The Blade of the Raven Queen

The Hive
When Asgard Fell.

Downtime: 10 days.
Aldonis “the Grey” Provides for the Poor in the lower Avenues of Cauldron, finds the Headband of Intellect is not Cursed.
Elrik Bjornsson Sells his Khitan Silk and Carouses. Awakening on the Shores of the Cauldron lake absolutely naked with drink in hand. Found by Aldonis and Sigfrith.
Eevi Ptolomy Unknown
Jurgen Frostbeard Spends Time in Tahn Buhldir and trains with them to become hardier and donates 1000 gp to the dwarven community.
Sascha Øksdóttir Joins the Gymnasium of Herakles and begins training as a runner. (Retrain feat to Mobility)
☠ Sigfrith Bakkerson ☠ Spends time helping Aldonis with the Poor.
lucius Gains a Patron Máti Vhalantru who gives hims several leads.

  • Máti Vhalantru tells Lucius that there are Halflings in town seeking aid with a Giant Bee Infestation. He also tells him that there seems to be a Giant in the norther passes that has set up shop and has been waylaying traveling merchants.
  • They learn that there is a Mercenary group called ‘The Tirades of the Raven’ is in town staying at the Drunken Centaur. These Argosseans are heading down south to a town called Trunau, hired to help deal with an Orc Problem on the rough borders between Ophir and Corinthia.

Traveling to Lindley (2 days) with the two halflings Alexus and Allan Oakpad, they are well received as the sun begins it’s downward slide. Gathering some small info and subtly snubbing the town mayor’s (Appletop) offer of rest and refreshment they head straight to the bridge that has the infestation. It is a large 100ft long, 20ft wide bridge that crosses over a 40ft deep chasm.

  • Much talk about what to do
  • Sigfrith lights up with an idea and asks that he be allowed to speak with the bee on guard
  • he is attacked and during the fight ‘Trespasser!’ (the group joins in) 5 more bees come from the hive
  • Sigfrith, undaunted, tries again but this time manages to secure entrance (nat 20, wth)
  • managing to confuzzle the bees he makes it all the way to the queen where his honeyed words seem to fail to make an impression. sensing imminent danger he retreats.
  • ‘Intruder!’ The bees attack! Sigfrith wild shapes into a tiny spider and escapes through a crack in the bridge floor.
  • There’s a fight at the entrance, Things go well, Sascha charges into the hive raging, the queen starts to escape, the group manages to bring her down, Sigfrith is swarmed and STUNG TO DEATH. ☠

End part 1.

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Zee'Niht Shpehntrahshad
  • Find
    • The Kuo-Toa guard isn’t as formidable as they thought he was.
    • Zenith in a room full of hanging twitching undead on a throne of made of skins.
    • Lucius FIreballs the hanging undead and sparks the battle after Jurgen attempts to reason with a clearly insane Dwarf.
    • Zenith goes into a ‘Defensive Stance’ as Shadow Mastiffs appear, he boosts their abilities. Jurgen feels the pain.
    • Zenith is defeated and falling to his knees, his black helm comes off. He stares at his hands and whispers his final words “What have I done?
    • Aldonis shoots an Arrow at the Helm and combat is continued as the creature that was possessing Zenith materials from it.
    • After a dangerous fight Aldonis crits it and Elrik drops it.
    • Zenith is catatonic and won’t respond to words but can be guided and is quite docile so the group take him to return him to his Father.
    • They make it almost all the way to Kingfisher hollow and are beset by another sound of swine. This group of boars does not drop Jurgen as expected.
    • Aldonis is attacked by a hybrid man boar who threatens him and Sigfrith with a thumb across the throat and a silently mouthed “Next time!” before it disappears into the jungle.
    • They meet Varric at Kingfisher Hollow and Aldonis is reunited with Bridge.
    • Back in cauldron they see crowds moving in the streets and much complaints about taxes being raised
    • Bring Zenith to Argyle who congratulates them and takes the Fallen Champion off their hands. They are rewarded.

We’ll see our heroes when next they gather.

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The Eye in the Darkness Part 3

The group

  • encounter strong undead in the Kuo-toa’n torture room.
  • Cross to where they think the dragon might be but then decide to head back to the priests chambers to search the things they left the last time.
  • Encounter what Lucius believes to be the Spawn of Rottun and the Kuo-Toa.
  • Find Rottun’s ‘lair’ to be empty save for a few coins and baubles. The Dragon has Left.
  • Jurgen falls into a Spiked 40’ deep pit. Is attacked by a Wraith and dropped to 0hps.
  • Ascend to the upper levels, find a room full of Fungi that Lucius believes may harbor some that will be dangerous to the party.
  • Enter a vestibule? Where a single Kuo-Toa sits in meditation before standing to greet the party, twirling his staff around in an impressive display of martial skill.
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The Eye in the Darkness Part 2
Getting Chased by a Dragon is Never Fun.
black_dragon_by_benwootten_2.jpg


And at last from the infinite seas came
The strange dark One to whom the fellahs bowed;
Silent and lean and cryptically proud,
And wrapped in fabrics red as sunset flame.

  • Events
    • Set upon by a Black Dragon as group is preparing to leave.
    • Escape with a little trouble, Group split up temporarily.
    • Rest back at the Hydra Pit
    • Return to fight way back in, find alternate passage way.
    • End at water filled room – Initiative.
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The Eye in the Darkness
White_Speaker_2.jpg


Know, O thief, that these things are mine,
For I am the Dark Pharaoh, the crawling chaos.
Take what is mine and your blood will boil,
As I reveal to you my other faces and true glory.

Watching the canoe slip back into the mists the Iron Ravens examine their surroundings. The stairs are wet and slick, covered in phosphorescent moss making it Difficult Terrain to climb. The maw of the fish structure is not blocked and with Jurgen and Sascha leading the way they enter the first chamber. There are double doors ahead and halls that lead both left and right. To the left is a rotted old curtain, moldy in the humid air. To the right are portcullis bars with what appear to be cells further in. The air is filled with quiet croaking noises.

Jurgen complains about the light spell on his shield but understands the usefulness in having the rest of the party being able to see what he fights or what might be coming from the front. Sascha on the other hand quite likes the light emanating from her Wolf Mask.

Jurgen stomps his way over to the left, hearing the sounds of stirring creatures. His shield is the first thing to part and push the curtain aside, the light from the face of the shield illuminating the inside. Hisses and warbling cries erupt as the inhabitants are near blinded by the light. Spears and shields are grabbed and combat is joined.

Jurgen bears the brunt of it. His hammer getting stuck to shields as he strikes at them but he manages to keep hold of his weapon. One of the fish men makes a break for the stairs at the end of the room and descends into the darkness. Sascha quickly comes over to support and with spells and melee the Kuo-toa are quickly dispatched. Unwilling to follow the one fleeing creature Sascha simply stands watch over the stairs as the rest of the Ravens check out the passage with the portcullis.

From the darkness beyond come two voices pleading for release. Finding the control, Jurgen raises the portcullis and enters slowly. ready for anything. He finds three cells, two of which are occupied. One is a small halfling male and the other a skinny human. Both begin begging to be released but it quickly turns into accusations against the other as they warn the party to not trust The other guy. Sigfrith wryly asks them if they might be a True or False puzzle. When asked the halfling says his name is Cherrit, he calls the other White-Eye in a derogatory tone of voice.

