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What Happened to Keddick - Return to the Cave in the North

1533.2.20 to 1533.3.1
Magister Adrone sent your companions off to Caertan. Meanwhile, he sent you to lead the way with High Priest Calum, Priestess Gwynneth, Right Hand Andre and Hand Cara to the cave in the north. You led them without incident through the stinking cave, through the doors, into the floor, along the hall, through the plane of fire and down to the entrance to the circular tomb. The four of them entered the portal and tomb chamber without harm. With some reluctance, you finally braved the pain and entered. Gwynneth signed “tsk tsk” and healed you with a little reluctance. They all studied the bier for a bit and then listened again to your description of what happened to you when you touched it. Calum cast a few spells of protection on Cara before she stepped forward and touched the bier. She slumped to the ground as you had seen Jack do. She was lifted gently away in Andre’s arms and laid on the floor. After two minutes, she started breathing again but remained unconscious. Andre bowed his head to Calum and said “With Her Blessings, High Priest, I will try.” Andre steps forward, touches the bier, and slumps to the floor. You, Calum and Gwynneth move him away from the bier and wait. After a few minutes, he gasps, opens his eyes, and before your eyes you see his shield transform into the one on the body on the bier. Glancing at the body you see his shield with the Staff of Andreja now sits beside the body of the tall woman and she is smiling in repose. He steps towards the bier and gently rolls her body on to one side. He reaches under her and places his hand on the top of the bier. The entire bier fades away showing steps leading down into a gently glowing hall. Andre gathers Cara in his arms, cautions everyone to follow him quickly, and steps down the stairs.

Below is a short wide hallway leading to tall twenty-five foot high double doors carved with with four figures. Calum, Gwynneth, and Andre all gasp as their eyes alight on the figure of a woman dressed in flowing robes and carrying a staff with a bit of greenery on one end. “Praise Be! Even in this ancient place, She lives!” An bearded, armored man wielding a mace and holding a large shield emblazoned with a balance and book; a woman with what appears to be seaweed in her hair and flowing robes; and a man with close cropped bear, tower shield, sheather greatsword and javelins in half plate armor also adorn the door. Andre gently sets down Cara and pushes on the huge doors. They swing in ponderously to reveal a huge room. No ambient light is within with the exception of a faint glimmer directly in front of you some eighty feet away as if light off water. After a brief exploration: the temple is one hundred sixty feet on a side with no other exits. In each corner of the temple are huge statues seated in thrones. The gods if standing would be twenty two feet tall. Each of the statues has a stone brazier filled with age-old ashes and a stone offering bowl filled with dust. The ceiling is domed reaching an apex of 30 feet in the center of the room. Emanating from the base of each statue is a ribbon of silver six inches wide leading towards the center of the room to a well ten feet across and filled with a shimmering silvery liquid similar to mercury. Cara is placed by the pool and the other three go to pray at the feet of Andreja. Keddick stands by the Well gazing into it besides the body of Cara. He casts detect magic and studies the Well. He sees an overwhelming aura of Conjuration with underlying Divination auras. His mind drifts to his family as he stares into the pool and suddenly a vision of his father appears at his home by the sea. It seems much the same as scrying to him, but he realizes the “bubble” of vision is wider. He watches intently and after ten minutes or so the vision he fades. He attempts to call it back, but nothing happens. Eventually, the others come back and listen to his story of the Well. Andre steps forward and peers into the Well. The pool reveals a vision of the interior of the Temple of Andreja. No one is presently within the field of vision. Everyone can see the same thing. Andre smiles and says “Trust me. I know what to do. Milayuh has shown me. Gwynneth, step into the Well.” Gwynneth steps over the low wall of the Well and into the vision of the Temple. She beckons with her arm and says “Yes. Come. I am in the Temple of the Goddess.” Calum offers a hand to Keddick who steps into the Well and appears in the Temple also. Then Calum appears, and finally, Andre appears carrying Cara.

Calum says “Hmm. This is most interesting. I must tell Adrone immediately. Thank you for your help Keddick.”

Everyone disperses.

1533.2.20 - Killing Kohari

Play dates: 9/8/09 & 0/15/09

1533.2.20 to 1533.2.21

Water Elemental

Air Elemental

Jack falls below

Malperder falls below dropped by the elemental

Jack talks to a Hill Giant named Kern that eventually pledges himself to help the group if they will get him out of the hole. He tells that he fell in the pit while battling with the air elemental. He fell unconscious. Another hill giant and some orcs are also in the pit but very dead.

Banic uses a Zone of Truth to make sure the giant is telling the truth.

Everyone gets out of the pit and continues down the hall and down some stairs to a large room. The far wall has a door set in an arch with some dragon heads carved around it. As someone approaches they pull back as their foot fails to contact the floor. An illusory floor cuts across the room.

Spindly legged creatures float up out of the floor and fix their gaze upon the party. People are paralyzed. Eventually one moves up and sucks blood from someone. Kern runs and grapples one and then falls through the floor.

Once the creatures are dead, Varende walks across a small path of stone that isn’t illusory. He reachs the door and touches the carved Bahamut at the top. It flashes briefly, the temperature drops and a bolt of electricty arches out of a carving of Tiamat shocking Varende for a few points of damage. A golden mist comes from Bahamut and heals him a bit. He then touchess dragons in turn as arranged in the great hall and a rumbling can be heard of stone on stone. A huge piece of wall is moving below in the pit revealing thirty feet of hall and a passage leading to the right.

The passage has a hand print carved on the wall and Varende feels a tingle of magical energy as he touches it searching for traps. Everyone proceeds down the hall. One hundred feet down the walls change to a shadowy substance. As the party moves past this barrier, two shadows detach themselves from the wall and attack Serk, Malperder and Jack. During the fight, Varende hears grating of stone on stone from behind and moves back towards the end of the passage. Too late! The stone has moved enough to cover the five foot opening of the passage. The shadows are dispatched and within thirty seconds the stone has moved back to its original position leaving an opening behind it. Voices speaking in Giant can be heard coming from the passage. Two hill giants step into view and a battle begins. Eventually the resplendent hill giant seen wielding magic at the battle of Caertan steps out and tells everyone they can go loot the tomb. He is attacked nonetheless. The two hill giants fall relatively easily but Kohari retreats through some double doors into a huge chamber with two sarcophgi, six statues similar to the ones in the elemental hall, and six large chests. He disappears from site. He is now invisible and drains life from Jack. People try to get a bead on him but have difficulty. He kills Kordis and drops Serk before becoming visible again. Banic falls as Malperder, Jack and Varende finish him off.

