The Tiamat Saga

House Tessel

Memories stirred in Tellaos Tessel as he entered the remains of his house, destroyed by the eruption of Mount Hotenow. He wondered if anyone was able to survive this devastation. Not able to even bring himself here until now, his feet balked at the entrance to the last remaining part of the keep – the foundation.

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Childhood memories of his father’s stories about Castle Tessel and the happier times spent here, drifted through his mind. Smells and sights stirred his heart and he vowed to once again reclaim honor and respect for his birthright. Stirring him from his thoughts, the bard gently strummed his harp as if to accompany his contemplations. Giving his friend a smile he lit a torch and pushed some brambles aside he entered with a heavy heart.

Things came back to the nobleman as he stood in the cavern cellar. He’d always imagined himself to be the returning hero, liberating his family estate, back when he was growing up in Waterdeep. But, cutting into his joyful memories came a familiar velvety voice which raised the hackles on the back of his neck and a yawning anger swelled in his chest. It was the Black Spider! Nezznar stepped out of the darkness in the back of the cellar like an evil ghost or demon that he imagined as a child hiding down here. His mere presence violated him deeply.

“Ah, it is you – I knew you would come. Did you bring Iarno with you? This is too easy! You are here earlier than I expected.” The Black Spider’s words dripped with venom and malevolence.

Seeming to wait for a response that never came, he continued: “I thought this would be the perfect place to wait for you to come and, alas, I am right again! Ha haa haa.”

“So you came to reclaim your ancestral home, eh? This hovel, this carcass of a goat-herder’s hut? Telleos Tessel, your family was such a lesser House that they were a disgrace. But, I guess it is appropriate that you have come back to be laid to rest with the rest of your family’s remnants – Here let me give you a hand!” He yelled out “Now!” and the floor below the Triboar Knight’s feet gave way.

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Kerig heard the crack of stone, and felt the ground tremble. He was just barely able to leap clear of the crumbling floor; hands swinging to regain his balance as his bootheals jutted out over the newly formed abyss.

“Bust my ballpeen…” the stocky dwarf muttered into his rusty beard as he glanced over his shoulder at his companions. “Tessel!” he called out, “I’m thinkin’ ye should fire yer stonemason!”

At that moment, he watched as the wizard, who was falling in slow motion – the only one who hadn’t managed to scramble clear of the collapsing floor – took a flighty step and appeared on solid ground with the rest of the party. Landing as lightly and delicately as any courtly lady, the elf then turned to the crevasse and opened his hands, as if to drop something into it. A rush of air was suddenly sucked into the pit, causing Kerig to rock dangerously backwards and once again flail his arms wildly. A heartbeat later there was a flash and a blast of heat and air accompanied by the scent of burning flesh. Again the dwarf flailed, and again he cursed.

Kerig checked his beard, his balls, and his axes (in that order) before breathing a sigh of relief and rounding on the big-mouthed drow. A shield wielding warrior had sprung between them and cut Tellaos down with a single elegant, yet deceptive, cut. He then ducked back behind his shield and taunted the dwarf.

A grim smile spread across Kerig’s face as he saw the thick, scaled body of a snake slither seemingly from the rock itself. He knew it was conjured by the druid Pavel, and hoped to see it swallow the dark elf.

With a deep growl, the walking arsenal know as Kerig whipped a hand axe across the cavern, landing solidly into the warrior’s shoulder. Hoping this would unbalance his opponent, Kerig rushed in, dropping a vial on Tellaos’ chest along the way. “You’ll be wantin’ to drink that.” he said with a nod. As he approached the drow warrior, he drew his third and final axe, at the same time making a backhand swing with the other.

This time, though, the drow was ready. The axe was deflected by the drow’s shield, putting Kerig off balance and allowing the drow to easily deflect and disarm the dwarf’s following attack.

Bolts of energy flew from Varis’ fingers as part of the room fell into darkness; two embedding themselves into the drow warrior. The third exploded in a shower of sparks against an ethereal spiderweb that appeared momentarily in front of Nezznar.

Nezznar snickered and waved his staff. A thick, noxious yellow cloud poured from it, filling the room with a choking toxic gas. The drow warrior who had been protecting him dove gracefully into the open pit to escape the vapors.

Kerig cursed the coward, but decided to go after the Black Spider instead. Meanwhile, Pavel had taken spider form to combat more drow who were attempting to leverage the darkness to assassinate those within it. Flint flung far more effective curses than the dwarf, weakening their enemies while also picking off the weakened ones with bolts of multichromatic energy. And all the while, the bard worked to raise their spirits and demoralize their enemies through the power of his words and his notes. Tellaos had regained his footing and was tentatively rejoining the melee as well.

But it was no use. Despite killing off several of the drow underlings, Nezznar managed to escape, teleporting out of the druid’s well-placed web and disappearing into the safety of what appeared to be a newly dug tunnel.

House Tessel
 

Thanks guys, this write up was well done.

House Tessel
Cheesesock

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