RECAP: Age of Ashes, 6-19-20

The party began back inside the rib cage of the creature, which has been built up by the cultists with that reddish clay. Damien decided to set the striking snare, and Ty went invisible and opened the northerly door. Inside were two three-headed creatures, fighting over a slab of meat. Despite Ty’s invisibility, one of the creatures looked directly at him and said “You don’t belong here.”

Although Ty tried to lure them out, they didn’t take the bait; Tasno sang up some +3 courage for everyone, then Damien tried to taunt the creatures so that they would come towards him. Instead, one blasted him with an icy breath weapon. The other joined in and shot acid at Damien, but he managed to dodge out of the way. Ink cast electricity, which did not do a ton of damage but ultimately irritated them to the point where they began to come forward to attack. Eventually one reached the striking snare, and the trap worked as expected. Baelfir attacked and struck the creature hard, allowing Damien to finish it off.

In the meantime, Ty had shut the door so that the other creature was behind it. Ty used the opportunity to heal Damien, and Tasno then cast invisible sphere. The party then surrounded Tasno, and moved slowly into the other room using the sphere. The remaining chimera had availed itself of the slab of meat, and was eating when the party entered. “You don’t belong here,” it said. “You must go. She is not to be disturbed.” The party ignored this advice, and pretty swiftly killed the creature. There wasn’t much inside the room: a large pile of furs, the half eaten slab of meat, and a lot of runes scratched on the walls in draconic. Most of these were praises to Dahak, although the runes near the ceiling begin to have a questioning tone, as if the creature carving them was starting to wonder about matters of faith. There are also a couple more of the bone glow boxes. The heat was stifling.

The party listened at the northerly doors, and heard noises: roars, screams, and droning chants. The party split up so they could attack from each of the two doors; inside, the skull of a large dragon poured molten gold onto a smaller red dragon chained to a platform above a pool of what looked to be even more molten gold. Charau-ka priests were chanting in a weird frenzy, and nearby a very sinuous draconic boggard-creature was standing and leading the proceedings. The red dragon was screaming in pain, while the boggard called out invocations to Dahak. The whole room was lit by the gold and the dragon skull’s burning eyes. When the party entered the room, the eyes swung around to meet them, immediately shooting out gouts of flame at the party.

Ink dispelled magic on one eye, but a charau-ka fireballed the party. Damien called out to focus on the boggard creature, which he believed to be Balmezog. Damien attacked her and managed to push her into the pool of molten gold, but she climbed out onto the platform. “You can’t stop me!” She yelled. She then spewed a spray of acid across the party. Baelfir managed to finish off the Balmezog (to Damien’s chagrin) and Tasno was able to dispel the magic of the remaining eye. After that the chase was on for the remaining charau-ka priests, and they were quickly killed.

“Please free me,” begged the red dragon. He told a surprisingly sympathetic tale: since birth he had been told it was his destiny to be a vessel for Dahak, but recently he’d begun to question whether that was truly his fate. Balmezog took this as heretical, put the dragon in chains and forced him under the molten gold. The idea was that, at the moment the dragon died, Dahak would return and inhabit his body. He begged the party to free him. Even under the compulsion of Tasno’s zone of truth, the dragon continued the same story. The dragon was pinned to the platform by a shard, seemingly made of gold, that Ink identified as being a fragment of something even more powerful. So sympathetic was the story that, after Ink had placed a sigil on him, the party decided to let the dragon go. It flew off to then.

A thorough search turned up the following treasure:

  • lots of books and journals and notes (Ink)
  • 830 GP, 3950 SP, 7800 CP, and a sack with 20 arsenic poisoned gold nuggets worth 50 GP each
  • a dragonslayer shield (Ty)
  • a rod of wonder (Tasno, to be sold)
  • a +2 striking crossbow (Damien, to deconstruct)
  • a wand of dimension door (Ink)

The rest of the building was eerily silent, and soon the party abandoned the place to make the long journey back to the Ekujae village. They were greeted as returning heroes, and a great feast was planned. The Ekujae leader was troubled by the tale of Balmezog; they should not have treated the boggards so badly, since it was that treatment that prompted Balmezog to work so diligently for bloody revenge. She also asked that the party return to the village someday, and that perhaps even a trading relationship between the Ekujae and Breachill might be developed to the benefit of both.

The Ekujae leader also told the story of the creator of the portals who was known to the Ekujae. His name was Kenherem the Sculptor, and the Ekujae knew of him when he had first begun his work. Allsettia’s Ring was his first set of gates, but little more than a toy to him at the time. Each portal is triggered by a different item:

  • Hunter’s Arrow: Hunter’s Gate
  • Starknife Eclipse: Dream Gate
  • magical chisel: Dusk Gate
  • magic gem: Jewel Gate
  • chunk of amber with a wasp trapped inside: Venge Gate
  • magical flower: Lotus Gate (now destroyed)

The Ekujae had no idea where the other keys could be found. An investigation of the documents from the Citadel of Sorrows showed another series of letters to Balmezog from Laslund and the Scarlet Triad. Lots of discussion within about how best to bring back Dahak, and requests for money from the Triad. Ink promised to investigate these documents further once they were back in Breachill.

Once they had returned to Citadel Altaerain, the party fanned out within the town of Breachill, where they planned to spend the next few weeks. Damien made it clear that he plans to set up a crafting shop inside the Citadel, and that the party should all let him know if there were any things that were needed.

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