Burnt to the water line & I am beginning to feel out numbered, bring it on.
Having cleared out Narl’s Tower and having retrieved their quest target one of the black cubes, the heroes exit the tower to be confronted by the revelation that Arkazul and Brosphor are possibly one and the same although the voice is clearly that of Arkazul that demands the black cube or their friend dies.
18th day of 3rd Nimos Second Epoch 2151
Arkazul rising to Brosphor’s full stature, disdain in his eyes then says with power behind his voice “Bow before your god.” The heroes feel a wave of terror wash over them but they are not affected but the madness that pulls at their edges of sanity. Reollo hesitation however is shocked by the revelation, struggling to understand whether his friend is Arkazul or is possessed and not in control. Lucky has no such hesitation and goes into action. In blur of movement he draws an arrow, notches it and fires putting an arrow into the eye of Arkazul. Sirath charges drawing his sword as he goes. Tiberius casts a spell in an attempt to trip Arkazul over, however he is not affected. Reollo coming to grips with what is happening follows up from behind. The air dims slightly and Arkazul is no longer standing where he should and is now at the end of the jetty. Arkazul pulls the arrow out of the eye socket, “Last chance. Give me the cube or your friend dies.” The heroes continue to advance silent, “You had your warning, this is not over.” the air dims again and Arkazul is gone.
Left feeling somewhat confused Reollo directs everyone to get in the boat and they start to pilot the boat back to the manor. There are a few times where the sail fouls as Tiberius struggles to sail against the prevailing wind. Long before they see anything of the coast or their starting point they see a point of light on the horizon, that dims as the boat skips across the small white capped waves. As they get closer and the coming of dawn’s light allows them a better view. Smoke smudges the sky, the flames but embers now and Ulanor Manor has burnt to the ground. The stone base has crumbled inward and a few timbers and beams jut out at strange angles, like black bare bones of some ancient giant creature reaching for the sky.
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The heroes bring the boat to dock underneath the manor at the jetty there. They disembark surveying the charred and blackened destruction that is tumbling down the stairs that lead up to the kitchen on the ground floor above. As they attempt to determine if they can ascend the stairs they notice a trail of blood on the steps leading up to the manor. This trail leads to the secret treasure room around behind the stairs. With a little trepidation they open the door to discover a congealing pool of blood in the centre of the room. What they know of human physiology they know that no person could have survived the blood loss without serious intervention. There is no sign of a body and no sign as to whom the blood belongs.
They then force their way up the stairs, carefully moving and removing burnt debris. Finally gaining access to the ground floor of the manor. As they survey the damage Tiberius realises that nothing is salvageable, the deeds of ownership he found in the treasure room are now effectively useless. They continue to survey the debris and find the charred corpses of the ogres and annis in what used to be the entry way. They find no other remains after a cursory search. The heroes reassess the current situation. They do not know where Norhtal is or if he survived the fire or whatever else happened. The quest is of primary importance. They decide to head southwards to the burial mound of Talgaleth in search of the next part of the heart of darkness.
Travelling down past Narl’s deep they enter the unnamed forest, whilst their path is not quite straight they are able to navigate well enough and after a 2 day and a half they find themselves almost through the unnamed forest without anything occurring.
21st day of 3rd Nimos Second Epoch 2151
Finally they come to a large clearing and standing at the other end of the clearing is a rather large figure. At first it seemed that the being is giant of sorts but there is the touch of the fey about him, as he is surely a him without doubt. He stands 9 foot tall and tremendously broad, with ox-like shoulders and a barrel torso. In fact, he is so stumpy that from a distance he could have been mistaken for a dwarf. His filthy, mud coloured hair blends with his equally filthy beard which falls to his knees in matted waves. Woven into the tangle of the beard are the scalps of about a dozen mummified heads of varying creatures including humans and goblinoids. The beard serves as his only clothing. There is a mad gleam in his eyes that suggests a lack of reason and he is flanked by two figures that looked like they are made out of earth and rock.
The fey in a clear voice across the clearing announces “Leave now or you die.”
