September 2 -
After meeting with the Tutullius clan the previous day, Keth and Cilka bluff their way out of the Colius clan stronghold and then bluff their way into the strange holding of the Pinarius clan. Keth and Cilka manage to charm one of the lordship’s apprentices into giving them a tour of some portions of the clan household – built into a massive formation of stalagmites. Both notice the strangely afflicted look of the dwarves who live here and the seemingly very empty halls of the vast dwelling. Keth attempts to convince the apprentice (Scylla) to let them view the lava field at one end of the cavern from a high balcony, but they are put off until tomorrow.
Back at the Colius stronghold, the party discusses the strange nature of the dwarves here and whether the purple light shining from the peak of the Pinarius home is the direct cause of it. The party has an in-depth conversation with Darrus of Colius about the history of this city and his view of how it has changed over time – apparently sometime after the Umbrian Empire grew to it’s greatest power, the Pontus of this city grew more insular and inward facing. As they withdrew from running the empire, the humans took over (which led to the collapse of the empire and the great destruction / departure of the gods). In the Chaos of the Cataclysm, the Pinarius rose to power in Umbria by using their magical knowledge to seal the gates of Umbria to the thousands of refugees trying to flee to safety – it was at this time that the great purple beacon was unveiled as a sign of the Pinarius clan’s ascendancy. They have been the rulers (and protectors) of Umbria since. They did not seem to intervene in the most recent fight with Chalcedon however.
September 3 -
The entire party decides to “go see the lava field” from the Pinarius clanhold. Scylla is surprised by the larger party of tourists, but agreeably leads the party to the chambers of his lord Keratis, head of the clan. From there, they can look out from the balcony to the immense lake of lava that fills one end of the cavern. The party is surprised by a troll servant who brings out refreshments and acts in a docile, controlled way as it squeezes through small doorways and short ceilings. Cilka and Keth both determine that the source of power is not the light at the top of the spire, but only a floor or so above these chambers, while Gertrude senses that there is at least one evil being in the area, but not an “artifact of evil.”
Thinking quickly, Cilka feigns a faint, distracting Scylla. Coy proceeds to pummel him unconscious, while Domen lines up to ambush the troll servant when it looks into the chamber. After a few quick rounds of scorching rays, backstabbing and a whirling staff, the troll is quickly dispatched. Keth collects the strange, enchanted copper collar from its neck. The party now splits, Gertrude and Cilka heading back to ascend the main stair, while Domen, Keth and Coy rifle the master’s study and bedchamber.
Gertrude and Cilka run into a massive living stone statue at the top of the stairs who proceeds to being a merciless attack on them, while Keth and Dom start climbing a private spiral stair into the same room. A tough fight ensues, where the master and another apprentice change shape and hurl magical attacks at the party while the statue continues its assault. However use of a shatter spell and the rod of ruin carried by Domen destroy the golem, while Coy bludgeons the apprentice and Keth’s summoned demon grabs the mage (even after he shaped changed into a small, fast stirge). Attempting to settle the fight without killing the mage, Keth imprisons the mage in a conjured stone cell, and the party begins to bicker about the huge, luminous purple gem in the room, the mage’s spell book and what else should be done.
While Coy and Cilka step back down to the mage’s study to investigate his motivation, the mage destroys part of his cell and attacks the three other party members with strange attacks that transform a brazier into a flowing pool of fire and the floor into a pool of hot, entrapping tar. The two from below race back upstairs, and after Coy shatters another side of the cell with his maul, Cilka dispels more of his protective magics. Coy then knocks him unconscious and binds him hand and foot (and mouth). The party recovers, briefly attempts to negotiate with the bound and angry mage. Over the loud protests of Cilka and Gertrude, Keth scoops the massive gem into his pack and opens a hole in the wall. His magic allows the party to jump out of the tower and descend safely to the cavern floor.