(Official report from the away mission)
We were informed of the issues Duke Carcon of the Eastern Marches of Ivarind has a long time ago. In fact, yesterday’s mission was attempted once before, but due to an astronomical occurrence, we were prevented from completing it. Our official objective was to report to Duke Carcon and follow his directions to a dwelling of the Cult of the Star Gods and to destroy it and kill the forces within. I was accompanied by the following employees of the Tower: Gornn, Mehrzad, Zovaar the Fallen and Frlngath the Unbroken. Unfortunately, upon crossing over we found that things were again not as we intended. However, this time, instead of landing on the wrong planet we found that we were simply too late. Within minutes from our landing in Duke’s castle, we saw hostile forces engaging the inhabitants.
We encountered five humans engaging a large Faceless One. The humans were as follows: elderly human male, who was introduced to me as Baron Rouald, Duke Carcon’s chancellor whose name eluded me, a “wizard” in purple robes and a pointed hat who didn’t speak a single word around me, as well as two guards. When we first saw them fighting the creature, the wizard was firing diminutive fireballs from his wand, while the guards were using their shields to protect the rest. In our first instinct, we charged in to help them, but Rouald decided to break off the encounter and with an incantation in a language none of our group recognized, sent the Faceless One flying across the corridor, and closed the door behind him. I am informed this is what on Ivarind is called witches or warlocks, depending on gender, and is much unlike the warlocks we know from Azeroth.
Baron Rouald and Carcon’s chancellor proceeded to engage in an argument about the Duke’s fate. While the chancellor preferred to remain optimistic, the Baron claimed the Duke had to be dead due to the time that elapsed since the invasion. We were also informed what happened in our absence. When we were exploring Eosphere after our accidental arrival there, Duke Carcon decided to proceed with the attack on cultist lair without us. Unfortunately, their forces were slaughtered and the Cult decided to counterattack. A few days later, large armies of cultists and aberrations assaulted Carcon’s castle and killed some of his bannermen – the remaining ones fled in the face of these creatures. A few men were trapped within the castle, and those were the ones we’ve met.
The chancellor insisted we found the Duke before it was too late, and against the Baron’s protestations, we decided to do just that. Following the chancellor, we went towards the audience hall but as we were warned, there was a group of dangerous creatures barring our way. The Old Gods’ forces appear to have a fixation with brain and slimes, as three out of five creatures in this group were slimy brains with illogical appendages. Two of them were intellect devourers, which we already knew. The third one was a floating brain with a beak(!) and tentacles, and that is apparently called a grell on some words (which must lack the grells we know on Azeroth). The remaining two creatures were a Faceless One of caster variety, and a tall, slender creature with long arms, black uniform, tentacles on its back and a white, bulbous with no features except for small, sunken eyes. The last one is apparently called “the Slender One” and was a leader of this particular group.
We proceeded to engage the creatures in battle. The Tower employees were doing most of the fighting, with the locals giving us some support. Frlngath kept insisting the Slender One was the leader, thus we concentrated our efforts on it. Despite that, we were constantly harassed by the creatures – the floating brain used its tentacles to zap me with electricity, which I didn’t appreciate, while the intellect devourers continued to dodge our attacks. A careful application of Gornn’s “ground slap” ability produced the always useful spikes which impaled one of the devourers and weakened the other one. We used that chance to finish it off.
The two larger creatures were a bigger problem. The Faceless Caster continued to cast volleys of shadow bolts, through which Mehrzad healed us and Frlngath warded us against. Gornn proceeded to hit the caster, as he does. I entered the melee and swung my polearm around me, knocking down the disgusting floating brain creature and wounding the Faceless Caster. When it realized it was losing, it began to cast a spell that reminds me of a warlock’s Hellfire – it was damaging everything around it, including itself. Gornn managed to destroy it before it could do much damage. When we all concentrated on the Slender One, it boasted how we “did not win the war, just the battle” and either committed a suicide or retreated – it disappeared in a cloud of dark energy.
We continued on towards the audience hall and when the doors were opened before us, we found the leader of this assault. It was a nethersage, or a powerful aberration. They are floating whale-like creatures with three eyes on the front of their bodies. This one was floating above where the table once stood, and was connected by tentacles to a slimy, skulking monster. When it disconnected the tentacles, the monster looked up at us, revealing its facial features which were remarkably similar to Duke Carcon. Baron Rouald of course claimed the Duke is beyond redemption, but the chancellor wanted us to kill the nethersage first, hoping that will free the Duke. We preferred to take the chance at saving our host here, and concentrated our attacks on the behemoth.
It was a difficult battle, as we needed strong wards from Frlngath to protect us from a strange aura the nethersage was emitting, sickening everyone around it. Zovaar successfully brought the Duke’s attention to himself, letting us work on bringing it down. I continued hitting it with sanctified cannonballs, which didn’t seem to do a whole lot of damage, while other cast their best spells. As it was going very slowly, we had Gornn grab the monster and bring it down to the floor, which let us to continue hitting it with greater accuracy. Finally, it was squealing in pain. I decided to cut off its head to finish it, but it had little effect – I did not consider its aberrant anatomy. The nethersage remained alive until I gutted it and cut out an organ located in its back that looked like some kind of brain.
Unfortunately, slaying the monster didn’t free the Duke’s mind, but it seemed to confuse and weaken him. Finally, it collapsed from shock and quickly died, dissipating into a pile of goo. We informed the remaining castle inhabitants of the results, which didn’t meet with their approval. The chancellor was furious and blamed us for what has transpired, while the Baron was more understanding, realizing it was Carcon’s rashness that brought this upon him. With a bag of gold and a few useful items from Baron Rouald, we returned back home with the news. We do not know how will the rest of Ivarind, including the crown of Zaeren, react to this development, but Rouald’s assurances leaves us hopeful.