Strange Aeons

Two Sessions in One!

Yup, just an outline…I will need to finish this off…

Into The Snarl
Travelled through the city to the Snarl. Scouted around the whole area, found multiple entrances. Took the southern entrance.

Monument of Destruction
Divs worshipping an altar

Lake edge and Stela
Undead Chuul!

Saffron Prince
Dorvae mesmerist proved no threat

Condemnation of Failure and Aeptolinu
List of failures, Aeptolinu showedhis true face

Oraculum
Moon Giant and Nagas

Rituals
Lekovi led the Beckon the Stars ritual at each stelae, attuning all 3 of them for the following week.

The Undercity – The Spoil Pit
Fossil Golems

Defaced Gallery
Taber killed by axe-wielding grave knight dedicated to the Rough Beast

Terror Hall
Sahkils working with a Caller in Darkness

Ambush!

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The Haunted Tower

27th Calistril
Before breaking camp, inspiration struck Taber regarding the cesspit shaft, and he levitated up to it, and searched the mess. Although he did not find any valuables, he did recover the last few tattered pages of a journal.

Day 20: Lowls has once again left to document the ruins. It amazes me that he can wander this “city” without running afoul of the monsters here. We have now suffered three different attacks in his absence, and the infernal whistling grows stronger every day. Why did he hire bodyguards if we were only going to sit around and sweat? Morale is low, and some are starting to desert. Jalhab left as soon as the count did.
Good luck escaping without enough provisions.
Day 25: Screaming. We found Jalhab bound in bruise-colored fibers, and he kept screaming about the seeds within us all. He eventually passed out and refused food or water. It looks like deprivation and sunstroke.
Day 26: While Peera was checking Jalhab, he grabbed her by the throat and began strangling her. When we pulled them apart, part of Jalhab’s hands were still attached to her neck. There weren’t fingers, just bruise-colored fungus. Jalhab couldn’t stop laughing, even though he didn’t have hands anymore. When we confronted him, he threw himself from the tower and broke his body on the streets below. The corpse was gone less than an hour later, but nobody spotted any scavengers.
Day 30: The whistling’s different. It’s soothing, somehow. Maybe that’s just how death seems a welcome end when suffering grows too terrible. We’ve lost another three: Iavos, Renal, and Peera. We burned Renal’s body, but the smoke just made the others sick. Everyone has a haunted look, but at least two have told me I’ve the same expression. That’s madness. Clearly they’re the ones going mad. I can almost see their sickness as it stirs inside them. So thirsty. Just waiting to hatch.

A little disturbed by this, the group then set out. Cailyn took the lead, and cautiously led the group along the passage that corkscrewed around the outside wall of the tower. The group noticed that, for some reason, while they were on the eastern edge of the tower, looking out, they could see the western end of the city’s vista, recognising the way they had entered the city. As they circled around the tower’s perimeter, the southern edge of the city came into view, rather than the north. No magic was detected to cause this strange phenomena, so it was blamed on the alien geometries at play.

After ascending another hundred feet up, the group arrived at another opening into the tower, and moved in. The short tunnel led to a wider area, which was overgrown and hung with what appeared to be enormous, fibrous, fungal growths of a multitude of colours. The ceiling, 40’ above, was a tangled carpet of the same material, a single wide break being the only opening. Through the break, Taber could make out a violet glow. Associating this with the ‘bruise’ colours mentioned in the journal, he and Cailyn ascended through the break, leaving the others below.

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The pair emerged through the break into a larger chamber, the walls and ceiling still covered in a panoply of fungal growths. A set of double doors showed to the east, and near it, a patch of glowing purple fungus. As the two examined their surroundings, both felt a mental attack blast at them. The fungal smudge then moved, revealing itself to be a creature, and it sent a focused blast of mental energy at Taber. Meanwhile, a pair of gigantic plant creatures, hidden amongst the other foliage in the room, now attacked Cailyn, one of them wrapping Cailyn in vine-like tendrils.

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As the fighting began, the group down below decided to have Scorcher dimension door them up, but Scorcher was unsure of the layout of the room, and called for a landing spot. Taber, heedless of the request, threw himself at the thing assaulting their minds, trying to tear it apart. Cailyn began tearing at the thing beside her, yelling for magical support, and designating a landing spot for Scorcher. Taking his cue, Scorcher used dimension door to move the rest of the group into the now-cramped spaces.

As the small violet fungus pulsed again with light, Cailyn’s boar suddenly began attacking Scorcher to everyone’s surprise. The fungus’s mental assaults continued, affecting most of the group. Lekovi tried to counter this with a soothing balm, restoring some of the mental decay to his friends. Finding this did not restore the boar to controlled status, Lekovi used a Dominate spell on it. Taber proceeded to destroy the fungus, while Taber and River hacked at the larger plants. After regaining his composure, Scorcher sent a firesnake burning into all of the plants, and found the larger ones were actually vulnerable to burning. Sensing weakness, he sent a quickened scorching ray, and destroyed the far plant. The nearer plant, apparently taking exception to this, wrapped Scorcher up in vines. Having no further opponents, Taber tore the last plant apart. Cailyn then tore the plants up further, ensuring they were all dead.

A search of the chamber revealed the fungus had covered a second exit, leading to a spiral set of stairs up. Not wanting to leave danger behind them, the group moved instead through the doors.

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Another disturbing surprise greeted the group. The large open space beyond the doors somehow appeared to be at the foot of the building, despite the group having ascended at least 250 feet up by now. The centre of the open plaza was dominated by a 10 foot diameter sealed stone well. Clustered around the well were several tents. Standing among the tents were 3 more of the zombie-plant creatures the group had encountered at the foot of the tower. All three turned to face the group. One, armed with a longspear, covered the entrance to the area with a magical Wall of Thorns. Taber and Cailyn, followed by the boar, moved through the thorns as though they were not there, Cailyn taking a few small cuts from them. Cailyn and her board engaged the full-plate armed flail wielder, while Taber faced the spellcaster. The third creature moved around behind Cailyn for a strike with a short sword, but missed.

Lekovi then teleported the rest of the group into the open area, and his drugged aura caused all of the creatures to become confused. Despite the heavy armour worn by the warrior, all three were brought down in no time.

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The group then healed some damage, and recovered a number of enchanted items from their foes. Searching through the camp also revealed a bag of holding, which proved to contain a number of items that may have belonged to Count Lowls – several sets of noble’s clothing, a number of esoteric reference books, and a set of journals. And lastly, the copy of the Necronomicon the group had searched the Mysterium for. As they began considering the wealth of knowledge here, they were interrupted by the stone lid of the well shattering open, and a Flying Polyp emerging.

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The creature proved quite dangerous, dealing significant amounts of damage to River. Taber proved unable to inflict much harm on the beast in the first round, but Scorcher then blasted it with eldritch fire. River slashed at the beast, as did Cailyn, although the boar was unable to harm it. The creature next turned its attention to Scorcher, and easily tore through his magical protections, coming close to killing him. Scorcher, in a panic, then teleported away, flinging a magical blast back at the creature. Lekovi mentally blasted the thing, and Taber and the others then proceded cut the beast down.

Shocked at the suddenness of the assault, the group turned to River to heal their wounds. Again not wanting to stop while unexplored danger stood at their backs, the group ascended the hidden set of stairs inside the tower.

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Now over 400 feet up, they found themselves in room at the top of the tower, with narrow windows on all sides giving a vista of the entire city. In the centre of the room stood another disturbing sight…a Star Stelae, very similar to the ones seen in Thrushmoor. As the group began to examine the room, and the Stelae, they all heard the muffled sounds of a voice spellcasting. Unable to determine the source of the noise, they all looked further, Cailyn attempting to disbelieve the wall on the western side of the room. At this point, a ghotly woman, wreathed in blue flames, dressed in Ninshaburian-style robes and wielding a ghostly version ancient bastard sword, dropped through the ceiling, next to Scorcher and River, and thrust her weapon into River’s chest, dealing a large amount of harm. The apparition was screaming wordlessly in rage, and proceeded to do so for the rest of the conflict. Recovering from the surprise appearance, the group repositioned themselves around the star stelae to try and get to the ghostly figure. Lekovi attempted to learn what the ghost’s profession was, and was able to discern the telltale signs of a magus. The creature itself confirmed those capabilities by lopping off River’s head with a ghostly swipe of its blade, while simultaneously bringing forth a Cloudkill effect.

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Reacting quickly, Scorcher dispelled the cloud, and Taber moved in, and grappled the ghost, making full use of his Ghost Touch Amulet to disable the ghost, while Seb applied an Ego Whip, stopping her from casting spells. She made one last attempt at harming the group, and was able to cause Cailyn and the boar to flee in panic.

Shortly, the ghost stopped screaming and struggling in Taber’s grasp, dismissed her ghostly blade, and brokenly began to apologise for the harm she had caused. She looked quite stricken at the body of River at her feet. Taber stopped applying pressure, but did not let go. Cailyn and the boar shortly returned, having been saved from flight by Kaklatath’s memory editing.

The remainder of the group spoke briefly with the now-forlorn ghost, and then retreated back to camp, to ponder how best to revive River. While Cailyn considered calling in the Archons, to pass the Necronomicon to them, Lekovi decided to peruse the journals and terrible book first, to ensure they did not miss anything before handing it over.

The review of the journals told much of Lowl’s state of mind over the past half year. The entries after departing Thrushmoor grew increasingly frenetic, and his handwriting more exaggerated. He recorded with excitement his acquisition of the Necronomicon, abandonment of Miacknian Mun, and
initial discoveries while setting forth for the Parchlands. Each morning, he recorded his dreams, expressing waning interest in scholarly discoveries and greater obsession with a being called Xhamen-Dor. According to Lowls, the eldritch terror known as Xhamen-Dor dwelled within
an accursed city in the Parchlands, where it gathered the strength and converts it needed to awaken and consume the world. Rather than expressing dismay, the count conveyed his fanatic delight, writing of his desire to call to the black star and “make our two worlds one under the Yellow Sign.”

Reviewing Lowls’s notes, both in his journal and on pieces of paper he slipped between pages of the Necronomicon, Lekovi and Scorcher together learned -

  • Lowls is obsessed with one or more eldritch masters, whom he seeks to serve by completing a number of occult rituals. He has planned to take Xhamen-Dor into his body and journey to Carcosa to offer himself to Hastur so that the King in Yellow can gain enough power to become an Outer God.
  • Much like Thrushmoor, the accursed city of Neruzavin holds three Star Stelae that the count awakened in order to perform a ritual he learned from the Necronomicon: the Path to the Black Star occult ritual.
  • Upon completing the ritual, Lowls planned to travel to the unholy domain of the King in Yellow, where he hoped to attune its Star Stelae and offer Golarion to his new master.

Kaklatath expressed great dismay and corroborates all of this. It explained that the King in Yellow (not to be confused with the Yellow King from the Dreamlands) is an immensely powerful demigod served by aberrant beasts of all kinds, and Xhamen-Dor was his most powerful weapon: a foul fungus entity that consumed entire worlds and siphoned their essence to grow the Unspeakable One’s realm.

Kaklatath explained her race, the yithians, had fought the Yellow King’s servants throughout time and space since time immemorial, and believed Xhamen-Dor destroyed and its remains obliterated. If the name Xhamen-Dor was known on Golarion, Kaklatath believed it likely that the Great Old One may lie here dormant, yet still dangerous – perhaps even in this very city!

It continued to explain that the Great Race of Yith won a victory on Golarion eons ago, when snakes strode on legs and humanity was young. They destroyed most of the King in Yellow’s servants and sealed others deep beneath the earth. A few of the Great Race remained behind as guardians – among them Kaklatath – slumbering in wait should Golarion come under attack once more. As previously explained, that Kaklatath is unable to return to its natural body suggests something has happened to the slumbering yithians. That leaves the ex-amnesiacs few allies in pursuing Lowls, whose scheme could corrupt the world.

If the group were to intervene and finally exact their vengeance, they would need to follow Lowls by performing the same ritual he did. The count’s notes are sufficient to identify where the three Star Stelae in Neruzavin stand, and he had marked several pages in the Necronomicon that present occult rituals of note. The three Stelae were located in the Haunted Tower, the Snarl, and the Oraculum.

From his notes they also discovered the only way to stop Thrushmoor from being forcibly drawn into Carcosa: they must activate three Thrushmoor Star Stelae in Carcosa and defeat whoever is in control of the reflection of Thrushmoor already forming in that alien city.

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Scorpions' Revenge

22 Calistril
As the long, hot journey to the ancient city continued, the group this time found themselves confronted suddenly by a team of Girtablilus, or scorpion-men. Looking much like centaurs, but with scorpion rather than horse bodies, the three emerged from concealment under the sand and confronted the group of ex-amnesiacs.

Their leader, calling herself Ashkar, advised the group to turn back, as the ruins ahead held no treasure, no adventure, and no glory. Only death. When questioned, Ashkar revealed another of their patrols had recently encountered another group like theirs, although larger. This other group did not heed the warnings, and responded with violence, killing them. The rest of the tribe only learned of this meeting after their sandspeaker had communed with the spirits of the dead.

After some back and forth, it was clear the ex-amnesiacs intended to continue on their journey, and Ashkar ordered her followers to attack. During the short, bloody skirmish, the scorpion-people were clearly outmatched. Taber actually managed to stun a pair of them with consecutive blows, and they were soon overcome. The ex-amnesiacs were careful to only subdue the creatures, and knocked them all unconscious. Taking their valuables, the group continued on their journey.

23rd Calistril
A pair of Ash Giants approached during the next day’s trek, waving a ragged piece of cloth for parley. In halting common, the pair informed the group they had impressed Mother Grim Moon, and their Shatter Smile clan. Mother Grim Moon had invited the group to come visit her at the clan camp to discuss some matters. The group agreed, and travelled along with the giants to their camp.

25th Calistril
Arriving at the clearly primitive camp, the group was led to Mother Grim Moon, and older female Ash Giant. With strangely-accented common words, and an unusual way of speaking, Mother Grim Moon greeted the dreamers, calling them the Survivors of Sarnath, the delvers of darkness, and the seekers of oases, who had spoken to the Yellow King. She asked them to tell her of what they would do before the world dies.

Lekovi was able to recognise an amulet worn by the elderly giant as a holy symbol of Groetus, the god of the end times. Cailyn and Scorcher conversed with the mother, and asked about her, and told of their travels, and quest to find Count Lowls. In return, Mother Grim Moon told how the Shatter Smile tribe were recently attacked by a great beast. Unable to overcome it, they had trapped it in a quarry on the hill near the camp. Mother Grim Moon explained her position, saying ‘You are the dream-walkers, the city-seekers, the endstoppers. You come to me seeking my counsel, yet you cannot command the true respect of this clan. Tame what they cannot—fight what gives them fear—and they shall honor you. The Shatter Smile is not strong enough to brave the holy city. If you cannot be stronger than them, why should I waste breath explaining that you are too weak to enter?’

The group agreed to deal with this beast, and went to the quarry, finding it had been partly walled off with piles of stone. Scorcher disintegrated part of the wall, and speeding out through the gap came the most enormous Scorpion ever seen, with a body easily stretching thirty feet long. Not in the least dismayed, the group made fast week of the beast, destroying it in not much more than 10 seconds.

Greatly impressed, the Shatter Smile and Mother Grim Moon welcomed the group to the tribe, and bade them rest with them the night. Mother Grim Moon also made it clear she was happy to help them in the future, should the need arise. Scorcher and Lekovi both studied the camp, to aid returning via teleportation magic. The Shatter Smile made a feast from the Scorpion, and shared it with the amnesiacs.

26th Calistril
Finally, at the end of the following day’s journey, the group finally arrived at the ancient city of Neruzavin. Arriving from the west, the group saw the sheer size of the city swarfed any they knew. Easily 2-3 miles of stone stretched away from where they approached. To the north, there appeared to be a shattered disarray of buildings beside a large, still lake.

As they moved closer, the sheer scale of the city became apparent. The buildings all towered into the sky, some rising 400 feet above the ground. Most appeared to be solid blocks of stone, with no entrances visible. Others showed tunnels bored into them, or small openings. Following Kaklatath’s remembered directions to a building she believed contained a well leading to the undercity, the group soon began to see figures flitting around them. As if the alien architecture and illogically-laid out streets were not frustrating enough, the group spied and heard figures and voices, but could never seem to get a close look at them. At one point, the screaming of a delirious person just out of sight echoed, while another exclaimed that tendrils were growing from his sking, and that they must burn the body. Late in the afternoon, Kaklatath finally led the group to a building with a pair of doors.

A pair of indistinct figures stood in front of the doors. As the group arrived, they buzzed distortedly, and then resolved into a pair of Exscinder Archons. The pair spoke to the group, and introduced themselves as hunters of forbidden knowledge. They searched for the Necronomicon, and would pay a handsome reward for it. However, even these celestial beings were having troubles navigating the alien city. After talking for a while, the beings resumed their search, and moved on.

The ex-amnesiacs approached the tower’s doors, and entered. The room behind proved to be cavernous, with a trio of irregularly intertwining staircases leading to openings at different heights around the chamber. The group selected one, and ascended. At the end, they found a rounded chamber that was empty. Retracing to the main chamber, the group were attacked by a trio of humanoids.

All three of the attackers at first appeared to be human. A closer look revealed they were actually some form of undead. In addition they quickly displayed tendrils curling from their bodies, and Lekovi realised they were somehow also partly plant creatures. One of the creatures proved to be a spellcaster, one an archer, and the third a warrior. Taber went after the archer, while Cailyn activated her flying armour, and went for the other pair. A black tentacles spell proved little impediment to Lekovi, who teleported out with Scorcher. River was not caught, and followed towards Cailyn’s targets. Despite the archer proving to be an expert at harming humans, Taber was eventually able to fell his target, while the rest of the group dealt with the other pair.

After the struggle, the group explored further into the tower, finding an antigravity shaft leading upwards. At the top of this, they discovered a days-old abandoned campsite. As they approached, it proved to be haunted by the spirits of some companions of the undead they had just fought. Dealing quickly with the haunt, the group then made camp on the same site for the night.

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Surprise Growth

20 calistril
The next day, barely an hour out of camp, the group was attacked by a small swarm of Lightning Elementals. These were handily fought off, despite them being resistant to Taber’s electrical surges.

An hour before sunset, as Cailyn was beginning to look for a campsite, the group spied something suspicious. Their path went through a small defile, barely 25 feet wide, and 20 feet tall, and around 60 feet from end to end. In the middle of this was a very obvious pile of debris, clearly inexpertly attempting to conceal a pit beneath it. Looking more carefully, Taber spied a large figure trying to hide behind boulders at the far end of the gap. Sensing an ambush, the group approached cautiosly. The figure revealed itself to be an Ash Giant, and hurled a boulder ineffectually at the group. Taber stepped between reality, and emerged quietly behind the hidden figure, catching the Giant unaware.

As the rest of the group approached the entrance of the defile, a gigantic scorpion burst from it’s hiding place under the concealing debris, and charged Cailyn and River. Lekovi and Scorcher teleported to the top of the cliff, where they unexpectedly found a second giant. With little effort, all 3 foes were soon slain, and the group decided to camp in the area.

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Journey to Growth

17th Calistril
The group of ex-amnesiacs had trudged almost 150 miles through the dusty, dry, forsaken wastelands known as the Parchlands. Little game or vegetation was to be seen, but Cailyn had been able to both search out nourishment, and keep the group protected from the worst ravages of the thirsting touch of the sun.

It was not long after breaking camp on the 10th day of their extended hike that they discovered a pair of stone markers atop a ridge along their path. Both were rough-hewn, pointed obelisks. Impaled atop one was the decaying corpse of a Girtablilu. Inexpertly carved onto this oblisk was the common word weak. The other bore numerous inscriptions. The largest, written in Common, read ‘These sacred territories contain a slumbering evil. Turn back. The wardens suffer no trespass.’ The other inscriptions all appear to show sequential dates scrawled by myriad hands. Each of these was about 5 days apart, with the latest entry being over a month ago.

Later that day and the next, large humanoid figures were seen to be watching the group from distant rock outcroppings, slinking away out of sight after a few moments of observation.

18th Calistril
While trudging through the wasteland, the group was suddenly set upon by a strange sight. A creature looking like a long tube of flesh, covered in mouths and eyes, flew up over a rise, and raised a scouring windful of sand around the group. Covering their eyes against the flying razors, the group attacked the creature, and were able to slay it. Kaklatath identified the creature afterwards as a Flying Polyp, one of the original builders of the city of Neruzavin. She expressed some concern that this meant they were no longer imprisoned below the city.

19th Calistril
Towards the end of the next scorching day, the group encuntered a large travelling band of Gnolls. Led by an elderly female Shaman guarded by a burly male Gnoll in heavy armour. Both groups cautiosuly greeted each other, and the Gnoll leader revealed she was leading her followers on a vision quest, to the city. Cailyn suggested the groups camp together for safety, and perhaps travel on the following day. With no violence on offer, the two groups warily set up camp. Not long after meal preparations had begun, a terrifying monstrosity of a creature wallowed over the hill, and panic began to spread throughout the Gnolls. The Shaman’s bodyguard and several pack members charged the creature, only to find it’s aura of terror overwhelming. The ex-amnesiacs also leapt into the fray. Kaklatath helped some of the group to stay in the fight by removing the memories of succumbing to terror from their minds. With this, and the aid from the Gnolls, the creature, identified by Lekovi as a Qolok Sakil, was destroyed. The Gnolls returned to their camp to lick their wounds. In the morning, the Gnolls broke camp, and asked that the ex-amnesiacs go their own way, heading off in a different direction into the deserted land.

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Interstice

31st Abadius
The ex-amnesiacs headed straight for the markets upon their arrival back in Okeno. Planning to journey next to the Parchlands via Katheer, the group decided it would be best to convert as much of their loot as possible to cash for easier transport.

As the group traveled between markets, they encountered a strange phenomenon. Very suddenly, the street crowds parted, and in the now-clear channel, a strange, mummy-like creature was visible, covered entirely in filth-encrusted sallow rags and hood, the limbs too long to be anything human. The creature's face, invisible beneath the shadow of the hood, turned directly toward the group, and they felt the touch of an unnatural terror.

The group reacted quickly, and began to assault the thing, overcoming their fears. Cailyn and her boar, Taber, and River all rushed over to the creature, only to discover it was surrounded by a profane miasma, the stench of which was unlike anything they had previously encountered. Cailyn succumbed to the effect, but the other two fought it off. The creature's long arms also proved to be quite a threat, and it slammed them into those approaching it. Lekovi attempted to cloud the creature's mind, but found it immune, while Scorcher found the thing to be quite resistant to his spells. Taber, too, found that his blows seemed less effective than normal against the strangely pliant body under the rags.

After fighting physically for a few moments, the creature applied a mass hold spell to Taber, River and Cailyn, although Taber was able to fight the effect off. Only having to elude Taber's blows, the creature then moved back and began tracing the profane Yellow Sign in the air. Sickly, yellow light trailed behind the creature's motion, leaving a glowing version of the Sign in the air, and as it completed the symbol, bedlam broke out. All of the citizens around broke into a temporary insanity, clawing at themselves, assaulting those around them, babbling nonsense, or running horrified from what was happening. After Scorcher dispelled the Hold effect from River, River also succumbed to the insanity of the Sign. When the hold wore off Cailyn, she also went mad. Luckily, the combination of Taber's continual blows and Lekovi's magic eventually felled the thing. But even then, the madness surrounding the group continued on, with little sign of abating. After multiple attempts, Lekovi was able to dispel the Yellow Sign, and an uneasy peace fell around them. As citizens began to pick themselves up, and uneasily leave the horrifying happening, the ex-amnesiacs recovered themselves, and approached the creature's body. Finding nothing of value, and reluctant to examine it further, they burned the body, and continued on with their errands.


Later that day, after completing their mercantile efforts, the group was teleported by Scorcher back to Katheer, and they secured lodgings for the night.

1st Calistril
The next morning, the group purchased last minute supplies for their trip to the Parchlands, and secured transport aboard a merchant vessel to the shore of the area. They set sail later that day, for the short trip.

4th Calistril

The group took advantage of the ocean travel to unwind, and compare notes about the Parchlands, and talk with Kaklatath, learning that the frail human body was actually inhabited by the mind of a Yithian. Kaklatath explained how she had taken this body some time ago, but had then found itself unable to switch back. Unsure of what this meant, it was concerned something had happened to its original body, back in Neruzavin.

Several days later, the peace of the sea voyage was shattered when the group spotted an enormous flying creature in the distance. As it approached closer, the group was able to see it was some sort of draconic creature, bellowing as loudly as it could in the language of Dragons. Lekovi was able to understand that the creature was wailing something about 'Betrayers!' and 'Vengeance for my mate'. The group felt strangely lethargic as the creature approached, although all but River were able to fight the effect off. The creature gave no further warning, and swooped down at the back of the vessel to unleash a blast of electrical energy from its maw. Taber and River threw themselves at the beast, while Cailyn fired bowshots at it, and Scorcher and Lekovi blasted it with magic. The creature lashed about it with wild abandon, and then flew to a better position beside the vessel, and unleashed another electrical blast, killing Lekovi outright. River was able to move next to Lekovi, and apply the last-minute healing scroll attached to his shield to bring him back from the brink, while Scorcher finished the creature off.

Somewhat confused and shaken by this encounter, the group continued their voyage, no longer quite so relaxed as before.

7th Calistril
On the 7th day out of Katheer, the merchant vessel pulled into a cove off shore from some barren-looking lands, and unloaded the group's supplies by boat. Bidding farewell to the sailors, the ex-amnesiacs headed inland.

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Blossoming Thorn
Divs and Gnolls

29th Abadius, early morning
Taber and River charged through the common room, and opened the doors through to other areas of the tannery, shortly revealing the large yard. A number of workers stopped in their work, and stared at the fleeing gaurds, and the ex-amnesiacs. Other guards, already patrolling the yard, urged their trained panthers forward, and tried to stop the group. Cailyn and her pet moved to block the guards, while Taber cand River continued to explore the building, looking for their quarry. The group heard the sound of spellcasting from within a room across from the common room, and Taber moved to intercept. From out of the other room came shooting flying skull creatures that Lekovi identified as Dorus, the least form of Div.

While Cailyn and offsider continued to hold off the remaining guard's assault, the rest of the group began to fight off the Dorus, and were then attacked by the supposed owner of the tannery. Lekovi revealed that this person was likely the same shapechanged Div he had identified that morning at the meeting site. River and Taber began fighting this creature, and Scorcher spent some time throwing Scorching Rays at it. The first set of rays missed, the second were negated by spell resistance, and then the third set showed the creature was immune to fire.

Cailyn started to feel overwhelmed, but was magically aided by Scorcher, wheil Lekovi assited River and Taber in destroying the Div. Soon, all the threats were destroyed, and the group were able to search the premises for the kidnapped ally of the Hyena Princess. They found him shaken but mostly unharmed, locked into one of the bedrooms at the back of the tannery. They released Dahab, and returned to Njano to inform her of their succes. The Hyena Princess congratulated them, provided them with the location of Biting Lash's home, and then invited them back for a celebratory feast that evening. Much food and drink were consumed, and the group eventually returned to their rooms to rest.

30th Abadius, early afternoon
Arising late, the group finalised purchases of some new supplies, and then spent a few hours travelling to Blossoming Thorn, Biting Lash's imposing fortress. The building turned out to be a cylindrical tower of stone, some 40 feet tall, and easily 60 feet across, topped by green gardens of Juniper. 

The group approached the entrance tunnel, which was guarded by a pair of gnolls. Upon spying the group, the gnolls advised them to leave, as their master was neither expecting nor accepting visitors. Some disucssions were had, but eventually violence was employed. The group easily knocked aside the pair of guards, and Cailyn and her board raced through the tunnel, into the main courtyard. Lekovi and Scorcher hung back in the centre of the entrance, while River and Taber moved to the end of the tunnel. As Taber reached the courtyard, a strong portcullis slammed down at either end of the tunnel. Taber and River were under the inner gate as it came down, Taber dodging into the courtyard and River being knocked back into the tunnel. Just after this, a rain of strong acid poured down from cunningly concealed murder holes into the entrance tunnel.

In the central courtyard, a group of gnoll slavers had been training a large group of slaves. The slaves were barely clothed, and armed with blunted spears, but the gnolls whipped them and ordered them to attack the intruders, while they wielded blades and rifles fed from metal cartridges. The half of the group in the courtyard swiftly moved to kill the gnolls, avoiding any permanent harm to the slaves, easily downing all opposition with little harm. Lekovi, in the entrance tunnel, summoned an Erinyes to provid ranged support, while Scorcher disintegrated the portcullis blocking River's way, allowing him to join the fray. Scorcher then proceded to take Cailyn's suggestions to disintegrate the ceiling containing the murderholes, and then the wall leading from the courtyard inside the main building, avoiding the main entrance inside.

Moving into the cool stone structure to the left of the courtyard, the group found some unoccupied cells, and the main slave pens. Inside a smaller cell across the way, Cailyn encountered an old Kelesh woman, whom he recognised from all of the visions that had been sent to them since recovering their memories. She released the woman, who introduced herself as Kaklatath, and asked Cailyn to escort her away from this place. 

The group circled further around the courtyard, following the only doors to the next area, which proved to be the main entrance – another group of gnolls were guarding it, expecting the group to burst in that way. Although somewhat surprised to see the ex-amnesiacs entering the chamber from the other way, they quickly recovered, and released several beasts to help fight off the invaders. A fearsome Dragonne, it's wings tied back and it's jaws muzzled, charged in alongside a Dire Tiger. Cailyn's boar stayed guarding Kaklatah while Cailyn, River and Taber assaulted the gnolls and their pets. Lekovi changed the odds by Dominating the Tiger shortly after.

Cailyn next released the other slaves, and told them to follow her out through the blasted hole in the wall. Activating her newly-acquired flight abilities, Cailyn then swooped to the upper floor, looking for a way to open the front portcullis, to allow all of the slaves to escape. The rest of the group advanced behind Taber, as he raced ahead, looking for more opposition, or a way to the next floor. Coming within sight of a ramp spiralling up, he spied another pair of opened cages, and a half-dozen hexapodal lizards arrayed in front of them. They glared at Taber, and he realised with a start that they were basilisks. Avoiding their stony gazes, he quickly retreated back to the rest of the group, and frantically signed at Scorcher to burn them! Burn them with fire! Scorcher began launching blasts of fire at the creatures as they lumbered towards him. River closed his eyes, and moved into the open, swinging his aces to get their attention. After another blast of fire had swooshed past him, and meeting no resistance, he soon opened his eyes to find the basilisks all charred to crisps.

The main part of the group regathered themselves, healed the worst of their injuries, and then advanced to the ramp. Above them, Cailyn had released the front portcullis, and now moved around, looking at where the next opposition was. Finding the ramp down, in a storage room, she moved over to the next door out, and listened. On the other side, she could hear the sounds of snuffling and growling, and…laughter? The door was thrown open, revealing a large group of gnolls riding dire hyenas, brandishing scorpion whips and rifles. Hearing the commotion, the group below rushed up the ramp to face the threat. Cailyn withstood the first trio of whip-wielding gnoll cavalry, but quickly ducked behind the doorframe as it was blasted apart by a fusillade of bullets, and then retreated back towards her companions.

The struggle in the room between the ex-amnesiacs and the gnoll cavalry was swift and brutal. Although some of the gnolls landed hits on the group, they were no match for the might sorceries and blows rained on them, and were soon all dead.

The group regathered itself again, and explored the rest of the floor they were on. They found mostly quarters, and kennels for the mounts, and a pair of staircases up. Steeling themselves, they moved to the top floor of the fortress, emerging into a cool, shaded sea of green Juniper bushes. Nestled to one side, near the group, was a yellow tent, and across the fall to the courtyard below, a wooden pavillion. Resting in the pavillion were Hakoor, the cloaked halfling bodyguard of Princess Njano, and an elderly female gnoll, being served food and drink by slaves. Arrayed in front of the tent, were a group of howling, seething, female gnoll berserkers. Responding to a gesture from the matron in the pavillion, they worked into a frenzy, and charged at the invading strangers.

Taber quickly used his magic to teleport behind the tent, hoping to outflank the gnoll forces. Two of the berserkers sniffed the air, and charged at Taber. The rest charged through the Juniper, and fell on the group, the first landing a might blow on River. Lekovi quickly evened the odds, confusing three of them. Cailyn, her board and River continued to fight against the elite gnolls. From the pavillion rang out words of power, and Scorcher was struck dumb by a feeblemind spell. Reeling at the loss of faculties, Scorcher did nothing for several moments.

Suddenly, Kisetz, Njano's other bodyguard, leapt from a concealing position in the junipers, slashing a scimitar at River's throat…only to be jostled by one of the berserking gnolls, and completely miss her target. Howling in frustration, Kisetz began slashing at River. Hakoor nullified Lekovi's enchantment, but Lekovi renewed them. Cailyn was smashed unconscious by one of the raging gnolls, and her board stood over her to protect her.

