Tempest Rising

Worms and bait
Or-- I thought these things smelled bad on the outside

Laguna-Yahuarcocha.jpgFollowing the encounter with the mud warriors, our heroes looked for a place to rest before diving into the rift lake. Saerin returned, and said he’d found a cave large enough to hide in to at least escape being sighted from the air. So the group crowded in and spent the night in close quarters.

In the morning, Dremahl cast water breathing for everyone, and the group descended in to the the blood-red depths. After more than a half hour of trudging along the steep bottom of the lake, the group began to realize they might need a faster form of recon.

ElectricEel-Journey2.jpgSo, they sent Boomah was scouting ahead, trailed by a summoned water elemental. The creature quickly vanished, but the intrepid goblin continued his search. Not long after, he saw a flicker of light on the murky bottom.

Moving toward it, he was suddenly assaulted by a giant aquatic worm. The massive creature swallowed him whole, leaving the alchemist in a literal tight spot.

He used a freezing bomb to harden an area within the beast, and shattered the frozen spot with the borrowed seaborne sword. Then, he used every bt of his enhanced speed to escape the creature before it tried again.

He returned to the group in a panic, and they chose to disputed the menace. Moving within range of its underwater lair, they lured it out with summoned dolphins . It lunged out of its whole to take the bait, and was blasted by a lightning bolt from Kallius. It thrashed around looking for the source of the pain, and only found attacking dolphins. It swallowed one of the pestering creatures, but was again met by a stroke of lightning.

However, it had enough punishment by apparently exploding dolphins, and rocketed off into the murky depths.

A quick look in its cave revealed little, and they continued on toward the light. There they found a group of ruined buildings and what seemed to be a ring of fallen columns surrounding a half-sphere was filled with a swirling glow. And in the shadows cast by the glow, a bipedal figure moved between the columns.

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Mud rassling
or-- Dirty work

You_Can_t_Scare_Me_-_artwork.jpgAccepting the draconic King of Justice’s offer, our heroes teleported to a far-away valley where Sciao Si’ang once held sway.

Appearing several hundred feet above the ground to throw off pursuit, they drifted down to the shore, and could see no signs of civilization surrounding the blood-red murky lake. They noted a group of gigantic water insects flitting across the open water, but little other signs of life. When they landed, they sent the ranger off to find a safe place to camp and looked around.

Celeste summoned a water elemental, who did widening circles in the lake until it abruptly disappeared. Boomah went into the water to see what he could discover below the surface while the others took up defensive positions. Kallius spotted four thicker ‘clots’ of murky water moving swiftly toward them, and pulled the goblin on to the shore.

Seeing the mounds rear up, Boomah drank an infusion and left a flaming path up and down the shoreline. The creatures pulled up short, and launched thick gobs of mud at our heroes— two of them targeting to hit the blind oracle.

The water and muddy shoreline was no aid to combat, and many mishaps took place as the battle raged. Two summoned archons even collided on the open water.

The mud beasts were resilient, but between the flames and the assaults of the warriors they were slowly being returned to the earth. When the last one was a felled by a spell-fueled blade, there was little evidence of the combat beyond a few wounds and a scorched shoreline.

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Cut scenes
Or-- Exit, stage left

Draconomicon__71_.jpgCeleste and Boomah rose up into the darkness, and through a gap into the chamber of the green dragon Verduous.

It asked what had brought them to this perilous spot, and the oracle answered that she wasa fated to die slowly and painfully, and would prefer to get on with it. This intrigues the ancient beast, and while he was happy to swallow her, he wanted to know more.

She told the dragon her concern that she would be consumed by her dragon nature and die, but he assured her that a simple death by disease would not be her future. Meanwhile, the goblin was poking around a massive symbol of the interlocked Ordinal runes on the far wall, hoping to unlock the fiery line they had been told of.

Celeste asked if she would keep her free will if she fully transformed, and what that might mean. Verduous could not guarantee anything, but in the end offered to send her to someone that might be able to help. She agreed to offer the beast her blood in the exchange.

Once had had received his due, the others were brought up into the chamber as well. It was intrigued by the sight of Kallius, and offered him as deal for his blood as well. The magus said he had a vision of as fiery item of great power here, and would be willing to trade for it.

