Tomb of Abysthor

Session 19

Rex is in the house!

<u>Sessiaon 19: Saerinith 12-Saerinith 23, 4717 AR</u>

You entered the Valorfoe dungeon on the 12th and found that it had mostly collapsed into ruin, but there was a tunnel that led back to a cavern complex. There you encountered halfling-sized creatures dressed in rags torturing a shackled half-orc. A fierce fight ensued, with the party fighting off wave after wave of the annoying creatures, who exploded in a flash of blinding white light when slain. Mag controlled the battlefield by summoning a field of writhing black tentacles, Atish supplied the blessings of Sarenrae to bolster the party, Gambler sniped from the shadows, Belflin rained death with his arrows, and Drinna and Drebb provided front-line support. Finally, two human-sized leaders emerged. When this occurred, the half-orc broke his shackles and joined the fight. You all were impressed when the raging half-orc rushed one of the leaders and snapped his neck. This leader exploded in a fiery conflagration, damaging all nearby. The final leader turned out to be a priest of Zon-Kuthon, the god of darkness, envy, loss, and pain. Drebb promptly rushed the priest and lopped his head off, although he was surprised when the body exploded in a blast of searing negative energy that drained some of his strength.<o:p></o:p>

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The half-orc introduced himself as Rex. He had unusually long blonde hair for a half-orc and bore the tribal tattoos of the Defiled Corpse Orc clan. These had been defaced, however, and replaced with the symbol of Sarenrae. Most alarmingly, he had the symbol of Orcus (a demonic ram’s head) carved into his forehead. Fascinated by these conflicting symbols, Atish cautiously opened a dialogue. It turned out that Rex’s mother was a priestess of Sarenrae from distant Qadira who had convinced his father to abdicate as chieftain of the Defiled Corpse and leave with her to raise a family in Freedomtown. Eventually, Rex’s uncle had hunted down and slain his father for his betrayal. Rex then received a sword and armor from his mother and proceeded to return to the clan in order to get revenge for his father’s death. Rather than kill his uncle, however, he offered Sarenrae’s mercy. It was at this point that a mysterious figure in bloodstained white robes calling himself the White Walker appeared and slew the uncle, taking his soul for Orcus. He then cursed Rex with the mark of Orcus, forever branding him as an enemy to the faithful of Orcus. Rex had been on his way to Tsar to find the White Walker when he had been captured by the strange halflings and their leaders. Apparently, these beings were waiting to gather more slaves before returning to a city in the Darklands below.<o:p></o:p>

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Searching the cave complex, you found Rex’s gear (a flaming great sword and studded leather armor that was enchanted to protect Rex from negative energy) and some other treasures. Atish very much wanted to lift the curse on the fort, and it seemed obvious that the path led into the Darklands. After resting and some discussion, you all decided to trek into the Darklands and search for the figure behind the fort’s haunting.<o:p></o:p>

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On the 13th you all made your way through 4 miles winding passages before coming into a cavern that contained a small city of the Dark Folk (as you had learned the halfling-sized beings and their leaders were called). There were about 300 of the Dark Folk along with a temple to Zon-Kuthon. Mag scried on the city and found an immense source of power coming from the temple. Belflin, Drinna, and Gambler scouted the perimeter and found that there several Duergar slavers in the city as well as a slave market. You all then rested and proceeded to think up a plan.<o:p></o:p>

 

On the 14th, Mag used a spell to shape an entrance into the temple courtyard through the stalagmite palisade. She then used her magic to become invisible and fly over the city, creating a distraction with her illusions. While most of the city residents rushed to the other gate to fight an illusionary horde of Drow and Umber Hulks, the rest of you snuck into the temple. There you confronted the source of the power and found your “radian spirit.” It was a creature of pure shadow and evil called an Owb that traveled to this plane and dominated the Dark Folk, establishing this shrine to Zon-Kuthon. Despite being supported by several of the clerical leaders and a dozen of the halfling-sized Dark Folk, you all made short work of evil beings. Rex and Drebb killed some of the clerics, causing them to explode and wipe out most of the minions. Once the Owb was dead, Atish cut out its heart while Rex destroyed the altar to Zon-Kuthon. Then, fearing the retribution of an entire city, you all went on a forced march back to the surface. You encountered a pack of Ghouls shortly before surfacing, but you dispatched them with ease.<o:p></o:p>

