After arriving in Panderlach and being escorted by an acolyte of Klaag to the famous Golden Eel tavern, the party settled in for some dinner on this chill winter night. Only four days remained before the festival of Circumabulation and many people were out shopping. None of the party had ever been to Panderlach, so the sight of so many military personnel was a bit startling (roughly 1 in 20 persons found on the street wore an official uniform). Nepiol recommended delicious fish dishes for everyone, Rainsong had to spear her own fish from the giant tank at the front of the tavern. The Golden Eel was once a mighty sailing vessel, the largest Nepiol had ever seen, but for many years now had been permanently docked by her owner, a large sailor by the name of Khale. Khale, of course, had an obnoxious parrot on his shoulder. The food and drinks were excellent, Khale promised and delivered on the promise of exotic fare. As the party was ordering up another round of drinks, a patron stumbled forth into the very thick fog. His exit was followed by a blood-curdling scream and our heroes leaped up from their table and jumped out into the cold-winter fog. The fog was so thick that unless they were standing directly next to each the only sound they could make out was the sound of their allies fighting the undead who viciously attacked them. The party made quick work of these wights, though their life-draining touch was felt by Nepiol and Rainsong ("Undead very bad."). As the ten once-living bodies dropped to the ground the tavern-goers scrambled out a side door, and remained huddled in one of the common rooms for the evening. Skippy noticed a tattoo on one of the creatures "Payvinís Pearl". Nepiol wrapped one of the bodies up in his dragon-scale cloak and carried it upstairs and hid it under his bed. "In case we need it." They all joined Khale, who was now alone downstairs for a couple more rounds before most everyone retired. Skippy stayed up late "singing" drinking songs with Khale.
Well rested everyone came downstairs and were informed by Khale that several city-guards came by already and wanted to speak with them. Skippy came downstairs, looking like he had had too much too drink, and this became quite obvious when he asked anyone who spoke to "Please be quiet." While nursing his hangover Skippy remembered the wightís tattoo and asked Khale about it. Khale told them that he had heard of the Pearl, and they might go down towards the docks for more information. The city guards finally showed up and got the relevant information from the party and asked them to please keep Khale informed as to where they were going if they happened to leave the city, in case they were needed for anything else. After a hearty breakfast, they made their way down towards the docks and found out that Payvinís Pearl was docked there and had been scheduled to leave about a week ago, but that Payvin had been spending his time at a local tavern after his whole crew jumped ship. Inquiring at the bar, the barkeep directed them towards a haggard looking man who apparently had done nothing but drink for the last week. He sat alone at a very small table. When they approached him, he wanted nothing to do with them until they bought him another round. After his whistle had been wet again, he asked what they wanted. When they asked him about his crew he informed them that there was no way his crew had jumped ship. He related his tale, that the night before they were heading out to sea Payvin returned to his ship to find no one aboard. Thinking was on the receiving end of a practical joke he looked around, but found nobody. But he did find something. As he looked up towards the mast he saw a red pair of eyes staring down at him. "The Devourer could have stolen your soul too, but has decided to let you live." The voice called out. Payvin leaped into the icy water and swam for shore as fast as he could. After having looked into the eyes of death itself, Payvin has sworn to never set foot on a ship again. His hands shook as he gulped down his last drink. When Nepiol asked if they could have permission to board his ship, Payvin told them didnít care if they sank the Pearl, as he was never stepping on it again.
Boarding the Pearl, the party didnít find much evidence of what had happened to Payvinís crew, but they did find out that there had been ten crew members, the same amount of wights they had defeated the night before. Nepiol dove into the icy water and searched the muck of the harborís bottom for any clues. All he found was empty run bottles and other such debris. Returning to the Golden Eel, Nepiol made his upstairs for a warm bath after his very cold swim. After warming back up they went over what they knew: some creature, with red eyes, an unholy voice, the ability to drain people of their life essence had attacked the Pearl. Having no idea what, or who, this could be they consulted a sage. Hearing their dilemma, this sage asked for a 25 gp fee to direct to someone with more expertise in this matter. They reluctantly agreed to pay the steep sum, and were directed to a sage named Ahrens. But if they ever wanted any information on bugs, they should be sure to return...
Ahrens wasnít quite sure how he could help the party until they mentioned the Devourer. He was a sage of words. Having no other avenues to explore they agreed to his 750gp/ day rate and returned to the Eel. Two days later, Ahrens had some information that they might find interesting. Seems their was an entity called the Devourer, who was mentioned in a discussion on the Negative Material Plane. Seems also that a powerful mage named Desatysso was very interested in this Devourer. Desatysso hadnít been heard from in years, so Ahrens actually plumbed a little deeper and found out where his residence was located. He also gave the party a sketch of the sign of the Devourer that he unearthed in one of his texts. Not wanting to miss out on Circumambulation, the party stayed in the city for a while longer, exchanged gifts (most of which were goofy) and prepared themselves for a small trip up into the mountains to find the keep known as Burntrock. From the directions Ahrens had given them, the journey would probably take abut a day.
