The World of Arith

Return to Hawkmoon (GM Post)

The next morning, the party roused themselves to meet with the Lady Moonfire. The Lady had her carriage ready to go, and as the procession wound out of the west gate of Caer Rivermeet, it had all of the pretense of a small parade. Through the outlying town people came to the road to wave at the Lady, and several cheers went up for the party as well. Young boys ran up to the group before their mothers shunted them off to get back to their chores and more than a few people came up thinking the group for its help saving a relative or friend.

After half a day’s travel, they stopped at a small campsite set up on the side of the road for travelers. Solid stone benches surrounded a firepit, and a small shelter, merely three walls and a roof, stood off to one side of the road. The Lady provided lunch, and as they sat she explained.

“Diego and Fix, you have not convinced me of the seriousness of the problem. The fact that the other members of your band do not corroborate your story does nothing to support your case. In any event, I refuse to risk my reputation on the fact that you are correct in your predictions.” When Diego and Fix began to interrupt, she shushed them and continued.

“However, I also refuse to risk my reputation on the fact that you are wrong. Therefore, this is what will happen. When we arrive in Hawkmoon, I will throw a celebratory ball in your honor. Of course you will be in attendance, and so will many other notables in the city. You may use this event to make contact with those you feel should know this information. If you expect a spy, then you should be very circumspect in your approach of these people. Running up and blurting out the issue will get you nowhere. My dears, if you expect to play in this arena, you must learn tact. Also, when you get your audience, think about the arguments you will make to persuade your contacts. Try and do a better job than you did with me.”

So the trip continued, and at the end of the second day, the familiar walls of their home came into view on the horizon. Passing through almost a mile of farmland, the procession finally entered the city proper. At the fork past Caer Greycastle, the Lady turned left and proceeded to the castle gates, while the party kept to the road, heading for home. Diego sent a runner to find Ondath, who was just turning the corner at a full run (was he still pulling up his breeches) as they opened the back door to Coalstone’s Baubles and their upstairs apartment.

As he busied himself tidying up just a tad, Ondath apologized for not having the place in better order. After all, they were gone for two months. He explained that he had located one of the runes in the possession of Moradan Songmaster, a bard from Tomes. Moradan would be willing to share his rune if he could be present at the event. The final rune, Ondath explained, must be in the possession of the Arcanum Mage, Sargona. He left, promising to be at the apartment early with breakfast.

During the next few days, the party settled back into the hustle and bustle of the city. Fix contacted Sargona, who agreed to part with the potion case for a large amount of gold. Searching for leads on the name Argent, they learned the following:

  • The word Argent is old dwarven for Silver, on further examination, they discovered that many races share the same meaning for similar words
  • Jaemanthar Starsong remembered references to heores “taken to silver”
  • There were references to heroes in silver cloaks

Finally, the night of the gala was upon them. Wearing their best, they were picked up in a carriage bearing the royal seal and brought into Ambassador’s Row, the outer bailey of Caer Graycastle. Lady Moonfire was in her glory as she introduced the assembled guests, each of which congratulated the party of a job well done and their service to Hawkmoon.

The guests included:

After about an hour, Lady Moonfire asked everyone to be seated, and dinner was served.

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The Spirits Speak (Torra)

I can hear them. I’ve always heard them, but I can hear them much stronger now.
We escaped the Westbrook Ruins. Destroying the abyssal priestess for what it had done, twisting the spirits to it’s will, gave a sense of satisfaction. The Eladrin spirits were free and made their journey to where they belonged. Yet still the feel of the other spirits around me were getting strong.
Our escape was not without issue. When we left the escape tunnel from Westbrook, we encountered Trolls. They were a troublesome lot, but we managed to dispatch them. Zin believes that a hag was with them, but had left sometime ago. Tired, we made camp within the cave before we made our way to Caer Rivermeet.
It is there I dreamt.

