Mischievous Manor of Gimaelior the Mad

And then there were Dwarves

Kild rak

Kildrak Bitterbits was walking down a road. What road it was and where it lead he did not know, nor did he seem to care. It was morning in the wood, and his spirits were glum. Ever since he had been banished from his dojo and the great Dragonborn sensei he so respected, things just didn’t seem right. He felt now as if his life somehow lacked purpose, being thousands of miles from home on an aimless journey, wandering through foreign kingdoms and strange lands. He had vowed to walk west to the end of the land and back, and it seemed just as he would reach the end, he hit this peninsula and some duchy, whatever it was called; his head was hung low, he stared at his boots as he walked. “If only there was a chance of redemption”, he mumbled to himself. “A chance to regain my honor, and to train and serve proudly in the dojo once again”. Just as he spoke these words, Kildrak Bitterbits saw something. He lifted his boot to examine the piece of parchment he had just trampled. It seemed like a map of sorts. It was an unfinished sketch of the layout of a building and the surrounding grounds. Written across the top of the map were the words “The Manor”, along with various other references. Feeling like this was a fortuitous sign, Kildrak rolled up the map, shoved it in his sack, and went on his way, this time with a little more spring in his diminutive stride. Perhaps this is the map to my redemption, he mused to himself has he continued down the road. Little known to Kildrak Bitterbits, less than 20 feet from the road in the brush lie a gruesome spectacle. The scattered corpses of others that had gazed that same map. Not Dwarves like himself, but rather several devils, a dark elf and a human. Not far from one of the bodies of the devils lay an embroidered cloth patch. It was a black blade in front of a purple sky, with blood and colorful patterns covering the ground. Kildrak Bitterbits however, was much too consumed in his own thoughts, and never even noticed.

As Kildrak approached what seemed like the gates of a small town, he noticed something moving in the bushes. He called out and was answered by the emergence of a wild-eyed, naked dwarf from the bushes. Taken aback, Kildrak went to reach for his pick but then the nude Dwarf called out that he meant no harm, and that he was simply lost and had just awoken in the woods, naked and without any memory of how he got there or much of the past at all. Kildrak seemed to find sympathy for the fellow Dwarves words, and asked the brother his name. However, the confused old dwarf could not remember.
“Well then”, spoke Kildrak, “I suppose I will call you Tusk, on account of the Boars tusk you wear through your flesh”.
“Tusk…”, mumbled Tusk.. “I like it”.
And with that the two new companions walked through the gates of what they were told was Hill’s Pass, population 1800. second Town of the Independent duchy of Velen. The two companions asked around and soon were directed to a Dwarven tavern, the Rusty Mug, where they found food and lodgings. While they were there, they met another adventurer named Oben-Grade, who by all accounts seemed like an overgrown Dwarf. Kildrak and Oben began to buy each others pints, and ended up talking for several hours, along with Tusk, who mostly just listened, wishing that he as well had tales of the past to share.

Dwarf

Oben recounted stories of escaping from the slave pits after his size was altered through sorcery and he was forced to fight in the gladiator arenas of the Border Kingdoms, the lawless lands on the souther shores of the Lake of Steam. Tusk and Kildrak were both enthralled by the stories of Oben-Grade, who spoke with simplicity, and claimed it was only through the will of Moradin that he escaped, and that this is why he had pledged himself as an Avenger of Moradin, bringing down the wrath of the the Great Hammer to all those who would wrong him again. After a while of talking, the sun was down and Kildrak decided to tell Tusk and Oben-Grade about the map he had found. They seemed curious and asked him what they should do about it. As Kildrak looked up, he realized that both of these dwarves here with him at the table were wounded and needed leadership. As he stared into their waiting eyes, he felt the strength of his sensei start to well up inside him, and he made a decision that from there on out, he would make them his…. henchmen.

“Let’s figure out where this Manor is exactly”, Kildrak smirked.

After gathering information, the newly formed party learned that the thieves guild was the best place to find our information about the manor, so they headed off there at once. It was dark on the streets, and they were stared at by a few locals who looked at them with slight suspicion, though ever since the rift opened, Dwarves are a lot more common throughout the realms than they used to be.

