A splash of water and a slap on the cheek and the Elf is awakened. We have no time to rest, so we do what we can to patch our wounds as we proceed down the hall. As we do so, we begin to notice that the distant chanting becomes louder with every step forward.
We round a bend. At this point, we have nary a care for tactics as we emerge in full view of the gathering of cultists. And, at the other side of the room, is Daria, for whom we have sought, bound and supine atop a stone table, and getting ready to receive the business end of a crystal dagger. We also notice Torash, the very rude and dismissive village reave to whom we had just recently spoke not more than a day earlier, with his arms raised and paying homage to a giant eye high on the wall. Evil emanates from this orb. Around the room, we count six cultist fanatics, one Dolgaunt, and one Cultist Eyeblade.
“Outlanders,” screams Torash. At his pronouncement, the music and chanting immediately stop. The cultist part as he emerges to address us. We notice he is wearing a breastplate of raw muscle which looks to be adorned with…eyes!
“Your futile battle is over. Lay down your weapons, and we promise you a merciful death.”
“You LIED to me!” exclaimed Erich, displaying a passion that has been heretoforth unknown to us.
With an eerie smirk, Torash turns his back and calmly utters, “The Harvest must happen.”
With our armor broken and chinked, our faces and bodies bruised, and with wounds spilling forth our life’s blood, the cultists must have seen us as easy prey for their pickings and a bonus offering to their dark god. (Little did they realize our stony resolve.) The challenge from Torash is first answered by a now enraged Erich as a Chill Wind bust forth from his fingertips. Both the Dolgaunt (DGN1) and Torash suffer a bit of frostbite, but the spell is enough to put one of the cultists on ice. <fan>. Torash spins around and reveals his greataxe. The speed of the execution catches Avanta by surprise as the axe slices a chuck off of the gnome shoulder meat. In pain the gnome instinctively fades away. DGN1 casts a warped flesh spell to Erich, but the Druid is already on the move, and the DGN1 misses. The Cultist Eyeblade (Eye) sees the druid running to position, and hurls its dagger at him. The dagger catches Erich in the shoulder, and Erich screams as he immediately extracts it. Noname draws his axe and cleaves in Torash. Noname takes a small slice out of Torash, but as Torash avoids the main edge of the blade, the cultist who was behind him does not. FAN2 is cleft in twain and dies <fan2>. In his near invisible state, little Avanta is able to weave his way to Daria, in the hopes of freeing her before she is sacrificed. He casts a Ghost Sound to distract the DGN1, and while its back is turned, Avanta attacks with a Shout of Triumph. Unfortunately, preceeding a sneak attack with a shout is never a good idea, as the DGN1 is able to avoid Avanta’s strike. The cultists unsheathe their blades and enter the fray. Both Noname and Avanta are cut. One of the cultists, in his haste for blood, drops his crystal dagger, and it shatters upon the floor <fumbles>. Peleous summons a Contagion spell against Torash. In his weakened state, the spell is unsuccessful, but the dark energies released still causes small boils to appear on Torash’s skin <misses> Barely alive, with his strength fading, and with his supply of arrows quickly dwindling, the noble elf lets fly two arrows against the cultists with the hope of whittling down the numbers. Both arrows miss.
Working in concert, Torash and the EYE amongst the combatants. The EYE attacks and his daggers cuts into Avanta as our whimsical companion attempts to free Daria. Erich, now visibly dismayed at the impending fate of his childhood friend calls forth a Chill Wind spell to try to clear a path. His anger affects his aim as his spell misses. Shaking off his frustration, he casts it again <burns>. This time his spell creates an icy tomb for three of our assailants; only Torash is again able to evade from being encased. <fan1>. Kerric, after deftly seeking more advantageous ground, let two more arrows fly. Both find their mark in the EYE’s back. With the pressure now off of him, Avanta completes a Warsong Strike to his foe and dispatches him with ease <fan>. Unfortunately, six additional cultists appear from behind cover. Two stab Avanta, but his keen senses prevent their attack from being fatal. The appearance of these new foes disrupts Peleous’ concentration as attempts to cast his Shared Agony spell against the DG1. The severity of his failure is so complete that not only does he become tongue tied <fumbles>, but his will falls prey to the symbiotic mind of the Coercive Gauntlet of the Unblinking Eye that he wears…little did our party realize that he now becomes a pawn of the daemonic occulus!.
