Rites Of Passage

Episode 22-26
Roughing It

A lot has transpired in the near Tenday the Quartet has been on the island.

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They discovered the home of a stranded Tabaxi by the name of Shadow of the Mountaintop. With some convincing, he led them from his home in the rocky cliffs and guided them through the hillside paths to a temple in the north. Shadow warns them that the flying beasts patrol the northern mountains and to be careful when traveling through this area. Luckily, Shadow knew the way and got them to their destination safely.

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As they look upon the temple from a distance, the exterior of the temple appears like a an ancient Chultan temple, but as they descended from the mountain path and closer to the temple…. they discovered thatit had been converted to a temple of Ilmater. The Quartet entered the temple (unceremoniously) and cleared it of its denizens. However, the most startling discovery was on the upper floors. The former tenants fashioned a test for those worthy of Ilmater… one that encapsulated everything Ilmater stands for.

Luckily, the Quartet survived but yet one thing remained. The last room held arms for a champion of Ilmater, one that could only be used by converts to Ilmaters cause. After some contemplation, Hogsforth decides to step up to the challenge and take on the path of the Martyred God.

On the bottom level, there is half working portal. The Ilmater followers that were trying to get off the island but could not complete the process to escape. The portal operates by 2 willing subjects stepping into a magic circle, where they are subject to continuous pain. When there are 2 subjects in the portal, their age is extended and they are not allowed to step out of the circle unless another volunteer takes their place. There was an Ilmater follower in one of the circles, the first of Ilmater’s followers to volunteer. Unfortunately, the other acolytes were killed by the Yuan Ti before they could escape. The Yuan Ti left the last acolyte in the portal, leaving him to the hag that lived in the temple.

Tempted to escape, but still wanting to find Joren, the group decides to head east. They happen upon a group of buidings in the jungle. Each building seemed from a different time and place in Faerun’s history. They discovered that the Yuan Ti are holding prisoners here and they seem to be mutating their form into something…. else. The area was crawling with with Yuan Ti so of course the Quartet decided to launch a frontal attack.

A great battle ensued with the Quartet barely scraping by with a victory. But alas, one of the Yuan Ti escaped. Battered and beaten, the quartet retreats back to the temple. They take a rest for the night, but were attacked by Yuan Ti during the night. After the battle was over, Hogsforth and Pavo noticed that Shadow had been hiding in another room. Angered and full of rage, Hogsforth and Pavo threatened to kill Shadow if he does not enter the fray next time.

Scared for his life and offended, Shadow leaves the temple while the group is discussing the next course of action. They decied to rest, however this time, knowing they are vulnerable, Pavo casts Leomund’s Tiny Hut, ensuring the safety of the Quartet. snakes.jpgAnd it was a good thing too, as more vicious vipers were seen slithering around the room later on that night.

Now… as dawn approaches, the Quartet is at a crossroads. With Shadow gone, navigating the island could be difficult. With enemies everywhere, certain members of the group feel it may be necessary to sacrifice themselves to the portal of Ilmater in order to make sure the group survives.

However, this would mean abandoning the search for Joren and the answers that many of the group so desparately are searching for.

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Episode #20 and #21: Troubled Waters

After securing passage on the Bloody Serpent, the Quartet attempted to make themselves useful by working on the ship (or staying out of the way). All seemed calm and days rolled by uneventfully. On the eve of their arrival, a thunderstorm began, rocking the ship violently back and forth.

But there was another danger. Sahuagin had boarded the ship and attacked! They murdered more than half the crew before everyone rallied to defeat the denizens of the deep. After the Sahuagin threat was culled, the Quartet discovered that some of the crew was taken captive. The party managed to free them, but another threat loomed ahead. The ship was on a crash course with rocks that jutted out of the ocean… and beyond that a rocky cliff face would spell certain doom for everyone on board if the ship was slam into it. Luckily, the remaining crew and the party managed to take control and steer the ship to safety.

The ship ran aground, damaged beyond repair. After a quick search for survivors… the Quartet, Krydek, Urada, and Kion made there way to the beach. They found Joren’s camp but no one was there. They immediately started to search for clues. Amongst the things they found was a map of the island and a bunch of Joren’s notes. They looked through the notes and found mentions of several things: including Yuan Ti, a mysterious Tabaxi that roams the jungles, and a creature that stalks anything that moves.

