Monthly Archives: November 2013

SOW Chapter15: The Mantled Citadel

The
Mantled Citadel


 



A
top
the spiraled knoll, huge trees cluster tight thrashing their burning branches
against the ground and each other creating a loud smoky ruckus which makes the
already dismal light worse. Before the party, stands the oppressive sight of
spired black rock rising hundreds of feet into the air–the Mantled Citadel. A
single, black iron door of immense size pierces the rock at its ground floor
entrance, but as the balance of the party joins Bingus the door already stands
open in eerie greeting, a brilliant orange light beckoning from within.


The steps leading to the open doorway are steep, carved with images of coiled
serpents, dragons, and other magical beasts decorating the risers. As the party
reaches the entrance, perhaps not surprisingly, they find that the interior
scarcely matches anything they would expect; what they find is an irregularly
shaped, gloom-filled corridor extending deeper into the rock, the hall
distinguished by a pair of small doors on either side of the hall, and a larger
set of double doors at the end of the fifty foot hall.


Addressing the others, Bingus says, “I do expect we will find my brother here
somewhere, I would rather that we not kill him when we do; my though being that
we can be joined somehow.”


“Joined? What do you mean by that?” asks Finellior.


Rikar sneers and answers, “You don’t want to know.”


“Maybe he does,” Bingus insists … “My brother and I are unique; I don’t really
know how to explain it.”


Suddenly, the voice of Bingus’s antagonist fills the entry issuing from no
obvious source:



And what makes you think ‘I’ care what you want Bing Butt?



Oh, I knew this day would come. I’ve been waiting for it. And don’t
misunderstand me, I’m oh so happy you’re here … We’re back where we belong,
here, you trying to find me, but at the same time still so hopelessly lost. You
would merely be pathetic if you weren’t so irritating!



By now you should know, I know everything about you and your friends; I know
everything I will ever need to know, brother, but I tire of carrying you
brother, when you were younger, more portable … maybe, but I’m done now.
Certainly, there’s too much history between you and I… History, but that’s all
in the past … Pun intended … And your future, I’m afraid is bleak as best.



As for you others, I’m always happy to make your acquaintance, now go home while
you still can!



Really Bingo, they’re not needed … You can walk right up, I won’t stop you, it’s
time we get a chance to finish our duel … Today a dawn, I’m not a cruel gnome,
go ahead take a few hours to get your affairs in order.



I’m busy anyhow, busy starting to rub my hands together now … Muwhahah!



 



         


“And your sure you want to be joined with that?”


asks Fin with certain incredibility. 

 

 

 






         


Without waiting any longer Hagrid enters,
“We should check these side chambers and
make sure nothing sneaks up behind us.”
And heads directly to the nearest of
the two smaller doors. The hall is shrouded in dark shadows that stubbornly
refuse to yield to the party’s lights; the hall itself is 10 feet-wide and
arched. The heavy door opens soundlessly at Hagrid’s touch revealing a chamber
that was obviously once used by guards, but Hagrid finds the room deserted, save
for a graffiti-riddled table and set chairs set in the center of the small room.
Bingus follows Hagrid and begins reading the carved etchings on the wooden
table, the first proclaims:



‘Bingus is a Bung-hole!’


And another reads, ‘Tender lump-lings
reading here life’s no fun with Bingo near.’


And there is a relatively new additional, a hastily drawn painting entitled:
‘Bing Butt the Pirate’, the paint
still looking wet.



           


Bemused, they proceed back across the corridor to the second door and they find
it opens to an even smaller unadorned chamber with a single door which they opt
to ignore, in favor of proceeding to the doubled doors at the
end of the entry hall. These doors also open easily, opening in to a large
chamber; four pits pierce the chamber’s floor and at the opposite side of the
chamber another set of double doors wait leads deeper into the citadel, but a
huge vaguely man-shaped creature stands in the middle of the pits, blocking
passage to the far doors, it is comprised almost completely of chains, and sways
menacingly as they prepare to enter.          


