Real Date: May 22, 2005

Campaign Session: 24

Adventure Session: 8

Campaign: Legacy of the Burning Star

Adventure: The Banewarrens

Theeurth Date: Cleon 11-13, 2806 (Early Summer)

Location: Echoriath (The Imperial Capital)

Players/Characters Present:

Erik Nowak – Basil Amantes (Ftr7)

Bruce Barnett – Bonzimir Amantes (Rog4/Hlf3)

Barbara Muth – Nereida Amantes (Clr7) and Elida (KSK4)

Tim Chan – Demetrios Amantes (Wiz4/Hum3)

Michael Burgio – Marcus Asinus (Ftr1/KSK6)

Having defeated Kikanuile the greenhag, the Company of the Starborn debated whether to take the three banes (the glass globe, the red disk and the ceramic jar) with them. Instead, they went to the surface without them, determined to seek some guidance. On the surface, they saw copies of the Acta Diurna (the Daily News), which showed that the Thought Stalker was still killing a new victim every night. 

Back at the Great Temple, they sought aid from Sister Donna Mara, but were told she was unavailable. Instead, they were confronted by the old and withered Sister Daliana. Sister Daliana was quite confrontational about the Company’s progress toward sealing the Banewarrens and wondered why she should help Demetrios recover from the spectre’s drain. Basil told her that without aid the Company could not seal the Banewarrens, and that she could simply do it herself. Mollified, Daliana invoked prayers to restore Demetrios’s strength.

Bonzimir revealed to the others that he had Geristonomos’s eye, and all insisted that he return it. It was given to Nereida for safekeeping.

They sought in vain for Flavia at the Ghostly Minstrel. The next morning, however, she appeared at their house. When they asked about the Banes, she offered to try to store them someplace safe until the Banewarrens could be sealed. The group was split on this, unsure of the best course.

Later that day, they returned to the Outer Vaults, only to find that the three banes in question were now missing. Where the ceramic jar had been, only a dessicated corpse was found. Questioned, Geristonomos revealed that he had heard footsteps, but saw no one. Nereida returned the construct’s eye and it thanked them for the kindness.

Returning to where they had fought Kikanuile, the party disarmed a second gem-and-force-lance trap and proceeded up a long flight of stairs to the next level of the Outer Vaults. There, they found a room with a statue of a pegasus and a strong feeling of peace. Beyond this to the east they found a room with a magically-darkened ceiling and a sealed vault door. Nereida temporarily suppressed the darkness with a daylight spell and revealed an iron ladder leading up the ceiling. Basil caught the ladder with a grappling hook and climbed it to the ceiling where he found a hidden switch which opened a secret door on the south wall. This lead to a shrine to a beautiful elfin woman whose statue was labeled "Estalada". 

On the west wall was a door which led to a small chamber. The other end of this chamber held a glass door and two rusty levers. Looking through the glass, the Company could see a large room filled with water and tiny fish and, 50′ away, another glass door. Deciding not to open this door, they returned north to the Pegasus chamber and north again to what appeared to be the last room in this area (other than the warded door and the glass door). In it, they awakened four immense four-armed ape-creatures who flew into a rage. These beasts were both enormously strong and enormously difficult to kill. Within seconds they had felled both Bonzimir and Basil and advanced on the rest of the party, notwithstanding the fireball Demetrios dropped in their midst. 

Nereida spent the fight healing Basil, who both gave and took horrific wounds, staying alive only by the ministrations of his sister. In the end, the waves of attacks were simply too much for brave Basil who was torn to shreds, but not before he slew three of the giant beasts. The fourth fell moments later, but Basil was dead.

Before the Company could mourn or even react, the Pactlords appeared out of thin air. This time, slaughter was not their goal. Only two appeared. One, a horse-sized wolf spider that Demetrios called a "phase spider", reached out to touch Nereida. The other, a female dwarf with an iron collar, dropped a scroll on the ground. Then the two simply disappeared, along with Nereida.

The scroll read: "If you ever wish to see your companion alive again, leave the Banewarrens immediately. Wait for us to contact you. If you do this, your companion will be returned unharmed." Elida wanted to return to the surface immediately, but Bonzimir, Demetrios and Marcus demurred. They felt that they must be close to something the Pactlords wanted, and that they should find it and try to negotiate Nereida’s return.

Unfortunately, just then, The Lady of Shadows, otherwise known as Navanna Vitellius, arrived. "That’s such a shame," she said, her voice coming from thin air (for she was invisible). "Basil was handsome and strong; I’d hoped we’d meet under other circumstances. And your sister is away? How sad."

"Now gentlemen, be dears and give me the Hand of Danar. Do this and I will let you walk out alive."

Demetrios swore that he’d eat the hand first (hey, I don’t know – ask Erik!) . And so the battle was joined. Navanna and her three werewolf companions attacked from invisibility. Then, of course, they were all visible. Navanna was a darkly beautiful woman with obvious demonic heritage. Her skin was jet black, her eyes were a sparkling blue, and small yellow horns protruded from her forehead. Marcus charged the Lady of Shadows with this spear, striking her squarely in the chest. He must have missed any internal organs, however, for she survived this and, gasping to her minions to slay the Company, teleported away. 

Indeed, the werewolves fought bravely, even confidently, but without their mistress, they were no match for the Company. In seconds, all three lay dead on the ground, although every member of the Company had been bitten by the dread lycanthropes.

With the Company much battered and no way to move on, they retreated to the surface, carrying Basil’s body. Sister Donna Mara met them at the temple and arranged for healing, though she said there was nothing she could do that day to help with locating Nereida. Leaving Basil’s body at the temple under a spell of gentle repose, they returned home. There, Demetrios used the token that Flavia had given him, and as it crumbled into dust, heard her voice asking if the Company had an emergency. Moments after he answered in the affirmative, Flavia teleported into the Amantes house, sending papers and loose objects flying.

Apprised of Nereida’s disappearance, Flavia helped to scry on her. Saying that she didn’t have the spell memorized, Flavia extended her magical glass hand into a bowl of water, and summoned motes of light within it which spread over the surface of the water. Demetrios guessed that her arm somehow allows her to use spells not memorized. In the bowl, an image of Nereida appeared, showing her unconscious and strapped to a strange machine, with tubes running into a band around her head. In the background, the viewers could see a balcony overlooking the King’s River Gorge in Echoriath, apparently from a great height.

This bit of knowledge allowed Bonzimir to narrow the possible places down to perhaps a dozen. Flavia had the Company describe the dwarf who appeared with the phase spider and then scryed for her. The spell found her, showing her at a balcony. Behind her was visible a chapel dedicated to the gods of the Chalice – a chapel of the Great Church. Bonzimir knew of only one very tall chapel near the King’s River Gorge: St. Thessina’s Chapel, the very one administered by Brother Heth Neferul, the enigmatic priest who had given the Company the scroll of Legend Lore which allowed it to open the first Sealed Door.

And this is where the session ended.

What happened to Navanna Vitellius?

What will happen to Basil?

What is Brother Heth’s relationship to the Pactlords of the Quann?

How much does the Great Church know about what’s going on at St. Thessina’s?

Who has the Ring of Wishes?

What is the machine into which Nereida is strapped?

Where are the three missing banes?

Is the only path forward through the Inner Vaults through the water room?

Tune in next time! 

Back to the Burning Star

Forward to The Banewarrens, Part 9