Curse of the demon slave's favor

Time to split the party.

After much more exploring the party finally reached the top of the citadel, and found a ritual of some sort in progress. A massive mechanical creature moved to attack them at the behest of what appeared to be a long lost sibling of Roawin’s. The battle was pitched and fierce but the creature was quickly isolated from the smaller creatures attacking with it. The entire city seemed to be ripping itself appart from the ritual she was performing. Eventually, when her minions were out of the picture, she dove into the shifting and unstable portal, screaming about the impending release of the “chained God”. Rusty arrived in the airship to help the party escape, but Roawin insisted on following his wayard sibling. Reluctantly, the rest of the party agreed and jumped on the ship, ordering Rusty to follow her.

Passing into the portal, everyone suddenly felt as though they were being ripped appart. Blinded by pain, they all lost sight of each other and in a flash they became seperated. Odoeta, Roawin and Corin appeared in some sort of pocket realm in the Astrial sea. They seemed to have been pulled there by the remnants of a long faded Goddess to help stop a group of interlopers from draining the final vestiges of her power. When they had finished, she sent them back through another portal, but again they found themselves tumbling through a break in reality out of control.

Odoeta and Corin felt the hard impact of packed sand agains their faces as they crashed to the ground. They found themselves alone in a bleak wasteland of cracked ground and distant mountains. The pair moved towards an odd lump in the sand, finding the crashed remains of their airship. Inside, they took shelter and looked for supplies but were quickly attacked by some strange creatures. Things took a turn for the worst quickly when Odoeta’s magic began causing all sorts of random effects each time he tried to use it. The battle was fast and severe and the chaotic magics unleashed caused all sorts of reactions in the world surrounding them. A low rumble shook the earth in the distance and then another much closer and an entire town rose up from beneath the sands just a half-mile away.

When they had dispatched their foes, they moved to investigate the town and found it completely empty save for a few semi-mummified corpses. As night approached, they decided to stay and rest there and set out for the distant bluffs in the morning.

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Kord is F-ing metal!

The airship plumeted fifty feet before banking hard right and pulling up between two narrow buildings, bairly avoiding a blast of mystical lightning shot out from the pursuing ship. Corrin lept to the pursuing ship, smashing the controls before being lassoed by Sereya. Umlot shouted prayers to Kord and brought forth a lightning storm to down the enemy ships. Once on the ground, they fought a running battle to enter the citadel. Once inside, they found things strangely empty, encountering only a few scattered mechanical creatures.

They did, however, discover the sight of some sort of horrible experementation where people had been ripped appart and fused with machine parts. They reluctantly worked their way upwards, desperate for answers and a way out.

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"I'm gonna call you Rusty!"

After waking up rather sore from a rest on the rough cavern floor, as well as the rough alcohol from the celebration thrown for them by their new Dragonborn friends, they party began to examine their map and consider their options. Despite the deference given to the newly anointed Lord Umlot, they realized that these people were not heading for the surface anytime soon and after speaking with a few of them realized they had been underground long enough that the surface world was little more than myth to most of them. After some brief discussion with the Emperor Torsal, who seemed increasingly manic at the prospect of finding some lost city of the Arkhosian Empire that he was convinced was nearby. Torsal said that he ordered the bricked up path baracaded to prevent the raiding parties of “evil short ones” that sounded like some sort of Dwarves. With very little urging, Torsal ordered the path opened so that Lord Umlot and his party could explore the area and “Find my city!”

After checking on the Drow, Innith who was being well tended to, but still in no shape to move on with them and resupplying themselves with fresh water and various eatable fungus and mosses they moved out. As soon as they arrived to the wall, things began to look even stranger than before. The bricked wall was not very thick at all, and if a group of well equipped Dwarven raiders wanted to get past it, it would not last a moment. Many tracks showed a large group had been on the other side of the wall and left, leaving the party to conclude that they were not really raiding the Dragonborn for supplies, but trying to drive them away from this part of the cave system.

