Bartholomew lead the group of Krovan’s Gate survivors back to the elf tower in the stolen city, and the rest of the party made ready to face whatever lay ahead in the glowing chamber. Filing into the group of block heads, the destination appeared as a glowing white sea of wispy tendrils. A loud condescending voice could be heard far away bellowing commands, and the party found themselves face to face with another of the stone brothers of the Stone Thief. This one, commanding the block heads where to sort their booty, as the block heads deposited their burdens in different piles amidst the milky white tendrils- being enveloped afterward. Spotted among the picked pieces of trinkets, fragments of stone, and masonry three of the golden men could be seen.
The party stepped forward and demanded their stolen treasures back in exchange for their peaceful exit from the living dungeon. The Architect, as he identified himself, was unimpressed with the threat, and suggested that the golden men could be bought in exchange for a service to be performed for the Stone Thief- he told the group to draw a magical signal on highly desired buildings of the Empire for the dungeon to devour. Instead the party decided that they’d had enough, and wanted to put the great head in his place. They attacked the Architect, his block heads, his “dungeon-born” orcs, and statues head-on.
The battle was fierce, but as usual, the heroes edged out their foes, and were triumphant after all we slain, and the Architect knocked from his high pedestal by Weiss after his prayer for great strength. The party interrogated him, but left him alive, opting instead to escape after he let slip that the glowing sea of worm-like protrusions comprised the sensitive digestive system of the Stone Thief- attacking this area with enough force might cause her to “vomit.”
The party attacked, causing some appreciable damage before a great rumbling and wind was sensed. Soon the ground quaked and a suction like none had felt before caused the party to be blown with terrific force. Before they knew what had happened the heroes found themselves laying in the ruined street of downtown Krovan’s Gate, along with several buildings that had been in the stolen city- all of the ones which had been stole from this town, along with a few extras that hadn’t been- the elf tower among them. Fortunately no everyone in the elf tower and all of the party members had survived the exit safely, and the group sighed in relief- they had escaped the beast.
The town emptied into the street to gaze in amazement and celebrate their reversal of fortune. Survivors embraced loved ones, and the mayor thanked the party, praising them as heroes. The party wished simply to move on to their final destination of the journey originally embarked on after leaving Scarsdale Fortress. All they needed was a coffin for Hugh’s body, a crate/“coffin” for Verlin, and a cart, and they were soon on their way to Dunbarrow once again.
On the road to town Lan’Lei stopped off in her secret lair to stow a great deal of plunder and send some communiques regarding the dragon egg Verlin had found and entrusted her with. Wiess and Tallendryl returned to Dunbarrow- much different from just a few months prior- travelers, merchants, and adventurers packed the streets, and new businesses were springing up on every plot of unused land.
The Peach Pit was a success- brimming with business and a line out the door, Tallendryl could scarcely recognize the new massive edifice, complete with puffing pipes, and decorated signage.
Tallendryl was about to let himself in, (upsetting a bunch of people waiting to get in) when Toll appeared at the door. He greeted Tallendryl and let him in… after paying the “Toll toll,” or cover price for entry. Inside much had changed- magical furniture seemed to appear and disappear out of the floor as needed. A crowded room with an expertly decorated interior made the tavern truly amazing. The bartender, Uurl, directed Tallendryl to Wiggledorf, who was in one of the private rooms… naked with two women. He was happy to see Tal, despite the interruption, and showed him the rest of the place- from the brewery in the basement manned by Thorgrim, (creator of the now-famous Schnappy Peach) to the luxury bedrooms in the upper floors, all adorned with the finest leathers and valuers by Drakkablak. Tallendryl greeted each, and told them of his travels, and introduced Verlin to his new basement home, and informed them of his idea to create a black spice laboratory next to the brewery. Wiggledorf mentioned that a number of fires had somehow kept starting in the tavern, but each time they were quickly extinguished. This news alarmed Lan’Lei.
Weiss meanwhile got right back to investigating the burned down remains of the Giant’s Flagon. Considered a cursed and haunted place, it is now avoided by all of the locals. As such, its remains were undisturbed from when the party had left for Scarsdale. After finding some evidence of demonic activity here, and learning of Sister Catherine’s past, he departed for his nearby monastery immediately to make a report.
At the same time the Peach Pit was preparing a grand festival for the sudden return of its patron and hero, and spared no expense- a feast was set out under pavilions, ales were brought out, and a great party was thrown. Tallendryl mingled freely with all who were there in very flashy garb while Lan’Lei stayed on the edge of the celebration, watching for signs of an arsonist.
Tallendryl was introduced to Lady Kaira, who had recently moved to Dunbarrow from Glitterhagen, and generally had a good time drinking competitively with other revelers. Eventually, however, Lan’Lei’s suspicions were realized when two fires sprang up- one at the tavern itself, and one on on of the streamers attached to a pavilion, which resulted in some damage to neighboring buildings. She spotted a shadowy figure attempting to run away during the confusion, but he suddenly and inexplicably vanished once she thought she’d cornered him.
The next morning Tallendryl collected himself after the party, learned of what had happened, and, from Lan’Lei’s description of the possible arsonist, learned that Draven Halfhand was in town and trying to destroy the Peach Pit. The threat must be addressed, and getting Hugh to Santa Cora is another journey unto itself…