Dalelands

Dalelands, Session 21

On the top floor the group finally catches up with Sister Tara and the kenku pirates. Sadly they seem to be working together.  Their tale that they had wanted revenge on her apparently has been nothing other than a ruse.

Tara demands that the Sword of the Dales to be handed to her so she can destroy it in the magical circle in the middle of the room to recall Gothyl from the abyss and increase her power manyfold. An ominous stone statue of Pazuzu is towering on the other side of the room.

Suddenly Kerrick notices that Blooddrinker's hilt is suddenly looking a bit like the one of the Sword of the Dales. So the group hands over the wrong blade wrapped in cloak. Nimue throws it into the circle. The evil ritual book which Tara uses seems to be powerful enough to even destroy the profane artifact! A portal opens in the circle and tentacles burst from the floor entangling several of the kenku pirates. Tara is searching frantically in her book for a way to stop this while the statue of Pazuzu seems to be slowly disintegrating! The golem is announcing that the Zhentarim are advancing from below.

Nimue flies over to Tara and wrests the book from her. Shiel commands the golem to free some of the unlucky kenku from the tentacles and shouts for everyone to escape downstairs. The Zhents however are just running up the stairs. Some of the tentacles make a part of the tower walls collapse with their thrashing. Tara flies over to the hole and curses at the party. Sadly she is grabbed by one of the tentacles and pulled back before she can fly to safety with her astral wings. The group cautiously moves closer to the hole in the wall, eventually even freeing Tara from the tentacles which she uses to fly out of the hole. Some of the kenkus make it outside, some are crushed by the tentacles. Since they are not able to fly a few fall to their deaths.

Nimue tosses the book into the devourer's mouth which hastens the destruction of the tower, the mouth is even gushing blood! Yuck!

The group has reached the hole as well and starts their climb down. Kerrick slips and tumbles down. Instead of dying he calls on Pazuzu's power who provides him with black wings to break his fall. Luckily there will be no repercussions for that obviously…

With the Mentor's help Shiel gets down safely on the ground. The group flees from the collapsing and exploding tower. The search for the kenku turns up only a corpse or two but a few treasures are found in the tower ruins.

The party prepare to return to Stormpenhauder to heal up. On the way back they find one of the captured Zhentarim whose corpse is hanging from a tree. Apparently Horrick hasn't been able to contain his hatred of the 'dirty Zhents'.

At Stormpenhauder the party is greeted by the mayor and most of the village. Horrick is a bit miffed that Thana reproaches him for killing his helpless captive. Darian reveals that he doesn't really want to follow Chauntea's teaching. Rather he reveals that he's one of the last acolytes of Tymora, the goddess of luck. He just wanted to know more about the 'old faiths'. He has some good news for Thana however. In Shadowdale, the temple of Tymora houses "something she needs". He even hands her the key to the abandoned temple!

Mourim is suffering from the demonic corruption however and seems to be beyond help. The Mentor however reveals that he is really an exalted from Mount Celestia and can help Mourim. This however would drain his remaining strength and leave him unable to revisit this plane for one hundred years! He finally makes that sacrifice, asking the group to tell his great granddaughter, Rondra Morn. Mourim recovers. The next destination will be Shadowdale and its abandoned temple of Tymora.

 

 

 

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Dalelands, Session 20

The group decide to check the cellar of the tower first. In the basement they happen on a scene of cultists surrounding a summoning circle which according to Nimue is of superior craftsmanship. As above, the scene is frozen in time. On the other side of the room is a familiar gate to the abyss which resembles the one below Shadowdale. 

Unaffected by the magic of the tower there's a demon at a blood basin similar to the one below the inn. He turns into a familiar figure, one of the head assassins in Shadowdale. He confirms that the cultists seem to be working for the Devourer and thus are beneath notice. He however is serving a greater master, Bhaal. Also he's been tasked to procure the black book from Sister Tara. Apparently his group has been trying to create a new such book in Shadowdale before the adventurers put a stop to it and helped seal the portal.

The Mentor finally rejoins the party downstairs and they decide to put a stop to the demonic rogue. The Mentor suggests using the circle to open a gate to the Astral Sea and request help from Mount Celestia…which might be necessary as the assassin immediately leaps into action stabbing Nimue and downing her…or not, since she's semi-undead anyway and thus is not stopped as easily.

