An uninterrupted night’s rest helped lift the spirits of the party. Laramore the pack dog was loaded down with Rillivis’ satchels and spear since the elf was still too weak to carry those things effectively. Wounds were healed though, and so the hunt for the treasure continued. Elmer led the way with a swig of alcohol, scouting out the beach and their best path up to the hill tops on the penesula. The pirate’s tale spoke of a cave near the top somewhere. Sophie and Rillivis followed the fighter, but they both basically took in the sea vistas and fresh air offering nothing useful in the way of scouting. Elmer chose a good spot to climb to the forested bluff and head towards the hill tops, one with numerous handholds and trees to help the others climb. After a failed attempt, the weakened elf required Elmer to haul him up via rope anyway. They hiked a path to the nearest hill top, unsure where to begin their search. On the way up they found a mineshaft, well fortified but unused for some time. The decision was made to explore it. They needed to find a cave, right?
Elmer led them in with Rillivis lighting the way for the 2 humans plus himself. Sophie and Elmer paused at the first side passage when they both spotted a large black spider hanging in a web watching them. It was the size of a mule. Sophie identified it as a giant black widow then told Elmer to “kill it!” The party paused for minute in a staring contest, neither spider nor person daring to move first. When Elmer sent Laramore away everything changed as a web shot out to entangle the poor dog. The spider lurched forward and Elmer moved to chop it. Sophie started telling jokes and Rillivis sent a sparkle of lights to dazzled it, informing the others that his magical light and fire attacks were only effective against evil. They could not hurt the insect. The massive spider bit Sophie and she felt the strong poison taking effect. The comedian’s performance suffered as she wept between verses. Seconds later another of the large spiders raced along the ceiling from deeper within the mineshaft. Elmer, with sophie’s help managed to slay the first spider but the fighter was soon entangled by the second creature’s webbing. He broke free in time to beat it back but took a nasty bite in the process. Meanwhile Sophie was quickly deteriorating due to the poison in her bloodstream, her constitution draining away. Eventually she was able to use her bard magic to break free of the poison. Rillivis summoned a small fire elemental to attack and the spider retreated after being burned. Elmer did not want to lose track of it so he chased it deeper into the mine with everyone following. They cornered the spider and, as it tried to escape, cut it down.
The mine ended abruptly but they collected a bag of onyx chips Rillivis estimated at about 60gp value, placing the new bag on Laramore’s back. It wasn’t a treasure perse, but it was something. Seeing nothing else here they headed out and continued up the hillside. They came upon another mine but this one looked much more random, like a hole dug in the dirt without supports. Cautiously entering, they heard clinking sounds deeper inside. The farm boy fighter noted that the ceiling here wasn’t very stable. Elmer had Rillivis cast light on an arrow to fire inside and see the source of the clinking. After a poorly aimed shot that barely lit the ground beyond their feet, they tried again and this time saw that 6 humanoids were digging with picks. The humanoids noticed them and turned dropping the tools. Sophie called out “zombies!” As the dead lumbered in their direction. Slow moving, the party used their vantage to fire arrows and eventually heavenly flame at them, destroying half of them before they were within range to strike. The others were cut down mostly by Elmer, but not before landing a couple of solid blows on the elf. Inside they found nothing but rusted picks … odd. And so they carried on climbing further up the hillside. Elmer decided that was worth another drink!
Sophie spotted a structure above them, actual stonework. Elmer climbed to it and discovered a finely constructed well adorned in sigils and blackened as if burned. He pulled the others up and they identified risidual magic, probably from the sigils, and religious markings representing Norgorber God of Assassins and Deceit. They heard a crunch alerting them to something moving nearby and they hid behind the well. Actually only Elmer hid, both Sophie and Rillivis just crouched to either side of it in plain sight. A voice called down to them to come out. It was a pair of harpies perched on a ledge some 20 feet above them. The women held morning stars and bid the trio to surrender and be escorted to Tirarus. Elmer used his surprise to shoot one of them with his bow and a battle broke out. Rillivis blasted them with his light burst while Sophie started up her jokes to inspire the group “waka waka waka!” One of the harpies began to sing but everyone managed to resist her charming song. Down she went with another blast and some well-placed arrows. The remaining harpy swooped to attack Elmer and stop his deadly bow. She batted and clawed the farm boy pretty severely before he brought out his 2-handed sword and cut her from the air. The harpies had little to offer but they did find a large silver key inside the well. They continued on up.
