Here Be Dragons

Freeing Chinny

We all gather at the cabal chambers. Szindaer says that Chinny must undergo a dangerous ritual to prevent him from being possessed by an evil creature again in the future. He states that creatures from the Seven Hells will likely be summoned as we attempt to sever the link. Chinny is determined to go ahead with the ritual.

Szindaer reveals that the creature that holds this sway over Chinny is none other than the patron that grants him his warlock powers, who he calls a powerful fiend. He states, “The link he has formed with you is stronger than necessary to provide you these powers, and was formed without your knowledge. I believe Bareris is to blame for this. We simply need undo what Bareris has done.”

Chinny proposes that Lydia replace him on the Cabal before he undergoes the ritual. Lydia agrees to do so temporarily, until we are sure that Chinny has not been corrupted in some way, and states that he should resume his place on the Cabal only when we feel it is safe. Chinny agrees with this, and furthermore asks Lydia to kill him should he be controlled somehow and forced to act against the elves’ best interest.

We then discuss whether to continue to try to get information from Lady Katrina, now revealed to be a dragon, or to assassinate her now. We decide to assassinate her, after we perform the ritual on Chinny.

Szindaer leads us to a musty cellar on the boundary of the White Tower Grounds, where we meet up with Igor. We see an arcane circle engraved in the ground.

The light in the room seems to be sucked into the arcane circle as Chinicum mutters the incantation for his spell.

We hear whispering coming from a point just above Chinicum, emanating from some unearthly plane. Black patches of darkness appear around the room as creatures slip into our plane from the Seven Hells.

We engage with Grells from the Seven Hells and other creatures, eventually killing a Death Tyrant.

There is a blast of darkness from the center of Chinny’s circle, and the stone underneath his feet shatters, breaking the arcane circle. Chinny’s face seems to have more color than it did previously.

Szindaer declares that no fiend could have maintained the contact through that circle he created, so the link between him and Chinny should now be broken.

Upon Our Return - Five Stories

We return to our own world with our new Beholder companion, Igor, who excites much fear and suspicion, which we do our best to allay.

Accepting to Ehput-Ki’s counsel, our group disperses. Flint heads immediately to the President and the Pig to reunite with Pensiar, accompanied by Wellby, Sparkle, and Kurshk. Lydia returns to Lady Katrina’s employ. Chinicum joins Ehput-ki to attend a Cabal meeting to vote on important pending matters. Igor and Cid remain with Mialee, who senses that Cid needs healing from the dark forces he encountered in the alternate universe.

At the President and the Pig, Wellby and Kurshk begin a night of heavy drinking, while Sparkle looks on in concern. Flint only has eyes for Pensiar, and is putty in her hands. She wishes to show Flint a perfect place to get married and he follows willingly. Pensiar leads Flint to a park, chatting excitedly the whole way. Flint is charmed and diverted, and doesn’t immediately notice when Pensiar begins to speak only in rhyme. Gradually he becomes puzzled and alarmed and leads her out of the park. They are followed by a man, who continues to follow them into a shop. Flint grabs the man from behind and places his short-sword against his neck. To his surprise the man talks to him in rhyme! He claims that Bareris has put him up to this to “buy time.” The spell soon wears off both the man and Pensiar, who is sure the man is no longer a threat. Flint, however, is not amused; he expresses himself in angry rhyme while he ties the man’s arms behind his back and drags him along with them back to the President and the Pig.

Mialee begins the ritual to heal Cid by pressing her palms to his temple. Igor misunderstands and fears he is witnessing a mating ritual, but is reassured and sits back to watch. After a while, black smoke issues from Cid’s mouth and congeals into several black demonic forms. Mialee cries, “To your feet! Destroy them!” At this point a mysterious silence falls and observers are not privy to what occurs next. We later learn that Cid has destroyed the demons, presumably aided by the indefatigable Igor.

Lydia obsequiously returns to Lady Katrina’s employ to sing soothing songs. Lady Katrina is transported back in memory to a faraway place and her form shimmers before solidifying. She is now so relaxed she becomes quite chatty and requests Lydia to ask her any questions she might have. Lydia tries to use this to advantage, and learns that the Lady is very fond of music and that she is really a … DRAGON!

