Adventure 2 - Part Six: Averoigne

Part 1
The West Wing
Part 2
The Forest
Part 3
The Chapel
Part 4
The East Wing
Part 5
The Dungeon
Part 6
Part 7
The Tomb

Session Eighteen

The weather had turned finer, and the daytime travelling through the woods east of the Inn of Bonne Joissance was without incident for the first couple of days. Mazaramus was going to try to sleep high in a tree during the night, but quickly gave up this idea. Even if he didn’t fall out of the tree during his sleep, he was not getting enough rest to memorise his spells. Bhakragh and Lithanor had enough wilderness survival skills between them to ensure that the party was adequately warm at night. Obviously, they set watches anyway, in case anyone or anything nasty should beset the party during the night.

On the third day, the party reached the River Isoile. It was about two hundred feet across, but relatively peaceful and slow moving. Mazaramus used his 9’9” pole to gauge its depth. It was only about 4 inches deep…near the bank. He flew out to the centre of the river and gauged its depth again. His pole didn’t touch the bottom.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party saw a strange shabby looking man wading in the river about fifty feet upriver of them. He had his trousers pulled up almost to his knees and was looking for his socks that he had dropped when he was washing them. Sneaky went up to talk to him, and Mazaramus flew over too. The strange man was rather impressed with Mazaramus’ broom of flying, but pointed out that he should be more careful about such antics. Obviously, he was no stranger to magic. Mazaramus attempted to impress him by casting magic missile at a nearby tree, so he repeated his warning.

The stranger revealed that he specialised in making potions, and in particular love potions. Sneaky and Mazaramus asked if he could sell them some of his potions. He only had the one potion on him, a love potion, which Sneaky purchased from him for 100 gold pieces. He did agree to make some more potions for the party, though it would take some time. They asked for three potions of healing and three of his special love potions.

Sneaky then tried coercing Morgan to drink the love potion. Morgan was having none of it. She then tried to persuade Merick to drink it. He said that the last time he drank a potion he thought he was a tree, so he declined. Talanius also refused. He’d spent a considerable amount of time disembodied recently and had no desire for anything strange to happen to him again.

Mazaramus came over to see what the discussion was about. He suggested putting some of the potion in Morgan’s cup of truth (for some reason Morgan thought that it wasn’t working any more) and trying to get Gandi to drink from it. Gandi also refused. Whilst the party were doing all this, the strange man who had sold them the potion had wandered off. The party had no idea who he was or where they could meet him to buy more potions.

Eventually, the party gave up on trying out the love potion and ferried across the River Isoile using the broom of flying.

After another two days travel, Mazaramus, who was flying above the trees, saw an unusual structure on a hill in a clearing off to the south-east. It would take them another day’s travel to reach it, so the party camped up again. Mazaramus had been casting invisibility twice a day on some of the party members. Lithanor and Gerard de l’Automne declined to be made invisible, though they accepted being in range of an invisibility 10’ radius spell cast on Gandi. By the beginning of the fifth day, the entire party was invisible.

After several hours travelling, the party were nearing the strange structure, when they began to hear howling and spotted dark shapes moving through the woods on either side of them. To Lithanor, Gandi and Bhakragh, who were able to use their infravision, they were red shapes about the shape and size of large wolves.

The party carried on towards the structure on the hill, all the while the wolves moved along parallel to them. Mazaramus flew ahead when he was close enough to examine the structure more closely. What he found was a circle of stones. In the centre was a crude arch formed by two large stones with a third stone resting flat on top of them (kind of like having two dominoes with a third domino resting on top of them to make a gate). Through the arch he could see what appeared to be the hill he was on, but without any stones, and the weather was bright and sunny. He poked his head through the gate formed by the arch for a moment. Then he went around the other side of the arch to see if he could see the same place (which he could).

The rest of the party emerged from the edge of the forest and into the clearing where the hill was. They could see Mazaramus’s disembodied head and shoulders floating about in the centre of the stone circle near the stone arch. The wolves following them seemed to have given up and did not emerge from the woods.

The party approached the gate where Mazaramus was. As they were themselves investigating the gate, Lithanor decided to walk away from Gandi to be outside the invisibility 10’ radius. As soon as he did so, the wolves charged out of the forest towards him. They were 160 yards away, so Lithanor loosed on arrow at one of them. He rolled a natural 20…and did no damage. Werewolves!

The werewolves covered the intervening distance very rapidly and were able to attack Lithanor while he was switching weapons. Morgan threw a silver dagger at one of the werewolves but missed.

Fortunately for Lithanor, the werewolves were unable to land a single hit due to his very high (or low, depending on how you want to look at it) armour class. The rest of the party hacked at the werewolves. Sneaky made a backstab attack with her magical dagger, rolled a 20 for quadruple damage, and did a massive 33 points of damage, slaying a werewolf outright. The other three werewolves were badly wounded, failed their morale check and turned to flee. They were hacked down before they could escape.

By now, only Klaus was still invisible. The party had deduced that going through the strange portal formed by the standing stones would disrupt their invisibility anyway. It was also evident that the party needed to go through this portal to get to Sylaire, so eventually they decided to go through.

They found themselves on a hill similar to the one they were on, but with no stone circle, or portal for that matter. The hill was surrounded by forest as far as the eye could see, except for a clearing, about a hundred yards wide, leading to a castle-like building.

The party went to the castle. They found that it was in a very good state of repair. The battlements appeared to be unmanned, yet the front gate was open. Mazaramus flew up to get a better view. Beyond the gate, was a lavish garden, with a path leading around and through it, and beyond this was a wide stairway leading up to a large ornate building. At the head of the steps, a richly dressed woman waited. She beckoned to Mazaramus.

The woman told Mazaramus that he and his friends were welcome. She then went inside. Mazaramus followed her and found himself in a large, richly decorated, entrance hall. Two flights of stairs led up to a landing. Several doors led off from the entrance hall, both on the ground level and on the landing. Standing to attention on either side of the doorway, facing into the room, were two knights in full plate mail, complete with visored helmets. The woman that had invited Mazaramus in was nowhere to be seen.

The rest of the party, not trusting the open gates, decided instead to scale the battlements using Lithanor’s rope of climbing. They were also somewhat apprehensive of the garden. The last garden they came across tried to devour them.

Eventually, the rest of the party caught up with Mazaramus. Lithanor examined the knights more closely and found that they were simply empty suits of armour on display. Klaus cast a locate object spell to find the Enchanted Sword of Sylaire. Lo and behold, the Enchanted Sword was indeed in the mansion in one of the back rooms.

The woman appeared from a side door and introduced herself as Sephora. She asked the party if they would like some refreshments. As soon as they saw her, all the male members of the party had to make a saving throw or be charmed by her beauty. Mazaramus, Bhakragh, Talanius and Gerard all failed their saving throws.

As they followed Sephora through to the dining room, Mazaramus attempted to cast invisibility on himself, but instead ended up speaking a load of gibberish as he couldn’t concentrate on spell-casting due to the charm. Sephora just gave him a strange look.

While they ate Sephora explained that she needed the party help to rid her of a particularly nasty werewolf by the name of Malachie du Marais. She told them that Malachie was also a powerful wizard. If they agreed to help her, she would give them the Enchanted Sword of Sylaire.

Mazaramus borrowed Sneaky’s love potion and poured it into a wine glass. He presented this to Sephora and asked if she would like to try it. Sephora drank the love potion, which had no effect on her, but put up the pretence that she was somewhat enamoured by Mazaramus.

They finished their meal and agreed to help Sephora. Night was beginning to fall, and Sephora suggested that they hunt Malachie at night, when he is the most active, otherwise he could prove difficult to find. The party went through to the entrance hall, where Sephora was waiting, holding the Enchanted Sword of Sylaire. Morgan used a detect magic from his claymore, and the sword glowed brighter than any of the magic items that the party currently had.

Sephora presented the sword to the party, asking which one would be her champion. Sneaky was eager to have the sword, but unfortunately was unskilled in the use of a long sword. The NPCs (namely Bhakragh, Merick, Talanius and Gerard) refused to take it. It was evidently a powerful sword and the responsibility of keeping it should fall with one of the Player Characters. Of the remainder of the party, only Lithanor and Gandi could proficiently use it. After some bickering, Lithanor ended up with the sword. As soon as he held it, knowledge of its powers flooded into his mind. He found that, in addition to its combat bonuses, it could be used to detect evil, detect invisible and cast a fly spell, each three times per day.

Here, we called it a day and ended the session. The hunt for Malachie will have to wait for now.

Session Nineteen

Eager and ready to go, the party began to set off westwards to hunt for Malachie. Before they set off, however, Sephora lifted the charm on Mazaramus  (and only Mazaramus) so that he could concentrate to cast his spells (all two of them). Sneaky suggested that, as they now had the Enchanted Sword of Sylaire, they could just leave through the portal without dealing with Malachie. There were just three problems; one, there was  no sign of the portal when the party arrived on this side; two, Sephora could come after them seeking vengeance for betraying them; and three, a number of the party were charmed and would carry out Sephora’s wish, with or without the rest of the party.

Morgan had suspicions that Sephora could be a vampire, and pointed this out to the rest of the party. When Mazaramus mentioned that she was standing in bright daylight when he first saw her, Morgan said that she could have been using powerful magic to create some kind of illusion.

After a couple of hours travelling, the party heard wolf howls ahead of them. Mazaramus flew up on his broom of flying to see if he could see the wolves. The trees provided too much cover for Mazaramus to see much, but every now and then he spotted a wolf running through a small clearing. The rest of the party advanced slowly. Lithanor cast detect evil using the Enchanted Sword of Sylaire. The party could now see several glowing wolf-shaped forms. Even Mazaramus could see them. As he watched, one of the wolves seemed to backtrack through a clearing where he previously spotted one. The ground party split up into three groups. Lithanor and Talanius went a short distance to the left, while Morgan and Merick broke off to the right of the main group.

