Here Be Dragons

Encounter with Demons & Aspects in the Twilight

We find ourselves in the world of shadows. Before us the old man (Bahamut) stands with staff raised at Indomitable. the scene appears frozen in time, just as we remembered it.

Soon more dragons appear, Insidious and Maleficent leading them. Maleficent declares the age of the dragons is nigh! We find ourselves surrounded by dragons.

The Aspects of Hope and Justice appear and battle the ancient dragons, leaving the lesser dragons to us. Chinicum and Cid transform the red dragon into a frog and then an ant and dispatch the blue dragon. We surround the red dragon and it falls in a matter of moments with Cid landing the final blow.

Insidious and Maleficent threaten the aspects, then fly away.

Flint asks the Aspects of Hope and Justice if we are to help return them to the world of light. Justice informs us that two paths branch before us, and not to choose hastily.

Hope tells us we must stop Sultana if we wish to save the elves.

The Aspects tell us about the rift in the sky by which the dragons (so far just the onyx dragon) are escaping the shadow world.

The near-collapse of Bahamut’s spell seems to create a noticeable effect on some of the creatures here. We can see hundreds of bright yellow eyes emanating from the surrounding buildings, eyes locked on the forms of the old man and Indomitable.

From two side streets, we can see several demonic forms approaching. Two enormous Balor, red demons wielding a sword and whip set aflame.

The Aspects of Hope and Justice stride forward to battle with the Balor, but several smaller demons continue to advance towards the old man. We commence battle with a Yochlol and a Gabrezu.

As we battled these demons the fight between Bahamut and Indomitable speeds up, and it is clear Bahamut is losing.

As the Aspects of Hope and Justice finish off the Balor, they quickly move to aid Bahamut. With the three of them working together, Indomitable makes one last peevish snap of his jaws, and then flies off into the twilight sky.

Bahamut informs us that some of us have information that others in the group need and that we must work together. Then we wake up.

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Adventurers Reunited in Surria!

Standing near the entrance of this large hallway, Kurshk, Cid, Flint, Mialee and Pensiar (assisted by three giant spiders conjured by Cid) engage in battle with the assassins and cultists, and kill them all. We enter further and see that it opens into many rooms on all sides. Interesting!

Kurshk takes the lead and heads deep into the central hall, peering into rooms. Suddenly a huge Horned Devil appears directly in front of Kurshk, and attacks!

We engage in battle again. A huge Dao appears and joins forces with the Horned Devil. He demonstrates his enormous powers and we struggle against them both. Kurshk, thoroughly enjoying the flow of the battle, is greatly wounded again and again. Mialee repeatedly heals him. Just as we hope we can prevail against such monsters, a horde of Scouts burst into the room. Flint’s powerful volley of arrows wounds eight of them, but they and dozens more continue to advance.

Sparklegem bursts in! “Cavalries comin’, hold on!” she cries. And then, Lydia bursts in followed by Chinicum, who disperses the horde of scouts with powerful magic. Wellby appears on the scene as well. The tide of the battle turns, and with continued heroic effort, we defeat the enemy.

We are bursting with curiosity about our cohorts’ adventures since we were separated, and Kurshk takes the opportunity to punch Chinicum for turning him into a toad to keep him from killing Lamentation. That score settled, we decide we’d best use our time searching for evidence about Lady Katrina’s connection to the cult, and postpone catching up with each other until later.

Flint, on a hunch, uses a Locate Object divination to find out if there is a General Lamentation communicator device nearby. Bingo! There is one in the easternmost room. Flint leaves it there to allay suspicion. We now are certain of Lady Katrina’s involvement with the Cult.

Mialee calls out; she has found some letters in another room. Flint opens the letters and reads the contents. The five letters are:

1. from Lord Jerrod, a trading of information with Lady Katrina.
2. from Ander Helder, a member of the Sons of Surria, pledging support.
3. from Lady Brightwood, containing no incriminating information.
4. from Cefrey Stormwind, another member of the Son of Surria, a report on the organization.
5. from Bareris, who wishes Lady Katrina to know that she has a friend on the “Cabal.”

Wellby comments wryly, “Apparently there are more cult spies in the Sons than there are actual members.” None of us know what the “Cabal” is.

