Heirs of Eberron

The Tomb of Ashurta, and A Mission from the Kings Citadel

Our heroes were looking for gainful employment in the City of Towers when they were offered a job by the Clifftop Adventurers Guild:

“Owner of Tain Foundry seeks Brave Individuals to Remove Vermin Infestation. Payment Upon Completion.”

After some small deliberation the party accepted the job, heading into the Sharn Depths to the Tain Foundry. There they met Olaavi, a hobgoblin priest of the Sovereign Host concerned with the attacks on members of his flock, and Molric Torranol, the dwarven foreman of the foundry. They ventured into a recently excavated tunnel to remove an infestation of Kruthiks, foul amalgams of insects and reptiles.

What they found was something more fantastic: An ancient hobgoblin tomb, no doubt a remnant of the Ancient Dhakaani Empire that once spanned the continent of Khorvaire, and built the foundations of Sharn over 10,000 years ago. This tomb once belonged to a warlord named Ashurta, who fell in battle with the Daelkyr. While exploring the tomb, the adventurers found evidence that a group of goblins had been here recently, and had been overwhelmed by kruthiks. Notes found on their remains mentioned Ashurta by name, and made reference to the blade he wielded.

After braving the traps and denizens of the tomb, the party faced the revenant spirit of Ashurta in honorable combat. They prevailed, and were given the byeshk-metal Blade of Ashurta for their victory. Further exploration revealed the nest of the Kruthiks, as well as several samples of rare winged kruthiks which were bound to bring a fine sum from collectors. Olaavi and Molric were thankful for their efforts, and the hobgoblin priest intimated that the Blade of Ashurta may be a more potent relic than first believed.

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Intriguing Developments

After collecting their rewards, our heroes returned to their lives in the Adventurers Guild. It wasn’t long before they were contacted by Olaavi again, who had spoken with an expert in Dhakaani Studies at Morgrave University named Gydd Nephret. A meeting was arranged with Gydd, and when the gnomish professor laid eyes on the purple-black Blade she grew excited at its historical value. Research revealed that it was part of a greater artifact known as the Arkantaash, or Ashen Crown. She asked the party for a few days more study, and promised to be in contact.

The adventurers returned to the Guild hall to find that they had been issued summons by the Kings Citadel, and were to travel to their headquarters in the Ambassador Towers of Middle Central Plateau immediately. They were met by Capt. Saj Kalaes, who informed the party that the Citadel was made aware of their activities in the Depths, and that they had unknowingly stumbled into an international incident.

A group of Darguuni goblins of the Kech Volaar, or Wordbearer, clan were seeking the blade in hopes of assembling the Ashen Crown. It was their belief that by obtaining as many relics of the ancient Dhakaani empire as possible, they would affirm that their clan was worthy to be next in succession for the throne of Darguun. It was the belief that such a scenario would be in the best interests of the Breland, which shares a border with the young hobgoblin nation. Capt. Kalaes informed our adventurers that the Crown of Breland would like them to make contact with the Wordbearer Strike Force, and offer their assistance in assembling the Ashen Crown. They had a changeling named Tikulti working on the inside of the group, and who would speak on their behalf to the leader of the Strike Force, a dirge singer named Yeraa.

Agreeing to help the Kings Citadel, the party was given tickets for passage aboard the Lyrandar airship Eminence in 3 days time. The Eminence would take them to the Brelish city of Ardev, where they would then travel by foot to the Six Kings monument in the Graywall mountains. This is where the Kech Volaar would be attempting to obtain the next piece of the Crown. The adventurers would offer to help the hobgoblins at this juncture, and where Tikulti would guarantee to arrange the “meeting”.

The next day, Gydd Nephret contacted the party with an offer from a third party to purchase the Blade. An elven woman named Dannae Ulyan, clad in a funerary mask in typical Aerenal fashion, and her skull-tattooed servant Jaenus, met with the PCs in Gydds apartment, and offered a princely sum of 3,000 gold for the weapon. The heroes declined, and Lady Ulyan was gracious in her disappointment.

While finishing preparations for the journey, our heroes were contacted again by Professor Nephret. The letter started with an apology, and a warning that Lady Dannae Ulyan may not be who she says she is, and may present some danger. It was the gnomes intent to leave Sharn immediately, and to provide the party with all of the information she had thus far gathered. The letter from Gydd also contained a key to a hidden wall safe, and stated that if something went wrong, her notes would be hidden there. When they arrived at Gydds’ apartment that night, they found that the place had been ransacked by undead, and Gydd was nowhere to be found. Defeating the creatures, the group obtained the professors’ notes.

