Tempest Rising

Here be dragon
Or-- Rolling the bones

0b67c18e64736f2cb3d4de3fd9c26da0--dragon-art-fantasy-creatures.jpgKallius and Boomah were on the ground outside the keep after following the goblin witch’s plummet. They realized that Stormseeker had probably fled her body again, and tore her voodoo poppet to pieces. They heard a corresponding scream atop the wall, and took that as proof.

Meanwhile, Telline had reached the bottom of the tower and had paused in front as of a door, sensing danger. The group gathered and she hid them from the undead before proceeding. The hallway beyond was ankle-deep in bones, and Luix tried to creep forward without disturbing them. He failed, and they erupted into a swirling bonestorm. He was battered, and the others pushed back by winds, but in a few soon dispatched the creature.

In the interim, Boomah had found the most recent body of Stormseeker and blew it up. So all were together when the big northerner smashed down the barred door and came face-to-face with Thraul, a huge black draconic skeleton.

The dragon’s fear washed out of the room, and nearly everyone was shaken by it. Both Kallius and Celeste felt a terrible power clutch at them. Undaunted, Saerin charged and crossed a magical spell barrier that allowed the dragon to lash out with all its natural weaponry. He suffered mightily for his bravery.

Luix and Kallius were quick to join, and Celeste summoned a hound archon to provide flanks. The beast never had a good opportunity to breath fire, but its bite, claws, wings, tail, and crushing body were wreaking havoc on the group. Saerin fell, and Luix was briefly incapacitated, but the healers power flowed freely and kept them in the fray.

Drawn by the violence, the gigantic ooze was spotted coming up the stairs from below. Boomah again tried to check its progress with a trail of flame, but this time it merely slid up the side of the chamber to overcome the flames. It spat out its torrent of slime and bone splinters, adding even more punishment to this battle.

But with four highly trained and spell-enhanced warriors surrounding the dragon, their combined assault finally overcame Thraul’s not insignificant defenses, and the creature was brought low.

Immediately following, all could feel a dark weight being lifted from the area, and the ooze began to bubble and spurt. Huge pustules popped and the bone-flecked slime was dissolving into a noxious cloud of black vapor. Boomah started shoveling treasure into his haversack as the others began to scout exits.

Once more, from the top
Or-- Meddlers on the roof

9aaacfec17b110e5c7345106635b1784.jpegAfter a few minutes of quick preparation, our heroes began their assault.

Once again they shrunk down the healers, and Boomah and Kallius took to the air. As they hurdled down the hillside they noticed that there were three stunted-wing creatures prowled the rooftop. They had hoped that their spells would them from view, but the monsters pierced the veil and pounced on them as soon as they landed.

Not only that, but two of them breathed clouds of acid on the group. Undaunted, our heroes returned the assault on the battle began.

Then, the air exploded in fire and ash. Boomah spotted a female goblin atop the tower and flew off after her. Saerin, Luix, and Kallius squared off against the dragon-tainted festrogs and were holding their own against the beasts.

Up close, Boomah saw that the goblin was not Stormseeker, but was wearing her clothes and holding her fetish poppet. Seeing him closing on her, she leaped off the parapet toward the ground below. He followed, and was surprised not to see a huge black ooze lurking below, In fact, she seemed surprised by that as well.

With the destroys losing ground, the war priest Telline charged forward and smashed through the tower to get down to the main floor. The others followed, and heard the door below smash down as well.

They knew that only a short corridor lay between them and the dragon’s throne room.

All's well than ends (in a) well
Or-- Silent night, unholy night

20100918_Dino_2210-Footprint.jpegOur heroes sped across the treetops to escape the carnage at Bar Omaro, and decided to head to the hills in hopes of finding a concealed place to regroup. They spotted a small clearing before their magic gave out, and a small ring of stones indicated some former humanoid presence.

When they landed, they realized it was a small overgrown well. Boomah used levitation to descend into the well and explore. About 50 feet down he came upon a natural fissure with a small steam running down it. The gap seemed large enough to fit the entire group, and the damp stones were home to several large, delicious centipedes.

The group was discussing their choices, when the newly rescued Priestess of LyssTelline — said she was returning immediately to fight the dragon. A heated exchange followed, where Kallius pointed out how well that worked for her last time, and in the end they agreed to spend one night before returning.

