Episode summary Edit
Following the events of the previous episode, we begin with a spot of Bad Guy Vision™. Swayne orders the Lady in White and Eyeball Man to contact everyone, cover all natural portals and figure out where Rygax is headed. He will stick around for a while in case the party doubles back, then ritual home and talk to "them". For some reason this causes a look of shock on the Lady.
Meanwhile, the party continues to ride Rygax's phantasmal steeds through the ... scenic ... countryside of the Shadowfel. He explains that while he has a numbe rof hiding places around the continent, many of them are protected by allies who would be too afraid of Swayne to give aid while he's actively searching for him. The best course of action, therefore, would be to cross the border into Cornello's territory, where Swayne will not follow.
Angel floats the idea of asking Alyssa for help, since they just aided her father, but Rygax disputes "how much value that connection has anymore". He also reveals that Swayne is currently the strongest King, due to his alliance with the Mindhunters, although he also states that "[his] territory has been diminished for some time".
This leads into a conversation about said Mindhunters which is soon interrupted by the hologram of Lady Hazemura. She claims that even the Rahjs cannot track Rygax, so she can only learn about him by viewing his reflection in the party's fate matrix. She also reveals that there are no natural portals Swayne is unaware of and warns the party that if they're at any risk of meeting a Mindhunter, they must have multiple protections from mind control - Mindhunters can automatically control anybody without a will save unless there are two, overlapping, layers of mind blank. And even then the target is taken over if they fail their will save. An anti-magic field would prevent them from taking control, but once they have control the domination will not be broken by the field.
Hazemura leaves and the group ride on until they reach a rocky area and Angel smells another living creature nearby. She warns the others and Rygax takes the lead and calls out in Draconic "sic semper hirudines". Getting no reply, he switches to Common: "Are you friend or foe?". After some back-and-forth with the stranger, they determine that he's a Half-Eladrin who wandered into the Shadowfel via a natural portal and now can't get back out. He introduces himself as Krillidin and joins with the party. Oh, and he's a guest PC.
Rygax pulls out a map of Swayne's territory and they start riding again, debating their route all the while. They need to avoid Old House, the lake north of the Gawfeare Forest, Heidelag Castle and Fort Vomag, as well as a large area to the north. Black floats the idea of attacking Heidelag Castle while it's under-protected (a decent portion of the garisson will be out searching for them) and Little One supports it in the hopes that it will encourage Cornello to invade Swayne's territory, but despite a fair amount of planning on how to bypass the walls, Rygax remains unconvinced.
He suggests that instead they take The Underpass, a pair of paths through a part of the Underdark (one 200-300 m down, the other 1500-2000 m down) that barely connects to the main body of the endless depths. He expects it to be guarded, but not too heavily, as forces in the tunnel would be compeltely cut off from the main force above ground and also have to contend with the forces of the Underdark. He also mentions that the Vampire Kings all share an aversion to going underground, which is pertinent in the short term (Swayne won't be down there), but also raises interesting questions in the long term about the nature of the Kings themselves.
They ride onward and reach an area with a few sickly trees. Here they are ambushed by an Earth Reaver spell, which destroys their phantasmal steeds, leaving them to fight an whoever attacked them. Angel smells an aberration and switches to her Aberration Handlers' Gear. An invisible form rises from the ground and they soon realise that it's a tentacle wizard, similar to the one that supported Morduval when he attempted to steal the Colana Dialiah. Heck, it may even be the same one. Some tentacle sorcerers also rise, although they're not invisible.
To cut a long story short, the party kill them. During the battle, Rygax casts the Warlock spell Voracious Dispelling, which combiend with the divine spells he's already cast imply that he's an Eldritch Disciple, the Warlock version of a Theurge. The party then contemplate the task of walking the rest of the way.
In the first after-credits scene, Lady Hazemura tells Little One that he could likely defeat a Mindhunter in combat, but that he is unlikely to get a chance as "their very armour is death". Black suggests rolling spheres of annihilation at them, but her only resonse is "you are welcome to try".
In the second after-credits scene, Swayne pays Balvan a little visit to ask why he let the party into Mount Pillar. Balvan wordlessly shows him the ring and Swayne agrees to let it go as long as it doesn't happen again. Balvan asks "do I have anything else for your servants to take?", to which Swayne responds "no", before vanishing (superspeed?), leaving Balvan to continue his lonely vigil.
- Continuing the theme of Draconic effectively being Latin, Rygax's call translates to "it is always leeches".