These notes detailed the powers of the Ashen Crown, and also made two cryptic references: “Lady Dannae=Demise” and “Why Emerald Claw?”. Taking the notes, our heroes left the apartment and boarded The Eminence the next day.

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The Road to Six Kings, and Zaarani's Solitaire

The trip to Ardev was unexciting. The journey from Ardev to Six Kings was more eventful. During their travels, the party came across a goblin being detained by a group of Emerald Claw Scouts. The Emerald Claw was originally a military detachment from Karnnath, but was outlawed by the Karnnathi government and forced underground. The Mercenaries attacked upon sight, and after a short battle our heroes freed the goblin, who rewarded them with a silver Dhakaani necklace.

Two days later, the party encountered a group of monstrous raiders from Droaam who had set up a blockade. Composed of a minotaur, several gnolls, and some orcs, it was clear that they had been attacking local villagers. They identified themselves as being loyal to Warlord Turakbar, and demanded a toll. They were summarily defeated in battle.

As the group proceeded towards the Six Kings, they stumbled into another group of Emerald Claw mercenaries, who had set up an ambush. Accompanied by a necromancer and led by an officer, they made for worthy opponents. After a long battle, our heroes emerged victorious.

Having reached the Graywall Mountains, the party were treated to their first view of the Six Kings monument. Carved out of several mountains by Dhakaani craftsmen over the course of several generations, the monument was originally of six hobgoblin warlords, destined to gaze eternally out over the lands which they once ruled. However, the passage of many millenia had brought low two of the nobles, and now only four remain whole.

As they passed the feet of the first Kings, the party was confronted by a group of goblins who claimed to be of the Kech Sharaat clan, or the Blade-Bearers. This clan of fierce warriors is vying with the Kech Volaar for supremacy in Darguun, and sought to obtain the the Ashen Crown for their own glory. The boss of the Kech Sharaat, a hobgoblin named Naersaar, demanded that the party pass over the blade, and leave the holy site of Six Kings. Battle ensued, and our heroes triumphed.

Arriving at the appointed meeting place, our party was met by the Kech Volaar. Led by the Dirge Singer Yeraa, they had been lying in wait within one of the entrances to the tombs beneath the Six Kings. They were accompanied by Tikulti, a strong Hobgoblin warrior who in reality was a changeling double agent for the Kings Citadel, and by Govaan, the goblin they had rescued from the Emerald Claw several days earlier. Yeraa asked the group to name their price for the Blade of Ashurta, and to leave.

After arguing that their intentions were both noble and helpful, Yeraa asked that the party participate in the goblin rite of Amalorkar, or honor fight. When our heroes prevailed, they were greeted as peers by the Wordbearers, who regarded their victory as a sign that the spirits of the Six Kings approved of their alliance.

Entering the caverns beneath the monument, the combined forces encountered a strange monolith among many piles of bones. Study of the monolith revealed it to be an old gate, which would lead those of hobgoblin blood to a point deeper within the tombs. Yeraa gave the party a sending stone, which would allow them to communicate with each other over great distances, and advised them to look for something called the “Moon Pool”, where they would find Zaraani’s Solitaire. As the monolith was activated, the hobgoblins disappeared, and the piles of bones animated and attacked. This battle was easy, but a sign of things to come.

Our heroes explored the caverns, encountering not only the ghosts of dead goblins, but aberrant creatures as well, both undead and alive. They made their way through a field of Byeshk stalactites, and passed through both natural caves and the remains of crafted tombs. After some time, they came to an underground river, where they encountered a group of goblins. After a few tense moments, these cave-dwellers accepted the heroes as enemies of the aberrations, and thus friends of goblins. They told the heroes of the many generations their clan had spent under the Graywall Mountains, battling the aberrations and keeping them from reaching the surface. Their shaman provided the party with directions to the Moon Pool, and a warning about the monsters that dwelled there. After clearing a blocked tunnel, the goblins bid the party good luck.

