On the Eyes of Midnight

The Jackal's Den

Dungeon by sexypuertoI awoke in our dirty hay filled sleeping quarters only to find Tabarast obsessing over some scroll he’d found and apparently didnt sleep all night. Do elves even do that? Apparently he’d gained some sort of knowledge from it, and was now able to see what the dead saw just before they died. There was a skeleton in the room we were in, so he gave it a go and told us that the vision he saw was a robed vampire killing another vampire with a steak, only after tearing out his fangs…

Amailia decided that she wanted to go back to the magical fire braizer where we fought all of those minotaurs and have her weapon imbued with flame. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of going back into the room with that fountain though. Meanwhile, Igor attempted to make a healing potion but instead wound up made poison, I swear I’m never going to drink a sip of anything that little blighter offers me. So i decided it was time to sit down and finish off the rest of the ale in my pitcher, it might not be cold and probably a little stale – but it least it wasn’t poison.

We decided it was time to go check out the door with the all of the magic ingrained into it, so Tabarast spent a few moments examining it and said it was no longer sealed. Naturally I was the first one to traverse into the next room with Amalia at my side, the “men” are always lagging behind because I suspect all of the folk from the feywild are afraid of doors.

Beyond this big scary door there was a long hall and two big burnin’ fires. Burned up papers littered the floor. Everyone decided to panic and get all worrysome, not sure what about. I’ve spent more time underground in stone corridors than any of these fey have spent wanderin’ around their magical forests talking to badgers an’ what have ye. The little one was most certain there were no traps around which seemed to ease everyones nerves a bit.

Tabarast and Amalia argued about which way we should go first for quite some time. Amalia wanted to go left and Tabarast wanted to go to the right. It sounded like a two field mice sqeaking over the last piece of cheese. Both of them were too stubborn to agree so they chose to split up. Igor flipped his coin and the results were to go with Amalia. I didn’t want Tabarast to go alone so I went with him to protect his frail backside.

I told Tabarast to stay back since he’s squishie as I led the way, at the end of the hallway we found a another fire brazier in the corner and a stone archway. The portal whirled with blue black clouds that spun into darkness. Tabarast spent a few minutes inspecting it and told me that he thinks it is a portal that leads deeper into the castle and looks to have been created recently. And so it was time for me to step in once again, testing the portal with a rope and a tied off throwing hammer, I gave it a toss through and nothing happened…(for now).

So we doubled back to the other side of the hallway to see what Igor and Amalia were up to. There is another portal on their side with elven writing on the archway. Amalia told Tabarast and I that the words said “Turn Back This Wall is Trapped.” So we decided to try the other side that the mage and I had investigated first.

After much bickering and lamenting about how the portal might blemish their sun kissed hides I just decided to give it a go. I remember walking through the portal only for a moment, and that’s where I draw a blank. I have a flash in my memory of Tabarast clutching his stomach something fierce and stairing at me as if I’d just killed his familiar. I told myself that my ale probably had gone a bit strange in my pack and was messing with me, I need to get some fresh when we get back to Barovia.

But then it happened…I knew it wasn’t some tinged ale anymore after my second go through the portal left me with a thick beard and calloused hands…I had been transformed into a man!

AND SO, we went back to the other side of the hallway, AGAIN. I swear I’m going to have a drinking contest with that gnome when we get back to town, all this trapsin’ about’s got me needin a swig of some strong dwarven ale. We noticed that a stone block was loosened from the floor and found a small bronze key beneath it. There was a small keyhole in the stone archway, to be safe the mage used his magic to create a floating hand that he used to turn the key.Magic scrolls by tsabo6 d2zdcbo

As soon as the key was turned the portal went out and there was nothing left but a stone wall. We were all pretty baffled at this point. Well, all of us but one. While Tabarast was distracted conjuring his mage hand I noticed Igor stole one of the scrolls from his robes and threw it into the fire down the hallway. He clapped excitedly and I could have swore I heard him murmur something about a ‘blue light special’ as the braziers changed to a magical blue flame. Quickly re investigating our surroundings showed that the portal that had turned me into a man was now changed…

I decided what the portal had to offer me couldn’t get much worse than it already had and decided to go through first again. As I passed through the darkness I could feel life being drained from me, I saw long dead adventurers and stretched, ghastly faces and frail hands reaching out towards me as I passed. Time seemed to slow, if only momentarily. I dropped with a clang as my armor hit the ground from an empty space about 3 feet from the ground, I saw the rest of them drop in through temporary whisps of portals from the ceiling as well.

This room had no exit, and only one direction to head – through giant iron doors lit bright by flame light from the other side, the heat drifted from under the door and warmed my boots for the first time in a while.

Listening at the door Amalia heard shuffling feet but when we looked under the door we could only see that the room was very large. Igor set up a trap to trip anything that entered the room and then crawled up like a monkey and hid up in a corner. Tabarast cast invisibility on himself, and just like every other door I’ve opened in the past week – I had a bold woman at my side with her trusty wolf, with our two “strategists” cowering somewhere in the shadows. If you ask me the best strategy is a good offense, anyway it was time to kick in this iron door and see what awaited us…

There he was, a twisted machination of a man, or an elf, or a clown…something awful for certain. He had a beholder gauth at his side, the room was surrounded by magical circles and swirling black portals. The portals began to pour skeleton soldiers from them faster than the ale spigot in my fathers Inn!

Igor climbed across the wall stealthily waiting for the most opportune moments to strike, while Tabarast was attempting to manipulate and subdue the magic that infested the chamber and put a stop to the skeletal hordes. The Jackal immediately went straight for me, and things felt rather grim at first, evil words ran through my head causing my mind to wrack with pain. Amailia had used one of the blue circles on the floor to teleport on top of the stairs aside me and come to my aid.

At this point Igor finally comes out of hiding and uses his grappling hook to swing over to the east portal messing up some of the runes and deactivating it. Tabarast is working on deactivating the west portal with his fancy words.

I managed to reach the Jackall and hit him as hard as I could, my craghammer splintered his leg like a tree branch in the dead of winter. Amalia stepped in to aid me and try and gain the beholder’s attention, I could hear tabarasts arcane prose in the background and in the corner of my eye eruptions of flame sent dozens of them backward into piles of ash and bone.

Before I could deal another blow to the Jackal, a whir caught my ear just before the sound of splattering blood and rended flesh – Igors dagger was lodged firmly in the jackal’s back, his veins coarsed with black poison and his skin erupted with blisters almost immediately. He fell dead to the floor while simultaneously the remaining skeletons clattered to the floor in a mess of bones and steel.

Baby beholder by drkavMeanwhile, without skipping a beat the boys took an immediate interest in attempting to convince the beholder to bend to their will. Tabarast seemed to be successful after speaking in some horrid tongue with the creature, all I know is I’m sleeping with one eye open from here on out. I’ve gotta admit though, the beholder is kinda cute. I sketched him out on a piece of parchment with charcoal. We leave this place as soon as possible tonight though, there’s no time for sleep, not here at least – it’s not safe. We must return to Barovia, hopefully some of the shadows have been lifted from this sad oppressed little town.

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