Silt Striders of Balic

The Poison Cult

Having endured the most harrowing elements of the salt flats, the air dropped supplies from Rikard atop his phoenix mount help the few survivors to escape. On the way out, the magical relics wielded by the group slowly begin to regain their powers and the sentient weapons appear to have experienced, for the first time since their creation, fear.

The group made a brief detour to Balic to check up on old friends and leads, but had found the city basically moved on without them. While they have been heroes to the people on more than one occasion, no city can rest on its laurels in Athas and with their periods of absence they’d developed some independence, and even a bit of resentment.

Their travels then took them to Urik, where they were surprisingly welcomed by the agents of Hamanu asking them to an audience with the King. They spent the day about the city, resupplying and renourishing, before meeting with their contact at sundown. They were met by High Inquisitor Randall Sapesh, who had become the de facto right-hand man for Hamanu.

Led to the palace, the group meets with the King of Lions, who is surprisingly weary-looking. He holds conference with the group and his highest advisors as he discusses the very strong possibility that devils and demons are looking to reignite the Blood War, and plans must be taken to keep this war from spilling out in to Athas. His plan coincides with Samm’s, as he wishes to take a large contingent of his city’s most elite troops and march to war on Hell. His hope is that overpowering the front line defenders of that realm will make the devils look weak on their own turf, persuading the demons to war there instead of the plane of Athas. Though nothing can be done at this exact moment, Hamanu gives Samm a location (the red obelisk, east of Urik) and a date to meet him there with his own contingent of Xanthusine warriors. The group agrees, though Althaea shows some hesitation.

With pressing matters in both Xanthus and Raam, the group has to make a decision to which is more important. With some resignation they dispatch a message with war details to Xanthus and set out to fix their problems in Raam.

Arriving, they find the city under a thick cover of snow in spite of the temperature outside the city limits being the typical Athasian heat. Within moments of entering the city, they find posters with their likenesses as wanted dead or alive for a host of crimes, most of which are legitimate, as well as the strung up corpse of Ramali, formerly of the Veiled Alliance. Finding the city to be oddly quiet, they follow tracks in the snow to a repurposed shrine of Abalach-Re which has been reconstituted as a church for some unknown entity. The group sneaks in and discovers that a new cult has formed, and its clerics and guards are made up of Yuan-Ti practitioners, worshipping some deity of poison. The group dispatches the guards and descends in to the basement level, overcoming some minor tests of “faith” to uncover the cult’s treasure room. Laden with loot, they discover the lead cleric of this church in her chambers and duel her and her snake minions, eventually dispatching them and poking around in her belongings. What they discover is a letter from the grand cleric, partially destroyed by fire. It is authored by Eiber, and details a meeting place in the former noble district.

Bodach, Ruined

When the Tragic Hero finally comes to a stop, it is a ruined vessel. Its cracked hull slowly spills sand in to the interior and after a few minutes to patch up the people who were injured in the landing, Samm pokes his head above decks to see what’s going on outside.

What he sees is an endless, featureless salt flat. The ship is torn in to multiple pieces, the masts snapped off, sails missing, and the wheel Husk once manned transformed in to nothing but a splintered crater lined with crusted rime and blood that stinks of alcohol.

After a little investigation, they find that they’re in the midst of the Salt Meres. Known for some immense magical catastrophe in ages past, the result is an enormous, multiple hundreds of miles wide salt flat that thwarts attempts to use magic and contains only the most deadly (and inedible) of Athasian predators. The cruel revelation that the ship’s ruins do not contain enough food and water for the entire contingent of survivors to escape this desert alive is kept secret for now, though most people have figured it out and begin looking for opportunities to extend their own lives.

