Heroes of Cahervaniel

Hallways in the dark, unhappy encounters...

When they stepped through the portal into Undermountain, the Heroes of Cahervaniel knew that their rash decision to accompany Eriodema would have consequences. They were in a chamber with but one exit, tasting stale air and feeling the weight of uncounted tons of rock above them and uncounted centuries of history around them.

The Ring of Winter told the heroes they were on the fifth level below the surface, and the best course of action would be to head for the surface as soon as possible. They knew of two different stairways to the east and warned them of greater dangers to the south. The Ring was headed to a stairway down, eager to complete their mission on a lower level. They parted as friends, promising everlasting comraderie.

The Heroes set out of the chamber, walking carefully and slowly. After a few hallways, they came to an area with three doors to the north, one east and one south. Going east, the dwarves noticed a narrow pit crossing the floor and Dankhan leapt it easily. He landed on a second, unseen pit and fell onto several sharp spikes in the bottom. The group helped him out and with a quick fly spell they crossed the pit.

Unfortunately, the noise they made was not unnoticed and four hungry trolls rounded a corner and ran at them, drooling. The battle was terrible, and soon the heroes realized they were going to be overmatched. All but Joulran and Abner managed to cross back over the pit. Not having a lot of options, Abner threw a fireball behind the trolls – but too close to herself and Joulran. Not only were the trolls laid low, but so were both half-elves. Joulran was soon roused, but Abner had been killed by the blast. Remembering the charm given to her by the Ring of Winter, Eriodema crushed it and touched Abner’s still body. Life flooded back into her, although she was weak and still badly injured. The group retreated through the door and looked for a place to rest and heal.

The three doors to the north soon showed a privy, a room with a closed chest and the last was a magical door that Abner recognized. She let the Heroes know that the door would cast a permanent silence spell every third time it closed. Eriodema was the only one willing to try the chest and found two healing potions inside.

About this time, guttural voices echoed down the corridor from the west – attracted by the sounds of the fireball. Barrett used his Book of Infinite Spells to create spikestones along the hallway, far beyond their vision. The group heard the creatures fall afoul of the trap and sought refuge in the south. There, they found a large room with more than three dozen gargoyle sculptures and well that looked full of liquid moonlight! They decided not to explore that way and decided to rest in the chest room.

A couple hours after making camp, Dankhan and Joulran were treated to the sounds of claws on the door. Soon, what sounded like dozens of rats were chewing on the door – eager to get at the adventurers within. The group did not want to fight anything at that point, and it seems the gods heard their prayers. Abner had disarmed a trap on the door which would bring the ceiling in the hallway down. The rats’ chewing snapped the wire attached to the trap. The ceiling did come down – killing the rats but trapping the heroes as well. Knowing that they needed their strength, the adventurers continued resting and decided to ration their food.

When they were done eating and memorizing their spells, Eriodema created a magical doorway through the wall past the silenced door and the group continued. They made several turns, trying to stay eastbound as much as possible. They came to an area where they heard someone crying and a great cat roaring. Relying on discretion, they ignored the sounds and kept going. Soon enough, they found an area that sounded (and smelled) like it belonged to gnolls. The group avoided the area and kept heading east.

While heading eastward, they passed through a room that had an old set of leather gloves and a large black gem lying in an old bloodstain. Dankhan pocketed the gloves and Berek the gem and they continued. They went down several corridors, finding a doorway made of iron that they elected to leave alone and eventually a doorway leading east wreathed in noxious vapours.

Deciding that the vapours were not the best choice, the Heroes backtracked to another door right before the vapours. There, they stopped and discussed (loudly) the merits of trying to get past the door. Suddenly, everything went quiet. Realizing they were silenced, they backed off and determined that the door had been silenced. Dankhan took the opportunity to smash the door open, even continuing after he was stabbed by a blade under the door!

Once they had the door open, Barrett opened it to see a wizard facing him with a wand drawn. She bade him to approach but he ducked back instead. She had time to speak a word, and two glowing darts rounded the corner and slammed into him. The Heroes discussed strategies, and finally they noticed the silence had faded. They approached the door again (Barrett leading) and declared their peaceful intent. They met a group of adventurers prepared for battle. After being told that there were not ways up from that area and that the noxious vapours led to a dragon, the Heroes retreated.

Heading south from there, they found a room with another eastern door – perhaps leading where they wanted to go. Barrett entered and was surprised by two gargoyles hiding near the ceiling. His weapons failed to hurt the beasts, as did Dankhan’s and the spells of the group. Guessing there was a dead magic area, they retreated once more and headed for the iron doorway they found earlier.