Tech4

After reaching the thieves guild and bribing their way in, the Dwarves spoke to a teen boy named Kyle, who told them all about the Manor of Gimaelior the Mad, the rumors surrounding the mansion, and also that they should talk to Alruse Finperis, the local money lender if they want more information or perhaps a job. Kyle told them to check the Apothecary shop across the plaza in the morning to find Alruse. Upon leaving the guild, the group stumbled upon another Dwarf named Dervish who seemed raving mad and was going on about his family being killed at sea and needing to find a drink badly. The party offered him some company and he joined them momentarily. Deciding to sleep outside of town, the party travelled across the plaza towards the town gate. Upon passing the Apothecary shop though, they noticed a light on inside and what sounded like noises. Deciding to see if perhaps Alruse had decided to stay late, they entered the shop, only to find… Devils!! The Dwarves were immediately attacked by what looked like a devil with a spiked chain whip and more devils that looked like any other soldiers, but with pointy red ears and tails. The Dwarves fought boldly however, and managed to slay the devils, with only one escaping through the shop window. Confused and weary from combat, the Dwarves decided to leave and return in the morning, to sort things out with Alruse and figure out exactly what was going on. Before leaving however, Dervish decided to drink a random potion off the shelf in hopes it would be somewhat intoxicating. After quaffing the liquid though, his head grew to 3 times it’s normal size! It was quite a laugh for the rest of the group.

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Setting out for the Manor

After attending to their morning dwarfly routines, the newly formed group of adventurers set out to speak with Alruse Finperis to get some more information on the Manor. Needless to say when they arrived, they found the apothecary very fretful as he was anxiously cleaning up his shop after the previous evenings ruckus. The apothecary told them Alruse was in the back and as they walked toward the curtain he gave Dervish a long, knowing glare, his enlarged head a dead giveaway that he had drank one of the apothecary’s specialty potions. Alruse was going over some ledgers and greeted the dwarves dismissively.

Mer hant

However, when Kildrak asked about the manor he seemed to take more of an interest.

“The manor, eh? what do you wish to know?”, asked Alruse slyly. Kildrak explained that they were simply trying to find the way there and that they had heard the rumors of Gimaelior’s death and were interested in checking the place out. Alruse told them that he had an interest as well and had just recently sent a party of thieves to retrieve a map from an old man outside of town who was the last living person to have visited the grounds and actually set foot inside. He also explained how they had not returned and was worried they met their demise or had double crossed him. Kildrak’s heart raced a little, but he decided to say nothing of the map he had found on his way into town, instead holding his cards until he could gather more of a sense of the money-lender. Alruse explained to them how if they were willing to retrieve an artifact for him rumored to be located in the mansion, that he would handsomely reward them to the tune of fifty thousand gold, to be divided amongst them however they saw fit. At the mention of gold, the rest of the parties ears perked up (they had mostly been spaceing out).

“The only problem”, Alruse said, “is that I don’t know what the artifact is. However, I will give you this whisper box” he spoke, pulling a small wooden box from his drawer," and when I find of it’s make, the box will glow orange and a description of the artifact will appear inside".

He then handed the whisper box to Kildrak. He added that there were most likely all sorts of other items of worth in the manor that would make the expedition worth their while. Kildrak, speaking for the party, agreed to the terms and they set out to meet their guide at the thieves guild, a Dragon-born named Sal-Mur, who worked for Alruse.

Dragonborn sorceror

After meeting with Sal-Mur, who Kildrak liked because he was a Dragonborn, the party set out on their way to the manor. They were filling full of wonderment as they began their quest, and each pondered what fate lay in store for them. After a few hours of traveling north-east out of Hill’s Pass, they came across some tracks and heard some faint grunting sounds in the distance. Tusk recognized the tracks as Ogre tracks, and the party proceeded cautiously. It wasn’t long before they were able to spy the Ogres in the distance, gathering amidst a clearing full of boulders and a few caves.

“An ogre den”, exclaimed Sal-Mur, “I don’t like the looks of this, we should go around them.”.

