Session 50: Ancient Jotun Ruins
[Mar 16th, 2021]
The heroes decide to continue exploring the caverns of the dark passage. Kiltro and Agandar scout ahead as best they can, following the long smooth tunnel eastward until they see a point of light at the end. Peering closer, the two find a pair of rock trolls guarding the exit into the eastern valley. However, the trolls appear to be half-asleep and paying little attention. The heroes discuss continuing forward towards the giant’s camp or heading back into the western valley to explore the ruins instead. Duke leads the argument towards exploring the ruins, while Brango seems predisposed to finding Urathash and getting the vengeance promised to him by Droja. In the end, the heroes decide to pursue the ruins and seek the giants after they are better rested.
The heroes head out into the western valley, crossing the river, and eventually come to a narrow forest-filled valley towards the western end. They find the valley filled with flowing streams and small waterfalls. They break into groups to explore the area and look for a campsite. Abhlesh and Duke come across an ancient Jotun stone with the ‘secret’ rune etched into it, the same one shown on the ancient map. They explore the magic of the stone and find it has strange temporal characteristics and may connect to some other plane of existence. Abhlesh mentions that Moruntyr the Storyteller was a disciple of the Jotun goddess Gelmira. Duke realizes that Droja told him he would find himself, “forged anew”, in the Temple of Gelmira, which he believes is beyond this magical gateway. Kiltro finds that the magic requires a particular piece of knowledge to unlock the magical portal.
The heroes make camp and rest for the night. The next morning, (15th Firesky, 692 G.R.), the heroes head eastward and cross the river again. They head into a narrow canyon where ruins of ancient giants stand. As they get closer, they are attacked by a group of ogres led by an ugly hill giant. The battle is quick and decisive, with Agandar summoning bolts of lightning from storm clouds, Arngeir summoning a valkyrie warrior to fight with them. Eventually, the ogres are felled and the heroes find that the giants have collected nearly all the artifacts from the ruins into a pile of sacks. Most of the items are useless junk, but they find a few ancient tablets containing ancient spells. They learn that the ruins once belonged to a slag giant village. Slag giants being stone/fire giant hybrids that served the Braelheim Empire as craftsman and expert smiths. They were one of the few tribes of giants that did not agree with the enslavement of the small folk and, in some cases, even helped the small folk rebel.
The heroes head south, following the river, through the wooded valley. They eventually come to nightfall and find a wooded grove to rest for the night. In the middle of the night, Brango is kicked hard by some small creature. He finds it is a red cap, an evil fey creature.
The heroes rise out of bed to find themselves surrounded by red caps and fiery yaganty’s. The yaganty’s throw burning wax at them as the heroes try to fight back. Duke summons forth black tentacles to grasp at his enemies as Agandar summons down an icy storm. The yaganty then blackens the area in darkness, but Arngeir summons the light of the gods to banish the darkness. The battle continues into the night…
Session 51: The Underwater Temple
[Mar 30th, 2021]
The heroes fight against the yaganty’s and redcaps throws deadly spells and blade against the fey creatures that disturbed their night’s rest. Soon the fey were defeated and the heroes were able to return to their slumbers and rest for the remainder of the night. The next day, (16th Firesky, 692 G.R.), the heroes continue their journey to the south and east, following along the river until they arrive at a large placid lake that fills the green valley. Agandar flies out and looks across the water, finds only a deep lake below him.
The heroes spend the rest of the day exploring the southern shore of the lake, traveling to the eastern end of the valley. They then set up camp at the eastern tip. That evening they chop down two hardy pine trees of great size and Agandar uses his druidic staff shape the logs into serviceable canoes. The heroes rest for the night and set out the next morning (17th Firesky, 692 G.R.), onto the waters of the placid lake. They reach the center of the large lake by mid morning and see great shadows underwater, suggesting structures beneath the placid surface. They head back to shore and make camp and Lucias stays behind to watch their gear as the heroes set back out to the center of the lake.