Banic is gone. Kordis is dead. Malperder lays out his cousin.

Serk is brought back from the edge of death.

The chests are opened revealing piles of gold. Eventually people start putting it into bags of holding and handy haversacks. The sacks never fill up and the gold seems to have disappered into the alternate dimension of the storage packs.

The body of Kohari is searched. He wears the Crown of Cormon, carries a wicked hammer, has a ring and a cloak, and a sphere of glass that are all magical.

Malperder sends a message to The Temple of Andreja asking for someone to come save them.

The party seals the doors and rests throughout the night.

Come late the next day, no one has come to help. They decide to help themselves. They take the valuables and head back towards the shadowy hall. Varende places his hand on the print and will the device to activate. The stone grates slowly by. Back through the halls, all is well. Back at the door guarded by the ghost, everyone finds the door sealed from the other side. Varende has tried on the crown (and took four negative levels). It gave him now ability to understand this place, but he felt stronger, faster, smarter, wiser, etc. Suddenly Magister Adrone appears. He says they have been trying to scry them since the message was received but they were in some way hidden. He teleports everyone home.

Arch Magister Adrone teleports the four of you away from Caertan to what he says is a room below the Magisters’ Tower on the Wizards’ Isles. With some degree of coaxing (Varende decides), Varende relinquishes the crown to King William who arrives with Brens. Adrone offers to examine the other things you took from Kohari and with little difficulty is able to tell you that the items are:

1. Ring of Protection +3 – the inscriptions on the inside of the band of metal are very old (12,000)
2. Cloak of Resistance +3 – it seems to resize to its owner (4,500)
3. Orb of Storms (30,000)
4. Hammer of Thunder and Lightning (16,500)

Magister Adrone offers to purchase the items from you for the values in parentheses above. For all 4 items, you would get 63,000 crowns. After confirming with Malperder that Banic still wishes to be returned to life, he says he will make the preparations. He accepts the goods of both Banic and Kordis into his keeping including Kordis’ finger. Adrone and William thank you all for retrieving the Crown and destroying Kohari. An army will march on Caertan soon to drive the leaderless giants away.

<Banic will be dead for a little more than another month and Kordis even longer, so Malperder can speak for Banic in division of spoils and Adrone speak for Kordis wishing only that his foreign Magister be rewarded with a reasonable share of money for his participation>

King William promises an additional reward of 5000 crowns to each of you for your heroism, but he laments that he cannot give you the money just yet. It may well be the end of the year before he can provide the funds.

You each have 10,500 crowns available if you sell all of Kohari’s equipment and a promise of 5000 crowns from the Crown at the end of the year. Let me know if anyone wants to keep something from the things found. Andrew, you can speak for Banic through Malperder’s tongue since he knows you so well.

Orb of Storms
This glass sphere is 8 inches in diameter. The possessor can call forth all manner of weather, even supernaturally destructive storms. Once per day she can call upon the orb to use a control weather spell, Once per month, she can conjure a storm of vengeance. The possessor of the orb is continually protected by an endure elements effect.

Kohari’s Hammer (Rod of Thunder and Lightning – modified)

+2 warhammer inscribed with lighting bolts with other magical powers as follows:
• Thunder: Once per day, the warhammer can strike as a +3 warhammer, and the opponent struck is stunned from the noise of the rod’s impact (Fortitude DC 16 negates). Activating this power counts as a free action, and it works if the wielder strikes an opponent within 1 round.
• Lightning: Once per day, when the wielder desires, a short spark of electricity can leap forth when the warhammer strikes an opponent to deal the normal damage for a +2 warhammer and an extra 2d6 points of electricity damage. Even when the rod might not score a normal hit in combat, if the roll was good enough to count as a successful melee touch attack hit, then the 2d6 points of electricity damage still applies. The wielder activates this power as a free action, and it works if he strikes an opponent within 1 round.
• Thunderclap: Once per day as a standard action, the wielder can cause the warhammer to give out a deafening noise, just as a shout spell (Fortitude DC 16 partial, 2d6 points of sonic damage, target deafened for 2d6 rounds).
• Lightning Stroke: Once per day as a standard action, the wielder can cause the warhammer to shoot out a 5-foot-wide lightning bolt (9d6 points of electricity damage, Reflex DC 16 half) to a range of 200 feet.
• Thunder and Lightning: Once per week as a standard action, the wielder of the warhammer can combine the thunderclap described above with a lightning bolt, as in the lightning stroke. The thunderclap affects all within 10 feet of the bolt. The lightning stroke deals 9d6 points of electricity damage (count rolls of 1 or 2 as rolls of 3, for a range of 27 to 54 points), and the thunderclap deals 2d6 points of sonic damage. A single DC 16 Reflex save applies for both effects.

1533.2.20 - Below Caertan - The Great Hall of King Cormon

Play date: 9/1/09 

As everyone’s eyes adjust to the gloom below, the invisibility spell fades. The room is immense - over one hundred feet long and nearly half as wide. Two low daises, one atop the other, dominate one end of the room with a long table on the lower with 8 seated statues with dragon heads staring into the hall. The dais above holds a smaller table and the figures of a King and Queen sit at it. The King wears a crown with twelve points. The hall is filled with sturdy oak tables and chairs. The air is dry, and some debris from above surrounds a smashed table. A set of double doors at the other end of the room led to a seventy foot entryway with a dead hill giant in the middle of it sporting a number of arrow shafts. As the doors were opened, pearlescent spheres at the top of columns in the main chamber began to glow dimly giving shadowy illumination within that room. Varende moved cautiously forward and eventually discovered the giant’s body was depressing a pressure plate. He couldn’t come up with a way to further disarm the plate without first moving the giant. He moved around the giant to the far end to another set of double doors. Banic easily opened one of the doors while Malperder grunted, stuck with the harder-to-open door again. Two charges of a coat of arms were revealed with half of a verse in ancient words similar to Tairn. The simple words were easy enough to make out. Malperder tried harded and the second door opened to reveal two more charges and more words. Beyond the doors was packed earth and stones that dribbled through the open doors. The coat of arms would have looked like this viewed from outside the closed doors:

