Infernal Ascendant

Into the Fire!

The adventurers climbed the rope ladder and emerged in a chamber full of injured warriors lying on beds. Herbert Trektopolicz was rushing about, frantically tending the wounded. Among the injured, Wally the Lourwan smith and Jorik Stonefist could be seen. Jorik was dying of a mortal chest wound, and Wally had lost his right arm, and was drenched in his own blood. Jorik’s wife, Elena, was weeping silently at his bedside.
Medrash instantly launched into healing the wounded, and, with Bahumat’s blessing, Herbert gleefully reported that the dwarves would live! Herbert then explained that, just beyond that room was a bridge full of kobolds, as well as the dragon Malthurzuum, in battle with Archmage Zizzlehoff. Malthurzuum was chosen to lead a surprise, second strike on the city of Complexica, while an army lead by Usyrus Vlackabar pummeled its outer defenses and drew the attention of its battlemages.
The Eldritch Blades prepared for a heroic charge out onto the bridge. Malthurzuum roared, “Who now stands to rival the might of the Infernal Ascendant?”
Drawing weapons, the Eldritch Blades burst onto the bridge, felling kobolds in droves. Quarion exclaimed “WE DO!” and the others took up his cry. A massive fight on the thin bridge broke out in the shadow of the massive palace. On two large spires perched the clashing titans, Zizzlehoff the Inscrutable and Malthurzuum the Deathless. A crashing waterfall behind created a beautiful backdrop while the enormous cavern echoed with sounds of violence.
Quarion activated his flight spell and began to ascend to help his master fight the dragon. Meanwhile, the other Blades crossed the bridge, shoving kobolds into the abyss or imaling them on swords.
At the base of the palace, a mighty steel door was rent asunder by Red Horn and the heroes entered a throne room where once a mighty dwarf lord sat. The many-headed dragon Calystryx dominated the chamber, and a guard of kobolds and dragonborn warriors accompanied him. Calystryx was tied down with steel chain, but instantly broke his bonds at the sight of the Eldritch Blades. Lexor and Medrash made short work of the kobolds and engaged the dragonborn, while Drakorgamort did devastating damage with his bow and Red Horn tangled with the dragon directly.
Amidst the brawl, Red-Horn sought the advice of the Dwarvish Lords. The Dwarvish Lords once inhabited this very palace, and knew of a secret chamber behind the throne which contained a spear especially effective for killing dragons. Deflecting Calystryx’s blows, the minotaur shoved aside the throne, and, lo and behold, a gleaming spear of mithril sat in the hidden alcove, beautiful and terrible as the dwarves that forged it. Well, perhaps a bit more beautiful than a dwarven smith.
While he was tempted to use the spear to smite Calystryx, Red-Horn listened to Medrash’s advice and saved the spear for Malthurzuum, since the Dwarvish Lords warned it would break after one use.
A few more brutal axe-blows and arrow wounds downed the dragon, and Red-Horn and Drakorgamort hurried to join Quarion and Zizzlehoff. After finishing off the last dragonborn warriors, Medrash and Lexor ascended to the tower as well.
At the top of the tower, the Eldritch Blades stood by their mentor Zizzlehoff, staring into the maw of the foul Matlturzuum who was curled around the opposite tower. Zizzlehoff hurled a mighty curse at the dragon, crippling it, but the heroes found that the mage was founded grievously in the side. Medrash reached the top of the tower just in time to heal him.
Drakorgamort began firing volleys of arrows at the great dragon, and Red-Horn launched the great dwarven Spear of the Dragonslayer. Porcupined with arrows and bleading heavily from the spear wound, Malthurzuum gave out a cry of rage and pain. He conjured the fell powers of The Infernal and crippled the willpower of the Eldritch Blades, leaving them doubled over in agony.
The indomitable Red-Horn rose first, and transformed the Axe of the Dwarvish lords into a cannon. He fervently explained his plan to the others, who were inspired by their brilliant warlord and set to work immediately. Red-Horn climbed into the cannon, and as it launched, Lexor and Medrash encapsulated him in a shell of ice, which Quarion and Zizzlehoff electrified. Drakorgamort stood there and looked pretty.
The Minotaur bullet struck the dragon, and Red-Horn began to tear into the dragon’s back with his axes. Malthurzuum struggled, dealing a crushing blow with his tail, and Red-Horn barely managed to hold on.
But, hold on he did. He ripped off Malthurzuum’s scales, crippling the dragon’s defensed, while the other Eldritch Blades pummeled the weak spots with arrows and spells. With a great, rickety bellow, Malthurzuum exhaled his last, and fell. Would he return? The Eldritch Blades knew this not, but what they did know was that the battle for Complexica was half over. There was a city to be saved, and a doppelganger to kill.

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Out of the Frying Pan...

