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


OOC Thread
IC Thread, Part I
IC Thread, Part II
IC Thread, Part III
IC Thread, Part IV
[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]
[sblock=Part IV Summary]Day 20-22
After the group wakes from their rest at the mine office, Erdolliel scours the town for crafting supplies for Kushnak. As the elf shops, she runs into Allustan in town. The sage, seeing the crafting supplies and talking to Erdolliel about her desire to see the Whispering Cairn, informs the elf that, while he would like to get moving, they should take the time they need.

After some discussion, Nethezar identifies the diadem found a "circlet" of wisdom. Kushnak sits down to craft, Bazrim works on learning spells, and Nethezar, Erdolliel, and Eskard make their way to the Whispering Cairn.

Day 23
After their final nights rest, the group wakes and meets Allustan. The sage explains that the journey to Blackwall Keep will take roughly two days, and that he plans to spend the first night at "Shank's Rest," an abandoned farmhouse.

Just after lunch, while passing through a copse of trees, Erdolliel and Eskard note the presence of bandits hiding. After shouting out to the unseen foes, someone weakly calls for a "toll" to be paid. But, after hearing the warriors conversation, whomever was hiding beats a hasty retreat.

The group arrives at Shank's Rest at supper time, and Allustan prepares a good meal. The sage also gives the party a bit more information about the journey and why they go to Blackwall Keep. He outlines how he had been in contact with the prior adventures. That group had found the Whispering Cairn and learned the cairn is a tomb of a warrior of the Wind Dukes of Aaqa. The Wind Dukes, or "Vaati" in their tongue, were legendary beings of flesh and air that served the forces of Law.

While exploring the Cairn, the prior group found evidence of the Ebon Triad. Allustan mentions green worms connected to undead called the Spawn of Kyuss. Kyuss, according to lore, appearing in the Rift Canyon to the north over a thousand years ago, created dozens of new undead and even had an undead dragon at his side. Kyuss was called the Harbinger of the Age of Worms.

Allustan finishes by telling how he heads to Blackwall to meet Marzena, a battle mage. She had apparently sent Allustan reports of green worms.

As the group settles in for the night, Allustan prompts Erdolliel for the story of the events occurring while she was dead.

Day 24
The group wakes to the smells of Allustan's breakfast and the sounds of rain outside.

On the wet road, the group encounters a quartet of lizardfolk. The lizardfolk stop to size up the party, and Bazrim abruptly confronts them in draconic about staring at his personal guard. Erdolliel tries to calm the situation, but the lizardfolk seem to take Bazrim's remarks as a challenge. Nethezar manages to diffuse the situation by insinuating that Bazrim is insane. Despite the fact that the scholar was telling a blatant lie (asserting that Bazrim has delusions of being Moradin), the lizardfolk seem to buy it. Of course, the non-draconic speakers never understood a bit of that conversation. Erdolliel then gives the dwarf a lashing with her tongue, and Nethezar plays ignorant of the whole ordeal.

At mid-afternoon, the party arrives at Blackwall Keep, only to find that it is under siege. Between the party and the keep are two groups of five lizardfolk that had been apparently attacking the keep. Erdolliel cautiously scouts the area. The keep is surrounded by a total of six such groups of five, each group takes shelter from direct view of the keep. The elf can also see that the doors to the keep itself had apparently been broken down and hastily repaired.

Allustan expresses great concern for those inside the keep, as there is no way of knowing how they fared after the keep door was broken. The sage requests that the party attempt to aid whatever survivors remain at the keep while he uses a scroll of teleport to return to the Garrison in Diamond Lake and, hopefully, return with a force. Without hesitation, the party agrees.

After the sage departs, the party decides that their best option is to stay out of sight and wait for the lizardfolk to, presumably, make another strike at the keep. The plan works well. The party hears the lizardfolk signal each other. Two of the groups rush straight for the doors to break them. Two of the groups rush to the back side, presumably to attempt to climb up to the tower balcony of the keep. The remaining two hold back. While Kushnak, Eskard, and Nethezar rush to charge one of the groups hanging back, Bazrim utilizes his knew fireball spell with miraculous results. Both groups attempting to break down the keep door again are annihilated. Bazrim and Erdolliel strike the other group hanging back while the other three finish off the apparently leader of this attack. In short order, the only forces remaining are the ten that where trying to climb up the back. That force flees into the Mistmarsh.

