Tales from Elrond

Infestation in the Cisterns

Partly because they want to learn the secret location of the fabled Witch’s Hour Sage to get answers to questions about Takashi and Lester’s father, and partly because it seems the right thing to do, Takashi, Lester and Magnara agree to assist Surina, a Dragonborn servant of the goddess Erathis, with cleansing the spider infestation that has taken root in the ancient cisterns that lie beneath the Seven-Pillared Hall. Surina leads the way and the journey is uneventful. Arriving at the cisterns the party finds channels of contaminated water with dry areas covered in thick strands of webbing. phase-spider2.jpgMaking their way through the cistern network, it doesn’t take long before the party is ambushed by the first of what would be several strange giant arachnids that appear to possess the ability to phase in and out of existence. The spiders’ attacks are deadly as massive poison-injecting fangs nearly kill Surina and Lester as the spiders mainly choose to attack the weakly armored warlocks. The fighting in the cisterns is brutal and it is only after two encounters with the spiders’ brutal ambush attacks that the party becomes concern with their ability to sustain a sweeping advance through the labyrinth tunnels without stopping to rest and recover. After locating a very ill man who had wandered into the tunnels and contracted sickness from exposure to the foul water, and vanquishing another spider, the party decides to return to the Seven-Pillared Hall to recuperate before heading out again.

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Az'Al'Bani

Az’Al’Bani had become a bane to the party and their mission to cleanse the Phase Spider infestation from the cisterns. A ghost, a spectre or perhaps a wraith, none of the party knew for sure what type of undead abomination Az’Al’Bani was but it was apparent that he was persistent and formidable. Twice the party had defeated his undead minions and run off the undead creature but each battle was a challenge and death came close for various members of the party on both occasions. The undead fiend mentioned a place called the Court of Bones, but it’s significance and location are unknown to the party, and they only wish that they would stop crossing paths so that they may continue to the cisterns and finish their original task. Az’AL’Bani had had severely weakened the party after his last attack and they have taken refuge in a relatively dry and secured part of the labyrinth to recover before striking out to the cisterns again. IMG_1287.JPG

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Severius' Journal- "The Feathergale Society"

My companions and I began what would be three days of travel down the Larch Path in search of the tower which the Feathergale Society uses as their base. The trip started off most pleasant with perfect weather and no events of concerns. I actually enjoyed my time amongst the rolling hills looking out as far as my eyes could see and still seeing that the countryside continued in the distance. It was a great contrast to the dark confines of my home, Cyndiciea, and while I have finally become somewhat comfortable with the openness of the surface world, I do not think it would ever take the place of home. Despite the troubles of my home, there is still a comfort in its dark confines, similar to being in an affectionate embrace. I’m sure that this feeling would not be shared by those not of the subterranean races who would likely find the environment claustrophobic.

The second day was the worst weather I have experienced since my time on the surface. Rain does not naturally occur where I’m from, neither do thunder and lightning, and the tempest that assailed us throughout the night was a horrorific deluge with no cover to be found in the hills. Despite his best efforts, the Wood Elf Aszh was unable to get a fire going and we all spent the night huddled in our soaked cloaks and blankets trying to stay warm and get some sleep. I had heard the stories from the past and knew of storms through my teachings, as Gorm is a god of storms, but those stories came from thousands of years past when much of Cynidicea was still above ground and long before my time. Now in Cynidicea storms only exist as myth and legend.

Unfortunately the storm was the least of our worries, for while we camped amongst some ancient Dwarven ruins we were attacked by foul rocklike creatures called Gargoyles while Aszh and I were in watch. Seemingly made of stone the creatures seemed resistant to normal weapons and I thank Gorm that he had granted me his spiritual guardians to wreck vengeance of these foul creatures who dared to attack Gorm’s faithful servant. The golden angelic forms of the guardians dived and flew around the creatures while stabbing and slashing with their swords of radiant light. My companions added their efforts to the fight and we were successful in vanquishing our forms with only minor injuries.

