Fancy Bastard Scales of War

Chapter 14: Grasp of the Mantled Citadel

At the end of the Betrayal at Monadhan, the Fancy Bastards used the Sword of Kas to reach Vaerothim. Arriving on a bleak, high hill in the Forest of Twisted Souls, they saw the gaunt spire of the Mantled Citadel struggling above the warped, skeletal trees of the forest. The tower was at least 10 miles distant, and the heroes needed to travel through the intervening forest to reach it.

While traveling through the skeletal forest, the characters encountered several groups of creatures. The first was the remnants of a hunting party of Vecna’s followers sent here to exact their lord’s revenge upon Irfelujhar. Careful scouting by Karch Silvertongue allowed the Fancy Bastards to avoid a confrontation with them.

In the depths of a shadow-mantled valley, they encountered a dryad forced into lichdom by the energy that consumes the forest. Handling the encounter carefully, they resolved the situation without violence and gained access to two rituals carved onto the dryad’s tree.

On reaching the environ of the Mantled Citadel, they had but one way to proceed—up a steep, tree-flanked path. Ghosts, specters and the very trees of the forest protected the path and needed to be destroyed before the citadel could be reached.

Upon reaching the citadel, the heroes were forced to fight their way through the inhabitants. It was only a short time before they encountered a mysterious enemy: a twisted doppelganger of Sirkana Embersight that was bound to serve Tiamat’s whims.

In a series of subterranean chambers beneath the citadel, the heroes discover a prison holding one of Bahamut’s servants brought here by Mornujhar, the Black Exarch of Tiamat. The angel survived the ensuing fight and provided useful information for the characters. The heroes encountered a great number of undead, constructs, magical creatures, and fearsome traps as they fought their way upward to Irfelujhar’s personal chambers.

In the upper levels of the citadel, the Fancy Bastards discovered myriad other chambers and areas. Eventually, they came upon a natural cavern high up in the rock traversable by walkways built of magically-fused bones, guarded by a Tiamat-bound version of Karch. The area was a trap, and terrible monsters and long falls awaited the unwary. Having also faced-off against a ritual-bound facsimile of Zakiti Songsinger, no further guardians laid between the heroes and Irfelujhar’s personal chambers. There, in the citadel’s highest reaches, under a ceiling of magically hardened crystal, the characters trapped and slew the lich. After defeating Vaerothim’s architect, the heroes found evidence of what the ancient lich was up to. They attempted to uncover Irfelujhar’s phylactery, facing off against powerful Tiamat-bound versions of Rhyd’ley and Markas, but were unsuccessful. Finally they returned with information to the Coalition Council, where they received the terrible news that Bahamut had been slain.

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