Chapter 11: Victory & Vigilance

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Session Number: 100
Date: Sunday 29 May 2011
Venue: Fergus'
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr9 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Feren Rog10 (Yeran) (kills: 1 bearded devil)
Melzehaar NPC (DM) (kills: 1 bearded devil)
Rowaine Pal10 (Craig) (kills: 1 bearded devil)
Tomen Rgr9/Drd1 (Ash) (kills: 1 bearded devil, Umbridge)
Troll Wiz10 (Densial) (kills: none)
Uther NPC (DM) (kills: 1 barbed devil)

XP Awarded: TBA

"Do you guys need any help?" Tomen yells from the doorway.

"Keep that door closed at all costs!" is Rowaine's reply.

Melzehaar casts a spell and looks around. "I think he's over there," he says, pointing towards the left wall.

"Where?" Arrian says. "Against the wall?"

"A bit off it," Melzehaar replies.

The prince looks towards where Melzehaar's finger is pointing. "Did you hear something?" he whispers to Tomen, beside him.

"No," Tomen says.

Harley and Rowaine gang up on the small figure in their way. The creature jumps clear of Harley's smiting slash. Only one of Rowaine's two lance attacks hits. The creature wavers but remains on its feet. Rowaine guides Harley a step to the right, to better interpose themselves between the two distinct flashpoints in the room: the spiky outsider and the door. One of Michael's two attacks hits the spiky creature.

Troll Fireballs the corner to the left of the door. The target of Rowaine's wrath retaliates, hitting her twice with its flaming sword. Her armour turns some of the steel but not the heat. The barbed creature slams Uther, then Michael, with its formidable arms. The small creature near Feren slashes at him but the elf is able to jump outside the flaming blade's arc.

The little creature who blinked away from its allies sets off again towards the door. Tomen intercepts and waves a lit torch under its nose menacingly. Uther shakes off the spiky creature's painful grasp and follows up with a heavy blow from the Hammer of Lawmeron. From beyond his new opponent, Tomen hears Sagamaan gurgle "Get me away from the door!"

Feren doesn't appreciate being flanked. He tumbles backwards past the little creature at his rear, a move so fast that it has no time to react. Feren follows up with a rapier stab but lingering dizziness puts off his aim. Arrian summons an avatar of Corellon Larethian's sword beside the spiky creature, which immediately sets to work. One of its two translucent slashes connects. Arrian's celestial griffon lays into the spiked creature; its beak gouges the humanoid's spike-encrusted torso. Arrian moves closer to Rowaine. Tomen activates his Boots of Haste and sends the devil in front of him back to the abyss with a flurry of torch blows.

"Keep Sagamaan away from the door," Melzehaar yells, "or the magical seal will be broken and the other Uther will get out! He's somewhere around there!" he adds, indicating to the left of the door. Sagamaan continues to be dragged towards the door by his neck. Prince Dimaan hears Melzehaar's words and throws his weight against Sagamaan's body, wrapping his arms around the mage's torso. He manages to force the beleagured mage back a few feet.

Harley's jaws again snap down on nothing, missing the small creature before her and her master. What will Rowaine think of her? Rowaine thinks that this small humanoid is surprisingly resilient for its size. But not resilient enough to withstand another lance thrust. The creature expires. Rowaine and Harley stay where they are, their focus turning to their next quarry - the large devil.

Michael shrugs off the devil's arm that impales his shoulder. Both limbs free again, it swipes out at both Michael and Uther, hitting both. One of its minions stabs Michael in the leg, another slashes at Feren but misses.

A mighty force shoves Tomen from behind, moving him away from the door. Sagamaan is ripped from the prince's hold and dragged closer to the door. And Tomen. "Move aside, fool!" a voice says to his left.

Troll catches Melzehaar's attention. "If I cast a spell on Sagamaan, will it work?"

"What spell?" Melzehaar asks.

"A transport spell."

"If it is targetted by touch and he allows it," Melzehaar says, "the spell will work."

Troll moves beside Sagamaan and taps him on the shoulder. "Come with me if you want to live," he says, casting his spell. He looks at the others. "I'll be back!" Troll and Sagamaan Teleport behind the far circle by the right-hand wall. Sagamaan appears to be free of the choking force around his neck.

"If you two could join the fight please, that'd be awesome," Troll says to the mages.

Nice move, Troll!

Feren tumbles deftly around his opponent, again forcing him offguard. His bejewelled rapier slashes across the creature's breast. Arrian focuses all his summoned firepower upon the spiked devil. a Spiritual Weapon slash and a griffon claw breach the creature's defences. Arrian moves behind Rowaine and Cures her wounds.

