The group approaches Sacred Stone Monastery, an ancient complex situated in a canyon in the Sumber Hills. They scout the sides of the building and find a gate to a small garden at the north end. Aerie transforms into a lizard and sneaks inside, licking statues and scurrying about. Alton picks the lock and the party moves in. One of the statues responds with aggression to an eyeball licking and attacks the Druid, while another ambushes Ot. The group destroy the gargoyles, with Alton buttstabbing one and Malark blasting another with a pulse of green eldritch energy.
For some reason Ot decides to flykick a door so hard that he breaks a magic seal protecting it. He finds himself face to face with an unnamed Lich. The lich begs that the party leave his rooms and that he does not have anything to do with the Black Earth monks. Ot presses him and continues to be an annoyance, forcing the Lich’s hand. Before he can do anything Ot and the rest of the team find they cannot move. The Lich physically throws Ot out back into the Garden but notices Redkin as a servant of Illmater who is straying from the light. He unstops time and they briefly converse about the Lich’s previous days as a Paladin for Summit Hall. He hands an amulet over to Redkin and locks the door…. Only to unlock it again and throw Alton out. Alton pockets a potion he swiped and denies any potion existed.
Investigating the Monastery further the party encounter two monks brewing Brandy in a distillery. Aerie transforms into an ape and pummels at the monks, roaring loudly. Luckily the walls of the monastery are thick and no-one is alerted to the presence of the gorilla. Ot throat-punches one and the team knock out the other and interrogate him, asking about monk numbers and what happens in the levels below. The monk explains he is not allowed further but has seen people leave downstairs and never return. Aerie in chimp form beats him to death then sniffs a bunch of brandy and attempts a weird monkeydance. The team loot some booze and continue on their way.
Now disguised as monks, Malark and Ot enter a dojo to find a blind woman sparring with two monks, she makes quick work of them and Malark declares that a challenger is approaching. Redkin appears with an Ape. The woman questions this scenario and Malark taunts her abilities, forcing her to spar with the ape…. After sparring with him. Malark panics and sets the room on fire.
A brutal melee occurs, with half a dozen monks, a blind sensei, two disguised party members and a gorilla clamouring about in the small room. Alton runs up the back of the ape and delivers a strike from above on the sensei. Aerie is then beaten back to her druid form and responds with a thunderwave, sending monks and allies flying back with a sharp clash of electricity. Confident, Alton attempts to buttstab the woman but is struck down with a flurry of blows. Redkin looks deep within his troubled soul and pleads to Illmater to heal his allies, keeping everyone alive long enough before he suffers enough bludgeoning attacks to bring him down. Ot goes one-on-one in unarmed combat with the woman. He is parried, ducks a roundhouse kick, then strikes down the sensei with accurate fists of dwarven muscle. Malark cleans up the final monks who are dogpiling on Redkin, and the team choose to rest for the night, camping outside.
While keeping watch, Aerie hears incoming footprints and casts a stealth spell over the team. They watch a number of grey dwarves patrol past in the darkness, they look more menacing them regular dwarves, with pallid skin and hateful eyes.
Day breaks and the team discover the dojo in a state of being cleaned. Malark takes a mop to help with his disguise. They find the sensei’s room and loot a number of precious stones and gold pieces. Alton attempts to pocket some stones but is caught out by Redkin and Aerie.
Now that they’re dressed as monks the group feels they can move freely through the monastery without incident. They come across a library with a number of monks writing scripts into large tomes entitled Marlos’s Testament, the party learns that:
- Marlos Urnayle is the Prophet of Earth.
- He was drawn to a place called “The Fane of the Eye” by powerful visions. There he found Ironfang the Holy Implement of Earth Power, and took it for his own.
- Marlos established the Temple of Black Earth in the ruins of a long-abandoned dwarven stronghold that exists below the Sacred Stone Monastery.
- He nurtures something called the Black Geode, and when all is ready, “the Evergrowing Mountain shall come and remake these lands in his own image.”
While the party is learning about Marlos, the leader of the Black Earth, Alton steals a number of scrolls. While Aerie “borrows” a book.
After discovering a number of dormitories with Grey Dwarves and monks, the group find a room with quite a large amount of currency, golden vestments, and magical scrolls. They also discover that Larrakh has commissioned an investigation into the assault on the monastery the night before, with the Black Earth bringing in minotaurs to guard the door.
After investigating the surrounding rooms the group decides to confront Larrakh in the centre shrine of the monastery. They enter to find him meditating in the centre of the room, guarded by two heavily armoured guards of the Black Earth….