Beyond the door was a chamber, full of gold coins, with an elderly woman standing in the center. Hardened adventurers that they were, the Blades were highly suspicious of the woman and her hoard. They poked and prodded at the gold, and, even when Quarion bit a piece, it behaved as gold should. Questioning the woman got them nowhere, either. So, realizing that they would have opportunities to shop in Complexica, the Eldritch Blades began scooping up the treasure. It was then that the woman struck. She vanished, chuckling to herself, and the gold erupted into a writhing swarm on eyeballs connected to tentacles. What were once armfuls of coinage became a horde of vicious monsters. The Blades fought furiously, the thought of being touched by such a creature revolting, and with the sweeping blows of swords and axes, they fell in droves. However, one of the creatures manages to find a lapse in Quarion’s willpower, burrowing straight into his brain and taking full control of the wizard. The monsters were beaten, but they had a new foe, and it was one of their own. Fortunately, they other four Blades were more than a match for Quarion, quickly rendering him unconscious. But, what to do with him? When he awoke, he would still belong to the mind – worms. Here, Lexor steps in. His training with the elves never left him since he was a child, and, getting down to business, the adventurer cracked right into Quarion’s skull, and, with everyone else lacking a better plan, nobody stopped him. Luckily for Quarion, both luck and skill were on his side, and Lexor extracted the mind – worm without causing any collateral damage. Quarion was losing a lot of blood, but Medrash was then quick to react. Invoking the power of Bahumat, the paladin healed Quarion’s wounds, and the wizard arose, dazed, but, as usual, ready for adventure!
Underneath all of the mindworm gore, the handle of a trapdoor was sighted. Pulling on the handle revealed a ladder to a dark room below, and the Blades descended. The room they entered was pitch black, and suffused with magic. They began walking forwards, and Red Horn was instantly scorched with a jet of flame, which shot out from beneath his feet. Not only was the room dark, but, clearly, it was dangerous. Quarion began to check for magical traps, and, following his guidance, the Eldritch Blades traversed this chamber with only a couple more burns. They came to a wall, which, upon investigation, had a door on it. And that door had a doorknob. Which they turned. And. It. Opened.
The door opened into an octagonal room flushed with warm light. A great brazier blazed at the center, throwing its light around the chamber, and reflecting in the eyes of enormous spiders. The creatures skittered along the mosaic floors, charging the adventurers. But more terrifying than the spiders were their dark masters, the drow. These grey-skinned, sharp toothed servants of Lolth shrieked when the adventurers burst into the chamber, brandishing their scepters and commanding the spiders to attack. At the back of the chamber sat a dwarven throne, proving the original owners of the chamber, but it was covered in spiderwebs. “Reap them in the name of Lady Lolth,” shouted a drow priestess, and the spiders attacked.
The chamber became a battleground. Medrash’s breath lit the spiderwebs ablaze. The priestesses sholt bolts of black flame from their scepters. Spiders squealed in pain and clicked mandibles in rage. Soon, they had all fallen to the Eldritch Blades, but the priestesses remained. Quarion matched their black magic with his arcane prowess, and Drakorgamort, never having moved from the back of the chamber, downed the remaining with arrows. The Blades moved forward, approaching the throne, to find that it had the indentation of an axe in it. Red-Horn understood instantly, and pressed the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords into the indentation.
The throne slid aside, and a stairwell lead downward until it came to an intersection. There were halls going off to the left and the right, and a door in front, with a series of pegs on it. Voices – dwarven voices – could be heard on the other side. The Blades rushed to examine the door, and were completely puzzled on how to open it. Investigating the right hallway, they entered a mine with untapped ore veins, and the left lead to a forge. Hanging on the wall of the forge room was a diagram – how to forge a gear. The challenge became more clear – they had to create gears that could be used to assemble the mechanism to open the door. Upon closer examination, the door had six pegs well suited to gears, as well as a strip of flammable material. Attatched on one peg was a crank handle.
The adventurers got straight to work. They mined all the ore veins with a pickaxe they found, and then smelted the ore and forged six gears. Putting the gears on the pegs, they found the mechanism was still not complete. Some sort of a belt was needed to connect the gears. And that was when they remembered the conveyor belt in the mine. They scavenged the belt portion of the mechanism, and attached it to the door, placing the belt around the gears. Red Horn turned the crank, and the gears began to turn. The final gear struck the flammable surface, and the spark from that burnt the seal all around the door. Defeated, the door fell inward. Beyond it, a rope ladder dangled from above.
The voices were louder now. Gruff, dwarven voices were heard, as well as the hurried talking characteristic of mages. Then came the roar of a dragon. Thw walls of the chamber shook with the force of the mighty, draconic bellow:
HOPE FAILS! Your companions have been sealed in a Tomb of Silence! Your friends are DYING, while I AM IMMORTAL! For all your cheap, conjurers’ tricks, you cannot escape the bindings of flesh. AND FLESH IS WEAK!”
Clods of dirt fall off of the walls, and the rope ladder sways wildly.
Then, the strident voice of an old friend rings clear, but it brings the truth none wanted affirmed:
“Malthurzuum, you will never understand. While the flesh of men is weak, our RESOLVE is STRONG! Mythall has forever been a land of free people, and we shall PREVAIL!”