Shiel punches s cultist at the circle in the face to drive him from the circle which also reanimates the remaining cultists. The assassin is shocked that "Bhaal's dagger" didn't put an end to Nimue. A chaotic melee erupts. The cultists are luckily pretty aimless, even the assassin has problems picking his marks. 

Two hound archons burst from the circle and also assault the assassin. Hit from all sides he transforms back into a demon and leaps into the blood fountain, not without threatening dire consquences to the party.

The Mentor explains that the ritual to summon the hounds has been a part of the magic practiced by the paladins of the Order of the Sword. The archons ask Thana how the "capture of the traitor, the Rakshasa is coming along?" Thana replies that her current reincarnation doesn't have her full memories back. The archons tell her that "the tower can help her with that".

One of the archons sacrifices his essence to close the blood well, one of the altars dedicated to Bhaal. 

The remaining hound archon reveals another scene from the past, apparently on the Astral Plane. Shiel as Shraevin receives some Elven knights of Myth Dranor and Odos who brought him the Githyanki blade in exchange for a mind flayers head. But apparently "Shraevin" is really a deva. Loathing Elves and not wanting any witnesses to the origin of his soon mighty sword, he slays the knights. Thana is horrified and steps into the scene to stop the Deva. She turns into a former, mightier incarnation of herself. Shiel, who partly relived the scene, reappears on the floor with gaping hole in the chest. Apparently he's dead. Does this mean Shraevin never returned from his quest into the Astral Sea but was replaced by an evil Deva? 

The Deva, Cersos, accuses Thana of being inactive in the great Elven war called "The Crown War", in which the Dark Elves turned into drows. Cersos on the other hand had aided some of the elfs, but was later betrayed by them. The slipping Deva was incarcerated on the Astral Plane. The only way to rectify things is to take the mantle of rulership for himself! Thana cannot let this happen so she casts him down to live as a rakshasa until he atones for his sins! Cersos is beside himself with rage and uses this moment to call on Pazuzu who appears in the summoning circle! Apparently Cersos is ready to convert to Pazuzu! Thana steps between them and fights Pazuzu. Cersos grabs the sword and flees. While Thana turns to him, Pazuzu strikes her down! The vision ends and Thana returns to her younger self. She is deeply irritated by what she has learned. Memories of lifetimes spent in pursuit and combat flicker before her inner eye. Chaunteas mission to strengthen the faith may be the mission of her current incarnation, but the hunt for Cersos has been her mission for centuries and millenia. And something personal still seems to be missing from her memories. Something deeply painful. Something that is connected to the fairie puppet.

The Mentor and the remaining hound archon reseal the gate to the abyss. Shiel luckily isn't dead, but the final fate of Shraevin seems to have been revealed!

According to the servitor golem the Zhentarim seem to have breached the 2nd and 4th floor. They're in the eternal battle however.

On the 3rd floor Shiel, this time as Shraevin/Cersos faces Gothyl/Hedistrin once again. Apparently Cersos used part of Hedistrin's soul to be able to tap on her psionic powers and control it. Cersos charges Gothyl to impale her with his sword but the claw of Pazuzu around her neck bursts into flames and incinerates him. This has been the end of "Shraevin" and one of Cersos' previous incarnations. 

At least Pazuzu must have had a lot of fun pitting his own pawns against each other.

 

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Dalelands, Session 19
Rakshasas & Rituals

The party arrives on the forth floor of the tower. Strangely they seem to be on a grassy plains where an army of orcs and other monsters is facing and army of dalesmen. The witch Gothyl seems to be leading the massive horde which outnumbers the dalespeople by about two to one. Thana knows of the conflict which happened hundreds of years ago which ended with Gothyl's death. But she managed to take the Mantled King with her.

Sadly Shiel seems to embody the Mantled King here. Gothyl for some reason seems to be hellbent on delivering justice on the Mantled King and to destroy the symbol of his rulership, the Sword of the Dales. When Shiel reproaches her for leading an army of monsters and asks what injustice he has visited on others, Gothyl orders her army to attack!

In the first moments of combat the orcs are cutting a bloody path through the defenders. Thana places down a holy area which heals wounded allies and damages the attackers which stay in it. Kerrick meanwhile has snuck behind enemy lines and tries to get at Gothyl who keeps pelting him with harmful spells. 

