Some nights are normal; you go to your room, you do some reading, maybe some studying, perhaps you talk with your room mates or others in the Dorms. Other nights, nights when things don’t seem like they should, well those nights are the ones you never forget. It was on one of these “other nights” that the cadets found themselves lost in another dimension. How they came to be there or why they were sent there and no one else was, they weren’t certain. Carrow however had been outside and he was freaking out when he woke up Cloak and William from their sleep.
Once the cadets gathered they set off to see what was happening outside. Along the way they came across a number of odd looking runes scattered about the Dorms. Taking note of them they pressed on outside. Once outside the world they had come to know had changed. The skies were amber colored and swirled with a vortex of shadows and mists back lit by some mysterious light. In the skies flying creatures could be seen through the mists cawing and screaming a cacophony of terror. An ethereal sand-like storm ripped through the courtyard, reducing visibility but not having any real physical effects on the cadets, in fact it seemed to almost pass right through them.
As the group was passing across the courtyard to the Main Hall they were set upon by a swarm of stirge, small insect-like creatures with a taste for blood. Accompanying these stirge were a number of Harpies that took their time before coming in for the kill. The cadets survived the assault and were able to make their way to the Main Hall where they found a large sigil on the door with the same
kinds of runes they saw in dorms. After some experimentation and pain from the safety measures of the sigil they were able to figure out how to open it by using the runes in the correct order.
Entering into the Main Hall the cadets saw a shadow of a great hall they once knew. The place was trashed. Tables and chairs were laying about broken and cracked from age and wear. The once great Main Hall had been reduced to nothing more than rubble and debris. One table stood amidst all others seemingly in perfect condition, but sitting at it weren’t students but Gnolls: dog-like creatures that only liked eating more than they liked killing, and eating is exactly what they were doing. William was incensed by the sight of the Gnolls defiling his dining Hall and stood still only briefly before rushing up, sliding under the table and popping up between to Gnolls and attacking.
The Gnoll’s packleader was much larger than the rest and commanded an aura of bloodlust and rage in those around him. The Gnolls fought the cadets hard, but through skill and solid tactics and healing the cadets cleared the Gnolls from the Main Hall. In the aftermath they searched and found a second set of runes. After some quick deciphering they figured out the next code, and headed off in search of their next sigil – the Stables.
Cracking open the sigil on the Stable was pretty well rote at this point. The cadets had figured out the patterns and it was simple enough. Behind them a flickering light flashed with arcane energies and start sparking across the ground towards the cadets. They watched as it started getting closer to them and decided to duck into the stables for safety. The stables smelled horrible. They normally smell bad but this was worse, much worse – like something was rotting inside. Carrow was the first to discover a horrible pile of bones and half-eaten flesh in one of the stalls, and shortly after so did William and Lenore. Cloak approached one stall and was going to enter but he heard something faint on the other side. He took a quick listen and heard what sounded like deep, slow breathing.
Cloak took to higher ground on one of the support beams above to get a better view. All around in three separate stalls his saw large black masses in the shadows. They appeared to be sleeping and Cloak quietly got Carrow’s attention and told him. He in turn told William and Lenore. Unfortunately Carrow wasn’t as quiet as he had hoped and he roused one of the beasts. It came bounding straight through its stall door and right into Carrow tearing flesh from his throat and sending him falling to the ground unconscious and slowly bleeding to death. This assault aroused the other two which also came bounding out. Three very large, very angry dire wolves that were none too pleased to have their den disturbed by intruders confronted the cadets.
The fight was quick and brutal, but even thought it had taken its toll on Carrow he pulled through by the end of the fight. The cadets quickly regrouped and recovered the runes and headed to the next sigil at the Hall of the Arcane. The Hall opened up easily enough allowed them into their magical confines. Inside they found a group of 5 men working diligently at the work stations inside as well as 2 men overseeing them.
The cadets has a conversation with them, and eventually they told them to get to work but most refused. Lenore decided she would help them out in the hopes they would become more friendly. Such was not the case, Lenore started working and soon came to realize she couldn’t stop. The others, unaware of what was happening to Lenore searched the rest of the building for the runes but could not find them.
When they returned downstairs, Lenore had broken free of the charm and was coming to find them. At that point they spotted the runes on the men who were already there. Some runes on their heads, some on their hands and wrists, all told, all the runes they required where on the men. William attempted to speak to one of the overseers but once he took notice of Carrow’s symbol of Ilmater all he wanted to do was to take Carrow away from the group. They refused, and the men attacked.
The fight was long and difficult and when the 2 overseers went down the remaining men flew into a frenzy and continued their attacks with reckless abandon. The cadets were able to take them down, but found that they needed to rest. After a good rest they collected the runes and set off for the next Sigil – the Library.
As they approached the Library the sparking energy returned again but it was stronger this time more forceful. The cadets made their way quickly towards the Library opened the Sigil, waited and watch the sparking ball of energy coming towards them and once again ducked away, this time into the Library.
The Library was dark, much darker simply because of the size of it inside. Lenore’s light did ok but left many shadows and dark corners imperceptible by anyone. They made their way slowly through the Library, making sure to be quiet. At the center of the main hall they found a huge astrolab covered in the tell-tale runes. They had just started to scribe them when they were ambushed by a hand full of ghouls. The attack was swift and brutal, Cloak had one ghoul land right on him and take a large chunk out of his shoulder. The fight was quick, and the cadets really didn’t have much problem disposing of the ghouls. One, however, escaped back into the darkness. The cadets opted not to chase it down.
