Atlea and Beyond

Session Fourteen: The Undersea Temple
Fighting the sea dragon.

The group slept overnight at the palace in Ghalem’Ka. They awoke to a message for them to meet the prince in the throne room to discuss the events of the previous day.
He told them that Prismeus was in league with the Cult of the Elemental Eye and was providing them with funds in exchange for them sabotaging his competition. The prince also told them that the cultist Faron had been interrogated, giving up the location of the temple of his cult. It was in this city, but off the coast, underwater. The prince requested that the group seek out the temple, and said he would reward them. He gave them a signet ring that Faron said could be used to enter the temple.

The group travelled on their airship out to the point above the water that the prince had shown them on a map, and they dove into the water.
They found a cavern underneath that was partially covered with seaweed. In the cavern sat a dragon, behind some air vents in the floor that appeared to give off air bubbles, probably from the underdark below. The water was flowing from the direction of the temple away from it, so it made swimming more difficult. The dragon told them to leave unless they had something to offer it in exchange for entrance to the temple.
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Trolol made an illusion that looked like gold, and offered it to the creature. As the dragon came over to inspect it, the group moved past the dragon, taking advantage of the distraction. When the dragon found out that it was an illusion, it roared for its servants to come out, and out of the smaller caves to the sides came a horde of sea kobolds. The group fought them and within a short time had defeated the dragon and its minions.
They used the signet ring on the panel next to the door and it opened. They entered the next area, once it was flooded with water, and found another similar panel. Once they used the signet ring again the first slab raised again, cutting off the water from the outside, and the second slab lowered spilling water into the chamber ahead, but allowing the group to breathe.
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They entered a hallway to find that there were three doors, one to the left, another to the right and one straight ahead of them.
They entered the door ahead first, finding a room with scaffolding raised some way above them, stairs leading to it. There was also a deep hole and a small ladder that didn’t reach very far down. Next to the hole on the floor were two indentations that were shaped something like bowls. Atop the scaffolding stood a creature made from stone. It addressed the group, telling them that they may not pass. Fern, speaking primordial, replied to it by asking what the other rooms were for. It told them that it was a test.

Trolol entered the room to left finding a pool of water, and a room that was frozen over. Large ice mounds sat in this room, and the floor was slippery. Lining the room were a number of doors, each identical. Trolol opened one of the doors, and an ice hand reached out to him, touching him and freezing him solid, but disappearing in the process. Fern entered the room and opened another of the doors only to befall the same fate. In the room to the right, the rest of the group elected Rolan to move through the hall. To his right was a swirling fiery vortex some way down, but he appeared to be safe. He began to cross the floor, but as he did so, it fell away. He did not fall into the vortex, clinging to the diagonal floor. Seven threw him a rope, and he got back up. Using acrobatic skill, he jumped his way across the diagonal floor, keeping from falling. With the rope in hand, he made it to the other side. He gave the rope to his bird companion to hold, and it held it in place. Rolan reached a shrine with a bird statue, demanding that a beloved thing must be given up to progress. He placed his deathstalker longbow onto the altar, and proceeded towards the cauldron of red liquid.

In the first room, Oizo noticed that the stone creature had a few glass vials on the floor next to it. He stole them quickly out from the creatures view. One vial was thrown to Rolan, and he gathered some of the red liquid with it.
The group deduced that they would have to fill the indentations near the hole in the first room if they wished to proceed. They tried using the red liquid and some water from the pool in the left room, but it did not have any effect. Upon discovering that Fern and Trolol had been frozen, they used the red liquid to unfreeze them. Using Fern’s bear companion to open the rest of the doors, they discovered a few more ice creatures, but after defeating them, found a door concealing a cauldron of blue liquid. It was a far deeper blue than water, so they decided that it might be the key. They took the second vial and filled it with the blue liquid, then poured it into the indentation along with the red liquid. The ladder began to make some mechanical noises and the started to extend. It made an echoing thud sound as it hit to bottom of the floor down the hole.

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Session Thirteen: The Cult
Uncovering the cult.