Without pausing for discussion, Hagrid moves forward, and at Fin’s prompting,
Rikar dispatches his last knight to back-up the goliath. As they approach, the
guardian begins spinning, creating a hazard of ripping chains which slows
Hagrid’s progress, and when he finally gets close enough to slash out at the
construct, the golem suddenly stops its spinning which sends the creature’s spiked
metal appendages arcing about its two attackers restraining them. Then golems
begins moving backwards, beyond the furthest pit, the coiled chains extending
until the golem takes a position behind the pit and then inexorably pulls the
two combatants towards itself until the floor falls away at their feet and they
both fall in the mouth of the gaping pit, disappearing in the darkness below.



“That’s a golem!”

shouts Bingus … “Its appearance suggests
it may be a creation of the diabolical




kytons

of Hell!”


           
“Great, how do we defeat it?”
asks Fin, but before Bingus can respond another adversary makes its presence
known, a great skull awash in blue flame flies out of a second far pit taking a
position near the chamber’s ceiling; there high above the party it cackles:



“I apologize ahead of time for this chilly reception, but you all better creep
out of trouble while you’re visiting, because I’ll be watching you guys; and now
let me make amends …”



‘BOOM!’


The room explodes in a blue firestorm of flames that fill the chamber and funnel
down the entry hall. The remaining party members begin to bolt seeking cover but
finding no shelter within the chamber. The skull laughs and spins as it rants.



“You see, I’m starting to warm-up to you already … Hey, let’s play a game!
Someone flip a coin … I would but my hands, OH MY GOD what happened to my hands
… Never mind, but hey, I don’t have a coin either, but you guys look loaded,
someone flip a coin, if you win I’ll put out the fire … Okay ready, go

… Heads, I win, tails, you OOZE!”



The party counterattacks with spells and crossbow fire to no avail everyone
misses the mark as the skull dancing in the air above deftly dodging their
attacks … And then yells while turning its own attention to the pits below …



“You forgot to yell ‘Geronimo’ … Geez I’m glad you ‘kill’ seekers dropped by!”


Then as the flames finally beginning to fade, the skull dives and disappears
once again into the darkness of the pits, when they notice the exaggerated
sounds of echoing combat issuing from the pits.


           
In the bottom of the pit, thirty feet below, Hagrid struggles to his feet, in
the tight confines of the pit, thankful that the heavy stone golem hadn’t landed
on him, but still finding the darkness stifling. He can see a short distance
amid the dancing shadows cause by the flickering firelight above. He sees enough
to know the pits are connected by narrow, rounded tunnels no more than five feet
round, hardly enough space for an eight-foot tall goliath … And then suddenly,
Rikar’s stone knight vanishes leaving Hagrid alone in the pit, or then again
possibly not as Hagrid hears sharp sounds something like a hard wind’s scream in
a mountain crevice, the sound coming from the tunnels on either side. Then
Hagrid hair, first on his neck, then even on his head begins rising, as dark
smoky forms rip about him slamming Hagrid repeatedly buffeting him with enough
power to kill any ordinary man. Hagrid howls out a battle cry and engages his
formless attackers.  



         


The blackstar knight resurfaces having teleported out of the tunnel and without
a sound hurls itself into the chain golem as Rikar comes up and flanks the chain
golem with his knight. Kas’s invisible blade bites deep severing a handful of
chains that writhe upon the ground as they fall. Still smoldering from the
skull’s fiery attack, Bingus makes his way to the edge of the nearest pit while
Fin follows attempting to heal the injured gnome, both pause for a moment
peering into the deep pit, and then a sudden gout of flame explodes outward
reigniting Bingus as the skull races by clucking below. Fin calls out to the
others.



“We need a plan, some of us are going to have to go below, and some of us need
to stay above to deal with this irksome skull demon.”

Responding
Iroon says, “Who da man I wonder? … But
Mr. Fin has da right of et now …. We needs to be being more clever den dat
fiery hothead. I will be staying above den!” 



“And I will help out below!”


adds Wes.


