Princes of the Apocalypse, sessions 20-21

With the prophet of the air cult now slain, the group were able to return to the Air Temple and explore mostly unmolested. A few kenku remained in the ruined underground city, but they scattered and fled from the adventurers – the few that did not quickly learnt the error of their ways, probably from a fireball spell exploding nearby!

It was certain that the section the adventurers now explored was in less good repair than what came before, and had mostly been ignored by the cultists, leaving only their kenku allies to live amongst its fallen glamour – or as much glamour as could have existed in a dwarven merchant quarter. There were a few places that the kenku had not looted and that still retained items of value, but the adventurers soon learnt that the neglect of the kenku was due to the presence of creatures the kenku feared.

One of those creatures, an ancient terror known as a Cloaker, ambushed the adventurers as they entered its lair, although Gimble was alert enough to cry out a warning before it totally overwhelmed them. His shout gave them enough time to react, and their fire and steel combined to slay the beast. It had gathered a tidy pile of gold and silver that the adventurers now claimed for themselves.

However, it was the corpse of a great worm that really caught their attention – dead in the process of tunnelling through the deep earth and now, it seemed, converted into a stairway for the cultists to enter the lower caverns. The adventurers investigated it cautiously, climbing down into the depths. No-one marked their passing; the air temple now lay abandoned and it seemed the elemental cultists had no further use for those who had failed.

The adventurers emerged into a set of rough, natural caverns. A great pit, descending even further below, yawned before them, gusts of wind blowing erratically around the chamber. The adventurers skirted it uneasily, and pressed forward to a chamber where three harpies perched on a ledge high above the floor, and sang a song of great beauty – enough to charm some of the adventurers and lure them upwards. The harpies took great delight in the fumbling attempts of the adventurers to climb the cavern wall, their song interrupted by peals of great laughter as one would almost make it to them before being dislodged and falling. Unfortunately for the harpies, the warlocks of the group were skilled at firing their eldritch blasts at distant targets, even ones obscured by gloom or seeking cover behind the ledge: if any of the harpies became visible at all, they were blasted by Drakul and Zed. The harpies were eventually slain, and the adventurers return upstairs to tend to their wounds.

The next day, their investigation continued. Investigation further northwards was blocked by a strange dark mist that filled the passageway, and no-one was brave (or foolish) enough to enter it. Instead they sought easier passage. I might not call jumping from giant fungus to giant fungus (the better to avoid the floor) the safest way of crossing a chamber, but it was the one they chose. Zed found himself being attacked, once more, by a grell, but a quick shot from Gimble slew the monster. Thinking better of that path, the adventurers returned the way they came and chose another of the branching pathways that led through the caverns.

The next chamber held three captives – unattended but manacled against the wall. One was a riverboat crewmen who told the group about how water cultists had captured him and dragged him to Rivergard Keep and from there down below. The adventurers remembered the Keep, from which they had been barred after some unfortunate discussions, and resolved to return there in future. The other two captives proved to be members of the fire cult who had been captured by the water cult. They proved full of scorn towards the adventurers, and were left there whilst the crewman accompanied the adventurers a little further.

The great torrent that ran beside the next cavern flowed from the Water Temple above, or so their new companion informed them. It proved to be guarded by water weirds, who attacked the adventurers when they ventured too close. It was an entertaining combat, distinguished by how long the adventurers could hold their breath, but they were eventually successful. Fearing for the safety of their companion, they once more returned above, settling him in Feathergale Spire. The explorations could continue on the next day.

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