Aces, Modreg, Sam and Lythannis chase Sparky and Radar through the streets. Ahead, they can see the wizard’s tower walls. The pugs zip past the two guarding swordmages and continue towards the tower through it’s gardens but stop when they realize they are no longer being followed.
The swordmages halt the heroes as they approach. Sam informs the guards that they believe their friend Mentathenis to be in danger and need access to the tower. The guard informs them that the tower is closed to all coming or going while the city is under attack, but that one of them would go fetch him for the visitors. The second elf heads towards the tower while the other stands to watch the battle across the city.
Becoming impatient, Sam uses a diplomatic approach to finally persuade the guard to allow one of them through. Sam catches up to the pugs and heads into the tower, following them through the halls and downstairs into the wizard’s library, where she finds Mentathenis, a ghost, the second elven swordmage and a guard, pondering over a chest at the back of the library.
Aces waits outside with Modreg and Lythannis. More soldiers and guards rush passed them towards the front gates of the city, catapults and other devices of war are being rolled by. Townsfolk are running up and down the streets in a panic and women are drag their children behind them in attempts to keep up with their husbands. Amidst the chaos, the mul spots three very colorfully, well-dressed elven girls making their way quickly through the crowd. They are chased by four dwarves, all with large gear sacks slung over their backs and hauling suitcases behind them. One of the elven girls drops a piece of paper and it floats across the street to land in a puddle in front of Aces. the girl falls out of line to go after it and yells out “Oh no, Sona! Guys! Wait!” The other two girls and dwarves slow for a moment as she fetches the paper, frowns at it being soaked through and catches back up to the group. They continue rushing through the crowd.
Upon hearing the name Sona, Aces chases them down. When she catches them, the rearmost dwarf notices the large woman approaching and gives her a nod. “What do ye want?” he asks.
Aces inquires about Sona and this draws the attention of the elven girls, who turn and walk back in curiosity. “Do you know Sona Summergale?” The one with the soaked paper asks excitedly. Aces responds with a yes and asks who the girls are. They line up and pose in front of the mul. “I’m Teena Tigerlily! I’m Vitnee Moonshale! I’m Chael Starwind! and we are The Feypoppies!” they all say in unison. “And these are our supporting dwarves! Rumburt, Raggert, Radnor and Rimblenose.”
When pushed for more information about Sona, Aces reveals that she knows the woman very well but that she was taken by the forces of Shade. She learns that the Feypoppies are searching for her in interest of having her lead their musical group, and that they are currently rushing towards a chartered boat called “the Tombstone” that is soon to be returning to Neverwinter. Thinking quickly, Aces promises many stories about Sona to the girls if she and her friends could accompany them on their boat to Neverwinter. They agree, and tell the mul that the boat is at dock number four, leaving in 30 minutes time.
Aces heads back to the wizard’s tower and asks Modreg to gather their things along with Megilwath and Fanidea from the Gatehouse Inn, and sends Lythannis off to get Terrlen and the others towards the gates of the city.
Krushi fires herself into the sky. a lightning bolt sizzles the ground where she stood while Ehd, Cliff and Ree’vr turn to face down a Knight of Shade and a Shadow Spreader. In an instant the halfling is flying high above the dark city and it’s swarm of gargoyles looking down at its twisted architecture. She heads down towards the tower line for a better look. Among the bizarre layout of alleys, hallways, tunnels and thin bridges, she can see many shadows milling about along walls, but no physical beings within it’s commons. As she is exploring, a Gargoyle spots her and before it can fly towards her, she disappears in a forked lightning strike to duck into one of the old towers. Inside the tower is mostly empty save for a few dancing shadows. Much of the cities inhabitants seem to exist somewhere between the prime material and the shadowfell.
She pauses to focus on the energy empowering her, and feels drawn towards the largest of the city’s towers, a black windowless spire rising far above the rest. She follows the draw of power down to the maze level and through it’s twisted passageways, she finds a path from below up through the hollow structure to it’s top, where she threads a small crevice and finds herself on the only floor of the tower. Strangely, the floor is open to a ghostly fog below, and a bridge extends from the tower’s side into nothingness. There are two decaying thrones and what appear to be twelve gaunt shadowy human-like figures carved from the walls in some sort of relief. A shiny dark faceted stone floats on a center island over the fog, surrounded by four statues.
Krushi can sense that the crystal she seeks is being held in an ornate chest placed off to the side of the room. She moves over to it and opens the lid to find the tiny black shard, it’s edges glowing faintly with radiant light.
She snatches it up and turns towards the floating dark stone in the center of the room…
Ehd, Cliff and Ree’vr, injured as they may be continue to fight against the Knight and the Spreader. Cliff is careful to keep hitting the shadow creature so it can not raise more than one Blazing Skeleton during the battle. Ree’vr assists Cliff and Ehd does all he can to see himself and his friends through the battle, healing and calling out strategy.
