We last left off with our valiant party having shored up for an extended rest in the Great Antechamber of the daemonic cult. When all were patched up and ready to face their destinies, they made their way to the center pit, to where all the blood was draining. Having been the most astute student in his medieval school physics courses, Noname began hurling dead bodies into the pit in order to calculate the depth of the well. A fleshy ‘thud!’ broke the silence after 1.55 seconds. Using a pointed stick as a writing implement, the blood of our fallen foe as ink, and the floor as a makeshift tablet, Noname began to deftly calculate with such skill to make the Far Eastern Peoples proud. “Let’s see…1.55 seconds…initial velocity=0…initial distance=0…factor in the acceleration due to gravity along the negative y-axis…….50 FEET! Of course, in the time it took to equate, Aquarion had already ignited a torch and dropped it down into the pit. This illuminated the way for Cirrel, who unfurled a 50’ rope that just hit the bottom in preparation for her descent. Still unsure of what lay at the bottom of the (excruciatingly divined) 50’ pit, the group decides to “send in the dwarf.” Xanteuch was lowered into the pit, “Mission-Impossible-style” to reconnoiter the area. To the north lay the “portal,” a tubular evil of fallopianic proportions! Before the portal, lay a circle of glowing runes. To the south lay a big statue of Orcus. To the east lay two smaller statues or Orcus. To the west was a bone altar presided over by a priest of Orcus. Knowing that this was to be our last stand against evil, the party met to discuss the attack. It was decided to stealth in with Noname leading the way, followed by Celekyeth (“Kyeth”), then Xanteuch, with Cirrel and Aquarion in the rear. Cirrel reminds us that having thrown bodies into the pit would have most likely spoiled any chance for a stealthy entrance. And, as if to taunt us, a voice in the wind emanating from the direction of the pit, avers the following: “What is taking you so long? We will surely die from boredom sooner that we will from your swords.” The eerie challenge penetrated our souls as if it were a Kobold-hurled javelin hitting a tree…beside our heads. Our battle plan was simple. Noname and Kyeth would rush the priest while Aquarion and Xanteuch would cover the rear. Having experienced similar situations in our past encounters, Cirrel would rush and claim the runic circle, preventing our foes from benefitting from its evil. We repelled down into the pit like a well trained military extraction force in Somalia. However, the blood soaked chains proved to be too much for the dwarf. He slipped and fell the 50’. “Blackhawk…err, I mean, Xanteuch Down!” Fortunately for Xanteuch, he was wearing the Safewing Amulet, which allowed him to land on his feet and to take 10’ less damage. Despite our lack of stealth, the clumsy entrance of our heroes evoked taunting laughter from the assembly of villains, thus granting our heroes initiative. Xanteuch uttered a prayer that shattered a nearby skeleton. Aquarion loosed a scorching burst against the Caladrel’s, the priest’s, skeleton guard. However, the priest’s taunting proved to affect Aquarion’s aim. Noname and Kyeth rush the priest. Their execution was nearly flawless (rolling 19 and 20) but the Caladrel was able to sidestep both of their attacks. Laughing haughtily, the priest re-animates the once dead skeletons. The skeletons maneuver to flank Noname and Kyeth, and cause some damage. The priest attacks and bloodies Noname with a club to the head. The bludgeoning is followed by a burning sensation to the head (not unlike that felt after the incident at the bar with the half-human, half-shifter madame who met his primal need for canine-style “expressions.”) Cirrel rushes and claims the circle. Upon entering the circle, she feels a pull towards the portal. She resists the portal’s malevolent pull. But evil senses her presence as wispy claws emanate from the portal, swipes at, and damages Cirrel. From the east, a Wight launches a grave bolt at Xanteuch. The dwarf takes damage, but more importantly, is immobilized. The Warlord, Kyeth, battle commander that he is, unleashes his “Lead the Attack” daily spell and causes 25 damage to Caladrel. The clarion call to arms is heard in the evil chamber as the party now girds themselves for the attack. Caladrel is now effectively “lit up” allowing those within range of Kyeth to take +4 to their attack. Noname follows Kyeth’s suit and unleashes his “Brute Strike” daily attack, causing 21 damage. Caladrel feels the first tinge of fear and teleports to the runic circle, adjacent to Cirrel. Noname takes a final swipe as the priest shifts away, lacerating his skin for an additional 9 damage. Cirrel attacks the priest and connects for a measly 9 damage. Caladrel reels from the warlock’s