           
Battles rage throughout the chamber, Hagrid and Wes fighting in the
tunnels below contenting with two vaguely smoky appearing elementals in the
pits; ritually-bound killers, which had been conjured by their protagonist, and
set within the pits to weaken and disrupt anyone trapped. As the goliath and the
halfling are forced to concentrate their efforts on the powerful elementals,
their presence still succeeds in flushing the flaming skull from the pits, it flies
back to the chamber above where it finds Bingus, Iroon and Fin waiting for it.
Rikar and his knight battle and quickly gain an upper hand in their battle
against the chain golem. As the skull bursts out from the pits the chain golem
collapses joining its writhing members on the stone floor. The rest of the
fights, both above and below, continue to be contentious, but eventually both
the elementals and the flaming skull are near defeat, but not before a parting
taunt from the skull which had somehow produced a spectral mage hand and used it
to grabs Finellior’s scrotum giving the bard a firm squeeze which prompts the
skull, to shout;



“Just what I thought … a little light, all codpiece and no cod!”



just prior it disappears in a final blast of blue fire.

Treasures Recovered:



1.     


Parcel H: Parcel 11: magic item, level 27 … Jarlaxle’s (Gilgathorn’s) Eye Patch,
Path to the Mantle Citadel (on Gilgathorn); kept by Bingus



2.     


Parcel E: Parcel 3: magic item, level 24 … Blade of the Stalking Predator +5, C1
– Room 2, (in the tunnels linking the pits together); kept by Rikar



 

Gatekeeper



H
agrid
opens the iron-bound doors which lead to the rest of the citadel. The door offer
no resistance, and reveal a dimly lit chamber, immediately on the far side of
the room another door slams shut, Hagrid catches just a passing glance at the
figure responsible, a wispy looking female dressed in tattered finery. Many
closed doors and arrow slits pierce the walls of this irregularly shaped
chamber. To the northwest, a wide and steep staircase spirals upward. No enemies
are apparent, but then in the arrow slit of the chamber where the door had shut
Hagrid sees an eerie glow, the woman’s green eyes! She calls out to the goliath,


 



“Never again will I be victimized by the blight of your friend’s ugliness, it is
because of you and those like you that I was cast out of the Court of Summer and
there must be an appeasement, a sacrifice compulsory to compensate for the
wrongs waged upon me; your blood is necessary for my return. Vengeance must be
satisfied, only then may I resume my duties to




Queen Titania

who even now yearns for my return.”



 


The green light in the woman’s eye flashes as a misty ray of greenish hue arcs
toward the goliath exploding as it lands, covering the party in a clinging,
syphoning, malaise that makes it hard even to draw breath, it is worse even than
the fire cast earlier by the burning skull. As they draw back, similar glowing
eyes appears in the other arrow slits spread throughout the chamber and shadowy
rays start launching from every quarter of the chamber, each draining more life
from the party of explorers.


 



Jelendra
,
Tulani of Death, Tulani of Summer, Jelendra of the Great Hunt in life had been
opposed many times, first by the Court of Winter, later cast out by the fey of
the Court of Summer as her obsession with the Great Hunt transformed her into
something different, when she was possessed by the Spirit of the Hunt and she
turned her back on the jealous Queen Titania. It was the Queen who cursed the
beautiful Tulani with a wasting affliction binding Jelendra with flesh eating
vermin, making a mockery and a monster of her. Still powerful, and formally
exiled, Jelendra wandered far, eventually finding her way to



Shae Doresh
,
the Spire of Dreams, a place where broken fey were often welcomed, there she met
and became betrothed to



Sidgevin
,
the city’s Vindicator. On three previous occasions, her association with
Sidgevin had led to harsh encounters with Bingus and his allies, and in every
instance Bingus and his friends had prevailed. Already, damaged and unstable,
each additional defeat had taken a little more of Jelendra sanity. And now, none
of it remained. She was a shadow of her former self, still Bingus’s brother, the
Doctor had brought her back to torment his brother once again, but now she was a
frail looking skeletal creature whose flesh had been eaten by the bugs the Queen
and joined her with, and she had taken on an appearance she found impossible to
accept. The Doctor offered her means to her redemption. He helped her trap and
possess new bodies, the bodies of beautiful eladrin maidens, but each had proved
to be imperfect to the task, and with each failure Jelendra became even more
evil, more sadistic, more self-absorbed. She learned to revel in the pain of
others, to feed off their suffering. She had already created six simulacrums of
those maidens unfortunate enough to be captured, each had their spirit destroyed
in favor of Jelendra’s own, and as she possessed each in turn, Jelendra’s own
mind had become more fractured, as she inhabited their bodies trying to
recapture her lost beauty. The bodies always rotted and changed until they too
became hideous mockeries that enraged Jelendra even more. Ultimately the Doctor
convinced her that Bingus was the cause of all this strife and left her here, a
trap, a gatekeeper, waiting for his brother’s arrival. 