The exploration continued for some time and they realized quickly that their map was accurate only in a broad sense. Passages that looked very short were incredibly long and vice verse. Things were accurate in relation to each other’s position, but little else. After a little further exploration, they came to a massive chamber with a huge chasm and a very small ledge running along one side. Pressing onward, they came to a twenty foot gap in the narrow path. While debating the best way to cross, three enormous spiders attacked them, two skittering down the chasm wall and one was sliding down on a thick strand of webbing.

Corrin began with a well placed shot from his hand crossbow that severed the web strand and sent the first spider falling into the depths of the abyss below. The second spider pounced down on Umlot and dealt him a serious blow, injecting its venom into him. Enraged, Umlot unleashed a powerful rune of destruction that seared into its flesh and left it vulnerable to further attack. The final spider attacked Corrin and Sereya, webbing Corrin into place. The battle was fierce, but brief and the creatures were dispatched.

Then began a comedy of errors as each member of the party attempted to cross the gap along the path. Fortunately, they were wise enough to tie a rope among themselves so that as each tried and failed to cross the gap they did not fall to their doom, but simply ended up swinging from the ledge lif a fish on a hook. It took some time, but they eventually got across and Umlot declared that they would not be returning that way again. The rest of the party agreed not only due to the difficulty of the crossing, but also because of the apparent instability of the Dragonborn behind them.

Further along the path they discovered a strange chamber full of an otherworldly glow and massive mushrooms and strange flora of all kinds. The air was warm and sweet and moist and most decidedly not like the rest of the cavern. Corrin recognized what they saw from stories of the Feywild. Everyone quickly backed away from the chamber, after Sereya cut a small glowing mushroom from the ground and put it in her pack. A Fey crossing was too dangerous to contemplate using they all decided, at least until every other option was exhausted.

The other paths were explored and a strange metallic chamber was discovered. A circle was embedded on the floor with strange symbols that Odoeta identified as being much like a teleportation circle, but somehow a bit different. Two small pillars were discovered in the corners of the room, one intact, but one was broken with strange piping and wires exposed. Each had an indentation at the top that matched the fist-sized purple crystals they had acquired and seemed an obvious place for them. Some further investigation by Umlot revealed what appeared to be instructions that indicated this was a linked portal of some kind and that the crystal was the power source.

While Sereya was anxious to use the portal and leave the caves immediately, but Corrin was much more reluctant and convinced the rest of the group to finish exploring the last few bits of the cavern indicated on their map. A dead-end was found that had evidence of more metallic corridor and the broken remains of a half-dozen more crystals.

With their options reduced to returning empty-handed to the obviously deranged Dragonborn, attempting to use the Fey chamber to fully cross over into the Feywild or using the teleportation circle. In the end, they chose to use the teleportation circle. They gathered together back-to-back on the circle and Odoeta magically dropped the pulsing purple gem into place. Nothing seemed to have happened, but they noticed the second pillar was intact and a shoddy looking suit of armor was piled in one corner of the room. When they moved from the circle to examine the armor, they discovered it was a larger version of the toy they had discovered some time ago. Fiddling with the switches and knobs, they managed to activate it. Almost immediately it broke apart from rust and wear in several places. Asking its name and finding it had no answer, Odoeta nick-named it “Rusty” and the name stuck.

Rusty, carried by Umlot, let the party down an incredibly long corridor that he claimed led to the city of “The Makers.” The party grew annoyed with the very literal machine man who also seemed to have been turned off for millennia and his memory damaged over time. The city itself was an incredible wonder to behold. Completely enclosed and lit with countless purple power gems all over, it spanned miles and miles and was filled with all kinds of strange animated machines. These creatures constantly moved from place to place, taking apart buildings and putting them back together and also taking apart other mechanical creatures and reassembling them into strange mechanical horrors. Each time one of the mismatched creatures approached the party they were pounced upon by spider-like machines that tore them apart before they could say a word to the group.

Rusty led them to another teleportation device that would bring them close to the center of the city where the Makers had their citadel. Inside this next building, Rusty led them to a chamber full of machines creating and repairing other mechanical creatures. Rusty went into one of the workbenches to be repaired. The group was somewhat upset as they thought they were going directly to the Makers and felt Rusty was misleading them a bit. Corrin became very suspicious of Rusty, but they still needed him and he was not overtly deceitful. After several hours and some obvious upgrades and repairs, Rusty led the party up to the highest level of the building and to a group of strange mast-less ships. The smallest ship was mostly intact, but had some issues. It took awhile, but Rusty was able to make some repairs and get the ship floating in the air and slowly heading out towards the center of the city and the looming citadel.

