Chapter 11 - The Slaver King (1359DR, 17-18th Eleint)
As the sleek hunting spiders swept towards us with almost mechanical
speed and single-mindedness of purpose I called upon Silvanus to aid us.
My prayer was answered and the four lead spiders froze in their tracks,
held motionless by the hand of The Oak Father. Colatto and Faergil acted
in unison each unleashing a barrage of magical darts that tore into two
more of the spiders, killing them.
When we had first glimpsed the spiders through the curtains of webbing
our imaginations had swollen their numbers to a veritable army but now
only a pair of the eight-legged hunters reached our front rank, leaping
at Colatto and Primrose with their envenomed fangs. Colatto jumped back
at the last moment but Primrose wasn't as fortunate and was borne to the
ground under the weight of the viciously biting spider. In an instant
Baldric was at her side and brought both of Twin Deaths iron heads crashing
down on the spider, which literally burst in a spray of orangey-yellow
fluid under the impact.
I called to Bazil to try and pull Primrose out from under the spiders
mass and then turned my attention on the last of our attackers, once more
calling upon Silvanus to restrain it as he had the others. However this
time the spider was unaffected (which marked the beginning of a run of
ill fortune, as far as my prayers of power went, which dogged me for the
next few hours). The spider continued its attack on Colatto managing to
sink its fangs into his neck before being sent into the next world by
another barrage of magical darts from Faergil.
Bazil had been unable to pull Primrose free so I forced my way to the
halflings' sides and knelt down beside her. Wiping away the orange slim
which covered her face I noticed at once that the skin around her wound
was bleached of colour and her eyes were unfocused (though whether that
was the venom or shock I couldn't tell). I called upon Silvanus to purge
the poison from her veins and then, using my staff as a lever, lifted
the spiders corpse so Bazil could pull Primrose free.
As I may have said in the past, Baldric is a skilled healer as he is
a priest and by that life-giving art had drawn the poison from Colatto
who then, to my dismay, proceeded to dispatch the four paralysed spiders.
During this time Faergil had been harvesting some of the more interesting
bits of the dead spiders (I believe that Bazil helped himself to some
venom sacks too). Baldric called upon Tymora to heal Primrose's facial
The battle over we continued down the web-lined corridor. Baldric had
put away the Light Stone but pulled out a shuttered lantern into which
a powerful miracle of light had been placed some time ago. It was then
that I noticed he had, at some point, fished out and donned a set of studded
The corridor led into a crossroads. Here we found another of these strange
hybrid-beings. I looked it over careful to try and determine what had
killed the poor thing and was unsurpassed to find several puncture marks
indicative of giant spiders. This settled to my mind that the Patchwork
Man ("Men" as we latter found) was not undead, if it were spider venom
would have been ineffective. To me the answer seemed clear, Woren was
suffering from the power fed delusion that mastery of The Art gave him
the right to play God. I wondered had what his objective had been. Had
he tried to turn beasts into men or men into beasts?
Taking the right-hand fork off the crossroads we passed down a corridor
which opened into a larger room. As we approached we could se metal rods
extending a short way down from the top of the doorway. I am sure many
of my companions though it was the bottom of a raised portcullis, particularly
as the webs stopped abruptly in the door way. As we reached the rods,
however, it became apparent that it was all that remained of a heavy metal
grill which had once barred the way onward but had eroded almost completely
away. The room beyond was almost cross-shaped with two exits. There was
a passage on the wall opposite, which had also once been barred, and an
impressive set of double doors to our right. We didn't have time to digest
this however as two shapes darted towards us. The creatures looked like
five foot woodlice except they possessed only four legs, the back pair
being particularly long, muscular tails which ended in a double ended
paddle and a pair of long, supple tentacles which sprouted from just under
their eyes. The creatures were ochre in colour and as they approached
we could detect a strong odour of corroded metal.
Before they could reach us Faergil unleashed another volley of magical
darts, firing three into one and two into the second. Though clearly injured
the creatures pressed on like wolves chasing down prey. As they reached
us the two creatures flailed at Bazil and Colatto with their tentacles,
or rather at Bazil's and Colatto's weapons. Within moments of being brushed
by one of the appendages Colatto's magical bastard sword, the mighty Sarth
had first turned red with rust and then crumbled away to nothing. Quickly
Bazil stuffed both of his weapons into his bag of holding, the magical
bracers he wore joining them a second later. I called out to Primrose,
who had been moving up to defend Bazil, to keep The Tears of Tymora out
of harms way; whatever purpose it was destined to fore-fill it could not
do it as a pill of metal flakes.