The group aboard their new airship, decided to head towards Ghalem’Ka again to discover the truth behind the Empress and perhaps some answers about the Cult of the Elemental Eye.
Fern took care of Seven, who had contracted a disease from the demons they had fought. Portions of her skin had been turned to red crystal, and the disease was spreading. Luckily, over the course of the trip she recovered from the disease.
Once the group reached Ghalem’Ka, the full extent of the city came into view.
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They ventured down using their new magical discs, leaving the airship floating above the city, to the awe of spectators. As they entered the city, they noticed that there were wanted posters everywhere, with drawings of them on them! The posters claimed that they had kidnapped the Empress. They decided that as Fern wasn’t on the poster, she should turn them in, that they might plead innocent.
Fern found some guards and told them she had found those on the posters. The group was disarmed, weapons and armour taken from them, and taken to the palace.
They were thrown before the Prince of Ghalem’Ka, Ralan’daak. They told him about what had happened to them, but he did not entirely believe them. He told them that the Empress, his mother disappeared the day that they left. It could not be mere coincidence.
They insisted that their story was true, and he told them that he needed proof. They told him that the airship was proof that Najala was behind the Empress’ disappearance, but he was skeptical, telling them that while impressive, an airship could belong to anyone.
Eventually, he told them that if they could prove their innocence by catching the real ones behind this, they could go free. He told them that if anything criminal was going on, it would likely involve the the desert shadows and that they might have connections to the merchants.

They were given their equipment and set out into the city. They went into the Merchant’s Quarter and began to look around. They found a rich tiefling merchant named Prismeus who sold fine carpets. They questioned him, and he told them that he never dealt with criminals. He told them that his competitors make deals with the desert shadows. Particularly, he said that Alathar from the poor quarter dealt with them.
They asked around, and Oizo led the group successfully through to the poor quarter, being the most streetwise of the group.
They met Alathar, a drow, who seemed poor, and asked him questions about the desert shadows. He told them that he never dealt with them, but the other night he heard them outside his store, drow and kenku members. They asked him about Prismeus, and he told them that Prismeus drives other merchants out of business by spreading rumours about them.
They decided to talk again with Prismeus, asking him questions about him spreading rumours and threatening that they knew his secret. Rolan created a distraction and Seven pickpocketed a note from his cloak with ease. They left him and read the note.
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They realised that Alathar would be in danger and left immediately to visit him. They found him unharmed, but drew the attention of some guards on the way there. The guards did not know that they had already been taken to the prince. Thinking quickly, the group decided that they would let the guards take them, but also named Alathar as one of their accomplices. They were all taken in front of Ralan’daak again. They asked for protection, that Alathar would not be put in danger. The prince agreed, but upon reading the note, thought that perhaps the desert shadows were not the ones they should seek. He addressed the insignia on the note, which was an eye symbol. He had never seen it before.
Oizo had a realisation, and decided that perhaps the eye was the symbol of the Cult of the Elemental Eye, who were in league with Najala, they learned earlier.
The prince told them that since Prismeus intended to have Alathar killed, the city guard would retrieve him and bring him to the palace. The group decided that they would stake out Alathar’s store, trying to discover who was sent to kill him.
They waited for hours in the poor quarter near his stand, and a few shapes came into view. Unfortunately, the group were discovered, and the people fled quickly. Zola used his draconic breath to slow down one of them, and the group took him captive. He revealed himself to be named Snakebait, and a member of the thieves guild.
Eventually he revealed to them where he was supposed to meet his superior to report back once they had assassinated Alathar, and the group laid in wait there for someone to arrive. They eventually noticed a few humanoid figures, one very large, approaching, and they entered a nearby warehouse.
The group followed after cautiously, entering a hallway in the warehouse. The hallway had traps in it, and the group soon fell victim to a few of them. They were magical chains that pulled unwary into spikes behind the wall, but a few were soon disabled, and another few avoided.
They eventually made their way into the large central room of the warehouse.

They discovered a ritual was being performed by a purple robed man with a dagger. An unconscious body lay strewn across a table.
As the man readied the dagger for the ritual, the group arrived in the room, surprising its inhabitants. The robed man ordered the rest of the group to kill them, and a battle ensued. The battle was difficult, with various spells inhibiting the group, and dangerous fanatics charging at the party.
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The battle was won by the party, and they took one of the members captive, taking him back to the palace as proof that they were innocent.
They were told that Prismeus was being held at the palace as well, and they would seek answers from him.

The group spent the night at the palace, and when Trolol awoke from his short nightly trance, he discovered he was not alone. The emissary from Buarainech had returned, and told him that he had a week before Buarainech would bring him to the Feywild to return the powers granted to him.

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Session Twelve: The Lich
A climactic battle on Najala's airship.

As the group rested, the people of Coyote’s refuge prepared for battle. When awake, the group joined the forces in the Refuge. Oizo made a speech to raise morale, as did Coyote. A cheer went up, and they began to march towards the city.

