Tales From Janus Valley

The Silent City

Rock and Roll!

A short dash through streets choked with goliath statues led to a dead end. As the cursed fog poured in from both ends of the street, the party took to the rooftops, climbing as the fog levels rose. It looked like they’d bought enough time to form a plan, but the ground began rumbling ominously. Two giant rock elementals emerged from either end of the street, and began shaking the buildings with their mighty fists. As the creatures began their demolition work, the party realized that they needed to drop the elementals before they lost all their height advantage. Thankfully, Amare‘s swordmage skills were able to haul one to hammering range. Nyrineab got a few shadowy strikes in, able to hit the creatures without exposing himself to danger. As the last building on their side threatened to topple, Visok took decisive action, leaping across the street and into an opposing window while trailing a rope. With Amare’s trusty sword as an anchor, the party had an impromptu bridge. Zed made great use of it, leaping from elemental to rope, to rooftop without breaking stride. Monks don’t know the meaning of the words “unstable terrain.” With the elemental closing in, it was Amare that got the killshot, slicing its head off with her summoned sword. Unexpectedly, the elemental’s head thanked them.

The elemental spirit was a prisoner, forced to hunt trespassers against its will. One of the wicked gorgon witches, Petrakia by name, had survived the goliaths’ wrath, and had wrought her revenge in the form of the terrible curse that now gripped the city. She had made her home in the Craigeis Temple, in the heart of the city. The party now faced a dilemma. Petrakia could see them through the golem’s eyes, this they knew. She wasn’t about to subside the mists until she knew they were dead. By way of a ruse, the party opted to fake a suicide pact, in the hopes that it would make the gorgon drop her guard. Taking “poison,” the party laid down to wait out the witch.

The hours ticked by with no movement, and uncertainty gripped the party. The stone head sat on the rooftop, making further movements impossible. Unexpectedly, the wind began rising. A gale whipped up, and tossed the elemental’s head out of sight. As the implausible wind died down, so too did the fog begin to recede. Something strange had happened, but now was the time for action. When the streets were clear, the party hit the ground, and made for the Craigeis Temple.

The temple interior was dark and ominous. The temple heart was locked. A runic seal in the floor looked like it might open the way, but a piece was missing. A skittering sound revealed a tiny elemental construct in the form of a spider. As it saw the party, it bolted, and magical defenses in the temple floor sprang to life. Geysers of acid sprayed into the air, and the spider creature almost escaped when a bolt from nowhere blasted it. Their mysterious benefactor was a sorcerer, who had come to explore the city with a group of treasure hunters, of whom he was the last survivor. He had been responsible for the anomalous wind that had thrown the elemental’s all-seeing head from the roof. Thanking him for his involvement, the party located the spider creature, only to find that upon death, it had changed shape into a piece of the missing key. The party chased down another such spider, only to find that the first had come back to its senses and fled. In the ensuing chase, the party continuously beat on the key they had, and finally managed to secure the entire key. They pressed it into the seal, and ancient mechanisms activated. The great door swung open into impenetrable darkness. Petrakia was waiting…

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