The Swordlands

Life's Bright Spark
A Memory

Like his father before him, Bor is a good king. He embodies those qualities most admired among men, and asks of noone that which he would not ask of himself. Bor rules the land west of the mountains as far as the Skoninjen Way, and has been able, through strength of character, to forge a peace with those kings who had made trouble for his father. It is through the strength of steel that he has been able to keep it.

Now that good king Bor is old in years, he meets with the Einherjar at the stone circle. They appear just as he remembers, having seen them once before as a boy. Eventually, Bor is left alone amongst the standing stones, with only a sadness to keep him company.

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The Vampires of Skeinwael
Session Summary


The party leave the cave and emerge on a hillside overlooking the whaling port of Skeinwael. There seems to have been a battle here but now the town is deserted, not even a single corpse lies in the streets where blood stains the cobblestones and weapons lie discarded. Many of the building appear to have been barricaded from within, although it appears that none of the defences held to the end.

Except that is for the great hall of Bjornyak that stands in the center of the town. Here they find the windows and doors still shut and bolted from inside. On the doors of the hall is a runic inscription, part of a saga describing the fall of the Formorian witch-queen Angrbode – ‘The Dunking of the Witch’.

Inside the hall the party meets Oellorn of Igglingsborg, a holy warrior of Kord and veteran ogre hunter. Oellorn has been trapped in Skeinwael since he arrived several days ago. The town is host to some unnatural curse and creatures of darkness hunt throughout the night. Oellorn has been tending a man who is suffering some kind of unholy affliction, the man is an aged warrior, apparently from Himinborg, and has suffered many wounds. Karl recounts The Prophecy of House Aellrinnath, and Oellorn recounts the ledgend of ragnarok as told amongst his people.

The party makes preparations to stay the night and hunt down the source of the evil the next day. As night falls strange sounds are heard outside. Hearing a cry for help, the party ventures out into the streets around the hall and are attacked by vampire spawn.

They soon learn that the vampires are using illusions to lure them outside, and spend a long night beset by undead trickery. The vampire illusions become stronger when the wounded man awakens and explains that he is Siegfried, king of Himinborg, and that he will soon succumb to the vampires curse. He asks the party to kill him before this happens, which Thunder, after much soul-searching, does.

Soon after, a group of Knights Himinborg arrive led by Serkeljoff. The party explain that Siegfried’s last words were to announce that whoever carries the token of the first knight shall succeed him as king. It is revealed that both Thunder and Serkeljoff possess such a token, Thunder knows it as the symbol of the Legion That Waits. Thunder renounces any claim to the throne and Serkeljoff is informally made king.

At dawn the party, together with the Knights Himinborg, locate a blubber boiling tower on the shores of the Kindersee where it appears the vampires lair. They venture inside and find hordes of vampires waiting in the darkness. Taking advantage of the fire pits in the tower they set the place ablaze and wait for the creatures to die in the flames.

The next day Serkeljoff explains that they are raising an army to meet Siegmund. The party explain that their mission takes them far into the Beastlands, to Mycklegarth and Hamingjen, to hunt down the surviving spawn of 2 mythical creatures of the Feywild. The 2 groups prepare to go their separate ways.

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Return To The Light

The battle against the Drow had been long and hard, and the escape from their forces took many days. With Iben gone into the darkness, and Sigurd poisoned, even the assistance of the Drow Slave who had been rescued from the Fleshwarpers was not enough to prevent a long and arduous journey.

Aengus, Karl and Thunder tramped through day after day of winding tunnels. They had found some maps in the saddlebags pouches of the lizards, however, the Drow affinity with trickery manifested itself even here. Tunnels marked as clear were flooded, signs and land-marks were confusing, and only after much work decoding the hidden instructions could progress be made. Aengus on more than one occasion found himself cursing his half-brethren.

Eventually, after many days of hard marching, the group clambered up yet another scree slope and entered a wide cavern. Dimly, at the far end, was a faint gleam of daylight. Their Drow guide blinked at it slowly, wonderingly, then bade her goodbyes and faded back into the darkness. Aengus had worked hard at removing the ‘improvements’ the Fleshwarpers had inflicted on her, but still she was a creature of darkness and shadow.

