Chapter 13:

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Session Number: 183
Date: Sunday 28 July 2013
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Ariel Sor12 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Calico Drd12 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA5 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal12 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz12 (Densial) (kills: none)
Violet Drd12 (Tammi) (kills: none)

Special Guest NPC: Arrian

XP Awarded: TBA

Rowaine asks their orc guide Arkg about the illumination inside Ruelock's palace. "Mostly it is dark," Arkg says by way of the Tongues spell he bears, "but there are some animals that need light so there are light sources in some of the cages. There is no light provided in the ground level. Those that need light when meeting Ruelock bring their own."

Rowaine asks Ariel to cast Darkvision on the four going to the palace that cannot see without light. Arrian casts Magic Vestment on Rowaine's shield. Rowaine suggests that someone cast a 12 minute duration spell to aid with timekeeping. Coordinating with the orcs, Troll casts Detect Magic at 12 minutes to midday.

The orcs are gathering into two cohorts, ready to depart - they have obviously drilled for this moment. At the head of one stands an orc with the other ring gate. Lionel, Arrian and Harley are directed to the front of the queue.

At eight minutes to midday, Rowaine nods to Arkg. The blue oval ring portal appears, revealing a dark, squalid little office on the other side. It is quiet. At the head of one of the two lines, an orc activates the other ring portal to the planar gate. Lionel and the others step through.

The palace team step through their portal into the office. The portal stays open. There is the guttural sound of orc speech beyond the closed door. Arkg whispers, "There are orcs in the preparation area. My task begins. I will rally my allies and we will take out the others." He opens the door and passes through, closing it behind him.

Troll casts two Discs and an Invisibility Sphere; all climb on board. They hear orcs exchanging words. Moments pass, followed by the sound of violence. Rowaine asks Troll to direct the Discs inside, keeping the Discs at ceiling height.

In the preparation area, Arkg slits the throat of a hapless enemy orc. Four other allied orcs are with him. "We are leaving," Arkg says obliquely to the invisible party. "Moradin's blessing on you." "And upon you," Rowaine whispers from above. Arkg looks up, smiles, then leads his orcs to the office and the portal, closing the door behind them.

The party survey the area. The stone construction appears very well-made, almost to dwarven standards, but looks like it has been subjected to centuries of abuse. Moreover, it smells awful, a nose-wrinkling mixture of rotting flesh and excrement. There is a table with partially hacked apart carcasses on it. The party stay at ceiling level and traverse the prep room. Rowaine has her axe in one hand, the black rod in the other.

Lionel and Arrian are in the scrub. Orcs start appearing from behind. They stand aside to allow them to pass.

The palace team turn the corner and head south. Light emanates from down the corridor. Half way down, they see a floor-to-ceiling dark marble relief panel, an inch thick. Rowaine remembers the map Manion and Krag provided them, identifying the slab as some sort of magical portal.

Troll keeps the Discs near the right-hand wall. All hear a strange whuffing sound (Calico knows it is a tiger), followed by a piercing avian shriek. Rowaine signals to stop, just prior to passing in front of the black marble portal surface. The rod in her hand grows cold. She holds it up. "For Krag," she whispers reverently. She passes the rod to Violet, who Stone Shapes a hole in the ceiling and places it inside. Calico uses another Stone Shape to close the hole.

The surface of the dark marble begins to slowly swirl. The animal cries become louder and more insistent. "Job done, people," Rowaine thinks telepathically. "Let's get out of here. Troll, take us to the portal!" She puts her hand in the middle of the group, as does everyone else. Troll adds his to the mix and Teleports everyone to the planar portal.

They arrive in scrub and see glimpses of orcs walking in an orderly line. Someone stomps towards them; it is Arrian, followed closely by Harley. "It is done," Rowaine says. "Now we wait and defend while the orcs get free. Let's see where we're needed. Arrian, how has it been going?"

"They have just had a couple of minutes of these people filing out these portals," Arrian says.

"Where is Manion, or someone else in charge?"

"I don't think Manion has come through. Seebel is at the front, though."