In the meantime, Taber had finished the two guards facing him, and teleported again to take cover beside the wooden pavillion. The matriarch, also sensing Taber, sent her pet to harry him, while throwing her magically-returning spear at him to little effect. Seeing Hakoor's support of the battle across the courtyard, Taber leapt over, and snapped the halfling's neck. Expecting the matriarch to be a less-than-capable fighter, Taber next turned to her, lashing out with a series of furious blows. The punishment enacted on the elder gnoll was incredible, and yet in her turn, she still stood firm, and stabbed Taber until he fell unconscious.

By this time, River landed the final blow on Kisetz, and the gnolls had all fallen. Scorcher, still an imbecile, had recovered his determination, and had used his claws to assist, and advanced around towards the matriarch. The matriarch moved to meet the group, using her eagle pet to harry them. At the last, Biting Lash sent her eagle towards Kisetz with a healing potion, and River landed a final blow on her, knocking her unconscious.

The battle had been fierce, but the ex-amnesiacs had prevailed. Finding no more opposition, they stablised Biting Lash and Kisetz, and then began to ransack the fortress for valuables. Among the recovered booty, they discovered maps, showing Lowls's planned route to the city of Neruzavin, in a region between Taldor and Qadira known as the Parchlands. At last, the group had their destination in sight.

31st Abadius, morning
After executing Biting Lash, the group departed Blossoming Thorn, returning to Okeno, ready for the next stage of their journey.

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The Keepers of Souls

The creature facing the group was clearly the Keeper of the Soul that Elder Lythiin had warned them about. As the ogre-sized angelic figure turned its gaze on the ex-amnesiacs, all but Taber were shaken to the core of their being by a feeling of despair, and that drained away part of their very souls. Despite its lack of a mouth, the creature began to wail mournfully in their minds, but only River was shaken by the sorrow. Scorcher immediately launched a blast of fire at the Keeper, but found it totally ineffective, his weakened abilities having difficult piercing the creatures resistance to magic. This proved to be the case for most of this encounter. Taber, River and Cailyn moved to engage the creature, finding that it was able to attack reflexively as they approached it, and also finding it to be highly resistant to all of their attacks. Lekovi searched his memory about the being, and realised it was likely an Exscinder Archon, the angelic censors of forbidden knowledge, and so largely immune to elemental damage of most sorts. Something about its behavior, though, told him it was not a normal example of the breed. Either way, he tried to influence the creature's mind, but its defences proved too strong.

The creature began slicing at the ex-amnesiacs with his blade, displaying an expert affinity and great strength. Being a large creature, backed into a corner, it also proved impossible for the group to surround. Still, they were able to damage it slowly, piece by piece. Lekovi's mental blasts also ravaged the creature, while Scorcher repeatedly failed to pierce its protections. The creature also proved to be able to change sizes, as it backed away from the group, and also capable of blasting them with holy fire. Regardless, the harm inflicted little by little mounted up, until eventually, after a titanic struggle, Lekovi was able to finish the mighty creature off.

The group were then able to examine the Soul, and determine that there were no other books missing besides the Necronomicon. Dejected that their goal had been yanked away from out of their grasp, the group returned to the surface, knowing the Mysterium was now secure.

Over the course of several weeks, the ex-amnesiacs recovered from their trials in the library, resting and recuperating while also exchanging loot for coin, and purchasing several supplies for the next stage of their journey. Discussions with Elders Lythiin and Thyyr also produced their next potential lead. Lythiin visited the group to tell them that Miacknian Munn had been captured trying to escape from the Mysterium, and had been turned over to the authorities. Lythiin gifted the group with some of the funds they had made by selling off the demented alchemist's claimed belongings. The group talked about their next move with Lythiin, and he shared what he knew about Lowls. Although the Count had proven relatively tight-lipped, several members of his party had discussed the next stages of their planned journey, which involved purchasing slaves from Biting Lash, a Gnoll slaver based out of the city of Okeno. Lythiin also offered to pay for mundane or magical transport to their next destination. After some discussion, the group decided to move to Okeno, and took Lythiin's offer.

29th Abadius, Midday
Arriving in the Yellow City, the group started by trying to track down Biting Lash. Unfortunately, their research revealed that the slaver was paranoid, even for a Gnoll, and that they would likely need to deal with others to reveal exactly where the slaver was based. Several conversations revealed that Hyena Princess Njano was the best to deal with in this area – a Gnoll so powereful and secure in her position that she dealt openly at the fleshfairs in the city.

29th Abadius, afternoon
Visiting one of the fleshfairs, Scorcher managed to secure an audience with Njano. As they approached, one of Njano's bodyguards, a short woman named Kisetz blocked their approach, pushing River back bodily. River appeared to take this as an attempt at fliring, and immediately returned the favour, as Njano ordered Kisetz to stand down. A second retainer, a cloaked halfling with a monkey on his shoulder (who later proved to be named Hakoor), stood in the background. Njano welcomed the group, and after some small talk, heard their request. Scorcher said they were trying to locate a gnoll slaver named Biting Lash. Njano replied that this sort of conversation was best handled in private, and invited them to join her later in the evening at her estate. Cailyn asked Hakoor about his monkey, but he was not very forthcoming with details.

29th Abadius, evening
Kisetz greeted the group as they arrived, sternly warned them not to cause trouble, and then led them to a room further into the estate. The chamber they were led to was an opulently tall and open tiled bathroom, surrounded by cloth screens swaying lazily in the breeze. Njano, partly submerged in milk and attended to by eight slaves, welcomed her guests, and bade them take their ease. Two of the slaves waved large fans lazily, as others provided the group with dates and figs. During the whole time, Kisetz and Hakoor stood in the background, the woman glaring angrily at River and the rest.

Njano said that while the name of Biting Lash might well mean something to her, she was currently far too distracted to be able to recall anything useful. After Cailyn asked what troubled her, she revealed that Dahab, one of her retainers, had been kidnapped. Perhaps if the group was able to recover Dahab, her mind would be sufficiently at ease for her to be able to remember something that would help them out. Njano told that Dahab, an spy and information broker, had apparently been taken prisonder only recently, and that she had only become aware when a grisly package and note had been delivered to her door. The package was available for the group to examine. Njano also said that Dahab's closest associates were an animal trainer named Rahmir, and a builder named Azeem.

The package proved to contain an ear, which Njano confirmed appeared to have belonged to Dahab. The note read - 

'Esteemed Princess, greetings from the unworthy. I am honored to bring your beloved serf to bosom as my guest, but his appetite is so great that unless I act, he’ll eat everything I have. I therefore return him to you piece by piece, part by part, unless you wish to discuss his fate at the Shipwreck at dawn.’ 

Lekovi was able to determine that the grammar used was peculiar, and it was highly likely the writer primarily communicates in the Infernal language, largely used by Devils and other Lawful Evil planar beings.

Agreeing to do what they could to recover Dahab, Cailyn led the group to the meeting site, hoping to find clues. The Shipwreck proved to be a broad plaza built of broken ship’s timbers, on the southwestern coast of Yellow Harbor. A series of towering houses, many built from modified stens of large ships, overlook the broken place. A recent series of tremors had apparently left much of the area deserted and abandoned, with several of the houses occupied by squatters. Seeing no obvious signs of their quarry, the group settled down for the night.

