Nines

posted Sep 10, 2009, 9:54 AM by Stephen Pliska-Matyshak

Hexatina 15, 1000 PC

Having spent a fortnight searching for The Gaedracis' lair, eliminating many of its potential soldiers and various other activities, when Armaestis appears in Rebelton to deliver Merizae's letter, our heroes leap to action and prepare to follow the white wolf to the location that BuffaloHorn has identified as the lich's stronghold.

After an overnight stop at the future location of Tangleton, the adventurers, again guided by Armaestis, find T'Krosh, Bektul and the patrol dispatched to investigate the location on The Gaedracis' map.  They inform the group that a shaman is in the vicinity, out on the plains north of the forest.  Bektul leads the weary warriors back to ridge of The Mount of Walls while T'Krosh rejoins the group to see this stronghold and find the lich.

Our heroes enter the plains and the wolf leads them to a mound where they find BuffaloHorn waiting there to indicate the location to them.  The other Teton shaman seems to be behaving strangely and Wintersky approaches him only to set off a horrifyingly brutal trap that slays BuffaloHorn and nearly kills Cinder, Wintersky's mount.  Two spirits leave the dead shaman's remains, the corrupted one of the shaman now transformed into a dread wraith and that of Chelsia.  They both flee into the ground escaping the full brightness of midday.

Our heroes quickly make entry into the mound through an opening covered by a large grate.  The inferno spider summoned by Nyza deals with many of the dangers within the stronghold before being destroyed by hoardes of undead.  The hordes are, however, no match for Wintersky and Luanes and The Gaedracis' chamber is found quickly.

The lich is waiting for them, but the group is quite prepared for the defenses The Gaedracis has prepared.  Wintersky's ghost trap and holy power neutralizes the wraith guards while Luanes and Ozimius team up on the lich.  Mask obliterates The Gaedracis' current body with a very effective disintegrate spell.

As the wispy spirit that remains of the lich escapes through a locked secret door, it inadvertently exposes the door's locking mechanism.  The magic square puzzle that functions as the door's lock is quickly solved and the phylactery's chamber is opened.

Within is a triangular pedestal holding the phylactery and the dread wraith of BuffaloHorn.  The dread wraith also neutralized by Wintersky's magical powers falls quickly to the fire and undead bane arrows of the adventurers.

The next task is destroy the phylactery, but it is still protected.  The protection is dispelled by the answering of three questions in which the number nine figures prominently: The names of the nine original houses of Troll's Bridge, the names given to each of the nine Ages of a Cycle and that there are nine great rings within the crystal sphere created by Lehnbor the Creator.  Oliveryn easily recalls the answers to the first two questions while Legeand, in one of his flashes of wisdom, guesses the answer to the third question correctly.

The pedestal, the source of the phylactery's last line of defense, disintegrates and releases the phylactery to be destroyed.  Sparta, likely most vindicated by the destruction of the lich, is encouraged to summon a thoqqua, which devours the phylactery, destroying the lich forever.



