The Book of Deeds, Earth dreamers. Twelfth Entry
I, The Portal Master, continue now with some reluctance for this was the dream journey where I lost my charges. For the first time in a dream journey they went beyond my reach and understanding. It is only now that I have pieced together what happened.
It began as they journeys have of late. They awoke in the dream. While the entity reached for them I slipped them away to the dais in the hall and laid them each in stasis until they had all gathered. When all were there I sent them ahead to Arastia.
Once again they were in the council hall, speaking to the elders, deciding what to do. It was quickly decided that the right dwarf, Thark Dryfoot was somewhere past the first tower and if there was any hope of rescuing him it would need to be soon. The party agreed and noted again that although the council seemed to recall the party freeing the missing dwarf that they also knew that Thark was still out there. A paradox woven within the dream. A knot in the weave that could only be weaved around until the true dwarf was recovered. The council agreed to send more guards for the first tower immediately.
The party retired to the Truesword for a some relaxation before the journey ahead. Tinnyen went to learn a ritual with the time available. Darkel returned to her gnome friends and a restful night was had. This time they forgot to request rations from Thespa so none where waiting in the morning.
They set off with only their trail rations on a journey they would not quickly return from. They left as they had before, by the Northern gate and set a lively pace. They ate rations still walking at noontime and once more found themselves at the first tower. Repair of the first tower was well underway. The door and forward wall had been rebuilt and they Dwarven masons were busy working on the second level while carpenters toiled repairing the adjoining stables and barracks. The greater ward was in place and nothing happened that night to disturb the rest of anyone. They set out at first light.
The party marched, curving around the mountain until nearly noon. They came to fork in the road. One went slightly left and one slightly right. There were tracks everywhere of various humanoids making the choice difficult. A Dwarven stature with a broken hand sat on a pedestal between the two roads. The party examined the statue and found it to be magical though damaged. Digging, Mozu found the hand nearby. It was placed on the statue and the statue healed itself, becoming whole. The question was asked. Where lies the second tower and the statue twisted and pointed down the right path before returning to its original position.
They continued on down the right path. Not long after they came across a Orcish slave driver. It was a lesser Orc, not one of the Black Orcs who would have been wounded by the bright sunlight. He drove to goblin slaves before him. It seemed they were escaped slaves as they bore the marks of his brutal treatment and they were in worn clothing. The party used Gorkle’s name to get the goblins to turn against their slavemaster. The party quickly parlayed with the Orc who knew he was outnumbered. He agreed to leave the goblins and flee. The goblins were given the location of the new Goblin cave and sent on their way to join Gorkle.
The party hurried, on racing the sun to the next tower location. They arrived a few minutes ahead of twilight. Before them lay the tower, surrounded by a barrier.
The tower before the party is unlike any other towers they have seen and any structures witnessed from the area. It is a featureless silver metal cylinder. It seems to be sitting atop the ruined foundation of another tower long since destroyed. The newer tower is several hundred feet high. Tinnyen and Darkel can make out a crystal top that resembles nothing so much as a pointed crown sitting on the very apex of the cylinder. There are no windows, no doors and no openings of any kind. The metal of the tower appears to glisten and have a light radiance to it. It seems almost translucent as if it could be looked through and the contents seen but the thickness of the walls seems to belie that. Surrounding the tower 30’ from its edge is a shimmering wall of force. It seems completely impenetrable. Even being near the barrier gives mild discomfort. A ring of bones, and humanoid body remnants lies just on this side of the barrier. It is almost as if the whole bodies had been dragged off for some purpose but the parts left to bake and bleach in the sun. Inside the barrier you see a large golem made of iron and a smaller made of stone. A guardian made of both iron and wood also seems to watch the party. As the sun nears setting the tower seems to lose some of its glow.
The party tries to get through the barrier and is able to throw a rock through but nothing living seems able to pass through. As they try to get in the sun sets.
The sun has been down for a few minutes. They hear the sounds of movement all around. Large goblinoids and undead emerge from the trees and charge their position. They also notice the golems move closer to edge but remain on the other side of the barrier.
In the first few minutes the larger Goblinoids and Orcs hang back, sending the goblins and cracked skeletons forward. The party tries to parlay with the goblins, using Gorkle’s name again but this time they are well controlled by their Orcish masters. Forced to attack, the party quickly joins battle. Mozu and Reille hold the minions in place and develop a battle front as Tinnyen, Jaythier, and Sammael are able to use some area effect attacks for good measure and these minions fall. Darkel begins charging curses and using eldritch attacks. As they are finishing the last of the goblins, Orc regulars and newer skeletons charge into the fray. The fight continues. The party holds the line of battle in two groups around Mozu and Reille. But is only able to dispatch half of the next wave before a 3rd wave of Orc Elites and zombies charge in and move their lesser soldiers out of the way to get at the party.
Darkel calls her darkest fire and is noticed by he who must be avoided. A clay scout appears near here and begins to attack. During this wave Darkel falls. After she falls the clay scout attempts to take her but is attacked by an elite Orcs, who swats the scout like a fly. While this is happening something else has taken an interest in Darkel.
A golem steps through the barrier, ignores both sides of the conflict and picks up Darkel. One of the skeletons has hold of Darkel but is ripped apart as the golem strides back through the barrier and walks to the wall of the tower. It hesitates for a few seconds and then walks through the tower wall as if it wasn’t there, taking Darkel with it. Another golem walks right out of the tower wall, replacing the one who entered and moves to the edge of the barrier near the fight
The party makes progress but Mozu falls once only to be healed by Reille and Jaythier. The battle continues. Two of the elites have fallen, nearly all of the regular Orcs are dead and only one skeleton remains when the Orc lieutenants and ghouls join the battle. The party begins using up its largest attacks. The last regular Orc and skeletons are obliterated. A few elite remain but the lieutenants begin carving through the party. Tinnyen falls and a golem takes him through the barrier into the tower and is replaced by another golem of the same type.
I can no longer sense Darkel or Tinnyen. Their presence is gone from the dreamweave. They are beyond my ken. With each minute they strength of the party ebbs and the number of their foes grows. Reille is completely surrounded and fights for her life but to no avail and she falls as the Orcs drive her to the ground.
The Orc General arrives on the field with elite zombies. Sammael falls back to rock. Mozu fights over the fallen form of Reille until a Stone Golem pulls her through the barrier. She passes through the tower and is no more. The leader engages Mozu. Brave Mozu finishes one of the last of the Orc Elites but cannot hold against the lieutenants and the general. Mozu falls. Jaythier who has used the last of his healing and has been supporting the fight is quickly surrounded but somehow survives a few minutes of combat despite the odds.
Grasping Zombies and Ghouls climb the rocks and reach for Sammael ripping the life from him. He feels another in a long line of deaths he has felt before. This time Golems stride out grasping him and tearing him away from the feasting ghouls and zombies, striding back through the barrier the Golem destroys several zombies pieces of them strike the barrier. Mozu is scooped up and pulled through as well.
Jaythier stands alone. Alone his fate is sealed. The general strikes him down and then he too is dragged into the tower. And now they are all gone from my sight. No more can I guide them. Whatever they face be it death’s hallow rest or something even worse I cannot know. All I know is the dreamers and their avatars have no returned home. They are trapped somewhere else beyond. Something else has them. I wonder what now will become of LongShadow.