Thana, while looking at Shiel who stands in Glimmer's light sees the shadow of a tiger creature, a rakshasa which she recognizes being a deva. Nimue's spell allows Shiel to fly at Gothyl and deliver to her slash charged with psionic energies.

Gothyl explodes, black shards also take Shiel down. Thana heals him and asks him about any recollectings of being a rakshasa but he can't provide any answers. Does this mean Shraevyn has been replaced by a rakshasa at some point? Thana seems distracted, troubled by memories or the lack of them. She pulls out and fiddles a Faerie Puppet that had caught her eye on a market in Shadow Dale. Somehow there is a connection.

In any case, Hedistrin suggests actually travelling downstairs since the group somehow jumped from the first to the forth floor. Mage towers……

A floor down the group happens on a scene of Hedistrin getting ready to summon Pazuzu. Dark shadows coalesce into a winged creature. Apparently he is only visible to Kerrick. Pazuzu offers Kerrick riches and female companions, all for helping him by saving Sister Tara. Kerrick tries to weasel around promising to help the demon directly.

Suddenly, the scene which has unfolded restarts and the group witnesses Hedistrin talk to Pazuzu. Pazuzu reveals to her that her husband has not been himself lately…literally. He's been replaced by an ancient creature which harbors a deep hatred for elves.

Also Hedistrin wants to know what her husband has done to her. Pazuzu tells her that he has needed her psionic powers and thus tied her soul to the sword. To sever that bond, Hedistrin would have to travel to the 230th layer of the Abyss.

Apparently Hedistrin has turned into Gothyl not long after. The group visits another scene where a demon tells her about the impending demon attack on Myth Drannor. Also it delights her that her husband will be there defending the city.

Nimue notes that all the past stories may be lies shown by Pazuzu. She suggests capturing Sister Tara to get the truth out of her. 

 

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Dalelands, Session 18
Schrödinger's Undead

The two captured Zhentarim soldiers don't seem to know much apart from the fact that they were sent to clear the way to the tower for the adventurers in hopes that more Zhentarim will be able to capture it once it is unsealed.

Horrick seems eager to lynch them while Shiel would like to trap them in the caves until their return so they can be brought to justice in a town. To his dismay Horrick is sent to take the captives to Stormpenhauder together with Mourim who still hasn't woken up.

At night, Shiel has nightmares about the death of his father, and the two captives vividly appear in it taking part in his slaughter.

The party finally reaches the Tower of Dreams. An old iron golem is guarding the front door. In his chest is a hole which appears to be shaped like Shraevyn's magical key. Kerrick determines that the mechanism seems to be of elven make. After inserting the key the golem stutters into action. Hedistrin who seems to be a lot more alive closer to the tower casts a spell and the top of the tower seems to darken and to be covered in vines. Apparently someone has invaded the tower in some other way.

The golem is supposed to anchor the tower to this plane and seems to have problems. Also the forest foliage around the tower seems to be withering indicating an evil presense within the tower. Nimue tries to charge the golem with her lightning spells while Thana asks for Chauntea's help. Shiel tries to power the golem further with his sword.

Finally, the darkness is pushed back and the tower once again the pure marble to the tower shines brightly. The golem manages to force the door open.

Inside the shape of an old man floating over a pentagram distracts the adventurers. When Nimue and Kerrick enter the tower they vanish in a black smoke! The old man awakens and asks the remaining adventurers for help. Following Hedistrin's advice, Shiel sends the golem to go into the tower thereby reanchoring it. 

Nimue and Kerrick suddenly reappear, but the golem seems to have been destroyed. The old man calls himself "The Mentor", tasked by the Order of the Sword to reawaken the belief in the old gods.

Apparently the daughter of Pazuzu and a demon princess from the Abyss seems to have been responsible for his plight. Apparently Sister Tara is at it again!

The Mentor is confused about Nimue's undead state. She seems to both undead and not… He suggests Nimue should visit Eschental before snapping back to his senses.

He's afraid the world is on its way to fall into the darkness. Also he keeps mumbling about "the witch" who imprisoned him. He's seen flesh tunnels like the ones below Shadowdale as well. Apparently he's also infused with the power of the old gods since he's able to shatter the pentagram circle once out by simply touching it.