The Gaedracis' Phylactery
Our heroes make preparations the rest of that day Armaestis arrives to travel to The Gaedracis' lair.
Armaestis leads our heroes back toward Redemption by way of the trade road, intending to use the cover of Tanglewood to approach the hideout from the south.
Ozimius follows Armaestis, anxious to see who survived in Redemption.
The group spends the night at the site where Tangleton is to stand one day before completing the journey to the hideout.
Sparta: Welcome to Tangleton, my friends.
Mask sits on top of the ridge looking toward The Floating Tower that evening.
Nyza: It is not much to look at yet, but it will be someday.
Ozimius pokes Mask.
Mask: Yes, Ozi?
Ozimius: What is with you and that tower.
Oliveryn: What is it all going to look like once you are done?
Mask: That has been my home for the last couple of decades.
Ozimius: Time to leave the nest perhaps?
Ozimius: Live a little?
Mask: Probably, but I have a gift to share with everyone there.
Ozimius: A gift?
Mask: Yes, Isildul has a chest that he mentioned I could show to all of you.
Ozimius nods.
Ozimius: Just do not spend all your time in there. World's a big place. You should get out and see it.
Mask: It is very power full and very ancient...It allows one to trade magic item they do not want for ones they do of the same value and power.
Ozimius grins.
Ozimius: Now that will be handy.
Mask: I was up here checking if tonight would be a good night to bring folks up there, but there is something going on there. See the glow from the arrow slits and windows?
Rainbow bursts of light periodically flash from the tower's various openings.
Ozimius nods.
Ozimius: Magic at work, no doubt.
Ozimius: Do you think Izzy will mind me killing his woman?
Mask: Isildul's consort, Imhiakaam? Maybe, maybe not. They have been together forever, but they do not get along very well, at least not lately.
Ozimius grins.
Ozimius: Good, I still owe her.
Mask: I am heading back down, Ozi. No need to coax the giants.
Ozimius nods.
Legeand: Still in a brooding mood he looks at the in-construction town, "Just hope that you do not get too many powerful enemies; they could take the town out before it is built."
Sparta: We'll build walls at either end of the ravine to protect the city with great gates to let caravans through.
Sparta: Halfling holes will dot the hillside.
Nyza: And a great mine inside the mountain.
Sparta: Yes, Nyza.
Sparta: And, folk big and small will come from all around to live here in peace with the forest.
Oliveryn: I would love to set up a nice trading agreement with this new area. I highly think that a great commerce between Troll's Bridge would be in both of our interests.
Nyza: There are some giants in the area, Legeand. We are taking care not to bother them for now.
Legeand: I do not just mean giants. If something like what were hunting now comes after you or even a dragon, walls will not do too much.
Sparta: We'll have the caves for protection until we can defend the town.
Sparta: But, you're right Legeand, that's why I want to hire some dwarves to build the city walls.
Nyza: Hehe, Nyza cannot set much on fire inside her own town. Do not worry, Ozi, you have my services for the foreseeable future.
Ozimius grins at Nyza.
Sparta: When we've finished with the lich, I hope to summon some of my clan here to help Nyza's tribe.
Luanes: This is a really amazing site, Sparta and Nyza...and dream.
Nyza: Thank you Luanes! We are both doing everything we can to accomplish it, me is sure.
Luanes: I commend the openness. I hope you succeed.
Sparta: Setting up trade routes through the forest will be a challenge.
Sparta: But, I think it will help all of our towns prosper.
Sparta: Rebelton and Redemption, too.
Sparta: Tangleton will be the crossroads of the forest.
Luanes: The road here needs to be cleared and repaired, but at least there is something to start with.
Oliveryn: This is true, but I think with limited trails maybe one or two it might be possible to keep the sanctuary of the forest without harming it.
Sparta: Yes, we need to protect the forest.
Sparta: These old trees are older than any of us except maybe Luanes.
Sparta: and they'll probably out live us too
Nyza: On the other hand, the biggest trees would provide the most ironwood.
Legeand: Just make a single paved road from each town. You can get your tree friends to help keep it clear could you not?
