IC: Dichotomy's Age of Worms Redux, Part IV


OOC Thread
IC Thread, Part I
IC Thread, Part II
IC Thread, Part III
[sblock=Part I Summary]Day 1
Boldak, the dwarven miner/dungeoneer, hears about Diamond Lake that a trio of adventurers have come in from the Free City to investigate the Stirgenest Cairn. The dwarf knows, like most of the locals, that they won't find anything there. But the dwarf also knows that the Whispering Cairn elsewhere in the Cairn Hills may have something in it. If adventurers have come looking for something, they are in the wrong place. But it would only be a matter of time before they would hear of the Whispering Cairn.

From Tyrol Ebberly at The Captain's Blade, Trenton, a farmboy who recently relocated to town to seek new employment, learns much the same.

In the meantime, Nav, a local gypsy-like vagabond and sometime-beggar with a sorcerous bent, hits up Alexis, a woman new to town and channeling powers divine, for a meal. After the meal and good conversation, the pair decides to head to the Feral Dog for a night of drinking.

Trenton, Alexis, and Nav all seem to arrive just in time to see Boldak engaged in the dagger throwing contest with an elven maiden named Tirra, who happens to be one of the adventuring trio visiting town. While the dwarf manages to get one spectacular throw in, he ends up losing the contest to the elf.

Overhearing the conversation, Trenton worms his way in trying to find possible employment. Also overhearing, Nav quickly figures out what they are talking about and, wisely, drives Tirra off before Boldak tells her about the Whispering Cairn. After introductions and conversation, the four decide to head to the Whispering Cairn on their own to see what they might be able to find to get them out of the cesspool that is Diamond Lake.

Day 2
The newly-formed party heads out in the morning rain in search of adventure. After an hour of walking, they arrive at the abandoned mine office just a ways from the cairn.

As the group examines the office, the are set upon by a swarm of thousands of spiders. Due to some bad tactical decisions, and a heap of bad luck, the swarm gets the best of the group. Trenton, Boldak, and Alexis end up having to flee. Sadly, Nav gets left behind as the spiders feast on his blood. Shavora, Nav's pet raven, flies well ahead of the group and heads back to town.

Around this time, Breth, a traveler with skill in magic, wanders about Diamond Lake. He ends up running into, and being accosted by, Shavora. Breth ends up compelled to investigate the events of which the irate raven speaks, and he heads in the direction of the cairn.

As Trenton, Boldak, and Alexis, weary with their loss and sorrow, take the road back to town, they find Breth coming out to meet them, with the enraged Shavora on his shoulder. The initial meeting goes very poorly, as Breth quizes the party for answers and they respond having to struggle with their grief and nerves. Eventually, Breth manages to get on at least Trenton's good side, and the pair drink themselves into a stupor.

Day 3
As the next day comes, Boldak and Alexis find Trenton hungover and ask him about Breth. Eventually, all four end up spending the day talking and working out their differences from the day before. After deciding on their tactics, the group decides to wait other day to fully recover and then return to the mine office for revenge upon the spider swarm.

Day 4
After finalizing their plans on the edge of Diamond Lake, the group heads back to the mine office. There they find the remains of poor Nav. The group enters the mine office and the spider swarm quickly comes out of hiding for another meal. Using better tactics, oil, and fire, the party manages to destroy the swarm.

As the others take the time to bulid a pyre for their dead companion, Breth finds some supplies in the mine office. After setting the pyre ablaze, the group makes a new pact among themselves and continues on to the Whispering Cairn. Shavora accompanies Breth as she used to accompany Nav.

The party reaches the Whispering Cairn and very quickly realizes why it has that name, as eerie sounds fill the air. They first discover what is likely the remains of the supplies of children that used to frequent the cairn. Shortly after, they find one passage blocked by a cave in and another leading to what looks like an odd broken mirror.

The search is interrupted as the party spots a green light flickering from further in the cairn. Boldak goes to investigate, but is set upon by a small pack of wolves. Boldak soon collapses from the onslaught. The others rush into battle to save the dwarf, but Trenton is soon also bleeding on the floor. With a little help from Shavora, Alexis and Breth manage to kill two of the wolves and drive the third away. Sadly, while Alexis is able to revive Boldak, Trenton's wounds had already taken him.

While Breth has proven his worth to Alexis, Boldak, and even Shavora, the party knows that they will need aid to continue in this investigation. They first set Trenton's body aflame on a pyre back at the mine office. Then they return to quickly re-examine the off mirror-like object they found. The party discerns that it is somehow connected with the element of air, and it seems connected with transportation. With that knowledge gained, the survivors make their way back to down to drown their sorrows at the Feral Dog.

As fortune would have it, Viktor, a young paladin of Heironeous from the Garrison in Diamond Lake, and Alendar, an elven hunter, were conviced by Thendon, Alendar's younger brother and former friend of Viktor, that they should see what's going on in town, as a couple of rumors have spread about the party visiting the Whispering Cairn. As the surviving trio enter the Feral Dog to drink away their pain, Viktor and Alendar wait inside hoping to find them.

