Out of the Ruins

Demon Wells, Ghosts, and Portals...
Oh my!

This chapter opens up with Drake giving the rules of Drake to the party. The rules boil down to the fact that drake is unhappy with the party having rules and not following them, so if anybody brakes a rule and the party doesn’t punish them in the future, drake is leaving the party. Except for Elkantor. Drake lets the party know that he isn’t going to give Elkantor another chance, if he breaks a party rule Drake is going to kill him. Oddly enough the party doesn’t complain or try to talk Drake out of this.

The party continues it’s quest inside the Well of Demons to find the remaining 3 items needed to get into Paldamar’s lair. The next area the party explores they find 3 ghosts who seem not to be aggressive. The ghosts seem to be willing to impart information to them however they demand some sort of proof that the party isn’t evil.

At this point Elkantor takes out his vial of moonwell essence and thrusts his hand towards them to show them. The ghosts blink in confusion and are disrupted as the moonwell essence has a negative effect on the undead.

This of course leads several members of the party to grumble and question once more just who’s side Elkantor is actually on.

The party continues forward and the next room they enter is a weirdly trapped room. As the party crosses over a sort of darkness spell like effect they are confronted by mirrors. These mirrors cause those that gaze into them to believe they are in fact standing before whatever higher power that they serve, and that the higher power asks them to tell them anything of importance.

Stout manages to see thru the illusion and realizes that it’s a mage of some sort dressed in the robes of the mages of Saruun. He isn’t sure if it’s one of the real ones or one of Paldamar’s minions, but whoever it is he isn’t fooled.

Dake pictures the being as a giant leviathan and begins to fish in front of it. What follows is a rambling talk in a way only drake can where he tells the big fish that he’s made demons mad by sending them insulting letters. Stout who can see what the real imagine behind the mirror is pleased to note that the mage talking to Drake seems to feel the dragonborn is crazy.

Azhool sees an image of his goddess but as they talk he gets the feeling that something is very wrong and doesn’t confess to anything of importance.

Elkantor sees an image of the God Corellon and begins to tell him everything. Starting with the moment he found the sword, the adventures in the Tower of the Mages of Saruun and to the point where they party watched the explosion.

Stout hearing this makes his way over as quickly as possible and bashes the drow over the head with his hammer to get him to stop blabbing party secrets. This attack broke not only the darkness spell but the spells of the mirrors. Gal, who was at this point still out side of the room, and not able to see the mirrors then joins in the attack on Elkantor as he has been under the impression from almost the start that the drow is evil and trying to stop the party.

However the damage is done and the events of the tower are now out there to at least some group. Drake considers going forward with his oath, but isn’t sure that the party had a rule about the tower. Luckily Stout managed to stop Elkantor before he added anything about the cave-in.

The party waits for Elkantor to wake up and they continue on to the next room. After dispatching the enemies in the room, the party is confronted by 4 portals that they aren’t sure of which is the right one to use. Drake randomly picks one and they cross over to the other side.

This portal leads them into the Fey Wyld. After a series of interesting mishaps and meetings with some of the local wildlife the party manages to gather it self at an Eladrin city. Elkantor decides to surrender to the Eladrin and have them take him to the city he wronged for trial, while the rest of the party writes down their views of what happened. They also discover that the loss of the moonwell in the real world caused one of the barriers protecting several Eladrin cities in the Fey Wyld from the drow to fall. The party asks the Eladrin mages of this city to transport them as closely as possible to the moonwell they were asked to save.

Down a party member they continue on their quest….

Band on the run.
OMG they know we know...

After watching the destruction of a huge swath of a huge section of the underdark by massive cave collapse the party returned to the town of the 7 Pillars somewhat demoralized and with many questions.

The Mages of Saruun has proven to be evil, and willing to sacrifice millions of lives to get what they want. However, only the party knows of this evil, and they believe that if they were to let others know that their lives would end with a short but violent blast of flame. One thing everybody agrees with is that Mages destroy anybody who goes up against them rather nastily. The only good point about that situation is that nobody knows they know, for now. A party rule is made that no matter what nobody will tell another soul what they know, it is a secret that they must protect because revealing it would mean their deaths.

Yet they also can’t just ignore the mission they agreed to undertake for them. Paldamar is undeniably evil, and he has sent assassins after them. They can’t just leave him alone even if they wanted to.

