Gazing down into the small canyon, Harrr and Zull observe Nivean and Dri-Kull, stuck halfway down the side. Isaac meditates silently.
Compelling the power of the earth, Harrr hardens the loose treacherous rocks, and cautiously makes his way down. Again united, once Isaac is finished the party descend to the bottom of the canyon, wishing to re-enter the Dwarven fortress at the main gate.
Nivean spies a small hole in the side of the canyon, roughly 2 or 3 feet in diameter . Searching, Nivean discovers the hole extends deep into the ridge, and that the bones of many creatures litter the floor. Whilst the party argues about what to do next, Nivean searches the rubbish to discover a strange and compelling wooden statue, and beads adorned with mystic symbols. Nivean keeps his discovery secret, and the party continues up the ridge.
Dir-Kull, heavily injured from his fall moves so slowly that Zul agrees to carry him. Warily the party crosses the waste land towards the imposing fortress. A chill comes over Nivean and he calls out for caution. Suddenly above his head a SpineWyrm manifests out of the darkness. The battle is joined. The characters fight heroically, but alas, it latches on to Nivean, and begins to swallow him whole. The characters continue to battle, but to no avail and Nivean is devoured and his body is crushed by the intestinal strength of the SpineWyrm, The surviving characters continue to pummel the beast – it suddenly curls up and releases a wave of spines, cutting through Dri-Kull and injuring Harrr. The damage is too great – Dri-Kull’s souls slips into the night. With a mighty blow, Zul crushes the monster’s head.
Checking, Isaac confirms Dri-Kull’s demise. The SpineWyrm is cut down the belly, exposing the crushed body of Nivean. His equipment is retrieved, and the party leaves the bodies for the aarakoa.
The party, now diminished heads for the dwarven fortress. Approaching, the elves appear to have abandoned the place. Quickly exploring the ruins, the characters rediscover the Thri-Kreen druid, and after some translation error, proceed into the wastelands, towards Kled.
Along the way the characters spy a lonely campfire. Approaching, the party sees Jengi. Making conversation, she describes how she was exiled from her tribe, the catalyst for which was the disappearance of the party. Her farther Tuga-Dai makes war on Kled, and she offers to depose him and lead the tribe away. She asks the party to fetch the stinger of a black Mastyrial, to allow her to poison Tuga in a dual. The party has none of this – “You say you are skilled at deception, yet you told us that!” – and battle is joined. Despite her powerful defiling magic, Jengi is soon overwhelmed, and the Thri-Kreen feasts on her flesh. Zul is intrigued, and when offered considered the meal – Isaac has difficulty witnessing this – “Eating the fleshing of a sentient being is barbaric!” – until Zul points out that his chosen profession is ‘barbarian’.
The party take stock, and head to Kled. When they arrive, the village appears deserted. Cries of anguish echo over the village walls. Heading to the west gate, the party cautiously enters. Blood is smeared across the gate, the bodies of Jura-Dai members are strewn about.
Moving across the west-east street, the party passes the wrecked ruin of Baranus’ abode, and enter the plaza of the sun. There, they become party to a tense standoff between elves and dwarves – an overturned mekilot wagon lies in the centre of the plaza. Atop it stands the elf leader, a sharp blade to Baranus’ neck.