Battered and bruised you made your way into what Raudrogdos called “the valley of crypt things.” Absolutely nothing grew in this place. It was filled with boulders and loose gravel that made a loud crunch as you walked. Checking the ground Omar could see that large numbers had passed this way just recently. Fearing an encounter would be more than you could handle given your current state the party picked a nondescript tomb and forced it open.
What lay before you was a bit more elaborate than you expected. There was a ten foot wide passage sloping downward that led up to a set of double doors decorated with demons torturing and tormenting mortals. Prior to the doors two passages broke off from the main hall. Down one the skeletal remains of countless humanoids lay in a chaotic heap mixed with rags and digging tools. The back of each of their skulls marred with a perfect one inch hole. Down the other tunnel lay a chamber that held a small amount of cracked and broken pottery. The ground here largely consisted of extremely loose soil. When Joselyn detected evil he sensed a strong presence in the floor of this chamber.
Backing out of the chamber the party made their way to the double doors. As you approached the doors the hallway quickly widened to twice its previous width. Sitting in the corner of this alcove with its arms wrapped around it legs was a human sized skeletal figure who began to flail about and scream with the party’s approach. Joselyn quickly dispatched the creature but the noise attracted the attention of another creature that began to move up the hall from behind the party. Seemingly half golem and half undead the massive serpent was comprised of bones from many different creatures topped off with the head of a giant. Joselyn, Grishma, and Sveta moved to meet the creature. The golem lashed out grabbing Joselyn in its jaws and coiling its body around the Paladin. The sharpened bones of the beast squeezed Joselyn causing further damage. Soon however, the golem was shattered.
By this time you could hear crying which grew louder the closer you came to the double doors. Omar detected a magical trap upon the door and skillfully deactivated the device. Opening the door you came into a chamber that was empty save two large wheels. Connected to the wheels were chains that were fed through a pulley system. Looking into the adjoining room you found the source of the crying. A man was held to the wall by shackles. The wheel created a rack of sorts that stretched the man’s arms and legs pinning him to the wall. On top of him were three quasits that were busy stripping flesh from the prisoner. The quasits were clearly causing unimaginable pain but the skin seemed to regenerate itself.
Without hesitation the party jumped into action killing the quasits in seconds. Omar used the wheel to slacken the chains giving the human a chance to rest. He slumped to the ground, still whimpering, and began to beg for help. Then a raspy voice issued a warning “You may not want to do that, a nasty one he is.” Hobbling in using a staff was a skeletal figure in robes who introduced himself as the “Caretaker.” He was adorned with all manner of jewelry that radiated magic. He seemed irritated that you killed his quasits but was intrigued at what could have brought mortals to his lair.
The party had stumbled into a transformation den. Damned souls were brought here to be tormented and ultimately transformed into larva. Nearby sat a cauldron that writhed with hundreds of larva, still bearing the faces of their mortal life. While the Caretaker had the power to transform a damned soul at anytime he preferred to torture the soul into “accepting transformation.” Not wishing to anger this creature further you allowed the soul to be re-secured and transformed.
Damned souls appear in the Abyss and Hell in many different forms. Often times they are trapped in iron bottles for easy transport but other devils and demons prefer to have them appear as they were in life so that they can be put on display and tormented. Once in larva form they can eventually evolve into a lesser demon or devil and begin the process of promotion and evolution into more powerful creatures. However, most larva are consumed before reaching this stage.
After numerous questions as well as a trade that gave the undead figure the Staff of the Dark Lord in exchange for the Circlet of Arcane Intellect, the Caretaker asked you to be his guest for one week. Graciously declining his offer the party then began to see the Caretakers darker side. Pounding the table he angrily wheezed “you kill my servants and pet, now you want to leave!” After calming the undead creature its attention moved to Sveta’s unborn children. “Give me one and I will help you on your way!” Angry and more than a bit annoyed Sveta rose from the table and left the room. After another soul was delivered to the Caretaker he left the room to begin his grisly work.
While resting near the entrance to the den the party could hear “Drog’s” forces moving through the canyon searching for Raudrogdos. After repeated taunts they moved on leaving two gnolls and a hill giant to watch this area of the canyon. Dispatching the guards quickly you began to move back south west to confront the Glabrezu, Drog.
The trip was fairly easy as you found yourself marching downhill for much of the walk. Eventually you could see a massive shape in the distance. The shape was a monumental stone standing three hundred feet tall that formed a rough U at the center of which lay the Glabrezu’s keep. Raudrogdos told you that his keep was made entirely of bones and was manned by demons, humanoids, and giantkin. Between you and the fortress lay a field of mud that seemed to drift and wave like the surface of the ocean on a calm day. Orek deduced that run off from the river styx has caused a very small piece of the Elemental Plane of Earth to manifest in this location.
With no other choice the party set out across the unstable terrain. At times the trek was like trudging through a muddy swamp while at other times adventurers were thrown off their feet by especially turbulent “waves.” About halfway across the earthen ocean the land beneath your feet hardened. Some party members found their legs anchored in the concrete like ground while others were quick enough to pull free. Moments later six earth elementals appeared and began attacking the party. The man sized elementals didn’t pose much of the threat being dispatched fairly quickly but before the party could let down their guard the ground began to shake tossing party members around like rag dolls. The earth exploded upward as a thirty foot tall Earth Elemental rose from the ground.
Sveta wasted no time engaging the behemoth. Grishma also charged but was swatted away like an annoying bug. The entire party converged on the giant piece of earth hoping to bring it down quickly. However, each time it would swing its massive arms it would hit with so much force that adventurers would be sent flying. Even the giant Raudrogdos was nearly killed when he was punted nearly thirty feet away by the elemental. Eventually, after swarming the elemental it too fell and you were able to continue.
At the base of the rock that sheltered the Glabrezu’s fortress the party decided to use a fly spell to reach the top. After tying the entire party to Raudrogdos, Orek cast fly on the giant. As the party ascended you could see many birdlike creatures towards the top of the rocky cliffs. Getting closer you could see that they were a swarm of fiendish stirges. After a short exchange with the vermin the party reached the top safely. From there you could look down on the fortress below and see that an enormous army had gathered and were camped outside of the structure. Omar searched the top of the cliff and quickly located a door. Before entering the party decided that this might be a good place to rest and recover spells.