Eberron Revisited - Heroes of Xandrar

The defeat of elemental evil
2nd of Eyre

After a good rest, the heroes leave the hidden tomb and start exploring the rest of the fire temple. They find that the corpses they have caused have been carefully laid out in rows and much of the area they have already passed through appears to be deserted. They enter some new areas and spy a number of fire cultists carefully packing. The cultists don’t see them, so the heroes have the surprise factor and easily defeat these cultist. They then burst into another room where they see two priests also packing.

Before they have a chance to attack, one of the priests says “Stop. I recognise who you are and there is no need to attack us. We are leaving, you are too late. Imix has been summoned and we are all leaving before this temple is flooded with lava. It appears that now we have achieved our task, our wonderful new leader, Mae Chen, has no more use for us”.

“Where is Mae Chen”, says Morythas, “We would still like to ‘discuss matters’ with her”.

The priest considers for a moment, and then gives detailed directions for finding the temple to Imix where he believes Mae Chen will be found. “Vanifer was more than a leader to me”, he says, “she was my friend for a long time. Please, send Mae Chen my regards.”.

The heroes follow the directions. They are able to pass through a group of cultists without aggression by simply stating that they are looking for Mae Chen. They are directed to a red door which they pass through. They hear a female voice talking, in the tone of someone reporting. But they decide not to stop and listen – now is a time for action. They burst in the room, ready for confrontation.

Mae Chen hears them enter and turns away from an alter to Imix. “Morythas and Tito! How good to see you again, my old friends. And Kleris, I had heard you were dead so I’m guessing that Aimn Lu has come into his own. Where is he, and please, introduce me to your new companions. Come, come, there is no need to be agressive. We have no reason to fight, you have already been defeated. Imix has been released, and thanks to your efforts in destroying the other portals, he has no enemies to stand in his way.”

“This is no time to talk”, says Morythas, “You used us. Why would you want to release Imix into the world”.

“It is all part of a much bigger plan”, says Mae Chen, “one that your tiny mortal minds are too small to comprehend. But you still look as if you want to attack me? Perhaps I should show you my true form, so that you can see how futile such efforts would be”.

With that she transforms – becoming a humanoid tiger with strange backwards hands – A Rakshasa.

Morythas and Layna know of these demons – Layna through her arcane studies and Morythas through his religous studies. They both know that Rakshasa are powerful immortal beings that spend millennia putting obscure plans into place, and that care nothing for the lives of mere mortals.

“Yes”, says Mae Chen, " I am one of the Lords of Dust. I was with your friend Aimn Lu as I had noticed when her returned to the world and what he is. There is no other mortal in the world with the potential he has. But when you took me into the dragons lair and a recognised the feel of one of the ancient elemental keys I felt the opportunity to put some other plans into play."

“I would leave if I were you”, she continues, “when Imix has regained his strength this entire region will become a fire blasted waste. I would travel quickly if I were you. First the Black Hills will be destroyed, followed by much of Breeland, Thrane, Aundair and the Eldeen Reaches. You see that if you fight me you will die. Accept your defeat and flee now. This world will not end in your lifetime and you will still be able to lead quiet and fulfilling lives elsewhere”.

“BY SYBERUS, YOU WILL NOT SEE US SHOW OUR BELLIES TO YOU” shouts Morythas and he runs in to attack. The spellcasters in the group start casting their most powerful spells at Mae Chen. But they appear to have no affect. Mae Chen simply glances at Tito whose eyes glaze over. Tito then starts attacking Morythas.

Realising that Mae Chen appears to be immune to magical effects, the group run in to attack hand to hand. But some of the weapons seem to have little effect. However Morythas hammer begins glowing with a holy light and his weapon seems to be lighter in his hand, but heavier when it hits. He is able to do more damage than the rest of the group.

Kleris, realising that his spells do not work, takes a moment to carefully assess his enemy and realises that at her side is a red hilted dagger, sitting in a leather scabbard. He realises that this is the elemental weapon, Tinderstrike, the weapon with the ability to close the fire portal. It might be too late, but he decides that they may still need that weapon.

He uses his telekinesis ability to try and remove the dagger from the scabbard. He finds that although Mae Chen is immune to magical effects, the dagger still moves. With difficulty he manages to remove it from the scabbard. However Mae Chen feels the activity. “NO” she shouts, grabbing the dagger as it begins to float away from her. However she is being attacked and Kleris is able to wrench the weapon from her grasp.

It immediately starts whispering in his head, trying to convince him that he needs to bond with it if he wants to close the portal, that he cannot trust his friends, that there is power here that he could use for a greater good. But Kleris has spent much of his adulthood listening to whispers from much more powerful entities. He is not fooled by these temptations.

Unbelievably, the heroes seem to be doing a lot of damage to Mae Chen. Recognising this, she holds up a hand and suddenly disappears. The heroes have a fleeting image of her standing on a landing at the edge of a city made of brass floating in a lake of fire. Then she is gone. They have defeated a Rakshasa.

But there is no time to lose. Imix has been released. The heroes rush back to the stone platform and descend to the fire node. Faith turns invisible and uses her ability to fly to scout around. She finds the control that raises stepping stones for the rest of the group to cross over the lava lake and activates it. All the human cultists appear to have left this area, but other creatures remain. They manage to fool a fire giant to get past the secret entrance he guards, convince salamanders that they are the new leaders of the cult and pass through into some luxurious chambers.

Quickly scouting, Faith finds in a bedchamber a small portrait of herself when she was a child. Very confused she quickly stores this portrait away in her pack. Then they peer up a passageway leading north and see a titanic cavern filled with a lake of gently undulating magma. A rough, uneven causeway of natural rock leads out into the middle, to a point where two crooked pillars
of glassy black rock jut up on either side of a great altar of the same stone. Just beyond the altar, a gargantuan stone colossus rises from the lava to its waist, its head thrown back as if in agony. Tears of lava stream down its face, and lava wells from its gaping mouth. Above the colossus’s head hovers a great orb of fire and light—a miniature sun with motes of fire swirling around it. In front of the collossus, a huge creature made of fire rests in the lake of magma. It radiates power, but the heroes see it slowly pulsating, drawing energy from both the magma and the portal. With each pulse, it grows slightly bigger.