Lithanor and Talanius soon came to the edge of a steep bank, running roughly parallel to their course. One loose footing and they could end up tumbling down the bank.

After a short while, the party saw the wolves coming towards them at lightning speed. At the same time, a black orb flew towards Mazaramus. It was a darkness spell. Mazaramus failed his saving throw and was completely surrounded by the darkness. Mazaramus flew straight up as fast as he could.

Five wolves swiftly surrounded the main group, which consisted of Gandi, Bhakragh and Gerard in the front, with Sneaky and Klaus behind them. Gerard was bitten twice, taking seven points of damage, and Sneaky was also bitten, for a whole one point of damage. The main party struck back, wounding several of them and slaying one. Meanwhile, Lithanor, Morgan, Merick and Talanius rushed back to assist them.

Too late, Lithanor heard the sound of someone spell-casting nearby, and within moments, he and Talanius were trapped in an inescapable tangle of webs.
Encounter with Malachie du Marais.

Morgan and Merick had reached the main group to assist them. Just then, they heard a voice yell “Back!” The wolves withdrew. Gandi took a swing at one and wounded it with one of his axes as it retreated. The wolves stopped in front of a large man that they could now see just beyond a nearby tree.

The man demanded that they explain why they were hunting him. Obviously this was Malachie du Marais. With three of their party incapacitated. The party decided to negotiate. The party said that he had attacked them first. Malachie told them that he suspected that they were hunting him, and also that Sephora had sent them. Malachie admitted that he was indeed a werewolf. What Sephora had left out was that it was she who had cursed him to become a werewolf. Malachie told the party that he believed Sephora to have an antidote. He asked the party if they would help him retrieve it. The party agreed to help Malachie (at least, the non-charmed party members did anyway). They arranged to meet Malachie the following day at the hill were the portal had brought them when they first arrived in Sylaire.

Sneaky took the body of the wolf that they had slain and proceeded to skin it. She said that they could show this to Sephora as evidence that they had slain Malachie. Lithanor pointed out a huge flaw in this idea. Malachie was a werewolf, and, as they already knew from the werewolves that they had fought before coming through the portal, werewolves revert to their human form when they are slain.

By the time the party got back to Sephora’s mansion, it was nearly dawn. The gates were barred, so Mazaramus had to fly in to unbar them and let the party in. When they got to the doors of the mansion itself, they swung upon on their own to allow the party entry.

The mansion was quiet. The party looked around the entry hall and the dining room for Sephora. After a short time, Sephora emerged from her bedroom, looking sleepy (and Mazaramus again succumbed to her charm effect). She indicated to the right side of the mansion and told the party to pick any of the bedrooms. She then went back to bed.

The party slept almost until midday. They awoke to the smell of bacon and eggs. Gandi was first to the dining room. Sephora did not join them for breakfast.

The party were just about finished with their breakfast (those that wanted to eat, at least) when Sephora, who was standing at the front doors, called out “Who left the main gates open?”

Talanius, Bhakragh and Gerard ran to Sephora and stood in a protective circle around her. Mazaramus flew over to the gates. As he got to the gates, he found that they were, in fact, closed.

The uncharmed party members, who were still in the dining room, heard a familiar voice. “If you are still with me, now is our chance to deal with Sephora”. Sneaky said to Malachie (who was probably invisible) “I thought we were going to look for the antidote first”. Malachie told Sneaky to look in the cellar, Sephora has a secret laboratory down there, if he remembered correctly.

Sneaky started to go down the stairs into the cellar, then changed her mind, she had other ideas.

The rest of the party went up to the doors of the mansion and looked out. All they could see was Mazaramus standing in front of the open gates. They started making their way to the gates

Mazaramus tried to walk through the gates. He did indeed walk through them. The rest of the party saw Mazaramus walk outside, come back in, and then close the gates. Mazaramus came back inside. Before he closed the gates (he had by now seen through the illusion), Sneaky crept out. She had hidden the wolf pelt in the woods nearby and was going to retrieve it.

Sneaky hadn’t gotten far from the gates when four wolves emerged from the forest. They didn’t attack, but just stood there. Sneaky continued towards the forest. The wolves started snarling and baring their teeth. She kept going. The wolves charged. Lithanor, Gandi, Morgan, Klaus and Merick had now arrived at the gates and moved forward. Sneaky ran back past the group. Merick set his spear and impaled a wolf. The other three wolves were quickly slain.

By now Malachie had appeared. Lithanor told Sneaky to forget her idea about the wolf pelt. Malachie asked her why she hadn’t gone to the cellar to retrieve the antidote. At first, Malachie thought that the party had double-crossed him. Lithanor said that Sneaky had a different plan to deal with Sephora (what exactly it was still isn’t clear). Sneaky said she wanted to know why Sephora had cursed him. Malachie gave her a piece of parchment. He said that this might help clarify things. She could read the parchment later (which he said was Malachie’s story of what had happened between Sephora and Malachie), but first she had to retrieve the antidote.

Malachie began casting a spell. In desperation (or sheer madness) Malachie resorted to necromancy, and the four dead wolves rose up. As the wolves animated, there was a rumbling, and the ground between the party and the gates began to rise up. A huge man-shaped creature of earth and rock formed out of the rising pillar.

The undead zombie wolves shambled forward to attack the earth elemental. Gandi, Morgan and Merick also rushed in to attack it. Lithanor stayed with Malachie, as did Klaus. Sneaky gave the creature a wide birth, making her way back inside the mansion.

By now, Sephora could be seen on the other side of the main gate. Standing guard in front of her were Talanius, Bhakragh and Gerard. Mazaramus flew down to join them. Sneaky managed to slip past them unnoticed and headed into the mansion house itself to search the cellars.

Klaus and Sephora had the same idea. Klaus cast a hold person spell, targeting Sephora, Talanius, Bhakragh and Gerard. Talanius and Bhakragh failed their saving throws and were held. Sephora cast hold person at Lithanor, Malachie and Klaus. All three failed their saving throws.

Before being held. Malachie had managed to cast a haste spell, but was only able to get himself, Lithanor, Klaus and the zombie wolves in its area of effect. Gandi, Morgan and Merick had already engaged the elemental, and the last thing he wanted to be up against was a hasted elemental. The spell proved useless. Lithanor, Klaus and Malachie were literally going nowhere fast, and the zombie wolves couldn’t hit the elemental.

Mazaramus, although unable to cast spells, could still use his wands, and used a charge from his wand of enemy detection. I think he was getting confused and wanted to know who was on who’s side (to tell the truth, even I was getting a bit confused). Malachie, Lithanor, Klaus, Morgan, Gandi, Merick and the zombie wolves glowed a fiery red.

One by one, the elemental was mashing the undead wolves into a pulp, while Morgan, Gandi and Merick hacked away at it. For the record, I had made a bit of a cock up here, as Sephora shouldn’t have been able to cast any other spells as she had to concentrate on controlling the elemental that she had summoned, but what the heck, it made the encounter more interesting (my justification for this was that magic works slightly differently in Sephora’s realm).

Sephora cast a mirror image spell on herself (just in case the party finished off the elemental and came for her). She then told Mazaramus to go and finish Malachie off while he was still held. Mazaramus seemed reluctant for seem reason, and said that he didn’t want to get mashed by the earth elemental. Sephora reminded him that he had a broom of flying. Gerard was going to go with Mazaramus, but he told him to stay with Sephora and protect her.

Mazaramus reached Malachie. Instead of killing him, he started to tie up Malachie, Lithanor and Klaus. He tried to take the Enchanted Sword of Sylaire but got a nasty jolt whenever he tried to wield it. Instead, he took Lithanor’s longsword +2, after looking through Lithanor’s possession for any scrolls.

Sephora saw that Mazaramus wasn’t doing what she had told him to do. She cast a charm person spell at Morgan. He failed his saving throw this time, having previously resisted her innate charm ability. Sephora told Morgan that she couldn’t kill Malachie. He would have to do it.

By the time Morgan reached Malachie, Mazaramus had tried lifting Lithanor’s longsword +2 and attempted to hack his head off. He succeeded in putting a large slice across his throat. Morgan swiftly put his sword through Malachie’s heart, mercifully ending his suffering (from both the lycanthropy curse and Mazaramus’ mutilations).

After berating Mazaramus for his actions, Morgan returned to fighting the elemental. Morgan and Gandi finished the creature off once it had finished stomping the undead wolves.

With the battle over, Sephora ran over to Malachie’s body, knelt beside him and began crying. The party heard her say that she was sorry for what had happened to him. She then lifted his body up and laid it in the hole formed where the earth elemental had risen out of the ground.

She got the unheld party members to gather the party together in a group. She then cast dispel magic to remove the hold person and charm effects. Together, they helped to fill in Malachie’s grave.

Meanwhile, Sneaky had been searching the cellar. Finding only wine bottles at first (of which she took a couple for later consumption), she proceeded to check the walls for secret doors. After some time, she did indeed find a secret door. She opened the secret door and found…

Sephora said she would now take the party back to the portal. Their job was done, Malachie had indeed found his cure, and they had what they came for. They asked where Sneaky was. Sephora said that she had gone running to her cellar, but they party needn’t worry, as she had but a teleport trap in her cellar that would send her to the portal.

Sephora began casting another spell. The air around Sephora and the party began to sparkle and swirl, and moments later they found themselves on the hill where they had first entered Sephora’s realm.

