Sunday, 31 Lamashan, 4743
The adventurers Emeq the ifrit fighter, Gwen the human druid, Lucia the halfling witch, Udrexa the tiefling monk, and Victoria the human wizard decide to break for lunch before pressing on. While munching on sandwiches and listening to the gentle patter of rain against the roof of the Bloodstone Bunker, they discuss a group name for their party. Ultimately, they settle on the “Black Lions” as a team name that best reflects their eclectic group.
Audrahni also scoops Emeq and Sondra into a fierce hug. She says that she had a sudden feeling like she hadn’t seen them in days. But that makes no sense, as they’ve been here all along. An embarrassed Audrahni blames it on the unsettling environment.
When the adventurers begin their descent, Victoria casts feather fall on herself and Sondra, then jumps down the shaft. Sondra hesitates, so Emeq gives her a push. After a moment of stark terror, she starts to enjoy drifting down. The rest of the Black Lions use ropes to rappel down into the Forges of Wrath.
They arrive in a long chamber lined with forge ovens, all of them cold. On the opposite end of the room, an iron door sits half open, with a badly burned corpse lying beside it. Udrexa and Lucia look at different ovens, while Emeq begins striding towards the body. Three of the ovens suddenly begin to flare to life. Fearful that they are about to explode, Lucia and Udrexa dash into the next room.
But instead of exploding, three burning bodies climb out of the ovens, a type of undead known as the Combusted. The party acts swiftly to attack the creatures. Lucia casts a spell that causes the burned body by the door to lurch over to one of the Combusted and grapple it. Udrexa proceeds to obliterate it.
Gwen zaps another, which Victoria finishes off with a snowball spell. Emeq stabs the third one, and is joined by Audrahni who slashes at it. Sondra makes a risky move to flank it, and gets set on fire for her trouble, but she lands the killing blow to destroy the last Combusted. Emeq and Audrahni quickly smother the fire on Sondra. Emeq congratulates her, while Lucia heals her up. Audrahni reveals that the Combusted, had they been able to act, could have filled the room with fire.
They loot the burned body, which appear to be another of Maga Szuul’s Yamasoth cultists. Lucia makes sure to claim the corpse’s masterwork longsword.
Udrexa scouts ahead and discovers Runelord Alaznist’s scowling face carved into a stone wall, a miniature replica of her visage on Hollow Mountain. The tiefling monk realizes that the jaw of the face is hinged. After disabling a trap, the monk gets the mouth open and 10,000gp worth of gems spills out. With some magical assistance from Lucia, Udrexa finds and unlocks a further hidden compartment with another 3,000gp worth of fire opals.
Udrexa continues to scout ahead, taking the southern hallway. To the east, she finds a series of weapon storage rooms, their contents corroded with the passing of millennia. She also finds a large chamber with at least some items that don’t appear corroded. When Udrexa investigates, however, a haunt afflicts her as she picks up two magic items. She flees the room, feeling drained and weak. Lucia and Victoria identify the magic weapons, and Lucia restores the monk to health.
The Black Lions turn west, with Udrexa once again in the lead. She sees a secret door hanging half open in the hall. Creeping inside, she sees several Yamasoth cultists trying to set up an ambush in a chamber that contains a portal and a pool of water.
The tiefling returns to the others to warn them. Then the monk, with Lucia in tow, creeps back to ambush the ambushers. Lucia uses fey form to turn her bat familiar Rita into a redcap. Udrexa launchers herself into the room with a flying kick, and Rita follows with a kick to the shins with iron boots. The rest of the Black Lions rush in after the two of them.
Emeq starts fighting one of the Yamasoth cultists, while Udrexa takes on another and Gwen brings down a third. The party realizes there is an invisible enemy in the room, which turns out to be Maga Szuul, who summons a waspswarm to attack them and tosses a fire bomb.
However, the party is able to wear down Maga and his cultists with sword, first and spell. Ultimately, it is the wasp swarm that is the last to be killed. They loot the bodies. Victoria convinces Lucia and Udrexa to drag Maga’s body out into the hallway before draining it of blood, out of concern for spooking the “Love Stool” (Audrahni and Sondra).
