We moved on to the winding path and Senji did remarkably well with climbing. Good thing, too, as the path was only about a foot and a half wide. We came up to a castle structure with towers and a large lightning rod that was being struck by lightning every five minutes or so. Even though the day was still young at only about 10 in the morning, the sky was black with clouds filled with thunder and lightning.
Krow opened the door…thank goodness that the door wasn’t booby-trapped as we have seen previously, though the orc, Sarc and the Fop were pushed back by a wave of water. The burst of water pushed the half-orc over the edge, the Fop caught him, and ‘Essa caught the Fop. She heroically pulled them all up, and then coughed a bit…the mummy rot was taking its toll on her. The two feet of water almost got a hold of me, but our newest party member picked me up so I wasn’t pushed over the edge by the water, as well.
We enter the building and the hall split into two directions – the the left and the right.
The Fop discovered there was a basilisk in the chamber to the left. The orc went down that way to attack the creature. On the other side of the chamber hallway, there was another room with three vargouille creatures, who let out a terrible shriek which knocked me prone. One of these was smote early on. Another of these fowl beings came at me and tried to begin the transformation process to make me one of them. ‘Essa raged on this disgusting being and split it in two – atta girl, Essa! I made a mental note to produce water over myself to cleanse the sludge from my person. shudders
Krow, as it turns out, killed the basilisk on his own.
We gathered together again on the catwalk above the and notice spores and mushrooms in one chamber, and in the other I see doors ahead of us. The party opened the door and moved into the room – this was problematic as I was going to unleash a band of mad monkeys to help us tear the water zombies apart. Pity. I was really looking forward to the monkey swarm and the look on my party’s faces. The fight happened under water and I would have joined in, too, if I hadn’t found another door of interest in front and to the right of me. ‘Essa dove into the fray and much sloshing of water ensued.
One bottle made of shadows, one of vapour, two full of blackness with wax sealed around the cork, a white potion, and a stick float to the surface once the fight died down. One of the bottles came flying out at Sark, but Atherton caught it out of the air. Once in his hand, he asked me to appraise it – I’m now the proud owner of preserved basilisk blood. We examined the other doorway – a lovely oak door that was locked. The orc came up and put his foot through it, thus ensuring we could not lock the creatures back in the room they were waiting in.
The team members that went below described the room to me afterward: two bookcases piled in the corner near a corpse that had been ripped apart. Atherton describe his heroics in detail as well as the state of the room: “As the door swings open the six creatures in the room turn their heads (not their torsos, just their heads). While the rest of them [the party] get caught falling down the stairs that turn into a slide under their feet, I gracefully slid down the boobytrapped stairway and deftly leaped over the prone figures of my comrades…” ‘Essa shows me the rest of the stuff she got out of the cabinet down in the watery room from moments ago. While the others fought below us, we contemplated shutting the door at the top of the stairs…I told her we should wait to see how to battle goes. We already had enough to deal with, what with the impending ‘turn to dust on the wind in two days’ problem still on her plate.
The door that stood in front of us was solid with no key hole to see through, though we could hear wind, lightning strikes, thunderclaps, and rain. I dug deep in my stoic soul to not cry out in surprise at the lightning strike that hit directly in front of me when we opened the door. I checked to see no one saw…good.
We walked across the narrow stone bridge to the next door and a flesh Gollum was behind the door in front of us. The party dealt with it, and though I was hastened, I could not get the chance to use my burning gaze on it.
Under the flesh golem, we saw a solid piece of 10’ x 10’ adamantine which doubled as a door.
We took a moment to heal some of the party and I used 5 charges of the cure light wound wand on the others in the party.
Underneath the trap door was the gorilla/Gollum’s cage area. We found nothing of interest but a peanut…and not one that cures mummy rot.
We heard snoring off on the side of the room – I signalled for quiet to the rest of the party.
In the middle of the room was a large cage that had been ripped open. On each side of the wall were cages. There looked to be a homeless person in one of the cages. That was the source of the snoring and as we realized this is the only other person in the room, the party had me create water above the man to wake him. On his chest: the mark of the Whispering Way that looked to be about 2 days old.
