After a year in Kelmarane the party has established themselves as important and well liked celebrities in the community. Mia established a library and place of learning, centered around the Planeteria found in the Osirion Tomb of the Four Pharaohs. Aarak patrolled the hills and mountains around Kelmarane fighting against a band of gnoll slavers who were attacking caravans going to and from the town. Alenor worked with local farmers and herders to help them prosper and make the town more self sufficient. A’b’d established and trained a local militia, working with the Pactmaster guard to bolster the town’s defenses.
Then one day a wandering priest of Sarenae appeared in town, asking to speak with the party. A tall (almost 7 feet) man of imposing nature, he warned the group that the Carrion King was gathering gnoll tribes into an army to sweep in and retake the town. His suggestion was for the heroes to infiltrate the Carrion King’s place of power, an ancient temple to Rovug the Destroyer known as the House of the Beast. Once inside, the adventurers should find and kill the Gnoll leader. Once that happened, the various gnoll tribes should fall to infighting and thus the threat to Kelmarane would be neutralized. During this, Zayfid was noticeably nervous around Aarak, and explained that he had received visions from his goddess that the dwarf was fated to die in the bowels of the Pale Mountain. He had little else to say and left town to parts unknown.
Mia, using her mysterious powers enhanced by Pesh, used a dose of Purple Pesh to Commune with the Outer Planes to seek answers. She was able to find out that Zayfids motives were not what they seemed, while he indeed wanted the Carrion King dead he did not want this to keep Kelmarane safe. Nor was he nervous around Aarak because of visions, instead there was another unknown reason.
Though suspicious, the group decided to take the priest’s advice and set out for the Pale Mountain the next day. Along the way they encountered many dangers, from giant cetepede nests to flocks of gargoyles. However, Alenors woodcraft was skilled enough to sense such dangers in time for the group to avoid or hide from such dangers. After six days they arrived at the slopes of the Pale Mountain. From here they had to decide where to go, through the House of the Beast itself or through a possible back door through a cave known locally as the Mountain’s Maw.
Since A’b’d had a map drawn out by members of his tribe that escaped from the temple. The group decided to go the House of the Beast under the cover of a camouflage spell Alenor cast. While the party took every precaution not to be detected they might not have bothered. Upon arrival at the site, they discovered that there were indeed camps for a large army of gnolls, but they had been abandoned weeks ago, perhaps months. The walls of the Temple had been repaired and then consequently fallen in different areas. Inside there was evidence of battles, though the party did not investigate thoroughly, instead entering close to and entering a building used as a slave barracks.
The door guarding its entrance and inside were signs of slaughter, though bodies were gone there was old blood on the walls and the smell of death. Inside the group found two scarred human males, former slaves now freed guarding the entrance to set of stairs that led down under the Temple grounds. They were quite happy to see someone who was more interested in killing gnolls than them, so took the group down the steps, having the party carefully avoid primitive but still effective traps that had been set up. They were then ushered into a large room that had been converted into a primitive throne room. The two guards immediately genuflected and crawled there way towards a makeshift throne.
On the thrown sat a massive form of a mishapen Ogre-kin, attended by two very unhappy human women. He demanded the party bow in his presense and Aarak challenged him to battle. The “King” accepted and the two dueled, the Orge-kin wielding a huge club aided by a grotesquely oversized arm. His blows were powerful, enough to shatter rock, however he was unable to to hit the agile dwarf more than once, while he took blow after blow. Finally when it seemed like his death was inevitable his former followers, tired and hating him for his brutality, jumped in to try and finish the brute off. The rest of the party assisted, but it took a spear of purity from Mia to finally kill the bastard before he exacted vengeance on his followers by cleaving through their bodies.
Once the “King” was dead, the party spoke with the former slaves, giving them some supplies and fresh water. They were told to wait in the room until the group returned. The slaves warned the party of giant spider that lurked in a nearby room and an “Unchosen” gnoll that had been let loose in the hallways beyond the slave kingdom. The group set off, finding a battle site where the gnoll had killed and party eaten three slaves. There was from this room three ways out, including a hall that led to a sealed door, guarded by an Arcane Lock. Mia was able to dispel mystic protection enabling Aarak to open the lock. Inside was a tomb to a priestess of Rovuggug, dominated by a large sarcophagus.
When the party opened the stone grave a swarm of scarab beetles swarmed out and tried to devour the group. Alenor responded by turning into a Celestrial Fire elemental, burning the bugs that attempted to eat him. A’b’d, ignoring the pain of the hundreds of bites, fell on the floor, attempting to crush the bugs with his bulk. Aarrak, after discovering his axe was useless against the swarm, left the room. Mia followed, her Lore Oracle magic not much use against this enemy. Kaira, the cleric of Pharasma though, dealt with the threat with ruthless efficicy by channeling the power of death twice, killing off the swarm. Inside the priestess’s body was incredibly well preserved and was visibly restoring itself. It was theorized that the body had been treated with a powerful form of Preserve Corspe, allowing the body to be continuously be consumed by the scarabs. Truely, the priestess was “blessed” by Rovugug the Destroyer. On the body the group found some jewelry and a magical ring of lesser fire resistance.