After resting for the night in a protected alcove, the Pathfinders prepared for their next objective: investigating the crumbling Coliseum of the Mask and Lyre. Before they could begin, however, an Elf scout breathlessly ran up to them and announced that Crying Leaf was under attack by a green dragon. Thor immediately offered to protect the village, as did Batman and Black Canary. The others decided to stick to their original (albeit detoured) plan to reclaim Celwynvian. After a few more moments, they prepared to enter.
Peering into the dark and decrepit building, Strange and Arrow recalled how all Elves who had entered the area previously died. Fearing such a fate, they instead coaxed Iron Woman into sending her precious and newly-renovated suit. They surmised that as a non-living construct, it would be safe from the spiritual haunts within. Immediately they came across the only movement in the ancient structure, several diminutive shock lizards. The lizards electrocuted the suit for little damage, prompting Green Arrow to dispatch one of them with a hailstorm of well-aimed arrows. The other lizards scattered, allowing the suit to continue.
Beneath the high, central rotunda the suit searched high and low – scanning everything in its path. Unfortunately it didn’t detect the malicious vines overhead, which descended in a flash and grappled the unmanned suit. It began constricting the brilliant mithril as the only entrance to the room slammed shut. Arrow , Stark and Superman rushed to the door, but couldn’t make sense of how to operate the opening mechanism. They also tried prying it open, to no use. Strange drifted through the wall, reporting his observations and casting spells to try rescuing the helpless suit. Eventually they broke through, and immediately Stark and Superman found themselves grappled as well. They fought their way out of the vines and destroyed the remainders, but not before one crushed Iron Woman’s suit to pieces.
The Pathfinders took a second to recuperate, and Stark looked over her mangled suit. Green Arrow, however, spotted an ancient organ-like musical instrument against the far wall. Curiosity got the best of him, and he played a foul note – which radiated throughout the stone complex. As Stark ridiculed him, a mournful ghost (not Strange) rose up between between the once-Sorcerer and once-Iron Woman. Her unsettling presence immediately terrified Arrow and Stark, who ran for cover. She peered into Strange’s exposed soul, sapping his very life essence. Superman tried to reason with her, but it did no good. Arrow ran out of the building as Superman tried to pull Stark to safety. With just a few magical words, the banshee convinced Strange to descend into the lower-levels of the Coliseum. He obeyed helplessly.
As he dropped into the dark crypt beneath the others, Strange encountered yet another ethereal being. This one, however, was far more evil and powerful. It was a Caller in Darkness, an amalgam of fallen souls and it yearned for Strange’s. With a few powerful blasts, Strange found himself grievously injured. He tried to flee, but the Caller activated the Obelisk of Water – the artifact Strange was seeking – which trapped him within a sphere of force. Torn between allies, Superman decided to go after strange. Peering through a crack in the floor to get his bearings, Superman spun so fast he vibrated through the floor and into the ossuary. There he and Strange battled the Caller, each taking considerable damage. The Caller also burned Strange’s charisma, leaving him crude and impersonable. Strange knew that if he were to die by the horde of screaming faces that he would not simply regenerate, he would be consumed by them. With no health left he closed his eyes and prepared to accept his fate. At the last second, however, Superman lunged between them and took a direct blast of unholy energy. Drained of energy but otherwise unharmed, they rallied to finish off the howling menage. Strange dealt the final blow, slicing a dozen faces from the others as he cut it in half with his spectral sword. The tormented souls drifted away, leaving the two heroes in silence.
Superman and Strange ascended into the rotunda room. Unable to escape or affect the banshee, Superman tried once more to reason with her. He mentioned the fact that her likely captor was destroyed, and that her soul was free. The woman explained that Magus Nolveniss told her the Pathfinders worked for Doom and sought to destroy the city. When the Pathfinders convinced her otherwise, the grateful spirit looked up to a beam of light descending through the cracked dome above. She drifting skyward, crossing over to her long-awaited rest.
Retreating to their outside barricade, oddly feeling safer amidst war than inside the Coliseum, the Pathfinders holed themselves up for two days as the battle for Celwynvian drifted decidedly in the Drow’s favor. With no one to stem their advance, the Dark Elves pressed forward even during the day. Eventually their forward scouts reached Crying Leaf and its depleted defenders. They destroyed most of the village, including its leader – Councilor Eviana Nirgassan.
Once rebuilt, Doctor Strange once again decided to scout ahead alone. He discovered a trove of treasure and collected items in the crypt and, following a nearby stairwell, ascended into a shrine for an Elven goddess. There he also ran into a blue wisp that attacked him, startled. The wisp electrocuted Strange repeatedly, causing him to retreat. When he returned, the wisp had disappeared. Using the opportunity, Strange flew out and called the others. The party regrouped in the shrine. However, like the door to the rotunda, the strange hole-like markings on the altar perplexed them. They could not figure out how to get passed it, and reach the treasure below. At a stand-still once again, the Pathfinders began discussions on what to do next…
Caitlin and Hunter: 29,150