After getting a night of rest, we returned to the dungeon. During the night, I made sure to scribe a couple scrolls of Protection from Evil and gave them to Bas and Ram. I won’t have anyone else getting possessed.
After protecting everyone with some heat resistance magic we used the lift to descend to the forge level. Once we reached the floor, 4 salamanders came out from behind the forge. They moved to attack us. Luckily I speak Ignan and I was able to speak to them. I informed them of Vhane’s defeat and our capture of Drezen and the Citadel. I offered them the chance to stand down and depart. I seemed to have reached them, for the salamanders halted their advance. They told us that they were bound to the forge and thus I promised to try and free them.
We then took some time to examine the forge itself. After inspecting the forge itself, referencing Stauton Vhane’s notes, and questioning the salamanders; I was able to determine that it would be possible to redeem the Corruption Forge and turn it into a Purity Forge, thus transforming evil items into their goodly counterparts. Hmmm. I wonder if I would be able to use this to reform Vhane’s weapon, Soulshear? It will need to wait, however, the forge is currently radiating a strong evil aura and requires clerical magical to remove. We will have to return with clerical support once we’ve cleared the dungeon.
Two passages led away from the forge room. The first led to a looted armory. There was still a good amount of weapons within, but it looks like all the best gear has been taken. The remaining gear will still be useful though. The other corridor led us to a storage room that held crafting equipment. During our search, we found a secret door that led deeper within the dungeon.
This door opened into a large hall, 20 feet off the ground. We secured a rope and climbed down. The hall held a number of alcoves in which was a mural of Deskari mauling a deity and a red banner hung on the far wall. 5 gods were represented; Iomedae, Shelyn, Sarenrae, Torag, and Desna. Emp took great objection to this and wanted to begin smashing right there and now. Bas convinced him that it might be wise to wait until we’d cleared the area, he did however, take a moment to draw a mustache on on of the depictions of Deskari.
That may not have been such a good idea. For, as Bas drew, a dark shadow emerged from the image of Deskari and attacked him. A shadow then emerged from the other images and one came for each of us. We were all able to shake off any effects, but it looks like we were all the target of a Phantasmal Killer spell.
We searched the area and I scrutinized the banner. When I focused on it, it vanished? Damn, it was an illusion. Well, nothing to do but continue on our way. While we were searching, we’d found another secret door. This one led into a circular chamber. A 5 foot ledge ran around the edge of a pit. The pit was dominated by a statue of Aponavicius. Bas went in and checked the place. There were 2 traps and 3 sets of doors. He disabled the traps. It seems that 1 set of doors led back to the hall we’d just left, so we tried the other.
Bas opened the door and the room within was pitch dark. I looked within and could see nothing, this was a magical darkness. Oh Hells! I immediately cast a magic circle of protection about us. All the other rooms down had had some light, and now we find a room cloaked in magical darkness. The fact that there is supposed to be a shadow demon lurking down here makes this too much of a coincidence. I then attempted to dispel the darkness. I was successful, for about a second. Then the darkness returned. Ok, this isn’t going to work. I’d made up some protection scrolls the night prior, I ordered everyone to protect themselves and did so to the non-casters. While in the process of this, a blast of force came from the room and pushed Ram off the edge into the pit. He landed 40 feet below in a putrid soup of slime. Great, how in the hell is he going to get out of there.
Bas, Emp and Arthas had all entered the room. I was trying to figure a way out of the pit for Ram when another force blast pushed me into the pit. I hit the bottom and landed in the slime alongside Ram. It was then that I found that the slime was HIGHLY acidic! I cast fly upon myself and lifted free. I then cast fly upon Ram and he flew free as well. He used a charm to remove the slime from himself. Unfortunately he had nothing for me, so I had to improvise. I was lucky in that my fire protection was still functioning. Thus, I used a burning hands spell to hose myself down and scorch away the slime.
In the room, the others were having a rough time of things. The demon was almost impossible to see. Bas had scored some hits, but he was fighting blind. Emp had cast a light enchantment. It didn’t break through the darkness, but it did allow Emp to see a crumpled red piece of cloth on the altar at the back of the room, he correctly deduced that this must be the Sword of Valor. Upon seeing it, he ran to grab it!
