S05E08 – The Stronghold of Osirik

Vignette fades in.

The session starts with a flashback to earlier that day. Draugdur and Arancon, two new recruits from the cult Lolth, the goddess of deception, trickery and spiders, have just arrived to Arana. Gondyan, a more seasoned cultist, is their host. Draugdur appears to have an unhealthy obsession with spiders while Arancon has joined the cult in order to find a friend who joined the cult months ago. While they are still chitchatting another cultist arrives and asks them to help him with an urgent matter.

Vignette fades out.

We are back at the forest outside of Arana where the players’ group had just been ambushed by the cultists. A bloody few minutes after the fight started the only cultists alive are Draugdur and Arancon. The group takes their time to decide what to do with them. After some interrogation and much deliberation the group agrees to have Arancon help them find the Stronghold of Osirik, the cultists’ hideout, where Torggar may be prisoner. Arancon also tells them that he has heard that the entrance is surrounded by water and that a paradox needs to be stated to open the portal to the elemental plane of chaos where the stronghold is. The group then heads back to Arana to find a place to keep Draugdur away from the cult. With the group waiting for her outside of the inner city wall Ada talks with Masala and convinces him to help them.

Lead by Masala the group goes to the young district and ties Draugdur to a supporting beam inside the house of a friend of Masala and muzzles him with a dirty sock.

With Draugdur out of the way Masala goes in search of Eldil, one of the guard leaders who appeared to be against Malon while the group regroups at the inn.

Once there the innkeeper gives Fenna an invitation someone delivered for her. It’s an invitation to a ballroom party at Malon’s mansion that same night. The wedding hasn’t started yet but with so many guests, the death of the priest and the rumors of people disappearing the purpose of the party as a distraction is obvious to the group. Still they decide it will be a great opportunity to search for the cultists stronghold and they decide to go.

Fenna and Ada get dressed with help from the innkeeper and go to the mansion while Dave, Mara-kai and Arancon stay right outside of it hidden among the bushes.

Inside the mansion the ballroom party is going on. Both locals and guests from Fenna’s hometown are enjoying elf music, a lavish banquet. Ada starts spying Malon while Fenna gets to dance with a nobleman who approaches her.

After a few minutes of boringness Malon’s butler comes into the main ballroom room and whispers something to Malon. They then both go to the entrance hall, discreetly followed by Ada, where a tall creature covered with a hood is waiting. Malon and the creature take the stairs up with Ada still behind them who manages to hear their conversation:

“Look Sheerash, this can’t continue like this. The amount of people disappearing is starting to attract too much attention. My cook came to me the other day asking me questions about the pond and the strange mist surrounding it”, said Malon.

“I know”.

“And you know Evanda?”

“Oh, that maid of yours you fancy more than your wife?”

“After meeting her the other day she saw some of your minions carrying another dead body through the trees. She came back to me and started to ask questions and I had had to kill her. Keeping the portal connection open is becoming too costly and dangerous. Find out how to open the other portals soon”.

“Don’t fear Malon. The dwarf priest we captured is breaking down now. He will start talking soon and the new portals will be open. Lolth will greatly compensate you for all your services”.

Ada goes back to the ballroom and after updating Fenna they send an animal messenger to tell Mara-kai and Dave to meet them at the back of the mansion.

Once they regroup they start looking around and eventually find a misty pond leading into a pitch black cave. Ada starts nervously dabbling one of her feet in the water. After realizing the bottom of the pond is covered with skulls and bones she decides her feet are safer on solid ground. She then states a paradox but nothing happens. Ada suggests sacrificing the tied up cultist back in Arana to open the portal but after further deliberations the idea gets discarded. Ada throws a torch inside. Nothing keeps happening. Eventually Fenna gets into the water and starts walking straight into the darkness. A minute later she reappears back at the entrance. Apparently the cave acts like a mirror.

Fenna then states a paradox (“The statement is false”). The surface of the water trembles and with, some reluctance, the group crosses the portal.

At the other side of the portal the group finds itself in a barren island floating through space. In the distance a stronghold rises into a dark sky lit only by distant stars. The group approaches the stronghold and once they reach the drawbridge a hex knight and a group of spiders jumps at them. While the group is dispatching a huge limping demonic aberration appears in the horizon. Luckily the group kills the monsters just in time. They get inside into the stronghold and block the big doors before the aberration arrives.

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