Lord of Shadow & Flame

24/2/11 – Annihilation, Life Anew and Ghada Slain

Thorgrimm, Nuzool, Owen and Gaz-Borg stumbled from Zaxaris’ lair to see a bird flying off into the distance. Could it be Kipah fleeing? None could tell for sure. Smoke could be seen rising over the ruins of Myth Drannor to the south.

The survivors quickly weighed up their options and finally, after sending a desperate message to Durin (via the ring of communication Tristan had given Thorgrimm), requesting aid, the adventurers quaffed their remaining healing potions and headed back into the lair.

A pair of Flesh Golems, fully healed and ready to fight, greeted the four. The remaining group swiftly downed one Golem but a squad of goblins and another Flesh Golem moved around behind them, cutting off any hope of escape – still the adventurers fought on.

The trap was sprung as the four were struck with another Mind Blast. Zaxaris was alive! Concealed with invisibility, the Mindflayer launched its attack, stunning everyone. “I’m glad you’ve returned, you’ve saved me the trouble of hunting you down myself!” he mocked before closing in and devouring Gaz-Borg’s brain as the half-orc reeled helplessly. Through great force of will and perhaps even a little divine intervention, Nuzool briefly broke free of the stun but was grappled by Zaxaris’ sinister tentacles before his brain was also extracted from his skull!

Owen was swiftly beaten to death under the massive fists of a Flesh Golem, also unable to defend himself. Thorgrimm was the last to die. Zaxaris devoured his brain, extracting revenge for almost being killed by the dwarf’s greataxe earlier.

Meanwhile, Cyrien had awoken inside the Moonblade Shaeveril itself. After a long, lonely wait, Cyrien spoke at length to Shaeveril, the female Elfshadow spirit of the sword and also his ancestor from long ago. She explained what had happened. As a last resort, she had somehow managed to draw his spirit into the sword as he was about to be killed. She stated that this had never been done before and might well have serious consequences for Cyrien in the future. It had also drained Shaeveril of much of her strength.

Shaeveril counselled Cyrien, pointing out that he and the rest of the group had gotten greedy and lost sight of the goal of their quest – to recover Vindicator. Fortunately she’d completed the quest for them. During the chaos after the group’s first attack on Zaxaris, Shaeveril managed to located Vindicator and steal it from under the guard of one of the Flesh Golems. She then hid it at the bottom of the Mindflayer’s spawning pool in its lair, along with the Moonblade itself.

Shaeveril spied on the enemy’s movements, later reporting back to Cyrien that two hours after the battle, Zaxaris and his minions had hastily vacated the crypt-lair. With great effort, Shaeveril returned Cyrien to the world of the living, although the transition was extremely painful for the young elf.

Cyrien awoke deep inside the lair. As he rose, still beaten and bruised, he spotted bright flashes of silvery-white light from the chambers where most of the fighting had taken place. Taking Shaveril and Vindicator with him, and after healing a little, Cyrien went to investigate.

Bolder, Gaz-Borg, Hawke, Nuzool, Obsidian and Thorgrimm all woke, lying right where they had been killed, sorely wounded but brains intact and alive! Standing over them was Tristan Morningstar and six other elven rangers, healing the adventurers with potions. Cyrien joined them and the group was reunited. Oddly, Woz still lay dead, strangely his magic items and the Spell Tome of Shraevyn were missing. Also, Owen’s body was nowhere to be seen.

The group spotted a glowing symbol on the backs of everyone’s necks (except Cyrien’s), resembling a pair of female eyes surrounded by seven silver stars. Those knowledgeable in religion identified this as the symbol of the powerful moon goddess Selûne.

The group wasted no time contemplating the miracle and instead set about looting Zaxaris’ lair of what was left in it. As night fell outside, the adventurers set up camp in the crypt along with Tristan and his rangers and planned their next move – to go back and destroy the demon Ghada. Tristan agreed to come and help slay the demon, keen to reap destruction on another of his chosen foes. The evening was spent healing, resting, planning the attack and listening to the tale of Drow Bane and the fall of the Morningstar Clan.

Early the next morning the group set out south, back into the ruined city. Reaching the edge of the forest the group saw much of the southern reaches of the city were ablaze, sending dark grey clouds of smoke skywards.

Re-entering Ghada’s sewer lair the adventurers fought its way past four scrag guardians before launching an assault on Ghada himself. Tristan and Thorgrimm led the charge (Thorgrimm being protected by Tristan’s headband of Spell Resistance) and drew the fire of Ghada’s most potent magic. Nuzool was briefly paralysed by the demon’s unholy magic and Tristan landed several terrible blows, severely wounding the demon. The rest of the group moved in, killing the two scrag minions. Although he managed to grapple and crush Thorgrimm in his mighty arms, the stalwart dwarf managed to break free. Finally, Ghada was brought low by a combined attack from Thorgrimm, Cyrien and Gaz-Borg. The demon fell cursing the adventurers, saying they would all burn in the Abyss!

With the demon finally slain, the group looted his lair, recovering the rerebrace and couter – two pieces of the mysterious, powerful magical adamantine armour, a cache of magical items and several chests full of gold and gems.

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Tanyel

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