Tomen backs towards the door, looking around. He notices one of the double doors is slightly ajar and can hear something to his left. He holds both torches in one hand while his free hand fumbles behind him for the door handle. His fingers contact the metal handle. Zap! His hand is thrown back as if it had received an electric shock. Tomen locates his tanglefoot bag in his pack, pulls it out and hurls it toward the left-hand corner. The bag arcs through the air and explodes into stringy goo as it hits the floor. Nothing appears to be caught in the explosion.

"He's right next to you!" Melzehaar yells at Tomen. A streak of acid underlines his words, striking an unseen figure beside the ranger. Prince Dimaan's sword strikes twice at the same point from different angles. The first attack cuts something soft.

Towards the centre of the room, Rowaine advances Harley upon the barbed outsider. Harley cannot bypass the creature's spikes. Rowaine stabs the creature with her lance, a smiting blow. Her followup thrust is turned by the creature's tough hide.

Michael slashes at the spiked creature twice with the long sword Melzehaar conjured. Both of his strikes simply clank off stony spikes. The spiked devil returns the favour, misses, then swipes at Uther, also missing. A smaller devil backs up his larger cousin, stabbing at Michael with his flaming sword, but cannot breach the man's heavy armour. Feren's opponent cuts his arm, the hot blade cauterising the wound.

Fear washes over everyone. Feren and Melzehaar succumb, slumping to the floor. At the same time, a man with glowing red eyes appears beside Tomen. It is Uther! Or rather, his evil twin… He slaps Tomen's face, whipping his head to one side. Tomen's eyes widen in disproportionate fear and he backs into the doorframe.

"He's here!" the prince yells.

"We know!" Arrian yells back. Troll Teleports to the far corner behind Umbridge.

Uther smacks the barbed devil once, putting it off-balance. His next two passes are poetic in their execution. The creature evaporates as it returns to its home plane.

Sagamaan Dispels the fear effect in the room. Feren reacts first, tumbles under the outstretched flaming sword of his opponent and stabs his rapier clean through its chest. Solid fades to mist, then dissipates.

Arrian redirects on of his Spiritual Weapons to Umbridge but the blade causes no injury. His griffon advances upon one of the two remaining bearded devils and has better luck, its beak creasing the outsider's head. Arrian aims Searing Light at Umbridge. Its coherent, divine-fuelled fury burns into the evil man's flesh. Tomen tastes victory and batters Umbridge into unconsciousness with Haste-augmented torch blows. Unsophisticated, but lethal. Much like Tomen. Melzehaar finishes off the last of the devils with a gout of Acid.

"Leave him alive!" Prince Dimaan warns in a voice of authority. Rowaine dismounts and walks towards Umbridge, followed by everyone else.

"Anyone need healing?" Arrian asks. Feren takes him up on his offer. Arrian sees to Michael, then checks on the commoner in the corner. He seems to have recovered his wits. He says that he was brought here to help identify Uther; he used to live in the same village as Uther many years ago.

"It might pay for the mages to stay clear of the door," Rowaine advises. "Just in case."

"Good idea," the prince says. Tomen approaches Umbridge's prone form and bends over. He no longer has glowing red eyes.

"Don't touch him," Melzehaar warns. "Leave it to us." Rowaine makes to drag the spellcaster's body away from the door and grasps his wrist. Something akin to electricity shoots up Rowaine's arm as she touches Umbridge's arm, setting her nerves on fire. She grits her teeth and continues, managing to drag Umbridge thirty feet before the pain forces her to release her grip.

"You want him alive?" Arrian asks the prince.


"Then let me see him." Umbridge is battered, scorched and bleeding, but alive - at least for now. The mages approach. Tomen steps in the way.

"Stop!" he says. "Go no further."

"What?" Melzehaar says, astounded.

"Your performance left a lot to be desired," Tomen says. "Until I am convinced of where your loyalties lie, you do not touch this filth."

"Do you honestly think we choked ourselves?" Sagamaan says.

Rowaine ignores the unfolding dispute and concentrates on their fallen enemy. He looks like he doesn't have long to live. She mouths a prayer to Moradin, puts her palms over Umbridge's solar plexus, anticipates the pain and presses down. Again she feels a shocking sensation but concentrates on imparting Moradin's healing boon. Satisfied, she opens her eyes and inspects her charge. He is none the better.

"Arrian?" Rowaine says. "What's going on here?"

"There's an item on his person that is resisting magical effects," Melzehaar explains. "A pendant on a chain around his neck." Rowaine again suffers shocks as she locates a pendant, grips it and snaps her hand back. The pendant's silver chain breaks. Arrian offers his own healing prayer; he is not shocked and Umbridge's wounds stop seeping blood.

Tomen still stand before the mages, defiant.

"If you would be so kind as to allow my mages access to identify this man's possesions," the prince says.

