Eberron Revisited - Heroes of Xandrar

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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Making a splash
2nd to 16th of Therendor, 1037

Kir is a famous bard from House Lyrander. His family is out of favour due to the exploits of his grandfather and has been reduced to 3 skyships, but recently two of those went missing en-route to Wroat and Sharn. House Lyrander (unusually) seemed reluctant to investigate, so Kir taken it on himself to find out what is going on He had been following a trail of goods that he found that had been part of the load of one of the missing skyships and found that they had been bought from a merchant based in Xandrar. That merchant reveiled that he had bought them from a small town called Womford. The merchant in Womford (after much pursuasion) told Kir he had bought the goods from a sailor called Scholar Quanderil. This sailor was recently murdered, but he was associated with the Rivergard Keep – a small river keep inland a small way.

Kir had travelled to Rivergard Keep to find out what they know and was welcomed in and escorted to the owner of the keep – Jolliver Grimjaw. However when Kir start probing as to the whereabouts of the goods Jollivar started shouting at Kir. Kir then realised that all of Jollivars men were drawing their weapons and that he had perhaps gone too far, when shouting is heard outside the main hall – “Intruders, Intruders in the dock”. A rough looking fellow runs into the hall.

“Sir, sir, there are intruders in the docks. It’s those bastards from Xandrar again. They are killing everyone”

“Are they now”, growls Jollivar, “I’ll see about that.” and before Kir’s eyes he transforms into a wereboar. He looks at Kir, “Stay here, I’ll deal with you later”. And he and his men leave the hall.

Kir decides that ‘staying here’ is the last thing he should do, but also realises that leaving through the main door of the keep may not be wise or possible. Instead he goes upstairs, finds a window to squeeze through, and climbs down the side of the keep outside.

He then starts the head back down towards the main road, but decides that staying on the path would also not be wise, so he goes off track, beside the river and makes his way carefully and silently through the rough terrain and undergrowth.

As he progresses he sees three other people also sneaking through the undergrowth – a dragonborn male, a halfling male and a human female. However they also see him, so quietly and quickly they interrogate each other and realise that they are all escaping Rivergard Keep. They head off together, travelling through the rest of the day and the night until they find the main road heading to Xandrar.

Kir has met Mythoras, Tito and Layna and they decide to travel together on the road. Kir realises that the trio have uncovered some sort of conspiracy and requests to help them. They are happy to have another set of hands after the loss of their friend Aimn Lu and so Kir is welcomed to the party.

After 3 days of travel off the main road, they arrive at Drum Keep to find that a good proportion has been destroyed. The soldiers have put up temporary barricades and are hard at work trying to rebuild walls, but it obvious that some large explosion has destroyed walls and many of the buildings in the keep.

The party discuss the situation with the captain as Madam ir’Oeskai is currently in Xandrar.
He tells them that the kingdom is in chaos. Much has happened:

  • The king has been assassinated
  • The two advisors from house Deneith and Cannith have taken a shared regency and have smuggled the queen and prince to a safe place
  • An army has been formed and is heading to Sharn
  • Explosions of various types have occured in towns throughout the kingdom, and threats that more will follow if the towns do not declare independence from the crown and elect leaders from among the populace
  • The mysterious Swords of Liberty have claimed responsibility for the attacks

They party have realised that the elemental cults are publically calling themselves the Swords of Liberty and think that something deeper is probably happening. They also realise that they are not going to be able to call on help to take on the cults. They decide that it is up to them and that they must do what they can.

They decide to return to Rivergard Keep and stage an attack in the middle of the night. They travel (off the road again) and sneak up to the keep at 3am. They climb up one of the walls and enter the window that Kir had previously escaped through. They then sneak through the building to try and kill all in their sleeps, but unsuccessfully and the alarm is quickly raised.

A running battle occurs on the battlements and in the main hall where more and more keep dwellers keep coming as they wake. However most of them have been woken from their sleep and are not wearing armour which makes the battle easier for the heroes. After a long battle, bodies are piled deep, tables are destroyed and the battle is over. Some of the heroes have barely survived but they have prevailed.

