Events Leading up to the Skeletal attack on the Keep

It is for your benefit that I write this brief account. Shortly after I, Hyril, arrived upon the scene along with my new barbarian/captain friend Alekderek, most of you simply disappeared. We did not have long to settle in, for as we began to take our evening rest at the inn, we were approached by Corporal Thane, seeking our help. It seems that Tharsavorsa and the other chief leader of this keep were out scouting the area after the mishap with the lizard men. During their scouting mission, they were seen to be ambushed, by the guards on the keep wall. So in response, we two roused ourselves and a small band of about 10 men to find their location and recover them if possible. The site of the ambush was easily discovered, with a burning wagon in the middle of the road. Quickly locating a nearby cave on the side of a hill, and hearing a voice calling for help, we rushed inside dispatching several flying bone beasts, like the one we had seen from afar previously. Around this time Arradin phased into the plane. He, and his two men quickly fell in line with our recovery mission. Speaking with the man who called for help, we found him to be a merchant with several missing guards. He asked us to recover his men if possible, eluding that Tharsavorsa and the other keep leader were drug further inside the caves. So we pushed forward, fighting many more undead and recovering several more guards. Finally we reached a chamber with three doors. The chamber at the far end contained a healing shrine, which may be useful in future expeditions. The doors opposite one another posed a quandary for some time. One seemed to lead to a dead end, while the other was unmovable and locked so that nothing we did could open it. After several moot brainstorming sessions, and a variety of tricks tried, we finally discovered the secret to the door. It could only be opened when the door opposite it was also open. Upon finally entering the room, we found Tharsavorsa, the other Keep Leader, and the rest of the merchants guards tied up. We also discovered some sort of undead cult leader and a bunch of undead minions, doing some evil voodoo with a black magic heart that dripped black ooze. Hoping to take out the lot of them by killing the heart, I launched an arrow at it, while Alekderek began dispatching the minions one by one. Arradin also fought heartily with his men. Our conscripted cleric also earned his pay, saving my life after a brutal hit. Eventually we dispatched all the undead and freed the captives. At this point, we healed up at the shrine, and decided to take a look deeper down into the dungeon, for a door in that final room led to a descending staircase. Unfortunately by now all our men were shaken up, and Arradin had left to take Tharsavorsa and the other Keep Leader to Paopao to be healed and mended; which left Alekderek and myself to descend alone. In the room we entered, we found a well of sorts, that seemed to enter another dimension perhaps. Also, along the walls were all sorts of different symbols, and passing vertically in a line up one wall was the evil symbol of infinity that we have gained some familiarity with. Alekderek decided to pour his holy water in the well, hoping to cleanse it if possible; however, instead it began to spew out evil skeletal birds, which he dispatched one by one, while I quickly jotted down a row of the symbols from one of the walls. Unable to face these overwhelming odds, we made a hasty retreat, while the well continued it evil vomit of creatures from the depths. Catching up with the freed merchant, guards, and our men, we double timed it back to the keep. There, it didn’t take long before we were called to the walls once more…

Leolite's Log

An accounting of recent events: by Leolite Meliamne
For the benefit of my companions who so ungraciously left us as goblin chow…

As I sit in the inn, of the Keep of Althusa, it occurs to me that someone ought to keep a record of recent events — largely for the benefit of our companions who frequently phase in and out of this plane and location. This will allow us to keep one another abreast of our situation, so that we all might equally be prepared to face the evils in our path. Therefore, I have determined to write this very accounting myself. Perhaps, if I ever phase out of this plane, one of my companions will be gracious enough to do the same. My account comes in three parts: 1.) Statues, 2.) Ogres, and 3.) Zombie Dogs. I will try to be brief…

