Korday, Marantus 11, 1018 A.G. – In Amoth’s Chamber
29 DAYS TO MoNR
Despite the fact that I had troubling visions during my meditation, I “awoke” to a new day feeling more refreshed and more powerful than ever, having been shown some new “tricks” by my god Corellon. The others also reported having acquired new and powerful feats. Kuiperia though, is still having problems focusing; her mind seems to be half here – half somewhere else.
So after a quick meal of trail rations, also known as beer to the Dwarves, we proceed back to the teleportation circle that will take us to Acererak’s hidden tomb where Cratch awaits us. Along the way, Groa tells us about a vision she had of Gabbe trying to reach her with a warning. She tries to reach back to Gabbe but can’t make contact. But she reports that she feels Gabbe is trying to warn us about our circumstance. I remind the others we have to summon Lareen once we get to Acererak’s hidden tomb. Ungus, not satisfied with just the beer, pulls out a bottle of 150 year-old whiskey and passes it around. Groa doesn’t partake so I drink her share too! Oh yeah! Cratch wants to know which god we want to resurrect. We’re not sure we want to resurrect any of them since it involves a high risk. Even so, we vote to resurrect Amoth the Just and Merciful, in whose chamber we spent the night. Cratch tells us to bring a few pounds of his bone fragments so Groa summons her Fetch to retrieve some and carry them. The Fetch, in the form of a little Halfling girl, heads back to Amoth’s chamber. Moments later, it returns taking the shape of a mini Gabbe, waving her tentacles, trying and failing to communicate with us then returning to her Halfling form. All of us start praying to our respective gods. As Ungus also summons Boldra, a transparent image of the bear being tortured from his challenge appears before us. It says: “Do not have the hubris to resurrect a god! Because of your past actions, a cosmic imbalance has occurred which could destroy the whole world!” then it quickly disappears. At first we take issue with that but then quickly realize some of our collateral damage might indeed have upset the balance of the universe. Ungus also theorizes this is the warning that Gabbe has been trying to convey. On the other hand, Cratch chastises us for listening to Boldrei, asking why we would give up the chance to bring a god back to life. Ungus smacks him upside the head. So taking everything into consideration, we decide not to resurrect a god after all. Morthwyl takes a moment to pray to Kord again, it being his day and all. Then Ungus surprises us with one of his new “tricks”. He casts a spell summoning a Chariot of Clouds pulled by a winged horse which of course can fly! Groa and Ungus climb onboard with Morthwyl and me standing close by – Morthwyl up front and me protecting the rear. Cratch will stay here with Kuiperia. Bidding them goodbye, we place the last gem in the crown of the engraved skull, activating the teleportation circle, then we proceed to enter.
Somewhere between here and there, some of us got separated – but still within visual range. Groa and I arrived in separate teleportation circles while the Dwarves arrived together, Ungus and Boldra still in the Chariot. We look across the large chamber at each other. The entire floor is comprised of massive blocks of black necrotic ice and in the center are 5 feet high concentric “steps” leading upwards to a main plateau where a massive Gollum stares down at us. Hovering high above it is a MASSIVE Eldritch Engine radiating crackling lightning and necrotic energy in all directions, resonating into the walls, floor and ceiling. We sense the black ice is damaging necrotic cold, getting more dangerous the higher the level.
