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Otakar

Society of the Upper Room Session 10

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After finishing the orcs and the cavern choker the party takes a short rest. Thalion checks the door from which the choker emerged. A narrow set of wooden stairs lead down to a cellar. Phaldara leads the way down the stairs to an un-kept room. Across from the stairs there is a door, meant to be concealed but left ajar. Green flickering light leaks out from around the edges. A quick peek by Thalion reveals another flight of stairs.

The green light emanates from two torches fastened to the walls. Three skeletons draped in tattered chainmail and carrying swords and shields stand in a ragged arc but turn, facing the adventurers and raise their weapons. Another skeleton, bones blackened by the fire that surrounds them comes from around the corner and prepares to throw a ball of fire at the group.

Thalion moves quickly into the room, launching his dagger into the nearest skeleton skirting its armor and breaking bone. Phaldara chooses to charge the blazing skeleton, great axe in hand, seeing it as the most deadly threat, and foiling its chance to blast the party with its eldritch fire. Phaldara's charge does not come without a price as he takes a nasty wound from one of the skeletons he passes. The skeletons converge on the Dragonborn Paladin of Bahamut. Two of their blows fail to pierce his plate armor but one gashes his side sending causing Phaldara to clench his teeth in pain. Unable to launch its flame, the blazing skeleton reaches forward toward Phaldara with fiery claws that burn through his armor and send him into a bloody rage. The half-elven cleric of Avandra, Ecthor, positions himself near the fray and channels his goddess's divine power to turn the undead. Avandra answers blasting two of the skeletons away from Phaldara and causing damage to the rest as well.

The battle continues as Phaldara stays close to the blazing skeleton preventing it from tossing its deadly fire. The mindless undead, focusing on the radiant causes of damage, lash out at Phaldara and Ecthor. Thalion takes advantage of their ignorance launching deadly sneak attacks into their flanks and darting away before they can retaliate. Phaldara takes the brunt of the damage but is continually bolstered and healed by Ecthor. The blazing skeleton falls to Phaldara's mighty axe and turns his attentions to dispatch another weakened foe. Thalion's sneak attacks prove most effective as he sends two of the undead to their eternal rest.

The room is somewhat large and reveals itself to be a storeroom of sorts. There are casks of fresh flour, smoked meats, dried apples and wine. It is obvious that these guardians have allowed recent foot traffic through their room. The passage to the west seems well trafficked and illuminated while the unlit passage to the east is unlit and has a faint musty, damp odor. The party chooses to follow the path more traveled.

The well trodden corridor is also lit by the eerie green torches that provide no warmth and give off no smoke. Not far along there is a branch to the north. Thalion takes a quick peek up the corridor that ends in a huge double door constructed of iron plate. Using his thievery skills Thalion determines that while he could open this door, it appears that it is not constructed so much as to keep something out but instead to keep it in. A short discussion ends in a unanimous decision to bypass that door and move on.

The passage turns south with an alcove to the east and double doors again. Further south a smaller passage branches to the west and ends in a stout oaken portal. Phaldara thrusts the stubborn door open to reveal the waning day. This door is an exit through the hill.

Not ready to leave the group returns to the double door in the alcove. It is an ornately carved heavy set of doors. The wood is dark and rich but could stand a good polish. The symbols on the doors mean nothing to the party, none of whom are adept in arcana. The one thing they all catch is a piece of parchment stuck to the door that reads in common, "Keep Out". A quick once-over by Thalion proves that the door is unlocked. Phaldara declares that he would never take the orders of anyone who consorts with the likes of orcs and skeletons and proceeds to kick in the portal, much to the surprise of the room's occupants, three orc warriors.

Thalion deft strikes the first orc with a critical hit to the shoulder, cutting deep into the creature's flesh. Ecthor baths the wounded creature in radiant light from his lance of faith and Phaldara charges the hapless warrior with his great axe. His mighty chop releases a crunching sound of bone, mail and flesh sending the orc to meet Gruumsh. The two remaining orcs look at their fallen companion and to each other wishing that they could surrender but steel their eyes and clench their jaws as they move forward to meet their fate.

