Bebilith attack

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The portal looms ahead, dark, and four times as high as the drow. On the other side is a moderately big cave. Three steps lead down to a surface that is littered with rubble and old weapons. Deep scratches line the walls up to thirty feet. Sarcophagus lie shattered, desecrated by grave robbers. When they carefully proceed, the sisters see movement on the other side of the corridor. Phaedra catches a glimpse of a head and a hand, when a voice says:

‘So nice of you to arrive, you’re smarter than I thought you were.’

The Xaniqos freeze. That voice… It is Amalica, the treacherous Despana! What is she doing here?! Jharrath immediately casts a fireball spell, and a tremendous explosion rocks the cave. A high-pitched, inhuman scream erupts, accompanied by velvet laughter – though Amalika’s mirth sounds a bit forced.

‘Have fun with our allies. I’ll see you in the afterlife. And Alvra… we’ll meet again!’

Chanting reverberates in the cave, and a huge demonic spider appears. Phaedra takes a healing potion and moves slightly forward. Upon the wizard’s spell, ten feet long black tentacles shoot from the ground, but the creature still approaches, unhindered by the writhing barrier. Alvra’s javelin bounces off its chitin armor, but Lilith’s magical flame strike hits, causing the fiend to thrash in pain. It positions itself between the Xaniqos. Phaedra lashes out with her spiked chain, aided by her brother. The fighter draws dark blood with his sword. Jharrath activates his boots of dimension stride and steps away, while the cleric’s body suddenly erupts with eight tendrils – she has cast Yochlol’s blessing.

Bebilith
Another demonic spider steps through the illusionary wall. It throws a web towards the scout, sticking her against the wall. Phaedra succeeds in escaping the sticky strands, but a second bite attack poisons her. She drinks an anti-toxin, while her sister evades the attacks of the first spider. Jharrath counters and a fireball roars straight towards the fiend. He is aided by his brother, who yet again swings his sword in a successful attack. Since the large black tentacles don’t hinder the spiders one bit, Jharrath dismisses them and summons a large earth elemental. He orders it to aid Phaedra against the second bebilith. The wizard calls up an arc of lighting, but to his dismay the creatures are invulnerable to the spell.

Lilith’s tentacles strike hard several times, but the spider returns the favor and its claws rip through the cleric’s armor. Severely injured she retreats towards the portal, but the spider follows her and with one more attack renders the cleric unconscious. Phaedra tumbles to her aid, but misses her attack. The elemental breaks through the spider’s guard and with a mighty blow kills the bebilith. In the same swipe, it engages the other spider, so the wizard can cast a healing spell on the cleric. Soon Lilith is able to get up, drink an anti-toxin and heal herself further.

Finally their combined attack is successful: they kill the last bebilith through both physical and magical force.

Anybys Velifane

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The next day, the siblings arrive at the Isle of Scribes after a two hours walk south. The area is swarming with Shi’quos guards, and Lilith checks the parchment. It is safely tucked away, next to the 500 platinum pieces she has the freedom to offer to Anybys Velifane. Matron Mother Thandysha still seemed troubled by the prophecy this morning.

Multiple wizard towers shimmer with a metal sheen. The tower of the archmage is not the highest among them, but it is the broadest – very elegant in obsidian stone and well over hundred feet tall. When they approach the entrance, the captain of the guard halts them. When asked for admittance, Rhuadin is detaining their access at first, but prodded by the cleric’s authoritarian air, he soon returns with the message

The Archmage will see you now. Leave your weapons with me, they’ll be safe.

A flamboyant drow leads them up a winding staircase towards the second floor. They are welcomed by a very handsome though haughty lady, dressed in a silk robe. She seems to be Thandysha’s age. Lilith introduces herself and explains the reason for their visit, after which she hands over the scroll. Archmage Velifane is intrigued and is about to enter her study, when she looks at Jharrath.

I could use an assistant.

Without hesitation, the Xaniqos wizard replies

My name is Jharrath and I’m an aspiring wizard with many potentials. I’m honored to be of service!

Together they disappear, while the others sit down for refreshments.

