Bargaining with Bargle

Our conversation with Bargle continues, as Ozzy takes a more forceful tone. Bargle tells us that Grishenka was captured whilst travelling alone on the road and that she is to be taken back to the seat of the Black Eagle Barony where she will receive a “fair trial” for crimes against the state of Karameikos. We recognise this charge as something of a legal ‘fix’ to be able to bring someone to trial without pressing specific charges, and are doubtful about the explanation that the hag was captured alone and on the road, instead wondering if she was working with or for Bargle and was imprisoned by him after bringing the Eye of Frost to him..?
Tol detects Zzonga in Grishenka’s water drug – a soporific that he assumes is being used to drug her sufficiently so the hag is incapable of casting any spells.

As Memnon and Morghash exchange dark looks and pointed comments, we shift the conversation over to these ‘rocks of power’ that Bargle speaks of. He ridicules us, saying he knows we know about the Eyes of Traldar and knows full well that we have, or have had, some in our possession – he can sense it. The negotiations look set to come to a close if we carry on protesting total ignorance, so we give Bargle some acknowledgement of our historical knowledge of the Eyes and that yes, we have encountered at least one (sticking to Ozzy’s plan only to reference our recent escapades and not those within the Blight Swamp ).This seems to placate him, and we do our best to let the Infamous One do the talking.

Bargle informs us he obtained the Eye of Frost from Grishenka, that he suspects she got it from beings in the mountains and that there is indeed a direct link between it and the recent cold winters. After all, the Hags wish to “rid the land of civilisation so that they can replace it with whatever their masters (whomever they serve) want”.

At this point a messenger arrives, and passes news to Bargle (about something, or one, having come back) which provokes him to such anger he slays the unfortunate man on the spot with a magic missile. As we look at each other and collect our composure, Bargle continues to talk about the Eyes, although we soon discover he speaks only in vague terms and that practically, he seems to be learning as much from us as we are from him.

In summary, we learn/confirm that:
• There are 14 Eyes, all paired i.e. Life/Death, Stone/Water
• The eyes can be “closed” although a matching pair are required to achieve this
• It is a dangerous thing to have a matching pair of Eyes in your possession
• ‘Closure’ seems to imply, rather than the destruction of the eyes in question, that they are somehow nullified. As Bargle spouts “If the nature of the Eyes is corrupted, if they are closed, then everything; all the good they’ve done, will be undone.”

Memnon asks if the Hags serve Orcus. Morghash actually looks uncomfortable for a moment, muttering how not all of Orcus’ followers “march to the same drum”. We assume the answer to therefore be yes.

Bargle becomes increasingly irritated with our inability /unwillingness to divulge any further information and begins to insist that we stay as guests, to accompany him to Fort Doom to testify at Grishenka’s trial. We infer this means we’re going, like it or not. Memnon moves to the body of the slain messenger and says a few words as last rites (with the intention of moving closer to the tent’s entrance in order to lead our departure). Morghash accompanies Memnon, watches respectfully and advises Memnon to not fight his heritage, that he will find it easier to accept his destiny, which is within him. Ignoring the warlock, Memnon stands and moves to the tent’s exit. Two guards block his path, but the intensity of his glare results in one stepping aside. Bargle is enraged, slays the guard with a magic missile and screams that the prisoners are not to be allowed to leave. Memnon finds himself dominated by Bargle, and if forced to walk back over to him and prostrate himself at his feet. Ozzy asks for calm, assisted by Tol Flemin, who casually pours another glass of wine suggesting we all pause for a moment and enjoy another drink…

Potential conflict is averted by the breathless arrival of a second messenger, who asks that Bargle view the situation outside. Morghash leaves the tent to see what is occurring and quickly returns, agreeing that Bargle needs to see this. Cursing, Bargle strides outside. As if from far away, we hear raised voices, noting Bargle sounds particularly unhappy. A woman’s voice speaks of a warrant signed by her Uncle. The woman in question then enters the tent – none other than Lady Elena Halloran – The ‘Armoured Flower’, in her full Knight of the Griffon regalia. We are told that we are under arrest and are to be taken to Threshold. Several other Knights enter and begin clapping us in irons, taking us outside. Memnon, finding himself free from Bargle’s influence, puts up a show of resistance but is taken to the ground by the Lady Halloran with the point of her sword at his throat.

No less than five fully armoured Knights accompany Lady Elena, each with a Griffon mount. There is also another man, who from his robes appears to be a magic user. As we are bundled onto the waiting Griffons, Bargle vents his anger at Elena, threatening her should she ever set foot in his encampment again and reminding her of what happened the last time they met. We are soon airborne and after hurried conversation are relieved to discover our arrest is indeed a cover for Lady Elena to get us to safety. Whilst in flight, we are joined by a black hawk, which settles on the wizard’s shoulder. (The same creature we saw following us earlier).

Once out of sight of Bargle’s camp, we land and retrieve our comrades. Elena explains that the Wizard, introduced as Garon, had been using his hawk to watch over us. Once it was realised that we had entered Bargle’s camp, our possible defeat and capture was anticipated and this rescue plan quickly put into effect. We express our gratitude and quickly agree a plan. Tol Flemin uses animal messenger to send a single mount back to Eltan’s Spring to seek out Memnon’s mother and father Gorgo and Mortenos, explaining that the other mounts will be following and asking for them to be cared for as long as possible. (we also arrange for some gold from party treasure, amount TBC, to be sent to them to cover the expenses). If we are unable to retrieve them before they become a burden, then they are to be set free to have the best chance they have in the wild.

Concerned that Bargle will be decamping as soon as he can and following us with his men in an attempt to obtain the Eyes of Traldar that we possess, we agree to return to Threshold with Lady Elena, to seek sanctuary over night and plan anew for the next day. After a three hour flight, we land in the castle of Baron Halloran and follow the Armoured Flower across the snowy courtyard, lit by warm light spilling from the surrounding windows. Food and mulled wine is brought for us as we talk with Lady Elena. Memnon asks what transpired between her and Bargle, to which she flatly replies that Bargle killed her. Her Uncle brought her back from the dead, an act which Elena can now herself perform and would be willing to teach Memnon this very night! The Tiefling cleric eagerly agrees.

Conversation turns to how and where we shall move on from here. Elena suggests we may wish to discuss this with an old acquaintance and in walks Fyodor! He looks a little older, perhaps wiser, despite it only being a matter of weeks since he mysteriously vanished in the Blight Swamp and is clad in simple clothing, with a partially constructed harp. Our immediate concerns are allayed by Ozzy’s ‘hag vision‘ revealing no deceit on Fyodor’s’ behalf and him being able to answer question to which only he would surely know the answer. Fyodor explains that he used the tune taught by the seer to transport himself out of danger and that the dryad (which was gaining a form of control over him, causing him to disrobe…!) was transported with him, although she reverted to a water state and flowed away upon arrival. Fyodor sought out the seer, quickly finding and being taken in by him.

