A New Path

Old enemies are taken care of and new allies are found.

Norday, 8 Deadtree, 6934 EY: The group rushed with all urgency to Harubel where they made their way to the Croc-Arena. After discussing various plans on how to get underneath the arena, eventually they found stairs leading below. This led them "behind the scenes," where they were led to the shower and locker rooms by the writhing green worm that Tomren kept from the Father of Worm's lair. In the locker room, they discovered Grok "the Croc" Grokson. Arnold used his way with words to convince Grok that a great evil was threatening the arena, and Grok agreed to join them.

After stumbling for a time to find the secret entrance, Arnold's stonecunning picked up that part of the bas relief on the wall was recent: a carving of a worm with a lamprey-like mouth lined with rows of teeth. The worm was twitching spastically at this point, so Tomren made the decision to let it out. It quickly crawled into the carving's "mouth," unlocking a way to a secret chamber.

After dispatching his carrion crawler minions, the heroes came face-to-face with the Father of Worms, who was in the middle of a ritual to resurrect the ulgurstasta. The warlock had tied the abducted travelers to the walls around this room and had been gradually letting their blood to flow into the center of the chamber where the ulgurstasta remained. Thanks to some very powerful blows by Grok's fists and the justicar expertise of Tomren, the group made fairly quick work of the Father of Worms and his minion, a phase spider named Voidwidow.

The heroes had discovered also that one of the abducted individuals was Leyne, so as soon as the battle was over, Grok and Haseya rushed to Leyne's side, healing him and carrying him out. They quickly reunited with Jorr, who was beside himself with worry and thanked the heroes endlessly.

When the heroes returned to the Blackened Bones Inn to celebrate, Tomren and Haseya each had letters waiting for them. Although they chose to keep the contents of these letters to themselves, Haseya was provided with enough gold to provide the menagerie everything it needed. She gave the coin to them, and they were astonished, speechless, and beyond thankful. Additionally, Tomren received his promotion to Justicar-Strider, meaning he could now leave Molentius whenever he wished.

Venday, 9 Deadtree, 6934 EY: The group awoke and found Farlock waiting in the harbor district. He was happy to let his old friends onto his barge to travel back downriver. Because they were his only passengers, he allowed Princess to surface and the group learned that she is something of a softie, and even got to pet and feed the plesiosaur. The trip downriver took the day, which was pleasant and uneventful.

Taursday, 10 Deadtree, 6934 EY: The group arrived back in Dunezar early in the morning. Herod Elwald, the guardsman, was waiting for them at the docks, saying that Zafar had posted him there until their return. It seemed that there had been a break-in at the Hunter's Take guildhall, and although the burglar was apprehended, Haseya was somehow implicated in the whole mess.

Zafar escorted the group to the Jungle Watch Keep and into the stockades, where Haseya found her old friend and compatriot, Misae, who had already unlocked her cell door with a stowed away lockpick. Zafar was baffled and made uncomfortable by this new acquisition, and told Haseya to keep an eye on her. Relieved to be reunited with her old friend, Haseya introduced Misae to the group. The wood elf immediately made an impression by being confrontational with Tomren due to his race and affiliation with the Towers of Ten.

On their way to the Hunter's Take guild hall, Haseya was spotted by the farmers who were left in charge of the terror wings. It turned out that the winged reptiles had fallen ill, and the workload of keeping the barn clean was too much for the farmers, and their living space had become disgusting. Haseya spoke with the terror wings and learned they were dying from the lack of a vital nutrient only found in Tongo thistle, which grew in the high peaks of the Tongo mountains. As Haseya was making plans to find this thistle, Manora showed up to see Arnold. Hearing about this thistle, Manora offered her assistance to go find the thistle, along with Winket, Herod, Adlyth, and Archie. The heroes then spent six hours scrubbing every inch of the barn free of terror wing droppings, save for Taegon, who ventured back to Zafar to declare these conditions unacceptable. Zafar had been unaware and agreed with Taegon, and also agreed to speak to Floriano.

This led to Zafar coming to the group in the middle of their cleaning to let them know Floriano refused to speak about a new home for the terror wings to Zafar and instead insisted upon an audience with the heroes. The group acquiesced and traveled to Floriano's mansion.

Floriano was, as always, arrogant and confrontational without being outright hostile or impolite. He made it clear he felt insulted that his contract had been put on "the back burner" and if the group could "afford to turn up their noses at good coin then they could pay for their birdcage themselves." Misae, new to both Molentius and Dunezar, proceeded to say a deluge of incredibly unkind things to Floriano, who handled it calmly, but politely asked one of his guards to add Misae's name to "the list."

The group retired to the Hunter's Take guildhall to rest and prepare to begin their troll hunt the following morning.

Oathday, 11 Deadtree, 6934 EY: In the early hours of the morning, Taegon and Misae had a conversation about many things, particularly their connection as fellow elves, Taegon's origins, missing being in a proper forest, and, mostly, how Misae conducts herself around others. Taegon tried to make it clear that they could have powerful enemies, and even if these enemies were despised, the group had to be careful about how they conducted themselves around these entities. Misae apologized for her brashness and expressed hope that she could make a better second impression.

Once the rest of the group had awoken, they set out and headed west into the jungle, following a trail Ubah had picked up that seemed to belong to a troll. With Leodolf's wisdom in their minds, the group began looking for some manner of ruin.

Along the way, the group stumbled into a wizard of the Black Tower who stood on a giant, undead beetle. The wizard was being attacked by a pyfron warband. The group easily dispatched the pyfron, and the wizard introduced himself as Sam Nibley. While some thought his beetle, a husk strider named "Mister Peeper" was neat, others thought it was an abomination, and others didn't care and wanted to focus on the mission.

The group traveled for a few more hours before making camp that night.

Lorday, 12 Deadtree, 6934 EY: Less than an hour into their travel, the group stumbled upon what appeared to be an intact and undiscovered ophan ruin. The tracks of the troll led directly to this ziggurat, and so the group followed in. Despite being very careful, they sprung a trap that destroyed the way in to the ziggurat, which nearly also killed Haseya. Now in what seems to be a central chamber dominated by a giant green statue, the group prepares itself for the dangers of Opha'Copa, the Jade Ziggurat.



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