(GM Note – This post covers two related sessions, as I was slack and didn’t write up the previous session)
The following day, the group started in on their first tasks – to locate more noqual, and to capture an Akata alive. After a quick hunt around the local area, the group was able to locate a group of Akata, and were able to knock one unconscious. This creature was returned to the cages at camp. They once again asked for payment from Clegg Zincher in raw noqual ore.
That night, there was an attack on the camp by a small number of Void Zombies and Akata, and they were fought off relatively quickly.
Later in the night, Segnar, on watch, observed Clegg Zincher sneaking out of camp. Not wanting to awaken everybody, or alert Clegg, he work Vanessada, and set her to trailing Clegg. Clegg followed a mostly-hidden trail from the camp, to the cliff at the southern edge of the island. At the cliff, Clegg followed a hidden ledge down the face, and then stopped in front of the cliff face. After a short time, part of the cliff face swung open, and Clegg entered. Not wanting to be caught, Vanessada returned to camp, and informed Segnar of all that had transpired.
The following morning, under pretense of scouting for further noqual, the group instead followed the trail, and investigated the cliff face. After some time spent working out how to spring the entrance open, the group were confronted by Drow soldiers inside a hidden cave. A seemingly short battle started, but very soon, several other combatants had joined the fray – a Drow Druid, and his lizard pet, who blanketed the area with an Obscuring Mist, and then a Shadowy Demon creature. The Drow soldiers, Druid and pet were all dispatched qquickly, but the Demon took more resources and time to put down. Just when the group was making headway, the Demon suddenly melted to shadow and fled.
Rather than push forward, the group decided to retreat, and explore behind it. A collapsed tunnel was discovered, and a boarded-up entrance to another cave. The boards were covered in Undercommon runes that read ‘Do Not Enter!’. So, of course, the group broke down the boards, and entered.
Inside the dead-end cave, the group were confronted by a ghostly woman-headed bird. Vanessada quickly realised this was the ghost of Virashi, and taunted her by saying ‘Your boyfriend’s dead!’ Enraged, Virashi attacked. In the ensuing battle, the party was again mildly injured, but Virashi was destroyed.
The first session ended here, as the group recovered, and waited for the Obscuring Mist to dissolve.
At the beginning of the second session, the group moved through the tunnel, now clear of mist. Seeing options to go North or South, they moved southwards, towards the cliff face. At the end of this tunnel, a cave was found that appeared to have served as the Drow Druid’s quarters and lab. A partially dissected Akata corpse was here, and showed signs of having been experimented on. The cave also had a peephole, looking out over the ledge and secret cave entrance. The group quickly searched the room, but found ntohign of interest.
Moving back down the tunnel to the north, another set of quarters was found, with only personal belongings. To the west, the only way onwards was covered with a sheet of leather, through which could be heard the roar of the sea.
Past the leather barrier, the group were confronted with a very large natural cavern, open to the ocean. At least 80’ high, 3 large columns of stone broke apart what would otherwise have been a large pool of water, surging as fed from the sea. A trickling waterfall to the north showed the origin of the cave. Wooden platforms led from the beaches ringing the cavern to the other side. The very perceptive group immediately saw a pair of Drow guards hiding on the platforms, and a more commanding Drow woman named Shindiira (as the group would discover later) on the far side of the cave, packing a trunk with belongings.
Vanessada, acting quickly, seized another chance to use her drow boots, and ran around the edge of the cavern wall, directly to the Shindiira. Meanwhile, the rest of the group moved to engage the Drow soldiers. A Glitterdust spell disabled both of them briefly, and John Dalton and the Dwarf archer quickly advanced into missile range, and started pelting the pair. Segnar, slowed by his armour, made his way onto the platform towards the soldiers, backed up by the Sorceror.
The Drow leader, dazed her lone opponent with a touch, and stepped back towards the water. On the following round, Shindiira attempted to Suggest that Vanessada go for a swim, but the Elf showed her kind’s resilience to charming effects, and stabbed her. Shindiira, confident in her abillities, began casting a spell, only to have Vanessada stab her again in response. Used to pain, Shindiira completed her Waterwalk spell. Suddenly, a blur of black and white motion surged out of the water – a huge Orca attacked Vanessada, biting her and injuring her badly. Thinking quickly, and not wanting her opponent to escape, Vanessada moved in and grabbed Shindiira, then ran up the wall while carrying her, and dropped her, thinking to dash her over the rocky ledge. Shindiira laughed, while featherfalling to the ground, and then walked out onto the surface of the water.
