ooc: I heard from Heckler yesterday; he says he's had real life issues including what sounds like a pretty nasty computer crash. He does intend to come back, and is willing to keep running this, but he doesn't know when that will be. So, it's up to you guys: keep waiting for him, or cash out now?
[sblock=OOC]Well, this is ridiculous. Let's make a formal end to this one, get you back to the tavern, and hand out XP awards.[/sblock]The party continue cautiously on beyond the hidden opening in Hanthar the efreeti's chamber. The passage runs on straight and slopes slightly downwards. But after only a few minutes, everyone becomes aware of a hubbub far ahead, as of many growling inhuman voices shouting in alarm and anger.
Suddenly, a woman dressed in tattered and bloodstained white robes bursts into view out of the gloom. With surprising strength, she's half carrying, half dragging a strange maned humanoid figure that several of you recognise as a leonal guardinal, an extraplanar servant of good-aligned powers. A vicious wreath of twisted wire is jammed on his head, barbs digging deep into his flesh.
"I am Eleera Moonkissed. Well, what are you waiting for?" she snaps. "You were sent here to rescue us, of course. Thank you very much, I'm sure. Came as soon as you could, of course. Carry him."
She deposits the unconscious leonal in Charlarn's arms and takes off again, looking back to ensure the party are following.
"They kept me in a room made of smoothest glass. Nothing in it. They couldn't imagine I'd go to such lengths," she pants, obscurely. She holds up her arm and her robe falls back to show a hideous open wound in her hand. "I've had a lot of time to plan this escape."
The angry sounds of pursuit come nearer. Eleera comes to a halt. She holds up her new holy symbol, carved laboriously by fingernail pressure from a bone she has torn from her own hand. She spellcasts, and the passageway behind the group is filled with whirling knives of force, a blade barrier.
Beyond the barrier, a horde of hideous creatures come into view. They are obviously devils, of several kinds. They come to a halt at its edge, reluctant to test the strength of her magic.
"Tell your master that he has made a great enemy," Eleera pronounces. The devils sneer and curse. She casts again, and a great block of stone forms on the nearer side, sealing the passageway completely. "This will hold them for a time. Come."
Before long, the party have made their way back to Hanthar's chamber. Eleera does not linger, but follows the path to the surface.
As she nears the exit where the party encountered the harmful invisible barrier, she again snaps, "Ladumoru-absterarint! Learn it, say it. The Forbiddance will not harm you. Vorkash is careless to have allowed me to overhear it. Ladumoru-absterarint!"
"Do not worry about Auronan," she adds sadly, indicating to the unconscious leonal. "The Forbiddance will not hurt him, not now."
So it proves, though Hogarth nearly stumbles over the difficult words. The party burst out into the daylight, strange after a prolonged time underground.
"Join hands, join hands," Eleera urges. She pulls a tiny metal rod from the depths of her hair. "They didn't find these, either, the fools."
Eleera casts again, and the world spins and shifts, and is replaced instantly by new strange surroundings. The light here, wherever you are, is bright and golden. Ashnar feels an uneasy prickling on her spine. But there is little time to consider. Eleera has pulled Auronan to her then lowered him gently to the ground. In the distance, shining figures are approaching. She beckons them urgently.
With narrowed eyes, she considers Ashnar. "I think, considering that you braved the undoubted dangers of my attempted rescue, that we should leave before they come to tend to Auronan," she says. "Join hands again. Where are you from, Orussus? Rilithorne sent you, no?"
Once more, the world shifts around you, and a more familiar scene reveals itself to your eyes. You are standing part way up a small hill that overlooks a well-known sight: the spot where the Grellgo joins with the great River Roars.
Eleera looks satisfied. "Quite close. Not above twenty or thirty miles, I should think. Ulura smiles on me, again. Now, I thank you, but I must see to my husband. I do not think I shall return for a long time."
"Oh - of course. I have no use for this. I had the opportunity to snatch it as I fled Vorkash's prison. May its loss gnaw his black soul." She hands over a gem of remarkable size, smiles, and vanishes.
You're left with the unsettling realization of just how powerful a cleric high in the favour of the gods can be when the need arises.
It's only a day's walk back to the familiar Red Dragon Inn.[sblock=XP Awards]Such as they are. A little disappointing, I'm afraid. This game was more cursed than Auronan.
Gem from Eleera: worth 10,000 gp. Divide as you will.
1 behir and 4 troglodytes, EL 9
Forbiddance 'trap', CR 7 let's say
Hanthar the Efreeti, CR 8
Also, 4 months time XP before the game died, or 1600 XP. Plus a bonus month for the trouble of waiting around, 400 XP.
Ashnar and Charlarn (9th): 360+270+360+1600+400 = 2990 XP
Planus (8th): 640+320+480+1600+400 = 3440 XP
Rinaldo (11th): 220+165+220+1600+400 = 2605 XP
Hogarth (9th, cohort): 2990 XP
Tenebrynn (10th): 300+200+300+1600+400 = 2800 XP.