All Hail!
King Cormon the Wise

cormonarms.bmp 

After much speculation, the doors were closed again as far as the fallen debris would allow, and Varende went by himself again to the far end of the Great Hall to examine the statues seen there. He passed by the eight dragon headed statues and examined the two statues of the King and Queen. He searched them thoroughly but found nothing. He looked at one dragon headed statue and discovered the eyes were small rubies. He returned to the group to report his findings. He searched the entryway thoroughly for secret doors finding none. He then started a quick search of the walls of the Great Hall while the dwarves and Kordis examined the dragonhead statues.  The first three statues were that of gold, red and brass dragons, each with ruby eyes. The next two statues had small emeralds for eyes and were of blue and copper dragons. The next two were of black and bronze dragons with sapphire eyes and the final dragon was of a green dragon with citrine eyes. Someone laments Keddick’s absence. Kordis remarks that the blue dragons are at home in Claris and breath a line electricity. The red, blue, black and green dragons are considered evil. The remaining chromastic dragons are considered good. Having met a red dragon with the exception of Serk, all agree to the evil nature of that draconic race. Meanwhile, Varende has made his way up to the top of the second dais behind the King and Queen and discovers the faintest seam of a secret door. He searches more thoroughly and finds the mechanism to open it. He investigates the head of a dragon statue searching for traps and Banic remarks that all of the eyes of the dragonheads are magical. Varende uses a wand and determines they have a faint enchantment on them. There is much discussion on whether to loot the eyes, but in the end they are left for now. Varende opens the secret door to reveal a wide corridor leading to a descending stair. It is not lit. Banic, concerned about traps, urges Varende on with everyone following 15 feet behind in a single line. Varende descends the steep stair and near the bottom hears a voice muttering

“I must guard the Crown! It must not fall into the wrong hands. No, no. Guard it. Guard it well. Set the traps. Lock the locks. Only the worthy will find it. Yes, yes. Only the worthy!”

He descends further to see the stair ends with a curving wall twenty five feet away. The floor is packed dirt but bears many footprints that are obviously larger than human. He moves cautiously to his right. The chamber seems to be round and as he peers past the stairs entering the chamber, he sees a semi-transparent figure pacing in front of a canted door of dark wood. The ghostly apparition repeats the phrase heard earlier periodically. The bodies of three humanoids lie around it. The apparition wears a simple robe tied with a rope and is tonsured. He wrings his hands as he paces and mutters. Varende reports to the others and Banic, Malperder, and Jack approach. Banic hails the ghost and it locks gazes with the favored of Moradin. The ghost moans eerily and the two dwarves and Jack panic and race for safety up the stairs leaving shields and weapons behind. Varende has closed the secret door and they search fruitlessly for the mechanism to open it until their panic subsides. Varende quietly collects their weapons and armor and retreats up the stairs. Everyone moves back down. Banic decides to destroy the moaning ghost. He hits it with a spell as Kordis throws a ball of force. The fall of force passes through the ghost to slam into the wall. The ghost moans again and Kordis, Malperder, and Serk  run for the secret door but again fail to escape. The ghost turns on Banic and its flesh falls away as Jack moves up. Its horrific appearance saps the vitality from the servant of Moradin, but Jack is unaffected. Varende moves around the other side of the stair and fires arrows, but they fail to harm the apparition. Banic casts more spells and eventually the ghost vanishes. Sheepishly, Malperder, twice-panicked, returns with Serk and Kordis. The door is examined and the bodies of the orcs searched. The orcs carry nothing of value, but in appearance are similar to those that stormed Caertan. Their bodies seem to have only been dead a day or two at most. The door is made of a dark wood with flecks of silver within it. A heavy wooden bar of the same materiel bars the door. Malperder pushes it out of the way and heaves the door open. Canted as it is, he holds it as others enter the stair beyond. He lets it close behind him. The group treks down the stairs to a large landing with another set of double doors.

The doors open on to a long hall that thirty feet wide.  Nine foot high statues line either side of the hall placed every sixty feet. Each statue holds a halberd and wears the arms of King Cormon on its chest. Varende searches one finding nothing. Thirty feet from the entrance are a pair of sconces on the walls dancing with fire and another thirty feet beyond that, another set. Varende moves forward cautiously watching for traps. Suddenly three large fires appear. Varende tumbles backwards and the fires move swiftly forward. They are attacked and they respond in kind. They slam into people and burn them, but are dispatched relatively easily. Further down the hall, Varende can just make out a large body can be seen lying in a pool of water some one hundred feet away.

The group moves forward cautiously. Ten feet past the next set of statues, two huge lumps of earth rise from the floor and block the passage. Everyone springs into action attacking them. They knock both Serk and Varende so hard that they are sent sprawling as they fly fifteen feet through the air. Kordis throughs several fire spells to help destroy them. With a bit more difficulty, the party dispatches the two mounds of earth and they sink back into the stone leaving nothing behind.

Fifteen feet beyond the next pair of statues, a pool crosses the entire width of the corridor for thirty feet. A hill giant lays face down in the pool mostly submerged.

