Forth!

The Horned Hold, Part II

Wight Power!

After a restless night spent in the larder, the party sets out to explore the rest of the fortress. Carefully making their way past the now empty dining hall, they look out onto the expansive bridge that spans the chasm. The bridge is wide and devoid of cover, and the far end is overlooked by several guard windows and arrow slits. A hushed discussion ensues…

And the party decides to investigate the other bridge. This bridge is also devoid of cover but is much more narrow. Omac slips silently across the bridge and picks the lock of door on the other side. Then at a signal from Omac, the rest of the party makes their way across the bridge as quietly as possible, followed nervously by the slaves from the dining hall.

Inside the door, the party finds a ruined vestibule. It is apparent that this portion of the fortress is not kept up as well as the rest. Confronted by three doors, the party chooses to investigate a set of double-doors on the southern wall. The doors lead to an external walkway and up to another set of doors, which the party carefully enters to find the ruins of what is apparently an ancient temple of some kind. The temple is littered with rubble, strewn with corpses and dominated by a large but broken statue. It is also completely and unremittingly dark. The characters make their way gingerly inside and Aidan, the Paladin, makes his way to the far side of the room to investigate one of the corpses.

But before Aidan reaches the corpse it rises from the ground and attacks. At the same time, four other corpses haul themselves up from the floor to assail the party. Aidan, separated from the group, is quickly surrounded as Omac, Magnus and Uriondir try to assume a defensive formation. Magnus freezes several of the animated corpses in their tracks with turn undead while Uriondir lets loose with a barrage of magic missiles. Omac begins to rain a hail of blows upon the nearest one. The slaves cower in the rubble behind Uriondir as the battle ensues.

The party quickly realizes that the creatures are wights, and as the fighting wears on Aidan, surrounded by several, begins to find his life force begin to drain away with each successive injury. Little by little the party cuts into the nest of wights, eventually killing one then two and finally down to the last. Searching the room reveals nothing, but the fighting has taken its toll as Aidan is completely drained of his remaining vitality and so the party nervously decides to set a guard and take an extended rest in the ruined temple.

The refreshed party sets out again through the far door of the temple. This door is rusty and stuck tight and despite their recent rest, it takes three or for tries to batter open the door. But finally through the combined efforts of Aidan and Magnus, the door swings wide to reveal a darkened stone corridor. A bit of exploration reveals the area to be a burial ground for the minotaurs who built this place many eons ago. A door to the south leads to a long and narrow staircase which the party cautiously descends.

Bursting through the door at the bottom the party startles a group of duergar attended by two spined devils. Lacking any significant ranged firepower, the party enters the large room and begins to skirt a nearby pool of water to close the distance. The devils take up positions opposite the pool and begin flinging spines at the characters. Meanwhile the duergar guards approach and the mage hurls a sulfurous enchantment at Aidan, blinding him temporarily.

Shortly after the battle begins, Uriondir catches most of the assailants with a well-placed sleep spell just as Omac reaches the approaching duergar guards and knocks one into the pool of water. Recovering from his blindness, Aidan makes for the duergar mage as Omac knocks the second guard into a nearby pit that turns out to be filled with manacled slaves. Meanwhile Magnus approaches the devils as Uriondir trains his magic missiles on them.

The mage succumbs to Uriondir’s sleep spell and Aidan has time to get in several coup-de-grace attacks while the caster is helpless. The first of the duergar guards goes quickly from swimming to drowning as he too falls asleep while the other guard resists the spell and begins climbing up out of the pit. Meanwhile Magnus has reached the devils and raises his holy symbol, using channel divinity to turn the devils back briefly.

The drowning guard recovers and begins trying to climb the slick walls of the water-filled pit. The second guard reaches the top of his ladder only to be struck and knocked back down into the pit by Omac who is waiting for him. After numerous falls, the guard begins to use ranged attacks from within the pit, and Omac circles to the other side to help Aidan finish off the mage. While Magnus and Uriondir keep the recovered devils busy, Aiden and Omac finish off both duergar guards. Then finally the entire party is able to focus their efforts on finishing off the devils.

When the dust settles, the party frees another 11 slaves and discover that this group is indeed comprised of individuals from Riverdown, though Samosh (whom they are seeking in particular) is not among them. Tending to their wounds, the party settles in to discuss what they will do next…

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Wrathchild

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