When one starts to accuse the other of being a spy or a Kuo-Toa sympathizer the other immediately retaliates with similar accusations. Not much is learned from them as when one offers information about the complex the other immediately calls him a liar. When asked if they’d like to be simply left in the cells they both say “No…

Jurgen opens the cells and White-Eye asks if anyone has a spare weapon that he might be able to borrow. He assures the group that he can get himself out of here on his own and thanks them for helping him. When someone mentions the bodies in the other room he heads there to pick up a spear and shield. Cherrit simply stands among the taller folk and mutters about letting his former prison mate go. On his way out White-Eye once again points at the halfling and repeats his deep distrust of him. Jurgen growls out a warning that if he finds either of them dead on the way out he will make sure to find the one responsible.

Lucius meanwhile has been examining the double doors leading north. During his time looking he sees that the walls are decorated in fish men frescoes and that one of the designs to the right of the door is a new painting of a squat figure in plate mail. The only thing off about it is that the head of this figure has been replaced by a black sphere. He Arcane Locks the door in case anyone thinks of coming this way but makes sure to include the full party in the password.

Once White Eye has left Cherrit summons up a small ball of light and salutes the group, cheekily winking that they should have trusted him as all halflings are trustworthy fellows. He then slips out of the maw and down the stairs.

Aldonis mutters something about Pokey going missing but no one seems to take it seriously.

Deciding to not use the stairs the call Sascha back to the main hall and have Aldonis check the double doors for traps. Satisfied that there are no physical traps in place he picks the lock and Lucius opens the door causing the ­_Glyph of Warding_ to go off. Twisting to the side Aldonis avoids the vast majority of it while Lucius is saved by his Arcane Ward.

Moving forward the group enters another hall and find another pair of doors. Jurgen makes a helpful “Check for magical traps this time Laddie!” comment even as Lucius and Aldonis both examine the door and find no traps. Magical or Physical. Opening these doors reveals a large room over a hundred feet wide and long. It also seems that they are on a middle level as the room itself opens up in the center beyond a railed balcony going thirty feet further down into darkness and up another thirty feet. When Jurgen enters and approaches the edge his darkvision can dimly see four Kuo-Toa’s at the bottom facing a Large Statue, easily seventy feet tall with the shape of a woman but having the head and claws of a lobster. As he looks up the eyes of the statue go from a very dim glow to a brighter red radiance that lights the entire room in dim red light.

Entry_Level.JPG

The four figures at the bottom immediately brandish their pincer staves and start to make their way to stairs on the bottom left and right. Each seems to be suddenly surrounded by a glowing aura of protection. Splitting up Jurgen and Aldonis go left while Sascha and Eevi go right. Sigfrith and Lucius stay near the double doors and begin to sling spells. The fight at either set of stairs becomes a bottleneck as only one creature can fit at a time. Even as Jurgen smashes his hammer into one and Sascha slices another they find that the Kuo-Toa behind their partner reinvigorates them with healing spells making it a slow process.

Aldonis notices that near the waist of the statue, on a platform that surrounds it, a door opens and another Kuo-Toa peeks out, wondering what the commotion is all about. Seeing the adventurers it immediately points a finger at Lucius and Sigfrith and summons an Insect Plague . Lucius staggers out of the buzzing stinging cloud moving towards Jurgen and Aldonis while Sigfrith falls out nearly collapsing. The Kuo-Toa then ducks back behind the door. Meanwhile the fight on the stairs continues grinding slowly, Sascha and Jurgen slowly getting the upper hand. Sigfrith Cures himself, Lucius ­_Fire Bolts_ while Eevi Viciously Mocks. The next time the caster comes out from behind the door he decides to leap the small gap onto the balcony Jurgen and Aldonis find themselves on and casts a Lightning Bolt! Lucius and Aldonis are caught in the line of effect. Aldonis once again seems to make an Uncanny Dodge but Lucius takes the brunt of it. For it’s efforts that caster gets an arrow fired at it and it soon flees back towards the door. Before it slips back behind it though it points at finger at Aldonis and yells something in a croaking, warble voice.

Aldonis Disappears!

Lucius immediately calls out “Aldonis’ been Disintegrated!” Sascha looks over and seeing her teammate missing lets her fury spill over. Jurgen’s enemy goes down first, followed by the one Sascha is fighting. Magic and Hammer take out the next and Jurgen bounds over the gap between platforms with his Boots. He places himself at the door and readies an action for when the Kuo-Toa caster comes out next.

And he waits.

Sascha and Eevi chase the last on on their side to the bottom and kill it.

The eyes of the statue pulse red and flash a moment as three creatures form on the platform behind Jurgen. Two Gibbering Mouth Covered Aberrations and a lady in a White Hooded Robe with a scrap of white cloth covering her eyes. The ‘Veil’ has a stylized red eye marked upon it. Immediately an insane wailing is heard as the Gibbering Mouther’s lurch into motion. The one closest to Jurgen spits out a glob of chemicals at Lucius and Sigfrith that explodes in a flash of brilliant light before sliding towards Jurgen and biting him. Lucius is blinded and begins to crawl away hoping the railing will provide him with cover. The other does the same for Sasha and Eevi but both manage to avoid their eyes. It then rolls itself off the balcony to fall before them. It misses Sascha with its bite. The hooded figure calmly nocks and fires three arrows at Sigfrith, hitting twice and dropping the Æsir.

The_Mouths.JPG

Jurgen turns to disengage and help Sigfrith but the ground around him and the aberration shifts and oozes beneath his feet, preventing any movement as its wails overcome his senses and he attacks it once on autopilot. Sascha strikes hers twice before she too is overwhelmed by the cacophony that the Mouther shrieks. She clutches at her temples and wanders away from the fight trying to escape.

The hooded figure once again nocks and fires three arrows, this time at Lucius. Again two find their mark while one is deflected by the balcony banister. Lucius is pinned to the wall and falls unconscious.

The fight rages on. Sascha gets it back together and kills her target. Eevi takes stock of the situation and starts to climb the stairs she had just come down. Jurgen manages to regain his senses and leaps across the gap to get to Sigfrith and Lucius. He manages to deflect the things attack of opportunity. Sigfrith is slipping fast, his breathing shallow and skin pallid but Jurgen lays his hand on him and to stabilize and revive him. The hooded figure takes aim, only this time she goes for Eevi who is wounded but not out. Sascha charges up the stairs to engage the hooded figure, her sword finding its mark once, rending the robes. Jurgen heals Lucius who finds he has regained his sight but decides to crawl away from the fight anyways.

Jurgen returns to the main platform to help engage the Gibbering Mouther and the Lady of Arrows, smashing his hammer into the former. Sascha picks up on his idea to whittle down the number of enemies on the field and helps him kill it as the Hooded woman calmly reaches up to pull down her blindfold. Green Glowing snake eyes glare at the Dwarf and Vanir even as snakes begin to wiggle out from the hood. Sascha and Jurgen quickly avert their eyes which hampers their ability to strike her. She drops her bow and strikes back with a multitude of snake fangs and a wickedly sharp sword.

Sigfrith casts a spell but fails to avert his eyes. He feels her stoning gaze start to overtake him. Sasha and Jurgen continue to hold her attention in melee and she finally Disengages to get to the door and knock on it. At which point Jurgen barrels into her shield first shoving her off the balcony to fall thirty feet to the floor below and into the darkness. Sigfrith shakes off the effect and finds himself not turning to stone. Jurgen is peering over the edge but sees nothing but floor thirty feet below. Lucius readies a spell but can’t see into the shadows. Eevi rushes up the stairs and as she gets to the door that Sascha just drove a Rage driven shoulder into, realizes she didn’t see the bow that the Medusa dropped.