Waking up the next morning feeling more exhausted than we did prior to retire for the night we trudged to the tallest hilltop nearby and sought out the tower. We could make it out nestled in a valley and jutting skyward. A formidable and elegant looking structure. Aszh plotted a course and we were on our way, taking till early evening to reach our destination. Hippogriff riders circled above monitoring our progress and after a short group meeting to discuss a plan, it was agreed that Enna, being of noble blood, would serve as the spokesperson for our group amongst these nobles that made up the Feathergale Society. IMG_1317.JPG I was certainly surprised when the first person from the Society to formally greet us was Lady Savra, the sister of Lady Anyyam who we had been asked to seek out and convince to return to Muluk and her husband. She appeared happy as a full member of the Society, a Feathergale Knight, and explained the freedom, adventure and high-quality living that she enjoyed as a member of the Society. She expressed some sadness about missing home but did not seem interested in returning anytime soon. Not yet revealing that her sister had asked us to seek her our, Allegro and I remained quiet on the issue and took advantage of the tour of the tower that Savra was offering. She told us that we had arrived at a most fortuitous time as a feast was being held that evening to celebrate the Society’s tenth anniversary of founding.

We were introduced to the leader of the Feathergale Society, Commander Thurl Merroska, and he appeared to be a strong capable warrior that certainly had the bearing of noble blood. He seemed very happy with Allegro and Biggle’s offers to provide entertainment for the evenings festivities, and explained the recent abrupt departure of their previously scheduled performer, a fellow named Windharrow, and his band of minstrels called the Windwyrds. The mention of Windharrow’s name set Allegro into an immediate rage and I thought he was going to attack Commander Merosska when he got in the commander’s face demanding answers on Windharrow’s whereabouts. I’m sure that didn’t make a good impression and Merosska advised Enna to control Allegro implying that things may not go well if she failed to do so. Enna was able to get Allegro under control and Merosska informed us that Windharrow had been requested to play for Queen Aerisi Kalinoth, a moon elf that Enna understood had left her home in the Fey Wild to reside on Elrond.

While the rest of the party toured the tower I remained on the roof using the tower’s telescope to study the vast view I was offered of the surrounding hills, an opportunity I have never had before. I was worried about Allegro, he sat nearby on the battlement wall petting his puppet and looking quite depressed.

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Severius' Journal- Feasting, a Manticore Hunt and the Sacred Stone Monestary

The Feathergale Society did not disappoint, and neither did Biggle. The feast that the Society had prepared for the tenth anniversary of their founding was beyond the likes that I have ever tasted. Deliciously rich foods of such variety accompanied by a likewise selection of wine and spirits. Biggle’s performance did not disappoint, and the Society were certainly impressed by his performance, granting him the use of one of their limited tower suites for the night and an open invitation to play for them again when he returns to the area in the future. Biggle weaved an entertaining tale of our group’s adventures through the Dessarin Valley, utilizing song and magic to enthrall everyone in the Hall. Surely nothing could top great food and a great performance but there was still one more thing to make this a night I would surely remember- the Manticore hunt!

When the sentries burst into the Hall at the conclusion of Biggle’s performance to announce the sighting of the Manticore in the mist cover Valley the knights erupted in a fervor of activity. Commander Merosska announced the award of one of his own personal jeweled rings to the person who brought him the creature’s head. We were even offered a chance to participate, riding atop a giant vulture mount of our own.

The hunt was an experience that I am at a lost for words to describe. The rush of wind blowing on your face as you ride atop a flying beast in ever shifting mists, the darkness occasionally lit up by the moonlight with the ground far below and playing cat and mouse with a creature that was very much capable of playing the role of cat or mouse. While the Feathergale Knights flew off in one direction we decided to stick together in our group, hoping that teamwork would bring us victory.IMG_1362.JPGOur decision proved to be a good one as we suddenly came upon the beast and the dance of death high above the earth started. The creature was not interested in closing the distance and used its ability to fire spikes from its tail at us while we attacked it with magic or javelin in the case of Aszh. Gorm was with us, and despite the shifting mists, we were able to reacquire the beast when it hid from us and Aszh finished it with a javelin that pierced its skull and sent it plummeting to the valley floor. We returned to the Tower, the Manticore’s head in hand and received Merosska’s reward in the midst of the Knight’s applause.

The following day, following Lady Savra’s advice that the way to the Sacred Stone Monastery would be hard to travel with a wagon, I made arrangements to have our wagon and horses stored and cared for in the Tower and, with Lady Savra as our guide, we headed to the Sacred Stone Monastery. On her hippogriff, Savra scouted ahead by air, looking for potential dangers and the best path for us to take on the ground.