Torash realizes that Noname is the brute of the group and maneuvers into position to dispatch our fighter. Both he and Noname exchange volleys, but Torash quickly realizes that his hit-and-run tactics are no use against our battle ready human. Torash is stopped in his attempts to shift away and must face his match. Noname swings his mighty axe and brings the full brunt of it upon Torash’s shoulder, nearly severing it. The blow blows Torash backward and he is immobilized from the intense pain. Blook continues to spurt from the open wound. <crit>. Meanwhile, the pile of bodies accumulating around Avanta catches the notice of DG1. Leeching tentacles spring forth from his hide toward the Gnome. However, DG1, unaware of the rivers of blood accumulating around him, slips and falls, his tentacled attack falling short of Avanta <fumbles>. Avanta’s luck doesn’t last forever as the EYE buries his dagger into Avanta’s exposed back. Avanta falls to the floor screaming. It is an opportune moment the newly arrived cultists pounced upon our downed comrade. From the corner of our eyes, we witness the death knell of Avanta…“Avenge meeeeeeeeaaah **” (FAN7 and FAN8 both hit, AVANTA DIES). At the site of this, Erich sends a chill wind against the group of cultists. FAN7 and FAN8 submit to a deep freeze, but FAN9 and FAN10 are able to sidestep the blast (FAN7, FAN8 die). Seeing our little mascot lifeless, Noname abandons the his exchange with the as-good-as-dead Torash, and moves to defend Avanta. In pitiful defiance, Torash uses his good arm to take a weak swing at Noname. He misses. If it weren’t for the plight of the gnome, Torash’s insolence would have probably incurred a death blow from Noname. Kerric, too, is moved at Avanta’s last stand and rushes to his aid. The EYE seizes his opportunity to strike Kerric, as Kerric rushes to Avanta’s side. However, Kerric’s feigns to the left and right dizzy the EYE, and the EYE misses his attack upon the nimble footed elf. The EYE falls to one knee to regain composure <opp>. Kerric reaches Avanta first and quickly revives our friend. A spell attack against Erich goes wide and fizzles upon the wall by his head. Erich turns to answer the attack and is met with horror as he sees his Erich with his arm outstretched, his eyes ablaze in a daemonic fire! “Duuuude, why?”
The DG1 cast a Maddening Whisper to the gathering of heroes around Daria. Noname and Avanta evade the blast. Kerric, throws his body over Daria to protect her. Unfortunately, the psionic attack burns into both his and Daria’s minds. His heroic action is for naught as Daria perishes. With Avanta alive, Noname turns his attention to DG1. Its cowardly action of striking while their backs were turned triggers a fury in Noname as he delivers a Brute Strike against the DG1. Noname’s rage prompts an additional Covering Attack against DG1 that also finds its mark. Kerric, taking Noname’s lead, draw his bow performs an Evasive Strike against DG1. The shot flies wide. He draws and fires again <elven>…miss. He nocks an additional two arrows and looses a Twin Strike to DG1 <burn>. These, too, miss…the psionic ravaging in his mind coupled with his previous wounds are now visibly taking their toll upon his keen elven eyes. Avanta casts a Healing Word to seal his wounds and moves into position to protect Daria. Avanta dispatches FAN9 with his Warsong Strike. Next, Avanta turns and criticizes DG1’s Maddening Whisper, saying, “What kind of stupid war cry is whispered? Here, try mine on for size!” The squeaky timber of Avanta’s voice draws a look of surprise from DG1, just before Avanta’s deft blade slices across its chest <burn>. Meanwhile, Erich casts a Wind Prison against Torash. Torash, still not out of the fight, cast an Intimidating Presence against Noname. The fighter takes minimal damage and is dazed. The EYE compounds the damages and stabs Noname. Noname’s lacerations now encompass more than half his body. Peleous breaks the hold that his gauntlet had over him and, with his mind free of possession, cast a Shared Agony against Torash. This first attack misses. He attempts a secondary attack, and this one lands! Torash screams. Peleous casts yet another spell <burns> and flick venom at Torash. The acidic bile lands upon his skin and begins to sizzle.
Torash answers Pelous attach by charging him, with blade drawn. In doing so, the effects of the Wind Prison spell take effect, and all of Torash’s minion are thrust to the ground. His charge is deathly effective as he plunges his dagger deep into Peleous. The pain is too much for Peleous to withstand. But, as he begins to slip into unconsciousness, he teleports himself out of harms way. Avanta kills the last cultist (FAN10 DIES). Peleous remains immobile, and we fear that he is slipping closer to death.
Splatters of blood are sprayed amidst the room as combatants from both sides take their quarter from the opposition. The players dance a deadly ballet as they vie for more advantageous ground. Erich changes to a menacing Boar and pounces upon the Dolgaunt. The resultant impact upon the ground cracks the creatures skull; and Erich’s more bestial self feasts upon the gray matter. <dolgaunt> Kerric sacrifices himself as he attempts to position himself for a flank attack. It becomes evident that the elf’s stratagem was to draw Torash’s attack in order to allow Noname to capitalize on Torash’s distraction. <torash>. Despite Kerric’s best intentions, his actions are ultimately in vain, as Noname cannot fell his opponent. Kerric falls unconscious and begins to bleed out. Erich, following Kerric’s lead, moves through the melee to gain position near Torash. Blindly, Torash strikes at the druid, but his assay is interrupted by Noname. This time, the fighter buries his axe deep into Torash’s trunk, killing him. Torash vomits his final death chortle as Noname extracts his axe from Torash cleft body. His last words are wasted upon the air, “His eye will be upon you.” At this, Torash’s breast plate sloughs off of him, eerily of its own accord.
