Chronicles of Khaldun: Crux of Eternity

Into the Ebon Maw, Part 2

Starday, Reaping 15, 552 CY (50 AN)

After wandering through the caverns, Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, Peren, Torinn, and Valna come to a larger, open chamber. A large wall of rock partially bisects the room, leaving an open section on the left side. Two chambers are recessed on the left side; each features bars over the opening. The chamber closer to the entrance features a rage drake, while the farther chamber contains three smaller drakes, likely bloodseeker drakes by their look.

As the group walks into the chamber, the rage drake awakens, sniffs, and roars at their approach. At that, the barred doors begin to open.

A small kobold steps out of a hallway at the far end of the chamber. Peren and Torinn rush to deal with the rage drake, while Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Valna are left to deal with the smaller drakes as they rush into the room.

Peren and Torinn make short work of the drakes, rejoining the group to aid in their assault against the bloodseekers. However, a sludgy, ooze-like amalgamation of four kobolds — all shifting flesh and roiling eyes and teeth — seeps out of a crevice and lunges at Bosabrieln, who holds it at bay with the Evil Eye of the Vistani. It rambles in Draconic, and occasionally begs for death.

Meanwhile, the little kobold, a robed figure with a wand and potion bandoleer, starts throwing vials at Torinn and Valna, currently locked in combat with a drake. The vials shatter and spew fire everywhere. As Peren tangles with the drakes and tries to deal with the sludgy kobold-thing, Bosabrieln and Bezaldooz keep on one of the drakes while Torinn and Valna deal with another.

During the skirmish, a swarm of gold-colored beetles burrows from the ground and begins to swarm and bite all nearby. A well-placed bite leaves Peren temporarily blind, but he manages to retreat and recover as the last of the drakes fall.

The little kobold alchemist takes this opportunity to leap into the fray.

Things go badly for the kobold and his pets after that. Despite the difficulties in fighting a pile of kobold ooze and a swarm of beetles, the ooze is swiftly slain. The alchemist falls next, and his vials crack, creating an elemental conflagration that hits Bezaldooz, although he manages to avoid the worst of it. The beetles are finally crushed last.

The group searches the area to no avail; it is likely that anything of value would have been held by the kobold, and anything he held was ruined. After resting, they move onward.

The next chamber opens to reveal little twisty passageways. Strangely, clumps of crystal grow here. From a larger hallway, a patrolling kobold, evidently on guard duty, rounds the corner and sees the group, raising the alarm. A large, metallic thing, piloted by two kobolds — obviously some sort of construct — lumbers into view behind the kobold. Peren pegs the kobold and retreats, not wanting to be next to the giant construct. Bezaldooz manages to keep the kobold at bay while projecting a sound of armored opponents down another hallway. A group of kobolds approach from that hallway, apparently looking to ambush the heavily-armed foes they hear, but they are disappointed to find that they are still far from engaging the enemy. As Valna and Bosabrieln sling spells from their position, a draconic humanoid — which some of the Shields recognize as an Aurak Draconian — steps into view and gestures at Torinn, who momentarily turns on Bezaldooz and lashes out at him before regaining his mind.

Then, the lumbering war machine steps forward. It steps over the kobold and Draconian, taking position and firing a projectile from a launcher on its left side. The projectile whizzes toward the ground in the center of the scattered Shields of the Sorrowfell, striking and exploding in a momentary holocaust of fire and shrapnel. Only Bezaldooz manages to escape unscathed, and he returns the favor by launching a fireball at the assembled enemies. Several are scorched by the flames, and one of the kobolds dies.

After this missile assault, the group splits to ward against future attacks. Peren attacks the war machine, detaching from the imposing thing to focus on the Aurak, which is currently standing beside an old ritual space with a magic circle. He manages to cut it down, but it then erupts in a fiery conflagration. He wisely flees again to tackle the war machine.

Meanwhile, Torinn handles the onslaught of kobolds. Between him and the spellcasters, several are slain. Content in Bezaldooz’s ability to handle the last, he moves to aid Peren with the war machine.

Bosabrieln rounds a corner just in time to encounter the angry, flaming remains of the Aurak. It lashes at him and misses before finally burning out and dying.

As Peren and Torinn attack the war machine and its kobold occupants, they inadvertently launch another missile, striking Bezaldooz and a very shocked kobold. The bewildered kobold is easily slain by Bezaldooz and Valna, leaving only the metal behemoth. Finally, Peren scrambles atop it, stabbing his swords into its top. The machine, already sparking and smoking, spilling oil on the cave floor, explodes as he leaps back to the ground. Peren and Torinn are caught in the blast, but receive only minor injuries.

As the dust settles, the group goes about investigating and salvaging. Bezaldooz checks out the magic circle first. He notes that it is carved into the solid rock, and determines that it has been there for several years. However, he cannot determine its function; it was obviously made by a powerful magus, and has lain dormant for a long time. It is also written in Supernal, the language of the gods. He manages to cast his Comprehend Language ritual, but it still leaves the whole thing vague — the circle references teleportation and planar travel, but that’s the most he can get out of it.

Bezaldooz next examines the wreckage of the war machine. He manages to determine its functioning — the thing generates and harnesses lightning, and the power source is a small box marked with an unfamiliar symbol. He determines it is dangerous — whatever fuel the box uses is likely toxic and should not be handled — and decides to leave it.

The group then rests, certain that they are close to the dragon’s lair.

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