During the occasional periods of rest, Allegro and I attempted to learn more of Savra’s decision to leave her husband and family and tried to convince her to return to her homeland. She did not seem to have any intention of returning to her previous lifestyle, and after the experience I had last night I could not blame her. She had left behind a lifestyle of strict duty for one of freedom, adventure and excess. She did mention that her coffers were running low and she would soon be unable to pay her dues. She was contemplating returning home to ask for more money, and should this course of action be taken I do not foresee a joyous homecoming for any of the parties involved. IMG_1363.JPG
With the exception of a potentially deadly encounter against a pair of Bulettes, which Aszh would have surely perished in were it not for the healing power of Gorm, the trip to the Sacred Stone Monastery was uneventful. We arrived early in the evening and our speaking attempts to investigate its residents were stonewalled at the door. The golden masked individual told us that we would not be allowed entrance and not be allowed to speak to the abbess; we were told not politely to leave.IMG_1364.JPGAszh thought that the individual at the door was hiding something and further investigation into the Monastery was warranted. This began a heated discussion amongst the group about how to proceed, and whether or not an assault on a potentially innocent recluse monastic order without cause would be justified. Eventually it was decided that Allegro would attempt to infiltrate the Monastery when night fell and get us some information to help us decide how to proceed.

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An Uneasy Alliance

After more rest and recuperation after yet another bout with the undead wraith, Az’Al’Bani, Surina, Takashi, Magnara and Lester again head toward the cisterns. Enroute they encounter the wraith yet again but this time things seem different. Az’Al’Bani offers a temporary truce to join in an alliance to further both group’s goals.

He explains that he has the key to an ancient Minotaur site called the Court of Bones, which is hidden in the cisterns. In return for his assistance in clearing out the spider infestation in the cisterns, the party will assist him in locating the door to the Court and help him retrieve a crystal that lies inside. Az’Al’Bani explains that this is an ideal situation for the others- he will leave this place once he has this crystal, his foul presence will no longer be an issue, and Erathis’ will will be done. Surina agrees and the others reluctantly agree as well, wary of the wraith’s true intentions. D506A4D8-E7C2-419D-822D-863714D8FC38.jpegAz’Al’Bani appears true to his word and he helps the party rid the cisterns of the phase spiders. His ability to surprise the spiders as he emerges from the stone walls and suck the life from them is a great benefit in the battles. The party makes good progress and seem to fare better than in their previous attempts. Even in their toughest battle in what appears to be the heart of the spider infestation, in which Surina and Lester go down (paralyzed by poison), seems only slightly more difficult than the previous ones. With their bags full of scavenged treasure found on the web strewn floor of the spiders’ lair, the party heads toward the final area of the cisterns and it is here that disaster strikes.

Walking into the lair of two basilisks, Magnara and Lester are barely able to fight off the effects of the creatures’ petrifying gaze. Unfortunately, Takashi is not so lucky and in the process of notching an arrow he is turned to stone. The rest of the party is able to vanquish the beasts but lack the magic to revert their friend back to normal. With his alchemy background, Lester salvages some of the fluids from the basilisks’ gullet in the hopes of later creating a potion to save his half-brother. B6925D5E-4F39-4E67-A8B5-92DA3E4EDAD9.jpegCoincidently, Az’Al’Bani can sense the door to the Court of Bones is near and leaving Takashi behind with the intention of returning for him later, the party finds it after searching a nearby tunnel. Using his key, Az’Al’Bani opens the ancient lock and the portal opens to a bone-filled tomb with the depiction of a large bull skull embossed on the floor, bone-covered pillars and two mummified Minotaur skeletons sitting in thrones on a raised platform, one of which is clutching a large crystal.

Az’Al’Bani makes for the crystal and snatches it from the grasp of the Minotaur mummy. With this act the tomb comes alive with an ill-wind and the rising of two Minotaur skeletons from the piles of bones, as well as ghastly spectral figures. Some of the undead flee after their initial assault when Magnara calls upon the holy power of Bahamut but what follows is a challenging battle that gets even harder when Az’Al’Bani’s opponents are vanquished and he flees from the Court with the crystal, leaving the rest of the party to fend for themselves. 323AC239-4F86-400B-9D44-435CC937FB60.jpeg Desperate to survive, it takes Magnara, Lester and Surina‘s remaining magic and might to destroy their foes. Battered and exhausted, but alive and victorious, they search the Court and are somewhat rewarded from the ordeal when they find a hidden compartment in one of the thrones that contains some gold and a spell book. Now they must find a way to cure Takashi.

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Severius' Journal- "Assasult on the Sacred Stone Monastery"

I do not have much time to write, for I fear that the enemy is making preparations to root us out and kill us for our intrusion into their home. My comrades are bloodied and battered and few of us have any unspent magickal power left. I only have the barest gifts of Gorm at my disposal, the majority of my powers having been spent in the massive seemingly never-ending melee against waves of Sacred Stone Monks which immediately assailed us when we made entrance into their monastery and the later challenging engagement against the gatekeepers of the monastery’s subterranean level, a group of orogs accompanied by an ogre.