Chinicum and Ehput-Ki hasten to the meeting of the Cabal. Bareris immediately tells them the Cult of the Dragon is succeeding in their plan to return dragons to the world of men, and that there are two ways to combat this. One way is to assist the elves and deny Sultana Pyre the civil war she desires. But Bareris has a second, fiendish idea of using an Elvish Burial Orb to take advantage of the civil war and siphon from the orb the power created by the deaths of elves. He pulls an Orb from his pocket — it is the very orb that we adventurers had long ago obtained for “Thia” (who blamed us for its fiery shattering)! It had not shattered; instead, Chini had used a Time-Stop spell to obtain the orb for Bareris, at his request!

Bareris now demonstrates how Chini, who possesses no such magic, was able to use such a powerful spell. A shadow passes over Chini, who sits taller and says, “I give Bareris my proxy for the upcoming vote.” He then collapses back in his chair. Umara immediately accuses Bareris of illegally compelling a vote, but Bareris, Ehput-Ki, and Chini himself inexplicably deny that this is the case.
Bareris now demands a vote, and it seems certain that his diabolical plan will win. Ehput-Ki inexplicably stalls for time when asked for his (the final) vote. At the last moment, who should float in but a small, withered Genasi, surrounded by a brilliant blue aura of magic. The magical power emanating from him is immense. He is none other than the long absent, 12th member of the Cabal, Szindaer. “I have not voted yet, Bareris,” he says, and casts the final vote in favor of aiding the elves in their war against Sultana. He explains that he does this because of an old promise to his friend Shavia.

Szindaer calls Chinicum a walking time-bomb, and suggests sorting out what came over him, to prevent it reoccurring at an even more inopportune time. Ehput-Ki explains it was Chini’s patron, who provides him his warlock powers, who possessed Chinicum. Szindaer offers to make sure Chini’s patron can never possess him again, and Chini agrees.

Back at the President and the Pig, Kurshk gets rip-roaring drunk, and Wellby gets stupefied. A terrible brawl occurs, but none of the participants remembers the details, so we only barely learn of its occurrence from Sparkle, and see little evidence except for some miscellaneous bruises and broken barstools. Sparkle has developed a very special affection for Wellby, and she offers him encouragement to avoid becoming a sorry drunk.

The Death of Arjhan and the Reward of Dragonsbane

In the Dragon’s Horn Tower, Cid, masquerading as alt-Cid, converses with Mialee. She observes that there is a different aura about him, and asks if he has been withholding from the magic. He replies that he has in fact been using less of it. Cid asks if anything new has transpired since they last spoke. Mialee tell him that there is a powerful Spelleater who may be able to ascertain that he is not under the sway of the magic, and suggests he not approach him. Mialee hands him an amulet, which he takes as if he understands. A strange whispering and scratching background sound he had barely noticed suddenly disappears.

We climb past 5 floors to the roof of the tower. As we emerge onto the tower top we see a lone figure looking out over the twilight-colored landscape. He is dressed in bright red robes and appears to be a dragonborn. Igor points his eyestalks in his direction. Hearing our arrivival, the spelleater turns to face us. It is Arjhan! Arjhan immediately threatens to kill Chinicum. We begin to battle Arjhan, but hear the wings of a white dragon approaching. Arjhan suddenly vanishes and the huge white dragon lands in the middle of the tower top. We fight and slay the white dragon.

We continue to battle the invisible Arjhan, our attacks based on where his are coming from. Eventually Flint strikes the killing blow, and Arjhan dies (again). Pensiar suggests we go back to Aviana, and collect our rewards for accomplishing our mission. Igor insists on coming with us and refuses to take no for an answer, eventually trailing after us.

We make our way back to the tunnel we originally came through. Some of the Last Glimmer have come out, including Aviana, and they notice Igor. The guards start stringing bows and firing arrows at him He ducks and weaves and hides behind Lydia. When he doesn’t fight back, the guards stop and leave him alone, in confusion.

