Yeraa and the Wordbearers emerged from the bowels of the city cloaked in a foul illusion of life. Only Barnaby pierced the ruse and saw them for what they were — pale imitations of life. His child-like ability to see things as they really are may have saved the life of everyone in the Keg, as he had just enough time to shout a warning before Yeraa summoned up the full might of her newfound dark powers and brought catastrophe to the marketplace. The resulting explosion left few alive and the Keg out of position. Cackling Wraiths made off with Barnaby’s sharrash and he was forced to use the weapons of his mother to unleash retribution on his former allies.
The stress was too much for Krumroc who flashed back to old wars and old friends who had become twisted into undead mockeries, trying desperately to save comrades long since dead. Yeraa ended her existence on the edge of his blade, as had so many others Krumroc cared for — but he knew he had no choice, then and now.
When the battle was over, Lan’s keen eyes spotted Govaan crawling up the hole to the crypt. Govaan managed to croak out a simple order: “kill him,” before succumbing to a terrible poison. Barnaby examined the goblin and immediately recognized the foul poison — Black Dog, made from ground khyber dragonshards! Extremely expensive, and extremely deadly. Joshua and Barnaby rush Govaan to receive treatment and manage to delay the affliction while Lan looks after his old friend Krumroc, who is too shaken to have fully come to his senses. Barnaby takes to the streets and determines that he needs to meet with the goblin poisoner Swift, and to do that he needs to meet with Asta Blade in her club: the Silenced Stage. Meanwhile Krumroc bluffs the Tharashk guards into letting him have a moment with his “wife” and sees her last moments — Tikulti broke a vial of some kind of gas just as the Wordbearers had found their prize, and watched them all die.
The Keg forces their way into the Silenced Stage and searches in vain for Asta, but only succeed in getting drunk, setting the floor on fire, and antagonizing the bartenders. Though, to be fair, Joshua also manages to completely fail to pick up the ugliest fattest girl in the city, which takes some skill in and of itself! Lan slips past the bouncers and meets Asta, catching her feeding from one of her guests. Desperately he attempts to strike up a deal, but he has nothing to offer her. Finally once the rest of the Keg makes it up to meet with Asta, their story comes out, and she agrees to trade information and a “boon in the future” for setting up a meeting with Swift.
Swift seems amicable to a deal and proposes a “win-win” situation. The Keg just has to rescue Barnaby’s brother (who he claims he doesn’t have), currently a statute in Xorchylic’s courtyard for some crime. Swift wants her “business associate” back and is willing to exchange him for the antidote to Black Dog. The Keg sobers up and sets off.
The company barges past the first checkpoint of Znir Pact gnolls and attacks them in the street, knocking them unconscious. The second checkpoint is convinced there’s a fire in the city by Joshua’s tale of cultists and magic (perhaps they knew something he didn’t!). The keep itself seems insurmountable, but Lan has a plan — he’ll make Joshua’s tale of cultists and fire real. He sneaks through the city and creates an enormous explosion of alcohol, giving the rest of the Keg an opportunity to sneak into a more lightly defended keep. Joshua disarms the wards on the walls and Krumroc comes face to face with a guard who doesn’t have enough time to cry out before he’s thrown from the battlements to his death. The Keg searches the courtyard quickly before other guards are alerted and find the statute they’re looking for, but in doing so disturb the last line of defense — gargoyles!
One strikes at Krumroc as he’s balanced perilously halfway up the massive stone wall, a stone weight tied to his back! Barely missing, the gargoyle wheels for another pass, but Barnaby pulls Krumroc to safety and draws his weapons — interposing his body between the gargoyle and it’s prey. Sword sparks with stone as the two clash, buying Krumroc enough time to somehow find the strength to make his way down the other side of the wall and run towards Lan’s covering fire. Once Krumroc starts to move, nothing can stand in his way, but both he and Barnaby know that he’s a sitting duck for the gargoyle.
Lit against the crescent moon, Barnaby ties himself the the rope, climbs atop the battlements and steels himself for another pass from his foe, howling his challenge. The gargoyle wheels and strikes, talons outstretched, as Barnaby leaps off the wall and meets the beast in mid air. His sword plunges into the stone monstrosity, ripping a huge gash in it’s chest. Both combatants go plummeting forward at breakneck speed, and then the rope goes taut and they swing back into the wall of the fortress. Barnaby twists and turns, locked in combat with his foe, and manages to dash the gargoyle into the wall, shattering it into hundreds of pieces.
Meanwhile, Joshua is attacked by the gargoyle’s companion, and decides that a tactical withdrawal is in order. Knowing he can’t get up the wall past a gargoyle, he does the only thing he can — runs towards the portcullis at breakneck speed. Two gnolls hear the sounds of combat and move to block his path, uncomprehending, and something about the scene triggers the hint of a memory in the back of Joshua’s mind. The battle of Steam Fortress was lost because a gate built by the same architects was opened from within! Thinking fast, Joshua focuses his latent telekinetic powers and pulls the switch for the portcullis as he dashes past the gnolls, not waiting until the entire apparatus has been raised! He tucks and rolls, sliding under the enormous ogre-sized gate and comes up in a run. The gnolls are too slow to follow, but the gargoyle is another story! To save time, the beast tries to fly underneath the portcullis, knowing it can outrun Joshua in the streets — but Joshua releases his hold on the switch and the gate comes crashing down on the thing, pinning it to the ground.
Yeraa’s Last Stand (310 xp each)
Goblin Princess of Crime (200 xp each)
In the Garden of the Mindflayer (400 xp each)
Akitani’s Stonemeld Leather +2
→ daily minor action, resist 5 all until the end of next turn
Yeraa’s Oathblade Longsword +2, named “Promise”
→ Crits deal 2d10 to targets you mark, daily power to deal 2d6 to a target you have marked
Petrified Statute of Reed D’Ghallanda