Bear Claws

40. Sarshan, let down your hair...

Characters: Roland, Jak, James, Xaladin, Alton
Level: 11/12
Location: Elemental Chaos, Under the World Tree, Djamela’s Tower
NPCs: Emil, Pattie, Pug, Quick

After the deaths of the dragons near the giant world tree Pattie digs through their eyes to scramble their brains with a dagger. While exploring the island that the world tree grew on the Bear find the nest that the dragons had made, piling sticks and straw and old dry leaves together into a kind of bed. Nearby is an entrance to a tunnel leading underneath the world tree, twisting and winding about the roots.

The Bear Claws venture inside, seeing Sarshan’s boot prints in the dirt and sensing a strange magical residue that resembles the Blood Chaos. They venture into the darkness following the trail until a cave-in of soil slows them down. When they finally clear the cave-in they can hear the sounds of fighting from further down. They send Pattie to check it out, sneaking down the corridor. She returns to report that there is a cavern with dead skeletons and she saw a Shadar-Kai fleeing through a portal.

The Bear Claws approach cautiously and find a giant 3-headed skeleton, its remains burned and pitted as if with acid lying in the middle of a small cavern that has two unfinished teleportation circles on the floor. A large pipe drips Blood Chaos slowly into a pool in the cavern. Alton and Roland identify the teleportation circles as leading to other places in the Elsir Vale and surmise that they are part of an unfinished plan to pump Blood Chaos into the Vale.

On the remains of the 3-headed skeleton they find a notebook with a letter from Irfelujhar and Onthorirfel that speak of tasks to find ritual components and a record of transactions working to obtain items for somebody.

Passing through the portal where Pattie saw Sarshan go the Bear Claws find themselves on a floating earthberg in a sea of lava. In the distance is the burning City of Brass — the stronghold of the Efreets that have tamed a part of the Elemental Chaos. Nearby is an island seemingly cooled out of the sea of lava into a solid mass of razor sharp obsidian. In the center of the island rises a square tower, 200 feet high, also of shiny black obsidian.
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Waiting for them on the earthberg is a fire elemental, a fire lizard and a duergar who begin attacking immediately. On the edge of the island stand two githyanki warriors who draw their silver swords and leap across the sea of lava to attack the Bear Claws.

Roland dumps the fire lizard into the lava, killing it. The duergar and the flame elemental try to blast the Bear Claws with fire, attempting to knock them into the lava in turn. James catches himself on the edge and the everybody attacks. The earthbergs drift around in the sea of fire leaving Roland floating away on a small berg.

The Bear Claws succeed in killing the duergar, flame elemental and githyanki and then make their way to the island. As they approach the tower the doors open and Pug and Quick emerge.

Pug congratulates Jak on being called Clankiller, thinking it an honor. Jak disagrees with him but Pug seems to ignore his arguments, warning him that Sarshan has powerful friends and he should watch out. Pug tells him that he would be a great ally if he were on the right side.

Quick goads James and tells Alton that he’s lucky Malthazard couldn’t fully manifest or Overlook would have burned down. James charges and Quick sidesteps, knocks him down and takes his weapon.

He drops the weapon on the ground, tells James he’s “too busy to do this right now,” and walks away. James tries to shoot him with his bow but misses and as they watch there is a bright flash and Pug and Quick disappear through some kind of portal.

Inside the tower the Bear Claws find a large gallery that is quickly filling up with lava from underneath. Across the gallery is a teleportation circle. They quickly rush across the room and jump into the circle where they find another room with some undead specters inside. As they begin to move across the room the walls begin to close in on the room. Proceeding to the next room the ceiling starts to move downward. There is a third room that contains a set of doors guarded by a flesh golem. The resulting fight is given tension by the fact that the ceiling and walls are moving in to crush them while the monsters attempt to kill them before that can happen.
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They kill the flesh golem and escape through the door just in time to keep from being crushed and find themselves on the room of the tower. Several githyanki are arrayed around the rooftop guarding the portal the Bear Claws appear in. Opposite them is Sarshan and two Shadar-Kai warriors inside a force bubble working on scribing another teleportation ritual into the rooftop. Below them the dikes around the rim of the island have broken down in places and the sea of lava is starting to flow, slowly, across the island.

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