Scales of War

19. Blood Chaos Flare

2/23/09: Justin was out sick, and we started out the session with the heroes facing off against Sarshan for the first time…

Alain Cuthbert Rocannon- Human Warlord

Bhardran – Dragonborn Paladin

Cedric – Dwarf Cleric

Devilock – Tiefling Bard

Dikari – Eladrin Warlock

Lia Cendoria – Elven Ranger

The heroes, with Modra alive and tied up in their custody, had escaped Sarshan’s exploding tower by altering a teleportation portal that was originally designed to work only for Sarshan. The heroes ran through, spilling into the room that held the portal that lead back home. Unfortunately for them, Sarshan was there as well, wondering why he couldn’t pass through his personal portal.

Sarshan stepped back and drew his katar. His swirling red eyes cast a red glow that illuminated his white skin. He demanded to know what was going on.

The heroes explained what had happened. Devilock did the talking, twisting his words into a spell that caused Modra to choke and die.Sarshan had asked them to kill Modra and they did. But Sarshan was wary, and horrified to learn that his tower was crumbling. Even the cave they were in was shaking at the volcanic explosions as Sarshan’s foundry and tower crumbled.

Sarshan asked them to join him. The heroes huddled up and discussed the idea. As they talked, Sarshan wanted to see what was going on outside. He and the heroes headed down the 300 foot tunnel to the outside. There they could see Sarshan’s tower split in half, crumbling and burning. Sarshan let out a bloody tear.

Each hero declined his offer. Sarshan expllained that he then had no choice. They all had to die! (Sarshan was much, much higher level than the party. As the combat rolled out, they found that they could barely hit him. It was easily the most dangerous situation that they’ve been in).

Sarshan unleashed a red wave of energy – the Blood Chaos Flare. It was acidic, burning their armor and skin. Lia used her blinding speed to run past Sarshan. He hacked into her with his blade, but she kept going. She had the Brass Key, and she knew that the heroes were going to need her to have the portal open if any were to survive and escape Sarshan’s vengeance.

Alain followed Lia. Sarshan hacked into him as well, bloodying the warlord. Devilock feinted forward, teleported, and then used his tail to send Sarshan sprawling! Sarshan was out of the cave mouth, which meant the heroes had a clear path to the long tunnel that led to the portal.

Cedric ran by, knowing he’d need a good head start. Bhardran did not follow. The paladin stared down at Sarshan, and saw the shadar kai leering at Dikari. Bhardran refused to leave her alone with the villain. He closed in and swung away, tearing into Sarshan again and again.

Sarshan rose to his feet and engaged Bhardran. His sword strikes were inhumanly fast. Bhardran could not parry them all (Sarshan has an at-will called triple strike – he can swing his sword three times per round). Bhardran quickly was bloodied. Their duel positioned them back in front of the cave mouth. Cedric stopped in his tracks and healed Bhardran. Lia fired off arrows, but Sarshan ducked them with ease as he met swords with the paladin.

Bhardran shouted at Dikari to run. She paused, then teleported into the cave. The heroes watched as Bhardran was cut again. The paladin used his divine powers to heal himself. The heroes then turned and ran.

Sarshan was determined to make the heroes pay for what had happened to his tower. Bhardran was overwhelmed, and saw that his friends had a good head start. He ducked a swing and began to run down the tunnel.

Sarshan let out another wave of Chaos Blood. Bhardran felt the acidic magic wash over him. Sarshan gave chase. Bhardran ran… but suddenly felt his body changing. He watched in horror as his hand bubbled and dripped, then became a mass of slime that dropped to the floor in a clump.

His whole body seized and bubbled. Bhardran uttered one last prayer to his god, and then ceased to be. Bhardran had become a mass of slime.

The heroes gasped in horror as they looked over their shoulders. The spellcasters quickly discussed if Bhardran could be saved. They decided that there was a ritual that could save him. But others said that if they should turn and retrieve his remains, Sarshan would likely kill them all.

The heroes ran to the room, not sure if Sarshan was following. Lia used the brass key to activate the portal, and the heroes clambered through. They turned, and realized that the only way to stop Sarshan from coming through was to physically destroy the portal.