Getting up bright and early after the festivities, they headed out leaving a trail behind them in the early morning snow. They were able to follow the directions quite easily, and after securing their horses at the bottom of the mountain they had been told to climb, started their ascent. The injuries were minimal, the climbing was relatively easy, even for those members with no skill scaling cliffsides. As they approached the top they were ambushed by two hill giants who threw boulders at them. With spell and missile they dispatched the giants without too much difficulty and pulled themselves up into a small vale where they viewed the keep of the wizard Desatysso. Judging by the many holes in the keepís wall, it seemed as if no one had lived here for some time. This also seemed evident by the lack of tending to the surrounding topiary.
As they approached the almost-ruins of the keep, they were ambushed by four more hill giants who leaped forth from the keepís giant front doors. Two charged the party and two proceeded to start throwing boulders. Nepiol quickly activated his magic trident and summoned forth a dome of water that covered them, making only the giants legs visible. Rainsong was slightly shaken by this wall of water, but proceeded to attack the giants. Aerik found the space within the dome confining, but made his way forward anyway. Skippy was mesmerized by this wall of water. The giants, sensing that it would be difficult for them to attack backed out of the dome and when Nepiol deactivated it, all signs of them were gone. The doors to the keep were closed again and when they cautiously approached, they found them locked. No amount of budging or picking seemed to open them, so Skippy caused a portion of the door to vanish, allowing them easy entry. More bad magic. Nepiol checked inside quickly, so as to avoid being bashed in the skull by a giant club, but he found nothing, or no one inside. The investigation of the keep proved relatively uneventful. Most of the furnishings had long been destroyed. There was the still warm cinders of a fire in one room. And a seemingly magic blaze in another. When they approached the door to the tower of this small fortress, the flame leaped from the fireplace and grew to a living creature of flame over 16 feet in height. Although the creatures fiery touch caused significant damage, the band quickly dispelled it and entered the tower. Due to the gaping hole in the roof, the tower was now home to many pigeons who cooed loudly when the door was opened. As with the rest of the keep, the contents of what was once most likely the wizardís lab, were destroyed. Searching through the rubble, Nepiol stumbled upon a small silver key.
Finding no other possible route for the giants then the passageway that seemed to wind itís way up inside the great mountain. After exploring a narrow passageway in which the walls themselves constricted around Nepiol, crushing him with ease, before he leaped free, they made their way up the passage. They climbed for some time, the passage corkscrewing its way up the mountain, they heard a great rumbling and were appropriately frightened at the sight of a boulder the width of the passage hurtling towards them. Aerik acted quickly and put up a wall of force which stopped the rolling rock inches before it turned them all into a part of the passage floor. They quickly made their way down the passage and waited until the boulder came to a crashing stop, sealing off the passage. Skippy turned the massive boulder into a pebble and threw it outside. They began their ascent again, and this time when another boulder came crashing towards them their tactics werenít as effective. Aerik cast a spell upon himself that made his skin as hard as rock, able to withstand most physical blows. Skippy had already had this cast upon himself. Nepiol summoned forth a wall of ice and placed it across the passage. Rainsong ran (fast like horse) down the passage and out the boulderís path into one of the rooms. The boulder ripped through Nepiolís wall of ice with a dramatic crash and crushed him into a gooey paste. Aerik and Skippy both were rolled over by the boulder, their skins of stone saved their lives, but they had the very unpleasant experience of feeling many tons of rock roll right over them. Not only was all their breath expelled from their lungs, but they lost appropriate matter from other openings as well. Rainsong left the room she was in when she heard the boulder stop. Trying to push it out of the way, she realized, that even with her great strength, she would not be able to. Sometimes bad magic do good things she thought. Luckily Nepiolís magical ring, which slowly regenerated him, was not crushed. Skippy and Aerik, got up, dusted themselves off, cleaned their drawers as best they could and moved forward. The passage continued for just a little bit longer and opened up on a ledge overlooking the vale where the keep rested. They were met by four giants, though these were mountain giants, not the hill giants they had fought earlier. The giants spoke, in broken common, and asked this dynamic duo what they wanted. They told the giants that they were looking for Desatysso. The giants informed them that the mage had been gone for many years and that they used to work for him. When Aerik asked whey they had attacked them, the giants said that they were trespassing and they were told to keep trespassers away. Somehow, the logic (or illogic) of the giants statement eluded Aerik, who questioned their tactics. So while Nepiolís body slowly reforms from itís watery magnificence and Rainsong ponders how to get up the mountain, possibly to find another entry, Aerik and Skippy are attempting to negotiate with these boorish brutes.
