With Malice Aforethought

Waking the Dead (Part 1)

The Wait

The party arranged themselves around the area of the graveyard reserved for the poorest of the city – where Balfor had seen signs of Brother Bragen’s activities. Balfor positioned himself to the north, against the face of the Castle Rock, while Ashlour and Grimfold hid behind the gravestones of the less poor former citizens west of the communal graves, Hwell and Mark2 sheltered among the mausoleums to the south, while Arglebrath and S’heldon hid among the scrubby bushes to the east.

An Un-Expected Guest

Shortly after midnight, the light of a torch could be seen moving toward them. It quickly became clear that the figure holding the torch walked with the aid of a crutch, seemingly confirming him as Bragen. It also became apparent that in the black of the night, all party members were too far away to see his activities in any detail, so they all decided to approach cautiously.

Having moved closer to their target, the party could hear the sounds of speech, and although difficult in the torchlight, it seemed that the newcomer was also gesticulating, and after several minutes of this, the dead were seen to rise all about him.

Killing the Dead

As the dead were rising, Balfor loosed a shot with his bow, which connected with Bragen. As the skeletons stepped out upon the ground, flesh and clothes dripping from their empty frames, the party advanced, and S’heldon attempted to turn the undead with the power of his divine calling, but sadly they merely stood there, defiantly grinning. Bragen called out

“Meddling fools, prepare to die!”

The party battled the skeletons while Bragen continued chanting. They had some success but not enough to break through the ring of undead protecting him. Bragen commanded his undead to advance, as a barrier of bones grew from the ground around him, forming an 8 foot deep barrier around him. At this point, Bragen began to laugh maniacally.

Skeleton after skeleton was dispatched, but almost as quickly as they were destroyed, Bragen would call out “Rise!” and more would crawl from the ground to join the fight. Ashlour transformed his fist to stone and began to smash the wall, but his spell expired long before he could break through.

Balfor was clearly spooked that the unarmed corpses could claw through armour and cried out in disbelief, to which Grimfold cried out

“They’re filled with the unholy strength of the eternally damned!”

During the fight, a puzzle emerged. Bragen cast spells to cause a glowing blue hand to attack the party at the same time as causing new undead to emerge from the grave site. How was he doing it? Was he doing it? The battle raged on…

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Friend or Foe?

Returning Heroes

The party spent the night at the Wayfarer’s Inn, then returned to the city with no further incidents. On their arrival, they proceeded immediately to meet with Sir Clarvar and inform him of the results of their mission to Peakstone.

To summarise:

  • Two employees dead
  • Mine bought for up to twice the recommended amount
  • Kobolds proved to be guilty of Ganant’s murder, not the hunter previously accused

Sir Clarvar took it rather well. The silver lining, was of course securing the mithril content in the ore, and if the quantities pan out as expected, the profit should still be significant. Though of course, the party’s share will not be paid until the new mine is in profit, meaning the heroes came away without any immediate monetary reward.

Friend

Having reported in, the party returned to the monastery for the night. As they made their way to the dormitory, they encountered a weary looking Brother Bragen, who asked them to investigate the absence of his regular contact among the homeless of Shattered Peak, Ader. On sensing that there was more to tell, Bragen admitted that he believed that Ader and the other homeless of the city were deliberately avoiding him.

Foe

After an extremely refreshing night’s rest, the party quickly went to the spot where Ader usually slept, and found him with no difficulty. In conversation with him, it was discovered that Ader believes Brother Bragen to be guilty of necromantic practices and claimed to have seen it with his own eyes.

The party promptly visited the city’s municipal graveyard, where Balfor found strong signs of Bragen having been there.

Now convinced of the need to investigate further, the party elected to hide in wait for Bragen in the graveyard, rather than confront him.

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What's Mine is Yours... for a Price

Negotiations

Following breakfast the next day, the party headed to negotiate with Amecil. They elected Arglebrath to act as their chief negotiator and entered Amecil’s office to begin.

During the opening exchanges, Amecil came to the correct conclusion that the party had no negotiating experience and gave them the chance to withdraw from the process – however, she did point out that she was looking to conclude a deal sooner rather than later. Not wanting to lose their opportunity of ensuring a deal for Sir Clarvar, they opted to continue the negotiations themselves.

After beginning as instructed with bids for ore, the party quickly came to the conclusion that they wouldn’t match Amecil’s price, so they changed tack and began bidding for the purchase of the mine at 8,000 gold coins as instructed in Sir Clarvar’s letter.
Letter to ganant
Although the party increased their initial offer, Amecil was holding out for 14,000 gold coins and so the party suggested a break and returned to Peakstone to attempt to gather further information about the quarry and Amecil herself and to work out their final offer.

