- the Blood Queen is vanquished
- Anton is gestated and in the process becomes Kuru
- the Chieftain of the MacTavish clan is rescued, fulfilling Zaros’ quest
- the chief is tasked with rebuilding the native civilization
- in return, the companions agree to search for his daughter who was taken by slavers
The ruins of Ghang Zu are dominated by a cyclopean structure. The edifice is made from massive stone blocks that appear craft-fully hewn, each stone marked by a rune. Although the engineering was likely to have been advanced for its age, the structure has seen better days with many blocks damaged or missing.
In discussion, Lando and Romica advise that the Ghol-Gan, a civilization of cyclops, inhabited these islands before the age of the serpent folk. Although the cyclops race has been extinct for some time, many ruins still exist today due to the quality and magically infused nature of their craft.
The companions enter the main structure, a pyramidal-style building. The entrance leads to a large cathedral-like room. Water flows freely, submerging most of the floor. Massive load-bearing pillars hold up a dilapidated ceiling, a dais is centered in the midst of the pillars. The Blood Queen, a gigantic creature resembling a cross between a maggot and centipede, lounges on the dais. Tentacles weave around its body, lashing out from side to side to taste the air. The companions do not believe they have long before they are detected.
Surveying the room, Romica points to one of the pillars and identifies it as structurally vulnerable. A well placed detonation would bring it down along with a portion of the ceiling. He also locates a rubble filled culvert that could be cleared to increase the outflow of water, allowing the companions easier access around the presently submerged room.
The companions quickly confer and decide it best to take advantage of the opportunities present. Their first plan of attack is to bring down the crumbling pillar. The magus directs a fireball toward the column, the detonation enveloping the Blood Queen while producing a force strong enough to topple the pillar. A large section of the roof falls onto the dais, crushing the writhing Blood Queen in the process. Further, the shock waves from the attack buffet the culvert, dislodging a portion of the rubble and increasing the outflow of water.
Lando and Freight cast buffing spells on the group while the others advance. Anton transforms into a gaseous cloud as he moves towards the dais, followed by a charging Magus Mike. Zaros, bow in hand, lines up for a clear shot. Romica navigates towards the main entrance to head off potential Kuru allies. Lando jumps onto the back of Freight as she makes her way through the waist-deep water.
The fireball and rain of stones from above invoke the wrath of the Blood Queen. In response, she unleashes a horrific bellow that lashes out with tendrils of demonic power. The chamber quakes from the sonic shock-wave. This has multiple effects – several of the companions are frozen in place, while the blast serves to call in Kuru combatants from outside of the room. Lastly, several segments of the queen’s body that were damaged glow amber and appear to heal instantly.
By this time, Magus Mike has climbed the dais and engages the queen. Up close, he is able to better observe the demonic maggot creature. The tentacles on her body appear to have a mind of their own, separate beings that exist in symbiosis. The queen’s body is made of tough scales on the outside, providing natural armor that would be challenging to pierce. As the queen screams, the magus notes that her mouth area appears vulnerable to attack. This information is relayed to the others.
While Zaros provides ranged support, Anton flies straight into the maw of the beast. Once inside her mouth, he transforms back into halfling form and begins to carve away at the creature from the inside out. Lando and Freight remain paralyzed beyond the dais. Several Kuru burst through the temple’s doors, only to be savagely cut down by Romica. The queen screams in rage, invoking a second sonic pulse. The companions are able to overcome its effects this time around. A globe of demonic energy emanates from the queen, pitching the room into unnatural darkness.
The companions continue their onslaught on the beast, with Anton and Magus hacking at the creature in complete darkness. Despite the handicap, they are both able to land mighty blows. Lando regains the use of his extremities and immediately dispels the magic holding Freight in a state of paralysis. The gnome rolls off the warrior cleric’s back to hide strategically behind a pillar as Freight sprints towards the dais to join the fray. Romica steels himself for another wave of Kuru as he holds the entrance way.
Anton’s position inside the creature has its advantages and disadvantages. He is able to dole out some serious damage within the creature’s unprotected throat; however, he has also left himself vulnerable to the creature’s unholy cannibal devices. The halflings’ attacks slowly subside as Anton’s body is encased in a mucus sack. Tentacles cut through the membrane and attach to his bellybutton, rendering him semi-comatose. As he drifts into a fretful slumber, the sack works it way through the gestational corridor, a transcendent process that defines what it is to be Kuru.
A second wave of Kuru is successfully repelled by Romica, the bodies of the cannibal warriors reduced to a red mist. The tentacles of the Blood Queen droop to the floor momentarily. Vulnerable for a short time to melee attacks, Magus Mike is able to land a critical hit in the darkness. The queen’s side pierced, a bubbling puss seeps from the wound sealing it shut. The creature responds with another demonic bellow, this time causing Freight to flee in fear. Zaros continues to fire blindly into the unnatural globe of
darkness surrounding the queen.
The incredibly fast gestational period complete, Anton ungracefully exits the maggot creature from the rear, one of several mucus pods that is ejected. From a distance, Lando informs the group that the Blood Queen has the ability to telepathically link with the pods in such a way as to cause them to explode in a burst radius.
Judging that she is likely weak from the damage already inflicted, the companions execute a concentrated effort to disable the queen. Romica joins the melee with Magus as Zaros provides ranged support. Using Romica’s attack as a feint, the magus is able to execute a savage slash to the underside of the creature’s neck, punctuated by a shocking grasp. The attack manages to rip open the maggot’s throat, sending the Blood Queen into a writhing fury. This proves short-lived as Magus Mike completes the job with a well placed overhead chop that separates the creature’s head from its body.
Lando and crew attend to the inert form of Anton well before the Blood Queen’s writhing body comes to rest. The mucus sack is removed and Anton is welcomed back to the world of the living, although the ordeal has changed him – he appears to have taken on some of the characteristics of the Kuru people.
The companions are also able to rescue the Chieftain of the MacTavish clan. The jubilant chief thanks the companions for their efforts in liberating not only his clan, but the Kuru nation. He is happy to remove the curse bestowed on Zaros, and allows the lizard folk sailor to keep the powerful bow. Understanding that the Kuru will require a leader in the days to come, the companions task the chief with responsibility for overseeing their rebuilding efforts.
The Chieftain is happy to accept responsibility, but for a price – his daughter has been taken by slavers. While the Blood Queen has been vanquished, and her influence over the clans removed, the Chieftainship is passed down through matriarchal succession. As an icon within the community, her return is needed to truly repair the damage done to the clan. The chief mentions that she was taken on The Burnt Saffron, a ship in the employ of the Hellknights. He believes that the ship was destined for Port Peril, a slaving hub in the region. She will not likely to be easy to find, but he adds that she is known for her ability to sooth and calm those in need.
Wishing to set things right for the MacTavish clan, the companions agree to search for the Chieftain’s missing daughter. The tearful chief waves goodbye before heading back to his clan’s village to commence with the rebuilding efforts.