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Fantasy Dragon Heist

Look around for the eye-stone.
Iselas was infinitely pleased by the success of their first meeting. It seemed that Amiri had finally met a male who she didn't instantly hate and could relate to on some level. And Meloon appeared to get along with both of her companions; which was important for group dynamics and all that. Secretly she just thought he was really impressive with his axe and intimidating aura -- which was actually not that dissimilar from the way that she viewed Amiri and Regongar.

Which was also half the reason that she returned each of his smiles with a bright one of her own. The fact that he patted her back gently was surprisingly considerate of him; Amiri always forgot her own strength and had almost smacked Iselas' spine out of place a few times.

"Hmm," Iselas hummed as she stared down at the strange indentation in the wall. They'd easily found their way back to the site of Floon's kidnapping and were currently trying to follow the path Nihiloor had passed through. She didn't know how likely it was that the eye-stone would just be lying around in the room but she figured they might as well check. At least, before they made a massive ruckus trying to break in. "If I were a weird shaped key-stone, where would I be?" She muttered to herself as she turned back around to do a general sweep of the room.
Despite the efforts from all four of you, you don't manage to find the eye-stone anywhere. You had split in two groups, with Regongar and Amiri looking through the other smaller rooms and you and Meloon combing through the main hall where you had found Floon, when you hear a scratching noise from under the throne where Nihiloor had sat once.

Meloon looks in that direction instantly, axe ready to swing, and moves toward the throne slowly. The scratching intensifies and when Meloon gets really close, something small runs out from below the throne and across the stone floor, toward you. It is a small brown rat. Carrying a stone medallion in its teeth.

- Jump to intercept it (roll d20, acrobatics check, modifier 7).
- Shoot it with your crossbow (roll d20, dexterity check, modifier 5).
- Leave it alone.
Jump to intercept it (rolled 18).
Just as Iselas was beginning to consider another option they heard the ominous scratching. Instinctively she dropped back, away from the source of the noise, as Meloon comparatively moved in closer. Clearly they had different methods of dealing with possible threats, though she wasn't terribly surprised that his was to confront it head-on.

When the rat bolted from beneath the throne, possibly carrying what she assumed to be the eye-stone that they needed, Iselas decided to take a page from his book. She pulled herself back, just enough to get some spring in her step, and threw herself forwards to intercept the little rodent. There were few things that frightened the half-elf and rats weren't one of them. Though she wasn't looking forward to getting bitten.
No matter how small, the rat is unable to evade you, as you do a masterful front flip and land right in front of it, making it stop in its tracks and squeal in fear. It tries to back off, but Meloon runs behind it, reaching to grab the tail. That's when the rat starts shifting and changing, growing in front of your eyes, until it reaches up to your waist and doesn't resemble a rat any more.

You are now facing a little halfling boy, which looks up at you with scared eyes, and carefully extends the eye-shaped stone to you, all the while careful of Meloon's movements.

"A wererat?" Meloon snorts. "What are you doing hiding around here, little one?" He asks in a gentle tone, but he's still menacingly looming over the halfling.

"Uh... scavenging." The halfling responds. "I found this and I wanted to give it to you, but then you... rushed me and I got scared." He whimpers.

Meloon gives you a resigned shrug.

- Take the stone and spare the halfling.
- Take the stone and question the halfling.
- Take the stone and urge him out of the hideout.
Take the stone and urge him out of the hideout.
Genuine surprise flickered across the half-elf's features as the small body of the rat twisted, shifting and morphing into a young halfling whom she did not recognise. When he offered them the stone and his meager explanation she raised an eyebrow in question, head tilted marginally to the side.

"Is that so?" Iselas hummed, almost teasingly, down at the were-rat as she reached out to pluck the stone from his open palm. She'd be lying if she said that she didn't have questions for him, the most important being why he'd chosen this place of all places to scavenge. But she refrained; children had always been a soft point for her, especially street-rats. Pun intended.

"Well then! Thanks for the stone and how 'bout some friendly advice?" Iselas prompted with a smirk, dropping into a crouch that brought her eye level with the halfling. "Get out of this place and don't come back. There are much worse things down here than us and they'll be much less merciful."
The halfling looks from you to Meloon with unease and when you finish speaking he nods quickly, "I'm going, I'm going." He says, turning to leave.

As he makes his way to the door, he is stopped in his tracks suddenly by Regongar and Amiri who walk into the throne room. The halfling squeaks and quickly turns back to his rat form, scampering between their feet.

"What the hell was that?" Regongar gives you a puzzled look.

You have the eye-stone in your possession now and can make your way into the lair. However, you have no idea what you might find inside.

