After the beast was slain they decided to enter the tombs while the dragon was away southwards. It fell to Arifal to decide which one and he decided on the southern barrow. The dragon's exertions on the north had not dented the ancient dwarven wards and he had no intention of breaking them himself. The southern barrow came open after Cora managed to find the blocks and pop them out, rendering the wards on the south barrow defeated.
The heroes went into the dark and stepped down into the barrow itself. Seeking for some sign of what the enemy sought here, they managed to light a torch and illuminate the sconces in the hallways. Cora pressed forward sniffing out the various traps and tricks that were laid to ensure this dead king remained forever at rest. Arifal and Jerimia walked slowly behind her providing cover, as they started to notice the difference between cobwebs and what Jerimia was convinced were spiders webs.
They had found evidence of ghouls in the tunnels and Jerimia was concerned on exactly what that spider had been feeding on. Cora had discovered the actual burial chamber and they confirmed that the dead king was undisturbed. Arifal had seen a glimps of movement and Jerimia was convinced it was the spider, a great bloated thing grown fat on the cold blood of ghouls.
In the dark of the tombs the ghouls had been hunted by her, she had become both tormentor and goddess. Now she knew that intruders with warm blood had entered her lair she moved to trap them. Arifal pressed on with Jerimia providing cover. He and Cora pushed down the hall and began burning the webs. They would smoke her out.
The spider called to her servants to come to her aid, and a few of the ghouls, what few remained answered. Jerimia was quick to answer them, with Cora's aid they quickly slew the ghouls while Arifal battled the great bloated spider. He drove her back with hammer and fire until at last she could retreat no more and his divinely summoned fire burned the abomination to death. Cora was quick to render him assistance as they found the chamber that housed the magical hammer that the hags so desperately wanted to keep hidden from their enemies.
Jerimia watched over the ghoul tunnels while Cora and Arifal seized the hammer from its mount in the wall. They also saw the most cunning of traps, a mimic lay in ambush. Arifal called down fire upon it and Cora poisoned the beast and battle was joined. They quickly dispatched it and Jerimia had feathered a couple of ghouls who were foolish enough to approach.
With hammer in hand they travelled through the ghoul tunnels and looked for a hidden way to avoid the returned dragon (they heard his thundering breath attacks and draconic rage from even under ground) The hag Ruzzel's lair was then discovered in the heart of the ghoul warrens. There they defeated a carrion crawler that had infested the place after the hag's death. They looted the place thoroughly finding more evidence of the hag's plans and discovering that Vaelish Gant was slain by the dragon and was now being impersonated by one of the hag sisters. they discovered that the hags wished to create a new third sister and now their plans were in disarray.
The heroes were now eager to return southward and managed to sneak by the dragon as it impotently raged against the north barrow. It would only be a matter of time before the beast gave up and returned to its lair in defeat. Bryce would be in danger without their aid, the hags had vile plans for her unborn and they would not leave her in such danger.
They had returned southward through Bremen's Run. They were eager to get back to warm fires and cold ale. Bryce had paced almost the entire time they were away. She was overly concerned with what could possibly happen to her friends, especially Jerimia. She was quite relieved when they walked into the tavern and she ran to Jerimia's arms. Arifal again teased that he would have to marry her eventually.
They spent a nice warm night in Caer Konig before going to Bryn Shander. They had talked with some of Gant's now former henchman. There had been marked changes in Gant of late that had Big Billiam concerned enough that he and his gang decided to cut ties. He was more than eager to talk to Arifal. He explained that Gant had sold his house and was having his things moved. A new wizard had moved in and she may be another apprentice. They figured it would be a time to make another move, knowing that the hag would be in a hurry.
They moved towards the address that Billiam gave them. It was a stroke of luck that they had arrived before the movers. Many of Billiam's men were more than eager to turn on Gant after the latest incidents. The house was a mess and most of it was boxed up. Bryce and Jerimia set themselves on the top floor while Arifal and Cora planned the attack from the ground floor. When the moving crews came they noted a pair of ghouls and a satyr amongst them. This was the same satyr that had been hunting the rangers in the north and Jerimia was eager to settle scores.
The movers entered in and Arifal cast a spell of silence that made the battle a macabre dance of death in absolute quiet. The servants of the hag fell swiftly and again the heroes showed mercy to those few who deserved it, those that did not were swiftly slain. The ghouls had fled with the satyr before entering the house. The heroes quickly found out that the new owner was not only NOT in the service of Gant but was also completely unaware of what was going on. It was a bit of a mess, but they had managed to clear it up, the young wizard was able to assist in letting them know where some of the goods were to be taken.
Arifal felt that the hag would be more desperate and fearful so he pressed to carry the attack to her lair that night. Jerimia and Cora agreed even with Bryce being somewhat apprehensive. Jerimia knew those woods well and was certain he could guide them to the spot. It was called the "Kingsglade" and Jerimia was able to lead his friends with stealth up to the area. What they saw confirmed the fears of Arifal, the hag's minions gathered about the glade chanting some spell. Arifal let out a massive dwarven war song and marched forward to challenge. The satyr and his goblin allies went into the attack as Bryce stepped out and hurled her eldritch blasts at them, Jerimia began shooting while Cora snuck up behind the goblin cheiftain and perforated his kidneys and lungs. The battle turned into a wild melee.
