As Bram, Zot and Kaan digesedt the gnome’s revelation and pondered their next course of action, the murky pool began to churn and took on a slight, whispy yellow glow. Suddenly, an enormous gray-scaled dragon burst forth from the water, roaring menacingly. In an attempt to protect his fellows, Bram threw Zot to the ground and stood over him, shield at the ready. Then the wyrm lurched forward, swatting the paladin and the sorcerer aside and biting down on the barbarian, scooping him up and imprisoning Kaan in its massive maul. It then retreated back into the swirling pool, disappearing from view. Bram and Zot, battered from the dragon’s blitz, recovered and met back at the pool, which continued to bubble and throw off magical energy. The sorcerer, inspecting the water, concluded that it was some form of magical gate way and the pair reluctantly agreed to enter. Their friend was in great peril, after all. In typical dwarven fashion, Bram performed a canon ball leap into the pool and vanished. Zot picked up their gnome captive, tossed him into the gate, and followed through.
On the other side, the group found themselves in rolling hills. They spotted the gargantuan drake flying swiftly northward. As they moved to follow, they also noticed a camp of cyclops just over the hill, and the giants noticed them as well. The cyclops charged and combat ensued. Bram split their skulls with his father’s waraxe while Zot set them aflame with scorching rays of fire. Moments later the giant-kin lay dead on the ground. Heading north, the two came upon a familiar twig hut at the base of a short cliff.
They approached and entered to meet with Cobble Stonebender once again. Apprising him of their situation, the divine being offered to take them on a spiritual journey into the past to give them a better understanding of the threat they were facing. Through the vibrations of his holy anvil, Stonebender showed Bram and Zot a series of visions depicting the lich Morzaad’s defeat at the Battle of Barton’s Cove, the imprisoning of the undead magus, and the fall of Khromax, once a revered silver dragon, who begrudgingly entered into a pact with the devil Thetus to guard Morzaad’s phylactery for all time. When the visions ended the team had new insight into the tragic figure that is Khromax. While Bram, Zot and Cobble agreed that the dragon is clearly beyond their physical abilities, the messenger of Torag had a possible solution to their quandary. A wretched Night Hag who currently resided in the hills is a soul collector, taking the souls of recently deceased mortals, storing them in gems, and trading them to fiends for favors. The prize jewel of her collection contained the soul of Korg Stonehearth, a might cleric of Torag that aided Dickmyer in deafeating and containing Morzaad. Cobble suggested that the heroes destroy the hag and obtain the gem holding the soul of the legendary dwarf.
The pair set out, found the witch’s shanty, and swiftly defeated her. They freed most of the souls she had contained (save two, which Bram deemed to be evil). As the paladin shattered the stone that Stonehearth resided in, the cleric’s ghostly form appeared to them. Bram conveyed their plight to Korg and he agreed to postpone his eternal rest in order to aid them in their quest to rescue their barbarian friend and bring Khromax back to the light. In a surge of divine power, the cleric’s spirit entered Bram’s heirloom waraxe, imbuing it with the power of Torag himself. Later, Bram contemplated the events of the past few days and prayed that Torag would give him strength and guidance, especially considering the fate of Korg Stonehearth, who seemingly gave up his joyous eternity to serve the realm yet again. As he paced about the hag’s hut Bram noticed dwarven script burning into the face of a large stone.
Fear not, Bram Deathstalker. Korg will serve you while you live and you shall feast together at my table when your time on this world is at an end.
Comforted by the message, Bram offered a salute to the stone, which had burned away the words and left only a symbol of Torag on its surface. A compassionate feeling came over the dwarf then, and he released Grig from his bindings. Bram offered the gnome a choice. Grig would be free. He could either go into the world and do as he chooses or he could stay, serving the party as a henchman. If he remained, the paladin would school him in the ways of battle and protect him to the best of his ability. Grig thought over the proposal and decided to stay. He had never cared much for Rathbone, and the wizard would surely torture, if not kill him for the knowledge that he had passed onto his captors. Besides, Grig had always dreamed of becoming a cavalier!
Uncertain of the exact method they would use to face the fallen wyrm, Zot and Bram marched to his mountain lair, laying low a pair of confused ettins as they went. Grig was left at the base of the mountain with much of the group’s valuables and with the instructions that if they should not return he must take the treasure to Barton’s Cove and warm the town of its impending doom. The bones of numerous creatures (mostly giants) littered the mountain side and lay strewn about the corridor within. After passing through several miles of tunnels, the allies entered into a massive cavern littered with treasure. Entering the opening, they could see Kaan hundreds of feet above, locked inside a large cage, seething at the prospect of being a prisoner. Taking a few steps inside, a pair of burning red eyes opened in the darkness toward the back of the cavern and a guttural, unholy voice boomed out.
"So, the two of you were indeed foolish enough to follow. Welcome. Welcome to your DEMISE!”