With a complete lack of tact, Alendar stares at the group as they sit and begin to drink, and the trio easily notices. Alexis, in an odd display, suddenly loses her composure and flees from the Feral Dog. Breth, with Shavora's help, follows Alexis while Boldak talks to Viktor and Alendar outside, trying to ascertain what their business would be.

Alexis and Breth return and the entire group heads into the more neutral territory of the church of St. Cuthbert. There, as is probably appropriate, the party questions the paladin and elf. It soon becomes apparent that the pair was simply seeking to help in the exploration and share in the spoils. With their apprehension dissuaded, the group spends their evening at the Feral Dog.

Day 5
The new and larger group heads back to the Whispering Cairn. Alendar examines the ground outside and confidently indicates that the remaining wolf that ran away did not return. Having that fear vanquished, the group heads back in.

The group reaches another intersection. To the west, the group finds an amazingly detailed fresco, depicting seven hallways radiating out from a central point. At the end of each is a lit lantern in one of the colors of the rainbow. To the east, the group finds another caved-in passage, but this one is passable. The small opening leads to the wolves' den, and Boldak finds various treasures inside, including an indigo lantern.

To the north the passage, which was blocked by a tangled of webs, leads toward the glowing green light the party saw before. It opens into a large room with a sarcophagus in the center upon a dais shaped like an arrow. And, like the fresco earlier, the room has seven tunnels radiating outward from the center and most have lanterns hanging in them. The indigo lantern is placed where it should be, judging by the fresco, but the red lantern is still missing. The green lantern has an everburning torch in it.

The sarcophagus bears a bas-relief of a tall humanoid figure. There is a glyph upon it, which Breth identifies as representing some powerful elemental entity, and it appears to be written in Vaati, a possibly ancient form of Auran.

The party, with Shavora's aid, discovers that there is a tunnel at the top of passage with the blue lantern. Boldak climbs up the chain and discovers that the passage leads northwest and ends in a figure of a large face screaming. At the same time, Breth opens the sarcophagus and finds it trapped with a simple fire spell. Breth and Alendar climb up after Boldak, and the three head through the tunnel. Viktor and Alexis try moving the arrow-shaped dias upon which the sarcophagus rests, and, after getting it to turn one "click" clockwise, they hear a loud noise from beneath them. At the same time, Boldak trips a pressure plate that he missed in the tunnel, and a trap is sprung. Breth becomes enchanted with swirling colors that appear in the screaming face's mouth, and a terrible wind begins to rise, threatening to send the trio flying out of the tunnel to fall some 40 feet to the ground below. With much luck, all three manage to escape and hang by the chain as the wind roars past them.

Once the wind dies down, the group is able to investigate what made the noise Viktor and Alexis heard. Looking down the tunnel with the yellow lantern, the party finds what later turns out to be an elevator of sorts leading to a level some 60 feet below the sarcophagus chamber.

After some fright with the unexpected disappearance of Boldak, as the first to go down the elevator, and after dealing with another trap below, the party proceeds to explore the sublevel. The group is attacked by what is later identified as a small beholder-kin, but the thing is able to do no damage other than putting Boldak to sleep before it is dispatched.

Exploring further, the group finds a chamber that must have served as the bedchamber for someone important. A glyph marks a stone slab that is presumably a bed. Breth recognizes more of the Vaati language. This figure seems more important or higher ranking than the figure in the sarcophagus above.

Soon after, the group finds a mold of some sort. After looking around a bit and finding some treasures, they attempt to burn it, only to realize, after Alexis is nearly frozen to death, that the mold is vunerable to cold and actually aided by heat. The party then makes rest, not leaving the Whispering Cairn.

Day 6
After waking, Alendar, having not needed to sleep, quickly ushers the group to a new room. The chamber is full light as bright as the sun. There are some treasures inside, as well as an egg-shaped rock. Upon touch the rock, however, it sprouts into a creature and attacks the group. They dispatch it fairly easily. After gathering what they want, the group rides back up the elevator to the sarcophagus chamber and turns the arrow another click.

A great rumbling is heard, and soon the floor beneath the green lantern gives way. Moments later a swarm of acid beetles and a freakish aberration come forth and attack the party. The group has some horrid luck, but does manage to use better tactics against the swarm. Suffering heavy wounds, but no losses this time, the group manages to kill the enemies. Alexis and Alendar, however, were badly wounded, and no one could heal them. The dwarf and human men carry the woman and elf outside and camp, waiting for each to regain strength.

Day 7
Alexis manages to wake up and shortly after heals Alendar. The group, still somewhat weakened from the fight, heads back to Diamond Lake for some much needed downtime.

Back in town, the group spilts. Viktor heads to the Garrison to visit his parents and pay his respects at the Chapel of Heironeous. Breth and Boldak head to the Smelting House to see if the half-elf alchemist Benazel can tell them anything about the magic items the group has obtained. However, he directs them to the sage Allustan, the so-called "smartest man in town," for such advice. The sage dispenses some wisdom and offers to identify items. Alendar and Alexis head to Tidwoad's to sell their mundane items. The cantankerous gnome gives them a good amount of gold for their trouble, but they can't help but suspect that the gnome gave them nothing near the items true worth.

