Celysion - The Looming Darkness

Episode 13 - Going After the Corrupted Stone

Players

  • Michael (Nobby – Halfing Rogue)
  • Trevor (Trel – Human Psion)
  • Jason (Quinn – Human Swordmage)
  • Necati (Sokuyo – Human Monk)
  • Courtney (Arken – Dwarf Cleric)
  • Tylor (DM – Nebulous omniscient being)
  • Level 5

Cleansing the Well of Melora

The fist rays of the sun peak through the canopy of the Deadwater Swamps. The Shadow Slayers are awoken by a messanger from Chief Gazzok-Ut. The lizardfolk beckons them to follow. The adventurers gather their gear and make their way to the Well of Melora. Krisatra Arroway greets them, having already been awake studying the Well for many hours. She turns and acknowledges them. Addressing her two sons, “After studying the Well for some time, I believe the whole shard will be necessary to cleanse the evil.”

“That was the plan, better that than not enough” Quinn responds. Krisatra nods her head and holds out her hand for the Shard. Arken unslings his pack and pulls out a long, slender, heavily wrapped object. He removes the wrapping revealing a blue crystalline stone. He hands it to Krisatra who takes it to a raised log table. She mixes together some Moria root and smashes the shard to pieces, seemingly without effort. Quinn and Trel sense a small tingle of magic in the air as the rock strikes the shard and she begins to pulverize the shard using a mortar and pestle. The two tribes of lizardfolk look on in amazement as Kriastra prepares the final components and moves to the Well. She motions for Quinn and Trel to join her.

“I’ll need you two to assist me with the ritual. Simply channel energy into the Well. I’ll use your energies to initiate and sustain the reaction.” As they move closer she whispers “Whatever happens, hold your ground until the end of the ritual.” Trel shrugs and takes his designated spot by the Well. Quinn looks at his mother and raises a questioning eyebrow as he passes. Krisatra begins the incantation. Trel channels his energy through his orb into the Well, Quinn uses his sword which is hovering above the Well. Krisatra continues the incantation mixing the powdered components into the well at key points.

At first it looks as if the dark corruption is too powerful as it envelops the spreading clear water and starts to bubble violently. The liquid boils in sync with the rising and falling of the ritual chanting, growing increasingly stronger and more violent. This continues for another fifteen minutes all the while the bubbling growing louder and stronger as the liquid boils into a frenzy, bubbles popping and spilling over the sides of the Well, singeing the earth at deep black until it finally erupts and explodes throwing steam and green liquid ten feet into the air threatening to spill onto the casters! Quinn moves his sword above him just in time to avoid the explosion and begins to channel even more power to the Well, Trel steps back and loses his concentration slightly. Krisatra throws in the remaining mixture and shouts to be heard over the cacophony, “Hold your ground, it’s not finished!” The Well water collapses in on itself and returns to a serene calm. Shouts of joy rise up from both sides of the Well as the lizardfolk express their joy and wonder at the return of the Well. Trel slumps to the ground in exhaustion. Quinn breathing heavily asks Sokuyo for help. Together the drag him back to a log to sit and rest.

“You need some more endurance and practice in ritual casting brother” Quinn whispers to Trel. Trel simply groans, too exhausted for anything else. Arken mumbles something about Trel being a pansy. The Shadow Slayers watch as Chiefs Rugath and Gazzok-Ut cross into the Well and clasp forearms in a show of renewed friendship. Once again the air is filled with shouts of joy and triumph as the two tribes are again reunited. Both chiefs motion to the Shadow Slayers inviting them to be the first to bathe in the Well and receiving its strengthening power. Each in their turn step into the Well and dip themselves under the surface. As Sokuyo rises out of the water memories from his past hidden by trauma come flooding back. He begins a set of Kata he had long ago forgotten. Something is noticeably different as his speed has increased. His arms and legs move in a blur and he seems to float out of the Well. Murmurs of amazement can be heard from the tribes.

