Buried Secrets

Chapters 25 and 26: The Dark Secret of Luminol

A New Expedition

The heroes returned to Sunvale with Kelsis, having freed him from his capture by the Yuan-ti. There they met up with Qu’anal and the Starwhisper expatriates to begin their expedition for the lost Elven kingdom.

When the party reached the magical shield protecting the kingdom, Qu’anal used the Star Key that had been in Princess Yelena’s dowry chest to allow them to pass through the barrier. Proceeding towards the capitol city of Luminol, they saw that the outlying country had become unusually swampy, and serpents were everywhere. When they entered a farmer’s home, they saw evidence of barricades against invaders. Something was clearly wrong.

Seeing a tower in the distance, Thia chose to scout ahead. She caught the attention of two behirs that had laired in the tower, and she retreated back to the farmhouse. The heroes and the elves engaged the behirs in a brutal battle that laid waste to the farmer’s cottage. One behir was slain and the other retreated. Not wanting to deal with a future ambush, the heroes tracked it to the tower and killed it. The heroes and the elves decided to make camp at the tower that night, reasoning that other creatures would give the behirs a wide berth. That night, they heard a distant wailing in the marsh, which they suspected was the sound of tormented banshees.

The Silent City

The next morning, the group made its way to Luminol itself. The city was surrounded by a tight wall of trees. Upon entering, they discovered that the city was a mix of stone huts on the ground and tree huts connected by walkways. There were some signs of a struggle, and several statues of terrified elves; Ragnar believed they were petrified. Moving to the centre of the city, they found the location of the wedding; here many elves statues stood. Most were on one side of the wedding isle, and appeared to be sitting or starting to stand in alarm. A few others had drawn weapons.

As the party was contemplating this gruesome scene, a pair of elves ran towards them, shouting that the hounds were after them! A few moments later, 5 figures appeared from the eastern side of the courtyard, and started spraying the party with fireballs and arrows. As battle was joined, the heroes quickly discovered that the patrol’s leader was a medusa! As the battle progressed, it became clear that her soldiers were too strong for the party. They appeared to be made of stone, and resistant to most forms of damage. As the battle progressed, their elven features became more demonic. Worse yet, some of the statues from the wedding animated and joined the attack! Wrathy discovered that mystic runes had been etched into the petrified elves, allowing demons from the Abyss to inhabit them as shells. Using powerful force magic to separate the group, the heroes and most of their elvish allies beat a hasty retreat, along with one of the elvish slaves who had escaped their captors. They exited the city to find a place to rest and plan their next move.

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Chapters 24 and 25: Return to Sunvale and Searching the Moon Wells

The Frozen Monastery

The heroes returned the marooned Githzerai to their home in the Frozen Monastery, having commandeered the ship of The Red Hand. Speaking to the head monk, Zorin, they requested his assistance to travel to Sigil. Zorin explained that the monastery’s gate to Sigil only opened once every three weeks, so they would have to wait for a while if they wanted to use it. Upon discovering that the heroes’ home Sunvale hosted a stable gate to Sigil, Zorin proposed that he use a Plane Shift spell to take the heroes directly home, provided they would let him use their gate to travel to Sigil. The heroes agreed, and they returned home that very night! Thia decided to throw her fate in with her new allies, and bid farewell to Captain Algrin, who hoped to form a new crew from some of the more promising ogres and Githzerai.

Happenings in Sunvale

Returning to Sunvale, the heroes discovered that the constables had assumed they had died in the Temple of Tiamat! The treasure horde behind the statue of Demogorgon was undisturbed, and they claimed it quickly. Thia claimed a onyx comb with a series of tiny rubies embedded in it. That night, she had a dream of watching a fierce storm from the parapets of a mountain fortress. Somehow, she felt that the comb had caused the dream.

Unfortunately, the heroes’ absence had resulted in some ugly consequences for the town. While they were away, a small warband had entered the town through the Sigil gate. The gate couldn’t be closed without one of Batal, Wrathy, or Elzin present, and much damage was suffered in the town square. After some tense negotiations with officials of the Borinean Empire, it was decided that Elzin would stay behind in the city to actively control the gate in times of crisis. This would also give the party an ally embedded in the empire’s power structure.

