The party found themselves after a good night’s rest much refreshed after their run-in with the Hedge Liche. Waking the next morning they go about their routines, the Paladin of Pelor, Cordelia Harvey rising first. Heading downstairs, she finds the Inn and Tavern deserted, no small wonder since the town is fairly devout to Pelor, and early morning services are not uncommon.
While she’s still fixing breakfast of at the tavern the rest of the party begins to filter down, first the Sorceror, Marbury, then the Fighter, Riordan. Each remarks how empty the town feels, particularly the lack of birds this early in the morning.
After breakfast, the party, suspicious, fans out into the town to find it not only completely devoid of people, but of animal life of any sort. Concerned, they head to the Temple only to find it deserted as well.
Deciding to retrace their steps, the party head towards the Tomb of the Hedge Liche. There they discover the tomb lies much the same as they left it, but a book they had believed they had destroyed earlier appeared in the Paladin’s backpack.
Curious as to the sudden appearance of a decidedly evil tome, the party attempts to destroy the book (again) and vacate the Tomb. Faced with an increasing concern for the lack of any life in the immediate area, the party sets off for the nearest major city Ellmere.
Along the way, the Mage is suddenly struck by the disconcerting fact that the amount of time that has passed on their trip from the Tomb to Ellmere is far in excess of what it should have been. The Paladin and Sorceror, suspecting either illusion, or perhaps some sort of bubble reality, decides to mark the road, and retrace their steps back to Eastbrook, as night is falling.
Reaching Shadow Eastbrook, the party sets up watch in the Temple, after noticing a number of buildings in Eastbrook are not as they left them. Most notably, the Inn and Tavern have swapped places during their absence!
During the night the Temple is attacked by Shadow creatures. All fight bravely and the battle is won, though not without cost. The Fighter is drained and falls unconscious.
The following morning, the Sorcerer’s worst fears are realized – the party has been transported to the Elemental Plane of Shadow! This bodes poorly for the party, as much of their food and water was left back on the Prime Material Plane, and the inhabitants of this Plane are particularly unhappy with the uninvited party.
Striking out North, the party returns to the Tomb, now twisted in the Shadow Plane, looking for answers to their predicament. During their search it is again discovered the Book has returned to the Paladins possession. Truly, it is assured to be cursed!
Against the Paladin’s better judgment, the party decides the best course of action is to attempt to read the book, and determine it’s connection to the Paladin, and their current unfortunate circumstances.
Upon deciphering the book, the Paladin learns to her horror, the book is most decidedly evil, as it is a torn out section of the Documentum Infernis. The subsection describes the transformation ritual to turn the reader into a Liche!
The party, very unhappy at this revelation, decides to camp for the night and mull over what to do next. Savvy to the nature of their attackers, the party sets up a guard rotation through the night.
Indeed, Shadows attack through the night, but everyone manages to gather their strength over the course of the various night shifts. Unfortunately the Sorcerer is the first victim of the Curse of the Hedge Liche and finds his health has suffered for it.
After some discussion, the party decides to attempt to reach Ellmere once again. Passing through Eastbrook, the town appears even more twisted than before, buildings rearranged, and the paths between towns seemingly shifted randomly. The party presses on, grimly determined to rid themselves of this plane, post-haste.
The path to Ellmere twists once again, and the party finds themselves standing before a Shadow Forest Mound. Puzzled, the fighter looks around and notices that things are not as they seem: the illusion vanishes, revealing the Gates of Dawn!
The Paladin, giddy, rushes to the newly revealed building, proclaiming the her god has sent her a sign! Reaching the outer doors, the paladin finds an inscription on the vault entreating her in Celestial “Lay thy Hands upon the door, and be judged.”. Enthusiastically, the Paladin channels healing energy into the door, and the great gates swing open to reveal an abandoned celestial outpost.