Looking into the face of certain death in the form of four giants, (in addition to the 1,000-foot drop to their right) Aerik and Skippy each took a deep breath and moved forward slightly (and away from the cliffís edge). The giants asked them what they wanted. When Aerik and Skippy told the giants they were looking for Desatysso. The giants informed them that Desatysso had been gone a long time and they were his employees, and they were a little peeved that they hadnít received any pay in awhile. Aerik noticed that these were mountain giants, not hill giants who attacked them earlier. Perhaps it was not these giants that attackled us, but then again, they did not deny it. The sun was setting over the hilltops this winter evening and the giants asked Aerik and Skippy to join them for dinner. These giants certainly had good manners. Desatysso taught us good to be nice. Over dinner of very-rare sheep sweet-meats there was some drinking, an impromptu mime performance by Skippy (which got him dragged out of his invisble box) and soem not-unpleasant conversation. During dinner, Rainsong climbed over the side of teh cliff, looking none the worse for wear. Rainsong climb big cliff, climb like ... rainsong canít think of good climbing animal. Monkeyís can climb well, Skippy chimed in. Rainsong not like monkey. The giants were courteous enough to allow Rainsong to kill one of their sheep so she coudl join them for dinner. Apparently also lioving in these cliffs were the hill giants they had encountered earlier (they the ones that smash Desatyssoís home, we not do it.) and trolls (good workers, rocks crush and they grow back. Donít like fire though) Their dislike of fire was painfully aware when Skippy went to the downward tunnelís entrance with a torch to investigate where the stones that kept hitting him the back came from. The trolls shrieked slightly and backed away. One of the giants demonstrated the trolls fortitude by beating him to a bloody pulp, just for fun. But fire bad. Skippy found the very bloody Nepiol lying low at the passageís entrance. One of the giants caught sight of Nepiol and immediately came over to see what Skippy was looking at. Nepiol washed up a little and joined them for the dinner festivities. Aerik asked if there were any papers or books that Desatysso had that they knew of. The mountain giants said that most of that stuff was in the tower but they, no the hill giants, destroyed most of it. A young mountain giant spoke up saying that there was one thing they couldnít get open, a chest with legs.
Thsi immediately interested Aerik. The giants said if they could open it they could have anything that they didnít want. But they wanted stuff in return. The Band finally came up with a suitable list, and had to also throw in several of their valuable items, into a pool in case they couldnít deliver on their promise to open the chest. Nepiol even placed his beloved trident in this pile. The giants said they would sleep and tomorrow they could try and open the chest. One part of the negotiations that Aerik was not pleased with was the fact that he had to be the cuddle toy of one of the female giants for the evening ("Him pretty. Me not hurt, we just cuddle.")
Aerik did not sleep well that night, fearful of his person being violated. In the morning he had an almost porcelain complexion, and it wasnít due to his being a dandy. After a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, the party reluctantly placed their goods in a pile. Nepiolís trident ("big fork") was immediately picked up by one of the giants who proceeded to start giggling and ran down the passage to the valley below. The band saw him spear the ground and rocks and chase birds. Nepiol grimaced at seeing his beloved trident used this way. After breakfast, the giants blindfolded the band and placed them facing out over the cliff, their toes hung over the edge, as they procured the chest with legs from itís hiding spot. The Band looked at the beautiful ebony desk in wonder. One of the giants threw it against the cliff wall which produced a loud crash, but nary a scratch on the enchanted desk. "Chest funny, we try to break it, but it not break. Not like we, err I mean stupid hill giants, broke Desatyssoís castle." Aerik studied the desk and inside the mouth of the dragon that adorned itís top found a small key hole. Nepiol produced the key he found earlier and, even though Aerik didnít want to place his hand with the ferocious looking (albeit carved from woo) wyrmís mouth, he did so and turned the key. The desk opened and inside several boxes of large cigars (apparently faves of the giants) were found, most of which were bent and waterlogged due to teh potions contained within having spilled over when the attempted breaking of the desk shattered their containers. This did not stop them from lighting up, much to their merriment. The Band watched as the giants rummaged through the desk for other goodies, throwing aside a "stupid stone" which when thrown past Nepiolís head, began to orbit. After the giants decided there was nothing more of value in the chest they let the band search. The finally came upon an old journal, most of which had been acid-damaged and the ink had run. They found one readable page which described how Desatysso was going to contact a man named Falon who resided in Panderlach. Nepiol discussed the finer points of Tiburon with Krag, an especially stupid giant, who he had converted with his rousing oratory the previous night. Krag wanted to worship Tiburon also, although his method of praying (bashing his big head against the rocky ground) wasnít exactly proper, Nepiol promised to return to speak more to him and train him in the ways of the great Tiburon. After the giddy giant returned with the big fork, the band took their leave of these great creatures and returned to Panderlach.