The party moves up to the first floor. There they seem to witness the moment of the creation of the Sword of the Dales. Apparently Shiel is supposed to take Shraevyn's place in this scene with Hedistrin and the golem from below standing close to the altar on which the sword awaits the finishing touches. Three knights of Myth Drannor are guarding the room. Suddenly the golem grabs Hedistrin and tries to sacrifice her. The shocked Shiel tries to order the golem to stop which replies that terminating the ritual would destroy the tower and kill everyone in it. Nimue notices that the golem's magic seems to be tied to the Abyss and Kerrick notices his cursed amulet hanging around its neck. Shiel notices that his sword is gone, apparently it is just in the process of being created! So he jumps at the golem to rip the amulet from its neck in which he succeeds, tumbling to the floor!

The "Knights of Myth Drannor" morph into two wraiths and a shadow demon! With curses on their lips they leap at the group!

The shadow demon employs a deadly fear aura and necrotic attacks while the wraiths try to siphon the group's life force. They are vulnerable to holy powers though. Thana's radiant attacks appear to counteract the demon's and the wraith's insubstantiality. Shiel manages to sic the golem on the shadow demon.

Finally the concerted efforts of the adventurers which are joined by the Mentor slay the shadow demon. Hedistrin doesn't seem to be relieved and seems to be annoyed with Shraevin/Shiel and blasts him against the wall before storming upstairs in fury. Then, the old Hedistrin fades back in. Since she doesn't have any recollection of what just happened the party proceeds to climb up the stairs.

 

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Dalelands, Session 17

Further along in the caverns the group happens on a drow patrol who mutter something about 'damned spider worshippers'. Apparently Madarn knows them, they appear to be among his regular customers. The drows are wearing black mantles adorned with feathers. The drow introduces himself as Ma'arth. He and his group are now worshipping the Raven Queen. His house had been helped by adventurers to overthrow the rule of Lolth. 

First, they had adopted Kelemnvor as their god, who has been replaced by the Raven Queen when a large group of svirfneblin have brought the belief to them. Now, the drow and svirfneblin are living together in peace in a larger settlement. 

The drow are on their way to Maerimydra, a fallen drow settlement to uncover clues about a weird plague. Salt water lakes are appearing underground, apparently pisco demons have been sighted and Ma'arth fears a demonic incursion from the Abyss. Also the Tower of Dreams is said to be infested by demons as well according to their matriarch, Narseth.

The group obtains a map of the planned drow advance camp near Myth Drannor and a writing describing them as allies. Madarn is sent back to his hometown to send the kenku pirates to the Tower of Dreams while the party takes a more direct approach, approaching the current tower location from below.

When they leave the caverns however they happen on a Zhentarim camp. Trying to spook their horses misfires, so the group has lost the element of surprise.

Their leader blocks Kerrick's first attack but the group quickly rushes in and a wild melee, interrupted by the occational windstorm from Nimue.

The Zhentarim prove no match for the adventurers' onslaught and are quickly overwhelmed. The group decide to let one of them live for further questioning and tie him up.

 

 

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Dalelands, Session 16

Eragyn doesn't waste much time and lets her ettercap guards relieve her prisoners of their weapons. Their leaders, a minotaur named Brak and a gnoll named Ed try (semi successfully) to separate male and female prisoners into the cells. Their weapons are thrown carelessly into a big chest in the middle of the corridor.

Kerrick uses his mask to disguise as Eragyn, he does have to get rid of his clothes first. He manages to trick Ed and Brak telling them that 'the bird has escaped'. They run off to search in another part of the 'palace'. Kerrick opens the chest with the looted equipment, but sadly Glimmer is ALSO confused by the disguise and starts blasting him.

The two ettercap guards which investigate the commotion quickly see through his magical disguise however and rush him. He manage to severely wound one of them with his crossbow and to open Thana's cell door.

Eragyn, disturbed by the commotion opens the door to the corridor just after Nimue has been released from her cell. She has Mourim's blade in her hands and her eyes are pitch black. Unhealthy looking veins criss-cross over her body. Eeep.

Even worse, she impales and down Thana with one thrust with Blooddrinker. Finally, the rest of the group manages to open Shiel's cell door. Shiel dashes out, grabs a fallen guard's mace and runs up to Thana to revive her with some emergency aid which works.

