The journey was not an easy one, though quest of this importance never are. The weather was unforgiving as we force marched through it. The cold biting all of us to our core, causes many uncomfortable nights. All of us save Palomar who used his connection with the divine to endure the brunt of temperature discomfort.
Along our trek we uncovered signs of prior explores. Some just their passage, others their place of final rest. It was one of these that we saw signs for an ambush by a troll and a booted man sized companion. Tracks were not too old, so we investigated hoping to learn more about this region and its dangers. What we found was a grave robber. An elven Necromancer and his undead white troll.
An anger boiled from deep within my core, and I set to ending this defiler with righteous anger. I was incredibly single minded in that effort not heeding the troll as I should have. Again I was thankful to my companions combat support. With their aid both beast and master were destroyed and we set to resealing the tomb of an elven hero. One who was a barer of Windsplitter in ages past, and whose War Mask I now wear as result of that conflict.
It is in this moment that I reflect on Palomar’s words that the gods have plans for us. I have always given honor to Gremmen and respect to the other gods, but have always felt ones destiny is in ones own hands. I was not pleased with the plan to move forward into the unknown so quickly, but finding this tomb… is it truly a sign the gods are watching and aiding our cause? Again time will tell and in most things I am patient. Most things…
Moving on through several more days of freezing cold we finally come to a clearing with a cabin by a large stream and four elven women about chores. Not to scare them we will slowly emerge from the tree line so they can see us approach. To my surprise, they turned to us with smiles and waved us forward. Elves this deep in the Great Green would NOT be so welcoming and my gut churned with a sense of danger. I expressed my concern, in low tones, to my companions as we approach the clearly beautiful women. My friends acknowledged my concerns except Palomar who merely focused his gaze upon the women.
We were barely 60 feet away when the servant of the Sovereign Host called warning that one of the women was a being of evil and the other three possible thralls. With that, we wasted no time in setting to, giving care to not harm the innocents. It was a tricky thing as they all threw magics at us in some fashion. Matters soon became more complicated as a group of bugbears came out of the tree line on the opposite side of the clearing. They were tossing oil and fueling a forest fire.
Still, although the evil outsider that had the women in thrall got away, we were able free the women, kill or run off the bugbears and stop the fire from spreading. In reward for our efforts these women, Zenji Spirit Dancers, provided us shelter, supplies and connected us to our animal spirit guides. The later process took us into the spirit world where we saw a glimpse of a ruined city and faced Celia in a serpent spirit form. Again an ancient anger welded up inside me and I, along with my comrades faced this snake in our animal spirit forms. With beak, claw, hoof and bite we assaulted this evil and sent it from the spirit realm. She tossed a curious threat at us as she vanished.
The experience also gave us a sense of direction and a better familiarity with the land. With a new sense of urgency we thanked our host and set off at first light. Still bitterly cold the weather was clear and it was easier going. We seemed to happen upon the right game trails and natural paths speeding our way over time. Finally after several more days of travel we found the Lost City. Or so we thought.
Upon further investigation we discovered it was not, and that is was inhabited by demonic serpent worshiping goblinoids. As we moved through the now known Ruins of Mazion we defeated these creatures as we went, we uncovered that there was something here that could lead us to the Lost City. A ritual that needed to be performed that would reveal the cities location. It required four gems of which we had only found one. The other three, we learn the hard way, were in the possession of an Aspari priest residing at the top of an overgrown stone ziggurat. He did not part with them easily, but once Jemmrand blinded him, and the rest of us beat in our opinions, it was determined he had no further need of them. Or anything else.
As he bled out I could not help imaging Celia lying there. The thought made me smile.
With all four gems we climbed to the ritual chamber and performed the rite. Expecting some sort of map or indicator as to the lost cities direction we were further surprised by a portal opening up. We looked at each other for a moment, then Palomar said, unexpectedly yet inspiringly “what… do you want to live forever” and steps into the portal. Khaine and I exchange looks and without need of word, my oldest friend entered next followed by Jemmrand. I took one more look around and out into the ruins before I too took another step in to the unknown.