Only a day had passed since the loss of the Embassy of the land of Land, and the anger of Lord “King” Ike had not abated, the slow pursuit of the Talon outriders had allow the party to lose them in the rougher terrain as they neared the ancestral home of the clan at the Flattop mountain. Miria had rejoined the party after her commune with her god. The narrow path they followed proved unstable as the ground beneath Oolog and his horse gave way sliding down a steep embankment, they were relatively unscathed but were separated with no easy way to reach the party. Oolog swore he would meet the party at the Flattop mountain and set off following the ravine. They hoped the best for their missing comrade but with the threat of the Talon outriders hanging over them the party could not afford to linger.
The party moved as fast as their mounts would take and later in the early morning hours of dawn they emerged at the foothills of the Flat top mountain, they could see a rough palisade some miles near the base of the mountain but there was nothing but open ground between them and the palisade. They party briefly considered their options, there was no way that they could successfully infiltrate the settlement with the entire party. Ike seemed to favor the strategy of having half sneak over the wall while the other half of the party provided a distraction by charging the front gate. Gerran argued against splitting the party and instead having Alcher scout ahead while invisible and report back. The party agreed and Alcher mounted his flying broom and quaffed a potion. The gnome vanished from sight and set off to see what he could see.
There were several buildings behind the palisade palisade and that there was a large number of armed guards standing watch over the gate. The villagers were only staying in one area and they seemed hesitant to approach an entrance carved into the mountain. Ike was arguing for his plan while Gerran countered that dividing their resources was a foolish, as they argued their choice was made for them as the outrider of the Talon clan were returning home. The party could not face a fight if the Talon Clan reunited so they agreed to a compromise, Alcher would sneak in while the rest of the party charged the gates….and hoped for the best.
Alcher once more mounted his broom and vanished while the rest of the party mounted their horses and made their way to the gate. The guards easily saw them and Ike attempted to put their fears to ease diplomatically…it did not go well as they began to barrage the party with arrows. Ike frantically began chopping at the gate while Miria used her magics to protect herself from the barrage. The others were not so lucky as Lane, Ike and Gerran were hit. Alcher continued to float above the Talon camp and noticed something odd, the villagers were moving but they continued to avoid the carved entrance. He prepared to unleash a bombardment of his own but stayed his hand. There could be a force coming up from beneath the mountain and he best make his way over there to unleash a torrent of explosions, whatever came out of the earth would wish they had stayed underground. As Alcher was making his move the outriders reached bow range and opened fire on the party attacking the gate, only Mira emerged unscathed.
Lane reached the gate and soon she was aiding Ike in “opening” the gate. Gerran attempted to remove the guards by unleashing a new spell that would hopefully not prove fatal. Soon a large orb of water formed on the palisade and began moving towards the archers, they scrambled away from the orb but many were not successful as it engulfed them and moved towards the other archers. Panic began to set in as the gate finally gave way after a mighty swing from Ike and the remaining archers being chased and consumed by the sphere.
Alcher approached the entrance almost giggling as he prepared a potion only to scream in pain as his body was racked with some foul energy, it took all of his concentration to remain upright as his body convulsed in pure agony. He frantically scanned the area but could see no spell caster, he could see the battle near the gates, and the now panicked member of the Talon clan. The sun was brightly shining and he was sure that even if the vampire that had battled earlier was able to protect herself from the sunlight there was no way that she could have targeted him, there had to be something else. He frantically scanned the area and tried to recall any lore that could explain what had just happened. It took several moments but he recalled that wards could be laid in the very ground that would only react to a persons true moral nature, they would not harm the caster or any like minded individual but those that had a different morality would experience extreme pain and possible death. Just as he made this realization the gate gave way and his comrades entered.
Ike triumphantly entered through the now sundered gate and struck a heroic pose. Gerran followed shortly after and continued to direct the orb at the last of the frantic archers on the palisade, the orb sweledl as it enveloped more of the archers until none remained. Miria and Lane soon entered with the oracle asking about injuries while Lane planted herself defensively in the middle of the now opened gateway. I demand to speak to whomever was in charge, his ultimatum was greeted only with shocked silence until one of the outriders approached the palisade. The party recogonized him as Cloudwalker the leader of the outriders who had let them escape after their previous meeting. He had stored his weapons and upon seeing that the party had not killed any of his tribesman, those trapped in Gerran’s spell were released relatively unharmed, and moved by Ike’s promise of liberation and retribution…somewhat enhanced by Mira. He explained that a dozen member of the tribe were being held hostage to ensure good behavior from the rest of the tribe. He was about to explain why none had rescue the hostages when a bizarre series of magical light appeared near the entrance that spelled out stop. A moment later Alcher reappeared near the entrance, he loudly explained the ward and he would not leave for fear that it would be triggered again.
