Finishing unfinished business

Session 24 & 25 July 2021

Otto found this castle and took it upon himself to be the host. As I’m staring at him, I see that we are really small in comparison: faerie dragons are tiny beings, but now, he’s very big. I feel like we’ve shrunken when we entered the castle. The humonculous in the other room is breaking Ottos’ belongings and causes Otto to be upset. Otto asks us to get rid of the humonculous, but Farryn wants to know what is in it for us. Otto replies: “I’ve fed you, isn’t that enough?” Farryn doesn’t think so, and strikes a deal with Otto – I’m not interested enough to listen and shrug. I walk over to Valentine, who is asking Tearuli what is written on the door: ‘Humonculi unwelcome’ it says. I deduce this is Ottos’ handwriting because it is written in draconic. We hear a lot of noise in the other room: the humonculous is busy wrecking the whole room. I realize that an humonculous (like Takwin) is a construct, and it is now so big because we shrunk. Homunculi have a counterpart with their owner, and they can even live and exist in another plane – however, when their owner dies, they die too. This homunculus has a link with his owner, but his owner is not on this plane: as can be seen from the generic form the humonculous shows itself at the moment. I inform the group, but Farryn disagrees: “What do you know about Humonculi ?!” he says in disbelief. I chuckle and point to Valentine. “THAT is MY homunculus!” Valentine goes along with the joke and takes the form of the humonculous in the other room and opens the door. The humonculous is immediately interested in Valentine. To get the humonculous to get out of the room, Farryn sets a trap with a glowing trinket in the middle. Valentine gets the humonculous to bite at it and it activates the trap: in a matter of seconds, the humonculous is lifted to the ceiling – upside down and restrained. It is getting really angry. Otto is quite scared and has a look around the corner, but is not satisfied: the creature needs to leave the castle! As the humonculous is getting even angrier, Valentine suggests he should go away and break stuff that belongs to the giant that lives in the cave outside the castle. During this talk – and all the talks with the faerie dragon, I am annoyed. The dragon speaks draconic and sylvan, and I cannot understand any of them. I have to wait for Aidens’ summary after each sentence, and around this time, I have enough of it. The last thing Aiden translates is that there is a portal here where creatures of different alignments exit some level of the dungeon. As we walk to the portal to investigate, the party hands me a Helmet of Comprehending Languages, so I can understand everything. It is a bit of an odd helmet: it doesn’t fit around my horns. On the door of the portal room, ‘stay out’ is written on the door.

We enter the room. Aiden immediately feels transmutation magic coming out of the portal. It is closed at the moment, and in the frame, ‘touyaw’ is carved. I laugh: gosh, it wouldn’t be written in mirror writing, would it? Valentine sees it too: ‘way out’ she says. The portal opens and we can see a hall with doors on each side – it looks like a castle but we don’t recognize it. Aiden grabs a copper piece from the ground and throws it through the portal. We hear the coin bouncing on the stones, but no trap is activated. Still, Aiden thinks going through the portal is a very bad idea. It would be better to prepare ourselves for more vicious enemies so that we can descend to the Wizard Academy: we should go to Waterdeep. Hearing that, Valentine asks for a tree. She doesn’t explain anything, just that she wants to find a tree so she can do something cool. Otto conjures a tree, but after one Eldridge blast, it disappears. Farryn is searching the room and grabs one of the four tridents on the wall to take with him. However, it comes to life and starts attacking him. In the end, we defeated all four of them, and Farryn puts two of them in his bag.

The only way we can get to a real tree is if we leave this place for Wyllow wood. After a miscommunication, we decide that Farryn and Aiden will ride Otto, who will bring them to the cave outside the castle, and Valentine and I fly there. If I had seen this problem sooner, I would have asked Farryn and Aiden to wait for Valentines’ rest – then we could’ve flown together. But… we didn’t. Valentine and I stay on top of the castle and see Otto with our comrades fly further and further away from us. But: Aiden and Farryn start to grow! Otto cannot hold on much longer and turns around to get back to the castle. It is too late, the two riders are way too heavy and they start to lose height. Eventually, they crash at the bottom of the castle: all the way down on the ground of the cavern. We can see them standing up, but they must be hurt. Valentine and I take that rest at the top and drink some of the liquor Valentine stole from the castles’ pantry. It is really good and it gives me a boost, Valentine is more flirty than ever – apparently, she can’t hold her liquor. She giggles and casts her dimension door instead of fly, and we appear closely behind Aiden and Farryn. Valentine grabs Aiden and whispers something in his ear. He startles and is visibly uncomfortable, so he teleports himself and burns her. The whole way to Wyllow wood, he walks in front of the party, keeping an eye on my little sister.

