Once rested, they returned to the Bastion of Stars to meet with Lord Hirolë. As he began the casting of the teleportation circle, the adventurers prepared spells, just in case the invaders had already taken the watchtower.
The vantage point from the Elven Watchtower gave them a good overview of Winter Bay. The spell allowed them to pierce to illusionary veil concealing the fleet of ships flying to colors of the Church of the Benevolents. There were four distinctive groups of ships in the bay. There were two warships near the opening in the cliffs that lead out to sea. There was a group of three large, heavy warships in the center, tended to by smaller vessels. The flagship of the fleet was likely in that group. Far to the north, visible as only small shadows on the waves, was a cluster of ships, likely consisting of those ships that had already landed their forces on Tal’Mytherasil soil.
It was the last cluster of ships that generated the most attention from the adventurers. The medium size warships held a line between what looked like a large structure at water level and the rest of the Church fleet. Smaller patrol boats moved about, but none of the ships ever approached the structure. They decided that would be the first of the ships to be scouted.
They decided to keep close to the cliff face to reduce the chances of being spotted by the fleet, or their scouts. The longer path meant it would take the longer to reach their destination, but they felt it was the wiser course of action. As they closed in, the strange structure began to resemble an almost pyramidal shaped structure. It was two hundred feet long at the base, and about fifty feet tall. None of them had ever seen an ocean going vessel like it, although Ved’rail recalled a story from the far west, of a floating pyramidal warship that destroyed one of the city states of that land. However, the structure before them, while impressive, looked temporary. There was simply no way that structure could have sailed here.
First they scouted the cliff above the structure, wary of scouts from the Church. Alluvian discovered many tracks, moving about the area, clearly the cliffs were patrolled, but no permanent guards were in place. From here they could see that the pyramid was a three story “building”, floating on the water, anchored to the cliff face. The structure resembled a three story step pyramid, festooned with banners of the Church of Banevolents and crawling with Church Knights and Church Skirmishers. Heavy canvas concealed the area between the structure and the cliff side.
The group descended the cliff face and entered the water between the pyramid and the ships defending it. Beneath the water, they discovered the pyramid was several large barges anchored the the seafloor. The interior was open, with buildings atop the barges linked by catwalks and ladders. The cliff face itself had been worked over by magic, huge chunks of rock had been cleaved away, creating a shore on which rested a large collection of supplies and a small Church worship area. And in between was a passage leading deeper into the cliff.
There were eight Church guards watching over the supplies, four Church Knights guarding the passage, and a Church Priest leading another dozen more in prayers in the worship area. The enchantment upon the party allowed them to pierce the priest’s illusionary guise, revealing him to be a great oafish demon. Samnymian attempted to delve into the creatures throughout to unveil their purpose here, but the creature proved to resilient.
At this point they received a Sending from General Myriani, that the dragons were approaching Winter Bay, did they want them to begin their attack, or hold off. Samnymain told the general to being, and within minutes, horns began to sound from the fleet, as the great winged creatures appeared over the Bay.
The distraction of the dragon attack drew the demon and his worshipers from the cave-like shore of the cliff side. This gave the adventurers the opportunity to assault the remaining Church Knights and Guards. Alluvian emerged from the water, firing arrows upon the Church Knights as Ragnork charged into their midst. Gretel and Samnimyan used their assault magics to tackle the Guards as well as destroy the fleet’s supplies. Ved’rail used his power of Cacophany to aid his allies.
The guards were quickly dispatched. They were able to get a better look down the passage into the cliff. At the end was a huge circular portal, sealed by a huge stone door. The door was flanked by a pair of Iron Golems. The metal monstrosities charged into the group, but were quickly dispatched by Ragnork, Alluvian and Samnimyan’s magics designed to destroy constructs.
With the sound of dragon roar behind them, the companions turned their attention to the huge stone portal…