Voyages Beyond

Entry # 28; Bindings and Endings

A minor scuffle with the ghosts ensued. It was nowhere near as serious as I anticipated, but still, it was a warm up for the main event. Salix did his magic on the High Priestess, and she was eternally grateful for our help. After her monologues on the evils of adventurers, we persuaded her to look after the other leaders as we took on Vikair.

The Vizier Devil was in the stone serpent, which was beginning to shine with a pink glow, going from tail to mouth. We rallied and prepared to go in. As we were discussing, Orlouge went inside. He later told me that he tried to trick Vikair into thinking he worked for him, but it the devil saw through his lies.

Vikair attacked with some ghosts, and we heard the shouting. Salix and I got to the battle first, followed by Gedserth and Ruskael. In the room was a huge statue of Mammon, Archdevil of Greed. Vikair had some sort of blasphemous ritual set up inside, channeling mystical energies to forcefully convert the town elders.

Orlouge was already trying to disrupt the ritual, attempting to turn over a brazier filled with burning pink crystals. The fight was long and arduous. Gedserth was chased back up the spiral staircase that lead us into the chamber, whilst at one point, only Orlouge and I were standing. We hid behind the statue of Mammon. There, we concocted a plan. Calling on the blessings of Carriellana and the arcane magics Orlouge wields, we created a binding spell around one of my arrows. If the arrow hit Vikair, he would be bound to the statue for eternity; much better than the year and a day if we slew him. It was a delicate task, and as Orlouge had cast his final spell on the arrow, a ghost attacked him and he fell. I used the power of the Amulet of Passage and teleported away, hiding and biding my time to strike.

Gedserth came back to the chamber, having destroyed the ghost that was attacking him. All he could see was the rest of our party collapsed, my hiding place secure enough that he couldn’t see me. He bellowed out a challenge to the devil, and this roused our allies.

As they stood and distracted Vikair, I loosed my arrow. It struck the devil in its black heart, and the holy energies of my goddess and the dark magics of Orlouge pulled the devil into the statue, he screamed as he went, but it was in vain. When the devil was trapped, the ghosts stopped attacking. They explained Vikair was controlling them and they vowed to stand guard over the statue to prevent anyone from releasing the devil ever again.

Salix was concerned with the pink crystals, which he and Orlouge destroyed with magics. Although victorious, the battle seems to have weighed heavily on our necromancer; His hair is the same shade of pink as the crystals and his mouth now constantly drips water.

We returned to the surface to see the High Priestess rallying the townsfolk. The mayor was there, and he promised us a reward. All well and good, I feel.

We took the two ships back to Gelfar, and we are taking a well deserved rest at the Troll’s Tooth. I have Tabitha at my side, and for now, at least, everything is calm.

Entry #27: Into the Mists

Having got to the bottom of the Undead Shipping conspiracy, the party discovered that it’s architect, the devil Vikair, has travelled to Cutter’s Isle with the nobles and rules of Gelfar, intent on converting them to the Cult of Mammon – Lord of Greed.
After Ronson is able to mysteriously find a vessel able to take the party, they find themselves deep within the thick mists of the island. Whatever is occurring there, they soon decide it isn’t natural. Thanks to Orlouge’s near encyclopaedic knowledge of the island, they find their way to a mysterious serpent statue and a small town made of rotting ship hulls. Sneaking in, they managed to release one council member, Medley Shortgrass from his drug induced stupor whilst avoiding the gazes of ghostly sailors. As Medley returns to their position with the drugged High-Priestess of Vadomer however, the party are spotted by a ghostly patrol!

Entry #26: Wait... what?

Things seemed to go well, they really did. The Duegar (through a magic-mouth like ritual) communicated with us and we bartered them down to three terms:

1) Jolin Tarsis would be released.
2) The eldest duegar would be magically indentured to Orlouge.
3) The youngest would be taken the the temple of Jorella and enter her priesthood.

Jolin was released and I bound his wounds, so that went well.

