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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
Per Multiversum
Chapter 3 — Avilda
to be written...
Session: 120th Game Session - Tuesday, Sep 01 2020 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
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Tags: Chapter 3 , Lantan , Recap
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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
Per Multiversum
Chapter 3 — The Shou Embassy of Bral
to be written...
Session: 120th Game Session - Tuesday, Sep 01 2020 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
De Exilio
Chapter 3 — Tosvin's Map
It was only a few minutes later that the pounding on the door finally ceased, and they heard the hell hounds outside barking loudly. The door shook violently a few more times, and the elephant trumpeted. Then, the barking faded off into the distance and the commotion stopped.

   Perhaps five minutes later, they heard the barking again. Then Tosvin then appeared suddenly among them. His battleaxe blade was covered in red and other colors.

   The fortress is clear, came his voice in their heads. Move your animal and follow me.

   Mythlos gave the command word, and the elephant returned to its figurine form. Tosvin went to the doors and opened them with his claws. His hell hounds rushed toward him, and he patted each on its black head, as they wagged their tails. Then, he stepped off the ledge and floated to the ground below.

   Hakam, likewise, stepped off and floated smoothly to the snow. Solisar spoke a word and did the same, inviting the others to follow.

   The blood snow was gone, so nothing prevented them from entering the fortress now through the main doors. They passed the charred bodies of three oni mages — Belvin's summoned fire elemental had done its job.

   When they entered the main doors, they saw two more glaives lying on the ground close to the central, red-glowing column of ice. A pool of red blood could be seen to the left of the column, and as they headed in that direction, they first saw a pair of over-sized lower legs, severed at the knees, wearing thick boots. Next, they saw the headless and legless torso of a giant with pale white skin, still clutching its axe. Tosvin led them to the left to the stairs that Cassiera had earlier found.

   The high steps of ice led up to a mezzanine and split north and south. They turned north and climbed to the second floor of the fortress, passing into another irregularly shaped room with six walls. There were two stone tables in the room, sized for giants, and there were smoothed stones scattered about that perhaps served as chairs.

   Tosvin approached the largest wall, waved his hand over it, and spoke a few words of his accursed tongue. Blue, glowing lights appeared behind the ice of the fall, faintly outlining a map, which Leokas immediately recognized as the full extent of the Great Glacier.

   What is your female's name? he asked.

   When they told him, he spoke it with his mandibles. "Iggreth Ilthian."

   A red dot appeared somewhere far to the northeast.

   I shall be gone for many hours, said Tosvin. I cannot carry sentient life through the Astral; I shall have to carry your female back to you over the wind. Take whatever treasures you find among the slain. They have nothing of value to me. With that, he vanished again.

   "Iggreth Tosvin," said Solisar. A dark blue dot appeared atop the red dot.

   "Solisar, this map can tell you the location of Iyraclea!" said Szordrin.

   "While true, I caution against that," Solisar replied. "She is a powerful priestess; she may have protections against scrying that would inform her of our presence. We do not want her able to track us back to Jhothûn."

   "Which means that she might be able to scry on Ilthian as well," one of them said, "once she determines that the girl is missing."

   "Iggreth Samber," said Szordrin, followed by, "Iggreth Walker." No dots appeared.

   "Try someone else we know to be on the Great Glacier," said Hakam.

   "Iget Skata!" said the minotaur, and Solisar repeated the message correctly. No dot appeared.

   "Iggreth Bjorn," said Leokas. There was still no dot. "Have they all been slain?"

   "Does the map find dead persons...?" asked Hakam. "Iggreth Uregaunt." No dot appeared. "So all the giants could be dead," said Hakam, "but I suspect it means rather that the cloud giants have completed their cloud palace and sailed."

   "It has been months since we last saw them," said Leokas.

   "Iggreth el Sadhara," said Szordrin — still no dot.

   "I am going to go loot the corpses," said Mythlos.

   "I will go with you," said Szordrin.

   Kytharrah followed as well.

