DARKNESS GATHERING: PART FOUR

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THE TOWER ENOCH

The heroes wasted no time raiding the Tower Enoch. RIPPEN smashed one of the double oak doors off its top hinge even while CHAK was attempting to pick the lock. A second kick from RIPPEN knocked the door from its hinges, thundering the door to the red tiled floor inside. CHAK sighed and shrugged his shoulders, slipping the lockpicking tools into his belt with a small wry grin.

As they stood in the doorway, sounds poured from within. They could hear footfalls as if several people were running away from them. Then they could hear movement from upstairs. And somewhere in the distance …  the grinding of stone on stone.

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Looking down the long dark hallway, they could see the dark form on someone standing at the crossway hall ahead. CHAK creeped forward and seemed to melt into the darkness while the others prepared for combat. However, RIPPEN could easily see in the dim light, and informed everyone that the form ahead was simply a statue of Pelor. The statue had been defaced, and the arms had been broken off. This mixed with the removed holy symbols from the exterior of the Tower added to the original idea that Enoch was a heretic in the eyes of the Pelorian Church.

Searching around the statue revealed a secret door. This door opened to a narrow stairway that led upward. This was the grinding stone on stone noise they heard earlier. Looking through the remaining doors on this crossway passage, RIPPEN and GREYBEARD discovered a few bedchambers (one used and another not) and an elaborate lounge filled with plush furnishings. Lastly, they found what appeared to be a guard room with half-consumed food and drink. From here, a set of stairs led upwards.

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The group decided to split up: XE and CHAK heading up after the Owl in the secret door stairway, and RIPPEN going up the other set of stairs with GREYBEARD and XE’s Owl.

Ultimately, the heroes found their way into an ambush with ten lurking white-clad initiates waiting for them. CHAK and RIPPEN tore into the priests with some support from GREYBEARD.

As RIPPEN hacked into his enemies with savage, raw power, CHAK moved with grace like a dancer. Everywhere the two went, their arts left another initiate gravely wounded, their white robes now dripping red.

Meanwhile, Enoch had disguised himself magically, and posed as a wounded old man. They tried to help the man, guessing he was another of Enoch’s victims. They took the man with him, telling him to go to the rear and to stay out of the way.

When the time was right, Enoch attacked the heroes.

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RIPPEN was the first to fall. Enoch unleashed Magic Missiles as the Dwarf Fighter, blasting him off his feet and backwards on to the floor. The smoke rose from his now damaged armor and shield. He sputtered something in Dwarven that sounded like a curse, and then slumped lifeless on the floor. RIPPEN “THE RED” was dead.

XE was next to fall. While focusing on his Owl, XE never heard the two Dark Elves creeping up behind him. He didn’t hear them silently move into position. His first indication that he was being attacked was that he was enveloped by a Globe of Darkness. He put up a good fight, but in the end the Drow won, cutting him down with their slender curved blades. XE was dead.

Before the Drow could do anything else, CHAK came smashing through the nearby window. His sword and knife made quick work of the Drow who had not planed on running afoul of a mad Lightfoot Halfing with a deadly bloodlust. CHAK saw that XE was down, and shouted out to GREYBEARD for help.

Luckily, GREYBEARD was fast to act. He layed hands on RIPPEN, surging healing magic into the fallen Dwarf. First breathing returned, and then the Dwarf roared an angry battle-cry as he stood up. Glancing over his armor and shield, he saw it was riddled with still-smoking holes from the Magic Missiles. RIPPEN howled with rage, slid down the ladder, and charged Enoch. GREYBEARD followed in the Dwarf’s wake, called out by CHAK to help XE.

GREYBEARD was able to heal XE by calling down healing magic. XE stirred, his immortal soul returning from the brink of Death’s door.

Meanwhile, RIPPEN landed the final blow on Enoch. He rushed forward, hacking mightily into the heretic priest! The villian flew backwards, collapsing into the corner. But this was not Enoch’s end. GREYBEARD healed him after XE had bound the heretic’s hands. After questioning Enoch, XE gripped the evil man by the neck, casting Shocking Grasp to send his soul reeling into the Abyss where it belonged.

The raid on Tower Enoch was victorious. And now the heroes would have to decide what to do in the aftermath of Enoch’s madness.

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