Arngeir and Agandar summon their magic to bless each of them with the ability to breathe water like a fish. The six of them then leap down into the depths of the lake. The blue-green water is filled with algae and floating debris, but an impressive structure can be seen below them. They swim down the rocky ruins and find an entranceway on the north side. They swim into the entryway of the large ruin where Duke finds the underwater temple reminds him of a time in his past.
Duke: The Undersea Xaya Temple
As the heroes move deeper into the chamber, they are immediately attacked by two large gars. The massive fish charge in and try to eat the heroes. One swallows Brango as the other swallows Agandar. They bite and tear at their enemies. Duke uses his magic to transform into a mighty water elemental and slams into one of the gars. Kiltro blasts the gars with a powerful wave that sends the room bouncy and rolling in the changing water pressure. Kiltro slams into the ground and an explosion of silt and dust creates a concealing cloud in the waters around the sorcerer.
Brango uses Nordspar, his favored weapon, to cut the side of the gar and tear to beast apart from the inside. Duke is soon eaten by the second gar. The others gather to take down the gar and free Agandar and Duke. With the beasts dead, their corpses floating to the top of the chamber, the heroes swim forward, exploring more of the ancient ruin.
They come across a room with a red-rusty silt on the floor. When Brango disturbs the dust while searching around, he finds the slag-filled forge dust irritates Agandar’s gills. The heroes push to a large chamber where they find a massive giant skeleton wearing a golden circlet. Then then find a smaller chamber where a bunch of crab-like monsters lash out at them with deadly claws. The heroes move in to strike at the beasts, finding their thick carapace armor nearly impenetrable…
Session 52: A Desperate Escape
[Apr 6th, 2021]
The heroes fight struggle against the crab-like chuuls, fighting for life deep in the underwater temple. The chuuls hold onto Brango and Duke trying to shove them into their deadly maws as their paralytic tentacles try to stun and pacify them. Agandar summons a mighty orca whale to chomp and bite at one of the chuuls, eventually freeing a paralyzed Duke from its grasp. The aged elf then sees a band of merrows, also known as aquatic ogres, swimming towards them. Kiltro and Agandar ready defenses as the merrows thrust forward with their spears. The heroes try to hold out as the chuuls attack from one side and the merrows from the other.
Brango fells one of the chuuls and he and and Arngeir are able to fell the second. Duke slays the third. The heroes then mount their forces against the merrows, slowly cutting them away and blasting them with a diminishing array of spells. They defeat the merrows and let the final two flee into the darkness of the temple.
The heroes catch their breath and leave the chuul nest behind as they head into an adjoning chamber. They find a metallic brazier under chunks of the ceiling. Kiltro heads over to examine the brazier, but the change in water currents was enough to dislodge the precarious balance of the stones. The entire ceiling collapses upon the heroes nearly killing them all and crushing them under the debris.
One by one, the heroes crawl out of the debris after Abhlesh blasts them with a burst of healing energy. They find that the two fleeing merrows had returned and Duke and Abhlesh are the only ones capable of fighting. Duke summons a wall of green poison to block the way, but the second merrow swim through regardless. Duke takes a spear and falls, but is soon bolstered by Arngeir and the others. Soon all the heroes have dislodged themselves and strike at the merrows. Brango explodes from the rock debris and cuts down one of the merrows. The other soon falls as well.
The heroes find themselves all near death, but know they cannot adequately tend to their wounds under the water. They swim to the entrance of the temple ready to escape to the safety of the surface. However, they are then ambushed by two strange aberrations with long tentacles and hard beaks.
The quoppopak shoot sprays of water at the heroes as they attempt to flee in their weakened state. Brango kicks off the ground, using a powerful talisman, grabbing Abhlesh and flying to the surface. He throws Abhlesh into the canoe before he climbs in as well. Kiltro simply teleports to the surface of the water, then teleports again to the camp. Duke turns into a water elemental again and swims at break-neck speeds to the shore. Arngeir swims to the surface and summons the power of the gods and walks on the air away from the water-dwelling creatures. Agandar summons the winds to carry him into the sky and over to the shore. Brango and Abhlesh row with all due haste to escape the creatures behind them.