Bas and the demon had been sniping at each other, both scoring hits. Arthas and Emp had also moved in to try and engage. Outside, I’d finally been able to start summoning. I first sent in an earth elemental, but it couldn’t get a read on anything. So I next summoned an air elemental and cast daylight upon it. When it entered the room, the others finally had some light as Emp’s light aura had been able to counter the demonic darkness. Ram then entered followed swiftly by another elemental. With everyone finally able to see and work on it, the demon took strike after strike and finally succumbed to its wounds.
With the demon (Eustoyriax) perished, in its death, a burst of energy exploded for from its corpse as it discorporated. We’d felt this before. The burst of mythic energy infused us with a new found power and we felt ourselves become stronger! With the demon dead, the darkness vanished and we were able to confirm that we had in fact recovered the Sword of Valor. Not only that, the city and citadel had all been cleared. Drezen is ours!
We emerged from the dungeon and the citadel to the cheers of our soldiers. We at once dispatched word to Queen Galfrey. The next step was to begin getting the armies billeted in the citadel and in Drezen proper. Then we needed to formulate a plan to begin re-construction. I laid claim to a small tower a stones throw to the West of the citadel. I think that that would make a nice wizard’s tower.
The next few days were a flurry of activity! We received a sending from the Queen. She informed us that more troops were on the way. We’d begun fortifying the city and repairing the defenses. We’d also sent a detachment back to the ruined church that we’d passed on our way. They had orders to occupy and begin rebuilding the compound. By restoring this strongpoint, this, along with the re-occupation of the towns along our route to Drezen will ensure a secure line of supply back to Kenabras.
In her message, the Queen had also named Irabeth as the city’s ruler. After getting over the shock, she settled into her role and became a very capable leader. Anevia became the Spymaster of Drezen and began spending most of her time skulking about, looking for signs of demonic influence. Aravashnial was put in charge of rebuilding the magical defenses of the city. On the side, he also began putting the Riftwardens back together. Horgus was asked to become the city Treasurer. He began using his knowledge to restore a semblance of trade and commerce to the city. Aron took on the dual roles of Capt. of the Guard and Chief Engineer. Sosiel as High Priest of Drezen, began restoring an old cathedral on Paradise Hill into a multi-denominational place of worship for several faiths.
With Drezen’s operation in hand, we turned our focus to other things. I put some workers to labor on my new tower. In the meantime, I began work on redeeming the Corruption Forge. I was forced to rely on Sosiel for assistance as part of the process required clerical intervention. Ram and Emp also lended their aid and our efforts bore fruit as we were successful! We were also continuing our efforts to reform Nurah and Joran. They seemed to be responding well to our influence. I continued to speak with Nurah and involve her in planning further operations into the Worldwound. We enlisted Joran to aid us in operating our new Purity Forge. Bas has taken an interest in Jestak’s rehabilitation. He’s been spending a lot of time with her as of late. I actually think that they’ve been hooking up? I’ve heard that he’d been seen leaving her room a couple times. If he’s only been seen twice, there have probably been many many more times that he hasn’t been seen. I hope that he’s careful, she looks like the type who likes things rough.
At last, our reinforcements arrived. Along with the relief army came detachments of workers and craftsmen, not to mention caravans of food and supplies. Along with them, they carried a message from Queen Galfrey:
To the Heroes of Drezen-
Words cannot convey my gratitude for what you have done. I wish that I could say that the worst is over; but as you surely must know, the liberation of Drezen is but the first of many steps. You are poised to serve in such a way that no others among the crusaders can match. Use Drezen as a base of operations. Set out to explore the Wounded Lands to the south and west for anything else that we can use against the demons. You being on the front lines, doubtless have already isolated several possible leads to investigate, but do not hesitate to consult those I have sent north with you. Sosiel, Aron, Irabeth and the rest know much of the region’s history and legends. Word of your success and Drezen’s liberation has already started to spread, and already I see the results in the faces of my soldiers. They fight with renewed morale. Our increased tenacity along the southern borders should keep they eye of Deskari turned away from you, affording you time to explore and investigate behind enemy lines. With your aid, I now feel that victory is finally something that we can hope for.
So, it seems that we now have new orders and having a nice long rest isn’t one of them. We’ll take a couple more days to rest and wrap up any projects, then we will begin our forays into the Worldwound. Once more into the lions den.