Going past it, they found the end of the corridor and a set of iron steps leading upward into a dark, evil-smelling room. A horrible voice entreated them to enter, that they were hungry. The group conversed with the creature within and backtracked aways to discuss in private.

Suddenly, a large group of hungry ghouls rounded a corner behind them and ran at the group. They seemed focused on Berek and ignored the others. Slavering and howling, they threw themselves at the dwarf, rending him with their claws and taking large bites of warm flesh.

            The ghouls ignored the spells, blades and turning attempts of the others in their desire to devour Berek. He was overwhelmed by the weight of them and it turned into a feeding frenzy. When the Heroes managed to fell the last of the undead, their companion lay dead an partially consumed on the stone floor.

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Opening a portal, battling a dragon

Soon after making friends with the Ring of Winter, the Heroes learned that the Ring was close to reopening the portal that brought them to Raven’s Bluff. They told the heroes that they wanted their help!

The portal, they said, led to the famous dungeon called Undermountain beneath the fabled city of Waterdeep. There, adventurers are made famous and rich – or very dead. It led to an area of the dungeon on the fifth level below the surface. There, the dangers are real and the monsters fierce. They advised the group that the only thing they needed them to do was guard them while they open the portal.

The heroes agreed and set out to find their missing member Berek. It had been a tenday since anyone had contact with the dwarf and they were concerned. To their great relief, they received a message that he was working in the town cemetery, working on the stones and monuments there.

They took the advice of the Ring of Winter and resupplied and made their gear ready to go at a moment’s notice.

All too soon, that moment arrived.

 

They were summoned to the Fire River Inn later that tenday. The six heroes knew that they had to be prepared to do their best to protect the more powerful adventurers while they were occupied with the opening of the portal.

As Rickard Wolf-Friend used magic to bring the group to the portal chamber beneath the city, the others let the heroes know that the way to the surface led through the sewers to the south. In the chamber, three stairways led to a small platform with a stone doorway. There, the two wizardesses in the Ring began their spells to open the way, while the others arrayed themselves in a half-circle facing them. The huge and mighty Fergus crouched, ready to charge at a moment’s notice.

The Heroes spread out through the chamber, watching the route out of the chamber. Soon, red lights began playing at the base of the doorframe. Eriodema stood next to the two wizards, spells of healing and protection ready.

As the group tensely waited, the red glow climbed up the sides of the doorway. When it reached waist height on a man, something came through the portal. A huge, scaly blue head erupted out of the doorway – a dragon! It had scales of bright blue, with a huge horn on the end of its’ reptilian snout. It gave a primal roar, one answered by Fergus as he began his charge! The creature let loose with a breath of pure lightning, catching Rickard as he dropped out of the way and hitting Fergus in the centre of his chest. The gargantuan warrior (who had been enlarged by Joulran) was sent flying back to land in a heap.

The Heroes battled against their own fear of the beast as much as it’s physical form, along with the Ring of Winter. Fergus gained his feet and completed his charge, cutting deep into the dragons’ face and sending a great tooth flying. The beast was not defenceless though, and with tooth, claw and wings it battered the two groups of adventurers. Eventually the combined spells and attacks of the groups drove the thing back through the portal. Eriodema and Falina began healing those about them.

The wizards went back to opening the portal fully – soon the doorway was fully scarlet and took on the appearance of water inside the frame. Eriodema went to step down from the platform and was informed that it would be dangerous to her safety to do so. Scared but resigned, she prepared to go through the portal with the Ring of Winter. Surprisingly, Abner stepped up with Eriodema – unwilling to let her face the horrors of Undermountain alone. That began a slow tide as the rest of the party stepped up as well, some more reluctant than others.

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Making contacts, looking for a way down...

The Heroes of Cahervaniel were not idle in Raven’s Bluff. They were making contacts with the locals, investigating rumours and tales and attempting to locate avenues down to the underdark.

 

Eriodema questioned the dwarves at the iron mine without much success. Barrett got a cryptic reply from the Lohana, and they finally had Dankhan accompany Eriodema to talk to the miners dwarf to dwarf.

 

He was able to find out that they knew of two entrances locally. One was in the side of an active volcano about 20 miles away. The other is a sea cave about 40 feet below the surface of the (frozen) bay. Neither seemed a safe choice.

 

The group was made aware of another group of adventurers, evidently powerful and well-to-do that were brought to Raven’s Bluff through a portal in the dungeon called Undermountain. They were rumoured to be trying to reopen the portal from this end. To possibly take advantage of this (as they believed a route from Undermountain to the underdark was possible), they befriended the group named the Ring of Winter.

