WORK IN PROGRESS…
The party arrived at Bar’doth Kek-taur, a secluded dwarven kingdom hidden deep in the mountains of Kellagha. Having safely guided the party into the the kingdom, the spirit of the dwarven cleric, Duinor, abandoned the body of the party’s cleric, Trisoll, and finally ascended from the Prime Material Plane into the afterlife. However, this self-exorcism left Trisoll in a catatonic state. The party was asked to stay the evening so that an event may be held in their honor, which they reluctantly agreed to. Trisoll was carted off to recuperate while the others split off into pairs and rest for the evening. Having a lengthy firsthand experience in dealing with possession, a sympathetic Lyssa rushes off to keep watch over Trisoll.
During the evening, the party was visited by royal attendants who came requesting to measurements of each member. When asked by Vetnik as to what they needed them for, they simply replied, “the Emperor’s gift, milord.” (Grum mused to his visiting attendant, “what, coffins?”) When an attendant came to visit Lyssa and Trisoll, Lyssa was immediately put on guard. With her signature arcane glowing red eyes, Lyssa frightened the attendant into fleeing from the room and ordered her to only return with healers in tow. Alone once more, Lyssa continued to watch over Trisoll as she combed through her spell book and magical items, looking for some way to wake Trisoll from his slumber. Using a mind scan, Lyssa found Trisoll’s psyche too weak to project his thoughts but could feel him slowly pulling together psychic strength.
The rest of the party took short rests and were offered new attire for their audience with the emperor — none of which fit since the clothes were dwarven in not only make, but size as well. Vetnik left Moira and went in search of Trisoll. A dwarven servant named Belek agreed to escort the barbarian to where his friend was being kept. The pair briefly discussed life in Bar’doth Kek-taur and Emperor Durgoth’s stern but benevolent rule before being reunited with his companions. Vetnik and Lyssa discussed what they could do for Trisoll to pull him out of his state (“Come back to me my friend,” Vetnik whispered to him with no reaction.) Their discussion over whether or not the dwarves of Bar’doth Kek-taur could be trusted was disrupted by another attendant, who relayed a summons from the Emperor. Lyssa refused, even against Vetnik’s urging and promise that he would carry Trisoll with them before the Emperor.
“I understand your action, and I appreciate you staying with him. Protocol demands otherwise. I’ll be back soon.”
Vetnik returns to Moira, who confides in her his fear for Trisoll as well as regret over not urging Lyssa to take her audience with the royal court.
The party came together in the great dining hall before the Emperor and his court of advisors and chancellors. The Emperor’s mouthpiece, Demarek Gordemn, summoned the royal attendants to court, the same who came to the measure the party, and they brought with them several suits of armor, all of which were made of or contain, real metal. Abigail’s was visibly moved when presented her first suit of iron platemail, while Moira was honored to receive a set of armor bearing the symbols of the sword (Starstrike) and shield (Bladebane) of her fathers. When it came time to Lyssa, Vetnik managed to convince Demarek to excuse her. Once gifts were all bestowed, the real feast began, the stoicism of the great hall was lifted as the Emperor ordered the heroes feast to begin. Back in Trisoll’s room, Lyssa could hear the carousing of men and women enjoying the finest in dwarven food and drink. Suddenly, Trisoll’s eyes burst open as he shot up off the gurney with a great exhale. Panicked at first, Trisoll searched the room for a familiar face and found Lyssa at his side, who tried to keep him calm as best as she could.
“What happened? Where is everyone else?”
“Presumably drunk by the sound of it. What do you remember?”
“I remember the pillar in Beoll-dur. Wait, are we still in Beoll-dur?”
“Not quite? What do you mean not quite!?”
“What else do you remember?”
“I remember the pillar made of crystal and then… then my head, hurting. Overcome with pain. And now, I’m here, with you, alone, in not-Beoll-dur. You said everyone is drunk?”
“We’re in an underground kingdom, dwarves—“
“Yes, lots of them, a whole mountain full. Back in Beoll-dur, you were taken—“
“Will you stop? Yes, you were possessed by the spirit of some old dwarven cleric. He guided us here to relative safety, and now everyone seems to be eating and drinking.”