Baldric had not been idle during this time, instead he had called out
to Tymora and one of the two creatures, Baldric later said they were (the
aptly named) "Rust Monsters", scurried away. The rust monster that had
destroyed and now was eating the remains of Sarth had not fled and, never
one to shy away from hand-to-hand combat, Colatto sprung forward and grabbed
hold of it's tentacles. Elladyr had moved into a flanking position and
cut at the rust monster with my scimitar, he injured the creature provoking
one of the most pathetic yips you can imagine. Unfortunately on the back
swing the scimitar brushed against one of the tentacles and (after seeing
loyal service since before the Time of Troubles) it fell to pieces. Colatto
had managed to get a strong enough stance to planted one of his feet into
the rust monster's face. I would deny anyone with a heart in their body
not to feel sympathy for these creatures. They seemed incapable of hurting
us and it was only their seemingly endless hunger for metal that made
them a threat. I wanted to try and drive the rust monster away so, as
I had during the fight with the wererats and carrion crawlers, I called
upon The Force Divine to blind the remaining blind the remaining rust
monster with light but my timing was off and I "missed".
The second rust monster had got over its fear and was rapidly coming
back only to be decoyed away when Bazil threw it one of the short swords
he had taken from the wererats while simultaneously stabbing the other
one in the flank with a second short sword. As Bazil moved clear Baldric
moved in and, placing his fingertips against the creature, invoked Kolanthian's
magical ring. A jolt of lightning from the ring finished off the creature
(as well as giving Colatto a shock) and its companion was laid low by
a volley of magical darts from Faergil.
As we surveyed the battle scene Faergil fished a small piece of metal
out of a pocket and touched it to the dead rust monster's tentacle only
to have it turn to dust. Carefully he began to remove the tentacle from
the carcass. Intrigued by Faergil's experiment I fished around in my many
pouches and touched the first piece of non-ferrous metal I could find
(a silver coin) against another tentacle, it didn't rust.
Once Faergil was finished we went over to the double doors. They had
fallen free of their frame at some point but had fallen at such an angle
that they still blocked the doorway. As we set to work moving the door
aside the reason for their collapse became apparent, all the nails, hinges
and brackets were gone, no doubt eaten by the rust monsters.
Beyond was a broad corridor that led straight to a large room that seemed
once to have to been used for religious purposes. The back half of the
room was raised and on it was a stone altar. There were holes in the back
wall where once a large religious symbol may have been fixed but it was
now gone, indeed there was nothing in the room made of metal. Cautiously
we entered. To either side of the doorway were statues of diabolical,
winged beings with fearsome faces and forked tails. Most of The Company
had met and fought gargoyles before, vicious creatures of living stone
that could remain immobile seemingly endlessly, waiting for a victim,
so we kept our weapons drawn while we in the room. Another characteristic
of gargoyles is that only weapons reinforced by The Art can hurt them.
With that in mind I passed my magical quarterstaff to Elladyr.
At Bazil's suggestion I employed the magical lens again, looking along
the walls for any secret doors. By chance I glanced back down the corridor
and spotted a door back there. I also checked out the altar and through
the magical crystal saw a hidden panel in the far side. Opening the panel
Bazil produced a human skull with a candle stuck to its head, some blooded
white robes and six daggers; their use seemed clear. Colatto took the
daggers and left, heading back the way we had come. Later he told us he
had tried to destroy them by touching them to the dead rust monsters but
their corrosive power had now gone. While he was there, however, he thought
he heard movement coming from the corridor we hadn't explored.
After finding nothing else in the room we headed for the secret door,
where we met up with Colatto. Elladyr was the last one out of the room,
keeping a careful eye on the statues, if that is what they were. The secret
door opened onto a straight corridor that headed onwards for about fifty
feet before turning to the right. Before he went to investigate I invoked
another charm of trap detection on Bazil. Immediately he spotted a covered
pit trap where the corridor turned. Carefully avoiding the trap he headed
around the corner. A couple of minutes later he returned saying that the
corridor ran another twenty feet or so before ending in a door. The door
had a trap built into the lock that would release a poisonous gas if triggered.
