Session 01/23

Silas scaled the dark shadowtop tree that shaded the rear courtyard. Immediately, he noticed a pair of globes of darkness moving toward his group's position from the west. An explosion from the eastern courtyard drew his attention and the spell-thief spotted a small group of Shadowslain lizardfolk, two of which looked as if they'd been in an explosion. Silas smirked, glad that the blast disk they'd left behind served some use. He called down to the group, warning them of the oncoming enemies. Nimmik, meanwhile, noticed that Shank was scaling the wall, and asked the group if the halfling was taking-up a tactical position or fleeing. Aenin dismissed the fleeing Shank and suggested that the group move into the tower. Nathan hastily cast bless on his companions as they began to move into the shadow of the small tower. Percival and Aenin took the lead, keeping an eye peeled for ambush. The Red Wizard swiftly cast invisibility on himself and took to the air on the opposite side of the tower. Silas stayed right where he was, more than happy to take advantage of his snipers' position.


A rumbling crash came from within he tower as a large form fell through the ceiling. A massive, bipedal crocodile glared at the PCs, "More arms for my shackles? More entrails for my supper?". Two more of the dusky, chain-wielding humans appeared out of nowhere, flanking the warblade and the knight. And a pair of shadowslain poison-dusk lizardfolk skulked halfway down the spiral stair, using it for cover and drawing their shortbows. Helios tried to discern the crocodile-giant's origin, but could only determine it to be extra-planar. It lashed-out at the warblade, only to have its powerful jaws deflected. Aenin then found himself in a difficult position, threatened by both the croc and one of the dark humans with the spiked chains. He decided to go for broke and rush the croc. Unfortunately, the Khumat took that opening to clamp his strong crocodile jaws down on the warblade's shoulder and bring him in for a grapple. Meanwhile, Nimmik had spotted the rushing group of shadowslain in the eastern courtyard. Still invisible and air-borne, he loosed a fireball from his wand. It engulfed the five undead lizardfolk, wounding three and destroying two. He positioned his small fire elemental (still present from the last encounter) in front of the doorway from the eastern courtyard to buy the PCs a little more time. Helios blasted the Khumat with a pair of magic missiles and positioned himself so he could get a bead on the eastern courtyard.

Nathan moved to back-up the fire elemental in the defense of the doorway. Meanwhile, one of the spheres of darkness (the one that seemed to be floating) moved into the rear courtyard. Silas, who had been delaying for a better target, used the benfit of his ebon eyes spell to peek inside the sphere. Inside, he found a figure in full plate-mail walking on thin air. She began to recite a spell (and was only discernible as a female by her voice) and pointed at the distracted mystic theurge. He felt a wave of power wash over him, but shook its effect. The spell-thief took aim and fired with a sneak attack. It struck true and he stripped one of her spell effects from her person and a spell from her memory. Whatever spell was in effect on her stripped the spell-thief of his sight, replacing it with extra sensory perception. He now had blindsight out to 30'. The spell that popped-up in his spell-pool was a twisted and evil ritual known as spores of the vrock. Silas couldn't imagine any use he'd possibly have for the spell, but at least the cleric wouldn't be able to use it against the group. The she-cleric glared at the spell-thief who'd, luckily for her, failed to hide again after sniping.

The dusky humans inside the tower attempted to flank and attack the knight, but his defenses were too good. Out in the eastern courtyard an arrow sped from the shadows toward Nimmik. It glanced off of his wards, but he wasn't able to spot the sniper. Percival attempted strike at one of the shadar-kai, but overshot his blow. His footing failed him and he fell to the floor, dropping his hammer in the process. Outside, the shadowslain lizardfolk attacked Nimmik's fire elemental with their longspears, nearly destroying it. The land-bound globe of darkness also moved further into the northern courtyard, toward the PCs. The pair of shadowslain poison-dusk lizardfolk on the spiral stair took pot-shots at the prone knight, both missing. !Chk, seeing his leader take a nasty spill, drew his net and threw it at the nearest shadar-kai, ensnaring him.


The khumat continued to chew on the warblade as Aenin struggled to escape his toothy hell. Nimmik rounded the tower's exterior to hover above the eastern courtyard. Spotting the land-bound globe of darkness he loosed another fireball from his wand, hoping to hit whatever hid within. Helios, trying to gain his bearings, cast another magic missile at the khumat, while silently pouring through the spells he had in memory and deciding which to use. Nathan called upon his goddess' holy fury and brought down a rain of holy water on the shadowslain assaulting Nimmik's summoned elemental, finishing them off. The dark priestess pointed an armored hand at the spell-thief in the tree and spoke an infernal phrase. The spell-thief felt the flesh on his legs wrinkle and wither as the lost their grip on the branch he'd been straddling. He slid off of his perch, surely to fall to the overgrown, cobbled courtyard below. Deftly, he threw his hand out and caught the branch just below him, stopping his fall. Silas found his new situation less than optimal, but never the one to give-up, he drew one of the poisoned daggers from his belt and hurled it at the floating priestess (whom had switched her attention to the Mystran clerics below). It struck true, but she withstood the vicious toxin. She glared back at the dangling Silas, picturing how he'd look with both withered legs and arms, tumbling to the earth like a rag doll flung from a window. The image pleased her and she began to bring the same spell to the forefront of her mind, eager to cast it again next round.