Inside the keep, the party is met by hagggard men, overjoyed at their saviors. The men inform the group that they'd lost nearly half of their soldiers, including their commander. To make matters worse, four of their number where captured when the lizardfolk first broke open the door, include Marzena, the Free City battlemage that Allustan had been coming to see. The party attempts to interrogate a surviving lizardfolk, but even Bazrim's application of acid to the thing's extremities isn't enough to make it talk. All that the soldiers can tell the party is that the lizardfolk captors would be at least half a day or more out, and that they went straight south into the Mistmarsh. Kushnak uses speak with dead on a lizardfolk and learns that this tribe of lizardfolk lair due south and that the tribe itself has approximately 60 members.

Given the late hour, the group takes their rest and sets out on the morrow.

Day 25

The group sets off into the Mistmarsh. While the travel is wretched, Eskard is thankfully able to point out the best path through the swamp and the barbarian easily follows the lizardfolk trail. During the day, the group is attacked by two crocodiles. During the night, a giant crocodile also attacks.

Day 26

The group wakes from their sleep in the swamp and carries on. Eskard is still able to pick out the best of paths. The group is surprised by a group of ghouls laying in shallow water for an ambush, but the party makes relatively short work of them.

At nearly the end of the day, the party finds what must be the lizardfolk lair: a massive structure formed in the entwined roots of a grove of mangaroo trees. The group takes but a moment to prepare, deciding that the best approach is to strike quickly. The clerics provide some magical enhancement, most notably Kushnak gives Eskard the power of fly, and the group enters.

Not taking any chances and not stopping to examine the place, the party goes on a rampant offensive. The group quickly moves through the lair, cutting down the lizardfolk defense mostly before it is even able to mobilize. By the time some resistance is truly able to fight back, the lizardfolk are down too many to be effective.

The party quickly kills one stronger-looking lizardfolk that was guarding two of the human prisoners. The party then finds a hermaphrodite shaman, who quickly surrenders to the overwhelming force and, oddly, requests that the group quickly enter the next room and kill the lizardfolk king. The party obliges.

The king, like the other stronger warrior, has a black tinge to his scales. While he is clearly a strong warrior, and even boasts about fighting in the area, he is simply unable to stand alone against the party. While both Eskard and Erdolliel require a good amount of healing to get through the battle, it seemed nearly a foregone conclusion.

The party returns to the hermaphrodite, who had been watching over two more captives, including Marzena. Marzena is freed. Through questioning the hermaphrodite and Marzena, the party discovers that the reason the lizardfolk had been attacking was because, some time in the past, this tribe lost an entire generation of eggs. They had been infested with worms that seemed like the same ones the party had heard of before. The tribe had believed, convinced by the king, that the humans were responsible. Now the hermaphrodite tells the party that there is a new generation of eggs, but it is guarded by kobolds that are even more draconic in nature that the creatures typically are. The group sets out to help the, now sole surviving, lizardfolk. The party is led to the egg chamber, where they make quick work of the kobolds.

In the group of perhaps 200 lizardfolk eggs, the party sees a large black egg. It appears to be a dragon egg, but Bazrim notes that something about it looks amiss, though he cannot place it. The party gingerly removes the large egg, leaving all of the lizardfolk eggs intact. The group manages to acquire a good sum of treasure. And the hermaphrodite indicates that, should the party ever make it to the Free City as they plan, it (the hermaphrodite) would appreciate if they could do anything to help arrange a treaty of some kind with the lizardfolk.

The group takes its rest in the nearly empty lizardfolk lair.

Day 27

As the group readies to depart, with Marzena and three of the soldiers from Blackwall Keep in tow, Kushnak promises to send word from the Free City, and the hermaphrodite indicates that the group should refer to it as Hishka, speaking for the Twisted Branch tribe.

The group travels through the swamp, with Eskard confidently leading the way. The only noteworthy thing during the travel is very life-like statutes of crocodiles. Bazrim speculates that a medusa could be responsible for such things.

