Threads of Invasion

Birds of a feather flock together with gelatinous cubes
It's all fun and games until someone gets sucked into a cube and subjected to ongoing acid 10

It was with a spring in our step that we left behind the tombs of Kalton Manor. Traveus was dead, but our suspicions about him being a bad guy were born out by the letters he carried – so not harm done really.
Deorly seemed particularly interested in the evil necromantic tome. This may have something to do with the fact that the tome allows creation of a loyal undead servant, which would mean Deorly had someone to argue with whenever she liked. Or she is an evil necromancer.
We returned to Blackroot to discuss things with Doria. She couldn’t give us much help with the couple of letters that Traevus carried, but seems like Traevus was working with a couple of people. One is Sarshan – who kidnapped our friend Beren and took him to the Shadowfell. He/she sounds like some sort of merchant who profits from conflicts – arms dealer? mercenary captain? diplomat for hire? The other is Malachi who seems to be much more involved in cults of Khyber and is looking for something called the Tear.
There seemed to be two particular leads 1) investigate a old base of a mercany company called the Storm Crows 2) investigate a cult called The Hand, who Doria’s friend Jaryn went to check out but never came back. They also seem to have something to do with The Pillars of Night which might have a portal to the Shadowfell. We decided to check out the Storm Crow base which is on the way to The Hand. Hopefully we’ll find Jaryn and a portal which we can nip through and rescue Beren.
Doria lends us a land cart, a thoroughly awesome plow-like platform covered in crystals and powered by an earth elemental. This travels at an enormous rate and means we can get to the pillars in a couple of days rather than weeks. Only downside is that you need to have a House Orien dragonmark to drive it. Doria does have a nifty ritual that can give one person a temporary mark, so Deorly takes that up. Hope we dont meet any proper House Orien dudes.
We find the Storm Crow base has been claimed by a flock of Kenku, who repeated tell us to ‘fuck off’. We try talking nicely and bribing them to let us in, but fail.
Klang decides he doesn’t want to start a fight with these guys and heads out. Rhada approaches them, seemingly planning to play the old ‘pull my finger’ gag or something similar. They throw javelins, he kills one and, well, the inevitable follows.
What starts off as a easy fight rapidily becomes a fight for survival as follow the retreating Kenki. Two tough Kenku appear, and then we’re ambushed by a gelantinous cube. Klang and Rhada are thrown into a pit, where they start to be eaten by a second cube, while Whiskey and Deorly are repeatedly engulfed by the first one.
Whiskey only escapes with the help of Salth and is in really bad shape, Deorly manages to get out on her own but in equally poor condition. Klang is nearly digested by the cube in the pit and barely escapes. Rhada escapes, but then slips climbing out of the pit and does a belly flop back into the cube. Through use of various big powers we barely overcome the Kenku, kill the marauding cube and Rhada manages to get out of the pit. Phew!
These Storm Crows better have amassed some good loot from their mercenary days!!

Into the mist
There will be blood - ours

I’ve heard of few deaths that I consider worse than that which befell poor Piu. But my new companions seemed to shake it off quickly enough (is the loss of their fellows so routine for them?) and began a search which took in the room infested by rats, and that where we encountered the spiders. A sinkhole in the spiders’ chamber also took some time to investigate.

The net result was a modest amount of coinage, a healing potion, some books of limited interest and poor repair, a Totem of Hungry Spirits (claimed by Whiskey, whose taste for the macabre is all too evident) …and the third piece of the key.

Having thus exhausted the possibilities of that wing, we proceeded back through the Room of Sarcophagi to the opposite door. An anteroom lit by two magical braziers led to a jammed inner door. Klang applied himself to it and quickly had it open.

The room thus revealed could only be the work of someone with an extreme statuary fetish. No less than twenty statues of bugbears defended that of a winged and beaked demon. Our hearts sank as we spied the fourth and last piece of the key at the feet of the demon statue. Experience suggested there was little chance that each of these figures would not come to life to prevent us gaining the key.

Though success seemed improbable, an attempt to retrieve the key with a simple Mage Hand spell was worth making. I moved into the room to bring the key within range. Unfortunately this took me close to a bugbear statue, which predictably came to life. Less predictably, with a single Scorching Burst I succeeded in both escaping the hold it had on me and killing it outright.

