Dragon fear washed over them. Hiso and Fvarig began to shake. The Aqueous Orb and Ball Lightning trap attacked them as the bluish dragon watched. Drusk was carried by the orb before escaping and the Ball Lightning swarmed over Morgrimm and Fvarig. Hiso teleported to the trap origination and found the runes of power, deactivating the trap. Yet the dragon watched on. It rumbled in various languages the party could not comprehend before landing on elven and dwarven dialects. It pointed at Rocknut and a simple Dismissal banished the eidolon from the material plane. Requiem fled the scene in dragon-panic.
- The reptile seemed obsessed with perfection, noting perceived flaws in Drusk’s sword, how unattached and easily dismissed Rocknut was and the imperfect nature of Hiso’s invisibility. It called out Fvarig’s Divine Favor spell, noting its incomplete attachment to his god and that the majority of Zorian’s arrows missed. A deep echoing sound seemed to be a yawn. It offered to give the party everything in Arkandor’s ship in exchange for swearing fealty to it and performing tasks. Fvarig, Zorian and Morgrimm refused. Water Breathing and Water Walking spells allowed the party to do combat with the creature. Zorian pulled a special arrow from his quiver and sunk it deep into the dragon’s flesh. A flash of anger swept over the beast.
- Drusk bit deep with his greatsword. Instead of breathing acid, it swept over Drusk with rage, reducing him to small bits of flesh with its bite, claws and tail slam. Pieces of Drusk floated on top of the pool. Zorian continued to sink arrows into the creature, while Morgrimm and Hiso flanked it. Morgrimm’s ax drew gouts of blood. Fvarig cast Protection from Energy-Acid just in time. The flume of briny acid-spray swept the party, but the spell held. The dragon continued to fight with its natural weapons and Fvarig struggled to heal his friends. Finally, it seemed to yawn, concentrated for a moment, and unleashed a devastating Horrid Wilting spell. Morgrim and Fvarig perished instantly as their bodies dried up and withered. Hiso’s fur fell out and both he and Zorian collapsed, unconscious.
- When next Hiso and Zorian awoke, they were washed up on the beach close to Rappan Athuk, atop a crude raft. Hiso seemed to have developed a nervous twitch and severe case of mange. His head rested on Zorian’s fully naked form. They were stripped of all valuables, though the dragon had left a large sack of gems and gold in exchange. Cryptic phrases were written on Zorian’s back. The archer vowed to only help fortify the temple and not pursue greater danger. They returned to Egede, Zorian equipping himself and returning to the Upper Temple with Requiem to watch the low templars while Hiso gathered new comrades. Requiem promised to find Hiso inside Rappan Athuk.
- After some explaining and excuses to Captain Vanreim, Hiso found the snobbish Sir Wellington Forsythe III, Sunny the cheerful cleric of Saranrae, Feldor the holy warrior and Thannon the elf wizard.
- The new party in hand, Hiso shared the stories, warning of the Well and the dragon island and took his party on a tour of Rappan Athuk. Once inside, they skirted the outside of the Well level and took the passage behind the Displacer Beast cave. It led to a deep level of mazes where they were attacked by strange minotaurs with the ability to phase into the ethereal. Shrugging off a strange confusion gas, the party found a large cavern where they were ambushed by Kazleth the Phase Minotaur King and his 12 disciples. Kazleth’s vorpal great axe dealt mighty blows but well-placed fireballs destroyed the minotaurs, while Hiso tripped their king and they cut him into bloody pieces.
- Further in the level, Sunny and Thannon fragged a group of goblins with Fireball spells, incinerating their offerings to Kazleth. They recovered a good deal of treasure and took one of three passages further down.
- A carved passageway led to a level that Hiso approximated as Level 9. Drums thrummed to the south. Chanting and moans reached them. Blood-splattered robes hung on crude hooks on the wall. They followed the chanting down a hallway, to a set of double doors covered with motifs of suffering and Orcus ruling a land of undead. Hiso found no traps and dimension-doored in. The party burst open the doors, setting off a Glyph of Bestow Curse. Cowled and cloaked figures watched them and stopped beating the ritual drums. Two bubbling pools of blood flanked a dozen priests. A stony golem emerged from a corner. Their leader spoke, “Welcome. You are expected. I am Gudmund.” He lifted his cowl. Worms dropped by the hundreds to the floor. Where a body should have been, was a writhing mass of red worms. He called, “Glezbigith!” and a huge, pincer-clawed demon materialized in one corner. Unhallow, Fear, Darkness and Dispel Good effects filled the temple. The party trembled.