Lord of Shadow & Flame

31/3/11 – Return to the Realms

On their return to the Prime Material Plane the group headed straight to the Garrison and sought the most powerful cleric in Daggerfalls – Tunfer the Stout, an old friend of Randal Morn’s. Due to the death magic that killed the three adventurers, Tunfer reported that his magic would not be powerful enough to return their companions to life. Therefore the party was teleported to Morningdawn Hall, the Temple of Lathander in Shadowdale. There Rewel Thunderstorm resurrected the three, forgoing the costs of the casting of the spell (except material components) on account of the adventurers having fallen in battle against the shade Gothyl, an enemy of the light of Lathander.

Once returned to full strength and back in Daggerfalls again, the party met with Elminster to debrief from both their quest in Myth Drannor and battle with Gothyl, as their last meeting had been cut short.

The adventurers told Elminster the tale of their adventures in Myth Drannor. The Old Sage was particularly interested to hear of the Lord of Shadow and Flame prophecy, how they’d acquired the first two pieces of The Arm of Valour and the group’s miraculous resurrection after being slain at the hands of Zaxaris, on which he commented “the Goddess Selune must have a great purpose for you indeed to have bestowed such a gift.”

Narlgathra, Renack, his group and their motives for being in Myth Drannor, the loss of the Crown of Stars and Zaxaris (who would no doubt be someone the group would have to watch out for in the future) were all also topics of the conversation. Elminster warned that kings and arch-mages would kill to get their hands on The Arm of Valour. Such an artefact was extraordinarily powerful, possessing It would change their lives forever, so the group be prepared for anything. Finally the adventurers told of how they had been tricked by Gothyl into opening the seal of iron in the Atrium of Shadows and releasing ‘The Herald’ by mistake and of their battle against Gothyl.

Elminster explained he would do research into the prophecy and The Herald, as he knew little of them. He emphasised the significance of the prophecy and the importance of interpreting its meaning. He advised that they look for the three signs mentioned within. He also told of reports of a powerful female red dragon attacking cities across the north including Hillsfar, Mulmaster and Zhentil Keep. Having heard of how Narlgathra and been tricked and deprived of The Crown of Stars in Myth Drannor, it was most likely the rampaging red dragon was Narlgathra, enraged at her greatest treasure being stolen and seeking vengeance. Elminster reminded the group that it still hand unfinished business in dealing with Narlgathra, finding the rest of The Arm of Valour in Myth Drannor, deciphering the meaning of the Prophecy and also discovering what Renack and his allies were up to.

Thorgrimm and Cyrien each in turn met with Elminster in private to discuss matters, Thorgrimm had concerns that Cyrien was out of control. Elminster took the time to explain what Shaeveril the Elfshadow was. Cyrien consulted Elminster seeking knowledge of the consequences of his soul having been drawn into the Moonblade for a time. Elminster explained that his soul now appeared to be bound to the Moonblade… forever. His elven soul would be denied the paradise of Arvandor. If elf and blade were separated for any amount of time, it would have severe consequences for Cyrien.

The party now had a full month of rest, recoup, study and train as well as time to pursue their own personal goals.

Cyrien met with Renack and the two exchanged a great deal of information. Renack reported that the group left Myth Drannor in chaos after their visit and that his group had found what they had been looking for there. Demons were also now seeking the adventuring party. Cyrien later had once of the antique Blackstar Clan brooches of Myth Drannor enchanted for Lianna when she came to stay at his inn, in preparation for their journey northwards in search for the chalice of Sehanine Moonbow.

Thorgrimm met with Durgen Stonefist and secured an agreement to purchase land in the Dagger Hills and open a mine. The rest of his month was spent forging several new weapons including a pair of claw bracers for Nuzool and three greathammers, the likes of which had not previously been seen in this part of the Realms.

Hawke met with Randal Morn and Tiana, head priestess of the Temple of Haydren, to ‘smooth things over’ following his attempt to have one of his clerics spy on the mysterious new temple. The meeting was a success and Hawke was invited to attend one of the Temple of Haydren’s services, which he accepted.

Nuzool spent time bounty hunting criminals and making potions on request through Hawke’s store.

Gaz-Borg gave the masterwork harp he’d bought in Tangled Trees to Kessla and continued to try and court the beautiful half-elf. He later received a visit from a servant of his Master in the south.

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24/3/11 – Gothyl Vanquished

No sooner had the last of the Shadow Demons been sent screaming back to the Abyss than Gothyl taunted the group again “All you have achieved in coming here is the release of the Herald, just as I had planned. You cannot kill me – I am immortal, so your efforts have been for naught!” The adventurers replied that killing her would be enough and challenged Gothyl to reveal herself and face them. She only laughed saying that she would in time face them directly but that she had plenty more minions to throw at them first.

Sure enough, four powerful shadows dived down from the darkness of the dome above to attack. In the distance cries of help could be heard from deep within the inner sanctum.

The fight against the shadows was brief thanks to Bolder and Hawke’s divine energy, however the undead shadows focused their attacks on the two clerics, draining much of their strength. Hawke was on the very brink of death by the end of the fight. As the last shadow was destroyed, Thorgrimm (still in his Barbarian rage) turned and attacked the elfshadow Shaeveril, severely wounding her. Despite Shaeveril’s protests and Cyrien’s appeals explaining her to be the spirit of his Moonblade, Thorgrimm pressed the attack, destroying the spirit in a burst of light.

Gothyl did not waste time sending another wave of minions against the adventurers, choosing instead to attack in person. The party heard chanting in the darkness above them, moments later a large magical cage of force formed around them, imprisoning Bolder, Hawke and Nuzool. Obsidian and Gaz-Borg managed to leap outside the confines of the glowing cage as it formed, escaping. Cyrien and Thorgrimm were well outside the barrier.

The shade launched her devastating magical assault from above, her opening salvo – powerful blasts of yellow-blue lightening, followed by a combination of powerful sheets of ice and cold and purple magic missiles. Land-bound, the adventurers were forced to pepper the shade with missiles which proved to be totally ineffective against her layers of magical protections. Descending from the darkness of the dome, Gothyl spat at the group “I grow weary of this game – time to end it!” chanting a powerful spell of death, the shade was suddenly surrounded by a chilling aura of blackness which burst outwards, covering the party. The Circle of Death sucked the life force from Bolder, Nuzool and Hawke, leaving their bodies lying like lifeless husks on the mosaic floor.