Meanwhile, Vorelixen happens across a very strange feature in the gray – A fortress wall, complete with banners of the far realm and specifically She Which Bleeds. Investigating further, she finds none other than the ghost of High Praetor DeConste who swears fealty to her before they all (with Vintner and Ared) enter the strangely unguarded fortress. What they find is a series of nightmarish, reality-breaking hallways and stairwells, which eventually empty out in to a ruinous hall of far realm creatures and cultists from different worlds, many of which the group had never heard of. At the end of the hall was a stage containing a familiar figure: Mara, who had claimed the title of She Which Bleeds albeit a bit more viscerally than her predecessor.

Deciding escape was more valuable than an assassination attempt, Vorelixen, Vintner, and Ared made a break for it while DeConste drew steel to do battle with whoever would follow them. Escaping by the skin of their teeth, they found their way to the surface back in to the gray where two humongous funnels of souls had formed like tornados of the dead. Vorelixen’s heightened awareness of the gray determined these were portals to other worlds – One smelling of the Raven Queen, and the other of cheap kank nectar. She picked kank nectar, and her cadre followed her in.

Back in the salt flats, the heroes were assaulted in the night by an enormous Nightmare Beast. Used to being an apex predator, it was quite surprised when a quartet of irate and hungry adventurers dispatched it easily, oddly led by a psionic dwarf named Priscilla. They left the corpse in the desert to attract other would-be predators from their group and began a forced march through the night, coming upon actual structures by morning. Along the way, the murmuring of Gebak and his halfling ways (specifically claims of cannibalism) would eventually lead to mutiny, and in a power struggle to regain control of his own pirates Gebak demanded he take over the expedition to show his strength. Unwilling to relinquish control (or let pirates take food from the mouths of other starving people) Samm was forced to kill him.

The remnants of a ruined city, it appeared that the place had been blown out by some very powerful force from the center of it outward. With a functioning well, it was as good a camping spot as any and the group set down to replenish their water supply still in great need of food. Their solution was to kill Rikard, causing him to reform in some unknown amount of time at his phylactery, where he would then call his phoenix, load up on supplies, and return to the group. They would keep a torch lit until his return.

In the night, the curse of the ruined city manifested. The dead do not rest well in Bodach, and as the sun descended past the horizon the corpses under the sand arose to extinguish all life in their lair. The draw of their souls from the gray formed a thick funnel of souls, which Vorelixen had followed directly to Samm and his odor of kank nectar. Needing to do battle to survive the night, Samm, Priscilla, Vorelixen, and Althaea took positions atop the nearest building and tried to hold off the seemingly endless horde of the undead. Though it nearly killed Priscilla, they would eventually need to take shelter in Vorelixen’s Shadow Mire, suffering the impact of zombies being thrown by their companions and arcane undead that could survive her warlock magics.

At dawn, a phoenix arose with the sun, and atop it sat Rikard, who air dropped enough food for a small army. The few survivors, it seemed (roughly twenty of them) would actually escape the Salt Meres.

Lutherna, Realm of the Raven Queen

Trapped in a room with this disembodied voice, the group was assaulted by the same black clad person that had been watching them in Abalach-Re’s palace. Playing a sort of cat and mouse shell game with the group, he swapped places with the other suits of armor regularly, obscuring his position until it was time to strike. He was eventually trapped and overpowered, and after his defeat the group discussed healing him enough to interrogate him before he died. However, the trap was already sprung and Eiber at the top of the staircase referenced a tome that looked very familiar – a holy book of the Raven Queen herself. The black clad man, Lutherna’s champion, met with the divine transformation from human body to angel of the Raven Queen, and in so doing created a portal to that realm through which the party was dragged.

Arriving separated in Lutherna, each person surrounded by snow drifts, pine, and darkness, they began searching for each other.

Meanwhile, Tomm was dragged before the Raven Queen, broken and battered, attended by two Revenant agents. In his hands was a message from the artificer Kwalish – his friends were on the way to rescue him.