Trisoll emerged off the table, his eyes bloodshot with frustration. Lyssa stepped aside, sympathetic to his anger, and slowly followed as he stomped out of the room and down towards the great hall to meet the others.
Trisoll approached the great hall and could see his friends and companions mixing it up with the dwarven royalty. He stood under the threshold and with unprecedented frustration, he cried out: “I AM SICK AND TIRED OF BEING USED!” The earth itself rumbled as he stood, for only a moment, but a moment that hushed the room. All eyes were on him. Emperor Durgoth whispered in Demarek’s ear as Vetnik did his best to calm down the angry cleric. Through Demarek, Emperor Durgoth summoned Trisoll over to explain himself. Durgoth is taken by Trisoll’s usual fiery disposition and makes a royal toast to his honor and brazenness! With Trisoll calmed, the party resumed with renewed fervor – both Moira and Thom were both victims of the strong dwarven ale. As Moira professes her love for Lyssa’s ascerbicness, Thom contemplates his new, metallic fingers while his brother, Grum, revealed that he in fact knew about the fingers but promised not to tell the others.
The party finds out that the kingdom’s resource of ore has been blocked off for weeks by some strange phenomenon down in the iron vaults: a large, floating orb of shifting Elemental energies blocking the main passage that no one in the kingdom has been able to dispel. The party agrees to investigate, and together with three of the emperor’s finest warriors, in exchange for a few platoons of dwarven warriors to assist the party in the battle at Morgoth. Lyssa and Trisoll confide in each other about their continued homesickness. Lyssa revealed though that her duty is to the party, but more importantly, herself, and if comes down to it, she’ll be willing to take down Barth if necessary. Trisoll pleaded with Lyssa to at least let him devise a plan with the others, especially, Moira, before signing Barth off to death.
The trio of metal-hungry xorn emerged from against the cave walls with tooth and claw drawn. The party dispatches them easily and they continue towards the opening of the vaults. There, the party comes face to face with the orb. The large mass swirls with colliding Elemental energies; fire, water, earth, and air flow across each other yet seem to remain unaffected. Lyssa consults the Eye of Modius and it’s revealed that the orb itself is made up of four Elementals who were forcibly taken from their planes and magically fused together to become a prison for something of great power. Grunt hands off his Arrows of Elemental Slaying to Grunt and shoots them into the orb. The arrows crash into the coils of fire and water, and the party watches as they evaporate, leaving only air and earth. The swirling combination of earth and air began to unravel, separate, and float down towards the party. The misty vapor and pieces of sand and rock began to take on their truth natures, forming separately into the bodies of both Air and Earth Elementals. As the orb of Elemental energy dispersed, it revealed to the party a fifth form, curled up into a ball and floating, a thin, humanoid man in fine, yet understandably dirtied, formal attire.
Lyssa recited a dispel magic spell from her scroll, but as the glowing letters lifted off the page, she was suddenly overcome with a wild surge. The arcane words that fluttered towards the mysterious elemental orb begin to merge and grow into one large humanoid mass of shimmering chaotic energy. Before the party stood a towering Dispel Magic Elemental, its body composed entirely of magical energies, the sinew of which flickered and flared as veins of wild magic collided into one another. The party prepared themselves for the worse, but watched as the Dispel Magic Elemental lumbered towards the orb of Elemental energy and slammed its energy fist against it. The Dispel Magic Elemental immediately dispersed and took with it the air elemental. The being in the center now freed, he comes to and the party watches as the mysterious figure warps the earth elemental into oblivion.
The party confronts a small patrol of duergars who are smuggling dwarven ore through a gate portal. The party slays all but one, who telepathically reveals that an army is growing in Morgoth, evil creatures of all make (from duergars to dragons) under the banners of the Ebon Rider, Kr’zzt, and the Circle of Bones.
The earth opened with a vortex of dirt and grass, and the party emerged from beneath the planet itself with Laterius. Back on the surface, they now stood at the great gates of a massive, enclosed city. While there was little they could see over the city walls, one structure in particular cut up into the sky and caught their attention: a large, towering castle resting at the top of a hill, not unlike Castle Zagyg in Greyhawk. This castle, however, appeared to be in fine condition. Together, the party prepared to enter Yggsburgh.