They looked around, but there was no sign of the portal. Mazaramus asked her where the portal was. Sephora told him to walk towards a patch near the centre where no grass grew. He walked towards it and the portal suddenly appeared. Mazaramus stepped through and found himself back in the stone circle in Averoigne. The rest of the party followed suit.

They looked back through the arch, but could only see the hill and the stone circle on the other side, instead of Sephora’s realm. They called out for Sneaky and looked around the stone circle for her. After about ten minutes, Sneaky came pelting through the arch.

She ran up to Morgan, “you were right. She’s a vampire”. What Sneaky had seen on the other side of the secret door was a crypt containing an open coffin. Gerard merely commented “well if that’s true, she was certainly nicer than the other vampires that I came across”. It was even suggested by some of the party members that maybe not all vampires are evil.

Later, Sneaky read the parchment that Malachie had given her. I told her player that he would have to read The Enchantress of Sylaire by Clark Ashton Smith. Although the events that transpired are somewhat different to the story, it should provide some more insight.

Lithanor and Klaus checked their possessions. They were well aware that Mazaramus had been looting them (to which even Gerard exclaimed his disapproval) whilst they were held. Lithanor never even had any scrolls on him in the first place (unlike Mazaramus, he doesn’t hoard them).

Mazaramus double checked his own possessions. He was sure that he had looted a few objects. He found a couple of scrolls that he didn’t previously have. One of them read “A parting gift…my beloved”. The other was a spell scroll, which Mazaramus would have to decipher later.

The party put as much distance as they could between themselves and the stone circle before nightfall, in case any more werewolves came after them. Gerard had pointed out that, although they could follow the River Isoile to Vyones, this meant travelling through wilderness and forests for most of the way. Besides, they had a little over a week’s rations left and would run out long before reaching Vyones. And so the party started heading back to the Inn de Bonne Joissance.

Session Twenty

The party arrived back at the Inn without incident. Mazaramus had been able to use read magic to read the scroll that Sephora had given him. He found that it had the spells charm personphantasmal force and fly, which he transcribed into his spell book. When they got to the Inn, a bar fight almost broke out when the barkeep commented that the travelling circus was back. Even though he couldn’t speak French, Gandi was able to discern enough from the comment, especially with Gerard translating, as well as his having taught the party a few simple French phrases.

The party were low on rations by now, even with the Bag of Unending Bananas and the sumptuous meal provided by Sephora. Iron rations weren’t available at the Inn de Bonne Joissance. The best they could get were enough croissants to keep them going.

The party looked at the sketch map provided by Gerard de l’Automne and debated where to go next. Mazaramus was interested in the potion of time travel and wanted to go south to Ximes. Lithanor thought that they would be better off going north to Vyones to retrieve the Viper-Circled Mirror. In the end, the party ended up going north. It is worth pointing out at this point that Mazaramus was under the impression that they were headed for Ximes. The Inn de Bonne Joissance was on the east side of the road, and the party turned right went they left the inn.

After about four days travel, just as the sun was beginning to set, the party heard a woman’s scream coming from the forest off to the side of the road. Mazaramus flew ahead as always on his trusty broom of flying, and the rest of the party dashed off after him, ignoring Gerard’s advice that it could be a trap.

Mazaramus found that after about a hundred yards, the trees gave way to a bluff, an almost sheer drop of earth and rocks. A tree was overhanging the bluff, and hanging on to it for dear life was a peasant woman. Mazaramus flew in closer, trying to get the woman to climb onto his broom. Meanwhile, Lithanor came bowling through the trees. As soon as he got to within 10’ of what he thought was the edge of the bluff, the ground disappeared, revealing that the edge of the drop was further back, and Lithanor had already run past the edge. Luckily, he had the Enchanted Sword of Sylaire in hand and used its ability to enable the wielder to fly.

The woman hanging onto the tree (which had also disappeared), now turned into a mist-like apparition which then turned invisible and swiftly fled north-eastwards. Lithanor again used his sword to detect invisible, and he and Mazaramus gave chase. The apparition was flying as fast as Lithanor and Mazaramus, so there was no way that they were going to catch it. They each launched a fireball at it, Mazaramus using a spell and Lithanor with his wand. The phantom was utterly vapourised.

They were about to head back to the rest of the party when they caught sight of a farmstead a mile or so away. Something about it wasn’t quite right, so they decided to fly closer.

The farmstead had been smashed to smithereens. Nothing but rubble and a couple of stone walls remained. In the fields, scattered about, were several dead cows, looking as though something very large and heavy had bludgeoned them. One cow was found half-way up a tree some two-hundred yards away, bludgeoned in the same manner. They looked around for any footprints or tracks. All that could be found were several oddly shaped puddles, about 10’ or so across. Mazaramus flew up again and looked down at the puddles, which were indeed foot-prints. They criss-crossed a fair bit, but Mazaramus was able to discern that they came from the north and returned in roughly that direction. He could just make out the edge of the forest, and where the footprints led it seemed as though the forest had been pushed apart.

By now it was getting quite dark, so Lithanor and Mazaramus headed back to the rest of the party. They made camp for the night, Lithanor and Mazaramus were quite unsettled by what they had seen, so Gerard took their mind of it by telling them the tale of when he had encountered some vampires in the ruins of Faussesflammes. For an account of Gerard’s tale, read A Rendezvous in Averoigne.

Two days later, the party reached the outskirts of Vyones. By now most of the party was invisible again, thanks to Mazaramus’ daily castings. As they neared the edge of the forest, a couple of miles from Vyones, the party was overtaken by two riders, galloping nine hells for leather towards the city gates. Mazaramus flew closer to the gates. He saw several groups of peasants running for the gates. The guards at the gates were ushering them forward and into the city with all haste.

Most of the party decided to disrupt their invisibility spells before proceeding to the city. As they got close to the gates, the guards waved them forward yelling “Vite! Vite!” Inside the city, they found that the streets were quite crowded. Most of the people were making for the city square near the centre, beyond which could be seen a huge cathedral. The party found themselves dragged along with the crowds (apart from Mazaramus, who was invisibly flying above the heads of the cityfolk).

When they arrived at the city square, the Archbishop of Vyones was giving a speech from a raised wooden platform in an attempt to calm the people gathered there. From what the Archbishop was saying, and what they overheard from other townsfolk, some gigantic monstrosity was ravaging the outlying farms and villages, laying waste to everything in its path.

As they watched, a group of soldiers supporting a wounded captain-at-arms, approached the platform. The captain gave an account of how this gigantic creature had attacked the town of La Frenaie. The captain had led an attack against the giant. Their assault was fruitless, a volley of crossbow bolts did nothing to slow it down, and it was only because the cavalry units’ horses had lost their nerve and bolted that the captain and his men were still alive.

Then, a robed man with a black beard approached the platform. He began to ascend the stairs towards the Archbishop. Some guards stopped him, but the Archbishop indicated to let him past. The man then spoke to the Archbishop, while one of the other priests took over with reassuring the crowd. Sneaky listened in, using her ESP ability. The man apparently had a way of defeating the colossus that was now approaching the city. The Archbishop then went back to speak to the crowd, and asked if there were any volunteers to undertake a dangerous mission. Lucky the party was there, and they all volunteered. The Archbishop then told the city-folk that their salvation was at hand in the form if these valiant heroes, who would defeat the colossus.

The robed man spoke to the party. He introduced himself as Gaspard du Nord, a name that was already familiar to them thanks to the scroll they had found in Castle Amber. Mazaramus asked him if he knew about the Viper-Circled Mirror. Gaspard was somewhat taken aback that the party had this foreknowledge about him. When they showed him the scroll and the Enchanted Sword of Sylaire, he was even more impressed.

Gaspard led the party to his dingy home, which doubled as his laboratory, in a basement accessed by some stairs in a narrow alleyway. His room was somewhat dishevelled and dusty, and a few rats scurried away as they entered. He asked if any of the party had any alchemical skills. Mazaramus knew a bit about alchemy. Gaspard instructed Mazaramus on how to prepare a black powder that would destroy the colossus. Under Gaspard and Mazaramus’ guidance, the rest of the party helped to grind more of the powder using mortar and pestles that Gaspard had in his laboratory.

Gaspard told the party that Gaspard used to be a practitioner of ‘the black arts’ and was a former apprentice of a particularly nasty sorcerer called Nathaire. Nathaire had been banished from Vyones by the Archbishop. Nathaire had vowed vengeance against the Archbishop and the city of Vyones, before disappearing, not to be seen or heard from again, until now. Gaspard had renounced his sorcerous ways, and was granted amnesty by the Archbishop.

Gaspard told them how he suspected that Nathaire was close to carrying out his revenge, when the dead began rising from their graves and migrating northwards. He had embarked on finding Nathaire’s hideout, which he discovered in the ruins of Ylourgne. Gaspard found that Nathaire, now enfeebled and unable to walk, was overseeing work being carried out on some gigantic skeleton. Nathaire’s apprentices, and several zombies, were covering the skeleton in some flesh-like substance. Before he could get back to Vyones to warn the Archbishop, he had been discovered by Nathaire’s apprentices and captured. They could have killed him, but Nathaire wanted to make an example and leave some witness to his vengeful act, so he had him thrown into his dungeon instead. Gaspard eventually managed to escape by digging his way out through where leaking water had already partly corroded the dungeon wall. By the time he got out, however, Nathaire, the large construction, the apprentices and the zombies had all gone.

As they worked, they noticed something at the back of the room about the size of a large mirror covered by a cloth. Sneaky was about to uncover it when Gaspard warned her not to touch it. He revealed that the covered over object was the Viper-Circled Mirror. Gaspard explained that the mirror could be used as a scrying device. It was covered because when he attempted to use it earlier to spy on Nathaire, the evil sorcerer could also see Gaspard, and he dare not risk using it again.

