Queensday the 7th of Rain, year 723, at the rented two floor house that the Company uses.
The past four weeks have been a period of training, school learning, and taking breaks for our team. Nim has been taking lessons as an independent student at the Arcane Academy in Oldtown, Sienna has been hiring a monk at the Order of the Fist compound, Jager’s hours have had him away at night to train with a mysterious professional, Altaksus has been paying for training and lessons from some of the more esoteric members at the Order of Iron Might Arena in Oldtown, and Sparrow has been back to train at the Bardic College (With forays out to the Temple of Jode) in Oldtown, Silas spent some time tutoring under some sorcerers off of Dweomer Street, and, lastly, Hirok spent a couple of weeks in the Temple District meditating at a small chapel dedicated to Earth (As he could not find one dedicated to Unnom). When at the tail end of this, another Demonic Messenger appeared and summoned the “Company of the Horn to meet with their master, Raguel, Lord of Hell.”
Since this summons took place in the evening, after dark, Jager was about to step out to, “finish some last minute business with his contacts” when the demon appeared. Hearing what the creature said about the Company being summoned, a frightened Silas asked if he would be considered a part of that summons, and Sparrow replied that it might not be wise to play semantics with the Lord of Hell. So, they all went the next day to the Necropolis to enter the Dark Reliquary.
Silas was visibly disturbed by this, and occasionally asked, prying with Nim, Sparrow, and Altaksus if there might be anything else they would want to bring up that might not seem important… during these couple of months, nobody ever mentioned to Hirock, Silas, nor Jager about the Company’s Allegiance to Raguel. The group trudged through the gates, where Mourners asked if they would be burying a fellow adventurer, if they needed mourers, etc… No, but thanks was the reply.
And they walked down hill, through winding walkways, spotting the tower of the Necromancer, lined again with hanging skeletons (Everyone knew this as an unafilliated wizard’s tower), until they saw the forbidding structure of the Dark Reliquary (Rumored to not have been built by mortal hands). The group knocked on the tall doors, and, slowly, the Doorman opened up (Dressed in a black suit of finery, exposing its ribcage with a small tortured soul within). The Doorman announced the Company of the Horn to the Crimson Court within, bowed and escorted them through the Entry Hall (A long, lavish chamber with a black and white marble floor and rounded columns running along both sides of the hall. Stairs to either side of the far hall led up to the second floor, overlooking this hallway) to Raguel’s Throne Room. This day, small tables were set out here in the Entry Hall, and musicians of a particularly dead variety were upstairs, playing music. Lilith was downstairs talking with some apparent vampires, all drinking what Altaksus identified as blood out of tall, thin glasses. Lilith seemed pleasantly happy and sneered at the group in a satisfied manner as they entered the Throne Room.
Raguel was on his throne of bones and skulls, and motioned to his tiefling servants to close the door. This chamber had white and deep violet curtains covered most of the walls here. Raguel’s first order was to note the change in party composition, and asked what was wrong with Sienna. Sienna replied that she was slain and came back as a Halfling, to which Raguel replied, “How sloppy, come here and let me fix that.” And as she did, she received the blessing of the Lord of Hell and came back into her human self once again. Sparrow let Raguel know when he remarked at the absence of George that George had quit, and Raguel let them know that nobody that swears to serve Raguel can just quit of his own accord… But to not worry about the matter, he would deal with George on his own. Raguel then welcomed Hirok, Jager, and Silas into the company and let them know that his ultimate goal is to get this group beyond the Spire, and in that case, they should try to learn what they could about the Jewels of Parnaith.
But, before that could happen, on this Godsday during an attack on some other place in the Necropolis, his Fallen had reported back that some Ghouls were caught that had unique abilities. That indicated some creatures had taken over an abandoned complex directly beneath the Dark Reliquary. Looking into it, he sensed that the soul of Elenoora was there, and as she was a sworn servant of his, he would like her soul released so she can be returned to work for him in this quest. Raguel stated that the group must have noticed some difficulty in returning Elenoora to life, as her soul was bound and not free to return, therefore their attempts to raise her were doomed to failure, and he hoped they didn’t waste too many resources on those attempts.
So, Raguel’s task for his, “Spire bound Jewel Climbers” was to go to this abandoned dungeon area, liberate the trapped souls, and restore Elenoora to life. Also, if possible, the group should destroy everything in that complex. It predates the Dark Reliquary, and he suspected that it might be one of the ancient labs where the Galchutt worked on creating earthbound demons. Oh, and that the creature that is now running the place is Leanour, a Fallen turned Forsaken (Normally that doesn’t bother anybody, but in this case, she picked the wrong soul –Elenoora-, and he believes might be angling to become a god, possibly to overthrow Raguel), specifically a Rakshasa that is trying to become Forsaken Shigmaa (Much like Shigmaa Wuntad’s attempts to bring the Forsaken into the Chaos Cults fold).
And with that the group had the chance to ask questions (As DM, I don’t remember any, but if any of you do, please make comments on this post to show that) of Raguel before leaving the Dark Reliquary on their new quest.
