The Hangman's Body Count

Chapter 1: Shades of the Zhentarim

Chat log started at 30.3.2016 / 17:48:51

When we left the game last, the group was looking over their offical looking aadventurers charter and settling down for the night, knowing that early the next morning they would leave via ship to Zhentil Keep
The date is Tenth-day, 30th Hammer, 1479 DR
Quinn Winterborn is nervous but ready to go
Morning comes too early for some, and too late for others, as the sun still has not broken over the docks as you make your way to the slip that Master Cobb said your transportation would be waiting. Staring you in the face is a derelict looking schooner with tons of crusty looking barancles on the hull. A few men work on coiling ropes on the deck.
Quinn Winterborn whispers I bet it’s faster than it looks
Hudson Aydar: Just so long as it’s more sea worthy than it looks
One of the sailors looks to your group as you approach, splitting a grin that has perhaps two teeth total, “You the motley lot were takin cross the Moonsea?”
River: Um… Y-yes, sir.
Quinn Winterborn nods
Hudson Aydar: nods
Faeryl: I presume so.
Faeryl: That hunk of junk the thing you’re taking us on? That does not inspire confidence.
Quinn Winterborn: I wonder why they call it Moonsea….
Sailor: Fair enough. Master Cobb paid good coin to get you there quickly. Stow yer gear in the bunks below. We’ll get amove on, once the Capn shows up.
Sailor: Ever sailed before elf? It aint all singing and spinning the wheel. This is a working ship, and she be worked.
Faeryl: I try to avoid the sea as much as possible, I prefer solid earth beneath, or above, my feet.
River pales a bit at the mention of a ‘working ship’.
Sailor laughs heartily and makes a sweeping bow, welcoming you onto the ship. Large crates are stacked haphazardly on the deck, but everything appears to be lashed down tightly. The bunks mentioned are through the only door on this deck, which opens into a large (15×15) room with 16 hammocks and a pair of bolted down chests serve as the only furniture.
Quinn Winterborn: I hope the captain gets here soon!
River: I pray this is a short t-trip…
Faeryl: As do I, for both
Through this room is a much smaller room with a desk crammed into a room that also has a bolted down chest and a hammock strung high in the room. On the opposite side of the room is a staircase leading down into the storage area in the belly of the ship.
Quinn Winterborn: I hope Moro sails well….
Quinn Winterborn eyes the wolf warily.
Sailor: Should take most of the day – we should dock in Zhentil this evening, assuming the saughin dont mess with us.
Moro simply yawns and lies down as little is happening (that appeals to her at least).
Quinn Winterborn: Ooh! Saughin!
Sailor: They usually only bother coastal ships, we’re cutting through the center, so shouldnt be an issue
Quinn Winterborn seems vaguely disappointed
Faeryl: You would let a bunch of fish stop you? Pathetic.
With a deep bellow announcing his presence, a stout dwarf steps onto the ship, recieving a sharp cry from the sailors in reply. The dwarf has skin that is deeply bronzed, an eye patch over his left eye that does little to hide the scar that runs from his chin (through his eye) across the top of his head to the other side. His smile does little to ease his visage, though it seems geniune.
Captn Haplo: Morning, travelers – Are we ready to get underway?
Quinn Winterborn nods excitedly
Faeryl: We have been ready since the moment we stepped on this … ship.
Faeryl: I will be honest, I would have thought you, as captain of this ship, would have been here to greet us.
Captn Haplo: Excellent. Then lets be off…
Captn Haplo frowns, “You sayin you know how to do my job, better than I do?”
Captn Haplo: Lets get this out of the way, straight off. Yer cargo and nothing more. You can be pleasant and stay outta the way, or you can be chained to the floor and made silent. Theres no room for ‘helping’ once we set sail. Leave me to do my work, and I’ll getcha where you need to go. Otherwise, shuddap and sit down.
Faeryl scowls
Faeryl: Call me cargo once more, dwarf, and this ship may need a new captain.
River: P-please, let’s not cause any t-trouble for the captain…
Quinn Winterborn: It’s fine. The drow can swim to Moonsea. I’m sure we’ll be happy to wait for him to catch up!
Quinn Winterborn rolls his eyes
Captn Haplo flashes another gruesome smile and flips a satchel to one of the other sailors. “Eres the dispatches. Stow’em and lets get going. Cargo’s getting… squarmy.”
Hudson Aydar looks as though he wants to say something, and then just rolls his eyes
Faeryl inches towards his sword, but stopss himself.
Faeryl: Keep that captain away from me, I do not appreciate his words.
Faeryl heads below deck
River simply sighs as Faeryl heads down, and quietly follows, with Moro in tow.
The sailor snatches the satchel out of the air and gets moving. The dwarf leaves you standing there, bellowing orders as the other sailors rush into action. Within a few moments the gangplank is pulled up and the ship moves away from the harbor and into the open sea.
River spends the majority of the trip sowing something together.
Hours pass, the general hustle and bustle of the sailors clue you in that they are overworked, as they jump from task to task and never quite seem to stand still. Even the dwarf appears to do work that is typically below a captains station – swabbing decks, coiling rope and running up and down the decks fetching items needed above.
The only break the crew takes is for the midday meal, where they eat in shifts, and only hardtack and water from barrels. Half eats while the other half continues work on the ship.
You are not offered anything to eat or drink and are generally ignored by the crew members unless asked for something directly.
Faeryl: I expected we would recieve food, I believe the captain was paid for our transport.
Captn Haplo: Cargo doesnt eat.
Faeryl: I hope he was paid with a single gold piece, for that is all his… hospitality, is earned, and barely that.
Faeryl: And neither do dead men
River: P-please, d-don’t make this trip any l-longer than it has to be…
Captn Haplo: I ent no man. Just keep yer mouths shut and we’ll be rid of ye in a few hours. The dicey parts coming up shortly.
Faeryl: Get back to scrubbing the crap off the floor “Captain”
Faeryl: I will be looking in your storage for food.
Captn Haplo: Touch a crate, break a rope or chain and I’ll kill you meself.
Captn Haplo stands up and heads back to the stern, looking out over the sea and mumbling to himself.
River ponders what she could do to rein in Faeryl’s behavior…
Faeryl: Bah, he can certainly try.
River: Hm…
River pulls out a piece of paper and looks through it for anything of note.
River: Ah. I s-suspected as much.
Within the hour, those of you above decks can certainly tell a change in the sea itself. The water becomes darker and more… viscous-appearing. Bits of flotsam are now standard, and the occasional gagging stench of a dead man is smelled, though not often seen. The sailors all appear to be on edge, but still work vigorously – though more quietly and careful in their movements.
Most communication is now being done with hand signals and the Captain maintains both hands on the wheel at all times. Its erie, but nothing leaps out to grab you as to why.
Quinn Winterborn is fascinated
Hudson Aydar: silently joins Quinn
Faeryl: Suspected what?
River: You should remember y-your promises, Mr. Faeryl. You are bound to r-respect the proper authorities.
River shows the copy of the charter to Faeryl.
River: And… on this ship, that would be the C-captain.
River: So p-please, don’t make any more t-trouble.
Faeryl: He has no authority over me, he threw it away the moment he called me cargo.
River: Th-then… I suggest you be more c-courteous, at least. Trust is a two-way s-street.
Faeryl: I will be courteous when he agrees that we are more then mere cargo. Until then, keep him away from me, he he may find he has no mouth left.
Another hour passes with little in the way of excitement, save the smells. A sudden paniced flutter of hands from the starboard side pulls at your attention. Far off in the distance you see what appears to be a large fortress, though it is clearly in the middle of the sea. The Captain sweats freely, but the ship maintains speed and direct course, and after some tension filled silent moments, the fortress fades from view and the sailors relax somewhat.
River: …W-what was that?
Sailor (whispers): Thats the Bloody Scalps compound. They control most of the ‘commerce’ this end of the Moonsea. Captain doesnt want to pay ‘taxes’ so we’re slipping by.
Sailor (whispers): Luckily, we should be beyond it and into Zhentil Keep within the hour.
Quinn Winterborn spits
Quinn Winterborn: Honourless pirates, or so I’ve been told.
River gets extremely nervous and hides behind one of the crewmen as they sail.
River: Honorless or n-not… It is worrisome…
Sailor: Yes, miss. So, please keep quiet until we’re in the clear. Captins orders.
River silently nods.
Faeryl: Tell the captain, to treat us with respect, or I will shout to the heavens, damned what happens.
Sailor: You’ll swim with the dead with that attitude, elf. Now leave me to my work.
Hudson Aydar: You would endanger River and Quinn to sate your pride?
Sailor hurries off.
Faeryl waits till the sailor goes
Quinn Winterborn shushes everyone nervously.
Faeryl: I would not, it was a threat, and one which I would not fulfill.
Hudson Aydar: … i see.
River (muttering): As empty as your w-word, then…
Faeryl: My word is not empty, if I were on my own I would certainly have done it.
River simply shakes her head at the drow, and heads below deck once again, to continue her needlework.
Hudson Aydar: stands silently, watching everything
Time seems to pass more slowly with other things dancing on your mind, but eventually you see the coastline come into view, and with that, the mouth of the river Tesh. Seated on either side of the rivers mouth is a sprawling city, though the south bank appears to be much worse for wear. Shattered spires just up from teh ground that is covered in tent-like cities that eventually give way to the mud and brick buildings that appear to be more permanent.
Quinn Winterborn heads over to the south side of the boat and gapes.
The sailors begin to move with more determination and vigor as they approach the docks, and you believe that you’ll be off the ship by dinner time.
Faeryl: Good, we’re here, a second longer on this ship then neccesary, and nothing will stop me killing that bastard of a dwarf.
River: Continue that attitude, a-and… well…
River: I-I won’t give you y-your present…
The south bank is a graveyard. Almost literally. Whispers of powerful undead that roam the citys ruins are made more believable as a low dark cloud hangs over the ruins of the south bank. Howls can be heard, even from this far off.
Quinn Winterborn raises and eyebrow and River, curously.
Faeryl: There was once a time his head would be on the floor quicker then you could blink.
Faeryl: Had he called any other Drow cargo… well, I dare think what would have happened.
River: Fine. I will w-withhold your gift until y-you be nice to someone.
Faeryl: I was being nice, not killing him was the nicest thing I could do to a man like that.
Moro snickers a little from underfoot.
The ship docks swiftly, though the pier looks less reliable than most hastily built wooden structures… but it seems to hold weight as the ship butts up against it. The gangplank is lowered quickly and the Captain practically leaps off, meeting up with a few rather rough looking men on the dock. You can clearly see the men argue before the dwarf passes over several gold coin and then another handful of silvers. The ruffians leave, laughing, while the dwarf dejectedly heads back to the ship.
As he boards the ship, he looks to your group and motions with his thumb towards the pier. “Yer here. Get off.”
River begins to leave the ship, before turning to the Captain.
Quinn Winterborn scampers down the gangplank, looking around wide eyed
River: …May I a-ask what happened with you and those m-men?
Captn Haplo: Nuthing… just paying for bringing you here. Took me for a bit more than usual. Prices are going up. Somethings a buzz in town.
River: …I-I’m sorry we were such a b-burden. I can c-cover the cost those m-men asked for….
Faeryl: Good, they should have taken you for everything you had, you deserve it. We are not cargo, we are living beings.
River begins to dig into her coin purse.
Captn Haplo: Yer fine, miss. Master Cobb covered it. Now get off my ship so we can get underway.
Faeryl: And you would do well to remember that, if you had called any other Drow cargo, you might not be here to pay the men.
River: …Yes s-sir.
River firmly stamps on Faeryl’s foot.
Faeryl leaves the ship.
River: Let’s g-go.
Hudson Aydar: follows silently
Captn Haplo leveling a gaze at the drow, “Better watch yer tongue here – aint no ones gonna be scared of you here. Just fair warning.”
Your arrive in Zhentil Keep, finding it to be much worse than Kerstol Cobb described in his letter to his father. The streets are littered with the dead and dying, the most unsavory criminal elements openly flaunt their unlawful behavior, and any sort of law or order seems nonexistent
Faeryl walks off without another word.
The ship pulls away within ten minutes of your landing. The docks give way to a maze of tents and vendors, with ruffians positioned at nearly every corner.
Faeryl: Keep close, I have seen this sort of thing many times in the Underdark.
River shivers nervously as the party advances down the dilapidated streets.
It isnt… think of a town that is literally run by criminals… none of them powerful enough to be at the top of long. Gang wars are nearly constant and the fights leave dead men in the street- which are never cleaned up.
Moro warily keeps an eye on her ward, like a mother safeguarding her newborn.
Hudson Aydar: Watches ruffians, and who is watching who, just in case violence looks to be about to break out.
You can, but aside from the wanton poverty and dead bodies, you think this is just a haven for ‘bad guys’
A few here and there… but generally they are near death… guts spilled out or other grievous wounds that will soon end them. Heal check if thats your route.
River tries to tend to the mortal wounds of a man, seeing if there’s anything she can do to assuage the pain.
Moro stands on guard, cautious of anything amiss.
Faeryl: There is no point, he will be injured twice as bad tomorrow for surviving.
Hudson Aydar stands guard over River as she does what she does, to make sure there’s no retribution from the gang that caused these wounds.
You tend to some wounded, asking for directions. The first person dies before you can begin to question him. The second is able to tell you that the tavern that you are looking for is at the other end of the docks, where the buildings are more permanent.
River: T-thank you, kind s-sir. May you find peace.
You easily find the “tavern” that Kerstol refers to in his letter with the directions given by the wounded man. It was obviously once a one-story barracks, with its dour façade and militaristic appearance. Only a few windows ever adorned the building, and those have been boarded up. Stout wooden doors, currently unlocked, offer the only entrance.
Faeryl opens the door to the tavern and steps inside, holding it open for the others.
Faeryl: Waiting outside will do us no good
Quinn Winterborn follows Hudson
Hudson Aydar follows close behind, hand close to his hammer
The occupants of the tavern are a mix of brawny, loutish sailors dressed in patchwork leathers and commoners unhappy to be stuck in such a place. A female sailor, head shaved clean and ears decorated with innumerable sparkling gems, points at you as you enter. Her scalp is heavily scarred.
River quietly brings up the rear, with Moro and Izual the silent.
“Well what have we here, lads? Adventurers! Looks like we’d better leave—the Keep lets anyone in these days!” A hearty laugh goes around the room. “On second thought,” continues the woman as she rakes her long fingernails across her forehead and draws a longsword, “why don’t you leave your possessions with us and YOU can make your way out of the Keep. This is Bloody Scalp territory.” Small streams of blood trickle from the scars on her forehead. Three other pirates also pull swords and move toward you.
Faeryl: Oh good, I needed something to vent my anger.
Quinn Winterborn grins
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler laughs aloud, patting her longswords together, waiting…
River: Oh…. S-sorry, we must have the w-wrong b-building…
Faeryl: You picked a bad day to mess with us Pirates. I just got off a ship that was captained by a dwarf I was eager to kill. Now I get to kill you.
The other patrons dont appear to get up or be swayed by your words.
Bloody Scalp Pirate 1: Ent so brave now, is you?!?
Faeryl yawns
Faeryl: That all?
Bloody Scalp Pirate 3 nearly dropped his sword in his eagerness to stab at the newcomers. His wild swing instead nearly crowns a patron trying to drink his beer.
Quinn Winterborn grins
River stifles a shriek of terror and cowers as a brawl breaks out!
Moro growls and prepares to leap into the fray!
Hudson Aydar: tries to leap onto the table, and can’t get his footing. Embarrasedly, he tries to swing at the fumbling guy, and misses again. With a frustrated snap, he squares up against both of them.
River cowers!
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler: Seems like these swabs is green green green!
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler cackles aloud.
Hudson Aydar: soon you’ll be red. maybe a little white where the bones stick out.
Moro bounds around Hudson and leaps onto the table!
Moro tears into the hide of the pirate with gnashing teeth!
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler moves along the tables, then suddenly turns and runs forward, swords flashing.
River: Mr. Aydar!
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler howls as blood pours from her scalp wound.
Quinn Winterborn grits his teeth, but maintains his focus on the swashbuckler
Quinn Winterborn grins, but his concentration does not waver
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler rallies her man after his swing goes wild.
The other patrons are visibily cowed now that someone has died, shying away from the fight that has suddenly turned deadly.
Hudson Aydar’s skin is overtaken with ice again, and he slams his hammer into the ground, making the floorboars rattle and move, knocking all the enemies off their feet, whilst he takes a step back.
River flees for her life!.
Moro moves into the fray to try and protect the mage!
Moro once again rips viciously at the pirate scum’s flesh!
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler stands up, slinking forward, eager to finish off the wounded mark.
River flinches and grasps at her wrist as Moro disappears into mist..
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler howls aloud as she scores a savage hit against the wolf, inspiring her remaining crew with increased vigor. She then smiles and attacks again.
Faeryl sees the swashbuckler cut down hudson and gets very angry
Faeryl: You will pay for that
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler swings through, cleaving Hudson to the brisket and looks to continue her swing, but finds there are no adjacent targets. “Yer next, lovely…”
Faeryl smiles as he strikes at the pirate, with enhanced vigor he strikes again
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler spits a bit of blood. “Oh yes, lovely… thats it…”
Faeryl chops the bitches head clean off
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler as she begins to fall to the ground, the swashbuckler swings wildly at Faeryl.
Faeryl easily sidesteps out of the way
Faeryl: Nice try… my lovely
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler then promptly dies with a wet splat.
Quinn Winterborn grabs his quarterstaff in both hands and drives it downwards
Quinn Winterborn scowls
The pirate stands up slowly, and swings his sword at Quinn
Quinn Winterborn grimaces, but gives the pirate a wicked grin
River begins to run to the other end of the tavern.
Moro coalesces back into form, and tries to strike an attack from behind!
River turns and looks upon Hudson’s broken body, and whispers a silent prayer.
River mumbling …Please get up. I don’t want anyone else to die…
Faeryl: You’re next, your “lovely” leader requests you follow her to the afterlife.
Quinn Winterborn grins. Two at once, eh? I haven’t fought these odds since I left the farm.
Quinn Winterborn laughs ferociously!
Faeryl cuts through the pirate then drags him away from his friend
River: Mr. Winterborn! Be careful!
Hudson Aydar: stands up, his eyes completely white, as the world grows cold.
The pirate splatters under the full force of Hudson’s blow.
River turns to flee for the far counter.
Moro slowly advances, growling angrily at the pirate.
The other patrons, which have begun cowering as the fight turns one sided, visibly flinch as River runs past.
Moro howls and emboldens the party, then attacks!
River: S-sorry, excuse me… I’m s-sorry…
Faeryl shifts through the wolf and strikes at the pirate
Faeryl cuts the pirate in half
The final pirate falls to the floor with a second, wet splat, painting the walls with blood.
Quinn Winterborn: Looks like he….lost the light….
Faeryl roars in victory
Faeryl then prompty facepalms
Faeryl: Anyone else!
Quinn Winterborn looks a bit sheepish
Faeryl: My sword is still thirsty!
As River gets to the counter, a dark haired man pops up from behind it, his face eriely similar to that of Master Cobb.
River: O-oh! I-I’m sorry…
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, hello there.
Faeryl charges past the patrons, his sword covered with the pirates blood.
Hudson Aydar: stands painfully still, his head turning to look at the patrons with a cold evaluating look, almost as if looking for the next target, before he takes a deep breath and the ice falls from his skin like snowflakes
Kerstol Cobb: Uh… hello?
Moro simply yawns and lies down to rest.
The man straightens up quickly, gaining confidence. “I bet my father sent you.”
Faeryl: You must be Kerstol
River: …Um… H-hello.
Kerstol Cobb makes a deep bow, knockin over several bottles from behind the counter. “I am indeed.”
Quinn Winterborn offers a handshake to Kerstol
Faeryl sheaths his sword, its job finished
River: We came b-because of your l-letter…
River: Forgive me, but may I a-ask… is there a place of r-rest nearby? I f-fear we have brought undue attention onto u-us…
Kerstol’s similarities to his father end with his facial features. He is waifishly thin and dirty, wearing clothing that is caked in filth. Around his right arm you see a bandana that bears the mark of the Bloody Scalps as well.
Kerstol Cobb: Not much in the way of rest around here. Woulda left this place if that was easy to find.
Faeryl charges over the counter and grabs Kerstol by the neck
Faeryl: Are you part of that scum?
River pales upon looking at the bandanda.
River quickly steps back a full step or three.
Kerstol Cobb shrugs, “Everyone has to join some gang. Im not sorry you killed them, if thats what you’re asking.”
Faeryl: I should kill you where you stand.
Faeryl lets Kerstol go
River: I… but…
Kerstol Cobb: You arent the first today to say that…
Quinn Winterborn: You’ll have to pardon our drow friend. He feels he should kill everyone where they stand. Only does it sometimes
Kerstol Cobb: Hell, Bridgit said that to me about three minutes before you walked in.
River: I take it s-she…
Kerstol Cobb: And, ye see, there’s always a bigger fish in Zhentil Keep, friend.
River looks back to the swashbuckler’s remains.
Kerstol Cobb points to the pile on the floor. “Thats her”
Faeryl: The one I slaughtered as easily as a cat slaughters a mouse?
Faeryl: Pathetic woman
River: …I… I’m sorry for y-your loss.
Faeryl: I could have killed her in my sleep…. If I slept
Hudson Aydar: she had a good sword arm on her.
Kerstol Cobb: In fact, to settle things out between us, Here’s the payment I was supposed to give her, but didnt. We’ll be square then, aye?
River: …N-not quite.
Quinn Winterborn frowns, but says nothing.
River: You m-mentioned something in your l-letter…
Kerstol Cobb sets a bulging sack up on the counter. “Fair enough.”
River: Something about… an e-evil artifact…
Hudson Aydar: moves to an unnoccupied seat, and begins checking himself for any sign of the near-fatal wound.
Faeryl grabs the sack
Faeryl looks inside and counts, then distributes the gold
Kerstol Cobb: Aye yes, the letter. Been a LOT of activity in recent days… lots of moving parts that have not been seen in a while.
Quinn Winterborn perks up at the mention of an artifact
Kerstol Cobb: There have been shadowy creatures lurking on the streets at night, where previously one only had to worry about press gangs and murderers. The worshippers of Bane and Cyric have also been crawling all over the ruins lately, getting in each other’s way and making trouble for the pirates who are just trying to earn a dishonest living. It’s not safe for indecent folk around here any more!
River: I fear it was n-never safe here to begin with…
Kerstol doesn’t know exactly where the you need to go, and the pirates as a whole don’t want to deal with the situation because they can’t see how it would advance their own narrow interests. However, Kerstol likes his new life, and he’s afraid that if tensions continue to mount, Zhentil Keep could return to open warfare, which would certainly make things tough for the pirates, who are not equipped to deal with such heavily-armed and dangerous threats. Kerstol has heard rumors that there is a relic of Shar somewhere in the ruins, and he has even caught glimpses of what he is convinced was a Monk of the Dark Moon (one of Shar’s elite followers). Kerstol learned that everybody is searching for the ruins of a temple of Shar where this relic might have been kept, but nobody has found it yet. Kerstol knows that other interested parties are probably in the area as well.
River: …But n-no one has found these ruins yet?
River: We might have some l-luck yet.
Kerstol Cobb: Not that Im aware of, but its only a matter of time before they do. Zhentil Keeps only so big.
Faeryl: I hope we are the first to find it then,
Kerstol Cobb: That would be good, indeed.
River: I don’t s-suppose there’s a specific kind of m-mark to indicate the ruins?
Quinn Winterborn agrees
Kerstol Cobb: Look around you, miss… Its all ruins.
River frowns and ponders.
Kerstol Cobb: My knowledge is limited, I havent been actively looking, as the peoples involved arent what I normally deal with.
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t suppose there’s even a neutral priest or sage around we could talk to?
River: Well, while I may be f-frail… I am good at one t-thing…
Kerstol Cobb: Might be able to scare up some more intel. You look like a resourceful lot.
Kerstol Cobb: I doubt theres many priests here save those in the Zhentarim and those on retainer for the gangs. Oh and likely the Cyricists and Sharrans…. but might not be a good idea to talk to em… unless your all well spoken types.
River grows silent.
Quinn Winterborn frowns and looks thoughtful
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator bless you, lass.
Kerstol Cobb: I cannot impress upon you how important its is to find this artifact first. IF it falls into the hands of the Sharrans or the Zhents… or hell even the Shadovar what ever life I have here is as good as gone. They’ve got a head start on you by at least a week…. you’re already behind.
Faeryl: You’re life here is already as good as gone, you joined a bank of pirates.
River: P-please, Faeryl, stop…
Faeryl: I suggest you leave this cesspit as soon as possible, and leave the pirate life behind.
Kerstol Cobb: I dont judge you for your life, dont judge me for mine. It suits me well.
Quinn Winterborn: See, Kersol? Pretty much everyone….
River: …But what of your f-father?
River: I doubt he would a-approve of s-such….
Faeryl: Then I hope I do not see you doing the work of pirates, for I shall not hesitate to strike you down.
Kerstol Cobb: What he doesnt know wont hurt him. He thinks Im an adventurer, and its close enough.
Faeryl: And I assure you, we will be telling your father of your occupation when we next see him.
River: ….Faeryl, wait.
Quinn Winterborn: Come, Faeryl, time to start our search
Kerstol Cobb: You’re call, elf. Just dont expect him to keep up your retainer if you ruin his image of his bouncing boy.
River: …We should g-go…
Faeryl growls at being called an elf
Faeryl: I wish people would not call me an elf.
River slowly leaves the tavern, dragging whomever she can out.
Quinn Winterborn: Well if you want them to call you halfling, try walking around on your knees?
Quinn Winterborn laughs at his own joke
Hudson Aydar: Be well, Kerstol, and survive.
Hudson Aydar follows River out
Kerstol Cobb: But I’ll tell you this, the scalps aint usually kindly to those that butcher their lieutenants – yer lucky their mostly out to sea right now… otherwise, you might have problems. You might be good with a sword but no one can outfight an army…
Faeryl: Remember Kerstol, if I ever see you with a band of pirates, I will strike you down with no mercy.
Quinn Winterborn pulls Faeryl out with him
Quinn Winterborn or tries to
Kerstol Cobb: Hey elf- sod off.
Faeryl dodges their attempts
Other parties interested in retrieving this artifact have been seen in the area, and time is of the essence. Make it clear to the players that taking an extended rest before discovering the location of the relic would be a huge risk, because the other searchers may find the artifact first . WHICH WOULD BE VERY VERY VERY BAD
Quinn Winterborn: We should look for a graveyard. Best place to start looking for a holy relic, if you can’t see a temple, no?
Faeryl sighs
River: Perhaps. …But I have s-something for you all, f-first.
River: Including you, F-Faeryl.
River reaches into her pack and pulls out what she was working on all day: smalls sigils marking them as a band.
River: We are the Lost Light, so it is only f-fitting…
River raises one to all to see. The sigil of a bright yellow circle, with a black starry hole in its center.
Quinn Winterborn smiles
Quinn Winterborn: Ooh, is it magical??
Quinn Winterborn is enthralled
River: Sadly, no… I’ve no talent for magics…
Faeryl holds out his hand
River: But it is to mark us as a band… with a singular purpose.
Quinn Winterborn: River, I like it. Thank you.
River begins to hand the sigils out to the others.
Hudson Aydar: I appreciate it. That you took the time to make me a sigil despite only knowing me a short time means a lot, River.
Faeryl: I thank you, but what may that singular purpose be to you?
River: W-well….
River: The reason I thought of our name… was to remind us.
River: The Lost Light, the flame of hope within us all, easily snuffed by darkness….
River: We should work to preserve that light.
River: Whatever form it may take.
River: I-I’m sorry…. I’m rambling, a-aren’t I…
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator bless you, River
Faeryl: We drow know that above all. But I do not see it as preserving the light, I see it as retrieving it. I wish to redeem those of my people who seek the light and kill all those who follow evil such as Lolth…. If someone such as Kerstol has gone to darkness, then I see it as my duty to try and get him back to the light, and if he refuses, I will not hesitate to strike him down.
River: I s-suppose.
Quinn Winterborn quietly. Faeryl, does it occur to you that Kerstol is a valuably informant, serving the light from behind enemy lines?
River: …A-anyways, we’re required to have symbols of some s-sort…. so, keep them close.
Faeryl: And that is why I gave him a chance Quinn.. More then a chance. I would have cut him down the instant he refused had it not been for that.
Quinn Winterborn: Speaking of cutting down, we should be gone from this place.
River: Yes… We have little t-time to lose.
Kerstol’s information suggests a lost temple of Shar exists somewhere in the ruins on this side of the river. Where exactly is the entrance, and can you find it before any of the other seekers get there first?
Primary Skills: Arcana, Bluff, Diplomacy, Dungeoneering, Heal, History, Insight, Intimidate, Perception, Religion, Stealth, Streetwise, Thievery