As they moved forwards, Karl’s sharp eyes spotted something on the floor. The faint remains of a sigil-circle were embedded into the stone and a few seconds of work cleared it sufficiently for everyone to realise that once a member of the Legion That Waits had stood here. Thunder hesitantly stepped into the circle, seeking to examine it more closely, and in a second his mind connected to the Warforged that had waited her for many long years.

waiting…

waiting in the darkness…nothing around me, nothing moves or makes a sound…

the light grows and dims with the passing of the seasons…yet in this cave nothing stirs…

a presence is here…whispering…always whispering…talking, charming, persuading…

it is friendly…it is the only thing that speaks to me in all those long years…it speaks of going on, of moving forwards, of claiming my destiny for my own…

i open my eyes, step forwards and…

The light in the eyes of Thunder slowly returned to his usual calm blue as the memory faded. He explained to the others what he had experienced, and added the second mysterious presence had felt as though it harboured a great hatred.

“Of what?” asked Aengus.

“Of thought,” replied the Cleric. Aengus had been examining the circle, and he announced he could see evidence of magical protection and of time-slowing. Thunder agreed, stating that he knew that the circle he had been in, frozen in the ice when the others had found him, had both preserved him and protected him from the elements. In his case, however, a moment of Fate (the touch of Sigurd) had been what had awakened him. Something similar must have happened here.

Whilst this magical discussion had been going on, Karl had been scouting around the rest of the room.

“My Lord,” he called out to Aengus. “I have found much evidence of a serious smack-down going on in here, perhaps a few weeks ago. Arrow heads, broken sword-shards, that kind of thing. A few tracks. No sign of any Warforged pieces this time, though. Some blood, but too old to tell who was bleeding. Also, my Lord, no bodies. If anyone died here the survivors took them with them.”

Aengus and Thunder helped the Gnome check over the cave, seeking any further sign of what had happened. The only further information they could discover was a feeling from Aengus that whatever dark presence had lingered here, it had been there a long, long time.

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The Darkening of the Sky At Sunset
A Memory

Descent is always more dangerous than ascent.

From a distance they appear as tiny black specks halfway down the glacier, until wisps of cloud gradually obscure them. The nine soldiers remain close enough that each can see the one infront even as the mist grows thick. Clad in so much steel as they are they leave behind them holes in the snow as deep as their greaves are long.

At length they emerge from the veil of clouds and arrive at an ice shelf. The line comes to an abrupt halt, staring down at the land below, emotionless, yet frozen, as if in horror.

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Iben Falls
End of Season 1

The giant lizards proved to be eager and unpredictable mounts. One by one the adventurers spurred their hissing beasts out of the gaping window, lunging into the darkness, and down the sheer rockface of the Drow city. Far below, the vortex of clouds broiled and swirled, like a spiralling thunderhead lit from within by sporadic flashes of lightning.

The party rallied together, their mounts clinging to the vertical rockface, only their harnesses kept them from a long fall into the dark sky below.

‘To leave this place it appears that we must climb, and cross the ceiling of this cavern!’ yelled Aengus.

‘Then I suggest we do so with haste!’ returned Thunder, as large windows below them suddenly erupted with bristling black spider legs. Clambering out onto the city wall came a squadron of six Drow giant spider riders. With spears, swords and nets readied, they gave chase.

The adventurers urged their mounts upwards, each taking a different route around the craggy architecture of Guningagap. Their pursuers were fast and agile, and they quickly began to close. Suddenly two more leapt out of a cave mouth nearby and skittered in to flank the lizard riders. One fired a dart from a small crossbow, the bolt ripping through Sigurd’s cloak and into her shoulder. She reeled in the saddle, but kept her seat.

Iben, who had been last out of the lizard stables, wheeled his mount about with a twist of his body.

‘Keep going!’ He shouted, ‘I thirst for Drow blood still!’

Karl and Sigurd had been just infront of the barbarian. By the time they saw what was happening they were already far ahead.

‘Iben!’ Shouted the wizard, but the Northman spurred his mount into a downwards charge. The giant lizard grasped at the rock with powerful claws as it lurched and leapt down the rockface. With one slice of his hunting knife, Iben severed his riding harness. He leapt from the saddle into the dark air.

The front rank of Drow saw the giant lizard still charging towards them and desperately tried to steer their mounts out of the way. The lizard ploughed into the first two giant spiders, and then lost its grip. It tumbled out of control, scattering spiders all around it.

