They could have been slaves

Back in Irontown the party has the unpleasant task of informing the children that their family is dead. The future of the kids in question the party tries to figure what to do with them. Stain suggest that the children sign themselves over as Cleatus’s slaves. Then they could be insured as property with BVB. Cleatus frowns at this muttering something about Stain’s obsession with enslaving the world. Maven chimes in that there is a former member of their order in town and he could be trusted to look after them. Much happier with this idea Cleatus heartily agrees, and the kids are left with the butler of Lord Adolfis, as Adolfis is to busy to see them himself.

The party then heads to Daks’ shop to ask about the collar that was found on the neck of the dragon. They find that Daks and his son are out, and won’t return for two days. With little else to do but wait the party has an uneventful two days of shopping, resting, and watching Stain pace back and forth muttering about the time table.

Finally the two days pass and the party returns to Daks’. It takes some convincing but they finally learn that the collar was commissioned by someone in town. Unfortunately the person that had the collar made is the same person the White children were left with. The butler did it!

Racing to the home of Lord Adolfis the party is met at the door by the butler. The party demands to see the children only to be told that they are away. This does not sit well with the party and after a little more talking Stain lets the butt of his gun give it a try. Cleatus jumps on the prone man and the party soon discovers he is not a man at all as he turns into a gas cloud and escapes through a vent. Cleatus manages to mark the creature, but can tell little more than the direction it is heading, down. Stain begins looking for signs of the children, but it is Cadmeil that discovers the secret stair case that leads downward.

The hidden stone stairwell stretches down in winding spirals. As the party progresses into the depths below the air becomes colder and heavy with silence. The scent of graveyard musk lingers all around and there is not light to guide them. Stain pulls out a torch and lights it, despite the Ioun Torch circling his head.

Eventually the group emerges into a large half finished cellar. The smooth stone platform they stand on overlooks a rough natural cavern which has been modified for use. A set of stairs leads down below, with a pair of jail cells chiseled into one wall. A dark tunnel curves off into the unseen darkness, and another set of winding spiral staircase disappears even further into the earth.

Maven rushes down the stairs to the cells. Behind the rusted bars are all 8 children, 4 to a cell. Without a moments thought he moves to break the bars imprisoning them but the imperceptive Paladin does not notice the runes carved into the metal. An explosion of dark flame swells into existence, singing the Paladin with both fire and unholy energies. Whats worse, the children are subjected to the attack, 2 of which collapse to the ground.

At the same time a gigantic white hair mammoth comes thundering out of the dark tunnel. Its ivory tusks are rimmed with frost and the air shimmers with chilled air around it. With a bellow it rushes into the Paladin and His bear and batters them with merciless efficiency. On its back a large 4 armed gorrilon hold tight with 2 strong hands, the other two waving wildly in the air with a pair of throwing axes. It lets loose a piercing cry of battle, full of joyful anger and lust.

The heroes move quickly. Stain throws out his torch lighting the area. The gorrilon casts a spell to counter it. Cadmiel leaps a stunning 80 feet across the room and attacks the four armed menace. Maven and his bear recover from the sudden attack and make quick work of the frozen undead mammoth. Cletus hurries down into the fray with a calm and frightening intensity in his eyes.

The Gorrilon gestures and bellows arcane words, and suddenly Cadmiel spins to attack his allies. Davos shouts out that his mind has been confused by enthralling magics. Then a huge snake, 60 feet long end to end and weight several rushes up from the spiral stairs. With frightening efficiency it latches onto the Paladins bear, wrapping its thick body around it making it look as small as a mouse. The Bear howls, thrashing viciously with claws and teeth. But the snake coldly begins crushing the life out of it.

The gorillon retreats behind his new “allie” and starts throwing axes wildly around the room. Seeing his allies companion in trouble Cletus dashes into the snake and with an alarming feat of strength wrestles the enormous snake – easily 30 times Cletus’s size – off of the bear. With a cry equal parts rage and effort he flips 3 tons of sinewy animal over his head and hard onto the rough stone. Then he forces the anacondas head to the ground, its tail lashing helplessly behind it. If Stain is shocked by Cletus’s display of unbelievable combat prowess he does not show it. With the snake no longer tangled with friendlies he takes easy aim and Angry Boy thunders its displeasure. The snake’s thrashing tail falls still.

The Gorillon spits curses the party in an unknown archaic tongue. Cletus rushes to him but is intercepted by Cadmiel, who flicks his scabbard of his belt which tangles in Cletus’s legs. As he stumbles to one knee Cadmiel brings his knee up into his already twisted nose and Cletus’s good eye swims with blinding tears. Despite this Cletus reaches out lightening fast and his vice like grip closes on Cadmiel’s ankle. Once in his iron grip there is no escape, and soon Cadmiel is wrestled to the ground.

Maven goes over to his bear, who’s ribs are disturbingly misshapen and unmoving. One thick arm hangs limp and twists in his shoulder at a strange angle. The bear’s neck is crushed. But when Maven places his hand on the ravaged lifeless creature one of it’s eyes flicker open and roll in his direction. Rather than focusing on him it stares off into the unseen distance, a soft gold light reflected in it. No such light exists in the room.

Maven sheds a single tear and with a whispered word of thanks begins to pour divine energy into his companion. The bear shudders once, then takes a deep wheezing breath. Under his trembling hand Maven can feel the ancient ursine’s heart begin to pound again… weakly at first but quickly picking up speed and strength. As it does its neck flexes and swells to its full shape. It staggers up onto 3 legs and almost stumbles. Then the fractured bone of it’s fourth leg resets and twists back to rest normally in its socket.

Stain’s hard eyes move from the bloodied mass of snake to the Undead Creature. Without preamble or dramatics he places 4 calm and precise rounds into it’s center of mass. A brief howl of pain drifts into silence as its body explodes into a cloud of red gases and begin drifting down the stairs headed below.

Cadmiel’s eyes refocus and the grip loosens on his thinblade which is pressed against Cletus’s body just below his uneven short ribs. He removes his knee from between the Dhampir’s legs. Davos declares him free of enchanting magics. Davos’s Bralani is able to get off 2 Cure Serious Wounds before vanishing, curing 20 and 22 points of damage on the bear.

They could have been slaves

Echoes of the Rising JosephZ Lynx189