Day 28

The group sets out for what should be the last day of travel in the Mistmarsh. The day is grossly oppressive and those in heavy armor suffer in it. Another giant crocodile attempts to make a meal of the party. However, a successful blindness spell and the martial prowess of the group quickly destroys it.

The group eventually returns to Blackwall Keep. They find that reinforcements from the Garrison have arrived. However, they also learn that the old battle mage, whom Marzena had replaced, was apparently infected by green worms after a visit with the lizardfolk in the Mistmarsh. He had been locked in the basement. But, while the party was in the Mistmarsh, the mage had broken free and captured two others. Now all three were transformed into the Spawn of Kyuss and roaming the basement.

The party ventures inside. Kushnak and Bazrim are both overcome with unnatural fear. Fortunately, Erdolliel, Eskard, and Nethezar quickly dispatch the first of the Spawn. Once Kushnak and Bazrim recover, the group heads downstairs. Once downstairs, the unnatural panic grips Eskard, and the warrior flees in terror. However, Nethezar is able to subdue both the remaining Spawn by the power of his deity. The others finish them off.

The soldiers of Blackwall Keep give you a great party, sparing no expense (from their stores, at any rate).

Day 29

With a bit of a hangover, the group sets out to return to Diamond Lake. The day is uneventful, and the group finds rest again at Shank's Rest.

Day 30

With Marzena "in tow," the group reaches Diamond Lake once more. Erdolliel notices that people have apparently have taken notice of their return.

The group makes way to Allustan's residence and, after he reunites with Marzena, they show him the egg they found in the Twisted Branch lair. Allustan informs the group that he suspects that the egg houses not a black dragon, as would be suggested, but rather a host of worms to create Spawn of Kyuss. Bazrim burns the egg and collects the pasty remnants, which the thinks will be useful for dealing with Spawn in the future.

Allustan informs the group that he knows a man, Eligos, in the Free City, who studied under the same master as Allustan. Eligos has special knowledge of monsters. Allustan suggests that Eligos could offer much information about the true nature of the threat here.

While the others tend to various business, Erdolliel plays several games of Dragonchess with Allustan.

Day 31

The group sets out for the Free City, with much enthusiasm. On the road, the group runs into a trio: a man, a woman, and a dwarf. While they seem initially like simple passersby, Erdolliel and Eskard both notice the group pulling out weapons. A battle ensues, during which they mention that their "boss" had Diamond Lake "locked down." All three are quickly decimated, despite attempts to keep one of them alive. The group finds the symbol of Smenk on the cart the three were pulling. Vowing to eventually see Smenk dead, the group continues on.

Day 32

The group continues onward. They encounter a group of 9 men. Erdolliel slips off the road and takes cover, while the spellcasters shield themselves with defensive spells. However, once the group closes, it becomes obvious that they are a group of travelers, lead by one of the faithful of St. Cuthbert. Bazrim lies to the group, telling them that Smenk wishes to join the cause of the Cudgel. The leader, obviously unpersuaded, chastises Bazrim and moves on.

That night, the group makes camp. During Eskard's watch, three displacer beasts attempt to ambush the group. After a vicious battle, the group manages to bring the beasts low.

Day 33

In the morning, perhaps attracted by the vile stench of the dead displacer beasts, a pack of worgs sets upon the group as they ready to depart. The party takes some minor wounds, but manages to kill most of the pack.

The group finishes the days travel, passing more traffic. Nethezar picks up some pipeweed from a group of halflings, and the party shares it while musing about what the future may bring.

Day 34

The group heads out for the next leg of the journey. Traffic on the road continues to pick up. At midday, the group reaches an establishment of the Able Carter Coaching Company. The group enjoys a meal at the establishment, but near the end is approached by a young man. He says that he was robbed by trolls or giants. After a teasing from Eskard and Nethezar, the lad accompanies the group to show them the sites in the Free City.

Just up the road, the boy points out the thicket where he was attacked, which is "trapped" with a slab of meat hanging from a tree. With Bazrim's firepower leading the way, the party makes fairly easy work of the trolls and their pet.

The group makes travel the rest of the day.

Day 35

The group presses, marching longer than normal, to make it to the Free City by day's end. Even at the late hour of arrival, there is a line to enter the gates of the Free City. Erdolliel talks to folk in line and learns that the guards will likely expect some coin from a group as well-outfitted as the party. Hearing Erdolliel's warning, Nethezar magically disguises himself and suggests that an old merchant with hired guards would attract little attention. Upon reaching the gate, Nethezar displays an impressive show of fasttalk with a few coins, and the group goes into the Free City with no questions asked.