The Seer cared for and tutored Fyodor (via discreet questions, Tol Flemin ascertains that Fyodor is now effectively a Watcher) although told him on several occasions that was not yet ready to travel to the Isle of Lost Dreams itself. News from Fyodor of our adventures relating to the Eyes and Hags since we last met caused the Seer concern and he travelled to meet someone on the Isle of Lost Dreams. He didn’t return. Leaving the Eye of Death secure in the Seer’s hut, Fyodor travelled to Threshold by Pegasus and met with Lady Elena in an attempt to locate us, a meeting which ultimately led to our timely rescue.

Fyodor explains that he has the ability to transport us all in search of the seer. We agree to set out the next day, after resting for the night and allowing time for Memnon to learn how to raise the dead. An ability we all hope he will not have to use anytime soon…

Memnon's Background

Memnon’s mother and father, Gorgo and Mortenos, moved from their Tiefling settlement in the Black Peak Mountains to the village of Eltan’s Spring, when Memnon was very young. He remembers little of his life in the Black Peaks and has no clear recollection of the incident that led to his parents deciding to leave their mountain home.

Mortenos is a leather and metal worker of no small skill, adept at producing accoutrements in the traditional styles of Bael Turath. Gorgo is a healer, her abilities stemming from a vast knowledge of herbs and natural remedies, rather than any divine or arcane ability.

The villagers of Eltan’s Spring made Memnon’s family welcome, despite their infernal bloodline. An initial sense of threat felt by Boltac the leatherworker regarding Mortenos’ trade and obvious skills was soon overcome by Morteno’s and Gorgo’s highly social nature, perhaps unusual for Tieflings, and Boltac and Mortenos have grown to become good friends, trading and occasionally working together to mutual benefit. Villagers often visit Gorgo when struck with illness and over the years she has come to be widely regarded as the village healer.

When asked what brought them to Eltan’s Spring, Mortenos and Gorgo have always told the same tale. Their previous home in Tiefling settlement had become uncomfortable. The general outlook of many there had become close-minded and isolationist – ashamed of their infernal ancestry and intolerant of much of the outside world. As a result, trade had begun to fail and all were beginning to find it hard to make a living. Some had turned to thievery and other, even less acceptable means to make ends meet. Fearing the implosion of the settlement and wanting better for their young son, Mortenos and Gorgo had decided to move their family elsewhere and trust in their skills and more social nature to help them find a new home and make a living.

Whilst all this is true, there is more to the tale than they tell, with one particular incident of which they do not speak being the deciding factor in them moving from the Black Peak Mountains.

In an attempt to make enough money to allow them to leave the Black Peak, Mortenos and his family joined a small trade caravan, bound for Darokin. Not far out from the Mountains, the caravan was attacked by a savage band of marauders, followers of Orcus, led (to Mortenos and Gorgo’s dismay) by a Tiefling Warlock. The caravan’s guards gave a brave fight, slaying several marauders, but they fell before the attackers’ blades. Whilst Mortenos grappled with one marauder, another stole past and struck Gorgo to the ground, raising his weapon to deliver a fatal blow.

As a young Memnon cradled his mother, instinctively baring his teeth at her attacker, the Tiefling Warlock strode forwards to observe the family’s death. However, something made him stop in his tracks. Staring at the young Tiefling, the Warlock seized the arm of his companion, halting his strike. Barking a single word in the guttural ancient tongue of Bael Turath, the Warlock shoved his companion back and the two retreated. Several harsh commands from the Warlock saw the marauders cease their assault, retreating from their imminent victory and withdrawing, disappearing in mere moments into the boulder strewn terrain. Through a haze of pain, Gorgo remembers a look of fear on her attacker’s face as he uttered that single word, moments before he turned tail and left. Mortenos rushed to his blood-partner’s side, astounded that Gorgo and their son had been spared and frantically demanding to know what the Warlock said that made the attack stop.

Gorgo heard the one word; “Asst’khar..?” Yet this provided no clear answer. In the infernal tongue of Bael Turath, the word for ‘blessed’ is almost exactly the same as the word for ‘cursed’ (“Asst’khar” / “Assk’thar”). It seemed that the Warlock laid eyes on Memnon and sensed something in the young Tiefling that made him falter and decide to withdraw. Mortenos and Gorgo were left to ponder whether the follower of Orcus thought Memnon to be blessed, or perhaps… cursed. Either way, whatever the Warlock appeared to sense was enough to make the marauders depart, empty handed, from a victory that would have greatly pleased their dark master and served them well in terms of acquiring wealth to further their worldly pleasures.

With the possible implications of either answer having a potentially far reaching and dramatic impact on the family, Mortenos and Gorgo returned to the Black Peak Mountains and spent the whole of the next night discussing what it was best to do. After hours of conversation, their plan was made. They would leave the Black Peak Mountains and seek out a life in a village they had heard of North of Lake Windrush. A place rumoured to be tolerant of those who may be seen as ‘different’ by society at large and protected by a powerful Druid. Perhaps there, the family could start afresh, maybe even prosper.

Memnon, who had always delighted in the tales of the three deities of the Traldar told by traders, was to be subtly steered by his parents into the Church of Traldar, a belief system Mortenos and Gorgo felt just and worthy and importantly; one far removed from the infernal dealings in Bael Turath. In this way, if truly he was blessed, he would thrive and fulfill whatever destiny awaited him. If the unthinkable were to pass and Memnon was in some way cursed, then perhaps the Church would be able to lessen the impact of this, or perhaps curb it completely. Either way, surely the protection of the Druid would serve the family well in the immediate years to come.

Gorgo’s healing skills and Mortenos’ natural martial ability served their plan well. Memnon learnt the healing arts well and as he grew, he came to surpass his father in natural combat skills. Indeed, as he grew into adulthood, there seemed to just be… something about young Memnon. His healing skills appeared to go beyond what was possible with natural remedies and there seemed to be a light in him that belayed his dark heritage. Fascinated from youth by tales of Halav and his sacrifice in the defeat of a vast army of evil beastmen (and therefore finding no small degree of irony in his choice) Memnon read all he could about Halav, Petra and Zirchev, eventually deciding to dedicate himself to Halav. (Mortenos and Gorgo had done their work well.)

A chance encounter with a childhood associate, Tef-Lon, saw Memnon strike out on his own from Eltan’s Spring for the first time. Equipped with leather armour fashioned by his father, healing remedies provided by his mother and with a fine example of a mace (the weapon which he felt naturally suited) purchased with Royals earned by trading his own leatherwork and healing remedies, Memnon set out with Tef-Lon for a small adventure (partly to further his own experience of the world and partly to keep a watchful eye on his fellow Tiefling so that he would not do anything too bad to tarnish the reputation of Tieflings everywhere).

Their small adventure grew into something larger than either had been prepared for, yet both rose to the challenges put before them and Memnon, discovering powers of healing, shielding and fortune that could only be a blessing from Halav himself. Fully dedicating himself to being a cleric of Halav, Memnon made a pilgrimage to the small village of High Verge, former home to one of the Heroes of the Shield, a fellow Cleric of Halav whose faith had been such that it was rumoured that not even death could stop him from returning to carry out Halav’s work.

