- Return to the Hall
- Run-in with Serena
- Arioch gets testy with a priest
- Sabin looks for intel and gets into trouble
- Narata goes nuts on some tieflings (and the mages are back)
- Reeyith gets uncursed
- A plan (of sorts) for the skull is devised
- Cavern rumble (more tieflings)
As the party made their way to the 7 Pillar Hall (with Malagar’s location unknown and Sabin having gone ahead to keep a low profile) they noticed a dead woman’s body on the ground near the hidden exit of the duergar trading post. The group had the rescued slaves go ahead, having given clear instructions to only tell Markelhay and Stockmer the true story of their rescue, and they provided the funds to hire transport back to their respective homes (Fallcrest and Riverdown in Harkenwold).
Arioch studied the dead woman’s body and found fang bite marks on her neck. The party agreed that he should decapitate her to ensure she would not rise again as a vampire. Arioch did the deed and then sewed the head on again so as to not make the decapitation overly obvious. The party also discussed the idea of creating one or more fake skulls. They snuck back into the duergar trading post and Arioch again used his skills, this time to skin the and clean the skull of one of the dead duergar.
Upon finally returning to the hall many eyes were on the party. Lia noticed Serena ascending the steps to an alehouse and the motioned for the group to meet her. Lia suggested they speak inside without so many eyes and ears on them. They told Serena that the duergar of the Horned Hold were dead for their sin of being slavers. Serena was very glad and asked that the group join her in her holy war to rid Thunderspire of all of the evils ones, including any other duergar and all Drow. The group suggested that should Serena’s goals coincide with theirs, perhaps they could work together, but they did not commit to anything.
After leaving, the group came across a priest named Father Miles, and a man loading bodies onto a cart. Arioch spoke to the man to ask what was happening, how the people had died, and what was being done with the bodies. The priest tried to hide the bodies from view and deflect Arioch’s questions, but Arioch persisted, offering to help. He ignored the priest and went to “help”, knocking over the man collecting the bodies and getting a good look at more bite marks on necks.
Arioch eventually walked on and Reeyith came up to speak to the priest to find out if he could assist in removing the cursed armor. The priest said he could and agreed to meet in an hour to perform the ritual.
The group continued on as Malagar and Sabin each separated watched in secret. Sabin decided to ask some people why they were paying so much attention to the heros, and kept getting the cold shoulder. A man he was trying to intimidate into talking called over a guard and in order to try to get the guard to go away told him about “bandits” who he had supposedly seen in the passages southeast of the Hall. Sabin was unsuccessful in getting the man to talk, and as he was going to try another person the guard came back with others. They hadn’t found any bandits but they did find a dead body and wanted to ask Sabin some questions. Noting Sabin’s trouble, Arioch screamed out that he saw a “giant bat-shaped man”, and Lia cast pyrotechnics to illuminate the cavern ceilings and provide additional distraction. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough for Sabin to get away.
Lia, Reeyith, and Arioch followed the guards and Sabin to the jail and explained the situation to Brug. Brug was very unhappy to hear that they knew about the vampires, but they promised that they would keep quiet and not get him in trouble with the mages. Brug agreed to let Sabin go.
The party continued on to the Deep Gem Mining Co and asked the owner about mining operations. The group recalled the gods’ message of the Sun Sword, that miners were looking for it. They found out that the operations were going on the direction of the Horned Hold, and that the owner’s dire boar Veronica was still missing. He said Veronica is striped and has a harness. A reward would be in order for whomever returned her.
As the group walked around in the direction of Gindar’s trading post, they noticed some conspicuous tieflings eying them. They continued walking around, eventually stopping just around the corner of a building. When the tieflings followed around the corner Arioch and Reeyith stepped up to them, demanding they explain why they were following. The tieflings lied saying they weren’t following at all, and went on their way.
A minute later as the group had found Traevus and were trading some items with him, they heard a large commotion. Narata had seen two of the tieflings and was attacking ferociously. Guards and a bronze warden came to try to break up the fight, but Narata would not be separated by the tieflings. He killed one tiefling and the guards started to surround him. They were eventually able to subdue him when the mages appeared in the hall ready to turn him to dust, but not before all three tieflings had been killed, at which point Narata gave himself up.
Someone in the party found a message with a map about getting the barbarian, suggesting that the tieflings were trying to recapture Narata. After Reeyith had finally gone and gotten his cursed armor uncursed, the group went to Gindar’s. They sold him the skull scepter and then came up with a plan to put the skull box inside of a lock-box inside another lock-box. They also got an almost-matching box for the fake skull which they decorated with various oils and colored markings. Lia kept one key, Reeyith another, Malagar the real box, and Arioch the fake box.
After they’d all had a chance to get some rest and somehow Narata was freed. The group followed the map and came across a small cavern with a large boulder blocking the entrance. Narata jumped up and engaged with the tieflings while Lia teleported the others up on top of the rock and the battle was joined. There were 2 tieflings and a bronze warden. Eventually all 3 were put down and the group was able to rest and plan their next steps.