The Age of Worms

Session Twenty-Two

Earthday, 20 Ready’reat CY 595

Traveling to Greyhawk

Freeday, 21 Ready’reat CY 595

Traveling to Greyhawk, landing in the deep river valley where the City resides. The party spends the night with at a grove of druids, the Dawn Watchers, who have taken a vow of silence. Riddle still feels the need to stay outside. Long Fist exercises with his celestial hyaena. Marzena stares towards the City. There is a mammoth lightning storm to the north over the Nyr Div.

Starday, 22 Ready’reat CY 595

Riddle understands that he is on the cusp of bonding with the diadem and must stay out of doors or he will break it, so the party waits to continue to Greyhawk.

Moonday, 23 Ready’reat CY 595

The party wakes to find Riddle in a trance. With Kullen’s greataxe Facecleaver in his hands, he walks a in a 20’ wide circle, chanting phrases over and over in a language the rest of them don’t understand, until he finally raises the axe and is struck by lightning. When he comes to, he has changed – taller, more muscular, paler, almost blue. And the diadem is awake.

The ritual complete, the party moves on to Greyhawk, in the guise of poor peasants, with Fury carrying all of their valuables. They wait on line for hours and finally make it through without having to bribe anyway, but are noted (particularly Tyrrell) by priests of St. Cuthbert patrolling the entrance area and fondling their holy symbols.

The party proceeds to Eligos Manzorian’s house and are nearly turned away by the butler, Pollard. Eventually the party makes it through only to find he has little interest in helping Marzena and hasn’t read any of the letters Allustan sent regarding their earlier exploits. He casts detect thoughts on Marzena so he can figure out what she wants him to do about her plight, and eventually agrees to send her to Magepoint. He then attempts to dismiss the party without any further aid and Tyrrell makes a big, intimidating speech about the end of the world and people not wanting to help as if Eligos isn’t even there. Eligos seems to prefer this tactic to begging for help, so after grilling the party for more details (specifically things they did not tell Allustan), Eligos says he will look over the letters and see the party again in one week (the 3rd of Sunsebb).

The party secures rooms for a week at the Crooked House, in the neighborhood known as Midnight’s Muddle, making the acquaintance of Tarquin Shortstone XXIV. They note posters for the Champions Games coming upon the 12th of Sunsebb. They learn a bit about Loris Raknian, manager of the Games, and sneak a peak at Mayor Neff’s Letter of Introduction before heading back out to try to get an appointment with Foreign Minister Webb.

Moonday, 24 Ready’reat CY 595

Shopping, errands, and information gathering regarding getting an appointment with Ermaldon Webb. Riddle’s divination (“The soldier battles alone; the guardian’s weakness is his weakness; lash the tongue; flail not the sword; the written word will seal the deal”) gives the party some cryptic advice, but the party at least determines that Archie should go in by himself. Webb’s appointment secretary is a total prick but Archie manages to get an appointment for 9 am on the 27th and is instructed not to miss it. He promises not to and the party returns to the inn.

That evening the party receives word from that a package has arrived for them and they go down to the common room to check it out. Shortstone XXIV is on the bar with a large flat square package wrapped in brown paper. He says, “Your commission has arrived,” and tears open the package. The party gets a only a slimpse of the painting before it erupts and the room fills with two 15’ squelchy creatures with 8 tentacles each. The tentacled horrors manage to kill all the patrons and nearly Tarquin and Archie before they basically annihilate themselves through Riddle’s mark of doom. After some quick healing and discussion with the owner, they go outside in search of the fop and the crudely dressed man who dropped off the package 15 to 20 minutes before they came downstairs, and Archie quickly picks up the trail.

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Session Twenty-One

Freeday, 14 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

The party spends the night in their old hideout.

Starday, 15 Ready’reat CY 595

Athena scouts around town while Archie returns to talk to Trask at the garrison. Trask wants Archie to report everything to the Foreign Minister, Ermaldon Webb, and to also gather better intelligence. Though he doesn’t believe, as the lizardfolk do, that there is a plot against them, he is concerned about the level of truth in Illthain’s lies. Also, Trask asks Archie if he sees an opportunity to nudge the garrison reinforcements along to please follow up on it. Meanwhile, the rest of the party is discussing history and such when Long Fist says something that sparks a memory from Riddle about the ancient city of Kuluth-Mar and a possible connection to Kyuss.

The party checks up on Allustan who is up in the Whispering Cairn and find that he has been exploring obsessively to the detriment of his own health and well-being. After speaking with him for awhile and performing some augury spells, the party convinces him to rest until morning.

Sunday, 16 Ready’reat CY 595

Allustan takes the party into town for a meeting with Mayor Neff. He warns the party not to waste Webb’s time if they are not able to properly handle the treaty negotiations. The Mayor also promises that the party would not be accused of any crimes in Diamond Lake. They receive letter of introduction to Webb from the Mayor and another to Eligos from Allustan. Allustan also provides advice for getting around Greyhawk, noting Tarquin Shortstone, XXIV and the Crooked House, Elexia Tinge, Painted Man, Ph’xeris, Eligos’ estate, the Great Library, and the Great Hall. Riddle also tells Allustan that he suspects he is related to the Lands, and Allustan notes that the timing does not preclude such. Allustan also guesses that Icosiel could have been the first of the Land geneaology.

The party meets with Balabar Smenk at 3:00 pm and Smenk claims that as far as he is concerned, our business is through. Kullen¸ however, refuses to turn himself in as agreed and the party ends up disposing of him right there in Smenk’s office, despite many bystanders (some innocent and others…not) and a suggestion or two that the fight move outside.

Moonday, 17 Ready’reat – Godsday, 18 Ready’reat CY 595

Traveling to Greyhawk.

Waterday, 19 Ready’reat CY 595

On the road to Greyhawk, the party battles with trolls.

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Session Twenty

Earthday, 13 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

The party conducts a thorough search of the Keep but finds nothing. However, everyone takes a dagger in the event that the worms are encountered again (daggers being the best defense against a burrowing worm).

Archie makes a point to say that the party shouldn’t tell anyone they encounter what really happened to Ernst Walker. Dobrun Trent relates news of events in Diamond Lake, especially what’s going on with the ghost of Jierian Wierus.

The party decides to head back to Diamond Lake. Marzena wants to go to Greyhawk, and since the party is fairly confident they will end up there eventually, brings her along. She loans Riddle her ring of protection +1 and Archie her dagger +1. They camp for the night, and on Jane and Scar-Eater’s watch, fight a group of wolves and werewolves. Long Fist is injured but immune to lycanthropy.

Freeday, 14 Ready’reat CY 595

As the party moves towards town the encounter and fight a two-headed, boulder-throwing giant that absorbs spells when it isn’t just ignoring the effects. It seems to fighting alongside a messed up grizzly bear. During the fight, Riddle attempts to drink one of the potions the party recovered from Illthain’s chest, and swallows what he believes is a Kyuss worm! He manages to regurgitate it and warn the party about Illthain’s ill-gotten goods. After the battle the party studies the worm for more information.

The party arrives at Diamond Lake around 6:00 in the evening, and they head straight to the garrison to see Trask and Childramun. They learn of Dourstone’s suicide and the ensuing clamor over his property rights. The officers advise that the party take the lizardfolk treaty to the foreign minister in Greyhawk, and if they can get his goodwill on the matter, perhaps they might be able to mobilize into the swamps to investigate the hatcheries of other tribes.

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Session Nineteen
N-n-n-n-nineteen.

Waterday, 12 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

The party learns that the two new Spawn in the Keep are named Blake and Krinn. The party assesses their strength and makes a plan.

Earthday, 13 Ready’reat CY 595

Tyrrell and Archie are unnerved on their watch by the howling of wolves in the distance. It doesn’t take them long to discern that creatures inside the keep are waiting for the howling noises to move around, which makes them smarter than the average zombie. Indeed this proves true, as the party’s careful plan to lure them into the open is thrown out the window by the spawn’s refusing to play along! After eight brutal rounds of combat, that include Long Fist and Riddle digging burrowing Kyuss worms from their own bodies, the party takes down the spawn. After the battle, Jane discovers that Riddle seems to be suffering from a supernatural disease, possibly the onset of dimension. She removes disease from him and the party figures out what to do next.