With the creatures safely out of reach, the heroes head to camp and rest, telling Lucias all about their adventures in the deep lake. After a good night’s rest, the next morning (18th Firesky, 692 G.R.), the heroes return to the ruins where they find an altar devoted to the giant’s gods. A few of them murmur a prayer to the gods to gain the giant deity’s blessing. They then find a large statue of Gigas in the chamber where the merrows came from. They find a large mithril prayer disc with the blessing of Rosag written upon it. Duke identifies that this prayer was used in the ritual to light Gigas’s Forge in the Cathedral of Gigas.
Rosag’s Prayer: Blessed be the Hammer of Making and Unmaking and the immortal craft of Gigas. In the infinite wisdom of the Almighty, may he bless this forge with divine providence. Ahk Khan Veis Daeus. Blessed be the will of Gigas and the Hammer of Making. Show me your might, show me the power of creation, Bless this forge with your power! Gigas’ will be done.”
Duke uses his magic to make the heroes all invisible as they sneak their way back to the canoes to avoid another quoppopak ambush. It seems to work perfectly and the heroes return to camp with the mithril prayer disc and the water temple explored.
Session 53: Cavern of Fallen Heads
[Apr 13th, 2021]
The heroes say farewell to their glorious camp on the northern shore of the placid lake. They pack up and follow the river back west and north, heading towards the cavern of the chimera, the black-headed beast that devoured Esderal over a week ago. A couple days of travel through the valley, and on the 20th of Firesky (692 G.R.), the heroes reach the rocky valley near the beast’s cavern.
They gather outside the cave and begin to discuss their strategy for taking out the monster. However, after many minutes of discussion, Agandar hears the faint sound of wings flapping to the north. The beast was out on a hunt and was now coming in straight towards them. The heroes prepare themselves among a gathering of large boulders as the chimera swoops down towards them. Kiltro throws a great ball of fire, but the beast dodges the explosion. Duke uses a powerful spell to grow Brango to truly giant-sized proportions. Brango then leaps over the boulder and strikes at the chimera, but misses and falls.
Agandar summons a mighty griffon to strike at the beast and Arngeir summons a valkyrie warrior from Valhol to fight at his side. The heroes throw powerful spells and Brango strikes with his blade. The chimera blasts them with spray of acid before it rushes in with goat horns, lion teeth, and dragon jaws. The battle is long and arduous, but eventually the heroes are successful and the beast lays dead at their feet. They celebrate their victory and treat their wounds before climbing up into the cavern.
The find Esderal’s skeletal remains and Arngeir fishes out the half-elf’s hopeknife to return to the brazier flames of Bolvirk. They find a large bounty of coins and treasure that the chimera had gathered over the years. They split the coin and pile many of the objects into the magical bag. Brango gathers the heads of the chimera and makes a shrine for Esderal in the cave, as Agandar creates a wooden plaque to celebrate the young man’s life and honor his death. Arngeir says many prayers and performs a departing ritual for Esderal. Afterwards, they all sit around and tell stories about Esderal, with Arngeir telling most of them from their many years together in Bolvirk. First, as opponents when Esderal was a troublesome youth, then as allies when Esderal joined the militia.
The storytelling is interrupted by the sound of large booted feet entering the cavern. The heroes soon see a well-scarred hill giant flanked by two massive dire bears wearing spiked chain collars. He introduces himself as Kragmuld and demands the heroes give him tribute for killing his prey, the black-headed beast.
Brango suddenly rises to his feet as Nargrym’s metallic hand pulls him towards the giant, the spirit of his ancestor driving him to battle. Duke enlarges Brango agaain and Kragmuld meets Brango’s charge in the cavern, two giants fighting it out with their strength and weapons. Kragmuld swings his chain menacingly, cutting and slicing Brango as the Arngeir tries to heal the enlarged dwarf. Kiltro, Agandar, and Duke throw deadly spells at the bears and giant. However, the bears take a command from Kragmuld and flank around Brango grabbing and mauling Duke and Abhlesh. The bears are then quickly cut down and soon the heroes blast and defeat Kragmuld. He drops his weapon and surrenders just before he bleeds out and falls unconscious.