They eventually finished enough of the black powder to fill several pouches. Exhausted, the party slept on whatever they could find. Some were lucky enough to have a rickety chair, others had to use the floor.

As they slept, the party had a shared dream (another power of the Viper-Circled Mirror, perhaps?). They found themselves in a field to the north of the city of Vyones. To the north, they could make out The Colossus of Ylourgne approaching fast. Mazaramus checked that he had the black powder on him, but instead found a pouch of tobacco.

As soon as the colossus was in range, the party let loose a volley of three fireballs, as well as missile fire from their crossbows. Mazaramus and Sneaky then flew out towards the colossus. Mazaramus dropped Sneaky on its head, then went back to get Gandi so that he could also land on its head.

The colossus closed the distance between itself and the party. First it gave Lithanor a hefty whack, knocking him down to 10 hit points. Talanius and Klaus had the life knocked out of them by a swing from the tree that the colossus was using as a club. Eventually, they managed to slay the colossus. When it fell, Gandi and Sneaky fell off its head. Gandi survived the fall but Sneaky didn’t, hitting the ground with a bone-crunching thud.

Having had a taste of what would happen if they took the colossus on without using Gaspard’s black powder, we ended the session there.

Session Twenty-One

The party woke up and could still hear distant thumps of the giant’s club. Lithanor, Klaus and Mazaramus had awoken earlier than the rest of the party and had had chance to memorise their spells. A nearby glass of liquid gave out a steady ripple with each beat of the distant thuds. Gaspard entered, with news that the colossus had been sighted a mile or so to the north of the city and was headed straight for it.

Mazaramus cast a fly spell on Gandi, then made himself and Gandi invisible. The group set off for the cathedral. Gaspard had suggested that this would be the best place to try to throw the black powder into the colossus’ eyes, if they could lure it close enough, and also advised that flying party members would be less likely to be noticed by the general populace if they took off from near the top of the cathedral.

As they neared the top of the stairs leading to the top of the cathedral, they spotted the colossus at the north end of the city, battering the walls while men-at-arms fought in vain to stop it (see module cover). Mazaramus, Gandi and Lithanor went out onto the roof of the cathedral. Lithanor recognised the rooftop from the dream that he had way back in the feast hall in Chateau d’Amberville. However, unlike his dream, there were no gargoyles.

It wasn’t long before the colossus broke down the city wall and began advancing down the streets, knocking rooftops over as it came, straight towards the cathedral. Gandi and Mazaramus flew out to meet it. Lithanor hung back to cast mirror image on himself before flying out after them. Gandi and Mazaramus got as close to the colossus’ face as possible and threw their pouches of black powder. Gandi’s pouch emptied its contents into the air before hitting, but Mazaramus got it right in the eye. The gargantuan monstrosity stared at Mazaramus and Glantri, who were now visible. It spoke, saying “Fools! Do you think that Gaspard’s crude powder would be enough to….”, then fell backwards. As it fell, they noticed a cage on its back housing Nathaire’s apprentices, screaming and scrambling madly before being crushed by the falling colossus.

Gandi and Mazaramus swiftly flew down before they were noticed by any city-folk. Lithanor also flew down, and Gandi whacked his mirror images away to remove any traces of sorcery on their part. Before the dust settled, Gandi planted a hand-axe in the colossus’ forehead. Several city-folk ran towards the party and the fallen colossus, cheering as they came, and lifted the heroes aloft.

There was much celebration in Vyones that day. The archbishop rewarded the party with 1,000 gold pieces each. Gaspard gave the party the Viper-Circled Mirror, seeming glad to be rid of it. Mazaramus took the mirror. Gaspard explained that he could use it as a scrying device, just like a crystal ball.

Over the following days, Mazaramus used the Viper-Circled Mirror several times. Some of his scryings include; trying to glimpse a potion of time travel (all he got was an image of a bottle of green liquid, which seemed to transform into the face of the strange man they had encountered on the banks of the River Isoile), an image of Mazaramus himself looking into the mirror (who was looking at an image of himself looking into the mirror, who was looking at an image of himself looking into the mirror, who was looking at…), the moon, which provided an image of the moon as seen from an observer on Earth, not a close-up as Mazaramus was hoping. He scried again for the strange man that had sold them the potion. This time he got an image of the man digging up some strange plants in a forest. He had to cover his ears as he pulled The Mandrakes out of the ground. Mazaramus soon learned that the mirror could only be used three times a day, and could only get a clear image of something he was already familiar with.

The following day, the party were ready to set off again after stocking up on rations. Mazaramus wanted to go north to look for the ruins of Ylourgne, were Nathaire had been hiding out and the colossus came from, hoping to find a stash of magic items or even Nathaire’s spell book. Lithanor objected, saying that this would just be a waste of time and detracted from their true objective of escaping from Averoigne. Not only that, Morgan was still under the effect of the quest spell cast on him by Simon d'Amberville, and would suffer repercussions if he diverted from his quest.

DMs note: The idea of exploring the ruins of Ylourgne could be expanded upon, and it is a shame that I hadn’t anticipated this and prepared a little side adventure for this. This just goes to show that the Averoigne part of the module has a lot of scope for adventure beyond the four pages on this section of the module. I pointed out that I could always do an adventure for this some other time, with the party finding a way back to Averoigne to explore the ruins.

The party headed south-west, following a trail that would lead them to Perigon, where they hoped to find the Ring of Eibon. The first two days were uneventful, and the party reached the town of Cordeliers. Continuing on, they hoped to reach Sainte Zenobie after about another six days travel. After four days, the party were travelling through a part of the trail where the woods were thicker and closer to the trail. Just as dusk approached, they were beset by a group of shadows.  Due to the darkness, the party didn’t see the shadows until there were upon them. A few of the party felt their chilling touch and felt the strength draining away from them. The party fought back after their initial surprise attack and soon vanquished them all.

Fortunately, the strength drain wasn’t permanent, and by the time they had set camp their strength had returned. Gerard told the party another story, about a wandering traveller who learned of the ruins of Faussesflammes from a local monk, and, against the advice of the monk, took it upon himself to explore the ruins. (Taken from The End of the Story by Clark Ashton Smith).

Another two days travel brought the party to the outskirts of the town of Sainte Zenobie, where they encountered a dishevelled looking man ambling towards them. He hailed the party, saying that he had been looking for them. They recognised him as the man who washed his socks in the River Isoile and had sold Sneaky a love potion. This time he introduced himself as Gilles Grenier. He told them that he had their potions ready, and would sell them to the party for a total of 200 gold pieces. This was a bargain, so they accepted his offer. The potions were three potions of healing and three of his special love potions. Gilles joined the party as they entered Sainte Zenobie, but disappeared again shortly after.

The party went to find rooms for the night at an inn. They noticed now that there was a strange red star or comet to the south, and seemed to be directly over Perigon. Mazaramus used the Viper-Circled Mirror to try to get a closer view of the fiery comet. He got an image of flames, out of which came some hideous snake-like demon, seeming to come out of the mirror itself. Mazaramus heard it speak the words “Foolish mortal!” before he hurriedly put down the mirror. Obviously, getting the Ring of Eibon wasn’t going to be a straight forward matter.

Session Twenty-Two

After spending the night at a tavern in Sainte Zenobie, the party embarked on the last leg of the journey to Perigon, which they estimated they would reach in two days. The journey was mostly uneventful, though early on the second day, they spotted what looked like the body of some animal some hundred yards or so off the trail, near the edge of the woods.

Mazaramus flew over to take a closer look. It was indeed the corpse of a deer, severely mutilated, with its spine ripped out. Wondering what would cause such mutilation, the party hastened towards Perigon, which they reached towards the end of the day.

Mazaramus had been casting invisibility spells on some of the party since leaving Sainte Zenobie. With the use of an invisibility 10’ radius spell, the entire party was invisible by the time they had reached Perigon. The gates of the town were open, though a couple of men-at-arms were on watch. The party invisibly walked past them. One of the men-at-arms swung round, pointing his spear, as they walked past, calling out in French. The other man-at-arms looked around, confused, before reassuring his comrade that there was nothing there.

It had been getting dark for some time now. As they journeyed down the streets of Perigon, they found very little movement. Most of the houses had their doors closed and windows boarded up. A lone figure moved at a brisk pace towards a nearby tavern, and the party followed him.

Morgan and Gerard de l’Automne left the area of the invisibility 10’radius. Gerard entered the tavern first. The idea being for Gerard to keep the door open long enough for the invisible party members to enter, with Morgan coming in last to close the door. They heard some commotion coming from inside the tavern as Gerard held the door open. Swiftly entering, they saw that a tavern patron was trying to get Gerard to close the door.

By the time Morgan had entered, most of the patrons were standing, with whatever weapons they had drawn and ready. Morgan was about to reassure them that they meant no hostility, when the man who had been trying to close the door looked around apprehensively. He had drawn his rapier, and told everyone that something had entered the tavern along with the two newcomers. Eventually, the barkeep managed to calm everyone down and asked the newcomers what they would like to drink.

Morgan and Gerard ordered drinks for themselves. The rest of the party who were still invisible, found whatever quiet and out of the way areas of the tavern that they could, so as not to startle the patrons further…except for Gandi, who couldn’t resist a chance for a drink and emerged from the invisibility spell (out of sight of course, so that he didn’t just appear). The barkeep assumed that he had been hiding under a table, judging by his height.

The man who had been trying to close the door explained the reason for their apprehension to the party after a few drinks. About a week ago, a strange red comet had appeared in the sky. That was when the trouble started. Initially, there had been strange killings of animals in the nearby woods, their bodies horribly mutilated, much like the deer that the party had discovered. Over the past couple of days, however, whatever had been slaughtering these animals had turned its attention to the people of Perigon, slaying a woodsman and then some of the town guard that had gone out to investigate.