After making sure we knew how to open the secret door from the far side
we headed down the corridor as far as the turning. Bazil went on alone
to work on the trap. After a couple of minutes we heard an almost inaudible
click and Bazil leapt back, the trap had gone off. The mechanism that
released the poisonous vapours was an efficient one but luckily the toxin
itself was not very strong. All of us felt a burning sensation in our
eyes, which endured for a few a few minutes, but only Elladyr and Faergil
were effected to any degree and even then they only felt weak for a few
Bazil was more successful at picking the lock and soon the door was open
to reveal a torture chamber kitted out with all the more common implements
of painful death and bodily disfigurement. As some of our group carried
out a brief search I retrieved my staff from Elladyr took the opportunity
to ask him if he still wanted to die at Colatto's hand. I was heartened
to hear the desire live in his voice even if his words were full of indecision.
Since the torture chamber was a dead-end we headed back to the secret
door. Bazil had no sooner stepped through it than a grey mass, all wings
and claws, pounced on him, driving the halfling to the ground. As the
gargoyle bit and clawed at Bazil Colatto unleashed a storm of magical
darts into it and Bazil stabbed at it with his dagger, the gargoyle was
hurt but not killed. The rest of us got as close as we were unable to
get through the secret door while the battle raged on its threshold. I
handed my staff forward to Elladyr. Faergil saw an opening and then cast
a spell, firing a thin ray at the gargoyle, which visibly sapped its strength.
A second later Colatto leapt at the weakened gargoyle and was able to
wrestle it off of Bazil. My warning that there had been two gargoyles
had barely passed my lips when the second of the stone pair leapt on Colatto's
back, racking with its claws and swinging its tail like a mace. The first
gargoyle also tore at Colatto but its attacks were now comparatively weak.
Rolling to his feet Bazil plunged both of his magical blades into the
beast. With the doorway clear Primrose, Baldric and Elladyr could join
the fight. Baldric and Primrose concentrated on the one that Bazil had
just hit, Twin-Death went wide of the mark but The Luckblade struck home,
almost severing a wing. The gargoyle turned its attention and fury on
to Primrose but her magical ring-mail withstood the onslaught. The creature
didn't have time to try again as Baldric swung Twin-Death a second time
and reduced it to rubble. Having cast a spell of shape-changing on himself
at some point in the recent past Colatto retreated from the fight by becoming
a rodent. This gave Elladyr the room he needed to get to the remaining
gargoyle and, with two expert sweeps of the quarterstaff, finished it
Faergil and myself came out to join our comrades and I called upon Silvanus
to heal Bazil's wounds. Impressed by the staff Elladyr suggested, and
I agreed, that he should keep hold of it for a while.
As we were about to head back to the room where we had fought the rust
monsters Colatto reminded us that he thought he had heard movement in
the corridor. Bazil went on alone to scout (Colatto giving him to the
slow count to three hundred before we would come looking for him). Without
my staff or scimitar I had only my dagger and the weaponry that nature
had provided for me to defend myself. Normally I would have been satisfied
with that but I was sure that we would encounter more creatures that,
like the gargoyles were immune to non-enchanted weapons. With this in
mind I asked Faergil to open his magical hole and I fished out my old
oaken cudgel and tucked it into my belt.
When he returned Bazil told us that he too had thought he heard movement
coming from the third exit from the cross-shaped room and went down it
to investigate. At the end of the corridor was a room. While its floor
space was considerable the room seemed almost funnel like because of the
high ceiling. There was a broad staircase, flanked by humanoid statues,
which seemed to lead into a blank wall. The floor was littered with bones
and there was the sound of heavy breathing, perhaps snoring, coming from
somewhere. There were two corridors leading off of it, down one of which
he caught a glimpse of a figure darting.
Cautiously we went to the room that Bazil had described. With the room
illuminated we could see that the stairs did indeed run into a solid wall.
Something had been written on the wall at the top of the stairs but it
had been clawed away. Many of the bones which littered the floor seemed
to be a composite a different animals, the skeletal remains of the Patchwork
Men. We could all hear the sound of heavy breathing but could not see
its source. Colatto headed up the stairs to investigate the writing.