"We can do that if you like," Arrian replies. "Frankly, with the performance of your mages this evening, I'd be more confident in my team."

"I'm not appreciating this display of distrust!" the prince snaps.

"It's not that I distrust your mage's honesty, your highness," Arrian says. "I distrust their competence. You have to admit that they didn't perform very well this evening."

"Neither did we," Rowaine interjects.

"We performed everything we set out to do," Arrian says, puzzled.

"We also threatened this man with injury. Threatened him with torture. I'm not happy with that. Mistakes have been made on both sides. I think we should give the prince and his men some credit."

"I'll follow your lead," Arrian says. Rowaine stands up and concentrates upon the pendant in her hand. She senses no evil about the item. Satisfied, she walks over to Prince Dimaan and hands him the pendant, inclining her head. "Thank you", he says. Rowaine then walks to the door and sits down, deep in thought.

The prince addresses the party. "I understand the need for caution, but I do not appreciate the hostility with which it is communicated. You have done this sort of thing before, and tend not to rush into trust. If you tell your man to stand down, the mages will not interfere for a time."

"Very well, your highness," Arrian says. He and Troll search Umbridge's belongings under the influence of a Detect Magic spell. Besides a nonmagical dagger, they find two magical bracelets and another magical pendant. Arrian turns them over to the prince.

"We have found these, your grace," he says. "I would like to have our spellcaster identify them, which cannot happen before tomorrow morning. It is up to you to do with them as you see fit. I would argue that we have some claim upon them, but accept your decision. Lady Rowaine, do you concur?"

Rowaine raises her head. "It's up to the prince."

"Your spellcaster may identify them," the prince says. "Melzehaar will accompany you. We would like to catalog and record the items, see if anything that matches their description has gone missing in the area. I expect that will take a week."

"What will become of the prisoner?" Arrian asks.

"He will be judged by the mages and declared evil or insane. If he is evil, he may be executed or imprisoned on the pleasure of the court."

"At this point," Arrian says, "it seems probable that he is responsible for the destruction of two villages. Lady Rowaine, is he evil?" Rowaine stands up and walks over. She silently looks at Umbridge for a time. "Yes," she says. "Very. If you wish our testimony, your highness, you shall have it."

"While that is not proof that he is guilty, I think we should take precautions," Arrian says. "When will the trial likely be?"

"In a week, I should say," the prince replies. "After which, we will compensate you for your services to the kingdom."

Arrian finds out that Umbridge had lodgings in an inn near the town hall. He asks to search the premises. Prince Dimaan agrees, saying he will send some of his men along also, with written regal authority. They will meet the party at their lodgings in an hour. Arrangements are also made for Melzehaar to visit the inn tomorrow morning to witness the item identification.

Melzehaar and Sagamaan walk to the altered magic circles. Tomen remembers the strange goings-on outside the building prior to the meeting and informs the mages and the prince. He is certain that the figure that returned to the building was neither the commoner present, nor Umbridge. Rowaine confirms that the mages would expect the building impenetrable to anyone save those with connections to the mages guild, or vast amounts of money. Otherwise, someone would need one of the pendants similar to those the two mages bear. Rowaine asks about the pendant she removed from Umbridge. Melzehaar says that while it attenuates magic, its effect is personal and would not defeat the building's protection.

"It appears Umbridge had an accomplice," Arrian deduces. "Your Highness, it is possible he still has allies here in town."

"I'll look into it," the prince says.

The mages stand at the door and let the party out. As Troll passes, Melzehaar says to mention his name at the mages' guild; perhaps they might be able to arrange a spellbook update.

"Good," Troll says. "Because last time, they kicked me out."

The party collect their weapons and return to their inn. They clean up. Rowaine prays. A little under an hour later, three men arrive asking for them. They all walk to The Painted Cushion, the inn where Umbridge stayed. After explaining and displaying the writ, the party are shown to Umbridge's room. Its door is locked but untrapped. The innkeeper opens the door with a ring of keys. After a thorough search, both mundane and magical, the party find nothing of any interest. Umbridge did not keep any belongings here. The party figure that anything that Umbridge valued is almost certainly not here. They return to their own lodgings.

The next morning, Melzehaar visits for the magic item identification. They are:

  • Bracelet of Greater Invisibility
  • Bracelet of Fearful Presence
  • Pendant of Null Magic Shield (random chance that it blocks spells below a certain level, hides alignment)
  • Pendant of Protection (+2 armour bonus to ac, +2 to saves)

The party hand over all four items to Melzehaar to return to the prince.

After lunch, Troll visits the mage's guild, seeking new spells. The others accompany him, wary that Umbridge's influence might still linger. Troll mentions Melzehaar's name to the mage present. He excuses himself and returns with Melzehaar a few moments later.

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