24th of Mirtul of the year 1492
“You dare to pit yourselves against the Lord of Lance Rock? Death is your reward!”
As the party stared horrified, the hooded figure looked up with its sunken and rotting features and shambled toward them when the two large buckets erupted with a mass of hands and limbs and swarmed to the party.
Swarm of Limbs
The robed figure in the back with the four skeleton archers waited for the group to move further into the cave before ordering the archers to start firing and he retreated further into the depths of the caves. One interesting point was when Avery ran to the front of the combat to unleash his burning hands on the undead and incidentally included Vladimir within the area of effect. Vladimir was able to enjoy the pinching swarm of hands all over himself. It seems that he is becoming more comfortable being swarmed by creatures and chewed upon. The rest of the combat did not take very long for the party to finish off the dead creatures and make their way to the end of the large cave. Waiting for them at the end of the cave was a large armored ogre skeleton.
Armored Ogre Skeleton
It did not seem inclined to move from its guarding position and seemed like it was waiting for the party to make the first move. While this was going on, some of the others explored the remainder of the cave. There was a long set of stairs to the east that led up a wall to a peephole and a lever. Behind that peephole was a small room that contained a pair of stone boxes. Not being able to resist the urge, Avery pulled the lever which turned out to completely collapse the room behind the peephole. There was some concern that the little girls might have been hidden in the boxes and that their mission might have already ended in failure.
Deciding to not worry about it, they moved forward and Fogo engaged the giant skeleton without much preparation which caused a lengthy and almost deadly combat since the large skeleton was one of the toughest foes they had faced and was able to do tremendous damage knocking our Angelica bounding her away from it. But once again, once the party was fully engaged, they were able to take it out suffering only a little more than normal.
Before heading deeper into the tunnels, a tremor started shaking the grounds, nothing severe, but enough to make everyone concerned. Worried the lever at the peephole might have done something to the cavern, everyone prepared for the worst, but nothing more occurred. Finally moving forward down the corridor to pursue the necromancer, they finally arrived at a room. It contained a couch, several chairs, a bed, and what appeared to be a dining room table and chair. The necromancer was pacing back and forth muttering expletives about the intruders and how they did not give him his proper reverence.
Moving in to start the attack, Fogo placed a spike growth in the room to attempt to lock down the necromancer and allow everyone else to attack. Most of the group moved into the room preparing to engage, when their opponent cast a spell. A spell that created a spinning jagged crown on top of Vladimir’s head. As everyone tried to get some sort of advantage on their foe, Vladimir started attacking and pursuing Fwoosh. Shortly afterwards, the necromancer pulled back the curtain at his back and misty stepped away from the fray leaving the party to deal with the charmed Vladimir.
It only took a few rounds before everything was sorted and Vladimir came back to his senses. Chasing after the wizard, they found a secret door with a corridor that headed down and south of their location. It led to another larger room which had a huge stone slab as a table with what appeared to be a dragon skeleton upon it. Once the necromancer saw the party he yelled.
Incomplete Dragon Skeleton
Which caused the skeleton to stand up and begin to attack the party. ISAC and Vladimir moved into to attack the dragon while everyone else stuck to the north side of the room to continue chasing the wizard into the last room. The wizard gave them another point to consider.
“Can’t you see it? It’s the Eye! It sees your every move! Don’t you fear it?”
Within the room at the center stands stone covered in runes and a pedestal fashioned of severed arms arranged to clutch one another in a cone. Cradled in the uppermost hands is a glowing crystal sphere. A dark sigil with an eyelike slit floats above the sphere. Bloody script covers one wall. It is messy and difficult to read.
Again, combat was quick, the necromancer was a wizard, wizards are like tissue paper, he died quickly, but when he died, he burst into a black flame completely consuming him causing his to scream in great agony as he vanished. Fwoosh being ever inquisitive and no longer having a target, poked the eye with his rapier. This immediately caused the entire party to fall into darkness and all saw the following dream.
You see before you a bountiful field rich with wheat. A Bird’s cry startles you then is silent, the bubbling of a nearby brook babbles secrets you do not understand, the earth beneath your feet groans in protest and gives way. You fall deep beneath the field, the rich warmth of flame reaching out to embrace you.
You are standing on a hilltop staring at the clear night sky, a cool breeze nipping at your bare chest. There is a thunderous roar as the sky rips itself apart and the stars fall to the ground. In the skyless night the stars plummet into a nearby ocean and its water turns scarlet and still. Other stars fall on an unsuspecting town, but no one notices. The mountain erupts in black fire and silver smoke, but no one notices. A Voice calls out for them to flee, to seek shelter, to fend for their lives, but no one notices.