Flint suddenly feels his skin crawling and shouts out that something is coming. Lady Katrina is heard approaching! “Who killed all of these people? Whoever did this couldn’t have gotten far!” We narrowly escape the palace through the side entrance, hampered by a very recalcitrant Kurshk.

Lydia will be missed if she does not return to the party, so she makes herself invisible and leaps over the wall back into the garden of the palace, to mingle with guests. The rest of us make our way back to the President and the Pig to sober up Kurshk with some paradoxical ale, and to spend the night. No sooner do we go to sleep but we find ourselves back in the now-familiar, dark landscape …

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Close to contact with allies ...

We engage in battle with the enemy spies, veterans and scouts, and dispatch them all, then continue toward Kazan. Noticing that some of us are thirsty, we decide to stop in a tavern in a small town. We drink and discreetly make conversation, trying to glean useful information.

The bartender offers little information except for his admiration of the White Tower in Kazan, the “grand jewel” of Surrian architecture. The Surrian whisky is EXTREMELY strong, and although Flint puts down his glass after a couple of swallows, he is several sheets to the wind. Back on the road, he asks Mialee to heal him so that he can function. Mialee disapprovingly grants his request. Kurshk seems unimpaired, perhaps because he is naturally always a bit out of control .

Later we encounter some bandits harassing commoners and taking illegal “tolls” for passing on the trail. Kurshk and Cid face down the bandits and intimidate them into returning the commoners’ gold.

We enter Kazan, receive directions to the Pig and the President, and are immediately accosted by assassins. In painful battle we manage to foil their attack, but draw a great deal of attention to ourselves with our use of magic. Onlookers are particularly awed by the spectacle of Cid as a giant rock, crushing assassins and disappearing.

We finally reach the Pig and the President and relax and enjoy ourselves. Flint stays clear of the hooch and chats with Pensiar, then engages the barkeep in conversation. We learn that two short people (by their descriptions presumably Wellby and Sparkle) are staying at the inn and should be returning soon. And, on cue, a commoner walks in to the bar looking for Kurshk, with a message from Wellby. Wellby and Sparkle are delayed and the commoner does not know where they are, only that he was to keep an eye out for us in case they didn’t return in time to greet us.

We obtain a private room and talk to the commoner, who identifies himself as a member of the Sons of Surria. He tells us that Wellby and Sparkle’s next plan was to try to attend a gala this night, to be held at the palace of Lady Katrina who is a suspected cult member. He suggests that we might want to find a way to hang around near the party, or even find a way in.

We go to the palace and observe. A flash of pink catches our attention as a guest enters the main entrance. Was that Sparkle? A couple of assassins we think we recognize from the street attack enter the side entrance, admitted by a guard. Cid charms the guard into letting us enter the side entrance.

Inside the palace, we can hear a lovely voice singing, and a male voice singing counterpart. But wait! Do Flint’s ears deceive him? Or, could that possibly be the missing Lydia, whose voice we know so well?

Brashly, we push into a side room, where several cultists, jump to their feet and draw their weapons!

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Into Surria

In the morning, Jasnah calls Cid, Flint, Kurshk, Yevelda, Pensiar, Althaea, Mialee and Zasheir together to discuss plans. No one knows where Lydia and Chinicum have gone and we are unable to reconstruct their last movements. Will we ever see them again? We must carry on.

Jasnah tells us a civil war has broken out amongst the elves, seeded by our attempt to expose Thia. Alarmingly, the neighboring nation of Surria is actively inflaming the elvish civil war, sending agents into the Elvish forests.

Jasnah tells us Sparklegem and Wellby are undercover in Surria and have sent reports that the Cult of the Dragon is active there. Sparklegem and Wellby have joined forces with a group called The Sons of Surria, whose aim is to root out the Cult. Jasnah thinks a small group of us should go to Surria to interfere with the Cult’s plans.

Flint, Cid and Kurshk decide to go. We choose to take Pensiar and Mialee with us, turning down Zasheir’s offer. We are given papers to cross the border on our side but are told we will have to figure out a way to get past the guards on the Surrian side. After that we are to head to the town of Kazan and check into the tavern “The President and the Pig,” where Wellby will find us.