The heroes know that they cannot defeat this enemy. They need to strike the portal with the dagger. “Kleris, give me the dagger, I can get it up there”, says Faith. Kleris has a moment of hesitation as the dagger tries to convince him otherwise, but gives it up. Faith then drinks a potion of speed, turns invisible again and flies up towards the portal, the other heroes waiting and watching. However Imix seems to be immediately aware of her presence. Faith is able to fly behind the portal.

“Run”, shouts Kleris to the rest of the group, “I’ll distract him, this was my purpose for returning from the dead”. The rest of the party begin to flee, but there is another roar as a large red dragon flies into the salamader chamber, their only exit.

Kleris start casting his most powerful spells at Imix. These barely dent the creature, but they are enough to distract him. He shoots two bursts of fire at Kleris, the first missing, but the second enveloping the passage and nearly killing Kleris outright.

But that is enough of a distraction. Faith flies above the portal and hurls the dagger in. The portal immediately begins to implode, sucking in Imix, magma and the surrounding air. Faith is able to fly away, and the party begin to flee. They defeat the dragon, then the fire giant and quickly retrace their steps out of the series of complexes and out to a fine, clear morning. They have defeated the princes of elemental evil and the cults that served them.

Loose Threads:

1. Vanifer was Faith’s long lost mother. She is still imprisoned in the fire temple.
2. Aimn Lu is the last of the line of Vol – a bloodline that was thought to be extinct. Now that his dragonmark of death ha shown itself he will be of great interest to many, and many will want him dead.
3. The water portal has not been destroyed. Layna has the key to that portal and the elemental weapon, drown, is slowly changing her mind regarding the concept of summoning the Olahydra, the Prince of Water into the world. Layna will need to be stopped at some point.
4. Tito is still being hunted by enemies unknown. Now he is famous they will be able to track him down, and he will know why he is being hunted.
5. Morythas, through his wish he made with the genie, has a romance to complete. He has a dragonborn princess to woo, but to do so he will need to prove his worth. This will be difficult with his family background. He also finds himself on a holy quest to track down Aimn Lu to protect and fight with him so that the most ancient of dragons can be restored, leading potentially to the rebirth of Siberys.
6. A civil war has begun, with two dragonmarked houses taking over the ‘regency’ of Breeland. The rightful heir has been smuggled out to a safe place, but the wrong people know where he is.
7. Warforged have taken over control of Sharn. What does this mean.
8. Mae Chen was defeated, but escaped. She will return, and will want vengence for her escape.
9. Kleris just gets weirder and weirder, and his focus becomes more obscure. He may forget that individual humans are important, rather than just the overall picture of humanity.
10. As for Kir. He finds that he gains much fame and glory and he makes the most of it. Despite that, and despite much research for a magical cure he is unable to win his battle against hair loss.

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Downstairs, Upstairs
1st of Eyre

The heroes look among themselves, all nervous to touch Ironfang after what happened to Layna (they assume). However the monolith is bulging. Something inside is trying to get out. Something huge.

Faith decides to summon her ‘centipede’ familiar in it’s true form and Hope, the Quasit, appears. Mythoras is uneasy about an alliance with such a creature, but watches to see what will happen.

Faith instructs Hope to take Ironfang, and use it to strike the monolith. The Quasit grabs the weapon, then starts to fly towards the monolith. Then it stops, looks at Faith, looks at the rest of the heroes, looks at Ironfang and then flees at top speed towards the exit.

Morythas is quick on the uptake though, and stops the quasit with the well aimed throw of a spear that goes right through the Quasit’s back and out it’s torso.

Back to square one. The monolith is stretching, and seems at breaking point. The ground is shaking. The noise of grating rock is overwhelming. Faith decides that this is no time to be nervous and runs up, grabbing Ironfang, and runs towards the monolith.

But suddenly she is aware that unless she takes the time to truly understand this weapon and attune to it, she will not be able to stop whatever is trying to come out. She needs to take Ironfang from this place, now.

Throwing off the suggestion in her mind, she leaps up and strikes the monolith with a mighty blow. Immediately, the monolith shatters, scattering rock and Kyber Crystal all over the chamber. The ground shakes and the chamber starts collapsing. The heroes run, escaping from the chamber just as it collapses completely, showing them with dust and rock fragments.

Kir and Kleris are both still disguised as Earth cultists, so they lead the group as they run back through the passages, passing other cultists running towards the chamber and bluffing their way through. They have done it. They have destroyed the earth portal and lived to tell the tale.

They limp back up to the Fane of the Eye where they find a quiet spot to rest. After a sleep and some recovery time they discuss what they need to do next and it is obvious that they need to travel to where the fire portal is and destroy it before Imix is summoned.

They find the area with the minotaurs and after a nasty battle defeat them. They find themselves in front of a floating stone platform in what appears to be the middle of a long pit. Far below they see a large chamber filled with lava. Above the chute ascends out of sight.

Layna summons a new familiar – this time an invisible ‘owl’, which she sends down the chute. It flies down and relays passages filled with lava, humans, a fire giant and a red dragon. It then flies into a room where a human female is talking with fire cultists. The human is holding Tinder – the elemental weapon of fire.

Despite the owl being invisible, the human appears to be immediately aware of it. She points at the owl and immediately the connection is broken. Layna details what was seen to the group and they decide to hide in wait for anything that comes up from the lava chamber. They are fairly confident that they have lost the element of surprise.

They wait a long time, then the platform descends. When it ascends again, the human is standing on it. Mythoras and Tito, from their hidden positions, recognise this human immediately. It is Mae Chen, their old companion from when they snuck into the black dragons lair, and the one that they assume had stolen an elemental key from the dragon.

Mae Chen looks around briefly, and seeing nothing out of place mutters ‘Ember’. The platform ascends with her on it. Some time passes, and with nothing else happening, the group strike a small gong near where the platform stops. The platform descends to them, they mutter ‘Ember’ and the platform goes up carrying them to a new location.

They find themselves in a large domed chamber where azers and salamanders work at lava fuelled forges, watched over by a Genasi and several fire cultists. The Genasi notices them entering but ignores them. However when the cultists see them, one of them exclaims “that must be them. Kill them and our mistress will reward us”. They move in to attack.