On returning to the negotiations, Arglebrath pitched their final offer of 12,000 gold coins. Seeing that the party seemed determined, Amecil countered by agreeing to the price, but requiring an additional 4,000 gold coins for each additional 10 feet of seam beyond 30 that is discovered. This seemed reasonable to the party, but they suggested a cap of 20,000 gold coins in total, to which Amecil agreed. The party also decided not to include a clause to specify a minimum silver content.

Returning Heroes?

The negotiations concluded, the party began the trip back to Shattered Peak. All was proceeding uneventfully until late in the day, they encountered two large bears, which had apparently attacked a small family caravan, one of which was pursuing a woman and some children toward the party.

S’heldon bravely intercepted it before it could catch its fleeing targets, suffering blows from the animal’s mighty arms. Soon, the rest of the party surrounded the bear and much to their surprise, dispatched it and a second bear with minimal further damage to themselves, with Balfor in particularly ruthless form.

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A Stratagem of Subterfuge

Water and Teeth

Now that the threat the kobolds posed to Peakstone had been eliminated, the party headed back down the tunnel from which they entered the cavern, with the unconscious cleric in tow. At the underwater section of tunnel, they decided that the best swimmers among them would drag the cleric to minimise the time he spent underwater.

Although touch and go, they managed to void his lungs of water and keep him alive – barely – after taking him swiftly through the submerged section of tunnel. They then hauled him to the top of the shaft on the other side.

The rest of the party followed without mis-hap until Arglebrath snagged his foot on a section of stone tunnel. Grimfold reacted quickly, and went to his aid, but struggled to free him. Soon after, Ashlour also went to his assistance, but Arglebrath was threatening to lose consciousness through lack of oxygen and could no longer take action to secure his own release.

Looking up for a moment from his effort to free Arglebrath, Ashlour saw the Crocodilian monster approaching swiftly through the water toward them. He alerted Grimfold and the other members of the party belatedly volunteering with assistance, and with Arglebrath finally freed but Ashlour now losing consciousness, they were passed to the non-swimmers while the others turned to face the huge reptile.

The party (with the exception of Grimfold knew what the beast had done to the kobolds and prepared to defend their lives against its deadly attack. While it searched for a way to get at the party in the relatively narrow tunnel, Balfor attempted to strike first, with his fearsome blow deflected harmlessly by the toughened natural armour sported by the monster. Mark2 in his turn attacked even more ferociously, and felt the satisfying sensation of steel in flesh as his longsword buried itself deeply in the monster’s snout.

Obviously in huge pain and blinded by the huge cloud of blood the wound was making, the reptile retreated, giving the party the opportunity to escape – which was gratefully and swiftly taken.

Rest and Accusations

When the party emerged from underground, they paused on their way to their Inn only to gain some measure of healing for the enemy cleric and to eat. In the morning, and refreshed with an undisturbed night of sleep, S’heldon administered healing where it was most needed and the party began to turn their thoughts toward the prospect of negotiating for the rights to the mine.

They arrived quite early, only to discover Amecil Carussa already in negotiations with their rival to the mine – Caruk, who they had encountered two nights before. Although asked to wait, they persuaded Amecil’s aide to allow them in to see her, after Ashlour had made some circumstantial connections between Caruk and the clericCaruk had been described by the barman as having been very wet when he arrived to book his room, possibly due to having travelled through the underwater tunnels?

Though clearly not pleased, Amecil allowed the interruption and sat through a series of allegations (that Caruk’s colleague had been preparing the kobolds to attack the town) and counter-suggestions (the cleric was merely attempting to get the kobolds to agree to leave) until enough suspicion was raised as to the conduct of Caruk and his confessed colleague of Foril merchant house that she cleared them all out of her office and told them to resolve the situation before negotiating further.

Caruk was then adamant that the party should release his colleague to his care, but faced with numbers or the threat of law, he backed down in the face of the party’s plan to hand over his colleague to the authorities in the quarry town for them to decide what to do. After interviewing the cleric, the authorities found his story largely in agreement with Caruk’s so a stalemate was the result.