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Once back in the upper world, Atish contacted Sister Sarah via his magic and explained that she needed to dispatch priests of Iomedae to properly perform the cleansing ritual. You all then stashed the heart in the ruins so the priests of Iomedae would have it when they arrived. After resting you resumed your journey towards Tsar on the 15th.<o:p></o:p>

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At midday on the 16th, Gambler spotted an old disused trail that led into the heart of the mountains. It was flanked by weathered statues of two Dwarven warriors. Consulting Drinna’s Goblin map, you deduced that this was the way to the hidden Dwarf hold. Drebb was clearly uncomfortable with trying to contact these Dwarves. Atish finally ferreted out that Drebb was in exile, having falsely been accused of dereliction of guard duty back in his homeland. Drebb did not want to enter another Dwarven while an exile. You all decided to honor Drebb’s wishes and leave these mysterious Dwarves to their secrets.<o:p></o:p>

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On the 18th, shortly after midday, an ominous sight loomed before you out of the constant rain that had started falling that morning. A windowless pillar of black stone rose nearly 140 feet from the edge of a steep cliff. Its sole visible feature was a pair of closed, 50-foot-high doors made of the skymetal noqual and accessible only via a precarious stone bridge. Atish and Mag remembered the history of this monument, which was called the Cenotaph. In the weeks and months leading up to Earthfall, the incomparably powerful runelords of ancient Thassilon set into motion plans to ensure their survival despite the cataclysmic event. Each of the specialist wizards used a method of retreat unique to his or her own preferred arcane school. Zutha, Runelord of Sloth, possessed a mastery of necromancy unmatched in his time. Thus, he embraced undeath and retreated into an austere monolith known as the Cenotaph on the eastern edge of his realm to wait out the devastation brought about by the aboleths’ wrath. As civilization again climbed out of the Age of Darkness, the Cenotaph’s connection to powerful necromantic energies attracted numerous ambitious necromancers hoping to claim a portion of Zutha’s might, including the wizard-king ough the legions still lie in wait within. You all wisely decided to give this landmark a wide berth.rant, who at the peak of his reign marched entire legions of his troops into its gates in case of future need. When he was defeated at the hands of the Shining Crusade, the gates swung shut, th, the Whispering TyTar-Baphon<o:p></o:p>

 

On the 23rd you were just south of Whisperfall Pass, where you came upon a series of twelve stone bunkers spaced at regular intervals over a six mile stretch of the trail. These bunkers were staffed by a unit of Ustalav scouts. At the first garrison, you were challenged by the guards, and after a tense few moments, you convinced them that you were friendly and not affiliated with the Orcs. The commander, Sir Garrett Brandenwell, informed you that once you crossed the pass, you would come to an old Thassilonian temple occupied by a band of Lamias who charged tolls on travelers. After that you would be in the territory of a mated pair of Red Dragons and their Orc allies, the Icetooth Clan, who operated out of the ruins of an old abandoned Thassilonian fortress called Raschka-Tor. The dragons, too, demand tolls of all who cross their territory.<o:p></o:p>

 

After debating whether or not go deeper into the mountains to bypass the Lamias and the dragons, which would have added a week to your trek, you all decided to stay on the trail. On the afternoon of the 23rd, you crossed Whispefall Pass and came to the temple that the Brandenwell had told you about. There you were greeted by a Lamia Matriarch and four Lamias. The Matriarch had the upper torso and arms of an attractive human female and the lower body of a snake, while the regular Lamias had an upper female torso and the lower body of a lion. Atish, with the help of Rex, tried to intimidate your way past the creatures, who wanted 1,000 gold pieces from each of you as toll. His effort failed and combat ensued. The creatures were tough but you managed to take down the Matriarch, although Rex was severely wounded. At this point, a Lamia stepped out of the temple and called for a parley. She was twice as big as regular Lamia and was clearly the leader of the complex. She introduced herself as Sister Justika and offered you passage through the Temple in return for an end to hostilities. Drinna and Gambler managed to calm Rex out of his rage and Atish negotiated passage for the party without payment, although Justika would not agree to stop taking tolls from future travelers. You all did get to keep the master-crafted scimitars of the fallen Matriarch. Reluctant to leave this evil behind, but sensing that you would be overwhelmed by Justika and her remaining minions, you all accepted the terms. Once through the temple, you traveled a few more hours and found a campsite, where you stopped to rest and recover before resuming your journey.

 

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