Their motivation appears from behind a velveteen curtain to the north. A tall, gaunt and particularly dark skinned tiefling emerges demanding, "Who is it that disturbs my work?"

Phaldara points to the wizard and declares. "Surrender and we'll promise you a fair trial but either way you will come with us."

The tiefling replies, "Trial? Trial? I would save this land and you would put me on trial? Who are you? And who do you think you are to accuse me?"

"We were sent by the queen" Says Phaldara. "Active, you have taken that which does not belong to you. Come peacefully. This is your only chance."

"I think you and the queen have been listening to my sister. I am not going anywhere. Do you think that I am helpless in my own workshop?" Active looks toward the southern end of the room and beckons, "Ooooh, Tharoooon. Come meet our guests!"

A feral scream, the anguish of the undying and the longing for the grave proceeds the dreadful dark and wispy form of a wraith. The waith's visage is one of restrained pain and betrayal. As it prepares to engage the party it declares to Active, "Master, I will kill these interlopers like I will one day kill you!"

Active seems unphased by the wraith's threats and the battle ensues. Phaldara's divine challenge keeps the orcs battling him while Ecthor keeps him standing. Thalion makes an attempt to maneuver toward Active but the tiefling's necrotic blasts divert the elven rouge towards more distracted opponents. The tiefling turns his attention toward Ecthor who seems to be blessed by Avandra by managing to shrug off the wizard's burst. Phaldara is once again pushed to his bloodied rage, finishing one orc and then hewing into another. The wraith proves difficult to damage even with Thalion's magic rapier but the rouge's persistence pays off and he manages to damage his insubstantial enemy severely.

In its cold, hollow tone, Tharun, the wraith cries, "Master, these ones will send me to my rest and then they will turn to you. Tonight we shall meet in Avernus" but not before I raise a brother! With that remark the wraith snakes its icy black tendrils around the remaining, ill-fated orc. Phaldara and Ecthor taking heart in this new found ally turn toward Active but the quick tiefling is out the door forcing the Paladin and half-elf cleric to give chase. The wraith proves to be no ally at all, phasing away from Thalion's harrying blade to attack the pursuing Phaldara with a critical strike that sends Bahamut's champion into unconsciousness. Ecthor, torn between pursuit of his foe and saving his friend chooses friendship over duty and brings his mace down upon the creature with Avenging Flame! The holy flames burn the spirit and cause it to dissipate with a sigh that sounds almost relieved. Thalion arrives to see the wraith depart but there is no time to rest as a howl draws their attention back to the room. Another wraith, this one with porcine features, moves forward with eye on the fallen Phaldara. The anguished orc spirit bellows in broken common, "Won't undie forever alone! Need companion!"

In haste Ecthor brings Phaldara back to the land of the living with a healing potion while Thalion does his best to hold off the wraith. The undead creature ignores damage from Thalion as it attacks the prone Phaldara sending him into unconsciousness again. With no healing words or potions left, Ecthor ministers to Phaldara with such skill that the Paladin regains consciousness once again. Thalion rains telling blows upon the creature dispersing parts of its whispy form. Still, it ignores him and attacks Phaldara striking true sending him into unconsciousness yet again with the apparent desire to raise an undead Dragonborn. Seeing that sending this creature into oblivion as his only option Ecthor strikes it with Avandra's lance of faith causing it radiant torment and setting Thalion up for a sneak attack. The attack hits true and as Thalion's sword cuts through the whispy form he sees it fully dissipate and thinks he can hear a faint call for the Orc god, Gruumsh.

An un-killable Phaldara is quickly revived and the group follows Active out the front of the house. It appears that the tiefling is heading back towards Valmorgan. Although the wizard has a lead the party pursues with vengeance.

Continued....

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