Dalun

Centaurs' Wrath
Solgrin learns the fate of his kin

As the demonic realm A’quiron collapsed Solgrin used a godstone to safely teleport the party back to Burnordraath. The magic of the stone took them to where Solgrin wished to go, the place Locstir Causwold claimed the lost Drothspell son, Perrin, would be. What they found, however, was the smoldering ruin of what appeared to be a monastery. The party spoke with a band of Road Wardens who explained that they spotted smoke while patrolling the Trade Road and hurried to investigate. When they arrived they saw little more than centaur tracks and rubble. Poking around the stones of the ruined monastery revealed that the centaurs must’ve had help; the damage was too extensive to be caused without the aid of powerful magic and centaurs are not known for their magic prowess.

Larkspur lead the group away from the ruins to the North East following the centaurs’ tracks. They traveled all day and through the night, stopping only to take brief respite. Several hours after dawn the party entered the rocky Lonely Hills, a region of the Steppe said to be so haunted with evil that no man or monster would ever dare tread foot there. Nevertheless the tracks continued into the hills and in fact the party stumbled upon a lone centaur seemingly having lost its way. The frightened and angry creature snarled and attacked the party. Oddly, the centaur’s flesh appeared to be joined by pieces of armor, as though some twisted armorer had grafted plates of steel to the centaur’s body. It also wielded a powerful scepter-like weapon made of a slender grey metal capped by a floating pale emerald gem, the centaur was able to launch blasts of energy from the rod with a flick of its wrist. Despite the beast’s bizarre powers the party was able to defeat the centaur and keep going.

After a short while longer of hiking through the Lonely Hills the party came to a rise in the rock and then to a bowl-shaped escarpment with a group of centaurs running in circles around a wooden effigy. The figure the centaurs were circling appeared to be a legless humanoid shape standing upright on perhaps a tail. Beside the crude wooden sculpture were three prisoners, one of them was no doubt Perrin. The party engaged the monsters in combat, not being foolish enough to think that diplomacy would work. Larkspur felled a centaur with a pair of arrows and Solgrin and Aegishand waded into melee. The battle became protracted and bloody, as these centaurs too were well armed and wore the same grizzly flesh plated armor as the previous beast. Their magic scepters launched deadly bolts of caustic energy.

In the chaos of the fighting the three prisoners fled, one was knocked down and another incinerated by a centaur’s magic scepter. However the party got out of the Hills alive and caught up with Perrin. At last Solgrin learned the fate of his younger brother. Apparently the Causwolds sequestered the young Perrin within a monastic order under the protection of the Causwolds. The monastery was far enough off West, just along the coast of the Nornuen, to keep him out of the affairs of the Horselords. Tannoc Causwold wanted to keep an eye on the scion of house Drothspell, but he did not want him to have any knowledge of what occurred between their two households.

Solgrin told Perrin the truth of what happened to their family and Perrin shared a brief account of his own story. Perrin was raised in the monastery and learned nothing of his lineage beyond that he was a allegedly a ward of the Steppe and was left with the monks of the order. There he studied religion and history, but also listened to the folk lore stories brought by traders and visitors to the monastery. Solgrin gave him the choice to follow him back to Castle Drothspell or to go his own way and pursue his own desires. With nowhere else to go the young Drothspell chose to follow Solgrin back to their home, at least for now.

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Through the Abyss
The party takes on an archfiend

The party stepped out of the rapidly closing portal taking them from the battle in Burnordraath to the demonic realm of A’quiron. Larkspur began the difficult task of tracking Locstir and his men across the Abyssal wasteland as the ground trembled and the landscape moved as though the very earth could not decide how it wished to settle. The party endured choking fumes and blinding sandstorms. Their first impasse was a one hundred foot wide chasm over a river of tar hundreds of feet below. As Aegishand and Solgrin began to climb down the canyon looking for an alternate route or passageway the party was attacked by a group of winged fiends. The halfling ranger fired deadly arrows from his short bow and Aegishand swiftly dug his climbing piton into the canyon wall to free up his hands to fire his crossbow while clung to the rock. After defeating the flying monsters the walls of the canyon began to suddenly converge; the fighter and the rogue quickly scrambled to the top as the canyon slammed together sealing the divide.