Aviana says we can treat each of our weapons with dragonsbane to allow them to shear through obsidian, or our armor to protect us from her fire magic.
She examines Cid’s amulet, telling him that it affects the mind and body of any creature into which he shapeshifts. She believes she can infuse the amulet in the same way, giving his claws the power to shear through obsidian or his pelt to resist fire.

Flint, Cid, Chinny, and Kurshk choose to have their weapons enhanced to be able to shear through obsidian. Lydia choose to have her armor treated to protect her from Sultana’s fire magic.

Igor wants to return to our world with us. A long discussion with Igor ensues, working out the terms. We eventually agree to allow him to come along and we prepare to return to our own world.

Mission to the Dragon's Horn Tower

We pull out all stops to destroy the evil Dao and vanquish the vampire alternate Sparklegem in ferocious battle, causing Aviana to afterwards remark, “ Well. I won’t lie that your arrival is inconvenient. But at least you fight like devils possessed. Thank you.”

We learn from the newly arrived alternate Pensiar that things got messy in our universe when our alternates first arrived. Not only was alt-Sparkle a vampire, but alt-Lydia and alt-Chini hate each other for some reason, and alt-Cid tried to escape, causing chaos. Alt-Pensiar warns Cid that alt-Cid has been corrupted by wielding the nature magic of this alt-universe, and the same could happen to him if he uses his magic here!

Alt-Durkon learns from Flint that Durkon died a hero’s death, and is proud of that. Alt-Leucis reveals himself as a turncoat who is now helping the Glimmer. We are suspicious of him because of his counterpart Leucis’ role as General Lamentation.

We turn to planning the mission of killing the powerful Spelleater that alt-Lydia was planning to kill before she was inconveniently sent to our universe by our spell. The Spelleater is a guest at the Dragon’s Horn Tower and will be departing on the morrow. Flint asks many questions of Aviana, much to Kurshk’s impatience. Finally we determine that Kurshk’s initial idea is best, to fight our way in to the Tower, rather than to sneak in. We decide to take alt-Pensiar and alt-Durkon with us and leave Wellby and alt-Leucis behind.

We travel to the Dragon’s Horn and boldly approach. We are immediately involved in battle with a powerful Archmage and a Half-Red Dragon Veteran. We overcome and kill the Archmage with our weapons and magic. As he dies, he cries out, “Lord Chinicum – why???” Before we have a chance to finish off the Half-Red Dragon Veteran, he turns to Chini and says piteously, “Lord Chinicum? Have I displeased you, my lord?”

Now we understand why alt-Lydia hates alt-Chini! We immediately make use of this new information. Chini begins by ordering the half-dragon to go out into the forest and think about how he has disappointed him. As we enter the tower, we see an assortment of guards and guests. Chini orders everyone inside to leave. Nearly all immediately obey. We are surprised to encounter alt-Mialee, who stays, and also to our horror, a fabled Beholder.
Beholders are bulbous-headed, floating, diabolical, egomaniacal, creatures with multiple eyeballs on tentacles, but this one doesn’t seem to live up to his reputation. He declares loudly, “I DO NOT KNOW YOU!” and then proceeds to introduce himself as “I-gor” and to say stupid things.

Flint catches sight of a mage lurking in an adjacent room and calls Chini’s attention to him. Chini “orders” Flint to shoot him, and Flint “obeys” and pierces the mage with several well-aimed arrows. The mage sulkily departs.

Alt-Mialee comments, “Surely you’ll be more pleasant with our… other… esteemed guest. He’s upstairs.” Surely she is referring to the powerful Spelleater that we are here to destroy!

The Last Glimmer

Lydia’s attack brings Sorim to his knees, barely alive. Cid questions him. He tells us the village is 3 miles to the west, and Cid suggests we take him with us to be sure he is telling the truth. We talk with him and then Lydia slays him, and we heal ourselves and head west to the village. As we approach we see the inhabitants of the village hiding in their homes. Flint suggests we disguise ourselves, as we don’t know how our counterparts in this universe are perceived.

