On September 8th, Year 4, a magic-user named Rovert arrives through the portal in Citadel, joining two other adventurers at Citadel House. They are:
- Randall (HuS): Level 4 Human Druid
- Oliver, Level 4 Fox Animal Companion
- Osiris (CoB): Level 3 Elf Magic-user
- Rovert (TrS): Level 1 Human Magic-user
- Drej, Level 1 Pseudodragon Familiar
Despite misgivings, Randall decides it is finally time to return to Cria Basin and see what the Ar-a-mach were after there. He hopes the two mages will be able to overcome the dangers there better than he and Bart were able to. They pack 5 days of food and set out.
They make good time on the quickly improving road and by evening Tuesday the 9th arrive in Rathad Oidhche. They spend the night in the tavern and then set out up the path to the mountain in the morning, diverting toward the basin before the big turn. At the edge of the basin, they hesitate only a little while before entering the fog, Randall taking the lead.
As they go, they elude a couple of cubes like the one that killed Bart and pass over a couple of flowers that produce the basin’s fog. They decide to engage with third, destroying it with the help of a couple of trees and expending a great deal of their spell points including Osiris healing himself from the damage he sustained. As they continue, they realize they have gone too far to have hit the center of the basin they were aiming for.
Wanting to speed their search, Randall takes on falcon form and quickly searches the basin, finding an obelisk at the center where they expected. He returns and leads the others to it. The obelisk has a rainbow crystal in it and a large dias around it. From the edge of the dias, they can barely see the etched text on the obelisk, so Randall approaches to read it. As he steps onto the dias, a rainbow beam of light strikes out at him from the crystal, burning him badly. He continues anyway and a second beam strikes out, lighting him afire and blinding him. He rushes from the dias, attacking Rovert. They grapple a while until Randall manages to overcome his frenzy and Osiris breaks them up now Randall is confused rather than enthused.
Randall is severely wounded and doesn’t dare to step on the dias again, but with some experimenting, he determines that parts of the dias are safe to enter. He is able to approach the obelisk and make a rubbing of the gnomish runes on the obelisk. Not wanting to leave without all the information, Randall flies to Rathad Oidhche, where he gets the rubbing translated by the mayor. It reads:
“If ever the choice between two evils becomes so bleak that Luath Draoidh na Cuthach (the Mad) must be released, then my seal upon his tomb can be broken by a dance of energetic shadows.
- You will have to smear the harvested gel of a rigid slime over my seal
- Insert into the gel an arm of hilkia spine crossing the upward point of the flare, a pair of jealkia straddling each of the other points at a thumb each side, and poten honey at the center of the flare.
- Illuminate the dance with a flame of velkish stalks at a right 5 strides from the seal at the seal’s height.
- Without obstructing the light on the seal, pass the two upper claws through the center of the flare and the honey, to the spine, and back around to the bottom of the flare along the outside of the circle, the two lower claws must follow. Repeat, achieving a rhythm that charges the spine with each pass. On the 8th pass of energy to the spine, the spine should discharge, breaking the uncovered seal.
Remember, however great the evil you face, to be sure that Luath is the lesser.”
With nothing else needed at the obelisk, Randall flies back to the dias and retrieves the other two. They hike safely out of the basin, eluding a couple more cubes, and head down the mountain, staying again at the inn.
On Thursday morning, the 11th, they begin the return to the Vale. During the night, Osiris hears something in the trees above them and wake Randall. Randall commands it to come down and when it turns out to be a monkey, he hastily awakes Rovert, concerned that Torren may be nearby. Their attempts to interrogate Torren’s monkey are unfruitful, so they let it go, sending Oliver and Drej to track it. Drej loses them both, but Oliver manages to follow the monkey until it crosses a river and gets a considerable lead.
In the morning, Friday, they attempt to pick up the monkey’s trail, but the trees in the area prove unhelpful, so they return and report to Matthias that Torren is operating near the prison. They also tell him about the rubbing and its translation, which they believe gives the Ar-a-mach the means to break one of the seals.