Sunday, March 23, 2014

Session Nineteen: And Then There Were Two

Picture from Monkey in the Cage
We find the Cobalt Cavers in the process of heading back to Gdansk after retrieving the lifestone of Xanathon. Back in town, they meet up with the cleric Eric Forsett, who reminds the party that if Xanathon dies without revealing how to heal the duke, all of their efforts will have been in vain. The party nods, and heads off to the temple to confront Xanathon. Rather than go through the temple again, they circle to the window they crashed out of last time. As they discuss their options, a group of barbarians round the corner, yelling, "What are you doing here?" The Cavers respond with a sleep spell and throat cutting.

With their planning completed, they break through the large window into Xanathon's chamber. They have carefully orchestrated their plan -- Duggan smashes the window and Wylith's choking grasp incapacitates the high priest. But this plan goes south when Xanathon resists the spell. A protracted conflict ensues, with the skill at arms of the Cavers preventing Xanathon from casting any spells, while Xanathon and his mace leave few marks on the team. As Xanathon begins to weary from the blows, the Cavers begin to pull their punches to ensure he is taken alive. A couple of key misses allow Xanathon to finally cast finger of death, but saves are made, and finally Xanathon is forced to surrender and reveal the antidote to them.

Xanathon is brought outside town to Glenn Danzig, who promises to keep him locked up. The party then heads to the baron's palace to heal him. The manor is empty until they get near the baron's chambers. Draco, along with his lieutenant and captain, is waiting for the party. A terrible fight ensues, knocking out Duggan and Celebrian. Darwain is driven to withdraw, but his Parthian shot kills Draco, and Draco's men immediately surrender. The baron is in the next room, and the Cavers heal him. In gratitude, the baron offers 2,000 gp to both Darwain and Vasily. However, when they head back to meet up with Captain Danzig, they discover Xanathon is gone! Apparently some illusionist disguised himself as Darwain, and took Xanathon away.

While they are on the great middle road anyway, the Cavers decide to head to Lesnime to talk with Aderan's mentor about the mirror tower. On the way, they are assaulted by a tribe of nearly fifty feral halflings who had been eating some merchants, but the Doppelstompers drive them off and appropriate their treasure.

In Lesnime, they meet with Aderan's mentor, a mage named Kessler. He tells the Cobalt Cavers that about a hundred years ago, before Morachi was founded, a wizard named Skarda lived in that tower. Skarda was a master of mirror magic, and created a magical mirror that linked up with the demiplane of mirrors, the space behind all mirrors. His intentions were not good -- he would take an army into that demiplane, use his magic to sneak into the residence of whatever ruler he wished to supplant, and the army would pour out of the mirror, overwhelming the defenders. Fortunately, a hero named Matamoros climbed the tower and defeated Skarda. But Skarda was not dead. Before Matamoros could land the finishing blow, Skarda lept into his mirror. Matamoros then took up residence in the tower. He kept the mirror as a trophy of his victory, but covered it so that Skarda could not escape the demiplane.

Aderan reasons that the most recent resident of that tower must have lifted the cover off of the mirror, allowing Skarda to escape. With more time, Skarda could take the magic mirror with him, replenish his army, and use it to attack one of the dukes, establishing himself in their place.

It is June 1st, 80.