“Eh, alright, come on down Suck-you. Show off” Arken mutters.

Nobby unstops his flask in hopes of taking some of the water with him. “No! You mustn’t take the water from here.” Chief Rugath tells Nobby, Trel translating, as he grabs the flask and pours it onto the ground. He tosses the flask back into the crowd of Anagotti. Nobby looks on forlornly as his flask sails into the crowd.

The rest of the lizard folk begin to form lines to take their turns in the Well. Gazzok-Ut turns to the group, “You have done us a great service in bringing us back into friendship and restoring the Well. You are welcome among us whenever you are in the swamp. The battle with the Blackscales continues, but we are certain we will defeat them. We would welcome your aid in the battle, but understand if you cannot.” Krisatra discretely shakes her head after she finishes the interpretation.

“Well, we ’preciate the offer, but we ’ave other matters ta tend to” Arken says, speaking for the group.

“We understand, and are indebted to you for your help. Please, if there’s anything we can do to aid you, do not hesitate” says Chief Rugath.

“I, uh, remember putting in an order for some new shoes. How are those coming?” Nobby asks.

“Aye, and me boots too” Arken adds.

“I’d almost forgotten!” Gazzok-Ut says. He turns to some older lizardfolk who bring in the footwear.

“Thank ye kindly” Arken says as he stashes the boots.

Quinn nudges Trel, “Must be saving them for Elsie.”

“I don’t see why, he’ll just be taking them off after he puts them on.” Trel responds. Both chuckle at the joke.

Nobby notices two smaller lizardfolk fighting over his flask, the victor taking its place in line for the Well. Nobby tries sneakily to unsling the flask but the lizardfolk turns and notices Nobby. It growls at Nobby, who simply grunts in response and takes his flask back. The adventurers return back to the Koy’luka village.

Back at Krisatra’s hut she thanks them all for their aid and hands them a map which indicates the location of the Corrupted Stone. It also corresponds with the rough map in Ilario’s journal. She wishes them luck on the next step of their journey and watches them depart in the light of the mid morning, praying to Corellon to watch over her sons.

The Ziggurat

The group travels for several hours in the swamps toward the ziggurat. Nothing of note happens as they journey. They arrive at dusk tired, hungry and ready for rest. The group decides to camp on the outskirts of the ziggurat. Nobby is able to find some dry ground, albeit uncomfortable. The night passes without incident, save the passing of some nearby animals. Sokuyo is standing guard as the sun rises. First light above the swampy canopy would have been a beautiful sight were it not for the ziggurat. In the light of the sun Sokuyo can plainly see the structure and material of the building. The outer facade obviously was completed many years ago. Strangely, there are no vines nor trees growing on or near the building. The building material is very dark in nature and appearance. As rays of light shine on the exterior they seem to be absorbed into the stone and reflected back in a twisted black light with none of their former glory. As Sokuyo continues to stare at the building all the water and even the air around it emanate a dark aura which drives away all life. Ripples in the water attest to small fish and even larger animals scattering away as the dark aura expands with the rising of the sun. Sokuyo catches a glimpse of large bubbles escaping to the surface of the water where a large fish or frog was unable to escape the encroaching evil. The air grows cool and still as a foreboding vapor rises from the water touching the ziggurat. The monk shudders at the dark energies rising from the structure as he turns to wake his comrades.

After a very bland and unusually quiet breakfast from Nobby’s eternal rations the group heads toward the ziggurat. The stairs are narrow and steep as they climb up to the entrance. Sokuyo helps Nobby up the stairs as Quinn does likewise for Arken, who begrudgingly accepts the assistance. They enter at a set of wide double doors. A path of cobwebs has recently been cleared, allowing the adventurers to pass unhindered. Arken’s holy symbol jingles around his neck as the group walks further in. The dim light from slit openings in the ceiling fades a little and darkness begins to coalesce around Arken’s holy symbol buffeting the group somewhat. Rats can be heard scurrying away as they press forward. The air is dank and musty. A sense of something unnatural and very evil pervades everything around.

