This log covers the sessions of 12/21/13, 1/4/14, and 1/18/14:
- The fight against the roper and the death of Berend
- Taking the Horned Hold: killing Markelmore and rescuing the slaves
- Discovery of vampires, and Berend’s spirit rescuing the group in his last act
- Exodus blade
- Flying hook
- Ring of premonition
- Greater ring of invisibility
Following the taking of the first section of the Horned Hold, the group moved on to the second section. They fought more duergar, taking down the duergar champion, preventing any escapees, and found some slaves. They then proceeded cautiously to the final section across a bridge only to be surprised by an extremely dangerous cave roper as arrows came firing from the final. Reeytih took advantage of a small arrow slit to teleport into the last section of the Hold and was able to open the door. The roper was intent on taking Berend, and when all appeared lost Lia teleported everyone into the Hold and closed the door. The battle continued to rage with several duergar and walking crossbow constructs, but the roper was not done. It ripped the door from the hinges and tried to take Lia, then succeeded in taking Berend again. Narata made a stunning and valiant move to swing around the bridge and up to the roper to grab Berend, but just as he was swinging up, the roper simply dropped Berend into the depths below. Narata, with backup fire from the rest of the team slew the roper, but they were too late to save Berend. Narata climbed down to take a few personal items, including his battle axe, and a few treasures from the roper’s body. Seeing some frightening eyes appearing around him, he quickly climbed back up.
A few of the group said a few words for Berend, but Lia was silent other than directing the others for continuing through the hold. Her face barely showed the intense anger welling up inside her. The team scouted and spied on a group of orcs and an ogre in a room beyond. They set a trap, using an illusion of the duergar champion silently urging them to his side, and the Hold Portal ritual. The ensuing fight, which might otherwise have proved a significant challenge, was over quickly and the team moved on.
Malagar spied on a door and heard Markelmore’s name and likely the duergar himself. Lia cast Hold Portal on the door and they continued into another room where it was clear slaves were being held. Some duergar slave masters and a couple of fiends were there which the group took on with urgency. In the midst of battle a strange man burst forth from a barrel, striking out with curses and spells against the slavers with great fury. Once the fight was over he gave his name as Sabin. Before unchaining the slaves in their pits, Malagar noticed a secret door in the wall. Behind it was fire, but no sooner had he and Narata come back the door began to open and Markelmore’s crew began to come through. The team tried to keep them holed up but ultimately they got into the room. Though the group had not had chance to rest, they were able to defeat Markelmore and his companions.
After finally taking an extended rest and providing for the slaves, the group decided to explore the rest of the hold. They opened to door to a room and found it covered in coffins. Arioch reacted quickly. Hating the unnatural undead with a passion, he ran in to rebuke the undead, but the vampires were quick enough to slash at him as he ran and he fell unconscious on his way back. The rest of the team did what they could, but the vampires were extremely strong and powerful and they flew out at the rest, striking some down and bloodying the rest. When it seemed all was lost a bright light flashed from the room blinding all. When they awoke the vampires were gone, and an glowing ephemeral form appeared. Berend was there, in spirit, and he spoke to his friends. He explained that he was given an opportunity by the gods to take one last action, to save his comrades one final time, before leaving the mortal realm forever. He instructed them to leave this place, that there was nothing else there for them. Then he was gone.