As the lizard impacted, Iben was in freefall over the heads of the main pack. The three Drow in the rear guard steered out of the way of the carnage as it fell towards them. Those above fell into those below until all that could be seen was mass of flailing spider legs plummeting down the rockface. Iben drew a sword from his back and decapitated the first Drow and then the second as he fell. The last just had time to lower his spear when Iben slammed into him. The barbarian hit with such force as to pull both rider and mount from the wall. As they fell into the darkness drow and human were still locked in a grapple, his enemies spear protuding far from Iben’s shoulder.

At the edge of the city the remaining adventurers drew their mounts to a sudden halt to see the last of the figures falling slowly into the night below.






‘Such valour, I have not seen it’s like.’ spoke Thunder solemnly.

‘Now thats what I call an exit!’ Karl nodded with admiration.

‘We have slain near all the nobility of their city,’ began Aengus, ‘Not to mention most of my extended family. While I sense that we will benefit from Hel’s protection, there will be those who will not forgive this, for many lifetimes to come. The time to mourn our friend is not now. We should not linger.’

Travelling upside down across the roof of the underworld, clear pathways led the party between the stalacites and through the growths of giant funghi. At length they reached a cave mouth where the giant lizards scuttled inside, coming to a rest on solid ground. As gravity reasserted itself the adventurers found they had to sit down on the rock floor to gather their senses. Weak on her feet from the loss of blood, Sigurd fell out of her saddle and collapsed. Quick work by Thunder revealed the bolt had been poisoned, and although he was able to steady her condition she quickly lapsed into unconsciousness.

‘If these drow maps do not lie, it will be a journey of many days, perhaps weeks, before we reach the surface,’ said Aengus. ‘The dangers we face will be many. We will not emerge without a fight.’

‘Iben would have wanted it that way’, quipped Karl.

‘Then let us not disappoint him.’ spoke Thunder.

Far below in the eternal darkness of the underworld, Guningagap was silent.

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Interview with a Fey

Karl idly stepped closer to the jagged hole in the floor where once an elegant lattice-work of iron and glass had stood. Looking down, he said simply “I can’t see the bottom, it just fades into blackness. Unless she can fly…”

Aengus, more attuned to the feel of the place, had suddenly realized that the creepers and vines at the edge of the room were not moving in the breeze – but moving against it. He called out, attracting the attention of the rest of the companions as the leaves and roots gathered, twisting together, and rising in the shape of a female form. Flowers and leaves clothed her as her body rose up.

Smiling, the figure spoke in a pleasant voice. “Once, Enteritus was a favourite of mine, it must be said. But now, after his actions, I must confess that all of you are. I am glad that so many of you have answered the call. Please will you help save this great realm?

Aengus replied, saying “Will you tell us your name before we agree to your request?”

“In the world of The Herald,” began the strange being, gesturing toward Iben the barbarian of Kindraed, “I am known as Mistress Night and Day. In my homeland, I am known only as Hel.” Flowing forwards, branches rustling together, the figure moved into the light cast by Sigurd’s magic. “The Swordlands and Aelfheim are conjoined, and what befalls one will affect the other. Ragnarok is to come, and the surface world will not survive. However, Aelfheim, the Feywild, can be saved if the connection is broken.”

Thunder spoke up. “You say that Ragnarok is unavoidable, and that the world will be destroyed. I was created to avert that, and to be a Protector for Humanity.”

Hel spoke in reply, “The legends I am sure have not escaped you. There are many. Some tell of Giants, some tell of Primordials, and, as you travel further, you will no doubt hear tell of some fury greater still, but each legend tells of the complete and absolute destruction of all that this land ever shall be. There is no future here, there is only what is. There is only Ragnarok. No power of my world or of the Gods in the heavens can change this. While the world of the Swordlands is doomed, my homeland can be saved. You, Aengus, and your companions must bring about the Disjunction between the World and Fey-world.

“Many hundreds of years ago the human kings of the Crown Wars fought each other to claim a great prize. In their blind desire for mutual destruction they summoned three of the most powerful beings of my world. The First Three brought with them a new meaning to suffering and slaughter, and each king in turn paid the price for their foolishness.”

Thunder spoke, “I have seen the walls of Glorium, the tomb of the kings of the Swordlands. There the walls tell of a single battle that lasted for seven generations of men, ending only when the Witch, the Wolf, and the Dragon were summoned and set themselves upon the armies of mankind.”

