Having communed with Elan’s god, Aperisi, about the upcoming hostage/magical item exchange, the party is aware of a few things:
- Markus is involved
- The captors do intend to let the hostages go
- The hostages aren’t on site
The party decides to go to the cemetery and make the exchange, whether the hostages are there or not. Without bargaining power, the group must pray that the hostages will actually be released safely. Elan and Julien are adamant about ensuring their loved ones go unharmed. The party discusses the possibility of somehow tracking the captors or items to track them down later.
The party arrives to the cemetery to make the hostage exchange. In preparation, Zabbo casts Rary’s Telepathic bond on the party as a ritual, and also casts Invisibility and True Seeing on himself. Sumira also casts Invisibility on herself, and Elan casts Nondetection on both of them. Zabbo and Sumira will remain hidden and play key roles. Zabbo will be the magical eyes of the party and stick close to Julien, Oskar, and Elan who will be visible and make the exchange. Sumira will be scouting further out from the party, keeping an eye out for anything of interest. Hopefully, she will be able to track the captors after the exchange if needed. Julien and Elan each take one of the requested items, Julien the Scroll of TC, and Elan the Amulet of Nondetection.
The party arrives to the location of the exchange a half-hour early, and after some initial investigation, nothing seems out of sorts. Some noises do come from nearby trees, but reveal nothing out of the ordinary. Zabbo notices nothing magically hidden with his True Sight.
Around the agreed time of the exchange, Sumira hears talking and moving nearby in the woods. When she sneaks toward the sound, she finds Markus and Antinko with cat masks and an unusual large wooden board tilted up against bushes.
Antinko alone meets the party while Markus stays behind. Antinko says they will return one hostage when the group shows him the items, and another once he receives the items. Elan and Julien show him the objects. Elan reads Antinko’s surface thoughts and discovers Antinko is worried – He hopes the party follows his directions because they could easily defeat him. This leads the party to think that Antinko and Markus are likely alone, and this may provide an opportunity to beat them. Elan is able to cast Suggestion on Antinko after reading his thoughts and tells him to “Return both hostages immediately. You are sure that the Items are legitimate.”
Antinko goes back to meet Markus and insists that they should give both hostages back at once. An annoyed Markus slaps him for his stupidity and his insistence. Markus casts a spell to open a portal (Demiplane?) on the out-of-place wooden surface and orders Antinko to retrieve one of the hostages. Antinko returns to the party with Dahlia, who Julien grabs and hugs. He gives her Greggin to calm her.
(It’s important to realize that during this entire time, Sumira is still with Markus and has overheard everything they have been saying. The group has had constant telepathic communication on what to do. At some point it is decided that Zabbo will go backup Sumira at the portal now that the party knows where they are. Once the last hostage is safe, Sumira will ambush Markus with Zabbo’s help before they can flee. Zabbo is able to make his way over there while Antinko is making the 500ft trek back and forth. Worried about the open portal, Julien asks Dahlia if there was anything else on the other side of the portal with her. She tells him the portal leads to an old house and that there was a little black cat through the portal too. Could this be the Shadow Cat in disguise!? The group makes it a priority to block the portal too.)
The party has faith that the hostages are being safely released, and gives the items to Antinko. He walks back to Markus and gives the items to him. Markus instructs Antinko to head through the still-open portal and fetch Elan’s Mom. However, Markus tells Antinko to hurry out of the meeting place after delivering her. He says that JZAKARR (sp? some crazy demon name) has ordered them to attack the group after making the delivery. Antinko hurries and brings Elan’s Mom out of the portal. He starts heading back to the meeting place. Markus starts following him roughly 30 feet behind. Sumira tells the party to prepare for action. She tells Zabbo to wait for her signal.
All of a sudden, Markus begins casting a spell. Sumira, worried about his spell and missing an opportunity for surprise, jumps into action and stabs him from behind……
(400-500 ft from the rest of the party, near the Portal where Markus and Antinko are)
Surprise Round – Not based on Initiative Roll
Sumira – Stabs Markus from behind with the +2 Magic Tortazad Dagger – 35 DAMAGE. Other properties from the Dagger are still unknown.
Zabbo – Zabbo casts Wall of Force on the portal entrance to potentially keep the Shadow Cat from emerging and preventing Markus or Antinko from retreating through it.
Markus – Surprised at the attack from Sumira, finishes casting Invisibility on himself.
Round 1 (Initiative order may vary slightly)
Sumira – Attempts to grapple an invisible Markus but fails.
Markus- Begins casting a spell on Sumi…..COUNTERSPELLED by Zabbo. Markus then moves away from Sumira.
Zabbo – Casts Dispel Magic on Markus and it succeeds. He is now visible.
Antinko – Casts a ranged purple bolt-like spell attack at Sumira. It misses over her shoulder. Elan’s mom is either still being carried by him or is now at his feet.
“Markus scolds Antinko and barks orders at him to kill the woman hostage.”
(At the exchange point in the Cemetery – 400-500ft away)
Oskar, Julien (carrying Dahlia), and Elan hear through Telepathic Bond that the fight has begun! They begin to run towards the action…….WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN….
The Shadow Cat – Casts Reverse Gravity in a 50ft Radius encompassing the four of them. They soar to 100 ft high and remain there,” oscillating slightly”.
Oskar – Unable to move, he draws his sword and points it down while beginning a prayer of the Keepers.
Julien – Able to touch Dhalia and Elan, Julien casts Fly on the three of them. He flies to Oskar and grabs him. They fly toward the Shadow cat and out of the circle. He tells Dhalia to flee and hide. Oskar and Julien remain 100ft up.
Dhalia – Flees from the circle of reverse gravity, but is not yet on the ground.
Elan – Flies closer to the Shadow Cat and out of the circle. He casts Geas on the Shadow Cat, but it Saves. Elan is still 100ft up.