Before we leave, there is Lamentation to deal with. Detestable as he is, Pensiar states he represents her best chance to get home, and reminds us that he knows EVERYTHING about our enemy, which would be quite a bit of information to throw away. So we decide to let him live, at least for now, and we have him brought to us for questioning.

Lamentation is more than happy to give us information. He explains to us what Sultana wants with the elves. Sultana seeks to bring the dragons back in full. Apparently the dragons and the immortal races have been banished to some twilight world, which Sultana visits in her dreams. (Is this the very twilight world that we visit in our dreams?) The elves, being an immortal race, are still in the midst of being “transitioned” to this other world, which is drawing them in. Althaea confirms that the elves are slowly disappearing. Lamentation tells us that Sultana believes that after the elves are gone from this world, she can break the barrier and let the dragons out, so she is trying to hurry the process… by killing them all.

Although Kurshk would still like very much to smash Lamentation to a pulp, Cid and Flint concur that Lamentation may continue to be useful in the future, and we decide to keep him alive. But we draw the line at Lamentation’s offer to go with us to Surria, and instead have him locked up until we return.

We are teleported to Clearview, the town nearest the Surrian border. At a tavern, over hard cider, Cid devises a brilliant plan. We will tell the Surrian guards we are Surrian spies that have been in this country for several years, which will explain our accents and lack of documentation. If this ruse fails, we will retreat and Cid will turn himself into a crocodile and ferry us across the border river on his back.

The scheme works like a charm. Flint masterfully convinces the guards that he is overjoyed to be back in Surria, making fun of the foolish officials in the other country. When the guards still reluctantly require proof, Flint “understands” completely, and pretends to ponder how to prove himself. Fortunately, he is given an opportunity by the guard, who says, “Perhaps you could describe your signet ring? The one you had to discard?” The only signet ring Flint has seen recently belongs to Lydia, so he describes it. “It was blue, lapis. A rune on it. Thick, gold…”

At this, the guard exclaims, “Oh my… I am TERRIBLY sorry for delaying you, my lords. Please pass through!” .. … (“Lords?” What just happened!? What is Lydia doing with such a ring?)

But there is little time for speculation. We hurry past the guards and head toward Kazan. We keep a low profile, sleeping at night by the side of the road, stopping occasionally at taverns to quench Flint’s thirst for information and Kurshk’s thirst for ale. It will take many days of travel, mostly by foot, to reach Kazan. Days on the road are passing swiftly and uneventfully until one day, ever on the alert, we perceive an ambush ahead!

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Lamentation Revealed!

As the Young Red Dragon enters the room, we continue to battle the cultists and the Dragon. We defeat all the cultists, and Chinny successfully turns the dragon into a toad, which Cid attacks, and even though he resumes his dragon form, we successfully defeat him.

The final door breaks as a swarm of cultists trip over themselves trying to reach us. We hear an influx of wind, and the tear rips open in front of Arjhan.

Yevelda is the first through the breach, charging at the cultists with a snarl. Her clansmen follow through, screaming their battlecries. Mialee follows shortly after, serenely heading over to tend to our wounds. A large force of Baldur’s Gate soldiers follow on her heels to join the fight. The battle trends out into the hallway, with us following, as the fight progresses. The fighting has pushed to the sanctuary, where the cultists are desperately trying to hold off the invading force. Both forces are committed, and their lines are thin. We rush off with Althaea to help her kill Lamentation.

The hallway is empty, the entire protective unit having engaged in the melee behind us. A large door lies at the end of the corridor, and we can see Althaea swing it open and charge through. As we enter, we can see Althaea has stopped in her tracks, looking around in confusion. The room seems built for a wizard, with books and potions. A large orb with a sun emblazoned on it stands prominently off to the side. The only other occupant is a small, deformed Tiefling huddled against the wall, trying to get away from the raving werewolf in the room. His head is too large for his body, with a brute’s squashed-in face beneath a swollen shelf of brow. One green eye and one black one peer out from under a lank of hair so blonde it seems white.

It is Leucis, and he squeaks out “Werewolf! Werewolf!”