As the cultists attack the heroes, the Azers and Salamanders break away from their forges and begin attacking the Genasi. The heroes are able to defeat the cultists without too much hassle, although one escapes by jumping into the lava flow and swimming away, but are unwilling to take on the Genasi. They decide that the battle that is going on is none of their business and head north, climbing some stairs and leaving the chamber and it’s ongoing battle behind.

The head up a wide corridor, ignoring some passages to the side, till they get to a point where they see some fire cultists and hobgoblins guarding a passage on the other side. They are seen and a fight ensues, the kerfuffle attracting the attention of ogres, more hobgobins, more cultists and some spellcasters. The heroes narrowly win the battle, then find a secret passage into a dwarvish tomb. They hide there and rest and recuperate.

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Not getting stoned
1st of Eyre

The heroes take some time to patch up their wounds and recover from the battle with the earth elementals, very aware that at any moment enemies might appear from the tunnel whence the guard escaped.

And sure enough, about 15 minutes later a figure lurches out of the tunnel. It appears to be some sort of undead, with exposed bones and skull showing through ragged clothes and mud. The heroes ready for battle, but suddenly Mythoras yells “Stop, I think it’s Kleris!” The heroes hold their attacks, as Mythoras and Tito go in for a closer look. They see the flesh regenerating on the bones, skin moving over his head and the confused, dead gaze slowly becomes more aware. It is indeed Kleris, who died a long time ago in the Temple of Howling Hatred.

Kleris himself is confused about how he has returned, and how he ended up in this place. He has vague memories of mud, purple light and massive beasts. He also remembers being dead and enfolded in the visions of his Patron. But now he is here, and obviously for a purpose. As he regenerates he feels more powerful than ever before. He has been a part of his Patron’s vision and understands more of the purpose of the world.

Faith and Kir who have never met Kleris before are understandably nervous, but as Kleris regenerates and looks more and more human they realise that he is an odd but friendly person. They see no other option but to bring him along with them. They update him on their mission, and on what has happened. For some reason he already knows about Layna and Aimn Lu.

After sending the ‘centipede’ ahead to scout, they head further ahead. Kleris uses an illusion to disguise himself as a cultist, and Kir takes the more mundane option of dressing in a dead cultist’s clothes. In the next room they find the guard who escaped, lying dead in front of a Xorn. A mad looking cultist next to the Xorn giggles “he didn’t make a suitable offering to Ogremoch, no no no”. After some debate and only just avoiding a battle, they feed the Xorn a large pile of gems they have amassed. The Xorn seems satisfied and the mad cultist sends them on their way. “Don’t forget,” he says, “We walk in the shadow of Ogremoch!”

They continue ahead, getting attacked by Galeb Duhr on a bridge until Mythoras realises that the mad cultists mutterings were a passphrase. From there they are able to bluff their way past various Earth cultists by pretending to be taking sacrifices through to the portal.

Then, they find themselves in a colossal cavern. It is an alien landscape filled with soaring
stone buttresses, weirdly twisting columns, and gargantuan shards of glowing Kyber crystal. A long path of steps is cut into the uneven floor and wends its way between the mighty
stone pillars to the cavern’s core. There, the steps climb to the base of a stone monolith that is constantly changing its shape, filling the great cavern with a thunderous grinding
noise. They see gargoyles clinging to the columns, black earth guards standing watching the monolith and a hooded robed figure standing directly in front of the monolith. He is holding up a warpick to the monolith, and when he brandishes it the monolith bulges as if something is trying to get out. Something massive.

That’s enough for the heroes, they cast fireballs and stinking clouds over the area where the medusa stands. Then Kleris points at the medusa and a dark portal to Xoriat opens, with mouth covered slimy tentacles pouring out and grabbing at the enemy. However Marlos is not so easily killed and moves out of the area, causing big fissures to appear in the ground which swallow some of the heroes. He then moves forward for melee combat with Kir and Mythoras. Faith polymorphs Tito into a T-Rex which proceeds to kill the gargoyles while she finishes off the guards. Both Mythoras and Kir feel the power of the medusa’s gaze, but are able to hold strong. They continue to battle while the rest of the group polish off the other enemies. Finally, Tito is able to come over, closes his jaws over Marlos’ head, and rips his head off.

The pick, Ironfang, clatters to the ground.

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The depths of the earth
1st of Eyre

The remaining heroes sit on the stairway down to the pools, waiting for Layna. But after a while it becomes apparent that she is not coming. Something has happened to her.

The heroes are in no state to go down and search for her though. They are hurt and weary. They make their way to where they fought the rust monster to bandage their wounds and take a rest. They discuss what may have may have happened to Layna and are unable to come to a conclusion.

At this point, Faith (who has been watching invisibly for some time) makes herself known. She tells the party that she saw Layna exit the complex, carrying the trident, and that she had taken control of some water weirds along the way which had left with her.

They realise that whether Layna has betrayed them, or whether she has been influenced by the trident, she is now out of the picture. They also realise that they will not be able to close the water portal without the trident. So they decide to explore the fane further and try to find the way to the Earth Portal. Faith shows he magical ability, by being able to send an invisible centipede under doorways and into rooms to scope out areas before they enter. Through this they are able to avoid spectres and minotaurs. However one of the rooms looks hopeful, with a Kyber Crystal filled tunnel leading down deep into the earth.

Faith also finds the corpse of Shatterkeel. She is disappointed she was unable to question him, but thinks that his warforged claw may be a clue. She messily hacks it off and takes it with her so that she can hopefully find out where it was made.

The Kyber Crystal room has 2 hill giants sitting in the room playing tic-tac-toe. The heroes decide to enter and try and bluff their way past the giants, and manage to talk the giants into playing against them. They make a bet where the loser will reveal a secret, and Mythoras plays the first game against the giant called Maul.

Maul is easily beaten, but instead of living up to the bargain he made, he goes into a rage. The party are forced to fight. Faith polymorphs into a large and fierce dinosaur and the others shoot, kick and hack as normal. The giants are defeated and the party descends downwards.

They find themselves in a large chamber, with seams of Kyber Crystal lighting the space. At the other end of the room are two guards who start shooting when they see the party. It seems like an easy battle, but when Faith and Mythoras go to engage them, two earth elementals erupt from the floor. Mythoras is nearly killed. The party defeat these enemies, but one of the guards manages to escape and runs further into the tunnels.

