After a tense night in the rocky flats surrounding the Lode, Sideon’s Army again approached the dwarven citadel. Orpheus was gripped by another vision, this time recognizing the Karak Lode as the fortress ensnared in the coils of a large serpent, and seeing a humanoid face on the serpent. Wasting little time, the companions began their assault.
The friends found the fortress well defended by the minions of Queen Shephatiah. Troglodytes attacked from behind arrow slits and murder holes; human lackeys, elite shifters and even guardian golems attempted to halt the invaders. The Army gave a wide berth to a mysterious sand pile in the central courtyard that consumed one of their enemies who was taken prisoner after a fight. A berbalang, a horrific creature feeding off of the dead in the basement below, attacked viciously but ended up fleeing the might of Sideon’s Army.
The party also discovered a strange old man surrounded by seven birds, apparently taken prisoner by the forces of Queen Shephatiah. He did not speak, but merely nodded and smiled at any of the companion’s efforts to engage him in conversation. The Army released him, and he followed after them in the keep, often turning up in the strangest places.
Finally, Sideon’s Army descended into what appeared to be a throne room, with odd trees of Underdark origin growing up through the flagstone floor. More lackeys and shifters awaited the friends, along with what two hellish hyenas and what appeared to be an eladrin female. Proclaiming herself Queen of the Drylands, the eladrin revealed herself as a dryad, and ordered death for the intruders.
However, the tables quickly turned, and Sideon’s Army made quick work of the so-called Queen and her minions. An investigation of the area turned up a dead villager from Dunesend, and a cache of gold coins. However, even though the friends had explored most of the fortress, one question remained: where was the mine?