   "Do not take — do not even touch — any of Tosvin's things!" warned Hakam.

~~~~

They methodically began outside with the enemies that they had slain themselves. One of the oni mages wore a gold bracelet and a jeweled electrum ring. Another bore a potion that tasted and smelled like a healing potion. The ogres only had nasty, ragged hide armor and their clubs. The oni's greatswords looked imposing because of their sizes but were non-magical and of inferior quality. The same could be said of their chain shirts.

   On the first floor of the fortress, they entered the ogre and oni rooms. There they found several personal treasures stored under blankets or pillows. One of the oni had a gold idol to an unknown god that appeared like a cross between a troll and an ogre. The same oni had a sack of gold coins weighing at least ten pounds. Among the ogres' smelly belongings were a total of 101 golden coins, two vials with unknown contents, (one with a magical aura, the other without,) and a sheet of parchment with lewd drawings of an ogre female on one side and a spell of divine magic on the other.

   In the northeastern room, which Cassiera had not explored, the ice walls, floor, and ceiling were insulated with thick metal, making the room smaller. In the center was a fire pit with still-hot coals. There were three iron bunk bends without bedding of any sort. Here, stored under one of the bunks, they found a stash of scrolls with blood stains on them.

   Coming out of that room and continuing counterclockwise, they came to another door to the north. On the floor was a tiny, tin signal whistle. The door to the north was locked and the doorhandle had a magical aura.

   They returned up the stairs but turned left at the mezzanine. This led up to a room that was clearly a kitchen. A door on the north wall led to a foul-smelling room filled with several skinny goats and one skinned fox hanging from the ceiling. There were no other exits from this room.

   They returned to the map room. Another open doorway led from this room to the east. They passed into a large open area perhaps 60 feet wide and 80 feet long. On the north side, near where they stood, was an elaborate staircase of ice leading up to the next floor, with two sets of stairs running along the north wall that led up to a mezzanine from the west and east and then joining and leading farther up and to the south. The room was divided in half by a rift and a large opening in the floor. They looked down to the floor below and saw the body parts of the frost giant and the glaives of the destroyed barbazus. A bridge of ice crossed to the other half of the room, supported by the red-glowing ice column. Sitting on the bridge was the large, bearded head of the frost giant, its eyes staring blankly.

   They passed the decapitated head and crossed the bridge to the other side. The southern wall had a large set of metal doors that were swung wide open. When they passed through, they found a well-furnished room. They saw a woman's body lying face-down on the floor in a pool of blood. She had thinned-out, long white hair and wrinkled bluish skin on her bare legs, as if she had frozen to death, but she had clearly been slain by a massive axe blow to her back. They rolled her body over and were struck with the sheer ugliness of her wretched, old face.

   Within her room, they found a couple hundred platinum coins and six gems in a pouch on her desk; a magical flail of some sort, which had hung on her wall; and a grayish, gnarled staff, which Kytharrah picked up for Leokas to make more arrows. Any pity they might have had for the hag ended when they found a bowl on her nightstand that had three severed human fingers in it.

   They returned back over the bridge and through an open doorway to the northeast. Here, they found a room that mirrored the map room. On the northeast wall, a large mat had been placed on the ground. Its size indicated that it was probably where the frost giant had slept. A sack sitting there confirmed this, when, opening it, they found a typical assortment of grimy items: three throwing rocks, a large, ragged cloak, dried animal dung, some berries, a large whetstone, a hand-held wood chopper, a giant pewter tankard, and a pouch. The pouch contained several gems. They thought the red berries might be of interest to Belvin, so they collected those as well.

   Just as at the western side of the fortress, stairs descend to the south leading to a mezzanine. Heading back up at the other side, they came to a room, which was a mirror of the kitchen they had seen. It was not used as a kitchen, however; there were red blood stains in the frozen floor and iron manacles drilled into the walls.

   Having completely explored the second floor, they now moved up to the third. This was the floor that the ice elemental, which Tosvin had called an orglash, had patrolled. It was bisected twice by hallways into quadrants, and a hallway surrounded the whole floor, except for over the stairwell. In each quadrant was a single, irregularly shaped room of ice.

   They began with the room in the northeast. Opening the door, they found a macabre sight: blood, internal organs, and charred body parts were scattered everywhere. The whole room reeked of scorched flesh. Cloth mats still burned in places, filling the room with smoke. The creatures here looked something like trolls, but they were slighter and had white skin. They also wore clothing, and some wore forged scale mail and had carried mean-looking warhammers. The room also contain a large anvil. Some of the trolls also had bite marks. They counted eight bodies, but so severe was the carnage that they were not certain of their count. Hidden behind the anvil, they found a small pouch with a few hundred platinum coins.

   The next room was empty, except for two giant-sized bunk beds without bedding, but the third room was similarly disturbing in the level of violence found there. This room had six bodies, and these were a different sort of troll, larger and all naked. These, too, had still smoldering flesh from their burns, and their dark blood was splattered all over the room. The trolls had possessed a sack of four gems.

   The final room was likewise the sight of a brutal massacre, although in this case, no fire was used. Dismembered heads and arms were scattered everywhere, once belonging to eight ogres. Four bunk beds were splintered. In one case, it appeared as if a single swing had cleaved the bunk and the two bodies sleeping in it in half. Amongst the blood and other bodily liquids was yet another bag of gems and silver coins, and one of the ogres, who appeared to have been their leader, had several magical items: a ring of protection, a greatclub, and hide armor. Kytharrah also took a large javelin for himself.

   While Szordrin and Mythlos removed the armor from the ogre's body, covering their noses, Kytharrah picked up a small, white, spindle-shaped stone from a pool of organic muck. Then he giggled, when the stone leaped out of his hands and began circling around his head.

   "An ioun stone!" Mythlos exclaimed.

   "Solisar will likely know its powers from its shape and color," said Szordrin.

   Before returning to the others, they noticed that the ledge near the pedestal of ice was no longer a ledge; an ice bridge now crossed over to the south to where the hell hounds also waited for Tosvin's return. Upon investigating further, they noticed that an icicle-shaped key with a snowflake motif on the handle was currently inserted in a hole atop the pedestal.

