An Undeadly Welcome to Thunderspire Mountain

“Tell Jarlissa I slept with her sister and I regret nothingggggggg!!”

Slyron’s cry echoed out over the valley as he plunged over the edge of the cliff, and disappeared from view. Asha caught her breath, her mind working furiously. If she was quick enough, she could run to the edge, summon her translucent wings, and catch up to the falling elf before—

A ray from the beholder hammered into the side of her head, snapping it backwards. She staggered back, dazed. Her plan was ruined. Slyron was doomed.

She needn’t have worried, however. A second later, Slyron appeared, his feet a-blur, virtually running up the side of the cliff. An eyeblink after that, he’d disappeared into the darkness of the cave on the other side of the plateau from where he fell. He’d covered two hundred feet in two heartbeats—almost half of that vertical.

Minutes before, Kord’s Deliverance had approached that same cave entrance slowly, having made their way up the path carved into the side of Thunderspire mountain. They’d dispatched the iron golem guards with only some difficulty, and, after a quick rest, continued their march upwards. After about an hour’s push, they found themselves at the path’s end, observing the cave from a safe distance.

Flanking the entrance was two obsidian pillars. Even from a distance, the divine symbols etched into the pillars were evident.

Morgan turned to Gwydion with an expectant look. The eladrin caught the look after a few moments.

“What? Oh for…! Look, Morgan. You are the cleric. Why have I had to answer all the questions that are clearly divine in nature? Did you read any books when you went through seminary?” Morgan said nothing, but maintained his hard stare on the mage. Gwydion snorted. “Didn’t think so. Fine, I’ll do all the researching.” He turned with exaggerated annoyance to squint at the pillars.

“Hard to say from here, but I’d surmise… runes of declaration, perhaps signifying a proper, if ancient, method of supplication to perform as a ritual requesting—”

“They are symbols of warning.” Asha murmured, her silver eyes peering sharply in the distance.

“Yes, yes, or that.” Gwydion added testily.

She was right. Luckily the necrotic bolt neither did any damage, due to her deva nature, nor was able to push her over the cliff, as she was too far. However, the party took note as to the deadly effect of the dark blue attack. Asha had been slid a good twenty feet after she was struck.

Their attention was rapidly absorbed by a far more dangerous source of rays and missiles. From the dark depths of the cave floated a mottled and rotting globe of flesh, singularly characterized by a massive eye in the centre of its body. The undead beholder’s other eyes, numerous tiny orbs perched on sickly stalks, bobbed and weaved upon its oozing form, picking out the party with their baleful gazes.

And began shooting.

The fight was far more deadly than the first time Kord’s Deliverance has engaged a beholder. They were ready for the debilitating effects of the eye-bolts; but with a 120 foot drop off at their backs, as well as the two warding pillars that repulsed their movements, the party found themselves scrambling for footing and position.

The beholder’s small eyes peppered the party with various effects, some inconvenient, others deadly, and one in particular a little prematurely optimistic.

{Jared: Asha, make a saving throw vs dazed.

Pete: Crap. Failed again.

Jared: You die.

All (Pete the loudest): What??!!!

Pete: I go from 114 hit points to more than –60 in one shot?!

Jared: Oh, wait…(checks laptop)…sorry. That would only happen if you were bloodied. My bad.

Pete: Ya well, my pants. Are now full of crap. Thank you very much.}

Gwydion finally thought to take a closer look at the pillars. Realizing he could decipher them to deactivate their power, he carefully began scanning the symbols, decoding quickly.

A sudden explosion of rock forced him to duck.

“Morgan!” he squeaked. “What are you doing?”

Morgan hefted his axe again for another swing.

“Choppin’. Last I checked, it was damn near impossible ta read a pillar in half.”

“But if I can decipher these runes, I can neutralize the repulsion beams!”

“Oh. Ok. Carry on.”

Gwydion mournfully regarded large chunk now missing from the side of the pillar.

“At least, I could have,” he muttered with annoyance.

Slyron was suddenly sent tumbling over the edge of the cliff, forced off by a necrotic blast. Moments later, he was back, safely hidden in the darkness of the cave entrance.
With Morgan and Gwydion tackling the pillars (including the first, and probably only, time Morgan attempted a religion check), and the others focusing on the beholder, they managed to divide and conquer. Asha’s necrotic resistance kept her relatively unharmed for much of the battle, until the undead beholder began to focus fire upon her. One ray removed her resistance, and the others loaded up the damage. It even ignored Ghesh’s mark, absorbing stinging radiant damage in favor of assaulting the infuriating deva.