Nepiol performed a holy cleansing ritual on Aerik who claimed heíd been forever tainted by his experience with the giantess. After the ceremony, Aerik seemed more himself. Asking around town for information on Falon, the party came up with nothing for the first day. Finally realizing that their best bet (although expensive) might be to contact the sage Ahrens again, they went back to him. He came back to them with information that Falon resided now at the end of Elmwood Street. He also had an assistnat who seemed quite interested in keeping company with the party. He claimed to be a Loremaster, one who chronicled the information not readily available in dusty tomes (this phrase drew an ireful glance from Ahrens). He went by the name of Reynald, and he stated he had many skills which could aid them in their investigation of the Devourer. Reynald directed them to Elmwood, which was outside the city walls, and they were slightly confused to find a graveyard. Asking the caretaker about Falon they were directed to a gravestone over which stood a mountain of a man. The man was standing over the grave of Falon, who it stated had died over 20 years ago. The man introduced himself as Grunther, and he was a friend of Falonís. He was missing his left hand, but strapped across his back was a mammoth battle Ax. Grunther explained (as best he could, it was quite obvious Grunther wasnít very bright) that he and Falon and the pretty lady along with other friends went to a very bad place with the wizard a long time ago and he and Sather, the pretty lady were the only oneís who survived. Grunther was mad at the wizard because he hadnít come to Falonís funeral, stating "One should do whatís right." This very bad place intrigued the party and asked Grunther if they would be able to talk with Sather. Grunther told them she lived in Pitchfield, which was about 2-3 days from here, and that he would take them there. Grunther tough, no one tougher than Grunther. Grunther mentioned the Devourer (though he had trouble pronouncing it) and when shwon the picture given to them by Ahrens, he shriekd, claiming teh big green mouth cut off his hand. Nepiol finally got rid of the corpse that had been lying under his bed, Skippy bought a slew of equipment, including some new clothes (the most interesting article of which was a winter-jacket with alternating smiley and frown faces for buttons), Aerik seemed more himself, though he did not do much in the way of whoring, and Rainsong longed to leave the city. Rainsong not understand cities, so many people living so close when there is beautiful land all around.
A day and a half into their trip, they came upon a small town that was quite uninhabited. Save for the gutted corpses of several dogs and livestock, they were no signs of anything that was once living in the village. Scratched into the side of one of the houses was the sign of the Devourer, which Grunther wouldnít let anyone approach, lest they lose their hand too. They found an empty house to camp in for the night and everyone looked slightly confused when Grunther took out an extremely detailed map of the area with no words on it. He plotted the course they had taken and the course they would take. Without a word he rolled the map back up and placed it back in his bag. When they found themsleves in Pitchfield, Grunther directed them to Satherís, who started to cry upon seeing her long-time friend. Sather was once obviously very beautiful, but walked with a limp now and the years had taken their toll. When Grunther told her they wanted information on the Devourer, she shuddered. She told them what she knew on the stipulation that they never return to her (Grunther included). The tale she told was quite chilling, how she watched most of her friends die horribly while the obsessed wizard kept pushing forward. In her time of greatest need her goddess abandoned her and she has since lost her faith. She handed the party a satchel which she claimed contained their partyís equipment from their fateful journey to that Tomb of Horrors!
Inside they found a plethora of magic items, including several haling potions, two folding boats, a tribal spear which Rainsong laid claim too, a quiver of heavy crosbow bolts which Nepiol kept, a deck of many things (with a note attached which red "We may just need to call upon the luck contained within.") which Skippy quickly snatched up and an elvish tome which detailed some of the secrets of bladesinging which Aerik perused with much interest. Reynald took the magical sling bullets which he knew were especially devastating with an accurate hit. At camp that evening, Skippy couldnít stop playing with the Deck of many Things, wondering if he could channel itís chaotic nature. Nepiol seemed intrigued and asked if he could draw from it. Skippy agreed. The first two cards he drew, the Thief and the Gypsy had no immediate effect, but both were black which everyone knew was bad. Trusting in the chaotic nature of his god, he drew once more. Thsi time there was an effect. Everyone watched, horrified to see his life essence be sucked from him, his body left still functioning, but his spirit , his soul gone. The deck vanished from his hands. Seeing this upset Aerik greatly, Nepiol was after all his oldest friend. The next morning the teleported back to Panderlach, mercifully ended the automaton's life and threw him into Tibuonís magnificent ocean in a brief funeral ceremony. They then witnessed a curious thing, Nepiolís body dissolved into water.
