Monthly Archives: January 2011

SOW Chapter8: Rikar

Rikar

 

 
 

RikarRikar is proudly from Feydark, Underdark’s echo in the Feywild and like most parts of the Feywild it is more majestic and fantastic than its natural counterpart. Inhabited by the fomorians, a Fey echo of the titans, the Feydark is a cavernous world of maze-like tunnels and portals linking to the natural world.

One of the most powerful of the fomorian realms is Mag Tureah, which stands within a country-sized cavern lit by precious gems and stones. One of this kingdoms rulers is the fomorian king Cachlain, a powerful fomorian known as the Stone-Skinned King. Rikar serves as an envoy to this king, who is allied with Rikar’s people. It is an important but dangerous post. Important because from his secluded lair, he provides transport for the forces of Feydark. The fomorian has established total control over the portals, using rituals that took decades to take effect; no one passes through one of the portals without Cachlain’s seal. Dangerous because the Stone-skinned king is moody, child-like in his tantrums and exceedingly powerful. Thankfully he is particularly fond of beautiful magical crafts, an art Rikar’s people excel at. Still at times Rikar is asked to undertake unusual missions at the king’s bequest and one such is the nature of his involvement with the heroes of Klarn now.

While Rikar was visiting the Stone-skinned King, Cachlain became distracted by some new prisoners, a group called the ‘Brigade.’ The King was showing off his prisoners to his visitors while frivolously rambling about his upcoming games. The King was excited and apparently he had been collecting the ‘heroes’ for a shadar-kai arms-dealer named Sarshan when he’d gotten the brilliant idea to hold gladiatorial games in honor of his guests. Cachlain had a number of prisoners: a dwarf, a halfling, a wizard, a shifter wearing a particularly strange crown, (he called that one the ‘crowned-beast’) , two haughty looking half-elves and a dragonborn, all paraded before the assembled visitors.

Then showing-off, Cachlain turned to a pool in the throne room and with a wave of his hand, the pool shimmered revealing another candidate of the arena, one of his favorites, a half-orc warrior named Shaden. The half-orc stood with others upon a very small island of rock adrift in a ocean of molten rock and flame.

Bram IronfellThe prisoners gasped, obviously they knew this party; the King watched but the King paid no heed. One of the guests, a wealthy dwarf named Bram, began laughing and boasting that the party was doomed certain they would die within the sea of fire. Suddenly, the King became frantic that his games would be ruined if the half-orc died.

Fearing the half-orc might be slain he shouted at his courtiers ordering them to do something to get him back. The King’s chamberlain, a man named Sovacles, tried to discourage the King but he only became more resolute and insistent, and he began making a scene in front of the assembled guests. The guests Marrot, the fool, dreadful visitor from Fortress of Fading Dreams, and six ambassadors: the dwarf Bram Ironfell representing the githyanki; Droeth of the Cyclopes; Andrinna Baelsblood, of infernal bloodline; the satyr named Troke; one of Rikar rivals the high elf Bilgamesh; and Rikar himself representing his drow household and people.

The drow had concerns due to rumblings within Feydark. Rumblings that Shan Lian Doresh, the Lord of the Fading Dream, would soon open his gates and march out his soldiers in military force with his ally, a rival of the King, the fomorian Sangwyr, who would oust the Stone-skinned King if he could–and Sangwyr, the foul, was no friend to the drow.

The female dragonborn prisoner called out, “Let me go to them! I will bring Sshaden back, I know him, he iss a friend. You have my word, I will return here with no fight.”

“Ha! You can not trick me. You think me dumb!” answered Cachlain.

“No, Giant King … You have my word, the word of a Platinum Talon of Bahamut!”

The King stared as within the pool the party began to battle the elemental forces of the primordial realm.

“I can sssave them!” yelled the dragonborn.

“I will send you but only," a large grin spreading over the King’s face, "only if you swear to fight in the arena!”

“Agreed! I will fight!” she agrees.

The other prisoners try to make their own deals but the Bram interrupts, “None of the Brigade can be freed! That is our deal!”

The dragonborn replies, “I am not in the Brigade.”

“Neither am I,” exclaimed the shifter.

“Release Dragon-girl, but only her! If she fails, Crowned-Beast will take her place in the games.”

