The party spreads out to take on the goblin workers. Aces and Modreg work to flank and take out the melee attackers while Sam and Mentathenis work to take out the two goblin archers. Very quickly, they best the enemies and explore the compactor level. Modreg and Sam discover two heavy lift elevators that appear to be used to ship trash up the tower to be sorted through and compacted. Sam wants to disable the lifts just in case, so she hops over the compactor walls from above and sifts through the junk to find a nice couple of wedges and happens across a Rope of Climbing. They jam the pulleys on the elevators and head up to floor 11.
As they head up to level 11, they notice a horrendous stench, and through quick investigation, Modreg warns his friends that it is the goblin potty floor. They carefully but quickly move across the floor, avoiding the small stink boxes and head up to the next floor.
On level 12 they walk into a bizarre scene. There is one goat here, tied up and strung from the ceiling. It looks beaten and very tired. A host of strange devices lay about the room, it vaguely resembles a torture chamber. Sam browses for some kink while here, but doesn’t find anything that suits her needs. Modreg scouts out the next floor.
On the 13th level there is anther door at the top of the stairs. This door is locked. Through window in the door, the quartet can see a circle barrier in the center of the floor, surrounded by a dozen or so small tables and stools many of which have been over turned or are covered in junk. At one of the tables closer to the middle sits a humanoid skeleton, hunched forward. The back of it’s skull is bashed in. A thick smell of home cooking permeates the air and a single goblin female can be seen rummaging around behind the barrier.
When Modreg unlocks and opens the door, it rings a bell above, to which the goblin woman yells out “We’re closed! Come back later!”
The party attempts to sneak by to the next stairwell but the goblin catches sight of them.
“Hey! I said! Gasp! …”CUSTOMERS!" She jumps down off of the counter and knocks a bunch of pots and pans aside as she runs out behind and then around towards the four. A cleaver is in one of her raised hands and she waves it around wildly. Before she throws it into the table before the group, hops next to it and then flips it back onto it’s legs. she kicks junk off of four stools and dusts them off before she smiles a wide toothy grin and motions for the heroes to sit, and in interest of not being rude, they do.
She rips her cleaver from the table and darts back around to the far side of the center bar, throws boxes into the air in search, then comes running back waving a few parchment. She stops, takes a deep breath and stands as tall as her 3 foot height allow. “Welcome to Bellga’s masters. Tonight we have a few new entries on the menu that I think you will enjoy. Our special for this evening is Crab Paste Loaf, one of my personal favorites.”
Aces, Mentathenis and Modreg open their little menu’s awkwardly and browse the selection.
Bellga stands patiently. “Take your time, please!”
Modreg orders the Crab Paste Loaf, Aces orders everything on the menu, Mentathenis orders the Gorgik Stew, and Sam picks Slug’s Super Spicy Soup. Everyone decides to go with Wildgrove Mead for a drink. Bellga thanks them for their order, takes their menu’s and wakes up her two assistants, who help her cook and set the heroes table.
During the meal the party asks Bellga about her regular customers, where the Lobster came from and discover the origin for the meat in the Gorgik Stew is very nearby, uncomfortably so.
After dinner, Aces starts to hallucinate from the Queen Mushricka Salad seeing dancing mushrooms, and both she and Sam are trying to cool off from the Spicy Soup. The Wildgrove Mead also allows for a limited blind sight in the form of glowing shapes through closed eyes.
They thank Bellga for the meal, and head to the next floor
On the 14th level they are perplexed to find a boat construction facility. Four skeletal boat hulls in various stages of their crude construction lie in the room. Piles of wood and tools lay around. It won’t be too hard to move across, but they hear the hammering of steel somewhere on this floor. As they are moving through, they catch the eyes of a goblin shipwright who watches them confused for a moment, but lets them pass and returns to his work.
They discover that the 15th floor is largely non-existent. There are only 9 large pillars that separate the floor below from the floor above. On the center pillar the party finds some writing. “E murj-en c x-it” They decide not to take the exit at this time and continue to the 16th level.
This floor is nearly empty save for a small team of goblins who quickly form up to get ready to fight. Aces charges into the room after the lead goblin and a giant door opens out from under her. It’s a trap! She manages to catch herself before falling down to the floor below. Modreg tries to cut off a goblin coming around the side and also finds himself dangling by the fingertips. Mentathenis and Sam do their thing from the stairwell. Aces spits the soup she’s been swishing around her mouth since dining at Bellga’s. It splatters all over the boss goblin and burns his belly.
Modreg pulls himself up and charges down the goblin on the left. Mentathenis launches a Stinking Cloud on top of the goblins and they begin to choke and wheeze. Sam sings a tune of sorrow that makes one of the goblins turn his knife on his own heart, and cut it it out for her. Aces spews the rest of her soup onto the goblin boss’s face. It melts off and falls away, splatting on the floor. She rips the faceless goblin’s legs out from under him with a swing of her maul to end his life. A few seconds later, without their leader, the goblins are defeated. Aces feels dizzy.
She looks up to see Jax coming down the next flight of stairs, he is holding his chest, doubled over, but smiles in seeing his woman and extends his hand in aid. “Aces, baby, are you okay?” And she is too shocked to say anything. “Aces, do not go upstairs, whatever you do, do not go upstairs.” And then he disappears in front of her.
The 16th floor is dark save for a single candle light. When Aces is given a headlight by Mentathenis, the floor looks like another tower altogether, a mage tower perhaps. There are the sounds of birds chirping and Mentathenis thinks this may be where T’waat is being held. The party sees a red robed person seated at a desk in the middle of the room, who draws the flame, walls up to the party and introduces himself as Dormin’thal the wizard.