Discussing their plans with Regild the next afternoon, the party decided it was time to solve the mystery of the lost elven kingdom of Eladain. Sending word to the Eladrin exiles in Starwhisper of their intent, they agreed to meet in Sunvale in one week’s time. The heroes then set out to find Kelsis, the Eladrin hunter who had gone searching for the lost moon wells after getting tired of waiting for the party to join him.

The First Moon Well

Following the map that Kelsis had left for them, the heroes went to the location of the first moon well. En route, they discovered corrupted plant life like that they had seen in the forest many months prior, with reptilian scales replacing the tree bark. However, the corrupted trees appeared to be dead.

Reaching the site of the moon well, they discovered a small pond, which under the light of a waxing moon faded to reveal a stairway below. Exploring the site, they found no sign of Kelsis, although the extinguished candles suggested that a ritual may have occurred here recently. Searching the site, they found some parchment that confirmed that someone was using the magic of the moon wells to corrupt the forest. They left the site shortly before the moon was covered by a thick bank of clouds, causing the stairway to vanish once more.

The Second Moon Well

While the adventurers didn’t have a map to other moon wells, Ragnar felt he would be able to recognize another moon well now that he had witnessed the magic in action. Meanwhile, Thia found humanoid tracks leaving the site. Travelling in that direction, they found more of the corrupted fauna, and the vegetation was becoming more swampy. Wrathy burned each of the tainted trees they found, announcing their presence to anyone nearby.

Finding a clearing around a small lake, they spotted a lone cloaked figure standing in front of the lake, with a set of stairways leading into the moon well below the water’s surface. A cage of purple energy was set above the stairway; Ragnar and Wrathy determined that this was keeping the well’s entrance open while the moon’s light was covered. The party also noticed a half-dozen snakes moving towards them, possibly with intelligent purpose.

Wrathy addressed the cloaked figure, who revealed herself to be a worshipper of Dendar, the Night Serpent. Recognizing this to be a god of evil, Wrathy called his allies to attack … when suddenly the six snakes shapeshifted into foul serpent/human hybrids and attacked!

The battle was short and brutal. The snake-people had potent hypnotic powers, and one convinced briefly convinced Thia to return to the trees Wrathy had set on fire earlier and extinguish the flames. However, the spell was broken when the creature was slain. Between the speed of Thia’s assault, the holy rage of Batal, and the arcane might of Ragnar and Wrathy, the enemies were quickly dispatched. Moving to the lake stairway, Thia discovered an evil druid performing a ritual in the heart of the moon well, while two larger serpent-men looked on. Before she could warn the others, Rangar and Wrathy provided an arcane artillery assault, killing the druid in seconds and alerting his guards. While the larger serpent-men were more of a challenge, they were still dispatched readily. The last one brought forth the paralyzed form of Kelsis, threatening to kill him if the creature wasn’t given safe passage. Ragnar used mind-controlling magic to force the creature to let go of its hostage, and then the heroes dealt with it quickly.

The Woman in the Portable Hole

Kelsis had been paralyzed by the venom of the snake-men, but Batal’s divine healing cured him. He told them that the snake cult had been using the moon wells to transform the forest in the profane image of their dark god. The heroes in turn told Kelsis that a key had been discovered to enter the lost Eladrin Kingdom, and that they would soon set out to explore his old homeland.

Wrathy started exploring for magical treasures. He found a set of pipes that radiated magic, which appeared to be in a hole. He tried to reach them but had no success. When he used a pole to reach down, something grabbed the pole and took it! He called into the hole, and a hand emerged … quick as lightning, it caressed his cheek and then vanished again!

The others joined Wrathy to explore this strange phenomenon. Thia tried lifting the hole and found it was portable! As she lifted it, a voice inside the hole protested! Thia demanded that the woman vacate the hole at once. The voice explained that she had been cursed by the Great Witch Alzara years ago, and she would burn if she exited the hole. Wrathy decided to enter the hole himself.

Inside he saw a short human woman with a mechanical arm that had a normal-looking hand attached. She introduced herself as Dellic, and explained that she needed the arm after the last time she exited the hole. The area around her seemed to be a workshop and storage area. She promised to store the heroes’ items if they let her stay in the hole. Wrathy feigned acceptance of this to get close, and then with a huge effort he threw her out of the hole.