“This was the beginning of the conjunction. Continued Hel, “The three callings were no mere conjurations. Beings of such power require greater magic than most can wield, and with the callings were drawn lines of power that remain, binding our two worlds to a single fate. Much like the Leylines that bind the Feywild, these lines flow between our lands and form the conjunction. They are bound with three great seals, and if these 3 seals are severed then the conjunction will be undone.

“But know this. The lines of power that link the two worlds are not Leylines. They are Bloodlines, lines of lineage that have drawn our worlds from their natural states, and their seals are not sigils but the sons and daughters of the first three. You must sever these lines such that not one drop of tainted blood remains unspilled. Seek the lines of the First Three, Angrbode, Fenryr, and Nidhog, and end them.

In killing Kindrbode, seed of the witch Angrbode, you have broken the first of the seals, but you must now kill the Wolf and the Dragon if you wish to continue. Should you succeed in this quest, I will grant you a boon in return.”

“A boon…” ventured Karl

“A great prize indeed awaits you, perhaps the only thing worth having. Journey to Mickelgarth and Hammingjen,” replied Hel. “There you will find Aengus’ father. He has also agreed to help me and will be of great assistance. I hold the soul of his wife in my care, and he realized that above all things he wished for her return to him. It is strange, the actions of those that are descended from me – often, when I think I understand them, they surprise me. Including you, Aengus.”

Startled, the half-Drow replied “I am descended from you? So my abilities, my powers, they are sourced directly in you?”

“That is correct,” she said. “The lineage of the Infanti lives on through you. But now there are other Drow approaching, seeking to kill those that have killed. I leave you now to make your exit.” The mass of vines, branches, leaves and flowers sank back into the floor, disappearing back to the edges of the rooms. Karl cocked his head and listened for a second, before drily noting that there appeared to be several Drow attempting to break down the doors.

Iben recollected the room full of Lizards, and with undue haste the companions made their way there and mounted the beasts. Leaving behind a Blade Barrier from Thunder and a cloud of alchemical spores from Aengus to distract and delay the Drow following them, the companions made their way out of the wall exit and up the side of the city, seeking to return to the surface lands.

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The End of the Family

As Karl stood shouting his defiance at the Drow surrounding the party, Rubella stepped up to lay claim to him. Hissing in rage, she slashed with her claws. Karl, however, was too quick for her and pulled back a step, dodging her blow.

Sigurd, meanwhile, was hatching a plan of her own. Gesturing in strong, straight motions she conjured a Wall of Fire across the middle of the room. Caught in the conflaguration, the black-skinned creatures crisped and burned instantly in the power of her magic, dropping to the floor. Under their feet, the glass and metal struts in the dip began to distort and bend slightly in the flames.

Rubella continued to froth and slash at Karl – but as she did so the calm visage of Thunder moved around her. Striking with power, he inflicted yet another wound on her.

“In Kord’s name!” he cried out, and the wounds on both his and Karl’s body began to close up as his God answered Thunder’s battling spirit.

Seeing that things were not going their way, Chylmidia attacked from across the room. Putting her hands together into a fan, she uttered a word of magic and a black net of energy sprang from them. The net shot towards Karl, and before he could dodge it collapsed around him, holding him in place. The necrotic power of the web drained his strength as well, and Rubella grinned as she saw him visibly weaken, even as he tried to strike at her again. The strands extended back to Chylmidia’s hands, and it looked for a second as though she was controlling him like a puppet.

Attempting to draw some of the attention away from his Gnomish friend, Aengus engaged Chlymidia in a mental duel. For a split second both of them froze, eyes locked, and then, with a scream, Chylmidia broke the connection, staggering back. The strands linking her to the web broke, and Karl began to try and free himself.

Iben had finally shaken off the poison that had affected him. Grimly taking up his axe, he darted to one side, right on the edge of the glass and struck at her, knocking her to the floor.

“For Kindraed!” yelled Iben, lost in battle-rage. Even from there, though, she was a threat, clawing at him and hanging on to his leg even as he struck again with his axe.

The dim light of the chamber was lit with the glow of magical weapons, the light from the Wall of Fire and from Sigurd’s magelight. From where she stood, she could see that Chylmidia was perilously close to the fire and with a sudden flash of insight Sigurd began to move. Running hard past Rubella and Karl, she placed the Drow female between herself and the Wall. With a single, explosive gesture, she brought forth a Thunderwave.