Eragyn's face is contorted with bestial rage and even her teeth look almost shark-like! Kerrick manages to kill the remaining ettercap guard, while Eragyn stabs Shiel with a savage slash.

Ed returns with bad news that the bird is still at large. He is fooled once again by Kerrick who still looks like his mistress to rush his mistress which looks a lot more bestial right now. Anyone confused yet? Ed sure is!

Shiel uses the confusion and grabs Nimue's dagger and his sword from the chest. His attempt to slide the dagger over to Nimue falls short by a few squares.

Eragyn doesn't distinguish between friend and foe anymore and impales poor Ed. She lacerates the group with vicious slashes. Only Kerrick really causes serious damage while Thana keeps healing the horrible injuries Eragyn inflicts.

Finally, Eragyn is mortally wounded and explodes in a fountain of ichor. The exhausted group frees their captive comrades which are also still poisoned by the spider bites and then proceeds to secure Eragyn's magical items.

Mourim is also rescued though heavily sedated. Shiel recovers his armor while Nimue pockets Blooddrinker and tucks it safely into some heavy wrappings.

Now it's just escaping the temple in one piece!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dalelands, Session 15
Death by Snu-Snu

The party frantically tries to get inside to prevent the ettercaps from mauling the helpless Nimue. Thana torches the next ensnaring her burning Nimue in the process. The ettercaps spear wielders cause a lot of damage with their thrown weapons.

From behind, the spiderlings crawl towards the back of the group and sink their fangs into Kerrick who promptly dispatches most of them.

Shiel blocks a spear meant for Thana before one of the ettercaps throws a web which covers the entire entrance. It's hard to move in it, some of the attackers are even entangled so they cannot move.

Nimue keeps causing localized winds inside the entrance which tear at the spider-like creatures. After two of the spear wielders are slain, the rest of the ettercaps retreat, closing a wall behind them.

Nimue finds a scrollcase in the wreckage and Madarn rewards the group with some money for their troubles after he cuts apart the spiders.

The walls contain some runes that detail that the mechanism at the entrance was originally intended to keep the creatures of the underdark at bay.

After opening the entrance the party reaches a large hall. At the end of the hall a statue of Malar sits on a huge pedestal. The walls are littered with cocoons probably containing the spiders' victims. Sadly the huge fiendish dire spider which has kidnapped Mourim is sleeping on the wall. Shiel tries to cut free one of the victims, but the cocoon emits a cloud of spider hatchlings. While he is stomping the little spiders, their mother awakens and seems mightily enraged. Combat ensues.

Kerrick charges the spiders and cuts it deeply before it traps him and Shiel in a large web which it spits at the two frontline fighters. Even though it attacks with a flurry of legs and bites it doesn't deal decisive damage to the melee fighters and has to retreat slowly spitting out a new net while it crawls backwards.

It digs into the stairs which are leading up to the pedestal. After Kerrick and Shiel hurt it badly enough it stomps onto the floor which makes two columns collapse.

The huge spider's eyes flare red and Shiel suddenly collapses, woozy from the spider venom! At the same moment, the back line collapses under a hail of sleep darts.

A wild elf woman, accompagnied by spiders enters the hall and inquires how the adventurers could dare defile the temple of Malar. The little spiders overwhelm the party's allies. The woman tells them that she has to sacrifice a man to Malar each month, apparently she's chosen Mourim as a suitable candidate.

Nimue offers her Blooddrinker, Mourim's cursed blade as a recompense. The wild elf demands one of the men as a tribute, the others will be able allowed to leave if she also gets the sword. After all, it's a holy day according to her, Eragyn the Dark, priestess of Malar.

Nimue relinquishes Blooddrinker to Eragyn who orders them to follow her to "their quarters".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dalelands, Session 14

The party reaches Stormpenhauder, Madarn's hometown. The head of the city introduces himself as Telimas Dreamweaver, a cleric of Sehanine Moonbow. When asked why they are worshipping an elvish goddess, he answers that they need her protection in  this hostile territory. Since then the town has prospered.

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Apparently Tara has indeed visited the town before like Madarn told them, and she's left a flock of annoying kenku. Kerrick recognizes them as Peke Redcliffe's band of pirates which have sailed upstream from Sembia. He uses his power of mimicry to pose as a human barmaid.