Ruskael and Salix looted Vikar’s mansion, Ronson went to acquire a boat for us to get to Vikair’s pleasure boat, I would take the young dwarf to the priests and Orlouge would go to the Mage College and bind the elder dwarf.

And, as far as I know, things went quite well. Ronson met with a colleague and I’m sure the latest haberdashery news was exchanged, and I took the young dwarf to the temple. His name is Ithrik and seems quite willing to take the role of priest. I took him through the roles and chants of the evening, as the Vicar-Merchant of Jorella wasn’t avaliable.

And as for Orlouge, well, I can only consider that a success as I’ve not had a chance to speak to him.

I’m sure nothing bad happened. I’m sure nothing went wrong, like, say, Orlouge finds a bunch of drunk mage-students practicing, with mind-bending spells cast on a few nubile bar wenches. I’m certain he never pretended to be a professor and ordered them to permenantly bind the old dwarf to him completely forever. I’m 100% certain that a fight never broke out, the dwarf escaped, Orlouge followed, ordered the students to steal the reception desk and took flight through the streets of Gelfar to capture the duegar. I mean, that’s ridiculous, isn’t it?

Death of a dishonourable Dwarf

The battle with Vikair is tough and brutal with Salix, Gedserth and myself all falling amidst the battle, coming close to death. With the aid of the city guard however we are able to beat the ghoul impersonating Vikair down. He confesses to us that he is in bondage to something else, that he desires us to release him from his torment, a task that Ronson is more than willing to perform with his sword.

The ballroom is a mess but there is still much to do, Derrak Stoutbrew is upstairs and we still have not located the prat Tarsis. We pad up the stairs where Stoutbrew had ran, listening at the door to his room.

It appears my fears were true, Derrak is in league with Vikair and it appears both are under to command of Captain Brinemurk, the same man who Captain Blackhand had failed. Looking through the keyhole Davkas describes the creature that Stoutbrew speaks to,

He describes a creature with long purple tentacles from his face, something monstrous and despicable that could be Brinemurk, though all records state that the pirate is human. Unable to control my anger I charge through the door, splintering it and moving to stand beside Stoutbrew, ready to beat him down.

Even disarmed Stoutbrew is a dangerous foe, and a worshipper of Mamon. As we beat him down he attempts to sacrifice his soul to the demon, Gedserth stopping him with his impossing presence. Bound we turn to question him using one of Gedserth’s innate abilities.

We ask him where Captain Brinemurk is, but the disgraced curr does not know. However, he is aware that Tarsis is in the basement, most likely being tortured. The real Vikair is on a boat not far from Gelfar, and wherever the devil goes the cult of Mamon is active.

For our final question we ask him if he knows of Vikair’s plans, and it turns out that Vikair plans to spread the cult and replace the prominent people of the towns with ghouls, much like he has done here. As we finish questioning him Brinemurk kills Stoutbrew, any chance of a proper dwarven trial gone.

I explain her uncle’s death to Trilda, glossing over his dishonour and shame as Davkas and Orlouge head to the basement where they find Taris being tortured by a Duegar. Heading out of there they return to the ballroom, and we prepare for another fight.

Ruskeal Ironshield, son of the Mountain.

A Face Revealed

We return to the Troll Tooth’s Inn and Aunt Standorafor a well earned rest. Syfra is introduced to Standora who takes her under her wing and away from our vicinity. They start nattering like only two Tiefling women can. While partaking of a beer or two and some pie and chips, Davkas and Ronsen disappear from the group, to a quiet and secluded area of the Inn.

We later learn that Ronson made the acquaintance of a shifty character and started talkng ‘hats’ with him. The conversation got round to ‘Devil Hats’ which are worth 100gp according to the rogue. Ronson bargains him down to 80gp for information on the ‘Devil Hat’.

Part-way through the evening, Orlouge disappears, to be replaced a few moments later by a woman we met in the town of Delwyn. This woman wafts pass and out of the Inn’s door. A short while later, Orlouge reappears amongst us. I’m baffled. Wizards and their ways!