Abhlesh stabilizes him with a temporal stasis spell before stepping over to the giant and grabing his forehead. Abhleshes eyes close and his mind thrusts into Kragmuld’s, learning about the giant’s recent life and the encampment near the Cathedral of Gigas. He learns that Kragmuld organized a fighting arena in the camps and has many trophies of beasts in his large tent. He then sees a massive cathedral and a gathering of giants, led by a stone giant spiritual leader of Gigas, known as Urathash.
Abhlesh: Kragmuld’s Mind
Abhlesh releases the giant and blurts out all he saw in a confusing order. Brango, however, heard the name Urathash and his metal fist tightens. He slashes off Kragmuld’s head and adds it to the shrine at the back of the cavern.
Session 54: Jogrothir’s Rest
[Apr 20th, 2021]
The heroes leave the cavern of the black-headed beast and the funeral mound of Esderal behind as they set out into the valley again. After much discussion, the heroes decide to head to Jogrothir’s Rest and explore the final accessible site discovered in the ancient cavern. The heroes travel for four long days, reaching the eastern side of the valley. During the travel, the heroes find their food stores grow short and they begin to worry about where their meals will come from. Additionally, Agandar is reunited with his long-time animal companion, the great polar bear, named Shrugga. Arngeir has Duke apply a magical rune of electrical power upon his axe he had found during the battle of Redlake Fort. The weapon is of ancient Noradrie craft and Arngeir names it Lumnjeir.
The heroes pass the giant scarecrow and rest just beyond the marshes in the narrow canyon. The next day, 25th Firesky (692 G.R.), the heroes head to Jogrothir’s Rest. They find a carved entrance to the cave high on the cliff wall of the rocky canyon, the bottom stones covered in drake guano and the rotting corpses of two drakes. Agandar flies into the cavern to give a quick look, he finds a quiet cavern. The others climb up to join him with Brango’s expert assistance. They then explore the cavern.
Inside, they find the bones of Jogrothir on a central dais and numerous ancient artifacts on a high shelf along the cavern’s wall. There is also a large drake nest of branches, bones, and hides. The heroes then hear the resident drake returning home. A massive black-skinned spire drake lands and charges in, blasting the heroes with a burst of necrotic energy and a caustic black vapor that poisons their lungs and skin.
Agandar summons a spike a stone to pierce through the bottom of the drake’s foot, holding it in place as the others throw spells. Duke grows Brango to a massive size as the dwarf holds the drake back. Brango is nearly killed trying to hold off the ferocious beast. Agandar flies into the air and throws spells from above, and commands Shrugga to flee. The others throw spells at the drake, but mostly send healing energy to Brango. Duke hides Arngeir from sight with an invisibility spell. Asthe drake is quite weakened, Arngeir charges over to it and hacks off its lower jaw with Lumnjeir, then cuts off the top of its snout with the backswing. The drake falls dead.
The heroes explore the cavern, finding many ancient knick-knacks of the ancient taiga giant hunter, Jogrothir. They also find lots of ancient coins and a few magical items, including Jogrothir’s famed Drakesbane Horn, known to send fear into the hearts of drakes, and serve as a calling to dragons that hate its resonating tones. The heroes rest for the night in the cavern, feeling victorious.
For the next few days, the heroes address their limited food supply. They travel slowly through the fertile valleys, foraging, hunting, and fishing as much food as they can. After a few days, they feel like they have enough dried meats and nuts to last for a week. They then spend the next five days travelling back to the hidden cavern that serves as a back-entrance to the Cathedral of Gigas and the valley filled with the giants’ armies. During the travel, Agandar notes that there are many more signs of giant camps and passing warbands. The heroes have to avoid a number of larger groups as they sneak their way through the wide valleys. It is clear the armies continue to grow with each passing day.