The lad accompanying the party quickly learns that the sage Eligos lives in the Garden District, which appears to be extremely affluent. The group is meet at the door by an aged elven manservant named Pollard. After some repast is served, Eligos introduces himself to the party. Erdolliel offers the items and notes from Allustan, and gives a brief summary of the events. Eligos shows great interest, but indicates that he will need perhaps a week to conduct thorough research. He suggests that the group stay at the Crooked House in the Foreign Quarter.

The group, led by the boy again, finds the Crooked House, gets a late dinner, and secures rooms for the night. The group is treated well by the gnome innkeep, Tarquin Shortstone. Erdolliel learns that the best place to start to make a diplomatic arrangement for the lizardfolk would be the office of the city guard.

Day 36

The group heads out into the markets of the Free City to, at long last, do some real selling of loot. While going through the markets, the group comes upon an odd parade consisting of, most interestingly, a caged chimera. The magical beast ends up breaking free, while, simultaneously, two pickpockets attempt to lift Bazrim's wand. Soon the gathered crowd stampedes through the streets, and chaos ensues. The thieves attempt to vanish with potions, but Nethezar dispels their magic. The half-orcs quickly dispatch the chimera, while Erdolliel is outflanked by the thieves. In the end, however, the group bests the pickpockets as well.

Soon enough, the city guard is on the scene. Despite Bazrim opening his mouth, the group manages to get out of the situation. The Watch Captain cleverly surmises the role of the thieves. The Watch Captain does seize Bazrim's wand as restitution for the dead chimera, but no charges are filed. As the group gives their names to the guard, Nethezar credibly identifies himself as Balabar Smenk.

The group then proceeds with their shopping. Eventually they return to the Crooked House where Nethezar and Kushnak begin their work.

Day 37

While Nethezar and Kushnak craft, Eskard, Bazrim, and Erdolliel head back to the markets. They encounter a strange man standing on a rain barrel. The man rants about the coming Age of Worms, dead dragons roar, rot festering, and the worm that walks. A passerby tells the group that "Rain Barrel Man" is there almost everyday ranting. After a few moments, Rain Barrel Man simply begins the rant, verbatim, once more.

The remainder of the shopping passes without incident, and the group enjoys another night at the Crooked House.

Day 38

Nethezar and Kushnak craft more, and Bazrim adds a new spell to his book. Erdolliel, with Eskard to escort her, heads to a guard station to see about the work for the lizardfolk. After getting through preliminary matters, the elf and half-orc meet a man and woman from the guard. Erdolliel gets grilled by the pair as they play off of each other, but eventually they agree to at least send a negotiating party to meet with Hishka.

Day 39

As the group breaks their fast, they notice that patrons of the Crooked House appear to be paying more attention to them. It soon becomes evident that the common folk have been hearing about the incident with the chimera, and Tarquin attempts to set up a grand storytelling.

At lunch time, Tarquin introduces Erdolliel to Nim, a handsome elven bard, to share the group's story for a telling that night.

Once the evening comes, Nim's storytelling begins. He does a good job, though he makes everything a bit over dramatic. Nethezar, who had seemed grumpy, leaves during the telling and heads upstairs. During a break, while being flattered by the bar's patrons, suddenly someone that looks like Nethezar is behind the bar, stabs Tarquin, and runs upstairs. Some commotion is heard upstairs, and then a merchant comes down and begins to incite the crowd.

Kushnak quickly takes control of the situation, deciding that this merchant must be to blame. The half-orc cleric quickly sends Eskard to fetch Nethezar. The drunken crowd quickly becomes torn by what they saw and the merchant's incitement. Realizing that some action has to take place, lest Tarquin bleed to death, the group takes the initiative. Bazrim ensorcels several patrons. Erdolliel forces a potion down Tarquin's throat, and Nethezar uses powerful magic to make half the patrons go insane. While the crowd is mostly harmless, the merchant proves to be a strong combatant amidst all the distractions.

