Session 07/11

Nimmik quickly identified the poison that was coating the arrows they'd suffered; Sassone Leaf Residue! The apprentice passed the others who'd been wounded by the arrows vials of antitoxin. After imbibing the fluid they were able to stave-off the secondary effect of the poison (1d6 CON dmg). Silas took a vial for good measure, in case they ran into more of the evil stuff. Aenin leaned, blinded and despondent, against the statue of Mystra. He felt it suddenly shift and the other watched on as it turned around to face the warblade. "Mystra" bent over Aenin and wept tears onto his face. Miraculously, his vision returned and the statue returned to its complacent pose. Helios stood in wonder for many moments, staring at the representation of his goddess. After draining more charges from the wands of cure light wounds and castings of Ebon Eyes, the group began to form their plan of attack. The monk who'd nearly killed Silas was high on their "action item list" as was the fiend firing arrows from behind the holy symbol. They also decided Helios' light gem would be a good thing to retrieve. And above all else; caution was key.

They made their way back into the hall in which they recently done battle, with Silas listening at the doors before they entered. Systematically they searched the hall and every room adjoining it. The room in which Silas had been beaten turned up a diary of one of the shadow guards. In it were the writings of a good person who slowly, through the exposure of something called the 'Mystic Gate', became aberrant and spiteful. They found the light gem, or what was left of it; dug out of the body of the snake that had eaten it and smashed to bits. These bastards were getting annoying. Another room revealed a storage space, and yet another revealed a veritable torture chamber; complete with the headless bodies of its most recent victims. They found identification papers of several people in a pile of clothing in the corner, including the ID papers for Amnic Basult, the bookseller. It appeared they were too late to save the hapless man. The northern side of the hallway revealed a large and luxurious bedroom with a bed fit for a giant.

While Nimmik and Helios searched the bookshelf (looting several expensive art objects), Silas rummaged through the desk, discovering more incriminating papers and a secret compartment containing slippers of spider climbing. Although overjoyed, Silas graciously offered the rest of the party dibs and, when they declined, happily put them on. "At least he offered this time, usually he just takes stuff," Aenin said to Percival, who merely grunted.

As the PCs looted and raided, a foreign elf and his leopard companion made their way south toward Wheloon. Xanfire Moonshadow had heard of the new Temple of Mystra in Wheloon, and thought it would be nice to check it out. It would have to wait until morning, for surely their doors wouldn't be open this late. But, as he passed the large structure he saw quite clearly, even from the road, that the doors were open and the light from within pouring out. As he got closer he noticed the stark signs of abandonment; no guards, no patrons, no clerics, and the distinct sign of blood on the tiled floor of the middle temple. After a bit of searching it seemed to him that the place had been ransacked. Xanfire and Kevril made their way to the dark inner temple doors and down the long stairway. As he stepped on the landing a spell sigil illuminated below his foot and he felt a wave of paralysis wash over him. At that same moment an arrow fired from the mouth of one of the feminine statues in the corner. Xanfire was lucky enough to dodge both traps, and he warily made his way down the rest of the stair, marveling at the ineffectiveness of these 'raiders'.

Meanwhile, the group was preparing to make their way into the dark room beyond the holy symbol. They preped their potions scrolls and whatnot and made to enter the room with Aenin in the lead. Another foul spell sigil lit from under the warblade's feet and the room erupted in rubbery black tentacles. The disembodied limbs attempted to grapple the PCs, managing to grab many of them. Only Garron and Nimmik avoided the strong rubbery "hug" of evard's black tentacles. The others managed to break free as Nimmik attempted to dispel the effect. The apprentice was unsuccessful and was grappled on the following round along with Garron. The rest of the group managed to break free and move into the cavernous room beyond the giant holy symbol. Inside they found a great dark curtain of etherial blackness, suspended between two pillars. Behind that was a great altar covered in the bones of various humanoids. Silas snuck into the room and hid from sight. As the knight and the warblade reeled at the evil of this new chamber, familiar darts deflected off of their armor. Aenin spotted two similarly dressed monks standing by the pillars. Percival, though put on his guard by the assault, seemed completely unaware of their presence. Both monks quickly stepped behind the pillars for cover. The warblade pointed out their position to the knight and he moved in to attack. He made a mighty swing with his bastard sword, but the agile woman sidestepped. Simultaneously, she kicked at his knee to put him off-balance, grabbed him by the breastplate and flung him around and through the curtain of darkness. As he passed trough the shadowy veil his equipment disintegrated and large open sores appeared on his skin. Only a few of his belongings survived the trip through the gate and Aenin was in very, very bad shape (unconscious and bleeding at -9 HP!). The knight was moving up to his own opponent as this happened so he failed to see his ally in such dire straits. With his yuir ghostblade and a Stone Vise Strike he swung at the other monk, scoring a devastating hit. Though he did considerable damage the monk shook the immobilizing effect and withstood being stunned from loosing massive HP. The male monk deftly grabbed Percival by the collar of his platemail and flung him through the curtain of black like his comrade. Somehow Percival avoided the same fate as Aenin and he passed through un-phased. Helios made his way into the room and spotted Aenin in a pool of his own lifeblood. He also spotted the female monk standing behind the pillar. Moving into position, he cast phantasmal assailants, but she shook the effect as if it were nothing. Helios wanted revenge for his wounded comrade. The dwarf made short work of breaking free of the tentacle and he made his way into the cavernous room. He also saw the desperately wounded warblade and he moved into position to heal him next round.