The group stayed with the forces as they travelled across the desert, and soon after reaching a rocky plain, they could see a line of figures approaching them at high speed. A horde of Trihorn Behemoths with riders came charging at them!

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They fought hard, and eventually through the combined might of the heroes and the warriors from Coyote’s Refuge, the behemoths and their riders were taken down.
Soon after, a dragon and a huge roc approached, attacking the makeshift army. After a short time, reinforcements fighting for Coyote’s refuge arrived, including two griffons and a wyvern. Albi also joined the battle, telling Oizo that he couldn’t find Nine. As the reinforcements arrived, a gigantic airship began to come into view, flying over the fight. Albi realised what this meant, and told Oizo that “Nine is on that airship. We must save her!” Letting his guard down, Albi was attacked by the dragon, which breathed fire, roasting his body. He asked Oizo to tell Nine he loved her right before he died.
Coyote, seeing the airship, decided that the party should forget this fight and use the wyvern and the griffons to fly after the airship. The group quickly hurried onto the mounts and set off.

They flew as fast as they could after Najala’s airship. Najala, leaning over the side, began to hurl bolts of magical energy at them. A few of them hit their targets, but luckily knocked nobody from their mounts. The group finally got close to the airship, but saw a falling figure hurtling down from the airship. They rushed after it to discover that it was Nine. Once they had her, they continued up to the airship. When they reached it, they sent the mounts back down to take Nine to safety and rejoin the battle.
Holding on to the ropes at the side of the airship, the group climbed aboard, seeing Najala in the centre of the deck.
Najala taunted them, holding out an armillary sphere. The sphere lit up and a voice told them to defeat her before she completed her ritual, but it was quickly silenced as Najala returned it to her pocket. A battle with Najala ensued.

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Najala was eventually defeated, and as her body blew away to dust, it flew on the wind through a door under the quarterdeck of the airship. They followed it, grabbing the armillary sphere, and found a storage room with crates, barrels and a large wooden crate that turned out to be a coffin. Inside was a perfectly preserved tiefling body. The group laid the five items they possessed, their sphere containing Alandra, the cube containing the Empress, the pyramid containg Dralmar, the scroll containing Ulrak and the armillary sphere, which they found contained a tiefling man. They and the body each crumbled to dust, but as they did, a spiritual energy left the dead body, begging for another chance and cursing the cult of the elemental eye. It was Najala’s voice.
As the objects turned to dust, the spirits trapped within the items each formed above the dead tiefling and addressed the group.
Alandra Eldarkin appeared as a beautiful young woman, and she said “Thank you all. We are freed. I now go to join my people, the Aalreoni in the afterlife. Oizo, it is no secret to you that you are of the royal line of my ancient empire. It has been an honour, my lord. (her spirit curtsied). Our once-great empire may have been destroyed, but its great legacy shall live on through you and your children. Good luck in the future.”
The spirit of Sala’aktuun, The Empress of Ghalem’Ka greeted them. “Seven,” she said, “your quick wit, reflexes and borderline supernatural ability with a dagger has been essential to our progress. I wish you well in the future. The empire of Khosh owes you all a great debt this day. Farewell.”
Dralmar Wyrmskin’s spirit addressed Zola. “Zola, strong, fearless dragonborn warriors like you keep the legendary spirit of Arkhosia alive. May your endeavours always be successful, and may you always be a paragon of your dragonborn heritage.”
Ulrak’s dwarven spirit looked towards the group: “You all have my blessing, and may the light of justice guide you in all your affairs. Rolan, elves and dwarves may not always have seen eye to eye, but the courage you’ve shown here today is easily greater than any dwarf I have ever met. Trolol, my kin and your people have also never really got along, but your magic scares the beard off of me, so, good luck!” He hurried away.
Karash Varrik, a tiefling lord of Vor Rukoth hovered before them: “Fern, Rolan, I am sorry for all that has transpired. We tieflings are one of the reasons that demons and other foul creatures have ways into this world, and the demons that destroyed your home are the direct result of my actions. I suggested to Najala that the dark powers might grant Albrecht life, and she travelled down this terrible path thereafter. When I realised that she meant to sacrifice lives to bring back Albrecht’s I made a stand against her, but I was defeated. Every day since I was trapped in that object, I have regretted my part in all of this, and I mean my deepest apologies to all of you. Farewell.” His spirit dissipated and they were all gone.

