With the group split, Arime wakes up alone and hung over in the Tipsy Pelican after a night of partying like all half-orc do. Drinking. Clueless as to where the rest of the team is, off in the woods, it is only with the aid of an Animal Messenger, sent by Thea, that she learns the way to Elqen Naefir’s secret elven batman tree fort. Sneaking out of town, while still hungover, through Everett Whitlock’s guards of the EWTF (Everett Whitlock Task Force), she reunites with the group— after getting stopped by Riff at the entrance to the tree fort, like the good secretary he is. Now reunited, the team must make their way to Mount Kilimanjaro. But with an eight day journey by foot ahead of them, the prospects of getting back in time before Everett can do any more damage look bleak.
The group speaks with Olly Baba in hopes his remaining Thieves’ Guild members can get them in possession of several swift horses. He sends Riff into town to acquire the mounts. In the meantime, while waiting for Riff, the group decides to speak to the spirit residing in the king once more. Morrigan seances the spirit out for the rest of the group to ask it questions and learn more about it. Aladon immediately recognizes the spirit for what it is; a form of phantasmal parasite that feeds off the life of whomever it possesses. Though it promises it will not kill the king, the canny Cleric sees through its deception and raises his shield.
With a brilliant flare of holy light, he casts Turn Undead upon it and sends it fleeing from the king’s body, freeing the king of his possession. Though the group spends some time keeping a wary eye out for the spirit’s return, it does not, and Riff returns with the horses. Gathering provisions and preparing for their journey, they set off to Mount Kilimanjaro.
Within no less than two hours into their eight day round trip journey, the group proceeds to wander off course lured to the ruins of an old fort like ADD addled treasure hungry children with the attention spans of concussed gnats.
Through their collective knowledge of general regional history, the group finds that the fortress is the remnants of a castle that endured a war long past, now left empty and in ruin. Or so they thought. Morrigan once again displayed her incredible lock picking skills by shooting the drawbridge chains and causing it to lower, but the fort was not as empty as they had thought, when Thea took the form of a tiger and scouted ahead. They party was met with loosed arrows as lizardmen fired upon them from the ramparts above.
A short, but heated fight broke out, but the lizard people were slain, allowing the group to begin exploring the castle. Alerted to traps thanks to Thea’s clever use of a Detect Trap spell, the team… Slowly investigated each room, using Morrigan’s Mage Hand to test every door- only for someone to nearly fall into a spike pit. Several lizardmen ambushes later, and the group enters a temple-like chamber, with an owl statue set upon a pedestal. Careful examination proved it to be another trap, as it was set on a pressure plate. But a careless and casual use of Mage Hand lifted it away and left the hail of arrows from the ceiling with no one to land on.
Further in the chamber however, the party encounters a water elemental. Attempts to communicate fail, but it proves non-hostile. However it was soon joined by an earth elemental, taking place at its side, after causing a tremor powerful enough to shake the room and make nearly everyone fall on their asses. Nevertheless, when language failed, Morrigan attempted to reach into their minds, only to hear a familiar voice reply back. Two familiar voices, as the elementals shapeshift into twin gnomes. Caylen and Callen- the two gnomes that had helped the team escape Everett Whitlock’s jail cells at the start of their adventure. As it turns out, they are seeking out their old wizard companion, Bail; whom they say was kidnapped by lizardmen and taken to the fort.
Beginning their search for Bail, the group enters a chamber filled with riches; gold coins and massive gems, each decorated with a spider insignia. A momentary pause overtakes the team as ripples of caution and wariness fill Aladon, Morrigan, and Trask, remembering the lair of the spider cult under the City of the Dead. Though caution gives way to greed as the team loots the riches for armor and trinkets, before a massive monstrosity emerges in the room.
Recognizing the beast as Infernal, Aladon focused his holy flames upon it while the others did what damage they could best do against its resistance to their attacks. Issue came when a massive blue spider teleported into the treasure chamber, doubling the threat, before… Bail emerged.
He demanded to know what the party was doing and that they were interrupting his studies on the phase spiders. Realizing him to be a member of the spider cult, they group manages to end hostilities, and back away from a very confused and conflicted Caylen and Callen, who had come to rescue Bail in the first place. Spending the night in the barracks – now empty of dead lizardmen – the group recuperates and begins their journey anew after wasting a day, but making off with some sweet loot.
But not all was well back at Broadsea. Just partially into their ride out a messenger from the Thieves’ Guild caught up with the group to tell them that an army of spiders had invaded and were fighting Everett Whitlock’s forces. Set in their task, however, the party continues on to Kilimanjaro, pausing at a mine along the way when they found a cyclops beating up on a dwarven miner. Trying to rescue the miner proved dangerous when the Cyclops battered Aladon soundly. Morrigan used her Hold Person spell upon it to buy the group time to get the dwarf and flee as fast as they could when more giant eyes appeared visible in the mines and ready to join the fight, running off as fast as their horses could go.
Owl: Oh this is cute. And handy. It can turn into a giant owl for eight hours if I use it, and keeps in contact with me mentally.
Armor?: Leather! My favorite! And it’s not cursed, too! In fact it’s pretty warm. Like: Will protect me from frost spells, warm.
Arime: Getting clever. Maybe there was more to the half-orc than I thought.
Caylen and Callen: For a second I was horrified. Then I remembered who they were. Then I was annoyed. They ditched us with the old man back in jail! After we helped them too.
Bail: Oho. A spider cult member? Maybe these Phase Spiders are a bigger threat than we all thought.
Cyclopses: … Could they be related to this? I know Princess Dravinia, of the spider cult had cyclops guards. This is too much to be coincidence…
Miner: Oh boy another mouth to feed.