Eventually the merchant is felled. The group tries to explain to Tarquin what happened. Erdolliel finds daggers matching the one in Tarquin's chest on the merchant, as well as a strange key. Nethezar attempts to dispel any magic changing the merchant's form, but to no avail.

As the group tries to figure out what is going on, the city guard arrive on the scene and demand answers. A patron points the finger at Nethezar and Tarquin admits that his attacker surely looked like Nethezar. The guard listens to the proffered explanation. He indicates that, while he understands the gist of their explanation, it will need to be verified, and the group will need to be guarded. The group agrees to be taken into custody.

However, during the night, the group is bound and gagged and moved to a different location...[/sblock]
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Early Day 40

In short order, you are individually and not gently tossed into different cells, still wearing your shackles. With some effort, you each manage to wriggle the hoods off of your heads.

You find yourselves in a tall chamber with five cells, each with a wall of iron bars facing the central corridor running between the two rows of cells. Erdolliel and Eskard are in the middle cell on the west side, and Bazrim, Kushnak, and Nethezar are in the northern cell on the east side.

The other cells, however, are not empty. One has a young elven woman, one with a pair of young men, and another with what appears to be a dead man.

While your precise whereabouts are unknown, it is obvious that you are not in a typical cell anymore.


First Post
"I believe that the definition of this situation is 'not good'" Erdolliel states as she begins to free herself from her bonds.[sblock=oc]escape artist 13[/sblock]


First Post
Bazrim looks for a window or crack in a wall, to see outside and try to get a better understanding where they are. He then turns to the unknown prisoners for information, starting with the two guys sharing a cell. "Hey guys, how long have you been here? And what are you here for?"


First Post
Kushnak takes in his cell, the hallway, and all the fellow cell mates with calm, quite contemplation. "I fear this may be a place to be forgotten." he says flatly and seats himself on the floor.

Eskard rattles the bars on his cage, checking their integrity, before mimicking Kushnak and sitting on the floor.


The two sharing a cell look a bit soiled and tired. When Bazrim queries the pair, they each shrug.

"I'm Martal. This is Regim. And, Hells, we've been here about a week. Not sure why we're here. We're from the town guard, but..." he pauses, as if embarrassed. "Our house got broken into or something, I guess. We were asleep. Woke up here."

The two look at each other a moment. Regim shudders, and Martal says, "They... uh... do some nasty crap here. Some kinda mind probing. And... they... uhh... they cut and tear off your limbs, and then reattach them. Then they do it again."

Regim looks like he is on the verge of passing out.


Meanwhile, while Martal opens up to Bazrim, the manacles on Erdolliel "open up" for her. Or at least, she finds that they aren't as tight as one might think.
[sblock=OOC]Erdolliel: escape artist 20+ success[/sblock]


First Post
"How about you girl?" Erdolliel asks gently while she slips a hand out of a manacle. "What are you in here for?" The elf quickly moves to the door and examines the lock.[sblock=oc]Just see if she can tell how well made the lock is, as well as the bars and the walls, etc. spot +12 search +14, not sure what else might help maybe appraise +2...[/sblock]


First Post
Bazrim ponders to himself about what Martal has told them.
[sblock=ooc]knowledge arcana, the planes and religion +13, +16, +13 to see if I know how they would remove and reattach the limbs.[/sblock]


First Post
Kushnak ponders quietly for a moment as well, before stating flatly "I am not convinced, but if there is need for revolt I can attempt to cause some distraction. I can not, however, prevent anyone from alerting others. If Bazrim or Nethezar can silence our captor, on my command, we can subdue them. Or attempt to."

Trailing off for a moment he continues again in the same even tone "I suspect any rebellion is almost more dangerous than anything they'll do to us here. If they take me first, don't put yourselves in danger, i'll take care of myself. I'll fight first for all of you."

Shaking his head slightly, he focuses more on the situation at hand. "Girl, what do you know of this place? Are there ramblings true? Mind probes and limbs rendered?"


[sblock=Ti]Erdolliel suspects, upon examination, that the locks are of "average" quality.[/sblock]
[sblock=worthley]The only spell of which Bazrim is aware is Regeneration.[/sblock]
Nethezar nods at Kushnak. "I have the silence spell prepared, and it can be cast even though I lack my components and holy symbol. They would not expect it."

