In the midst of deadly combat with a Dao and his summoned earth elemental, the heroes focused on trying to break the Dao’s concentration on his conjured ally. Through relentless attacks the party was able to destroy the Dao, though it was a tough fight. The Earth Elemental chose to retreat after the Dao had fallen, and Torvak set about freeing the slaves.
They found out the slaves were all from other places, including a man who was an adventurer from Barty’s town of Brevin who had left for an adventure 40 years ago and never returned. The two earlier freed slaves had made a run for it, their fates uncertain, but Levinia drew a map for the five remaining slaves to find their way to the portal. They were given instructions to wait there, Zoshia gave her water-skin to them and her rations as she could forage for food. Zoshia collected the crystalline dust, the large robes, and the maul the Dao had left behind. One of the slaves tipped them off that more Dao could come, so the party bid the slaves a temporary farewell, and pressed onward.
After about another half a day’s journey, the party arrived at their destination, all too familiar to Levinia. The tower they sought entrance to was 30 feet up a rocky cliff face. Barty ascended the distance as a gaseous form, while Levinia climbed up and attached rope. The rest of the party climbed up, and they decided to leave the rope there in case of a quick escape. Zoshia noticed gargoyle statues carved into the tower, overlooking the main doors. She called out to them in Terran, and they attacked defending the tower, but we’re quickly dispatched with only some minor scrapes and cuts to Barty and Levinia. Reading the letters U R X I S above the door, the party thought it might be a name of some kind, though Zoshia didn’t recognize it as a name of a famous elemental.
The party swung open a large door quietly and scouted out a small room with four pillars, two doors on opposite walls and large plaque. The plaque read “It is a place of hidden riches, it is a wall against all foes, it is a grave for the greedy.” While the party pondered on a potential riddle, they found out the doors led to… one another! A fireball sent through one door collided with Levinia out the other, much to Barty’s dismay. Vanion flipped coins through it with markings to confirm. While Zoshia looked for fake walls or hidden passages, Mezer drew her attention to a trap door on the floor that had her falling through the ceiling! Luckily Barty cast feather fall to ensure a safe journey back down. Through some cunning thought, the party secured a rope in order to climb through the door in the ceiling, which took them out to a new hallway.
Exploring each way, Barty found a beautiful mahogany door, while Zoshia discovered a beaten down oak door. The party decided to head to the oak door (single file as the hallways were a bit cramped) and check out what was inside. They found sacks of dried foods, and at the end of the room a table with a small key and a stone statuette on it. Levinia recognized the statuette as looking like the hulking stone golem that smashed the man in her vision. As Zoshia and the party began to enter, a hulking Xorn emerged from the floor and ate the key right off the table! To be continued….