The group arrives at a large room with a statue of Tharizdun in the middle. Four pillars with orbs atop surround the statue. The statue sits above four levers. Sokuyo notices four symbols above the levers: a shield, a sword, shackles and chains. Around the room are panels of stone ech with Draconic words on them which Trel translates: fate, embrace, death, chaos, the, fight, darkness, worship, pain, and deliverance. Nobby looks at the levers and is able to determine the one with a shield above it must be activated first. Quinn looks up at the pillars and orbs and can very plainly tell they are tied to the statue by magic, but is unable to determine exactly their purpose. The rest gather around Nobby who says, “The shield must be first and it seems a sword would naturally follow a shield.”

“Then in a fight someone is taken or shackled and chained as a prisoner.” Sokuyo completes. Arken, Quinn and Trel in agreement Nobby braces himself as he pulls the first lever… nothing happens. There’s some disagreement as to who will pull the next lever.

“Oh you bunch of pansies!” Quinn shoulders his way past the rest and pulls the next lever… again nothing. Then he pulls the third lever and steps back. Sokuyo steps forward and puls the last. The ground shakes and the pillars descend the orbs begin to glow white. Lightening arcs arcoss the pillars, the ceiling and the adventurers. The levers flip back to their original position. Snuffing out his flaming beard Arken coughs, “Any other ideas?”

Smokes billows up out of grooves recently made in the ceiling. Nobby looks up to where the lightening struck the wall and sees a picture of Tharizdun protecting himself against the rest of the gods with a shield. He recalls after Tharizdun fell he was shackled. Quinn then remembers he was then referred to as the Chained God. “Shield, shackle, chains sword.” Trel says.

“Aye, tis worth a try” Arken muses. The last lever pulled, the statue slides down, lightening sears the ceiling causing the adventurers to cringe, and the words on the wall fade to black save three: embrace the darkness. “Well now, there’s a happy thought.” Arken also notices high up in the ceiling the mural carved in stone from the lightening is complete. It depicts Tharizdun’s imprisonment and lastly his escape. The last image shows Tharizdun standing atop the dead bodies of the gods holding Celysian in his hand, sword ready to rend the world. Arken notices the body of Pelor at the bottom of the heap of gods. “Bah, as if. Pelor defeated ye once ya cocky bastard, he’ll do it again!” Arken defiantly shouts brandishing his hammer and the holy symbol of Pelor. The darkness gathers around Arken and the whole building rumbles as if it were amused at the small over confident cleric.

“Uh… I’d like to go now. Which way?” asks Trel. Nobby vigorously nods his head in agreement.

“Right. Well, being that we’re searching the ‘Corrupted Stone,’ I vote for ‘Darkness.’” says Quinn. The rest of the group agreeing, they hurry down the path of darkness.

The Path of Darkness

A room with an old decaying table, crumbled wals and rusty portcullis greets the Shadow Slayers. Two small Tangler Beetles scurry around the debris. Sokuyo and Quinn rush to the nearest beetle just as Nobby hits it with a crossbow bolt. The beetle enlarges many times its original size to become a very imposing sight as spittle drips from its mandibles. Arken takes a defensive position behind the table. Trel attempts to attack the beetle, but the beetle ignores the psychic force. Nobby joins Quinn an dSokuyo burying his dagger into the beetle’s carapace inflicting massive damage to the bug. Sokuyo dashes over to the other beetle just as vines along the wall come to life and attempt to ensnare him. Arken bathes the beetle in divine light further damaging the insect. Trel slams his orb toward the ground smashing the large beetle into the ruble destroying it with a psychic force hammer.

