Lamashan 26 – 27, 4708 AR
After recovering from their assault on Ghlorofaex’s lair, our noble heroes spent the rest of their day planning their next move against Karzoug and his minions in Xin-Shalast. After some discussions and greasy fish stew, they decided to investigate this “hidden passage” up the mountain the skulks described, hoping it provided a safe passage up towards the Spires at the peak of Mhar Massif.
With spells and weapons ready, and Erekhil bringing some absorbent mushrooms, the Heroes of Sandpoint headed up to the surface, carefully and quietly, out of the Lair of the Spared, and towards what appeared to be an unassuming guard post, but was in reality the home of the stairway through the mountain.
Finding the stairwell was no challenge for the eagle-eyed sellsword from Korvosa, but the climb presented some challenges, as the “stairway” was little more than a giant-sized ladder, cut into the rock, climbing thousands of feet through the mountain.
Bahne, for the first time in a long time, felt very much at home.
Linking themselves together with stout rope, except for Deivon whose boots provided him Levitation, the group followed Erekhil who led the way with grappling hook and skill. Time passed slowly as the group made their slow and arduous journey up the pitch black vertical tunnel, with just a few magically lit items providing light.
Hours dragged on and still they climbed, until they neared what appeared to be a tunnel lit by natural light up above them. Up they went, nearing the light filled ledge, but their climbing did not go unnoticed.
It the dull light, Erekhil neared the cliff ledge when he saw a half-dozen strands of thick tentacles lash out at him, slamming his body and grabbing hold of him. The tentacles oozed a weird substance that drained he sell-sword’s strength, until he blacked out from the punishment and whatever creature lurked in the shadows above began to drag the group upwards.
The group below suddenly found themselves hung over the gaping expanse of nothingness by whatever creature was constricting and pulling the unconscious Erekhil. Then, they did what heroes do…They attacked that which was holding them aloft and preventing them from falling thousands of feet to their death.
Forgoing the crazy notion of “scouting” or even the silly “locating” the creature, the Heroes of Sandpoint unleashed their offensive might against the strands holding them up and some random areas above.
This did not sit well with the unknown hunter above and it released the sellsword and the group to fall, knowing there was easier prey to be had. The group began to fall into the blackness below, but the Varisian sorcerer had planned for this and while his magical flames were searing his foe above, with skill learned through combat, he simultaneously cast Fly upon the dwarf.
The free fall was quick and heart stopping, but quickly Bahne mastered the flight spell and began to haul the group towards the wall, where they all clung for safety.
Except for Erekhil. He was dangling above the black drop, hanging by the rope below the group, banging into the rocky wall as his comrades maneuvered themselves above.
Clinging to the wall, and trying to avoid the strands assaulting them, our heroes slowly climbed forward, providing multiple targets to whatever hunted above. Still launching magic above, carpet bombing the area, the group could hear the shrill cries of a wounded creature. Finally, the Lord of the Hook, the Priestess of Calistria and the limp sellsword’s body reached the cliff’s ledge and saw their foe.
Meanwhile, below the ledge, unable to see above, and not levitating to the ledge, Deivon Altorre, the Chosen One, chose that time to blast his companions’ area with Fireballs.
Thankfully, the damage was minimal and the group quickly dispatched the creature that hunted high on this cliff. It was a Roper and it met a violent end.
With their enemy defeated, Lindin followed the rocky cliff through the mountain to a hidden opening in the mountain, facing south and slightly westward. The wind blew fiercely high on the face of the Mhar Massif and, as Lindin saw the city of Xin-Shalast sprawling out below him, dragons circling above the buildings, he realized he was about 7000 feet above the cyclopean metropolis.
As Lindin was observing this, a heavy grinding sound emanated from above, followed by a thick clump snow falling right in from of him; when the ranger looked up, he noticed a giant white dragon had landed on a ledge above to stretch its neck and scan the area. For a few harrowing moments, the Lord of the Hook held his breath and hoped that the dragon flew off without noticing him.
It did. And the ranger scanned the area and, unimpeded by the wind, realized there was a slight ridge that the group could travel along to get into one of the cyclopean mansions clinging along the Golden Road. Then they’d have only a few thousand feet to climb to reach the Pinnacle of Avarice, Karzoug’s lair.
Realizing the dragons posed the greatest threat to their journey up to the Spires, Lindin returned to the group to report what he saw and suggest they figure out a way to eliminate their draconic foes.
The group agreed that as long as there were dragons flying over the city and able to assault them as they climbed to the peak, their position would never be secure. So, with that grim realization, the Heroes of Sandpoint returned down the stairs, back to the Lair of the Spared and pondered how lure four dragons to their death.