REPORT: FAILURE TO ACQUIRE PRIMAL BINDING GLYPHS
WRITTEN BY: CIRCLE CAPTAIN ARDENT KUR'THRANETH
DATE: 9/5/13268 K.C.
As you are aware, I had been charged by the Ninth Circle with locating and recovering the “Primal Binding Glyphs”, rumoured to be hidden by the Arcane Star in an extradimensional vault beneath the Palace Lake on Calsor. To assist me with the mining you gave me access to four “Hammer Claw” type mining automata (each equipped with offensive and defensive programming in addition to advanced combat heuristics), as well as the aid of a priestess of Sarrastain (one Sarthaex Argoth).
I assigned my own second in command, Nurgid “Clayflesh* to oversee the mission, and assigned a number of well trained and highly regarded soldiers of the 5th to aid him. A gorgoth warrior, bound to the Circle by magic, was sent to add extra security, and the mage I sent with the group (one Issilar Tormonuth) was a skilled conjurer, able to summon unnatural creatures from beyond this world. The priestess also brought along three undead bound to her service (ghoul type undead with modified fingers that were shaped into implements of torture), and is reported to have summoned a daemon of some kind which assisted her in her holy duties (Nurgid reports this was a “hulking thing; part snake, part skinned thigh, part spider, scorpion and centipede”. “A shadowy nightmare thing that exuded dread and which helped torment the subject”).
Divinations and the interrogation of the Nurgid's spirit after the fact indicate that they arrived at nightfall on the 8/5/13268 and quickly located the vault's custodian, one Edwin Goodly. Edwin proved to be a potent spell caster, and before he was subdued managed to kill two soldiers. However, he was brought to heel, and exposed to the tender mercies of Sarthaex.
According to Nurgid's spirit, the priestess flayed Edwin whilst alive, and pinned torture prayers to his nerves. Even in death Nurgid – a sadist if ever I met one – shuddered when recalling the torments the arcanist was exposed to, and he recalled that he was more than a little shocked when Edwin somehow found the fortitude to deny him and his group what they wanted – the pass phrase to the vault.
Whilst this torture was going on, the Hammer Claws were attempting to breach a wall of unnatural crystals that protected the entrance to the pocket dimension – with no success.
Reports indicate that the interrogation of Edwin was some 9 hours old when information reached Nurgid that the guards set to watch the entrance to the mining area they were occupying had been engaged in combat by persons unknown. Nurgid stated that he had not gone to investigate, confident that they could handle any issues, though he did send the gorgoth to support them in their battles.
Unfortunately, this it seems was Nurgid's main mistake. The group (who at the time of this report we have been utterly unable to identify, though Nurgid's spectre indicated that they included one tech-mage, some kind of modified golem, a vyrleen assassin-acrobat, an archer apparently imbued with noctramantic powers, a dundorin priestess and a Canis Guardian construct similar to those used to protect many of our sites and officials.)were far more powerful than he had thought, and quickly won past his upper guards.
According to both Nurgid, and the Sarrastainite, this band of mercenaries entered the lower area where the mining efforts were taking place at approximately 05:15 (Calsorian Local Time), and immediately began a sustained and almost impossibly potent attack. All accounts indicate that our troops were hugely inconvenienced by a shadow summoning called forth by the archer, which filled a large area with “ghost bats”, and that the tech-mage's artifice – both his own castings and his constructs – proved to be almost unbelievably powerful; the golem apparently demonstrating full battle heuristics and the Canis Guardian exhibiting a number of ingenious and deadly modifications.
This group also carried potent healing abilities, and so were able to remove much of the harm our troops dealt to them. From Nurgid's reports, it seems that the vyrleen may have had special artificer training, as he is reported to have repeatedly landed blows on our tank-like constructs (which I remind you bear almost 2 tons of Durium and Adamantine plating as well as bear all their internal magics within shielded compartments of Adamantine), which “Bolluxed the guts of the things as if they were armoured with smoke not metal”. The dundorin from both sets of reports was the least effective member of the troupe, and even she is reported to have wielded an enchanted hammer capable of throwing lightning, and a vast reservoir of restorative enchantments.