Quinn moves to intercept the plant, but his blade does little more than slice through leaves. The other beetle however, glows a faint red as does Quinn’s sword. Sokuyo batters his fists against the hard shell of the beetle as it grows taking on its large form. In retaliation it spits at Sokuyo drenching him in spittle which saps all his strength. Sokuyo drops to the floor unconscious. The beetle then backs off, squeezing itself into a narrow hallway. Trel meanwhile, engages the Cavern Choker, but is unable to effectively damage it before it blends into the other vines along the wall. Nobby dodges between Quinn and Trol, exposing another Choker and lashes out at the retreating beetle pushing it further down the hallway. The recently exposed Choker gathers up Sokuyo in its vines and drags him closer to the portcullis. The other Choker encircles Trel around the neck. Arken singes the leaves of the choker holding Trel, but fails to inflict damage. Sokuyo continues to lay unmoving despite being drug closer to the iron gate.

The Choker holding Trel moves him to intercept Quinn’s sword slash. Trel breaks the hold of the Choker and escapes its grasp, but feeling the lingering effects of Quinn’s sword magic as a thunderous clap jolts his body. Arken enfuses Sokuyo with the radiant healing light of Pelor and Sokuyo is able to break the grab of the Choker. Nobby fires a bolt at the Choker near Quinn moderately damaging the plant. The Choker then slithers around Quinn, Trel and Arken taking damage from each in an attempt to protect something. Quinn moves toward the iron gate releases the bond on the beetle as it slinks away and illuminates the other Choker. The Choker forcefully grasps Quinn by the leg dislocating bone right as Nobby shifts over to deal with the threat. Significantly pruned down, the Choker attempts to move through the adventurers but is hacked to pieces.

Sokuyo advances in toward the remaining Choker but fails to capture it before it ensnares Trel once again. Using its own tactic against it, Trel pulls the choker toward himself. Nobby, quickly on the trail of the remaining Tangler Beetle, slashes at its side as Quinn limps over in pursuit. Arken shoots at the Choker firing wildly and instead rains down rocks atop Sokuyo and Trel. Trel escapes the grab just as he and Sokuyo pummel it into the ground causing the vines to go limp. Nobby slashes at the other side of the beetle bursting a spittle sac and driving it toward the limping Quinn, who delivers the final blow.

The group cleans and bandages up as best they can. Nobby help Quinn set his leg with a sickening grinding pop. They both search the room, Quinn moving with a slight limp for a few minutes. They find nothing of interest as Arken repeatedly slams into the old iron portcullis eventually breaking it open. Sokuyo and Trel search teh other part of the room, without finding anything useful. Nobby scouts on ahead ascending a flight of stairs. A small chest catches his eye. He bends down to pick the lock. Just as the last tumbler falls into place small darts shoot from the chest which he nimbly avoids. He cracks open the chest to reveal a bag which seems to have no bottom. While removing the bag, the bottom of the chest slightly moves revealing a mound of gold. Nobby packs everything into his pack and returns to the group. Attempting to downplay the find and keep the loot for himself, he lies about the findings only to have Arken detect him. Coming clean Nobby splits the gold with the others and gives Arken the bag of holding.

Everyone follows Nobby down the other hallway and down a flight of stairs. They arrive in what looks to be a refuse room from the first room they entered above. Nobby notices a glint of silver reflecting off Sokuyo’s sun rod and rushes over to pull it from the heap. In his haste he sets off a trap and the floor caves in. Smelling fresh blood, swarms of rats and four dire rats scurry from the walls and under the trash. Nobby falls into a hole in the floor landing roughly on jagged stones, dead rats and other refuse. He quickly pulls a healing potion from his pack, uncorks it and drains the contents.

Trel hurries down the stairs hoping to help Nobby form the hole, but stops short to focus his energies on a dire rat attempting to scramble up the wall. The force of the impact on its small body knocks it from the wall and it falls to the ground. Arken points his finger at the rat which briefly illuminates in a brilliant white light. Quinn rushes down the stairs and impales the rat on his sword invigorating him for the rest of the battle. Sokuyo boldly jumps down from the stairs and lands on the rat fracturing it’s spine and squishing its head beneath his foot. One of the rat swarms dives in after Nobby who frantically throws debris over himself attempting to hide from the vermin. The rest of the rats swarm toward Quinn and Sokoyu. A pack of rats gathers around Quinn attempting to climb his legs to reach softer flesh.