They couldn’t say much else about what had been happening. If they wanted to know more, the best person to speak to would be the Abbot Theophile. Lithanor asked where they might find him. The man replied “At ze Abbey. We’re else would you find an Abbot?” They asked him if they knew a Luc le Chaudronnier. He revealed that a man by that name was assisting the Abbot, and was helping to hunt down this unearthly horror.

The party took to their rooms (a little awkward for the invisible party members). The following morning, there was some commotion going on in the street outside the tavern, and the party hurried outside to see what was going on. Sneaky had made herself visible before coming down into the tavern’s main room. A fairly old man saw her coming down and pointed out that she hadn’t been in the tavern the night before. Sneaky said she had been there the whole time, but the old man was having none of it. He would have definitely noticed her, he said smiling. Luckily for Sneaky, the old man was quite friendly and wasn’t going to turn her over to the lynch mob for using witchcraft.

Outside, the party saw that small groups of people had come out to watch a group of a dozen or so soldiers on horseback entering Perigon by the main gate. At the head of the group of soldiers was an unarmoured man with a black beard. As the group advanced down the street, the party saw that at the rear of the column, two riderless horses were being led.

The city folk, seeing the despondent expression in the faces of the soldiers and the bearded man at the head of the column, began to disperse and go back to their homes. The mounted soldiers continued down the streets and turned a corner into another main street. The party followed them and found that the street that they were headed down led towards a walled enclosure with some buildings inside it.

Aware that they were being followed, the man at the head of the column ordered them to halt. He and two soldiers turned and advanced towards the party. The black bearded man asked the party why they were following them. Morgan stepped forward and said that they were looking for Luc le Chaudronnier. The man answered “you have found him. I am Luc le Chaudronnier. What is it that you want?”

Morgan showed Luc the “To Those Who Would Be Free” scroll. Luc read it, then raised his eyebrows in surprise. He then told the party to follow him.

The party was led into the walled enclosure, which was in fact the abbey, and into a large building. Luc spoke with the party, mostly confirming that the party was not from this world and that they were trying to get home. He then told them that he was in the employ of the Abbot Theophile, and was helping him by hunting for the creature, so far with little success. Mazaramus suggested that they help Luc hunt for the Beast, in return for the Ring of Eibon. Luc told Mazaramus that the Ring of Eibon was in the possession of the Abbot, and he was unlikely to readily part with it. However, he did offer to put his suggestion to the Abbot on the party’s behalf.

Luc went to a door near the back of the room that they were in. After a short time the party heard a raised voice from the other side of the door. A man in monastic robes emerged and then indicated towards the party. “Are these the ones?” he said, “It is more likely that they are in league with the Beast and seek to steal the Ring to give to it”. As he said this, he gestured with his right hand, and Mazaramus spotted the Ring of Eibon on one of his fingers. Luc spoke to the Abbot again, trying to assure him that the party was here to help. The Abbot stormed away. Luc approached the party and apologised for the Abbot’s reaction, saying that the terror being wrought on the town by the Beast had weighed heavily on the Abbot.

Luc then excused himself. He had been hunting for the Beast all night and was in need of some rest. Meanwhile, the captain-at-arms would brief them further on the matter of hunting for the Beast.

The captain-at-arms appeared moments later and suggested that they continue the discussion at a nearby tavern.

At the tavern (not the same one that they had spent the previous night in), the captain told the party about their attempts to catch and slay the Beast. The creature was very cunning, and seemed to anticipate their moves. The men-at-arms had tried changing tactics from hunting as a large group (which it simply stayed away from), to forming smaller groups to surround and catch it. This merely resulted in the smaller groups being picked off before the rest of the company could move in.

The party suggested that they team up with the captain’s men. The captain was not entirely trusting of the party and suggested that the party hunt for the Beast, and the captain and his men would follow. When he heard the death screams of the party, he and his men would come in to finish the creature off.

They did manage to learn that Luc le Chaudronnier was a wizard. He had some immunity to the general law that “practitioners of dark magic” should be executed, largely due to the Abbot’s influence.

Mazaramus, with some reluctance since last time, plucked up the courage to use the Viper-Circled Mirror again, trying to locate The Beast of Averoigne. All he got was an image of coiling red mist.

As it came towards nightfall, Luc summoned the party to the abbey to prepare for another night’s search, this time with the party’s help. Now that they knew that he was a magic-user, Mazaramus attempted to discuss strategies involving spell-casting to lure the creature or trap it. Luc told Mazaramus that he had already tried such strategies, all to no avail.

As they spoke, they heard a blood-curdling scream come from the grounds of the abbey. They rushed outside and saw lying on the floor the body of a monk. Beyond this, a cloud of red mist was moving up the abbey’s enclosing wall. The form of some serpentine creature could just be made out in the mist.

Mazaramus mounted his broom of flying and had Gandi jump on as well. Lithanor activated the fly spell from the Enchanted Sword of Sylaire. Before he flew after Mazaramus, however, he went to the wall and used his rope of climbing to allow the rest of the party to follow.

Mazaramus sighted the cloud of red mist and launched a fire ball at it. The Beast turned to face Mazaramus. Mazaramus could now see the strange alien The Beast of Averoigne. head of the creature, the same face he had seen in the Viper-Circled Mirror a few days earlier.

Gandi jumped from the broom of flying and charged at the Beast. Meanwhile, Lithanor flew over the top of the wall and launched another fire ball at it using his wand before Gandi got too close. Lithanor’s player made a diabolical roll for the amount of damage, and with the Beast making it’s saving throw, managed to do a mere 8 points of damage.

Gandi closed with the creature and swung with both hand axes, managing to gouge it with one. The creature screamed and lunged back. Gandi was struck with a claw and bitten by the creature’s serrated teeth, causing grievous wounds to Gandi.

The rest of the party were slowly descending the wall and rushing in to assist. Lithanor closed to melee range to help Gandi in the fight. Morgan and Bhakragh soon followed.

Mazaramus thought of conjuring up an illusion to distract the creature and hopefully seriously wound it by using a phantasmal force spell. He conjured up the image of a Brain Collector.

DM's note: SPOILER ALERT! None of my players have read any of the Clark Ashton Smith stories, despite my recommendations (I’ve told them which ones they can’t read yet). In the story The Beast of Averoigne, it is Luc le Chaudronnier, not Theophile, who has the Ring of Eibon. In the end, he uses the Ring of Eibon to summon a demon to fight the Beast of Averoigne. It is uncanny how Mazaramus seemed to emulate this by summoning an illusion of a somewhat demonic Brain Collector to fight the Beast of Averoigne.

The Beast ignored the Brain Collector and continued directing its attacks at Gandi. However, the presence of the Brain Collector and the mass of hardened fighters now closing in on it must have perturbed it, because it failed to land a single blow.

As the fight waged on, Mazaramus remembered that Brain Collectors could cast spells (or so he suspected), and had his illusory Brain Collector cast an illusory Ice Storm spell to engulf itself, the Beast, and the fighters now engaged in combat with it.

Klaus, now close enough, attempted to use his dispel evil spell from his scroll, but the Beast made its saving throw and shrugged off the spell.

Finally, Gandi hit the creature with both of his axes, bringing the creature down. The red mist seemed to dissipate, evaporating upwards. The party saw the creature writhing in its death throes on the floor. As they watched, the creature seemed to become more human. By the time it was still, they saw the body the Abbot Theophile lying on the ground before them!

Luc le Chaudronnier came running towards the party. Following behind him were the captain-at-arms and several soldiers. Luc went to the body of Theophile, removed the Ring of Eibon, and swiftly gave it to Morgan (the only person he truly trusted in the party, as he had not been invisible for most of the time since meeting them). He said to Morgan “Do with this what you will. I suggest, however, that you be gone from Perigon by morning, lest you be accused of the Abbot’s murder”.

The captain gave the party a disdainful look, then ordered his men to fetch a stretcher and robes to cover the body of the Abbot so that they could take his body back into the abbey.

The party deliberated over who should have the Ring of Eibon. Lithanor and Mazaramus were ruled out as they already had one of the legendary artefacts that they were seeking. Who knows what dire effects may occur if the same person held two of these artefacts.

Morgan ruled himself out, largely because his claymore might get jealous. Klaus regarded the Ring as unholy (despite the fact that Theophile himself was a holy man). Bhakragh, Merick and Talanius didn’t want the responsibility, neither did Gerard. Despite being the hero of the hour, and the slayer of The Beast of Averoigne, Gandi let Sneaky keep it.

As soon as she put in on, Sneaky could sense some dark delectable power in the Ring of Eibon, as though it was ready to reveal some great knowledge, and couldn’t wait to see what powers it would ultimately reveal.

Session Twenty-Three

The following morning, Luc le Chaudronnier provided the party with enough rations to complete their journey to Ximes and sent them on their way.

With three of the items they needed now in their possession, all that was required now was a potion of time travel. The scroll indicated that this would most likely be found in Ximes (they had ruled out the town of Les Hiboux). Of the three names provided on the scroll – Azedarac, Moriamis and Jehan, one of these was a well-known, powerful and influential figure – Azedarac, the Bishop of Ximes.

The weather was quite pleasant as they journeyed. After six days of travelling along the trail towards Ximes, by which time Mazaramus had made the entire party invisible again, they encountered a girl in her late teens who was picking flowers by the side of the trail. Her attire was quite unlike any of the other people that they had seen in Averoigne. Her clothes were loose fitted to allow ease of movement, and a wreath of flowers hung loosely about her neck.