I knew that the corridor down which Bazil had seen the figure fleeing
must lead to the lair of the Patchwork Men and I felt an overwhelming
desire to make contact with them. I headed over to the doorway but before
I could reach it a figure leapt out of the second corridor and blocked
my path. This was the first of the patchwork men I had seen alive. I was
prepared for its appearance, mostly a mix of ape and bird (it was its
breathing, caused by the deformity of its face, which we had heard). What
did take me aback was the pain and directionless rage that I saw in its
eyes, a pain I could only attribute to its dark genesis. The patchwork
man growled at me for a few seconds and then turned and headed down the
corridor. I called out after the fleeing figure that we were not its enemies
but it didn't stop. With quick strides I followed it with a worried Baldric
in pursuit. On a hunch I invoked the power of Silvanus to allow me to
speak with animals and called again. The corridor stretched some sixty
feet ahead of us before turning left but there was a junction about half
way along on the right. It was down this corridor the patchwork man had
darted and as Baldric and I turned the corner we came face to face with
over twenty of them. The room was clearly their lair, it was full of dung
and half-eaten meat. There was also a chute in the middle of the ceiling.
"Bird-Ape" was telling its fellows something as we entered, despite the
miracle of animal tongues I couldn't understand a word of what he was
saying so I proceeded to go through my repartee of languages, also with
no effect. The patchwork men were starting to advance on us despite my
attempts to show we were no threat (some of them looked hungry) if we
hadn't been standing in a doorway they would certainly have surrounded
Baldric invoked the power of Tymora to give him the power to speak any
language and tried to negotiate with them. When Baldric suddenly began
to speak their language the patchwork men were taken aback though they
looked like they would attack at any provocation. At that point I heard
the rest of our group heading along the corridor, presumably to see where
we had gone. I took a few steps back so they could see me and signalled
them to approach no further.
Baldric was able to press upon the patchwork men that we were not here
to hurt them and they agreed not to molest us as long as we left their
lair and came no further this way then the room with the statues (or the
"room of bright light"). During the conversation Baldric learnt that the
patchwork men had no clear notion of where they came from, every now and
again the chute in the ceiling would open and a newly "born" brother would
fall down. If it survived the drop it became part of their community,
if it didn't then it became food.
We returned to the room with the stairs and statues, though I was unhappy
that I hadn't been able to convince the patchwork men to leave these dungeons
for the caves beyond or, perhaps, the outside world. Upon returning I
noticed that one of the statue's heads had been rotated to one side. Colatto
and Bazil explained that while they had been standing at the top of the
stairs they had noticed the heads could rotate and were easily reachable.
Further more Bazil had sensed that the statues contained some form of
trap, though he couldn't determine its nature. I glanced up at the wall
through the lens and discovered a magical door. It had to be the way up
into the citadel!
Colatto was eager to get through it and headed up to try the other head.
He turned it around so the two statues were now looking at each other.
No sooner had he done so then a bolt of lightning leapt from one head
to the other. Colatto was catapulted, smouldering, down the stairs; dazed,
burnt but alive. The noise attracted Baldric's attention (he had been
exploring the corridor from which Bird-Ape had leapt, it lead on to a
pair of empty rooms) and he did what he could for Colatto's injuries.
We decided to try again. This time I pulled a small length of silver
wire and a spring of mistletoe out of my pouches and performed a ritual
to Silvanus which would absorb any electrical energy in the area. Once
done I headed up the steps and turned the heads (they had returned to
their forward looking position after the trap had discharged) so they
looked away from each other. As soon as I did so a blazing red light sprang
into being marking out a square on the wall. The stone within the square
simply vanished to reveal the way onwards.
With Bazil once more in the lead we passed through the magical portal.
We didn't go far as we found ourselves in a cell. The cell was just one
of about ten which were clustered into one end of a cavernous chamber.
The room was huge, about eight feet by two hundred and forty with two
exits, both double doors. A good two-thirds of this huge room was dominated
by a wizard's workshop; it was a mass of books and alchemists equipment.
It was clear from the stone work that the room was far better maintained
then the catacombs we had just passed through and the area was well light
by globes of glowing light.
Reaching through the bars Bazil picked the lock and we left the cell.