With that order, the dragonborn paladin was released and she was sent through one of the King’s portals to join her friends in the Sea of Fire.

The dragonborn, Ssarina and the others survived the battle but before the King could bring her back she and the others vanished from the pool disappearing from the pool’s reflection before the King could bring her back as they disappeared within Sarshan’s black tower.

Aghast, Cachlain screamed out his frustration. For a time the moments became tedious as the King’s frustration grew.

Seeking to gain quick favor, Rikar determined to volunteer to travel through the portal to gather both the dragonborn and the half-orc warriors on behalf of the King.

"Good King, I can not wait for your games but how disappointing if we don’t have your best combatants. No, I can’t allow it. Please let me go to this dark tower on your behalf. I will bring back your gladiators for you!" offered Rikar.

Interjecting Bilgamesh adds, "And I too King. These are truly dangerous warriors; Rikar will need my help. The bright light of the burning sea may trouble Rikar’s night eyes."

Again one of the prisoners calls out, the crowned shifter, "They will not be trusted King; these warriors–Shaden and Ssarina–they don’t know these elves; they don’t even like elves. Shaden is orc-born and Ssarina’s people eat elves. Send me."

"Bah, maybe I send elves. Cat-man is like bad dog…too much noise … Hmmm … Elves you go."

Bram objected immediately but just then the pool suddenly revealed that not only the adventuring party had survived but also that they had reappeared on the black tower roof where they were surrounded by githyanki pirates. The survivors, Vani, Bingus, Ssarina, Fin and Shaden, were within a circular portal landing, the very thing that had alerted the King. The warrior githyanki were heavily armed and on the far side of a tower, a dark sphere of translucent force protected four other figures: Sarshan, his witch and two shadar-kai bodyguards.

The King shouted with excitement, “Go get Ugly-man and the Dragon-girl, I will teach her! She will fight him! Dragon-girl and ‘Ugly’ will fight so we will see who is smart.” Declaring that the King refused to hear the dwarf’s complaints and prepared to send the two elves, light and dark, through the portal.

Desperate, Bram speaks plainly, “The githyanki will not be amused!”

Realizing that they have guessed correctly, both Rikar and Bilgamesh smile at each other knowing that their ploy has worked and not only would they be currying favor for their sides, but they would be foiling the plans of the githyanki whom Bram was representing.

Marrot, the foolLaughing at Bram’s angst, the diminutive bemasked Marrot offers, “Surely you jest; I have performed for the council of the Silver Tree, the Queen of Dusk, and all Seven Brothers of Night. I have recited epics for lordly centaurs and lady satyrs, cried eulogies for hag Hethralga and sang dirges for cyclopes in the realms below. But nothing would give me greater honor, esteemed sir, than the opportunity to make sausage with their guts. Hah-HAH! Take this my brothers.” The small jester reached out with a pouch, sprinkling a small portion of the dust upon the throne room floor before handing it to Rikar. “This is fairie dust, magical dust of recall. All you need do is sprinkle a small portion of the dust upon the wanderers and they will appear in lickity-split.”

And so, tasked with keeping both the Dragon-girl and Ugly-man alive at least long enough to return them to Cachlain’s court for the games Rikar and Bilgamesh leave armed with fairie dust supplied by Shan Doresh’s twisted jester.

It was apparent, the Stone-skinned King also knew the mind of the shadar-kai arms-dealer, Sarshan. More than once he grumbled over the shadar-kai’s treachery, blaming him and the githyanki for the death of a hag named Hethralga. As the elves are departing he tells them, “If Sarshan gets in way break him, he broke the hag.” And adds, “Bring others back but not gnome. Gnome stinks and songs bad!”

He leans back in his throne and then sits up quickly, “Oh … pet wants to help you. Call out ‘Crowned-beast’ and I send but watch, bad-dog!”

With that the elves vanish into the portal.

Troke suddenly starts snickering.

The king looks over at him and sneers, "What so funny!?"

Troke tries to keep a straight face, "I think Marrot played a bit of a trick on those two elves."

The king looks over at Marrot who with a look of feigned innocence asks, "Why whatever do you mean?"

Troke continues, "The dust…you only gave them enough to send the dragonborn and the half-orc back. They’re stuck."

