RECAP: Age Of Ashes, 6-5-20

The granite slab was in the center of a large swamp, very boggy terrain, and eventually we found ourselves sloshing through water up to our knees, despite the sun. Lots of gnats and mud, plus a very stagnant smell. We find a few mounds of dry ground and Damien crafted a raft that helps us to get closer. We have to get out of the raft and pull. The jungle is incredibly thick and everything smells of rot. There are tons of insects everywhere.

The structure finally comes into view, but as we approach a crocodile tries to up-end the raft. Damien cut off its foot, enraging it. It tried to grab Damien but Ty interposed himself and kept the crocodile from dragging Damien off the raft. Ty then startled it with a battle yell. It continued to try and swallow Damien whole, but Damien fought vigorously, slashing at its eyes until it let go and slid back under the filthy water.

The party stealthed around in the raft to get a look at the place, looking for information and weaknesses. Ty pulled the raft silently through the filthy water; we were able to see wooden gates to the south and otherwise no windows or other doors. Around a half-dozen boggards were lying about in the sun on the guard towers. It was clear to us that they had no idea we were there.

The party debated tactics: straight on, or attack from the rear? We stealthily rafted to the north end of the building, disembarked, and Damien climbed up to the roof. Then he lowered a rope down to the rest of the party. Target selection with arrows was by proximity to the tower gate. Arrows and spells flew, and several of the boggards were killed, falling into the water below (sploosh). One approached, croaking madly, but Damien jumped down to cut him to ribbons. Ink froze the last, and the party proceeded forward toward the now unguarded front door.

At the front, all was quiet but a reddish glow passed through the cracks in the wooden gate. It did not appear to be trapped. Inside was a V-shaped room, with copper bowls holding coals and giving off the reddish light. Various inscriptions in Draconic were on the walls; and in the center of the room is a large clay statue of a humanoid with a dragon’s head. The statue’s head swiveled to follow our movements, and the fight commenced. Ink identified him as a clay golem and noted that these creatures were susceptible to magic. The fight was difficult, and the golem dealt accursed blows which Ty, Ink and Tasno dealt with through various types of magical healing. The clay on the room walls was incised with praises to Dahak.  Damien repaired Ty’s shield, and restored it to full use.

As the repaired shield was handed back to Ty, the opposite door crashed open, and creatures began to pour through. Damien charged into the doorway to draw their attention. Two of them flanked Damien, but Ink killed one with a flaming sphere. Others continued to emerge from the doorway, however. Ty leaned in and blocked the door, while Tasno sent sonic booms after the assailants to significant effect. Soon all were vanquished and the party searched the room; we found nothing of real value – animal skin mats, straw, and rotten food mostly.

No sound could be detected to the north, so Tasno and Ink rejoined the rest of the party in the golem room. The party passed through another door, where a large skeleton was found, potentially that of the dragon. Its ribs supported the roof, and everyone was fearful that it was a trap of some kind. The vertebrae were carved with images of cities in flame, and under attack by dragons. The room is small though, and the huge bones crowded the place.

Ty, however, felt something off beyond the inner door, and was visibly frightened – some sort of magical effect, since Ty fears nothing. Tasno, curious, approached but was similarly affected. Tasno consulted his infernal masters to aid him in resisting the effect, but he only learned that some rooms were emanating evil energy, and had snared him and Ty. Ink tried to dispel the effect, and was successful.

Past the door, more giant vertebrae supported the ceilings and on one wall an enormous red dragon mural was shown, burning an entire city. A charau-ka with wings and draconic features looked up in surprise as we entered, along with two of the crocodile fey. It’s almost as if the charau-ka was teaching the other two. One crocodile fey enlarged and shot a blowgun at Ty, but missed; the second enlarged as well to attack Baelfir. Both charged in, but were fireballed, presumably by the charau-ka. By dint of effort the battle was won – the charau-ka ran, acting cowardly as always.