Upon return to the 7 Pillars the party discovers that caught up in the devastation was a Moonwell dedicated to Correlleon. They agree to undertake a quest from one of the guardians who was at the 7 Pillars when the destruction happened and each of them are given a single drop of moonwell light as proof of this quest and as reward. The quest is to find the Well’s hearthstone and bring it back to him so that the well can eventually be re-created.

Deciding that this was the more important task, as well as wondering if maybe leaving Paldamar alive for now is a good thing because he’s against the Mages of Saruun, the party begins to plan for the new quest. However as they are buying supplies they will need, the Enforcer for the town arrives and informs them that Orontor would like to have a chat with them.

During the chat he expresses his concern about the speed that the party is performing their tasks and brings up the point that he only has 2 weeks left before the next Mage of Saruun arrives to replace him. If the party doesn’t finish the contract soon he will find them in violation, and enforce harsh penalties upon them.

It was during this moment that the party’s fate took a turn for the worse. Elkantor let slip the fact that the party knew that the mages were behind the cave in. While the rest of the party tried to cover up and play it off, the damage was done. From that point forward Orontor tried to get out of the contract he had signed with them, as for as long as it is active and they are progressing on their mission the party can not be destroyed by his or other Mages of Saruun magics.

Forced to put the moonwell mission on hold, the party strikes out to kill Paldamar, having less then 7 days of time to do so, they aren’t even sure if this is the right plan. However, in the end, the idea that having 7 days of safety was worth something and hopefully they could use the 7 days to come up with a better plan. And to be fair, Paldamar did deserve to die.

The party finds the entrance to the Gnolls lair, and after a series of brutal battles they manage to defeat several guards and find the first of 4 items that the Potion Master told them would be needed to open up a gateway into Paldamar’s tower.

It's the end of the world as we know it....
And we feel sick.

As the party arrives back in the 7 Pillars they sneak as quickly as possible back to the Inn. However it would seem that news of their deeds has traveled faster they were able to because of the large number of hostages they were having to escort. The town celebrates the destruction of the Dark Dwarves and the end of the threat of cannibals that had recently sprung up.

However the mood of the party itself is very grim. Stout seems bothered by the swords power, and Azhool is also very upset by it’s repeated use. Drake tells Elkantor in no uncertain terms that he must find out fully about the sword before he uses it again. At this point Drake and Elkantor share a few unpleasant words back and forth but the arguments ends with a vague and disturbing reference to turkeys and the like.

Azhool heads off to talk to his contacts, while the rest of the party moves out to go do their own thing. Elkantor and drake end up heading off together to talk to the magic scholars in town about the blade in an attempt to figure out what it can do before any more harm happens.

Azhool finds out from his sources that a day ago a woman that appeared to be an Eladrin riding a fey Preying Mantis appeared in town asking about Eladrin artifacts. She didn’t stick around but his friends guess that she was pretty powerful and was offering a huge amount of money to anybody who could help her.

At the magic shop after a fight with the Elven owner who kicks out Elkantor for being a filthy drow who has defiled an relic of a god of true elves, Drake is told the story of the blade.

Inside of the Fey Wild there exists a Powerful Eladrin nation that is dedicated to serving the Fey Gods and Goddesses. The leaders of the city are from a house that follows Corellon. When one of the children of this family becomes old enough to be a squire he is given a sword like the one that Elkantor has. This sword then is wielded by one of the high lord knights and the soul of the child is placed in the blade. The knight then keeps the blade, but never uses it. For the next 10 years the blade remains at all times in the knights care, while he fights, crusades, and spends his life. The experiences of the knight and the memories of the battles and the like are then passed on to the soul inside the blade.

After the squireship is over the blade is returned to the body of the squire and the soul flows from it and into the body, and the child is now ready to begin his life as a low level knight of the realm.

This blade, had been stolen from the Knights and at one time contained the soul of the prince of the city. It seems that some evil was using it as black mail to keep the Knights from bothering it in it’s plans. From there it isn’t clear how Paldamar ended up with it, but what is clear is that the blade only had room for one soul at a time. The first soul taken ((the Dark Dwarf)) ended up killing the soul of the future champion of Corellon forever. Not only that but the knights would have been well aware of what happened because his body would have turned to sludge like the others did.