I call for Lareen the Eladrin Vampire Lord to assist us now, appearing in the same teleportation circle as the Dwarves and the Chariot. As the battle starts, I call out my word of warning, giving us a head start and an edge on our first attacks. As we prepare for battle we spot a large shining gem, spinning in the center of the Eldritch Engine. Ungus tells everyone in his area to spread out then he commands the Chariot to float out over the first “step”. There he attacks the Gollum with one of his spells, making it unable to attack us for a short time. Then he quickly scans the Gollum, noting its skeletal form with crystal shards and strips of rotting flesh wrapped around it. Where a head should be is a large skull with a small crystal skull in the left eye socket. Ungus relays this information to us, also noting the pulsating gem in the center of the Eldritch Engine is a phylactery and the jewel-encrusted skull inside the Gollum’s skull is Acererak himself. The Gollum would become the god body of Acererak if he ever ascends to godhood. Lareen yells out to destroy the EE and he is sure the phylactery will be destroyed as well. Now the EE spits out necrotic bolts of lightning energy at Ungus, causing him to spit up some whiskey. Groa then attacks the Gollum with one of her powerful spells also trying to slide it down over the edge. Unfortunately it caught its balance, cantilevered over the edge but she did manage to lower its defenses. Then she showed us one of HER new “tricks” by invoking her new “angel” power. To our astonishment, beautiful angelic wings sprouted from her branches and she took to the air, flying out of her circle. Yours truly then attacks it three times, noticing something strange around its head. It’s wearing a jewel-encrusted headband! In three of the six jewels, I notice the ghostly faces of Uncle Crogan, Nimozarin and the Dragon Cantryst. The Gollum then bellows out that he has room for three more and since there are four of us, one of us is going to get lucky! So I bellow back at him that he is going to be destroyed soon. Then I hit him three more times, immobilizing him then I go invisible, one of MY new tricks. In response, it takes a deep breath and one of the face gems collapses into its forehead as we hear Cantryst let out an agonizing scream. It then says “I love the taste of souls in the morning!” as we sense it has healed itself quite a bit by ingesting Cantryst’s soul. (Dam, we need to remove that headband quickly and save the other two.) It then turns its attention on Ungus, trying to drain his soul, but only dazing and restraining him. Morthwyl senses the black ice will not only hurt him, it will also try to repel him if he tries to climb up. So instead he calls upon the power of his jumping boots and jumps all the way up to the Gollum’s feet. He then power attacks the Gollum four times, hitting with three of them! Not satisfied, he hits it again with his Anvil of Doom stunning him. The EE then hits Groa twice, dazing her after I saved her from one attack. Lareen moves around to the long side of the platform, casting his dominating gaze upon the Gollum but misses at the last minute. The necrotic ice starts causing minor damage to me and Lareen but lots of damage to Morthwyl who is on thicker, more deadly ice up there. Ungus tries and fails to undaze himself but Groa helps him by demanding justice. Then he squints up at the headband tied around the Gollum’s head and is inspired to remove it. So he flies the chariot up to the back of the Gollum’s head, reaching out and pulling on it with the power of his bracers helping. As he pulls it, he notices that not only is it tied, it is actually stitched into its head. Disappointed he was only able to break some of the stitches, he retreats cursing to himself. The Gollum didn’t like him touching his head so it attacks him with lighting and necrotic damage. Groa, no longer dazed, casts Rain of Blood on it, making it vulnerable and boosting Morthwyl’s attacks on it. Then she flies in closer, casting another spell on it with radiant damage and dazing it again. Her spell also will cause it more damage if it hits any of her allies. I become visible, attack it twice with radiant damage also, blinding and bloodying it and also preventing it from any possible teleporting then I go invisible again, protecting myself. (I quite like this new trick.) The Gollum can’t move but he does manage to restore his vision. Morthwyl then charges it, causing it to yowl in pain and tries to push it further off the ledge but again it maintains its balance. With a few choice Dwarven cuss words, he tries to push it again. This time it is knocked prone but still stops itself from going over the edge. Eyeing that headband, Morthwyl then slowly waddles over toward its downed head. Meanwhile the EE starts attacking Groa twice as Lareen take on his mist form and flies