Memnon returned to Eltan’s Spring and spent the autumn and winter living and working happily with his parents. Mortenos and Gorgo were overjoyed that their son had returned to them a Cleric of Halav – this was far more than they had hoped for when they spent the night discussing what to for the best years ago in the Black Peak Mountains. The following Spring, word reached Memnon that a death cult honoring the evil deity Orcus was in operating in the land. Incensed that so foul a thing should possibly plague the happy life of his parents (this news seemed to trouble them greatly) and friends in Eltan’s spring, Memnon once again met up with Tef-Lon and the two set out, perhaps with different ultimate goals, for the adventure of a lifetime.

Memnon and his parents are hopeful individuals, keen to throw off the shackles of their heritage and to take their place in wider society. As a result of their infernal bloodline, all three are still to an extent self-centered, although this manifests itself in a near obsession with personal improvement, rather than ‘looking after number one’ to the detriment of others. The family has strived to contribute to the community of Eltan’s Spring, whilst not wanting to appear to be overcompensating or in any way trying to apologise for their heritage. All three intensely dislike being discriminated against for their race and bloodline and Mortenos and Memnon can be very temperamental if confronted about it. To his day Mortenos and Gorgo continue to happily live in Eltan’s Spring, whilst their son, apparently blessed, has taken well to a life of adventure and is beginning to make a name for himself as a both a rare Tiefling Cleric and a member of The Heroes of Winterhaven!

Footnote: Recent events have shed more light on the incident with the Tiefling Warlock many years ago and he now stands revealed as Mortenos’ brother Morghash. Is this the reason the marauders’ attack was halted, so Morgahsh could spare his owen blood? Now confronted with a blood relative who worhsips Orcus and represents all that Memnon fights against – this time it’s personal.

Bargle Spices it up

Peering back over the brow of the hill, we can see that these are the troops of the Black Eagle Barony. There are just under 100 troops. There are sentries patrolling. They are controlling the exit to where we want to go. We have a quick discussion as to what to do and decide to brazen it out and ride straight past the camp. As we ride past, a group of men challenge us, one of them appears to be a tiefling.

Uncle morgashThe tiefling acknowledges Memnnon’s parents and as we turn them down he calls back that we’ll miss out on finding out about Grishenka. We ride on over the hill and have a discussion as to whether we ride on or go for a drink with them.
Memnnon relates his background of encountering a bunch of bandits… See the portal for details.

After much discussion in the cold and faffing around we ride onto Eltan’s Spring.

During the journey Tol notices that we are being followed by a flying creature about the size of a hawk. I remember that Bargle tends to favour black creatures, which may be the creature above us.

We arrive into Eltan’s Spring, which is still in one piece. Eltan springs in winter2The Crock and Goblet is the only pub. There is only one way in and one way out of Eltan’s Spring. The more martial among us are concerned about defending the village should the Baron’s men attack us. I’m just cold.

We all pile over to Memnnon’s parents and tell them all about it. There are sideways looks between the parents. His dad says that the Black Eagle Barony’s tielfing is in fact his Brother, the warlock Morgash the Dark. In their youth they did some adventuring, but Memnnon’s dad prefers to make boots these days. (Hmmm know where to come when I need an excellent pair of boots in future.)

There are further family things to catch up, so we leave Memnnon to catch up with his family and retire to the pub.

The pub which is a very homely place and welcoming place, with a hoppy odour from the brewing out the back.

We swap news of the outside world and discover that it may be the coldest winter for 10 years. This co-incidentally is when the eldest daughter of the lord of Highdell went missing. Her name was… She would be about 16 now. That is something to think about for the future….

Memnnon joins us a little later and over a couple of beers We decide to go back and see uncle Morgash and find out some more about what Bargle is up to. It is agreed that whoever goes in to see them shouldn’t have the Eyes of Traldar with them, as this is what Bargle is after. Kathra and Switch are given the Eyes to look after. I am very reluctant to let the Eyes out of my sight and it takes a lot of convincing by Memnnon before I hand them over to Kathra.

We ride out the next morning through the fresh snow and eventually pick up our flying colleague, at about the same time that Kathra and Switch drop out of sight and hide. Once the party has moved on and the flying spy is no longer visible they then change position, to avoid being ambushed.

We arrive back at the encampment. There are still guards but they are now more ready for a battle then they would like to be known.

We are again met by the tiefling and the men at arms, When Memnnon mentions that he bought beer there is significant interest from the men at arms. We are told that Uncle Morgash the Dark’s master would be interested in talking to us.

Memnnon today is very obviously walking in as a priest of Halav, in fact we all walk tall into the camp – even though I have concerns about what we are doing, the opportunity to find out more is too tempting. I also note that here is a certain amount of trepidation and some measuring up being done by the soldiers of the Baron.

Uncle Morgash says we shall be introduced to Bargle. We head over to what is a fairly normal sized tent on the outside, but on the inside it is much larger. This is very cool! Inside we find a range of cushions and a carpet leading up to a throne like chair, in which Bargle is reclining! Worth noting that this doesn’t look like the tent of someone who is number two to Baron Ludwig von Hendriks, Duke Stefan’s cousin, but rather someone who is actually in control of the whole shooting match.

BargleBargle it appears is playing with a white stone or gem…. which I last saw in the hands of Grushenka! Bargle has the Eye of Frost.

Bargle proceeds to treat us with contempt and quiz us as to whether we know what is going on around here or not. Which is not really the way of a gracious host who has invited us in for a drink. He is also very disappointed that we do not appear to have any of the Eyes. He says he was hoping to stage a demonstration with them for us. But overall he is full of bluster and not much information. However he does take us to the other tent where we see a very much weakened Grushenka, pitifully curled up in a cage. The cage is radiating some form of powerful magic that makes even me feel uneasy, it must be desperately painful for the hag. However it is preventing her from changing to gaseous form and disappearing.

Bargle picks up a sharp stick and pokes Grushenka, A captured elf she barely moves away from the attack, which indicates just how sick she is, as she is normally easily able to avoid such a stab.

Hmmm last we heard of Grushenka she was disappearing into the Shadowfell with the Beastman fiend leader. I wonder what has happened here.

So what further questions do we want to get from Bargle?

1. We can leave since he is being so rude to us
2. Tell us what the Hag has been doing to the weather with the Eye of Frost and how has she done this…. ?
3. How and where did they capture Grushenka? We last heard her leaving through a portal to the Shadowfell with a fiendish colleague?
4. What are the exact charges Grushenka will stand trial for? We may be able to add others?
5. How long has the Black Eagle Barony been up here with an army? surely its a bit cold up here and they are a long way from home?

Back to Gorion
Rest and recognition

The vanquishersThere is profound relief. We have done it. The portal is safe, we are alive and the dragon is dead. We all sit down for a breather, before starting to carve the dragon up into the valuable pieces which we can sell or turn into magic items. Some of things we take are the dragon’s teeth, the wing membranes, its eyes, claws and of course the head. During this time I relock the other portals to avoid anyone just turning up and reopening the portal to the Elemental Plane of Fire. This all takes a couple of hours before loaded onto my Tenser’s floating disk we prepare to head out.
Switch sneaks out past the guardian, which doesn’t react to him. Guareb dhur guardians As he hides in the shadows he notices half a dozen boulders resting in the room that weren’t there last time. He isn’t sure as to whether they are friend or for and so comes back to get us. We come back through past the guardians.

