Kingdom of Arboria, Year 6, Sarenith 23rd
After resting for a while on, oddly, a perfectly normal grass patch beside the path, we resumed our march through Thousand Breaths toward the White Tower. This time, Gelros summoned seven phantom horses, and I used a Carry Companion spell I'd been researching to reduce Spike and Haiku to pocket-sized statues so we could bring them along for the ride. It felt… wrong to freeze them so. But it was expedient, and they did come back on command as expected when we arrived.
We reached the tower within a half a day. The tower itself was tall, white stone, but otherwise unremarkable save for the massive black dragon perched on top. (Spoiler: it was Ithuliak.) Surrounding the tower was a field of too-lifelike statues, each with a face frozen in some variation of an expression of raw horror. Gelros stepped forward to address Ithuliak (what's a sporting kill without some witty banter first?), but Ithuliak addressed him first.
Ithuliak: Do you like my garden?
Gelros: Yes, I like the number and variety, but the facial expressions are a little off-putting.
Ithuliak: Well, maybe you should look more closely!
Gelros: Well, since you invited me, yes, of course I will.
Taking another step, Gelros began a close examination of a minotaur, and was just starting on a critique of it's facial hair when Ithuliak (bored, it seems, of this game) took to the air and (to no one's surprise) called out "You should join them!"
Whatever her lack of manners and conversational skills, Ithuliak was neither stupid nor ill-prepared. As we scattered, I watched her dive: one dragon became eight, then all eight became blurry in appearance. There must have been other magical defenses up as well. Narzeth slung a complicated looking spell, but Ithuliak flew on unperturbed.
She landed, firing a line of acid that caught Evariel and Jaric off guard. I fired my flight of arrows at several of the interleaving dragon images. Judging by the roaring, one connected with the correct dragon. Kris scrambled his way under her and landed a blow with Briar, but her armor absorbed the impact. Jaric, meanwhile, made sure that a second acid attack would produce less armor melting than the first one had.
For the next few moments, most of us threw all our attacks at Ithuliak with limited success. Gelros missed with two songbolts, though a third connected. She continued to resist Narzeth's spells and my arrows mostly struck images or flew by. Meanwhile, Ithuliak was chasing me. After taking the brunt of one bite, I had Haiku keep me just a few feet ahead, playing a thrillingly dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. Dragon baiting! I should do this more often.
The tide turned when Narzeth and Gelros changed tactics and started dispelling Ithuliak's defenses rather than trying to sling spells through them. This earned Narzeth a face full of acid, but he kept his cool and cast his own mirror images. Ithuliak, after eating one image, abruptly retreated onto her tower. I'm guessing she preferred to fall back rather than face Kris and I without shielding illusions?
We weren't about to leave, though. We arrived at the tower top in various ways: teleportation, roc-back, row-claw-carry. Evariel was first into the fray, exchanging a destruction spell for an acid blast. Kris followed, with a charge. He took as well as he got, but as Haiku brought me over the lip of the tower I distinctly heard his taunt: "I'm still here, wyrm!" In the end, though, it was Gelros who finished her with scorching rays from his staff of fire.
As Ithuliak's corpse fell, flaming, atop her pile of gold, we heard thousands of voices screaming as if in agony. The ground shifted, disorientingly, and everything seemed to change size, shape, or both. When the shaking stopped, we found that Thousand Breaths had been cast back into the material plane.
I'll spare you the magical treatise on the subject that Narzeth gave us, stream of consciousness, as he worked out what had just happened. The key thing is that Thousand Breaths is now a normal spooky forest, instead of a supernatural one, and its former contents are scattered around the vicinity of the ruins of the Castle of Knives. I've decided to name the region Wyrmfall, in honor of Gelros's victory.
This was all two days ago. We've returned to Bandit's Rest, where Gelros (as usual) was welcomed like a conquering hero. (This may have been somewhat augmented by the fact that Evariel has used some ritual magic to reanimate Ithuliak as a "skeletal champion", who she then paraded down the street behind Gelros. So much for getting her in my museum.) I've assigned the Nomen Thunderguard to watch the borders of Thousand Breaths, with orders to alert me of major threats.
And now, for a few days off.
- 204,800 XP for defeating Ithuliak
- 153,600 XP for casting Thousand Breaths back to the material plane
- 153,600 XP for impressing the blowhard "hero" in Pitax with Ithuliak's defeat
- 153,600 XP for the quest "chasing lightning"
- 153,600 XP for stopping the ettins
- 855,600 cp, 72,300 sp, 17,925 gp, and 1,860 pp
- Wand of barkskin (CL 12)
- Several dozen gemstones and minor trinkets worth a total of 36,000 gp
- Suit of +4 elven chainmail
- +2 wild buckler
- 1 darkwood heavy shield of reflecting
- Small +1 dagger of speed
- Adamantine falchion +2 of flaming burst
- Sylvan scimitar
- +3 returning icy starknife
- 10 potions of cure serious wounds,
- Ring of wizardry (III)
- Rod of greater selective metamagic
- Rod of the python
- Staff of defense
- Staff of stealth
- A cloak of the bat
- Bracers of armor +8
- Gem of seeing
- Mantle of faith