~~~~

Meanwhile, Hakam was startled by the voice of their friend the bard in his head. "Leaving Lethtar, heading to Sundrah. Gnomes everywhere! Still no blessing from Tymora. No one knows Samber. Even checked wizard guilds. Everyone alive? Have you Ilthian?"

   Hakam quickly responded, "Ilthian recovered; Cassiera dead. Genie will grant three wishes if true heir to frost giant empire is found. Continue to send anything you learn."

   "That was Jayce," he informed Leokas, as Belvin brushed Kamil's fur. "He still has not learned anything of Samber."

~~~~

When the others returned from exploring and gave a report, Belvin was intrigued by the kitchen, and he had Kytharrah lead him there. With the help of the minotaur's nose, he searched for molds and spices that he might be able to use in some of his primitive magics.

   He returned to the others carrying the skull of a fox.

   "Where did you find that?" asked Szordrin.

   "And why do you need it?" asked Solisar.

   "Belvin has a thing for heads," explained Mythlos.

   "Secret druid magic," said Belvin.

   "Does that belong to Tosvin?" asked Hakam.

   "He will not notice," said the druid.

   "Put it back!" ordered Hakam.

   "Make me," said Belvin.

   "Stop your bickering," said Leokas, as he tried carving an arrow from the gray staff that Kytharrah had brought him.

   "Would you be able to carve me some wooden figurines, my friend?" Belvin asked Leokas.

   "Not from this wood. It is a strange wood like none with which I have ever worked."

~~~~

It was the middle of the night before Tosvin returned. The group huddled in the map room by the blue glow of the map. They had been watching the blue and red dot traveling together in a straight line across the map, heading southwest toward the Lugsaas Chain, where they were. At last, the dots reached their destination. They soon heard the sound of Tosvin's clawsteps coming down the stairs in the next room. He entered the map room, carrying Ilthian in his insectoid arms. He set her down ignominiously, though not harshly, on the ground, and her body slumped over.

   Some of them quickly rose up and moved over to her.

   Fret not, mortals. She is unharmed; she is unconscious from the effects of Iyraclea's magic. A bit of positive energy will repair that. Tosvin placed a single claw to her blue-haired head, and Solisar understood him to offer a prayer to Auril, the goddess of winter. Ilthian stirred awake.

   Of course, Hakam was the first person she saw and acknowledged. "Hakam! You are alive! You came back for me!"

   "How did you retrieve her without the Ice Queen being alerted?" Leokas asked the gelugon.

   I am skilled at illusions, said Tosvin, and while she has more power than me, she is limited by her inferior mind. I can outwit her, at least for a time. Now, my part in our deal is complete; begone from my abode at once. The way is clear for you as I promised. I have much to prepare before the Queen discovers the recovery of one of her prisoners and the slaughter of her troops here.

   "No, you have not returned our sorceress' gear nor our pack animals," said Hakam boldly.