Over the next week, the party rest, search the keep and defeat the odd boat that comes in to dock. They find a good amount of treasure, but in Jolliver’s documents they find a trove of information. It takes some sorting and deciphering, but eventually it is clear that:

  • Jolliver has been running a reasonably sized criminal empire. Mainly by piracy on the lakes and rivers, but also through caravan raids and highway robbery. A lot of what they have stolen has been provisions and trade goods which has allowed them to provision the Monks of the Sacred Stone and the Feathergale Knights.
  • There are hints that both organisations have a lot more people to feed than is publically known.
  • The Knights paid by taking and crashing skyships where they could, which the pirates then loot. Skyships usually had valuable treasure. The monks paid through precious stones and minerals.
  • Jolliver appears to have had no dealings with a fire cult.
  • The pirates traded most of their saleable goods through a merchant in Womford, who then traded through other merchants in Xandrar and Sharn.
  • A huge proportion of the income made is not in the keep. They have either stored it or spent it elsewhere.
  • There are notes about one provision delivery finding that the Feathergale Knights have gone and replaced by Warforged.
  • There are notes warning of dragon sightings in the hills.
  • There is also an unsigned note confirming that ‘payment has been delivered, and the heroes you describe will be eliminated’.
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Aimn Lu - Captured
2nd to 6th of Therendor, 1037

As told to Aimn Lu….

You are scooped up and carried by some large creature. You don’t like it, but you are held firmly. You are taken to a dry room (dry isn’t good. You don’t like dry).

After a while your body begins to grow and you begin to find your mind returning to human thoughts. As you grow you are grasped by strong stone hands and manacles are placed around your wrists.

When your mind has cleared you see a stony, but almost human face in front of you:

You recall that this is the person who cast a spell on you turning you into a frog. There is also 4 other cultists in the room. An irregular pit fills the center of this large hall. In the middle of the pit stands an obelisk of glistening black stone. Bleached bones lie scattered near the foot of the obelisk. A smaller stone post in front of the obelisk holds a pair of manacles which hold you fast.

“So,” the Stony Man begins, “You are one who would attack the temple of earth alone? Very brave, but also very stupid. However, you did tame a Bullette which indicates you may have potential. I would ask you why you would attack our temple? We are a simple people who mean no harm to anyone, we simply want to be left alone to our worship. I ask again, why would you attack us?”

What do you do?

“Aaah sorry sir. … ahhh I’ma simple people too”, replys Aimn Lu, “I wuz trying to get out and da brew … blue ah blue let, attacked me, I think it broke its chain and went wild, I saw it had a saddle so maybe i thought i could ride it, like a horse, and it couldnt stomp on me if i was on top and ah so I jumped up on it and tried to make it not so angry, it bucked a bit and wus very stomppy and it squashed some of your friends and then da blue let seemed happy after that and it took me here and then it was funny, you were bigger and i liked water”

“Very well. I will consider what you have said. I will return in time. Unless the pudding gets hungry you will remain here.”

You are left. For quite some time. For quite some time indeed. After some time, when you are delirious from thirst, he returns with a stone golem. You realise that your weapons have gone.

“Well”, he says, “it appears you were not telling quite the truth. It would appear to me that you came through the fire temple and have left a trail of death behind you. While I understand that you fire worshippers are brash, this is unacceptable. While we are rivals, we all work towards the same end. I would kill you now, but the master has requested to see you”. He looks towards the golem, “Seize him”.

You are grabbed. The stony man undoes your manacles and you are taken through the complex to a room full of statues. You notice that some of the statues are of the prisoners that you rescued earlier. As you enter, the stony man whispers to you, “You will note that the master is heavily cowled and that it is difficult to see his face. I suggest you make an effort. You will want to know what he looks like.”