Reollo attempts to be diplomatic “We mean no harm we just want to talk.” The fey clearly agitated goes on, “Your kind corrupts everything.” Reollo and Sirath start moving towards the fey in order to talk in closer quarters. Reollo presses gently “We just want to move through the area to the burial mound.” This only leads to the fey becoming more incensed “Enough talk! Now you die! Your corruption must be erased.” Then all of a sudden a number of things happen. The earth elementals move forward protecting the fey. Out of the trees to the side of the clearing emerge two large beetles and swarming out of the trees either side closest to Lucky and Tiberius two large groups of very large spiders. Then almost inconceivably either side of the clearing near the fey two trees detach themselves from the others, coming alive and start slowly to stalk towards Reollo and Sirath.
Reollo and Sirath suddenly find themselves slowed down by the grass under their feet which has now come alive and is tangling them. Lucky and Tiberius set about preparing the last of Tiberius’ fire jars and a torch. Lucky then feels like he has been grabbed from behind and is about to be dragged backwards. Tiberius from his vantage point sees grasses and plants trying to drag Lucky back to the tree line. Lucky is able to shake them off with some effort. At the sight of the flaming torch the fey goes berserk and breaks formation dashing forwards, eager to crush the heroes with his bare hands.
Reollo and Sirath move past the entangling plants to intercept and engage in hand to hand with the fey. They are intercepted by the beetles as they make a loud hissing sound and disgorge a sticky burning liquid from beneath their large mandibles Reollo dodges out of the way and Sirath is able to block the worst of the spray. They continued to move forwards. Lucky and Tiberius having lit the fire jar throw it at the swarm of spiders to their right. It falls just short forming a barrier to the spiders advancing mass. The spiders on the other side coming closer cause Tiberius to move away from them in order negate the risk of being attacked. Lucky then digs deep calling on Adaru and calls upon the power to move the air in front of the flames raging on the ground. It fans to flames to greater heights flaring out to incinerate most the spiders, leaving only one that scuttles back up the tree the swarm had descended from. The tree catches slightly alight smouldering.
Tiberius evades the other swarm of spiders preparing and waiting for the best time to use his spells on the fey intending to incapacitate him and to bolster Reollo’s strength particularly. They are however are mostly ineffective and he spends most of his time avoiding the large swam of spiders.
Reollo and Sirath charge forward to engage in hand to hand and find themselves surrounded by the earth elementals and beetles, with the walking trees closing in. Reollo suffers some serious wounds from the crushing rock hard fist of the earth elements, Sirath avoids most damage due to his profiency with his shield. Lucky attempts to move around the other side of the flame in order to use it against the other swarm and finds that this would not be possible he then moves to engage one of the beetles in hand to hand. In the next few moments Tiberius judges that he needs to tangle the feet of the Fey and it falls to the ground with an almighty ground shake crash and he then casts his next spell strengthen Reollo who feels vitality and power of limb settle on him.
Reollo despite being seriously wounded starts a whirlwind of destruction. Having taken apart one of the earth elementals he then engages one the walking trees and literally chops it down one of causing it to fall towards the fey which has just regained his feet. The fey un-scathed however leaps forward over the downed trunk in a blinding fury, intent on ripping him limb from limb.
Meanwhile Sirath finds himself seriously outnumbered by a beetle and an earth elemental, with a walking tree close to engaging him as well. He uses Earthcleaver to dissolve the earth elemental’s parts that are made of rock. Unable to continue to function crumbles into a pile of earth. Reollo having been pummelled by the fey then in a series of blinding attacks chops apart the fey, his spirit leaving his current form and returning the strands of existence. Sirath then moves to attack the remaining tree, barely blocking the scything claws of the creature he valiantly wins through causing enough damage to it for the spirit that is inhabiting it to dissipate. The beetles and remaining spiders once the fey is defeated just wander off under their own volition.
Deciding to make an early camp the heroes set up camp hoping to re-cuperate quicker. They all seem to share the same dream that night. All of them see a physically ruined Brosphor standing before Andelin. The voice from Brosphor’s mouth is Arkazul’s however “Find me a willing host, stronger. This one has always been soft and no longer suits my needs.”