A couple of hours later, Ronson moves off to the secluded corner of the Inn again. Seems that the ‘Hat’ man is back. He informs Ronson of the whereabouts of the ‘Devil Hat’ he is looking for.

Ronson updates up: Apparently, Vikair (for that is who the ‘Devil Hat’ is referring to) is attending a celebratory party in town. Various local dignitaries will be attending.

After a quick chat, we decide to gate-crash the party, but Davkas nips off to the Temple of Vadomer (the Goddess of seas, rivers and puddles) to acquire some Holy Water; bad new for Devils that stuff is.

We hatch a plan and infiltrate the gardens surrounding the establishment where the party is being held. Ronson and Trilda (they make a lovely couple) manage to gain entrance and start to mingle with the guests while the rest of us wait outside for the sign to move in.

At the pre-arranged signal, Ronson throws the Holy Water onto Vikair. This will force the creature to reveal its Devil nature, but as luck would have it, Ronson throws like a girl and totally misses! In the mean-time, the rest of us are teleporting in, using the power of the ‘Amulet of Passage’.
“You have all fallen into my trap!” laughs Vikair and as he does so, his face melts into the form of an Undead creature. Davkas, being the quick-whitted sort, shouts out a warning ‘The guests are Ghouls! They are Ghouls!’

There ensues an exciting fight. We dispose of the guest Ghouls but Vikair is a tougher opponent………(to be continued)

Entry # 24 Trial by Spirit

Riding for the shifter holy ground will likely be easy until we enter the Hammercrag Fell, and the frozen wasteland that it has become. It has been many years since I last visited any part of the Fell, and I must confess that I am glad the Goliath is no longer with us for this trip.

We ride in reasonably close formation, flanked on all sides by the shifters and the human members of their clan. While the majority of the party appear to be resorting to warmer clothes it appears our two Tieflings are entering into some prolonged courtship ritual, the less observed the better I feel.

As we ride Syfra imparts information to us that Vycar might be a devil in disguise, a worrying thought but one that we cannot verify at the moment. I am also getting more and more agitated, I believe that we are wasting too much time, that we should strike the shifters now and head for Gelfar.

Kraut, the ever lovable brain in a jar, imparts a message from Davkas to ’don’t kill anyone’, the elf knows me all to well.

We make camp in the frozen wastes, and many of us sit around the fire. Davkas attempts to speak with the leader of the shifters, or at least the woman who I assume to be the leader, but she is called away by others of her kin. Salix sneaks off into the night and Gedserth and Syfra have an…unsatisfying encounter in his tent.

As the night goes on I sit by the fire, formulating a plan to slay the shifter leaders and break for freedom. As morning comes I find that my cloak had been pinned to the ground by Davkas, he obviously does not trust me to keep to my word.

We begin riding again and reach the sacred land of Winterfang Rock towards the end of the afternoon, met by even more shifters on more sabertooths.

We are informed that the trail will take place at sunrise, meanwhile their leader Skargash takes Benthria aside to talk to her . Thanks to Salix’s sharp hearing we learn that Skargash would have had us killed before reaching here, the shifter obviously has no honour, I will enjoy killing him when given the chance.

Each of us must answer to the charges levelled against us of raising the undead, though Gedserth seams intent on speaking for us all. He and Salix are both able to convince the spirits of their innocence, while the rest of us are not so successful.

Skargash is then called by Salix to show the evidence against us. First he shows an image of Orlouge raising animals when he was in training, followed by one of Orlouge speaking with the Duegar King. He then shows Orlouge being sold and images of Gedserth speaking to Vycar.

We become convinced that Skargash is hiding something, and I present to the spirits the ledger, that will hopefully prove our innocence. We then question Skargash on where he got this information, and on several other matters.

The spirits have found Skargash guilty of collaborating with the frost titans, and have cast him out and named him Riven. He leaves without incident, and we are given the right to his belt, a jar and a coin purse. The belt is a Baldric of Time and the jar is bottled smoke. Davkas and I both pledge the aid of our people if the shifters find themselves at war with the Titans.

