Sul, Dravago 22, 993 YK – Wir, Nymm 04, 993 YK
After resting up, they found Ghyrrn and readied themselves for the second trial. It was a four day journey on foot to Turakbar’s Fist, a mud ziggurat built in the Droaam plains. As they closed in on the ziggurat, they could feel Rhesh Turakbar’s presence in the land. Plants grew thick and thorny within a few miles of the location and animals became restless, hungry, and angry. The primal essence of the land began to seep into the party’s minds, twisting their thoughts, if only slightly. Once they arrived, the majority of the gnolls scouted the nearby land and set up a defensive perimeter. The party entered the ziggurat with Ghyrrn and Ghost, his lieutenant, to kill Rhesh Turakbar.
The minotaur lord was found completing a ritual in the center of an open chamber, hooked chains hanging from the ceiling, and walkways positioned over spiked pits. The white ape servants of Turakbar spotted the party as the doors opened and the battle ensued. The lord felled Siegfried after a lengthy fight, only for Josephine to revive him at the brink of death, but took considerable damage himself. He opened a gateway to an extradimensional space: an infinite iron bridge surrounded by flames and occupied only by his skeletal minions. With Turakbar’s demise as Ixen’s magic thrust him into one of his own spiked pits, Ekhaas was almost lost in the hellish otherworldly space as the gate began to close, but was rescued in the nick of time.
The party recovered Rhesh Turakbar’s weapon, Heartcleaver, in addition to skinning an abyssal ritual tattoo off of the minotaur’s back. They quickly left the vicinity of the temple, hoping to get out of range of the tainted atmosphere it was exuding. Some distance out, they were almost attacked by a hyena still filled with rage. Before it could do anything, though, it vanished as the air around it shimmered and rippled. Moments later, it reappeared as a bloody piled of flesh and bone in a nearby location. A message arrived from Hohenheim and then Dr. Jones shortly thereafter, indicating they were testing the teleporter being installed in Sharaat. Unfortunately, it was clearly a failure. One critical element was needed for the teleporter to work properly: a beacon that they could focus on for the purposes of scrying or divination. The party also learned that contact had been lost with Rohagar a few days prior. There had been no word from her in the Forest of Flesh in some time and they were beginning to worry. They resolved to look into her disappearance after completing the third trial.
Before they slept, they used the powers of Murkoorak’s Orb to delve into Heartcleaver’s past and discover its purpose and abilities. They learned it was an ancient glaive created for the champion of Yeenoghu and Baphomet, two Demon Overlords from the dawn of time. It was a powerful weapon and Siegfried intended to wield it to help him in his quest for vengeance. As he began to connect with it, he received a vision of a flame that spoke with him and grew into a humanoid shape. It claimed to be a spirit of vengeance from Shavarath, the plane of eternal war, that was a part of his aasimar soul. The being warned Siegfried about the power he wanted to wield, telling him that vengeance isn’t a cudgel to strike down your foes with force; rather, it is a scalpel that cuts where your foes will hurt the most. The spirit offered Siegfried the power he needed and Siegfried accepted, taking the spirit fully into himself and giving up Heartcleaver.
After another long trip back to the Great Crag, the party sought out Drul Kantar, knowing he would give the weapon to the Daughters of Sora Kell for safe keeping. Meanwhile, Volik contacted Tzaryan Rrac. He initially tried to extort the oni for information, which the warlord found insulting and, because of which, nearly left having struck no deal. At the last moment, Volik relented, giving Rrac the ritual tattoo skinned from Rhesh Turakbar in exchange for information about Ilthane and his plans. Tzaryan Rrac explained to the group that Ilthane comes from a line of black dragons that were once protectors of Eberron, but faltered somewhere along the way. Ilthane’s connection to Dyrrn has driven him mad over the years and he believes that he can make the world a better place with the black worms the party has encountered before. The Gentlemen are truly Dyrrn’s tools, though they answer to Ilthane at the moment. Tzaryan Rrac offered to tell Volik where Ilthane is only if he was given the Shield of Galifar. Volik told him where the Shield was located, and said they might consider getting it for him. Rrac made it clear that the party had used up his good will and anything less than the Shield itself would get them nothing from the oni.