The battle was desperate as almost half the party had been killed in one deadly stroke. It was obsidian that landed the first telling blow on Gothyl. Drawing on his god’s power to smite the enemy with Vindicator, the Paladin’s greatsword tore through Gothyl’s side, her magical protections were rendered useless against the magical might of the Lathandrian weapon. The shade screamed in pain under the attack. Elminster had spoken true about the weapon’s ability to strike down creatures such as the shade.

Seeing the effect Vindicator had on the shade, the adventurers focused on using it, their most powerful weapon, to strike her down. Handing the blade of Thorgrimm, the weapon transformed instantly into a greataxe, which the dwarf launched into the air with great force, striking Gothyl and sending tendrils of shadow-stuff into the air. Gothyl was now severely wounded.

The five surviving adventurers weathered the storm of powerful spells thrown at them by Gothyl including Baleful Polymorph and Disintegrate, but were now severely taxed. It was Cyrien who recovered Vindicator from the floor first after Thorgrimm’s mighty throw. The greataxe transformed into a fine elven longsword. Taking aim, Cyrien threw the blade with unerring accuracy, tearing the shade Gothyl apart with a terrible scream! Gothyl was defeated, but not destroyed.

The group spotted a grey-misty energy flow from where Gothyl had been destroyed towards the Inner Sanctum – it was Gothyl’s spirit. Immediately the party moved south into the huge hall, perusing the spirit. Due to the darkness and insubstantialness of the spirit, it was hard to spot, however Gaz-Baog saw the spirit descending into the floor in the hall’s northeastern corner. On closer inspection, Thorgrimm determined that one large stone was thinner than the rest. Smashing the stone apart, beneath the group found a small cavity, within lay a black jewelled urn. Without hesitating, Obsidian smote the urn with Vindicator, shattering it. A massive burst of magical energy was released along with a deafening scream, which shattered the windows lining the walls. Finally Gothyl was destroyed for all time. The adventurers were victorious!

The group recovered the bodies of the fallen and set about exploring the Inner Sanctum. There they found Gothyl’s study, library, casting circle and makeshift prison. Within the cells were three beautiful women, a seamstress, performer and a noblewoman. The noblewoman wearing a ball gown was the most talkative of the three. She explained that they had been kidnapped and used by Gothyl as living vessels to possess and use as she will. Amongst Gothyl’s research was a wealth of information on the nature of life, death and undeath. It seemed as if she had indeed been trying to become mortal once again. Also amongst her scrolls was a written copy of the prophecy ‘Lord and Shadow and Flame’.

With treasure, bodies of the fallen and rescued prisoners along with them, the group activated the stone given to them by Elminster and Plane-Shifted back to Abeir-Toril, appearing at the back of the Twelve Barrels, exactly where they’d departed from.

The group had arrived home, their quest to destroy Gothyl complete. However victory had come at a high price.

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17/3/11 – The Herald Released

As the party decided which way to go a group of six ghostly, robed monks wandered out into the octagonal chamber and past the group before fading out of existence. The party chose to head down the western corridor next. Cyrien (with the help of the elfshadow Shaeveril) found a young fairy girl named Tyra hiding beneath a bed in the ancient sleeping quarters. The fairy had wandered far from home and become lost. Cyrien guided the young pixie back to the entrance. The rest of the western wing here was cold and empty, everything was covered in a layer of grey dust.

The eastern wing was similarly empty, except for an angry spirit who wandered a large dining hall, shouting in rage. The group approached and managed to speak with the half-mad spirit. He claimed to be the Abbot Tharic, a travelling monk of the Draysuss Order that had once inhabited the ancient temple. Tharic believed he was murdered and sought vengeance. He also claimed he and the temple stood on the planet of Oerth on the Prime Material Plane and accused the group of being mad when they spoke of the Plane of Shadow.

The party moved on after saying they would inform Tharic if they discovered any clues which might reveal who had slain him. Moving southwards, deeper into the temple the party entered The Atrium of Shadows itself. The darkness here was unnaturally deep and the air was unsettlingly cold. The roof of the chamber was domed and the floor was covered in a magnificently detailed mosaic. At the centre of the round chamber was a large iron seal on the floor, resembling a disc covered in indecipherable, arcane alien symbols. A round dial lay at the very middle of the seal. The iron disc was rusted and covered in a layer of hoar frost, further obscuring the symbols. Corridors led east, west and south. A wall of what looked like liquid shadow blocked the southern corridor.

The party spent several minutes investigating the seal and deciding what to do next. However, the group couldn’t make sense of the symbols, not even with spells to aid them. As the adventurers prepared to move out, westwards, a small imp appeared, introducing itself as “Riddler”. Riddler explained that he was the keeper of the path ahead and to pass beyond the wall of shadow and into the Inner Sanctum of the Atrium, they must speak three secret command words. They could discover each word by answering riddles. Riddler gave the first riddle – “I come in many sizes and shapes. My mouth is full of wood. Often I am struck. What am I?” After some thought and a few guesses, it was Cyrien who spoke the answer. The answer was of course a door.

Having solved the first riddle the party headed down the west corridor, there Nuzool called a halt, having spotted a deadly magical trap. With some fiddling, the ratkin disabled the trap and the group arrived at a large hall some one hundred feet long, lined with more gothic windows. Looking up, the adventurers spotted a gargantuan, amorphous black blob hanging from the ceiling. The group easily destroyed the bizarre creature using fire from Flaming Spheres and Gaz-Borg’s Necklace of Fireballs. In the wake of the fight and human-like face appeared in some of the black goo, speaking the second riddle – “Light of sun do I hate. Darkness be my friend. I am a thief’s greatest ally. What am I?”

The group took several guesses before Cyrien answered correctly again – stealth, hidden, unseen.

Returning through the Atrium again, the group discovered another large hall to the eastern side of the temple. At the far end lounged a large serpentine creature with the head of a woman. In the rafters above fluttered six small winged creatures, covered in ice. Several of the adventurers identified the serpentine creature as a Naga. The lady invited the adventurers into her luxurious boudoir, offering them crystal glasses of dark wine and challenging the most cunning of the group to a game of chess. Cyrien was the first to meet the Naga’s challenge of wits, but was soundly beaten. Hawke faired better, narrowly winning and gaining the third and final riddle – “A golden treasure to hold. I have teeth but no bite. Turn me once and you may go where you please, turn me again and you stay where you stand. What am I?” Hawke answered almost right away – a key.