touch, and sensing her advantage, burns an action point to summon and affect the priest with her daily power, “Curse of the Dark Dream.” Caladrel painfully absorbs an additional 19 damage. He is pushed 15’ and staggers directly in front of the portal. Immobilzed Xanteuch pops open a cold one and continues to watch the fray. Continuing to be inspired by the Warlord’s cry, Aquarion summons his “special” wand and casts his daily power, “Acid Arrow”, and initially burns Caladrel for 22 damage. By the time Caladrel is able to neutralize the acid, he suffers an additional 10 damage. The party divines that pushing Caladrel into the the portal will cause instant death. Ergo, Noname attempts to bulrush the priest. In his attempt to leap over stream of cigarette-paper-thin stream of blood, Noname trips (he rolled a 1). Caladrel grins as the tide of battle turns against the party. He once again re-animates the skeletons that are being felled by the party’s attacks. The skeletons in the room swarm and hit Xanteuch. The Wight also continues to pummel the dwarf with the grave bolts. Xan is now both slowed and immobile. His usefulness as a healer serves the party to no avail as he is forced to use the majority of his healing powers on himself. Caladrel hits Cirrel and bloodies her. She escapes Caledrel by teleporting towards Xan, intending to assist him by taking some of the heat off. Xanteuch, relieved by Cirrel’s presence, uses the last of his healing words for her. She teleports back into the fray against Caladrel. Seeing his opportunity, Xanteuch successfully utters his prayers and dissipates the undead skeletons with his Turn Undead spell. He still cannot break free of his bonds. Aquarion unleashes a Force Orb and hits Caladrel for another 10 damage. More importantly, he levitates the book that Caladrel was reading over to himself and divines a way to close the portal. By channeling the arcane power within ourselves, we can force the portal close. Aquarion leads the incantations, but mispronounces a word, and receives a psychic B-slap upside his head. Kyeth channels his arcane might into the portal. He is successful, and Caladrel’s tome, now in Aquarion’s possession, burst into fire, singing Aquarion’s beard and eyebrows. Noname and Caladrel continues to exchange blows. Caladrel takes another pounding as Noname connects for another 16 damage from his Covering Attack power. The valiant fighter, however, hovers near death as Caladrel brings him to within 2 HP of death. But, ever the tactician, Noname has carefully maneuvered Caladrel within striking distance of the cleric. Xanteuch, seeing his opportunity, summons his Daunting Light attack and connects for maximum damage. The blow is so severe that Caladrel drops his weapon. Xanteuch still cannot move. Aquarion and Cirrel both feel the pull of the portal. Cirrel is able to resist and evade the swipe of the portal’s black hands. Unfortunately, Aquarion is drawn closer to the portal, and is damaged by the grasp of the portal. The party continues to successfully channel their arcane power into portal. Kyeth fumbled some of the words, and received the psychic B-slap. Despite this, it is evident that the barrier between the two worlds is breaking down. In a rare moment of providence, Xanteuch is able to break his bonds and enter the fray. He casts his daily power, “Beacon of Hope”, and hits Caledrel. A wave of healing energy pours down from above and grants 5 HP to those close to the dwarf, including Noname, who can barely stand. The power of the utterance is so pure and so focused (rolled a 20), that the divine energy radiating from the dwarf burns the dark priest for 4 HP of damage. Caladrel falls to his knees. Black tentacles emanate from the portal and drag the dark priest, screaming, into its inky depths…a fitting end. Kyeth then rushes the Wight, who is now left alone to face a rather pissed off band of warriors. Kyeth thrust his spear into the wight, damaging it. Noname unleashes his rage and Cleaves 3 skeletons with one brutal swipe of his sword. Cirrel cleans up the last skeleton. The Wight casts a Death Grimace, forcing Kyeth to temporarily retreat. Perhaps Kyeth didn’t die in this encounter, but seeing him run from a fight screaming like a girl is certainly a “death” to his otherwise macho bravado. Xanteuch charges the Wight who had kept him at bay for so long. The Wight evades the dwarven charge. Aquarion sends a magic missile from afar and plugs the Wight in the head for 11 damage. Kyeth, still frightened from being under the spell of the Death Grimace, fumbles. Noname charges the Wight but misses. Cirrel casts an Eldritch Blast at the Wight and hits for 14 damage. The Wight fights back and hits Noname. Facing his bane, Xanteuch hits with his Healing Strike for 18 damage. Kyeth disembowels the Wight with a mighty blow (he rolled a 20).