   Tosvin vanished and then appeared a few moments later. He dropped Cassiera's magic bag on the ground. Your animals were likely consumed by the ogres and trolls, said Tosvin. Such was out of my hands. I trust that the treasures I have so politely granted you take from their corpses more than compensates you for the loss. Again, I say, begone!

~~~~

The journey back to Gharreil was difficult. At night, the snow was more frozen and slippery, and they did not have the galeb duhr's bridge to speed their descent. They made use of the crampons and gear from the undead climbers, and Ormur, the magic rope, helped significantly, but they also had Cassiera's corpse, a camel, and many pounds of new loot to manage.

   As they traveled, they had to explain the death of Cassiera to Ilthian, who was so in shock that she was silent for most of the journey, not even conversing much with her friend Kytharrah. She did, however, explain more of what had actually happened.

   "You would be so proud of me, Hakam," she said. "Tosvin had me chained in a very cold room. He sent a tiny winged creature — an imp, I think — to me twice each day to bring me food and water. The imp told me all of the horrible ways that Tosvin would torture me. He told me that my friends had abandoned me, that all of you were probably dead. He told me that I should join his side and that I would be rewarded with anything I wanted.

   "Well, I knew that he could not give me the thing I want most... and I also knew that Tosvin had not punished me at all yet. I decided that I might be able to make the most of my time and help the rest of you. So I learned from the imp all about the legal structure of the Nine Hells, and I learned how to understand the devil language. I memorized the numbers of gelugons in Iyraclea's army and where all of them are positioned across the Great Glacier by tricking him into telling me such things. I do not know where those places are, but I am sure that I can remember their names if you ever want to know."

   Solisar interrupted her rambling. "That is amazing work Ilthian! You and I shall have to talk in more detail about this later."

   She smiled for the first time since learning of Cassiera's death. Then she continued, "The imp kept trying to get me to join the devils, promising me great power and riches. I realized that the imp, not being a true baatezu, could never gain such powers that he was offering me, yet I could see that he desired power. So — and this is where I think you will be most proud, Hakam — I tricked him! I convinced him that if he reported to the Ice Queen that Tosvin had betrayed her, she would defeat Tosvin and then make the imp one of her trusted servants as a reward. The imp believed me! He did go to the queen, and he came back here with her and a large group of smelly monsters.

   "She did stop Tosvin, but she did not free me as I had hoped. When she was led by the imp to me. She made the imp turn into a cloud of black smoke by just speaking a single word, and then she asked me what I was. I said that I was a forokell, and then she said to be silent. She said some magic spells, I think, and looked me over, and that is all that I remember."

~~~~

After a dreadfully slow descent into the galeb duhr's basin, they discussed whether they should camp or continue on. One of them urged haste for Ilthian's sake, since they feared Iyraclea might scry on her.

   "While I think we should act quickly as we can," said Solisar, "I trust that the devil at least bought us some time. It is in his best interest for us to not be discovered as well. I think hiking in this darkness and terrain is a poor idea; we are all exhausted. Let us rest here. I shall see if I can find and speak to the galeb duhr again."

   "Maybe he will like my new shiny stone," said Kytharrah. "It dances around my head like his stones."

   "It can make whatever rocks float that it wants," said Leokas. "He will not care about your Ioun stone."

   Solisar pondered this. "I wonder what sort of stones the galeb duhr already has in his collection...."

   Solisar granted himself the ability to speak the Terran language and called out for the rock creature. It answered back from a distance, and the sun elf approached it to speak. "Good creature," he said. "We are trying to go back to our homes; may we ask permission to rest here in your basin once more."

   The galeb duhr agreed. Then Solisar asked, "Please do not be offended, but we suffered a great loss yesterday. One of our friends was killed by the evil monsters of the peak. We need a diamond to raise our friend. Do you know where we might find any?"