 


The adventurers surge forward, each making for one of the doors or attacking to
the best of their ability through one of the narrow arrow slits, mostly
unsuccessfully, but the blackstar knight was more successful, easily tearing
through one of the heavy doors and Rikar also managed to kill one of the hidden
attackers through the nearest arrow slit. A second wave of shadow-laced rays
bombards the party, and from the far chamber, near the stairs where the woman
had disappeared a second arcing explosion of death came, one that cripples most
of the party, but no one bears the brunt worse than Bingus, and adding to this
blast, Jelendra fires another dark green beam of light from a crystalline orb
that hits the gnome with a crushing force that paralyzes the wizard’s heart, he
stumbles, staggers fighting for his life, nearly unconscious as Jelendra screams
out,
“Ah … feel my wrath, taste it’s bitter
fruit. Did you think you would escape me? Bringer of ruin, you, the cockalorum
who took my beauty, my love! You will pay for the death of Sidgevin, and soon
beauty too will be mine again, but first, now, you pay with your life!”


 


As the animated knight enters the small chamber it is attacked immediately by a
female eladrin of shattered visage, she attacks using the same sort of shadow
ray that she and the others had been firing through the arrow slits at the
party, but her ray had no effect upon the knight, these shadowy rays of death
never had, the golem’s body was forged by magic and death, there was nothing in
the rays Jelendra’s simulacrums launched to hurt the knight, and given the
golems strength, the doors within this chamber offered no resistance. The golem
wastes no time slashing the first of Jelendra’s clones in two, and begins moving
towards a second located in the same chamber. Fin hurls himself into Jelendra’s
door, but immediately a deathly pall overtakes him, even through the intervening
wall, it pulls at the bard, weakening him further; it’s cause was Jelendra, she
drew from his life force taking his vitality into herself, consuming it. Fin
strains at the door to no available and then Wes joins him and Jelendra’s aura
of death begins draining Wes too, but working together they force the door.
Inside the chamber they find her, a tall, slender skeleton clad in fine, but
tattered robe that is adorned with faded mystical symbols, and she wears a crown
made of a circlet of gold. She holds her arm extended high, and her hand ripples
with a corona of green power … She attacks, firing her own, more powerful
shadowy rays, one at either intruder. Still in the outer chamber, Rikar moves
with stealth from arrow slit to arrow slit slaying more hidden attackers using
Kas’s blade. The battle begins to turn, and in short order Jelendra finds
herself alone, her half a dozen clones destroyed, but she is powerful, and she
easily pushes her way out of the smaller chamber, past and over Fin and Wes, out
of the larger central hall; there surround by the heroes, she fumes.
Time-and-again, they try to take her down, to drag her from her feet, but she
stands firm as Naiethar’s oak, all but ignoring their attacks while she
continues to blast away at her chosen prey Bingus. She blasts him with ray after
ray, each draining a little more of the gnome’s life, each fueling Jelendra
until finally they take her down in mass saving Bingus’s life.
 


 


Once more, a cackling voice calls out in mocking tone,



“Bing-boy you always did have a way with the ladies, just don’t forget, ole
Mornujhar still got a hold on your girl Ssarina and you don’t want to forget
her, he’s aching to put a breaking on her, the likes of which, she’ll never
recover from, and I’m a little busy right now myself, so I’m afraid her future
hangs on what you and your friends do next. And right now, I say your pretty
cold you little snollygoster.”

Treasures Recovered:



1.     


Parcel L: Parcel 14: Jelendra’s Gold Crown, worth 30,000 gold pieces and two
5,000 gold piece gems … C2 – Room 5, (in Jelendra’s chamber).



2.     