The king counts on his fingers then starts to frown at Marrot. Marrot smiles, "Why my cloven-footed friend I believe you are correct. I have miscounted. I did not adjust for there being two of them going. Oops." He turned to the king, "I am so, so, sorry that I have misplaced your ambassadors. I’m sure they will turn up eventually. I do appologize for overlooking that, my mistake. But isn’t it time for a game, look the dark elf has already returned the dragonborn?"

The king’s frown turned into a smile, "Yes, a game. Dragon-girl into the arena! Get her ready, Ugly will be there soon."


SOW Chapter8: Light and Dark

Light and Dark

 

 
 

Light and Dark

RikarBilgameshRikar entered the cavern cautiously and quickly scanned the room for any others, seeing only the elf he had come to meet he approached, "Bilgamesh, what news have you?"

Bilgamesh looked at the drow with a mixture of distain and admiration. He had spent his entire life defending Shinaelestra from threats such as this one and again he was reminded that he was forced to work with a drow. Still he had some to realize that Rikar could be trusted as long as one knew that he was seeking the interests of his household and his people. And, was that so different from his own outlook? Who knows perhaps Rikar even had a family back home just as Bilgamesh had. It occurred to him that he had never asked Rikar if he had a wife or children. Bilgamesh longed to see his boys and daughter. It had been many years and they would be nearly grown by now, though not quite. This position had been a sacrifice that he and Istari had agreed would be best for them all when Lord Raven had asked him to take the position those many years ago.

Both the elves and the drow had come to realize that of the formorians, Cachlain, was the most reasonable though perhaps not the most rational. Certainly he was not the most evil. Both had come to realize that it was better to have him in power than the alternative and as such they found themselves working to similar ends to keep this king in power. Though that said, both were interested in gaining what advantage they could for their own people should the opportunity present itself.

In the years that he had been assigned to this post he had come to a measure of respect for Rikar. They had certain similarities in outlook on nature and one’s place in the natural order that he could appreciate, though Rikar’s stance was more unyielding and harsh to say the least. And, there had been battles where Bilgamesh had found himself gladly depending on the quick axe of Rikar and similarly Rikar had come to respect Bilgamesh’s skill with a crossbow that rivaled the best of the drow.

"I have heard rumors that the dwarf, Bram, is making plans with the githyanki and some arms-dealer. I believe the name was Sharshan."

Rikar nodded, "I have heard that name before. The Stone-king has mentioned him and seems to have no love for him. We may be able to use that to our advantage."

Bilgamesh continued, "I have reports from my people that there are rumors of movement of githyanki in other lands. I do not think that this arms-dealer is the only one that Bram is working with."

Rikar agreed, "I too have heard something of that though it is not unheard of for them to be found in the Underdark hunting for their former masters. That said, the numbers reported seem perhaps larger than expected. It does seem something is stirring."

Bilgamesh asked, "And what further news of Sangwyr?"

At the mention of the evil formorian giant’s name, Rikar scowled, "He continues to mount attacks upon our houses. To date they amount to nothing more than irritations but should the rumors of his alliance with the Lord of the Fading Dream prove more than hearsay then we would be lost. A valiant fight no doubt, but the Lord of Dream’s forces are more than a match for ours and with the formorian in his pocket we would be forced to leave our homes."

Bilgamesh added, "I do not know if it will be of help but I have heard that Sangwyr made attempts to breach Mithrendain and was soundly repulsed by the wards in place. I do not know if that was his own idea or if it was at the behest of the Lord of the Fading Dream. Perhaps he is considering a war of two fronts and if so that may give you the opening you need to defend your people and mount a counter-offensive."

Rikar looked more concerned than relieved, "I would be more concerned that if he thinks he can afford a war on two fronts then perhaps he has more power or allies that we know nothing of. We must find out more. This waiting is getting us nowhere. I feel that we may need to take a more direct role."

Bilgamesh nodded, "Agreed. I will send word back to my people that we will be taking action soon."

"I as well."

"Farewell, honorable foe."

"Farewell, noble adversary."

