(April 27, 2008)
After the epic escape from the Temple of Daudhir, the party boards the pirate ship to sail to the Veil of Winter to follow up on some leads from earlier and to investigate Rathgar's mysterious past. A quick stop in Freeport for supplies brings rumors of war. It is said that Krogland has invaded and annexed a town called "Crescent" something, and a combined force of Fitzleon and Veil soldiers were moving to battle the Orcs. The pirates of Freeport, of course, were more looking for a quick coin to be had in the midst of war, and didn't have much to say about the politics of it all…
The ship lands at the easten edge of the Veil mountains, at a spot previously marked "Dwarven Enclave." There, they are met by Wonko the Sane, a hobgoblin cleric of Vecna. He claims to have been sent by Flying Sir General King Emperor Admiral (he bought a boat) Mardek Krog the Orc the Dragonslayer Bandit, but his worship of Vecna and his general creepy nature make the party instantly distrust him.
He leads them through the abandoned Dwarven tunnels in pitch-blackness. There are strange sounds, always in the distance. After hours of traveling, the caven opens up into a larger area, with the first signs of life being a band of Gnolls.
The party approaches cautiously, but the Gnolls react quickly and begin to move on the party, and send out a Stone Golem working for them to aid in the harrassment. Lack of light leads to some problems, and the gnolls are a bit tougher than expected.
The gnolls are eventually wiped out, but the battle against the Stone Golem takes a bit longer. The spellcasters are stymied against the magic-immune construct, and the warriors lack the equipment necessary to inflict heavy damage. Eventually, Rathgar and Ceridan get pumped full of enhancement spells, including being enlarged. A massive slugfest between the enlarged Ceridan and the Stone Golem ensues (not unlike a game of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Golems) until the combined weight shatters the Golem.
Meanwhile, Wonko starts raising the dead Gnolls as zombies. Ceridan "accidentally" destroys one of them, but Wonko uses the rest to guard the area. The party, exhausted from the fight, wants to rest in the area to recover. Wonko warns against this, telling of dire spirits that roam the mountains. After some debate, they press on.
After another few hours of travel through the dark tunnels, an insignia of a Granite Warhammer containing an Acorn is spotted to the entrance of a ruined Dwarven town, matching the insignia on an amulet left with Rathgar since birth. Upon investigating, they are greeted by a ghostly army of Dwarves… and one human druid, Verdigris, who died in the attack on Morning on Crescent.
He explains that an evil dwarf by the name of Freizen betrayed the town by giving away their location to Califyra, the white dragon. They were wiped out, but sent the baby Rathgar away with Verdigris to be safe and protect him from the massacre. Rathgar was presented with The Maelstrom Hammer, the legendary weapon of the town. It would not function fully until the honor of the Maelstrom clan was restored.
Some ghostly questions later, the party also figures out where Kyuzo the silver dragon lay sleeping: in the middle of the arctic tundra. Before venturing on, the Scales decide to stock up on Adamantine weapons to fight against Freizen's constructs. Dulin's teleport scroll takes a disguised Knolan and wildshaped Haladorr back to Fitzleon, where he quickly stocks up. Knolan also gets some gossip about the war, and how Elrick of Astley has joined with the Orcs against Fitzleon.
Knolan reappears at the party (using another purchased teleport), and the Scales have two choices: free the dragon in the wastes, or go after Freizen by following the gnoll and golem tracks back to town. After some discussion, they stick with the primary mission to free the dragon. Wonko takes the lead again.
Heavy snow and winds batter the party. While some use magic to protect themselves against the cold, others rely simply on some heavy weather and their own perserverance. In the middle of a frozen snowbank sit two Frost Giants. One is relaxing on a stone bench while the other patrols on a Mastadon. Curled up nearby is a Purple Worm. Though at first stealth is attempted, Ceridan rushes forward and takes out the seated Frost Giant. That Frost Giant will never get a chance to get up: after being stunned, Knolan inflicts Tasha's Hideous Laughter on the giant.
The Purple Worm uncoils, and sees its first meal: Ceridan. The elf is quickly swallowed, and many more would soon follow him. However, the Monk would not be easy to digest, laying flurries of blows into the inside of the Worm. Rathgar and Knolan would be swallowed soon after, and spend their time keeping Ceridan alive as he lay into the belly of the beat.
The rest of the party worked on disabling the Mastodon-riding Frost Giant by blasting him with Flamestrikes and gold dragon breath. In the process, Haladorr's new companion (a dire ape, way out of his natural climate) was tragically speared by the Mastodon's tusk. Dulin's Bladesinging helped bring down the giant rider, and the druid used his animal skills to calm the furry elephant.
Ceridan eventually burst out of the Purple Worm's stomach, and all the guardians were defeated. Then came the question of how to free Kyuzo?
Unlike the other four dragons, the silver dragon's prison was a simple one: many feet of ice. Though running low on energy from the battle, the party had enough fire left to blast their way down to free the dragon, who erupted from the ice. She had some questions, and offered the Scales a ride to their next destination (even scooping up the Mastodon with her hind claws.)
Wonko cursed at the party: "What about me?" They offered him a chance to raise Frost Giants and a Purple Worm from the dead, which he seemed to take as fair trade.
The party is dropped off outside of the Gnoll city, where their foul workshops spit smoke clouds into the air, dirtying the otherwise pure white landscape. The Veil of Winter's war machine was in full swing, and one cursed Dwarf was at the center of it. Most of the city was on the march, so finding the workshop of Freizen didn't prove difficult. It was also the only building in town patrolled by four constructs.
As what often happens to their plans, the Scales found themselves arguing about the best course of action. While some concentrated on taking out the exterior guards, Zorgin wasn't content to wait outside and peeked in the doors to the workshop. A research lab, filled with different metallic humanoid figures (and one massive construct with many spikes, seemingly powered by blood) waited for their entry. Sitting in the chair was a Dwarf whose skin had been changed to a pallid, cold color.
"Surprise!" yelled Knolan, as one of the Scales new battle tactics came into play. He cast a Dimension Door spell and brought himself, Ceridan, and Rathgar face to face with the dwarven traitor. They set upon him before he could react, and make short work of him… until they realize that this was not the real Freizen, but a construct replicant.
Still, they have to deal with the guards, which the voice of Freizen calls "warriors of the future."
In the fight are five constructs: Blood Golem of Hextor, an Inevitable, and three "Warriors of the Future", who display strange combat abilities like "Split the Tree". They all could self-repair. Even the spell-casting golem was to be feared: he can cast Magic Missile every round! (Though sometimes it misses.)
The warriors of the future are no match for the Heroes of the Present. The Blood Golem that had caused so much damage to them way back when was not as much of an issue either. The Inevitable posed the biggest problem, between its self-healing capabilitie, enervation rays, and immunity to non-chaos infused weapons. But when the might of the combined Scales is on you and you alone, you don't stand a chance.
Outside, Kyuzo was waiting to take them back to Morning right away. There was bad news: Fitzleon had captured many of the Scales allies.
The captured list included: