Monday, December 19, 2016

Charisma of the Ancients - Princes of the Apocaverse - Session Nine

The Chapters and Cast of the Ballad

The party awakened within the lich’s lab;
An uncomfortable rest had just been had;
Now ready to leave areas most drab;
And face the cultists who had gone quite mad.

Renwick was most eager to see their backs;
And entered to see where they might go;
He entered the room and watched their tracks;
Making sure they dealt him no subtle blow.

Angus investigated the door to the garden;
Beyond which lay gargoyles set to guard;
Dealing with such beasts would be a burden;
As the only enchanted blade lay with the bard.

Marle for her part chose to sing a song;
Of two heroic brothers from long ago;
Who in their adventures never chose wrong;
Plucking the strings of her yarting at soft tempo.

The devilish bard stirred memories of heroism;
And the lich made two final concessions;
For the stalwart paladin he gifted an amulet;
And led the party below with discretions.

Through a tomb prepared for his brother;
Still lying within Summit Hall’s mausoleum;
The lich gave them two doors to bother;
And they left for an earthy coliseum.

Past lock arcane they found a iron door;
Dented and tried by some great strength;
It’s lock proved no bar for Lohn’s lock lore;
And he unlocked before within arm’s length.

Beyond lay a chamber of raw red earth;
With stairs leading up to chambers above;
And a monster within a caged berth;
Which against the bars did mightily shove.

Elivia found a hole in her arcane knowledge;
But the arcane technician recognized the beast;
An umber hulk cruelly treated in bondage;
With eyes put out by those that cared not the least.

Lohn’s keen eye saw that the stairs were trapped;
And judged the bars would quite hold for a time;
Before the beast’s strength found them snapped;
Though he suggested caution on the climb.

Voices from cultists in halls overhead;
Heard the sound of the creature’s thrashing;
One came to check the monster’s bed;
And for his troubles received a thrashing.

Fennle wasted no time in darting up the stairs;
Past the guard growing feathers and knife;
She found another guard minding affairs;
Standing at a lever meant to end life.

Lohn slipped forward into the room cautiously;
While Angus checked the companions to his dagger;
Not watching the guard fall kathunk bodily;
The rogue’s work causing the cultist to more than stagger.

Fennle moved before the second guard could register;
Slicing through the body of the fatal lever;
She applied the use of the kienzan in manner proper;
It now would trigger the mechanism never.

Marle’s wings spread and carried her through the air;
Not touching the dangerous steps in her path;
She came above to see the altar of this cult’s lair;
And inspire Fennle to righteous wrath.

The guard tossed down the useless rod;
He lifted his morningstar in bloody rage;
Loudly crying as he his feet did plod;
Fennle was struck in the face of the rampage.

Elivia followed the tiefling’s direction as much as able;
Her heavenly blood not granting parallel wings;
She came up into the shrine of soil a shade of sable;
But pillars blocked sight of where the fight rings.

Below the umber hulk slammed against the bars;
Until Talindra approached it with soothing words;
Calming its rage with her fey manner and airs;
Promising it would be maltreated no more forwards.

Lohn supported the paladin’s chosen direction;
By taking the dead guard’s body to the gate;
And offering it to the beast a bloody confection;
Which did partially cause his ire to sate.

Angus decided to leave the pit to the monster;
And joined the others in the fight above;
He focused all his time on moving farther;
Daggers hungry for blood within his glove.

Fennle and Marle surrounded the Black Earth Guard;
And while the bard’s blades were deflected away;
The monk’s fist slammed through the stone hard;
And through the chinks her spear found prey.

In one strike her body and soul aligned;
And in that instant the Celebrant’s Robe flared;
Her spirit swelled with celestial power refined;
An unlooked-for reward for what she had dared.

On his last legs, the guard called for aid;
And in desperation swung at the heroes;
Again striking the monk as her surprise did fade;
But striking the nimble bard with naught but zeroes.

