Against the Overlord, pt 3

[This is a dramatization of the ongoing Descent 2ed: Journey into the Dark campaign being run with some friends.]

“Quickly! After her.  She can’t be allowed to escape!”  Avric Albright hollered, rallying the rest of the stalwart band down into the crypts under Lord Theodir’s keep.  The elven knight Syndreal was the first down the stairs, her blade still drawn and determination creasing her brow.

The arcane wizard Leoric of the Book and the halfing rogue  Tomble Burrowell followed behind, having first made sure Lord Theodir was safe. “Beware adventurers, my crypts are filled with creatures, and the doors are trapped with diabolical riddles,” he warned.

“Why would you put riddle sprouting doors in your dungeons?” asked Tomble.

“Because… of the monsters…” Lord Theodir explained.

“Okay… and why do you have monsters?” Thomble with strained patience.

“They guard my most valued treasure.” Lord Theodir answered confidently.

“Or… you’re just a crazy Lord who has parties with the fiendish Flesh Moulding minions of the Overlord.” Leoric rebutted bitterly.  It was clear the wizard didn’t appreciate the eccentricities of Lord Theodir.

“Hey, this is all fine and well, but can we GET MOVING?  The Vampiress is getting away.” Avric called again from the stairs, even more impatient.

“Right – let’s be heroes.” Tomble grinned, flipping and catching one of his daggers.

In the crypts, the evil vampiress, Lady Eliza Farrow had turned to mist and was quickly trying to escape through the crypts.  She ignored the denizens of the hallway, and flew through the first large dungeon chamber, before being halted by the door. The magic of the door kept her from passing, and with an evil scowl she reformed.  The air in the room tingled, and Lady Farrow could feel the influence of the Overlord in the minions not yet manifest.  That would buy her some time.

“In order to pass this door, you must answer the riddle true.” The door slowly spoke, the knots of wood shifting to form a twisted mouth.

“Fine! Give me your riddle, stupid door.” Lady Farrow could hear the band of adventurers closing down the stairs behind her.

“What was the name of the first Mexican Newspaper?” asked the door.

Lady Farrow sighed in exasperation. Clearly Lord Theodir had lost his mind. This was going to slow her process.

Syndreal ignored the webs, and charged down into the dungeon leading the party. She was first to meet the hordes of cave spiders.  Her elven blade flashed in the light, as she brought it down on the largest of the spiders. She cursed in elvish as the toughened hide of the spider deflected her blade to the side without even scratching it.

Behind her, Avric bellowed, raising the bejewelled mace high as he followed Syndreal into the battle.  The holy club was brought down hard on the spider – but the surprisingly the spider toughed out these blows as well.  It was one tough spider!

Tomble and Leoric brought up the rear, letting arrows and magic fly. The onslaught only seemed to anger the spiders more.

“Focus your attacks on the big one!” Syndreal exclaimed, deflecting the spider’s attack to the side.

“Easy for you to say!” Avric called back, exclaiming in surprise as one of the other cave spiders landed a bite. “Ooh that’s not good!” the cleric continued, feeling a burning sensation where the spider bite landed, fighting off the symptoms. “I think they are poisoned.”

“Oh, you don’t say!” Leoric called out, before one of the smaller spiders bit deep, the same burning dizziness coursing into the mage. “I don’t feel so good!”

Syndrael drew deep upon her reserves and lashed out; the elven silver blade cutting deep. Avric bashed the wounded spider, causing a grievous wound, while channeling his mystic ability. All of the spiders reacted as the pain was shared among the group.  Avric considered attacking again to finish the main spider, but caught a glimpse of the chest in the dead-end of the corridor. “You got this, right?” The cleric asked, as he pushed himself to reach the chest, visions of Lord Theodir’s treasure danced in his head as he opened it.

The chest was empty.

Meanwhile Leoric complained, “I’m still not feeling very good,” raising his hand to lash out against the smaller spiders with his magic – the bolts of arcane spellfire connecting and burning the creatures. The hordes of cave spiders were starting to weaken.

This was all the incentive Syndreal needed – finishing the lead spider off, then advancing to finish off one of the weaker spiders before finally breaking through the lines of creatures and reaching the first door. “Don’t worry… I can make short-work of this door.” She called out bravely before she slammed her shoulder into the wooden doorframe.

