- The party carefully descended the stairs within the shrine. As their eyes adjusted to the dim light they could see what looked like a balcony 20 feet up and around most of the pew area where they stood. A stair to the right lead up to the balcony. Hearing very little sound the party moved forward. Nenia decided to move up the stairs first and was greeted by the charges of an elf and a dwarf. From there noise erupted from most of the balcony.
- Two beholders and an elf wizard appeared at the edge of the balcony. The beholders attempted to blast the party with eye rays while the wizard dropped a wall of fire upon the stairs effectively splitting the party and blocking escape.
- All three of the humanoids had glazed eyes as if they had been driven mad.
- Unable to climb the wall, Ethan swung a pew against the wall and used as a ladder. He then moved to engage the wizard. Meanwhile Sterling moved up the stair to assist Nenia as she fell to the swords of her attackers. Braddoc used his "Come and Get It" power to to great effect and pulled the beholders down to him. Meanwhile Delian tried to climb the pew-ladder to no effect.
- Sterling was able to heal Nenia and get her back in the fight. He then tried to draw her attackers away. Braddoc was able to pin down one of the beholders while the other slowly made its way back up to the balcony. Sterling was subsequently knocked unconscious before Delian bolstered him up.
- As Ethan was fighting the wizard he noticed that one of the beholder's eyes was always following the wizard's motions. He quickly surmised that the beholder was somehow controlling the wizard and called for everyone to focus on the beholders.
- Although Ethan's tactic was not followed by all it turned out to be the correct plan. As the first beholder fell the three humanoids were stunned for a few seconds. When the second beholder feel soon after, their thralls fell unconscious to the ground.
- After the party tied up their captives they took a short rest. They then awoke the wizard to find that he was none other than Kristoff! Although his mind was muddled he was able to confirm his identity and give the party a bit of information regarding the shrine they were in.
- He informed them that the shrine was tied to the seal in the valley. Dragonborn sent pilgrimages here to perform a ritual that strengthened the seal. He was not sure what it entailed. He also recalled the a very large beholder and a skeletal dragon in his nightmares. The last thing he mentioned was that the Phoenix item was not actually a sceptre. He had not been able to ascertain its exact form but he was sure it would be obvious to any who saw it as it was very powerful. He then said he would watch the entrance for the party as they ventured further in. He asked that the elf and dwarf remain tied up as he did not know who they were and could not vouch for their intentions. The party agreed to his requests.
- Farther into the dungeon the PCs found a 10 foot deep chasm filled with glowing purple fog. The way forward was 15 feet across the fog and 10 feet up a natural cave wall. Not wanting to enter the fog the party handed a rope to Ethan who attempted to leap the chasm. He was unable to grasp the top of the far cliff face but managed to hang on to the wall and climb up. He secured the rope to a far wall and Sterling did he same down below. Then the party attemped to cross the rope line.
- Sterling and Nenia made it but Braddoc and Delian fell into the pit. The noxious gas of chaos caused him to lose a healing surge. With the assistance of some rope from the party they were able to climb up out of the gas.
- The hallway from where they stood was backdropped by a shaft of light at the far end. It created a silhouette of a large altar surrounded by what looked to be dragon heads. They could also make out a large pile of bones.
- The bones ended up being a dracolich. As it moved into the hall to engage the party a grell joined the fray. Using some solid tactics the party was able to keep the dracolich dazed and unable to use its full fury upon them.
- One thing of note was that the five dragon heads surrounding the large altar began glowing purple as the fight progressed.
- Once it was reduced to a pile of bones the grell fled up the shaft in the ceiling. It called out some words as it disappeared up the shaft that Nenia determined was the end of a ritual.
- As the grell's words trailed off a beam of purple light shot toward the back of the room, hit a mirror and shot up the shaft. The grell fell back down the shaft dead.
- A blinding flash of light then stunned the entire party momentarily. When they regained their senses they discovered they had all manifested Dragonmarks and a door had opened to the west. They also regained 2 healing surges and heard the following words in their heads:
When bones are laid to rest once more and chaos relinquishes the seal
Destinies are written upon the five who tread the valley
The ringed prize is won but the priestess’ curse falls upon the innocent
The fire moons greatest strength brings about her final release
Her vengeance upon the land will be terrible
But the Shadow in the Flame will eclipse her fury
Not until fire adorns the sacrifice will the Five's fury be drowned
And Flame's Shadow will be returned to its slumber
- The hallway led to a T junction. To the left was an ancient, undisturbed ruin containing nothing but rotted manuscript. Nenia found words pertaining to the seal and about something named Tiamat. It mentioned sacrifices of blood to strengthen the seal.
- The hallway right ended in a doorway to a room containing a teleportation circle. After a few moments consideration the party stepped through.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
- The party was dropped off an hour before dawn outside the valley known as the Boneyard. They proceeded on foot trying to keep a low profile. As they entered the valley they were amazed by the sheer numbers of skelatal remains protruded through the grass and light shrubs. They decided to follow the path leading along the valley floor.
- A couple hours later the path entered a clearing containing something they had not seen before. Upon the ground was a large stone slab - approximately 40 feet in diameter. It was surrounded by 3 small round altar-like pedestals. Upon closer inspection they noticed runes scribed around the outside of all 4 structures. Although they were unable to determine exactly what the runes said they were able to discern that it was a seal of some sort. In addition the large surface was marked with the symbol of Dolurrh while the top face of each smaller altar bore the symbol of Xoriat.
- From this point the path veered up to the left toward the mountain face. The party had followed it only a short way when they heard an eerie call ahead of them. They formed up a defensive order and proceeded forward. They had just rounded a small corner in the path when they were attacked by five tentacled creatures. They quickly dispatched 3 of the 5. The others fled into the shrubs while making frantic screeching sounds. A few moments later they learned that the creatures were calling for assistance.
- Now the party was surrounded by masses of gricks. In addition 4 destrachans and a very large grick were attracted to the sounds of chaos. Nenia's use of her firewall devastated several of the gricks and created a covering wall. Meanwhile the rest of the party made quick work of the smaller creatures. Things were just looking under control when a hideous creatures with multiple mouths burst through the ground in the midst of the party. A dangerous squamous maw was looking to feed.
- Using its blast attack to deadly effect it nearly got the best of Nenia. Ethan was able to avoid the bulk of its blasts and kept the grick alpha from harrying the party too much. Finally the party was able to force the beasts into Nenia's firewall and then dispatch them.
- Sorely hurt and shaken the party too a few moments to rest. During that time they noticed the remains of caravan wagons a little farther up along the trail. Moving carefully they were able to search the wreckage but found nothing of note except the skeletal remains of many humanoids. They concluded that this was what remained of Kristoff's entourage and continued up the path until they came to a set of stone doors. Braddoc surmised that they were thousands of years old. One of them was propped open so the party entered.
- In front of them a set of stairs dropped 20 feet into an area containing a half dozen rotten wooden pews.
Due to several computer issues this is all we accomplished that night.