Episode 18 - The Tower of Mysteries

To the Tower of Mysteries:

After a warm meal and a few hours rest, the party began preparations for their journey to the Tower of Mysteries..

“Hey guys, check out this new ritual I’ve been working on,” Woodie spoke as she unrolled a scroll.

To aid in our struggle for freedom,
We’ll need to gain strength from the source;
It’s clear that our pathway to glory
Can be found in the bones of a horse.

And suddenly, several horses appeared in front of the party. Two heavy war horses for Noluck and Tempest. Two light war horses for Paelias and Woodie. Two mastiff hounds for Sting and Galt. And a stout pony for Balomir.

Saddling up, the party made their way to the Tower of Mysteries following the directions from Rendil.

After riding for several hours, the party came upon a giant hollowed out chamber with pillars stretching to the ceiling. A large door off to one side was glowing blue with magic. Dismounting, they approached the door.

“This looks like a keyhole,” Paelias said. “I wonder if Maldrake’s key will work.”

Inserting the key, the door slowly opened revealing a simple room beyond. A 10’ circle of runes were painted on the floor.

“This looks like an inactive teleportation circle,” Woodie informed the party.

Stepping into the room, the circle flared with blinding energy for a moment. When the light faded away, a spectral, skeletal figure was standing within the circle. The figure was clad in thick robes of deepest scarlet. It was missing its left hand, and while an eye filled the right socket, the left was empty.

The figure glared at the party and spoke, “The secrets of the tower come at a price. You must each pay for the right to enter this place. What can you offer to the dreaded lord of secrets? I seek lore, power, and your souls.”

“This creature is vain, lads. Spoil it wi’ flattery,” Balomir told his companions.

Stepping forward, Noluck spoke, “those look like some nasty wounds you’ve got there, perhaps I can lend some help in healing them?”

“No! That is unnecessary,” the ghost replied.

“Then perhaps I can tell you a little something of the history of Nagash,” Woodie spoke before recounting the origin stories of the dark lord.

“You are well versed in the history of my master. That is acceptable,” said the ghost, “but I still require more. Much more.”

“Then I will offer a small amount of my vitality,” Tempest offered.

“Hmmm, yesss. I feel your strength, Genasi,” the ghost spoke, “that is an acceptable gift.” Continuing, “I created this tower for Nagash’s return.”

“We understand that Kalarel is an acolyte of Nagash, we assisted in his… commitment to the dark lord,” Paelias said as he held forth the severed hand of Kalarel.

“Yes, that would lead him down the path to higher devotion,” the ghost agreed.

“Ya say ya built this ‘ere tower yersell? I’ve ne’re seen the likes o’ it. The workmanship is fantastic,” Balomir offered in praise.

“Somehow, I do not believe you master dwarf. My work here is merely… acceptable,” the ghost rebutted.

“That may be, but it’s my understanding that the temples of Nagash are often crafted in this way,” Woodie interrupted.

“Yes, that is correct, Eladrin. You know much about our religion. Do you also know that the followers of Nagash remove one eye so they can see the shadows of death?”

“Funny you should mention that, because I was there to help Kalarel remove his eye,” Sting piped in.

“Ha! I find that very hard to believe, Halfling. Perhaps you should not have spoke out of turn,” came the ghost’s angry reply.

“Psst, Paelias, tell him my wife helped build this place,” Noluck whispered.

“Uh, well, umm, my associate here, Noluck, was just telling me about how his wife was one of your servants and how she (oh, man, I can’t believe I’m saying this)… helped you build this tower,” Paelias offered.

“That is possible, our followers come form all over,” the ghost replied casually, “she may very well have assisted me.”

“You know, if your cult is looking for hot chicks to be priests, I might be interested in joining,” Woodie said, “I understand I’d need to remove my left hand.”

“That is correct, Nagash priests must remove their left hand to show their true commitment,” the ghost spoke.

“Psst, now tell him she had an undead dog,” Noluck whispered to Paelias again.

“Oh, come on…” Paelias said with incredulity.

“Yes, Eladrin, do you have something to say?” the ghost inquired.

“Well, uhm, yeah. My friend here was just telling me that his wife, you know, the one who helped you build this tower, well, uh, apparently she had a pet dog and when it died, she was able to use the power she gained working here to raise the beast from the dead,” Paelias responded.

“Yes, this is a simple task, often performed on loyal beasts,” came the ghost’s reply. “I myself had a hound…. poor old Mittens, how I miss him.”

“So, after I take out my eye, I’m going to craft the most elaborate implement to fill the socket,” Woodie said. “Wait till you see it. It’s going to be incredible with diamonds and rubies and platinum. All the other priests will be so jealous.”

“That will certainly be a sight to behold, Eladrin,” the ghost spoke, “and when Nagash, the lord of undead in the Shadowfell sees it, he will no doubt be very impressed.”

“He’ll be even more impressed when he sees the ram’s head tattoo she’s got on her lower back,” Paelias told the ghost.

“Ahh yes, the dark lord surely loves the tramp stamp,” the ghost said, winking his one remaining eye at the rogue.

“Well, who doesn’t love the slag tag?” Paelias added.

“Are you guys talking about ass antlers?” Sting asked.

“Sir Ghost,” Noluck interrupted, “Like my blue friend before me, I too will offer a little of my vitality as tribute.”

“Very good, knight,” the ghost replied, “I feel the energy washing over my tired old bones. Did you know that the greatest of Nagash’s followers transform themselves into liches and become extremely powerful?”