The party also learned that a hunter called Marnaloch had been charged with the murder of Ganant, the Clarvar house negotiator who’s role the party has assumed. The party investigated the case against him, finding that he had been charged because he owns hunting dogs (barking has been heard in Ganant’s room the night he died and because of a prior disagreement between them) made the connection and proved the involvement of kobolds in Ganant’s murder. The chance of his having been selected by the kobolds, coupled with the fact of Caruk’s colleague’s involvement with them would have been enough for their arrest, but for the protection of the Foril merchant house, and they were expelled from Peakstone, clearing the way for the PCs to begin negotiations.

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Victory at Last?

The Sound of Drums

As the party continued up the crude steps, the source of the drumming became clear: Two kobolds were each using their clubs to bang rough drums they had slung about their bodies, barking all the while as they beat a slow, wary retreat.

This new section of the caves was partially shielded from the rest of the cavern system by a broken curtain of stalactites and stalagmites. There also appeared to be two possible exits, one of which was situated behind a rickety throne of sticks and bone that had pride of place on a raised dais.

Mark2 was quickest to react, and shot an arrow at one of the drum bearers, badly wounding, but not killing his target. Very shortly after, an armoured man emerged from the tunnel behind the throne, pushing 2 more reluctant kobolds in front of him. Quickly surveying the party, he declared “I will finish you.”

Hwell attacked the other drummer, missing with his attempted strike, and the armoured man cast a spell, causing S’heldon to be frozen, immobile – both Arglebrath and Ashlour felt the spell wash over them, but shook off its effects.

Ashlour, reacting to the arrival of a spell-caster, himself cast a Wall of Fog, obscuring their new adversary’s line of sight to the party, and Arglebrath – relieved at avoiding being frozen himself – sprang into action alongside Hwell, striking the kobold who also survived, though severely wounded. Balfor and Mark2 attempted further bow-shots but to no avail.

At this point a newcomer appeared from behind the party, a dwarf who volunteered to aid them against their adversaries.

Deciding to take the offence, both Balfor and Mark2 charged through the fog and engaged with the kobolds guarding the human spell-caster.

Although the armoured human fired off one more spell at Arglebrath and Hwell – causing their weapons and other metal objects to grow increasingly warm, the fight ended swiftly as first the kobolds and then the human were dispatched in devastating fashion, although both Arglebrath and Hwell took damage from their increasingly heated metal items, causing Arglebrath to lose consciousness.

Calm after the Storm

The party then patched themselves up and staunched the bleeding of the enemy cleric, and investigated the exits from the area, discovering one area containing shamanistic items, an altar and some bedding. They also noticed the muted sounds of kobolds from the other exit.

On investigating, this was found to be where the remainder of the kobold tribe were hiding. Many females and children as well as 4 males, 2 of which they took to be the shaman and the ‘king’. They also found a picture they took to represent a planned attack on Peakstone. After speaking with the shaman, they found that the only other exit from these caves was the way they had come and that the human had also come from the world outside.

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Discretion is the Better Part of Valour
Run Away, Run Away!

Brief Respite

Having fought off the kobolds who were alerted when they freed the prisoners, the party retrieved the rest of their new comrades equipment, and found within their backpacks (amongst general equipment) a couple of flasks and some oil.

They experimented with the flask found in the cleric’s backpack by pouring a little down the cleric’s throat and were relieved to find that it did indeed provide healing. The rest they used to restore some health to two of the other casualties. Now restored to some health, the cleric was also able to use his healing skill to at least revive the fourth unconscious party member.

Retreat

At this point, kobold re-enforcements arrived and the party decided their best course of action was RETREAT!

After a quick discussion, they decided to make use of the narrow sloping shelf that they used to enter the cavern as this would ensure that any pursuers would only be able to come at them one at a time. In order to buy the rest of the party some time, Martin2 prepared a hopeful ambush just around a bend in the tunnel while the others moved quickly to a flatter area. (characters fell in to the water, including Hwell who just continued to swim).

After dispatching two further kobolds, Martin2 was struck and landed in the water. S’heldon and Ashlour had no luck in ranged combat and just before a swimming kobold finished off Martin2, an enormous creature with a crocodile-like maw devoured the humanoid, which then continued back toward the cavern in pursuit of further prey.

Sounds of carnage were heard in that direction, and three kobolds crawled toward the party in abject terror and surrender. Hwell fished Martin2 from the water and used healing skill to flush the water from his lungs. The kobolds continued to crawl unimpeded through the party and then ran and dived into the submerged section of tunnel further back toward the entrance and the party let them go.

Much Needed Rest

The party rested, in order to regain some health and spells: Cure Light Wounds x3 were administered by S’heldon and the party voted to go back to the cavern to investigate.