River once again turns to help the dead and dying in the streets. It’s in her nature, after all.
River: I hope these c-cloths are suitable for b-binding…
River tends to the diseases and wounds of some of the beggars and common folk of Zhentil Keep, who provide rumors, gossip, and observations concerning the various groups. (Success)
Faeryl sneaks around, trying to eavesdrop on those who may also be searching for the relic.
A number of Zhentarim mercenaries ride slowly down the city streets, whispering among themselves and pointing at specific buildings. They glare with undisguised hostility at anybody they notice watching them.
You tail one of the groups, managing to palm one of their notebooks, which has several areas within the city marked off as already searched, narrowing your field.
Quinn recalls a religious text discussing the worshippers of Shar and is able to identify some of the salient features of the architechtures and motifs that characterize their temples, thereby narrowing your search even further.
You can attempt to, but with all the movings and goings on, the DC is higher because you are just observing and not actively searching.
Faeryl: Common misconception
You actively search… and break a sweat while doing it.
Hudson pours over a map of the ruins of the north bank, looking at topographical evidence for areas that would be stable enough to house an underground temple. He rules out a large portion of the keep, narrowing your search even further…
Faeryl begins crawling through his knowledge of religions to see if he remembers anything of Shar relics.
You fail to recall anything specific on the relics of Shar.
Quinn Winterborn: See if my arcane knowledge can help me deduce where a relic might be, perhaps magically cloaked or shielded from the existing searchers.
Quinn Winterborn flexes
Quinn recalls arcane lore that suggests a possible location for the Temple of Shar, and searches a particular section of the ruins for magical auras that might indicate the presence of the relic
River kneels and prays for a moment, bolstering up her spirit for the search ahead.
River becomes centered… and stands, ready to find the ruins.
River finds a tall place to survey most of the ruins…. and feels the winds blow in the night through her.
River scours the darkest shadows and peers through scrutinizing eyes…
River: Mr. Aydar…. you said it was probably on the n-north bank, yes?
River and Hudson move through the streets, trying to find hints about the location of the temple. As they do so, River spots a bald man with dark robes that moves with unnatural grace, noting the icon of Shar embroidered on his cuffs, they follow the man, which leads you through several streets before the man enters a small encampment with several other similarly dressed men. After another moment, the bald man leaves again with a small sack in his hand, clearly buldging with coins.
The man then darts through another alley, making contact with a worshipper of Cyric, from the mask he is wearing. They exchange a few words and sacks, before departing one another, racing off into the night. River clearly hears something fall as the two race away, and upon investigation finds that the Sharran had a map of the inner city, with several places marked off on the map. Hudson concurs that the temple could only be in one of three other locations.
Moro yawns and lies down for another nap.
You dont recall anything that pertains to this area.
River bends down to listen to Moro.
River: What’s that?
All of your concerted efforts reveal that one of the sites is indeed a underground temple, but it is devoted to those of Cyric. (Success)
River: ….You mean we spent all this time looking for something you already know?
Moro yawns and gets up, then leads the way to the temple.
Quinn begins searching for some significance to the sies that they have narrowed it down to. In his search, he bumps into a group of Banites that are also looking for the Sharran temple. Luckily, his quick thinking allowed him to play along with the priests, posing as an acolyte. Its clear they are close to discovering the location of the temple as well.
More quick notes on the relavent architechture of the classic Sharran design lead the Banites to another location in which they find no temple. Do you continue your ruse, or attempt to leave the group?
You manage… barely… to talk your way out of the group, citing that your mother is ill and needs you to run to the market to get her soup. Even though its clearly 3am.
River feels a LITTLE bit of pressure from all the guys backin’ her up.
River: …Okay Moro. Find the path.
Moro yawns and saunters on forward, as if this was nothing.
You begin heading toward one of the sites, when Moro suddenly veers off toward the other at a breakneck lope. As you make your way away from the first site, you note that a cabal of Sharran monks headed toward the first site – clearly on the warpath. You are lucky to have not been in their way. With the spirit wolf leading the way, you arrive in an abandoned warehouse, which is built upon a shelf of solid stone. Moro paces to the middle of the floor and then stops.
River: … Good Moro.
River pats Moro on the head.
Moro yawns and rolls over to nap.
A bit of further investigation and you find a rustyiron trap door.

Chat log started at 13.4.2016 / 18:03:55

Last time on HBC – the heroes successfully managed to determine the location of the ruins of Shar’s temple in the ruins of Zhentil Keep. Gauging that they are ahead of the other groups that are seeking the artifact, the group gets ready to enter the ruined temple.
River: D…do we…. rea..really have to enter this p..place?
Quinn Winterborn grins enthusiastically
You stand in the run down warehouse, the massive trap doors opened in the main room exposing a short staircase down to a landing that is closed off with a pair of rusted iron doors bearing a large black disc upon them, lined in amethyst stones.
Faeryl: Yes we do, unless you wish to stay behind?
River: N…No, I’ll come.
Quinn Winterborn: We will be grateful for your spiritual magic, River. And you too, Moro.
Moro: Woof
Hudson Aydar: Are we expecting this place to be guarded? Or trapped?
Quinn Winterborn: Hm.. Yes, and yes, I think.
Faeryl: I wouldn’t be surprised.
Hudson Aydar says, with dry sarcasm, “Marvelous”
Faeryl helps search for traps
The nine stone steps are well worn with age, but not by footsteps. There appears to be no traps leading to the door.
Quinn Winterborn walks down the stairs excitedly, and starts to inspect the doors for magic
Faeryl: It’s safe
Faeryl walks down the stairs carefully, scowling at Quinns carelessness.
Hudson Aydar: As safe as anything in this place is likely to be.
You face a pair of rusted iron doors with Shar’s symbol emblazoned on it.
Hudson Aydar follows, watching everything with sharp eyes
Faeryl: Well, this is definitely the place.
River: W-well…. All that’s left is to go f-forward…
River: ….You first.
Faeryl: Let us inspect the door for traps first.
Quinn Winterborn: Good news and bad news guys.
Quinn Winterborn: The door is definitely magic.
Quinn Winterborn: And I have no idea how to open it.
Faeryl: Where was the good news in that?
Hudson Aydar: stay close, River. There could be secret passages, and none of us should be caught away from the rest of the group if we can help it.
Quinn Winterborn: Well, the lock isn’t magical, as far as I can tell. Still, it’s interesting.
Quinn Winterborn looks a bit hurt
Faeryl: There is nothing interesting about a magical door dedicated to Shar.
River: …P-perhaps it’s more to do with Shar than a-anything…
The door does not appear threatening, but it is very much closed and locked.
Quinn Winterborn starts to explain how there’s a very interesting glamour on the symbol of Shar
Quinn Winterborn pulls out his spellbook and starts making notes on a blank page
Hudson Aydar: “I can always just… fall back on plan B.” Hudson says lifting his hammer
Faeryl: So, how do we open this door. I don’t suppose a conventional lockpick would do the trick.
Hudson Aydar: not the stealthiest maneuver but we have little time before we have more groups catching up to us.
River: …I d-don’t know…
Moro groans and looks happily at Hudson.
Faeryl fashions a makeshift lockpick.. somehow, and tries to pick the lock
River: …I-I suppose…
You are horrible at making lock picks. This situation makes you rethink your profession at lockpicking and that you should perhaps attempt miming
With a feeble kick from a small landing, Hudson’s kick blasts open the doors, tearing them from the hinges with a resounding CLANG! The sound reverberates throughout the stone hall and continues down down down.
Quinn Winterborn appears startled
Faeryl: Well, that was stealthy.
Quinn Winterborn: Shall I make a light?
River: Y-yes, please.
Faeryl: You humans and your need for light.
You are now facing a narrow staircase of cut stone that goes down into the darkness. (Those with darkvision cannot see the bottom of the stairs)
Faeryl: I am perfectly fine with darkness
Quinn Winterborn: Would you prefer that I blindly try to throw my spells over your shoulder, Faeryl?
Faeryl: These stairs go quite far down, I cannot see the bottom.
River: P-please… we need to m-move quickly.
Quinn Winterborn casts Light on his Quarterstaff
Hudson Aydar: I agree with River. If we haven’t the element of surprise, perhaps we should keep the benefit of speed.
Your light flares into life, illuminating the stone staircase. A pitted iron railing leads down into the darkness.
Quinn Winterborn agrees
Faeryl: Come, I will lead the way, your light only lights us, my eyes can see further.
Faeryl leads the way
Quinn Winterborn noticed
You descend the stairs, a few patches that are slick, but easily avoided. The staircase ends abruptly in a 10 × 10 landing with a trap door in the center. The door is long since opened, with the pitted iron belying that fact. Looking down the trapdoor, you see that shaft descends another 20’ before coming to another landing.
Quinn Winterborn: Faeryl, can you peek? I can shield my light if it helps
Faeryl takes a peek
A casual glance around the shaft by those perceptive members of the group note that there are iron runs that allow easy climbing down to the bottom of the shaft.
Faeryl: The only way onward is to climb down
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s go
Faeryl begins climbing down
The short trip down leaves you on a landing that is carved in a dark basalt that is different from the stone that you’ve already been passing through. Heavy oaken doors once guarded the passage into the next room, but time has not been kind to these still locked doors, and it appears that they could be lifted out of the doorway easily, as the hinges are rsuted to nothing.
Hudson Aydar: Allow me
Faeryl: Hudson, go ahead
Quinn Winterborn starts to step forwards, but gives way to Hudson
Hudson Aydar: Quinn, can you point me where to put them?
Faeryl rolls his eyes
Faeryl: Put them anywhere Hudson
Moving the doors you are then standing in a short corridor that has carved reliefs that show religious scenes that are likely dedicated to Shar. This 15’ hall ends in a set of double iron doors, again battered and rusted iron doors.
Quinn Winterborn points to the left, and blushes
Hudson Aydar: Thank you.
River: This is a m-much larger temple than I thought…
Faeryl: Guess we have no choice but to bust these ones down.
River: We s-should only we waking the shadows as we g-go along…
River: Quickly…
Faeryl draws his greatsword and swings it at the door
Faeryl swing catches the stone as he swings the massive sword, but combined with the blow from Hudsons hammer, the doors fly open, the locked mechanism parting easily.
A large, finished chamber lies beyond the rusted iron doors. The room once contained furnishings, but those furnishings have been destroyed and are strewn about the room.
In the center of the room is a statue made of dark stone. The statue is strange in that some of the features, like fingers and toes, are carved in intricate detail, while the facial features are obscure.
A large alcove on the east wall holds piles of coins and other valuables. On the floor in front of a passageway leading south is a square diagram etched into the floor. A circular diagram has been inscribed before a passageway leading east.
Quinn Winterborn: Beware, the statue may be magical
Faeryl carefully steps forward
Hudson Aydar does the same
River: …There’s s-something… unnatural about that s-statue…
Quinn Winterborn: It seems to revere the Shadow Magic aspect of Shar. Interesting…
‘Ben Wilson’ connection lost. Waiting for reconnect
A swirling ball of shadow coalesces in the chamber. It crashes into the nearest living creature, and then it returns to the statue.
Quinn Winterborn: COOL!
Quinn Winterborn: I…
Quinn Winterborn: Faeryl, are you ok?
Faeryl: Damnit, I was careless
Faeryl: Can’t see a thing
Faeryl: And you say something like that is cool again Quinn, and you wont have a tongue left to say anything else.
As the shadowy ball smashes into the drow, the symbols on the ground shimmer briefly and shadowry creatures emerge from them, glaring in your direction. (initiatives)
Quinn Winterborn: I….
Quinn Winterborn looks acutely embarrassed
Moro begins to growl as new foes begin to emerge from the shadows.
A large shadowy canine charges at Quinn, slamming into him with its shoulder.
Quinn Winterborn: Ugh.
Faeryl closes his eyes, and uses his ears to figure out what is going on around him. Hearing the slam into Quinn.
The second canine does the same.
Quinn Winterborn: Whoa, Faeryl, careful!
Faeryl swings his greatsword, narrowly missing Quinn and missing the dark hammer entirely.
The two ghostly looking creatures begin to throw globules of shadow stuff at the group.
Quinn Winterborn: Whoa!
Quinn Winterborn slams his staff into the ground, sparks flying
The shadows waver and squeal as the cacophonous sound wave hits them.
River: Go and help them, Moro!
Moro yawns and moves toward the shadow-dogs.
Moro whispers a quick prayer of safety for Quinn…
Moro snaps at the dark hound. Alas, it deftly dodges!
Hudson Aydar rushes into the fray
Hudson Aydar rushes up to the shadow creature that is facing most of his team, and grabs it’s attention by crashing it’s face with his hammer..
The creature repays the strike with a blast of freezing shadow!
Faeryl steps back, and remembers where the shadow globual hit him, firing his Radiant Vengeance in that direction.
The biting cold doesnt seem to effect the creatures very well.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
River whispers another prayer for her allies…
Moro rakes the dark hammerer with ferocity!
Izual: Hey sorry guys! Had to restring my bow, looks like we’re in combat.
THe canine whimpers as its smashed to the ground, but then disapates into smoke.
River: Good job Moro! G-go to the back and tie them up!
Moro yips in agreement and moves onward!
Izual moves into the room, then fires a shot filled with fire towards Shaper 2
Izual turns invisible after firing his third arrow.
Faeryl fires another radiant vengeance shot in the same direction
Moro whines and growls as Faeryl’s radiant shot goes wide…
The ghosts “stand up” and attack the spirit wolf!
The shadow mote lashes around the statue in futility, but does not strike.
River simply cowers and hides.
One of the shapers suddenly seizes up and breaks apart into smoke.
Moro nibbles on shadowy spirits.
Izual tries to attack the statue.. just to see what happens
The mote lashes out as Faeryl moves past it
Faeryl moves into the room, dodges the moe, then stares down the shadow shaper and charges
Faeryl cuts the shadow shaper in twine.
River: S-so long as we give that statue a wide berth…. w-we should be fine…
The ghostly creature snaps in two from the force of the blow, evaporating into smoke.
Faeryl: Now for the damned statue.
The mote whirls around the statue, but does not attack.
River carefully walks to the treasure pile…
River kneels and starts to sift through the treasure carefully…
Izual fires an arrow filled with lightning at the shadow mote.
Faeryl throws caution to the wind, stares at the statue and motions that it will be destroyed, then charges towards the statue
Faeryl feels his oath not working, and so fires a blast of energy instead.
Quinn Winterborn watches the statue warily, but takes no further action.
Faeryl: Destroy the damn thing Quinn
Faeryl: Don’t just stand there looking at it, use your magic!
The mote begins buzzing audibly.
River continues to sift through the ‘treasure’…
Quinn Winterborn mutters Interesting….
Moro yawns and lies down nearby River as she conducts her search.
Izual: What’s interesting Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn: The magic..I might be able to….
Hudson Aydar sighs and moves back towards the group, shaking his head. “Feels kinda… buzzy over here.”
Izual shifts to a fire arrow
A large chunk of black stone cracks and slides off the statue, forever marring its craftsmanship. The mote begins buzzing even louder.
Quinn Winterborn: I might be able to supporess the mote…
Faeryl moves around the mote and then fires another blast of energy at it.
Quinn Winterborn concentrates on the magic of the mote, trying to discern how to suppress it.
Quinn Winterborn steps forward, deep in thought
With a bit of arcane knowledge, Quinn manages to immobilize the mote, capturing the shadow weave magic within a cage of pure arcane energy.
Quinn Winterborn: COO….cough um, I think that worked
Faeryl: We should destroy it anyway, just to be sure.
Quinn Winterborn: I would prefer not to, actually. We have mastered it, and who knows may come along behind us and cause trouble
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Faeryl thinks for a moment. Fine
Faeryl: Fine
Quinn Winterborn: Well, IF I can keep the contain…
Quinn Winterborn: I…ugh. I think it’s goign to escape
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: Better kill it, Faeryl
Faeryl: Told you
THe buzzing becomes high pitched as the mote blurs back nad forth within the cage. Tiny black cracks spiderweb through Quinns cage.
River continues to sift through the ‘treasure’…
Assuming River continues to sift through the pile, she comes across a thick wooden quarterstaff buried in the ruined coins.
River: …Hm.
River pulls out the quarterstaff carefully.
The bits of rotted coin sluff off easily, and you get a whiff of charred wood as the sigils etched into the staff pulse dully with a faint orange glow.
River tosses it to the side toward Quinn and continues her search.
Izual casually fires another arrow at the statue
The arrow crashes through the statue, causing it to fracture and break apart. At that moment, the shadow mote hits a high pitched note and explodes, blasting the entire chamber with freezing shadowstuff.
River: Gha~
River: What…?
River: I can’t see!
Faeryl sighs
Faeryl: Not again
Faeryl: Is the statue dead at least?
Izual: Yes, the statue is dead Faeryl.
The statue lies in ruin, which you can see for yourself in a moment. The only good thing that comes from this explosion, is that all of the wooden coins are blasted away, leaving only the real coins behind.
Quinn Winterborn stares almost forlornly at the place where the mote hung, for a long moment, before turnign his attention to the treasure
River sighs and clears her eyes.
Faeryl clears his eyes and sees the statue in ruins.
River: W-we should be okay to continue.
As you take a few minutes to gather yourself and pick over the coins that are buried in the reminants of the treasure pile, you note that the glowing sigls on the ground still twinkle merrily. That is not the only item of note. As you begin to gather yourself several (IE everyone with a passive perception over 19) party members hear the clang of metal on metall and soft cursing coming from the hall above the shaft you descended.
Faeryl: We’ve got company
Faeryl hides around the corner, stealthily
You hear yelling from above, “Get down there NOW!”
Faeryl: I… delay my turn till enemies pop up
Moro suddenly winks out of view.
More clanking is heard from up the shaft.
A man leaps down the shaft, dressed in armor bearing a symbol showing a longsword and a mailed fist. He catches himself on the last set of rungs and lands semi-gracefully.
A second man appears to be pushed down the shaft and lands flatly on his face.
THe man who fell does not move.
Adept of Bane: Get down there this instant… I can hear those bastard Cyricists down there!
Hudson Aydar: Wait.. who are you? We arent whatever Cyricists are.
Fist of Bane 1 looks confused.
You recognize the symbol as an alternate symbol of Bane
Quinn Winterborn casts ghost sound – a rough voice calls out from the prone Fist of Bane – They’re not Cyricists. I think they’re more Bane…..
Indiscernible grumbling is heard from above.
Blade of Bane 1 leaps down the shaft, unlimbering a massive sword while doing so. “You defile the name of the Black Hand. For that, you die.”
Another man, armed and armored like the first leaps down with ease, drawing his sword.
Moro reappears in the thick of the mob, biting ferociously!
Moro rends the soldier to bits and howls!
Two more men begin climbing down the shaft.
Adept of Bane: Blessed of the Black Hand – inure your faithful with your fervor and righteousness!
Faeryl pops out of the shadows, throws his oath on Bane 2, then skirts around Hudson to strike
Izual takes a deep breath as he lines up his shot.
Disgruntled at his missed swing, the blade slides over and kicks Hudson
Moro hounds her prey and strikes!
River: Be careful, Moro!
DM: Ok. I’ll make a note of it. Kill Faeryl on May 5th
Faeryl: Oh, and there might not be a ZG on the 26th either…

