Ellisandra came over to where Nightshift was lying and used her healing skills on him. “He will be ok in time, but for now, he is out of the fight. Help me move him, Alorrah,” said Ellisandra as she worked to lift the troll from the ground.
It took no time at all to get Nightshift moved to the guard tower by the gate. “I will watch over him so that our enemies can’t hurt him, as well as securing our rear,” said Alorrah.
With a nod, Ellisandra went to where Grimclaw was licking his wounds, and used her healing skills on the big cat. The rest of the party checked the courtyard to ensure that no enemies were laying in wait to ambush them. Brine, who had begun to dry out from his extended time out of water jumped into the pool in the center of the courtyard to rejuvenate himself. At the far end of the courtyard from where the party had entered, there was a façade that had been carved into the face of the rock with eight stone columns carved in the shapes of dragons and a wooden double door in the center of the façade. Walac walked over to the stairs and began to check the area for traps, and found nothing more than piles of hobgoblin junk piled on the stairs and the porch of in front of the doors. The doors were eight to ten feet tall, and made of oak bound with iron. They were painted with the back of a clenched fist showing and an eye on the back of the hand. There was writing on the door, but Walac couldn’t read it or even tell what language it was written in. Finn walked up beside Walac, and said, “Interesting. It’s Journeyman writing, and says ‘Magic is the key to all things’”.
Finally satisfied that there were no traps (or at least none he could find!), Walac went back to Prospero and told him what Finn had said concerning the writing on the door. “Well of course, magic is the key to everything,” snorted the wizard, as he led the group to the door.
Trish went up the steps towards the door, but Finn held out his hand, “Step back Trish, I got this,” he said, stepping forward to push against the door.
A blue flash limned Finn’s figure as he flew down the stairs from the shock the door had given him. He shook his head as the ends of his hair and beard smoldered slightly. Maelstrom slid between the cracks in the door, causing the air to fill with blue arcs of electricity, but the bolts didn’t harm the elemental. Once inside, he could see more stone pillars, and two hobgoblins hiding behind a table at the end of the corridor, and with a room opening out behind them. With a push, Maelstrom opened the door, and the hobgoblins drew their scimitars and began casting spells. Hearing the scimitars burst forth from their sheaths, the party rushed in, and in the haste of the moment, no one got off a good attack on either side. A large, well armored hobgoblin to the rear was barking orders at the hobgoblins under his command. Maelstrom floated towards the table, and thundered, stunning the hobgoblins there, even as two more came from his flank to swing burning swords at him. The hobgoblin commander cast a spell just before Prospero’s blast turned the area between him and the two hobgoblins by the table into an inferno, wounding them all. Maelstrom thundered again, wounding one with a wall of sound, and then he floated back towards the entryway out of the reach of the flame blades. Trish rushed towards the hobgoblins near the overturned table, and was joined by a clockwork elemental Finn had summoned. As Ellisandra moved into the entryway, she heard a noise behind her and looked back to see a group of creatures that were a cross between owls and bears come shuffling into the courtyard, and toward the entryway. “Owlbears!! Get inside, Finn,” she cried, running inside and casting a spell.
Finn paused briefly to fire a jet of steam at the closest owlbear, but it dodged out of the way. Finn turned and ran inside, passing by Ellisandra and moments later her spell went off, creating a barrier across the open doorway and preventing the owlbears from getting inside. Grimclaw pounced on a hobgoblin, wounding it just as Prospero’s blast killed two of the evil creatures. Trish killed one of the goblins by the table, and then rushed in to attack the hobgoblin commander. Walac wounded the other hobgoblin by the table with a well placed arrow, even as Trish cried out when a riposte from the hobgoblin commander caught her in the shoulder.
With a resounding whooshing sound, a group of kushna appeared in the entryway and attacked the party, with one of them appearing close enough that it was able to snap its jaws closed on Brine’s leg, wounding him. Two of the other kushna breathed out blasts of hellish fire from their open maws, burning Finn badly. The clockwork elemental killed one of the kushna, and Ellisandra banished one. Finn turned his blunderbuss on the next to last kushna, but the weapon appeared to have no effect on the creature. The clockwork elemental spun to the sound of the weapon, and tore into the devil dog, killing the creature.
