We left off last time with the PC's being given terrible news: many of their allies had been kidnapped and taken to Fitzleon, the most well-defended city in the country.
The city's defense were up, so any attempt at scrying and teleportation failed to penetrate it. Morning the Brass teleported the party a bit outside of the city so that they could try to find some way to sneak in while being public enemy #1.
The party spotted a long line stretching out from the city gates, a consequence of the increased security measures. Much discussion followed about how to make their way in, when every part was defended by Paladin patrols. Though they knew of secret tunnels on their way in, they knew they wouldn't be able to navigate them on their own (last time, they had the help of some Theives Guild members with a map.)
Zorgin’Skeet Rahban approached one of the merchants, who introduced himself as Trop from Smashkroblunkzerg, the famous Orcish settlement to the Northwest. Zorgin first gave a cover story of being an animal trainer, but then decided to change his story (and paying off Trop to keep him from asking questions.) Posing as a bounty hunter returning a Prince, a tied-up Mandrake the Younger and Rathgar Maelstrom hid in the grain cart as Zorgin and Trop made their way through the line. Colin Whittmore and Haladorr Boro simply transformed into birds and hid out in a flock flying into the city. Knolan Alvaar Altimus, Dulin, and Ceridan De’Arunsel posed as traveling entertainers. Both the first and the last plans would have failed, were it not for their old friend Threnen being the priest assigned in that shift to help scan the incoming merchants. Rathgar's flash of the holy symbol of Obad-Hai helped pass them by the notice of the guard Paladins.
Once inside, more debate ensued about how to best get into the inner city. Knolan spots Teena, who has finally suceeded in her dream of becoming a famous actress. For whatever reason, Knolan chooses not to reveal his true identity and comes off looking like a creepy stalker. Through a masterful acting performance of his own, he manages to convince her to help get them into the theater in the inner city… a plan that the party abandons.
Rathgar finds some members of the theives guild, whom they had worked with before. After haggling on the price a bit, the theives agree to take them inside and get them out afterwards (if they aren't killed in the process.)
They emerge in the dining hall where Farizir had tried to get rid of them using his son many months ago. Through a combination of an Obscuring Mist spell and a Zone of Silence spell, they are able to slip into the main castle undetected. Upon approaching the hall to the main door, they hear the sounds of torture going on. Though they want to clear out the side rooms, they decide there's no time to waste (except, you know, casting some buff spells before going in.)
The door is kicked open… and suddenly, they are stuck! A forcecage from Farizir's wand freezes the party in place. It was a trap, the hostages were not in the room at all. Farizir says that he could waste time placing the party in an elaborate death trap, but instead, orders the Green Talon to kill them. The Talon knocks his arrows… and does an acrobatic roll and hits the wand, freeing the party!
Yes, the Green Talon is actually Richard Chelton. Farizir flees, but orders some relatives (green dragons) to finish them off. By now, the Scales are efficient and destroying dragons, so they take them out before catching up with Richard.
Morning wanted someone inside Fitzleon to report, but needed someone who was willing to mostly do whatever bad acts were necessary to not raise suspicion. Additionally, they couldn't tell the Scales in case they were captured or mind-read. But now he needn't keep his cover any more. He has big news: he knows where Virivis's phylactery is, the key to removing his immortality.
Chelton also helps rescue the hostages from their cage, including Elrick of Astley who sings for the party again. They find Grob Zerk alive and well, who explains that he too was ressurected as a scale, but earlier than the others and was captured by the Talons. He's been in the prison the entire time.
Everyone runs back through the tunnels, and escapes from Fitzleon succesfully. There's a quick return to Morning on Crescent to drop off the hostages before going to the location of Virivis's final sanctum: located all this time below Muta.
Muta has been razed by the Eyes of Gruumsh and left a lifeless husk of a village. Finding the entrance wasn't difficult, which made Knolan remark that he wished he had explored the town earlier.
The first floor resembled some of the various markings and statues that the party had previously encountered, guarded by power frog-like creatures. They both had the ability to kill just with a glance… which Ceridan fell victim to quickly, but was restored thanks to an old scroll of Revivify.
A fierce battle ensued, with the frog-creatures proving to be quite a challenge and possessing quite a few death attacks. The combined beatings of the party, combined with a couple lucky saves, finally made the creatures, dare I say it, croak.
Using knowledge gained from previous dungeons, they descended into the second floor. A glyph in the front room warned of a terrible creature inside: a Beholder. Prepping once more, the door was tossed open. Strange tentacled creatures guarded the edges of the room, but no Beholder was seen. Using the new Dimension Door manuver, Knolan teleported a group in, where they were ambushed by a ray from the ceiling.
Ceridan wasted no time using his new Cloak of the Montebank to teleport on top of the Beholder and wrestle its eye-stalks away from the party. Several still managed to fire. Zorgin was sadly caught in one, being instantly turned to stone. Another one convinced the flying, charging Dulin to attack her own party instead. But it was all irrelevant as Ceridan pounded the creature as hard as he could. Ceridan, the Aberration/Arcane slayer, was built to take on precisely this kind of foe, and squished the eye tyrant to a pulp…. which then landed on Rathgar.
The book shelves were searched, and among them contained a scroll of stone to flesh, restoring Zorgin to life (with all limbs intact.) The party split up to explore the rest of the chambers. Zorgin found himself almost killed again by stepping through a portal to the Elemental Plane of Fire, and thanked his Dragon God that he was immune to fire. Another room contained frozen versions of all of Virivis's monstrous creations. Another room contained the legendary portal to Gelatinous Cube Land. Another door gave off an ill feeling, bathed in a sickly red hue with the occasional flash of light.
No dungeon was complete without a secret door behind the bookshelf, which lead to a pile of treasure: a massive pile of expensive objects that could all be phylacteries and all registered as magic. Not wanting to take any chances, the entire pile was fed to some escaped Gelatinous Cubes. However, they knew that their work was not yet done.
Taking a chance, Dulin plunged into the red-hued room, and found herself in an expansive room, the edges dotted with glowing portals. One very large demon stood in the center, an obvious amulet hanging from his neck. But before she could react, he disappeared into one of the portals. New demons began to come out, and she disappeared back through the portal.
Quickly, everyone took the plunge, appearing at different areas as demons popped in and out of the room. Knolan's holy whip finally got to lay some smack-down on some demon ass. Then a few Vrocks happen to appear each other, and got together to dance…
The big demon emerged from the portal again and charged at Dulin. Spotting the amulet, Knolan fired off a quick Mage Hand spell to grab it from its chain, and everyone fled back through the portals as the demons continued to spill into the room.
Back at Virivis's lair, the group wasted no time in destroying the lich's phylactery. However, the wall keeping the Gelatinous Cubes back begin to buckle, and raw gelatinous goo spilled out into the lair. The Scales fled back up the stairs, and out of the lair.
The party returns to Morning on Crescent to prepare for the upcoming war…