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A Labyrinth of Uncertainty

The adventurers threw open the doors to the keep, but strangely found it deserted. The weapon racks were picked clean, as well. It seemed that the forces of the Infernal had empties, and the Blades, urged vigorously by Quarion, tried to make their escape as well. Utilizing the flying boots they had all found in Mt. Storm, the wizard leapt up and shot into the air…
only to collide with a magical barrier above!
Drakorgamort and Medrash began frantically praying to Zehir and Bahumat, but both gods could not even locate where the Eldritch Blades were. Quarion tried praying to Uk, with greater success. Uk knew that dark, horrible magic was being employed by The Infernal himself to sever the adventurers from the outside world, as well as block them spiritually from the gods!
Meanwhile, Lexor Narmolanya found the entrance to the dwarven tunnels below. He called back faintly that the way was open, but his voice was quickly muffled. The rest of the party tried to investigate the passage with various spells of light, but they did no good. They would have to rely on their bravery alone to venture into the dark hole. One by one, they mastered themselves and filed into a the narrow passageway, the damp, squishy walls pressing in on them.
Towards the endo of the tunnel, they heard Lexor Narmolanya‘s voice calling to them. Following it, they arrived in a small stone room, with doors on all three other walls. They lit up torches, and could see that the doors were all covered in dwarven runes. They had found the ancient city of Labyrinthia!
They adventurers set off through the passageways, going from room to room and dodging traps that shot spikes, acid, and flying blades at those who were caught unawares. After a time, a warm glow from the doors on the left broke the monotony. Curious, they followed it, and as they continued to take the left doors, the light and heat intensified. The next door they opened lead into a larger room, the walls covered in bronze pipes that belched hot steam. A low growl could be heard, and then came a metallic clanking. A great monstrous creature approached!
The beast was a minotaur fashioned of bronze entirely, twice the size of Red Horn and with a pulsing red gem where a heart should be! It roared, belching flame from its mouth. Red Horn held his ground, his eyes alight with a plan. If the dwarves had made this construct, he reasoned, then the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords should be able to transform into it!
The great warlord raised his axe and prayed: “O Dwarvish Lords, if our ancestors wrought this contraption, then can you not transform into it?” The Dwarvish Lords were stunned, and Red Horn heard some murmuring before the Speaker cleared his throat and explained that it was possible, but such a thing required a Dwarven Soulstone, such as the red gem in the minotaur construct they faced. The Soulstones were made by very powerful dwarf mages in the past, who trapped their lifeforce into gems so that they could be used to power mechanical creations. The Dwarvish Lords explained that three mages gave their lives to create three of these stones: a red, a green, and a blue. If Red Horn were willing to pour his own life force into the Axe, the Lords supposed, a temporary construct could be made.
Of course, Red Horn was willing, and the Axe, siphoning from his energy, began to transform. The Axe flew out of his grasp, landing on the floor beside him and exploding into fragments of brass that reconstructed themselves into a giant minotaur! Red-Horn grunted as he fed it some of his lifeforce.
The rest of the Blades launced into the fight viciously, and the adventurers were scorched by fire and steam and knocked about by immense paws as they chipped away at the beast’s brass plating. Red-Horn’s construct fought savagely, while its master pored more and more energy into it, until, in a great, crushing blow, it bashed in the other construct’s chest cavity and ripped out the Soulstone. It placed the soulstone into its own chest cavity, and Red Horn breathed a sigh of relief as his creation began to power itself. The warlord straitened up, unburdened once more, and the victorious marched on, into the unknown.
They wandered through more and more trap-filled passages, bleeding from a thousand wounds that various hazards had inflicted. After a time, a more pleasant sight filled the dark rooms. A root slithered from under the left door of the next chamber, giving off a gentle green glow, and thrumming with power. Upon closer examination, it seemed that this root was made of brass as well! Having deduced that following the root would lead them to the green soulstone, they followed it through the left door. With each passing chamber, the root grew in thickness, and the glow it gave off intensified. At last, the adventurers reached a larger chamber filled with the green glow. At the center was a sliver tree, with crystals and bulbs of precious metals dangling from its branches. Roots shot our from it in all directions and under all the doorways. A green gemstone, pulsing with energy, was embedded in the tree’s trunk.
As they approached the tree, it began to talk in a lilting voice, speaking only in rhymes, yet threatening death unto any who passed. Amused by the rhyming tree, none of the adventurers wanted particularly to fight it, especially Quarion! He rhymed back at the tree, and the two of them debated passionately, the wizard urging the tree to let them all pass. Red Horn, who had been following the discussion, came to the conclusion that, as Keeper of the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords, he had EVERY right to pass. To this, the tree consented, but none of the other adventurers, being neither Axe-Keepers or dwarves, were allowed to pass. Seeking a loophole, Red Horn turned to the Dwarvish Lords for guidance. The Speaker, upon Red Horn‘s insistence, revealed that once per year, the power of the Dwarvish Lords could be used to deconstruct completely something made by dwarves. Seizing the opportunity, the warlord summoned that power, and the resounding authority of all of the Dwarvish Lords filled his voice as he commanded the tree to stand down and allow them to pass.
The tree began to wither, shrinking back from the warlord’s power, and the green gem popped out, which the adventurers collected. As they moved on in search of the final soulstone and the way out, Quarion felt a bit sad at the loss of his arboreal friend.
The group only had to brave a few more dark, trap filled rooms before the passage straitened out into a long hallway. They walked on, and soon saw three pars of glowing blue eyes in the darkness. When Quarion cast Light into the room, three owlbears, one unnaturally large, two of average size, all made of platinum with claws and feathers of diamond, snarled at the party. The largest owlbear had a pulsing sapphire soulstone lodged in its chest. The cornered owlbears fought furiously with ripping claw attacks and paralyzing icy breath, but the strength of the Eldritch Blades and the mechanical minotaur overcame them, and they tore out the last of the soulstones.
As the final owlbear fell, they noticed, in the back of the long room, there was an enormous golden door. A great dwarven face was carved into it, and it was bordered by lines of runes. There were three slots in the door – one for each soulstone.
The emerald and the sapphire were clicked into position, and their power flowed into the door. Reluctantly, Red Horn removed the gem from his construct, and the construct reverted to the Axe’s regular form. When the ruby was placed in the door, thousands of gears turned within the door, hundreds of tumblers clicked, and the great door swung open.

