The Steel Vanguard began their journey towards the inner sanctum of the hoax temple of Mystra. Willow stepped through the double doors first and into a large room. The room was decorated in reverance to the evil deity Shar. The room also contained a large podium and behind it stood a battle ready Starweaver Fembrys. Before anyone had time to react, two enemies stepped out of the shadows and flanked Willow, thankfully the sly fey was spry on her feet and managed to avoid any major damage. The group began to dispatch the enemies that continually kept stepping out of the shadows as they made their way to Fembrys at the podium. Just as the group had him surrounded, Fembrys raised an evil looking orb above his head and and released a great energy over the group. Some were able to resist the dark power of the orb; however, Durzo and Prince Brylynn Obarskyr were not so fortunate. The Prince and the Drow turned towards Rikimaru and began to swing at the unwitting ally. Willow attempted to shoot the orb out of Fembrys’ hand to no avail. She then decided to lay waste to him as fast as she could with her arrows. Calling upon the power of Chauntea (The Mad Black Woman) she took insightful shots against Fembrys. As Fembrys took heavy damage, Durzo immediately rushed over to stop Willow. He dealt a heavy blow to the dryad and she took a step back to regain her composure. She then took her last insightful shot on Fembrys and laid him out cold. As he hit the ground the orb rolled across the floor. Rikimaru drew his wakizashi and readied a strong blow to the orb, but Willow ran over and picked up the orb before he could. As she held the orb, the dark powers of Shar attempted to take over the curious fey; however, the deity Shar proved no match for the will power of Chauntea! She overcame the control of the evil orb and consequently it exploded from her sheer will power. Everyone thankfully survived the explosion; however, Willow came very close to joining her beloved Chauntea.
After healing up they entered the next room which was even larger than before. The room was elongated and the opposite end of where they entered was much darker. They entered calling out Orrin’s name which echoed off of the cold obsidian architecture. Instead of hearing their ally respond back to them, they were met by Lady Arthras charging out of the darkness. She ran up to Willow and swung at her with a mace. Thankfully the mace did not make contact, but more enemies stepped out of the darkness and flanked Willow. She kept their attention as the group surrounded the fiends and began disposing them one by one. As the weaponry clashed and echoed in the large hall a hissing noise in the dark went unnoticed. It wasn’t until Illyn turned around and saw black and blue striped snakes the size of humans, did the group realize they had a bit more fighting ahead of them. It took alot of effort to corner the wirey, slithering foes, but the group eventually managed to make strike the snakes down with the edge of their blades. When the serpents were slain the group searched the bodies as well as rooms that lined the long corridor. It appeared that Lady Arthras had the legendary mace, Thunderstrike,and the group was quite lucky she was unable to strike anyone with the powerful artifact. The group decided it would be best to allow Illyn to wield the mace, since it seems like he often finds himself in tight situations.
As the group split to search the remaining doorways in the great sanctum, the Prince and Riki decided to venture into the poorly lit end of the hall. They found what appeared to be shadows weaved into a curtain that hung between two intimidating obsidian statues. The Prince took his sword and attempted to to use his holy might to cut the void curtain down; however, it swung through the shadows leaving the curtain intact. It seemed though that the shadows stretched the length of the sword and touched the hand of the Prince. When this occurred, the skin of Prince Brylynn Obarskyr turned dark gray for a brief moment. The shadows then returned to the curtain and the Prince’s color returned to him. It was apparent that he might be changed in some way, but how is still yet to be seen. The only one to witness this occurrence is also the only other ally who had been touched by the darkness as well, Rikimaru. Neither man breathed a word of what happened when the Vangaurd regrouped in front of the shadow curtains. After investigating the curtains further, they noticed a pile of bones that lay behind the curtains as if many have tried to pass through the draped shadow, with less than successful outcomes. The group wished to no longer fool with the evil draperies and pressed on.
It was then that they came to a very sad sight. They walked up to a single statue, surrounded by torn scriptures and desecrated tomes. The lonely statue appeared to be a woman holding a single glimmering light in her palm. This was the true altar of Mystra defiled by the invading Shar clerics. As the group attempted to move pass the desecrated mess, the pile of scriptures gathered to form a golem creature and another Shar enemy stepped out of the darkness. Both enemies were disposed of with due haste. Before proceeding further, the Prince attempted to pay his respects to the statue of Mystra by touching it with “lay on hands”. When he did so, he was then engulfed for a brief moment in the light of Mystra. The group was not sure what to make of the light, but they didn’t have time to think about it. They proceeded down a stairwell to find Orrin.
As they passed through a dark corridor, they could hear the sounding of running water. When Riki approached the end of the corridor he saw what appeared to be small prison cells surrounding a stream that ran through the middle of the room. It seems that the temple built a connecting water channel that leads from underneath the building to the river. Three guards patrolled the prison chambers, one of which appeared to be leader. One of the cells housed Orrin who was feverishly searching his cell for someway to escape. Earlier he had snapped out of a stupor and just came to realize where he was. It may have been connected to the orb that was destroyed earlier, but he did not lay witness to the deed so was unable to make that connection. The group began sneaking up behind the guards. When Orrin saw the Vanguard he was ecstatic and began motioning to them to get him out. They were going too, but then an all out fight broke out when Riki attempted to sneak attack the leader. Durzo split off from the group and crossed a small bridge to fight a guard on the other side of the room. As he passed over the bridge, he could feel the floor shake and hear the cell bars rattle. Out of the water appeared this large aquatic abomination with multiple mouths and tentacles. Arahntu, Willow, and Illyn took it upon themselves to handle the beast as the others dealt with the guards. Meanwhile Orrin was still in the cell trying to find a way to get out. It finally occurred to him to try and open the door. As it turns out, apparently the guards felt no need to lock the cells for people who are under mind control. Orrin ran over to the prince’s side and tried to join the fray.
The water creature proved to be a handful for the three who were attempting to fight him. The creature managed to grab hold of Illyn with one of its tentacles and drag the cleric underwater. Durzo disposed of the guard and stepped up to the creature, attacking it with a shocking grasp. Unfortunately, electricity was effective on the creature, but also Illyn who was in the water with it. The prince saw the chaos that was ensuing and left the guard leader for Riki to restrain and interrogate. The prince struck the beast with a might blow and it perished. The group then grabbed Illyn out of the water. The heroes went back to the leader and questioned him about what was going on. All he knew was that he would hold initiates captive until he got eight of them. Then, he would gather them in a pontoon boat and send them down the river with a destination marked on the map. Willow had the guard draw her a map and then she transposed it onto her actual map of Shaar Haven.
It wasn’t over, but The Steel Vanguard felt it had done enough to avert the disaster for the moment. They would now need to address the rampaging giant, before they investigate what the Shar clerics were doing with the magic users. The group left the temple only to see that a crowd had gathered around the temple. They asked what had occurred and Arahntu told the crowd that there was evil clerics at play, but they have all been dealt with. Although Willow is a fan of honesty, she believed that telling the crowd all that might cause some unrest among the masses. There was no taking it back though and the crowd would just have to find a way to swallow the difficult information. The group grabbed the rest of their things and went back to the fortress. The heroes are sure to need their rest for what lies next. For there is a giant in the south east of Shaar Haven that needs to be silenced.