The pirates don't seem to be allied with Tara after all. In fact they're after her since she's stolen part of their booty including a spellbook of great power. Ilthond seems to have been one of their customers and has been supposed to buy the book from them. The pirates suspect that Tara has been responsible for sabotaging their ship so they have had to go on land. She has shortly afterwards made her escape with the book. Kerrick tells them that she isn't really a kenku after all. The pirates have never seen her as anything else though. They have had some run-ins with the Dons though in which they have lost half of their crew.

Thana asks Telimas about the vivid nightmares several of the group have had since Sehanine also governs the dreams. Only Shiel agrees to tell him about his nightmare when asked. Telimas identifies the old creature as an Obyrith who once governed the upper layers of the abyss until they were betrayed by lower demons and mostly eradicated by the Tanar'ri.

Telimas tells the adventurers that a lot of the villagers have started having nightmares involving a dark tower in the forest surrounded by flying creatures. After mentioning Pazuzu Talimas tells them that he also joined the Tanar'ri in betraying their old masters. Also he's known to offer his aid to mortals for a terrible price usually involving their corruption. He's attracted by people with pure intentions. 

Telimas also examines Mourim's sword, Blooddrinker. He thinks that is possessed by a Loumara, a spectral demon kind from the 230th layer of the Abyss who are created by fraying dreams of dead gods.

When asked why he has such detailed knowledge, he tells them that he was visited by 'The Mentor', a mysterious figure from the Order of the Sword who has told him that even though most gods are dead, the power of belief still carry weight in this world. Mourim may be held close to the Melis'har lake in the old ruins. Worried about Nimue's brother the group stocks up on antitoxins and heads out to the lake…

At the edge of the lake the party finds the ruins of some elven (drow(?)) manor, but it seems to have been been destroyed long ago. The columns in front of the manor only seem to have been recently destroyed, perhaps a few months ago. They seem to have been constructed a long time later than the rest of the ruins. They are also covered with protective runes indicating worshippers of Sehanine. Now they are rubble close to the entrance gate though. Spider tracks of impressive size cover the area in front of the entrance which itself is walled off with a giant spider web.

When Nimue applies a torch to it the web burns quickly. The group hears mental cries of anguish when it burns. In the rubble Thana finds a blessed mace which carries the runes of the Mentor. Madarn confirms that the old man left in this direction. The destruction of the columns indicates a battle of epic proportions which must have taken place a long time ago.

Nimue enters the gate and is greeted with a giant web which drops down on her. Ettercaps scurry out of the inside to attack!

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Dalelands, Session 13

The pursuers aren't far behind according to the noises. Kerrick scatters a lot of caltrops on the floor and the party emerges behind a waterfall. Horrick and Nimue manage to tie a sturdy rope to a tree on the opposing riverbank. After rescuing Thana with a grappling a grappling hook the group sets off in a slightly wrong direction.

They finally reach the Spiderhaunt woods at night and decide camp before searching for Shraevin's tower in the morning. According to Hedistrin who appears at their campsite, the tower is only a few miles away. She does sense hostility from the tower however which seems very strange to her.

Most of the adventurers fall into an uneasy sleep. In his dream, Kerrick meets Tara who tells him that hero lord (Pazuzu) claims the tower as his own. Ravens are circling around the tower. She offers him the raven claw amulet as a sign to renew his faith but Kerrick refuses. Enraged, Tara crushes the amulet making his heart feel like it's bursting. Kerrick awakes in cold sweat.

Shiel finds himself in what appears Myth Drannor during its apex of splendor. He wanders through the city marvelling at the art and other wonders which the city holds. Suddenly, foul demons appear and begin to slaughter the city people. Even paladins of Corellon aren't able to withstand the demonic assault and are devoured. Shiel is finally the only survivor and jumps into the maw of a huge creature trying to slice it but is devoured as well. He wakes screaming in his bedroll.

Hedistrin reaches into Thana's mind but cannot find anything about Myth Drannor's fall. She does the same to Shiel who feels very ill and reveals that three demon generals participated in the attack on Myth Drannor but were slain. Enraged, their armies destroyed the city. Hedistrin narrates that most of the demons have been Tanar'ri, she calls them 'younger demons'. The maw however she declares as being even older than the generals, a creature born from the chaos of the Abyss.