When Erdolliel and Kushnak query the elf woman, she answers with disdain and frustration in her voice. "You will have no delight from me, commoners. I trust you not. Your talk of rebellion is nothing more than the installation of false hope. I shall have none of it."

She pauses a moment, but you hear a faint whisper escape. "None of it." While, given the angle, it is hard to see her, it sounds as if she is quietly sobbing.

[sblock=OOC]The elf is in A, Erd/Esk are in B, dead-looking guy in C, Neth/Kush/Baz in D, two guys in E.[/sblock]


First Post
"Commoners?!!? You don't know the half of it girl. We're figuring out where we are, but you can sit over there in you ivory tower with your good graces and look down on us commoners. I'll be sure to tell them you wanted none of it if everything goes south." The elf turns to the cell with the spellcasters before continuing. "How long will you keep your spells casters? If time is of the essence we must choose our plan NOW!"


First Post
"Do what you can with that lock girl, and see about getting Eskard the use of both his hands. If we fight, we'll need them." Kushnak says in a hushed voice to Erdolliel.

Turning back to the weeping woman, he continues "Hiding in that corner will not help you. If you're unjustly kept here, and suffering the same torture these men speak of, you must act. I assure you we are your best hope at present, and if you wish to save your noble soul, you will tell us all you can." Upon finishing, Kushnak stands and begins pacing, slowly, as best he can given the cramped quarters.


First Post
Erdolliel concentrates on the lock first, then tries to free Eskard. [sblock=oc]Take 20 on the lock OL +13. (-2 for no picks means I get a 31 right?) Not sure how to open manacles, if they are like handcuffs (aka have a lock to pick) she'll take 20 on them too. If someone comes to the doors she'll pretend her manacles are still on and/or pretend that the cell is actually closed.[/sblock]


Erdolliel finds some sticks and pieces of straw to use as makeshift lockpicks, and she sets to work on the door.

"Good luck," Martal encourages.

Nethezar answers Erdolliel's query. "I believe our currently prepared spells will remain until used, unless one of you two," he looks at Kushnak and Bazrim, "is different for some reason."

The elven prisoner glares across the hall at Kushnak, and then turns away.

As if by some magic, Erdolliel, after a few moments, feels the lock on the cell door click open.

"You gotta be kidding me!" Martal curses. Suddenly, both humans reach under their straw mattress and pull out longswords. With a flick of a switch inside the cell, their cell lock clicks open.

Martal flings open the door and rushes to the door in front of Erdolliel.

[sblock=OOC]1: opens door, moves

Status & Init
1 (Martal, 21 faster)
Kushnak (21)
Nethezar (18)
Bazrim (16)
Erdolliel (12)
2 (Regim, 10)
Eskard (9)[/sblock]


First Post
"Lying bastards. Return to your cell, and i'll instruct them to do the same. I can't promise you much if you assault them...."

[sblock=oc]Ready to cast blindness on 1 if he attacks R or S - DC16 [/sblock]


First Post
Erdolliel cautiously awaits the jailers' decisions.[sblock=Di]ready to attempt disarm on 1 if attacked. +3 to attack after my 'light weapon' penalty. if it even gets that far...[/sblock]


First Post
Bazrim steps up up to the bars and gets ready to do his best in this dire situation.
[sblock=ooc]move 5' sw and the ready to Scorching ray anyone that attacks an ally that I have line of sight on.

Sorry it took so long to post, didn't have a computer while I was in Indy.[/sblock]


As the group prepares as best they can, Regim also rushes to Erdolliel's cell door, flinging it open. "You'll get your chance to be dead soon enough!" he hisses at Kushnak.

[sblock=OOC]I'm assuming you are waiting to post an action for Eskard.

Unless I missed something, Bazrim is still cuffed, and not able to use somatic components. You certainly had enough time for each of you to get gags out of your mouths, but not for unskilled peeps to get out of cuffs.

Kushnak: readies
Nethezar: delays
Bazrim: steps; readies
Erdolliel: readies
2: moves; opens cell door

Status & Init
1 (Martal, 21 faster)
Kushnak (21)
Nethezar (18)
Bazrim (16)
Erdolliel (12)
2 (Regim, 10)
Eskard (9)[/sblock]

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