Sparta: That's a good idea, Legeand.
Sparta: I haven't talked to him in months.
Sparta: I bet he would help to keep the trees clear of the roads if we can help him tend the forest.
Wintersky lets the conversation wash over her deep in her own thoughts.
Legeand: In a worst case you could also use him and his friends to keep an eye for the wrong people.
Sparta: Well, I think Ironroot has a different idea of who the wrong people are.
Sparta: He's more worried about fire and axe than anything else.
Legeand: Yes, but you can talk to him to tell him of what to warn you about.
The next morning our heroes head east along the trade road. Armaestis heads north through the forest about half way between Tangleton and Redemption.
Sparta has a happy stride to his step, thinking about talking to Ironroot again.
Our heroes meet T'Krosh, Bektul and their patrol near the edge of the forest at which point they report having seen a shaman like Wintersky in the vicinity of where the hideout is supposed to be. They have not approached too closely, not feeling it safe to expose themselves too much out on the plains.
Nyza: You have not all met, have you? Bektul, here, is the highest in command of the settlement, while myself and T'Krosh are away, of course.
Nyza: He is also a very skilled tracker, so if he says he saw a shaman there, you can believe it.
Bektul: Yes, me leader of sorts and yes, have good eyes.
Oliveryn: Nice to meet you.
Wintersky: We should meet BuffaloHorn and see what he can tell us.
Bektul nods.
Sparta: Your patrol should stay in the protection of the forest.
Sparta: There are liable to be walking dead about.
Bektul: There is the smell of death out there, but we have seen no walking dead.
Bektul: I should return to the mine and have these warrior get some rest. They have been very vigilant, but they are tired.
Ozimius: They are about.
Legeand: Without a doubt, the dead walk near.
Wintersky: How far to where you saw the Shaman.
T'Krosh: He is not far from the edge of the forest...quarter of a mile at most.
Wintersky: Alone?
T'Krosh: Yes, and very elusive.
Our heroes say their farewells to the kobold scouts and T'Krosh indicates which way to go. Armaestis gives a bark and leads the way out onto the plains.
Oliveryn: We shall find him then?
Legeand: Let us deal with this problem of ours, once and for all.
BuffaloHorn steps up into view as our heroes approach the mound concealing the entrance to the Zuodeyja Hideout and points toward the mound.
Wintersky casts Detect Undead.
Legeand moves cautiously towards the mound.
Sparta: What's the gold ring in the hillside?
Legeand: Door? Maybe an entrance, at least.
Luanes: Looks like a huge grate.
Sparta looks for undead as he joins Legeand on the plain.
Nyza cautiously steps up besides Armaestis, careful not to get trampled on.
Ozimius slinks off to get into a flanking position around the mound.
Armaestis starts trotting towards BuffaloHorn, but suddenly stops short.
Armaestis growls.
Armaestis sniffs the ground in front of himself.
Luanes coaxs Gaelitae into the air and begins circling the area.
Oliveryn moves forward and starts to ply his lute softly for the encouragement of his fellows, looking across the area.
T'Krosh casts a Bestow Curse into his spear, preparing to smite some undead with it.
Wintersky: Something is not right here with BuffaloHorn.
Wintersky casts Life's Grace shared with SnowShadow and rides out a head of the others towards BuffaloHorn.
Wintersky: Heads up. There are undead around.
Sparta: No kidding, can you be a little more specific?
Mask casts Mage Armor and cautiously follows the others..
Nyza focuses her powers into calling a creature via her robe.
Nyza: Let us see if we can smoke them out of the field!
Sparta casts Long Strider and shares it with Ringo.
Sparta rides up and continues looking for undead.
Sparta sees an odd denting in the ground around BuffaloHorn.
Ozimius continues to circle around the mound, scanning the area as he goes.
Armaestis scratches at the ground and picks up the end of a wire in his mouth.
Armaestis barks.
Sparta: BuffaloHorn, are you OK? Where's the lich?
BuffaloHorn points towards the mound.
BuffaloHorn: In there.
Luanes, riding Gaelitae, continues to circle in the air above.
Luanes: I do not see any walking dead, anywhere.
