We consider our options again.

Rian Nightshide the tiefling suggests going after Varrum the white.

King Meladrath of the elves suggests going to the sea of ice for the old white dragon.

Rian tells us Leosin has more information on Varrum. He should still be in town.

We return to our guild hall, and sure enough, he's there waiting for us. Yes he knows a little about Varrum. Rumor is he lost his white dragon mask, and is in search of it, near Boarskewyr bridge.

Varrum is a dwarf, and has been seen in his purple robes, and is accompanied by a small group. It's not well known that he lost his mask, so don't let word slip. If the cult finds out, Varrum will be replaced, so get any information, take the dwarf out of play, and take the mask.

We make sure to hire a few staff to keep our guild hall in good order while we're away, and we head out.

After several nights, we reached an abandoned castle.

Alissa scouts it out, and she reports back that there is a small group of cultists within. Two of them have upside down pentagrams carved into their foreheads. There seems to be a leader of the group sitting in the darkness, who radiates evil. some of them seem to be a break off from the cult of Tiamat, and every time the name Lord Volmyr is said, they bow to the corner.

We decide we should do something about that, and Alissa sneaks back up to the ramparts, but is spotted.

Luke fills the room with tentacles of darkness, and Shale runs forward but is struck by a boney spike which comes out of the darkness. I throw a fireball into the room, killing the weaker cultists.

A demon of bone, this Lord Volmyr apparently, flies out of the darkness and lands behind me, and attacks me. I put up my shield spell, blocking one of the attacks, but the other attack gets through. I try banishing the demon, but the spell fails.

I run to my companions, but the demon knocks me out. Luke helps me back up, and I try to banish it again, but again I fail.

Is it immune I wonder? Are demons not able to be banished? I convert more sorcerous energies and try again. Surely they are better tied to this plane than I am. No, they just have absurd magic resistance.

I change tactics, and throw magic missiles on it. That seems to have done something at least. But our fight is going badly, and Alissa, Luke and I all go down. Shale, who was really the only who was ever a threat to the demon, finish it off and it vanishes into crimson.

We spend an uneasy night on the ramparts.

We arrive at the bridge the next day.

Boarskewyr Bridge bears the name of a now vanquished realm, and is constructed of black granite and sculpted with the likenesses of Cyrric and Bhaal. A small encampment surrounds one side of the bridge, and is a little more than a way station. Nearby, from a newly built keep, the paladins of Elterguard watches over the bridge.

Shale visits the Elterguard, but finds little useful knowledge.

We visit Bolo's inn, which is a rough and tumble pavilion near the center of the encampment. Luke asks Bolo if she's seen a dwarf in purple robes, and apparently she had. The dwarf was looking to hire guards for a trip into the hills. The didn't find any takers, but he did kill one of the scalefolk from the serpent hills, and that makes him a hero here.

Shale tries to wager a local for information, reward for winning an arm wrestling constant. Shale loses badly, and her temper gets the best of her, so she beats the hell out of him.

I tell Bolo I have what the dwarf is looking for, which is why we are looking for him. If he comes back, let him know.

The serpent hills is a swath of badland mesas, with a few strands of trees and grasses. It's a wild land filled with bandits, giants, undead and lizard folk, and littered with tombs from the fallen Netherese empire.

The first night around the campfire we shared stories from our past. Luke executed several war criminals after the war he was a part of. Alissa's favorite color is purple. Shale was made fun of as a kid. I ...may have killed my best child who friend. I...never found out what happened. Curse this wild magic...

The trail leads to a base of a large mesa, and on the way, we see signs of the dwarf's party, some of them fallen and buried hastily.

Leading up the mesa, and I realize I know who has interned here. The tomb of Diderius. His magic pervades the area, and just before the entrance is a large paved plaza with the remains of a fountain that is little more than a crumbling hole leading into the deep.

Two stone statues, twenty feet tall, face us. The left one is a beard human male, face smashed beyond recognition, cudgel in one hand, with the other hand razed in warning. The other is a young human male, head cracked and shepard cane in hand and the other hand likewise raised in warning.

Beyond them are various scenes carved into the walls.

Below the statues is a camp with fire burned low. There are three bedrolls laid out, and seven recent shallow graves about twenty feet off from the campsite.

As we get close, the statues suddenly grind to live, and boom out "halt, before you is Diderius, beyond his wonderful triumphs offers wisdom and knowledge. Which do you seek?"

Alissa yells both, and the statues revert back to their original position and go rigid again.

Shale stares daggers at Alissa.

We enter the antechamber, which seems to shimmer. Looters have defaced this place long ago, and there are a dozen alcoves which seem to be funeral niches with only splinters of bones remaining. A stone door hangs ajar, and marks indicate it was recently forced.

Six statues stand, all cowled wizards each with staffs. Alissa inspects one of them, and looks into its cowl. She seems captivated by it, and starts murmuring as if responding to an unheard voice. Before we can do anything, she falls to her knees and then runs to the door.

Shale runs over to her and grabs her and stops her. Jeff starts babbling on how she can understand the universe now.