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A new leader of the Water Cult
1st of Eyre

The party are face to face with Gar Shatterkeel, who has a wee chat with them. In it he explains that they are wrong in their assumptions about the elemental cults, and that the cults are just being used as a source of power for the Swords of Liberty.

The goal of the Swords of Liberty all along has been to free the Kingdom of Breeland from the yoke of tyranny, however the actions of the group have led to the earth and fire cults acting to summon the respective elemental princes in order to protect the cultists from the Heroes of Xandrar.

Shatterkeel explains that he did not want to summon the princes, but he now feels that he has to. He is worried that without a balancing force of water, the earth and fire princes will be a danger to the world. He is unsure that summoning his prince will work without a prince of air to be summoned, but the heroes have already destroyed that portal.

He invites the group to become part of the solution to the problems the kingdom faces. However, Layna is determined to destroy the portals. She invites Shatterkeel to give her the trident and says that if he does he will be free to go.

A back and forth ensues, with neither side giving ground. Eventually the inevitable happens and battle ensues. It is a close battle, with Morythas nearly killed. But Layna fights and defeats Shatterkeel single-handledly while the rest of the party deal with cultists and the crocodile. Windharrow escapes when he sees that the battle is not going his way.

With Shatterkeel defeated, Layna seizes the trident as Kir heals Morythas. As with the last elemental weapon she held, she immediately feels it trying to influence her mind, but she is confident that she has the strength of will to prevail. She realises that in order to destroy the portal she will need to take the time to attune herself to the weapon.

The group returns they way they came and finds a quiet spot to rest. During the break, Layna creates a bond with the weapon. She also realises that it always seems to be her that makes the sacrifices in the group, but also takes the greatest risks. It seems somehow unfair that she does not gain the greatest proportion of the treasure they find.

They head back down to the level of the water portal and Layna convinces the group that it would be best if she travelled alone to the portal using the globe of water in the first room. The rest of the party agree and Layna jumps in the globe which travels (as before) towards the portal chamber. However after a few minutes another globe forms, so Kir and Morythas decide to see if a globe can carry two. It can, and they follow on behind. Tito follows in another globe a few minutes later.

Layna has again cast an illusion on herself to match her colours to disguise herself in the globe. She has no encounters along the way, but when she enters the portal room and her globe pops, her mind is immediately assaulted by madness and she sees ripples in the water. She quickly climbs up the coral island to get out of reach of whatever is in the water and then casts invisibility upon herself.

This is her chance. She grabs the trident and goes to throw it into the portal. But then thinks again. Why should she? This trident could be very useful to her, and it has become precious. If she does not use the trident to open the portal, then it will not open. So why destroy it. Why is it always her that has to give up her treasure. And yet she knows that she is duty bound to destroy the portal.

While she is agonising over this decision, Morythas and Kir enter the chamber. When their globe pops, they are immediately set upon by an aboleth and two chules. The also clamber to the top of the island, but Morythas suddenly becomes crazed, trying to push Kir off the island. Kir manages to dodge aside and Morythas finds himself falling, scraping painfully onto the coral below. This pain clears his mind and he realises he was being controlled by the Aboleth. A battle ensues, but the two of them together are not match for the enemies they face. Layna is missing, and Tito has not arrived yet.

By the time Tito arrives, Morythas and Tito have been almost defeated. They decide that they need to retreat. The three of them jump into globes of water and start moving north, towards the entrance. They have lost, and they have also lost Layna.

While all this is occuring, Layna has been fighting a battle in her mind. She realises that with the trident, she will have power over all water creatures and will be able to create the powerful devestation orbs. By the time she has come to a decision her companions have fled, but Layna’s attitude to them has changed. They were never really her friends and with the trident she is better off alone. She decides to leave this place and find somewhere safe where she can work out what she should do next, and to consolidate her power.

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The bald truth
30th of Therendor - 1st of Eyre

The cultists stagger to the edge of the chamber, trying to get to and kill Kir and Tito.

“My friends”, Kir says with a grin on his face, “You do not understand, you have paid your pennance and have passed the test. I was sent by Shatterkeel himself to release you. Go, go and make your way in peace”.

This stops the cultists. They consider for a moment and then all splash out of the chamber and into the main current. Kir and Tito watch as each of them swim over the waterfall. However, they realise that they have lost their companions. After some consideration they attach a rope to the wall with an iron spike and carefully lower themselves down the waterfall to continue exploring the complex. They pass by the bare-chested man with the imps, but after a discussion with him decide to leave him alone.

Meanwhile, Mythoras finds himself and his two lizardfolk companions fighting waterweirds and more cultists that are able to use the weirds as mounts. Mythoras manages to kill one cultist and one weird, but both his companions are killed. At this point he sees a large amount of cultists swim into the room. Unknown to him, these are the cultists that Kir and Tito released. He ducks under the water, and thanks to his armour that allows him to breathe underwater he swims under the new cultists legs. However he is pursued by one of the water weirds, and continues to flee. But then he sees more legs in the water, and recognises the hairy feet of Tito and the motley pants of Kir. He swims to the surface, yelling to Kir and Tito to get out of the water. The all climb up the slippery walls of the cavern, but the water weird surfaces and tries to pull each of them back in. However, in surfacing, the weird is no longer invisible and the companions manage to quickly dispatch it.

Meanwhile, Layna thoroughly explores the portal chamber. She is unable to do much without the trident, Drown, and is unwilling to leave the chamber without her companions. She climbs up onto the island and waits.

Kir, Tito and Mythoras are all very injured at this stage, and very aware that the chamber they just left is full of cultists. They decide that they are in no condition to take them on, and need to find a place to rest. They head back the way they have come. However, while swimming along Mythoras notices an underwater tunnel. A quick explore reveals an empty chamber containing a small island with a coral throne on it. On the throne sits a jewel encrusted narwhal horn. Mythoras notices another underwater tunnel leading north, but is very interested in the Narwhal horn. When he picks it up, it feels as if it pulls him towards the clear, still water in the chamber. He touches the horn to the water and an image appears of another chamber in this complex, where fish-people are performing some sort of religous ceremony over an ancient and weird alter. They find that every time they touch the horn to the water another scene appears so continue watching scene after scene.

