Beneath a ruined tower on the Goblin Isles, our heroes were gathered around a glowing sarcophagus. (The last time we’d touched this coffin, Bru and Raven were teleported to a mysterious museum in the future. We had just returned, finding that no time had passed.) After sharing our tale of what just happened with Mat and Zefir, we decided to be cautious with the coffin and open it outside, underneath the sunlight. That would require touching it again however, which was a risk… but luckily, history didn’t repeat itself, when Bru braced himself and pushed the coffin up out of the cavern and towards the sunlight. Through a team effort, we lifted and pushed it all the way up and outside into the forest.
Before it could be dealt with though, there was the matter of the three goblins who we’d last seen camping outside the ruins, one of whom was seeking his father. Luckily for us, upon breaking the news that we’d discovered the father’s dead body within the ruins, the goblins cheered and appeared happy he was gone. Apparently there was no love lost between them as their father had been an annoyance to the family. Without a trace of sentimentality or grief, the goblins cheerfully parted ways with us.
Opening the sarcophagus revealed a white-robed human lying inside, covered by a shimmering blanket of light. Zefir perceived abjuration magic emanating from it, and sensed a spell protecting the sarcophagus that would magically trap someone inside if the occupant was removed. And sure enough, when Bru tested this and pulled the man out, they swapped places and Bru was trapped asleep in the coffin, while the robed stranger gathered his wits and looked around confused. After some polite questioning, Raven found out he was a priest and had been trapped for three days, beginning when he had attempted to rescue someone else from the coffin in a similar way. We asked the priest to restore Zefir from a nasty level drain incurred on the last adventure, and he performed a complex ritual that left Zefir feeling like a brand new sorceress.
Later, the crew was able to free Bru from the sarcophagus when Kellin reached a furry paw into the coffin and pulled Bru out, (which of course then trapped Kellin, but Raven dispelled the eidolon, planning to summon him again the next day.)
As we headed back to town with the priest, we shared some details of our journeys, and he told us that the goblin’s leader, Grinkle, had some relevant experience with dispatching a Djinni.
But this conversation was shortly interrupted, as suddenly we heard a beastly horn echoing through the trees and saw a large monster lumbering towards us. The creature blasted us with a sonic wave, which shook the group and knocked out the priest. Before he could do any more damage, Raven conjured a pit beneath the creature. Making matters worse, three centaurs had followed the monster and entered the scene with blood lust on their minds. Our group dived into the surrounding trees and brush, hiding from sight. Zefir healed up the priest, and he revealed centaurs generally didn’t care for people much in these parts. Soon, a lively and bloody scuffle ensued, that left the horned beast dead and the three centaurs unconscious. The group decided to make haste back to town to rest and replenish supplies.
At the town hall, the heroes found Grinkle, and learned some interesting details: Grinkle used to be the right hand man of Macdon. Years ago, when Macdon and Grinkle had gone to investigate the scene of a meteor crash, Macdon disappeared for a time. When he reappeared, it was discovered that he was no longer Macdon, and instead a Djinni imposter in his place. Later, Macdon was found to be in the form of a pig, but was never restored. Grinkle said this last part of the tale was “another story for another time.”
Most noteworthy though, was the fact that Grinkle said he had imprisoned the Djinni somewhere “long forgotten.” He thought this was the last Djinni, the one that Helicon had not been able to capture years ago.
We showed Grinkle the snow globe that we’d found in the ruins, and he confirmed that the structure pictured inside was the museum on the other side of town. We decided to head to the museum to investigate, and before we left, Grinkle strongly warned us against going near the temple at the south side of the island.
Once arriving to the museum, Mat was startled to notice a Slaad going unnoticed amidst the general public. The rest of the party couldn’t see this entity at all. When Mat mentioned the Slaad’s presence, it seemed to hear him and began to aggressively approach. A fight broke out, and despite most of the group fighting blindly, we were able to overcome the Slaad, which exploded into a cloud of gas and dust that only Mat could see. Noticing the other patrons of the museum cautiously evaluating this scene, Raven bluffed them that we were simply rehearsing for a play, which they seemed to accept.
