A GRIPPING TITLE GOES HERE
SESSION 35: Jailbreak
Lena rested uneasily in Artel's spare room, still bound, when she heard a wispy sound and the clanking of chains across the room. A being entered and introduced himself as the Barbed Demon with whom Lena had struck a deal over a year ago, only he had now apparently been promoted. He approached and reminded her of the arrangement they had made: his freedom for information about her father, Silas Angel. He told her that after he and other devils had gone about much reconnaissance they had discovered that Silas was, indeed, still alive. He told her further that they did not know the condition or whereabouts of Silas but that they had located a man who would -- Shah Jahan. Thanking the devil for this information, Lena dismissed him, but the devil took note of her condition. He then proposed another deal: the Devil would free Lena from Artel and also take her to Shah Jahan in exchange for her soul. Lena, considering her plight, told the Devil to return to her in 30 days so she could think about it.
The Pillarmen pondered their escape from the military transport vessel. Adrian showed them a crude blueprint of the ship they'd be taken on, showed them where the Nihilstone compartments were likely to be, told them how many soldiers would be on board, arranged for them to travel with their preferred team, secured easily concealed trinkets for them, and prepared for their magic items to be brought aboard as cargo. Furthermore, he told them that he was obliged to transfer a maximum security prisoner who might be a huge help to them if they could free him from his captivity.
The time came for the transfer and the team of Pillarmen and their posse were marched down to the coast where they beheld the prison vessel -- a massive ironclad crewed by dozens of armed soldiers. As they were being marched onto the ship, they heard a small dispute about the magical items and how it was unacceptable that Adrian had not sent them ahead of time on a cargo vessel. The chest of their belongings was taken aboard. On the way, Sadarin noted where he thought the Tribunes were keeping their Nihilstones and conveyed the information to Igan. They were all taken to their holding cells and only Felrick, Fladneg, Igan, and Sklooh where placed in areas where magic was possible -- Igan and Fladneg because they were well-behaved, Sklooh because he was the least magical, and Felrick because he was the least powerful. The twins, Palandi and Saruii were separated as far as possible, Irthir and Sadarin were kept nearest the Nihilstones because they were 'troublemakers,' and Kasj was chained up and kept under the gaze of the Tribune on watch. There was some commotion upstairs, and the ship began moving out to sea.
After several hours, the 'plan' was begun. Irthir attempted to cast a spell using his stashed spell components. He, unfortunately, misinterpreted the range of the Nihilstone that was stored behind his cell, and the spell failed immediately. The watchmen, taking notice of this, approached and demanded that he surrender whatever components he had left. Irthir refused and they threatened to shoot him with their crossbows through the bars. Irthir backed away and the soldiers entered the cage and began relentlessly beating him. At around this time, Sklooh began his attempt to break through the walls of his cell and Felrick began yelling nonsensical and hardly coherent things. Thinking that the guards were all appropriately distracted, Sadarin began his attempt at picking the lock of his cell. Fladneg and Sklooh resorted to attempts at destroying the cell bars, and Igan summoned a spiritual weapon to assist them.
The Tribune got involved, one of the soldiers retreated to the second floor to wait for a directive, and the guards began attempting to slay the prisoners while they were struggling and defenseless inside of the locked cells. Sklooh successfully destroyed his cage and engaged the Tribune directly in combat. Sadarin managed to free himself from his cage and stealthily crept to the Tribune's station while he was distracted. Sadarin found the key unattended, freed Kasj, told her to steal the Tribune's Nihilstone while Sklooh was distracting him, and crept towards the other locked cells so that they could all engage in combat freely. Irthir, who was not patient enough to wait for aid, began throwing himself at the cell door violently, nearly knocking himself unconscious several times. Felrick, who was patient enough, rendered some aid of his own with bardic inspiration and cutting words. Fladneg managed to free himself with magic, summoned his bond-sword, and assisted Sklooh and Kasj in their duel with the imperial officer.
Irthir tries to break through the bars. Igan is moved by a new Pillarman recruit.
Sadarin managed to free one of the twins and Irthir before two more soldiers came to stop the riot, sniping from the staircase and almost killing Kasj. The wizard-thief, too, was almost fatally wounded as he attempted to reach the other cells, for the battle was rapidly intensifying. Passing the key off to Palandri, she ran to her sister's aid and freed her from the cell. The Tribune fell under the terrifying fury of Sklooh and the magical prowess of the Eldritch Knight, but the battle was far from won. Three more snipers had appeared at the top of the stairs. Irthir then used the connection to his unknown patron to summon malicious beings to sew confusion aboard the ship. Eight demon-like creatures materialized behind the soldiers -- demons that appeared exactly like the aberrations that came to Sklooh's aid on three occasions in previous battles, only solid and not ethereal. The demons slaughtered two of the soldiers and ran amok on the upper decks, buying the Pillarmen time to regroup.
Igan offered magical physician work as Fladneg did the brunt of the mop up on the detention level. They tore their way through the remaining soldiers, but not without difficulty. Palandri was severely injured (in addition to the swiftly fading Fladneg) while attempting to get the key to Felrich and create intimidating illusions at the bottom of the staircases. Felrich, Sklooh, and Kasj ascended cautiously to the upper levels where they beheld the Vardan soldiers quickly eliminating what was left of Irthir's demons. That is, the demons who had not turned on Irthir and pursued him on the bottom floor. Sklooh found the magic items in the weapon's room and retrieved both his fireball-necklace and Igan's war-hammer (which he threw downstairs). Kasj inspected the maximum security cell for weaknesses, but Felrick approached with the key, opened the cell, explained that their was a prison break, and inviting the captive to join their effort. The mysterious figure strode past him and assessed the situation. He called for them to retreat to the lower levels, which would be a more defensible position. Felrick obeyed, but Kasj stayed behind and engaged in combat with Sklooh.
On the lowest level, the group had managed to force the only remaining soldier into submission. The twins helped Irthir with his demon problem and equipped themselves with chain mail. Igan began dawning his own armor when the mysterious prisoner arrived. This man, with long blonde hair and sharp features, was an elf; a powerful one. He surrendered a Nihilstone to Sadarin (who had been collecting them throughout the combat) and suggested preparing for an assault on their position.
Meanwhile, Sklooh was still pressing his attack in a rage blind to reason. He fought and fought until both he and Kasj were surrounded. Kasj -- who could not match Sklooh's martial prowess -- was felled by the Vardan soldiers, and still Sklooh kept at it, though he was being torn from all sides. Irthir, concerned for Sklooh, ran to his aid and once he had seen Sklooh's situation, summoned eight more demons as a distraction so that his lizard friend might escape. Sklooh, indeed, made a bolt for the stairs, but he was nearly destroyed as the soldiers cut him with their blades as he pushed through. He retreated to the detention level with Irthir while the demons caused havoc above. They all began preparing for the next phase of their escape.