The Moon Pool was indeed surrounded by a large group of undead aberrations, the leader of which was a deathgaunt madcaster who had possession of Zaraani’s Solitaire. After an arduous battle, the group was finally successful, and retrieved the Solitaire. Reuniting with the Wordbearers, whom had retrieved a piece of the Crown known as Luurtans’ Cord, they returned to the surface. They were faced with the reanimated corpses of the Kech Sharaat whom they had killed earlier, and laid them to rest once again.

After the battle, Yeraa deems this affront to be the work of Emerald Claw necromancers, and urges the combined groups to hurry onward to their hired airship. The Kordanga, captained by Delan d’Lyrandar, had been attacked by Emerald Claw mercenaries. It appeared that their aim was to only delay their departure, and repairs were necessary to make the Kordanga airworthy again.

During the repairs, Captain Delan and Avagon recognize each other from their early days in House Lyrandar. Both had chafed under the Houses’ draconian rules, and sought the freedom that the wider world afforded. Delan was happy to see Avagon, and when repairs were finished earlier than expected attributed it to Avagons’ added expertise. With the Kordanga once more ready for flight, the hobgoblins and our heroes prepared to find the last piece of the Crown, in the Droaamish city of Graywall.

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Graywall, and a Diversion

The Kordanga arrived in Graywall in central Droaam after a days travel. Like Sharn, the city was built on the bones of Dhakaani construction; unlike Sharn, Graywall still has a population made of mostly “monstrous” races. Goblins of all types are common, and Ogres, Trolls, and Medusae are not unusual. Once destroyed by the Daelkyr, Graywall is rising again under the direction of the Mindflayer lord Xorchylic.

Making berth above the House Orien compound, our heroes and their Wordbearer companions were lowered via basket and rope into the city. Yeraa told the group that she would need time to find the location of the last piece of the Ashen Crown, Murkooraks’ Orb, and until she did they were free to explore the city as they pleased. She warned them to be careful, and then left with the other goblins in tow.

As the party traveled away from the compound, a beggar called to them from a nearby ally. He asked for a mercy, and surreptitiously slipped them a scrap of paper. This paper contained a House Sivis message key, which would allow them to retrieve a communication that apparently this beggar knew would be waiting for them. After asking for directions, our heroes arrived at the Sivis Message Station and obtained a cryptic letter:

Friends – A group of adventurers called The Iron Gauntlet were in the Watching Wood, and overheard mentioning a job they were finishing in Graywall, with a big party in Sharn to Follow. They should be in town when you get this. See if you can locate them. Find out where the celebration is taking place, what party favors are being brought, and try to learn who the organizers are so we can get an invitation. Remember, try to keep it a surprise! – K

Rightly assuming this to be a message from Capt. Kalaes, they immediately set out to locate The Iron Gauntlet to learn more about this “party”. After some investigation, they learned of a tavern called The Cracked Keg, where The Iron Gauntlet was last seen headed. A dark and dismal bar in the Calabas section of Graywall, it is best known for the necromantic drug Blood Gin being sold out of its back room.

The Iron Gauntlet was spending the gold from a recently finished job when the heroes arrived. Consisting of a warforged, a shifter, a half-elf, a halfling, and a half-orc, they were at first wary of the newcomers, but as the revelry progressed grew more willing to talk about their new found fortune and the employer who provided it. According to the Gauntlet, a playwright named Laren Davir, well known in theater circles for his anti-ir’Wynarn themes, had hired them to obtain several reagents commonly used in high explosives. As Laren would be incapable of synthesizing such explosives himself, the Iron Gauntlet assumed that he was the middle man for an alchemist able to produce a bomb.

Due to the constraints created by the ongoing quest for the Ashen Crown, our heroes sought out Laren Davir immediately. They learned that his plays were performed exclusively by The Silent Stage Theater, and with some fast talking managed to get behind the curtain at that establishment to speak with him. The conversation with Laren inevitably turned to his favorite subject, the overthrow of the Brelish Monarchy. Playing the part of prospective employees, the party commiserated with his goals, and by preening the scribes ego were able to learn that he had hired the Iron Gauntlet on behalf of the Swords of Liberty, a group of Brelish nationalists determined to turn Breland into a democracy and reignite the War. Specifically, he had procured the reagents for one of their expert bomb-makers, a gnome named Fluni Traz Epam. In fact, his assistant had just picked the ingredients up and was bringing them to his workshop in the Bloodstone district.

