Karameikos

Storm !

Setting sail to the west towards the Dark Keep, the Heroes of Dymrak and Shadarkai crew muse over who might have freed the Hydra, as it had been bound at the bottom of the lake. It’s possible some new occupant of the Dark Keep may be responsible. Although not dedicated to an evil entity like Orcus, the very old Keep has attracted all kinds of unpleasantness over the years.

Spending time with the Shadarkai reveals them to be more than a little ‘Emo’. They seem prone to drift off into deep thought, grounding themselves by tugging on ornate body piercings, cutting themselves or smoking a form of dark pipeweed. Captain Dalgar is in charge of the ship, with Neera and her second in command Lt. Thoris in charge of the actual operation. Dalgar seems a bit more relaxed than his kin and is openly disparaging about Neera.

Three smaller fishing vessels are encountered, nets raised in the air to catch souls. Their crew (Hinn like creatures) report that their catch has been poor for some time. There appear to be no souls coming from the West and there is something amiss/nasty in the lake.

“Land Ho!” A shore becomes visible, with something white/illuminated white on it. It’ll be hours before the ship reaches land so the party and crew rest, with rota leaving one person at the tiller and two on watch throughout the night. Taking second watch, Memnon and witch think that they see a tower emitting an emerald light. Souls are travelling overhead towards it – as if drawn like moths to a flame, something Neera hasn’t seen before.

During the next watch, a large soul storm begins to form to starboard. The water begins to churn and the boat is rocked savagely. Everybody is woken and soon all hands are on deck trying to keep the ship away from the large whirlpool that has formed.

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For several long minutes, the ship is battered, holed and take on water. Heroes and Shardarkai are battered, gored by broken wood and in Memnon’s case – washed overboard, until as suddenly as it appeared, the storm abates and vanishes. The ship limps on, but Memnon is lost…

Drawing closer to the shore a slender white tower is visible, lit by moonlight. Moonlight is very rare here and considered bad omen. The Heroes prepare to head ashore, traveling to the tower, seeing what’s there, stopping anything bad and then returning to the ship. The party is given a brass sphere (a mobile stone..?) to communicate with Thoris, but are warned that utilising the sphere will require something of the user.

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Elsewhere, a groggy Tiefling regains consciousness, finding himself washed ashore….

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Hydra Attack

As the Hydra heads attack, the party retaliates. Ozzy’s magics daze it, Memnon’s radiant energy burns it, Tol’s arrows sink home and Althea and Switch land injurious blows. Yet as the boat surges on, the attack continues. Crewmen die, other turning intangible to escape the Hydra’s fury. As bodies splash into the water, it boils and churns with frightful activity.

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Switch and Tol both fire some amazing shots (Natural 20s!) but even coupled with Ozzy, Althea and Memnon’s powerful arcane and divine energies, the Hydra still threatens to overwhelm the craft. More crewmen, including the ship’s Captain, are seized and hurled overboard and before long, Althea and Memnon are snatched up and hurled into the sea too.

There, the Elf and Tiefling discover what lurks beneath the surface – hungry bonefish! With the Captain overboard and nobody at the tiller, the ship veers off to starboard. Althea easily swims back to the boat and begins to climb aboard. Tol grabs the tiller but Memnon struggles to stay afloat, his shield of protection ironically playing a key role in him spluttering and floundering.

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All the while, the soul storm hovers close by, as if observing…

Ozzie plays out some rope using Mage Hand as the remaining crewmen scramble to take the tiller from Tol and assist others. The Captain teleports himself back aboard and despite being further bitten and poisoned, Althea and Memnon both manage to climb aboard too.

The Hydra continues to savagely attack and Tol and Memnon are both seized and thrown into the water. The ship regains its course but speeds ahead, leaving Ranger and Cleric behind! Tol swims over to a struggling Memnon but is savaged by the Hydra. Both utter healing words (glub in Memnon’s case) to keep Tol conscious. Althea ties a rope about her waist, fixes it to the ship and dives in (!) to rescue Tol and Memnon.

As she closes in on the struggling duo, Ozzie unleashes a devastating fireball that finally makes the Hydra turn tail and depart. The boat slows and, fighting off the snapping Bonefish, all the party are soon back aboard. Off to port, the soul storm gradually dissipates.

Tending to their wounds in the ensuing calm, the party have time to notice just how strange the environment of this realm is, each being privately affected in ways that remain unspoken, for now…

With so many crew slain by the Hydra’s attack, the Heroes of Dymrak pitch in as best they can with the running of the ship until the Captain receives new orders that supersede taking the party to Umbra. Followers of Thanatos/Orcus are at large. The captain is ordered to find out what they’re doing and put a stop to it. The heroes of Dymrak (albeit left with little choice) agree to help.