“I’ve read much on the topic of becoming a lich,” Woodie spoke, “the process is very difficult and time consuming.”

“That is correct, wizard,” spoke the ghost.

“From what I’ve read, that lord o’ yours is the meanest, vilest, cruellest son of a bitch to ever foul the air,” Balomir spat out.

“That is correct, Dwarf,” the ghost replied. “You understand the ways of the master very well. Congratulations to you all! You have offered enough. You may now enter the Tower of Mysteries. May its secrets intrigue you. To engage the teleportation circle, you must utter then name of the lord, Nagash.”

As these last words were spoken, the ghost’s eye clouded over and it’s voice changed. “My friends, you proceed well on the path that has been laid out for you.” The party immediately recognized the voice as the one that had spoken to them about the prophesy; their destinies and their mission. Turning to gaze upon Tempest, the voice continued, “You are the Blade.” As the word was spoken, the adventurers heard the sound of a gong ringing in their mind. “You will land the final blow against the enemy using the weapon crafted by the Guardian’s hands.” Again, the gonging sound was heard by each of the adventurers.

Slowly the ghost’s eye returned to normal and the creature faded from sight, into the darkness.

In the Tower of Mysteries:

Stepping into the teleportation circle, the party intoned the name of the dark lord, “Nagash!”

With a flash of light, the teleportation circle activated. Suddenly, the party was standing in a 20-foot-by-20-foot room with two exits, one to the north and one to the west. The walls of this chamber were covered with carvings depicting human faces. Each face wore a blindfold or a gag. Immediately upon the party’s arrival, the blindfolded faces animated and begin to chant, while the eyes of the gagged faces glared at the adventurers with rage.

Woodie sent her raven around the western passage. “I see some creatures around the corner, they look like very strong goblins. I think they’re called norkers,” she informed the party.

Balomir, Noluck and Paelias moved out the western passage while Tempest and Sting took the northern.

As the party move out, they see the corridors are lined with pillars carved with one-eyed faces.

Muscle-bound goblin-like creatures charge down the corridor towards the party as more appear through a portal at the far end of the room.

Blasts of psychic energy come from the one-eyed faces on the pillars, hitting Sting, Balomir and Noluck.

“Achh, I cannae use me powers,” Balomir yelled.

“Neither can I,” Noluck seconded.

“Nor I,” Sting added from the other end of the room.

The party engaged the norkers while the one-eyed faces on the pillars continued to blast the party with psychic energies. This time the energies caused pain and pushed the adventures several feet across the room.

Noluck slashed with his sword, Paelias stabbed with his dagger, Galt blasted dark energies of his own and three of the creatures fell.

Calling forth her arcane magics, Woodie sent a blast of power out from her raven pet and like they were made of paper, three more of the muscle-bound creatures fell to the floor.

Meanwhile, on the far side of the room, Tempest and Sting were surrounded by the creatures, both of them taking several hits from swinging flails and slashing battle axes. Seeing his comrades in need, Balomir charged into the ranks of five norkers, calling out, “C’mon ya bastards! Pick on someone yer ain size!”

With the norkers distracted, Sting and Tempest both retreated along the corridor. Stunned by their lack of stand-fastness, Balomir called out, “What the hell, guys? Are ya kiddin’ me?”

Surrounded now himself, Balomir stood tall in the face of five opponents. Behind him, Noluck decided to take a look around. “Hey, I wonder what’s in here?” the drunken knight said as he opened a door to the west. “Looks like this is where some of them sleep, guys.”

Just then, several more norkers appear from the teleporter. Looking around, they see Balomir is their closest target and charge to surround him. The poor bastards.

With a wave of her wand, Woodie sent forth a blast of chilling air, killing five of the norkers.

“Hey, there’s another door over there. Maybe I’ll take a look there now,” Noluck told the party before charging across the room, past the remaining norkers and through the door. “Hya guys,” he spoke to the three priests of Nagash standing in the small side room.

Galt blasted the closest priest with his eldritch powers.

Balomir, surrounded now with norker corpses, charged into the small room. Attempting to stand on the bed, he slipped and fell on his face.

Paelias, moving in behind Balomir thrust his dagger into the nearest priest.

Seeing an opportunity to be the hero, Galt reached down deep inside. Calling on every ounce of power he could muster, he blasted the small room with vile darkness. The priests, ducked down and the blast went over their heads. Unfortunately for Balomir and Paelias, they were right in the way. Balomir shook off the blast but Paelias was less lucky; the damage was done and he crumpled to the floor.

Seeing their comrade slump down, the rest of the party attacked the priests with a newfound vigour. As the priests took damage, they would rip the skin off their own faces and lash out at the closest adventure in mad frenzy. But one by one, they fell to the party’s onslaught.

As the vile darkness Galt had evoked finally dissipated, Balomir rushed to Paelias’ side and, calling on the strength of Kord, brought healing energies down on the fallen eladrin.

“That was a close one, laddie,” Balomir spoke when he saw the rogue’s eyes open.

With the priests and norkers dead, the party searched the room. A chest in one of the side rooms held a small pouch containing some gems.

Moving towards the teleporter where the norkers poured from , the party could see a thin veil of shimmering mist rising above the runes inscribed on the floor between the pillars. Standing beside the runes, they intuitively knew they could use them to move upwards to the next level of the tower.

Episode 18 - The Tower of Mysteries

Terror of Nagash blaven