As has become typical for the group, they then spend their night relaxing at the Feral Dog.

Day 8
The party awakes and carries out their business about town before heading out again. Of note, Breth and Boldak return to Allustan's and learn of their magical fare. The sage also warns them that any suspicions they have about selling to Tidwoad are probably well-founded.

In the meantime, Viktor brings Alendar and Alexis to the Garrison and introduces them to his parents. After sufficiently embarrassing the paladin, they examine drawings of the symbols that have been found in the Whispering Cairn. But the religious scholors have no advice to offer other than that they should perhaps ask Allustan.

Soon enough the group meets for another ale before heading off. They then return to find the cairn just as they'd left it.

With the help of some rope, the group climbs down the pit whence the swarm and aberration came. At the bottom, they find another sublevel. The group first battles another swarm of beetles and a much larger beetle with them. Though they have some trouble making their strategy work, the eventually kill the creatures. They then find some treasures in the nests.[/sblock]
[sblock=Part II Summary]Finishing Day 8
Having taken a good thumping, the group decides to settle in for some needed rest, which, fortunately, goes undisturbed.

Day 9
The group, after some discussion, returns down the elevator. Boldak heads to the west, where he finds what later seems like a sleeping chamber. Another large beetle is inside and is quickly dispatched. The room oddly has some magic that makes the group tired as long as the remain in it.

With nowhere else to turn on the level, Alendar and Boldak save the water-filled passage, the group returns to the sarcophagus room above. The arrow platform is turned again. Down the blue tunnel, no change is noted. On the next stop, pointing toward the indigo tunnel, another apparent elevator rises from the floor, but careful inspection shows that it is a trap.

The group turns the arrow the remaining stops and finds that none of the other tunnels appear to have anything of note.

After much discussion, it is decided that Alendar and Boldak will venture down into the water-filled passage. The elf and dwarf encounter a water elemental, but manage to kill it before needing to retreat to the air.

With some further exploration, Boldak finds the missing red lantern. He also runs into a ghoul. The elf and dwarf, wisely, retreat to the surface, where Alexis easily turns it to dust by channeling divine energy.

With the final missing lantern, the group returns to the sarcophagus room and lights them all. The group then climbs to the top of the blue tunnel and finds that the screaming face's mouth has opened to a passage leading onward.

The group finds itself in an elaborate room with a thin platform leading over a pit filled with clay spheres. Breth, using the wand found earlier, moves across the platform, hoping to get close enough for the spell to open the door at the other side. However, he trips a trap, and clay spheres shoot from the wall, knocking him off.

A grick, lurking in the spheres, attacks. Soon the group is battling the creature on the spheres. Breth ends up falling before the group can kill the aberration. Immediately afterward, a ghost emerges from a wall and possesses Alendar. Using Alendar's mouth, the ghost indicates that the door on the other side cannot be opened, except by the ghost. It charges the party with the task of bringing its bones, submerged in the spheres, back to his family's gravesite.

The group splits up. Boldak returns to town. Viktor deals with Breth's remains at the mine office. Alendar and Alexis go to the farm site. There they find that the family gravesite has been dug up. They also meet Llyr, a feycaster, and his wolf companion, Moro. The four run into a wounded owlbear, that they are forced to dispatch.

After they kill the creature, they look around the farm house. They find what remains of an arm, branded with a tattoo associated with men who would have worked for Garavin Vesst, once one of the mine managers in Diamond Lake.. They also find that the Land family bodies look to have been carted in the direction of town.

The entire group meets back at the mine office. After some discussion, they head back to the Whispering Cairn. There they find the ghost of the young man, now known to be Alastor Land and the door still closed. In response to Alexis' query, the ghost responds that he's not with his family.

The party resolves to find the graverobbers and returns to Diamond Lake. They learn through the rumor mill that Vesst was bankrupted by Balabar Smenk several years ago and then acquired his workers. The particular graverobbers frequent the Feral Dog. The group waits at the Dog for several hours as the graverobbers watch the pit fights and drink. Finally, they head back to a small home that they share. After some discussion, the group breaks in.

While some of the party members had thought they could simply break into the thugs home and get by without a fight, the melee soon begins. The fighting is hard, and the matter is further complicated by Viktor's unwillingness to commit to battle. The party manages to bring their foes down, but not before Boldak is killed.

After the battle, the party learns from a captive that a man named Filge staying in the old observatory had the bodies for which they were looking.

Viktor, unconscious after the battle, is revived and treated to Alexis' enraged tongue-lashing. Heated bickering ensues.

In the end, it is decided that Alexis and Alendar will bury the dead while Viktor and Llyr sell some goods.

After Alendar and Alexis finish their morose task, Alendar, after giving his opinion of Viktor's choice of conduct, tells her that he simply cannot remain with the party. The elf takes his leave.