Looking around at the wondrous cityscape, they noticed a group of other airships moving towards them at a much higher speed than they were at. Sensing an ill intent, Odoeta ordered Rusty to take evasive maneuvers. The ship dove, dropping altitude and gaining speed as it whipped around the massive geometrically shaped buildings. Zigging and zagging around, Rusty managed to keep most of the ships out of a direct line of sight, but they were still gaining and eventually a few simply rose above the buildings and seemed to guide the others to intercept the parties ship.

Swinging around the side of a pyramid-shaped building, another ship was waiting for them and fired some sort of strange purple energy beam that arced away from the ship and just missed the party while blasting a chunk of the building behind them away. The ship dove, desperately trying to avoid destruction.

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Wrestling in the dark.

Having flung themselves into the Underdark in the wake of the destruction of Silmar, the party managed to rest for some time in peace. Questioning Innith, they discovered that he had been secretly assisting a group of Drow rebels for years by sending supplies down the massive tunnel, but that none had contacted him for some time. After a brief discussion about the best way to proceed, the party moved forward into the dark tunnels. Umlot had an especially difficult time navigating the precariously narrow passages and occasionally slowed down the party as openings had to be widened for him to squeeze through. After a few hours of travel, they came to a cavern that held a slight blue glow and four bodies. The glow was from a peculiar stone in the wall and the bodies were an adventuring party that did not fare well. The bodies were stripped for useful equipment including a strange toy robot that appeared to be mystically animated, a hinged ball of unknown construction and purpose and a roughly drawn map of the cave system that they found themselves in. Before anything further could happen, they were attacked by a Wendigo and quickly put it down.

Using the map as a guide, and mindful of the difficulty of finding resources more than a mile underground, they made for an area that seemed to be indicated as having water of some kind. It was a long, slow march through the tunnels and they discovered that their map was not entirely accurate. A branching tunnel indicated was walled off with finely masoned stone. Deciding against forcing it for now, they continued towards the water source and were ambushed by a group of Dragonborn. Taken prisoner, they were brought before the leader, the self-proclaimed Emperor Torsal of the Arkhosian Empire. Umlot challenged Torsal and the two of them, each with a second, entered a large bowl-like depression that was used as an arena.

Umlot and Corrin engaged the two Dragonborn in a test of strength and skill. First, Umlot simply threw himself at their opponents, knocking them to the ground and the Halfling Corrin snatched the belt from the second and quickly bound his legs with it. Umlot shouted and sang a battle song to Kord as he grappled with Torsal, and Corrin took the opportunity to run up his back and grab Torsal’s head with his legs and, using his momentum, flip the gigantic Dragonborn warrior onto his back. Umlot tried to finish the fight by placing Torsal in a sleeper hold, but the draconic strength of the Emperor was too much and he broke the hold, shoving Umlot back…just as Corrin nimbly stepped forward and yanked down the pants of the mighty Torsal.

With a roaring laughter, Torsal called a halt to the combat and ordered a feast prepared. Before taking his leave of the feast, he introduced the party to his several hundred followers and proclaimed Umlot an honorary Lord of the Empire of Arkhosia.

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An evil revealed.

After a fruitless search for the Paladin, and finding instead a temple of Bahamut in ashes, the party decided to return to Silmar and take their chances against whatever was happening on their own. Along the way, they did encounter a Shaman that readily joined them. The town was deserted upon their return, but after a bit of sneaking by the rouges a few bodies were discovered and the Drow, Innith was found in a giblet next to the fountain in the town square. The fountain was spewing forth magical fire. Moving in slowly, Agrath stepped out into the square with a number of soldiers, challenging the party to surrender themselves. As they moved in to attack her, townspeople started pouring out of the buildings, obviously under her control, and attacked the party.

