The Troll Hall Chronicles

Season 2, episode 2-04: The Hermitage

In which our adventurers storm the inner sanctum of a confused tiefling wizard, and kill him.

The hermitage
After slaying the eaters of knowledge and leaving the Library of Whispers behind them, our adventurers climbed the catwalk above the library shelves that led to a small wooden door high up along the wall. Inside this door was a hallway leading past barrels and crates to a set of chambers that contained more bookshelves, but these of a personal nature, and seemingly the accouterments that would indicate that this was someone’s living space in the pyramid. Sir Valis Frost said a quick prayer for Karavakios‘s death. There was a statue in the first chamber, holding an eye symbol of Ioun which the half-orc duelist Fin’gould approached to examine. He immediately set off the trap that had been concealed there.

The statue started howling in psychic rage, carving into the minds of everyone nearby and alerting more eaters of knowledge of the party’s approach. These creatures surged toward the adventurers from behind heavy and seemingly very awkward curtains. Fin’gould was almost immediately disabled by the shock and mental confusion emanating from the statue, which started expanding in an ever-growing radius. Peering into an inner chamber the adventurers could see an aged, enervated tiefling with ancient script leaking from his ears, an apparent meal for one of the eaters of knowledge. The tiefling warlock Vicendak began spitting and cursing everything in sight. The unliving reventant monk Aaram punched an eater of knowledge so hard that it exploded into two halves that knocked her friends to the ground. Lady Ming swore an oath to kill the tiefling wizard, who battled both the eaters and the adventurers. Valis Frost sustained severe injuries defending his compatriots from harm. All the while, Fin’gould remained dazed while the influence of the psychic trap grew and grew.

Moloch, the deva artificer saved perhaps the entire party from certain destruction by disabling the trap – barely. In the face of failure, Moloch thought back through a thousand lifetimes and a thousand reincarnations before that, and gleaned a clue, the merest dim memory of an idea of how such an arcane trap might be turned off, and the psychic screaming was silenced forever.

While the battle was ongoing, the party was ambushed by Danneh, the succubus who had sworn to kill them all. Having been bound body and soul to the pyramid by the adventurers’ bumbling, she had a strong incentive to prevent its destruction. Danneh kissed Vicendak, who instantly fell in love with her, and would do anything to protect her from harm, if he was able to do so. At perhaps the last possible moment, Fin’gould recovered from his diminished condition and savagely stabbed Danneh so gravely that he nearly ended her life in one stroke. The befouled blade ran her clean through so completely that he wound up stabbing Moloch on the other side of her as well. On the literal verge of death, Danneh fled, again shrieking curses on the heads of the adventurers, and swearing she would get them. Vicendak watched her go, weeping in loneliness for her. Grarash, the marsh mystic, filled the chambers with a swampy muck that impeded the movements of everyone but himself, but was then struck down by friendly fire from the githzerai psion Kane Karrath, charmed by Danneh’s infernal wiles. It is yet to be seen whether or not he will survive his injuries.

Ultimately, the adventurers triumphed over the eaters of knowledge, and the animated curtains that sought to strangle them every time they passed, and beat the tiefling wizard into submission. Vicendak attempted to diplomatically reason with him. The pathetic creature, who had been deprived of language by the many feedings of the eaters, admitted that he was – and was not – Karavakios. He also indicated that Vyrellis was good, while he was evil, and that the only way out of the pyramid was to kill Karavakios, but that he did not want to die. At this moment, Lady Ming, who had sworn an implacable oath to end the tiefling’s life, beheaded him without mercy. A single adamantine key clattered to the floor. On the key were the words (in Draconic): “First in hardness, not in place.” From the body of the Karavakios-not-Karavakios rose a plume of luminescent green energy that floated up to, and then through, the ceiling.

With her powerful, unliving hands, Aaram wrenched the symbol of Ioun from its housing in the statue. The symbol thrummed with ancient, arcane energy. Standing one of the chambers was a small dome depicting a view of stars on the underside. There was also an inscription in Draconic that read “The key of knowledge shines beneath a ring of holy stars.” (The stars in the dome do not form a ring.) In a locked chest, Vicendak discovered a small ivory statue of a woman with wings that appeared it might possibly be Danneh, although the not-Karavakios had denied he knew who that was.

Upon inspecting the barrels and crates, the adventurers discovered that they were holed up in a room of beer, cured meat, dried fruit and other dried provisions, and barricaded the door to give themselves some much needed peace and rest.

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