The fight was never really in doubt as the heroes rapidly overwhelmed their foes. Only Arifal and Bryce took any hits and they were more minor cuts and bruises. Arifal healed them up while Cora checked the corpses. She found weapons ensorcelled against men and found 3 blue gems in the hands of the satyr's corpse. Jerimia tried to figure what was going on with the pond in the clearings center and managed to get himself dazzled by its spell. Bryce considered what the spell was while Arifal decided to destroy the bane items. Cora collected coins and loose whatnots from the goblins. Jerimia was jolted from his enchantment when he heard Bryce scream. Arifal had yanked an arrow she took out of her hip. That was enough to shake the spell.
They had embraced, and Arifal had made it clear that noone was any worse for the wear. Cora had scouted the area around the pond and had discovered a hidden back entrance to the hag's lair. She then scouted the immediate inside. A large chamber hidden under a large rock with a large pool of water in the center. The pool was very deep and the edges around it small, Cora searched the chamber and found that there was another door on the opposite side. She went outside and brought the rest of her companions inside. As they moved to the opposite side of the room, a water weird appeared in the pool and attacked them. It appeared to be some manner of guardian.
Arifal managed to hurl fire at it while Jerimia sent shafts into the water weird while Bryce and Cora went around and managed to pass through the door. Arifal and Jerimia provided the rear gaurd but managed to bypass the water weird and let them into a corridor beyond. Cora went forward as she always does to scour the corridor for traps and other dangers, she encountered a long stairway and was hesitant to advance too far. Arifal came forward and cast a light spell upon Bryce, "she brightened the room" after all. Arifal and Cora went forward down into the corridor. It felt almost as walking through water, though the air was clear. The corridor had strange translucent fish swimming through the air, there were underwater plants swaying with a current that was not there.
It was a surreal environment, but it was necessary. Bryce became sure that the hag in front of them was obviously a sea hag, and it was far from home. As Cora pressed forward, she heard the rush of waves and felt a sudden sound as a water elemental threatened to roll over her. She attacked it with her daggers and rolled off to the side. As the elemental rolled past Cora it rushed right into Arifal and attacked with all its might. Powerful bludgeoning attacks hammered into the stout dwarf but he would not give ground. Bryce and Jerimia shot into it with spell and enchanted arrows trying to support Arifal. Cora found a pocket dimension room that was full of dry airy space. It contained the hag's collection of scrolls and tomes.
Cora tried to call to her friends to hide in the room with her, but they could not hear her. Bryce cast what spells she could while Jerimia did not hesitate to keep attacking. Arifal still stood like a barrier against the enemy until at last, as the heroes were in fear of being overwhelmed he cast his most devastating spell, he cast to destroy water and the elemental came apart. The heroes then looked at the rooms that Cora had found. Jerimia provided overwatch while Arifal and Bryce examined the scrolls, it took them little time to realize that these were all cursed items of the hag's power. Arifal ordered them all out and then used his holy flame to destroy the chamber and all the works.
They pressed at last to the final door to the hag's lair. Above them they could see the pond's surface and were aware that they were in some magical space. Carefully they had Cora pick the lock on the lair's door. Cora crept inside quietly while Arifal, Bryce, and Jerimia burst in looking for the hag. She was nowhere to be seen, but they heard her cackling fill the room. The heroes spread out to find her when the hag dropped the spell holding the water out. The chamber flooded completely in a matter of moments. The hag attacked Arifal but found herself overpowered as the dwarf and his friends fought back. Seeing that she was outmatched the hag tried for a different approach, basically waiting for her enemies to drown.
The plan went awry when Bryce discovered that the fireplace Arifal found was a pocket of air, from an elemental plane. Her eldritch blasts opened a hole and the room began to lose water fast. Cora and Jerimia stalked the hag relentlessly and Arifal cast his light spells all around to reveal the now invisible hag. They had grown accustomed to fighting such creatures and knew to look for shadows and other signs. They finally found the beast attempting to ambush Bryce, Arifal was quick enough and close enough to recover fastest. Bryce ducked the hags claws as Arifal stepped forward and bellowing a dwarven war cry caved in the hag's skull.
The heroes were victorious and they managed to find out the source of the bane weapons, the hag had been using her coldfire forge and spells to make them. Arifal managed to bring the coldfire to prevent its use and the heroes headed to Good Mead for a hot bath, hot meal, cold ale, and warm bed. They were wet and injured but they were also victorious. Cora went for a cold ale and sat by the fire to dry off and warm up, Arifal took out his pipe and sat in a nice chair drinking his ale. Bryce took Jerimia up to bed to warm up and sleep the night away.
Arifal was able to sit and think of the next move against the enemy and reflect on their fortune……..