Finding Zombienola in the Shadowdusk Stronghold

Session 12 May 2024

After the long rest, we awake in the morning. I rise early and find myself drawn to the contraption housing my dragon egg, which I now affectionately call my dragon-hatchery. Sitting beside it, I eat breakfast in quiet contemplation.

A message from Patience interrupts my solitary moment, summoning me to the breakfast table. Slightly annoyed and distracted, I join the others as we discuss the plan for the day.

Urm expresses his desire to accompany us, despite Farryn’s warnings about the dangers ahead. Unfazed, Urm insists he cannot die. The dark mage joins us at the table, and we all seem to feel better after a restful night.

Farryn proudly displays a ring he crafted—a ring of free action, granting him greater mobility. He studies the map of level 22, anticipating our entry into an atrium guarded by enemies. Our objective: to reach Hallaster and uncover the secrets of Undermountain, with this level serving as a crucial step.

Considering the Shadowdusks’ allegiance to Shar, Farryn suggests that the dark mage may need to engage with them diplomatically. Suddenly, a door materializes on the wall, and the dark mage wastes no time in passing through it into another dimension.

I hear him summoning Mimi the Mimic, feeding the creature a rat he brought along. He leaves more rats for Mimi in the demi-plane he created, intending to retrieve her in three days’ time, Mimi needs this time to devour the phylactery.

Some of us decide to deposit money in the vault/hoard at the base. I stash away 100 platinum in a secure corner of the room, while Morph inscribes draconic runes on his pile of coins. Inspired by his idea, I follow suit, marking mine with the declaration: “Property of Gwenneth Kirsten Tyra Quinn MacGlowcken. In case of death, this belongs to my dragon, as a hoard in the making.”

Before proceeding to the Shadowdusk level, we make a detour to gather more runestone shards. It takes us about an hour to collect a significant amount—I manage to find three fragments myself. In total, we amass around 20 shard fragments, which I hand over to Farryn for safekeeping.

As we resume our descent, we discuss the need for stealthy reconnaissance. I volunteer for the task and share a telepathic connection with Patience. Morph adopts his Dirty Jack persona as a disguise, and I venture ahead.

Spotting two duergarr laboring with a heavy crate, I alert Patience to their presence. Despite my caution, Farryn boldly approaches and greets them, much to the party’s chagrin—I hadn’t realized we were on friendly terms with duergarr.

Further along, I encounter a massive steel bull, ridden by a duergarr, while others work on the walls with pickaxes, generating a cacophony of noise.

Recognizing a duergarr woman who bears a striking resemblance to the steel dragon we encountered with Fazrian, I cautiously approach her. She greets me warmly, acknowledging my affiliation with the Disruptors. Curious about our presence, she inquires about our intentions.

Summoning Farryn to join the conversation, I step back slightly, allowing him to engage with her. He offers a compliment on the impressive production within the area and explains our objective of reaching the Shadowdusk stronghold. In response, she issues a directive to her workers, urging them to intensify their efforts.

As they continue their discussion, I decide to press further into the surroundings, maintaining my role as the party’s scout. A bit further, I encounter a handful of Xorns.

As I approach the door to the stronghold, I notice xorns sifting through a nearby cart, their movements methodical and deliberate. Ignoring their presence, I focus on assessing the door for any potential traps, meticulously inspecting its surface for signs of danger. Satisfied with my findings, I signal to Farryn to conduct his own examination.

After a brief pause, during which the dark mage prepares a detection spell, we confirm that the door is free from traps or magical enchantments. With cautious anticipation, we push the door open and step inside. Immediately, the dark mage senses a surge of illusion magic permeating the air, alerting us to the presence of potent enchantments within the stronghold.

We walk in, and I see an Uroloth in front of Farryn. He cannot see it, and I quickly urge him to stand still. I discuss swiftly with Patience with the mind link to share the info. Patience also urges Farryn to take a step back and come over. 

As the confrontation with the Ultroloth unfolds, tensions rise and actions are taken swiftly. I stand by, ready to act at a moment’s notice as Farryn and the dark mage engage in dialogue with the fiend. Despite our attempts to communicate peacefully, the Ultroloth remains unresponsive, its intentions shrouded in mystery.

When the fiend suddenly vanishes from sight, I ready my bow, anticipating its next move. With precision and determination, I take aim and release a flurry of arrows, each finding their mark and inflicting significant damage upon the Ultroloth. As the battle intensifies, Farryn conjures flames to engulf our foe, while I maintain a steady barrage of ranged attacks.

Despite the Ultroloth’s attempts to retaliate with magical barriers, our combined efforts prove too much for it to handle. With a final burst of fiery energy, Farryn breaks through the wall of fire, allowing us to press the attack and ultimately emerge victorious.

We proceed to the door, and the dark mage opens it. We walk through the door and descend the staircase. Farryn is still talking though, about how he finally killed the Uroloth. Every minute we go deeper into the Shadowdusk stronghold I hear whispers, and I get a weird feeling about our surroundings. We seem to get further away from the material plane; it gets more chaotic…

We enter a beautiful marble hallway, with tapestry on the floors. We spot a statue in the south, and see someone walking through a door. It’s a tiefling. 

The dark mage says: “That’s… Enola.” 

Patience immediately goes after her. I quickly tell Farryn I’m following him, and follow the invisible Patience, myself also invisible. 

I follow Patience together with the Dark Mage, and Urm. We enter a bigger hallway, and I spot weird creatures approaching us. 

“Holy smokes, guys! There are flying brains with birdbeaks and weird tendrils here!” I shout.

As the flying brain creatures descend upon us with their sharp beaks and tendrils, chaos erupts in the hallway. I unleash a flurry of arrows, managing to strike one out of the air with a well-aimed shot. But my victory is short-lived as the remaining creatures swarm around me, their attacks finding their mark.

I cry out to my companions, warning them of the bizarre creatures assaulting me. Their beaks are razor-sharp, and their tendrils coil around me like vipers, grappling me tightly.

Despite Morph’s valiant efforts to defend us, I continue to bear the brunt of the creatures’ onslaught. Each strike from their beaks sends waves of pain coursing through me, threatening to overwhelm my defenses.

Amidst the chaos, Morph unleashes a burst of purple flames, summoning spectral swords to his side. With his encouragement ringing in my ears, I summon all my strength and push upwards, desperately trying to escape the relentless assault of the flying brain creatures.

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