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Into the Shadowfell
In search of Kathra

Fydor tells us that the statues in the on the shrine has been fixed and works differently from when we last worked with it.

The seer says he will send us through into the shadow realm. He tells us when we a re ready to come back, use this gemstone, which he gives to Ozzie, he says place it anywhere inside the shrine. Break it and you will return to the normal realm . We can shout in the shrine if we do lose the gem.

There is a strange wrenching feeling as the shrine moves into the shadowfell. There is a faint luminescence to the shrine, which wasn’t so obvious last time. The repairs don’t look new, even though the seer says it has been repaired.

As we depart the seer says “remember things may change.”

The shadowfell is drained of colour, there is a paleness to everything, a washed out and dankness to everything.

The lights of the souls area drifting around the shrine, being pursued by several soul catchers. Ozzie speaks to a soul catcher and tells him he is seeking and is told to speak to Neera.

We head round the side of the building and go in search of Neera. She is a tall imperial pus woman, with another supporter. She is quite hostile to Ozzie when he approaches her, however the rest of the party convince Neera to assist..

She suggest we must go to the Palace of her mistress in the City. ( we Learn that here there is an intrinsic value to the soul), which is several days away.

Switch asks about a ferry, but Neera offers to take the party to the city. They have a while to go before they have completed their mission. In the meantime Tol searches for dark weed at switches behest. We have some time and head up to the one tree. As we explore further we discover a large barge like vessel has been beached on the beach.

Switch discovers that there is shadowfell pipe weed from the 5 shires equivalent and that he should be able to pick some up in the city. He offers some to the shadow Kai guarding the the barge.

Time is difficult to measure and see how we make things go, we do start to feel slightly listless.

Neera comes and asks Memnon about the loss of Kathra’s soul. He recites the story, Neera brings out a sphere to which she speaks to her master about it. It’s a mobile stone. This seems to up the ante on Neera bringing us back to the city.

The shader Kai aren’t friendly, but they aren’t antagonistic, as we join them on the boat back.

We discover that sometimes a number of souls coalesce together and can force out another. The confusion occurs where Kathra’s soul.

We set sail. We discover that there are soul storms which gives off extra light, this tends to happen near to dramatic circumstances, although it tends to happen before the battle.

The boat is driven by some of the souls held in a gem. There is very little magic, except possibly in the sail.

Tol starts shouting about something he has seen. Then he sees a hazy glow in the distance, whilst Switch tires to sneak down into the hold.

Switch can see that it is dark in the hold, he can make out that there are sever,a shapes covered in some kind of cloth and what appear to be several tall amphorae.

The hazy glow is almost certainly a soul storm, which tends to be a portent of danger. The crew leap to make sure the ship doesn’t get tangled up in the storm.

The captain is pleading with Neera as he tries to avoid the soul storm, he is asking for more souls to increase the power and speed of the ship.

The soul storm is not very far away, it is above the water and there is something beneath the water. There is a cry of battle stations!

The soul storm appears to be disapating, then on both sides of the ship two reptilian heads appear on either side…..

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Ozzie the Black
into the valley of death and back again...several times

As the party discuss what to do next, Ozzie in his new surly manner tells the party why they should be heading to Thyatis and searching for the his father.
He agrees that they should search for Kathra first, he observes that in his time with the Veiled One this time around he saw no sign of Kathra.

Ozzie tells of the night when his parents disappeared…

About 30 years ago when Ozzie was 7, something changed. All infringements stopped. (Portal incursions from the Shadowfell and Feywild on the Portal in Knosht.) They stopped for several months, although elsewhere infringements continued at a slightly higher level. Wombat and Koala were lulled into a false sense of security, until one night (pick an auspicious night), 6 riders on black flying steeds descended from the south. 3 of them immediately engaged Wombat and Koala in battle whilst the other three commenced opening the portal. Ozzie was instructed to remain in the house under the bed.

The battle raged for most of the night with amazing pyrotechnics, at last the three fighting Wombat and Koala were defeated and the couple rushed to prevent the other three from opening the portal. By this time Hamlet the raven had been dispatched for help.

Unfortunately they were too late, the portal was opening as they engaged the remaining riders. Wombat and Koala could not prevent the arrival of the creature from the other side.
Ozzie by this time was completely terrified but also knew that the battle was not going his parents way, and was determined to assist in some way – how who knows, he has no recollection.