I stood in darkness, but I did not stand alone. The soft essense of Shiva brushed by my side. A comfort I cherish in this darkness. As I reach down to pet where Shiva is, her warm glow begins to lighten the area. Her glow though is not the only glow beginning to light the darkness.
In the distance, I see three other dim lights glowing. Two that I recognize are strong spiritual glows. The third glow is not of a spirit, but of familar essense I have only recently called upon.
But they will have to wait. I am awoken for my time to guard the camp. The night is quiet. The day spirits come and we move on to Caer Rivermeet, home to Diego. We are greeted as heroes. But the spirits speak, we are not finished. As my group talks to those of importance on the matter at hand, get cleaned and feed; I make my way to the river, to cleanse myself and prepare to speak again with the spirits. I make a shrine to the forest spirits to watch over us. To guide us.

The night comes and I sleep and I dream.

Again I stand in darkness. Again I do not stand alone. And as Shiva comes by my side, so to do the glows of light come into being. This time they came close to me and soon I can make them out. To the left, Grandmother Spider, the Fate Weaver. To the right, a formless spirit, The Great Watcher. Two great elder spirits I am concerned to see.

The third I see is not of spirit, but a goddess. It is she who I have given a portion of my faith to. It is she who has given me a gift to strike down my enemies. It is Melora. Yet her essence before me has faded. Her face shows no happiness. It is then I notice behind Grandmother Spider. I can see the web she weaves that ties the worlds together behind her. There is large hole in the web. A very dark hole. I understand this hole, the fate of the future, a primordial freed from the web that once held it. I nod to Grandmother Spider and she fades away.

I turn to the Great Watcher and Melora. Yet they are no longer side by side, they are one. As the Great Watcher glows brightly, Melora dims, though does not leave. A change is coming and I am to embrace it. I am to change. I turn to Shive, but she is no longer a lioness spirit….she is me. And I, I am her.

Change is coming. Change is coming for me. The spirits have spoken.

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Escape from Westbrook 2 (GM Post)

With the abyssal chieftain of the gnolls defeated, the party rested for a few minutes before trying to find the secret passage that Brost had read about. With some more time to think, Brost also remembered that the passage he read talked about the Mayor being unable to completely empty a vault of some type.

After an exhaustive search, they party found a one-way escape door leading to an small and windy tunnel, and they also located the vault. In the vault was runed mace on a pedestal. The divine runes covering the mace were astral in origin, suggesting a holy weapon of some sort. The pedestal was protected by a divine ward. Torra took the lead and performed the minor rites which allowed her to get closer and closer to the mace, until she could reach out and snatch it from its home.

The earthen tunnel twisted and turned for at least an hour before ending with a framework obviously designed to plug the tunnel’s exit. Pushing the plug out of the way, the group was surprised when it opened into a small cave occupied by four trolls. Each time a troll was brought low, they revived with astounding speed. It wasn’t until Brost blasted the trolls with his breath weapon that two of the trolls who had fallen burst into flame, never to revive.

Once they determined the trolls’ weakness, the other two were dispatched fairly quickly. Before clearing out the cave and settling in for some much needed rest, Zin searched the area for tracks and found tracks that resembled a very feminine and petite humanoid foot. The tracks were mixed in with the trolls’ footprints, suggesting that this female was able to walk among the trolls with impunity. After some conversation and debate, Zin came to the conclusion that they might be a polymorphed hag’s footprints. Despite this new danger, the party set watches and slept in the cave.

The next day, Zin led the way due south to the River Arvin. Finding the shallows that they used to ford the river when approaching Westbrook, the party made its way safely to Rivermeet.

As they approached and entered Caer Rivermeet, the central walled section of the town, the party was aware that the citizens of Rivermeet waved to them or pointed at them while talking to friends. It was obvious that the heroics of the party was now common knowledge in and around town, and the party was hailed and shown a great deal of respect on their entrance into town.

Stopping at the garrison, they reported to Sheriff Dugan Narros. He summoned his scout Harrowleaf into the meeting as well. The party explained about the beastfolk infestation of Westbrook and the plots of the Emissary they had uncovered in the Seven Pillared Hall. Harrowleaf even said, “Useful intelligence. Surprising, but commendable.” Upon the sheriff’s urging, the entire group made their way to Lady Elandria Moonfire’s manor house.

The Lady met with the group, though somewhat put out by the fact that they hadn’t cleaned up yet. Diego and Fix attempted to convince her that they needed to meet with someone in charge in Hawkmoon, but with little in the way of back-up from the others, the Lady seemed unmoved. Fix went back to the manor house after cleaning up a bit and tried again, but still seemed unable to convince the Lady.

