At the mouth of the Broodmaw Caverns the party found a warning. It read, “No cheating, No party pooping, and No FLYING!.” It looked more like the entrance to a child’s room than the lair of a terrible spirit. Kariss had to touch down on her broom to put it away and Aleera floated gently down until her feet hit solid dirt. They made their way into the darkness on foot. In one of the ante chambers they met a small diminutive looking girl that was all dirty. It was Terra and she wished them luck through the trial.
The trial itself was fairly easy. Kaladrax had prepared after reading the primordial book. He had commissioned some nice cupcakes and rock candy for Terra. At each of the stops along the trial he would set down one of the treats for Terra. This made her very happy so that when they went through the challenges she was only testing them not trying to kill them. The first trial was to walk in the dark until they could find their way out of the darkness.
The next trial was set in a large room. Milo had to figure out which tiles were good to step on and which were not. When he or anyone else landed on the wrong tiles they were struck by lightning on that square. No one was safe but the shocks were a lot less lethal than if they had not brought bribes for the earth spirit. The third trial required the party to defeat a Spector and his gazer friends. They zipped around until the group managed to rip them apart piece by piece.
The final trial was the hardest. They entered a large stone chamber at the heart of the Broodmaw Caverns. At the center was a large stone statue in the image of Terra. The trial began when Milo stepped in front of the statue to examine it. The statue moved. It first smashed its fist into the ground and stopped, returning back to its original position. Milo looked around at first and when nothing happened he shrugged and pounded his own fist as hard as he could into the ground. Immediately he clutched his hand to his chest in obvious pain but stopped when the statue moved again.
This time it took a sword from its side and made a stabbing motion forward. When the blade turned to it, it was coated in red at the tip. The statue then stabbed gently into the floor and held it there. Milo looked up in agony and whispered that he thought he needed to stab one of them to coat the blade in red. Hepolita stepped up, put a hand on his shoulder and told him this was the least she could do to help. He asked if she was sure and when she growled at him to get on with it he plunged a halfling sized sword into her arm to coat in her blood. With that done he gently stabbed it into the ground as the statue had done and waited.
It moved again. Taking a dagger from its other side, the statue drew a line down its hand leaving an open wound. With the other hand it dug through the stone flesh and pulled out a key. With this instruction laid out for them, it retreated to its original pose and waited. Milo quickly replicated the motion and as he cut into the flesh of his hand he noticed a dark shadow waiting below the surface of his skin.
He dug through the wound and pulled out a blood covered brass key. With that task complete, the statue waved them through to the final door with a smile. Milo took the key, walked up to the large stone door and inserted it into the slot. It took the whole party to push open the final doors to their prize. Ahead was a yellow light glowing in the darkness of the cavern.
In the center of the cavern where they expected to find Terra, they now found the master of the earth elementals and constructs that were heading to the city to demolish it. He was a follower of the Queen of Ash, and Tylo was there, Milo’s long lost brother who he had thought was dead.
Fighting ensued with the Master, Sane, producing these constructs that looked and acted like gazers. With that many enemies attacking, it wasn’t long before Kaladrax fell in battle. His wounds were so severe he lost consciousness and was close to death. Milo had lept headlong into the battle, hounding his brother and going only after him. He ignored all other opponents, leaving the party to deal with them. He finally caught up with Tylo as Sane was killed by Hepolita, Aleera, and Kariss.
Tylo turned on his brother and began a concerted assault on him. In the end Milo was defeated. His body lay on the ground and Tylo stood over him. He took a dagger from his arsenal and began stabbing Milo’s prone body until there was no life left in it. Aleera raced over to Kaladrax to see what she could do to help as this was going on, only to find Kaladrax breathing his last. The blood gurgled from his lips as he tried to speak and could not. With one final shove, Tylo pushed Milo over the edge of a chasm with a dagger in his heart and disappeared from sight. Aleera looked at Kaladrax’s dead body and the spot where Milo had gone over the edge.
In a split second decision, she screamed at Kariss to bring Kaladrax back and used the Dimension Door spell to get to the source of the yellow light they had seen. It was the earth crystal of Terra. With one final surge Aleera held up the stone and screamed for Terra to bring Milo back. She argued that he had won the trial and needed her aid. With the last of her words ringing out into the dark silence the crystal disintegrated in her hands.
There was no response, no sign of working. Aleera kneeled there in blood stained clothes and began to come to terms with the fact that her friend Milo was gone and her boyfriend was also near gone. Kariss had healing abilities though, she would be able to bring him back. That was the only though keeping her going. She used Dimension Door again to get to the bottom of the chasm to see if she could retrieve Milo’s body.
There at the bottom was the broken and shattered body of the diminutive but tenacious halfling. Blood was sprayed in every direction. As she came closer to his remains, the earth beneath him began to swallow him up. His body sank into the earth as Aleera watched with tears streaming down her face. He had been the last of the original party. It had been him, Malachi and Aleera from the beginning and now he was gone too. Aleera sank to her knees on the floor where his body had once been and slumped in defeat as the dark silence washed over her.