11th Day Of Nightal – Time Unknown – The Temple Of The Six – 10 miles East of Fallcrest
The party burst through the doors and find themselves faced with a large chamber displaying another enormous statue of a Minotaur, this time depicting the evil necromantic god Orcus. A second smaller statue and an altar complete the wretched décor.
Four guards armed with swords, halberds and crossbows confront them. Orianna wastes no time and curses the first guard and casts eyebite on him while two of the guards open fire with crossbows. Their shots are deflected by the heavily armoured dwarves and Solo returns fire. Torinn attacks the closest and drags him towards the party and in to Grim’s range.
As two of the guards close in to assist their associate, one of them lands a vicious blow on Grim with his halberd. With her enemies in close proximity, Aristine unleashes a thundering wave of arcane energy, blowing the three hapless guards back in to the room and leaving them vulnerable to attack. Torinn and Grim charge in to the room, Torinn engaging the closest guards while Grim pursues and attacks his own assailant. Torinn taps into his earthen heritage to enhance his strength and resilience while cleaving through the two henchmen as Grim slams the third back into a wall with his craghammer.
As they move in to the room, they feel a sickening necromantic aura emanating from the statue of Orcus and the altar candles flicker brighter when they are near it. The party stay clear of both while they continue to fight the now desperate guards.
Aristine unleashes another wave of arcane energy to further assault and stun the enemy guards while Torinn dispatches them. Solo fires a salvo of arrows and bloodies the crossbow armed guard at the rear of the chamber who suddenly transforms, revealing himself as a changeling, and declares himself not to be a foe.
Although Grim’s opponent is bloodied, he lands a lucky blow and knocks Grim to the floor with a sweep of his halberd. Orianna, enraged, gives in to her bloodlust and unleashes cursed witchfire on the guard, although he resists the first attack Orianna redoubles her efforts and attacks with a second onslaught. This time the wounded guard is less lucky and is overcome with the witchfire, burning until only his armour remains.
While Grim pulls himself to his feet, the group confront the changeling. Solo is unconvinced by the turncoat’s declaration of amnesty and prepares to kill him. Torinn intervenes, “He’s worth more to us alive, he may know something that can help us save Malareth’s prisoners” As Grim dusts himself down he adds, joking, “Besides, you can always kill him once we’re finished with him” this further intimidates the changeling who attempts to convince the party through a display of shifting through different forms, attempting to appeal to individuals in the party. This only serves to annoy them however and he packs it in with an apology and shifts to his normal self.
Grim can tell that the changeling is being sincere and Solo begrudgingly concedes that Torinn has a valid point. The changeling readily explains his situation, having been sucked in to his role as a guard, and gives the party details on the layout of Malareth’s dungeon, the possible location of their missing gear and how it’s guarded. He retrieves a dagger from one of the fallen guards and hands it to Orianna who is relieved to see that it is her pact-dagger! He remembers that he saw an elf be taken to the laboratory and confirms details that allow Solo to identify the prisoner as Gaius, the elf ranger who had been captured with the party and taken from the dungeons. Malareth is likely to begin experimenting on Gaius the following day.
Exhausted, the party decide to take an extended rest before tackling Kurrash and Malareth. Before the group can rest in the chamber, Solo pries the moonstone gems from the eyes of the statue of Orcus which ends the sickening aura. Solo suggests that Torinn and Grimdal topple the statue to destroy it, since they’ve already had success with that recently… The dwarves comply and manage to push both statues over and shatter them to dust.
Grim turns to the altar and, with a prayer to Moradin, extinguishes the candle flames to neutralise the vile magic emanating from it. With a further prayer ritual he is able to prevent the altar from being used for evil again and instead it pulses steadily with a benign magic that washes over the adventurers, helping to restore and prepare them for the battles to come.
Tired and weary, the party discuss who will take the first watch, while keeping an eye on the changeling Varsil.