While enjoying a night of unwinding at the Green Tankard Inn, the party was approached by the Lady and told that she needed to purchase some new dresses from the City of Hawkmoon and would be willing to accompany the party to the city the next morning.

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The Vanir Gets His Blood (by Diego)

I expected our return to the Ruins of Westbrook to be of small affair; could I have not been more wrong. Upon, from what my companion Fix called, the “portal discharge” the old dungeon of the ruined tower came alive with a familliar sound, the yippin of gnolls and thier cursed heyanas. Immeadiatly my valiant companions sprung into action. We dispatched the accolyte gnoll demonolgist and her servants in short order. In the process, a Vanir Ranger freed himself from the gnolls captivity and joined the fight on our side. He called himself Zin, handled himself will valor and skill in combat, and infomred us that his traveling party had been captured by the beastfolk that had turned the Westbrook Ruins into some demonic festival site, oh execellent. Zin’s comapanions have slowly been sacrifced to the gnoll’s foul demonlords, by a Head Shaman. Zin provides what intelligence he can and Fix uses his amulet of disguise to wander the camp for a few.

We made plans to escape to the countryside by escaping throught the weakest part of the refurbeshed wall. On our break to the wall Brost correlates his historical knowledge of Westbrook with Zinns info and realizes there is probably an escape tunnel in the basement of the Lord’s Keep. When our stealthy vanguard reaches the wall, they realize there is scores of beastfolk camps around the city as well so we change plans mid-actioon. Fix has scouted out the Manors hidden entance, and we head there in hopes of finding the Lord’s old escape tunnel. Zinn is sceptical of our plan but follows our lead none the less. Fix’s booby trap drops the ruins on the pursusing gnolls and we make our way to the basement.

In the ruined manor’s basement we encounter the Head Shaman and her kenku witch doctor. Zinn’s former compaions are there as well, but all that remains are defiled spirtes twisted into ghost hyeanas. The combat was savage and bloody. We carried the day and upon the victory, Torah tells us Zin’s companions spirts are freed. The Vanir has gotten his Blood! Silence fills the dungeon as we prepare to look for a way out and home.

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Return to Westbrook (GM Post)

Having activated the portal in Mistwatch Valley, the party immediately bridged the distance between and found themselves once again in the dungeon of the Westbrook tower. The ruins were filled with the sounds of wild animals, and for a disorienting second, they party imagined itself in the middle of a wild jungle. The hyena at the entrance to the portal room let out a howl, and stirred the party to action.

They quickly found themselves in the middle of a battle. Apparently gnolls had inhabited the Ruins of Westbrook. In the tower dungeon laired a gnoll priestess, her bodyguard and a pair of gnolls with a deathly pallor (though very much alive). Caged was an Eladrin prisoner. The battle was fierce, with the Eladrin fey-stepping to his bow as soon as the melee was joined and entered combat on the party’s side. The priestess was an exceptional challenge, but eventually the gnolls fell.

The Eladrin, Zin, told of his capture by an entire tribe of beastfolk, many dozens of which now camped in the ruins. They were led by a gnoll priestess, who reeked of abyssal power, and her kenku advisor. The priestess they had just defeated was a mere apprentice to the chieftain. Zin’s companions had all been sacrificed to Yeenoghu in a nightly ritual which stole their spirits and forced them to serve the abyssal priestess. Zin’s night would have been tonight. Zin also said that the chieftain had been called away by the badger-folk who had just cleared a pathway into the manor house (which they called the human chieftain’s den). The chieftain and her entourage left with the badger-folk to explore the now-opened ruins.

Using his silver necklace, Fix disguised himself as the priestess’ bodyguard and scouted the town. About a foot of snow covered the ground and several dozen beastfolk roamed the snow-covered ruins. The gaps in the town’s walls had been filled with rubble from the ruins. Locating a gap close to the tower, the party decided to scale the rubble and make a break from the ruins. Brost had brought up the fact that the histories of the area told of the Mayor’s escape from the ruins when Westbrook had fallen, and that there may be a escape tunnel under the manor house, but the party chose the walls.