We have made it to Wyllow wood. Valentine carves a door in the nearest tree and casts transport via plants on it. “Let’s go to Waterdeep!” she says. We all jump through but find ourselves still in a forest. Where are we? Valentine flies up and recognizes the tower. We are still in Wyllow wood but on the other side of it. Inside Undermountain, we can transport very well on the same level, but not vertically. We think for a minute. We know that we own a red ruby dagger where two parties asked for: Tas in Skullport that will transport us where and wherever we ask, and a group of Hobgoblins that promised us 1000 gold pieces. We immediately decide we are going to bring the dagger to Tas, so we can transport it more easily across the levels of Undermountain. We make our way to Skullport and Tas’ shop.

The deal still stands. The dagger in return for free of charge transports. She also gives us a mirror so we can ask her to get us back. It is a two-way mirror, we can see her, and she can see us. Tas transports us to Trollskull Manor, the home of this party. It is a big bar, with a ghost behind the bar named Liv. On the first and second floor, there are rooms to sleep in, and the third floor is an attic with a bed and many scratch marks on the walls. From stories, I know this was the room Celestia stayed in before he left the party. I walk down and see Smoke tending the bar with Liv. Smoke decided to take a little break from Undermountain and stay behind. I see Farryn and Valentine getting cozy and don’t want to be part of it, so I ask Aiden if I can accompany him to the city council.

At the desk, Aiden asks to see mister Winterhound. They seem to know each other; Aiden introduces me. Delaan Winterhound takes us with him to a small room next door. He sent Aiden to Undermountain to find energies and necrotic magic. Aiden was overpowered by the wizards at the Wizard Academy, but there is more going on in Undermountain. Delaan nods. He thanks Aiden for his report and he’s glad Aiden’s back. He’s got more information he wants him to research. A colleague of Aiden is also going to Undermountain, so maybe Aiden would like to switch. Another character walks in. It is a large male 7-foot high humanoid I instantly recognize as a Firbolg. He and Aiden amicably greet each other. Long story short: Aiden is leaving the party and this Firbolg is taking his place. Aiden thanks me for everything the party has done for him and asks me to bring the new character to the party. The Firbolg walks up to me and shrinks as he approaches – he takes the form of an elf. “I’m Peythur.” As an act of final goodbyes, Aiden gives me the directions to the Wizard Academy, and I take Peythur back to the party in Trollskull Manor.

We find Smoke behind the bar, Farryn and Valentine must be upstairs. To introduce them to Peythur, I walk upstairs, but I hear a lot of moaning and thumping. I have the ominous feeling Valentine is in there with Farryn. UGH! Why would she do that?! I send Peythur downstairs to wait. I yell through the door: “VALENTINE?!” “I’m alone here!” Farryn yells back. I don’t believe him and open the door. Through my almost closed eyelids I can see Farryn on his knees with his back facing me. He is really busy with something in between his legs in front of him, but I cannot see what it is, and I don’t even WANT to. I close the door quickly and sigh in relief: Valentine isn’t there. Farryn seemed really focused, even obsessed with what he is doing. I deduce Valentine must have done something to cause this weird behavior – Farryn needs to snap out of it. I open the door again and throw a book at his head and close the door again. The moaning stops. Through the door, I ask: “Are you okay?” “I was busy with myself, I don’t know if I did this voluntarily, I felt obsessed. I think I’m gonna stay here. See you tomorrow.” I bring the news to Peythur, and we talk with Smoke until Valentine returns. Valentine and I claim a bedroom upstairs, and Peythur the garden. Before going to sleep – I think she thought I was already asleep – she whispers in a choked-up voice: “I showed him my true self…” I pet her on the head before we both close our eyes and take a rest.