The rest of the Black Lions set about disabling the portal, which they believe can be done by draining the pool of water. Victoria, Sondra, and Gwen start dredge the water in buckets while Audrahni and Emeq go fetch a pushcart to contain it.
Audrahni sees what is happening with Maga Szuul’s body, but doesn’t object so long as it is properly buried afterwards. Emeq asks her for guidance on how to properly bury odies, in case he needs to do so when she is not around. She gives a few pointers and promised to provide some more detailed instructions.
Once the portal pool is drain, the portal itself begins to flash and hum dangerously. Everyone flees the room, but Emeq peers around the corner to watch as the portal’s bronze lattice implodes and the bodies that remained in the room are teleported away.
The Black Lions debate whether to continue exploring the dungeon now that their task is done, but Udrexa presses on down the hall while the others are still discussing. She finds a large chamber that contains an altar with an egg-like object on it, as well as a nest of furs in the corner. There are scraps of paper by the furs, which she recognizes as notes by the sinspawn Mozamer about the portal hub.
As she looks through the notes, she is contacted telepathically by an entity called Boag-Hok, who asks if she is a sacrifice sent by Mozamer. The entity is strangely naïve and chatty, describing how it used to have philosophical conversations with Mozamer about flesh as a vehicle for life.
Udrexa engages the creature in conversation for a time, but when she goes to leave that provokes it to attach. Boag-Hok emerges from the egg-shaped sensor as a swirling black cloud with fangs. He bites Udrexa and she cries out for help. However, the entity has enough substance to it that the monk is able batter it with her fists. It is Emeq who delivers the final blow, rushing in to stab it with his mithral rapier.
There is little of value in here beyond Mozamer’s notes on the portal they already destroyed, so the adventurers soon depart. As they approach the exit to the Forges, they realize that there is one northern tunnel the had not explored. Udrexa, Lucia and Emeq go take a look.
They find a chamber with a shaft leading deeper into the earth, with a complicated set of chains and pulleys set up to haul ore out of a mine down below. Udrexa attempts to drawn up the mine lift, but when she unsticks the controls the whole apparatus snaps. Debris flies everywhere and whatever load that was suspended in the shaft crashes to the ground.
Not ones to let any prize escape their grasp, the Black Lions use their magic and plenty of hard effort to salvage 9,000gp worth of mithral ore from the wreck at the bottom of the shaft. Having retrieved all the can, they finally depart the Forges of Wrath late in the day. They return to Kelhuud’s camp by nightfall.
The unusual ranger questions them about their discoveries and bids them farewell. After another dinner of rations, they bed down for the evening.
Moonday, 1 Neth, 4743
The next morning, the Black Lions rise early and make their way back to Old Man’s Landing, where they retrieve their skill and return to Tyalee’s Whim. Captain Sursha welcomes them aboard excitedly. The whole crew is in good spirits to see that the party has returned hale and whole, and the ship is able to begin putting miles between itself and the foreboding island.
Victoria joins a card game with Elbows Eddi, Johann, and Ghera. Udrexa watches and thinks of her own card game experiences, which were sabotaged by her inability to bluff.
Sursha invites them all to dine with her that night and listens intently to their tales of adventure. She can tell they aren’t sharing everything, but doesn’t press.
After dinner, Audrahni and Sondra invite Emeq back to their quarters, excited to finally have some privacy once again. They are noisy enough that Victoria, who is in the adjacent room, heads up to the deck to stay awake with the keep watch spell. A little while later she is joined by Udrexa, who needs little sleep herself. However, a little while after midnight even Victoria and Udrexa slip into a dream-like state.
Toilday, 2 Neth, 4743
Victoria, Udrexa, Emeq, Gwen, and Lucia find themselves in a shared dream, standing in a grassy meadow. Before them stretches a vast ocean, while behind them rises an ominous forest. A moment complicated-looking scepter appears in the air before them. As they reach towards it, the scepter warps and twists into an infinity symbol before shattering into fragments.
Reality seems to warp around them and they are now standing together on the Irespan in Magnimar. They each see their companions transform into hideous monsters that then clamber down the sides of the Irespan to enter a piling carved with reptilian figures.
Victoria snaps out of the dream and starts to panic, since her keep watch spell should have kept her from falling asleep. She works herself into a tizzy fretting about the magic that must have been involved, and loses control of the spell, ending the evening exhausted.
