Battle immediately began with the lone monk in the eyeless mask. She showed incredible skill and Gabe was nearly killed in the fight, but the Troupe were victorious. They then made their way out of the garden (noting that a gargoyle “statue” watched them go) and camped in the valley to recover.
During the rest, Roshi made her way up the wall of the monastery and into one of the windows. There, she found a “skeleton wizard” who said “I’ve told you no. Please leave my chambers.” After a brief exchange Roshi made her way through the door and through the halls of the monastery. The “skeleton wizard” seemed to magically lock the door behind her. She found an empty dojo before making her way out of the building.
Deciding they were in no condition to attempt to rescue their friend, they left the valley and camped on a hilltop a few miles away. From there, they could see a large fire burning on another hill.
Meanwhile, with the Bard
While the others fought in the statue garden, Aurelio had been pulled into a large, temple-like chamber with an altar and a large set of stone stairs descending into darkness in the middle of the room. There he was questioned by a man in robes who waved the Feathergale warhorn in his face and shouted about the air having no power over the earth. The man in robes then commanded his stony-armored guards to “bring him below.” Aurelio tried to shout, and was knocked unconscious.
waking in a dark cell, Aurelio met a dwarf and fellow prisoner who introduced himself as Bruldenthar, a sage who had been travelling with the Mirabar delegation. Bruldenthar told a tale of having been ambushed by the monks, taken prisoner, and transported across the river by “pirates.” His collection of books were used as payment by the monks for the river transport. He also described the monks being attacked by raiders on giant vultures as they were bringing the prisoners to the monastery and he says Ventarian was taken by the raiders during that ambush.
Aurelio then asked if there were any warriors among the prisoners and was directed to Danos the Torrent, and Uthgardt of the Elk tribe. They agreed they would find a way to break out, together. After a long but uncomfortable rest, Aurelio was taken to mine in a twisting series of caves. After several hours he and Danos crossed paths. The signal was given, and they made their escape, killing several Duergar and making their way back upstairs to the monastery proper.
Meanwhile in the hills
In the morning, after their rest, the other adventurers stumbled upon a travelling group of Elk tribe Uthgardt. Thanks to Felwin’s previous introduction to the tribe, they were able to persuade the barbarians to assist in their attack on the monastery. They returned to the valley and the Elk tribe entered through the front door, while the adventurers entered through a side door leading into the kitchen. Making quick work of the “dishwasher monks.” They found their way into the large room with the altar where the robed figure was waiting for them along with several guards in stony armor, two monks, two orogs, and an ogre. Shortly thereafter the Elk tribe and Aurelio burst into the room and battle was joined.
The heroes were victorious, but the man in robes was able to spider climb out a window and escape. Roshi gave chase and followed him to a cave entrance about a mile south of the Monastery. Not wanting to corner herself in the cave she returned to the monastery and the adventurers and barbarians swept the building for further threats. They found that an umber hulk with metallic claws was confined at the bottom of the stairs and chose to leave it alone for now. The remaining barbarians declared their intention to return with more of their tribe and slay the beast, making their way out of the building. The troupe found the testament of Marlos Urnrayle.
Roshi then lead the Troupe to the cave entrance, where they kept watch until nightfall, setting up camp within view. Near midnight Felwin spotted a group of prisoners being lead out of the cave along with several duergar. After a quick battle the prisoners (Bruldenthar among them) were rescued. They learned that the duergar had attempted to cut their losses and escape with some of the prisoners while others were “taken below” by the Orogs.
In the morning, after a long rest, Aurelio lost his shit and used a Sending spell to contact Ventarian. He learned that the Moon Elf was taken by men on giant birds and brought to a cave in a canyon. He is now being held in an ancient dwarven ruin being forced to play the flute for a mad queen named Aerisi who calls herself “the prophet.”
After some discussion it was decided that they needed to rescue the remaining prisoners/miners who had been “taken below.” They returned once again to the Monastery, leaving Bruldenthar and two other prisoners in one of the dormitory rooms. The fourth prisoner, a wood elf, chose not to return with the group.
Aurelio lead the troop down into the mines where they found an ancient dwarven stair leading downward. The stair descended 250 feet in flights of 20 – 30 feet before opening into a subterranean chasm spanned by a zigzagging, ten-foot-wide stone bridge without railings. As they began to cross the bridge Roshi pointed out a gargoyle flying toward them out of the darkness.