“I honestly thought that I had seen it all.  I guess the only thing that should surprise me now is my continued naivety.

We set out from Swollentooth heading North, intent on contacting the Talos Unified Resistance Forces.  On our trek we were accosted by four living dust storms.  Fortunately for us, they were no match for our combined power and we eventually made contact with several TURF scouts.

Due to the disparity in numbers the TURF keeps a mobile camp.  I’ve marked the current locations but know that it is subject to change at a moment’s notice.  We met with their leader and learned that the dirty Talos dwarves’ tactics, techniques, and procedures had developed to the point where they were setting Dust Elementals loose against their foes.  This is a worrying development.  It hints that their magic wielding numbers have grown and they’re willing to risk them further afield.

We explained to the TURF that we’d come to provide either a strike at the Talos stronghold or, at the very least, a show of force.   Their leader didn’t hesitate to task us with scouting a potential avenue of approach.  My party and I left immediately and made good time.

As we neared the mountains, following the TURF’s directions, our leader Oogway motioned for quiet.  The group of us laid low and quietly reconnoitered the supposed stronghold entrance.  Fortune had it that we observed a cloaked figure entering what looked like a cave.  The six of us followed at a distance.  I’d never seen the Talos travel singly, or even in pairs.  They always had numbers.  I voiced my suspicions as our eyes adjusted to the low light.

The cave’s floor smoothed as we traveled and eventually became tile.  It appeared to be a converted mineshaft.  There were at least 3 doors around every corner we turned-most of them trapped.  We quickly lost our target amidst the twisting corridors.  Did I mention the giant pool of acid blocking the most direct route forward?  Well I should of, because who do you think finally reappeared on the opposite side of it?

Hooded and masked, the lone figure observed us from afar.  Always ready for another ally I quickly shot him a magical message.

What I received back can only described as the sound of link of chain being put through a meat grinder… all in my mind.  I was momentarily stunned and the room erupted into chaos.

Chemist and Panzer traded spells with the figure, silhouetting the forms of Oogway and Servant as they leapt the acid pit.  Naal and I dove into opposite hallways in effort to find cover.  Our foe traded blow for blow and spell for spell like a man possessed.  I had never seen anyone fight as ferociously.  Soon, Oogway and Servant were both feeling the effects of being so close and I had to act.  I shifted Oogway’s form into that of a large flightless bird.  As his feathers and wings sprouted, his growth pushed the hooded figure and Servant apart.  I followed this up by making my own leap of the pit…

…and barely cleared it.  Chemist’s black tentacles sprung up around the figure while Naal and Panzer took turns blasting it from afar.  The figure quickly put enough hurting on Oogway to drop my magic form but the battle was already over.  I was there and Servant had shaken off his ailments.  Oogway and I flanked our attacker as Servant got right in it’s face.

Down it went into a pile of… bugs.  As it died a large swarm of them rose from the corpse.  It had been accosting Oogway and Servant with similar insects throughout the battle, blinding and poisoning them.  I have seen similar creatures in the past.  At the time I had joking referred to them as ‘the cult of the worm farmers’… jokingly until a fucking Purple Worm burst through the wall.

On high alert now, we slowly explored the place.  I believe the very next door we opened contained two large Golems of clay.  Our party was on separate sides of an acid pit.

‘Eeny, meeny, miny, moe… who will help me kill this foe?’  I grabbed Oogway and magicked us straight into the thick of it.  Chemist’s many skeletons clogged a door and kept the golems at bay while the rest of us attacked from our preferred ranges… until one of the golems burst through the wall!

Oh yeah!  I was having flashbacks to that Purple Worm!  Chemist started lobbing fireball after fireball and soon my nightmare was over.

We dug through the clay and found two very fine maces.

And behind door number two?  A giant bird made of fire. You heard me.  I’m not lying.  Naal will back me up.  We all dove for cover as this thing flew over the acid pit and out of the entrance.  I was pretty spent after all of that.  The others continued to search as I drained the last of my magic healing our valiant front line.

All manner of things were drug to the entrance.  A bathtub, some sheets, a rug…. The party wanted to make the trip worth it, I guess… until someone happened upon a very special stone!  It shone in the torch light with a seductive purple and green opalescence.  I turned it repeatedly in my hand just gazing at it… 

I could SEE myself in it… 

Isn’t that … isn’t that odd then?

Yet after all why not?

Why shouldn’t I keep it…?”