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Session 8 – Kalarel

June 25, 2011

Past the trapped entry hall, the party descends deeper beneath the ruins of the Keep on the Shadowfell. The ancient staircase ends in a large chamber configured like a temple… columns supporting the ceiling and an altar on the far wall. In front of the altar a priest in dark robes chants haltingly, conjuring a fountain of blood to pour forth from the basin before him. Streams of blood run across the stone floor, pooling at low points, eventually finding its way down a large hole cut into the floor in the center of the room.

Flanking the hole, two armored guards chant in unison with the priest… at least they were chanting until they saw the party.

The battle that ensues is vicious. The four heroes can sense that they are close now, and time runs short. The berserker guards turn immediately on the new intruders, seeking only to protect the priest and preserve the ritual underway. The priest calls forth dark creepers from the shadows to join the fray, but eventually he too must set aside his incantations to defend himself from the party, albeit fruitlessly.

Once the room is clear, attention is turned to the great hole in the floor. Massive chains affixed to the floor descend into a lower chamber. Fiery light flickers at the bottom of the 50’ drop. A great power can be felt emanating from its depths. Naivara Fey Steps to the bottom of the pit – into a shallow pool of blood. Cam swings down close behind while Abraxus and Draper both attempt to slide down the slippery chains. With a splash and great clamor, both Abraxus and Draper find themselves prone in the pool of blood at the bottom of the pit.

For the first time, the party of four heroes can see their goal: a rippling black portal forming in a stone archway on the wall of a great cathedral. Buried deep beneath the earth, a large chamber, built like a beautiful church. On a raised platform at the far end of the room, Kalarel stands in front of an open ritual book, bolts of energy swirling about him, leaping back and forth between his outstretched arms and the portal. Animated skeletons stand around the room, ready to defend their master. The portal itself appears as a dark film stretched across the span of the archway. Long tentacles push against the surface of the portal, reaching out into the cathedral.

The skeletons lock down the party immediately, blocking their path to Kalarel. Abraxus dispatches of a group of them with his coldfire breath, but a nearby wight reanimates them for his master and brings them back into the fight. There will be little use in killing skeletons as long as that wight is around and so the party turns their attention to the ghostly figure skirting the room.

The battle is long and hard. Until the wight and skeletons are finally all destroyed, Kalarel stands safely on his platform raining bolts of dark energy down on the party. The tentacles from the portal writhe fiercely throughout the room, and a tempting whisper from the portal itself lures each member of the party closer to the opening with every passing moment. Finally, as his last defenders fall, Kalarel teleports himself directly in front of the portal, drawing upon its energy to unleash an onslaught of magic and pain on the party, knocking Cam unconscious and leaving the rest of the party dangerously close to defeat.

Naivara has locked minds with Kalarel and it is all she can do to keep herself from becoming trapped in the malicious psyche of her opponent. Draper gets one final slice with his scimitar in against Kalarel before rushing to Cam’s aid. The blade cuts deep and draws back with it a ribbon of dark smoke that encircles the blade, darkening it to glossy black steel. Abraxus uses his newfound longsword, Aecris, a gift from Sir Keegan himself, to keep Kalarel busy as Draper administers first aid to his companion, reviving him, but just barely.

Cam, still on the ground where he fell, sees Kalarel’s guard go down for just an instant and unleashes two arrows from his longbow, both of which find their mark in Kararel’s chest. The arcane charge on the tips of Kalarel’s fingers traces a path back to Cam’s bow, singeing the beautiful ash to charcoal black. Kalarel falls first to his knees, and then slumps to one side on the magical circle he used to open the portal to the Shadowfell.

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