Arjhan hangs back, looking around carefully, his eyes narrowed, before addressing the Tiefling, saying “I believe this is the idiot we’ve been seeking. Our friend, L…”

Arjhan’s voice cuts off with an undignified roar as a dagger erupts from his chest, soaked in his blood. Arjhan stares down at the blade in shock. Behind Arjhan stands Feldor, his hood pulled back to reveal his cragged, bearded face. Feldor yanks the dagger out of Arjhan’s back. Arjhan’s lifeless form collapses to the ground, green dragonborn blood spreading from his chest. Feldor’s invisibility spell fades and we realize we are sharing the room with two more young dragons, one red and one green. Both of them have large veins of shadow throbbing up and down their bodies.

Feldor says, “Such marvelous creatures, dragons. Sultana has displayed her brilliance in resurrecting a few of these extinct creatures. I think it is quite fitting that they be the last thing you see. Your interference has grown tiresome.”

We battle Feldor and the dragons. After a long, fierce, protracted fight, we slay Feldor and both dragons. Flint asks Leucis where Lamentation is. Leucis says that he ran, but Flint is suspicious.

Chinny and Flint begin to whisper that perhaps Leucis is Lamentation, and a furry form pushes past us: Althaea, in full werewolf mode. We hear Leucis let out a yelp as Althaea lifts him by the neck in one gigantic paw.

Althaea says “This? This is the runt that killed my daughter and took my eye? That vanished half the light of my world in an instant?”

Leucis cries that he is sorry and is defecting to our side. Althaea regains control of her emotions and her werehair recedes while Flint wonders if there is any possible good in letting Lamentation defect. Leucis pleads pitifully with us to let him live and to help us.

Kurshk advances on Leucis, determined to kill him now, but we all leap to stop him as Lydia proposes we use him and THEN kill him. Chinny ends the discussion by transforming Kurshk into a toad. Lydia picks him up and stores him safely in a little bag until he transforms back into himself.

Leucis says he has been held here against his will, that Sultana knew he would run if he had the chance. He says that he is in love with Sultana, but knows what we have to do. He has led us to him in the hopes that we will help him escape. But he seems conflicted. He tells us he knows the spell that pulled Pensiar to our world,

We take Leucis with us back to Baldur’s Gate without revealing his identity. There is a big celebration over the defeat of the Cult, despite the loss of Arjhan. After a night of celebrating the group wakes up to find that Lydia and Chinny have disappeared. And Kurshk is no longer a toad. Leucis is in chains in the room with Flint and Cid.

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Battling for Time

We successfully battle the remaining guards in the teleportation room and finally have it all to ourselves! Using the communicator, we immediately contact Zasheir to prepare the troops for transport, and Arjhan begins the ritual to cast a spell to open the portal.

We are not left alone for long. A succession of enemies enters the chamber from different directions, and we find ourselves battling waves of Dragonclaw, Assassins, Cultists and Scouts. Arjhan works as quickly as he can to open the portal as we fend off the enemy, using all our resources. The alternate Pensiar proves to be very adept in melee battle. Cid and Flint summon spiders and wasps to aid us. Lydia discovers a love of Firebolts. Chini, Kurshk and Althaea battle bravely as well, and we are succeeding in holding off the enemy. We can see the portal is almost open and we can hear the clamor of ravening orcs, waiting to teleport to our assistance. Clearly Yevelda has proven to be a valuable ally!

Suddenly, a roar shakes the entire cavern. A large young dragon is being slowly led into the room by wary handlers. It looks like we now have our work cut out for us!

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An Alternate Universe

We go to the mess hall to eavesdrop and try to find information about where Leucis might be. Flint begins a conversation with a cultist, casually asking about some of the people he says he used to know, and dropping Leucis’ name. The cultist, who has been there two years, doesn’t recognize the names. Flint makes an excuse to get up and move away when the communicator starts buzzing in his pocket. Lydia engages some women in conversation, to no avail.

Flint goes to the outhouse just in time to get a spoken message from Leucis, who tells Flint he is in the Serpent Hills, in an underground base. He is shocked to learn we are inside the compound as well. Leucis explains that he is a prisoner and also a servant of Lamentation. He can sometimes hear chanting when the door to his room is opened, but he has no idea where he is within the compound. He only sees Lamentation and his guards.