They tried not to harm the townspeople at first, but it became quickly evident that no quarter was being given by them and eventually no quarter could be given. After a short amount of time, Agrath began throwing townspeople into the flames and great flaming fissures opened up beneath the town. Buildings burned, townspeople died, the battle was fully joined. Agrath was revealed to be a succubus, but before her sacrificial ritual was finished Rowain destroyed her with a flaming cone of power from his spinning sword.

With the town in flames, they helped Innith down and he pointed them to a dug out hole under his shop that was revealed when it burned to the ground. Diving in, they slid deep into the Earth, falling down a slanted tunnel for well over ten minutes. When they were spit out to a stop at the end, they all somehow managed to avoid anything more than a few bumps and bruises. Rowain channeled his elemental power into his sword as a makeshift torch and they saw that they had arrived in a large cavern with two ways out, the hole they just fell through and another tunnel. Not wanting to risk anything further, they settled in to make a rough camp and rest, unsure of what new dangers await down in the deep dark.

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There's something happening here...

About twenty or thirty minutes after the defeating the Goblins and still rummaging through the lair for anything of use, Umlot suddenly came to the realization that Corrin was missing. Announcing this, a quick search of the lair was undertaken by the party to no avail. Taking a moment to examine the area, both Umlot and Roawin gained a sense of lingering mystical energies. Odoeta tried to directly tap the remaining power to determine its source. He suddenly snapped into a trance and tried to leave, but quickly regained his sense of self when Umlot grabbed him and shook him. Odoeta did have a vague sense of needing to return to Silmar, but nothing else remained in his mind from the time in his trance. After some time examining all the piles of fleeing Goblin tracks outside the lair, a slight set of footprints that were halfling size…moving directly towards Silmar.

Two days of exhausted travel latter, the party arrives back in Silmar to find the town building up their military defenses. The crude palisade wall was being rebuilt into a proper high stone wall, and groups of townspeople were training with the few guards that have been properly trained as soldiers. The whole town seemed to be out and helping with the effort, and the progress was quite impressive from the last four or five days since the party had seen the town.

Odoeta led Roawin to the alchemist shop with the hope that Innith might have some way to help send a trinket Roawin had taken from the Goblin lair and a letter back home. After a slight bit of conversation, Innith found he did indeed have a sending ritual he could use to send the package, and confessed that he was uncomfortable with the recent changes in the town. Umlot went to speak to Collith to let the elder know what they found and that the missing townspeople were, in fact, dead. To his surprise, Collith already knew. Mostly speaking through Agrath, as Collith was barely able to remain in his seat due to his age and illness, Collith told Umlot that Corrin had returned earlier that day with the news before moving on North to find his friend Theren at the nearby temple of Bahamut.

Feeling that, while Corrin’s behavior was strange, he was mostly likely safe with Theren, the party chose to remain in Silmar for a time. Umlot and Roawin spent the day assisting with the training of the local guards, and noticed the intense focus and dedication of all the volunteers. Sereya and Odoeta also noticed the incredible focus of everyone working on the walls and around the town. By the end of the day, the group had come to believe that something very strange was happening to the people of Silmar, and the only person who obviously seemed not to be affected is the Drow Apothecary Innith. Innith was reluctant to further speak, but after getting well drunk going mug for mug with Roawin, he brought the party back to his shop where he told them many tails of his days adventuring with Collith and how the recent actions of Collith seem not only out of character, but almost the result of madness.

With this in mind, the party moved back to the tavern to test a few theories. Roawin attempted to scan the people there through his arcane senses and was momentarily blinded by a stabbing pain in his mind. Odoeta tried to directly sense power within the woman Agrath, whom seemed to be nominally in charge of the town as the voice of Collith, and was instantly given over to a desire to leave the town. Seraya, tired of all this arcane crap, boldly strode into the tavern, walked up to Agrath and tried to slap her across the face. Agrath caught her by the wrist and told her that she and her friends should leave before shoving her away. Seraya, enraged, found that her body would not respond to her desire to continue attacking Agrath. She stormed out of the tavern, cuffing a random man across the back of the head on the way out, just to make sure she could.