When the others wake, they compare notes and realize it was another shared dream. Audrahni and Sondra were not part of the vision. None of the adventurers can make heads or tails of it, however.
Later that afternoon, the lookout in the crow’s nest spots a sail on the horizon. It is a ship flying generic flags of distress. It is weaving back and forth on an unstable intercept course with Tyalee’s Whim. Gwen wild shapes into a seagull to go investigate.
The name on the side of the ship reads Starkissed. The crew seem scared and desperate to reach Tyalee’s Whim. The ship appears understaffed, with crewmembers scrambling to keep it on course. Strangely, several crew members seem to be doing nothing more than bracing the doors to the hold, from which Gwen can hear a clucking sound.
After Gwen reports back, the adventurers rouse Victoria, who casts fly on the party. They swoop back over to consult with the Starkissed’s crew. The sailors are desperate to get off the ship as soon as possible. Lucia casts suggestion on the Starkissed’s captain to make her talk.
Captain Shira Harbuck explains that she was hired to smuggle a crate of cockatrices from Riddleport to Korvosa. Somehow the dangerous creatures got loose and have petrified several crew members. She and the surviving crew want nothing more than to get off the ship.
Victoria returns to Tyalee’s Whim to report, with Lucia relaying information via message. Captain Sursha is willing to bring the Starkissed crew aboard, but only if they’ve been thoroughly searched. Elbows Eddi launches the skiff to carry the crew, while Gwen simply carries one over by hand. Captain Shira is the last to leave and tells Victoria she is welcome to sink the ship. The wizard proceeds to blast it with lightning bolts.
After some questioning, the Starkissed’s crew is settled in the cargo hold of Tyalee’s Whim. There’s some tension between Shira Harbuck and her crew, as she had kept them in the dark about the cockatrices until the creatures broke loose. The ship’s rations are stretched just a little bit to accommodate the extra mouths, but there’s enough to go around.
As night settles onto the ship, Lucia slips out of her room. She has spent the voyage so far in her elderly guise, but now transforms into her younger appearance. She quietly slips into the quarters of Gyles the halfling cook and gently wakes him. She casts a suggestion spell telling him this is all a dream.
Lucia proceeds to make out with him for a while, then casts hag’s seasoning on him to make him perpetually delicious to vermin and other creatures, as punishment for accusing her of being a jinx earlier. She tries to cast sleep on him, but when that fails she simply hits him with hold person and takes her leave. She slips past Udrexa, who is now up on the main deck doing exercises, and returns to her room.
In the Love Stool’s room, Emeq is relaxing in bed with Audrahni and Sondra, enjoying the afterglow of their evening escapades. But a strange sense of unease befalls him, just before a hideous purple-skinned beast manifests in the corner of the cabin. It snarls with a moth full of fanged teeth.
Lucia hears the growl and goes to investigate. She blushes at the sight of Audrahni’s sash tied around the doorknob, then opens it excitedly to see what all the commotion is. The creature, whose gaze has been fixed on Emeq, sniffs the air and whips its head around to glare at her. Lucia attempts to afflict it with rigor mortis, but the beast resists her spell.
Victoria stumbles up right behind Lucia to investigate. “Hey guys, what’s going on—whoa?”
The creature’s alien gaze flits over to Victoria. She doesn’t recognize the monster, but it looks like it has bones. She casts a potent bone shatter, causing a cracking sound. But the beast seems to have plenty of fight left in it.
Emeq leaps out of bed wearing nothing but his amulet of natural armor. After the incident at the Gryphine Hotel, the Love Stool has taken to keeping their weapons near to hand at night. Emeg grabs his rapiers and steps forward to stab the creature.
Sondra and Audrahni also scramble out of bed and grab their weapons. Sondra is shrieking and jabbing wildly with her dagger of venom. Audrahni slashes the monster with her bladed scarf. The purple beast, however, doesn’t seem to notice her or Sondra, focusing instead on Emeq, Lucia, and Victoria.
The monster lunges forward to bite Emeq with its fangs and rend him with its claws. But just as one of the claws begins to tear a potentially lethal gash across his red skin, time seems to wind backwards. Given another chance, Emeq is able to parry the claw attack but is not quite fast enough to dodge the bite. He is in rough shape, despite this strange twist of fate.
