Week 37 - Daemons and Flying Horse-Women ….

After another night on the ledge, Robert did his best to restore the party, but after his recent demise, and raising and Hebrin’s brush with the spectre, they were still feeling weak. However, they wanted to find Xamanthe, the Centaur Warrior, daughter to the battle-priestess of the Nomen, who they thought was still in the tomb. And there was that temple they had by-passed earlier … So leaving Peter the Sage, Farmer Giles and the Young Girl safely on the ledge they went back into the fray.

Getting passed the hell pool was routine now, so they just headed straight back to the temple hall. It had three shrines dedicated to Charon the Boatmen, the Horseman of Death – and worse, two of them were clearly linked to the double doors they needed to pass. They worked out that there were oil lamps on the altars, they even worked out there were bowls with dried blood- and they guessed it was something to do with the door. In the end they chose to light the lamps before they opened the doors. They were half right - if they had boiled blood in sacrifice to The Boatman they would have avoided the trap. However, making a sacrifice to Charon might not have been the wisest thing to do, especially for a priest of Iomedae. So when they opened the door, the trap went off and all three altars exploded into freezing, black flames from the River Styx, it was so violent it damaged everyone in the temple hall. Nursing their injuries from the freezing flames, they continued exploring.

First it was a rough-hewn chamber with an unfinished flight of stairs leading up - but there was also a corridor leading further on …

Rudy entered the chamber first - high ceilings, with a delicate stone arches - but walls seemingly fractured and damaged. And he had entered but a step into the room, when a foul smelling creature, some sort of daemon, suddenly materialised in front of him - and demanded to know, telepathically, who they were and what they wanted. Rudy started a speech about coming in the name of the people of Newhaven, and was unprepared when the creature attacked him with a pair of vicious, lobster-like claws. Worse still were the octopus like mouth parts that also lashed out - for they were poisonous. The claws only left wounds that continued to bleed.

Cassandra stepped up and confidently threw a fireball, but the flames passed harmlessly around the monster, unable to penetrate its magical resistance. So the fighters stepped up, fully expecting to lay it low with their blades - only to discover that their blades seemed to slide off of it - they needed a really good strike to actually hurt it.

It was a long tough battle, Poison from the creature affected Larran and Robert, the other plugged on. Eventually they beat it, but they breathed a great sigh of relief as it finally disintegrated into dust, and faded away.

More healing and strengthening, but they pushed on warily, only to discover the body of the centaur woman, paralyses and semi-delirious, lying in the far corner of a prison area. Fortunately, Robert had a scroll of remove paralysis, and with a liberal helping of water, a couple of honey cakes and a bit of healing - Xamanthe was able get back to the ledge to join the others. However, the party were depleted again and stayed there another night – to allow Robert to get his air walk spells back again.

Next morning it was cast upon Xamanthe - who first transported the group across the hell pond, before taking the non-combatants down to ground level outside - where they would wait for the party.

The group decided to explore the small room with eyes, and taking the eye-gem they took from the Cyclops Lich, they fitted it into the Iris of tha carving. Although not before Cassandra (who was holding the gem) had to fight off a compulsion to stab the eye-gem into her own eye socket!

Suddenly though, as the gem touched the big eye, they were all transported to the chamber with what they thought to be a summoning circle - And worse, there was a perceptible aura of power there … Robert promptly cast protection from evil and was thrown bodily across the chamber to strike the wall on the far side. At that point they decided to withdraw for the time being and come back another day.

Then it was back home, un-jarring the locals, arranging burials and getting the politics sorted out.

Back in Varnhold the group discussed how to deal with Varnhold. Rudy wanted to offer them protection, Larran wanted to annex it and Cassandra wanted to leave it to Restov to look after them. So when they finally went to talk to Suka Varn, the majority view was to incorporate Varnhold, if they were in favour of it. It turned out that Suka Varn knew that Restov wasn’t able to help them – which both Larran and Rudy had surmised – and that she was happy to become a part of Newhaven. She wanted to keep the land east of the mountains as her demesne within Newhaven – but was happy to give up any claim on the rest.

Then off to see the Nomen - who agreed a non-aggression pact and a mutual defence pact - and even agreed to a no-settlement / no-aggression no-mans land along the Varnhold border. They even rewarded the party with a bag full of potions.

Then back to Varnhold to contemplate the future.

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