Friend Turned Foe
Thanks Austin for the write up!
Our setting is The Silver Raven, but the state is confusion. With most of the party present, and a beaten and battered Hoskin tucked away upstairs in a locked room, the patrons of the bar have been removed and the establishment secured. Aran had taken first watch in Hoskin’s room, but with Ford taking up the mantle, Aran left to find Ulrich in his tower and inform him of what had transpired with his trusted friend.
Upon arriving at Tower Draconis, Aran is met with the unsightly and grotesque visage that is Brigitte, Ulrich’s maid and house servant. Naturally this brings more confusion because she seems so out of place in Ulrich’s employ. Nonetheless, Brigitte lets Aran into the main floor and upon Ulrich’s arrival, he immediately informs him of Hoskin’s current well-being. They’re off like a flash.
As Ulrich and Aran make their way to the Raven, Aran brings up, not just the state of Hoskin but also his feet, uncovered and bloody. Those same feet could’ve made the tracks leaving the cove that they had come across. Ulrich states that certainly Hoskin must have been a victim himself and narrowly escaped with his life.
They enter and proceed up the stairs to a barred room. Aran knocks, only to be answered by a familiar voice “I don’t know who you are, but there are 10 of us in here and we can defend ourselves most assuredly.” It was Ford.
Upon letting in Aran and Ulrich, the three of them converse for a time after Ulrich tends to his friend. They discuss what he could’ve been doing at the cove and how he would’ve managed to escape with his life.
As Ford and Aran proceed to exchange roles, Morwen awakens. She kindly offers to take watch whilst giving the other two (Ford and Aran) an opportunity to rest. As the logistics of this task are worked out, Ulrich proceeds to the cellar to fetch a lambic that would be a welcome sight to Hoskin, should he ever awaken.
Ulrich returns and places the cups gently on the nightstand and takes up his seat at the bed’s side. He notices Morwen has taken to inspecting some wood from one of the smashed crates found at the cove. Morwen inspects closely, noting the images on the three separate nails, they’re order…who seals a crate thus?
In an effort to break her concentration Ulrich asks if she had noticed Hoskin’s clothes. Namely, the large hole on his torso. As she inspects, Hoskin’s breathing becomes more labored, so she breaks into song, sharing our familiar ballad of courage. His breathing steadies.
Amalia stirs and takes the watch from Morwen while Ulrich doesn’t move. As Morwen returns to her slumber, Ulrich asks Amalia if she could put out the word among their compatriots that he is looking to sell the completed dragon armor he had made. After a fairly clunky conversation Ulrich proceeds to ask her her thoughts on all that’s happened with Hoskin and the cove. Not but confusion and uncertainty is the consensus.
During this time, you may be asking, “Where has Verity gone?” Well, being the ever wary and smart person she is, she had been spending many hours at the temple of Pelor gaining focus and casting a spell over the entirety of Udkig. One that would show her the true evil of this place and where to find it. After much focus and time, she resolves her spell, unsure of an exact entity or agent of evil. She leaves the temple and shortly thereafter, enters the barred room amidst the conversation of Amalia and Ulrich.
Upon seeing the sight of Hoskin, Varity casts a Regen spell and his limbs begin to grow back as his wounds heal. The party awakens to the sight. Ulrich hands Hoskin his wine but he drops the glass. So Ulrich hands him his own wine.
Without a beat of rest Hoskin was bombarded by questions from the group about what happened. He tries his best to recall what all had occurred, the cave and the bodies. But he is foggy on most details. Ulrich requests the treatment of time, to allow Hoskin to collect his thoughts. Ford however plows ahead with his queries.
Aran decides to make breakfast for everyone and Morwen shows the wood and nails to Ford in an attempt to glean some knowledge of their meaning.
Not paying much attention, Ford gets some pieces of information from Hoskin. Namely, that when he stumbled back into town he went to Tower Draconis before returning to the Raven. Ford asks if there’s any chance he stashed anything there, but gets no answer. After inspecting Hoskin’s clothes, Ford asserts that we all must proceed to the Tower and sort things out for ourselves.
Aran arrives with tasty treats for the group and asks the unsettling questions about Brigitte’s appearance to Ulrich. They clearly don’t see the same image. Aran is concerned that Ulrich is being dominated but Ulrich attests that he is not. Amidst the exchange Verity informs Ulrich of the task she has been undertaking and that there is evil afoot with an unknown location. Ulrich should be concerned if he is seeing things differently from the others.
The final nail in the coffin, they all eat and proceed to the tower. With the tower drawing nearer, tempers rise. Ulrich feels like a suspect, clearly misinterpreting what is actually concern by his friends.
As they mount the steps to the keep, Ford sees Brigitte for the first time. He is utterly terrified.
They all enter the main room and glance around. Some ask Hoskin about what he remembers, others ask if Brigitte knows anything.
Verity makes an attempt to detect evil. But she falls flat on her back. Something has stopped her spell. Her world fades to black as she drifts away into unconsciousness. But quickly she is greeted with icy water dowsing her face and she bolts upright.
As everyone tries to regain their composure, Ford , Aran and Verity notice the image of the dragon on the mat in the room. And a slight tingle of dread chills their spines.
Further inquiry with Hoskin and Brigitte leads the group to the cellar. Ulrich proceeds down the stairs without concern, but Verity and Aran sense something upon touching the rail. There’s something evil here. With an exchange of glancing, they proceed downward. Brigitte leads the way after receiving the stink-eye from Verity . The group follows in stride.
As they all search, nothing jumps out at them. Ulrich is seemingly annoyed but still searches. Ford leans back against the wall, seemingly defeated. But he falls through the wall into an apparent open cave. Morwen notes that there was an illusion upon the walls.
They all walk into the opening and see a huge cavern. Ulrich is surprised, as this is truly something he has never seen before.
As they all enter the space, Aran and Verity notice ornate carvings or shapes in the stonework. They identify it as a black dragon.
In the majesty and grandeur of the cavern, their eyes are drawn to the portal at the far end. Suddenly Brigitte blinks out of existence and becomes some sort of undead thing at the portals opening. It begins to glow and swirl with purple light.
Verity is prepared for the worst and calls her armor in place! The Lich outstretches his hands and two gigantic metallic bulls appear. The being calls to Ulrich, mentioning his adoptive mother, and asks if he wishes to take his rightful place.
Ulrich seems entranced and walks to the portal. At the precipice he is stopped by Ford, amidst the chaos of brilliant light from Verity striking the lich (as he just shakes it off). Ford attempts to talk Ulrich out of his resolve. But he fails. Ulrich enters the portal.
The bulls begin to stamp and snort. As green smoke exits one’s nostrils and turns Aran to stone, Ford is struck by the undead demon, and Verity launches an offensive of beams at the bulls.
Morwen attention is focused on the undead as she attempts to cast Tasha’s hideous laughter on it. At the same time Amalia fires her bow at the same target.
Ford has a different approach, and blinks to the precipice. He attempts to enter the portal but he is stopped. He cannot enter. But, he does see a familiar coastline. As well as the demon.
One of the bulls targets Ford and attempts to attack, but misses. Morwen is attacked by the other bull but Verity attacks it and the trueness of the strike knocks one of the horns right off!
During the battle the undead thing enters the portal and vanishes. Morwen continues attacking the bull and scores a mighty blow, while Amalia finishes off the other with a big blow. The bull falls to the ground and transmutes into a purple goop.
Verity scores a devastating blow and the bull stumbles. It is brought to its end by a final blow from Morwen. With a closed portal, a party member missing and one turned stone, the question exists: what now?