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as planned. Though Zin made it to the walls unnoticed, the rest of the party was easily spotted by the guards on the good section of wall as they attempted to do the same. The wall guards moved to intercept, and were soon joined by two gnolls guarding a tunnel in the back of the manor house. Fix scouted out the tunnel and found it to be passable and shorn up with timbers. Further in, the center hall was stone-lined and in much more stable condition. Fixing a rope around one of the supports, Fix rigged the tunnel to be collapsed if it were necessary before rejoining the battle. Though the battle seemed to be going in the party’s direction and escape seemed within reach, when the disguised Fix made it to the top of the walls, he saw many packs of gnolls prowling outside the walls as well.

That was when one of the wall-guards used his signal horn and with two blasts of the horn, alerted the beastfolk that intruders were within the walls. Quickly changing tactics, the party made a dash to the back of the manor house. Still disguised, Fix tried to divert the beastfolk, but when the other party members dashed across the alleyway behind him, he knew the con wouldn’t work.

Once the party was safely through the tunnel and near the stable parts of the central hall, Fix (with help), pulled the support out from the unstable tunnel, crashing it down on the heads of those gnolls who were right on their heels.

After taking a few minutes to rest, Zin crept down the stairs and found the abyssal priestess and her advisor engrossed in searching the walls of the manor’s basement for secret passages. They were guarded by two of the deathly-looking gnolls. Zin, Torra and Elias positioned themselves near the bottom of the staircase before engaging the priestess’ entourage.

The priestess called forth four hyena spirits, who Torra could tell were Eladrin spirits twisted by dark magic into their current form and forced to serve the priestess. A battle against four turned into a battle against eight in the cramped basement of the manor house. Though the battle was bloody, and several of the party were on their last leg, eventually the tide turned and they were victorious. As the priestess died, Torra saw the four eladrin spirits ascend from the stones where the hyena spirits had been dispatched. Zin sacrificed his raven companion to lead his friends’ spirits back to the Feywild, secure in the knowledge he could recall his companion.

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Letter to Lord Valdemar Hawkmoon

My Most Valorous and Wise Grace,

Lord Valdemar Hawkmoon, you are doubtlessly aware of the assault on your most humble and

loyal property, Caer Rivermeet. It is the ancestral home of Smithsonian Clan, an old and proper
family sworn to the lairds of Hawkmoon from the earliest days. The attack upon Caer Rivermeet
was particualry grim to my clan, several of my kin were slain, wounded, and captured. I rushed
to the aid of my Kinfolk. Upon arrival I aquired the confidence of the Lord Sherrif, Captain
Dougan Narros. My Lord, I raised a warband of Stout Character and Superior Quality, made Oaths
to the Gods and Vows to my Ancestors, and tracked the villians back to the desecrated crypt
serving as the hobgoblins lair. There we made valiant battle, and glory was ours. The Red Hand
was vanquished and our fellow citizens rescued.

Agmonst the intelligence we discovered the raid was no isloated scheme, but part of a

greater plot, a Conspiracy of Uttermost Evil being orchastrated by an enigmatic figure known as
the Emissary. The particularities of Blood Vengeance and Patriotic Fervor rose and combined in
me. I again roused my splendid Companions and took to the trail. Following clues, a trail led us
to the far side of the Whitecrowns. There, in an Arcane Realm on the border of our World and the
Darklands our search came to fruition.

My Grace, there in the lightless depths our search ended sucessfully. We uncovered both the goals and authors of this plot. The evil poised by this Dark Conspiracy threathens more then just my home or your Realm. It involves the destruction of the Westlands and maybe Arith herself. My grace, Lord Valdemar Hawkmoon, I humbily and dutifuly beseech you for an audience to provide my evidence and testimony. Events are beyond the simple qualites of my station. I have no doubts that the Potency of your Station and the vast Aboundancies of Valor and Wisdom residing in your Character will render impotent the machinations of this Fel Agent of Chaos and Stamp with Glory your Most Noble name in the Saga of the Ages, amongst the greatest of Lords!