The heroes reach the hidden cave on the 1st of Truthword (692 G.R.). They find the bodies of the cave giants have been removed and they hear voices in the map room. They try to sneak in, but are quickly discovered by three stone giants. It seems the giants are close to discovering the locations of the ancient sites of the Jotun heroes. The heroes quickly fell two of the giants, but the third surrenders. He introduces himself as Keslog. The heroes learn that these stone giants belong to a small sect that disagree with the Storm Tyrant and the armies devoted to Gigas and Urathash’s teachings. They are interested in rediscovering their lost history. Duke sympathizes with Keslog and wants to spare him. The heroes stand to the side to discuss the giant’s fate…
Session 55: Foray into the Cathedral
[Apr 27th, 2021]
The heroes discuss at length about what to do with the stone giant, Keslog. They eventually decide to let the giant return to his study of the map. Keslog tells them that a giant named Etena at the Cathedral might know the knowledge required to open the way to the Temple of Gelmira. Lucias decides to return to the western side of the cavern and make camp outside. The heroes sneak their way along the caverns east side to the exit. They find that it is unguarded and the way to the valley beyond is clear.
The heroes sneak out into the valley and see a half-mile in the center of the valley. They see a collection of giant hide tents among massive bonfires huddled against the eastern side of the valley. The heroes sneak northward towards the Cathedral. They find the massive stone temple surrounded by a wide palisade of trees and crude concrete. There are scores of giants lining up to enter the temple through the guardhouse. The heroes sneak around the southwest side of the palisade and find a cistern ditch filled with a questionable mixture of mud and giant feces. The heroes hold their breath and swim under the wall to the other side. Brango goes first, gritting his teeth as he climbs through the mud. It reminds him of his youth and the first of many times that he had to bury his emotions.
Brango: The Orphan
The heroes find two large hide tents up against the Cathedral’s side. They sneak around the tents as the last of the giants have entered. The heroes then sneak their way to the side door and open it a crack to listen to the sermon on the inside. They hear a fiery speech by Urathash as he emboldens the giant’s with a story of his past and how Gigas led him to the Storm Tyrant. Urathash seems to believe that Volstus has dominion over the dragons.
Urathash: The Sermon
The heroes sneak away from the Cathedral’s entrance, somewhat frightened by the ferocity and determination of the hundreds of giants inside. They decide it would be a good time to explore, however, while the giants are distracted. They sneak around the western side of the Cathedral to a side entrance. They enter into a large barracks chamber that smells foul. They explore a bit and find a magical iron Noradrie spike that can create a safe illusion. They also all contract Ettin fleas as the nasty critters leap and nibble at them.
The heroes sneak into the next chamber, where they find stairs leading up to the tower above the Cathedral. Near the steps is a sleeping ettin giant who is chained to the stairs. The heroes quietly sneak past him to the next room. In the next chamber, they find piles of crates and old armaments, mostly stolen from the Noradrie men. They find the bodies of many Aelgardian soldiers and the Ridders of the Wolfervein that Lucias traveled with.
The heroes then head into a nearby groghall, a mighty room with long tables for the giants. As they opened the door, they surprise a young slag giant named Ferin. She sees Agrimmosh in their possession and says she expected them. She sneaks them into the nearby larder closet as the congregation disbands and some of the giants come into the groghall for a drink. She whispers to them quietly that she is an apprentice of the oracle, Etena, and that Etena is expecting them. She says that Etena saw a vision of small-folk heroes who would bring back Agrimmosh and relight the Forge of Gigas.
The heroes wait out the giants for an hour, sipping on the larder’s stores of ale and eating some bread. The heroes are then escorted by Ferin into the main temple chamber and into a secret door in a massive 60-foot tall statue of Gigas. Stairs lead down into an oval chamber lit only by faint candlelight. It is there that they see a wizened old slag giant. She introduces herself as Etena and asks the heroes to sit and join her as she recites the history of the valley.
