z_The Zenith

Find The Silver Sphere

A gorgeous, blonde human named Sexy has come from Gotham to Elm’ril to seek her childhood friend, Peter Tolman. Peter has been studying magic with the Didela for the last several years. At first, Peter assumes Sexy has come because she has a secret crush on him. She claims the reason she has travel 1500+ miles is because she believes he’s the best person to go adventuring with.

To try to impress Sexy, Peter asks his Master Glex about an assignment that promises to be interesting. He is assigned to investigate rumors of a silver sphere that creates an aura of extra high mana and gives even the most mundane person magical abilities, but at the risk of being controlled. Peter accepts the task without attempting to bargain for compensation because he trusts the Didela to be fair.

As the pair of humans were starting to depart for Silverwood, it started to become obvious they were unprepared. Peter had exactly $3 and not even a blanket. Sexy bought him a blanket despite Peter’s desire to share hers. Having enough food for the journey was looking like a problem, too. Neither Peter nor Sexy knew anything about woodland survival. Sexy could probably buy enough to last at least to the half way point town of Arisi, but couldn’t carry that much weight. Finding someone to come along to help seemed to be the best solution.

Checking the job boards, the best person for the job came up as a young, female elf named Kyra. Unfortunately, Kyra prefers the deep woods to the city and was only available through a contact. It cost an extra day to meet Kyra and negotiate for her to join Peter and Sexy in their travels. Instead of negotiating a price, Kyra was made a full partner.

The day spent waiting for Kyra wasn’t the slowest part of the travels. Peter thought he had become slow because of his preference for teleporting over walking, but as it turned out Sexy and Kyra were equally as slow and weighed down by heavy chain mail. The party managed to spend around a month and a half to travel the 375 miles. Kyra didn’t turn out to be the woodsman she claimed to be and Peter had to teleport Sexy back to Elm’ril to get money out of the bank to buy food at Arisi. At least, the party remained relatively safe during their travels because of the Mystic Mist that Sexy insists upon surrounding their campsite in every night.

When the party finally arrived in Silverwood, Peter talked to Master Loill of the Didela to inform him of his mission and get leads. Only a couple of days prior, something odd had happened. A blacksmith named Alberon that had no magical talent seemed to have lost his mind and destroyed a couple of homes with magic.

Eager to investigate, Peter and Sexy go to the site of the destruction while Kyra, who is a little paranoid about crowds, waits outside of town in the woods. When Peter and Sexy arrive, they find two houses submerged in the dirt a couple of feet and crushed by a tons of dirt. Peter is happy to learn that no one was home at the time. Alberon found his way into a stranger’s house and was talking to someone no one saw in a loud voice. Then he stormed out of the house, threw his hands against the wall of the home and stomped his foot. That’s when the house and the nearby house became buried.

After the incident, the home owner, Mikary and his neighbors, Tabilin and Damia, got to stay at the Shepard and Rose Motel courtesy of the city. Mikary wasn’t home at the time of the incident and had never even met Alberon. He has no idea why he would come to his house. Mikary didn’t have anything valuable besides a few family items. Peter is sympathetic to their plight, but Sexy seems to care little.

Kyra rejoins the party and then the city guard are asked for help. The party learns that Alberon’s blacksmith shop was next door to a fletcher named Glejames. Glejames was being questioned at the time. He was cooperative, but the only information he could offer was that Alberon seemed normal and it wasn’t until he heard about the destroyed buildings that he knew something had happened. Nothing out of the ordinary had happened before that. Alberon had received a new ore shipment a few days earlier from his usual supplier, a dwarf named Thorajin. The party guesses that the silver sphere may have been hidden inside the ore and revealed as Alberon refined it.

Searching Alberon’s smithery turned up nothing unusual. There was a painting of Alberon with his family from Elm’ril. It was reported that this is the only place Alberon ever went. Peter realized that this meant Alberon would need to travel on foot to wherever else he might want to go. The only other lead to Alberon’s whereabouts is a vague report about him running north after the home destruction.

Peter reported his findings to Master Loill and received some small compensation to help with traveling expenses. Peter rejoins the group to let them know he’s going to visit Elm’ril for a few hours. As he attempts to teleport away, he suddenly collapses and his leather helm disappears. This causes more than a little anxiety for Sexy. Both she and Kyra back far away when Peter tells them he’s going to try to teleport again after recovering.

While Peter is gone, Kyra uses a mysterious language to talk to a mysterious crystal ball that she has kept hidden in her pack. Kyra is always talking to herself and answering the questions of unheard voice, but this time another voice answers in response. Sexy is immediately curious about what happened and unsuccessfully tries to convince Kyra to explain what she doesn’t understand.

Peter reports back to Master Glex in Elm’ril and discovers no evidence that Alberon has returned to Elm’ril. After tithing from his portion of the compensation he received from Master Loill, Peter prays to Boccob and thanks him for his blessing as he pursues knowledge and magic. Peter is also a cleric of Boccob that prays an hour daily. When Peter rejoins his party and equally divides the compensation he got from Master Loill. Now, armed with no other knowledge than the silver sphere may have come from the dwarven lands and that the artifact can control a person, the party must locate Alberon and fulfill their mission.

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Cold Trail In Winter

Peter and Sexy followed Kyra North for a few days. Suddenly, Kyra decides that North isn’t the right direction and that Alberon actually lay to the East. The party decides to cut through the deep woods to the East for a few days. Kyra then directs the party back the way the party came back to the road.

Eventually, the party regains the road and continues North to the small town of Calars (pop 732). Peter talks to the mayor, Arelen, but she has not heard about anything out of the ordinary. With no leads and no real sense of where to go next, Peter follow the road East. Peter believes he will eventually arrive in Thorajin’s home in the Dwarven lands. Unfortunately, it’s months later that he finds himself arriving at Ashar (pop 250) in the heart of Therryn.

Kyra who has been leading the tracking effort appears to have come up dry. The only idea of where to go next is South over the mountains. It’s now late November and the party finds itself looking for a way back to Silverwood and civilization. Kyra and Sexy aren’t excited about the idea of letting Peter Teleport either one of them after his last attempt at teleporting.

All that changed when Master Glex appeared to Peter in the form of a giant floating head. He said that Alberon was seen in Eridale. Peter didn’t have a great start. He initially dropped to the ground stunned and disorientated when he attempted to teleport all the gear to Miresus. Kyra was brave enough to risk it and she arrived successfully in Peter’s room in the Didela tower. In about 20 minutes, Peter went back to Aradale to pick up the gear. When Peter was finally ready to leave, that’s when things went horribly wrong.

Peter found himself and all the gear in the middle of Gotham… of course in the bad side of town. In 20 minutes, he’d be well enough rested to try going to Miresus. He’d only get 13. A pickpocket suddenly starts running away from Peter with what looks like Peter’s compass.

Peter should have known better, but he attempted a Wild Talent with Teleport Other to get his compass back. Success! Unfortunately, the pickpocket wasn’t exactly happy and came at Peter with a knife stabbing him. Peter attempts a fireball at point blank range… and misses. The pickpocket stabs Peter again and Peter makes and even bigger fireball… and misses again. A passerby is dropped and a commotion starts, but no guards come. Undoubtedly laughing himself silly, the pickpocket stabs a 3rd time and Peter attempts to do an explosive fireball risking personal injury to get a guaranteed hit. Unfortunately, the spell only produced a single point of damage.

After taking another stab and going into the negative range, finally, reluctantly, Peter retreats to the nearest roof top leaving Kyra’s pack. He just couldn’t carry the weight. Confident now, the pickpocket starts rummaging through the pack to see what he’s won. That’s when Peter started sending explosive fireballs down on him. The pickpocket starts running away with the first things he can grab, which are two wineskins.

It takes 3 or 4 attempts, but Peter finally manages to do enough damage to cause the pickpocket to drop. Too bad all the action drew that attention of another thief who starts climbing the wall to get to Peter’s position. Health negative and low on fatigue, Peter retreats to the opposite roof in an attempt to hide. He actually manages to use Teleport Other to retrieve Kyra’s pack, but is too tired to risk getting the wineskins.

Peter manages to camouflage himself long enough to recover enough to attempt to Teleport back to Miresus. Before he leaves, he thinks about trying to collect the wineskins. Both the pickpocket and the wineskins are gone. Peter manages a successful teleport to Miresus short a couple wineskins, but at least he managed to escape with his life.

Kyra was kind enough to use first aid to patch up Peter and then summon a cleric. Back up to half his hit points, Peter travels back to Ashar for Sexy. Impatient by nature, Sexy has made quite a scene in his absence. She had made the whole tavern nervous tapping her brass knuckles on the window sill. Then she when to the livery and hung up an 80 lb. bag of grain just to pound on it until the bag broke.

Sexy was none too happy to see Peter and didn’t even care that he was covered in blood and had multiple knife hole in his jacket. The only thing she cared about was that he was late. When she learned that Peter had been mugged in Gotham, she insisted that they travel there to bust some heads. Peter finally convinced her that he only had enough energy in his powerstone to take her one more place for the next several days.

Sexy and Peter arrive safely in Peter’s room in Miresus. Now, with a wounded party member and an empty powerstone, the party needs to decide the best and quickest way to get to Eridale.

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Hot Lead

Out of no where, the giant face of Master Glex appears to Peter. There is a hot lead on Alberon. He has been spotted in Eridale, a city far in the South of Elm’ril. The party has been searching in the middle of Therryn and it makes Peter question the skill of their tracker/guide Kyra. For one thing, she moves slower than than average person. It didn’t seem like a problem at first, but Sexy and Kyra insist on foraging all along the way. It has taken months to follow a non existent lead to Therryn. All that doesn’t matter any more because the Didela have a hot lead.

Peter wastes no time and takes himself and his party out of the one horse town of Ashar and into Miresus. Unfortunately, that’s as close to Eridale as he’s ever been. He considers doing a blind teleport, but decides it’s a bad risk because of the late hour. Right after breakfast, Peter coordinates with his party and lets them know of his intention to go to Eridale.

