The session began with the group arriving into Aundair’s border, being stopped and inspected by gryphon riders. Upon arrival to the towers of Arcanix, they see that they have been attacked, and one of the towers lay in ruins.
Upon speaking with Headmaster Elias, they find out that 1. He is dying of a terminal illness caused by an assassin’s blade that neared his heart before escaping, and 2. The vault (which contained the 3rd manuscript of Muktar) had been broken into despite an insane degree of magical protections and fail-safes.
Upon investigating the scene, they ask around Samson’s old fraternity, the Cockatrice Guild, where they find that one of the reject members was actually a daelkyr cultist. Using his items to scry him, they see a cultist of Belashrya execute him to tie up loose ends and then they teleport into the Talenta Plains cavern complex.
Upon arrival, they find bizarre Xoriat art reliefs and slaves in blissful stupors. Upon exploring the rest of the cavern network, they discover that there was an ambush laid for them: Two beholders and a powerful diviner each cloaked by greater invisibility spells began to violently pepper the group with powerful magical blasts, all over a 300 foot tall chasm interspersed with natural rock formations that provide sparse footing.
The fight was brutal. It was only the realization of Crowley’s aberrant marks which made Riandra, the Belashrya champion hold back from killing him. The beholders slammed Xiao Leng near to her death, saved only by the corpse of a giant cyclops that Quirina happened to destroy. In the end, what saved the day was that Crowley used spreadshot ammunition which negated the need for precision targeting, and Quirina relied upon her primal scent to sniff out the other beholder and cut it down before it disintegrated Samson.
The group captured Riandra as she escaped, interrogated her, and worked out a deal to keep her as a prisoner in the Palace of Mourning rather than execute her, despite strong objections from Crowley. At Arcanix, Crowley found a way to use the chaos of the attack to smuggle in his daughter under an assumed identity via a friend from an intelligence network. However, they have to move quickly before the window expires.
On the way to the palace, an acid rain storm veered the group off course into the Glowing Chasm, where they realized mage crystals and a giant construct lay dormant in the chasm, as well as dangerous magical radiation. At the palace they recovered lost limbs and other injuries, and set themselves to the task of dealing with a plan of breaking Yvette out of Dreadhold. Xiao mentioned that upon speaking with Kaius, he mentioned that aerial assault or purely magical infiltration was suicide, specifically because of a dragon gaurding the island.
They decided (with heavy reluctance from Samson and uncharacteristic haste from Crowley), to pay a visit to the royal court of King Kaius in Karrnath. They witnessed a considerabl force of undead mobilizing for the coast, in excess of 200,000 strong. Samson waited outside, and the group hobnobbed with Mikhail, the seneschal, while awaiting a meeting in between meetings with the king. Kaius agreed to meet in the walk from the war room to the parade ground, and in so doing caught up with Xiao, explained the reason of Aerenal’s harboring of the Emerald Claw fugitives as justification for the attack, using Breland’s aggression as a smokescreen to divert attention. Further, he explained what he knew of the prison, and suggested a way to get there quietly, which conveniently required that the group clear out a lost undersea research facility for him in order to reach it.
The group decided against the submarine mission, instead opting to make a deal with the dragon. Upon conversing, they discovered that the prison has one of the Cloud Dragon Fujin’s young trapped in the deepest layer of the prison. The deal was that if they could recover her child before the forces alerted her and requested assistance, then she would turn her might upon Dreadhold and provide the distraction they needed to break out not only Yvette, but the 7th known DragonMark.
The mission went as planned, with Samson leveraging battle magic to create feasible distraction to occupy the dragon, attuning the group to the harsh conditions of the deep ocean, and ripping a hole into the mountain to earn the group passage into the sewers of Dreadhold. From there, Quirina and Xiao silently ripped through the chain devils that guarded the floors, until they encountered the Executioner Devil. It was a gruesome fight as despite all their might, they realized that the creature siphoned the energies of the tower to sustain himself for far longer than it should have. The brutality ensued as in the fighting, Quirina was grabbed up and her arm was ripped off at the shoulder. Soon, Samson reinforced with thermal beam blasts, and the three of them laid into the Executioner Devil with all they had, finally ripping it apart into bloody chunks.
As they made their escape with the juvenile cloud dragon Mikado, it was all Fujin needed to start ripping the tower apart with hurricanes, tsunamis, and plasmic beam breath weapons. Unfortunately, she didn’t wait until the group was entirely clear, and while they rescued Yvette and Mithras, the 7th Dragonmark Heir, the weakened foundations (siphoned by the Executioner Devil), and the assault of the dragon, allowed a very powerful foe to escape. Molochus the Demon Wastes Pit Fiend general, empowered Samson to help finish off the tower, reducing it to shattered icy glass shards, and promised to return the favor for his release before making his way towards the Demon Wastes to ‘make some changes.’
Currently the group is catching its breath on a nearby island in the Lhazaar Principalities, recovering from the exhaustion and agony of that assault, plotting their next move. They learned from Mithras that the mechanical forces of the Cannith operative are located in Frostfell, and that he has fraudulently siphoned away a massive sum of gold from the banks of House Kundaruk.