Borders of the Imperium

Session 5

Through the Inverted Castle

Having just conquered the Hall of Trials, Nim volunteers to help Fenros the ranger they just rescued return to civilization. Ulfgar and Nilo return to the Inverted Castle to carry on business there. The wizard Hari has made progress and transcribed the spells he sough into his spell book. Librarian Balfour parts ways to give his enthusiastic report to Chief Exorcist Nuallan while Nilo slips off to find her contact. Nilo learns her client is an elf of the Imperium, some kind of noble who wants to be brought out to the surface.

 

Soon after this meeting the group meets with Chief Exorcist Nuallan who asks the party to spear head the Order's attempts to gain espionage capabilities in the underdark. As the party is clearly in need of a guide, Nuallan has offered a local who claims to have knowledge and introduces a colorfully robed tiefling female named Eza. The party is offered every provision that the knights can muster, Hari's remaining days transcribing texts waived , and what currency that can be spared from the donations. After brief negotiations the party accepts and goes to get familiar with their new partner. As it turns out, Eza the tiefling is an alter-ego for the drow Eza'rul Delai, Nilo's most reliable smuggling contact and claim to fame. Eza'rul explains that years ago Nilo hatched a crazed scheme to help him escape from the Underdark, a feat that became a tall tale for smugglers the world over.

 

After securing supplies and resting for the night the group heads through the massive rolling door of the Inverted Castle and into the darkness. In tow they have a trio of archers to set up their base camp. After a solid day of descending Eza'rul guides the group to an alcove carved into a massive stalactite hanging over one of the Underdark's many caverns.

 

With base camp established the party presses on leaving their scouts behind to guard camp. Electing to take the easier to navigate worm highways, th group soon comes upon a lone deep-gnome waiving them down. He explains that he and his comrades wave tracked a large grick into its lair and have locked it inside in the hopes of starving it death and claiming the treasure it has amassed by picking off travelers. This motley crew is a gnome, a duergar (a grew skinned dwarf) warrior, and a rapier and dagger branding drow. They have had it sealed up for over a month now, but no one in his group feels confident enough to pop the seal and stick their head in. Initially they ask to purchase rations to give it another week, but soon an agreement is struck to split the loot 60/40 for the party if they stick their heads in first. With Eza'rul staying outside to ensure they are not double-crossed and locked in, Nilo volunteers to be the first in. They find a ten foot long worm with tentacles that split from its beaked face lying seemingly lifeless. This is not good enough for Nilo who checks for vital signs by loosing an arrow into it. The creature immediately springs to life in protest to its rude awakening while the rest of the party squeezes through into the chamber to get their licks in. Its movements are sluggish and desperate as it scrapes the bottoms of it's reserves of energy. The duergar rushes in to justify his share of the loot while the rest of his crew decide that fighting was never really their thing anyway. A final precision shot from Eza'rul lays low the beast to reveal a pittance of coin and small work of art on the body of the grick's latest victim. The duergar takes a share of the silver, a dismal payment for a month of work, and heads off grumbling to his home. His accomplices are seemingly long gone.

 

After resting in the grick's lair the party presses on only to find their path on the worm highway flooded. Left with no other choice they back track into the warrens, a shifting network of passages with myriad different paths. The better part of a day is spent sliding down long passages only inches wide at points. As they crawl out from under a low crawlspace, the plate armored dwarven cleric electing to instead use magic to pass through stone, they find themselves at the foot of a steep incline in a cavern. The cleric Ulfgar makes the first go at climbing, making it look childishly simple. As he looks down at his accomplishment he has not taken leave of his senses: something stirs above!

 

From the stalactites above come two floating, beaked brains with jellyfish-like arms and stingers. Nilo attempts to assist with arrows but finds herself tangled in her climbing gear on the rock face. Hari finds a small ledge on the rock face to stand on and in a puff of mist teleports himself there to render aid. The brain-jellyfish begin to ponder if this member at the top was isolated enough when Hari's first fire bolt accidentally strikes the rope Nilo is suspended from. As it burns away Nilo searches for a piton or rock to grab, finding one mid tumble as the rope finally gives way. One of the grell (the brain-jellyfish) decides it should live to fight another day but just as it does Ulfgar is surrounded by a swarm of divine guardians, glowing cherubs that slash the wounded grell to pieces. The other grell suddenly remembers he is late for an appointment somewhere, anywhere, else and slips off into the darkness.

 

Without further issue the party finds itself at the edge of a great chasm: bio-luminescent fungus faintly lights the area for miles, shelves on the cavern walls have shops and homes carved into them, balconies stretch out from massive stalactites, the sound of dozens of small waterfalls echo, and linking everything is a network of spider webs. This is the Drow city of Mezzrym. Before a serviceable plan can be made a centaur like creature with the body of a drow on the body of a spider approaches them. He is Zenzel, a drider, and he has strict instructions to bring them to House Duskyrn.

 

At the spiraling stalactite structure of House Duskyrn the pary if briefly introduced to the Matron, who only states that their guest has asked to take his leave and has her blessing to do so. The party is escorted to a well kept but small room where they meet their client. A Tulwari elf, clearly a noble by his dress and imperiousness. He introduces himself only as J, and requires transportation beyond the Inverted Castle to the larger world above. Despite his abrasive attitude the party agrees to the job for 4000gp in jewels, planning to leave the next morning.

 

They spend the night about town trying to find out anything they can about their client only to learn that he has been a guest there for some years and rarely makes forays into the city if at all. The party settles down hash out a plan. When Eza'rul was smuggled out it was under the breastplate of a giant foolish enough to assault the Inverted Castle, but there are no such circumstances now. Could he be taken to the surface as an apparent corpse? What excuse would they give fro dragging it through miles of tunnel? Could he be disguised as a drow captive? Perhaps a rescued slave with invaluable information? Surely his abrasive tongue would make him break his cover immediately. Then Eza'rul has an epiphany: Nilo can make poisons and the underdark is home to a fungus called the tongue of madness! If the prisoner were mad upon resurfacing the part could get him past the gate and then figure out a way to break him from the prison while he recovered!

 

As they part from Mezzrym Nilo searches for the tongue of madness in the numerous side passages, able to identify it with the assistance of Hari's photographic memory. But before they can pass the client off as a slave, he must look like one he is bound, dragged across the rocks and punched in the face before being fed the poison. Sure enough, he quickly takes on the appearance of a slave tortured to madness.

 

At the gate they have little trouble convincing the guards with their rouse, and the client is taken to the prison until he gains a lucid moment. Chief exorcist Nuallan eagerly takes their report and asks them to attend the prisoner's debriefing once he gains back his faculties. The party slips into Eza'rul's tent to discuss the next portion of their plan. Not long after, they are summoned: the prisoner is talking again!

Time of the essences, they rush to the prison to find Nuallan and others drawing their swords. Guards rush into the prison block to find the guard with his throat cut and the cell empty!

 

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