A Familiar Face
Mentathenis, Nitzi and Sam go through the Shadar’Kai Witch’s body but only find her Symbol of Shar. A twisted thing, parts of small animals and demons are bonded together with twine and hair to form a strange symbol. Black smoke pours from a burning ember in it’s center. When held, it wriggles and shakes, as if alive. Mentathenis has Nitzi crush it and then they continue South East through Neverwinter Wood.
After long, they hear something running through the woods towards them from up ahead. It stops and they can hear it’s swords drawn. Mentathenis and Nitzi hear whispers on the wind through the rustling leaves. The creature leaps forward and yells out “Splaaaaaa!” as it is quickly entwined in roots that rip from the ground and lift the struggling lone goblin into the air. Confused, the three heroes look around to see where the spell may have been cast from.
Another group of Eladrin emerge from the woods, the leader of which, a heavily armored woman with a chakram nearly half her size greets the three and introduces herself as Mira Shadowmoon, a warden of “The Hole in the World.” She motions for her men to let the goblin down, and they draw their swords in preparation to kill it. Just as they are about to strike the screaming goblin, Mentathenis recognizes it as Splug!
The Eladrin halts their blades when Mentathenis says the goblin is known to him. Mira nods and her men step back, sheathing their swords. Splug runs to Mentathenis and attempts to explain that he, Athena and Droggle were taken prisoner inside Xinlenal when they were caught attempting to rescue Saranine from the Shadovar dungeon. He managed to escape the cell block and stealthily make his way into the sewers to swim around a giant ritual chamber. After sneaking through a huge orb room, up and out past a spooky alchemist lab and into the woods, he climbed down the Broken Edge and ran to look for help. Then he got caught in the Eladrin trap just moments ago.
Knowing Saranine as well, Mira offers them the aid of her brigade, and the heroes graciously accept. Before she leaves with her squad to gather her forces, she warns Mentathenis that “The woods are no longer our own, the shadows grow longer, and work against us.” They part ways with the Eladrin heading west and Splug leads Mentathenis, Nitzi and Sam towards the Broken Edge.
On their trek along an overgrown path through the wood towards Xinlenal, they happen across a log shoved into the ground with a board crudely nailed to it. Across the board is scrawled the word “Supplize” with an arrow pointing off to a side path. Splug doesn’t remember seeing the sign on his way through the first time, so they decide to check it out and see if they can restock anything they may need.
When they reach the short path’s end, dug into a hillside is a small counter stand and what appears to be a hooded figure sitting low and unmoving, seemingly waiting patiently for customers.
As they approach the hooded supply vendor, an Ettin bursts from it’s hiding spot off to the side yelling “Supplize! I catch you in a clever trap! Now you be my dinner!” They engage the Ettin Spirittalker and after a fairly painless fight, the huge beast falls before them. There are of course, no supplies to be bought from the vendor, who was in fact, just a cloak propped on a stick. After the Ettin’s attempt at catching a hearty meal, Mentathenis, Nitzi, Sam and Splug continue on.
The Broken Edge
Not long after, they find themselves at the base of a 60 foot cliff. Splug tells them they must climb and they do their best to secure ropes and use grappling to ensure a safe ascent. The goblin makes it up first and helps to pull up the others. As he is doing so he is spotted by a hungry Hippogriff Matron who swoops from her perch in the trees and attempts to snatch the little goblin up. Splug is quick enough to move away but the beast soars around for a second attempt. The goblin secures the climbing line and defends himself, trying to slash at her as she flies by.
Mentathenis, Nitzi and Sam make their way up the cliff face and assist Splug in subduing the creature, but not killing it. After searching the area a little more, they discover her nest tucked into a rocky outcropping and bearing four recently hatched young. They decide not to disturb them and after long the matron regains consciousness and returns to her nest to protect them.
They continue to follow Splug towards the Shadar’kai Lab on the outer edge of Xinlenal.
As they approach the outer broken walls of the fallen city, they see two skeletons guarding the entrance. They duck to hide, and Splug moves around to the hole that he climbed through during his escape to get a better look behind the wall. On the other side, he sees two more skeleton guards and as he is about to make a move to attack, a Shadar’kai Witch emerges from a building with a small raven which she sets on fire and releases into the air. It flies about 10 feet into the sky, and then flops back to the ground in a burning heap. The witch cackles and sighs, returning to her lab. Splug waits until she is gone and signals to the others that he is going to attack.
