Now the King’s army had left Phlan at this point, but the Duke’s army was there to witness our glorious victory over the malevolent demon-dragon. To recognize our valor and service to the realm, the Duke elevated Stefan to the landed nobility, granting him control over a territory amounting to a full quarter of the duchy, and dubbed him Lord Stefan, the new Baron of Phlan! Kalli could be heard grumbling something about glass ceilings, and Raynard muttered something about affirmative action for half-breeds, but luckily the Duke did not hear. In any event, the rest of us were also elevated as un-landed lords (a station above our previous position as “high citizens” of Burke), and we all took powerful positions in Lord Stefan’s executive cabinet. Personally, I was granted the title of High Priest of Phlan, to minister over all the different religious bodies therein.
We took a much-needed break after our encounter with Tyranthraxus, and I took Kalli to one of Ronan’s convalescent homes where she could recover from the trauma of dismemberment. After being fitted with a mithral and brass-dragon-bone arm, the Swiftfooted One saw fit to heal her flesh and graft it cleanly to the new arm, which was then magically animated by a local mage. Subsequently, she spent a lot of time praying gratefully in Ronan’s temple, and was favored for her piety and great deeds with an invitation to become a Warden of the Roads – our faith’s order of paladins. I beamed with pride as she humbly gave away all of her valuables to Blake and dedicated herself to this new path of righteousness. We decided to make Phlan a trade and travel hub, and began constructing paved roads between the neighboring cities.
After some months, our happy routine was disrupted by a portentous nightmare had by Hrolf. The dwarven priest came to us and explained his dark vision: it seems that there was an ancient dwarven settlement called Isar that was build on the shores of an infinitely deep lake up in the mountains, to guard over a source of ancient evil chaos called Bundeshatur, that had lain submerged in its depths for generations now. In Hrolf’s dream, that source was stirring and beginning to resurface. I thought this a bad omen, and despite wanting to seek vengeance on the Red Mage, we all agreed that Isar must be investigated and this potential threat quelled before anything else. We hired some lackeys to run the city while we romped around, and headed off on horse to the ancient dwarven settlement.
After riding hard for a week, we came to the ancient site. But now, instead of the city Hrolf was expecting, we found only rubble and body parts! We also observed a new island protruding from the lake… was this Bundeshatur? We set up camp on the lake shore, and found a random guy named Bobby wandering around. We invited him to hang out with us.
That night, Hrolf was visited by another dream: an old bloody, broken dwarf with a disembodied voice foretelling the overthrow of the world, and exhorting Hrolf to beware the sign of chaos, and seek the chaos key. He shared this with us in the morning, and we set about preparing to invade the island. We took an abandoned fishing skiff and set out toward the small island, and found a large flat building there made of unusual stone covered in sludge and moss.
We came ashore, and found a round, valve like door. Blake incanted a Knock spell, and it ground inwards, back, and down into the floor, dust hissing out at us as we coughed. Raynard gingerly padded in first, senses alert for traps and danger. When he didn’t scream or spray blood all over, we slowly filed in after him.
Slinking down the hallway, we came upon an alarming number of corpses strewn about the floor. Suddenly one leapt up and snarled – a ghoul! Blake blasted the stinking body apart with magic missiles, but more began to rise. Kalli kicked and slashed down the hall while I turned back and brandished by holy symbol, blasting a couple more into dust with Ronan’s might. Following Kalli, Hrolf used his own holy magic to destroy several more, but then a wave of them washed over the diminutive cleric, biting and paralyzing him! Raynard waded in with his sword, clearing them off Hrolf while Bobby thunked arrows into the eye sockets of a couple more, and we mopped up the rest while Hrolf recovered. We then dragged their mangled bodies back into the pit where the door had sunk into the floor.
We continued on to another door down the hall. Kalli opened it and she and Blake went in to find a strange inscription – and a stone slab fell behind them, sealing them in! The rest of us could hear a terrible grinding and the walls slowly scraped inwards, trying to crush our comrades. Hrolf prayed to shape a hole in the stone slab, but to no avail… was the seal protected by magic? I tried to dispell any enchantments… the slab seemed to flicker almost imperceptible, but remained in place. Suddenly Blake appeared alongside us, having Dim Doored out, leaving poor Kalli behind! Then the sound stopped, the slab lifted back up, and we saw into the room once more… it contained only the gooey. pulpy remains of our brave friend. :(
Clued in by the flicker we saw earlier, we made a concerted effort of incredulity… and realized it was all an illusion! Kalli wasn’t smooshed after all, but she was just laying there on the floor unconscious – she must have psychosomatically blacked out. We revived her and continued on.
Next we came to small room full of bones and webs. I produced a small holy flame and hurled it in to cleans the webs, but then a shiny object fell from the ceiling. It was an emerald bracelet. Our new follower Bobby ran in to grab it, put it on, and then started to act funny… like he was having a conversation with the door. We continued on, and it seemed as if Bobby now wanted to converse with every door, and that they were in fact telling him arguable useful information, such as that there might be 4 guys in the next room… there were and we got the drop on them. But then we were beset by ju-ju zombies! Our weapons (except Francis) had little effect on the agile ju-ju’s. They were very hard to kill, climbing around and hanging by their toes from the ceiling, but our magic and might prevailed after a drawn-out struggle.
We paused to gather our wits and heal, and I may have lost consciousness for a while because I have only a fuzzy recollection of what happened next… I will leave it to the noble Warden of the Roads to relate the things that followed in her forthright but disjointed style.