In the ensuing melee both Wombat and Koala were slain and the creature was preparing to feast on Ozzie, its talons were already rendering into his back. The scars remain to this day.

The last thing Ozzie remembers are several flashes of light and seeing 3 great winged and feathered creatures, with riders on them dropping out of the night sky. When he comes around he is safe and alive in the care of a local village woman. Ozzie is seriously weakened, in fact his strength is never the same again. All that remains of his house and possessions is his fathers armour and sword, both of which are very valuable. His mother’s body was destroyed in the battle and his father disappeared.
[DM note; the bodies of both parents were found and buried, side by side, in a marble tomb near to Knosht. this is where you found the strange skeletal remains recently].

Ozzie goes onto say that these snake people must have some link to the Far Realm or be worshippers of creatures from this realm. However his father is alive and he must find him and rescue him. The library in Thyatis holds a copy of an ancient text about the Far realm, so it is important to visit the library to find out more before continuing the search for his father.

However priority one is to find Katha’s soul.

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Trinklar's Game

Memnon acts with uncharacteristic swiftness (Natural 20!) enveloping his comrades with his shield of faith before blasting Falorax with a beam of daunting light and advancing. The Dracolich shakes off the burning radiant energy and dominates Francisca. Althea and Tol advance on Falorax, their attacks just failing to land. Switch darts forward and stabs at Ozzie, the wizard’s shield barely deflecting the blow (due, no doubt, to the Wizard cheating).

Ozzie growls for Switch to kill him, before sprouting huge talons, swiping at Switch and teleporting away, creating a wall of fire as cover. Above the roar of battle, Trinklar titters and asks to be amused. With a roar of his own, Memnon shifts to his Diabolic form and invokes Turn Undead, burning Falorax and pushing him back. Francisca is unable to act, still dominated by Falorax’s power. Switch too falls victim, but Althea resists and peppers the Dracolich with a painful hail of thorns (natural 20!). Tol fires arrow after arrow at Falorax, chipping away bone and disrupting its attacks.

Switch charges Memnon, doing a significant amount of damage to the Cleric before coming to his senses and shaking off Falorax’s power. As Althea smites Falorax with a pulverising impact (Natural 20!) Switch darts towards the wall of fire to get a line of sight to Ozzie, but the wizard creates the illusion of a pile of Hinn kibbles that the rogue simply cannot resist, (due, no doubt, to the Wizard cheating) before shimmering and fading from sight.

Falorax takes flight, breathing noxious grave gas over most of the party before landing square in the centre of the chamber. Francisca finally overcomes the Dracolich’s domination, darting around the wall of fire and twisting space around Ozzie, whose warp and weave save him from harm yet again (due, no doubt, to the Wizard cheating). Switch tears himself away from the Hinn kibbles, charging at Ozzie but failing to land a blow (due no doubt, to the wizard cheating).

Ozzie’s hammerfall step teleports Francisca into the wall of fire, where she screams in pain, burning badly before managing to escape. Falorax flaps over to where Tol is relentlessly firing at him, his claws forcing the Ranger back. Memnon moves to assist Tol and Althea, spearing Falorax with a lance of faith and marking Ozzie with a divine challenge that helps Francisca to colour spray the Wizard, who seems more hurt by this attack then you would expect. Switch ambushes Ozzie from a distance, wounding him again.

Althea’s earth grasp strike marrows Falorax, before Tol’s bloodlust strike causes it more damage. In what is swiftly becoming a battle royale between the two, Falorax claws at Althea, who brings the weight of the earth down on him in return. As Memnon is pushed back by the Dracolich’s wrath, Tol fires more arrows into the fray, his twin strikes landing time after time before he switches to using Aecris and Dragon Slayer and flanking the Dracolich with Althea.

Whilst Althea and Tol wear down Falorax and Memnon heals himself, Switch flanks Ozzie with Francisca, backstabbing and sneak attacking until the wizard is bloodied. The wall of fire vanishes as Ozzie teleports closer to the eagerly watching Trinklar, creating a stinking cloud over Switch and Francisca and using his colour orb on Memnon to no effect (due, no doubt, to the Wizard cheating).

Falorax takes flight, soaring away from Althea and Tol and landing in the stinking cloud.

To be continued

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Dead Ends
Dead Ends

The noisome, damp island the party explores appears to be half a mile across. Francisca detects strong arcane necrotic traces. The dominant feature is some cyclopean ruins, which appear astoundingly old. The party determine that it is older than the Age of Heroes – from before the time of Halav! There is no sign that living animals come here, although there are tracks that look like they belong to skeletal rats…

Memnon recites the Corpse Light ritual on his mace and takes point, leading the group into a dark passage. Oddly the passage isn’t damp and the party feels an increasing low sense of dread as they gradually progress in downwards in a spiral.