Now with all three command words, the party returned to the Atrium where the elfshadow Shaeveril reported to Cyrien that several incorporeal creatures lurked within the walls. Endeavouring to keep the elfshadow a secret from the party still, he said he sensed evil within the walls and told his companions to be on the look-out.

The group pondered the iron seal on the floor, trying to figure out a way to open it in the hopes of gaining Gothyl’s phylactery. With little forethought or warning, Nuzool spoke the three command words, thinking they might open the portal – the words didn’t. Instead the wall of liquid shadow withdrew, revealing a massive, exceedingly dark hall beyond.

Thorgrimm tried turning the central dial, then bashing it with his hammer, both to no effect. The dwarf remarked that in Obsidian’s dream it had been the symbol of Torm (Obsidian’s god) that had smashed the seal and urn within. With this in mind, Obsidian reached out and tried the dial. At his very touch the circular dial spun along with several other round symbols on the iron surface, making a mechanical clanking sound as they spun. A sudden hiss of air signalled the seal was released! Instantly an acrid black smoke boiled up out of the gaps in the seal and into the air. The iron disc split in two, sliding aside and revealing a dark hole below. A deep, exultant roar sounded below followed by the cry of “FREEDOM!!!” as a shadowy figure shot up out of the darkness. The Herald was free.

The creature hovered in the air before the party, surrounded by an aura of dread and thanked Obsidian for his release. Its lower body was composed completely of misty shadow-stuff, its upper torso and head was deathly pale, its body covered in thousands of tattoos of intricate symbols. Its fingers tapered to foot long black talons, in its pale skull burnt glowing eyes and a jewelled crown rested on his brow. The creature spoke “I have waited a millennia for my freedom. I have much to do…” When asked if Gothyl’s phylactery might lay within, it replied “I’m afraid not… it seems you have been deceived.” before shooting up through the roof and departing.

A mocking laughter could be heard from the darkness – it was Gothyl. “Ha, ha, haaa! Tricked again? Honestly adventurers, this is becoming truly embarrassing! Once again you dance to my tune!” the group had been duped into opening the seal. But to what end? The group had little time to ponder as they responded to their indignation by throwing insults back at their old enemy. Gothyl responded in kind “Fools. You’re in my home uninvited and unfortunately I have no more use for you. Time to DIE!” with that, the Atrium suddenly became supernaturally dark around them. Shadow Demons emerged from the walls to attack, briefly mentally assaulting several adventurers in an attempt to possess their bodies but only succeeding in possessing Nuzool briefly.

The fight was desperate, but as a little light slowly crept back into the Atrium, the Shadow Demons were destroyed, Vindicator and Shaeveril doing a particularly good job of destroying the monsters. The group was victorious but no closer to finding Gothyl’s phylactery and destroying her.

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10/3/11 – Return to Daggerfalls & The Hunt for Gothyl

The adventuring group set off from Tangled Trees for Daggerfalls. Cyrien elected to stay behind to spend some more time with Lianna. A few days later he paid for a teleport to Daggerfalls, arriving a day before the rest of the group.

By night just one day after leaving Tangled Trees, the group was awoken by Nuzool, only to see the beautiful spirit of the wizard ‘Hidistrin’ standing on the edge of the camp – this spirit they knew was a guise of the evil shade Gothyl.

The undead wizard was rather friendly, saying the group had been very hard to find of late and inquiring as to their recent whereabouts and adventures. The adventurers were far less friendly and very tight-lipped. Gothyl took note of the magical weapon Hawke now carried – Vindicator. Gothyl mentioned that she knew Elminster wanted her dead and accused him of being a senile, manipulative old fool. She said she’d be in contact with the group again soon before departing into the forest.

The group travelled via Ashabenford to return ‘The Tome of Infernal Lore’ to Captain Harkan of the Mistledale Guard, who Obsidian also informed that Renack Fellblade (Cyrien’s evil brother) was responsible for the murder of the wizard Malrien Redfen. Renack would be meeting with Cyrien in Daggerfalls in five days time. The Captain dispatched letters (via Obsidian) to both Cyrien and Lord Randal Morn.

Obsidian had a strange dream while camped one night on the return journey. He saw a large chamber with a domed roof – everything was cast in black and white and completely without colour. The floor of the room was a fantastically detailed mosaic. At the center was an iron disc inscribed with strange, detailed arcane symbols. His vision shifted beneath the portal, within was a small camber housing a bejewelled black urn. His vision shifted back to the chamber above, there hung a glowing platemail fist – the symbol of Torm his god. The fist slammed downwards, smashing the iron portal and the urn with in an explosion of magical force of destruction! With that, Obsidian awoke to find it was dawn.

The remainder of the journey home to Daggerfalls was uneventful.

On arrival, Thorgrimm was informed that his uncle Grimjaw had been murdered and his cave-home sacked. He met with Randal Morn and Dulwar (who was leading the investigation) and told of what they’d discovered so far. Tracks of three dwarves in metal-shod boots and one human were found outside the cave. A fight had taken place within, Grimjaw had put up quite a struggled, despite his great age, and had been stabbed to death. Still, he’d managed to wound at least one of his attackers. Also, strangely, nothing had been stolen from the cave. Thorgrimm told Randal of the map his uncle had entrusted to his protection. This map showed a secret entrance to the ancient dwarven stronghold and mine of Tethymar and depicted a magical key needed to open the way and which would also gain access to the Royal Treasury within. Grimjaw had been given the map by the last King of Tethymar who he’d served for decades.

The consensus was that the map must have been the motivation behind Grimjaw’s murder. Randal gave his guarantee that he would see the murderer’s brought to justice. Thorgrimm added “Not if I find them first!”

Hawke was also summoned before Lord Randal Morn for a ‘please explain’. The cleric Andes he’d sent to infiltrate the Temple of Haydren Lord of Loss had been discovered and brought before Randal. He’d admitted he was there to gather information on the mysterious new religion under Hawke’s instructions. Hawke explained his reasoning behind the infiltration attempt, saying that the new religion was disturbing but also admitting he had no real evidence against them. Randal warned of the dangers of such spying and that tension between religions was the last thing the Dales needed. Randal decided he wished to try hosting a meeting between the leaders of each religions in an attempt to smooth things over. Hawke agreed to the meeting that would be held after he returned from the quest to destroy Gothyl.

