The party had barely recovered their breath when a demon from the Abyss attacked. Charging through the door, a creature later identified as a barlgura demon by Brost and Elias attacked with the full might of its savagery. Barely recovered from the fight with the gnolls, the party rallied and soon made short work of the demon.
The party then headed north, where the last of the gnolls from the last fight had headed. Fix disguised himself as a gnoll and went ahead to scout out the chamber. After turning the corner he realized that though his ring may disguise his form the four yapping hyenas knew by his smell that he wasn’t a gnoll. Withdrawing back to the party, the sounds of doors opening let them all know that the hyenas were not alone.
Soon the previously caged hyenas rounded the corner and a gnoll archer stood behind the pack. Diego again took the lead, trying to form a perimeter that the creatures wouldn’t pass. Two more hyena spearmen charged out from a different direction, but Diego (with the party’s help) was able to hem the creatures in. Eventually, the creatures fell to the tactics of the group. The last hyena spearman tried to flee into the labyrinth, but the party dropped the creature just on the verge of its escape. Brost however, stabilized the creature in order to question it further about the gnoll activities in the Well of Demons.
When the gnoll Brost had stabilized finally came to its senses, Diego and Fix questioned the creature and learned that it followed a gnoll named Maldrick Scarmaker who had already survived the challenge of the Well and entered the inner sanctum. The gnoll gladly pointed the way, knowing it would die at the hand of its enemies.
Proceeding down the corridor, the party entered a large area of interconnected rooms. Once they entered, the inhuman screeches became more intense. The sound of stone scraping on stone began and all the sounds soon blended into a cacophony of sound.
Finding themselves in a shrine to Baphomet, demon lord of savagery and self-appointed lord of minotaurs, the party began a careful investigation of the room which was soon interrupted by beams of greenish light shooting from the pillars behind the altar. Diego and Fix were targeted by the beams and ran out into an inner hallway. Finding themselves in the path of an eight foot wide boulder barreling down the corridor, they ran and ducked out of the boulder’s corridor into a central chamber.
Flushed with success at dodging the boulder, the two were horrified when a green dragon ascended from the pit in front of them. The sounds of the entire complex seemed to emanate from that pit. The dragon declared that it was the guardian of the way, and only its death would open the inner sanctum. It then issued the challenge, “CATCH ME!”
Taking a swipe at its enemies, the dragon flew out from the central chamber and into the boulder’s corridor. Using the layout of the challenge rooms to its advantage, the dragon attacked, withdrew and befuddled the party at every turn. Using it power of suggestion, it often placed members of the party in the boulder’s path and laughed gleefully when they were struck hard by its unthinking ally. Elias and Brost saw signs of the Abyss in the dragon’s form and aura, this was no base wyrm, but a dragon twisted from a deep connection to the abyss.
The party cornered the dragon in the entry shrine, and thinking they had the upper hand were surprised when the dragon used what they though a summoning circle to teleport itself to another chamber in the proving grounds.
In their pursuit of the dragon, the party began triggering other traps in the proving grounds. Torra was sucked into an elemental vortex and nearly drowned before making her escape. Elias chose to investigate the altar in the entrance chamber and despite being forced to flee into the boulder’s corridor by the pillars many times, eventually used his knowledge of religion to render the pillars inert.
The dragon continued to weave in and out of chambers, using the teleport circles when it was stuck by the party. Its hit and run tactics wore down the party’s resources. When Elias used the teleport circle, speaking the exact word that the dragon used, he was also caught in the elemental vortex. Using his knowledge of the arcane, he began to deactivate the runes on the elemental pool and disable the vortex. Upon seeing his success, Torra and Brost joined in the effort and deactivated the vortex.
The dragon found his way to another chamber off the boulder’s corridor, and when Diego moved to chase the dragon, he found the dragon was holding the door, trapping the party yet again while the boulder rolled past. That chamber proved to have two animated crossbows that attacked the group as they battled the dragon.
Though the dragon tricked, teleported and taunted the party through the entire fight, eventually it was cornered and slain, Fix striking the final blow. At its death, the boulder stopped rolling, the screams of the abyss died down, and a grating sound dominated the proving grounds and a previously impenetrable portcullis rose to allow access to the inner sanctum. The party took only enough time to recoup its energy before passing through the raised portcullis to find what lay beyond.
Passing through two runed doors that Elias, Torra and Brost determined had been sealed by powerful magic, they entered the inner sanctum and were immediately attacked by demons and an undead minotaur under the control of Maldrick Scarmaker.
Maldrick began cursing the members of the party as he commanded his Evistro (carnage demons) and his minotaur skeleton to attack, keeping his “pet” barlgura at his side for protection.
Diego was almost slain in that entrance to the inner shrine, and Fix was grievously wounded. Only through the efforts of Torra and Brost did the two still stand. Elias used the anger of his God, Ioun to smite his enemies. Soon Fix was able to break the line and come upon the flanks of his enemies. One by one, Maldrick’s minions fell until only the warlock itself stood against the party. Then it was over.
It took Brost an hour to cast the Dedicate Ritual and remove the influence of Yeenoghu and Baphomet from the shrine. The demonic wailing subsided, and the entire area seemed to be more at peace. In Maldrick’s possessions, the party found several communications from Paldemar, most likely the renegade Mage of Saruun, telling Maldrick to gather the demonic artifacts and return to him. With those communications were a scroll of linked portal, and the sigil sequence for what Paldemar called the Tower of Mysteries.
On completion of Brost’s ritual, the party chose to return to the Seven Pillared Hall. Returning Tusker, the dire boar tortured by the gnolls and hyenas netted the party an gem from the grateful dwarf, Ulthand Deepgem. Returning to Onotar, Fix gave him a copy of the sigil sequence to the Tower of Mysteries and received his thanks.
Fairly sure that the Mages of Saruun would deal with the Tower of Mysteries, and concerned about their own lands, the party made its way up the Street of Lanterns. Torra traced the path back to the Bloodreaver caves and the portal that stranded them in the Wildlands. The party used the scroll given to Maldrick and found itself again in the ruins of Westbrook.