The Tragic Hero departed the group’s old base of operations in Thorin Bloodstone’s manse, and made haste with everybody they could fit on the ship – pirates, Xanthusine warriors, gladiators, Kwalish’s constructs, the artificer himself, Captain Husk, first mate Gebak, Praetor Moon, Priscilla, King Ared Kalid-Not, the druid Dorean, Vintner the Star Cultist, and Tarek all in tow. They used one of Kwalish’s oddly useful devices to track the abduction of Tomm the fallen angel, and crashed through the library that housed the portal to Lutherna the group had only descended in to moments before.

Piercing the veil in to Lutherna, the group was assaulted by a massive wave of angels who were only held off by the work of numerous ballistas, crossbows, throwing daggers, magic spells, and brutal punches from Moon and Tarek. They eventually arrived and landed before the mighty citadel of the Raven Queen herself – the castle Repentia.

Breaking through the gates they dueled the elite guards of the Raven Queen and overpowered them, spilling in to the castle and crushing all the angelic resistance. Angels were tricked, overpowered, and dispatched in rapid succession, and in one case an angel was even fooled in to getting itself locked out of its own patrol.

Meanwhile, Samm came across the clearing where Tomm and his captors remained. Recognizing the Raven Queen’s inner sanctum, Samm dispatched the two revenants with little effort and challenged the Raven Queen to claim him, if she could. In perhaps the most hectic thirty seconds of anybody’s life to that point, Samm was cut down and somehow regained his posture several times. The wave of support from the Tragic Hero arrived at the clearing, in time for the rest of the group to follow the sounds of struggle as well. Realizing their hopes of actually dispatching the Raven Queen in her own home were slim to none, they decided to beat a hasty retreat taking Tomm’s tortured body with them.

Vorelixen opens a portal to the gray, with the assistance of Ared and Vintner who descend through it with her in haste.

The rest get on board the Tragic Hero, everybody taking shelter in the armored hull except for the Captain, who was required to steer its bulk back through the portal as waves of thousands of angels, petitioners, priests, and a goddess herself assaulted it. In a large commotion, they heard howling winds, screaming challenges, a salty pirate, and then, ultimately, silence.

Icy Grasp

The slowly building cold hits Raam fiercest in the early morning, with thick snow falling heavily and skin-numbing winds blasting between the buildings. The group pushes through the storm to meet with Ramali to be debriefed, and they find him in his home coming down off an adrenaline high. He feeds them fine liquor and offers them a place to stay for the night before they resume their quest, and he promises to dispatch his agents to assist the group in their own personal aims now that their primary goal is accomplished.

Samm departs for the nearest crappy bar, unsatisfied with actual liquor, and drinks himself to a stupor while waiting by the fireplace with an extra glass of wine for his divine patron. She never shows, but her agents do – All the group are assaulted in the night by furious angels who seek to claim the man the Raven Queen could not. They fight in the streets, the wind and snow constantly blasting the group and causing them more harm than the deadly katas of the angels do.

After they’re dispatched, several hours pass before Ramali’s spies return. Evidently, one was tailing a man who matched Eiber’s description, who walked in to an alleyway and quite literally disappeared. Unable to figure out what happened, he reported to the group and they set out immediately for the site of this disappearance. After doing some magical investigation, they found a hidden portal and dove in to see what awaited them at the bottom. Surprisingly, they descended directly in to a jail cell, held shut by a single lock on a length of small chain. Posing no threat to them, they simply broke the chain and walked out, where the cell spilled in to a hallway of enormous depth, flickering light, tile floors, and a complete absence of people.

They would eventually come to a room with suits of ceremonial metal armor on display, which they believed was trapped. Althaea used her planeskipping abilities to teleport to the front of the room, where a booming voice addressed them. With a portcullis dropping and the erecting of a power magic ward, they were stuck in here with whatever they spoke with, and beyond the portal: Eiber, attended by the highest ranking cultists of the Broken Builders themselves.

Abalach-Re Overthrown

Arriving in Raam, our heroes discover that the city’s guard and watch are extremely lax. A short stint in the city is all it takes to determine how little Raam’s people care for its sorcerer queen, and her lack of interest in them has caused the people to openly disregard all but the most mandatory of her templar and law enforcement.