Sneaky was the first to come across the girl, and decided to cancel her invisibility to talk to her. Sneaky asked what she was doing out in the wilds on her own. She answered that she was not alone, her community was nearby. At this point Sneaky assumed that she was some kind of druid.

As they were talking, a young man was heard walking through the undergrowth towards them from the north side of the trail. He called out “Hurry up, Adele, the Festival will be starting soon”

Sneaky asked the girl what the festival was, to which she simply replied “Why, the Festival of Lucaria, of course”. Adele asked if Sneaky was going. The young man emerged from the forest, and said that she was most welcome. Sneaky asked if her friends could come as well. The young man looked around. “What friends?” When Sneaky said that they were close by, the young man replied “Oh! You are protected by spirits! You are indeed blessed. Our elders will be very glad to meet you and your spirits”

The rest of the party followed as Sneaky went with Adele and the young man into the forest. The man said that her spirits were very noisy and left an obvious trail through the underbrush.

After a short while, they came to a small grove. Milling about were more people, dressed in a similar manner to the two the party had already met. In all, there were eight young girls, four young men, and a woman who was considerably older than the others. This woman was apparently their elder.

The party decided to cancel their invisibility before approaching. They were warmly greeted and were invited to join in their feast. Bowls of nuts and fruits were brought round, and the party were offered their choice of mead, elderberry wine and various other drinks that they had brewed.

The elder said that the arrival of the party was a fortuitous sign, and she repeated the earlier offer for the party to join them in the Festival of Lucaria. She explained that the Festival was a celebration of when their ancestors had driven the militaristic Romans from their lands several hundred years ago.

They discovered that these people were pagans, and worshipped, among others, Gaia, the Earth Mother. It seemed that the elder was also their high priestess.

After feasting, the young men brought out various musical instruments such as pipes and small drums, and began playing. The women started dancing around, and invited the members of the party to join in.

Gerard also played his lyre for a while, then began telling stories to a small group of the pagans. Inspired by the pan pipes being played, he told them the story of The Satyr, as well as tales of the party’s recent adventures in Averoigne.

Following the festival, the adventurers were invited to stay at their camp for the night before continuing on to Ximes in the morning. The young men set up some spare tents that they had for the party. After all the revelry, the party had no problem getting off to sleep.

In the early hours of the morning, Mazaramus awoke to the sounds movement outside his tent. Going out to investigate, he saw two of the young men about to go into one of the party’s tents. As soon as they saw Mazaramus tent open, however, they quickly ran off.

Mazaramus roused the rest of the party. Lithanor and Gerard had disappeared, and there were signs of them being dragged away from their tents. The rest of the encampment was deserted, but they could hear what sounded like chanting coming from the direction in which the two young men had run.

The party headed towards the chanting, and soon found a large man-shaped effigy made of wicker, about 20’ tall in a clearing. Dancing around the base of the wicker man were the pagan girls, chanting as they danced. Two of the pagan men were piling kindling and firewood at the base of the wicker statue. Before the wicker man was the high priestess, chanting and gesturing. Inside the head of the wicker man, in a kind of wicker basket, were Lithanor and Gerard in a drugged and docile state.

The two men who had run from Mazaramus were by now approaching the elder. She paused in her chanting and looked back in the direction of their main camp, and saw the party approaching.

The elder shouted that these two had been chosen to be sacrifices to Gaia, to be reincarnated as members of their tribe. She signalled to the two men who had been collecting kindling, and they went to light branches from a torch atop a wooden pole that had been planted in the ground nearby.

As the party appealed to her to stop, Klaus cast resist fire on Lithanor, and Mazaramus flew up to the head of the wicker man on his broom of flying.

Mazaramus struggled to open the wicker cage holding Lithanor and Gerard. The elder signalled for the two men holding the now flaming branches to light the kindling. They were about to light it when a blonde haired woman in white robes came over the hill on the opposite side of the clearing. She shouted “What are you doing? This is not how we treat our guests!”

The two men hesitated, then shamefully put out the flaming branches. The elder looked disappointed. As the white robed woman approached, she began to protest. She said that they must finish their ritual. The newcomer replied “Have you learnt nothing? We do not carry out human sacrifices in the way that our ancestors did. Release them at once”.

Two of the men climbed a ladder at the back of the wicker man, and began to carry Lithanor and Gerard down, with a little help from Mazaramus. The woman gave a small draught of some potion to the drugged Lithanor and Gerard, and after a short while they began to come to their senses.

The woman apologised to the party, and introduced herself as Moriamis. Recognising the name from their scroll, Mazaramus asked her if she knew about a potion of time travel. She told them that she knew what it was, having been an apprentice at one time of Azedarac. If she had the right components, she would be able to make one, but the only person she knew that had these components now was Azedarac.

It turns out that she had discovered that Azedarac was dabbling in the dark arts. Although Moriamis herself was a skilled sorceress, the kind of magic that Azedarac was practising frightened her. Knowing that he would not allow her to leave, knowing his secrets, she faked her own death and fled from him, though she is not entirely convinced that this fooled Azedarac.

She cautioned the party that if they were to deal with Azedarac, that they should use tact and diplomacy, rather than try to fight him. Even if they succeeded in defeating him, he had powerful allies, being a prominent figure in Ximes, and the party would be outlawed and hunted for their crime. Not only that, if they killed Azedarac, they may never be able to recover a potion of time travel.

The party were allowed to return to sleep, and this time kept a watch, despite Moriamis’ assurances that they would not wake up to find themselves in a blazing wicker statue.

The following morning, before leaving, Mazaramus asked Moriamis for a description of Azedarac. He then attempted to scry for Azedarac using the Viper-Circled Mirror. He saw an image of Azedarac giving a sermon in a church. The sermon finished a short while later. As the congregation left the church, Azedarac seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. He then went to the back of the church and through a secret door.

Azedarac walked into a room that was quite out of place in a church. Mazaramus recognised several objects of a magical nature, and some other objects that were quite strange, including a rather curious metal wand, bent at an angle near the middle. Azedarac walked up to a lecturn on which was placed a large book, and began leafing through its pages. He then stopped, stared around for a moment and walked over to a nearby shelf. Opening a coffer on the shelf, he withdrew an amulet and placed it about his neck, at which point the image abruptly vanished.

The party continued on their way to Ximes. The whole party was invisible again by the time they reached the town. At the gates to the town, they saw a richly dressed man arguing with the gate guards, apparently protesting about having to pay duty for some items he was carrying. They overheard him say that the items were for His Holiness, the bishop Azedarac. At this, the guards let him through without any further question. Before he went in, they heard the richly dressed man ask the guards to look out for his friends, giving descriptions of the adventurers, and to direct them to the inn he would be staying at if they saw them.

Intrigued that this man apparently knew the adventurers, they decided to follow him to the inn he was staying at. By the time they had caught up to him (and cancelled their invisibility), he was already at the bar of the tavern part of the inn and getting a drink. Morgan and Gandi went in first and went to the bar on either side of him. The man looked at them, greeted them by name, and introduced himself as Sieur des Emaux. Morgan’s cup of truth glowed hot.

By now Klaus had also joined them. Sieur des Emaux offered to buy drinks for them, which they reluctantly accepted. However, they did not drink straight away, given that Morgan had already detected a deception on the part of Sieur des Emaux.

Gandi asked Sieur des Emaux if he knew Azedarac, which he did. He then asked if he might know anyone by the name of Jehan. Sieur des Emaux said that he had never heard of him. Morgan’s cup of truth glowed again, expending its last charge and disappearing back into Madame Camille d’Amberville’s tarot deck.

Morgan piped up, saying to Sieur des Emaux that he knew that he had been lying to them. Sieur des Emaux then suggested continuing their discussion in a quiet booth, out of earshot of the rest of the patrons. Again, they reluctantly agreed.

They sat down in the booth. Sieur des Emaux told them that his real name was Jehan Mauvaissoir. He worked for Azedarac in an investigative capacity, and as such had to keep his identity secret. Azedarac had heard that the party was looking for him to obtain a potion of time travel, and Jehan had been sent to discover the party’s motives and whether they were a threat to Azedarac or the people of Ximes.

While they were talking, the aroma of beer was too much for Gandi, and he began drinking. After a short while, he began to fade away, the air around him seeming distorted and hazy, then he disappeared entirely.

The jig was up. Morgan asked what was in the drink and what had happened to Gandi. Jehan said “Well! You wanted a potion of time travel. Your friend has just drunk one. If you want to help him I suggest you finish your drinks”.

They asked Jehan where (or rather when) exactly Gandi had been sent. Jehan explained that there were two types of the potion of time travel. A red one, which sends the imbiber 700 years into the past, and a green one which takes the one drinking it 700 years into the future. Gandi had drunk the green one!

DM’s note: The module gives no precise indication as to the effects of a potion of time travel. The Clark Ashton Smith story, The Holiness of Azedarac, as well as being a good read, explains the effects of these potions in some detail, namely the fact that there are two types that send the imbiber precisely 700 years into the past or the future (although Moriamis was able to subtly alter the dosage in order to change the number of years travelled), depending on which one is drunk.

The current year in Averoigne was 1281 A.D. (The year in which Clark Ashton Smith’s story The Colossus of Ylourgne is set). So…guess when Gandi is?

They debated about Jehan’s proposal for some time, but it seemed that the only way they were going to get Gandi back was to follow Jehan’s advice and drink the potions. They agreed, but on condition that Jehan drank a potion and came with them. Jehan agreed to this. Morgan and Klaus, as well as Lithanor, Mazaramus, Sneaky and Bhakragh, drank the potions provided by Jehan (and served up by the barkeep, mixed into the beer). Gerard, Merick and Talanius were to wait until the party returned.

