Episode 20: 9/26/09
Ashelia Raminas, elf ranger-rogue/3-3
Nineve, human knight/6
Xicar, human cleric/6
Sarek, human wizard 6
We’re standing over the smoldering remains of Mohrg Ondore, and we notice he has a note pinned to the inside of his jacket, along with a key-
You have served the Circle quite well. A pity you were not more careful. Alas, your carelessness has brought your demise early. We are still in need of you, though now, you shall serve in a much..different capacity. Your return did not go as we had hoped, but you may yet prove more valuable than we had dared dream.
Your antagonists continue to harry you, and are responsible for your current form. If you must dispose of them, do so quickly. It would be unwise to toy with them. That could draw them into the Circle’s business.
When you find your mind cleared after the trauma of your rebirth in His dark Name, and capable of understanding the tasks before you, return to your ancestral manor. There, we shall contact you, no need to trouble the Circle yourself.
-Your mistress, Wanton of Nature’s Pagan Forms
We collect what remains of his remains and search the cavern. We find his desk area, and it is clear that his transformation into Mohrgdom was unhinging to his mind. We find another note, along with several sketches of each of us, dying horrifically.
Do you recall the working of the ancient runes that I showed you? Of course you do. You were always so very..clever. Father Skinshaw will provide the list of proper victims for you in two days’ time. Commit that list to memory and destroy it before you begin your task. Who can know how your works will shape the future? Each murder inescapably alters the destinies of us all, drawing us inexorably towards His dark designs.
The ones you sacrifice must be marked as they die, otherwise they bring little glory to His Dark Name, and their souls will go to waste. You may do with any others as you please – it matters not to me. I ask only that you mark them properly, and let their deaths serve our Bleak Lord as well as your lust for murder.
-Your mistress, Wanton of Nature’s Pagan Forms
There’s nothing else to see here, so we climb the stairs back to the mansion basement and make our way out. As we exit the house, we notice that thousands of silent black birds are perched on all available surfaces, watching us. It’s very odd, and we’re uneasy, so we hurry to put some distance between us and this cursed place.
As we leave the mansion behind, the troubled sky clears and the moon illuminates the countryside – the storm seems to have vented all its wrath. Reflecting on our recent trials, we find ourselves cresting the rise overlooking the House of Lillybrook and its grounds. Suddenly there shoots through the air a resounding crack, like thunder, from the direction of that forlorn house. Turning about, we gaze as a fissure rapidly widens across the abutment of land.The antiquated structure, and much of the cliff, wavers and abruptly falls, sliding and tumbling into the churning lake below. There is a long tumultuous crashing and rumbling sound, like the voice of a thousand breaking waves – and then the deep and ominous lake closes sullenly and silently over the fragments of the House of Lillybrook.
We move on and find an abandoned farm to sleep in for the night. In the morning, we find we are all afflicted with Red Death, and Nineve has another case of Ghoul Fever. Fortunately, Xicar is able to cast Remove Disease on all of us, and we feel much better, though we still look like hell. We head back to Istivin and arrive in the afternoon. We spend the evening in the Flask and the Terrasque, a tavern on the outskirts of the city. In the morning, we approach the gates of Dura. As expected, we encounter a unit of town guards at the gate, but we slip past them.
We find ourselves in the Wealthy district. A merchant, mistaking us for common laborers, offers us 2 gp each to help him unload his fragile goods. To avoid drawing attention to ourselves, we help him out. He pays us and offers us a ride through the district. We take him up on it and find ourselves in the market district. A street urchin takes a liking to us, but Xicar puts him off. However, we manage to make our way through the district without attracting undue notice.
We next find ourselves in a poor quarter. We round a corner onto a murder scene surrounded by guards, but we manage to slip away before being noticed by anyone. Unfortunately, we draw undue attention to ourselves while trying to leave the district, and are forced to high-tail it to the neighboring market district.