Your Humble Subject,
Diego el Smithson

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The Well of Demons (GM Post)

The party had barely recovered their breath when a demon from the Abyss attacked. Charging through the door, a creature later identified as a barlgura demon by Brost and Elias attacked with the full might of its savagery. Barely recovered from the fight with the gnolls, the party rallied and soon made short work of the demon.

The party then headed north, where the last of the gnolls from the last fight had headed. Fix disguised himself as a gnoll and went ahead to scout out the chamber. After turning the corner he realized that though his ring may disguise his form the four yapping hyenas knew by his smell that he wasn’t a gnoll. Withdrawing back to the party, the sounds of doors opening let them all know that the hyenas were not alone.

Soon the previously caged hyenas rounded the corner and a gnoll archer stood behind the pack. Diego again took the lead, trying to form a perimeter that the creatures wouldn’t pass. Two more hyena spearmen charged out from a different direction, but Diego (with the party’s help) was able to hem the creatures in. Eventually, the creatures fell to the tactics of the group. The last hyena spearman tried to flee into the labyrinth, but the party dropped the creature just on the verge of its escape. Brost however, stabilized the creature in order to question it further about the gnoll activities in the Well of Demons.

When the gnoll Brost had stabilized finally came to its senses, Diego and Fix questioned the creature and learned that it followed a gnoll named Maldrick Scarmaker who had already survived the challenge of the Well and entered the inner sanctum. The gnoll gladly pointed the way, knowing it would die at the hand of its enemies.

Proceeding down the corridor, the party entered a large area of interconnected rooms. Once they entered, the inhuman screeches became more intense. The sound of stone scraping on stone began and all the sounds soon blended into a cacophony of sound.

Finding themselves in a shrine to Baphomet, demon lord of savagery and self-appointed lord of minotaurs, the party began a careful investigation of the room which was soon interrupted by beams of greenish light shooting from the pillars behind the altar. Diego and Fix were targeted by the beams and ran out into an inner hallway. Finding themselves in the path of an eight foot wide boulder barreling down the corridor, they ran and ducked out of the boulder’s corridor into a central chamber.

Flushed with success at dodging the boulder, the two were horrified when a green dragon ascended from the pit in front of them. The sounds of the entire complex seemed to emanate from that pit. The dragon declared that it was the guardian of the way, and only its death would open the inner sanctum. It then issued the challenge, “CATCH ME!”

Taking a swipe at its enemies, the dragon flew out from the central chamber and into the boulder’s corridor. Using the layout of the challenge rooms to its advantage, the dragon attacked, withdrew and befuddled the party at every turn. Using it power of suggestion, it often placed members of the party in the boulder’s path and laughed gleefully when they were struck hard by its unthinking ally. Elias and Brost saw signs of the Abyss in the dragon’s form and aura, this was no base wyrm, but a dragon twisted from a deep connection to the abyss.

The party cornered the dragon in the entry shrine, and thinking they had the upper hand were surprised when the dragon used what they though a summoning circle to teleport itself to another chamber in the proving grounds.

In their pursuit of the dragon, the party began triggering other traps in the proving grounds. Torra was sucked into an elemental vortex and nearly drowned before making her escape. Elias chose to investigate the altar in the entrance chamber and despite being forced to flee into the boulder’s corridor by the pillars many times, eventually used his knowledge of religion to render the pillars inert.

The dragon continued to weave in and out of chambers, using the teleport circles when it was stuck by the party. Its hit and run tactics wore down the party’s resources. When Elias used the teleport circle, speaking the exact word that the dragon used, he was also caught in the elemental vortex. Using his knowledge of the arcane, he began to deactivate the runes on the elemental pool and disable the vortex. Upon seeing his success, Torra and Brost joined in the effort and deactivated the vortex.

The dragon found his way to another chamber off the boulder’s corridor, and when Diego moved to chase the dragon, he found the dragon was holding the door, trapping the party yet again while the boulder rolled past. That chamber proved to have two animated crossbows that attacked the group as they battled the dragon.

Though the dragon tricked, teleported and taunted the party through the entire fight, eventually it was cornered and slain, Fix striking the final blow. At its death, the boulder stopped rolling, the screams of the abyss died down, and a grating sound dominated the proving grounds and a previously impenetrable portcullis rose to allow access to the inner sanctum. The party took only enough time to recoup its energy before passing through the raised portcullis to find what lay beyond.