We head towards the center of this small town of about 200. An innkeeper gives us directions to Dazen’s house. Flint uses the code phrase “Twilight falls but does not extinguish the last glimmer of light” and an old man with a huge bushy beard hurries us inside, shutting and locking the door.

He quickly figures out who we are and leads us into a cellar when we ask to see Pensiar. He twists off the lid of a barrel, reaches in, and twists something inside. Then he walks over to what looks to be a wine barrel, and rolls it aside to reveal a passageway. He tells us to follow the tunnel to find Pensiar and the Last Glimmer. He closes the barrel behind us and we make our way thru it.

After about 10 minutes a petite woman with long black hair steps out of the shadows and interrogates us. Her name is Aviana. Once she is sure who we are, she expresses her frustration that our appearance has disrupted their plans as their Lydia has been whisked from their world just when she had been undercover at the Dragon’s Horn where a high-level Spelleater was due to arrive.

Aviana assures Flint that our Pensiar is safe and suggests a deal – we send our Pensiar back, help them complete their mission, and in return she will help us defeat Sultana.

Aviana offers us each Dragonsbane treated weapons or fire resistant armor. She refuses us both but agrees that we may take a dragonsbane plant to cultivate, though she does not believe this will be overly effective.

Aviana leads us into a large cavern where several people are gathered including Pensiar. She and Flint have a warm reunion. Pensiar agrees when Flint tells her she must go home first so her counterpart can return to this world where she can be of assistance. She also accepts Flint’s proposal that they marry as soon as he returns. Sparklegem decides to go with her for protection.

Chinny casts a spell to send Flint back but senses something crawling out of the portal he has created.

Pensiar and Sparklegem disappear and their counterparts appear – but Sparklegem looks very different. we realize that her counterpart is a vampire. We engage in battle with her and…?

Off to Rescue Pensiar...

Chinicum is welcomed to the newly open position on the Cabal by an inwardly gleeful Bareris, who, as Pensiar and Flint suspect, manipulated events so that former member Aoth would be killed. Clearly Bareris expects Chinicum’s full support, but it is equally clear to the adventurers that Chinicum will remain independent. Bareris immediately pivots in his opinion about Lady Katrina, and votes that, instead of immediately assassinating the Lady, Lydia use her position as private Bard to gather more information from her.

Flint turns his attention to Pensiar and Ehput-Ki, curious about what transpired in their private conversation. Ehput-Ki explains that when we go to the alternate Pensiar’s world to return her and bring back our Pensiar, we will find … “something” that will be instrumental in defeating Sultana. Ehput-Ki will teach Chinicum the spell necessary for us to go there. He offers no advice on when we should undertake this. Flint then asks Pensiar’s opinion, and she states that although she cannot be unbiased, the sooner we do this, the better chances of her being able to get back to her world. Flint believes that we should therefore go immediately (only to learn he has made a false assumption that Pensiar would return to her world with us, giving us all this “better chance” to reach her world, rescue our Pensiar, and save our world). But the others concur that going to the other world now is a good choice.

An immediate departure will complicate Lydia’s plans, as she has agreed to become Lady Katrina’s personal bard. A solution is quickly found – Lydia manufactures a family emergency, charms Lady Katrina with her music, and obtains the Lady’s blessing for a leave of absence.

Ehput-Ki and Pensiar explain that our counterparts from the other world will take our places here, and hopefully not cause trouble. We will arrive in a bleak, dim world where the “not nice” dragon goddess Tiamat rules over everything. We should be distrustful of everyone except members of the resistance, the “Last Glimmer,” whom we may or may not encounter near a village called Crestfall. If we can find Dazen Andross and say, “Twilight falls but does not extinguish the last glimmer of light,” he may be able to put us in touch with the Last Glimmer.

We now make our final plans for departure. We decide to take Wellby and Sparklegem with us. Flint and the others take final leave of the alternate Pensiar, Chinicum casts the spell taught to him by Ehput-Ki, and the world seems to fade away…

We find ourselves in a clearing in inky twilight surrounded by tall rocks with runic signs on them. Two mages sitting by a crackling fire rise and accost us. They sensed the spell that brought us and politely but pointedly ask for the magic. Flint tries the friendly, innocent routine; Chinicum more directly demands the mages’ assistance; neither approach deters the inevitable violent confrontation that ensues.