They discovered evidence that the monster was able to move on dry land and that he’d clearly attacked the main living area of the kobold tribe. There was also evidence that the kobolds had cleared out toward an area of the cavern naturally screened by stalactites and stalagmites and up an area of carved steps.

The party pursued, but when they neared the top they heard the banging of drums and the characteristic barking of kobolds, alerted to their presence…

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A Long and Winding Road

A Night’s Respite

The party helped the unwell Big Al onto a horse and continued on their way, shortly catching up with Ashlour’s wounded steed, who had bolted in the fight with the one-eyed monster and being caught up by Kincaid and Hwell who had recovered sufficiently to continue after the others.

It wasn’t long before they were also joined on the road by a group of five men who were clearly dressed for wilderness travel and who showed the dust of travel on their clothes. They informed the party that they’d been hunting a cyclopskin that had separated from the rest of its group and had found its remains on the road. They laughed when the party called the beast a cyclops and told them that a real cyclops is 15 feet tall, rather larger than the 7-8 feet beast they’d felled.

They accompanied the party to the Wayfarer’s Inn, a staging post for travellers between Peakstone and Shattered Peak, leaving the horses in their care, finding a room for Big Al and retiring to the tavern to get food and pick up gossip.

The group they’d met on the road told them that they were bounty hunters who were able to claim payments from the guards in Shattered Peak in exchange for proof that they’d killed monsters in the surrounding area. Also, rumours suggested there had apparently been a murder in Peakstone.

Ambush

Arglebrath, Ashlour, Bragram, Hestus, Hwell and Kincaid travelled on early the next morning determined to get to the village and fulfil their contract with Sir Clarvar.

The day passed uneventfully until the late afternoon, when Ashlour and Kincaid noticed movement near a rocky outcrop over the road on an upcoming right-hand bend. Realising it to be a good spot for an ambush, the whole party climbed off the road onto the slopes leading up to the right. Their activity clearly alerted the would-be ambushers to their discovery and out rushed 12 kobolds armed with either spears or clubs, intent on overwhelming the party.

Kobolds rained down on Bragram, bringing him to the ground where he was stabbed by a spear-wielder. Spears were thrown into the crowd of PCs, without any finding their mark, and when their weapons were gone, they attempted similar tactic as before, this time against Hwell, but he shrugged them off with little effort, despatching the single monster that had succeeded in grappling his leg. Once the initial shock of engagement had passed, the ineptitude of the kobolds became clearer, with their only successful target being Arglebrath, who was given some healing by Hestus in an effort to ward off unconsciousness.

In time, the attack was routed – largely through Hwell’s heroics, and the party ensured that few escaped intact. Feeling safe to continue, the party returned to the road, but on reaching the bend, Kincaid saw that the rocky outcrop was tipping over onto the road. He called out a warning and the party scattered, except for Arglebrath and Bragram who could not react in time to prevent them from being hit.

The party began to dig them out of the rubble, but were hampered by the 3 kobolds above who were now hurling their spears down at the PCs. Hwell was sent to remove the threat (and duly did) the rest continued their attempted rescue of these trapped. Though both Arglebrath and Bragram were successfully dug out from under the stone, the delay proved too much for Bragram who with his dying breath told them of a letter he had from Sir Clarvar.

Further Complications

On opening the letter, they found it to be instructions for another of Sir Clarvar’s employees, Ganant, regarding negotiations for the purchase of the newly discovered mine at Peakstone Quarry.Letter to ganant
With the death of two horses, the party limped into the village of Peakstone and checked into the Cracked Stone Inn and began inquiring as to the whereabouts of Ganant. The Innkeeper thought the name familiar, but his wife recognised it at once as the name of a recently murdered man…

…Life is never easy for the party it seems.

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A Powerful Friend

Reward

Having cornered the thief, the party question her. She calls herself Samorna and claims that she took the sack because Bragram was clearly well-off, riding a good horse and so she believed its contents would be valuable. She denied being a member of any guild.

Inside, they found an expensive looking, locked hard-wood box with a sun motif burned into the lid. Although Arglebrath looked interested in trying to open it, Ashlour realised that Bragram was within earshot below. With the stolen object retrieved, the party let Samorna escape, because as Arglebrath said, “it’s always useful to know a local thief.”

While climbing off the roof, both Hwell and Kincaid fell off the roof and were taken to the Monastery to recuperate, meanwhile Big Al had recovered enough to rejoin with the party.