Trish attacked the commander, wounding him with her runeswords, but the hobgoblin snapped a potion from his belt and after swallowing it, his bleeding stopped and some of his wounds closed magically. One of his troops came from the side and swung at Trish with a sword that had black flames dancing up and down the blade. With a grating sound, the walls on both sides of the entry foyer slid open to disgorge more hobgoblins from the bowels of the building before sliding quickly shut again. One of the new arrivals nonchalantly batted the clockwork elemental into the wall with his blade, destroying it, while another wounded Brine with a quick swipe of his sword. Another popping sound was followed by a large, horned figure appearing in front of Grimclaw. Although surprised, the big cat attacked and wounded the fighter.
Prospero’s blast spell killed the last kushna who had been attacking Walac, as well as wounding one of the hobgoblins that had come from the sliding doors, and stunning another. Brine drank a healing potion during the brief respite, and Walac wounded one of the hobgoblins with a quick bowshot. Prospero cast another blast, but the spell backlashed on him, stunning him briefly and causing the spell to catch Trish, as well as the commander, and killing the hobgoblin assisting the commander. Brine speared the hobgoblin nearest him with his trident, as Finn bashed in another’s skill with his hammer, Oathbinder.
More hobgoblins came pouring out of the walls, filling the entryway that was becoming littered with the dead and slick with spilled blood. Brine attacked one, killing it, and Prospero shot bolts into the fray, killing the horned fighter as well as shaking one of the hobgoblins. Ellisandra’s bolt spell took the last two hobgoblins out of the fight, and Grimclaw pounced on the commander, but was unable to injure him. Trish wounded the commander again, but he continued to fight. As Trish and Grimclaw tried to take the commander down, Finn, Walac and Brine looked at the sliding walls in an attempt to figure out how to open them. Just as they gave up being able to open the doors, they slid open once more to reveal another group of hobgoblins waiting to join the fray. Not taken by surprise this time, Finn fired a jet of steam down the hallway, stunning two of the hobgoblins in front, and wounding one in the back who was too slow to jump out of the way. Walac wounded the hobgoblin in front with his rapier as the creature staggered in pain from the steam. Brine and the first hobgoblin through the door on the other side traded wounds, as another of the horned fighters popped into existence in front of Prospero. Maelstrom flew into the hallway and began to thunder, stunning one of the hobgoblins there. With a final push, Trish ducked under a swing from the hobgoblin commander, and coming up from below drove Oblivion upwards through his chin and into his brain, killing him instantly. Withdrawing her sword, she ran to help Brine, but missed with her hastily aimed swing with Keller’s Razor. Grimclaw killed one of the goblins in the corridor just past where Brine was standing. Maelstrom thundered, killing one of the hobgoblins in the hallway, as Grimclaw pounced on the back of the hobgoblin Trish and Brine had engaged, killing it. With all of the hobgoblins down, Grimclaw turned his attention to the horned attacker, wounding it and Ellisandra’s bolt spell sealed the deal, finally killing the creature.
As the party stopped to catch their breath, a blast spell went off, catching every member of the party inside. While the rest of the party tried to find the phantom spellcaster, Ellisandra began to work on Brine’s wounds. During the hunt, Prospero uncovered a loose flagstone, finding about four hundred silver talons, a jade idol of a leering demon and a potion. Searching the bodies, the commander was carrying a superb runesword with a darkness rune. Once Ellisandra had done what she could with the injured, she barred the door to the owlbears, and let her barrier spell drop. Meanwhile, the party spread out to investigate the ruins, while attempting to keep from bunching up enough to become a target for the mysterious sorcerer. Finn examined a door to the back of the building, as Prospero began to walk down a nearby hallway. As Prospero passed Finn another blast spell went off, but although it didn’t do any damage, it was beginning to wear on Prospero’s nerves.
Finn opened the door and could hear the sound of running water. He stepped into a small corridor, turned the corner, and was amazed to see a column of water running from the ceiling to the floor. He retrieved one of the hobgoblin’s shields, and tried to divert the water enough to look at the drain. Once he did, he realized that the “drain” was in fact a homing circle for teleportation. He went to the main room and told the others, “There’s water coming out of the ceiling in that room, but it’s draining through a magic circle in the floor.”