The party searched and found valuable items in the storage room, including a ritual that was attuned to the airship. They also discovered a few discs that could be used to fly back down to the ground, allowing the airship to remain airborne, held aloft by its elemental.
They returned to the site of the battle and found that the roc and dragon had been killed, but at great cost.
Coyote congratulated them all, suggesting they keep the airship. He also suggested that they map out the world as they travel, for the betterment of all the nations.
He told them that he would work hard to restore Vor Rukoth and Bael Turath to their former glory, and that it would once again be the jewel of the east.

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Session Eleven: The Pact
A flayer of minds and a scroll of riddles.

The group headed inside the Dancing Lizard to investigate the strange sounds they heard. When they entered, Terris Halfjaw told them that the portal they discovered earlier had disappeared from the basement.
The group noticed a cloaked figure across the tavern, and decided to buy them a drink and began to take it over to them. Suddenly a large number of strange creatures blinked into visibility in the tavern and began to attack the group. The cloaked figure remained seated, seemingly oblivious. The group fought back against the strange floating creatures and eventually attacked the cloaked figure, which revealed itself to be a humanoid creature with a squid-like head. It attacked the group with psychic attacks, and in short order a larger beast also attacked them from the kitchen with huge claws.
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After a long and painful fight, the group managed to make the mind flayer give up, and it revealed that it knew where Najala’s phylactery was located, and divulged to them that the puzzles they had collected were part of a group of 5 items, necessary to destroy Najala’s phylactery.
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The mind flayer also told them that it was attempting to find the fourth item, a scroll.
The group decided to get the mind flayer to use its thralls to search for the item, and they also searched for the item, asking around the town to find leads on where the scroll had been.
Eventually they came to find out that a man named Garthel had the scroll, though they allowed the mind flayer to turn a shop keeper into a thrall to find him.

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They headed to the Scorpion’s Claw, a tavern in the Outer Ward of Vor Rukoth, to find Garthel playing Three Dragon Ante. They challenged him to a game and eventually forced him to bet the scroll in order to keep playing. They won the game and took the scroll as a prize.
The scroll seemed magical, and words began to appear on its surface. It was a riddle, and the group solved it fairly quickly. A second and third riddle also appeared, and after Trolol solved the last riddle, new words began to show on the scroll. It told them that the pact was now complete and an emissary would be with them in a moment.
Trolol and the scroll glowed with green light, and a strange power entered Trolol. When he recovered, a cyclopic figure appeared before them, telling them that he was the emissary of Buarainech, an arch-fey from the feywild.
He told him that Trolol was now imbued with power from his master, but it would come at a cost. His master would come eventually to reclaim his powers, and maybe more. Buarainech enchanted the scroll as an experiment and sent it to the world. The emissary bid them farewell and Trolol began to feel his new power. They found a spirit within the scroll too, the Dwarven spirit of Ulrak Stonewall.

The group told the mind flayer about having retrieved the scroll and he congratulated them coldly, and left.
They headed back to Coyote’s Refuge to tell Coyote about the 5 items. As they approached, he looked worried and told them that his men had stolen the plans for an airship. Najala had been building an airship, and he suspected she was going to leave Vor Rukoth. They told him about the items, and alarmed, he told them that he had to leave and gather the forces to find the last item.

Soon, in the Refuge the group were approached by a large flying creature. The blue dragon flew down, and atop its back was Najala! She told them that losing the blueprint for the airship was a minor setback, and she threw down red crystals to the street below. Out of the crystals came demonic creatures that attacked the group as Najala flew away on the dragon.

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Through the fight, the characters became injured but fought hard. Rolan contracted an elemental infection from the touch of a demon. They used the Demon King’s Claw they retrieved earlier and took control of one of the demons, and eventually defeated them all.
Coyote returned and asked them what happened. They told him Najala came and attacked them with demons. He replied that it’s clear at this point that she is feeling overconfident, and that means that she can’t be far from success. He told them that they must gather all forces they have and march on the city to retrieve the last item and find the airship she is building, and in the process, find Najala.

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Session Ten: The Temple
A temple of evil beneath the sand.

The first group, comprising Rolan, Fern, Oizo and Zola, were asked by Coyote to retrieve a valuable artifact called the Demon King’s Claw. It was said to have the power to control demons.
They set off to find it, having been told it was rumoured to have been stolen by the Slavers in the city of Vor Rukoth.

The second group, comprising Albi, Seven and Trolol had just escaped from the Slavers and made their way back to Coyote’s Refuge. They found out that their friends had gone ahead of them, and Coyote asked them to follow. He provided them with magical steeds to catch up. They found that they had been overheard by Ulben, a strange man who worked at the Dancing Lizard tavern. He had scrawled a message in his own blood after cutting off one of his fingers, and it spoke of the demons.

