The slain Thoko lies broken and lifeless mere steps from his throne, which is fashioned of pieces of metal armor, weapons, skulls and festooned with gems.
The pile of coins, desiccated bodies, bones and treasures that surrounds his throne like a snowdrift is roughly 30 feet across and 6 feet high at its highest points.
Beyond the pile, at the back of the room, is an imposing feature, a small set of steps leading up to a dais, upon which is a stone pedestal 10 feet square. On the pedestal is an enormous book, which is closed, and measures about 6 feet by 4 feet. The cover of the book is quite clearly coated in ash, and the dais and steps are littered with bits of scorched bone.
On each side of the steps, there are long rows of shelving carved into the stone. Many strange curiosities — many of them magical — line the rows, and a few shelves are quite conspicuously empty. Near the empty shelves, sits a small writing desk (fit for a human-sized humanoid) with an ink well, a quill, and a roll of parchment, all placed very neatly, with the corners of the parchment exactly squared with the corners of the desk. The desk has several drawers. They are labelled with cards of vellum attached by wax. On the cards are written words in an elaborate, pristine script. The language is Orc. One is labelled “wands,” another “rings,” and another “bolts and arrows.” On one side of the desk is a small wooden cart with four wheels and a handle-bar to push it around. On the other side is a wooden rack with many small compartments, containing what appear to be dozens of scrolls. Next to that is what seems to be an apothecary’s shelf with many rows of potions, some of which are clean, and others still coated in blood and other muck (There is a wash bucket on the floor nearby). By the desk is a comfortable-looking wooden chair covered in white furs.
Lining the walls on either side of the shelves are weapon and armor racks, filled with fine quality gear, much of it magical. A row of hooks holds up several staves. There are masks, a cloak, strange hides, etc. Magical item auras abound, including those emanating from the Thoko’s gear.
Rand detects evil throughout the room. Particular attention is paid to the altar and tome atop it as well as the shelved thin red leather one with the emboss of the dragon eating its tail. The only evil in the room is a faint emanation from a gnarled and twisted, sturdy, stout staff of dark wood, clearly of gnomish make.
Sentinel addresses Jack. “First things first. How safe do you think we are here for the time being and what do you know of how Thoko became trapped here?. The safest place on this mote is wherever we are clearly but I think it is best to move as much of this treasure to our ship as quickly as possible. Can we do anything different to being cursed?”
Jack is distracted for a moment as he is fiddling with his small tusks. He then casts a spell and appears as his old (young) self.
“Sorry, I was distracted. I think we’re as safe here as we are anywhere. Well, you are, anyways. Who are we worried about, exactly? Have you made any more powerful enemies?”
Jack seems distracted again.
“Thoko! The trap, right. From everything I gathered, the pool itself was opposing Thoko. I cannot say for certain, but I know he hated it. He would sit in that silly throne and just seethe, staring at it. So the ‘trap’ he mentioned must have been related to the pool.”
“I’d be glad to help in any way I can, but my own abilities are limited, at the moment. In fact, I don’t feel great. But what’s the plan?”
Sentinel replies, “Sorry, I know it was disorienting for me when I was returned to life as well. The white dragon under thoko’s control is the only possible enemy that might be a problem at this moment that we know of. He offered us assistance or at least a lack of opposition while we worked to take down Thoko but now that the Thoko is dead I am uncertain how friendly we still are. Also I’m using the title Thoko without fear since we just killed him – do you know if the title is automatically transfered upon death like the title lord garland had or if there are more specifics to it? All this true name stuff still doesn’t really make complete sense to me. Back at the ship we can discuss more obscure enemies and our future needs.”
“Garland’s title transferred upon death? I’m not really sure what you mean! I think you probably know more than I do when it comes to names. For instance, I don’t even know the name of your new allies!” Jack responds, looking at Daegha and Korrak.
Rand steps forward, “Well Jack, let me introduce you. Daegha is a powerful druid, perhaps the most powerful druid on the Rock and a true bane of giants. He’s helped us over and over again since the fall of Belheim. And Korrak is a savage skilled warrior, she can mix magic and combat too, a little like Zinn but still different. She is a terror to negotiate against, a principled and wise voice. They both are a welcomed, immensely valuable new members of the Knights of Griffton. They have filled in exceptionally after the losses of Bork and Laush – rest their souls.”
Rand continues, now address the whole group, “You know, I still feel a sense that we got lucky against the Thoko. It’s a lot like our fight against the Slorath. Everything went our way. Korrak, I think you were right. I personally didn’t show enough caution testing our pool. I’m glad things went well, but they might not have easily enough. I’ll do better listening to your caution in the future. I’m sorry to you, and all of you. And most of all, thank you all for jumping in after me. He sucked 100 years of my life away, but I’d have been doomed if you all didn’t come.”
Again to Jack, “Is there anyway you can help us start transporting this trove of loot? As Sentinel said, the White Dragon is free and he knows it I’m sure. Let’s not linger on his turf if he comes calling.”
Rand speaks at the large pool, “Is it true that it was you that held Thoko captive all this time?”
As the others sort through the bodies, coins, gems, and various other treasures, Fraas starts scanning the racks and shelves of the room for magic items, identifying as he goes. He is visibly stunned after scanning the ash-covered book in the back of the chamber. After a moment of pondering, he continues his identifications for the next 20 minutes. Surprisingly, the torc does not read magical. His curiosity is palpable. The blood on the old breastplates with the crow insignia looks long-dried.