Chat log started at 20.4.2016 / 17:50:54

Last time on HBC, the adventurer’s infiltrated Shar’s hidden temple in an effort to reach the relic before the other groups could do so. THey traversed a long way underground before entering the temple and being set upon by shadow creatures and traps. After a short rest, another group, thought to be Banites, entered as well, setting up a pitched fight at the entrance to the temple.
Adept of Bane steps to the edge of the pit and murmurs a blasphemous word, sending arcs of flickering black lightning dancing among his cronies.
River continues to cower in the back, as the warriors hold the entrance and preventing the Banites to overrun them.
Quinn Winterborn: Coo….
Quinn Winterborn jaw drops, fascinated
Adept of Bane then points an armored finger to the men at the top of the ladder, “Get down there NOW!”
Hudson Aydar: This ends now!
Hudson Aydar: slams his warhammer into the floor, knocking two of the cultists back into the walls, and knocking them senseless to the floor.
Moro growls, putting the Blade on his guard.
Faeryl slams his greatsword into the enemy beside him
Blade of Bane 1 moves forward and slashes at Hudson with his massive blade.
River: P-please, Mr. Aydar! Don’t fall!
Quinn Winterborn looks suddenly pale
Blade of Bane 2 laughs as his armored foot caused Hudson to crumple to the ground, “Bow before the Black Hand!”
Faeryl looks furious with the blade beside him.
Faeryl: You will pay for that
Quinn Winterborn: River!!
Moro steps carefully around the dying warrior… then howls.
Moro then strikes with fury at the Blade!
Faeryl sees Moro almost miss, but uses his divine guidance to guide Moros attack straight to the bastards throat.
Faeryl: I told you the bastard would pay.
River: Th-there’s so many!
Fist of Bane 6 scurries down the ladder with the fervor of Bane put in him by the priest…
Faeryl: Just the way I like it, more heads that will roll.
The next man leaps down off the ladder, only to be slammed into by the force effect that Quinn conjured.
Quinn Winterborn chuckles softly
Adept of Bane climbs swiftly down the ladder, leveling his sword at the party. “Surrender, or die.”
River quails at the warrior-priest’s threatening words.
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator burn your bones, foul one.
Faeryl: Everytime I hear those words I keep thinking, are you talking to us, or yourself? Because really, you should be asking yourself, do you want to surrender, or be killed by this sword?
Adept of Bane laughs and states, “So be it.”
Faeryl motions to the giant sword he’s holding
Adept of Bane laughs again, and then begins another prayer (AP).
Faeryl thinks a moment, then feeling he’s rather weak throws off a blast of energy at the Adept
Quinn Winterborn clicks his orb with a finger, grinning at the Adept
Quinn Winterborn: By the Keeper of the Yellow Sun!!
Quinn Winterborn: YEEEEOOOOWWWWW! That’s not supposed to happen!!
River cautiously steps away from the misfiring wizard…
Moro grabs onto Faeryl’s leg… and drags him through the passage.
Faeryl allows the spirit to drag him
Faeryl looks at the Adept
Faeryl: Hi
Hudson Aydar: swings his hammer at the Blade of Bane, making enough room to take a step back, and then takes a deep breath and takes another step back. “Make your choice.”
Faeryl shifts forward, staring down the Adept, then swining his giant sword into his face
Faeryl: Cant run away now can you?
Faeryl smirks
Adept of Bane laughs. “Feeble drow”
Quinn Winterborn grimaces as he casts another spell at the adept.
Moro growls as daggers of force peforate the Banite leader.
Blade of Bane 1 rushes River!
River shrieks in terror!
Quinn Winterborn: River!!!
Hudson Aydar: You will not touch Miss River!
Blade of Bane 1 laughs, “Already did.”
River steps back in fear, trying to cover her wounds.
Moro appears from the shadows, leaping for the blade’s throat!
Adept of Bane: Ooof
Hudson looks at the blade, and makes towards him for half a second, before he launches at the Adept.
Faeryl smirks as he tries to cut off the Adepts head
Faeryl picks up the adepts head, walks around to face the blade of bane and chucks it at his feet.
Faeryl then charges the blade
Quinn Winterborn offers a shout of encouragement
Quinn Winterborn: Damn….
Moro growls menacingly at the Blade.
Moro tries to snap at the Banite’s heels, eager to sink her teeth into his flesh.
Izual takes a deep breath and drops to a knee, aiming for the Blade’s earhole.
River runs to the eastern corner as Moro manuevers to cover her.
Faeryl points to the disembodied head of the adept at the blade of bane’s feet and then swings his sword
Quinn Winterborn breathes an enormous sigh of relief.
Faeryl swings and the adepts head comes clean on, as you see a large smile on Faeryl’s face
River: …Was th-that… all of them?
Quinn Winterborn: I think so
Faeryl: I believe so
Faeryl shouts up the pit
Faeryl: Anymore of you up there? I’m ready to kill more of you if you’re interested.
With a final swing, the room quiets, save for the panting of heavy breathing of those left standing. You are made fully aware that those that are pursuing this artifact are not playing at this endeavor. More will come, you are sure.
River falls to her knees, still aching from the blade’s attack.
Izual: Is everyone alright?
Faeryl looks at the blood coming from him.
Faeryl: Eh, just a scratch.
Quinn Winterborn: Barely
River: …We need to rest. Only for a few minutes.
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s loot up and rest a few minutes
River: Hudson, s-see if you can close those d-doors…
Faeryl searches the bodies for lewts
Izual: I will help with bandages. I have been unscathed.
Izual moves toward Faeryl and Hudson to aid them.
River: Try to b-brace them with the stones from the s-statue…
Quinn Winterborn puts a hand on River’s shoulder
Quinn Winterborn: You ok?
River flinches reflexively… but doesn’t move.
River: …Y-yes… for now.
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry if my spell frightened you. Sometimes magic is… well, I guess I still have a ways to go
You find mostly mundane items, and some coin. Oddly enough, one of the ‘minions’ appears to be wearing a finely crafted set of hide armor, and the Adept is carrying a case of five healing draughts.
River: It’s… fine.
Quinn Winterborn removes his hand from River’s shoulder
River stands up from her knees and looks upon the dead.
River: …So much life… g-gone…
Faeryl: Their life was forfeit the moment they attacked us.
Izual: The preservation of ones own life is just another aspect of nature.
River nods. “I know… It was either u-us or th-them…”
River sighs. “It doesn’t mean I have to like it…”
Faeryl: You had best get used to it River, I see a lot of killing in our future.
Quinn Winterborn: They were evil priests. They rest now in Amaunator’s judgement
Quinn Winterborn: That said, no, we do not have to like killing…
River carefully places the dead into positions of repose, muttering some words under her breath.
Quinn Winterborn: Ok, which way, do you think?
River: Hm…
The symbols on the floor twinkle as you approach them.
They appear to be carved into the stone
River: Which way do you think, Moro?
Moro yawns and lies down.
River (frowning): …I see…
As Quinn approaches and inspects the sigils, he notes that his new staff twinkles in response.
Quinn Winterborn holds aloft his Staff of Fiery Might
Quinn Winterborn looks at his staff, and back at the sigil, clearly impressed
[w] → Quinn Winterborn: the one you are standing next to. The other is +1 damage blah blah blah
Quinn Winterborn: The sigils appear safe
Faeryl: What about the other one?
Quinn Winterborn: Useful, but safe
Quinn Winterborn: I think they were designed to aid in the magical defenses of the temple
Izual: Shall we test them?
Quinn Winterborn starts to drone on about alignment of mystical forces and implements
River: We should be m-moving…
Quinn Winterborn: Sure. This way?
Faeryl: Which way should we go?
River hastily steps over the sigil and blazes the path onward.
Faeryl: If we make a wrong decision, we may regret it
River notes her totem twinkles in response to the sigil as well when she approaches
River: We haven’t the time to spare. Q-quickly…
Hudson Aydar: If we make no decision, then we’ll be stood guarding this entry way until the end of our lives. Which may be very soon if these fights are any indicator
River begins to untangle a sunrod from her bag and tie it to her spear.
Faeryl: Hmm
Izual: I can not seem to determine which path would yield a better result for us. We should make haste with whichever feels best to us.
Faeryl: Agreed, they have both been traversed the same, and neither for quite some time.
Quinn Winterborn: Ok
River: Then quickly.
Faeryl: Let us go east, and pray it leads us right.
The stone hall starts out to be covered in carved reliefs of Sharran worship similar to those that you saw upon entering the main hall. After about 100’ you note that the stone is more… primatively carved. Almost as if you are traveling through some history of carved artwork. FIgures are sharper, less detailed and the scenes are more… chaotic.
The passage grows darker and darker. Your light sources flicker feebly, seeming to weaken as the surrounding shadows devour the light. The worked stone seems to be less and less solid with each step. Finally the stone disappears entirely and you find yourselves standing at the entrance to a maze composed entirely of shifting shadows.
Quinn Winterborn Prays to Amaunator
The floors beneath your feet is still solid, but everything appears to be made of shifting shadows that dim your light and irritate your eyes.
Quinn Winterborn begins to study the shadows, lookign for patterns in the chaos
Quinn Winterborn is fascinated
Izual prays quitely outloud to Kelemvor to guide him through the trials ahead.
River: Hm…
Quinn Winterborn thinks for a moment, then shivers
Quinn Winterborn: Guys, I think this is the place. The relic should be here.
Quinn Winterborn: But the maze…it’s dangerous
Quinn Winterborn: And the path may be lost to time
Quinns light spell, Rivers sunrod and Faeryls darkvision are severly hampered. Visibility here is 10’ total.
River: Then we will simply have to find it.
Faeryl: I have heard of this maze, it is said that the faithful of shar would traverse the shadows with their eyes closed to show their faith in their goddess
Quinn Winterborn looks profoundly skeptical for a long moment
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator willing.
Faeryl: But other then that, I do not recall
Quinn Winterborn: The shadows will leech our life force
Quinn Winterborn takes a deep breath.
Faeryl does something… acrobatic to try and find the way
Faeryl enters the maze… then does something acrobatic
Faeryl motions for everyone to follow
Faeryl: Let us go
Faeryl: We should move as a group
Faeryl: Do not split up
Quinn Winterborn: Yes.
River and Moro follow along, wary of dangers ahead.
As the group starts to enter the maze, the shadows roil with palpable malice, sending dark energies lashing throughout the corridors, pits open in the floor and the ceilings audibly slam to the ground.
Izual does equally acrobatic things right behind Faeryl, mimicing his movements.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] You move well, my friend.
River holds still and prays that bad things don’t happen to her.
Faeryl dodges along the trail, twisting and turning down the corridors, leading the group around the hazards he can see and ‘feel’. [Success]
Hudson Aydar: Quinn, can you think of anything we can do to dampen all this energy?
Faeryl: Keep up
Quinn Winterborn Studies the arcane nature of the maze
Faeryl: There is one speed, mine, and if you can’t keep up, dont step up. You’ll just die.
Quinn Winterborn: Ah yes, clever insight, Hudson
Hudson Aydar: You’re doing the heavy lifting here Quinn. Just…trying to help.
Quinn Winterborn: Still, if the axiomatic flux is theurgistically static….
Quinn attempts to manipulate the shadowy energies of the maze. Unfortunately, his knowledge is not complete and a blast of negative energy consumes him. [Failure – lose 1 healing surge]
Faeryl pushes Quinn out of the way
At the last second, Faeryl pushes Quinn out of the way, saving the mage from the blast (Previous sucess negates the lose of healing surge)
Faeryl: Careful!
Faeryl continues forward at top speed
Quinn Winterborn nods fearfully
Hudson Aydar: You did your best. Maybe that shock will drain some of the magic from the area anyway?
Izual prays to Kelemvor to protect him, as well as he attempts to recall anything from his seminaristic teachings to aid him in the maze.
Izual begins to chant a prayer in his native tongue.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Oh, powerful goddess Shar, I beseech you to aid this lowly wretch in hs path to your blessing. I pray unto your watchful eye that we may pass in peace.
The maze shudders and pulses…
Izual repeats the prayer under his breath for a few more times over.
And then calms suddenly, revealing a clear path forward, towards the percieved center of the maze.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] I will forget you ever uttered that prayer.
The effect is relatively short lived, as the maze begins to boil again, washing back over the path and consuming the brief respite from the utter darkness.
Faeryl immediately begins leading them down the percieved clear path
Izual grins at Faeryl and points at the symbol on his cloak.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Pray, belive me when I say I did not want to call upon her name. It worked though, did it not?
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] That is why I will forget.
Hudson Aydar: Hudson sticks close by River and Quinn, looking for any threats, or ways to keep to the path that’s leads the right way.
Hudson finds a path that Faeryl almost goes down to be a trap, pulling back the drow at the last moment. Instead, the warden’s keen senses find another path in what appears to be a solid wall, leading the party through confidently. [Success]
Faeryl nods in thanks
Quinn Winterborn: N-nice, Hudson
Hudson Aydar: We’d all do the same for each other.
River perceives the path ahead…. and ponders.
River: There is… something unusual about this maze.
River: What do you think, Moro?
Moro yawns. She nudges the shaman gently with her nose.
River: I see…
River: …That’s quite astute. For a wolf.
Moro snorts a bit, but relents.
River: The maze… has a slight pattern.
River: Simply wait… and you will see.
Faeryl swallows hard, then shuts his eyes.
Faeryl: I put my fate in your hands Shar… do with it as you will.
Izual lets out a chuckle.
Quinn Winterborn shudders
Faeryl seems to move as if on instinct, leading the way.
River briefly wonders if this is wise…
Closing his eyes, Faeryl moves towards what appears to be a hall that is thick with shadowy tendrils, but his steps are quick and true, and he moves closer to the percieved center of the maze. [Success]
Quinn Winterborn: This reminds me…?
Quinn Winterborn ponders for a long moment
River: Wait for a moment.
Faeryl halts
Faeryl: Make it quick, I do not like to stand still for long.
River: Look upon the sh-shadows…. Do you see it, Mr. Winterborn?
Quinn Winterborn looks up, as though waking suddenly
Quinn Winterborn: I… I see. Yes, River, thank you.
Faeryl: Tell me what you see, so that I may continue onward.
Quinn Winterborn: You know, this reminds me of when a spell… oh wait, no time for that
Faeryl scowls
Moro groans impatiently, but nods.
Quinn Winterborn: I do see a pattern, though. There is something oddly familiar. It’s this way
Faeryl immediately turns to move in the direction Quinn points out.
Quinn Winterborn leads the group back the way they came, yet somehow, further progress is made
River: The maze moves… changing in the darkness.
Quinn moves in what appears to be a complete circle, counting his steps and making seemingly random turns without looking for the path ahead. A complete circuit brings you closer, somehow, to the percieved center of the maze. The shadows grow thicker here, and angrier as well.
Quinn Winterborn: Indeed
Hudson takes the lead once more, pushing past the cautious drow and taking a series of rights, followed by a series of lefts. He works through another repeated series of turns before pulling up short at a dead end.
Faeryl: Idiot
River: …Are you s-sure this was the way?
Hudson Aydar: Wait
Hudson Aydar: Just… Wait.
Hudson Aydar: This is the exit. I just… I know it. How can it not be here!
Hudson Aydar: kicks at the shadows.
The shadows of the maze curls reflexively, revealing a hint of light beyond.
Faeryl rushes immediately for the hint of light
Pushing through the shadows saps at your life force. -1 surge
Quinn Winterborn is very anxious to get out of the maze
River: W-well… only one way through…
Izual again repeats his chant audibly, attempting to press the shadows away.
The shadows recoil from the wall, revealing a chamber behind. However, you note that the shadows do not recoil as fast and as far as before. The maze knows….
Quinn Winterborn rushes in to the chamber
Hudson Aydar: helps River and Quinn through, and follows quickly
Izual deftly jumps through the shadows into the chamber.
The room beyond is relatively small some 10′ × 10′ and houses only a single ebon basalt altar. Runes and glyphs are carved deep into the stone, veined in amethyst gemstone. Atop the altar is a small mithral and shadowood box, with a robins egg sized onyx on the lid. A soft light with no perceivable source is present, giving you respite from the roiling walls of shadow.
River: …We are safe… f-for the moment.
Quinn Winterborn: Is this the relic? Do you think

Faeryl: Perhaps
River: …It appears s-so… but be cautious…
Quinn Winterborn: Do you think there might be a trap?
River: We have gone through many t-traps before. It would not s-surprise me to find another so soon.
Faeryl: Nor would it surprise me
Izual: It seems all too calm in here.
Hudson Aydar: I imagine one of two things will happen. Either the shadows are being sustained by the Relic, or the shadows are protecting it, and will not welcome our interference.
Quinn Winterborn seems to be deeply unsettled
Quinn Winterborn: I just want to get out of here.
River: Not without what we came for.
River inches closer to the altar, carefully eyeing the box and onyx.
River steps forward and attempts to open the box.
River: Anything?
Hudson Aydar: River!
Faeryl pulls river back at the last second
Faeryl then attempts to open the box himself
Hudson Aydar: Faeryl!
River takes an impetuous step forward and touches the lid of the box, while the others fly forward, determined to save her from a certain doom.
Touching the box gives off a frightening chill, but it is constant, and not harmful. The box radiates cold, but opens easily. Within the box is a pair of gauntlets, a trio of healing draughts, a ebony holy symbol and a small prayer book.
River: …Well.
River take out the contents of the box carefully.
Quinn Winterborn: I… We came here for an evil relic that was affecting the entire area.
Faeryl: This doesn’t look like the relic
Quinn Winterborn studies each object, trying to discern the source of the cold.
River: Do not be s-so quick to judge.
Hudson Aydar: Hudson pulls himself up short. “Are you okay, River. Any…. effects?”
The holy symbol is obvious that of Shars – it is a circlet of jet black feathers set with onyx stones.
River: I’m f-fine…
River: In any case… I believe we found our r-relic.
Hudson Aydar: Which one do you think it is?
Quinn Winterborn: The symbol?
River holds the holy symbol aloft for the others to see.
Izual notices that there is no ill effects happening after the opening of the box, and moves toward the party. He would spot the symbol and the prayer book, helping himself to the book.
The gauntlets appear to be rusted steel, enamelled faintly in black. Rusty red traces of long dried liquid stream from the joints.
Faeryl: Perhaps
River: Mr. Winterborn… could you be so k-kind as to verify?
Hudson Aydar: I can understand the book and the symbol… but why the gauntlets and the potions?
The prayer book is written in some foreign language that both Izual and Faeryl can read.
Izual brings that fact to Faeryl’s attention.
Quinn Winterborn examines each item carefully, without touching them.
Faeryl nods
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] It must be written in the speech of the deep.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] To quote Quinn, how interesting.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] It does not surprise me, considering it is probably an artifact of Shar. I shall study it.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] We shall both study it.
Quinn Winterborn: Honestly, none of these is the relic
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] If that is what you wish.
River: N-no?
River: Most unusual…
Faeryl: Perhaps this book contains answers, both me and Izual can read it, we shall see if it does.
Quinn Winterborn: Not the box.
Quinn Winterborn looks around
River: So…. what of the symbol and g-gauntlets?
River: A-and the bottles?
Faeryl: They are healing potions, I can read the text.
Quinn Winterborn: The symbol and the gauntlets are magical, though it would take a further moment of study to try to discern their nature.
Izual: This book is much interesting.
Hudson Aydar: Important equipment to the people of this temple? Some people leave their prized weapons locked deep in vaults… Perhaps this is something similar?
Upon examining the gauntlets, Quinn reveals a pile of thick platinum coins in the bottle of the box.
Faeryl: This book, they speak of this temple being occupied by a fringe sect. This sect followed a prophecy which speaks of the death of a diety. This temple was built with the belief of that deity being Shar. But it was most likely Mystra.
Here is an excerpt of the prayer book – deciphered obviously.
Faeryl reads the book aloud for everyone to understand
Izual: This temple is powerful, for a group that broke off of the main practice. WE should be much careful in the rest of our journey here.
River: …They p-plan to remake the Shadow Weave?
River: …We should make way for this T-Tower… of the Art.
Faeryl: Agreed, but we must still find the relic
Izual: Before that, I would like to visit library to learn more of this Great Work and shadow seed.
Faeryl picks up the gauntlets
River: It was n-not this way. Perhaps to the s-south, down the other passage?
Hudson Aydar: Do we know if this box is trapped. I know we are in a rush, but if it’s a simple thing, i think it’d be worth some money.
Hudson Aydar: and we might have need later.
River: If we m-must.
Faeryl: These gauntlets are interesting… I shall take them
Faeryl straps them to himself
Izual: I remember maybe that the Tower is dedicated to Mystra. To enfore my desire to visit library, I think it is connected to the Zhents. I would learn more.
Hudson Aydar: Fair
Quinn Winterborn: If it’s the one I’m thinking of, Izual, wasn’t it said to be north of the city?
Izual: I can not recall. If you feel it is so, it is so.
River: We should get out of this maze… q-quickly.
Quinn Winterborn: Agree.
Faeryl: Quinn, let me see that holy symbol a minute.
Faeryl holds out his hand for Quinn to hand the symbol over
Quinn Winterborn hands the symbol to Faeryl cautiously
Faeryl inspects it
Faeryl is burned by the symbol. (10 damage)
Quinn Winterborn takes it back hastily
Faeryl drops it like a hot potato
Quinn Winterborn: Interesting….
The flame is ebon and burns with a cold fire that seems to linger even after the symbol has been dropped.
River: …Are you o-okay?
Faeryl: I am fine, just unexpected.
Quinn takes no damage and can handle the symbol with no issue.
River: …Hm…
River: If I had to g-guess… Your faith in your God must be quite s-strong.
Quinn Winterborn: I….
River: I am not one of the cloth, so my f-faith is… not as strong.
Quinn Winterborn seems unsure what to say
River: It is only a th-theory…
Faeryl: It is, I have not reneged on my worship of Corellon once since it began.
Izual: Is is the same with I and Kelemvor.
Izual: It would be wise to let person with little direction hold the symbol, I think.
Quinn Winterborn: Perhaps these…ecclesiastical…discussions could take place later, when we are away from this dangerous location?
River: Yes.
Izual nods.
Faeryl: I have dedicated myself to his ways and the eradication of those who follow Lolth willingly.
Faeryl adds “And others who follow darkness”
Hudson Aydar: I agree with Quinn. Let’s start moving. Once we’re back in the main room, we can decide about going upstairs or down the southern path.
Quinn Winterborn takes the lead and heads out
Quinn Winterborn: STay close
The symbol will lead Quinn along the path out of the maze. Its exited easily and leads you back to the room you entered in. Upon crossing the sigil, the focus of the symbol changes direction, pulling you southward.
Hudson Aydar: Hudson stays as close to Quinn as he can, eyes sharp.
Faeryl watches Quinn carefully, feeling he should follow instead of lead.

