|Wildstar on the Loose||
After arriving at the Staircase of the Moon, we noticed we were not alone. Hundreds of werewolves circled the clearing contesting each other for pack order. As we made plans to approach the tower, Duristan offered for he and his men to circle about and scout for a way out for when we leave. He stated he would use a mirror to signal us. After he was warned not to skirmish with any of the lycanthropes, we trusted him to this task. As our group and Azra approached the ramp that rose around the base of the stairs, four werewolves on the ramp warned us off by shooting at us with arrows. Nathan reached the ramp and the foursome tackled him. Kovun used some of his special magic to strike at them. I shot one. Victor and Nathan attacked them. Amara caused them to vomit. Vlena attacked them. By this time, two werewolves were down and the remaining two of the werewolves attacked Nathan. Kovun once again used his special abilities to blast them with cold and struck them down. We climbed to the amphitheater at the top of ramp and noted tribal decor. At this point, a bestial specter resembling a werewolf attacked. It managed to enter Kovun and possess him. Kovun was driven to attack Nathan and Amara. Amara attacked Kovun. Nathan struck at him with a fury of blows. Victor knocked Kovun out, expelling the specter out. I struck the spirit with Pharasma's might to disrupt undead. Vlena and Azra attacked the specter then. Nara released some of those magical light projectiles. It then tried to enter Nara, but that armored knight spirit chased it out. Nathan then attacked it. By Pharasma, Victor swung at it with his avenger sword and it passed right through! I managed to send Pharasma's light to heal all of us. Vlena attempted to attack and her weapons also passed through. Azra then pulled out a dagger and struck it. Nara repeated her attack. It then tried to enter Victor and instead it seemed to damage him. Nathan attacked mightily with his new staff. It tried to enter Amara and seemed to fail, so it damaged her. Amara blessed Victor with resistance. Nathan, and then Victor, launched attacks at it. I then blasted it again with Pharasma's might to disrupt its unholy presence. Azra leveled another blow at it. By this time, we are all having flashbacks to the Harrowstone... well, all but Vlena and Azra. It actually thought to try to enter me, but I fought it. I then was aware of how when it is denied entry, it places its spectral hands at the victim's throat and wracks him or her with pain. The marathon battle continued as Amara then blessed Nathan with resistance. Nathan struck and hit the ghost. I launch an attack with my new sickle that I named Whippoorwill. It then attacked Amara, leading her to heal herself. Nathan attacked it again and I once again sent Pharasma's light to heal us all. Azra struck at it and it attacked Nathan. It was at this point I saw that Kovun was getting up. Victor healed Nathan just before Nathan attacked it. It fled down the corridor, while it was announcing its intent to finish us later. I healed Amara and we all prepared to enter one of the two doors in the corridor. It was a guess as to which one the specter flew through. We peered into the right door and saw nothing of note, rusted furniture and bared flagstones. We then went through the door on the left. It was once a personal quarters but contained a rotting smell. Nathan returned to close the right door while we dealt with this room. There was a crumpled heap in the corner, the source of the smell. It was that of a woman, recently dead. The marks on her showed that she had been attacked by werewolves and had dragged herself in here before she died. Her clothes were undefinable. Her wounds showed she was killed by real werewolves. Victor found an iron ring with symbols, a leather satchel, and a map.The satchel held onyx gemstones - material components for animate dead spells.The ring had symbols of the Whispering Way. The map was of Ustalav, showing four coordinates: Ravengro, Lepstad, Stairway of the Moon, and someplace outside of the Shudderwood. Azra seems to know the fourth place but was not able to communicate it to us. We gathered this woman was a necromancer and involved with the Whispering Way. I no longer pitied the victim of those werewolves, because this woman's skills were an as much as an affront to Pharasma and to life itself as her cult has always been. I decapitated her and Nathan took head and punted it into the clearing off of the stairway's base. Once again, I have to consider there could be good even in such a violent and dangerous race that most consider evil. It is not quite the same as my own Drow heritage, since they are inherently evil, but yet I am of their progeny and am one of Pharasma's chosen. In any case, we returned to the other room and noted it had been swept clean. Several of the stones were out of place, however. These hid a passage to another room. As we entered, a trap was suddenly sprung and struck Amara, weakening her. In this room, iron bars divided the chamber. There was a surgical table with shelves of jars and medical tools. There was a pit off to the side with a skeleton in it. We were shocked to find Estovian in waiting to greet us. He shouted at us "You ruined my life!" He then threw a lightning bolt at Kovun. Estovian had seemed to lose his sanity since we last saw him. He attacked Nathan with a lightning bolt, but Nathan was able to dodge it. The bolt then bounced, hitting me, then Kovun, then Amara, and then Vlena. Victor and Vlena attacked Estovian. Kovun was once again unconscious. Nara attacked while I sent Pharasma's glow to heal us once more. Nathan attacked Estovian while Azra tended to Kovun. Tentacles erupted from the floor and grabbed everyone but Victor. I broke free while Azra finished healing Kovun. A dire wolf arrived from nowhere and suddenly attacked Victor. Nathan freed himself from the tentacles, and the newly awakened Kovun soon followed. An epiphany hit me at this point that where I had once thought to redeem Estovian, his fears had driven him mad. Madness and magic are too deadly a combination. I could no longer allow this man to continue to knock us around when the real evil we had come to face might be still waiting on the staircase. Calling upon Pharasma, I launched at Estovian, brandishing mighty Whippoorwill and called for death to take Estovian, just as the blacksmith had instructed. Pharasma guided my hand and the blade decapitated Estovian. It saddens me that I did not get the chance to redeem him, but I could not allow him to place our whole mission in detriment if I could help it. As I dealt with the events that had just occurred, I called once again on Pharasma's might to heal Kovun and Amara. Nathan removed Estovian's head and secured it in between the bars so it could not see its body. We then discovered the bounty on Estovian and in the room. The list included: two magical potions, a magical wand, a magical light crossbow with 10 bolts, an exquisite long sword, a magical amulet, a magical ring, a magical red amulet bound in silver, a set of keys, a spell components pouch, and a spell book. There was also 130 gold. I asked for the light crossbow and bolts to add to my collection. Since she is our magic specialist, Nara was given the spell components and spell book. We then turned to the skeleton in the pit, which was dust covered. The surgical tools on closer examination were silver. There was a locked iron strongbox, the keys opened. It held one wand and three wooden scroll cases. There was also three magical wolfsbane tonics. I risked opening the scrolls to read that the first was an ancient journal about the Stairway of the Moon which talks of the skeleton being the infected son of a priest. The priest infected his followers as he looked for a cure, creating the Mordrinaught. The son was Vilkos. The second was an ancient scroll for communion. The last was an ancient scroll to remove disease. I am not sure what awaits us next, but it seems more and more that our lands are more shades in between of what is pure and good and that which is darkened with evil. These shadows makes my tasks ever more difficult, as I try not to convict the innocent, or waste my time redeeming that which is irredeemable.