Critical failure! Peter finds himself high on a snow covered mountain top surrounded by other snow covered mountains. There’s a strong wind and blowing snow. The only good thing is that it’s not dark. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. He spies a cave and takes shelter until he rests enough to attempt another teleport.

Success… thank Boccob! Peter visits headmaster Ophir in the Didela tower in Eridale and discovers he is too late by a day. Alberon had killed someone and left on the road South. All the same, he didn’t seem to be in a hurry or afraid of anyone. Followers had joined him, enthralled by his new powers. If the party made haste, it might be possible to find him on the road.

Peter returns to Miresus to an impatient Sexy. Although it has been only a little over an hour, she assumed it would take less than half the time and threatens Peter for his incompetence. It took some convincing, but Peter manages to assure Sexy and Kyra that he is capable of getting them to Eridale. Peter’s powerstone was depleted from previous adventures, so negotiations on how much weight everyone could carry became an issue. It was tedious, but eventually the party teleported to Eridale ready to continue their pursuit.

For once, the party stocked enough rations to travel at a reasonable speed. The road went south and everyone kept their eyes open for obvious places to take another route. After a few hours, there is a break in the foliage that has seen many travelers recently. Peter listens carefully and hears people talking quietly in the direction of the discovered trail. Everyone attempts to sneak in that direction… and does a terrible job at stealth.

Two women dressed in flexible leathers that move freely with daggers on the belt call out to the party. “Who goes there?” Peter answers that the party is tracking an elven blacksmith named Alberon that may have went this way. As a coincidence, the travelers were also looking for Alberon. One of their female friends fell to Alberon’s influence and the pair were trying to bring her back home. With very few questions, but lots of suspicion the two parties join forces and continue deeper into the woods.

Kyra took point. Peter and the two women were in the middle. The strongly armored hand to hand fighter, Sexy cowered well to the rear sword drawn just in case there was a battle. As it turned out, this would be sooner rather than later. Surprise attack! Kyra was struck in the back by the more forward tracker. Peter was hit by the other and fell to the ground dazed. Sexy was caught off guard and took no action as his party soaked up damage.

The party was so slow to respond that Kyra was attacked again. Sexy just stood there while she was closed upon and attacked. Fortunately, everyone started to wake up after that. Sexy delivered a powerful thrust with her Naginata. Kyra saw a weakened enemy attacking a party member and took a shot with her long bow. The enemy dropped.

Surprised by the speed that his friend died, the remaining attacker retreated to begin cast a spell. That was a mistake. Kyra was able to quick draw and fire a successful shot with her bow. It ended the fight. Sexy made a point to slit the throats of the fallen. Peter recovered enough to attempt to use wild talent for minor healing. It was enough to allow him to journey onward.

While stripping the women naked, Sexy and Kyra discover each person had a tattoo of a black sun on her shoulder. Sexy and Kyra seem to recognize the symbol immediately. Extra time is taken to dig a grave for the bodies because of this. Peter finds this to be trite and wants to make speed in the pursuit of Alberon. After a few insults and a little debate Peter agrees to take all of their gear back to Miresus.

It isn’t until much later that Peter will have access to research material to learn what the others already know. The black sun tattoo is the mark of the Vashta Na’rada, an infamous guild of assassins. These assassins may have been sent to kill the party for an unknown reason.

Towards mid afternoon, the party finds themselves closing in on Alberon’s position. The party is greatly outnumbered. There are at least 2 mages not including Alberon. Seven fighters were with him, too. The smart thing to do would be to run away, but that wasn’t on anyone’s mind.

As the party snuck towards Alberon, Peter begins prepping his spells. Levitation, fire resist, haste, armor. He is invigorated the more magic he uses. The fatigue that normally comes from casting spells is gone. There is something else, though. Like a whisper in the back of his mind. Peter couldn’t just leave now. Not without trying to get the orb.

Just as Peter casts an explosive fireball, he hears a voice in his head. “Kill! Keep the orb for yourself! Use the power!” He also felt much more powerful. His magic became twice as strong and his wild talent had been multiplied. Peter was going to kill them all.

At the same time, Sexy was also prepping her magic and not holding up much better against the orbs influence. Before Peter could adequately aim his fireball, Sexy had trounced into Alberon’s camp claiming to be a new ally. She managed to come within 2 yards of Alberon without being attacked. That’s when she struck out with her Niginata. It was for nothing because Alberon’s iron arm perfectly parried the attack.

Peter was forced to unleash his explosive fireball without properly aiming it. It went wide and caught both Alberon and Sexy in the radius. Sexy dropped, but Alberon was only severely wounded. Kyra successfully attacked a mage instead of continuing the assault on Alberon. With Sexy down, Peter became the most obvious target. 3 warriors went for Kyra. All the rest advanced on Peter.

Peter had a strategy to teleport behind the group, become invisible and get within range to teleport the orb to himself. The control of the orb was too strong. He was forced to stay and do an offensive spell. There was only had 1 second, so he did an area acid attack. To his credit, this did create a barrier that slowed down the enemy. Unfortunately, Alberon was able to inflict agony on him from a distance. Peter began writhing in pain helpless on the ground. Alberon seemed content with this and promptly teleported away leaving his overwhelming forces to mop up.

All the attention went to Kyra. The horde of still standing enemies approached her position. Sexy regained her bearings enough to grab her Naginata and stand up. The only enemy in the area was a mage who asked if she was still on their side. Sexy swore her loyalty to Alberon and then ran the mage through with her sword. Fortunate for Kyra, this turned 3 of the 6 remaining enemies to far away Sexy.

While waiting for her attackers, Sexy slit the throats of the fallen enemies in the area. Kyra had the fight of her life with 3 melee fighters on her. She kept falling back and firing. Inflicting damage, but not quick enough to keep her safe. In the end, she was able to drop only 1 of the 3 before falling unconscious from her injuries.

Sexy was fairing much better. Her enemies were staggered and she managed to drop several before the final 3 came together and fight as a team. It was an epic battle. One got wounded and dropped. That left only a massive barbarian fighter and a skilled sword fighter with a strong parry. All effort was made against the barbarian. He kept soaking up damage and more damage, but he just refused to drop. Finally, Sexy succumbed to his injuries, but so did the barbarian. The uninjured sword fighter had the whole party at his mercy.

Boccob was smiling this day because the lone swordsman decided to take the fallen heroes captive rather than kill them. He tied up Peter, Sexy and Kyra and put them face down in a circle. Eventually, the agony afflicting Peter wore off giving him control of his faculties again. His high skill allowed him to cast levitate without either word or motion. When Peter teleported straight up, the guard didn’t know what happened. That gave Peter the time to free himself from his bounds and prep a powerful fireball.

When Peter floated down, the swordsman came dashing in giving Peter an easy shot. The fireball easily knocked him unconscious. Just to be sure, Peter slashed the throats of all fallen enemies before trying to do minor healing to help stabilize his friends. It wasn’t enough. He had to get them back to the temple of Boccob for healing.

The Didela proved valuable allies in patching up Peter’s friends. One of the first words out of Kyra’s mouth was asking whether Peter had gathered the gear of the fallen. Peter went back to grab it to ease her mind. Of course, when Peter came back to check on her, she was gone… whisked away to her favorite woodland retreat by secret agents from the palace. Sexy was hurt more than the others and took longer to recover.

When everyone was recovered, Sexy decided to do some back ally trading along with normal traders. Of course, Peter came along with her to keep her honest. When Peter reported to Master Glex, it became apparent that the party was no match for Alberon or the orb. Special preparation would be needed before the orb were encountered again. As a reward for his trouble, Peter was rewarded with a note for 10,000 silver. All of the spoils were divided up equally.

The money must have been extremely exciting to Sexy and Kyra because the first thing they wanted to do was go looking for Alberon. Peter brought them back to Eridale to try to pick up his trail. The road went to a small town port town named Mill Beach. Alberon can teleport at will and there wasn’t any reason to believe he followed the road, but the party didn’t have any leads.

While in Mill Beach, the party learned that a ship had recently left. A ship that Alberon may have taken. The party decided to stay the night inside for a change. Sexy decided to go to be at 8:00, but Kyra and Peter stayed up in the tavern part of the inn to be social. Kyra tried to teach Peter a little Elven. One phrase stuck in Peter’s mind, “Be gone foul creature! Leave me in peace!”

The next morning about 4:00, Sexy decided it was important to get the party together. First she knocks on Kyra’s door waking her from a deep sleep. She wasn’t satisfied until Kyra answered the door. Oblivious to the obscene hour, Sexy wanted her to come with her down to the dock to talk to the harbor master. Finally, Kyra managed to get Sexy to leave her alone.

On to the next door, Peter’s. This time, when the knocking became incessant, a loud voice cried out from the room in Elven, “Be gone foul creature! Leave me in peace!” At first, Sexy thought she had got the wrong room until Kyra cried down the hall, “Good job, Peter. You’re learning elven well.” That made Sexy want to talk to Peter even more. It took a while, but eventually Sexy left without Peter answering the door.

To kill time, Sexy decided to look for oysters down the beach. She was gone when Peter and Sexy got up around 7:00. After breakfast and talking to the harbor master, Sexy was still gone. The ship was bound for Kyrol in Khatovar. After consulting with Kyra, Peter decides to try to go to Kyrol to scout it. While waiting, Kyra made friends with the harbor master and went fishing.

Kyrol was a complex maze of buildings and roads. There was no clear direction to go and no one who knew anything. No Didela representatives lived here. The mayor didn’t know anything about Alberon or anything else useful. He was able to point them to a local magician capable of casting a beacon to allow the party to travel here.

