Realm Runners

CHAPTER TWENTY THREE: Tower of Mysteries

After their defeat of Akiah, the Keeper of Secrets, Aces, Krushi, Megilwath, Mentathenis, The Maven and Modreg begin to make their way back to the Halfmoon Inn. Orontar, the Mage of Saruun notices that Krushi is carrying his Staff of Fiery Might, and asks the Halfling if she would be so kind as to return it to him. Instead of handing it over outright, Krushi makes a deal with the mage to give it back only on the condition that he make himself available for any and all questions and summons that the party requests of him. He agrees to her demands, and also offers to give the halfling something more appropriate in addition. He reaches into his bag of holding and extends a very large shining gold staff with a amber orb perched on it’s top. A Thunderwave Staff +3.

Continuing back to the Inn, The Maven voices her concern for Megilwath and about killing a celestial being. She feels very dirty about the whole thing and though she is worried that pursuing the power of the Wraith Blade may not be the best course for them, she will follow the drow because of how much she cares for him.

When they round the corner of the Inn Brugg is repairing the front door and Rendil is overseeing. Aces joins to help and the others enter to grab a drink and trail mix. Once the door is mostly repaired, the party heads into their respective rooms for the night to rest up for the Tower of Mysteries, and perhaps, a showdown with Paldemar himself.

The next morning they head back into the Labyrinth under Aces’ lead followng her silver key and with Terrlen in tow so he can map the way to the secret tower.

The silver key eventually leads them out of the twisting tunnels and into a large and seemingly empty cavern. As Aces nears the center of the cavern she notices a bright golden rune beginning to appear spinning in front of her. As she moves closer it becomes more and more visible until it looks like it’s almost a physical object. She nods to the others and touches her hand to the rune and is instantly teleported. The others touch the rune and follow her. Terrlen stays behind to polish his new map, set up camp and explore the area.

The party finds themselves standing in a 20 by 20 foot room upon square rune carved into the floor and two exits into hallways. A loud howling sound can be heard spewing out two deep notes that reverberate the walls. Megilwath can hear something coming down one of the hallways. The party backs up to a defensive position and waits. A goblinoid type creature appears around the corner wondering who is at the door. The Norker stands there slightly dumbfounded when it sees the heroes and casually turns back the way it came to jump into a run and starts screaming about intruders. Aces and Megilwath chase it down before it can get to where it’s going and lay it out. Another Norker hears the commotion and steps out of a side room to charge the attackers. Eight more of the creatures teleport onto the floor near another spinning gold rune. Mentathenis, Krushi and The Maven notice something strange with the two pillars they can see and spells begin to cast from each one, also against the heroes. Modreg stays back per Aces’ request. After working together to dispatch the Norkers, they retreat back into the room they came in through to avoid getting memory ripped by the pillars. More Norkers can be heard pouring onto the floor from the teleportation rune. They wait for the creatures to come to them and take them out as they appear, then they head straight for the next teleportation rune to get off the floor and away from the spell conduits.

On the second floor, the party encounters a couple more Norkers, four Enigmas of Cyric, who rip off their own skin and attack in a bloody rage, and a familiar enemy, a Bronze Warder. After an extremely bloody battle and a few near deaths, the 6 friends manage to get themselves bandaged up and decide to continue through the next rune to the third floor.

Again they find themselves in a 20 by 20 foot room with a floor inscribed rune. Three doors stand to the West, North and East. Krushi can hear the unmistakable clanking of another Bronze Warder through the door to the East. Only silence from the West door and through the north door can be heard voices and a loud magical hum. They listen in on the conversation between four voices. Two male and two female, and discover that they are nearing the completion of a ritual that will put all the Bronze Warders within the labyrinth under the control of something called “Shade.” The female with the child-like voice sounds annoyed and impatient, pushing for the others to hurry up.

Aces looks to her friends to make sure they are ready. Megilwath draws his blades. Mentathenis, holds his wand and sword crossed and at the ready. The Maven tunes her lute. Modreg, visibly shaking holds his dagger in two hands. Krushi twirls her over-sized staff around and catches it. “Let’s fry these guys up!” She exclaims.

They burst through the door to find a large room. It’s floor is inset with a large symbol of Cyric, a skull wreathed in purple flame. A few Norkers can be seen. Strange arcane energy swirls about from the left side of the room where many figures stand nearby a strange contraption.

The party can see two Enigmas of Cyric channel energy into the arcane device under the watch of a mage dressed in the robes of the Saruun, Paldemar. A scantily clad succubus also watches along with a rogue in dark leather, a man that Mentathenis recognizes as Shalimar. The fourth figure is a young girl, no more than 13 years of age who’s eyes are blackened orbs and hair of flowing black mist. She turns toward the interruption and says "Oh for fell’s sake, I told you! The succubus looks over and starts screeching “Stop them! Do not allow them to disrupt the ritual!”

Shalimar eyes the heroes and points out that the Dwarf and Cleric are missing, only recognizing Mentathenis. He turns to the young girl to ask is she killed them. She replies that there was no Dwarf or Cleric with their group, visibly annoyed with the man. The succubus motions to a small malformed Norker holding a large orb and hisses “Take the control orb to Shade! We will finish them here.” The Norker hobbles away towards a glowing blue portal and steps through. The young girl and Shalimar start to follow the Norker out but are stopped by the succubus clearing her throat. “Where are you two going? You will fight and die this time if you have to, your combined failings against these…heroes is already unforgivable!”

The young girl rolls her blackened eyes in disgust and lets out a sigh. Black shadowy wings emerge from her back ripping to extension with a snap, she bursts into shadow and reforms into what the party recognizes as Myst.

Shalimar draws his daggers and says ’Very well then, I WILL have vengeance for the murder of Ninaran."

Paldemar yells out “Just a few more moments, destroy the casters first!” and whistles, causing the Bronze Warder in the next room to clank to attention.

The succubus licks her claws with a snake-like tongue, and in a dripping tone says “I will lock down the elf, she would make a wonderful gift to Shar I think. I am Varyl, Nightbringer of the dark goddess, and your deaths will be quick.”

Myst looks towards the heroes, flaps her wings once, lifting into the air and curling her claws. She takes a deep breath…



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