Boomah explored further down the fissure and came to a hand-dug ledge with seven bleached goblin skulls in a row. He recalled that it was a form goblin fortune-telling, and choosing one would both reveal and seal his fate. Of course he dove at the chance, and lifted a skull. Under it was a bleached spider, that leaped into his clothing and vanished.

After that, the group clambered down, and huddled in the damp and darkness. They stayed in this sodden pit for the afternoon and night, not making any light of sound. In the deep of the night, Dremahl and Boomah heard a snuffling sound from above. They remained exceptionally still and quiet, and eventually the noise went away.

They continued to stay quiet and did not move until they could see light coming down the shaft. Dremahl used his clairvoyant power and saw clawed footprints similar to the size of the draconic troglodytes around the well.

In the light of dawn, our heroes found renewed purpose. They debated tactics before committing to one more assault on the Omaro keep.

Phaed into darkness
Or -- Is it better to to burn out?

e11b390704257aca9f2b6b40759cfc93-d5qt5l2.jpegOur heroes tallied their remaining resources and began preparations to escape the Omaro compound for there second time. Once again they shrunk the healers, and Boomah and Kallius we’re going to ferry everyone away in the air. But when the exited the cave mouth, the found two floodslain ogres laying in wait. They used their wave powers to slam into the group and sent the Luix tumbling back into the cave.

Seeing a window of opportunity between the undead behemoths, the flyers shot through, narrowly avoiding their bloated fists.

They saw as flock of undead ravens coalescing into a swarm ahead, and Kallius preemptively fireballed the mass before they could pose a threat.

Atop the highest tower of the keep, they spotted Phaed holding Celeste’s former superior by her top-knot over the edge of the parapet. She shouted out that the party should flee, as running away and leaving comrades behind was their specialty. Offended by this challenge, Kallius and Saerin changed course to address this insult.

As they flew close, she lashed out at them with a torrent of unholy flame. And, once they got close, they could see the tower top was a sea of bones. Saerin tucked and dropped, as several poiles of bones rose up and took humanoid form. Phaed continued to taunt them, and tossed spells around while the skeletons held off the warriors. Then, they spotted the giant black ooze coming out of the other cave mouth and moving toward the tower.

Celeste summoned a lantern archon, and it fired holy rays at Phaed. Unconcerned,their former comrade obliterated it with one dark bolt. All while continuing to dangle Telline over the parapet and telling the group to flee before rousing her master.

The skeletons were no match for the concerted attacks of the fighters and the powers of the priests, but they spent precious time fighting them off, while the sorceress cast and the massive ooze inched ever closer.

Again, they decided it was time to escape. Kallius grabbed the ranger and prepared to flee. Unfortunately, they were in range of the ooze’s shower of bone shards, and the the assault incapacitated the magus. The ranger tried to heal him with a wand, but his wounds exceeded its power. Kallius summoned the last of his will to dimension door back to Boomah, who was carrying the now miniature priests.

They brought him back into the light, and once again they looked to escape. Boomah swooped down, and with sovereign glue on his hands grabbed Telline. Phaed refused to let go, so now Boomah had Luix, both healers, the war-priest, and Phaed dangling in midair.

The priests poured their power into healing the war priest and brought her back from the brink of death. Phaed tried to claw at her with a cold unholy touch, but was losing ground to the combined efforts of the healers.

The fought viciously while the goblin struggled to stay aloft. Telline landed a solid kick to sorceress, and she plummeted to the swamp below. Not looking back, our heroes sped off toward safety.

Squeeze Play
Or-- Jam in a Jelly

dc705b7a64d47cc53124768903cde9ac.jpegOur heroes moved quickly from the wall into the mouth of the old Omaro mine. They made it only few steps inside before a fiery trap went off and filled the passage with hot ash and rocks.

Beyond that, they saw little signs of recent habitation. Even the ubiquitous black ooze that ran along the wall and floors seemed to have moved on. They moved through a few empty chambers, and were accosted by a trio of floating, bodiless heads. These undead horrors taunted our heroes, until they returned to the earth with a few well-placed arrows.

Boomah flew swiftly about, keeping an eye for danger. He soon discovered that the massive ooze that had been covering the outer wall had moved into the mine, and completely engulfed the entrance.

Rocketing in the other direction, he saw another massive ooze moving slowly down the other outer passage. Trapped between the two, Luix charged the first and found himself swallowed by the amorphous mass.

The rest of the group threw everything they had at the monster, but it was difficult to harm. Worse, it was drawing on the big warrior’s strength to heal itself.

