With the gibbering mouther defeated, Elvira had some of her mezzodemons gather some of the mouther’s remaining teeth, eyes, and bodily ooze. The party had time to notice a small pictogram of them talking to the high priest of Silsarcia on one of the Comm Tower’s spires. Understanding that it was a communication log of some sort, the party looked briefly at the other pictograms adorning the wall. The previous ten pictograms featured a female tiefling (presumably Elvira Fatebearer). In some, she was talking to a dragonborn commander, but she was talking to a dark cloud with teeth and eyes in several others.
Before the pictures with Elvira, there were hundreds of pictures with small, four-armed humanoid creatures talking to other small, four-armed humanoid creatures. Other times, the small humanoids were talking to a giant snake, dark clouds, dragons, and a giant tree. The party asked Elvira if she knew that the pictures were there and Elvira said that she did, although she seemed rather uncomfortable and tried to change the subject from the communication log. The party did not press her on the matter, instead changing the subject to Aganazzer’s whereabouts.
Elvira, relieved to be talking about anything different, told the party that she did not know where Aganazzer was, but knew where he was going… The ruins of Il’ Mendrash (the ruined city near Thor’s Point where Celthalion had a vision of Bheilorveilthion the Crimson and was granted his armor). Aganazzer was heading there to begin rebuilding the great temple.
The party plotted for a few minutes before a few demons stormed up the tower and announced, “Lady Fatebearer, the Aelarin has had some unusual reactions to the Temple…”
Xander Drake Aelarin finished climbing the tower and looked unusually grey of skin. He also had a 3’ long black dragon tail that he was partially able to control emerging from his tailbone.
The demon continued, “We have a full set of completed reports that you may view at your leisure, your lady.”
Although Elvira was worried about how the party would react to this, Xander coped by telling a few jokes at his own expense. Gias was even heard saying, “I want to be a mutant! Can you make me spit poison?”
Relieved, Elvira said that she would keep the party informed about the progress of her research.
They spoke cordially about the party’s plan to go and meet Aganazzer, although revenge seemed to be on the minds of the party members. Their conversation was interrupted by a strange noise emerging from the east… It sounded like “Caw… nnnnngh” Celthalion, Gias, and Xander correctly identified that the sound was like that of a crow. Maldora correctly identified that the sound was like that of a flesh golem.
Trying to figure out what the sound was, Celthalion dubbed it a “Crowlem” and the name stuck. After a minute or so, the crowlem landed on one of the spires of the comm tower. The crowlem looked to be a very old bird, many of its feathers were gone, flesh had been grafted onto it in various spots, and small vials with bubbling green liquid stuck out of its neck. The crowlem squawked again, the vials bubbled.
The party noticed that the crowlem had a message tied to its foot. Xander grabbed and read: “To Master Xander Drake Aelarin and Master Anduren of Aruthiel” Xander read the address aloud, pronouncing the second name “Arden of Arthus?” Gias corrected him and revealed his history to the party.
The note was from Gias’ old loan shark: Kellare “Cutthroat” Fellmaro. Kellare had captured Xander’s brother, Zachariah, and was holding him ransom for the full amount of money that Anduren owed him: 350,000 gp (the original loan was for 50,000 but 20 years of compound interest does horrible things to debt). Alternately, if the money was not available, Kellare would release Zachariah to Xander in exchange for Xander killing Gias.
Xander summarized the party’s motivation and situation: “Kellare must be pretty stupid. I don’t care about my brother, let him die. However, we don’t need another enemy left alive. I say we stop by his place and kill him before we confront Aganazzer.”
Gias knew where Kellare’s hideout was and he led the party there. They left the wagon behind a small hillock and approached. The prison camp was on a hill with well-trimmed shrubberies and trees. A cobblestone path led up to the mansion. People were outside in the pond swimming, talking, and writing poetry. The party was too appalled to notice Kellare’s scouts watching them.
After planning for a while, Maldora hopped atop her orcs and decided to walk in the front door, posing as a stripper. Given to Kellare as a gift by a friend.
They approached. The people at the pond ran away, screaming, “Orcs! Demons! We’re under attack!” They had clearly returned to Zanthia. The orc who did not drum knocked on the front door. An armed guard opened the door, “how can I help you” he asked. When he saw the beasts at the door, he screamed, shut the door, and locked it. There was a bit of yelling and the guard reopened the door, gulping. He said, “come in, the boss will see you.”
Maldora introduced herself, “I am entertainment, sent to you as a gift by a good friend of yours.”
Kellare asked, “who do I know that could afford such a fine gift?”
Maldora, thinking on her feet, responded “Aganazzer.”
Kellare responded, “is that so? Well then, come in!” (Kellare had no idea who Aganazzer was)
Maldora was kind of creeped out and decided that she didn’t really want to go in. Kellare eventually convinced her to come in. Maldora noticed that Zachariah was sitting, tied to a chair next to Kellare. The crowlem sat atop Kellare’s shoulder. Twelve armed guards stood around in the room, half terrified, half aroused. After talking for a while, Kellare asked Maldora “what are the chances that your friends would come and rescue you if anything bad happened to you?”
Maldora, sensing the threat, responded by threatening to kill everyone in the room if Kellare so much as made an inappropriate hand gesture at her. Kellare recoiled and offered her a seat, far away from him.
Maldora sat down and everyone was so distracted that they didn’t notice Xander sneaking in the back. Xander had a look around but didn’t see Zachariah.
Eventually, Gias and Celthalion decided to set the building on fire. Using their Adventurers’ Kits, they ignited an outer wall of the mansion. Kellare ordered several of his men to go out and put the fires out. Gias and Celthalion then decided to storm in and attack Kellare and the crowlem.
Combat began. Kellare ran and cowered in the corner… The years had been bad for his nerves and mental state.
Celthalion killed Kellare “Cutthroat” Fellmaro while Fellmaro was crying behind a chair, waiting for the fighting to end.
The party made it out of the building (with Zachariah) and managed to loot some fine silks, cheeses, and artwork, but the other prisoners all died, buried beneath the mansion.
Zachariah begrudgingly thanked Xander for saving him, although he was ashamed that he had to be saved. Xander punched his brother a few times to get him to stop whining. Zachariah revealed that Kellare’s men offered him a job as a tour guide, but instead kidnapped him and brought him here. Although Zachariah had no part in selling the party out, the party almost decided to leave Zachariah to starve to death in the woods. Maldora said that she would go with Zachariah and drop him off at Queensport, she wouldn’t just leave him here.
Zachariah thanked them for taking him along. He asked if they would let him go clean off in the pond before they left… He had been stuck in a dungeon for weeks and felt horrible.
Eventually, Zachariah was allowed to stay in the back of the wagon, but was told to be silent or be abandoned.
That night, Gias had a dream about Acna. Acna complimented Gias’s prowess in battle and his desire for the hunt. The next day, Gias felt his holy symbol’s power grow.
The party continued on their way to Il’ Mendrash… They encountered an owlbear and a shadow panther along the way. The meeting ended on the road.