Chinicum casts a spell that temporarily banishes one of the mages to a harmless Demiplane. We manage to kill the remaining mage, who first exacts a heavy toll on several of us. Rather than flee, we await the return of the other mage, who soon pops back to meet our wrath. Perhaps we can gain information from him…

The Death of Aoth

We meet privately and discuss whether we will go along with the assassination plot. Despite some reservations, we decide that we will, to further the goal of an alliance between our two countries.

Chinny asks Aoth if he should come along to help protect Lydia, but Aoth feels the odds of success are better without him and reaffirms his committment to protect Lydia.

Flint takes Lydia aside and expressed his concern that there may be people in the Cabal who are in the Cult and that if we give information to the Cabal, we are giving it to the Cult. Lydia tells her to trust Umara.

All but Lydia and Aoth return to the white tower, and Ehput-Ki and Pensiar step aside to talk about her alternate dimension.

Umara tells the group that Lydia thinks highly of them, and hopes her true job did not cause too much conflict. Flint expresses our suspicion of Bareris and asks if there are others on the Cabal also under suspicion. Umara explains that as lords and ladies of the nation whose will is the law, the members of the Cabal would never align themselves with the Cult. She believes that even Bareris would never stoop to ally himself with the cult – but that he might be trying to use them and that if he has dealings with the cult it is only because he is trying to get something from them – before he stabs them in the back.

Flint asks if she is sure, and Umara replies, “Pretty sure.”

As they speak quietly, Bareris abruptly falls out of his chair, his beard sprayed out as if charged with electricity. Umara laughs and says that he was trying to eavesdrop on her conversation with the group, but should have know Umara would have a countermeasure.

Umara says that the Cabal is split quite evenly, with Bareris as leader of the other faction, consisting of Bareris, So-Kehur, Nulara, Zolis, and Ramas. She can only guess his true motives when he forces his bloc to vote a certain way, but it is always for personal power. Flint asks why the others would go along with him, and Umara surmises that perhaps he shares this power with them.

Chinny asks what the other faction stands for, and Umara replies: “Often we oppose whatever it is Bareris wants. He has been on this Cabal longer than anyone except our absent leader. He has consolidated his power and now owns 5 of the 11 votes. No one should have that power.”

Flint asks about the absent leader and Umara explains that he was the founder of Surria and the Cabal over 250 years ago. He still lives, but has not been seen in over a decade. Bareris has served the next longest – 80 years.

Umara ends, “I love this nation, and I want the best for the Cabal. As long as the Cabal serves the best interest of Surria, I will abide by its decisions. I am a Surrian first, and a Cabalist second.”

Flint asks if Lady Umara has any reason to suspect Bareris’ loyalty to Surria, and she replies that his loyalty is to himself.

Meanwhile, at the Castle of Lady Katrina, Aoth turns himself into a ladybug, and crawls onto Lydia’s shoulder. Lydia hears his voice in her mind stating “Get me through the door, and I will handle the rest."

Walking up to Lady Katrina’s estates, Aoth is invisible, there are several guards expecting Lydia and who let them pass.

Lady Katrina is awaiting her, and as she and Lydia speak Aoth appears behind Lady Katrina, as if from thin air. In a matter of seconds he has muttered an incantation. A green mist pours of his hands. Where the mist touches the ground, it starts to bubble and hiss and melt. Before Lady Katrina can react, the mist completely engulfs her.

Aoth can already tell that something has gone wrong as Lady Katrina begins to turn, apparently no worse for the wear. He quickly draws a glowing blade with runic sigils embedded on it, and thrusts the dagger at Lady Katrina’s chest. The blade does not pierce Lady Katrina’s chest, instead making a nails on iron sound as it slides off her to the side. Aoth’s eyes go wide in surprise. Lady Katrina’s hands lengthen into black claws that rip through Aoth’s throat, killing him instantly.