Peter expected Kyra and Sexy would be discussing options about where to go next. Instead, Sexy had enlisted Kyra to look for oysters. It took Peter a moment to spot a pair of figures down the beach, but he did and teleported to them. Surprisingly, neither Kyra nor Sexy were interested in doing anything else the rest of the day except searching for clams. Peter was unable to get any consensus despite his best effort, so he just went back to the inn to wait.

Stuck in Mill Beach another night, Peter once again stayed up later than Sexy to work on his Elven with the pretty bartender. The next morning while Peter was praying, Kyra and Sexy were having breakfast. Sexy asks Kyra what it was that Peter had said the other day. Kyra told him without hesitation the elven insult. Sexy stormed up to Peter’s room and kicked down the door. She threatened him with brass knuckles.

Peter didn’t back down. He told her she was out of line and the insult was well deserved. This sent Sexy into a rage and she disappeared again looking for oysters all day long. Peter and Kyra decided that it would be best to leave this small town and resume searching in Kyrol. The plan was to leave as soon as Sexy arrived. Peter travels there, pays 3 platinum to have a beacon put up and then returns to Kyra. Sexy is still gone, but Kyra has changed her mind about looking for Alberon in Kyrol. She doesn’t want to do it at all.

Sexy doesn’t return to the inn that night. Instead, she opts to stay at the other inn. It’s not until the next morning that she joins the party for breakfast. Sexy tells everyone that the party should go to the mountains where Alberon’s ore came from to talk to the dwarves there. Peter knows that it’s snow covered and treacherous. He has decided to take the winter off to study in the Didela tower.

Sexy informs Peter that he will take them to the mountains. Peter tells her people typically get paid for transportation services. He informs her that he’s going to Miresus to train, but he’s willing to drop her and Kyra in Silverwood before beginning training if she wants. It remains to be seen what Sexy and Kyra will do, but Peter has his next 100 days slated for learning spells and reading in the library.

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Stolen Book Of Swords

After everyone trained most of the winter, everyone was itching for an adventure. Peter went to Master Glex and discovered there was an available mission concerning a stolen libary book in Gotham. There was undoubtedly magic involved because the guards were charmed and didn’t remember anything for a brief period in which the robbery was made.

It didn’t really make any sense. Whoever stole the book obviously knew exactly what he or she was looking for. It was almost as if he or she had access to it, but now wanted for personal use. Why anyone would need a book about the lost seven swords is beyond knowing.

Peter, Sexy and Kyra met with Kyra’s great aunt who was a druid. After a little conversation, the aunt opened a tree and allowed the party to instantly travel to the woods of a fellow druid just south of Gotham.

For some reason, Kyra decided to come into town with Peter and Sexy. Ever fearful of crowds, Kyra wouldn’t just walk down the street. Instead, the Sexy lead the group down back alleys in the most crime ridden city in the world. What could go wrong?

The party was ambushed by 4 nimble attackers wielding rapiers. Though everyone fought valiantly, all but Peter fell under the onslaught. Peter managed to levitate out of reach and threaten the thieves with a fireball. As the thieves left, they threatened that Tirana would hear about the incident. This caused them to run away long enough for Peter to patch up the party and get them safely to his parents house.

After licking their wounds for a while, the party went out to the local bar. There they met a dwarf shopkeeper, Gadka Burtannon, who knew about Tirana. The local goon was scheduled to come by for collection that night. He agreed to douse his lamp as a way to identify Tirana’s agents.

The party set up on the roof top across from Gadka’s shop. When the protection money collector showed up, Kyra shot him in the back. In retaliation, the collector slashed Gadka. Bleeding profusely, Gadka backed away into his shop. Kyra shot again and managed to drop her target this time.

Peter levitated the fallen man to the roof top with the idea to question him. He searched him removing his sword. Sexy came over to investigate. Peter decided to check on Gadka, handed Sexy the sword and teleported into Gadka’s shop. Gadka was severely bleeding and unconsious. Peter healed him and watched over him waiting for him to recover.

It took several minutes for the dwarf to come around. Gadka was amazed to still be alive. He shook off any further offer of aid and left Peter to go back to his home. When Peter returned to the roof top, he found Sexy had killed their only lead. Peter took the body to the road south of town and dumped the body not far from the road.

Levitating from roof top to roof top, the party made their way back to Peter’s home. When the gear of the fallen foe was searched, a list of shopkeepers was found among the pouches of silver. Maybe, Tiranna was not out of the reach of the party afterall.

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Cavern of Doom

Kyra and Sexy left Peter and the bag of silver with Peter and left to go to Sexy’s house. There was nothing else to be done at the present and Sexy’s parents lived close. People were still up when the women arrived. Kyra continued to befriend the elven servants, but Sexy thought herself above such people and simply avoided speaking to them except to give orders.

The next morning after breakfast, Peter decided to find all the shops on the collection list. He soon found a spot that allowed him to watch 3 or 4 of the locations at once. After last night’s assassination of the Splitstreet Gang member, retribution was sure. It was likely that several members of the gang would be sent as a show of power.

There would be no way to stop a group that size, but stopping them wasn’t the goal. Large numbers would be difficult to remain discrete. Peter would easily be able to identify the group and then track them back to their hideout.

Peter remained on the street all morning, reading a periodical and otherwise appearing to simply be out enjoying the day. While Peter stayed in plain sight all day, Sexy cowered inside for fear of life. If someone were to learn she were responsible for the death of one of the Splitstreet Gang, someone may come after her. Chances were that the Vashta Na’rada were already hunting her. Hadn’t the inn keeper in Silverwood mentioned someone was looking for her? Not good. Not good.

While Sexy wrung her hands in fret, Kyra decided to ferret out information about Tiranna by talking to the servants at Sexy’s house. Unfortunately, these were not the worldly elves that Kyra was used to dealing with and her efforts didn’t give her any new information. The only result was that it did somewhat unsettle the household a little.

After waiting most of the morning and afternoon staking out the shops scheduled for extortion without event, Peter decided to be more direct in his search. He stopped by Gadka, the dwarven shop keeper he had attempted to help the night before. The question was whether the members of the Splitstreet Gang had a particular style of dress or anything to distinguish them from any other citizen. Gadka was helpful in describing the lightly armored, rapier wielding gang and then Peter was on his way.

It was late into the afternoon when a solitary Splitstreet Gang member came wandering down the street where Peter was. He seemed at ease and complacent. This was his territory and he felt unchallenged. Maybe, he was unaware of his missing partner in crime or maybe he just didn’t care.

Peter decided it would be too difficult to try to follow the agile young thief on foot, so he tried something new. A trace spell would allow him to simply know where he was without the danger of discovery. Of course, that assumed he was able to time the lengthy spell to target him just as he passed by. There was still a danger of being caught, but the gamble paid off and the man became the subject of a trace spell without any commotion.

Peter remained on the street continuing his stake out. The trace showed the man stopping into random shops and then spending several hours in a restaurant. When the trace pointed out of the city, Peter decided to check out the restaurant. There was nothing especially noteworthy except that the food was overpriced and the atmosphere pretentious.

More hours on the street and more nothing. It was becoming twilight. Eventually, the trace stopped moving somewhere outside the city. After some time, Peter decided to go check it out. He found a private place, turned invisible and then teleported into the general area where the thief had decided to stay. It was there he saw a large water feature in the center of a well lit room. Four men were there lounging around apparently on sentry duty. At last, the entrance to the Splitstreet Gang’s headquarters.

To his back was darkness. A cave perhaps? A high skill in levitate came in handy to cast silently and Peter silently and invisibility made his way into the cave. A short distance into the cave and the smell of woodlands filled the air. Within minutes, Peter had found the entrance to the cave. Scouting around, there was a secluded area close to the cave. After creating a teleportation beacon, Peter left to find his friends.

Sexy and Kyra must have been productive because Kyra had new information that the mission to find the book of swords was related to Tiranna and the Splitstreet Gang. Peter had no idea how Kyra came to these insights. She was always talking to herself and seemed delusional at times. All the same, it suited him that he was actually keeping to his mission by seeking to stop Tiranna and the Splitstreet Gang from tyrannizing Gotham.

After dinner, the party teleported to the beacon. Sexy teleported herself and Peter took Kyra. Of course, Peter needed to rest after so much effort. Although he used more magic, he recovered much faster than Sexy and lent her energy to get the party ready to fight sooner. As preparation, Peter case blur and haste on everyone. Later, it became obvious that this was a mistake because it became much more difficult for him to cast new magic while maintaining these spells.

The group approached the area that Peter had seen the thieves stood guard. Sexy in front, Kyra next and Peter in the rear. It was single file through the entry way. The guards were on Sexy right away before she could get through the door. It was impossible to shoot either arrow or fireball without risking a hit to Sexy’s back side.

Sexy swung wildly with her naginata, missing as much as hitting. These were skilled fighters and most times her sword would simply pass through where they were only moments before. Eventually, Sexy drove back the guards enough to step into the room and Kyra began to wreak havoc with her bow. Sexy was stabbed again and again with the rapiers, but little damage got through because of superior armor.

Then enemies began to fall. Sexy didn’t have any reservations about taking time to coup de grace right in the heat of battle with enemies still threatening party members. Eventually, the battle began to turn and a single thief stood between the party and the entrance. He did what any noble thief would do… he ran as fast as he could.

Speed isn’t something that the party does well. Peter had one chance to stop the guard before he escaped through the doorway. He prepared an over strong explosive fireball and hurled it into the escape path… and missed horribly. There was nothing to stop the alarm from being raised. 4 guards were enough of a fight. The party didn’t need to have an army organized against it.

Despite being slow in all other ways, the group had one way to get around quickly and Peter put that to use in an attempt to salvage the mission. Great Haste allowed him to teleport then teleport again. Curving passageways prevented him from getting a clear shot. Finally, there was a long hall. Peter attempted to explode the thief again. This time it connected. He was moving so fast that it looked like he was going to get away. Another teleport and another explosive fireball. Just a few more feet and the thief would make the corner

By then Kyra had rounded the corner. Kyra let loose with her bow and finally the man was down. Sexy had spent extra time making sure that their enemies were indeed dead and lagged behind. Kyra had just joined Peter at the body of the fallen guard when Sexy came around the corner. Sexy should have been concerned about defending her tired and weakened. Who knows what could come around the corner where the final enemy fell? Instead, she had only one thing on her mind… a huge pile of rubies just laying in an alcove off the hallway.