Dellic emerged from the hole … and immediately was set on fire by the ancient curse. Horrified at what they had done, the heroes quickly took her back into the hole and healed her wounds. Wrathy left the hole after apologizing, and receiving a hydraulic punch in the jaw. Having determined that her story was most likely true, the other heroes agreed to take Dellic’s portable hole along with them, and to explore the history of her strange curse.

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Chapter 23: Sailing the Elemental Chaos

After triggering the destruction of the Tower of Tiamat and fleeing about Captain Algrin Delloth‘s skiff, the heroes decided that they needed to check on the marooned Githzerai settlement, as the freed ice elemental might threaten the entire landmass given time. At this time the party also learned that Thia, one of Delloth’s crew members, had successfully hidden on the skiff and avoided capture from the Tiamat cultists days before.

When they landed in the settlement, they found it empty except for one child, who told them that slavers had captured the Githzerai after they left! Delloth guessed that they would be heading for the City of Brass.

The heroes resolved to catch the slavers before they could reach the city. But as they prepared to take off, they were attacked by two survivors of the tower – a wyvern and Viarr, the servant of Tiamat who had previously killed Batal and Wrathy!

Viarr was unprepared for the new power that his foes had gained, or for the skills of their new ally Thia. He was overwhelmed within seconds, and when he took to the air to gain an advantage Batal was able to follow with his Winged Boots. Meanwhile, Ragnar was able to disable the wyvern with Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere, and knocked it off the ship with a subsequent Gust of Wind.

After dispatching of his hated foe, Batal was rewarded by Bahamut with mighty plate armour that formed out of his own bloody wounds. The time had come for Bahamut’s avengers to step out of the shadows and face evil directly!

The heroes had a short time to rest while Delloth set course for the City of Brass. After a few hours they saw a group of Githzerai lying on an isolated rock floating in the chaos. It was unclear if they were alive or dead. The party set down to investigate, with the captain minding the ship and Elzin staying with the young child. It turned out that the bodies were illusionary, and a wall of flame isolated the heroes from their ship!

Another ship rose up from behind the landmass, and they were addressed by The Red Hand, who loudly proclaimed himself the greatest pirate in the planes and told them they were all now his property. Wrathy responded with a barrage of eldritch blasts that nearly knocked Red Hand off his own ship, and battle was joined!

Wrathy and Batal focused on Red Hand while Ragnar and Thia handled his ogre minions. While Red Hand himself was formidable, his minions proved easy prey, and he was ill-equipped to fight Wrathy and Batal combined. While prideful, he was not blinded by the religious fervour that had doomed Viarr – instead he offered to transport the heroes home via Plane Shift if they ended the battle and let him keep his slaves. The heroes demanded that he give up the slaves as well. Enraged by their terms but knowing that he could not win the fight, Red Hand turned invisible and fled, swearing vengeance against them all!

The heroes freed the Githzerai, and Grazin thanked them for all they had done. He promised them that the Githzerai of the Frozen Monastery would always be ready to assist them. When Wrathy inquired about portals to the Prime Material plane, Grazin suggested that the heroes accompany them back to the monastery, where travel to Sigil might be arranged.

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Chapter 22: Siege the Tower of Tiamat

With the party finally reunited, they planned on the way to best attack the cultists’ tower. The Frost Giants guarding the front entrance were deemed too powerful to attack. Manipulating the Goristro demon they had encountered earlier was an option, but it was violent and very deadly. The party ultimately decided to enter the same way that Wrathy had escaped, via the dungeons in the basement. Ragnar did dispatch a summoned Succubus to try to entreat the Goristro to attack the giants. While the gambit succeeded, the Goristro also slew the succubus, rendering Ragnar unable to summon it in the future.

Entering the basement, the heroes quietly entered the room containing Sovin, the powerful Githzerai Psion whose powers kept the tower solid in exchange for his wife’s continued safety. While he initially refused to believe them, the heroes eventually convinced Sovin that his wife Sarallick had been turned into a horrible creature, and the cultists were keeping her hidden in a special room to prevent him from sensing this. With his resolve shattered, Sovin stopped enforcing his will on the tower … and the tower attacked him!

