With Hendrick Zin in place within the Legion of Aqium stationed in Zatha, Corvus Septum made their way back to the Nightingale to continue with the quest from Captain Cimris regarding looting the long lost treasure of Kaithor Blacksail.
The heroes followed the trail left by the Tempest Swam landing party. Ropes were still in place where they had to climb up steep, rocky cliffs, until they reached the outsides of a set of ruins, on a high ledge. Carefully, they pulled the door open and saw the first room.
Here they found the remains of the 3-man party sent by the captain. Their bodies were gaunt and shriveled and were crawling towards a fountain of water set in the corner. The fountain is just a trickle now, but flows with clear, clean water. Brenna casts detect magic and discovers faint alteration magic on it. Ethne does a psychic reading on the area and learned that no one has disturbed this scene in the last 24 hours.
Corvus pushed on to the next room. A large chamber, shrouded in darkness. A single beam of light, emanating from the center of the ceiling, swirls around the room in a clockwise manner. Evaine and Ethen both reminded everyone about the Stay in the Light foreshadowing they’ve heard.
Taking a deep breath, the heroes lept into the light as it made it’s way toward their door. Shadows swiped at those on the edge of the darkness as the light started to make it’s way around the room. Each hit dealt necrotic damage and sapped the strength of those struck.
Then the Grey Thirster attacked.
It drained the heroes of all liquids and dried them out, as well as dealing necrotic damage. Corvus stumbled through the room and discovered a door on the opposite wall from the one they entered.
Brenna saw that it took two keys to open, one onyx and one ivory. They didn’t know for sure but when the light reached the three-quarters mark in the room, they found the onyx key on a table covered with white scarabs. Ethne carefully snatched the key from the table.
When the light reached it’s starting point, Ethne passed the key on to Brenna and ducked out to drink from the fountain as she was already suffering from loss of strength, exhaustion, and dehydration. At the quarter mark, Brenna grabbed the Ivory key from a similar table covered with black scarabs. Back in the first room, Ethne drank from the fountain, but quickly spat it out when he tasted faint traces of poison. Evaine tied up the Grey Thirster with her own shadows, and it kept him preoccupied for much of the fight.
Soon, the light came back to the door with the keys and Brenna turned both at the same time and leapt into the treasure room that was bathed in bright, angelic light. The door slammed shut behind her, leaving Evaine and Waverly in the room with the shadows. Brenna gathered up all the treasure she could carry and reluctantly flipped the lever she found in there.
This opened the beam of light up to shine across the entire room, pushing the shadows to the far corners. Once the Grey Thirster was dealt with, Corvus Septum walked out with all the treasure the found.
Back aboard the Nightingale, Captain Cimris is saddened to hear of the loss of his crewmates, but delighted to see that the flintlock of Ao’s Glory is in his possession. Waverly suggested that the kids be taken to her people in the nearby Ashilwynn Forest.
Shortly after this, everyone received notifications about their next assignment from Chancellor Gavin. He says that the Legion of Aqium took the coastal city of Zatha to act as a staging area for a much larger operation. An attack on the capital of the Alimlar Domain, the city of Anavio. Warships are already sailing up the Cobalt River towards Anavio while a much larger force approaches from the east along the Previn River.
Chancellor Gavin orders you to enter the city and speak with Queen Seera and offer what aid you can to help defend her city. He also mentions a clan of lizardfolk in the nearby Dreq Marsh that could be of use. Your local contact, Hendrick Zin, will meet you at the docks tomorrow night with a way to get in to the battlefield without arising suspicion.
Zin’s plan is for you to gain passage on one of the many transport ships sailing north on the Cobalt River with supplies for the siege. Its final destination is the town of Hopewell Port where supplies will be taken off and transported to the battlefield. Before leaving, he suggests to Brenna that she should act like she is in charge to get the other laborers to follow her and lessen suspicion.
Brenna barks out orders the laborers to load the ship and prepare to leave and they shrug their shoulders and get to work. During the first of the three day travel up the Cobalt River, it is learned that most of the workers are from the former Dolaneg Kingdom. They say that the pay is fine, but mostly they do this out of fear.
On the second day, a large red dragon with rider is seen flying overhead towards Anavio. No doubt a part of the Legion of Aqium.
On the third day, Brenna is approached by a worker named Rade who nervously told her that he has seen another worker by the name of Jarell, snooping around the supplies and tampering with equipment. Brenna spoke to the rest of Corvus Septum about this and the idea of another agent working here, or perhaps a rival faction at play. Brenna brought in Jarell for questioning and he told her that he stole Rade’s wife from him years ago and Rade has always been trying to get back at him.
Brenna nodded and declared that the two should fight it out on the deck of the ship. The other workers gathered around and wagers were made while to two settled it like old-fashion men.
Jarell, losing slightly on the scorecards, delivered a knock-out blow in the 5th round to win. Both fighters were patched up after the fight. Soon after, the convoy of ships arrived in Hopewell Port.