We found a bear in another cage and let it free. Turns out, it’s Krow’s shaman brother who was able to cure ‘Essa’s mummy rot on the spot! Huzzah! It might still be a few nights of restful slumber in a soft bed before she is back up to her full strength, but she is no longer at death’s door!
The second full-blooded orc created food downstairs and the rest of the party went down to eat.
While the party went downstairs, a tiny winged homunculi tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention. It waved a little white flag to me to signal it comes in peace…and I believed it. Through a series of mimed answers, I was able to ascertain the following:
It asked me to follow him around and walks me through:
His master is the Lord of the castle, the one we have been looking for.
Wants us to save his master from the big bad monster upstairs
Shows me through scratches what the upstairs looks like
The device he shows me in etchings and scratching (shows me the Bondslave Thrall) which controls the beast – can command it 100%
Control device is on the roof
There’s a big monster just above us
It can see really well, hear pretty well, smell not too well
Creature is in its nest
Scary black robed people controlled the beast for about a week
We agree to call the beast we saved from the mob back in town ‘Frank’
I told ‘Essa the plan: to distract the monster while I fly up to the top of the tower and plug myself into the machine that will control Frank. I hoped that Frank was close so he would be able to get to the castle quickly.
I healed ‘Essa up completely, as well as the rest of the party. I used another 6 charges from the wand. (Note to self: We are now down to 39 uses of the wand.)
The shaman cast a spell on us all to give us a heroic charge of health for the next 10 minutes. It was now or never, people.
I turned into a raven and stared to fly up to the device, but the wind kept buffeting me back and forth. A few seconds into the ascent, I heard a cry of ‘help’ from inside the tower. The fools must have started up the tower as soon as I took to the sky! I called out a litany of abuse to them for their choice of shenanigans and kept fighting against the wind on my way to the top. What the hell had happened to the well rehearsed plan we all agreed with?
I finally got into the device and bonded with Frank. I saw through his eyes and he was moving through the ruined alchemist’s lab towards our location. He stalled a bit when I took over his body but then I commanded him to get moving again and he began moving faster than I could ever move on my own. WE moved incredibly quickly through the castle and WE landed on the adamantine trap door where WE could see ‘Essa in the tentacled grasp of the monster above US.
WE fought with the monster, realizing that the rest of the party did NOT wait for my signal and some of them had been grievously injured. The Fop wasn’t looking well…what with being almost pinched in two by the monster. My fellow adventurers were in a sorry state by the time the shaman’s spell had worn off. I was less than impressed with ‘Essa charging in to the fray the moment I was out of the room. I chose to heal her so she was no longer at death’s door…again…then let her simmer in her injuries to think about the notion of actions and consequences.
One of the group broke open the iron maiden that had been in the room with us and Lord K. fell out, looking dehydrated and moments from the next realm. Once we healed him and I brought him food and water, Lord K bestowed 10,000 gold pieces each of us to show his thanks.
His wife died in childbirth and he surrounded himself with his creations. He considered Frank his only child. The monster we fought and killed was his protector. I suggested that he might not have such a tough go of it if he made smaller, friendlier creatures that the townspeople didn’t want to come and burn him at the stake for creating.
While the rest of the party filed back downstairs for more food and wound-licking, a ring dropped down into my hand from above – a ring given to me by the flying homunculi, Harold, that he had used to make himself invisible to the others. Turns out the little guy gave me his ring of invisibility – I try it on and ‘Essa pounces on the last spot she saw me. I tickle her to get out of her grasp. After that she put me on her shoulders to keep me close and I took advantage of my new invisibility by moving locks of her hair about.
Looking around at the party, I realize that Atherton…Atheron is dead. Damn, I was really starting to like the fellow. The shaman came over to the remains of the elf and licked his face. A brilliant light enveloped the elf’s body and once the fireworks died down, the most attractive, cocky orc in a peacock feather hat stood before us. He’s going to be insufferable now, with his strength, charisma, and that ever loving hat.
A surge of energy flows through the group and I notice a change in Senji. Senji is now a full sized raptor – they grow up so quickly!