Corvus Septum returned to the walled city of Anavio as heroes. The following day, what remained of the Legion of Aqium mounted once last attempt to take the capital city of the Alimlar Domain. Leading the way was the red dragon Krazinor, but Queen Seera was able to steer him away with the Staff of the Dragons. The rest of the Legion attacks crashed against the still standing walls of the city. Those attackers who survived fled. The city was saved.
The following day a feast was quickly thrown together in celebration of the victory. Rewards were thrown out by many important people of the successful defense.
Legate Emeka gave the group the Ring of Regeneration that looked like a tiny viper with emerald eyes. He also made mention that Corvus lacks fighters and he assigned one of his top soldiers, Rhogar, to serve with them for a year and a day.
Queen Seera gave everyone a white infusing stone and one dose of residium each so that they might use it to make an weapon, shield, or set of armor +1 for an hour.
The Queen’s Infantry and townsfolk bestowed upon the group the title of Favored Status, which gives them free food and lodging in the Alimlar Domain and allows each player to reroll a natural 1 while you remain in the domain.
Shortly after this, new orders came in from the Messenger Bottle:
A Legion of Aqium force was spotted north of your location around the mining town of Stator. There is something strange about their operation, and I’m starting to fear that the Attack on Anavio was a distraction to whatever they are up to in Stator. Get up their immediately and look into this matter.
The group spent four days traveling up into the Styth Mountains to reach the small mining town, but what they came across when they arrived was a ghost town. Finally someone emerged and quickly ducked into the Broken Dagger Inn.
The group followed and was met with stares and hushed tones. Some people, fearful from recent events, quickly left. The bartender ushered them over to a table in the corner. He told them that the Legion of Aqium came through here about two weeks ago and went straight to the mines. There they killed the guards and entered, never to be seen again. There was one exception to that, two guards returned to take all the rope from the general store in town.
The bartender was also able to warn them about very large humanoids as part of the Legion. They were 7-8-feet tall, light blue skin, and covered in tattoos. They were led by a necromancer named Bezor.
The heroes headed straight for the mines and began their investigation. They found three branches from a central hub just inside the mines. A large, well used one in the middle, and two smaller, less used branches off to the right and left of the main central one.
Down the central mine they followed a chipping sound and eventually found a miner named Vetter, that had snuck back into the mines after the Legion came through in hopes of removing as much iron ore as he could before they returned.
Down the left passageway the heroes came across an area that until recently was boarded up. Brenna flew her raven into the next chamber to see what was on the other side. While that was happening, Evaine noticed that the boards weren’t nailed up but instead they were held up with rope. Sure enough, Brenna’s raven spotted a rust monster in the next area.
Corvus returned to the central hub and went down the right passageway. Here they ran into a iron locked door. Rigel picked the lock and beyond the door was a cavern that contained an arcane sealed doorway and what looks like a former campsite. The group gathered around to decipher the arcane magics and together they were able to unseal the door. Beyond that was a ladder heading down.
The structure they were in now was ancient, predating the Stator Mines by maybe a thousand years, and perhaps part of a larger underground complex now buried under rock. At the bottom of the shaft the group found a collapse of one wall to a nearby natural cavern.
In this first cavern area, the group was able to follow the tracks of the Legion.
The first room they came across provided them with more evidence that the Legion had come through here. Three dead and rotting subterranean lizards were found here, one of them with the arm of a soldier still clutched in its jaws.
From here, the group headed south an found another former campsite of the Legion. As they began a search of the area, a miner staggered into the cavern mumbled something about prisoner and then collapsed on the floor. When he came to he introduced himself as Slen, a miner from Stator who was brought along by the Legion and put to work. He informed them that they entered a well a few chambers over and headed to the underdark from there.
The heroes had him lead them to that area and along the way the group was ambushed by roachlings.
Slen then showed them the well that was until recently, sealed shut. A sturdy rope was affixed to one side of the well, presumably used by the Legion to climb down into the next level below.
Brodus climbs down without hesitation and calls out that he sees the Door to the Underdark, covered in purple arcane runes to protect it.
Everyone else climbed down as well, thinking they could work together to open this door.
Out of the corner of someone’s else, they noticed the rope getting pulled back up. Looking up quickly they saw the miner Slen, without his disguise, who is actually the dark-elf Senrith. Whatever you do, don’t look up! he shouted before sealed you into his trap.
Sure enough, an evil creature and guardian of the Door to the Underdark, flies down from the ceiling.
After defeating the creature and before leaving this area, the group took a long rest.
Climbing back up proved to be difficult for some (Brodus, Waverly, and Rigel), they finally continue on and head back to the room where the Legion last camped. From here they wnet down another passageway and saw where someone had tunneled from the caves to a ancient temple. Standing guard on the other side of the pile of rubble were two zombies, one missing an arm, the other holding a bell.
Brodus snuck up and dispatched both of them quickly, which allowed the group to get a better look of their new location.
By studying the simple drawing on the walls the group was able to learn that the inhabitants were a tribe of humans and a dwarven clan. An elaborate ritual is depicted here showing the two races bound together in trust and mutual respect.
From here they heroes entered an old lab that belonged to a wizard who resided in this ancient temple. After suffering a little damage from on old trap on a chest, the heroes were able to recover two magic potions, a sorcerer’s spellbook, a rune of life, and some notes that would later help them with the Possessed Pillars trap later.