To everyone’s surprise, the Mage Hand successfully picked up the key and carried it to my hand without further incident. We left the room not at all sorry that facing the nineteen remaining bugbears and the demon had proved unnecessary.

With the newly assembled key in hand, we advanced into the mist.

The sight that greeted us on the other side was daunting: a ghost in command of a formidable cohort of skeletons. If we had had any doubt, the ghost quickly made it clear what we might expect; “Thank you for freeing me. Your reward is death”.

My memories of the battle that followed are hazy. I remember Klang turning on us, clearly in thrall to the ghost. Rhada was brought low, insensible, but seemed somehow able to stave off death indefinitely. Klang returned to himself, only to fall. Did he rise again? I think so. Traevus fell and did not rise. I know that I fell – Once? Twice? Could it have been more? I lost count.

So much blood. And skeletons don’t bleed.

Yet somehow we won through. Whiskey seemed impervious – and imperious. Salth held his own and survived (which is good; I need what he knows). They may have saved us all, though as it emerged, none of us could save Traevus.

When it was over, someone found the strength to search the two sarcophagi around which the bodies lay heaped. Along with some magical items, coins and the like, it seemed that our reward was possession of the Malarethi Codex. It is not a comfortable thing to own.

My dress is ruined. I’ll never get the blood stains out.

Undead, demons, devils and monsters.
“5 out of 6 ain’t bad”

After our efforts earlier today, as so carefully documented by Klang, the party chose to take a break from ridding the world of evil in order to prepare fully for continuing the battle. As this decision was made Piu sauntered into the room having presumably started to feel left out at not contributing to the removal of undead from the face of Khorvaire. The dwarf Traevus was keen to know why the party had suddenly appeared just as he was getting started recovering the Malloreth Codex, and was apparently relieved to learn it was nothing to do with his enemy Annarus. Interestingly he varied his story again, this time asserting that Annarus might or might not be undead but would eventually return to this keep, his ancestral home.
My intent to introduce the subject of Xeron and the Vanguard of Sertrous casually into conversation in order to properly gauge Traevus reaction was rendered null by repeated explicit requests from various beings to ask Traevus the questions I had mentioned were extremely important that he answer. Despite having him thus on guard I have ascertained he knows of the Vanguard but does not wish to discuss the subject. Further questioning will have to wait.
After resting, a decision was taken to investigate the lower chamber we had not yet visited. On the way across the room we were diverted by Piu attempting to enter the pink mist on the east wall, which appeared to turn her around and send her back out again with no obvious ill effects. The room at the bottom of the ladder contained a large demon carving holding a pedestal on which stood four small statuettes all of which were firmly grasping a piece of what could be reasonably assumed as the key we require to open our way to the Codex and whatever guards it.
Deorlie and Whiskey Mwoi consulted in arcane terms on the statuettes for a moment, eventually deciding it would be possible to activate them one at a time by use of power words, releasing a full size monster of the same shape and nature but in a weakened form. In order to impress his minion Salth, Whiskey pre-emptively released the Dritch, a foul smelling demon. After a short battle I was able to dispatch it, praise to the Silver Flame.
Deorlie then released the ochre jelly – which quickly divided into two pieces and put up some resistance and before I killed one piece (praise to the Silver Flame) and either Deorlie or Piu killed the other – followed by the dust devil, a small fey humanoid that injured many of the party before I could kill it also, praise to the Silver Flame.
Last of all Deorlie released the spectre. This proved even more of a challenge than the ochre jelly as two spectres appeared immediately, and many of the party including myself were badly harmed by these creatures before I was able to remove their threat. All praise to the Silver Flame.
After retrieving the piece of the key we returned to the room of the sarcophagi to consider the next move. It was decided to try the door on the north side of the room, so Klang (with some assistance from myself) opened the door and we proceeded along the corridor to an intersection, at which the party turned left. A short walk in that direction lead us to a room we have yet to explore as we were inconveniently interrupted by two giant spiders. Klang and I, with assistance from Deorlie, were well on the way to dealing with those when screams from Piu rang out behind us. Having not liked the look of the spiders, Piu had chosen to scout the other branch of the intersection and discovered a selection of rats – which unfortunately reacted quite predictably to the sight of food guaranteed as fresh by way of being self-propelling. Despite the determined and selfless efforts of Whiskey and my own modest contribution, Piu was eaten alive before we could fight through to her aid. The “rat room” contains a number of interesting looking items but these will never be a fair trade for Piu, of course