In the dimness of the room, a heavily cowled man emerges from the shadows. You cannot see his face at all. He has an iron pick on his belt, forged from a single piece of steel. You can feel that magic humming off it.
“So the murderer faces me”, he says, “I have lost many loyal followers due to your efforts. I am the leader here, Marlos Urnrayle. Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?”

You are held in place by a stone golem. You are weak from thirst. What do you do?

“Ma names Anim Lu Sir. Are you the swords of liberty leader?”

“You name yourself slave in the elven speech? And I see from your face that you know no other name. Very interesting. Vanifer’s indoctrination goes deep. Yes, in answer to your question, I am one of the leaders of the so-called ‘Swords of Liberty’. But as you must know by now, we are so much more. Has your mistress not told you about the deeper power we have harnessed towards our end . Typical. She talks freedom and anarchy, but she demonstrates oppression and tyrany. But are you truly wed to the flame? I wonder. You have already shown great promise in taming the bulette. I feel that your loyalty to Vanifer is misplaced and you would thrive if you would follow the path of earth and stone. Would you be willing to face the test of earth? Work for me. I will bring freedom to this land and freedom to it’s peoples. Work for me. You will gain rewards and riches. You will gain fame and fortune. You will make this world a better place. So tell me, Slave, will you take the test and throw off your bonds of servitude?”

“Ah Yes Sir, I wood want to take da test.”

At this point Marlos removes his cowl and you see his face:

You feel the blood in your veins slow down, you feel your skin stiffen, you feel your joints begin to lock up. But you are made of sterner stuff than that, and you force your body to retain its form.

“Good, good”, says Marlos. He then turns to the stoney man. “Take our friend here up to the temple and robe him in acolyte clothing. You have much to learn my friend. For a start, you are no longer ‘Slave’. I give you a new name. You are born of fire and violence and you shall be our blade. I name you Obsidian. Serve us well Obsidian, and you will find a home with meaning and purpose. Over the coming months you will learn of our plans for this world and your place in the new order.”

The Stony faced man takes you away, and introduces himself as Miraj. He is quite friendly now. Your clothing is taken from you and replaced with brown robes and a gargoyle mask.

Over the next few days you are trained in basic martial arts, and you learn of the evil inherent in systems that rule Khorvaire. It’s all a wee bit beyond you, but you grow to understand that the monarchy and guild structure is merely a system to supress the common people and keep the wealth in the hands of the elite. You learn that your ultimate goal is to overthrow that structure and replace it with a new system that will share the wealth more equally.

However, you do notice that you are still carefully watched, and that you still remain in a locked cell at night. When you question this, it is explained that you will still need to prove your loyalty before you can gain trust and progress through the ranks. Your chance will come.

That very night, you are awakened by the sound of your door unlocking. You see a small figure enter the room and in the dim light recognise it as Hug Hug the goblin.

“Psst. Psst. Big person? Wake up big person. I have come to help you escape.”

What do you do?

_Slowly Obsidian rises and walks over to Hug Hug, Obsidian is tired from days of hard training.
As he walks over he yawns, flexes and stretches. Suddenly a stretch becomes a lunge and Obsidian grabs Hug Hug. Holding Hug Hug tight Obsidian walks out to find his fellow freedom fighters he has caught a new recruit.

Obsidian thinks the stone people are right about this king and guild thing.
The high and mighty always keeping the workers down.
However deep down Lu suspects that he will still be told what to do._

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Earth and Water
2nd of Therendor, 1037

The heroes progress down a long corridor, but strangely they find themselves unsure of how long or far they have been travelling. The find themselves at another dwarven door. As they are examining the door they hear voices in their head. Warped, otherworldly voices.

“Who are these visitors? Why do they visit us? Secrets? So many secrets you seek the answers to. One who seeks his parents, one who does not trust his parents, one who does not know his family, and one who does not trust her family at all. Come in, come in. We smell the magic on you and we will trade secrets for magic.”