Flint grills him and learns that a crate of food is delivered every week, that Leucis prepares Lamentation’s meals, and that he believes he could put poison or drugs into the food if we are able to smuggle it in to him.

Arjhan tells us that the sanctuary is where chanting would be heard. As we discuss ways to impersonate the guards and enter the prison room, a cultist passes by and passes a message to Flint. It is from Pensiar, and includes a token which she instructs Flint to use to bypass the guards in the armory.

We go to the armory, and are waved through when the guards see the token. Inside, we approach an open door and we are waved in by a blond woman.

The woman explains that she is not Pensiar, but that she comes from an alternate world much like ours. She is who Pensiar would have been had she been born in this other world. She knows Flint’s counterpart in this other world as well. She explains that a couple of weeks ago she was ripped from her reality and found herself in ours, face to face with a half dragon named Sultana Pyre. Sultana is fascinated by her world, and has pulled several people here. When she does this, she has to send the alternate to the other world – which is where the real Pensiar is now.

She states: ‘Since coming here I have been scouring your history, trying to determine the extent of the differences. I believe I have found the root event that distinguishes our worlds.

“Several centuries ago, in my world, the Cult of the Dragon existed as well. Sultana Pyre lived then, too, though she was a minor player in the ranks of the Cult, rather than its leader.

“Then, as now, the Cult was seeking dragon eggs, and occasionally attacked villages that were reported to have them. She personally led the attack on a small outlying village.

“Four champions were staying in the village. Wolfwyn. Hadlock. Lathlaeril. Alleyn. They challenged Sultana Pyre to combat, and were obliterated. The Cult proceeded with its plan, which was the resurrection of the Dragon Goddess Tiamat. They were successful. Tiamat reigns supreme over my world. It is a bleak, dangerous land, and we survive as best we can.

“But in your world, the champions survived. They challenged Sultana Pyre to combat. Sultana won, and left them for dead. These champions recovered, and led the assault against the Cult, ultimately preventing their plan to resurrect Tiamat.

‘When I was brought here, I was offered a bargain. Answer Sultana’s questions. Serve the Cult faithfully. And then Sultana would return me to my world. That of course was not enough to earn my obedience, so Sultana made one more concession. Tiamat’s secret.

‘I must return to my world, Flint. I must. I know how to banish Tiamat. I know how to save my world.

‘“I trust you more than I ever would Sultana. And you have a vested interest in returning me to my world, so that you can see your fiancee again. I will fight for you.

‘In my world, there are no elves: they’ve been wiped out. But there are…lots and lots of dragons. And this should explain to you why Sultana Pyre is such a dangerous foe…She KNOWS that it is her fault. If she had been more careful, dragons would still soar above the skies.

‘She is alone. No dragons to call kin. Only her half elvish blood keeping her locked in this world instead of passing on to wherever the dragons are now. She blames herself. She would do anything. ANYTHING, to fix this. She is the most dangerous foe you are likely to ever face.

The difference between our worlds lies in Sultana’s actions. In yours, she left those 4 champions for dead. In mine, she made sure of it.

She is fascinated by my world because it gives her a glimpse of what could have been.
She sees what the world would have been if she had killed the four champions.
I believe the elves are tied to this. In my world, they are gone.’

After explaining all this, Pensiar asks how she can help.

Flint explains that we are here to kill general Lamentation, saying “We had thought to use the portal to bring in a small army to kill Lamentation … but it is well guarded. We have a possible ally who works as a servant for Lamentation on the inside, and thought to smuggle him herbs to knock out Lamentation. We are still trying to develop a plan…’

Pensiar tells us that she will help us achieve our goal of killing Lamentation, and wants Flint to figure out how to get back to her own world. She was transported to the village of Oakshield a couple of weeks ago, at the same moment the Pensiar of our world was transported to the other world.

Pensiar states the first stage is to clear the summoning room of some of the Cultists. She can get 5-10 guards to go thru the portal with her, but doesn’t feel that would be enough.