Trel’s force hammer strikes multiple rats as the assault continues. Sokuyo flings the dire rat carcass toward the other rats and pushes off the wall raining a shower of blows on all the nearby rats. Arken’s magic briefly blasts the room in a bright white light empowering Sokuyo and Quinn but damaging the rats causing momentary blindness as their eyes adjust. Quinn steps forward, away from the swarming rats, and attacks each rat adjacent to him using his magic to aid in the speed of sword strikes; however, moving that fast and attacking each enemy takes its toll and leaves Quinn immobilized for a short time. Nobby fires his crossbow as quickly as he can as the swarm above him attempt to search him out, but eventually give up and start to scurry up the wall of the hole. The swarm around Quinn again seek seeks its quarry and begins clawing at his legs.

Sokuyo launches a barrage of fists and kicks at all the rats around Quinn flinging the carcase of a dire rat away. Trel destroys the a swarm next to Quinn with a force pull. Nobby emerges from the hole and takes a quick breather aided by Arken’s healing powers. The last swarm scampers away from Sokuyo, only to be buffeted and destroyed by Quinn’s sword jabs.

Nobby looks around the debris and in short order located the source of the shining sparkle. It’s a small silver circlet which looks as if it were crafted by artisans in the Feywild. Quinn recognizes it as a Fey-Blessed circlet. A small disagreement breaks out between Quinn, Trel and Nobby as to who should receive the item. “I just risked my life to get that! Does anyone care about poor Nobby?” argues Nobby. Quinn and Trel after thinking it over a little really aren’t that interested in the item. Nobby perks up, “I have dice! We could roll the dice and let them determine who gets the item.” Quinn and Trel both shrug.

“Wait a minute there Nobby!” booms Arken. “I don’t trust those dice of yours. Trust the thief to do things fair? Ha!”

“Okay, okay. Here, these are my real dice, not my trick dice.” Nobby hands a die to Quinn and Trel. All three of them roll. Nobby rolls a low number, Quinn and Trel each roll the same number. They roll again and Trel wins the roll. Instead of keeping the circlet, he hands it Quinn.

“I think this would actually benefit Nobby more than myself.” Quinn passes the circlet to Nobby who happily dons the headgear.

“It may be a little feminine, but I don’t care!” Nobby states, happy to receive some loot.

Ilario and the stone

“Darkness hasn’t paid off very well. Let’s try a different door.” says Arken. “I vote for ‘embrace’.” No one else has any objections. They return to the room with the statue and enter the door with “embrace” on it. They walk down a hall until they come to a large circular room with three pillars and raised seating as if it were an amphitheater. Above the middle pillar is a chandelier. Below the chandelier is a large upturned hand with a dark stone resting in the palm. Around the middle pillar are dead bodies. Arken examines the bodies and is able to determine they were killed no more than three days ago. On one of the bodies they find an amulet with the initials “I.R.”

“It looks like we have discovered our prince.” says Quinn remorsefully.

“What do we do now?” asks Nobby.

“We still have two uses left to contact Terulai. We should ask the King what he would like done. If he wants us to bury him here or return his remains to Vandromar.” states Quinn. Everyone else agrees. Quinn retrieves the communication crystal from his pack and passes his hand over the crystal activating the inert magics in the crystal. A few minutes later they see a pair of lips and hear Terulai’s voice.

“Ah, Quinn! Good to hear from you again, and so soon. I trust you have good news for us.”

Quinn looks around at the rest of the group. “Is the King with you?”

“No, but I can have him contact you in an hour. Is there a message I should deliver to him?”

“We found Ilario, or at least what remains of him. We would like to speak to the King and ask him how he would like us to proceed.” There is silence on the other end for a few moments.