- Go in.
- Set up an ambush there.
- Leave.
Go in.
"Just a kid picking at the bones of this place." Iselas replied, turning the eye-stone over in her hands as she stared down at it with a contemplative expression. Her nose crinkled for the barest of seconds as she wondered what lay beyond the door; hopefully not another trap. She hated traps. Guess they'd be finding out soon enough, however.

"Alright, let's see if this works." Iselas breathed, standing up a little straighter as she walked over to the hideout door that would, hopefully, lead them onwards. The eye-stone was carefully fit back into the key point and Iselas was immediately on guard.
You put the key-stone in its socket in the door and hear the creak as the stone panel slides down. When the doors are fully gone, you see a spiral staircase leading downward.

The walls of this narrow, spiralling staircase are carved with opened eyes that glow with a faint, magical light.

"It's too silent." Regongar says, looking like he doesn't like the idea of going in.

"Better to take the fight to them." Amiri is the first one to go down the stairs, not looking back.

"Well, then." Meloon shrugs and follows too.

You cannot help but feel as though you are being watched as you descend the stairs. Regongar is the first to comment on this, but Amiri shushes him, eager to proceed with the mission. The staircase is dimly lit and it goes down for hundreds of feet. Just as you all are starting to feel dizzy, its stops, ending before a circular stone door, much as the one you walked through, only this one is already open.

"Wait." Regongar hisses, grabbing Amiri by the wrist and making her halt her progress. She is about to familiarise him with her fist, when Meloon also speaks.

"There's something in the room." He whispers.

The room before you is very strange. It is lit by magical light, a spell of some kind that you don't recognise and the walls are carved with eyes of all shapes and sizes. Many of the orbs have stone eyelids that open and close at irregular intervals. A zombified beholder guards this magically lit room.

Surrounding it are four gas spores, which look like immature beholders at first glance. All five creatures float in the middle of the room and none of them have noticed you yet.

- Look around (roll d20 for perception check).
- Sneak past the beholder.
- Attack the beholder.
- Ask someone for advice.
Look around (rolled 10).
To say that the room was absolutely creepy would be an understatement. All those eyes in the wall? The feeling of being watched constantly? Of course, Nihiloor was also extremely creepy so she wasn't sure what she had been expecting. Still, Iselas grimaced at the floating beholder and it's four little guards, repressing a shudder as she instinctively inched closer to Amiri.

Long fingers wrapped around the hilt of her crossbow, ready to pull it free to defend herself, as she glanced around the room. Surely there was some sort of clue in this room? Otherwise she'd have to ask Regongar for advice, he did appear to be the most magically knowledgeable after all. And floating head creatures were tucked safely under that the category of 'magical' for Iselas.
Quickly you found out that the blinking eyes, even though creepy, are completely harmless. Looking closely around the room you also notice a ghostly eyestalk protruding from the ceiling directly in front of the double door leading to the south. It seems to be some sort of a scrying sensor. You also see a barely noticeable, round stone panel that could hide a door, on the west wall.

"It's blind, we can sneak past it." Regongar says, gesturing at the beholder.

- Sneak to the secret door.
- Sneak to the south-side door.
- Warn about the scrying sensor first.
- Attack the beholder.
- Leave.
Warn about the scrying sensor first.
At least the intimidating eyes weren't physically harmful; though they were still decidedly unnerving. Taking note of the scrying sensor Iselas turned her gaze upon the hidden door with renewed interest, plotting out their new course of action. Hopefully that led somewhere useful, this place was really giving her the creeps. Distantly she tilted her head towards Regongar as he explained the creature's blindness, his freely given advice earning him a grateful smile from the half-elf as she straightened up from behind Amiri.

"Alright, I reckon we should sneak past it and check out that concealed door then?" Iselas suggested quietly, gesturing to the west wall where the secret door lay. Then, almost as an afterthought, she gestured to the scrying sensor. "Also... we should probably be careful of that thing." She added, very eloquently.
"Someone's watching this room through that." Regongar says, pointing at the eyestalk. "We can't keep out of its sight, but I can try something." He says, weaving some sort of a spell that's different from his electricity based ones. You don't know what kind of an effect it has on the eyestalk, if any, but Regongar seems confident as he leads the party close to the wall and around the beholder.

You pass through the doors with the eye-stone to find yourselves in a particularly grim-looking room. The first thing you notice is the blood. The second thing is a drow trapped in the blood-splattered chair, manacled to it. She has no weapons and wears a chair shirt. She seemed to be trying to free herself of his bonds without success, when you interrupt her.

"You are not from Xanathar." She says, her gaze surprisingly sane for someone who was tortured there for hours probably.

"How would you know that?" Amiri asks.

"Well, you are sneaking in, obviously." The drow replies. "I'm obviously not from Xanathar as well, so does that mean you will help me out?"

