Icewind Dale - The Final Chapter

The intrepid party took a short break after just defeating the horrifying Tomb Tapper that was summoned using the magical Anvil at the top of the Tower of Abjuration to destroy the Cursed Crown that had laid upon the head of the High Enchanter Ivira and had withered her away over the centuries.

Realising they seemed to have the complete set of words to the Rite of the Arcane Octad, they were missing one key component. A wand of nether oak, with that in mind the group took the short journey to the Arboretum, where the Treant assisted them with a gifted wand for their previous help.

After resting, the group noticed that the final words from the 8th Rite was not clear, and the only way they could think to find this again was to use the Divining device in the Tower of Divination. As the party had a scroll of regeneration, they asked Khairon if he would once again use the Orb, and then they would restore his lost eyes. Understandably at first Khairon was very reluctant to give his one remaining eye to the strange Orb of floating eyes, the price it required to use its power of divination. But with some re-assurance and from within the safety of Leomunds Tiny Hut, they began, and discovered the missing word was indeed “poison”, again at the cost of his last good eye. But shortly after Twillem read aloud the scroll and both of Khairon’s missing eyes reformed over the next few minutes.

With careful planning, the part went to the base of the archway leading up to the central spire where the force field still surrounded the core of the city. Vellynne completed the full rite as below.

Step 1. Hold a wand crafted from the Nether Oak over your heart.

Step 2. Summon a flame in your palm.

Step 3. Speak a secret about yourself aloud.

Step 4. Compel another to share a secret with you.

Step 5. Quench the flame in ice.

Step 6. Mask your appearance.

Step 7. Draw a circle on the ground using the ashes of a corpse.

Step 8. Stand inside the circle and consume poison.

Upon completion the rite the field blocking their way fell, and the adventurers headed up to the spire.

The group were met by a Magen at the top of the stairs who bid they leave and tried to magically suggest to the party they must leave, when they refused however the Magen simply vanished away. Opening the large double doors revealed a party of nobles, revelling in music and dance, all which Pam told the party must have been an illusion.

That said the food tasted delicious and the illusion was meticulously detailed and impossible to tell from reality. The waiters serving the canapes were very helpful, while the nobles themselves seemed to make little sense with their conversations, jumping from one topic to the next, almost like an elderly patient with dementia might. The Onion revelled in discovering a jar of pickled onions, finer than any he had ever tasted. While Professor Skant, who was now riding the zombified body of Valdra the paladin, chose to indulge himself by having his orb completely submerged in whisky, which much to his disappointment still had no effect upon him.

The party investigated thoroughly and discovered a few facts about the flying city of Ythryn and its master Iriolarthas. However, in the offices to the west they found a clue about an ancient artifact in Ostoria that was to be taken to the stasis chamber for further study. The illusion did not extend out as far as these rooms and everything was covered in ice and rime.

After further exploration they discovered a chest that could create any item they desired, and the guests of the party were using it to create lovely delicacies to eat. Along with a room full of unusual staves, fit for any mage. They fully restocked their spent arrows using the magical chest, with an extra plate of strawberries to snack upon. What was most intriguing was a room with a huge suit of armour, atop which sat a brain in jar. A wizard by the name of Veneranda who preserved herself by turning herself into her current form.

Veneranda explained the illusionary part was created by three of her kin, who had gone quite mad over time, and urged the group not to disrupt the illusion, lest they attack the group. She detailed more of what happened with the fall of Ythryn, and its now illustrious leader Iriolarthas who had withered over time and lost his body, and now remained as a Demi-Lich floating over the trapped city beneath the ice. She urged the group to capture Iriolarthas’s staff of power and use it with the black obelisk to turn back time and restore the city to its former glory. The party said they would try their best, but hesitantly agreed between themselves they would think twice before using such a powerful artefact.

The adventurer’s travelled deeper into the tower across a bridge of force and into a chamber where they met the artificial assistant of Iriolarthas called Everlast, a projection from many crystals around the room. Who at first said he couldn’t share his information with outsiders, but relented when Grendash used her hat of disguise to mimic the appearance of the enchantress Ivira.

Discovering a hidden way upwards the group climber into the chamber beyond but were trapped by a wall of force. With two dark magical blades hovering beside an archway with a green gem. The group puzzled how to figure out what they needed to do to proceed. As a mage hand caused a blade to strike the floor, making a loud sound that caused the gem to flicker and the barrier to blink momentarily. With much deduction the group thought a thunder wave inside may open the way. They cast the booming spell and the barrier switched off, all be it temporarily, not that they knew this.

Meanwhile the Onion and Pam had decided to go out a different route and fly outside the main entrance and up to the balcony above. After successfully picking the lock they entered a room with a huge starfield floating mystifyingly in the air, surrounded by eight chairs all with symbols of each school of magic upon them. Past the stary field were 8 blacked tunnels they couldn’t see out of. To the west lay a library full of old books and tomes, with things written in draconic, along with a scroll tube, which contained the legendary Scroll of the Comet, a powerful incantation that brings down a mighty part of the heavens down to earth in a calamitous and destructive event.

In the chamber to the east was a stone spindle, rotating around slowly, with walls cracked by huge energies that were once released in the past many years ago. It had clearly not been disturbed for centuries.

As the other half of the party moved into the room where the wall of force had previously been, a battle broke out as the two void like swords swung at them as they neared the archway beyond. Using brute force the group smashed the dark blades into oblivion, but not before the Earth elemental that the druid Twillem had morphed into had taken some heavy wounds in his stony skin.

Shortly after the battle finished the wall of force re-appeared behind the group, leaving only one exit, forwards through the archway. Beyond that they could see eight doorways, and Twillem pushed forwards towards them. Little did he know his stony form was saving him from almost certain doom.