Parcel G: Parcel 4: magic item, level 23 … Cloak of Invisibility +5, C2 – Room
5, (in Jelendra’s chamber); carried by Finellior


 

Oubliettes of the Doomed

 


         


A
fter
a brief debate and a quick exploration of Jelendra’s chambers, the party finds
most of the side chambers to be mostly filled with trash and little else; only
Jelendra’s room is well-appointed and lavishly decorated, there they find a
white, fur-lined magical cloak, a cloak of invisibility, which the group decides
looks best of Finellior, but in one of these outlying chamber they discover a
stairway which led deeper into the citadel, as the find these stairs, Bingus
calls out to his brother, but there is no immediate response, but soon after a
few moments they hear:



Dearest brother let’s turn the page



Wouldn’t your friends like to see something strange?



 



Bring them to me and they will see



How fun it is to make you scream



 



I’m up here waiting up the stairs



Fingers twirling in my mustache’s hair



 



I am the one who feels you with dread



My teeth ground sharp and with eyes burning red



 


Then Bingus says, “I think we should go
down the stairs, I don’t believe he would ever tell me where I should go.”



 



“Maybe, that’s what I want you to think, did you ever consider that?!”



 



“I know all of your dirty little secrets, I know you better than you know
yourself. Go ahead; go where you want …


See if I care.”


 


As silence settles once more over the chamber. Bingus gestures towards the
descending stairs with a flourish and again Hagrid takes lead, as the group
descends it seems that the shadows begin to cluster even more thickly. Bingus
begins counting step and reaches 100 before they reach the bottom there they
find another dilapidated chamber, this one equipped with two bunk beds and a
table and chairs but no guards. There are two potential exits from the room, a
single and a doubled door, the double door being the nearer of the two is where
Hagrid goes.


Beyond the doubled door they see a much larger chamber; three stone pillars
support the 20’ high ceiling of the chamber. A half-dozen or so pits pierce the
large chamber’s floor. Then an exasperated, half moan, half cry sounds,

“I AM HERE!”
clearly coming from one of the pits deep set at the fall
end of the chamber. In front of that pit stands a tall,


powerfully built, black-scaled dragonborn warrior hunched before one of the
larger pits. As Hagrid advances, the black-scaled dragonborn disappears behind
the nearest pillar. Before he thinks, Hagrid has crossed halfway across the
chamber, with Riker and the golem knight bring up the rear, then suddenly the
goliath flies sideways thought air, violently crashing into one of the heavy
pillars, then dropped like trash in one of near pits, a particularly narrow pit
not far from the chamber’s entry. Only Rikar and the knight are positioned to
see the cause of Hagrid’s surprise flight, they see a thing of nightmares rising
from one of the larger pits on the right side of the chamber, an eye tyrant, an
8-foot-wide, red-skinned orb dominated by a crazed central eye and a large,
toothy maw with many smaller eyes on stalks sprouting from it’s top; it stares
capriciously about the chamber, rays blasting about at random intervals. Rikar
tries to back away from the beholder but he’s too late, as the beholder rounds one
blocking corner of the chamber one of its eyes begin falls on the drow, and
another strike Fin who was not far behind him. The bard screams out like a
child, consumed by a magically enhanced fear, he tears out of the chamber, and
Rikar vanishes only to reappear above another of the large pits, the same one
that the beholder had concealed itself. Rikar catches the pit’s edge; only the
golem knight continues advancing, but before it can reach the beholder, the
tyrant rises too high for the golem to reach. The black dragonborn begins moving
out from the cover of the pillar toward the drow, his approach masked through
the magical manipulation of shadow, but at the entry Bingus can still see the
dragonborn thanks to the eye patch taken off Gilgathorn, he calls out a warning
and Rikar reacts instantly, skewering the dragonborn on the end of Kas’s sword.
The dragonborn fights back rains down a vicious series of blows, but none of
them pierce the drow’s armor. Rikar had long been adept at fighting in total
darkness, his defense was well-honed, almost instinctual, aided by Bingus’s
direction his foe stood no chance. Rikar scores a second direct hit with Kas’s
blade and a follow that with the new sickle they had found in pits of the first
chamber and the magic of the sickle reveals itself blocking the dragonborn’s
magical attempts to mask its movement from Rikar.
 