Topping the hill, they found a strange pentagram Rillivis suspected of being a summoning circle. Seated a few feet away was a large creature with the body of a lion, face of a bearded man and dragon wings, plus a heavily spiked tail. “A manticore!” Sophie blurted out. She immediately asked if he was Tirarus which angered the creature immensely. To calm him, Sophie did what Sophie does best and flashed him. Her breasts jiggled and it worked. They began a dialogue, learning that Musa the Manticore and Tirarus the chimera were both summoned by Garazandal the mad dwarf wizard to guard his domain. The wizard vanished years ago and the pair of creatures now battled over who ruled this area. Elmer mentioned the harpies and angered the manticore again, they worked for Tirarus. But Sophie flashed him another peek (jiggle jiggle with a smile) to calm him. Musa offered them a deal, kill Tirarus and they could leave safely with the Garanzandal’s treasure in tow. They agreed to the deal and set out towards the moon-shaped cave they could see on the distant hilltop. Elmer later informed them that the manticore was definitely lying! They shrugged, that was a problem for the future. For now, they were headed for the treasure!
The group hiked another couple of hours to reach the tallest peak and the lair of the dwarf wizard. It was a 20 foot steep climb to reach the large landing and cave. Sophie turned Elmer invisible so he could sneak inside and possibly slay the chimera in its sleep. Rillivis informed them it was quite dangerous, quite stupid and quite evil. Elmer scaled the cliff and crept inside to find the large 3-headed creature hiding and waiting to ambush them. Evidently it had spotted them on their way here. The lion head, goat head and black dragon head all stared intently waiting for signs of someone climbing over the ledge. Elmer carefully retreated back to explain the situation to the others.
They took a few minutes to form a plan then set into action. Sophie used her ghost sound ability to again make the loud roar of a lion followed by her silent image of Masu circling far away as if challenging Tirarus. The ruse worked and the stupid chimera bounded out of the cave launching into the air and heading straight for the manticore. As it flew by, Elmer hurried up the cliff again and hauled the others up with his rope. Time was very limited as the chimera blasted the illusion with its acid breath discovering its true nature. They ran as fast as they could into the cave and hurried on through the only door they saw, a large stone portal marked with religious symbols and runes. They slammed the door and prepared to bar it behind them when Rillivis pointed out the chamber before them. Black and white checkered stones paved the floor each with symbols drawn on it. Sophie recalled seeing one of those symbols over the door as she ran inside. “We have to peek at the door again, quickly!” She cried. Elmer opened the door while the other 2 stepped outside to take a quick look at the symbols and words. The chimera would be returning any second so they had to hurry. They then closed and barred the door behind them. The trio spent a good amount of time trying to decipher the puzzle, assuming horrible traps awaited them with a misstep. Finally they just gave up and went with Elmer’s guess. Sophie started crossing the floor in the pattern he called out. Miraculously he was right and she made it safely to the other side. The door on the far end was locked but the key from the well did the trick. Inside was a bedroom and alchemical workshop of sorts. A 7 foot black onyx pyramid marked with unholy symbols dedicated to Norgorber sat in the center, rillivis valued it at around 15,000gp but at 1,000 lbs it was far too bulky and heavy to carry out. They discovered all sorts of metals in vials and a notebook describing Garanzandal’s many attempts to convert metals to gold. He thought that Norgorber had gifted him secrets only to learn the evil God was merely teasing the mad dwarf. There was a magical rod, a spell book and the skeletal remains of a dwarf in his bed here, too. Sophie claimed the rod and then grabbed the spell book. Out of the darkness came a creature of pure shadow. Rillivis identified it as a greater shadow, Garanzandal’s spirit. It attacked Sophie and she