For backgrounds on the characters played in this campaign, look here~
Pitched in a desperate battle with Belishan the Bloodmage, the adventurers were faced with what could well be their most perilous fight to date; already, a great many potent resources had been exhausted in combating Belishan and his companions–and with Cassandra dead and Zantric felled, Gothroc Gro-Bromac emerged in the paladin’s stead to engage the party’s potent foes as Emma struggled to overcome the magically-induced fatigue which smothered her rage.
While Brother Vang and Pandora moved in tandem to engage Belishan’s kukri-wielding double and the minstrel daemon freshly arrived, Anselme–now in the form of an earth elemental–began to work with Meryk in securing the antechamber. Anselme summoned forth a trio of two-headed ettins to help battle the growing number of new arrivals–manta-ray-like lurker wraiths assailing the party still through the very walls of the tower.
Perturbed by the intrusion but pressed by the nearness of Gothroc and Emma, Belishan loosed a final hidden spell before withdrawing through a door at the rear of the hall; not long afterward, the statue in the antechamber animated–revealing itself to be a petrified horror from which a veritable whirlwind of blood sprang forth! Several were blinded by the chaotic swirl and Meryk was swift to focus upon the monstrosity–joined by Emma soon after as the pair quickly attempted to destroy it.
Gothroc fought furiously against the bebilith in the great hall in the meantime–though the blinding blood ensured the fighter missed a great many blows, only further adding to his rage. The bebilith ripped away Gothroc’s armor before Emma and Meryk together were able to cast away the summoned monster; afterward, Meryk moved to maneuver into the other room adjoining the antechamber, only to discover several greater shadows within–which in turn soon joined the greater fight.
By now, Pandora had eviscerated the minstrel daemon–but she and Brother Vang were hard pressed by Belishan’s body-double, both receiving grievous wounds from flurried claw and kukri strikes. With the bebilith gone and the petrified horror slain, not long afterward a new threat emerged in the great hall doubtless courtesy of Belishan–a strange and terrifying horological golem which seemed to hold control over the flow of time itself.
A blast from the golem sent several of the Ettin along with Brother Vang and Anselme into a state of stasis; as Emma and Gothroc began to assault the towering construct, ripples of time slowed their movements–and some blows were reversed, lessened and swung again. Pandora managed to free Brother Vang from his stasis such that the crusader could attend to Anselme–as well as the potent wounds dealt by the horological golem; some of the creation’s vicious blows continued to recur in moments thereafter, marking it as a significant threat to all.
In a desperate exchange, Pandora engaged Belishan’s double directly–receiving wounds which very nearly slew her, were it not for a clutch reserve of false life to wreath herself; against the odds, the drow managed to strike a critical wound against her adversary–nearly disemboweling him, a sufficient enough blow to give him pause. Ceding the field, Belishan’s double withdrew with his star-covered robe–shifting away from Golarion’s material plane to fight another day.
Meryk had destroyed the greater shadows and lurker wraiths, now freed to engage the golem in the hall; between he, Emma and Gothroc combined with an added assault from Anselme, at long last the horological golem was destroyed. Yet as the construct’s core ruptured, a great burst of temporal malignment echoed throughout the floor of the tower–and with it, Gothroc and Pandora were aged dramatically, Sister Anya vanished without a trace and Emma and Anselme were flung forward some ten minutes into the future–leaving their fellows, dazed and disoriented, to regroup hastily.
Recognizing the statue beside Belishan’s throne as one of the nine disciples, Pandora quickly secured it before she and the remaining party members–Gothroc, Meryk and Brother Vang–sought to retreat from the tower. With the fates of their friends unknown, the four began to quickly descend–hoping to re-unite with their followers and make exodus from the tower before further losses could be sustained. Along the way, Pandora spied the heavily trapped laboratory once more–separating from the others as she sought to recover anything of value or interest within.
Halfway down the tower stairs, the remaining trio found the way lower blocked off–but re-united with the dwarven brothers Thorlode, who helped them to further tend their wounds. Deciding to fight their way to an exit on that floor, Meryk, Gothroc and Brother Vang–accompanied by the duo of clerics–began to battle a great many vampire spawn as well as a stranger, a skeletal gunslinger who dueled Meryk in a tense exchange of ranged combat. Once past and freed, the five proceeded to an opening in the structure wall onto the roof of the lower building.
Outside, a thunderstorm had begun as silhouettes moved about the sky; Aurakraul the dragoness was spied engaged with the bugbear the party had spied before–though now he had mounted a fiendish wyvern with tower shield and saddle, their shapes interspersed in the darkness above. As lightning flashes illuminated the courtyard below, the Khanjar’s monks could be seen fighting vampire spawn–while on the landing before the entrance to the tower Brother Vang found his knights and paladins holding fast against waves of undead, joined by other companions as the group sought an exit.
Rejoining their followers, a grand battle began to unfold rounding the treacherous steps from the Crooked Tower’s ascent; a great many spawn sought to harry and engage the adventurers on their withdraw, while an ossuary golem and a devilish [i]spiderbear[/i] also assailed them from surprise. Meryk received a sending, words from Iramine–terse and secretive, yet assuring to the man; she had been taken by blue-robed cultists, ferried through a dark and dangerous place–and awaited now within a great forge, somewhere within the city.
Emboldened, Meryk fought all the harder–his charge once more renewed; the battle at the Crooked Tower [i]must[/i] be won, so that he and his fellows could venture to her rescue. Coupled with the prophecies Brother Vang had unearthed–and the fate of the matron of his youth–a great vigor encompassed both men in the midst of the chaos which surrounded them, their determination at its peak.
Within the tower, Pandora managed to recover a spellbook and other valuables–but had loosed a torrent of will-o-wisps, quickly making a retreat from the lab. As she began to descend, the drow was faced with a frightful four-armed construct–and so leapt through the tower window instead, managing through an incredible display of acrobatics to land astride Aurakraul’s back mid-flight.
By then, the rest of the party had fought their way nearer to the courtyard–joined by fighting men from the Linnorn lands and other henchfolk and followers trickling free from the tower’s interior. Amid the many corpses in the courtyard arose a singular monstrous entity–a warsworn, an enormous animate mass of armed and armored corpses. As well, the vampire bloodknight fought at King Kroma’s burial weeks ago revealed himself once more–the stakes of the battle heightened further as magic and might were brought to bear.
From the sky, Pandora and Aurakraul rained down breath attacks and magic while Meryk loosed volleys and Gothroc cut down many a foe with a great flourish of critical strikes; Brother Vang and his companions of Ozem laid many undead low through potent positive energy channeled among them, staving off many wounds and injuries against the tide of their foes. While the bugbear and his wyvern had gone scarce, lost among the chaos–thunderous sounds could be heard from the top of the Crooked Tower as an unseen battle unfolded there as well.
Together, the adventurers managed to beat back the warsworn and vampire spawn–clearing a path to make their withdraw from the tower with a sizable procession in tow; what had become of Emma, Anselme and Anya was yet to be seen or known–and the fates of those three, along with that of Cassandra and Zantric–would be discerned in the hours ahead. With their conflict with Belishan temporarily set to a standstill, the party’s eyes turned toward that ominous mar on the face of Tsar: the stairs of doom awaited!
Thanks for bearing with us for this three-parter; we had a recess this last Saturday, but next we’ll be back in swing and see what unfolds for Emma and Anselme–and what awaits at Mordecai’s Doom!