1.) Statues
You will recall, er last we were together, we were delving into the dark and insidious caves, north of the Keep. With the alarm sounding, and enemies sure to be approaching, we ducked into the nearest cave and dispatched six goblins. After this relatively successful bout of combat, we had noticed at least 6 more goblins coming down the righthand path. Acting quickly we ducked down the tunnel the original six had come from. Unfortunately for us, this was a dead end, containing nothing but a large bronze (and hollow) statue of a grotesque goblinoid figure. While Phocaeas tried to determine if it’s stick was a lever, their approaching Goblin priest, likely a cleric of sorts, cried out a prayer to their God. Unfortunately for us their God must have responded, for 6 bloody axes came whirling out of nowhere taking three of you out of phase with this plane. Surrounded, outnumbered, with a wooden barrier being stacked up so that the goblins might smoke us out of the alcove, we sprung into action — fighting for all we are worth. As we prepared to make a break down the righthand path, Arradin suddenly popped back into the alcove.
2.) Ogres
With the addition of a forth member, suddenly it seemed we might stand a chance. My healing spells were keeping the party alive, while Phocaes, Daresh, and Arradin were thinning their numbers. I even caught the goblin cleric on fire with an improvised molotov, causing him to flee even faster. What we were not aware of at the time, is that the words the goblin cleric was shouting were actually a call for an Ogre to take part in the fighting. The Ogre, named something akin to Barbar, (i’m not really sure, it’s hard to hold on to such minute details from the heat of battle) came charging down the tunnel — knocking the goblin cleric against the wall, and myself taking a hit and falling prone. The Ogre was tough. Daresh actually passed out from his wounds twice, his bravery only matched by his lack of survival instinct, and myself only being able to revive him once. Phocaeas has no such lack… greatly wanting to survive he dashed down the righthand passage… perhaps “scouting.” I am told he took out the weakened goblin cleric with a swift smack on the head. Meanwhile, Arradin and I were able to dispatch to Ogre, riddling it with arrows, and dodging its deadly swings. At the encounter’s conclusion we were able to stabilize our wounded companion, wrap him in a bear skin, and drag him along in our swift escape. A quick scour of the Ogre’s lair led Phocaeas to find a set of Ogre spoons, something he hopes will be valuable.
3.) Zombie Dogs
Back at the keep we were quickly healed, and we relayed our findings to Tharsavorsa. We were able to rest, eat, and drink. Some took their armor to be repaired. As we sat in our revelry, glad to be alive another day, we heard a commotion outside the tavern. One of the guards dogs had taken off, and was acting strangely. Springing into action, we began to investigate, sneaking closer and trying to determine what sort of danger we might be facing. I noticed that the dog, whimpering and seeming to ooze, was about half as warm as it should be. Just as we were making a plan of action, Daresh strode forward with his lantern to see what’s what. Upon being illuminated, we were able to see clearly the figure of a dog, without flesh, oozing blood and dripping fur. Obviously an unnatural evil, I loosed an arrow hoping to dispatch it quickly. The fighting was fast and fierce, and Daresh was bitten in on the arm before Phocaeas was able to destroy the beast with a strike to the head with his staff. The priest Powpow was able to discern an evil presence around the fountain, but nothing beyond that. Daresh had his bite cleansed in holy water, but many of us are still skeptical about whether it will have an adverse affect on him or not. I have heard of such things causing a man to go mad. We even considered amputation… We will have to watch him closely from now on.

At present, we have done all we can. We plan to go back to the caves in the morning, and have outlined a strategy we hope will lead to better success. I only hope our other companions are well, and can rejoin us in this strange land. Corellon knows we need allies here…

Corellon’s blessing on us all,
Leolite Meliamne


Weary and bloodied, the adventurers return to Althusa to find their return expected and observed by the officials of the Keep. Reunited, they answered the call to go to the Chapel and meet with Tharsavorsos and Pao-pao. Restored by the ministrations of the clergy, they sat down to have a serious discussion regarding the threats that have been uncovered by the earlier activities of the adventurers.

The centerpiece of the debate is the Fellpoint bone dagger. The symbol at its base has raised an alarm in the minds of the Steward, the Advisor and the Chief Priest, having been found etched on the foundations upon the rebuilding of the Keep generations before, as well as a small cave at the base of the hill.

Having gained at least the tacit support of the leadership of Althusa, and being reunited with Vician, the adventurers rested and prepared for the next morning. Their efforts to clear the caves to the northeast of Althusa have given them common cause with the Parthian Hargbed Neresh and his Council.

Girded for battle, the team set out for the caves again. Standing at the edge of the forest, Arradin, Leolite and Finn-Shee spy some watchers on the hill above the cave of their previous battle. After some discussion, Arradin notched two arrows in quick succession and took out the first of the two watchers. His satisfaction faded when a clanging alarm filled the valley.

In response to the likely rising threat, Leolite led the intrepid adventurers into the nearest cave entrance on the left, across from the scene of the combat with the kobolds the prior morning. Charging in, they quickly encountered a half-dozen goblins, also eager for battle. Javelins, axes and magical forces flew, clubs and blades rose and fell, and quickly the floor of the cavern was littered with dead and dying goblins. They gave some for what they got, drawing some blood from the adventurers. As they took down the last of the six before them, they could easily hear the preparations of another band of goblins toward the right at the intersection. Will they fare so well in the next, impending encounter?