   The galeb duhr did not know what a diamond was at first, but when Solisar explained the color and hardness, the galeb duhr answered that no such rocks were in its mountain deep below the ice. Still, it once again built them a strong shelter from the cold with its magic.

~~~~

"Good morning, Lunk," said Cassiera.

   Kytharrah the minotaur looked very confused. His "little sister" was supposed to be dead. Also, she would never say that he was slow. Besides that, why was she wearing Szordrin's clothes, and why did she smell exactly like Szordrin?

   "Szordrin, leave him alone!" said Leokas. "Do not be cruel." Szordrin spoke a magic word and morphed back into his normal tiefling form.

   It was the next morning, and Hakam used his magic to preserve the real Cassiera's body. Then he created food for everyone, and he and Belvin continued to protect them from the cold. Solisar used his magic to identify a few of the items they had taken as loot — the magic hide armor had no special properties beyond simple enhancement, one of the potions protected against good outsiders, and the ring that Cassiera had taken from one of the barbazu would allow the wearer to walk on water. He also read the magic on the new scrolls they had picked up. Szordrin and Mythlos made guesses as to the cost of these new items and their large assortment of new gems.

   No further calamity or encounters occurred on the remainder of the journey back to the magic gate. They reached the crevasse and descended before highsun.

   Hakam placed a hand upon Ilthian's shoulder and prayed a short prayer in Alzhedo. She shivered at his touch, but it was unclear whether the cleric noticed.

   Szordrin chuckled.

   "What did he cast?" asked Solisar.

   "He is trying to obscure Ilthian from scrying," said the tiefling.

   "Is that not a good idea?" asked Leokas.

   "It only works on inanimate objects," answered Solisar in Elven, so that Ilthian would not understand.

   "We do not know yet if she has a soul," said Hakam. "It is an extra precaution."

   Hakam then called on the power of daylight to shine on the wall. Moments after he cast the spell and the magical gate opened in the ice, Tosvin appeared, blocking the entrance.

   "What do you want?" Hakam demanded, his hand on the hilt of his sword.

   They all sensed a chill in the air around them and the sky above began to grow darker.

   Do not be fools! Unhand your weapons. I am here to protect the both of us. Did you not think that your footprints leading down into this rift would not be traceable by the Queen's minions?

   The weather continued to change with shocking quickness. They heard thunder echoing over the glacier ice and then the sound of objects falling from the sky and striking the frozen ground. It was hailing and snowing all around them, except where they stood at the bottom of the crevasse.

   I am covering your tracks with my powers over ice, said Tosvin. I am still the guardian of the portal after all. He stepped aside. Now, you may pass.

   They all did so. As Leokas stepped into the magical dome surrounding the ruins, he alone heard Tosvin's voice. The female I returned to you is a great danger to both you and I, fellow guardian. The Ice Queen will be able to scry to her and thus you. Do not fail our master by endangering the secrets of Jhothûn to the discovery of the Queen.
Session: 80th Game Session - Friday, Oct 21 2016 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
De Exilio
Chapter 3 — An Icy Claw Deposed
The pounding on the door continued, as the wintery elemental without tried in vain to force the doors open, but the magically created elephant pressed itself against them and stood firm.

   Hakam stepped up to the manacled devil and spoke boldly, dropped the bag of holding on the ground and pulled out Uregaunt's magically preserved, scorched corpse. "The intruder is slain," said the cleric, "and his kind will never pass through the portal again. Our original deal is still in effect. If we free you, you will return Ilthian...."

   "Wait," said Leokas. "I want to understand more what is happening here before we agree to anything else."

   Another drop fell from the cauldron, striking Tosvin on the head, and his body twitched in pain.

   "What happened here?" Leokas asked.

   As you know, I am the guardian of the portal, said Tosvin. Somehow..., the queen found out.

   "What did you tell her?" asked Solisar.

   Worry not, elf mortal. A baatezu tells no secrets. Tosvin convulsed as another drop struck him.

   "How was she able to do this to you?" asked Leokas.

   Because of the blessing of the goddess, she is more powerful than I; she took me unawares. They heard the sound of Tosvin's wicked laughter in their minds. She has told me that I will stay here in this torture until I tell her where Gharreil is. Does the stupid female not know that I suffered 1,001 days of torture as a cornugon before my promotion to a gelugon? I can outlast her punishment.

   Another drop fell, and Tosvin's laughter ceased.

   "And where is Ilthian now?"

   Iyraclea froze her in magical ice and took her, but I am certain that your female is of no concern to the queen. She only chooses males with the blood of sorcery.

   "You told us that she still lives!" Hakam exclaimed.

   And I insist that she still does. The queen does not destroy what she does not yet understand. She will need to be retrieved from one of the queen's storehouses. Of course, if you unbind me, I shall retrieve her, as our deal stipulates.

   The adventurers looked around at each other, nervous about how to proceed.

   Tosvin made a hiss of pain from between his mandibles and then spoke only to Leokas' mind. I know that it is important to you that the Gharreil portal remain guarded. Leokas could not deny that he still felt a sacred duty to see that Jhothûn remained hidden.