This tiny shipping station is located in the southern and drier portion of the Dreq Swamp, and it is now 100% under Aqium control. Three large hill giants wade out to the water and assist getting the goods and supplies on shore. A handful of lizardfolk can be seen quietly watching from a distance.
Brenna orders the workers to empty the boat and rest up in the warehouse after they are done while they remain behind in their quarters. Once it is dark out, they slip out. The lizardfolk are gone but they decide to try and find them after resting for the night
Early he next day they run into the lizardfolk and Evaine was pleased that she studied the limited amount of lizardfolk language she learned prior to this mission. Corvus assured them that they were friends and they were taken to meet their leader, Chief Shuuth. As they enter camp, they see a captured Aqium solider about to be roasted on a spit.
Evaine explains that Queen Seera needs help in the upcoming battle. Shuuth agrees if they help him. He wants to be friend with Aventilar. Evaine doesn’t know who or what this is until he provides a drawing.
Shuuth explains how he has a herd of cattle and coins to give to the black dragon as an offering of peace, saying that when Shuuth is friends with Aventilar, then Shuuth help you.
Corvus headed off in the directions given by the lizardfolk in search of the black dragon. Traversing the Dreq Swamp got tougher, and the water turned foul as a light fog swept in, obscuring vision. From overhead, a loud flapping sound is heard and seconds later Aventilar slammed to the ground right in front of them.
The heroes explained the offer from Chief Shuuth and handed over the cattle and coin as part of the deal. But Aventilar wanted more. It wasn’t until Waverly handed over some recently acquired items did she agree to this partnership.
The group headed back to Chief Shuuth and told them the deal has been made. Shuuth told them he will prepare his lizardfolk for the battle before the heroes headed for Anavio.
Waverly knew of a way slip into the city, through the old dragon egg hatchery caves nearby. Inside this cave they saw a magically sealed door that they would return to later. On the opposite direction was a narrow tunnel with flickering light and muffled conversation coming from it. Corvus snuck into the room and saw a Legion of Aqium strike team that included not only two minotaurs, but a familiar face, the martial arts expert Senrith A’Daris.
But before Corvus could react, Senrith slipped through a secret door and into the city by himself. The heroes made short work of the Aqium soldiers and found a fair amount of alchemist fire they were trying to sneak in. Once past the now magically secret door, they group made its way to the throne room.
Queen Seera was instead in the war room with her most trusted advisors, preparing for the battle. The dragonborn leader of the Alimlar Domain made a beeline for Waverly. Smiling and shaking her hand, Queen Seera spoke very well of the elven rogue:
This brave person turned in her sister when it was discovered that Wynonna and the Light of Sun and Moon plotted against me to restore Vicrik to the throne. The rest of you can all take note, this is what bravery and dedication looks like.
Waverly blushed while Ethne and Evaine glanced at each other. The Queen was thankful for Corvus showing up and gave the heroes three quests:
Supply Lines – There is a hub outside of Hopewell Port that redirects supplies to their destinations in or around the Aqium encampment. Perhaps you could disrupt that somehow.
Swamp Meeting – It is time we reached out to Chief Shuuth in the Dreq Marsh, maybe he and the lizardfolk could tip the balance of this attack in our favor.
Side Mission – Desperate times call for desperate measures. There is an item in the old hatchery that could very well help us. I will give you a key to open the magical barrier leading into the caves. You will need your wits about you for this, since none of us have been able to solve the puzzle.
Queen Seera was very impressed that Corvus Septum had already met with and negotiated with the lizardfolk, since they are normally not trustworthy. Then the group headed back to the dragon hatchery caves.
Thanks to the help from the queen, the group unlocked the arcane sealed door and continue into a large cavern. On a pedestal located prominently in the center of this entryway, is a statue of a half-elf with a captain’s hat. The sign under it read: Captain Ravenclaw of the Righteous – First Liberator of the dragonborn
In the far end of the room the group could see movement from different area and soon they were set upon by cave goblins. During the fight Brenna reached a high ledge to deal with two cave goblin archers and while up there she found a tripwire on the south end. Not a trap, but rather a noise making to alert someone. They cave goblin king tried to make a run for it to alert the rest of the caves of the intruders, but Evaine just had enough line-of-sight to take him down.
Corvus decided to investigate the area warded off by the noise-making tripwire. In this final chamber they found a pool of acid centered in the cavern. The walls were covered with etchings of green glowing mystic runes. In the far corner of the room the runes begin to move, but actually it is an ettin covered in the same green runes, who charges to attack.
The ettin seemed invulnerable to damage as they battle raged on, but the group could notice patterns in the runes. While they fended themselves from the giant’s attacks they were able to solve the puzzle and negate the runes, killing the ettin guardian in the process. Also, the pool of acid turned to water clear enough to see a staff at the bottom of the pool.
Corvus pulled it out and had in their possession the Staff of Dragons, which allows the wielder the ability to speak with dragons in sight and bestows the persuasive bonus to the wielder.
The group caught their breath and prepared to deal with the supply line issue.
The battle continues in Battle of Anavio, Part 2.