29th Abadius, dawn

The following morning, the group watched the plaza for some time, but saw no obvious activity, other than the fires used by several squatters in abandoned houses. While River used an Augury scroll they had procured the previous day, Lekovi looked over several of these groups, and realised one of the vagrants was likely a shapeshifted outsider. The ex-amnesiacs approached the person, and began engaging in conversation. Lekovi attemtped to read the thoughts of the person, at which point, he activated his own magic, and disappeared.

Thinking they now had no leads, the group recalled Njano mentioning Dahab's associates, and decided to speak to them. They found Azeem the builder at work on the dome of Gozreh. Application of flight magics enabled several of the group to easily ascend and speak with the man, discovering that Dahab had recently been spending time with a new lover. The lover had even showered Dahab in gifts of extravagant clothing. The group next spoke with Rahmir, a hard of hearing man that was cleaning a mastadon at the Black Circus. Cailyn kept the gigantic creature calm while Scorcher spoke to the man, who also spoke of Dahab's new lover, who was apparently named Fazar, and of the beautiful ochre-coloured leather Dahab had started wearing. After asking some contacts, the group were able to track that particular shade of colouration as common to a place known as Salir's Fine Leathers. They went there next.

Inside the front office of the large building, the group was met by a saleswoman named Abren. The group asked to speak with Fazar, but Abren refused, saying Fazar was quite busy, and that they should return tomorrow. Lekovi noted that the woman appeared to be under the influence of magic, and a detection spell confirmed she had been enchanted. The group's continued insistence on being allowed in caused her to call for the guards. The group instead rushed through the door into the next room, which proved to be a common dining room, were a half dozen guards were sharing a meal. They stood as the door opened, and then had their minds shut down by effects from Scorcher and Lekovi. Taber moved to the exit from this room, and revealed a corridor leading to the tannery floor.

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Plumbing the Library Depths

7th Abadius, mid morning
Lekovi went outside, spoke to Elder Thyrr and guards, arranged removal of traumatised, captured guards, and return of the body of Elder Lyhtiin. Also arranged limited release from the building for shopping, and cashed in some items, and picked up raise dead and restoration diamond dust for Scorcher.

The group returned to the Cipher Obscura, and blundered around the level for some time, stummbling upon the portal to the next level down, and a trio of angel statues. The fourth could not be located for some time. The group wandered around the maze of corridors, unsure how to navigate them, unaware that a subtle magical compulsion was sometimes turning them around as they walked through an intersection. Some attempts were made by Cailyn and Taber to understand the maze and guide the exploration, with limited success. Finally, after circling around the central iris for some time, Cailyn began looking for secret doors, and instead discerened that there was a door, covered by an illusion of a wall. This led to the exploration of that northeast chamber, and then the uncovering and exploration of the other 3 doors in the area – northwest, southwest, and then southeast. All four of these areas contained themed book collections, as well as some other threat.

The first room contained a library of journals and books that recorded drug-induced trances, and such phenomena as automatic writing. Between two of the shelves was a chest, which was determined to be magically trapped. The majority of the group stood at the door, while Cailyn attemtped to disable the enchanted security. She inadvertantly touched the wrong part of the glyph, and it discharged, releasing a Chain Lightning effect, which also hit and harmed several of the bystanders at the door. Recovered from inside the chest were a magical scroll of Horrid Wilting, a periapt of health, and a jewelled corkscrew.

Moving to the next door, the room behind proved to contain a collection of books dedicated to planar knowledge. The collection was guarded by a quartet of what looked like elves, but which turned out to be Axiomites. The creatures attacked the group magically, in concert – one casting Haste, one casting lightning effects, and the third placing True Strike on the fourth, which attacked with a longsword. The magical battle raged across the room, and through the angelic portal intersection, and back into the previous room, but the Axiomites were soon destroyed.

The third isolated collection was dedicated to engineering, and magical constructs and golems. The guardians of the room turned out to be clockwork magi, each invested with a different school of magic – evocation, conjuration, transmutation and necromancy. Sadly, their effects were too weak to harm any in the group, and both Taber's fists and River's axe made short work of the automata. The room also turned out to contain an angel statue, but it appeared to have been damaged. Cailyn examined the statue, and determined how to operate it manually, but it would still not lock into place. Unsure what else could be happening, the group clustered about in the engineering library for safety, and Cailyn popped open the last door around the iris.

The fourth room proved to be dedicated to calling and binding outsiders, and was guarded by a pair of Aerial Servants, naturally invisible creatures of Elemental Air. They announced their presence by attacking Cailyn with violent blasts of wind, blowing her off her feet, and across the intersection, and then moved to engage the group in the other doorway. Scorcher, at the back of the group, attempted to reveal the creatures with a Glitterdust, but was unexpectedly attacked by one of the creatures, disrupting the spell and causing severe damage at the same time. River and Lekovi engaged this creature, while Taber concentrated on the being in the doorway, while Cailyn revealed the creature with a druidical Faerie Fire spell. 

Inside the chamber, Scorcher stepped back from his assailaint, to try and cast unhindered, but was thoroughly surprised when the creature followed him, and again choked him. This time, Scorcher died with a startled look on his face. Cailyn soon applied another Faerie Fire to this creature as well, allowing Taber and River to make short work of it.

Dismayed at Scorcher again being killed, the group managed to retreat back upstairs to the meditation chamber to rest and heal.

8th Abadius, Early morning
After breakfast, Lekovi teleported outside again, and visited Elder Thyrr, and explained their situation. Thyrr gave permission to allow the group to briefly exit the Mysterium to have Scorcher brought back from the dead. It turned out that Elder Lyhtiin had also been raised, although he was still recovering his full capabilities. He talked to the group about the Soul, and the puzzle lock that secured it. He also talked about the constructs that guarded the puzzle, warning they would leave the group alone unless they were attacked, or the puzzle failed.

Returning to the Cipher Obscura, continued exploration, and Lekovi finally dispelled the confusion and illusion effects, revealing the last door, which covered another haunted room. Unable to permanently remove the haunt, the group verified they had explored the entirety of this level, and so activated the final iris, descending to the Soul.