The party enter and find themselves in a small room with shadowy corners and a pool with a gargoyle standing still above it. Aimn Lu sees the gargoyle and goes straight to it.

“What do you know? Where do I come from?”

“A trade, a trade”, say the voices, “give us magic and we will tell you where you come from”.

Aimn Lu puts a magic sword into the pool.

“A long time ago, oh so long, the Clearwater Estate in Karnath was your home. Seek it little noble, seek it out.”

The rest of the group start placing magic items on the ground and asking questions, but Layna and Mythoras are both thinking about how they can kill the sources of these voices and retrieve their treasures.

“WE HEAR YOUR SECRETS, WE HEAR THEM, YOU PLAN TO KILL US.” At this point from the shadows burst two Nothics who attack the group. The group dispatch them without too much effort. Aimn Lu then continues to question the gargoyle. Unfortunately no more voices are in his head.

The party head onward through a door in the other side of the room and find themselves in a large complex with a canal, and decide that they must now be in the water temple. They are now just wanting to get back to the surface and are worried about taking on another temple where they do not even know if there is a way they can get up. They decide to head back to the earth temple where they know there is a way up.

They return to the cavern with the bulettes, and find a spot where it is possible to jump over the crevasse. However, on the other side is another Bulette, that attacks them immediately. This bulette seems harder the beat, leaping on the heroes and biting great chunks out of them. They manage to defeat it, but as they do so a saddled bulette leaps from a passage to the North and crushes Tito, knocking him unconscious. At the same time, earth cultists and hobgoblins start pouring out of the same, attacking the heroes. This drives Aimn Lu into a rage. He jumps on the bulettes back, grabs the reigns and attempts to subdue it.

At the same time, the rest of the heroes realise that they are overmatched. Mythoras manages to heal Tito with magic, and then they jump back over the crevasse. However Aimn Lu is in a rage now, and continues attempting to subdue the beast, crushing several cultists in the process.

Back with the rest of the party, they manage to defeat the cultists and hobgoblin chasing them and are considering how to stop Aimn Lu, when they hear a roaring shout from the east. They have awakened an ettin and are forced to put their attentions on it.

Aimn Lu at this stage has subdued the bulette and has it completely under his control. He guides the bulette back up the northern passage, killing as he goes. Layna at this stage is running to try and assist him when a strange figure emerges from an adjoining passage, casts a spell, and Aimn Lu transforms into a small frog. Realising that she has no chance against this enemy, and that she has not been seen yet, she flees.

They party (except Aimn Lu) run back down the south passage, back to the room with the Nothics, spike the doors shut and rest. They have survived, but Aimn Lu has been captured or killed.

After a rest, the party head into the water complex. They are very wary of getting into a battle, so avoid places where they see or hear people. They make their way through a winding route, forced to fight a water troll at one point. Luckily the sound of the running water in this complex makes it unlikely that anyone else will hear them.

Layna spots a spyhole in one wall so covers it with darkness, they continue on and find themselves on a stone beach with 3 boats pulled up. They are considering what to do when Bugbears start spilling out of a room behind them. They quickly push a boat onto the water and start rowing out into the darkness. They can see figures on a jetty to the east, and it is obvious that they have been spotted. Bugbears have gotten to the edge of the beach. Some are preparing boats, and others are preparing javelins for thowing. Suddenly tentacles surround the boat, tipping it and throwing Mythoras into the water……

The group, once again find themselves in a dangerous position with enemies swimming in from all positions, javelins being thrown in from the darkness and bugbears rowing boats towards them. Luckily Mythoras’ armour enables him to breath underwater, and he fights off the underwater enemies, while Tito and Layna fight off bugbears and cultists. Eventually they beat off their enemies and head off down a river leading through stone caverns.

The river goes through approximately two miles of caverns, before passing a landing. The landing has boats moored and stairs leading upward, but the group decide to continue following the river as they can see light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel leads to an iron gate, on the other side of which they see the wharf area of Rivergard Keep.