“Really?” asked Walac, his whiskers twitching. “We should see what would happen if we put one of the goblin bodies in it. For science, you know.”
With that, Walac began to drag one of the bodies to the door. Trish sighed and helped him move the body, when Prospero came around the corner. “The only thing back that way is a large room with a torn up floor and a non-magical, hacked up wooden throne. There are some other doors, but I didn’t want to go through them alone…What are you doing with that dead goblin?” said Prospero in a rush.
The group brought Prospero up to speed and without further ado, the body was duly deposited in the fountain, where it immediately disappeared through the “drain”. No one felt up to following it through the hole in the floor, and nothing appeared to attack them, so they decided to leave it alone. Going down another corridor, they came to a door that had been barricaded from the outside. Maelstrom slid through the cracks in the door and investigated, but found nothing but a flooded room with a humanoid’s body that had been there for a considerable amount of time. The party went to the throne room that Prospero had found earlier, and as they reached the room, another blast spell went off, wounding Ellisandra, and hitting Maelstrom and Finn. Ellisandra tended to her burns, and Prospero opened the door on the far end of the room. Without warning, two hobgoblins attacked Prospero through the doorway, one of them casting a spell and then running towards a hallway that appeared to lead to where the secret passage was in the entryway. Prospero contacted Grimclaw telepathically to have him head the spellcaster off at the other end. Brine and Walac, seeing Grimclaw start running, followed at pace. Ellisandra cast a bolt spell at the hobgoblin attacking her master, and killed it instantly. Prospero followed the spellcaster, coming up behind him as Grimclaw pounced at the hobgoblin. The hobgoblin cast a spell at Grimclaw, wounding him, and Prospero killed the creature, even as the rest of the party ran to catch up. A search of the room and bodies revealed a wand with an earth rune (later discovered to be a wand of shield, and given to Walac for safekeeping), and a golden goblin idol.
With the rest of the building searched, Prospero headed towards the final secret door with the rest of the party following at intervals in an attempt to avoid being hit by the blast spell again. He cast invisibility on himself, and headed down the corridor. Reaching the end of the corridor, he opened the door, and saw a large boar on the other side of the room, sniffing the air as if it knew someone was there, but couldn’t quite figure out where. Prospero crept across the room, and got close enough to kill the creature with one stroke from Kindred.
The room was full of foul smelling bed rolls and a matted bunch of old rushes that appeared to be the boar’s bed. Prospero began searching for secret doors, and finally, with a click one sprang open. Looking into the room, Prospero got a feeling of vertigo, because it was like looking into the night sky. There were stars and planets and darkness, and within the darkness, there was one hobgoblin who appeared to be standing on nothingness to the rear of the room, but the thing that drew Prospero’s attention was the ancient looking, robed hobgoblin, sitting on an iron throne that was floating in the middle of the room! Not wasting a moment, Prospero cast a bolt spell at the figure on the throne, wounding him. The hobgoblin stirred and made the motions of casting a spell, but nothing happened. Trish came to the door and stepped just into the room, and the fighter in the back rushed forward missing with a sweep of his sword, even as an arrow sizzled past from the corner of the room on the same side as the door. Prospero cast another bolt spell at the figure on the throne, and with a gasp, the hobgoblin died. The throne began to float gently towards the floor with the corpse on it. The hobgoblin with the sword hit Trish, and Finn shot him with his blunderbuss as he came through the door. Brine shot his crossbow, wounding him, and Trish swept his head from his shoulders with her runeblades. Moments later, the last hobgoblin joined his brethren in death. A search of the bodies revealed that Trish’s foe had been wearing masterwork plate mail that would likely fit her after a little cleaning and possibly a slight resize. The old sorcerer had a necklace with fire opals set into it, as well as a cloak and two potions.
Prospero sat on the throne and it began to float. “Wow. I can see all of the rooms of the building. No wonder we kept having spells hit us. He could target using this throne,” he said. After some experimentation, the party found that the throne would only float with a sorcerer sitting in it, and that Maelstrom could push it easily from one place to another. Prospero relished the idea of being able to make it back to the water temple in style, sitting on a throne and powered by his apprentice’s familiar!