The next day, they planned to infiltrate this new area, and did some research on the location. Sparrow learned that it was accessible by boat, as it was by the base of the Cliff of Lost Wishes. So the team headed to the docks, after Nim prepared several water breathing spells, and they all rented a boat from Old Sard at Sard’s Boats. They paid the 500 gp deposit and the 20 gp per day on his keelboat (It was close to sixty fice feet long, twenty feet wide, and powered by six oars. The mast was cut off, and it had a flat bottom). Sard made the obvious adventurers prove they could sail the boat, and the group was able to do so. He took their 520 gold crowns, and closed his shack on the pier, walking back to town as the group hopped in and began rowing to the Cliff.
Hirok, Nim, Silas, and Sienna were all inside (it was sparsely furnished, a table, several chairs, etc…) when the first impacts occurred. Everyone ran outside. Jager was piloting this boat with an improvised skill that gave him mastery of this craft. Nim recognized tojanidas attacking the boat with great speed. Once the group was in a position to deal damage back to the tojanidas, they stopped attacking within visible range and concentrated their attacks on the bottom of the hull. That was when someone noticed waterlogged ghouls swimming up and clawing at the planks in the hull. Silas began flying (As he was scared of swimming with aquatic monster turtles and water zombies), and the others all felt pretty helpless with not being able to get in the water to protect their boat.
Jager and Nim then also began hearing a bell sound from deep within the cavern, and noticed some of watery undead leap up onto the rocky outcropping in front of the cave and run inside. The undead were shouting something that seemed like an alert in Imperial, but it was very difficult to hear over the sounds of the ocean hitting the cliff, and the roughness of the voices of the intelligent ghouls.
Jager then left his post to get to the front of the boat to jump onto the rocky outcropping of the cave Sparrow called out as the one they were looking for. Hirok went below decks again to see what was going on, and found an aquatic ghoul squeezing in through a hole he tore through the hull, and about two feet of ocean water in this boat. Hirok called for help, and between Sienna and himself they killed the creature. Hirok then began taking spare parts to patch up the hole (Hammer, skins, nails, etc…).
Jager then made the running jump, Sienna bean rowing to slow the boat down, Altaksus guided the boat to come up alongside the outcropping, and the impact happened, the group only heard a curse as Hirok dropped what he was doing into the water in the boat, but the others kept their balance, and made it to the outcropping. As the group all made it up to the rocky outcropping, Altaksus and Hirok went to work on the boat. Altaksus bailed water out, and Hirock did his best to make the boat seaworthy, by the time he was done, he had repaired it to the point that the leak was only a small trickle of water, and it would take days to sink. Moments later, the bell stopped ringing from within the cavern.
During the hour and a half that the two were working on the boat, Jager and Nim worked on a puzzle they spotted in the very worn rocks surrounding this cavern entrance (Nim, with the little architecture that she studied, noted that his place was built, not natural). An ancient tongue was inscribed on the walls, and Jager could make out the word “Temple_______born”
At this point, they entered the mouth (The mouth to this “cave” seemed to have been built with doors, but they have long since been missing), and found a wide spiral staircase made of stone headed up. Eighty feet later, this opened to a thirty foot deep chamber, twenty feet wide with halls leading off to the right and left. Almost immediately upon entering this chamber, some obviously dead creatures lept in the way of the group and began attacking, some of these undead ghouls looked rather odd, like they had extra skin added to their normal frames, as if they were now grotesquely larger. Fortunately for the team, everyone could see in the dark, and no light was needed.
As the battle was joined, and Sienna ran forward to help the front line with fighting, something unthinkable happened, some waterlogged ghouls crept up the stairs and attacked the back of the line (Which was Silas and Nimeliel at this point, frustrated by the abandonment of Sienna yet again, Nim stepped back, cast a warrior’s spell upon herself –she was now armed and armored in magic- and stepped forward to protect Silas). Silas was scraped a few times, but defended himself admiarably, even launching a lightning bold down the front of the line to help the warriors in front to thin the ranks they were battling. Between Nim and Jager standing on the landing above, the ghouls in the back of the line were cut to pieces.
As the undead began to fall in scores, one of the more intelligent ghouls ran down a hall calling for reinforcements. Sparrow couldn’t let that happen, and began chasing it down the hall while still on the ceiling (Which is funny, because she has to skitter like a spider when upside down, and hardly has any speed doing so, therefore the undead was able to put considerable distance between itself and her). She entered a room full of strange acidic scents and containing four large cauldrons, moments later, Sparrow was engulfed in flames, and flattened herself against the ceiling. She found herself facing an Ogre Mage thirty feet away, it had just finished casting a spell, with that Sparrow called for help.
Running into the room was Sienna, quicker now that she was human, she took in the situation in an instant and rushed in to engage the Ogre Mage, dodging aside its clumsy club swing.
We called the session here, in the middle of combat, as it was midnight. I took everyone’s starting position down, and saved it for next time… When we next resume, I called this a new combat as the situation had changed significantly, it would be a combat with Ghoul reinforcements, and this Ogre Mage, with the rest of the Company of the Horn back in the room with the stairs.