The boulders turn into Gor liggs and his colleagues. They are delighted that we have secured the gate and also slightly awestruck at the amount of damage we created as we fought our way through the caves to get to the Gate. We wiped out the entire tribe of Troglodytes. Gor Liggs says he will now monitor the gate and directs some of his team to escort us back out of the caves. Ozzie hands over the keys we had been loaned to secure the gate.

Kathra and Memnnon are concerned that the hag and the pit fiend are still at large in the cave system and that we should be hunting them down before we leave the system. We are informed that there have been early reports indicating a squishy female and a large beastman with wings and a tail had been cornered on the upper level. There was a fierce battle before the woman created an arch of darkness and disappeared through it with the fiend. I am very keen to see the place this occurred as there is a chance that I can tell where the portal went and possibly even re-open it and pursue them. Although Given we are all exhausted I’m not sure that pushing the advantage would be of benefit to us.

We travel with the bulk Galeb dhur to the upper level, to the place where Grishenka disappeared from there. There has clearly been a fight, as there is a variety of blood types still showing on the floors and walls. I scan the area and can quite clearly see an arcane jet black archway, which after a bit of study is clearly a necrotic gate to the shadow fell. Not somewhere we are in any state to pursue. Further study indicates to me that this is not something that Grishenka can create at will but is a prepared ritual -a powerful one and a further indicator or her power.

Deciding there is no more for us to do here we are escorted back to to Gorion. Gorian 1 There is a blast of cold air when we get out and there is more snow on the ground. Winter has been coming on faster

We return triumphantly to the King, Who has organised a state banquet for us and is able to provide master craftsmen of all types to weave, hone sew and build new items for us out of the pieces of dragon. I assist with some of the more arcane practices over the next few days.
At the banquet the King presents us with the Eye of Fire. Which he summons down from where it hangs in mid air. He recounts how the eye has been in the safe keeping of the Gareb Dhur for a long time, but now the eye has indicated to him that its time has come and that we are the right people to take it forward. I am happy to accept the eye of fire and reintroduce it to its colleagues also in my protection. Interestly the eye appears to permanently burn with a flame, although this is not hot to touch nor does it burn me or my clothes. Gareb dhur drummer
We return all the items of Garb Dhur art that we found as we battled through the caves. Gorion is delighted to see some of the artworks returned to his people and in recognition of our honesty he also rewards us with some large chunks of platinum, which once Switch has got over the shock of seeing so much platinum in one place estimates that it is worth in the region of 15,200 gold pieces. The party later agrees to split this amount evenly between us all, which works out at 3,040 gps woth of platinum each – enough to buy some new books or get a tattoo. In addition to this Gorion also gives each of us a ceramic container containing some dried crystals which he advises that once mixed with water will turn into a potion of vitality.
As we recover over the next few days, Tol spends some time with the Gareb dhur trying to understand what they eat and what it is. During his time he also learns about how they use Magtails to power their light sources . He also learns about how the Fireshirts are made and some the lesser known rituals of the Gareb Dhur. We find that we are welcome in most places throughout Gorion, although there appear to be a couple of places where we are not so welcome, which relate to their deity. We also notice that some of the Gareb Dhur are talking about us in the same revered tones that they talk of Halav. This is something that embarrasses Memnnon, however Switch and Tol are as pleased as punch. Kathra ignores it as do I
Memnnon learns that they think of Halav as a hero, who assisted them in defeating various monsters and opening up the caves. The Galeb dhur appear to have always wandered through the mountains, although this may be a metaphor for moving through life. He does suspect that some of the Galeb dhur here now may have met Halav, although this is not clear.
Kathra absents herself for a couple of days and goes to the ruined village of Rolant to tell her family’s spirits that Volvagia has been defeated.
Kathra has a difficult trip to Rolant . The forges are quiet, things have been removed from them, which cold be replaced and restarted if need be.
Upon Kathra’s return we depart the caves of Gorion for the village of HighDell.
There we discover that the Sir Sergai Reynald has recently made it back to his home and has been welcomed with open arms particularly as he is bearing his new child. This is regarded as very auspicious, and tied in with the recent disappearance of the Wyverns which had been terrorising the road from HighDell south. Many regarded the wyverns as a bad omen.
Sergai is also delighted to see us and that we have been able to bring the Gareb Dhur back into communication with the outside world. We are rewarded with a medallion bearing a picture of his new son. People from far and wide have been travelling to HighDell to pay their respects. In some cases there has been some trouble and one party was asked to remove their camp to outside the walls of the town.
Switch is delighted to be able to collect the bow he ordered from Mallo. Mallo is also delighted that Switch is able to pay off the debt?
During our week in HighDell we reequip ourselves with provisions and hone our skills and powers. It appears that we may be here for the winter. However we all have things to see in the area and so it is decided that we will visit these places through the winter as the weather allows.

First off it will be to Eltan’s Spring.

As we leave in the morning we crest a hill and below us see a large number of tents camping, with lots of armed men. Snow tentsThis must the lot who ere causing trouble in HighDell. We notice no visible emblems on the men at arms, but we do notice that the flags are white…. uh oh, it is highly likely that this is a Black Eagle Barony legion with around a 100 men at arms, sitting in front of us. We quickly pull back below the crest of the hill to decide our next steps.

Toe to toe with the dragon

Tol shoulders his long bow and fast draws his melee weapons and with a whirl of steel only manages to hit the dragon with Ackeris. However it is a veritable hit as the fury of his attack startles Volvagia, who, tripping over his tail, falls over. Switch seeing an opportunity to strike leaps after the dragon and sinks his sword into its now exposed underbelly, before swiftly retreating out of reach of the flashing talons.

I continue to climb the cliffs towards the final orb. Behind me Kathra leaps across the island and wades across to cover my back in case the dragon comes after me.

Volvagia in a flurry of wings and claws gets up and again flies up to the ceiling and bashes some more rocks down on, opening another vent of lava near Switch. It appears that this is something the dragon can control.

Memnnon in desperation at not being able to hurt the dragon at range, pulls out his alchemist acid and throws it at Volvagia. The missile whistles wide of the mark and smashes against the ceiling. Tol has better luck however as in another whirl of upper body movement, puts away his sword and axe, unshoulders his bow and commences to fire a volley of arrows at the winged beats above him.

I have finally reached the highest part of the island, where the final orb rests. “oh bollocks” there is a large keyhole which on closer inspection looks like it needs all four of the keys to unlock. I have one and the other three are all currently in the orbs around the room. Where is that Halfling rogue when you need him? Ozzie

Well, if Kathra can shut down a gate with his magical ability, then surely I can pick this lock….. hmmm, with my magical ability – that should be easy…… Owww. There is a sharp explosion in my mind as I try to trick the lock with one of the keys and the rest using prestidigitation – that hurt!

Switch has moved up the cliff. He draws his bow and sends a little arrow winging its way to the ceiling to sink itself into the dragon. Volvagia screams in pain and surprise, before falling back into the lava. Switch is jumping up and down like a lunatic, shouting “I got him I got him, I killed the dragon!”

Things aren’t so good for Memnnon and Tol, who have both been hit by the splash of lava, which has rapidly cooled and immobilised them where they are.