Cloudwalker could offer no details about the size of the Davos’s complex inside the mountain, the only members of the tribe that had been inside were those that were now held hostage. Ike was eager to lead the charge into the mountain regardless of the risk from some magic thing. Gerran had studied the ward and after consulting with Alcher realized that the ward was beyond his abilities to dispel. The party healed their wounds and steeled their resolved before stepping past the ward and promptly screamed in pain and convulsed in agony for a moment before the torment ceased. The rest of the party had not fared as badly as Alcher but they were soon made whole again thanks to Miria. They pressed onward through the entrance and began to ascend a passageway that lead to a temple.
The group quickly realized that the temple was dedicated to a malevolent god of magic, Abraxas. There was a powerful enchantment radiating out from the altar severly limited the powers of Lane and Miria. Gerran, realized the huge disadvantage the party would be at attempted to dispel the enchantment, and he was barely successful. Miria and Lane rejoiced in their reconnection to their divine patron but the effort had taken a substantial toll on Gerran’s magical reserves that he hoped to save for later. The party trekked upwards and the passageway opened up into a large chamber, there were three closed doors and a passageway that continued upwards. Fearful of an ambush the party decided to search the three rooms and then press on.
The first room was revealed to be a fully stock alchemist laboratory that left Alcher speechless as his eyes bulged out at the value of the materials present. The sheer volume of material would easily have stocked several master level alchemist labs. He gleefully began taking vials and stashing them in his satchels. The second room was stocked with a variety of arcane materials, a summoning circle dominated the center of the room and severals desks were covered with blank scrolls and writing materials. Ike had to be prevented from splitting a desk in half with his blade, as he loudly proclaimed, “ You have to cut the desk in half to get the treasure! Odar taught me that!” The last room was a fully stocked library with a slant towards Necromancy but Gerran discovered several journals written by Davos himself. There was no lingering enchantment upon the journals so Gerran eagerly took them. The party regrouped in the center room and pressed upwards.
It was only a short journey that the party came upon a large chamber that had several small jail cells along the periphery and another stair way across the chamber from them. They could see multiple figures in the cells, the party realized that they had found the Talon Clan hostages. They were to late to save as the now newly transformed ghould surged out of their cells and assaulted them. The group formed a position near the stairwell with their backs to each other and fought off their attackers. A few moments of combat passed and the party returned the Talons to their eternal rest. After seeing what Davos would do to his supposed allies the party was even more focused on ending the lich’s existence.
The stairs lead to an unadorned circular chamber with yet another stair way at the opposite end. The party advanced cautiously into the room and they were reunited with the vampire blackguard, the lich, another vampire who promptly vanished from sight, and a dozen or so vampire spawn. Ike let out a roar and charged the lich wile Lane moved to engage the blackguard. The rest of the party engaged the mob of vapmire spawn and to deal with the invisible spell caster. The battle was vicious and Miria had little healing to spare after their journey but she used every spell and channel she had to keep her comrades alive. Something that proved to be difficult as Ike was placed under a geas and nearly killed Lane with a single blow. Davos avoided direct combat with the party as he remember their previous combat in the Alabaster Court and the vampire spawn made for excellent temporary barriers to keep Ike from engaging in combat with him. Ike was able to momentarily reclaim his few scattered wits and finished off the blackguard. He was slain outright and did not have the chance to transform into a mist and flee combat. Alcher and Gerran used their area effect bombs and spells to thin out their opposition and to keep an eye out for the spell caster who continued to lob the odd fireball spell at the party. After several misses with glitterdust Gerran was able to determine her position based on the magical artifacts she was wielding. He gleefully informed the alchemist of her location and the pair attacked her. The battle had turned in their favor and as the last of the spawn fell the remaining vampire and Davos fled through a dimensional door further into the fortress. The party was battered but all were still alive.