Bear Claws

67. The Care Bear Claws

We care about tasty pastries.

Characters: Roland, Jak, Thornside, Xaladin, Murook, Alton
Level: 22
Location: Monadhan, The Domain of Betrayal
NPCs: Dahllia Greenhill, Kas the Betrayer, Arantor

Alton wants to go back to speak with his mother. She insists that what she did was the best choice she could make at the time. It saved Alton’s life. Alton explains to her that her actions mean that he has no more life to go to, the farm, the inn, it’s all gone.

She acknowledges that he is right but she insists she would do it again.

Alton is too angry to keep speaking with her and leaves. She gives Roland a box and asks him to give it to Alton when he has cooled down.

The Bear Claws traipse across the jungle toward the cave entrance that Kas told them about. On the way they discuss alternate ways to traverse the jungle that may or may not be easier/more interesting/faster.

They enter the cave and follow a path down into the earth. Down there they find a rushing waterfall. A troll charges from the waterfall and shouts a riddle at them — the answer to which is obviously ‘river.’

Looking forlorn the troll slinks back into the waterfall. Jak and Thornside make conversation with him and teach him a few more riddles before they continue past.

The next room leads them to a tall cliff, a deep ravine and another cliff with fake handholds. Using a combination of their magic items and skills they make it across then follow another passage only to come to a dead end.

On turning back they find themselves entering a torture chamber rather than the cavern of cliffs. They free a prisoner who is tied to a rack and doors of stone slam over the exits. They understand that the only way to open the doors again is to fill the T-shaped channel in the floor with blood. Jak, Xaladin and Murook each cut themselves and drain some blood into the channel to open the doors.

The prisoner, calling himself Macaebus, says that he went to visit the seer and ate some of her stew. When he woke up he was tied up on the rack in that room. He thinks she sold him to Rolain (who is really Kas) so that he could get past the room in case he needed to.

The Bear Claws continued on and found a room full of statues. In the center is a great silver dragon in a rampant pose. Around the room are six other statues. They are, Irfelujhar — a skeletal creature holding a giant hour glass, Mornujhar — a black dragonborn exarch of Tiamat, Dhallia — Alton’s mother, Guionne — a devil wearing spectacles, Amyria — carved in a pose of great agony, Niuria Angel of Secrets — this looks just like Rachaela only with Vecna’s hand on her chest instead of Kord’s.

The Bear Claws assume this means that Rachaela tricked them somehow and wonder what the statues mean.

As they continue down through the caves they find themselves in a huge cavern so vast they can not see the ends of it. In the distance they can see the glint of light reflecting off of something faintly. As they venture across the cavern a voice speaks above them, taunting them. The voice tells them that nobody leaves the Domain of Betrayal because everybody who is there deserves to be there.

When Jak tries to continue towards the sword and giant skeletal dragon lunges forward out of the gloom and yells at him. The dragon’s tail smashes the ground and the Bear Claws plunge into a rushing underground river. They attack when Jak starts by teleporting next to the dragon and attacking it brutally. The dragon flies up into the air after swiping at him with it’s claws and teeth. The others move around and blast away at the dragon until it lands near Murook who nearly removes its head.

As the dragon falls to the ground it murmurs, “Imrissa, revenge me, forgive me.” A smaller, skeletal dragon begins to claw it’s way from the rib cage of the larger dragon and whispers to Murook as she emerges. Roland takes control of the dragon’s mind and forces her to claw at her father’s body until the other Bear Claws succeed in killing her as well.

They make their way over to the pile of treasure that Arantor has stashed and find the Sword of Kas among the riches. There is also a portal that shows blurring gray trees in half-light.

Kas appears, surrounded by over a hundred vampires. He demands the sword and wants it now, not after the Bear Claws go through the portal. “I expected betrayal, so I brought one of my own.”

As the vampires leap toward them the Bear Claws grab hold of the sword and step through the portal. On the other side they see a forest that is twisted and sickened by magic the trees themselves in a state of undeath. A bell-like gong sounds around them and a voice says, “Finally.”

67

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