They traveled further on and encountered a mysterious temple-like structure, as they investigated the interior they were ambushed by a pair of baalors. The fighting was fast and deadly, in the chaos of battle the temple sustained too much damage and collapsed. The adventurers ducked outside before being crushed by falling debris.

A few more hours of travel and the party found themselves before some kind of grisly burial ground. There were hundreds of grave markers made from the skulls and bones of various creatures, mostly humanoids. A thick brown-gray colored fog rolled across the graveyard obscuring the tracks Larkspur had been following. While attempting to find a path through the party felt the ground rumble from the footsteps of giant creatures approaching. They ducked down and hid while the massive beings lumbered overhead, they appeared to rely on their sense of smell as they stooped down and began sniffing and snorting around amongst the grave markers. The adventurers smeared grave dirt on themselves and held their breath… the giants walked on without noticing the party.

Their last challenge before confronting the master of A’quiron would be to barter with an old man tending to a raft at the bank of a vast lake of tar. He identified himself as “the boat keeper” and demanded a price of blood to satisfy the souls of those trapped under the lake. The party was not pleased to hear that they must make such a wretched offering particularly in a place like the Abyss. Ultimately Solgrin offered to pay the price as he was the one responsible for bringing the others to this accursed place. The dark warrior cut his hand and allowed his blood to fall into the lake. The boat keeper took the party aboard his humble vessel and slowly paddled to the center of the lake. Spectral faces of the dead loomed near the surface of the tar, but did not reach for the living travelers. After a time the boat keeper ceased his rowing and allowed the craft to drift across the viscous waves of tar. Then a whirlpool formed, rushing and swirling. From the bottom of the whirlpool a mountain of bone erupted forth surging a hundred feet into the air.

The party climbed out of the boat and scaled the mountain of bone; skulls, ribs and other dead things crunched under foot as they ascended the mount. At the top they faced Melikir who stood looming over them like a god. The arch-demon explained that Dalun is on the verge of losing its way in the cosmos. He likened the mortal world as a wheel on a wagon rocking loosely on its axle and some day soon it will break off and the whole thing will come crashing down. He did not take credit for Dalun’s foretold doom, but admitted to hastening its destruction by sending his demons forth to kill and pillage the relatively unspoiled world. Melikir delighted in describing the fate that he foresaw with his powers of divination: a world conquered and looted savagely by a race of beings whose might surpasses even the gods. Ultimately Melikir stated that he would have to destroy the adventurers and battle was joined.

The arch-demon proved to be a worthy foe nearly dispatching the party with his mighty sword and fire magic. It took all of their strength, but Gylek, Aegishand, Larkspur and Solgrin were able to defeat Melikir. In his death throes the arch-demon brought about the destruction of his Abyssal realm. The party raced down the mountain of bone and used some of Gylek’s last reserves of magic to walk along the surface of the lake to circumnavigate a rift in the ground. Reality itself was being undone as the sky fell in fiery chunks and cracks opened up across the surface of A’quiron revealing a starry immaterial void beyond the Abyss.

At last the party caught up with their quarry, Locstir Causwold, who was standing alone above the corpses of his honor guard at the bottom of a short cave. He was holding a bloody sword and a tome in his hands and said something about completing a ritual. Solgrin grabbed the Causwold knight and demanded that he tell him the fate of his youngest brother, Perrin. Locstir said that if he tells Solgrin what happened to the Drothspell survivor he would lose his opportunity for vengeance. Solgrin let go of Locstir, lowered his weapon and asked again. Locstir told the dark warrior that Perrin is being held at a monastery on the eastern shore of the Nornuen. Just as the words left Locstir’s lips reality ceased, A’quiron collapsed and Solgrin activated his last god stone returning the party to Dalun.