Since Kion had been gravely injured by the crash, he slept through the night . As they all rest, Illythian begins to meditate. At dawn, Illythian notices what seems to be a young native woman crouched on a rock observing the camp. She seemed more curious than dangerous and eventually she ran back into the woods. Illythian seemed unaffected by the woman’s presence and begins to get with the group to plan their next move.

The next morning, Captain Krydek went back to the Bloody Serpent to look for supplies. The Quartet decided to look for the Tabaxi, who they determined was somewhere North West of the camp. Urada decided to stay after and look after Kion.

The party traveled into the jungle and was met by a vicious ambush. The Yuan Ti attacked! Seemingly out of the nowhere, they emerged from the high trees and jungle bushes. They attacked with claw and magic, holding nothing back. The Quartet, caught off guard, was unprepared for the onslaught and immediately went on the defensive. Things looked bleak, but the party rallied and defeated the Yuan Ti. Hearing the approach of more Yuan Ti in the distance, the group decides to abandon the mission at hand and head back to the beach.

In full retreat, they broke through the tree line and made it back to the warm sands of the beach. They rounded back to Joren’s camp and discovered that Urada and Kion are both missing. Now, confused, beaten, and defeated for the first time… the group decides what the next course of action is.

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Session #19: Broken Spirits

The group springs to their feet as Illythian’s terrified warning echoed through the halls. The Quartet quickly grabbed their belongings, jumped to their feet, and rushed out into the hallway. They each peered down the hall and their in the darkness, stood the Ulitharid gliding down the hall toward them. It was at this point that the group realized the House of Knowledge had truly fallen.

Everyone agrees that discretion is the better part of valor and makes a run for it. Hogforth leads them to the closest staircase heading down to the second floor mezzanine that overlooks the first floor library. As they peered over the edge of the mezzanine, they saw a large hole in the floor of the library, seemingly leading to some place they didn’t want to end up. A quick scan of the first floor revealed several of the HoK acolytes on the floor twitching violently, but otherwise were not active.

Hearing the Ulitharid coming down the staircase, the group makes a break for the mezzanine staircase… everyone but Ilythian. Illythian leaped over the rail of the mezzanine, using his mental abilities to warp reality around him to land safely. Unfortunately, upon landing, there were more twitching acolytes then he saw from the mezzanine. As he landed safely upon the ground, the acolytes sat up and rushed toward Illythian.

The rest of the group were already at the front door when they noticed Illythian being grabbed by the acolytes and being dragged toward that menacing dark hole. At this point, the Ulitharid was already at the top of the mezzanine, looking down upon his assured victory. The group, not wanting to let Illythian die, rushed back to help.

The group quickly learned the dangers of facing a creature such as this unprepared, as the group was assailed by the full power of the Ulitharid’s mind blast. This kind of power being unleashed upon their fragile minds rocked Velnaar and Illythian to their very core, preventing them from even defending themselves. However, with a combination of bravery and luck, Pavo and Hogforth were able to combat the acolytes and keep the Ulitharid from eating Velnaar’s brain. They rescued Velnaar and Illythian…. leading them out of the HoK and onto the dimly lit streets of Neverwinter. The Ulitharid, stopped short at the front door, and watched for a second, before slinking back in to the darkness of the HoK halls.

Lost and nowhere to go, Hogforth led them to his house, but they quickly learned they were being watched there. Hogforth had another idea, he takes them out of his house through a secret passage and to a merchant’s shop on the other side of town. At the back of the store, Hogforth revealed a secret passage that lead to a safe house! It is there that he revealed himself to be a Harper agent and his intentions to help.

Broken, beaten, and defeated, the group carefully decides their next course of action, the Quartet decides to make contact with the crew of the Bloody Serpent in order to secure passage to the mysterious island that lies in the west…… and hopefully to get obtain some answers from the enigmatic professor Joren.

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Session #18: The Gates of Neverwinter

With the siege of Luskan in full swing, the Quartet decided what to do next. After Emily fell at the reluctant hands of Bud, both Constance and another mysterious young girl named Nazzah emerged from her remains. The group remains ever watchful, dodging patrols of undead as the deliberate on their next course of action. Nazzah offers the Quartet a reward if they bring her back to the House of Knowledge in Neverwinter. Constance wants nothing more than to get back to Mirabar.

After much talk, the group decides to head south to Neverwinter (and to get their phat loots!). Illythian explains to Constance that heading south to Neverwinter and going east through the Neverwinter Wood is a much safer route to return to Mirabar. She reluctantly agrees and the group trudges south….. except for Bud! He seems to have slipped away during the night without even an explanantion.