Reflecting back now on the tense discussions we had after Allegro returned from his night time scouting of the Sacred Stone Monastery, I believe that we have chosen the correct path to find the Delegation and strike out against evil. These monks seem to worship the same symbol of allegiance that we found as the insignia on the uniforms wore by the bugbears found in the shallow graves near the Delegation battle site in the hills. Their obvious reluctance to engage us in conversation about the Delegation and their recently revealed associations with the foul and evil Dwarven race known as the Duergar shows that there is more than enough suspicion to breach their sanctuary and investigate.

So far we have not found any of the Delegation here or clues to the monks’ involvement but we have only begun to explore the sub level. The current state of my party cannot be ignored and without time to recuperate, which I do not believe we will have at the moment while in the domain of the enemy, I fear we will be hard-pressed to emerge victorious from another major engagement. I trust in Gorm’s wisdom though. His guidance has protected me thus far and I have no doubt he will see me through this test of faith.

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Lesser of Two Evils?

Lester, Magnara and Surina return to the Seven-Pillared Hall. Figuring that Takashi is not going anywhere in his current state as a stone statue, they take their time getting some much needed rest and recuperation. Lester purchases alchemy supplies from Gendar, and with the biologicals he extracted from the Basilisks, intends to brew a potion to transform Takashi back to his normal state. A conversation with the Dwarven owner of the Deepgem Company, Ulthand Deepgem, and appealing to his previous positive interactions with Takashi as a worshipper of the Dwarven goddess Ulsan secures a space in his holdings for Lester to construct a make-shift lab to go about his work.

Heading out the following day with two vials of hope in hand, Lester and Magnara make their way back to the cisterns they find Takashi as they left him. After Magnara asking for Bahamut’s blessing, Lester administers one of the transmutation potions on Takashi and are relieved when Takashi’s natural form is restored. After catching their friend up on what happened after he was turned to stone, the party heads out of the cisterns back towards the Seven-Pillared Hall.

E8E9A092-C549-4511-A191-E7774ABE8C9C.jpegEnroute, they cross paths with a tiefling warlock named Meredith who is in the service of Asmodeus and leading a small force of devils and warriors against the demon worshippers of Yeenoghu who have taken residence in the aptly named Well of Demons- an ancient area of the Thunderspire Labyrinth that was coincidentally used during the rule of the Minotaurs to worship the demon lord Baphomet. Meredith and Lester converse at length about the individual tasks they have been assigned by their patron and Lester learns that his charge is to cleanse the Well of Demons of the demon worshippers. He explains what is expected of him to his comrades and Magnara seems the most disturbed by this revelation, not entirely comfortable with being used as a tool for one evil power to thwart the evil agenda of another. Lester tries to convince the Dragonborn that his master is the lesser of the two evils but Magnara remains conflicted. Departing ways with Meredith, the party returns to the Seven-Pillared Hall where Takashi retires, Lester goes to do work for Gendar (as part of their agreement for the purchase of the alchemical supplies) and Magnara seeks the company of Surina.

After he awakes, Takashi joins Magnara in the common room of the Halfmoon Inn feeling more exhausted and ill than he was when he went to bed. Using the power of Bahamut, Magnara cures what’s ailing him and the two discuss the situation before them regarding aiding Lester in his patron’s task. Magnara eventually agrees with Takashi that they are still fighting evil and should Asmodeus’ followers fill the void left by the vanquished demon worshippers, then they will be the next enemies to fall.

At the conclusion of their meeting one of the locals, a kobold named Charrak, hands them a message from an unidentified individual praising their work against the Bloodreavers and claiming to be a member of the evil organization who the slavers work for who is seeking its downfall. With the individual requesting a secret meeting in two hours in one of the rooms off the main corridors leading from the Seven-Pillared Hall, the pair gathers Lester and the trio head out to see who this mysterious person is.

9D3ED1C6-8B23-40D9-B314-826D13B42ACB.jpegUpon arrival at the meeting site, the party steps into an ambush as a large bronze golem in the shape of an axe-wielding Minotaur pushes a massive boulder to block the room’s sole entrance while two tiefling archers rain arrows on the party from a ledge over-looking the room. The fight is pretty one-sided as Lester and Takashi struggle to protect themselves from the skilled archers while the bronze golem beats down Magnara with powerful blows. As his companions fall, Lester uses his magic to turn himself into gaseous form and escape through the boulder-blocked passageway.

