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After opening the doors to the central courtyard, Malchor sleeps the wolves and the party swiftly slays them. They search about and rummage through the detritus of the rooms, garnering whatever swag they can spy. The carrier pigeons are loosed and the group settles down to wait.
The days pass without incident and owner of the house arrives. Upon being told of the unopenable door, he sends for a mage. the mage arrives – blows the door off the hinges – and leaves. The group searches and finds a bricked-over trapdoor.
The door is opened and a ladder is revealed. The ladder leads to a hatch, which it opened and the group descends into a room.
As soon as they are within, the hatch vanishes and they find themselves trapped! A lonely old man walks out of the darkness and offers to lead the party to safety. Kormier suspects a doppelganger, but agrees to meet with the old timer in the room just vacated. His suspicions prove correct and he nearly dies for not listening to his inner voice. The party sets about exploring the area, finding and slaying two crazed magicians and almost having a gelatinous cube eat Thunderbear. They explore and explore and explore some more before calling it a night. They arise and explore – finding berserkers, piercers and trapped chests – along with strange subhumans that try to eat them. They finally find a corpse with a key – and the key is used in an ornate door.
From there it is a quick hop through the glowing curio cabinet to a room full of coffins. They exit the room to prove they can – then rest once more. Now out of food, they face the coffins – with the hopes of finding an exit…or lunch. But not a lich.

Dudley (paladin of Torm) and Kormier (warrior priest of Torm) exited the military service after serving together so it seemed only natural that they seek fame and fortune in the wilds by forming an adventuring company. They journeyed to Bay Town, in the north of the land, and there they met and partnered with Malchor the Mage. They were hiking towards Cairnpur – on the Merchant’s Run – but got a bit off track. When they stumbled upon the Nar rider Thunderbear and his string of horses, they were pleasantly surprised to learn he would join the venture – for now everyone rides! The quartet is en route when they meet Bababobo, some sort of scruffy hermit – er, ranger – who points out that they are heading in the wrong direction.. He is moving a bit further southward along the Rawlinswood because of rumors of a lichlord called the Rotting Man raising some sort of force in the woods. He is headed towards Maracrath, and offers to lead the party there. A day or two later, he joins the party as a partner, though the mission is as yet undefined.

Arriving at Maracrath, the party makes the acquaintance of Crusty, who is a professional caravan guard grown bored of the routine. He offers to ask around, since he is a local and the party are all obviously not. His questioning soon leads to leads and one of the leads leads to an interview with a merchant. The merchant has come into possession of a small castle and asks the party to secure it for his arrival. It appears that the threat of the Rotting Man has dried up the pool of local candidates, so the deal is swiftly struck, and the party rides on with a map and a letter.

Two days later, they arrive within sight of the ‘castle’ – more of a manor house, though it does bear some fortifications. It sits atop a small rise that surveys a half-mile or more of cleared ground. The ranger points out the futility of stealth and rides up to the front door. The group pickets the horses a short distance away and investigates the open doors. Dudley strides down the hallway and hammers loudly on the nearest door, bellowing loudly that all must quit the premises.

That gets a trio of traders to pack their goods and depart peacefully. A quartet of goblins is less inclined to leave and so they are slaughtered. The doors are opened, one by one. A talking statue, a cleric of Tempus, another three traders and their donkey, a room to a door to a room full of wolves – strange, a door that cannot be opened. The group pauses after completing a circuit of the outer hallway and rests a moment before entering the inner portico.

The group rises in the dawn, and girds loins both physical and metaphoric. The plan is to enter under cover of Wind Walk and go swiftly into the building and into the stairwell without pause. They rapidly ascend the stairs, pausing to peep into an art gallery before being dragged back on task by Dalliance and Barada. At the top of the stairs an open door. Beyond it a royal bedroom, and a spiral stair leading upward. At the top of the stair, an unlit room holds a platinum and steel framework. Within the twisted bars is a casket and resting within, a gray ovoid. Dalliance notices the invisible madman hefting a staff with which to attack, and she alerts the group. In the next few seconds, Demming lets fly with Finger of Death and slays the madman before he can do serious harm.

Right! Now, time to get down to plundering. A few disintegrate spells and there is a path to the object. As Barada reaches in to grab it, he feels as though he is flowing into the stone. Somewhat shaken, he falls back. Dalliance whips up a Material spell and a few moments later she telekineses the object to her bag of holding…where it promptly falls through. As this transpires, the building has been undergoing some violent rocking and the group is being pummeled by falling rocks and blasted by stone shrapnel. As Dalliance activates her Cube of Force, there is an exceptionally strong shudder and the entire castle collapses into a heap.