   "Before anyone is freed, you are going to help us with other mysteries," said Szordrin. He stepped forward, showing the interlocked rings on the rod fragment he carried. "Have you ever seen this symbol?"

   I have not.

   Nor had Tosvin ever heard of anyone named Samber.

   "Why is Iyraclea searching for Gharreil?" asked Solisar. "What is her plan and purpose?"

   She believes that Gharreil and its capital contain ancient and powerful magical artifacts from the time of the giants. She wishes to supply her army of giants and other races with weapons with which she can move south as a conquering queen.

   "Is it true?" asked Mythlos. "Does Jhothûn contain such treasures?"

   Tosvin nodded. Gharreil has some. I believe that there are more beyond the portal. Did you yourselves not find any?

   When visiting with the Prince of Jhothûn, the group had only been permitted access to a few rooms, so they did not know.

   "With which races and peoples has she made alliances?" asked Solisar.

   Alliances? She makes alliances with no one. All serve her.

   "What manner of creature is Iyraclea?" asked Szordrin.

   She was once a creature much like yourselves. By her magic she remains young and would likely be considered beautiful in your mortal eyes.

   "Is she an elf or a human?"

   I pay no heed to the subtle differences amongst your kinds. She has long hair of gold and eyes the color of moonlit snow.

   "How can we free you?" asked Leokas. "Are your binds magical?"

   "They are," said Solisar.

   They can be melted with magical fire, said Tosvin. The bindings also block my connection to the Astral Plane.

   "I can summon another fire elemental," said Belvin.

   "Why have your warhounds not freed you?" asked Szordrin.

   Do dogs have hands in your world? Nor do they in the Hells. I needed someone with hands to open the door.

   "How can we be sure that she is not watching?" asked Leokas.

   She is too proud for that, nor does she aspect that I have allies.

   "We are not your allies!" said Hakam.

   "What about the elemental outside?" asked Szordrin. "Will it not report to her?"

   The orglash? It will not be a concern.

   "What of the rest of her minions?" asked Szordrin.

   "We slew several barbazu, three ogres, and three oni," said Solisar. "How many more are within?"

   All the more reason for you to free me sooner rather than later, said Tosvin. I know not how many of her troops are within, but the fortress has three floors and nine guest rooms to serve as barracks. However many there are, I assure you that none shall live to speak to Iyraclea. Tosvin squirmed under the pain of another drop.

   Hakam spoke. "We shall free you only on the following preconditions, because your freedom was not a part of the original agreement. First, you will uphold the original deal; you shall return our companion Ilthian to us with the greatest haste, unharmed. Second, you must ensure our safe escape from this fortress and back to the portal in Gharreil. Third, you must not harm us from this time forth through either direct or indirect action."

   I had already agreed to your first request, and a devil never breaks his word. Your second request I shall agree to upon my freedom as a fair exchange, though I cannot permit you to pass through the portal unless the portal permits it. If the portal permits it, I shall let you pass. A painful drop interrupted the devil's words. Then he continued again. I cannot promise the third arrangement. I shall agree to not hunt you down elsewhere, but if you ever return to the Great Glacier, or if the Ice Queen's armies ever march south and I am leading one of them, I shall not hesitate you slay you if you be on the other side of our blades.

   May I also remind you that if you leave this room, I can immediately call my hounds in to melt my bonds. And if you stay here, eventually your magical animal will return to its figurine form, and the orglash will burst through, followed by my hounds. Do you not understand? You
have already freed me, further agreement or not. How good the outcome to yourselves is is now your new choice.

   The adventurers saw that what Tosvin spoke was true. They were not in a position to arrange a more beneficial deal. Another drop fell, and Tosvin's cry of pain broke the silence.

   So Belvin summoned a fire elemental. The burning creature held on to the icy manacles around Tosvin's appendages and quickly melted through each of them.

   Tosvin leapt free and stretched his spiked tail. He waved his arm, and a false wall on the side of the room faded away. On the other side was Tosvin's fearsome battleaxe and a shelf of ice. The devil took his axe in hand, slipped a ring onto one of his claws, and tossed a small pink stone into the air, which began to orbit his head. Then he turned to them. I shall return shortly, he said. Then, he was gone.
Session: 80th Game Session - Friday, Oct 21 2016 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
De Exilio
Chapter 3 — Battle of the Twin Peaks: Part II
Kytharrah set Szordrin down in view of the two hell hounds, who simply stared at them from their steaming metal mats and sniffed. The whole area smelled of sulfur, which reminded Szordrin of hot springs he had once visited in the Underdark. One of the warhounds licked its lips hungrily.

   "Tosvin assured us that you would not attack us!" said Szordrin, pointing at the large, double door. It did not look like the dogs understood anything he had said, but they had not attacked.

   "Tosvin!" he called, but there was no answer from beyond the door.

   "Thank you, Kytharrah," Szordrin then said to the minotaur. "Good boy. Now take your grappling hook and rope from your pack and leave it here. Then go as fast as you can to get Cassiera."

   The minotaur smiled, because Szordrin had never been proud of him before. He even called him his new name!

   "Quickly! Go!"