1533.2.13 to 1533.2.20 - Cleaning out the Temple of Talinoman & Back in Caertan

Play date: August 25th, 2009
1533.2.13 – Cleaning out the Temple
Everyone is ready to get out, but Banic discovers the hole in the ceiling has been re-sealed. Everyone awaits Keddicks arrival. Meanwhile, the bodies of the four fighters are thoroughly searched. Six dead young women (teenagers perhaps) are found around the altar where Ithran’s body is. Their blood covers the altar. The weapons and armor of the fighters are stripped and tattoos are of the symbol of Talinoman are found on their chests. Someone theorizes this might be the flash of light that was seen as each of the warriors became more wounded. The three not in demon armor have nice longswords and armor as well as pouches with a little money. The demonic armor has a powerful aura. That man is also wearing a ring, an amulet, and some boots that are of note.  Everyone settles in for the night. After a few hours of waiting a noise is heard in the main room. It turns out to be Andre, Calum, Gwynneth, Keddick and a couple of other Hands as well as Kendall, the proprietor of The Lucky Silver, another members of the Defenders. There is discussion of the night’s events. Calum and Gwynneth heal the wounds of the group, and Andre looks around. He comments on the evil aura of the armor. The Hands and Serk move into the spider’s den and easily dispatch it with coordinated blows. It gets only a single chance to bite someone but misses the tasty exposed flesh of Serk. Calum says he will send people to fill in the temple. He commands the Hands to stay the night and guard against the return of the priestesses. Everyone leaves.
The following day, Keddick identifies the ring as one of deflection of the weakest sort (+1 ring of protection), the amulet as one that toughens the skin of the wearer (+1 amulet of natural armor), the boots as ones that increase the speed of the wearer (boots of striding and springing), and the armor as incredibly powerful abjuration with claws that inflict disease on those that are harmed. Everyone discusses giving the armor to the Temple of Andreja for disposal. Malperder claims the boots, and Jack and Serk claim the ring and amulet. All others take their shares in coin.
Varende inquires at the dome for something to help him climb, but the slippers offered are a bit out of his price range. He says he will be back.
Everyone continues training.
The dwarves talk to Thorgar.

1533.2.18 Midday
Snow starts falling. Some rush to the palace to confer with Attalus espousing the belief that the snows herald the coming of the giants. Attalus assures them it is being addressed. By nightfall the snows have stopped and the air has warmed. Varende journeys to Kinspa Forest and discovers the snow ends only a short way from Lysoria. He warns the Elven colony about the giants and returns home early the next day.
1533.2.19 Summoned to the Temple of Andreja
Everyone save Jack gets a summons to the Temple via a Sending. They meet in the Defenders room with Calum and Traver, another Defender. Traver has been watching Caertan. Recently he went into the city and discovered huge piles of dirt and rock outside the Keep. It was coming from within the Keep hauled out by Ogres and Hill Giants. He felt it was significant enough to return to Lysoria. Calum wishes for your small group to go with Traver in the morning to Caertan and investigate. With the loss of Caertan, the Order of Darius has researched the area for anything that might be of value to the giants. References were found to a King Cormon the Wise who was a border King before the Coming of Andreja. He was reputed to be interred near the mountains. There were also words of a powerful artifact he had in his possession. It was his Crown of State. He was a powerful warrior but always viewed as just and good. Calum wishes for the group to investigate the digging and if the giants are attempting to retrieve the Crown of Cormon, to get it and return with it to give to King William. He says Keddick is being used for something by Arch Magister Adrone, but Adrone will supply another arcane wielder to help the group against the giants. Calum says they can bring Jack if they wish. They should come early the next day. Keddick will create Phantom Horses for each of them to ride to Caertan.

1533.2.20 Back to Caertan
Keddick creates steeds for everyone. The last of the group to arrive is the dark-skinned Clarisian Kordis. He greets his former companions and meets Serk. Kordis is not a Defender. Traver and the six ride away to Caertan and arrive near dusk. Traver leads them through the woods behind Caertan and up the hill in the dark to the back of the old wall. He throws a grappling hook and everyone scales the wall. Banic casts Iron Silence to quiet Dwarven and Barbarian armor. Traver leads everyone slowly through the streets to the back of the keep and again scales the wall. Kordis makes everyone invisible (except Traver) and they move as quietly as possible into the courtyard, past the well, through the broken double doors and shattered wall of stone (put there by Adrone) into a room where two sleepy hill giant sentries stand by a huge pit. The pit has four giant ropes leading into it. Two seem to be meant for climbing and two are attached to pulleys anchored into the ceiling meant for dragging up debris. By torchlight below the quiescent figures of two more hill giants are visible at the bottom of the eighty foot pit. Varende whispers he is going down and begins climbing. The bottom of the whole is forty by forty and it has a 15×15 rough hole in it going down into another room. A crushed table can be seen below the top of the pit. Another rope leads into that pit.
Everyone climbs down and is quiet enough not to disturb the sentries. They move into the room below. Large oak tables can be seen by the dwarves through this long hall. One end of the hall is out of their vision and the other ends in a large double door.