Unsurprisingly Colatto and Faergil headed straight for what were presumably
books of spells. I invoked a minor miracle that allowed me to sense it
was two hours after sun down. As it had been dusk when we had gone to
The Shackle that meant we had been underground for at least a day. Colatto
cast a spell of magical detection. One set of double doors radiated powerful
magic and seven books registered. One of these books, one of the largest
books that I had ever seen, the mages identified as Woren's primary book
of spells while four smaller ones were travelling spellbooks. The two
remaining books were odd. One had thick wooden covers while the other
seemed to be made of wood folded back and forth. Concerned that they may
be hidden dangers in the room I renewed the charm on Bazil and he located
three traps all of a magical nature. The magical door had "explosive runes",
the wooden bound book was cursed and the other wooden book would summon
an extra-plainer entity if a certain picture were looked at. I quickly
viewed the room through the lens, noticing a secret door and, more importantly
a small, bat-winged humanoid sitting invisibly in the middle of the room.
I didn't know what exactly it was, but it had to be Woren's familiar.
By the way it was looking at me I guessed (incorrectly as it turned out)
that it knew I could see it and I shouted out to my fellows to grab it.
With a start it took to the wing and headed towards the secret door with
myself in hot pursuit and Bazil a step or two behind. Baldric, hearing
my description of a demonic entity, tried unsuccessfully to banish it
by the power of Tymora. It passed out of sight for a second as it passed
a bookcase and when we reached the door it was gone. The secret door hadn't
been opened and, looking around, Bazil spotted a small hatch in the ceiling.
Stepping below the hatch I looked straight upwards and could just see
the critter disappearing out of sight.
As we were considering our next move the trapped double doors swung open
and five figures in plate-mail armour and bearing swords walked out. The
armour was blackened but an emblem, a circle of flame, was still discernible
on their breastplates. It appeared that Woren was indeed a necromancer
and the Knights of the Circle of Flame now served him in death as they
had unwittingly served him in life.
What followed was one of the most chaotic combats that I could remember.
I think the initial plan was to withdraw from combat via the secret door
and try to find Woren ("cut of a snake's head" etc.) but none seemed to
want to be the first to disengage.
Faergil was the first to react. When he had seen the doors swing open
he had expected to see Woren himself and cast a spell which shielded himself
from the lower order of magics. He followed this up with a fireball spell
on the knights before they could split up to engage us. For a moment hey
were obliterated from view by the raging ball of flame. When it faded
a second later all the knights were still standing. Their armour was even
more blackened but we couldn't tell if the knights had withstood the inferno
because they were supernaturally durable or immune to flame.
A second later Baldric ran forward to confront the knights. Once more
he held forth his holy symbol and demanded that the knights leave in the
name of The Lady. They kept on coming. Elladyr, his face pale at the sight
of his once comrades-in-arms reduced to undead mockeries of life, added
his voice to Baldric's, commanding his men to lay down their arms. Still
they kept on coming.
It was then that Elladyr told us that the Knights of the Circle of Flame
had numbered himself and twenty-one others! Bazil was calling on everyone
to fall back to the secret door. Primrose leapt on the nearest undead
knight and, as she slashed at it with her sword, shouted that she would
hold them off. At this point someone, Faergil I think, suggested with
grim humour, that perhaps the undead knight had been guarding the Crown
of Flame. As soon as heard those words I realised how true they might
be and shouted for someone closer to the doors to try and see what lay
beyond. Then I produced a shamrock leaf and another spring of mistletoe
and called upon Silvanus to enchant my cudgel
No sooner had I done so then one of the knights reached me and slashed
at me with his sword, opening a long but shallow cut on my side. Baldric
and Elladyr were also hit, though Bazil proved to quick. Colatto used
his shape-changing spell to take the form of a bird and flew over the
combatants and through the double doors.
In the lab the battle raged. Elladyr and Bazil but scored a couple of
hits on their opponents and Primrose finished of her enemy. Faergil, never
one to relish close combat, created a number of illusionary duplicates
of himself but how good they would be against the undead knights I didn't
want to guess. As for myself; necromancy is one of the few things that
make me angry and the sight of the animated corpse in front of me literally
made my blood boil. The heat of my anger boiled up inside me and I spat
a ball of flame at the knight. It rolled over him back as it dispersed
it was clear the fire hadn't hurt it at all and I received a sword thrust
in my calf for my pains.
Then all of a sudden the knights stopped moving. I called over to Colatto
and, receiving no response, run across the lab to see where he had gone.
Faergil was also on his way. Bazil declared that he was going to find
Woren and that he believed the secret door would take him straight to
the mage. Primrose, who had just cut down one of the immobile knights,
went with him leaving Baldric to finish off the rest. Elladyr seemed torn
by indecision; should he purse the man who ruined his life or stay to
protect the son of the man he betrayed? I called out for him to go with
the halflings; they would probably need his combat skills and certainly
need his knowledge of the citadel's layout.
