High Hall, Part 2

General Summary

Day 4   The City of Elturel, Avernus, First Layer of the Nine Hells         Just as the adventuring company known as Wink's Warriors were going to descend into the catacombs beneath High Hall, Midgard arrived, as well as a rather unexpected figure.   A gnome named Khaboom who hailed from the prime material world of Falbehklin stepped out of a portal. He introduced himself and asked if he was in Avernus. When asked why he would intentionally travel to the first layer of the Nine Hells, he said he was an archaeologist from the prestigious Mechahammer University and was interested in studying artifacts from Avernus.   Gorn used his divine sense to find out if Khaboom had any evil intentions. Satisfied he did not, Wink's Warriors offered him to join them.   The group was glad to see Midgard again. The dwarf cleric of Moradin said the survivors at Shield Hall were faring well and hoped to make it to High Hall when the cathedral was secure enough.   Everyone agreed to do what they can to rid High Hall of any infernals and to find Grand Duke Ravengard who was said to be in High Hall.   After descending down into the catacombs which housed the remains of numerous worshipers and servants of Torm interred over the past century., they came upon a small, isolated tomb. Within the tomb lay the body of a young human woman lying on the bier. Although the woman was clearly dead, she looked as though she was sleeping. Her body was perfectly preserved and had no appearance of decomposition. A gleaming greatsword rested at her side.   Jade noticed a stone plaque beneath a statue of the woman at the tomb's entrance. He read out loud what was inscribed on it:     In 1440 DR, years before the Companion appeared in the sky, a young red dragon made life miserable for the residents of Elturel. It ate livestock, burned crops, and demanded tribute. Then one day, a scruffy-looking, unarmored woman wielding a greatsword marched up to the dragon and hacked at the beast with mighty swings.   Before the stunned creature could fly away, she slew it. A startled and overwhelmed populace rushed toward the woman to thank and reward her for her bravery. As they approached, however, she fell dead. The unknown woman was laid to rest in this special place in the cathedral, and her body has never decomposed. Her nonmagical greatsword, which was named Redemption, was placed at her side. Rumors suggest that she was an incarnation of Torm, or that Torm's essence filled the woman and inspired her to defeat the threat.     Gorn, having heard of the tale of the young maiden, picked up the greatsword. Upon touching it, he was suddenly filled with memories of the maiden battling the young red dragon. He also learned of the Redemption's enchantments. He decided to keep the greatsword and use it against the forces of evil he knew he would encounter in Avernus. Gorn thought perhaps, he too, was chosen by Torm to wield Redemption. Or, quite possibly, could he be an incarnation of Torm?   Screams echoed through the catacombs!   Wink's Warriors quickly made their way to where they heard the screams come from.   Soon they found themselves in a large crypt area. It was occupied by over a hundred frightened people. They cowered behind sarcophagi and in alcoves, their eyes red and their cheeks stained with tears.   Standing before a large font was a haggard woman, her gray hair matted with sweat. With one arm, she clutched a leather-bound tome to her breast. Clipped to her belt was a ceremonial mace that would probably shatter if it struck anything harder than a pillow.   Gorn recognized the woman as Pherria Jynks, a simple sage and an expert on possession and exorcism, who he heard was only just starting her career as a servant of Torm.   Standing next to her was an infernal, larger than any the group had seen so far. It towered nearly nine feet high and had bat-like wings. It had skin that was nearly white. Its legs were bent back like many infernals. It held a wicked-looking longsword that was poised at the haggard woman's neck.   The group could hear the large infernal negotiating a contract with Pherria Jynks, who was about to sign over her soul to the devil, in return for the safety of the other survivors. However, the sight of the adventurers caused her to stop negotiating with the infernal.   Khaboom immediately recognized it as a White Abishai and told the group.   Scattered around the large crypt were several Barbed Devils which the group had fought before. They stood over the corpses of the last few knights, who died defending the scared survivors.   Wink's Warriors immediately descended upon the infernals who fought back with natural weapons, or in the White Abishai's case, its longsword. Gorn was mortally wounded in the battle and would have fallen if it weren't for the enchantments in Redemption which kept the paladin fighting on even when he was near death's door.   When the battle was over and Wink's Warriors had prevailed, Pherria Jynks, along with the survivors thanked the brave adventurers. She told the adventurers the White Abishai was named Victuusa. It apparently served both Tiamat and Zariel in an attempt to gain the most favor, and was presently searching for the leaders of the Elturel resistance. Victuusa wanted nothing more than to deliver the heads of those leaders to Zariel personally.   Gorn recognized the tome Pherria held. Having lived in Elturerl for year, Gorn knew the large book well. It was the Tome of the Creed Resolute. Written on the first page of the book was the oath that all citizens of Elturgard took when they were old enough to read, swearing to defend Elturel body and soul. The rest of book was filled with signatures, all of which lookd like they were written by the same hand. When a citizen of Elturgard placed a hand on the book and recites the oath, its name magically appeared in the book as a signature. The book can magically gain new pages as needed to accommodate new signatures. Gorn knew his name was recorded somewhere in the book.   Pherria said she took the Tome of the Creed Resolute from the cathedral to safeguard it.   The group asked if Pherria had seen Grand Duke Ravengard. She said he had left just before Victuusa and the other infernals arrived. Grand Duke Ravengard took a group of guards to the city's grand cemetery to investigate the proliferation of uodead in that area. Ravengard was hoping that a holy relic in the cemetery chapel called the Helm of Torm's Sight might provide some awareness into Elturel's dire circumstances and possible salvation.   Pherria said a secret tunnel under the font led to an exit onto a street a few blocks from High Hall. The group decided to push on and find Grand Duke Ravengard, and hopefully discover a means of returning Elturel back to the Forgotten Realms.

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