A single door on one side of the chambers bursts open as a mass of grimlocks
filter into the chamber. They come upon the goliath Hagrid as he struggles to
climb out of the 30’ deep pit in which he’d fallen. The blind, heavily muscled,
subterranean humanoids swarm the taller goliath hacking at him savagely with
crude stone axes. Outside of the main chamber, now behind Bingus, Finellior
recovers from the fear caused by the beholder’s attack. Entering the chamber
Iroon rises into the air blocking the others from the beholder’s direct line of
sight, and as the beholder turn its attention to the witch doctor, Iroon casts a
hex which shocks the floating aberration sending into an involuntary stupor. The
beholder drops about 3’ before it regains a modicum of its equilibrium and tries
to counter attack staring back at the bizarre witch doctor, but it finds it
can’t focus effectively as its eye beams go awry discharging randomly throughout
the chamber. Iroon begin to laugh, “Hah,
ha, HAH! … Je wè, bouch pè, zanmi … The eyes see, dat da mouth is afraid. You
cannot hit, what you cannot see, and you don’t see very well now …


Ale vou zan! … Go back into dat hole while you still can.”


 Rikar is joined by his stone guardian
and together they begin delivering grievous, deep, bloody blows upon the black
dragonborn, Tiamat’s exarch, Mornujhar. Clearly overmatched, the dragonborn
growls “The queen WILL have her
vengeance!”
and attempts to withdraw.
Offering only a feral, blood-spattered grin, Rikar pursues the dragonborn,
guided his crimson-stained sickle, like a stalking predator, and with a final
swipe of Kas’s blade, Mornujhar’s head tumbles to the floor.


Despite the grimlocks attacks Hagrid eventually manages to rise from the pit,
and having done so swings his falchion in a great arc, spilling guts and
showering the chamber in grimlock blood, six of the seven grimlocks die in this
first attack; covered in both their and his own blood Hagrid advances towards
the still loopy, bobbing beholder. Rikar and the knight move deeper in the
chamber towards the pit at the far wall; in the base of that pit Rikar sees



Ssarina

the dragonborn paladin who had always been a stanch ally of Brindol’s Brigade,
and a good friend to Bingus. It was obvious she had been badly used, the pit was
fouled by waste, and the bottom was moist with blood and piss, and Rikar
immediately could tell that both of Ssarina’s legs had been broken.


Combining their efforts, Iroon, Hagrid, Finellior, and Bingus attack the
staggered beholder; madly the beholder continues sweeping the chamber with a
deluge of eye rays, but lacking any control the beams fan out harmlessly
throughout the chamber as the heroes’ attacks take their toll and the beholder’s
heavy spherical body sinks to the ground, landing with a wet-sounding thud. At
the edge of the pit Rikar ties a rope off on the stone golem and then descends
into the pit. The last grimlock swings its axe at the golem, the axe shatters
uselessly prompting the golem to reach out and crush the grimlock’s windpipe.
The grimlock falls dead at the golem’s feet. With the beholder’s fall the others
move forward joining in Rikar’s effort. The drow ties the rope to Ssarina and
together both the golem and Hagrid lift her from the pit, and Hagrid gently sets
her down on the chamber’s floor.       


Ssarina had been missing for several months.



Rhogar

himself had been searching for her, only abandoning his search to give his new
friends a chance to



escape

from Kas’s ambush at the climax of the battle in Arantor’s lair. Ssarina had met
Bingus while she was serving as



Majyst’s

envoy to the Coalition. Her time on the mainland had been chaotic, but she had
made many friends, Bingus among them and had only just escaped from the clutches
of Stone-skinned King when her current troubles began.