Reaching the double doors I found myself staring at the back of a creature
which could only come from another plane. The Beast stood erect with the
body of a great black bear, a pair of bat's wings and a set of curled
ram's horns on its head. Though the creature blocked most of my vision
I could see enough to tell that the room was some form of crypt. Taking
hold of the cudgel in both hands I swung at the beast's back but as the
club hit it the beast's body seemed to become like thick black smoke and
my blow passed straight throw. Clearly I would need a more potent weapon
and just the one arrived. Faergil (or rather several Faergils) arrived
and with barely a pause he swung at it with his magical staff, shouting
the command to unleashing some of its stored energies. The staff hit (just)
and the blow was like a clap of thunder. As the Beast reeled back we caught
a glimpse of Colatto; he was standing in the crypt and a circlet of living
flame danced at his temple. A second later creature exhaled a cone of
flame at Colatto. The crown protected him from the worst of the flame
but Colatto was still burnt.
Quickly I told Faergil to pass the staff to me and I swung it was all
the force I could muster at the Beast, calling out the command as I did
so. The Beast took the blow and turned on me, tearing at my flesh with
its claws and fangs. And so the fight swept back and forth; staff and
claw, claw and staff. It turned into a war of attrition but the Beast's
stamina was far greater then mime. Faergil had fallen back from the door.
He was almost out of spells and, unfolding his hole, went rummaging about
for the spell-book he had acquired months before from the mage-come-thief
Just as I felt that I was about to breathe my last Baldric was at my
side, having finished destroying the fifth and final knight and sprinkling
holy water over the remains. We struck simultaneously; Twin-Death from
one side and Faergil's staff from the other. The Beast roared with fury
and collapsed into a cloud of oily black smoke.
Later I learnt that about the same time Bazil and Elladyr had reached
the top of the staircase, which had run up the length of the citadel with
secret doors at every level. Primrose, not having their speed, was only
about halfway up the staircase. Just as they reached the top step they
felt a burst of air streak past them. A second later it past Primrose
and Bazil shouted down to her to go back to the lab and warn us that something
Dashing through another secret door the ex-paladin and the halfling made
straight for where Woren's chambers should be. Arrayed in the corridor
they found the remaining sixteen Knights of the Circle of Flame. It appeared
that they had been in the process of forming a defensive wall in front
of the bedchamber door but were now as stationary as the ones down stars.
Pushing past the inert knights the pair had entered the bedchamber to
find Woren standing in the middle of the room. He was wearing black robes
and concentrating hard on a glass or crystal sphere which hung from a
chain. In the sphere could be seen a blazing circle of flame. Without
a second thought Bazil advanced on the wizard fully intending to cut out
his throat when something jumped on his back, laughing evilly, and he
felt a sting in his neck. It was Woren's familiar, later Colatto and Faergil
identified it as an "Imp", and its sting was a lethal poison. Halflings
are a hardy folk and Bazil is a fine specimen of his race, the poison
only made him feel a little light-headed and he kept on after the mage.
Elladyr swung the staff at the familiar once, twice. The imp ducked the
first swing but took a solid hit from the second but it refused to be
budged. Bazil sprang at Woren but the blade passed harmlessly through
him, it was an illusion!
Down in the crypt we had come to the realisation that while Colatto was
standing still he was far from inactive. His brow was creased with concentration
and streaked with beads of sweet (and not because of the flaming crown).
Afterwards he told us how he had flown into the crypt to find a figure
laid out in kingly robes of stated on a bier (indeed the body had still
been there when we entered, though we were too busy to pay it much attention).
Lying on his chest was the Crown of Flame. With more then a little reverence
Colatto had taken the crown (it was cold to the touch and danced in his
grasp like a living thing) and placed it on his head. Instantly he had
become aware of the twenty-one undead warriors and knew he could control
them. No sooner had he commanded them to stop than he felt the presence
of another mind, the mind of Woren. Since that moment they had been engaged
in a battle of wills with the mage for control of the knights. Woren was
strong willed and focused but Colatto was driven by the desire to avenge
his father and family and slowly but surely he had worn down the traitor's
The battle still raged when we found him. I volunteered to stay and guard
him while Baldric and Faergil went to help the others. Baldric did what
he could for my injuries and headed for the secret door, Faergil used
The Art to take the form of a bat and flew after him. Quickly I got to
work and used almost the last of my divine favour to create ward around
the crypt, it was a minor thing capable of only stopping an orc or a common
foot-soldier but it was the best I could manage. Baldric had barely reached
the foot of the stairs when a blast of wing passed him and shot into the
lab. He turned around and started back for the crypt while Faergil flew
up the stairs.