Elivia turned her wand against the fading foe;
The unfailing darts struck true as always;
But miraculously the enemy survived the blow;
Though now his body haltingly sways.

The cleric took one more action as time passed;
Offering the monk a word of vitality;
And restoring some of the health she had lost;
Giving her back some combat stability.

Talindra called for Lohn to work on opening the cage;
As she drew her blade and charged up to the shrine;
Pushing past the tiefling to take on the cultist’s rage;
Presenting the stone-armored thug a dangerous sign.

Lohn applied his invisible hand to the task at hand;
And managed to work the mechanism a tiny bit;
Lifting the gate a foot off the stone at his command;
The hulk immediately saw the opportunity writ.

Above Angus heard the sounds of approaching foes;
He took position and readied his knife;
As gargoyles and duergar burst through the doors;
And a stone-winged foe sought his life.

He agilely fled though the gargoyle managed a swipe;
Drawing red blood from the lines of his claws;
While the rogue’s blade manage little more than tripe;
He watched as more enemies swarmed without pause.

Another gargoyle swept to join the first;
But could reach no prey upon which to feast;
The dark dwarves slaked their bloodthirst;
By giving their pikes Elivia on which to feast.

Two other duergar drove up from the main doors;
But couldn’t reach where the party stood;
One traveled toward war Mystra’s chosen faced foes;
The other moved to where living stone drew blood.

A Black Earth Priest called for death to unbelievers;
Then cast a spell to climb up along the walls;
Taking him out of range of most mortal dangers;
Near the ceiling he watched to see what befalls.

Fennle finished off the fading guard’s last breath;
Ending his life and remaining threat;
Though her eye was already on the priest’s death;
And she readied her next action set.

Marle darted towards the gargoyle’s threat;
And commented on their apparent occupation;
Serving pigeons as a living water closet;
Driving the stone beast to utter frustration.

Elivia reached out with a hand encased in lightning;
Mystra empowered the cleric’s touch with arcane power;
And the charge find easy path through steel scales surging;
Stealing away the dark dwarf’s readiness and glower.

Another word taught by Mystra’s grace;
Helped blunt some of the damage suffered;
Some wounds vanishing without a trace;
Before bracing herself feeling a bit flustered.

Below the iron bars were wrenched upward into the ceiling;
Freeing the beast into the battle scene;
The stairs were stable and could not be set to falling;
Soon it would gain vengeance for its treatment mean.

Talindra clanged her shield drawing attention to her;
And called for a blessing of fey favor on her allies;
Touching upon herself, the monk and tiefling far;
That their blades might bring out enemy death sighs.

A duergar near the stairs acquired a feathery growth;
Which spouted a fountain of scarlet life;
He tried weakly to express his shock with a foul oath;
But with thick blood his throat was rife.

A gargoyle twisted past the tiefling’s position;
The bard struck out at the creature’s stony hide;
But her rapier had difficulty with the audition;
And Angus faced the claws at the end of the glide.

The cunning rogue again retreated;
Escaping all the gargoyle’s claws;
To reach the altar with wounds untreated;
Then he searched about to find loose straws.

He spotted the faltering duergar with arrow in its neck;
And added a dagger to the dark dwarf’s troubles;
The dagger made of the dwarf’s struggles a total wreck;
He stumbled a step then fell speaking in blood bubbles.

The duergar warriors again lashed out with their picks;
Striking at the paladin and cleric between their anger rampant;
The paladin took a solid blow from the vicious mix;
Though weathered it well through the amulet’s enchantment.

The priest then intoned a horrible incantation;
Of power granted by corrupted elemental soil;
Striking like a thunderous blow on the lower position;
Elivia and Talindra each resisted the cacophonous toil.

The duergar warriors suffered their leader’s reckless wrath;
The terrible sound rattling their skulls thoroughly;
They remained standing but began to reconsider the bloodbath;
And stayed standing rather narrowly.

Another gargoyle attacked the winged tiefling;
But in its bardically induced rage;
She finds dodging its blows but a trifling;
As if facing an enemy of much advanced age.