This continues until they see an image of the chamber they are in. They look down and see a small bald spot on the back of Kir’s head. “THAT’S ENOUGH”, Kir yells, kicking his foot into the water and disrupting the image, “This is obviously some sort of evil magic and I think we should stop”.

While Tito and Kir relax, Mythoras becomes curious about the underwater passage to the North. He decides to explore and finds another empty chamber. He swims in, only to be attacked by a giant crocodile. He manages to fight it off and flees out another underwater tunnel. He then returns to his companions and they decide that it is time to leave.

Meanwhile, Layna is getting worried. Something about this area had gotten to her and she felt like the was going mad. She decides that enough time has passed and her companions must have gotten delayed. She touches one of the floating globes, thinking it will take her back the way she came, but it heads off north. She decides to stay in the globe and again she disguises herself by using an illusion to change her colouration to match the water. She passes through a number of chambers including one with a hydra, but finds herself back in the entrance to this complex. She decides to wait on the stairs for a short time in case her companions come back this way.

Very soon they do, and it is a happy reunion. However most of them are very hurt. Layna is fascinated by the description of the chamber with the still waters that showed images of other chambers so they return there to recuperate and rest. While they are doing this, Layna goes through images of every chamber, learning all about what is in the complex, including an aboleth. “Ah”, she thinks, “that explains the battle with madness I had”. After she has examined every room, they change the image to that of the portal chamber, and keep watch on it while they rest.

After about 8 hours, they are feeling well rested and ready to go again when they see a globe float into the image of the portal chamber. A figure drops out as the globe completes it’s journey and they see a face that they have not seen in some time – it is Windharrow. They watch him carefully explore the chamber, and then he touches another globe and floats off to the North.

The companions quickly gather their things and rush out of the chamber attempting to beat him to the stairway, but swimming against the current and climbing the rope up the waterfall slow them down considerably. By the time they get the the stairs, he has already gone.

They climb up the stairs back to the fane of the eye. They hear voices in the cave where the lizard folk were before, so Layna decides to sneak to the entrance and examine. The surviving lizard folk have returned, and are standing around the symbol that Mythoras scratched in the floor last time they were there. But it has changed. They symbol, moves, flows and the meaning of this Draconic Prophecy embeds itself in Layna’s head.

Blood of Man
Less blood of fey
Least blood of dragon old
Princeling son had disappeared and as a slave was sold
Memory lost and home long gone and family long time vanished
Kingdom broken, mists of death, all while he was banished.
Son of kings,
Son of lords
Long lost son of Vol
When he returns the broken kingdom will once again be whole
Dead mark, mark of dead, mark of deaths defeat
When he returns the city dead will kneel down at his feet.

Layna returns to the group and discusses what they have found. They decide to leave the lizardfolk alone and continue onwards. They pass through several chambers, fighting a rust monster, harpys and an Air Elemental Myrmidon, until they find themselves in a chamber where they hear voices coming from a passage to the west.

“My lord, I have checked the portal and the chamber is currently clear. There is no sign of the mercenaries from Xandrar”. This is obviously the cultured and clear voice of Windharrow.

Hearing is difficult, so the companions move closer to try and hear better. Layna peeks round the corner and sees a stone ziggurat capped by a huge altar of black granite
standing in the middle of a large cavern. At the foot of the altar lies a bound, gagged figure with a freshly sliced throat. Fresh rivulets of blood stain the altar and trickle down the steps of the ziggurat. On all sides of the cavern, guttering flames dance atop sluggish pools of oily water. The alter is surrounded by cultists and on the ziggurat stands a large man, covered in barnacles with one arm that resembles a large metallic crab claw – obviously of Artificer make. Layna makes the guess that this must be Gar Shatterkeel. In front of him a giant crocodile rests on the floor, and on the other side of that, with his back to Layna stands Windharrow, addressing the leader of the water cult.

“Good, good”, a Shatterkeel responds to Windharrow, “I’ve made the sacrifices now, but the last part is delicate. I don’t want any bloody disturbances while I do the summoning”. Then a pause.

“But hark,” the Shatterkeel says, “what light through yonder passage breaks?” His voice rises “I SEE THE LIGHT OFF YOUR LANTERN you stupid buggers.”

Mythoras, the one carrying the lantern realises he has gotten too close, but it is too late.

“Come on then, let’s have a look at yer, yer bloody pests”, Shatterkeel calls out, “I know you are there and I’d like to have a wee chat with you all”.

The group step forward to face the leader of the water cult…

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A Watery Fate
30th of Therendor

The group continue through the water temple, but it appears that they have been spotted, as ogres come from one direction, and trolls from the other with the party trapped in the middle in a corridor. The party win the battle fairly easily, and continue on. They round a corner and see a hunched and evil looking old woman standing on a bridge.

She salutes them and says, “Well done, well done. You are obviously powerful heroes indeed. Would you send someone to parlay? I mean you no harm, and I believe we have mutually beneficial goals”.

The group discuss for a moment, and then decide to send Morythas to negotiate. He climbs onto the bridge and faces the old woman. “Who are you, old woman, and what do you want?” he demands.

“Well met, young dragonborn. I see you have the fire of the righteous within you. I know your mission and I would help you succeed. Gar Shatterkeel has the weapon you seek and has descended to the fane of the elemental eye. I fear that your activities have spurred the cults into action. Even in the temple of fire, changes have occured. Vanifer herself has been murdered and another called Mae-Chen has taken ownership of Tinderstrike.”

Morythas is stunned, Mae-Chen was Aimn-Lu’s companion who went missing so long ago, in the lair of the black dragon, Thoss Fyurnen, in the swamps to the south of Xandrar.

“But my worries are about Shatterkeel”, the old lady continues, “I am worried that he is planning to use the weapon, Drown, to summon Olhydra from the planes of water. I would not have this occur”.

“What is this to you, old woman? Why would you not follow the goals of your cult and your leader?” demands Mythoras.

“Shatterkeel has been my leader”, the old woman responds, “but if he is summoning Olhydra, he must be stopped. If Olhydra is summoned to the world I would suffer. I am a creature of the water, and I would be Olhydra’s slave. I would be the slave to no-one. Let me help you. I will lead you through the temple safely and take you to the stairway that leads to the fane. Bring me the weapon, Drown, and I will take command of the cult. I have no interest in your surface world, so you would not hear from me again.”