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Session Eighteen

Godsday, 11 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

Thanks to alchemists fire and a body of the sun spell the party is just able to contain the worms and defeat the spawn they give rise to over the course of the battle. All in all, anywhere from 75 – 80% percent of the lizardfolk eggs are spared.

Archie immediately informs the party there is a Spawn of Kyuss trapped in the abandoned escape tunnel at Blackwall Keep, and that it’s been there for two years. Hishka notes that it’s a good thing it was down here to witness what happened, or the tribe would have blamed the party for both the worms and the loss of the eggs. Jane notices that Hishka looks ill, and determines it is in the initial stages of a rapid-onset disease, which they realize can be caused by another type of Kyuss worm, a “slow worm”, which sounds like the cause for the Spawn currently residing at Blackwall Keep. Archie asks Hishka why the lizardfolk attack the Keep unprovoked two years earlier, and it explains that Illthain told them human wizards had destroyed a generation of eggs with these worms, putting everything both the party and lizardfolk think they know to doubt. Illthain arrived on the heels of the destruction of the eggs. Illthain also treated privately with the battlemage who became the Spawn of Kyuss at the Keep, Ernst Walker.

The party spends the rest of the day either helping collapse Illthain’s entrance to the lair, helping evacuate the eggs from the hatchery, or treating Hishka with long term care.

Waterday, 12 Ready’reat CY 595

Tyrrell finds and loots the harpy nest in the lair, and Scar-Eater contemplates the Kyuss worms again to glean more information through his arcane knowledge. Jane checks the party for infestations, finding none, and then the lizardfolk tribe. One manifestation of the slow worms’ disease is found and removed.

Archie tells the whole story of Ernst Walker.

The party leaves the lair and sets out for Blackwall Keep. After four hours they stop to wake up Marzena. She is hysterical, of course, for some time, but later they are able to catch her up with events. The party continues on to the Keep and finds Dobrun Trent with his militia and most of the boys they left behind on the grounds, and the door barricaded shut. Trent informs the party they found the Spawn in the Keep and lost a few men trying to contain it. He also reports that there are now three of them barred behind the door.

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Session Seventeen

Moonday, 10 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

After the big fight, the party confers with Hishka to determine their next move. There is great concern over Illthain and what she might do upon learning of Shukak’s death, so the party decides to at least help Hishka gain control of the hatchery before they leave, so that Hishka might move the tribe to another lair. Archie and Tyrrell scout out the hatchery that night, noting Illthain’s egg, sitting amongst the many lizardfolk eggs, has been left under the guard of several kobolds that appear to have been touched by the same thing as Shukak, giving them a decidedly draconic appearance.

Godsday, 11 Ready’reat CY 595

The party sets off through the underwater passage to the hatchery, accompanied by Hishka and Sharsah, whom Hishka hopes with succeed Shukak, to drive off the kobolds.

A mere twenty-four seconds after Long Fist explodes out of the water with his blinding shield, the kobolds decide the fight is desperate enough to smash the dragon’s egg, causing thousands of glowing green Kyuss Worms to emerge into the water!

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Session Sixteen

Sunsday, 9 Ready’reat CY 595

On the road for several hours, having built a raft for Kushak. Several miles the first day through the swamps, after avoiding an encounter with a crocodile, and deciding to turn back before dark to avoid camping in or traveling through cockatrice territory.

Moonday, 10 Ready’reat CY 595

The party comes within a mile of the tribe lair by 4 pm, and solidifies the plan, which is immediately tested by the unforeseen presence of two harpy guards. However, the party deals with them most effectively and decides to drag them into the lair with them as a show of strength.
The party bullies their way into the throne room where all are gathered. They repeat their demands three times, first in Draconic, then in Druidic, then in Common. There is much debate, but then Shukak ends it by challenging any one of the party for control of the tribe. No one volunteers, so the king offers a five-on-five challenge the party cannot refuse. After defeating Shukak, Kotabas, and Shesht (along with two other warriors), the party makes a deal with Hishka to retrieve a written agreement from Greyhawk to stop the violence between humans and lizardfolk, and the human prisoners who still live are returned. Lieutenant Archie Forrest is dazed but generally all right, but Marzena’s hands have been cut off and her jaw shattered.