One man down and low on supplies, the group continues south down the High Road toward Neverwinter. Heading south without incident, the (now) Trio passes several encampments. It seems that the Lord of Neverwinter has sent his Mintarian mercenaries to guard the High Road in case the Thayans unwisely travel south toward Neverwinter. All in all, the trip was exhausting but uneventful. The Trio attempted to talk to Nazzah several times but she remained secretive about her account of what happened. She only told them that she was known as a “Star Child” and must return home.

On the last day of travel, the Trio set up camp a short distance off the main road. Everything seemed as it was in the beginning, except this night would be different. Illythian was on watch and noticed that Nazzah had slipped away. He heard her speaking some distance away and snuck over to investigate….. and what he saw blew him away (literally). Nazzah was arguing with 2 figures, one fiendish and one angelic. Each one was pleading with her to come back with them to their respective planes. As Nazzah refused she got more and more upset. Out of nowhere, and Nazzah began to emit and energy around her… the very ground beneath her begain to shake and the air around her seemed to swirl and crackle with energy.

The 2 planar beings continued their bid to take her home, only upsetting Nazzah further. Seemingly unable to contain this building energy, she let loose a scream that pierced the night. Suddenly, beautifully feathered wings sprouted from her back, but just as quickly, the feathers aged and decayed until all that was left was skeletal wings. Before Illythian could even react, the energy that had been building around Nazzah exploded outward. Illythian was blasted back off his feet and almost killed.

The explosion awoke the others and when they went to investigate, they found Nazzah on her knees in a crater, charred earth and wood all around her. She looked physically drained and smoke was whisping off her body.

The group decided to not press Nazzah on what happened in her weakened state and press on to Neverwinter the next day….

After a tenday of travel, they finally reach the grande gates of Neverwinter. The group doesn’t waste any time seeing the sights and go straight to the House of Knowledge. The House of Knowledge is huge circular building that is one part university, one part study, and one part bard college. They were greeted happilly by Professor Caralaan who invited everyone in to stay and replenish from their long journey.

While they were there, they received a reward for bringing Nazzah back… and they also learned the why Nazzah was taken as a Star Child. The Trio learned that there is more than 1 “Star Child” and Nazzah was kidnapped by another Star Child names Esius and given to the Arcane Brotherhood for their ritual against the Thayans.

During the next couple of days, the Trio met several other members of the The House of Knowledge including a young portly human named Hogworth who is an apprentice to Caralaan. Both Hogworth and Caralaan are fascinated by Illythian’s appearance and would like to study his peculiar nature further. Pavo took a couple of days to study more of the Fugue plane and learn more about his research. And Velnaar, more conflicted than ever, took a time out to re-evaluate his very nature.

On the 2nd night, Illythian received a note from one of Caralaan’s apprentices. The note stated that Caralaan had discovered some exciting news regarding Illythian and to come to his study. Excited and curious, Illythian walked to Caralaan’s office, but discovered a gruesome sight. Caralaan was on his chair at this desk, his skull cracked open and his brain cleanly removed.

From the darkness, a sinister creature slowly emerged. It was the thing of nightmares. A tall slender Mind Flayer stood before Illythian. It had 6 tentancles jutting from it’s octopus shaped head that were about 5ft long. It’s long clawed hand carrys a staff of twisted black metal that seems to ebb with psionic energy. It telepathically speak to Illythian, but Illythian would have none of it.

He immediatly ran out of the room and back down the hall, alerting his companions as he ran past in terror.

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Episode 14, 15, 16....17?: All things come to an end!

Much has happened in the past few days that would make a weaker man run in terror.

As the group recovers in Waukeen’s favor, they receive another message from the Eccentric Malzour. However, as they gather, they realize that Boris is missing. The group still agrees to meet Malzour once again in his office. Except this time, Malzour is not alone…. a studious half elf named Pavo is with him. Malzour tells the group that Pavo would like accompany them but he was secretive as to why. All the Quartet can get from Malzour is that they have a mutual interest in finding this creature they are looking for. The group agrees.

