13 Kuthona, 4713 – Iobaria, Artrosa
The party follows the passages back to the zombie-prep room and then follow a long ascending corridor that leads them back to where they encountered the bebilith. Studying their maps they find an unmarked passage they neglected and backtrack through the “Mother” and “Maiden” statues to find the passage that leads them back into the “Crone.” Following stairs steps up and then back down and finally back up again they open into a simple square room where a cornfield extends in all directions with a starry sky under a waning moon. Waiting for them a single figure of a old woman who due to age stands stooped over propped on a staff. Drawing closer, the party recognizes her as Jadrenka; she is now an old crone.
Cantankerous and crotchety, she berates the party for being late as she claims she has been waiting for them for ages. Although a bit more surly than from the previous meeting, she converses with the party and determines that the threat from the coven has been eliminated as she makes a reference that she and Nostafa will have to start from scratch. Eventually, she gets around to giving the party a final warning:
”The cancer grows in the womb of the Crone." She motions across to the far side of the cornfield. “To face the Curse of Eons, you must have time on your side.” Her warning given, she fades from sight.
As in previous encounters, the room transforms, leaving behind a small square room chiseled from granite. On wall is carvings of a lifeless cornfield and decaying cornstalks and dead ravens lay scattered on the floor. As the party examines the rooms transformation, it grows colder and the room begin to fills with a thick heavy hungry fog and the dead ravens form a swarm to swirl about the party. Aiwendil makes quick work by summoning a gust of wind spell to keep the evil entities at bay until the party can make good its escape through a side door which stands in the wall in the direction Jadrenka was pointing.
A short set of stairs lead to a scarred, battered door hanging on bent hinges. The remains of a shattered construct lay strewn on the floor between two frost giant guards. The party quickly handles the two guardians. Going over to the double doors the guards were protecting, they find inscriptions written on the walls of the alcove. Alabaster determines that these are not magical in nature. They push open the doors and step into the massive chamber which houses the Eon Pit.
Inside the heroes are confronted by Vsevolod, a centaur cleric to Kostchichie who berates the party for disturbing his ritual to restore to avenge his master on the Queen of Witches. As the party steps forward to engage with the deranged cleric they are attacked by a huge beast which resembles a hybrid between a frost giant and centaur … except with eight legs. Ingvar, Svala and Tacey focus on blocking off the charging half-breed to keep him from trampling the party while Aiwendil, Vadoma and Alabaster work to magically isolate the cleric who tries to massive area of effect spells down on the party. With his hand restored, Hunter positions himself between both set of antagonists and peppers each threat with arrows.
The battle drags on for few rounds longer than the party expects but ultimately they are victorious over the cleric who constantly screams his vitriolic curses until his demise. Even up to the end, it is apparent that he has no knowledge of the party’s true purpose and is only concerned with the denial of his birthright and bringing glory to his deity. With his dying breath he calls out to Kostchichie for salvation and for a brief moment the party pauses to see if his prayer will be answered, but Kostchichie does not reward failure and fight ends quietly.
Confronted with Eon Pit, Aiwendil comes up with a unique solution and summons an air elemental and sends it down the pit to retrieve the key they seek. The creature returns in a much larger form as it has indeed aged and drops a single blue dragon scale at Aiwendil’s feet before he releases the creature. As he picks up the scale, the aged Jadrenka appears to thank the party for their service to Artrosa by defeating the frost giant threat. She hands a gold nugget to Svala and tells her this is the second key they will need in their pursuit of Baba Yaga.
With the battles over and the aid of Jadrenka assured, the party is able to truly relax for the first time in days. Jadrenka allows them to claim Vsevolod’s warchest as reward for their efforts and explains all that transpired before their arrival. They all retire to the bedroom chamber in the “Mother” to sleep and recover.