Read all the Kith’takharos Campaign session recaps here.
A surprised Luc and Larry dodge crossbow bolts and Arcane missiles. Hoyt’s men push the tables forward, opening a lane for the swordsmen.
Luc and Larry are almost overwhelmed before Illya steps up and fires a burst of flame into the melee. Two foes go down, and most of the others are rattled, decisively shifting the tide of battle. Hoyt flees up the ramp, followed by one of his men. The other poachers are soon dead or unconscious.
The group pursues Hoyt. When they reach the third level, they hear the distinctive the hum of the teleportation mechanism. The corridor is still filled with fog, but Hoyt is gone. They immediately pick up all available colored stone cubes and rush into the fog.
Then everyone is falling. All except Whiskin land hard on stone and sustain injuries. Whiskin’s fall is broken by the body of Hoyt’s last man. Sasha cannot tell whether the man was alive before being crushed by Whiskin.
The group stands upon a broken tower no higher than the second level. The teleportation magic sent them to the empty space once occupied by the third floor. A grassy plain surrounds the truncated tower, bounded to the south and east by jungle and the north and west by a massive wall of fog. Stone blocks are scattered about the tower, most likely flung away when the tower was shattered.
Sasha heals most of the injuries. Then the group uses rope to descend the 60 feet to the ground. The corpses of Swamp Men rest atop many of the stone blocks, wearing garments and fine jewelry. Sasha recognizes the corpses as members of the Blood Scar tribe, which suggests the broken tower is located south and west of Kith’takharos.
Before the group can gather and search for Hoyt’s trail, numerous Swamp Man corpses rise from their stone beds, uttering terrifying screams that send Larry running off into the darkness. Sword and arrow blows remove numerous arms and legs from the undead Swamp Men, yet the creatures continue advancing as if the missing limbs still functioned. The undead keep on screaming, affecting Larry the most; he is actually absent for much of the battle.
The intensity of the screaming decreases as the undead are destroyed. Larry puts aside his fear and returns as the last creature goes down. Suddenly, one of the corpses speaks in a wheezing voice due to a punctured lung.
“How many hundreds began the long sleep…how many remain?” Coughing cuts short a laugh. A small hunk of lung pops out of the Swamp Man’s mouth, and he mutters, “These bodies never last long enough…”
The dead Swamp Man now catches its breath every few words. “Need more…come to the place…of sleep. Follow spear man…Big Water…north past pink columns…another tower. Some may…survive.” The eyes close, and the corpse’s chin drops to its chest.
Luc fixates on the mention of sleep and links it to the Dreamers he seeks. Sasha and Illya recognize the reference to the pink columns of Stonefall Point.
Whiskin picks up Hoyt’s trail, which leads to a poacher supply cache on the coast of the Big Water. He repairs a damaged skiff, and the group poles north toward Stonefall Point. By late afternoon they find a second skiff beached upon the shore and an obvious trail heading inland to another tower. Although Hoyt’s footprints are evident throughout the tower, he cannot be found. However, from the roof Whiskin spots an odd, perfectly circular clearing a few hundred yards away.
As the group nears the clearing, they hear Lenar Hoyt shouting. “Damn you! You will tell me! Where is it! I’ll kill you! I’ll burn you down, you green-skinned freak. Tell me!” They burst into the large open space. In the center, a metal pole rises about 20 feet, topped by a golden globe. Hoyt stands beside the pole, screaming at it, threatening death. He turns toward the group, face twisted in grotesque anger.
Luc charges Hoyt, and vanishes when he nears the man. Hoyt points a hand at his remaining foes, releasing a blast of flame that takes down Illya and Whiskin. Sasha drags Whiskin and Illya into the jungle while Larry engages Hoyt. Luc soon reappears and joins the battle.
Hoyt is surrounded by some sort of magical protection that deflects most blows. He seems to be gaining the upper hand. Eventually, Larry is knocked unconsciousness and the fight is now two on one: Luc and Sasha against Hoyt. The poacher fires off more bursts of flame at Sasha and injures her, but is unable to take her down. This probably makes the difference, as Luc eventually overcomes Hoyt and renders him unconscious.
Sasha tends to the wounded and Luc searches Hoyt. The poacher wears a magical ring and carries some healing potions. Finally, he also carries Tar’shaldin’s Shining spear, the motivation for chasing Hoyt.
Luc also describes what occurred when he disappeared at the start of the fight. He found himself in an identical clearing where a Swamp Man stood beside the globe-topped metal post and his companions were missing. The Swamp Man spoke perfect common tongue and called himself Tshin’har. He was very friendly.
Luc believes that version of the clearing was in the past before the fall of the Harlass Orn, and that the Swamp Man was Harlass Orn.