The new Quartet decide to travel into the grove outside Luskan and meet one of the Gold Elves. They travel for a bit and encounter quite a sight when they arrive. Boris and one of the Gold Elves is tied up and is barely conscious! The other Gold Elf was making his way back to camp when the Quartet arrives. After some questions to the gold elf, the trap is sprung and swords were drawn by elves. A battle ensues, and as the Gold Elves fall one after another……. strange creatures erupt from their skulls to attack the group! These fierce monsters attacked with both claw and psychic attacks. Even poor Boris fell to such a fate. These strange creatures seem to be controlling the gold elves and Boris….. but the question is… how long were they controlling Boris?

After this jarring encounter, the Quartet returned to Waukeen’s favor to process what happened. Many questions raced through their heads. Undettered, the next day, they FINALLY set out to Host Tower of the Arcane Brotherhood. With trepidation they entered and faced many challenges. They were first met by a disdainful ghost who took his caretaker abilities into the afterlife. As they ascended the multiple floors of the tower , they battled gelatinous cubes, jacklewares, and a crafty Lamia.

Eventually they reached the top floor and discovered a lavish bedroom and laboratory. The Quartet discovered a portal behind a full length mirror and managed to activate it. One by one the adventurers jump through the portal and find themselves in the dark nightmare known as the Shadowfell. A dark reflection of the Prime Material Plane, shadows permeate every aspect of this demi-plane. The group looks forward and sees 300 ft. cliff standing stubbornly ahead of them. There seems to be a path up the other side of the cliff and so the Quartet sets forth toward the ominous light souce.

They navigated through the Shadowfell battling denizens all along the way and even making a temporary alliance with a group of crafty drow. They cut through a dark forest, following the cliff face until they were confronted with a city made of bone and flesh. The madness of the plane began to take its toll on the group, and they were faced with the terrors of their own mind. Luckily, Velnaar’s powers of light help guide them through safely.

As they exit the walls of the dead city, they see the other side of the cliff is actually a large slope with a ancient stone staircase that leads to a large plateau. The pulsing light ebbs atop the plateau, almost beckoning them to come forth. After a short rest, the group begins to cautiously ascend the staircase….. but slowly a pair of shadows begin to emerge from the ground. They stare with a dark glee on both sides of the Quartet, but do not attack. The adventurers draw their weapons, but before they can react…… Bud attacks the Illythian! In shock, the group retaliates….. matching sword for sword. Luckily the remaining group members managed to destroy the shadows and finally put Bud down.

The remaining Trio bring Bud back from the brink of death and question him. After a lengthy interrogation, they realize Bud has been under the enchantment of a powerful geas since their time at Icebone Peaks. Since the beginning, the way The Well Dressed Man was always one step ahead of them…. and now they realized why. Bud had been used as a tool this whole time against his will. The rest of the group (except Illythian) seems to believe Bud and they agree to heal him to fighting strength and press forward.

They finally reach the top and their awaited a most strange sight. “Emily”…. or accurately, the creature that was once Emily stood entranced in front of a wavering portal. Feeding the portal are 5 tendrils that end in mysterious pods. Swirling within the pods are spinning mass of magical energies, but the Quartet can not make out what they are or what purpose they serve. But there is also one more person here that is waiting for them….. The Well Dressed Man! Soon a battle ensues. Magic flares, psionic spears fly, and swords swing….. the most epic of battles takes place lighting up the eternal night sky of the Shadowfell. Ultimately, the Well Dressed Man falls…. quite literally, as he is blown off the edge of the cliff by one of Pavo’s eldritch blasts.

By this time, “Emily” had entered the portal and the group persues. They exit through a tear in reality that drops them off on the outskirts of Luskan, overlooking the city from far away. Out in the far distance….. the undead armies of The Red Wizards march toward Luskan. Meeting them head on are the armies of the Pirate Kings made up of pirates, militia, and air ships. They have created a defensive line outside the city and march toward the undead army in return.

But a more immediate danger presented itself. Some of the undead had broken off from the armies and began charging up the hill. “Emily”, in full rage mode, dived into the skeletons and zombies, rending them like a dagger through paper.

When she was done, she turned her sights on the Quartet. One last battle awaited them.

She charged with reckless abandon, throwing caution to the wind. The Quartet outlasted the onslaught and managed to turn the tide in their favor, with Bud landing the killing blow on his Emily. From her the inside of Emily, emerged another young women, one certainly used in the ritual that created Emily. She falls to the ground, barely conscious.