But just as some leave, new arrivals come. Viktor and Llyr meet Brannak and Dav while shopping. The pair had obvious combat skill, or at least were well-armed, and Llyr decided help dealing with Filge would be welcome.

Day 10
Having secured the help of Brannak and Dav to aid at least with dealing with Filge, Viktor and Llyr bring the newcomers to the square to meet Alexis. She tells them of Alendar's decision to leave. The group finds themselves with little other choice but to carry on with the new help they've found.

The five, along with Moro, head to the old observatory to the north. Dav displays his lock picking skills but is set upon by a tiny creature of filth and teeth. The man begins showing signs of illness from a bite, but nothing yet able to slow him down.

The party first enters the observatory to be set upon by three skeletons. After Alexis easily sends their spirits onward, investigation make it apparent that these are the remains of part of the Land family. But Filge and the remains of Alastor's sister were still to be found.

As they explore the observatory, the group comes upon a disgusting dinner scene. In Filge's bedroom they find displays of the man's delusions of grandeur and vile tastes. When they reach the top, they find the necromancer's operating theater with a corpse flayed upon it. Despite their complete lack of stealth (in fact, Brannak was chanting inspiringly in draconic during the entire foray), the group manages to dispatch Filge and his minions with little harm to themselves.

As the group searches the observatory, they find a good deal of treasure, the remains of Alastor's sister, and a note to Filge from "S" outlining a cult operating beneath Dourstone Mine.

After the search is complete, the group piles the remains of bodies and the like in the top floor of the observatory and set is aflame.

The group returns the Land family to their graves, some business is taken care of, Llyr decides to sell the owlbear (which was steadily becoming more trouble than its worth), and Allustan is asked to identify magical items and expresses his concern about whatever is brewing beneath Diamond Lake (and specifically warns the group that the green worm referenced in the note is a sign of the Spawn of Kyuss). Overall, the group rests for a couple of days.

Day 11

Day 12
Having found dealing with Filge to be both exciting and extremely profitable, Brannak and Dav decide to continue with Llyr, Alexis, and Viktor. The group heads back into the Whispering Cairn and relights the torches in the lantern. As they pass into the room with the clay spheres, they find that Alastor's ghost has departed, but did indeed open the door first.

They make their way into a chamber with four "steam murals" depicting what the group later finds out from Allustan is part of the story of the Wind Dukes of Aaqa, particularly the involvement of one Zosiel. As the group begins to make its way to a pillar of air in the center, two suits of armor emerge from the pillar to challenge the party. While Viktor all but asks to be killed, the group manages to survive the onslaught. The group travels via the pillar to a level above where they find the true sarcophagus of Zosiel, whose name Brannak learns by a wise use of comprehend languages. Inside the sarcophagus, opening by invoking Zosiel's name, the group finds further treasure, including a diadem inscribed with Zosiel's glyph and an inactive talisman of the sphere.

With their treasure in tow, the group returns to Allustan and informs him of their discoveries. The sage gives then a lengthy recitation of the history of the Wind Dukes of Aaqa. To summarize: the Queen of Chaos fought against the Wind Dukes. The Queen of Chaos had recruited a Prince of Demons named Miska the Wolf-Spider to aid her in the fight. Seven of the greatest Wind Dukes, called the "Wandering Dukes", scoured the Great Wheel for a weapon to fight the forces of Chaos. With the lore they'd gathered, they constructed the fabled Rod of Law. With the Rod, the Wandering Dukes returned to a battle on the fields of Pesh and the greatest of them plunged it into Miska the Wolf-Spider. The Rod of Law was shattered into seven pieces. It turns out that the Whispering Cairn is the tomb for Zosiel who was a minor warrior prince who fell in the battle just before the Rod was used.

Day 13
Having rested yet again, the group attempts to decide what should be done about Balabar Smenk (whom they suspect is "S" from Filge's note). As it turns out, Smenk has already been looking for them. The group sets up a meeting at Smenk's home.

The crude and disgusting Smenk, sometimes in tones close to whining while sometimes tones of demand, tells the party that, indeed, a cult has taken hold of a temple beneath Dourstone Mine (the existence of the temple was confirmed with Allustan as well). The cult, called the Ebon Triad, though the name holds no meaning for the group, is sheltered by Ragnolin Dourstone. By Smenk's account, he was unwittingly pushed into providing foodstuffs and supplies for the cultists. He attempted to extract himself from that position, and subsequently found the severed head of his right-hand man in his bed the next morning. The dirty mine-manager tells the group that if they can free him from his undesired connecting with the cult, he will forgive their killing of his men.

Late 13/Early 14
After Midnight, under the cover of a silence spell by Alexis, the party makes their way easily into Dourstone Mine. They easily find their way to the elevator leading to the cultists temple.

At the bottom of the shaft, they catch a glimpse of a large chamber with pool with doors leading off in three directions: one marked with the symbol Hextor, one Vecna, and one unmarked. Two masked guards, later discovered to be tieflings, raise the alarm in the Hextor camp. The party quickly barges into the the Hextorites domain and easily slaughters the first defenses. However, after a nasty battle against a wild boar, they find themselves trapped in what appears to be a type of battle arena. A cleric of Hextor has a set of controls that slam the doors, and the vile Hextorites reign spells and arrows upon the party.