Their hearts were heavy as they frantically opened fire on the portal’s arch. It did not remain standing for long once bathed in Eldritch blasts and magic hammer strikes. It was soon a pile of rubble. Sarshan could not come through. The cloud of dust swirled, and for a moment some of the heroes thought that the cloud formed the visage of a dragonborn paladin who had likely saved all of their lives.

The heroes headed through the caves and up into The Happy Beggar. Word of their heroism spread quickly. The group, which the late wizard Celodorn had named “The Badasses”, had closed off the orc tunnels, and now had closed off a gate to The Shadowfell. The heroes were given awards and praise from the city leaders. The Freeriders took the heroes out to celebrate. The heroes tracked down Reniss and told her that her sister’s death had been avenged.

The heroes basked in the adulation for a week, tempered by the sadness of the loss of the group’s most steady and reliable member (Bhardran was the only character to play in every single session).

To make things worse, someone had come looking for Bhardran. It was Bhardran’s brother – Kesjahn. Kesjahn had heard of his brother’s heroism and had come to town to give him a hand and fight at his side. Kesjahn was devastated at the news of his brother’s death, but vowed to fight alongside his brothers’ companions in the hopes of gaining a measure of revenge on Sarshan – Bhardran’s assassin.

During the week, Alain trained and fed his slave. He planned to take her along wherever he went, and wanted her to be able to defend herself.

After a week, Freerider Ragnum Dourstone approached the heroes on behalf of Bram Ironfell. Bram was a member of the Elsir Consortium – a group of nobles who were almost as powerful as the ruling council of Overlook.

The heroes met with Bram, who explained that after the heroes destroyed the Shadowfell gate, there was a search of all warehouses that had been used by the shadar kai operation. In one, a map was found.

The map detailed the location of the Karak Lode, a legendary dwarven mine thought to be lost after some kind of evil force had taken it over. Bram’s family had a stake in the mine. He asked the heroes to follow the map, find the mine, and clear it of any evil or creatures within.

Devilock wanted to negotiate a stake in the mine. The Karak Lode was said to be overloaded with precious metals in its’ heyday. If it still was, he wanted a piece. Bram reluctantly agreed to talk it over with the bard should their mission be successful.

Lia then negotiated for horses and pack mules, and a large supply of water. Bram was a bit shocked at the savvy of the heroes. He thought they’d be bowled over by his offer of 1,000 gold up front. Being a businessman, he respected the heroes wishes and provided them with mounts.

According to the map, the heroes had to pass through a dry land called the Thornwaste. This would lead to some kind of supply town. Then from there, it would be a four day trek through the desert to the Karak Lode – if the map was accurate.

The heroes rode out. The Thronwaste was a harsh land. Ridges of knife-edged stone spread as far as the eye can see, interspersed with heavy growths of twisted brambles which cut through even the thickest of cloth. (It was a skill challenge to get through the Thornwaste. The DCs were so low that the heroes couldn’t fail it!)

The heroes came upon a fellow named Mag Blackthorn. He wore a wide-brimmed hat and approached the heroes with caution. He claimed to be a protector of the Thornwaste. The heroes befriended Mag, and he offered to help them get to the supply town. He told them that it was called Dunesend.

The heroes made camp, then headed out the next day. They suddenly came to a halt, as Cedric and Alain spotted a dwarf hiding in the thorns. The dwarf seemed to be looking at them, under the impression that the heroes couldn’t see him.

Cedric and Alain approached and asked: “Are you setting up an ambu-”. they didn’t get to finish their question. It was an ambush!

More dwarves sprung out from the thorns. Some were perched on stones, allowing them a good angle to fire their crossbows at the heroes. They also had a hellhound at their disposal.

The dwarf pummeled Alain with his shield, knocking the warlord to teh ground. Kesjahn drew his two blades and tore into the hellhound. The hound let out a blast of fire breath, scorching three of the heroes. But Kesjahn killed it before it could cause any more harm.

As the bulk of the group dealt with the three dwarf hammerers, Devilock made his way to the rock where one dwarf bolter was perched. The other dwarf bolter leapt from his rock the the one Devilock was approaching. The dwarf opened fire on the tiefling, and was astonished when the bard disappeared.

Devilock appeared on the other side of the rock. His friends had finished off the hammerers, and closed in on the bolters. They were no match for the group.

The heroes had bested the mysterious dwarf ambushers, and were close to Dunesend. If they knew what awaited them in the town, they might just turn back…

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Brock

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