Maggie fell back into the stairway gripping her bloodied side and Bruthazmus’ raven fletched arrow. The bugbear had slipped away. The heroes cautiously entered an old rough hewn chamber covered in goblin graffiti. One panel showed a massive goblin centered in Thistletop Island. An adjoining hallway, lit by lantern light, led to a wide oaken double door through which someone, likely Bruthazmus, had just passed. Intent on clearing other passages first, the party entered a northern doorway and stumbled upon a heavily armored man named Orik with a drawn hand-and-a-half sword and a comely, sneering, coal-skinned wizard named Lyrie. Drakken charged forward and grappled the fighter. Ragnok’s blade screeched against the fighter’s armor. Drakken pinned Orik’s arms allowing Maggie to sap the foe with her dagger pommel leaving him dazed.
The wizardress cast a purple winding ray of enfeeblement that dissipated on the wall beyond Ragnok. She attempted to back into the next room, so Ragnok charged, slashed a 3-foot furrow in her back and then pummeled her unconscious. When he drug her apparent corpse back into the room, Orik surrendered and allowed himself to be bound.
Meanwhile Bruthazmus had circled around and traded ranged attacks with Albi who suffered two massive arrow strikes. Kynaan lurked above the doorway leopard-like waiting to pounce but Bruthazmus failed to close, so the elf instead sealed the oaken door. Bruthazmus’s flail destroyed it in two mighty swings. Kynaan and Bruthazmus closed in melee. Maggie joined in and the three maneuvered around the goblin-decorated room. Outmatched but still taunting Kynaan, Bruthazmus withdrew through an adjoining ancient prison. Ragnok arrived and he, Kynaan and Maggie chased the bugbear.
With Orik and Lyrie bound, Drakken and Albi guarded the main hallway near a pair of heavy oaken doors carved with symbols of Lamashtu.
Ragnok charged into a darkened chapel to the Mother of Monsters and found many of her children. Half a dozen thrall spawn, zombie-like aberrations of goblins with lashing tongues, surged toward the tiefling barbarian. Ragnok, Kynaan and Maggie battled the thrall spawn and suffered numerous gashes but avoided their tongue lashings. Bruthazmus joined the battle and targeted Kynaan with arrow after arrow.
At the other end of the chapel, Albi and Drakken heaved the great doors open only to be rushed by two thrall spawn. Albi fell before the assault as the monster’s tongue tore flesh from his cherubic face. Drakken reeled for nearly a minute before succumbing to his many wounds.
Within the evil chapel, the battle raged on. Badly injured, Ragnok dropped a thrall spawn only to be pounced upon by a midnight blue jackal-faced lion with a writhing tentacle mane. The Jackal of Lamashtu bit and tore at the tiefling. Maggie slipped behind it and slashed its hamstring with her dagger. The pair finished it off. Maggie cartwheeled back to the battle between Kynaan and Bruthazmus just as Ragnok suffered another thrall clawing that left him moaning on the stone floor. Kynaan, Maggie and Bruthazmus danced for several strikes and dodges until, flanked, Kynaan drove his curved blade through the bugbear’s thick skull. Bruthazmus fell.
Now, only Maggie and Kynaan stood against three goblin thrall spawn. The heroes backed against a wall, parrying and dodging, and making guarded attacks. Eventually the last foe fell.
Kynaan’s spells and Maggie’s potions healed the injured’s wounds and the heroes regrouped. They explored the rest of the evil chapel, which contained a huge dark statue of Lamashtu complete with paired kukris wreathed in fire and ice. Down the hall, a series of bedchambers, recently used, laid empty. At the other end of the complex, a small chamber contained excavation equipment, ancient Thassilonian rune-covered relics, and a secret doorway with a downward stair.
Albi stayed behind to watch the unconscious prisoner, while Kynaan, Ragnok, Drakken and Maggie descended into a much older portion of the island’s innards. At the next floor, they found an ajar door covered in Thassilonian script. The heroes cautiously entered a statured hall that narrowed to a corridor. Maggie noted a pressure plate with a recently bloodied trap and easily bypassed it.
The party stealthily advanced past a doorway into another statued hall that was partially flooded. Seeing no exits they returned to the doorway. Ragnok yanked it open and rushed in. He found a beautifully stoic woman, Nualia, with hardened armor and a serrated bastard sword and two more Jackals. The beasts charged to meet the party only to be swiftly cut down by Ragnok and Kynaan. Nualia advanced and gouged Ragnok with her sawlike sword, tearing his armor and flesh. Her blade momentarily bound, Drakken launched at her and grappled her. In moments, Nualia was pinned and struggled to escape. Her body surged with necrotic energy twice opening weeping sores on her foes. Undaunted, the heroes stabbed and slashed and as she neared defeat, a medallion at her neck flared with blue lambent light and she vanished into the floor.