Outside in the town square, the party realized that not only was something happening, but that they might be a bit in over their heads. All of them agreed that moving on and trying to find both Corrin and Theren was probably the wisest course of action, but before leaving they wanted to try to speak to Collith himself without Agrath around. Heading to his house, Umlot, Sereya and Roawin quickly subdued the pair of guards outside and tied them up inside and out of view. Collith, when they found him in his bed, was not at all well. Umlot used his rune of mending in an attempt to heal some of the ravages time and illness, but instead seemed to restore a clarity of thought to him. Before slipping back into unconsciousness, Collith whispered to Umlot…

“You must leave… quickly… before she returns… Leave… Find the Paladin…”

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Unfinished business

After less than a day of celebration in Silmar, Theren was on his way out of town on his own. He had tried to burn, then tear, then smash and even divinely smite the dark tome that had been taken from the now-dead summoner. This was more than a little disturbing considering the contents. Every page that he had looked at was a dark nightmare that could not be allowed to come to fruition. Leaving the others to continue their celebration, Theren took the book and left at dawn for a nearby temple of Bahamut that was just a few days away in the hopes that the Clerics there would be able to break whatever enchantments were keeping him from properly disposing of the book.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party continued celebrating with the people of Silmar, especially Corrin who found him time completely taken up by the woman Agrath whom he had saved from the summoner. Soon, however, it was realized that there were still about a half-dozen members of the kidnapped townsfolk were as of yet unaccounted for. Returning to the area where they discovered the summoner, the party was able to find a path leading further East with evidence of prisoners being dragged away. Half a day further down the path, they encountered Roawin La’threach, a rather naive’ Swordmage who was all too happy to join them on their journey for the novelty of the experience. Not to far afterwards, they came upon a group of Goblins on the run. The group snuck up as carefully as possible before engaging the creatures and Roawin, being perhaps a bit overeager, managed to fall flat on his face while rushing in to attack. Fortunately for him, Sereya lept over him and deftly slitting their throats as she passed. Interrogating a prisoner, they discovered that the Goblins were running away from their hideout. Investigating further, the sounds of battle were heard raging from inside the cave.

The party worked their way into the Goblin lair, killing as many as they could, but letting a number of them slip past and escape. Soon, the battle sounds grew louder and the party discovered the leaders of the Goblins engaged in battle with a young Iron dragon. They quickly realized that the Goblins had been holding the Dragon prisoner for some time, feeding it the missing prisoners. They managed to befriend it as they helped destroy the Goblins keeping him prisoner. The Dragon, Thraesk, reluctantly left the party alone as he made his way out of the lair. The group took some time to examine what was left of the lair and gathered a few supplies before heading back to Silmar. Roawin was sure to gather a few dragon scales from the pit Thraesk was kept in to send home as a souvenir of this adventure.

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The Summoner of Silmar

It was raining and miserable as the party passed the crossroads deep in the woods. The half-rotted sign pointed to a village or town not far ahead, and they were more than anxious for a bit of rest. Strange howling haunted them as they moved quickly down the road, and it was soon revealed by Umlot to be a pack of ravenous, undead wolves. Despite being outnumbered, the party made short work of them with Theren the Paladin and Umlot the Goliath Runepriest stepping forward to keep most of them from reaching the rest of the group. One slipped by and attacked Odoeta, but he was, for some reason, immune to the necrotic damage the wolf was dealing. After dispatching the creatures, they moved fast down the road and found the town of Silmar to be surrounded by a hastily erected palisade wall and a guardhouse at the front gate. The guards were obviously not soldiers, and seemed to barely know what end of a sword to hold, but the group wanted no trouble and submitted to their questions. Soon, they were escorted to the inn where they would be allowed to stay before being questioned further in the morning.

The next day, the town elder Collith was escorted into the inn to question the party about their activities the night before and to eventually plead for them to help his town. He explains that about a year ago, strange creatures began to appear in the woods to the East of the town, attacking anyone they saw. Six months ago, people began to disappear, and about one month ago his own daughter Anna vanished. Theren immediately offered his help to these people in need and the rest of the party quickly got in line behind him. Collith told them that their town had precious little to give, but he would speak to the apothecary about getting them some supplies.