After all the facts are known the party is convinced that the Eladrin in question must be tracking the blade, seeing at it was used several times, and that when she finds them there is going to be hell to pay.

The next eve the party gets a note from Paldamar. He claims that he is ready to turn himself in, and that his evil actions were done because the Mages of Saruun are actually the true evil, and he just lost his way in an attempt to fight them. He begs the party to meet with him and except his surrender.

The party figures this is a trap, but a trap that if they defeat they may get a clue as to where they need to go to find Paldamar’s lair. Or if they are really lucky Paldamar himself will be there and they will have a chance to kill him.

Shortly after that one of Azhool’s friends lets him know that he saw the Elven mystic head out of town as fast as possible about an hour ago on the fastest mount he could buy in the same direction he saw the Eladrin lady knight go. The party rapidly comes to the conclusion that the elf plans to squeal on them and let the knight know exactly who has the blade and what has happened.

At his point some people in the party start to form plans to turn in the person they feel is truly guilty themselves. After all they figure, only 1 person used the blade when he shouldn’t have, why should they all die because of it? Even more so if they have issues with the drow anyways.

Still first thing is first and the party heads out to face the ambush. Before leaving Elkantor asks for and receives the glass mage blade. However, in the hustle and bustle he forgets to bind with it, an action that will come back to haunt them later.

The trip takes them 3 days, and sure enough it’s an ambush. Paldamar has sent 2 Tieflings with the power to turn invisible along with one of the giant Mage of Saruun statues to kill the party. The battle starts poorly for the party, but soon they begin to overcome the odds. However, things go from bad to worse when Elkantor realizes that he forgot to bind with the new blade. Not wanting to be left out of the combat he goes back to using the Corellon blade once more. This time plunging it into the statue who is revealed to be a devil encased in a shell of gold. The devil has his soul destroyed and another larger rift is opened up, as before when he struck down the smaller devils the sword begins to vibrate this time with enough force to slip from his hand and get swallowed up in the rift. This of course does nothing to make either Azhool or Stout feel any more comfortable with the drow.

After the battle the party finds a note that suggests that after they were to be killed their bodies were to be sent to Paldamar’s most trusted allies a group of Gnolls that are said to guard the entrance to his lair.

The party rests for the night, and this time they insist on watching Elkantor bind with the mage blade before allowing him to rest. During the night the party awakens to the sound of a gathering of armies.

They poke their heads out and watch as various groups begin to gather in a main cave not far from where they camped. The first group is a group of Eladrin Knights, the next group is a group of Daemon bounty hunters hired to destroy the group for the soul destroying of a powerful devil’s minion and the threatening note, another group appears to be a devil force following the rift of the death of one of their major minions, this is soon joined by the Mages of Saruun who threaten that the forces of evil must leave this realm or they will contact the forces of good and neutrality letting them know that the outer planes have invaded the realm. The Devils and Daemons ignore the request and the mages of Saruun send word via portal to several realms of good and neutrality. This causes the realms to react and send their own forces.

At this point in time the party realizes that the Mages are actually setting up the other factions, as a massive battle between planer forces in the cave, where it’s situated and the like could cause a terrible amount of power to be released. They also know that the caves in this area are slight unstable and react poorly to extra-magical force. Before they can say or do anything to stop the forces gathered a huge battle erupts. Fueled in party by the Mages of Saruun acting from the shadows, the battle causes a huge explosion of mystical energy. The party turns and just manages to escape to several more sturdy side tunnels, as the wave of energy crashes over them, knocking them out.

As they awaken, they look out and see stars. A the explosion of mystical energy triggered something, and chain reacted, causing a massive cave in of the underdark. As they watch parts of the great north sea begin to flood into the under dark, crashing into what looks to be the remains of a drow city that probably existed several miles below the battle site. The damage is beyond measure, and they reason something like this would indeed be enough to help destroy what remained of the shell of magic that protected this world from other worlds. The Mages of Saruun had planned for something like to happen for many years, and just took advantage of the situation that the party had helped create.

Everything goes to hell
Wish we had a handbasket

With a generous helping of cunning and wit ((and maybe some luck)) the adventurers have managed to escape from the tower of the Mages of Saruun. Now things become tricky as they try to figure out how to complete the things they have to finish, without helping out the mages too much. One thing is for certain, they have left a signature in the library on one of the books of detailing the mages history. However, as long as they don’t do anything to have the Mages look at them more closely the mages may never find out about the book in question.