screamed. The bard was immediately drained of most of her strength. She fell to the ground under the weight of her equipment and began crawling away begging for help. Rillivis stepped away to blast it with his light magic, warning them that if it drained all your strength you’d rise as a shadow in moments. His current strength of 5 meant he needed to keep his distance. Elmer charged in to save the bard and landed a few solid blows with his magic weapons. Rillivis added more light blasts to the fray. Elmer slumped due his own loss of strength now and fight looked grim. Sophie pointed the rod at it and activated it blindly filling the chamber with hundreds of butterflies, basically blinding herself. Rillivis, out of light blasts, switched to heavenly fire, and Elmer landed two heavy blows destroying the creature in the nick of time. They rested and debated their situation, while loading some of Sophie’s gear onto poor Laramore’s back. They found no other exits and pointedly no dwarf treasure. The notes suggested that the mad dwarf was obsessed with creating gold but ultimately failed. Thank the Gods that spell book was valuable.
They rested for a full day and another half, recouping what they could of their dwindled abilities. It was time to escape. They prepared for the worst, throwing the stone door wide and racing in to attack the chimera. Tirarus did not disappoint, he melted the summoned fire elemental with acid and tore into Elmer. The fighter got lucky as several attacks missed, most importantly that large central lion head. Sophie supplied jokes “waka waka waka!” while Rillivis supplied light blasts. Chop after chop dug holes into the beast and it’s claws and heads did the same to Elmer. Sophie stepped up to take some attacks and suffered a pair of huge claw wounds. 2 more chops and Elmer stood over the body of the dead chimera, both bathed in blood. He beheaded it 3 times. Everyone rejoiced having expected certain death. They healed and Looted the chimera nest uncovering a valuable fire opal and a pair of large black pearls altogether totally around 1,900gp in Rillivis’ estimate. There were large chunks of raw gold ore but that was far too heavy to move.
Triumphant, they crawled from the cave and used magic sounds and lights to call for Musa. The manticore arrived hovering overhead and thanked them as Elmer produced all three severed chimera heads. Musa then launched his tail spikes at them, striking everyone including poor Laramore. They knew it was a possibility and so Elmer was ready. He shot arrows, Rillivis blasted it with light and Sophie started up her comedy act to inspire them. The manticore launched more spikes nailing each of them again with a critical hit that left the dog splayed on the floor.
They fell back inside the cave. They were being slaughtered. Elmer, bringing up the rear, took three more spikes including a critical hit. Sophie did manage to tap Laramore with a cure as she passed and the dog scurried away to hide. Musa entered the cave in pure confidence. They had barely scratched him thus far. Everyone was heavily injured. Rillivis blasted him with more light magic and was filled with tail spikes for the effort. The elf was barely left standing. Sophie was in a similar state at his side, one spike imbedded in each of her large bussoms. Elmer charged from behind the beast and landed a critical hit, cutting a huge gash in the manticore. Suddenly, the tables had turned. It looked as if Musa might flee so Rillivis burned it with his fire and Sophie ran in to stab it with her dagger, amazingly delivering the killing blow. Half dead and bedraggled, the party healed what they could and fled for the beach and their boat. They made it back, paid the overdraft fees for their time away with the boat (9 days) and then returned to Absalom to sort and sell their goods. All in all, they did walk away with a hefty treasure including the 300gp writ from Fillego Mahd despite the fact that there never really was a Blue Moon treasure to begin with.
Elmer was invited to join the guild with Sophie and Rillivis vouching for him, and he even got a cool souvenir in the form of a black dragon chimera head mounted on his shield. Unfortunately for Sophie, the youth also realized he now had too much respect for her to buy her services anymore.