Fortunately, the evil clerics make a mistake. As the party looks ready to be mopped up, some of the clerics leave the balcony to approach the door and enter to face them. However, Brannak cleverly uses the wand of unseen servant to push the button to keep it closed each time the remaining cleric tries to open it. Dav's arrows make short work of that cleric, and Brannak's unseen servant pockets the clerics wand of cure light wounds. The party is then able to heal themselves up as the remaining Hextorites make their way back in to the balcony to discover why the doors didn't open for them. But now Brannak does open the doors. The party swarms up to the balcony behind the Hextorites. In a tough battle of attrition, the group finally brings the well-armored Hextorites to their deaths.

With the Hextorities out of the way, the party gathers up the loot from the fallen, locks all of the doors to the well-defensible structure, and settles in for some very well-deserved rest.

During the rest, Dav does some thorough searching. He finds a couple of blank scrolls (which radiated magic), and stone key, and the Hextorite cleric's journal, which contained some interesting entries. The entries spoke of the Faceless One, Grallak Kur, the Ebon Triad, and an Overgod.

Late 14/Early 15
The party decides to rest until midnight for Alexis to regain her spells. The group then ventures into the door marked with the banner of Vecna.

Inside, they find themselves in a labyrinth, the extent of which they would only later discover. The find themselves attacked from the darkness by bird-men, through secret doors that appear to open and close without any effort by the assailants. It turns out to be a guerrilla-like war, but the group manages to withstand it, save Llyr's wolf Kota.

The group takes another long rest, giving Dav time to thoroughly search and map the entire maze with Alexis, and allowing Llyr to call a new companion.

Late 15/Early 16
A wolverine, aptly named Bub, heeds Llyr's call. Dav had discovered three rooms leading out to the north. The group chooses the western-most one.

Upon entering the room, the party discovers crates and boxes full of mundane supplies. The crates are marked with the symbol of Balabar Smenk's company.

The group heads further inward, and discovers a room with odd and horrible pillars. Hands moved from within. The party set upon two purple-clad men, but soon more joined the fray as well as an incorporeal undead.

Alexis was unable to turn the undead, and the party had little ability to harm it. The purple-clad men flung spells at the party, and a green-robed man wearing a leather mask summoned powerful monsters.

Llyr fell from the bite of a summoned huge centipede. Brannak spent most of the fight entralled by the undead's inane mumblings or stunned by the spells of the men, and fell by the powerful claws of a summoned ape. Bub was destroyed by another ape, after fighting to get out of a web. Dav fell to more spellslinging. And Viktor and Alexis both in the end succumbed to madness, unable to cope with repeatedly touching the essence of the undead creature.[/sblock]
[sblock=Part III Summary]Finishing Day 16
Kushnak, the half-orc war-priest of the little-known Kelanen has been traveling with Eskard, the half-orc powerhouse. While traveling, the half-orcs met Nethezar, an odd human cleric devoted to magic. After an interesting barroom brawl, Erdolliel, the elven rogue, joined up with the group to add her talents. Just this evening, the four made their way into Diamond Lake and found it to likely be the worst place they have seen in their travels. Bazrim, a dwarven wizard and local in Diamond Lake, quickly takes note of the obviously talented group and joins up with them (after getting a taste of the belittling to come from Nethezar in the future).

After drinks and mirth, the group finds their way to rest and plans to meet up on the morrow.

Day 17
Shortly after the group meets up, a man named Gregor approaches with a proposition. Gregor works for one Balabar Smenk, one of the mine managers in Diamond Lake. They are escorted to Smenk's old, but huge, mansion, and they meet perhaps the biggest glutton full of self-importance in the entire realm.

Smenk conveys that fanatic cultists, the Ebon Triad, have taken residence in the mine of Ragnolin Dourstone, a dwarven mine manager. Smenk, by his story, was extorted into helping supply the cultists. Smenk sent first his right-hand man, then a group of "close associates" (who apparently bore symbols of Heironeous and Pelor), but all were apparently killed. The blubbery Smenk offers the group 1,500 gold to split if the group will take up the task. After Smenk and Gregor tell the group what they can of the defenses on the entrance to the mine, the group seeks out Allustan, the town sage, for a scroll of invisibility sphere.

Using the scroll, and silence cast by Nethezar, the group easily sneaks into Dourstone's mine. The find an elevator leading down to the odd entry chamber of the cultists' three distinct lairs. They first go through the already attacked Hextorite lair. Finding it completely ransacked and devoid of anything valuable, the group turns next to the blank, rough, stone door.

They learn soon enough that the door leads to natural caves inhabited by eyeless, savage humanoids. Not only do they seem to not need sight to "see," but they also blend terribly well with the natural rock in the caves. But the group learns through their struggle that they have a good mix of combat talents. Unfortunately, they also learn that Nethezar can't climb to save his life.