Sexy ran straight for the rubies presumably with the idea to secret away as much loot from the party as possible. When she reached for the rubies, they disappeared. The ground started shaking and a rumbling of heavy stone moving. Dust began to poor from the ceiling and floor then the walls defining the alcove collapsed.

From the dust erupted a huge gray render. A gaping maw showed row after row of misshapen razor sharp teeth. His roar was deafening. The gray render’s breath was hot and filled the tight space of the hallway with the smell of rotten potatoes and rotting flesh.

Kyra and Peter were cut off from the entrance. Peter was too tired to attempt to teleport Kyra and there was no way to outrun the monster that Sexy had unleashed. What’s more is the Peter’s great haste had expired, which made him all, but useless in combat. That’s when something strange happened.

Under normal circumstances, Sexy would run away from a superior foe. Hadn’t she just spend lots of silver to learn how to teleport for exactly this kind of situation? Running isn’t what she did. She stood toe to toe with the gray render and stabbed at it with her naginata. Retaliating with both claws, the gray render struck a devastating blow to Sexy. Surely, this would be enough to convince her to run, but no. She stood her ground and fought.

Arrows and the occasional sunbolt peppered the gray render, nothing could divert its attention away from Sexy. It was wounded now and was thrashing wilding usually hitting nothing but air. Then another tremendous blow to Sexy. There was not much keeping her on her feet, but somehow she managed to continue fighting. Surely, now would be the time for her to escape, but no. Sexy would not retreat even though another single blow would surely be the end of her.

In the end, the gray render succumbed to his wounds and the party was victorious in no small part to Sexy. After dragging the fallen enemy into the alcove in hopes of hiding their presence, the party rested. After a while, Peter healed Sexy and Kyra of their wounds. Peter had suffered no injury because of his magic. If only it didn’t take so much of a toll on him he’d be very formidable.

It must have been the better part of an hour before the party was able to continue. Yet, no one came wandering by and nothing eventful happened. When the party resumed their search of the dungeon, a deathly silence had fallen through the tunnels. Even the slightest sound was amplified. It felt like the party was blowing a trumpet for all the perceived noise made just from the sound of their feet.

Edging down the corridor, the party came to an intersection going right. There were doors further down the hall and a door down to the right. Not knowing which way to turn, the group turned to the right and tried the door. Closet… empty. Then back to the first door in the first hall. Listening, there was the sound of a voice chanting.

Ready to pounce, the group opened the door and found 6 animated dead and a necromancer working on a 7th one in the corner. Sexy was quick to attack the animated dead. A fireball exploded among tightly packed walked corpses. Kyra also got a shot in on the undead. It wasn’t until the next round that anyone really took notice of the necromancer. He began casting a spell, but Kyra shot him before he was able to complete. Instead of staying to fight, the necromancer teleported away leaving his minions to defend his retreat.

The undead were slow to realize they were under attack. The party inflicted lots of damage without reprisal for several seconds. Oddly, none of the undead dropped. When enough was enough, the corpses woke up and the battle really began.

Sexy was hard pressed. Her naginata is a pole arm that only works from a distance. That meant backing up each time and where should she go? Kyra had her back to a dead end. Peter was on the other side and could retreat. Sexy opted to back towards Kyra to keep her safe. That meant Peter quickly came under pressure. He kept blinking backwards throwing explosive fireballs and hoping to eventually do enough damage to end the fight.

Kyra risked firing around Sexy and was successful. Eventually, the press was too much and Sexy had nowhere to go. She dropped her naginata and used karate to keep the undead at bay. Just when Peter was about to back his way out of the sight of his companions, the battle turned. The first undead on him dropped and then the other one fell. Sexy and Kyra were having success, too. Soon it was over and once again the group rested although with fewer wounds to mend.

Then the trek resumed. Finding nothing further down the main passageway, the group took the only passage forward and came into a room with a large cauldron. On 3 pedestals surrounding the cauldron were large metal beakers containing different colored liquids, yellow, red and blue. There was a shelf built into the wall that had pouches of powder. 2 yellow, 2 red and 2 blue. There were 8 lead chunks sitting with the powder and a key trapped in amber.

On the wall were 3 paintings. One of a demon holding a yellow cup with a red heart. Another of a castle being destroyed by a tidal wave. The third was of a skeleton holding an apple and a bluebird while also having a gold ring in its chest.

This place piqued Peter’s interest. He immediately perceived the pictures on the wall as referring to recipes. The demon picture made him think that it was restorative potion. Mixing the yellow liquid and red powder, the liquid turned clear and Peter told Sexy that she should try drinking it to restore herself. She put her finger in. Nothing happened. Then she decided to put in her water skin to collect the liquid. It turned gold.

In went the lead from the self. 3 of the 8 turned into gold and then the liquid disappeared. The party evenly distributed the gold and then Sexy and Kyra were ready to leave. Peter was not content to leave so quickly. He wanted to find out what the other recipes did. The others left and he continued to experiment.

With Sexy in the lead, the girls continued to explore. They came to a large room with ornate carvings on the wall. Depictions of enormous insects locked in combat with gargantuan reptiles. Coming to a door, the decision was made not to open it. The other way down the tunnel was nothing but blackness.

Meanwhile, Peter continued to mix powder and liquid according to the recipes on the wall. He tried for the castle. The liquid began to clear and form into a vision. There were lumbering figures in shadows. In the background was a silhouette of a castle. That’s when the girls returned.

At the sound of their voices, the shapes in the vision turned towards the party and started moving closer. Now, it was clear these were definitely undead creatures of some kind. Not as clumsy as the animated corpses fought earlier. Vampires perhaps? Kyra fired an arrow into the cauldron and the arrow struck one of the creatures. The vampires were getting close now. At any moment they would be close enough to crawl out of the cauldron. And then the closest one disappeared presumably passing to the other side of the view port. After a moment, the vision was gone and the liquid evaporated.

Next Peter tried the recipe of the bird. Something told him to put the key encased in amber into the brew. It ate through the amber and left the key intact. Sexy tried to collect some of the acid in a glass vile, but the vile dissolved. In the end, Peter kicked over the cauldron spilling the contents down a drain.

Peter picked up the key after dumping a little water on it to wash away any residual acid. There wasn’t anything obvious to do with the key, but at least a number of the mysteries of the room had been revealed. Maybe, the lock would reveal itself as the party explored the dungeon.

Kyra and Sexy led Peter towards the unexplored darkness opposite the room they had visited when he was busy with alchemy. Happily, Peter discovered a library and he would have stayed there for a long time except that Kyra and Sexy had no more patience to let him indulge. In a room opposite the library was a room featuring a drop into a river of molten rock. Across the river was what appeared to be a cauldron filled with the same rock as below. Once again, Kyra and Sexy prevented Peter from lingering to discover the purpose of the strange room.

Deeper and deeper the party pressed forward. Most of the rest of the dungeon was well lit, but that ended. The party came into a space that felt big. It was difficult to tell the dimensions because their light didn’t go very far. There was a damp cold in the area almost like being close to a lake. Sure enough, the cavern had water. Lots of water. It intersected the whole cave with no other way around.

Using dark-vision, Peter saw a large waterfall coming directly out of the wall. Then he spied a passage of land on the far side of the lake. There was a boat evidently left for people to make it to the other side of the lake. Despite the fact that Sexy and Kyra can levitate, there was an expectation that Peter would levitate everyone across. This disturbed Peter and he decided the only fair thing to do would be to use the boat instead of using valuable energy. Fortunately, the boat ride was uneventful.

Peter’s compromise was short lived. Shortly up the path was the river feeding the lake. Of course, it fell to him to levitate everyone across and so he did.

Further up the passage, the path leveled off and a faint light appeared ahead. It was a large room with a door to the left and a door to the right. Soft chanting came from behind the door on the right. There were many voices. Everyone was weakened and not really in the mood for a fight against overwhelming odds, so the party went left.

Opening the door, it was noticeably warmer. It had the same smell as the lava room above. Sexy in the lead, rounded the corner to find a room washed in a red glow. Maybe 30 yards to her right was an opening in the wall large enough to be a door. Off to the far side was a roundish red rock at least 3 times taller than a man. At least, she thought it was a rock until it started to uncurl.

Wings and a tail started stretching from the dragon. Then it’s head came up. It was ready to pounce. Sexy quickly back pedaled into the narrow passage. It was too small for the dragon to follow, but not too small to send his fiery breath. Everyone hurried back the way they had come. Dragon parts were valuable, but the companions had no chance against a beast of that size.

Peter wanted to place fire resist on everyone and attempt to snipe at the dragon, but the dragon was too cunning to allow any ranged attacks from the safety of the passageway. There was also a reluctance in his party to risk starting a fight they couldn’t finish, so he just let it go.

The party still had to get past the dragon or turn back. It was actually a very short teleport from their current location to the room Sexy had seen. Peter took Kyra and Sexy teleported herself. A magma river and a bridge were the only features of the new room besides the door to visit the dragon.

The magic expenditure forced Peter to rest once again for perhaps 15 or 20 minutes. During this time, Sexy and Kyra patiently waited not knowing what could come across the bridge or crawl out of the fire. It was not a great place to rest, but Peter had little choice in the matter and to go on without their mage would put Sexy and Kyra at greater risk than waiting for him to recover.

Finally, Peter was ready and the group crept forward over the bridge. Sexy in the lead, Kyra next and Peter in the rear. A voice casting a spell could be heard as the party moved ahead. Looking over the bridge, a woman could be seen standing over an altar. Above the altar, a katana floated. Was that Tiranna? Could this be one of the 7 swords?

