The door to the adjoining room was flung open, within stood a dwarf in spiked plate armor, wielding a glaive. Staunton I presume. Backing him up were 2 fiendish minotaurs. Not being a fool, Staunton remained within the safety of his chambers, and attacked from there. Emp, while not a fool (although he has made some questionable decisions during the time that I’ve known him) rushed right in and went toe to toe with Staunton. I had my archons teleport inside the room and engage the minotaurs. Bas also shadow stepped within and moved to strike at Staunton. That was fortuitous as Staunton landed some solid blows upon Emp and took him down. Arthas charged in struck Staunton, this strike along with the damage done by Bas and Emp was enough to send Staunton to whatever place in the Abyss that awaited him. My archons were able to quickly finish off the minotaurs.
As Ram tended to Emp, Bas ensured that Staunton wouldn’t be returning by severing his head. For laughs, he then placed it upon Emp’s chest. The rest of us began searching the area. In Jorun’s room, we found a large number of maps detailing invasion plans into Mendev, Numeria and other neighboring countries. Even though they are obviously out of date they may hold some value.
Emp had since come around, he didn’t find Bas’s joke as humorous as we, but it is no matter. We stripped Staunton of his armor and gear and proceeded to loot his chambers, pulling in a nice haul of gold and other gear. The most important find, however, was his journal. I immediately took possession of that for later study. With Staunton’s death, we had secured the main floor of the citadel. So, after collecting Jorun, we exited and returned to our camp. We immediately ordered it broken and moved a good portion of our forces into the citadel to secure it. The remaining troops were then split into squads and sent sweep the city for any remaining stragglers. We also organized patrols to begin scouting the city’s perimeter and establish fortified points on all the roads into the city.
After getting established in the citadel, I went to have a chat with Jorun to try and sway him to our cause. I spoke to him of renouncing his evil deity and following a better path, a path of honor. I told him of how he could become the Vhane brother who is remembered. Jorun Vhane, the great dwarven hero, who redeemed the family name, so tainted by the deeds of the black hearted traitor Staunton. He was resistant, so we will probably need to speak with him some more, but he did agree to share what he knows with us, so that is a start.
As the others relaxed, I began to read Staunton’s journal. It contained several interesting items. 1. It seems that it was Staunton who stole the Sword of Valor and betrayed Drezen all those years ago. This will be particularly interesting to the scholars of the Crusade. 2. He spoke of an item called the “Corruption Forge” which it seems is used to corrupt holy items for use by the Worldwound. Hmmm. I wonder if the process could be reversed? I’ll have to examine the forge myself to be sure. He expressed frustration at Aponavicius for not being allowed to corrupt the Sword of Valor. 3. Several pages were devoted to rants against Irabeth for her role in exposing him in Kenebras many years ago. He seemed fixated on exacting vengeance against her and described in vivid detail the tortures that he would inflict upon her. Best of luck with that Staunton. 4. There are passages about the shadow demon Eustoyriax, an unusually powerful shadow demon who has been placed as the guard of the Sword of Valor. A side note, it seems that he arrived “wearing” the possessed body of Maranse Delaskru, who is now dead after having been given over to the succubus Kiranda (was that who we met?) I hope that the location of Maranse’s body can be found within, I’d like to see him restored to life. Having a legendary crusader such as he with us would be a great boost to morale. 5. The journal recorded Staunton’s meeting with Xanthir Vang, the leader of the Black Flame Adepts. Something about Vang deeply unsettled Staunton and he made mention that he’d rather not meet Vang again. I wonder why? I’ll need to make some inquiries. 6. The final pages mention a succubus by the name of Arueshalae, an abyssal heretic who had been held prisoner in the dungeon until recently. She escaped before our siege began, much to the worry of Staunton. He sent multiple trackers into the Worldwound to find her, the most recent being a Sifkesh worshiping annis hag. He planned to go after Arueshalae himself once he’s “dealt” with us. Once again Staunton, best of luck with that. But it does raise some interesting questions. What is so important about a renegade succubus? Why would Aponavicius be so interested in keeping her imprisoned? This could be worth following up on as well.
Next, we took a closer look at that glaive of Staunton’s. It had given me a strange feeling prior and I wanted to examine it more carefully. As I inspected the weapon, I became aware of a presence, prodding at my consciousness. It was malevolent and evil. It was then that I realized, this weapon was sentient! I’m glad that I took the time to inspect it before anyone attempted to wield this accursed object. Who knows what could have happened had they done so?