Chat log started at 27.4.2016 / 17:28:44

Last time on HBC, the heroes made it through the deadly Maze of Shadows only to find that the artifact they sought was not contained therein. Still, with the clues and items that they found, they believe they are on the right path, and have journeyed back to the entrance to the secret temple, taking a minute to gather their thoughts before continuing on. Quinn finds that the holy symbol he had found in the Maze is pulling him towards the hall the party had avoided previously.
Hudson: Lead the way Quinn.
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s go
The corridor leads down into the earth, sloping downward enough that you notice while you walk, though it does not cause any issue with balance. The holy symbol continues to pull fervently down the corridor. After more than 200 feet, you feel the holy symbol grow extremely cold, to the point you need to shield your hand from it.
Quinn Winterborn: It’s getting colder. In fact, it’s starting to be painfullly cold.
Faeryl: I think there is a draft coming from the wall over here.
River: Just…. b-be on your guard…
Quinn Winterborn stops, and looks at Faeryl expectantly
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe it’s a secret door? That would be coo….nevermind…
Faeryl feels along the wall, fingers gliding over the crudely worked stone. “Here.” he grunts and with a expelled breath and some straining noises, the wall gives way, a large (10’) door giving way to another tunnel in the darkness.
Hudson: Which way does the symbol pull, Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn looks impressed
Quinn Winterborn: I think the secret passage is the right way to go
Faeryl: That seems… too convenient.
Quinn Winterborn: Well, if we can find a way to close the door behind us, it might through off the Banists
Faeryl: Should be easy enough to close the door once we enter. I just dont like it.
River: Even so… I-I think we should take it. An artifact would be likely h-hidden behind it…
Quinn Winterborn: We should check for traps as we go, maybe? Just to be safe…
Hudson: I agree with Quinn and River.
Taking a look into the tunnel you dont believe there are any traps. Oddly, though the tunnel is of crudely hewn stone, there is no dust on the floor here. But the tunnel descends down into the earth.
Moro heads onward, sniffing the air for anything of interest.
You step into the tunnel with no issues.
Faeryl waits until the enture party has entered the tunnel, then closes the door. The door closes omniously with a loud ‘BOOM’.
River nearly jumps out of her skin from the resounding ‘BOOM’.
Faeryl: Settle down. Nothings in here.
Hudson: I think we’ll all settle, once we’re out of this place.
The tunnel leads down another 150’ before leveling off. The darkness is cloying, and its getting on nearly everyone’s nerves.
The silence of this subterranean lair is cut quite violently by screams. Although the screams are not accompanied by the usual sounds of battle—swords clashing, spells being cast, and so forth—creatures are definitely in pain or worse.
Quinn Winterborn mutters a quick prayer to Amaunator
Hudson: frantically gestures for silence.
River shivers in fear, unnerved by the screams of pain.
Faeryl draws his blade in anticipation.
Inching ahead, you find that the tunnel continues onward for another 60’ before turning hard right.
Hudson: whispered as lightly as possible, barely more than a breath It may be something trying to lure us into a trap.
The screams were definately a “person”
Quinn Winterborn shudders
River (whispering): ….W-well, we have to k-keep g-going… we can’t k-keep s-still…
Quinn Winterborn: …that’s…a person?
Hudson: agreed. Let me and Faeryl take the lead though.
The silence is again broken by the sound of something heavy slamming into the wall, shaking the entire tunnel. The weak cry of a person is heard momentarily before the tunnel is silent once more.
Hudson: -starts moving as quickly but quietly as is possible.
River quails in fear, closing her eyes and clutching her spear tightly to herself.
The group rounds the corner together, looking into a large room.
The passage opens into a large room ahead. Two humans stand at the other end of the chamber, facing a passageway obscured by a cloud. One moves toward the cloud, when a shadowy tentacled creature emerges and lashes at him, tearing his head off. Panicked, the other leaps into the cloud, trying to escape. As soon he makes contact with the cloud, however, his flesh seems to dissolve from his body, leaving a nasty puddle on the floor.
The black symbol in the lower left corner of the room is a carved ebon circle dedicated to Shar. It resembles the mark on the door you entered in this temple.
There is a small fountain with flowing water made of dark basalt and encrusted with amyethysts in the upper right corner of the room.
A dark shadowy cloud hangs in the lower right of the room. It seems to eat the ambient light in the room, and you cannot see through it to the walls beyond.
There is a faint shimmering in the center of the room (green squares).
The holy symbol has not changed at all.
As you take in the features of the room, the shadowy tentacled creature turns to you, dropping the broken body of its victim to the ground. (Initiatives)
Two tentacles lash out at Fearyl!
Faeryl turns to run down the wall, before turning on a dime and charging the shadow-guardian!
Hudson: Hudson steps forward, and swings his hammer with a loud yell, causing a soft sheen of frost to appear where the hammer struck.
River cringes in the back, hoping that Moro can save the day!
Moro leaps past the gith and howls in fury!
The guardian swipes twice at Hudson, missing both times. Then the creature dissapates into mist, reappearing as a mere shadow of itself elsewhere.
Quinn Winterborn: Dammit
Faeryl: You can’t run from me, shadow.
Faeryl continues to charge the shadow guardian with all his might!
As Faeryl rushes forward, the ground shimmers at his feet as he crosses the area on the floor, but there is no lingering effect.
Again the ground shimmers, but no lingering effects.
Hudson: walks towads the enemy, and swings his hammer, keeping it’s attention.
The ground around Izuals feet shiimmers brightly, eating away at the clinging shadows in the room.
Izual: Join me in the light, my friends!
River inches to the wall, watching the fight unfold from a distance.
Izual: It is consecration spell, join me quickly!
Moro charges into the fray, lashing out with all her might!
River prays under her breath…. and spirits rise from the shadows to harass the guardian.
The guardian dissapated once more, reappearing near the two casters.
River (shocked): AH! Please, no!
Izual: Quickly! In to the light!
The guardian latches onto River with a shadowy tentacle. It swings another tentacle at the girl.
The tentacle misses by a hairs breadth, and the creature howls in an otherworldly voice!
River bends over in pain, trying to shut out the unearthly howl.
Light sparkles at Quinns feet, banishing the shadow.
Faeryl dashes through the wolf and gith, then turns on a dime once more to charge mightily!
Quinn Winterborn shouts “Uh, I think these things resist fire and necrotic!”
Faeryl: Let’s see it resist my blade.
Izual manages to chuckle amidst the tense atmosphere.
Faeryl cuts deep into the shadows, smirking as he strikes a well-aimed blow.
Hudson: River! Circle around! You can take my place when you get here!
River: I… I-I…
River looks with fear upon the wounded shadow guardian, scared of what terrible wrath it is capable of.
River cowers and takes a step back from the towering monster.
Moro quickly dashes past the shadow, trying to protect River.
Izual: Why is this light not eat the shadows?!
The Guardian teleports once again and becomes nearly invisible before lashing out at Hudson. The guardian then grabs onto the Warden and pulls him toward the ebon symbol on the ground.
The tendrils squeeze Hudson, sapping at his vitality.
Quinn Winterborn makes a disgusted noise
Faeryl runs toward the western wall, before turning sharply to charge the beast once more.
Faeryl: You shall fall by my hand.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Damned magic light! Why haven’t you banished this shadow?
Faeryl strikes at little but fleeting bits of mist. He frowns as his blade sails through the shadows.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] You could say…. the worth of that light is ‘lost’ on you.
Faeryl chuckles softly under his breath.
Izual makes the most disgusted groan followed by a small chuckle.
Hudson flexes and barely manages to break free of the tentacles.
River and Moro head in different directions, each with the same goal in mind.
Izual: Quinn, yes? Analyze magic please. Make it stronger if able.
Quinn Winterborn: What,t he guardian

Izual: No, the ground, fool!
The Guardian howls again, the red pinpoints of light narrowing and staring in River’s direction.
The Guardian howls with its ethereal voice, swinging wildly at River.
Faeryl: Still you flee from me? How foolish.
Quinn Winterborn swears softly
Quinn Winterborn: I can’t! It’s unholy magic!!
Faeryl runs about, appearing to flee the room, only to turn and charge the beast once again!
Hudson moves to stand alongside River, and swings his hammer defensively.
River quivers in fear as the creature glares at her menacingly.
The Guardian starts to shift, but instead drags Hudson with it a few steps.
Moro leaps ahead, growling intensely at the shadow-beast.
River steps to the side, cautious of what the shadow creature will do.
The Guardian squeals aloud and begins to become more substantial.

Sable (Izual): I think it’s dead, Jim.
Flak (River): I dunno. I recall seeing at least one spooky creature with some fancy undying trait.
The Guardian screeches, and begins collapsing in on itself, pulling dregs of shadow with it. It then explodes into a blast of necrotic energy that catches all of those in the room. The wave washes over those within the consecrated area without causing harm. Those outside of it, however, are not so lucky.

Shar’s Guardian: [ATTACK®] Shadow Explosion (vs. Ref) [RM] [1d20+10 = 30]
Attack 30 → [at Faeryl] [DEF EFFECTS -2] [CRITICAL HIT]
Shar’s Guardian: [ATTACK®] Shadow Explosion (vs. Ref) [RM] [1d20+10 = 27]
Attack 27 → [at Hudson] [HIT]
Shar’s Guardian: [ATTACK®] Shadow Explosion (vs. Ref) [RM] [1d20+10 = 11]
Attack 11 → [at Moro] [AUTOMATIC MISS]
GM: [TABLE] Critical Hit = [1d6 = 2]
CRITICAL HIT
GM: [TABLE] Fumble = [1d6 = 1]
AUTOMATIC MISS
DM: Geez…
Shar’s Guardian: [DAMAGE®] Shadow Explosion [6d4+6 = 21]
Damage 21 → [to Hudson] [STATUS: Dying]
Shar’s Guardian: [DAMAGE®] Shadow Explosion [CRITICAL] [MAX] [6g4+6 = 30]
Damage 30 → [to Faeryl] [STATUS: Dead]
Flak (Moro): Oh shit.
Ben Wilson (Hudson): Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
Warren (Quinn Winterborn): UGH
Flak (Moro): ….And this is why you ALWAYS make it to games.
DM: Crit hit and crit miss on one turn…
Flak (Faeryl): Hm…. Nope. I got nothing on that one.
Ben Wilson (Hudson): Moro is fine.
Sable (Izual): Is he perma dead?
Flak (Faeryl): Looks like it. It says Dead, not dying.
DM: Yeah, I dont know if I have anything to save Faeryl on this one… Hudsons just mostly dead…
DM: 48/31 hp… I think he’s toast
Quinn Winterborn screams at River to help the fallen
River snaps out of her fearful state and rushes to tend to the wounded.
Faeryl crumples over in a heap after the explosion.
River kneels over Faeryl’s prone body, listening for a pulse.
River closes her eyes and sighs.
Quinn Winterborn: River??
River then begins to set Faeryl’s body into repose, closing his eyes one last time.
Quinn Winterborn: River….
Quinn Winterborn: Faeryl…..
Izual drops to his knees and begins to pray over Faeryl.
River: …His spirit is gone. There is n-nothing I can do for him…
Quinn Winterborn stands, unmoving
River: At least…. at least he did not s-suffer…
Hudson: I’m sorry. He died to protect us all, maybe… maybe you can take some comfort in that.
Moro sits down next to Faeryl’s corpse… and howls mournfully.
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator, preserve
River sighs… then removes Faeryl’s pack.
Izual punches the ground repeatedly, letting out a howl. A few tears run from his face, creating dark spots on the stone flooring.
The holy symbol at Quinns side begins to pulse a dull thobbing pulse, pulling you towards the dark cloud.
River: Mr. Izual… I feel he w-would… like you to have his things.
The shimmering light of the conscecration wavers and then fades completely, the spell expiring.
Quinn Winterborn: No…
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t want to….
Hudson: Quinn? Are you okay?
Quinn Winterborn throws the holy symbol across the room, and falls to his knees
Hudson rushes to his side.
River simply sighs.
Izual takes Faeryl’s pack from River, hoisting it over his shoulder.
Quinn Winterborn vomits
Izual: We should quit this place before I lose another friend.
Quinn Winterborn: This is NOT what happens to heroes.
The symbol tolls across the floor, landing near the black cloud. As the symbol rolls to a halt, you can see bits of the cloud being pulled into the symbol.
River: ….Interesting.
River moves to pick up the dark symbol.
Quinn Winterborn wipes his eyes and his mouth
Hudson: It’s okay, Quinn
Quinn Winterborn: Did Faeryl carry a holy symbol?
Quinn Winterborn: Might…Might I carry it for a day or two?
Hudson: He died heroically. He died protecting you. That’s what he would have wanted, i feel.
The symbol continues to slowly draw in the cloud, even in your hands.
Quinn Winterborn takes a long, slow, shuddering breath
Quinn Winterborn looks around the room, avoiding the gaze of everyone EXCEPT Moro
River: I t-think… the way ahead might be clear. E-eventually…
Moro gazes at Quinn with naught but empty eyes.
Quinn Winterborn: I…I’m sorry
Hudson: I don’t know what else we can do right now. I can’t… I’m sorry, but I don’t know if I’m strong enough to keep going forward right now.
Quinn Winterborn: The heroic tales we tell in Chessenta don’t really prepare you for this
River: It is as my mother once said….
River: ‘Heroes die. Legends live on.’
River: So… he will only truly die if you forget him in your heart.
Quinn Winterborn mutters Amaunator is right to oppose the dark
River turns to continue clearing the dark cloud slowly but surely.
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson, I’m sorry, but I can’t leave this undone. This artifact, whatever it is, is an evil that will claim more lives if we don’t see this through
You believe that at this rate it will take hours to clear the dark cloud from this spot.
Hudson: … then I’ll follow you. But understand Quinn. If I fall too, it is not your fault. Or anyone elses.
River sighs, turning to the others.
Quinn Winterborn stares at the dark cloud for a long, sullen moment.
Izual: We should send Faeryl.
River: We may as well make c-camp for a few h-hours… this will t-take some time…
Hudson: Send? Can you… describe what you mean, Izual?
Izual: Like burial, or pyre. He deserves to be put to rest.
Hudson: I understand. I don’t thinkwe can do that right now, Izual. When this is finished, I think we should carry him from this place and put him to rest above ground.
Izual: Yes, we shall.
Quinn Winterborn inspects the fountain for a long moment. He starts to laugh, but instead sobs
Hudson: Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn: …
Quinn Winterborn: …healing fountain…
Hudson: I’m sorry?
Quinn Winterborn points at the fountain in the corner
Quinn Winterborn: It’s a blessed font. Could have used it to heal during the fight, if we’d known…
Hudson: …we couldn’t have known that. Just like we couldn’t have known the monster would explode. It’s a cruel irony, but…
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head sadly
Once the cloud is gone, the path is now clear to the sewers and from there to the Tower of the Art. Searching the bodies reveals that these are cultists of Cyric. While you were exploring the shadow maze, these cultists entered the temple in search of the relic. They chose the path that you did not, and so they came directly here instead of ending up in the maze. Though not ending up in the maze was not to their advantage, sadly.
Hudson: … River. I need to ask, and I apologise if it seems tactless. But… the gauntlets Faeryl took from the other room. They…. could be useful going forward. I am truely sorry, but do you think we should take them?
River: …It isn’t my p-place to say.
Hudson: You seemed closest to him. I’ll honour your wishes
River scowls.
River: I am not one to speak ill of the dead, but…. we were not close.
River: That is all I will say.
Hudson: Izual then, perhaps?
Izual: I knew Faeryl more as friend as days went past. I feel he would want us to take his strength and move on. The gauntlets no excepton.
River sighs and pulls down her hood.
River: The way is c-clear…
River: If we are done here…. w-we should press onward.
Moro looks mournfully at River with sad puppydog eyes.
River simply need stare back at Moro before the wolf stands back up and goes to her side..
Hudson: Izual, we can lay him to rest here, or we can return for him when we are finished. But… i do not think we should carry him with us.
Izual: Let us go. I will set him alight as we leave.
Hudson: Quinn? Are you ready?
Quinn Winterborn nods briskly
River pulls back her hood up and nods. “Then we leave.”
Once the cloud has dispersed completely, the faint aura around the holy symbol fades out completely, and it appears inert. The floor that you could not see before (aside from the pool of used to be Cyricist) is tiled in red and blue tiles, in a seemingly erratic pattern, but wholly out of place here.
The tiles appear to have once been part of a mosaic, though where they went to exactly, you do not know. They dont belong here, and appear to be “melted” into the floor. You have a lingering suspicion that these tiles are not from around here.. But you cannot place them exactly.
Izual nocks an arrow, and channels spirits of fire into it. He lets it loose toward Faeryl, setting him aflame as the party leaves the room.
You believe that the tiles may have come from the Dalelands… and looking closer, you note that there is a faint insigna in the tiles that is not completely melted flat.
Hudson: These tiles are from the Dalelands. Does anyone recognise this insignia?
Quinn Winterborn: I wonder if it’s Myth Drannor. I hear cool things about Myth Drannor…
River: …Interesting.
River: These were brought by a trading house from… quite a d-distance.
Quinn Winterborn: Fascinating…
River: They’re famous for m-mosaics and tapestries for the w-wealthy. I’m surprised you don’t know of t-them…
Hudson: Maybe someone should make a note of it, for later. But we should continue.
River: Yes. O-Onward…
Refreshed from their brief respite, but otherwise saddened at the loss of their comrade, the group leaves the temple, pressing onward into the ancient sewers beneath the ruins of Zhentil Keep.
The sewers beneath the ruined city have become home to a flourishing ecosystem. Rainwater and some effluent still washes down here, and there are occasional breaks in the ceiling where sunlight streams through, but for the most part, the sewers are pitch black, dank, and gloomy. The one consolation is that the population of the city is so diminished from its heyday that the normal stench one would expect to find in a sewer is greatly reduced. The bricks of the tunnel walls hold solid in some places but have collapsed in many others. Any route from here to the foundations of the Tower of the Art will be circuitous indeed.
Quinn Winterborn: River, you want me behind you?
River simply takes out the holy symbol and ponders.
River tries to peer through the darkness to see where the most likely way forward lurks.
River: Which way, Moro?
Moro looks ahead, and wrinkles her nose.
River: I-It’s okay. I don’t like it either…
Down a side tunnel, you smell a strong stench.
Its not sewage… the sewer smell down here is minimal… this is a different stench.
Quinn Winterborn: I prefer to avoid said stench
Izual: Usually, in sewer, stench leads to civilzation.
The tunnel makes a few quick twists and turns and dead ends in a refuse pit. The refuse pit filled with filth. In the pit are several dead otyughs along with some chewed-up human bodies. The room shows obvious signs of a fight. The dead humans are worshippers of Cyric.
Even in the faint magelight, you can see the glint of coins within the pit peeking from a satchel around one of the dead men’s waist.
River breaths softly and moves ahead, letting Moro scout to see if the way is clear.
Quinn Winterborn: I’ll get it, River
Izual: Wait.
Hudson: Be careful.
The satchel is too heavy for the mage hand to work. The leather of the satchel rips, spilling thick golden coins in the filth.
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Only things that appear to have been through here recently are lying in pieces in the pit.
Izual: As far as I tell, it is safe… Aside from filth.
You find approximately 400 gold coins, a magical amulet, and a strange leather harness.
River collects what she can, returning while laden with loot.
Izual: Who wants what?
Hudson stands watch above. eyes sharp.
Returning back to the main branch, you continue onward down the main branch.
Quinn Winterborn having discerned the properties of the amulet, Quinn loses interest in it
River wipes the disgusting filth off her cloak and nods.
River: Okay… we should continue…
You continue along for another hour or so, blundering along in the near darkness. You then discover a large, totally darkened chamber. The floor is covered with a thick layer of sludge. The entire room is filled with giant mushrooms. The mushrooms exude a cloying, sickly-sweet mist that clouds the mind and creates a pleasant sense of euphoria.
Moro: Awoooooooooooooooo~