The group battles many of the humanoids, and eventually comes to the lair of a priest of Erythnul throwing powders and mushrooms, apparently psychotropic, into an inferno. The group manages to bring the demented fanatic down. Upon killing the priest and conducting a search, the group finds some writings. Most of the rambling, disjointed writing is virtually impossible for any of you to comprehend. But one passage stands out:

At last the will of the Ebon Triad be done. With the return of great Kyuss, the Age of Worms is finally upon us!

The group then retreats to relatively safer group to rest until the morning.

Day 18
After having their rest and regaining their spells, the group returns to the entry chamber and, using a key found on the cleric of Erythnul, opens the final door marked with the symbol of Vecna.

The door leads to what is obviously a labyrinth of some kind. It looks like, just like the Hextorite lair, combat had taken place, as blood and sulfur stained the walls. Nethezar notes that Smenk's assertion that it was the Erythnul section of the cult that killed the previous adventurers seems at odd with the evidence of battle here. The group quickly learns that a cadre of wizards and an allip still inhabited the inner sanctum. The battle is much more fierce than the last one, as the wizards are much more sophisticated foes and their leader, a faceless man with a lisp, had a powerful stock of spells. The leader's spells overcome Erdolliel, and the elf dies at the wizard's hand. But the group eventually prevails, with Eskard's bravery coupled with his skill striking down the mage. He barely manages to save Kushnak from death's door by forcing a potion down his throat, and Kushnak, in turn, saves the others.

With the intent of gathering up what they can and making a quick exit, the group starts a search of the sanctum and wizard's lab. Among the various items, of most interest is a diadem with a strange insignia, a strange adamantine loop with handle, and scrolls with codes. There is also a letter:


I need you in Diamond Lake, my boy. The cult situation has grown worse. Deep within Dourstone Mine they're studying things brought in from the southern hills. Green worms and unkillable zombies. I nicked one of the worms for you to study.

I'll put you up in the old observatory. Show this letter to the big white half-orc at the Feral Dog. He'll help you get settled. I trust you'll find these coins sufficient to cover your travel from the Free City.


Finally, the group finds a huge supply of mundane items, all in crates marked with the sign of a rampant rooster perched upon a large gold coin. The symbol is the same one the group had seen at Smenk's residence.

As the group gets situated, suddenly, a horrid noise comes from the entry chamber. The group quickly hurries back and finds a monstrous creature, like an amalgamation of the deities of the Ebon Triad, has broken the elevator. The four remaining in the party fight hard against the creature, as it had powerful attacks combined with strong resistance to magic. Nethezar revives Kushnak to attack the thing, only to find Kushnak again dying after the thing's next assault. Finally, Nethezar fires magic missiles at the thing in desperation, and manages to drop it.

After some discussion, and a couple of lectures from Nethezar, the group resolves to wait until the next day, both to regain spells so Kushnak can make whole the elevator and to wait for the cover of dark to escape Dourstone's mine.

Day 19
Upon first waking, Nethezar helps heal Eskard's damage to his psyche from the allip. Then the cleric identifies one of the items. Finally, the scholar examines all of the written materials uncovered.

First is a journal with two passages of note that Nethezar marked.

The first marked passage reads:

Praise Be to the Scourge of Battle,

The Faceless One grows increasingly concerned. that addled beast Grallak Kur has yet to provide new insights into the Overgod's nature. The crude missives he sends speak of the worms, of a slumbering power that must be awoken, but nothing more. I wish he would go back to the black pit that spawned him if he has nothing more to offer.

The Faceless One tells me this ties into an ancient figure, a being of great power. Of course, he tells me little else. He enjoys keeping his secrets, but he forgets that they flourish only behind the protection of Hextor. His latest taunt is a scroll that he tells me contains all the answers I seek. Of course, the fool wrote it in a cipher. Were it not for the dictates of the Ebon Triad, I would lead my troops into their damnable labyrinth and kill every last bird and wizard within it.

Grallak is the key. Thank the Scourge that he trusts me and not the Faceless One. Otherwise, I doubt the Faceless One would bother imparting anything to us. We cannot trust these mages. When the Overgod arises, I think it will be time to settle some old scores.

And the second:

Under the Herald's Watchful Eye We Conquer,

Grallak Kur has finally yielded a useful clue. I personally delivered it to the labyrinth, and the Faceless one giggled like a blood addled berserker when he saw the message. Grallak spoke of the worms again, of course. He says that even now they stir and writhe. The world is like an apple infested with them. All seems well for now, but soon they burst through the skin and swarm across the land. Stil, part of this vision troubles me. Grallak spoke of a great power behind them, but the Ebon Triad teaches that these worms will awaken the Overgod. Is there some other power at hand here that we cannot see? Is it friend or foe?

The Faceless One knows more, but he of course has little to say. Perhaps Grallak has invented everything. His monstrous kin are few in number and battered after their pilgrimage through the Underdark. If he is an imposter or trickster, we may need to root him out of this place. In that case, our agents must make another supply run. Six coils of rope, and perhaps bows and more arrows, should do the trick. With the petitioners leading the way we can uncover any ambushes they have within the cliffs.