“I see. I will have the King contact you as soon as he is able. Thank you.”

“Looks like we wait.” Sokuyo says.

“I could preserve the body in case they want it returned. It will take me about an hour. We’d have to do it anyway if they want Ilario’s remains returned.” says Arken. The adventurers agree that seems like the best use of time for now. Arken prepares the body and the ritual while the others watch. Trel turns to his book. A little more than an hour passes, Ilairo’s body is preserved as the communication crystal sounds. Quinn again retrieves it from his pack.

“Quinn, are you there?” Terulai’s voice calls.

“Aye, we’re all here.” responds Arken.

“I have the King here.”

“You didn’t tell him?!” Quinn asks.

“I thought it better you tell him.”

Annoyed, Quinn talks to the King. “We have found Ilario, however, he is no longer with us. We want to know what you would like done with his body.”

“I feared that was the case. For three nights now I have had dreams of his death. Please tell me what you know and where you are.”

“We are in the Deadwater swamps, in a ziggurat built to the Chained God…”

“The Chained God?!” the king whispers loudly. “Please tell me Ilario wasn’t involved in anything evil.”

“We don’t know for certain, but housed somewhere in this ziggurat is an artifact channeling energy to the Chained God. We believe Ilario came here to destroy it, as have we.”

“I understand. Please return his body to us so we can give him a proper burial.”

“What of his guards?”

“If you can bring them as well, we would appreciate it, if not we understa…” the spell fades and the crystal dims.

“We canna carry them all back through the swamps. I say Ilario is the only one we can return.” observes Arken. The rest nod their heads. “Now, how do we take him back?” Everyone thinks for some minutes. “It might be a bit grotesque, but we could put him in the bag of holding.”

“Sounds as good as any other idea we may have.” says Sokuyo. The group agreed, they return to the matter of the stone. All of them are leery of whatever killed Ilario and his men. None of them want the same fate to befall them. After some time Nobby perks up.

“I could swing over to the stone, grab it and use my dislocation dagger to teleport me to the door! The rest of you could be just outside the door in case it closes once the stone is gone so we’re not trapped.”

“That actually sounds like a good plan. Let’s proceed.” says Arken. They begin to make preparations for Nobby’s high flying acrobatics.

With everyone outside the door, Nobby jumps down from one of the other pillars swinging on the rope to the stone. As he passes he grabs the stone and gives himself a shallow cut using his dagger. Just as he disappears he holds close to the stone. In an instant he stands beside the group on the other end of the door which slams shut. Nobby holds out his arms in triumph, but they’re empty.

Sokuyo looks at him, “You didn’t get it. All that effort and you couldn’t even get the stone!?”

Nobby looks down at his empty arms confused. “I had it… then the floor opened up revealing a, uh, a, oh right, a chest! We need to go back and get that chest! Oh yeah, and some sort of winged creature flying toward me.” Arken presses his ear to the stone double door and hears the leathery beating of wings fade away.

“Well, ’gardless, we have to go back and get the stone.” Arken tells the rest.

“But what about the monster?” asks Trel.

“What about it? You pansies. We’ll have to fight it either way. I say we just go in and kill it, take the stone and leave.” says Sokuyo bored with useless word banter.

Arken shoves everyone aside and throws open the door with a mighty heave.

XP and Loot

Loot

  • A Bag of Holding
  • Fey-Blessed circlet
  • 338gp, 418sp

XP Each: 690 XP

  • Completing Well of Melora Quest: 400 XP
  • “Embrace the Darkness” Puzzle – 250 XP
  • Storage Room Encounter – 750 XP
  • Garbage Chute Room – 1100 XP
  • Discovering the Fate of Ilario Rostvani – 700 XP
  • Creative Attempt to Recover Stone – 250 XP
  • Total XP: 3450 XP
  • Arken, Sokuyo: 7,646 XP
  • Trel: 7,548 XP
  • Quinn: 7,414 XP
  • Nobby: 7, 362 XP

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