Mikal waited in the alley. The ranger would appear soon. She had kept to the same habits for weeks and now it was going to cost her life. Since the daring raid that liberated the girl, the sister of that miscreant Ethan. Mikal still bore the scars from their last encounter and for that he wanted the rogue to pay and pay dearly. Mikal had made a vow to kill everyone that was close to the Ethan, to make them pay and to ensure they knew why it was they were about to die.
Like clockwork the ranger Larien walked by the alley. With lighting accuracy Mikal tossed a dagger which dropped the ranger prone and slid her into the alley. Looming over her the halfling slammed his fists into the rangers prone body. With a laugh Mikal taunted Larien. "You know why you're going to die girl? It's because you choose poor friends, that's..." Mikal's voice cut off as a groan escaped his lips.
Stumbling to the ground Mikal looked at the figure standing above him. A familiar face leaned forward as a dagger plunged into his heart.
Turning from the dead halfling Ethan helped Larien to her feet. "I told you I had your back Larien, let's get you home now." Together the two friends made their way back to the Clifftop Guild.
Hidden in an alley across the way a hidden figure nodded silently to himself. So the rumours were true, Ethan Dalruun had returned to Sharn. The figure moved quickly, there would be others who would want to act on the information quickly.
The next morning Ethan found himself returning to old habits from a life time ago. While running through the Clifftop district a figure stepped in front of Ethan. Removing his hood a human stood before him. "Ethan Dalruun, Cavallah of the Cogs wishes to meet with you. He is aware of the death of Mikal of the Boramear's and knows of your involvement in Xandrar. I will await your answer outside the Clifftop Guild in two hours time." With that the man turned and walked away.
Puzzled Ethan continued his run. Returning to the guild he quickly equipped himself and left a note with the barkeep Tharuk. Stepping out of the guild hall Ethan quickly located the mysterious human. "Take me to Cavallah, I am anxious to meet with such a well connected individual." Ethan smiled, it had been some time since he ventured down to the Cogs.
Friday, April 3, 2009
19 Nymm - 999 YK
- As the Eidolon was about to bring it's massive fist down upon Ethan's skull it suddenly turned it's head, looked at the Eastern tunnel entrance, and said "Invader's approach." It then stepped into position in front of the Northern doors and tok a guardian stance.
- From the Eastern hallway emerged several strange creatures with skin where their eyes should have been as well as a mindflayer and a female drow. Since the Eidolon seemed content to guard the sealed doors the party turned their attention to the newcomers.
- While the priestess focused her deadly magics on Nenia, the mindflayer attempted to latch onto her. At one point it was successful. However Braddoc quickly freed her by taunting his enemies with "Come and get it!". The blind creatures quickly succumbed to area magics but the party was dismayed when a second drow appeared from nowhere and caused grief for Ethan and Delian. Sterling's solid presence in the midst of the battle enabled the party to maneuver throughout their foes and the majority of the creatures were dispatched. Even the Drow priestess was defeated as she tried to make a calculated retreat.
- With a quick lull in the battle the NPCs took the opportunity to beseech the Eidolon once more. This time they were able to convince the construct they meant no harm. Still wary, the creature was a little more forthcoming with information regarding the temple they were in:
- The eidolon has no name. It was created by Ixthul in the service of Aureon.
- The temple was a holy place where a great weapon against the forces of chaos has been stored against a time when it will be needed again.
- The ediolon does not have any way to mark the passage of time, and considers such concepts irrelevant to its purpose, so it does not know how long it has been there.
- The eidolon does not have the ability to open the doors, which are warded by powerful rituals. The Harbingers of Ixthul have the only knowledge of how to unseal the doors.
- Ixthul himself placed the eidolon there to guard this chamber against intruders who might try to tamper with the artifact.
- In exchange for their sworn promise to keep the location of the temple a secret, the eidolon opened a secret compartment and presented the party with a glowstone and a jolt flask.
- The party also found a key, 600 gp and a pair of sending stones on the drow priestess.
20 Nymm - 999 YK
- Exhausted from the day's spelunking, the party decided to take an extended rest in the temple. However in the 6th hour of their stay the eidolon awoke the party with a warning of impending danger.
- From the Western tunnel emerged a horrendous floating beast with tentacle eyes - a mighty beholder!
- With a shout an a warning not to hold back on the beast the eidolon moved forward and set up a stance which granted great boons to its new allies - extra damage seemed to flow from the party and they seemed immune to any fear. The effect surely turned the tide of the battle.
