Our heroes awake on the 33rd of High Heat after having spent several hours the previous night dealing with the BugBear incursion. They conduct their usual morning preparations before setting out to the tower; N'jall leads a party consisting of Ta and Yenri, Marcellus, Darion, and Phoebe. Together they spend about an hour of the early morning to traverse through back alleys to arrive at Promenade Way.
Promenade Street is a phenomenal site especially considering its distance this far out from the center of its Empire. It is a wide street filled with statues and monuments that stretches from the south of Norgas up to the North, it is a grand Triumphal procession route that now lies littered with the ruined and overturned carts of merchants, torn canvas, and scattered dead.
As the heroes push out across the wide street they come across a patch a dead guards denser than in other areas, an apparent last stand was attempted there by some. Only a moment later arrows begin showering down on them. N'jall is dropped immediately… Marcellus rushes over and attempts a Lay on Hands as he picks up N'jall's limp body and the entire party begins rushing to the far side as arrows continue to rain upon them; the arrows stop when they reach the far side.
A few blocks in from Promenade Street the heroes come across the Mages Tower. It's a stone structure about 100 feet in height surrounded with a perimeter wall with an open iron gate at its entrance…. The heroes enter and proceed to the large double wide wooden doors entering into the tower… They enter.
Immediately the doors close behind them and flaming braziers light up inside revealing a large clay golem in the immediate foyer blocking the only passage into the tower… The Golem lets out an alert "Master More Intruders" before beginning its attack on the party. It clubs at Darion and Marcellus while N'jall inspects runes beneat it… Phoebe transforms into a raptor and begins frantically scratching at the runes on the floor. Marcellus and Darion's blades appear to have no real impact on the creature.
Taking a hint from Phoebe, Darion brings up his falchion and strikes at the rune on the floor, unintentionally unleashing a torrent of raw magical energy from the lay-lines beneath the tower. Light leaves the room as the forms of the heroes changes in gruesome and dramatic ways… for a moment they all feel the rending of flesh and breaking of bones as their bodies take on forms not their own… Phoebne appears as a larger more ferocious looking raptor, Darion appears as a frailer sickly version of himself, N'jall as a devil with horns and a tail with long limbs, Marcellus twists with his rib cage and bones turn inside out….
As light returns to the room Ta, Yenri, and the Golem are gone, there are three squirrels. Darion immediately butchers the squirrel standing where the Golem was. N'jall snaps at the others over their ignorance of the power of magic and how destroying the rune almost got everyone killed and how they're all lucky to be alive… Marcellus tries to round up the squirrels presumably being Ta and Yenri into his pouch, but instead they scurry to Phoebe… N'jall leaves the others and heads to a center ring in the adjoining area before being teleported up… Upon arriving he goes to the next room and immediately drops unconscious after a small flame burst.
After waiting a few moments Darion, Marcellus, and Phoebe follow with the squirrels, they enter to witness N'jall down in a doorway across the room…. Marcellus rushes over to administer some healing which brings N'jall back as he pulls him away from the doorway. Darion then runs out into the doorway to confront the enemy in the next room, he too is met with a hurl of fire from three small flying flame minions; Darion doesn't drop like N'jall did. Marcellus goes to join Darion in the next room while N'jall begins reading over the bookshelves in the first room with Phoebe protecting the squirrels…. Darion engages the fiends but is quickly forced up onto some low rubble to avoid the pool of molten metal oen transformed into thats now on the ground and creeping towards the library room and N'jall…
As it enters the doorway n'jall and Phoebe begin harassing it with frost energy from their wand. Meanwhile, the other two are quickly dispatched by devastating blows delivered from Darion and Marcellus. Marcellus pours water out on the molten puddle which soon returns to its true form and flies up to the ceiling, out of their reach and calls for parlay. Darion, still enraged, tries to fight the creature but is prevented by Marcellus. N'jall begins talking with the creature that names itself as Quizit… it explains that the mage that lived here before the attack died and nothing good has happened since now with most of the cages in the tower opened, freeing the creatures; it also explains how Darion's strike on the rune disrupted the magical flow and damaged the tower in multiple ways drawing a magical overload from the magical lattice lines running beneath the tower.