The first I knew of the invisible assailant was when it struck Colatto
who, not daring to disengage from the fight to control the knights, did
his best to ignore it. Bring up the lens I spied a tall, gaunt and translucent
creature standing beside Colatto, another Invisible Stalker. I stepped
towards it and struck at it with the enchanted club, I hit and hurt it
but this Stalker was a single minded as the last one
Despite a desperate last stand by Woren Colatto proved triumphant in
their battle of wills. Instantly he ordered the undead knights to find
and kill the mage. Up in Woren's chamber the illusion cried out and dropped
the orb that shattered on the floor. Unfortunately for Woren Bazil heard
the sound of the real Woren cry out as well from where he had been standing
on the far side of the large, canopied four-poster bed. As Elladyr struck
at the imp again and again Bazil rushed around the bed and lunged at the
mage scoring a pair of vicious but not instantly fatal wounds. At that
moment all the remaining Knights of the Circle of Flame began to file
into the bedchamber and attacked the illusion of Woren. A few seconds
later Faergil flew in too.
Desperate to put some distance between himself and death at Bazil's hands
Woren produced a wand from his robes and blasted the halfling (and much
of the room) with an icy wind. Before he could do it again however Elladyr
managed to finish off the imp causing its master to real in pain. Faergil,
shifting back to his elven form, cast virtually his last spell on the
illusion of Woren, dispelling it. The knights instantly fanned out looking
for Woren. Three found him and attacked. The mage was hit once, twice,
three times and then, dodging nimbly around the armoured warriors, Bazil
drove his weapons home; killing the tyrant.
Down in the lab Baldric and myself we bludgeoning away at the invisible
stalker, we hit it repeatedly but the being from the plane of air was
made of stronger stuff then mortal flesh. It was a one sided fight as
it only had eyes for his specified victim, Colatto. Unfortunately its
victim had other ideas. Now free of his battle with Woren Colatto quickly
assessed the danger he was in and summoned a tight, circular wall of flame
around both the invisible stalker and himself. Whether he suspected that
the Crown of Fire would offer some protection from the flame, or was simply
very brave, the invisible stalker was destroyed by his spell. He came
through it with minor burns.
Just then a very out of breath Primrose arrived to warn us about the
invisible stalker. Colatto told us that Bazil and the others had found
Woren. Baldric and Primrose headed back to the stairs while Colatto and
myself, taking the form of small birds, flew up the shaft that the imp
As we arrived in Woren's room and resumed our natural forms the remaining
knights turned and formed a circle about their new master. Colatto introduced
himself as "Colatto Carifar, Lord of Nimpeth". As one sixteen dead voices
asked for their release from servitude and, after Colatto gave them their
release, they fell, truly dead, to the floor. No sooner had the sound
of falling plate-mail stopped ringing around the chamber than the red
pigment on Colatto's cloak, blood, liquefied and fell away leaving it
pure white once more.
At once Elladyr knelt before his lord and offered him his sword. For
a split second I though Colatto was actually going to run him through
but instead he borrowed The Tears of Tymora and knighted Elladyr and declared
him the first of Nimpeths "Knights of the Silver Coin".
We had no time for celebration however as at that moment fifty armed
men lead by Duke Folkwain arrived. He called upon us to surrender, saying
that our plan could not succeed and our friends on the Undying Gaze were
dead. At the double sight of Woren's corpse and Colatto resplendent in
flaming crown and gleaming white cloak he soon changed his tune. His men,
first in ones and two and then on mass, through down their swords and
knelt before their new ruler. Quickly, and by no means politely Colatto
and myself demanded to know what he knew about The Undying Gaze. Folkwain
replied that Woren had sent him to investigate the Sailors Rest where
he had found a note from Amber asking that we deliver a few things to
her on the Undying Gaze. By the ship had left port so three warships,
under the command of Admiral Taramont had been despatched with orders
to find and sink her.