When the dragon learned his secret had been revealed it became quite agitated, calling the elf a thief and shedding his humanoid guise for full dragon form.

Celeste leaped through the gate the creature had made (with help form a strange wire and gem crown it wore) and found herself falling through cold air. The others chose to follow in short order.

Boomah — heeding advice from somewhere inside himself — tried to force the dragon through, but failing to budge it

Seeing the thief flee, and his bargain with Celeste complete, the dragon chose not to follow.

The party found themselves on a snow-capped mountaintop with a tower in the distance. They went to the tower and found that it belonged to the gold dragon Lareth— the King of Justice. They told him their plight, and the dragon said he would consult the auguries and flew off into the shadows, chased by the goblin.

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Shooting the Bull-ywug
Or-- Mister Toad's Wild Ride

421f2f2798e4b427ceb937f8660e9bc6.jpgKallius had flown closest to the tree, and hailed the monstrous thing offering to heal its mossy affliction. It laughed off the offer, and demanded to know why these meaningless beings had invade the master’s domain. At that point, Celeste interrupted and said that the returned the dragon’s henchman. Questioned about why they had invaded the temple, they said that they had simply come to speak with the dragon about the bloodwyrms.

This seemed to gain the creature’s attention, and it bade them wait. After several minutes, a bullywug game down a long staircase from above. It seemed ill-fit in its body but demanded to know what they group wanted. They again claimed to only want answers, so it offered to go quid-pro-quo with questions.

They asked what it knew about the Gloaming returning at Malabar and it seemed visibly disappointed. Probing further, they learned that the creature thought that since the dragons had been imprisoned on the mainland, they would rise there as well.

They questioned it about the symbol beneath Bar Omaro, and it thought — while surprised it was that far away — that it could have been a protective seal over a slain bloodwyrm.

Our heroes traded secrets with the apparently-dominated bullywug, and seemed to avoid provoking the creature. Finally, Celeste confessed that she simply wanted to know what would happen to her. In response, she stared levitating up into the darkness beyond, with a goblin hanging on her coattails.

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Getting to the root of it
Or-- S(l)ay it with flowers

untitled11.pngOur heroes greeted the dawn with impatience, after being interrupted in the night. Keeping an eye on the Firstborn Temple on the horizon, they watched as five of the small dragons list up into the morning sky. Leaving one behind.

They prepared themselves as best they could, and Boomah, Saerin, and shrunken Celeste flew out invisibly toward the looming edifice.

They were given two minutes to clear the jungle and fly to the open level roughly half way top the tower. Then, Kallius, Luix, Dremahl, and their captive charau-ka teleported onto the landing. This was handled deftly, but unfortunately the thick vines that choked the opening lunged to the attack — against all but the magus.

Trapped in its clutches, Dremahl gained insight into the ravenous plant and learned that it was susceptible to cold. He shouted this out, and Boomah let fly with icy bombs,

The creature was slowed by this, and it gave the others a better chance to break free of their grasp. However, the heavily wounded ape-man had collapsed from the additional crushing.

Luix drank a potion of enlarge, and tore himself free from the vines. He grabbed the limp ape-man and moved to clearer ground.

Celeste had been dropped inside the circling vines by Boomah, and noted that the one large tree in this verdant area seemed to be aware of their presence, so she approached.

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Let there be rock
Or-- Somebody hold my pig

9fcec126d4215606ca62f8fb41a55205.jpgOur heroes had huddled into a small cave in hopes of making it through the night, and assaulting the dragon temple on the morn. Unfortunately, fate intervened.

Just before dawn, the captive charau-ka started howling at Dremahl. He had chewed through his gag, and was accusing the priest of stealing from his master. Concerned that combat would restart in earnest, Saerin quickly knocked the beast unconscious.

Other had been wakened by the shouting, and questioned exactly why their captive was accusing the priest of theft. So, they redoubled their restraints and woke the ape man again.

When asked about the accusation, the ape said that Dremahl carried a mace with the master’s symbol on it, proving the theft. He has been carrying the mace for a long time, and never paid much attention to the markings on its butt.

