As Above - So Below

26 Day of Mirtul, 1489 DR
To grell with you!

zb_orb.jpg The Orb seemed not to truly see the group.

Aemon turned to Ser Harkuren and whispered, "No. Not now. Run!"

Harkuren encouraged the former squire of Lady Saryiel to try his “newfound” abilities and confront the creature. Unsure of that, he agrees and moves forward to stop it. Bold as any knight, he call to the creature and it speaks.

A sultry woman’s voice says, “Ah there you. Stop running.”

Not sure if the voice was speaking to Aemon or the party, the group takes no chances and begins leaving, Wan’whivarn and Kedwyn forcing a door open, Dorn behind them, and Feng grabbing and carrying Vrinne.
Harkuren remained to provide support if needed.

“You are so naughty, you cannot keep running away. Come back.” The rotted beholder says.
“You cannot… " Aemon begins to break up, his voice hollow and distant. His form wavering and flickering in and out. “No” he cries, “not again. I will not serv…” and in a flash of light is gone.

Harkuren moves up to block the path. The voice speaks to him, offering him to serve “her”.
He refuses but speaks with the voice. Asking who she is and who she serves.
It replies, “Lareth, and I am servant to no man. I ‘work with’ Kalarel, that is all.”
She tells Harkuren that Aemon and his family are wicked and should be destroyed.
He asks her to explain but it cryptic in her response.

He flees as the orb flares out a beacon searching for the group.

Moving down a long disused corridor, the party has a choice right to another corridor or straight ahead to a set of stairs going down. Looking for fresh air, Kedwyn encourages the group to go to the stairs.

The stairs descend deeper into the complex, a cold breeze rushes over the party, and their breath is now visible. The stairs end in a corridor that turns into a large chamber. The chamber appears to be some sort of excavation site.

This place is very cold, and even the most insensitive can tell that the unnatural chill is a corruption in the air. A wide pit in the center dominates the room, its sides slick with moisture. A pulley has been affixed to the ceiling, and a rope descends from it, connected to four more ropes. These in turn are tied to the edge of a 10-foot-wide wooden platform, circular in shape, in four different places to provide stability. A lantern sitting atop a stool in the southwestern corner illuminates the chamber. Scattered about the pit edge are picks and shovels, and a strange statue rests in the corner farthest from the entrance. Against the north wall stands a large, round, flat stone about the diameter of the pit.

After some dancing lights investigations they decide to take the platform down.

Roughly 15 feet from the top of the shaft, indications exist that a stone plug was once placed here, then carefully mortared and sealed. Just above that point, a 4- foot-wide tunnel carrying an underground stream empties into the shaft, the water spilling down into the darkness below. A 2-foot-wide opening is visible just below the top of the shaft.

The water pouring down beside the descending platform creates a mist below, deepening the chill that you feel as you go deeper. Through that mist, you can see that the floor below is just over 60 feet from the top of the shaft. It appears very smooth and black, with veins of deep violet. The shaft walls spread out into the darkness, opening onto a vast cavern.

As they moved down, there was movement in the shadows. Using his wand of light to explore the cavern, Ser Harkuren scans the cavern and see a creature of nightmare float down towards the group, it’s barbed tentacles reaching out and grabbing Wan’Whivarn!

grell.jpg

The creature lashes out grabbing the Warlock and pulling him away from the platform. The party attacks as it it is floating away with their now limp warlock in tow, Vrinne blasts it with magic missile. The creature’s brain-like head erupts in places of impact and the grell drops like a rock – falling to the platform below with Wan’whivarn’s limp form making a sickening hollow sound as he lands on the black surface below.

Hastily, the party move the platform down. Harkuren jumps down before the platform lands, and rushes to his comrade.
Wan’whivarn’s breath is shallow and faint. Calling upon Bahamut, he lets the power of his diety flow into the elf.

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25 Day of Mirtul, 1489
A ghost from the past

Entering the lower portion of the moathouse proved, initially, to be like any old ruin.
Wet.
Cold.
Dank.
Slime infested?
Voices in the dark calling out to people who are not there?
Growls in the dark?