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Session Fifteen

Starday, 8 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

Jane is struck suddenly with a foreboding feeling that all may not be as it appears and appeals to the party to consider reviving and questioning the one lizardfolk who survived their approach.

Though it does little to change their minds about continuing to assault the lizardfolk surrounding the tower, the party learns that these lizardfolk are from the Twisted Branch and that they seek vengeance against all humans for the slaughter of an entire generation of lizardfolk 10 seasons ago. Their king, Shukak, leads them, along with a dragon named Illthain who aids them and guards their eggs. Eventually the lizardfolk hope to overtake Greyhawk itself. The tribe lives 23 miles due south, and have Marzena and others.

The party continues to assault the lizardfolk and eventually either kills or drives all of them away, capturing Kushak, leader of the assault.

The party investigates the Keep and questions those who survived the assault. In Marzena’s chambers, the party finds four ceramic jars filled with putrefying segmented Kyuss worms that appear to have been rotting for about 2 years. They also learned that she’d found some sort of lizardfolk burial ground in the swamps and seemed amped up about what she’d discovered there. Long Fist finds the signs of lizardfolk entering the lower area where they abducted Marzena, Lieutenant Forrest, and two soldiers, Wilkin and Kurt.

The party manacles Kushak and then revives him. He follows Shukak, who is their king. He claims they took the prisoners for food, labor, and/or sacrifice, back to their tribe. He tells the party they can find the tribe by following the dry places to the south and that they will see their trees and their nest. Oh and they should beware the dragon. When asked about the Kyuss worms, he flies into a rage claiming that wizards from Greyhawk brought the worms. Illthain has told them this. The worms ate their eggs, ate their young and then died (though this does not jibe with what the party knows about the worms). The burial grounds are deep in the swamp. The party decides to go and try to deal with the tribe and Illthain, as hopeless as that may seem, but plan to use this humbled leader to embark upon a diplomatic mission.

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Session Fourteen

Freeday, 7 Ready’reat CY 595

Difficult travel 18 miles due east through the hills, with Allustan noticeably inconvenienced by the journey.

Near dusk, the party finds that Shank’s Rest, where they had planned to spend the night, has been burned to the ground. Signs of lizardfolk tracks would indicate that 3 or 4 of them murdered a human family, 2 adults and 3 small children, and partially consumed the remains, within the last couple of days. The adult male wore a symbol of St. Cuthbert around his neck. The party buries the remains and finds a shelter for the night.

Campfire tales. Allustan, seeming a bit whacked out, tells the story of travelers on the road. Tyrrell tells a couple of jokes aimed at Kullen. Jane tells her story about losing Norgoz and meeting Long Fist. Riddle talks about himself and how strange it is that the party came together as it did, about Professor Montague and Zalamandra. Allustan notes that he knew Riddle’s mother, whose real name was Seela Traise, and his grandmother, whom everyone referred to as Lefty. Allustan then goes on to relate his own strange history before turning in for the night.

Battle with creatures of the forest shakes up Allustan badly.

Sunnday, 8 Ready’reat CY 595

Less rain, moderate wind, terrain flattening out a bit and growing moister with smaller, sparser trees. Near dusk the party notices an increase in the number of flies, and then smoke rising over the hill in the direction where Blackwall Keep should be. Athena flies ahead to scout and finds a few keep guards holding the tower against about 40 lizardfolk in the surrounding area. She learns from the boys on top of the tower that the lizardfolk have taken Marzena before flying back to the party.

They convince Allustan to help them save the people on the tower. A plan is made and buffs cast before the party efficiently eliminates three units of lizardfolk.

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Session Thirteen

Godsday, 4 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

(The following indicates events the party were not a part of on the surface, but which they learned from the garrison and from Allustan Neff when they returned:)

Around 9:30am, earthquake was felt all over Diamond Lake.

Collapses in Dourstone Mine proper (eighth, bottom, level), killing 2 and trapping 13 more (presumed dead). Collapses also in secret wing of Dourstone mine. Dourstone, Lordren and Carr leave the collapsed to their fates and focus a team of 5 guards and 20 miners on excavation of temple.

Collapses in Deepspike Mine. 1 of 4 soldiers there trapped way back by hole. 3 others trapped closer to surface, started digging out.

