In Oakhurst, there is an oracle named Surya Raier. She has been haunted by spirits claiming that an insatiable evil is moving through the Tangled Wood, searching for clues to the whereabout of the Yellow Jade Heart, a relic reputed to hold great power. She got word to St. Allerius about these spirit-visitations and told him about a ruined tower in the woods toward which the evil was moving.
Concerned by Surya’s premonitions, our heroes ventured north by northwest into the Tangled Wood. After a few days of searching, they located the tower, a five-story ancient structure covered with vines. Parts of the lower four floors had collapsed, leaving the interiors exposed to the elements, but the uppermost floor appeared intact. Cautiously, the adventurers moved through the ruins of the ground floor, only to be ambushed by a pair a monstrously large creatures that resembled horrible starfish. These creatures had burrowed into hidey holes, bursting forth to attack when the party passed over their locations. The fight was brief and fierce, with only Ebe sustaining much in the way of serious injuries.
A search of the area after the fight revealed the presence of recent tracks, most of them belonging to forest animals, but some having been left by smallish humanoids. Rob and Katmar identified the tracks as belonging to dromites. Following the faint tracks inward, the party found a closed door in the center of the tower and an archway leading into another chamber. Rob and Katmar moved to explore the archway, only to fall prey to another ambush predator, this one considerably more dangerous than the burrowing giant starfish.
Jeremiah identified the creature as a death worm, a savage centipede-like monster with acidic blood and a deadly toxin. Katmar demonstrated the power of the death worm’s acidic blood when he struck a mighty blow with his sawbacked falchion. The monster’s caustic ichor scarred the blade. The party also discovered the creature could spit lightning and was clever enough to use some rudimentary tactics. Still, in the end, the beast was defeated, although several party members had the hurt put on them.
The party took time to heal, thanks largely to St. Allerius, and explored the rest of the ground floor. They found a gnawed dog corpse that still wore a bejeweled collar and a tag that read Kita.
Rob went into stealth mode and explored up the spiral stone stairs behind the door. He heard strange voices on the second and fourth floors from behind doors exiting the stairwell. He heard nothing on the third floor, and did not go up to the fifth since the stairs opened directly into that floor. Rob then returned to report his findings to the rest of the party.
Our heroes moved up to the second floor and rushed the door, catching two dromite guards by surprise. Fortunately, they had forgotten to bar the door. The dromites attacked with psionic heat rays and then switched to swords. Katmar, Rob, and the animal companions Big Red and Tejas made short work of them, but the battled turned more serious when a juvenile two-headed troll burst into the chamber from a connecting room. Katmar bore the brunt of the monster’s claws and fangs. The young giant was defeated and burned to prevent its regeneration.
More injuries were inflicted when the animal companions were caught in a brutal crossbow bolt trap protecting the other door leading out of the dromite guard chamber.
The party expended more healing resources and considered their next move….