They teleported back to their campsite and continued on towards the Dire Fen, where the map contained within Desatysoís journal they had received from Sather indicated the Tomb of The Devourer was located. The journal also had other interesting information: the Devourer was actually a mage named Acheronius who centuries ago transformed himself into a demi-lich. Acheronius was a cambion, borne to a human mother, teh child of a lower-planar entity, it seems his evil nature came from the abuse he took as a child from others. The notes also made mention of a City and Citadel beyond the Tomb where Acheronius lay in wait with a great reward for any who could find him. Reynald knew of the Tomb of Acheronius and informed the rest of the Band that they were in for dire times indeed. Skippy cast a sending spell to other past-members of the Band of the Wandering Tempest, informing them of their situation and requesting assistance. Journeying into the Dire Fen, they steadily made their way forwad. Grunther led, having been to the Tomb before, and being teh only one with knowledge of how to operate a boat efficiently. Their first night in the swamp, camping on a small piece of land, Rainsong was startled while on watch to hear Grunther screaming. She looked over to se a humanoid figure crouched over him sucking the blood from his neck. She was too startled to act and by the time she awakened her party-members and moved to assist Grunther the creature flew away, but not before yelling out "Enjoy the sunrise, it will be you last. You will hear from the Dim Triad again. The Devourer will have your souls." With everyone now awake, they decided to take double shifts on watch. With the spell casters needing at least 8 hours sleep, the majority of the watch fell on the shoulders of Rainsong and Grunther. The rest of teh evening passed with occurrence and the following day they continued their journey into this wretched swamp. When the Dim triad struck that evening they were ready. Grunther (armed with his ax Elsie) and Rainsong actually destroyed two of the vampires before the third fled. The physical damage was not much to the party, but the life-draining effects of the undead were certainly felt, especially by Grunther and Rainsong. The days that followed were passed with further attacks from undead or anything actually. Finally they apoproached teh location of teh tomb, but wee startled to see a mammoth city wall erected around where only the tomb once stood. They docked their boats (and folded them up) and slowly made their way across the bog. The bog consisted of very thick floating vegetation that passed for hard ground. However, with every step, the ground actually moved a little bit. Aerik approached the wall, with thoughts of investigating what lay beyond, He made his way halfway across when up from underneath the bog rose several undead. Having come out of nowhere, no one was quite prepared. Aerik fought valiantly against them while his party-members rushed to his aid. From the North came the familiar cry of Theran Blackforge, the partyís dwarven member who had answered Skippyís call for help. Theran unleashed upon the walking dead with his lightning fast heavy crossbow while the rest of the party entered melee. Several of the creatures tried to pull Grunther into the brackish water. After many minutes of heated combat, they finally felled the foul beasts. Theran ran to the aid of Rainsong who had taken a considerable amount of damage. Taking stock of their situation, they moved forward. As they approached the black city walls they noticed huge holes in the stone throughout. As Aerik thought of scaling the walls, several human faced gigantic snakes emerged from the holes and instructed them to enter only using the front gate. The party approached teh 15-foot high gate, which was comprised entirely of bones and the skull at itís top spoke "Who will stand on the right hand of Moebius." To which Aerik responded "Me." The party then watched as the gate slowly unfolded into a gigantic skeleton like creature. It let out a wicked shriek, upon hearing which Aerik dropped dead of fright. Everyone else fought the great creature as best they could and finally dropped it. Theran ran over to Skippy and unrolled a scroll which brought him back to life. There was definitely a change within him now. The fire in his eyes was gone, he had a defeated, yet determined look on his face. They entered this city and were quite startled to see zombies and skeletons roaming amongst the thousands of gravestones and numerous houses. Grunther pointed towards a Skull shaped building located on the hillside. "That is where tomb is." Before making their way towards the tomb amongst the undead milling about everywhere they spotted a blind man standing beside a large painting on the wall. The man seemed to be quote deranged and described his masterpiece to the interested party. It depicted various scenes concerning Acheronius. Surprisingly, there were no other living souls visible within the city. Cautiously they made their way towards the tomb. Rainsong shuddered with fear at the great multitude of undead everywhere who paid no attention to them.