“The day of demons had begun
The world was cleft in twain
No strength to stop this wicked plan
If any should remain

The kings and queens of times now lost
Took up arms in desperation
A clash of blades, blood paid the cost
For the hopeless situation

World at end, the last warriors fought
They toiled tooth and nail
They pushed back the demon lords
But ’twas to no avail

Resounding cheers, people did rattle
They could not know before
The Atleans had won the battle
But they had not won the war

Plan, even now, the demons doth
The fallen city of Vor Rukoth
They who would wander this ruined land
Stir a temple of evil beneath the sand.”

Ulben told them that “the cult” possessed the object they seek, not the Slavers. The group decided to bring him along as a guide to show them where to find the cult.
After riding for a few hours, they soon found their companions outside the entrance to the city.
Having heard what happened, the party decided to investigate the cult that Ulben spoke of.
Albi, having noticed Nine’s absence, told everyone that he would ask around the city to see if he could find any rumours or anything to let them know where Nine is.

Ulben led the group to a place called “The Blood Grounds,” and entering a ruined building previously used as a bank, showed them the way to the cult’s headquarters. Upon reaching a vault without handles or any other obvious mechanism to open it, he spoke the words “Acohs, Veli, Nadsems, Coref, Tredtusonic!” The vault slid aside and revealed a spiralling stairway down.

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At the bottom of the stairwell, the group found themselves in a small hallway. In one direction there was the rubble of a statue, and in the other, a door.
The group headed to the door and opened it. They found that it was behind a red curtain. Peeking through, they discovered a strange creature that was eating the remains of a sword. The room beyond was some kind of throne room, with broken pillars lying strewn across the floor.
The group approached the creature cautiously and headed to a chest they noticed on the other side of the room. It allowed them to pass until it finished eating, but then made towards the paladin, Zola, greedily looking at his metal armour. Inside the chest, the group found a map, which seemed to show the rest of this floor. The small rust monster attempted to rust Zola’s armour, but was quickly dispatched by the party before it could do any permanent damage.

The group moved down the stairs to a dark region of the room, finding two pools, a bridge between them, a set of doors and statues either side behind the pools. They discovered that the area on the bridge was covered in pressure plates, and all of them needed to be pushed down to open the door. The group had slightly less weight than they needed to push all of them down, and decided to use one of the statues. In the process, they were attacked by 3 snakes that sprang up from the pools. The whole battle was over in less than a minute, as the party expertly defended themselves.

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Once the door was open, the party pushed through to the next room, finding that magical fire was being used as a protective measure to halt intruders. Trolol used his magical abilities to hold back the fire long enough to let others pass through and knock the next door open. He then attempted to run through the passage himself, becoming badly burned in the process.

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The group then decided to turn and explore the kitchen area of the headquarters. Upon entering the kitchen, they noticed it was very long, but soon discovered the length was due to an illusion. After you reached the edge of the kitchen there was a deep drop to a monster.

The group left the kitchen and continued moving through the halls. Fern went ahead and found herself stuck in a strange transparent ooze. As it began to burn, she freed herself of the danger and took note of its position in the hallway.

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The party entered another room that had both two furnaces and two large goblets of water in it, along with some crates and boxes. With a little experimentation, the group discovered that in one of the goblets was a water elemental, a being that flowed as it moved. Fern used her spirit companion to distract the creature and drew it away from them. The creature followed it, and led the water elemental into the gelatinous cube from the hallway. It became stuck and sizzled as the acid of the cube and the water clashed.

The group then decided to split up. One group went to the suites on one of side of the headquarters, searching for anything of use. Rolan sent his avian companion down a well to see what was there, and it came across a quiver that appeared empty. When Rolan reached into the quiver, however, an arrow magically appeared in his hand, and he discovered that he could create as many as he desired.

Trolol and Fern discovered a mechanism where they could not move closer to the door to the suites, as stepping on the floor forced the door closed. Trolol used his ability to levitate to cross the floor and enter the room. He used magic to hold the door open while Fern entered the room. On some lounges they found a bag, and upon inspection, it appeared to be magical. Trolol remembered that he had learnt about bags that could hold far more than appeared possible, and decided this was one of those bags. Fern inspected the next room to find a container that had within it a lotion. When it was applied to the skin, it made the user surge with power and gave them further reserves of strength to tap into.
In the last room, the dining area, they found a small magical die and a canteen(flask) that contained seemingly endless amounts of water. The magical die had some strange powers that activated when it was rolled.

