Journey to Fate’s doorstep: the Xanathar’s lair

Through the golden double doors where the crying was heard, the Drow’s Bane suddenly halt as fifteen feet in front of them the floor lights up in response to Royce’s Detect Magic spell. A familiar abjuration magic glows from a tiny symbol etched on the floor. The party moves back into the hallway allowing Naismith to trigger the trap with Mage Hand. Boom! The familiar light explodes and necrotic energy washes over everyone except Mordrock, who’s position is a tad shy from the blast radius.

The party moves inside and takes in the large room that spans one hundred feet across in both directions and one hundred feet high to the ceiling. In the middle of each wall there is a ten foot protrusion; Naismith flies onto one of these and can see inside, a cubbyhole with a bench and doors on each side opening out onto the room. In the center of the ceiling is a fifteen foot hole that ascends into darkness. The walls are decorated with scenic murals of a valiant beholder in various triumphant victory poses. Pieces of the ceramic designed floor peek through spots of the sticky ichor that covers most of the floor. Broken bits of furniture are strewn about the room primarily cloistered in corners. The stench here is foul.

Naismith flies up to the hole in the ceiling and looks through. He sees a tunnel going up about fifty feet and opening at the top left and right; the tunnel, like the floor, is ceramic designed and also covered in gross ichor.

The party approaches with caution to where a human female is bound in chains across the room. As Royce approaches within thirty feet from her, he notices she lights up with magic. She explains to the party how a gnome mage captured and chained her to this wall. She’s a Skulker bar maid and has no clue where the Xanathar is. The party suspicious of her, spread out across the room. Naismith notices one of the cubby hole doors open and the gnome mage, they fought in the hallway, appears and casts a fireball at the party. The others unable to avoid the blast, are engulfed in flames. Then they attack the mage.

The cubby hole closest to the chained female opens up and a female human in plate mail appears and casts a spell at the party; fire and radiant light pour down all around the party. Nong corners the mage and slams him into the cubby hole, holding the door to prevent the gnome from escaping, however the cleaver gnome opens the opposite cubby hole door and casts more harmful spells.

The female clad in plate mail is now surrounded by Naismith, Cat and Royce’s spiritual weapon. She lets out a curling scream as her ears begin to grow. You can hear the cartilage snapping and watch, as her ears morph into wings and lift her off of the ground. Cat cannot withstand seeing something so unnatural she goes mad and begins uttering nonsense of how hungry she is; she crouches down and begins pulling up the ichor from the floor and stuffing it into her mouth, poisoning her with every bite.

The chained human female suddenly rises up fifteen feet into the air, points her finger and casts a nasty spell at Naismith, causing him to become feebleminded and lose all ability to talk and reason. She then transforms into a robed male human whose eyes extend into eye stalks dangling in front of his face. “What a pity brother,” says Lulach. The other party members withstand the unnatural effect of Lulach’s eyes, thanks to the horrors they endured in the Underdark.

The party hears above them a sound of deep speech with only Nong able to comprehend, “I am the XANATHAR!!!” A large beholder descends from the hole in the ceiling and spits a foul essence toward Royce and Naismith. The massive glob connects with Royce burning him with acid, as the goo spreads out across the floor in all directions up to twenty feet. Something is odd about the one calling himself the Xanathar. Royce can see that its eye stalks are lifeless and its skin looks stretched over a lumpy, putrid body; as if the beholder’s skin is being worn as a tight t-shirt.

Besides the continuous globs of acidic spit the Xanathar launches at party members, it attacks with long fleshy tendrils that emerge from under its skin and bludgeon any thing that comes in contact with them. Nong is the most familiar with these tendrils, especially when he runs across the ceiling, jumps down and lands onto the Xanathar’s head.

The battle is difficult but the party makes progress defeating the gnome mage first, Lulach next and eventually Nong uses the wand of Orcus to make the killing blow on the Xanathar. Lulach is crushed when Royce calls forth Daern’s instance fortress on top of him. The female in plate mail makes an attempt to flee the room when the Xanathar falls, but the party catches up to her and takes her down too.