Entering where the tomb should be they found a black temple, dedicated to no god. Behind the alter were three entrances into the hillside. Finally deciding on which to enter (Grunther seemed very confused as to which was the correct one) they entered Acheroniusí Tomb of Horrors. Looking down the corridor they made out some ancient runes inlaid into the floor. Rainsong wrote down the riddle contained with which was translated by Reynald. Aerik was the first to fall prey to one of the traps contained within as he activated a pit which contained poison stakes at the bottom. Badly damaged he climbed out and they continued onward. Theran led the way tapping the floor with his great maul searching for other pits. The going was slow, and finally, at the end of this first hall they found the great green face, in whose mouth was absolute darkness. "That where Grunther lose hand." Finding an archway filled with mist, Aerik boldly stepped through. Reynald pressed the glowing gems at the arches keystone and the mists vanished. They entered the arch and found themselves in a room with a statue of a four armed gargoyle, one of the arms was detached and lay on the floor. Realizing that Aerik was probably another victim of this horrific place and having taken a considerable amount of damage in getting there, they decided to rest for the evening. Reynald informed them that the Tomb was not known for the creatures contained within, so they should be relatively safe. Their sleep that evening was restless, each having nightmares of what they had seen already and what lay ahead of them.
The night was deathly still, not a single sound emanated form the Tomb. Each person that took watch was slightly unnerved by this. After morning rituals, spell study, exercise and breakfast, the Band took stock of their surroundings. They examined the statue of the gargoyle more carefully. Theran decided that it might be a construct of evil (the whole tomb radiated both magic and evil). First he carefully grabbed the arm of the statue. Deciding that they would be able to have safe passage, they moved forward. It seemed they were now in the second of the hallways mentioned in the opening riddle. The stuccoed walls here were painted with various humanoid figures, each holding an orb, all the orbs were painted different colors. Rainsong took out the riddle she diligently had copied from the first hallway and decided that they must enter one of the orbs in order to progress. Reynald was enthralled by the archway at the end of the hall with 3 glowing gems on the keystones. He attempted numerous combinations of pressing the gems, but to no avail, as the cloudy mists still filled the arch. Rainsong and Theran contemplated the meaning of the riddle when all of a sudden a door burst open that was hidden by the stucco. Bursting forth was a strapping man with chissled features, his face was hidden by a black mask and his clothes and attire matched this motiff. "Have no fear, Doctor Midnight is here." The man was followed by a non-descript elf. Several of teh band had heard of Doctor Midnight. He claimed to be a superhero and has vowed to stop all criminals and villains acros Terratha. There were rumors that he was actually deranged, but no support for these. Seeing the Band engaged in problem solving he introduced himself and his sidekick Roundy, to which the elf smiled slightly and softly spoke "Silk, my name is Silk." Doctor Midnight did not seem to hear this. They exchanged their tales, it seems that Doctor Midnight and Roundy, err... Silk, had ventured into the Tomb with seven other companions. They were the only ones remaining after two days. They asked the Band what they were doing and volunteered to join them in their quest. Finding the meaning of the color of night vague, Theran tested each of the orbs with the gargoyles arm. Several seemed to be illusions covering up holes. Reynald investigated the two doors by assuming wraithform and sifting through their cracks. Seems both were nothing more than traps, with the unfortunate openeer getting a razor-sharp spear to the chest. His wraithform did not please Rainsong.After checking all the ones that interested them, Theran returned to investigate the gargoyle accompanied by Doctor Midnight and Reynald. Not willing to let this possible construct rest, Theran proceeded to push it over, snapping one of teh arms off and then smashed it open to see if anything was inside. He found nothing but the stone from which it was created. Someoen suggested they enter the black hole and Grunther said "Okay" and was quickly followed by everyone else. Gruntherís massive girth made it impossible to see past him, he filled the whoel passage, and had actually greased up his shoulders with lard before entering. Movement through teh passage was slow and it eventually took them down and beyond the walls of the hall. Their progress was stopped when Grunther yelled "Ouch. Grunther hit head." The passage had ended. The prospect of having to back their way out was none too appealing so Silk assumed wraithform, floated past Grunther and tried to find a crack in the wall. After several minutes, he finally found one and sifted through. Once through, he opened a very cleverly hidden secret door and let everyone else through. This was a very good thing as Grunther was complaining of hunger and their journey backing out of the tunnel would probably have taken over an hour.
