In the wake of the battle with Yarnath’s Raiders, our beleaguered group mourns the loss of their comic relief, Jhakal. After removing his shiny new magic hide armor and Giantkind Gloves which Nnn’tkk sadly adorns himself with, they build a funeral pyre and send his ashes to the wind.
The Mul who took the life of the raider who slew Jhakal is shunned by the caravan folk after harsh words accusing him of being involved with the raiders and is left behind with the party. He introduces himself as Yazu. Nnn’tkk quietly mutters the Thri-Kreen equivelant of ‘gesundheit’. The party questions Yazu and grudgingly accepts that he means them no ill will even though he is marked with the bear snake-skull tattoo of the raider band. Yazu adds his quiet strength to the group.
After geometric inspection of the whirlwind, the party decides to investigate its depths. Pieter wraps himself in garments to protect his face from the whirling sand, and ventures directly into the whirlwind grasping one end of a rope that the rest of the party holds tight. After a grueling trial of blind wandering, pushing against the immense force of the harsh sand, Pieter emerges! Several feet away from where he started.
Seeing that their strongest member is uninjured, the group decides to send in their slightly weaker, but highly intuitive Thri-kreen. Wrapping himself expertly against the sand, creating a rope harness, and securing the free end of the rope to a rock, Nnn’tkk plows in to the whirling sand and overcomes the wind to emerge in the calm eye of the storm. Nnn’tkk ties his end of the rope to a close rock and examines what he sees before him.
A large rocky structure sits in the center of the eye of the storm; its entrance shaped like a face with two obelisks at its forefront. Squinting from the distance, Nnn’tkk can see several creatures in the darkness of the cave-like maw. Knowing that getting closer could mean a fight, Nnn’tkk attaches his harness to the rope and quickly rejoins the others on the outside of the whirlwind to update them on the situation.
The entire group decides to venture to this Face in the Stone. Wrapping against the sandblasting and grasping the rope lead, they venture into the whirlwind and out on to the other side. Llorana barely manages to keep with the group, and was almost swept away.
After catching her breath, Llorana sneaks closer to see what she can of the creatures and the obelisks. Pieter’s assessment of the obelisks is that they could be arcane in nature, judging by the glyphs carved on their faces and the shimmering electricity faintly seen.
The cave seems to be inhabited by Hedgekin. Pieter and Yazu attempt some diplomatic shouting. The fight begins. Hedgekin appear from the walls, and the pillars send out jolts of lightning. Luckily the first shot of lightning aimed at Pieter is deftly grabbed and tossed aside. The rest of the party joins in and swiftly dispatches the chittering beasts.
The party examines the halls of the cave, and discovers a door (making sure to stay out of the pillar’s line of sight!).
The glyphs on the door are vaguely translated to say something about a Relic/Dust Kraken/Mouths of thirst. The party takes a short break to determine their options.
Yazu decides he should try charging the door. As he runs past Pieter, who is relieving himself on the cave wall, Pieter turns hastily around to see what is going on and sprays Yazu with urine just before he slams into the door. Lightning jumps out of the door and blasts a nearby cave wall, but the door doesn’t budge.
Rolling her eyes, Llorana approaches the door with her locket. As she draws closer, it begins to hum and vibrate. She opens it and the rod inside flies into the door, causing it to shimmer vibrantly and disappear. The doors slide open.
A corridor is visible beyond. There are three doors, one to the left, right, and straight in front of the group. Checking behind the doors on the sides of the passage, the group finds a basin-like altar in each of them. The one of the Left of the corridor has a maroon liquid and the one on the Right of the corridor has an aquamarine liquid. Both liquids become clear water after a minute of being removed from their basins. A dusty hedgekin skeleton lies in the center of the corridor.
The group decides to test the third door. Behind this door is an alcove with crackling fire, flickering light, and faint heat. Braziers light each corner and a huge Beast Snake skeleton with ember-glowing eyes is in the center of the room. Behind the skeleton is a bone altar.
The group enters the room. Pieter heads for the head of the skeleton to examine the ember-glowing eyes. Salt zombies erupt from the ground, followed by more zombies. 2 Flaming skeletons erupt from the braziers in the far corners and the fight begins. During the fight, the skeleton’s tail animates and swings at any hero that ventures too close. Pieter scrambles to the altar to decipher the runes and stop the snake’s animation while the rest of the group dispatches the zombies and flaming foes.
After the heroic battle is completed, Pieter jots down the glyphs into a journal while Nnn’tkk sketches a map of the corridor and the group takes a break. Heading back to the altar basins, Yazu takes a drink of the aquamarine liquid and finds he has enough strength to reuse one of his powers that he usually can only use once per day.
Testing the two liquids at once shows that together they form a black, acidic bile. The rest of the group also takes drinks from the aquamarine liquid, restoring their strength of the daily-power variety while Yazu races to the maroon liquid to take a drink. Nnn’tkk barely squeaks out a caution before Yazu takes a gulp and bends over in horrendous pain. A brief healing rest later, the group decide to take a break and think about what to do next.