Ssarina exploits, the information she had gatherer had finally convinced the
Elders of Majyst to formally join the Coalition, and they appointed Ssarina to be
Majyst’s ambassador. Without any outside prompting, the dragonborn paladin took
it upon herself to swear an oath to guard the Coalition’s newly appointed
leader, the deva,



Amyria
.
Amyria on the other hand had something else in mind for Ssarina, she had come to
suspect her patron’s arch-nemesis



Tiamat
,
the Dark Queen, remained active through her proxies in Klarn; and armed with
specific information provided by Doctor Manne-Crocre, Amyria found out that


Grithstane’s

cabal, known as



‘The Cult of Exquisite Agony’

had been trying to contact some of



Vecna’s

most potent servants about a special ‘ritual’. A secret council was assembled
immediately, and Ssarina was sent to consult with the powers that controlled
Majyst and to warm them about this new threat.  


As Ssarina arrived back in Majyst, she had briefly visited her friend Rhogar
while she waiting for an opportunity to meet with the Council of Elders, but
before the meeting could be schedule she was contacted by, Kor-Karnaar, The Blue
Champion of Majyst, one of her people’s most revered heroes; his blue and silver
armor denoting the knight’s eternal stewardship and service to Bahamet. Meeting
such a warrior was a great honor, and when he came to Ssarina he spoke to her
about his own discoveries. Kor-Karnaar had discovered the hidden location of
Grithstane’s cultists; they were secreted in a fortification, a place of great
evil, where the cultists felt free to pursue their goals away from the prying
eyes of their enemies in the Coalition. Astonished Ssarina asked Kor-Karnaar to
reveal as much as he could so she explaining the threat to the Elders, including
the location of this hideaway. Kor-Karnaar was reluctant to provide the
location, but eventually he agreed to bring Ssarina to his source, in the
backroom of a local tavern, so together with Kor-Karnaar she went to the tavern,
and there Kor-Karnaar and Doctor Manne-Crocre and a number of the Doctor’s
assistance had ambushed her. Ssarina wasn’t seen in Majyst since them. The
secreted her to the dark tower, known the Mantled Citadel, and Kor-Karnaar
himself inexplicably betrayed her, handing her over to the tender care of
Tiamat’s Black Exarch, dragon-spawn, Mornujhar.


Ssarina was already too accustomed to captivity, but this time it was much
worse. Mornujhar was utterly sadistic, cruel, and vile. He had forced Ssarina to
beg for her life daily, to beg for food and for water, and what mercy she did
receive was granted only that she might live enough to be used as tool against
Bingus, and the only reason Ssarina had fought to survive was that she might
live long enough to warn Amyria of the Doctor’s treachery. It was too late when
she finally found out that the Mantled Citadel was actually Dr. Manne-Crocre’s
lair. Ironically, only Dr. Manne-Crocre clear and certain forbearance that kept
Mornujhar from killing her, but she had been tortured long and hard, under the
care of the exarch Mornujhar, but even through the worst of it



Bahamet

had somehow sustained her, and even now, more dead than alive, lying upon the
dirty floor of the chamber the assembled heroes could see that she had begun to
exhibited a feeble silvery glow, a sign of Bahamut’s blessing. Still with both
of Ssarina’s legs broken, several of her fangs pulled out by the root leaving
her mouth pitted by the gaps, and many of her scales having been forcibly ripped
off her pain was obvious to all, but her mind remained whole, and will was
unbroken, Bingus sucks in a deep breath of relief … Yes, he thought, she is
still Ssarina. Even too Rikar, who was himself, familiar with many, too many,
myriad methods of torture, felt bad at the abuse that Ssarina had clearly been
force to endure, silently he vows to make those responsible pay. And then, from
somewhere hidden deep in citadel, the doctor’s voice rings out:



I know a dragonborn, who knows how to wail,



Covered with boils and she smells a bit stale.


Bingus yells, back, “I’m still here, why
not come here and show yourself?”



“Because I don’t want you dead yet, you don’t deserve death. You still need to
learn how utterly useless, you really are … And what it feels like to have your
whole life stolen!”



“Besides, you were already given a chance; all you had to do is sign on the
dotted line. I did warn you … All things come at a price, but your time is up,
no one steals from me, Bingy – No One. You should have known, no matter where
you went, no matter where you hid yourself in, I would find you … No Deals now
Bucko. Even your so called friends would be let down if I just let you go now!”



