Episode 3b: Kcebsiren

The party tasked with getting back the stolen goods was very well equipped, and supported by city guardsmen as they descended into the catacombs under the academy. They came to a fork in the tunnels, and opted to split their ample forces. The cleric and wizard took a guard lieutenant and went right, and the fighter and paladin took some spellcasters and went left. They have yet to report in, but we can only assume their search proved fruitless. The others, meanwhile, came upon a very unnatural looking cavern, with two skeletons greeting them and two traps adorning the walls. Upon entering the room, two ghosts appeared, and wasted no time in posessing the guard and the wizard, walking them in front of the traps, which spewed fire. The cleric managed to dodge, and aided the other two in eventually shaking off the possession and putting the ghosts to rest. For such a small thing, it was a long and very painful ordeal, but it was not without reward. Fate, it seems, has a sense of irony, and one of the skeletons was adorned with a cloak of survival, which aids in surviving supernatural hazards and fire. It was very thoughtfully gifted to the guard.

They set off down the corridor, eventually coming to an altar, guarded by Drow and Ogres. These foes were easily met by the adventurers, but not before crippling the guard, who by all accounts was having a truly awful day. The learned magic users examined the altar, and found it to be a planar portal, which the attackers had logically used to invade and loot undetected! It had all the ingredients for activating it sitting next to it, and a how-to scroll as well. They set about opening the portal, a task which required Luthiens full attention. Unfortunately for them, a rather large contingent of goblins, led by a Hand of Bane, appeared and began to assault them. The cleric and guard held them at bay until the portal opened, and then stepped through, the portal closing before the goblins could follow them.

The three adventurers found themselves in an eerie shadow realm, a dim reflection of the world they came from. More specifically, they found themselves in a desolate temple of the Raven Queen. They opted to walk towards the dark version of Nerisbeck, through unfamiliar and frankly spooky woods. They encountered a small group of Drow, who proceeded to question them. Thankfully, Luthien and the others managed to talk their way out of any conflict. It seems here, all humans are slaves. As long as Luthien seemed to be a slave trader, and the others his property, they should be able to get home in one piece. At the city gates, a similar conversation took place, and Luthien was given a 4 day time limit in the city. So he had 4 days to find a way home, recover the artifacts and most importantly, not get everyone killed.

They made their way to the site of the Broken Lantern, only to find it a very different inn. It was called "the hung halfling", and the sign was exactly that. The tiefling that ran the bar gave them a room, being fairly indifferent to the party. That night, Luthien placed a magic lock on the door, preventing the humans from getting out, and went out on his own in search of a solution. His first port of call was the magic academy, which unbeknown to him in this place was a temple to Vecna. As a worshipper of Ioun, this was a big issue for him, but he knocked anyway. He claimed to have some knowledge he needed to present to Vecna, and was granted access, but was brought to the high priestess, with a guard gently poking his kidneys with a short sword. Realising he was up a certain creek without a certain implement, he used an simple illusion to make the "voice of Vecna" command them to leave him in the inner sanctum, alone.

Now, this next bit may sound fantastic and untrue, but it happened as follows. Realising he had only a few minutes to search the room and make his escape, and also that he had no means of escape, he surveyed his surroundings, and saw a sacrificial altar and a pool of fresh, clear water. The water was flowing from somewhere, and he saw a grate it flowed through. Using a modified version of his ice hands spell, he crushed the grate, allowing him to swim down to where the water flowed from. He scrubbed out a few symbols on the altar and swam for his life. Miraculously, he swam to an open cavern, filled with treasure chests, which he put in a bag of holding for later. He swam on, to another cave, this time filled with a giant crocodile! Using his deadliest magics, he levitated above it and rained death down until it was a smoking crater. He then swam on, encountering his greatest foe yet: a steel grate. He did not have enough air to swim back, and all of his spells were useless or fire. At that moment he was struck with inspiration, and used a very simple parlor trick to turn the grate into a bunch of poppies, causing it to float away and allowing him to surface at the river. He was finally free! He made his way back to the Inn, and was alternately congratulated and beaten around the head.

In the treasure chests were some very strange coins, and vials containing the very things they needed to make a portal home. huzzah!

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