There, we spot a group of town guards up the street, but we evade their notice and exit the quarter without encountering any problems. In a civic district, we pass a paladin of Heironeous and his retinue, but fortunately he is too full of his own self-importance to notice us. We return at last to the Cabal.
We visit Mossad’s office and find him hanging out with Arrad, reminiscing on old times. We give our full report. They congratulate us, but are disappointed in our lack of clues. Nonetheless, he and Marten have decided to indoctrinate us into the Ritual of the Lady’s Favor, in honor of our service to the Church. That evening, amidst much pomp and ceremony, we undergo the ritual and gain one action point, usable once per day (allowing us to gain an extra action on our turn)! Afterwards, we show those clerics how to party!
Nineve and Sarek undergo additional rituals the next day. The following morning, an acolyte summons us to the Great Library to meet with Mossad & Advocat. They explain they’ve been researching the manifest I brought back. Several other crates of earth have been delivered to multiple locations around the city. Mossad would like us to investigate a warehouse and a papermill, while other agents check out other locations.
We start with the papermill on Cliffside. The Ministry of Justice is still looking for us, so we must tread carefully. We evade guard patrols, get momentarily lost in the maze of the poor quarter, and unlock a neglected door in a market district which leads to the Cogs. With their knowledge of history, Sarek and Xicar lead us through these underground passages to the slums. We slip past the gate guards and make our way to a large papermill clinging precariously to the side of a cliff. The waterwheel running the papermill is powered by a giant waterfall. The wheel itself is a marvel of engineering at 45 feet across!
We open the door, and a mill worker tries really hard to get us to leave, but we eventually convince him to let us speak to his manager. The manager is evasive to all our questions and signals his worker-thug to attack us! The “worker” charges into Xicar, pushing him into the mill machinery! As he slams into Xicar, we recognize him is Kinto Anderhoff, the one that got away. A vision of The Trumpet appears to me. It is clear that this papermill is just a front for a group of Nerullian cultists. The workers and manager (who is a cleric) suddenly don raven masks, but Sarek blasts through them with an unnecessarily massive fireball. Figuring we’ve alerted everyone in the building to our presence after that display, we disable the lift and run up the stairs.
We find an office area with more stairs leading to yet a higher floor. We take a moment to rifle through the desk, but don’t find anything incriminating, so we kick through the double doors leading to the main room on the floor. The Nerullian cultists are ready for us. Sarek throws down another fireball, but to his great disappointment, doesn’t manage to ignite any of the machinery. Suddenly, an armored Nerullian cleric appears behind Sarek and attacks. Sarek blows out the windows with another massive fireball as Nineve falls under the cleric’s curse. More cultists pour in and join the cleric as the battle shifts back into the office area. The tide of battle turns against the Nerullian dogs, and the evil cleric attempts to flee, invisible. Luckily, Sarek pegs him with an old glitterstone he must’ve been carrying around for 5 levels! We follow him up the stairs onto the third floor of the papermill. We finish off the ringleader cleric and most of the cultists, taking some of them prisoner. The cleric, like all the cultists, is wearing a strange raven head dress called a Reaper’s Mask, which we collect for the Cabal. I find a secret passageway deeper into the cliffside, and we secure the prisoners. We regroup and heal up before heading into the natural caverns revealed behind the hidden passage.
The passage descends steeply and Xicar, Nineve, and Sarek all slip and tumble clumsily down the corridor. I manage to dodge them as they crash past me, but when Xicar’s shield pops out of his hand, I jump up on it and surf down the passage like Legolas, BECAUSE I CAN! It’s good to be an elf.
Thus, with varying degrees of grace, we enter a stone chamber containing 2 Filge-special acid zombies and 2 (hiding) alchemical horrors. Just as we’re coming to grips with Filge’s pets, a shadow appears and attacks Xicar. Sarek and Xicar dissolve the shade as Nineve and I wade through the zombies and horrors.
.. to be continued.