 


SOW Chapter8: Sovacles and the King

Sovacles and the King

 

 
 

Sovacles and Cachlain, the Stone-skinned King

Sovacles and Cachlain

“My King, truly this Brigade is no threat. Now that Sarshan is dead let’s be done with them. These Mendelites,  Zardoz and Vani, are our truer threats; we should kill Zardoz now while we can and Vani as soon as possible. Ian is another issue, he is even more dangerous; but, he must not be harmed and he cannot stay here. Let’s send him back to his father.”

“I have eight now. EIGHT is great! Games are ready. Invite everyone. GNOME SONGS, GNOME SONGS … Jingle-jangs and fripperies … With tocsin tones and chiming knees … Sweets and games, sure to please … Who puts on the show with all of these?”

“King, you need to focus.”

“KING FOCUSED! Count eight!”

Holding up his fingers the Stone-skinned King counts, “One Bald Dwarf, two Ugly Man, three Green Girl, four Dragon-Girl, five Wolf-man, six Bloody Mary, six Horny bull-man  … Wait who missing?”

Sovacles sighs, “Mean elf … and you were on already on seven.”

Looking back at his fingers, Cachlain grins, “Ha’ … seven Bull-man, and eight Mean-elf.”

“I mean focus on the wizard. We have Zardoz now and we need to catch Vani, I don’t trust him.”

“No, halflings are boring, but taste better than gnomes.”

“I am going to kill the wizard now.”

“NO, I am KING. I say NO! Sardoz is guest and friend of guest.”

“What? … What guest? Who are you talking about?”

“Mud-butt, ‘ho ho’ he is so funny … Mud-butt is here for games, he is and Bram and Sardoz. Sardoz is friend, so you don’t kill him now. Maybe later … after games, we see. Make games ready now!”


SOW Chapter8: Sea of Fire

Sea of Fire

The chase is afoot
Sarshan dreaded enemy
At last is fallen

PART I: SEA OF FIRE

Sea of Fire

A blast of heat heralds the arrival of Shaden, Bingus, and Vani but then unexpectedly the priest, Theren, and Finellior, the bard, also appear all on a small landing of stone in and surrounding a destination portal circle in the midst of an ocean of molten rock. Near there are a number of small islands floating on the burning sea like icebergs of rock and earth. These earth-bergs drift in proximity to a much larger island to the south.

“Where are we? How did we get here?" asks Fin.

“We have more immediate concerns; we are not alone!” shouts Shaden.

Beyond the landing, Sarshan’s island waits, a steep-sided rise that juts up from the Sea of Fire.

An ancient stone dike surrounds the island, bolstered by arcane rituals that help keep the sea’s lava drifts at bay. On the island there is a sheer-sided black tower, an obsidian monolith that rises high, possibly over two hundred feet, reaching into the red sky of the plane of fire. Beyond the large island, on the horizon, they spy the distant spires Bingus recognizes as  the legendary City of Brass shimmering above the haze of the lava sea.

As Shaden pointed out between them and the larger island creatures are visible through the heat haze caused by the burning sea. Among them a pair of large male figures with fiery orange and coal-dark skin, their bodies appearing to be a mix of a serpent and human made out of fire, magma, and smoke–salamanders–one is armed with a bow and the other has paired exotic, dangerous looking blades. With them are two hulking magma creatures, giant elementals that stand erect like men but lacking any facial features, their magma forms flowing and reshaping keeping what passes for their shape in constant motion. And on the island, two githyanki stand with silver swords drawn at a point where steps climb up and over the dikes providing egress to the interior of the island.


Shaden – Bingus – Theren – Vani – Finellior

Map: Lake of Fire

The battle starts immediately with the salamander archer firing a flurry of arrows into the party. scoring a glancing hit upon Shaden. The small islands supporting the hulking elementals start moving inexorably towards the party’s landing responding to the elementals’ will.

“You’ve made a good point, Shaden,” answers Fin.

SalamanderBingus weaves a circle of protection which expands outward engulfing the the heroes. Then Bingus and Vani both leap to nearby islands moving to escape the hail of arrows, Bingus going west while Vani goes east. Likewise the githyanki move north leaping from the large island towards the main group of heroes. The second salamander, the larger of the two, slides off his island swimming through the molten sea moving towards the new arrivals.