The door splintered, but didn’t budge.

“Ouch!” Syndreal rubbed her shoulder.

“Oh, silly elf. Let me!” Tomble gleefully called out, dashing around the remaining spiders and crouching to deftly pick the lock on the door. “See, there is nothing to this.  Just a flick and a click and…”

The door opened up, but instead of the next room of the dungeon, the room was filled with the maelstrom roar of the sound of a pair of elementals. Their bodies were a whirling mixture of air and water and fire, the top curled over like a giant torrential mouth.

“Oh… crap.” Tomble blanched, nearly losing the grip on his shortbow.

Syndreal drew her silvery blade, “Be brave, young half-human!”

Tomble shot a side-long glance, muttering under his breath, “You mean halfling…”

The fleeing vampress had made her way through the first of the puzzle-doors when she heard the roar of the elementals behind her.

“Oh yes! Make short work of those heroes.” She paused to turn her gaze to the stones forming the ceiling of the dungeon. “Oh, great Overlord – I beseech thee. Slow those meddling adventures so that I may return the magical artifact stored here for you.”

There was a low shake to the dungeon walls, and Lady Farrow grinned. She knew the Overlord was watching over her – and she would not fail.  Her smile turned to a scowl as she faced the next of these infernal doors.

“In order to pass, you must…” started the deep knotty voice of the door.

“Yes, yes.. Answer your riddle. Give it to me already!” the vampire snapped back to the door.

A limb formed from a tempest of swirling rocks, fire and water lashed out, hitting Syndreal. The twin elemental to the side lashed out towards Tomble, connecting with a glancing blow as the little thief tumbled backwards out of reach. “Avric! We need some help up here!” Tomble cried out, hoping the cleric would take his place on the front lines.

Leoric, the mage, forced himself forward, despite still being woozy from the spider venom.  Raising his hand, he shot a mystic bolt into the space Tomble had vacated. The elemental’s form became as insubstantial as the wind, and the mystic bolt passed through it, hitting the far wall. “I can’t shoot at it. I’m no good – and I’m not feeling very well.. still.”

Syndreal braced herself – holding back both elementals. Suddenly a deep echoing laughter could be heard reverberating through the walls, and largest elemental took on a newfound fury. Rocks and fire and water battered against Syndreal, nearly ripping her wooden shield from her arms.  Her armour was dented, and blood started to flow from cuts and bruises, but the valiant elf held the line.

Avric ran forward, although seeing how wounded Syndreal had become… Seeing Tomble battered by the elemental, and Leoric still wracked with the spider venom; Avric changed his action and instead held his holy mace high.  Channeling the power of his divine faith, a healing warmth flowed out from Avric and into the entire party. Their wounds healed, and a fresh energy surged through them.

Syndreal felt a new energy and lashed forward, slashing through the largest of the elementals.  Her blade cut true and deep, the elemental started losing control as it weakened.

Avric entered the space beside Syndreal, deflecting a blow from one elemental as he concentrated his attack on the first one. Two more strong swings and the elemental was dealt a killing blow, and the maelstrom of elements dissipated as if they were never there, leaving only the lesser elemental.  

Syndreal turned to the second elemental, but Leoric called out from the back, “Just go for the door – we need to catch that Vampire!”

Syndreal nodded, and ran forward. She didn’t notice the wire raised across the floor.  With a clatter, the elven knight fell sprawling to the floor. The deep echoing laughter of the Overlord returned.

Tomble was quick to take advantage of the opening, dashing around the elemental and over Syndreal’s fallen form to get to the door. “Answer me the riddle, lest you pass,” the door started to intone, but Tomble had other plans.  He pulled his lockpicks out, and started to work on the mechanism keeping the door closed.

“How about, I choose dank musty hallways, for 2oo Aleks?” Tomble said with glee as the mechanism unlocked and the door opened to the hallway behind. Tomble cackled with delight as he bounded into the hallway.

Syndreal was up and following quickly – with Leoric and Avric trailing behind. “See ya!” Avric called out, shutting the door on the elemental, trapping it behind.

The short hallway lead to another door – and Tomble went to work. The door didn’t even have time to start its riddle before there was a click and the door creaked open. Tomble went pale – again – as the snarl of a pack of Barghests met them. “Oh no… not these guys again!” Tomble cried.