A wall of force is erected within the Cube and then the cube is deactivated. The group swiftly planeshifts back to Waterdeep and Barada’s manor house. There, they are met by the apparition that sent them upon their quest. He congratulates them and honors their deed. The group is uneasy and paranoid and suspicious and in the end they pass the stone off to him and he vanishes.

In the subsequent weeks and months it is increasingly clear that the world is changing and not for the better as far as the group is concerned. The world is drifting away from the rest of the planes. The high level clerical spells are the first to fail, then more and more divine power is lost – inaccessible. The mages are not able to move across the planes and it seems as though the group is stranded in a world that is becoming increasingly mundane as the magical creatures die off. It seems the group has managed to remove the magical linchpin that binds this world to the rest of the planes.

In the end, the group decides to activate the Space-Time Scepter to leave this doomed world and seek another. Dalliance offers the dozen souls she has at her disposal and the scepter flashes, yanking the group out of their universe. Well, most of the group anyway. Two members are left behind as the remaining four shoot across the multiverse like comets blazing through the deepest of space. They enter a strange world, devoid of magic. Devoid of magic, but full of radioactivity, mutated carniverous rabbits and plasma powered battle armor.

Adept though they are at living off the land, to suddenly be without magic is a game changer for the party. Within a matter of days, all have perished. Here endeth the story of the EFK.

***
Meanwhile, back in multiverse control – the crew breathes easy. A serious threat to the balance of power in the planes has been corrected and the gods will all feel just a bit more confident of their continued existence now that the EFK is no more.

Walking as wind, the group swoops about the island and enters the castle courtyard. There they see a small army of giants in armor, performing some sort of military drill. A tower overlooks the courtyard, and the eyestalk of a beholder is seen protruding from one of the arrow slits. Beyond the entry gate and murderholes and whatnot are a series of large interconnected buildings that open onto the courtyard in two places. The one furthest from the entrance, and beyond the giants smells strongly of Nightmare.
The closer, less smelly entrance is taken and the group explores a great hall, cellars, and stairs to an upper floor. There they encounter an iron golem. Instead of defeating the creature, they imprison it in a tornado while they loot the booty it was guarding – a suit of ethereal armor and a fine sword and stout shield.
The windy spell is soon to end and the group prefers to depart a top speed rather than be trapped twixt who knows what and beholders. As they leave, they spy a large red dragon apparently tossing off high level spells and roasting the bejeeus out of something down in the jungle. They make way to a beach on the northern shore of the island and erect their shelter – an extra-dimensional mansion. Barada returns in bird form to scout the area they just vacated and returns with a tale of a trio of beholders and a force of giants annihilating a small army in the jungles. Faced with puzzling facts, the group rests for the night.

The group basks in glory and relative safety, wealth, comfort and the trappings of power. Boooooooooooooooring! What happened to the good ole days of pooping into a bag and hoping you didn’t end up eviscerated? Once you have battled gods and slain them, after restoring life to the world as you know it…the mundane encompasses pretty much everything.

Still, odd rumors pop up from time to time and if strange enough they may whet the appetite for adventure. One such rumor involves a test set forth by the gods themselves, to separate the wheat from the chaff. The group investigates and the trail leads from minstrel to bard, from bard to sage.

Locating the sage takes a bit, but reaching him is a matter of a teleport circle – and the group arrives to ask questions. Questions lead to answers and a book, and tales of a rival party in the hunt for the information about a black and white castle that contains many test, tricks and traps – and a reward beyond measure. After Abe, Schlomo and Ron’j! go outside, a charm spell leads to additional information, like the sage is an actor and they are being scryed even now.

With that news, madness erupts. In rapid succession, the ‘sage’s’ hut is struck by a metor shower – which vaporizes a good portion of the city block as well, then the group is assaulted by a high-level mage using a shapechange spell – who cycles through the forms of old lady, iron golem and banshee – slaying several party members in the process – before the group departs (with book and dead) to the safety(?) of Waterdeep and Barada’s manor.

Soon after the group’s arrival they are confronted by an apparition that informs them about the castle, the quest and the perilous perils they will seek. A ring of location is offered and the group is underway.They travel a bit, them start teleporting about. Eventually Dalliance and company reach Chult, where they must backtrack by sea – and hire a smuggler to do the job. Payments are made, and the group is off. The sail and survey and eventually reach the object of their quest.

They scout the island, make note of castle, dragons and the like and are ready to set upon their quest. After a decade of inaction, the siren call of danger and fate gets the tired blood flowing!

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