It seems the… ghost house had some kind of “return” ability, and when we looked out the front door we found ourselves in the courtyard of Castle Greyhawk. Zagyg’s much aggrieved lich majordomo greeted us with a reward — a stick. Just a plain stick. Even he didn’t know what it was for. He took possession of the poor tortured ghosts with a promise to “put them in rehab for awhile.”
With that adventure over, we had a few more days to rest before Simon’s grandmother sent a message to Ardes. She gave us all the information she had regarding Sinclair’s activities and set up contact with a representative of the Touv city of Anatal. Our guide, Malia, met us in the city only a few days later and we were on our way. The prince of Anatal gave us a scroll to grant us passage through the area and to identify us as friendly to his allies. He instructed us to seek out Anesh, a genius elephant that made his home in the jungles. In return, he asked that we, when we had the time, investigate a Touv city that had been overrun by undead.
For his part, Anesh had much to say. Tulla used one of her figurines to call the paladin camel of the pearl forth since it could communicate more easily with our elephant ally. Anesh explained that when Pyremius attempted to kill Ranet, the Suel goddess of fire, the Flan gods interceded. With the aid of Dalt and Lydia, they took her remains and hid them in the Otobo jungle. They also hid a map and key to her location under the Burnt Circle, sealing it so that only a special person could access it. There was a prophecy that someone of Flan and Suel decent touched by fire could open it.
With a speculative look, Anesh indicated that perhaps Ardes might be able to unseal the map. It seems that Sinclair, obsessed with the Undying Fire Ranet possessed, had created one of his breeding programs to produce a person who would fulfill the prophecy. Ardes seemed quite skeptical, but was more than willing to make the attempt in order to aid Ranet. The Touv had long ago made a promise to Pelor to lend their help, and he supposedly gave them the means to revive her when the time came.
Anesh also told us that the last person who had spoken to him about the Undying Fire was a Suel woman who seemed very concerned that someone she didn’t care for might get their hands on it. She evidently decided to murder the person who could open the way using some kind of poison that would have the side effect of confusion and memory loss. Ardes apparently found this quite amusing, but didn’t deign to speak on the matter. We were also warned that there were “guardians” in the Otobo jungle, but Anesh seemed confident that our demihuman companions would be able to help us.
We made haste to the Burnt Circle, not wanting Sinclair’s forces to get the jump on us. Loreli cleverly realized that if she arranged the Flan gods in the order of their creation, she could unseal the area. The ground actually rotated and a stairway was revealed. Most of us remained topside to watch for enemies, but down below they found a map, a key, and an ornate set of gauntlets with Suel writing and strange pictographs on them. Our scholarly members speculated that they must have been crafted long ago, perhaps during the time that Ranet was still living. Faern attempted to decipher the unknown language with magic, but realized it was the creation writing of the gods and decided to leave well enough alone.
Predictably, we were shortly attacked by twelve brotherhood monks who posed us little trouble. They were especially harried by Faern when he took the aspect of an earth jin and swam through the ground already roiling under the effect of Jevan’s earth wave spells. Ardes put on the mysterious gauntlets during the battle and shortly discovered that he couldn’t remove them until whatever task they were created for was completed.
We hurried down to the Otobo jungles, and Idrys declared that the place felt somehow familiar. Right as we found ourselves surrounded by Grugach riding enormous, ancient lizards. Though they were wary, they listened to Idrys’s words and escorted us to their great tree. Naturally, they were quite uncomfortable with Idrys’s demon tag-along, but were willing to let it slide. It reminded me of the one in Oakvane, and indeed, it seemed to serve the same purpose. The Grugach shaman’s communicated through it, quickly deciding that we were friendly after all. It seems Loreli’s fiancee is the son of the tender of another of the trees. Using some kind of ritual, they were able to bring him through the tree.
Over a lovely meal, they explained more about what we would be facing. The cave where Ranet’s… remains were stored was carefully hidden and very well protected. The Grugach had been placed there by Corellon to guard the area. They promised us that Sinclair and his people would get no where near the area. Other than that, they couldn’t give us many details about what was inside the cave. We were warned that whatever was left of Ranet might be mad, dangerous, or perhaps willing to aid. No one was sure after all this time. Still, the creatures in the cave were likely mutated by the presence of a god’s power, so we would have to be wary.