After the devastating events of the previous session, things did not look positive for the Council of Waterdeep and its agents in the field. Little did they know the expedition they sent to Boareskyr Bridge had failed. Gristle was turned to dust, Martin Thundershot was captured or killed and Nic Hanza has not been heard from.
A day after the trio left Waterdeep another trio entered, three bird folk from far from the east to lend their talons to the cause. They have experiences, first hand the devastation that awaits the world in their own tribe and wish to stop it from continuing.
Herongull the grandfather of two other bird folk is a druid of the land. A wise and ancient bird who has lived longer than any aarakocra in recent memory. With him is Heerok, a paladin guided by his ancestors, and his younger brother Cheep, an archer ranger.
The council gives them their blessing, especially the representative from the Emerald Enclave and King Melandrach. Connerald suggests they help Gristle and Martin as he feels they would need the assistance of more grounded individuals.
They follow the road to the Manticore’s Tale, an inn that has seen more than it’s share of excitement for a lifetime in the past few days. They see the frozen statue of Donaar set outside and wander in looking for a place to roost and information on their quarry. There, they meet Nic Hanza, who knows Gristle and Martin and was traveling with them but was separated when he tried to track down the assassins who fled after killing Donaar.
From there they made it to Bolo’s Tentside Inn in Boareskyr Bridge, learning of the dwarf who saved the settlement from a snake-man spy and the other dwarf who was looking to thank him. They also spoke of a man wielding strange tubed weapons and directed them the Serpent Hills.
The group went through the hills, still following the tracks of the entourage of dragon cultists led by Varlam – whose tracks they were on.
They reach the tomb of Diderius, where so much before had gone wrong. They notice a wandering gnome babbling and walking around. There is the same recent sign of a struggle, and the tombs, and the statues asking for respect and if those entering the tomb are looking for knowledge or wisdom. Most responded, some did not. Heerok did not respond, allowing the others to respond with Wisdom (Herongull, and Nic) and knowledge (Cheep and Nic). Nifilinin babbled.
Nic assessed the statues, trying to place their clothing and their intention. But he could do neither, other than assume that they had been programmed this way to ask what those who dared entered speak.
They moved to enter the tomb, gazing on the mysterious landscape etched into the entry way. Herongull described the image as things that could not exist to his grandchildren, fantasy dreamed up by someone who might not be right in the head.
As for Nifilinin, she motioned to the doors, marching soldier-like. She seemed harmless, dressed in oversized scale mail. There was talk of a page of Martin Thundershot that accompanied him, a strange gnome child who didn’t speak. This was clearly her, but would she be an ally, or liability?
Entering the tomb, the group is faced with an illusion of grandure. The tombs lining the walls have been looted long ago. Yet, as bare and ancient as the walls were, they looked gilded and recently tended.
The next room, containing a mosaic of a night wielding a shining sword fighting a chimera under a bright sun allowed the group to spread out. The door to the west spoke has SAFE written on it, while the northern door was bulging under the weight of something hating it, or pressing on it. Herongull investigated it, believing it to be a slow push of something behind it over time. As he did so, the mosaic chimera, as it did for Gristle and Martin, awoke and attacked, flying up to the ledge above.
The group was ready and aware, seeing it move ever so slightly. It was attacked a few times by Cheep and others before it breathed fire on Heerok and Nic (who was able to judge the distance and effect of the breath weapon and step out of harms way – he has seen such things before in his travels). Nif ran in and hugged Heerok, curing him of some of the burns brought on by the dragon fire. Before the chimera could get another attack off it was quickly brought down by the group, shooting it and charging at it, and with Herron charging at it through flight.
Looking at the room marked safe and the bulging door the group decides to go down the east passage which slopes downwards. Herongull notices a ‘land trap’, half-jumping and half-flying over it, warning the remainder of the group to avoid the trap, while Nic, using his dungeoneering experience, notices a sliding panel in the southern wall. The group looks at the panel, and carefully slide it open. Afraid of traps, the group moves away, Herongull entering the room at the bottom, a incense scented room filled with tapestries and double doors to the north and a single door to the east.
The attention, however, lies with the uncovered shaft that leads down to what seems to be a staircase. Using rope, they lower Cheep, the smallest of them that was able to communicate in Common and not with ‘blppts’ and ‘btttfts.’