<We will pick up with the description of the hall next time>

1533.2.13 - Battle in the Old Temple

Play date: August 18th, 2009 

1533.2.13 – Late at Night in the Old Temple of Talinoman
With the ghouls dead, Serk and Malperder look to the chest. Serk tries to move it but can’t budge it. Serk hits it with his hammer a couple of times and a flash of light blinds him. He stumbles to the hall where Dervish heals his sight. Meanwhile, Malperder steps in with Giant Bane and starts hacking away. He soon hears the chink of coin and another flash of light tries to blind him. The top of the chest is soon demolished, and a treasury of coins is revealed. The smashed remains of some black onyx and a tattered leather bag hidden in the lid of the chest are also visible. Surely some of the gems remain intact. People start scooping coins, mostly crowns and a few princes, into Jack’s backpack as well as various sacks and satchels that others have available. Further down in the chest is a brass mug inlaid with jade, a wood and ivory statuette of a person, a silver ewer, and a silver chalice with small gems around the top of the cup. When perhaps a quarter of the coins remain in the chest, Varende and Serk hear a voice calling “Manu? Manu?” Varende investigates. Someone is at the top of the hole calling into the room below. He can hear whispered voices above. Then a thump comes from the room. He peers in to see the body of the manacled man lying slumped on the floor. The group discusses their options. Surely their lights have given them away? Two more thumps are heard in rapid succession. The corpses of Kel and Pelin are now lying below the hole.
Malperder and Serk convince Keddick to dimension door them up to the top of the hole. The three appear and see a Talinoman bladesman and two priestesses, one in the basement and one just above the trapdoor. They seem to be lying in wait for them. They aren’t surprised to see them. Everyone starts fighting. The bladesman tries to push Serk into the hole again. Keddick dimension doors away to go get help.  Malperder hacks at the priestess. She inflicts wounds on him with her foul touch. The one above blinds Malperder with a spell. She then turns her attention to Serk. Malperder and Serk feel a wave of grief wash over them and they are both stricken with magical sadness hampering their efforts. The grief is enough to cause Serk to give way once and then twice and he falls below. Malperder throws himself towards the hole and falls on top of Serk. Laughter floats down the hole. Serk exchanges taunts with those above who say that “She” will be here soon.
With Keddick gone and no rope trick at hand, everyone decides to search for another way out. Varende sneaks into the 2 foot wide hole in the wall of the main chamber next to the chain. He looks about and once within the ruined rooms sees a huge spider moving towards him. Jack has followed. Varende rushes past him saying “Huge spider!” Jack looks about but reacts too slowly to avoid the agile hunter. It bites him hard and venom courses into the swashbuckler weakening him. He slips back out the crack. The spider is too large to fit through the hole and everyone decides to leave well enough alone. A few other areas are examined, but the search for egress is fruitless.
Meanwhile, Keddick has reached a guardhouse and ten men are donning armor and checking weapons. Keddick starts to command the men. One guard says “We can’t help you now.” Keddick pulls the noble card and  with a great diplomacy check gets the guardsman to talk to him. The guard reveals that they are arming for a foray with one of the palace guards to a home not too far away. Some people were seen entering the home that alerted the palace guard to trouble. He has run to another guard station to get another Ten. They will be there shortly. Keddick pushes them to leave immediately but they refuse. Keddick threatens retribution and the guardsman tells him to get out. Eventually the palace guard arrives with a non-descript man claiming to be a palace guard. He tells Keddick to run to the palace and alert the captain. Keddick says he will be needed to lead the men into the house because only he has been inside. He convinces the guardsman to do the running instead. He leads the men back to the house but fails to lead them inside as promised. The men burst through the door and the slaughter begins. Keddick calls for them to come back, and finds only seven of the men remain after a brief flurry of fighting. The door was shut again. Keddick tells the remaining men to surround the front of the house. He tries to position himself to throw a fireball in the door if someone opens the door. He tells another person to go get reinforcements. There are several volunteers.  Keddick waits. Out of nowhere, a swarm of insects appears in the street. Guards are falling like flies. Keddick is bitten and steps from the swarm. Three guards make it out alive. Keddick again says someone should get reinforcements and all three run off. “Get him!” is heard from the far end of the street. Keddick sees a man in jet black demonic armor running towards him. He runs a bit away casts fireball behind him hurting the man and destroying most of the insects before running for his life. He soon loses the pursuit and heads for Lysoria almost certainly outdistancing the most recently dispatched guardsmen (he is running with expeditious retreat).
Meanwhile down in the hole, everyone settles in to rest in the hallway outside the ghoul room. Not too long later, Banic and Varende see a wall of darkness cover the exits from the hall to the main chamber. They listen intently. Varende hears the clank of armor and tosses a small marble-sized globe filled with dancing flames through the darkness. Everyone hears a “whoosh!” sound of exploding flames not unlike Keddick’s fireballs. Jack calls Euravo and Euravenne to his side. After much more discussion, he finally decides to send them through the darkness just as it dissipates.
Across the room, two Talinoman bladesmen and a man in jet black demonic armor can be seen guarding the door to the altar room where Ithran’s headless body lies. Everyone leaps into action. Euroavo savages one of the men, and the demonic armored man lays Varende low. Claw like braces on the armor slice through the elf. Jack and Serk eventually feel their bite as well and lose strength and dexterity. The man retreats and another soldier steps up to hold the line. Eventually, Eurano bowls the demonic armor man over knocking him prone. The priestesses can be seen at the far end of the room chanting around the alter. Banic conjures a magical hammer to whack at them. They all disappear…
Varende is unconscious but stable.
Malperder is yet blind.
Serk, Jack and Banic are all wounded to some extent.