Bragram invited the party to escort him to his employer’s offices, where after waiting for 40 minutes or so, they were ushered into his study. Sir Clarvar thanked them for their assistance and revealed that the box contained a sample of acanthite, a silver ore that he confirmed contained traces of mithril. This ore had been found in a newly-revealed cave system that had been broken open by quarrying in Peakstone, where he has a business interest.

Sir Ferek Clarvar asked the PCs if they would continue to provide protection, this time for Bragram, and return to Peakstone where his negotiator would need to be informed that the presence of mithril had been confirmed. As a reward for their help and continued assistance, he offered the party a share of half of one percent of the profits made as a result of any deal for the mining rights to the ore. Peakstone is two days travel from Shattered Peak and so he loaned the party horses for the journey.

The Journey

After a nights sleep, the party fetched their horses and left the city heading West on the southern side of the central mountains. Although the road was clearly hewn from the side of the mountains, and the drop the the left was often little better than a cliff, the road was clearly well maintained, and a regular route for tradespeople and the odd traveller. The journey was uneventful until late in the day, a large figure came sliding down the high slope to the North to land in amongst the party.

Arglebrath sat on his horse in shock, as the new arrival stood up, staring stupidly at the party with his single eye in the middle of his face. The monster, 7 or 8 feet tall, raised a huge bone he clearly used as a club and aimed at Ashlour, who sensible slid off the other side of his horse, using it as a meaty shield, which the monster duly smashed with his weapon, causing the horse to bolt, severely wounded. Hestus struck the monster from behind with his morning star, causing the beast to spin around. Ashlour cast a Chill Touch to hurt the monster as he spun, Arglebrath threw almost all his darts at it, hitting once, while Big Al struck once, before being treated like a tent-peg by the monster looming over him and ending up bleeding and unconscious on the ground.

A long drawn-out battle progressed slowly, while the strength having been drawn from the creature by Ashlour’s Chill Touch, the monster became marginally less threatening, eventually being put down by Bragram. The party were triumphant, finding 9gp amongst the monsters otherwise meagre possessions.

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Stolen Goods

The Beginning

Arglebrath was the first to wake and found that he and (most of) the others were being cared for in a dormitory style infirmary. Reassured that they weren’t in danger he attracted the attention of a brown-robed figure who hobbled over with his crutches to talk.

Apparently the PCs had been brought to a monastery in a city called Shattered Peak by the ‘household guard’ while they were unconscious and had been tended to while an official waited to question them. Arglebrath noticed the absence of Hestus and was told he was being kept in one of the brother’s cells as a precaution due to the open sores and other evidence of disease that they’d been unable to cure.

The rest of the party were roused (except Big Al who remained asleep), dressed and invited by Investigator Brei – who was accompanied by two city guards – to answer some questions. Hestus was brought in from the cell by Brother Bragen and during conversation it came to light that the party were fortunate that the gate opened very near to where Lord Gwaide Erbale’s delegation from the capital were returning to the city. Cavalry men were sent to investigate the obvious appearance of a demon through a gate but they were intercepted by zombies and skeletons, allowing the demon, the black robed figure and some other men to escape into the mountain forests, while leaving the unconscious party to be found by the household guard. Kincaid informed the investigator that it seemed the black robed man was searching for something and that the demon opened the gate to Shattered Peak, implying this is where the object is to be found.

After informing the party that they remain ‘suspect’ until their story can be corroborated, he asked if they had anyone to act as their guarantor during their stay in the city, whereupon Brother Bragen volunteered to vouch for them, explaining that he has sympathy for them perhaps because of his own adventurous past. Investigator Brei told the party they were free to leave, but warned them that the city is a place of law and order and they will be expected to act accordingly. They were also advised to register any weapons with the guard.

It must also be noted that the upon waking, the party realized that there were gaps in their memory of events prior to Dain’s sacrifice. In fact, none of them could remember how they had all come together at all.

The Chase

On leaving the monastery, it became obvious that Shattered Peak was a large bustling city, positioned in a mountain pass and flanked on both sides by the curious spires of rock that gave it its name. The monastery was situated in a poor area of town amongst warehouses and poor dwellings, within sight of the more odiferous trades and borderline slums. Many of the better buildings were built of a grey granite – including the monastery – but there were also many wooden building and those of poorer construction.

Before long, the party heard the sound of a horse in distress and spotted a rider struggling to control his horse, while shouting “Stop that thief.” Ashlour attempted to calm the horse, while Ashlour spotted a figure running through the crowd and ran off in pursuit, belatedly followed by Hestus. The rest of the party decided to wait, to consider their options.