Switch is halfway through his victory dance when there the lava next to Memnnon begins to bubble and broil as Volvagia again bursts out of the lava and lands on the bridge next to them. Volvagia immediately goes on the attack, taking a large lump out of Tol with its teeth. Memnnon misses with his strike before retreating from the razor claws that are trying to pin him down. As he pulls back he shouts a healing word for Tol who recovers considerably from the dragon’s bite.Lava

Out of the corner of my eye I note that Volvagia is now a darker colour, has smaller and punier wings, but nastier teeth and claws. There is a sulphurous aura as well. The creature is also bloodied, which means that the lava isn’t healing him, or not much.

Tol is still a desperate whirl of upper body action and in a rare show of bravery is going toe to toe with the dragon! Although I do note that he is still stuck in the Lava.
I take the opportunity that Tol provides distracting the dragon to regroup my thoughts and quickly bind my wounds. I mutter to myself that I will need five goes to shut down the portal, once I have unlocked the gate. Kathra looks at me in alarm at the time it is going to take and suggests that I perhaps put that frozen hand, hovering around doing very little, to good use helping everyone else rather than trying to shut the gate, as otherwise there may be no one left to save. A reasonable comment, given that the vortex while expanding isn’t expanding very fast at the moment.
This battle again stands on a knife edge, The flaming sparks go after all of us, but are particularly dangerous to Tol and Memnnon, as their red shirts have been rendered useless until they can redo them up. Kathra wails in frustration as her carefully aimed throw is disrupted and she drops her hammer into the lava. Volvagia hearing the wail, whips her head around and seems to notice us for the first time. Recognising that if I get the gate shut down he will be trapped again, takes to the skies and swoops across to attack Kathra and I. Kathra whacks the dragon as it goes past and lands on the island, getting a hefty smack in return for her trouble. Kathra is doing a sterling job keeping the dragon focused on her, but even her depths of reserves are starting to fail, as it takes another chunk out of her, covering her with a noxious blast of sulphurous gases.

I also don’t manage to avoid the swinging arm of the dragon which cuts deep into the side of my head and down the side of my body, shredding the red shirt – I too am now vulnerable to the fiery sparks. In retaliation I teleport the beast three squares away and into chilly grip of my frosty hand. The dragon is hovering over the lava, slowly shaking its head a bit over my attack. There is a fusillade of arrows and axes being launched from all sides by the team.

I am again burned by the fiery spark, hovering beside me. My yelp of pain alerts Tol who briefly changes the focus of his aim, fires and removes the fiery spark from next to my head before coolly recommencing the barrage against Volvagia. Thanks Tol!

I manoeuvre the frosty hand and grab the mighty dragon by the neck in a strong icy grasp, that should give it something to think about…..errrr probably me…. I quickly pull out a potion of healing and drink it as I may be about to receive some dragon attention.

Behind me there is a disturbing increase in the sound and psychic vibrations of the vortex. Briefly taking my eyes off the dragon I see that there is another issue to keep us busy. The vortex to the Elemental Plane of Fire is strengthening and starting to pull in the bridge, the fiery sparks and most disconcertingly the island I’m standing on… eeek.

Kathra also heals herself and then smites the dragon with her hammer as it wriggles free of the hand and shifts closer to try and punish me for my arcane mastery. Fortunately it misses. Memnnon hoots with devilish glee as his Lance of Faith takes Volvagia from behind. But this isn’t going to deter Volvagia from wizard canapé as his head again snakes over the top of mine in a snaky strike.

Switch has also now noticed the speed the vortex is now growing at and realising that I may need all the other keys sets off at a run to gather them.

I again send my Bigby’s frosty hand to grab the dragon around the neck. Connecting again I proceed to squeeze the life out of the dragon. It wriggles desperately, but I can see the area around the hands grasp is going from red and fiery to a pale pink and then white! I concentrate harder – thinking about cold things, roaring avalanches of snow, Thundering storms of ice. The whiteness spreads further over the dragon, in places I can see ice crystals forming, whilst in others there is steam coming off the dragon as the elements of ice and fire battle for supremacy. But this is a battle that cold will win, as with a final fiery groan Volvgia finally falls limp in the hands of my mighty frosty fist!

There is no time to celebrate, the very air around us is beginning to spin in a slow tornado as the vortex grows in strength every minute. I banish the frosty hand and refocus on the trial of will with the orb. I am bleeding profusely, but need to close the gate otherwise my comrades will perish. Memnnon starts heading around to help me, as does Tol who calls upon his deity to heal me. Many of my wounds heal, my head clears and I am much more confident that I may survive this final tussle. With refreshed concentration I apply my arcane strength to the lock mechanism, seeking to fool it with a combination of prestidigitation, bluff and a semblance of truth.

There is a clunk as I unlock the gate.

Meanwhile Switch has lithely leapt across rivers of lave to collect the keys and is on his way back. The speed of the vortex is increasing, as is the heat in the room.

Being so close to the vortex My hair is standing on end as the heat and power of the plane of fire start to sear my hair and eye brows. “Flee you fools” I cry above the roar of the vortex
The rest of the party start fleeing for the door. But Kathra has ignored me and is calmly cutting up the dragon as part of the trophy and hopefully for research purposes, sale and magic item creation…

Ozzie concentrate! – Control the portal..Concentrate…. Another clunk as I start gaining control of the portal….. clugunk –aaaaraaaarrgh! I scream in surprise and pain as I miscalculate part of the puzzle and receive a hefty blast of psychic damage. I won’t survive another of those.

Memnnon, hearing my scream of pain has turned around and is charging to the rescue. Tol too, suddenly realises he has a healing potion in his pocket and stops climbing the wall to safety, turns around and sprints to my aid, and possible death in the Elemental Plane of Fire.

Nothing like pain to focus the mind. I breathe deeply and move into a different zone….the vortex continues to grow and is starting to pull in the very fabric of our plane…. I can feel the psychic forces of the plane pulling at my consciousness…. I will be one with this spinning maelstrom…. clunk, another piece of the puzzle is mine….the tornado is tearing at the clothes of the heroes rushing to keep me alive…. the vortex is ripping away the very ground beneath me…. more haste less speed Ozzie comes the voice of my mentor through the whistling winds….Memnnon crosses over to the island to help and heal, dashing across the side of the fallen dragon….the searing heat of the Plane of Fire is starting to cause parts of my cloak to catch fire…… clunk.







control. And bring it to a stable position.

The battle of the Gate Chamber

Switch runs past me handing over the key, with the dragon in pursuit, and continues over to the other orb in order to pick the lock ahead of me unlocking it.

Tol tries to draw the dragon’s attention away from me with a splintering shot Archer has I disarm the second gate and flee its wrath.

As I disarm the gate I can feel arcane cogs wheeling slowly into action as the gate to the plane of fire start to close. I can also feel that this action may enable me to recover some of spells as a by product of the activity. Good news! It appears that Volvagia can also feel the arcane powers starting to close the gate. His roar is one mixed with anger and pain.Gate chamber

Memnnon and Kathra are batting away at the annoying sparks of flame. Memnnon does notice however that when he wipes one out that Volvagia appears to strengthen and heal from the dismissal of this spark.