The soul turned out to be a large room, the walls formed from angel statues, many armed with spears and swords, and many wearing two-tone masks. The uneven floor was formed from carved faces. In a depression in the centre of the chamber stood a slightly rusted iron box, raised from the floor by four carved hands. The box was covered in etchings that writhed and slowly changed while observed. The etchings sometimes looked like words, sometimes letters, and sometimes simple icons and images. As Elder Lythiin had advised, they largely represented forces of creation or destruction. Looking around room for the means to deactivate the room's defenses, Cailyn also identified four constructs hidden among the angel statues, spread around the room at the cardinal points, the North one having already been smashed. After disabling the mysterium's wards, Cailyn urged River to destroy the rest. River was hesitant, and refused. The ex-amnesiacs instead attempted to solve the Soul puzzle box, eventually deciding to go with using Cailyn's mechanical know-how . While Cailyn worked on the puzzle, she selected several incorrect combinations, and the puzzle box reset. One of the constructs animated, and attacked. Lekovi was able to identify the thing as a Soulbound Shell, a spellcasting construct, with a living Soul bound to it. After dealing with the construct, River moved and attacked a second, inactive one, causing the third to join in the battle. Despite some powerful magic employed by the constructs, including Cloudkills and Beastshaping into a Shedu, all three were eventually overcome and destroyed.

Now unprotected, the group took their time to correctly complete the puzzle, and it unfolded, revealing a portal in it's top. The group dropped into the portal, and reappeared in a room almost identical to the one they had left, only with many sets of heavy chains hanging from the ceiling, containing blasphemous or dangerous tomes. One set of chains was empty. As the group took this in, they also saw a tall, glowing, winged, haloed, mouthless figure, wielding a flaming sword, covered in masses of scar tissue. As it's gaze rested on the group, it somehow screamed, and rushed at them.

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Murder in the Library

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtYWdNUV0ik

4 Abadius, Very Early Morning

At Cailyn's urging, the group took the left fork of the corner at the stairs, and warily moved on. After a short distance, they turned another corner to their right, and around the corner, could spy two side corridors. Taber paused, and heard the sloshing sounds he now associated with the Shoggoth creatures they had discovered. He alerted the group. Lekovi looked for signs of magic and thought, detecting a Strong abjuration in the area, but not thoughts. River rushed towards the side corridor, and the rest of the group moved to keep up.

The sight that greeted River was only a little unexpected – a mound of mouthy flesh four times the size of previous examples of the creature. As it squelched forwards the mouths all over the creature whispered a cacophany of half-heard words and nonsense sounds. Taber paused as the thing reached the doorway of the chamber it occupied, and sure enough, Scorcher launched a fireball into the room. The wet mound of flesh proved to be quite resistant to fire, as well as somewhat resistant to magic, much like it's smaller brethren had been. Lekovi applied Haste magic to the group. River stepped towards the creature to lunge at it. It had been waiting it's moment, and whipped out a sinuous pseuodopod to wrap and crush River as he struck at it, trying to block the passage leading to it. Cailyn ordered Chordata to wait, and launched an arrow ineffectually down the corridor.

Taber then took his action, and sailed over the heads of his allies and the creature, which flailed another pseudopod at him. Taber landed beside the creature, applying a series of kicks to it. The creature then healed some of its injuries, much as the smaller versions had, and proceeded to lash pseudopods at both River and Taber as it backed a little further into the room. Scorcher tried an Acid Arrow, only to find the thing also resistant to that energy type. Cailyn took advantage of the opening in the passage, and sent Chordata in to attack, while firing another arrow. 

River hacked at the thing, slicing away bits of the rubbery flesh, but making little headway. In response, the creature squeezed let go of River, and flailed about again with extruded pseudopods, doing massive amounts of damage to Chordata in the process, killing the rhino. Cailyn rushed into the room, slashing at the creature, as Taber also pounded on it, both to little effect. River stepped back, and applied protective and healing enchantments to himself, while Scorcher and Lekovi flung magical blasts at it.

Over the next few moments, while Cailyn  fought defensively from the corner, the creature knocked down both River and Taber, and then Cailyn. The mighty blows from the creature actually killed River outright, despite the two spellcasters in the corridor applying healing potions liberally, Lekovi using telekinetic magic to do so. As the creature pursued the two magical adepts down the side corridor, and out into the main corridor, Lekovi teleported away from its influence, blasting it with magic. Scorcher turned himself into a cloud of Scorching Ashes, which did not seem to have much effect on the creature, and it continued to tear his gaseous form apart.

Taking the opportunity at Scorcher's urging, Lekovi again teleported, this time into the room, out of sight of the thing. As it finished off Scorcher, Lekovi hastily poured a healing potion down Cailyn's throat. The creature rolled back into the room, just as Cailyn applied healing magic to Taber. Taber, using the style of the Monkey, lashed out from his supine position, and finally stilled the disgusting mound of flesh.

Dragging the two lifeless bodies into the den of the proto-shoggoth, the surviving amnesiacs lay down to recover their strength. In the process of making a camp, they discovered a body in a pile of furniture debris in the corner. The body turned out to be that of Elder Lythiin, who had been carrying a number of strong magical items, including a scroll of resurrection magic.

4 Abadius, Early Evening

During their double-length rest period, Lekovi began to feel increasingly ill, and looked very much the worse for wear on rising. Unable to do much about this without River, the remaining ex-amnesiacs determined they could not use the resurrection scroll, and so set out to see if Miacknian Munn could help them.

Finding the valve at the top of the shaft sealed, Lekovi again used his teleportive magic to pop out onto the other side. He then walked around the area, reactivating the statues to reopen the valve. Cailyn, now aware of the valve's properties, physically wedged the valve open, and they then went to Munn's bolthole.

Munn cautiously admitted the group, asking what had happened to poor River. Cailyn explained he had been killed, but that they had recovered a scroll to bring him back, and that they could not activate it. Munn replied that he was skilled in such matters, and spent a few minutes working through the process of doing so.

River was revived, and Munn looked closely at him, and realised he had been infected by the Shoggoth enzymes, and immediately shouted for the grouo to leave his sanctuary. The group backed out, and returned to their camp in the reference room on the third level, resting until River could regain his spells with the sun's rising.

5 Abadius, Early morning

Once River regained his magics, he attempted to heal the various inflictions in the group. Lekovi's fungal growths had advanced, but River seemed unable to remove that. He did successfully remove the Shoggoth enzymes from Lekovi's system, but was unable to remove his own. Now that the way above was held open, River moved their camp back to the spherical meditation room on the top floor, and the group then rested for another 24 hours, waiting for River's magics to return.

6 Abadius, Early morning

This time, Cailyn began showing signs of the shoggoth infection. After carefully examining everyone, it was determined that both River and Cailyn were infected, and that Lekovi still suffered from a magical curse. River was able to remove all three of these afflictions with his renewed spell repertoire, and in concert with Cailyn, was also able to cure most of the accumulated effects of them.

Renewed, but still without any way to heal Scorcher, Lekovi had a sudden inspiration…he suggested used his magic teleportation to try and move outside the library entirely into the city. River and Cailyn opined that this would not work due to the dimensional locks on the library, but Lekovi attempted it anyway. As it turned out, the inexperienced Elder Thyrr had been incorrect in her assessment of why the Hounds had not left the library. With his newfound freedom, Lekovi pondered his next move.

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