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Campaign 1 Sessions 23 and 24 - The Apex, part 2

Posted: 23 October 2022 (reading time: 7 minutes; 1396 words)

Recap by Arash Shahangian

Asja had spied a marilith demon, several undead soldiers, and a strange, ooze-like creature lurking in the ruins of the Twilight Tower at the top of the Shadowlow mountains, before the marilith sent her back to the celestial realm. Using that information, Asgardey∂a prepare themselves for the threat that awaits them as they reach the summit.

I

Greunthrn suggests dealing with the alkilith first, sprawled over the statue of a crucified demon. But they are so neatly clumped together, just waiting to be bombed, that Belnirith couldn’t resist throwing a Fireball into the area she had seen through Asja’s eyes. Two of the undead soldiers then leave from behind their ruins. Laguza morphs into her “Little Giant” form and takes them both out with 2 hits. Greunthrn gets hit by one of the alkilith’s tentacles and suffers from debilitating confusion for the rest of the battle, crippling his aim. Osk fires off Synaptic Static at the marilith and undead, taking out the remaining soldiers.

Then the marilith teleports into the middle of the party focusing her six vicious sword attacks on Laguza, and using her tail attacks unsuccessfully at Belnirith. The alkilith harries the group with its tentacles and their acid damage and confusion. Vyshka invokes Spirit Guardians and her Spiritual Weapon in the shape of her smarnr, chipping away at the enemies. Belnirith and Vyshka each attempt Banishment on the marilith, but “she” resists both attempts.

Little Giant pounds away at the marilith and deflects damage from it and the alkilith. Belnirith launches 2 successive lightning bolts at the demons. Osk sends out a Mass Cure Wounds, restoring much of the damage inflicted on herself, Vyshka, Greunthrn, and some of Laguza’s damage. Then, she twins a Harm spell, leaving the demons barely standing. They are then promptly finished off by Vyshka’s Spirit Guardians and a successful shot from Gruenthrn.

II

Seeing the massive damage Laguza sustained from the marilith, Osk casts Heal and restores her to full strength. They all then enter the area of highest magical ley line potency to prepare the ritual of warding to, hopefully, close the gate to the Far Realms forever.

While osk prepares the ritual, the others scout the surrounding area for threats. There is a strong sense that this place is extremely magically charged, almost electric. They find no traps nor immanent threats, though Belnirith finds an old, broken chest with 1000gp within it, likely the former property of the marilith. Laguza looks for points of access for enemies to potentially besiege them but finds no other access except from the front and south side. If there is to be an attack, it will likely come from the sky or from under them.

Osk delivers a rousing speech to Asgardey∂a, giving them increased vigor for the coming task, then sets up the ritual space, a 10’ radius circle covering most of the ground in the tower ruin. Tension grows. All of them anticipate horror as Osk pulls out her supplies and starts chanting and drawing the circle with runes woven throughout it. The sky grows darker, yet the black clouds begin to glow a sickly green. Everything seems much darker than it ought to be.

The runes Osk paints in dull colors, but after ten minutes they, too, start to glow a sickly green glow, a dim light that grows brighter and brighter. She keeps on chanting. When the circle is complete, she begins stomping around within it. Twenty minutes into the ritual, Osk’s eyes also glow that sickly green as the energy around them infuses her. She becomes a vessel for the eldritch energies that suffuse this place and funnel through the ritual circle. This was why the ritual needed to be done by someone practiced in being a vessel of arcane energy, such as a sorcerer or warlock.

Thirty minutes into the ritual, Osk suddenly stops chanting and stomping. She stands with her eyes closed, then opens them as she reaches for the sky. A ray of pure green shoots from the circle, through her and into the clouds and travels across the sky like lightning. Continuous, electric green flows out of her hands. She is in control. The atmosphere is eerie.

Fourty minutes into the ritual, the green ray continues shooting from Osk’s hands. The dark clouds start to thin, and the sky grows brighter until the night sky illumines the area as if it were midday.

III

Fifty minutes into the ritual, nearing the end, a silhouette appears from behind the remaining clouds, forming the most terrifying shape. A titanic tentacled monstrosity takes up the entire sky overhead, its gigantic head tilts quizzically at them. The outline of a taloned arm displays a motion of throwing something towards the group then vanishes. Something like a meteor, though almost invisible until it slams in the east at blazing speed. A gigantic, snake-like creature bursts from the point of impact, lunges at them, shrieking, and an aura of darkness returns the sky to dim light.

Vyshka casts Guardian of Faith to protect Osk, while Osk keeps the energy pouring through her, almost oblivious to the danger. Laguza expands into “Little Giant” form and attacks the monstrosity, restraining it with huge, fiery shackles at appear around it. Greunthrn hits it with a Planar Warrior attack, but its hide is too thick. The creature bites and swipes at Laguza with great power. Vyshka hits it with a Flame Strike and Laguza lands a heavy blow. Greunthrn quickly casts Healing Word on Laguza to temper the massive damage done by the monstrosity. He then declares the creature his favored enemy and hits him hard, twice. The creature bites and swipes at Little Giant again, then Belnirith lands the killing blow with a well-placed Guiding Bolt in its skull.

Osk keeps the energy flowing until the hour completes and the ritual ends. She stops, and as the final bit of energy pours out, her eyes stop glowing. Then a massive burst of green radiates outward and into the sky, illuminating it as far as the eye can see. The gigantic head reappears and stares at them, then vanishes, but not before its rage tears into the group’s psyche.

VI

The clouds return to their original dark color. Osk looks at Asgardey∂a with a smile, then collapses to the ground. “Did it work?” she croaks, exhausted “Can we go home now?” Greunthrn asks “Is there more that needs to be done?” She reponds “If there is, I don’t know what it could be.” With that, Vyshka assembles the group together and casts Word of Recall, instantly transporting all of them back to Vogsal.

It is evening in Vogsal as the group return. A normal, post-twilight sky greets them, no sign of red or rain from before. The city is bustling with frenzied activity. People are repairing walls, tending to the wounded, gathering supplies. Orcs, elves, shadar-kai, as well as humans, number among the wounded. Dragon fly overhead.

Asgardey∂a take Osk to rest at her home and go to the Great Hall, seeking Vali. His wife, Signy is there, instead. She tells them the Elder god sent creature after creature, but dragons and Asgardians came. The enemies never quite reached Vogsal.

Asgardey∂a head outside the gates to see what is happening. The battle was thousands of feet away. Hundreds of feet away, Valkyrie are landing, picking up the valiant dead. Orcs make their way back to Vogsal. Asgardey∂a hear “Vali is returning!” and see him, Bersi, and Gættr limping back, tired, and bloody. “Well, it seems you were successful.” Vali remarks when he sees them. “We saw the sky turn green, and everything closed. We had to fight the Horrors that were left, but no more were coming through. The Valkyrie and the dragons kept the Horrors at bay. I think we have just fought off the great evil of our day.”

“I thought we were going to have a devil of a time” Greunthrn jokes.

Belnirith asks if they know the whereabouts of her mother, Aegnagryd. Almost in response, Hellryn comes, riding a Nightmare, up to them. “When the gate was closed, those eldritch beings left here had nowhere to go. Now, the ruins of Belmunt are an undead graveyard ruled by your mother. Or what’s left of her. Until she is dealt with, Haettrland is not safe.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

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