The sounds of undead gnolls garnered the attention of Ser Harkuren, as Dorn calls out to Wan’whivarn that something is on the ceiling. Slime. Green slime that drops and envelops him.
Yet this slime does not harm him. It coats his body, soothing and warm.

DD_GreenSlime2.jpg

The others deal with the gnolls, and Feng attempts to remove the slime with the help of Kedwyn.
A voice calls to Wan’whivarn’s mind – Serve. With all his willpower he replies no. The slime is no longer comforting, but burning.

Serve!

“No” he replies again, and had it not been for the efforts of his friends, he may have very well indeed joined the slime as one.

They explore a bit more, and discover that the zombie gnolls had tattered robes with a symbol of an eye. Wan’whivarn confirms that it is the eye of Ghaunadaur.

They enter a small room that was locked, debris and a pile of black clothing are piled on the floor. Water drips from the ceiling in a few places.
The clothing also bears the symbol of Ghaunadaur on it.

They find another door in this room, and upon opening it, Ser Harkuren is assaulted by magic!
Resolved in the face of thaumaturgy, he pushes ahead, with the rest of the party behind him.
The battle is fought in the tight confines of the small pillared room. 3 cultist and a foul undead creature who taunted Harkuren. After three of the four foes had fallen the last claims “yield”, but in her haste, Vrinne strike the cultist down with a wave of magic missiles. No information would be gathered today.

A group of cultist have made this place a reclaiment of sorts. The party finds a bed sheet laid on the floor with 4 items.

An iron torch with three black cones black_incense.jpg

A black scepter with violet gems Iron_Sceptre_inventory.jpg

A small black sphere Small_black_sphere.jpg

A black metal tube black_tube.jpg

While the others investigate these items, Ser Harkuren and Dorn discover a secret door. The open it and explore what lies beyond.

The hidden path stops at a portcullis that Ser Harkuren muscles up to get through, he thinks he may have broken the mechanism for it while doing so. Beyond the gate are is a Y section, both illuminated by torches.
He chooses to go left and in doing so discovers a strangely large room with 3 doors across from his entry point. He proceeds to investigate the doors, the first two doors are fake doors with brick walls behind them, the third one is a trap and portcullis drops behind him. In the noise and commotion, a pack of gnolls emerges from a room to the north of his position. They begin to cackle and laugh at him as they move forward to kill him. But not before Dorn charges into the room taking on all four of the beasts.
3 confront him while one remains in the back barking at the pack and firing arrows at him.

He delivers many strikes against them, but is flushed away to protect himself, and finally Ser Harkuren frees himself from his trap and engages the rest of the gnolls. The battle is swift and deadly with the lead gnoll spewing acid from it’s maw at the heroes. Once slain they examine the beast, it had at some point had sacs surgically sewn into it’s head that allowed it to produce this … foul liquid.

The two move to the gnolls room. Fur, fecal matter and worse fill the air. The heroes search the room, Ser Harkuren discovers a gauntlet identical to the one was given by Baron Ateos. Curious, the two begin to go to the other corridor.

Back in the cultists collection room, Kedwyn examines the items, he discovers the black tube to be a scroll case and inside an insidious descriptive ritual require all manner of sacrifices and spells beyond his means to summon or control something called the Black Cyst. As he reads, he begins to see shapes and movement from the room they came from.

He launches a crossbow bolt into the area, nothing.
He companions are surprised and questions him. He tells Wan’whivarn there is something out there. To which the warlock uses his otherworldly powers to “see” through Kedwyn’s sight. And he… sees nothing.
He uses his own sight, and nothing.
Paranoid, Kedwyn agrees with Vrinne and Feng that they should go find the others.

They catch up with the two warriors as they are making their way toward the second hallway. The group moves on discovers a large mishappen room with 4 doors, 6 misplaced beds(each with either a bag or chest at the foot of their bed). Searching the room Ser Harkuren hears knocking on one of the doors. He opens and finds a young man wearing armor, and wearing a brooch with the symbol of house Ateos.