One step over the crest of the bridge and Tiranna’s head turned in Sexy’s direction. The gig was up. Tiranna grabbed the sword and began casting a spell. Sexy wasted no time in teleporting directly next to Tiranna, but was so disorientated she couldn’t act immediately. Tiranna backed away. Peter took aim with a powerful fireball and then let loose. The attack would have been successful except Tiranna was able to easily dodge. Kyra attempted to cast haste.

While Sexy recovered from her teleport, Peter prepared an explosive fireball to compensate for Tiranna’s dodge. Kyra attempted to cast haste again. Tiranna had yet to cause trouble, but everyone could feel something was about to break loose. Sexy struck at Tiranna, but she danced away without a scratch. Kyra attempted to cast haste. Peter let loose with an explosive fireball, but instead of being wounded, Tiranna’s body erupted into flames.

Things were desperate now, Sexy was locked in a retreating battle where she was forced to back up to attack with her pole arm from a safe distance only to have Tiranna move forward to slash with her sword and inflict fire damage just for being close enough. Sexy swung wildly hoping to inflict massive damage only to have Tiranna dodge most of the blows. This wasn’t a battle that Sexy could win, but she stood her ground for reasons beyond understanding.

Kyra finally got her haste to work and started to lay down cover fire, but it was ineffectual because Tiranna was so agile. Peter wondered why Sexy didn’t teleport to the beacon, but decided not to question it because it suited him to continue fighting. He decided to give her a fighting chance by teleporting close and putting fire resist on her.

Now, limited on offensive weapons that would work, Peter decided to position himself far from the enemy’s sight. If Sexy could distract Tiranna long enough, he could attack her back and maybe end this with a powerful sunbolt. With any luck, the massive damage would cause her to go into shock and the party would be saved.

Kyra remained on the bridge and continued to fire. She may have had a hit to the center of Tiranna’s skull at one point, which would have been a killing blow to most enemies. If the leader of the Splitstreet Gang was injured, she did a great job of hiding it. She seemed to be no more inconvenienced that if bitten by a mosquito.

Now, it was Peter’s turn. This was the game ender. Either this stopped Tiranna or nothing would. He took aim and made a direct hit to Tiranna’s back. She wasn’t able to dodge and soaked up the whole sunbolt… to no effect. She barely seemed to have noticed what should have killed her. It was like she had an immunity to damage.

It was definitely time to go. Sexy had soaked up lots of damage despite the fire resist. She was shaky on her feet, but for some reason continued to fight on. Peter was about to make a break for Kyra and sound the retreat, but Tiranna struck first. Her sword sliced through Sexy’s armor and dealt her a final blow. Sexy’s eyes rolled back into her head and she collapsed.

Peter yelled to Kyra to run and she did. He had become the focus of Tyranna’s attention and waited while she attacked him again and again to buy time for Kyra to escape. Peter could have teleported away at any time, but he had another plan in mind. As he blinked away, he positioned himself closer and closer to Sexy. Peter used precious seconds to shed the extra protection he had given to Kyra, Sexy and himself. If his plan was to work, he would need to be able use as much of his concentration as possible.

Peter heard the roar of the dragon and assumed Kyra was a safe as she could be given the circumstances. That’s when he did one of the stupidest and bravest things he’d ever done. He spent his life force to raise his strength for a minute and teleport Sexy and himself to the beacon. He was on the verge of collapse, but somehow he managed to stay on his feet and muster the will power to save his childhood friend.

It was a good thing that the home of their beacon was relatively well hidden because Sexy was unconscious and Peter was barely able to keep his eyes open. Kyra was somewhere lost in the Splitstreet Gang’s dungeon. The only thing to do was wait.

After a while, Peter felt strong enough to try to heal himself a little. He didn’t feel strong afterward, but it was all he could do for himself. Then he turned his attentions to Sexy. He had no more magic to heal her, but he bound her wounds and did what he could.

It had been close to an hour and still no sign of Kyra. Had the dragon eaten her? Was she captured? Peter was worried because he needed to get Sexy to a priest and couldn’t really wait for much longer. Maybe, the only thing keeping him in place were the extensive injury he had done to himself saving Sexy.

Finally, Kyra showed up. She made it past the dragon because it had been caught off guard, but magic had exhausted her and she needed to rest. That’s what had kept her. Tiranna had been staking out the entrance and it was only through a clever trick that Kyra had been able to escape. The party needed to leave. It was only a matter of time before Tiranna would send people out to search for her.

Peter told Kyra of his plan to take Sexy to the priest of Boccob. The two agreed to part company and meet again sometime soon in the woods outside Gotham. It nearly made him pass out, but Peter managed to increase his strength and teleport Sexy and himself to the Didela. Kyra made her way into safer territory.

When Peter and an unconscious Sexy arrived at their destination, they were greeted by the Didela guards. Would these men be able to protect them from Tiranna if she showed up? There was so much to tell his order and so much to do. Peter could ill afford to be so weakened. Maybe, he could negotiate a deal to be fully healed. On his mind were all the books in the library and the mystery of the key he freed from amber.

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Couriers Blog

Gena (receptionist @ Temple of Boccob in the Miresus Didela tower) said that a lady named Candua had come around asking for someone to escort an object to it’s destination for her. She pointed the party to her.

Candua’s family has been a higher house for about 7 generations. Their time in the spotlight was during the original reign of the Dominator. Their unique fighting styles (swords, occasional maces) and tactics led them to suffer the least casualties of any house during these times. They gained a great deal of wealth during this time as well.

Item is inside a small, locked chest. Overall, it weights 15 lbs. It is to be delivered to her nephew Minaeli in Talcaro, Khatovar. He’s staying at the inn, the Golden Crown. NO ONE is allowed to open it. Magic may NOT be cast on the item (thus no teleporting). There have been several attempts to steal the item from Candua’s estate, and she expects that further attempts will occur during transit.

During negotiations, to prove her trustworthiness, Kyra mentioned that Ramina is “like an aunt” to her. Peter established upfront that he’s from the Didela. Lucas came off as a random urchin hanging around the other two, very blunt, tactless, and greedy.

Kyra (using the orb) found out that the item is a Dominator artifact, is not evil, is not psionic, is not a Dominator shard, and a few other things. She shared her findings of what the contents were (though its purpose remains unknown). This caused Kyra to express some concern and ask Ramina for guidance. Ramina mentioned that it was intriguing that it was a Dominator artifact, but has no reason to mistrust Candua. Also, if she plans to use it for anything evil, she’s had plenty of time here, and if so, Khatovar is a better place to do it in. Peter wanted to talk to the Didela to see if they should worry about taking it for safekeeping, since anything of that kind of power is very dangerous to have floating around. Peter brought Glex to talk with Candua, and the two talked behind closed doors. Afterward, Glex said that he was for her plan, but they had improved it some, and will be casting some protections on the chest.

The deal the party arrived at with Candua was that she provide a horse for each of them, and upon returning they would return the horses and receive 30,000 sp (less the cost of any horse not returned). Kyra mentioned that instead of buying horses, she could borrow them from the Queen and only pay if they did not return.
(Lucas, the only one monetarily concerned, asked that she make an offer, she said 3k now, and another 15k later. His counter offer was the one that was accepted. Candua easily would have gone to a total of 50k, if not more, had either other party member negotiated; a ranking member of the Didela and someone on a first name basis with the Queen)

Before setting out, Kyra asked her great-aunt, Biinakwe, to watch over them while they are in her woods.

After first day of travel, attacked at camp by 3 bald, scarred humans wearing a reddish hide. They had wicked daggers, and fire spells, and caused a saddlebag to explode. The horses are dead. (~6000sp down the drain). They launched a surprise attack while Peter was attempting to cast Mystic Mist.

A few days later, they heard much rustling and some thwomping. Assuming giants, Kyra opted to stealthily investigate. The noise disappeared after less than a minute, and no creatures were seen. In the morning, the scene showed several sets of human footprints (though almost no connecting steps), as well as many depressions as though a large club-like object struck the ground.

After 8 days of traveling on foot, the attackers reappeared in the plains of Khatovar, appearing in a teleport perfectly in front of each party member. The party held their ground and the attackers eventually teleported away. During the fight, Kyra was struck with a dagger and fell instantly ill, unable to do anything but move and Lucas’ feet were stuck to the ground from the start. A few fireballs were launched. Peter’s levitation tactic eventually proved troublesome to continue to deal with, and they fled.

Current Day: April 3rd
60% of the way to destination (@ 30mi/day on foot)

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Couriers Blog Part 2

It was obvious to Peter that his party was in a desperate situation. Twice the party had been outmatched by wizards trying to steal the package. The last time, Lucas had become rooted to the ground and Kyra was hit with magic that made her ill and unfit to fight. If these wizards were the vanguard sent to find strengths and weaknesses, they were successful.

It was only by sheer luck that their magic had been exhausted and Peter, Kyra and Lucas were allowed to escape. One thing was clear, the next attack was coming and it would be worse than before. There were no more tricks to try and no where to escape.

On any other day, escape wouldn’t be a problem. Peter, a master of teleport, could easily get his group to safety. Unfortunately, the Dominator artifact in Lucas’ pack would release some horrible evil upon the world if it were ever teleported. To allow the artifact fall into the wrong hands would have equally disastrous results.

Normally, being in the middle of nowhere would be protection enough against detection, but the wizards had an uncanny ability to know exactly where the party was at any moment. There was the problem. Outmatched, unable to run, unable to hide. Peter was going to lose the artifact and probably his life in the very near future.

It was with a heavy heart that Peter cast a Communication spell for Master Glex.

“Greetings Master Glex”

“Greetings Peter. How goes your travels?”

“My party and I have been attacked twice by leather skinned, red armored wizards that we can only assume want the artifact. Their tactics have improved and it’s all, but a forgone conclusion that we’ll be attacked again in a way that we won’t be able to defend against.”

