We have arrived at the Sacred Stone Monastery and our hopes of finding Lijanne alive and well have diminished. It appears evident that the masters of this place are members of the Cult of the Black Earth and whatever counsel she may have received here was likely meted out from the tip of a sword. Valen Shatterhelm stands boldly at the base of the monastery’s elevated rampart, silently daring anyone to approach his forces. With Claws of the Umber Hulk in each hand, he stands poised to rend, in one stroke, the armor, flesh and bone of anyone foolish enough to get too close to him. His grim visage seems to shimmer, possibly magically enhanced by Armor Crystals, making him nearly impervious to breath attacks.
After our successful mission to the Rivergard Keep, I and several of my companions have been chosen to partake in an expedition to the Sacred Stone Monastery to determine the whereabouts of Lijanne, a gifted seer of the Emerald Enclave. Leading our party is Milo Timberheart, a human ranger astride Bellatoris, a mighty pegasus. Stories have circulated about the many battles they have undertaken together, with Milo providing cover fire as Bellatoris flies into action. Aurelia, a human cleric, has also been known to accompany the pegasus on joint missions, keeping the majestic mount protected by means of her Death Ward spell.
The battle for Rivergard Keep is over and the Cult of the Crushing Wave has fled. While we are victorious, the losses suffered by my companions are heavy, thanks in no small part to the emergence of Nidhogrym in the waning moments of the encounter. Our ranks were already running thin due to the ever-steady rain of frost arrows coming from the keep. So much so, that the appearance of the white dragon and his Cold Breath had many of us fearing that our mission would end in failure. Many of our gathering were temporarily taken out of the fight, Frozen in their tracks. So Vicious was Nidhogrym that his attacks continually kept us off balance, many times forgetting our bountiful training.
Our arrival at Rivergard Keep has unearthed a grave development. The scouts have returned with word that the keep is secretly inhabited by the Cult of the Crushing Wave and they have troops in place to prevent anyone from meddling in their unseemly machinations. Aeryn Crestin seems to be leading the motley crew of mercenaries which have been assembled to protect the keep. Astride a Giant Toad, he keeps watch over the force, his steed ready to Swallow Whole anyone disobeying its master’s wishes.
After a well-deserved rest following our adventure to the Primordial Graveyard, I find myself on another quest and am actually glad for the interruption to my lackadaisical days. I am joining Ulfgar Ironfist and his company for a mission to the Rivergard Keep. The shield dwarf fighter has long been an ally of the Order of the Gauntlet and is rumored to be highly proficient with his Arrow-catching Shield, which has saved him from many attacks if the rumors are to be believed. His enchanted Ring of the Ram has helped him in many combats by forcing his opponent to stand toe to toe with him rather than attack from the skies. Always ready with a Potion of Heroism to increase his combat abilities, it’s no wonder he’s been at this line of work for so many decades.
After a hard fought battle at the feet of Luminos the Mighty, we have been transported to our ultimate destination, the Primordial Graveyard. Here, I have witnessed an act unimaginable. Balagos has been slain; a victim of his own greed. In his place stands Maurghoros, whose spirit has emerged from a phylactery and taken possession of Balagos’ corpse as if it were his own body. As the battle begins, his fire breath engulfs several of my compatriots and I have to stay on the move in order to keep the flames from searing me. It is obvious that this evil foe is as much of a destroyer in death as he likely was in life. Maurghoros’ paralyzing touch has made several of our force easy targets for the rest of the Cult of the Dragon. My heart beats faster as I watch them stand stock still, unable to fend off their impending destruction, destined to see their fate sealed while they are powerless to defend themselves.
Ah, the exuberance of youth. While the massive adamantine doors in the courtyard of Luminos the Mighty seem barred by some mystical force, we have discovered a secret passage that seems to be leading us into the ancient hall of the cloud giant. We are joined by Eyruaad, the young offspring of Quelindritar. The young bronze dragon has enlightened us to all of the many tricks he has in his repertoire that will help in the upcoming skirmish. Like all bronze dragons, he has told us of the far-reaching effects of his lightning breath as well as his repulsion breath, which can severely hamper the combat effectiveness of opponents nearby him.
With all three mechanisms now activated, Pacatus has dispatched us to the courtyard of Luminos the Mighty where we are supposed to meet up with an ally he has sent ahead of us. As we race into the courtyard, I can hardly believe my eyes: Drizzt Do’Urden. He stands prepared for combat with his twin scimitars, Twinkle and Icingdeath, at the ready. Guenhwyvar, a huge and powerful-looking black panther, comes into view from behind one of the beautiful statues and I feel elated at the chance of seeing the duo perform in the upcoming battle. Though this chamber seems to be penned in by some invisible barrier overhead, I still hope for the opportunity to watch Drizzt wield the beautifully crafted Taulmaril in combat.
With the Gale Force Gate opened, we have taken it upon ourselves to venture forth to the Gate of Whispers to reinforce our companions. Considering our encounter with the awakened guardians of the last gate, I feel our help will be needed. Word has traveled through our troops that the final gate is guarded by Ancoram, a stone giant elder. My concern is well founded, as a dispatched elf sails over our heads, victim of his awesome blow. Another elf is unceremoniously slammed to the ground and dazed by a direct hit from a large, hurled rock. It would seem attempts to avoid the giant’s attacks as well as the shadowfell energy emanating from the Gate of Whispers may be too much for us to overcome.
With the Pulsating Gate opened and safeguarded from the Cult of the Dragon, Pacatus has sent several of us on to the Gale Force Gate in hopes of thwarting our enemy’s advance upon that entryway. As we came within view of the gate, it became painfully obvious that the cult members were not having as easy of a time as they had hoped. Standing guard over the gate was Malebolge, a gargoyle, and two magical basilisk statues. Though able to take flight, Malebolge seemed to grow more powerful when in contact with the ground, as if he were drawing strength from the floor beneath him. When he would freeze, his armor was nigh impenetrable, and being a creature of living stone, his armor was already formidable. Even while in flight, his inhuman toughness seemed to cancel even the most accurate attacks.