Player's eye view:
[Based on the legend that Larach Umbriol wanted to create a weapon to kill the sun and the statue on the top if the dome they've realized that the building at the bottom of the stairs is the forge of Larach Umbriol. The group decided to look for an anvil and complete the quest given by the last Justicar.
Now that the group can teleport farther afield I've been giving out additional legend info when they travel to larger temples and consult the archives.
The group has also been making excellent use of wind walk]
The crew headed back to Tsar and materialised just outside Larach Umbriol’s forge. The two golems were still doing their level best to appear as mere statues, as was the toad that held the anvil. Monstrous, yes. Great actors? Absolutely not. Nobody was convinced of the projected harmlessness. A few pigeons roosting might have added something but since nothing really lived around here and the ravens were far too smart to come within swallowing range of those statues, the illusion failed.
The group had acquired another member in the shadow of their previous companion’s death. Aeric’s oversoul had reincarnated another body. This new vessel was named Ryder. One suspects that some sense of the character’s prior fatal mistakes survives the transition and Ryder popped into being as a fighter. The party had no idea where he came from—he literally appeared like a pugilistic fairy godmother, without the tailoring or carriage-crafting skills.
He and N’Tonna stepped into the circular area and in response, the toad creature animated and apparently having a severe iron deficiency, it swallowed the anvil. Mona anticipated the two golems coming alive together and, seeking to balance the engagement, she stone-shaped a parking boot around its feet and shins. Known more for her kinks than her depth of thinking Mona then cast a blade wall. This landed squarely across both golems and the heavy-bellied toad-thing. Everyone thought that there would be three piles of shavings in short order but it failed to have quite the effect anticipated. The golems received a spa treatment that they had been longing for for centuries. Ages of accumulated crud were exfoliated, rendering them bright, shiny and new. Had they known who she was, they would have emulated that bard, arms akimbo and singing that the troll-filled mountains were alive. N’Tonna thought she saw a glimmer of a smile.
The toad did not fair quite as well. Unlike the golems, it was wrapped in skin and the blades removed some of the toads favourite warts. They did their work like those of the finest butchers of Florence. Lazarus wondered what evil toad-thing proscuitto would taste like…probably like most fowl, though with half the ‘uu’. With that flavour lingering on his mind’s tongue, Lazarus beat on the closest golem and destroyed it. Sadly, that failed to get rid of the foul taste.
The other golem had the blade barrier chipping away at its stone restraint like some demonic podiatrist and soon was free and heading towards Namere and Mona. The latter created an illusory pit to contain the golem and flew up into the air. Namere cast Pillar of Life to provide respite to those battling the to and and golem.
The toad had had enough of the dermabrasion and jumped out and flame-breathed on N’Tonna and Bog. “Bang Bang” Ryder laid the hammer down hard and killed the toad. The anvil tumbled out onto the ground. While everyone was watching the toad die (and saying, “Ewwww!” at the slime-covered anvil) Lazarus damaged the golem with his something…the crew missed it completely.
The other golem leapt out of the imaginary pit—without the stumble that usually accompanies the negotiation of a step that isn’t actually there. It then headed straight for Bog and clipped him hard. Bog fired an arrow, whack made a pathetic “tink” sound and fell to the ground. Ryder attacked with his hammer, Lazarus dimension-hopped to a flanking position and did something hostile and N’Tonna smacked it twice with her axe. Lazarus pointed out that he was far more effective than future chronicles may reveal but, “Oh woe”, that was his lot in life. The golem thought, “There’s one who’ll grow old at the end of a bar!” and burped an evil miasma into Lazarus’, Bog’s and N’Tonna’s faces.
“Bang Bang” then shattered the golem with three strikes of his hammer. The betting had been fast and furious up in the Godbar, particularly around Ryder’s anticipated lifespan. Some old fans were finally in the money again. The Great God Gorgo just chuckled.
The party took the time to explore the forge area. Not surprisingly, they found a lot of ingots. Also a couple of dragon skins—a red one and a black one. Namere wondered if dragons kin panties would contain Mona. Probably not. He shuddered.
Remembering that the anvil was an artifact that the last Justicar wanted and that they had promised to retrieve, Namere talked N’Tonna out of destroying it. The crew wind walked back to the cave in the Wastes and encountered the angel standing guard. She cured Bog and let the group in on hearing of the success of our mission. Namere put the anvil between the spear and the hammer. The now-diaphanous Justicar was thrilled to be free of the curse and offered the group the gift of his weapons. He also told us his name—Gerund— and that the calling of it three times would cause him to appear and help us for 10 minutes. Back at the Godbar, the god of knowledge laughed out loud and snorted beer out of his nose on hearing the name and the wording (he laughed again at his cleverness) of the offer. Obscure language-humour was one of the things that earned him pitying glances and got him off guestlists.
Namere took some time to ask the Justicar and the angel questions about some of the things that they had encountered. The siege engine, for example and the maraca…rakashaka…err…shakakhan…shapeshifter who hated Bog. Turned out it was a Rakasha—a demigod-like being. Utterly vain and self-obsessed, they adore worshippers and take great exception to those who use the prefix, ‘demi’ in front of their status as ‘-gods’. They have the same social skills a the god of knowledge and frequently find themselves shunned in even impolite company. Hence they live in solitude and revel in taking offence. Bog may have been the high point on that one’s social calendar.
After spending the night, the party wind walked back to the forge where Namere cast Treasure stitch on the remaining ingots and both dragon skins thereby turning them into a nice, though curiously modified, doily. Following this bit of clean-up, the group wind walked back to the tunnel and wafted through the portcullis. Namere paused to look for the mechanism and looking through one set of arrow slits discovered two baboo demons. Single-mindedly, N’Tonna headed deeper into the tunnel. Namere waited outside the portcullis puffing in what he hoped was a portentous and indicative fashion. When Namere didn’t follow, Bog suspected something was up and wafted back through the bars and extruded a smoky pseudopod through the arrow slit. Namere had passed through the arrow slit on the opposite side and had found the mechanism. Bog felt a failed attempt to dispel the wind walk and, never wanting to make anyone feel inadequate, he obligingly solidified. Immediately one of the demons appeared behind him. Ryder came back and vital struck the demon; Lazarus came running back, nimbly jumping over the death-roller track and stabbed the baboo and Bog shot it five times. In keeping with her philosophy of ,“Nothing succeeds like excess”, Mona dropped a Holy Smite right on top of Bog. Through the coruscating aura and choral music a beautiful hand appeared in front of the demons and slowly, with immense gravity and heavenly calm, extended its middle finger. The demons, recognizing their cue, dropped dead.
Solidifying, Namere activated the mechanism and cranked the portcullis open. He wind walked back up the tunnel and solidified. After the smite, the tunnel had taken on a decidedly gloomy atmosphere. Of course it wasn’t its fault—it was a dark underground tube in the middle of the most evil place on the planet. Gloomy was in its very nature. Ever the optimist, Namere cast light on an arrow and shot it up the tunnel in the hope of giving the party a brighter future…
Venturing upward, they passed a crack in the tunnel wall from which flowed a cool breeze. Further along, a tunnel ran off to a side chamber and two tunnels extended from that room. A faint glow emanated from the eastern-most tunnel. Glory comes from Death, Destruction and Despair, not light! The group headed up the darker tunnel to the end, a further 500 feet. And stop at a pair of vast stone doors. Doors for very big things. Doors that are barred from the inside and therefore designed to keep those Very Big Things® outside.
[I've added a parchment note here from Sir Martimus the Lost (page 42) to foreshadow the Citadel and add a bit of nervousness about what happens inside it]