~~~~

"Knuse dem!"

   Leokas and Hakam turned to see a hairy, ten-foot tall ogre coming through the door.

   Before either could respond, a strange cloud of mist blew through the ogre and came toward them as well. It was not the elemental, but it did have a humanoid shape and perhaps horns.

   "Pin them at the door!" shouted Leokas, and he let fly three arrows. They passed through the approaching misty form and struck the ogre. Two went deep into the ogre's gut, but the other did not seem to pass through his hide armor.

   Kytharrah had just reached the ground again on his quest to get Cassiera's gutted body. He heard Leokas' cry and remembered a time when Solisar and Szordrin were looking over his things. "You should throw this whenever we need to pin someone in place," they had told him. The young minotaur had had no idea what they were talking about at the time, but it seemed to him like this might have been what they meant. So he grabbed one of the two strange bags hanging from his belt and tossed it — over Leokas and Hakam and over the gaseous form. It was a lucky throw. The round bag burst open, covering the wounded ogre in a thick goo, which immediately hardened upon exposure to the air.

   "Meg sittende fast!" shouted the ogre, as he struggled to pull himself free, but his large, warty feet were glued fast to the floor.

   So the battle was joined again. Solisar cast an unknown spell. Mythlos charged forward, and Belvin was right behind him, with a blade of fire growing out from his clenched fist. The moon elf swung his sword at the incorporeal figure. It looked like the moonblade made contact with something, as the figure twitched and began to materialize. Hakam stepped to Mythlos. "The strength of the bull be upon thee!" he said, laying a hand on the elf.

   The strength of the bull would not be enough, however. The form took full corporeal shape, revealing a hulking, blue-skinned, white-horned giant standing ten feet tall. He wore an ornate chain shirt and bore a massive sword at his back. He held his giant-sized palm forward, and a magical blast of icy cold shot forth. Leokas leaped out of the way, avoiding most of the burst, but Belvin, Hakam, and Mythlos were covered in a hoary spray of frost. Belvin wobbled about, stunned by the bitter cold. Mythlos fell flat to the ground.

   "Mythlos is down!" Leokas warned. Hakam knelt at Mythlos' side, as Solisar waved his magic wand from the southern wall, but the magic was resisted. Belvin then gave a feral yell, and a column of flame roared downward from the ceiling of the passage and scorched the oni, blackening much of his skin. It spat and reached for its greatsword. Having successfully sent positive energy into his companions body, Hakam stood quickly back to his feet, drawing his own sword. The cleric parried a powerful blow from the giant, and then Leokas stepped back into view and launched another arrow. It struck the oni in the forehead, and the magical giant fell backward to the ground with a thud.

   "Nice block, Hakam!" said Leokas, as two more arrows sailed from his bow and struck the glued ogre. It roared in pain.

   Mythlos, restored to health, stood up and took in the situation. The ogre was still struggling against the glue, and the oni lay at his feet. Suddenly, the oni twitched. Mythlos slashed at him, cutting his body wide open.

   "Are you not coming up?" Szordrin shouted down from the ledge. "The dogs are tame!" The tiefling had tied two ropes together and dangled them down. Mythlos and Belvin ran for the rope, hoping to ascend before more reinforcements could arrive, the latter healing himself as he ran.

   "Kamil! Come, my camel!" Kamil, in his shrunken form, galloped around the corner from the east where he had been hiding.

   "Bevege seg, Prompansikt!" said a voice from within the palace, and someone shoved at the stuck ogre.

   This shove helped him burst free from the glue, and two other ogres now rushed past him.

   Kytharrah giggled as he rushed over to Cassiera. "He said, Prompansikt" Then he saw Cassiera and remembered his task, ceasing his giggling. He somberly stuffed her intestines back into her belly and picked her up to cradle her body on his arm.

   "Ormur!" Solisar called from the southern wall. The magic rope slithered out of Mythlos' bag of holding and came toward the sun elf rapidly, as he moved over to join Kytharrah. "Tie me to the minotaur!" he shouted, and he grabbed unto Kytharrah's back. The friendly red beast began climbing up the wall with his magic, with Solisar securely fastened to him.

   "More are coming!" warned Leokas, as he nocked another arrow. The ogres were now twenty feet away, shaking their heavy clubs.

   From Kytharrah's back, 30 feet up the wall, Solisar sent a spell into the passageway, and a burst of glittering dust filled the area. The ogres covered their eyes.

   This was followed by a powerful shout from Hakam. "Feel order's wrath!" A three-dimensional grid of beams of blue energy filled the passage. All three ogres roared out in agony and two dropped to the ground, still. The third wobbled about just within the open doorway. Leokas struck him in the arm with an arrow, and the ogre fell with a final moan.

   Kytharrah reached Szordrin, and Solisar commanded Ormur to free him.

   "Kytharrah, go back and get Hakam. He will not be able to climb the rope without falling." The minotaur did not delay.

   "What should we do now?" the tiefling asked Solisar. "We are too short to reach the door handle, and there are no secret doors."

   "Whatever we do, stay hidden," said Solisar, dragging Szordrin away from the ledge. "Remember, that elemental is patrolling on the other side of this rift. Corellon's mercy that it has not heard the battle yet!"

   Leokas continued to stand his ground at the passage opening, arrow nocked. He saw one of the ogres get up, but he held his fire for a moment. The ogre stumbled into the wall, blinded from the glitterdust. "Hvor alle gâ?" he said.

   Then, the ogre was shoved forcefully against the wall by something or someone invisible. The ogre stumbled to the ground again and ceased moving.

