Beka– elf fighter, level 5
Chichi– halfling thief, level 6
Elrond– elf magic-user, level 5
Gambit– elf fighter, level 5
Goldmoon– human cleric, level 5
Pedro– human fighter, level 5
The Dragonslayers stayed at the town of Stonescar for three days to help the town get back on its feet. In the meantime, Elrond took that time to learn a new spell: fireball.
After a few more days on they road, they finally returned to Erstone. They passed through the town gate as the sun was setting. The townsfolk were happy to see their heroes returned. The party took this moment to ask the people what they thought of Kheldratus. Those they asked regard him as the not-so-friendly town wizard but the people were comforted by the fact that they have one of the Four Wardens living close by, just in case.
Their first real stop was Old Patrick’s Pawnshop to reunite Old Patrick with his granddaughter Anna who had survived the clickers in Stonescar. As gratitude, he offered them a magical egg-sized stone covered with runes which he didn’t know how to use. He hoped that the heroes would still find it useful.
Elrond analysed the runes and quickly determined that it’s a Stone Commanding Earth Elementals. To summon an earth elemental, the holder of the stone would need to hold it above their head and speak the words: “rokke rokke seeyelo!”
Afterwards, the heroes split up. Some went to visit Duncan the blacksmith to get supplies whilst the rest visited the local church to see Father Jess to ask for some healing.
At the blacksmith, Chichi finally got her dragon scale studded leather armour which she had custom-made the last time they were in town. It gave her enhanced protection without hindering her movement at all. Gambit purchased some bear traps and Pedro bought a superior plate mail armour. The armour was one of Duncan’s most-prized work. He wouldn’t have parted with it if it were just any buyer other than one of the famed Dragonslayers whom he owed a debt of gratitude.
Meanwhile at the local Holy Mercy Church, Father Jess was aligning the candles near the entrance when Goldmoon, Beka and Elrond walked in. The priest greeted Sister Goldmoon a good evening and gently reminded her that the church always needed more good people to service the town. In the same breath, he acknowledged that perhaps the Creator had given her a different calling, to be out there to reveal the power of the Creator through her.
They asked if the church had any healing potions that they could purchase. The cleric said they only had 10 healing potions left. They were still waiting for a fresh batch to arrive from the abbey. Knowing the dangers ahead, the heroes bought all the available potions and went on their way.
The heroes reunited at the steps of the church after sundown. Beka and Pedro swapped armours inside the church whilst the rest waited outside. Then they noticed hooded figures in green cloaks and badges just as they turned their backs on the party and walked hurriedly away. Gambit followed them to the north of town and saw them disappear into the forest outside of the town wall.
Suddenly, loud booming sounds came from the west of town. The townsfolk looked visibly shaken by the distant explosions. The heroes went past the western wall of town and determined that the noise came from around where Kheldratus’ Tower should be.
They continued walking west to investigate. A bright light flashed in the night sky and a loud crack followed it. They came up to the tower and saw that it was scorched and smoking. Just outside on the ground was Ivar, Kheldratus’ apprentice, dead with one hand on a fireplace poker and a ring on the other. His eyes were still but wide open and blood streamed out from it, as well as from his nose and ears.
Chichi quickly hid in the shadow and silently circled around the tower to see if what did this to Ivar was still around. She came upon a creature in purple robes with what looked like a huge squid for a head lurking behind the tower, observing them.
Although the thief was completely silent, the squid-headed creature still sensed her presence and turned to her direction. Chichi was taken aback for a moment but then ran toward it, dagger in hand.
The creature put its fingers to its temples and gazed intently at her. Chichi felt a sudden chill and her head started to pound. Her nose started to bleed but she was otherwise unhurt. Not fully knowing what she was up against, she decided to fall back and warn the others instead.
They all ran inside the tower, pulled Ivar’s corpse inside and then closed the tower door. Inside, it no longer looked bigger than the outside, not like the last time they were there. It’s as if the tower lost all its magic. The walls were also charred black in many places and the tapestries that once hung on the walls were now burnt to ash.