Ogre1

Just then however, the party spied a Dwarf tied to a rock near one of the Ogres, and they quickly decided that they couldn’t leave a fellow dwarf to become lunch for these giants, so they snuck up to the big ugly lugs, and attacked! A ferocious battle ensued, but before long the Dwarves proved their resilience and slew the ogres to the last one. After freeing the Dwarf, whose name was Targrim Tender-strike, or Targrim the Turgid, a Rune-Priest of Moradin, they raided the bodies, but however little loot was recovered. The group then continued on their way to the manor. After travelling the rest of the day the party decided to make camp for the night and finish their journey in the morning. They slept well with no interruptions and awoke feeling rested and refreshed. After first light, the group heard the sound of horses coming closer, and drew their weapons in preparation for a fight. They were soon set upon by a group of knights clad in armor and yellow robes. Sal-Mur recognized them as the knights of Velen and told the Dwarves to be at ease.

“Greetings shortlings”, the knights chuckled, hailing the dwarves. “How fare thee this morn in our fair duchy of Velen?”

The dwarves, sensing their sarcasm hesitated to answer.

“What do you want with us?” grumbled Kildrak. “We are simply travelling through.”

The knights then explained that they were tracking ogres as there was a recent influx of the ugly bastards spilling over from the border of Murandinn, the Ogre Kingdom.

“Actually” spat the dwarves, “we just slayed a group of them yesterday, we hate ogres”.

The knights chuckled and seemed surprised but pleased, and after commending the dwarves for their support, rode off in the direction of the slain ogres. After the knights left, the dwarves cooked some breakfast and set off for the manor. After travelling for a several hours, Targrim started to notice a faint shadow on the ground the kept briefly passing in front of them. In a state of alertness, the party wasn’t surprised when they were attacked from above, though they were shocked to see their assailant, a red dragon! Though the dragon was small, he was ferocious, and a gruesome battle ensued.

Gallery red dragon codex
After much fire and gore, the dwarves managed to subdue the beast, and Kildrak, speaking in draconic, asked him where his lair was. The dragon answered despondently that he had no lair, which was very strange, and with a burst of smoke from his throat, collapsed into the grass. The dwarves, though shaken up by being attacked by a dragon, which many of them had never even seen, continued in silence toward the manor.