- Even though it blasted the party repeatedly with its eye rays and attempted to move the PCs into a group for a devastating area attack the abberant beast was quickly forced into a corner. A war of attrition ensued and the creature was destroyed.
- The eidolon advised the party that such attacks would surely continue if the source of entry for the creatures was not found and rendered unusable. He also begged that the tunnels leading to the temple be caved in as the PCs exited. Realizing that the construct would never leave this place they reluctantly agreed and said farewell to the faithful guardian.
- Taking the Eastern tunnel Delian discovered that the key they had found on the priestess opened the magically sealed door in the chamber of 3 doors they had passed through earlier. Evidently it was a passage that allowed a traveller to bypass the chasm trial.
- With the dwarvish knowledge that Braddoc possessed the party was able to collapse the tunnel to the temple. They also were able to disable the summoning portal they had found in the storeroom.
- Eventually they exited the complex and returned to Alara and made a report. They were careful to avoid any mention of the eidolon but Delian slipped up once when he asked Alara about the golden Ixthul robe that Ethan possessed. Intrigued, Alara declared she would have Andred look into this lead if only to confirm that the threat to the town was over.
- The townsfolk were overjoyed when they learned that the PCs had stopped the source of the ogre attacks. Old Jaeck - the smith - agreed to create a silver brooch for each party member in whatever design they wished. In addition, the party members now receive a +2 to any social skill check made when dealing with the locals.
- A week later Andred and Telios returned from Arcanix to report to Alara regarding their findings on travel to Fernia. Later that day the party was summoned to a meeting with Alara.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
The room was brightly lit. Sunlight streamed in through the window, the thick curtains uncustomarily parted. Ethan sat in a high backed leather arm chair. His hands placed on the arm rests as he waited for his host to join him. The wait wasn't long and soon Alara joined him. "You wanted to speak with me?" the wizard inquired.
"I did m'lady. I had a request of you, though I hope I am not wasting your time."
"Of course not Ethan, and please drop the m'lady. Alara will do."
"Yes, of course m... Alara. The Hobgoblin Sinruth that my colleagues and I brought to Lakeview. I.. I owe him a debt. I once made a promise to him and though that promise was made with less than honourable intentions I've learned that perhaps I should be more careful. I seek to release Sinruth from prison here in Lakeview, however I don't wish to cause you trouble or embarrassment to your people."
"An interesting request and I will have to deny it. Sinruth has already been released from prison, however I will convey your wishes to him."
"Thank you Alara." Ethan made to leave, then stopped.
"There is something else isn't there Ethan?" A small smile appeared on Alara's lips, disappearing as quickly as it arrived.
Ethan leaned back in his chair, squeezing his eyes shut his mind began to race. After a few moments a smile appeared on his face, opening his eyes he began to speak. "There is, while in the dungeon I came across a note. It indicated I, or my companions and I, had passed the first test and were now Harbingers of Ixthul."
Alara laughed, "finding a note does make you a member of an order Ethan."
"Of course note m'lady... I just... it doesn't matter."
"No Ethan it doesn't, now why don't we discuss what you really came here for."
Ethan smiled again, "Yes of course. I have observed you, you have an mastery of the dark arts and a knowledge of death. I find that this fascinates and terrifies me at the same time. I have come to realize while journeying with my companions that I delight in the ability to deal death to my foes. I fear that if I don't take control of this urge that it will consume and ultimately destroy me. I feel that I need to focus my ability and I feel that the path of the assassin is what is best suited towards this task.
"I don't know why I tell you this. Only that I think you may understand where I am coming from and perhaps you can provide me with some guidance."
"Ethan, your path is your own. If you embrace the life of the assassin then there is one you must slay first. You know of whom I speak Ethan. Finish what you started and you will have begun your journey."
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
19 Nymm, 999YK
- Ethan deftly climbed down the hole in the floor and confirmed that the coast was clear. The party found themselves in a long natural tunnel that declined steadily into the darkness. There was no sign of who had left the ladder and the rope.
- Striking a sunrod the party followed the tunnel. After perhaps 1000 feet it took a sharp turn to the North. (Thank goodness for dwarven directions!) Ethan ordered the sunrod hidden and proceeded to scout around the corner. From the echoes ahead Ethan surmised they were entering a large chamber. He was correct. After a few moments of waiting in the darkness Ethan signaled for his comrades to move forward. He deemed the coast to be clear. He was wrong.