Nimmik had his hands full as another of his dispel magics proved inefficient and he took more constricting damage. Percival stood and poured a healing potion down the throat of his wounded companion. Aenin, now conscious, took stock of his condition, plucked one of his remaining cure serious wounds potions from the floor and guzzled it down. Silas, having spotted the male monk at the opposite pillar, moved into position and sniped the unsuspecting sharran. Using his spell thief abilities, his first shot caught the monk flat footed and Silas stole the dark energy that was surrounding him. His second shot finished him off. As the spell thief was marveling at the protective dweomer he'd stolen he heard his nick-name whispered from within the curtain of dark. Helios fired a lesser orb of cold at the female monk but she easily sidestepped it. The remaining monk flicked a pair of shuriken at Helios only to have them bounce off of his defenses. And seeing as how her ally had fallen, she slipped between the shadows and fell from sight.

Garron gave Aenin another dose of healing as Nimmik finally dispelled the tentacles. The group warily searched about for the hidden monk. But she wanted to stay hidden, and thats just what she did. Aenin gathered up his remaining gear and asked if anyone had some spare clothing. Percival gave the warblade the shield, cloak, and armor they'd taken from the fallen priestess. As Aenin donned the armor its magical nature became apparent and it resized to fit his body (i.e. the bust of the breastplate flattened). With the shield and cloak topping-off the outfit, the warblade look more like a paladin of Mystra. Percival still felt a little funny after passing through the gate. When asked, Helios related that the gate may have been a failed attempt to create a portal to the Plane of Shadow. Silas put two and two together and figured that the shadow guards had passed through this same gate and gained their ability to hide while being observed. The whispers still reached his ears from the gate, calling "Pick". He quickly dressed down to his street clothing and prepared to walk through. The rest of the group looked at him as if he were insane, but let him. As Silas passed through the curtain of darkness he felt as if he were enveloped in velvet and he head a voice close to his ear say, "Welcome home, Four of Five." Stepping out the other side, the spell thief looked and felt none the worse for wear. In his left hand he found something he hadn't had before; a black silk mask. He donned it and approached the group. Both Percival and Helios groaned as they saw the holy symbol of Mask on the face of the spell thief. But they thought it could have been much worse.

Nimmik asked for the karse stone from the cleric of Mystra, and told everyone to step back, far back. He intended to destroy this gate so the sharrans couldn't create any more shadow guards or any more of those cursed monks. As the group moved into the previous hallway and the bedroom adjoining, Nimmik could be heard offering a prayer in mulhorandan to Kossuth. After a brief moment they heard the sharp crackle of energy and Nimmik's screams. Then nothing. Xanfire, who'd been easing his way deeper into the temple, finally came to the hall of night (the one with the giant holy symbol). Through the giant symbol of Shar he saw a man being assaulted by black energy. He was on his knees clutching his head and as he gave a tortured scream he disappeared in a puff of smoke. The group exited the rooms in the hall, calling to the Red Wizard apprentice. Xanfire drew his bow and demanded to know who they were. Silas followed suit with his own bow and they had a mini stand-off. Helios broke the tension and introduced himself and the others by proxy as the rest of the group went to inspect the condition of their comrade. Silas called to the apprentice but there was no answer. Nimmik was gone, but so was the shadow gate. The karse stone sat complacently on the floor where Nimmik had last been seen standing. After being briefed to the situation, Xanfire thought it would be the righteous thing to do to help the PCs finish cleaning out the false temple. He saw the various symbols of goodly gods among them; Kelemvor, Mystra, and Clanggeddin, so they were most likely to be trusted. Garron groused a bit at the presence of the elf and his "kitty", but kept the grumbling under his breath.

Silas searched the bone pile around the altar and found nothing (aside from bones). There was one other exit from this room and the spell thief searched it skillfully. He discovered the trap; another metal-arm swinging block trap, and disabled and unlocked the door. Behind was another narrow hallway. Having unpleasant flashbacks, Silas carefully checked every square foot of the passage. But he found nothing. It eventually led to another door, which went through the customary 9 point inspection. It passed, and Silas backtracked to inform the group that the corridor was clear.

Percival stopped the group at a bend in the corridor and sent Silas ahead to open the door. A moment later, three arrows zipped past Percival's face to clatter against the back wall of the passage. Aenin moved to round the corner, but Percival held up a gauntleted fist. "Wait," was all he said.