Tol spies more skeletal tracks as the passage opens up into a larger space. The air feels oddly dead, with hearing and sense of smell feeling muted. Memnon’s Corpse Light suddenly flares! In a lower part of the chamber to the right are several skeletal archers. More light, unnaturally purple, flares as a previously unseen skeleton bursts into flame, lighting several torches around the chamber.

Switch and Memnon vault over the railing down to the lower level and into the fray. The floor underfoot is made up of compressed skeletal remains. Above, skeletal hounds charge forth, attacking the rest of the party. As combat rages there is a flash of sickly green light and four more skeletons erupt from unseen runes on the lower chamber floor.

Memnon turns undead, dissolving several of the skeletons around him. Francisca twists the fabric of space, felling yet more and further radiant energy from Memnon burns away others, giving Switch time to determine that the runes can be deactivated.

Tol tries to deactivate one but fails, and is blasted by necrotic energy as a result. As arrows and fireballs from the undead are exchanged with magicks, arrows and divine power from the Heroes of Dymrak, Tol once more stands atop a rune, fighting for balance as more undead attempt to erupt from beneath him. This time he is successful!

Althea vaults down to the lower level too as yet more undead appear and Switch is grievously wounded by their bow fire. Tol disarms another rune, taking hits as he does so. Francisca’s beguiling strands shred the Hounds worrying her and the Ranger, but as Tol dashes to another rune he suffers combined blows from a skeleton and burst of necrotic energy and falls limply to the floor.

Three arrows thud into Althea, but in return her thornburst shreds the undead (natural 20!), allowing Switch to make his way to Tol’s side and administer a potion of vitality. Memnon strides into the centre of the chamber, using divine energy to cure a mass of light wounds. After a worrying moment, Tol is son back on his feet and back in the fight. Becoming more accustomed to what they need to do, the party swiftly deactivates more runes, before Memnon and Franciscas’ combined powers clear the chamber and allow the group to finish off the runes.

As the party bask in the light of Memnon’s healing sun, a vision appears in the air. Initially it is of a beautiful woman, but her visage rapidly shifts to that of a corpse, mocking the heroes in a voice all recognise as that of Trinklar. The Liche entices them to fight their way down to her throne room, face her champion and find Ozzie and Falorax. She promises not to lift a finger against them, if they’ll play her game. The apparition fades and taking stock of their remaining powers, the Heroes of Dymrak decide to soldier on.

Bypassing a door that emits strong necrotic energy, the party advances with a purpose, until they enter another large chamber and the floor begins to rumble. The bones that make up the fabric of the floor knit together into two large golems! As they advance to attack, there is the sound of an unseen door dropping away and a terrible, huge skeletal snake with a skull-like head slithers in to attack.

The movements of this Bone Naga and the rattle of its tail prove hypnotic and as battle is joined, several members of the party are dazed by the strange creature, or immobilised by grasping skeletal hands that emerge from the floor. Three terrific strikes from Switch (39, 38 & 30 damage!) combine with Althea and Memnon’s powers to bring down one golem and the party try to fight off the dazing effects of the Naga and struggle to maneuver to take it and the remaining golem down…


A well placed twin strike from Tol destroys the remaining Golem. The adventurers work together – Switch charges the Naga and ‘marrows’ it with another mighty blow (29 damage) before Althea’s earth grasp strike knocks it to the chamber floor, where Memnon’s lance of faith burns it before Francisca moves here water sphere, dragging the Naga with it.

There is a rumble as another door somewhere in the chamber opens. As the heroes stab, burn, magic and shoot the Bone Naga to pieces, a four armed skeleton, with large scimitars rushes forwards and attacks Switch. Memnon rushes in and heals Switch, missing the skeleton with his mace and leaving himself open. The skeleton promptly hacks Memnon to within an inch of his life (MINUS 21 hitpoints!!!)

Francisca engulfs the skeleton wit her water sphere and Tol darts forwards, his twin strike thudding home into the six limbed skeleton as he exhalts the Cleric back to health. Althea burros through the boney floor, emerging behind the skeleton and striking it.

A furious Tiefling gets to his feet and with a roar, smashes into the Skeleton (Natural 20!) his wounds knitting together as radiant energy from a healing word washes over him. Althea’s fury rocks the skeleton before Switch leaps up, vaults off Memnon’s shield and decapitates it!

As its bones fall to join the others comprising the chamber floor, Francisca realises (Natural 20!) that the whole structure they are in has a certain sentience, which can be manipulated against them.

