We have continued our exploration of this strange castle built in the clouds. Architecturally it is a wondrous structure assembled by giants on a scale for giants. The halls, stairs and ceilings are all enormous, and I feel like a little gnome or halfling skulking about.
After some searching we came into an atrium that accessed the castle’s lower courtyard. The room was obscured by cloud fog, but ahead of us we could see a giant-sized door, and guarding the door, shrouded in fog, we could make out a pair of man-sized dragon cultists. We successfully managed to sneak through the mist and get the drop on them. Pug and Belamir (in his polar bear form) took them out before I had a chance to lend my aid. They managed it fast enough that the alarm wasn’t sounded.
At my advice, Soveliss then stood on the bear’s shoulders and peered in through the giant-sized key hole. It was big enough that he gained a clear view into the room beyond and reported that Rezmir, Mondath and a pair of drakes were in the chamber. Rezmir and Mondath were busy examining their maps and discussing their plans. I suggested Soveliss fireball them through the keyhole, but the warlock didn’t want to destroy the documents they were looking over. I was much less concerned about them, but his point was valid and Idara was interested in acquiring information to bring back to the lords in Waterdeep. Soveliss opted instead to use his wand of winter, and summon an ice storm in the room.
Belair, Pug and I then tried to push the door open, but we discovered it was barred from behind, and we failed to force it open. We hoped our enemies might instead come to us since the door seemed to be the only exit. They did not. Soveliss then brought forth the jug of alchemy and opened a spout which sent a surge of potent acid spewing out. The acid burned a hole through the door big enough for a man to crawl through. Unsurprisingly our enemies took up positions near the hole, waiting to cleave at the first one of us to try to crawl through.
I was eager to get in and engage them in battle, but I wasn’t foolish enough to crawl through and be decapitated. I encouraged Soveliss to use another spell clear the path, but Pug was thirsting for blood and crawled through the hole. Our enemies attacked him of course. I couldn’t see exactly what happened, but I heard him bellowing in pain and rage. Miraculously he survived their ambush. Belamir went in next; he was forced to assume human form to squeeze through the hole. Soveliss went next. I was about to follow him when suddenly a cloud of magical darkness filled the room. I could no longer see anything inside, though I could hear the drakes snarling and Pug and Belamir fighting. Despite not being able to see, I crawled through the hole and entered the chamber. I relied on my other senses to find my way towards Rezmir. I then drew my greatsword and began slashing at her. I attempted to trip her, hoping that getting her on the ground would offset the challenge of cleaving her in the dark. She went down, but then she blasted me with acid. This time I had no magic to protect me. I hate acid. By the gods how it burns.
I cannot say a lot about the details of the fight, for I fought it in complete darkness. I focused on Rezmir and landed several slashes on her. I am not entirely sure, but I suspect that her senses were not hindered by the inky black. I think Pug was the one that ended up landing the killing blow against her. The darkness disappeared as soon as she was slain. I took a moment to glance down at her corpse, and I could see that she had assumed the form a black scaled half dragon. She carried a wicked looking, black-bladed greatsword that lay on the ground. Strangely, it almost seemed as though the blade was drinking the blood that was pooling on the ground around her.
We then finished off the drakes with ease, and as soon as they were dead Mondath surrendered. By this time we were all wounded and battle weary. We decided that the room was defensible and we would try to take a long rest within. We set to work preparing. Pug and Belamir dragged the corpses of the dead cultist guards into the room. We bound and gagged Mondath, and Soveliss made himself busy collecting all the documents.
There were several items of interest in the room. Rezimir had been wearing a strange black, dragon mask. Soveliss was confident it was magical, and I think that it may have given her the ability to transform into a half-dragon. Her sword was also a powerful magic weapon. In fact, when I picked it up off the ground it spoke to me. I was dumbstruck for a moment. Growing up, I had of course heard legends of enchanted blades that possessed an sentience and were capable of speak, but I had never really believed such tales. Yet suddenly I was holding just such a weapon. My companions immediately gathered around. I struck up a conversation with the sinister looking sword and asked it where it was from and when and by whom it was forged. It introduced itself as Hazirawn, and it spoke of a place called the Well of Dragons. It claimed it had been forged for killing dragons. It also said that it had been lost in Undermountain for a time and came into Rezimir’s possession when she had been exploring its halls. The sword was eager to slay dragons, and had been frustrated that in Rezimir’s possession it had often been in the company of the creatures but unable to engage them in battle.
