Venture to the Dragon’s Mirror

Tonight we concluded our story using Venture by Riley Rethal about the quest to defeat to an evil wizard that we began last week. Our crew once again consists of Nelrim the Wizard, Alexander Smith the Paladin, Alder the Cleric, Perebraithe the Bard, Orenn the Rogue, and Melor the Fighter. When last we left our heroes, they had just met in the healing temple to prevent Orenn from dying after saving Perebraithe’s life and pledged to work together to bring down the dark wizard causing mayhem among the populace of Port Royal.

We begin still inside the healing temple and decide that the best way to find the dark wizard is for Alder to call upon the True Sight of her order. Orenn rips the binding from his recently stitched up arm and volunteers to be the ritual’s blood sacrifice. As Alder chants, storm clouds and lightning appear in the sky until the clouds suddenly part and a dead dove falls into the temple’s courtyard from the center of the cleared sky. When alder checks the dove, she finds a key embedded in its belly, then goes berserk and attacks Alexander Smith. Once Melor gets him in her grip, Perebraithe sings his calming tune until she returns to herself and tells us of the vision she had of a ruined hillside chapel, which Orenn identifies as the Chapel at the Dragon’s Mirror. We set out for the Dragon’s Mirror at first light.

On the road, Perebraithe asks Nelrim about the dark wizard and learns that he was banished to the astral plane and has no physical form, but has enough power to induce psychotic anger in people on this plane. The wizard had been initially defeated by forces led by the Marquis and so his revenge is now extended to the city itself since he can no longer attack the Marquis directly. As we near the Dragon’s Mirror, we see smoke billowing from the volcano reflected in the crystalline lake that gives the area its name. We stop at a stall run by a poor family and, while eating out soup, learn that the Chapel was once the center of a pilgrimage, but that the last pilgrimage festival was cancelled due to a large sinkhole that appeared on the road to the Chapel, out of which stream a swarm of oversized crabs. We debate whether they are normal-sized fire crabs or giant-sized normal crabs, but we remain unprepared when we come upon the sinkhole and several enormous crabs emerge and pull several horses underground with them.

Dismounted and disoriented, we manage to regroup further down the road behind some boulders and begin planning our next move while Orenn sneaks away and looks inside the sinkhole where he sees a tunnel but also a strange boulder with a keyhole in it. When we learn what Orenn has seen, we silence our feet with towels sneak to the sinkhole ourselves while Alexander Smith loudly clanks away in the other direction to distract the craps. Once at the sinkhole, Alder opens the boulder with the key taken from the dove. When the key turns the boulder flies into the air and shatters and out from the newly formed door flies a powerful being wearing darkened robes, who fries the remaining crabs with lightning. Have we released the dark wizard from the astral plane?

We regroup inside the temple, which is dedicated to the same order as Alexander Smith, and he leads us down into the catacombs below the temple where we discover the remains of the knights and paladins who died fighting the dark wizard alongside the Marquis. Nelrim reads the runes to learn that we must disrupt the dark wizard’s power and Perebraithe learns from the Marquis’s parrot that the Wizard’s true name is “Damascus.” Orenn notices the pattern of one funeral bier, recognizes it matches that of a dagger he picked up outside as we came in, and returns it to the paladin’s scabbard, causing the paladin to appear before us in spirit form. He says if we speak the name at the volcano’s lip, it will summon the wizard so we can destroy him once and for all.

And so we do. We climb to the volcano’s mouth, Nelrim prepares a moonbinding spell, Alexander Smith, Melor, and Orenn gird their weapons, and once we’re all ready, Perebraithe cries “Damascus” to summon the dark wizard. The spell holds him tight for just long enough for the weapons to find the marks, the wizard’s blood oozing into the volcano. Alder sees her opportunity and throws the key into the volcano and it seals itself with an audible pop; the volcano is gone. As the earth shakes, we run down the hill to see the lake begin to bubble then calm allowing us to see the largest fire crab of all time uncovered in the quake sitting at the bottom of the lake. As the crab is just sitting there, we opt to return and begin the long journey to Port Royal on foot, happy to put the Dragon’s mirror behind us.