Monday, February 22, 2010

Third day

The party entered the dungeons in search of the alchemist. Along their way they found several traps, including a grease trap (which looked like someone fell into it and crawled out), a spent dart trap on the wall, and a spike trap on the floor that looked like it recently demolished a victim. Around the corner they saw the large metal door to the alchemist's room. In between was a small strip of land with pools of green liquid on either side, two large grotesque statues, and three metal dogs on the ground.

Fearing that the dogs were magical constructs, the party pushed all of them into the green liquid. They then tried to do the same with the statues. With the whole group (except the frightened Fizzy) pushing, they started to move the statue off its position, but in response it awakened and attacked. The dogs soon leapt out of the green and charged the party.

The gargoyles' wicked claws did significant damage to the party, and the creatures briefly seemed impervious to damage when they reverted back to stone form. Fizzy, alone and in the dark, was assaulted by several enemies at once and was barely able to fend them off. The dogs' initial bites carried a sting left over from the poison in the pools. But despite all this, the party stuck together and fought back. Fizzy reloaded the dart trap with some shards of metal and watched it fire against an oncoming construct. Ferik flew towards Fizzy, providing light and assistance. The gargoyles put up a challenging fight, but eventually their stone bodies crumbled against the onslaught.

The party approached the door, which was locked. They successfully picked a lock, but discovered that many others were in place. So, they knocked. A small window slid out of place and two eyes stared out at them, demanding to know what they wanted. He would not take visitors. But when the party told him that King Roland was dead, he let them in.

The alchemist was a strange fellow, constantly chugging small vials of blue potion. He was intent on producing some sort of masterpiece potion that had recently been perfected. Few doses of this "Potion of Heroism" were available, and he was loathe to part with them. The party promised that if the Prince were deposed, the alchemist would get whatever funding he needed, which was enough to convince the alchemist to help. He handed over two doses of the Potion of Heroism. Vexx also examined the blue potion the alchemist kept drinking and discovered that it would give a small (but stackable) boost to the drinker's intelligence while hampering almost everything else. The alchemist gave him a dozen of these potions.

Fizzy was impressed by the alchemist's amazing work. The alchemist just told the dwarf that he was weird. Fizzy's confidence suffered.

The party returned to the Great Hall with haste. The halls were strangely quiet, but the Hall was bustling. The Black Guard was training the newly-outfitted nobles and guard, while Archibald inspected. Upon the arrival of the party, he announced that the assault on the Tower was ready. Archibald said that he understood that he had to lead the attack on Khestral due to the enchantment on the door and requested that the party accompany him. They agreed.

The makeshift army marched down the halls. No mages, "loyal" guards, or devils were encountered. Even upon entering the Tower itself they found no enemies... until a horde of devils charged from each direction. The battle began. So close to the goal, Archibald called out to the party and led a charge towards Khestral's inner sanctum.

They were blocked by a group of devils (including another succubus) guarding the pathway. With Archibald's capable help, the party swept through these enemies, striking them down. They soon reached the door. Ferik and Sir Griflet each consumed a dose of the Potion of Heroism, while Vexx drank all twelve of his intelligence potions. Then, Archibald entered. The enchantment on the door was broken with an eerie pulse of energy, and the party entered.

The eladrin battlemage Khestral stood over a strange table, reading a book written in Supernal. He looked up at the party as the door opened, threw forth his hand, and froze the party in place. After a bit of gloating, Khestral released Archibald from his spell and commanded the Black Lord to bow. Archibald turned to the party. "End this fight." He then drew his greatsword and hurled it at the mage.

Khestral threw out his hand again, shattering the sword into pieces that struck the Black Lord and threw him against a wall, but his concentration was broken as well, releasing the party from his freeze. They attacked. The mage was skilled and threw powerful spells of fire and force, but he was quickly weakened and drained of strength.

The eladrin then threw himself on the table, shouting to Asmodeus in Supernal. When he stood again, his appearance had changed to that of a fey Tiefling, unlike anything seen before. Khestral's wounds had closed, and he moved with a supernatural grace. The battle commenced again. Again Khestral struck out with powerful magic, but outnumbered and outgunned, he was soon bloodied, and then struck down by a powerful magic missile from Vexx.

The battered mage again shouted to Asmodeus, and his wounds once again began to heal, but he sputtered blood and his prayer faltered. The mage was left on the ground, defeated.

The Prince Philip soon strode out of the back room. "Ah, I see you've managed to defeat my mage!" he spoke. "Well--" The Prince's soliloquy was interrupted as Jij ran to Khestral's side and fired an arrow from his greatbow point-blank into Khestral's head, despite Ferik's attempts to stop him. The mage fell dead, and the Prince suddenly stopped with a look of horror slowly creeping over his face.

The Prince offered no resistance, claiming that it was not his plan or idea to kill King Roland. Some enchantment had affected him. Archibald, now able to stand, approached. Some questioning revealed that Khestral had offered the Prince power, and the Prince had voluntarily submitted himself to the mage, although he did not know it would lead to murder.

Ander, Paendra, and Cormac soon entered as well. Archibald, realizing that Khestral had controlled the Prince, proclaimed that the Prince remained the lawful heir. Ander was unwilling to accept this.

Hoping for clarification, Vexx cast a ritual to speak with the dead Khestral. The corpse revealed that the Prince's story was true, and that Khestral's power had come personally from Asmodeus, the evil god of the Nine Hells. This did little to help the discussion about the King's successor.

The argument went back and forth, with Ander insisting that the Prince had proven himself unworthy of kingship, while Archibald insisted that he would make a terrible king (lacking the people's touch as Roland did). There was some discussion of having Archibald rule as regent, but this was rejected upon consideration of the nobility's possible reaction. Ferik suggested forming a triumvirate council to rule, but the response was lukewarm.

Eventually, Sir Griflet spoke privately with his lord, appealing to the will of their deity Bahamut. The Black Lord, finally, agreed to do what was necessary, and asked for the fealty of those around him as king. Ander bowed, and the others soon followed. The new King Archibald Daelon grabbed the crown off the head of the prince and stormed out, carrying kingship in his hand.

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