I’m not sure if I believe everything or anything the blade has told me. It could all be lies; the blade itself looks like it was something forged in the pits of hell, which makes me untrusting towards it. Furthermore, stories of sentient blades often seem to involve the weapons exerting their will over their owner, and many tales tell of swords that come to dominate their wielders, so that the man is but a puppet for the weapon. The blade is eager for a new master to form a bond with it, and it seems to think I may be a suitable candidate, but I am not certain that this is road I want to travel. I fear that it might try to control me, and that is a thought that terrifies me. Yet the power it might offer… I will think on it. Truth be told, I’m not overly fond of swords to begin with. I find the flail to be a much more interesting weapon, so had Hazirawn been a flail I would surely have made the bond.
We spent some time interrogating Mondath. On one hand she wasn’t eager to give up the secrets of her cult. On the other hand she was so confident in the power of her god and the impending victory of her side that she did want to brag. Sadly, she said nothing that stood out as a huge revelation. Probably the most important thing we learned was that the Well of Dragons seems to be another point of great importance to the cult and their plans. I know nothing of this place other than its name and location on one of the maps, but it will likely be one of our next destinations, assuming we manage to escape this cloud castle.
I suggested we kill Mondath since she wasn’t being cooperative, and the documents we had salvaged would likely give us the same information she could. However, other members of the party had some morale quandary about executing her. I’m not really sure why since she was clearly a vile cultist who had committed numerous crimes against mankind. Still they insisted she at least be given a trial, and since there was a Lord of Waterdeep among us such a thing was possible. I acted the prosecution and Pug of all people was her defence. Idara, of course, was the judge. I made my case, and the evidence against her could not be argued, but Idara wanted her kept alive, for the lord still viewed her a valuable prisoner. I saw the bitch as a danger and liability that we should be rid of as soon as possible. Unfortunately, Idara ruled that the woman be brought back to Waterdeep. I was tempted to cut her down anyhow, but I knew that such an action would have angered my companions and Idara. As far as I’m concerned she’s their responsibility now. They can see to guarding her and transporting her. I will offer her nothing but a quick death.
We holed up in the room and began our rest. After an hour or so we heard heavy foot steps; a booming voice called out for Rezmir from the other side of the door. It was more than likely one of the cloud giants. He wanted to tell her that her dragon was dead, and that there were intruders in the castle. Idara did her best impersonation of Rezmir and convinced the giant that she was busy communing with her dark god and could not be disturbed. The ruse worked and the giant went on his way. We were undisturbed for the next several hours. Then more trouble came our way.
It started with a strange mist creeping into the room through some cracks up in the corner ceiling. The stuff was unnatural. We also heard the sounds of cultists coming towards the door. Pug called upon his nature magic to summon thorny spike in the floor outside the room, which caused the cultists much pain and made it difficult for them to try to move in on us. I readied my shield and longsword and took position near the acid hole we had burned in the door. I planned to hack down any of the bastards that tried to crawl through. Then the cloud of mist assumed a humanoid form. The thing was some sort of foul vampire crone. It engaged my allies, but used its supernatural powers to try to turn them against one another. I think it began by targeting Soveliss, filling his head with visions while grabbing his wrist and sinking her fangs into it. Pug, Belamir and Varis came to his aid and drove her off. Suddenly she had scuttled along the ceiling and had dropped down beside me. Her dark charms overcame me. I started seeing her as some sort of beautiful innocent in need of protection.
I first went after Soveliss who had blasted her with his dark eldritch bolts. I slammed him with my shield and sent him staggering backwards. I could hear myself threatening to cut him down if he didn’t back off. My voice sounded distant and far away, as if it weren’t my own. Then Belamir, in his polar bear form, came at her and started clawing and grappling with the bitch. I found myself forced to instead defend her against the bear. I gave him a few good cuts before my allies forced her back into mist form and caused her to flee, which ended her control over my mind.
By this time more cultists had arrived. Among them were a pair of what sounded like larger creatures that started to batter against the door. I moved back in front of the door, ready for the bar to snap and for our enemies to come surging in. I would be the first line of defence. The door didn’t break how I expected. It separated from its hinges and fell straight down, burying me beneath. This was rather embarrassing. By the time I crawled out from under the door, I found two dead ogres nearby- presumably the big fellows that had battered the door down. I joined the fight in time to help my companions slay a few cultists before the two cloud giants arrived.