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.
Twillem who had remained unseen, held out his hand and drained every charge of his mighty ring of the ram, all at once, in one mighty blow a spectral ram. Such a powerful blow cracked the skull open, almost in two, knocking one of the gems from the skulls eye sockets. It did however free Iriolarthas from the giant spectral hands grip, but little to late, as it pushed him easily within reach of Grendash, with a purposeful slash with her spear she cracked the floating skull further, and with one last whip around of Vlagomir’s spear, she thrust it upwards straight through the skull, piercing the crown as it exploded in a wave of sparks and magic, the gemstone skittering off to the side.
The magical wave unleashed dropped the minions instantly to the ground and the battle was over, victorious for the party. Looking around, seeing the portal still open they grabbed what papers and items they could and rushed back through and appeared back into the hall they came from. As Vellynne studied over the papers she found the magical word that would once more open the portal, and they had free reign to raid his study for everything the lich had stored.
As they sat and rested while going through what they recovered, they found not only did they recover his mighty staff of power but also the fabled scroll to summon a Tarrasque, and a spell book titled The Incantations of Iriolarthas.
They learned that the Lich had survived the crash by creating a demi plane to hide in as the city crashed to the ground, which was the distortion the group saw upon the wall that held the Golems and Magen.
At the centre of the city is the Mythallar, a powerful artifact that could raise the city into the air, or had the power to restore items, and to control the weather in a huge area. The great city of Ythryn fell from the sky after Iriolarthas began investigating an Ostorian artifact of the giants, the huge stone spindle activated while he and his mages tried to ascertain its function. Sadly, a wave of dispelling magic blasted out over the city, causing the mighty Mythallar to temporarily lose its ability to keep the Netheresse city aloft, crashing it down into the glacier below.
The party rested and recovered and were left with a choice as to what to do next. They decided to ignore the wishes of Veneranda as they did not want to become trapped back in time, and couldn’t be sure the Oblisk would function correctly given the giant crack running through it. Professor Skant was overjoyed with finding the scroll of Tarrasque summoning, but the leader of the party Grendash bid that the item was so powerful and destructive that it must be destroyed.
Vellynne’s sole purpose of being here was to find these powerful artifacts and return them to the Arcane Brotherhood. The thought of destroying one was horrifying, so much so that she decided to switch the scroll with one of Khairons in the night. They all travelled to the Anvil once more to destroy the powerful summoning scroll and were about to strike down with the hammer when Grendash asked Khairon to double-check, feeling something might be amiss given Vellynne’s objections.
The switch of scrolls was discovered and Grendash held Vellynne aloft while Khairon pulled the true scroll from Vellynne’s backpack. Placing it down on the anvil Thoruk struck down with the magical hammer three times destroying the legendary item. But this stirred a great evil, thankfully far enough away that it would not be of bother unless the party dwelt on it.
The night before professor Skant had schemed with Vellynne that should it go badly they could always use the staff of power to turn back time to restore the destroyed scroll, and that’s exactly what the necromancer planned next.
As the party went to leave the city, Vellynne tried to sneak away, but Grendash spotted her dash behind a building and cried out to her to cease this action before it was too late. Vellynne summoned a wall of stone around the giant ranger and imprisoned her, as she made a dash for it. However, Khairon saw what was happening and quickly dispelled the wall away. Despite Vellynne’s best efforts to escape there was no way she could flee in time, not with her past injury hampering her movement. Skant ordered the zombified remains of Valdra to run off and could be heard in the distance as he made a hasty exit.
With the party closing on Vellynne, she uncorked the Efreeti bottle once more and summoned the genie to help her escape by flying away towards the obelisk.
Grendash was left with a choice, pursue Vellynne and let her activate the ancient tower, or head away to the caves of hunger and retreat to safety, as only the city would be sucked back in time. The ranger chose to chase after her, she did not want the Lich to be restored to life, or undeath, once more and see the horrors of a Tarrasque ravaging the lands, and all the hard work they had done to save Ten towns undone.
The Efreeti picked up the necromancer and flew her towards the distant black obelisk, but she had forgotten that the giant ranger, had a giant long bow, and Grendash fired lightning arrows after the traitorous woman. Striking true Vellynne saw her chances escape drop, as Khairon opened a dimensional door and jumped far ahead of the fleeing mage. Even at such a distance away Twillem was able to summon an ice storm that battered both her and the genie. The Efreeti seeing its masters distress bid that they leave this place by magic. But Vellynne was determined to continue, thinking of plan after plan, only to realise she could not reach the black tower before the others would.
Grendash lashed out once more with a slew of arrows and almost downed the necromancer. See’ing all was lost she decided to cut her losses and hide away inside a building, out of sight and invisible on ground level.
Meanwhile the others continued onto the Obelisk and hatched a plan as best the could to destroy it further, given its resistance magical nature, they decided upon the druid transforming into a mighty earth elemental and pounding the tower into the ground.
Hours went by and the magic resisted the elementals crushing fists, until eventually, a larger crack emerged. All the noise attracted the Tomb Tapper they had unleashed earlier, but despite its power, it couldn’t stand up to the full onslaught of magic and arrows and died quickly.
Hearing the smashing noise in the distance Vellynne knew the Obelisk would soon be destroyed. She decided to make an exit and asked the genie to shift her to another dimension, to the City of Brass. He warned that he would not be able to return to this place, there was still powerful magic here shielding it from direct transport via teleportation and other means. Grudging she accepted her losses, but still she had a staff of power and the spell book of a demi-lich, not all was lost. Once in the city of brass she rested for a day and summoned the Efreeti one last time and he brought her back to the Arcane brotherhood on the sword coast, where she was praised for her great find.
The party of adventurers eventually toppled the great obelisk, and with the top part collapsed, were sure it would never function again. They left the city to the ice and travelled back to Ten Towns where they were heralded as the heroes of Ten Towns forever more.
Arriving back on a bright sunny morning amid the warming summer's day the party spied a group of reindeer grazing on the thawing grass, as the weather had returned to normal. Life in Ten Towns began to return back to how it was before Auril's freezing storms had plunged the whole of Icewind dale into an everlasting winter. Now with a new statue erected in Bryn Shander to heroes of the twilight gloom:
Grendash, Thoruk, Twillem, Khairon, Pam, The Onion, and their fallen brothers and sisters Guntar, Valdra, Mazira, remembered forever more.