Aldonis picks the lock and Sascha enters the room, she finds the priest in a pool of water that covers the whole floor. She tries to strike the Kuo-Toa Priest but finds some magical effect prevents her from completing the attack. Jurgen rushes down the stairs and starts a frantic search for the Medusa but can’t find any trace of her. Eevi backtracks to see if she maybe missed the bow but finds it is indeed gone. Aldonis slips into the room and tries to fire arrows at the Priest and finds he also can’t finish his action. “Yea, of course” he spits. The priest moves to the door, protected by his spells, and closes it, placing his hand on a Glyph of Warding that Arcane Locks the whole thing. When Sascha fails to hit it a second time it raises its hands and with magical command Control’s Water raising the water level within the room twenty feet straight to the roof. Aldonis lets his bow float as he whips out his rapier. The ­Sanctuary the priest had is broken by its hostile act he sticks it with the pointy end. His magical ring allowing him to attack without difficulty. Sascha Recklessly attacks and together they corner the priest and begin to cut him down.

Eevi starts to hack at the stone door with her magical Shortsword as Jurgen scratches his head, searching the base of the statue. Lucius keeps his action readied to blast with a Fire Bolt should anything make itself visible.

Pulling his rapier free of the now dead priest, Aldonis looks at Sascha and both look up as the water level starts to drop, the power of the spell broken by the creatures death. Jurgen moves up to the platform, only Lucius is still on the Balcony. The Medusa fires three arrows at him dropping him again. Jurgen leaps down and engages her and as the rest of the party try to open the door for Sascha and Aldonis he fights her alone. But in his eagerness he looks right at her as his hammer connects and feels himself rooted to the spot, his limbs growing heavy. Taking advantage of his Restrained condition the Medusa breaks off, taking a glancing hit from Jurgen’s hammer, to get to a section of wall where she slides a hand over a panel and a secret door opens. Darting into the darkness she disappears again as the panel slides closed.

Jurgen closes his eyes, wondering if this is the end when he hears Eevi sing out “You can do Eeet!”, with her Inspiration he shakes off the Stoning effect.

The door to Sascha and Aldonis is finally opened. The group are out of breath and almost out of magic. It might be time to retreat and regroup as loud crocodilian sounds can be heard coming from behind double doors on the bottom floor.

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That'll Learnean you.
It hurts Herc! It hurts!

Grimlocks and Quaggoths.
Troglodytes and a Troll.
The Pit and the Hydra.
And the ferryman poles.

With Varric and Moiraech gone after the morning’s breakfast The Iron Ravens put the morning’s fire out and gather their gear. lucius decided to keep his Mule as a pack animal and with him and his 4 legged friend taking up the rear the group begins exploring the tunnel leading from the giants former resting place.

The tunnels are rough carved, about 10ft wide and 12ft high. Jurgen takes the lead, a Light spell cast on his shield. Sascha follows him, eyes alert as Eevi provides a little more light in the middle with her Produce Flame. Elrik, Aldonis, Sigfrith and Lucius are next with a final Light spell having been cast on Pokey’s saddle.

A few hours in they come to a split in the tunnel. Unsure as to which path they should take the group stops for a quick rest while Sascha examines the ground for tracks and spoor. She determines that the tunnel heading left continues downwards and that there are faint tracks marring the dust on the ground. Unfortunately she is unable to identify those tracks. The tunnel to the right continues on a level course with mildly damp air and the faint sounds of water dripping. Both Jurgen and Aldonis vote for the left path.

In the pitch darkness of the tunnels, illuminated only by the softly glowing light spells and the flickering red glow of the flame in Eevi’s hands, a deep thrumming drum sound begins to be faintly heard. Elrik is the first to notice, followed by Aldonis. The Ravens slow their travel and begin to move forwards cautiously. Jurgen pushes ahead of the group, his shield illuminating the darkness for those behind. They soon come to a widening point of the tunnel, leading to a large cavernous room. Seeing no signs of activity he signals the group and enters. The room has several Stalagmites and a large column to the right. There are bone piles everywhere, extending out to the edge of the visible spectrum.

Elrik feels his skin crawl and taking a good look within notices faint outlines pressed against the rocky walls and columns. Blurting out a warning he fails to alert the group in time as shapes seem to melt from the walls and dark edges of the room. Eyeless humanoids rush forwards, aggressively wielding clubs. The group is swarmed and the only one to react in time is Elrik. Clubs slap into Eevi and Lucius but Jurgen seems to take the brunt of it, being in the front. He is struck by four of the five attackers and staggers from a particularly powerful blow. Elrik attempts a Sacred Flame but his target shrugs it off. More silent, eyeless figures come from the dark. The Iron Ravens are outnumbered at least three to one.

Aldonis slips to the side and clings to the wall. His bow out and arrow knocked. His first target falls with an arrow protruding from it’s throat. Sascha steps forwards, the tall Vanir drawing her Khitan Greatsword and laying into the enemy dropping two with a blow each. Jurgen smashes one to the ground with his shield but it takes two hammer blows to kill it. Spells are fired from the back. Sigfrith’s ghostly hand of necrotic energy missing one target even as a Fire Bolt from Lucius burns another to death. Eevi Viciously Mocks but her target shakes off the effects. Elrik grunts in annoyance and draws his Mace to strike at another.

Quaggoth_Attack_2.jpg

The next round finds the momentum shifting to the party’s favour but the clubs still rain down with vicious accuracy. Eevi and Lucius are struck again, Jurgen continues to hold the attention of the front line but pays for it as multiple clubs find their mark. From the tunnel beyond the column where the first reinforcements came from come three larger furred creatures. Growling they also throw themselves into combat. Eevi casts a Shatter into the largest grouping of the eyeless creatures dropping several with the painfully intense, loud ringing noise. Sascha and Jurgen continue to hack and smash, assisted by the enemy sprouting feathered shafts from Aldonis. Another Shatter goes off, the cave ringing with the sound. The tide breaks. Two of the larger furries go down to spells, arrows and Elrik’s mace while the last attempts to break off and run. It doesn’t get far. Jurgen Leaps twenty feet before landing and rushing the last ten to his target. His Warhammer quickly ends it’s life.

Taking a quick breather, heal spells are spent with Jurgen being the primary beneficiary and a search of the cave begins. Shifting through the piles of bones and furs the Ravens find that most have been chewed or gnawed and many still have scraps of flesh or dried blood. Along the walls are crude paintings and sketches that are commented on as being a visual interpretation of a volcano, piles of dung or an Island? Lucius Ritually casts Detect Magic and finds a soft glow coming from under a pile of bones. Coins are scattered everywhere and as the group begins to collect and gather their new loot Elrik and Aldonis detect a bitter, pungent smell growing in intensity. Alerting the others they soon discern that the smell is coming from the tunnel they themselves came from. It grows stronger with each passing moment. Voices are soon heard in the darkness beyond.

Lucius calls out in Draconic and the voices in the dark pause, something is replied in a language only Jurgen, with his native Dwarf language, recognizes as Deep Speech. A low rumbling growl comes from the dark and a shape begins to form at the very edge of the light shining from Jurgen’s Shield. The Iron Ravens quickly move into position, Jurgen taking the front at the mouth of the tunnel as a Troll rushes into the light. It pushes and at first fails to budge the Unyielding dwarf but after applying it’s considerable strength and bulk forces him back from the tunnel mouth. It is slammed down by Jurgen’s shield and even as his warhammer rains blows upon it’s downed form Sascha steps in to help, her greatsword cleaving deeply. It is Chill Touched and Fire Bolted while Eevi Viciously Mocks it. Aldonis drops his bow and using his Fast Hands equips his shield and attacks with his rapier.