“Peter it is very important that you keep that box safe. However, if you do loose it, you need to contact me immediately so we can make plans.”

“I understand, master. I’ll do what I can, but without reinforcements it won’t go well.”

“I’ll see what we can do.”

With that, the Communication dissipated and Peter was left alone with his thoughts. The message was clear, help wasn’t coming. You’re on your own.

It had been a day and a half since the last attack. Peter had been prepping the party for the end of the day raid by casting Magic Resistance on Kyra and Lucas. Using the spell left Peter tired and not quite ready to fight, but his friends would be virtually immune to the magic of the raiders. It was a great plan except it wouldn’t help today.

3 wizards popped into the middle of the party’s staggered marching line. This time, they brought their friends, 3 men in full plate and a horrible beast that must have been a demon. 2 of the fighters, a wizard and the demon started to make their way to where Lucas stood. Somehow they knew he had the artifact. A man in full plate and a leather skinned wizard closed on Peter. Just so Kyra wouldn’t feel left out, a wizard decided to come her direction.

Lucas was fast and could have run away, but instead decided to try to pit his leather jacket and brass knuckles against full plate and a maul. Before he had a chance to do much, the wizard had his feet rooted to the ground just like before.

Peter wasn’t having much better luck, he decided Flight would be the best way to control the battlefield. It was the only thing he had the chance to do before his enemies were upon him. The man in plate mail swung his weapon. Peter tried to dodge, but felt clumsy as he saw the wizard gesture. The blow zapped Peter’s strength and dropped him to the ground.

Kyra was furthest from the action and took advantage of the opportunity to prep by casting Haste. When her attacking wizard got close, she was ready with her bow. Direct hit to the eye. Wizard’s eye! The red armored guy dropped and posed no immediate threat.

Lucas wasn’t doing as well. He bravely took hit after hit knowing that all he needed to do was hand over the artifact and his punishment would end. The gesture bought the party a second. After that, a wizard, a demon and a man in full plate were rummaging through his backpack.

One of the men in full plate attacking Lucas noticed Kyra’s success and charged in her direction. Full plate would soak up any arrow damage. He looked almost invincible. There was only the tiniest opening in the visor to see. Kyra took careful aim then loosed another brilliant shot through his visor and into his eye. Down he went.

Peter would surely not survive another hit from his attacker in full plate. Lying on his back and opposed by the clumsiness from the wizard, he had only one option if he wanted to live. Blink. As the weapon came down and passed through the space where Peter was only moments before, Peter reorientated into an upright stance in the air above. The box had been found and the demon was flying away with it. The only good news is that it wasn’t able to go as fast as Peter could.

Kyra was prepared to pick off the remaining enemies, but was disappointed to see her fallen foes teleport away. The men in full plate disappeared leaving only the wizards who seemed intent upon escorting the demon away post haste. To have a chance at a shot, she had to close the rapidly expanding distance between her and the furthest away wizard.

The demon had quite a head start and Peter took a chance by flying directly above one of the wizards. Peter was struck by a momentary light headed feeling that passed as quickly as it came. He had been able to fight off whatever magic had attacked him. In the next moment, Kyra had closed the distance enough to put an arrow in the eye of the wizard that had so boldly attacked Peter. The wizard then teleported away, but at least was out of the fight.

The gap between the Peter and the demon grew small and Peter readied a Sunbolt. Peter would be able to shoot the demon as it retreated and it couldn’t get away with as fast as Peter could fly. Kyra was starting to get left behind and there was still the other wizard to deal with, but Peter liked the odds now. That’s when the demon disappeared after the gesture of the final remaining wizard. A moment later and there were no more enemies… and no artifact.

When the party reassembled, Lucas was on death’s door. Peter was only slightly better. The only redeeming thing about the situation was that the Trace Peter had cast on a string tied to the box seemed to be working. If whatever evil unleashed by the artifact could be fought, the party had an idea of where to start looking.

After taking time to rest and heal, it was time to talk to Master Glex. Peter cast Communication.

“You lost it, didn’t you?”

“I tried to warn you we couldn’t protect it without help.”

“Where are you?”

“In the plains of Khatovar 150 miles West of Talcaro.”

“Stay there. I’ll be there shortly.”

Within half an hour, a pair of flying objects came from the West. It was Master Glex and another wizard whose specialty was healing college.

“I see our little rouse worked.”

“You never gave us the real artifact. Thank Boccob!”

“It was necessary to have a decoy to mask the presence of the genuine artifact. We’ve been following you at a safe distance since the beginning.”

“Not to worry. You’ll still be compensated if we arrive safely to our destination.”

“Does that mean we’re done? We can go home?”

“I still need the party to be a decoy. Do you have anything I can enchant to look like the artifact?”

Peter volunteered his bulky 5 lb. compass for the duty.

“Keep going to Talcaro. We’ll contact you when we’ve made it safely there.”

With that, Master Glex and his friend flew away to continue their journey.

The party was only 2 days away from Talcaro. 2 days from a big pay day. There had been no further attacks. Maybe, the demon hadn’t figured out how to open the box, yet. Maybe, it didn’t know about the deception. Whatever the case, the party was happy to be so close to relative safety.

While setting up camp for the night, a wave of heat and the stink of brimstone began wafting through the air. Then the demon from the attack appeared in front of the group.

“Lesser beings, I would have been content to ignore you after getting what I wanted. Now, my wrath will be burn away everything you love.”

“I won’t give you swift death now. Instead, I will be in every dark corner and in every place you thought was safe. I’ll be slowly tightening a vice of misery upon you, stealing opportunity, weakening your allies and destroying your lives.”

“There will be no place to run from me. No place to hide. In the end, each of you will find yourself powerless and rotting in despair. You’ll beg for death. On that day, I will grant you your wish.”

With that the demon was gone.

A short time later, a Communication from Master Glex appeared. The mission was a success. The party could go home.

After paying $2000 each for the lost horses, Peter, Kyra and Lucas had $8000 each as a reward for the courier job. Peter became more powerful with clerical magic and even became ordained as a priest of Boccob. Kyra increased her magical abilities. Everyone spent the whole next year training for spells.

Lucas became quite skilled in the movement college further specializing in Teleport and Blink. Kyra also learned to Teleport, but not enough to travel very far. She also gained the ability to make food and protect the party from bad weather. The perpetual student, Peter had diversified his spell choices. His favorites are Hang Spell and Bless.

After all that training, the party felt the need to go out and explore. Peter wanted to visit Veros to see what interesting magic was there. Lucas felt the need to visit Tocora. Kyra felt like Tocora would offer her a great opportunity to use her Dwarven language, so it was decided.

When teleporting to a place you’ve never been, it makes sense to get as close as possible first. That’s what Peter was thinking when he teleported to Kyril and set up a beacon. Kyril is a sea port of maybe 500,000. He’d been there once before and was curious what mysteries the maze of a city held. With any luck, he and the party could spend a few days here before going on to Tocora.

His plans changed when he teleported Kyra into the city with him. Everyone could teleport, but still depended upon Peter for the really long distance stuff. She immediately froze and started babbling incoherently. He knew she preferred small groups and avoided cities, but hadn’t she been working on overcoming that phobia? Obviously, not yet.

Thinking quick, Peter teleported himself and Kyra to a few miles North of the city. Kyra was still acted lobotomized. At the very least, the side track would make him late for getting Lucas. When he was well enough rested, he sent a Communication to Lucas to apprise him of the situation.

Eventually, Peter was able to put up a Beacon. Just moments before he was ready to go get Lucas, Kyra started feeling more like herself. He would have had to get Lucas eventually. It suited him that Kyra would be able to protect herself in the moments it took him to bring back Lucas.

The trip to Tocora was thankfully much less eventful. Lacking any real direction, the party decided to head into the mountains. This was open countryside with no real sign of inhabitants. There were a few paths that might have been roads… or maybe animal paths. It was hard to tell.

Towards late afternoon, the party was coming close to the base of one of the mountains in the range. In the distance, there appeared to be a humanoid coming down in a big hurry. The party changed their direction to meet the figure.

As they drew closer, it became more clear that this was a gnome and a severely beaten up one at that. Lucas was the first to arrive. “Thank God” was the only thing the gnome said before he passed out.

After Peter healed the gnome, he kept ranting going on and on about boulders being hurled down upon Stonehaven, a city to the East. He was a merchant and had lost everything to what was most assuredly an attack by giants.

Peter was eager for a new challenge, but reluctant to abandon someone in need. The party agreed to escort their new friend to Hammerfell, home of the Hammerfell clan. It was a short distance away and the party stayed there for the night.

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Elros Part 1

Kyra was finally in charge of the mission. Her aunt and queen had asked her to locate Elros, a member of the royal guard who had fled. A fellow member of the royal guard was found bound with his throat cut in Elros house.

All doubt was removed that Elros was the murderer once the party employed the history spell at the murder scene. It was even discovered that Elros was associating with a woman shortly before the crime. Kyra had used the orb to comfirm her guess that the woman was Tyranna.

The mysteries of the situation plagued Kyra’s thoughts. No one knew why the man was killed. It didn’t make sense that Elros chose his own house for the execution. What influence did Tyranna have? The hope was all questions would be answered shortly when the companions walked the short distance to where Elros was hiding.

Queen Ramina had given to Kyra a compass that pointed to a pin attached to Elros uniform. Oddly enough, he kept his royal clothing despite being on the run. The arrow didn’t give any idea of distance to the pin, which was somewhat problematic. Fortunately, Peter used a combination of trigonometry and a series of teleports to quickly track Elros to a cave on the western frontier of Khatovar.

The party was prepped to enter the cave. Peter had created an air elemental and a fire elemental to act as guardians and walk in front of him. He waited in the cave entrance while Kyra and Lucas scouted ahead.

Kyra was the first to spot them. Three hulking half ogres guarding a pair of doors. Signaling to Lucas, she took careful aim at the one in the center. Lucas prepared for battle by getting as far away from the half ogres as possible.