She tells the tale of the five Jotun heroes who lit the Forge of Gigas and the process in which they did so. She tells the heroes that they too are destined to walk this path, as she notes that they already possess many of the Jotun heroes’ implements: the sacred clay of Mymrith the Maker, the fire geodes of Aduromi, Priestess of Crystals, the Drakesbane Horn of Jogrothir the Hunter, and the prayer of Rosag, Preserver of the Forge. Now all they need was the Word of Creation stored away in the hidden Temple of Gelmira. She imparts the secret knowledge, the Word of Memory, to Duke that allows him to open the way to the Temple of Gelmira, which she describes as cut out of time and space.
Etena: History of the Forge
The heroes ask Etena about Urathash and the giant encampments. She explains that she does not agree with the Storm Tyrant’s path to war and power, the path that Urathash walks. She only wishes to relight the forge and tend to it as she has done for the many centuries of her life. She wishes Urathash defeated and the giant’s army disbanded, so that only the true and faithful of Gigas will remain.
The heroes agree to head to the Temple of Gelmira and find the Word of Creation to relight the forge. The heroes sneak back out of the Cathedral with Ferin’s help and sneak under the palisade and out towards the cavern. They pass through the cavern and Duke offers Keslog to travel with them. However, Keslog refuses, still upset by the death of his friends. Duke imparts the Word of Memory to Keslog so that he may make his pilgrimage to the holy sites.
The heroes meet with Lucias and camp for the night, although they spend much of the itching and scratching at the Ettin fleas nibbling on their skin. The next morning, (Truthword 2nd, 692 G.R.), Agandar and Arngier use their magic to eradicate the fleas and cleanse their friends of the pests. The heroes travel all the next day towards the hidden Temple of Gelmira. They rest for the night in the western valley and proceed the next day (Truthword 3rd, 692 G.R.), reaching the valley of the waterfalls by noon.
They find the peaceful valley as it was last time and Duke walks up to the central pillar, around the pools of algae-filled pools. He places his hand on the pillar and imparts the knowledge of the Word of Memory. Immediately, the heroes find themselves transported in a burst of energy. They now see the pools of water are crystal clear and a vibrant energy radiates the area. The forests are lush and different and the whole place seems invigorated. Abhlesh identifies this place as a pocket dimension within the Plane of Time. His mind feels oddly clear and he feels at peace in this place.
The heroes continue forward to a massive marble temple built into the cliff of the mountain. As they approach the doors of the temple, they are assaulted by two swirling vortexes of water that rise from the nearby pools. The water elemental guardians surge into tsunamis of water, slamming the heroes with blasts of water that send them sprawling. The heroes know they are too powerful near the pools of water, so they begin to run towards the temple’s entrance…
Session 56: The Temple of Memories
[May 4th, 2021]
The heroes charge towards the large giant-sized double doors that enter the grand marble temple. The water guardians throw blasts of water at them as they scramble away. Duke summons a great wall of churning acid to slow them down. The water guardians are forces to leave the watery pools and climb onto the marble paths. Brango and Arngeir hold them back as the others throws spells at the elementals. Arngeir then leaps upon one of the water creatures and cleaves it in two with his mighty axe. Brango and Agandar take out the final one.
The heroes tend to their wounds and then proceed into the great doors of the temple. They find a massive entry hall with numerous statues of stone giants in plain robes, holding staves. The halls are rather plain with minimal adornments. The quality of the stone and the size of the place suggests the reverence of the building. Abhlesh’s mind begins to wander as he enjoys the strange silence of this place. He is no longer assault by constant visions of past and future, but can enjoy the present. He then sudden recalls his first memory since his strange powers appeared.
Abhlesh: The Awakening
Duke finds a single stone tablet in the center of the floor. It takes a moment for him and Abhlesh to deciher the runes, which appear to be in the daemonic tongue of Abaddon.
“Foolish he wandered, the wizard did walk. Forgotten his dreams, forgotten his power, the old man wandered into the lost tower.”