Anybys

art by Carrie Best @ DeviantArt

The archmage’s study is an alchemist dream. Jharrath looks around in wonder and awe, while Velifane carefully unfolds the scroll. She gently touches it and then examines her fingertip with special spectacles.

Hmm darklight ore, highly unusual these days, how remarkable. And dangerous!

The archmage again bows over the parchment and chants a deviation spell. On her instructions, Jharrath carries several items – including a mirror – to a big table. The parchment is carefully spread out in the middle. Anybys focuses and casts a spell, unknown to the Xaniqos drow. Jharrath suddenly hears a male voice

You seeketh, and it wants to be found
It lies in a tomb deep underground
Ignorant guards of legs eight
Shield the world from darker fate

though the mirror image stays blank. Frustrated she mumbles I think we need to alert the Council.

An hour has passed, when they reappear in the reception room. In a distracted voice, the archmage recites:

Six hundred years ago, a war raged between drow. The war was triggered by Dark Fate, a rod infused with the intense hatred of a drider. Dark Fate found its way into the hands of drow cleric Alantria. It fed her hatred for drow, which ultimately resulted in a huge war. Alantria was defeated, but all was razed to the ground. Her body and the weapon have never been found. The rod has turned into a sentient being, with a mind of its own. If it falls in the hands of the wrong people, it could mean our doom! The discovery of this scroll is quite important, a matter of great urgency. Tell your Matron Mother that I’ll gather the Council within a tenday!

Jharrath offers his help for future necessities, which archmage Velifane accepts.

For a man, you were actually quite useful.

Lost in thought, she dismisses the siblings and adds a few punctuation corrections to the scroll. Now it reads:

150207prophecyplus

In pursuit

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Alvra escorts his sisters to the Matron Mother. Two minotaur stand guard at the doors, but Lilith strides in. Lady Thandysha, gazing out over Erelhei-Cinlu, sneers,

Really. Does it take three of you to report to me?

Thandysha

Without as much as a glance, the fighter turns on his heels and heads towards his room. Lilith informs her mother about the events on the slave market.

I wonder how much House Vae is involved in this. And I don’t like that the shar’ans influence is growing. Blessed Seahaven is turning into a fortress. They might attack without fearing the consequences.

Phaedra offers that outsiders, originating from Looblishar, are parading without wearing the obligated green cloaks.

Their leader is a Whip, a kua toa priestess from Looblishar, I recognized her.

I want that Whip, and I want her tonight! And without House Vae knowing about it. They will have conducted their business rather quickly because of your actions tonight. Go and follow them. Find out what they are up to, I need more information. But do not jeopardize the House, make sure you are not seen.

When Lilith makes a smart-ass remark about the whip, the Matron Mother takes hold of her daughter. Her hand radiates power, making Lilith’s skin blister.

If you ask such a stupid question again, it will be your last!

Gritting her teeth, the cleric nods and heads towards the door.

On second thought, you just need to extract the information from the kua toan priestess, no need to bring her here. The risks are too high. Do what is necessary, but make sure you don’t damage our House, so be inconspicuous. Get the information and return.

The Matron Mother seems somewhat calmed, and two sisters pick up the others, telling them about the follow-up quest.

At the big gate, traffic seems slow. The guards – mainly clerics of House Tormtor – let them pass and the drow continue along the main path, westward towards Blessed Seahaven, cloaks and house insignia hidden. Phaedra scouts ahead, while the wizard makes sure they are not being followed. She catches up with a party, which consists of two slavers and their malnourished wares.

Has a group passed you this last hour? Phaedra asks.

Who wants to know?

My identity is my own, I am just asking you a question.

The scout’s temper rises at the males’ slow response. With help of one of Jharrath’s spells, Phaedra is able to talk to Lilith without being overheard, and with the cleric’s permission she uses more intimidation to get the answers she seeks.

I’m not alone! Answer my question, or…

With a meaningful glance, Phaedra loads her crossbow. The slavers growl:

We don’t mean you any harm, walk away while you still can.

She retorts: You don’t know who you’re dealing with.

The male drow point their crossbows at the scout, but their target suddenly vanishes, only to appear behind them with her weapon aimed at them.