Oliveryn moves forward pass the mound.
T'Krosh: Before approaching the mound, T'Krosh blesses himself with a Bull's Strength.
Wintersky shares Divine Power with SnowShadow and then rides up close to her fellow shaman.
As BuffaloHorn is approached, an ominous looking structure appears around the shaman with spinning gears and whirling blades. Before anyone can react, BuffaloHorn is reduces to a spray of blood, shreaded flesh and chipped up bone fragments.
Oliveryn swallows trying to keep his bile.
Legeand watches grimly, hoping there is no more.
Wintersky: What in the world?
Sparta: Why didn't BuffaloHorn warn us he was in danger?
Wintersky: I do not know!
Sparta: Ozi, are there any more of those about?
Wintersky: Maybe he could not!
Blood, guts and bone fragments spray up to Luanes and Gaelitae and over Wintersky, Cinder, Sparta and Ringo. Cinder is gravely wounded have approached so close to the whirling blades.
T'Krosh looks on with keen interest.
T'Krosh: What a magnificent trap.
Mask: Oh, my!
Ozimius grins, making mental notes of the trap.
Sparta: That's not the word I'd use T'Krosh.
Mask casts Mirror Image surrounds herself with six copies.
If the horror that has been witnessed is not terrible enough, two cackling spirits flow like ooze from the remains, one apparently the corrupted spirit of the shaman and the other recognizable as Chelsia. They quickly flee into the ground.
Legeand: Chelsia! You bitch get back here!
Luanes: Visaria! What an atrocity!
An enormous inferno spider appears between Legeand and the grate in the mound.
Sparta: We'll have to chase her, Legeand.
Sparta: Ozi, see if you can open that grate without getting killed by another one of those things.
Ozimius nods.
Legeand: If you cannot I will rip it off myself, Ozi.
Nyza: In the clicking language of Ignan, Nyza orders the spider to bash down the grate.
Nyza: Meanwhile, Nyza bursts into several images, five more of herself surround her.
The inferno spider tears the grate out of the side of the mound.
Legeand waits for the spider to move out of the way.
Sparta approaches the spider.
Ozimius glides up to the opening in the mound, dazzled by the inferno spider as he step over the rise.
Nyza: Do you all want to go in first or let the inferno spider?
Sparta: Let the spider go.
Legeand: Let him melt any traps in our way.
Armaestis barks and howls at the trap.
Luanes brings Gaelitae in for a landing.
Oliveryn back toward the opening in the mound again and continues to sing.
T'Krosh further fortifies his attacks with a Divine Favor.
Wintersky, crying, casts Cure Critical Wounds on Cinder burning off an Undead Bane Weapon to do so.
Wintersky: Armaestis, what is it?
Armaestis looks up at Wintersky.
Armaestis whines.
Sparta looks back to Miss 'Sky and Armaestis.
Wintersky senses that Armaestis is very upset at what just happened to the other shaman.
Mask casts Shield and moves toward the rest of the group.
Nyza (Ignan): Okay, spider, now go in that barrow and start killing things.
The inferno spider enters the mound, raging through the tunnels.
Wintersky casts Undead Bane Weapon on Sparta's bow.
Sparta: Thank you, Miss 'Sky
Wintersky: Welcome
Wintersky: Legeand, do you want an undead bane weapon?
Legeand: Yes; it will help.
Wintersky: Wintersky casts the spell again on Legeand's weapon.
Sparta: I have a protection from energy spell, any ideas what I should protect from? Nyza's fire?
Wintersky casts Ghost Trap shared with SnowShadow.
Nyza: Never a bad idea with me around.
Mask casts Cat's Grace.
Nyza: But do undead not favor cold and negative energy?
Legeand: Undead burning would be a sight.
Wintersky: Legeand is your armor ghost touch?
Legeand: Not that I know of.
Wintersky casts Ghost Touch Armor on Legeand's armor.
Legeand: Strengthen against fear would be nice as well.
Wintersky casts Eagle's Splendor on herself.
Mask casts Magic Circle Against Evil.
Luanes casts Bull's Strength.
Wintersky casts Warning on herself shared with SnowShadow.
Wintersky casts Stoneskin shared with SnowShadow.
Luanes casts Divine Protection.
T'Krosh casts Freedom of Movement on himself and Legeand.
Legeand: Thanks, T'Krosh.
T'Krosh: Sure. Nothing will bar your path now.
Sparta: Legeand, how about I cast protection from fire on you?
Legeand: Negative energy might work better for me.
Wintersky casts Superior Resistance shared with SnowShadow.