The young man is surprised to find them, and they him. He asks if Burne sent them to find him? The group looks at each other and he replies “No.”
The young warrior continues on asking questions about Burne and Rufus, Lady Saryiel, Haestus and the rest of his companions.
Harkuren asks him his name and he replies “”/characters/aemon-ateos" class=“wiki-content-link”>Aemon Ateos, squire to Lady Saryiel."
Confused, more questioned are ask and finally years are in question. The man answers that the current year is 1465 DR. Harkuren tells him that, “No. It is actually 1489 DR. You, I am afraid, are dead.”

Taken aback, the man refuses quite profusely that he is not dead. That this must be a mistake. Some spell, or curse has been cast upon him. He was just with the others, and there is no way that he is some ghost or apparition.

To prove otherwise, Harkuren offers the gauntlet he found. The boy surprised, asks how and where he got it and then accepts it from the Knight of Bahamut. To everyone’s surprise it slides on. He then accepts a weapon, and agrees to accompany the group to determine what is going on.

They agree to have him along and help him finish what his group started.

The group goes to an adjacent room, and burst open a door where they find 4 large Bugbears gambling. The fight is quick and brutal. It is this fight that Aemon Ateos finally begins to consider that he might be dead, as a punch from to a Bugbears face passes through the creature, draining it of life.
Shocked, both step away, but the bugbear doesn’t get to go far as the companions take him down.

Ateos moves away from the rest of the group and passes through walls to get away, not even noticing that he is doing so. His gauntlet drops, as does his weapon.

The group finds him moping. He agrees that perhaps he may be dead, but he needs their help to find his body and end this.
He and Harkuren take watch and during Harkuren’s watch as the party rests – a shadow orb with several stalks protruding from it float past the hallway and doubles back. It has seen the group!

zb_orb.jpg

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22 Day, Mirtul, 1489 DR
A call for aid!

A meeting of the powers of Villane leads the heroes to investigate the abandoned Keep east of Villane.

With the sudden absence of the Knight of the Black Rose the barony is scrambling.
Baron Ateos has called a counsel session of his trusted advisers and allies, Lady Saryiel, High-mage Burne, Shield Lord Rufus, Aelyos the Younger, his Chamberlain and finally, his wife Lady Pilar.

Lady Saryiel summoned Ser Harkuren to the meet, and bade him wait outside until it was over.
He tried to listen, but only heard muffled shouts and shuffling of chairs.
This lasted less than a half hour. The doors flew open and Burne stormed out with the armored Rufus behind him. Rufus gave him a word of warning about the days to come and wished him well.

Lady Saryiel met with Harkuren after, she charged him with the protection of Villane until she returned.
She was ordered to make haste to Neverwinter and gather support.
The Barony of Bedegar requested aid. High Mage Taeus has gone missing. Burne was commissioned to investigate the disappearance of his former mentor, and attempt to learn what was happening with those who could wield magic. Rufus was given command of a small group of Ateos’ militia, as well as a handful of his own men to scout out a gathering of Hobgoblins at the Keep of Rend. An old ruined place in the lands of Bedegar.
It seemed to both of them that someone, or something was attempting to weaken the Barony by spreading it’s protectors to the four winds.

Burne requested the presence of Kedwyn and Ser Harkuren, while Dorn had been assigned additional emergency protocol practices. Whatever that meant.

Burne is packing, and from they can tell, for a confrontation.
" I need you to investigate these rumors of an archaeological dig at the ruined moat house outside of town. Both of you." They express their concerns and Kedwyn is a more than a little skeptical at the whole affair and a bit put off at what the fuss about another ‘barony’ matters to them.

Harkuren expresses his concern that “it seems the protectors of the town are being drawn to the four corners.”
Burne does not deny it, not address it.
But takes his magic backpack, and what appears to be a Calishite tapestry and leaves. Much to the surprise of the duo, he unfurls it and sits. Grabbing the sides tightly, he tells them he’ll see them in a 10 day and he and his tapestry take to the skies.