Entering the room beyond they found a temple, which had a definite feel of good to it, although no one recognized the religious symbols specifically, they knew they recognized them from having been in temples of good. More peculiar than this was the fact that the walls were painted with idyllic scenes of everyday life. Idyllic except for the fact that all the persons represented were seemingly undead. Very strange indeed. Also of note was a human skeleton dressed in very old black chain mail laid on the floor, pointing to another archway, this one filled with a fascinating orange mist. Only this arch did not have any glowing gems. The skeleton seemed to be directing them towards the green mists. Remembering their missing friend Aerik they thought that there must be another way. Roundy and Danger Mouse, errr, Doctor Midnight did not know Aerik, nor of his fate and threw the skeleton through the mist. They heard it drop on the other side. The altar glowed a mysterious blue, the actual material of the altar was a mystery as well. Seeing the hinges on the pews, Doctor Midnight decided to investigate. Everyone else cautiously backed up and upon pulling it open, green gas began to rapidly fill the room. Silk yelled out for everyone to get close to him and as everyone closed in, holding their breath against the gas, they went ethereal.
What happened next was a blood bath. A balor emerged from the mists of the ethereal and approached the party. He pounded both his fists into Rainsong, who withstood the blows, but ran screaming from the magical fear of the tanaríri. Because Rainsong fast like horse, this presented quite a dilemma. Vision and sound were different in the ethereal. Doctor Midnight proved he truly was super, sticking the great demon with his twin rapiers blindingly fast. This fearsome creature was quickly dispatched, but as it turned to dust, it immolated in a blinding flash of heat. The damage from this was enough to kill Silk, and others felt the unpleasant burning as well. After they brought Silk back from the dead and made bodily reparations they thought about how they could find Rainsong and cancel the spell, figuring whatever the gas was might be better than this. It was then that Silk informed them, that due to his untimely demise, he had lost the ability to cancel the spell and get them home. He also informed them that the spell would be in effect for 12 hours. Just as they were about to head off in search of Rainsong, another tanaríri gated in and moved to attack. This time the creature let out a vicious wail that started Silk and Doctor Midnight screaming in absolute terror. Silk was yelling about "Bees, giant bees, everywhere!!!!" while Doctor Midnight was screaming about "Harpies, so beautiful, so deadly!!!" The tanaríri kept coming, each coming around five minutes after the last had been defeated. And every time, even though they had a bad feeling another wodl come, the tanaríri gated in silently and attacked before anyone had a chance to react. Occasionally they would tell the party to "Return to the Tomb, find your deaths there." Theran finally dropped from a marilithís deadly attacks (six arms and a huge snake tail that literally squeezed the life from him). Silk and Doctor midnight still screamed in unholy terror. Rainsong was nowhere to be seen, but at this point had actually be felled by the same marilith that had taken care of Theran. Luckily, her friend Theran had cast a regenerative spell on her which kept her from dying. Slowly, the tanaríri guardians of the tomb were making headway defeating these trespassers. Rainsong was seemingly dead, Silk and Doctor Midnight had been driven mad with fear, Theran was dead. Finally, Reynlad grabbed silks spellbook and finding the pages for Etherealness planned on casting the spell right from the book, but first they needed to find Rainsong. Skippy let out with one of his famous yells and heard only silence. He continued yelling until his voice gave out. Since the Ethereal was more of a three dimensional plane than the Prime they really had no idea what direction she might be in. Rainsong finally awoke from her near-death slumber and realizing she was quite far removed from her comrades let out her frightening war cry in the hopes they would hear it. Several did and looked towards the direction. Reynald was getting ready to read the spell as they had just fallen another demon. After several members tried to pinpoint where the sound came from another tanaríri appeared and moved towards. Grunther, though dumb as dirt, knew that they had to get everyone together to leave. He picked up Doctor Midnight, who was still in the throes of insanity, scratched his head for a minute and ran towards where he though was coming from. At this point, Rainsong had been felled again by another tanaríri, but Theranís magic was exhausted and slowly she felt herself slipping towards infinity. The marilith wrapped itself around Skippy while Reynalf attacked with his sling. Grunther found Rainsong, quickly pulled out his healing potion and poured it down her throat. Rainsong gained consciousness and looked up at Grunther who was quite relieved that she was alive. He put Doctor midnight down ad told Rainsong"You rainsong, fast like horse, carry silly man. Grunther tough, must help friends, not have all friends die like before." With that Rainsong picked up Doctor Midnight and followed Grunther. As Grunther reapproached he let out a battle-cry "Who tougher than Grunther?!?!?" to which everyone still alive responded "nobody" The marilithís might serpentine muscles were breaking Skippyís ribs and Reynald tried desperately to drop the demon. Grunther ran up to the creature, using his one hand pulled Skippy free from itís clutches