The lead Barghest snapped at Syndreal and Tomble, before jumping back, allowing the pair in the rear to jump forward and snap.  Syndreal’s shield deflected attacks aimed at her, however Tomble wasn’t as lucky.

“We don’t need to fight them,” Avric advised, “Just run around them and get out!”

Tomble gritted his teeth, nodding. Jumping forward, he ducked under the jaws of one of the snarling monsters, and then skirted to the side of one of the monsters in the second rank before getting to the locked door on the far side.  His deft fingers went to work, and another door  opened.Tomble dove inside before the Barghest could attack again. Syndreal followed at his heels.

Leoric was still suffering from the poison, when he remembered the magical doll they had found upstairs. He took out the doll and used it to magically transfer the poison from his body into the body of the magic doll.  The doll took on a sickly green, and he felt instantly better.  Now feeling better, Leoric quickly ran through the room, dodging the snarling beasts.  He paused at the door, tossing the spent magic doll back to one of the Barghests. Avric pulled up the rear, closing the door. The echoing laughter turned to cries of anguish as the band of heroes had nearly caught up with the Vampiress.

In the final room, the chest moments before had held the artifact lay opened, and the satin pouch was clutched firmly in Lady Farrow’s claw-like clutches.  In frustration she pounded her hand on the door, attempting to answer the riddle. “Ahh.. I don’t know – that’s a stupid question.  Umm.. Fifty-Seven?”

“False – I will give you a new question.  What is your favourite colour?” the door intoned.

Lady Farrow’s face lit up. “That’s easy!” but any more was cut off by the sound of the door behind her opening up.

“There she is!” pointed Syndreal, “We have you now!” and charged forward, lashing out with her silver sword to cut the vampiress deep.

“No!  I was so close…” the vampire cried, curling back under the attacks.  Several arrows flew past Syndreal – embedding themselves into the vampire. Avric charged up beside Syndreal and landed a heavy blow with his bedazzled holy mace.

The vampire staggered back, “So close… so close… I’ve failed you, Overlord.”

A flash of magic lashed out, and the vampire turned to a sudden red mist, the purple velvet bag falling to the floor.  The red mist flowed up through the stones of the ceiling, while calling out “I’ll get you next time, heroes… Next time!”

Leoric picked up the bag, examining the artifact. It was an exquisitely carved set of ivory dice, inscribed with mystic runes. They were designed to be worn as a pendant, and the Goddess Fortuna would smile upon the wearer.

As a reward for defeating the vampiress, thwarting the Overlord and saving the guests, Lord Theodir bestowed the Fortuna’s Dice upon the party, and weary from their quest, the party travelled back to the kingdom of Arhynn – eager for their next quest.

 

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Against the Overlord, pt 2

[This is a dramatization of the ongoing Descent 2ed: Journey into the Dark campaign being run with some friends.]

After returning victorious from their adventures, the band of heroes gathered in the throneroom of the castle.  All of the nobility of Arhynn were gathered to welcome the return of the band from defeating the evil black knight and helping Sir Palamon.  

Baron Greigory had a new quest for the adventurous band, “I need you to travel to the north.  Lord Theodir’s has planned a masquerade ball, and you shall warn him of the plans of the Overlord. In his day, Lord Theodir was a great hero – one of those Shadow Binders. He may be on the Overlord’s list.”

The pious cleric Avric Albright stepped forward, “A ball?  That’s stupid!” He did not look like he was looking forward to this new adventure. On the other side, the halfing rogue  Tomble Burrowell looked pleased. He and the arcane wizard Leoric of the Book shared the same thought – there would probably be treasure to be found.

The elven knight Syndreal stepped forward and bowed, “Of course m’liege – we will set forth at once.”

Baron Greigory looked over the armour the cleric and the knight wore – still worn from fighting the minions of the Overlord and showing the dust from the roads to travel back to Arhynn and quipped, “Err, you’re not going dressed like that, are you?.”

“Dressed like this?” Avric had enough and was starting to get ready to tell the Baron what he thought of the suggestion.  Syndreal noticed this, and taking the broad shoulders of the cleric, guided him out of the throne room.

Setting out from the castle, Avric was still upset. “What is wrong with our armour? Besides, he can’t expect us to fight evil in a velvet doublet.” The rest of the group just let the cleric gripe as they journeyed forth.  