Sparta casts Protection From Fire on Legeand.
Sparta readies his undead bane bow.
Oliveryn continues to sing for the group.
Legeand: Readies his sword.
Our heroes follow the inferno spider into the mound as it burns its way through traps and several undead before being destroyed.
The passages are low and dark and riddled with the bones of the ancient dead.
Before long the group encounters hordes of skeletons and zombies, but they are quickly turned to dust by Luanes and Wintersky's holy power.
The Gaedracis, in the form of a finely attired decaying gnoll's corpse, sits upon his throne awaiting our heroes. He chuckles with the annoying laugh of a hyena.
Sparta lets fly with four undead bane arrows in quick succession at the first sight of the lich.
Ozimius chuckles.
Ozimius: Ah, another head for the collection.
The arrow enters the lich's body and sizzle away. The holy power seems to burn it, but arrows otherwise pass through and shatter on the throne.
Oliveryn continues to inspire his companions while waiting for the lich to act.
Wintersky casts Righteous Might shared with SnowShadow and moves into the room moving out of the way left.
A wraith crawls out of the floor and attacks Wintersky.
Sparta: Oh, I hope that's not Houghton or Hancock.
The wraith looks oddly solid as it actually crawls out of the floor.
Luanes: You will not have such fortune this time in repelling me, lich!
Luanes charges the lich smiting it with all her might.
The Gaedracis swipes at Luanes with his deadly touch, but she dodges its touch.
Mask casts Fire Shield (hot) and move up into view.
T'Krosh readies to charge at the lich as well, but Nyza stops him with a hand to his shoulder.
Nyza: Stay here with me please...
T'Krosh shrugs and channels a Dispel Magic at the lich.
T'Krosh's spell seems to have no effect.
Nyza fuses an Energy Vulnerability and Ray of Flame together and fires at the lich.
The ray of fire strikes the lich and it bursts into flames.
Ozimius: You keep getting your head back and I will keep taking it!
Ozimius charges The Gaedracis as well.
Ozimius plows into the lich.
Another wraith crawls out of the floor and attacks SnowShadow, but she avoids with a leap.
Legeand steps into the chamber.
Legeand: Where are you, Chelsia?! I am right here! Stop playing with these undead minions and come face me! Or, are you hiding her yourself, gnoll?
Sparta lets fly with four more undead bane arrows in quick succession at the first sight of the lich, but the arrows spray about narrowly missing companions.
Nyza ducks her head as an arrow whizzes overhead.
Ringo charges up and bites one of the corporeal wraiths.
A wraith crawls out of the floor to attack Legeand, but bounces off his armor.
And another wraith attacks Legeand, futilely.
Oliveryn moves and continues to sing as he takes out a ring from his bag of holding.
Wintersky's stony skin repels a wraith's solid strike.
Wintersky holds aloft her medicine bag and extols, "By the power of the Spirits turn you to dust!"
Four wraiths explode in clouds of dust.
SnowShadow pounces the last wraith.
Luanes continues to hack at the lich with Taevon's Mercy.
The Gaedracis attempts to enervate Luanes as in their last encounter, but this time it fails.
Mask casts Disintegrate.
Mask: Really, we need to end this and find its phylactery.
As The Gaedracis is dispatched, his fine mist of a spirit retreats behind the throne where the sound of falling pebbles can be heard.
Behind the throne is a green marble plaque divided into squares in which many hold carved stone numbers. On the floor below the plaque are piled more numbers that seem to have fallen out as the lich's spirit passed through.
The heroes work quickly to replace the fallen number in their proper places and as the last number of the correctly solved puzzle is returned to its square, a section of the wall slides in to reveal another chamber.
The chamber contains a triangular pedestal near its center holding a glowing black cube and standing beside it is the large dark form of a dread wraith. Four book shelves can be seen built into the walls on the far end of the chamber.
T'Krosh: Quickly, let us break that thing before the lich reforms!
Legeand: I think we have to kill that thing first.
T'Krosh drops a Flame Strike on the dread wraith!
Nyza casts Lingering Flames and sets the chamber on fire.