From the darkness come savage lizard-like humanoids. Their warbling voices echoing in the space of the cave as the stench that was at first detected becomes strong and almost overpowering. The troll stands and lashes out with it’s claws and teeth but is quickly put back to the ground by Jurgen’s shield work. The Troglodytes also claw and bite scoring some nasty hits but soon find themselves overwhelmed by the party. The troll, suffering burns and necrotic chills fails to regenerate and while trying to regain its feet is killed by Aldonis, his Rapier piercing clean through the base of its skull. The remaining Troglodytes die quickly and the voices beyond in the tunnel turn to panic and flee unseen as the stench begins to lessen.

Taking a short rest, and staying clear of the smelly bodies, Lucius retrieves the Item that had been previously glowing in the bones. Finding it to be in the pouch of what once must have been an explorer. A Gold bracelet is found fused into the wrist of the troll and Sascha cuts the hand free for Elrik who first noticed it. Coins and gems are gathered and the rest completes without further incident. Breaking camp they move on.

As they travel further in and down they start to see the tunnel grow smaller and go from mostly natural to partly worked. The floor grows level and eventually flat. The roof goes from curved to actual arch. Jurgen begins to see the marks of Dwarf work and stops to admire the way the floor seems to naturally go from semi rough rock to absolutely smooth stone tiles. The now well made dwarven hall eventually ends in a collapsed section but before that pile of rockfall there is an arched entrance to the right. Jurgen boldly steps through and finds himself on a ledge overlooking a deep sixty foot pit. The pit is forty feet square, presumably made by Dwarves and has a rough metal grate staircase bolted to the walls going down fifteen feet per wall with a landing in each corner. Aldonis is asked to examine the staircase and he finds after checking it out that it seems to be not trapped but somewhat rickety. He and Jurgen also come to the conclusion that these stairs had been placed by someone other than the original architects.

Jurgen tightens the straps of his shield and moves onto the grated stairs. It creaks and squeaks loudly under his weight. It is decided that only one or two people will cross each staircase, waiting for the forward group to descend before the next comes. Jurgen reaches the third landing, forty-five feet down and waits for Aldonis to reach him. Aldonis checks the last set of stairs to make sure nothing goes wrong. Crouching and running his hands over the rusty ancient steel stairs he catches motion from the corner of his eye. Turning his head he watches as a large serpent head rises from the dark beneath. He hears Elrik shout a warning as, blinking, he sees another, then another and as the group finally all become aware of it there are seven heads weaving, their long necks disappearing into a fissure beneath the final set of stairs.

Dark_Mouths_2.jpg

All seven of the mouths open and a jet of Acid streams out striking Jurgen directly behind Aldonis and follows the stairs up just stopping shy of Sascha. Jurgen manages to get his shield up and deflects the majority of the acid, the only thing being damaged is the shield face and various spots of acid that managed to splatter onto his chainmail. He finds himself unharmed. The stairs however give a tortured shriek and come apart as the acid eats its way through the metal, falling to bits into the pit. Aldonis darts forwards, dashing down the remaining steps and into the far corner where he flips his cloak over himself in an attempt to hide. Several blasts of magic hit the heads, one of them burning into nothing even as an Arrow from the now hidden Aldonis disables another. Jurgen quickly follows and takes a stand at the fissure itself, the heads seem to retract into the darkness until they are weaving just above him, beneath the stairs above and mostly hidden from the others still climbing down. Jurgen is attacked by five heads, four of them find their marks and he is viciously wounded. Sascha rages and simply leaps into the pit, nailing a Super Hero Landing. Her rage lets her ignore the pain of the fall as she rushes to support the Paladin. The usual barrage of spells go off, a Chill Touch followed by a Fire Bolt and a Vicious Mocking from Eevi. Two heads grow from the Burnt stump and two more replace the one felled by Aldonis’ arrow. The heads though seem sickly and malformed as though unable to grow properly. Once again the mouths open and spit acid. Sascha and Jurgen take the brunt of it but manage to avoid the worst of it. Unable to regenerate the heads begin to retreat, but not fast enough as Arrow and Spell strike it. Sascha’s greatsword cleaving one head off the neck and Jurgen’s hammer crushing another. It shrieks a final time and falls limp.

It takes both Lucius and Sigfrith to convince pokey to follow them down. Sigfrith uses Beast Speech and Lucius casts Spider Climb on it.

Checking the bottom of the pit reveals piles of bones and acid melted gear but nothing of value. Crawling over the huge body blocking the fissure they find a small cave that fits the creature and a tunnel that would be just large enough for it to squeeze through. Within the cave they find coin and gems, the mostly eaten bodies of humanoids and a flesh free skull still bearing a sturdy leather headband.

Resting and healing they decide to make camp in the pit. Good Berries are handed out, nourishing the group as though having eaten for the day. Jurgen spends his Lay on Hands on himself and mends the tears and rents in his armour. Spells are refreshed and sleep is indulged.

Packing up they move on. The tunnel from the fissure leads down steeply and after a few hours of travel it opens out into an immense rift cavern at least a half-mile across and several hundred feet deep. Faintly glowing with phosphorescence at the bottom of the rift is a massive stone structure shaped like a prehistoric fish. A wide stairway is dimly seen leading up to the fish’s mouth. Water seems to cover the cavern floor. From where they are there is also a narrow ledge that slopes down, hugging the cavern as it descends in a series of switchbacks before finally ending at a narrow beach.

Once on the beach the group looks across trying to figure out what to do next. The water here is dark and it is impossible to tell how deep it is. A thin mist floats a few feet above its surface. Elrik and Aldonis are the first to notice something coming across the water towards them. A long canoe emerges from those mists, drifting slowly towards the group. Crouched in the stern is a silvery fish headed humanoid of medium size, holding a long pole with which it pushes the canoe forwards. The canoe stops about twenty feet from the beach and it looks at everyone. No one says anything for a tense moment until Lucius hails it in Draconic. It looks and responds “Seek ye the Eye in the Darkness?” When Lucius translates Aldonis immediately recognizes that phrase from the Diviner, Stefania Callas, that Kharden had hired through Persephone at the Cusp of Sunrise. Aldonis and Lucius both reply “Yes, we are” in Draconic and Ophirean respectively. The creature nods and poles the canoe closer, beaching it. Lucius hobbles pokey and leaves it with enough food for a day or two and the group all climb into the surprisingly roomy watercraft.

The trip over the water passes in silence. The creature poling the canoe doesn’t speak and no one speaks to it. The group are deposited at the base of the stairs beneath the great maw and the canoe slips back into the mist and darkness.

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Lokh Kif Rukh – The fuck you looking at?
Killing peoples pets is a bad thing.

The mid afternoon finds our heroes rested and ready to continue on the trail the two scouts are following.

The journey is relatively peaceful until Aldonis and Elrik‘s attention is drawn to the canopy above once again, only this time its as a result of the tops of the trees swaying and dipping as though something heavy had landed among the branches. Even as they begin to voice warning a thick scaly tail drops from the heavy foliage above and slaps the horse that Elrik is riding. The stinger at the end of it buries itself into the soft horseflesh and injects loads of poison. Elrik’s horse bucks and rears, throwing it’s rider before collapsing as it froths at the mouth.

Several people drop from their horses, Lucius even goes so far as to slap his in the ass to force it to run forwards. Sascha pulls her longbow and begins to fire arrows into the tail dangling before them. Fury fills her as the longbow creaks with the extra strain of her rage. Her arrows find their mark, sinking deeply into her target. Aldonis fires arrows into the vague shape in the trees as Jurgen pulls Hammer and Shield out, moving to engage.

Elrik picks himself up and also launches arrows. Sigfrith and Eevi sling spells. The two scouts ready their crossbows.

