Returning to the caves below the lighthouse, the company continues exploration. A few more ghouls are destroyed, and it is discovered that the god behind the rituals depicted in the forgotten temple’s inner sanctum is Ydersius, a serpentfolk god long lost to history. Pictograms in the foul nest of what could only have been “Mother Thrune” depict a headless, enormous serpentfolk figure. Returning to the surface, Arendel is able to help the other castaways find the necessary items to complete the lighthouse. All signs point to Red Mountain, and the explorers depart without delay.
Camping about halfway between the lighthouse and the mountain, two axiomatic events occur- first, the beating of leathery wings is accompanied by a blood-drained cannibal carcass being dropped into the campfire. Hours later, lightning flashes and thunder erupts in the otherwise clear sky. The explorers knew that Red Mountain had to be the source of calamity.
Approaching the shore via a game trail, another body is dumped at the feet of the explorers, and the bearer is ready to fight. The winged, bloodthirsty terror swoops in and upon the group, whose meager range attacks did little more than annoy it. Toying with a set of summoned eagles, the Red Mountain Devil focuses its attacks on the meatiest prey, dodging deadly magic and the troublesome tanglefoot bags tossed its way. It is eventually taken down, though, after one too many trips to the well. The group found the abomination’s home, and within, a fair bounty for the fight.
They then turned their attention to the set of megaliths surrounding a low stone pyramid, as was depicted on the temple wall two days ago. After rehearsing the ritual as written, Taraz used his own blood to begin the ritual, while Ace summoned the required serpents, and Arendel poured salt water from his metal flask.
The sea fled from the bay as if called by terrible magic most unholy. The sky crackled and burned with electricity, and the waters of the lagoon laid bare a set of heavy stone doors, a slick rock bridge, and a ruined ship.
Approaching the shipwreck, Chumba and Max were greeted by a water mephit calling himself “Captain Ekubus”. He told them of a strange serpentine humanoid who’d passed through recently, and wore a jaunty pirate’s hat. The explorers thanked him and went towards the seaweed-clad doors.
Scraping away the seaweed, Arendel and Taraz were able to identify the carvings as Azlanti in origin- the ancient precursors to modern-day humanity. Further inspection revealed that the horrific scenes depicted were likely in honor of the ancient demigoddess of cannibals and vampires, Zura. The gates creaked open slowly, and the explorers proceeded.
Though slightly damp, the air inside the vault was surprisingly fresh. Four alcoves in the foyer were quickly searched; Kay’ess found a poorly covered trap door in one. The massive stone bridge ahead was guarded by three serpentine humanoid skeletons, who immediately began hurling javelins at the intruders. One even stepped off the bridge and fell forty feet, only to be taken out. Max tied together two 50’ sections of rope and managed to toss it over the bridge, where Chumba grabbed the other end. Taking his cues from Jack the donkey at Quellig’s Treasure Pit, he steadily hauled Chumba up the forty feet to the bridge, as the other combatants made several other strategic moves.
While Chumba battled the serpentfolk, Arendel and Taraz examined the odd bronze doors, which seemed to be weeping blood. While Max labored, Ace offered up spellcasting support to Chumba. Opening the doors revealed two sets of stairs, and both were explored. Arendel fell victim to a pit trap, while the others were able access the bridge and help the barbarian mop the floor.
While Max “helped” Arendel in the pit trap, a few two-foot wide passages were discovered in the pit’s walls. Finally scaling the pit walls, Arendel and Max went to meet up with their mates, but Ace and KS had triggered another pit trap, where they also noted 2-foot wide holes leading into darkness. With Taraz trapped on the other side, Max tossed him the rope and physically flung the oracle across the 30’ chasm to safety.
Once summoner and eidolon were safely out, the group was intrigued by a question from the wizard- “So, do we know for how long these waters recede?”