The next morning, Valentine and I find Farryn eating a big breakfast. He seems more muscly and has an iron mechanical wolf next to him that is hard to miss. The wolf is called Grond. According to Farryn, the party needs more protection. Demonstrating his new strength, he throws a trident to the wooden ceiling and it returns – he infused the weapon so that it returns to its owner. Farryn restores the hole in the ceiling, just before Peythur joins us for dinner. During breakfast, we introduce ourselves.

Within a week, we all make sure we gear up for difficult battles in Undermountain. I purchase a couple of spell scrolls and write them down in my spellbook.

  • Cloud of Daggers (2nd level)
  • Glyph of Warding (3rd level)
  • Spider Climb (2nd level)
  • Tenser’s Floating Disk (1st level)

In this week, I study, search for a scroll of mage armor or elven chains. I find the scroll and also learn this spell to protect myself. Farryn finds a spellbook in the attic of Trollskull Manor and gives it to me. I write my spells in the skin-covered spellbook that Celestia owned and hide it below the bar under the wooden floor. Smoke, Liv, Valentine, and I know where it is, so when my spellbook is ever destroyed, I can still access my spells. In Celestias’ spellbook, the following spells are written:

  • Animate dead
  • Blight
  • Misty step
  • Suggestion
  • Detect magic
  • Mage armor
  • Magic missile
  • Shield
  • Fireball
  • Fly
  • Cone of cold
  • Sending
  • Mage hand
  • Poison spray
  • Lightning bolt

After this week, we want to go back to Skullport and ask Tas to teleport us. Before we leave, she tells us about the Professors’ Orb that resides in the Wizard Academy. She wants to have it in return for more transportation privileges. We need to watch out for the young wizards at the academy: they have many problems, and Hal doesn’t want to help them. We tell Tas about level seven and the wizard Madgoth. She says that he is very powerful and dangerous: he is everywhere but goes to other astral planes very often. She hasn’t heard of Otto though…

Back in Wyllow wood, it is dark. It is day and it should be light, but the sun is nowhere to be found. The trees look like they are dying… They haven’t seen any light for days. It is probably because Wyllow died – the great tree in the courtyard of her tower is turning into stone. Most of the glass in the windows is broken, but the glass is on the inside floor. Creatures must have broken in here. Peythur wants to save the forest – it seems like everything is in perpetual darkness. He wants to see whether there are any creatures left because the whole forest seems silent. He uses his staff of birdcall and we hear a turkey gobble. Not much later, we hear many screeches: a swarm of giant bats approaches us. We have enough time to prepare all of our attacks: when the bats enter, we immediately cast fireball and wall of fire and incinerate most of them.

We walk into the forest and pass caverns with rotting skeletal remains. Farryn recalls that the party never went to the convent: maybe there are people there that can give us more information about the dark forest? We investigate the convent, but it is abandoned. We find a trophy room with skulls and armor on the floor. Valentine pulls a lever and switches the light on. We find a rune: it is a rune of Malar, the god of the hunt – it is the beast lord of bloodlust with an evil alignment. After a lot of unsuccessful clue-searching, we leave the convent. Peythur feels dark and heavy magic coming from another building. We enter, but that room is also abandoned. We see an altar covered in blood and dead humans in front of it. The magic comes from the blood-covered altar. I have the idea the Malar cult makes blood offerings to their god. Farryn turns around and accidentally scratches me with his trident. He hits me quite hard and I bleed from my arm. Some of it touches the altar: in seconds, the room gets darker, as if all the light gets sucked into the altar. At the place my blood touched the altar, it bubbles and grows. It creates a large beast: a chimera. We have to kill it, but we soon find out that radiant damage heals it. Eventually, my magic missile kills the chimera, afterward, the alter crumbles and burns reducing it to ashes. In the ashes, Farryn finds a wand of fireballs and gives it to Peythur. He also gets another wand out of his bag and gives it to me: it is a wand of secrets. At the altar, we take a short rest.