Chat log started at 4.5.2016 / 17:41:49

Last time on HBC, the group fought its way free of the Guardian in Shars Temple, only to lose one of their members in a raucous explosion. The group was able to rest a bit and lick their wounds, before heading out into the sewers of the ruined Keep, searching for a way to the lost Tower of the Art. We find them at a branching tunnel, trying to determine what path they should continue down,having only a faint “to the North” to guide them.
The main tunnel forks here, forming a “y” intersection. Both tunnels appear to be the same height and width and both are in some disrepair. Both lead vaguely North, though one bears easterly, the other westerly.
Izual: I can not tell which tunnel has been use lately…
Izual: Maybe we just guess.
Quinn Winterborn: As long as we’re still going north….
Hudson: Guessing at tunnels hasn’t lead us too wrong so far. Does anyone have a preference?
Izual points to the left tunnel.
Quinn Winterborn shrugs
Hudson: Lets go left then.
River nods, then waits for the others to start off.
Quinn Winterborn: Do we think the Tower of the Art will radiate any kind of arcane magic? I might be able to detect it if we can get close enough…
Quinn Winterborn: Left it is
Izual: can you sense something now?
River: W-with the destruction of it all – I-I’m not entirely sure th-there’s anything left.
Quinn Winterborn: No arcane aura yet
Hudson: I don’t know enough of magic to say anything either way. I’d just suggest keeping an eye out.
The tunnel leads on for some time, with minor tunnels branching off, but nothing that is followable, as collapses or deep piles of filth block the way. After a near twenty minute walk, the thoughts of doubt begin to creep into your mind or wheter or not you have picked the correct path.
Quinn Winterborn attempts to discern the purpose of the tunnel
Quinn Winterborn paces back and forth a bit, looking at the walls and ceiling, lost in thought
Izual: Well, we are still being north.
Hudson: This place is a maze. And I don’t think I can kick us a path out of this one.
Another trepidatious moment or two passes before the tunnel breaks off abruptly, opening up into a large pitch black chamber. The entire room is dim, even in the wizards light, but the floor is covered in a thick layer of sludge. The floor is not the thing that draws your interest the most however, as large mushrooms that tower over Hudson and Izual dominate the room as far as you can see. These toadstools have bone white stalks and bright red polka dotted caps. The mushrooms exude a cloying sickly sweet smell that clouds your mind and creates a pleasant sense of euphoria.
Quinn Winterborn tries to will himself to back up
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t like this at all
None of you feel that this is necessarily a “bad” thing, but it is something to be wary of.
You believe they are non poisonous, but you are unsure if they are edible.
Hudson: It’d be foolish to ignore the danger nature can pose, but i don’t think they’re a threat on their own.
Quinn Winterborn: I’m worried something more dangerous might lair in here
Izual: I am unsure if I are familiar with the toadstools. Let me think a moment.
Hudson: Okay.
The chamber is more than 200’ across. In the shaded light, it is difficult to determine where exactly the exit to this room may be.
Quinn Winterborn: I guess we could sprint across??
Quinn Winterborn: or through?
Hudson: … I could go first, with a light. If anything attacks, you both can fight from a range. If I find an exit we can then come over?
Izual: I would not do that
River remains quiet for a time, as if mulling her thoughts. “I dont see why we couldnt go through. These mushrooms generally arent hazardous.”
Quinn Winterborn: together or separately. Either way, I say we move quickly
Izual: We should move carefully, I do not want to kick up any spores in case this smell them give is a kind of defence mechanism.
Hudson: Okay. Then I’ll move carefully across.
Izual: Fungus is er… percooliar that way.
Quinn Winterborn: CArefuly, then. I will hold my breath
River: Idont think I could hold my breath that long.
Quinn Winterborn chuckles
Quinn Winterborn: I’ll breathe slowly, and hold my breath as much as I can.
Izual: I vote that us take it slow and be mindful of the way our heads feel.
Izual: I have not good feeling. Toadstools don’t usually get this big.
Hudson: I feel the same. Do we want to go straight across, or skirt around the edge?
Quinn Winterborn: straight to middle, then assess the exits
Izual tosses a stone into the chamber to see if it echos or hits anything that isn’t stone ground.
The stone flies into the midst of the shrooms, bouncing off of the thick stalks before landing with a SPLAT in the sludge.
Izual makes a gutteral growl of displeasement.
Izual: Let us go.
Quinn Winterborn: go
Quinn Winterborn takes a deep breath
Izual lifts his facemask and cloak hood.
The mushrooms grow closer together as you begin to weave through the room, trying to keep your bearings enough to maintain your direction. As you cross what you believe is the center of the room, Hudson nearly looses his balance in the sticky mud, reaching out and catching himself on a thick stalk, which causes a shower of spores to fall from the toadstools over head.
Quinn Winterborn tries to quickly help Hudson to his feet
Quinn Winterborn: I….
Quinn Winterborn: I can’t see….
Hudson puts his hand on quinn’s shoulder. “Do not panic. Keep moving.”
As the spores settle over the group, Hudson finds his vision narrows to a pinpoint of light. A grey speck in the field of black is all he is left with to see.
THe others dart out of the way of the larger part of the spores, but feel lethargic in the wake of the spores.
Izual: This is what I did not want to happen.
River: My tongue feels thick… m-my legs like wood.
Izual: The spores are a psychotic. Do not let it take your mind. Keep moving.
You see a narrowing of the cavern, but no exit.
Hudson follows Quinn, with slow, deliberate steps, trying to keep his heart from hammering.
Quinn keeps his wits about him, and slowly guides the group through the rest of the cavern with little more issue, though upon finding the exit, you note that coming up and out of the cavern, you rise above a cloud of spores, whilch cover your clothing from the waist up, though from the waist down, nearly everyone is covered in grey mud.
River: Oh, Moro… you’re… f-filthy.
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson? Can you see?
Hudson: I can’t.
Quinn Winterborn: Any ideas River? Can you heal this? Or should we wait?
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t think we want to continue moving with a blind teammate
River: I-I think if we washed out his eyes… the blindness should fade… eventually.
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe we should clean up some of the mud and spores from ourselves. Wash up a bit
River: That would be ideal..
Quinn Winterborn: Ok. Let’s try to wash out Hudson’s eyes with some water (not ale!), and clean up a bit
Hudson awkwardly let’s go of Quinn’s shoulder and stands stock still. “I have a waterskin in my bag.”
Quinn Winterborn pulls out the waterskin and tries to rinse out Hudson’s eyes
Hudson awkwardly leans down a little. “I’m sorry to…I don’t want to be dead weight on the team. I should have been more careful in that room.”
Spending some time to clean up and wash up, rather than continue onward immediately takes some time, as the mud clings to everything, even when scraped. Much to your surprise, you find that the spores that cling to your clothing are already sprouting into tiny fungus strands. Cleaning out Hudson’s eyes, you find that they are thick with hyllae, which are starting to grow into his sclera. Removal will be difficult, and dangerous.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh dear
Hudson: What’s wrong?
River: … I did not expect that…
Quinn Winterborn: River? I’m out of my depth here
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson, stay calm.
Hudson: That doesn’t….
Hudson takes a deep breath.
River: I-I’m not sure…
Quinn Winterborn: The spores appear to be growing
Hudson: It’s… What?
Izual: Hudson. These spores are very adaptible.
Quinn Winterborn: Calm…
Izual: They have taken to your eyes. I will try to remove them.
Hudson: But my sight is… returning. How can they be growing?
River: Its rather frightening… they are growing into your eyes… I dont know if we can remove them without damage.
Hudson: Everything is grey but… I can make out some shapes.
River: Im not sure what that means…
Quinn Winterborn starts wracking his mind for a solution
Izual begins to examine Hudson’s eyes.
River walks her fingers delicately over the hyllae and Hudson’s face, considering what to do.
Izual: So, Hudson. I have two plan.
Izual: Neither are going to be enjoyable.
River: I think I could remove them, if you want me to, but I dont know if it will be better or worse.
River: The eyes are… tricky
Hudson: Izual? You said you had two plans?
Hudson: I should… probably hear everything.
Izual: River can try to remove them from your eyes, which is dangerous and tricky… or…
River nods
Izual: I can wash your eyes out with alcohol. It will kill the spores but.. it could cause damage to your cornea.
Quinn Winterborn: I hope the alcohol is strong
Izual: That’s the issue… if it isn’t we could just be causing more harm than good.
River: I dont think thats quite right… except for the painful part.
Hudson: Doesn’t anyone know how strong their alcohol is?
River: I only have water…
Hudson: … Izual? Do you have any?
Izual: … I do not.
Hudson: Quinn?
Hudson: If nobody has alcohol, this decision might’ve become a lot easier
Izual: Unfortunately.
Izual: I am sorry.
Izual: Or.. we can leave them there and hope they do not cause more harm..
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, no alcohol
Hudson: my eyesight is slowly getting better. There’s no pain, but I can feel a pressure.
Hudson: … if these are going to keep growing, then i need to remove them. at some point, they’ll finish growing through my eyes and move into my brain.
River: Perhaps we take a rest and wait and see if it gets better as we get away from these spores? Im not really sure if thats better or not. Really, you should decide what you want to do, Mr. Adyar. I can attempt to remove them, or we can wait… but its up to you.
Hudson: …okay.
Hudson: River. Please… do your best.
River: Y-you will need to hold very, very still…
Izual: Do you wish to be put to sleep for the procedure, Hudson?
Quinn Winterborn: Would it help if I hold him down?
Quinn Winterborn: Or can you do this, Hudson?
Hudson: I’d suggest both.
Quinn Winterborn: Ok
Hudson: But… Quinn… please try not to watch.
River: It would be better to hold his head, that should suffice/
River: I need his eyes open for the rest…
Hudson follows River’s instructions.
Quinn Winterborn holds Hudon’s head still
River heats the blade of her knife over a small conjured flame, and once it is red hot, she pulls at the fungus and with three deft cuts, she parts its from Hudson’s face. Tiny bits of the hyllae retract into the sclera once severed, but aside from a pair of blisters on his eyelids, Hudson appears to be ok.
River: I think… its done.
Quinn Winterborn nods
Hudson blinks a few time.
Izual: Did you get it all, River?
River nods. “The best I could.”
Quinn Winterborn: Do we need a rest?
Izual: I hope it is enough. Fungus can grow back from even one live cell.
Izual: Let us pray, rest, and move on.
Quinn Winterborn offers a prayer to Amaunator for Izual
Hudson nods quietly.
River looks at her shaking hands, “I – I dont know. But I will be ok if we need to move on.”
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s move, then
Hudson bows his head as if in prayer for a moment, and then stands up. “I’d rather continue. If this is going to get worse again, I should do my best to get us all as far as I can.”
Hudson: Thank you. All of you.
Quinn Winterborn starts to ponder arcane solutions to blindness
Quinn Winterborn: I wonder if you could make glasses of seeing……
Quinn Winterborn looks around, suddenly embarrassed
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry
Izual chuckles.
Hudson: Never change, Quinn.
Hudson chuckles
Izual: Do not worry, mage. I was just thinking if I could make a salve to remove fungus that is safe for the eyes.
Quinn Winterborn looks down, and scuffs his boots
Hudson: Both of those would be great additions to the world. We ran into this problem today, and luckily River could help. But there are people out there who won’t have the benefit of such an adept healer. The world could do with people looking out for it, in every way.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Hudson in admiration
Quinn Winterborn: Well said, friend.
Izual nods.
Hudson ducks his head, and for a moment you could swear there’s a ghost of a smile before he looks back up.
Hudson: I’m probably going to avoid mushrooms for a while though.
Izual: It is a shame. Mushrooms are delicious.
Izual laughs heartily.
Luckily the impromptu chirugery seems to be successful, and the group is ready to move on. Double luckily, there is only one tunnel to follow here, so the choice is easy to make.
Moving along the tunnel, the way becomes drier and drier, to where the mud begins to flake off your clothing and come off easily. Moro seems miserable with her caked fur, but in general, the way is much easier going.
Quinn Winterborn: I…uh..
Quinn Winterborn looks concerned
Quinn Winterborn: As long as we’re not losing a health potion…
Izual: May I see the empty waterskin?
Hudson hands Izual the empty waterskin
Izual empties the potion into the waterskin, and washes out the vial.
Izual then begins to cut samples of the toadstools and corks them tightly inside the vial.
Izual makes a frustrated grunt.
Izual: Would any of you wish to donate a vial for the fungus samples?
Hudson: We could use Faeryls waterskin for another potion. That should be in his bag.
Quinn Winterborn: Not me, Izual
Hudson proceeds to do so.
Hudson: Okay. Let’s go.
After traversing the tunnels for some time, you pass into an older section of the sewer system. The tunnel rises slightly and ends at an iron double door. It is marked with the symbol of an upright skeletal arm holding a pair of scales.
Izual immediatly drops to his knees and begins to pray.
Hudson: Izual?
Izual looks up at Hudson, and then points to the symbol on his cloak. They are the same.
Izual: This is the symbol of my diety.
Quinn Winterborn: Ahh, you worship Kelmvor?
Hudson nods and bows his head respectfully for a moment. “Do you know what should be beyond?”
Quinn Winterborn: The undead
Izual: Never. Kelemvor hold the undying in contempt.
Izual: We respect death and life. We do not toy with it.
Quinn Winterborn: I believe that this is a warning from the followers of Kelemvor
Quinn Winterborn: It is a warning FROM Kelemvor, if you will
Quinn Winterborn: Do we expect the Tower of Art to have undead? What do we even know about our destination?
River: Its possible. The p-plague did cause some quite awful things…
Quinn Winterborn: Well, perhaps this is the place, then?
Hudson: They were creating something called the Shadow Seed for the followers of Shar. They were worried about her death?
Izual: If that is the case, I will put them all down. The dead should stay dead.
Quinn Winterborn: So they should.
Hudson: Does anyone have any reason to think the door could be trapped?
Quinn Winterborn: I can check for magical traps. Given the warning, though, I doubt it?
River: I would expect a different symbol on the door though… I believe the Zhemtarim held Kelemvor in contempt?
Izual: Unless this door has been tampered with, I do not believe there would be any traps.
The iron doors are not locked, nor do they appear to be trapped, but they are very much rusted shut.
Hudson: I was hoping to get to hit something again
Quinn Winterborn: I’m not keen on retracing our steps. Do we have oil? Maybe we can work the doors open….
River: I do not.
Hudson: I opened all the doors up to here with force. Maybe I can open these the same way?
Izual: Please do not damage the doors if you can help it..
Hudson: … Okay. I’m sorry.
Hudson glances at the symbol again.
Quinn Winterborn: I can try to help if you’d like. If not, I’ll ready a spell, just in case….
Hudson: Which will do less damage to them as a whole?
A heavy blow with his shoulder does little but shake the doors. Izual follows up with a solid blow of his own, but does nothing. Quinn takes a moment to size up the door while the others regain their breath, and placing his feet at the right angle, his thing frame bracing, he strains to push the doors apart, which grudginly oblige, squealing aloud, and echoing horribly down the stone walls.
Quinn Winterborn lets out a good natured chuckle
Quinn Winterborn: Now this reminds me of my brothers back home…..
On the far side of the doors, the air is much drier and the air smells of must and decay. The walls in this chamber are decorated with faded murals depicting corpses in various stages of funeral preparation. The floor here is covered with the remains of old urns and wooden coffins that have been hacked to pieces. The stone of the walls has been crudely hacked away in many places to create rudimentary niches, but whatever treasures might have been stored within are long gone.
Izual: This holy place has been desecrated…
Hudson: But these doors were rusted shut… it is awful, but it suggests there is another entrance to this room…
Quinn Winterborn: ok, let’s go
Izual: Be wary.
Izual examines the room around him.
Its the same as when you saw it from 15’ back. Long halls lead back along the room, with crevices carved into the walls to hold the remains of the dead.
Izual creeps forward and when he gets between the walls a flicker of movement catches his eye as a dessicated creature drops from the ceiling down onto him and bites and slashes at the Gith.
Izual lets out a wail of pain.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Get this damned abomination off of me!!
You can barely make out the face of an undead being that is chewing on Izual from around the corner.
Another ghoul drops from the ceiling and onto Hudson, clawing and biting on its way down.
A dirty, desiccated hound rounds the corner and charges at Izual!
Quinn Winterborn: Wow….
Izual yells in a rage, and a dark aura surrounds him. His head sprouts demonic horns, his skin turns scaily, his fingers and teeth grow long and sharp, and a spaded tail sprouts from his waist.
The hound knocks Izual to the ground and clamps down on his leg with a ferocious bite, leaving filth and rot in its wake.
Quinn Winterborn: This is NOT good…
Quinn Winterborn: We need to pull him back!
Hudson: What’s going on over there?!
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator save us!!!!
Izual: THESE CORPSES ARE NEARING THE END OF THEIR SECOND LIFE!!
A shabling bloated corpse dripping motes of shadow and filth trudges around the corner, whipping a globule of shadow at the living.
Quinn Winterborn: Move back! I’ll cover you!
Quinn Winterborn tries to shove Izual aside
Quinn Winterborn: I will spend light point
Quinn Winterborn prays to Amaunator to protect him
The spell causes the zombie hound to crumble to dust.
Hudson: Stay! Down!
Quinn Winterborn seems momentarily surprised as Moro runs by
Quinn Winterborn: Go Moro!
Hudson watches the zombie he just hit with his hammer get yanked away by something out of sight and go limp.
The corpse moves forward, and as it does so a wave of nausea rolls over the living creatures near it.
Quinn Winterborn: Ughhhhch
Izual yells, and then vanishes from sight.
Izual: Then, an arrow engulfed in flames appears from behind hudson, straight toward the ghoul.
Quinn is able to move out of the stench, but still feels the attack has taken its toll.
River screams as another ghoul drops down near her. It lashes out at an unsuspecting Quinn, however.
Quinn Winterborn: I…uh..what?
Quinn Winterborn dodges just in time
The corpse slams into Quinn, leaving a greasy film of filth and putrid rot on the mage.
Quinn Winterborn: Ugh
Izual spouts as he runs past Hudson, still invisible…
Izual: THESE FOUL CREATURES SHALL KNOW EXONERATION!!
Quinn Winterborn: WHOA
Quinn Winterborn: Izual, are you still on our team??
Izual: I AM ON THE LIVING TEAM, RANCID HUMAN!!
Quinn Winterborn: Then less arrows at my head if you please!!
Quinn Winterborn: Ugh!
Quinn Winterborn: Oops! Sorry!
Izual lets out a blood curdling yell as the last enemy in sight falls.
Hudson finally removes the corpse from on top of him, and storms around the corner, unclipping one of his two throwing hammers. He walks straight through the spell, barely flinching, and then launches the hammer, splitting the ghouls skull into fragments. He turns to the demon he doesn’t recognise, and snarls. “Are you next!”
Izual nocks another arrow and points it at Hudson.
Hudson unclips the other hammer
Izual: YOU CAN TRY AND MAKE ME NEXT IF YOU HAVE THE STONES, HUMAN!!
Hudson: What did you do to Izual?
Izual: I AM IZUAL, YOU BLATHERING FOOL!!
Hudson: …. Quinn? River? Is it?
Quinn Winterborn: Izual is a demon. Yes
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t know why.
Quinn Winterborn: He said he was on our side….
Quinn Winterborn: Right Izual?
River hides and nods in agreement.?
Izual: I SAID I WAS ON THE SIDE OF THE LIVING, FRAIL ONE.
Quinn Winterborn: Are you on the side of the good? THe noble?
Quinn Winterborn takes out FAeryl’s symobl of Corellon and holds it idly in his hand
Hudson: Are you on the side of Kelemvor still?
Izual: I AM ON THE SIDE OF NO HUMAN! OBOX-OB, THE FIRST PRINCE, AND EVERY PRINCE FOLLOWING IS WHOM MY ALLEGIANCE FALLS TO!!
River: I-I dont know what you are – but Mr. Izual is my.. friend. A-And he’s in need of mending. Please….
Hudson: River!
River: I-I dont know… I saw him… ch-change. But that is Izual.. at least his body.
Izual laughs as the shaman heals him.
Hudson: Yes. But if it something in control of Izual, you’ve just made it harder to hold down!
Moro steps in front of River, bristling menacingly.
Quinn Winterborn: Wait, so you are both Izual the Githzerai, and Izual the demon? And you serve Obox-Ob, the first prince of demons????
Quinn Winterborn seems quite alarmed
Izual: YES, THIS HUMAN KNOWS MY POWER IS WORTHY OF RESPECT!!
Quinn Winterborn: I know that only one Izual belongs on this plane.
Izual: OBOX-OB IS LONG SINCE DECEASED, HUMAN. HIS INFLUENCE WILL NEVER DIE.
Quinn Winterborn puts the holy symbol of Corellon away, and readies his staff
River: I-I dont know about that… b-but he is our friend… wwhatever his condition, Mr. Adyar.
Quinn Winterborn: You’re not the Izual I want to talk to right now.
Izual: WHY DO YOU KEEP CALLING ME YOUR FRIEND?
Izual: i AM NO MORTAL’S “FRIEND
Quinn Winterborn: Why do you keep denying that the Izual within you is not?
Izual ‘s eyes turn back to their normal color instead of the burning red, and his skin seems to be returning from the scales that overtook it.
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator bless you, Izual Githzerai
Izual: QUInn…
Quinn Winterborn takes a long moment before answering
Quinn Winterborn: Aye?
Izual places a hand on his forehead, seemingly disoriented. A noticable struggle between soul and body takes place in front of you, as Izual grunts and strains to fight the pain and influence.
Quinn Winterborn presses Faeryl’s holy symbol lightly into Izual’s palm
Quinn Winterborn: Faith, friend.
Izual: I’m SORry…
Quinn Winterborn puts his hand on Izual’s shoulder, but says nothing
Izual then suddenly collapses to the floor, unconscious. All physical signs of the demon recede, and his body is still.
Quinn Winterborn mutters, to nobody in particular “If that happens every time he stubs his toe……”
Hudson watches that unfold. His body painfully tense and still, but when Izual collapses he half relaxes, reattaching is throwing hammer.
Hudson: River. Check he’s okay. I think we need an explanation when he… when they wake up?
You find a smattering of coins and a massive hammer…
This hammer’s striking head is carved with an intricate scene depicting dwarven warriors cleaving through a goblin horde.
It radiates both cold and static

Chat log started at 11.5.2016 / 17:48:25
The date is First-day, 1st Alturiak, 1479 DR

Last time on HBC, our heroes were involved in some “un-heroic” meandering through the fungal confines of the sewers. Hudson took a tumble and got fungus all in his eyes that was addressed by River and Izual, though later it became apparent that the fungus has had a lasting effect on the Warden. Their trek ended in a partially caved in hall that was marked by the Clergy of Kelemvor as undead within. The heroes entered and were surprised by a cadre of undead that posed quite a challenge for the group. Still, they vanquished their foes and now stand ready for their next step in finding the hidden Tower of the Art.