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A Siege of Angels
A clash between heaven and hell

The fiend formerly known as Ellaryk summoned the adventurers to his cell in the dungeon below castle Illyre to treat with them. He offered that by freeing him he would take them to his malefic lord, an arch-demon named Melikir. He even offered to fight at their side to overthrow the arch-demon to free himself and lift their curse. The party deliberated only briefly and decided that it was too dangerous to work with a baalor and turned down his offer.

The party decided that it would be best to pursue Lord Aginar’s plan, so they headed up to the roof where the ceremony would commence. The plan was to shackle the baalor to the upper parapets of the castle tower and attempt to commune with the heavens. Aginar’s men spent several hours praying, making burnt offerings, begging, and crying out to the skies, but it wasn’t until Aginarbold himself dropped to his knees and implored the gods did an angel descend from the clouds. The skies parted and rays of golden light shined down upon the steppe. A green-skinned Planetar with a white robe and silver sword addressed the gathering explaining that the angels above will fight the demons who’ve come to Dalun, but they will not intervene in any other affairs. The baalor attempted to escape, but the swiftness and wrath of the Planetar was terrible and the demon’s severed head hit the ground before it could get away.

Aginar marshaled a host of warriors and marched to castle Drothspell, the greatest of the Causwold’s holdings. After the death of Tannoc Solgrin had taken a dour mood, feeling that any hope of completing his mission and learning the fate of his kin had been lost. But on the eve of battle with his family’s hated rival which was to be fought over the stones of his old castle his demeanor changed. It was not hope that he felt, necessarily, but at the least a sense that he had a second chance.

A few days later Aginar’s forces arrived and immediately began their attack. Catapults launched stones and burning ordnance. Archers stepped forth and rained arrows upon the walls and beyond. A siege tower was erected and marched into position along the enemy wall. The heroes chose to lead a group of brave men in a frontal assault with a battering ram. Larkspur used a magic scroll to fire a disintegrating beam of energy at the castle gate which broke a large hole in the doors. The siege tower became stuck, so Solgrin ran out from under the hood of the ram to help the infantry. Goltheiron ordered the ram to advance, bashed through the gate and ran inside only to be met by burning oil poured through murder holes overhead. Solgrin and a second wave of infantry ran back to the gate to bring the ram inside and batter down the interior door, but were again stymied by a magic wall of ice conjured by a Causwold sorcerer.

When Aginar saw the front gate breached he sounded his cavalry to charge, but in the chaos of battle he failed to see the sheet of ice blocking entry to the castle. Many men were slain attempting to enter through the gateway as well as by scaling the siege ladders flanking the gate. Solgrin hacked his way through the ice with his flaming axe and the warriors charged inside. Aegishand slew the crewmen of a ballista on the wall and turned the weapon on the defenders.

Once the wall was claimed by the attackers the Causwolds had little choice but to turn to their abyssal allies. A fiery portal opened up and a trio of baalors surged forth along with a host of lesser demons. At this moment the silver trumpet of the heavens was sounded and the angelic champions of the higher planes descended with gleaming blades and singing arrows. A greater battle Dalun likely has never seen. The party slew one of the baalors while a mighty Solar whirled its heavenly blade downward and began a ritual to seal the demonic portal.

In the final moments of the battle Locstir Causwold took his honor guard and made for the rapidly-closing portal to the Abyss. Solgrin hesitated for only a moment, looking to his allies for affirmation, there was a brief exchange and then they leapt in. When they landed the portal back to Dalun had been sealed. They found themselves in a dusty wasteland of barren rock and sulfurous dust – this is no doubt the realm of Melikir, the arch-demon.

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Capturing a Devil
The party takes a devil captive in Burnordraath

After returning to the surface from the one winged dragon’s lair Larkspur and Gylek agreed to guide the rescued prisoners back to Rorain. A young knight of House Illyre asked the party about their story, as he thought that they fought valiantly against the dragon and its horned devil allies. Aegishand explained that they have been pursuing a cult responsible for calling demons and devils to Dalun. They revealed that it was themselves that slew Hydratha of the House of Unrequited Might and they intend on slaying as many of these extraplanar evils as they must. The knight was pleased to hear this and explained that his master, Aginarbold, is working on a plan to level the playing field against their rival, House Causwold. The knight told his own story of how he came to the dragon’s lair; he and a band of fellow warriors were attacked by a demon summoned by a Causwold sorcerer. They had little hope and were defeated, he survived and was dragged down into the dragon’s dungeon. He also relayed that he overheard quite a bit of the dragon’s discussions with various humanoid agents, mercenaries and spies that worked with the red dragon for some evil purpose.

