Final Fantasy Z

Episode 3 - The Sunless Citadel

Into the bowels of the Sunless Citadel the heroes descended.
A land shrouded in darkness, teeming with massive vermin, imps and other horrible creatures unknown to the surface.
Deep inside, they met a clan of Imps that had taken ground in the Citadel against the already established Grey Imps.(GrImps)
The GrImps had recently raided the Imps and took the greatest weapon they had; a young frost dragon named Calcryx.
The heroes agreed to assist the Imps in raiding the GrImps and securing Calcryx, since it served them to help clear out the base.
They traveled along the corridors and pathways, discovering secret passages and fighting the mother of rats; Guthash, and finding what was left of the Conerian Ranger.
Soon, they raided the GrImps and found the young dragon; knocking him unconscious, and finding an ancient map horded in the room by the dragon.

After a quick raid, the heroes returned Calcryx to the Imps, and got their reward; some scrolls, a few bottles of herbal remedies, and a key to a locked chamber that had not been used in centuries.

The heroes continued their raid, and slaughtered the GrImps, and found the signet ring of Talgen Hurcrele on the GrImps leader; a bugbear named Durnn.
They found a great chasm with vines going down further in Durnns main room, and so they explored it, finding that the lower level had lots of GrImps, but also a bunch of alchemy equipment, that according to the notes belongs to a “Belak”, who seemed to be fusing plants with animals.

One of the passages they found lead them into the Underdark, where they fought there way through a bunch of the strange twig creatures.
The passage lead back up to the Imps place, where the heroes decided they should look into the locked chamber before returning further down into the Citadel and finding this “Belak”.

In the ancient chamber, they found a magical trap of an orb that played mind altering music, which Zion managed to disable.
They had to answer a riddle to open a door, then find a secret passage to cross a chasm with spikes in it.
On the other side, they found a great tomb guarded by a small, strange flying demon that was guarding the tomb.
After a brief skirmish, they heroes managed to break its bindings and it teleported away.
The heroes then came over to the tomb, which was latched down, but the iron latches were rusted.
Curiosity getting the better of them, the heroes broke the latches and opened the tomb.
In an instant, a large green monster; a dragon priest of old, cast out and entombed alive for his curse, climbed out of the tomb and with frenzied eyes, attacked the heroes.
However, its long imprisonment had made it weak, and it was slow.
Hanu pressed the attack by cutting its hamstrings and toppling the creature, while the other worked in concert reaping it to shreds.
Searching the tomb, the heroes found a bunch of gold, a strange dagger used by Dragonpriests, and the ancient relic; Wight Slayer.
With this great relic, they traveled deep into the abyss, where they found the lair of the black mage who was secretly leading the GrImps.
As they traveled below, they found that the Dragon Priest had regenerated, and followed them; killing all the other imps on the way down.
This time the Priest was at his full power, but was still not enough to stop the heroes, and this time they use alchemist fire to destroy him.
In the arboretum, they found the last missing Hucrele, who was now transformed into some kind of plant creature.
She spoke with the heroes and convinced them to follow her.
They soon met the one behind all of it, a wight named Belak.
He claimed to have once been part of the cult that owned the place, but had fallen in with a powerful vampire lord.
Eventually, the cults collective power stopped his master and staked him, and Belak was cast out, were he wondered the world until death took him.
But is rage kept his body from dying, and he became a wight.
He came back to seek vengeance, but found that the gods had already sunk the citadel.
But deep inside, he found that the stake that had killed his master was green, and had taken root.
So, he fostered the plant, and in time it grew to become the Gulthias Tree, a sentient life form that lived on the blood of mortals, and was going to populate the world in its offspring.
Belak had used the tree to make Sharwyn and Sir Braford into supplicants to fight for the tree.
After giving out his secrets, he told the group he planned on turning them as well…so the heroes did what they did best…they murdered him and his allies, and tore the tree apart.
They freed the spirits of those taken by the tree, and left back to the surface.

On the way, they ran into the returning champion, Garland; who was just coming back from his couple year long quest to gain Bahamut’s blessing.
He told them he had been successful, and that perhaps he would see them again at the Midsummer Festival.

The heroes divided the treasure, took the rings to Hucrele, got there reward and the deed fixed, so now she owned the place, but they had legal right to free room and board their for life.

Eventually, they decided they should check out the map they found, and realized it was a map to a secret dwarven stronghold, that was now said to be in ruins.
Now the heroes, wish to seek out the dwarven ruins and find more treasure there.

Zion went off to talk with a dark-skinned elf he met at the inn, Hanu went off to study the map and decipher the dwarven runes on the map.
All the while, Zhel and Thia went about antagonizing the drunk Stewart, and proceeded to start a fight, which Zhel won, and then they went off to see what they could do about finding Marris the Gaunt.

They went to the City, and the Temple of Light there, and seeked the help of the head priest, who gave them a magic mirror and some powdered silver and told them to say the words “klaatu barada nikto” in the spot she was last at, and they could summon here from her grave and banish her, and banish her is what they did, when Zhel tore through her incorpreal form with his new magic sword “Shatterspike”, and Thia blasted her with her Positive Energy Channeling.

After this, they smelled something horrible coming from a neighboring cottage, and went to investigate.
They found the door ajar, and peeked in.
Zhel was attacked by an animated fire poker as they came in, and as they explored around, they found a bedroom where a man was knocked out and tied to a bed with a small devil idly tearing books apart.
Zhel slew the little demon, and after finding out who the man was and what had happened; freed him.
His name was Gendrew, the husband of a black mage named Andolyn.
The little demon was an agent of a great devil named Frogroth that Andolyn had faced 20+ years ago when she was an adventurer.
She and a band of adventurers had stopped him when a dark summoner named Eramus Lore attempted to bring him into this dimension.
It was also revealed that the little devil had set off Gendrew and Andolyn’s latest creation; a Calzone Golem, and it was now rampaging about.
Zhel and Thia agreed to help, and went downstairs where the golem was, and destoryed it.
Afterwards, Andolyn arrived and thankedthe heroes and gave them a reward of several magical potions, some gold and milk and magic cookies.
She also offered her services for hire to craft items if the heroes should have the funds to pay for it.

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