After defeating the giant army of giants, the party discovered that Armos had broken into Spire’s spire and destroyed the seal supporting Meyvn’s Refuge. Through a stroke of luck, they were able combine their talents in order to place a temporary seal. Chasing Armos across the continent, they ended up in King’s Cross, which they decided must be Armos’s next destination. However, Olaran the Grim was unreceptive to their concerns and seemed convinced that he could trick Armos into serving him. The party waited beneath the city, keeping a watch on the skies for any trouble. Several days later, they spotted Armos flying past King’s Cross…
The best next step was unclear: Should the party follow Armos, not knowing to where he is going? Or should they head north to assist the Fey against Nevydia, whose army would reach the edge of the forest at any time? Frost cursed the fact that lacked the ability to scry Armos and track his movement, since they needed a drop of his blood to power the Sanguine Flame ritual they had picked up from the Nevydian slavers in Meyvnhold. Meryn immediately suggested he use her cloak, which likely had some blood splatter from their last encounter with Armos. Though unfavorable, the bloody cloak was an appropriate component, and within minutes a vast pillar of flame on the horizon showed Armos’s precise location and direction — though he would know that he was being scryed upon.
With the ability to track Armos’s every move, the adventurers decided to head west and cut him off on the way. Though they had told the wizards of Spire to ward their spire from being teleported into, they did, however, know of another teleportation circle even closer to where they wanted to be — in the Winter King’s fortress. Without hesitation, they teleported there and began devising an ambush for Armos amidst the mountains. However, such a plan was deemed infeasible, as fighting Armos in the open had always proven to be doomed from the start, given his propensity to take to the skies and flee. Instead — and with a wicked storm blowing in from the east — they took to their phantom steeds and headed in the direction of Armos’s flight path… which seemed to lead to nowhere but the vast swamplands that was popularly believed to be haunted.
After several days’ travel, they reached the edge of the swamp and instantly felt an overwhelming sense of wrongness in every respect. The arcane winds that blow subtly across the continent were completely still there; there was an ominous silence within the misty land; and Mist sensed that the primal spirits who inhabited the world were completely absent. The deeper they went into the swamp, the lower they sank into the foggy depths, and it was only thanks to their ephemeral steeds that they were able to move through the thick bog with any speed.
However, as they ventured deeper into the mist, it became obvious that they were being watched. Strange lights gathered in the distance, and though an unnatural silence pervaded, there was the faintest sound in the distance, like the gentle murmuring of running water — Frost, straining his ears, made out a few words of Deep Speech, the language of creatures from places unknown, whether it be deep underground or “beyond the beyond,” in a realm far beyond that of even the gods. The speakers seemed to be singing of a home that was not home, and of extinguishing all the stars. Eventually, Frost tried communicating with them, but was met with only a hushed chorus of manic voices that soon fell into silence.
As night fell, the party had no choice but to set up camp and continue in the morning. Remaining always vigilant, they turned in for the night, relying on Mist’s nigh-impenetrable traps and alarms to keep the camp safe. Shortly after turning in, though, the party awoke to the alarms going off, but nothing was in sight. They waited, but no enemies showed themselves; what’s more, a thorough search of the premises turned up nothing; even calling out into the dark night provoked no response. Again, the adventurers settled into their tents, but each time, the alarms were triggered with no danger presenting itself. Frost decided to keep watch all night with his Iron Vigil, but it was a most uneasy night for everyone.
After days of traveling into the heavy fog with no end in sight, and only the massive beacon of flame shooting into the sky from Armos’s location by which to orient themselves, the adventurers were suddenly struck from their phantom steeds by blighted wisps of explosive gas. They arose from the fog like wisps of breath on a cold day, and their numbers seemed endless as they formed out of the swamp gas, but they suddenly vanished as quickly as they had emerged.
All the while that the party had been traveling through the swamp, Bleidd had been becoming increasingly paranoid. At first, he thought he saw shapes out of the corner of his eyes, but chalked it up to the dreadfully eerie atmosphere. But then he began to see vaguely humanoid figures in the distance, and a face that peered up at him from the water that was gone when he looked back. Though Bleidd was insistent that he was seeing odd things, none of the others experienced the same hallucinations, despite their equally high-strung nerves. As the days passed, Bleidd’s paranoia reached terrifying heights, as he began to see ghostly figures when he turned around that were nowhere to be seen when he turned to take another look. Then, the figures began to appear more clearly, and even when he turned away and looked back, they would still be there as often as they would not. In the last days within the swamp, more and more ghastly figures appeared, drawing closer and closer to him, until by the last day he was constantly surrounded by gruesome figures who appeared to have died in violent ways, and their eyes were fixated on him at all times. Though he was terrified, his comrades could do nothing but speculate as to why this phenomenon was occurring to him.
After many days spent walking straight into the heart of the swamp, the party finally reached a massive stone structure rising up from the lowest point. Eagerly, they sought out the door and found the entrance flanked by two cobwebbed stone figures, one of a man wearing animal hide armor, and another of a woman in plate armor bearing the nine-pointed sun of Pelor; Frost instantly deduced that these statues represented Jorath the barbarian and Nevydia the paladin, respectively. However, it soon became apparent that these were not, in fact, representations, but those ancient, legendary figures themselves! The guardians were rather silent at first, but after characteristically incessant prodding on the part of the party — who demonstrated their knowledge of the ancient secret of Meyvn’s sacrifice — the ancient heroes loosened up and parlayed with the party.
The adventurers tried their best to show their good intentions, but to little avail — their knowledge of Meyvn’s ritual only made them seem more suspicious, and the guardians refused to believe not only that a powerful cleric of Tiamat could possibly be heading their way to destroy the tower, but that the Refuge could be weakening. The guardians declared that they would wait, but that if no evil force reared its head (or five heads) soon, then they would slay the interlopers where they stood; certain of Armos’s imminent approach, the party agreed to these terms. Through a sustained effort to prove that the Refuge was, indeed, weakening, and that they wanted to stop it from being rent asunder, the adventurers managed to get Nevydia and Jorath to trust them slightly more, but only minutes before Armos soared down from the skies, his great wings beating back the mist and revealing the sun to this land for the first time in milennia; his body split apart, and two dragons bore down upon the party while a three-headed nightmare flew up to the top of the tower, where Meyvn herself awaited…