Closer inspection revealed that the marks were a combination of the four elemental runes bound together. But what connection it had to the dragon was unclear.

They woke the golden dragon figure and asked it about the symbol. It told them that dragons rarely use personal symbols, but that this particular symbol is used by Eltherian, the champion of Eldermere. This elven hero and leader carries a bow made of pure air, that he claims was a gift from the defenders of the mainland.

Following up, they asked about items of elemental power. The figure said that there was a draconic legend about four elemental items that the beings that preceded the gods of the Serachle used to bind and control the dragons in ages past. It added that this legend had never been proven, and promptly went inert.

Looking to test the potential of the now mysterious mace, the group chose to subject it to elemental energy. Celeste summoned a creature of earth, and they gave the mace to its control. The creature took up the weapon, and immediately removed the shackles of the oracle’s control. Then it crushed the massive stony head of the mace, and released a long chain seemingly forged of earth from within. Fearing its escape, Saerin leaped forward and struck the creature down with a single blow.

The creature dispatched, our heroes were left with the stony chain, and the prospect of sunrise on the horizon.

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Chicken Run
Or-- Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn

t2.jpgKallius and Boomah took to the skies to catch the fleeing Tengu, and Saerin rushed back to his bow to strike from the ground. One by one, the bird men crashed into the canopy and did not emerge.

Returning to the group, Luix had freed himself from the gluey mass and had restrained the charau-ka leader. Once awake, the beast loudly demanded his freedom, but was willing to tell our heroes the dangers they faced if they wanted to challenge Verduous.

He told them that the entry was guarded by a man-eating tree, and the dragon is served by a group of bullywugs. He had never been in his master’s private chambers, not had he ever seen a flaming stick floating in mid-air.

He did add that the dragon calls the small blue dragons to his chamber once every day, otherwise they roam the region hunting.

Once again, the group discussed their options ranging from frontal assault to sending in Celeste alone to parlay with the dragon. In the end, they may have settled on entering through the platform halfway up the Temple through a combination of Teleport and Dimension Door. But first, they hoped to rest and regain their strength.

They found an old ratfllk cave that the lizards had already ripped open, and crowded together to sleep in advance of their attack.

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Monkey see, monkey die
Or-- Hear no evil

Man-Ape__Conan_.jpgThe fire-lizard-riding charau-ka charged the main group of our heroes, with the apes’ long spears crashing into their defenses. Celeste summoned a frost mephit that seemed to be effective against the mounts, so Boomah started tossing frost bombs as well.

The situation turned more dire when a cloud of ravens appeared above, resolving into a feathered-cloaked charua-ka. he was flanked by three winged creatures with crossbows, who fired down onto the group.

Locked in close combat, the mounted apes were slowly succumbing to the circling heroes.
The airborne leader used a returning bola and attempted to entangle its enemies, and the snipers fired at will among the group.

The embattled apes started shrieking madly and fighting with a berserk frenzy. Kallius struck their leader with his empowered shocking grasp blade and got caught in his stunning barrier. Stunned, the foe drew upon divine power and wrapped him in chains of force.

Celeste shouted to the group that it might be valuable to the dragon if they took its lieutenant alive.

Dremahl cast silence and ended the shrieking and the rage. The lizards were finally beaten down, and the charau-ka warriors were no match for our heroes. The tengu remained aloft and stayed clear of major damage.

Once the shock troops were dispatched, the group turned on the leader. He had been attacking Dremahl, but had not mortally wounded the pries before they took him down. Luix rushed over and tackled the corpse— just to be sure. Not to be outdone, Boomah used adhesive spittle to stick them both the ground.

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Animal House Party
Or-- Monkeys, Lizards, and Ox-- Oh My!

ec5d8604e873fa7a0c9d12dd834b38ad.jpgWhen Boomah and Kallius retuned to our heroes camp late in the night, they quickly explained what had transpired in the mine. They had flown, roused and dispatched some charau-ka guards, and led them on a chase before encountering the ancient elephantine creature known as Satao.