After the rest, we decide to go back to Wyllows’ castle and investigate it. To get there faster, Valentine conjures a giant snake to transport us. We pass a group of goblins fast asleep. When we investigate, they tell us where the cult went: Wyllow killed them. Peythur brings the sad news Wyllow died a little bit more than a week ago. The goblins are surprised. We follow them to their leader, and along the way, Valentine whispers in my ear that the goblins are shapechangers and are also bats. The leader is called Mobar and has goblin and bat-like features. We are in his private chambers: there is a bed, some armor, and a tiny wooden box in the corner. These goblins are were-bats and they live here for a while now. We tell him about the dying forest, but he doesn’t really mind: that is Wyllows choice – stone or forest, she knows best. He morns Wyllow when we tell him the news. However, he doesn’t want to help restore the forest: he doesn’t know what to do. Farryn makes a small statue of Wyllows head to match the ivory statue Mobar has of her inside his chest. Valentine disguised herself as Wyllow and makes her entrance not much later. Mobar looks confused: he sees two forms. Valentine apologizes and transforms back to her usual form: me. Mobar is still confused. During this odd encounter, Farryn is trying to open the wooden chest. When Mobar sees this, he tries to deceive him, but it isn’t working: the lid falls off the chest and Mobar gets angry. He urges us to leave. We apologize for Farryn and walk away. However, Farryn and Peythur stay behind. What is this madness? We walk into Mobars’ chambers, he did nothing wrong, and now we are threatening him with a fight? After a minute or so, Valentine sends in her snake – named Enola 2 (really creative) – to get Farryn. The snake grabs Farryn with his fangs, Peythur walks with him.

We don’t really know where to go next, so we decide to return to Wyllows’ tower to explore the highest floor. There is a wall made out of bones, and we all think there must be a secret room behind it. I use the wand of secrets and discover a secret door – surprise, surprise. We enter a large room with giant frog statues. There are rings drawn on the floor with symbols and shards of glass from the windows are scattered across the floor. Farryn walks towards the statues, but they come to life! After two well-aimed fireballs and one single attack, they’re gone.

We investigate the rings on the floor. The symbols are suns and moons. The sun circle indicates the middle of the night. Another ring indicates spring. The first ring is way off, so we turn it. Outside, the moon disappears and the sun comes out. We saved the forest!! In the middle of the room stands a basket with mechanics. It seems broken – on purpose. Farryn takes a look and sees a couple of loose radars: he fixes it. As we look closely, the radars move bit by bit. We think something flew in and bashed it. Could it be the were-bats? We find some scratches around the mechanics, and Farryn concludes it must be them. I don’t know for sure: assumptions are the mother of all fuck-ups. We take a rest before we return to the were-bats to get more information.

At the place the were-bats were sleeping earlier, it is totally empty. We think they are underground or something, at least in a space where it is dark. After some searching, we find Mobar in his chambers. Before we can walk in, I spot a string in front of the entrance. Mobar is visibly disappointed that we didn’t activate his trap. “So, you’ve chosen to return.” he says. Valentine jumps over the string and confronts him: “We fixed the mechanics. Wyllow can be happy now.” The rest of us step over the trap as well. “Hmhm, but my treasures stay with me.” 

“Did you have anything to do with the fact that the clock mechanics were broken? I SUGGEST you tell me the truth!” Valentine shouts. As she calls Enola 2, the snake touches Mobar. It was an illusion! The string snaps and the trap activates: the whole ceiling collapses, leaving no way out of this cave. Peythur transforms himself into a badger and digs through the stone and rubble. Farryn checks the chest, but it is empty. We decide to hunt the were-bats down. We think they are in a dark room without any windows, but they are not in the space with the altar. We see some tracks that lead to a cave, but the only thing we see are some small holes in the ceiling. Are they inside a room up there? Let’s smoke them out! Farryn throws a molotov-cocktail into the hole, but nothing happens. Enola 2 lifts Peythur in his badger form to look up the holes. The holes are small shafts leading to another space in the rock and Peythur sees many tiny bats. I go in an attempt to detect their thoughts and find Mobar: I hear a lot of little voices. “Why are they doing this, it is scary!” These bats are children! I immediately return to the party and I tell them to leave the young were-bats alone.

We return to the tower because we are afraid the were-bats will break the clock mechanics again when we’re away. The tower needs protection. Peythur barricades the windows from within with plants. In no time, the room is covered with green plants, flowers, and mosses. It really looks like a jungle. We also close the secret door from within. We walk to the courtyard so Farryn can have a seat in the chair to find the were-bats. However, he doesn’t see the bats, but he DOES see the forest slowly coming to life again. We saved the forest; we can continue our journey.

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