The Ashen Crown, the Lords of Madness, and the Queen of Death

The Eggs of Paluur Draal

The airship travels through the arch of the dolmen, arriving over the jagged mountainside and snow-covered ruins of Paluur Draal. Arasinya checks the ship over a bit and finds a bomb strapped to the mast. Tinker easily disables it, keeping the components. The party rests for the night, while Fenmarel and Tinker keep watch on deck.

Aurora takes the nearly catatonic Dex down below deck to one of the airship’s sleeping quarters and settles into one of the bunks. Dex does not sleep for a long time. When she does finally slip into unconsciousness, she dreams. In her dream, Aurora comes to wake her, but when Dex opens her eyes, half of Aurora’s face is missing, her skin is pale and her eyes empty and bloody. Dex fends off the zombie and then rushes out into the hall, finding all the crew turned into undead. Fighting her way to the deck she finds Tinker and Fenmarel there, standing watch. They turn towards her and open up the metal casings of their chests. Pale, rotting corpses begin to spill out from inside them in endless numbers, crawling towards Dex, their broken mouthes open wide, hungry.

Dawn comes and the party rises. Boggs rises slowly, groggily, after a hard night of drinking. Aurora wakes and finds Dex asleep, at last, but tossing, turning, and whimpering. Gingerly, Aurora goes to wake Dex, transforming into a panther and tapping the gnome’s cheek with her tail. Dex clenches Aurora’s tail in her fist, and Aurora’s yelp is what finally wakes her. Eventually, Dex calms down, but Aurora is left with a sore tail.

The party sets out to explore the ruins. They find the main street is lined with hidden pit traps. One seems to have been used recently. At the bottom of it are the day old corpses of a mostly gnome expedition.

Enoreth’s workshop is within a large square tower that rises high over the city, built into the face of a cliff. Burning their way through the dried daggerthorn briar that has grown over the entrance to Enoreth’s tower, the party enters the tower’s immense atrium.

The atrium is filled with religious iconography. Light comes from the glowing star-filled sky on the ceiling. Constellations have been traced out, but not the constellations known to the party. Each constellation is what appears to be a warforged. At the centre of the atrium is a towering statue of a dragon-winged Enoreth. Under the statue is in the inscription:

ENORETH RETURNS.
With Wisdom and Diligence
In the Spring
We Shall All Hatch Anew

Around Enoreth is a nest made from stone-carved skulls and filled with stone-carved eggs. One egg is broken open and a darling statue of a baby dragon is poking its nose out from it.

A set of stairs switch-backs up on the far side of the room. On each landing is a statue of a warforged, with a prayer mat set out in front of it.

Above the stairs hang giant eggs on chains. And in one of those eggs is Minron the Minotaur.

Minron is a disillusioned, alcoholic exorcist and paladin of Dol Arrah. He was on his way to Korranberg when he met a gnome caravan on the road. Invited to eat and drink with them, he soon shared with them his woes and cynicism. The gnomes persuade him to see their caravan’s fortune-teller. When he stumbles out of the fortune-teller’s wagon again, Minron is in a daze, unsure of how much time has passed but now certain of one thing: He must travel to the city of Paluur Draal because it is there he will begin to find the secrets that lie at the heart of the evil he seeks to unravel.

In Korranberg, Minron hires a group of guides to take him to the city of Paluur Draal in the mountains to the north. The journey is uneventful, but once inside the city things quickly go wrong. His guides fall into a pit trap and Minron himself is drugged by poison darts and is captured by kobolds.

When he awoke, he found himself in a dome chamber. From outside he heard the voice of a kobold telling him that, “You fail at life. You must be hatched anew. When Enoreth returns, he will forgive you for your sins and you will be break out of your shell.”

Using his strength and his horns, Minron made progress with breaking away the bricks of his cell until he discovered how high up he was. At that point, he decided to wait and consider his options. He did not have to wait long before the party arrived.

The atrium is full of traps, but the party manages to make their way across it. Aurora and Arasinya combine forces to get Minron safely down from his egg prison. Aurora raises up a stone platform to catch him and Arasinya summons a wind to blow his egg over the platform and slow his descent when he jumps out. They succeed. Minron crushes the platform with his fall, but lands (mostly) unharmed. The bit where he used his shield as a parachute didn’t really help. Unfortunately, he subsequently lost his shield into a pit when sledding down a trapped slide.

The party makes their way to the top of the stairs, reuniting Tinker with his kobold worshippers, and prepare to head back to the airship.

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