The heroes rushed out of the room and quickly freed Captain Algrin Delloth, who offered to fly them out of there if they could get to his skiff up above. The tower continued to lash out as its occupants, and the Goristro launched its assault on the Frost Giants at the same time! Facing minimal resistance, the heroes reached the midway point of the tower, where the Captain’s ship was docked. The damage to the tower had broken the integrity of the iron prison room, and the Thing That Was Once Sarralick started oozing out of it. The adventurers avoided it narrowly and boarded the ship, which flew away from the tower. Behind them, they saw a massive elemental creature forming out of the tower … something powerful enough to quickly crush the frost giants and the Goristro demon. A red dragon with some riders fled the remains of the tower, paying no attention to the heroes ship. The Tiamat cultists had been routed, but the ice elemental was a threat to any creatures living on the landmass. Creatures such as the Githzerai refugees in the mountains…

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Chapter 21: Searching For Wrathy

Batal, Elzin and Ragnar surveyed the land mass from their perch and decided where to explore first. To their left they saw an observatory on an island in a pool or liquid lightning, and what looked like a crash sailing ship in the mountains beyond it. They decided to pursue this path of exploration first.

As they neared the observatory, a large boulder like object crashed into it! The boulder had come from a dark, upside-down tornado in the horizon, which Ragnar identified as being the Abyss, where demons dwell. As the group cautiously approached the object, they verified that was actually an organic surface. Suddenly, it opened and two demons appeared!

The party defeated the demons in a brief but brutal combat. Seeing more since of movement within the egg transport, they decided to run for the mountains beyond the observatory. This proved a wise decision, as a mighty Goristro demon emerged from it! They fled into the mountains, leaving the demon to run amok in the cold wastes.

In the mountains, they found an enclave of Githzerai who had build a community around their crashed vessel. They met the Githzerai elder, Grazin. He explained that the vessel had been travelling through the Elemental Chaos years ago with a cargo of prisoners loyal to Tiamat. The ship ran aground here, and the cultists escaped, taking two of the Githzerai hostage. With no hope of rescue, Grazin decided that the Githzerai should focus on survival, and not attempt to fight the Tiamat cultists further. Mithras, another member of the expedition, balked at this plan and left the enclave to continue his war against the Tiamat cultists and perhaps rescue Sovin and Sarallick.

Grazin was unwilling to help the heroes confront the cultists or rescue Wrathy, but he did give them general directions on where they could look for Mithras. This meant crossing the icy plains again … but when they went to do so they discovered that the mutable terrain was more hilly than before. They moved across the expanse as stealthily as possible, wary of the Goristro and other predators. Finally they reached the opposite mountain range. Here they were ambushed by a Frost Hound on a narrow mountain ledge:

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The party fended off the beast, and the final blow was delivered by an unexpected source: Wrathy, who was in league with Mithras! The party was reunited at last.

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Chapter 20: Wrathy's Lost Secret

Mithras was tutoring Wrathy to become an adept of Vezzuvu. As his final initiation, he needed to be entombed alive in ice, where he would face his greatest shame. In order to survive, he would need to tap in to the anger beneath his guilt. But he did not remember his moment of greatest guilt … yet.

[GM Note: At this point I handed David a replica of Wrathy’s original Level 1 character sheet.]

Shortly after Wrathy had made his pact with the Lord of Mirrors, he was instructed to steal an artifact from the Tarien League. Wrathy relished the chance to steal from them, as he blamed them failing to stop the demon jailbreak that had destroyed his community as a child and taken his mother away.

Stepping out of a mirror in a dusty storeroom, Wrathy took a stealthy approach. As a new warlock, he recognized that he could not hope to defeat these magic users in open combat. Instead he crawled through the service corridors used by the small constructs that the Tarien League employed for cleaning and minor labour. He was able to befriend the constructs, and named one of them Fetcher – a great honour, as the constructs were never named by their masters! The servant constructs believed that Wrathy was a member of the Tarien League, and he was able to get them to retrieve keys from a senior member’s quarters.

Armed with keys, Wrathy moved into the hallway, managing to briefly bluff one guard and use illusion magic to distract another. He then snuck into the reliquary room using the keys the servants had obtained for him. He searched frantically for his prize, while one of the guards who was suspicious about his earlier answers entered the room to question him.

Just in time, Wrathy found what the Lord of Mirrors had asked him to retrieve. It was a dagger that looked identical to the pact dagger he had bought from the sinister merchant in Sigil a few years ago. As he removed the dagger from its place, the whole building began to tremble. More guards entered the room and yelled for Wrathy to stop! The Lord of Mirrors’ image beckons from a nearby mirror, and Wrathy ran and dove through the mirror, disappearing from view.