From behind them they hear the sound of wings, a slow dangerous hiss and a thump as another creature lands behind them. It quickly engages, moving forwards hunched and low to the ground. Its tail up and above the body, stinger ready to pierce the first unfortunate in its way. They recognize the creatures as Wyverns. Another horse falls to bite and stinger and Jurgen reverses course to engage the one at the back.

The Wyvern attempts to protect its kill but soon finds itself pressed by Jurgen, Sigfrith and Eevi. Rearing back it hops onto the corpse of the horse and, clasping it tightly, launches itself into the air, flying over the group towards the other Wyvern. It drops its cargo onto the path and drapes itself over it, tail waving threateningly. The other soon joins it, mouth open, hissing a warning for all to back off.

Sascha, still in the grip of her fury, charges and with a well placed blow from the Greatsword she took from the orc leader, critically injures one. Her second stroke lops the wyverns head clean off.

Eevi attempts to viciously mock the remaining one but finds that the spell doesn’t seem to affect it.

From beside her a huge humanoid steps through the trees. It resembles a large overweight human but at two and a third times the size. Big eyes widen and the large head turns to see one Wyvern dead and the other soon to join it. A look of horror crosses its face and it bellows something in the tongue of the giants bringing it’s club down among the group clustered together.

Eevi whispers Dissonant words in the giants direction and the giant flees, stomping through the trees.

Aldonis puts the second wyvern down even as the giant comes back, only to be sent running again by Eevi’s Dissonant Whispers.

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The third time finds it bellowing and crying great big tears as it sees the two dead wyverns in the path. It’s club doesn’t find targets very often but The Iron Ravens don’t have that issue. It is quickly put down, its massive bulk falling and shaking the ground.

Collecting themselves and redistributing the gear that was being carried by the dead horses, the group quickly find coins and worthless items in the giants bag. Sigfrith cuts off one of the stingers. It is easily dagger sized.

Moving on the thicker jungle foliage is broken here and there with cleared spaces and a somewhat sloppy looking river. The river itself flows but seems to not have carved much of a channel. Varric Blackbolt and Moireach Ulfhræfn talk to each other in dwarven. They seem to be trying to figure out why their landmarks are different than what they remember.

More giants are found at the base of a cliff, the water comes from there, falling from above in a heavy waterfall. the two dwarven scouts tell the group that a month ago there was no waterfall and no river. Aldonis is sent forwards and using his stealth skills he finds a nice vantage point and simply observes the giants. He quickly deduces that there are three of them and returns to the group. Jurgen outlines a plan and everyone moves into position but before his plan can be put into action Lucius impatiently steps forwards from the trees and launches a scorching bolt starting the fight prematurely.

Aldonis stays hidden as spell and crossbow bolts cripple the first giant. Jurgen charges forwards and engages to hold the line. Sascha rages and charges to help, her Greatsword felling the first before engaging the second. The third giant emerges from the falling water and picks up a large rock, hurling it at the back line, slamming into Lucius.

Surprised and outnumbered the Huge Giants are swarmed and cut down. The last attempts to defend itself even as it scans the skies a look of forlorn hope on its face.

On the giants are coins and gems. Behind the waterfall is cave with a tunnel leading further in. Searching the camp they find another body, this one belonging to an Elf that suffered an ugly death at the hands of Giants. On the corpse they find a Superior Healing potion which is given to Sascha, a Shortsword which Eevi claims and a suit of Studded Leather which is offered to Sigfrith who accepts the armour upgrade.

With the sun setting and the caves leading to their destination secured The Iron Ravens decide to put up their tents and spread their bedrolls for a good night’s sleep. They post a watch throughout the night.

The following day plans are made. Varric and Moireach inform the group that they will explore the cause of the river’s deviation. They also agree to take the horses with them to bring them back to town safely. Aldonis gives Varric ten gold coins and receives Varric’s promise that he will do all he can to keep his horse, Bridge, safe.

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The Search for Zenith

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After the Umber hulk attack the group went home and spent the evening preparing for the journey to come. Aldonis “the Grey” bought himself a horse with his share of the money given to them by Kharden and the rest soon followed suit. Jurgen Frostbeard had just been granted the Find Steed spell and Sascha Øksdóttir already owned a heavy draft horse.

The following morning, as the glimmers of Rosy fingered dawn appeared on the 20th of Édorum, The Iron Ravens were greeted by Moireach Ulfhræfn and Varric Blackbolt, the two Clan VasaAd scouts that Argylehad promised to send with them.

Without delay the party headed towards and through the East Gate and down the mountain towards Kingfisher Hollow. The road there was quiet and without incident. The Ravens decided to simply continue along the road rather than head into the small village. They passed the Coffee and Bean fields that make a large portion of Cauldron’s exports and noticed that most of the lands here were worked by slaves, guarded by men on foot and horse.

“That’s not Right” Muttered Aldonis, the only one who seemed to have a deep dislike of the system.

An hour further down the road, having passed one of the few freemen cottages in the area, Moireach and Varric guided the party north into a well traveled hunters trail through the trees.

As they travel through the trees, Jurgen notices that Moireach seems to steal glances at him from her place at the back of the column, never meeting his gaze when he turns to look.

Varric holds up a hand and Moireach comes forwards, there is smoke in the air. The pair motion for everyone to wait here as they disappear further into the trees.

It isn’t long after that the group is attacked, a large sized Javelin coming from the trees behind them and catching Aldonis flatfooted. He manages to avoid the brunt of the attack with an Uncanny Dodge. Several Ogres come through and into the cleared path, engaging the Ravens. The fight is fast paced and brutal, the horses scattering as the large brutes move to engage. All but one are cut down by blade and spell and it decides to bolt, heading into the trees in the direction that the two Dwarven scouts had gone only to be met with crossbow bolts. It dies cruelly pin cushioned by bolt and arrow.

As the corpses are searched Varric tells Jurgen that up further ahead, approximately half a kilometer, is a larger clearing with a band of Orcs.

Lucius finds a small leather map on the Ogres, it depicts the area that they are traveling through, with Kingfisher Hollow overshadowed by a skull and the clearing that the Dwarves have scouted out. It seems they may have stumbled upon a raiding party.

Getting their gear and horses together, they follow the two scouts. The trail continues for half a mile before Aldonis and Elrik both notice that the trail is overgrown with thick vines that move counter intuitively with the breeze. As they investigate this odd occurrence a large section of vines and leaves detaches itself from the canopy and falls among them.

The shambling mound quickly engulfs Jurgen but is unable to keep him restrained within as the dwarf tears his way out to freedom. It is assaulted on all sides by magic and might and as the battle rages the Orcs the two scouts had found earlier rush into the fight. The small ones are torn apart by spell and axe while Jurgen engages the brutishly large one in finely crafted studded leather that wields a shield and spear. The leader, another large orc, holds his greatsword with one hand while leveling a wand at Lucius. Magic Missiles burst into the Wizard even as he puts the shambling mound down with a burning bolt. The smell of scorched vegetation fills the air.

The tide turns for the orcs as the party kills off the weaker minions and begin to focus on the two big ones. Full of blood lust the two orcs fight side by side, dealing terrible injuries but also taking them in return as Warhammer and Greataxe smash into them. First the Spear and Shield goes down and finally, spitting curses in Orc, the leader follows.

Searching the bodies they find Masterwork Studded Leather and a Masterwork Greatsword. Searching the Orc camp they find moldy mangy hides and furs and coins of all denominations. They also manage to find the body of an unfortunate human dressed in wandering troubadour clothes, propped against a stump with many arrows in his chest. Beside him is a beautiful Cittern and a pouch with 4 Large Beans.