Percival, now in less of a nasty spot, stood from prone. He accepted the less-than accurate strike from the shadar-kai and delivered his own, this time knocking the dusky-humanoid's shoulder from its socket and dropping him. Knowing Aenin was unlikely to break the burly crocodile-demon's hold on him, he tried to think of the best way to help him. Another arrow streaked in from the western courtyard, this time aimed at !Chk. Unfortunately, the veiled sniper had ranks in rogue and the sneak attack dealt a hefty amount of damage. Even worse, the shadar-kai in the net managed to escape and attempted to strike the small lizard-man. This time, !Chk's natural armor proved too hardy and the spiked-chain was deflected. The shadowslain poison-dusks in the tower took another shot at the knight, both missing again, as the globe of darkness on the ground marched closer. !Chk, still reeling from the arrow in his side, managed to call upon one of Marduk's granted abilities and outlined the female cleric within the darkness with moonlight, negating her cover.

The khumat, seeing Percival approach, loosened his grip on Aenin a little, in case he needed to deter the knight with a healthy tail-swipe. The tail-swipe was poorly aimed and the knight-crusader deftly side-stepped. The change in the demon's tactics was just what the wounded warblade needed, and he was able to break the beast's hold on him. Outside, Nimmik had spotted the dangling Silas and the odd paralysis that seemed to grip only his legs. Swapping-out one of his 3rd tier spells he brought dispel magic into his mind and cast it, deftly removing the curse from the spell-thief. Helios, relying on his guess as to the khumat's origin, cast light of mercuria on himself and readied to, hopefully, obliterate the creature next round. Nathan followed his leader's example and cast light of venya. The clerics were geared-up to deliver a double-dose of Mount Celestia. Aenin managed to get to his feet with the crusader's help as they both squared-off against the Khumat. Percival threatened the beast with his Yuir ghostblade. The shadowbeast tried to give ground to take full advantage of his reach. He didn't count on the knight's vigilance, which gave both Aenin and Percival attacks of opportunity on the demon. Percival's swipe took a decent toll on the khumat, but its hide was supernaturally tough. Aenin had only his non-enchanted wakizashi to work with, and his attack might as well had been with a bedroll for all the damage it didn't do.

The female cleric decided it would be best to deal with the Mystrans first and closed with Nathan. The darkness surrounding her dissipated as it came into contact with Nathan's light of venya. The strike from her heavy mace was numbing and it flashed red as it struck the young cleric from Saerloon. Silas, now in full control of all of his limbs, resumed his perch and put the female cleric back in his sights, taking full advantage of the concealment the tree provided. His next sneak attack truck true and stole a mighty enchantment the priestess had cast upon herself; divine power. The spell-thief felt his muscles strengthen and battle sense sharpen to that of a seasoned warrior. Another bow-shot came from the eastern courtyard as more shadar-kai slipped in through the open door. The arrow streaked toward Nathan, but he managed to deflect the missile with his shield. Taking-up flanking positions near the clerics, the shadar-kai attempted to stop their spell-casting. Their attacks, however, were less than effective. The shadowslain poison-dusks on the stair-well descended to take-up position behind their demonic leader. They both fired their short bows at !Chk, but even though their living brood-mate was distracted, they still missed. The land-bound globe of darkness closed with !Chk and the pair of clerics outside. Luckily, Nathan's light of venya was powerful enough to dispel the gloom, revealing more shadowslain lizardfolk within. They attempted to skewer the clerics and poison-dusk cohort with their longspears with little success. !Chk unleashed his natural attacks on the wounded shadar-kai near the hole in the tower wall, landing a decent blow with his bite and letting the phoenix promise crystal on his amulet singe the dusky human.