A glorious victory ends in tragic fashion, as Bud holds everything that gave his life meaning in his arms. Her monstrous form a sick and perverse memory of her beauty. The rest of the group slumps to the ground, exhausted both physically and in spirit. Beyond them, 2 great armies march on each other with the possible fate of the Sword Coast at stake.

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Episode 13: The Seeds of Corruption

The group once again slipped into the night, making their way across town to Waukeen’s Favor. Paranoid, angry, and injured, the group was certainly in a surly mood when they arrived. At the entrance way to the game hall, the group was approached by a young handmaiden and gave a message to Bud.

The message was from a seductive (and armed) female Drow. She was sitting across the room drinking a glass of wine, casually looking at the group. Of course (since I described her for more than 2 seconds), this prompted the group to approach her table and rapidly start asking her questions. She seemed uninterested in answering their question, probably because they had not introduced themselves or had any sort of rapport with her. She did admit that she was there to kill them, but had decided not to. Beyond that, she revealed nothing and asked to speak to Bud privately. Bud agreed without question (duh) and they went into a private meeting room somewhere below decks. The rest of the group was left to their own devices, got rooms for the night, and planned the raid on the Ruins of Illusk the next day.

During the course of the night, Malzour told Illythian that there was somebody that wanted to speak to him in a private room. Illythian agreed and was escorted to an office somewhere in the below decks. He was shocked to see that the person that wanted to speak to him was none other than one of the gold else that he had been running from.

The gold elf told Illythian some startling information and told him to meet him outside of the city buy a grove of trees off the main road when their business with Luskan is over (The Ruins of Illusk). As this meeting was occuring, the other gold elf that had been pursuing Illythian came to Velnaar’s room. The gold elf also revealed to him some shocking (but contradictory) information. However, this gold elf told Velnaar to meet him outside the city next to the river Mirabar where he is camped. He also mentioned to Velnaar to come to the river camp when his business with Luskan is over.

Afterwards, Illythian and Velnaar came together and shared what they had learned. They were stunned to hear that the gold else spoke separately to them but also gave them contradictory information that could tear the group apart.

Putting this aside for a moment, the group was still focused on completing their task at the Ruins Illusk. The next day, they made their way to the outer wall of the Ruins. Leolin, as promised, channeled his divine magic, sacrificing his link to Bahamut (temporarily) to create a portal throughthe massive stone wall.

They entered slowly, peering inside cautiously as they stepped through the wall. Inside the walls, the group immediately noticed it was night time with a large full moon overhead. There was a heavy, dense fog creeping throughout the area. The very ground itself was broken and cracked, a shadow of its natural form. Shadows seemed to loom in the fog but the players could not make out what they were. At the other end of the Ruins stood the Spire of Illusk, a tall foreboding figure with a pulsating reddish light emanating from the top level.

A booming voice began to echo throughout the cemetary. The voice taunted Velnaar….

“Come to me traitor! Come to me and meet your destiny!”

The group continued to make their way forward down the main path, toward the spire. As they got about half-way, a skeleton exited the spire. It stands at the entranceway of the spire, ominously staring at the approaching party. Suddenly, it ignited in brilliant flame. Out of nowhere, all the old lanterns and torchlights kindled one by one lighting the area surrounding the startled Quartet. The group looked around in horror as they realized they were completely surrounded by hordes of Undead.

The Flaming skeleton confidently walked forward, speaking once again. It’s voice, evil and malevolent, tells the group that only Velnaar is to enter the Spire. Any attempt by Boris, Illythian, or Bud to enter the spire or if they take any offensive action, it would be their demise. Velnaar looked back upon the group (possibly for the last time), readied himself, and entered the spire. He walked up the long spiral steps and when he reached the top he was greeted by none other than Isendor himself. It is here that Isendor tells Velnaar of the long-lasting consequences corruption has on your soul…. how it twists what you think and changes the very nature of your being. Shaken, Velnaar draws his weapon and prepares for the worst. In response, Isendor shows Velnaar his true form, and dives into battle. A great duel ensued, with the clash of swords and blasts of arcane fire. Each time blows were struck, fragments and chunks of stone of the Spire would crumble, break and blast apart. Mighty flashes of light and energy beamed out from the top of the spire as these two opposing forces struck at one another. The great battle came down to the last blow but luckily Velnaar was able to hold strong and strike down the demonic Isendor.