Passing through two runed doors that Elias, Torra and Brost determined had been sealed by powerful magic, they entered the inner sanctum and were immediately attacked by demons and an undead minotaur under the control of Maldrick Scarmaker.

Maldrick began cursing the members of the party as he commanded his Evistro (carnage demons) and his minotaur skeleton to attack, keeping his “pet” barlgura at his side for protection.

Diego was almost slain in that entrance to the inner shrine, and Fix was grievously wounded. Only through the efforts of Torra and Brost did the two still stand. Elias used the anger of his God, Ioun to smite his enemies. Soon Fix was able to break the line and come upon the flanks of his enemies. One by one, Maldrick’s minions fell until only the warlock itself stood against the party. Then it was over.

It took Brost an hour to cast the Dedicate Ritual and remove the influence of Yeenoghu and Baphomet from the shrine. The demonic wailing subsided, and the entire area seemed to be more at peace. In Maldrick’s possessions, the party found several communications from Paldemar, most likely the renegade Mage of Saruun, telling Maldrick to gather the demonic artifacts and return to him. With those communications were a scroll of linked portal, and the sigil sequence for what Paldemar called the Tower of Mysteries.

On completion of Brost’s ritual, the party chose to return to the Seven Pillared Hall. Returning Tusker, the dire boar tortured by the gnolls and hyenas netted the party an gem from the grateful dwarf, Ulthand Deepgem. Returning to Onotar, Fix gave him a copy of the sigil sequence to the Tower of Mysteries and received his thanks.

Fairly sure that the Mages of Saruun would deal with the Tower of Mysteries, and concerned about their own lands, the party made its way up the Street of Lanterns. Torra traced the path back to the Bloodreaver caves and the portal that stranded them in the Wildlands. The party used the scroll given to Maldrick and found itself again in the ruins of Westbrook.

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To The Well of Demons (GM Post)

Having three days before the shipment from Silvershield returns with their ritual scrolls, the party relaxes a bit in the Seven Pillared Hall while preparing for their expedition in to the Well of Demons.

On the second day, while the party enjoys a meal at the Halfmoon Inn, the sounds of battle reverberate through the Hall. Erra Haflmoon immediately bars the door of the Inn. While looking through arrowslits, the party sees a caravan of drow doing battle with the Mages of Saruunn. While it looks like the drow came to trade, with several trade wagons hitched to immense hairy spiders, the contingent of warriors, led by three females now wages war against the mages and their bronze warders. The drow spells bounce off the warders as the bronze minotaurs smash through the front ranks and summoned spiders. Soon the battle is over, with a few mages obviously injured and the drow decimated. The bronze warders crush what is left of the bodies into the stone floor, leaving behind lumps of gore on the ground.

Once the door is unbarred, Fix goes over to the lumps of gore, looking for any belongings that may have survived the battle. After washing up in the river, he returns to the Inn empty handed.

On the third day, the caravan returns from Silversheild with the scrolls purchased by Elias and Surina. Ulthand Deepgem delivers the scrolls to the Halfmoon Inn on behalf of himself and the dragonborn. The ritual scroll, Hallow, should allow Brost to rededicate the shrine of Baphomet that Surina spoke of to Erathis. With any luck, the party hopes for a subtle shift in the entire labyrinth once Baphomet’s influence is replaced by Erathis’.

Traveling down the Deep Stair, the part follows the main corridor. Where it branches, they are careful to always stay to the left as Surina strongly urged. Soon the come upon an open area with five exits, each with a symbol above the archway. Trying to make sense of the symbols, Brost and Elias each have trouble deciphering them. One symbol stands out however, looking as if it incorporates symbols from the Abyss in its design.

Not having any better clue, they enter the arch with the demonic symbol and soon find themselves in a large pillared room. When Torra moves into the room to investigate a large well, a creature from the top of a nearby column wraps a tentacle around her neck and begins choking her. Soon another one of those creatures attacks from another column while a ghoul charges up to the party.

As the battle begins in earnest, a thing comes up from the well. The thing in the well seems to be all tentacles, each covered with small circular indentations looking like either suckers or small mouths ringed with teeth. Not quite belonging to this world, the creature targets Torra.