Rikard reaches out to the Veiled Alliance contacts he’s made over the years, and finds them to be in deep cover – Regard for mages of any kind is incredibly low, even moreso than usual, in this city. However, he is able to reach the local cell leader Ramali and is invited to a meeting they’re hosting in a secret meeting place. Vorelixen is trying to get in contact with her assassin cult as well, but in the wake of the Lydia situation and rumors of another traitor in their midst, they’ve gone so deep they’re either not receiving Vorelixen’s messages or are disregarding it to stay hidden.

At the meeting, great care is taken to make sure nobody uninvited eavesdrops. Unfortunately, one of the Veiled Alliance is a traitor and has led a large force of loyalists to Ramali’s hidden location. The heroes ascend to street level to terminate these agents, but are forced to chase the remaining survivor down the street to stop him from notifying whoever he reports to of the Veiled Alliance’s scheme to bring down Abalach-Re for good.

In the wake of the incident, Ramali is convinced that if they wait any longer to enact their plan they’ll wind up running right in to the arms of waiting guards when they assault the queen’s mesa, so he begins setting people to task immediately in the hopes of establishing the first part of the plan – Starting an enormous riot and pointing it at the noble district.

Well established in starting riots, the four disperse throughout the city to rile up the people and stage mock victories and defeats as subtle means of directing the traffic of thousands of angry, hungry, and destitute citizens away from the easy pickings of the merchant quarter and up the hill to much more important housing for nobility.

Once the people are aimed properly, the rest of the group ascend from the back of the Queen’s hill, finding her courtyard deeply populated by twisted flesh constructs of her devising, their purposes no doubt perverted as her reputation as a sensualist is well earned. They sneak past these beasts, stomach in their throats, until they arrive in Abalach-Re’s palace which is strangely empty. Moving through the shadows, they find a woman’s corpse seated upon the throne. She has been poisoned, clearly from the wine glass she is found beside. She matches Abalech-Re’s description exactly, but with some clever use of rituals the group is able to commune with the room and determine this was a handmaiden that Abalech-Re sculpted to mirror her own image and then forced to poison herself, staging the queen’s death.

They at last find the queen in a pool of blood harvested from the nearby corpses of her followers, holed up in the treasure room. In desperation, she was attempting to hasten the dragon transformation when the four appeared in the doorway, and the fight began immediately. Even her sorcery and dragon-like strength wasn’t enough however, and she would eventually get cut down atop her own treasure horde.

As the throng of rioters reached the palace, the four were given a wider berth and allowed to leave even as, in the distance, a black clad figure watched under a cloud of raven feathers.

The Death of Beltorious

As the last of Mephistopheles bloated corpse drifts off through Lydia’s portal, the cracks of the far realm widen noticeable giving cause for alarm. Thousands of far realm horrors emerge from them with hate in their eyes and the group makes a break for it, hoping to return to the city proper and hide behind the wall of well trained devil warriors. They eventually reach the city, dispose of the threats that make it through the gates with devilish assistance, and then decide to keep their bargain with Keltinjin before going back to Athas.

Sneaking through Beltorious’ estate proves to be more difficult than actually slaying Beltorious, as they find out that for all his bluster and terrifying appearance he’s not a devil of military bent. They rob a book from his estate (after spending plenty of time cracking its various security measures) that’s said to confirm his claim to the throne, and split before devilish law enforcement can discover what they’ve done.

Arriving at Keltinjin’s headquarters, they trade him the book and earn an ally, who commits to sending his own forces when the time comes to wipe Dis and its paranoid devil lord out of existence. The group is escorted out of Cania and returns to Gulg, which they also depart rapidly and make way to the next of their vision quests – A trip to Raam, to put an end to the Cult of the Broken Builders.


