Descent into the Shrine
Sanctum’s Hope, having dispatched the dragon in its own lair, and defeated the ooze which had taken up residence in the forgotten shrine, finished exploring the darkened first level.
Past the dragon’s lair they discovered a series of deteriorated bed-chambers and a staircase to the level below. Frozen and Yara discovered a hidden cache of loot still intact in the bed-chambers before the party descended the stairs.
At the bottom of the stairs, the Lanternward around Belster’s neck lit up with a blinding white light. Across the vast, cavernous, swampy chamber, a multi-headed dragon idol matched the Lanternward’s radiance. In the now-illuminated gloom, a tribe of lizardfolk was exposed as living in the muck.
The party did battle with and eventually defeated the lizardfolk and their mystical leader.
As Belster approached the idol, lances of searing light shot forth from the Lanternward, annihilating the wooden statue and its many heads. In the afterimage of the light’s flaring out, the party could see and sense the loose strands of the tether being burned away and sealed.
Finally, the Lanternward’s light grew dim and went out, leaving the room in darkness except for a spidery blight-like scarring which shone through Belster’s armor from his chest. Behind the wooden idol a stone statue was now visible, blasted clean by the cleansing fire of the ward: a beautiful woman which Belster identified as depicting Avandra.
Their mission in the dank, flooded dungeon complete, they set off to meet with the Witch once more.
Last Journey to the Witch’s Hut
The party’s journey through the Mire was encouragingly uneventful, free of the demonic and necrotic influences which had plagued their previous journeys, until they reached the Witch’s home. There they were attacked by a bestial swamp beetle of enormous size and ferocity. Only through tremendous efforts did the party beat back and eventually defeat the gigantic beetle before it could run off with and devour Frozen.
The environs around the hut, and the interior of it, were overgrown, unkempt, and generally more verdant than their previous visits. Inside, the Witch was nowhere to be found, but a few pages of her journal related a prophecy of her death and somewhat cryptic instructions as to how they were to proceed.
The party recuperated from their battle with the beetle before proceeding according to the Witch’s instructions: they went back to Sanctum.
One last look around…
While Yara waited outside, the party visited with Lady Hammertone and Milgurn II at Castle Ardhome and showed them the journal the Witch had left them. Miura, in response, gave them the second Lanternward and advised them about their first stop outside the Mire: the city of Lyridock.
The party had deduced that Lyridock was their next likely destination because of a riddle in the journal about “The Lyre’s Dock,” but they were unprepared to step into a city on the brink of war.
Miura informed them that the most recent reports held that the city’s traditional ruling houses had been ousted by the mage’s guild and the city guard. Miura charged them with resolving the situation, because in the event that Sanctum’s caravans could return the city, the current sense of unease would not be beneficial to trade.
After arriving in a city under martial law, the party followed a tip to arrive at a Terebyth safehouse—the tavern and inn the Parrot’s Perch. The bartender helped obtain a map of the city for them.
Traveling to the closest house, House Fvalid, the party is challenged to a contest. Frozen acts as champion and failed the Test of Dogma against the House Elder. A short expedition to the Mayoral Estate revealed it was under siege.
The next day they returned to House Fvalid and Mirren acted as champion against the house champion and endured the Test of Endurance successfully. They informed the party that the Captain of the Guard is under the influence of a demoniac. If the influence is removed, the guards may back the houses (instead the mages). The former Terebyth mayor (it is revealed) is still at the Mayoral Estate where runic wards prevent an attack by the mages. If the mayor could be persuaded to help, the other houses will likely follow.
Brigands walked the streets and were dispatched by the party as they traveled to House Terebyth.
At House Terebyth Auriel outwitted the House Elder in the Test of Wits. Terebyths say that man7y of the scions of House Orilev are part of the mage guild. Some are demoniacs on the new Council of Lords. House Orilev is therefore unsure of where their members’ loyalties lie: with the house, or with the mages?
Terebyths offer to smuggle the party into the Mayoral Estate on 24 hours’ notice. This is arranged for two days hence.
On the third day, some guards are dispatched on the way to House Orilev. There Belster succeeds against the house champion in the Test of Speed. They tell the party that the mage tower houses demons. If released, they would wreak chaos and allow the Houses to reassert themselves. The presence of the demons divides House Orilev. Many of the city watch officers get their weapons from House Fvalid, making it easier to deal with the guards since the party already has support from Fvalid.
With that test completed, the party had the support of all three Houses. (City Watch, Sea Captains, and the Mayor remain.)
On the way to the Watch’s Keep, more thugs are dispatched. At the Watch’s Keep, suspicions are raised by a lieutenant that an amulet worn by the Captain may be influencing him. His route home is changed by her so that the party may intervene.
On day four the party went to the Wharf and issued a gathering decree to the captains; they will meet the party on the sixth day. Next, the Terebyths smuggle the party into the Mayoral Estate. The former mayor offers to repel the siege, attracting enough attention to allow the houses to take care of the demons in the mage tower. The evening of day six is set as the time of rebellion.
On day five, word is sent to all three houses. At night, the party ambushes the Captain of the Guard and Belster successfully talked Ekemon through the theft of the amulet.
On day six, the party reaches the Watch Keep and gives the amulet to the lieutenant who tears up the warrants and wanted posters but owes the party one favor. The favor the party asks is that when the call comes for troops at the Mayoral Estate she sends them instead to the South Wall. The party must swear (and does) that this will save her troops and the city.
The party goes to the Wharf and ask the captains for an escort, and for the mariners to reinforce the rebellion against the siegers at the Mayoral Estate. Back at the Perch, the plan is confirmed. The Mayor tells them to look out for Piravel at the mage tower that night; he only trusts the party to be strong enough to dispatch her.
The plan begins, and in the chaos the party assaults the mage tower and confronts Piravel. She is nearly finished drawing a gigantic pentagram in the center of the room. She scolds Ekemon – her son! – for not taking the power he was to be given, making her do all of this herself. The party fights and kills Piruvel, and the mages lose the battle for Lyridock.
House Orilev is dimished since some of its members were mages. The party is rewarded with a bounty of magic items from the thankful city.