Rending the Veil
The group emerged from the Veiled Alliance safe house into the Warrens. The extent of the True’s attack was evident – the entire district was in chaos with True agents attacking and destroying everything in sight. They reasoned that the only way to track down Merric and the stolen seed was to get out of the Warrens as quickly as possible. Everyone suspected that he might be heading to the Ziggurat, but it was impossible to tell.
They felt the best course of action was to make as quiet an exit from the district as possible towards the Elven Market and then assess the situation. They all prepared for what the thought would be an inevitable fight with the True. As they started to move out, Elleandra suddenly became weak and faint. She was barely able to move at all, and had to be helped by Morg. No one knew what had come over her and they didn’t feel as if they could spare a moment to figure it out.
Gwyn and Morg were able to maneuver past a few True with Vinara acting as a lookout and Kelvor using the Way to help bolster the group’s stamina. About halfway out of the Warrens, they came upon a body that they recognized at Jarvix. He appeared to have been badly beaten and was almost dead. Vinara gave him one of her healing berries which was enough to bring him back to consciousness. Gwyn told her friend of Merric’s betrayal and Jarvix voiced his concerns that Merric may be attempting to use the seed to restore Kalak to life. He recommended attempting to break into the Ziggurat with all haste. To aid them he told them of a secret entrance on the south side that they could recognize by an arcane sigil – the same sigil that Gwyn had tattooed on her back.
Into the Belly of the Beast
Leaving Elleandra with Jarvix, the remaining four companions continued to make their way out of the Warrens. The group made their way quickly out of the Warrens and as the entered the Elven Market then ran across Kivrin who was seeking to escape the chaos as well. The group didn’t share all the details with Kivrin, but were eager to know what he had uncovered regarding the crown. Kivrin told them that he believed the final piece of the crown might be held by Ewalu, a great silt horror consort of Ul-Athra. The crown could be used to restore Ul-Athra and although it could be an ally against the Dragon, the primordial has no love for Athas. If the crown itself could be returned to the Elemental Chaos, and might prevent Ul-Athra from returning to the world.
Free from the Warrens, the heroes quickly made their way towards the south side of the Ziggurat and began to search for the hidden entrance. It took all of their cunning to quickly search for the sigil without drawing too much attention to themselves. The Ziggurat was built to channel powerful arcane energies which clouded her ability to sense magic, but eventually Gwyn was able to help locate the entrance. Morg’s strength, along with Gwyn’s magic was able to open the sealed door.
Dead End Beginning
They entered to Ziggurat and lit torches as they began to wander through a series of twisting and turning passageways. Before venturing too far, Gwyn used her magic to seal the door behind them, not wanting to have anyone sneak up on them from behind. Before long they came across a grisly scene. A small shaft of moonlight illuminated the room before them, revealing dozens of bodies. The corpses faces were contorted in agony with blackened tongues visible between foam-flecked lips. Some of the bodies had the amulets of the True.
Several warped forms were hunched over the bodies, and they slowly turned towards the group as it entered the room. The creatures eyes were unfocused and bits of flesh fell from their mouths as they consumed the bodies on the floor. Gwyn and Kelvor recognized these creatures as Withering Ones – zombies that are used to hunt preservers and who react violently to arcane energies.
Kelvor, Vinara and Morg all moved up to block the creatures advance towards Gwyn. Each struck the creatures with their weapons, but only slightly slowed them down. Kelvor was able to defend himself against their attacks, but Morg was grabbed and the Withering One began to eat at his arm and shoulder. Gwyn conjured a sparkling mist that swirled around and covered some of the zombies, attempting to lock them in place and obscure their vision. When the mist made contact with the creature’s flesh, a blast of necrotic energy emanated from it. This started a massive chain reaction which ultimately destroyed all of the zombies and knocked Morg and Kelvor down, draining them to within an inch of true death. Only Vinara was unharmed, a benefit of the life giving Heartwood Spear.
Vinara quickly used her healing spells to restore Kelvor and Morg, but the group was forced to take another quick rest before venturing further into the Ziggurat. They were hopeful that not too much time had passed for them to stop Merric from completing his objectives.