The heroes scanned the room but found no threats. Instead they found Nualia’s insane writings, maps, and a large collection of unsavory monster parts and fetuses cut from their mothers. Maggie also found seven large Thassilonian gold coins.
As the party prepared to depart, a feminine taunt came from the flooded hall. Ragnok and Kynaan approached and found Nualia fully recovered and standing in knee-deep water with her sword drawn. Maggie and Drakken moved into covered shooting positions and Kynaan and Ragnok charged. As they rushed forward two translucent shadows lashed out from statued alcoves. The room was filled with the maddening babbling and incorporeal claws characteristic of the allip, a shade borne of madness. One rent Ragnok’s soul. With savage fury he charged, heedless of the pain. Kynaan narrowly rolled under the other attacking undead and came up next to Nualia. Her blade whistled through the air as Kynaan again weaved away. The babbling undead pierced Ragnok’s will leaving him confused and wandering from the fight. Both shadows closed on Kynaan and one finally grazed the evasive elf. The foul touch of undeath tore at his being and wisely he weaved away from the battle.
Ragnok turned and slashed his massive blade through one allip. His blade had no more effect than waving through dense fog. In return, he suffered several slashes crippling his resolve and opening dark gashes on his red skin. He finally succumbed to the attacks and fell, face down, in the inky water.
Both allips vanished back into the walls. Drakken and Maggie moved into the room to heal Ragnok and draw Nualia away. The allips returned and struck at Maggie repeatedly. She tucked and rolled through the the water and darkness evading half a dozen deadly swipes. Finally, one black claw slid through her body and a tiny gasp slipped from her mouth. Her knees buckled as another arching claw tore through her soul.
Kynaan pointed his healing wand and shot a braid of blue and white into Ragnok. He lifted his head from the water, gasping and sputtering. The tiefling barbarian pulled himself to dry floor away from the battle.
Drakken rushed Nualia and tackled her to their knees. His devilish skin surged with heat and steam roiled from the melee. Maggie steeled herself and raced past her ghostly foe. She buried her blade in Nualia’s scared abdomen. The lethal strike brought only a sneer to the aasimar’s face. Drakken’s searing heat blistered Nualia’s skin as she reached for a nearby statue. When she pulled its stoney tome downward, a panel opened behind the robed figure, leading into darkness. Unable to pull herself free of Drakken’s fiery touch, she fell to the watery floor with a curse on her lips. She did not rise.
The allips continued to assail Maggie and Drakken. Kynaan raced forward and swept up Nualia’s fallen sword. He slashed it through allip and found shreds of its shadowy shroud torn away. He rolled toward Ragnok and handed over the weapon. Ragnok used it to great effect nearly destroying one allip before he finally fell again, gibbering mindlessly. Maggie and Drakken back peddled with guarded strikes as Kynaan sent blast after blast of healing energy into the shades. With the claw of madness clenching around them, the remaining heroes fought like cornered wolverines. As the last last allip vaporized from Kynaan’s wand blasts, the heroes collapsed, utterly spent.
Some time latter, their wounds bandaged and the last potions quaffed, Drakken explored the dark corridor behind Nualia’s last stand. Within he found a massive column of golden coins. He ran his hand over them and found a small inset with a recessed seven-pointed star and slots for seven disks – the size of Nualia’s coins. Somewhat befuddled from the allips’ touch, Drakken, Maggie and Kynaan decided to keep investigating. Once Drakken placed the seventh coin, the column heated unbearably (even for him). The coins melted and drained into the star. The column dropped into the floor opening an ancient antechamber beyond with two doors.
One doorway opened into a small room with a marble table and an illusionary form of the same robed figure seen in all the complex’s statues. In Thassilonian it repeated, “…is upon us, but I command you remain. Witness my power, how Alaznist’s petty wrath is but a flash compared to my strength. Take my final work to your graves, and let its memory be the last thing you…”.
The other larger doorway required Nualia’s medallion to open. Once inside, Maggie, Drakken, and Kynaan found a short flight of steps and a single figure standing in the room. Nualia, sword in hand, said, “I had hoped you wouldn’t leave without coming to me.”