Rise of the Runelords

The Moon Temple of Desna

The Spires of Xin-Shalast, Part 7

Fireday, 29 Sarenith, 4734

The second day out from Kaer Maga is hot and dusty, with the wind in their faces. Zavian guides them even further out of their way to avoid a Cinderstorm. Fortuitously, they stumble across a hidden oasis. On inspection, the pool seems to have been drawn up from the earth using magic.

Lea quickly undresses and jumps into the pool to cool off. Ameiko is right behind her. Not wanting to be left out, Vivi strips down to her clay and follows. Not long after, Nualia and Idun join in the fun. Marcus is dismissive of the nonsense, but Lea splashes him with water.

Clean and refreshed, they settle in for the night in another stone cavern carved out by Zavian and Marcus. Lea and Ameiko pitch a tent for “privacy.” Zavian, meanwhile, sets up his tools to do some crafting during his long watch. He is interrupted by a now very clean Vivi, who wants to chat.

She tells him how she had been hoping the journey from Sandpoint would give Zavian and Nualia a chance to reconnect, but she is starting to feel that this won’t happen. She explains how she liked it when they were together and happy and she could look to them both for guidance.

Zavian praises how far Vivi has come on her own and urges her to keep developing as her own person. But he admits that he still has some feelings for Nualia and is conflicted about how to proceed given his duty to helping Elszevina. Vivi expresses hope that he can figure out what he needs to do. She also tells him how urgent it is to resolve Nualia’s arm issue, as even the protective bracer Zavian gifted her is starting to fail under Lamashtu’s wrath.

Starday, 30 Sarenith – Toilday, 3 Erastus, 4734

Over the following few days, the Rune Wardens draw closer to the Wyvern Mountains. As they approach the foothills, Marcus casts arcane eye to scout ahead. He comes across signs of a battle with a strange creature, as well as several fresh burial cairns. The adventurers go to investigate and with help from a prying eyes spell, track down to surviving Shoanti women.

The Moon Maidens are a warrior, Ayala, and a wounded sorceress, Seyem. The party treats their wounds while the Lyrune-Quah women explain that they were guardians of Desna’s Moon Temple. The sacred site was attacked by a winged snake woman and her enormous chimera companion. Seeing as the temple was the party’s destination, they promise to drive out the invaders.

The Moon Maidens explain that the sanctum is warded with powerful magics and so likely hasn’t been profaned. That is where Nualia’s cleansing ritual must occur. There is a secret back door to the chamber, which Seyem tells them about. The Rune Wardens leave the two women with Ameiko and then proceed to the temple with Nualia, Vivi and Idun.

Once inside the temple, they attempt to stealthily make their way to the narrow passage to the sanctum. However, the winged snake woman (a fallen lillend azata) appears along with her huge primal chimera. The monster’s dragon head scorches them with fire while the lillend bombards them with spells and bardic powers. Zavian shields little Idun from the flames with his wings.

Lea uses a spell to swap places with the tiny azata and Idun reluctantly flits down the secret passage. Astrid spider climbs up the side of the wall, while Zavian takes flight. The lillend continues to target Astrid with spells, but the half-elf woman manages to shrug off the worse effects.

The enormous chimera has the traditional dragon, lion, and goat heads, but its tail also bears a serpent head. This snake coils around Nualia and pulls her close, then swallows her whole.

The lillend swoops close to Astrid and inflicts nasty wounds on her face before retreating. The half-elf princess responds with a volley of arrows that pins the fallen celestial to the cavern wall wher her body disintegrates into putrescence. But Nualia is still caught inside the snake-headed tail.

Lea uses magic to free the badly wounded aasimar even as the chimera closes in on Astrid. The monster’s buffeting wings fail to dislodge the Rune Wardens, but Vivi is knocked to the ground.

Marcus enlarges himself to go after the chimera. Zavian reaches Nualia and restores her health with a passionate breath of life kiss… just in time for the dragon head to blast them with fire and nearly knock her under.

Astrid is then grabbed and swallowed by the snake-headed tail. The agony inflicted on her is transmitted through her magical link with Zavian, who now teeters on the edge of consciousness himself. In a fury, Lea flies up to the chimera and removes its heads. Marcus uses his enlarged ranseur to cut Astrid free of the snake tail. Nualia, meanwhile, returns the favor by healing Zavian.

The party searches the area and begins the process of cleansing the temple of Lamashtu’s tainted touch while they wait for the moon to rise. Lea harvest’s the chimera’s dragon head for her trophy collection.

At the appropriate hour of the evening, Nualia enters the Moon Altar room to cleanse herself of Lamashtu’s curse. At Idun’s urging, the Rune Wardens draw upon their unique abilities to help her through the challenging process. Zavian in particular casts numerous spells to assist her.

Though arduous, the ritual is ultimately a success, releasing Nualia from her nascent demonhood and restoring her left arm to its natural state. Afterwards, Nualia thanks the party but announces that she and Vivi will not join them on the journey to Xin-Shalast. She gestures to Zavian for them to find a quiet place to speak alone.

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