Duke can’t help but feel that the tablet references himself and is concerned by the nature of the daemonic runes. The heroes look around and head down into a large chamber below. Kiltro finds a magical signet ring that enhances his speech and allows him to send magical messages. They find another daemonic tablet on the floor.
“Breadcrumbs of stone for each step a pittance, which one will bring death, which one bears forbiddance?”
They find more statues of stone giants, likely priests and saints of Gelmira, but little else. There is a smaller door on the north wall, seemingly that heads to more private chambers. The heroes open the door and Arngeir is slammed by a giant hammer and thrown back. Brango tries as well and is also slammed by the hammer.
The heroes then cleverly decide to snag the hammer with a grapping hook and are able to pull it free and break it from its mechanisms. Feeling the way is clear, they press on. However, the long hallway that stretches before them seems trapped as well, as deadly-sharp blades slash out at them as they try to pass through. They try a number of techniques and ideas, but cannot seem to understand what causes the trap to go off and the many blades in the long corridor to slash out. Eventually Duke seems to solve it and moves slowly from point to point, depressing each pressure plate one at a time. He nearly makes it to the other side, but a random activation cuts him down.
The heroes are able to revive him from afar and Duke climbs to the end of the hall. Meanwhile, Kiltro turns into a small kiwi bird and rushes through the hall. Abhlesh, likewise, begins to fly and surges through the hall. The three of them then find a secret lever and deactivate the hallway trap. The heroes find a beheaded statue of Gelmira and another daemonic stone tablet on the floor.
“For each drop of blood spilled in the halls you pay but a small price for your transgressions. Many have fallen under your watch. Be happy you are free of such remorse.”
They explore the next few corridors, find many murals of stone giants sharing knowledge with lesser giants. They also find another stone tablet in an empty room nearby.
“The old man grows near and his mind tingles at forgotten lore. But knowledge for you slips through like water in a sieve. It drips into my eager maw as it is wasted on you.”
The stairs lead down into a room filled with water that pours out of a fountain shaped like a stone giant’s mouth. Brango explores ahead and finds the water depth decreases along a hallway. The others follow and they head down a long watery corridor. They then reach a large diamond-shaped room. The ceiling comes to a point 60 feet above where a shimmering crystal light shines down like stars below. There is a large dais about 20 feet about the water with two marble stairs climb up to it. On the top of the dais is a giant-sized stone podium with a giant-sized stone tablet upon it.
Standing upon the dais is an old man. Duke recognizes him as the one who stole the Braellheim tablet from Redlake Fort’s treasury. Is introduces himself as Ulrak the Unhallowed and speaks with Duke, trying to to get Duke to remember him. He mentions the war in Kulderon, the battle when a great portal opened in the sky above the city and demodands poured out. He takes credit for the demodand army, explaining how the Eternal Embers was oblivious to him pulling all the strings from the side-lines. However, he says Duke discovered his plot and confronted him on the streets of Kulderon during the burning siege of demodands. While the Eternal Embers were off fighting a great dragon, Duke confronted Ulrak and they fought a great spell-duel in the sky. As Duke only barely remembers, Ulrak reveals his true form. That of a skeleton-faced symbol of death itself, a thanadaemon, the embodiment of death by old age itself.
Thanadaemons are known as patient daemons who manipulate mortal events to cause great death and agony to as many mortals as possible. Likewise, Ulrak claims to have manipulated the demodand attack on Kulderon. His presence in the north suggests he has another scheme at work. He then motions for the figure behind him to step forward, and the heroes see an undead Nyyrikki, a willing servant of the daemon. The heroes prepare to fight, to put an end to the daemon machinations and free Duke’s memories from its grasp.
Session 57: The Ancient Conspirator
[May 25th, 2021]
The heroes stand ready to face off against the daemon, Ulrak the Unhallowed. He stands there high on the dais overlooking the diamond-shaped room and the heroes standing down in the pool of crystal-clear water. As Duke looks up and faces this entity, he suddenly recalls the his first encounter with this creature. It was many years ago, during the demodand invasion of Kulderon. He faced off against Ulrak in the ruined city, ultimately being defeated by the daemon, and the creature stole his memories and his knowledge of spellcraft.