They drank their beer/potions, and the tavern became distorted around them. The patrons began talking faster and faster until becoming a single, long drawn-out whine. Everything went black.

Gandi found himself beside a road. The road was not unlike those made in the dwarven kingdoms, though nowhere near as high quality. Some way off either side of the road was nothing but forest. The weather was warm and the sky above was clear blue. About a mile or so to the north, beside the road, Gandi could make out a cluster of strange buildings. About ten yards away from him to the south, beside the road was a sign suspended by two metal poles with writing on it. The sign read “Ximes 20 km”.

Gandi began walking towards the strange buildings. He had not travelled far when he saw some strange distortion beside the road, with strange amorphous forms of various colours suspended in it. The forms coalesced, and began to take the shape of man-like figures. The air cleared, and standing there were Lithanor, Mazaramus, Morgan, Sneaky, Klaus, Bhakragh and Jehan, looking somewhat dazed.

Much relieved to find that he was not alone in this strange place, Gandi warmly greeted his fellows. They agreed to investigate the strange buildings to the north, as Gandi was going to. After a short while, they heard a roar in the skies above them. Looking up, they saw high above a silver dragon. It was unusual in that it was breathing smoke out of its tail rather than its mouth. Mazaramus mounted his broom of flying and began flying up to it. The dragon, oblivious of the party’s presence continued flying in a straight line, leaving a line of smoke behind it as it flew. Mazaramus flew up for several minutes, but seemed to get no closer to it, given how high it was, and at the speed it was travelling would soon be out of sight anyway.

They failed to notice that Jehan, meanwhile, had slipped out a red potion, drunk it, and disappeared.

They continued towards the group of strange buildings. There were two low buildings, one of which had large glass windows in the front. In front of the buildings was a stone-like paved area covered by a flat roof which was supported by pillars yet no walls. Some strange metallic rectangular objects were underneath this strange canopied area. As they got closer, they could see, suspended by a tall metal pole a curious oval sign. The sign read, in white letters on a red background, the word ‘TEXACO’.

Mazaramus arrived at the group of buildings first, dismounting from his broom of flying some distance away so as not to attract any undue attention. He found that the rectangular pillar-like objects had strange tubes coming out of them. He turned his attention to the building with the large glass windows. He could see what looked to be the backs of what he assumed to be roughly chest height cupboards or some similar kind of furniture on the other sides of the windows. At one end, behind what looked like some kind of bar or counter, a man was staring at him.

Mazaramus walked towards the man. As he did so, the man started pointing sideways, mouthing something that Mazaramus couldn’t quite hear as he did so. Mazaramus looked to where the man was pointing and saw that one of the ‘windows’ did not have furniture on the other side, and discerned that this was actually a door.

He walked in. A bell sounded as he entered. He found himself in a fairly large room with two aisles formed by the ‘cupboards’, which were more like open cupboards holding shelves or trays. Various colourful objects were held in fairly neat arrangements in the shelves, evidently some kind of food contained in strange packets. Nearby, another shelf held what seemed to be binder-less books, some of which had very colourful pictures on their covers.

The man was at the opposite end of the room behind his counter, he said something in French to Mazaramus. He looked at him blankly, then told him that he didn’t speak French. The man said “I am sorry. My Engleesh is not very good.”

Whilst Mazaramus and the man were attempting to overcome the language barrier, the rest of the party were gradually making their way towards the buildings. They heard a loud growling coming from the south. Soon, a strange creature was seen moving along the road very rapidly towards them. It had a large squarish head, with blazing white eyes. They took cover, running for the nearby forest. The creature raced past them, roaring loudly as it went. It had a long rectangular body, its skin was green with blotches of purple. Instead of legs, the creature moved along on what appeared to be wheels.

They followed the strange creature. As it neared the buildings, it began to slow down. It moved towards one of the rectangular pillars and stopped. There was a strange sliding noise, and a young woman emerged from the side of the creature. She pulled one of the tubes from the pillar and drove one end of the tube into the hide of the creature.

The creature, now silent, didn’t react at all. The woman stood there for a while before removing the tube and putting it back into the pillar. She then went towards the building that Mazaramus had entered.

Inside the building, Mazaramus was having no luck with attempting to converse with the man. The young woman walked past Mazaramus and to the counter where the man was. She pulled out some pieces of paper and gave them to the man. The man pressed some buttons on a nearby machine, then gave the young woman some coins.

She turned around and was about to leave. She hesitated, smiled at Mazaramus, and then asked “Are you going to ze convention?” Mazaramus was somewhat bemused, and asked what she meant. The woman simply laughed.

The rest of the party had now caught up, and entered the windowed building. The woman looked at them and said “I assume zat zese are your friends. I love the costumes!”

Gandi spotted a glass cabinet near the back of the room, containing a load of potions. He went to it, opened it up and pulled out a red potion. He tried to pull the stopper, but found that it was some kind of metal lid that was quite firmly attached to the glass bottle. In his haste to open it, he broke the glass off underneath its lid. Some of the liquid spilled out, but he quickly downed the rest of the potion. The man behind the counter had been exclaiming and protesting as he took the potion and drank it.

The potion was strange, and tasted of cherries. His eyes watered, and then he had to belch loudly. Meanwhile, the woman, apologising to the man behind the counter, gave him a coin. The man went out through a door at the back of the room, returning a short while later with a mop and bucket.

The woman looked familiar. She introduced herself as Marie Amis. The party later discovered that she was actually a descendant of Moriamis.

She went towards the strange green and purple wheeled creature and indicated for the party to follow. Mazaramus had by now come to the conclusion that it was actually some kind of wagon, though instead of being pulled by horses, had some lions or small dragons inside it tethered to some gnomish device, causing the wheels to rotate when they ran on a treadmill.

Inside the wagon, in what was apparently the driver’s seat, was Marie’s boyfriend, Ambrose. Marie opened a door on the side of the wagon. The door was unusual in that it slid backwards, rather than opening out like a normal door. Inside was a fairly large compartment. There were no seats, only a few bags lying on the metallic floor. As most of the party climbed into the compartment, Lithanor spotted a strange symbol on the front of the wagon (where he thought the ‘creature’s’ nose was), a stylized letter V above a W, all enclosed in a circle.

Once most of the party were inside and Marie had closed the door (Mazaramus had hidden out of sight behind the wagon), the lions/dragons inside the wagon started roaring and the wagon began moving forward, causing the party members to be thrown backwards, landing in a heap at the back of the compartment.

After a short while of travelling (the wagon seemed to going very fast compared to what they were used to), Sneaky, who was the only party member sitting in the driver’s compartment with Marie and Ambrose, tried explaining to her that they had come from another world and that they were trying to get back to it. Marie seemed to think that she was telling some kind of make-believe story.

Sneaky learnt that Marie and Ambrose were travelling northwards to Vyones. There they were going to take part in some event where they played games in which they pretended to be warriors and wizards (evidently these didn’t exist anymore in this time, at least as the party knew them). Marie seemed to be under the impression that the party was dressed up as make-believe warriors and wizards. Sneaky pointed out of the window of the wagon. They saw Mazaramus flying alongside the wagon on his broom of flying.

The wagon came to a swift halt. Marie looked at Sneaky and the rest of the party with a look that was somewhere between realisation and alarm. Getting out of the wagon and opening the door to the compartment in which the party was, she asked to look at the weapons that they were carrying. Lithanor handed her his longsword +2. She carefully felt along the blade, then handed the sword back.

Sneaky’s story about being from another time and place was obviously true. She told the party to keep their weapons out of sight, or at least in their scabbards, and suggested that they do nothing to attract attention to themselves, such as casting spells. Marie said that she may have a way of getting the party back to the year 1281, but they would have to stay with her until they returned to her home in Ximes. She and Ambrose had been looking forward to this convention in Vyones for quite a while, and they weren’t going to miss it, no matter what the party’s predicament.

They returned to the wagon (Marie insisted that Mazaramus ride inside) and journeyed on. It was beginning to get quite dark, and they stopped at what Marie told them was a motel, a kind of inn for travellers, but with no tavern.

Session Twenty-Four

The party was awakened the next morning by a strange box with glowing red numbers on it, which was speaking in a cheerful, almost excited, voice. It was speaking in French, though they got the impression that it was saying that it was a beautiful morning. The voice coming from the box was then replaced by a strangely haunting yet melodic tune, accompanied after a short while by the singing of a somewhat huskily voiced woman.

An aroma similar to bread being cooked could be smelt. There was a twang, almost like some strange crossbow being fired, from an adjoining room. Ambrose entered the party’s room, still pulling on his shirt and said “Would you guys like some toast?”

The party had breakfast, then got into the wagon, along with Marie and Ambrose. Marie insisted that Mazaramus ride in the wagon.

After a couple of hours they reached the city of Vyones. The city was not at all like the Vyones that they had visited back in the 13th century. The city was larger, the city wall was gone, and the streets were filled with strange vehicles, rather like the wagon that they were in, but shorter. The noises of the city were harsh and blaring compared to what they were used to. The only thing that was familiar to the party was the cathedral of Vyones.

After a short while, Ambrose took the wagon to some kind of corral. It was a large paved area with white markings on the ground. Numerous other vehicles were lined up in this corral between the marked white lines. The party disembarked, and Marie and Ambrose led them along some streets to a large low flat-roofed building.

Several people were going into the building, with many more inside. Most of the people were dressed in strange clothes similar to those that Marie and Ambrose were wearing. A few, however, were dressed up more like the party, in armour or wearing robes, though it was fairly evident that the armour was not authentic.

Inside the building, they found a few tables, some with pictures of dragons and warriors on stands next to the display stands next to the tables, apparently demonstrating some strange game. Bhakragh, his curiosity aroused, rushed over to one to talk to a bearded man at one of the display tables.

