7 Hearth 509
The party has just slain the Bandersnatch after a well-executed plan. Surm hears a voice near his ear ala a Sending spell. The voice is familiar—it is Kalys Penwyck, the vizier to the Overlord of Kalimsport.
“The Overlord of Kalimsport is saddened to inform you of the demise of your brother, the outlaw Morvar Ulrich, at the gates of the city.”
Surm takes in the information and says, “Thank you for informing me.” None of the others hear the message as they are assessing the situation with the Bandersnatch.
Savaric debates on whether or not to take any of the gigantic creature’s quills as a trophy. He ends up taking five of them and putting them in his Efficient Quiver.
Rilka prays to Bruni to receive Detect Magic and the party starts heading toward the hut that Surm had seen in his bird form earlier in the day.
The hut looks like it has seen a lot of rot from the surrounding swamp land. it is relatively small…about fifteen feet long and square. There is a door and two shuttered windows on the side facing the party.
Rilka casts Detect Magic on the hut and detects no magical auras. Savaric senses no movement from within.
Savaric approaches the hut stealthily with Rilka, Uther, Quintrell, Halvor, and Alfhild at the ready. Savaric goes to one of the windows and takes his sword, trying to move the shutter with the point.
Suddenly the entire hut moves, with the windows becoming eyes and the door becoming a giant maw. Savaric is caught by an enormous sticky tongue that emerges from the door/mouth of the mimic/hut.
After a brief fight with the large mimic, Surm slays the beast with Scorching Rays. it finally releases Savaric.
Surm changes into a bird with beast shape and flies up to look around. As he surveys the area, he spots a…flaw…in the reality of the area and sees a tower beyond what is obviously, to him, an illusory wall. He returns to the party to report.
The party assumes their usual marching order and starts heading toward the “wall” to find the hidden tower.
After a bit of convincing, everyone eventually sees through the illusion and passes through the wall and sees the tower sitting in the middle of the swamp. The tower is three stories high with a crenelated roof.
Savric and Rilka approach the tower, with Savaric looking for secret entrances and Rilka using Detect Magic. Neither find anything unusual. Savaric checks the front door for traps and finds nothing out of the ordinary—but does determine that it is locked.
The rest of the party comes forward and Surm attempts to pick the lock—to no avail. Darvin attempts as well—no joy there, either. Surm takes his time and eventually succeeds in picking the lock.
Gwyn opens the door with a spell. Savaric listens though the open doorway, but hears nothing. He sneaks inside. Rilka detects no magical auras in the bottom floor. Savaric searches the bottom floor but finds nothing unusual.
The bottom floor is filled with crates and barrels. There is a ramp that leads up to the next level as well as a narrow iron spiral staircase leading upwards.
The rest of the party moves into the bottom level. Tarben, Gwyn, and Surm take the stairs whhile Alfhild, Rilka, Bragara, and Savaric take the ramp.
The second level appears to be bisected into a kitchen and a dining area. Savaric searches the area out. The hearth is cold and he finds nothing unusual—but he does smell and acrid stench coming from upstairs. The ramp ends here but the spiral staircase continues to the third level.
Surm casts invisibility on himself and heads upstairs. Savaric gives him a moment and then uses Ilona to make himself invisible and follows him upstairs. Rilka gives them both a couple of minutes and then follows, not invisible and not stealthy.
When Surm goes upstairs he sees what appears to be a workshop of some sort with book shelves, alchemical accoutrements, and a large cauldron that seems to be the source of the acrid stench. He hides himself on the side of the room.
Savaric comes up and sees the same thing and hides himself near the bookshelves.
Rilka comes up, making noise and is very visible. At this point, a hideous, hag-like creature with no eyes appears right beside Savaric and attacks Rilka!
As Rilka encounters this creature, and Savaric attempts to aid her, a second hag appears on the other side of Savaric.
Surm manages to take out one of the hags in a rain of fire and thunder!
During the fight, Bragara starts heading up the stairs, followed by Quintrell. Savaric manages to stun the remaining hag. Surm burns her with a spell while Bragara manages to do small amounts of damage to the fell creature. Finally, Rilka decapitates the hag with her falchion.
Surm casts detect magic on the ichorous fluid burning in the cauldron. He determines that it is some sort of summoning fluid connected to the Plane of Shadow. He casts drench on the fire feeding the cauldron and lets the fluid die, ceasing the connection.
