Ascendancy

Session 21-22: End Game

Assault on the Fellnight Realm

Excerpt from Jana’s adventure journal

The deed is done, we’ve won. The queen is dead and her realm has been sealed once more. We’ve returned as heroes.

It was a few days hike from the portal into the fellnight realm. the army was with us and we fought more than one skirmish until the battle of the faengard wall. While the army battled the fellnight army, we snuck around with the wardstones to repair the wall. The Conclave and Andoran armies did their job well as we encountered only a token force of about a half dozen spriggians and two invisible sniping pixies.

Tenzekil Braybittle was there too. It was a tough battle, the gnome sent his bees to guard the break in the faengard wall and his giant bee animal companion to harass us while he rained down druidic magic. Through the battle as he was loosing, we could sense he was becoming more and more resentful of the queen for taking everything from him. We helped him realize the futility of his efforts and he surrendered before I had to kill his beloved bee companion.

Tenzekil joined our party then for a short while. With the faengard wall repaired, he was unable to cross it. He told us a great many things over the next few hours while we walked toward the castle. He told us after Elyin beat him at the honey contest, his little world was shattered and he began the bleaching. The queen took advantage of his tender mental state and offered him a way to cure him if he did a few minor services. Steadily, minor services became bigger until he became the full out traitor. What’s worse is instead of helping him with his bleaching, the Queen was actually hastening the process. When he finally figured it out, she placed a geas upon him to keep him under her thumb.

Tenzekil isn’t the only one under a geas we learned. That last night, before he passed away in his sleep, he told us about Merrick. The queen had taken advantage of Merrick his entire life. She sent the shadow people to kill his parents, she increased his desire for revenge, and in the end, she placed him under a geas too and forced him to became her spy in the Conclave. Merrick was supposed to murder us in the shadow cave when we least expected him to, but he found a loophole in his geas when he killed himself. Hopefully his sister will find some comfort knowing her brother didn’t kill himself for nothing.

It is clear the queen had a complex plan that took her decades if not centuries to gradually bring into fruition.

On the way to the castle we encountered another strange creature. I don’t know what it was, but it was clearly a creature of the Shadow Plane. It told us more of the queen’s plans. Early on she tapped into the shadow plane to enhance her magic, we all knew this. However what we did not know is she planned to combine the First World with the Shadow Plane. The creatures of the Shadow Plane were working for her up until they realized her mad plan and then those that could, left her service. By this time, her powers with the shadow magic was such that she did not need the help of the shadow creatures any more. However, the creature did tell us exactly what ritual we would have to do to seal up the fellnight realm and where to do it.

Fully rested, we moved toward a secret way into the castle Tenzekil revealed to us the night before. We found this cave opening in a large tree. We were harassed at first by a mushroom man trying to protect his mushrooms, but after we bloodied him up some he decided to acquiesce to our demands of surrender.

Next we found a set of doors that lead to the dungeon. After some careful searching, we found Nevarr’s master tied to a rack and two humans being held prisoner in cells. Redcaps were torturing the frog sage. The head torturer, a fellnight satyr had the power to use fear magic. He used his fear magic to keep most of us panicked while Jeriel battled them all alone. When he’s not whining, Jeriel can be really good at what he does. Unfortunately, he was a bit over matched and was being damaged up a lot. Though this time he didn’t get knocked out by the time we overcame the fear magic and rejoined him to finish the job. I’ve got to do something about fear magic. This is the second time I’ve been separated from my pistols by fear magic.

After healing the frog sage, freeing and arming the two other guys, the rest of us started moving up the stairs into the castle, leaving the men and frog sage behind for now. There wasn’t very much resistance in the castle above. About a dozen sprigs spread out throughout two levels and two more shadow satyrs in the kitchen. We managed to take one group of the sprigs while they were sleeping in their bunks. Eventually though we made it up to the top level where the queen was.

There we met a peculiar elf tailor who claimed we were honored guests of the queen. She commissioned him to make us all some nice clothes. After some persuasion and some magic checks, I decided to go ahead and accept the gift. I figured us accepting the gift would make the queen feel more overconfident and perhaps give us a bit more of an advantage. As usual, Jeriel whined, but that’s what he does. Eventually everyone followed my lead and nothing bad happened. I think the effects of this realm are making me more short with him. His continuous whining is really getting on my nerves. When asked what he thinks we should do, he is indecisive. When I try to lead us in a direction, he opposes me. Even though my lead usually works out alright. Honesty, I usually don’t care what option we take in most situations as long as we don’t stand there bitching about the downside of the options before us. I look forward to the end of the mission when we can finally part ways.