The cadets moved on to the Sanctum and its sigil. They clicked on the various runes and the door cracked open. Inside they found a Sanctum a lot like their own, but in disrepair. The tables and chairs were rotted and destroyed, the cupboards and shelves laid bare, and the friendly atmosphere was turned into a silent empty air. One thing stood out in the darkness, a suit of full plate armor stood silently behind the bar. When Carrow took a closer look he noticed it was propped up on an armor stand. William took a few minutes and discerned that the armor itself was magical. He told everyone to prepare themselves for something to happen and took the armor off its stand, but nothing happened. They stored away the armor and moved on.
They found the runes scattered across the bar top, and then went about checking out the more private rooms of Sanctum. The kitchen was barren, and so were most of the private rooms upstairs but one of them had a pretty intact look. The bed looked usable there was a table and a couple rickety looking chairs. There was a mirror, a bowl, a pitcher all intact. In the room was also a foot locker which was locked. A quick turn of his lock picks Cloak was able to pop open the locker and inside found the following: clothes, 3 sacks, and an object wrapped in a cloth. The sacks reveal a number of coins and the wrapped object was a rune laden, bone-handled mace with the holy symbol of Kelemvor. The group was happy with their find and took a good rest while Lenore spent some time identifying both the mace and the full plate. The plate turned out to be simple Full Plate +1 and the mace turned out to be a relic called Kelemvor’s Judgement. The group decided that the mace should be used by Carrow – who was quite concerned about using the relic of a God other than his own. The Plate would be used by William. Once the group was done they moved on to the Shrine of Ilmater.
The night was quite still outside as they approached the sigil on the door of the Shrine. They opened it using their normal technique and entered quietly inside. Carrow mentioned that he heard bird sounds coming from the rafters. The cadets slowly moved forward checking out the rafters above, both William and Cloak noticed a single harpy sitting on a rafter watching them quietly. They kept an eye on it as they moved deeper into the Shrine. Much to the cadets surprise they found a man kneeling at the barren altar towards the front of the Shrine. He didn’t move but was quietly mumbling under his breath. When the cadets got close enough he stood up and turned around. They had a conversation about trying to escape but the man, who claimed to be some clergy to the Queen of Shadows had no answers for them. When they asked what they could do he warned them that minions of the Queen would come seeking those lost in the Shadowfell to bring before her and turn them into service. The cadets did not find this agreeable and thanked the man before leaving him to explore the remainder of the Shrine, at his leave of course. The man didn’t seem to care and wished them good luck and continued on with his prayers.
The rest of the Shrine was an empty barren husk of itself, and some talk came about exploring the crypts below but wisdom got the better of the cadets. Who investigates a crypt in the Plane of Negative Energy? It would’ve been foolish and probably deadly. Once satisfied that their was nothing to find the cadets headed back out, the man remained praying and neither him nor the harpy bothered them on the way out.
Once back outside the group decided to head back towards the library. It was the only place they hadn’t really fully investigated. The first difference was that the sand storm had returned and it was worse than before and as they moved across the courtyard they heard a loud banging on one of the Academy’s gates. Everyone turned to watch as a very large, very angry ogre started busting its way through the gate. William took a pot-shot with a Ray of Frost but that didn’t stop it from completing its task at hand. Eventually, the ogre came through and was followed by a man in ring mail with a Cudgel and a odd looking tabbard. He pointed out the cadets to the Ogre who turned with a grunt. Following the man was a young lady wearing a robe and holding a quarterstaff and following her was a second ogre.
The cadets held defensively as the ogre charged into combat with them and the female flung a few spells. It was during the fight that one of the shafts of light opened up and a man in full plate dropped through. Quickly after his arrival the fight ended. The man introduced himself as Mykel, Paladin of the dead God, Tyr. He had come through to portal in hopes of finding the cadets and helping them back to the Academy. The group was grateful, but Mykel had some bad news as he explained it would take some time for the Mages at the Academy to open another portal. The group decided to seek some shelter up against the Hall of the Arcane and wait.
After doing some looting and finding an odd looking pearl on the girl and a magical dirk on the ogre they decided to spend their time resting and doing some identifying. The dirk turned out to be a simple Dirk +1, but before Lenore could finish identifying the pearl Mykel stood up and told the group something was wrong. He sensed the presence of a great deal of undead rising all around them. He asked them how many things they had killed while they were in the Shadowfell. They had killed a few things, they couldn’t remember the exact number but Mykel insisted that they were coming back to life, including the men inside the Hall of Arcane. Mykel suggested they all retreat into the center of the courtyard to assess the situation.
It was far more dire than they had expected, creatures that they hadn’t killed ended up being undead anyways, and even the man and harpies from inside the Shrine turned. There were too many of them, but the cadets and Mykel prepared for battle regardless and that’s when Mykel and Cloak noticed a man sitting up on the ramparts cloaked in white. He was holding a staff with a burning sphere of blue fire. At that moment the portal opened up right above the group of them. Mykel yelled out to get through the portal quickly. As the undead horde approached one by one the cadets went through until only William and Mykel remained. Mykel told William to go and William told Mykel to go. They stood at an impasse briefly before Mykel grabbed a rope that cloak had thrown in through the portal and tied it around William waste shaking his head. William simply glared at Mykel as he did it. Mykel yelled for the other side to pull them both up. After much strain and muscle power both William and Mykel made it back through the portal.
The Cadets were returned safely home and while the raising of portals took its toll on the Mages at the Academy almost everyone lost had been returned. It was an event that wouldn’t soon be forgotten.