Headed out towards the mountains with the goal of infiltrating and destroying the talks dwarves. South of Ruined Oak, we saw some orcs who fled from us, and Eddings found a pouch containing the following missive.
Here are your updated orders. Proceed to the pass to the north of the city and wait for the arrival of the priest. Once he appears, capture him. Should he not be alone, dispose of any with him and make sure their bodies cannot be found. Take the priest to the Catacombs. I shall be along later to question him vigorously. we must know what he knows. Ildikus.
We discovered a goblin funeral pyre further down the road, with footprints leaving towards the west. Later that night, we met the scouting party (Kokhoc the Magenta, Dourdami Shadowdelver, and Hezmorli Redspine). They had not seen any Talos, but did see a small brass dragon wyrmling.
They informed us that the Talos had completely abandoned the gnolls, and they mentioned activity surrounding a cult of galgama and an undead army.
Our night and the next day’s trek into the mountains was fairly uneventful, and we set up camp near the giant goat graveyard. Several of our party stared at goats for a long time. We saw some abandoned buildings.
The next evening, we scouted out the camp. We saw the dwarves and their skiff scout rotations, as well as the crews spiraling out from the central camp to look for the artifact that would help unlock the Forge.
We launched our attack, stealth failing, and faced off against dwarf mages, giant scorpions, a strange psychic mage made from worms, and a giant statue come to life. Before we could destroy them all, the wormy person disappeared, the statue de-animated, and we cleaned up the rest of the minions.
We investigated the camp, and found various things. Firstly, the following note:
It appears that our Scouts have finally nailed down the location. This is good news as it is only a day or so from here. I expect them to return with the item, or I shall need more scouts as they will not return with out it.
On another note we have not discovered anything concerning ἀσπιστής yet. The presence of his follower does seem to be having an impact of sorts on our enemies, as to what will come of it is too early to tell.
Secondly, a scroll with the seal of Talos on it radiating necromantic energy – a spell of massively evil power. Thirdly, several books. We waited until morning, and were planning on ambushing the scout skiff, but there was only one living dwarf left – his face blistered, his eyes blinded, his hair seared off. He said “we found it – the rest are dead”
Kaine healed the dwarf, and heard him claim that he found the ruins – the spell allowed them to detect its magic, but then the scouts started dropping like flies, lesions and burns appearing on their skin. The ruins were 180 notches to the southwest, still set in the rigging.
Joule mercy killed the radiation-struck dwarf, and Uzza stole his soul. She used his soul to get a mental image of the temple. Kaine suggested that they were consorting with entities from the Beyond.
We began carrying the sand skiff back home, and were intercepted by a Khenran Man of War. On that ship was Daraba and some of her Khenran guards. They just happened to be patrolling in that area, looking for a missing skiff. They paid us and read the boat for us, and we rode back to the portal in Captain Mektere’s vessel. They had improved defenses around the DOF portal, erecting an entire fort. From there, we made it back to Ruined Oak.