Back on the other side of the cavern, the soldiers became part of a pratfall series of events. Hand crossbow bolts bouncing from his steel shell, Segnar advanced up to one of the drow, and engaged him. The sorceror moved behind Segnar, and caused him to vanish. Seeing an opportunity to introduce Segnar to the Orca, the drow attempted to push Segnar’s now invisible form off the platform, but fumbled the attempt. Segnar used his agility to sidestep the Drow, and end up behind him, and finished him off. The second drow soldier backed away, firing his crossbow ineffectually again, and Segnar finished him off. Sensing the threat in the drow woman, Segnar moved to the edge of the platform, and shot at her with a crossbow. The sorceror moved up beside segnar, and attempted to burn the Orca. The Orca, enraged, surged across the cavern, and flying up out of the water, bit the sorceror. Shindiira, seeing an oppotuniry to cause harm, chanelled the evil will of her patron, and severely wounded Vanessada, Segnar and the cleric. Panicked, the sorceror attempted to back away from the Orca, not realising just how far out of the water it could reach, and then tried to cast another spell. The Orca reacted, and cut the sorceror down.
At the same time, the archer attempted to slow the Orca down from range. John, seeing an opportunity to rescue his downed companion, flung himself into the water, and began acting as a distressed fish, to attract the attention of the Orca. Amazingly, the Orca immediately moved over to John, and attempted to bite him. John, for his part, also attempted to grapple the Orca, but for his troubles, was bitten again with little effect. Shindiira moved over behind her pet, and sent out another pulse of evil energy. Vanessada channeled the will of Callistria to counter these effects. Shindiira, seeing half of the group busy with her pet, moved around onto the platform at the front of the cave, intending to run out the front. Segnar, sensing victory, jumped over a gap in the platform to get to his enemy…and, mistiming his step, fell instead down into the water below, and found himself struggling to keep his head above the surging tide.
After releasing one final wave of evil power, Shindiira fled out the front of the seacave, running along the tops of the waves. Faced with the choice of chasing after a powerful opponent alone, and keeping her friends alive, Vanessada stayed, and again channeled her goddess’s will, saving the sorceror, and healing the others. Shortly afterwards, the group finished off the Orca.
In the aftermath of the battle, the group decided to fortify the cave they were in, and spend the rest of day resting and healing. Ransacking the cavern, the group uncovered a supply cache, and discovered a number of clues as to the activities of the Drow on the island. Apparently, the Drow had used powerful magic to pull down the skystone. The devastation of Devil’s Elbow was the testfiring of a terribly powerful weapon. Among the belongings, they also found a map of Celwynvian, along with markings of Drow patrol routes.
The following day, the group explored the remaining areas of the island – the two lighthouses at either end. Travelling first to the eastern end of the island, they passed through Clegg Zincher’s camp, only to find it thoroughly deserted. At the eastern lighthouse, they found it mostly intact, but the only item of interest was a long-dead corpse at he bottom of the cliff, clutching a magical sword. While examining this find, the group was attacked by a Hydra lurching out of the water, but the creature proved no threat, and died quickly. Crucially, though, after this encounter, the group neglected to heal their wounds.
Travelling to the other end of the island, and arriving at dusk, the group found the other lighthouse to be collapsed. Amongst the rubble, they disturbed a nest of Giant Centipedes. Although these proved to be no more challenging than the Hydra, as the group finished them off, a more powerful foe. Emerging from the gloom, a shadowy, insubstantial ghost raked Segnar, ignoring his heavy armour, draining some of his vitality. The group, quickly realising this creature was a wraith, surrounded it. Vanessada pulsed again with the channeled might of her goddess, while the sorceror fired off volley after volley of magic missiles. John attempted to distract the ghost to give Segnar a better chance to hit it with his magical weapon, while the Dwarven monk dropped his bow, and began punching with his potent fists. Segnar then noticed that the ghost was wearing 200-year-old fashion. Vanessada, immediately realising that this was the ghost of Yaris, the man who had built the town of Witchlight, taunted him with ‘I killed your girlfriend’.
Enraged at this news, Yaris turned on Vanessada, and slew her outright with one touch. This would normally have been quite unlikely, except that Vanessada had been badly hurt by the Hydra, but had not healed herself. The life-draining effect of the wraith combined with this damage to kill her outright.
After this event, the rest of the group redoubeld its efforts, and quickly dispatched the vengeful wraith, with no further loss. They then found themselves faced with a wraithly version of their former ally, but quickly destroyed it. Finally weary of the island of Devil’s Elbow, the group called in their transport, and carried the body of their friend back to Riddleport.