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B10 Night's Dark Terror AAR, part 2.

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jagerfury

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At the Lake of Lost Dreams the PC’s are confronted by a much larger goblin horde than they had encountered during the fight for Sukiskyn steading. The Viper, Red Blade, and Wolf Skull tribes are joined by at least one other goblin tribe. Maybe more. The number of goblins is over two hundred and fifty with at least a quarter of them mounted on dire wolves. The additional horses captured in the raid are held against the edge of the forest under the surrounding gaze of 4 wargs. The horses have been hobbled so they cannot run away. On the shore the goblins are roasting horseflesh over great fires while the goblin kings argue with a thin man clothed in yellow . The angry man is backed by a group of fearsome hobgoblin bodyguards. A smaller squad of goblins is finishing a raft which they are loading the pregnant mare onto. The raft is adorned with horse skulls and markings of the beast lord cult.

While the PC’s deliberate on what to do five elves make their appearance out of the night. They are a group of Vyalia elves and they believe the yellow robed magician intends to summon the beast lords by performing an ancient ritual at the temple on the island found in the lake. The goblin horde has been gathering on the lake shore for the past several days seemingly in anticipation of the blood ritual. The elves implore the PC’s to aid them in their attempt to thwart the summoning ritual.

While the Vylia elves are forbidden to step foot on the island itself, they can show the PC’s a secret stone path which leads across the water to the island. They inform the PC’s that there is a temple at the center of the island which was dedicated to the Grey Gods, the gods of the Vylian elves. But the beast lords were ascendant, and the Grey Gods were cast out of Mystara. Not until the coming of man, and the High Clerics where the beast lords and their demon allies cast from the realm and the age of man established. But the temple on the island had been desecrated and a great evil laid over it. Insanity and death befell any of the Vyalia who dared tread in the once hallowed halls of the temple. The great artifact, the White Mirror, was turned toward the summoning of evil. The “Black Mirror”, under the hands of mad necromancers of old, would call forth the black beast lords to walk the earth among elves and men. Great sorrow poured forth from the mirror and only after the total annihilation of all the sordid priesthood’s acolytes and the dark knowledge they possessed were the beast lords stopped. The elves fear the magician is going to try and open that long dormant gateway once again.

The elves promise to help free their white horses from the clutches of the goblins if they make an attempt to stop the summoning ritual.

Once upon the island the party sees the magic user leading a group of 4 hobgoblins and the pregnant mare. At the temple 4 hooded acolytes are positioned around a central alter. Torches adorn the temple, while the hobgoblins have each a torch as well as a rope attached to the horse.

The party wastes no time on the attack. Conjuring another sleep spell the elf is successful in knocking 2 of the hobgoblin guards unconscious. The ranger sinks an arrow into Golthar which brings him to his knees. Additional volleys are sent at the nearest acolyte striking home. Suddenly the temple is shrouded in a cloak of darkness yielding no more visible opponents.

The 2 hobgoblin guards on their feet howl in anger and charge the party wielding large broadswords. The sword play is protracted with the charmed hobgoblins shaking off the sleep spell and joining the fray. Fortunately the party is able to maintain a 2-1 advantage and cut down the guards beneath multiple attacks.

Approaching the darkness enveloped temple the cleric boldly runs up the steps and in. Satisfied the mist only affects vision he is shortly joined by the rest of the heroes. A visible blood trail leads to an iron ladder leading into a stone lined chamber below. Two acolytes standing in the shadows attack the party with knives. The mad eyed fanatics are dispatched and their robes turned out. They are inscribed with Dog and Bear symboligy while the sleeves have stitched in an attached pair of gloves made of tough layers of leather. The fighter and the elf don the robes in an attempt to appear as the cultists. The elf listens at the opening before descending. Exploring the level they notice the original motifiefs to the Elvin lords is scarred and overwritten by much more primitive hieroglyphs. Inanimate skeletons found in the anti chambers leads to party to conclude that they are burial chambers. And who is to say they are not?

The elf makes a successful dodge roll after grabbing hold of the stair without using the gloves inside her robes. A critical success avoids all damage while a blue white crackling discharge erupts in the room. After much discussion about being careful, the fighter and elf head down the next ladder. Once on the deepest level of the temple the elf once again leads the way down the passage. A failed spot roll leads to the dart trap being triggered. Failing the second consecutive dodge roll the elf sinks to the ground unconscious with a dart in her ankle. The rest of the party decides to leave her there and press the attack. Bursting through the door the fighter? and cleric? Fail sanity rolls and are immobilized by the sights before them. The elf is protected from the maddening inducing properties of the mirror by the fact she is rendered senseless by the dart venom. The remaining upright character gets entangled with the two remaining acolytes while Golthar pleads for aid from the appearing Dog and the Bear. Without the blood sacrifice of the unborn stallion the Dog and Bear could not step through the mirror. Without the consummation of the blood pack their powers are diminished, but they would send what aid they could. The beast lords tell the magician to look to their champions Balikask and Kalakask to lead the goblin tribes and return the Dymrak to the domain of night. The beast lords urge the magician to strike soon as his path is now being thwarted by the will Lords of Light. With that they fade and Golthar, wailing in anger, departs the underground chambers in a foaming black comet.

The chamber is left with the bodies of the two dead acolytes and the smoldering black mirror. The party smashes the mirror with their weapons and departs, but not before the elf regains her senses. The elf is on the verge of attacking the party when the mirror is smashed. She is immediately released from her increasing madness. Fleeing the lower chambers they find the mare roaming the island and return to the mainland.

Here the Vyalia elves approach the successful party again, and suggest freeing the horses from their hobbles. With the goblin band unaware of what has transpired on the island they could charm the dire wolves, and give the horses the break they need to flee into the forest. With the protection of Lorshad being extended to the creatures of the forest once again the elves feel once released the horses will find themselves to Loshad and come under his protection. At least they will be free of the goblins and the stew pot. The elves urge the princess to bring the mare back to Sukiskyn as soon as possible. One of the Vyalia leads the PC’s safely away from the lake and on the path to Sukiskyn.

The party makes the journey back to the steading with only the mare in tow. The journey is uneventful. There are no further encounter with roving bands of goblins, though signs of their passing can be found by the sharp eyed ranger.

Pytor is relieved to see the mare returned in good health. He had already given her and the unborn foal up for lost. The lack of any of the rest of his herd has him totally despondent though. He doesn’t see how they will ever recover the lost herd. If the heads of the were-beasts are truly required to earn the horses release Pytor laments such a task could be accomplished. The steading has no such weapons of power to thwart such evil. The idea of melting down silver into weapons is discarded as impractical as what little silver could be gathered no one on the grounds possesses the skill to manufacture. It would seem the Tombs on the Hill as suggested by the Vyalia would be the only known place in which to find enchanted items.

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