Kathra tires of batting the flames and with a very feminine leap crosses the gap from the orb island and rushes down to engage the dragon, which has turned around and struck Memnnon with its claw, removing his fire resistance. Kathra arrives just in time to be the recipient of its fiery breath attack along with Memnnon.

Then with the heavy beating of wings Volvagia takes to the air in pursuit of Switch again. It is during this flight that I notice that Volvagia is not a strong flier, for he lands again after a short hop.

Meanwhile Tol has taken advantage of the departure of the dragon to leg it across the bridge towards the fourth orb. As he does so he is pursued by the flaming sparks all the way up to the fourth orb-gate. Memnnon recovers from the shock of having his fireproofing stripped away from and goes off to assist Tol with the last gate.

Switch is quickly and calmly working on the lock of the third portal, as the dragon eyes him and me up. I shout at it that the mighty warrior wizard Tol is going to shut down the gate in an effort to distract Volvagia. I also fire a pitiful ray of frost at the beast both of which have no effect whatsoever. Volvagia actual

Switch’s lock picking is getting more frantic as Volvagia lands on the island next to him. I shout to Switch to hang on as I’m on my way, at the same time Switch anticipates Volvagia’s lunge and ducks behind the orb as the dragon’s head snakes past a hair’s breadth away.

Kathra and I are in pursuit and trying to distract the scaly beast with our arcane and martial powers as Switch finally picks the lock and then desperately tries to shut the gate himself. Unfortunately there is a surge of arcane fire from the orb as punishment for dabbling in things he doesn’t understand. There is also an increased flow of lava around the chamber and more of the fiery spark creatures fly out through the gate. They have now started to attack the party.

The dragon again tries to take a lump out of switch and another hammer whirls over its head. This time it grabs Switch in its jaws and it is only through Switch’s dextrous wriggling he escapes in one piece.

Across the chamber Tol wipes the sweat from his forehead as he concentrates on the orb and focuses his foresters mind around tings he doesn’t understand. His reward is a burst of raging fire from the orb and another perceptible rise in the level of the lava. Tol steps aside from the orb to allow Memnnon the opportunity.

As Kathra and I close on Volvagia, I concentrate my mind and connect with the mighty beast, I mentally convince Volvagia that he is beset by a swarm of icy stinging wintery bees. This is big enough of a distraction that Switch is able to leap off the island and to safety. He is bleeding from a number of puncture wounds and I can see the relief on his face that he is out of the range of those crunching jaws. However he has done his job in unlocking the orb so I can now get to the island and close the gate.

I now face the rather daunting prospect of closing the gate right under the very jaws that have been scissoring on Switch….. eeek! I’m not sure I can do that. At that very moment Volvagia turns around and backs onto the island a bit more as Kathra comes to attack him. She receives a nasty bite in return for her daring. Horaay for Kathra, as she has distracted Volvagia in such a way that I may be able to jump across onto the island and unlock the gate…hmmm, still under the nose of the beast.

Then there is a simultaneous roar of triumph from our infernal colleague and one of pain and frustration from Volvagia. He whips his head around to glare across the chamber at Memnnon who is giving him the bird. Only one part of the gate remains. Volvgia suddenly rears up and disappears into the lava.

With a bit more time to concentrate, I manage to trip over my robes as I try to valiantly leap across the lava to the final orb. I give a terrified scream as I pitch into the lava.

I drag myself out of the lava onto the island, the red shirt having saved me from all fire damage. Lava ain’t that hot I mutter as I move over to concentrate on the orb.

Kathra starts cleaving the sparky lights into little shreds.

Suddenly…Surprise, surprise..! Volvagia bursts out of the lava and flys up to the ceiling, causing the floor to open large cracks behind Kathra with lava bubbling up, making the ground uncrossable. In addition The burst of lava has splashed Kathra and I and solidified so rapidly we are unable to move. However this is the least of my worries at the moment, as I concentrate on the orb.

Tol and Memnnon are moving back to the bridge. Tol nocks an arrow as he moves across the bridge, hitting with his first shot, the other bounces off the dragon’s scales.

I ignore everything around me and concentrate my powers on the orb, shutting the gate down – Ozzie yeeeeahh, freeing myself from the lava and moving my Bigby’s hand to grasp the dragon if it comes closer. We now have a chance.

There is a bubbling sound and an eruption of lava, as I successfully close the last of the locks holding the gate. A shimmering sphere appears on the high island in the middle of the lake of lava. Ohhh no – more swimming in lava for me I suspect.

The eruption of lava broke the bridge and where it once was, there is now a large whirlpool.

Volvagia looks different since coming out of the lava. He is no longer damaged and doesn’t appear to have a permanent aura of poisonous gas around him. His tactics have also changed. He is now bashing himself up against the roof of the chamber, knocking down large chunks of rock which are falling on top of us and making terrain difficult to cross.

I recall what the Gareb dhur said about the locking mechanism. This final orb is a safety valve, and must also be turned off to completely shut the gate. I notice that the level of the lava has started to drop. I could wait until it drops enough to walk over to the island, but I don’t think we’ve got that much time. Where is Grushenka? Where is the pitfiend leader? Both must realise something is up and be coming to get us? No time to lose then.

So hitching up my still smouldering skirts I again make a brave running jump across the lava….and again I stumble and plunge into the lava. Woe is me, why can’t the dextrous athletic lot do this and I’ll concentrate on my books and spells?

Fortunately the lava is very shallow here and I am able to get up and wade onto the island.

To be continued….

A video of Volvagia……


Guardians at the Gate
opps I fell off.... again

Scythe bladesStanding at the entrance to the large room as the scythe blades go back and forwards. I drop a storm pillar in to cause the blades damage. Tol’s twin strike bounces off the closest set of mixer blades which immediately change direction and cut through the storm pillar to a massive explosion of sparks as it the lightning flashes collide with the spinning blades.

Kathra fronts up and takes the first hit from the blades. We can hear the other one moving towards us. Kathra’s first blow glances off the blades, before she shifts aside for Switch to strike a mighty blow with his sword which causes it to start clinking and clunking.
Memnnon asks for Halav to shine a divine glow on the battle. The searing light causes more clunking from the blades. My Ray of Frost connects and slows the creature as it moves into the space available. The now frosty blades then take a direct hit from Kathra causing bits to fly in all directions as it flies apart, with a large burst, most of the party are hit by a piece of the spinning shrapnel.

Switch engages the other scythe blade with his bow and sinks an arrow into the heart of the contraption. Memnnon’s daunting light also strikes again. I drop a second storm pillar at the same time the blades stop whirling.

After a short rest we all try to climb up the ledge where the guardians are located. Our ace climber, Switch, falls off the first, which doesn’t do my confidence any good and I fall off near the top and land on the floor in a heap at the bottom.

When the guys get to the top, there is a general movement by the guardians toe to secure the door. This sudden movement causes Switch to fall off the wall again. Despite my best intentions Switch refuses my offers of assistance before executing a dazzling leap and swing to the top of the ledge. I take a more mundane route up the rope Kathra has let down for me.

As i climb the rope I instruct the others, who are keen to try their keys out, to pay close attention to the mechanisms when they stick the keys in and see how they work, for it will be important if we are to disarm the last one. Tol moves, presents the key and puts it into the guardian, which has moved its arm aside to display a keyhole. Warforged construct Tol, for once listens to my advice and notes very closely how the key works. Memnnon moves up to his guardian and unlocks his, which when unlocked it moves to the side, opening the way to the door behind it.