You can see another stone door on the other side of the room, as well as various torture devices in the room you are in. If the torturer was there recently, they couldn't have been far.

- Examine the chair.
- Ask her about her situation.
- Ask her about Nihiloor.
Ask her about Nihiloor.
The metallic scent of blood invaded the half-elf's senses before she had even laid eyes on the crimson liquid and manacled drow. The woman seemed relatively mentally sound for someone who'd presumably been tortured and Iselas counted that as a point in her favour. Though, to be fair, she also wasn't a huge fan of torture to begin with. So the chances of her setting them free were already pretty high.

"Sure," Iselas shrugged, easily persuaded as she stepped closer to examine the chair. "We are looking for Nihiloor, have you seen him? Or, do you have any idea where he might be?"
"Oh, yeah, I've an idea, alright." The drow says. "Went back through those doors behind me. Probably cooking up some new torture for me right now." She scoffed.

You can't see any way to open the manacles on the chair, other than violence, and that would be very risky, considering that the drow's hands were caught in them. Although, you have your thieves' tools on hand and can try with that.

"I'm Zaira Kyszalt." She continues. "They captured me in Skullport, those bastards. The mind flayer kept me here for interrogation." She looks around, then grits her teeth. "The blood... belongs to my mentor. I don't know where they took her after."

- Have someone break open the manacles.
- Use your thieves' tools (roll d20 for dexterity check, modifier 7).
- Ask her something else.
- Explore the next room.
Explore the next room.
"Oh?" Iselas tensed at the mention of Nihiloor being in the next room, instantly on guard again as she straightened up from where she'd been examining the drow's manacles. If he was the torturer then he probably had the keys that would set Zaira free, right? She still wanted to ask exactly what information they needed from the drow and her mentor. But, decided that she probably had some more pressing issues.

"Well, it was nice to meet you, Zaira. My name is Iselas, by the way. Just Iselas." She introduced herself, taking her crossbow in hand as she inched closer to the other door curiously. This had the possibility of going very badly, after all. "Let's see if we can find those keys." Iselas muttered as she tentatively opened the door.
"You are going to return, right?" Zaira asks after you.

"We will." Meloon gives her a comforting squeeze of the shoulder, before you all turn away.

The door on the other side of the room open with a push. On the other side you see something even worse. The room is magically lit and there is not escaping the sight. It reeks of death and carnage. Three wooden tables are arranged corner to corner, forming a triangle, in the middle or the room. The floor around them is stained with blood. Atop two of the tables, held down with leather straps are two humans dressed like homeless men, their skulls sawed open and their brains removed.

Nihiloor stands in front of the tables, with three intellect devourers at his side. He turns toward you as you enter.

At least you have the advantage of a first attack.

- Attack Nihiloor/intellect devourer with your crossbow (roll d20 for dexterity check, modifier 5)
- Attack Nihiloor/intellect devourer with your shortsword (roll d20 for strength check, modifier 1).
- Try talking to Nihiloor (roll d20 for charisma check, modifier 3).
- Flee.
Attack Nihiloor with your crossbow (rolled 13).
No matter what Iselas had been expecting when she'd opened that door, nothing could have prepared her for the sight that greeted them. The sheer stench was enough to make her stomach churn in disgust, nausea suppressed by sheer adrenaline as she raised her crossbow higher to take a shot at Nihiloor's chest. She doubted he had a heart but if he did then she hoped her arrow struck true. Nothing about this room made her want to try and charm or discuss the situation with Nihiloor. Nobody did this to another living being and was redeemable.
Nihiloor raises the intellect devourer in his arms and the arrow strikes through it, killing the brain-like creature, but not damaging the mind flayer.

Meloon attacks after you, rage and disdain visible on his face. The blade of his axe is stopped inches away from Nihiloor's face, by another intellect devourer that jumps up to deflect the blow. The third creature dies in the next moment when Regongar fries it with his electricity spell.

Amiri approaches for the attack too and while her sword slashes at the mind flayer, she ends up caught in his tentacles, which wrap around her neck and torso, the blade falling out of her grip as she struggles. The mind flayer rises above the ground then, levitating in mid air, while Amiri hangs from the tentacles, choking.