Our group agreed that in the future, we would signal the presence of a Slaad to each other by subtly brandishing a coin, instead of speaking aloud and potentially giving ourselves away.
Progressing through the museum, we entered the upstairs library, where one book seemed to stick out to Mat, practically emanating the same color as a Slaad’s skin. Nobody else seemed to be able to see this book. Paging through it, Mat noticed that it appeared to include descriptions of all the many different types and variations of Slaads.
Zefir sensed magic coming from another book in the library, which held a mysterious written incantation she sensed would transport the reader somewhere unknown. Never ones to shy away from teleporting blindly into danger, our heroes all grasped hands in a circle, and read the words fearlessly.
The walls of the library shifted and morphed, and our group found themselves somewhere altogether different. Looking around, we gazed upon a destroyed village. There was a ruined pyramid not far away, rising above broken huts, walls, and rubble that blended into the mountainous terrain. Ducking inside a ruined structure, our group watched as several small groups of goblins and a giant entered into view. The goblins yelled “Come out and throw your weapons down, we won’t harm you!” but Mat sensed they were extremely hostile. More goblins were entering from various directions, and two more giants followed them.
Enacting a plan to distract our enemies, Raven magically transformed Kellin to grow into a larger size and sprout wings. Kellin then began to hover off the ground and flap his wings with such force it kicked up a cloud. In tandem, Zefir cast a sphere of invisibility to help hide us. With no easy way out of this strange place, the group headed for the pyramid and began to scale it, using Mat’s assistance disarming traps all the way up. As one of the giants took a wild swing in our direction and grazed Bru, we realized a full on hit could pulverize us, and were thankful for every bit of cover. At the top of the pyramid stood an obelisk, with the engraved words: “Praises to the bright sun will bring you safety and comfort.” Noticing many broken shards of glass surrounding us, Raven cast a spell of mending on the glass and it coalesced and reformed into a mirror. Then he had the brilliant idea to use it to reflect a beam from the sun onto the top of the obelisk.
Abruptly, the floor opened and the adventurers plunged down into a pool of warm, soothing water. As we felt some strength returning to our battle wounds, the opening above us closed. We were inside a cavern lit by several large burning urns, with various landings and dark caves where enemies could lie in wait. Discovering a large obsidian gemstone, Raven used a mage hand spell to pick it up, and not long after felt an something try to enter his mind and take control of him. Suddenly a fireball singed the heroes, leaving no doubt we were under attack. A shadowy creature approached Bru and drained some strength from him, as Zefir issued a swift retribution in the form of a scorching ray. When Raven discovered another one of the creatures inside this strange cavern, the party agreed we should make a run for it. But before we could escape, Bru felt overcome by an evil force that entered his mind and took control. Bru swung his greatsword around dangerously, in the process even landing a devastating blow on Zefir and wounding her. The rest of the group fought back and brought Bru down with non-lethal damage, tying the unconscious warrior to the back of Kellin (still in his enlarged form) and heading for the far edge of the cavern.
Five minutes of travel in near darkness paid a toll, and when we finally emerged from the caves beneath the pyramid, we collapsed, breathing heavily. The heroes were now in a forest that stretched high up into the sky above us. Zefir took the first opportunity to heal herself, and then took great mercy on Bru by healing his wounds too. Feeling whole again, he expressed regret at having attacked his friends.
We noticed an elven man walking alone in the forest, who had seen us already and called, “Who are you?” We introduced ourselves, and sensing the man meant no harm, invited him closer. After a short time he informed us we were in the Okatchi mountain range, and found out he was seeking his brother.
What followed that brought a wave of shock and rattled the heroes: he claimed it was the year 576, nearly 70 years in their past.
Even more startlingly, was what this elven stranger claimed his name to be: Helicon.
Without hesitation Mat declared, “We’ll help you find your brother.”