And a price in blood

Before the team could even get settled, benign forces worked to alter their paths….. Vician became a virtual prisoner of the leaders of Althusa, with the details unclear to his companions, even as a new member joined them, Phocaeas….

Apparently, as the butterfly galley leapt across the waves, coming westward, opposing forces pushed back, and Phocaeas was among the others who did not make it all the way to the river bank. Subsequently, Altariel risked triangulating on the position of Leolite and forcing the passage across the planar barriers. Only time will tell if those efforts were detected.

The new foursome gathered their wits and explored the outer Keep, working in pairs or together to achieve their goals.

Priority for Takiir was to have his armor tinted red to avoid the stigma attached to the blue color. He also paid a fine to correct his registry at the gate, costing him 5 gold coins.
Leolite changed money and visited the Chapel, meeting Pao-pao.
Phocaeas ingratiated himself with the Priest at the Chapel.
Arradin had his plain sword reworked by the blacksmith.

Collectively, they ate lunch, finding the prices almost double their accustomed fare. A visit to the Guild Hall revealed much more information, as well as some free snacks. The blacksmith shared some valuable insights, along with the jewel merchant and his guards.

THEN…. the group equipped themselves and set off for the caves. Determined and enthusiastic to meet the enemy, they met with great success, of a sort. Viewing the valley with the cave entrances, Takiir assured them that he could learn much about the nature of the cave by just stepping inside.

Spoiling his plan, 8 kobold guards ambushed the group of 4. They met their end, but not without demanding a price in blood from the adventurers. Having acquitted themselves well, the adventurers cut the day short and returned in haste to the keep, feeling much more mortal than they had just a few hours before.

Future Memories, or Deja Vu....
Staying on contact with the Base, Mykka and the others....

For the four in Althusa, the sights, sounds, and very definitely the smells of a foreign land surround them and nearly overtake their senses. Still, like a daydream or wandering of the imagination, they can sense the transit of their Elven Emissaries across the unsteady sea.
p. So far, things have been going “according to plan” with little interference from the local Planar Pantheons…. However, an admonishment from Zurran to the others brings back the cold reality that there is still some form of interference that interrupts their ability to reach back to Lady Altariel and Lord Lerond…. Worse yet, not all the Emissaries made the transit “intact.”
p. Fortunately, there appear to be no consequences to suffering from the jamming or squelch, beyond temporarily fading out of existence.
p. (Somewhere in this revelation you come to the realization that Lady Altariel must have accepted risk on your behalf, without laying it out for you to consider…. What if there had been worse consequences? They did not know for sure! What if only half of your body materialized on this plane? Would you bleed out on both planes of existence, or just cease to exist entirely? They seem to be congratulating themselves for getting it right, while have to wonder about the alternative….. What else might they have gotten wrong???? Then again, you did sign on with the assurance that NOTHING IS ASSURED! You remember them saying that many times, but perhaps the details were lost in the fine runes at the bottom of the scroll?)
p. Perhaps their is a silver lining within the leafy “sails” of Mykka…. Could you anticipate some reinforcements now that you have made landfall?

The Keep
  1. In the pre-dawn air, the 4 intrepid adventurers stepped onto the riverbank. As they relished the feel of solid ground under their feet, they began to orient themselves and get organized. The two rangers spotted something on the hill just upriver that deserved attention. Following some broken conversation, they set off ahead of the dwarf and mage.
  2. From the saddle of the small hill, they spied 3 small figures with a dog-sized rat. With the incessant rain, these figures appeared to be content to slowly stamp their feet in obvious discomfort, hidden under their wet hoods. Calling the others forward, Leo (the sacred ranger) convinces Takiir (the dwarf gladiator) to approach and hail the small group. Vician (the mage) remained wholly unconvinced that they had any business out in the rain, with no breakfast, no roof, wet socks, and little visible to gain from hanging around here. Arradin (ranger) took a knee beside Vician, politely trying to shush him, while notching an arrow should the need arise.
  3. Takiir, always ready to display his bravado and prowess, stepped near the circle and addressed the small group in the goblin tongue. “Greetings!” With a start, the figures tossed back their hoods and sprang into action. One ordered the others in kobold “defend and attack!” Two of the three moved behind rocks, while the third stood with his rat to receive a charge if necessary. The apparent leader launched a javelin that glanced off Takiir’s armor. A melee ensued….
  4. Arradin, with little hesitation pierced first the rat and then its master with a couple of arrows, only missing once. Leolite charged in with a low war whoop, swinging his bardiche in a deadly arc that unfortunately found only gorse and branches. After a few parries and thrusts, Takiir felled the second kobold at his front, with obvious satisfaction and bloodthirst.
  5. The kobold leader, seeing his second javelin miss Arradin, turned quickly away and started to disappear into the low brush. With little hesitation, Vician deigned to wipe the rain from his brow and fired off a dart of plasma that caught the kobold in the back and knocked to the muddy earth, cold and dead.
  6. A quick search of the bodies revealed little beyond the short hooded cloaks, small bets and sashes, their crude weapons, with the exception of the leader. Takiir cleaned and dressed his trophy kill, peeling the skin from it quickly, while Vician searched the leader. Vician found and took possession of a small bundle in the belt pouch. Unwrapping the dark, unnatural silk revealed a cruel looking dagger made of the fused bones of a long finger, sharpened like a claw and porous like a sponge. Clearly not intended for combat, this dagger still looked very business-like.
  7. With little further ado, the party set off to the northwest for the nearby keep in the rising light of the overcast and rainy day.
The adventure begins