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Resistance

After a night of frivolity, the Eldritch Blades were jarringly awakened by an alarm. Voices were screaming: “Battlemages of ”/campaign/infernal-ascendant/wikis/complexica" class=“wiki-page-link”>Complexica are attacking!" The group was rushed out of their roomand sent to the barracks, where everyone was gathering in the time of emergency.
Following the crowds, the Eldritch Blades arrived in the barracks, which were filled with a bustling, terrified crowd. At last, Usyrus Vlackabar arrived, and assured everyone that it was only a drill and that they were to report to breakfast later that morning as planned.
Before breakfast, they payed a visit to the forge once more, but the smith was too busy to help them. When a nervous servant insisted that they hurry to the Great Hall for dining, they did so. During the meal, they met with the cook, who, after some questioning, grew teary and told them about his brother, a man of Complexica who he begged for the heroes to protect in the coming battle. They agreed, and told the man to put a scarf outside his door to remind them not to attack his house.
After the meal, they group retired to their room before the coming training session at the Tournament Field. In the barracks stood a familiar kobold – their servant from the first day, the one whom they had thought dead. The kobold, named Zilgar, explained eagerly that the blood they had seen was not his, but his masters, who he slew right after he began to yell. Zilgar also explained that the paladin the Blades had hidden in the room was still safe. They instructed the paladin, named Leofric, to remain in the room, and Zilgar, having proven to be loyal to the Eldritch Blades, was ordered to gather any other kobolds who did not truly serve The Infernal and bring them to the room that night.
Time was nigh for the Eldritch Blades to leave for training, so they departed their sanctum. Commander Valastrix was waiting for them, and they arrived late while he was instructing a group of kobolds in tactics. Upon seeing the war general, resplendent in his mail and a look of determination on his face, Quarion began to fell sorry for his rudeness the passed day. He began to apologize profusely, and the Commander embraced him as a brother in arms. The thought of killing the old dragonborn became increasingly grim.
Valastrix then told the Eldritch Blades that he wished to challenge their prowess in a command role, and revealed that they would have an important role in the Battle for Complexica. In training that day, the adventurers were to command a detachment of kobolds against a treant! The heroes welcomed that challenge, a love of strategy especially keen in Medrash and Lexor Narmolanya. Quarion and Drakorgamort were exceptionally effective in exciting the warriors as well, so as the dragonborn planned attackes and formations, the mage and the seeker proclaimed speeches of great inspiration to bolster their kobolds.
Once the treant was heavily weakened, the kobolds lead a wild charge, destroying the foe with gusto. Commander Valastrix was most pleased.
For lunch, the Eldritch Blades enjoyed a feast of roast boar by the hundredweight, and then prepared for the council of war.
Usyrus Vlackabar headed up the council, with Arcaelus Trektoploicz, Commander Valastrix, and the kobold archmage as his closest advisers. Behind them was a large army of kobolds, flanked on all sides by a dragonborn guard. The Eldritch Blades were given seats at the head of the council as well, but they were not there to plot the downfall of Complexica. They planned to use Drakorgamort‘s skill with plants and the poison they were given the day before to poison many of the dragonborn guards, securing a more easy escape.
Quarion attempted to deceive the crowds with a light spell, but his magic was absorbed by an amulet around the archmage’s neck! The archmage’s enchantments only allowed a select few to cast spells in the council!
Fortunately, the archmage trusted Arcaelus Trektoploicz. He knew what the Blades wanted, and cast a quick invisibility spell on Drakorgamort, who slipped into the bathroom to sow his seeds of death. The other adventurers explained that their wiled friend was having a difficult bowel movement, so nobody grew suspicious with his absence.
Drakorgamort created a network of thorny vines underneath the hall with the power of his nature staff, and he poisoned the thorns with the deadly brew Arcaelus Trektoploicz gave to them. The vines found cracks in the flagstones, and snaked up into the council room, pricking the guards with their fatal thorns.
Meanwhile, the others listened to the war plans.
Tomorrow night, the army would march overland to the city of Complexica. However, there was a second force that was hidden in the dwarven halls established by ancient inhabitants of Mythall.
This second force, through a secret route, would burst into the Xixizars’ beloved streets and form an anvil to Usyrus Vlackabar‘s hammer.
Usyrus Vlackabar also explained that it was the Eldritch Blades who he wanted to lead that hidden force.
The council concluded, and, as they went off to their mandatory torture duty, the adventurers’ could feel momentous change in the air.
They were pleasantly surprised to find that the torture hut was left unguarded, and so they did not have to harm the woman who was supposed to be their next victim. There was only a note from the warden, scrawled in a sloppy hand:
Try not to kill this one.
Killing the woman was the furthest thing from their mind, especially once she told them that she was a friend of Bertha Trektopolicz, who was the mother of Dr. Quinn Trektopolicz and Herbert Trektopolicz! They took her back to their room hurriedly, before anyone noticed.
They opened the door…
AND BURST INTO CHEERS!
Zilgar stood proud at the center of a room filled with a kobold army! A room was too humble a term – nay, it was a battle- hall! Arcaelus Trektoploicz had magically enlarged the room to fit all of the allies. Commander Valastrix stepped out from a shadowed corner, and when he admitted that he, too had a part to play in this mighty force, Quarion could embrace him as a true comrade.
Red Horn was thrilled to see his favorite prostitute was rescued as well.
Even the archmage showed up – bound and gagged! Valastrix admitted to capturing the fiend himself, but had saved the honor of killing him to the Eldritch Blades’ own wizard – Quarion ALderbough himself!
He looked his hated foe in the eyes, and watched the life leave them as, with vengeful joy, plunged his jeweled longswords into the kobold’s thin frame. He died instantly.
The servants of Uk and Ku were ready to wage war of their own. Bursting from the bonds of bitter captivity charged the vanguard of hope! They made right for the enemy’s heart, Fangspire Keep’s Great Hall. Usyrus Vlackabar had plagued them since that fateful tavern visit in Lourwa, and the time of his doom was finally at hand!