Adventure Log Marchdate - Yesterday
Its dark down here

Klang’s remembrances

After the epic battle against the Dragon the party went down deeper into the complex. First though we had to tidy a few things up – like the bag of holding! And for some reason Piu is being a little absent minded so we left her on guard.

We were also joined by a new comrade – Rhada I think his name is – I think is unwise to remember the names of new party members until they have been with us for at least a couple of days!

Into the dark we went down some staircases, what followed was a number of rooms with:

  • Undead – a great little fight where we found out that the Paladin Rhada was much more useful than he looked
  • Traps – no one shone with glory here – ah Whiskey!
  • More undead and a room full of sarcophagus – after an epic battle with undead and a very annoying flying thing we were victorious. We searched the room and found two ladders going down form the sarcophagus, two doors and a simmering haze over some sort of entrance, plus some loot including a magical toothpick

We also saw someone in one of the rooms below. I jumped in to find out more and discovered our quarry the dwarf Traevus. He had quite a story about an argument with his old master and brother apprentice falling out over some book – the details were a bit tedious. He is keen for us to help him open the hazy area using the magical keys and kill his brother apprentice (apparently now undead). It all smells a bit fishy to me – so what to do now?

Lizardy-guys of Doom II
This time they bring a friend
  • After a refreshing discussion of the merits of taking prisoners, the party head back up for some rest and recuperation
  • A little is learned about the foes remaining: the albino marsh mystic Ssluryth and his black dragon friend Sarkis
  • Traevus, it seems, has gone further into the tunnels
  • Whiskey greatly impresses the greenscale lizardman Salth with his primal prowess
  • Overnight, Alqantara sees a dark winged shape scanning the area
  • The next morning, the party descend to the next level, and a fine fight follows against Ssluryth and Sarkis
  • Klang is nearly broken into little pieces, and Alqantara is ripped to shreds by the dragon
  • Ultimately the battle is won, Salth becomes a devoted follower of Whiskey, and Alqantara’s remains are scooped up and put into the bag of holding
  • Eladrin, it seems, are a bit fragile
Lizardy-guys of doom
Where we all begin to miss Erindaelle
  • Alq finds Pui and Whiskey and brings them into the fight as the Lizardfolk poised to coup de grace both Klang and Erindaelle
  • Pui is able to reach Klang in time to pour a potion down his throat and get him on his feet
  • No one can reach Erindaelle before the Lizardfolk club her to death
  • Half way through the fight a human woman wanders by and unleashes a storm of icy mist, flames and other elemental magic
  • A close run fight ends with the death of all the Lizardfolk bar one who surrenders
  • The woman introduces herself as Deorlie (sp?)
  • We scrape up the remains of Erindaelle and put her safely in our bag of holding
  • Under questioning he (?) reveals that Traevus (a Dwarf) has indeed been here. He’s gone downstairs to negotiate with a young black dragon and his friend to get access to tunnels that will lead him to the underlevels of a keep.
  • The lizard guys work for the dragon and are using slaves (mix of orcs, halflings and humans) to dig for various things
  • We consider getting the lizardman to work with us, but decide he can’t be trusted when it comes to facing the dragon
  • Lizard guy draws a map showing two rooms under the ruined tower, the first containing more lizardmen, a mud creature and the slaves, the second containing the dragon and his friend
  • Debate ensues about resting for a day or carrying on, rescuing slaves, if Whiskey has a Dragonmark or not and if Deorlie merely dislikes halflings or actively persecutes them
  • Decide to push on to rescue the slaves, except Deorlie who hangs back for the moment
  • The beginning of the fight sees Klang struggle to lift a teeny weeny portcullis (despite help from Alq) and exchanges of missile fire. Deorlie arrives and we get through the portcullis.
  • After an intense flurry of darts, arrows, mud, swords and magic, two lizardmen and the mud creature lie dead, two lizardmen surrender and the party catch their breath
Catching-up: Blackroot