They then track down where the ogres had been camping and find a small foully polluted pool beside a natural recess in a rocky ridge. Coins are found and a detect magic is cast alerting them to something magical in the pool itself. Jurgen, being immune to disease enters the pool and searches for it. He finds a blue sparkling gem on a Cord. Elrik claims it.

The Ravens decide to head back to the Orc camp to take a long rest.

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Rumble Young Man, Rumble,

Since the night of the 16th Édorum, the Iron Ravens have been helping the religious institutions of Cauldron in breaking the flood. The first night was a tense affair with some minor flooding in the lower poor sections of the city but with 7 wands of water control disaster is averted.

Eevi Ptolomy, Sigfrith Bakkerson, Elrik Bjornsson, lucius and Jurgen Frostbeard agree to help patrol the streets over the next couple of days and their vigilance lends an aura of optimism to the city. Soon the citizens begin to leave their homes and the festival once again is underway. Despite the strong rains still coming down, the common folk take to the streets in droves, crowds forming along the avenues as merchants and entertainers set up shop under cover of large colourful awnings.

On the 17th of Édorum the Drink Down the Flood contest begins. Jurgen and Elrik both enter. The two have decided to begin in different drinking establishments to avoid an early team elimination. Both make strong showings as Elrik out drinks all the contestants at the Slippery Eel Tavern while Jurgen’s dwarven constitution easily takes first at The Golden Hind Tavern.

Aldonis spends time among the poor of Ash Avenue using his adventuring coppers to buy bread and ale for those he knows to be down on their luck. His popularity continues to rise even as he himself tries to erase his contributions to avoid becoming the center of attention. During one of these Ale Kitchen’s he becomes aware of a stranger he’s seen hovering at the edge of multiple crowds. The stranger is dressed in black leathers, silver buckles and a voluminous red cloak. He also has a large wide brimmed hat that covers his features quite well. So far Aldonis has been unable to approach or identify the stranger as every time he tries to cut through or go around the food crowd he loses track of the man in black and red.

Lucius returns to his studies at the Bluewater Academy and makes his complaints formal in regards to his abduction and transformation into a rat several weeks ago. The clerk that files his complaint at the Wizard’s Resources Division is a nondescript man of forgettable features who advises Lucius that the matter will be looked into as soon as possible. Pacified, Lucius heads to the Libraries within, noting once again in passing at how large the interior of the tower is compared to it’s actual physical structure. He settles in among some books and uses his free time in spell research. During his book gathering forays he comes across Sigfrith who has been busily taking advantage of his membership to study the question his colleague had posed him. Sigfrith waves him off after a perfunctory greeting, clearly intent on his work.

Eevi and Sascha take part in the festival as entertainers, they roam the wet streets bringing music and stories to the crowds. Sascha has chosen to wear clothes that conform to her shape most pleasantly when wet and is the main attraction with her tales and songs (Nat. 20). Eevi accompanies and supports her act with her drums and voice while being tucked into dry corners.

On the 18th Elrik is eliminated from the drinking competition at he Drunken Centaur Inn much to the disappointment of his cheering fans. The winner there happens to a certain Red headed Stormblade. Jurgen on the other hand finds himself drinking towards another victory, not as easy as the first but still manageable.

On the 19th of Édorum, Jurgen has left the house the adventurers share a few hours before dawn to make his way down into Tahn Buhldir to help with his armour refit. He notices that the air seems to be circulating on some sort of artificial breeze, the corridors and rooms have new lights that glow softly and a deep thrum-thrum-thrum that just tickles the edge of his awareness. The three dwarves that have been given the duty of reshaping Kazmojen’s armour greet Young Jurgen as they arrive and work begins afresh.

Within the hour Argyle Ulfhræfn visits and watches for a cycle of hammering and heating before pulling Jurgen aside and asking to speak to him in his offices. Agreeing to his request the pair make their way to the back of the workshop, where a hungry Grell had once laid claim to not long ago, and into what was once a classroom. The room has been refitted with a large desk, several comfortable chairs, armour and weapon racks. There is also a Hogshead of Dwarven ale in the corner with several large mugs hanging on pegs. When Jurgen enters he immediately notices the Elder Dwarf sitting in one of the comfortable chairs. This third, unknown, dwarf is clearly ancient being thinner than is healthy with a long, scraggy, white beard dressed in wealthy clothes with a hint of chain beneath. Jurgen’s metal working experience tells him that the chain is made of some special ore but he is unable to identify it’s type.

Argyle introduces the Elder as Kharden Splintershield, and bids Jurgen to listen to what he has to say.

Struggling to sit up straighter the old Dwarf begins in a soft, raspy voice, “My son, Zenith Splintershield was the former Lord of the Malachite fortress” he points down “that guarded the underground approaches to Tahn Buhldir and the Dathrasi that live in the Cauldron itself. He was a righteous dwarven Defender and brought honour and renown to our clan." He pauses to cough. “He also went missing shortly after the Vanishing curse was unleashed on our people. No, not Missing, he left his post with a small army. Somehow the idea to purge the deep dark took root within him. A fool’s errand, and my boy is no fool!. I don’t believe he would be so reckless as to embark on such a task without the might of all the Dwarven Legions of all the Dwarven Clans let alone a small army.” He sits up and pins Jurgen with a look of absolute intensity “He lives! I have dreamed it, and I have come to cauldron to see Persephone at the Cusp of Sunrise, through her contacts I will meet with a Diviner to learn the truth about my son." He turns to Argyle “Argyle tells me you and your Kith were instrumental in reclaiming the enclave and the fortress beneath. Well, I would hire you and your group to help me in finding and retrieving my son… "

Jurgen promises to bring his friends and the meeting is arranged for the following day at 5 bells past the noon sun. Returning above ground he goes home and wakes Lucius from his sleep. Most of their conversation occurs through the wooden door as Lucius tries to shoo the Paladin away.

Sascha is spotted going to the kitchen, her hair untamed as she yawns hugely and heads for the morning Coffee, one of Cauldron’s many export crops, oblivious to all but her target.

Finally Lucius opens the door and after listening to the dwarf spin his tale agrees to go to the Academy to do some research on Zenith and the Underdark.

A heavy knock at the front door. A messenger with a thin fired clay tablet for Jurgen. The meeting has been moved from the next day to this one.

The group is brought up to speed. Lucius heads out and begins to buy healing potions and knickknacks, scoring himself a Cloak of Warmth in the process. He also finds out that Skie aldersun is a friendly shop keeper and sometimes gives an “Adventurer’s Discount” to loyal customers.

The Iron Ravens gather outside the Cusp, only Sascha, Lucius and Eevi have dressed appropriately in fine clothes. They are still let in by a mountain of a man who never says a word, just motions to a serving girl to come and guide the group to their meeting.

In the richly appointed room the group meets Persephone, a stunningly attractive woman and Kharden who has also dressed up for the occasion. Small talk ensues, food and refreshment arrive and within moments another woman enters, dressed in yellow robes. Lucius recognizes her as the Mistress of Divination studies at the Blue Water Academy, Stefania.

Divination’s are cast and much of what Jurgen had shared with the group is revealed again but now the words Eye in the Darkness and Bhal-Hamatugn come up, Zenith is confirmed to be alive, prophetic whispers in the deep, a prisoner without a cage and the Sea Mother. Stefania also pinpoints the rough location Zenith is at and having performed her spells, bows and leaves.

Argyle and the Ravens quickly go over what they know, and with the help of Persephone and her maps pinpoint an alternate entrance to the underdark as Argyle had the gates that lead from the Malachite hold completely sealed.

Kharden is pleased when his task is accepted and simply asks that the group do it as soon as possible as he feels his end coming soon. With that he provides the group with a bag of 500gp’s to help fund the expedition with promise of more wealth on their return. Argyle suggests sending a few of his Wolf guides with them as they have been scouting the areas surrounding cauldron for some time.