After some discussion it is decided to poison the drinking water of the guards with berbolo bush root, which will only kill evil creatures, and which Flint has in his possession. Pensiar leads them into the kitchen and Flint surreptitiously adds the tasteless herb to the food and vats of ale.

We go to the teleportation room, where groups of guards take turns going to the mess hall. Those just returning begin to look ill and fall over. Soon most of the groups have fallen ill, and we prepare to attack them.

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Amongst enemies ... and allies ?

We decide to fight our way through the chamber. Because we have the advantage of surprise, we kill the ghouls, ghasts and wights easily in battle, and continue on through the caves.

The communication device that Flint is carrying in his pocket suddenly sputters to life. It is Zasheir, reporting that the 3D mapping is online, and that the device has the capability of making the sender appear in whatever form they wish. The implication is that Lamentation may not be the red-haired, strapping, horned, beet-red Tiefling that he appears to be.

We start again through the caves, only to stop short when we hear a hissing voice ahead. It is a half-snake, half human Yuan-Ti, an indigenous serpent, who is searching for cultists to kill. Cid casts a Pass Without Trace spell, and we manage to sneak past him. After a long trek through the caves, we encounter two cultists who step directly into our path. Arjhan quickly prevents Kurshk and Flint from foolishly pushing past the cultists. “Twilight falls on the world of men,” states a cultist. “For the Dragons are coming,” replies Arjhan. Arjhan affirms the cultists’ assumption that we have indeed been undercover for a long time, and thanks them for using an old password in deference to our outdated cult robes. Arjhan leads us boldly past them.

We pause and study the 3D plans again. Arjhan points out the three areas that were off-limits last time he was here – the teleportation circle off the gathering hall, another area off the sanctuary, and another area off the armory. Arjhan believes Lamentation is likely in one of the latter two areas. While we are discussing this, Arjhan suddenly says, “Feldor is here!” and ducks down a hallway to hide. The rest of us pull our hoods closely over our faces and look innocent, hoping the mage from whom we stole the communication device does not recognize us. Although Feldor looks at us curiously in passing, he does not recognize us.

As we continue toward the teleportation circle, we see a blonde woman in plate armor with several cultists in tow, marching toward the armory. Flint stares at the receding figure in recognition and freezes. Lydia notices Flint’s shock, and quickly hums an effective, calming melody. Arjhan at this moment rejoins us from another direction, and Flint, who has recovered his poise, leads us to the entrance to the teleportation room, where a couple of cultists are standing. The cultists greet us, and following Arjhan’s lead we confidently walk past them into the room.

In this room there are at least 30 cultists, some simply hanging out, others keeping guard. Apparently our naïve plan to kill the guards and summon our forces will need rethinking. We talk quietly among ourselves, remaining inconspicuous. Can we spoof a message from Lamentation to clear the room? As we discuss this, the blonde woman in plate armor bursts into the room with several cultists in tow. Flint stops in mid-sentence. He watches the woman, her aura of command unfamiliar but her features identical to his missing fiancée, Pensiar. Flint’s face turns to stony mask and he pulls his hood tighter to remain hidden. But the woman abruptly walks straight up to him and pulls back his hood. She gasps, but recovers quickly. Lydia puts her hand to her rapier in readiness.

“Are you a new recruit? I don’t know you,” the woman says. Flint whispers, “Pensiar, what are you doing?” He states, more loudly, “Yes. We are new recruits.” She says, “Do you think you know me, recruit?” Flint quickly replies, “My mistake. I believe we are assigned to your command.” The woman replies she needs no new recruits for her mission, then pauses as if considering new plans. “Perhaps we will speak later,” she says, and abruptly turns away to rejoin her troops. An incantation for the portal (which apparently had been intoned a full 10 minutes before) finally takes effect. The portal pops up, and Pensiar and her cultists march through. It vanishes with a small pop.

Lydia can barely contain her curiosity. “Is it her? Is she our ally? Or does she not know you?” Flint replies, with absolute certainty, “She knows me. She has not exposed me. So she is still acting autonomously.” We all quietly speculate on possible explanations for Pensiar’s behavior – if it is truly her – but can reach no conclusion. If she keeps her intention of meeting with Flint again, more will be certainly be revealed.

