The Shadows of Gallowspire II

Ceris Athiri’s journal, 30th Erastus 4711

There is a great sense of oppression in Virlych and it weighs on us all. After yesterday’s slog through Renchurch we turned towards Gallowspire to put an end the Whispering Tyrant. We are tired and lacking in a cause; I am the only one who knew Professor Lorrimor and I do this because…. Well, we do this because we’re set on a path and we’ll see it through to the end. With any luck it will at least make us some money.

The Publican is gone. Lost through one of the witchgates that litter the Hungry Mountains. Last night we stayed in a tiny village and met Malian the Red, an elf sorcerer. He cooks better than any of us and breakfast was good this morning. He comes with us for reasons of his own. Our mood was sombre and none of us had much to say.

Adorak is a blasted, deserted place reeking with decay. The walls of the buildings were crumbling. Nothing living has reclaimed this city; no grasses or trees or vines. There were things moving in the shadows but they were things no longer alive. It was midday when we arrived yet the sun was covered by thick black clouds spitting green lightning.

We made straight for the Gallowspire in the centre of what was once Adorak. On the way we found a large mansion, crumbling like the rest, but with a dark tunnel leading into its depth. Malian cast light on a rock and threw it into the tunnel. It bounced back. Dieter went to touch it and found it leathery and pulsing with energy. Alive.

The building rose above us on vast wings, stirring the rancid air, and we found ourselves facing the ravener. The one the demon Xyssas had promised to protect the villagers from before the Knights of Ozem captured it. There was a tarrasque in its claws which it dropped as soon as it saw us. Dieter looked happy. The rest of us had a healthy wariness and Rustin felt the need to become a mammoth. It didn’t make the smell any better.

Malian opened with an ice storm and we fought. Silver, Malian, and Rustin the mammoth attacked the dragon. Dieter took on the tarrasque and nearly died. Twice. But we prevailed. It was the hardest fight we’d have but we didn’t know that yet and the promise of what might be waiting for us in the tower deepened our gloom. Not even the coin of the dragon’s hoard cheered us up.

We continued towards the tower. Above us bladed cages stuffed with bodies swung from shafts of rusting iron. Varisians, probably the ones the demon Xyssas was supposed to protect. Some of them were still alive. Malian took the key we’d found in the dragon’s hoard and flew up to open the cages. Rustin became a giant bird and the two of them brought the survivors down. We took them back to the village where we’d met Malian so that they wouldn’t die.

Ceris Athiri’s journal, 1st Aroden 4711

Today we returned to Adorak to take Gallowspire and destroy the Whispering Tyrant. Ash fell from the sky and coated us all. Stairs made of twisted skeletons led up to massive doors at the base of the Spire. They were guarded by damned spirits. Fifty feet above us a terrible storm raged, all howling winds and spitting lightning. At Rustin’s word we took shelter within the ruined buildings at the base of the tower so that he could let loose with a sunburst. Who needs a sunrod now? After that the necromantic ghosts fell easily and surrendered the door to us.

The doors were closed, impervious to strength or thieves’ tools. Silver cast negative energy and they¬† swung silently open to reveal two knights. A mammoth, a fireball and Dieter took care of those. Inside angelic beings hung from hooks on the walls. Silver smeared their blood on her face. The next chamber was sixty foot above us up another staircase made of skeletons. It was full of cobwebs, we heard a shuffling noise, someone set the room on fire and we legged it.

There was a balcony at the top of the staircase. The only way forward was across it, although it was clear we’d be attacked by the four braziers burning eerie cold blue fire in the sleeting rain. Fire elementals. Dead fire elementals.

On the roof we found Adivion Adrissant. He was waiting for the Grey Friar to bring Count Galdana to him but we put paid to that plan. He turned to us and said “Finally we meet!” Silver asked him how the elixir he was about to drink worked without the mace, which we had. And how did a mace work as an ingredient anyway? Adrissant glared at her and downed the potion. His only answer was that he was the true heir of the Whispering Tyrant.

I don’t think the elixir did exactly what it was supposed to do but it transformed Adrissant into something. His soul was ripped from his body which withered into a desiccated corpse before our eyes. It flung chained lightning at us. I leapt out of the way but the others weren’t as fast. Rustin fired a sunbeam at the forsaken lich and Malian followed with a fireball, but it was his magic missiles that killed what remained of Adrissant.

The Whispering Tyrant remains imprisoned beneath Gallowspire. Adrissant failed to raise him and the world is safe from that terror. What will it do with us, I wonder?

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