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Fangspire Keep

The Man From Council spoke.
“Welcome to Fangspire Keep, Eldritch Blades. I go by many names and faces, this being but one of them.” He proceeded to explain that he was in fact the doppelganger Usyrus Vlackabar, and it was he that stole the Scroll of Fire. He was also the one who betrayed Lourwa, while in the form of Erik Oaken Hull, and the one who trained the mage in Stonefist Barrow to conjure The Infernal.
Usyrus Vlackabar then required for the Eldritch Blades to swear a blood oath to The Infernal. The group was torn, and Red Horn and Lexor Narmolanya were tempted by the offer. The others remained true to their ideals.
Despite the conflicted judgement, none of them signed in their own blood. Lexor Narmolanya had kept some of the blood of foes he had killed, and dispersed it among the group so that they could cheat on the oath and remain free to choose later. Usyrus Vlackabar either did not notice or did not care, and he showed the Blades to their chambers. They received an opulent stateroom to reward their loyalty to The Infernal, and were given free reign of the grounds until the next morning, when their rigorous schedule would begin. The Eldritch Blades were to attend several classes and activities to train them to fight on the side of The Infernal in the Battle for Complexica. In 3 days, Vlackabar’s forces would march on Complexica, and there were preparations to be made.
Quarion spent the night planning, and, after breakfast the next morning, shared his plans with Drakorgamort and Medrash, as he did not trust the other two. Despite this, Lexor Narmolanya managed to eaves-drop undetected.
Quarion planned to use his prestidigitation ability to make illusory copies of Medrash and Drakorgamort so that they could spy on Usyrus Vlackabar and try to locate the Heart of the Colossus as well as find an escape plan. Quarion also used his magic to turn the two invisible, so that they may spy more effectively.
The first class they attended was in the barracks, where they were issued basic iron armor and shortswords to practice with. Quarion instantly got into an argument with the instructor, a dragonborn called Commander Valastrix. He managed to insult the warrior’s honor to the degree that a duel broke out!
Quarion fought valiantly for one so heavily outmatched, but he surrendered when he discovered that he could not use his magic in the tournament field. The group proceeded to lunch, having been ingloriously dismissed, and met back up with their clandestine companions. They learned that Usyrus Vlackabar carried the phoenix ash with him at all times in an amulet. At this time, Lexor Narmolanya shared the plan with Red Horn, and both assured Quarion that his distrust was unfounded and that all were loyal to the same goal – defeating The Infernal.
The next lesson to be had was magical instruction, where Quarion instantly managed to insult the kobold instructor. The annoyed instructor used the eladrin as an example in the alteration lesson, and allowed the group to vote on whether or not they should turn Quarion into a frog. When Lexor Narmolanya, against everyone else, voted yes, Quarion became a toad. In an offhand way, the instructor mentioned that being a toad prevented Quarion from sustaining magical spells, and then, after giving a brief lecture on alteration, undid the spell on Quarion.
They moved on to History of The Infernal class,which was taught by Arcaelus Trektoploicz. Quarion couldn’t help but bully this instructor a bit as well, but when they noticed him mutter “Uk forgive me” after reciting a prayer to The Infernal, the Blades realized that he was on their side. They invited him to come to their room later, to talk.
It was then that the kobold wizard and Commander Valastrix entered the room, carrying with them the real Medrash and Drakorgamort!!! The ruse was discovered!
Fortunately, the Eldritch Blades cooked up a story in which they were merely Quarion‘s illusory bodyguards, caused by his paranoia. The instructors were dubious, but, when Quarion managed to make one disappear (using a spell) with a wave of his hand, they were convinced, although remained suspicious. Arcaelus Trektoploicz continued with the lesson, and the other instructors left.
At dinner, it was Red Horn’s turn to make a scene. He challenged Usyrus Vlackabar to a drinking contest, which persisted for many rounds until ending in a draw, with both of them passing out. During the contest, however, Lexor Narmolanya managed to steal the locket with the phoenix ash from the drunk doppelganger!
He kept this a secret, however, and, after dinner, they all proceeded to the torture chambers to fulfill their task as torturers.
Once more, [:quarion]]‘s skill with illusion proved handy. They acted as though they were torturing the victim, wile not actually hurting him. Quarion’s illusions, however, made the supervisor think they were actually injuring the victim – a human paladin of Bahumat. In order to rescue the man, they pretended to kill him and throw the body into the sea, For this, the wizard of the group used more illusions, and the real body, made invisible, was taked to the stateroom once Lexor Narmolanya knocked him unconscious.
Back at the room, they met with Arcaelus Trektoploicz once more. The paladin was put on a bed and left there until he woke up.
It was then that Lexor Narmolanya revealed that he had retrieved the Heart of the Colossus. Quarion‘s enmity with the ranger exploded when Lexor Narmolanya said that he wished to hold on to the dust himself for safety. A fight broke out, but, with the help of Arcaelus, along with the other adventurers, it was decided that the safest place for the phoenix dust was hidden in a chink in Lexor Narmolanya’s dire wolf’s tooth.
For the rest of the night, Quarion perfected his plan. Meanwhile, Red Horn ordered for some prostitutes to be brought in, and then had violent sex with a dragonborn female for an impressive amount of time.

