The flowers of the azethiel cactus called Thangobrind over the dunes . Two moons lit the party’s way along the long, cold, exhausting march. The frost took its toll on Adrik, but Ghesh seemed refreshed by it, if anything. After a number of hours, we saw the shadow of ruins silhouetted across the moons. We came across a path lined with Brobdingnagian statues of humanoids with weathered hoods & humps resembling lions’ manes and the occasional wing, holding what could have once been weapons. Though one had clearly been shattered, it was impossible to tell whether age or violence had broken the rest. The gnome identified this as what remained of a dynasty that had been lost to time- Agoritha’s.
As the group sheltered from the wind behind a remaining pedestal, Mizris’etah noticed a pyramid of worn stone, with a pulsating glow coming from the top. They circled the pyramid searching for entrances, but found nothing save one path of leading up, exposed to the brunt of the wind. The gnome lashed himself to Kildrak’s back, and Mizri tied a rope around herself & Adrik. The wind proved too strong for her light frame, blowing her off the path twice- once she caught herself with the spider’s blessing, but the second time the rogue nearly pulled Adrik off with her. Ghesh, of all people, caught Mizri’s rope, and was able to halt her fall long enough to belay back to the path.
The light at the top was blinding, pulsing with arcane power, but there was a shaft leading down into the pyramid from which the group could climb. Xxenetaxx and Mizri agreed they would investigate- he floated down as she was slowly lowered with most of the remaining rope. The highest room of the cliff had no apparent danger- save the glowing crystal & musical instruments at the center. Xxenetaxx floated back up to sound the all clear while Mizri investigated the mummified pets, treasure, & painting of hobgoblins along the wall. The glowing bagpipes and Hobgoblin Wardrums could wait for someone more knowledgeable.
Upon Thango’s entrance, he put two and two together- Hobgoblin paintings, Agortiha’s tomb- Xxenetaxx knew about the Dracolich. He had brought the downfall of his empire, the undeath of the dragon, and his imprisonment on the cursed isle, upon himself. The spirit of the long-dead confessed he had worshiped her undying soul for the necromantic powers his sages promised would come with, but an empire’s prayers were enough to breath a second life into her bones.
Desperate to redeem himself and free the spirits of his people after untold years of imprisonment and exile, Xxenetaxx claimed that he could use the apparatus to regain more control over his army and use it to destroy Agoritha’s threat forever; if only the party would trust him. They walked into the glowing crystal to plan- noting Draconic runes of domination over the elements inscribed on the inside, and how things seemed somehow more “real” deeper through the path inside. Despite the obvious dangers of trusting a ghost who had given his empire to her once, betrayed them already, and having nothing but his promise that he regretted the actions, the combined knowledge of the group agreed that her power was all that was holding the spirits to life, on on her defeat, one way or another the army of undead would vanish from this world. They agreed was enough to make the risk worthwhile, and returned to the emperor, waiting outside.
Ghesh took up the mallets to beat on the crystal in time with its rhythmic pulse and Xxenetaxx played a soulful dirge on the hobgoblin bagpipes. The walls of the pyramid seemed to melt away, and the ghostly legion appeared. From below, Agoritha could be heard screaming.
*Stuff that wouldn’t flow:
Thango marveled over the historical value of finding the ruins & talked about how he wanted to Linked Portal it to Gloomhaven, for “research purposes”. Maybe he & I could take this short way back while the rest go get our wyverns?
I nabbed 10K in rubies while alone in the pyramid. Failed a history check, so all I know is they look fancy.
We also found scrolls of Overland Flight & Divine Sight.