As the first elemental nears, Bingus gestures madly in open air opening a vortex behind the elemental … the monster resists reaching towards Bingus then at the last second it slides backward pulled by the vortex and vanishes with the vortex. The second elemental arrives and begins trading blows with Shaden. Vani launches bolts of fiery lightning killing one of the githyanki but having little effect on the bow wielding salamander. The second githyanki reaches outward with its mind locking Shaden in place. The Salamander responds but as the arrow strikes Vani he vanishes only to appear again several feet away. Switching targets to Shaden the salamander fires again with greater success blooding the half-orc.

To avoid being flanked, Finellior leaps to a new island as the large salamander approaches from the east, mocking the salamander as he departs. Surrounded, Theren and Shaden go back-to-back. The salamander slams into Theren who splays himself out desperately as he is knocked to ground and almost into the burning sea. Safe on the far island Bingus peers through his orb, conjuring a fell graveyard ooze that appears and engulfs the salamander and swells. The salamander struggles uselessly as the ooze melts its flesh away until nothing is left of the monster. Shaden taunts the elemental deftly dodging clumsy blows as he slices the elemental to pieces dispatching the elemental. The other salamander aims his bow at the gnome wizard but Bingus leaps into the molten sea of fire vanishing in a gout of flame. Dismayed Vani blasts both the remaining salamander and githyanki blowing the warrior in half and forcing the salamander to retreat into the burning sea.

Freed from the githyanki’s psychic attack Shaden turns helping the priest Theren to his feet. As they turn towards the landing on the larger island Bingus appears suddenly in a burst of fire emerging unscathed.

“That’s a phoenix step for you,” explains the gnome. “The portal where we arrived is a destination portal, it’s meant to mark a point of arrival but we will have to find some other way off this island. Still I am going to take some notes in case we need to come back here.”

SsarinaJust as Bingus starts to draw, the portal lights up and the dragonborn, Ssarina appears, gasping and out of breath.

“By Bahamut’ss breath be praissed,  you ssurvived! My arrival wass delayed … and I think I wass molessted by ssomething large and abrassive. I know not what occurred but head feelss like on to a visse and there is little doubt of violations. Yet I am here and there was ssomething I musst do.”

Not really understanding the others carefully make their way to the large island with Ssarina. As they draw near the tower they find  that effectively it blocks their view of the City of Brass but looking upward they spy something moving above the tower in the hot winds, squinting  they can catch a glimpse, just the bow of a magnificent vessel, an airborne galleon.

Try as they might they can gather little from Ssarina’s experience. Again she remembers a large eye and then nothing as if the pain in her head had stolen the memories away but she arrives with a deep sense of foreboding and purpose.

Moving on they cross a path leading to the center of the island towards the tower where black polished stairs rise 50 feet up the south side of the tower to an impressively large solid gateway that is 20 feet wide and just as tall set at the top of the stairs. The walls of the black monolith are featureless and smooth as glass all the way to the top of the tower save  for one small extension near the the top on the east wall.

PART II: GALLERIES

Map: Onyx TowerThe exterior of the 200-foot-high monolith tower is smooth-sided, polished obsidian. Its only entrance is a single gate that opens into the upper portion of an inverse gallery. This chamber drops in a series of stepped ledges to a reservoir of blood chaos that covers the floor.

As the party rises to the top of the stair the gate rises revealing a cavernous chamber that drops 50 feet to a vast reservoir of seething blood chaos. A series of stepped ledges work their way down the sides of the chamber, some connected by stairs, others by wooden ladders. Several ledges are decorated with statues. Straight across from the entrance and at the same level, a ledge contains the glowing sigils of a permanent portal. The defenders of this chamber stand in wait—two humanoid fiends with leathery wings, another githyanki warrior, a centaur bearing a greatsword, and a very large demonic looking beetle encased in a rune-scribed shell.

CentuarShaden and Ssarina enter the chamber together preparing to defend the others but suddenly Vani steps up between them unleashing a torrent of magic, a trilogy of blasts followed by three more lighting up the chamber such that when the smoke clears only two of the five guardian creatures are still moving, the  arctide spiralith and a storm abishai. The abishai takes to air rising upon the strength of its wings and casts a blast of lightning that covers the large entry landing shocking everyone upon it, Shaden, Ssarina, Vani, Theren, and Finellior, only Bingus escapes by waiting outside until his familiar can cross the chamber to the portal waiting on the far side. The lightning dances across the party like a thing almost alive causing Vani to vanish reappearing on the 25’ landing on the far side of the chamber.