The spring weather had been particularly damp and the trail northward turned marshy. The steel and leather boots of the band sunk into the mucky path. “This doesn’t look so good.” noted Tomble – his short stature had him closer to the ground, and from his vantage he could see a sickly green miasma rising from the ground.

“You are right – we should hurry.” Leoric noted, and the group quickened their pace through the rising mist.  The old wizard started to lag behind, and when he coughed, his breath came out mixed with the soupy toxic miasma. Doubling over, Leoric fell to the muck.

“Stop! Leoric – are you alright?” Syndreal asked.  She helped the coughing wizard up. “This must be the work of the Overlord!” A sinister presence could be felt in the mist.

“I’ll be fine – we need to get to Lord Theodir’s keep.” Leoric said weakly, leaning on Syndrael for support.

Finally the path left the marsh behind, winding beside a river flowing from the North.  Leoric was walking on his own, however his coughing had left him weak and exhausted.

Suddenly, Tomble spotted something.  The little halfling skipped ahead and disappeared behind some rocks. Moments later, his head peaked out. “Look!  An old hunter’s path – and it leads directly to Lord Theodir’s keep!”

Pushing the shrubs aside, the heroes set out on the short-cut, much to the dismay of the Overlord who could not put any more obstacles to delay the arrival of the band of heroes.

Music and mirth echoed from the stone walls of Lord Theodir’s keep. The party was already in full force as the band of travellers came to the front gate. But their timing could not be more fortuitous.

As the heroes crossed the drawbridge, inside the library Lady Eliza Farrow brushed her long golden hair over her shoulder, dropping her masquerade mask and pulled a nearby reveiller close to sink her fangs.  Blood sprayed out as the vampiress fed.  Discarding the body, she called out, “Find me Lord Theodir and bring him to the vault!”  From under the tables a handful of goblin archer minions poured out, drawing their short bows. Evil Lady Farrow recited the incantation given to her by the Overlord, summoning forth additional guardians.

In the main hall, the braziers blazed bright. The clouds of incense swirled and gained volume and form. The swirling air thickened and grew in intensity until it coalesced into the shape of two large Air Elementals.  The torches flickered and the guests of the masquerade braced and hugged each other for support.

“That doesn’t sound good. We need to get in there!” Avric was reinvigorated, and charging through the double doors, he quickly accessed the situation. “We need to find out which one of these is Lord Theodir and get him out of here.” Avric valiantly commanded.

The largest air elemental responded with a loud roar, drawing Avric’s attention. Looking deeper, he could see where the goblins were trying to make for the castle’s basement. “I’ll take this one – quickly – we need to save the innocents!” Avric shouted, gripping his mace and charging at the swirling monster.

Tomble bounded past the monsters in the entry hall, moving deeper into the hallways of the keep.  On his way he noted a chest, but with the sore memories of the last chest, he skipped it, trying to get the lay of the castle.

Leoric also noted the chest in the main room, and running around the elementals, made his way – still coughing and weakened – heading directly towards the chest.  “This one is mine!” he called out.

Syndreal ran towards one of the party-goers. “Look!  Goblin Archers!” Syndreal pointed through the arched doorway into the hall.  Indeed the minions of the Overlord were jumping up at the party-goers, pulling off their masks.  Several party-goers had been captured by the goblins who were leading them towards the basement – to a fate unknown. Syndreal reached towards the masked visage of the closest party guest.

Pulling off the mask, the features of the person started to melt and twist.  Syndrael jumped back as the Flesh Moulder growled and extended a claw towards the elven warrior-maiden.

Avric was knocked back against the wall, but he lifted his shield to block the further impacts of the air elemental. “I will keep these guys busy – we need to block that passage!”

Syndrael slashed at the Flesh Moulder, cutting the twisted abomination down, and turned, aiming her sword at another partier.  The human pulled off his mask, “Please don’t hit me…”

Syndrael pulled the human behind her, defending him as she dashed forward, blocking the closed doorway leading to the crypts below and protecting the terrified human.  

Tomble looked at the chests, but then with a scowl went to join Syndrael – guarding the door. “Hurry up and help us!” the halfling called out to the mage.