“Let me consult with my companions”. Mythoras responds, and returns to the group to discuss. They talk and decide to follow the old lady, “But there is no way she is getting the trident” , Layna says.

The old lady leads them through a large complex, past thugs and lizard-folk. All the inhabitants stand back and watch them pass as the old lady is with them. They pass into a temple where a large water symbol is made out of driftwood at the back. They continue through the complex and into a room with an insect-like demon guards stairs going downwards.

“Now, heed me well” says the old woman, “I will not descend the stairs to the fane with you. When you return, you will find me and return the trident, Drown, to me. To pass by the guardian you must know the answers to the questions it asks. What do you serve? The answer should be Olhydra, the Princess of Evil Water, or water. What are you? The answer is I am nothing. What lies below? The correct answer is the Fane of the Eye or the Elder Elemental Eye.”

The party descend the stairs. At the bottom they find a chamber with a waterfall filling a large pool that then feeds a torrent leading to the north. Kir is nearly grabbed by water elementals in the pool but manages to jump back out of their reach. They decide that, since they are still injured, it is a good time to stop for a rest. They go back halfway up the stairs and attend to their wounds and take a quick break.

When they return to the pool, they decide to follow the path of the water, guessing that Gar Shatterkeel would be following the water also. They pass a narrow passage to the west which Kir sneaks down to check. The others see that the torrent ends in another drop with a waterfall falling into a pool far below. However there are also stairs leading down towards the pool.

Meanwhile Kir progresses up the narrow passage and finds himself peering into a rank chamber filled with Lizardfolk. One of the Lizardfolk is orating to the others. “My peoplesss. Too long have we been overlooked by the softbellies, and this Ssshatterkeel proves himsself no better. I sshould be leading the followerss of water. I ssay we take the trident for ourssselvessss.” This followed by hisses of agreement from the other Lizardfolk.

Kir returns to the party and explains the situation and comes up with an idea. “Perhaps if Mythoras disguises himself as the emissary of that black dragon you found in the swamp they might join forces with us. After all, it had Lizardfolk followers”.

“And how do suggest I disguise myself?” responds Mythoras.

“I have black facepaint in my disguise kit,” explains Kir excitedly, “if we paint you black, you will look just like a black dragonborn. The perfect emmisary to a black dragon”.

“I find that deeply offensive,” growls Mythoras, bronze scales glinting in the torchlight, “I look nothing like a black dragonborn. I have no horns, my snout is the wrong shape, my eyes are the wrong colour. Do you think all dragonborn look the same?”

Eventually the rest of the group convince Mythoras to try. Then Kir enters the lizardborn chamber, boldly proclaiming the arrival of the emmisary of the black dragon, Thoss Fyurnen.

“My name is Mythoras,” roars Mythoras, “Thoss Fyernen has sent me, as the soft bellied humans proven unworthy of the mantle they hold. Come with me and we will wrest the weapon from the weak and worthless hands of Gar Shatterkeel.”

“Thoss Fyurnen?”, says the leader of the lizardfolk, “The black dragon of the sssswamp and the god of our kin? Come my people, this is the sssign we have been waiting for. Lead usss, emissssary, lead uss to glory.”

“Then come now, delay no further,” roars Mythoras. He runs out of the room, runs up the tunnel and dives over the edge of the drop into the pool far below. The lizardfolk leap behind him, hissing in excitement."

The rest of the party are not quite so caught up in the moment, and carefully descend the stairs instead.

The lizardfolk emerge from the water in the pool, followed by Mythoras who swims towards the stairs where he can stand and view the room. Where the stairs meet the water’s surface, an iron post juts at an angle, and a flat boat is tied to it. Tunnels to the northeast
and northwest channel the water from the pool. Above the pool, a seven-foot-diameter globe of water hovers in midair.

“What isss thisss?” shrieks the leader of the lizardfolk, pointing at Mythoras, “Trickinesss and treachery, you are no emisssary.” The lizardfolk move in, surrounding Mythoras and attacking him.

At this point the rest of the party emerge from under the waterfall and see Mythoras, his black makeup partially gone and his bronze scales shining through. The wash he gave himself by diving into the pool did not do his disguise any favours.

They move to defend Mythoras, but one of the lizardfolk casts a spell and the entire stairway sprouts sharp spikes, making it impassible. Instead they focus their missile fire on the leader of the lizard folk, while Mythoras also attacks him.

The leader falls quickly, and Mythoras roars “I HAVE KILLED YOUR LEADER. SUBMIT TO ME. YOU NOW BELONG TO ME.” Two of the lizardfolk drop their weapons and kneel in submission, but the other lizardfolk dive into the water and swim away. The stairway clears and the rest of the party are able to descend.

Upon questioning the remaining lizardfolk on where Gar Shatterkeel might be, they find that these underlings have no idea – they have never been down in this area. Now the party don’t know which way to go and a debate ensues. However Layna is fascinated by the floating globe of water. She decides to touch it with the end of her rapier and is immediately enveloped. The globe starts moving out towards the north-east passage.

Layna is surprised to find that she can breathe and move freely so she decides to see where the globe takes her. The others scramble to follow, Mythoras and his followers diving into the water and swimming along behind, and Tito and Kir quickly jumping on the flat boat untying it and rowing.

As the globe progresses, Layna decides to cast an illusion on herself, changing her coloration to match the water and becoming almost invisible within the globe. The globe travels along, passing a small ledge and then plunging down a waterfall 40 feet befoer continuing.

Mythoras and his followers also dive down, becoming momentarily trapped because of the strong currents, but because Mythoras can breathe under water (due to his magical armour) this is a minor inconvenience. While underwater he notices an underwater passage leading off to the west. The lizardfolk cannot breathe underwater but can hold their breath a very long time. They continue to follow Layna.

However Tito and Kir decide not to risk the barge over a 40 ft drop and land at the ledge. They see that the ledge follows the wall into a cavern, where a wrought-iron cage dangles
from a rope lashed to a stalactite. Three-fourths of the cage hangs submerged in the pool that fills the middle of the cavern. A dozen humanoids pack the cage, elemental water’s symbol raised in a scar on every brow. Tired hands grasp at the bars as the captives struggle to press their mouths above the water. Among the mass of wrestling forms, some lay still, floating face down inside the cage.

