The party fought for their lives against the abomination freed from its chains. Noxital was the first to fall against the creature’s prismatic magical attacks. Sanora riddled the thing from beyond with arrows shot with surgical precision. Xirric kept the creature busy and vulnerable to his allies’ attacks, while Gurt revived Noxital and boosted the party’s attacks with his songs. Splurg reached into his bag and threw an axe at it.
Upon reviving, Noxital used a power that severely weakened the creature, turning its deadly barbed tentacles brittle and ineffective, which likely saved the party from certain doom. Sanora continued to rain arrows upon it and Xirric tangled with it up close. Splurg reached into his bag and threw a pair of boots at it. He missed.
The abomination’s wounds began to glow and steam. Xirric could hear a whisper: “Release me…” The magical vortex tossed the party around, wounding it and them. Gurt tried to insult it, but it wasn’t listening to him. Splurg reached into his bag and threw an anvil at it, though he could barely lift the thing. He missed.
The creature was badly wounded. Its wounds glowed with power and magical smoke seeped from them. Splurg reach into his bag and pulled out a giant-sized warhammer. He struggled to get it upright, and just let it fall on the abomination…
The hammer crushed its skull, and the creature lay dead. A spirit rose from the corpse. “You freed me…” it whispered. “Thank you…” is said with an evil grin, as it rose quickly to the ceiling and through it. Of course, the party got a bad feeling about this.
This creature was clearly not Clara’s father, though he may have been keeping the creature here for some reason. They tried to open her father’s inner chamber door again, but to no avail. As they looked out from the tower window into the night, they could see a line of torches moving quickly through the forest towards Proskur. Xirric went to investigate.
He found a group of Paladins of Torm affiliated with Elturgard, riding hard for Proskur. They surrounded him and demanded to know his business. He explained what he was doing there and that they had found the girl Clara. The Captain immediately sent his Sergeant back with Xirric to the manor house to find and bring back the girl and the rest of the party to the town to help clear out the undead.
The Sergeant met the party and decided they were not a threat. Of course, he did not meet Splurg, whom it was decided should stay hidden and out of sight of the paladins of Elturgard, who would likely kill him on sight. Splurg hid in his own bag of holding, which Gurt carried.
The party mounted up and fought their way back to the center of town through a horde of undead. The paladins and fighting men of Elturgard seemed to have well enough in hand. Upon reaching the center of town, the undead swarmed the group, who defended their position in a circle, drawing the enemy close. Upon failing to effectively turn some of the undead, the Captain put his hand on Noxital’s shoulder and said, “Allow me.” He raised a lance with a holy symbol emblazoned on a banner aloft and exclaimed “By the Light of Torm!” and drove it into the ground, sending a shockwave of divine power rippling out over the swarm of undead, obliterating them.
His men cleaned up the stragglers and set to work clearing out the town. The Captain introduced himself as Captain Cadmar Decius, Commander of Elturgard expeditionary force from Iriaebor. He had gotten word from the locals that fled from Proskur about what was happening and mounted a rescue party at once, both for the town and for Clara Faumach, daughter of Ghislain Faumach, whom he apparently knew personally. The wizard Ghislain and his wife Jastra Faumach were away on business to Elturgard when this attack happened. Cadmar had sent word to them at once but could not wait for them to return to Iriaebor to mount a rescue. Clara would need to be taken to them at once.
Cadmar pulled the party aside and asked if they had seen anything “odd” in the manor house, specifically if any magical “doors” were opened. They revealed that they knew what he was talking about, and that whatever was chained up in the secret area beneath the keep had been killed. He was angered by this revelation. “You have no idea what you’ve set in motion!” he warned. “However, I must assume what you did was in defense and you had no other choice, because I was not there. Whatever, we’ll let the Faumachs decide what to do. We must ride quickly.”
As the party was headed in that direction anyway, it was decided they would ride hard to Iriaebor with Cadmar Decius and a group of his men, both to the deliver the child safely and bring word of what happened in order to mount a defense against a possible attack from the Cult of the Dragon in Elturgard territory.
Splurg remained in hiding in the bag of holding. Gurt and Xirric provided him with basic provisions. Splurg provided Gurt with small containers of his pee to throw out discreetly along the way.
They made great time during the first night, stopping during the day to sleep when the horses tired. With fresh mounts, they took off some hours later, taking the High Road through the Lightning Steppes on the way to Easting. The steppe turned to crags and valleys, and the group had to take an alternate route off the main road. The bridge on the high road was out, but there was another more treacherous path through a ravine and along cliff walls. The path led upward along a switchback to a bridge over a river where it narrowed to scarely a horse’s width.
Cadmar called the column to a halt. Something could be heard in the distance. Sanora listened and heard the beating of wings. The group moved as quick as was safe to the bridge. The man bringing up the rear went missing, and the column was called to halt again. Two men went to investigate, and only one came running back, his eyes wide with fear. “Run, run now!” he cried, as a black dragon swooped down upon them, a robed rider atop it…
GM notes: Noxital’s Iron to Glass power totally saved the party from a wipe, taking the abomination’s melee attack damage (2d6+6) and knocking ten points off it. As usual, Gurt couldn’t roll a d20 to save his life, and so the party never got to see his daily power take full effect. However, the party is learning to ask the right questions, take nothing for granted and is gaining some focus and synergy. Now if they only had a power called Dragons to Biscuits…