After completing a short rest in the room where they found Tory, the party left him and Tyuk behind to continue with their search for Lia Spellsong. At the end of the passage, they found a pit, surrounded by skeletons. Remus was first in, and saw the much larger skeleton lurking in the corner. Salazar followed him in used his tandem fighting techniques to keep the undead ogre from hitting Remus. Kathra was next, and called upon Azuth to turn the undead in the area – two of them were cowed by the channeling of Azuth’s divinity. Griz peeled off to the other side to engage the skeletons not already in combat, and Merric picked off those he could with his bow. Hearing her friend Salazar, Lia’s song reached his ears and inspired him. Outside of a couple of strikes on Griz, the party escaped the combat relatively unscathed.
Pulling those enslaved out of the pit, they then rejoined Tory and Tyuk and moved to exit the excavated tunnels. They were confronted at one of the prior rooms, though. Kor, priest of Bane, had appeared with a number of kobold allies. Griz went first, and leapt over where the pit trap was and managed to take a kobold down. Kathra channeled her god and fired magic missiles at the evil priest on the other side of the room. Remus attempted to tumble past the pit but slipped and fell in…where Otis Benbough, the treacherous halfling lay in wait. He took advantage of Remus’s condition and managed to strike with a devastating sneak attack. Salazar also moved across the pit area and engaged the kobolds, and the kobold next to Kor returned fire to Kathra via magic missile. Suddenly a daggar protruded from the other side of his throat…Sylthana had followed the party and now attacked their opponents from behind! As the kobolds fell left and right, Kathra managed to strike Kor in the chest with a guided bolt. The evil priest stared down at the sizzling hole in his chest, and then fell forward into the pit in front of him. Otis and the leftover kobolds died in short order.
Victorious, the party led the former slaves back to Brookhollow, where they were greeted as heroes! Tril, owner of Cutter’s Inn, was at first distraught at the news of Otis’s betrayal and death, but rewarded the party with free room, board, and food for their efforts. The group, Lia, and Tory celebrated and rested a day before departing, with Kathra taking advantage of the village’s smith, the dwarf Kerwin.
The day spent there was not in vain. Salazar and Sylthana sparred, with Salazar managing to shake off the rust and re-master some of his favorite pit fighting techniques. He marveled as the buff half-elf was able to manifest a sword from her hand. Elsewhere, Merric spent the day engaging in a ritual to create an unbreakable bond with an animal companion. A grown wolf (now named “Morty”) that had been but a cub when Merric left his wolf family trotted out of the woods to him. Griz, impressed with the ritual, decided to take the wolf as his spirit totem and had it tattooed upon his shoulder. Kathra was able to call upon greater mysteries of Azuth, and with her help Salazar unlocked his magical potential. In his joy, he fired off fire bolts into the air…something which may or may not have been noticed in a country where arcane magic is frowned upon.
Lia invited the party to accompany her back to Athkatla where she would be playing at the Copper Coronet in the slums district (“It’s a job” she said matter-of-factly"). She figured she would be able to find some things for them to do while there. The group demurred, as they wanted to follow-up on the blue crystal key they had found.
Following Lia’s instructions, they departed overland on sparsely used road. They came across a pair of scaly, dragonish looking beings who introduced themselves as Balasar and Ezmerelda. They were coming from the town of Barovia, which was apparently ruled by a vampire (or two?). The party had been interested in visiting before, but this news changed most, if not all, of their minds. They stopped at the Osterhaus, a relatively new building that served as a pocket of civilization. Old Jarl, his young wife Maggie, and Toby manned this inn. Jarl told the story of the cursed shield that sat above his fireplace and gave the party directions to the blue crystal door they were looking for – a door that sealed in a group of brigands. Slythana introduced the stable hand into the world of manhood, and the Guard departed the next morning. An hour of travel brought them to the door, which they closed and locked behind them. Within they found an altar to an unknown fire god as the heat steadily rose. Continuing into the complex found the temperature steadily going up. On the opposite side of the altar room there was a blocked off staircase, which the party disassembled so they could continue onward. There they found a throne with a suit of armor seated upon it…and heard shuffling feet behind them.
And that is where we will pick up next time.