After the carnage of the yuan-ti ambush, everyone picked themselves up and carried on, knowing that they would soon be at the site believed to hold the fourth schema. They knew that the Emerald Claw, led by their old nemesis – the changeling priest known as Garrow – had almost a full day’s head start on them, so time was of the essence. Sure enough, by early afternoon the next day, the giant carved hands mentioned in the notes could be seen, reaching for the sun either side of the river. Beyond them, just above the trees, could be seen a small flying skiff, similar to those encountered during their pursuit of Lucan.
Planning an ambush, they got their captain to pull in to the river side around the nearest bend before the skiff’s location. Then they made quick time through the jungle until they could see the base camp below the skiff. Nearly a dozen lightly armed guards were present, and none of them were aware of the adventurers’ presence until it was too late.
A number of plans were quickly debated and discarded, while Kurtis stealthily made his way round to a flanking position, and then a devastating assault began. The combined powers of two druids overwhelmed the camp with entanglements and lightning strikes from the sweltering skies above. Magic from Darvon and sheer force of arms finished the job, but not before Kurtis had managed to intercept and capture two of the soldiers. He did this with an innovative mixture of his natural changeling shapeshifting abilities, intimidation and quick thinking to imitate each of the soldiers’ compatriots in quick succession.
A rapid interrogation followed, before they left their prisoner with the captain on the boat, in which they found that Garrow had taken fifty soldiers and twenty Karrnathi skeletons, led by a warforged officer and a handful of necromancers on to the ruins about half a mile further inland. They had headed out the previous day, and nothing more had been heard since.
Following the paths brought them to the foot of the enormous structure. Built by the ancient giants, it was on a huge scale and towered over four hundred feet above them into the sky. At the base of the enormous giant-scaled steps were signs of a fierce battle – a small number of Emerald Claw troops, and many more dark skinned elves dressed in strange armour of leather and giant insect carapaces. A smaller-scaled staircase was found soon after, and Theo the bard began to make his way up it, protected by a spell of invisibility.
Unfortunately, the surviving dark elf survivors at the top of the steps chose to lever an enormous boulder down those steps into the assembled adventurers, and chased down after it to finish off the stunned survivors.
Battle was duly joined…