Ozimius tosses a flask of acid on the burning creature.
Legeand transforms his sword into a bow and fires arrows at the wraith.
Sparta fires his bow, but after the first arrow he fumbles to bow.
Oliveryn continues to sing.
Wintersky fires three arrows from Blessed Black of which two strike it, but it is enough to end its existence.
Sparta: Luanes, can you tell if the crystal is the lich's phylactery?
Sparta: Is it evil?
Nyza squints at the raging inferno in front of her.
Luanes: I would guess so. It is definitely evil, but Wintersky would know better. Is there a spirit in there, Wintersky?
Wintersky looks at the phylactery.
Wintersky: This is most definitely a phylactery.
The fire goes out.
Wintersky: Mask can you disintegrate it?
Mask: I can try, but I suspect there are other protections that will prevent it from being touched yet. Try knocking it off the pedestal with an arrow.
Wintersky fires an arrow from Blessed Black at the phylactery.
The arrow strikes the phylactery and explodes. A wave of crackling black energy billows forth from it.
Wintersky: Ozi, is it trapped. I would hate to become shaman goo like my friend did.
A face appears in the visible side of the pedestal.
Face: What were the Names the original Houses of Troll's Bridge?
Nyza looks to Oliveryn.
Legeand: Oli? It is your town.
Oliveryn: Yeah I know, its been a while since my history classes back at school...I am thinking...
Oliveryn: Ah...that is easy. Artural, Donamal, Elan, Gorkan, Illman, Lesh, Quaid, Random and Tarcik.
Oliveryn folds his arms.
Face: Correct.
The face disappears.
Mask: Try that again. I suspect there are three questions.
Mask: Three-sided pedestal after all.
Nyza: It makes sense for the lich, too. It could grab the gem many times without suffering the effect.
Nyza: Which is otherwise a bit more...deadly for us.
Legeand: for the most part
Legeand's arrow strikes the phylactery, which explodes releasing another wave of negative energy.
Another face appears on another side of the pedestal.
Face: What are the Names of the Ages of each Cycle?
Sparta: Sounds like another one for Oli.
Oliveryn: Give me a break. Chaos, Demons, Evil, Good, Law, Nature, Saints, The Beatific, The Diabolic.
Face: Correct.
The second face disappears.
Legeand's arrow hits the pedestal; nothing happens.
Legeand: My bad.
Legeand's next arrow explodes again against the phylactery and a hidden face speaks.
Face: How many Great Rings exist in the Saasm Space Crystal Sphere?
Legeand: Nine?
Face: Correct.
The pedestal disintegrates and the phylactery rolls towards the group.
Mask: I think a disintegrate would be in order, do you not?
Sparta: Now can I summon my thoqqua?
Nyza: Or, Legeand could hit it really hard!
Sparta: Or, that works too.
Legeand: Be my guest.
Legeand: Or, Nyza summon a fire elemental to melt it into slag.
Mask: Try the thoqqua, Sparta.
Sparta casts Summon Nature's Ally III.
Nyza: Hehe, good choice of creature, Sparta.
A thoqqua appears awaiting orders from Sparta.
Sparta: Destroy the crystal and you may return home.
Wintersky looks around for spirits here.
The thoqqua devours the phylactery, utterly destroying it and disappears.
Mask: Bravo, Sparta!
Nyza: Well done!
Sparta smiles.
Legeand: Well, that is one problem down.
Sparta: Sparta's smile fades.
Nyza: Thankfully, that should be the end of it. But still... Tesela is and many others are dead.
Legeand: And the dead are restless.
Luanes: Chelsia still remains.
Sparta: I fear Chelsia will be harder to deal with.
Luanes: More ellusive, anyway.
Nyza: Ms. Sky, can you tell if she is still close? We see her at the death trap after all.
Wintersky: She is not here at the moment. All would see her because she would be forced to materialize.
Mask: You were doing that, Wintersky?
Wintersky: Yes, I was forcing the incorporeal creatures corporeal.
Sparta: Will she have lost any power without the lich to help her?
Wintersky: I do not think so.
Luanes: I agree, she probably is only getting stronger.
Legeand: Then, we will need to deal with her before she gets too strong.
Luanes: Then, we continue to be vigilant.
Wintersky: BuffaloHorn's spirit may be a problem also.
Luanes: I think that last wraith was him, Wintersky.
Wintersky: Maybe, I do not know.
ą
Stephen Pliska-Matyshak,
Sep 11, 2009, 6:50 AM
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