Shortly after arriving, Zinn returns to Griffton at the request of her supposed relatives.
It is middle of the day, slight breeze.
The grasslands become grainlands, atop a hill, what looks to be a stone structure. It looks like, not exactly a tower, but with a cuboid appearance. Featureless, almost a little too perfect. Distant cries of birds.
They approach closer rustling through the sorghum. There is a doorway built into the base. The stone itself looks different than the typical cut stone; it is more perfect. Fraas flies above and detects a strong abjuration magic on the walls. In the stone are little flecks, that seem to match the dragon metal. The door looks like two slabs of stone, no handle.
Deagha walks up and touches the wall, just as Korrak throws a pebble at it, glancing off. It is warmer than the ambient temperature.
Rand uses all his might to shove the door, but it doesn’t budge. Sentinel touches it and the door opens softly, steps descending below. It is dark inside beyond the range of Korrak’s darkvision. Taking up almost the entire opposite wall is an immaculately carved stone symbol of a dragon eating its own tail. It is warmer the closer they get to the symbol. Rand checks, and it is overpoweringly evil.
Down the steps there are murmuring sounds, pretty far away, fairly quiet. Deagha notices there is no dust in the room and the symbol is impeccably clean. Deagha focuses on the sounds below. Hears a pair of voices, in giant, “I’m hungry”. “Me too”. Deagha casts communal protection from fire energy.
There is a bit of light in the passage. From the stones themselves, there is a luminescence, as if the stone flecks glow. Descending, a room opens up below, and on the left side of the room the muffled voices appear to be coming from behind a door or wall.
Off to the right, no sounds. Once it levels off at the bottom, the path ahead proceeds for another 100 feet. The room at the bottom is roughly octagonal. Sentinel caulk marks the ingress.
Deagha is unable to discern how old this place is, due to its pristine character.
To the right, on a dais, a regular gray stone of an enormous dragon. The circular pedestal is inscribed, “Orburos”. This dragon looks like its joints and plates could’ve been formed from magma.
Shah scuttles along the wall to the door on the left, where he can hear the sound of weapons being unsheathed. They hear two screams of giant rage and pounding footsteps toward the door. Fraas shouts to them in giant, “Halt! Your Iron Lord has returned!” In response, laughter, “our food is talking. Sound the alarm!”
Shah does a backflip as the metal doors swing wildly open. Two ash giants emerge. 15 feet tall, pale, misshapen, open sores, bulbous tumor, with large heavy picks, oversized, adorned with black scale armor.
The first giant charges forth with a bloodshot look in its eye and strikes at Korrak; pus begins to fester from her wound. Fraas returns with a mythic cone of cold, partly encasing it in ice. Sentinel rushes it behind, and after getting hit by a defensive strike unleashes a flurry of blows. Deagha transforms into a menacing hummingbird. Korrak swings and hits a critical strike, but her following strikes are not as successful. Shah sneaks up and lands a strong hit with his dagger.
The second giants rushes forth, flanking Sentinel and striking with its pick. Rand moves forward, emanating an aura for all the fighters to use his smiting powers on the giants. He then power attacks and vital strikes a giant that is now barely hanging on to life. It lashes out at Rand, who defensively responds by cutting the giant down.
Fraas emits another cone of cold at the second giant. Sentinel turns around and attacks. Korrak, Rand and Shah join the fray, first getting hit with attacks of opportunity, but then commencing with their smiting attacks.
The doors further down the hallway open and the sound of wings flapping echoes forth. A sensual voice in abyssal tongue, “let’s go greet our guests”. Four succubi enter the octagonal chamber. Sentinel finishes off the other giant, cracking its neck.
Deagha sends a mythic wall of thorns entangling the succubi. Three of them disapparate, leaving one still grappled in the vines. Korrak and Rand move forth, Rand healing Korrak’s health and removing the giant-borne infection. Shah moved close to Rand so he could too bask in Rand’s healing glow. Deagha casts a blazing rainbow at the remaining succubus.
Down past the thorns, there is a crackle of dark energy. Deagha, standing next to the entryway to the room with the dragon statue, notices that it has a pair of ruby eyes. Fraas doesn’t recall any spells that require gem encrusted eyes.
The remaining succubus eventually dies, but the body doesn’t disappear. Suggesting that it was not summoning, but actually present on this plane. Deagha dismisses the wall of thorns.
Rand enters the room from whence the giants came, a barracks, where it is clear they have been eating other giants. Alcoves are piled with reeking piles of furs.
Shah leads the march further down the hallway where the succubi appeared. Shah sneaks further forward and approaches the open doorway, he sees the chamber inside is much taller than the one before, a vast chamber. In the center of the room, a large house-sized combination of metal gear pieces, things that look like massive humanoid teeth and belts of leather that connects everything. Beyond it, from the floor to the ceiling, there is what looks like an enormous curtain of fire. A maelstrom of black, red and white. A portal Strange whispers. On the right side of the machine, there is a platform with two very large chairs, with two more Ash Giants. One of them is looking off into hallway, past the stealthy Shah. The one next to him is pulling onto a level, he yanks it, and the machine starts to grind with a horrible wrenching sound like grinding plates. When Shah tries to listen to the whispers, they seem to get louder in his ears. The words hit his mind, he feels a bit of nausea, but is able to shake it off.
The group charges down the hallway into the room. Fraas disappears from sight along the way. When the adventurers enter, the giants see and scurry away. Sentinel rushes back to grab a freshly killed giant head and the body of the fallen succubus. After tossing trying to toss them into the machine, the laughing of the giants gives away their positions flanking the entryway. Deagha yells, “CHARGE!”
Fraas from above the entryway sends a mythic cone of cold at the giants. Immediately after, Deagha summons six Ettins that swarm one of the giants. Sentinel invisibly sneaks behind the other giant unleashing a flurry of blows. Rand flanks the giant and attacks. The giant strikes back in turn. Korrak critically strikes it back. Fraas lightning arcs the two giants. The adventurers and Ettins proceed in rounds to chip away at the giants’ health until they both fall, with the loss of only one Ettin and some small scrapes of flesh. Korrak deals a critical blow to one, it crumpling after her strike and meeting death when the subsequent cold damage takes effect. A series of Fraas’ fireballs and Ettin blows finally brings the remaining giant to an end.
Shah notices fine white powder on the floor. He can see more closely the two chairs and a lever; not a complex mechanism at all. As he walks that direction around that machine, the whispering gets harder to ignore as he moves toward the curtain. Again Shah shakes off the suggestive powers of the whispers.
As the combat ends, one of the chamber’s doors opens and a Cambian walks out with his hands up.