Wrathy emerged in a dusty little house. The taste of the air instantly told him he was in the Grand Market of Sigil. An old man stepped out of the shadows, congratulating him on his work and asking for the blade. As Wrathy gave it to him, he recognized the man as the same merchant who had sold him the identical pact blade years before in that very market!

Smiling at Wrathy’s growing realization, the merchant explained that the Lord of Mirrors portals could transcend time as well as space. The Tarien League outpost that Wrathy had raided had been the same one that his community was built next to! When he stole his own Pact Blade from them, that was part of the sequence of events that had caused the demonic prison to shatter. Wrathy had contributed to the very tragedy that had made him swear an oath to the Lord of Mirrors in the first place!

Outraged at this development, Wrathy blasted the merchant with arcane power. The merchant’s fell to the floor, his body melting away. His laughing voice remained on the wind. It told Wrathy that the Lord of Mirrors would hide these memories from him so that Wrathy would remain a faithful pawn. But he would remember a hint of his guilt whenever he looked in a mirror…

In the present day, Wrathy’s anger swelled, and the flame melted his icy prison. He told Mithras that now that he knew the truth, the Lord of Mirrors would also pay his role in the Tarien League’s destruction.

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Chapter 18: The Horrors Beneath the Temple

After their horrible defeat, the heroes spent two days resting before attempting a rescue mission. They re-entered the secret temple to Tiamat, and found the rooms they had explored initially were still empty.

Moving deeper into the dungeon, they found a torture chamber that appeared to be specially designed to torture metallic dragons. The scaled skins of three such small dragons were still present as grisly trophies. Suddenly, the skins lurched towards them, animated by the foul power of undeath!

The heroes defeated the foul remnants, using some of the devices in the chamber in a gruesome parody of its original function. They explored the nearby chambers and found the corpse of a gnome who was likely the chief torturer … many of the devices had small ladders next to them that would match his height. It appeared his victims had taken their revenge when he slept.

At the next level downwards they found a great library. A ghostly apparition appeared to them. It explained that in life it was a cultist of Vecna who had infiltrated the Tiamat cult to steal its secrets. When he was ready to flee, he tried to convince another cultist whom he had fallen in love with to flee with him. Both gods were angered by the unfaithfulness of their followers, and they were both slain and returned in undead form – she as a tomb guardian, he as an enigma of Vecna. The spirits remained, and begged the heroes to help.

The heroes began working on the puzzle box that was key to obtaining their freedom. While Ragnar did this, the bodies of the lovers reanimated, and Batal and Elzin had to keep them at bay. Eventually, Ragnar succeeded in opening the trapped box and destroying the stone that tethered their souls to the room. As the ghosts departed, the librarian pointed out ritual books that might be of special interest to Ragnar.

The heroes proceeded to the bottom floor. Seeing an altar of Tiamat seemingly unguarded, they were very suspicious and chose to withdraw and rest in town. The next day they returned. As they neared the water, beneath the surface they saw the spirits of all the innocents sacrificed by the Temple. Above them a horrific ghost appeared to be vomiting water and blood, crawling along the ceiling. It ordered the other ghosts to attack!

While the heroes did battle with the spirits, the room came alive, with the stone dragon heads that lined the walls periodically spitting out elemental attacks. Suspecting that this was tied to the altar, Batal brought his axe down in a mighty arc, smashing the altar in two. While the altar was composed of stone, blackish blood oozed out of the crack. Afterwards, his axe demonstrated new bloodthirsty properties it had not shown previously.

After defeating the ghosts, the party saw a magical portal enshrouded in mists beyond the altar, and a statue to Demogorgon. Thinking this statue out of place, they explored it and discovered a secret door to a vast treasure hoard beyond! Carefully closing the door again, they plunged into the portal…

… they emerged in a snowy crater, with biting cold all around them. Moving out of the crater, they saw plains beyond, with mountains on either side of the range and a tower in the far distance. But what plains! Pools of liquid lightning, rocks that floated in the air, and blizzard that rained ash and ice.

