05:21 – 05:50 – The group move through the strange landscape of the shattered arcane city. All are somewhat awed and disturbed by its eerie atmosphere, shifting, ethereal pressures and uncanny sights, and even Llewellyn is cowed into keeping his hands to himself and just following the group.
Even with the mounts, the going is tough, and the group move at a relative snail's pace.
05:51 – 05:56 - The party come across a curious sight; a clearing amongst some particularly warped (and alien looking) trees. The clearing is perfectly circular, and the ground within shines with a pale lilac radiance.
Dismounting, Ormid, Ardwaine and Evran immediately sense the powerful energies that are tied up in the ground there, and after briefly analysing the magic realise that some kind of binding magic is in place.
They calmly get back on their mounts, and leave the circle be.
06:15 – 06:17 – The party enter a huge gouge in the terrain – possibly caused by the unnatural levitation of a structure that once stood here, or some other cataclysmic event. The defile is narrow, and its sides high. The shattered stumps of long destroyed walls and columns dot the area, and thick, entangling brambles cascade along its sides. Normally the party would completely avoid such an obvious ambush point, but Ormid spots something that immediately captures his attention; a huge humanoid statue of age weathered stone, covered in moss, and bearing the distinctive runes used to animate a golem.
Cautiously, the party move along the gulley, expecting an attack at any moment. However, the only movement is the swaying of the tentacular trees that grow higher up the sides of the gulley, and the occasional skittish flittering of the strangely silent birds that haunt this area. Upon reaching the supine golem, Ormid dismounts, and immediately begins to study its design. He is joined by Ardwaine, Evran and Llewellyn, and the artificer quickly realises that something is wrong – sharp little glyphs of ingenious design and sophisticated mage-craft have been etched around the golems animating runes, in effect...
...The golem springs to its feet with shocking speed, throwing a half-ton fist at the vyrleen, who nimbly dodges a blow that would have seen him pasted against the rubble like a swatted fly...
...which in effect reanimate the structure and allow it to be controlled by individuals other than its original owner...
“AMBUSH!!!” bellows the Veteran as a seething bolt of chaotic energy flashes from the top of a column stump halfway up the gulleys western side, striking him and knocking him to the floor. Glancing up, the warforged can just make out the horned skull of a tiny, spindly humanoid on top of the column, an orb of glowing crystal clutched in one clawed hand.
Ferrous yelps as a tiny humanoid – a kydraxi of some kind – suddenly appears out of thin air next to him and strikes him with a staff, blasting him off his feet with far more force than such a little creature should be capable of, and entangling him in a field of shimmering force which prevents him from rising. The minute monster (a strange thing with pearlescent scales, glowing silvery eyes and rune struck horns, surrounded by a flickering, colourless aura of disturbed air and warping reality) then flickers away from the downed construct, taking position next to the artificer.
Two more of the shimmering kydraxi appear a moment later, each teleporting, striking hard, and then teleporting away again, leaving their targets prone and enmeshed in a semi-solid field of entangling force. A fifth kydraxi also enters the fray, though it is very different from the others, for whilst they seem to have perfect control of the energies they contain, this thing is being devoured by them.
Like the others it is a spindly, reptilian humanoid with sharp crocodilian features. However, its scales are either missing – leaving coruscating wounds filled with lashing energies of every type – or are burned and withered. It too is surrounded by energy, but they are a roaring cyclone of barely restrained power; corrosive, devouring power that seems to constantly scour at the monsters physical form, clearly leaving it in agony.
This kydraxi screams as it advances, shedding a blast of destructive power that bestows its devouring energies on those caught by it (including the golem, which reels from the blow as it hits a sensitive spot). It sows terrible carnage by dint of its radiating energies, but is put down by the vyrleen before it can become too much of a danger, its own surging power helping it along into death.
Like many battles, this one is short but devastating. In the space of a few scant moments enough power is brought down on the area to leave the stones blackened and warm, and to leave much of the local plant life burned and dead. For some it is a frustrating battle, as the three darting kydraxi use their ability to trip and hold down enemies to fiendish effect, tying down the Veteran for a good portion of the battle. Ormid too finds himself a little too close to the action to be able to use many of his spells without risk, though he conjures a small statue, infused with healing energy, which enables the rest of the party to keep going.
The hero of the battle is the vyrleen, for having trained to be as mobile as possible, in as many circumstances as possible, he is able to leap, back-flip, tumble and teleport all over the battlefield, landing blows with expert precision in the vulnerable spots of all foes he encounters, before leaping away out of harms reach. He has a few close shaves of course, but in most circumstances is able to dodge a blow or bolt a second before it hits, and it is he that finally confronts the unseen spellcaster on top of the pillar, defeating his spells of unwilling teleportation and sending him scurrying for safety with the only two kydraxi to have the sense to run.