In the White Tower, the Cabal is aware of what has just happened. After a quick and heated discussion they decide it is best to let Lydia handle the situation on her own, in hopes of keeping her cover intact, while they turn to discussing who will succeed Aoth in the Cabal.

In the castle, Lady Katrina suspects that Lydia was part of this assassination attempt, but Lydia convinces Lady Katrina of her innocence and Lady Katrina accepts Lydia as her bard. A guard shows Lydia her room, then she returns to the white tower to make her report to the cabal, who are in shock at Lady Katrina’s display of unsuspected power.

Umara nominates Lydia to replace Aoth in the Cabal, and Bareris nominates Chinicum. Lydia, Chinny and the group retire to discuss this. Lydia decides to support Chinny’s nomination. She genuinely feels that as a half elf he is the best person to help forge an alliance with Calimshan. Although this is the reason they will present to the Cabal, at the same time Lydia has exacted a promise from Chinny, in exchange for ceding the nomination to him, that he will keep her fully informed of everything that is discussed by the Cabal. Although she sees a role for herself in the Cabal in the future, she has realized that she is not yet ready to give up her life as a spy and assassin, and she also knows that knowledge is power.

The White Tower of the Cabal

The group awakens in the Inn, to find Lydia has once again disappeared! Flint questions Chinny, who is unable to provide any enlightenment as to where she has gone or if she is in danger.

Lydia reappears and reveals the truth about her identity as a spy for Surria and proposes an alliance between Surria and Calimshan as desired by the Cabal. Flint leaves the inn in anger. Cid feels that despite the deception, an alliance may prove beneficial. Chinny, whose cover is intact, merely states that if this will help the elves, he is in. Kurshk is also in agreement that an alliance is a good idea.

Flint returns, silent, and resumes eating his breakfast. He is angry, and asks to meet alone with Pensiar before the group goes to meet with the Cabal.

Mialee and Sylvie choose to wait for us at the inn.

Flint talks with Pensiar about how he has felt manipulated and lied to, and treated with disrespect. Pensiar presents her view of Lydia, and then expresses her worries over Chinicum.

They rejoin the others, then we all leave together to go to the Cabal. 3 figures attack us as we try to enter the white tower of the Cabal. We quickly kill them.

We enter the hall of the Cabal and Lydia introduces the others.

Ehput-Ki asks which one is Pensiar, and says he would like to speak with her about the alternate dimension from which she comes.

Chathi states they are hoping to form an alliance with Baldur’s Gate, and that we are effective ambassadors towards this goal.

The Cabal discusses the fact that Lady Katrina has been alerted to the investigation into her connection to the Cult, and debate immediate assassination. Despite Lydia’s plea to be allowed to meet with Lady Katrina and infiltrate her staff as planned, the Cabal decides on assassination.

The deciding vote is cast by Ehput-Ki, who looks into the future and votes for assassination, stating “The future is ever murky…but I see a single vision that says the events of this day will echo through the years to come.”

The decision is made for Cabal member Aoth to sneak in when Lydia enters the estate for her meeting, to gain access to Lady Katrina.

Flint continues to question this decision, but Ehput-Ki tells him that the immediate fallout of this will be negative, but offers hope for the future, in the long run. Aoth promises Chinny to protect Lydia as best he can.

Encounter with Demons & Aspects in the Twilight

We find ourselves in the world of shadows. Before us the old man (Bahamut) stands with staff raised at Indomitable. the scene appears frozen in time, just as we remembered it.

Soon more dragons appear, Insidious and Maleficent leading them. Maleficent declares the age of the dragons is nigh! We find ourselves surrounded by dragons.

The Aspects of Hope and Justice appear and battle the ancient dragons, leaving the lesser dragons to us. Chinicum and Cid transform the red dragon into a frog and then an ant and dispatch the blue dragon. We surround the red dragon and it falls in a matter of moments with Cid landing the final blow.

Insidious and Maleficent threaten the aspects, then fly away.

