The situation for Kaerishiel and his men was as dangerous as reported. The Lantern Bearers were pinned down in a crumbling tower, and Kaerishiel and two of his fellow warriors were down, victims of the drow sleeping poison. The remaining two elves were attempting to guard against any sort of assault, but the vicious pounding the walls were taking from the drow ballista on the neighboring tower was taking its toll, and the fortification would not have lasted long.
Zee moved to assist the elves under the veil of an invisibility spell, while Chuffy, Taz and I made a direct line for the drow’s position, also under an invisibility affect. Taz flew up to the top to directly attack the drow firing the ballista, while Chuffy and I attacked their allies in the base of the tower. The drow were unprepared for our sneak attack, and fell quite easily, but it was at that moment that the dreaded green dragon that had been rumored to have been seen in the area, Razorhorn, chose to confirm its presence and began a strike on our location! He breathed his foul, acidic breath into our midst, and we were forced to flee the tower and attack the beast directly in the open. With the three of us surrounding the creature, our flanking tactics whittled it down in a hurry, and by the time Zee could join us, the battle was over and the green dragon’s threat to the elves was ended. Huzzah!
We quickly gathered the wounded and began a stealthy return to the elven encampment. We hoped for smooth sailing, but along the way we came upon a group of drow and trogs escorting a band of elven prisoners. Fortunately, they had not noticed our approach, and again stealth became our key ally as we struck at them before they realized we were there. In no time the enemy was down, the prisoners were freed, and we were once again headed towards the camp.
Upon our return, we escorted the elves to the infirmary and reported to Eviana. I made sure to present the horn of Razorhorn to her with our compliments, while also informing those present of our success in retrieval of Kaerishiel. She and her commanders were dutifully impressed, and thanked us for our efforts before asking us to return to our tents to await further orders.
Once Kaerishiel was fully recovered, he came to thank us personally for saving himself and his men. His tune is quite different from that which he sang upon our initial arrival to the elven forces. I appreciated that he has come around, and was gracious in accepting his apologies. He even agreed to perform a favor for us, and after finishing our rest, we returned as a group to the body of the fallen dragon. With his magics, we were able to located the monster’s lair and raid his horde. We returned victorious to camp to gear up before the final assault.
Sure enough, after our return Eviana informed us that her forced had cleared a path to the Academy of the Arts. Three groups will attack the drow headquarters, with myself leading my companions, Kaerishiel leading a small band of Lantern Bearers, and Shalelu with a group of her rangers taking the third weak point. We volunteered for the front gates, to further impress our elven allies, and we set out at dawn the next morning to cut the head off of the snake and finish the battle of Celwynvian.
That night, I spend some more time with Shalelu. We talked of our place in this war, and how things have progressed on the battle front. We also spoke of the death of the dragon Razorhorn, and Shalelu seems pleased that no other elves will lose a loved one to this hateful creature. She kindly rejects my invitation to stay the night. but I can sense that she is warming to the idea. She will be mine! Oh yes, she will be mine…
The next morning, our various bands set out to the Academy, each traveling individually and under stealth. Upon arrival, we surveyed our attack point, where a group of drow and a couple of flesh golems were stationed to repel intruders. We felt a frontal assault would work best, and after we took down their casters in mere seconds, the remaining dark elves and their minions soon followed.
Once in the building, we turned towards the entrance that Shalelu and her rangers would have entered from. We discovered the bodies of her men, along with the drow troops stationed there, and some remaining water elemental guardians, which we let be. Shalelu was not among the fallen, and fresh bloodstains indicated that someone was dragged away from the central area. We had to move quickly, as she could have been in great need of assistance!
We next turned quickly toward the entrance that was being attacked by the Lantern Bearers. Again, fallen troops and drow were littered about, and as we were turning to leave a demon stepped from a summoning circle to confront us. A Vrok, as we later learned it was called, the abyssal nightmare was quite formidable, and Chuffy was nearly killed before we were able to slay the fiend. But all of this was just wasting time. Shalelu was still missing, as well as no Kaerishiel, and so we followed the trail of fresh bloodstains through the final passage we had available.
The trail of blood lead to the first room in this building that had not fallen to decay. Also, it was the first on that appeared to be occupied, as a lovely elven maiden floated upon a giant leaf in a pool of crystal clear water. Well, if that didn’t scream TRAP then I haven’t been adventuring long enough, but Shalelu was still in trouble, so after a brief bout of questioning, the lass confirmed that our missing allies had been taken through the doors towards The Portal, and so I opened the doors to find a rear guard standing before a shimmering portal. They were not much for words, and their barbarian captain attacked almost immediately.
Although the captain was quite fierce in his assault, he was quickly overcome by our superior numbers and skill. During the fight, something kept attempting to magically control the thoughts of my companions, and once I had finished with the drow, I turned my attentions to the elven lass, whom Zee had begun to assault with magic. After close examination of her pool, I discovered that the room was entirely cloaked in illusion, and that an Aboleth, as I believe they are called, was attempting to manipulate us all. We banished him to the depths, but not before he struck me with his horrible, diseased tentacles, infecting me with a disgusting, flesh-warping plague. Fortunately, Zee was able to call upon the gods to cure me before I was lost, and I shall be sure to thank her profusely once we are out of danger.
The Aboleth gone, and the building clear, we stepped up to the portal. We had to move quickly, as Shalelu could be suffering all sorts of unspeakable tortures at the hands of these drow. We dashed through the shimmering curtain of magic, and stood in a strange place, with the feel of a foreign dimension or plane. Zee mentioned that it reminded her of the Plane of Shadow, and the building in the distance appear to mimic those of Celwynvian, though of a time before she had fallen into her current state of disrepair.
This was apparently the Armageddon Echo, and there were no enemies or allies in sight.
We must move quickly to rescue Shalelu, and so I will leave it here, until I have time for a further report.