Death and destruction

Session 14 August 2022

Back at the entrance, we make a plan to find the creatures whom we heard through the door. We lead the party to the place, but Calyx gets teleported – he turned left a bit too soon. “TELEPORTED!”
After this booming voice, we hear some heavy footsteps. Valentine has the best eyes of us all and sees a stone golem approach. It takes a swing at Farryn and Grond who are nearest. Immediately after the golem hits, I feel the magic that Farryn carries reduce. It is smashing away all of Farryn and Gronds’ magical items! We have to make sure Valentine and I don’t get attacked because it would be disastrous if one of us loses her arcane focus.
I cast disintegrate in the stone golem. It gets a lot of damage but isn’t reduced to dust yet. I get a weird feeling, but nothing happens. I look around and see Farryn attack the golem with some invisible weapon, and the golem disappears. It’s gone. All that’s left are two black gems that look very valuable. Looking at Farryns’ face, they are: I can see his tiny eyes light up in the dark and his mischievous smile appears on his face. Then, he realizes he is stripped of all his magical items and walks back to check the mine carts. Unlucky for him, none of his items are there. He curses under his breath.

We’ve lost Calyx, but Smokey too, and to check if everyone is still doing okay, Valentine checks her book some of us wrote our names in. We can see some magic of the book is used. This means one of the two Never Evers that are not with us right now is in a harmful situation. We check the sending stone Valentine shares with Calyx. I share mine with Farryn, so I cannot check. Valentine doesn’t receive an answer in return, so we have to think of another plan to get to him.

In the meantime, we’ve walked to the place all magical items are stored: a big pit in an anti-magic field. All Farryns’ stuff lies at the bottom. He climbs in and starts getting all the items out. Valentine and I try to check on Calyx again. Valentine uses her magic to cast scrying again and describes what she sees: a distant land with Calyx sitting on the ground in shackles and surrounded by bars, like a prison. The way she explains it seems like he is in an extra-dimensional space. He is still alive and looks somewhat okay, so he probably didn’t activate Valentines’ book. So, Smokey must’ve done it.
We share the insights with Farryn and conclude we have to find our Tabaxi friend. We agree that if we lose one another, we’ll meet up again at the beginning.

Valentine uses scry again to find Smokey. She describes a space with lava and two statues of mind flayers. One of them holds Smokeys’ face in its tentacles and around him, a shadowy figure has its fangs pressed into his furry neck. This is some bad, bad, horrible magic. Valentine and I look at each other when she stops her spell. We have to do something! Smokey might be dying!

Without thinking, Valentine and I go through her dimension door to save Smokey. As we pop up in the room Valentine just saw through Smokeys’ eyes, we see him hang limb in the stoney tentacles of the mind flayer. The shadow is still pressing his fangs into his neck. We attack both enemies with fire, but it doesn’t do very much. The shadow grapples me and says: “He is mine… and so is she…” to Valentine. Valentine walks up to Smokey to check if he’s still alive, but alas – he is already gone. I try to cast disintegrate, but it isn’t working. I turn towards its scary-looking face and shoot a cone of cold at its eyes. It seems to hurt him quite a bit. Not enough though, because he bites me in my neck and I faint.

Mind Flayer statue

The next second, I wake up and see the shadow caught in an invisible force. I reckon that’s Valentines’ force cage. She’s sitting next to me, and in her hand, she holds an empty vial. She healed me with a healing potion. “Thank you!” I say to her.
We look at each other, happy to be still alive, and see in the corner of our eyes the shadow becomes less opaque. It’s transforming into a dwarf! He walks as closely as the force cage allows and starts to observe us.
We stand up and try to ignore the dwarf as much as possible – in an hour, the incantation will end, and he will be free again. We better get as far away from this place as we can. I place Smokeys’ body on a floating disk and send the sad news to Farryn with my sending stone.

We walk back to the entrance again. At first, I don’t recognize the path, but later I do. We encounter a ghost of a paladin near the lava. He greets us.
“Hello, adventures! Have you come to assist me?”
“With what?” asks Valentine.
I don’t know what this guy wants, but the only thing I perceive around him is the smell of very cheap cologne.
“I have to battle Netherskull the death tyrant!” he says importantly.
“We have some friends who can help,” we say.
“Oh, but you can already help me! We can unite souls and battle Netherskull together!”
I’m thinking about it. I’ve heard stories about people helping ghosts with their last mission – it’s a good thing.
I share this with Valentine and she immediately stretches out her hand and says: “Deal!”
The ghost, named F… melts his soul with Valentines’. It is a beautiful sight. After it’s done, I don’t see any sign of the ghost anymore, only Valentine smells like the cologne. It is a very poignant smell indeed…
“Let’s go back to Farryn,” I say.
Valentine turns around and immediately knows how to walk and avoid the traps. Handy, sharing your brain and soul with someone who has been here for many many years…
I feel a bit faint still. My walking has turned into a slow step and even then, I’m running out of breath soon. That shadow figure has vampire powers and has sucked the actual life out of me. I know that after a good night’s sleep, the effects will be gone, but realize it’s only early in the afternoon.
Totally lost in thought, I almost walk into Valentines’ outstretched arm – blocking my way.
“This doesn’t feel right. Something’s wrong,” she says earnestly.
Farryn, riding Grond, walks closer. “No, no, nothing’s wrong!” he says. His eyes grow large as we hear: “TELEPORTED!”
We were prepared: Valentine lets Mip find Farryn and the bird is back very soon. Valentine knows Farryn is at a dead end near some dead Drow. It is pretty close, I know, and luckily, Farryn is back very soon.
He walks further, over the same place he got teleported on, but now, nothing happens. It is probably activated one time per person per day. Unfortunately for me, I thought of that a bit too late, when I had already made the step. Shit. “TELEPORTED!”

I’m going to fall. I’m going to die.
I’ve been teleported to a place above lava, and I’m starting to fall and lose height fast. I’ll be burned alive!

I can see a couple of islands in the lava, but they are too far away. I cannot fly. Oh god. I’m going to die if I don’t think of anything fast.
Then, as I’m already saying goodbye to Valentine and regretting not fulfilling my dad’s request, I think of a way out. I cast a wall of force to create a bridge for myself. I walk on the wall back to the island where the spectral bridge begins. Trembling, I find my way back to the entrance of the Obstacle Course.
When I see Valentine, I hug her firmly and tell the story.
“On a positive note, Enola: you can walk here now!” says Farryn.

We decide to take a short rest. I cast a tiny hut to fix a nice hut for us in the middle of the path. We place Smokey (who has a magical rune in his chest, referring to the vampire) in one of the mine carts. Now only Farryn can get him out, and the shadow vampire cannot reach him. I feel very smart today. Inside the hut, we think of ways to kill the vampire. I know that most vampires die of radiant damage or a wooden stake through the heart.
During our rest, nothing noteworthy happens, except for a dwarf that looks like an executioner knocks on the tiny hut. He can’t get in, and walks away…

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