Boomah kept the other ooze at bay by criss-crossing its path with flames. The black ooze then swallowed the ranger Saerin as well, doubling its healing. The remaining companions pounded away at the thing, slowly draining its power.

As the group’s stock of power was nearly drained, Kallius struck home with his ensorcelled blade and sapped the remaining force that held the creature together.

With another ooze at their backs, and castle yard of enemies before them, our heroes took stock of their options.

Returning to the Scene of the Crime

creature-lucky_graul_1_.jpgRenewed by a night’s rest, our heroes found themselves at the edge of the wood beyond Bar OMaro. Using the lens, they could see a rippling back substance coating the keep’s walls, and humanoid figures dangling from supports above the reaching black tendrils.

Close inspection saw that some of them still move to defend themselves, although weakly.

The debated the best approach, and then a bloated figure appeared in the keep’s entry. It seemed to be an ogre, but had the sodden, unearthly cast of a creature drowned and dragged back from the dead. A few well-placed arrows checked its advance, and it returned to the shadows of the gate.

Seeking a less challenging entry, they moved around to where the keep met the hillside, near the now-trickling waterfall. They reduced the priests, and used magic to prepare to fly over the wall and into the keep.

Boomah flew over to the wall first to check things out, when a surge of water sent another sodden ogre up into the air and it reached out for the goblin. But not quickly enough, as he sped away from its grasp.

It rapidly climbed the wall and tried again to crush the little alchemist. But Boomah was soon joined by his comrades, and battle was joined.

They defeated the creature, and reviewed their situation. The shining black ooze, flecked with bones, was sliding down the wall toward them. Not eager to engage, they flew down from the parapet and gathered sat the entry to the mine, filled with the stench of goblins and rotted death.

Let's make a deal
Or-- The devil, the dragon, or what's behind door #2?

contract.pngAfter the winged shadow past over the watch tower, Kallius dropped to the lower level to see if others were affected by its passing. They were not even aware of it, and the blinded goblin refused to even hear the magus out.

As they discussed what might follow from the shadow’s passing, they noted a deep red glowing in the upper reaches of the tower. They prepared for attack as the light grew in radiance and resolved into the form of a bearded devil.

They recognized it was one of the horrors they had released from the Mephitan ship, and demanded to know what brought it there.

They beast asked if they truly thought that it was coincidental that the dragon did not note their presence, and suggested that it was diabolic assistance that kept them alive.

And, it added, that assistance could be continued. They questioned its motives, and it said that the dragon was capturing souls that rightfully belonged it its masters, and they merely wanted to return the situation to its normal state. Kallius said that he wanted protection from the dragon’s fear power, and was willing to negotiate.

The bearded devil vanished, and it was replaced by a tall, well-dressed devilish figure. It explained that Kallius’ danger went far beyond fear, but that is was still willing to assist. The devil offered to remove his soul from his body (for its own safety) until the group could end the draconic threat that was facing the region. It would also provide assistance for the others to fight off the dragon fear.

This offer was also extended to Celeste, who refused it outright. The elf was intrigued, but when he heard that his soul would rendered to the Hells if he ever crossed the threshold of death, he had decline. Boomah, whose soul was rejected by the devil, was offered a ‘commission’ if he could help close the deal. Unfortunately, he could not move them.

Failing to reach an agreement, the devil offered to encourage our heroes’ efforts to defeat the dragons. He would continue to cloak their presence until the dawn after next. After that, the group would be on their own.

After dawn, the priests cured the blinded goblin and they set off toward the castle. They had to break through the perimeter set up by the undead crocodile and the skeletons, but they could not stand long against a rested and prepared party of heroes.

A short march through the marsh, and the party was in sight of Bar Omaro. The walls, in the sun, were strangely dark and shining, and the bodies of living humans could be seen staked out on the parapet.

House Arrest
Or-- Croc-o-Vile

139a61c5eabe65d674ebe01d4be73d63.jpegOur heroes went through what was left behind when Stormseeker abandoned her body, and found the magical ring that covered her escape, as well as her staff and a bag of masgic-destroying dust. But since they had spent most of their power and Boomah was blinded, they decided to return to the watch tower and rest.

About an hour after they arrived, two undead crocodiles showed up to keep an eye on them. Our heroes stayed put. After a couple more hours, a troop of eight skeletons set up a perimeter around the tower.

