Pausing for a brief rest after emerging from a teleportation circle in a small room atop the tower, Sideon’s Army took stock of their surroundings. Through a great pair of double doors, the companions could hear the sounds of shouted orders, a chorous of responses, a deep humming and the drumbeat of thousands of booted feet pounding the stone of the plateau. Cracking the door open, the friends could see a the tail end of a mercenary army made up of many mortal races, marching through a massive portal inscribed in the ground of the plateau. Between the doors and the portal stood four beings – two of them strange warriors Orpheus and Adrik identified as githyanki. The third appeared similar, but rotting flesh hung from dessicated bones strapped into iron-jointed leather armor. The undead githyanki sat astride the fourth figure – a massive undead dragon, also with bits of decaying flesh and bone evident across its taught hide.
Glancing above the PCs, the unliving githyanki hissed, “It appears your ‘problem’ has followed you even here. Deal with it, or never fall under my eyes again, lest you suffer my wrath.”
Echoing from above, the party heard the unmistakeable voice of Sarshan echo, “It shall be as you say, General Zithiruun. They will not leave this place alive.”
Gesturing two the other githyanki, the nightmarish creature tightened his grip on his steed and lifted off, disappearing into the active portal. While the companions dealt with the githyanki, Sarshan resumed chanting, and as the two warriors fell, the portal energies died down. Sarshan himself leapt down at the party. Splitting into three exact images, the shadar-kai lanced into the Army, launching devastating weapon attacks and bursts of chaos-infused energy. A grueling battle ensued as the tower began to ooze magma and the plateau was gripped by increasingly powerful tremors. Two of Sarshan’s images were defeated as Orpheus rushed to the roof of the tower to attempt to open the massive portal. In a burst of blood chaos, Sarshan transformed into a massive chaos beast, continuing to punish the friends. However, for all his power, not even the blood-chaos infused shadar kai could withstand the might of Sideon’s Army, and the mercenary fell in a fiery burst.
With Megan Swiftblade’s stories of invading mercenaries confirmed and the identity of Sarshan’s employer revealed, the friends quickly activated the portal and returned to the mortal realm, Djamela’s tower crumbling behind them. The party set out for Overlook right away, hoping to head off disaster. The night before their arrival in Overlook, Laric received an urgent sending from Durak Zail, High Priest of Avandra in Overlook, warning of a growing danger in the dwarven city. Sideon’s Army arrived to find the town’s populace engaged in preparations for war. While Orpheus searched through Sideon’s office at the Mountain’s Hearth, Laric ventured to the Nine Bells and the temple of Avandra therein to seek out Durak Zail and investigated the danger.
At the temple, Durak thanked Laric, and explained his concerns. A fellow priestess of Avandra had vanished – Lavinya, caretaker for the shrine in Tradetown. At the same time, inquiries to other priests in Overlook revealed strange changes in his fellow members of the cloth – Declan Deephammer of Moradin, Aelys of Bahamut, Kyrrist of Erathis and Matron Volorvyn of the Raven Queen. While not overtly hostile or threatening, they were distant and uncaring. Strange, he noted, for even those clergymen Durak had not counted among his friends were at least respected colleagues. A strange priest named Grovald had appeared and took over at the shrine, saying Lavinya had asked him to look after it while she went on a ‘spiritual retreat’. Durak implored Laric to look into the disappearance and the strange behavior of the other priests. He had no further information or leads to impart, but suggested the friends investigate the shrine or even try the other priests again. With an impending assault and a new mystery, the companions knew that they would have to move quickly to avert a disaster…