Bull’s eye or rather ogre’s eye! The beastlike humanoid collapsed to the ground clutching his eye. One of the remaining half ogres sprinted towards Kyra while the other began shouting and run to one of the doors. Peter and his elementals ambled in after hearing the commotion.

Kyra got another ogre’s eye at the opponent charging her, but this time it didn’t drop. The elementals came forward and acted as blockers and Peter let loose an explosive fireball at the fleeing half-ogre. It took damage, but managed to escape anyway.

Emboldened by the appearance of the elementals, Lucas decided to come out of hiding to try landing a few blows on the aggressive half ogre. Outnumbered 5 to 1, it wasn’t long before there were no enemies standing. Except there should have been 2 fallen enemies. The half-ogre shot in the first volley must have escaped through the open doorway with his friend.

Feeling like the tide of battle was in their favor, the party advanced into the open door way with the elementals leading and Peter taking up the rear. Surprisingly, the roguish Lucas was feeling bold and took a forward position. Ambush! Thud, thud, thud. The elementals started soaking damage as 3 uninjured half-ogres answered the call to arms.

Kyra wanted a clear shot, but couldn’t find the right angle. It was clear that the elementals wouldn’t last much longer. Rather than helping them Lucas teleports deep into the new room out of sight of the companions. He discovers the 2 injured half ogres and 2 fresh ones and inexplicably charges.

Being pressed hard, it was clear that retreat was imminent. The elementals hold their ground just long enough for Kyra and Peter to start backing away. Twack! A crossbow cracks and Peter pulls away a bloodly shaft from the back of his head. He wobbles, but manages to stay on his feet somehow.

An athletic human swordsman was behind the group. He must have come through the opposite door and snuck up on the group. Now, he was drawing his longsword and preparing for combat. The confident look on his face made it clear he thought he could handle any number of enemies and felt good about his chances against a mage and an archer.

It was time to retreat. Kyra knew she couldn’t leave without all of her party members, so she continued to fight on. Firing shot after shot and seeming to have little effect against an overwhelming enemy. It was then that Peter announces that he would check on Lucas who was presumably in the other room.

Peter went to the other room only to discover Lucas was no where to be seen. He was not dying and in need of rescue as feared, but must have decided to teleport away without any thinking about his party. What would happen if Peter did the same thing knowing Kyra’s fierce loyalty to the companions?

When Peter teleported back in and shouted that Lucas had escaped, it didn’t take her long to decide to teleport away. Little did anyone know that it would be the last time anyone would ever speak to Peter. Using the orb of answers, Kyra eventually learned that he had died in that dungeon. This was a huge disappointment. Not only had she failed the queen, but had lost her best chance of recovering Elros.

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Elros Part 2

Kyra had enjoyed her time away from adventuring. It had been nearly a month since Peter’s death and her failure to recover Elros. The summer solstice ball last night had really raised her spirits. Her friend Gina had come with her and met her aunt. It was quite a shock to the young human to know her archer friend was actually related to the queen. Not even the whispers of a lesbian relationship between Kyra and Gina distracted from the evening.

Just today, she had met her mom’s friend from the temple, Tathel. He was approximately her age and an aspiring cleric of Corellon. Her mom was eager to get eligible male elves into her life to encourage a more “natural” relationship between a man and woman. Kyra and Tathel had agreed to get together for drinks that evening.

Kyra probably could have gone to an establishment of the nobles and enjoyed royal treatment, but she choose an adventurers bar in a more colorful side of town. The hint of danger was thrilling and reminded her of why she so often left home looking for adventure.

She was a little disappointed in Tathel. He wasn’t nearly as athletic as she had hoped. Kyra knew she could beat him arm wrestling without any trouble. The leather arms and leggings he was wearing wasn’t going to keep him alive very long in battler either. It was then and there that she decided she would try to protect him if trouble broke out.

Across the room were a pair of dwarfs. Both were sporting corselets that had to be at least 40 pounds. Were these guys expecting trouble? They had the appearance of being seasoned by many battles and had a hardness in their eyes. The one had blood red gauntlets that looked realistic enough to leave Kyra a little queasy.

The bar was loud and chaotic. Seemingly without warning someone threw a punch and the whole place seemed to erupt into chaos. Kyra put a hand on Tathel’s arm to let him know not to get involved and quickly cast a force dome around the couple. Soon there was a transparent blue bubble protecting them. It flashed as the occasional person was thrown up against it and bounced off.

It looked like the dwarfs were going to stay out of the brawl until a scuffle broke their table and spilled their ale. The one in the red looked to the other and nodded. Then the pair systematically started ending fights. A solid blow to the head was enough to knock most of the other brawlers to the ground. When the floor started becoming cluttered with bodies, the red dwarf started tossing them out the door while the other continued to either drop or chase away the remaining fighters.

When it was all over, the red dwarf walked over and knocked on the force dome.

“It’s safe. You can come out, now.”

That’s when Kyra had an idea.

“You dwarfs seem to be adventurers. How would you like to come with me on an errand to capture a murderer?”

“What does it pay?”

It was as simple as that and Kyra recruited a couple of dwarfs to join her group. The one in red was a cleric of Kord named Dorel. His brother, Morel, was his companion.

Not to be out done, Tathel decided to offer his services to Kyra. After all, what better way to get to know a perspective mate than travel together. Part of Tathel’s vows called upon him to go seek out new experiences and adventure. That means he could satisfy his needs as an elf at the same time as placating his god.

Kyra was pleased to learn that she wouldn’t be the only person creating food and water. One of Tathel’s many skills was creating essential food and essential water. It allowed the companions to travel much lighter and quicker. In a few weeks, the party had tracked Elros to the small outpost town of Jomic.

Walking around Jomic, the needle of the tracking compass started acting erratically. He was here… somewhere. That somewhere seemed to be a warehouse in the middle of town. This was clearly a place of business and it was clearly closed. The door was locked and there were no windows to see inside.

“This is the place. Maybe, we should wait until someone comes”, Kyra thought out loud.

Movement could be heard inside, so Dorel challenged.

“Open up in the name of the Jomic city guards.”

If anyone was inside was fooled, the trick still didn’t work. The door didn’t open and no one answered.

Morel was in no mood to wait and hope someone would open the door for him. He took a pair of axes and swung. The door exploded inward.

“Who are you and what do you want?,” came a voice from inside.

As the party’s eyes adjusted to the gloom, it was apparent the one speaking was a human that might be a mage. He was flanked by a pair of tailless catlike people. To the right was an elf wearing the garb of the royal guard. The door was flanked on either side by half-ogres.

“I am Morel Glanent and I’m here to claim Elros.”

“By who’s authority?”

“By who’s authority?,” Morel shot a question over his shoulder back to Kyra.

“The authority of the queen of Elmril.”

“The authority of the queen of Elmril,” Dorel repeated.

That was enough talking for the mage. He took some sort of knife and drove it into the side of Elros. The way he fell, it was obvious he was bound and was the prisoner of the mage.

Kyra tried to line up a shot at the mage, but Morel blocked the doorway. This was her first mission with the dwarf brothers and it wouldn’t be smart to risk bouncing an arrow off his helmet. It didn’t seem he needed it anyway. The first half-ogre charged him and Morel hit it hard enough to drop it to the ground.

One of the cat creatures got up on the table and seemed to breathe out some sort of noxious fumes. Kyra immediately started feeling more tired. It looked like Tathel was also being affected.

Morel finally moved out of the way for Kyra to shoot and then Dorel steps into the doorway. Another obstacle! Then the other cat creature breathed on everyone again. Only Dorel appeared to be unphased by the assault.

It was the dwarf brother’s turn. Morel swung a pair of axes at the kneeling half-ogre and moments later a head is rolling on the floor. Dorel attacked with axes parallel to the floor. The first cutting deep into the half-ogre chest and the other digging into the neck to decapitate.

Finally the dwarf brothers stepped out of Kyra’s way. Just as she loosed an arrow, the mage and 2 cat like creatures teleported away. The arrow vibrated in the wall directly behind where the mage’s head was only moments before.

Elros lay in a lump close to death on the floor.

“We need to help him,” Kyra pleaded.

Dorel employed his healing skills and brought Elros back into the world of the living. It proved to be a pointless exercise because he was not cooperative. The penalty for murder in Miresus was death and it was something he knew very well.

The way back to Miresus was once again on foot. Elros became obsessed with ending his life on his own terms. It became quite the quandary for the group. Technically, it wasn’t necessary to bring him back alive, but it went against the dwarf brother’s religion to kill an unarmed man and Elros couldn’t be compelled to fight.

Elros eventually went on a hunger strike. It made traveling much more difficult. Eventually Tathel thought it was worth the risk to try teleporting with him back to the Didela tower in Miresus. As insurance, Kyra let Tathel borrow her 20 point powerstone.

As it turned out, Tathel didn’t need it and successfully teleported the hundreds of miles to Miresus without even feeling slightly drained. It was then that Elros broke his bonds and attempted a run for it, but Tathel was just too strong for him thanks to the might Dorel cast.

In the end, Kyra and the party were given a bonus for returning Elros alive. He took his secrets to the grave and that bothered Kyra a little. Perhaps, there were other ways to discover the truth of the matter concerning the murder and Tyranna’s involvement.

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Inazuma's Tower

The success of the mission to retrieve Elros and the windfall of money put the party in a good mood. To celebrate, the party decided to take a few days to train. Morel did what he loved most and trained as a brawler. Tathel trained to fast draw his broad sword. Kyra studied opening locks using magic and Red (Dorel) prayed for Lend Energy.

All that training made Morel thirsty and he spent mostly every night frequenting bars around town… and listening to rumors. Evidently, the plague that killed almost all the most powerful mages was putting a strain of the defenses of many of the outlying places in Elm’ril. There were rumors of bandits on the roads and creatures in the woods. One story even mentioned a goblin invasion of a place called the Crystal Keep. It all seemed normal to Morel. He and his brother always seemed to be around when strange things happened.