- A bellow from somewhere ahead and to the right brought the party to arms. Nenia threw a light spell into the chamber just as Ethan was blindsided by a creature he had never seen the likes of. It clawed his face and somehow attacked his mind. Quickly the rest of the party was set upon by two more of the creatures and a hulking beast of obviously the same descent.
- The party charged forward to assist the rogue. It took several seconds for them to realize that there was another monster hiding up to the left in a small alcove. It was firing magic into the fray and somehow seemed to be bolstering its allies.
- Assuming that the large hulking mass was the major threat the PCs set upon it. However looks deceived them. The brute - while formidable - was merely the front line defense for the caster.
- After a brief but fierce fight the party bested the 4 monsters in the main chamber and turned their attention to the magic attacks. They then learned that their foe was trying to guard a hole in the floor of the alcove - and was doing so to great effect! However it was no match for the combined efforts of the 5 adventurers.
- Searching the corpses reveiled that the caster was carrying some Boots of Eagerness which Delian claimed as his own.
- After a brief rest the party descended a ladder propped against the wall of the gaping pit. They once again found themselves in a natural tunnel leading even further down into the earth. After 30 minutes of climbing the party arrived into a room that had obviously been hollowed out of a large cavern. They were surprised to find vast quantities of weapons, armour, and other stores stacked throughout the room. Sterling figured it was enough gear to equip an army of hundreds. In the centre of the room a large symbol was etched into the floor. Delian and Nenia detemined it was some sort of teleporation circle tied to the plane of Xoriat! They also figured that it had to be activated by a ritual on this plane.
- Not wanting to spend much time here in case more enemies arrived the party took 10 minutes quickly searching different areas in the room. They were able to find a large amount of gold and several valuable gems in the stores. Quickly they pocketed their find and moved into a tunnel on the far end of the chamber.
- After a few hundred feet the tunnel abruptly changed. Instead of rough, natural surfaces they found themselves entering a room that had been carefully carved from the stone. Despite a thick layer of dust and dirt they could see that beautiful stonework had been defaced in several places. It was clear that this place had a special purpose. In the far wall were 3 stone doorways.
- The first had a strange device inset with a multitude of cubic stone sections that could be pushed, pulled and slide in different directions. The middle door was open and led into a dark tunnel. While once again natural, the surfaces of the tunnel had been smoothed in several places to make travel easier. The last door was magically sealed. Even though a semi-circle of dust and debris on the floor indicated that the door had recently been opened, no amount of coaxing could reveal what lay beyond.
- Figuring the mechanical device was a trap, the party opted to follow the tunnel through the open door. After a few hundred feet the party came upon a rickety wooden rope-bridge that crossed a seemingly bottomless pit. Near the centre of the bridge hung a chain which could be used to swing off the bridge to a column of rock about 30 feet East in the chasm. Upon the column sat a chest.
- Tying a rope around himself, Ethan moved to the centre of the bridge with the intention of swinging to the column. He was met with two skittering spider swarms who enveloped the rogue. Luckily his friends had the wherewithall to haul him back via the rope. From there it was a small matter to clean up the vermin and the two dire stirges that emerged from the darkness.
- Withthe coast seemingly clear Ethan made a second attempt. However the usually deft rogue somehow fell short of the column and fell into the balckness below. Luckily for him the chasm was covered in an illusion and he only fell 30 feet into some water. A couple of climb checks put him on top of the column where he found a golden robe, some potions, and a note that read:
Congratulations for passing this test of courage and strength. You are hereby promoted tot he first rank of the Harbingers of Ixthul. The next step in your training as a holy warrior begins now.
- Ethan then swung back across the chasm to the bridge and the party continued along the tunnel on the far side. It was not long before they reached a ornate chamber supported by 4 pillars and decorated with carved griffon heads. On the East side of the chamber was another tunnel. On the North end was a large set of double doors. In front of the doors stood a motionless Eidolon with a griffon's head carved into it's chest.
- When the party carefully approached the construct asked "Who approaches and why have you entered this sacred place?"
- The NPCs attempted to convince the Eidolon that they meant no harm and were in fact allies. However the guardian seemed unconvinced and turned hostile when Braddoc attempted to intimidate it.
- The session ended with the raising its might fist in an attempt to smash the skull of the nearest party member.