All was quiet as the group entered the main chamber in Cantis Rathbone’s tower. However, as they moved across the room to the stair case, several statues animated and sought to destroy them. After laying waste to the automatons, Bram, Kaan and Zot proceeded to the second floor, where a thick fog them. Feeling about, the paladin found that some portions of the wall were not as they appeared. Illusory walls covered every door on the floor. Moving about, nearly blind, the party passed through a library, laboratory, forge, dining hall, and several guest bedrooms before finding stone stair cases leading to the next level. On the stairs a stinking cloud surrounded them, nauseating Zot. Stepping onto the third floor, two fiery serpentine beings with the upper bodies of men appeared in a puff of flame. The creatures warned the companions to leave the tower. Refusing to heed the warning, a battle ensued, to the detriment of the summoned outsiders.
The third floor was clear of the fog that plagued the party on the previous level and offered only one clear course. A red carpet snaked along the hallway, leading them to a large chamber, where an onyx stone golem awaited them. Following the epic combat, Bram took note of an inconsistency in the stonework on the wall behind the defeated guardian. The sliding door opened, revealing a set of large double doors across the hall. Zot used his magic to disable the arcane protections that had been laid upon the entrance and the three entered to find a grand master bedroom. Hiding among the many pillows on the bed, they found a whimpering gnome. The groundskeeper introduced himself as Grig and was immediately bound and questioned. Grig told them that Rathbone kept anything of value in the vault inside his room. Again, Zot wove spells to enter the vault unhindered and uninjured. Inside, the group found various treasures, as well as a contract between Cantis and a being known only as Khromax. The details of the contract stated that Rathbone would deliver the princess of Bloodreign Keep to Khromax if Khromax would disclose information that would lead the wizard to the phylactery of the lich Morzaad. Along with the contract, Zot discovered diagrams outlining a path to Khromax’s lair in the swamp. After a night of rest, the party decided to pay this Khromax a visit.
After setting fire to the wizard’s keep, the group packed up their gear (and the gnome) and followed the diagram to the lair of the mysterious Khromax. The maps led to a large stagnant pool in the mire. A little confused and unprepared to venture under water, the companions decided to camp for the night and think over their next course of action. During the night, Zot (who was on guard duty) and Bram (who was rudely awakened) felt the sizzling sting of acid wash over them. Jumping to the ready, all were taken aback as a large black dragon emerged from the fetid pool. Zot immediately answered back with a breath weapon of his own, electrifying the wyrm with a blast of lightning. All engaged the beast and a furious battle took place. As the tide turned against the dragon, she laid a shroud of magical darkness over the party and leapt back into the pool from whence she came. Still unfamiliar with all of the powers of his legendary blade, Kaan dipped Winter’s Fury into the pool with thoughts of freezing the water. The weapon answered his mental call and the pool iced over, solidifying the surface. After a few moments of silence, two wyrmlings burst through the ice and assaulted the group. While they were distracted, their original opponent burst through the ice as well, spitting another line of acid at Kaan and Bram. The smaller drakes were dispatched with ease and the three continued to press the more powerful foe. Charging with magical flight bestowed upon him by Zot, Bram landed a mighty blow, severing the dragon’s hand and bringing the beast low. Following his comrade (and also enspelled with flight), Kaan stabbed the mother drake through the chest and followed with a whirling strike that took her head clean off.
As the party celebrated their hard-fought victory, Grig offered them some helpful knowledge in exchange for his freedom. Kaan, in no mood for negotiation, counter-offered the gnome: his information for his life. Whimpering yet again, Grig replied.
“The shriek of that wyrm sounded female to me.”
“So?” Kaan replied, “I’m not in the habit of inspecting the genitals of the beasts I’m slaying.”
“Well”, Grig said, “Khromax has only visited Rathbone’s tower once, and in human form. However… Khromax is… male…”