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Devils & Doors

As the party of Dwarves reached the end of yet another clearing, they spotted what seemed to be a path leading into the next grove of tress. Sal-Mur identified this as the path that lead to the Manor of Gimaelior the Mad and also said that this was where he would leave them and return to Alruse, who was expecting him by the following day. The party said their goodbyes to the Dragonborn sorceror Sal-Mur, and the stout troops ventured down the path for about a quarter league before they began to see the path’s end open into another clearing, this one with manicured hedges around it’s perimeter. As the dwarves approached the clearing the path winded and suddenly a giant mansion came into their view. This must be the manor, they thought to themselves, as they stared at the large estate surrounded by an empty, though manicured clearing. Passing the last row of hedges they came into the clearing and wondered what to do next. Looking around they noticed a small building that looked like a stables to their left, and a pristine fountain a few hundred feet to their right. A few of the dwarves also noticed scorch marks on the ground which highly contrasted the clean, trimmed grass into which they were burned. “Devils”, exclaimed Ulric, recognizing the burn marks. The party decided to examine first the stables, wandering over to the building about a hundred feet from the main house. Inside they found no animals, but rather more burn marks in the deserted beastial barracks. In the back stable there was what appeared to be a trap that had been set off, as blood covered blades protruded from the back wall. Whose blood the dwarves did not know. Under the blades was a trap door of some kind, barred with an iron grate and handle. Though they tried their hardest, the group could not muster the strength needed to open the hatch, and lacking a rogue, they decided to move on. Kildrak checked his map, and noted that this was the exit of a secret passage which led from the manor to their very location. He shared this information with the party, and wondering if they grasped what he was saying, led them back into the clearing. Only, this time, upon entering the clearing, they spied across the yard, pouring out from the hedges nearest the fountain…. devils! The devils saw the adventurers as well and began to charge them, and within an instant, combat ensued. Most of the devils looked like any other soldiers, wearing the infernal black and red armor, their lustful snarls yearning for blood. A few however, were carrying scourges, and had masks that hid their tormented features. They were led by a another devil carrying a scourge who barked orders and seemed to be more capable. Despite the ferocity of the devils, they were outmatched by the Dwarven tenacity, and the party was pleasantly surprised to see Ulric the Turgid turn the devils as if they were undead. The devils cowered in fear of the light of the hammer of Moradin, and then were sent to their fiery demise, leaving only scorched earth where they once were.
After the battle, the dwarves were surprised by a small figure who hailed them from behind the path. Drawing their weapons, they readied for another skirmish, only to be even more surprised when the figure approached them seemed to resemble a gnome. “I mean no harm”, spoke the gnome and the dwarves lowered their defenses, sensing the fear in his voice. “Are you Gimaelior?” asked Kildrak. “No”, the gnome replied, “I’m Milo Mendermist, Gimaelior is my 2nd cousin”. Milo Mender-Mist then went on to explain how his family, the Mendermists of Amn had sent him to investigate the rumors of Gimaelior’s death. None of the Mendermists had heard from the old gnome in over 20 years, and knowing his eccentricity, wanted to see for themselves if he had indeed passed on. “But when I got here”, explained Milo, “The grounds were swarming with devils, and I had no choice but to hide away amongst the grounds”. "There were a few others who seemed like brigands that were here several days ago. “They promised me assistance when they returned, but I have not seen them since.” Kildrak wondered if these were the thieves that Alruse had not heard back from. The dwarves conferred for a moment, and then asked Milo to join them and promised they would help protect him from the devils, in exchange for his help in navigating the manor, thinking it might be helpful to have a relative of Gimaelior with them. Milo agreed but reluctantly explained how he had never been to the manor before and had actually only met Gimaelior once when he was a very young gnome. All he remembered was a long beard and a funny smile. “But I will do my best to assist you in whatever way I can”. “What is it exactly you are looking for anyway?” inquired Milo. The dwarves stammered a little, before answering that it was simple curiousity and a mapping expedition, not wanting to admit they were here to loot Gimaelior’s treasures. Milo did not say anything, but suspected that the dwarves where here for treasure, as they were not known for their curiousity. After inducting the gnome into the party, the dwarves looked around the grounds for a possible back way in, though the manor did not seem to have any other entrances or even any windows to speak of. Reluctantly they approached the front door, though testing the handle, found it locked. Despite their best efforts, they could not get the door open. Checking the map, Kildrak saw some words smeared across the map that said ‘Only kn k will open the door’. After asking Ulric said he possessed the ritual knock and they began the preparations. Although after it’s completion, the door still did not open. “Strange”, said Ulric, “It’s never failed before”. After another failed attempt, the group decided to investigate the fountain. It was very pristine, like the grounds, and stood in contrast to the old, delapidated looking manor. After investigating the waters, Oben-Grade and Kildrak decided to drink from the fountain, and both experienced unusual effects. Oben-Grade vanished, and Kildrak shrunk to the size of a rat! The rest of the party was shocked, and decided not to drink from the fountain. Milo said that this seemed like Gimaelior’s style all right, and chuckled to himself.

