SESSIONS THIRTY-TWO & THREE
LAIR OF THE LICH
Stung by Dirk Flisten’s escape with Jamal, the Lionshields interrogated the boy’s father, Amal Alzareef, as well as the woman who absconded with him, Anne Scarlett. Sensing duplicity in all of them, they learned the Portal Mirror led to the Lair of the Lich, Thoth Arryn. Fearing Flisten was set to deliver not only the child, the key to the lost treasures of the Sea Wolf, but also the Ring of Summer Flame, the party got the password from Alzareef — but not before speaking with Wilbough Waggins.
Wilbough, whom they had encountered in Choronzon’s Abyssal abode, was behind their hiring to deliver the Mummer’s Wagon to Rimegarde. The drunk halfling, inebriated beyond reason to circumvent the magical barrier that was keeping out legendary adventurers, babbled about time travel and portents and fulfilling destiny on their behalf.
Not able to make hide nor hair of his ramblings, they geared up and, with Captain Tack in tow, set out for the Lair through the portal.
Steeping out of a seeping pool in a cave, they discovered treasure and an axe-wielding king’s remains. Kari took possession of the axe, a sentient and hungry blade demanding to be fed… They pressed on, entering a keep within the volcano and passing through the silent and seemingly deserted complex.
A short encounter with goblins saw them dispatched easily enough, then the party split up.
Nammosi, Peron, and Kari headed deeper into the keep, eventually discovering a crypt and a young thief slinking around inside. Nammosi ensnared the girl who was revealed to be Katrina Sexton, daughter of the infamous Thaddeus Sexton of the Blood Brotherhood. Her father had been inside the Cold Harbour region when the barrier sphere was raised, so she was searching for him. As they spoke with her, a distant cry for help echoed from the rest of the party.
Nod, Elrian, and Tack discovered a den filled with arcane wares. A great dragon skeleton stood watch over the room, but more interesting was the remains of the Lich, dead upon the altar, burned by the magic of the Ring of Summer Flame. A lone figure stepped from the shadows. Calling himself Zecharia Sitchin, he demanded the pieces of the Black Tablet they had been collecting. Nod took his lone piece from his pack and threw it at him initiating combat with the gothic wizard. Elrian cast Hideous Laughter on him as Nod and Tack sought to subdue him, but fearing the wizard’s awakening, Elrian finished him by firing several Fire Bolts into his face.
But Sitchin had been holding a potion bottle that broke as he collapsed, releasing a shadow demon. Nod, recovering the stone shard, and threw it at the black effluvium. The shard passed through the smoke, but sucked up the entity as it did. Consumed, the shadow was no longer a threat and Nod retrieved the shard.
Meanwhile, as Kari, Peron, and Nammosi set out to see to the trouble with their compatriots, Katrina screamed. A door opened and the Frostmaiden appeared, attempting to snare the girl. She fled north, with the Frostmaiden in pursuit but the Lionshields converged and delivered serious damaged to the earthbound goddess. Auril retreated, casting an Ice Storm to mask her escape, but Kari stayed hard on her tail.
Following her into a wizard’s study, the Frostmaiden stood within a magic circle, attempting to heal herself. Behind stood a portal. The axe screamed for blood and Kari let it fly. Toppling end over end, the enchanted axe split the Frostmaiden’s face in to and she and the axe were hurled back into the portal. Kari heard the distant cries of the axe, “I am fed.”
Investigating the room, they discovered a key to several portal mirrors located throughout the keep, noting that the axe and Frostmaiden were drawn into one linked to Barovia. While another, the one sitting on the Lich’s altar, led to the Cold Harbour coast, linked to a position they found in a magical navigational chart denoting the location of the wreckage of the Sea Wolf.
Nammosi discovered the final piece of the Black Tablet hidden in a chest nearby and, after Peron had dispatched another shadow creature, they placed all the items together in Kari’s Haversack. As they made preparations to go after Flisten and the Sea Wolf’s treasure, Nod thought to call out for Salazar Redmon, realizing that with the Frostmaiden’s death, the magical barrier would have fallen.
To everyone’s surprise, Redmon appeared and, after sharing some intel, avowed to do battle with Choronzon and his minions, while the party stopped Flisten from obtaining the Staff of the Magi and recovered the Ring of Summer Flame.
Realizing that Thaddeus was nowhere to be found, Salazar divined that Sexton had too been sucked into Ravenloft, former realm of the vampire Vagnarok. Katrina hurled herself through the portal, intent on rescuing her father. Some of the party wanted to follow, but Salazar held them to their quest.
The Lionshields stepped through the Cold Harbour portal, but not before freeing the soul of a Gold Dragon (and inadvertently that of a Red Dragon as well). Finding themselves overlooking a frozen inlet, they spied a sled, drawn by a skeleton owlbear, out on the ice, within a magical circle that matched the circle in the navigation book. Kari confined this was where the Sea Wolf sank into the ice.
After examining (and dispelling the magic of) a gigantic ice sculpture of a sword that served as an abyssal beacon, the party made their way toward the circle. Peron dispatched the owlbear then Nod and Kari searched the sled. Inside was an apothacary case with several potions of healing, waterbreathing, and passwall within. Using these, the Lionshields passed through the ice and into the fluid waters below. Some hundred feet beneath them lay the shattered remains of the Sea Wolf.
Was their adventure nearing an end?
to be continued