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Mt. Storm

A great mountain wreathed in storm clouds and spewing ash stood before the Eldritch Blades. Within this mountain rested the Heart of the Colossus – the phoenix ashes that they crossed desert and wood alike to reach. Before entering, they reluctantly left their dragons outside, as they would not fit.
Upon entering an opening to the mountain’s caves, they found a room littered with the corpses of hellhounds. The obvious path forward was blocked, and despite Red-Horn“s best efforts, the rubble would not budge. However, upon further searching, the group found a second pathway hidden by loose gravel. The passageway was blocked by 5 sentient doors, each demanding payment. The first four required to cripple one adventurer’s arm or leg to pass on, but the last demanded payment is items and wealth.
With injured bodies and purses, they carried on to the next room. They were met by spear wielding salamanders, who defended their king, who wore a mighty ruby crown and sat on a throne. The salamanders attacked instantly to defend their territory, and battle erupted. The tree foes were dispatched rather quickly, and looted of their riches. Most impressive was the crown, which ”/campaign/infernal-ascendant/wikis/Drakorgamort/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Drakorgamort claimed.
As he did so, the throne swung around, revealing the text: “Crown bearer, show me your fire.”
Medrash attempted to use his fiery breath, but to no avail. It was then that the wilden crown bearer himself called upon his primordial power to smite the throne with elemental spirits of fire.
The passage continued on, ending at a ledge overlooking a pool of lava. Standing by the ledge was an elderly man, who revealed that only by defeating him could they pass. With that, his flesh melted away, revealing a demonic mage of great power. The Eldritch Blades felt confident, as the foe was weakened easily, but then he conjured the magma below to armor him. With a mighty sweep of his staff, the mage cast Quarion into the pit, and the battle took a deadly turn.
The Blades fought desperately, hoping to save their friend, and in a fury of blows, they slew the mage before Quarion hit the pools of magma below. The group took the mage’s winged boots, and used them to rescue Quarion. Then, using the winged boots, one brave hero flew across the lava to a platform on the other side, where a lever was to be found. Pulling this lever extended a bridge across the lava, and they forayed on.
The next room was prefaced by a door, which they quickly opened. As it swung open, it sprayed the group with a poison to blind them. Only Quarion avoided the poison, and saw the danges of the room.
The pace was a maze of lava rivers, with a beholder sitting at its heart. A pair of winged boots was in the corner. Quarion had to lead his forces into battle, directing the others on how to combat the beholder without falling in lava. He also directed Medrash to the winged boots.
Slowly the poison began to wear off, and, senses returned, they were no longer helpless to the heinous eye rays of the beholder. They slew it wrathfully, and Medrash claimed the boots. He and Drakorgamort, the other bearer of winged boots, flew up to a ledge below the beholder’s maze, where two levers were found. They pulled them in unison, and stairs descended so that the others could follow them.
Beyond the levers, the path continued on until they reached a peculiar chamber filled with a red fog. The floor was covered in a sticky fungus that hindered their movement. Lexor Narmolanya gathered some of the fungus in vials after discovering that it was harmless.
Meanwhile, Quarion researched the properties of the fog. He learned that it was highly explosive, and shared this with the group.
No sooner did he utter the word “explosive” did Drakorgamort shot a flaming arrow right into it!!!!!!
The fog detonated violently, killing all fungus in the room and leaving the party with extremely severe burns. Most heavily injured was Quarion, who would have died if not for the help of Medrash.
This would not stop them, however, and the next chamber held the next pair of boots, which Red-Horn donned. Then, the tree adventurers with boots flew up to a ledge with three levers, and, pulling them, extended stairs for the others to proceed. However, Medrash‘s lever broke, and, although the stairs descended, the passage to the next room, which was a boulder that the levers slid away, was stuck. Thinking quickly, Red-Horn used the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords and transformed it into a lever handle, affixed it to the lever, and opened the passage.
Undaunted by the burns, they proceeded on, entering a large chamber. The ceiling was cracked, and the glow of magma seeped through it. Statues of fire archons lined the halls, and in the center sat an enormous statue of an archon lord.
As the Blades approached, the ceiling split, and lava splashed on the largest statue. Instantly, it sprung to life! It named the adventurers intruders, and attacked!
The archon wielded a mighty scimitar, and used it with deadly potential. Throughout the battle, more and more lava fell from the ceiling, making the battlefield hazardous. The fight was difficult enough, and then the archon announced that, if he died, the room would flood with lava! Between blows, the Eldritch Blades launched into full negotiation, each member providing arguments. At last, the mighty warrior conceded, seeing the error of his ways. When he allowed the group to pass, he saluted them as friends and worthy adversaries, and gifted them with his pair of winged boots.
The next chamber passed directly through another magma vein of the volcano, and the path ended in another cliff! Four chests stood at the edge of the cliff. One had a log, one had a potion of immortality, one had an enchanted sword, and one held a mighty spell tome. Quarion, with his talent as a spellstorm mage, divined that the room was a puzzle left by the archon himself.
Then, Red-Horn grabbed to log, and all other chests combusted!
FOOL – they branded him, but Lexor Narmolanya saw his wisdom. The log was enchanted, and could change in size and shape. They transformed the log into a bridge, and crossed the lava merrily, finding winged boots at the other side. Now, all five adventurers had a pair of their own.
Five levers stood between them and the Heart of the Colossus. As they pulled, they heard a voice – “Infernal be praised! We have found it!”
The Eldritch Blades pulled the levers and entered the next room – the main magma chamber of the volcano. Below them was a cavernous pit full of magma, and above them was a floating island. They could barely make out a coffin in the shape of a phoenix on said island.
However, the air was swarmed with harpies.
Quarion, Drakorgamort, and Lexor Narmolanya fought from the ledge, but Red-Horn and Medrash took to the air, smashing through lines of harpies to reach the phoenix dust.
While Quarion fired spells, Lexor Narmolanya and Drakorgamort used the fungus to their advantage. Once Lexor threw the fungus onto the foes, Drakorgamort used his nature staff to bind it to the harpies’ wings, thus making them fall into the magma.
Once the way was clearer, the others flew up to join the paladin and the warlord on the island. Red Horn had transformed the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords into a mortar, and held back lines of harpies with scatter shots while Medrash slashed violently with his sword.
The coffin, too, had five levers on it, so they fought on to defend the small island until Quarion, last to arrive, had reached the coffin.
Straining as one, hoping as one, the five pulled.
The coffin slid open.
And poison billowed out.
They fell unconscious, and, upon awaking, saw a somewhat familiar face staring them down.
The Man From Council.

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Hearthstone Manor

Back to back, the Eldritch Bladesdrew their weapons. Screeching in from the heavens at that moment came two dragonborn, riding on black dragons. The foul steeds shot acid at the sphinx, who fell dead instantly! Surrounded and without allies, the adventurers prepared for a difficult fight.
Koblods fell in droves at the might of Lexor Narmolanya‘s twin katars. Meanwhile, Quarion and Drakorgamort joined their powers to conjure a storm. Channeling its lightning through his swords, the wizard smote kobolds with the raw might of a storm!
Red Horn focused his attention on the skies, and commandeered one of the dragons for himself after earning its loyalty. Drakorgamort followed suit, using his nature staff to gain mastery of the other dragon.
Many kobolds were dead, and the enemy was routed! Medrash engaged the dragonborn in single combat, and, as he slew one, realized that they were once guards in his hometown of Macurash. Showing mercy, he spared the other dragonborn, who fled to Trektoplika to become an herbalist.
Night began to fall, and, after looting the remains, the party chose to journey on, seeking Hearthstone Manor, the house that they had purchased at The Party. The dragon riders, Red Horn and Drakorgamort, went ahead on their steeds, and the others trailed behind on the forest paths.
Through the night, they traveled, and as dawn broke, the riders arrived at their new home. By noon, the rest of the party arrived.
Greeting them at the manor was the Trektopolicz Family! Bertha Trektopolicz cooked a feast in celebration, and many celebrated long into the night! Quarion trained for many hours in the alchemist’s lab with Herbert Trektopolicz, and Red Horn spent some time in the forge with Aggro Trektopolicz. Medrash and Lexor Narmolanya were content to spar, and Drakorgamort took a stroll in the garden with Dr. Quinn Trektopolicz.
However, the next morning, a meeting of great seriousness was held in the arena. The Trektopolicz Family described the corrupt steward of Complexica, Nolfavrell the Black. They explained that the Blades had to make haste to [[Mt. Storm]], a volcano whose magma chamber held the phoenix ashes that would form the heart of The Colossus! Understanding the urgency, the Eldritch Blades set out, with the greatest danger they had yet faced ahead of them!