We next entered a long wide hallway that lead to two doors; one big double door that obviously led to the throne room and another door off to the side. There were no guards visible which I found odd. I went for the side door because I never trust the obvious entrances and found the armory. I decided to confiscate some of the queen’s resources in hopes it would also draw out some of the hidden guards. It worked. Guards popped out of the trees in her hallway and we were able to deal with them before getting to the queen. Fighting them and the queen at the same time would have been far too difficult.

Now it was time for the final battle with the Queen herself. We cautiously entered her main audience chamber where she greeted us like guests. The round chamber roughly a hundred feet in diameter. There were more of those tree columns the guards popped out of in her hall, but they were a bit different. I expected more guards to pop out of those tree things when the fighting started, but it wasn’t yet time for battle, it was time to talk. I strode forth and accepted her greeting as she sat there on her throne. She proceeded to tell us how futile our efforts were and how we would do better to just accept our gifts and be on our way. She tried to convince us she just wanted to gain control of the first world and she wasn’t interested in our world.

While she was still yammering, I nodded to Gina. Gina charged for the queen and tried to take her staff, the very staff we needed to end this once and for all. I don’t know why I was surprised, but Gina’s hand went right through her. The queen was an illusion and now she was angry. Battle began. Nessa could tell the queen was close by in that room from the gem, but she was hidden and the only place I could think she’d be was in one of those tree columns so similar the ones her guards popped out of. I started chopping down the columns one at a time, Gina helped. I asked Jeriel to help too, but he thought I was an idiot and preferred to stand about complaining. Another queen appeared by the window and Gina raced to grab the staff. This too was an illusion but it was a special illusion in that she could cast her spells through it.

We were thinking of running upstairs thinking she was not there, but then she decided to appear. Nessa could confirm it was really her from the gem. I was right, she was hiding inside the tree like columns. There were six still up at this point an she could jump between any of them like a set of magic doors. With the queen out of hiding, Nessa begain using the more offensive capabilities of the gem. The queen’s bluster and confidence was shaken the first time she felt the touch of that gem.

She retreated into one of her trees and sent out a some more spells through her illusions. I did my best to keep chopping at the trees, but I was alone. Gina was stuck to a wall by her own shadow and Valarr was nauseated from some fog cloud the queen cast on us. Jeriel was busy trying to keep Nessa healed and Lem was trying to heal himself and get into some cover. It wasn’t going to well. This is when the Queen turned on her magic mirror so our allies could see us in our difficult state. However, in my experience, it is usually darkest before the dawn.

Nessa turned the fight there. She used the gem in a way it wasn’t really designed to work. She funneled her feeling of vengeance through the illusion at the throne and that caused a shock of shadow energy to arc between the two illusions and then arc to one of the tree columns and drive the queen out into the open and stun her for a short time. It was the break we needed. Lem was quick in seizing this opportunity and summoned a swarm of monkeys that swarmed over the queen and took her staff. It was a sight, the high and mighty queen covered in tiny chattering monkeys. Glorious. Lem and Nessa really made a monkey out of her!

We pressed the attack and she fled. The first stage was done. She was injured and so were we. After a short pause to heal up, and some incredible work by Nevarr to help free Gina out of a some magic force bubble she was trapped in, we proceeded upstairs to finish the job. In the circular room above her throne room, we opened the door to reveal a stinking cloud waiting for us. Lem used his innate wind powers to blow it away then Nevarr tossed a smokestick to give us some cover. The queen struck next casting a wall of fire down the stairway we were all crouched in. We had to rush into the room or burn. Lem went in next and destroyed three of the five illusion queens and exposed the real one with a well-placed fireball. After that blast, I rushed in and hit her with two shots and a taunting insult. I wanted to draw her fire away from Nessa, Jeriel, and Lem and I succeeded. She turned me into a small bird and I don’t remember what happened next. Gina tells me Lem popped the two remaining illusions with a magic missile while Gina rushed in to destroy more of those tree columns the queen could hide in.

Nessa continued her assault with the shadow gem, weakening her and strengthening the gem. It was a tough fight, Jeriel and Nevarr were seriously injured, but eventually they wore her down and Jeriel took the final hit, crushing the queen’s skull. We won.

Ding dong the witch is dead. We return as heroes with bags full of what we pillaged from the Queen’s castle.

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Gardan

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