Shaden makes for the west landing barring the way to the spiralith which rubs its legs together arcing another bolt of lightening at the half-orc and misting itself in a stinking acidic cloud as it climbs the stair. Suddenly a groaning roar shakes the tower. The seething blood chaos below begins to boil as a jet of magma shoots into the reservoir through a wide-gaping crack in the wall. Foul-smelling steam vents upward as a reflection of stench generated by the spiralith as the level of the swirling pool begins to rise.

“What’s our plan?” asks Fin.

“Run for it! I will handle this,” looking to the monster, answers Shaden.

SpiralithFinellior runs. Ssarina calls out with a voice like thunder, louder than anyone else with the party might match, “VANI THROW ME YOUR BOOTS-SS!”

“I will want them back,” he yells struggling to be heard.

AbishaiShaden retreats from the monster stench and the monster radiates a burst of electricity catching those left on the 50’gallery. Bingus teleports across the chamber joining his familiar next to the portal. Theren races between Fin but pauses at the 40’ high landing not liking what he sees. Fin continues but before he can climb the ladder the slurry formed of a mixture of magma from the sea of fire and blood chaos syphoned from the evil lake surrounding the Ever-tree rises spilling over the edge and submerging the 15’ platform. The burning wake washes Finellior’s feet instantly consuming the bard’s boots. Indescribable pain saturates Fin, breaking him down, collapsing him. Fin has time to scream once.

Theren prays, the prayer healing Fin enough to get him to the ladder Vani races down offering a hand in aid. The abishai continues lighting up Shaden with focused bolt of lightening. The half-orc kills the spiralith; turns and runs full out charging towards the flying fiend. The abishai flees darting upward, Shaden leaps defying death targeting the 25’ landing across the chamber. He sails a full 35’ in over certain death landing on his feet on the far landing. Crowding Vani, Shaden reaches over the side with one powerful arm and pulls Fin atop the landing.

“Did you see that?!” asks Shaden.

At the portal, Bingus grins mischievously at Ssarina, and asks, “Are you coming?” then disappears in the portal.

PART III: CRUSHING DESPAIR

SpectreBingus appears in a  L-shaped chamber that is bare stone except for the glowing sigils of the permanent teleportation circle within which he finds himself. The chamber is divided into three sub-chambers,each set 5 feet higher than the previous chamber, but the far end of the last section cannot be seen from Bingus’s perspective. The wizard is quick to notice scratches marring the floor and ceiling. Cautiously Bingus steps forward to examine the marks. As he does, with a grinding of stone on stone, the walls of the sub-chamber lurch forward.

At the same time, two ghostly vapors  rise up from beneath the stone floor and the glow of the teleportation landing intensifies as Vani appears.

Map: Onyx Tower Galleries“AH! Look what you’ve done … You triggered the trap!” exclaims Bingus.

Slowly the ghostly mists begin to take shape, as it does Vani darts past through the first chamber. Again the portal landing flashes and Ssarina appears. The mists become two haunts … one beautifully frightful moans its displeasure pointing to direct the other, a horrifically visage, cast in pain, towards Ssarina. As the monstrous spectre drifts silently towards the paladin the first haunt fades away vanishing.

Vani being only just over 4’ tall reaches up to pull himself to the second room. As he pulls himself up the room quakes and Vani is showered with grit and dust as the ceiling begins to descend.

“You did it again!” exclaims Bingus.

Finellior, Shaden and Theren appear in the teleportation circle as a deathly chill envelopes them with the spectre’s approach. The paladin, Ssarina steps forward sweeping her blade through the spectre but the spectre ignores the attack and reaches out expanding, a wave of force hits the heroes hard, Fin, Shaden, Ssarina and Theren are knocked off their feet as they feel life energy being ripped from their bodies.