1533.2.13 - Into the Old Temple of Talinoman

Play date: August 11th, 2009

1533.2.13 – near Dusk
As the jailer removes the first prisoner (looking quite well off after being healed by Banic subsequent to Serk beating him), the group talks for a moment before the next prisoner enters. He is also manacled to the table. He seems far more agreeable. Malperder starts questioning him and telling him he is in lots of trouble and will hang. The guy says he had worked there since last summer. He was approached by a man in The Rusty Dagger in Dendros near the docks. The money was too good to turn down. He mentions seeing the priestess and some of the fighting men, but the outer guard didn’t mingle with them. He asks to be set free repeatedly. He says he can lead them to a house in Dendros where he saw some of the priestess go. Jack says he is in favor of letting him go if the information pans out, but everyone else wants to break his appendages, leave him in jail, hang him as soon as possible, or doesn’t voice an opinion. There is a discussion with the prisoner out of the room and everyone goes to speak to the Captain that gave them access to the prisoner. Malperder asks if they can take him and permission is granted. He says he wants to let him go and the Captain says “No!” Malperder backs off and says “Have someone follow us in case he tries to escape.”
Jack goes in and speaks to the prisoner and he agrees to take them to the house. He leads them to a small house in Dendros shoulder to shoulder with other homes. When they arrive it is well dark. No light comes from the house. Keddick casts extended invisibility on Varende, and the elf picks the lock on the front door, drops his everburning torch on the ground and enters. A quick reconnoiter of the home reveals it is empty upstairs and down with the exception of two zombies in the second room on the lower floor. Varende realizes that they are Kel and Pelin, Ithran’s goons! Varende comes back outside and instead of asking Keddick to dismiss the invisibility, he whacks the poor prisoner on the head with his sap knocking him unconscious until next week. Banic and Malperder dispatch the zombies in seconds using spell and axe. Banic searches the home for auras but finds none. Malperder notices the trapdoor behinds the zombies.
The trapdoor leads to some earthen steps leading into a small basement. Pottery jars lay about the floor empty of their food and broken. A fifteen foot deep pit has been dug into the floor with a steep grade for entry. At the bottom of the pit is solid stone with a rope stoneshaped into it. The remainder of the rope is coiled neatly, knotted along its length for easy climbing.
Banic stoneshapes a small hole and then a larger one. Everyone climbs below into a large 40 foot square room with lots of exits. People start looking around trying to decide where to go. Some spot a couple of ghostly forms whoosh through a wall and attack. Before long, five of the things have attacked. They all appear to be dressed (but not look like) the priestess that were fought at the Malverin Wood site. The only serious injury that occurs is to Keddick. One of the creatures drains away some of his essence (6 pts Con damage). Serk and Jack discover repeatedly that their weapons don’t always harm the things. Eventually, the last dissipates into the darkness.
Varende has noted a long chain stoneshaped into the floor near a two foot wide exit from the room. He looks within to see crumbling walls of a long, narrow room and other rooms beyond those walls.
Malperder realizes that this is like the map Varende showed everyone that he got from the researchers at The Order of Darius. Banic notices five “ghostly” figures is the same number of dead priestesses from five hundred years ago. Malperder leads everyone to the prominent long room in the upper right hand corner of the map. At the far end is a body lying on a slab altar. As everyone approaches, some realize the body is that of the woman with Elvish features known as Dora/Ithran/Dorian. Banic prepares to call holy fire to destroy the body but Varende talks him out of it. Giant Bane whistles through the air and decapitates the corpse. Malperder says something about her death and his vengeance on the part of Barnim the Smith. Varende searches the altar inscribed with the symbol of Talinoman but finds nothing but blood stains.
Two rooms are found with semi-circular alcoves about three feet high (but they have not been investigated). Malperder wants to investigate the room in the lower left hand corner. It has a door with a lock and a peephole. Varende unlocks the door, opens the peephole, sees nothing, and opens the door. The rooms is long and narrow with rubble across the floor. At the far end, Varende sees a small chest against the wall. He enters with Malperder following. A bit more than half way down the room, ghouls (ghasts) burst from the floor with a terrible stench. They attack with tooth and claw and their foulness paralyze both elf and dwarf. Serk bravely steps in and drags Malperder out of the room while the things continue to rend Varende’s living flesh. Banic steps in trying to get to his companion. He eventually activates his boots to end on Varende’s far side committed to saving him while Keddick counts how many he can get out and hangs back. Jack moves into position to skewer anything coming out of the door. Three of the things exit the room looking for more victims and attack Keddick, Malperder, Serk and Jack. The tide begins to turn when Malperder regains use of his body and stands. He and Serk cut a path through the creatures with Jack’s help while Banic desperately tries to stay alive. Banic casts Panacea on Varende removing his paralysis and healing him a bit. He tumbles behind Malperder and draws his bow to join the fray. Banic is paralyzed and being ripped apart. As the last creature fights for its unlife, Varende tumbles past and force feeds good berries to Moradin’s favored. Keddick comes in with the fall of the last one and offers a draught from the Dareth Coul healing flask restoring Banic to consciousness.
 

<Around 10 bells on the 13th – You’ve been in here for 30 minutes or so – a small chest sits in the corner>

Status:

  • Varende (mostly dead; < 10 hp)
  • Banic (mostly dead; < 10 hp)
  • Serk and Malperder: slightly hurt,
  • Jack: perhaps slightly hurt, but never hit by ghouls
  • Keddick: gravely wounded mostly due to constitution damage; Banic healed 2 of the 6 points

1533.2.12 to 2.13 - Flee! Flee! The Dead Walk Again! - Malperder saved! - Malverin Lost!

Play date: August 4th, 2009

1533.2.12 - In the Lair of the Cult - Sometime after Dark - “Flee!” 

An ogre zombie pounds at Banic. Banic five foot steps away attacking it with a bludgeoning weapon and then divine power; he hurt it but didn’t kill it. Everyone retreated up the stairs. Back at the statue of Malperder, Serk pushes it a little before realizing it is so heavy he will certainly tip it over. Banic embiggened himself and carried his cousin slowly up the stairs and out into the night before un-embiggening. Banic and Serk lugged the statue painfully for 500 feet before it was decided Keddick would create them a safe refuge to watch over Malperder while the other three moved back to Lysoria to warn the King. Serk hears a group of sixty moving some ways off heading vaguely north, but no one investigates.
Keddick, Jack and Varende arrive at The Palace, turn the two prisoners over to the guard, and report to Attalus. Attalus says he can get some Hands and Priests to go back with them in the morning and that Mistress Orain, High Transmuter should be able to help Malperder tomorrow. Keddick mentions he can turn  Malperder into a small statue (which come to think of it actually should have fizzled since it reads as “one non-magical item”; on the other hand, I don’t think his armor and clothes and things should have turned to stone - hmmm) with a clothlike texture for easy movement. Attalus offers Palace hospitality for the night
As the three are in their chambers, an alarm bell can be heard. Varende emerges to see men running here and there and finds that undead have overrun Malverin. Jack decides to go back to sleep as does Keddick, but the heroic elf goes with a group to Malverin.
Varende and the group of soldiers he is with encounter some small amount of undead resistance and dispatch the skeletons and zombies without death among them, but hundreds have been killed by the zombies and skeletons; there is even a story about one walking dead that was paralyzing people, and some of the soldiers that fought against it did die. Priests of Andreja are roaming the town helping the injured. Varende stays for several hours and eventually finds an empty Market Inn, picks a lock, and trances before watching by the lake point for his companions at dawn.

1533.2.13 - Orain saves Malperder
Keddick and Jack eventually discover that no party can be spared to help retrieve Malperder right now; the Priests and Hands are exhausted from the night’s labor.  Keddick grumbles a bit. They head south and find Varende waiting.
Meanwhile, Banic and Serk have an uneventful night and start lugging the statue in the morning. Eventually all meet up about 100 feet from where they were and return Malperder to Lysoria.
Mistress Orain takes charge of Malperder while the others eat lunch. Malperder returns hale and hearty and eats while everyone catches him up on what happened.
Everyone goes back to the site via the path of 60+ undead moving through the forest. Serk follows it easily. They find the entrance stone shaped away. Banic opens it and they enter. It seems deserted including the corpses of those killed yesterday.
The big room that Banic fled from is also empty now but still stinks; crossing its 80 feet leads to an exit and some stairs down to…
A large circular room with a stone altar in the middle, the inner sanctum of the cult, is dominated by an  altar with  the symbol of Talinoman in it. The floor is a stone grate and there are oil patches here and there. The stone is sooty and burned. Banic stoneshapes the altar away with several spells. The place “feels” evil and Keddick says the room has been magically “desecrated” to enhance the powers of undead and evil rituals within in. Serk searches a room above and turns a bed and wardrobe to kindling; Banic stoneshapes in the secret hall behind another wardrobe and finds a passage leading to a secret door in an alcove by the small staircase down to the other sleeping chambers. Varende searches some areas thoroughly but discovers nothing else. Everyone returns to Lysoria.