According to Nurgid and Sarthaex, this band of mercenaries crushed an initial rush by several of our soldiers, one of the mining automatons, and a ghoul. They also dispatched the daemon with little trouble, though it apparently sowed a little confusion amongst their ranks before being banished from the physical. Nurgid was quite seriously wounded early on in the battle, as the golem used some kind of area effect acid weapon, which caught him and not only retarded his healing abilities, but caused significant harm to him (see footnote below again if you have forgotten why).
We know that Nurgid followed the remaining constructs as they mined a path through the solid rock of the region to form a flanking position against the group. However, it seems that the Canis Guardian was able to render this approach unsafe by coating it with acidic oils; rendering it a hazardous zone of slippery and corrosive stone, which caused several of our machines to slip and tumble, hampering their ability to fight. We also know that by the time Nurgid was able to reach his enemies, the tech-mage had enchanted the golem's weapon with spells of fire, lightning and acid; hugely enhancing its effectiveness against my mongrel captain.
Nurgid's death was not seen by any one other than the machines and the Sarrastainite ghouls. However, he states – and did so with a palpable aura of dismay, anger and disbelief – that he was simply”overwhelmed”, and that the ensorcelled attacks of the battle golem were “just too fast, too heavy and too thickly swathed in fire and acid”. Nurgid was unable or unwilling to describe his final moments of life, but it seems he managed to inflict a grievous wound on the vyrleen before he was taken down.
Sarthaexis reported to have entered the battle close to its end, and she claims to have taken down “the bitch with the bow”, before witnessing the same individual being brought back to consciousness, and going on to disable a number of constructs with some kind of “primal slumber spell”.
Sarthaex, and indeed, the church of the Mother of Torments, has remained worryingly tight lipped about two things; how the battle ended, and how she, alone, managed to survive a contact that saw eight soldiers, four powerful constructs, a daemon and whatever beings our mage summoned, killed. We intend to send a squad to search the area later today, to assess the likelyhood of still acquiring the glyphs.
As a side note, I would humbly ask that permission be given to have Nurgid returned to life. I am aware that in this endeavour he failed, but can vouch for his loyalty to the Circle, and to his otherwise excellent record of action with our organisation. I would also ask that the identities of the mercenaries that slew him be divined so that the appropriate steps can be taken to make an example of them, and those that hired them.
I hope this report answers all your questions.
Brotherhood and Strength.
Ardent Kur'Thraneth (Captain of the 5th Circle)
” A powerful warrior who bore significant mutation after Trull's blood was given to him as he lay dying, that gave him both the savage strength and unnatural healing ability of the Nargor, along with, unfortunately, their weakness against flame and all mordant fluids.
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WRITTEN BY: CIRCLE CAPTAIN ARDENT KUR'THRANETH
DATE: 13/5/13268 K.C.
Firstly, may I say I am both infuriated and upset by your decision to leave Nurgid dead. I understand that you need to demonstrate that even the most well regarded members of our order cannot be allowed to fail, but would remind you that morale can kill any campaign as surely as a legion of light spawned angels. That said, I am afraid I must relay more information to you that will not please you.
A patrol was dispatched to the Palace Lake to see if there was any trace of the vault in which the Primal Glyphs were kept. Both mundane and magical examination of the area suggest that the vault's entrance, along with its custodian (Edwin Goodly) have vanished. Unfortunately, this means the search for another set of the Glyphs must begin, which given the time, cost and effort of the last search, is not welcome news.
Once again, I can only apologise for this failure, and ask for your understanding at the unpredictable and unanticipated nature of our foes in this endeavour.
Brotherhood and Strength,
* * *
9TH CIRCLE DIRECTIVE – ORDERS OF TOP LEVEL PRIORITY
ISSUED TO [RORGA TULANDE]; 13/5/13268 K.C.
ORDER AS FOLLOWS: IMMEDIATE APPREHENSION, DEMOTION AND EXECUTION OF ONE CIRCLE CAPTAIN ARDENT KUR'THRANETH IN THE WAKE OF TACTICAL AND COMMAND FAILURES THAT HAVE COST THE CIRCLE DEARLY.
REPLACEMENT TO BE MADE AWARE AND PROMOTED.
EXECUTION ORDER TO BE KEPT TOP SECRET UNTIL CARRIED OUT
DO YOUR DUTY WITHOUT MERCY, AND WITHOUT JOY.
BROTHERHOOD AND STRENGTH.
THE 9TH CIRCLE.