Chylmidia, still reeling from Aengus’ mental assault, was caught unprepared. Flung backwards, bleeding from the nose, her body went directly through the Wall of Fire, crisping her skin and landing her on the metal-and-glass structure beneath with a crash. As she tried to stand, the entire thing gave way beneath her and with a fading scream she dropped from sight.

With the disappearance of Roseola, who had scurried up into the darkness at the top of the pillar, that left only Rubella, still clawing at Iben from the floor.

“This ends, now,” spoke Thunder. Raising his sword, he invoked one final prayer and the weapon lit up with radiant power, bathing the Drow in a gentle glow. Slashing downwards, Thunder killed her in one smooth motion.

As she died, the only sounds left in the room were the breathing of the companions as they sought to catch their breath, and the noise of a light breeze coming from the new hole in the floor.

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Battling the Fleshwarpers‏

His sword blazing with radiant power in the darkness of the Drow court, Thunder swung at Grandmother Rubella with an overhead strike. Screaming, she dodged to one side and the blade crashed into the ground with an explosive burst of thunder. Cursing, the Warforged brought his blade back into a defensive stance as the necrotic energy continued to surge through his body, draining his energy.

Aengus, still dueling with Ebola, unleashed a psychic attack upon her, attempting to hide himself. However, her oozy form seemed to almost be lacking a mind that he could focus on, and the attack failed. Moving back, he tried to draw her attacks on to him rather than the vulnerable Karl.

Great-Grandmother Ebola, however, was able to put family disputes second when her survival was on the line. Still seeking the antidote to the poison in her body, she lunged at the Gnome, and with the aid of the darkfire still flaming around him she was able to slice at his arms, almost causing him to drop his sword. In response, he span around her onto the central area of glass, balancing carefully on one of the metal bars that were holding it together. As Ebola tried to keep up with him, turning slowly in place he stabbed deep and twisted the blade hard. Gurgling, she collapsed and died as her internal organs were damaged beyond repair.

“That’s one,” commented Karl, before darting backwards to the centre of the dipped area. “Which Drow piece-of-crap is next?”

Thunder didn’t have time to appreciate the bravado shown by his friend. With Rubella still trying to pry open his chest, he was dismayed to find Uncle Enteritis beside him. The Drow warrior had drawn a fine and clearly magical rapier, and in a blur of motion he feinted to one side and then angled the blade past Thunder’s parry, stabbing deep into his shoulder. Learning in close and applying some more weight on the blade, Enteritis pushed it further inside, laughing all the while.

“You’ll die, Cleric of Kord,” he said, staring at Thunder. “If I don’t kill you, or they don’t kill you, the poison will kill you. You’re going to die!”

Staring back at him, the Warforged ignored the pain. “It’ll take more than you to kill me!” he returned, grimly. “And besides, unlike you, I have friends. Look behind you.”

Spinning, the Drow warrior withdrew the blade instantly as Iben, screaming another battle-cry, hurdled the stone table between him and the duel. His axe whipped round and smashed into the parry that Enteritis was attempting, knocking the rapier away and crashing into his shoulder. The impact took the Drow cleanly off his feet and down onto the ground, but he did manage to keep his grip on his weapon. Iben glanced up at Thunder before pulling his axe high again to focus on a death-stroke.

Before he could finish off the warrior, however, Rubella interrupted. Distending her jaw, she was able to bite at both Thunder and Iben simultaneously. Thunder managed to lodge his sword in the way but Iben wasn’t quite quick enough. As he was bitten, blood spraying across the floor, he felt a poison spread through him. Try though he might to shake it off, the proud Kindraed warrior was unable to do much more than dimly react to the further attack launched his way, his axe now feeling heavy in his hands.

Across the room, Roseola leapt off the pillar she had climbed and clawed at Aengus, her once-beautiful face twisted in rage and hate. Sigurd attempted to intervene with a Spectral Ram spell, a construct of force flying across the room and attempting to knock Rosiola back, but Aengus’ niece was too quick and dodged past it. The spell instead struck a chair behind her and smashed it before dissipating Aengus also found himself under attack from Aunt Chlamydia,

With the blade removed from his shoulder, Thunder was able to engage Enteritis in combat again. He could see, out of the corner of his eye, that Karl was starting to edge closer to this melee and so utilizing a common divine attack, he placed a Righteous Brand on the Drow, knowing that the mark would guide Karl’s attacks to the Drow’s weakest defenses. The radiant damage from the attack sliced into Enteritis as he dueled the Cleric.