The group arrives at the gates of Mephistar, and testify to their might to convince the guards to admit them. Devils take all guises, and being human-like in appearance doesn’t prevent them from gaining access as “devils”. Only a few feet through the entrance, they already see the beginnings of a civil war over Mephistopheles’ power. Squabbling factions, apparently led by devils called Beltorious and Keltinjin, the biggest political force and biggest military force respectively, are literally shanking each other in the streets but appear to be terrified of whatever law enforcement might find them here.

Being permitted entry, they are still assigned a guard named Laupho. Laupho is a gelugon devil who is due to be their chaperone and ensure they are who they say they are. They immediately go to attend an educational conference in Mephistar, making Laupho so incredibly bored he just tells his superiors they’re fine and departs. As soon as they’re not being watched, they begin hitting the streets to do some research. Finding devils in Mephistar with a drug addiction is one of many bizarre things they observe, though eventually their research turns up some fruits for their labor as they discover Vorelixen’s doppleganger (considered to be a devil lord named Lydia) has gone to Mephistar’s keep to retrieve a “chaos inertia” which is necessary to survive in Mephistar’s ruinous Toxic Zone. Clearly, something there is necessary to retrieve Mephistopheles himself.

While Althaea, Rikard, and Vorelixen sneak in to the keep, Samm establishes a firm hand by fighting literally every devil he can see as soon as they slip through the gates. Eventually pulled away from the fight when his allies have found what they’re looking for, he leaves the room of battered devils and joins them. They enter what appears to be an office, which is completely dark and quiet. Moving through it, they realize they are not alone and in fact the general of Cania, Keltinjin himself, waits for them with his fingers tapping on the table before him.

Negotiations are tense, but the group manages to convince Keltinjin they will help his bid for power if he helps them ensure Mephistopheles does not return. Keltinjin sees plenty of political opportunity here (and isn’t entirely sure he can kill all four of them anyway) so he agrees, and leads them to the Chaos Inertia – A tube of hellfire that sears madness in to the brain rather than scarring in to the flesh. In the wake of its power, the heroes begin to develop manifestations of insanity – Althaea’s megalomania, Vorelixen’s multiple personality disorder, Samm’s hemophobia, and Rikard’s extreme paranoia.

They move quickly, aware their faculties aren’t fully under their control, and aggressively pursue Lydia through the treacherous and insane landscape known as the Toxic Zone. Althaea quite immediately recognizes the area as having the same sort of properties as those places touched by the Far Realm, and assumes its influence is present here.

Eventually, they find their target – Lydia is the spitting image of Vorelixen, and spit she does; once a teenager in the city of Gulg, she was brutally scarred by Vorelixen more than seven years ago. She has since joined the cult of assassins that were founded by her, in order to get close enough to cause her some real harm in her lust for vengeance. After a bit of back and forth, Lydia makes motion to complete a ritual that would open a portal from this mad place to the Black where she seeks to retrieve Mephistopheles and complete part of Samm’s vision. The fighting is fast, and Lydia is no match for the heroes who cut her down easily.

In the wake of her death, her ritual has completed itself and through the portal steps none other than Mephistopheles himself. Having spent the past seven years thinking of all the ways he wants to kill Samm and Althaea for thwarting and imprisoning him before, he makes a beeline for them and begins swinging his humongous hell-forged weapons like a lunatic. The struggle nearly kills one of them, but Mephistopheles is unprotected from the effects of his own Toxic Zone and in his slightly disoriented state Samm gets the killing blow, hitting Mephistopheles with a Knockdown Assault that sends his prone corpse back through the portal to the black for all time.

City of Children

The group shares some small details of their visions to each other, though any wondering of what to do next is immediately dispelled when Samm voices his ultimatum – He is going to Gulg to prevent his vision; that of Mephistopheles being freed from his prison in the Black and wielding the Abyssal Flayer itself on the armies of Xanthus of which he has since become Imperator.

Captain Husk and his flying vessel were indisposed doing legitimate trade, and so they were forced to ride their various mounts off in to the desert towards Gulg. Mounted atop a pair of war crodlu, including the bane of Thri-Kreen Honey Badger, as well as a phoenix and a domesticated basilisk, our heroes arrive on the outskirts of the city to hide their beasts and pass through the front gates.