Nethezar finds an invisible script with a code on it in a note. After breaking the code, the note reads:

The secrets of this page are most holy. Know ye heretics who invade them that the eye of Vecna is upon you. If you read this, Theldrick, you have either slain me and doomed our cause, or the time is nigh for our final victory.

At last the riddle of this place is solved. In ages past, a great being known as Kyuss rose above the petty warlords who fought and struggled for material gain. Mighty Kyuss is the herald of the Overgod. Soon, he will sound the clarion call to the faithful. The three sundered faiths shall be made whole.

The undead our agents spotted must be located and captured. If they bear the worms of Kyuss then they perhaps hold the final answer to our research. The Ebon Aspect stirs within the pool, but it is still not ready to emerge. Perhaps a traumatic event--an invasion by heretics, a great battle fought within these halls--could awaken it. But even then it will attain only a minor form. The Way of the Ebon Triad speaks of the danger of awakening the aspect too soon. Our work will be for naught.

We must find the worms and the undead hosts that carry them. If they are not here, then we must send agents to the Rift. If Kyuss himself, or his agents, cannot shepherd in the Age of Worms, then we shall do it ourselves so that the Overgod may live.

Our course is clear, my dear Theldrick. Smenk is no longer useful to us and must die. Kill him, then send agents to the Mistmarsh, across the southern hills. I believe that we will find what we are looking for there, among the lizardfolk. Summon more of your warriors. If the calculations and portents are correct, the time for covert action is at an end. As the Age of Worms begins, we must strike hard and fast to prepare the coming of the Overgod.

Of course, dear Theldrick, if you were so rash as to slay my followers and I, then you, soon, shall join me in the afterlife. Doubtless your treachery has already stirred the Overgod. Our mission has failed, and you will die at his hands.

Not having the time or inclination to ponder these discovers yet, the group readies to depart. Kushnak repairs the elevator and Nethezar again uses his silence spell. With the cover of night, the group manages to easily get out of Dourstone's mine and back to town.

The group decides to send Bazrim into the town proper, under the guise of a warrior, to see if he can find out anything about the happenings since the group entered the mine. Bazrim learns that no one appears to be looking for them yet, and the group decides to seek out Smenk for their payment.

Upon reaching Smenk's, the group discovers that the were apparently not expected to return. After getting some lip from the fat man, the group gets its payment and quickly tries to make an exit. But the group doesn't quite get out of town, being attacked by a group of both humans and dwarves just before they reach the Lakeside Stables for horses.

After easily dispatching the group, and collecting one survivor for possible later questioning, the group members each hear the voice of Allustan, the sage, whispering to them. He directs them out of town where he informs them that he has a job for them. The sage indicates that he had requested that the prior group (those that Smenk called his "friends") enter the Dourstone Mine to help put together "pieces of a puzzle." Allustan says that he needs to meet with a battle mage stationed at Blackwall Keep on the northern edge of the Mistmarsh, and that he would like the young, able-bodied group to provide secure escort for him. As payment, and perhaps demonstration of his good intent, the sage offers to persuade the clergy at the Church of Heironeous in the Garrison to use a scroll of raise dead to bring Erdolliel back. He further offers to use his own resources to serve as a banker, of sorts (since there is little chance that, sort of going to a larger city, the group could ever trade the items they have for the payment the clergy would require).

Though it is getting quite late in the evening by this time, the sage is able to get the services of Valkus Dun and his scroll. Erdolliel is returned to life, and immediately starts spouting somewhat incomprehensibly about her experience while dead. After bickering about potions and the like, the group decides to head for the mine office (about which Erdolliel somehow knows) and gets some much needed rest.[/sblock]

log in or register to remove this ad


Day 20

The world seems new as the group members awake. The air smells fresh, as a strong breeze filters into the mine office.
[sblock=OOC]Level up your characters... unless you don't want to...[/sblock]


First Post
Eskard rises and waits while the group makes their plans for the day. Unless assigned to some specific task, he takes to the forest in search of food.

[sblock=oc]Sheet should be up to date, no big changes obviously.[/sblock]


First Post
Erdolliel gets the minimum amount of rest needed before heading into town as early as she believes the shops to be open.

When she returns with the supplies, she will either ask Kushnak if he wants to explore the cairn, or if Allustan is there, she will ask him if they have the time to visit the 'steam mural' room.[sblock=oc]character sheet will be updated here by tonight[/sblock]


First Post
Bazrim sits leaned up against his pack in the morning, making a few notes in his spell book. "That's it....... I think I finally figured it out." His head pops up, and he gives a smile to the others, dried meat that made up his breakfast lingers in his teeth, seemingly waiting to be his lunch.

"When do we leave?" He asks to noone in particular. "I'm ready to get out there to try this little trick."
[sblock=ooc]will do my best to get character updated tonight.[/sblock]


First Post
"It is a good day for a journey," says Kushnak as he scrounges for some breakfast, "and a fight."

