The Wardens of Steel, hardened from the previous day’s exertions and a little mentally shaken, were physically bolstered by a good night’s rest. The party pulled on their armour, ruffled out the kinks and loosened up for another day of risking their lives.
The group ventured out of the underground complex below the crumbling tower and onto the small island. The swirling dim fog which filled the mythal had impeded seeing anything on the previous day, but now, for whatever reason, Paran was able to see much further than he had been able to before. He could make out the beginnings of a town across the water, with ruined buildings and docks along the far edge of the bank. While to the south, a huge palatial home, a squat tower and a bridge awaited them.
Kaelen was set on visiting the tower and the party set out. The majority waded across the river, except Paran who floated above them, propelled by a spell of overland flight. The party headed to the tower and as they approached saw the first bright and colourful thing they’d seen since entering the mythal – some sort of sign on the edge of the tower. The group approached and discovered that the outside of the tower featured a permanent semi-three-dimensional map of Myth Bellavae. The party hadn’t been sure if this was the fabled place or not, and now it was confirmed.
Taking some time, they explored the mansion to the west and the squat defensive tower. A few minor items were discovered, but nothing of great significance. The party approached the bridge with intent to cross, but after a quick engineering investigation, realized that they’d likely fall through the bridge. If they fell in the water, it wasn’t too far from a long plunge over the falls…
The plan was decided that they would return to the island and cross back to the east bank at the same spot they originally crossed over from. The party headed back the way they came and returned to the original crossing point and found the north wall of Myth Bellavae. Following along the edge of the crumbling old walls, they eventually found their way to an old abandoned stable and the completely collapsed and crumbled towers of the Singer’s Gate.
The party ventured inside the walls for the first time, eyeballed the destroyed buildings nearby, and turned to the left – headed straight up towards Stilmyst Palace. Half way up the long sloping road leading up the palace gates, Paran and Foxfire spotted a few huge creatures moving in the trees a few hundred feet away. The group froze in their tracks and watched. A few small movements, a couple of loud calls, and a flap of the wing and they knew that they were observing an aerie of giant birds. The only logical conclusion was giant eagles! The party watched for a few moments, but having not yet been attacked continued up the slope and away from the nest.
Ascending to the top of the hill they arrived outside Stilmyst palace. Paran was able to get a better line of sight by floating a little higher in the air, but little was spotted. The party approached the main gate and as they got closer they began to see debris spread all across the paving stones in front of the gates. Closer and closer, more and more debris, and it all started to take shape: bones. The area was littered with bones and the remnants of corpses.
The party, encamped just twenty metres from the gates spied everything they could within the gates and in front of it. Bones by the thousands, some ancient and withered, others still attached to whole bodies. Amongst the bodies, scaring everyone a bit, were beholders. Whatever was through this gate was killing beholders, and not only them, but drow and Mirran panthers as well.
Paran sparked on to the idea, “Hey… there’s no eagles! I’m going to float up higher.” Paran rose up over the edge of the walls to be able to see inside. A large castle courtyard opened up before him and standing in the centre of the courtyard surrounded by pillars topped with statues was a huge metallic golem. The golem had the curvature of a woman, and Paran felt she had a distinctly elven styling to her armour. But, he didn’t recognize this type of construct – it was some sort of mixed alloy.
“Hello there!” shouted Paran. “Who do you serve?”
“NONE SHALL PASS!”
With that new information, Paran returned to the group. They continued their discussion, and Paran filled the party in on what he knew about constructs, and what some properties might be of a construct like this one. She stood 16’ tall, was incredibly strong, and seemed to be made of an alloy of mithral, iron and gold.
At a loss on what to do next, and in no way desiring a confrontation with the golem, the Wardens decided to retreat and to search for the three items mentioned in Lord Kallastair’s letter. Brainstorming was done as to the location of the Silverthorn woods, and it occurred to Paran he knew where it was. Evermeet! Clearly, going there was no option at this point in time and they just had to hope that Aenwyn had brought the three items with her on her journey and that those items hadn’t yet left Myth Bellavae.
Paran took a quick tour of the outside of the walls and the palace itself and was able to detect the presence of magic all over. It was protected by Guards and Wards and other spells which were being purposefully masked that he couldn’t decipher. He returned to the party with the new information. Everyone agreed that the only way to go forward was to fight, and no one deemed that to be a good idea.
The Wardens of Steel descended from the palace past the eagle aerie and arrived at the base of the hill. Turning immediately left past a building which would have been impressive once, but now seemed to stand as a monument to the wildness of nature. It was covered in vines and overgrown trees, though the vibrancy of the wildness seemed to have been lost at some point over the years.
The party approached the next building and just as they were arriving at the large estate house, Paran and Foxfire noticed movement in the large walled chapel compound immediately to the south of where they were. The party fanned out into the estate house to hide and watch, while also doing a bit of searching. The searching and the waiting both proved fruitfful. A sigil was found repeatedly scrawled on the building and the party didn’t know what to make of it other than it looked a bit like a diagram of abjuration magic. From searching the estate, a magic scroll in an ancient scroll case was discovered which would allow the caster to create a magic circle against evil. From the surveillance, a scouting party of drow returning to the chapel was spotted and confirmed the party’s fears.
The party, wary of making the mistake of attacking potential allies, decided to send Kaelen and Lauryll’ana forward to “parlay.” Half way to the compound the arrows began to fly and the fight was on. Kaelen and Lauryll’ana rushed towards the gates of the compound and unleashed a conjoined bull rush manoeuvre. The gates were thrown open and the two paladins suddenly found themselves face to face with over a dozen angry drow.
As the paladins were rushing in under a hail of arrow fire, Paran was unleashing hell. A massive fireball which ignited everything around it went off inside the compound, and was quickly followed by a second, regular, fireball. The drow were badly injured by this exchange and in the battle that ensued between them and the two paladins, plus their slow to join reinforcements, was quick and decisive for the Wardens of Steel.
The session ended mid-combat with the party still being threatened by eight drow archers and their nefarious sleep poison tipped arrows. Will the party finish mopping up the opposition? What else will the Wardens of Steel discover as they climb the chapel?