26th of Abadius of 4708
Some of you climb down the sides of the large 30 foot wide sinkhole to the bottom, while others climb down using rope. You find a tunnel leading to a partially collapsed room. Calach and Bruiser immediately recognize the place, as they have been here in this level previously last year.
You check this level to find no enemies and descend the winding stairs to find a dead end. Volo finds a secret door and opens it to a stairway that was perhaps once collapsed in. A tunnel has been cleared through to the other side. Thick web clog these stairs. Visible here and there through gaps in the unusually thick webbing burned away using Nia’s torch are deep scratches along the walls and floors – this along with an absence of mold or mildew, suggests the stairway has recently been cleared. You come across another dead end that hides a secret door. On the other side a fog filled hallway. As you near the end of the hallway you hear a voice call to you with questions that continue as you walk. The verbal quid pro quo begins.
Questions that are asked: What happened to Thassilon? What nation has replaced it? Who rules the land above today? Where is the seat of their power? What became of Runelord Karzoug and Alaznist? Who wields powerful magic today?
Information you gained so far: His name is Xaliasa. 10,000 years ago he worked both sides to his advantage (Karzoug and Alaznist), but as they grew more suspicious of him he came here to plan his escape. Before he could something happened out there to trap him in here. He laughs when you tell him Karzoug is dead, as he informs you that the Runelords leanred some powerful magic to put them into an unaging hibernation to pass the cataclysm unharmed. He merely sleeps. When you ask how to defeat Karzoug he makes mention of Runeforge, a place of learning created by the Runelords but grown beyond their control. It was the one place in Thassilon over which the runelords had no direct influence – the one place they could not visit for fear of enraging the other six and causing an immense war. If any secrets to defeating them existed in ancient Thassilon, those secrets would be hidden still within Runforge’s walls. It is there that weapons could be made to harm them, but the location was a closely guarded secret by the runelords themselves and is hidden with them this day. Except for me, he laughs. I learned its location and was headed there myself before the cataclysm. I have hidden its location in the riddles on the wall for the worthy.
When you come out of the hall into a large chamber in the low light of Calach’s dancing lights. The walls, floor, and even the arched ceiling of this place are covered with writing, the words spiraling and trailing in the Ancient language of Thassilon. Some of the phrases are immense, with words nearly 3 feet high, while others are written in tiny, spidery script. The medium for the writing varies as well – sometimes dark ink, sometimes blood, sometimes carved into the stone itself. Those that can read the language find that they are scripture and prayers to Lamashtu, all except one phrase: “If magic bright is your desire, to old Runeforge must you retire! For only there does wizard’s art receive its due and proper start.”
Volo continues quietly west towards pillars until he sees something that makes him turn pale and quickly returns to the others. Calach moves toward them, notices them and sees more smaller lesser creatures appear. The others have a difficult time moving in the area. Nia readies versus approach for an upcoming battle. Volo moves forward and also readies for an upcoming battle. Bruiser yells at all of them to attack, tries to move, but moves wawy from them. Gilgamesh moves back and casts a protection from evil spell, while Com casts guidance. Calach casts circle against evil on Bruiser, having an aura of protection that extends into the area around him. All of a sudden, Calach sees them cast and the gravity in the area the heroes are in reverses and everyone is flung to the ceiling, some being bruised by the experience. Volo attempts to move but is confused by direction, while Nia stands up in her area. Bruiser stands up and moves forward upon the ceiling, while Gilgamesh flies back down to the floor area. Com readies a dispel in preparation, and Henry Albert moves toward a column. They cast yet another spell in the area damaging the heroes. Nia continues to ready versus approach in her spot as Gilgamesh flies forward towards the creatures. Calach sends his light ahead. They cast yet another spell at the heroes, but their will is too strong to be affected. Bruiser climbs onto the ledge of the hall, and Henry Albert moves forward, yet Gilgamesh moves backwards. Nia moves into the hall falls, and stands back up. Gilgamesh moves forward yet again. They unleash a spell on him, he falls prone to the ground. The other creature casts a spell on Calach, but it has no effect. Com moves, while Henry Albert climbs to get into the next room. Calach looses a spell on them, while the return the favor casting it upon a large area that affects the heroes – damaging all. Nia tries to hit one, and it takes the opportunity to attack her as she gets closer. Com attempts to cast a spell yet one of the creature counter him. Henry Albert successfully smites them. They attack Nia, but the only hit twice as they are now blinded by spells. Volo moves toward the battle. Com casts a healing burst, forgetting to exclude the demons thus renewing their vigor. Henry smites them again, one succeeds the other fails. Calach casts disintegrate on one of them, dealing a critical blow. Volo continues to move around the room. The battle continues and the heroes emerge victorious.
