Regrouping after their fight, the party headed up the hill to Dragon’s Roost, and the temple thereon that Oakley insisted upon cleansing. Prudently, Badden transformed into his panther form and padded ahead to scout the gatehouse at the end of the road. Hearing snatches of conversation, and recognising the voices of the adventurers they met at the Watchtower, he returned to the group to report.
Kade and Oakley were thankful at this opportunity to apprehend the demon in the rival group, and headed up the hill to demand his handover. After some terse negotiations, in which the other adventurers not only refused to hand the demon over but demanded the heroes’ magic cards, the talks broke down and a vicious melee ensued. Badden was able to seal off the opposition’s wizard, and Kade and Oakly went to work against the half-orc, dwarf priest and their half-elven leader Tam, whose armour was crawling with dark Card-magic. The demon turned up, grinning evilly as he appeared from nowhere and assaulted Badden. He seemed able to disappear and teleport about the place unpredictably, but when his friends were beaten, he made to run down the road. Badden did catch a glimpse of the invisible foe, but he and Knarillas were unable to prevent him escaping.
When the thorn wall melted away, there was no sign of the young human wizard on the other side.
The other adventurers had already cleared out the gatehouse, leaving some odd creatures’ corpses behind. The heroes recovered a magical amulet, some coin, and no less than 4 Cards of the Deck. Knarillas and Badden discussed the magical Card effects they had seen, deciding that the chaos of the Deck was reflected in the different ways that the cards’ powers manifested in different groups of monsters. Knarillas also noticed the cards seemed physically attracted to each other now. Accumulating greater numbers of cards was having noticeable effect.
Pressing on, the group entered the ruined temple of the heretics, and found a pair of insane harpies, as well as two corrupted angels. This triggered strange memories and emotions in Belardan, but the creatures had to be dealt with, and the heroes emerged somewhat richer after picking the gold coins from the dried dung walls of the harpies’ nests. Also recovered was another Card, the Jester, and a magnificent warhammer, shaped in the likeness of dragons twisting in agony. Knarillas determined this to be a hammer of true dragonslaying, attuned to the element of fire.
Oakly fussed about the temple looking for some items to complete the ritual of cleansing, but it appeared the required items were not within the building. Stairs leading down to catacombs beckoned, and as the adventurers descended they came upon a group of priests worshipping at a heretical altar, depicting twin dragons twining – a heresy surely depicting the Twins, nemeses of Apparthon. The priests beckoned the group to join them at worship, but Kade and Belardan determined they really had no idea what they were doing, and were attempting an ambush. This conclusion was borne out when a pair of incorporeal creatures emerged from nearby walls, and the illusory veils of the “priests” shimmered away to reveal horrid undead monsters.
These monsters were overcome without great difficulty, the radiance of the heroes’ spells seeming to prevent their phasing abilities being invoked, and the party are faced with two sets of double doors, north and east. Which way now?