Deeper into the Citadel travels the Fellowship of Unwilling Participants! Last time the softened up the Salamander threat and, later, extricated themselves from a potentially devastating Stinking Cloud. Now was the opportunity to bring the fight to the demons and templars, and see what’s so special that it needed to be barricaded. Maneuvering to get in position was the initial order, as Flashheart, Storm and Fletcher worked together to focus their fire and get past the barricade – with hope, to learn who was casting spells and put an end to that threat as well.
It wasn’t easy. A Web from that same unseen mage, while not capturing anyone, went far toward hampering movement further, squeezing Fletcher and Flashheart and driving Bardos down a side corridor. Storm leaped atop the barrels and attacked the templar, but at the cost of drawing attacks of opportunity from damn near every demon on the map. They didn’t have much success, despite an Insect Swarm that materialized on Storm and moved over to Fletcher as he approached, and Storm was able to get behind the barricade defenders.
That changed the tactical situation enough that it prompted Bardos to Enlarge Fletcher, who used his mass to Bull Rush the barricade and push it far enough to allow better access. But that changed the fight considerably – Storm was able to forestall and, finally, kill the templar archer, while Fletcher and Flashheart took out the schirs and the final salamander.
During this time, blocked by the web, Bardos turned himself Invisible and reconnoitered the eastward passage. Behind the door, a single templar archer lay in wait, and loosed an arrow that hit Bardos – close quarters reduced the defensive effectiveness of the Invisibility. He retreated back to. the main chamber, sliding past to the web to join the fighters.
Once the schirs were defeated, the party made a couple of discoveries: first, Gato’s investigations in an anteroom ear the forge turned up an array of tools, but nothing else. More curious was the area behind the barricade:
Spanning thirty feet across, the stone floor was shot through with cracks, through which a pale fire glowed. But driving even more consternation as the center of the corrupted region, which dipped into the group as if some immense weight had been dropped there. At the bottom of this deformity, a blue whirl spun with insouciance, daring the party to plumb its depths.
The elusive mage, however, called more loudly. Fletcher moved down a small set of stairs, almost a dais, and finally laid eyes on their antagonist: a tiefling woman, slim and attractive, wearing green silks. Storm, using her greater speed, flung herself at the sorceress and landed a claw, drawing blood and driving her backward. The green spellcaster stepped backward and disappeared in response.
Suspecting the comely mage had gone invisible, a hunt commenced: Fletcher struck at the empty space where the sorceress was, to no avail. Bardos Summoned a celestial ant, so that it might use its Scent ability to snuff the wizard out. Sadly, however, the ant found nothing. Rather than let its short time on this plane languish, Bardos instructed the ant to proceed down the hallway, perhaps to catch up to the invisibly fleeing mage. It proceeded through the partially open doors until, finally, it smelled something. Something big. Something alien.
The ankylosaur dispatched the ant with a single swing of it’s hammer-like tail, but Bardos, still invisible, was able to elude it, shutting and locking the doors behind him.
The party regathered in the room with the mysterious cracks in the stone, examined the bodies of the dead Drezeni, and took what loot was available. Bardos informed the party of the room past the web where the templar archer had hidden, so they waited for the web to dissipate and moved to check out the passageway in the rear of that room. Fletcher and Storm crawled through the passageway, and found themselves in the long corridor that Bardos had described when he’d encountered the ankylosaur: large, patches of lichen, a small reddish light far to the northerly end. Fletcher cast Light on himself to illuminate the area and discovered the last templar archer, drawing a bead on him, and a half dozen identical sorceresses, all moving in tandem, preparing to unleash upon him their spells…