1533.2.13 - Interogating the Prisoners
Malperder is keen to find out what the prisoners revealed. In the panic of the evening in Malverin, no one has paid any attention to them. They are jailed in the dungeon below. The party is led below to a small room, and one of the prisoners is brought to them. Serk hits him a few times when he isn’t forthcoming enough and Banic heals him. He says he was just hired to guard and doesn’t know anything about any cult. He has been there a couple of months, but others were there longer he thinks. Their leader had ordered them to kill them. He seems a bit intimidated, but Serk’s attempts at fist-enhanced diplomacy don’t go well. Malperder threatens him a couple of times. <We stopped before the second prisoner was “de-briefed”>

Malperder – Like a Rock! - in the lair of the Talinoman?

Play date: 7/28/09

1533.2.12 – dusk

Serk shoulders the door once, twice, thrice. Crash! Serk sees a woman 30 feet away through another open door across a small room. She chants and mist billows up between them. Serk rushes her, but half way there catches his foot on something on the floor and hears metallic clanks around him and the scratching movement of talons on stone. Varende moves into the room looking for his fallen companion. Serk rolls to his feet, dodges past the elf, and out of the room as what appear to be turkey-sized roosters converge on Varende from the mist. They peck at him ferociously and he rolls out of the room as Malperder steps in. Banic moves to the edge of the mist but not into it. The things rend Mal’s skin as his cousin shields him with Moradin’s power. Malperder moves out of the room and Banic kicks one to the curb with a mightly blow. He then moves back and waits for the flock to stream out of the room. The flock fails to comply, and Malperder, stalwart rock of the party’s fighting core, bravely moves into the room. He tries to go far enough that others can follow, but three of the cockatrices bite him and Lady Luck abandons the hero. His movements cease as he stands statue still in the entry square. Banic moves forward and shouts at his cousin to plow into the room. He can just make out Malperder’s unmoving back through the mist, and he eventually realizes the appearance of Malperder resembles stone now. Banic hammers at a cockatrice that flutters towards him and then engulfs the room in holy fire. The mist evaporates. Keddick tosses in some magic missiles and eventually a fireball to finish off the flock. Malperder seems undamaged, but hopelessly petrified.

Serk leaps across the room stepping over the tripping chain. Banic observes six openings, three in each side wall, that were covered with metal grates released by the chain. Serk puts his shoulder to the next door and bursts it open as well. He moves into the hallway beyond, and flames engulf him. The hall runs to both left and right. He sees stairs to the right going down and a hall to the left ending in an open door not far away. The priestess on the left incants and Serks vision fades to black. He rolls back out of the hallway. Banic moves back and invokes Moradin to heal Serk’s eyes, before stepping forward and sealing the passage to the right with magical stone as a Hell Hound appears in front of him and bathes him in fire. He hears retreating footsteps as he does so. The hound is quickly dispatched with hammer and magic missile. As the party stands discussing what should be done, two men in breastplates, tower shields, and longswords with locked gauntlets in their left hands emerge in the guardroom behind the party from the barracks with two priestesses. The men have horned helms and the symbol of Talinoman displayed prominently on shield and breastplate. Varende rolls through the fallen door into their midst. Serk follows. A priestess seals the doorway with a stoneshape. Varende takes some deep slashes from the longswords. Another hound appears and bathes him in fire, but Thasti Kes preserves him. The priestesses retreat as Banic opens the stoneshaped barrier with a spell of his own. One of the men is dispatched and the other retreats. Serk slams against the door to the barracks but the other man seems to be holding it. Serk hears him yell “Darmuth has fallen! Run. I’ll hold them.” Serk takes several rounds to finally beat the strength of the man holding the door. He runs across the room to the storeroom on the left with Serk on his heels. Banic follows and the two dispatch him.

With no enemies in sight, a systematic search eventually reveals three bedrooms with large double beds and wardrobes. Behind one of the beds, Varende finds a hidden passage that leads to the right-hand storeroom. He and Keddick emerge as Banic and Serk fruitlessly search the other storeroom. Keddick wanders the passages detecting magic and finds none. Eventually Varende discovers a hidden door behind the wardrobe in the bedroom where there was a door behind the bed. He opens it to discover a five by five low-ceilinged room with a passage half as wide leading away to the right. It ends after five feet in stone. Much of the stone in the area seems to have been shaped by magic.

The safer course is chosen and Banic opens the passageway he closed before. Keddick makes Varende invisible, and the elf goes exploring. He finds three more bedrooms with wardrobes. He searches them all thoroughly finding a piece of wall in one of them that opens to allow exit to a passage near one of the other bedrooms. The only unexplored area is a long hall reaching out of Varende’s vision. It is not lit as the rest of the passages have been. The group proceeds down the passage and finds after two hundred feet that there is a small alcove on the left and stairs leading down. A faint scent of purification tickles Banic’s nose. As he proceeds down the stairs with Serk just behind, Glyphs of Warding explode in fiery flashes, but Moradin and his quick reflexes mostly protect him. Down ten feet. Landing. Glyph. Turn to the right. Repeat four times. As he stands on the last landing looking down into a room that opens up, he sees a cat lurch by the opening. He descends the steps. He notices the room goes out of his vision in front of him, is thirty-five feet wide, and has lots of figures in it that take lower precedence compared to the zombie ogre right next to him…