Ultimately the party decided to hear out Aginarbold to see what his plan is and if their goals would align with his. The party traveled southeast across the steppe following Solgrin’s lead, as he knew the terrain the best of the group. Upon arriving at castle Illyre the party saw that Aginarbold was preparing a war band for a coming battle. The party met with Lord Aginar in the keep of the castle, exchanged introductions, and then got down to discussing the battle plan. Aginar revealed that he wishes to attack the smallest of the Causwold’s holdings and hit them hard enough to force them to call on upon a demon for aid. The party debated the likelihood of success and pointed out the obvious risks, but in the end they decided to help the Horselord.

It took a day longer to prepare the men for combat and then two more days to march north into range of the Causwold castle. There Aginarbold commanded his men to assemble a catapult to throw stones at the castle wall, it stripped away a good deal of brick and mortar, but failed to bring the wall down. Once the siege was underway a group of villagers fled the nearby lands towards the castle, but the Causwold men took no chances and not only kept the gate locked but began firing arrows on their own serfs. Those who did not run were killed and worse yet a necromancer animated their corpses and sent them to attack Aginarbold’s men. Aginar’s archers spent many of their arrows, but they managed to knock down the advancing zombies before they reached the siege line.

Running out of options Goltheiron suggested that he and his allies approach the castle and demand an audience with the master of the hold. He, Solgrin, and Aegishand rode up to the gate and called out to the castle guards. Eventually a knight named Sir Elyak and a sorcerer came down to treat with the paladin, warrior and rogue. Both sides were confident of their victory and refused to accept the other’s offer for surrender. A fight broke out, the sorcerer was killed and the knight-captain of the Causwolds fled back to the castle. Solgrin and the others gave chase, the gate slammed closed behind them and they were met with a hail of arrows and a wall of spears inside the courtyard. They fought their way into the tower where Elyak had fled, battle their way past a group of soldiers and finally confronted the knight on the battlements above the castle.

During the duel Elyak transformed himself into a pit fiend while standing on a red glyph of power. The party was able to defeat him despite his infernal gift. Remarkably Solgrin stayed his hand from a killing blow even when Elyak taunted him for not being able to save his family. Instead the warrior knocked the devil unconscious and they dragged the beast out of the castle. The defenders of the fortress made way for the victorious adventuring party, too frightened and too awed by what had just happened to stop them.

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Devils and the Dragon
The party finds a red dragon under Burnordraath

A few days after the death of Tannoc Causwold the party reconvened at a rural tavern on the trade road outside of Rorain to catch up on each others’ doings and plot their next move. It was a busy morning and the party had to share a seat with a traveling wizard named Stueceous who told a tale about encountering a devil-creature out on the Steppe. The wizard explained that he was traveling back to Rorain through the night when he spotted some torch lights and heard chanting coming from a nearby ruin. The steppe-lands of Burnordraath are marked with numerous fortifications, both still standing and others crumbling to ruin, and it is not uncommon to find travelers, bandits or monsters using them as shelter. The wizard explained that he is an accomplished adventurer and agent of the Dalnorum, so he decided to investigate the ruin. It looked as though a group of cultists had summoned a devil, lost control of it, and it slew them all. Stueceous then attacked the devil, defeated it, and beheaded it. He was surprised to see that the body did not vanish and return to the Hells, so he kept the severed head for observation.