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Wintering in Raven's Bluff

The heroes decided to take themselves to Raven's Bluff – a city that welcomes adventurers. They travelled through the snow and ice for three weeks before finding themselves at the city. Half-frozen and welcoming a warm stay in a decent inn, they settled down for a few days to divide their loot and sell some of their plunder.

Once they had divvied the goods, the group split up to pursue their own desires while vowing to meet at the first of the month to go over news and touch base.

Most of the group stayed in the city, aside from Joulran who left for the woods outside town and Eriodema who travelled to the iron mine southeast of the city.

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Crossing the Abyss, Martek reborn?

The Heroes of Cahervaniel took solace in being back in the Crystal Prism once again. They elected to rest and gather their strength before tackling the final minaret retrieval. At Dankhan’s suggestion (and Eriodema’s enthusiastic support), they rested in one of the darkened corridors. There they had a pleasant surprise as Eriodema’s iron torch sprang into life, allowing them all to see better. Even Barrett and Eriodema could see (being the only humans). She assured the others that it was not making them a target as it actually gave off no light and only provided infravision.

While resting, Barrett heard a loud crash and investigated with support to find Percivilis unconscious at the top of the platform holding the minarets. After being healed, he told them that Pawnis and his cohorts followed the heroes and Percivilis tried to stop them. He was unsuccessful and fell through strange portals Pawnis opened, landing here. The group welcomed him whole-heartedly and he joined Dankhan on his watch. This was not a fortuitous choice for the warrior, as he and Dankhan noticed movement at the top of the platform. They went to investigate and Percivilis was the first to the top. He was blasted off the fifty-foot platform and down to the floor by a massive electrical burst – but the culprit or cause was gone when the platform was searched. Percivilis was dead – massive electrical burns and the fall had taken his life. Eriodema used her wand and caused the floor beneath the warrior to phase out, burying him in solid stone.

Once rested, the group cautiously went to the final teleporter. There, they entered into a massive white-walled hall. Walking down the hall, they noticed the lights dimmed and the vegetation around them sickened and died. Eventually, they walked out of the hall into a nightmarescape. Roiling clouds and lightning raged around them, spiralling down into a vortex. Around this maelstrom was a ring of rock, the only path available.

As they walked the path, the winds grew – always blowing towards the centre of the storm. The soon learned that the normal laws of nature did not apply here, as distances grew larger and smaller randomly. They feared falling off the rock path into the storm as the distances would grow and shrink dangerously. Just when they were beginning to deal with that, time stopped flowing normally. Some of the group sped up, others slowed to a crawl. As distances varied around them, their own speeds began to endanger the group. Eriodema and Dankhan collided when she was sped up and he was slowed. Her momentum sent him flying, but at a glacial pace.

Without warning, the distortions ceased. Dankhan crashed to the ground and the others fell over as well, severely disoriented. They carefully crawled the rest of the way to the end of the rock path. There, they saw large chunks of stone breaking off and flying off into the storm towards a crystal island in the middle of the area. Sensing that this was the only way to proceed save leaping into the storm, they stood on the edge and let the rock break off and carry them to the island. They crashed there and found themselves outside of the storm’s influence.

In the centre of the isle was the minaret! They gathered close and Barrett picked it up. Immediately, the storm ravaged the island, destroying it. The party was tumbled down into the heart of the storm…into the Abyss.

They found themselves at the return platform in the lit hallway. They eagerly replaced the minaret in the central chamber. They did it! At that time, the room grew at a rapid pace (or did they shrink?) and they were sucked into the model of the crypt.

The group found themselves in a clean white-stone area with a beautiful fountain spraying clean, fresh water. Large gold doors stood slightly open ahead and side corridors offered other routes. Spying a large dark area past the doors, they elected to search the sides. One side led to a massive scriptorium that seemed locked in place like the tower contents. A secret door revealed a rhyme stating that the gems had to be put in their places to complete their quest. The other side room contained hundreds of books – also locked in time. They also found another secret room with the same riddle.

The group decided to enter the gold doors here and found a massive room. In it was a small platform with a skeletal corpse on it and three large djinn statues in the room. The light from above was refracted from the corpse’s metal headband to reveal sockets in the turbans of the statues where the gems would presumably go. Four skeletal warriors began to advance from the platform, swords raised.

When the skeletons noticed the Star Gems in the groups’ hands, they paused and took up a guard position. Moving quickly, the heroes placed the gems in the sockets. A brilliant light shone from above, restoring the skeleton on the platform to life! It walked towards them and they all recognized Martek from the statues and pictures they had seen. He thanked them and rewarded them with fabulous treasures from his hoard before bringing them out of his tomb.