On the other side of the headquarters, Zola, Seven and Oizo explored numerous bookshelves. They decided that it was worth seeing if there were any secret passages, and knocked them over. Upon searching the ruins, they found a small figurine that looked like a mechanical creature. Seven activated it and it grew to full size. The creature stood about three and a half feet off the ground and had four metal legs.

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They all regrouped and entered the furthest door along the hallway, to find themselves in a room with spider webs strewn along the floor, a few braziers that lit up the room, the bones of some ancient creature, a small lever and two statues. Entering the room, they activated the lever, which open the doors on the other side of the room. Something stirred, however, and they found themselves facing large spiders. Two of the spiders pulled Zola and Seven into a pit using their webs, but they both escaped and soon the party had destroyed the spiders.

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In the next room they found a platform several metres tall suspended on the far corner of the room. Leading to the top, there were stairs, and sitting at a desk on the plateau was a person dressed in purple robes. He greeted them, and summoned a large scaled creature from one of the circles found on the floor. The beast had four heads, and the group recognised it as a Hydra. They were cautious, as cutting off one of its heads caused it to grow two more. The group stopped this a few times by using fire to cauterise the wound before additional heads could grow. The purple-robed cultist was easily taken down, but the hydra continued to rage. At the conclusion of the fight, Oizo hit the creature with a deadly punch that ended its life. Exploring the area further, the group found various strange scrolls and books on the tables, most written about nonsense, like : “Rocks make a fine stew finer.”
The group found a journal written by someone who was a part of the cult, and it read:
“Najala, my master, was once the beautiful queen of the Turathi Empire. She was to be married to her love, Albrecht. He was taken ill and soon passed away, however. In her grief, Najala turned to dark forces to discover that there was a way to bring Albrecht back! She made herself into a lich by pledging herself to evil. It is unknown how, but she gathers power even now to try to bring back her love. She once told me ‘If I have to rip him from the arms of the Raven Queen herself I will.’
I fear for her sanity as she has become completely obsessed with this idea. I fear though, for my own mind as well. Some of the things she has shown me are so disturbing and unsettling that I cannot recount them here. I cannot write much more on this, but I will continue to serve my lady, as it is my duty.
Esgarn."

The note was dated to Twentyfifthday, Harvest, 1479, a few weeks ago.
The group searched the cultist in purple robes and found the clawed hand they search for. The Demon King’s Claw was a red claw on the end of a chain that could be worn as a necklace.

The group headed back to Coyote’s Refuge, but as they neared the Dancing Lizard tavern, they heard strange sounds coming from inside. The sounds were like nothing they’d heard before.

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Session Nine B: The Captives
Slavers

Albi, Trolol and Seven woke up to find that they had been stripped of their weapons and thrown into a cell by slavers. The half-orc slavers were sold them by Najala, after she teleported them from Eiswin’s Tower. In the cell with them was a dwarf from Turak-Tol. Using guile and stealth, the group managed to steal the guard’s key and break the necks of many of the other guards. Seven found a shard of glass and some leather gloves to use as protection, and utilised the shard as a makeshift dagger. The group found a chest and upon opening it, discovered the pieces of a strange wooden puzzle. Deciding to inspect it later, they made their way through the underground cavern, taking out guards as they went using a construct that Trolol imbued with his arcane magic. The group spotted a Grell with some Troglodytes near the exit from the area, and used the spider-like construct to distract them and the half orcs while they snuck away.

Upon reaching the open air, they found a group of ruined buildings. They heard a group of half orc slavers coming their way and hid, waiting for their chance. The slavers carried with them a chest of the group’s belongings. After coming out into the open, Seven tricked them into believing she was sent by Najala to retrieve the chest, and they continued marching past the group without the chest. The party then opened the chest and got their belongings back. The dwarf told them that the safest place to head was outside the city of Vor Rukoth, only a few miles away, to Coyote’s Refuge.

Upon reaching the refuge, the group went into the local inn/tavern, the Dancing Lizard, to discover that their friends had been through here. Upon mentioning their friends to the innkeeper, Ferris showed them the strange portal that was the result of their friend’s stay. They experimented with it, to find that they were unable to enter it, floating above it instead.
They sat down and solved the puzzle, forming a small pyramid shape, and it began to glow with a red light. They heard the voice of a dragonborn, who told them he was Dralmar Wyrmskin. He said that he was trapped inside the puzzle when he was fighting the demons. Then he began to feel strange, saying that he could sense something. He asked if there were any like him in the world, trapped in puzzles. The party told him yes, and he said he could sense their presence, not so far away. The group asked him to lead them to the source of the sensations, and they went to look for their friends.