Advancing, the party passes a ring of silver runes around the diameter of the tunnel and faint ghostly voices warn them not to speak with him. Memnon realises that the runes are those used to bind a fiend mere seconds before a terrible voice greets the party from the end of a tunnel. There, a strange a terrible figure – part man, part snake, part insect, stands.

The Fiend says it would like to help the party but is ‘inconvenienced’, shrugging as ghostly red chains tethering it to the walls briefly become visible. Switch draws nearer, despite Memnon’s warnings and converses with it. On a ledge behind the fiend appear to be an ornate key, dagger and amulet. Tol and Memnon usher the party back down the tunnel, and as they withdraw, the Fiend roars and tears down the tunnel towards them, stopping only at the runes, which the party has thankfully just passed.

Ignoring the Fiend’s platitudes, the adventurers, having exhausted other options for exiting the chamber complex, return to an ornate, locked door they encountered earlier. The ornate key on the ledge behind the Fiend springs to mind, but Switch is quickly able to pick the lock with assistance from Francisca and Memnon. Stone steps descend into the darkness.

By the light of a flaming torch and sun rods, the group advances, feeling watched by the numerous skulls embedded into the walls. There is a sudden piercing scream from the skulls, as the door above and behind the party slams shut and skeletons leap from the walls, attacking. A spectral form with huge talons also emerges, its shape passing through the party members – battle is joined yet again!

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Dragon attack!

Down below, Tol hears a muffled thump as the Dragon lands on the island and engages the rest of the party, but as he moves to leave, he feels compelled to stay and gather more treasure. Above, Switch leaps onto Falorax’s back as Memnon’s divine powers burn the beast, Francisca’s spectral blades protect her from its attack and Althea’s hail of thorns pepper its hide.

Francisca creates visions of avarice that root Falorax to the spot as Switch’s blade strikes time and again (38 damage, 26 damage). With an angry roar, everything close to the Dragon goes black. Memnon and Francisca back out of the darkness as Switch clings on, stabbing again and again. A furious Falorax roars that ‘he’ll take Switch’s corpse to Trinklar too’, giving a clue as to Ozzie’s fate.

The Dragon darts out from the zone of darkness, trying to bite Francisca, but Memnon strikes with a beautifully accurate lance of faith (natural 20!), powered by the black wrath of hell (39 damage) and Althea knocks the beast prone with an earth grasp strike (Natural 20!). Switch keeps stabbing (39 damage) and Tol finally surfaces, having eventually brought himself to leave the Dragon’s hoard behind. Making his way to dry(ish) land, the Ranger marks Falorax for death (32damage) as his companions continue to rain down blows…

Marked for death

Blood gouts from the Dragon, swiftly followed by gobs of acid from his maw. Divine energies from Memnon and a disruptive strike from Tol heal or help avoid the worst of the damage. Switch lands yet another painful blow (natural 20!) whilst Francisca unleashes a mesmeric attack. Falorax finally manages to throw Switch from his back, but he receives several more blows as he does so. Roaring in anger, Falorax creates another zone of darkness.

A loud splash is heard. Memnon wades into the darkness, calling out that the Dragon isn’t there. Tol spies the wake of something passing by underwater and dives in after it (!!!). Falorax erupts from the swamp, biting Switch. With unerring accuracy, Francisca twists space, slamming the dragon to the ground and spraying acid blood everywhere. Tol resurfaces again, narrowly missing with a twin strike.

Falorax does not look well as he spits acid over Francisca and takes flight. Althea strikes him as he passes her. The Dragon pauses to bite her in return but her warden’s grasp pulls him away, his jaws snapping shut on thin air. Falorax gains height, arrows and lances of faith narrowly missing him as he goes. Althea’s crossbow finds its mark and as the dragon twists to attack her, her wardens grasp pulls him closer to the ground.

Livid, Falorax swears that rather than taking the heroes’ corpses to Trinklar, he’ll devour the lot of them, but his words ring hollow as Francisca’s illusory ambush dazzles him and Althea thunders, blasting the Dragon to the ground. The Heroes of Dymrak surge forwards, assisting each other to maximise their effectiveness.

Surrounded, the Dragon roars in frustration (and fear..?). A furious exchange of blows, slashes, magics, acid, clawing and biting ensues. In the end, it is swift trio of blows – Tol first, followed by Memnon and finally Althea that slays the Dragon. Falorax roars one last time and shakes the ground as he falls, stone dead.

