Lizzie is recovering, and Pro’Bass now sits upon the council, taking stripes place, we’re meeting to discuss what happened with Crystal (she’s still at large) and Balthazars progress with the gateway, he says he’s complete, he's just waiting on the go ahead. Con’nor however, remains apprehensive, and can’t bring himself to trust Balthazar, the rest of us seem to trust his self interest. Also, we really need to keep our promise to Shadows Sigh, he is stable, but still too weak.
Chai offers tea to the room, Pro’bass is particularly taken with the Outposts acceptance of more “monstrous” citizens, his visions wanders off for a moment before he shouts “GET DOWN!” the wall explodes as everyone hits the deck, clambering to our feet, we see the outline of Crystal, standing beyond the breach on the building opposite, shrouded in the glow of the burning masonry.
I turn to check on the council members, they seem unharmed, as Lizzie’s guiding bolt goes wide of Crystal, already turning and dashing across the rooftops.
Roza, Con’nor, Lizzie and Chai follow in hot pursuit using dimension doors, while Ront rides on the Wind.
Left behind and without the means of magical movement, I leap through the newly formed window, down the two stories to the ground below, turns out superhero landings are hard on the knees. Stretching off, I cast my eyes around the square looking for any accomplices, but see nothing out of the ordinary, I grab the guards and ask them to search the perimeter and the square, taking care not to disturb the resting Felix, still recovering from his last battle.
Con’nor, Roza, Lizzie and Chai go on the offensive, blasting and cutting into Crystal, but her flesh falls away as white snow, her form eventually failing, this isn’t the real Crystal.
Chai suggests scrying, and we start making our way to the font of holy water in TOM’s diner, until we hear Nimea, calling after us, her and her companions are battered and bruised, she said they fought off some others, but some got away and headed west.
Con’nor casts locate objects on Crystals arcane focus, west, we follow, out through the town into the forest beyond. We head in, as fast as we can, with Con’nor and I taking the lead, we go deeper and deeper until we reach a clearing, with no sign of Crystal or any of the doppelgangers.
Lizzie starts investigating the area, finding a curled knot on a tree, the edges looking like a door, with the knot a handle, but pulls it to no avail. Did she move her magical mansion here? Chai suggests dispelling magic, and we remember, when we were in her mansion before, Crystal dispelled it, ejecting all of the contents out into the alley. It’s worth a try, then we’re not walking into their trap.
Chai tries, but the magic still holds, Lizzie attempts it, musical notes burning into the tree around the door, sweet music springs forth in harmony as the magic is dispelled… and the entire contents is spewed forth onto us, more of the draconic creatures, and dopplegangers half formed, a furious and dishevelled Crystal amongst them, she rises, seething.
Before she has the chance to react, Roza launches a colossal fireball, destroying several of the doppelgangers and forcing Crystal back, Con’nor leaps through the flame and smoke, impaling her with a divine smite straight through the heart, but her creations work independently, one of her half formed imitations points a finger, it turns black with necrotic energy, blasting Con’nor and bringing him to his knees.
Chai, comes out swinging, hitting back with necrotic energy of her own, strikes down the doppelganger, but another turns, a single word creeping from its mouth… power word kill… Chai goes rigid and falls, she’s dead before she reaches the ground. What powerful evil have these things been filled with.
Lizzies strikes out with her spiritual weapon, destroying another as Ront performs a flurry of blows using his water whip. I call upon the power of Moradin, and mass heal the party, focussing on purging Con’nor of vile necrotic power, then I run over to Chai, dodging the snapping maws of the drakes.
Everybody comes together, magic, blades and bludgeons fighting as one to overcome the last of our enemies.
I pull out my diamonds and call upon Moradin to reach out to Chai, to try and bring back from beyond the veil.
She stands at a fork in the road, one black and white, one in colour, she hears my voice calling her, and with a sigh, starts heading back to the land of the living, but death weighs heavy, her faith ebbed away by the pain, she no longer has the ability to call upon the divine…
Unconscious, she rests upon the ground, unbeknownst to us, the vegetation beneath her grows plusher, mushrooms begin to form.
Con’nor searches Crystal, she was stealing reagents, all of a sudden, we feel a pulse, a beam of magical energy blasting into the sky, back from the outpost.
I ask Chai if she’s okay, she’s going to stay here and recover, and I cast cure wounds to help her, we start making our way back, as fast as we go.
Reaching the village square, we see Felix suspended in the air, encased in a giant magical emerald. We spy the doppelganger responsible and Con’nor misty steps into range, destroying it with a swipe. But the magic can’t be stopped, the emerald shrinks and falls towards the ground, burying itself passing into the earth, beyond our senses. This is the imprisonment spell, it can’t be dispelled by normal means and we need to know the requirement.
There’s been a battle here too, dead and wounded town guards and felled enemies. Everyone seems dejected, we need to rally them, they’ve just seen this happen to Felix, a powerful dragon, they must feel incredibly vulnerable now. Con’nor stands ahead, pulling his Paladin charisma forth, he addresses the crowd, they seem filled with a grim determination to fight back.
We need to consult with Balthazar, to see if there is anyway to counteract this modified magic. We head there with Pro’bass, he tells Roza that's he's sorry for the loss of her husband, Roza thanks him, but she seethes to herself, another horror committed by Isabella.
We head to his workspace, arcane sigils cover the walls, the gateway ring hums with energy, it’s ready, it just needs to be activated.
We ask him about the imprisonment spell, he says that knowing Wizards the key will be something petty and funny, knowing Crystal, it may involve Violet, one last chance to really get under her skin.
He’s desperate to use the gateway, but we need to do something about Felix, he suggests we all head to the Feywilds and flee the outpost, says we’re probably better off there.
But we can’t there’s no way we can give up, not when we’ve lost so much, and whatever Isabella is truly after, it mustn’t bode well for the rest of the continent.
Shadows Sigh, weak but conscious, speaks up, he says that the Fey Lords may be able to help, it’s a long shot but may be worth the risk, we have been whittled down, and are on the back foot as it is.
Talking it over, I propose speaking to Moradin for guidance, hands on my hammer, I project my mind to the Halls of Erackinor, I see the image of a colossal anvil, Dwarven runes start being etched as though by a molten pen.
“The Feylords are mighty, they can strengthen your resolve, but be careful, they are capricious.”
We discuss our options, should we take the risk? But if we stay, we may no longer stand a chance without Felix. Taking a vote, we unanimously agree to head to the Feywilds, fulfilling our promise to Shadows Sigh, and maybe returning with something to bolster our defenses.
Time in the Feywilds is fickle, we don’t know how long we will be gone, we instruct the council to lead democratically, with Pro’bass having the tie break. Hopefully Violet can figure out the key while we’re gone.
The arcane circle is ready, the air tingles with magic as it activates, the air is momentarily sucked out the room as it stabilises, we stand before a shimmering portal, a gateway into another world.
We help Shadows Sigh through, he instantly feels stronger as he reaches the other side. We’re standing atop of grassy hill, in the distance we see a great city, the walls carved from gargantuan trees, Shadows Sigh looks on aghast, “We shouldn’t be here”...