Letters were delivered to Cyrien and Randal from Captain Harkan of the Mistledale Guard by Obsidian, informing both of the need to bring the murderer Renack Fellblade to justice. Cyrien met with Randal to discuss his brother. He condemned him and explained that he wished to meet with him to try and learn more about the evil religious group dedicated to Shar that he appeared to be allied with. Randal was supportive of the plan but expressed concerns about the threat Renack posed to the people of Dagger Dale. Cyrien requested that he send a spy to come keep an eye on Renack during the meeting. Randal decided to send Dulwar to keep an eye on things.

Randal also informed the group that a half-elven ranger named Maralana had arrived in Daggerfalls. She was also on the hunt for the shade Gothyl and was keen to join the group to see the shade destroyed.

The adventuring group met that night for drinks at the Twelve Barrels. It was now day nineteen after the group had left for Myth Drannor in search of Vindicator. The party met with the ranger Maralana, who told of how Gothyl has assassinated her master and that she now sought revenge.

Later that evening Elminster entered the tavern. It was a day before their scheduled meeting, but apparently the Old Sage had been keeping an eye out in case of an early return by the party. The group only had time to give a brief run down on their adventures in Myth Drannor. Elminster was genuinely amazed to see the two pieces of adamantine armour that Obsidian wore, saying that they were pieces of an extraordinarily powerful artefact known as ‘The Arm of Valour’. Forged by five arch-mages, it had been worn by Fflar, the last commander of Myth Drannor and thought lost during the fall of the city. He warned that an artefact of such magnitude was something arch-mages would kill for, kings would wage war to obtain and even the gods would keep an eye on.

Elminster took the jewelled skull artefact from the group (the item Ghada sought from the dragon’s lair) explaining it was a ‘Skull of Orcus’ – one of a set of three which, if combined could open a temporary gate to the Abyss. Elminster said he would destroy the evil artefact.

Elminster stepped out to try scrying on Gothyl’s apprentice. Returning, he said there was no time to waste. Synd was alone in a tavern on the Plane of Shadow and vulnerable. The adventurer’s must capture him and discover the location of Gothyl’s hiding place. Elminster gave the group a single magical stone, which would allow them to Plane Shift back to the Prime Material Plane once their quest was over.

Finally it was time to hunt Gothyl down to her lair and confront her.

Elminster cast a mighty spell, Plane Shifting the group to the Plane of Shadow, just outside a small town named Shadowglen. Within, they found Synd drinking in a tavern inhabited by a strange race of shadow fey people.

Thorgrimm and Obsidian seized the wizard and dragged him outside before he could do much more then protest and curse. Taking him to a tree just outside of town, the adventurers interrogated the wizard. At first, he was rather uncooperative, but after some pummelling a deal was struck (his life and freedom for Gothyl’s current location and plans), Synd talked.

He said Gothyl’s bolthole was an ancient temple named ‘The Atrium of Shadows’, just a few miles to the south of the town in a valley in the hills. She was holed up there doing extensive research. Synd claimed Gothyl sought to be mortal again and hated her undead form. He also explained that her Phylactery had been stolen from her and sealed in a chamber beneath the Atrium itself, a large room with a domed roof – the same room which Obsidian had seen in his dream-vision a few days earlier. She knew that her Phylactery was her greatest weakness and so was desperately trying to open the chamber but had thus far been unable to do so.

The group let Synd go after stealing his gear and set out south for the Atrium. After a few hours walk they came across the valley Synd had spoke of. Within stood a tall, imposing gothic-style temple of black stone. The ground around the building was cracked and lifeless. Ravens circled above the valley as the group approached the structure and ascended the steps, weapons at the ready. Entering the archway entry, the group spotted and disarmed a chamber of blades trap, which if triggered, would have filled the corridor with whirling blades.

Before they’d even passed through the entry hall, the party was ambushed by a team of eight Wriaths, which attacked through the walls to either side of the group. The undead were vanquished with only minor injury to the group.

Beyond the corridor, the group entered a large octagonal chamber with a mosaic floor. It was extremely dark within as only a little light filtered in through the tall, dark gothic windows. Flocks of dozens of ravens roosted in the rafters overhead. A corridor led south, deeper into the Atrium and two others to east and west wings.

The group prepared to move out and explore the ancient temple of shadows further.

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3/3/11 – Myth Drannor in Flames

The quest to recover Vindicator was finally complete and the demon Ghada slain. The now group set out northwards intent on seeing the Baelnorn Molostroi once more before departing Myth Drannor.

Circling around the city along the fringes of the forest, the adventurers saw the fires in the south of the city in the region around Narlgathra’s lair were burning brightly, more dark smoke rising into the air, choking the sky. The keen-eyed members of the group spotted the red dragon within the smoke, wheeling and diving. Flocks of demons were also present – it appeared a great battle was being fought between dragon and forces of demons.

Moving on, the adventurers heard the flapping of wings as the gargoyle Fritz approached, landing in the canopy of a nearby tree. He was a little upset that they were leaving without saying goodbye, he was also keen to hear news of their adventures and said that he knew it was them that ‘stirred-up’ the dragon. The party denied it, but Fritz didn’t believe them.

The adventurers traded with Fritz, selling much of their unwanted treasure for gems and gold. Towards the end of their meeting Nuzool produced the half-orc jewel-encrusted skull and asked Fritz if he knew anything about it. Fritz said it was clearly a demonic artefact and that the Lord of the Gargoyles would be keen to trade for it. He offered a starting price of 20,000 gold pieces for the skull saying the he could act as mediator between the Lord of the Gargoyles, Hermitus and the adventurers. The party declined, unwilling to sell the evil artefact.

Saying goodbye to Fritz, the group moved on to Molostroi. The elven lich welcomed them back into his crypt-home, noting that Woz was clearly absent. Thorgrimm handed over a wealth of ancient books and scrolls found during the group’s travels as the adventurer’s told of some of their travels along with a letter from Tyvar Blackstar from Blackstar Tower. The elven lich seemed pleased indeed. Molostroi rendered some magical healing before the group got underway to leave Myth Drannor.

Tristan Morningstar and his band of rangers chose to stay and speak with the Baelnorn further. Tristan added that he was planning a raid on a new drow outpost believed to be beneath the forest of Cormathor, so he might not see the group back in Tangeld Trees. The adventurers said they were keen to join him on his next raid into the Underdark, Tristan said he’d consider it.

The party’s journey out of Myth Drannor was much less eventful than their arrival, slipping back down the forest path to the western burial glen, the group re-entered the Starym Family Crypt.