>Thoughts of the past and how you got here dwindle in the moments of sea spray, towering waves and the incessant howling of the wind. Sure, they said that reaching your obscure destiny would take courage, work and even faith, but this appears more like suicide. Why would you leave behind everything you knew just to save a multiverse that clearly places no value on your life…. >>The butterfly galley of the elves leaps from another wavecrest as it races forward, leaving your stomach in freefall. The last repast in Moonglum’s Gin Mill in Tanelorn has long since gone to the fishes and the banshee winds, though the acid taste remains. >>> With a scarcely heard cry, your helmswoman warns everyone to “stand by!” Unsure of what that could mean, you grip more securely to the spider silk netting that cocoons you, noting all the others doing the same with a quick glance through wind-ripped tears. >>>>Unmistakeably, the butterfly galley takes a longer leap than usual, with the wingsails tilting to carry and guide her. Feeling a fist gripping your heart for a moment, you wonder how much pain awaits. With a lurch that sends you against the bulkhead and audible spray off the port side, the butterfly galley skips and twists on a series of smaller waves, until she rights herself and takes on a more steady course. >>>>>Daring to get back to your feet and look over the side, you see shoreline racing past to port. A quick glance shows shoreline also to starboard, so you have entered a bay or river mouth. Within minutes you can clearly see that you are racing up a river, using all the tempest’s lessening fury to move inland. The focused look on the helmswoman’s face indicates that she is working with the galley and her wide spread wingsails to maintain balance, as well as a balance of speed and safety. With unanticipated relief, you doze off within your cocoon of netting. >>>>> > Hushed voices awaken you. Peeling your eyes open from the salt that still cakes your skin and face, you note false dawn. Leelah, your helmswoman, moves gracefully down the line, waking the passengers. Within minutes, everyone is gathered near the prow, lined up in the small space. >>>>> >>"On behalf of Lerond Nuween and Altariel Artanis, welcome to the unknown. As near as we can tell, our transition into this realm remains undetected, though caution remains the watchword. The mangrove barge remains at least seven dawns behind, though my master assures me that they are also safe. As you become accustomed to your connection to the “elv” you will know this just as well as I do. >>>>> >>>"The real work begins now. You have 20 minutes to offload your gear. From the high nest, I have spied a fortified settlement ahead on the right bank of the river, and when you are ready Mourning Cloak will nestle up close to the land, though she may not be able to keep your boots dry." You note, sardonically, that Leelah does not mind a little bit of humor at your expense, since nothing on the butterfly galley remained dry during the recent midnight race to land. >>>>> >>>>She continues, “Once you are ashore, explore, start making connections, and prepare for the arrival of the mangrove barge. Your orders remain in effect, so blessings of Altariel upon you.” >>>>> >>>>>Quietly, a few among you ask her questions about what she has seen. Additional details become clear. Your upriver journey took you about 15 miles inland. The shallow valley features a wide, slow-moving river, with some small, tree-crowned hills on either side, and puddles of marshy ground along the river’s course. To the right, or north, she sighted lights that indicate a port village or city along the shore, a likely place for the mangrove barge to moor and attempt to establish itself as a trading vessel. You recall your earlier briefings and wonder if you will precede them to the port, or find them waiting for you after you have overcome whatever challenges may await you.

A Window Opens
Would you trade radiant bliss for knowledge, even knowledge of darkness?
What lies ahead?
Welcome to your campaign!
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