Duke: The Battle of Kulderon
As Duke remembers his first confrontation with Ulrak, they begin to speak across the massive, diamond shaped room. Ulrak explains how he has been on Enelis for millennia, as he manipulated the events of history, trying to cause pain and destruction for as many mortals as possible. He claims to have caused the downfall of the Nomen Empire, the siege of the Dohkan and the destruction of Goldwall, of the events that led to the War of the Devils, and finally the demodand attack on Kulderon that led to his first confrontation with Duke.
Ulrak & Duke: Confrontation
The battle begins with Ulrak and Duke throwing down deadly spells. Ulrak sends a wave of fear into Duke, piercing at his mind. Duke, in turn, summons a band of writhing tentacles that grabs and holds both Ulrak and the walking corpse of Nyyrikki. Agandar soars into the air as Brango charges towards the steps. Abhlesh boosts Agandar with speed before disappearing.
Nyyrikki breaks free from the tentacles and charging towards Brango, engaging him in melee, warrior to warrior. Ulrak flies into the air, also breaking free from the tentacles, and throws down deadly spells. From above, another daemon appears and drops from the ceiling, it is a leukodaemon, a daemon of pestilence. It’s body covered with open wounds with writhing maggots falling out of it. Bulbous black flies fly around its rotten head.
Agandar flies up and blasts the enemies with a devastating burst of polar wind that sears through the enemies with unfathomable power. This spell turns the tide of battle quickly, as the heroes gain the upper hand. Brango cuts down the corpse of Nyyrikki. Arngeir then charges in and cuts at the leukodaemon. Ulrak himself then steps towards Duke and curses him with old age, sapping what few years Duke had remaining. Duke instantly withers into a much older man, close to his time of death.
Kiltro, Duke, Agandar, and Abhlesh throw spells, but Ulrak resists many of them. Brango and Arngeir take out the leukodaemon and turn to face Ulrak. Ulrak then shoots forth a sickly green ray into Duke’s withered body. In an instant, the heroes watch the life go out in Duke’s eyes, his skin going pale, and he falls into the pool of water, dead. Ulrak feels accomplished and confesses his current plans.
The heroes have a surge of anger and heroism as they strike out at Ulrak for killing Duke. However, they find their spells barely hurt the potent daemon. Arngeir then charges forth, holding his magical axe, Lumneir, up high. He gives a short speech as he charges at the daemon.
Arngeir: Speech to Ulrak
Lumneir strikes at Ulrak, but the daemon blocks the blow with his stolen staff. But the strike distracted the daemon for a moment, which allowed Agandar to blast him with a powerful burst of energy, greatly weakening the monster.
In the meantime, unseen in the astral plane, the spirit of Duke was making its way to the afterlife to be judged. However, Abhlesh reached out into this transitive plane and grasps Duke’s soul, desperately trying to pull it back into its mortal frame. With some effort, Abhlesh is able to pull Duke back into his body with a breath of life. Duke bursts up from the pool of water, gasping for breath.
Ulrak promises to punish the heroes for interfering in his plans involving the Storm Tyrant. He throws the stolen staff, Duke’s staff, at the old wizard and disappears. Duke picks up his old staff, the one he made at the peak of his power, just prior to the Battle of Kulderon. The combination of holding the staff, defeating Ulrak, and awakening from near death, all serve to restore his memories and his lost knowledge of spellcraft. Despite the curse on his body, unnaturally aging him, his eyes light up with renewed purpose as he remembers himself and his former glory.
The heroes delight in their temporary victory of Ulrak the Unhallowed. They climb to the top of the pedestal and see, engraved in silvery metal upon the stone, the ancient Word of Creation. It is imprinted in their minds, the final piece to relighting the ancient Forge of Gigas. They are ready to confront the Urathash.