-The party looked on in stunned silence as they watched Preacher's bloated corpse float behind the strange boy like a grisly balloon. Discussion of a rescue attempt led to nowhere, as the nature of the portal--and its connection to the surface tension of the black fluid in which it manifested--was unknown. They watched as the boy trudged along the gray-lit wasteland just as he did when they first saw him, but this time with a second companion.
-With a hello from the stairwell, another of their fellow prisoner compatriots, the ten year old noble nicknamed Lowtrade, appeared from the darkness. The party were surprised to hear the boy traveled from the relative safety of the blockhouse to the tower alone, but readily accepted him in their midst. (And thus Allen's new character was introduced!)
-The Cheat, upset by the loss of Preacher and still intensely curious about the strange liquid, fired another arrow into the portal. The boy stopped and the ghastly floating corpse that was once Preacher approached the portal. His enlarged head rose from the surface, and when the party realized they would be outmatched against the spectre, broke the surface. When the portal stabilized they saw Preacher's corpse floating, missing half his head. They boy continued walking, and the party decided to leave this portal alone.
-The party randomly selected another portal to investigate. They walked across the room and peered in at the one closest the north wall. Below they saw a man rowing a boat surrounded by absolute darkness. Lanterns casting a sickly fungal glow held back the blackness. Barely. At the front of the boat was what appeared to be a shrouded corpse. The rower sobbed without breaking his rhythm. Just at the edge of the light floated 30' tall spectral figures. It was hard to determine if these beings were accompanying the man or waiting for his lanterns to go out.
-The party moved to the closest southern portal. It showed a daylit scene of a shaggy giant figure, with a rack of antlers that spread easily 40' across, climbing a high hill. Its huge nostrils flared as it took in vast amounts of air at a time. Nearby a terrified man did his best to remain motionless behind a large rock. When the giant got near the man, the party fired an arrow into the pool. When the scene reappeared, the man was gone and the giant loped off in the background, presumably in pursuit of his prey.
|John Kenn Mortensen|
-Not liking the things they saw in the portals, they decided to leave them alone for the night and resume their watch in the tower. Above, they sat in the darkness, too afraid to talk. A few party members dozed, but at some point the heat signature of a humanoid figure appeared out of the darkness in front of Lightfoot. A purple light suddenly illuminated the room, revealing one very different than the room they entered. The furniture was no longer dusty and broken. Jars, trinkets and books lined the shelves. The light revealed more about their vistor: an average-sized individual decked out in a garish purple jumpsuit with a crimson sheet over his head. Though his general shape looked human, the bumps and bulges under the sheet suggested something otherwise. A spiky purple-black crystal floated in front of him, and with a few gestures it faded and created a gate. An alien sun cast a bluish light on a vast, metal city on the other side, and the man stepped into the portal before the party could do anything. It closed as the party converged on the spot of the former gate.
-Not sure what to do, the party began searching the newly-furnished room. Many of the books they found were penned in unrecognizable languages, but three stood out: Consultations With Devils, Seven Sulfurous Visions of the Majestic Overlord, and Todash. Lowtrade found a small chest, failed to pick the lock, and decided to throw it down the stairwell of the tower to smash it open. 180' worth of spiraling stairs later, he checked the contents and found a purple powder in a smashed glass tube amongst the wreckage of the destroyed chest. The boy decided to taste it; with a start, he stood bolt upright and as energy washed through his body he suddenly knew...he was invincible.
-While Lowtrade was in the stairwell, the portal reappeared. The sheet-wearing man bolted through, agitated and looking over his shoulder. The portal did not close behind him. He jumped when he saw an awestruck Lightfoot in front of him, but merely ran over to where Warbaby stood. Warbaby drew his weapon, but the man screamed for the fighter to get out of the way in a deep, garbled voice. Warbaby complied, and the man removed a loose stone from the wall and withdrew two wands. He then ran to the center of the room, raised the wands, and paused. He looked at the three people standing in his chamber and asked who they were, but then yelled that there was no time because they were following him. He turned the wands on the ground near him and then began a shuffling dance in a figure eight pattern at the center of the room. He seemed preoccupied with making certain hand signs as he moved, but he still managed to tell the party his name was Ascrobius and that they were in great danger.
-At this point a sound unlike anything the party had ever heard issued from the portal--a kind of digitized roar. Numerous figures--gleaming metal geometric shapes constantly shuffling, collapsing and reforming, all in a clearly humanoid shape--ran toward them. A green slime coated the figures' heads and upper torsos. The party tried to ask Ascrobius questions about these things, but he merely told them if they continued to bother him he couldn't cast the spell, thus dooming the whole world. He suggested they run, but the party merely waited.
-The first slimy metal men burst through the portal. They charged Ascrobius, but paused when they got near as if confused. They backed away and shot jets of slime from unhinging jaws. The slime hit an invisible barrier before reaching the dancing man. The figures tried several more times before turning their attention to the others nearby.
-The battle was swiftly decided; several party members were injured and The Cheat was
|The Cheat be like...|
-The party retreated, leaving the Cheat's corpse behind. The metal men, now joined by a giant of their kind, were rushing through the doorway above in pursuit. The party descended to the first level, where they heard splashing sounds and then the roar of strange beasts from above. Not waiting to see what was happening, they ran out of the building. When they reached their rudimentary rope-bridge, everything above went silent. No light came from the tower above.
-However, a voice called from the tower; The Cheat. The party waited for him to descend, and he emerged from the building wholly intact, claiming the last thing he remembered was waiting in the darkness of the tower before Ascrobius appeared.
-Injured and frightened, the party decided to cross back over and leave the tower alone for now. Figuring it would be best if they took down the rope bridge after crossing to ensure nothing could follow them. Nimble and foolhardy, Lowtrade offered to wait until everyone was across to cut the ropes and swing across the 40 chasm. The party agreed to this and allowed the 10 year old boy swing into the cliff face below, which he struck with a sickening thud before falling to his death in the darkness below. Great idea. (And thus Allen's new character was killed!)