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Trials of the Forestkeeper

The Blades spent the morning training and trading at the forge before setting across the desert. A dwarven vanguard accompanied them as far as the Quil’s Stroke Wood – the final barrier between them and Complexica!
They entered the wood, and soon came upon a clearing, where a sphinx and a blue dragon were in vicious combat! Drakorgamort, with his staff, held down the dragon, allowing the sphinx to make the finishing blow. Then, the sphinx approached the group, and demanded that, if they were to pass the forest, they would have to pass his trials. He first demanded that they hand over their weapons.
Reluctantly, the Blades, Medrash last of all, agreed to this. The sphinx then gave each weapon to a different owner before leading them into a cave. The Eldritch Blades were more than a bit flummoxed, even more so when spiders jumped out from behind rocks, forcing them to fight with each others’ weapons!
Fortunately, having fought alongside each other for so long, they were able to slay the foes, impressing the sphinx. But the sphinx had more in store, if they would meet him at the Ghastly Glade.
The adventurers were given a map with a series of paths to the Glade on it, and they had 20 seconds with the map to process them all! The map was taken away all to soon, and, after great deliberation, they settled on a path.
They traveled until the sun began to set, when they came upon a camp. Stealthily, they observed the camp until they decided they could be trusted, and then showed themselves. The huters at the camp offered for the adventurers to stay the night, which they gladly accepted, unwilling to brave the forest at night.
When they awoke, they were tied up in the center of camp, surrounded by the hunters – in werewolf form! They had been betrayed, and, enraged, fought their way out of the camp. The next leg of their journey would take them to the river Stormblood.
The crossing that was on their chosen path was incredibly hazardous. The current was swift, and a jagged boulder stuck up from it. Making a rash decision, Medrash and Drakorgamort jumped for the boulder. Drakorgamort Reached it, and managed to jump to the other bank, but Medrash was not as lucky. He slipped, and fell straight to the bottom of the river!
Meanwhile, Quarionused his Arcane Gate to teleport the rest of the group to the other side of the river. Medrash was rescued with a rope.
Around early afternoon, they came to a hut that had recently been set ablaze. They rushed inside and found an elderly gnome couple, who, after a moment of hysteria, were able to tell the Eldritch Blades that they had been attacked by kobolds, who had run off in the direction of the Ghastly Glade! The adventuring party, after disassembling the hut (with the gnome’s permission), made haste towards the Glade, gnomes riding in the cart.
They arrived in the Ghastly Glade, seemingly before the kobolds. The sphinx was there, who, after making snide remarks over their poor choice of path, prepared to start the next test.
It was then that kobolds jumped out of the trees, surrounding them!

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The Mountain in the Sky

Zizzlehoff provisioned the group for their journey, and presented his pair of matched longswords to Quarion before seeing the Eldritch Blades off on their next adventure. Before they could fins the next part of the Colossus, they had to cross the desert that surrounded Trektoplika.
For several days and nights they traveled, and the dangers of the desert wore on them. Quicksand, dehydration, and sandstorms were a constant threat.
But on they journeyed, until they came upon a wall in their path. The wall’s gate was the only way forward, and it was guarded by a troop of halfling bandits who demanded toll. The Eldritch Blades attempted to barter with the gatekeepers, but as they did so, the real danger slithered into being.
A great maw rose from the sand, instantly consuming the bandit leader. Tentacles rose from the sand around them, and Drakorgamort identified the beast as a “silt horror.” They fought bravely, trying to preserve the lives of the halflings as they fought off monstrous tentacles. The combat raged for many hours, but, finally, the blinded and bloodied behemoth fell.
As it died, it released a cloud of toxic vapors, and the group fell unconscious…

They awoke to a familiar voice. It was Wally, the old dwarf from Lourwa! He told them that he had given up fighting to become a healer, and it was he who nursed them back to health. He also explained that they were in a camp lead by Jorik Stonefist, father of Helga and Olga Stonefist!
Feeling refreshed, the Blades set off for Jorik’s tent. Jorik recieved them warmly, but he grew grimmer when his daughters’ fate was explained. He became determined for them to have the best dwarven funeral he could conceive – a burial at Stonefist Barrow!
Although Stonefist Barrow was once the burial ground for all of the Clan Stonefist, it was since overrun by a psychotic druid of The Infernal, and its halls are now cursed. The Blades did not back down from this challenge, however.
They set off for the barrow the next morning, before the first rays of dawn could be seen. Before they entered, they were greeted with the spirits of Wally‘s dead companions, who blessed them all.
Inside the barrow, they were ambushed at once by spiders in a room laden with their crystalline webs. The dwarves, who could not commit violence on the sacred ground, were of little help, but the Eldritch Blades quickly slew the beasts.
As they delved deeper, they came to a room of coffins, with a white carpet stretching to a high chair. In the chair sat an emaciated corpse. As they approached, they saw that a portion of the carpet had been dyed with blood, and a dead dwarf, carrying flowers, was sprawled on it.
The corpse looked up at the adventurers, and spoke:
“I know why you have come here. I can give you what you seek. For. A. Price.”
The group tried diplomacy with the guardian, but, when Quarion saw that it wasn’t working, he conjured sheets of blue fire to intimidate it. The corpse struck back with vicious mental warfare, but the wizard resisted, and, finally, the guardian submitted. His chair turned about, revealing a stairwell.
The stairs lead to a small study. There was a desk, on which sat a book surrounded by a field of distortion. There was also a bookshelf, on which tomes concerning knowledge of The Infernal were found.
Quarion approached the book on the desk, and touching it, was instantly muted! He had to speak telepathically with the others. However, the distortion was gone, and the others read the book. They learned that, in this very barrow, the man who had called forth The Infernal committed his ritual.
Through a trapdoor, they continued deeper into the barrow. In the room, there were several dwarven statues, and three large coffins at the front. The floor was covered in blood, forming elaborate designs and the repeated symbol of The Infernal. Rising from the large coffin was the conjurer himself, along with several faceless specters. There was great slashing of weapons and casting of incantations as the Eldritch Blades did battle with the profane spirits.
When it seemed that they were laid to rest, Red Horn discovered an indent in the bottom of the coffin. He fit his axe into it, and a passage opened. A stair lead to the top of the barrow, where the first rays of dawn could be seen peaking over the horizon. Two matched coffins were there, as well.
Helga and Olga were set in the coffins, and Jorik said his piece. Several members of the Eldritch Blades also spoke, and that was when the air began to shimmer.
Descending from the heavens was a golden staircase, and it lead to a mountain in the sky. The spirits of the dead shopkeepers rose from their coffins, ascended the stair, and went into the mountain.
The journey back was made in silence.