Keeping hidden, the spell thief spied three of the shadow guards at the far end of a bridge spanning a dark canal. The well lit room seemed to be a river access/prison, for there were cells lining most of the walls. In one such cell, behind the shadow guards, there was the sleeping form of a woman. The guards didn't seem to notice Silas standing in the doorway, which seemed very odd to the thief; even though he was trying to hide it shouldn't have been that easy. Curious. The wheels started turning in Silas' often ale-addled head and a plan took shape.

Silas placed his disk of silent portal on the real door and shut it behind him as he climbed up the wall with his slippers, hidden all the while. Following the spell thief's instructions; Helios cast minor image on the door.. of the door, making it look shut even if opened, Aenin and Garron lined up behind the false door and prepared to charge. The dwarf cast bless on the group and Aenin boosted up with a bull's strength from Xanfire. In fluid sequence, Silas silently flung the door wide as Aenin charged out, headed for the guards across the bridge. The plan was almost ruined as a tentacle reached from the dark waters of the canal to swipe at the warblade. Aenin proved a hard target and he finished his charge with a Steel Wind Strike, slicing through two of the surprised guards. Garron moved into the room to attempt to swipe at one of the now two tentacles jutting from the water, and he noticed more figures assembled at the end of the bank to his right. The dwarf took a defensive position and warned the others of the additional foes.

As the surprised ambushers gathered their wits the group descended upon them in full force. Aenin finished off the last guard on the far side of the bridge. Percival moved in and took position in front of Garron. With his hammer he attempted to trip the figure in the lead; a large man in full plate wielding a greatsword. The man proved too difficult a target and he and the man behind him (wielding a longspear) swapped positions, covering each others defenses as they moved. A halfling, hiding in the shadows, took a shot at Aenin, but his new armor deflected the arrow. She took up position behind the two men on the southwest walkway, drawing a vial of liquid as she moved. Helios moved to the doorway and fired off a pair of magic missiles at the beast in the canal. Silas, hidden all the while, moved down from the wall and in front of the dwarf, waiting for an opening to fire. The man with the longspear took two stabs at the knight, scoring one hit.

The warblade attempted to strike at the soggy poo-monster in the canal but the water deflected his blow. Xanfire summoned a strange looking crocodile into the waters of the canal and it assaulted the tentacled beast, doing massive damage. The otyugh in the canal traded blows with the greenbound crocodile, failing to even damage it. The halfling tossed the vial at Percival and it shattered on his armor. Dark flames engulfed the knight, burning his flesh, and if it weren't for the ebon eyes still in effect, he would have been unable to see. Percival and the man with the longspear continued to trade blows, as Garron waited for the right moment to join the fray.

Aenin saw the condition of the otyugh in the canal and finished it off with a mighty Bone Crusher Strike. The otyugh's eyestalk went flying across the room as Aenin's bastard sword split the water like a hurricane. He moved back across the bridge to join the other battle. Things turned from bad to worse for the would-be ambushers. As Percival closed the distance with the man with the spear, the two men tried to swap positions again. This time the knight tripped the man with the greatsword and the man with the spear was left with nowhere to go. Except, of course, the canal. With desperate skill, the man jumped from the bank into the dark waters below. Percival tried to swipe at him as he jumped, but he proved too wily. Helios, however didn't have that issue with the small female; as his magic missiles found their mark.

Aenin moved in and took a swipe at the prone man, but the warblade's sword glanced off of his armor. The halfling threw another vial as she moved and took up position behind the catamaran on the bank. It struck the knight again and this time acid mixed with another foul substance ate at his flesh. Helios loosed a pair of bolts at the swimming man, and Xanfire moved his crocodile in to finish him off. Silas, from concealment, scored two hits on the halfling, knocking her out. As the man with the greatsword attempted to stand; Percival, Aenin, and Garron all took free shots at him. This was more than enough to kill him.

Xanfire had his croc attempt to carry the dead man to shore but his spell ended just as it was lifting the corpse to the knight. The PCs tried to grab the body as the current carried it away, but it was too strong. Silas searched the small room at the end of the southwest bank, finding a nice little cache of nifty swag. Helios went across the bridge to inspect the sleeping woman, obviously enchanted to slumber. Calling "Pick" over, the cell door was opened and they woke the woman. She seemed unsure as to where she was at first, but slowly she remembered the ritual of "Mystra's Sacred Trust" and being subjected to passing through a dark gate. She gave her name as Veera Wavecrest. Veera didn't have much useful information for the PCs and she seemed quite ready to leave the false temple. After being pointed to the exit, she made her way out, searching the bodies of the shadow guards as she went (a common rogue trait).

In the small room at the end of the southwest bank they also found the bloodied and beaten body of the man that hired them to inspect the temple; Tunaster Dranic. Unfortunately they were unable to revive the priest and they prepared to take his remains back into town. With Dranic dead who was to carry his message to Saerloon?

The group gathered up the gear found on their dead foes, stabilized and bound the female halfling, and made their way from the "Temple of Mystra" back to downtown Wheloon.

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