|Ivory Statue with metal eyes||group||on Thri-Kreen||unknown value|
|4 Gems||group||on Thri-Kreen||unknown value|
|Comprehend Languages Scroll||Karim||on Thri-Kreen||Used to read Avor’s tablets|
|Silver Headband||?||Stone Box||Left over from Avor Firesworn|
|Leather Boots||?||Stone Box||Left over from Avor Firesworn|
Our group continues further into the underground and comes to a cavern with more glowing moss and low standing pools of water, something that is very unusual even at this depth. There are huge columns where stalagmites and stalagtites have met and melded… but as we look longer we realize that the water is running UP the columns. None of us have ever seen running water in nature, nonetheless running upwards. The group spreads out and checks out the large cavern. Jazeera takes point, to guard her battle-partner who kneels to check out the water, finding it drinkable. Ee’Klek’Tyk and Naivara both notice a column to the south where the shadows seem funny around it. ’Klek whistles at the group and Naivara calls out to “Dante” who is trying to be stealthy in the darkness and just gives up as she gives away his position. The Thri-Kreen draws an arrow and takes a bead on it, in case he needs to attack the darkness.
Naivara wants the Shadowy One to check out the pillar and blows his stealth.
While our attention is focused on the strange pillar, a small group of Thri-Kreen enters the cavern from a hallway to the north. In a clicking form of common, they announce that their clutch is here for the “Lifeseed” and that we should drop our weapons. ‘Klek dashes across the room, marking the leader. Karim asks the leader of the pack what the Lifeseed is and he is told that the Lifeseed is theirs, we don’t need to worry about it. Since ’Klek is attacking his own kind, we all follow suit. Most of us are amazed as Dante wraps the shadows around the leader during his attacks. The leader seems to be a Warden of sorts. Our group spreads out around the room, taking down the different groups of the “crustaceans.” When Dante kills the leader, he turns into a dark obsidian soul shard, that the Dhampire picks up and pockets.
The hallway to the north leads to the a chimney that the Thri-Kreen used to climb down here. The leader was carrying an ivory statue with metal eyes, 4 gems, and a stick covered in runes (a scroll of Comprehend Languages ritual). ‘Klek doesn’t even seem to give his kind a second glance.
Upon further inspection we find that the strange pillar is hollowed out and has a stairway leading down further into the ground. After healing up, we decide to descend deeper, following the smells of moisture and flora. The cavern below is covered in grass and green things. Vines hang down from the ceiling and water pours from the mouth of two lion statues in the northwest and southwest into fountains. Skeletons stand at attention around the room. A large, undead creature stands in front of a huge tree with fire crackling between his fingers. When it sees us, it says, “Doth Nibenay still desire to claim that which we guard. Ask your questions before we force you to join us in guarding the Tree of Life.”
Karim announces that they do not serve Nibenay, but Avor Fireswron announces that the scent of the Sorcerer Kings hangs heavily around us. The Psion counters that their King was killed, but the undead states that Sorcerer Kings don’t stay dead. The group shares an “oh crap” look, then Karim goes on to ask about the Bearer of the God-Bone, Ixeal Voldon? Avor tells us that the Tree of Life chose him to follow his destiny, but he won’t tell us anymore. When the noble asks how they can help protect the Tree, the undead laughs and tells us that we need to die so that we can be raised from the dead to do our duty. The undead seems to listen to something around him and then announces that we must die now. He reaches into the air and pulls fire whips out of nowhere. As he does so, the ground around him seems defiled and then seems to instantly heal, the whips lash out and hit Dante and ’Klek all the way across the room. While Avor was speaking, Karim noticed that the fountains glowed with a faint magical aura of healing, which he whispered to the group just as the fiery attacks struck. The group scatters and Jazeera attacks a nearby group of undead. As they fall to pieces, the mummified pieces seem to swarm her, their cuts leaving infected wounds. As the group continues to attack, Karim dashes to the fountain and scoops up some of the healing water in a waterskin, which he tosses to his partner in case the defender needs some health. The crawling swarms attach themselves to all of us and hinder our movements, shoving digits in our orifices, while Avor does a shockwave attack. The combined attacks begin to overwhelm us as the defiler seems to be pushing the healing powers of the Tree of Life to their limits. Whenever one of us heals, Avor seems to heal a little as well. While the rest of us fight the crawling swarms ’Klek chases Avor into a corner of the room and kills him there. As the defiler dies, he whispers, “release” and the swarms fall over inanimate. With his dying breath, he tells us that his “charge passes to us. May we see it through with more wisdom than he did.”
As we search the room, we notice that the Tree of Life begins to crumble and die. From one branch hangs a perfectly symmetrical seed cone. Karim calls the Ranger over and asks what they should do, to which the Thri-Kreen, who has never seen a tree before, just shrugs his shoulders in confusion. Dante doesn’t want to waste anymore time so he reaches out and plucks the seed from the dying branch. As he does so, we all see a vision/dream of a a world like none we’ve ever seen before, filled with forests, waterfalls, growing things, and great psionics. As we look out we see thousands of Eladrin like Naivara populating the land. As we watch, days fly by and the life energy seems to be sucked out of the land with growing speed. Alarmed, the Eladrin fight the destruction of the land, but even with their efforts, they seemed to be losing. With great magic and power they split their world, creating a lush mirror image of the old one, which they cast elsewhere. They also created 7 magical, golden cities that they spread out to fight the decay, but one by one they fall until 5 are destroyed. The dream changes and we see a young man kneeling before a finger bone at the base of the Tree of Life. He seems to be listening and then says, “Yes, I will carry this seedling to Yak’a’Tur, that will be my next destination.” The dream then flashes back to the previous that we’d seen before of great beings standing around a glowing being with wings stretching far out. A finger bone is removed from the god-like being and placed within the earth. At our cores, we realize that the finger bone is what spawned the Tree of Life that we have now been charged to protect.
When we wake from this dream, we find that the once lush room is now dead and drying up. The plant life has shriveled and the water has dried up in the fountains. Jazeera even finds that the water in the skin that Karim had given her had dried up. As we sit up and take stock of our surroundings, we notice in the shriveling roots of the great tree a stone box. The box is not trapped so we open it to find a silver headband and a well made pair of leather boots. There are also six small stone tablets covered in ancient hieroglyphics. Karim uses the Comprehend Languages scroll that they’d found on the Thri-Kreen to decipher the writings.
Instead, I have chosen to fight evil with evil – I have entered into the blood oath with the Dark One from the Gray beyond. It shall have my eternal soul and those of my brethren but it will grant us the power to protect our sacred Seed even after our deaths against any who try to possess it. Furthermore, I shall literally hide it within my own body and even when I fall in battle it will be protected; indeed my body will serve in death to nourish it.
I will hide this record according to the ways of my people in hopes to speak forth to the future as with the voice of dust from the earth. If you find the Seed or the Tree of Life that springs from it and I am not there to protect it, I exhort you to meditate upon the great cycle of Life. I exhort you to ask whether it be wisdom to protect the sources of Life. If you ponder these things in your own heart, with sincere intent, then you will know the truth of them and you will know what to do with the Seed.
I, Avor Firesworn, do thus end my record and seal it up.
After reading this, the group really begins to wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into.