The running figure ducked into an alleyway and scaled the wall, obviously intending to escape over the rooftops. Hestus helped Kincaid climb to the roof and he set off in pursuit. Meanwhile Ashlour calmed the victim’s horse and rode with him in pursuit of the thief. Arglebrath and Hwell also set off on foot, taking an alternate route via the back alleys of the city.

Hestus eventually scaled the wall and began to follow, but quickly fell off the roof altogether, landing in a heap in the main street. Kincaid also slipped, but managed to cling on to the roof and regain his feet to continue the chase. When getting a brief glimpse of the thief between buildings, Arglebrath realised it was a woman. Ashlour meanwhile, got a sling shot in at her but it glanced harmlessly off her armour.

As Kincaid gamely continued his rooftop chase, Arglebrath helped Hwell up onto the roofs in an attempt to cut off the thief’s escape and then climbed the wall himself.

At last the woman slipped on the roof, allowing the party to engage with her. Hwell attemptted to grab the stolen sack, while Arglebrath tried to grapple with her to prevent her escape. Both failed, but as she ran off again, Hwell landed a hit on her with the flat of his blade. With the others slowing the woman in combat, Ashlour also climbed onto a roof to further limit her options to escape, and surrounded, she gave herself up.

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Remember the Sacrifice

The Setup

This session opened with the PCs (Arglebrath, Ashlour, Big Al, Hestus, Hwell and Kincaid) sprawled on the floor of a dry, dusty circular chamber 40 feet across, their hands tied behind their backs and gags in their mouths. Guarding them were two humans wielding spears, but also wearing short swords. Also present in the chamber were 2 more guards, positioned in front of the chamber’s only exit, and 2 positioned either side of an altar. The party’s weapons and backpacks have been thrown to the opposite side of the room.

Two tall braziers flanked the altar, burning with a foul incense, another lower, larger oval brazier sat alongside, and standing behind the altar was a black robed figure in the middle of a ritual. Chained to the altar is Dain and in the hands of the robed figure is a long serrated blade with etched with runes.

Action

As the PCs tried (and failed) to free themselves, the robed figure slashed openDain’s arms and legs, releasing his blood to flow onto the altar. Dain screamed in pain and fear.

The party continued to struggle with their bonds as the robed figure raised his blade high in the air… and brought it down into Dain’s chest, hacking a hole big enough for him to reach in and tear out his still beating heart. At this point, with the guards distracted – putting it mildly – and quaking with fear, the party managed to escape their bonds, but sensibly hide this fact from their captors.

The robed figure then deposited the heart in the large brazier and the flames burned black. The robed figure finished his chanting and called out “Come to me Nulaggandu, show me the K’thall!” With a sound like the tearing of flesh, a demon appears.
Demon nulaggandu
The demon announced “That which you seek has been lost for many centuries, for what purpose do you wish to find it?”

“I wish to return the master.” Said the robed figure.

“I will aid you.” Replied Nulaggandu.

At this point, the party made their move, with both Arglebrath and Big Al attempting to steal swords from the pre-occupied guards (Arglebrath succeeded, Big Al only succeeded in attracting the attention of the startled guard), Kincaid impressively disarmed another of his spear and caught it, Ashlour cast Stone Fist and felled another, while Hestus ran to retrieve his morning star.

Nulaggandu spoke a command word and behind the altar, near the wall a shimmering gate appeared, through which from a bird’s eye’s perspective could be seen a city located in a pass flanked by two striking peaks of stone. The perspective of the gate changed and it moved down to ground level. Noticing the captives struggles, the robed figure instructed his men to kill the party and then to follow through the gate with the others. Although Kincaid threw his spear and hit the black robed figure, it merely stopped and fell to the floor as though it had hit a statue. With that, he and the demon stepped through the gate.

The party meanwhile overcome the guards, the highlight being when Big Al punched a guard in his most sensitive area, whereupon the man doubled up in pain, and vomited over the head of the halfling. Big Al then wasted no time in taking away his sword and killing him with it.

Finally free, the party gathered up their gear. At this point, Ashlour noticed that the only exit from the room was blocked by many approaching zombies, and it was decided that the only exit was the gate.

On preparing to leave, the PCs noticed that the black robed figure and demon appeared to be looking at something out of view of the party, and hoping they would remain distracted they began to file through.

As they each stepped through the gate, the PCs fell unconscious, and though the last of them to leave could see what was happening to the others, feeling they had no choice stepped through anyway and joined their associates in sleep.

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