Fennle took aim at the priest in his perch;
But the dart flew wide of its mark;
While the monk was already making a search;
For a new position to support the bard dark.

Channeling her internal sun into more lethal disks;
She lashed outward against one of the flying statues;
Radiant energy sliced into the monster announcing the risks;
The gargoyles had in facing such powerful crews.

Marle flitted away back over the pit and to the altar;
Aiming to reach Angus and heal his hurts;
Unfortunately the gargoyle’s claws no longer faltered;
And when she arrived her own condition was worse.

Elivia lashed out again with lightning filled hand;
Barely striking through the scales of steel;
And sapping the already tested morale of the band;
Before Mystra’s words her wounds did heal.

The umber hulk then burst up out of the darkness;
Looming large and vicious beside the gargoyles;
Its eyes turned past the monsters and their hardness;
And latched on the cultist when its rage boils.

Talindra then grasped Elivia and pulled her back;
Shielding her from the duergar’s attacks;
Taking some damage but returning a look black;
Before granting the electrocuted duergar’s skull some cracks.

Lohn’s next arrow flew quite wide;
So he remained in the darkness below;
And kept to his impromptu hunter’s hide;
To wait another chance to strike a foe.

The gargoyles tried to harry the umber hulk uselessly;
Only barely scratching it with little effect;
Unable to turn the ire directed to the cultists viciously;
Only one claw managed to even connect.

Angus shifted aside and through another dagger;
Slaying another duergar before he could move;
Leaving only two remaining dark dwarf lagger;
With a wealth of pride and wrath to prove.

He lashed out with his war pick at the paladin;
And failed to break past the Talindra’s shield;
The half-elf felt the confidence of Ancient kin;
And kept hold of the attention on the field.

Marle focused attention on another duergar;
“It’s getting hot in here,” she warned sharply;
As the dwarf’s scale mail heated like a star;
Searing the warrior’s skin quite largely.

Fennle turned her attention back on stone beasts;
Another barrage of kienzan disks bringing an eruption;
Of stone flesh which would find no more feasts;
And again the Celebrant Robe sent her ki rushing.

The cooked duergar fled behind a pillar;
And clumsily tried to doff his scales;
Screaming in pain as this heat proved killer;
Thinking of how this was the end of his tales.

Elivia wielded her wand of missiles with a determined glint;
Striking the priest with three bolts of force;
He lost his grip upon his spidery enchantment;
Bringing the beast of man falling to the stone coarse.

Seeing his chance the umber hulk charged;
And applied to this beast of a madman livid;
Bronze blades which the villain himself forged;
Converting the Black Earth Priest from solid to liquid.

Talindra offered the last duergar a surrender;
But the dark dwarf called out in defiance;
Leading her to bring to bear her wrath in splendor;
To a splinter of life they were reduced hence.

Then Angus rushed from the side;
Ending the dwarf’s wicked life;
In his lifetime’s full stride;
Leaving only a gargoyle to face the knife.

The gargoyle again lashed out at the umber hulk;
Lashing out a chunk of the monstrosity’s flesh;
And bringing the great beast to more than sulk;
Until Marle stepped in make his health fresh.

Fennle unleashed another strike of solar fire;
Catching the gargoyle not once but twice;
And leaving it annoyed and growing in ire;
But also fear creeping through black blood like ice.

Elivia then called upon another of Mystra’s blessing;
Lining Talindra’s blade with holy power;
Before casting another word of healing;
Then leaving the gargoyle to face this final hour.

The umbra hulk and Talindra maneuvered about;
Leaving the stone beast flanked and tearing into it;
The hulk having difficulty slashing the magical clout;
But a divine blow of fey power from its wings did split.

A last barrage of ki blades finished the last gargoyle;
As Marle darted forward to apply her skill with blades;
And cow the last duergar trying to escape a boil;
As he was cowed by the tiefling’s violent trades.

The Chapters and Cast of the Ballad

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