He stopped the war raging between the Djinn and Efreet in the desert and sent the heroes hurtling through the sky. They heard him say that they saved the desert people, and that as a final gift the ones they fled would have no memory of them, and that nobody would believe their tale – thinking it a story.

They found themselves outside Timshan’s cottage. He thanked them for restoring his master to life and seemed sad that he too would forget them by morning. The group took rest and began discussing their next move…

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The Tower of Time, back into the desert?

As the heroes stood around the disc, they discussed what had happened and conferred with Joulran and Eriodema – who advised them that Barrett, Abner, Berek and Dankhan had all died at the hands of the undead elf. Understandably upset, the idea what put forth whether to re-enter the tower or not. In the end, they decided to go in after forming a plan on how best to get the minaret out. It was decided that they would need to co-ordinate their movements between the room with the time stream and the minaret.

Once in the tower, they cautiously moved out and battled the skeleton they knew would be waiting for them at the head of the stairs. Dispatching it fairly easily, they moved downstairs. For most of them, they viewed the crystal pillar and strange tapestry for the first time and then they saw the flow of time in the North alcove.

It was at this time that the Time Guardian made an entrance, talking with the group about their plans to subvert time, his love and the focus of his existence. He did tell Joulran that she had something of his (the platinum spellbook) and asked what she offered for it. She ended up offering a year of her life – which the being was only too happy to accept, telling her he'd see her on her next birthday…

The heroes were about to begin their well-designed plan of getting the minaret when the Time Guardian restarted time literally with the snap of his fingers. In a panic, Barrett raced up the stairs ahead of everyone else. He witnessed a shady looking man leaving a room on the same level as the minaret, and when he went to retrieve it, doors opened revealing guards who accused him of being an assassin! He grabbed the minaret and fled back down the stairs, meeting his friends less than halfway up. They retreated and journeyed through the magical tapestry back to the Crystal Prism and replaced the minaret. At this point, they decided to go to the disc showing a minaret at the feet of a crying woman.

Their journey took them to a desolate plane – desert as far as the eye could see, with an obelisk stating that it was the way home. They set off through the punishing heat suffering sunburns, dehydration and exhaustion. Into the night they walked, where they were witness to a great host of flying mounts arcing through the sky in the direction they travelled. The creatures' hooves sounded like constant thunder, and thousands galloped across the sky. It was then that they noticed a line of spectral warriors stretching both ways as far as they could see. The warriors flew up into the sky to battle the mounted men, leaving the heroes free to climb stairs up to an ancient cave. There, they took rest – and the clerics healed the groups' sunburns with their god-given abilities.

They rested the remainder of the night and Dankhan was witness to the battling groups disappearing with the rising sun. Some hours later, they were refreshed and had newly-memorized spells ready. They entered the doorway in the hill. They walked through a huge mausoleum, encountering and destroying an undead creature that glowed and shrieked that he would be the only one to view "her beauty". Then, they traveled through set after set of metal double doors and square rooms. Seeming maze-like, they soon discovered teleporting hallways that led to a central chamber. There, the object of their search lay in a crystal prison. Four crystal pillars flanked her. The group decided to search the outer rooms and soon dicovered identical altars in four different rooms. They discovered several sets of false doors, fought a group of vicious cockatrices and another banshee, and spoke with a skeleton who told of being killed by a minotaur (also skeletal).

Returning to the central chamber, after much discussion the group began rapping on the pillars – causing musical tones. Eventually they hit them with objects, causing them damage and then destroyed all four pillars. This freed the woman in the center pillar, who spoke in their heads – thanking them and giving them her treasures, a jewelled necklace and a strange brass sphere.

Choosing not to push their luck, the heroes retreated through the desert to the obelisk, eventually carrying each other in exhaustion and returned to the Crystal Prism.

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Memories, keening deaths and a startling revelation...

The heroes each disappeared when they touched the disc, and suddenly they were all standing in a circle, facing the disc. All had clear and distinct memories of being in an odd place after touching the disc, one that seemed frozen in time. Each had different memories of that experience though…

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A phoenix, a descent and a search for minarets...

After miles of doors, the Heroes of Cahervaniel were glad to be out of the hallway. Although they kept an keen eye on the way behind them, they didn't see any signs of pursuit by the Maddogs or Pawnis and his men. 

The last door was inscribed with words that read, "My monument to phoenix, good friend and true. Stands watch over the way, to the gate of my tomb. Walk that path straight and narrow, do not waiver or falter. And your chance will be given, to come to my altar." The group opened the doors to an unusual sight, as the room was filled with fiery pits throwing flames a hundred feet in the air. Above, a great iron bird perched – a Phoenix! In the center of the room was a round disc, away from the flames. Taking their clue from the words found, they stayed to the centre of the path, and when all were on the disc, it lowered into darkness.