Gambit set down a few traps near the door and then they waited for the creature to enter the tower. The creature outside did not even try to enter the tower. After several minutes more of waiting, they decided to just go upstairs and see if there was anything in the tower that they could salvage.
Meanwhile, Elrond wore the ring they found on Ivar’s finger. The pearl on the ring lit a bright white then a ghostly image of Kheldratus projected from the ring. The ghostly Kheldratus spoke a speech that seemed to have been pre-recorded. He told Elrond and those around him that if they were seeing him through the ring, then he must be dead. He proceeded to explain the situation.
”A while back, Maros, the Warden of the North, was obsessed in learning about a dimension that he referred to as the Shadow Realm. He believed that it was an alternate dimension to ours and that artefacts of our world would also exist in the Shadow Realm but perhaps more easily accessible.
”I had warned Maros that opening a portal to the Shadow Realm would be unpredictable and could be very dangerous. The Warden of the North ignored my advice and continued in his efforts.
”Through research and experimentation, Maros was eventually successful in linking our world with the Shadow Realm but at a cost. The connection he created had caused a permanent rift between our two dimensions, allowing the evil creatures from that realm an equally easy access to our world. I fear it had also killed the Warden of the North in the process.
”With Maros dead, I spent days working out a way to mend the rift. In the end, I believe that our only chance is to recover the Book of Making. I’m hoping that inside it is the answer.”
Kheldratus asked the ring holder to find the Book of Making and open it. Apparently, the message had been recorded before Kheldratus had sent the Dragonslayers to retrieve the Book of Making. The ghostly figure also added that once the book was in their possession, they will need to follow steps to safely open it.
”The first step would be to open the lock which had been placed there by a powerful sorcerer named Caldon over a thousand years ago. The only way to safely open the lock is through a key that Caldon always kept with him. I suspect that it would be buried with Caldon in his crypt.
”To get there quickly, use the fireplace in the study. There would be green dust in a container near it. Throw the dust into the fireplace and speak out loud the destination – in this case it’s “To Caldon the Sorcerer”. The fireplace would burn with green fire. It won’t harm you. Step into the fireplace and you will be magically transported to Caldon’s crypt.
”To instantly return to the tower, you will need to bring the poker next to the fireplace. When you want to return, slam the poker against solid rock three times and speak out loud, ‘Back to the Tower’, and you shall be teleported back to my tower.”
The ghostly Kheldratus said that he would tell them more once they have retrieved the book and have unlocked it.
He then disappeared back into the ring. At that point, they realised that Ivar was holding the poker so they took it with them.
Before leaving for Caldon’s crypt, they surveyed the tower one last time. They noticed that there were some items that haven’t been burnt: 30 iron flasks of healing potions, a pair of elven boots, a flying carpet and a case of scrolls containing a dispel magic scroll, a haste scroll and a wizard eye scroll. Gambit donned the boots whilst Elrond kept the scrolls.
Elrond also noticed that the carpet had magic runes written at its fringes. To activate it, they must say “fly carpet fly“. To deactivate it, they must say “land carpet land“.
After sorting out magic items they found, they took a pinch of green dust and hurled it into the fireplace as they yelled, “To Caldon the sorcerer!” It burst into cool green flames. Pedro was the first to walk into the fire. He suddenly found himself sliding in a dark wormhole for a minute and then he fell on snow-covered ground.
Wherever this place was, it was a clearing with a small chapel in the middle surrounded by snowy evergreen trees. Pedro had to unpack the winter blanket that he always had with him and wrapped it around himself to keep warm. Soon, the rest of the party started appearing behind him. They also wrapped themselves in their winter blankets. They’ve arrived.
End of session 8, part 1.
If you are interested in reading the previous session reports, here is the list of previous sessions: https://regardingthegame.wordpress.com/session-reports-recaps/the-dragonslayers-sessions/
Session recap continues at The Dragonslayers – Session 8, part 2: Into Caldon’s Crypt.