All Trust is Foolish

All Trust is Foolish -- Episode 21

A host of surprises and a quiet betrayal…

Team Mayhem opens the door…eyes locked from across the room, K’lara Baenrae…is here! She’s a traitor!

Priestess K’lara, Sorceror Rook, and a brooding Druid K’eirnon begin casting…K’lara’s Ice Storm goes off first, catching the half of Team Mayhem that’s come in from the door. Two more enemies appear at the top of the stairs, one of Illestri’s Lost, a winged elven creature with sorcerous tendencies and a bug bear looking Monk. The two sides enter primarily a casting battle, controlling the field and limiting movement (particularly of Team Mayhem). Rook and K’eirnon are both low on spells however, and it limits their attacks after the first few volleys. Black Tentacles erupt from the earth, poison clouds trap and pursue, and Team Mayhem is faced with the first of three eventual blade barriers—but they refuse to be kept away. Eventually the two forces meet in the middle at the top of the stairs.

Barbaric Rogue Nymvyr engages Cleric K’lara Baenrae and nearly slays her, but turns away to fight the furry Monk who hit him several times with great effect. Rook targets the now flying Lost of Illestri, but her spell resistance is very strong. Druid K’eirnon and Priestess Nefazia’s demon companion engage Illestri’s Lost (along with several summoned air elementals). Ranger Belar-A has difficulty firing her arrows through the various traps that have her pinned (cloudkill and blade barrier), and struggles to be effective. Cleric K’lara Baenrae uses the opportunity to heal herself up.

Priestess Nefazia charges through the blade barrier and up the steps just in time to heal Nymvyr, who’s been taking a severe beating. Belar-A follows her lead and escapes to the bottom of the stairs, but turns to come to the aid of Rook who had collapsed under a barrage of deadly spells and was barely breathing. Rook is stabilized about the same time K’eirnon, the demon companion, and the air elementals slay Illestri’s Lost and Barbaric Rogue Nymvyr hits the Bearkin with a mighty blow that blinds him and severely reduces his effective defensive strategy. The Bearkin falls…

All of the party begins taking down Cleric K’lara…all except Druid K’eirnon. K’eirnon’s said nothing since coming to the temple. For that matter, he’s been quiet since the party hit the surface world. He’s just standing there, his arms at his side amidst the chaos of battle…taking in all the senseless destruction…so much collateral damage…so much loss. He’s been struggling in silence, an inner turmoil brewing and when Illestri softly speaks into his mind, comfortingly “Come child, it’s time to embrace your destiny…and bring K’lara with you”. At that moment, Cleric K’lara Baenrae collapses in battle and Team Mayhem begins healing and looting for items of value. K’eirnon hesitates a moment, then bends and takes K’lara’s motionless hand…it closes on his for just a moment, indicating at least a spark remains. K’eirnon looks back at those he had called friends…or what constitutes a facsimile of such in the drow world…for only a moment. He realizes his decision had already been made. He and K’lara escape into the floor…a warm, welcoming light is there to greet them…and just as quickly the Temple is gone from view.

Team Mayhem heals up, they look for K’eirnon…one or two of the party have a vague memory of K’eirnon slipping away and into the floor, the dead cleric in tow. They search a few moments, reaching out with mental focus but cannot detect him. This is concerning for the party at first, and perhaps maddening after a moment. They’re startled by a noise behind a nearby door. Nymvyr overcomes the door’s defenses and discovers a prisoner inside, one with a distant past shared by Nymvyr.

Belar-A recognizes the prisoner as well and is instantly suspicious. The prisoner is a student, a caster from the school in Menzoberranzen. Why is here? This is too convenient, trust will be hard-earned. Rook enters the room as well and aggressively questions the prisoner. Inquisitor Laereth explains he and his team were tracking the traitor K’lara Baenrae when he was captured. He’s unsure of the fate of the rest of his crew. He’s been tied and gagged here for six days, which more or less jives with Team Mayhem’s own timeline. Nymvyr opens the barred door and heads out to a locked door the party found in the other room. Rook pauses long enough for Laereth to quickly don his gear (hidden in a nearby chest) and they rush to the now open door leading up to the altar. The group had slain a pigeon keeper here, the team recovers a bird and reads the message “they have defeated the first temple and will suredly find the first of the crystals. I wish you well in your chosen tasks my brothers!”.

Team Mayhem combine their talismans and are able to open a great and magical chest sitting on the altar. They collect one of Lloth’s gem prisons from within. When they finished, Laereth defiled the altar…which in turn, dropped the magical defenses of the temple. Laereth casts the necromantic speak with the dead while Rook provides questions…the party gathers information as to the location of the remaining crystals—one is hidden with the surface dwarves, one is hidden with the surface elves, one is hidden with the Sorceror Guild in Waterdeep, and the last is possessed by an ancient dragon. Armed with this knowledge, the group bravely sleeps and recovers here in the defiled temple until morning.

As the group leaves the Temple in the early evening, they see Illestri’s avatar approaching them along the bridge…the only entrance or exit to the temple. She towers over the party, but one or two in the party realize something isn’t quite right about “her”. Inquisitor Laereth casts Invisibility purge and reveals two very capable demons off to the right. Nymvyr charges Illestri’s avatar and her visage changes, revealing a third, very large demon. Sorceror Rook casts Haste on the remaining party members. Battle ensues. Belar-A sends a barrage of arrows at the Illestri demon in support of Nymvyr while Laereth and Priestess Nefazia’s demonic companion charge the nearest of the two demons to the right…the mud-looking demon. Nefazia casts Prayer as support.

Laereth and the demon companion strike the mud demon for consistent damage, but it won’t go down. Meanwhile, the fourth demon does not charge into battle and the sizzle of dark magicks flare from its claws at Laereth, but cannot find purchase through Laereth’s spell defenses. Nymvyr is finding his demon particularly difficult to hit, and yet he does do damage. The demon responds with near-crippling damage upon Nymvyr. Rook casts repeatedly at the oversized demon fighting Nymvyr, but is unable to penetrate the demon’s natural defenses.

Belar-A senses that she is no longer alone along the left flank of the battle and a fourth demon reveals itself and attacks Belar-A. Laereth and demonic companion are effective, but the mud demon just won’t succumb. Finally the casting demon’s magicks find purchase, and Laereth’s ability to fight is severely hampered (loss of levels). Belar-A sends an arrow at the mud demon and is able to drop the creature, but the demon nearby manages to land magicks of it’s own, reducing Belar-A’s ability to fight in the same way as Laereth was affected. Priestess Nefazia is able to heal a sorely wounded Nymvyr, still standing toe-to-toe with the oversized demon—Nymvyr with help from Rook are able to drop this demon as well.

The battle tides have turned, Team Mayhem plus one are able to focus their efforts against the two remaining demons and are successful in relatively short order. Suddenly, in a booming voice, “You think you have won, but you have not…you continue to underestimate!” The demon that has been plaguing the party and attempting to end Belar-A’s existence is standing on the very top of the Temple steeple. He has grown much larger than before, and raises his bat-like wings against a backdrop of swirling darkness and thunder and leaps into the air…flying…away from the party, laughter trailing in his wake.

Comments

lordnlkon

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.