It said he had been I’m the area since the Firstborn had ruled, and had seen all the changes. It appeared that one of the Firstborn’s duties was to guard the prisons and graves of the traitorous bloodwyrm dragons, and since their exit some of the seals have weakened or broke entirely.

Lured by the strange draconic activity, the green dragon Verduous arrived a few years ago to seek bloodwyrm knowledge and aid their return. He scoured the mainland for signs of their presence and collected what artifacts he could find. He is not alone in this desire, either. Other dragons have come to this place to consult with the green dragon, and he is building a Dolmen Circle atop the Temple to aid long-range teleporting.

The dragon is talkative and proud, and occasionally brings Satao to his chambers to boast and discuss issues. One time he noted a hidden chamber behind its bookshelves that held a line of flame hovering in space, balanced between a black and a white stone.

They offered to help Satao escape the mines, but he was concerned about what would happen to the others if he was discovered missing. So the goblin and the magus dimension doored out of the caverns and flew back under cover of darkness.

This new information did little to settle the group’s plans. In the end, they hoped to somehow engage this Verduous in parlay to avoid a full-frontal assault. But first they would rest.

Dawn came with a pillar of fire rising up from the direction of the mine. Not long after, another flame shot up closer to the party. They packed up and argued about what was going on. A third flame was spotted, and the rat-man Digbo declared that all of these smoking areas were near watering holes where the wild creatures gathered. It was decided that something was trying to smoke them out.

So they had the rat-man lead them to a watering hole where they would lie in wait. There they found a massive bull aurochs and three cows. Boomah and Digbo went up into the canopy to search the skies while the others waited.

It did not take very long before three massive red-scaled lizards appeared on the edge of the clearing. The lead lizard breathed a gout of flame into the small herd, which scattered to flee. The bull charged the lizard, which had a charau-ka rider carrying a long spear. They crashed together, but the combination of the set spear and the mighty jaws of the red beast proved more than a match for the bovine protector.

One lizard made a move toward the cows, while the other charged across the shallow watering hole where the party was firing missiles at them. Boomah flew down and engaged what appeared to be the leader of the squad.

Battle was truly afoot.

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Hanging with the rat pack
Or-- Rodentured Service

ratling_attack_by_cloister-d6ctj5g.jpgFleeing the lamia and their leonine cohorts, our heroes found themselves in the darkness surrounded by rats. Ratfolk, to be specific. It quickly became clear that not all the ratfolk were eager to invite strangers into their midst. The group tried to prove their value by sealing the passage and healing injured rats, and were granted entry into the warren.

They were brought before ratfolk’s leaders — a trio of overlarge rats — and were grant 48 hours reprieve before the rarest decided whether or not to eat them. The strangest part of the exchange was that everyone heard it in their native language, and all could easily communicate with each other. The rat is allowed them into the bolt hole, Digbo, was tasked with keeping an eye on the strangers.

They diligently worked to make themselves of service, healing the sick, trading alchemical formulae, and moving heavy objects, and learned that there was indeed a real green dragon on the old temple of the Firstborn, and that he had a number of juvenile blues as his minions.

They found that there primal rune carvings in many locations throughout the warren, but the rats claimed that they had not carved them. Close inspection revealed that they were natural descriptions and mathematical formulae, but nothing that seemed to aid their mission.

After a day of service they returned to their corner of the warren to rest. The compound erupted in hubbub not to much later, as a rat had returned to tell of a foreign party that had been attacked and slain by charau-ka. This cast doubt on our heroes welcome, and they slinked back to their cave to discuss.

They rested, and left the compound before their welcome could be questioned further. They tracked back to the watering hole where the scout group was slain, and looked for clues. They saw a lot of blood and destruction, no no indication of where to go next.

They needed more information, and did not know where to turn. Digbo suggested talking to the oldest of the slaves, known as Nosefinger. he had been around since the wild time, and light answer their questions.

The problem was, he was in the dragon’s mine compound. Not willing to risk rising the dragon, the group decided that Boomah and Kallius would fly in invisibly and try to rescue the creature. So the group moved up within roughly half a mile of the mine, and prepared the assualt. Under cover of darkness, Celeste summoned two air elementals to carry the magus and the goblin closer to the mine, to preserve their spells until they would be needed.

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