Black Heart

Going Up?
Don't Split the Party

As the foulspawn hulk burst through the door, the party reacted quickly and began to focus fire upon him. However, he brought friends with him who were less than pleased about going through the wall of thorns the druid erected. All four of the foulspawn proved resourceful, and the party was largely depleted of resources, but ultimately the party would carry the day despite the bruising attacks made by the hulk and the dazing effects the other foulspawn.

As the party rested, Kildrak summoned his bear to his side and prayed to his god to grant him the ability to better aid his allies, and was rewarded with extra healing abilities, at the cost of much of his ability to control the battlefield. The party the decided to work their way up the tower. To their surprise, they learned that the ladders allowed them to actually levitate up to the next floor, and that the ladders were really just for show. The second floor revealed six separate rooms that appeared as though they were being used as nurseries. Dozens of cribs, all of the empty, were found in the rooms, but no creatures lurked about. The third floor of the tower featured a large vault with crystalline walls that housed the beholder’s treasure hoard, but when Elana and Adiah attempted to open the vault, they triggered the trap protecting it, each of them taking necrotic damage. While Adiah was attempting to disable the trap, Elana decided to explore the next floor which featured a library.

As Adiah and the rest of the party were still trying to figure out the door to the vault, Elana decided to venture up to the fifth floor, and soon learned why not to split the party. As she reached the top of the ladder, she found three rather angry demons. Though Elana reacted quickly, she did not react quick enough and one of the demons went first. Four swipes of its claws and a stab with its stinger later, and Elana was unconscious, taking continuous poison damage, and just about to walk through death’s door.

The party was able to bring Elana back from the brink of death and things started to turn around for them. One of the demons was able to pass through the floor and descend to the library where it attacked the party. Its shadowy nature made it hard to damage but it was soon destroyed. The third demon, looked the least dangerous initially, but soon proved its worth as it was able to possess both Adiah and Goeban during the fight. Once the shadowy demon was killed though the remaining demons proved to be easy prey and though the party was battered, they were ready to move on the next level, and hopefully, the beholder.

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A brief absence

After defeating both the aberrants and the undead beneath the town of Ashenport, the party exited the caverns only to find that a much longer time than anticipated had passed. Ten years in fact. Evidently the vampire claiming to be the Serpent Lord was working with some sort of time machine that was triggered or malfunctioned after he was slid into it. The party, and presumably the vampire, had been thrown forward in time by ten years.

The party worked their way up the cliff and back to the town of Ashenport only to discover that the town had been abandoned. It is unclear when exactly the town was abandoned, but it appeared as though several years had gone by without any inhabitants in the town. Lonys and Kildrak sent a message to Branwin to tell them that they were not dead and to try to find out what was going on. As they awaited Branwin’s reply, it became apparent that the Mutation had spread quite a bit in their absence. Where before the Mutation had primarily been contained within the Roan Valley, now the entire island, and even the ocean, appeared to have been affected. The expected reply came not from Branwin, but rather from Graben instead. After receiving the message from Branwin, the party decided to head back to Gryphon’s Bluff and was relieved to find that the Apparatuses of Kwalish were still in tact and in working order.

Upon reaching Gryphon’s Bluff the party discovered that the entire region, including the city, had been taken over by aberrants serving the One Who Hears. After meeting with members of the resistance, which included Chesty, Jeska, Solara, Laren Shadowheart, and Branwin, the party was told that the primary problem facing the resistance was that a beholder had erected a tower halfway between Ravenswood and Gryphon’s Bluff and that from the tower it was able to see any massing of resistance forces. Although several attempts had been made to destroy the beholder, none had been successful. It was decided then that the party would attempt to destroy the beholder and that if successful, then a raid on Gryphon’s Bluff could be made.

The party used Obsidian Steed to fly to the tower and in the process also used Traveler’s Camouflage to conceal their approach to the tower. The party was able to bypass the foulspawn that were massed outside the tower in part with the rituals, and in part with the distraction set by other members of the resistance. The party made it inside the tower without alerting the forces outside, but they were soon alerted when Kildrak erected his wall of thorns. The party was also confronted by several of the beholders allies, including a mind flayer, in the entrance to the tower. Those enemies were defeated just as the first of the foul spawn burst through the barricaded door from the outside.

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