The Shadow Slayers descended the small stairs to be greeted by two large statues. One of Tharizdun and the other symbolizing mortality’s final annihilation at the sword of Tharizdun. They looked further forward and saw a large pit with what appeared to be fire erupting from the floor of the Heart. A deep reptilian voice thundered from behind the pit, “I’ve been waiting for you. I must say, you’ve been slower than what I anticipated, but no matter. Your friend here,” the Lord of the Slaughter stood from his throne and walked over just out of sight, “has been most entertaining while I waited.” He came back into view with his scimitar dripping blood and stood in front of his throne. He brought his sword up and licked the blood from the blade then beckoned the heroes into battle.
They all quickly leapt into action, Trel being the first to examine what had happened when the Lord of the Slaughter left line of sight. He saw Quinn leaning against a wall blood freely flowing from a large wound in his chest. “Quinn!! Are you alright brother?!”
“Well, I’ve had better days, that’s for sure.”
“Nobby! Get over here and get Quinn out!” Trell shouted back toward the group.
The battle continued with Saressa taunting the Lord of the Slaughter and confusing him with Shammat, who was actually another prisoner within the Heart. Nobby opened the cell doors for both Quinn and Shammat, but forgot to unlock Quinn’s shackles. With the door open Trel helped Quinn out of the cell. “Can you fight?”
“Nobby didn’t finish the job, but as soon as these shackles are off I can.” Quinn made his way closer to Nobby who quickly released him from the chains. Quinn then proceeded to help Shammat during the battle. The Lord of the Slaughter proved to be a very capable foe early on, but even more so once he lost his sword in Arken’s shield which he then threw into the pit. Enraged, the Lord of the Slaughter picked up a burning brazier and used it as a weapon throwing the burning embers into Arken’s torso and face blinding him and setting his beard on fire. The brazier then became an improvised club which he wielded very effectively to deliver pain and fear to the group. Shammat having been imprisoned for so long still possessed the strength of a battle hardened dragonborn delivering blow after blow with his fists. Eventually good prevailed and the Lord of the Slaughter was destroyed, as was Trel’s battle standard, but a cost they would have paid again to rescue Quinn.
Kalif returned one last time offering to take Saressa and Shammat back with him to the land of the dead so they too could finally receive rest. Both agreed and the adventurers exited the heart through the teleportation circle Trell found before they entered the last chamber. Using Trel’s arcanic anchor he created before entering the heart they were safely able to return to the room containing the Heart, but they weren’t able to rest long.
The heroes had entered the apocalypse! The world seemed to be crumbling around them. With the power of the heart destroyed, the Ziggurat’s enchantments were crumbling as well. The ancient stone structure was shaking violently and falling around them. The heroes quickly climbed the hole out of the damp chamber and began racing for their lives. Nobby attempted to climb an exit he found, only to have his grappling hook fall down towards him; he knew he must follow the others towards the entrance as it was their only hope. As the heroes were climbing some steep stairs a wall fell in towards them but Trel was able to blast from his hand a powerful arcanic shield that sent the stones flying in a different direction!
Arken took the front of the group shouting out directions over the loud crashing sounds all around them. The group sprinted behind the dwarf, trusting his instincts within dungeons and he led them without any errors. Quinn spotted a large stone falling from above getting ready to crush the dwarf but he failed to see the wall burst out next to him and it crushed his ribs sending him flying. Sokuyo quickly helped Quinn to his feet and then dashed forward and they both jumped over a recently formed chasm to land safely on the other side. Nobby was sprinting to catch up. Suddenly the ground beneath his feet gave way! He nimbly jumped towards the wall and rebounded off of it, doing an air somersault to land safely on the other side.
The end was in sight, and the Ziggurat was shaking as violently as ever. The two door ways from the room they entered were visible up ahead, but the roof and the statues around them were violently bursting. Trel and Arken burst forth from the Ziggurat looking over their shoulders for their friends. Suddenly, the entrance began to collapse and Nobby dove through. Midair he retrieved his rope from his back, twirled around, and cast it towards Sokuyo and Quinn still inside the horrific wreckage. Unfortunately the rope was crushed by a falling rock before it ever reached them, and that was it. The Ziggurat came crashing down all around them.
Nobby, Trel, and Arken reached the steep bank across from the Ziggurat, as the remaining rocks settled to the swamp floor. Looking back, only a dust cloud remained in a mushroom shape causing an eerie feeling all around them. The sun looked Blood Red through the dust as it was setting behind the western mountains. To the three safely without the Ziggurat it seemed centuries ago that they had camped on this very hill before entering such an accursed tomb. Now, two of their comrades and adventurers lay buried, probably dead, at the bottom of the crumbled structure. Hope filled the three, and they set to work at once.