Ahead of the party was a queue of people waiting to talk to some people behind a long bench. Off to one side of this, a wide corridor could be seen leading into a large hall filled with tables, where more people were sitting or standing around and talking. Marie went off somewhere, telling the party to stay where they were until she got back.
Bhakragh shows off his new game.
Bhakragh the Orc was well impressed with
 the game that the bearded guy gave him.

A short while later, Marie returned and said “Good news! I’ve managed to get you a game”. Bhakragh re-joined the party, a beaming smile on his face and carrying a pink box with a picture of a warrior protecting a maiden from a dragon on the top. He explained that the nice man he was talking with had given him the box, which contained some kind of game, as he had been so impressed with Bhakragh’s own board game that he had shown him.

The party followed Marie and Ambrose down the corridor into the hall with all the tables. She took Lithanor, Sneaky and Gandi to one table where four men were already seated and were immediately friendly towards them. They spoke excellent common, without a hint of the French accent, and were apparently game designers from a place called England.

Mazaramus, Morgan and Klaus were taken to another table and seated with another group of four people. They were evidently French, but still excitedly eager to meet the party members. One of them was in costume, wearing leather armour and a feathered hat and had a mandolin by his side. He looked quite familiar. It was Gerard de l’Automne. When he looked up and saw the party, he jumped up and warmly greeted them. He then explained how he happened to be here.

“Zat Jehan! He tricked me into drinking some kind of potion, and ze next sing I know, I am in zis strange place!”

He also warned them that Merick and Talanius had been captured by Azedarac. Somehow they had to get back to rescue them. Mazaramus told Gerard that the woman they were with, Marie, may have some way of getting them back to 13th century Averoigne, but for now they would have to wait and participate in this strange ritual or whatever it was that was going on in this place. All they had learnt was that they had to PRETEND that they were warriors, wizards and so forth in what the locals called a fantasy world (which to the party was more like the REAL world) and think their way through an imagined scenario by means of discourse and rolling dice.

By now, the hall was almost full, and most of the people were seated around the tables. Each one had one person at one end in front of whom was a long, low card display some 12” high stood upright on the table in front of him, with images similar to the ones seen on the display boards in the entrance hall.

At the far end of the hall was a raised area, in the centre of which a metallic pole, about 5’ high, protruded from the floor. A man came onto the platform, walked towards the pole and began talking into some device mounted on top of it. The device seemed to project his voice throughout the room. After he finished speaking, there was loud applause from the people seated in the hall. Several other people followed, including the bearded man that Bhakragh had been speaking to earlier, each giving a speech, punctuated at points by more applause. The speeches seemed to be about the ‘game’ that the people in the hall were about to play and that they should have a good time.

After this, the party played the ‘game’ for several hours, swapping tables about halfway, with Marie bringing the party food and refreshments during the interval. Despite being unsure about the rules of the game, what the information on the pieces of paper that they were given meant, or which dice to roll, the party seemed to adeptly solve the scenario, and had a surprisingly enjoyable time doing so.

Eventually, Marie and Ambrose told the party that they were ready to leave. They would take them back to her home in Ximes, where she would attempt to return the party to the century that they came from.

As they left the building, Mazaramus saw what looked like a book-shop, and wanted to have a look inside. He had discovered that there had been a large war some forty years earlier, and was intrigued by the weapons that had been used. Marie tried to warn him that such devices do not belong in his world, but Mazaramus' thirst for knowledge (and power) got the better of him. He went into the book-shop and asked the owner about books on this war. He managed to get a quick perusal of some books before Marie, Ambrose and the rest of the party eventually returned in the street outside the book-shop with the wagon, threatening to leave him behind if he didn’t get in.

Whilst they had been returning to the wagon, Sneaky had spotted a large building with a large white board above the entranceways. In stylised letters on the board were some French words, which she interpreted as reading “NOW SHOWING – Thieves of the Hidden (something)”, the last word she couldn’t decipher. Marie told her that it actually read “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, and tried to explain what movies were to her.

They left Vyones and reached Ximes early the following morning, after making another stop off. This time Marie and Ambrose unpacked some tents that were stored in the wagon and put them up for the party to sleep in, rather than staying at a motel.

They arrived at Marie’s house, which was more like a mansion, and was somewhat separate from the dwellings and buildings of the rest of the city. Marie finally revealed the truth about herself. Even though magic was not as commonplace in this time as it was to the adventurers, she was in fact a practitioner of magic, though nowhere near as skilled as her ancestor, Moriamis. She did indeed know of potions of time travel and how to make them, and she would concoct a batch of the red potion so that the party could return to 13th century Averoigne.

While they waited for her to make the potion that would send them back to the past, Ambrose cooked them some dinner. Mazaramus discovered that Marie had a small library and, with Ambrose’s permission, had a look at it. However, any books on magic were of limited use and were largely mundane and more about the history of witchcraft and magic. He looked for books about time travel, but all he could find was a book in her fiction section entitled ‘The Time Machine’ by H.G.Wells.

Finally, Marie had the potions ready. She poured out a glass of the potion for each party member. She bid the party farewell and wished them luck. Downing their glasses, the room once again began to blur and fade. Moments later they found themselves in what seemed to be Ximes, though they were some distance from Marie’s house and in an unfamiliar part of the city. The only building that gave them any clue as to their exact whereabouts in the city was the nearby church. Fortunately Gerard knew Ximes fairly well, and confirmed that the church was where Azedarac was likely to be, along with Merick and Talanius.

The party deliberated as to whether to head straight for the church now, or find an inn to spend the night and deal with Azedarac in the morning. They were heading towards the nearest inn when they spotted a bedraggled figure lying in the road. They went over to him to see if they could aid him.

The man lying on the road urged the party to take him to Azedarac. He said that he had an urgent message for him. Furthermore he had been poisoned, and unless he got help soon, he would die.

They took him to the church. As they entered, two hooded acolytes approached and helped the poisoned man over to a bench, laid him down and tended to him as best they could.

Another cleric appeared at the far end of the church near the altar, emerging from a side room. He thanked the party for helping the stranger. As he lowered his cowl, the party recognised him as Azedarac.

“I understand you have been looking for me”. Lithanor asked if he knew anything about a potion of time travel. After some negotiation, it transpired that he did have such a potion, but saw no reason to give one to the party.

The idea of taking one by force seemed out of the question. Sneaky even tried getting through where she suspected there to be a secret door to Azedarac’s study (from the description given by Mazaramus when he used the Viper-Circled Mirror), but Azedarac pointed out (without even turning to face her) that her efforts would prove at best fruitless and at worst fatal. Meanwhile, the acolytes had reappeared behind the party, having removed their robes to reveal two armoured warriors, namely Merick and Talanius, with swords drawn in case the party started any trouble.

Furthermore, a leather-clad figure appeared in the corner of the church, near where the acolytes had left the poisoned man. They noticed the bundle of rags that the poisoned man had been wearing were now in a heap on the floor. The leather-clad figure was in fact Jehan Mauvaissoir, and was holding a strange metallic wand and pointing it at the party. He further warned the party not to cause any problems or attempt to cast any spells.

“Azedarac tells me that this…” indicating the wand “…is one of the most powerful hand-guns of the 20th century and could easily blow a man’s head clean off his shoulders. Although it only has six charges, and there are eight of you, the question you have to ask yourself is, do you feel lucky?”

Azedarac then said that he will not tolerate any bloodshed in his church. Mazaramus and Lithanor both agreed that Azedarac was no cleric, and pointed this out to him, believing him to be a sorcerer. Azedarac suggested that he give the party a potion of time travel in return for their silence. He also promised that Moriamis need not fear any further repercussions. One thing he did want in return was Gandi’s Horn of Demon Dispelling. Gandi was reluctant to part with it (had he known it only had one charge left he might not have been so stubborn about giving it up), but eventually the party persuaded him and the deal was made.

Azedarac allowed Merick and Talanius to accompany the party. No doubt the charm spell he had placed on them would soon wear off. He did insist that whatever ceremony they had to perform using the potion of time travel and the other three artefacts that they had retrieved be conducted outside the church grounds.

They left the church and found a quiet area away from any prying eyes of the local populace. Gerard said his farewells and thanked them for allowing him to journey with them on their adventures. Lithanor asked if he wanted to watch as they conducted the ritual. Gerard agreed, but would watch from a safe distance, lest he be transported to wherever along with the party. His adventurous spirit had been somewhat sated for the time being.

They carried out the ritual as indicated on the scroll entitled “To Those Who Would Be Free”. Sneaky touched the Ring of Eibon to the tail of the serpent on Mazaramus’ Viper-Circled Mirror. The serpent uncoiled as the Ring would around the length of the serpent until it was around its neck, then it coiled about the Mirror again. Sneaky felt some regret, having wished she had at least tried to invoke the power of the Ring at least once.

Lithanor held out the Enchanted Sword of Sylaire while Gandi poured the potion of time travel over the blade. The blade glowed a strange hue of colours, first a reddish-orange then an unearthly greenish shade. He touched the Sword to the Mirror. As he did so, a strange wind came up, encircling the party as though they were in the eye of a tornado. As the blade touched the glass, there was a blinding white light, glowing ever brighter until it engulfed the entire party.

The light subsided. The four items were gone, and so was Averoigne. They found themselves in a bleak white landscape, devoid of any natural terrain whatsoever. There was no sky, only an empty whiteness. The ground could be anything from solid cloud to soft white rock.

The only feature at all in this empty place was a strange rectangular building of some amber coloured marble-like material in front of them. In the centre of the front of the building was a set of double doors. Evidently, this was the Tomb of Stephen Amber.

No comments:

Post a Comment