When the disc reached the bottom, many hundreds of feet later, the group saw that they were at the hub of a great wheel-shaped area. There were six spokes radiating out from it, three lit and three dark. At the centre of the area was a miniature model of the entire area, complete with light and dark zones. The dark zones each had a small crystal minaret at their head, while the lit areas had sockets for minarets to be placed in. Carved words confirmed the suspicion that the other three minarets needed to be found. The group elected to start exploring the lit hallways – quickly discovering that there were smaller halls that connected them along with small hexagonal rooms, some with grey discs built into the floors.

One such disc proved to be a teleporter, although Barrett was gone for some minutes before the others noticed – and longer until they all followed.

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A feast, revelations and 1001 doors...

The heroes enjoyed themselves immensely at the feast. There was roast beast, fruits, vegetables, the unleavened bread the villagers made and copious amounts of fermented spirits. As guests of honour they sat at the head table, to the right and left of their host.

As the feast wound down, a great ruckus was heard. Armed and armoured men poured out of the jungle to the east, firing crossbows and charging with blades drawn. The villagers met them with drawn blades. It was a horror – flashing blades, spraying blood and the screams of the wounded. The newcomers were clad in chain and plate, protected behind thick shields. The villagers wore leather at best, dodging and ducking, striking the armed men from behind or at their joints where the armour was weakest.

During the melee, a great armoured man fought against Pawnis. Through magic and trickery, Pawnis disappeared and reappeared behind the man, driving his blades deep. The warrior was not felled though and clove Pawnis nearly in twain with his great blade. In desperation, Pawnis used a magic bauble to spirit himself away.

The fighting died down as the armoured men relented in their attacks. Not bearing the heroes any ill will, they made it clear their fight was not with them. Their leader identified himself as Percivlis. He answered the heroes questions about the Maddogs and the Law Hill. He told them that their hosts were rogues and deceivers, evil men lead by a foul maggot of an elf. Percivlis inquired if the heroes were the ones to lead them all from this jungle so that they may get home. He explained that the Hall of 1001 doors awaited them at the north end of the jungle, and offered to escort them there. Seeing how honourable the man was, the heroes accepted the offer and traveled through the jungle with the Maddogs.

When they approached the doors, it was not exactly what they were expecting. The vessels were fully 30 feet wide and 100 feet tall each. In front of them was an altar with depressions that fit the Star Gems. The heroes wasted no time and placed the gems there, intoning Mo Pelar, Shah Pelar, Khan Pelar and Re. To their relief, the great doors opened. Their joy was short-lived however as thirty feet away there was an identical set of doors. The Maddogs offered to stay behind and guard the doorway against the evil of Pawnis and his men, allowing the heroes to take the gems and move into the hallway. When they lifted the gems high, the doors opened before them, revealing another set of doors thirty feet farther down the hall. The significance of the 1001 doors dawned on them, and the set out to open them all.

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Across the Skysea

Newly equipped and readied, the group set out with their newest companion, Eriodema. She seemed to happy being with the group, even if she was fairly quiet. After a short travel, the group came upon a local landmark – the Skysea. It looked as if the sky were duplicated in the land. A bit of searching discovered a buried metal structure. The group believed it to be a crashed ship, and with the help of Eriodema's wand, it was soon unburied.

The ship looked like a longboat with a pair of ice skates on the bottom, albeit diamond-edged. Getting in the ship gave some small relief from the waves of heat coming off the Skysea. When Abner moved the rudder, the ship began to move under its' own power. Travelling at a walking pace, the ship glided over the glassy surface. When the sun rose, the bronze sail boomed and the craft hurtled along. Several hours later, the Heroes had crossed the Skysea to what they believed to be their ultimate destination.

A black platform miles across with 6 groups of crystal pillars greeted them. After much experimentation, they eventually were able to make the pillars chime and a mighty fortress appeared in the sky above them. Over 6 miles across and 500ft above them, it dwarfed any structure they had seen. The centre of the platform rose into the sky with the Heroes aboard, although Barrett was nearly left behind.

Once in the fortress (a frightening ride for some), the Heroes found themselves on a platform at the edge of a jungle! Before long a group of people emerged, cheering and waving. A figure they paid deference to turned out to be a dark elf! He called himself Pawnis and invited them to the village for a feast and rest. At the village (with Berek and Eriodema scowling) the group was made comfortable. Dankhan did some exploring while Abner and Barrett swam in the lake with the local children. All the while, the villagers prepared what looked to be a huge feast.

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