Within the crypt, the party felt as if they were being watched. Casting a Detect Magic spell, Hawke saw a whitish glow coming from a small circle on the western wall of the main crypt. Investigating closer, the adventurers found a small spy-hole. The white glow moved – there was something behind the wall.

Cyrien secretly sent Shaeveril (the elven spirit within the Moonblade, which the rest of the group still didn’t know about), out through the walls of the crypt to look for the creature. She soon reported back (via telepathy) that there was a male elven ghost within.

Cyrien spoke to the ghost, who was apparently the undead guardian of the crypt. Cyrien promised that their group was just passing through and didn’t seek to loot the crypt and he guardian spirit gave the group safe passage.

The adventurers passed back through the tunnels beneath Myth Drannor, the ancient elven burial chamber and finally ascended, returning back to the surface in the forests to the north of Myth Drannor. Circling around the ruined city, heading southward, the party set out on its return journey, making of Tangled Trees first of all.

A few hours into their journey the group heard several deep roars echo from the west and the rumble of large creatures moving rapidly in their direction. With his knowledge of the natural world, Thorgrimm identified the roars as belonging to a bear, or rather several very large bears.

The group readied for battle and a few moments later three massive bears came crashing through the forest, seemingly running from something and in a wild rage. The fight was brief, the adventurers cutting down the wild beasts with little trouble. On closer inspection, the group could see burn marks of the bear’s hides, the fur had been melted and singed. The wounds had been inflicted by acid. Several of the adventurers took teeth and claws from the bears as trophies or to sell later.

The remaining journey through the forest of Cormathor pass uneventfully and the group arrived in Tangeled Trees (complete with elven escort) on day fourteen after setting out from Daggerfalls.

The adventurers spent the rest of the day in the market, buying and selling items, re-stocking and improving their own enchanted items.

Thorgrimm headed to the Temple of Sehanine Moonbow to return the Ring of Communication to Durin. At first he was denied entry by the sentries (due to his last visit), but after laying aside his weapons he was allowed in. There he met with Durin, handed over the ring and told of Woz’s demise. Durin said she hoped he’d found peace.

Cyrien caught up with Durin also and passed on much information as well as making a few requests of his own. Durin was keen to know more of Cyrien’s brother, Renack ‘the Betrayer’. She said that such a traitor should be cast out from elven society. Cyrien considered going before the ruling circle of Tangled Trees to have Renack declared an outcast, but he still had unfinished business with his brother and decided to wait. Cyrien and Lianna were reunited. Lianna was very overjoyed to see Cyrien return safely. That night Lianna invited Cyrien out to a fancy dinner at one of the local taverns.

Nuzool spent some time climbing to the top of the highest tree in Tangled Trees, joining two scouts on watch in their roost. He later tested out his Ring of Feather Falling but floating all the way back down to the ground.

It was early on day fifteen when the group set out from Tangled Trees for Ashabenford. Cyrien decided to stay a little longer to spend time with Lianna, saying he would catch the group up (via Teleportation) in Daggerfalls in a few days.h6. Your title here…

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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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17/2/11 - Fight to the Death

The group reached the northern edge of the city and prepared to delve into the forest along a narrow trail that would eventually take them to the Polyandrium. A voice greeted them from somewhere in the canopy of trees “Aren’t you forgetting something?” it asked.

The voice belonged to a creature claiming to be a servant of the demon Ghada. It explained that its master wanted the magical skull the group had agreed to recover from the dragon’s lair, delivered sooner rather than later.

The adventurers explained that they would deliver the skull in due time, but that they first had to complete their quest. The messenger was sceptical and said that he would inform his master thus. He added that Ghada was growing impatient and that he would be most displeased should they fail to live up to the agreement.

Entering the burial glen of the Polyandrium, the group quickly spotted a patrol of a dozen goblins accompanied by one of Zaxaris’ monstrous Flesh Golems. The group waited until the patrol approached, then attacked suddenly, catching the goblins by surprise and swiftly slaying them before any could escape to bring word back to their master.

Following the fight, a figure emerged from the forest nearby. She introduced herself as Giana, a human rogue and adventurer. Apparently the sole survivor of yet another adventuring group which had been attacked by a force of goblins and Flesh Golems, one of Giana’s companions, a half-elven ranger named Ryden was captured and taken into Zaxaris’ lair. The rest were killed and she only barely managed to escape. She asked the group to rescue her companion and offered a reward, should they succeed and bring him to Hillsfar where she would be staying. She declined a request to join the adventurers, saying she had seen quite enough fighting and death for one day.

Moving through the burial glen, the adventurers approached the front of the crypt that they knew led down to the Illithid’s subterranean lair. Inside they spied movement. In an attempt to dispatch the sentries swiftly, Cyrien donned the Crown of Stars and sent a Meteor Swarm through the doorway, immolating everything within in four deafening explosions. However, to the horror of the party, the Crown of Stars disappeared. The artefact was gone!

Cursing their misfortune, the group decided to see through their plan to slay the Mindflayer and proceeded down into the lower levels of the crypt. It was eerily quiet within, only the echo of goblin voices could be heard deeper down.

The party bypassed several traps before cautiously entering the lower level of the lair. Entering they felt the hair on the backs of their necks stand on end as Zaxaris spoke to them via telepathy. “Tsk, tsk, tsk. Tis rather rude to force your way into another’s lair and kill their goblin minions. I sense why you are here. You should have gone through with the trade. Such a pity, Vindicator could have been yours. I also sense that you have lost the Crown, and for that you will die as my next meal, or perhaps serve me as slaves! Come mortals!”

Zaxaris was ready for the adventurer’s attack, having assembled four of his Flesh Golem servitors as bodyguards and twenty or so of his goblin minions.

The battle was brutal. The Illithid’s Mind Blast power stunned most of the party, leaving them helpless. A lightning bolt, which miraculously bypassed his spell resistance, wounded Zaxaris but it was not enough. The lightning bolt fire by Woz also caught a prisoner chained to the wall in the corner, instantly killing him. It was the half-elven ranger Ryden that the group had only just learnt about earlier.

In moments, the Mindflayer latched on to Obsidian’s face with its tentacles and ripped out the paladin’s brains, devouring the grey-matter and instantly killing him! Woz was next to fall, slammed to the ground and stomped to death by a Flesh Golem.