Flint asks the Aspects of Hope and Justice if we are to help return them to the world of light. Justice informs us that two paths branch before us, and not to choose hastily.

Hope tells us we must stop Sultana if we wish to save the elves.

The Aspects tell us about the rift in the sky by which the dragons (so far just the onyx dragon) are escaping the shadow world.

The near-collapse of Bahamut’s spell seems to create a noticeable effect on some of the creatures here. We can see hundreds of bright yellow eyes emanating from the surrounding buildings, eyes locked on the forms of the old man and Indomitable.

From two side streets, we can see several demonic forms approaching. Two enormous Balor, red demons wielding a sword and whip set aflame.

The Aspects of Hope and Justice stride forward to battle with the Balor, but several smaller demons continue to advance towards the old man. We commence battle with a Yochlol and a Gabrezu.

As we battled these demons the fight between Bahamut and Indomitable speeds up, and it is clear Bahamut is losing.

As the Aspects of Hope and Justice finish off the Balor, they quickly move to aid Bahamut. With the three of them working together, Indomitable makes one last peevish snap of his jaws, and then flies off into the twilight sky.

Bahamut informs us that some of us have information that others in the group need and that we must work together. Then we wake up.

Adventurers Reunited in Surria!

Standing near the entrance of this large hallway, Kurshk, Cid, Flint, Mialee and Pensiar (assisted by three giant spiders conjured by Cid) engage in battle with the assassins and cultists, and kill them all. We enter further and see that it opens into many rooms on all sides. Interesting!

Kurshk takes the lead and heads deep into the central hall, peering into rooms. Suddenly a huge Horned Devil appears directly in front of Kurshk, and attacks!

We engage in battle again. A huge Dao appears and joins forces with the Horned Devil. He demonstrates his enormous powers and we struggle against them both. Kurshk, thoroughly enjoying the flow of the battle, is greatly wounded again and again. Mialee repeatedly heals him. Just as we hope we can prevail against such monsters, a horde of Scouts burst into the room. Flint’s powerful volley of arrows wounds eight of them, but they and dozens more continue to advance.

Sparklegem bursts in! “Cavalries comin’, hold on!” she cries. And then, Lydia bursts in followed by Chinicum, who disperses the horde of scouts with powerful magic. Wellby appears on the scene as well. The tide of the battle turns, and with continued heroic effort, we defeat the enemy.

We are bursting with curiosity about our cohorts’ adventures since we were separated, and Kurshk takes the opportunity to punch Chinicum for turning him into a toad to keep him from killing Lamentation. That score settled, we decide we’d best use our time searching for evidence about Lady Katrina’s connection to the cult, and postpone catching up with each other until later.

Flint, on a hunch, uses a Locate Object divination to find out if there is a General Lamentation communicator device nearby. Bingo! There is one in the easternmost room. Flint leaves it there to allay suspicion. We now are certain of Lady Katrina’s involvement with the Cult.

Mialee calls out; she has found some letters in another room. Flint opens the letters and reads the contents. The five letters are:

1. from Lord Jerrod, a trading of information with Lady Katrina.
2. from Ander Helder, a member of the Sons of Surria, pledging support.
3. from Lady Brightwood, containing no incriminating information.
4. from Cefrey Stormwind, another member of the Son of Surria, a report on the organization.
5. from Bareris, who wishes Lady Katrina to know that she has a friend on the “Cabal.”

Wellby comments wryly, “Apparently there are more cult spies in the Sons than there are actual members.” None of us know what the “Cabal” is.

Flint suddenly feels his skin crawling and shouts out that something is coming. Lady Katrina is heard approaching! “Who killed all of these people? Whoever did this couldn’t have gotten far!” We narrowly escape the palace through the side entrance, hampered by a very recalcitrant Kurshk.

Lydia will be missed if she does not return to the party, so she makes herself invisible and leaps over the wall back into the garden of the palace, to mingle with guests. The rest of us make our way back to the President and the Pig to sober up Kurshk with some paradoxical ale, and to spend the night. No sooner do we go to sleep but we find ourselves back in the now-familiar, dark landscape …


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