Gwen lumbers out into the hall, sees the monster attacking the naked Love Stool, and calls upon the fury of the heavens. A lightning bolt zaps the alien monster, which by this point is looking worse for wear.
Lucia uses healing hex and channel positive energy to treat Emeq’s wounds. She asks Rita about the monster and is told only that it’s a nasty thing and she should kill it.
Victoria empowers a snowball, but is so flustered at the sight of Emeq’s nudity that her aim is off. The snowball smacks it against the cabin wall. The Love Stool gasps in shock as they are spattered with snow flecks.
Emeq stabs the monster again with his main rapier, but the creature parries his other sword with its long prehensile tongue. Sondra’s hands are shaking too much to land a blow. Audrahni attempts to aid everyone else in attacking.
Despite its wounds, the monster keeps up its attacks, landing another nasty claw strike against Emeq that badly wounds the ifrit again. It also resists Gwen’s next lightning bolt, but is in dire shape itself.
Elbows Eddi stumbles out of the crew quarters in pajamas with a short sword in hand. He gasps in shock at the brutal scene. Shira Harbuck dashes up from the cargo hold wearing a tunic and armed with a makeshift clubs. She likewise gapes in shock. The room and hallways are too crowded for them to move in and assist.
Lucia channels positive energy, dumping as much as possible into Emeq to seal his wound. Rita rushes in and bites the creature.
Victoria curses the bat’s bloodlust. She pulls out her rod of empowering and blasts the monster with a carefully angled flurry of snowballs. The monster is battered by the volley of magical snowballs and its body falls to the ground. It twitches for a moment and then lies still.
“Put a towel on, for gods’ sake!” Victoria immediate calls out to Emeq. She turns around, face beet red.
Audrahni quickly tosses Emeq’s cloak to Sondra, wraps Emeq’s waist with her sash, and then puts his tunic on herself before grabbing for other clothing.
Lucia asks Victoria if she has ever seen a man nude before. Victoria curls up in a corner and asks the halfling to shut up. Lucia offers to have “the talk” with her. Emeq, still wearing just the sash, walks over and thanks her for her help. Victoria tries to calm down.
Sursha and Udrexa arrive from above deck and are shocked at the site of the dead monster. Sursha immediately accuses Shira of having somehow brought this creature onto her ship. The two start to argue. Victoria tries to separate them.
Lucia takes a long look at the body. She identifies it as an entity known as a hound of Tindalos, an otherworldly predator from beyond the bounds of know reality. They usually only appear on the Material Plane when summoned by reckless spellcasters. However, they have been know to pursue time travelers and other temporally displaced individuals.
The halfling witch recalls Thybidos’ words that the five of them were “out of time.” She also remembers how the creature ignored Sondra and Audrahni. She has a sudden realization. “He wasn’t talking about us being out of time with Alaznist… Was he talking about us messing with time? Being outside of it sometimes?”
Lucia notes that she saw the creature strike Emeq two different ways. Emeq does not know how he could have done this, as he is no spellcaster. Lucia admits that it has happened before for her as well, but she has no idea how it works either. The same thing also happened for Gwen during the battle with the wraiths in the forgotten sepulchers.
Victoria notes that there are things happening that shouldn’t be happening. The shared dream the other night should not have affected her while she was under the keep watch spell, yet it did. She believes there is powerful magic at work.
Lucia also remembers the visions of the future that they had when they ate the qlippoth egg.
Emeq turns to Audrahni, recalling her words the other day that she felt as if she hadn’t seen him and Sondra in a long time. Audrahni admits that she’s had similar feelings like that before, just passing sensations.
Lucia notes that the hound of Tindalos hasn’t vanished, meaning it wasn’t summoned. Shira Harbuck has her crew haul the body up onto the deck to dump overboard. First, though, Lucia harvests it for any valuable parts.
3 Neth, 4743
The next morning, Emeq slowly notices another strange discrepancy. Since the Love Stool became a thing, Audrahni had preferred to sit to his left and Sondra to his right. But somehow during the night, they switched positions and are now consistently sitting on opposite sides to before. When questioned, they insist that those have always been their preferred seats.