The party now turns its attention to the Eyeblade. The EYE barely dodges another of Noname’s killing strokes, only to find himself critically wounded by the gnome’s weapon <avanta>. Both Peleous and Kerric are unconscious, though Kerric appears worse for wear <peleous>.
Erich renders another cultist whilst in boar form <fan11>. The EYE defiantly stands his ground, but it is evident that he has only moments left to live. We feel the urge to finish the melee as we sense our comrades growing closer to death. Avanta shouts a mocking curse to the Cultist Eyeblade, “Your death comes at the hands of…VISINE;” and our littlest adventurer skillfully dispatches another foe. <crit>. And as he draws his sword from out of the EYE, a severed head rolls past. Avanta turns towards the source and is witness to Noname’s emergence as FAN12’s headless body slump to the ground.
“Why Visine?” questions Noname.
“Because it gets the red out…from eyes…he’s an Eyeblade…Aaaarrrrgh. Just forget about it you dolt!”
Erich and Avanta rush to Peleous and Kerric and successfully resuscitate them. Erich then runs to stabilize Daria. As our compatriots regain consciousness, Erich remembers that our mission was to investigate and determine what became of the missing villagers.
“The gate from whence we entered shall not remain open for much longer,” said Avanta.
“Then we must make haste,”answered Erich. Noname is dispatched to investigate a room off to the side of the main sanctuary.
“Guys, I think I found the villagers. But I think they are all dead. They’re inside glass coffins.”
“Let me see,” said Peleous. The tiefling warrior arises but is doubled over in pain having nearly perished in the last fray.
“Drink this,” offers Kerric, himself not all that much better. Peleous imbibes the healing potion with much zeal. Immediately, we see his wounds begin to magically knit themselves back together. Peleous accompanies Noname into the room. Peleous notices that there are strange characters on the coffins.
“It’s a soul prison,” Peleous says.
“I sense…a flow of mystical energy,” said Avanta, who now joined the two of them in the room. “We must disrupt it…and soon!”
“Let me try,” said Noname. And with that, he laid his hands upon the coffin and channeled what little energy he had. To our surprise, it was enough as the villager awoke.
“Don’t ever do that again…we must succeed or a villager dies. Let someone who is trained in ‘the Arts’ accomplish this task,” chided Peleous.
“I don’t think we have much time,” warned Avanta. “Trained or not, we must all try.” And so, we each took a coffin and imparted our arcane energies upon the glass sepulchers. Peleous’s concentration is broken by a stitch in his side, an aftereffect of his psychic wounds, and his arcane might is dispelled. An eldritch blast of protective energy bursts forth from the coffin blowing him back against the rock. He falls lifeless. Erich and Avanta rush over to tend to him, and bring him back to consciousness <again>.
“What was that you were saying about being ‘trained,’” mused Noname
“Enough. There is no time,” Avanta restated. We set about the task of freeing the villagers one by one. The effort was strenuous, and Erich faltered. Fortunately, he recovered quickly enough to keep from being fried, and suffered only a mild headached.
“That’s it, that’s the last of them…let’s leave NOW!” yelled Avanta. As we approached the portal we noticed that the sigils had begun to fade. The portal was destabilizing. “NOW!” screamed Avanta. We made for the portal and literally pushed the remaining villagers through. In the same fashion as is described in many a theatrical semblance, the portal implodes with a deafening “whoooompf.”
We hobbled back to town where we were greeted by the cheers and adulation of the villagers. Families were reunited. The acting town leader cried for a celebration…that all the finest meats and sweetest ales be brought forth for us.
“Please, a place to mend is all we…I…ask for,” Kerric mumbles.
“Nay I say,” interrupted Noname. “A few hours of revelry is right good for the soul. Nothing heals a wound faster than a hearty meal and mead in the veins. After this evening, we can sleep for weeks if need be!”
“So, be it,” whispered the defeated elf.
And so we reveled. The food was as delicious and plentiful as promised. The ale was bottomless, and the maids were aplenty. The carousing lasted until the morn, whereupon, our heroes, full of drink, were accompanied…were carried…staggered back to their inns. In the case of Noname, he crashed at the table.
XP: 1047 (209/ea)
- Leather Jerkin (Coat of Eyes) Peleous
o +1 leather
o Resist 5 psychic/poison
o +1 perception, -1 insight
o Minor (At Will) – Transform into hide
o Minor (Interrupt) – Stop blindness
Helping Villagers escape
XP: 1000 (200/ea)
Treasure: Khyber Crystals worth 500 GP (100 GP/ea)
Quest reward from Daria’s Family
- Wand of fiery bolt
o Daily: Warlock Fiery Bolt Spell
o Level 8, +2 wand
o Crit = 1d6 extra damage