Sludgge’s Journal-Under the Big Top

Quest: Under the Big Top
Level 20 (Epic Normal)
Crawlers: Sludgge

After dealing with that pesky halfing, Roderick Nettles and that wicked abishai Garos, I reported back to Rouge who congratulated me on the successful mission and then forwarded me to talk to Cerise as their intelligence had finally narrowed down the leader of the Maleficient Cabal and have determined where they are. So I took off and found Cerise on the other side of the House Phiarlan enclave just outside of the recently erected Troubadoor Carnival. Cerise also mentioned that the leader’s name is Malicia.

After picking up a few other nagging details from Cerise, I reported back to Erdrique and let him know that I was beginning to start this mission and hopefully to take down the Maleficient Cabal once and for all. I then entered off to the carnival. I then started to think that hiding your forces in the midst and guise of a carnival was a really interesting idea and pretty clever. Carnival’s are generally harmless and are known to contain unique and exotic individuals so it is an excellent way to sneak a large number of “exotic” people into an area without drawing a large amount of attention. As I came upon the carnival, I noticed the standard carnival activities: high striker bells, slight of had tricks, fire handlers, and other people selling their wares.

One thing I did notice was that there were a large number of tents and some interesting posters of the old Marketplace tent. Not sure why these were posted but they catch my eye. I took a minute to summon forth my onyx panther and my owlbear at confer with Wyoh, the cleric mercenary that had accompanied throughout my travels to determine the mystery of the Maleficient Cabal. After we got situated, we decided to explore this carnival.

It didn’t take long for things to start to get interesting. As we ventured further into the carnival, we noticed that there wasn’t a single person here. We continued forward into the first set of tents and first set of carnival workers when things quickly changed. In the blink of an eye, the carnival staff quickly revealed their true identities and we were quickly swarmed by a bunch of tieflings. The same type of tieflings who were trying to prevent us from getting to Brawnpits and who were trying to running the Grand Gala. The ensuing fight was quite vicious. We were primarily assaulted by Maleific Seers, Maleific Strongmen, Maleific Knife Throwers and Maleific Firebreathers. After a ferocious battle, we looked around at our defeated ambushers and the tents they guarded.

We didn’t discover anything around that area and came upon another set of carnival workers. Now we were quite suspicious and we expected to be attacked. As soon as we entered their area, the tieflings revealed themselves, as well as their hellhound pets, and battle quickly resumed. I got the sense that the panther and owlbear might have been enjoying this a little too much. After this battle we noticed a large rune wheel. I could sense immediately that the wheel was trapped and noticed that rune wheel needed to be set correctly to open up a gateway to continue further into the carnival. I was able to find and disable the trapping mechanism fairly easily which allowed me to set the rune wheel and allowed us to take down the barrier to move our way deeper into the carnival.

This same pattern continued throughout the rest of the carnival on the way to the Big Top. We passed through a few more gates that were controlled by rune wheels that all had traps strategically place upon them. We engaged a number of tiefling forces which also included some Maliefic Illusionist along with the other types of enemies we had already encountered. After a number of battles we were eventually able to make our way to the Big Top.

Once at the entrance to the Big Top, we encountered a secondary party that was sent in with us, another set of House Phiarlan spies led by Yewl d’Phiarlan. Yewl basically informed us that we were being used as a distraction to allow Yewl and his band to get inside and deal with the Maleficient leader Malicia, themselves. I wasn’t happy about hearing about these turn of events but we agreed to help Yewl to fight and take down Malicia.

With that said, we entered the Big Top. Yewl went to the center of the Big Top and called for Malicia to enter. She eventually showed up, giggling the entire time. Malicia turned out to be a very dangerous and seductive succubus. Before we knew what was really happening, Malicia had taken control and charmed Yewl as well as his contingent and we were quickly fighting them off. Once we dispatched with the charmed Phiarlan forces we then focused on Malicia, who seemed quite amused.

We quickly engaged Malicia with everything we had. We all knew, including the onyx panther and owlbear, that if we didn’t keep Malicia busy that she might try to charm one of us to fight each other. Malicia kept us off balance and during the fight she would summon forth more of her tiefling forces to distract us. The onyx panther and owlbear did a good job keep the majority of Malicia’s attention which allowed me to score critical and lethal hits on her from behind. With our relentless onslaught, Malicia finally fell and we watched as she lost her control to the anchors that bound her to this plane and saw her dematerialize and return to Shavarath. The only thing I could think of was that she wasn’t going to be very happy and I wondered how she would exact her revenge, for surely she would.

After her fall, we quickly left the Carnival and reported back to Cerise who congratulated us on taking down Malicia. Cerise mentioned that they will have some work cleaning up from the aftermath but it wasn’t anything that they couldn’t handle. Cerise thanked us and then told us to report back to Rogue. When we back to Rogue she was all smiles. She seemed appreciative of our work and gave us a generous payment for completing the task. I did make it clear, however, that I wasn’t very happy being used as a pawn or a diversion in the schemes of House Phiarlan. She looked at me puzzled and confused until I told her about Yewl and the House Phiarlan contingent already getting ready to enter the Big Top. She apologized for the “misunderstanding” and told me she would look into the matter but I saw right through her bluff. In any case, she paid us and we headed out. I took off to report back to Erdrique and to let him what had occurred.

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