Switch unlocks his, noting that we can take the keys out of the guardians with no adverse affect as to whether they are on or off. We agree that we should take the keys as it would be horrendous to return and find that the guardians have been re activiated!

This leaves one guardian to disarm. We agree that switch will sneak to open the door, Ozzie will then twist of space the creature, if it tries to attack him. However it all goes wrong as switch moves past the creature, it smites him with a large hammer Tol fires a disruptive strike which hits the creature, but my twist of space fails. Switch continues past and opens the door to see a short corridor opening into a large room. The guardian doesn’t try to continue the attack so I opt for plan B.

Plan B: I drop a winged horde onto the creature which prevents it from attacking us to get past as it flails against the imaginary foe I have created for it. We all charge past the guardian and into the room.

Enter the Dragon
"I'm not finished with you...' WHUMP!

The ceiling arches 60-70 feet above, it is very hot. There are little flames dancing around in the air. In the centre are fountains of lava swirling up. We are on a ledge about 10 feet above the rest of. The fountains are vortexes to the elemental plane of fire. The spheres are each in shiny metal stand and must be the key to the gates\ vortexes. Switch notices that one side is more likely to be affected by the rising lava.

The cavern

Kathra and Tol put ropes in case we need to make a quick escape. We all move along, except before Kathra moves all of the will of the wisps start moving toward the party, and they just flit around Kathra, who follows on. I do a quick revision of portals and opening rituals from the book of the gate as Switch and Tol jump off the side off the side of the cliff. The wispy things keep coming out of the vortex. Switch realises that these creatures a lighting them up for a ranged enemy. Kathra goes down the rope. Suddenly the dragon Volvagia erupts out of the lava next to Switch and breathes fire at me, Tol and Switch. As this occurs I shield the blast and note details about how the monster looks. The creature appears to be of rock and lava and is surrounded by an aura of poisonous gas. Eeeeek!

Memnnon casually saunters into the fray and casts a gleaming shield of divine faith against it. Switch shifts out and fires a back stab sight down the throat of the dragon, as he does this I also I shift away from the dragon, and join Tol running away.
I’m heading off to the orb calling to Memnnon to come along with the key. When I get to the orb I can sees that the orb has a key hole. Meanwhile Kathra moves past Switch and heads off to the island with the orb matching her key. She does a mighty run to jump across onto the island, where she deftly inserts the key unlocks it, concentrates very hard on what little magic training she has picked up from me and her own innate natural ability and to her own surprise closes this part of the gate. Unfortunately her joy at doing this means she misses her footing and falls into the lava.

Memnnon locks eyes with the dragon, which enrages it enough for it to move out of the lava and swipe at Memnnon with a claw. This mighty swipe misses – mainly due to a timely shot from Tol. Memnnon then issues a divine challenge against Volvagia, smiting the dragon with his mace and calling down the daunting light of his god.
Switch sprints past Memnnon collecting the key on the way past and heads off towards me. As I wait for the key I study the orb and see that I can’t do a tying until it has been unlocked, without a key it I suspect that Switch could probably unlock it, but to secure the gate needs my powers of arcane – or Kathra’s (perhaps I should take her under my wing and teach her some cantrips – she might find Mage Hand useful?).

I look up to see where Switch is and all I can see is Volvagia taking to the skies after Switch. I am so shocked that all my giant frosty hand can do is wave the dragon through as it dives to bite Switch, who squeals in terror as he bravely dodges the beast’s claws. Behind him I can hear Memnnon shouting “I’m not finished with you yet” as he charges after it and striking at its tail.

In which Tol tries a Bulrush

We race through the chambers pushed rapidly by the Galeb dhur. We are pulled up short, as there is an unexpected large gap in the hole up ahead. The iron plating is buckled and broken. Tol checks out the ground underneath to make sure it is safe. Tol notices that there are a large number of gaps. Several of the iron plats have been eaten, most likely a rust monster.

I ask the Gareb Dhur how they deal with the rust monsters and learn that they herd them with wooden sticks into cages. I also learn that it’s only 5 mins to the chasm and that wood is considered important to the Galeb dhur as it is rare for them.

We decide to go on and get a low down description of the final chamber. There was a large square room with a large stair case leading down. This is above where we met the zombies. There were rising rooms going to the middle room and then another going right down to the bottom.

On further questioning we learn that there will be two spinning blades, and that the chamber door should be unlocked. The chamber of traps links to all the floors. He goes on to tell us that in the large cavern the is a lake of fire, with four sets of gates, which are normally manipulated by some form of arcane magic.

We head off to the rift and see four beastman bodies on the ground. We all think they are likely to be zombies, so we cautiously walk towards the bodies.
Kathra notices that the the beastman has been gashed quite badly and has been predated by something form of fire creature. I warn all that there may be a predator around. And keep an eye out for the other corridors in case we are attacked from that direction. The corridors to the south turn towards each other.

We have a long discussion about the bodies when we get up to them and they haven’t animated, and then Tol pushes the bodies off the edge into the lava, and notices that we need to be careful on the edge.
Switch and tol put together a rope bridge, which they estimate they will need to go up 20 feet, across 60 feet and then down 20 feet. They set about “Macguivering” a set of swings and rope to get across. Whilst Memnnon and I keep them covered and watch out for bad guys.

“There is something coming up shouts” Memnnon, as three long fire worms,(Mag tails), crawl up and over the edge of the lava. Memnnon moves back shouting they are hot, beware of getting too close.Magtail

Kathra charges in and tries to tide of iron, but her flail misses.
Tol bravely bulrushes one of the Mag-tails to try and push it back over the edge. His charge is good enough to push it over and back into the lava. As he does so he slips and lands heavily on the edge section of floor, which slides him over the edge of the cliff. Kathra desperately tries to grab him as he slides off, but misses. Switch also leaps to the rescue, catches Tol and heroically lifts him back onto solid ground.
I move back getting out of the way before getting the eye of storms out and using orbmasters detonation to slow them down, changing the damage to lightning rather than fire which they are obviously immune to. My attack knocks one down, whilst the other scuttles over to Memnnon and shrieks at him before trying to bite him. The cry deafens Memnnon and the creatures bite dents his armour. The other one wriggles before getting up and scuttling towards Tol.
Memnnon calls down one of the most beautiful blasts of daunting light that Ozzie has seen in a long time, which strikes to the heart of other Mag-Tail.
Kathra piles in to Mag-Tail facing Memnnon and hits it hard. Tol crawls away from the edge, before shooting one with his bow. The arrow strikes true and the Mag-Tail folds itself into a ball and shifts towards its comrade, taking some more damage from the lightning frazzling on the floor.

I then teleport and slow the two creatures back towards the edge, with the aim of pushing them back over the edge into the Lava. The other then moves to attack Kathra again who is in range, hitting her and damaging her armour. The second one moves slowly over to attack Kathra.