"I am in no hurry to be off, if we would only wait a day or two I could buttress our defenses rather spectacularly. But... if the mage needs us to move quickly, so be it."
Last edited:


Erdolliel heads to town bright and early. Clearly not by happenstance, she runs into Allustan. The Sage notes the crafting supplies being purchased by the elf, and Erdolliel likewise shares her desire to visit the mural room in the Whispering Cairn.

"Well, it is plain enough that you have business to which you'd like to attend. If you are procuring these regiments for the reasons I suspect, you will probably have good need of the items to be made. I would like to be on our way as soon as we can, but I will not rush your companions. I... trust that they intend to keep their bargain," the Sage notes with a wry smile.

"However, I do not know what you might gain from visiting the Whispering Cairn itself. I, in fact, plan to study it later, but I am a scholar. I don't know what practical use such a venture might have."
[sblock=OOC]I took some liberties here with the hope of smoothing this all out.[/sblock]


First Post
"It would be impossible to know what use it might be before actually experiencing the room with the moving murals. They tell a story, one I am unable to make much sense of, my dear scholar."


First Post
"I thought he was in more of a hurry," says Kushnak upon learning of the rogue's exchange with Allustan. "If we're free to stay for a while, I should get to work. What does everyone need?"

[sblock]craftiwise that is.[/sblock]


[sblock=OOC]Ti, if Erdolliel wants to, she can talk further with Allustan about this, or you can wait until you are on the road. In any case, you've got a couple of days for crafting and/or visiting the Cairn.[/sblock]
Nethezar responds to Kushnak, "Well, what manner of fare can you construct? Oh, I also am able to ascertain what another of our magic items is today. Any of you have a preference?"


First Post
"My armor would be a good start. I have been wearing it without any ill effects, but it would be good to know just what it actually does for me.

"I imagine the cairn has been emptied of all of its inhabitants, but we can do a quick reconnaissance to make sure. Then I imagine that some firsthand knowledge would be the best for you Allustan."


First Post
Kushnak thinks for a moment...

"That depends I suppose. I've never actually done this before. I believe I could do a number of things to make us stronger or... smarter? Well, in any case, a lot of different things. We're limited by the amount Erdolliel has brought back. Let's have a look."

"And what about you... can't you do some of this too?"

[sblock=ooc]So... shucks. I thought there was a rule about being able to create things from scrolls or from having someone else cast the spell. Can't find it. So... let me know what you think. Otherwise:

+Cha, +Wis, +Con, +Str
Boots of Striding (can we do this again? same everything but no jump bonus and no jump skill required)
Anything else?



[sblock=OOC]I've already discussed it with Ti, but I wanted to make it clear that, in fact, Erdolliel cannot converse with both Allustan and Kushnak at the same time, since Allustan ran into her in town.

I guess I'll leave it to Ti to decide whether he wants to continue with Allustan or with Kushnak.[/sblock]


First Post
[sblock=if Erdolliel is back with the others and having the conversation about identifying items]"I think that figuring out what your armor actually does is very low on the list of things to use that spell on. We know it's not harmful, so anything after that is a bonus. We should figure out what this wand is that we found on the eyeless hag. Every day that passes without knowing it's powers, it's nothing more than a tree branch that I am carying because it looks pretty."[/sblock]


First Post
[sblock=OC]The last sblock from DI makes me think that Allustan would not be following Erdolliel back to the mine shack. That is the assumption I had been working off of, and maybe MN was too. So time for fun if/or statements:

Generally, Erdolliel would converse with Allustan in town to be polite, but would probably not volunteer much information to the sage about her experiences or what might be found in the cairn without some of the others around.

If Allustan follows her back to the cairn, she would be politely aloof until at least Kushnak is around. So that would take us to the Kushnak conversation I guess. (As an aside, I take it that the "you" that Kushnak refers to in the last line of MN's last post is Nethezar and not Allustan right?)

If Allustan doesn't plan on following her back, she will try to convince him to view the cairn mural room with his own eyes after we make sure it's cleared out. (Diplomacy check? not sure. we can rp it if you want to and we are ever online at the same time.) If he steadfastly refuses to come out (even if it is just to see the cairn for a few hours) she will try to buy the group a few days for item construction and identification.

Happy Jewish New Year to you all...[/sblock]


Nethezar, from his position huddled on the floor with books and materials ringed 'round him, responds to Kushnak's query.

"Scrolls. I can scribe scrolls. I hope to learn the craft of wand-making, but I have not yet acquired the necessary skill. If you think there are things prudent to have, and that it would be worth using some measure of the regents to do so..."


First Post
"Well then, I will make what I think best. If any of you already have protective cloaks, than kudos to you."

[sblock=ooc]I'm thinking cloaks (vests?) of resist - 4 of them. I'd love to make the boots - but we need to decide on that rule, and it would take all of the stuff.

If vests are ok, and no one tells him not to, Kushnak makes 4 vests. Otherwise, 4 cloaks.[/sblock]


[sblock=OOC]Vests are fine with me.[/sblock]
"Well, if you are planning the type of protection that I think you are, I already have some."

An Advertisement