Umlot took a few minutes to wander around the town, gazing longingly at the snowcapped mountains far to the East beyond the forest while Odoeta attempted to refine a few of his “spells” in the town square. Theren, Corrin and Sereya left the inn a few minutes latter and were going to proceed onto the apothecary’s when Umlot suddenly waved them over, gesturing towards a small alley between two buildings. There, a robed figure had just snatched a girl off the street, gagging her in the process and dragging her off into the shadows. As they ran towards the Goliath to join him, three more figures in matching robes moved to cut them off before they could reach the alley. Theren pointed for the other side of the building and told the two rouges and mage “Go! Get the girl!” while he ran forward with Umlot to meet the other three.

Fearing for the girl, Odoeta did not attack the robed figure directly, but instead directed a bolt of energy at the ground near the gap in the palisade wall that the figure was running towards. With an amazing amount of precision, the blast hit the wall in an exacting manor to collapse it down into the gap rather than blowing the hole bigger. It would not stop the runner, but it would force him to slow down. When it reached the wall, the robed figure dropped the girl to start ripping at the wooden barricade, and was quickly hit by bolts from Corrin’s crossbow and knives thrown by Sereya. After a few hits, the robe fell back, revealing a horrific face that looked stitched together of loose skin. A few moments latter, and that skin was completely ripped off, revealing an animated skeleton underneath that was quickly destroyed. They then ran back to the building where their outnumbered allies were holding their own against three more of the flesh-suited skeletons and helped them dispatch the creatures with little further trouble.

After making sure the girl was alright, Umlot and Corrin went to visit the town apothecary and get ready to head out as quickly as possible. They were a bit surprised to find out that Innith was a Drow, but spent little time talking to him as daylight was burning and they were hunting undead. Taking the sack of provisions, including a handful of healing potions, they set off to follow the skeletons path through the woods. Once on the trail, it was incredibly easy to follow. These creatures did nothing to hide their path and moved in an almost completely strait line. Pausing to rest for a moment in a clearing where the tracks seemed to stop, everyone was shocked when three zombie creatures burst out of the ground and four dark shadows whipped around attacking Theren and Umlot. While they fought off the shadow wisps and were taking slight, but constant hits from them, the largest of the zombies leaped up onto Odoeta, grabbing him and dragging him off into the woods. He managed to blast himself free and the creature dropped as if it were dead, but soon after stood back up again. A fierce battle raged, but the party was able to dissipate the shadows and send all of the zombies back to their graves permanently.

The largest zombie had not come out of the dirt though. It appeared that it had burst forth from a trap door of some kind covering the entrance to a tomb. Slipping down inside, they found a large open space with a small antichamber where a mage of some sort stood behind a summoning circle that held a half-formed demon within it. A sobbing woman was chained near the summoner, holding a book of dark rituals for him while more townspeople were locked up in cages along the side. The Summoner ignored the party at first, letting his minions move in. First a group of rotting zombies that were quickly dispatched by an arching blast of Odoeta’s that seemed to bounce from one to the next and a few crossbow bolts from Corrin and a thrown knife from Sereya. Two more large zombies moved in, followed by two more of the flesh suited skeletons. Sereya moved forward, intent on disrupting the ritual and secure in her safety with Theren at her side…right up until one of the large zombies grabbed him and dragged him off as far away from it’s master as it could. Having moved towards the center of the room to get a clear shot at the Summoner, Odoeta was also grabbed and dragged off by a large zombie. Corrin and Umlot took on the flesh skeletons, keeping them occupied but leaving Sereya on her own, peeking around a corner into the antichamber at the summoner.

Hands trembling slightly, Sereya let fly with a throwing knife, intent on knocking the ritual book away from the girl. She was successful, but the knife went through the girls hand first. With the book away, the Summoner stepped forward angrily and shot forth a blast of arcane energy that ripped into Odoeta as he was held by the zombie, nearly killing him. Umlot grunted and shook away from a skeleton to place a powerful Rune of healing upon his friend while taking severe damage himself. Corrin danced around the attacks of the skeletons, slipping his own blade in and out of their defenses as quickly as he could. Umlot helped to free Odoeta from the zombie’s grasp, but the zombie immediately attacked Umlot instead, grabbing him and trying to rend him in half.

