After meeting with Narthropple at New Hope, the heroes of Galisat decided to explore the Hooktongue Slough area to eliminate any potential threats that lay between their claimed territory and that claimed by Pitax.
The group first returned to the area where they had disabled two extraplanar portals they had found earlier, by placing them face to face and encasing them in stone. They wanted to check that the portals hadn’t been cleared or replaced. They found that everything appeared the same as they had left it.
In a nearby location they encountered an area with an unpleasant aura and heard small screams. Upon investigating they discovered several evil fey had bound other fey in thorny vines and were torturing their victims by firing magic missiles at them from a wand. When the evil fey failed to respond to requests to cease these tortures, San’Kari killed one with his returning hand axe, and Garrick set a number of them on fire with a blistering invective spell. Those fey who didn’t immediately die fled the area.
One of the torture victims timidly told his rescuers that the area was under the control of the Black Sisters. After Tahjah channeled energy to heal the fey that had been tortured, Garrick asked them to inform Tiressia the druid about the Black Sisters. The freed fey showed their appreciation to the party by giving them a belt of mighty constitution that they had found long ago.
A short time later the party members stumbled upon several small containers, some holding milk and others filled with pepper juice. Landon determined that all of the liquid had been poisoned, presumably by the evil fey who were trying to harm their good cousins. The group also found a skeleton with the word “Gogunta” carved into the jawbone. They destroyed the skeleton and Tahjah consecrated the vicinity where it was found.
Fey brought them a message from a boggard called Sipoko of the Mbotu, who sought their help. They did not immediately go to find this Sipoko, instead resting overnight and planning on the following day to seek the arena-like structure Narthropple had mapped.
The next day while traveling the group came up on a large mound pierced by a number of openings of various sizes. The mound was surrounded by an assortment of skeletons of all sorts of humanoids and other creatures. Some skeletons were old and others appeared very recent. There were also several cast-off snakeskins of different sizes scattered about. The group members all sensed an unpleasant aura, one that Garrick found familiar.
Landon suggested using the potions of tiny person that Bokken had given them to explore the interior of the mound. Garrick, Thim, and San’Kari agreed to accompany him, while the others waited outside. As soon as the group of reduced-size adventurers started through the largest opening in the side of the mound, the interior of the space became unnaturally dark. No light could penetrate it, nor could Landon’s dwarven sight. They heard chittering sounds and the scurrying of feet from within the darkness. Tahjah approached the entrance and cast daylight, illuminating some of the interior and revealing that some creature was rushing toward the opening.
A scorpion the size of a dog ran out of the mound. A moment later two mole-like beings wielding weapons of bone emerged from holes on the top of the mound. Silverleaf blessed the entire party, and Amaya followed this with a spell of good hope. Silverleaf then climbed up the side of the mound and placed a blast rune by one of the holes. Two large poisonous snakes slithered out of one of the other openings, but the scorpion that exited the hole next to Silverleaf’s rune was blasted. San’Kari slew the first scorpion to have left the mound, and Thim fired arrows into another scorpion.
Silverleaf placed another blast rune on the mound. A larger scorpion came out of the mound, as well as two more of the mole-like creatures and another snake. San’Kari killed one of the snakes, and Thim fired point-blank at a second serpent. Just after Silverleaf put a third blast rune in place, a large canine creature with armor bonded to its body came out from behind the largest scorpion. Tahjah then cast greater forbid action on the area. Her spell failed to affect the large canine, but it did prevent several of the other creatures from attacking. One of the verminous creatures attempted and failed to strike Silverleaf, who cast fire shield upon himself and then set another blast rune on the ground between himself and the creature.
Behind the canine, which Landon identified as a type of dire worg, appeared a creature with elements of both humanoid and serpent. Landon warned that it was some sort of spirit naga, but infused with other elements as well. Tahjah attempted to blast it with a holy smite, but it resisted the magic. Landon burrowed underground to move safely to another position. Thim shot the worg with one of his electrically-charged arrows. Amaya cast murderous command on the worg, which would have forced it to turn on its nearest ally, presumably the naga. But the naga suddenly vanished. Landon and Tahjah suspected it had used a dimension door spell. The vermin creature menacing Silverleaf trod on his blast rune and was slain by the electricity it released. Tahjah attempted another murderous command on the worg but it was unaffected, so Landon killed it. San’Kari finished by slaying the final and largest of the snakes that had emerged from the mound and the battle was done.