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Use the front door

As the party of Dwarves and their new Gnome companion sat around the fountain of Gimaelior the Mad and pondered what to do next, they were once again beset by… devils! Out of the hedges strode the horned soldiers, clad in brimstone armor and heading right for the adventurers. “Not again”, said Milo, and they party once again drew their weapons and before long made short work of the devilish minions. After dispatching the fiends, the group decided to try the front door once again. This time Tusk shifted into his Boar form, and with an invisible avenger, a 3" tall Kildrak upon his back, charged the door with all his ferocity and smashed into the oaken plank, only to bounce back and fall to the ground. “Damnit!” cried the Druid, as the party pondered how to gain entrance to the mad manor. “Wait a second”, said Kildrak, “I have an idea”. Slowly the Dwarf lowered his pick and walked up to the front door og the manor and with a slight pause, knocked. And vanished. Unknown to the rest of the party, when Kildrak knocked on the front door he experienced a vision of himself seated next to his sensei of the great Dragonborn dojo of Tymanther, legions of students training under their superior martial prowess. After having this brief moment of ecstasy, Kildrak appeared inside manor’s front entry room, which was covered in a beautiful hardwood, and empty besides a coat rock and a small chest beside the door. Within moments the rest of the party caught on and each knocked on the front door as well, experiencing their own brief visions of of their heart’s inner desires. When all of the party was inside (Oben-Grade took a while to find, as he he responded with a facial expression when called, not remembering he was invisible), they regrouped, and realized that the gnome was no longer with them. “That’s strange”, said Tusk, “I saw him knock on the door”. The party decided it best to not dwell on it and began to look around. The chest by the door was the first thing they noticed, and opening it saw that it contained several pair of shoes. Upon examining it, they realized it was a chest of shoe shining, and the dwarves took turns placing their boots in it one by one. The only other thing of note in the room was an empty coat rack, and a door with a bronze handle to the right, as well as a hallway off to left. The dwarves decided to venture down the hallway and before long found themselves in a wash room with a magic basin that filled with water when one placed their hands inside. “This manor is very interesting” remarked Targrim, as the group moved on. In the bathroom was another door, which Kildrak quietly snuck under (being only a couple inches tall), only to realize it was a small guest room with a bed and a night stand, as well as another door off the room. He immediately noticed that someone was sleeping in the bed. Kildrak decided to scale the bedsheet and before long was lurking quietly up to the face of the sleeping creature. Once he was close he realized it was Milo, and began to shout in his face to wake up. Milo awoke with a start to see the miniature dwarf yelling at him, and asked what happened. As the rest of the party entered the room, they explained to Milo how they had all knocked on the door, but only he was transported into this bed and some sort of sleep spell had affected him, as the rest of the party ended up in the entry room. The group pondered if this was perhaps due to his relation to Gimaelior, but decided to move on and explore through the door off of this room. After checking the door for traps, they entered a room that was very Southern looking, with pillows and tapestries covering the room, and Ulric and Milo recognized portraits on the wall of Calimshan. A strange odor filled the room and a faint haze of smoke that seemed to be coming from a hookah on a table in the center of the room. One by one the party seemed inextricable drawn to the chalice, and began to move to seats surrounding it. As they unwillingly picked up the piece and took each took a puff, they passed into a deep haze of a slumber in which they all shared a collective dream.

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What Plot the Past may Hold

As the dreary companions drifted into a hazy slumber, they all saw a similar vision, a vision of the past. As the bore witness to this dream, they were all simultaneously both looking on as viewers and as the subjects of the dream as well, themselves acting the parts out that unfolded before them, and the dream was thus…

The light of vision grew bright and into their mind’s eye came a foyeur, a waiting room of sorts, in a palace both grand and illuminated. The palace was in the kingdom of Amn, and they knew it to be the palace of the House of Lightongue, a noble, ancient Deva house that served one of the Five families that sat on the council that ruled Amn, a wealthy merchant kingdom on the south west coast of the realms. In this waiting room sat a wiry gnome, his fingers twittering anxiously as he awaited his audience, not for fear or worry, but simply because Gimaelior hated waiting. Suddenly the doors opened to another room, and a young Deva walked out and announced, “Sepheros will see you now”, looking past the gnome with angelic, distant eyes. Gimaelior arose at once and entered the grand office of sorts, in which stood his old companion, Sepheros Lightongue. “Gimaelior”, spoke Sepheros calmy, “it is good to see you once again my friend, it has been too long”. “Yes, yes indeed, Sepheros”, replied the gnome, a small grin hidden behind his beard, “Although I take it this your summoning me was of a nature other than reaquainting ourselves”. Sepheros smiled, a rare occurence, for his duties were many, and his demeanor stoic and graceful. “Perceptive as always Gimaelior”, replied the bard, “Unfortunately, it is of necessity that I asked you hear, as you well know, the house of Lightongue has little time for leisure, especially in these turbulent times in which we live, why I can’t recall the last time I raised my voice in song simply for the pleasure of it.”
“A shame indeed”, voiced the gnome wizard, “for I can not recall a fairer tune than that was sung from the lips of Lightongue”. Gimaelior made a grand gesture as he spoke, much to the Sepheros’ amusement. “So, why did you ask me here exactly?”

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A Dwarf By Any Name

As the adventurers slowly began to awake from their dreams of the past, little did they know that outside, another type of Dwarf approached the manor. Xelmort was a Half-orc that was raised by dwarves. Dwarven culture was all he knew, and although he considered it his own, he whad developed a sort of complex brought on by being picked on at school for not being a ‘true’ dwarf. He was teased and bullied, both for his larger stature and his appearance. This eventually led to his adopting a fake beard, which he wore as a sort of security blanket on his face, to appear more dwarven, and also to reflect what he felt to be his true inner-nature.

