The Shadowdusk family

Session 26 May 2024

I’m in the grip of the Grel, feeling its tendrils tighten around me. Morph, now Dirty Jack, has conjured spirit guardians, but they’re attacking everything in their path, including me. I struggle to escape, but the Grel’s hold is unyielding.

“Shit,” I mutter, trying to wriggle free. The Grel’s beak pierces into me, and suddenly I’m paralyzed. My body refuses to respond as the Grel lifts me away from the spirit guardians.

Morph’s voice cuts through the chaos. “Little halfling, where are you? Save yourself!” His words infuse me with bardic inspiration, but it’s a struggle to overcome the paralysis.

After what feels like an eternity, I regain control of my body. 

My party springs into action, their shouts mingling with the sounds of battle. The dark mage’s command rings out. “LET GO!”  The Grel releases me, and I fall, briefly free, before being snatched up again. “Shit,” I gasp as the paralysis takes hold again.

The dark mage repeats his command (“I SAID, LET HER GO!”), and once more, I’m able to move. The party is relentless, attacking the Grels that swarm around me. Finally, the creatures let me go.

Casting Zephyr’s Strike on myself, I move away from the melee without provoking any opportunity attacks. I quickly regain my composure and start attacking the remaining Grels near Farryn.

The dark mage calls for help, and Farryn rushes to his side. The dark mage casts a sacred flame, searing the Grel that had me in its grip. The creature burns in the holy fire, its shrieks echoing through the hallway.

With the immediate threat neutralized, the dark mage drops to his knees, exhausted. I rush over to him, checking for any serious injuries. “Are you alright?” I ask, concern evident in my voice.

He nods weakly, catching his breath. “I’m fine, just… need a moment.”

Morph is visibly agitated, pacing back and forth. “Why did we follow that chick? Why did we split the party? And why are we getting ambushed by tentacle faces?!” He stops mid-rant as the torches around the place suddenly ignite, casting an eerie glow over everything.

Farryn, seething with anger, addresses the group. “Patience left us. That was reckless. We can’t reach him, and this was a stupid move.”

I’m crouching on the floor, wincing from my injuries. Farryn’s harsh words cut through my pain. “This is not the place to sit and mope,” he snaps.

I struggle to my feet, tears welling up in my eyes. With a shaky breath, I heal myself as best as I can. Morph hands me a healing potion, and I gratefully drink it down, feeling the restorative magic ease my pain.

Farryn moves to inspect a nearby door, and we flank him as he cautiously opens it. Beyond, we find a hallway adorned with statues of Xerrion and Margaraste Shadowdusk. Morph contemplates which one to impersonate, and we agree on Xerrion, the man with the strong jawline.

The hallway is lined with murals depicting scenes of Waterdeep, the descent into Undermountain, and Xerrion creating this very stronghold. One mural features a black tablet and a portal with tentacles, likely a gateway to the Far Realm. Farryn examines the statues closely.

Morph suddenly calls for a halt. “We need a ruse. Let’s pretend you’re my prisoners,” he suggests.

Farryn counters, “You don’t know how Xerrion talks. This plan is too risky.”

Morph concedes, “Fair point. But this is just a greeting hall. We should tread carefully.”

Farryn is adamant about not resting, but I voice my need for a break. The rest of the party sides with me, and we retreat into my rope trick for a short rest. Urm, Morph, and the dark mage join me inside the magical space.

After a while, Farryn joins us. Morph, now disguised as Farryn, confronts him. “Be nice and apologize. I wouldn’t treat my party members this way.”

We have a heated discussion inside the rope trick. It becomes clear that Farryn holds himself to different standards than the rest of us. As the self-appointed leader, he believes he can scout alone and take breaks, while expecting the rest of us to follow stricter rules. The dark mage challenges this notion. “A true leader leads by example. This behavior isn’t right.”

The tension in the air is thick, but we manage to rest and heal up.

Farryn informs us about a door he discovered earlier, with sounds of munching behind it. Deciding to avoid potential danger, we opt to move in a different direction after our short rest. We proceed to the right, with the torches igniting one by one as we advance. The dark mage’s manifest mind leads the way, illuminating the path ahead.

We come across another door behind a wall, and Farryn is eager to investigate. The dark mage steps forward, volunteering to enter first and pretend to be a worshipper. He knocks on the door, and a voice from inside responds, “Come in.”

As we enter, a figure greets us, “You guys were announced – welcome.”

“We were sent here by Shar,” the dark mage says, trying to maintain the ruse.

“By Shar? What does she have to do with this?” the figure asks, puzzled.

“Well, you are worshippers, right?” the dark mage continues.

“No, nothing of Shar here – the rumors have gone far.”

“Why have you left Waterdeep?”

“We were not welcome anymore; the house burnt down,” the dark mage explains.

From another room, a man grunts angrily. “No, hun, they are just here to talk,” a voice reassures him, trying to calm the situation.

“We’ve come here out of curiosity,” Jaf’ar Magnus explains. 

“Ah, I understand… Most wizards do. They’re eager to learn more about this place. But there’s something ominous here—many wizards who came before us never left and turned into Nothics.” the woman says.

She nods solemnly. “I understand. I am Melissara Shadowdusk, a member of the Shadowdusk family. Our experiments have corrupted us with the far realm’s influence.”

“And I’m Jaf’ar Magnus,” the dark mage replies. “These are the Disruptors.”

I observe Darion, noting the scars marring his face. They bear the telltale marks of a starspawn’s handiwork. “This is my husband, Darion,” Melissara continues. “There are six more of us here.”

Farryn steps forward. “I studied with Skrianna at the Wizard Academy.”

Melissara’s expression turns somber. “Skrianna… She died in a tragic accident.”

“How awful,” Farryn responds, his voice heavy with empathy.

Melissara sighs. “Yes, it was a terrible loss. Three more Shadowdusks are on a lower level, along with two death knights. They’re trying to take over Waterdeep and bring the far realm’s influence into our world. Desmir can shape reality, and Zaltar wields a sword that devours souls. There’s also a blue dracolich involved.”

The dark mage looks determined. “We need to stop them. We’ll make sure the death knights are dealt with.”

Melissara’s eyes soften with hope. “Please do so. And also, please return the pendant to me that they have.”

I step forward, asking about the leonins. “Did you hear anything about Leonins on this level or the one below?” I ask it because I want to inquire some information about Cross’ grandparents. 

Melissara nods. “They were given to Arcturia for her experiments. If they’re still alive, they’ll be in her lab…”

I look to the rest of the party, eyes wide. 

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