Realm Runners

CHAPTER TWENTY: The Proving Grounds: Bell and Final Challenge

Skirting around the west edge of the proving grounds, the party heads through the center ring into a room with different colored pools. Mentathenis deducts that each pool does something different when someone drinks from it’s waters. Drinking from the yellow pool poisons, the green pool gives resistance to poison, and the red pool helps a person focus at the cost of their care of defense. The blue pool appears to be inactive.

Moving on to the southern most doorway, they enter a room, with pillars made of different creatures all entwined into one gruesome form. Near the pillars the party sees more Carnage Demons in waiting.

Following their normal routine, Aces and Megilwath charge into the room and begin melee against the demons, Krushi, Mentathenis and The Maven, mostly sit still and cast their powers from safety. A couple more Carnage Demons and another Barlgura enter the fray and give Aces a bit of a hard time. Meanwhile, the pillars seem to have a life of their own and cast negative effects and damaging spells against the heroes.

When the demons are finally slain, they all move past the pillars towards an altar in the rear of the area. Upon the altar, sits the Bell of Fury’s Calling. Aces picks it up and spikes go through her hand. They also remember what the three spirits mentioned to them about a treasure being hidden underneath the altar. Unfortunately, they are unable to locate any secret compartments, and in a disappointing defeat vs. hidden treasure, Aces destroys the altar and they all mope back to the proving grounds.

Now having all four of the items needed to open the doors to the inner sanctum, they split up and head to the different runic circles. Krushi heads to the pool room, Mentathenis heads to a room with shackled skeletons, Megilwath moves back to the statue gallery, and Aces and The Maven team up and head to the sacrifice room. On a count of three, they all place the four items on the runic circles and blue light engulfs them each, causing them to disappear.

Immediately after, the doors exiting the grounds slam shut, the traps in the complex activate and a screeching draconic roar echoes through the proving grounds. A spinning whirlpool rises up out of the blue pool in Krushi’s room. The shackled skeletons in Mentathenis’ room begin squirming on the ground. Two crossbows descend from the ceiling in Megilwath’s room and howling terrors rise up from the sacrificial altar in front of Aces and The Maven. A giant Doom Sphere can be heard rolling around the center ring and the flapping of wings draws closer. Aces and the Maven head to meet up with Megilwath who starts taking shots from the crossbows. Myst, the Shadow Dragon swoops in behind the mul and elf giving chase. Krushi is sucked in by the whirlpool trap and gets held by the swirling water. Mentathenis has trouble moving passed the grasping phalanges of the many skeletons littering the floor.

After a few failed attempts to get out of their rooms, Krushi and Mentathenis, both injured by their respective traps, rejoin with the others to start fighting off Myst in the statue gallery. Megilwath focuses on disabling the crossbow turrets. The shadow dragon sprays her necrotic breath, slices with her sharpened claws and attempts to rip into the party members with her jagged teeth. Giant globes of darkness are dropping all over and the dragon seems to teleport between them, keeping the heroes on their toes. During the fight, Megilwath suffers some serious wounds and has to stay back. Krushi, still reeling from her troubles in the pool room continues casting her spells even so near falling unconscious. Myst has heard tell of these adventurers and wants to deliver their bodies to her master, Aurgloroasa as a gift. After a while the traps in the proving grounds shut down and all the doors in the complex reopen. The party continues their battle with the unruly young shadow dragon.

Mentathenis decides to summon his Obsidian Steed, and in a burst of black smoke the great black horse appears. It looks around, seemingly disoriented and stares the eladrin down. It charges him and he is knocked into the astral plane rolling over his back into a grassy field. When he stands, he is on a small floating moat wandering the astral sea. The Obsidian Steed charges again and rears up striking the eladrin with it’s hooves. he retaliates with two magic missiles and the horse again kicks him, knocking him back into the proving grounds. The Obsidian figurine falls next to him.

The fight with Myst has moved towards the center of the proving grounds and she has become bloodied by the party. Mentathenis rejoins the fight. Knowing her chances of defeating the heroes are slim, she retreats back into the pit from whence she came. A roar of defeat echoes up from below.

The party returns to the pillar room. Sifting through the rubble that remains of the altar, they notice an out of place tile that was overlooked the first time around. Perhaps, in the destruction of the altar, a piece of the debris fell upon the floor and cracked the tile just enough to reveal a secret compartment underneath! Aces pulls up the tile to find a small lock box that Megilwath and The Maven work together to open. They find a pair of Bracers of Defense.



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