Ilhopa, Hedgemazes and Dragons!

The party investigates the fountain room south of the Azata’s chamber and discovers it to be a healing fountain (resembling a baptismal font). Elena realizes what she thought was her ring on Mathew’s arm was a fake. They drink and take a few vials, then return to the swamp, with the intent to explore the temple a bit more before they leave to find the egg. Returning to the swamp Roscoe decides to investigate the huts. He and Gideon cross without incident. They find silk cocoons left by the ants, and when they open them they find the Osborne noble family from before, Polo Osborn minus one arm. As Tezz tried to edge around the room on vines he falls into the water with a splash. This rouses an aboleth, and battle ensues. The beast is slain, but Tezz is affected by its poison and begins to turn into a fish. He bolts for the healing waters of the fountain, which restore his birdliness. Since the swamp is safe the nobles are brought across the water and restored in the fountain. The daughter is the first to wake and runs screaming into the hedgemaze, with NO provocation from ANY member of the party… Norman and Norma-Gene argue about where they are, whose fault it is, and what to do about their missing daughter. The party leaves them and returns to the swamp chamber to explore more.

They go to the door on the northern side of the swamp and force it open. Inside are busts representing each of the protected races in Ilhopa. Fumbles takes an amulet from the halfling statue. Suddenly the building trembles, and the party decides to cheese it! In the swamp room again they see that a dragon looms above. They try to take refuge in the ant tunnels, but find that the vines have grown over it and they cant pass. So they beat feet back to the Azata chamber, where she tells the group that the dragon is the guardian of the river of oil and the observatory. She says he has been corrupted in some way, and the manticore in the aviary over the river of salt has been subdued somehow. She knows little more. The party regroups in the fountain room. Some water breathing potions are made from the mucus of the aboleth and Roscoe and Gideon drink some and travel thru a trap door in the bottom of the fountain. They find a strong current drags them under.

Below they find themselves in a huge aquarium tank, with hatches and glass walls, with an observation walkway wrapping around. Swimming to the east they make their way into another aquarium tank adjacent to yet another tank. The adjacent tank seems to be full of activity and life, and at least one aboleth. They reason that this is directly below the Azata’s chamber. Not wanting to delve too deep or leave the party behind, they decide to return to the fountain. Gideon manages to beat the current, but roscoe is trapped and must be dragged out with rope. Once he is rescued, the party decides to search for Bartholomew and the egg. They proceed out of the temple towards the hedge.

Outside they are greeted by the Osborns, still arguing. They offer to pay the group to rescue their daughter, and after the group surveys the hedgemaze to determine both the path thru and the location of the girl, they venture forth. Before long they encounter a group of hellhounds. The beasts prove no match for the group, however and are dispatched and one is cleaned and skinned by Roscoe. They continue on to where the girl was and find her pacing in front of a great tree. Roscoe instantly falls into a trance and cobras descend from the branches, moving to attack the group. The snakes disappear into the grass and proceed to stealth out the team who thrash the weeds to find them. Tezz attacks the tree itself and it emits a piercing blue light into the heavens. A great stirring is felt. Then Tezz eats one of the apples and discovers it to be a tree of knowledge of good and evil. The party continues to fight the snakes, Tezz finds a pair of goggles in a chest nearby, and the Dragon appears on the horizon. just as the dragon swoops down to the group, Logi “I’m A Jerk-Face But I’ll Save Your Bacon” Gicalsci crashes thru the verge on a giant Fuck-Off rhino and shouts at the party to get on. Fumbles is swept up in a moment of overwhelming courage and sacrifice and begins to sing to the great wurm in an attempt to charm it and buy the group time. All but him move to mount the rhino as the dragon dispatches with the snakes and slams Fumbles into the tree with a single swipe. It moves in for the kill, taking Fumbles up in its mighty jaws With his last breath Fumbles shouts “Catch!” (in terran) and tosses the magic amulet to his compatriots. They catch it and retreat from the horror astride the rhino, Fumbles Dirge still resounding in their ears.



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