Princes of the Apocalypse

The Bard's Tale , Session 14

Stuck between a Rock and a Priest's Spells

Six men on the road to their fortune and fame,
To treasure and blessing and to win the game!
One of them captive, they now need to find
On with the charge, no one’s left behind!

Such a deadly place, they’d never had seen:
Earth monks, black guards, a lich in between,
Braver than bear, deadlier than snake
They recklessly face the High Priest of Earthquake!

Six men on the road to their fortune and fame,
To treasure and blessing and to win the game!
Blade-runners of old, with Death breathing close:
What next peril lies ahead, no one yet knows!

With a shout of “they’re in here!”, monks suddenly overrun the library. One of them catches Bree-Yark with a net and carries him away, while Maul and Alexander helplessly try to hit them. Not even Mephelon’s and Ophelia’s spells seem to be effective. Finally Maul takes one down with a mighty blow. The others flee, dragging Bree-Yark with them. Our heroes pursue them into a courtyard that gives access to a basalt structure which appears to be the main temple of the monastery. Fierce-looking gargoyles guard the courtyard; after the stone vultures, they know what to expect from these statues…but their companion needs their help. Alexander spots among the pillars of the temple in front of them a throne and a small crowd of people close to it. Before they can get there, two gargoyles animate and attack them, blocking their way. Ophelia manages to send away one with a spell while Maul and Alexander deal powerful blows. But a voice interrupts the fight: “Stop! Let them pass. I want to know who dares enter my temple.” As they slowly enter the temple, the doors behind them open, but for once its not a foe! Nogara joins them, with a hawk on his shoulder.

On the altar, surrounded by two powerfully built, stone-armored guards, is a bald man whose head seems to be made of polished stone. His name is Qarbo, and he is a High Priest of the Earth cult. He asks why they came to his temple, and they tell them they are after Larrack. He laughs and says that Larrack was a traitor, and that he put his head on a pike. He’s very interested in who they are, and understanding seems to dawn on him when they finally say that they are looking for the dwarven delegation from Mirabar. But he seems to know nothing about the whereabout of the dwarves, although he admits that some stray members of his cult fought with them, along with members of the Air cult; but he claims these men were out of his control. Mephelon starts to ask him about joining their cult and gets his attention. We start asking about the lich and the other cults. About the lich, he just shudders; about the other cults, and especially the Air cult, he seems to loath them. The group manages to soften his hostility by telling them that the captive Bree-Yark is a fierce enemy of the Feathergale Spire. He agrees to strike a deal – he’ll free Bree-Yark if they agree on taking down the Air cult. But when he invites them to go get their friend in the dungeons, Alexander and Ophelia sense danger in his words, and decide to attack now in the open rather than getting backstabbed in the dark. Ophelia swiftly manages to cast faerie fire on the gargoyles before getting hit by a slowing spell, unfortunately along with their most powerful warriors, Nogara and Maul. Nogara manages nonetheless to sling a powerful arrow at Garbo, but his concentration holds. Mephelon survives a surge of wild magic while casting a spell, while Ophelia gets heavily wounded by a monk’s strikes while trying to cast a spell but goes down before it can take effect. Maul manages to take down a gargoyle but falls as well under Garbo’s powerful spell. Nogara’s weapon seems ineffective against the gargoyles, but Mephelon manages to put a guard to sleep. The fight goes on, and our heroes seem to struggle. Alexander lifts back up Ophelia and Maul, but its Nogara’s turn to fall.

The battle is fierce and formidable, and as usual, every one of them are mortally hit in turn. But their strength lies in having one another; one by one, they save each other’s life with their healing spells, and although they hear the caress of death several times, the do not linger in Her arms more than a few seconds. At first, Qarbo laughs at their attemps as he assails them with powerful spells, but as the battle wears on, his smiles fade. He casts a spell to make the ground around him uneven, so that Maul, still slowed down by Qarbo’s spell, cannot reach him, although swearing at him at the top of his voice. Nogara’s hawk, Coco, joins the fight too trying unsuccesfully to scratch the sorcerer’s face to break his spells. Finally, all the guards and monks are down. In a last attempt, the priest hurts his own guard, put to sleep by Mephelon, but it’s too late. Everyone’s ranged attacks have slowly but steadily worn down the High Priest, and Nogara strikes him down with a final arrow. The last guard tries to take one of them to the grave with him, but they manage to take him down.

Heavily wounded and out of magical power, our heroes discuss what to do next.

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