Age of Despair

Session #36

A Dark Cathedral

Night of Aug 9 into Aug 10 —
We take a few moments to rummage in the room we’ve just cleared. Turning up mostly gold and platinum, partially replenishing our purses from the spell components we purchased for Keth.

In the next room we look through a doorway into a black abyss. There is some sort of spell cast on the threshold, the door is filled with a black fog. Keth stares at it intently for a short time, then steps through. But first, he checks for traps. He disappears from view.

I stand in shock, with a stupid shocked look on my face for a beat or two too long. Cilka waves her hands and mutters a bit, the fog drops away revealing Keth prone on the floor with a large doglike beast standing over him. The beast is ugly, with long sharp claws and glowing red eyes. Oh yeah, and it has a tail like a cros between a rat and a scorpion. Apparently it also spits acid, Alaric and Cilka, both standing in the doorway are hit with a stream of acid shooting from its slavering maw. They conveniently block the spray from hitting the rest of us.

I move up, but am apparently unnerved by the beast as my swing falls woefully short. Fire shoots from Cilka fingers, blasting into it with a searing flame, the smell of burnt fur fills the room. The thing looks like it just stepped out of a mucky pond, it’s dripping water and slime and seems to shake off damage from fire almost as if it were nothing. Cilka’s fire shoots awry, hitting Alaric, unfortunately the fire seems to work just fine on him. Dom has better luck, maneuvering behind the beast and dealing it several deep oozing gashes. This thing is tough, usually Dom’s blows and Cilka’s fire are much more effective.

As the thing maneuvers around to put it’s back to the wall we get some extra strikes in, he’s finally starting show a little the worse for waer. I finaly get one good swing in on the monster, it collapses to the ground, as it’s blood oozes out of its many wounds, it smoulders and smokes, small flames spring up around it. Coy quickly wraps it in the carpet it is lying on the smother the flames. What was this thing?

Alaric starts casting furiously, as Keth and Dom continue to weaken from the effects of the beast’s attack. Cilka springs forward with a potion to counter the effects. Their condition stabilizes, but they are left severely weakened by the experience.

Coy’s disturbing the carpet has revealed a circle freshly scratched into the floor beneath, it is a circle arcane in nature, most likely used to summon the demon we just killed.

The room we are in is opulent, fine furnishings, rich rugs and tapestries, at least until there was flaming blood and acid being sprayed around. There is a desk off to the side, with gold detailing and filigree work, one of the drawers is locked. Dom inspects the drawer looking to determine if it might be trapped. He sees a small rune faintly inscribed, Cilka casts dispel on the drawer, the runes are still in place. Dom fiddles with the drawer again and it explodes in his face, he is able to dodge back in time to miss the blast. The drawer is still in place, and still locked. Dom gets the drawer open, there are only baubles inside. Cilka has found a spell book and some documents on the desk that she has taken away to look over. We take a few minutes to look around, Coy finds a manticore nest at the top of another tower.

Coy goes in search of servants to try to get some questions answered. Felix (the duke usurper) is either in the tavern, or the church. We head toward the bridge, the plan is pass into town over the bridge, check the tavern for Felix, then head to the church.

We bluster our way through the guard at the bridge without shedding blood. Horse mounted, armored Gertie can be pretty intimidating, and we are on our way to see Felix un-delayed, at least so far.

Waiting for us in the main square is a line of huge lumbering men, at least one of them is flying. We found the manticore whose nest Coy discovered at the keep and a formidable robed creature, stony looking like the church beasts of old, we have found the Duke usurper, Felix. Keth works some of his magic, and tells us not to attack the four farthest to the left. They seems to be muddled, wandering and confused.

We move up, I set myself to defend. Cilka brings up a wall of fire circling the unconfused soldiers on the right. One of them targets a few of us with a spell, I feel the speed imparted by Cilka dissipate. The manticore and Felix are the only ones visible that we can attack right now, and the manticore is too high. I move toward Felix, catching his attention to allow my companions to move in next to me. He is wrapped in a shroud of silver shards, giving it an eerie beauty. Given his reputation of nastiness he doesn’t hit very hard, or maybe I was lucky. Gertie moves up alongside, between the two of us we should be able to deal the usurper quickly. As I think this, the ones trapped behind the wall of fire begin to break free, suddenly we are no longer five to one our favor. These things are so big, having the number advantage was comforting. Not only that, but the wandering confused one suddenly decides to take a dislike to Dom’s back and attacks. In the blink of an eye, we go from feeling assured of our victory to things looking rather grim. At least the other 3 confused ones have taken up arms against each other, something had to go our way.

I see Dom take a hit out of the corner of my eye, he wavers, but manages to stay up. The sounds of battle explode around us. Felix starts to flicker in our sight, sometimes there, sometimes not. Coy takes a hit and suddenly looks like he is moving through mud, his normally quick reflexes compromised. Others are feeling similar affects. Cilka’s voice crashes through the chaos, Felix reals back and suddenly diminishes in size, the others lose their immense forms as well.

Coy finally manages to bring down the gargoyle with a flurry of blows while Alaric dispatches one of the guards behind us. I rush forward and cut down another guard. Keth brings down the Manticore with a barrage of magical bolts. We quickly dispatch the rest of the guards, much easier to kill now they are their normal size. They are not carrying a lot, a cloak, rusty rod and a stone. Keth IDs the items to be a Rod of Ruin, Ioun Stone of Intellect, and Cloak of Magic Resistance. There is 100gp on the caster and everyone.

Next stop, the church to re-sanctify, then we are on our way.

Things appear quiet as we approach, we see two skeletal guards at the side door. Coy closes his eyes, opening his inner eye to see if he can sense what is inside. His eyes snap open, “We should go NOW” he says.

I drop to my knee, as always Hamanu comes to mind as I pray, invoking the Rod.

We quickly move toward the door, positioning ourselves to move in. Kuni begins her song and Cilka has once again quickened our reflexes. I wait my turn to enter the church to help with the purge. Moving through the doorway already are Dom, Coy, Gertie and Keth. I take my place beside them and mow through two of the skeletons with relative ease, then position myself to take out the next few.

I see the signature flash of Cilka burning hands being cast against our foe. Followed by a black oily smoke that erupts from ground at Cilka’s feet. It boils up, surrounding us in a horribly noxious, nauseating cloud. Just holding my sword becomes challenging. Gertie and Cilka fall, I barely keep my own feet beneath me.

A bloodcurdling scream cuts through the blackness, panic pierces my heart, my sword falls from my numb fingers as I turn and flee. Not one of my finer moments. Almost as soon as I clear the door I come to my senses and stop running. There is a blinding flash of light the explodes inside the church, I run back the way I came, my fear back to what it should be, fear for my companions.

The door is blocked by 3 more that are trying to get into the church, it is a sad day for them, I mow them down on my way by. The church is almost free of bad guys, only a few remain, harrying my companions. Dom looks hard pressed, I move around to his aid.

A terrible grating noise comes from the dome of darkness where the alter was. Kuni shoots an arrow imbued with daylight, bright as the noonday sun. The darkness disperses revealing a man standing behind the alter, with a demon at the altar’s side. The circle surrounding the alter is ringed with swirling blades, churning in a tornado of sharp steel.

I finish off the one harrying Dom and Cilka, Coy is down, I run to his side.

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claidheamh

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