Slyron’s brush with death gave him extra vigor, however. With assured aim, he whipped his dagger into the beholder, using every second throw to sever an eye stalk and send an eyeball tumbling to the ground

With a fetid gush, the undead beholder finally collapsed and deflated. The entrance was clear.

Kord’s Deliverance wasted little time on moving forward into the mountain, down the passage.

The first chamber they encountered was huge, and dark. They could pick out a path wending its way down to the floor some 80 feet below. As the party began to pick they way down the walkway, a light flared in the centre of the chamber. Atop a 30 foot column of ancient, mortared cinder blocks a glowing, green rune circle appeared. In the centre of the circle stood a gaunt figure, a living skeleton, a—

“Lich!” squeaked Gwydion.

Morgan, Asha, and Slyron tensed in alarm. Ghesh looked baffled.

“Seriously?”

“Yes!”

Ghesh stared at the figure, bewildered. Then, he shrugged. “Alright then. I’ll let a torch, if it latches onto any of you, I’ll burn it off quick.”

It was now Gwydion’s turn to look confused. His face suddenly mottled up with furious enlightenment.

“I said LICH, not LEE—!”

A piercing red ray, shot out from the figure’s outstretched finger, struck Gwydion, illuminating him in an eerie scarlet hue. Gwydion’s legs locked up, and he doubled over with pain.

The rest of the party began to charge down the ramp towards their enemy. Asha stopped at the edge of the path, level with the creature, and sent two rays of radiant vengeance blasting out from her eyes. The figure recoiled as the divine energy burned into it.
The others made it down to the bottom, only to be immediately surrounded by gnashing ghouls. Easy to kill, but each ghoul dispatched exploded in a sickly spray of necrotic energy.

Gwydion was frozen in place, well back of the party. Which just happened to coincide with his usual battle tactics anyways. He launched a prismatic burst, and struggled to regain his mobility.

Two more figures materialized on the ramp, flanking Asha from several steps away. She quickly assessed her enemies—

And immediately averted her gaze. But it was too late.

A black film took hold of the silver light of her eyes, and began to crawl across them, eating away at the life they held. Her weapon fell from her hands, and she dropped to her knees. As the last of the silver light snuffed out of her eyes, she managed a faint, whispered warning.

“Bodaks…”

Her companions were too far away, and too occupied with loud combat, to hear her. Morgan, though, caught a glimpse of the deva collapsing above him. Falling down was never good, but instinct told him this was worse than normal.

“Kaglem Gulm Asha!” he chanted.

Slyron, meanwhile, had escaped everyone’s notice, and he took up position at the base of the pillar. Above he could just glimpse the Lich, waving his hands and muttering arcane gibberish. Perfect. A glimpse was all he needed. He popped quickly out from under the shadow of the tower and sent his dagger spinning into the creature. It jerked painfully.

Meanwhile, amongst the chaos of Gheshkan and the exploding ghouls, Morgan suddenly noticed the odd humanoid creature nearby, up the ramp. It had a lean, gangly body of smooth, almost molten, pale skin. It was hairless and naked, and it’s quiet approach held a menacing promise Morgan looked up at the creature, and its strange eyes. They were huge, pale white, and pupil-less.

“Who’re you, eh, bogey-eyes? Come, taste my ax—urk…”

The black film swirled over Morgan eyes. He hit the ground face first in a tangled smash, deathly unconscious.

“What the f—ow!” Ghesh snapped his shield up as yet another ghoul, burnt by a blast of Gwydion’s spell, exploded in wash of sickly necrotic goo. He wiped it from his eyes irritably, then quickly turned his attention back to Morgan. He’d seen the dwarf drop, and from his peripheral vision, caught a glimpse of a peculiar humanoid. Ghesh spent little time considering it, though—he had other priorities. Morgan down was never good. He stepped over quickly and grasped Morgan by the breastplate. A quick chant sent blue healing energy into the dwarf.

Asha’s vision crystallized. Grabbing her sword she immediately invoked her translucent wings, and launched herself from the ledge, spinning away from the Bodak. She knew she was leaving Gwydion alone to to face the deadly creature; however, she also knew it could not death-gaze the eladrin as it did her. Besides, Gwydion had more avenues of escape than any of the party. She quickly soared down to the base of the tower. As she landed, she immediately felt a pressing force slowing her. The lich has an aura, she thought.

Despite the initial scare of the bodaks, the enemies did not turn out to be much of a threat to the group. The lich turned out to more leech than lich, and caught between the two strikers was never a good thing. Ghesh finished off the ghouls, and once the ‘lich’ was skewered, the bodaks did not stand much of a chance.

Into the knife. An extended rest.

An Undeadly Welcome to Thunderspire Mountain

Kord's Deliverance jaredskarma pgrier