Racing the clock, our heroes arrived in Bloodstone and located the workshop. After being spotted by the guards, they broke into the building to find that Epam and his henchman had holed up in the basement laboratory. Dodging the crossbow bolts of the guards and the elemental grenades of the alchemist, our brave band managed to best the terrorists, but not without starting an “accidental” conflagration amidst the delicate lab equipment. As smoke filled the room, they grabbed a prepaid House Orien package bearing the address of the bombs target from one of the workbenches, and quickly left. They managed to escape the building as the chemical fire set off a series of explosions, leveling the structure and sending plumes of smoke into the sky.

As they sought shelter from flaming debris and prying eyes, the party was contacted by Yeraa via the Sending Stone. She had located Murkooraks’ Orb beneath a public square called “The Roar”, in honor of the House Tharashk manticore statue that stands in its center. She asked that they gather in a local dive, and plot their next move.

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Demise
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Daask, A Foul Ritual, and Agents on a Mission

As our heroes left the meeting with Huugan, they were stopped at an overpass by a swarthy goblin, who demanded that they pay a toll to Daask. Daask is a gang that is relatively new to Sharn, but they have already earned a reputation for a willingness to resort to violence. When the party responded in a sarcastic manner, the goblin called to his two enforcers: a pair of Ogres. Crowbar attempted to catch the goblin unaware by pretending to hand over their toll and then striking him with a bag of coins, but the goblin was quicker than the warforged anticipated and dodged his clumsy strike easily. 4 Gnoll Archers stood up from their hiding spots on the overpass, a bugbear rushed into the fray from a nearby building, and the fight began in earnest.

When the fight was over, a building and the overpass were demolished, 3 of the gnolls, both of the ogres and the bugbear were dead, and the goblin begged for his life. The party showed him mercy, with Crowbar stating “You work for me now.” When the goblin was certain he was not going to be struck down from behind, he ran.

A week of relaxation followed, in which our heroes made themselves comfortable in their new home in Clifftop. They decided on their rewards from the Kings Citadel, and sent their requests in through the proper channels. One month had passed since they were hired to rid the Tain foundry of the Kruthik infestation, and their bright future stood in stark contrast to their ignoble past. However, comfortable though their new home was, they doubtless itched for excitement to return to their lives.

There came a knock on their door at the end of that week. Capt. Talleon Halian Tonan of the Dark Lanterns had come calling, bearing not only their requests but also a bag of holding, and a set of more subtle Citadel badges for situations when their Brelish blue cloaks would ill serve their aims. Sitting on the couch, Capt. Talleon thanked them again for their service to Breland, and congratulated their good fortunes. It was then that he asked if the cared to take a mission related to their actions in Graywall against the Swords of Liberty.

It seems that the package they retrieved from the bomb workshop was not only meant for a specific location, a little omelet house in Olladras’ Kitchen called Ellfates Eatery, but also for a specific day and time. Such a target was not of much value to the Swords of Liberty, and the precision of the delivery date suggested that something of interest was to occur at that time. Talleon asked that they stake out Ellfates on the arranged date, and see what had earned the ire of the Brelish terrorist organization. Our heroes agreed to this undertaking, and Talleon told them to be at Ellfates in 3 days, at the toll of the Sixth Bell in the afternoon.

After making these arrangements, the gnomish agent left. At the same moment, Delan d’Lyrandar paid his comrades a visit. Much impressed with their home, he asked if they would mind taking him out to eat. When they agreed, he suggested a nearby restaurant called Kavv’s, and they headed out the door into the evening. The crowds of Clifftop were out in force, and the darkening sky was clear.

They got a seat before the rush at Kavv’s, and they ate a fine meal. During after dinner drinks, Delan asked if the adventurers would be interested in acting as muscle on a delivery to Zarash’Ak in the Shadow Marches. He promised them 500 gold for their efforts, and a deal was made. After a few more drinks and a generous tip, the party left the restaurant with a slightly drunk Delan in tow.

As they made their way through the crowd, a scream and several shouts were heard from area of the tower of the Esoteric Order of Aureon, one of the wizards circles of Sharn. Rushing to investigate, our heroes witnessed the finishing syllables of a foul ritual being performed by two humans clad in the threadbare clothes of refugees. A sickly green glow was replaced by a sudden darkness, which extinguished the nearby everlasting lanterns. In that dim light, it became apparent the ritualists were undergoing a grotesque transformation.