and put himself between the marilith and the rest of the party. Wielding his huge axe he stepped to melee but before he swing teh creature swung itís six arms, each flashing deadly steel at him. Grunther took several mighty swings at the beast, causing significant damage, but she was not dead yet. While everyone closed in together, they saw the whirlwind or arms strike Grunther down. His hulking frame dropped to the round,. Rainsong, barely alive fired arrows at the creature and finally, after activating the magic of her Gem Bow (whatever happened to bad magic???) dropped it. Quickly, everyone huddled together while Reynald read the spell. But something went wrong. Used to the more generic schools of magic, Reynald had trouble with Silkís spell. The rift betwen the planes shimmered and only Rainsong, Doctor Midnight and Silk dropped back to the prime, righ back in the temple where they had left from. Reynald and Skippy, along with the bodies of Theran and Grunther now tried to brainstorm a way out of this situation. As they exchanged ideas, another demon showed itís ugly face. Skippy yelled for Reynald to grab him. Reynald grabbed Skippy with his left hand and Theran with his right. Skippy let forth with a surge of wild magic that was similar to the teleport spell. Although it wouldnít get them off the ethereal plane, it might get them far from here. Skippy chose Payvinís Pearl as their destination and itís too bad Skippy had spent most of his time there in a stupor... Luckily they were in the ethereal, as they ended up several hundred feet above the Pearl and were hurtling towards it at unearthly speed. But because of the plane they were on, they continued right into the earth itself. Finally Reynald was able to dispel the magic, and they looked at nothing but magma all around them. Not used to traveling on a plane with so many dimensions, Reynald and Skippy stated heading "up???". The journey was slow and finally they broke through and into the ocean. They eventually made their way to safety after the spell expired and returned to the Panderlach. The still spiritual Skippy mourned the los of Grunther, but they continued on with their quest. They went to the temple of Klaag and for a small fee one of teh priests agreed to read Theranís scroll to resurrect him. With all members present and alive Theran, Skippy and Reynald re-equppied themselves (they had to scrap everything non-magical to teleport off the oceanís floor) and returned to the City of Skulls and this time answered the repaired gate with the response "Moebius" and moved back into teh tomb under light of day. Remebering how they got into the temple they returned there,only to find a makeshift camp assembled with Doctor Midnight, Silk and Rainsong camped out. They all were quite bloodied and battered but were ecstatic that they comrades had returned.
When Skippy informed Rainsong that Grunther was lost, she held back some tears and told everyone that Grunther was not that smarter, but he was smarter than them. She was obviously upset. Faced with the task at hand, they proceeded to check the rest of the pews finding huge stashes of gold, electrum and silver. Using the wand of trap detection they were given by Sather they found that traps were located in the altar and the front pews. Theran carefully tied a rope around the altar and tried to pull the top off. Not succeeding, he approached and tried to pry the lid off with his crowbar. His skin accidentally touched the altar and shot him with a great bolt of lightning. Luckily he had a magical ring that protected him from such magics, so he was barely damaged. After deciding that if there was something hidden inside, it would have to remain that way they searched for another way out. They found a small slot in the wall with a circle inscribed above it. Several members discussed what should be placed inside and tried various coins, but to no avail. Silk apparently grew tired and entered the mist-filled archway. Skippy, perhaps fondly recalling his less spiritual days, not wanting to be out-done, eagerly followed. Reynald finally convinced Theran to insert a magic ring into the slot and the stone slowly slid down. Their attempt to pull the ring out was for naught as the string was cleanly cut off. Just then two women, looking strikingly like Skippy and Silk entered the room from the mists. It was indeed Skippy and Silk, and they proclaimed that they were much happier to have had the curse that has plagued them for so long removed. Theran also thought something other than their gender had changed. The moved forard down the new passage and came to door that was stuck closed. Somebody volunteered Rainsong to open it, so she gave it mighty push and the door flew open and she fell into a pit which had been set up right after the door. Everyone rushed over to see that she hadnírt been harmed by the fall or wicked stakes, but that the poison which covered teh floor had penetrated her skin. Her eyes were closed in the slumber of death. Theran tied off a rope to himself and had Doctor Midnight and Reynald slowly lower him down so he could pick up her body. They had to cross this pit in order to get to another door opposite. They unfolded one of their magical boats and used it as a bridge. This time Theran kept himself tied off and bashed the door open with his great maul and activated the pit opposite and they did this once more with the door beyond. The had nothing but clear passage ahead. Theran and Silk methodically checked for traps along the passage until they came to an iron shod door. They decided that rest might be in order so they set up camp in the hallway. Theran planned to try and bring Rainsong back to life, but had the Walker already claimed her as his own.