The battle was furious, and the aberrations were utterly ruthless, moving and fighting in ways that ordinary creatures shouldn’t move or fight. Eventually the party was victorious, ridding Arith of three more taints from the Far Realm and their undead helper.

After the battle, the party realized that inhuman howls and screams resonated throughout the area. Scouting ahead, Fix soon came upon a door where the inhuman sounds seemed louder. When the rest of the party arrived Diego charged the door, bursting into a long chamber.

To the south, behind a straw barricade, four gnolls armed with longbows barked commands to four hyenas close to the door who were terrorizing a large dire boar chained to a spike in the ground.

The hyenas immediately attacked Diego, while the gnolls began firing arrows at whoever was in the doorway. Diego and Fix were forced to retreat under the onslaught. Elias took a chance and using the blessing of Ioun to move unimpeded, pulled the spike holding the boar out of the ground, at which point, the furious beast charged whoever was nearest, unfortunately that was Elias. While the rest of the party attacked the hyenas, Diego made a running jump over the barricade and engaged the gnolls. When the last hyena fell Fix joined Diego in attacking the gnolls. Torra spent her time quieting and calming the boar, taking another potential enemy out of the fight.

When the end results of the battle were obvious, one of the last remaining gnolls attempted to flee. Quick work by Torra’s spirit Shiva and Fix dropped the coward before he was able to alert others.

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Back to the Hall (GM Post)

The Grimmerzhul lay defeated at their feet, their bastion of Horned Hold, possibly an older minotaur construction from the days of Saruun Khel was emptied of all but the party and the freed slaves. A report sent to Thane Murkelmor gave a detailed picture of what the mysterious Emissary was up to, and his eventual goal. The party now had many things to consider.

Surveying the slaves, most were captured in the labyrinth and wished to be brought to the Seven Pillared Hall to eventually find ways home. Fix however, wished to find out what was behind the unopened door in the ruined section of the main tower. Somewhere, Avandra smiled.

The door led to an older temple to Baphomet, demon lord of the minotaurs. In the temple, 5 undead creatures sensed the life forces approaching and attacked as soon as the door opened. The battle was never really in question, and the wights were felled one after the other. Beyond the temple were crypts, and a secret door leading to the slave pits. Investigating, the party determined that the duergar, knowing of the undead, slipped through the back door and looted any valuables from the ancient minotaur crypts.

One mystery solved, the party chose to lead the slaves back to the Hall. Fix found Charrak sweeping dung at Bersk the Wainwright’s. Letting the shifty little kobold know what was up, he received some valuable information. The Mages of Saruun wouldn’t immediately act on the defeat of the Grimmerzhul, but may retaliate against the loss of their business partner unless given a reason not to and the dragonborn Surina as well as the dwarf Ulthand Deepgem would be very pleased by the defeat of the Grimmerzhul.

He learned of how to summon the Ordinator, leader of the Mages and chose to summon the Mage and provide the Ordinator with a copy of the scroll found in Murkelmor’s chambers (which Diego had been translating for the other party members). Sounding the gong summoned the mighty Mage and his towering Bronze Warder. The Mage did not let Fix leave, and seemed to see right through the rogue. After reading the report, he commanded Fix to seek out Onotar at the Customhouse for more directions.

Onotar suggested that Fix take his group and find the Well of Demons, where the gnolls sought to lot the treasures and turn the Well dedicated to the minotaur demon lord Baphomet to their own demon lord Yeenoghu.

The dragonborn Surina found the party at the Halfmoon Inn and also shared her story. Her village of Daljur was attacked and destroyed by demon-worshipping gnolls. She made pacts to powerful entities and swore oaths to destroy evil in all the forms she found it. Loudly she proclaimed her desire to overthrow the Mages and make war on the Darklands. The party managed to shuttle into a private room before the impetuous dragonborn stirred up too much trouble. She offered the party 90 gp and possible future employment for proof of the destruction of the gnolls.

