying to shake off the dreams he’d been having for the last few days. His efforts to dispel the disturbing visions were meeting with mixed results. He was sticking with older songs and tales of heroic deeds, rather than attempting to draft a new story based on his recent adventures. There were things about them that he would rather forget. He was grateful when a potential distraction entered the taproom in the form of a tanned warrior with hard eyes. The man took a seat at the bar and took a drink from the barkeep Hurley, largely ignoring the bard’s attempts to engage him in conversation. While the warrior spoke in low tones with the the bartender, Soveliss returned to his favorite songs of heroic deeds.

Across the room, Kegan was content to be able to rest a moment with a cold mug of ale that didn’t taste too watered down. When he asked the barkeep about work, the bulky man suggested the boards in the center of town, where prospective employers sometimes posted bills about any help that was needed. The warrior grunted noncommittally, and descended into silence once more as a tiefling descended the stairs from the inn above. He watched the creature exchange greetings with the eladrin on the stage and sighed heavily.

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Interlude: Who Needs Sleep?
Sometimes It Hurts to Dream

Written by Explodinator

16 April, 103 CY

“There was a stream there, right? No? A hill… No? Trees though, definitely trees, somewhere… Everywhere. I can’t remember where I am. Hmmmm… Have to stop this stumbling forward and think a while.” Soveliss mutters and stops in his tracks and sits upon a stump and strums a note, it comes across as an echo, hollow and metallic. “Hrm… Ah yes, continuing forward.” He muses.

His feet begin to move and the young eladrin gracefully hops over roots, fleetly moving through the woods before him. “Hmmm… I still don’t recognize this place, usually I recognize my path home.” Soveliss picks up his pace again and begins to nearly hurry as though frantic. Stopping for a second he glances around and mutters before dashing in the same direction once again, his footsteps taking him deeper and deeper into the woods.

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Interlude: Regrouping
Changing of the Guard

15 April, 103 CY

Roxor’s Boys made it back to Fallcrest a couple of days after their defeat in the Well of Demons. They knew there would be no reward from Baron Stockmer since they’d failed to rescue his nephew from the half-fiend gnoll and his demon minions. Their investigation into the mysteriously absent Mage of Saruun called Paldemar had reached a dead end. They could, perhaps have tried to assault the Well of Demons once more, but since the site had been reconsecrated to Yeenoghu, there was no telling how empowered the gnoll-priest would be. And they hadn’t been able to defeat him when the temple was hostile toward the fiend. There was nothing more keeping them in Thunderspire or the Seven-Pillared Hall.

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Session 21: The Proving Grounds
...You Lose Some

12 April, 103 CY (Continued)

The dispirited adventurers made their way back through the tunnels of the Labyrinth to the Seven-Pillared Hall, the discouragement of their recent loss still fresh. Arriving at the Halfmoon Inn, they found the locals enraptured by tale and song provided by an eladrin, by the name of Soveliss Immerial. When the locals apprised the bard of the heroes’ former successes, he was eager to meet them and hear about their recent endeavors.

He commiserated with them over the loss of Grand Minister Oris and offered to pen and deliver a fitting eulogy for the deva. Ronen was particularly grateful for the man’s offer, and the others agreed. Such was Soveliss’s talent that the entire inn was caught up in the sentiment, and the eulogy proved to be only the beginning of the finest wake anyone there could remember attending. After everyone had had enough to drink to dull the pain of sadness, the bard asked them about their intentions going forward. When they admitted that they intended to see the mission through despite their loss, he offered to accompany them in Oris’s place. They were appreciative of the offer of help, and readily agreed.

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Session 20: The Well of Demons III
Mask & Blade

11 April, 103 CY (Continued)

When they returned to the Seven-Pillared Hall, they found the rescued Riverdown captives cowering in the private rooms that the adventurers had been using in the Halfmoon Inn. Erra explained to them that a few of the undesirables around town had come by and threatened them with violence, but she and her nephew Rendil had been able to deter them from their course, if only barely. She felt that the captives would be better off outside of the Seven-Pillared Hall, but without anyone to protect them on their journey, the adventurers felt that the captives would have little chance at survival. So it was that Roxor was the only one that decided to remain in Thunderspire, while his companions escorted the ten former slaves back to their home in Riverdown.

Knowing that the remaining two captives, allegedly including Baron Stockmer’s nephew, had little time left before they were sacrificed by Maldrick, Roxor set about trying to find anyone within the Seven-Pillared Hall who might be up to the task of tackling the rest of the Well of Demons by his side. He spent several hours interviewing locals and asking questions at businesses, and even conscripted Rendil into helping him search. At the end of it, he found himself sitting in the Halfmoon Inn, telling those around him about his experiences so far, and hoping that his prior legwork would yield results.

