Rise of the Runelords

The Hidden Beast

The Spires of Xin-Shalast, Part 12

Toilday, 24 Erastus, 4734

As the Rune Wardens approach Xin-Shalast, Marcus thinks back to his recent shopping trip in Magnimar.

In the Bazaar of Sales, he visited the stall of Tendertoes’ Soles, operated by a shoeless halfling named Tilly Tendertoes. She would be able to provide him with boots of freedom of movement, but first Marcus needed to shore up his finances. He asked where he might find someone interested in buying wendigo parts. She directed him to the tent of Kusa Komba.

Kusa Komba was a Garundi man with spectacles and strange scars on his face that pulsed with an unearthly pink energy. Marcus and Zavian haggled with him over the wendigo parts, ultimately convincing him to part with 3,250gp for the lot.

Marcus was troubled by the thought that the components could be used for evil purposes. He was even more troubled when Zavian revealed that they still have other items to sell, making the deal with Kusa Komba unnecessary. Marcus vowed to find a way to right the scales for any arm his decision caused.

Back in the present, Zavian returns from scouting ahead to warn the party about what he saw in the city. They debate how to get inside and what to do with the cart. After deciding to use wind walk to infiltrate the city, they realize they need to wait for Zavian to receive new spells from Sarenrae.

They retreat back to the cave of the giant sentinels and spend several hours disposing of the bodies and cleansing the snow of any obvious sign of battle. Marcus creates a rope trick inside the cave, and most of the party retreats inside. Lea and Zavian intend to trade off watch duty, while Amelia also sleeps in the cavern.

During Zavian’s brief period of rest, Lea notices a frost giant and a squad of stone giants approaching. The paladin wakes Amelia and casts enlarge on her. Per their plan, Amelia uses a hat of disguise to make herself look like the dead frost giant Bjormundal. Then she casts glibness.

Using the disguise and her bardic magic, Amelia persuades the patrol that the cloud giants are chasing off some harmless interlopers. When the other frost giant chastises “Bjormundal” for sleeping at his post, she accuses him of being late and suggests that they just report that all is well instead of escalating the issue to the Rune Giants.

Wealday, 25 Erastus, 4734

The following morning, the party disassembles the cart into two pieces. Zavian uses the spell treasure stitching to bind the cart components and the clockwork horses into three big carpets for easier transport. The cleric then uses the wind walk spell to allow the party to infiltrate the city posing as fast-moving bits of cloud.

The adventurers agreed that their first stop would be helping the Spared, the creatures who dwell in the tunnels below the city. The ice nymph Svevenka had warned that they were being preyed upon by an alien vampiric entity called the Hidden Beast. In gaseous form, Lea finds an entrance to the sewers and leads the party down.

After they break into the main sewer, most of the party reverts to their physical form. Grenja remains gaseous for greater ease moving in the tight quarters. To keep pace with the rest of the group, Zavian uses his fluttering wings to propel her vapors in front of them. The cleric leads the party through the warren of tunnels, following a set of human-sized footprints.

At an intersection, the adventurers find themselves suddenly surrounded by a band of blubbery, hairless humanoids. The leader, Morgiv, challenges them. They quickly persuade him of their good intentions and he comes to believe they are the prophesied saviors of the spared foretold by the ancient Mesmina. Morgiv believes they have come to destroy the Hidden Beast that oppresses his people.

As he leads them on a circuitous route towards the creature’s lair, Morgiv tells the party about the history of the Spared. They are the descendants of slaves who fled into the catacombs below Xin-Shalast to escape the cataclysm that destroyed Thassilon. Guided by the priestess Mesmina, they created a new society below the earth, where they have existed for 500 generations.

A few decades ago, the Spared tunneled into the lair of the Hidden Beast and it has been preying upon them ever since. No one has seen the creature, hence the name, but it has disappeared many Spared and turned others into vampire servants. The party uses this knowledge to make ready their spells and devise a strategy.

They approach the creature’s lair from two sides: Marcus, Zavian, and a gaseous Grenja from the east, and Lea, Amelia, Ameiko, and Reri from the west. Lea uses detect undead to start drawing a bead on the creatures within, while Zavian casts hide from undead on the party and Marcus makes use of invisibility and see invisibility on himself.

This proves crucial in the ensuing fight. Most of the undead are able to see the party, while Marcus’ spells let him see the invisible vampire decapod that is the Hidden Beast. Zavian and Lea blast them with positive energy, Zavian makes extensive use of Sunspark’s searing light, and Marcus pulls off a successful chain lightning. Grenja, finally gaining physical form, hacks the Hidden Beast into a puff of smoke.

Lea uses gaseous form to follow the hidden beast down to its lair to ritually kill it with stake and sword. Marcus does the same to the vampire skulks. Morgiv is overjoyed and promises to reward the party in one day’s time. They also request a map of the tunnel complex so they can navigate the city without being seen.

They question Morgiv about several other items of interest. He doesn’t know anything about Viorian Dekanti or [[:flint | Flint]. He does know of the storm giant Nenzir, who dwells in the Shahlaria fortress, where the storm and cloud giants have gathered. Morgiv notes that the giants also carried a wooden ship to the Shahlaria. Newer recruits, meanwhile, gather in a camp near the entrance to the city where they acclimate themselves to the altitude.

Lea asks about the lamias. Morgiv says that Most High Ceoptra resides in the Spires, rarely descending from the mountain. The main body of lamias reside in the Temple of Divine Consumption at the foot of the mountain. The redheaded barbarian lamia Malakah is also known to the spared, a huntress that prowls the wilds, one that the other lamias do not think highly of.

Morgiv provides the party with directions to a safe space in the catacombs where they can rest. Lea and Marcus are interested in making Nenzir and the Shahlaria their next target.

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