For now the party is in a stronger place, as they know how to break into Paldamar’s tower, ((even if they don’t know where the entrance is)) and they have learned the secrets of the gloves they found on the champion of the dark dwarves. The one unfortunate thing though is that they have failed to discover the full story about the Sword of Corelon that the Sword Mage now wields. The weapons purpose, and powers are still unknown which makes it a wild card that could come back to haunt the group….

The good news is that the entire trip to wherever the tower was located took less then a second in real time. The party finds itself back in the mortal realm, seconds after they left with the rift they fell into closed. The group quickly decides to press on and complete this stage of their quest, before anything else odd happens.

As luck would have it they manage to hunt down the leader of the Dark Dwarves in the very next main area they explore. It seems that he became aware of the death of his champion and is in the process of trying to flee when the party smashes down the door to his chamber.

A massive fight begins, the party desperate to end the fiend’s life quickly as they believe that nearby other guards may lurk that could be drawn to the sounds of fighting. During the battle Elkantor strikes down one of the King’s guards with his sword, which seems to have a power available for use as he does so. He choose to let this unknown power fly and the Dark Dwarf crumples to the ground, seeming to rest in a peaceful state.

Stout being a wise and holy man seeing the interaction and catching the discharge of magic makes a guess to what just happen. “Why would you use such evil magic?” he cries out to Elkantor.

The battle continues to rage with the king’s high mage falling to the wrath of the Paladin. The King himself notices the sword and cries out for aid from yet more guards who rush into the room. “Get the sword, or Paldamar will have my head!” he shouts.

Another guard falls to the blade, this one crumpling down to sleep, just as peacefully as the last.. however the body of the first dissolves into a black sludge. At this the Paladin of the Raven Queen Azhool and Stout both yell out to the Drow Sword Mage to stop using the blade. Azhool not only realized that the blade was using soul magic, but that it seemed to only have room for one soul, so if another soul was captured the first was destroyed forever, without even having a chance to go to it’s god or goddess.

More guards rushed into the room and the fighting becomes even more desperate as 2 devils surge in from an area that the party thought it had secured. They take a look at the fighting, and scream at Elkantor. “The Blade, Give us the Blade…. We must have it!!!”

The battle wages on and Elkantor strikes down one of the devils which causes a very nasty reaction. The second Dark Dwarf guard’s body turns to sludge… but where the demon was a small rift in the fabric of reality is formed. This would not be the first time they have seen such a rift, in fact the party’s research had led them to believe that the actions of the Mages of Saruun were causing the fabric of reality to weaken and walls between the worlds were crumbing.

The second devil vanishes on his own seconds later, seeming to want no part of what just happened to his friend. Shortly there after the last guard falls to the blades and spells of the adventurers.

The party is successful, but at what cost? After a quick search of the area they find a note from Paldamar to the Dark Dwarf high king, telling him to protect the sword at all cost and never under any circumstance to use the blade. An unsent note is also found from the king to Paldamar telling the mage that he has given the blade to his war master to guard, and that their plans for mining the evil cursed rock that turns people into mindless cannibals is going well. The party it seems invaded the fortress before the dwarf had time to send the letter. Also amoung the treasure the party finds a long sword made out of glass that appears to be impossible to break, this blade is identified as a mage blade. A mystical blade prized by both sword mages and normal mages for it’s ability to enhance the powers of the wielder.

At this point Drake starts to think about how the fight went and becomes more and more frustrated. He asks to borrow a sheet of paper from Gallidan who complies with the request. At this point Drake writes an insulting letter about how the devil is a pansy for running from fight along with a challenge. He then stuffs the letter into the rift, which causes the rift to enlarge slightly and the letter to vanish completely. Gallidan is horrified at the action and guesses that the letter somehow went to the plane that the devils were from and that whoever reads it might consider it some sort of challenge.

Most of the hostages from Rivendale are found, except for a couple that the slaves claim a humanoid figure in dark blue robes selected from them for himself. The party unleashes the purification potion on the fortress that they received from the Potion Master, and within minutes the entire fortress begins to crumble to the ground. Fleeing to safety the party heads back to the 7 Pillars.

Tower Fun
Tower Fun and a Potion Master for the Party

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