They had just stumbled into the Elemental Chaos. And the portal appeared to be one-way…

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Chapter 17: Tainted Temple

Sad tidings of woe! The mighty heroes have been dealt a crushing defeat. And yet, this black day started so innocently…

Our intrepid band of adventurers had just returned to Sunvale from their misadventures in Starwhisper. Wrathy and Ragnar discussed arcane rituals of protection that might prevent further mischief from the Lord of Mirrors within their home base. Regild, the dwarf steward of Sunvale, stopped by to drop off a map. Their friend Kelsis had tired of waiting for the party’s help, and had gone to search for the moon wells without them. He had left a map behind in case they wished to follow after him.

Regild also remarked that he was surprised to see Batal at home, since the local shrine of Bahamut was hosting a holy festival of the Silver Feast. This news disturbed Batal, as he knew all of the holy festivals of the church of Bahamut … and the “Silver Feast” was not one of them. Batal went to investigate with Wrathy and Elzin, while Ragnar stayed home to work on his studies.

En route to the temple, the party encountered one of the congregation members, stumbling and clearly wounded. He told Batal that the priests had started slaughtering the worshipers! In falling to the ground, his unusually-large holy symbol of Bahamut had snapped, revealing it to be hollow. Nestled inside was an icon of Tiamat!

Enraged that Tiamat-worshipers would defile his god’s name, Batal rushed to the shrine, Elzin and Wrathy hot on his heels. At the shrine, he discovered four sinister figures, who threw off their cloaks to reveal dragonborn temple guards of Tiamat! In a brutal battle, the heroes vanquished these monsters and their foul human servants. Investigating the murder site afterwards, they discovered a trap door behind the altar. It revealed a spiral staircase, which led to an ancient temple to Tiamat … specifically, the white head of Tiamat.

On the next level, the party fought a pair of Dragonborn sorcerers and their horrific pack of frost hounds. They narrowly avoided a trap which encased the victim in solid ice, and defeated the sorcerers and their beasts. The door exiting the room was sealed by magic, but clanging on a nearby gong opened it.

Inside the inner sanctuary, the heroes saw a group of cultists engaged in a dark ritual. Two burly dragonborn gladiators were observing a scrying pool as the ritual progressed, through which they saw a silver dragon writhing in pain. Their leader was a massive dragonborn cleric of Tiamat, who had tattooed his scales in the many colours of the chromatic dragons in her honour. Seeing the heroes, he shouted a challenge to Batal, the champion of Bahamut, and attacked!

The heroes were immediately bombarded by the breath weapons of the dragonborn, and the unnatural, foul gifts of Tiamat. While the others fought the dragonborn, Ragnar attempted to disrupt the cultists. However, they seemed to be protected against his attack! He identified a nearby basin filled with blood as the source of their protection. Charging fearlessly into the room, he was able to disrupt it with a Mage Hand spell. He and Batal were able to make swift work of the cultists. The dragon was saved!

Unfortunately, the heroes had lowered their defences with this reckless assault. The dragonborn killed Ragnar and then Batal. Wrathy feigned conversion to their cause to give Elzin a chance to slip away, then tried to break away himself. They knocked him unconscious and took him prisoner.

Some time afterwards, Elzin retrieved the bodies of Batal and Ragnar, and took them to town to be raised. But Wrathy was gone…

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Chapter 16: In Defence of Angels

Having concluded their meeting with the Eladrin, the party checked in at the Temple of Bahamut to see if Father Soltis had news. He passed on a letter recently delivered to Batal by a Warforged. The letter had a very structured script, suggesting an extremely steady hand, which led the party to believe that the Warforged penned the letter. The letter advised the party to stake out a dark part of the slums after midnight if they wanted to save two lives.

The party chose to obey this mysterious summons, surveying the area during the day before retiring to eat. An hour before midnight, Elzin took a roof position while Wrathy and Batal hid in shrubbery around nearby buildings. A gang of suspicious characters began to patrol the area and take positions themselves, before a roguish looking fellow arrived with a cloaked prisoner he led with a chain. Shortly after his arrival, a woman arrived and negotiations began.

From her perch on the roof, Elzin could hear the discussions below. The rogue appeared to be selling the chained humanoid, and after he removed its cloak the party identified it as an angel whose wings had been cut off. The woman and her associates seemed to value the creature for its blood – she cut the creature and had an ally drink its blood from the blade. When the ally retched, she accused the rogue of selling shoddy merchandise. The rogue replied that heavy drugs were required to keep the creature complacent.