Collapse of the new wing of Neff Manor (under construction). Lanod Neff was inspecting the work at the time and was injured, along with 4 workers.

Collapses across breadth of the Boneyard. Mausoleums fall in, gravestones crack. The temple/mausoleum home of the Cult of the Green Lady crumbles to the ground.

Freak collapse of the church of St. Cuthbert. Jierian Wierus was scourging himself while sermonizing to the masses when he suddenly made an awful hollow sound and his eyes glowed with sick green light. “It has risen! The sky will open!” he cried and then the earthquake happened. Mass chaos, people fled. Church fell in on itself, killing Wierus. Miraculously, none of the crowd was killed (27 injured). Mob mourned, then began to get riot-y.

At the garrison, Valkus Dunn went up to the walls when the earthquake began to survey the town. An aftershock caught him off-guard and he was knocked off the wall, where he fell on some jagged rocks. Broke his neck and shattered his skull.

The Standing Stones north of town fell over.

Many other random injuries and the like around Diamond Lake…

Around 10:00am, things got out of control.

Allustan, having received word of his brother’s injury, was up at Neff Manor. Lanod was being tended, but Allustan could see trouble brewing down in the square.

Down on the Vein, the mob of 100+ violent Cuthbertites was getting really, really wound up. Passersby got dragged into melees. Shops began closing. Sheriff Cubbin and his goon squad went out to try to calm things down, but they were mostly battered around/knocked out. Mob moved up to the garrison.

Rioters took advantage of the chaos on the Vein and distraction of Cubbin to break Kullen and others out of jail.

Childramun was helping garrison soldiers bring Dunn’s body inside for honor, etc.

Around 10:30am, riot moved up the hill.

Mob reached garrison and it was ugly. 4 soldiers were injured (including Childramun), 19 civilians were killed. “Siege” of sorts started.

Around 11:30am, the “big guns” were called-in.

Allustan, finally certain that Lanod would survive, went over to check out situation at garrison.
Cubbin turned to the Ashborn and told them to ‘take care’ of the rioters.

Ashborn reached rioters. Auric spoke to the crowd and tried to calm them down, but angry soldiers on the wall only exacerbated things. Khelleck tossed in a fireball. Allustan tried to speak, but no one would listen to him. Auric and Khelleck fought with the rioters. While Allustan was on the edges of the fray, trying to figure out how to handle this, Tirra got behind him. “Tell us where the boys have been going.” Allustan: “Which boys?” Tirra: “I’ve seen them at your place.” Allustan: “I don’t know. They won’t tell me.” Tirra: “Sure.” And then she stabbed him in the back, leaving him unconscious and bleeding out.

Riot eventually wound down. Ashborn bugged-out. Mob dispersed and let soldiers take Allustan into the garrison for care.

Around noon, missives were sent by the PCs:

Allustan and Veliaus Childramun, lying side-by-side in the garrison infirmary, were visited by identical birds who left notes on their chests and then vanished.

Around 12:30pm, 3 of the Deepspike soliders freed themselves.

Garrison soldiers not involved with keep defense, clean-up or tending to wounded were sent down to help excavate at Deepspike Mine.

Tolliver Trask sent a soldier to each of the mine mangers to get status reports on the mines.

Around 4:00pm, final Deepspike solider was freed.

Garrison cheered saving at least one life… but civilians from town were starting to bring wounded up to the garrison – no one else left in town with divine power.

Tolliver Trask commandeered Benazel’s small supply of healing potions in the name of Greyhawk and got Velias back on his feet. At this time, Velias read his letter and shared contents with Trask.

By 4pm, all of the soldiers sent to the mine managers checked in. The last two to report were a) the one sent to Dourstone’s, who was given a run-around by Gerrald, the administrator. Yes, there had been a collapse, but the miners themselves were on it and didn’t need aid, etc. Solider asked to see, made to wait, finally felt that something fishy was up and returned to garrison. b) the one sent to Smenk was told that Smenk was riding out to inspect his mines, so he got on horseback and followed the trail he was told Smenk was taking. Caught up to him and it seems like all 4 of Smenk’s mines suffered no incident.

Around 4:30pm, Allustan’s note was read…

Childramun and Trask discussed developments, read letters (including Allustan’s) and decided they needed to move in force down to Dourstone’s. A force was mustered.