Velnaar, finally victorious, throws Isendor’s body from the top of the Spire. It lands with a thud on the ground below. The horde surrounding Boris, Bud, and Illythian begin to crumble and distintigrate, their lifeless husks falling to the ground. The walls surrounding the ruins now also begin to dissolve and fall apart. The bright sunlight on the sword Coast begins to break through the clouds, and the ominous night that once was in no more. Velnaar leaves the spire beaten, but victorious and rejoins the group below. The group refocus on their intended purpose, to search for the rings of the Arcane Brotherhood. They quickly search the grounds and locate the mass grave where the bodies of Brotherhood members were thrown. After much digging, they gather as many rings as they can. With the outer walls now in ruins, the citizens of Luskan have begun to form a crowd around the ruins. The Quartet decide to make haste back to Waukeen’s Favor.

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Episode 12: What dreams may come

The strange form emerged from the book…… a female twisted and evil. Her sickly long fingers gave way to wicked looking claws and eyes exposing a sadistic nature. Illythian was shocked and terrified, not knowing what to make of the situation. The creature seemed to ignore him and focus on Bud… looking at him with a sad expression. Illythian tried to mentally contact Bud to wake up. However, almost sensing Illythian’s manifestation of power, the creature suddenly shot him an intense glare. At the instance she made eye contact with Illythian, he felt his life force itself drain away and he fell to the ground unconscious.

Illythian “woke up” from his trance again and realized he was in the same room again. Not knowing what to make of his experience, he concluded it was a horrible nightmare. As the Quartet came out of their slumber, they strategized on what to do next. Gimble decided to go back to Waterdeep and look for Alstan. Leolin decided to accompany the group as he had promised to lend his power to them to access the Ruins of Illusk. Nevertherless, the Quartet seemed hellbent with first destroying the dracolich’s phylacrity.

But as they explored the the underground lair where the phylacrity lies, they realized something was wrong. They came across an ordinary looking door; that when opened, showed the opener what that person wanted to see most. For some… it was loved ones that were lost, for others…. it was a clan left behind. Each vision tested the characters resolve and while some broke down, others steel themselves and were able to pull away.

That wasn’t the only strange occurrence this night. During their exploration, each character experienced violent shaking as if somebody or something had control of their body. They also started to hear voices in the distance as if somebody was yelling at them in the back of their mind.

Finally, as reality itself seemed to unravel around them…. Bud realized what he was witnessing wasn’t real. He realized he was still dreaming and forced himself to wake up. Bud, now fully awake, looked around and saw that he was still in the room they camped in. Bud opens his eyes to see the creature in front of him, caressing his face. Everyone starts to wake up, each shocked to see that the creature is looming over Bud. The group notices that Bud is not afraid of the creature, but instead looks longingly at it.

The creature, noticing that all eyes are on it, hisses and screams loudly. The group was ready to spring into action, but before a weapon is drawn, the creature jumped back into the book. It seemed that the whole reality they just experienced was merely a nightmare…. a dream brought upon by the dark creature/. The Quartet theorizes that this unknown assailant could have possibly been sent by the Thayans to exact revenge on Bud. They decide to make their way to Waukeen’s Favor as it is the one safe place in Luskan that they know of.

However, Bud had different ideas. Possibly fearing the Thayans actions, Bud led them to the Repsillium in an attempt to make ammends. Bud convinces the group to wait for him and the group (for some reason) does so. He enters the long dark hallway and Olvan greets him at the other side. Before Bud could speak, Olvan launches a bolt of arcane lightning at him, electrocuting him on sight. The group springs into action to save Bud (once again), retreating from the Repsillium and making their way with haste to Waukeen’s Favor.

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Episode 11: Things are heating up!
As the zombies surround the quartet, the group huddles together…. bracing themselves from an onslaught of the undead. The shambled forward and began attacking the heroes. The Quartet immediately sprang into action. Velnaar charged toward the mage, Bud turned to handle a group of zombies coming down an alley, and finally Boris and Illythian held the center. As the ensuing battle raged on. it initially looked bleak for our adventures. Velnaar became trapped in a group of zombies trying to get to the mage. Boris seemingly forgets that he can tap into his Divine powers to battle the undead and fights them head on with his Warhammer, and the rest become more and more surrounded.

Illythian was doing his best to stay out of direct combat, but was surprised when one of the zombies turned out to be the cult of the Dragon assassin! Cleverly disguised, he crept up on Illythian and delivered a devastating attack….. stabbing him repeatedly in his torso and dropping him in a pool of his own blood.

