House Outsider, along with their various allies headed back to The Hole, using their shiny new keelboat, “The Necreme”. Relighting the shadow beacaons as they pass, and lulling the guardian at three-mushroom crossing to sleep, they reached the previously visited dock overlooking the chasm.
The Outsiders slaughtered the guards, a group of demonic gnolls, looted the barracks and proceeded across a massive timber and chain bridge leading to an isolated obsidian tower built on a pillar of stone over the vast shadowy chasm. The “island” the tower was standing on was strewn with bones of all sorts, even dragon bones and others of strange origins. The tower was supported by flying buttresses looking like massive insect legs. Two other bridges headed off into the darkness west and south, while a large stone stairway sealed with an iron portal led down to the graveyard around the tower. A massive iron golem rose from the ruins, covered in gore, and a constant stream of skeletons rose from the island and tower floor. Eventually determining the golem had to be destroyed or the skeletons would never stop rising from the ruins, they defeated the “Bloody Golem”, and managed to clear the tower.
Taking the south bridge, they encountered another tower of obsidian rising from the gloom. A squat affair, surrounded by a glistening sea of obsidian tentacles, the Outsiders approached carefully, and slipping past the iron doors, encountered a black-armored warrior kneeling in prayer. Quickly over-bearing him and killing him where he stood, the group looted his chambers. In addition to two other exits from the tower, the place was obviously his bed chamber, possessing a simple bed, desk & chair, travel chest and a mirror on a stand. Domingo Colo approached the mirror, and while the rest looted the chamber, peered at an image of a half-woman/serpent in gaudy finery. She stared out of the mirror, and the Deva was suddenly attacked with a psionic strike that nearly bludgeoned him insensible. He responded by shattering the mirror with the Moon Mace, terminating the contact. Among the man’s personal possessions, were several Scrolls of Remove Affliction, some valuables and a note reminding the finder to use the scrolls “… to turn me back if the Gorgon training goes badly…”.
Taking the south bridge, the Outsiders came upon a squat tower with a spiraling ramp leading down into a pit. Guarded by numerous robed priests chanting a ritual around a black altar, the shadows near the base of the ramp hid an accordion-like bellows moving up and down in a rhythm in cadence with their chanting. Surrounding the altar was a silvery rune circle glowing with arcane power. At the far end of the pit was a wide stone stairway rising steeply back to the height of the entrance, along with another bridge of timbers and chains leading off to the west. Quickly engaging the guards, Brommik rode Slithertooth along the walls to engage the leaders of the chanting on the pit’s bottom, while the group moved along the ramps to attack and flank the others. The leader of the group chanted an arcane word of great power, and turned into a demonic form of some sort, flying down to attack Brommik and the others on the pit floor. Although difficult, the Outsiders defeated the priests of the Spiral Pit, and determining they had nothing of value, moved off down the west bridge, after destroying the “shadow billows” with ranged attacks.
Across the bridge they uncovered a carved stone balcony with several black and white tapestries hanging along its edges. Depicting various creatures – drow, dwarves, fiends and others – all kneeling before a black serpent-shaped sun/moon in the sky. In one corner was a square inscribed on the floor in runes and sigils. Another suspension bridge of timber and chains headed off to teh south, and a darkened tunnel led to the west. Examination of the tapestries revealed their great value, though they were cumbersome and difficult to take. Arcane examination of the runes determined them to One of the strange carpets caught Grignak’s eye and he determined it to be valuable and arcane, though he couldn’t determine its exact purpose. Galaron, Illuria’s bodyguard hefted the massive thing over his shoulder, and the group decided to leave via the tunnel; whereupon they were assaulted by a pair of black-skinned demons who used their powerful poleaxes to attack, though they also tried to eat the Outsider’s souls at various points, before falling.
Following the tunnel, they eventually entered a rough-hewn chamber with several more guard-priests, and a series of obsidian biers along the left wall. In one corner lay a black bellows spewing smoke with every exhale, and another suspension bridge led away to the east over the vast chasm. Quickly defeating the guardians of the chamber, the group examined the biers, but avoided touching any of the strange beings that faded in and out on their tops. Looking away to the east, they saw the thing they had come for; a massive earth mote of obsidian floating above the chasm below, looking much like a fortress of solitude.
Crossing the bridge, the group entered a large gloomy library lit by green lights emnating from skulls alight with cold emerald flames. Various bookshelves rested across the room, filled with books, scrolls and ancient tomes, that moved about across the chamber from shelf to shelf, or from stacks on the pair of tables. Tunnels led further east and south into the obsidian earth mote. As the group made their way across the chamber, Domingo Colo grabbed one of the books as it passed near him, and the skulls all flared with bright green bursts of flame, obscuring the area with bright firelight. Bursting with flames, the skulls attacked the party, and eventually fell, though none of the shelves, tables or books were destroyed in the fires. Colo took one book and the group moved down the south tunnel.
Entering a vast chamber in the center of the obsidian mote, they were stunned by the horror before them. The dark image seen earlier of a half-serpent/woman was real before them, with a swath of carpets and pillows across the center of the chamber along with various treasures and wealth. Above her, a black orb looking like a frayed ebon cloth wadded into a ball, floated. Along all the walls were cages, black iron prisons stuffed with wasted beings in ragged robes. Too small to properly fit their forms, dwarves, drow and even humans twitched as purple-blue energy rose from them like smoke towards the black tear in space. Each prisoner’s eyes pleaded for release – though their desire for death seemed to war with simple freedom.
The figure of Explicitica Defilius spoke;
“You see before you your Doom! Soon the unraveling of reality will come, and your very souls shall be mine! MINE! I was marked before any of you pitiful creatures were born as one of the Chosen. Soon all shall understand the power of the Earth Serpent, and weep!”
“Where’s PASSY!?!” screamed Brommik and the group began to attack. Explicitica summoned strength and with the tip of her spear dragged a large bone skeleton from within the tear, that with a flash of bright blue sparks began to attack the group and cover Explicitica. The fight was brutal, with the dragon cutting swathes of damage and gore through the ranks of the PCs, eventually forcing some to retreat before finally falling to their combined attacks. Expicitica retreated down teh only other tunnel from the chamber, before turning “back” into the shape of Brommik’s true love, * Journeyman Mage Passara Elventree. Bronnik faltered, and nearly fell into her charms, but with cries of grief attacked and slew Passy, who turned back into the shape of Explicitica, and with relief and dread, Brommik rested.
The group felt a shudder rock the earth mote, and quickly freeing all the prisoners they could, looted some of the wealth gathered here before retreating back through the library and back to the “Bier Chamber”. Asking about “Passy” one old lady reported that two girls, one fitting Passy’s description, and another fitting * Forgia Chase, having been “selected” and taken elsewhere. Once everyone wa safely across the chasm (no easy feat), they all turned back to hear the groan and impossible shift in shadows that ate the obsidian earth mote, making it dissappear. As tremors continued and rose, the group pushed and prodded their rescued group across the various bridges and towers, to reach the docks, where they watched the various constructs over-looking the chasm break, crumble and fall (except the first tower, which stood tall and pieces fell off, but it remained). Crowding the prisoners (almost stacking them like cord-wood) aboard the Necreme, the group set sail across the Darkmire, past the “Three-Mushroom Crossing” and its guardian leviathan, to the castle ruins near the Darkmire’s entrance. They set a camp, feeding the prisoners with their own stores and made a hasty camp. The Serpent Queen of Slaveport had been defeated!