Shah detects good on the whole room with his nearly empty wand. He seems very intrigued by a creepy mask.
Rand looks over the piece of parchment on the desk. On the parchment is written a list of numbers in very neat script, and next to each number is a description of a potion, and a place seemingly to record each effect; none have yet been recorded. The title atop the parchment is “Potions & Oils: Belheim Lot 32”
Rand starts looking for religious indications in the piles but pauses. “The more I think about it, the more it concerns me. I really don’t think we have much time before we’ll need to deal with the White Dragon. He knew what we did to Thoko’s forces at the guard tower from miles away. We are in his mountain now and he must know. His collar and chain must be broken. Jack, did you ever see the White Dragon around this chamber?”
“No, he was never here. I only heard him in the distance a few times.”
Rand gets on his fire griffon and prowls over to the edges of the treasure room looking around, speaking to his griffon, “be on alert for dragon.”
Suddenly, some of the coins on the pile start rolling off. Rand walks over to the source of the noise. One of the coins hops up on its side, Rand steps on it and it wiggles. He frees it and watches more coins follow and start to amass. Deagha looks at Jack who shrugs. The coins start to form four posts, about waist high. A piece of the mundane armor jumps across the room along with other pieces of metal.
Zinn’s mentions that her new intelligent armor, just declared, “let’s feast!” Her armor is possessed by Ganar, a priest of Kathla, the “wild beard” dwarven god, possessing a beard that grew across the land from whence all barley grew, and then most importantly, Kathla taught the dwarves to brew from it.
Out of the ether, shadows coalesce, giant flagons of ale and ham appear on the table. It takes about 10 minutes, ornate comfy chairs appear, lots of furs cover the chairs. A hero’s feast. Rand toasts to great heroes. “A toast to us all!”
After a short discussion of theories of how the pool got changed, Fraas reveals how it really happened. How he was under the throes of the Thoko and how it seemed like a great idea at the time to send Rand into the lair.
They chat with Jack about the devil that he made a deal with. He had sold his soul upon death in exchange for the townsfolk’s safety. After dying, he had been pulled out in the nick of time, from a cold grey plane. Jack says they can get these people back, but doesn’t recommend we go after the devil, nor mess with the large book in the lair. Fraas uses a spectral hand to insert the bookmark which transforms the tome into “Fancy Hats For Cats: A Guide to Knitting”.
Rand tells him, “By the way, your Zinn is safe in town with her husband”. Though, Korrak bluntly states baby is dead. Jack refutes this, stating the child is squirreled away safely.
There is a lengthy discussion with Jack chatting about everything from the Frost Giant General Smar and a potential treatise with the giants, the unknown purpose of the Aerum mining, Sieffre, Elin, the White Wyrm, the legends of Heart and how it can grant certain people its soul, and how he had spilled the beans of the Heart to Thoko.
The table falls apart after the meal. The room is comfortably warm. Night passes uneventfully.
The next morning, Rand goes to the pool envisions the ship’s storage room. Sees one of the suspicious crewman. Fraas tosses a coin to alert the thief before Korrak can leap at him. After a quick test with a handful of coins the adventurers then proceed hauling everything through the pool. They make their way to Quinnla’s temple, Fraas toting the deceased on a floating disk. She drops her mop, stunned and lays them out in a respectful manner, covering them with fabric. Rand asks her to seek the Belheim natives to mourn their dead.
After some time in town, Shah is no longer to be found (probably galavanting in some bedroom). The rest head out, with the intent to resolve the matter of the devil-protected refugees. They go far from town, near Rand’s family’s grove. Jack casts the rope trick. Rand scuttles up, Fraas fyling after. Everyone follows. Korrak, the last one up and displaying obvious distrust of Jack, throws a magic rope to bind Jack to a nearby treat.
Inside the rope trick, they see Jack’s bachelor pad, except there is a new area that looks like the facade of a palatial mansion, a giant door with knockers, smells of delicious food, and echoes of the sounds of merriment. Fraas cloudshapes, flies through the keyhole, unlatches the door and opens it. When everyone steps in, the devilish attendants (that look human) are visibly startled when Rand enters, “Back so soon?” After some discussion, it is arranged that all the refugees start heading back down the rope trick. Korrak speaks infernal to one of the devils in order to trick him into confirming that evil Rand was the master in charge of this infernal place.
After the quick trip, they make it back to Griffton, where day goes by with a mix of merriment and funerals.
That night, Jack is on the ship with Zinn, Olaf & their daughter. Korrak splits from the group to go get Shah for something. The rest of the adventurers confront Jack about how the servants recognized Rand. He claims that he seen the dealing devil as a pit fiend. “How did you originally hear about this name?” Jack supplies a wildly exaggerated story.
Debating what to do next, they eventually decide to investigate Sentinel’s parcel of land. Korrak comes in dragging Shah, who waves his detect good wand, and then says “It’s fine, can I go now?” Zinn teleports Rand and Korrak to Sentinel’s Reach; Fraas ferries Sentinel and Deagha. After a short mishap Fraas’ group joins Zinn at the reach.
Amber waves of grain, purple mountains to the west. To the north, the grasslands become hills, and atop a hill they see a stone structure.