The Dark

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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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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