As the heroes investigate the area, Calach follows some clues down a hallway.
As the heroes lick their wounds and search the area, Calach emerges from the mist of the area he went to investigate yelling for them to prepare for battle. Com casts Bear’s Endurance as Henry Albert casts a healing burst.
Hounds emerge from the mist, the large pack attempting to surround the party. After baying, Volo and Nia become panicked with fear. A battle ensues, and as the heroes are occupied with the hounds, the scribbler of the riddles quickly emerges from the mist to join the fray by attacking Gilgamesh who had previously moved away from the fight with the unusual hounds. Fireballs as well as other spells are slung while claws, fangs and swords draw blood. In the chaos however, Henry Albert is slaughtered viciously by the hounds. Com attempts to quickly cast Breath of Life, but it does not work. Henry albert remains a bloody battered mass on the cold stone floors. Nia lands the killing blow on Xialissa the Scribbler. The heroes left are healed and blindness is removed. They search Xialissa’s body as well as the rest of the room. A third stanza to a riddle is found as well as some of the remains of equipment from previously sent Sandpoint guards. The heroes decide to leave and return later to search the rest of the structure later. They tell the guards to continue guarding the area.
Com and the others return to Thistletop to prepare Henry Albert’s body.
Calach returns the remaining guard scraps of clothing/equipment to Sheriff Hemlock & the mayor. He informs them of what occurred and that the heroes would return later to continue the search. He meets with Ameiko to inform her of what transpired and asks for her help with the riddle portions that were found. They journey to the libraries of Jorgenfist for some research on the Runeforge mentioned and spend the night there. They discover the following information:
Runeforge was created as a place where agents of the 7 runelords could gather to study magic. The runelords wove wards around Runeforge that barred the entrance to the complex to any runelord or his direct agents, in order to keep the research within free from sabotage at the hands of an enemy. Runeforge’s magical enhancements sustained those within without the need to eat, drink, or even sleep. The final project the runelords set Runeforge on was the development of ways the runelords could escape the imminent fall of their empire. Each faction developed a unique answer for its runelord, based upon the underlying principles of that faction’s magical traditions.
They return to Thistletop to share this information with the others in the morning. Nia makes mention that Henry Albert wished her to inherit his belongings should he ever fall. They leave to Magnimar. Com donates 1,000gp to the Temple of Imodae, where the raise dead ceremony is performed by him. Henry Albert does not revive. The heroes discuss when they will meet for a funeral service. Bruiser and Volo sell some of the party treasure discovered. Calach believed the party would need another healer if they are to continue the dangerous journey ahead. He leaves to Habe’s Sanitorium, remembering that a priestess was sent there to take over after the last owner (a necromancer investigating undead in the area) was discharged by the party. She informs him that she cannot vacate her duty to the asylum, as her temple has assigned her there with no other evident replacement as of yet. She also does not believe that she would be skilled enough to travel with such heroes. She does however point Calach to a paladin named Tobias Goodspeed recently sent some time ago from the Temple of Imodae to Fort Rannick with a caravan of supplies for the Black Arrows. He recently returned from crusades. She advises Calach speak to Brother Pieter at the Temple for help getting an official dispensation of the paladin to join the quest.