Shouting to me that I was in charge till he returned Colatto threw open
a window, changed into a bird and was off. If he thought that I was going
to remain behind while Amber and the valiant crew of The Undying Gaze
were in danger he clearly didn't know me very well. I was halfway to the
same window when I realised I had already taken the form of a bird once
that day. I would have to get to the docks and become a sea mammal instead.
Dashing past Baron Folkwain I raced down stairs to the ground floor where
I almost ran into Andle and a contingent of the Thieves' Guild. After
some initial misunderstanding I learnt that Taramont had been an agent
of The Revenant for years and they had made only a pretence of pursuing
The Undying Gaze. Colatto discovered the same thing when he caught up
with the war ships.
Colatto returned before dawn and was immediately caught up in matters
of state. Baldric, aided by Elladyr and Primrose saw to the proper disposal
of The Knights of the Circle of Flame. This left Bazil, Faergil and myself
to search Woren's library for some clue to the elven city that was our
destination. No record of it was found in any of his books but Bazil found
a curious scroll tube imprinted with the same leaping lion symbol as the
magical bracer Faergil had been given in the Vale of Lost Voices. Noticing
that the embossed symbol on the bracer and the inset symbol on the scroll
tube were the same size I placed the two together and, which a flash of
silver light, the tube opened to reveal a map. Comparing it to hit own
map Bazil found a few matching local features. Faergil, told us that the
delicate elven writing read "I wait thee my beloved in Rucien Xan.
Follow the waters of the Chondath Stream to the three falls of Sehanine.
By the light of the bloody tears of Correllon invoke my name and I will
come for thee". It was clear, we only had to follow a certain river
to its source, and we would find Arriane Maerdrym, the bearer of the Swords
I used the following references:
Vilhon Reach. Didn't use much in the way of resources this week
(other than the normal three - PHB, DMG, MM), as it was all my own stuff.
Pages from the Mages...
As I said in last weeks DMs notes, the maps came off the net ,and the
maps for the Citadel came out of Castle Spulzeer.
The evening went much quicker than the previous week, and proved a
suitable climax to the game - though that wasn't my original intention
(I had another 4 weeks prepared, but it was decided that after 11 weeks
of Realms we should give it a break)
The spiders were 'Huge Spiders', that are only 2+2HD and proved no real
challenge for the PCs. Bazil (Edd) got a bit of a hard time for running
back through the front ranks, but as he said - he's no fighter (This was
disproved somewhat later with his heroic fght with Lord Woren...)
Its official, Rust Monsters are great monsters! Call to all DMs to use
these more, especially when your players aren't really used to them. The
two lead characters (Collato and Bazil) both had well-loved magical weapons
(Bazil had 'Kithril' a +3 Shortsword of Quickness, and Collato had 'Sarth'
+2 Bastard sword and sister to 'Taragarth' - See the Magister for details).
Both weapons were hit by the innocent ickle Rusties and I called for percentile
rolls. Bazil rolled a 02 and Collato in the 90's - one of them knew that
they had lost a weapon, but I didn't tell straight away. Collato was the
unlucky one and his sword fell to pieces.
I never really decided what evil god was worshipped in the temple, but
I suppose it was probably Mirkul (prior to Godswar back then, or Bhaal).
Some of the players, especially Darrell, seemed convinced that the two
statues were gargoyles, they were right of course, however Bazil suffered
pretty badly in the ambush that followed.
The Patchwork Men, are Broken Ones as per the Monster Manual.
Once up in the Citadel, the mages in the party were somewhat excited by
the seven spellbooks laying around.
Woren was came aware of the characters when they were espied by his nasty
little Imp. He sent the, now-undead, Circle of Flame knights to investigate.
These were my own invention, esentially weak skeletal warriors, with immunity
to fire. Of course the players started by Fireball and then breath fire
to fend them off!
Again, the Crown of Fire is my invention.
The Bear Beast in the Tomb was a Greater Guardian Yugolath. A nasty beast
that kept them busy for a few rounds.
Fortunately for the characters Woren, who I changed from a 12 level Wizard
(in The Vilhon Reach) to a 15th level Wizard, didn't get a chance to flex
his magical muscles. Bazil took care of him. Well down Captain.
You should have seen the look on the faces of some of the players when
they were told that Amber (Traycie character - who is on a sabbatical)
was dead. Gotcha.
Finally, here is meaning behind the text on the map. But that is for another