Skull and Shackles

Who ya gonna call?

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The party left the crumbling mess hall and entered the building across the street. Inside telepathic voices demanding the Immortal Dreamstone started up again. Dovahkiin recalled from his studies that Dreamstones were typically used for magical rituals. The party entered the building and the voices declared “Give us the dreamstone. Last warning!” The party remained in the building and was finally attacked. Harghast was rendered unconscious by magic as three strange monsters floated through the wall.

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The dragon woke Harghast who turned his holy sword against a creature attacking him. Dovahkiin resisted deadly fear as creatures stabbed at him with illusionary knives. Gork added a pair of hits as the monster (an Animate Dream) disappeared. The party readied weapons as they waited for the monsters to come back. The monsters phased in and out of the wall as they attacked the party who responded with spells, weapons, and fire. Two Animate Dreams were killed. The party began to go outside on the dragon’s idea. As Dovahkiin was leaving a terrifying chicken illusion appeared and tore at his throat and eyes.

Once outside the dragon opened a door into another room but the Animate Dream didn’t appear at first. It soon appeared behind the wizard and hit him hard before the party converged and finished it off. The sun was going down and the party went back in to finish exploring the house. As they were about to take the stairs up to the second level, Valignat noticed a trigger for a trap. The party went back outside and threw a rock at it to set it off. Lightning lashed back and forth and up and down the stairs. The stairs being rendedered safe, they found themselves in a room with three doors. Valignat smelled stinky human nearby. The dragon opened a door and was about to walk through when Dovahkiin grabbed his wing. Dovahkiin erred on the side of caution and sent a summoned dog in first. Giant blades scythed out and tore the summoned dog asunder. As the trap clicked and reset, the party decided to go in a different door.

Valignat entered the next room and a hail of auto-fired arrows glanced off his scales. At the same time Harghast went through the opposite door onto a balcony. He meditated and had a vision of the fort’s commander giving orders from the balcony 600 years ago. As the dragon prepared to go into the room beyond the arrow room, Harghast heard the sound of glass shattering in the scythe room. Harghast opened the door and saw no changes—he also noticed that the windows appeared intact. Valignat walked over and sniffed at the room. Suddenly the door to the arrow room slammed shut and the sound of glass breaking happened again from behind the door. Gork rushed in and this time the glass was broken.

Gork ran over and looked out the window and saw a wild-eyed and filthy man climbing to his feet on the ground below with a wild look in his eye.

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Gork leapt out the window and pinned the man to the ground. The dirty man then yelled “Get offs us!” The agile madman squirmed out from under Gork and led the party on a frantic chase all around the buildings and into a nearby cellar.

Valignat noticed a secret door in the basement and the group rushed after him. The chase passed through a treasure filled chamber. A corpse was in the middle of the floor. Dovahkiin knelt to use his ring on the corpse and a ghost manifested. The ring told Dovahkiin it was one Bikendi, a human Illusionist. The ring also said he had been killed when cyclops burst in when he was doing a ritual with the Immortal Dreamstone.

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The ghost asked who had disturbed him. Dovahkiin introduced himself and asked the ghost if he was the one demanding the Dreamstone earlier. Bikendi said he wasn’t, that was his enemy Haetanga the night hag. Bikendi proposed a trade of all his worldly possessions for the Dreamstone. Bikendi was initially dismissive of Dovahkiin for being a half-orc. Dovahkiin shut that down by impressing him with magical knowledge. At about this point the dragon and the warpriest took off back to the surface to go chase the crazy man, leaving Gork and Dovahkiin alone with the ghost.

Dovahkiin asked for details on the ritual Bikendi was doing with the Stone. After a bit of surprise that Dovahkiin knew about that Bikendi said it would make him immortal. Bikendi also said there was one more requirement for the ritual. For it to work Bikendi would have to possess someone. Dovahkiin asked if the ritual would kill him (Bikendi said it wouldn’t) and added the condition that Bikendi had to teach him the ritual as well.

Meanwhile on the surface, Valignat flew around with Harghast on his back and zeroed in on the scent of the crazy man who had holed up in one of the Chelish fort’s tower.

In the hidden treasure room Dovahkiin asked the ghost who the man the group had been chasing was. Bikendi replied that it was poor Elderleigh Baines, his apprentice and the last survivor of the fort. Bikendi went on to describe the nightly torments Baines had been through since the fort fell. Dovahkiin agreed to be Bikendi’s host when the time came for the ritual in exchange for the magical knowledge he offered and all his worldly goods.

Back on the surface in the castle tower, human Valignat and a wearying Harghast were trying to talk down the mad Elderleigh. Dovahkiin and Gork ascended into the tower from the basement using the same route Elderleigh had used. Dovahkiin tried to sneak up with an admonishing ray but Baines heard him coming and bolted out the door and along the wall. The party ran up the stairs after him. At that point Harghast remembered he could cast hold person and instantly ended the chase.

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Dovahkiin got through to Baines with a promise to make the nightmares stop and teleported himself, Baines, and Harghast back to Port Peril. Back on the island, Valignat and Gork flew back to the ship. On the way, Gork filled the dragon in on what had happened with the ghost. In Port Peril Baines was taken to the cleric and healed of his madness. Harghast asked what had happened with the ghost and yelled at Dovahkiin for agreeing to the deal. Dovahkiin protested that the knowledge was worth it.

Two days later Dovahkiin teleported back to the island. Valignat struck him over the head on sight and subjected Dovahkiin to a second salvo of criticism for the deal with the ghost. Later in the captain’s quarters of the Nightmare, Dovahkiin spoke with Elderleigh on the ship. Baines talked about his nightmarish experience. He also expressed interest in Sandara. Baines also said he remembered seeing palm trees chase after him but he wasn’t sure if that was just his madness. As they spoke, a slight scratching noise started at the door. Dovahkiin opened it with a fireball ready and it was Kroop’s Chicken. Dovahkiin spit at it and slammed the door. Dovahkiin then explained his beliefs about the “evil” chicken to a skeptical Baines who responded, “Perhaps I’m not the only one touched with a bit of madness.”

Baines also listed off warnings about the various monsters on the island such as dinosaurs, cyclops, winged creatures in service of the night hag and a woman in the water.

The party returned to the island and got back to work clearing structures. The rest of the buildings were cleared mostly without much incident. The party found a bottle of wine that Dovahkiin and Harghast began to argue over. For some reason it’s impossible to share wine apparently. Dovahkiin got the bottle, for now.

The party explored another part of the basement and found a broken teleport circle. Dovahkiin recognized how to fix it and he and Harghast made plans to do it the next day when Harghast could prepare the correct spell. In the meantime, the party checked the remaining room for anything of note. A partially flooded amphitheater was found and Harghast turned the water into middling quality alcohol to purify it somewhat and decrease the fetid water smell.

The next day, after Hargast and Dovahkiin recalibrated the portal, Hargast wanted to go in first but, Gork joined him. When they went through they found a large cave. Harghast pulled out the wine he stole from Dovahkiin and drank it then tossed the bottle to the ground. Then they went back up and told the rest of the party they could come down. The party then began a search.

Suddenly, two animated cyclopes column constructs attacked and exchanged blows with the party. Dovahkiin cast fireball but this did not affect the creatures. The battle was tough. Harghast and Gork had been beaten severely, but then Gork took a mighty blow from his enemy that only a true warrior could survive. Harghast finished off a column just as Val came through the portal after hesitating a moment. Gork then tried to kill the creature but failed. Just before the cyclops column could put an axe through his head Dovahkiin teleported him out of reach. Valignat delivered the final killing blow to the column.

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