They find this surprisingly easy, as the city has been almost entirely repopulated since they were here 7 years ago – indeed, it has been repopulated with an enormous number of 7 year olds, and it is rumored that the nurturing magics of Lalali-Puy is to thank for the boon of fertility that Athasian women have experienced in this place since it was destabilized by the Nyrrandahl years ago. Children occupy all posts in this society, including warriors, philosophers, crafters, and even the city’s police. They also find it surprisingly easy as they have traveled with a legitimate trade interest in the Gold Wheel Caravan led by a likable merchant named Bernard. As his goods are expected, he poses the question – What are you looking for in these spices and nuts? The answer catches Rikard’s ear – acorns.

Setting up camp in a local inn, the group sets out in to the city to do some investigating. After a day’s work, they discover that there have been some murders going on recently, and in delving further they find the most recent victim was a diabolist who worsipped Baalzebul, lord of the Maledomini and arch nemesis of Dispater and Mephistopheles. Further research revealed the suspected killer was a woman who matched Vorelixen’s description, exactly.

Meeting in the evening, they are ambushed by Maledomini devils. After quickly dispatching them, Vorelixen sniffs out the culprit summoner below and the case is on. They eventually catch up to the summoner, who is a Dray named Carden. They interrogate him thoroughly, though no headway is made until he pieces together that Vorelixen is not in fact the one killing his colleagues and that she’s as confused as he is. Seizing an opportunity to recruit (and negotiate for his life) he offers Vorelixen a chance to commune with his dark lord and switch allegiances to a devil lord more interested in having her as an ally than in betraying her and her cohort, and she agrees. In this discussion, she discovers her doppleganger is in fact en route to the heart of Mephistopheles’ realm of Cania to release him.

After negotiating her pay grade and securing Carden’s services as a lieutenant, she releases him and they begin working on summoning a portal to travel to Cania.

When they arrive they find the cold to be brutally inhospitable, capable of slaying lesser heroes and even lesser devils in moments. Using all their powers and magics, they overcome the first patrol they encounter and spend the rest of the hike to the capital of Mephistar coming up with their cover story to penetrate Mephistopheles’ keep.

She Which Bleeds

Since the fall of Andropinis 7 years ago, Althaea has been walking the shattered splinters of the Library and found it surprisingly inhabited, not by Eladrin but by a myriad of strange creatures. Her expertise in all things planar disruption leads to her championing the cause of defending these odd people from incursions through the splits in their world; far realm monstrosities that come to extinguish their fledgling societies.

Finding herself rapidly in over her head, she sends out a message to her traveling companions from years ago to meet her in the Library by means of a rift in the Alabaster Prison in Balic.

They meet at a village of strange Githzerai, who’ve formed a society around hunting and gathering in the libraries oldest haunts, avoiding or isolating and killing far realm terrors as they do so. Life for them hangs from a thread, and the group meets them in the midst of a war council. Their leader, the zeiran Durgos, gets them caught up on the means of survival in this place. Their society is built on enormous shelves of the library, making it a vertical civilization. He is attended by his squire Puce, and his vizier Kaldre. Kaldre informs them he’s seen some very troubling visions recently and it has led to Althaea’s intervention.

They are only there a short while before they’re interrupted by a “kalithari”; a centipede-like far realm monster that speaks to them and demands their priest. Unsure what it wants and unwilling to cooperate, the group becomes openly hostile and an entire army of twisted denizens descends upon the Githzerai community. Immediately alarm bells are rung and the village militia is activating, shuffling the non-combatants to the highest shelves with the help of a magic carpet as the heroes wage war against hundreds of maddening creatures. The creatures are eventually repelled by their heroics, but they kill a sizable portion of the population and the village is forced to relocate or continue to suffer large scale assault. In the confusion of the fighting, it is revealed that Kaldre has had another vision, and has written down a prophecy in the midst of the battle:

The web of the weaver shall crack the planes
And its fractured touch shall shatter the mightiest of citadels
The grip of chaos shall be absolute
And the tethers of order severed by the god of death
She which bleeds shall herald the coming
And the star of madness shall end all things

The heroes set out to the epicenter of the far realm activity in the area to put an end to whatever cultist activity is causing these visions while Durgos and Puce lead their people to a new area of the library to settle. Arriving at the Chaos Tear, they find a surprisingly welcoming and peaceful camp of far realm worshippers who’re willing to take in the Library’s various denizens and offer them food and shelter in exchange for a little muscle excavating a literal tear in the fabric of the planes. The group decides to blend in as potential cultists after snooping around for a little bit, they are asked to attend a holy mass where their leader will address them.

Witnessing her having an out-of-body experience, she delivers a message of similar prophecy to the one Kaldre experienced:

The shadow of a tainted blade
The strongest tool is crowned in crimson
Each that wields it is betrayed
Each that follows it sees the end
The grasping of the charlatan will beckon Death
And only in its throes will She Which Bleeds herald the way

The group decides She Which Bleeds really needs to be investigated further, and they meet with her in her tent. She reveals her displeasure with the group for not bringing Kaldre to her, and they descend upon her with the intent of terminating this cult and its prophecies immediately. The fighting is fierce, but She Which Bleeds is unable to stop them as she is cut down. In her death throes, the heroes are each confronted with a differing vision through the kaleidoscope of broken planes.

The Fall of Andropinis

Crashing through the front gates, the heroes riding the phoenix clambered through a hole and tossed the few guards who’d been at that post to their deaths, moving quickly to find and engage Andropinis. They found themselves in a maze, caught up in the labyrinth of corridors and traps that the Eladrin who built it had established. Though Andropinis had greatly altered the interior to match his specifications, the structure retained its unwelcoming atmosphere and navigating it proved to be a laborious chore. Using all their skills and working as a team, they eventually found their way to Andropinis’ elite guards who’d staged an ambush on an outdoor courtyard. His archers were dangerous, but they were quickly dispatched by Althaea and the group was able to eliminate his final guardians and breach his innermost defenses.

Finding him in his throne room, they are faced with another ambush as well as Andropinis himself, High Praetor Tovis, and the traitorous Leon Strassam. Over the course of the battle Leon flees his post and control of the citadel is lost, causing it to tip and bob and knock people off their feet. Strassam eventually rejoins the fight though he proves an inept combatant and is slain quickly along with Tovis. As Andropinis realizes he’s surrounded and losing, he plays his trump card and reveals the reassembled debris of the Kamatur Monument, installed in to this room for exactly this purpose. The party’s efforts to defeat him prove insufficient, and he begins calling the ghosts of the Gray for the same nefarious purposes as Abernil Maddock.

The summoning calls a different spirit, which turns out to be the spirit of Vorelixen, who’s need for vengeance manifested her as a ghostly hag; a queen of such creatures, and with her anger and arcane power the group is able to shatter the circle of protection generated by the monument and overcome Andropinis’ defenses. In his final moments, the beast within him takes over, and his body twists and morphs in to that of an enormous red dragon. The act of doing so obliterates the structure of the room, and while Gorye is agile enough to dodge the explosion of flesh and muscle the rest of the group including Vorelixen are swept on to a wing membrane as the creature takes off in to the sky.

It takes them some time to dispatch the beast as it tries to shake them off and enters a blood frenzy, but eventually its mammoth heart stops beating and they crash in to the sands outside of the Grove where Granger waits with a shovel, whistling at how lousy his next burial will be.

Meanwhile, Gorye finds herself unable to wrest complete control of the Nyrrandahl before its torrents of arcane flame defile and obliterate the city of Balic. In her desperation, she steers the craft as hard as she can in to the silt sands and it crashes beneath them, sparing the city but killing her in the process.


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