When the party brought their own lights to bear, they found two deformed figures with a caul of skin over their heads and gnarled clubs in place of their hands. As they watched, the air was split by the appearance of 4 creatures best described as floating masses of tentacles. They were fell taints, and they had doubtless been summoned from between dimensions by the same ritual which changed the refugees. The deformed wretches screamed beneath their fleshy hoods, and rushed to attack the nearest targets: our heroes.

Battling these creatures took a toll on their psyches, but our brave adventurers prevailed. As Avagon gathered the transdimensional slime from the tentacles, and Arannis searched fruitlessly for a coin purse, Crowbar and Benn discovered some identifying features on the bodies. Both were dressed in clothes that were fashionable in Cyre at the time of The Mourning. One bore a tattoo that indicated he was a member of an elite Cyran scout unit called the Forward Blades, and the other had a scar on his back where a dragonmark had been flayed away. Such an punishment is called excoriation, and is only inflicted on individuals guilty of a truly heinous transgression.

It was then that the City Watch arrived and, after determining that the party were not at fault, sent them on their way. Collecting Delan from the watching crowd, they made their way home. The next morning saw the captain of the Kordanga a little worse for wear, but in high spirits. He made them breakfast, and made arrangements for the trip to the Shadow Marches.

Two days later, our heroes waited at Ellfates Eatery at 6 bells. Benn and Arranis waited inside, while Avagon and Crowbar suffered the mediocre barbecue of an overeager halfling merchant on the skybridge outside. They witnessed an attractive half-elven woman enter the premises, dressed in the popular style of Aundair. Subsquently, a gnome approached, followed shortly by a human. They both entered, and Avagon took this opportunity to join his friends within. The gnome sat at the counter, while the human and half-elf sat together in an out-of-the-way corner. They traded small talk, discussing the differences between Fairhaven and Sharn, and the short journey from Zilspar to the City of Towers. As they spoke, Arranis noticed the woman pass a scroll case to the man under the table.

Outside, Crowbar patiently explained warforged physiology to the persistent merchant. As the halfling made another pitch, a group of seven armed individuals made their way towards the Omelet House. With a half-elf in the lead, 4 humans in heavy armor along with a halfling in a cloak and a man armed with wands entered Ellfates. Crowbar made his way to the door just in time to hear the half-elf say to the waitress on duty, “We aren’t here to eat.”

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A Conspiracy, and a new Chef

As Arrannis, Avagon, and Benn watched, most of the armed group made their way to the table in the far corner, while the others blocked the exit. The Aundairan woman stood up, perhaps expecting trouble, and she was promptly slashed across the torso by the half-elf. The human rocked back in his chair, shocked by what he was seeing. The halfling hooked a chair leg with his foot, and pulled the human back to the table, nearly impaling him with a dagger. Deftly reaching into the humans cloak, the halfling grabbed the scroll case, and admonished the human that “we know what your boss is up to”.

Avagon began to speak up, and was confronted by one of the heavily armored lackeys. At this point Crowbar rushed in, and using the double-doors as a weapon knocked one lackey prone and knocked another further into the room. The half-elf then stabbed the Aundairan woman through the chest, and she crumpled to the floor. A melee then erupted, with Crowbar jumping on tables, magic and arrows flying, and summoned winds tossing chairs, cups, and place settings all around Ellfates. When it was over, the human still sat in stunned silence, staring at the body of his companion.

Crowbar had taken possession of the scroll case, and made the decision to open it. Within, he found a 1000gp Mark of Credit, as well as a letter:

We appreciate all that you are attempting to do for the future of your country, and offer our support towards your eventual success. One day, you will help usher in a new era for Breland, and we ask only that you remember those who believed in your noble cause.

Believing the man to be an agent of the Brelish Crown, the party elected to let him leave Ellfates, and handed him the contents of the scroll case. They then made a hasty exit, with Avagon apologizing for the mess, and leaving several gold pieces as restitution. The adventurers caught the next elemental skiff they could, and headed to the Kings Citadel to report to Capt. Talleon Halian Tonan.

They met with the head of the Dark Lanterns of Sharn in his office. Talleon offered them a seat and a drink, and the asked what they had seen at Ellfates Eatery. When Crowbar mentioned that they had released his agent, Talleon stated that there was no other operation being carried out in that vicinity. After explaining what happened, the gnome erupted in a momentary fit of anger, but after a few seconds reflection began to measure his response. Reasoning to himself that it was perhaps best that the scroll case make it to its intended recipient unimpeded, he apologized to our heroes for his outburst. He then proceeded to ask them several questions about the Aundairan woman, as well as the human male who left with the scroll case.