Kathra shifts into between the two mag tails and swings wildly, missing both of them, but her back swing kills one of them and hits the other. Tol maintains his prone position and fires another twin strike at the mag tail, causing it to bleed profusely, before he crawls over to the edge to look down the level. He can see the other Mag-Tail starting to crawl back up. My ray of frost misses, whilst I maintain my concentration on maintaining one of the Mag-Tail’s slowed state.

The Mag-Tail bites Kathra again, as Memnnon moves over to clobber the fiery worm, hurting it and healing Kathra. Kathra smashes her hammer against its hard caprice, cracking it.
Tol gets up and fires a volley of arrows at the remaining Mag-Tail between Kathra and Memnnon, which kills it.

Switch heads over to the edge, leans over and fires arrows over at the remaining Mag-Tail which is still climbing up. His shot flies true causing the creature to peel off the wall and tumble back into the lava.Lava

We make some great tricks and get across the rift, before route marching for an hour and half down the corridor, ignoring any turnings as we head down.

We eventually arrive at a door, which we presume is the door to the rising room. Kathra opens the door and we are prepared for combat. There is a loud clunk, but the door doesn’t open. I can hear some rushing and crunching of something coming closer, we assume this is the rising room, a few clanks later the door opens.
There is a doorway opposite, no safety door. The floor isn’t solid, it is slightly moving in the shaft it is in. It appears to be slightly magnetic. As we close the door there are lots of clunking noises and we start descending. As we go down we start to pick up the whiff of sulphur, which gets stronger as we go down.

The room opens into a large multi levelled area. At the far end there are four rather odd looking statues. These must be the guardians. They are all up on the raised area. In front of them whizzing backwards and forwards are the two spinning blades, which obviously haven’t been disarmed yet.

As we watch we see jets of steam shoot up through the floor.

What to do? Suggest we discuss some of the ideas in the comments before the next game?

Ozzie’s thoughts are:

1. Ray of Frost the two spinning blades to allow Switch and Tol across to the otherside and up onto where the guardians are. then repeat for the rest of the party to get across.
2. Switch to examine the keys we have and see how we disarm the guardians we have keys for, before trying to pick the lock of the fourth guardian. Ozzie to assist if there is an arcane component.
3. Before opening the door to the chamber, all to don the red fire proof clothing.

Who Goes There
I'mmmmm back!

The battle continues, Kathra in her grabbed state smites the grasping construct but is unable to connect with any force.
The Beamos continue to track around the room. Memnnon takes his chances and charges through the room past the Beamos and the grasping construct which drops Kathra to bite Memnnon. This is a lucky break, allowing Kathra to force her way out, breaking the hinge of the construct and rendering it useless. Memnnon continues through to Tol’s rescue.

Switch is glancing around him in fear, shouting that he is surrounded by fire, we can see nothing…. The wraith must have cast a spell on him. He shifts out of his space and screams in agony and slaps himself saying put me out, put me out as he heads out and stabs the wraith before moving away and continues to put out his imaginary fire.

I move away from the wraith threatening me from the wall and drop in a storm pillar, summon my Mage hand and get out the book of fire. The ghostly wraith moves away towards Switch.Storm pillar

The main wraith turns to face Memnnon, brings it hands together and smashes Memnnon with a burst of fire, which knocks him over, where he is attacked by the biting construct. Kathra charges to Memnnon’s rescue, moving so fast that the fire that is burning around her goes out.

Memnnon gets up and heals himself, moves past the construct to Tol’s side. Once there he quickly pours a healing potion down Tol’s throat which brings the feisty ranger around round. Tol lifts up the key triumphantly as Memnnon twirls his mace and returns nonchalantly to the battle, calling out that the wraith will be drawing strength from the characters on fire. At the same moment Switch finally stops patting himself, draws a deep breath and charges the wraith again.

I am now in a position to let loose the orb masters detonation, which takes out the small wraith and knocks over the big wraith, although it promptly gets up – but it’s not looking very happy. It demonstrates this by screaming out its rage and pain, causing both Kathra and Switch shake their heads in pain. At the end of its howl the wraith suddenly disappears and reappears a short distance away. It’s teleported! Hmmm didn’t know that. I wonder how often they can do that?

The remaining construct moves over and bites Switch, grabbing him. Switch screams and loses consciousness. Kathra moves over to the wraith and smites it with a reckless strike, which really hurts the wraith. I launch winged horde which misses the construct, but hits the wraith, causing it to explode in a final painful burst of fire which covers Kathra.

Construct  jawsAs Switch has gone all limp and dead-like, the construct drops switch and moves towards Memnnon, grabbing him in its metal jaws. Kathra is paralysed with a similar look of fear to Switch, most likely from the psychic burn of the wraith’s departure.

Tol gets up and shouts “I’m back,” before releasing a wildly ineffective twin strike on the construct and shouting a healing word for Switch. Switch comes around from Tol’s gleeful healing call, as Memnnon wriggles free of the jaws of the construct, scrambling away from it, before hitting it with a lance of faith.
Memnnon releases righteous anger3This remaining Scythe Jaw, is still able to do a lot of damage and can move quite swiftly. I can see that all my friends are bleeding profusely and are almost done from this battle. I need to slow the construct down and allow us to finish it off without taking any more damage. So I move up and fire a chilling ray of frost at the construct, which becomes covered in an icy white sheen, which also slows it down. It still moves up and tries to bite switch but misses. I yell at everyone to keep at least 20 feet away from the Scythe Jaws and they will be safe. Tol fires a two fanged strike at it before moving out of range of the construct. Memnnon, who is still on the floor crawls out of range of the creature, shouting I’m alright, I ’m alright!
I concentrate on sustaining the frosty slowing effect on the construct, as it moves toward Memnnon, who gets up and calls down daunting light on the creature. Arrows fly around and off the creature. I fire another ray of frost at it again which continues to slow it but not enough to prevent it getting to Memnnon, and again grabbing him. Kathra retaliates by throwing two hammers in rapid succession at it hitting in the joints and finally dismembering it.

The entire party sink to the floor in exhaustion.

It is agreed that we will rest here, as we are in no state to move on and take on another battle of any description. We search the room. I hand the eye of illumination back to Memnnon. Memnnon notes that the wraith had undergone massive trauma, burning, and had been horrendously tortured and so died insane.

Ozzie takes first watch. Nothing happens until Switch’s watch, when he hears a sound, of the opening of the door where we came in. Switch cries everyone to arms, Kathra wakes with a start and shouts friend or foe, and I illuminate the eye of storms. Who goes there?

It turns out that Gor liggs has sent down someone to see how we are getting on. The young Gareb dhur is shocked to hear about our battle, and understands out predicament, but reminds us that Gor liggs is less patient, but he does have something to help us get across the gap.

We tell the young Gareb Dhur we’ll rendezvous with Gor Liggs in the Crushing room in two hours. Which we duly do and are able to pick up a third key.

It is good to note that there is now about 12 Gareb Dhur.. Following Gor Liggs instruction they place a large piece of Galcite under some of the sleds. This he says will enable the sleds to be moved at great pace pushed by his Gareb Dhur. He also loans us two pairs of iron boots and tells us that in most places there are Galcite veins which being magnetic will hold our weight and enable us to walk along walls and the roof in these metal boots. We then take a swift passage to the chasm, pushed by the Gareb dhur.


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