How A Lady says Farewell

Once in Waterdeep Maria introduces the group members with her to Bishop Silke, the high priestess in charge of the temple. She detailed the undead hunting activities of the Temple in the part of the Underdark that the group was located in. She orders arrangements made for the attack on Lady Winthrop.

Willow and Brother Johanthan go off to check out the city while supplies are gathered, and Dorian has a private audience with the Bishop. Dorian offers the Bishop a base of operations at their keep in the Underdark, with permanent residency/housing available to the temple, in exchange for sharing in defense of the keep if it comes under attack. He details the location, the nearby Drow city, etc.. Bishop Silke accepts the offer and says they will be sending a large force to help with construction soon, and the first group of Initiates of the Temple as well. Dorian also purchases a few rituals from the temple. She gives Dorian a Canteen of Endless Water (a symbol of Amaunator is engraved on the side of the canteen) as a token gift of their deal. Dorian also shares with Bishop Silke that Aurus has a strong desire to return to his humanity. The Bishop indicates there is a ritual that can do just that, but he could easily be permanently destroyed from the ritual.. or he may be returned to life but left a shallow remnant of he once was.

Once the arrangements are finalized, Bishop Silke loans Brother Johnathan a holy relic of the Church (a Golden mace, carved in Runes {Crusader Weapon +4} and glowing with radiant power), to be returned once Lady Winthrop is destroyed. Using another scroll, Maria teleports the group back to their keep.

Dorian and Maria brief the rest of the group on the plan, and Dorian explains to Aurus the risks of undoing his curse, and explains that once Lady Winthrop is dead, he could remain a vampire, but would remain independent of a vampire master. Aurus remains firm in his desire to return to his humanity.

The party sets out for Lady Winthrop’s estate, with the drow slaves, and Maria disguised as a slave. The trip to her estate was very quiet and uneventful. While traveling Aurus spends many hours in deep thought and prayer to Tempus, seeking a sign of favor or guidance.. should he keep this vampiric heritage.. something that would make him almost indestructible force of battle? Or should he renounce these gifts and return to his humanity, and accept the challenges of battle as such, honoring Tempus with his efforts? On the last night of their journey, Aurus has a vision of an Exarch of Tempus coming to him, and commanding him to kill Lady Winthrop and become human again.

Once they arrive, Winthrop’s underlings grant them admission, and they are escorted into her main study, where Lady Winthrop awaits. Sensing the mood, Lady Winthrop commands Aurus to kneel before her, and to the horror of the group, he finds himself compelled and goes to kneel before her.

Maria decides this is the time to strike and an epic battle breaks out. Lady Winthrop summons a few dozen vampire thralls and undead servants to fight. The battle is long and bloody. The party is quite surprised when a warrior of Tempus named Rus appears (he was passing near Winthrop’s estate and heard the battle, so he came to investigate) and begins to fight the vampires alongside the group.

Aurus is focused on Lady Winthrop, and the rest of the party is broken up in different fights. Willow and Aeyo are both closed to death at one time. Lady Winthrop coldly spits out in the fight that if Aurus falls, she will cut off his head. Aurus and Aeyo get Lady Winthrop down to the point she is obviously close to death, when Aurus falls to the ground unconscious. Knowing what her next action would be to take off Aurus’ head, and knowing that any delay in her destruction could cause the death of everyone in the party (everyone was battered and hurting at this point), Dorian channeled a bolt of radiant lightning, and killed her. The fight with her thralls ended a few minutes later, with total destruction of her minions.

The party healed up, and started to inventory her keep. An altar to Orkus was found, along with a collection of ancient scrolls that were used to piece together the ritual to restore Aurus to his humanity. The next morning, when the vampiric Aurus rose restored from his grave, the ritual was explained to him. Aurus firmly refused any thought of remaining a vampire.

Aurus laid down on the cold black obsidian altar, and with some trepidation, Dorian began the ritual to restore Aurus. In a fountain of ancient and primal magic, Aurus was restored, but at a cost. His vision and hearing were less acute than previously (-7 Perception), his appearance was ghoulish (white hair, white skin, black nails), he now suffers an aversion to daylight that he did not have previously as a mortal, and he was a bit less hardy than before in a fight (-3 to all rolls). On the plus side, when his face/skin can be seen, he is more frightening and intimidating (+2 Intimidate) to others.

The party ransacks the keep and makes arrangements to have the contents (furniture, mage globes {permanent magic lights}, books, everything that can be moved, taken back to their Keep. Dorian takes the Drow slaves they had brought for her aside, and makes them an offer.. “Our intention was never to feed you to her, only to get her to open the door for us under the guise of a gift of slaves. Join our cause, serve our mission loyally and never shame our banner.. Which will eventually, most likely, involve war with some of the Drow houses and other cities of the Underdark. Or you can die now, but die free, and die knowing you were not fed to an evil undead by us.” The Drow discuss it, and offer their allegiance with some glee, at the thought of being able to battle previous foes of other houses. Rus, the Warrior of Tempus has joined the party, and is returning to the keep with them. With things settled here, the party heads back to home. The trip back was very uneventful. Aurus was re-acclimating to being human.. enjoying the taste of food and drink again. The Drow slaves slowly warming up to Dorian (there are apparently some small legends about a Deva that is reborn to come back with the sole purpose of slaying Drow, and they have decided Dorian is that Deva). Brother Johnathan is studying some of the rituals from Dorian’s ritual book.

Upon return to the keep, the goblin shaman seeks audience with the party, to update them on what has happened in their absence. Maria thanked the party for their assistance with Lady Winthrop, told Dorian she would see them again soon, and used a scroll to teleport back to Waterdeep to report to the Bishop, and help start preparations to move people to the keep for their ‘embassy’. Perhaps most importantly, the party’s tunnel to the surface was completed by the Dwarf using the Golden Spade. Fortifications had been started on the surface, and in the underdark where the tunnel opened up. Lumber harvesting had also begun. (At this point Willow decides to go to the surface and check things out)

While on the surface some scouting had been done, and a few days journey from the surface exit, some swampy jungle was found that had several partially submerged ruins and ancient pyramids. They were also infested with some frog-like men. As proof, he had the bodies of a few of the frog men dragged out. Aeyo was able to identify these as a race known as “Bullywug”. While on the surface, Willow starts talking to the men working up top, and they share their severe disgruntlement. They have been put to work, without wages. They were originally sailors on the ill-fated journey that brought our group to this island. Willow brings one of them (Menks is his name) down to the keep to discuss the situation.

Willow brings Menks in to meet with Aeyo and Dorian to discuss the needs of the men, and how they can best resolve them. Aeyo and Dorian share Willow’s upset when they realize that these people had not been paid yet, and were basically being treated like slave labor. Immediate orders went out for fortified housing, with a walled structure (fort) to have construction begun up top. This will provide for a safe place for the surface crews to sleep at night, and further provide some measure of safety to keep invaders from the tunnels. Additionally they are being granted generous wages, with stipends equal to their wages to be sent to their family so long as they choose to remain working for the group. Menks is pleased and says he is confident the men will agree to this. Dorian mentions to Aeyo that the party should arrange for some kind of musicians to be on the payroll to help take people’s minds off the hard labor, and offer some merriment to their residents.

Meanwhile the Goblin Shaman hears of Menks’ conversation and decides to make some demands for the goblins.. they are unhappy and feeling stressed. Rus suggests making drums from the bones and skins of the Bullywug corpses. The Shaman is ecstatic at this, and quickly agree’s, running out to tell the goblins of their good fortune.



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