With the aid of the spirits we are…spirited…back to Gelfar, where we head immediately to Trilda, to make sure that she is safe. We present her with the evidence and a convincing argument, though she is still open to the possibility that the ledger may have been forged, or that Derrak was tricked.

Ruskeal Ironshield, son of the Mountain.

Entry # 23 The Continuing Journey

The arrogance of Magi will never cease to amaze me. We stand before the breached barrier, preparing to search Orlouge’s master’s office. As we take a step closer 6 metalic objects appear out of nowhere, three snaked and three arbalesters. Unwisely, in my opinion, Gedserth attacks from afar before I have a chance to draw their fire, no matter as I am able to swiftly enter the fray, distracting the snakes.

The battle is fierce but with teamwork we are able to pull through, rending the constructs with our weapons and magic. As Gedserth and Orlouge check the papers on his desks Davkas, Salix and I check the wooden chest in the side of the room. Unable to unlock it I use my axe to break open the lock, irrevocably damaging the rare fey wood in the process.

Inside we find a leather harness and 290gold pieces worth of coinage and gems. Upon finding a note written by his master Orlouge becomes suddenly hostile. I am unsure what has him so riled, but I’m not entirely opposed to the idea of leaving him here.

As the others argue, Davkas and I decide to leave, and are met by the head of the town, who enquires after Orlouge. He has with him a young woman who appears to be very fond of our young necromancer. As Orlouge takes her inside, Davkas and I return to the boat with Gedserth. Our privateer is concerned about the listing, but believes that we will make it safely to Arrowmere.

We reach port after a rather uncomfortable five days at sea, and decide to leave the boat in deeper water, instead of trying to sail her into port. On land we split up, Salix shopping, Davkas visiting the Paladins, Gedserth selling the boat while I seek information from my friend Gran.

Despite my concerns that Derrak Stoutbrew may be involved with the trafficing of Ghouls, Gran believes him to be an honourable dwarf but a ruthless businessmen (a fact he believes is a contradiction.) Upon returning Davkas informs us that we will be reciving a reward from the Paladins and Gedserth is offered only 340gp for the boat, we decide to wait for a better offer.

In our absence, it appears Tarsis has been put in charge of defending Gelfar, a situation that will have to be rectified as soon as is humanly possible. Deciding we must ride to Gelfar with all due haste we wait for our payments, 340gp from the Paladins and 590gp from the sale of our ship.

We ride at first light, pushing our horses hard for half a day before being waylaid by shifters riding large sabrecats. To our protests they demand to take us to their camp and put us on trial for our mistaken involvement with the undead. To my disdain Salix convinces us that we must honour their wishes and travel for trial. I only hope it does not take us too far off course.

Ruskeal Ironshield, son of the Mountain.