Order of Darius - Research on the Talinoman - Commissioned by Varendë

Prepared for Varendë Peltathar
Scholar, 3rd rank, Brek

The last uprising of the Sorceress Goddess of Death Talinoman occurred during Dapa in 1044. Five priestesses of the goddess were killed or captured. All refused to speak at all when questioned other than to say “Talinoman will consume you all and spit you back out as Her minions!” The author of one account noted that each of the priestess had a powerful presence. The Temple of Talinoman was found southeast of Lake Catherine in what is now known as Dendros. The Temple was razed, but not before horrible shambling zombies and skeletons were put to the sword or consumed in the fires of Andreja’s Majesty. The symbol worn by all of these priestess was a ring of metal attached by four small chains to an enclosing diamond of metal.
  
     talinomansymbol.JPG

Each of these priestesses fought with a swordsman of some kind by their side. When the temple was penetrated, six sleeping chambers were discovered suggesting a sixth person escaped capture. No mention of the apprehension of this person could be found.  The accounting also showed a floor plan of the temple that was razed. I was unfamiliar with some of the markings but copied it faithfully. The temple was mostly below ground with only three small buildings above ground.
talinomantemple1044.JPG

Defenders of Tairn and the Malverin Woods

Play date: July 14th, 2009 

1533.2.8
Adrone returns shortly after having disappeared with Jack. Each of the remaining five of you are brought one a time to the center of the room where a triangle of silvery metal is inscribed into the floor. You stand within the triangle while the Arch Magister, High Priest and King stand at the points of the triangle. The person within the triangle can feel the air pulsing with power. The remaining Defenders have moved to take seats ringing the room. Right Hand Andre leads you one at a time to the triangle.
High Magister Adrone addresses you, followed by Calum and then King William intoning the oath:
Swear by mouth and mind,
Fealty and service to Lady Andreja, the Crown and the Defenders of Tairn.
To speak and to be silent,
To do and to let be,
To come and to go,
To serve and teach,
In such matters that concern this realm;
In need or in plenty,
In peace or in war,
In living or in dying,
Until death takes you,
Or the world ends.
Swear by your name.

As you swear, you can see a triangle appear on the forehead of each of the foreheads of the three that surround you.
After the swearing, people around the room clap.
Adrone addresses you all again:
Your friend Jack will remember nothing of coming here or the Defenders of Tairn. You must not mention the Defenders outside of this room. You will know defenders by their mark as they will know you. You can expect them to help you as they can expect you to help them.
If you will permit, Right Hand Andre will remove the index finger of your right hand and High Priest Calum will restore the finger to you. It is painful, but with your finger, it is possible to revive you from death even if your body is gone. When you are ready, come to let Calum know a day in advance, and he will pray for the healing you will need.
Also, there is a teleportation circle within the Temple of Andreja that will bring you here. To pass it, you must focus on a specific thought when you activate the circle. This circle (pointing) at the triangle, will take you back there. Visit Master Jasper (pointing to a gaudily dressed man who bows briefly) at the Corrlayan College. He will insert the memory of this thought within you.
Enough of this. Let us welcome our new brothers with a feast! Calum, if you will.
Calum casts Heroes’ Feast twice and another priestess once. Keddick recognizes the members of the mage guild. Banic recognizes Marena from his work at the Temple in Thistledown. Andre and three other Hands are present, Aglandar and Etania (druids), and four bards.
Eventually, everyone disperses.

1533.2.9 to 1533.2.12
In the following days, people train, visit the bardic college for the memory implant, and visit the Temple to have a finger removed.

Keddick mentions that he has nightmares about being crushed by a leering giant each night. Each night a beautiful woman calls him back to life. This nightmare is so startling that it causes him to cry out in his sleep in terror.
Jack buys a boat and tells everyone where it is docked in Thistledown on the lake. He is sleeping there.
On the 11th ragged bands of men start trickling into the city late in the day with stories of the army sent to Caertan meeting the giants, ogres, and orcs outside of Caertan. The party gathers to share stories and collectively has learned that only about 300 men of the 1000 sent survived. The army of giant-kin fell on them and obliterated them until the ranks broke. Some giants were killed as were many orcs, but the day was won by the giants.
The dwarves and Serk decide to try to meet with someone at the palace grounds the next day to find out what is going on with the giants. They learn that the wooden walls erected here are nothing compared to the stone walls of Caertan. The King is waiting for the fight to come to Lake Catherine, or not.
Varende, Jack and Keddick go to The Market Inn in Malverin and spend a fruitless night trying to gather information “on the wood outside Malverin.” They talk to all the wrong people and hear mostly about the men returning from fighting giants. They get a room for the night with the exception of Keddick who makes his way back to The Lucky Silver. He returns in the morning of the 12th and they try to question the breakfast patrons with similar results.
The dwarves and Serk show up near lunch time, and after eating, they decide to go check the woods themselves. They speak to farmsteads along the way and discover that one man says to beware the hollow tree. Spirits will wreak their vengeance on us all! Another farmer says his father told a story of castle ruins in the wood, but he doesn’t know where. He says that the castle was ancient and only some of the foundation stones still existed, and even those were overgrown.
The entire afternoon is spent combing through the northeast portion of the woods. Keddick even polymorphs into a bird but sees nothing from the air. Nearing dusk, Banic spots a small stone building mostly hidden by trees and overgrowth. Approaching it, other people notice the remnants of foundation stones underfoot. The small 5 x 10 stone building has a new iron gate on it with a lock. Varende easily opens it and proceeds down stairs to a landing where he hears voices below. He continues down the next flight and is greeted by four men wearing the King’s tabard. They ask who he is and why is there. Others have followed. The four guards are in a large room with a door opposite the stairs and one on the left wall and right. Varende is wary even though the men show no outward sign of lying. He suggests they go outside to talk. As they head back up the stairs, the apparent leader relocks the gate after them and tells them to leave. The group stands around talking and after a couple of minutes, the man comes back and says “My captain says he will see you. Please come with me.”
Everyone goes back downstairs. An ambush ensues in which the guards come out poorly. Jack disarms several, two try to escape up the stairs, and Keddick and Serk head them off with a dimension door. Banic burns many of them with a column of fire. At the end, all are dead save three that were knocked unconscious. They are bound. The door on the left is opened to reveal storerooms. Other storerooms are found through doors at the back of a barracks room with bunk beds in it. A final door is locked and Varende easily opens it. Regardless it won’t open. Eventually Serk decides to put his shoulder into it and breaks the door inward…