“Ah! You’ve arrived, good. Which one of you is Aces? I’m not sure who you are or why she has taken interest with you so suddenly, but whatever you do, don’t make her upset, she has made a lot of progress and I don’t want a regression.”
The party asks who he is referring to and he says “Magdrea Smartypants, the Goblin Queen.” When Modreg hears this name he asks again “WHO is upstairs?!?” Dormin’thal looks towards the goblin.
He notices Modreg. “Goblin! What are you doing up here? Shouldn’t you be working to better yourself and your people? I’m so sorry, has he been bothering you? Some of the goblins haven’t adjusted well to all the changes.”
Sam in the guise of Sona tells the wizard that Modreg is a member of their party and a hero. To which he responds in awe. “Facinating.”
Mentathenis inquires about the birds and Dormin’thal kindly abliges him, and shows him to the cages. The group sees that T’weet is standing atop of one. Inside, the eladrin can see the magical glow of one of Saranine’s messages. He tells Dormin’thal that the little blue one is his and the red robed man is happy to help his fellow wizard. Mentathenis reads the message and urges the party forward.
Aces is hesitant, but follows as Dormin’thal leads the group up the next two skeletal floors that creak and wave in the rain. They pass two royal red goblin guards and up to the top floor of the goblin tower, rain pours down heavily from above. And a blindingly bright light blazes above.
Down below in the pouring rain, Krushi, Ehd, Cliff, Megilwath, Fanidea, Ree’vr and the two pugs are watching the dark tower above when a huge light blooms at the top. They notice that the goblins in the quarry are watching, transfixed. Krushi feels strangely energized and thinks she can hear music on the wind.
The others watch as The halfling lifts herself off the ground and hovers there for a few moments as Sparky and Radar run over to lick the rain off her boot tips. Ehd, Cliff, Megilwath, Fanidea and Ree’vr attempt to voice their concern, cheers, and utter shock at what they are seeing, but with an explosive thunderclap, Krushi fires into the storm above. The concussive blast knocks her friends squarely on their butts.
The little goblin turns from the blazing light and walks down the stairs towards Aces, Mentathenis, Modreg, Sam and Dormin’thal. She holds her arms from her sides in a gesture of kindness. “Welcome Aces, I’m glad you have come.”
Dormin’thal taps Mentathenis and points to the light, “That thing! That crystal…is something that I have never seen before! It pulses with light and yet it is not magical, at least not magical in any sense that I can determine…it holds energy though! Warm to the touch! And do you feel it? Hear it? It really is beautiful! Magdrea told me that her clan found the crystal years ago and only within the last two years did it start emitting…well, this! And this is the brightest I’ve seen it! Holy Bahamut!”
Aces thinks she knows what is behind the whole thing and calls the goblin’s feign of friendship. Modreg steps up and says hello to Magdrea, but there is no look of recognition in her eyes. Aces is ready to end it, and quickly, at the head of her maul.
“Are you so ready to die Aces? We can do it as quickly and easily as you like…”
The light above flares in an eye searing pulse, a beam of pure incineration rips across the top of the tower in a fan of white hot death. Before they are cut in two, they are turned to ash. Nothing but black dust remains of the party, drifting into the wind…
Snapping back from her hallucinatio, Aces draws her maul to charge down the goblin when a ball lighting fires out of the sky, exploding the crystal perch, and blowing Aces, Modreg and Magdrea nearly to the edge of the tower. A blade of fire rips past Krushi in the air, turning the rain into a veil of mist.
A light sparkles into existence amid the rubble and Krushi begins to cast another spell, but just before she releases it, Aces dives on top of the thing with her bag of holding. Krushi sighs and drops to the roof of the tower.
Modreg scurries over to Magdrea and helps her up. She appears to be released from the influence of the crystal, and is happy to see him. Krushi can feel her powers fading now that she is cut off from the crystals energy. She asks Aces to take it out but the mul refuses and says it’s too dangerous. Dormin’thal, Mentathenis and Sam join the others and Magdrea, like Krushi, really wants to see the crystal again. Aces tries to lie and say that it was destroyed, but Smartypants calls her bluff and figures that it was taken by the bald woman. Sam and Modreg intervene and persuade the goblin to let it go and return to leading her people with the smarts she already has.
Krushi and Aces want to investigate the crystal’s origins, they get directions to the cave it was dug up in from Magdrea and they head off again, leaving the goblin clans to continue their city planning.
In the old hills of the 38 clans, the party wanders through a few small goblin retirement villages and finds the entrance to the cave. It appears to be an old mine. They look around but can’t find anything out of the ordinary. Krushi requests that Aces show her the crystal again. When she pulls it out, it’s light is shining brightly and starting to regain it’s energy. The mul sets it on the ground and Krushi can feel it’s power flow into her, but too soon, it is ready to launch another attack and Krushi zaps it with a spell in attempts to stop it. Her magic is too powerful though and it is blasted into oblivion. She looks down with a disappointed frown and scoops up the crystal powder that remains of the thing, getting as much back into the bag of holding as she can.
Modreg mentions that this all reminds him of a story about another crystal and tower somewhere to the distant north.
They all head on to Baldur’s Gate where Mentathenis puts everyone up at the Gatehouse Inn, his go-to quarters in the city. He also brings the rest of the party out to the newly opened Magic Boutique. They run across Gendar from the Seven Pillared Hall and he takes them to his newer and secret underground magic shop. The party spends quite a while digging through the Drow’s stock and in the end, Aces has to be pushed out of the store to get her to stop. After shopping, everyone retires to the Gatehouse Inn for drinks and turns in for the night.