   "More still!" warned Leokas. Knowing that he could not hold off an invisible foe, he rushed to the southern wall, and used his spider-climbing magic to begin ascending.

   Belvin, climbing on the rope below Mythlos, heard Leokas' latest warning, and pointed his finger at the ground, speaking a curse in Sylvan. The snow turned red like blood, the same magic the undead ice climber had used on them. If anything alive was still coming through the doors, it would have its power drained when in contact with the ground.

   Kytharrah reached Hakam, the last of the party still below, as the cleric stood just at the edge of the blood snow. Kytharrah picked him up. "Wait!" said Hakam. "It is regenerating."

   Hakam pointed at the oni mage. A stretch of intestine hanging from the monster was moving back into the creature's side.

   Up above, Szordrin and Solisar heard Hakam's statement and understood.

   "Fire?" asked Szordrin.

   "Or acid," Solisar replied.

   They each peeked around the corner. Not seeing the elemental across the rift, they both stepped out again. Solisar sent a burst of magic down at the oni's body, striking it. The intestine stopped its movement, at least momentarily. Szrodrin read from a scroll of fire, but he made a mistake while waving his arms to finish the spell.

   "The Hells! That was my most expensive scroll," he cursed, as the magic lettering vanished forever.

   Below, Hakam healed himself and ordered Ormur to tie him to the minotaur. Just as Kytharrah reached the wall, he sniffed something. He grabbed his axe. "Sneaky!" he shouted, and he swung into the air but did not connect with anything.

   "Ormur, untie me! untie me!" shouted Hakam. Then he spun around, clutching his holy symbol. "Be held!" he shouted at his invisible foe.

   Solisar heard the minotaur and glanced down. By his magic, he could clearly see the two invisible oni mages, passing through the air with their magical flight, thus avoiding the blood snow. He sent another burst of glitterdust down on them. "More oni, flying!" he warned.

   "Step aside!" said Szordrin. He rushed to the ledge, as Mythlos was pulling himself up, and readied himself. "Thric austrat!" he called out pointing at the glitter-covered form of one of the flying, invisible oni mages, just before the creature reached the ledge. Yellow bands of magic appeared and wrapped themselves around the oni's wrists and ankles, and he dropped like a rock, falling 70 feet to land directly atop his companion. Both glitter-covered oni lay still.

   Leokas and Belvin joined the others up above. "The elemental!" said Leokas, pointing across the rift.

   The creature of wind and ice had at last discovered them. It flashed from the other side like the gust of a hurricane. It flew to Kytharrah and Hakam faster than either could have anticipated, lightning flashing in its eyes in anger. It struck Kytharrah with a powerful slam, knocking the minotaur back. Hakam bravely swung into the whirlwind-like creature, shouting, "I smite thee, creature of chaos!" but it was like trying to swing into a hurricane, and his sword was nearly yanked from his hand by the force of the wind.

   "Strike!" shouted Belvin, in Sylvan, and a bolt of lightning obeyed, lighting up the elemental's form.

   Szordrin quickly took a tiny piece of parchment from his component pouch, rolled it into a cone and placed it to his lips. His voice was then heard loudly on the other side of the rift. "Come on! The patrolling guard has left its post. The path is clear."

   Shockingly, the bluff worked. The elemental was about to pummel Hakam and Kytharrah a second time, but it stopped and looked up to the north peak. Then it burst through the air and back to its post, crossing the distance in under a second.

   Kytharrah grabbed a nuzzing Kamil, as Ormur tied Hakam to the minotaur's back. "The strength of the bull be upon thee," said Hakam, and Kytharrah rushed up the wall one last time.

   Up above, Belvin was summoning a fire elemental to ensure that the three oni would not regenerate their wounds and come after them again. Mythlos had the figurine of wondrous power ready for when the elemental figured out that it had been fooled.

   "No," said Hakam, when he came over the edge with Kamil and Kytharrah. "Use it to block the door."

   "I could not reach the handle," said Szordrin.

   "Minotaur!" said Hakam. "Open it!"

   Kytharrah pulled down on the latch to the double doors. They were not locked.

   Everyone rushed through.

   The room was large and mostly empty. On the far wall was Tosvin, his insectoid body stretched out, arms and legs shackled to the wall with thick bonds of solid ice. Above his head was some sort of massive, iron cauldron. They saw a drop of clear liquid drip from a hole in the bottom. This struck Tosvin's head and sizzled like acid. The gelugon writhed in pain, an unnatural sound escaping from his throat. Then his massive compound eyes stared in their direction.

   They all heard in their minds his melodious voice. Well done, partners.
Session: 80th Game Session - Friday, Oct 21 2016 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
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