The group moves north, deeper into the swamps. The humidity is stifling, but the party is set to go north. The Bard does mutter some more about how he is not pleased, but otherwise remains cool.
The travel through the swamp is not easy. There are thousands of nasty insects flying around their heads. The wetlands they travel through irritate their feet. And the ranger in the group promises a long journey before them.
One night, the party is not sure which as the days are nearly identical, the swamp mist fogging the landscape, The group are ambushed by lizardmen. The battle goes well for the lizardmen, who are scattered about their home biome. The ambush is well co-ordinated, the group from Moran is caught off-guard and holds the upper hand long into the battle.
Things look bleak for the Bard, Thorax, Naloor and Ardan. They battle as well as they could, but the lizardfolk keep coming out of the mists. Naloor does rally his friends with a well placed attack with his morningstar on a lizardman, smashing the snout off one of the attacking soldiers (He rolled three twenties in a row!).
Then, as the tables were finally turning, a sudden exclamation is heard in the mists: “Ha-HA!”
The fog parts as a new fighter enters the melee, a tall, blonde musclebound man, screaming at the top of his lungs as he slices a lizardman in two with an lethal, ancient looking greatsword.
It is Janthro, seemingly raised from the dead.
The battle is soon won by the group, who now surround this new arrival in awe and bewilderment.
The group is at first weary of this new arrival, both Naloor and Thorax not believing their eyes. Last they saw, Janthro had been killed by a Maraborian general outside the dwarven city of Cayley.
He tells how he was in the afterlife, standing at the crossroads between his final journey and a forested trail. Then, before he could even make a choice, the form of his old friend Albrecht arose up the path. Pleased to see his friend, Janthro speaks to Albrecht to find out that the small paladin does not know how he arrived here, nor does he even know where ‘here’ is. He explains that he has been helping the people of Lytton fight the evils of Marabor. He succeeded, and as soon a he left the city, he found himself walking up that very path.
The pair of them decide to walk down the very path Albrecht walked up. The descend into the forest and suddenly find themselves in an arid, sandy forest, a massive red sun directly above their heads. They are confused, but both walk forward until they find a huge crater hundreds of feet deep. It ends in a strangely reflective liquid that is not unlike a liquid. Janthro looks at Albrecht then leaps in.
Janthro explains that he has found himself in the very Halls of Tycho, where he speaks with the God of Freedom. After some discussion on awesomeness and Freedom, Tycho takes Janthro to the tomb of his previous Champion, offering Janthro his sword. The Champion, Arik awakens and tells Janthro to fear the sword and it’s powers, for it can end even the most mighty warrior. With the Sword in hand, Tycho laughs merrily.
Janthro is now atop the Tower of Tycho in the Freelands of Tycho where he meets the Avatar of Tycho. They speak for a while, and Janthro is then released into the world, a Risen Martyr with the quest to rid the world of Tyranny (or something like that). He ventures to regain his friends, which he has now done.
The party can hardly believe their eyes. Especially Thorax and Naloor. The Bard, on the other hand is rather upset at this turn of events. He knows by the stories that have been told that Janthro is a natural leader. The party already respects and loves him, now with his return the Bard’s status in the group is only going to falter.
The party continues northwards.
Their plan is to reach the nearest city and obtain horses, then continue towards Avon and cross the Maraborian border.
However, one night, while Janthro watched the party sleep, they were yet again ambushed by lizardmen.
The battle lasted only a few minutes, but the party came out on top, easily slaying the lizardmen who beset their camp. However, now the party was becoming weary. These lizardmen were no ordinary lizardmen. They were heavily armed lizardmen wearing metal armour and wielding axes and spears of higher quality. Lizardmen of this region are tribal in nature and wield stone weapons and hide armours.
The party decide to seek out the root of this change in the lizardmen population. Especially after seeing slaughtered villages a few weeks before.
The party follow the trail of the lizardmen, coming to large clearing in the swamp. Before them lay a flattened patch of dry ground, cleared of all vegetation. The ground had been trampled by hundreds of not thousands of lizardmen. Standing in this large clearing were three ziggurats. One larger then the other two laying in the centre. Lizardmen were patrolling and wandering around the entire complex.
Janthro reports that there are at least seventy individual sources of evil that he can sense.
It would seem the party had stumbled upon the source of the evil lizardmen.
The party is well aware that even with Janthro risen and with them, they stand no chance against such a large force of lizardmen. The only way they can overcome this is through stealth.
The Bard, taking this opportunity to reassert his skills for the party nominated himself to go forth and learn what there is to learn about the complex. He is accompanied by Ardan the ranger, equally skilled in the arts of sneaking.
The pair slowly creep up to the fringes of the vegetation surrounding the ziggurats, watching as hide. They learn little. There are a good many lizardmen walking about the dry land, coming and going from the three ziggurats. There are some standing guard atop the mighty pyramids and others patrolling the perimiter. It becomes clear that this is not only the centre of the lizardmen who have been plaguing this region, but also a military base: and maybe something more.
The Bard then explains that he is going to enter the complex himself. With the asistance of Naloor, The Bard is given a magic touch, allowing Naloor to see through the eyes of those he touches. He turns himself invisible and heads in, hoping to hear something the lizardmen speak on. Indeed, he easily creeps forth and listens to a pair of lizardmen speak about their families and wishing to see them once again. Hoping to get a rise, The Bard fondles the pair of lizardmen who both become very… freaked out. The Bard uses his mental prowess to suggest the lizardman head to his highest ranking officer and touch him, thus passing along the spell. This way the party could then see the commander of the complex and learn valuable information.
The Bard returns, sharing his news with the rest of the party, and waiting for news from Naloor.
