Voodoo bade the group farewell. He said he had matters to which he must attend; finding any scattered survivors of his tribe, and gathering information about Gnoll Keep and Serim Selduzar. Reluctantly, the group said their good-byes and Voodoo shifted into wolf form as he ran to the King's Gate. The PCs then made their way to the docks and found the Blue Narciss in port. The group hailed the genasi loading crates onto the ship whom called to the deck (in primordial). Mab appeared shortly and greeted the PCs. The group told him that they were looking for a small boat that Lord Markelhay had requisitioned for them to use to get to the small island in the river.

Mab didn't know anything about a boat, but upon the mention of the island said that he had been on it already and found something interesting. After a quick jaunt back onto the ship, he brought back a disgusting looking mass of tentacles and eyes with a bulbous head that appeared to have been popped. He said it had tried to attack him but he shifted away a good distance and blasted it with an Acid Orb. It had popped and spewed out an even more disgusting mass of sinew and organs that flew toward him but fell just short. Mab said that it was a rupture demon, a kind of demonic lackey or shock troop. If there were rupture demons on the island, it would mean there were probably worse, more powerful demons as well.

A flash of recollection sparked in the group; they had heard the mention of a demonologist staying in town at the Silver Unicorn. Perhaps they could offer some helpful information regarding the beasts. After some searching and confusing run-around, they eventually bumped into her on the street. When presented with the body of the rupture demon she became oddly delighted and began inspecting and measuring the carcass. She did, in fact, also offer the group good advice for battling demons and they offered to bring her any specimens they could once they were done. Calindra (the demonologist) was on her way to Winterhaven to investigate rumors of cult activity, but the prospect of fresh specimens was too good to pass up. Cassius paid for her room and board for another week at the Silver Unicorn and the group quickly purchased some vials of antivenom before returning to the docks.

Cassius asked Mab if he'd like to help them inspect the island tower, and the watersoul genasi was all too happy to oblige. Mab intended to stay in Fallcrest; stating, "I really like this river." Hadarai sought out the harbormaster who directed the group toward the small skiff Lord Markelhay had prepared for them. While Cassius and Benjaar argued on how to best use the skiff (using Water Walk to some degree or simply rowing as the gods intended) Mab dove in the waters and shortly reappeared on the banks of the island. Eventually the group joined Mab and they began their inspection of the Tower of Waiting.


Initially their searching turned-up little, aside from a pile of fish bones in the ruined mill-house. The search of the tower itself was a little more rewarding; they found a nicely carved jade fish and a pair of ritual scrolls (Acrane Lock and Knock), but no demons. Having searched the structure from bottom to top, they decided to take a closer look at the first floor of the tower. Sure enough, located in the support pillar on the first floor was a hidden switch. When pressed it opened the floor beneath the spiral stair. The stair now continued down into darkness.


The PCs found that the stair stopped about 10' from the floor of the room below, their torches revealed a circular room, similar to the other floors of the tower, but with support pillars built into the walls instead of a single pillar in its center. There were also four statues, evenly spaced along the walls. Each depicted an angelic-looking person. On the plaque beneath each was an inscription that read;

Here fell the great Hrutkus Greenaxe to the depredations of The Lord of the Nine and his servants. Hrutkus' sacrifice was not in vain, and the evil locked below this seal shall rot for eternity. Know ye who seek to undo the heroes’ work; You would do them a mercy, commiting their souls to their final rest. Yet, thou must defeat the horrors trapped below, lest they consume all life in the Vale. Brave fool, may you succeed, for the memory of Hrutkus and the sake of the Nentir.

The names of each of the adventures changed for each of the statues; Illiene Duskbow, Goddrick Charmine, and Dabnus Oathfellow were the names of the other three. Cassius noticed that the floor emitted a very faint humming when walked-across in a certain way. Olan noticed the faint tracing of silver runes beneath the layers of dust, and began defacing one of them. The secret panel that had allowed them access in the ceiling above closed and the runes in the floor flared with painful light. The group scrambled to disable whatever trap had been set in motion, all the while enduring the punishing radiant energy. Eventually they succeeded in breaking the wards and revealed another secret spiral stair leading down further into darkness.


Below, they found a natural cavern, choked with stalactites and stalagmites. Water ran down the cavern walls slowly and pooled and flowed on the cavern floors. Before they could venture too deep into the caves, a green flaming skull wheeled around the corner, screaming, as it blasted the group with a Fireball. The shadows on the walls coalesced into demonic figures, dretches, as skeletons rose from the muddy floor. A pair of blazing skeletons appeared, flanking the skull, to blast the group with their firey attacks. The initial blast of the Fireball had sorely wounded many of the PCs, and the dretches and skeletons swarmed around them. But, they eventually defeated their foes and took a short break to heal their wounds.

They had found their demons. The dretch hordelings lived-up to Calindra's description; the clouds of stench they gave-off, however, far exceeded their reputation. After healing was sussed they moved further into the caves. Again, the shadows coalesced into demonic forms. This time, one massive demon stood out among the others. From Calindra's descriptions it looked somewhat like a Barlgura, but it was dark and shadowy and hovered on black wings. More skeletons and blazing skeletons also appeared as well as a small group of rupture demons. The disgusting little demonic minions proved more of a nuisance than expected. Everytime the group killed one it would explode in a burst of gore; some of the entrails would latch to the Barlgura and the tendrils would wrap around the nearest PC, restraining them. The Barlgura managed to get a few good hits in, brutally wounding Olan and Benjaar. But, Mab retaliated with a massively critical Thunderslam, augmented by combat advantage and sneak attack damage, dealing 50 points of damage, pushed the Barlgura 4 squares, and knocked the demon prone. The battle was easily concluded after that (aside from one skeleton minion that seemed impervious to attack ;P) and the PCs regrouped and spent healing surges.

With still more caverns to explore, curiosity got the best of the group (despite their lack of action points) and they ventured further. They came to a small waterfall pouring from one of the cavern's walls when, yet again, the shadows of the cave formed demons and wispy wraith-like creatures. The pair of demons that appeared matched Calindra's description of Evistro demons, but again were dark and shadowy. The battle was hard-fought, with both Cassius and Benjaar falling below 0 hp. But the group managed to pour a healing potion into the cleric, whom brought the dragonborn back from the brink, and they eventually turned the tide. The Evistros proved incredibly hardy and it seemed as though they would never fall (loooong battle), but they did in the end. Again, the PCs regrouped and healed-up. It appeared that one more branch of the caves remained, they could just make-out a large pile of… something in their flickering torchlight.


maps created using WotC dungeon tiles

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