Leoric pulled on the heavy lid of the chest, and peered in. “EMPTY!” he cried out.  The luck of the chests was not on Leoric’s side. Turning, Leoric dashed into the hallway, raising his hand and casting bolts of magic towards the goblin archers.

The Overlord was not happy – the heroes had blocked the entrance to the crypt, and the air elemental was slowly being beaten down by Avric’s tenacious attacks.  At his silent command, Eliza Farrow surged forward at superhuman speeds.  She paused in the hallway to catch Leoric’s eye, momentarily entranced the wizard and causing him to fall back, before she bared her fangs and started to attack. At the same time, the archers opened fire into the side of the mage, teaming up to focus all of the attacks on the vulnerable old wizard with arrows.

Syndrael had to make a decision she would later regret, “Tomble – we need to save Leoric.”

The elf and halfling stepped forward, engaging the vampiress with sword and dagger. The vampiress cackled- for this was her desire.  Now with the doorway unguarded, she slipped past the valiant heroes, opening the doorway leading down to the crypts below.  

Driven by the unseen drive of the Overlord, the goblin archers escorting two of the guests scurried past – moving faster than any goblin had been seen to run before, taking the humans to their doom below.

“NOOOOOO!” Called out Syndrael, turning to confront the evil vampiress. The rest of the goblins descended on Tomble and Leoric. The damage had been done, and the evil vampiress Lady Farrow was able to hold off Syndrael until the goblins were out of sight. A final lunge from Syndrael did not connect – the vampiress had turned to mist and disappeared through the cracks in the flagstone at their feet down to the crypts below.

At that same moment, Avric raised his holy mace, sending the final blow which caused the air elemental to dispel – quelling the battle in the main hall.  Rejoining the group, the will of evil had been broken – but at the cost of two of the innocent guests.

Avric went through the halls, making sure to clear out the last of the goblins and the Flesh Moulders hiding among the guests while Tomble and Leoric searched the remaining chests – finally getting several useful potions, as Syndrael saw to the safety of the remaining guests.

Luckily, outside Syndreal was relieved to find out that Lord Theodir was not among those who were taken away – however it did little to ease thoughts of the innocents who were taken to the crypts below. There was only one course of action to take – the heroic group needed to venture into the crypts below – to confront the evil vampiress, Lady Eliza Farrow.

Against the Overlord

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[This is a dramatization of the ongoing Descent 2ed: Journeys in the Dark campaign being run with some friends.]

The band of heroes had recently upset the plans of the Overlord – getting to the village outside Castle Daerion in time to save the innocent villages. The party was lead by the pious cleric Avric Albright, who was armoured and commanded the ability to heal the rest of his party. The wizard Leoric of the Book had mastery of the arcane arts. The halfing rogue Tomble Burrowell was small, nimble and carried with him a short-bow. And finally the Elven knight Syndreal who had taken the loss of the beloved village baker, Bob the Baker, very hard. She had spent the rest of the night drowning her sorrows in mead.

The group had been following Tomble, who had tracked the path of the monsters who had attacked the village back to where they had come. “We have tracked the vile Overlord and his minions down to this castle.” Tomble Burrowell said. He paused and pointed up. The trail he had been tracking made it’s way to the ominous black walls of Castle Daerion.

“It is a shame we could not save all of the villagers… Bob the Baker… ” Avric Albright said – the pious man troubled that the party could not save all of the villagers.

“Yes…” added Syndrael strangely distraught about loss of the village baker, “He made good bread.”. The Elven knight was still recovering from the sorrowful drinking the night before.

The group paused to look at the knight, and then continued.

“Wait, before we strive forward – I’ve heard that Sir Palamon from the local town had run on ahead.  We should gather the town’s militia before we storm the castle.” Avric bravely noted.

“Good idea, Avric!” answered Leoric, looking up at the ominous castle.

“Don’t call me Avric. I told you – I want my name to be Leroygal Pulpweed, the fourth of Biblogan.”

The group paused to stare at the cleric.

With an exaggerated sigh, the cleric capitulated, “FINE! Avric then.  It’s a stupid name.”


 

The gathering militia shuffled nervously in their makeshift leather armour. Torches burnt yellow against the gloom of the night. From inside the dark keep, snarls and muffled roars could be heard.

“Sir Palamon has run ahead. He never could get over the loss of Bob.” Winfred, one of the leaders of the militia noted.