Worried that this only going to get worse, they decided to attack the besiegers. Arrows flashed from the doorway and the tower top, and Luix charged to face the first crocodile.

It met him halfway and took a huge bite into him. The nearest skeletons threw spears into the fray. Celeste summoned a couple elementals to give him a hand. Although it was massive and did devastating damage when close, the beast fell under their combined assaults.

With a larger group outside the tower, the other watchers fell back to the tree line. Two of the skeletons were taken out by electric arrows and elementals, and only the they were caught in the explosions.

Thinking that they were being drawn out into danger, they retreated back inside. So the two sides were at a standoff until the sun set.

Late that night, Kallius was on the tower top keeping watch in the wee hours. A darker shadow blotted out the stars above the looming hills and a winged shape swooped toward the tower. He could feel the rush of wind as the great wings hovered high above, and all those on watch had could feel the chill of true dragon fear.

The magus stood strong in the shadow of the dragon, but he nearly lost his grip on the parapet as its power washed over his mind and he felt like his body had become not his body, and his life not his life.

Reptile Dysfunction
Or-- Getting that dead lizard up

194_Marrow_Chomper.jpegThe party moved to catch up with Kallius, and track down the several fleeing versions of Stormseeker. Boomah rocketed off after the nearest, and when he struck it with a fiery bomb it dissolved into nothing.

Meanwhile, Kallius was surprised to discover a corpse-like centipede crawling top his leg. It reached out to exposed flesh, and the elf could feel his life force being drained away from him. As others came near, they could not get a good shot at the small abomination as it crawled around him.

Boomah flew back to the river, and caught sight of a soaking wet Stormseeker hidden in the reeds by the bank. That was the3 last thing he saw, however, as he was struck blind by her magic

The others were brought up short by loud crashing in the jungle beyond. Then, two monstrous undead lizards burst into the clearing, each with a ghastly goblin harnessed on top.

They turned to face the new enemies, while Kallius delivered a shocking grasp to the centipede that curled around him, frying it.

The goblins lobbed javelins while the two lizards lumbered in to the attack. They were slower than they had been in life, but their claws and teeth were just was powerful.

Blinded Boomah landed safely, but the witch’s magical cackle put him to sleep. The others closed on her and soon she fell to the muddy earth.

One of the gigantic lizards had fallen to the warriors’ blows, when the other turned and fled. It moved surely through the jungle and cleared our heroes’ sought before they could mount a chase.

They stood over the fallen witch and several of her former shadow claw goblins, and considered their options.

Gobblin' Flesh
Or-- Stormseeker splits

027de3d63dd4dee5b44323c03944a3f9.jpegAfter the archon declared the tower free from enemies and vanished back from where he came, they searched the remainder of the ruins. In its topmost rafters they came upon a clutch of what looked to be eggs, but they did radiate any kind of life. But powerful dark magic.

Boomah threw a fiery bomb into the webs and the eggs burst, each releasing a wave of desecrating energy, but no enemies. They did not concern themselves with the desecration, and spent the night below.

In the pre-dawn darkness, the sound of chopping wood was heard across the forest. Saerin tried to pinpoint its location, but could only determine that it was parallel to the Omaro keep along one of the rivers that poured down from the hills.

Once the sun rose, they made their way toward the continued sound of chopping. Close to the river’s bank, they came upon two zombies attempting to chop down a tree. Saerin charged and quickly dispatched one of the horrors. The noise attracted the attention of others, and it quickly became obvious that several zombie loggers were nearby.

The group gathered in defense, and the area is exploded in lava and ash. This made is difficult to see and move, but everyone stumbled free of the area and did battle.

Above the fray flew the goblin witch Stormseeker, empowering the undead with dark energies. A number of ghastly goblins also emerged fro muddy hiding places, slashing the group with their claws.

Kallius sent a fireball into a group, and Boomah circled the area trailing flames, the zombies were falling fast. The ghosts proved more difficult, but could not stand long against the warriors. Boomah flew up to engage Stormseeker, and set her ablaze with a bomb.

She plummeted into the river to douse the flames, and Kallius rushed over catch her. She stayed underwater, ands tried to fell toward the keep. The magus cast dimension door and intercepted her flight, unleashing an empowered shocking grasp when she came close.

The electricity crackled and she went rigid, but then suddenly split into four versions of herself. Each one of these Stormseekers burst out of the stream and rushed off in a different direction.


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