N'jall asks Quizit if he will go ahead of the party and scout out the rest of the tower, which he agrees to do and flies off. Phoebe accepts the terrified squirrels into her protection.
After some time Quizit returns and tells N'jall that they have done a number on the rest of the tower and to proceed with caution. With no way down or out, there is no choice but to continue up.
N'jall, Darion, Marcellus, and Phoebe go through the teleporter and come out on a narrow ledge between some suspicious ooze and the hole in the floor that was apprent from the level below…. on the ledge N'jall almost falls in but is pulled back by the others. To their backs a hole in the tower that drops down some 40 feet to the ground lets in a light breeze.
Phoebe is the first the cross the ruined part of the tower to the safety of the other side where some shelves, crates, and a hunched figure at a desk; she crosses with little difficulty. A rope is thrown over to phoebe and she secures it to a table and some crates. N'jall attempts to follow with the safety of the lifeline but halfway across he stumbles and falls to the floor below, he stops moving.
The party yells down to N'jall, but no answer comes.
A disgusted Marcellus is lowered down to the floor by Darion, Marcellus uses a Lay on Hands to revive the unconscious N'jall… the disgruntled N'jall takes them back up the teleporter to Darion. With the help of an additional lifeline N'jall is able to make it across safely, shortly followed by Marcellus and finally Darion who manage to cross with safetly some trouble.
On the other side of this level Phoebe and N'jall begin searching through crates, the desk, and the dead body at the desk to find a few things… some alchemical equipment, a spellbook, potions, a staff, a necklace, some loose parchment, and some enchanted ingots. After searching and finding nothing else of note the party proceeds to the next teleporter pad leading up, presumably… N'jall is the first to go, followed shortly thereafter by the others.
N'jall is the first to arrive at the top floor, he inquisitively moves up to investigate one of two horned statues there. It quickly comes alive and takes a slash at N'jall right as the others come up to the level to face down to gargoyles.
Marcellus instinctively runs up to put himself between the Gargoyles and the N'jall who quickly runs back behind him; Marcellus moves up a gain to begin attacking the lead gargoyle with Darion while the second flies around them to finish off N'jall who falls to the ground, limp.
After taking a few devastating hits from Darion the Gargoyles withdraw, Marcellus uses it as an opportunity to revive N'jall who falls back behind the relative safety of some crates closer to Phoebe who continues to hurl some light fire from her hands…. the squirrels squirming terrified in her sack… The gargoyles seem to almost transform into larger, more hulky, versions of themselves and jump back into the fight against Darion and Marcellus.
The first comes at Darion, grabbing him, then taking him up and out over the balcony into the open air outside the tower… the second engages Marcellus. N'jall opens up a scroll and utters some words producing a flaming spear on the one remaining in the tower as it continues to slash at Marcellus with limited effect. Darion, now mid-air some eighty or hundred feet up over the ground below the balcony manages to desperately break free of the grapple and push himself toward the balcony some twenty feet below… the fall hurts, but he's still in the fight… As Darion lands, N'jall's falming spear slams into him to add insult to injury as the Gargoyle descends and lands near Darion to continue attacking him…. The second Gargyle breaks off Marcellus to help the other attack Darion, Marcellus leaps onto a sofa and continues attacking it.
Now annoyed by the produce flames, one of the gargoyles takes flight, circumvents Darion and Marcellus, and proceeds to lunge at N'jall. Marcellus tries to block it, but the effort is futile. N'jall goes down again, once down the gargoyle continues slashing at his lifeless body. A horrified Marcellus is able to run over and finish off the Gargoyle over N'jall with the continued help of Phoebe while Darion finishes off the other….
