Cragbeard remained with Anarus Kavrum to help search for an entrance into the Sunspire – the coastline is riddled with rocky caverns, one of which they hoped would lead into the tower.
The rest of the party ventured into the Willomire, to seek the ruins of Trokare and (hopefully) gain further insight from the black dragon Nagendrix.
The party was first accosted by local fauna (Sporeback Toads and Swamprattlers). After dealing with the hungry wildlife, the heroes discovered an ancient corpse that the toads seemed to have brought to their lair, but found distasteful. Upon the corpse was an iron-bound book of beaten lead pages. Emblazoned on the book’s cover was a strange symbol – an obsidian wave crashing over a bronze sun. The book turned out to be a prayer book / ritual text for the Cult of Raj. From the text, the cult seems to be focused on summoning a being called Arashan, “The Endless Tide” which, according to the book, will sweep away the false face of the world revealing the “blind truth hidden by the mundane world” and allow those devoted to the Cult of Raj to reach enlightenment.
The party then encountered and treated with a group of lizardfolk – the lizardfolk were lead by a priest of the black dragon, Ignathik – who luckily spoke goblin, making it possible for Grigorg to converse with him. The lizardfolk were being besieged by the same undead against whom the party had fought and agreed to lead the heroes to their home in the ruins of Trokare, hoping to gain allies to turn back the undead invaders. On the way there, the heroes participated in battle against the undead and won a great deal of respect from the lizardfolk.
Once to the ruins the heroes were lead to Nagendrix, who explained his own plight to them – he had been sorely wounded in his battle at the Sunspire (with what he called some sort of Demon) and his wounds were infecting him with the undead plague that was raising corpses in service to whatever dark power was controlling the Sunspire. Nagendrix dared not reveal this to his lizardfolk, as their faith in him would be shaken and they would likely falter in their battles with the undead. Nagendrix was in the process of concocting an antidote to his affliction and needed a special ingredient to stave off undeath.
Nagendrix asked the party to travel to the sunken Temple of Sarnath and fill a crystal flagon from the Wellspring of Ulros in the caverns beneath the temple. He promised them rewards from his hoard of treasure for this service. The party agreed and set off at once (there was supposed to be another skill challenge here, but we were running short on time – suffice it to say the journey was difficult, too difficult for any of the lizardfolk to have accomplished). The party secured the glowing water from under the temple – learning in the process that the water was infused with radiant energy which revitalized them (restored their healing surges).
Leaving the temple, the party was ambushed by an undead party – the mummified corpse leading the undead called itself Lictus Al-Mahere and appeared to be adorned with symbols of the Cult of Raj. Lictus offered to allow the heroes to go in peace if they abandoned their quest for Nagendrix. Violence followed quickly thereafter, and the heroes vanquished Lictus and his followers. The party agreed to take an extended rest after this, leaving the fate of Nagendrix uncertain.
Back at the Sunspire, Cragbeard and the ghost of Anarus Kavrum searched deep into the caverns surrounding the Sunspire, and did indeed discover an entrance. The glowing portal was guarded by phantoms and wards which the two, with help summoned by Kavrum, overcame with great difficulty. With an entrance secured, Cragbeard retraced his path to the surface and set out to find his friends.
Luckily, the party had left word with the lizardfolk to look out for Cragbeard should he follow them, along with a letter to explain the situation to their friend. While following his friends trail, Cragbeard was approached by a lizardfolk patrol lead by the priest Ignathik, who managed to parlay with the dwarf and show him the letter. Cragbeard agreed to accompany the lizardfolk to rejoin his companions.