Rise of the Runelords VA

From the Journal of Redgar Ironhand #26

Redgar Takes a Breath

The Runeforge has certainly lived up to our expectations for it. Its denizens have tested us, right up to our limits, and only through tenacity and luck have we managed to survive. We have bested but one wing of this strange laboratory, and in so doing have been humbled again by enemies of enormous power.

We consulted in the main chamber at length before deciding to go down the path claimed by Karzog, Runelord of Greed. We found the entrance to his laboratory to be enchanted by magic of illusion—and only after wasting many hours wandering in place did we realize we had been fooled. Approaching the entrance again, we told ourselves to disbelieve. This changed the endless corridor to something much more mundane. For whatever reason, Aramil found it especially difficult to follow us in this act of disbelief. I returned to the entrance to help him, and though he seemed shaken, he managed to follow us in.

The next challenge was a fairly normal-looking door. Masud volunteered to check it for traps, and I went forward to assist. As he was working on the mechanism, the door sprang out at us, crushing both of us against the far side of the hall. I, fortunately, was able to weather the assault, but Masud was badly hurt. Only through one of Torag’s timely gifts was I able to keep him from passing on.

Further in, we found a strange forge room populated by giant elementals. Our party rallied together against the fiends, and with Aramil’s magic supporting us, were able to best them handily. We pushed on, and found pools of strange, identical fish swimming in magical fountains. We did not learn until later than these poor creatures were almost certainly ancient servants of the Runelords—turned into fish in a cruel act of experimentation.

The corridors twisted and turned, and on trepidatious steps we came to another set of double doors. Syphacia was able to tell us that there was someone working on the other side, and so forewarned we readied ourselves for battle. We threw open the doors and were immediately beset upon by a strange sorcerer with a body of adamantine metal.

We fought the sorcerer for what seemed like ages—hurling spells, arrows, and curses at a foe who preferred to hover above in relative safety. We were able to bleed down the villain only very slowly, and in so doing used much of our powers. As we did, he retaliated with strange and disruptive curses, burning many of us, and polymorphing poor Aramil into a tiny, prickly beast. When it finally looked like victory was certain, the sorcerer fled, leaving us with the choice to follow or lick our wounds.

We did some of both. For a while we played cat and mouse with him beyond another set of doors, not knowing that every time he retreated he regained much of his power through use of some arcane fountain. Finally, with the situation at its most dire, we stormed forward, and I invoked an anti-magic field. The field nullified many of the sorcerer’s powers, and prevented him from transforming into various monstrous forms. Razan, Coram, and Masud piled on with what remained of our strength, and finally we smote him dead.

We found no other evils in the Greedlord’s lair, but the battle was so exhausting that we dared not go further. I think I may be able to restore Aramil to form given a day’s rest, and possibly heal some of the other lingering injuries among my compatriots if given the chance. If nothing else, this encounter has shown us again just who we are. Together we are brave and strong, but we are not invincible. There are many foes who laugh at what we call courage.

I rest now and pray to Torag for guidance. There are six more wings of this prison to be cleared. With luck, not all of them need to be depopulated for our mission to be successful. For that, I guess we shall see.

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