The party asked Stueceous to take them back to the ruin, so that they might see firsthand and perhaps learn more of this demonic incursion upon Dalun. The ride took half the day and when they arrived the party found evidence that corroborated Stueceous’s story, including the decapitated body of the devil he killed. Aegishand found a trap door leading into a subterranean lair beneath the ruin. Inside the party encountered a demon and a trio of hound-like monsters. They fought their way through, dispatching other foes including animated skeletons as well as a group of angry otyughs. The first level of the ruin appeared to be what remained of a barracks from likely over a hundred years ago, but connected to the ruin was a vast underground chamber that was joined by a tunnel dug by the otyughs.

At the end of the otyugh tunnel was a cavernous room of raw stone, stalagmites and stalactites. It was a bumpy journey through the dark, but eventually the party found an ancient stone door marked with archaic dwarf lettering. The doors were not sealed, so the party stepped inside and discovered an abandoned subterranean dwelling belonging to the nigh-fabled race of dwarves known as “the deep ones.” The settlement was completely devoid of any form of life and had been looted of valuables long ago, so the party continued. They eventually found their way to a tunnel that led on to another dwelling, this one was attended by a pair of deep dwarf guards. Aegishand attempted to use diplomacy to admit his party to pass, Gylek tried coercion, the guards became defensive and when one reached for his war horn Larkspur put them both down with a pair of swift arrows. Furious, Aegishand tackled Larkspur and chastised his allies for being so rash when lives are at stake. Goltheiron and Solgrin helped smooth the party’s tempers, they spoke for a short while and decided to go around the dwarf city wall and avoid any more contact with the Deep Ones.

After traveling for hours longer the party made their way into a stone chamber lit aglow with flame and open rivulets of magma. At the center of an island of obsidian was an elder red dragon with only one wing, the other missing from an old injury. The dragon roared and blasted the party with tremendous waves of fire. As battle was joined the red dragon unshackled a pair of evil horned devils that were bound to its service. By spell and sword the party slew the dragon. Once their master was smote the horned devils fled by way of teleportation magic, presumably back to the Hells. The party collected as much gold and treasure as they could from the dragon’s vast horde and rescued a number of prisoners locked in cages suspended over a pool of lava. With the dragon’s dying breath it cursed the name “Reblithar” for not giving him the strength needed to obtain his revenge.

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Blood in Burnodraath

After lying in wait for much of the day and night at the tavern the wife of Tannoc Causwold and a group of armored guards arrived, but not Tannoc himself. Solgrin made the choice to stay his hand, as there were greater foes to defeat and her death could tip off his real enemies to his coming. The party regrouped at The Drunken Darter and heard news that the Causwolds are claiming to have vanquished the last of the devils in the Halls of Might. This angered the group, particularly Aegishand, who bribed a town crier to stop spreading such nonsense.

They made their way to the Halls of Might and found that indeed a group of men wearing the blue and white colors of house Causwold were stationed out front. The party confronted them and asked what exactly is going on. The men were crass, but explained that knights of house Causwold entered the manor and cleared out the last of the devils. Solgrin challenged one of the men to single combat on his honor as a knight, but the man knew who he was dealing with and did not accept the duel. The soldier claimed that it would not be right for him, a commoner, to fight Solgrin, a knight. Ultimately the men had no choice and let the group pass.

Inside the Halls of Might they found that the place appeared ransacked, but there was no sign of devilry. They crept down to the cellar area and overheard a group of Causwold knights discussing “the clean up” of the estate grounds and learned that somehow Tannoc and his men were able to erase any sign that these infernal beings once dwelt here. Having heard enough the party attacked the knights. It was a bloody battle, but one by one the knights of house Causwold were cut down by Solgrin’s axe, Aegishand’s daggers, Goltheiron’s sword and Daylen’s spells.

After the battle the group paid a visit to Castle Rain to meet with Duke Arkirk. They revealed their findings and while Arkirk said that he believed the adventurers’ account he also explained that he cannot take any action as Duke of Rorain against Tannoc or his house until proof is found. The party discussed their options further, departed from the castle and waited outside watching the entrance. The party spent the entirety of the day watching the castle gate and then following the horselord until he left the city with a small group of body guards. He rode south along the Trade Road, but broke into a gallop aiming for the open Steppe once his guards realized that they were being followed.