         


Inside, Bingus knew he was in no shape to continue, he had already drawn on
every resource his body he or his party’s magic could provide, and now they had
found Ssarina, but Bingus knew he couldn’t leave, and he knew he was endangering
his friends. Nowhere in the tower would be safe, and Ssarina was in even worse
shape. Bingus turns to his closest frenemy, Rikar, and implores him to allow the
dragonborn to ride his undead steed; begrudgingly the drow agrees, but adds,
“You owe me one, and when the time’s
right I will collect.”



           


Bingus nods his agreement, and quickly explores the chamber scanning for any
traces of magic. In the bottom of the pit where the beholder had been hiding he
finds a ‘Ring of Regeneration’. And afterward, on their way back to the stairs,
the party finds the beholder’s true lair, behind the second door in the outer
chamber a the base of the stairway; it is a richly appointed chamber, with some
dried splatters of blood upon the walls, soot stains the ceiling, and a floor
speckled with platinum coins. 

Treasures Recovered:



1.     


Parcel I: Parcel 13: magic item, level 24 … Ring of Regeneration, C3 – Room 11
(beneath the litter in one of the pits).



2.     


Parcel O: Parcel 15: 700 pp. C3 –Room 9 (in Beholder’s Lair).

SOW Chapter10: Assassinations

Assassinations

Vani is confused

Malakon sent him hither


Oh, well, best obey.

Assassinations

Lord Governor Torrance of Sayre:

Lord DivianWhile in the Council Hall of the Seven Platinum Shields Lord Torrance meets with his bastard son Ian Whitestone.

“We will need a replacement for Kalad immediately before the council falls into complete disarray.”

“It is equally or more important that we find the ’right’ replacement, not just anybody, someone we can trust … And someone who can command the other shield’s respect.”

“You performed adequately during the crisis here … more than adequa -”

Lord Torrance is interrupted by the clatter of heavy footsteps echoing in the long curved stair outside the grand hall … then the sudden ‘BADADABOOM!’ as the doors of the hall burst open.

Purplespawn DeathdealersFour figures two clad in heavy, red robes glare determinedly, they appear unarmed; two others, creatures with bodies fused of vaguely humanoid and serpentine shape. purple scales cover their bodies and their long tails brandish weapons, cruel looking longswords. Their leader, clearly githyanki, removes his hood reveling himself to be none other than Telicanthus. With his nod their attack begins.

The second red robe heads directly at Ian but stops short withdrawing twin crystal daggers from folds in the robe; crimson ribbons of force burst from the daggers wrapping inexorably about Ian. Ian’s attacker yanks hard and the force ribbons rip the bard across the room towards the attacker. Mixed with bursts of maniac laughter, Telicanthus focuses his mind smashing Ian over and over with crushing blows of psychic kinetic energy, even as Ian is held fast in the crimson ribbons. Not forgotten, Lord Torrance darts for cover, drawing his sword, a tool he’d used more for ceremony than battle. The serpent creatures quickly flank him, only to the lord’s dismay … both had become perfect replicas of the lord himself. Horrified, Lord Torrance calls out to Ian who turns, confusion immediately telling over his face as he spots the three versions of his own father. Reaching deep Ian calls forth his phantom self. Sending him after his father. One of the formerly serpentine creatures swung its longsword at his father, they were clearly the better swordsmen, and Ian adjusted probabilty so that instead it sliced off the arm of its fellow. His success was short-lived however, as he was shocked to see shadowstuff emerge from the severed stump and reform into a fully functional restored arm within moments.

‘THOOMP’ … ‘THOOMP‘ Telicanthus hits him again hurling him across the chamber and with a cat’s grace the assassin is on him again, this time Ian recognizes the secretary Pennel. Try as he might Ian could not throw off the githyanki’s manservant. Alone he might have eventually taken him, but with Telicanthus assulting him with mental attacks it was a slowly loosing battle. And then it was too late. His father was dead. And the villains had his head!

Glaring at Telicanthus, the githyanki stares back and finding an opening locking hard like a fist over Ian’s mind. The world disappears … Ian blacks out as Telicanthus slowly says, “VENGEANCE IS MINE” … as he telepathically commands the bard to stay put. It isn’t long before Ian’s thoughts quickly clear but they are gone and so was his father.