Following as long as he can in gaseous form, Lester sees their attackers bound Takashi and Magnara in rope and then take them from the room to the Well of Demons where they will be turned over to the gnolls to be made into slaves or sacrificed. When he is forced to transform back to normal, Lester’s failed attempt to continue following by using stealth results in him surrendering and joining his companions as a captive. With things looking bleak the party struggles to figure out a way to get out of their predicament.

3B2DD01F-27F3-4E9B-847E-66578BE6D033.jpegLuckily, Meredith and her small force intercepts the party and their captors and a fierce battle erupts between the two forces. During the fighting Lester, Magnara and Takashi are able to free themselves and contribute to the mayhem as best they can with fists and spells still left at their disposal. The battle proves to be a bloody one and in the end only Lester, Takashi, Magnara and Meredith remain alive. A search of the bodies reveals some messages from the rogue Mage of Saruun, Paldemar, to the leader of the Yeenoghu-worshipping gnoll leader Maldrick Scarmaker talking about the party being interlopers and offering them as a gift. It seems pretty obvious that all paths are leading to the Well of Demons.

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Severius' Journal- "Action Uncertain?"

Dovak tells us that the ancient stonework of these caverns below the Sacred Stone Monastery are Dwarven in origin and that has lead to some speculation considering the presence of Duergar fighting alongside the Monks during our battle at the Monastery’s entrance. In our wandering of the sub-level below the Monastery, we came across a locked gate barring an ancient staircase leading further down. This gate was unlocked using a key that was found on the vanquished orog leader and after a long descent, we have arrived at a grand chasm spanned by a stone bridge. Aszh and I have discussed our observations and considered that perhaps Duergar reside in the subterranean realm below the Monastery and are in an alliance with the monks above.

Our foray into the Monastery has been a challenge certainly, and laying here in prayer to Gorm in the darkness of an ancient Dwarven hallway still surrounded by enemies my comrades and I are uncertain of our next action. Allegro has become separated from the group. His attempt to lead away our pursuers was not successful and his fate remains unknown. I am asking Gorm to bless me with a Sending spell so I might commune with my friend and ascertain his status. Above us, in the subterranean level directly below that Monastery a deadly Umber Hulk stalks the passageways. Aszh and I were nearly killed by the creature as we attempted to hold it off while the others retreated. The creature left us unconscious while it pursued the others. Fortunately Gorm was with us and he ensured the beast was lead astray while our companions returned and dragged us to safety. 690767B2-D7E3-4651-BCB0-314128653EE7.jpeg

The ancient stair and the area it lead to appears to be of questionable safety. Immediately upon attempting to cross the stone bridge across the chasm we were attacked by gargoyles which were concealed amongst the stone surroundings. The creatures were difficult to slay, our weapons seemingly not as effective as they should have been, even Dovak’s normally devastatingly powerful axe blows were significantly reduced in effectiveness. After killing two of the creatures, the third flew off into the darkness. We decided to not proceed forward. We are too weak to continue further without rest and recuperation and most of us feel a need to reunite with Allegro before proceeding further. I do not know if I have been in worse circumstances than I currently find myself in but I have faith in Gorm’s ability to provide and protect.

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Severius’ Journal- “Reunited and Retreating”

We have learned more regarding the fate of the Mirabar Delegation during the last two hours than we have during the entirety of the proceeding month. This information is indeed very much cause for concern and speaks of a great evil growing and threatening to corrupt and destroy the Dessarin Valley, and most likely beyond, if not stopped. But I must pause and collect myself…Starting from the beginning would offer a complete explanation, yes?

After successful communication with Allegro by the blessing of Gorm’s Sending spell, we were able to reunite with our halfling friend in the room where we have vanquished the orog and ogre guards; their bodies still lay where we left them, the blood from their wounds now dry and thankfully still too soon to display the bloat or putrid smell of decomposition. After a hasty reunion and exchange of information to update each other on the past day’s events we headed upstairs intent on exiting the monastery as soon as possible to both get clear of danger and so I may treat Brunldenthar injuries. We had only just exited onto the ground floor when we were confronted by one of the Sacred Stone Monastery monks. This woman, which I only deduce based on the sound of her voice and shape of her body was different than the others we had fought. There was a conviction in her voice and an unnerving feeling about her presence which I believe was mainly due to the realization that her gilded demonic mask lacked eyes or vision slits.

