<u>Session 15: Gozran 1, 4717 AR-Gozran 30, 4717 AR</u>
Over the last couple of weeks in Vigil, Henri had researched more on Abytshor and the history of the burial complex. Aside from the basic history you already knew, the wizard uncovered the following facts:
The reason that the shrines and burial hall were built where they were is because this portion of the Hungry Mountains has always been known as a nexus of the planes.
The real source of power for the burial hall complex is a fountain of Earth’s Blood, which is guarded by powerful elemental spirits put in place by Torag.
Abysthor received visions from Iomedae that an evil artifact known as the Black Monolith had appeared deep in the burial halls and that he was to create his tomb to guard and prevent access to this artifact.
Henri also learned that Abysthor wielded a powerful mace and that his holy symbol was rumored to summon a Celestial avatar of Aroden in the form of a Griffon.
Armed with this new information, you all set out on the 1st. Your return journey to the burial complex was relatively uneventful. The weather was mild, but you had a cold day to remind you that winter had not yet lost its grip on the land. As you arrived in the woods on the 7th, you fought a pack of wolves led by a worg. They waited until you were engaged with several the ubiquitous spiders, but you drove off or killed all the beasts and vermin with ease.
On the 8th you all descended to the 4th level of the complex, using Henri’s magic to home in on the Black Monolith. You descended the great pit towards the Darklands, but were frustrated in your efforts when you could find no direct path to the Monolith through the solid rock.
You returned to the burial halls to rest and plot your next move and after consulting your map, found that there were two stairways leading up from the 6th level that you had not explored. On the 9th, you all explored the first set of stairs and came out onto what Drebb estimated was the second level of the complex. You were in a man-made portion of the dungeon, and the rooms and corridors were immaculately clean. There were a few minor magical traps, illusionary walls, and a trapped false door through which the party had to maneuver before you came to a portion of the level that opened back up into natural caverns. You fought and killed a Rust Monster before coming to a series of corridors that were shrouded in unnatural gloom.
Belflin and Drebb, along with light provided by Atish, helped you navigate this maze of corridors. The maze was guarded by a couple of the strange Chokers of the type you had encountered earlier in your explorations, but they were no match for your group. Finally, you all came out into a cavern that was decorated in strange runes on the floor. As Gambler attempted to disarm the runes, a strange being stepped into the room. He seemed human, but was oddly proportioned with a long face, long fingers, pointed ears, a pale complexion, red eyes, and long incisors. He spoke with an accent that none of you could identify. He demanded to know who you were and why you had entered his lair. He became intrigued when you revealed that you were searching for the Black Monolith and asked what your purpose was in seeking this artifact. You offered to team up with him, but any hopes of a peaceful resolution were dashed when Atish revealed that you all sought to destroy the evil object. The man detonated his glyphs remotely, plunging the room into supernatural darkness and severely wounding everyone in the party except for Gambler and Drinna with a Fireball and cloud of poisonous gas. Knowing you were outmatched, you all fled to consider your options.
After resting, you all decided to return to the strange wizard’s lair and take the offensive. Drinna and Atish suspected that the being was some type of Vampire, so you all buffed yourselves accordingly. The fight was short, but intense. Drebb, Drinna, Belflin, and Gambler forced the wizard to assume gaseous form and then Atish burned the foul creature from existence by channeling the power of Sarenrae through his light spell. Searching the complex, you all found a treasure trove that included some money, minor magical its, spell scrolls, and research on planar travel, all written in a strange form of Common. Apparently, the wizard, Balcoth by name, was a man from another plane who was trying to capture the power of the Black Monolith and had tracked it here as it journeyed through several different plans and realities.
Henri requested to return to Vigil so that he could study the scrolls. Drebb also now had money to enhance his axe and wanted the priests of Iomedae to imbue it with holy power. The return to Vigil was uneventful and you arrived back on the 18th. You spent the rest of the month resting, training, and researching.