Sereya took a few quick steps and flew through the air, spinning and flipping in a way that had gained her so much applause over the years and landed with her feet on the Summoners shoulders. In an instant, her hands flew down, stabbing him with a pair of knives and then kicking off, flipping back towards the corner of the antichamber, grabbing it with one hand and sliding around it out of his sight. Enraged, the Summoner began to hurl shocking energies at anyone he could see, each hit dazing anyone nearby. Umlot threw the zombie off of himself and into the stone wall of the back of the chamber, crushing it into a disgusting pulp. Theren finally finished off his zombie as well after freeing himself and being grabbed again several times. Sereya stepped back to help the others finish off the skeletons when the Summoner hit them all with a powerful, thunderous blast that shook them to the core. Only Umlot was outside the radius of this attack and did not let his safety go to waste. He ran across the entire tomb, barreling into the Summoner, grabbing him and pulling him to the ground. Sereya and Corrin quickly shook off the dazing effect of the spell and raced up to attack the exposed Summoner. Sereya hit him with a brutal stab of her knives and Corrin finished him off with a powerful slash of his short sword to his neck.

Theren, back on his feet, ignored the calls of the summoned demon to free it for great rewards and plucked the ritual book away from Odoeta…turning it right-side up in the process. He quickly found the ritual that was being performed and chanted the words of power that would cancel it and safely banish the demon back to it’s own Hellish realm. Sereya and Corrin opened the locks of the cages, releasing the grateful townspeople and assuring them that everything would be alright. The woman that was compelled to help the Summoner ran to his body and began to kick and punch violently at it, screaming and sobbing until she was pulled away. She told them that she had somehow been placed in his power and was not able to refuse anything he asked. She thanked Corrin gratefully for freeing her with his killing blow, and rewarded him with an amulet she had stolen from the Summoner.

The town threw a massive festival for the safe return of their people, and Collith rewarded the party with a few trinkets left over from his adventuring days. They are treated to a night of heroic celebration before collapsing to sleep in their rooms at the inn, each one wondering what the next day would bring.

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Prologue

Corrin was surprised that he was not more miserable than this. Ever since he was caught helping himself to a little extra coin that just so happened to not belong to him yet, his entire life had taken a massive turn. It was the same guy who caught him that went to the town guard and demanded his release. A Paladin it turned out, and a Paladin of Bahamut at that. He offered Corrin a choice, come with him and repent for his crimes by helping others, or staying put and having his hand cut off for thievery. “Well…” Corrin said to the Paladin, “I was getting sick of this town anyway.”

Sereya was also getting tired of this town, and on the way out of it with a small mob on her heels. Having lived as an acrobat and entertainer for her entire life, she had seen a fair amount of the world and received a warm welcome all over it until today. Joining up with a new band of traveling players as what should have been the star attraction, she quit the same day when her new employer decided he was going to force her “share” of himself on her. She quickly countered, giving him her “cut” and making a run for it. The rest of the troop, less than thrilled that their money man was now gone, came after her. Only the intervention of Theren and his recently freed Halfling kept her from being overrun just outside of the city gates. The three of them quickly put the town of Freedhold behind them to see what awaited down the empty road.

Umlot stared down at his new companion with a look of patient questioning. He had met the alleged Wizard wandering the low hills a few weeks before, and was not yet able to decide what he thought of him. Clearly the man was broken somehow. Almost child-like at times in his view of the world around him and the use of his magics. When he set out on this pilgrimage from the mountain lands of his people, Umlot expected to see all kinds of things, but Odoeta was stranger than anything he could have imagined. The man claimed to be a Wizard, but Umlot knew a few in his past, and this man before him was no Wizard. His “spells” seemed to be little more than a grunting release of mystic power that tended to do something completely different from what was being attempted. More than that, in his moments of great concentration, Odoeta’s face almost seemed to start to melt and reform. Umlot had said nothing of this so far, but kept a close eye on his new friend and wondered what it could mean.

Another random blast of arcane power ripped through a few large rocks along the nearby road, skipping from one to the other and annihilating each of them. Odoeta seemed very proud of himself and puffed out his chest as he went to meet the three travelers that had ducked for cover as they walked along. “Kord help me.” The Runepriest thought to himself as he walked down the hill to join his friend and meet the newcomers.

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