The next day, we headed back in. It was obvious that the first section was a prison level. The first series of cells held only the dead. Any prisoners here had long since passed on. Poor bastards. I only hope that they went quick. The next area was more interesting. We found some cells that had been warded with arcane runes. It created a rather powerful null magic zone. These cells were obviously used to hold spellcasters. The cells were empty, but one showed signs of being inhabited. The walls were covered in hundreds of butterfly carvings. They’d been scratched into the walls with claws? Ram and recognized the butterfly fixation as being particular with worshipers of Desna? A search of the cell revealed a prayer, also scratched into the walls; “HEAR MY PRAYER, LADY LUCK. FOR IT IS LUCK I NEED IN ESCAPING THIS CELL. NOT JUST THE LIFE BEHIND THESE BARS, BUT AN ETERNITY SPENT SHACKLED TO THE ABYSS
ITSELF. If YOU TRULY ARE THE TENDER Of DREAMS, THEN TENDER UNTO ME A NEW EXISTENCE. LET ME SING THE SONG OF THE SPHERES, SEE THE STARS WITH NEW EYES, AND ESCAPE THE PIT INTO WHICH
MY SOUL WAS CAST. BRING ME GOOD FORTUNE, MY LADY. BRING ME A NEW SPIRIT MADE CLEAN. AND I WILL FOREVER BE YOURS, IN LIFE, AND IN FAITH. I AM READY. FINALLY READY.” Something about this cell seemed familiar to Bas, whatever it was he didn’t go into detail.
The final room on the block was a set of communal cells. Within were held a handful of crusaders! At first we rejoiced to finally find living prisoners, then they hurled themselves at the bars and we realized that we were mistaken. All of the men had been transformed into vampire spawn, they were little more than feral beasts. We left them were they were. We’ll have some of the camp clerics come down and attend to them.
The final room in the area was a torture chamber. It had seen a lot of use. A couple babau’s lurked inside, we destroyed them with little fuss. Bas began checking the other doors and interrupted a half orc vampire as he was feeding upon a crusader! So he closed the door. Not the action I’d have gone with, but, spilled milk and all that. So, once we had ample warning, Bas charged the room. I sent an elemental in through the wall to provide support. Everything was going ok, until the vampire dominated Bas and ordered him to kill us all! Well, doesn’t that just suck.
So, Bas began his new job as a vampire’s stooge by shadow stepping back into the room in which most of us stood and dropping a fireball in our midst. Now this really sucks. Luckily I’d planned for an event such as this. I attempted to suppress the compulsion under which Bas now was afflicted. However, he was able to resist my efforts. Sigh. Where was this strength of will earlier when he need to stare down a vampire and keep his wits? So, plan B. I dim stepped up beside Bas and was able to tap him on the shoulder and bestow a protection charm upon him. This was enough to allow him to break the compulsion. Meanwhile, while I was dealing with this, Emp had stepped up and had killed the vampire.
A search of his room revealed a few items and a very respectable library of books dedicated to planar research. I made sure to stuff the bag with them. Emp decapitated the vampire and anointed its corpse with holy water. Bas was able to find a secret door that led us to the room containing the vampire’s coffin. We made sure to destroy it. That just left 1 thing. We’d noticed a particular effect hampering our spells. This room seemed to be an epicenter of that effect. Unfortunately, it would take divine magic to break and Ram’s disposition is somewhat too neutral for him to do so. Well, hopefully we can get one of the cadre clerics to deal with this when they came by to attend to the vampiric crusaders in the other room.
Once done, we continued our exploration and found…nothing! There were no more doors? We’d obviously missed something. So, we made a trip back upstairs for another chat with Jorun. He then advised us that there was a secret door near the stairs that led into the area holding the forge. It would have been nice to have had this information sooner, but whatever.
With Jorun’s directions we easily found the secret door. We found ourselves on a landing that overlooked the forge room, several feet below. It was accessible via a small lift. The forge radiated heat that we could feel even up here. Across the way, was a set of double doors. The same lift that could take us to the floor below also could carry us across to those doors. I wanted to investigate the forge, but the others thought it wiser to check the room behind the doors first. The doors it is.
The lift ferried us across and we proceeded. The room beyond was some type of ritual room. A ritual circle had been inscribed on the floor. Hanging above it was a large crystal. Surrounding the circle were 3 schir’s and a tiefling. They were chanting, obviously deep in the midst of their ceremony. So deep in fact that they didn’t notice us. They’ll notice us in a moment though.
I dropped a pair of elementals and went to work on the tiefling. A pair of stony fists pounding on her broke her reverie. The others went after the schirs. She attempted to get off a lightning bolt, but I was able to counter it, she then used a wall of force to box herself into a corner. I had nothing that could reach her. I contemplated trying to dim step within and continue the attack, but Bas had the same idea and went in to continue his assault. My next idea was to summon a new archon and have it teleport within the box to aid Bas, however, there seems to be another effect in this area that inhibits any spells or creatures that are attuned to Good. I cast the spell, but the archon was barred from arriving, blast and damnation!
The others had dispatched the schirs by this time and Bas was busily stabbing away at the caster. Regrettably, she was able to get off one last spell and teleported away. I’m getting very tired of these creatures escaping us. One can hope they will slink away to lick their wounds and chose a wiser path in life, preferably one that takes them away from us, if they want to survive that is. So, having foiled the ritual that was to bring down the city atop our heads, we now have a bit of breathing room. We headed back up for some rest. We’ll send the clerics down to attend to those other matters and tomorrow, we’ll inspect the forge and see about shutting it down as well, before we move on.
Bring the Jubilee
Campaign Journal of Nik the Crow - Session 10
Adventures in the Worldwound - Session 10