Royce and Mordrock have to use strong spells to restore Naismith to an able minded rogue after the battle is won. The curiosity of the party is now what is up the tunnel the Xanathar emerged from. Royce and Nong look at the dead Xanathar together, “Definitely a demon” says Royce. “Looks like Skullport was a victim to demonic incursions too, not just the Underdark.” Nong grunts in agreement and steps away; Royce can see Nong’s dark aura is very bright since the wand of Orcus made the killing blow.

Royce, Naismith and Nong make their way up the tunnel to where it opens into a cavern on one side and another tunnel on the opposite side. They move into the cavern and notice the entranceway floor and cavern walls are tiled in copper, silver and gold in intricate designs; most of it covered in the same ichor as the floor below unfortunately. The cavern looks to have once contained beautiful objects where now only rubble amongst thick ichor remains among the foul stench. Naismith catches a glimpse of a smashed fish bowl in the corner, at the same time Royce’s Detect Magic spell lights up several things under the ichor. They spend time digging out items and coins and uncover a crystal ball, small rod, a ring and some potions.

A large crimson portal begins to form in the cavern behind Royce, Nong and Naismith. As they look up, something large and red emerges from within, a Pit Fiend. The fiend does not look hostile and carries a small red box with a black bow on top. “Well done, well done,” says the Pit Fiend in common in a deep scratchy voice. “The Lady is quite happy with you for your deeds,” he looks at Royce grinning, “this is for you!” and hands the box to Royce. The party steps back, letting the Pit Fiend’s large winged body move fully into the cavern. “This is now property of the Lady’s!” proclaims the Pit Fiend. He raises his clawed hands, casts a spell and beside him an image of a beholder appears. “Not bad for a Xanathar, eh?” he laughs. Royce, Nong and Naismith gather up their treasure and make way to the entrance. The Pit Fiend calls to them, “you better leave some for the Lady!” “She can have all of the coins, we want the items we found,” says Royce as they quickly exit the cavern and make their way into the opposing tunnel.

They move deeper into the tunnel as they feel behind them, the great fiend leave the cavern and fly down the tunnel toward the great room. The tunnel dead ends at a wall where a concealed door is uncovered. They open the door and peer outside to see the tunnel where they fought the gnome assassins. “An escape route obviously,” says Naismith.

Mordrock and Cat see the great fiend fly down into the room and land next to the dead Xanathar; it begins clawing the body into shreds. Mordrock and Cat quickly move far away as possible in shock of what it is and what it is doing to the dead body. Nong, Naismith and Royce return to the large room and move toward Cat and Mordrock. “Pay no attention to it, as it means no harm if we don’t mess with it,” says Royce. “I guess there always needs to be a Xanathar in Skullport” he sighs, as he collapses Daern’s instance fortress, folds it and puts it away. He turns to the group, “We should go now, I think we are done here.” “Wait!” says Naismith, “Check the bodies and I would like my brother alive if you can, I’m not done with him just yet.”

Royce’s Detect Magic spell lights up Lulach’s boots, ring and mace and on the female wearing plate mail, her maul and plate mail light up. Mordrock touches Lulach’s lifeless body and brings him back to life; Lulach comes to consciousness, his eye stalks dangling. Nong looks down at Lulach, “Anything funny and I smash your brains in,” as he binds Lulach’s hands, feet and mouth.

The party decides to explore the cubby holes. One of the cubby holes has a secret door that leads into living quarters. The party takes things that magically light up and Naismith takes the journal on the desk; he quickly flips through the pages and recognizes the handwriting. On the opposite end of the large room another cubby hole reveals a second living quarters; this one contains magic items, holy items and an alter to the god Bane.

As they return to the large room, they see four Erinyes fiends flying around the room; the flying fiends look toward the party and lick their lips in delight. “Time to go now!” Royce says and recalls them, including Lulach, back to Catchbreeze.