World of Andrius

Escape from Abaddon - Chapter V (part 2)

Gatecrasher

Quick summary of the events

Detailed journal

Psionic cascade!

Jack smashed trough the crystal using his newly acquired Falchion of the Khanite and sliced all the way through Jan’s hand. The entity living on the edge of his mind was not pleased as this crystal was the equivalent of a healing potion for psionic creatures, and, as Jan learned later, it was desperately needing it.

The rage of the entity triggered a psionic cascade. These are the wielder of psionic power’s manifestation of the uncontrolled fury. In this specific case, it first started with an elemental disturbance. The ceiling exploded into flames, giant icicles bursted forth from Jan, and electricity sparkles in the air. Jan’s affected side of the head even produced electrical arks around the room. Than all glass from the room suddenly shattered. At lastly came the gravitational disturbances: furniture warped across the room, some pieces ending up partly within the walls. Lastly, some of the Apostates’ possessions tried to fly away, but only Jan, almost seizing at that point, let the light bringer fly out of his grasp. The weapon then resonated with gravitational energy until it fragmented to pieces.

Jan fell face first to the ground, fainting once more.

Dream state

Tumbling through the void once more, all Jan could hear was his own vitals. Only that? No. Slowly he started to hear the muffled, raspy breathing of another creature. As this happened, a white dot of light appeared at the end of the black nothing. The white grew and replaced the darkness and suddenly Jan found footing. Praying to Elishar with each step, he made his way to what seemed to be a supine figure. As he got closer, he discovered that it was not humanoid.

The creature had a meagre body with a purple skin sticking to its bones. Both legs and one arm were amiss and had fungal growth for stumps. It had one lanky arm with two long fingers. Lastly, instead of a head it had a giant tumorous brain with a tentacle acting as a vulgar tongue. Its skin oozed a red ichor that dripped upwards, as if gravity was inverted. The being was clearly in pain. Pity filled Jan. He extended a hand to grasp the creature’s tentacle. A reminiscent voice rang in his head, enunciating aspired, unintelligible words. Jan was only able to make out “Stop struggling”. Mounting on top of the creature, Jan was filled with an unusual hatred. He wrapped his hands around the creature’s neck and choked it.

“I’m the boss, now.”

Jan fell backwards as his sight went back to total darkness.

Cascade aftermath

Jack pulled Jan out of the room as the ceiling started collapsing, closely followed by Lu. Oddone took his time to investigate the laboratory {TODO: Add how Odd got his fire. I forgot.}. Meanwhile, outside, Jack noticed a some sort of dimensional portal open on the surface of a library bookshelf. Before he had time to exclaim his surprise, a cloud of gas exited the portal and rushed on him to imbue his attacks with corrosive powers. When Odd returned from the laboratory, the Apostates turned around to see Lu following him. Wait. Wasn’t Lu already in the library? Indeed, there were too Lus. Before everyone could process it, the First Lu ordered Jack to execute her. With one strike of falchion, the second Lu died and was stripped of her possessions by the first Lu that obtained a copy of everything that she owned. By paying attention, one could also see new twinkle in Lu’s eyes, as if her brain started working at excessive speed; the cascade had gifted her temporary hypercognition.

The distant sound of an explosion paired with Odd’s laughter brought Jan back from unconsciousness. The apostates recovered from the cascade in haste and went to investigate the source of the commotion. Indeed, Odd’s bomb from earlier detonated and slain multiple Duergars. As Oddone was investigating the rubles, a slap of stone rose from the ground. A Duergar had survived that blast. Not any Duergar, it was the Pugilist from before. Terrified, the Apostates scrambled for combat, but when the Pugilist turned around to face Odd, it showed that half is face was missing. Shortly after, he fell dead without even fighting.

Final exploration

The apostates resumed exploring what was left of the Halls of Penance. Branching back in the umber haulk‘s lair, they tried to hide in a spiral staircase. Luckily for them, the umber haulk was nowhere no be seen. Less luckily for them, one the three had accidentally hit a pressure switch, triggering a rolling pin of death trap. Rolling down the stairs along the way, it shredded along Lu’s back, rendering one of her hands impaired. The three adventurers moved on, up the spiral staircase, being very wary of not triggering the trap again.