Plainly I'm going to have to allocate responsibility for this log...
  • Having escaped the lich and seen the tower fall, the party head to the village of Blackroot to find Doria
  • She’s not there when they arrive, and it all looks quite suspicious
  • The village reeve Toraashis charmed by Erindaelle’s glib tongue, and lets them stay a night
  • Following magical emanations leads the party to a defended cave complex
  • Strangeness abounds, and the party battle dolgaunts, dolgrims, an ever-watching eye, and many cultists as they descend into Khyber itself
  • Finally they reach their destination, defeat the cult leader Toraash and his fellow cultists, rescue Doria, and destroy the soul prison that is sucking the souls of local villagers
  • The cultists were in the thrall of a Daelkyr Lord called Belashyrra, the Lord of Eyes. A cult artifact, suit of armour known as the Coat of Eyes, is claimed by the party.
  • Later, Doria tells them that as well as working for House Tharashk, she is also a member of the Gatekeepers
  • She tells the party of two leads from here: someone named Traevus is hunting for something is the swamps, possibly allied with snake-men; a Gatekeeper holy warrior named Jarynwent missing investigating a cult know as the Hand in the north-eastern Marches
  • The party decide both are worthy of exploration, and set-off for Kalton Manor, where Traevus is rumoured to be based
  • Not much of the manor remains—just the uppermost remnants of a tower, now largely sunk into the mud and tilting on an angle
  • Inside, a number of lizardfolk lie in wait—a mixture of ranged and melee poisonscales, and a huge blackscale bruiser
  • The party are introduced to the wonderful world of overlapping poison bursts
  • Erindaellefalls between the two poisonscale myrmidons, Klangis downed by the bruiser, and Alqantara runs for his life
  • What hope is there for our heroes?
Session III
In which the dead fail to rise
  • A strange corridor lead to a teleportation effect
  • A large underground chamber featured a ziggurat, a sarcophagus, piles of bones, necrotic mists, eldritch machines, and Chevkos the tiefling attempting to raise the bones of Skoulos the Undying
  • Much mayhem ensued, with Captain Whiskey having to be very clever is his manipulation of his healing spirits
  • Chevkos got close, but not close enough—eventually Klang caught up to him, and it was all over two rounds before Chevkos’s evil ritual was completed
  • Messing with the sarcophagus brought the whole chamber down—a good thing Erindaelle had figured out those portals worked in both directions
  • The entire spire collapsed, sinking into the swamps below. For good?
Session II
In which it is learned that dastardly traps are best de-activated
  • The fight completed, the party released the naked eladrin Erindaelle from the altar
  • It seems that the tiefling Chevkos is somewhere within the spire, attempting to bring a being back to life
  • The party entered into a non-aggression pact with Sagatha, a somewhat rude dwarf and self-proclaimed protector of the swamp
  • A crude scaffold lead to a cave mouth with a cavern beyond
  • The party found a letter to Chevkos
  • The way ahead was obvious, but lead to an equally obvious yet effective double trap
  • Despite some difficulties, Klang and Piu defeated the ochre jelly
  • A secret door lead to a cramped chamber that just screamed DEATHTRAP, but was avoided by the astute party
  • A different chamber housed a host of shambling, vermin-swarm creatures, who were dispatched in a brief but entertaining battle
  • As the dust settled, a portal from the Shadowfell opened, and out stepped the shadar-kai Myrissa, with her dark creeper and shadowhunter bat companions
  • They were there to collect Beren who, it would seem, was in some trouble with someone called Sarshan
  • A fight was in the offing, but Beren chose to go peacefully
Session I
In which the party take a trip in the sunny Shadow Marches
  • Everyone met up. Doria Veledaar was pretty cute for a half-orc.
  • “The creature” took you to a cliff.
  • You all climbed down, and Whiskey climbed down really quickly.
  • Beren scouted ahead. A good thing he wasn’t an elf, or he would surely have disappeared.
  • Bad stuff was happening inside that ruined keep area. Still, the bad guys were no match for a determined party who had the drop on them.

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