A Feather. A Scale. A Golden Mask. A Wicker Doll.
The village is silent and still, smoldering in the skyless night sky.
Laughter. Unrestrained laughter echoes across the silent scene, pure and guttural. A single lidless eye stretches across the sky from horizon to horizon, staring down at you as the laughter builds on itself, as though you are part of a great cosmic joke.
Once the sequence was complete everyone awakened stunned briefly, but not sufficiently to stop the destruction of the dragon skeleton. With all immediate danger gone, they moved back to the room where the eye had been, and all that was left was some sort of floating blue globe. It was stashed in Angelica’s vault shield and everyone started reading the bloody writing on the wall. It read.
In the realm wh’re destiny int’rtwines,
a bodement f’retold, through ancient signs,
of elemental l’rds and prophets four,
at which hour chaos awakens, the w’rld to expl’re.
The elemental l’rds, fi’rce and unbound,
earth, air, fireth, and wat’r, profound,
with allies by their side, prophets of might,
seeking dominion, to vanquish the lighteth.
Air l’rd’s prophet, with partisan hath raised high,
earth l’rd’s prophet, war picketh to defy,
fireth l’rd’s prophet, dagg’r ablaze,
wat’r l’rd’s prophet, trident’s gentle gazeth.
Togeth’r those gents gath’r, darkness their guideth,
their weapons, unknowing, holdeth secrets inside,
keys to the gateways, wh’re chaos is b’rn,
to saveth the w’rld, a quest might not but beest sw’rn.
But h’roes shalt riseth, their spirits untamed,
to visage the prophets, their destiny unclaimed,
with courage and val’r, those gents’ll hurlyburly the odds,
to reclaim the keys and confronteth the gods.
Through treach’rous battles, those gents’ll striveth to succeedeth,
to slayeth the prophets and fulfill the decree,
to seize the weapons, the keys those gents conceal,
unlocking the pow’r to mendeth and to healeth.
With each fallen prophet, a key is revealed,
a grise clos’r to vict’ry, the darkness repealed,
sealing the gateways, wh’re chaos runs deep,
rest’ring the w’rld from et’rnal catch but a wink.
The h’roes, chosen, their hearts int’rtwined,
unit’d those gents standeth, their purpose defined,
harnessing the weapons, the keys yond ignite,
those gents sealeth the gateways, rest’ring the lighteth.
And so, the bodement shalt cometh to passeth,
a testament to the h’roes’ val’r and class,
f’r those gents possesseth the strength to defy,
to safeguard our w’rld, until the endeth of timeth.
Rememb’r this bodement, etch’d in l’re,
a tale of triumph ‘gainst the elemental roar,
embrace the h’ro within, alloweth thy spirit ignite,
to protecteth our w’rld, pres’rving its lighteth
Blue Floating Globe
As they pondered the meaning of these words, ISAC reminded them that they were here to rescues some little girl, not ponder the odd things written in blood on a wall by a necromancer madman. Moving on to the last hallway to the west, they came to the prison. There were four men chained to the wall, and they could see the two girls huddling and tightly gripping a bundle of fur. Within the room, was a half-elf ranger, a human merchant, a human guard, and an Iceshield Orc.
The half-elf was named Grafaerd Ulamoira, the merchant Alfred, the Mirabaran Guard Gef Rilisk, and no one cared about the orc.
It turns out that the guard had been part of a caravan coming from Mirabar and he had gotten separated some place to the north of Red Larch. The merchant had been kidnapped by zombies, and no one really cared how the orc got there. The child clutched bundle of fur turned out to be Dancer, a Tabaxi. All the prisoner’s gear was in a large box near the entrance where everyone except the orc gathered up their stuff. The orc? Vladimir had private business with him with his weapons. A quick one-sided duel had Vladimir coming out of the prison area covered in orc blood.
Wanting to get the girls back home, the larger group retraced their steps back to the entrance where they realized there was a short corridor that they had no yet explored. Fogo and ISAC went forward leaving the rest in the bloodstained front room. There was a combination of over 20 corpses in both skeleton and full body condition. Not satisfied with their state, Fogo decided it was best to start poking dead bodies in a necromancer’s cave complex. Several of them stood up and started engaging the two in the room.
And this is where the session ended.
The Lord of Lance Rock has been killed, the girls rescued, the new party member Dancer has joined the party, and not willing to leave anything behind, a small beehive of undead have been awakened on the way out. The Prelude is quickly coming to an end, but not quite yet.