“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Katashaka is the less… any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Shard business. That’s what we were about this day. Shard business is Karash and Chemist business as best I can tell. The five us followed our single-minded barbarian friend to the Underdark. Starting from the Swollen Tooth we traveled mountainous trails for about half a day before entering a temple of some kind.
Inside we found three arcane pillars that took exception to our careful inspection. Interacting with them caused a pulse of incredible force, knocking some off their feet. I’m not the smartest halfling on the island but I knew enough to keep a distance when others started sticking their noses where they didn’t belong.
Not that I don’t fall victim to my own curiosity from time to time. For instance, as we left the magical traps behind to continue underground… I couldn’t help but wonder about what they were meant to guard and why no one who’d traveled this way before had found them. Karash refused to be derailed however and we were soon trekking through miles of caves and tunnels.
The first interesting thing we found was a cold battlefield. Nearby was a tower with elemental guards. Unable to discern much from the clues left, we surmised that the tower had repelled an attack at some point. The guards were stone silent when questioned but also didn’t outright attack us. We left well enough alone and rolled on.
Our party explored more tunnels before eventually happening upon a pile of discarded clothing. Tracks led away from the clothes and ended in a purplish mist. Our druidic Firbolg made the mistake of casting near this strange fog. It warped his magic and he grew another arm… but only a useless baby one. No ‘cure’ was forthcoming so I suggested that he strap a shield to it.
Further on lay a large oval chamber with a glowing lake at the center. Karash warned us all to avert our eyes lest the water’s call bewitch our minds. I don’t think everyone followed his directions because we received quite the visitor in the night. At least I think it was night… It’s called the Underdark for a reason. Regardless, while we rested something made its presence known.
During one of our watches, a terrifying visage walked through the walls of our magical huts. This obviously caused us some distress. Worse yet, only one member of the party seemed to be able to lay eyes on this ghost at any given time. Very quickly, spells began to fly and magical artifacts were brought to bear against this inexplicable being. The Lanterns of Revealing became our salvation… and our damnation.
Once in full view, no blow could land against our foe. No magic spell, no grappling warrior… nothing. Seconds seemed hours as we crashed like a wave against a force of paradox. Tuwidin fell to the creature’s ruinous strikes. Someone smarter than I called for the lanterns to be shielded and our enemy was rendered invisible, but no longer invincible.
The party went to work.
Soon our enemy followed Tuwidin into the never after.
After the dust settled, Orson was able to preserve our fallen Paladin but no one had the means to bring him back. The rest of the trip was a rather somber affair, ending with a conversation with an evil Beholder.
Known as ‘The Sage’, I don’t think anyone should heed his advice. The Beholder has obviously seen many years and fits the riddle posted outside of Ruined Oak: ‘Stripped of many eyes, battleworn, guiding those hungry for power, duplicity’. Karash and Orson conversed with this being and but I was very suspect of its motives. Most of the talk revolved around the location of the Elder Shards but I’ll keep that information at a need-to-know level.
The ‘Sage’ did reveal a few portal locations which deserve a visit. I’ve updated the appropriate documents and research notes for all to read.
Ultimately, I’m not sure if we were in the Underdark, the Middledark, or the Belowdark. I’m sure there is more to be learned there but we have troubles enough above ground. I’d venture down again seeking treasure but let those seeking power go alone.”