Hieroglyphics in this area showed the dwarves and humans with separate meetings with gnomes, halflings, and elves. Each meeting takes place in a temple in the desert and appears as though they are showing off the place to the visitors. This is the only time these other races are displayed in this temple.
The next room the group encounter what was later to be learned as the tosculi, wasp-like humanoids, all mentally connected to each other with their antenna.
The battle was rough, Rigel got dropped, Brodus suffered a tremendous attack for 40 points of damage and then got dropped the following round. Waverly saved the day with an attack from here Vampiric Blade that killed the last attacker.
Hieroglyphics here depict the humans and dwarves together working on a temple in the foothills. In the far distance, in the center of a desert, is an already completed temple that appears exactly the same as the one they are building.
Corvus retreated to the wizard’s lab for a short rest before pressing on.
Continuing on the group pressed forward through the tosuli room to another chamber. Whirling and buzzing, faint at first, was heard and before you knew it the entire chamber is filled with Tosculi, way more than the group could handle. One Tosculi drone stepped forward and spoke in a language no one could recognize.
Evaine used her skills as the Communication Officer to carry on a conversation. The Tosculi told them to leave, and take the others with you. Evaine explained that the “others” were bad people and that her group was trying to eliminate them. The tosculi drone radioed back to the hive mother who told Evaine that they ridded their home of the “others” and left immediately after, that the tosculi would help them.
Corvus Septum agreed to the deal and two of the tosculi warriors stepped forward, each carrying two shields each as apparently they would be needed in the next chamber. Evaine asked about a room the group passed up and the tosculi said it was a library and they could go investigate it before the proceeded.
The hieroglyphics in this area are probably the most confusing pictures in the temple. They show the dwarves and humans conducting last rites on what appears to be recently dead comrades. The pictures seem to indicate that it is, or was, possible to not only speak with the dead but that it was possible to bring them back from the dead. A concept that is completely foreign as you know how life and death works.
The heroes ducked into the library and had to overcome some challenges to decipher it. This is what they learned:
This is the ruins of a place called Durn Khete-Tymir, and each word can be broken down for its meaning:
Durn – Temple
Khete – Human tribe
Tymir – Dwarven clan
The Khete-Tymir is the name given to the humans and dwarves who allied together. They built this temple as a center of learning, dedication, and alliance to each other.
The Khete-Tymir dedicated their lives to their greatest threat, the Scourge. They made great strides in arcane studies and uplifted their people to new heights. They spread throughout the land, taking their knowledge to other races. They built a second temple in the foothills, as another bastion of hope and arcane secrets.
The poured everything into arcane studies as a way to combat the Scourge. They kept their most prized possessions in the Grand Wizard’s Sanctuary. Items they felt they could use against the Scourge. The Grand Wizard could enter freely but for anyone else to get past the guardians they would need to arrange the structures of light in certain pattern at the same time, a most difficult task.
Hieroglyphics in this area show what looks like the creation of the pillars, and how they were made with a combination of dwarven craftsmanship and human arcane powers. On the other end of this chamber it details how the Jewel of the Pillars work and how they are created. A faint map on one wall shows a network of pillars and how they work, but the land mass is not recognizable to you.
Hieroglyphics in another nearby area shows the humans and dwarves as isolated entities. The dwarves in the hills and the humans on the plains. Both races are separately depicted as struggling, and some of the pictures have them trying to fend off the Scourge with little success.
The heroes return to the tosculi and proceed to the next area with the two possessed pillars.
The two tosculi warriors split up and prepared to enter each area to defend whoever was doing the arcana checks to refocus the light of the pillars together. Evaine, Ethne, and Brodus went to the north end while Waverly, Rigel, and Brenna went to the south end. Then the pillars attacked.
It worked, both pillars were lit up and Brodus and Rigel were able to recover their weapons that got stuck to the pillar. A beam of light emanated from the central obelisk and everyone in it was able to teleport to the Wizard’s Sanctuary.
Here Corvus Septum finally caught up with the Legion of Aqium group, led by the necromancer Bezor. They reached this chamber some time ago and recovered one of the Seven Artifacts, and item called the Robes of the Fallen.
In a back corner the necromancer held them out for a faintly image of Astriminar the Lich. The lich held the robes in his hands and as he did the robes started to gradually appear to be on the same faint image as the lich. The group quickly deducted that the lich wasn’t here, but he was transferring the robes to him (downloading). Three soldiers and three goliaths, watched the waters and protected their superiors.
As the heroes jumped the gap and began their attacked they discovered what was in the water, a adolescent aboleth who would reach out and attack anyone over the water as well as random targets in the room.
Brenna threw down a silence radius which greatly reduced the capabilities of the necromancer. Brodus had to make two attempts to jump over as he got knocked back by the tentacles once.
Rigel made a daring play to grab the robes out of Astriminar’s hands and used the potion of the mist to jump back to the center. To keep them from getting stolen back from him, he put the Robes of the Fallen on.
The heroes started to whittle down the Legion members and the faint image of a now frustrated Astriminar faded away. Rigel drops the last goliath and the group saved the day.
Rigel removed the robes and said he didn’t feel well.
The story continues in Operation Dispel.