“Yes – it is time.” Avric looked over the small group of heroes and footmen, before bellowing out, “CHARGE!”

There was no moat protecting the black stone walls of Castle Daerion, and the old rotting doors barely could hold themselves up against their own weight. Avric and Syndreal could easily pull open the heavy wood doors. From inside came the smell of wet fur and growls filled the darkness. Torches flared showing the pack of large wolf-like creatures with rotting gaunt bodies.

Barghests!” Avric noted. The pack of animals blocked the entry hallway.

“Syndrael – Avric – take the right side. Winfred – take your men to the left.” Leoric directed as he held back with the rogue. Tomble had already drawn his bow and was shooting into the lead barghest.

The Elven knight strode forward, however she had not fully recovered from the night’s drinking before, and her attacks failed to connect. Avric was slightly more successful, however even he could not kill a beast with the initial attacks.

“Do I have to do everything myself?” Leoric shouted, charging in. The wizard raised his hands to throw fireballs to turn the lead barghest’s growls into yelps of pain. The charge of the militia was the final straw, and the first four-legged beast fell to the wooden pike held by Winfred.

With a cheer, another of the militia stabbed its pike into the flanking beast, wounding it.

From deeper in the keep, the rally horn of Sir Palamon sounded out. “The call to arms! We must hurry!” shouted Winfred.

Syndrael’s staggering knocked his attack off balance, Avric was there to attack back. The beasts howled wounded with their numbers reduced. The air filled with an evil presence, and responding to the unspoken orders of the Overlord, the remaining Barghests then turned, running through the shattered remains of a doorway retreating deeper into the castle.

Behind the beasts in the dark corner of the entry hall was a chest. The group noted it, but the calls from the courtyard continued. Avric took a look at the chest, and then glanced to the side. Tomble was also eyeing the chest. “Go ahead,” Avric commented to Tomble, “catch up with us later.”

As the rest of the group strode into the hall, Tomble crouched – his little halfling fingers tapping together – eager to see what treasures awaited inside the chest.


 

Sir Palamon stood at the side of the trashed inner gathering hall. Several of the columns had collapsed, forming blockades. But to the party’s horror, the most surprising thing was the slain villager, Bob – his flesh torn and hanging from his now zombified body, was standing next to the knight. Bob snarled and reached his claw-like fingers to scrape ineffectual against Sir Palamon’s armour.

At the same time as the heroes entered, another door to the right side door burst open, revealing a pair of ettins. The creatures were ten feet tall, two-headed and carrying torn tree-trunks for clubs. The pair of heads looked at the heroes, and then Sir Palamon and roared. The remaining barghests took up defensive positions between the rescue party and Sir Palamon.

“Quickly – protect the Sir Palamon!!” Avric shouted at the militia as he charged headlong into the barghests, taking on the largest alpha creature. Syndrael charged with him, cutting a wide curve to try to flank the incoming ettins.

From behind Leoric sent arcane bolts crackling into the group. Flesh sizzled, but it wasn’t until the pikes of the militia closed in that the barghests fell.

Sir Palamon had made his way to the far side of the hall, pursued by the zombified Bob the Baker. As the last barghest fell, Sir Palamon let his guard down and Bob’s claws found a hole in his armour and connected. “Tis but a scratch – battle on!” Sir Palamon said. The militia, no longer busy with the barghest, formed a protective circle around the knight leaving the heroes free to battle the minions of the Overlord.

The first ettin roared, ignoring Avric’s attack and grabbing his body, tossed the cleric over its shoulder to the dark hallway behind. Syndrael came in from the flank and stabbed into the ettin, drawing its attention away from the tossed cleric to the Elven hero.   Avric was not free – for behind the ettin in the hallway was an even taller two headed giant – the ettin chief. Avric raised his shield in time to defend against an attack – now separated him from the rest of the adventuring party.

“Avric!!!” Leoric called out as the cleric left his sight.


 

Tomble heard a click and instantly knew there was something wrong. From a hidden compartment a dart shot out of the chest, catching the little halfling in the chest. Knocked down, Tomble instantly felt nauseous and drained.

“Poison!” he exclaimed, and somewhere the deep laugh of the Overlord could be heard echoing throughout the castle.

