finishing him off.
Wreathed in green flames and purple smoke, Skruul the Reaper levitates in the centre of room inscribed with glyphs and arcane runes. She spins on the spot, consumed in rage and madness, giving the party just enough time to flee, but not before Carrick and Vincent dive into a ditch full of body parts and fluids. The experience is enough to make them vomit, but that complements their disguise, and they sink into the gore.
Tullie, braving the wrath of Skruul, tumbles past the flying skull and opens the door on the far side of the room. Beyond is a huge chapel with a vaulted ceiling, filled with cultists and demons, lead by a tiefling fanatic. She flings an insult in their direction before rolling back out.
Meanwhile, the other begin circling back around to the stairs. They discover a second entrance to the chapel, as well as some empty dormitories, a potential hiding place. Arannis and Torvald decide to hold the chapel door whilst Juan secures the dorms, and loops around to a third entrance at the back of the chapel.
Seeing a golden opportunity, Vincent commands Carrick to open the door to Skruul’s room, giving him line of sight down into the chapel beyond. He hurls his Javelin of Lightning, causing a 5 foot wide bolt of crackling electricity to strike out at the tiefling cultist. This energy eviscerates a minor demon, and blasts Skruul and a chasme aside before striking the cultist.
At this point, the cult members hear the sound of footsteps running past. They exit the chapel, running straight into Arannis and Torvald, soon to be accompanied by Tullie. They were dispatched by the adventurers, but not before the fanatic leader had neutralised Arannis by trapping him in a Bead of Force.
The demons took flight, and headed toward Skruul, Vincent and Carrick. Their appearance agitated Skruul, as her and the chasme begin to fight. Caught between them was Vincent, who was knocked unconscious by the drone of the demon.
Seeing his chance to assassinate the distracted cult leader, Juan ran through the narrow corridors to arrive at the rear of the chapel. Attacking from the shadows he landed devastating blows on the tiefling, but did not quite manage to kill him.
Mark 9 is directed by Tullie to grab Vincent, and bring him to where the party can help. Carrick defends them both from the advances of Skruul, taking a beating but holding strong.
During this time the demons head back into the chapel, and begin to attack Juan.
Torvald finishes off the remaining cultists whilst Tullie follows Juan’s footsteps round to the back of the chapel.
As Tullie enters the chapel, she sees Juan fall as the chasme demon stabs its needle sharp proboscis into his throat. Torvald and Tullie cast spell after spell at the cultist, eventually
finishing him off.
finishing him off.
In the dark recesses at the back of the temple, Melandri stirs. She feels a dark disturbance in the place. Her candles flicker and stir, casting long shadows of her Shield Guardian onto the scrolls that line the walls. She gets up, grabs her quarterstaff and heads to the chapel.
Frantically fighting both demons and Skruul herself, the party start to feel the heat. Many of the party fall unconscious, mentally disturbed by the demon’s drone or the howling of the demilich. The earplugs they salvaged from the corpses of cultists help somewhat, but they still claim victims. Juan manages to grapple to chasme demon, dropping it to the floor of the chapel after being brought back by Torvald, but it’s not looking good.
Just as it seem their luck is up, Melandri and her Shield Guardian emerge into the Chapel. Time stops. Suddenly Melandri is beside the chasme, and she blasts the creature with a fireball. It destroys the demon, but sends Juan flying into the charred pews. Skruul bursts in. Spells fly. Even with the help of Melandri and the recently revived Vincent, quick thinking is required. Juan comes up with an ingenious idea to grapple Skruul, as he did the chasme, and shove her down into the parties Bag of Holding. The bag is passed from Mark 9 through the chapel to Juan, who succeeds in a miraculous jump, bagging Skruul. With the help of Melandri, they temporarily seal the bag shut. Quickly, all those still unconscious are brought back, and the search for Skruul’s phylactery begins.
Eventually it is located within Skruul’s original room, but to access it, a price must be paid. A sacrifice must be made. Without the blood of a sentient being, the phylactery will remain locked away.
The party face a serious dilemma.
Carrack steps forth.
“Me, it must be me.”
He drops to his knees, unsheathes his father’s elven shortsword from its scabbard, and hands it to Vincent.
Understandably, some choose to leave. Vincent places the blade against Carrick’s throat.
“You’ve done me proud.”
His blood pours forth across the symbols. A low grinding sound rumbles through the room. Spiralling up is an elaborate stone structure, floating within, a crystal diadem. The phylactery of Skruul.
After some quick thinking, they rush back up into the caverns, searching out for Faldir Greenthorpe, the ghost of Skruul’s last victim. Before long they find him. He reaches out for the diadem, grasping it in his spectral hands. A piercing, high-pitched, whistling scream blasts forth from the item. Before their eyes, it shatters, and the Faldir splinters into fractures ethereal shards. Suddenly the dungeon is deathly quiet. All the spirits have left. Skruul is defeated.
Torvald reveals that he has found a reincarnation scroll whilst searching for the phylactery. The spell is above his normal ability, but with the blessings of Wee Jas and Corellon Larethian, he attempts to bring Carrick’s soul back to the Material Plane.
Divine light shrines down upon Torvald. It takes ten minutes for the ritual to be performed, but it works. A new body, shrouded in a glowing sacred aura, is born for Carrick’s spirit.
Tullie has a job to do. Previously, the party had ransacked Melandri’s safe. All the potions she had carefully prepared where stowed away in the Bag of Holding. Now, nothing remains in there, all scattered to the Astral Plane with the fractured soul of Skruul the Reaper. The charm is switched on. She apologises profusely for their irresponsible acts, and begs Melandri the Mage to return to Finburgh with them, specifically to meet with The Harpers, of which the Sound of Silence are a subset.
Arannis begins the important work of transcribing the lore which Bizaroid the Archmage had asked for. Translating the reams of dark literature into common and carefully sorting it away into his personal journals. He is joined by VIncent, who aims to send copies back to the elves of Fervedôr.
Torvald begins burning the heresies he finds within the temple. All of the demonic texts he can amass go into the flames. Working for The Pale on this quest he manages to remove vast quantities of poisonous literature from the realm.
Juan begins his search for the Cape of the Mountebank. He knows that somewhere within the dungeon complex is a vault which will contain this item, desired by The Zhentarim. The first secret door he uncovers leads to Melandri’s Scrollarium. Walls covered by spell scrolls, shielded by thin sheets of glass. Here, Melandri is destroying all she can, before the group must leave the dungeon. This unleashes strange magical effects, but nothing lethal.
He continues his search upstairs, and eventually finds a secret door. He channels necrotic energy into the walls, turning the bricks to ash. A vault lies within, but Juan cannot crack it, and is shocked by a blast of lightning, knocking him unconscious. Thankfully Torvald hears him hit the floor, and manages to drag him out, just before the wall reforms.
Melandri begins a spell to teleport the party back to the office of Bizaroid.
The party have defeated their most powerful foe yet; Skruul the Demilich.
If YOU would like to defeat Skruul, please check out Shattered Souls on the DMsGuild.