Entry # 22 An Abandoned Dwelling

Sailing towards the light on the dark Underdark river, a darker elongated shape starts to investigate the ship. It whirls around the hull in an anti-clockwise direction and in doing so, starts to force the river-water to whirl with it. Davkas notices something going on in the mirky depths. He shouts a warning. Salix takes a quick look at the danger and immediately runs for the door to the lower decks. The others, alerted by the cry of alarm, now see what looks like a giant eel in the water and they notice that the ship is starting to rotate with the whirlpool the creature is creating. The eel starts to jump across the ship, attempting to knock people off their feet and injure them. We all start to attack the eel once its intentions are realised. Arrows and bolts of eldrich and magical energies start to fly through the air at the creature.
Suddenly, a loud sound is heard from the bowels of the ship. Salix has struck the gong that was placed there. The sound seems to have an effect on the eel as it holds back from attacking temporarily. Salix returns to the deck and we continue to attack the slippery beast.
The eel resumes its attempts at dragging the ship under by maintaining the force of the whirlpool. The ship is almost uncontrollable, but Salix seems to be gifted at sail craft. He manages to straighten the craft by centering the ship’s wheel, countering the whirlpool effect. We continue to pour damaging effects into the evil creature but several of us are knocked to the deck and injured as it jumps across the deck. The eel’s slime makes things more difficult for those attacked.
Orlouge disappears into the doorway to the decks and several moments later, another crsh of the gong is heard. The eel again is affected. Orlouge continues to strike the gong. This has the desired effect as the eel is driven off from the fight. We all breath a sigh of relief as we watch it disappear into the blackness of the Underdark waters.
We spend the next day or so, recovering from our exertions and directing the ship out of the Underdark and towards the sun. Once out of the dark realm, we sail towards land where we arrrive near a village called Alona. We anchor the ship in a bay and using the ship’s boat, make our way to the beach. There we meet Brynn Kallar who is the village’s Headman. It seems that Orlouge knows Headman Kallar and has been to Alona before. After the introductions have taken place, Davkas and Orlouge make their way to the village on the hunt for the house that Vedalor lived in. Velador is the wizard who helped Orlouge learn magical skills. They find it. It looks as though it has been abandoned. The gardens are overgrown, and the house is all locked up. There is no sign of life there.
Salix also goes to the village to stock up on alchemical items, leaving Gedserth with Syfra (who seems to have taken quite a liking to Gedserth) fishing on the beach. After collecting his items, Salix makes his way back to the beach and calls Gedserth to accompany him to the wizard’s residence. Leaving Syfra on the beach sunning herself, Gedserth joins his companion.
Back in the village, Davkas and Orlouge finally get into the abandoned house using teleportation skills. Orlouge went to his old room and found some of his property which he duly collected. Davkas, searching around the main living area of the house found a trap-door in the floor. He and Orlouge are investigating the door when Salix and Gedserth arrive.
Together, the group open the trap-door after Orlouge thinks he hears what he calls a ‘Jelly’ or ‘Pudding’. Gedserth thinks it’s dripping water. Leading down are a set of steep stairs leading to a celler in the shape of a cross. A closed door is present at the end of each limb of the cross.
Immediately, Orlouge leads the group to the Library. There, books are stacked up on shelves, but it is obviouse that some books are missing. After an investigation, Orlouge thinks that the missing books are on subjects related to the heavens and the Astral Sea.
We then go to the Study. On opening the door, we see a device causing a buzzing sound. After a quick investigation, it seems the device is some sort of magical barrier which cannot be breached. There must be some way of turning that off.
We then investigate the Laboratory. When the door is opened, we see two orange amorphouse blobs of a jelly-like substance. On the table is a jar with what looks like a human brain floating in the contents. We all hear a voice in our heads “Thank you! I am free! I will ride my Jellies to freedom!”
Orlouge recognizes the voice and the brain. “That’s Krout” he states. “I forgot about him”. At that point, the Jellies make a move and it’s not friendly. A fight ensues where the companions get the better of the wobbly blobs. The Ochre Jellies, for that is what they are, are disposed of in the traditional manner.
Once the fight is over, Krout is in the group’s power and the Laboratory is searched.

Entry # 21 ESCAPE!
4th Jorn, 1393

The fat duegar is dead. Deader than dead and… oozing. We break into his vault and, well, I’m not going to sugar coat it, we looted the place. Ruskael got a nice new axe, Orlouge some shoes and the rest of us some money.

Afterwards, we searched Trundar’s room. And found a switch and a secret door. The guards outside got a little excited, calling asking if Trundar needed any help. A combination of Ruskael translating and Gedserth bluffing, they shut up.

Things were going well, until the siege. Turns out, Galwen was Garret’s brother, and he’s come to rescue him. Which would be great, if Garrett had not been killed by Trundar. Kandor tells me that we need to get out of the keep and head for safety. I agree and put my magic candle away.

Orlouge mentions a mirror in the vault, something magical. He can’t get it to work, which is probably for the best. It’s figured out that the secret door is connected to the switch. We throw it and the door to the room seals, whilst the secret door opens, revealing a female Tiefling. She says her name is Syfrah and that she used to work for Trundar and can lead us to safety.