Around 5:00pm, conflict at Dourstone mines.

Dourstone broke through to secret passage. Found elevator ruined and shaft downward a dangerous descent. Only had digging gear, no climbing gear.

Trask arrived at Dourstone mine with Dobrun Trent and 16 experienced militiamen.

Conflict, fight in “secret hallway.” 2 militia killed, 3 miners killed.

Around 5:30pm, stalemate.

Dourstone had passage collapsed to buy time to think.

OVERNIGHT – militia dug, Dourstone waited for word from below or death from above, torn by helplessness and indecision and impotent rage.

Waterday, 5 Ready’reat CY 595

Around 8:00am, Allustan revives after a night of long-term care in the garrison. Learns news, heads down to Dourstone Mine and arrives there around 8:30

(The following picks up during actual game-play)

Athena scouted out the shaft passage to the secret door and discovered Ragnolin Dourstone, Lordren, four dwarven guards, and 17 starving, exhausted, and overworked miners trapped in the passage.

All of the party except Jane drank potions of gaseous form and floated up to the edge of the broken elevator shaft wearing cultist robes, and Tyrrell wore the mask of the Faceless One. Jane transformed into Athena and flew up behind them. Dourstone was enraged when he saw the masked figure and made ready to attack. The gaseous forms floated forward as if to meet the challenge, though Tyrrell raised his mask, further confusing the desperate dwarf. Knowing her companions would be unable to speak as long as they were gaseous, and unable to escape without the potions’ effects, Athena transformed back into Jane and confronted Dourstone. He told a tale that perhaps wasn’t the entire truth, but enough to convince her that the Faceless One had charmed the unfortunate dwarf into aiding him all this time. With a stellar diplomacy check aided by her companions, she managed to convince Dourstone to let them go beyond the blocked passage and get help.

Jane stayed behind with the exhausted miners while the gaseous boys made their way through the collapse to find soldiers from the garrison digging from the other side. They are quickly collected by Dobrun Trent and taken to Tolliver Trask and Allustan Neff, who catch them up on events.

Allustan reports that he has had a message from Marzena Brevyns, the Battlemage at Blackwall Keep, and that we should all gather at his house later to discuss things.

Riddle and Long Fist go to the infirmary at the garrison to help take care of the wounded. Scar-Eater and Tyrrell stay at the mine to help dig out the people within. By 6 pm, they finish the job and join Riddle and Long Fist at the garrison, taking back roads to avoid notice.

The party meets the wizard at his house at midnight

Earthday, 6 Ready’reat CY 595

Allustan shows the party Marzena’s Letter from Blackwall Keep. The party asks him about Jieran’s prophecy and show him the Faceless One’s scroll. Allustan demonstrates how Zosiel’s diadem prefers the out of doors.

The party returns to the mining shack for rest.

Jane performs a circle dance to locate the Ashborn, specifically Tirra. The spell points her due west, possibly in Greyhawk, where the Champions Games are typically held at the beginning of winter.

Around 9:30 am Amariss is buried in the Boneyard with the rest of her dead acolytes.

Around noon the party heads to the Diamond Lake garrison for Dourstone’s trial. Riddle uses his zone of truth scroll for the questioning. Dourstone claims to have been under magical compulsion the entire time of his cooperation with the Cult of the Ebon Triad, doing as he was told whether or not he thought it was right. In the end, Trask and Childramunn are obligated to let him go pending further investigation, but the party attempts to convince the dwarf that he could take a leadership role in the rebuilding of Diamond Lake.

Athena flies down to the Emporium to check up on Zalamandra, noticing Kullen and Rastophan lurking nearby. She is not admitted at Zalamanra’s, and returns to the garrison around 1 pm.

After dark, the party reunites with Allustan and takes him to the Whispering Cairn. They show him the talisman of the sphere and he pretty much craps his pants. He advises the party to keep it hidden, and not in the Cairn, as none of them may remember where it is once they get a little older. Scar-Eater takes the horns and the talisman and puts them in a lead-lined box for taking with the party as they head south.

Riddle leaves a note at the Cairn, “Too late.”

The party, including Allustan, heads south about an hour.

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