Once on top, a vista open itself to the apostates. Being on top of a tower above the Halls of Penance, they were able to see the Mycelium stretching out of sight. Movement caught there eye as a troll-like creature, taller than a mountain, scratched itself and ate a giant toad. Taking a moment to take that sight in, Lu activated her hypercognition. As she muttered to herself at great speed, she distractedly scratched away bandages covering her face thus revealing scarred skin around her mouth. Using her knowledge acquired during her flight through the Underdark, her racing mind devised the most likely plan to get out of here: given that the teleportation magic were altered by force trying to acquire slaves (Illithids from the toer city of Coldreign or Duergar delving in Avarak Sul), the apostates had a chance at getting aid from the Svirfneblin (the Underdark equivalent of Gnomes at Neergard using their newly acquired gemwreath as a peace token. With this plan created, the only thing left was to exit the Halls of Penance. To this goal, the headed back down with looted range weapons and parts found on top of tower.

Stumbling in an infirmary, the apostates found a cadaver of a fighter lord, preserved by a gentle repose shroud. Letters between the head physician and a high ranking Tribune were found in the former’s office with some combat medic robes and poison ingredient. The head physician had committed suicide by poisoning.

What seemed to be a minor skirmish turned out as a real threat when three goblins in a larder summoned a swarm of rat. Jan was engulfed by the vermin and saved by Lu & Odd and some food was looted.

Larder_of_Vermin.jpg

The last push

The apostates then walked in what appeared to be a loading bay; the main gate had to be close-by! A locked back-store closed off by a grate caught Odd’s eye. As he knelt to pick the lock, magic glyph appeared at the level of his face. The air around in got colder instantly, and he found himself entrapped in solid ice. Luckily for him, it had little to no effect on his golden statue physiology. As Lu and Jan set about to start a fire, the strangest creature floated through: an Occulus.

Occulus.jpg

The strange creature was not hostile. It merely scanned them with its gaze and ignore Lu’s polyglottal pleas. It phased through the main door, which revealed to be solid. Following this bizarre encounter, Odd was thawed out and the back store grate open. It seemed rather mundane, until Jan found a d6-sized metallic cube and Odd identified a secret door with a cube-like hole. Putting the two together opened a second smuggler’s cache. The lozenge key open a very intensely locked chest in which nice loot, such a Scroll of Sound Burst and smuggling ledgers were found. In them, it seemed like rather dak ressources from the underdark such as mushrooms and blood were sent to an abbey.

This abbey was inhabited by The Burden, a monastic group believing that there is only a finite amount of suffering in the Universe, so they inflicted pain to themselves in a mean to remove some from other people. This abbey can be found at the southern reaches of the Blackmarsh bog, where we know a pitch industry known as Rotwood Rigs operate.

Knowing that something would bar their way out, the apostates went back to the infarmary to rest and gather their ressources. Jan and Lu respectively brewed potion and poison in silence. Tension filled the air as the adventurers apprehended the morrow.

Making their way back to through the loading area, they opened the door leading to the main entrance of the Halls of Penance. After Jan and Lu exchanged divine guidances balancing light and shadow, the three of them made it through the hangar door. Rubble littered the ground and freedom taunted them through an open door. Hurrying towards it, the three of the stopped dead in their tracks as both the door to outside and back inside slid shut. The ground started rumbling around them and pieces of rock suddenly snapped together to form a giant guardian of stone that proclaimed a single word:

“Apostates!”

Stone_guardian.jpg

A devastating fight followed. At the beginning of the battle, Jan used the aforementioned Scroll of Sound Blast and cracked the Stone Guardian at multiple locations. Oddone moved around, trying to find the optimal position to aim his strikes without being noticed. On her end Lu was nowhere to be found, but Jack was fighting tooth and nails with the guardian. Things started to go awry when Jan found himself pinned behind debris and Jack’s link to this world was severed. Oddone was still trying to find the optimal positioning and now he was the next biggest threat in the stone guardian eyes. Oddone was hit multiple times, but Jan was able to use Elishar’s words to repair his body. As everything seemed lost, Lu stepped out of the Shadow and conjured cat-like shadow creature that started rendering the guardian’s heels. Losing its footing, the guardian open its guard for a terrible blow: Oddone went in, getting his sword {{TODO: Confirm weapon}} hilt-deep in the guardian. As it reached up to destroyed Odd’s damaged body, the giant guardian crumbled under its on weight. The doors reopened and the apostates were free.

Running as fast as they could away from the dreaded Halls of Penance, the three adventurers heard a terrifying howl from behind them: the umber haulk had found them, initiated chasing and was now gaining terrain on them. A long tentacule-like thing snapped through the darkness and snatched the umber haulk. When the apostates glanced back to see what happened, they saw a giant toad munching on the umber haulk as a normal sized one would eat a locust.

The three of them entered the mushroom forest known as Mycelium, looking for Neergard, the city of the Svirfneblin.

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