The heroes meet for the funeral, dinner and then turn in for the night.
30th of Abadius of 4708 AR
Calach teleports Gilgamesh and Com to Fort Rannick in the morning. Com makes conversation with some fo the guards, sees that many of the supplies he has sent have been put to good use, They are pointed to Jakardos’ office and knock on the door. When they enter, they see that he is meeting with someone that shares the same description as the paladin they are in search of. They are welcomed by Jakardos and make pleasant conversation before Jakardos hands Com a package he that was left here for him from his step daughter. He opens it to find a letter from Aurellion and a pouch of coin in platinum. After introductions with Tobias, he agrees that being teleported back to his temple would be far more convenient than the two week travel in the dead of winter. He is willing to join the others help defeat these demons if his temple has no further need of him presently. Com and Gilgamesh decide to stay at Fort Rannick as Calach teleports with Tobias to Magnimar. He leaves Tobias to make preparations with his temple and returns to Thistletop. He finds no one there, so travels to Sandpoint. Bruiser was spending time with Sabyl, while Nia and Volo were shopping. Calach is quickly pointed to where to find them. Everyone is teleported to Magnimar. He informs them of the possible recruitment of Tobias Godspeed and that they are supposed to meet him at the Temple of Immodae.
The heroes take 2 more days of shopping in Magnimar. Com donates another 1,000gp to the Temple of Immodae for their continued assistance and help. Everyone returns to Thistletop in the evening to spend the night.
1st of Calistril of 4708 AR
6th day from leaving the Catacombs of Wrath
Com casts Heroes Feast in the Morning. They leave to the sink hole entrance in Sandpoint. Everyone casts their usual pre-battle spells (Com Status on Nia, Bruiser, Calach, & Tobias) with one exception added – Com imbues Bruiser with the ability to cast 2 cure light spells and shield other).
Volo jumps stealthily into the sinkhole, taking no harm from the great fall. The others climb or use rope to be lowered down. Calach casts Dancing Lights and they enter. They find the areas they visited to be still and empty. There are no mists in the halls or webs on the stairs. They find a great number of doors that before appeared to be walls previously.
Entering a new area, Volo detects a trap upon the entrance. He expertly disarms it. As the party enters what appears to have been Xialissa;s private study, they are damaged by perhaps the remnants of a spell still in effect on the entire area. They discover multiple ink vials of a variety of colors as well as a magical quill made with peacock feather that has not yet been able to be identified. The heroes find all of the portions of the riddles that appear to be stanzas of a poem. Calach, Gil, and Com decipher the order.
“If magic bright is your desire, to old Runeforge must you retire! For only there does wizard’s art receive its due and proper start.
On Eastern shores of steaming mirror, at end of day when dusk is nearer, where seven faces silent wait encircled guards at Runeforge gate.
Each stone the grace of seven lords, one part of key each ruler hoards; If offered spells and proper prayer, take seven keys and climb the stair.
On frozen mountain Xin awaits, his regal voice the yawning gates eys turn twice in Sihedron-occulted Runeforge waits within.
And now you’ve come and joined the forge upon rare lore your mind can gorge – and when you slough the mortal way in Runeforge long your work shall stay."
The Sheriff is informed that the area is now clear, and the bodily remains of one of the guards is returned to the garrison for proper burial. They have Ameiko help with interpretation and are able to assume that the location of this area must be Stormunder Lake near the Rimskull.
Calach teleports the party in 2 trips to the Cypher Mystery Inn at Riddleport, where the heroes stay to dine. Calach then teleports away to Crying Leaf, uses his Phantom Steed to ride to Brinewall. He becomes invisible to investigate, finds a quiet spot and studies the area for 1 hour. He returns to Riddleport, goes to the Temple of Cailen Cayden for the rest of the night.