Pulling himself to his feet, he returned to the chest. “Well – this had better’n been worth it!” he exclaimed, pushing the large lid of the chest open.

Empty.

The chest was empty. The echoing laughter increased.

“Well that just figures.” Tomble bitterly sighed.

Holding his side, he pressed forward to rejoin his companions.


 

Alone in the hallway, Avric gripped his mace. The second ettin facing him roared, but then stepped back. The sound of metal filled the hallway.

The empty suit of armour, resplendent with red velvet trim and a tattered flowing black cape strode into view. A large oversized sword in its hand, and glowing red eyes deep inside the empty steel helmet. This was the evil fallen knight – Sir Alric Farrow. The fallen knight was now one of the lieutenants of the Overlord.

Avric braced himself as Sir Alric charged, the vile black sword cutting deep. Avric swung back in retaliation, but his mace clanged off the side of the hollow armour. The large suit changed its tactics. Feigning an attack, the large metal gauntlet grabbed Avric, and twisting its body, turned, trading places and shoved the cleric even further deeper down the hallway – towards the waiting ettin chieftain.

Avric swung around in time to see the large club of the ettin chieftain bearing down on him. Blow after blow landed, and it seemed that somehow the ettin was getting luckier in its strikes. A deep resounding echo of laughter filled the corridors as the Overlord used its vile ability to allow his creatures to strike true.

Nearly unconscious and battered, Avric was helpless to resist as the ettin grabbed his body, and threw him down to the far end of the corridor. Avric Albright, cleric of the cloth, fell in a crumpled pile.


 

“I’ve been poisoned.” Tomble whined, finally rejoining the group in the main hall. The militia continued to protect Sir Palamon while the Leoric and Syndrael had moved on from the Barghests to the large two headed ettin which had created a bottleneck to prevent the team from getting to their lost colleague.

Out of the corner of his eye, Syndrael spied a chest in the far corner of the chamber. Seeing that Leoric was about to fell the wounded ettin, Syndrael took the opportunity to dash towards the chest.

The sound of ancient mechanisms proceeded the floor suddenly opening up. With a howl, Syndrael fell into a pit, landing hard on the ground below. The Overlord’s hand was clearly seen in this dastardly deed.

Above, Leoric called out. “We’re going to need more help here.”

The large red velvet trimmed armour, lieutenant of the Overlord, had entered the room.  Rushing forward with a hollow echoing roar, it swung its black sword towards Leoric who ducked aside. Undaunted, the black knight turned, grabbing the wizard’s body with his free hand to toss him to the side – moving ever closer to Sir Palamon.

Tomble jumped forward, taking out his short-bow to launch several arrows towards the evil lieutenant of the Overlord. The arrows pierced through the empty armour – not hindering the progress of the dark knight.

Leoric raised his mighty book, reading incantations to send bright blue bolts towards the back of the dark knight. These magic bolts hit true, and the knight halted in its progress. Ignoring the jabs from the militia pikes, the evil Sir Alric lashed out towards the mage with his black sword.

With a cry, the mage crumpled to the dirty flagstones, defeated. Syndrael could barely cry out “Nooooo!” as the injured ettin then connected on Tomble, sending his little body flying several feet.  Tomble body crumbled at the foot of the ettin, also defeated.

The fallen heroes spurred on a second breath in the militia, who charged forward. The evil Sir Alric met the charge head on; the black sword swinging and cutting through the militia.

With the ettin and the dark knight distracted by the militia, Syndrael shifted her focus to her fallen comrades. She pulled Leoric to his feet, looking over as the militia pulled down the wounded ettin. She then moved on to Tomble when she looked up to see Winfred, leader of the militia fall to his knees before the evil Sir Alric Farrow. With a hollow laugh, echoed by the Overlord, the brave Winfred couldn’t make a sound as he was run-through by the black sword.

Syntrael turned, the Elven hero lunging at the back of the black-knight and drove her sword true.  The evil lieutenant was caught off guard by the attack from behind, and with an moan of escaping vapours, the empty armour of the evil knight clattered to the floor. Its evil had been dispelled. The heroes had paid a high cost; the cost counted in the bodies of the fallen militia. However, the minions of the Overlord had been defeated.

As the howling echoes of the Overlord’s influence left the castle, the heroes collected their fallen members and returned to the kingdom of Arhynn to determine their next course of action.