On the far side of the doors, the air is much drier and the air smells of must and decay. The walls in this chamber are decorated with faded murals depicting corpses in various stages of funeral preparation. The floor here is covered with the remains of old urns and wooden coffins that have been hacked to pieces. The stone of the walls has been crudely hacked away in many places to create rudimentary niches, but whatever treasures might have been stored within are long gone.
A search of the entire chamber reveals no more surprises on the ceiling. The ghouls that attacked you must have sat there for years, as the outlines of their bodies are still made upon the stone ceiling.
A puff of air being drawn towards the entryway draws your attention to a mostly hidden door at the side of the chamber.
The remainder of the room is still rife with broken pottery, crates and other bits of refuse. Hudson had managed to find a hidden stash of valuables, and shared them with the group.
Upon inspection, the door is only hidden because of the refuse and junk piled around it. Once moved, the door is made of rusted iron, as was the main chamber door. There is some pitting around the stone and quite a bit of rust, but there is a large knob and you believe that the door will open normally.
Quinn Winterborn looks vaguely disappointed
Hudson reaches for the door handle and tries to open it.
Quinn Winterborn: After you, Hudson
The door is heavy and the hinges rusted, but the Warden is able to wretch the door open, revealing a partially caved in hall beyond.
Quinn Winterborn: I guess we shoudl wait for Izual to wake up before proceeding?
Quinn Winterborn: Can’t hurt to check for traps I guess
River: …I’ll t-tend to him…
Hudson: I could carry him, i believe?
Hudson: but i do not know how much they would enjoy being put in danger without the ability to protect themselves.
The hall beyond is a different stone than the mausoleum, this being a splintered combination of white marble and dark gray granite. Its not symmetrical at all, You believe that this is the result of two seperate forms crashing together quite unnaturally.
Quinn Winterborn: Interesting
Quinn Winterborn: If we need to move on, I can probably carry him. We’ll probably need you to have your weapon at ready
This hall is considered DT and all creatures of medium sized or large are squeezed while therein.
River: He’s…. fine, for the m-most part…
River: Moro, if you p-please?
Izual murmurs incoherantly.
Moro nods and grabs the gith by the collar, dragging him along behind the others.
Quinn Winterborn: Okay then
Hudson: I’ll take point.
Quinn Winterborn nods briskly
The hall winds onward, at various point forcing Hudson to squeeze his frame through cramped quarters. Progress slows down considerably, and you are sure you have only gone a fraction of your speed as you contend with the shattered passageway
Hudson: I don’t like this.
You still manage decent time, with a combination of your known skills, you make the best of things. Eventually Izual shakes his comatose state so he ceasess to be drug by the wolf. Still, he remains quiet and aloof from the rest of the party.
Hudson respects his silence for now.
Quinn Winterborn frowns, but remains focused on the task at hand
After another hour, the winding chamber ceases to have dark stone in the mix – its all shattered white marble. Within another 200 paces or so, the chamber opens up into a small room, some 10′ × 10′. At the opposite end from you is a spiral staircase.
River raises a hand for the others to halt.
River nod silently to Moro, who takes point to investigate.
With the stoppage of the group, the hall grows erie-ly quiet.
THe quiet scuff of the wolfs paws on the stone floor is the only sound to be heard. Moro walks from one end of the room to the other, finding nothing amiss within.
Hudson: could this be it?
River sighs, and nods for the others, giving the all-clear.
Hudson steps in first, and starts towards the staircase
Quinn Winterborn: Onward!
The staircase is canted at a crazy angle, as if the staircase was leadiing diagonally, instead of upwards. The stairs are made of stone, and appear to be in good repair. Looking upwards you can see they spiral upward into the darkness. On the level above you, there appears to be an archway.
River: Watch your s-step…
Hudson: I’ll go first.
River: I-If you insist…
Hudson: If something is up there, or if I fall, I’m not as…
Hudson makes a vague gesture
The spiral staircase is canted at a slightly disturbing angle, but it seems sturdy enough. It winds around several cracked columns before ending at an archway, above which is carved a circle filled with seven stars and what looks like a misty river flowing through the center. Beyond the archway, a ten-foot circle has been carved into the stone floor. A larger version of the symbol above the door has been inlaid into this circle.
THe staircase continues upward past the symbol on into the darkness.
Quinn Winterborn: This seems to be a portal of some type, though it is long dead
River: …Mystra. Saints preserve us…
Hudson: If Mystra is dead, do we have anything to fear of her symbol?
River: It is…. or was…. hallowed ground. I’m n-not one for religion…
Quinn Winterborn: If it’s Mystra, it means the Art, though, I should think
River: There m-may be those that seek to d-defile this place. Be on your guard…
Quinn Winterborn: If this is the Tower of Art, it is, or was, 10 stories high. In it’s day, it would only have been accessible my magic. Let us hope time, decay, and the spellplague have opened new avenues
Hudson: Then lets continue onward.
Quinn Winterborn: …though, come to think of it, the spellplague may have brought its own horrors here.
River presses onward, despite not appearing optimistic about what lies ahead.
You continue to climb the spiral staircase, but after only a few tens of feet, your upward progress is halted by the collapse of a massive support beam. (Acrobatics to dodge the falling stone)
Quinn and River lunge to the center of the room, while Hudson and Izual press against the wall. Stone and silt rain down around you, but none are hurt by the collapse. (Success – regain one healing surge each)
Above you can see only rubble. Another archway opens to the side, and the room beyond seems to be largely clear of debris. Bright light of various colors flickers through the open archway.
THere is definately something arcane in this room, but it is difficult to ascertain from here. You need to get closer
Quinn Winterborn steps boldly through the archway, and looks around
Hudson follows Quinn quickly.
Quinn Winterborn: Oooh!
Quinn Winterborn: The magic of the tower may be partially intact after all.
Hudson: Quinn, be careful!
This large room is dominated by a roaring pool of magical energy. It looks as though a portal to the Elemental Chaos has somehow opened in the floor of the room. Along the walls, what appear to once have been archways are now filled with ovals of glowing, colored light. Across the room another staircase ascends to the level above.
Quinn Winterborn: I may have found the means to teleport up to the higher levels of the tower
Quinn Winterborn studies the lights and the portal intensely, though from a distance
River: Th-this… seems ominous…
River: Moro….?
The portal at the center of the room dominates all your senses… Sparkling motes of light appear and disappear at random, the WHOOSHING sounds of an impossibly large crashing ocean fills your ears, acrid ozone like scents fill the air, all the hair on your arms and neck stand straight up.
Moro trots carefully towards the large portal, smelling the air in search of danger.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh wow
Quinn Winterborn is emboldened, and rushes over to study the portal close up
The closer Moro gets, the more and more the hairs stand out on the wolf. As she moves closer, it becomes apparent that there is a pull from the vortex that begins to pull at the wolf.
Quinn Winterborn: Whoa, Moro! Be careful!
Quinn Winterborn starts to reach for Moro to pull her back, then realizes Moro is a spirit
Izual: Quinn, tell if arrow comes through other side.
Izual fires an arrow at the portal.
Hudson rushes to Quinn to pull him back just in case.
Quinn Winterborn: Eek
The arrow flies through the portal and shatters against the wall.
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson? Help?
Hudson grabs at Quinn and pulls him back.
Izual: Good to know..
As Quinn edges closer – suddenly a wall of crackling blue energy springs up, cutting off the access to the staircase..
Rising out of the portal you see four humanoid figures. Their bodies crackle and writhe with elemental energy of all sorts. Flames dance along their arms, while cold energy wreathes their legs. Their hands drip with sizzling acid and a halo of lightning crackles around their entire torso.
“Halt, intruders!” intones one of the guardians. “The Tower of the Art is forbidden to non-members. The punishment is death.”
Izual: Would been nice to know before now!
River: Uh… Someone…. h-help?!
Quinn Winterborn eyes grow wide with sudden understanding
Quinn Winterborn shouts “The pool augments elemental powers”
Quinn Winterborn: It’s quite safe…
You feel the pull of the arcane portal, but as you enter it, the pull abates and you are just ruffled by the swirling currents therein
Hudson unclips one of his two thowing hammers, and launches one at spellwrought guardian 3.
Izual feels the power of the pool, and smiles as he imbues his arrow aimed at the Guardian.
River: GHAAAAA~!
Moro saunters into the pool and yawns.
Xila: Oooh sorry! You look like you’re in a bit of a pickle, need some help?
Quinn Winterborn: Who? Wha?
River: Uh…. W-who are you?
River: Please, don’t h-hurt me or th-them….
Xila: Names later, daggers in stomachs now.
Xila: Or in my case legs… Size difference an all that.
The guardian reassembles itself upright and then dashes away!
River holds her longspear close, still a bit wary of the newcomer.
The guardian then whirls and disappears into the magical portal!
Xila is a halfling about 4 foot exactly, she has uncharacteristic blue hair and wields a small spiked shield on her arm, she has daggers within easy reach.
An instant later the guardian explodes from the adjacent portal and slams into Izual!
Moro bites Hudson in the leg, causing an… involuntary swing at the guardian!
Izual smiles as small spirits of imps draw from the ground and take the Guardian 1’s feet out from under it.
Moro growls as the guardians surround and encircle the others…
The guardian vanishes through the portal and crackles with elemental power, which sparks into the ceiling and an energy mote coelsces into being.
Xila: I wont hurt ya sweety, just the ones holding the long sticks and the eyes that say “imma get ya”
Xila cracks her small knuckles, pulls out her trusty dagger, and heads inside
Xila looks at her dagger, and a frosty chill begins to seep over it, then she throws it deftly at Guardian 2
Quinn Winterborn eyes widen in surprise, as a newcomer appears
Xila waves
Xila: Hiya!
The guardian takes damage, but crackles with energy and begins to glow with a pale blue light.
Xila: That doesn’t look good
Moro howls and lunges at the guardian’s throat!
Moro then strides past the guardians, ending her path at the halfling’s side.
Spellwrought Guardian 1 shakes its fist at the Spirit Wolf.
Xila looks at the large wolf striding towards her
Xila: Err… Good dog?
Quinn Winterborn raises his staff, and slams it down, with a thundering boom
Moro growls in an unfriendly manner, but doesn’t snap just yet at the rogue.
Xila: Good doggy, there’s a good dog, go bite that guy, not me.
Xila points at one of the guardians
The guardian absorbs the blow and begins to crackle with ephemeral lightning.
Quinn Winterborn offers a quick, almost frantic wave in Xila’s direction
The guardian crackles with emphemeral lightning and pale blue light as well.
Hudson: Heh. That’s the best you’ve got?
Izual cannot contain his emotions any longer, and his demonic traits manifest once again.
Xila: A…. a demon?
Izual: YES, BACK INTO THE FRAY ONCE AGAIN!!
Izual lets out an extremely maniacle laugh.
The guardian charges through the portal and slams into the halfling.
Hudson: Oh, good. It’s you.
River peers with fear beyond the rubble, taking in the view of the fight…. and steels her resolve.
Stepping on the portal stone makes you feel nauseous, but you appear on the other side of the room.
River (queasy): Ugh…..
Xila smiles to herself
Xila: Interesting
River: O-Okay…. Just… believe…
Moro moves up to the guardian and lunges for the throat once more!
Quinn Winterborn glares at the motes, and mutters
Xila tries to strike her dagger into the guardians gut
Moro trips up the guardian at the right second to give the halfling that extra bit of force in her stab.
Xila notices the cold on her blade doesn’t seem to affect the guardian at all.
Xila: Interesting
Moro howls in triumph!
THe guardian shimmers for a moment, threatening to explode in a cacophony of light and aethyr. It insteadcompacts in on itself and disappears in a wink of light.
Xila looks at her dagger, the frosty chill dissipating from it, then deftly moves forward and stabs guardian 1 in the back
Izual snarls and barks at the rogue as she comes close.
The energy motes explode sending bits of radiant energy dashing around the room.
Quinn Winterborn turns to face the guardian with a grim smile.
Izual: THIS WILL BE OVER SOON ENOUGH!!
Hudson flinches away from the fire, the ice on his skin melting and refreezing a little.
The guardian explodes in wild magical energies tht wretch from the portal. Hudson appears to be partially innured to the blast from the pool, while Xila merely steps around it.
Xila: You really must try better then that
Quinn Winterborn screams
River: M-Moro! Help them, please!
Moro hesitates for a moment, then does as she was bade.
Moro tears into the guardian’s leg, wounding it severely.
Xila calls over to River
Xila: You need any help there love?
River: I…. I’m fine…. Please, help them!
Xila: Well, if you say so, don’t cry to me if you lose something important.
Moro picks up Xila by the leg and clubs her into the guardian… pointy end first.
Quinn Winterborn takes a moment to assess his wounds
Quinn Winterborn: Grr…ugh….
River: Hudson, be c-careful! We’re almost th-through this…
River: Ngh..!!
River: Moro!
Quinn Winterborn: River!
Moro drags River out of the corner and towards safety.
Xila moves into the portal, then immediately tries to stab the guardian
River falls to her knees, still hurting from her wounds.
Izual: FILTHY MORTAL TOOK MY SLAUGHTER!!
Izual screams.
Xila wipes the blood off her clothes
Xila: Well that was fun!
Xila: Nice way to pass the day.
Hudson moves towards the group.
River: …I thank you… but I’m not done yet.
Izual sees hudson approach and trains his bow on him.
Izual: YOU AGAIN?@
Quinn Winterborn: IZUAL!!
Xila walks casually towards Izual
Xila: So you’re a demon huh? Cool!
Hudson: Someone heal this annoyance.
Quinn Winterborn: Not. Cool.
River slowly gets back on her feet, and looks carefully over Izual’s new form.
Izual begins feeling very uncomfortable as the others surround him.
Quinn Winterborn: River, can you heal this him, and bring our Izual back?
Xila: Ooooh, I wonder what colour demons bleed, I’m curious.
River: Give me a bit of time….
Xila: Never stabbed a demon before!
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, hold, please. Our friend is in there…somewhere…
Izual draws his arrow and points it toward the rogue.
Quinn Winterborn face is conficted
River: Excuse m-me…. Mr. D-Demon?
Hudson silently watches everything ready to react if- Izual does something like that!
Izual: JUST TRY IT, YOU MOTE OF DUST!!
River: I don’t believe we’ve been p-properly acquainted…
Hudson: Put it away!
Xila: Ooh, wonder which one of us can hit the other first? Guarantee it will be me.
Quinn Winterborn: Izual, please stand down.
River: My n-name is River…. May I ask for yours?
Izual lets the arrow loose as Hudson closes in on him, nearly missing him.
Quinn Winterborn begins to pray to Amaunator for guidance
Hudson: Listen here, Izual. I will break you before I let you hurt these people.
Izual: GET NEAR ME AGAIN FOOLS, AND I WILL NOT HESITATE TO LOOSE MY ENTIRE QUIVER INTO YOUR SKULLS!!
Quinn Winterborn sighs
River: Please…. Lower your arms… all of you.
Hudson: Hurt these people, and i’ll shatter that bow before doing the same to you.
Quinn Winterborn: Is there any chance we can speak to the Githzerai Izual?
Xila looks around.
Xila chuckles
Xila: You lot are funny!
Quinn Winterborn grumbles
Izual draws another arrow and laughs at Hudson, but soon after his laughter dwindles into a disoriented groan and he collapses.
Xila: Hey demon boy, you need to cool down.
River: Be careful. He m-may not be in the best of moods when he stirs…
Quinn Winterborn curses under his breath
Xila heads towards Izual and places the size of her cold dagger on his cheek (Just so he feels the chill, not that it huts)
River: Give me a m-moment with him again….
River: Mr. Winterborn, could you i-investigate the strange wall there?
Xila steps away from Izual then sits down, fiddling with her dagger in her hands.
Hudson watches him collapse, and lowers his hammer. He doesn’t look at anyone, instead, moving a few feet away and kneeling with his back pressed against a wall.
River: Mr. Aydar, please guard our entrance for a-anyone else coming our way….
River: And…. you. I-I never got your name, ma’am.
Hudson grunts.
Quinn Winterborn sighs,
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, River? What? Oh, the wall
River: I t-thank you for helping us… but…. who are you?
Xila: Name’s Xila!
Moro wanders up to the halfling and sniffs her curiously.
Xila looks wary for a second, then proceeds to stroke Moro
Xila: You got a cute dog there, quite handy in a fight
River: G-Greetings. My name is River…. And this is Moro.
Xila: Nice to meet ya Moro, you as well River.
River nods.
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head
River: The w-wizardly man over yonder is Mr. Quinn Winterborn… and the one with the hammer and stern gaze is Mr. Hudson Aydar.
Quinn Winterborn: …more problems…
Xila: And demon boy?
Xila: Guessing his name is izual judging from what everyone said
River: Our…. sleeping friend is Izual. Although…. the demon within is something unexpected.
River: I sh-shall have a conversation with him when he stirs…
Xila: So, what’chall doing here?
River: W-well…. We’re the Lost Light.
River: As for your q-question…. I could ask you the same thing.
Xila: No no, you first.
River frowns a bit, but relents.
River: If you i-insist….
Quinn Winterborn turns to look at the pool of energy
Izual groans as he sits up from his little nap.
River: We’re seeking an artifact of…. dark interests to those of the g-gods… Cyric and Bane, as well as S-Shar…
Quinn Winterborn: Hmmm….
Xila: Oh… boooooring, and here I thought it was something much more fun
River: Well…. we’ve had our shares of t-troubles…. as you saw yours-self…
Quinn Winterborn: Oh WOW!
Quinn Winterborn starts to shuffle from foot to foot excitedly
Xila: I noticed, glad I showed up when I did huh?
River: …Excuse me, for a moment, Ms. X-Xila…
River: Mr. Aydar, could you s-see what Mr. Winterborn had found?
Hudson: Sure.
River: I’ll talk w-with Izual…
Xila lies back onto the floor, throwing her dagger in the air and catching it perfectly.
Hudson walks over to Quinn, pausing to glare at Izual along the way.
River kneels down to Izual, looking down on the gith with kind eyes.
Quinn Winterborn: Hey Hudson, got a weapn handy?
River: …Are you o-okay?
Hudson: Always.
Quinn Winterborn: OH, AND STAY AWAY FROM THE MAGIC WALL EVERYONE
Hudson: What do you need?
Xila jumps up to her feet.
Xila: Oooh, what’s this?
Izual: Did me blackout again..?
River nods solemnly.
Quinn Winterborn: Dip your weapon into the magical pool
Quinn Winterborn grins with excitement
Xila: Why do we have to stay away from it?
River: We… saw something from you…
River: Do you have s-something to share with us?
Izual: What do you mean?
Hudson: Does it have to be a magical weapon?
Quinn Winterborn: It’s both impassable, and it will attack you, but that’s not important. Someone dip their weapon into the pool.
Quinn Winterborn: Nope. Any weapon will do
Xila nods with excitement
Hudson dips his old warhammer in the pool.
Xila dips her weapon into the pool
River: In the course of b-battle… you were hurt… and you ch-changed…
Quinn Winterborn is preactically dancing with excitement
Hudson: [1d6 = 1]
Xila pouts as hudson beats her to it
River: Into something dark… and d-demonic.
Izual ‘s eyes go wide at the mention of this.
The magic clings to the hammer, filling in old scratches and scrapes with pulsing energy. After a moment then aethyr currents settle and the hammer pulses a faint blue and whisps of frost cling to it.
Quinn Winterborn: AMAZING
Izual: Then what I feared is true…
Hudson: … okay.
Hudson cautiously dips his other weapon in it.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
The pools energies calm slightly
Quinn Winterborn: Hmm, I had hoped it would be repeatable. Still, wasn’t that amazing, Hudson???
Xila: Oooh, now your weapon is the same as mine, all frosty!
Xila: Mine’s sharper though
Hudson: My weapon was already… frosty.
Hudson shows the Hammer of Victory.
River: …I do not d-doubt your strength, Izual… but I worry for your s-safety…
River: Come. Let us return to the others.
Quinn Winterborn studies the pool for a long moment
Izual: Right..
Quinn Winterborn: I think we can likely dip a few more weapons into the pool before the effect dissipates.
Xila: So, how we going to get out of here handsom?
River offers a hand to help the gith to his feet.
Quinn Winterborn: It would work on Izual’s bow, too….
Quinn Winterborn seems to suddenly remember where he is and what’s going on….
Hudson: Sure.
Izual takes it and stands.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, hello. Who are you, halfling, and how did you get here?
Xila: Name’s Xila, and I followed you of course!
Quinn Winterborn: Followed us? But what on earth for?
Izual moves to the group with River.
Xila: Curiosity
Quinn Winterborn: Do you worship Bane? Cyric?
Quinn Winterborn: Possibly not, halfling
Xila: Absolutely not
River: Well, we’re f-fortunate for her help, Mr. Winterborn. Please, don’t be so g-guarded…
Quinn Winterborn: I believe it imbues frost or cold damage.
River: Moro seems to have t-taken a liking to her.
Xila: My dagger’s already frosty, wonder if it’ll make it stronger.
River: So… what is everyone p-playing with over here?
Quinn Winterborn: River! River, this pool imbues elemental damage on weapons dipped into it. Hudson dipped his warhammer in, and it was amazing. The arcane energies….
River: Hm….
River surveys the pool for herself.
Xila: You’re an excitable one, do you do parties?
Quinn Winterborn: I…uh….
Quinn Winterborn coughs, and takes a deep breath
River: What do you think, Moro?
Hudson: I take it I need to hit this wall, Quinn?
Moro looks hesitantly at the pool, and whines.
Quinn Winterborn: I find arcane magic to be fascinating.
River: Hm…
River: Well…. I wonder.
River takes out a small wooden idol and holds it aloft…. before dipping it into the pool while holding onto the thread it hangs on.
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson, please do not. It is unbreakable, and will hurt you
Hudson lowers hammer, and moves away a little.
Xila: So how we going to get through?
Xila: Any ideas mr arcane boy?
River: I t-take it you wish to join us then, Ms. Xila?
Xila: Well of course! Your quest might be boring, but you guys certainly aren’t!
Quinn Winterborn: The wall appeared in response to our approaching the pool. Maybe it will dissipate when the pool calms down?
Quinn Winterborn: Alternately, there may be a teleport mechanism somewhere. The Tower of Art was full of old, powerful magics
The energies whirl around the small totem, and you hear the clarion call of a pack of howling wolves as the energies clash together. When removed the totem pulses a dull silversheen, and emits a whispered howl when primal energies are pushed through it.
River: ….Strange.
River: Perhaps you were right, Moro. It is dangerous works.
Izual follows suit and dips his greatbow in.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Moro with a slightly wounded expression
The pool energies wan to almost nothing… you think there may only be one more use left before it is gone.
Izual: Everyone, I have apology.
Xila: ooh, this’ll be good.
Moro begins to drink at the pool’s surface.
Quinn Winterborn looks directly into Izual’s eyes
Izual: River has brought to mine attention that I… Transmogrify into a demon when I’m become too hurt .
Moro glows briefly, but does not seem to be effected.
Hudson turns and looks at Izualm face painfully blank
Quinn Winterborn nods but says nothing
River: Perhaps…. you have an idea h-how this is so?
Izual: It is as I feared long ago and I now have confirmation… Mine father performed a blood ritual on I when I was infant.
Xila: Oooh a blood ritual!
Xila: Interesting
Izual: The demon you see is my brother.
River bites her lip as she takes in this troubling information.
River: …What is his name? P-perhaps we can help you with… your c-condition…?
Izual: If my research of the Daemonomicon holds truth… His name is mine name.
Izual: Izual.
Quinn Winterborn: That…matches what I was able to learn from him
River: Hm… Most unusual…
Izual: I’m know this is a awful burden to the group, and I’m understanding if any wish me to leave. I would not want to cause more problem.
Quinn Winterborn: Izual….This is a problem
River: No…. I… I feel as though it is our d-duty to help him.
Hudson: I don’t want you to go, Izual. I trust you more than I’ve trusted anyone in a long time. The same with a lot of people in this group.
Quinn Winterborn: Can we, River?
River: I…. I don’t know.
Hudson pauses, and takes a deep breath.
River: I’ve never dealt with…. possession and d-demons at all…
Quinn Winterborn: My faith compels me to help Izual, but I fear the demon may strike when our backs are turned.
Hudson: But If the other you tries to hurt someone else in the group, I will not pause in their defence. I hope you can understand.
Xila: Well if he goes out of control, a good sharp dagger will fix that right up!
Xila: Or a blow to the head with the strong mans hammer, that works too.
Izual: It is mine understanding that with the proper practice I can control the demon within mine body.
Quinn Winterborn speaks softly, sorrowfully
Quinn Winterborn: Izual, the demon has threatened us
Izual: I am sorry…
Quinn Winterborn looks down at his feet, but says nothing
River: …In any case, our g-goal is ahead of us.
As Quinn removes his staff from the pool, the last of the energy from the whirling aethyr is absorbed into the staff, tiny tongues of flame dancing along its length. The moment the pool is gone, the wall behind you falters aloud, turning solid like ice before fracturing and exploding outward, raining the staircase behind with shards of solidified magic.
Xila: Cool!
River: Let us go. W-we are still being p-pursued, I fear…
Hudson looks at Xila for a moment, and then back to Izual.
Izual: I will work on this so that I’m not cause danger anymore. It is my understanding that only when my physical body is in danger does the demon show itself. I vow on my honor that I will master him.
Izual: But yes, lets us be going.
Hudson: We have a lot to think on, and not much time to wait. I think we all have enough mind to walk and think at the same time.
Quinn Winterborn offers a handshake to Izual, again looking him in the eye
Quinn Winterborn: Thanks, River
The staircase beyond is blocked going downwards, so your only choice is to go upwards. The stairs are not on the crazy angle as the previous case, and you think you can see a light way up above.