After using a crystal ball to provide an underling with instructions to intercept the bodies at the city morgue, Talleon began to think. Ruminating on the purpose of not only the foiled bombing and subsequent attack, he reasoned that the meeting of the Brelish and the Aundairan was what they intended to disrupt. Given that the letter that Crowbar had read seemed to reference an action that would affect Breland as a whole, it seemed strange that the Swords of Liberty would be close enough to know what was going on, but still wish against whatever action would be undertaken. Talleon wished aloud that he knew more about the recipient of the scroll case, and asked the party to keep an eye out for him.

As he bade them good-bye, Arrannis asked about their promised payment. Talleon gave them a voucher for 300gp, and told them to redeem it at the front desk. He then remembered that he had something else for them, and gave them a envelope made of fine paper, addressed to The Bold Adventurers. It was an invitation to the Tain Gala, one of the most exclusive events in Sharn. Held on the first Far of every month, the Gala was attended by members of the nobility and the 60 Families, along with the occasional artist or celebrity of the day. It appeared that our band of heroes were about to enjoy their moment in the sun.

After some discussion, the party split up to engage in some personal time. Arrannis went to the Adventurers Guild, where he hoped to find some jobs to keep him busy and perhaps earn him so gold. However, the only jobs available were of the rat catcher and go-for variety, and none of them paid very well. The goliath watching the desk told him to check back often, as new jobs were posted fairly frequently.

Avagon went to speak with Delan aboard the Kordanga. Delan was quite happy to see him, as it gave him a brief reprieve from overseeing some of the repair work being done on the airship. Avagon told Delan that something had come up, and they wouldn’t be able to join him on the trip to the Shadow Marches. Delan was disappointed, but understanding. Avagon told him that he would leave a note on the Adventurers Guild Help Wanted board, and try to find him some guards for the trip. After leaving, Avagon had the idea of perhaps commissioning a teleportation for the party, and resolved to look into the matter more.

Crowbar went in search of other Warforged, and heard of a “bar” exclusively for his kind. It is called the Red Hammer, and is located in the Blackbones district of the Upper Cogs. He arrived to find a most welcoming atmosphere, as well as decent hospitality. The proprietor, a female-personality warforged named Blue made him feel at home, as well as got him a refurbishing at the hands of another ‘forged named Smith. After he finished relaxing, he headed back to the surface.

Benn went to the Drunken Dragon Inn, a very popular Clifftop hangout for adventurers. He ordered a drink and some food, and sat down to enjoy himself. After a short while, he noticed an Eladrin woman walk in, look around, and then leave. He managed to studiously ignore her. Momentarily, a familiar face was stuck in the door: Olaavi, the hobgoblin priest of the Sovreign Host that the party had befriended earlier in their adventures. Olaavi smiled when he saw Benn, and came over to join him, along with the Eladrin woman who was introduced as Faeva.

Olaavi informed Benn that Faeva was in need of assistance, and the hobgoblin thought that he and his friends could be of some help. Faeva told Benn that she was the lay minister of the oldest temple of the Silver Flame in Sharn, The Blackstone Church in Fallen. She the history of the neighborhood, and of the circumstances surrounding the fall of the Crystal Tower. When Benn asked her what the problem was, she told him that she had returned from a religious rememberence elsewhere in Sharn, and had found the place overrun with creatures with melted faces. Benn recognized from her description the monsters they had fought a few days prior, and also realized that the invasion of her temple and the ritual that the party had witnessed occurred on the same day. He promised that he and his friends would see what they could do.

Avagon and Arrannis arrived home together, only to find a bundle of rags laying at their front door. This bundle of rags turned out to be Chert, the goblin whom they had released in Malleons Gate a week before. Having been kicked out of the gang, Chert decided he would seek out his new “employers” and see what his employment would entail. When the rest of the party returned to the house, it was decided that the goblin would be their new cook. “After all, it can’t be worst than that halfling barbecue.” They gave Chert some money for new clothes, and after Benn told them of Olaavis’ request, they turned in for the evening.