Solgrin spurred his horse and caught up to Tannoc, engaging his enemy in mounted combat. The horsemen looped around each other, each side taking passes at the other, riders were dismounted, spells cast and arrows fired. Aegishand fired a keen shot from his crossbow knocking Tannoc off his horse. After the battle Solgrin rolled the body of his enemy over and when he saw his lifeless eyes gazing back at him he roared, flailing his axe, thrashing and screaming until his voice gave out. He collapsed knowing that his foe was dead, but not avenged by his own hand.

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The Duke and the Devils
An infernal plot unravels in Rorain

Solgrin, Aegishand and Larkspur received a message from the barkeep of the inn they were staying at, The Drunken Darter, requesting an audience with Duke Arkirk. The trio discussed what the duke could want from them and then decided to speak to meet with him at the city castle.

It was still early in the morning, so they were able to meet with Duke Arkirk in his study. There he asked the party to investigate the halls of The Glorious House of Unrequited Might because he has already heard reports of strange happenings in that part of town. They talked about Hydratha and his true form as a pit fiend. This bothered the Duke quite a bit and he offered that if the party purge those halls, then he will reward them with land, gold or titles. The party asked that he keep an eye on a particular Horselord by the name of Tannoc Causwold, a murderous villain from Solgrin’s past.

The party infiltrated through the secret tunnel entrance below the halls that they used to escape the day before. Inside they found the cellar had mutated into a fleshy, sinewy pit of filth and pus. The party was attacked by an ice devil and four bone devils that spawned from membranous sacs pulsating along the ground and walls. It was a trying battle that left Aegishand and Larkspur badly wounded, but they proved victorious in the end. Solgrin helped his allies escape and the party withdrew.

When they returned to the tavern they found some Causwold men guarding an inn room and while Solgrin desired greatly to cut them down and see who was inside his allies persuaded him to wait. They rented a room of their own down the hall and decided to lie in wait to confirm if Tannoc would be returning that evening.

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The Hollow House
A monster hunt in Rorain leads to unexpected answers

When the magic of the god-stone in Goltheiron’s hand was released the party found themselves transported from Ashzenok’s lair to the center of Rorain’s forum square. They quickly disappeared into the crowd to avoid any unwanted attention and found a quiet place to listen to the town crier’s news. Apparently a group of elite mercenaries and adventurers going by the name of The Glorious House of Unrequited Might has established themselves in the city. In recognition of the opening of the new guild Duke Arkirk agreed to sponsor a monster hunt to bring adventurers to the city. The party responsible for the greatest kill would be rewarded with gold and glory and would be offered an invitation to join The Glorious House of Unrequited Might.

Solgrin had not been to Burnordraath in some time and wished to visit a shrine constructed by his grand father to pay his respects. At the Sepulcher of Yuhl the warrior encountered a messenger who gave him a roundel displaying the Drothspell family heraldry along with the feather of a peregrine falcon. Solgrin kept his axe belted to his side and questioned the messenger who revealed that he was asked to report Solgrin’s arrival to a man wearing a dark cloak at a local tavern in Rorain. He was to say “Is Locstir coming?” as a code phrase to initiate the conversation. Solgrin paid the man to keep quiet and then returned to the city. He went to the tavern and spoke with the man briefly, but wasn’t able to get much information from him before he drew his wand on Solgrin. He cast a spell, Solgrin resisted the magic and killed the man. He recovered a simple brass key from his corpse and made off into the streets.

Goltheiron and Aegishand split up and did some digging around town to see what they could learn. Goltheiron spoke with the founder of the House of Might, a proud warrior named Hydratha, who explained his mission. Hydratha wishes to create an order of warriors and wizards dedicated to bringing themselves glory and power in their own names, not as sell-swords or vassals to one of the Horselords or anybody else. He offered membership to Goltheiron and his allies, acknowledging their reputation as heroes and champions, but the paladin declined. Aegishand discovered a seemingly empty warehouse on the waterfront with magic-infused locks. He was able to pick the locks, but the doors remained fixed in place by some spell.