Chat log started at 18.5.2016 / 17:19:00

Last time on HBC, we left the party in a large room that formerly held a magical vortex. The vortex taken care of, the barrier faded, allowing the party to continue up the stairs and deeper into the Tower of the Art. Somewhere in here, a relic devoted to Shar was waiting for them…
The party is now in a silence, dark room as the magical pool has disipated and the barrier disolved. The staircase ahead of you leads up, and at less of a chaotic angle as the one leading here. The only available route is… up.
Xila: Only way is up! Doesn’t look like there’s any traps, so lets go cuties
Quinn Winterborn: I….ugh…
Quinn Winterborn heads upstairs
Hudson follows Quinn upstairs.
The staircase leads upwards, well beyond what another floor or two would be. After about five floors of stairs, you come to a landing bearing another archway with a seven stared motif, similar to that which you have seen on the lower levels. Here it is more intricate, and a small font sits off to the side.
Opposite the font and through the archway the stairs continue to go ‘upward" but in near the opposite angle to your initial trajectory.
Quinn Winterborn inspects the font for a long moment, then steps away, carrying the definite air of a sad puppy
Quinn Winterborn: I guess we continue upward?
Xila: Looks that way, come along, you big puppy you.
Xila gives Quinn a friendly tap then heads up the stairs.
Quinn Winterborn turns back and looks at the font again
Quinn Winterborn: I…
Hudson: What’s wrong,
Xila stops
Xila: What is it now? Don’t want to divorce the font? It really doesn’t love you back y’know
Izual looks as if he’s extremely deep in thought.
Quinn Winterborn gestures at the font, looking slightly annoyed
Quinn Winterborn: It’s got magic, but it’s divine, nor arcane in nature. Maybe something related to blessings of Mystra, or devotions to her?
Quinn Winterborn looks around
Quinn Winterborn: I’m sorry, I’m not sure if it’s of use to us or not
Quinn Winterborn looks at Xila
Hudson: Izual. You seem to be of a more religeous mindset. Perhaps you can think of something more?
Izual breaks out of his thoughts.
Izual: I.. What?
River presses her lips together firmly, remaining silent.
Hudson: The font appears to be divine magic rather than arcane. Can you examine it?
Izual: I will try. Give me second.
Xila sits on the stairs, clearly bored.
Quinn Winterborn: Is it blasphemous to wonder why Mystra had to die?
Izual: I think this was used for blessing individuals.
River: All things die… its p-part of the natural cycle.
Quinn Winterborn: I’ve always seen the gods as being apart from nature, but what do I know I guess.
Quinn Winterborn: Ok, thanks Izual.
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe we will need the blessing of Mystra to progress further in the tower, but since she’s dead, for now maybe we push onwards?
Izual: Either water or wine was poured in, and a prayer was said… and then a mark of the Goddess would be placed on the hands or forehead of the desired desciple.
Hudson: Anyone want to be blessed? Or shall we continue?
Quinn Winterborn looks undecided for a moment, then shakes his head
Xila yawns
Xila: If we’re gonna stand here all day, I might need a bed and a nice fluffy pillow.
River: Blessing of a d-dead goddess? N-No thanks.
Hudson: Okay, let’s put Xila out of our misery, and continue forward.
Quinn Winterborn nods in agreement with River, shuddering slightly
Xila jumps up with excitement, then proceeds to climb the stairs.
Heading up this staircase is trecherous – the stairs crumble away at barely a moments notice, causing you to have to struggle to move upwards.
Quinn, Xila and River are unable to catch themselves repeatedly and end up with lots of scrapes and bruises as they finally come to the top of the stairs.
The landing allows only one direction, as the stairs continuing uprwards have been buried in tons of stone. THe hall here goes through another starred archway before turning down a hall.
River: Miss, Xila…. could you p-perhaps scout ahead?
Xila: For you sweety? Anything
Xila keeps to the shadows, and moves forward silently.
Izual peers around the corner
Xila moves forward slightly further
The hall runs along for a few more feet before opening up into a large room teeming with light. Every few heartbeats a sparkle of light flashes through the rooms ceiling.
Izual followed closely behind her, bow ready in hand.
Xila: Oooooh pretty
Xila moves back and pokes her head round the corner, cost is clear guys, you can move up
Izual immediately hold his hand out toward Xila’s face, and then slowly moves a single finger to his mouth.
This room was obviously once a magical workshop of great potency. Bookshelves filled with ritual tomes line one wall, while pools of bubbling energy rest in the corners. Bursts of light streak toward the ceiling where they explode in flashes of brilliant light. A shattered anvil floats in mid-air at the center of the domed chamber, as if the energies from the pools were once directed to that spot, creating a forge of pure energy. At the center of the room, a matrix of runes has been carved into the floor.
Quinn Winterborn: OOohh!
In one corner rests an elaborate work bench and desk which is covered with journals and papers. A line of glowing blue sigils runs along the stone all around this desk, forming a border or ward of some sort. In the other corner, some sort of sacred circle seems to have been inscribed, and floating in the center of that circle is the ghostly form of a human man wearing wizard’s robes and carrying a staff.
Quinn Winterborn: Izual, check the ceiling
The man glares angrily at you. “Defilers and trespassers! You shall tread no further on the sacred stones of Mystra! I, Thagdal, Master of the Tower of the Art, command you to leave this place at once lest you feel the full might and fury of the Mother of All Magic!”
Izual: Everyone, go back.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh no, not more drop ghouls….
Xila steps forward.
Xila: Hey handsom, we’re followers of Mystra ourselves, just checking and making sure the mistress’s tower is well preserved, that’s all! So if it’s alright with you, we’ll just be on our way through, alrighty?
“You are traitors and defilers! You don’t follow the ways of Mystra!”
Xila: I tried
Thagdal, Phantom Master seems confused, but not convinced of your story.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, did you foget to do a devotion at the font?
Xila: Well, looks like there’s no way we’re getting through without a fight
Xila thinks to herself a moment, then nods to herself.
Xila: Yup!
Xila then proceeds to roll forward and flings her dagger at Thagdal
As Xila moves forward, the magic sparkling in the air coelesces and forms a magical tentacle that slams into her.
Xila dodges the tendrill, then fires her dagger at Thegdal
Xila: That’s not playing very nice
Quinn Winterborn: Xila??
Quinn Winterborn: What? Oh, hi there! Who might you be?
“You are traitors and defilers! You don’t follow the ways of Mystra!”
Xila: Yes yes, we heard you the first time, tough guy.
Quinn Winterborn: …and you can’t possibly be alive….
Quinn Winterborn looks around a bit starstruck by the room
Quinn Winterborn focuses on the tendril.
Quinn Winterborn: Watch out, Xila!
Xila: Oh this thing?
Xila points at the tendril
Xila: Yeah, we’ve met
Quinn Winterborn: Yeah.
Quinn Winterborn frowns, and looks back at the anvil
Xila: I mean, it tried to go straight for the kiss, and I was like “At least buy me dinner first” so I dodged it.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Xila as though he has absolutely no idea what she just said
Quinn Winterborn is suprised and alarmed at the sudden attack from Thagdal
Quinn Winterborn: Whoa! Look out!!
Thagdal lets loose a shriek that grates on every nerve in your body, threatening to tear your mind asunder.
Thagdal then points to one of the pools near the halfing, and it boils to life, spitting forth what appears to be blood.
Xila shudders a bit from Thagdals shriek, but composes herself and dodges the spitting blood.
Xila dodges the tendrills again, then gives it a big slap.
Xila: I said NO
A second tendril forms and slams into the halfling, dazing her.
It does not appear to have damaged or impacted the tendrils at all.
Hudson: okay,
Hudson: I was not expecting that
Hudson: Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn tears his eyes away from the anvil…
Hudson: What is this?
River walks carefully into the corridor entrance… and calmly looks at the scene.
River: T-this….is troubling.
Quinn Winterborn: You can’t harm it with your weapon. It’s some kind of…animated magic
Hudson: Can you Un-Animate it?
Quinn Winterborn: Um, I guess I can try….
Xila: Yes, that would be wonderfull, this one’s trying to get in my pants.
Xila points at the tendril that hit her
River: …F-focus fire on the spirit! S-Stay away from the center of the p-pools!
River: Take h-heart! Be s-strong!
Xila: Thank you sweety!
Izual: Master Thagdal, I am follower of the Goddess! The Holy Font was empty, and I could not recieve her blessing. Please, let I pass freely!
Thagdal, Phantom Master: Leave this place at once lest you feel the full might and fury of the Mother of All Magic, foul demon!
Izual looks visibly hurt from the words.
Izual ‘s face turns from pain to anger as he readies his arrow to fire.
River: While I would rather end this p-peacefully, I fear words will n-not be enough…
River: We are w-warriors, not p-poets… despite our sponsorship.
Xila rolls sideways and flings her dagger at Thagdal again
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson, there’s a trigger plate! Shove something underneath it to disable the tendrils!
Quinn Winterborn points
Thagdal, Phantom Master snaps his fingers and the pool behind Quinn bubbles to life, a font of magma boiling outwards and it forms a massive wave that threatens to crash on the mage.
Quinn Winterborn: OOwha!
Thagdal, Phantom Master: You defile the Mistress’ house with your presence! Leave here, lest you anger me!
Xila: Can someone do something about that guy, his words hurt me.
Xila: I’ll take care of the little trap problem for ya
The ring of azure runes flares to life as Hudson approaches
Quinn Winterborn: Cool!
It appears to be some kind of magical circle. You note that the Master has not moved from the circle.
Hudson: Leave her alone!
Thagdal, Phantom Master: DEFILER!
Hudson: Rotting corpse of a dead goddess!
River: Moro, the halfling!
Moro bounds over to Xila and grabs the scruff of her collar in her jaws.
River: Please, stop! We’re t-trying to stop a cult of Cyric and B-Bane from getting an a-artifact!
River: Stay your w-wrath but a m-moment!
Thagdal, Phantom Master appears to calm for a moment, mulling over your words, while fending off Hudson.
River: Focus on the t-trap, Miss Xila… We will p-persevere.
Izual: You must believe, Thagdal! I am a humble follower! Please, let go of your minions!
Thagdal, Phantom Master howls in rage, his spectral hair flying wildly in an aethyric wind. The two other pools in the room boil to life, one a spewing vat of acid, the other a glowing pool of radiance..
Xila tinkers with the trap, clearly in her element.
With nimble fingers and a slim wedge of stone, Xila is able to break bits off of the trigger plate, rendering the entire plate inert. The tentacles writhe in ethreal agony and then simply disappear.
Quinn Winterborn points at Thagdal, and unleashes a ray of frost that does nothing more than chill the far wall
Thagdal, Phantom Master then disappears from view!
Thagdal, Phantom Master activates an AP!
As the master disappears, the pools surge and the waves slap at those within range!
Hudson: Quinn! Where is he?
Xila: Anyone know where he went? is he still in that circle thing?
Quinn Winterborn: I…..oh Amaunator….
Hudson: He’s not in the circle, I know that much.
River calms herself and focuses on the settling dust… hoping it will show the way to the phantom.
River: Moro, search th-there!
Moro smells the air and bites at the wind!
While the attack does not hit, it does reveal the location of the phantom.
Thagdal, Phantom Master: TRESPASSERS!
Moro suddenly darkens, her fur showing glimmering runes along the shadowy hide. Her teeth bared, she growls at the phantom mage.
River: Strike there! To the w-west!
Xila throws caution to the wind and goes to stab Thadal
Moro bites at the heels of the phantasm, taking the foe’s focus off of the halfling’s blade.
Xila pets Moro
Quinn Winterborn catches the caution Xila cast upon the winds
Quinn Winterborn turns cautiously, and points a finger at Thagdal
Quinn Winterborn tries to scurry away from all of the pools
Xila easily dodges the attack
Xila: Nope!
Thagdal, Phantom Master phases out of this plane and reappears elsewhere.
River shifts away from the pursuing spectre, allowing Moro to take her place in the front lines.
River: Please, s-stop this! We must stop the c-cultists from getting that artifact f-first!
Moro tears into the phantasm’s leg, spirit against spirit.
Hudson: Stay Still!
Quinn Winterborn: Need me to run in there for you, Xila??
Quinn Winterborn grins
Xila: Nah, I’m good hun
Xila pierces Thagdal with her dagger
Xila follows her pierce with a low slash
Quinn Winterborn a spectral hand appears beside Quinn, and pulls a healing potion out, holding it at ready
Thagdal, Phantom Master phases out and then reappears to unleash a horrible scream!
River clutches her chest as her mind is rattled by the phantom.
Xila: Could do with some of your mighty fine healing right about now sweety.
River: …Y-yes…. give me b-but a moment to catch my b-breath.
Thagdal, Phantom Master: LEAVE NOW MORTALS!
River limps over to the far side of the chamber, as Moro charges toward the phantom.
Xila: How about you leave Handom? Then everyone will be happy right?
Xila: You’ll be happy cause you wont see us, right?
Xila: And we’ll be happy, because you wont keep hurting us.
Xila: Win win!
Moro pauses, and awaits the others to close in on the phantom before striking.
Xila: Well, looks like you wont listen to me, so gonna have to stab you till you go away.
Moro suddenly grabs onto Xila and swings the halfling like a club at the phantom!
Moro lets the halfling go, and howls in triumph!
Xila: Thanks for the headache
Quinn Winterborn points his staff at the phantasm, and growls in frustration.
Quinn Winterborn: Die already!
Quinn Winterborn: Xila – grab the potion!
Xila looks
Xila notices a floating hand holding a potion.
Xila: Well.. gee thanks floating hand thing!
Xila grabs it
Quinn Winterborn grins, looking altogether pleased with himself
Xila: I think that things got the hots for you sweety! You might want to watch out.
River cowers as the phantom strikes with his sword. She narrowly dodges the attack, as the blade slices through the air.
River (wounded): Nnngh!
Xila: Aww, is that it?
Xila sits on the floor.
River leans heavily on her spear, still reeling from the wounds inflicted by the phantom’s assault.
Hudson lowers hammer. “Well that was frustrating.”
Quinn Winterborn winks at Xila, trying to catch his breath
Hudson: River, are you okay?
Xila seems to ignore the wink, then jumps up again.
With the final shot, the phantom turns to mist and the pools still and begins to turn solid. The room becomes still and only the flashes of magic playing around the magical anvil in the ceiling.
Xila: So, what’s the deal with that.
River: I… I am fine. J-just need to press onward…
Xila pointst at the anvil.
Quinn Winterborn studies the anvil intently (arcana)
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, care to check the desk for traps, treasure, or maybe just a cool book or two?
Xila: Absolutely!
Xila: Maybe not the books though, not much of a reader
Xila investigates the table for loot and traps and other stuff
Moro prods the halfling with her nose, eager to get her share of the loots.
There are several items scattered among the half-made trinkets and baubles strewn throughout the room. Of most interest is a pair of scrolls with an ancient ritual inscribed on it, a journal is found on the desk which seems to have some interesting tidbits about the keepers of the tower.
River takes the journal and reads aloud for the others.
Xila finds the book, then throws it to Quinn.
Xila: You like books, catch
Quinn Winterborn reads it over, twice, clearly fascinated
Quinn Winterborn: This is amazing…
Quinn Winterborn: I…I don’t quite know what to make of it, but it’s very interesting…
River: …And so our m-mission ends. For the m-moment, anyways.
Quinn Winterborn seems to not notice River’s words, as he is lost in thought.
You are well aware that the Tower of the Sky is a floating earthmote that is chained to the southern part of the ruined Zhentil Keep – the part thats amid the shadowy zone that no one enters, as it is filled with powerful undead.
Hudson: … So we have a powerful magical thing meant to hold potential magical energy, hidden in a floating piece of rock, in the middle of an evil part of town that is full of undead creatures.
Xila: What are we waiting for? Sounds fun!
River: M-more or less, yes…
Quinn Winterborn looks up, distracted from his thoughts
Quinn Winterborn: I do wonder if the vessel was not used to store something more…sinister
Xila etches her name in the wooden desk with her dagger.
Hudson: What could be sinister about the powerful magical… you know what? I don’t feel like i need to point out the danger again.
The northern staircase ends abruptly in a pile of rubble, meaning that you arent getting back out this way.
The rifling through things takes the better part of an hour, and while you feel better knowing that the relic is not here, there are still others that are after it.
There are no other avenues or halls that you havent been able to see. You have to go out the way you came in.
River: …We should r-return to to Mr. Cobb. Our work here is at an e-end…
Xila: Who’s Mr. cobb?
River: Come. We should not stay l-longer than we should.
Quinn Winterborn looks around fondly
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: I agree, River
Xila: What, you’re leaving? But we need to go to that temple! it sounded so much fun.
Xila pouts a bit.
Hudson: Want me to carry any books out of here for you, Quinn?
Xila notices the others walking away, then quickly follows them.
Xila: Fiiine, but we all agree we’ll go there someday right?… Yeah, knew you guys would agree!
Xila: So, who’s Mr. Cobb?
Quinn Winterborn: But we still haven’t found what we came for, have we, River?
River: It isn’t here… firmly out of our g-grasp.
Hudson: Cobb is the man who sent us here, Xila
River: Thankfully, it remains s-safe in the darkness. For n-now.
Xila: Oh, well I’m gonna stick with you guys, this was fun!.. So off to Mr cobblewobbles then.
Hudson: I don’t know much about the man. Perhaps one of these two would like to explain to you whilst we travel?
Xila: I’m assuming Mr. Cobb is short for cobblewobbles right?.. Right?
Quinn Winterborn eyes Xila with profound skepticism
Hudson: It might just be his name, Xila
Izual: How are we planning to get back to Mr. Cobb? I dont know if the ship will still be in town.
River: We walk.
Izual: Around the Moonsea?
Quinn Winterborn: Back to the docks, see what we can find or hire?
River: If need be.
Hudson: We can go back to the town, and get a goodnight’s sleep… as best as possible. Find transport back, and then we sail.
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe his contact will be able to advise us
Hudson: I barely know what day it is anymore.
Xila: I can steal a ship, if you want? Of course we’d have to learn pretty quickly how to sail it.
Izual: I think its only been a day since we arrived…
Xila: and then it’ll be difficult not to get noticed.. yeah, might not be the brightest idea.
Xila: That’s what got me… No, never mind. Forget I said anything guys!
Hudson sideeyes xila quietly