The staircase rose to the north. The remains of an ancient dumbwaiter lie on the floor here next to a door with DANGER written on it and with spikes hammered into it keeping it closed. Cheep stealthily climbs the stairs to see a dining room with four or more creatures sitting around a stone table. The creatures were spiky, reddish and unpleasant. They spoke an uncomfortable and grating language, but did it calmly, seemingly relaxing and at ease. Spikes covered their bodies – so much so that their beards seemed to be a great number of spikes protruding from their faces.
The group all then entered the stairwell and looked at the door marked DANGER. They wanted to see what the spiked creatures were afraid of, so they set to open the door and see within. They did so, quietly, and Nic Hanza – whose curiosity knows no bounds – opened the door. Within was a large room, an opulent bed, bookshelves, a table with a ewer and goblets… and dead bodies of dragon cultists and spectral undead. Three were of snake men as described by Bolo in Boareskyr and three of dragon cultists. Whatever happened here caused the souls of these killed to remain.
Nic closed the door and felt the air around him cool but nothing else seemed to happen.
They all returned to the corridor and they concocted a plan.
A rope was attached to the DANGER door and held by those in the corridor above the dumbwaiter shaft.
Herongull, a master of elements, used his divine power to turn into an air elemental. He went down the shaft and entered the room of the spiked creatures, gaining their attention. Meanwhile, the top would be pulled, opening the door with the spectral undead. Hopefully the two groups would meet and wipe each other out. Meanwhile Heerok would use his ancestors power to ward the shaft from any survivors from climbing out.
All went according to plan – sort of. Heerok, wishing the safety of all those around him ensured that nothing he could ward would be allowed to exit the shaft, including undead, devils, demons and elementals.
The spiked creatures were hesitant to descent the staircase and remained in the dining room. The spectral undead also did not leave the room they were found in. Seeing this, Herongull ascended the shaft, only to be stopped by his grandson’s ward.
Swearing at this, Herongull returned down the shaft and entered the spiked creatures room. Watching in air elemental form, he saw the creatures stare at him, speaking their awful language to each other as they watched it. They made no move against it, so Herongull went through the door to the east, entering into an old throne room. There was a twelve-foot tall statue sitting on a massive throne. As he moved towards the throne and statue, it spoke, asking for tribute, or for the one standing before it to leave.. At the statues feet was treasure, both rich and poor. Glass bottles with potions, hundreds of gold and silver coins, jewelry both stunning and mundane, copper pieces and even old, worthless pottery.
Without options, Herongull left, leaving through a crack in the door to the south, returning to the incense and tapestried room. He reunited with the group and his grandson, who he berated for being so close-minded and naïve.
Unsatisfied that their plan didn’t work, and curious as to what the spiked creatures were, the party continued, heading into the large tapestried room.
There, a whisper entered the minds of Herongull, Nic and Cheep, saying that if they wished to go further they must proffer humility and respect in the way of Mystra. Both Herongull and Nic both recognize Mystra as a fallen god, lost to history during the Time of Troubles.
Heerok, not hearing the whispered warning, opened the door leading to the throne room, causing there to be an explosion of sound as six sarcophagi shattered and six mummies stopped through the tapestries and attacked the party.
In his air elemental form, Herongull was easily able to destroy one mummy by engulfing it in his windy form, pummelling him with the debris from its own sarcophagus, then throwing it out of the room. Frightened, Nifilinin mutters and ballet, polymorphing another mummy into a butterfly. Nic and Heerok both attack their mummies, but their mundane attacks do not seem to do much damage.
Nic is soon frightened by the eerie glare of one of the mummies, then Heerok swoops in, using his paladin aura to remove the fright from Nic while eating the butterfly.
Herongull takes a beating from the mummies, absorbing most of the hits and contracting mummy rot in the process, while he engulfs them, throwing debris and tearing their limbs apart with his strong winds. He tosses a few, and those who survive are shot to destruction by Nic or sliced by Heerok.
Nif, babbling away, summons a moonbeam that burns the mummies, weakening them for her allies. Herongull, being a large swirling mass of air ends up taking some damage from the scorching moonbeam, but continues to damage the mummies.
Eventually, they are downed and the group stands amid stone debris and mummy parts.