Cyrien was also beset by two of the Flesh Golems. Realising just how grim the situation was, he appealed desperately to the Elf Shadow within the Moonblade Shaeveril, awakening the weapon. The spirit of the sword spontaneously manifested. In a hasty exchange, the spirit offered Cyrien the chance at escape, or instead, he could fall along with his companions. The offer came with a warning that his decision might determine his suitability to wield the sword. Cyrien choose to stand and fight to the death along with his adventuring companions.

A few moments later, he fell under their massive blows of the Golems. The elf lay prone and dying as one of the Golems raise a huge foot to finish off the Bladesinger. Suddenly there was a flash of bluish light as the sword pulsed with power, as it faded, Cyrien was gone leaving Shaeveril lying on the floor.

While stunned, Gaz-Borg was grappled and captured by two of the Golems and was then swarmed by goblins who struggled to keep the big half-orc at bay. Kipah decided to beat a hasty retreat, saying the fight was hopeless and that he’d go for help. Both Bolder and Hawke suffered the same fate as Obsidian, as Zaxaris devoured their brains!

In the end, only Thorgrimm, Nuzool and Owen remained. The trio beat a hasty, fighting retreat towards the exit. The battle was not quite over. Zaxaris, in his haste to try and prevent any of the adventurers from escaping, moved in behind the group, leaving the protection of his Flesh Golem bodyguards and exposing himself to attack.

Thorgrimm and Nuzool leaped to the attack and managed to strike through the Illithid’s many layers of magical protections and wound him.

Zaxaris wasn’t finished, rushing forwards he latched onto Thorgrimm’s face this time, his tentacles driving up the dwarf’s nose and latching on to his brain. In moments, the dwarf’s brain would be torn out! Drawing deep on his reserves of strength, luck and perhaps a little of his goddess Halea’s power, Thorgrimm achieved the impossible. Bringing his greataxe up into the Mindflayer’s guts, he drove it home deep into its flesh and simultaneously tore himself free of the aberration’s tentacled death-grip!

Zaxaris stumbled back, now sorely wounded and bleeding from the terrible wound Thorgrimm had dealt. Casting a hasty spell, Zaxaris disappeared from sight.

Thorgrimm slashed his axe through the air, guessing the Mindflayer was invisible. He was right and his axe struck home again. With a satisfying ‘thud’ the remaining adventurers could hear the body of the Mindflayer drop and a large pool of blood pooled on the floor.

Believing Zaxaris dead, Thorgrimm, Nuzool and Owen fled up the stairs. Gaz-Borg managed to slip free of the rope which had bound him, leaped over his goblin captors and dashed at full speed, escaping past one of the Flesh Golems. The four surviving adventurers made for the surface and freedom, sorely wounded, alive, but minus their slain companions.

Vindicator, the weapon they needed to destroy the shade Gothyl was lost.

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10/2/11 – The Dragon Fooled & Two Brothers Reunited

Without even pausing to look back over his shoulder at the dragon, Nuzool made his escape. A gush of hot air washed over him as the dragon took flight, close on his still invisible heels. As Nuzool flew down the chasm, the dragon unleashed a sheet of flame which only just fell short, singeing the end of his cloak and his tail! Due to the narrowness of the tunnel the dragon could pursue no further.

Narlgathra shouted a threat after the thief “You dare steal from the great Narlgathra? Wherever you go thief, I shall hunt you down. You will suffer in agony before your inevitable death!”

Meanwhile, on the surface the rest of the group stayed hidden and waited tensely for Nuzool to re-emerge. Hearing the rumbling in the earth, the orcs guarding the tunnel mouth looked around in confusion. Their leader sent two of his warriors down the tunnel to see what was going on.

A few moments later the huge red dragon shot up into the sky out of what must have been the main entrance to the lair. It banked left and flew down to the rear entrance tunnel, landed and positioned its head just inside the tunnel… and began breathing great gouts of fire down the tunnel!

Fleeing back into the massive hall, Nuzool could see more orcs pouring out of side corridors, alerted by the dragon’s roars. The ratkin flew easily over their heads undetected and began his ascent back up the rear tunnel entrance of the lair. He flew over a patrol of two orcs, before seeing the flare of fire up ahead as he neared the surface… Realising the dragon had already flown around to cut him off and knowing that the only other exit was guarded by a demon, Nuzool took out the Crown of Stars and placed it on his head, accessing its arcane power.

Rushing forwards, Nuzool unleashed a hail of meteors that struck the dragon in the chest, causing it some harm, but far from devastating. The fire from the blasts washed over the beast without effect. The orcs who were standing guard weren’t so lucky, most being killed in the explosions. The rest of the adventuring party saw the explosions, but continued to wait and see what would happen.

The dragon lowered its head and unleashed a burst of fire down into the tunnel, this time catching Nuzool with its full force. Nuzool’s unconscious, scorched body fell to the ground and the dragon chuckled with pleasure. Two of the remaining orcs went down to retrieve the body and Crown.

The rest of the group acted quickly. Gaz-Borg made a hasty disguise and dashed out to try and bluff the dragon into leaving so they could secure the Crown and save Nuzool. Bowing down before Narlgathra pretending to be one of her orc minions, Gaz-Borg explained that demons had attacked him and were heading for the main entrance to the lair. Narlgathra seemed to buy the story, assuming that it was demons behind the theft. The dragon took to the skies and circled westwards.

The group emerged, killed the remaining orcs, rescued Nuzool and gained the Crown and jewelled skull.

The adventurers proceeded back through the tunnel network below the ruined streets, returning to the north of the city. Shortly after emerging, while discussing their next move, the group spotted what at first looked like another adventuring group speaking to a demonic-looking bird-man close to a tall stone archway.

Cyrien recognised one figure, the group’s leader – it was his brother Renack! Cyrien cried out in rage and, drawing Shaeveril charged to attack him! After a brief confrontation between the brothers (who hadn’t seen each other in over 60 years), the two groups conversed, although the strangers seemed on edge and secretive.

In respect to being accused of betraying his own people and carrying out genocide against the Blackstar Clan, Renack passionately claimed that it was not his intent to wipe out his people, but instead a tragic error. He claimed that the ruling council of the clan had become corrupt and that certain members had attempted to assassinate him. He made a deal with powerful mages capable of summoning demons, which he planned to use to kill the traitors in the ranks. Renack did indeed lower the village’s defences to let his allies in, however something went horribly wrong. The mages lost control of the demons, which poured in in greater numbers and set to slaying everyone.