Chat log started at 25.5.2016 / 17:19:53

Last time on HBC – the heroes won! You were able to find the lost Tower of Art, climb through the rubble, battle the hidden guardian and win the day. Sadly, the relic you sought was not in the tower, but instead taken to another place by the former champion of the Zhentarim, now Exarch of Bane, Fzoul Chembryl. Your task, for now, is complete. You just need to escape this place with your information and heads, in tact.
River: This way. We s-shouldn’t tarry here for t-too long…
Hudson: If anyone has followed us in, we’ll be walking back towards them. Be on your guard. We are not out of danger, even if we’ve completed our task.
Quinn Winterborn: I wonder if there’s another way out…
Quinn Winterborn looks thoughtful
Xila: Well with you here to protect me handom, I ain’t got nothing to worry about.
Hudson: I’m sure you’re perfectly capable of protecting yourself too, Xila.
Hudson grins.
Xila: You know it!
Xila: But I wouldn’t mind a helping hand.
Xila winks at Hudson, then goes to leave
Hudson looks back at the rest of the party, and then catches up with Xila.
Quinn Winterborn shrugs, baffled
Quinn Winterborn catches up
Moro moves ahead of the pack, keeping her nose to the ground and her ears alert for trouble.
The tower is noticable quieter and more stable as you descend the staircase, the last dregs of magic having been whisked away when the magical maelstrom died down. Aside from your provided light and the quiet jingle of metal coins in your pocket, there are no sounds either.
You exit the tower with no further issues and trek back out into the ruined sewer system.
Quinn Winterborn takes a moment to look around, and wonder how it all might have been in another age.
Quinn Winterborn: We need a ship….
Hudson: Why don’t we get to town first, and then explore our options?
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, just thinking ahead
Xila: Yuck, back into the sewers I go… Wait, do we really have to leave this place? It was nicy and cosy.
River: Y-you may stay if you wish…. b-but we have to return to Hillsfar.
Xila: Fiiiine
Journeying back through the sewers is time consuming, but done relatively easily with River and Moro near unerringly navigating back the route you came. You shortly pace through the old mausoleum, though the dead are at rest this time.
Xila: So, how we getting to this palce you gotta go? I could maybe bribe some ship captain to smuggle us out in crates.
Quinn Winterborn: Sounds…cozy?
Xila: All nice and snuggly.
Xila winks at Quinn
Quinn Winterborn raises his eyebrows, but says nothing
River: I d-don’t believe it will be so easy as to leave by sh-ship…
Pacing out of the mausoleum, you head back in the direction of the fungus cavern, the scent of which you can detect well before you can see the large mushroom caps.
Xila: Nonsense, gold can buy you anything.
River shakes her head.
Quinn Winterborn: I am not looking forward to the fungi.
River: I don’t d-doubt the greed of people in this c-city. But does it o-outweight the zealotry of those c-chasing us?
Quinn Winterborn: Speaking of which, know a better way through them, Xila?
Xila: Nope
Dancing through the fungus, you manage to avoid being too clumsy this time, and no one is attacked by the nightmarish spores. You break back into the more “sewer-y” part of these ruins, with filth from the outskirts of the city getting stronger as you move back the way you came.
The journey back has taken much less time than the journey to the Tower. You estimate that you’ve only spent the better part of the ‘morning’ walking, putting the hike at a mere 3 hours instead of the wandering eight or nine it took you to find the place earlier. Without much fanfare, you find the entrance to the Temple of Shar, complete with Faeryl body waiting for you.
River: C-come now. No time to w-waste.
Quinn Winterborn looks down, saying little
Xila looks at the body, and at quinns reaction.
Xila: Friend of yours?
River carefully treads past Faeryl’s burnt corpse.
Quinn Winterborn gulps and nods
Hudson: At least we completed his last mission.
Izual only puts up his hood and says a quiet prayer as they pass.
River: N-not yet. We still have to return.
Xila hangs back to let the others walk off slightly.
Xila once the others are slightly out of view, xila proceeds to check the unknown body for any gold “He wont be needing it”
Moving out of the room, you find signs that someone else has indeed been here in your absence. You notice that the remains of the Cyricist (smears mostly) are completely gone and their personal effects are also gone.
Quinn Winterborn: We need to be careful, I think
Xila catches up to them
Hudson: I think whoever came this way, turned back. I think our path of destruction might have deterred them.
Quinn Winterborn: Hope so. Ok, let’s get moving
River shakes her head.
River: It is n-never that simple.
Hudson confidently walks back towards the entrance.
Xila whistles casually.
Quinn Winterborn pulls out the Sharran symbol briefly, examines it, then returns it to his pack.
Xila notices it
Xila: Oooh, what was that Quinn? Some deep dark secret?
River: ….I would k-keep that hidden, Mr. W-winterborn.
River: The less attention we d-draw, the b-better.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Quinn Winterborn: Probably right, River.
Leaving the temple is done without anything eventful. Knotted ropes are left hanging in the entrance “hole” which are easily climbed up and you manage to get back to the trap door that let you down here to begin with.
River: …Now. To the t-tavern? Or to the d-docks?
Xila: Which tavern you going to?
Hudson: Do you know of a good one, Xila?
Hudson: … let me rephrase, do you know of a SAFE one, Xila.
Quinn Winterborn: Heh
Xila: In this place? It’d be easier to find a needle in a hornets nest then a save tavern.
Hudson: I’ll go with Xila and try and procure a boat. the rest of you should get some sleep
Xila: So, what tavern you going to? I’ll go and get us a boat.
Quinn Winterborn: I…like sleep
Hudson: I assume you know this place better than me.
Izual: Wherever us go, I need to go to store and restock.
Quinn Winterborn: This might not be the best city for shopping. I think we need to keep a low profile and leave quickly
River: What do you think, Moro?
Xila: But first, we need to get to the city, come on lets roll.
Moro yawns, then gets up to move into the city proper.
River: If we are to move, we cannot be s-separated.
River: To be alone…. is a d-death sentence in this place.
Xila: I’d prefer to be with as few people as possible while I work my magic at the docks sweety.
Hudson: You saw how many eyes were on us when we arrived. A pair of us will draw much less attention that five.
Xila: I was alone before I met you, doesn’t matter too much about me being alone now right?
River frowns.
River: I…. I am adamant about this.
Xila: I can blend in more if a crowd isn’t following me around.
Hudson: Would it make you feel safer if I went with you to tavern and Xila went alone?
River shakes her head.
River: N-no… I still feel it is best to stick together.
Xila: Fine, you can come, but you must agree to stay as far away from me as possible while I work my charms.
Xila: If things go badly, well. They shouldn’t, but if they do… It’ll be fun.
Quinn Winterborn: But we do so enjoy your charms, Xila.
River: …I p-pray it doesn’t come to that…
Reaching up and pushing open the rusted iron hatch, you hear a phantom squeal, that Quinn instantly recognizes as an alarm/sending spell. The squeal fades away at once, and you are left in the old warehouse, once you are all able to climb up and out.
Quinn Winterborn: Alarm spell!
Izual nocks an arrow and drops to a knee.
Quinn Winterborn: Someone must know we’re here now
River: …No time to w-waste then. We have to move q-quickly.
A few pregnant moments pass in silence as you await an ambush, but nothing happens, only the soft sigh of the wind pressing against the old building. The first rays of sunshine begin to poke over the horizon as a new day begins.
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s move, then
Xila: Nothings coming, looks like we’re clear
Pushing yourselves in the early morning, it takes the better part of the morning to get back towards the docks, as the streets are crowded with merchants and slavers that jockey for better positions to hawk their various merchandise. In the morning breeze you can definately tell that you smell like you spent the night wandering around in the sewers – a long bath cannot come quickly enough.
Quinn Winterborn politely refrains from pointing out that Hudson smells
Hudson generally looks like murder is his go to response today.
Xila: Phooey you guys stink.
Xila sniffs herself
Xila: Well, guess I do as well
Xila: Well, guess I should try and get us a ship.
As you pass by the tavern you first encountered Master Cobb’s son and his pirate band in when you first arrived, you see that the foot traffic has stopped completely. There is a makeshift barricade across the street, and well over three dozen men wearing the clenched fist of Bane are questioning those seeking to push through to get to the docks. A man wielding a hammer easily the size of River stands at the rear, eyes scanning across the crowd, searching ceaselessly for something or someone…
Hudson: It looks like first we’re going to have to murder some more people.
Quinn Winterborn: This could get ugly. There has to be a better way
For those of you that recall, the men who are questioning the crowd are dressed much like the commander from the Temple. Three dozen of them is a death sentence.
Xila: I don’t think we’re getting through this way.
Quinn Winterborn: (softly) you know, I might be carryign something that is not wise to be carrying
Hudson: The Docks are off the table. Calmly, we’re all going to turn around, one by one, and walk back the way we came.
Xila: There
Xila: There’s gotta be a way to the docks, they cant control the entire city.
Hudson: They don’t have to. They can check everything that’s leaving through the docks though
Quinn Winterborn: If they search us and find the secret in my pack, there might be trouble.
Xila: I don’t even know what you’ve got.
River: …I have an i-idea… follow me.
Hudson: The way onto the docks are barricaded, there are people searching the crates and cargo. Unless someone is hiding an invisibility power, we’re not getting through this way.
River begins going a different direction, away from the docks.
Hudson: Don’t move as a huge group.
Xila follows River
??: Hey! You – with the big dog. C’mere! We need to talk to you.
Quinn Winterborn: Keep walking…
Men at the blockade that arent actively shaking down people start to look in your direction.
River ignores the voice and continues on her way.
Moro blinks… and heads down another direction, down a different road.
??
: You see’m, Yarl? That big dog just disappeared. Keep a look out for the dark elf though – thats a dead giveaway.
The men start off in a different direction than your group moves, harassing people as they go.
River then nods…. and Moro fades from view.
Xila: Nice going River
River: We are n-not done yet. Q-quickly.
Quinn Winterborn starts muttering about illusions
River then continues down her path, hopeful for a way out of this city.
Xila: Looks like we’re not getting a boat… Guess it’s the long walk out of here.
Xila: Although I could probably sneak through to the docks, maybe get a ship to pick the rest of you up.
Quinn Winterborn: Long walk involves crossing a river, but I’m up for it if need be
Hudson: or we head to a nearby town with a dock, and buy passage from there…
Hudson: Although, that’d probably be going the wrong way.
You winding trek through the city leads you to the less often used Dark Gate, which leads towards the city of Mulmaster, famed for its slave trade. Ruins dot this route and its far from a popular one. You reach the wide open space between the last few huts and the walls of the keep.
The gate leading out of the city is garrisoned by a number of black-cloaked men and women wearing the heraldry of the Zhentarim, the Black Network. Their leader, a human wearing a gem-studded holy symbol of Cyric, gestures for you to stop well short of the gate. “No one may leave this city carrying items that are rightfully the property of the Zhentarim,” sneers the leader.
“You will surrender all magical objects and papers in your possession for inspection. Your equipment and any standard ritual or spell books will be returned to you following the inspection, but any contraband or items of historical significance to the Zhentarim will be kept. If you do not surrender these items, or if you resist us in any way, then we will take them from you by force.” The mercenaries’ swords clear their scabbards in a practiced motion.
Quinn Winterborn: Sounds like a scam to me
Xila yawns
Xila: Hey, Bozos, you know who you’re dealing with here?
Quinn Winterborn: Avoiding a fight would be fantastic, here….
Quinn Winterborn: Xila….
??: Paltry halfing and a merry band of misfits, looks like. I dont rightly care who you are and what’cher business is. Just do as I say and ye can get one with yer day. Otherwise, this guy gets a gold coin for every scalp, per his contract.
Xila: We worship Cyric as well you idiots! We’re leaving the city on a holy mission.
Xila: It’s one of great secrecy, that’s why we’re not showing any symbols.
Zhent Black Sun Adept 2 narrows his eyes , “Plucky wench you are. But I recognize the Black Suns followers on sight. You should have gone with something more believable, like a churlish Zhent dog or a whore of a Sharran! Take that one’s head, Barlgam.”
The ones in front of you have drawn swords.
Two men garbbed in dark robes emerge from the left tower.
Xila moves forward then readies her dagger
Izual nocks an arrow, and aims high into the sky. Drawing his bowstring nearly as far as it can go, he lets the arrow loose.
Izual smiles wide, as he retreats to the trees for cover.
The priest casts a minor charm at Hudson, before unleashing a blast of violet light in a beam.
Zhent Black Sun Adept 2: Not the little one, you dolt… the one with the hammer!
River cowers in the back, fearful of getting into combat once again…
Moro reappears from a flurry of shadow and mist, and tries to takedown the Cyricist with vengeance!
The mage rushes forward and unleashes a blast of light that blinds Hudson.
Quinn Winterborn: Guh
Zhent War Mage 2 screams in agony.
Poisonous vapors linger in the blast area (DT and damage for entering)
Quinn Winterborn coughs and sputters.
Xila rolls behind Hudson, and flings her dagger
Izual charges an arrow with the newfound power of his magic bow.
Zhent Black Sun Adept 2 staggers a moment from the thrown blade, and then falls to the ground without any drama…
Quinn Winterborn: River! We’re wounded!
THe priest laughs as his minor charm pulls Hudson within striking distance, and then he unleashes a blast of magic that nearly knocks Hudson over.
River: Distance is a b-bit of an issue…
Quinn Winterborn: I know this is difficult, River, but we need you
River walks up to the conflict, warily.
Moro howls and emboldens Hudson’s spirit as he strikes a staggering blow to the Zhents.
Hudson: Get Through The GATE!
Quinn Winterborn: There is no escape from my MAGIC!!!!
Quinn Winterborn nearly throws up from the exertion
Xila: You guys will need new eyes soon.
Xila lets out a barrage of attacks, targeting their eyes
Xila continues the assault
Izual charges an arrow with primal power, and nocks it with a second special arrow.
Xila: And that’s how you do it!
Xila: How you boys coping without being able to see? Not nice is it huh?
Quinn Winterborn grins bloodthirstily
Izual quickly draws his bow for another attack.
River: Aim true, Izual. Stay the course.
Izual: Aye, River. I are doing what I can. You should tend to Hudson and Quinn.
??
: I think thats them up ahead… Hurry, they are under attack!
Xila: Uh-ohhh, looks like we got more company
Quinn Winterborn: We need to GO
Xila: Quick, while they’re blinded, make for the gate!
Zhent Black Sun Adept 1 action points…
Hudson: Run! Get Everyone else out!
Hudson: Xila. I’m trusting you.
Xila: I ain’t leaving you behind handsom!
Quinn Winterborn: Well I’m not noble. I’m running!
Xila: You’re not going anywhere unless we’re all going Quinn!
The soldier moves unsteadily and swings at the open air.
River warily steps forward, looking for an opportunity.
River: Stay the course. T-take them down…. one at a t-time…
Xila: Quinn, you run, a daggers in your back, understand?
Xila: We all leave, or nobody leaves.
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head, looking confused and weary, then nods
Xila: Take out the bloodied one!
Quinn Winterborn swears like a sailor
Izual nocks a rather large arrow, more-so than his standard fare. As he takes aim at the Adept, he draws the bow as far back as it can go, and lets it loose. The huge arrow speeds straight toward the Adept’s neck, and needless to say, he lost his head about it.
Quinn Winterborn cheers on Izual
Quinn Winterborn: Move, Moro, I want to thunderwave them again!
River: We have to keep g-going…. Just a bit further….
Quinn Winterborn: Don’t want to hurt you
Quinn Winterborn puts a hand to his head, which comes away bloodied.
Quinn Winterborn: Thansk, River
River: Ignore Moro! Attack with all of your might!
Hudson climbs to his feet, body a mess of dirt and blood.
Hudson swings feebly at the soldier in front of quinn, almost losing balance again.
Quinn Winterborn face twists with a mixture of fury, and worry for his friends
Quinn Winterborn: Be.
Quinn Winterborn: GONE
Xila shifts to be closer to Moro
Xila does a dagger dance and pierces the soldier
Xila gives Moro a good pet
Quinn Winterborn scowls
Quinn Winterborn dodges deftly
Quinn Winterborn curses
The Zhent slices at Quinn with his sword, misses, but follows it up with a hefty shield bash.
Quinn Winterborn: Wuuuuuuuhhhh
River: There is only the one left…. b-be quick.
Izual: His will to fight is admirable.
Quinn Winterborn: ee ee ooo oh
Moro rends the last Zhent down to the ground.
Quinn Winterborn: Vee neet choo ho
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head, trying to clear it
Quinn Winterborn: wun?
River: The way is c-clear… Let’s go…
Hudson: Run.
Quinn Winterborn: Wun!
Hudson: We run like three of us nearly died
Xila: Lets get out of here!
Xila runs
Before you is a large closed black iron gate.
Xila tries to open it
Quinn Winterborn: Please, Xila
??: Wait! Please!
River: …Check the towers for a lever…. or a winch….
Xila steps infront of the iron lock
Xila: I think I can open this.
Quinn Winterborn: (Correction) eef Diwa
Xila: But.. y’know, I don’t think whoever is behind is is… an enemy.
Xila: An enemy wouldn’t shout please.
??
: Miss River? Mister Faeryl? Mister Winterborn?
Hudson: We can stop and talk with an open gate, so we can run if we have to.
River: ….Hello?
Hudson pauses.
Quinn Winterborn: Fad’s me!
Izual turns to stern-side and readies an arrow, ever the silent Gith
Quinn Winterborn: ewwo?
Xila gets to work opening the gate
A gangly looking child stumbles out from behind a tumbled wall. Wrapping his/herself in her arms, it moves towards you quickly. “Are you… the Lost Light… the charter – you have the charter?”
River: …I do…. y-yes….
River fumbles about for the charter, before presenting it to the small child.
Izual: What is your business, child?
A rickety looking wagon turns the corner begin pulled by a pair of deathly thin mules and driven by another child.
Xila: Got’cha!
Xila: Doors open!
Xila turns around and sees the children.
Xila: Well, hello there, who’re you?
??: Master Cobb said to watch for you. We’ve secured passage back to Hillsfar, but we didnt know where you were at.
Quinn Winterborn: Wait Ooohs
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: Gweat Nnnnews
River: ….That is quite f-fortunate… can you take us from t-this place?
??
: Yes… the wagon… you’ll have to lie down in the back.
Quinn Winterborn: I will fowwow you, tw…sh…chiwd
Quinn Winterborn gives up and climbs into the wagon
Quinn Winterborn mutters, under his breath I hate shiewds
River: Quickly… Moro, I need you to go.
River hops into the wagon to hide, while Moro nods and fades from view.
Xila: Even little ole me? I might be too big for the wagon y’know.
Xila chuckles as she hops in the wagon.
????: Get in or stay here – I dont know who you are.
Xila: Names Xila
Hudson gets in the wagon as far from everyone else as possible.
Xila makes an effort to get as close to Hudson and Quinn as possible, to make them uncomfortable.
Quinn Winterborn is very uncomfortable
Izual cautiously gets in the wagon, and goes prone at the end of it with his bow held sideways and an arrow nocked.
Xila: Well, isn’t this all cozy?
Hudson looks at the sky, eyes dead.
River: Ease yourself. It is over…. for now.
Xila shuts her eyes, and is quickly alseep.
Quinn Winterborn: Faeryl….
Stacking back into the wagon, the children tie tarps down over the top of you and then turn the wagon back around, hailing towards another gate out of the city. The wagon passes through the Gate without event. The children take the wagon down the coast for a little over an hour before one of the children starts unclasping the tiedowns and lets you up from your hiding spots. “Its another hour or so to the meeting point, but there’ll be a ship to take you back to Hillsfar.”
Quinn Winterborn: You have my thanks, as does Master Cobb
River: …How do you know M-Mr. Cobb?
The hour passes without incident and the coast of the Moonsea is calming to your frayed nerves. The coast eventually gets rocky once more and the wagon is guided to a hidden cove where a small schooner sits at anchor, with a few armed men bearing the symbol of Armauntor standing alert near a set of small rowboats.
Quinn Winterborn: Praise Armaunator
The “children” remove their garb to reveal simple clothing and steel symbols of the Sun God as well. The illusion melts away, and two fairly thin elven women stand in front of you, wide grins on their faces. “We are contacts for Master Cobb in the Keep.”
Xila: Oooooooooh, I want to be able to do that!
Xila: I wish I was secretly a changeling or something.
Quinn Winterborn: Praise the Keeper of the Yellow SUn
Quinn Winterborn offers a small bow to the ladies
You are able to rest for a few moments before the warrior priests usher you onto the rowboats and onto the ship. Within the hour you are setting sail back across the Moonsea back towards Hillsfar.
Quinn Winterborn: But Xila, would you keep it secret? Or drop hints striaght away?
Xila: I can keep secrets
Xila: Like, this one time, this guy told me his deepest darkest secret! That he was secretly a woman!… Woops
You sail throughout the day and into the night, with nothing more than the singing of the sailors and the quiet waters to keep you company. The next morning you dock in Hillsfar, back to the city that likely wont kill you outright.
River: …S-safe haven in Hillsfar… for the m-moment.
Xila: Safe? Sounds boring to me.
Quinn Winterborn sighs sleepily
Xila: Whre’s the danger, the excitement, at least zental keep was never boring
Quinn Winterborn: But the smell….
Xila: I could pick a mans pocket, and nobody would bat an eyelid.
River slowly heads down the docks to meet with Mr. Cobb.
Quinn Winterborn checks his own pockets, thoughtfully
Xila follows, eager to meet mr cobblewobbles.
A porter leads you back to your tavern rooms, explaining that Master Cobb is not available right away, but will meet with you this evening.
Quinn Winterborn: Sleep, shopping, and perhaps some roast beef?
Plenty of food and drink is provided for you at the tavern, and you are able to relax for a moment and gather your thoughts for your meeting with Master Cobb.
River: …I s-suppose. I shall be busy making… amendments to the c-charter…
Xila: I’m more a bacon girl myself.
Quinn Winterborn looks Xila over once
Quinn Winterborn mutters it shows
Quinn Winterborn winks at Hudson
Xila doesn’t hear Quinn
Hudson: I want a drink.
After you have satisfied him that his son is alive and well, Yazeth Cobb listens to the remainder of your tale with great interest. He reviews the items and documents recovered from Zhentil Keep. The more he reads, the grimmer his expression becomes. Finally he speaks.
“My friends, you have done a great service to the light. The information you have discovered is truly disturbing. I do not know whether this relic of Shar can possibly do what those cultists believed, or if indeed it even still exists. But if there is even the slightest chance that the Shadow Weave could be reformed, we must take action. Even if the relic is powerless as a result of the Spellplague, it passed through the hands of Fzoul Chembryl, and he is now an exarch of Bane. Anything that would have commanded his interest must surely be powerful enough to do great evil.
“I will call upon all my contacts in the church of Amaunator and provide the funding to form an expedition into the southern ruins of Zhentil Keep. We must infiltrate the Temple in the Sky and find this relic so that it can be destroyed. When the time comes, I would be honored if you would accompany that expedition. Can I count on you?”
Xila: I want to go there anyway! Sounds fun
River ponders thoughtfully on the offer.
Xila: And I’m draggin his lot with me if I have to drag em kicking and screaming
Quinn Winterborn: I….reluctantly…find myself agreeing with Xila
Hudson: I’ll be there.
“That said, I also have another proposition for you while I gather the intellegence and resources for a venture into the Temple of the Sky. Do any of you know the situation with Cormyr and Netheril?”
Izual: I feel us would be doing Faeryl an honor if we go.
River: I was n-not made aware of a situation.
Xila: Not a clue
Quinn Winterborn shrugs
Yazeth Cobb: Put frankly – there is war brewing. Since the Netheril have invaded Sembia and parts of the Dalelands, they threaten the country of Cormyr.
River: S-sembia?
Yazeth Cobb: We have… an unique opportunity… to gain the upper hand in this potential conflict. Enough to sway the odds in favor of Cormyr.
River: What is your p-proposition?
Yazeth Cobb: I know just the bare bones – but my contact in Cormyr has asked for people that I trust, who are highly skilled to escort a person of interest to the capital for questioning.
Quinn Winterborn frowns, thinking
Xila: Escorting someone? Sounds boring.
Izual: If I am painfully honest, I are not confident in our ability to keep important ones alive…
Izual looks away for a moment.
River: You d-do not know this person’s n-name?
Quinn Winterborn looks at Izual, a bit hurt
Hudson: Whatever.
Yazeth Cobb: Lo… ummm Mister Vainrence will meet you at the Drunk Duckling Tavern near the border of Cormyr in three tendays time, if you would be agreeable to this. I am not at liberty to state more at this time, but I assure you my contact would explain it all upon contact.
Quinn Winterborn: I’m willing to help out the cause of those who worship Amaunator, and I’m very, very determined to visit a tavern called the Drunk Duckling!
Quinn Winterborn chuckles
River: …I s-suppose there is not much else I can ask, t-then…
Xila: I guess, if I must.
Hudson shrugs.
Yazeth Cobb: Its sadly vague, which pains me. But matters of national security are… well veiled at best.
River: We will m-meet with your c-contact… in three tendays, th-then.
Quinn Winterborn nods
River mutters nervously under her breath.
Yazeth Cobb smiles widely. “As a reward, you may make a request for an item of your choice from my stores, or I can simply pay you in gold coin for your troubles. You have the tavern for your needs until the end of the week, then you will need to set out.”

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