toward the Gollum. Ungus casts a burst on it, stunning it then the EE attacks him twice in the Chariot, missing both times. Did I mention the Chariot provides excellent cover? Morthwyl then attempts to remove the headband, grabbing it with both hands and pulling it as he prays. He slips on the ice and fails to remove it but frustrated, attacks the Gollum again. Groa flies over the Gollum’s head, takes out a knife then pries it off! Yeah! She gazes at the worried faces of Uncle Crogan and Nimozarin in the headband’s gems. I then take out and fire 3 of my firestorm arrows causing it lots of damage but also a little bit to Groa and Lareen who were too close. The EE attacks Morthwyl this time as Larry recharges his dominating gaze power, fires it off and misses. (I silently growl!) Ungus casts another spell on it, dazing it again and lowering both its attacks and defenses. The EE attacks Groa again, dazing her then the Gollum casts a blast on her, stunning and bloodying her. Morthwyl drinks a Fey Step potion and teleports up two levels, right under the Gollum’s belly then attacks it, causing lots more damage. I then attack it and drink a Potion of Clarity in case I need it later. The EE attacks Groa but Morthwyl switches places with her and takes the damage, getting dazed. Lareen teleports up to the Gollum, attacking it with his Touch of Grief, dazing him. About time he did something right! After Ungus heals Groa, Morthwyl and himself, the Gollum grabs the headband back, away from Groa before she had a chance to fly away. Quickly the Gollum consumed another of the souls trapped there – this time we hear Nimozarin scream as he is devoured. Uncle Crogan’s soul is the only one left – and he looks stunned himself. Angry at herself, Groa now flies just far enough away to turn and cast her mighty Thundercage spell on the Gollum, trying in vain to slide him. Morthwyl now steps up and, grabbing the headband with two hands, pulls it away from the Gollum once again and in one swift motion, tosses it to where he last saw me standing before going invisible. What a sight that must have been! A headband with jewels, one of which contained the essence of Uncle Crogan, flying through the air, stopping and then disappearing! What actually happened was my invisible self reached up, caught the headband and quickly placed it in my haversack. I hear a faint “thank you” followed by a whine of “it’s dark in here!” I whisper he is lucky to be alive to which he says “you call this living?” I tell him to shut up, I’m invisible out here and he is giving my position away. Then, becoming visible as I do before and during each attack, I send a burst of arrows down onto the Gollum’s head and shoulders. Ungus casts another amazing spell which nullifies the Gollum’s attacks while Lareen gets bloodied from the EE. Finally the Gollum manages to stand back up then reaches down and picks up an unsuspecting Morthwyl, slamming him into the ground several times. Even though Morthy becomes bloodied, he laughs the whole time he is being body-slammed and stunned. Groa retaliates by casting her Astral Tempest spell, sliding and knocking the Gollum prone once again. Calling upon my most mighty powers, I teleport up all the levels of necrotic black ice, appearing next to the Gollum’s left ear. With all my might behind me, I pull back my trusty arrow, smashing it thru its thick head, right into the “brain”, destroying it. The Gollum body dissolves into a rubbery mass of rotted meat and pieces of shattered crystals. But now Acererak is left hovering 5 feet above ground. Lareen tries and fails to dominate him then Ungus heals Morthwyl who tries to use his Hammer of Fate to bash him but he fails in the attempt.
Wait! What’s happening over there? One of the teleportation circles activates whereupon Acererak flies into it and disappears! We all know where he is going – to his original Tomb of Horrors back on Arantus. We also know if we destroy his phylactery, then he will have 10 days to construct a new one – and we will NOT let that happen. Morthwyl and I jump into the floating Chariot and get ready to destroy the EE. Then Ungus flies the Chariot up under the EE. Morthwyl and I both attack, but I miss. Morthwyl’s attack starts a collapse however which continues as Groa attacks it. Then Morthwyl hammers it again, further collapsing it. I then reach out, grabbing it with my hands and manage to manipulate it enough to crush it entirely. The engine and gem dissolve while its energy dissipates into who knows where. While we are standing there, amazed at what happened, Lareen points out that the teleportation circle is still open but fading fast. If we want to pursue our enemy, we need to get into the portal before it closes. Groa joins us in the Chariot and we fly into the circle hot on Acererak’s trail. Hopefully we get a chance to take a short breather along the way!