Previously, on Phoenix Rising…
… The wizard and cleric were so far the strongest resistance they had encountered at the castle. But eventually these two fell as well and the group found themselves free of enemies for the first time in this castle. They hurriedly healed themselves, hoping to be able to finish before any more combatants showed up .…
Once our heroes had healed themselves, they spent a few minutes gathering up some of the magical items from the fallen, just in case they wouldn’t be back this way to take everything with them. They collected up the following items:
1 suit of full plate armor +2, 1 heavy wooden shield +2, 1 vicious morningstar +1, 2 cloaks of resistance +1, 1 healer’s kit,
1 masterwork light crossbow and 10 bolts, 1 amulet of natural armor +1, 1 ring of protection +2 and 1,000 gold pieces
With this booty quickly collected they made their way back upstairs to investigate the rest of the level before heading anywhere else. Once they got into the library, Asphodel, Zerak and Blackwell took turns listening at the double doors to perhaps hear what may be behind them. But all they were able to hear was what sounded like heavy breathing – something akin to what a large animal might do. So they checked the doors for traps and flung them wide open.
The room beyond was hexagonal in shape and only about fifty feet in diameter with three other sets of double doors leading to other parts of the castle – all of which were closed. But the enemy was ready for them. There was four bowmen along with 2 very large black-coated canines that Zola recognized from her vision dream as the Shadow Mastiffs that belonged to Arrealla. The two forces closed in an instant and began battling. For the first few moments it appear that our heroes had the upper hand, with Zola engaging one of the bowmen in melee and Asphodel taking on another in addition to one of the mastiffs. The rest of the party was supporting with ranged attacks both magical and weapons-based. Zerak was able to use his deep slumber hex against two of the bowmen and help thin out the aggressors. Kel was very effective with her star-knife as was Blackwell with his arrows and Jobi with her spells.
But then, two of the other sets of double doors opened and enemy spell casters launched a barrage of punishing spells at the group of heroes. Fireball after fireball – Unholy Blight – Scorching Rays – as well as spells to help their comrades were flying for many consecutive rounds and began wearing down our heroes.
Then two secret doors opened – one on either side of the library and out came two more canines and three more guards. Now they were being attacked on all fronts. Blackwell was hit hard by them and had to move into the hexagonal room to avoid melee combat. Jobi also needed to move away for she was caught in melee range by all three fighters and soon she was heavily wounded – to the point of losing her already limited eyesight from a particularly nasty cut across her face. Zerak was also within the melee but managed to back up enough to cast a summoning spell to bring up a dire tiger to help them.
The last fireball cast against them brought Kel down, unconscious and dying. Then a lightning bolt came crashing through their ranks and only by the grace of Desna did Kel survive that onslaught.
Blackwell was also experiencing some troubles – he felt his hit points draining away a couple of times just after it felt like something touched his shoulder. But nothing was there. After the second time he called out to his friends and said something he couldn’t see was attacking him. That’s when Zerak cast a see invisible spell and saw an evil looking female standing right next Kel and him. Then the female reached out and touched Zerak, draining away some of his life force and shortly thereafter the female changed into a gaseous state and floated away over towards the western secret door.
Meanwhile, Asphodel had gone into another uncontrollable rage and was quite literally disemboweling the three guards and spell caster she was fighting. Once she had finished those four off she turned around and advanced on the two guards in deep slumber since they were the closest creatures to her.
Also at this time Zola had advanced into the next room to engage the other spell caster. She also found that one of the fighters there was just as good as they were – and nearly just as well protected for she had a difficult time landing a blow on him. She did have some help from Blackwell who had also advanced into this room and was shooting at the caster and the tough fighter alternately. Soon the spell caster was so hurt that he disappeared – either by some teleport, dimension door, or some other traveling magic. Since the tough fighter was so much a problem, Zola decided to try to call to Asphodel to get her attention to move into the room and fight this one. Her first attempt did not get her attention but after she had ripped apart one of the sleeping guards, Zola was able to get her attention and get her to come after them in the next room.
Meanwhile, the other half of our heroes were faring a bit better than they had been. Kel had been healed ups some as well as Jobi. And Zerak had regained his life force back by way of a restoration spell. The mastiffs were now dead as well as the three guards that had been in their midst, but the female was not and continued her assault on them. After some time it dawned on them that she must be some type of undead – probably something powerful. Kel scored a very big hit on her with her searing light spell, but it wasn’t enough to drop the enemy.
The battle continues on the next episode of Phoenix Rising…