The party met back up with Daylen at a tavern called “The Drunken Darter” and plotted their next move. They took some rest, as they had just come from the Abyss and then struck out in the middle of the night to the warehouse on the waterfront. They used the key Solgrin found and let themselves inside. The grounds were empty, but beneath a discreet trap door they found a prayer circle of red-clad cultists. The cultists were chanting infernal words into a column of magic smoke suspended in the center of the room. The cult leader explained that if the party should choose to interrupt them that a devil would be loosed upon them. Apparently the cultists had recently met with a nobleman from Solgrin’s past, a man named Tannoc, who was making a bargain with a devil they summoned. The cult leader claimed that Tannoc made a deal to secure himself some sort of unholy divination.

The party discussed attacking the cultists, but chose not to intervene. Daylen and Goltheiron knew that the cultist was telling the truth and neither of them wished to risk releasing a devil upon Rorain. Once the ritual was complete the cultists left and the party argued over the wisdom of allowing them to send the devil back to the Hells. They decided to track the cultists back to see where they were headed and sure enough they entered the front door to halls of The Glorious House of Unrequited Might.

Quickly the group strode inside and confronted Hydratha who did not immediately confirm or deny any involvement with devils or cultists. He took them to the basement of the estate where he guided them to a pentagram branded upon the floor. Hydratha’s flesh burned away as he revealed his true form; he was a pit fiend wearing the skin of a man. The cultists from the warehouse joined the fray and battle was joined. It was a bloody engagement ending with Aegishand and Goltheiron wounded on the ground and Solgrin and Daylen desperately fighting tooth and nail with the devil. Daylen telekinetically lifted Aegishand’s blade and struck from a distance while Solgrin retrieved Goltheiron’s holy sword, Qel’alas​, and struck the final blow felling the pit fiend Hydratha. The party stabilized their wounded and fled out an escape tunnel to the docks.

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Curse of the Abyss

With Zagash the Mighty dead Aegishand was anxious to return to Eltgaard and deliver the news. After the party got back to city they waited for the noble council to discuss matters of succession. During that wait the party was visited, one by one, by mysterious folk. While Daylen was out trying some local cuisine, for example, a dwarf woman bumped into him, grabbed his hand, looked into his eyes and told him that he was marked and that his soul would burn. Each member of the adventuring group in turn encountered a strange, seemingly innocent denizen of the city who delivered a similar infernal message. The party convened at the stronghold and decided that they would need to return to the Abyss to settle matters with the demons they’ve encountered.

Gylek cast a plane shift spell and teleported the party back to the demon monastery of S’zorzek the Lesser. They found that some force had destroyed the demon’s sanctuary likely out of some show of dominance from a rival upon hearing of S’zorzek’s death. Partly buried among the rubble of S’zorzek’s hold the party found a gold fragment of a standard bearing the device of another demon lord named Ashzenok. Daylen recognized the symbol, a blood droplet supported by bat wings, and knew that Ashzenok’s fortress lied at the heart of “The Plague Forest” here in the Abyss.

The party set off to confront Ashzenok to see if he is the one responsible for their curse. The Plague Forest was a miserable woodland of poisonous fumes, but the party persevered and discovered Ashzenok’s fortress. They crept inside and made their way to the demon lord’s throne room. Ashzenok began to question the party as to why they had come and who they were, but before answers were offered swords were drawn and spells cast. The battle was fierce and became protracted when mariliths slithered into the throne room at the sound of fighting. Ultimately the party slew many demons that day and even managed to snare one for questioning.

The captured demon explained to the party that Ashzenok was under orders from Reblithar to infiltrate a cult within the city of Rorain in Dalun. What purpose the cult would serve Reblithar exactly the demon either did not know or was so important that the demon chose death before speaking it. The party destroyed the wretched being and Goltheiron used a god-stone to teleport them all to Rorain for more answers.