Just when they are able to put down the Shade Knight, Pyraxis and another imp carrying an hourglass, rise from the shadow. The Balor slashes Ree’vr with his lightning sword, pushing the Thri’Kreen off balance and then quickly bearing down on him for another attack. Ehd crushes the imp with a powerful attack and it struggles to stay airborne. Pyraxis grabs Ree’vr by the neck and drops into the shadow, taking the mantis with him. The imp follows and soon after so does the Shadow Spreader. Shade drifts to a point just over Baldur’s main gate and slows to a stop.
Sam makes her way into the wizard’s library with her two dogs to find Mentathenis, a ghost and a young man pouring over a chest. The eladrin greets the changeling and refocuses his attention to the magical seal upon the box. He has dealt with arcane seals of this power before, and recalls enough to break it handily. When he lifts the lid, a blindingly bright light explodes into the library. Sound is sucked from the room and beyond the growing light and flame, Mentathenis squints his eyes to make out the shape of a dagger laying at the bottom of the chest…
Aces feels a tremor beneath her feet and the gardens around the wizard tower are sent into the air as a bubble of stone and earth explodes from beneath the massive tower’s base. Aces is blown back nearly a block and debris is sent halfway across the city. The tower drops, and it’s base shatters outward under it’s own weight as it begins to crumble into its own footprint. Aces pulls herself to her feet and rushes towards the crumbling structure. A huge piece of wall riding the wave of destruction rolls towards her and she is buried under it.
As Krushi moves towards the black stone, the shadowy image of Symernia appears on the island below it. She speaks…“We have everything we need, it’s time.” and then fades away. Above the stone, the shadowy image of a blighted desert landscape comes into view and Krushi begins channeling her powerful lightning attacks into the dark object, damaging it and sending it spinning slowly in place.
Around the room, the eyes of all twelve gaunt shadowy figures open, and gaze into the now wobbling implement. Shadowy streams of dark energy flow between each of the figures eyes and the orb as Krushi continues to lay into it with her magic.
The earth begins to shake and the ground opens in a gaping maw tearing towards the gates of the city from Ehd and Cliff’s position. They watch Shade climb into the sky forming a vortex beneath it that shreds through the city walls lifting stone steel and hundreds of soldiers into the air. what isn’t lifted, falls into the wide crevice below. When the enclave disappears into a point the shock wave nearly throws Ehd and Cliff into the hole, but they manage to avoid plunging to their deaths. They run passed the carnage and ruin to seek their friends.
Aces hears voices and the sound of rocks being thrown around. a shaft of light pours in on her darkness and she can see Modreg clearing away rubble along with Lythannis, Megilwath, Fanidea, Cliff, Ehd and Terrlen. Modreg extends his little green hand to hep her out and then dusts her off. All that’s left of the wizard’s tower is a giant mound of destruction.
The mul looks around to take inventory, asking about Mentathenis, Sam, Krushi and Ree’vr. Lythannis shakes his head in a sorrowed response about Mentathenis and Sam, and Ehd and Cliff tell her Ree’vr was taken by the shadovar and Krushi disappeared in a bolt of lightning. Aces turns and starts digging through the rubble and Modreg jumps in to help but Lythannis steps in to place his hand on the woman’s shoulder. “I don’t think anyone could survive that Aces, no survivors have yet been pulled save for you.” She swats the archer’s hand aside and continues to dig, the thought of losing her friends weighing heavily on her, then she remembers the boat. Struggling emotionally, she decides it best to get everyone out of the city and on to Neverwinter, appointing Lythannis to see through the excavation and regroup with the others when he discovered the fate of Menatathenis and Sam. He agrees to that plan and stays behind with Celestine as Aces runs everyone across the bleeding city of Baldur’s Gate towards the docks.
Shade starts to tilt to the side as the halfling continues to light up the room with her abilities, further disrupting the black stone. A huge crash is felt throughout the tower and the floating city seems to stop, listing to one side. The image of the arid desert fades away, the dark figures stop channeling, and a shadowy barrier surrounds the stone. One of the twelve figures rips himself from the wall to approach the meddling halfling. “Intruder, what do you hope to accomplish with your weak magic?” Krushi turns and scowls at the wretched man. “What do YOU hope to accomplish? What do you WANT?” The figure grins, his teeth rotted.
Demons and Undead emerge from the walls and floor. Krushi can feel hot breath bearing down on her from behind. A deep voice answers “The Wraith Blade halfling, and we are now one step closer to acquiring it, thanks to you and your friends.” Krushi turns just in time to see the swing of a lightning sword, knocking her in the chest across the room. She falls near the crevice that she came in through and for a moment thinks about flinging herself into it to escape but realizes that the shard’s power has greatly diminished and so has her own. She knew would not survive a fall to the bottom without flight.
Pyraxis stalked towards the halfling, his flame whip crackling about as he whipped it menacingly. Krushi, weighed her options quickly and as the balor’s whip pulled back for the killing strike, the girl gathered her remaining energy and flew through the floor into the extra dimensional cloud space beneath the black stone…