Xelmort

Xelmort had been travelling and seeking work when he also was led to the offices of Alruse Finperis, who spoke to him of the manor. Now, as Xelmort approached the grounds he was lost in thought, and it wasn’t until he cleared the row of hedges that he realized he ought to have been paying more attention. All of a sudden he saw a small swarm of devils a few hundred yards to his right… and they spotted him as well! He went running for the front door and as he pounded on the door and shouted for someone to let him in, he was transported inside the large abode, but not before seeing a vision of himself on a Dwarven throne, with all of his previous bullies bowing before him as he whipped them with towels and hurled insults, roaring with laughter and a flowing beard. Just then he became aware of the fact that the he was now inside the building, and as he looked around it, he wondered what to do, and decided to venture down the open hallway to his left. Apparently however, the devils had seen him gain entry and were now aware of the method and were shortly to follow, as each one glimpsed himself as the lord of the nine hells before entering Gimaelior’s home.

Hearing the devilish commotion in the entry way, the newly awakened dwarves hid behind the door to the washroom and awaited the fiery foes. As Xelmort stood his ground to fight, several devils swarmed around him, and just as one passed the door to the WC, Kildrak flung the dooor open and smashed him in the face! As the rest of the party poured out into the hall, a tightly woven combat ensued, and before long the heroes had made short work of the small batallion. They then turned to Xelmort, who explained Alruse had sent him and also that he was fairly certain that if there were more devils on the grounds, it was only that group that had seen him gain entry to the manor. As the party sheather their weapons, they began to take in their surroundings and decided to venture down the hallway and check the last room on the left, as well as explore into the living room through and archway on the far right of the hall (after they chuckled to themselves about Xelmort’s fake beard). The archway seemed to lead into a living room and dining area, and into another further arched room off of that. Xelmort quickly headed towards the area and Targrim followed to keep an eye on him; as they ventured past the living room into what appeared to be a sculpture room.

Sculpture room

After examining the sculptures, they returned to the living room, but as soon as they walked away they heard the sounding of cracking stone behind them… Meanwhile Milo, Oben-Grade, and Kildrak opened the door to the last room down the hall, which they also knew, from the map, led to the trap door that would take them to the stables. As they entered the room however, the door slammed shut behind them, and they saw some kind of circular puzzle system on the inside of the door. They appeared to be in some kind of storage room with shelves that looked to be full of games and boxes of different sorts. Just then they thought they saw one of the game boxes move. No sooner did they enter the room than they saw one of the boxes move…

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Deadly Games

Milo, Kildrak, and the giant sized Dwarf Oben-Grade were trapped in a room with some sort of mechanical puzzle on the door. As if that weren’t bad enough, the boxes on the shelves seemed to be coming to life. They drew their weapons in anticipation…

On the other side of the door, Xelmort had just run for his life as he saw the sculpture he had just been admiring start to crack and move towards him. Targrim the Turgid drew his craghammer, ready to renovate these works of art.

Kildrak drove his pick into the backgammon set that had just sprouted arms and teeth and lunged at him, swinging and biting. Oben-Grade and Milo jumped back and braced themselves as they too were assaulted by board games gone bad. Within minutes however, the heroes had smashed to bits all remnants of the strange creatures, and just for good measure, Oben-Grade smashed the rest of the boxes on the shelves. Next they turned their attention to the puzzle like contraption on the door, and realized they needed to insert coins into the slots in a particular order for the door to re-open. This led them to…. start smashing the wall instead, trying to break through to the other side where they heard the sounds of more battle. Within moments however one of the latches on the door moved, and they realized time was of the essence. BOOM! The dwarves and gnome were thrown back as the mechanism exploded next to them. Shaken but not dead, they continued to smash down the wall until at last they were able to exit the room. Once back in the hallway they saw Targrim battling with what appeared to be a statue, and another statue firing stone arrows from through the archway. The rest of the party rushed into the fray and soon realized just how hard it was to damage stone! After what seemed like an eternity, they finally destroyed the marble enemies, and slumped down against the wall in exhaustion. They didn’t know how much more of this crazy manor they could take. After deciding that the sculpture room, barring any more enchanted statues seemed like a safe place to rest, they made beds and called it a night. When they woke up in the morning, Oben-Grade was gone.

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