As the heroes glance at one another, daring to believe that they have finally achieved their quest, there is a brilliant flare of light from Falorax. The collar around his neck suddenly bursts with light. Shielding their eyes, the heroes see the flesh sloughing from Falorax’s bones and the membrane of his wings withering and shrinking. To their horror the Dragon’s corpse twitches, then moves, clambering to its feet!!!

The Dragon corpse rumbles that he was Falorax and may be again. As the heroes ready themselves to receive his attack, an eerie, sing song female voice echoes in the air – the voice of Trinklar! The Black Seer says she doesn’t want to play games. Why, the party should come with the Dragon to her to collect their prize – she wouldn’t lift a finger against them. Francisca senses that they are being scryed.

Memnon invokes healing powers, assisting his companions and burning the Dracolich. Falorax attacks with necrotic breath, weakening the heroes before turning an evil eye on most of them. Surging forwards he takes to the air. There is a brief exchange of blows in which the party notes that although still formidable, Falorax is not as powerful now as he was before. Taken aback by the power of his evil gaze and low on their own powers, the heroes are unable to hold Falorax in check and he flies further into the swamp, submersing himself and vanishing from site.

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As seconds stretch into minutes, there is no further word from Trinklar, or sight of Falorax. The heroes turn to healing their wounds and raiding the Dragon’s hoard. Once satisfied, they return via convocation of Francisca’s Eagles to Luln, to spend the night and make their plans.

Tol, Memnon and Switch tell Althea and Francisca the back story and their own experiences of the Eyes of Traldar, the Seer and Black Seer. Francisca is adamant that her only interest is to retrieve Ozzie’s body and a plan of action is agreed; return to the Blight swamp, survey it from the air to find Trinklar’s lair. Thee, they may find and take down Falorax once and for all, retrieve Ozzie’s body and do both, if possible, without engaging Trinklar. An encounter with her could prove too costly.

Loshdain 27th Thaumont
Not long after dawn, the convocation of Eagle’s takes flight once more. The hunt is on!

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Journey to the Blight Swamp

At the tavern in Knosht, there is much pondering and discussion around the use of something (barrels of quicklime?) to help neutralize Falorax’s acid. The debate is disrupted by the arrival of a haughty Glantrian woman who appears via portal, announcing herself as Francisca. Francisca says she has been sent by the Glantrian Ambassador to assist the adventurers.

Whilst Althea sh*t stirs gleefully, Francisca introduces and elderly man as Bób, as the greatest Wizard in all Glaantri. The wizened Wizard apparently sensed trouble with a linked portal Ozzy was building which raised the alarm as to Ozzie’s demise and prompted the Ambassador’s mission of help. Whilst the other ponder how happy the-powers-that-be may be to discover Ozzie was assisting a foreign power to have a backdoor into Karameikos, Tol notices that the beer isn’t quite up to its usual standard. The innkeeper agrees, saying that he just hasn’t been able to brew it the same lately…

Moldain 25th Thaumont
In the morning Francisca summons a convocation of celestial Eagles to fly the party to rendezvous with Memnon at Eltan’s Spring. There, evidence of the dragon attack and the machinations of the Black Eagle Barony are evident in the scorched partially-constructed temple, the razed smithy and some burnt-out homesteads. They swiftly reunite with a very somber Cleric (well, he has just lost his father..?) and within the hour, Memnon is good to go, delivering a rousing oratory to the villagers (natural 20!) before departing, firing them up to help see them through the present difficulties in his absence. The cleric has diverted funds from the construction of the temple to rebuild the destroyed smithy and homesteads. Mhorgash has made his excuse and left earlier in the day, along with the Black Eagle Barony guardsmen, making something of a mockery of the apparent thirst for vengeance displayed yesterday for his fallen brother.

On the approach to Threshold, the party is intercepted by an Order of the Griffon patrol, but all is well after a friendly conversation. Later in the day the convocation reaches Luln, causing something of a commotion as it lands. The excitement soon fades and the adventurers settle down in the tavern for the night.

Moldain 25th Thaumont
An early morning visit to the local alchemist yields nothing of any value. Francisca summons the convocation of eagles and once more the adventurers take flight.

Arriving over the Blight Swamp, visibility is low due to the mists rising from the morass. Dropping lower and passing over the Caymen village, there are no fires burning, nor any signs of movement. The water level in the swamp has noticeably risen too.

Blight swamp

Shortly, the convocation arrives at what Tol remembers as being the site of Falorax’s lair. What are now four islands sit around the pool from which Falorax emerged. The air is cold and clammy with an acrid smell of dying vegetation. Any trees and vegetation on the islands are shriveled and blackened. The party puts their plan into action. Memnon and Althea stand guard on the largest island, whilst Fran circles the area on her eagle. Switch dons his Cap of Water Breathing as he and Tol prepare to dive into the pool and attempt to locate the dragon’s lair.

