THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH
Making their way through Vermingard, Dalv Lucard’s prison and home to a vampire coven, the party was split. Elrian was desperately trying to escape the Coven Priestess and her Undead protector, Nod was trying to lead the survivors to safety, and Nammosi, Kari, and Peron were separated in the depths of some sort of blood ritual chamber.
The words of Dalv hung heavily on their minds as they fought to navigate Vermingard. “The only way out is through,” he had said ominously. And so they pressed on, looking for an exit.
The Tabaxi led the survivors to the first floor of the manse, creeping down a long hall and discovering the double doors that led outside, but those doors were locked. Two of the survivors were then snatched by something in one of the side rooms. Nod raced upstairs to the second floor, finding a balcony overlooking a dining hall below. There he saw a group of goblins pinning the two survivors down on the tables and calling for their boss. Nod cast Hypnotic Pattern, disabling the diminutive fiends. He gracefully dropped down inside and helped the two captives out of the room, but then the boss arrived, a huge, lumbering Northman. Nod beheaded two goblins, then drew his pistol and fired, but the gun blew up in his face. Still, he made short work of the warrior. Returning to the hall, he found the rest of the survivors gone. They had gone upstairs…
The Half-Elf cast a Wall of Fire behind him, hoping to deter his pursuers, but the cleric cast aside his spell and the vampire raced after him. Elrian shook off the vampire’s hypnotic charm, but he was unable to fend off the fiend’s bite. Drained, Elrian called for help, escaping through the Blood Door and descending toward his compatriots below.
The Elf quietly entered a chamber south of the Blood Altar, discovering the statue of an anthropomorphic owl. From its altar, Peron retrieved a ceremonial dagger, tucking it into his pack, and examined a prayer book. Then, hearing Elrian’s calls for help, returned to the Blood Altar.
The Aasimar heard the sound of paper rustling beyond the door north of the Blood Altar. Opening the door as quietly as possible, she discovered a portly man sitting at a desk. Malcolm Shaw was a scribe, bound to “The One”, the Coven Mistress of Vermingard, Drucilla Delacourt. He explained to Nammosi that he examined artifacts for his mistress, artifacts recovered from across the sea, in the ruins of Bloodhaven, from a place called the Reliquary. He showed off a broken Staff of the Magi culled from there, and explained he was currently deciphering one of Salazar Redmon’s Spellbooks. Nammosi asked if he knew where the nearest exit was and Shaw reveled that there was a dock accessible from the first floor, east of the stair. “The only way out is through,” he warned. Nammosi thanked him and rejoined the others.
The Half-Orc stood watch, keeping a close eye on Peron and Nammosi as they explored north and south of the Blood Altar. He certainly didn’t want to go anywhere near that. He did, however, creep closer to Nammosi, anticipating trouble, but was thankful that it didn’t arrive, that is until he heard Elrian call out. He headed toward the half-elf wondering what he had gotten himself into now.
ELRIAN / KARI / NAMMOSI / PERON
Elrian filled everyone in on the vampire and cleric above and they all prepped for combat. Heading up the stairs, back to the gladiatorial chamber, Elrian was attacked by the vampire, who had turned invisible. A battle ensued. With Peron using well timed attacks with his bow and a concerted spell assault from Nammosi and Elrian, they kept the vampire, mostly, at bay. Kari chopped through an illusory demon and they dropped the cleric, but not before more vampires arrived on the scene. Battling upward, they reached the first floor and raced east, finding a dock and a waiting boat. Elrian reached out to Nod via a message spell, so they could all escape together.
The Tabaxi reached the top of the stairs in time to see three survivors enter a side room. Following, Nod found them seated and drinking a brew administered by an elderly woman. She said her name was Helvetika Fontinall and she produced a saucer of milk for Nod, who used his magical skills to give the illusion that he drank it, then pretended to be as charmed as the survivors. Helvetika led him out to a rooftop garden and a statue of an anthropomorphic owl. The statue became animate however and told Nod that they need look for the wagon to find their way home. “The only way out,” she said, “was through.” Nod then received the message spell from Elrian. Spying the dock and boat over the railing, he realized he was but a floor above his compatriots. Nod rallied the survivors and he leapt down to join his friends, as the others carefully climbed down the trellis.
Standing on the dock, reunited once more, they looked at the boat moored there. It was a sleek vessel, oar powered, and would seat six comfortably. While the other survivors scattered, Dalr Garisson asked to come with them, hoping that he might find a safehaven somewhere north. The party agreed, then they noticed the name on the side of the boat: ðrue. They all laughed. “The only way out is ðrue,” they all said in unison. They boarded the boat and Dalr and Kari took the oars, pushing them northward to parts unknown.
to be continued