The Trail of Greater Andruil

ACT II: Chapter 2

Travelling to Crystad

6th Mirtul 1746

The party gather themselves after an emotional and grueling battle. Kain wakes up to the sight of Queen Anora over him, exhausted but alive. A most disheartening sight lies before the throne, King Farsky, motionless on the floor.
The majority of the party had agreed to go to Crystad after a convincing plea from Anora, in pursuit of Ashtor the champion. All left to do now is prepare.

Anora talks of a link to a location not far from Crystad, in the desert. She says that it may be possible to teleport here, but not without risk. The war made this connection unstable and unpredictable. The party decide to return to Faramoor to rest and depart from Uzorah in the morning.

While in Faramoor for the evening, our heroes notice it is unkept and messy. Even with Wissen yelling, not a single guard to respond. With more important things being on the minds of our champions, they hastily move to their bedrooms to rest.

7th Mirtul 1746

Our heroes wake and without delay depart for Uzorah using the teleportation circle. They gather in the throne room ready to travel, and after a flash they vanish.
They find themselves in a desert town, among a community of darker skinned humans. Around them are worn down and crumbling stone huts the party notice that the sun here lies low in the sky. As everyone else tries to figure out where they have landed Wissen manages to break into one of these huts. On the floor are some pots, pans and an abomination of a being. This humanoid is enveloped in parasitic-looking worms, it begins to move towards the tiefling. The monstrosity shoots one of these worms into Wissen’s chest and it buries itself underneath his skin. Kain swiftly follows to aid him. While striking, a worm manages to crawl behind Kain’s heavy armor and also drills into his chest.

As the sun sets, screeches are heard from the two other huts, more of these things burst forward from each hut. They slowly surround the rest of our heroes. One of these parasites are shot into Aelar deep into his chest. Brassingr and Maximilian manage to avoid contact with the parasites, being nimble they evade any attempt from the abominations they encounter.
Aelar finds himself confronted by the two creatures, in a pinch he shapes himself into a fire elemental to hold them off while Brassingr creates a ball of fire that engulfs them. After slaying these monstrosities Kain tends to Wissen and himself managing to clear their bodies of whatever they were infected with. Just as they regroup, the largest building in sight produces a chorus of a familiar screeching. Wissen glances and sees a horde of these monsters and in a panic creates a giant wall of fire blocking their escape from the building.

After being chased away by a giant horde, the party find themselves travelling in darkness, walking aimlessly, making sure they are moving away from the town.
Hours pass, Aelar senses a body of water nearby but nothing else. They travel towards it to find a lake, with a single palm tree. Brassingr produces a protective tent for the party to rest in, filled with items of luxury and comfort. Deciding their watches, the party spend the night. During the designated watches, our heroes don’t see, hear or sense anything. A quiet and cool night as far as the party is concerned.

8th Mirtul 1746

In the morning, as everyone wakes, Aelar senses two presences beside the body of water, as if they just appeared there. Across the lake the party all see two fishermen, one with a fishing pole dressed in blue and another in red with his arms crossed. The paladin notices something peculiar, these men are fishing in a lake with no fish, not a single sign of life. Approaching with caution, Kain is first to confront these two oddities. As he introduces himself the rest of the party come forward. The man in blue is holds a large fish, by now it is clear that these men are not human but magical beings. The being in blue introduces himself as Ini with the man in red remaining silent. The party barrage Ini with many questions with only cryptic and useless answers. With the party now frustrated, Ini offers our heroes help, only if they make a deal with him and sign a contract. In the midst of deliberation between the members of the party. Ini’s patience runs out and begins counting down, waiting for an answer, just as they decide, the man in blue and his friend vanish as well as any hope of escaping the desert.

Continuing their trek in the same direction they eventually see in the distance another landmark, a lake, with a single palm tree. Similar to last time, two people sit next to the body of water. One donned in blue and the other in red. To the heroes’ dismay, it is Ini and his nameless friend. Again offering the deal again, this time accepting it immediately, Ini pulls out a contract for everyone to sign. In return he grants everyone a wish. Maximilian asks for a belt of returning, a magical item that returns thrown daggers to him, into his gut. Brassingr wishes to know where his father is and whether he is safe. Ini responds with telling him he’s across the Austrianic sea, and that he is “holding on”. Finally, Kain asks for the party to be teleported out of the desert and closer to Crystad, escaping the illusion in which they are trapped.

Everyone is transported in front of a large and heavy wooden city gate. Stone walls travel far from either side, with many battlements atop and wooden spikes protruding from the ground. Other than the shouting for help, there is no sign of life, not a single sound. Then from behind them, seven figures draw closer, and closer. First thing to notice is that these beings are not human, nor elven and not any other common race. These are a sort of snake people, Yuan-ti, to those who fought in the war. Six of these people stand at either side the leader of the group with bows drawn and trained at our heroes. Then from the two battements above the gate, three more from each rise with their bows ready. Kain knows exactly who these people are, he knows exactly who their leader is. Their leader is the Moktar, a title given to the leader of the Yuan-ti, a powerful and proven warrior. None of our heroes know where they are and they ask the leader for help. Aelar tries to convince him they are in search for artifact in Crystad and need guidance getting there. Wissen attempt to intimidate them but it seems that the Moktar knows exactly who our heroes are! Failing these attempts to evade capture, Kain steps in to negotiate. The Yuan-ti agree to the party challenging the arena, with no idea what to expect they are escorted to the dungeon beside the arena.

Ready to fight the party stand at one of the gates of the arena. Peering through the grate of the gate the stands look to be packed full of these snake people, standing in silence. Next to them there is a man, shaking with a terrified look on his face. Noticing he has no weapon Wissen hands him one of his daggers. As the gate is raises he sees the man’s hand shake as he stares out into the arena. The Moktar introduces the challengers to the arena and talks of testing them before the real challenge, as he is talking two Yuan-ti warriors emerge from the opposite gate, both wielding scimitars.

Kain and Maximilian immediately charge forward and take the front line each engaging one of the snake warriors. Meanwhile the spellcasters hold back and start barraging the creatures with their spells. Danny calls out to the terrified man to instill some much needed courage. He then starts moving, running, screaming, and then jumps behind a pillar and stays there, curled up in a ball. Just as the party begin gaining an advantage the Moktar stops the fight. The Yuan-ti warriors, disengage and retreat. The test is over. The challenge is about to begin.

Expecting humanoids to walk through the opposite gate, the whole gate instead starts to lift. From the darkness emerges a giant lizard-like head. Then another. And then another. The whole behemoth then steps into the arena, taking up half of it. This reptilian horror is known in legend as a Hydra.



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