Savaric finds nothing in the room save for various potions and elixirs on the shelves. Rilka casts detect magic on the potions and finds that about ten of them are magical in nature.
The party then take some time to discuss where Sakka the Grim may be, as they haven’t found him in this tower.
Surm uses beast shape to turn into a bird once again and flies to the roof, to the Bandersnatch, and to the pond. He sees nothing of interest along the way.
Savaric searches the tower again and finds a secret door hidden on the first floor of the tower beneath a false crate.
Rilka takes the alchemical notebooks and potions from the top floor of the tower.
Surm returns to the Material Plane from the pocket dimension and has the remaining troops to move their camp. He then returns to the pond and flies back to the tower.
Savaric continues searching, finding nothing more of interest in the tower.
After Surm returns and they tell him of the secret door, Savaric opens the secret door. It triggers a spell trap that was not found (the detect magic spell could not penetrate the crate it was hidden behind). Savaric is nearly dropped to unconsciousness by a harm spell. Rilka magically heals him while Surm identifies the potions that Rilka found.
The door opened by Savaric reveals a dull red light, a hideous, sickening stench, and a narrow shaft with a iron hand holds leading about twenty-five feet down into a cavern.
Savaric heads down first, followed by Rilka, Surm, and Quintrell. Tarben and Einar follow—but Einar is soon overwhelmed by the stench and is replaced by Halvor.
The shaft leads down into a tunnel. The tunnel leads further into a cavern. The cavern is full of ten-foot-tall plant-like pods with a vine-like protrusions. The pods are blood-red in color. The vines are semi-transparent and seem to have some sort of viscous fluid flowing through them into the pods. The pods are hard, with the consistency of wood. They seem to be the source of the sickening stench that fills the tunnel and the cavern.
Moving through the cavern, the party can hear a chanting sound coming from the other side of the “forest” of pods. As they move carefully through the pods, they determine that there are probably about a hundred and fifty of these pods in the cavern.
Emerging from the “forest” they come to an alcove at the far end of the cavern. At the end of the alcove is a stone archway. In the archway are three rose-quartz crystals glowing with the red light that has been lighting the cavern and the tunnel. Within the archway is an image of the throne room of the Rose Crystal Palace of the Queen of the Sun, Moon, and Stars—the Queen of the Saelfsidhedal—the Monarch of the Elven Nation. There is a space for a fourth crystal, which is being held in the hand of a dark-haired elf that stands before the archway. This elf’s body is twisted and hunched and he has a series of tattoos on his face and arms. On either side of him are four large, twisted tree-like beings with horrific, distorted visages.
Surm recognizes the four tree-like beings as being Inrakurses—elves whose bodies have been wracked by fleshwarping magics of the darkest sort. He puts two-and-two together and realizes that those pods are more Inrakurses, ready to hatch. This is what Sakka has been doing with the elves he’s been kidnapping. He’s been forming an army.
Rilka casts silence over the party and they approach quietly. When they get close enough to strike, Rilka rushes forward to interrupt Sakka’s gate spell with her silence. Surm casts his black tentacles to trap the inrakurses. Savaric strikes against Sakka—killing the sorcerer in a series of well-placed shots.
In a series of spells and strikes, the Inrakurses are finally put down—but it is a tough fight. Sakka is searched for magical items. The party then returns upstairs to the tower to find flammable fuel. They also find a hidden chest in the topmost floor. Surm detects and dispels the trap that was placed upon it.
Using the flammables they found in the alchemical lab, they splash the pods below the tower. They also take the bodies of Sakka the Grim and one of the Imrakurses.
Surm teleports the party back to the pond and they all reconnect with the rest of the guards.
The main party returns through the pond and to the tower. They descend once again below the tower and retrieve the gate stones. Surm casts fireball on the pod forest before they leave.
At sundown, Surm teleports Jerrik, Leif, Savaric, Rilka, and the two dead bodies back to Almathriel. The rest of the troupe will be marching back to the elven capital.
Back in Almathriel, the party is met on the lawn of Lord Springvale’s estate by Elbereth, the aristocrat’s majordomo. Unflappable as usual, she bids the party to take the bodies to the carriage house and then come inside and clean up. The carriage keeper is a bit upset at the development, but Surm manages to talk him down.
Lord Springvale is happy to see the party and embraces Surm, particularly happy to see that he is alright. He orders food and drink and to hear the story. Everyone then goes to bed, with plans to discuss tomorrow what to do next.