Nobby began the forty mile long dash back to the lizardfolk camps. Arken set down his pack and began using old skills from back in Garadun to begin shifting the rocks and make a sort of tunnel. Trel assisted with all his arcane energies, redirecting rocks and supporting Arken as he dug towards their friends’ bodies. Truly the power of friendship must have welled up inside all three of them, for their endured with great power. Nobby heroically charged through the jungle and returned six hours later with the Anagotti and the Koy’luka. The lizardfolk quickly took over for Arken and Trel as they fell down exhausted, and it was mere minutes before Sokuyo and Quinn were located.
Quinn was conscious, but battered. Sokuyo on the other hand, no one was sure as they pulled his bloody body from the wreckage, several bones broken. Arken approached him and tended his wounds along with the medicine man from the Koy’luka tribe. To everyone’s delight, Sokuyo opened his swollen black eyes and breathed in some air. The lizardfolk erupted with cheers.
Chief Gazzok-Ut ordered several of his men to build a quick makeshift camp, and set others out on a hunt. The Shadow Slayers were given a good shelter and meal that evening and were guarded by the lizardfolk watches. In the morning they woke to wild boar being roasted on a spit, and they all partook and were greatly nourished. They parted ways with the two tribes with great thanks and headed west, following Arken’s map.
Late in the day and through the thick of the swamps they found the village of Greenwater. They all entered through the main street of the village. Huts were constructed all around them. The town was set up in a circular shape, the center feature being a small lake glazed over with moss and algae. The central street of Greenwater Village circled around the lake with shops on its outer perimeter, and residences beyond that. Peculiar apparatus’ rose out of the green lake. The base of the structure was a two man pump, operated similar to a bicycle. Bamboo shoots led up to gutters of leaves that filtered the water and gravity led it back down into large tanks next to the lake after the water had been purified.
The group was greeted with many peculiar stares, and a man working on the docks called out to them greeting them to the village. They inquired of him where they might go to find residence, and he said they must gather their own materials and build their own house like the rest of them. The group split ways to explore the village. Stores such as Shadow & Venom, The Mucky Mead, Marker of the Jungle, Prim’s Smoked Meats, and more were found. Trel entered the Mucky mead to be greeted by gruff looking men. The portly bartender took Trel’s order and gave him some of the local moonshine that almost knocked him flat after his first shot. The locals roared with laughter and cheered Trel on.
Trel noticed the lovely, but plain-looking, barmaid passing out drinks. He intercepted her at one point and tried talking to her. She pulled him outside stating he wasn’t from around here obviously and word had spread quickly of him and his friends arriving in town. Her name was Gemini Stoddle, the daughter of the bartender, Pagwin. She obviously was beaten by someone. She whispered to Trel to meet behind the waterfall south of town in two nights from then.
Meanwhile, Arken, Quinn, and Sokuyo found a spot of land that they were directed to by a woman. It was of dense growth so they set to work clearing it. They worked long into the night hacking away at the awful growth.
Nobby explored town and saw a strange large boulder on the far side of the town that had been made into some sort of cave. Dead and bloody animals hung from it like a sort of tanning rack and a blacksmith was in front. Several men kept entering and leaving a doorway into the boulder. Nobby went into a shop called Marker of the Jungle and bought several new traps.
As evening set a troop of hunters returned carrying their game. They were large and beastly looking men consisting of humans, goliaths, and a shifter. When it got to dark to continue working, but with the plot cleared all returned together to sit down and rest. Trel returned drunk, but convinced Arken and Nobby to return with him to the bar because they were hosting late-night Croc fights. Sokuyo wandered into the swamp to meditate and Quinn sat on the cleared lot to write a letter by firelight.
Trel was greeted with boisterous cheers and applause because he was wasted. The bar was much more crowded than before, and most of its patrons were on the outdoor back deck dear a shallow pool of water. Six cages surrounded the pool, each with its own grisly looking crocodile. After reviewing the payouts for each croc, the three heroes set their bets. In the end, Karl the Croc won it all. After betting several hundred gold, Nobby and Arken only lost 50gp, and Trel in his drunken stupor, came away glorious.
The scene flashed back to Quinn, writing his letter alone in the back parts of the village. Suddenly, he realized he was surrounded by several large figures just outside of the ring of his firelight. He could hear the sound of a liquid being poured all around him. A goliath man stepped into the light and peered down at him, smiling through yellow teeth and said, “You and your friends are not wanted here. It’s time for you to go.” With that he stepped back into the shadows and ignited the fluid. Quinn was surrounded by 10-foot flames.
XP Each: 1431 XP
-Killing the King of the Slaughter: 2333 XP
-Finding and Saving Quinn: 2000 XP
-Destroying One of the Six Hearts of Tharizdun: 1000 XP
-“The Crumbling of the Ziggurat of Shammath” Skill Challenge: 1325 XP
-Interaction/Role play at Greenwater Village: 500 XP
XP Total: 7158 XP
-Gem worth 100gp
-Bag of Holding (containing the loot)
-Exceptional Factotum Helm