As Grendash, the 21ft tall ranger, wielding the spear of the frost giant Vlagomir, walked forward she trigged the magical trap that lay beyond the archway. As she moved onwards, she stopped as her flesh began to harden and turn dark with a grey complexion. Seconds past and it was clear the effect was taking hold as her skin continued to turn to stone.

Crying out for help, Vellynne uncorked the Efreeti bottle they had found earlier and summoned for a huge red Efreeti, and asked it to help Grendash before it was too late. Following his master’s instructions, the creature touched the almost statue like ranger and turned her to a cloud of gas. Having no flesh to turn into stone, the effect ceased, understanding what happened Twillem realised his elemental skin saved him from such a fate as he had crossed the barrier as an Earth Elemental.

After taking a rest and waiting for Grendash to return from being a cloud of gas the party shouted towards the other half of their group. Twillum having spoken the name of Ivira while standing at the door for the school of enchantment and opening it, with no ill effects. Pam and the Onion, conversed with him and he sent a summoned elemental to the other side through a tunnel of darkness, initially startling the others. After some discussion they agreed to cast another Thunder wave and descent back down, and up the way Pam and her rouge like companion had travelled.

Once the group was back inside the stary room, a few of the group looked up to the stars but began suffering from a terrible madness as a dark ebon star starred back at them, a void in the night sky. So much so they became fearful to look at the sky, lest the ebon star look back at them. Following further discussion and reading the script from the library they realised they would need to cast a spell from the school of magic and sit in the correct chair to open the doorway to Iriolarthas’s study.

The party thought the best way would be to return to the House of the Arcane and drink from the magic goblet, which they did. Empowering each with a cantrip of a different school of magic. After three of the adventurer’s sat down and cast their spell, a white doorway replaced the stary image. Rather than be rash, the group waited to see what would happen and after a minute the doorway closed. Everyone made their battle plans and felt the next moments were vital to defeating the ruler of Ythryn.

First to step through the portal was Grendash, who was immediately beset by the evil of this place as the darkness began to seep into her body. In front of her was the Demi-Lich Iriolarthas a now floating skull with arcane symbols around him, with three of his plague fallen Nothic’s around him in his study. He floated above a sunken library, while the portal had spat out the ranger onto a balcony overlooking the sunken trove of knowledge. All around here were desks and tables strew with magical items, scrolls and ancient knowledge written down through the ages. To the north was a strange, distorted patch on the wall, almost looking like a cave with a watery like surface moving against the surface.

Grendash was quick to act and take down two of the Nothics that were guarding their master, as Vellynne burst through, immediately looking for the Staff of Power, finding it with her owl familiar on the desk under many papers. Unleashing an attack as she came to blind the lich, but with its immense power and in the stronghold of its lair Iriolarthas resisted the effect and backlashed with a swirling of dust, almost blinding the nearby ranger in the process.

The Onion, Khairon and Pam then burst into the room, with Onion hiding under a table searching for the staff also, while Khairon unleashed a fireball upon the Demi-lich, though once more he seemed to laugh and shrug off a large part of the blast. Pam’s magic also leapt out and harmed the lich, but also not as expected.

The Nothics were obliterated by the maelstrom of magic, meanwhile the floating shape on the wall moved closer to Khairon and the Onion, trying to draw them inside to its otherworldly existence. Thankfully they dodged deftly out of the way as Twillem polymorphed the mighty Thoruk into a giant ape and he burst forth into the room. Being right beside the strange, distorted tear in reality, he pounded down on it twice and utterly destroyed it, collapsing its pocket dimension it was trying to trap the adventurers inside.

The un-intended side effect of this was to spew forth all the beings trapped within it. Two mighty flesh golems and three of the Galven Magen, who they had previously encountered in the lightning games burst forth.

With almost everyone present the floating skull screeched a deathly howl, and Onion immediately dropped down unconscious barley alive. Most of the party having shrugged off the effect, but the lich un-intentionally downing both Flesh Golems and a Magen as they quivered on the floor. They were after all nothing but puny minions to his great might. He need not care if he destroyed them, they meant little to him. Two of the Magen that resisted the effects burst forth with two mighty bolts of lightning, passing through the flesh golems and reviving them.

Meanwhile the party continued to unleash a flurry of attacks against the floating skull, as he knocked many of them to the floor with a tremendous quake. Khairon unleashed all his fireballs from his necklace at him, but he resisted it all. Even Grendash’s mighty blows with the magical spear had only minor effect. Vellynne tried to grasp the skull in a giant floating bigsby hand, with some success, but though grappled the Demi-lich seemed to care little and carried on fighting furiously.

Pam rushed over to tend to the Onions wounds, and the lich frightened all the party, and began to draw their life force from them. Vellynne was somewhat resistant to the effects, being a necromancer herself, trying time and time again to weaken the lich but to little effect.

Twillem made himself completely invisible and jumped through the portal at last, moving unseen to the edge of the balcony, preparing for his next strike. While the giant ape that was Thoruk pounded on the Demi lich, but its fists just bounced off the almost invulnerable magical shielding of the skull. Turning to a flesh golem, he pounded once more effortlessly.

Firing out beams from himself, the arch lich drained the life force from the giant ape and the ranger, as he returned to full strength once more. Seeing the newly restored lich the group changed tactics, and focussed all their firepower directly at Iriolarthas.

One of the Gavlen magen once more fired a bolt of lightning through the golems, and the great ape, healing the fleshy creatures, while burned and steaming flesh was left on Thoruk.

Khiaron opened with a salvo of six magic missiles slewing out, smashing into, and cracking the skull. The lich launched an anti-magic field in rebuke upon the wizard, sheathing his surroundings in nullifying magic, again inadvertently destroying his Magen at the same time, for the magical constructs they were.