They easily pick the lock, and create an illusion of a pile of cultist corpses in the boat which they hide under. They then wait until they have floated into the wharf area. The guards and pirates around that area express surprise at the boat of corpses, and then further surprise as the part emerge from hiding and start shooting. The party fight as they flee, and manage to (with some hard work and cunning) lift their small boat over the chain blocking boats from leaving or entering. They then go down the river some distance before finding a good hiding spot.

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Earth and Fire
1st - 2nd of Therendor, 1037

Our heroes leave the ogre’s guard room and find themselves moving through a dwarven complex. In they hear mad giggling coming from a room to the south. Tito attempts to open the door quietly and subtly, but that is just not possible with stone doors that pivot in the middle. In it he sees a wild eyed individual and some earth cultists. Thinking quickly the group make earth symbols with their fingers and move into the room., pretending to have a captured goblin.

This is obviously a torture chamber, with people in cages on the side of the room and a badly mutilated corpse on a rack. The group move the body off the rack and pretend to start tying Hug Hug down (who is panicking at this stage). While doing this, the group move into a good attack position and take the cultists by surprise. They are easily defeated.

The group rescue the prisoners and realise one of them is an earth cultist named Olna. They convince her to trade her life for information, and Layna asks her if she knows anything about the Swords of Liberty. Olna gives the following information.

Olna originally went to the Sacred Stone Monastery looking to join the swords of Liberty after her family were killed by Breeland soldiers. However after a short time she learnt that the Swords held a deeper secret. They had a chance of harnessing elemental power towards the opportunity of liberating Breeland. She became part of the cult of earth. After that she learnt that the Swords of Liberty were simply a cover story to help them recruit. She tells them that there are four elemental temples, all underground and linked by tunnels. All the temples are built in abandoned dwarven facilities. Apparently there are still some dwarves somewhere in the complex, but they have not been found.

She informs the group that they are currently in the Earth Temple, underneath the sacred stone monastery. This is confusing to the group, as the mine they entered would have been almost a weeks travel to the monastery.

The group decides that Olna has earnt her life, but bind her hands and tell her that she will be delivered to the authorities on the surface. They gather the other prisoners and prepare to return the way they have come. They pass through the ogre’s room and down the dwarven tunnel, but they are unable to find the mine passage they came down. The path just continues on. The group tell the prisoners to wait where they are and continue down the passage. They find themselves at stairs going down. Layna and Tito sneak down and find themselves confronted with a Chimera. A battle ensues, but the sounds of battle attract guards with bows and flaming swords. During the battle Olna takes the opportunity to flee and Hug Hug also flees at the sight of Chimera. The Chimera is defeated, and the group decide to retreat back up the passage. They leave with the sound of a guards jeering ringing their ears.

“That’s right, you stay in your part of the complex, Earth Temple scum”

They do not find Olna, Hug Hug or the rescued prisoners on the way back. They return the the ogre’s room, spike the doors shut, and rest – patching up wounds and restoring themselves. During the rest they hear a group of guards pass the door, but no alarm appears to be raised.

They realise now that they do not know the way out, so they head further into the earth temple to try and find a way. They move through the darkness. They hear a hammering clanging sound and see a Dao and Duegar working at a giant forge. Deciding discretion is the better part of valour, they avoid them. They move along the edge of a giant crevasse and find themselves in a chamber where they can faintly see, in the darkness, the shape of a Bullette chained to a pillar. Tito and Layna decide to sneak past to scout out what lies beyond them.
Bulette.JPG

They move soundlessly, but then Tito puts one foot down slightly heavily and immediately the Bullette raises and charges towards them. Another charges from deeper in the darkness and they hear more bellowing from the other side of the crevasse. It is all on. They start to move, but one Bullette breaks it’s chain, attacking Layna and seperating her from the party. She runs down a passageway to the south. They whole party together manage to defeat the Bullette with missile fire and old fashioned swordplay. They then kill the other Bullette they can see before it can break it’s chains. They then follow the passage heading south…

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