The Dance of Theria

Temple and Tower

The sarcophagus falls over revealing a large cyclopean skeleton. It’s missing its hands, a good portion of its torso and its skull cap. They pull a few interesting items out of it but can find nothing else of note. They decide to search the dungeon more and come across a room full of canopy jars. One proves to be mobile and combat ensues. Several broken, stinky, bottles later, they have their brain.

Other organs are procured from the rest of the fallen temple’s broken inhabitants. When the party performs the ritual, the black force field falls and releases an ancient undead priest. “At last! The waters have receded! The master will have his due!” Yet when he gets a moment to look around, he discovers that the party is not his followers and they have desecrated the “sarcophagus of the vessel”. With a shout of “Oblivion take you!” he attacks, animating the Cyclops skeleton in the process. A swift, short, fight later and the party emerges victorious from the well. They have the priest’s sphere, and they are mulling over the significance of his words and the ritual material for Nerull.

Muldrek again brings up the black tower that’s been causing so much trouble. The party, somewhat feeling cocky for their recent victory, decide “what the hell” and goes now to check out this sinister house. It’s a spooky place, and though they watch for an hour nobody goes in and out. They decide to enter and after a bit of breaking and entering… during which they discover and disable an alarm and a trap on the door…get into the tower proper.

The group eavesdrops just a little, over hearing dinner conversation. “I think the time table is gonna move up now that he’s here” and “I’m getting tired of the hair in the food” are two particularly common topics. The heroes brace themselves, round the table and start attacking.

They surprise what appears to be a number of agents within the grounds itself. These guys shake off the confusion quickly, and work like well-trained folks. Still, the combat goes against the kidnappers quickly until reinforcements arrive from upstairs. The long battle sees the party stretched out but eventually victorious. One odd thing is that the reinforcements included half-orcs and warforged. Indeed the whole group of defenders was pretty varied.

The party knows they are under watch, knows that the tower’s inhabitants are now well aware of their presence yet no counter-attack arrives. Odd this. When the group decides to finally head upstairs, they discover that the obvious grand stairs are well trapped with spears. They ascend a spiral staircase (noting that it also goes down, but not yet bothering with the basement) and find a floor filled with even more diverse agents.

Humans, halflings, and a dragonborn put up another running fight as the defenders attempt to make use of close quarters and flanking. A couple of notable incidents in this fight include Muldrek chasing after, and nearly getting his arse kicked, a Halfling and Katia’s unfortunate misadventure with an overhanging balcony. Still, the party wins and can manage a moment’s pause.

When they search the rooms on this level, they discover that the rooms are Spartan but do contain a large number of books: history books, thesauruses, who’s who of theria, and books on etiquette are in each room. They don’t make any conclusions about this yet, but know it’s a clue to something later.
A little bit ragged, Shade and Katia are really hurting by now, the party decides to attempt the next floor. Here they discover the large vaulted roof and Prim is definitely sure he sees eyes up there. They search a number of rooms, finding this to be the uppermost barracks. When they open the last double doors, however, they discover that the enemy here has definitely been waiting for them.

Bloated, winged, creatures howl from the open doorway and beyond them two wizards stand in circles of magic and begin to chant. The confidence of the party is shaken quickly when cutting down one of the demonic bat creatures causes it to explode in a spray of acid. It does not take many before the thought of possible defeat creeps into their minds. He is not the first to call for it, but Cazen makes the final decision that the party is in over their heads. With the half-elf and half-orc acting as a rearguard, the party beats down stairs.

The wizards pursue, and several times there were dangerous moments when first Shade and then Muldrek were blinded. To make matters even more precarious, the eyes that Prim had seen ended up being more of the bloated bat creatures and they quickly joined the fight. With a final push, the party manages to get out onto the street proper.

They are not unseen.

In the very tavern where they had watched the tower, a group of people stood. One in particular, the only thing the player’s see of him is his silver hands, seems to be in charge. There is a moment of hesitation and then the party moves on down the street nonchalantly. They could not make out his features, but feel this watcher was a warforge.

The group holes up in Muldrek’s apartment for a night of nervous rest. They had pushed themselves hard and walked the edge of defeat. It was not the best of tastes, but the fact they had survived was sweet enough.

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