Runestone

Season 2, Chapter 3: The Valley of Bones

Belkin was taking his breakfast in the Inn with Festus, Scase and Ifram while they discussed Gannon’s letter. Not only had he found a tracker, but Festus informed Belkin that Gannon had been in touch with the local pyreneum. There, he had given the Magi information regarding Lokar, Belkin and himself (both reported dead) and shown them several enchanted artifacts (see spellcasting for why an Arch Magi would be none to happy about the appearance of enchanted arms and armor).

As they rode out to meet with Gannon and their guide, Kwuaaga, Festus spoke to Belkin regarding Gannon. They reaffirmed their order to kill Gannon if he became troublesome, neither hoping it would come to that. Belkin ordered Festus to keep an eye on Gannon and not hesitate to subdue or detain him.

In camp, the companions met with Kwuaaga and were soon underway. On the journey to the valley, Kwuaaga revealed that his close friend was Kasisi, the Khaja’s personal guard, and had brought him to the Valley once before. This Kasisi knew the location because he was the one man entrusted to lead the last Khaja’s body their and slay his servants in the tomb. Festus convened with Lokar one night in the Aether while at camp, and returned saying that Lokar was extremely unhappy, but managed to run damage-control for Gannon. Any further leaks could mean the termination of the whole group.

After traveling through caves and valleys, climbing rockwalls and scaling precarious pathways, the heroes came to a ridge surrounded by high rocks. This was the side entrance to the Valley, they were told. Suddenly, the party was attacked by an assailant waving a huge spiked chain around his body. He was dispatched, knocked unconscious. As he came around to answer questions he told them “You don’t know what you’ve done. You should have turned back. Now, you are all dead.” A dark arrow appeared in his neck, but no archer could be found afterwards.

After some talk, Ifram, Belkin, Gannon and Festus would travel into the valley. Kwuaaga told them he would go no further and turned back to join Scase at the camp. The four quickly ran into the valley and made their way to the tomb of Ukoni the Wise, who was rumored to host Hatmahan / Serephon at court some 1200 years ago.

They found his tomb. Inside an enormous lift moved through a central room to three floors. Each floor had four doors facing the cardinal directions. Battling through traps, golems and monsters, the heroes cleared all 12 rooms by finding keys and unlocking them in the correct order. The final room was a pictorial story of Serephon’s life in Zh├╗rasca.

Ifram had already told the heroes that after Belligon died, it was widely told that he travelled the world teaching others his magic. This coincided with legends of Hatmahan – the first wise man, or father of learning. The pictures showed Serephon on a boat, arriving on land. Then it showed him giving an amulet to a beggar. Then him on horse back. Next, a picture of Ukoni the Wise and Serephon at court, teaching each other followed by Serephon giving Ukoni a Gem. Then, Serephon rode a horse to Bagalon, the capital. There, he gave the Khaja a chain. Next he rode to a city of towers – obviously Igrat – though the picture just showed a lock over the city. Last, the images showed Serephon riding a boat again, though to where it was not clear.

Finally there was an inscription warning any readers that an enormous egg in the opposite room would hatch if anything belonging to Ukoni was taken from the treasure room. There was only one thing that did not – a single Gem that belonged to Serephon. Using a Vessel marked “key”, the heroes rode the lift to a vast treasure horde in the basement of the tomb. There, against the wishes of some, they took a single Gem marked “the Second Brother, bound to Serephon’s Flesh.”

The heroes now had Two Brothers – the Amulet and the Gem. The Chain and the Lock seem to be at least two others. With their next bearing set, the heroes made tracks to Bagalon.

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