Inside the shadows of the tower, the khumat again tried to slap the knight with his muscular tail, missing. Aenin ached to retrieve his bastard sword from the ground, but didn't want to risk leaving himself open for another bite from the shadowbeast. Nimmik silently landed near the shadowslain lizardfolk just outside, lining them up for a blast from his enchanted bracers. He accepted an opportunity strike from the nearest undead, but his wards were too strong for the beast. Raising his hand, the ruby in the palm of his metallic glove flashed and flames engulfed four of the shadowslain reducing them to ash. In unison, Helios and Nathan loosed the might of the heavens on the khumat through the hole in the tower wall. Four pure white bolts sped from the clerics to wash over the shadowbeast. The first bolt broke over him like waves on rocks, but the next three decimated the demon, cleanly scathing-off his right arm and his head. The khumat was no more. His body fell backward to pin one unfortunate, undead poisondusk. Aenin (after reclaiming his bastard sword) and Percival ably dispatched the other diminutive undead, hacking and smashing its bones to bits. Silas, still hidden by Mask's grace, sniped the priestess, yet again. This time choosing to do all out damage instead of spell-stealing. Now sorely wounded, the priestess gave ground and called upon the unholy power of Shar; Every living being within 30' felt their health being sapped as the wounds on the cleric of Shar began to close. The group had encountered this before. Apparently its a popular skill among Sharran clerics. The wounded shadar-kai near !Chk burst into flames as the diminutive lizardfolk switched his attention to the newly arrived shadar-kai.

The Red Wizard drifted closer to the still-wounded she-cleric as he drew a scroll from his haversack. The last words he recited were consumed in a massive cloying spray of acid. As it billowed from his mouth it engulfed the dark priestess and the last remaining shadowslain, their flesh melted away leaving only items enchanted and able to withstand the acid breath. As the greenish cloud dispersed, Aenin and Percival emerged from the tower to help !Chk finish the pair of shadar-kai that had entered from the eastern courtyard.


With all apparent foes defeated, the group searched the dead, then assembled the shadows of the squat tower, Helios' spear providing adequate illumination. Silas immediately went to work checking the interior doors for traps; The door to the west of the sexagonal room was locked with a particularly exceptional lock, but not trapped. It took the spell-thief some time to pick it but prevailed in the end. The door to the east was similarly locked and he discovered a secret door to the south, but the mechanism to open it was elsewhere. The eastern door led into a storage closet with nothing of much interest within, while the western door led to a short and narrow hallway. Another door branching off of that hall to the north revealed a small shrine to the groups' favorite goddess; Shar. They decided to leave this one alone seeing as how past attempts to deface this goddess' shrines was met with quite a bit of pain. However, sitting on the altar was a note. Silas carefully plucked it up and, after perusing it, passed it to Percival. The knight's face went ashen as he read-aloud the finely penned words on the note; Apparently, the bulk of the Sharran's force lay not here at the Lost Refuge, but through a planar gate located somewhere within, leading to the Plane of Shadow. The group was going to have to venture into the dark foreboding evil of the Plane of Shadow to get to the root of the situation. The hall ended to the south with an odd bas relief of the back of a figure. While Silas was busy with the locks and searching, !Chk noticed faint calls for help coming from the floor above. The voices were speaking draconic and sounded reptilian.

The group quickly ascended the spiral stair to find lizardfolk chained to the walls, beaten and starved by their appearance. Aenin got to work unlocking their shackles with the ring of keys he'd found on the khumat. Gathan, the Sharptooth Lizardfolk Chieftan they'd been sent to rescue, introduced himself and thanked the PCs for their timely arrival. After some healing and sharing of trail rations, the group decided it would be best to equip the lizardfolk with some of the items they'd found on the defeated shadowslain.

As the group prepared to make ingress to the other areas of the keep. Nimmik suggested that they make a tactical retreat to replenish spells and escort the lizardfolk safely to the gate. Helios agreed, wanting to restudy in better anticipation of what they might be fighting. Stealthily, Silas scouted the path back to the gatehouse and waved the rest of the group ahead. The blindsight and divine power he'd stolen from the priestess faded but he still had spores of the vrock in his memory. Glad to have his normal vision back, the spell-thief still anticipated the groups' encounters with the rest of keep's spellcasters.

Once the lizardfolk had been safely sent on their way back to the sharptooth encampment, the group assembled in the gatehouse to restudy and examine what they'd found on the bodies of the fallen. Using the artificers' lens they discovered that many of the items recovered from their enemies were, in fact, Shadow Weave items. Amidst the groans of their chagrin, Nimmik piped-up, telling them that the karse stone could possibly remove the taint of the Shadow Weave from the items. There was a potential chance that the stone would simply destroy the items, but better that than fall into the hands of someone who could actually use them for evil. Using a wand of darkbolt as a test, the Red Wizard put his theory to practice and, sure enough, the dark purple miasma that the wand displayed under detect magic was replaced with the more commonplace blue glow. It became a Weave item. With this technique they could potentially turn all of the tainted items they'd found to their use. Either that, or destroy them, which was still preferable to carrying them around. One item they'd found wasn't created with Shar's Shadow Weave, much to the clerics' joy; an amulet of retributive healing. Once the items were inspected the group rested for a little while before restudying and praying.

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