After spending time recovering in the Elven camp, the group were again approached by Eviana with a new mission. Rumours had reached her of a glowing light being seen at night from the Coliseum of Mask and Lyre, on the north eastern corner of the city ruins. Eviana told the group about the former muse of the Coliseum, and her hope that she may still be there. She asked the group to attempt to make contact, and possibly gather the muse as an ally for the Elves. Thankfully, Eviana was not too familliar with the group’s history of spirit negotiations…
The group rested for the day, and approached the Coliseum at night. Seeing the soft glow of light emanating from a hole in the walls, they sent the majority of the group quietly to this entrance, while the plate-wearing cleric stomped noisily to the front door, and opened it.
Inside the building, the group were met by an unusual sight – a small, glowing ball of light floated through the ruined hall, humming eerie music, while a hulking grey creature made of muscle, and standing twice as tall as a man, watched in enraptured fascination.
Taking the strange vista in their stride, the group immediately attempted to attack the ball of light. The light ball stopped singing, and an enraged look came onto the features of the grey muscled creature. Unknown to the group, the ball of light was a will-o’-wisp, and the muscled creature a Grey Render that had bonded itself to the will-o’-wisp. Without the ‘singing’, the Render decided the group was a threat.
The dwarven tactician first tried to attack the wisp, but found it to be slippery customer, as it evaded his blows. The rest of the group followed his lead, although the majority of them attacked the Grey Render rather than the wisp. The wisp, after once harming the dwarf, was pelted by magic missiles from the sorceror, and so turned his attention that way on future rounds. Turning invisible, the wisp glided over to the sorceror and zapped him. Knowing how dangerous the wisp was, the sorceror attempted a self-targeted Glitterdust, and blinded himself, although he did reveal the location of the wisp.
The rest of the group had meanwhile downed the Render, and turned their attention on the wisp. After a short combat, the wisp was also defeated. The group then spent some time searching the Coliseum.
Almost immediately, they stumbled on what appeared to be the nest of several lizards…which turned out to be Shocker Lizards. All 5 of them surrounded the party in a coordinated fashion, and let fly with a blast of lightning, totally unaware that at least 2 of the group were resistant to this energy type. As the group moved in and killed the lizards quickly, the second threat of the room revealed itself – another Shambling Moung, living in symbiosis with the shocker lizards. Having met one of these creatures before, however, the group made quick work of it.
Continuing their search, the group eventually located the concealed descent to the Ossuary. Once in the Ossuary, the group faced the spirit of Jochareil, the spirit of the ancient Aasimar muse of the Coliseum. Attempting to negotiate with the spirit proved futile, as the years of her lone imprisonment in her abandoned home had sent her hopelessly insane. The group instead used their ghost-killing experience to put her down again temporaily, knowing that she was likely to reincorporate again, unless the mission keeping her on the material plane was fulfilled. The cleric was convinced that this mission was protecting the Coliseum, and that it was likely to be fulfilled by the Elves again occupying Celwynvian.
Returning again to camp, the group recovered from their exertions before being approached by Eviana with their next task.
Eviana declared that the time had come to make a decisive blow in the war to retake the city from the Drow. It was time to attack the site of the Armageddon Echo – the Academy of the Arts.
Eviana outlined her plan – the majority of the Elven forces would keep the Drow around the city engaged, clearing a path to the Academy. Three small groups would then assault the Academy, and bring the war to a close. The player group, and two Elven groups, led by Kaerishiel and Shalelu. Now subdued and deferential to the group, in gratitude for their rescue, Kaerishiel asked the group which of the three entrance points they wished to breach.
Choosing the most heavily guarded portal, the group rushed the front door. The handful of drow guarding the gate proved as little of a challenge as their brethren. Inside the building, though, the first real threat attacked the group – a hideous amalgamation of animated Elven corpses, wiedling double bows! And still, the group fought through this abomination, and brought it low.
Moving into the interior of the Acadmey, the group found a trail of blood, and followed it. They emerged into a room with a large pool of water in it, and an inactive elf-gate. Lying on a lilly pad in the centre of the pool was an Elven captive, who immediately implored the group for help. Unsure of what to do, but sure something was amiss, the group began talking to the Elf. Seeing their lack of action, the Elf dominated the Sorceror, who started moving to assist.
The Cleric triggered a recently-found artifact to encircle himself in a circle of magical protection, removing the Elf’s influence from the Sorceror. The group began to attack the Elf, and she again used her domination power, this time on the dwarven soldier. And this time, her power overcame the circle of protection.
The dwarven soldier began to attack his allies in an effort to protect the Elf, and in the confusion, the elf slipped under the water, and did not return. Unknown to the group, the Elf had been an Aboleth hidden by illusion, and slipped out of the Academy via an underwater tunnel. With more important tasks to pursue, the group let it leave, and moved into the next chamber.
Greeting the group was a hulking Drow with a greatsword, standing in front of an active portal. The group quickly engaged the drow, and managed to put him down in very quick order (I believe it was a single crit…).
The portal began to flicker, and the sorceror let everyone know this meant the portal was nearing the end of it’s activation. Through the portal, a vista was visible of the city of Celwynvian, but not in it’s current ruined state. Instead, the portal showed Celwynvian as a live city. The group also noted that the capstone of the portal was different to the rest of its construction. Clearly the capstone was the stolen chunk of the Cyphergate in Riddleport.
With little time to act before it deactivated, the group stepped through the portal.