The two orderly lines of orcs slowly march up out of the scrub and into the mouth of the canyon. Rowaine leads the party at a jog to the front of the lines, where Seebel stands, directing orcs through the gate.

"Please don't run," Seebel says quietly to Rowaine. "This is an orderly exercise. We don't want to panic anyone."

Rowaine nods. "It is done. The rod chilled, it is stowed. It is done."

"Well done. Well, we need to get these people through the gate."

"Where is the defence line? Where do you need us?"

"Once our people are inside the canyon they are more easily defended, and any force that is not flying will have to come through the mouth of the canyon. We need to defend the people still outside the canyon, and the canyon's mouth."

"Very well."

The party head to the mouth of the canyon. Rowaine talks about having someone at the top of the hill for greater field and range of view. Calico and Violet volunteer, as a blink dog and a legendary wolf respectively. They bound to the summit of the 240 foot high hill in half a minute. From the top they see something in the air approaching from the south, a long way off - too far away to make out any detail. The canyon mouth faces north. Violet informs Rowaine.

"Is it the nightwing?" Rowaine replies.

"I cannot tell yet, but I will keep an eye out."

"Do that. Let us know when it will be here as well."

Arrian waves for Rowaine's attention. "Can you see something over there? I thought I saw a glint of metal." Rowaine and the others look in the direction Arrian indicates, to the northwest. Rowaine sees nothing, but the others do: a stationary metallic lump on the plain about 800 feet away, glinting in the sun. Its size and shape, what they can see of it, brings to mind a matre.

"So we have something definitely approaching from the south, and something maybe approaching from the northeast," Rowaine says.

"We should go with the definite problem," Troll offers.

Rowaine nods. "Let's redeploy to the top. Troll, come with me," she says, getting on Harley.

The party climb to the top of the hill, staying as close to above the gate as possible. They meet up with Calico and Violet. "The thing to the south seems to have wings," the wolf-shaped Violet says telepathically. Soon after, Arrian's sharp eyes begin identifying detail from the creature's silhouette. "Nightwing," he says. "A big one."

"What do you make of the metallic thing?" Rowaine asks.

Arrian turns to the northwest, shading his eyes from the midday sun. He pauses for a moment. "I think it is a matre."

"Is it still stationary?"

"Yes. I think it has put something on top of itself, some sort of crude camouflage."

"Anything else around it?"

"Not that I can see."

There is a sharp clanging from inside the canyon: the sound of metal striking metal. Rowaine walks to the edge of the canyon and sees one of the larger orcs pounding the portal with a warhammer. Rowaine returns and tells the others.

"Let's take on the nightwing from the air," Troll says to Rowaine. The paladin considers this, nodding, when Violet's voice enters her head. "The matre thing is standing up! It seems to have two of its legs in the air."

"Let us know if it starts getting closer," Rowaine says aloud.

"It isn't, but everything around it is!" Violet adds. To the northeast, the area surrounding the metallic lump sparkles like water as dozens of tiny metallic glints reveal scores of arachtria moving towards the hill.

"How long until they get here?" Rowaine asks, her eyes on the nightwing.

"They're not moving very fast," Violet thinks in the others' heads. "Maybe four minutes?"

"Not long enough to get everyone out! How long until the nightwing gets here?"

"After the arachtria," Lionel says. "Ten minutes."

"How many arachtria?"

Lionel turns around. "About a hundred."

"Moradin's beard! I don't think we are going to be able to keep out a hundred by sheer force of arms. We need something that's going to hit a lot at once."

"I could drop an iron wall on them," Troll says.

"That might get say 15 of them…" Rowaine thinks. "Can you create a cage?"


"Wait," Rowaine says. "We take out the matre."

"Let's go do that," Troll says. "I could drop an iron wall on it instead! I just need to be within 220 feet of it."

"I could Polymorph it into something," Violet suggests. "But it would probably have to be another construct."

"Turn it into a construct fish!" Troll says. "It can be as big as you like, that's fine because it isn't going anywhere!"

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