Journey to Fate’s doorstep: Beyond Ice Reach to the mountain top

The rare sightings of a Purple Worm and Remorhazes within a few days time leads Xzin and the party northward, to seek council at the Goliath Embassy. The Goliaths are looked upon by Ice Reach residents as caretakers for some creature and some ceremony; these things are not discussed with outsiders but the party finds bits and pieces of information during their stay in Ice Reach.

After trekking two days north, the party arrives and Xzin presents the Drow’s Bane to the two Goliath Ambassadors. Xzin is humble and is looking for answers to the strange events occurring since the arrival of the Drow’s Bane to Ice Reach; like the other Ice Reach residents, Xzin holds the Goliaths in high esteem for their wisdom and advice. But the Goliaths responses are spiteful and chastising; they believe the Drow’s Bane are imposters and need to be punished.

A battle begins in spite of Xzin trying to mediate the situation. The Goliaths rage and viciously fight the party but are eventually overtaken and fall. Xzin, shocked in horror by the turn of events, comes clean with the truth. There is a Silver Dragon named Angdan who lives on the top of the mountain. Angdan routinely conducts a ‘Ceremony of the Silver Heart’ that Xzin believes is honorable. Worthy Ice Reach residents, visitors and all Ice Reach children partake in the ceremony by way of the Goliath Embassy; these selected individuals journey up the Silver Path, meet Angdan and under his guidance become protectors of the realm, never to be seen again.

The Wand of Orcus is destabilizing the bag of holding and Royce removes it seconds before the bag implodes. The Wand reacts to Royce’s handling of it, by instantly killing Royce and turning him into a zombie. The party deals with the situation and resurrects Royce; Xzin, in shock and horror, witnesses these unholy events and mocks the party for mocking him about the Goliaths, Angdan and the Ceremony of the Silver Heart.

The party settles down once Royce awakens and takes a long rest; unaware the Wand’s aura is causing the Goliath corpses to rot and spoiling all food in the area; ice cock roaches responding to the Wand’s aura, have assembled in the corners of the room by the time the party wakes up.

The trek up the Silver Path is nearly vertical, hiking 500 feet up the mountain to a path made of clouds, that ascends another 500 feet up to the mountain top. Besides extreme cold weather, the Drow’s Bane are attacked by two Rocs on the cloud path. A Roc grabs hold of Royce and drops him 500 feet below; Royce survives and calls forth Daern’s Instant Fortress for protection. Nong, Naismith and Mordrock perform acts of ‘Cirque du Soleil’ on the Rocs as a way to counter the Roc’s grab and drop tactic. During this encounter, Xzin is never attacked by the Rocs even though he attacks the creatures in self-defense.

The party continues up the cloud path after disposing the Rocs; one nearly crashes into Daern’s Instance Fortress 500 feet below. The mountain top consists of a large space centered around ancient ruins; 50 feet above the ruins a heart shaped cloud hovers revealing just a face of a Silver Dragon. For a few hours, Naismith, Nong, Mordrock and Xzin hang out at the mountain top edge, recovering from the Roc attack while Royce recovers in the Instant Fortress.

When the party crosses into the area with the ruins, the dragon speaks and welcomes the party to approach as five chairs made of clouds form in front of a table made of clouds. The chair backs resemble elongated dragon necks that extend into dragon heads over the top of the chairs. A human woman greets the party and apologizes for Angdan being unable to assist the party on the cloud path due to the extreme weather. Xzin immediately recognizes the woman to be his wife, Shevin, and runs to her; the couple embraces and just goes after each other as if they have not seen each other for days. Xzin pulls back from their kiss and tells Shevin about the Goliath Embassy.

Angdan laughs, flys out of the heart shaped cloud and lands his huge body next to the cloud table and chairs. He beckons the party to approach, sit and converse. Nong, Naismith and Mordrock approach and begin talking with Angdan. Eventually one of them sits down on a dragon chair. What happens next is a surprise for the group: something hiding in the head of the chair attempts to attack and fails, revealing itself to be an Intellect Devourer! Four other Intellect Devourers climb out of the other chairs and attack. Angdan takes off circling around the area, taunting the Drow’s Bane.

Shevin pushes Xzin onto the ground and taunts her husband as she unsheathes her long sword and moves to attack the party. Xzin is besides himself, confused with what he’s witnessing between his wife’s and Angdan’s behavior.

Naismith, Nong and Mordrock engage, taking down the Intellect Devourers in between Angdan’s breadth weapon, claws and tail swings. Nong takes down Shevin as Angdan takes down Mordock; when Shevin falls, an Intellect Devourer emerges from her head and attacks Nong. Naismith moves around the battlefield, ducking and covering and unleashing damage to the dragon. The battle is difficult without Royce’s support and eventually Nong is barely up, when a Mind Flayer exits out of the ruins and attacks. Xzin comes out of shock and attacks the Mind Flayer only to be stunned by the Mind Flayer’s mind blast.

Naismith, who is hiding but cornered, reaches into his bag and takes hold of the Wand as Angdan searches for the rogue, flying above. The Wand responds to Naismith’s command and an arc of necrotic energy releases from the Wand into the dragon! Angdan lets out a great roar as the necrotic energy tears into his flesh. The sound is so loud, even Royce hears it causing Royce to check in with the party. Minutes later, Royce shifts into the Ethereal plane and travels up the mountain.

Naismith delivers the killing blow to Angdan using the Wand one more time. The Wand reaches out to Naismith with excitement and a thirst for destruction; it tries to join with Naismith but fails. The familiar eye in Nong’s mind closes as an eye in Naismith’s mind opens. An Intellect Devourer emerges from Angdan’s head and attacks. Naismith quickly puts down the Intellect Devourer.

Royce recovers the party and as Mordrock’s eyes awaken he watches as Xzin, speaking to himself walks past; Xzin looks in shock, with unfocused eyes and babbling to himself, “…my life is a lie…I’m a joke…what was my wife…what did I do to my children!?!…”. Mordrock stands up and calls out to Xzin as he watches Xzin walk off the side of the mountain to his death.

After the party recovers they make their way down the stairs that leads deeper into the ruins.