Elzin’s absorption in the negotiations below nearly caused her to ignore the threats around her. One of the gang members had snuck up behind her and spoiled her cover! As he snarled through canine fangs, the party’s fears were confirmed – they were facing a gang of vampires. (Batal was quietly excited at this fact.)

The vampire on the roof quickly clawed at Elzin and grabbed her roughly. While his allies were quick to respond, they did not detect the other party members still in hiding. Furthermore, the suspicious natures of the business partners caused the vampires and the rogue to immediately suspect each other. Wasting these valuable seconds gave the remaining party members an opportunity to attack!

At this moment, Ragnar chose to announce his return to the land of the living with a Fireball at the vampire leader and the rogue. It caught them both in the blast, but also set the nearby buildings on fire, and severely scorched Elzin. Batal charged forward to engage the rogue, whom he discovered to be a duellist of considerable skill. Elzin struggled unsuccessfully against her rooftop foe, who began greedily drinking her blood.

Wrathy magically switched places with the drugged angel, and called upon Hacar to plunge the vampire witch and her follower into a cloud of hungry darkness. While the darkness immediately claimed the weaker vampire, the Night Witch was a creature of the shadows like Wrathy, and made of sterner stuff. What ensued was a most bizarre struggle, as the Night Witch and Wrathy used the various magics at their disposal to continually throw each other into the hungry darkness. Too late, Wrathy realized that the necrotic nature of the darkness was isolating the vampire from the full potency of the effect. With a final heroic heave, the vampire lifted Wrathy above her head and threw him into the darkness, which fed on its master and left him dying on the ground.

Batal and the duellist continued to square off in a clash of axe versus blade. Some of the vampire thugs attempted to enter the fray, but each was effortlessly dispatched as the true combatants focused on each other. Ragnar, after an unsuccessful attempt, was able to impale the vampire draining Elzin, saving her from a fate worse than death! After took a few seconds to recover, she quickly re-entered the battle, raining arrows down on rogue and vampire alike.

The vampire witch moved to engage Ragnar, hoping to use her dream visions to lure the fragile wizard into reach of her rending claws. Her attempts were narrowly thwarted by the defensive enchantments on Ragnar’s cloak, which instinctively teleported him onto a nearby rooftop. The vampire was frustrated, but that anger quickly turned to shock as she saw the dead rise – Wrathy had miraculously recovered from the hungering darkness, and had re-entered the fight!

Wrathy had learned from his errors in the first skirmish, and changed tactics accordingly. He now employed infernal magics to rain poisons upon the witch while holding her in place. She screamed for her servants to slay him, but when only one responded she knew the day was lost. With a curse she vanished!

The rogue had realized that he could not best Batal and sought to flee the engagement. Batal channeled the divine anger of Bahamut, who temporarily gifted him with a pair of angelic wings not unlike those the duellist had so casually butchered. Swooping upon his prey, Batal swiftly brought Bahamut’s judgement to the doomed criminal.

Using his knowledge of shadow magics, Wrathy realized that the witch had merely turned invisible rather than teleporting. However, he and his friends were unable to detect her, and she made her escape into the night.

Reunited with his friends, Ragnar quickly explained the circumstances of his resurrection, and his newfound allies in the Clockwork Rebellion. Seeking to avoid attention due to the fires started during the battle, the party fled into the sewers and Ragnar led them to the Rebellion’s hideout. The leader of the Rebellion thanked them for returning their brother 137 to them, and promised to deliver the details of the cortex reading when it was complete. In an ironic twist, the party learned that the golemsmith Grigor was a secret ally of the Rebellion, but he could not help them openly for fear that they were spies sent by the Mage Guilds.

Recognizing that the Illusion Guild would soon arrive to question them about the whereabouts of 137, the party moved to the Temple of Bahamut under cover of darkness to deliver the angel to them. Father Solstis identified it as an Angel of Pelor, and quickly summoned the high priest of the from their nearby temple. The priest took the angel into his care, and gave the party a meticulously-ornate treasure known as the Pendant of the Dawn. While it is not magical, the priest explained that it is only presented to the greatest allies of the church of Pelor, and would guarantee the heroes aid and sanctuary from the church wherever they travel.

Having quickly outworn their welcome with the Whispering Blades, the vampire gang and the Illusionists’ Guild, the party stole out of Starwhisper at first dawn and began the slow journey home to Sunvale.

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