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Fall of Malturzuum

All turned on Medrash in rage, as he was not in his right mind. The only way to stop his attacking was to subdue him, and he was overcome by the combined strength of his companions. The treat dealt with, the group investigated the room further to discover a door. On the door was carved the face of a demon, who declared:
p. “I stand on one leg, with my heart in my head? Who am I?
p. Intuitively, Quarion responded with the correct answer: cabbage. The door swung open, and a room lined with racks of scrolls was uncovered. Quarion found the ledger that recorded all that was kept in the room, and used his arcane skills to find which scrolls in particular would be of use to the group. Zizzlehoff‘s neice was nearly as skilled as him, and the group found scrolls to cure all of their ills. Red Horn’s Faceless Horror curse was removed, and Drakorgamort was restored to full strength. A scroll was even found for Medrash, which temporarily shielded his mind from that of The Infernal. They would need their full strength, for the tower loomed just ahead. All eggs lie broken, and there was rebellion to finish!
p. With the use of his nature staff, Drakorgamort weakened the doors to the tower, and a vengeful Red Horn bashed them in. The warlord found himself surrounded by Kobold Dragonshields. The [[Eldritch BladesMedrash | Eldritch Blades]] were outnumbered, but had never since let that stop them.
p. The entryway was won by the might of Red Horn‘s axes, and the rest of the party flooded in. Quarion secured the lift system to get to the next floor, and, after slaying the remaining foes, the other Blades followed him.
p. On the next floor, they were met with a fearsome manticore, who was restrained by more kobolds. They attempted reasoning with it, but soon discovered that there was no reasoning with a manticore. In hopes of setting it on its captors, Quarion tried to free the beast, but they had to slay it all the same (or they would be its dinner).
p. The lift mechanism was broken for the remainder of the tower, so they risked climbing a ladder
up the exterior walls of the tower. They gained entry to the next floor through a hole in the walls, but, during their climb, were bombarded with boulders from catapults, blasts of dragonfire, and the wrathful mental attacks of The Infernal himself. In fact, they were close to death as they approached the front lines of battle – and the return of an old foe.
p. In the center of the room was a barricade, with Trektopolicz warlocks on the defensive. They were besieged by a force of kobold slingers and dragonshields, which was lead by three dragonborn lieutenants. One of them was the very same that Medrash had decieved in the past. This time, he was wiser, and, enraged at his past foolishness, attacked the paladin on sight.
p. At the command of the Eldritch Blades, many of the warlocks went to the top of the tower to assist Zizzlehoff combat Commander Malthurzuum. The remaining three assisted Quarion in dispatching the slingers with their combined magical attacks. Red Horn was attacked by the force of dragonshields, and Lexor Narmolanya fought off the other two dragonborn while Medrash squared off with his old foe.
p. They won the room, and, after dispatching the lieutenant with gusto, continued on. Next was the Archmage’s room, which had been converted into a medical room. Herbert Trektopolicz frantically tried to heal the injured. They were the warlocks from the previous room that the group had sent up, byt their robes were torn and drenched in blood and gore. The Eldritch Blades volunteered to help, when they heard Zizzlehoff cry out in agony. The roof shook as Commander Malthurzuum landed, roaring with triumph. Herbert Trektopolicz, confident in his abilities, rushed the Blades up the stair to aid their friend and mentor.
p. The roof of the tower was strewn with rubble. Zizzlehoff, bleeding profusely, was fending off the great dragon’s claw attacks with his staff, when a blow caught him unexpectedly in the chest. Lexor Narmolanya acted at onec, healing the old wizard with a potion. The group of six faced down the dragon, and the air was charged.
p. The rebels struck first. Drakorgamort, his power augmented by the Archmage, conjured trees with his nature staff, binding Commander Malthurzuum to the ground. Conjuring all of his arcane might, Quarion used his mage hand spell to toss Medrash, Lexor Narmolanya, and Red Horn onto the red dragon’s back. The battle for the tower had begun. Despite all of the Commander’s efforts, he could not shake the three Blades from his back. Quarion and Drakorgamort held strong when the dragon bombarded them with his fiery breath. They suffered grievous wounds, but would pay any price to ensure that their companions kill the terrible Malthurzuum. At last, after being hammered by constant arrows, spells, slashes, and jabs, the Commander began to fade. Calling on the power of Bahumat, his patron god, Medrash smote the beast’s crimson skull with his holy sword.
p. Indeed, the city was saved! There was much cause for celebration, but nary the time. The Infernal was slowly clawing out of the depths in the Roiling Sea, and the second piece of the Colossus’ location was known to the enemy. The group needed to move at once – through a desert of unknown dangers…

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