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Reunion, Recovery and Regret
Eltgaard: a stage for politics and bloodshed

The party returned to Dalun, specifically to the dwarf city of Eltgaard, to see to its recovery and reunite with Larkspur. The adventurers had spent some time questing alongside Goltheiron on his home plane of Noruld, but the halfling chose to remain on Dalun. When they rediscovered Larkspur he looked a little worse for wear and was quieter than normal. Aegishand gave his friends and allies a tour of the newly renovated stronghold, the home of Aegishand and his wife, Lady Grimlove. New additions to the hold featured laboratory space for Gylek, an archery range for Larkspur, a chamber for prayer and meditation for Goltheiron and a stable and field for Solgrin’s horses.

After exploring the stronghold the party discussed the political situation in Eltgaard. The noble houses of the city have decided that a vote must be held to determine a successor. Golthos the Tyrant slew high king Eldukar and the entire royal family during the siege, so a successor or new form of government must be chosen. The vote is to be held tomorrow, but a number of current events have the nobles’ thoughts distracted from the issue at hand. The group decided to split up and investigate these matters hoping to restore a bit of hope to the people and focus the nobles on this critical vote.

Gylek met with Kurnli, master of the stonemasons guild, to plan the reconstruction of the king’s bridge that once connected the main keep to the rest of the city. The party funded the project with ten thousand gold and Gylek offered to use his magic to help shape the stone needed for the bridge. They discussed the name “Giant’s Fall.”

Solgrin and Larkspur tracked down a dwarf named Aedrik who has been rallying disgruntled commoners to his side and has been advocating for the end of the monarchy in Eltgaard. Aedrik and his riotous gangs wish to “return to the old ways” and abolish all class, rank and government altogether. The party was a bit divided on what to do with Aedrik, but ultimately decided that his type of thinking was too dangerous for the city’s future. The two went to meet with Aedrik who was actively ranting in the streets to an angry crowd. They approached him, some of Aedrik’s following stopped them, so Solgrin and Larkspur threw a couple of things at Aedrik causing a fight to break out. The dwarven rioters were no match for the veteran adventurers even without their weapons and eventually the crowd made way. Aedrik fled, so Solgrin and Larkspur gave chase. They eventually cornered him and dragged him inside an abandoned shop. Larkspur’s interrogation quickly turned to torture and when he took his knife to the dwarf’s scalp Solgrin killed Aedrik out of mercy.

On the other side of the city Daylen and Aegishand went incognito as traveling merchants and infiltrated the noble house of a powerful claimant to the throne, a self-proclaimed prince by the name of Rogohr. There are other dwarf nobles of lesser repute and renown laying claim to the throne, but Rogohr is the mightiest. Daylen used his wit and charisma to befriend a household servant and got him talking meanwhile Aegishand crept away. The servant let slip something about Rogohr’s father and with the context implying that he was not King Eldukar – which would kill the “prince’s” claim. Aegishand unlocked a safe in Rogohr’s study and found letters signed by Rogohr’s real father who indeed was a wealthy noble, but no king. The two scoundrels exited Rogohr’s estate and discussed their findings.

The party reconvened at the stronghold and decided to hunt down an enemy of the dwarves, a frost giant by the name of Zagash the Mighty. Folk are saying that Zagash is “Golthos come again” and morale is sinking with every attack against the city. During the journey through the subterranean roads Gylek’s mind was seized by some invisible hand. His eyes rolled back in his skull and his animated limbs cast a spell to raise undead beings from the ground. The party attacked the creatures unsure of what was happening, but when they realized that the dwarf cleric had some measure of control they continued on. Gylek became laconic, simply saying to move forward when asked what was going on, so with little other choice they party continue. At one point the party encountered a group of dwarf refugees looking for healing, but Gylek was unresponsive and regrettably they were unable to help. Eventually Gylek regained his faculties and explained that he was visited by a being of immense power who he knew must have been Reblithar, the blood god responsible for giving Gylek his abilities.

It took many hours of travel and tracking, but eventually the party found Zagash’s lair in the tunnels below the Dungardt Mountains and did battle with him and his numerous lackeys. Daylen used a powerful enchantment to fool some of Zagash’s agents while the party engaged the ogres and ice troll protecting Zagash. After slaying the ice giant the party pulled back into the tunnels to regroup and discuss their next move.

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