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Session 19: The Well of Demons II
Bell & Tome

11 April, 103 CY (Continued)

Having defeated the gnoll and her pet demon and dismissed the cowardly tieflings, the adventurers began a search of the nearby rooms for any hints as to the location of the remaining Riverdown captives. They found a small locked chest beneath the bed in the priestess’s room, and took from it her treasure, including a pair of magical armbands and an enchanted cloak. These were given to Caex and Navvy respectively, and the party moved on to the next chamber, beyond the doors that the barlgura had smashed open. The room appeared to be a shrine devoted to the Horned King.

Two tall candleholders stood on either side of this shrine’s entrance, each with a black candle set in it. Humanoid bones joined with razor wire had been stacked into a four-legged table, forming a grisly altar, upon which sat a small book bound in black leather. In the Primordial tongue was carved the title “The Book of Wrath Unveiled.” Curious, Corwin picked the small tome up and began to flip through it. It seemed to be a treatise on the cult of Baphomet. Thinking it might be important, the genasi shoved it in his pack.

Their search complete, they sat at the table where the tieflings had been earlier to rest and recover from their exertions against the demonic scourge. Suddenly, the image of a cat-sized demon with spindly arms, bat-like wings and forward protruding horns appeared in their midst. “Greetings, interlopers,” it said as they shifted in their seats, hands straying to weapons and implements. “My master has bid me appear to you with an offer of advice regarding the Well of Demons...for the proper price, of course.”

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Session 18: The Well of Demons
Gnolls Are Our Bitches, Too

10 April, 103 CY (Continued)

After they overcame the tentacled guardians, the party paused to catch their breath and patch up their injuries. While they did so, the fabric of reality seemed to unravel around them, granting each of the adventurers a brief but horrific glimpse of the Abyss. Tolis-Va’s mind was overcome by the momentary vision, and he was shaken to his very core. Fortunately, his experiences against the cult of Orcus in Shadowfell Keep had prepared him to recover from it more swiftly than would have a less seasoned adventurer.

When they felt ready to continue, the five men stood and considered the two paths before them. The long hallway to the south had a couple of side passages branching off from it, whereas the eastern hall ended at a set of double doors. The chose the doors and approached them cautiously, the elf listening for any sounds that might come from beyond them.

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Session 17: Seeking the Blackfang
Yea... It's a Trap...

9 April, 103 CY (Continued)

The adventurers returned to Seven-Pillared Hall with the freed captives in tow. They got them all settled into the Halfmoon Inn, promising Erra that they would take care of the expenses. Corwin took a gem encrusted idol they’d found among Murkelmor’s belongings to Gendar’s Curios. The genasi haggled with the dark elf over the price until they finally came to an agreement for the merchant to purchase the statue, which he claimed was an image of Ahriman. The name meant nothing at all to Corwin, who returned to the party, curiously eyeing the smoking skeleton of a large humanoid near the base of the large minotaur statue he’d seen on his way to the shop. He joined the others at the inn, and it was decided they would rest to recover their strength before continuing their investigations.

10 April, 103 CY (Continued)

The next morning, they gathered on the street in front of the Halfmoon Inn to discuss what to do next. They needed to find where the Blackfang Gnolls were hiding if they wanted to recover the last of the Riverdown captives, but their only real lead seemed to be the attack on the Deepgem miners. Then Corwin felt something tugging on his pants leg, and looked down to see a grimy kobold holding a rolled up parchment.

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Session 16: Breaking the Grimmerzhul
Ignoring Distractions

9 April, 103 CY

The adventurers awoke and had breakfast, during which they were approached by a dwarf called Ulthand Deepgem. He told them that he ran the Deepgem Company, and that he’d heard of their exploits so far in the Seven-Pillared Hall. They got to talking and he informed them that one of his mining teams had recently been attacked and viciously slaughtered. The bodies of the miners had all been recovered, but he his dear pet, a dire boar that he had personally trained as a mount and beast of burden, was still missing. He believed gnolls to be responsible for the attack and further thought they had perhaps taken the animal. He wasn’t sure where the hyena-men could be found within the Labyrinth, but he did offer a reward for the return of the boar. Then, he thanked them and went on his way.

The party began gearing up for another run at the Horned Hold, while Tolis-Va went out to run a few errands. First, he went to collect the reward from Gendar for turning over the skull scepter, and was directed to Dreskin when he asked the drow for arrows. The provisioner was a rotund little man with a wheedling manner. He was charging half again what arrows would have cost the elf on the surface, but considering the amount of gold that the ranger had gained from his recent adventures, he gave up trying to deal with the man and simply paid his asking price for the ammunition. When he returned, he found the others in the common room waiting for him. They heard the door to the Halfmoon Inn open and they all turned to see a gang of half-orcs sauntering into the establishment.

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