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Session Nine A: The Portal
Coyote's Refuge

The white dragon flew Oizo, Rolan, Fern and Zola across the sea and towards the sandy deserts of Vor Rukoth. Overhead glowed a green light from the sky, becoming brighter and brighter, and as the light came closer, it was revealed to be a huge rock emanating a green glow. It zoomed down and struck the white dragon in the back, causing it to drop the party to the sands below. They saw a green mist pass over the land as they fell into unconsciousness.
Upon awakening, the party found that they were in the care of three strangers, a halfing named Coyote, a dwarf named Terris and a tiefling named Inferna. Coyote told them that he was gathering a group of like-minded warriors so that they could take back the city of Vor Rukoth from Najala, who presided over it.

The group went to Coyote’s Refuge, a small town made mostly of tents and only a few buildings. They slept overnight at the Dancing Lizard, an inn and tavern run by Terris.
In the dead of night, Oizo, having only needed a few hours sleep, heard a strange noise coming from down the hall, and decided to investigate. He found the entrance to a cavern that seemed not to be a part of the inn. Upon exploring the cavern, he discovered some strange creatures that crawled upon the ground with many legs. Another of the creatures had a terrible great maw. He called for the others, and they investigated as well. The largest of the creatures spat a black goo upon the floor of the cavern, slick and moist. The creatures charged at the party, and after a long battle, the group was victorious.

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The goo, however, did not disappear. From the centre of the substance, a small rift appeared, and began to expand rapidly. It stretched to the edge of the goo, then ceased expansion. The others decided to get some sleep, while Oizo kept watch, in case another of the creatures appeared or something happened.
In the midst of the goo, Oizo observed strange outlines of spiderlike creatures with heads that ended in spiked tails, and others horrific visions.
Upon awakening in the morning, the group questioned Ulben, the man who tended to beds, about if he knew anything of the strange vortex. He seemed interested in it, and then answered that he knew nothing of it. Oizo deduced that he wasn’t lying, even though he seemed suspicious.
The group told Terris about the happenings of the evening, and he told them it was probably linked to the mists that visited them when the green tinted rock fell to the ground.

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Session Eight: The White Dragon
To Norjal!

After returning from the Shadowfell, Albi got to work on creating a suit of armour for Oizo‘s soul to use. After completion of the suit, Eiswin spent the next few hours fusing Oizo’s soul with the new armor so that he could have a physical body. During this magical infusion, Oizo saw visions. He saw a battlefield sided with elves and eladrin, and on the other side, small demons and a horrific-looking human figure.
The demons attacked, and the Eladrin and Elves did their best to meet them in battle. Shortly, the human figure on the demon’s side opened a huge portal behind her, spilling out of it various demonic creatures.
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She soon changed her form as well, taking on the form of a demon with a flaming whip and a lightning sword. The Elves and Eladrin were slaughtered by the demonic forces, and his vision ended. He awakened to find himself in his new metal body, unsure of what to think. He told the others about his vision, and they recognised the horrific woman from his descriptions…it was Najala!
As the group gathered around Oizo, a grey mist began to cluster in the corner of the room. Out of the mist materialised the form of Najala, and she angrily greeted Oizo, “How good to see you again.” She pulled her hands toward her and suddenly Nine, Seven, Trolol, and Albi began to slide towards her. As if being pulled into a rift, they blinked into thin air in front of her and disappeared. “If you want to see your friends again,” she cackled, “meet me north, in Norjal.” She blinked out of the room and disappeared.