Karl was eyeing the gap in Enteritis’ defences, assessing his movements and speed and planning his attack. His thoughts were rudely interrupted, however, as the black skinned goblinoid creatures began to run towards him, tracking nimbly across the thin struts supporting the glasswork in the pit. As they passed, they sliced and clawed at him, and despite defending himself as best he could he was left bleeding from a couple of minor wounds. One creature that had injured licked it’s hand clean of blood as it slowed, back on solid ground.

“Tasssssty…” it hissed, grinning.

The creatures had finished their run blocking Aengus from Thunder, Sigurd and Iben, but the Eladrin had a plan. Conjuring an icy wind, he used the power of his Otherwind Stride to teleport across the room. Chlamydia and Roseola were left chilled by his departure as he reappeared in a more suitable location, joining Sigurd with space to fire further bolts of energy.

Freed from having to worry about the life of his Lord, Karl tumbled forwards into a handspring, coming out of it with his blade held high and stabbing Enteritis in the leg, looking for an artery. As the Drow let out a cry of pain and staggered, Karl swiftly climbed up his body and drove his sword in through his ear and through the brain. The Drow was dead before he hit the ground, his magical rapier clanging onto the stone surface.

“Drow, zero,” said Karl. “Gnomes, two. Who wants my blood next, then? Come and get it!”

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Against the Drow‏

With the news that the dying Enteritis had poisoned the whole room, it immediately became apparent that whoever could kill Karl and take his blood would survive, the rest perishing. Not willing to abandon their friend, the companions attempted to defend him as the Drow attacked.

Surprisingly, Great-Grandmother Ebola was quickest. She stood, her flesh deforming and sinking, distending into a shapeless mass that oozed forwards. One loose, flabby arm swung round, flailing at Aengus but swooshing over his head. Taking discretion to be the better form of valour, unsurprisingly, Enteritis himself backed into the darkness, reloading his crossbows. One more bolt bounced off the table near to Thunder, but a Drow curse indicated that the other bow had jammed [1].

Taking his fate into his own hands, Karl launched a furious counterattack on the sheet-like furl of flesh that was Great-Grandmother Ebola. Weaving through the legs of the table he was under, he got behind her and stabbed deeply with his sword, his face lit up with glee as it always was in time of battle. A second later, Iben arrived and crashed into her as he raged, trying to knock her prone. The Kindraeder brandished his axe at the other Drow, snarling at them.

“A Kindraeder does not abandon his friends!” he shouted. “If you want Karl’s blood, you’ll have to spill mine first!”

From across the room, Cousin Malaria turned to her sister Distonia and said “What spirit! He’ll make a fine slave, once he’s broken in.”

Replying, the other said “And I’ve got just the collar for him. Lovely.”

Thunder, on the other hand, found himself in greater trouble. Throwing back her hood, Grandmother Rubella revealed another Fleshwarped face, this one scarred in neat lines. Her cheekbones almost pushed through, and the tops of her ears, normally pointed as all Drow ears were, had tiny blades attached to them that glinted slightly in the light. Involuntarily, Thunder took a small step backwards at the sight, and as he did she hissed and leapt upon him. Caught off guard and being unable to get his shield up in time, her long claw-like fingernails were able to gouge into his body.

Aengus, dueling with Ebola, was distracted for a second as his niece Roseola rolled smoothly from the chair that she had been occupying. Landing neatly on the floor, she scuttled backwards on all fours before beginning to climb the pillar behind her, her eyes fixed on the face of her Uncle. Whetting her lips, she waited for a chance to pounce.

As the clash of blades, noise of spells and screams of the Drow echoed through the chamber, on the far side, Distonia and Malaria, the two pregnant Drow, stood in unison. Glancing at each other, their flesh deformed and changed, running down into the floor and separating into small piles. Seconds later, the piles grew upwards, forming into several new creatures that looked like black-skinned minions, displaying long claws and fangs.

Aunt Chlamydia also rose out of her chair, gesturing. Her hands wove the shadow around her into an attack, launching a bolt of darkness towards Karl that crashed into him and lit him up, preventing him from hiding in the pervading gloom. A second later she followed it with a bolt of necrotic energy that hit Aengus, and the Eladrin found himself hard pressed to keep his concentration against the attacks of the oozing Ebola.