When they see the group, someone cries out “Help us, please let us out before we die.” Another voice gasps, “quiet you weak fool. This is our penance and our price. Those who survive this trial will become powerful.”

Kir decides to ignore the second speaker and picks the lock on the cage. Water cultists spill out of the cage. They stagger onto the ledges and take a moment, gasping and spluttering. Several bodies remain in the cage, floating. Then one of the cultists looks at Kir and Tito and says, “kill them. Kill these intruders”. The cultists move in to attack.

Meanwhile Layna’s globe floats onwards followed by Mythoras and his followers. Every time Mythoras senses danger he swims underwater so that he cannot be seen by enemies on the surface. In doing so he sees more passages underwater leading to the west.

Layna passes a passageway off to the side from where she can feel cold radiating, down it she sees brittle crust of ice on the water surrounds a central isle upon which crouches a
pale-skinned, bare-chested man wearing an eyepatch. He is surrounded by seven cackling, prancing, imp-like creatures made of ice. But the globe moves on…

It then enters a large cavern where a stone hut sits on top of a small stony island in the middle of a cavern. A man stands on the island and watches the globe pass with a confused expression on his face. Then the globe plunges down another waterfall.

Mythoras sees the man on the island and dives under to swim the length of the cavern underwater, but suddenly he is grabbed by an unseen creature….

Layna finds herself in another large watery chamber, but this one is different. An island rises from a lake at the epicenter of three roaring waterfalls. Flutes of rose, ivory, and lavender coral fringe the island. Above the island floats a gigantic, shimmering globe of water. Smaller globes of water emerge from it, drift outward, and hover in the air a few feet above the surface of the lake.

She looks at the globe and realises that she has found the water portal. But she is alone, her campanions left behind throughout the complex and they do not have the trident, Drown, which they need to close the portal….

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The defeat of the Earth Temple
29th to 30th of Therendor

The group realise that another battle is imminent. At this point they are already badly injured, so decide to retreat into Marlos’ room. The hope being that with a small door there will be a chokepoint and good cover so that they can take on one enemy at a time.

This appears to work well intially, with cultists and guards getting blocked at the doorway and only able to come in one at a time. However, then a Bulette comes into sight. The enemies move aside and the Bulette charges at the door, smashing the door and wall apart and opening a large hole in which enemies can enter. The earth wizard is seen at the back casting polymorph at Mythoras (unsuccessfully) and causing the earth to break apart under the heroes feet.

At this stage Layna has exited through a trapdoor and is watching a small path over the crevasse, and Kir takes fright, turns invisible and hides in the corner. Tito is quickly knocked unconscious and Mythoras finds himself alone in a small room, completely surrounded by enemies.

Fighting bravely, Mythoras manages to hold his own until Tito comes round and Layna is able to flank the enemies and kills the earth wizard before he is able to do much damage to the party. At that point the battle turns and the party are able to slowly whittle down the enemy numbers until they are defeated. All the inhabitants of the Earth Temple have been defeated, apart from the Dao who has no interest in them.

The group stop for a while to rest and recuperate before they plan their next move. They are worried that they may not have the capability to defeat Marlos and the Fane of the Eye, but Layna recalls (from when she had Windvane) that summoning an elemental prince takes time, and many sacrifices of sentient beings. She thinks they have some time yet, but not enough to go to the surface and get reinforcements. They also doubt that any help would be forthcoming with the beginnings of civil war imminent in Breland.

The group, remembering that all the temples appear to be joined decide to travel to the water again, but this time they will wipe out the cultists. They feel that if they wipe out the temples they may reduce the resources and capibility of their leaders to summon the elemental princes. After taking the time to loot the earth temple, they head back through the southern tunnel to the earth tunnel where they begin sneaking through the dark passages, slaughtering as they go. This time it is easier, as the sound of roaring water means that their slaughter of enemies is not heard by others.

As they walk, Morythas has a vision of a swirling mark, a mark of a dragon, a mark of power. He realises that something has happened. Something powerful. Something potentious. He knows hat every dragonpriest has had this same vision. Somewhere, a new dragonmark has appeared…

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Across the Chasm
26th to 29th of Therendor, 1037

After a short rest, the heroes continue exploring the basements of the Sacred Stone Monastery. They find no more enemies, but down one passage, thick with the scent of rotten meat, they find cells filled with corpses. Layna remembers seeing these cells when she was fleeing. There is no helping these prisoners now.

They also find a partially collapsed tunnel. Layna sends her owl familiar down the tunnel and finds that it leads outside through a hidden cave. They then go down the long winding staircase to the temple.

However, when they get to the stone bridge they find that the bridge has been destroyed. Rubble from the bridge is at the bottom of the chasm and the supporting struts are hanging empty into the air. They decide that they must continue, so Layna uses her mage hand spell to take a rope and grapnel up and attach it to the other side of the crevasse 30 ft up. Layna then swings over the other side. However as soon as she lands on the other ledge she sees that the passage ahead is full of cultists and Black Earth guards who start shooting at her. They then move aside revealing a bullette who charges. Kir jumps over and throws the rope back, has time to stab a guard and then climbs off the ledge, clinging onto the wall above the crevasse. Layna dodges into the entry room, avoiding the Bullette’s attack. Tito then grabs the rope, swings over, and lands just in time for the Bullette to leap onto him, biting and scratching him. He attempts to throw the rope back to Mythoras, but Mythoras does not manage to catch it.

Suddenly a stone wall appears behind Mythoras, trapping him, and gargoyles detach themselves from around the chasm, fly over and start clawing and biting him. Meanwhile Tito manages to crawl underneath and behind the Bullette and into the reception area.

Kir, clinging onto the wall, hears the sound of chanting above the noise of battle and realises that somebody is casting a spell from a secret opening opposite Mythoras. He climbs over and stabs his sword into the opening, injuring a genasi, but he is too late to stop the spell being cast. Kir watches as Mythoras transforms from a Dragonborn warrior to a small frog. However the stone wall trapping Mythoras disappears. The gargoyles appear to have no interest in attacking a frog so return to their perches.