Leaving the Cusp of Sunrise, the group head home with plans to pack but on the way they hear screams floating from down the avenue. Hurrying forwards the group rounds the corner to see a large insect like monstrosity tearing into a warehouse with several crowds of festival attendees running, screaming or simply standing seemingly dumbfounded.

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Sascha advances quickly with Aldonis following behind. He finds himself cut off from the position he wanted though. Jurgen stomps up the street, followed by Elrik, Eevi and Lucius. The battle proves to be taxing as several members of the group succumb to the beasts Confusing Gaze and the confused crowds hinder their attempts to close quickly.

Jurgen and Sascha get into melee combat, both at one point getting confused and wandering away to be swiped at viciously. Aldonis climbs a nearby warehouse to get himself out of range of it’s gaze and for a better vantage point. He rains down arrows and when his allies are not confused or wandering away he manages to sneak them into tender vital spots. Lucius climbs a nearby tree to do much the same, unleashing blasts of Magic Missiles while Eevi simply laces her Vicious Mockeries with magical power.

Elrik forges forward and begins to bring his Holy Mace into the fray. The adventurers have begun to close their eyes and this Disadvantage prevents their strikes from landing true.

One group of common folk turn on themselves and start to viciously fist fight, leaving only one man standing while the others run and finally manage to flee far enough away.

The creature turns on Jurgen and delivers terrible claw and bite wounds and as Jurgen stoically endures he opens his eyes to return the favour. Unfortunately the monsters large compound eyes confuse him and he begins to wander away only to be bitten hard by the creature as he leaves it’s threatening grasp. Jurgen falls.

Elrik Channels Freya’s mercy and focuses her healing powers to radiate outwards, Eevi uses her Healing Word and Jurgen and Sascha feel reinvigorated. The Dwarf targets himself with his Lay on Hands ability and heals for the full amount. The next round goes poorly for the monster as spells, arrows, Mace, Hammer and Axe fall upon it. It’s mighty claws rip into the dirt and stone beneath and it disappears, burrowing away from those surrounding it.

Taking a quick breath Aldonis notices that new sounds of destruction have started in the next warehouse over. Within moments the door is opened, and the adventurers manage to land the killing blow even as it tries to burrow away a second time. It;s corpse lies mostly buried in the ground, it’s shell cracked and split by the Hammer Blow that felled it.

The guards arrive and Skylar Krewis takes statements from the group. Some of his guards are overheard wondering how they will manage to get it out of it’s self dug grave. Jurgen mentions a Dwarven winch and pulley system and Skylar sends one of his guards to fetch someone who can help with it.

The Iron Ravens learn that the creature is an Umberhulk, that the Warehouses being targeted are owned by Maavu, owner of Maavu Imports.

With the situation being handled by town guards, they are thanked by Skylar who treats the group as well known associates and are given leave to go.

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Sisava Rises.

With the looting of the sarcophagus, the group moves to investigate the tunnel heading from the southern edge of this cave. It brings them to a door that opens to an empty guard room, connecting further to a mostly empty armoury and the unfinished spike floor trapped room. From there they continue further into the complex finding themselves back into the hall they were led to by the bandit they interrogated earlier. Investigating the doors they hadn’t previously reveals an interrogation chamber and a prison with several cages.

Eevi and Sigfrith investigate and soon find evidence of Lysandros’ captivity, a torn and shredded piece of his clothes with his initials embroidered within.

With nothing else to find they decide to re-enter the roughly hewn lava tunnels they were in before. Going right instead of left this time and thankfully finding the pile of rubble that had disgorged the snake swarms earlier to be quiet and nonthreatening.

They pass unhindered through a smaller cave and come to another larger one with a familiar pile of bodies within. Jurgen feels his flesh crawl and he feels Odin guide him to use his Divine Sense. It reveals that the pile is indeed a pile of Zombies but it also reveals that the room has been desecrated.

As Jurgen and Sascha move in the bodies animate, absolutely silently, and within a few more steps they also become unable to make any sounds. The room has been blanketed with a silence effect.

The fight that occurs within that room is strange and otherworldly as axe, hammer, spells and arrows are fired off in silence. The undead prove difficult to put down as the unholy aspect of the room bolsters their natural resilience but Elrik’s Holy mace smashes them down effectively.

Searching the pile of bodies finds that its more of the corpses from the beach but there is nothing of value here.

Moving along they exit the silenced section and carefully make their way down another 20ft of tunnel. Ahead the air grows hazy and heavy with some kind of incense. Sascha coughs, clearly not liking it while Jurgens dwarven constitution means he barely registers it.

Scanning the room from the tunnel reveals a black volcanic stone altar, a small ‘basket’ type contraption beside it, a half dozen braziers burning some kind of incense and two fairly large stalagnate’s. Eevi identifies the burning incense as some kind of herb or flower but can’t pinpoint what it is exactly. Behind the altar the far wall is riddled with holes.

Jurgen lifts his shield and hefts his hammer before boldly stepping in. Sascha and Lucius follow while the rest of the group stay within the tunnel, wary of that hazy, smoky room. The smoke seems to cloy the vision of the Paladin, Barbarian and Wizard but a few teary blinks later they are unaffected.

From behind the pillar two shapes seem to flow upright. One is dressed in robes with a strange hooded head piece while the other resembles some horrific cross between a lizard and a humanoid, it also bears a shield.

With a soft sibilant voice, the hooded figure, the one the guard identified as Enemy – Sisava, looks at Lucius and says ‘Thiss fight iss your doom, go home’

Lucius stops and blinks and realizes that this fight will be his death. Turning he leaves at a run. The group watch him leave in disbelief.

Jurgen and Sascha rush forwards to be met by the Reptilian shield bearer hopping over the altar but staying within 10’ of it’s master. A second one rushes out from behind the stone column to his right, hidden from view.

Elrik casts a Guiding bolt, intent on blasting Sisava but finds his spell fizzling as it is Counter-spelled by his target. With a grunt of Supreme annoyance he reaches for his mace.

Eevi and Sigfrith bolster the group with cantrips of their own, targeting the second Reptilian Guard.

Jurgen is assaulted by both of the guards, claws and bites ripping into his chain mail and bouncing off his shield as he cracks his hammer into the shield bearer.

Sisava points at Sascha but only succeeds in getting her attention.

Sascha peels off and vaults the altar, engaging Sisava. She rages but is off balance for her first strike, missing and tearing a chunk off the altar. Hundreds of Snakes begin to pour in from the back wall.

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Aldonis fires an Arrow at Sisava and sees that it curves before hitting its target, hitting the shield bearer instead. He blinks, wondering if the smoky haze affected his vision.

Lucius continues to move away. Intent on finding a spot to rest before he heads home.

Sisava stares intently at Sascha, his strange pale green eyes boring into her, trying to overwhelm her will but finds that her Berserker Fury (20) shrugs off his spell.

Her great axe doesn’t miss as he reels back in pain. She calmly ignores the mass of snakes beginning to swarm.

Another arrow from Aldonis, meant for Sisava, deviates and badly wounds the shield bearer.

Jurgen cracks his hammer into it, dropping the shield guard as Elrik advances to engage the second guard, Mace hefted in one hand and shield up high.

Sisava hisses at Sascha and disappears into a silvery mist, reappearing 30 feet away behind the column the second guard had come from, blocking line of sight from the others. A second swarm of snakes forms and begins to slither it’s way towards Sisava.

