The Initiative was making their preparations for their infiltration of the ruins of Tzim’chevaghol. They hoped to retrieve the Eye of Chevaghol from within the city, though Orin’s scrying had already indicated to him that the city was inhabited. Expecting resistance, but also hoping to avoid conflict, Orin knew he would have to take great care in planning this outing.
But first, Orin had a made a promise. Once the Initiative had gone their separate ways for the evening, Orin came to Astrid’s chambers. She was dressed and ready to go, and without hesitation, Orin brought them to the remains of Iskarel in the Awzera Fen. Acting on a hint from Abadar, Astrid sought to consume Iskarel’s blood and come into the full promise of her Rogarvian bloodline. With Orin’s help, they removed the protection of Umbrath’s icy breath, and Astrid managed to carve her way to the dragon’s heart – still full with warm blood, even after all these ages. Quickly, beseeching the solar dragon for her blessing, Astrid drank full from the heart.
Meanwhile, Thorgur took a visit to the forge chapel in Anchorport’s mining camp. He consulted a priest within, who shared his own challenges in faith since Mountainfall and the sundering of the world. He had been challenged even before Mountainfall, he revealed, when he visited the Golushkin Mountains and saw the devastation there. Yet, the priest insisted, everyone had faith, and in the end, he chose faith in something greater and something good: Torag, and the joy of creation. Pondering the priest’s words, Thorgur took up an avil and set about some work. It was an act of worship – and maybe faith – the dwarf had not participted in since before the coup in Kraggodan, when he still called himself Lightshammer.
Their work complete, Orin and Astrid returned to Anchorport, and Astrid took her rest. When she woke, she found her head swimming with power, putting her off at the same time as she felt even stronger than ever before.
Finding the rest of the party, Orin declared his intention to travel back to Endwatch and collect his father and any other supplies he could get his hands on. Astrid, Rhodin and Hudson joined him. They conducted some business with the local shopkeepers there, and Orin reunited with Arion, who was more than ready to travel to ruins of Tzim’chevaghol again. Before making their journey, Orin took one more look at the region through the Frozen Heart of Orphys. He saw the ruins in clear detail, and observed a semi-intact aboleth ruin on the outskirts of the city, offering some cover from any wandering eyes from the creatures now roaming the area. Putting the heart away, Orin caught a slip of something – a slight resistance within his mind – but filed it away as information for the time being.
After resting one more day to prepare spells and last minute arrangements, the Initiative at last traveled to Tzim’chevaghol. They immediately caught sound of something nearby, and Orin wasted no time in creating a door to his mage’s magnificent mansion. The party shuffled inside, and decided on their next course of action. Hudson volunteered to scout the city with Orin, and the pair set out.
They found the city sparsely populated, save for a deal of movement within the town center. Hudson also caught a glimpse of a rune on the aboleth stone near the party’s hideout. Marking the rune down, he noted it was written in Azlant, and read: “we’ve lost your gift”
The pair noted the rune and continued scouting the area. Orin noticed one new structure in the city: a synagogue perched above the Dark Rift – the great abyss below the city, still filled with ocean. They moved in closer, and Orin eavesdropped on creatures inside. He quickly realized the Initiative’s arrival had not gone unnoticed by the gillmen, and even now a scout was going to return and investigate.
Hudson and Orin returned to the edge of the city, out-pacing the scout – who appeared to be invisible himself – and Hudson went into the mansion to inform the party of what they had seen. Meanwhile, Orin stood and confronted the creature now coming to search for them. Upon revealing himself, the scout stopped in its tracked – and bowed.
“Grant me your blessing, great one!”