The party believe that the group of lizardmen are there as soldiers. It is entirely possible that their families are in a ziggurat, or outside the complex all together.
The chain continues for two touches, when a lizardman of high rank begins to walk up the ziggurat under the suggestion to see his superior officer and touch him, congratulating him on a job well done. He goes through the stairs at the top, noticing an old hunched lizardman in the shadows. He goes into the lit corridors and finally ends up at a pair of double doors, where he is allowed in. As soon as he passes through the doors, the connection the spell gave is severed.
The Bard, yet again, attempting to reassert himself in the party says he will attempt to give rise to a rebellion in the lizardmen.
The party is weary as there now is a greater threat in the complex. Something very powerful is either aware of the spell put on the lizardman, or powerful enough to cast an anti-magic field around their lair. Nevertheless, The Bard feels fuelling a rebellion is the best thing to do.
Invisible again, The Bard sneaks into the camp and attempts to give rise to a rebellion. His attempt seems to have worked, but he is suddenly made visible. The lizardmen atop a ziggurat point at him and spells and arrows begin to fly. The Bard flees, only to be held magically as he hides behind a ziggurat. The party then leap into action, led by Janthro screaming at the top of his divine lungs.
In the distance, there is a rebellion forming, as lizardmen clash against lizardmen. But before the third zuggurat another battle is forming. The PCs battle against lizardmen, hoping to claim a foothold so they can free The Bard.
The battle is hard fought Naloor and Janthro are in the midst of the fighting with Ardan a few paces behind letting loose arrow after arrow. Swarms of Lizardmen fly down the ziggurat attempting to overpower the group, but each wave is pushed back.
Moments later, the party is given a break, as the spell on The Bard ends, he is now free to move. The party rescue him, and move off to the wilderness once again.
They have disturbed a wasp’s nest. They are aware that there will be trouble. They are wounded and need to recover. Naloor suggests going to the nearest settlement and hope to find some solace. He hopes to find the nearest lizardman community, one of the friendly ones. Ardan believes that wasting time will only end his search for answers as to what is troubling this region.
Janthro cares not for rest and only wishes to see Freedom delivered. He wishes to attack as soon as possible.
The party decide to rest that night a fair distance away from the complex, then attack as soon as they can. In the morning, the party regroups and plans their next action.
Again The Bard attempts to infiltrate the complex and rise a rebellion. This time, he hopes to get a much larger rebellion to occur. Instead of causing a small group, he plans on using a lizardman to incite the rebellion for him, heading straight to the far zuggurat and inciting it there. He hopes a large enough group will rise, allowing the party to strike forth into the heart of the complex.
And his plan works.
The party moves forward, attacking lizardmen who see them. They swarm yet again from the near ziggurat, but the party is prepared and experienced, fighting them off handily. They slowly ascend this small ziggurat and look at the complex in chaos.
Janthro does not wish to stop. He revels in this wonderous turn of events, laughing loudly atop this stepped pyramid. His friends are wounded, being look after by the healing hands of Thorax and Naloor. Looking across the field, the party have a rough idea that their plan is working, the lizardfolk’s numbers are dwindling. They can now launch an assault on the main ziggurat, seeing what is inside that mysterious room.
Naloor casts a holy spell, allowing the party to cross to the other pyramid walking on a bridge of light. They run across, surprising the lizardfolk at the other side. They slowly overpower the lizardmen here, watching as the rebellion is slowly crushed beneath them. As the party heads into the ziggurat, The Bard once again uses is abilities of the mind to suggest to the lizardmen that there are indeed more rebellious scum in the other ziggurat, and these non-lizardmen are of no threat. Again, the Bard prove useful, giving the group free access to the ziggurat.
Inside the stone construction, the party slinks down corridors, following the lead of Naloor whose eyes have come down this very path. They cautiously step down stair after stair, through torch lit corridors until they find themselves before the double doors of the room where their spell had ended.
Inside they see large lizardmen with muscular builds guarding a strange looking, huge snake with a vaguely humanoid face. The battle begins, but before any strikes can be made, Ardan tosses a necklace into the room. It is a simple chain with icicles frozen to it. When it lands, there is a violent snowstorm, hail falls from the ceiling and a blinding sleet fills the room. The party wait on the outskirts, fighting the remaining lizardmen as they filter out. When the effect ends, they charge in finishing off the hardy lizardfolk.
Outside, the lizardmen seem to be released from a spell. They shake their heads, and begin disarming themselves. They apologise and beg forgiveness.
There are nearly a hundred dead lizardfolk around them. These remaining lizardmen are granted their forgiveness and let to eke out whatever life they may find.
The party learn through the marking on the walls and the loot that they find that Marabor has somehow infiltrated this area years ago. A man named Bidsek had come, offering them a great deal of wealth. Then these lizardmen were slowly added to a growing army, feeling compelled to fight against other tribes, to dominate the swamp; for they had the sole right to rule their people. This went against all what the lizardmen believed, yet they felt that it was the only way to survive. They do not know how many villages or tribes have been wiped out due to the intervention o Marabor.
With Freedom restored, and the secret of the strange lizardmen solved, the party now move out of the swamp, heading to the Parsetan city of Garda. Ardan decides to join with the group. The issue with the lizardmen which he began investigating seems to lead to Marabor. He wishes to see this to the end.
After weeks of travel, the party finally makes it out of the swamp and into grasslands. They continue to Garda and enlist the services of the elven smiths and wizards to empower their weapons.
With their treasure identified, all the things of little uses sold, and new items bought, the party then outfit themselves with horses and head towards the border of Marabor.
At the river crossing before Avon, the party moves off out of sight of the city and Naloor once again calls upon his god tog ran them passage across the river. They ride across, unnoticed and are now, once again, in the realm of the enemy.