Diving, they discover a noticeable drop off in the centre of the pool –almost like a flooded tower. Descending, they encounter several openings on the sides. They explore one together, the acrid water stinging their eyes and throats and Tol’s gills, eventually coming out at the surface of the swamp, some distance away from where they set off. Summoning their eagles, they return to the pool.

The duo dive again, this time exploring separate shafts. Tol ends up back at the surface of the swamp. Switch swims down and down to a silt-choked curve in what turns out to be the u bend of a shaft. Rising, he eventually bangs his head on a rock ceiling. He can sense a wider space around him, but see little, despite the sun rod, and he is slowly burning from the acidic water. He returns to the rest of the group, picking up a few coins from the silt at the bottom of the shaft as he passes.

Upon hearing his report, all agree that the journey switch has just undertaken is most likely to lead to the Falorax’s lair. Tol communes with nature (Natural 20!) and receives answers to several questions:
• Yes, there is an entrance to a sub-aquatic chamber below this island
• It contains air
• The entrance is via this pool
• Falorax is not currently there
Fran protects Tol from acid damage with a spell and the ranger sets off by himself to explore further.

As the others wait on the island, Fran nervously passes the time studying the magical emanations she senses in this location. Focusing her mind, she realises what she is sensing is old magic. Far older than any she has experienced before…

Tol makes it to the bottom of the u bend, pocketing some coins himself and finding many bones in the silt too. Further up the shaft, he spies barrels, crates and other non degradable items stashed in alcoves. Spying an opening near the ceiling of the shaft, he passes through and emerges into a pocket of air. Before him lies a treasure trove of items, including an immediately recognisable ‘horn of plenty’ that formerly belonged to the Heroes of Dymrak!

Topside, any lingering doubt as to the nature of the lair is obliterated, as a furious voice booms “INTRUDERS!!!” and Falorax descends towards the island, spitting acid. Switch heroically leaps past his eagle and into the swamp (Natural 1!), Memnon goes diabolic and a startled Francisca is able to slow the dragon with her magics. This doesn’t stop him from biting Althea, although her fury shakes the earth in return, wounding the beast. Memnon’s Lance of Faith arcs past Falorax, as behind the dragon, Switch clambers onto his eagle and draws his sword. The third conflict begins..!

Falorax in swamp

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The Battle of Knosht (or Never Laugh at Live Dragons)

As Falorax swoops down, Ozzie twists space, teleporting the Dragon down to earth where despite being slowed, it savagely claws Memnon. As Switch’s blade flickers through the Dragon’s hide, Tol’s arrows fly wide of their mark, causing the range to bitterly invoke his new patron god “‘Kinnel”. Althea move opposite Memnon to flank Falorax, but her blow fails to get through the armoured hide. A volley of crossbow bolts from the Black Eagle Barony guardsmen cause Falorax to flinch in pain.

Memnon channels Halav’s Divine Radiance, burning Falorax before Ozzie’s Phantom Chasm causes the beast to tumble to the ground. Getting back on its paws, Falorax gobs acid over Switch and Memnon, before swooping over the clearing to attack the guardsmen (Tol, Althea and Switch’s blows missing), snapping jaws missing by inches due to th cover provided by tree branches. Their return volley makes Falorax growl in pain before Ozzie teleports him back to the Phantom Chasm, where he again falls to the ground. (Worryingly, Ozzie seems to be having a conversation with himself. Or is it with the Black opal Eye of Traldar…)

Falorax clambers to his feet and as the party rushes over the clearing to engage him again, he draws himself up, his dark magnificence stunning almost all of them. The Dragon targets Ozzie, who teleports away to safety, creating a wall of fire that surrounds the dragon with purple-tinged flame. As Ozzie reappears, he seems to be both in pain and arguing with himself…. Falorax launches himself out of the flames, melting a guardsman with his acid and roaring at his adversaries, sounding more eloquent and coherent than he did at Fort Doom.

Guardians of the Gate join the fray –a Sword Mage Jason Driftstaff and Sorceror Frederic Griffon. Falorax conjures an area of darkness around himself, but Ozzie implores the Black Opal Eye for aid and with a triumphant cry (natural 20!) pulls Falorax fro out of his darkness and into the wall of fire. As Falorax is dragged from the safety of his dark zone, readied actions unleash a hail of arrows, crossbow bolts and divine energies, which largely patter of his armoured hide.