“So you met her too,” Eiswin said. He told them that when in the shadowfell he brought back a small piece of one of the small demons they defeated, and had been experimenting on it. He told them that when he scried using it, he found a huge power of seemingly demonic origin emanating from Norjal. Eiswin told them, “quickly, find your friends, hasten to Norjal!”
So the group set off on the backs of their red and green dragons north to Norjal. Upon arriving at Norjal, they encountered a village covered in snow near the edge of a wood. Here they saw Najala, along with several demons. Najala said to them “welcome!” and from behind her, a huge white dragon arose from the snow. They began combat, and soon the group found that small demons were coming from the houses in the village. Upon further inspection, it was seen that the elves that had lived here were slaughtered and their bodies were used as a means to spawn more demons. Najala used her shapeshifting abilities to change into a beholder, and she created havoc with her powerful eye rays. The red and green dragons they had used to fly here then fought the white dragon.
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The group slowly took down each of the demons, lighting the houses on fire to destroy the demons as they were being born. They killed the last of the demons, and destroyed Najala in her beholder form. The white dragon knocked both of their dragons unconscious and turned to face the party. It used its powers to create a blizzard, sending each of the party unconscious, except for Oizo. Oizo spoke with the dragon, asking it who it served. It told him that it served the Elder Elemental Eye, and that it is rumoured that the entity created the demons. Oizo asked the dragon what he could do to let it spare he and his friend’s lives. It told him that it must come with him. Oizo agreed, and the dragon scooped him and the rest of the party up, flying them to some unknown destination. It is unknown what has happened to Trolol, Seven, Albi and Nine.
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Session Seven: The Shadow
Shadowfell

The group reached a graveyard, and the mage spoke strange words, raising an invisible tower from the ground. He told that that here, the veil between the world and the shadowfell was weaker, and that here they could make a portal more easily. He introduced to them a woman named Fern, who revealed herself to be Rolan’s friend. She said she barely escaped as their village was burned to the ground. The group then opened the portal to the shadowfell. Fern and Nine stayed behind to ensure that the portal was kept open, and the rest stepped through.

There in the shadowfell, each of them began to feel strange. Various afflictions ranging from mania to depression affected them and weighed heavily upon their minds. In the distance, they could see a gigantic creature moving across the endless grey plains, and eventually after a long walk, came to a group of Shadar-kai. They revealed that they were servants of the Raven Queen, and that they kept souls safe until they could pass to the other side. They told them that they would not be able to retrieve their friend, but they should go to the city of Gloomwrought nonetheless.
In town they approached a temple to the Raven Queen and speaking to the priest there, they affirmed that they could not simply ask for Oizo’s soul. Suddenly, huge soul-eating creatures burst into the city, and while the Shadar-kai could deal with a few of them, the priest beseeched them to help defend the city. The undead giant spewed out demonic creatures, which Eiswin thought unusual. After a long-fought battle, they finally defeated the titantic undead creature and the demons, but unfortunately, lost Isis in the battle. The priest told them that she could not be brought back, as her soul would not pass through the shadowfell as she died here. It would simply pass straight through to the other side. In exchange for helping defend the city, he gave them Oizo’s soul and commended their service to the Raven Queen, protecting the souls of the dead from the titantic soul-eating creatures.

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Session Six: The Castle
Ikvegn

On the way to Ikvegn, the party encountered Nine and Albi again, this time far below, resting with their dragon. Upon seeing the party, they attempted to fly away, but the red dragon could not outrun their green dragon, who they had named Twelve. They managed to get Nine to notice that Oizo was gone, and she asked Albi to stop the dragon. They landed, and the group told them about how Oizo had died, and about their travels. Albi showed them a strange cube he possessed, which he claimed had the spirit of the Empressthey thought they met in Ghalem’Ka within it. Seven revealed that she was the daughter of Nine, and asked her if she remembered her. Isis hit her husband, demanding an explanation as to why he left with Nine. He told them that he was given this cube by a strange merchant months ago, and upon solving it, the spirit of the empress awakened. She told him about the demon portal and that Nine was one of the descendants of the royal families who sealed the demon portal those years ago. She told him to seek her out because Najala was bent on killing her. They had been on the run, even from the party, because they wanted to stay separated for safety’s sake. If Najala caught them all together, they would be in big trouble.

After talking, the groups decided to stick together until they got to rescue Oizo. They headed north to Ikvegn and discovered through asking around that the powers that be in the town resided in Castle Harkenwold. The group went to the castle and attempted different methods of getting into the castle. Albi used a disguise kit to convince the guards to let him through the front door by doing an admirable impression of a woman seeking shelter. Meanwhile the rest of the group scaled the walls using their ropes, taking the guards out one by one. Eventually, they all got into the castle keep to discover that the ruler here was Lady Najala! A battle ensued, and midway through, Najala showed her true form. She was a lich! Upon defeat, Najala collapsed into dust. The dust flew out the window and across the sea. The group knew that was not the last they would see of her. They checked the castle and found a prisoner in the dungeon named Eiswin, who claimed to be a mage. They told him they were seeking a way to the shadowfell, and he told them he was the mage who could transport them there. They made their way back to his tower.

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