Not all the news was bad. There was a new kind of mineral called etherium and the Didela were paying a premium for as much as they could get. Giant spider silk production was picking up in a small border town. Even a tournament in Gotham was scheduled for some time within the next year.

When the party reformed, everyone was fascinated with the stories Morel told. It didn’t take long before it was agreed to make a tour around Elm’ril to do some investigation. The plan was to start in the south and work around counter clock wise and then over to Gotham. The first stop on the way was Inazuma’s tower just North of Eridale.

Inazuma was once a great sorcerer who defended Eridale. He was well known for having fought and defeated a vampire coven a few years back. The foul creatures had been so bold as to attack Eridale directly, dragging away victims off the street. Inazuma co-ordinated with the city guard to drive them away and then track them to their lair. He marched into the depths flooding the area with sunlight as he went. Disorientated and weakened, the vampires were purged.

All that was before the plague. Mages everywhere just dropped off the radar. No one has heard from Inazuma in a while. The last group of people who tried visiting his tower were slaughtered except a single survivor. He showed up in town covered in gore muttering nonsense about flattened friends. The man suffered a psychotic break, but eventually recovered with no memory of his experiences. No one knows what horrors fell upon his companions and no one thought it was worth the risk to find out. At least not until now.

The journey was 10 days as the party traveled on foot. Really the time was irrelevant as far as planning was concerned. Tathel was so good at supplying the essential food and water the party never needed to worry about carrying provisions. All the same, Morel loaded up on whatever extra the cleric decided to make. One never knew when the cleric would just decide to teleport to the next place rather than travel overland.

Maybe half way to the tower, Tathel spotted something in the clouds that caught his attention. It was hard to make out at first. Looking more closely, it appeared to be something long and wooden. As it got further away, the angle changed and it was possible to see the hint of sails. It was a ship flying through the air. The party stopped and stared at the ship for a while. Kyra even tried signaling the ship, but it just floated on.

Inazuma’s tower seemed welcoming after a long journey. Right off the road with beautiful views of the wooded valley on one side and a slow wide river on the other. This hardly seemed to be the site of a multiple homicide. Morel was designated as the most heavily armored of the group and he was the first to approach the door. It was unlocked, so he decided to open it and go in.

The smell was obnoxious. Clumps of mangled meat and entrails lay about on the floor of this large entry way. Blood was smeared on the stone walls in places. Now, this might be the scene of a multiple homicide. Above the buzz of flies a deep rumbling voice spoke.

“You are not welcome.“

Towering in sentry position on the far side of the room stood a stone statue of a giant. It held a huge, blood stained maul. The golem must not have been content with merely bludgeoning its victims to death. Its feet were stained red and between the toes of the statue were bone fragments and pieces of flesh.

Up came the maul and it was pointed at Morel.

“Leave now or die.”

That was enough of an invitation for the dwarf. He came charging in with his brother, Red, close at his heals. Red was shouting to let him get in front to protect with magic, but Morel wasn’t in the mood to wait around.

For his impatience, Morel was rewarded with the full aggression of the golem. In swung the massive maul. Dodging aside, the air movement of the weapon caused his heavy beard to follow. It was then that Red drove his axes into the side of the enemy causing it to stop moving.

“Next time let me handle the giant weapons. Try parrying something like that and you’ll break your ax. The Iron Arm spell is a much better option.”

From the entry way, there were two doors into the tower. Both were locked, but Kyra made short work of them using her new Lock Master spell. Morel was disappointed because he was really looking forward to using his axes to turn the doors turn into splinters.

The first door opened into a dining area. It was little more a dead end with a dining table and a few chairs. The other door opened to a nice open area with ascending stairs on the far side. Three warriors wearing red hide armor stood guard by the stairs. As soon as Morel appeared in the doorway, large knives appeared in their hands.

“You guys better run if you don’t have anything better to fight me with than daggers,” Morel boasted as he started charging across the room.

The men in red appeared unconcerned and each began casting magic. The party had a loose charge with party members spread out and Kyra taking up a shooting position by the door way. Morel, Red and Tathel were already on the far side of the room when Kyra took her first shot. It missed, but sufficiently angered the intended target. In an instant, the enemy had teleported to Kyra and was swinging a magically charged dagger at her.

Those things were certainly hard to hit. Just when someone was sure he had a killing blow, the man in red would dodge out of the way. It was also quite a chore to avoid taking damage. The large knives nearly always seemed to find their mark. At least, they would have found their mark had the dwarfs not parried or the elves not blinked away to safety.

The red warriors managed to land a blow on Red that he shook off, but Tathel got caught without a blink ready and took a serious wound to his leg and fell to the ground. Eventually, the tide of battle tipped in the favor of the party. When there was only a single enemy standing, it teleported away leaving Red, Morel, Kyra and Tathel a chance to tend to recover from the battle. With the help of his companions, Tathel tied splints around his leg to give himself the ability to move by himself albeit only half his usual rate.

After a short time, the party resumed the search of the tower. Climbing the stairs, the party was greeted by a hoarse shriek. At the top of the stairs was a shriveled, gray humanoid wearing mage robes. Its hands flexed and fingers became claws anticipating prey. A mouth of sharpened teeth formed into a contorted expression of disgust. Inazuma was not making a good first impression on the party.

Behind the former mage, agitated voices chattered in an unknown language. It sounded like the room was being tossed, bottles were getting broken and heavier items making thuds against the floor. Whatever was going on in there sounded like it needed to be handled quickly and Morel made for the source of the noise running directly into Inazuma.

The ghoul-like creature lashed out with both hands. One looked like it would sneak through Morel’s attempt to parry, but he got lucky and was able to deflect the blow with the bottom part of the ax handle. It was clear that whatever Inazuma had become was not going to let Morel back to the commotion, so Morel let loose with a pair of strikes to the throat. One fell a little low and hit the torso, but the other landed true.

While Inazuma was collapsing on the ground, Red dashed past hoping to rescue whoever was being threatened in the next room. Before he got there, a pair of the red men came out looking none too happy. It was hard to tell, but one of the humanoids could have been the one that escaped the battle on the first floor.

Coming up the stairs, Kyra noticed that Inazuma was still breathing. That must have been unacceptable because she put away her bow in favor of her katana. In a single swipe, she decapitated the writhing, shriveled remains of what was once a great wizard.

The four party members closed in on the red enemy. One enemy managed to land a blow against Morel. It was barely strong enough to make a sound against his heavy steel corselet, but Morel felt like he were hit by a mountain. Whatever spell the enemies in red were using was certainly potent. He’d need the aid of a healer soon.

Now, it was time for retribution. Morel made crippled one and it fell to the ground. Red got a solid blow on the other that broke his ax and Kyra was quickly moving into position to presumably finish off the prone one.

Sensing an eminent death, the last remaining enemy cast a desperate spell. His armor began to glow and then suddenly exploded unleashing shrapnel everywhere. Red dove to the ground missing the worst of it. Morel let his armor soak up most of the damage. Tathel simply blinked down to the first floor to avoid the explosion. Kyra wasn’t as lucky. If she tried to dodge or blink, it was unsuccessful. She took three big pieces of shrapnel.

To Kyra’s credit, she was still standing afterward. She waved off healing in favor of patching up Morel. If anyone else came out of the room with all the chaos, he’d be the most likely to hold them back because of his armor. Then she fainted.

Tathel wasn’t feeling great. He fell two meters when he blinked and landed on his hurt leg. It was a tremendous effort, but he dragged himself up. His party was certainly needing him after the terrible explosion and he was determined not to let them down. When he arrived, Red had done as much healing as he could for Morel and Kyra, but it wasn’t enough. Tathel borrowed Kyra’s power stone and brought the party back to battle strength.

The dwarfs charged into the room where alien curses were still steadily coming. It was a human wearing wizard robes who was ripping everything off shelves and overturning piles of clutter frantically looking for something. Morel let loose Urnilin, Death Song, and hit the mage in the leg. He wobbled from the wound, but caught himself and stayed upright.

“If I can’t find it, you won’t find it either!”

With that, the enemy mage disappeared.

The party decided to try finding whatever it was that the crazed man was looking for. Interested in the standard variety treasure more than a mystery, the dwarfs started doing an inventory of the tower. It was mostly stuff that was destroyed from the reckless search for the mystery item, but there were some interesting items that did survive. $1000 worth of alchemy equipment, 6 unidentified magical stones and 6 potions. The party would later learn that the stones and potions had the following qualities.

2 spell stones of dispel magic
2 spell stones of oath
2 spell stones of armor 5
3 potions of fire resistance
1 potion of regrowth
1 potion of strength (1d for 1 hour)
1 potion of invulnerability (DR3 for 1d+1 hours)

The magical items seemed like things that could greatly aid the party, but the alchemy set would eventually get sold.

Kyra was intent upon finding whatever lost mystery was in the tower and the party spent 3 days scouring every inch of the tower. This was welcome news to Tathel because his leg was still not working despite the liberal application of healing magic. He began praying to Corellon asking for the magic to restore his leg. Red decided to spend the time petitioning his god, Kord, for the magic to repair his favorite ax. Kyra kept herself busy looking for hidden passageways or safes.

Morel was the only one bored with the tower and was really hoping some new enemies would come to attempt evicting the party. As he wandered, he came across the stone golem still holding its massively large maul. Wrenching it from the construct, Morel decided to test its weight. No question about it, only the strongest of warriors could wield something so impressive.

Without preamble, Morel decided to test out his new toy on the nearest thing handy… the stone golem. Thwack! Thwack! Pieces of the golem cracked and powderized. Then it just seemed to slide apart revealing an orange sceptre inlaid with gold. The sceptre glowed faintly in the gloom. This must be the hidden treasure. Morel wondered what magic made it so highly prized.

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