Switch charges in, stabbing Falorax in the back (41damage) before exerting himself to strike again (33 damage!). black blood gouts from the wound as Falorax howls in pain. A splintering shot from Tol sinks home (29 damage). Altheas’ pulverising impact doesn’t and Memnon growls, bones and muscles creaking as he transforms into diabolic form, his Beacon of Hope weakening the Dragon as it heals his companions. Falorax takes a chunk out of Jason driftstaff before taking wing and flying over Memnon’s head back into his dark zone. The Cleric seizes the opportunity to land a mighty blow, the black wrath of hell driving his flaming mace to flare brightly as it makes contact (44 damage!).

The adventurers consolidate their position, Memnon curing a mass of light wounds before Ozzie dispels Falorax’s dark zone. A surprised –looking Falorax receives a volley of crossbow bolts from the guardsmen, before he surges forwards and creates a new dark zone, enveloping most of th party in inky darkness. As his companions stumble back into the light of day, Ozzie magicks push Falorax into the wall of fire yet again. The wizard, perhaps drunk with power from the Black Opal Eye, then teleports recklessly close to the beast, taunting him with the question “Did that hurt..?”

Falorax soars over to Ozzie, furiously slicing at him with his claws (31 damage). As the others look on in horror, Ozzies’ lifeless body falls to the ground. Falorax asks Ozzie’s corpse “Did THAT hurt?” before savaging it. Hooves thunder as Mhorgash rides a foaming mount into battle, crying “For my Brother!” Memnon falters as the implication of his Uncle’s words sink home and as Mhorgash’s attack fires wide of target, Falorax takes flight, Ozzie’s body, complete with Black Opal Eye, in his jaws.
A fusillade of arrows and bolts follow the dragon, but it is quickly out of range and soon a mere dot in the distance…

In the aftermath of the battle, Ozwart’s College is secured, the children from the Vale of Frost visited and found safe (and secure…) and the Black Eagle Guardsmen depart. Discussion turns to what to do next. Memnon and Mhorgash state that they are to return to Eltan’s Spring to deal with Mortenos’ death. The others agree to meet them there the following day, after discussing a plan of action for what to do next. (Althea seems more than a little sniffy that the adventurers aren’t setting off immediately to try and recover Ozzie’s body.)

Memnon arrives at Eltan’s Spring to find the smithy flattened, the partially constructed temple burnt in places by acid and of course, his parent’s home burnt to the ground. Gorgo, his mother, appears well, as Memnon finds her organising and ordering villagers about. Gorgo is furious to see Mhorgash who she proclaims to have hid whilst sending her husband out to die. Mhorgash retreats to the Crock and Goblet tavern whilst Memnon and Gorgo talk. Subsequently nobody else is around to notice how pale and drawn Memnon looks when he has heard what his mother has to say…

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The eye of the storm
Dragon Day

Ozzie interrogates the eye and discovers:

Bargle didn’t try to find out about the powers of the eye
The eye was torn from the hands of a charred corpse
The eye caused a flash of fire which charred a hand not clear
The power of the eye was one of far seeing and being able to cast spells through the eye to what can be seen. Ozzie sees the Traldarian legionnaires walking through the blight swamp and being attacked by dark whispy figures.

Tol goes for a swim in the lake to see what he can find in terms of artefacts as he can breathe underwater. He discovers what might have been one very very large structure in the lake, looking like it has been totally blasted or exploded. He hits a dead magic zone while he is down there and comes to the surface spluttering.

We do some planning. Esmeramus Hawkwing is sent to Eltan’s Springs to warn them and to message is back. The apprentice wizards are used as magic missile artillery. The villagers are sent into the woods to hide after making hides and cover for those wizard artillery.

Tserdain 24th Thaumont
h3. Dragon Day
Three days later – Dragon day, the tension is rising. We receive a message Eltan’s Springs damaged, Esmeramus is injured and the dragon is on its way.

We hear the heavy flap of wings and Ozzie is standing out the front awaiting Falarax, with Althea standing beside him. The others are standing under the treeline.

Falarax sees Ozzie many lands nearby, he demands to have Bargle, Ozzie tells him he is not here, Falarax can smell him and the people in the trees.

Ozzie fires a prismatic burst which burns and blinds the dragon temporarily. Arrows and cross bow bolts are fired at the dragon as it flaps angrily and blindly into the air, breathing acid in a vain effort to strike at its foes. The apprentices fire their magic missiles and withdraw as Falarax continues to climb cumbersomely into the air his scales aflame with radiation burns from Ozzie’s Prismatic burst.

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