Chronicles of Serillian, part 13

In Phlan

During our brief time here in Phlan, our adventures have been many. After our initial foray into the uncivilized area controlled by humans proved unsuccessful, we returned to the Bitter Blade Inn and took a couple of days to regroup and strategize. My notes will be brief as there is much to do in this place and time is of the essence to most of our missions. The forces of evil do not rest to recount their tales as I would.

Darsun recruits some mercenaries to help in the quest to find his father Biltow. The party grudgingly accepts these new members temporarily, who are Darsun’s responsibility. One of their members, a gnome wizard simply known as the Grim, proves himself exceedingly useful. I spend my time seeking information regarding the possible whereabouts of Biltow and his band, as well as other rumors of the city.

After two days, we follow a lead that there is a band of orcish slavers outside the city. On our way to their camp, Grim and I scout ahead and come across a green dragon. We follow it for some time until we can no longer keep up with it, and note that it flies off towards the mountains to the northwest. Perhaps we will hunt it down later and seek the treasure of its lair.

Upon arrival at the encampment, it is raining and the orcs stay inside their makeshift buildings. After a quick survey of the area, we discover where the prisoners are kept and determine that it would be foolish to attempt a full on assault of the place. We use magic, illusion and the storms to distract and confuse the orcs. We extract all the prisoners safely without a fight. It is a daring but wise rescue. Biltow is reunited with his father, and they once again are both free to walk different paths.

We return to town and meet back with the New Phlan Council. We tell them of the humanoid army massing outside the city a few miles out. A council member entreats us to explore the library, as it may hold important information to help defeat the occupying forces. We set out for the library the next day. We part ways with the mercenaries, save the Grim, who has for now joined with us.

In the couple of days since we last entered the slums and area by the well, it seems that the troops and adventurers have pushed back the humanoid forces. We boldly and quite foolishly walk through the area we previously battled the kobolds and hobgoblins, since we saw no obvious signs of them. For our arrogance, we are met with a rain of arrow fire. We quickly dodge this and make our way to the library.

We enter the library, and there is little left that seems useful to us. We wander through several rooms and search for the information that the council member has asked us to find. There are several books of interest that we find, but nothing seems to immediately impress us. Darsun does find a manual of note that instructs one how to improve their health and stamina. Other volumes give names of dark powers and their locations on other worlds. One book references a magical pool. We keep what seems of importance and leave the rest.

In a room filled with debris a strange creature we haven’t seen yet fixes his gaze upon our small gnomish friend. He is instantly turned to stone! We do what we can to avoid its eyes and the same fate as Master Grim. With spell and sword, after a few close calls we slay the creature. It has a modest treasure that we collect, and I carefully remove its eyes, tongue and claws for preservation and use in my magical research.

The diminutive, but life size, statue of The Grim is placed in Darsun’s magical sack for safe keeping. You know that you’ve been accepted by a group when they dub you their garden gnome. Rest assured, little friend, we will see you returned to flesh again.

There are a few apparitions that haunt the place, and one particular creature sat fixed at a desk watching us. While we eventually vanquish these fiends, one has laid its icy hands on the heart of Orson, partially draining him of his life force.

After a few hours of searching, it is agreed that there is little more to interest us here. We decide to make our way back to the civilized area of Phlan with the information we have. We’ll seek a way to restore our friend to life and further adventure.

Back in town, we decide to split and be as productive as we can. Betal and Hope visit with Bishop Braccio, who implores us to take back the Temple of Ilmater that has fallen to the scourage of Bane’s influence. He agrees to return The Grim to flesh to assist us in this quest, as long as someone in the group will accept a spell that guarantees our completion of the task.

Darsun visits with the New Phlan Council and turns over the books that may be useful to the council. When alerted to the chance to bring back The Grim, he meets with the bishop and takes responsibility for his restoration. The Grim is made whole again, and we prepare to make our way to the temple the following day.

Meanwhile, I attempt to decipher the nature of the items we received while in the library. We have a magical bag that can hold many times its apparent size, a potion of healing, and two other concoctions that I cannot comprehend. When The Grim returns, he completes the analysis. We have a potion of strength and a jar of healing salve. These items are distributed to Betal, Bowser and Hope. For the next several hours, The Grim and I compare magical knowledge and exchange arcane formulas. It will be good to have another wizard to coordinate spells with. The Grim has many spells that I am grateful to obtain. And for his part, the gnome is surprised by the selection of spells I have. It is a good night of study and discourse.

We carefully avoid the mysterious fog that surrounds the river leading to the temple area. We land unseen in the compound and look to avoid the patrols. The first building we enter we surprise the occupants; a few simple male orcs and a female orc cooking something that is surely unfit for our consumption. A melee ensues, and we easily come out on top. The ruckus has alerted others to our presence, and we now take chase to try to silence those that have seen us so the entire place is not aware of our infiltration.

Through a series of blunders, we end up slaying many orc warriors in a barracks room. In our haste, we have probably caused more damage to ourselves than our enemies have. I have tripped and sprained my ankle, slowing my pace, and get a nasty cut on my face. Darsun has somehow managed to lose grip of his blade and hit himself. Some of our group is hit with friendly fire.

In his zeal to try out his new spells and slay our opponents, Grim attacks with a blast of fire, which consequently sets the place ablaze. At first, we attempt to put the flames out, but soon realize that it will be no use. We abandon our voluntary firefighting and the building as well to flames.

We come out to see arrows coming down from the sky firing at more orcs. Broknar has been outside taking care to keep any soldiers away. We run down and kill a few more orcs of no importance. Orson takes a leather symbol of some type one of the orcs was wearing and puts it on. As we turn the corner, we see the entrance to the temple.