- Attack Nihiloor/intellect devourer with your crossbow (roll d20 for dexterity check, modifier 5)
- Attack Nihiloor/intellect devourer with your shortsword (roll d20 for strength check, modifier 1).
- Shout at Regongar to save Amiri.
- Shout at Meloon to save Amiri.
- Flee.
Shout at Meloon to save Amiri; attack Nihiloor with your crossbow (rolled 14).
"Amiri!" Iselas shouted in genuine despair, the sight of her friend hanging from the creature's tentacles being an extremely distressing one. Already she was in the process of sliding another arrow into her armed crossbow when she called out to their other companion. "Meloon! Please! Cut her down from there!" She called out, her mind immediately drawing the conclusion that the tall, axe-wielding giant would be the best to get Amiri free. With one eye closed she raised her crossbow up and aimed for Nihiloor's chest again. Letting the arrow fly once more.
Meloon tries swinging his axe with an angry growl, but the mind flayer repels his attack without too much struggle. Yet, while he is distracted both you and Regongar attack. Your arrow flies with accuracy, avoiding Amiri's body and hitting Nihiloor's shoulder, piercing his armour. Regongar uses this to send a lighting bolt, and while he shocks the mind flayer enough to make him drop Amiri, his electricity spell courses through her body as well and she drops down beneath Nihiloor's feet, trembling and coughing.

Meloon quickly runs up to her and pulls her away to a safe distance. While this resolves, the mind flayer prepares a counter attack. With your elven affinity you can feel the magic crackle around him and know that this attack will be something foul. Regongar feels it as well and you can see him weaving a spell of his own. Meloon shields Amiri with his body, ready to rush at the levitating mind flayer.

- Attack Nihiloor.
- Find cover.
- Warn Meloon of the attack.
Warn Meloon of the attack.
Chaos descended over the fight in mere seconds. Where they had once held the upper hand and possessed the element of surprise, they were now scattered around the room. Magic crackled through the air as Nihiloor prepared for another spell, one that felt wrong and unnatural. Completely different from the pleasant tingle of Regongar's magic.

Iselas instinctively drew back, intending to take cover behind one of the wooden tables, when she noticed Meloon winding up to charge. "Meloon! He's about to cast a spell!" She warned the giant. They already had one injured companion; she didn't want anyone else getting badly hurt.
Your warning reaches Meloon just in time and he stays put, but unfortunately, doesn't have the time to find cover. Nihiloor unleashes his spell and a wave of energy sweeps the room, making the torture tools fall down the tables and clatter to the floor, as the room trembles.

Regongar had found cover next to you, upturning the table so you both duck behind it. His arm reached around your shoulders and he holds you closer protectively as the wave passes.

Meloon had no such luck. He had managed to shield Amiri, who seems to be getting a hold of herself again, but the magic spells hits him head on and he growls in pain, dropping to his knees. His agony lasts for a moment before he collapses to the floor, motionless.

When Amiri notices this, she jumps up, taking Meloon's great axe and lurching at Nihiloor with a battle cry. The mind flayer is caught off guard, recovering from the spell.

- Attack Nihiloor with your crossbow (roll d20 for dexterity check, modifier 5)
- Attack Nihiloor with your shortsword (roll d20 for strength check, modifier 1).
- Check on Meloon.
- Tell Regongar to check on Meloon.
Tell Regongar to check on Meloon; attack Nihiloor with your crossbow (rolled 16).
A wave of magical energy swept across the room, causing the tables to rumble and groan under the force of it. Iselas instinctively leaned into Regongar's embrace, finding easy comfort there as she watched Meloon fall with wide, horror-stricken eyes. Whatever magic Nihiloor had called upon had rendered the giant completely motionless. Desperately she hoped that he wasn't dead. And when Amiri's war cry rang out across the room she withdrew her crossbow once more.

"Please, Reg. Can you check on him?" Iselas begged her companion as she turned from beneath his arm to cover him. After all, out of the two of them he was the most likely to understand the magical damage dealt. "I'll cover you." She added, arrow notched as she aimed again for the mind flayer's chest.
Regongar nods quickly, but scampers over to Meloon reluctantly. In the meantime, Amiri has already reached the mind flayer and you can see his tentacles wrapped around the blade of Meloon's axe. The slash was stopped, but Nihiloor is bleeding.

With Amiri's distraction you have enough time to aim and loose and your bolt strikes its target, burying itself deep in Nihiloor's ribs, providing he had them. You can hear him grunt in pain, movements slowing. Yet, he isn't done still. He pulls on the weapon and rips it out of Amiri's grasp. She growls in anger and lurches on him with her bare fists, but he levitates up again, avoiding her completely.

His attention is on you now and Meloon's axe spins ominously in the air as he throws it directly at you.

- Dodge (roll d20 for dexterity check, modifier 5).
- Call out to Regongar.
- Call out to Amiri.
Dodge (rolled 19).
Genuine panic flashed through the young half-elf, her crossbow momentarily lowered as she stared out at the spinning axe that was headed straight towards her. Iselas really hadn't expected Nihiloor to be able to actually take the weapon from Amiri and therefore barely had enough time to compose herself. Thankfully, she did possess some level of baser instincts as she unceremoniously jumped to the side in an attempt to avoid it's spinning blades.

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