Nimue wakes on an altar surrounded by sahaguin, even her brother Mourim is at her side, but he rebukes her for defying the Devourer. As she is tied down she cannot really resist and is killed by his hand.

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Thana tries to calm her in her sleep but Nimue resists and summons the storms in her heart who materialize as Umberlee. This version however has a gaping hole in her chest. Umberlee remarks it was 'necessary' and tasks Nimue to find her body in the deeps. She also cautions her not to trust Mourim who she sees as lost. Black tentacles signal the power of the Devourer so Umberlee cuts the meeting short.

Apparently Umberlee has been responsible for Nimue's current condition. Traveling onwards, the group happens on an old road and a peculiar spectacle. A gnome is trying to force a giant spider into a cage on his cart. The beast resists fiercely. He introduces himself as a spider hunter, salesman of rare poisons. After Shiel helps him push the spider onto the cart, he introduces himself as Madarn, hunter of spiders. He notices Kerrick and remarks that he has just seen another kenku in his home village, probably Tara. He even hands Kerrick a vial of poison as a present.

Suddenly a larger group of spiders approaches the cart. Madarn promises the group a hefty reward if they can deliver the spider parts to him.

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The spiders consist out of several swarms, a lot of spiderlings and nasty poison spewing Feyspitters who can emit a noxious fluid at the adventurers hitting Nimue and Shiel. Mourim whisks over the battlefield and impales a Feyspitter with his bone dagger which sucks the spider dry.

Nimue indiscriminately blasts Shiel and the spider swarms and injures all of them…several times.

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Madarn notices a huge spider approaching. A dire spider bursts from the foliage and grabs Mourim who drops his devourer blade and slumps lifelessly in its grip. The giant spider carries him off.

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Dalelands, Session 12
Swords & Skeletons

Searching the remaining corridor, the party finds yet another big chamber. Judging by two highly decorated coffins it may indeed be the resting place of Shraevin and his wife.

A huge skeleton and some smaller, but burning skeletons guard the chamber. The big skeleton which is near the entrance remains motionless when Shiel enters but instantly charges Nimue when she squeezes past him. Apparently the key the guardians bestowed on Shiel has made him appear as a non threatening target. The huge skeletal guardian grabs Nimue  and grabs her.

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Nimue twists out of the creature's grip however. The flaming skeletons pelt the group with flaming spheres which they shoot from their fingertips. Thana reinforces the groups defenses however so even being set ablaze doesn't hurt them.

Kerrick nimbly darts up to the lumbering guardian and slashes him in the side before retreating. Rondra and Shiel work on the creature which seems to be able to take a lot of punishment. The skeletal guardian pummels Shiel and throws him around like a ragdoll but a lot of his damage is mitigated by Thana's holy aura.

Several critical hits finally lay the large skeleton to its final(?) rest. The party charges to get at the flaming skeletons who have continued to assault them from afar.

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Checking out the coffins reveals that one of them is empty. It is the smaller of the two which is covered in elven symbols and paintings of a sword. This coffin can be opened but seems to be empty. Kerrick pries off some of the jewels decorating the lid.

On the other bigger coffin lies a jewel encrusted sword. Rondra tries to grab it but is shocked by a green lightning bolt which the sword emits.

Ilthond also notices a portal at the end of the hall which looks like it has melted through the wall, but not quite. He senses the vibrations of the Astral Sea behind it.

Meanwhile, Shiel with the key in hand, tries touching the blade. In a vision he sees an elven woman which calls herself Hedistrin, the wife of Shraevin. She doesn't know if she's a ghost or projection. Apparently the sword has accepted him as its wielder for now.

Suddenly there's a commotion outside. A guardsman from outside stumbles in and warns about a larger approaching force of Zhentarim which are currently entering the grave! Luckily, Hedistrin knows a secret way out. Rondra decides to stay behind to buy the group to escape.

After making good their escape, the group decides to investige Shraevin's Wandering Tower. Hedistrin affirms the tomb guardians' advice that both Shraevin's key and the Sword of the Dales are needed to enter it. The sword is needed because Hedistrin can pinpoint the Tower's current location. And the key which is formed like a small pyramid is of course needed to gain access it.

Hedistrin locates the tower in the Spider Haunt woods which lie south of Shraevin's tomb, so the group embarks on a quest to find it.

 

 

 

 

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