Surveying the situation, Sigurd realized that things were getting worse, quickly. Marshalling her arcane power, she decided to thin the numbers of the groups opponents with an Icy Terrain spell. The dark-skinned minions were caught in the radius, several of them keening in pain before collapsing to the floor. As they did so, the gibbering noises they had been uttering quieted for a moment, before the others took up the cry and made it louder.

Still grappling with Rubella, Thunder felt her digging in, reaching essential parts of his interior. Marshalling his own forces, he broke the grip with an abrupt wrench, and with a word his sword lit up with radiant energy that crackled along it’s length. The pure light spread in a small pool around him, and it was Rubella’s turn to step back a moment.

“In the name of the Storm God!” cried Thunder, and attacked.

[1] A one on the attack roll, in other words

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The Antidote‏

Enteritis continued to speak, staring intently at each of the Drow and Half-Drow in the gathering as he did so.

“Yes, my family, I have been poisoned!” Uncle Enteritis paused for dramatic effect.

“Have you not taken all your daily antidotes?” scolded a particularly stern Aunt Chlamidia

“Indeed, I have not been remiss insofaras my standard range of cures and antidotes is concerned, but, as i’m sure at least one amongst you may well know, there is NO cure for the particular poison which I have been careless enough to expose myself to.”

“Whatever could it be?” mused the other Infanti’s, innocently.

“Purple Dragon Bile.” stated the sinister fleshwarped figure, now beginning to pace slowly and purposefully around the outside of the circle of chairs and chaise-longes, passing with studied intent behind each member of his, and Aengus’, extended family.

There were mutual nods of admiration amongst the gathering.

“How exciting.” noted Great Uncle Encephylitus, once more.

“Secondly, I can’t help but incline towards the suspicion that someone in this room is responsible for my assassination.” continued Uncle Enteritis, to stiffled gasps of disbelief. “Purple Dragon Bile, being a relatively fast-acting poison, leaves me with perhaps several minutes of life remaining. Time, I fear, is against me my brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and as such I have decided, in the spirit of fairness...” he paused once more. There was a faintly discernible restlessness within the chamber.

”...to have you ALL killed.”

An uncomfortable moment of silence followed. In that moment the party studied the faces of the Infanti family. Each ones eyes darted around the circle, searching, scrutinising one another’s almost expressionless and passionless faces. Body language suggested a growing restlessness that not even the guarded reserve of the Drow nobility could conceal.

“How exciting.” The tone of voice was at this point slightly more tentative, although he did a muscle move on his face. Thunder found himself fighting an increasingly overpowering urge to attack this Drow commander.

“I have coated every surface in this room with Svirfneblin Dark Blood,” announced Enteritis. This caused a much greater stir. “It is a fatal contact poison, and I am afraid that by merely entering the room you have all come into contact with it. It is fatal, of course, but somewhat slower acting, and whats more, there is a cure.”

Sigurd whispered across to Aengus, “Any ideas?”

“No!” he muttered back. “But I do know that you need an awful lot of svirfneblin to make a very small amount of poison. And if he’s made enough to coat every surface in this room…”

On Thunder’s left, another of the Drow was saying quietly to herself “I did wonder where all my slaves went, but this is more than I expected…”

Enteritis had been moving around the edge of the circle, and now he came to a final halt just behind the Drow commander. “The cure is, for those in the know, gnome blood.”

“How exciting.”

Everyone in the room looked at where Karl had been sat, only to discover that he appeared to have vanished. Aengus distantly heard a voice, apparently coming from under a nearby table, muttering determinedly to itself “Ain’t no Drow motherfucker going to take MY blood, dammit!”

Settling himself, Enteritis issued his final announcement. “Oh! There was one other thing, I almost completely forgot! I have also finished my novel! I do hope that at least one of you survives to read it.”

“How – “ But the Drow commander’s utterance was cut short as Enteritis put a crossbow bolt through the back of his head. Slamming forwards from the impact, the now-dead Drow was pinned to the table by the bolt, whilst his body slipped quietly off the chair to hang there.

Grabbing weapons, the companions surged to their feet. All around them, the lightning quick Drow had risen too, and the silence was broken with several war cries and the beginnings of incantations.

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