Renack seemed to show genuine remorse for what had happened all those years ago and admitted he was ultimately responsible. He too wanted to re-build the clan anew, as Cyrien did.

Cyrien and Renack also spoke in private for a short time. Cyrien could see Renack was wearing his father’s magical Starsteel breastplate. When Renack went to examine Shaeveril, upon touching it, his hand was horribly burnt. Cyrien offered magical healing. However his Celestial fire only caused Renack even greater pain, confirming his evil to Cyrien. Renack was furious at his wounds, but said he wished to speak with Cyrien further. They both agreed to meet again in ten days time back at Cyrien’s inn in Daggerdale.

Gaz-Borg identified one symbol, which several of the strangers wore on their belt buckles – a version of the holy symbol of Shar, the Dark Goddess. One of the female members of the other group (a rather flirtatious woman in dark make-up) inspected Woz’s cursed arm with great interest. She also had a great deal of bad things to say about ‘the pathetically weak goodly deities’ of the Realms.

The two groups alluded to their respective missions in Myth Drannor. Renack explained that his group was in search of a particular ‘pool’ but gave few details. Thorgrimm and Cyrien told him that they were in search of a weapon with which to slay an undead shade. The two groups then finally went their separate ways.

Making their way further northwards, the group spotted three fresh corpses lying face-down in the street ahead, close to the foot of a huge stone statue of an elven warrior. Approaching cautiously, several of the party could make out fresh blood on the statue’s blade and shield. Sure enough, the statue animated and attacked. The adventurers managed to take it down. The statue crumbled to pieces to reveal a shining jacinth at its heart.

The party continued northwards towards the Polyandrium and Zaxaris, intent on using the Crown of Stars to destroy the insidious Illithid.

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3/2/11 – Into the Dragon’s Maw

As the adventurers climbed the open sewer tunnel back to the top, Bolder and Obsidian received the following challenge from the demon Ghada, via telepathy… “I know that you two fools will one day return to try and kill me and I welcome it. Know that I shall be here, ready and waiting for you. It is then that I shall deliver on my earlier promise of feeding on your souls! I look forward to your return mortal fools!”

Returning to the surface, the group of adventurers were met by a familiar figure. Tristan Morningstar was waiting for them along with their old companion, the gnome druid Kipah and a human stranger. The newcomer was introduced as Owen Acreman, a human ranger/sorcerer who himself sought to destroy Gothyl for his own reasons.

Tristan explained that he’d received a message from Randal Morn, via Elminster to escort the two new adventurers into Myth Drannor to meet the group to aid in their quest. The pair met Tristan after being teleported several miles from the edge of Myth Drannor by the wizard Keldar.

Following a brief exchange of information, Tristan left. The group then moved to The House of Song to take refuge against the night, which was by now fast approaching. The two new comers also shared some much needed magical healing with the group, restoring several member’s lost life force and vitality.

Cyrien and Kipah decided to break-off from the rest of the group and make a dash for Blackstar Tower, making it there just as the sun set. Within they found the ghost Tyvar. Cyrien questioned the ghost of his ancestor further about how to awaken the Moonblade Shaeveril and also accessed the tower’s library for more information. The two stayed the night there and were awoken during the night to the sounds of fighting outside.

Cyrien and Kipah moved to a window from which they witnessed a large group of goblinoids fleeing down a ruined street. They were quickly set-upon by a trio of vicious, bat-like demons with glowing eyes. The three demons made short work of the weaker goblinoids, their furious red gaze striking down many where they stood. The demons paused only to feed on the fallen. Those goblinoids that had been slain by the demonic gaze attack rose as ghoulish undead creatures.

The adventurers met back up in the morning and decided to head for the lair of the red dragon Narlgathra in the south of the city via the tunnels Ghada had told them about. Thanks to Thorgrimm and Nuzool’s excellent sense of subterranean direction the group traversed the darkened sewer tunnels without getting lost.

The exit of the tunnel network deposited the adventurers in the basement of a dwarven workshop that, sadly, had been looted long ago. As the group climbed the stairs, several of the party heard movement in the ruins to the northwest. Taking a closer look through the windows of the ruins, the group saw a war band of perhaps ten orcs searching a nearby ruin.

The party formulated a plan. They wanted to know more about the dragon and its lair before launching a mission to infiltrate and steal the Crown of Stars. Perhaps one of the leaders of the orc war band could given them the knowledge they sought?

The group prepared an ambush for the orcs. When they were ready, Thorgrimm stepped out into the rubble-strewn street and offered a sharp challenge to the orcs, taunting them into attacking and sure enough the orcs came charging!

The fight was short and fierce, with the adventurers dispatching the green skins with ease. Gaz-Borg managed to grapple an orc shaman to the ground and tie him up, figuring he’d know more than the warriors of the war band.

Dragging their prisoner into a near by ruined house, the party took refuge and interrogated the shaman for information. Woz placed a Geas on him, forcing the shaman, ‘Gnarleye’, to divulge everything he knew. Gnarleye and the rest of his clan, the ‘Burning Talon’ appeared to worship the dragon as their god, believing her to be all-powerful. He gave a rough description of the lair and its two entrances, as well as the trophy column of skulls upon which rested the Crown the adventurers sought. Narlgathra sometimes left her lair to hunt and often slumbered for weeks or months.
The orcs were tasked with searching the ruins for treasure and returning to the lair to add to her massive treasure horde. Gnarleye told of the orc’s shift schedule, which would aid with timing the group’s incursion. Also, the dragon had apparently forged a truce with the demons of the city. Their respective territories were now clearly set, however they had fought in the past.

Thorgrimm executed Gnarleye, then the group set to formulating a plan to get into the lair and get the Crown. After much discussion, the final plan was agreed upon – Nuzool (along with Woz’s scorpion familiar) was to go in to the rear entrance of the lair by stealth, using a combination of invisibility and fly spells/potions. He’d make his way down to the chamber with the dragon, steal the Crown and hopefully the half-orc skull (which Ghada sought) as well, then return to the surface.

The group positioned itself within view of the rear cave entrance to the lair. Mingling around the cave were nine orc warriors who looked quite alert. Nuzool made his final preparations before flying into the cave mouth, cloaked in invisibility.

One of the orcs on watch noticed something was a miss, and, glancing around, took a few wild swings through the air, narrowly missing the orc standing next to him who turned, grunted a complaint and slapped its careless companion. What started as an argument, quickly turned into a brawl as the two orcs set upon one another, giving Nuzool the perfect opportunity to slip inside.