The woman demanded our immediate surrender so that proper “justice” may be meted out but none in my party had any interested in complying and battle was soon joined. The sightless woman was not alone and invisible Duergar revealed themselves and joined the melee, as did another monk and a warrior covered in strange armor made of Stone. Much majick was spent by myself in our party to face such foes and I am indeed thankful to the blessings that Gorm bestowed to this humble servant. I knew in my heart that our cause was just and Gorm would provide victory. The sightless monk’s allies were slain but unfortunately she was able to escape and we elected to leave the monastery rather than engage in pursuit not knowing what more potential foes await. FB91E724-FD76-4A6E-BD2E-55D7E3A093F1.jpeg

Arriving at camp, we found Brunldenthar as Allegro described, in good spirits but malnourished and injured. Aszh and I both utilized the blessing from our patrons to heal the dwarf and much of his health was restored. With strength returned the dwarf told us what befell the Delegation- an ambush by Sacred Stone monks shortly after the Delegation had left Beliard and was enroute to Summit Hall. Brunldenthar told us that many of the Delegation were slain and those that survived were taken captive where they were escorted to the River Dessarin to meet with river pirates who were paid by the monks (using Brunldenthar’s collection of valuable books) to take the prisoners across. Before the prisoners were placed aboard, another ambush occurred, this time by vulture-riding bandits that attacked the pirates and the monks. In the confusion Brunldenthar was able to confirm that the bandits were able to capture and get away with at least one of the surviving Delegation members, Deseyna Norvael, a noble from Waterdeep. EB94A196-DC8F-4473-BBB0-EEF516A8D4B3.jpeg

With the surviving bandits retreating, Brunldenthar confirmed that he and two others of the Delegation, Rhundorth (one of Mirabar’s finest smiths and a veteran warrior) and Teresiel (a moon elf from Silverymoon) were taken to the Monastery and held as prisoners with other people that the monks had kidnapped from the neighboring towns and countryside to excavate and mine the subterranean level below the monastery.

During his captivity Brunldenthar learned that the monks were in fact an elemental cult of Earth, this particular sect being made of evil worshippers that had established a base in the Dessarin Valley. Brunldenthar admitted that he was no expert but based on the limited knowledge he did know, the cult posed a great danger to the Dessarin Valley and beyond if they were allowed to continue to grow in power. He did not know what the cult was up to, especially in the deeper subterranean level that lay below the subterranean level that was immediately below the monastery but he fears the worse, especially after the cult took Teresial and Rhundorth to the lower level a tenday or so ago. After hearing Brunldenthar’s tale, everyone in the group was in agreement that we must take action but Brunldenthar cautioned us that these were powerful enemies indeed.

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The Assault on the Well of Demons Begins

In the morn, Magnara, Takashi and Lester have found that tensions, alliances and life in general has gotten more complicated by their cooperation with Meredith. Surina, having heard of the party’s relationship with the tiefling follower of Asmodeus, confronts the party on their commitment to help her facilitate conditions to encourage settlement into the Seven-Pillared Hall and surrounding areas. She believes that the next step in this process is to secretly remove the Duergar presence in the Seven-Pillared Hall to send a message to the slaver Dwarves and others that support the slave trade that they are not welcome; with the threat of slavery gone, Surina believes that more outsiders will come to settle the area.

There is a heated discussion between Surina and the party that ultimately results in Surina stomping off in disgust at their failure to commit to an immediate assault. Before she departs she honors her agreement to provide the party with secret location of the oracle, the Witching Hour’s Sage. The party discusses amongst themselves what to do and by the time Meredith returns from her meeting with the Duergar they have decided to proceed to the Well of Demons and cleanse the demon-worshipping gnolls from the area.
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The trip to the Well is uneventful and the first opponents the party fights when they enter the Blackclaw Tribe base are gricks accompanied by a ghast. Despite being ambushed, the party vanquishes the creatures without much trouble. Proceeding deeper into the gnoll tribe’s lair, it becomes apparent that something supernatural was occurring at the Well. The veil separating the prime material plane and an unknown plane of evil was weak and Lester informed the party that this would mean that it would be easier for denizens of the two planes to cross over.

Continuing with caution, the party is able to ambush a group of gnolls in a mess hall and after easily dispatching them become involved in a protracted counterattack by a gnoll directing a pack of giant hyenas. Using the terrain their advantage, the party is able to funnel the enemy to attack piecemeal and with a combination of martial prowess and the magic of two warlocks, the hyenas were killed and their pack master ran off. The element of surprise now gone, the group readied for harder battles to come.
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