The Enigma Vaults. Lharvion 19, YK 1006
In the middle of the night, a ring appears in the party’s subterranean camp. After a few moment’s examination, Deyna puts on the ring to discover it is a ring of sending sent by Barton to allow communication. Deyna explains their position to Barton and then signs off.
When morning comes, the team return to the gallery, only to find the bodies of the rogues they killed gone. In their place come three shambling creatures of vaguely humanoid shape, but with strange changes. One has a tentacle sprouting from its shoulder, another has a strange eye stalk growing from its head, and the third appears covered in scarabs. The party moves to engage and soon dispatches the trio. Thonnak retrieves the writhing tentacle and one of the scarabs, planning to do further research on them as they appear to be alive. Grok objects as the creatures are aberrations.
The team then follows the blood trail from the bodies being dragged off and soon finds itself in some kind of lab. Inside they find the remaining two bodies, as well as a series of strange cage-like structures marked with planar sigils, including the one Briar showed them. Behind one of them, the wall looks like a liquid mirror. The sigil above indicates it to be connected to Xoriat.
In an alcove, Thonnak discovers an item labeled ‘Planar Lantern and Essences.’ The essences are on a small tray, but only a few of the slots are filled. Each slot bears the sigil of a different plane. The one Briar sent them to seek is empty. Thonnak takes the lantern and the tray.
Meanwhile, Grok and Kalyassa climb up to a hole at the top of the wall. Looking in, it looks like a nest, and Grok presses on. The tunnel soon turns upward, and Kalyassa climbs up on Grok’s shoulders to look, only to be confronted by a Swordwing. Kalyassa flees back down the tunnel, but Grok chases the Swordwing as it flees down its tunnel. Beren and Deyna assume the creature is heading for the front gate and race to intercept, while Thonnak, Iozef, and Kalyassa follow shortly.
Grok soon finds the end of the tunnel issues out high above the gallery. He reaches the opening in time to see the Swordwing dive at Deyna and Beren, wounding them both with his armblade. Grok leaps from the opening and drops onto the Swordwing, bearing it to the ground with him on top. A battle ensues on the ground as the Swordwing tries to get away while being bombarded with spells by Deyna and Beren and attacked by Grok and Kalyassa. Iozef heals Beren and Deyna and Thonnak attempts to subdue the Swordwing with a potion. To his surprise, Grok finds he can understand the creature, which names itself Orud and claims that its master will return soon. Despite Thonnak’s urging that the party wait for the potion to take effect, Grok and Kalyassa slay the Swordwing before it can flee.
Bloodied but feeling they have thoroughly investigated the Vaults, the party its way back to Briar, where they tell all, but conceal that they took the planar lantern. Returning to Thornkeep, they find Barton waiting, who inspects what they found and decides to take it back to base for research. At Thonnak’s request, he finally agrees to leave behind a few items for his research, then departs with the rest.