The Gargoyles crumble dead, the fight apparently over.
The survivors stand over the bloody mangled body of N'jall who Phoebe pronounces as being very much dead.
Marcellus pulls a sheet over his body and begins uttering some holy prayers in some haphazard embarkation of N'jall's soul, giving some last rites to his fallen comrade… as he does this N'jalls body begins convulsing as the disgusting smells of sulfur and death fill the area, the sheet begins soaking up dark liquid as apparently black blood runs from his corpse…. Marcellus continues praying nervously and then stops as the body ceases movement… A disturbed phoebe pulls back the sheet to nervously look upon N'jall… After a short time his eyes open as he sits up, gasping for air.
Marcellus pulls his sword, unsure of what's happening, but it quickly becomes apparent that N'jall is very much alive once more, whether through some dark magic, or the workings of his own prayers, or perhaps a misdiagnosis on their part prematurely pronouncing him dead…. whatever the case N'jall is alive and the party is thankful.
"Give me the squirrels." N'jall exclaims… a hesitant phoebe lowers the sack and lets the squirrels out as a black mists emanates from N'jall's fingers and shrouds the squirrels… as the dark mist fades the squirrels return to their previous forms of Ta and Yenri, who both are very much disturbed having spent the last several hours in the body of a squirrel.
They begin quickly searching through the room for any hints as to the fate of the tower, any arcane loot, and most importantly a way down off the tower.
In an end-table next to the bed N'jall finds some loose gems and other items Darion will hold for him. A confident Darion heads over to the desk and proceeds to pull open a drawer, he ceases moving. The others rush over and try talking to Darion, even slapping him to no avail. Marcellus lasso's Darion and pulls him away, it works, but very slowly… Darion spends the next 5 minutes or so slowly falling to the ground in what seems to be over an hours worth of time that passes in his time as he's stuck helpless, a prisoner in his own body, the victim of a high level slowing spell…
The others patiently wait as they continue searching the room and contemplating their way down, using the vantage point of the tower to scout out the surrounding area in Norgas.
After some time the spell wares off and Darion comes to, immediately strutting over to the edge of the balcony as he relieves himself, having been holding it in for what feels like days in a terrible agony.
N'jall figures there must be a key for the desk, he demands to be lowered to the surface by rope so he may re-enter the tower and look over the corpse again for the key that must accompany the desk. Darion lowers N'jall who reaches the surface safely and re-enters the tower, passing the splattered remains of the squirrel that once was the Golem, going up the teleporter to find himself in a precarious situation…. he arrives on the second level between the acid and the broken out section of the floor, not having thought through that he'd have to cross the ruined section again, this time without help. Luckily, N'jall manages to tippy toe across some of the remaining debris without falling this time and safely reaches the other side only to find there is no key anywhere in the room…. A frustrated N'jall gives up and proceeds back to the third level to find the others waiting.
Out of options the group decides they will lower Phoebe, Ta and Yenri, down with rope from the ledge of the balcony. Finally Darion lowers down Marcellus before N'jall casts a slowness spell and he and Darion slowly descend the 80 feet to the surface.
It is now late in the morning, the heroes find themselves more or less safely to the front of the tower they've spent the better part of the morning clearing. They pack it up and head back to the Highwall Hearth.
Back at Highwall Hearth
Upon their return they find that blinders have been set up around Captain Hargrave as the Artificer works on saving his life. The Ninth Legion veteran is still there.
Darion and N'jall talk to the Artificer who tell him it would take some time to repair the tower, he explains to them the ingots they found. From the others they learn that Darryn has not returned from his patrol, they learn about a trade estate in the south overrun with orcs and an ogre near the zoo terrorizing citizens; they also get rumors of strange disappearances to the north where no one who enters ever returns, not even orcs. They also learn more about a resistance in South Norgas and an Orc Sniper somewhere around Promenade Way and a team of guards pinned down there.