Searching the outpost, the interior walls are heavily scribed with all manner of protectives against the shadow world, but most notably, an second set of freestanding doors stands in the center of the room, seemingly going nowhere. Careful examination of the room and the doors turns up a ritual to cause the doors to connect to the Positive Energy Plane.
Clearly a relic from the War of Light and Darkness, the Sorcerer urges caution, as the Positive Energy Plane could be even more caustic to mortals than the Plane of Shadow. Saddened, the Paladin relents, though the outpost serves excellently as a place to camp for the night, as the protectives scribed on the walls obviate the need to post a guard.
The following morning, refreshed, the party presses on to Shadow Ellmere. Arriving at the outskirts of the city, the party is presented with a skyline not unlike Ellmere, but composed entirely of shadow-stuff, with the buildings shuffled compared to the ones in Prime Ellmere.
Some discussion ensues, centered around whether the Paladin will even enter the city, proclaiming that she’ll have no choice but to attack any undead on sight. The party entreats the paladin to attempt to blend in, and after some coercing the Paladin relents.
Finding their way amidst the city, the residents largely ignore the mortal outsiders, and the party finds the local equivalent of the Mage’s Guild. This front door is guarded by two brutes, clearly shadows, and definitely interested in barring the party’s way. Despite a valiant attempt by the Sorcerer, the guards refuse entry and point them in the direction of another large building.
Thus turned away, the party heads in the direction the not-so-helpful seemingly-mute guards suggested, and find themselves in front of a religious oddity: a Shadow Temple of Boccob. Puzzled, the party steps inside, to find themselves in the back of what appears to be a Boccorian mass, praising the Lord of Magic, though the pews are entirely filled with Shadows. The Paladin is unsure of what to make of this, but defaults to religious observance, and the three make their way to a back pew.
After much sermonizing the head priest conveys himself to the party, as they clearly stick out among the usual populace. He entreats them to explain themselves, and the party, nearly overcome by the thought of anyone not immediately attacking them, spills all the information they can.
After some discussion, the priest casts a few helpful spells upon the party, points them in the direction of Hadrian Thorpe, hands them a map, and suggests they keep their heads low for the trip.
The Sorcerer, ever curious, returns to the Shadow Mage’s Guild, and entreats the guards to help them once again. This time, the guards seem more willing to help, and have one of the local Mages come talk to them. The Mage, amused by their predicament, offers to sell them a scroll, but the party comes up short. Thus rebuffed, the Mage returns inside, and leaves the party to their fate.
Left standing on the front porch, the party ventures out of Shadow Ellmere, following the map given to them, and after a time comes across a quaint little hut seemingly out in the middle of nowhere. After knocking a few times, the party enters the hut to find the interior full of the color the Plane of Shadow lacks, but even more tellingly, a mid-afternoon meal left out half-eaten.
The Sorcerer steps further into the hut and sees a curious sight: a rope trailing from the far corner’s ceiling! Wise to this spell, he ushers the party inside, and laughs at the “Rope Trick”, and is greeted by the angry chitterings of a weasel familiar poking it’s head out of the invisible portal.
After much amusing note passing, veiled threats, and finally exasperation, the party retreats outside to allow the resident time to come out of the ethereal space and compose himself. Hadrian almost manages to do this gracefully, before falling the last few feet to the floor.
After regaining composure, Hadrian introduces himself, and the party attempts to retell the story of the past few days. Taking some pity, but and presenting a professional interest, Hadrian suggests that the best course of action is to get the party off the Plane of Shadow as quickly as possible, and to have the party deal with the Curse from the safety of the Prime. The party is more than amenable to leaving as quickly as possible, and after a few moments, a Banishment spell, and a request to take an object with them, the party is unceremoniously dumped into the middle of a Wood, gloriously green, on the Prime Material Plane.
The party, eager to celebrate their return, barely notes the small orb Hadrian gave them immediately float of its own accord, and fly into the distance lost in the clouds of the southeast.