Fortunately, things didn’t stay bad for long! Boris finally realized that he can tap into the power of Bahamut and turned the zombies with his Divine might. With an explosion of holy light, most of the zombie horde turned and shambled away. This cleaned up the streets enough for Illthian to be healed and for them to mop up the rest of the undead. Velnaar, finally cleaved his way through most of the zombies….. reaching the mage and cleaving him in two. Boris, Bud, and Illythian team up on the Assassin.. finally felling him after a succession of attacks. The quartet decided to stabilize the Assassin and bring him with them for questioning. They decided to head back to Gimble’s house as the group decided the best thing to do was to head back to the safest place they know. However, they soon discover that Gimble’s house was attacked and is now a raging Inferno in the center of the city.

The Quartet ducked into a nearby alley, healed the Assassin back into consciousness and began questioning him. The Assassin revealed that he was merely a soulsword and was only helping the Cult of the Dragon because the price was right. The Assassin also revealed that the Cleric of Tiamat took Gimble and the Cleric of Bahamut with him…. returning to the Cult’s old headquarters on the north side of town. Unable to provide any more help, Velnaar brutally murders the Assassin in the alleyway much to the surprise of the rest of the group. Without time to really process what actually happened, the group headed to the Cult’s warehouse.

When the group arrived at the old Warehouse, they discovered that Gimble and the old Cleric of Bahamut were chained to two posts in front of the warehouse. Guarded by a couple of Cult of the Dragon fanatics and about to be executed by the Cleric of Tiamat, the group springs into action. A battle ensued once again on the streets of Luskan, resulting in the group defeating the Cleric of Tiamat. The group also successfully rescued Gimble and the old cleric of Bahamut.

With seemingly no other safe place to go, the Quartet decided to stay in the Cult’s secret base underneath the warehouse. It is there they discovered the phylactery of the dracolich in a large chamber hidden by a secret door. After more searching, they also discovered a treasure room cleverly trapped that almost killed the group. Due to their dire situation, the Quartet decides to take a long rest while underground where they felt they were safe.

However, something else was set to occur at that time. During the time where everybody was asleep, Illythian noticed Bud’s book next to him on the floor. The book suddenly opens on its own, with the pages turning as if a gust of wind suddenly swept through the room. From seemingly the book itself, a long sickly hand begins to crawl out of the book…. then another hand. A mysterious creature begins to pull itself up and out of the book.

Illythian watches on in horror.

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Episode 10: Highs and Lows

Confident with the new information they received, The Quartet set out to find the quiet Swordsman at his lair. Using the directions given to them by Briggan the Bold to the bluffs, Gimbel lead them to the bluffs near the Northern docks. Gimbel stayed near the docks so no nefarious pirates would follow them. Upon reaching the cave entrance, they can see lit torches along the interior of the walls. The group gathered at the entrance to formulate a plan. Bud decided to sneak into the cave to scout ahead, navigating the shadows all the way. As he made his way into the tunnel, Bud turned a corner of the cave and saw The Quiet Swordsman worshiping his Patron with blood sacrifices.

Bud’s unending bravery or carelessness led him to attempt to steal the ring off the swordsman finger with his new magic abilities. Bud attempted to slide the ring off The Quiet Swordsman’s hand using a powerful mage hand spell. Unfortunately, the Swordsman noticed and quickly clenched his fists to keep his ring intact. Bud quickly ran back to the entrance of the cave. The Quiet Swordsman walking calmly behind him, seemingly unwavered by the situation.

As The Quiet Swordsman left the cave, the group confronted The Swordsman. They attempted (poorly) ask him questions in an attempt to get information. The Swordsman was not interested in answering questions and began to walk away….. he warned them not to follow as he would take that as an aggressive action. The group, not deterred…. or just not getting the hint, kept following him. Ilythian took this opportunity to run into the cave and destroy the the The Swordsman’s alter.

Meanwhile outiside, The Swordsman began casting a devious enchantment that warped the time around the group, slowing them where they stood. He moved into attack but it was Boris who won the day by channeling his God’s Divine my into a holy strike that severely wounded The Swordsman.

Undeterred, The Swordsman kept charging and with two quick slices, made sure Boris would not be casting any more spells during this encounter. Still affected by the slow spell, Velnaar could not react fast enough for the Swordsmen, so he charged Bud (who was hiding behind some nearby rocks). Bud, waited for the perfect opportunity, casted a sleep spell that put The Swordsmen to sleep. As The Swordsman slept, they quickly dispatched him while he was helpless. They then proceeded to take the Arcane Brotherhood ring from you his hand and took all his money valuables.

