After the rotund woman and the silver armored man escaped, the heroes were beset by a large group of ogres led by a wicked, smaller being-
most likely a half-ogre-whose name the party later learned was Lafruk.
The party fought valiantly, but were inevitably captured. The heroes awoke to find themselves in a dragonbone cage, banded with lava-forged iron. They also found they were not alone. A wiry, unshaven human with sandy hair; an older gentleman who appeared heavily wounded and plagued by a wracking cough; an ogre who appeared to have resisted the vile plans embraced by his fellows; and two small creatures with skin like living, rubicund gemstones shared the cramped space of the cell along with the 5 heroes. Gorku, the adorable goblin follower, and Mourice’s clockwork titan had both gone missing.
After a display which can only be described as shocking, Tripetta the gnomish zealot managed to entice some of the ogre guards. The party nearly escaped thanks to Tripetta’s… strategic maneuvering, but Lafruk intervened and restored order.
After what seemed an eternity spent simply waiting in the cage, the heroes were herded to a mining site and put to work swinging heavy picks to free iron ore from ancient bedrock. With the help of a ranger named Galidor-
who had evidently been part of a failed rescue attempt-the party escaped after a glorious battle with their captors, leaving the half-ogre Lafruk to drown in a pool of his own blood.
With the aid of Galidor’s polymorph potion, the heroes masqueraded as ogres and presented the head of Lafruk as proof of their Ogre cell-mate Bronk’s might and right to rule to the other ogres. Bronk parted ways with the group, agreeing to remain in the ruined rock-gnome city with his fellow ogres until such a time as their help was needed.
Finally, the heroes asked their rock gnome cell-mates for guidance, and the pair explained that an ancient escape route lay through an ancient temple to the goddess Bowann.
When the group entered the temple, however, the words of a mysterious scroll that Mourice had discovered stashed in the cage seemed to come true:
Beyond the gate with eyes of three
The Goddess drowns in a crimson sea
Land, Sky, and Cloud—these form the key
To undo the magic and set her free.
The group fought three elemental constructs and made their way past a magically sealed gate through the clever use of gems lodged in the eye sockets of the constructs.
But in the next chamber a ghastly sight greeted them—a statue of Bowann encased in a thick scarlet glob of matter which radiated palpable evil.
Tendrils of strange energy clutched at the minds of the heroes… and it seemed that all their efforts may have proved in vain…