Darsun and Orson make their way in first. They are met with an old and nearly blind orc, who feels the symbol and lets the two inside. Bowser, Betal, Hope and I gather around the Grim, and he once again has us vanish from sight. We slip into the temple before the old man closes the door. Broknar remains invisible and in flight.

There are several temple guards posted around the pillars, and an altar of sacrifice to the far end of the temple. The old orc shuffles around, leaving Orson and Darsun free to explore the temple. Curiously, no one questions their presence and they search a few rooms without finding anything. The remainder of the group huddled around the Grim move down the temple as well.

Soon Orson tires of this and creeps up behind one of the guards. He slides his blade into the neck and spine of the orcs, and it instantly falls. The guards seem to take no heed of this, and we kill them without much of a struggle. We search the temple more thoroughly and find what must be some artifacts of Ilmater. These are gathered and we make look to make our way out of the temple.

As we go to leave the temple, we hear reinforcements coming. We’ve been spotted, and most of the group decides to meet the enemy in the streets. Darsun comes out of the temple, but decides his odds are better fortified inside its walls. I would rather have easy means of escape outdoors should things go badly, and the battle begins.

Hope takes a great leap of joy and is on top of one of the buildings. The Grim and I round the corner, seeking cover and preparing to cast spells. Betal, Bowser and Orson are more exposed in the center of the street, and Broknar remains somewhere nearby invisible still.

The Grim strikes first and black tentacles erupt from the ground in the middle of their forces. Several of the enemies are struck by the ebony tendrils and some are caught in their grasp. I use a powerful spell to become completely invisible to gain the advantage of surprise.

Their forces have both priestly and arcane magic, and the tendrils are dispelled. Betal is frozen in place, unable to move. Then a huge wall of fire appears, catching Betal and Bowser in its flames. I am close enough to feel the searing heat from the flames. Protected by magicks, the heat does little damage, but enough to ruin my spell. I instead grab a potion that gives me flight and drink have the vial. I get out of the heat of the flames unseen. Bowser grabs Betal and moves towards the temple, also away from the fire, while Orson moves towards the building that Hope is on top of.

Betal is immobile, and Bowser and Grim are pinned down unable to get around the wall of flames. Bowser drinks a potion to give him the strength of a mighty giant, grabs his axe and begins to break through one of the boarded up windows. They’ll be inside the temple within minutes to hold up with Darsun. Orson climbs upon the building that Hope is on top of. Broknar is nowhere to be found. Hope stops moving, frozen by an unseen force.

The leader of the forces pulls back with a few key figures, and I make my move. I cause a powerful force to erupt in their midst, and many of them are trapped within its confines. Their leader isolated, several of the troops in plate armor rush back to support and protect him. None can penetrate my magick. The Seldarine have smiled upon us. I drift directly over the group and release a shimmering ball of lightning that, while cannot penetrate the magick of my sphere, kills or severely hurts most of the guards that went to support their leader.

While Bowser is smashing through the wooden planks to gain entrance to the temple, the ogre mage appears around the wall of fire and hits the group with a ball of fire. His hair singed, and with a vengeful glace, he charges the magick wielding ogre. With two mighty blows, he plants his axe deep into the chest of the ogre, nearly splitting him in two. With a look of disbelief, the ogre drops to his knees. Bowser looks him in the eyes, spits in his face and hurls some dwarvish insults at him. He watches as the ogre collapses in a pool of his own blood.

A few of the forces are make their way towards the temple doors. Orson leaps down from the building he was on to attack a couple of enemies that have come up to the side of the temple. He stumbles, but is still able to cast his magic rope at them. They are bound tightly, and no help is near to free them from this ensnarement. Orsun grins as he draws his blade, relishing the thought of slicing their throats.

The tide has quickly turned. The two remaining soldiers, seeing their leader helpless and their other forces failing quickly before us, decide to retreat. I watch as they get in a small boat and head down the river. I decide to hover and land on the roof, still invisible to, to wait for their leader and his henchmen to emerge from my sphere.

The two other remaining soldiers in plate armor force their way into the temple and meet Darsun in combat. Bowser finishes smashing through the boarded door, and the Grim enters the temple through the window. Darsun had drank a potion to make him an even more potent in battle, and begins to pick apart the plated enemies. The dweomer binding Betal has faded as well, and both she and Bowser enter the temple. The Grim uses fire magick and a ray of flame erupts from his hand, burning one of the soldiers to the ground.

I yell to my comrades to surround the sphere, so we can take the leader in a few minutes once the field comes down. The group follow suit and begin to surround the sphere. While I cannot make out his curses, I am sure he is spitting hate at us. Then he begins to chant. He turns and slays one of his own! The other underling turns in horror and attacks the master, but is no match. He, too is felled, and a wicked grin spreads across the leader’s face. A darkness emanates from the sphere, and a booming voice calls out ‘not yet, my faithful servant’ as ominous clouds block the sun from the sky. In a moment, the rays of the sun show once again. The magical sphere I created dissipates, and the darkness fades as well. The leader is gone, with only the sacrificed bodies of his companions remaining.

The battle is won, and we gather a king’s ransom of items from the bodies. We return to Phlan and present the temple artifacts found to Bishop Braccio. We are greeted as heroes, and given accolades and promised aid and favors as long as Bishop Braccio runs the temple that will now be rededicated to its rightful god. Bishop Braccio immediately gathers his forces to eliminate any remaining orcs and retake the temple. Darsun is released from his bonds. I feel that a celebration, well earned, is soon to ensue.

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