Haunting BansheeUp in the second chamber Vani stares in horror when the second spirit materializes next to him. Moaning, the haunt attacks. The sound sets Vani’s skin crawling, involuntarily the halfling retreats falling back into the first chamber. Bingus leans against the wall of the first room pinioning his small body to no avail. The west and east walls inexorably press on tightening the confines of the room. Trying desperately to help his friend, Bingus fires a spell at the spectre, but again it ignores the attack and reaches within the paladin’s body. Ssarina gasps as she feels the spectre’s icy grip upon her heart. His attacks seemingly useless the gnome turns away from the battle running for the second room.

Fin rises to his feet frantically, trying to get the others attention, “We need to do something about the walls or we’ll be crushed!”as he makes his way to the west wall. Pulling some climbing tools from his pack he rushes trying to halt the walls progress. Partially successful he manages to slows the walls progress. He yells again, “We really don’t have time for this!”

Shaden rips the spectre with the wicked fang, and finally the ghostly figure reacts as the blade passed through the insubstantial haunt, it clearly ‘feels’ the bite of the deadly blade. Encouraged Shaden yells, “You run, I have this; and I’ve  no stomach for flight.”

Flesh GolemFrustrated Fin appeals as the walls press continues, then suddenly the banshee screams sending the heroes in a mad panic, crawling at each other they race to the southern most wall in a crazed attempt to flee. Only Bingus is spared the horror safely ensconced in the second room. The gnome presses his own advantage and runs to the third room. Climbing up he sees a pair of doors waiting at the far side of the third room. As Bingus pulls himself up he hears a familiar sound, the grinding of stone on stone as the walls of the third room begin to move. The doors fly open exposing a portal and a monstrous golem emerges, forged of  stitched portions of dead animated flesh, it growls and charges heedless of the closing walls.

Demoralized the other heroes recover as the realization hits them that a third traps has been triggered, Shaden speaks out, “Fin is right, we have to run for it. I will hold the spectre as long as I can.RUN!”

Busily trying to slow the east wall, Fin says, “You need to come too. We all leave together or not at all!”

Agreed they run. In the third room Bingus tries to sequester the golem in the timeless dimension he had use to trap the elemental earlier, but he fails and the monster slams into him beating him to the ground. In a last ditch to save his life Bingus casts a sleep spell slowing the golem as lethargy begins to overcome the abomination. Bingus rolls falling the 5’ back into the second room. The golem follows stumbling, reaching for the bloody wizard but then falls forward as slumber takes hold falling into the second room nearly crushing Bingus as it tumbles.

Taking a deep breath, Bingus hears approaches steps, staring towards the sound he sees the stampede of heroes approach, their faces a mask of disdain due to the activation of the third trap. Maddly rushing, no one pays heed that the banshee had vanished again. The last hero to exit the first room is Shaden who leaps into the second room even as the walls of the first press together. Unaffected the spectre passes through the stone giving chase. In the second room, the ceiling had descended from 40’ down to a point the room was only 15’ high and still falling with only 10’ of egress into the higher third room. Vani leads the way, followed by Theren, Ssarina, Fin, and finally Shaden with Bingus still to rise to his feet in the second room and there is about 20’ left between the closing north and south walls of the third and final room. One after other they climb into the third chamber … as Vani approaches the midpoint the banshee appears hurling him off his feet and  against the north  wall, then turning towards the others the banshee unleashes another piercing scream. Visions of their own death fills the minds of Theren, Ssarina, Fin and Shaden … involuntarily they turn and flee back  into the certain peril of the second chamber as sanity leaves them. Alone forgotten, Vani uses his focused magic to blasting the banshee back to Shadowfell.

The others recover, Bingus climbs back into the third room, a 5’ gap remaining; Ssarina, 4’;  Fin, 3’; Shaden, 2’ and looking back, the half-orc stands witness as the spectre falls upon Theren. Theren struggles to rise but the spectre reaches into the priest’s chest and Theren’s body fails going limp; then as Shaden watches helplessly transfixed  the spectre rises ripping Theren’s soul from his dead  body. As the ceiling closes, the spectre silently points a bony finger at the fleeing party and horrible transformed, another spectre, Theren gives chase.

Finellior shakes Shaden stirring him from the trance. Staring at the bard, Shaden looks down away from the grief in Fin’s face and notices for the first time that the bard’s feet were still bare. With no need for words, the last two heroes race towards the portal, the walls 4, 3, 2 feet apart, as they jump through the portal.