He springs from his concealment and engages the two closest skeleton guards. Mentathenis, Nitzi and Sam also emerge and fight the outer guards.
With the skeletons out of the way, they barge into the building following the Shadar’kai witch and find her inside an alchemist’s lab of some sort. She screeches as they enter and threatens to use their skins in her experiments, teleporting to keep away from their attacks, but without her guards to protect her, she falls. They search around the lab and Splug manages to pick up 2 Alchemist’s Fire. Mentathenis makes a point to stop by to cook up some of his own potions on their way out. Splug leads them out the other side of the Witch Lab, through an alley, down into abandoned cellar, and through the tunnels in the underbelly of the dark city.
The Mythallar Stirs
The tunnel that Splug leads them down, opens into an expansive room with a 100 foot wide orb resting just 10 feet above their heads. Piles of eladrin artifacts and valuables are scattered throughout the room. There are two Knights of Shade standing sentry at both ends of the room and four shadowy cloaked figures move the eladrin relics into place to extract the residuum and feed it into the orb. Each time another relic is devoured, the dark orb pulses with light. Mentathenis and Sam identify it as the Mythallar, the Shadovar city’s heart of darkness, that, when repaired fully, would allow it to rise once more.
They decide to put a stop to it while there and engage the two Shade Knights . As with past encounters against the elite soldiers of Shade, they proove particularly challenging. Splug is knocked unconscious twice during the fight, and everyone sustains multiple injuries before Sam, in the guise of a Shadar’Kai Witch, is able to manipulate the two into standing down and leaving the orb room entirely.
After the Knights are sent off on another assignment. Mentathenis, Sam, Nitzi and Splug attack the cloaked shadow figures and realize that they appear to be illusory, taking only one hit to burst into smoke, then reforming and continuing their ritual again. They attempt to hit each of the four at the same time and that seems to stop them from returning, at least for a while.
From the Mythallar room Splug leads them into an underground waterway and towards the Ritual Chamber.
Early for the Ritual
Ducking under a low ceiling in the waterway, they swim quietly into a large circular ritual chamber. The water moat goes around the raised ritual platform, under stairs that rise to it on four sides and out the other end, which Splug says leads to the Dungeon where Athena and Droggle are being held. There are a host of Shade Knights on the main platform standing guard at each of the stairs. As the four heroes decide their plan to get across the room, an ornately dressed Shadovar, a dark priestess and three robed cultists walk onto the ritual platform. The priestess voices her disappointment with the condition of the chamber to the Shadovar but says it will do once straightened up. She calls on the three robed cultists to start clearing the debris from the watery moat and the Shadovar says he is going to check the Mythallar room, as it seems that there is a problem. The priestess asks the assistance of the four Shade Knights in helping her retrieve the dragon. Mentathenis identifies the priestess as being part of the Cult of the Dragon along with the three robed figures. The Shadovar Man, he believes, might be the prince of Xinlenal.
The party, with Splig in the lead start swimming their way around the ritual platform until The goblin is noticed by one of cultists. He pretends to be helping the cultist clean the moat and then when far enough from the other two cultists, he pulls the robed man into the water and holds him under until he expires. Mentathenis, Nitzi and Sam catch up quietly and they head through the watery tunnels into the Dungeon.
The party emerges from the water into the dungeon block where Athena and Droggle are being held. After some sneaking around, they call themselves to attention of the Shade Knight guards and a host of skeletons. It is a lengthy, bloody battle to rescue their friends, one that sees Splug fall unconscious twice before being able to get to the right cell. By Sam’s healing abilities, and Mentathenis’ and Nitzi’s magic, they fight through, and Splug picks the lock on their cell door. Sam promptly questions why the goblin didn’t just pick it in the first place, to which none of the three have an answer for, and feel generally stupid.
Nonetheless, Athena and Droggle thank their friends for the brave rescue and make their way quickly to their effects in the storage room and suit up. Once armored, they join the fray against the remaining guards and are able to clear out the dungeon of enemies. One of whom decides to leave the fight early and retreat. Droggle asks Mentathenis about Krushi and where she is. Athena bestows Splug with the title “the Undying” and they prepare to free Saranine from her horrible fate.