The rough-hewn tunnel was pitch black making progress quite slow as Nuzool was forced to feel his way along as he had no light to go by and didn’t want to give away his location. Half way down Nuzool felt the tunnel curve away from his hand to the right. He used his light magic to look around and found a small sleeping cave off the main tunnel. He made his way deeper and several minutes later, the tunnel opened up into a larger corridor, clearly not of orcish make.

The long corridor led deeper into the earth, several corridors led off to the right and left, all lit by smoky torch sconces on the walls. A group of orcs stood guarding the corridor further down, Nuzool quickly bypassed them by flying up close to the high ceiling. Again, one orc felt the presence of something, but this time managed to alert his friends who set to searching the large, shadowy corridor.

Nazool skirted by the guards and was soon gone, leaving the orcs to search in vain. Nuzool flew deeper, finding himself in a huge, long chamber. To his right was a crude altar around which three shaman’s chanted, to his left, a large forge had been constructed for making steel weapons. Six orcs were at work there. Ahead he could hear the sounds of rushing water. Without pausing he forged onwards, coming across a huge rift that cut across the large chamber from east to west, below an underground river rushed by.

Meanwhile, up above the rest of the group hid within the shell of a ruined building watching the rear entrance. The larger, tough-looking leader of the orc warriors split up his brawling men and sent them back to their posts.

Thanks to the information gained from Gnarleye the shaman, Nuzool had his entrance to the dragon’s lair mapped out in his head. He flew down just below the edge of the chasm and headed westwards, deeper into the darkened lair.

The rift quickly narrowed into a tunnel just ten feet wide and the water was rushing even faster here. Further in Nuzool spotted a small side cave with a sandy bank on one side. Flying deeper still, the chasm finally opened up again, this time into a huge chamber, which was so long Nuzool, couldn’t make out its ends that were cloaked in darkness. To the southeast Nuzool spotted his goal – a thirty-foot tall column of skulls, atop which glowed a powerful magical radiance – the Crown of Stars. Beyond the column was a raised area, on top of which a huge red dragon slept, curled in around it self. However Nuzool didn’t pause to look but he could feel its heat and hear the rhythmic breathing of the great beast.

Using the column as cover, Nuzool flew over. Taking a few moments to look over the skulls, he spotted the bejewelled half-orc skull, but decided to leave it for now – the Crown was his first priority. Ascending the column, Nuzool reached the top. There was the Crown, twelve of the finest quality gems of emerald, ruby, sapphire and diamond, floating in harmony in a tight circlet, glowing with an intense magical aura. Reaching out, Nuzool carefully took the Crown and slipped it quickly into his pack. Descending, he grabbed the half-orc skull and did the same with it.

It was at that moment that Nuzool noticed that the dragon’s steady breathing had fallen silent. The dragon was awake!

Up in the world above, suddenly, everyone felt the pebbles on the ground shudder, as the ground shook slightly. Deep within the earth there could be heard a deep roar…

Nuzool sped through the air, back towards the chasm. The air was filled with a deafening, bestial roar. A wave of heat washed over him. Narlgathra was awake and furious to find her most valuable treasure missing!

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27/1/11 – Deal with a Demon

Thorgrimm with help from several of the others, managed to track the slimy trail back to a large open ruin. Within was a large open sewer leading down eighty feet to more tunnels and filled with fetid water. It was clear the creatures must have headed down below. It was at this time that several group members spotted Woz following them at a distance and doing a poor job of it.

Cyrien threw several rocks down covered in light spells to probe the area. This revealed at least one troll who raised its head just above the surface of the water to look up at the disturbance. The group made its way down the hole using a combination of flying, levitation and ropes. Unfortunately Obsidian slipped and fell down into the water below, sending the submerged trolls into a killing frenzy as they attacked! The adventurers managed to overcome the two aquatic trolls with sword, axe, spell and bomb, before heading down a tunnel to the west to explore the ancient sewer further.

Entering another chamber they were ambushed by two more sewer trolls which they swiftly dispatched. Nazool found a chest of treasure submerged below the water and partly buried which the adventurers recovered. Deeper into the sewer the group discovered a narrow tunnel which they all entered, crawling still deeper. The pipe deposited them at the dead-end of another larger sewer tunnel leading down to a larger, water-filled chamber.

It was then that each of the adventurers heard a fiendish voice in their mind. The voice called itself ‘Ghada’ demanded to know why the group was in its lair. Ghada explained that the sewer was its home and they’d killed his minions (the trolls). The adventurers pleaded innocent, saying they were ‘just passing through’, looking for an artefact of great power and making their way southwards underground. Ghada demanded ‘tribute’ and began negotiations with Hawke. The group discovered that Ghada’s troll minions had found the other piece of the armour and returned with it to him.

Before the diplomacy could go any further, Bolder and Obsidian spat a tirade of insults at Ghada, saying they would kill him for the piece of the artefact and that he was a coward for not showing himself, ruining the groups chances of negotiating with the creature. The fiend rose up from the water and attacked saying that they were fools for interloping in his domain and that it would feast of their souls. Before the group could inflict any real harm on Ghada, the fiend spoke blasphemous words of pure evil sending a black wave of energy outwards over the adventurers. The result was devastating, paralysing everyone in the group except Cyrien! Woz and Gaz-Borg managed to pull free of the supernatural paralysis faster than the others, but things looked dire indeed! Bolder and Obsidian were attacked by Ghada and two of his troll minions and very nearly killed, being knocked unconscious and seized by Ghada and his trolls.

Ghada paused and again gave the rest of the adventurer’s the chance to negotiate, saying that he would take Bolder and Obsidian and devour their souls as payment, or if they kept fighting, kill everyone!

The diplomacy began anew, with Hawke, Thorgrimm, Cyrien and Nazool doing much of the negotiations with Ghada. A deal was finally struck, Ghada took Obsidian’s piece of the armour (the rerebrace) also, the adventurers would recover yet another magical treasure from the dragon’s horde – the bejewelled skull of a long-deal half-orc shaman and bring it to Ghada. In return, and Ghada wouldn’t slay them outright! The group has three days to return with the skull. The party left the sewers, alive but minus one artefact.

From there, Cyrien wished to return Blackstar Tower to seek advice from the ghost Tyvar, Nazool wanted to speak to Fritz and try and rouse the gargoyles of the city to war with the demons (such as Ghada). The group’s next goal was the lair of Narlgathra the red dragon and Vindicator.

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