Going to the Deepgem Trading Post, the party then contacted Ulthand Deepgem and gave him a copy of Murkelmor’s research. Pleased that the party had defeated their enemies, Ulthand promised to send the scroll out with the next caravan to Silvershield, his home. He also gladly agreed to send any requests for items or magic to Silvershield. Elias asked for a list of arcane rituals. Ulthand also disenchanted the duergar’s flaming maul and gave the party the residuum free of charge.

He did make one request, that the party keep an eye out for his pet, a dire boar he named Tusker, while exploring the labyrinth. When asked how to corral such a beast by Diego, Ulthand said “just whap him over the head until he cooperates”.

With a target identified, the party returned to the Halfmoon Inn to rest.

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Assault on the Grimmerzhul (GM Post)

Having cleared the two towers on the near side of the cavern, the party took some time and barricaded the door in the smithy that opened onto the smaller footbridge, then approached the larger footbridge to assault the final tower across the chasm.

Crossing the bridge, they were fired upon by crossbows from the arrow slits near the bridge, Diego charged and burst through the door only to be attacked by two duergar guards. Coming out of a side chamber was another guard, who had apparently alerted their spellcaster. Near the arrow slits were strange constructions looking like large crossbows on legs, firing on the party still on the bridge.

While the guards kept Diego busy, and kept the rest of the party blocked on the bridge, the duergar theurge commanded the nearest crossbow thing to fire on Diego while he took up a position at the arrow slit to cast spells upon the party. Like the master smith, he was able to blind those party members on the bridge and rain fiery hail down upon them. Fix was finally able to get inside the chamber and assist Diego, who was rapidly being overwhelmed by the combination of the guards and crossbow constructs. The theurge then commanded both crossbow things to target Diego and Fix.

Eventually, the guards at the door were defeated, and the full might of the party was arrayed against their enemies. Though the battle was grim, and Diego was badly hurt, soon only the theurge and a crossbow stood in their way, and soon they fell as well.

Fix again donned a disguise and investigated further into the tower. On reaching the end of the next hallway, he found a group of orcs, with an ogre for backup, guarding a massive gate. The Fix, as a duergar guard, ordered the orcs down the corridor. When the first orc encountered the party, the battle began in earnest.

Diego again created a front line in the hallway, while Elias used the powers of Ioun to aid the warrior. Fix retreated back to the party and pretended to attack Brost, having been badly injured in the last few fights. The orcs quickly had Diego surrounded and the ogre slowly made his way up to the fighter, but as the orcs began to fall, the momentum was in the party’s favor. Soon the ogre was the only creature left, and when Torra assaulted it with spirits of fear and horror, its mind finally snapped and it keeled over dead.

Opening the large iron doors, the party found a wide passageway descending deeper into the Darklands. Fix again used his magic to look like a guard and delved further into the complex. Off the ogre room, he found a corridor leading to two distinct areas. One area was a finely appointed chamber with an obvious bedchamber atop a wide staircase flanked by statues. Not trusting the statues (having heard many stories of animated statues and golems), Fix explored the other passage and found a large room with slave pits. Two creatures from the Pits of Hell manned the slave pits along with another dwarven theurge and some more guards. Unfortunately, other members of the party were spotted by the creatures, and the melee began.

Elias and Brost recognized the devils as spinagon, or spined devils, who flew from bridge to bridge, spraying whichever party member was visible with their poisoned spines as the theurge took up a position on one of the bridges and rained death upon the center of the party. The guards tried to hold the party at the doorway to give the others a chance to attack at range.

Fix was lucky enough to target the theurge with an attack that sent it reeling into one of the slave pits, and one of the spinagon took the time to retrieve the theurge. Fix had hoped that the slaves would take up arms, but it was soon obvious that the slaves would be no help, cowering away from the creatures that had inflicted pain and torture upon them.

Soon the guards lay dead, then the spinagon were sent back to the pits of hell. Alone, the theurge soon fell as well.

After freeing the slaves from the pits and sending them back to the kitchens to meet with the others, the party thoroughly investigated the Thane’s chambers. On a writing desk they found a note to Murkelmor, detailing the research that the duergar thuerges had found on the Emissary’s plans.

Faced with the knowledge in that missive, several dozen slaves, and a still unexplored but seemingly abandoned part of the tower (which the duergar called the Horned Hold). The party decided to rest before contemplating their options.

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