Amazon Quartet of Justice Vb: "Moradin's Morningstar"
Previously: Our Heroines have
returned to the ruin city to rescue the dwarven scholar and possible key
to the dead god's resurrection, Darrin. They haven't found him, but they
found a cave below a temple, the entrance recently excavated, and
explored it until they ran out of spells, at which point they returned
to their hidden camp on the outskirts of the ruined city.
Just after dawn, when Alyra and Fresa are on watch, a glowing magical
portal appears in the middle of the campsite, and two goons leap out,
grab Stephen, and drag him into the portal! The guards and Amaryllis
(who has just woken up) leap after him, into a ruined courtyard beneath
an unearthly storm. The supernaturally fast kidnappers escape with
Stephen through another portal at the far end, covering their escape
with magical darkness. The closure of that portal sucks in two
people from a completely different place, although the darkness makes
that unclear at first. The situation does not come to fireballs,
however, and the two newcomers introduce themselves as Lydia, a
priestess of Kord (god of righteous strength), and Stefan, her partner
in crushing temples of evil. They were engaging in their chosen
profession when the explosion of the defunct evil altar precipitated
them into what Amaryllis believes to be a pocket dimension.
There is no obvious way out, Alyra and Fresa only have the gear that was
on their persons, and Amaryllis is still in her nightgown.
As if that weren't bad enough, a dozen and a half stirges stoop from
the clouds, piercing everyone with horrible probosces and sucking out
their vital juices. The soft-bodied stirges are quickly slain, but not
before most of the party is a little shrivelled, and Alyra is badly
While restoration spells are being argued over, a horde of ogre and
human zombies emerges from the ruins at one corner of the courtyard, and
the ghost of a dwarf from those at the opposite corner. Fresa,
discerning that the ghost was a paladin of Moradin (her god, chief god
of the dwarves), goes over to parley while Amaryllis roasts the zombies
and Alyra and Stefan slice them up.
The ghost reveals that he died on a quest to recover the Sacred
Morningstar of Moradin, which is hidden in this pocket dimension (which
he has held together through force of will while waiting for someone
non-evil to show up and complete the quest). If Our Heroines (and Hero)
can retrieve the artifact, he can send them back to their places of
origin when he lets the pocket dimension evaporate. Lacking any other
means of escape, they agree.
The ghost shows them to his body, and wills his equipment to them, to
assist in the completion of the quest. His armor is better-enchanted
than any in the party, so Fresa takes in, and his equally-good warhammer
is wielded by Alyra. His potions are just enough to restore all the
damage done by the stirges, and Fresa takes the wand of Protection from
After quaffing and explanations (and an embarrassing incident where the
ghost's horrible wailing sets Alyra to flight and Stefan has to wrestle her
to the ground), the ghosts leads the party down, down, and still farther
down, through corridors filled with traps which Alyra and Stefan mostly
avoid. A misstep conjures some air mephits, but Stefan and his Whirlwind
Attack make short work of them (though Amaryllis's nightgown is ruined and
she has to borrow Stefan's cloak), and the room full of undead is equally
Finally they reach the doors that the ghost cannot pass, which slam
ominously shut behind them. Amaryllis tries to decipher the meaning of the
animated carvings on the phosphorescent walls, but the only information she
gets before the others drag her away is that the dwarven tomb the Amazons once explored
might be related to the problem of the dead god.
Another missed trap summons a band of quasits to bedevil the party,
but they aren't much more hindrance than the conjured mephits. The room
filled with chains hanging from the ceiling and swaying from no visible
cause gives the party pause, but they continue on and are not assaulted
until they are well down the chain-hung corridor on the other side of
the room. The chain-fetishist devils from the lower planes are the worst
problem faced so far, but Amaryllis limits their reach by melting away
chains with fireballs, and Alyra with the paladin's warhammer and Stefan
with his greatsword blessed by Fresa get one down and hack it to bits
while Amaryllis's acid arrow dissolves the other one.
Battered and low on magic, Our Hero(in)es decide to hole up and rest for
a while, but after about four hours, the stone surrounding them begins to
creak and shiver ominously, and Alyra and Amaryllis both receive dream
sendings, apparently from Solara, telling them to get moving.
At the end of the passage is a flight of enchanted steps, leading up
to a door. Alyra and Stefan determine that only every other step is
worn, so any traps there are bypassed, but the door is trickier. Fresa
finally convinces it to open by announcing herself as a priestess of
Moradin and brandishing Stefan's blessed greatsword at it, but she is
the only one it allows to enter.
As Fresa lifts the Morningstar from its altar, the whole place starts
to disintegrate. She leaves an offering of gold, grabs up the book also
on the altar, and runs for it.
Outside, crevices have opened up in the ceiling, dropping coins and
gems onto the party. Amaryllis conjures up a bag and catches the loot as
they run. Fresa does the Blessed Sword Trick again at the doors that
slammed shut earlier, and they make it back to the surface before the
pocket dimension vanishes. The ghost thanks them and opens portals,
which the two groups hurry through, followed by a spill of debris as the
ghost goes to his final rest and takes the pocket dimension with him.
Each group arrives moments after they left, with gold spilling around
their feet from the vanished portal.
* * *
I thought about The
Transmundane all the way home, but I haven't come to any firm
conclusions about how to write myself out of the corner I've written
* * *
Words today: 0. Extra words tomorrow: 600.