It’s soon agreed that she should help, and before we leave I take a rubbing of the mirror, then smash it. We head down the long stairs. The long, long stairs…

At the base of the keep, we see the docks. Kandor mentioned a river we can take that comes out south of Arrowmere, on the coast. We head for the nearest ship, which doesn’t seem to have that many people near it. Ruskael bellows a threat and we attack. It goes well, for about a minute, then more duegar attack from the ship. There’s magic, arrows, blades, insults, curses, beard-hair and poison thrown around, but eventually we are victorious.

We steal the boat and head out to the underground river. However, we’re not sailors, so it’s difficult. We plough on, however and through a combination of skill and luck, we head to the river. As we sail, I have Ronson bind Syfrah to the mast and question her. After a discussion, she is released into Gedserth’s custody, something she seems to enjoy.

Orlouge mentions that his master who sold him into slavery lives near the coast and asks if we can make a quick stop.

I don’t see why not…

Entry #20; It's not over until the fat Duergar screams
4th Jorn, 1393

It’s not over until the fat Duergar screams

With the behemoths, and many of our rescued slaves, now slain we must turn our attentions to how to enter and explore this keep. With the help of our new friend Orlouge we know who we are hunting, and a rough idea of where he is.

Our first challenge comes behind the wooden doors at the end of this chamber, behind which Roson informs us that he can hear duergar voices, though I am unable to hear and translate them myself.

Opening the door, Ronson tries to convince them that he is a servant and needs assistance, but unfortunately they are not convinced, and my limited knowledge of duegar customs means I am unable to help either. Davkas, showing none of the fabled elven patience fires through the door, forcing a fight.

The enemy are at the top of a smooth slope, with a deep trench at the bottom, some sort of trap but the details of which will have to wait until after they are slain.

The trap was some sort of water trap, designed to force people into the deep pit, though with sure footing we were able to traverse the slope and defeat the duegar. I am not sure how, but each embodies some sort of magic allowing them to quadruple in size when they are badly wounded, a feat that made them even more satisfying to topple. Davkas finds some new armour on one of the fallen duegar, which Salix is able to resize while Gedserth listens at the metal door, and I look to Orlouge for information.

It is likely that beyond the door we will find many undead around Trundar, the duegar leader. His chambers are high on the third floor, and will likely be heavily guarded; Orlouge believes that he has been planning something. Behind the metal door is a lift that will transport us into the centre of the forge, and with crude maps a plan is formed. As I disguise myself as a duegar the others, bar Orlouge, will be disguised as undead, the plan is to fabricate a ruse that they are to be taken to Trundar.

As we formulate our plan Ser Jalarin contacts Davkas, he has a retinue of knights inside the underdark nearby who will aid us in our escape once we are outside of the fortress. Though he believes our plan to be foolish he thinks it may work. Inside the lift, we ring the proper dwarven dong, and the lift begins to rise.

At the top two skeletons block our path, but Orlouge is able to pass me the information to allow our passage, and we progress pass the furnaces towards the metal doors with ornate images of dwarves working carved into them. As we progress we are challenged by a smith, obviously unused to seeing a Theurge so deep within the fortress. He is swiftly delt with by Orlouge, who has become a very worthy addition to our group already. The doors before us now are big and heavily built, but very light to open, and we proceed past three duegar polishing armour in the armoury as punishment.

Heading upstairs we enter the temple of Mammon and, as we go to leave, I am accosted and given the holy symbol of a High Theurge before we make our way up the final stairs. We are confronted by ceremonial guard in heavy armour and an argument ensues, and it looks as if a fight will ensure when, thankfully, Trundar bursts from his room and Orlogue convinces him to take us all inside.

Three scantily clad women, likely glamoured, occupy the room with Trundar, the fattest and ugliest duegar I have ever met. Challenging us as to why we are there I inform him that we are going to kill him, as Ronson locks the door, and our battle ensues.

The fight was hard and brutal, with the bloated duegar dominating my mind no less than four times. Fighting well as a team we are able to take Trundar down, and I am afforded the satisfaction of dealing him the fatal blow. Now all that remains is to find the information we came here for, and to escape.

Ruskeal Ironshield, son of the Mountain.


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