After a discussion of what has occured, Ser Harkurnen reveals that he discovered a foul shrine underneath the former Constable Greatheart’s house.
orcus_shrine.jpg

A shrine believed to be dedicated to the Prince of Undeath, Orcus.

The group finds more letters pertaining to Kalarel, Ninaran and a keep east of town.
Constable1.docx
Constable2.docx
Constable3.docx

Determined to find out what is going on in the abandoned keep and who Lareth the Beautiful is, the party sets out the next morning to find out.


Baerdin_.png
Along the way the find the dwarven miner, now courier of letters along the road. He appears to be heading toward the keep. The party calls out to him. Looking about, he glances at them and flees into the woods. In a quick display of thought and action, Dorn chased after him. He catches him, but manages a much more… abrupt means to subdue him.
They find
Once awake, the group interrogates the dwarf. He explains he is not in league with any of the folks they ask about, only that he was cooerced into delivering letters back and forth to a couple of places for some man who held his wife and children captive. Once he was done with those delivers he was told they would be free.
The group apologizes, Ser Harkuren assures him that they will find and free his family.
He leaves, unsure of his families future.


moathouse_corrected.jpg

They make it to the keep.
As they moved up the path, giant frogs emerge from a nearby pond. Hungry for food, they attack.
Ser Harkuren is swallowed hole!
The others battle off flying tongues, and it is Vrinne who changes the flow of battle. In an attempt to slay a frog, she casts a spell that goes awry! A fireball is cast instead of her other spell, and it begins and ends on her.
Fire explodes outward kill all but one of the frogs, and nearly killing Kedwyn as well. He was barely brought back to the living.
And Ser Harkuren was unscathed because he was safe inside a frog.

Moving across the ancient gate was treacherous, but accomplished.

The found the courtyard empty save the many piles of collected debris and the one lone figure moving toward the keep’s interior.

Harkuren called out. The figure turned slowly to face the party. A zombie equipped with excavation gear. screamed out a deathly call.
After a few awkward moments, nothing.

The party engaged it.
After dealing many blows that would have fell a normal man, the thing would not die. Finally, calling upon the might of Bahamut, Harkuren ended it.

Proud of their work, they gathered their thougths, and that was when the other undead emerged. 3 zombies and a minotaur zombie armed with a great halberd.
After several terse moments, they won. But again, it was not to be long. 3 Shadow goblins appeared. The party dispatched them just as quickly as they appeared. But the goblins left no bodies. They “popped” out of existence in wisps of acrid smoke.

The party moved forward, exploring.
They encountered a locked door in the disshelved keep. Breaking in, the encounter darkness, using a torch they scan the room, furniture pushed up against open places in the wall, and a giant intricate rune was drawn into the floor. No one recognized it, or could identify what it was used for. They moved away, not daring to engage a potential deadly event.

Deciding to move to the other side of the keep, Harkuren catches the glimpse of something moving love to the ground at the far end of the hallway before him.

That is where we ended.

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15 Day Mirtul, 1489

Entering the lower portion of the moathouse proved, initially, to be like any old ruin.
Wet.
Cold.
Dank.
Slime infested?
Voices in the dark calling out to people who are not there?
Growls in the dark?

The sounds of undead gnolls garnered the attention of Ser Harkuren, as Dorn calls out to Wan’whivarn that something is on the ceiling. Slime. Green slime that drops and envelops him.
Yet this slime does not harm him. It coats his body, soothing and warm.

The others deal with the gnolls, and Feng attempts to remove the slime with the help of Kedwyn.
A voice calls to Wan’whivarn’s mind – Serve. With all his willpower he replies no. The slime is no longer comforting, but burning.

Serve!

“No” he replies again, and had it not been for the efforts of his friends, he may have very well indeed joined the slime as one.

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Rescue and uncover!
12 Day, Mirtul 1489

Will add soon.

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05 Day Ches, 1489
As Above - So Below
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