The next day, after some breakfast, our heroes did a little more shopping. That afternoon, they made their way down into the Fallen district, inviting Chert along for the journey. Sitting at the very bottom of Sharn, only a few rays of light make their way down from the bustle above. Sparsely populated, it is home to scavengers, demolished buildings, rubble, and the remains of some of the earliest temples built in the City of Towers. It was here that the first church of the Silver Flame in Sharn was constructed out of basalt from the lava pools, and christened Blackstone.

As the party approached the temple, they heard babbling coming from its direction. A group of foul creatures had gathered around the building; a group of long-armed humanoid monstrosities blocked the silvery doors of the temple, and an individual whose brain case was too large for its head appeared to be giving a sermon to a gathering of people. These people were of different races, but all had peeling ashen skin, and most were missing teeth and clumps of hair. Our brave adventurers were spotted by the preacher, and it quickly called out their presence. The slavering creatures advanced on the party, and battle ensued.

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The Cleansing of Blackstone Church

After destroying the aberrations guarding the gate, our heroes approached the Blackstone Church. The doors gleamed silver, but Benn examined them and declared the silver to be an illusion covering the rusted iron of the true surface. The courtyard that surrounded the entrance had been partially destroyed by falling debris, leaving very few of the statues that lined it untouched.

Opening the front gates, Crowbar entered cautiously while the party awaited his report. The ceiling had once had extensive stained glasswork, but those skylights had been broken long ago, and now the lead skeletons of the windows were silhouetted against the city above. The warforged warrior heard some mumbling from beyond a set of stairs, and went to investigate. Unfortunately, his footfalls alerted the creatures to his presence, and they quickly swarmed out to attack.

One of the large-headed brain bursters led the monsters, using its psychic powers against the adventurers. There were also more of the crazed rabble, and a creature which resembled one of the changed refugees from the foul ritual by the guildhall of the Esoteric Order of Aureon. Another individual had a lumpy body and countenance, and could step between planes to walk through walls and defend against attacks. It could also pull unsuspecting victims out of reality, and teleport them a short distance away.

Despite sheer numbers, the creatures were felled quickly. Unfortunately, the noise from the scuffle caught the attention of another group of creatures, and they joined in the fray. Although exhausted, our heroes cut through them as well, using the narrow halls to their advantage. After a brief rest, our heroes searched the rooms they had found: Several small shrines, one of which contained a silver statue of Tira Miron, the paladin martyr whose death created the Silver Flame, and another which contained a stone statue of a dragon-headed serpent called a Couatl. Another room was obviously a small chapel meant for use by the priests of the temple. They pocketed the silver statue, and went on.

A large set of double iron doors, enchanted with a silvery gleam, blocked further progress. Rusted shut for decades, a judicious application of oil to the hinges by Arranis helped mitigate the work of long years, and a brief ritual performed by Avagon to grant greater strength (along with an expertly wielded crowbar) allowed access to the Great Cathedral. This once-grand room contained on altar on a raised dais, as well as a magical silver bonfire which, while producing no heat, shed light onto another silvery set of doors behind it. The room was well lit, and the mass of creatures that waited within had no trouble seeing our heroes enter.

After besting their foes, our heroes backtracked slightly. They found several alternate entrances to the cathedral, including a broken section of wall and a secret door. They found two doors down a hall choked with rubble: One of which was likely the bedroom of the lay-minister Faeva, and another whose door was blocked from within. Arranis deftly removed the pins from the hinges, and with a shove the door fell inward. A pile of rubble had prevented the door from opening to what once must have been a priests chambers. Warped and rotted furniture lay splintered under fallen rubble, and the body of the occupant lay beneath the wreckage by the door. While searching, the party found a fine suit of Exalted Chain in a dresser, and an icon of the Silver Flame still among the bones.

Returning to the great Cathedral, the group turned their attention to the great doors behind the illusory fire. Partially opened, these enchanted doors slid easily into the walls, providing access to the hall beyond. Octagonal in shape, this room had several stone statues, which had been knocked over, and also appeared to have entrances to two sealed tombs. A banging from deeper within caught the attention of Crowbar, Arranis and Avagon, who proceeded forth. Benn and Chert remained at the entrance, and heard the banging cease when the their friends found the culprits: A group of aberrations were attempting to gain access to the chamber in the center of the room. Before the goblin and the priest could react, a floating mass of writhing tentacles descended through the ceiling without a sound, blocking further entrance and seperating the party.

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