Back in the entry room, Layna and Tito are fighting for their lives, taking down many cultists and guards, but more and more enemies come crowding in, including Duergar, Black Earth Priests and more guards and cultists. The Bullette also continues in its endevours to tear them apart.

Realising that they are once again overmatched, Layna and Tito decide to retreat. Tito runs back to the ledge and launches himself over to the rope. After a few swings he builds up momentum and manages to launch himself back to the other side with Mythoras. He throws the rope back to Layna who then throws it back to Kir. As they run, Kir grabs the frog. They head back to the monastery and out into the hills where they return (again) to the hiding spot they found the first time they ran. After a short time Mythoras transforms back into a Dragonborn.

Again they have been defeated, but this time they decide that they must continue. They realise that the earth temple had known they were coming, and which direction they were coming from and had prepared their best defenses. They decide to try coming in from a different angle. They head back through the hills over two days to the mine they found a month ago which led to the earth temple.

They follow down the passage and find themselves back in the ogre guard room. This confirms to them that some sort of teleportation effect is in effect in these temples making the distances below ground seem different to those above ground. The guard room is empty and cold, and they wander through the temple through empty rooms and passages. The only inhabitant they find is a Dao who has no interest in interacting with them.

Eventually they find themselves in a sumptuous chamber, filled with beautiful tapestries and exquisitely carved statues and overlooking another chasm. Then they realise that one of the statues is the goblin Hug-Hug that they had previously rescued, and other statues are prisoners of the earth temple that they had also rescued. They are in the chamber of the Medusae, Marlos Urnrayle.

A shadow detaches itself from the wall, and speaks in the minds of the heroes, "WHO ARE YOU, WHY DO YOU ENTER THIS PLACE’.

“Um,” says Kir, “We were sent to talk to Marlos”
THEN YOU WILL NEED TO TRAVEL DOWN TO THE FANE. MARLOS HAS DESCENDED EARLY. HE GOES TO SUMMON OUR MASTER OGREMOCH.”
“Ogremoch?”, says Kir, “Why is he doing that?”
MARLOS NEVER INTENDED TO SUMMON OUR MASTER,” the shadow states, “BUT HE FEELS WITH THE TEMPLE UNDER ATTACK HE HAS NO OTHER CHOICE IF OUR MISSION IS TO SUCCEED”.
“Shit”, says Layna to Kir, “I think he’s saying that the summoning is happening because of us”
WHO ARE YOU”, says the shadow, “YOU ARE NOT FOLLOWERS OF EARTH. YOU MUST LEAVE THIS PLACE”.

Mythoras steps from the doorway where he has been listening, brandishing his symbol of Bahamut, “You are the one that must leave, creature of darkness. Flee this place, never to return”. With that a holy fire erupts from Mythoras, revealing the shadow as a demon made of darkness. The demon’s face turns to dismay and the creature flees, walking directly through statues and walls as it escapes.

However, this interaction has caught the attention of others. A door to the north opens and a priest appears. At the same time a figure is seen standing on the other side of the chasm, he chants and the earth around the heroes erupts. Shouting is also heard to the south as guards begin running into the chamber.

Attacked from three directions, with no obvious exit, the heroes are scared that they may not prevail, but manage to kill both priests and the guards. However they are unable to stop the escape of one guard who runs off into the complex shouting, “The Intruders! They are here, in Marlos’ room! Help! Help!”….

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Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting
16th to 26th of Therendor, 1037

The heroes decide that the best plan of attack is to take on the cults at the surface one by one and then attempt the deeper temples.

A small snag is the fact that they still do not know where the fire cult is based, but they are hopeful that by defeating Rivergard Keep they have ruined a source of supplies for all the cults.

Before they leave they spend some time trying to block the two exits from the water temple. They fill the river with all sorts of detritus which jams against the gate to the dock area. They then fill the secret stairway with pews from the temple. They spend some more time trying to make the keep generally unlivable.

Then they take a small ship for later use, and sail down to Womford. They bring the remaining servants of the keep with them, who they give a generous sum of money and send them on their way.

They stay one night in Womford where they learn that the villains they had identified on their last visit have now been executed, and the innkeeper of they inn they stayed at has now been elected as mayor. The town had decided to elect an official after threats had been received and they heard what had happened to other towns.

They head back up the river. The weather is much more pleasant this time, with the snow having melted and spring life awakening. They travel quickly and after a few days are within sight of the Feathergale Spire where they can see a couple of Warforged on top keeping watch. They have only had one encounter during that time – a pair of manticores which they easily dispatch. They turn into the hills finding the narrow trail that leads to the Monastery of Sacred Stone. When they get within a day of the monastery they leave the trail and move slowly and carefully to stay hidden. When they reach the monastery itself, they watch for as long as the light lasts. But nobody comes or goes from the building.

They decide to use the same plan as they did for Rivergard Keep, and at 3am climb through the narrow window into the main hall of the monastery. There are a few cultists in there, watching the door, but the heroes are able to surprise and kill them before they make a sound. They then move through into the kitchen area where a noisier battle ensues, but does not seem to disturb anybody.

The then head south into areas they have not previously explored, opening doors and checking as they go. However as Mythoras opens one door, he finds it is a little sticky and puts a bit too much muscle into it, causing it to bang open. This awakens the sleeping cultists within and a battle ensues. The sounds of battle alert sleepers in other rooms and the guards near the main entrance, some of whom flee to alert Hellenrae who is now in charge of the monastery.

Aimn Lu was sleeping in the room that was disturbed. In the last few weeks he has gone from being enchanted with the ideas that were put to him of freedom and democracy to disenchanted with the fact that he is just told what to do all the time. In fact, he feels no more valued than when he was a slave in the feywild.

When he realises that it is his old companions who are attacking, he decides to join with them and starts killing his new roommates with the monk moves he has been taught. However when this battle has ended, he uses the opportunity to gather some gear and leave. He is fed up with everyone telling him what to do and decides that the time has come for him to travel to Karnath on his own to try and find his family.

The rest of the companions need to move quickly to continue the momentum they have built up, but find that Hellenrae and the remaining monks have fled into the basement. They go downstairs where they are attacked by Orogs and and Ogre, but defeat them.

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