Sigfrith enters the room to get a bead on the enemy but finds it difficult to see through the thicker haze in the room. His eyes stinging, his eyesight fades and he finds himself completely blind. Coughing he falls back, hands out trying to find the exit. Eevi grabs him by the arm and drags him to safety. Eevi asks him to cancel his light spell while she quickly examines him. Sigfriths light goes out, putting the tunnel into shadows and Eevi can see that Sigfrith has been poisoned but she can’t tell how long it will affect him.

Sigfrith just grunts and shuffles past her into the zone of silence behind them.

Sascha rushes towards Sisava but isn’t able to reach him, she is also not attacked and finds her Rage slipping away. Clear headed she reorients to help with the last Guard. The first snake swarm, finally fully formed, slithers after her.

Having failed to affect Sascha twice Sisava focuses on Jurgen and finds that the Dwarf’s will is not quite as strong as his constitution.

Jurgen is polymorphed into a Tiny Viper. (With a Tiny Beard) Confused, the small Viper coils into a corner, trying to avoid being stepped on. The second swarm of snakes ignores him.

Somewhere, in the halls of the ruins, Lucius blinks and finds that Sisavas earlier Suggestion is just a load of Bawls. He turns and sprints back with the intent to lay a magical smack down.

Sascha and Elrik put the remaining guard down as the fight moves towards the center of the cavern. Sisava attacks Sascha, his arms seemingly shredding and splitting into dozens of snakes, but fails to land a blow. The swarms engage with Elrik and Sascha, Elrik manages to absorb most of it with his shield while Sascha nimbly keeps her feet and legs out of striking range.

Sisava weathers Eevis Vicious Mockery and Hisses angrily, words pouring from him in a language no one understands. A lethargic aura radiates from him, targeting Jurgen, Sascha, Elrik, Aldonis and Eevi but the Adrenalin is too high as everyone resists the compulsion to sleep.

Lucius runs past a blindly retreating Sigfrith, intent on getting back into the fight.

Aldonis fires another arrow at Sisava, thinking that now that the shield bearer is down he might strike true, and critically injures him. Sisava reels in pain and never sees the Great Axe that cleaves into his neck, nearly decapitating him. His lifeless body falls to the ground.

Lucius, words of power ready to burst from him, looks on in disappointment. ‘Dammit, didn’t get here in time’

Jurgen reverts to his natural self at the far end of the cave.

The snake swarms disperse, as though some controlling force has released it’s hold on them, and scatter towards the back wall retreating through the holes they came from.

Eevi retrieves Sigfrith who had managed to wander back a fair distance, keeping to the right hand side.

Searching they find that the shield radiates magic, Aldonis warns the group that it may be cursed as it seemed to attract missile fire. They also find a scroll being held rolled up by a ring and a wand. (Ring of Swimming, a Scroll of Protection vs Plants and one of the Wands of Water Control).

They find little else of value in the room, the ‘basket’ is actually a part of the floor, stone that has been shaped and within a deep empty darkness. Aldonis drops a stone within and listens to see how far it falls. He does not hear it hit anything. Later this is repeated with Lucius casting a light spell on a coin and dropping it. The light falls for a long long time, and is only barely seen as it bounces off something far below.

Leaving Sisavas lair they make a quick camp in the barracks nearby. Eevi and Elrik wrap up Sigfriths eyes with a few odds and ends from their herbs and with the passing of a short rest his sight returns.

Bolstered by the bite to eat and the return of Sigfrith’s vision the group heads back into the ruins looking to explore the long hall that Eevi had been attacked in way back.

When they get there Aldonis leads the way down the hall, his Dungeon Delving skills save him from falling into a pit trap as they approach the next set of Double doors.

The doors are unlocked and Jurgen enters fearlessly.

Within they see a huge room that fades into darkness. Within the light they carry and the sight of those with darkvision are several large worktables, covered with bits and pieces of scrap metal. Somewhere further back in the darkness they hear a strange skittering sound echo off unseen walls but it quickly stops and fades into silence.

Attracted by the work spaces Lucius enters and passes Jurgen receiving a look of disapproval from the dwarf. As the party begin to filter in the room Lucius makes it to one of the long worktables and from behind it rises the skeletal body of a snake, topped with a strangely humanoid skull.

Lucius immediately Fire Bolt’s it.

It responds in kind with a Lightning Bolt catching several of the group behind in a jagged line of electrical power.

Despite managing to get himself mostly out of the way Elrik goes down. The others are singed and hurt but still standing.

Lucius taunts the Guardian and is attacked with a powerful bite. The poison that courses through his veins overwhelms him and he falls unconscious.

Rushing forwards Jurgen and Sascha Engage the creature. Before he gets into the fray Jurgen does a Lay of Hands on Lucius to bring him to consciousness (1hp).

As Lucius recovers consciousness and sees his allies fighting it he taunts it again from the ground and fires another bolt of fire at it. Seemingly enraged he is attacked again but is missed. That distraction is enough to let the rest of the group finish it off.

Reviving their Cleric the area is lit with light spells and torches before being searched.

Eevi recognizes that this chamber must have originally been used as a spawning chamber for some race that had eggs or birthed into pools.

Aldonis finds the lever that controls the pit trap outside, he puzzles out that it locks into place when the trap is closed or unlocks it to let unwary fools fall to their doom.

Lucius and Sigfrith examine the scraps of plans, bits of metal and tools and determine that this workshop was used to build some sort of cage. Beyond that nothing else can be found and learned here. Aldonis’ theory of a main entrance being found here is, unfortunately, wrong.

Returning back the way they came, swimming through the green algae waters, keeping an eye open for further creatures, the group climbs the cliff that had the gondola originally and leave via the lava tube. Elrik leads them along the path that Shensen and the elves had guided him through and within hours they are back at the southern Cauldron Gate.

It is night and raining, the gates are closed but are opened when Jurgen pounds on the smaller individual entrance announcing to the ‘Who goes there?’ query with ‘It be the Iron ravens ladie, now open up the gate’. Entering they are recognized by the guards there, a few making comments about how the Ravens are doing good in the City. As the group leave the guards they hear one pipe up ‘I still think the Stormblades are better’.

The group notices a murder of crows perched on the buildings watching them as they make their way to the Temple of Athena. At the temple they are quickly ushered in by an Acolyte (not Ruphus) are a disheveled Jenya quickly makes an appearance. It is obvious that she was resting. She is happy to see them safe and sound and asks about their whereabouts over the last three days.

The group hands over 7 of the 8 missing wands, apologizing for not having found them all. Jenya merely blinks at the sticks in her hands unable to reconcile the apology with the recovery of almost all the wands. A smile spreads across her pretty face and she orders food and towels be brought. She also dispatches Ruphus and two other Acolytes to fetch representatives from the religions of Apollo, Heracles and Hades.

She speaks with the party, getting them to tell her of the deeds they have committed. She asked them if they recovered any of the items from Sarcem’s body, which causes her smile to falter a moment. And is pleased when Aldonis offers the ring, Lucius the Charm and Elrik the Mace. She declines the mace and charm, saying that those are gifts now from the church. She does take the ring though.

She asks if the group caster’s would be willing to help with flood control and as Eevi, Sigfrith and Lucius volunteer the messengers return with a very fit and handsome Cleric of Heracles, a young female Paladin of Apollo and no Cleric of Hades. Jenya frowns at this and begins to make plans with the other two church representatives on flood patrol duty. She gives the Paladin of Apollo 1 wand, the Cleric of Heracles 2 and keeps 4 for the Temple of Athena.

The group learns that Annah, the Paladin of Apollo, is the only remaining representative of her temple. Her two senior clerics have passed, one of old age and the other through an act of violence unsolved.

With the promise to return to help with flood patrol the group heads home to rest.

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