A darkened hallway loomed beyond the group as they made their way further in. Seris announced they needed to confront Lamatar Bayden so she could finish her goal of returning some of his remains to Myriana. Shortly after stepping beyond the hags’ chamber, Krac and Lor began to feel dizzy, and then collapsed to the floor.
Confused, the group surrounded them and attempted to determine the cause of their collapse.
“It must have been the dying hag’s hex—” Shalelu mused aloud.
Jakardros looked around at the others grimly. “We don’t have the time to waste. Hide them in the cave and we’ll press on.”
A murmur of agreement rippled through the companions and they stashed their friends’ unconscious bodies in the enclosed cave.
After rounding the corner into the cave beyond, they found Lamatar Bayden skulking in the darkness. His body was caked in rime, his left hand a wicked claw formed of frigid ice, and a crown of frost adorned his head. With a malevolent howl, he loosed a volley of arrows. Seris found herself in the wrong place and caught several with her body. The remaining allies poured into the room to engage him.
As Jakardros entered, Lamatar’s gaze narrowed and he turned his unbridled rage upon him. The arrows flew faster and with greater accuracy. Jakardros reeled from the blows. Bahram and Seris swarmed Lamatar to keep him from destroying their friend. As they landed hit after hit on the undead creature, he dropped his bow and tore free to eviscerate Jakardros.
Before Lamatar could reach him, the two landed simultaneously blows, and the wight collapsed into a pile of frost and bones.
“Who was that?!” Bahram asked.
“Shit—that hurt,” Jakardros winced, and dropped to one knee.
Seris chimed in, “He was the leader of the Black Arrows—Lamatar.”
They collected themselves and continued back up and out of the small adjacent cave and into the next chamber. Before entering, Seris cautioned the others to wait and allow her to scout ahead. She cloaked herself in a veil of invisibility and ventured into the chamber. Immediately to her left, she noted a stone giant standing with his greatclub raised. She peered around to assess any other threats and then ventured back out and relayed her intelligence.
The giant yelled out back up the stairs in his native tongue, “They’re not coming!”
Seris gathered her companions and instructed them to surround the giant and strike on her command. She channeled arcane energy into her allies and they disappeared from view and quickly poured into the room. She cried out the command and they suddenly appeared in view; lines of blood appeared on the giant’s legs and Rickben’s arrows buried deep in his chest. The giant struggled and futilely flailed about, but fell suddenly in a pool of his own gushing blood.
Spurred by their collective sneak attack, the group ascended massive stone-hewn stairs up into the chamber beyond. The gigantic room extended into darkness; above, the ceiling opened to the slate gray sky above. As they rounded the corner, the heroes spied Barl Breakbones sitting atop a massive stone throne. As they came into his vision, he stood—hefting his massive earthbreaker—and intoned a spell. A glowing bead sped down the steps.
Down the hill, the darkness streaked with orange flame, and engulfed Bahram. Seris, Rickben and Timber dodged out of the way. Barl reacted quickly after the exploding fireball and sped up into the air. Rickben responded with a volley of arrows. Jakardros and Shalelu joined Rickben, and unleashed arrows into the sky as well. The others gathered around and prepared for the giant to return to the ground.
As their arrows bounced against an invisible shield, Rickben’s arrows occasionally pierced the barrier. With each strike, Barl roared in rage. The arrows flew wildly, and Barl fixed his gaze upon the mounted halfling. He cried out and charged down from the sky, swinging for the tiny target. The earthbreaker connected, and the halfling felt like his body was being pulverized. Barl landed and swung again—this time connecting with the tiny ranger and knocking him from atop his mount. The force of the impact shattered his bones with a sickening crack and Rickben crumpled to the ground, utterly dead.
His companions rallied and surrounded the giant, ending his life before he could surrender. As he fell to the ground, his blood mixed with Rickben’s as it slowly pooled and ran down the massive steps.
Timber nuzzled his master and licked his bloody face. His companions gathered around and laid him atop his wolf. They ascended to the throne and searched the giant’s body and treasure for clues. They found a note indicating an imminent raid on Sandpoint.
Noticing the gear and recognizing some of his fallen comrades’ belongings, Jakardros asked the heroes if he might reclaim some of the treasure to help restock Fort Rannick.
Seris tersely cut him off, “No.” She surveyed the remaining belongings. Her allies gently prodded her, and she acquiesced after removing one piece of armor for herself. They collected themselves and their sleeping allies—who seemed to begin to rouse after Barl’s deat—and began the slow, somber trek down Hook Mountain back to Turtleback Ferry.
Bahram mentioned to his allies that they leave as soon as possible to warn Sandpoint about the attack. Seris interjected, “After we return this lock of hair to Myriana and find a way to restore Rickben. I have an idea.”