The group then moved on to the second part of their plan which was to raid the Cult of the Dragon headquarters at the north side of town. After some recon by Bud, the quartet attempted to sneak through the rear of the warehouse…. but failed. One of the guards alerted the others and the group quickly ran inside and battled with the cult of the Dragon members. The group eliminated many cult members that day, and made their way chamber below in fear that more would come. However, as they explored underneath the warehouse they discovered they were not alone. The wizard from the bridge as well as 2 new enemies; a masked man with daggers and a priest of the Cult of the Dragon. Upon noticing Bud, the cleric seemingly summoned fiends out of thin air to surround him the group quickly scrambled to run away. The Quartet made their way back up the warehouse, out the back door, and back to Gimbel’s house.

The next day, the group now had a little money from their battles, so they decided to go shopping. Unfortunately, The Quartet has not learned that word travels fast in the crime-ridden city of Luskan and made no attempts to cover their tracks. As they came back from the merchant shop, the undead corpses of the cult members began to surrounded them in the middle of the street. A short distance away, they can see the wizard Of The Cult of the Dragon manipulating arcane energies to command the undead to destroy our adventurers.

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Episode 9: Briggan the Bold!

The intrepid Quartet return to Gimble’s house to recuperate and plan. After speaking to Alston and Gimble, the Quartet finally agrees to deliver the egg to Malzour Euphoria at Waukeen’s Favor. Malzour was delighted to see that they have returned with the egg and gave them instructions to Briggan the Bold’s establishment, The Jester’s Cap. The Jesters Cap is a small rarities and oddities shop on the north side of town. The group wasted no time and travel there immediately. Upon arrival, the group realized that this was a store unlike any other they have been in. The store is packed with exotic items from all over Faerun. Strange sights, sounds, and smells barraged the senses as the group made their way through the cramped aisles. The Quartet scanned the shop cautiously and spotted a bald spindly man behind a counter at the back of the store. Moving to the rear of the store, an orc intimidatingly stands in the corner with a very large axe that seems to be acting as security.

The Quartet approach the counter and begin to barter with the spindly man to meet Briggan the Bold. After some back and forth, the spindly man motioned for the orc to take them to the back offices to meet Briggan the Bold. The orc ushered them through a back door and into a hallway to the back offices. As the group shuffled into the hallway the orc closed the door and were shocked when the orc revealed himself to be Briggan the Bold! The Quartet, stunned by this, moves down the hallway and into a back office.

Before any deals were made, Briggan excused himself to say goodbye to a client that was waiting for Briggan when the group arrived. The group observed as Briggan moved across the hallway and opened a door to another office. The Quartet was stunned to see that the other client was none other than The Quiet Swordsman! The Swordsman, seemingly on his way out, nodded an acknowledgment toward The Quartet and walked out. The group, now more cautious than ever, tentatively begin trading information in exchange for the prized dragon egg.

Briggan, enamoured with the dragon egg, told them a great many things. The first thing Briggan told the group was that there are two ways to enter the Arcane Brotherhood Tower: one by wearing a Signet ring of the Arcane Brotherhood or by entering on the night of a full moon. The Quartet also learned that members of the Arcane Brotherhood that fell in the first attack were buried in the Ruins of Illusk in the center of town. Since the Ruins of Illusk has been walled up by the Pirate Kings, it seems difficult to even gain entry without scaling the walls the old fashioned way. Of course, that is not counting the horrors that have spawned from their graves in the past few months. Lastly, they asked about The Quiet Swordsman and Briggan confirmed that he does carry a Signet ring of the Arcane Brotherhood. Also, The Swordsman only leaves the tower to complete a ritual to a powerful demon in a cave on the shores of luskan. He sacrifices to a Maralith in exchange for a fraction of her dark power.

Not to be deterred from their noble path, Velnaar and Boris both inquired about the Cult of the Dragon’s activities. Briggan confirmed that The Cult of the Dragon did not interact with the usual riffraff of Luskan and have kept to themselves. He believes that there are bones of a dragon underneath the Ruins of Illusk and that the Cult of the Dragon seek to gain entry to raise those bones as a Dracolich.

Now faced with the daunting tasks and tough decisions, The Quartet strategize and plan for their next course of action.

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