Arjhan finally returns us to the matter at hand. He sums things up: “Pensiar may or may not prove helpful. Feldor is going to be a problem. And we still have Leucis, who hasn’t contacted us again. We might have two allies in here, if we can figure out how to make use of them. It comes back to this room, and how to clear it out.”

We decide it might be a good idea to scout things out in the forbidden hallways, looking for Leucis.

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Infiltrating the Serpent HIlls

We continue to battle Shump and his fellow Slaad, eventually slaying all except one which Chinny turns into a toad, whom Chinny deposits in a scummy pond to live out his days. We express the wish that, in an alternate world, the victorious Shump could also be relegated to a scummy pond, rather than becoming a leader of the free world. Yevelda gratefully proclaims that her clan is forever in our debt.

Yevelda then examines and extracts a small disc-like object from the folds of Shump’s grey flabby skin. We recognize it as one of Lamentation’s communication devices. A squeaky voice speaks from the device, begging for our help when he realizes we are not part of the Cult. There is a crash, a squeak of terror, and the voice, who has identified himself as Leucis, says that he will call us if he can.

Yevelda states that the mage is waiting back at Tyrisis to portal us back to Baldur’s Gate. She will begin mobilization of her clan and meet us when she can.

We return to Tyrisis and report to Jasnah, letting her know that we managed to convince important an Elf leader of Thia’s treachery, that she is Sultana, and that he is trying to convince other clans of this fact In reward, Jasnah presents us with two sets of magical leather armor. Lydia and Flint gratefully accept the additional protection.

Mialee then announces that she and Althaea believe they have identified the nexus which Lamentation’s disc connects to, and that he is hiding there, in the Serpent Hills.

Zasheir examines the second device, the one we have found. He states that he has learned how to modify the communication devices so that we can talk with his people. We tell him about our conversation with Leucis (which is a Tiefling name), and Althaea warns us that he might be attempting to trick us. Arjhan points out that Althaea is not completely unbiased when it comes to Tieflings.

We discuss ways to infiltrate the caves within the Serpent Hills to find Lamentation. We gradually develop a plan for Zasheir to find out how to program one of the communication devices to display 3D images of the caves. Arjhan reveals that he knows of a teleportation circle deep in the compound that could possibly be subverted and used to teleport our allies in.

Althea summarizes:

“This seems straightforward.

Dress up as cultists.
Infiltrate.
Seize the portal
Get our forces in.
Kill Lamentation."

Jasnah adds that the village of Soubar, where there are possible witnesses of Flint’s fiancee, is not far off the route to the Serpent Hills.

We immediately head to Soubar, a ghost town filled with large piles of rubble and very few people. Most of the people avoid us, but Flint approaches and speaks to a man, showing him a picture of his lost fiancee. The man, Mathis, tells us that she is the commander of the soldiers who destroyed his village, with the help of kobolds. Her soldiers had slit the throat of the mayor and stolen items from his house, possibly dragon eggs. This is very puzzling to Flint, as it does not sound like the woman he remembers.

We decide to dress as cultists in the robes we have collected from slain enemies and enter the caves, with Arjhan to lead us to the base of operations. Flint magically detects several dragons inside the caves, as well as one celestial and lots of undead.

We disguise ourselves as cultists and Arjhan leads the way into the cave. After about 10 minutes he stops, and tells us that there are undead in the next room. We debate whether to fight our way through, or to try to find a way to avoid them.

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Ending the Madness

Thog was successful in deactivating our chips. We impress the crowd with our next arena battle, and Shump arranges the huge spectacle: two monstrous yetis. Chinicum convinces one of them to attack Shump while we make quick work of the other.

The crowd is chanting our names while Shump unsuccessfully attempts to disable us with the devices. It is at this moment when Yevelda reveals herself to the crowd, and convinces Shump to engage in a debate. During the debate, Shump is revealed to be an incompetent thin-skinned ignorant boorish fraudulent omnihypocritical demagogue, at which time the crowd (obviously) turns against him.

He does not accept the results, and drops the charade, revealing himself and some of his followers to be Slaad: shape-shifters. A few of his more die-hard supporters stand by him as we attempt to take him down.

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