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Farcaster's Musings

The Damned II (Session VI) - The Burning Mountains

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Session Date: February 14th, 2009

The Sea of Silt

The party recuperates its strength before finishing their difficult climb up the mountain pass and to the Sea of Silt. They do not sleep, of course, because their immortal bodies, or souls rather, don't require it, but they still need rest. They half hope that the Warlock will attempt another attack while they rest, and they are disappointed when he doesn't make a move that day.

So recovered, the party finishes their climb and they are soon greeted a daunting sight. Far in the distance, an ancient volcano spews ash into the air, raining it down for miles upon miles. Leonis explains that the flat expanse of gray ash they see was once a valley between the mountains. Now, the only passage across is on the peaks of the mountain range. The path is barely visible, and treacherous. One misstep could send them plummeting down through the ash to be buried below, perhaps miles beneath the surface.

Unfortunately, the path Leonis once took through this deadly terrain has since been obscured. Mason wordlessly offers to lead the way by stepping out boldly as they others discuss who should lead the way. He is assisted by Leonis who is able to float below the surface and look for dangerous pitfalls along their way. The others follow Mason on his silent journey, nervousness gnawing at them the entire way. The way is not long, but caution dictates that they travel slowly. It is some twelve hours before they will reach the safety and sureness of bare rock.

Turnabout
As they travel, they spot a lone figure following their path over the Silt Flats. They press on until they reach safe ground and then wait for the figure to approach. It does not, but instead waits for them to continue. They appease their follower by moving ahead, but they wait in ambush at the first opportunity.

The Warlock is stealthy, but not stealthy enough to evade the keen senses of the dark elf, Thorn. But then, neither is the party particularly quiet even when they aren't clanking about as they travel. A sneeze from Donnar gives their position away, but Thorn sneaks ahead to waylay their pursuer. Thorn moves like a shadow around the bend, but the Warlock is wary and spots him.

The Warlock bids Thorn and the others to give up Donnar, but of course, they won't do that. As the others move up and prepare their defenses, the tiefling queries them. "Do you know what it is you serve," he asks them. When they attempt to feign innocence, he tells them that he knows they are in service to a Hellfire Worm. Worse still, the one they serve is an exile. He was once a Duke of Hell, but lost favor centuries past.

Tim ends the conversation by launching spell, cutting off the Warlock's escape with a stinking cloud. The moment he is attacked, the Warlock surprises them all by disappearing completely from sight. And so, he eludes them again, and the party holds hope that that is the last time they will cross paths with him. (OOC: The group claims that since they don't know his name, he can't possibly become a recurring villain.)

So, You Serve Meliphisus?
After the exchange with the tiefling, Leonis confronts the group about how they really came into possession of the gem. He confirms what he already suspected that they do indeed serve Meliphisus. Still they claim that they had no choice and that they do not actually want to serve him. In the case of Thorn, this is a lie and Leonis knows it. Donnar, he senses tells the truth.

He entreats Donnar that if he should help them the rest of the way to the Burning Mountains, he must agree to destroy this emerald prison he is trapped in. He doesn't care if it destroys his soul, it would be better than this endless captivity. Donnar agrees to "do his best," and that is the best offer Leonis can possibly get.

The Burning Mountains
It is only a couple of days journey from the Silt Flats before the party reaches the Burning Mountains, and it is not long before they can see the flame licked range ahead of them. The Burning Mountains are so named because of the inferno that ranges on the other side of the mountains that burns so high and with such intensity that the flames can be seen rising above the mountain peaks.

As they approach the Fortress of Ash, Thorn picks Donnar's pockets, relieving him of the soul-gem, but staying close to Donnar so that his thievery won't be discovered. When Donnar stops to attempt to destroy the gem, he finds he doesn't have it. He suspects that Thorn took it, but beyond a verbal confrontation, he doesn't press the matter further.

The Fortress of Ash
When the weary band finally arrives at the Fortress of Ash, they are met by a sentry of Bearded Devils riding Nightmare steeds who ride up to meet them on the edge of the kill-zone. Despite the group's claims that they have come here on orders with a message for the Centurion Decimus, they are arrested for their lack of travel papers and stripped of their possessions. One of the Bearded Devils, a legionnaire commander by the name of Brutis, confiscates the gem containing the imprisoned Leonis. Thorn marks his name well, fully intending on assassinating this Legionnaire should he ever have the opportunity.

After a long wait in cell far too small to accommodate all of them, Decimus is finally summoned and he has with them the letter sent by Meliphisus. He queries them of the soul-gem they were to deliver, and they tell him of the legionnaire Brutis who took it from them. It seems the gift or Meliphisus' letter was persuasive enough, for Decimus instructs the party that they are to join his cohort on a march to the City of Dis in one month's time. In the meantime, they will join the fortress sentry guarding the mountain passage that leads from the Burning Mountains into the Elemental Chaos...

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Comments

  1. Otakar's Avatar
    Thanks, Farcaster. These are a lot of fun to read!