- Ord Ruins Gnolls (2600xp, Outdoor General)
- The Divining Ritual (700xp, Skill Challenge)
- Ghosts of Ord (2550xp, Cavern Defense)
- 2000gp in mixed coin and valuables
- Enough Residuum for a level 10 item
- 5850xp Total (1170xp Each)
The divination magic at the party’s disposal narrowed the field somewhat – they learned that the Abbess had been taken south, towards Fort Dust – but more information was clearly needed. In order to acquire it, they set off southward themselves, in hopes of locating an ancient scrying circle located in the ruins of the ancient city of Ord.
They set out from the cave under cover of stormy weather, leaving Bael to improve the space and gather what members of the resistance he could. Also left behind was their captive Sanctioner, who remained unconscious through their departure, apparently taken sick beyond the injuries she had taken. Weather she would recover at all was uncertain, even without aggravating her condition with travel.
The party traveled sound for two and a half days, making better time than expected, and largely avoiding any incidents on the road. When they arrived at the ruins of Ord however, they found that they were not so deserted as they might have hoped. A band of Gnolls was camped there, amongst the tumble-down walls and rubble, and gave the group a fight for their lives before being defeated.
With the Gnolls cleared from the ruins, the party began their search for the scrying circle they needed, and shortly found a tunnel which lead them back into the hillside. Searching into the tunnels, they eventually found their objective. A large chamber with a small shaft clear to the sky, and a ring of dark, rune-carved stone at its center, surrounding a circle of milky white quarts.
Focusing their minds, and feeding arcane power into the ancient ritual circle, the party began to search. The first image to come into focus was the city of Fort Dust, seen from on high, and from its magical emanations they narrowed the field further. Three locations within the city held enough magic to account for the stolen relic: one within the walls, one outside in the new city, and the third and most likely within the fortress citadel itself.
Trying to narrow their vision further, and focus in on the citadel, they found their efforts confounded. The citadel was covered over with wards against such magic, which they could not penetrate. Tracing the wards back to their anchor point however, the party found a circle much like the one they themselves were using, only reversed. Upon the outer circle runes glowed, pointing their direction, indicating the source of an intrusive presence.
As they realized the risk this presented, a familiar red-robed figure appeared in the circle, and gathered his power. The powerful Athar mage who the party had encountered in their escape from the monastery at Castle Hill – and who’s daughter they even now held captive – looked up at them from the ritual circle in Fort Dust, and dismissed their scrying magic with a wave of his hand and a look of contempt.
Though they knew their position was compromised to some extent, night had fallen while they explored and performed their ritual, and venturing out under the stars – the storm had passed – seemed an even riskier proposition. The party bedded down in the ritual chamber to await the morning, but their rest would not go undisturbed. The spirits of the long dead city had been drawn out by the ritual magic performed, and though they were easily enough overcome, their invasion made for a sleepless night.