You think a low-born drow could do this?

This time, her intimidation works.

What do you want from us?

I just want an answer. Has a Kua-Toa group passed this way?

Yes, about six.

That’s all I needed to know.

She puts her crossbow away and moves forward, leaving the slavers in a slight confusion.

Ambush

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Alvra carries the strongbox back down to the corridor, and does the same with his dead mount’s saddle and bridle. Phaedra points out it would be suspicious if a dead riding lizard was found in this cave. Combined with the missing Cloak of the Consort, it might lead straight to House Xaniqos. They decide to burn it all: the crates, bedding, araneas and the riding lizard. An incendiary slime spell in combination with a fire ball does the trick. An enormous explosion rocks the stone, and when the Wizard climbs back up to check out the area, all is scorched black. A mass of organic and inorganic stuff remains, reasonably unrecognizable. Satisfied, the Drow follow the corridor, the younger sister scouting ahead. She finds herself in a cave with ladders and ropes, leading up to a platform with a small pool of pure drink water. This might come in handy for future travels. They fill up their water bottles. Since it is a dead end, they retrace their steps and take the long and arduous route back. A lot of climbing and hoisting needs to be done and it takes them at least two hours to reach the spider carcasses again.

At the bottom of the slope that leads down from the cave entrance, the scene is unaltered. Or is it? When Lilith takes a closer look, she sees that one of the hobgoblin bodies has been turned over: someone has been here. Fresh bear tracks lead back the way they came from, but all seems quiet for now. After about an hour the siblings come upon a crossroads. The bear imprints lead to the right, but their city is straight on. The Cleric sees no point in following the tracks any further and takes the road towards Erelhei-Cinlu. To their right and left are paths filled with stalagmites, while high cliffs frame the way forward. Then the Scout spots a male Drow standing on a small rock at the side of the road. He’s seems to be nonchalantly waiting for them, his hands at a safe distance from his expensive looking rapier and dagger. The male is wearing a costly outfit and his whole demeanor radiates supreme confidence.

131205drow2

Greetings, I want you to lay down your weapons and hand over the cloak that you stole.

The adventurers immediately stand still, assessing the situation.

Please lay down your weapons, I will not ask again.

When Lilith asks for his name, he responds with

My name is Jhael’min Shi’quos.

Of course that does ring a bell. House Shi’quos, the Fourth house of Erelhei-Cinlu. And member of the House of the captive Drow whose throat Phaedra slit. The Scout, in a high state of alertness, hears a soft snort to the right. They might have caught up with the owners of the bear tracks. The male Drow, seeing the family crest on Lilith piwafwi, exclaims:

You are of House Xaniqos? That cloak belongs to our family!

Such a devious Matron Mother, the Cleric muses, she indeed never said anything about our House owning it or being entitled to it! Lilith keeps on talking, since the Drow seems genuine in wanting to let them pass, and throws her diplomacy skills in the game.

We know we took something that most likely doesn’t belong to us, but you must understand that we can not go back to our Matron Mother without it.

I’m sorry you feel that way,

Jhael’min says, whereupon both the Wizard and the Cleric feel the impact of a crossbow bolt. Slowly the world fades…

Top Ten Signs You Pissed Off the Villagers

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  1. The interesting new stew you’ve been served at the inn smells suspiciously like sewage.
  2. One ripe apple at the market place costs more than your last spell book.
  3. They’re building a gallows outside of your room at the inn. They try to tell you that it’s ‘modern art’.
  4. One of them asks you for a donation for the ‘Hire Some Thugs to Kill the Adventurers’ fund.
  5. Someone glued a spike to your saddle.
  6. At bed time, your goose-down pillow explodes. The innkeeper says that the pillow was made from the feathers of very angry geese.
  7. People keep providing you with gifts of horses, and maps out of town.
  8. The mayor declares a special ‘Murder of Foreigners is No Longer Illegal’ day, in your honor.
  9. Arrows keep appearing in the dirt at your feet. Local villagers shake their head and claim that they are fast-growing weeds.
  10. The villagers hire a band of trolls to rid their town of adventurers.

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Source: 3rd Edition Palace of D&D