With the demon Shurensha forced back to its shadowy home, you search the rest of the slums and pick over the creature’s belongings. The stacks of dessicated corpses in nearby houses nauseate you; so many souls were sacrificed to Shurensha. Eventually, you find a cache of gold, mithril, gems and other valuables in what you assume is the former Seravash leader’s shelter. The shaman’s desk contains a rare and dangerous volume: Light, Shadow, Chaos, Order: Treatise on the Outer Planes. The book details methods for contacting the outer planes and summoning its denizens through various means.
You gather at the well from whence you entered the slums and call down to the creature hiding below. After several assurances, a lizardfolk climbs into the plaza and cowers behind the well. Shy and obviously afraid, the adolescent Seravash named Lesh relays the story of Shurensha’s rise to power shortly after the tribe’s arrival at Kal-ninka. He also identifies the hammering from the upper city as the “angry fire dwarf” the tribe inherited from the southern kobolds. Lesh agrees to follow you south to the Atavash.
You head into the upper city, a tangled wreck of once-luxurious estates and temples. Along a row of crumbling facades that housed the city’s wealthiest business, you enter a smithy that whirs with activity. A bronze-skinned, fire-haired azer stands amidst magically animated tools; a bellow pumps without tiring, a poker stokes the fire and tongs prepare cherry-red steel for the smith’s hammer. Luar acknowledges your presence but continues his work. The product of his labor — shields, swords and axes — line the walls or are bundled neatly into barrels.
Luar the azer is cantankerous and frustrated at the death of his employer. He wishes to leave Kal as he believes there is no coin left to be made here and considers the Parnish his best option. You learn that he was traded to the kobolds by the azer of Dragonmaw in exchange for Talebus. You try to convince him otherwise, but offer no solid alternatives. In the end, he agrees to take a part time commission from you to fashion a suit of mithril chain. You pay him and rest, recovering from the arduous combats of the day.
The morning dawns bright and clear. Mist still clings to the jungle floor as you leave through Kal-ninka’s front gate towards its forest drake guardians. You approach the pair tentatively, declaring peace. Despite the keys you carry, the drakes are not happy because you never returned with game you promised to hunt. You withdraw and argue on the merits of releasing the drakes, and whether or not a combat will ensue. In the end, you release the drakes one at a time. After stretching, the first drake takes off flying east without a word. The second follows the first.
You put the drakes out of mind and follow the broken road south along Kal’s western cliffs. The arduous climb down to the beach is no easier going down than it was going up, and when you reach the trees where you stashed your boat you get a nasty shock: it’s gone! The tracks on the beach indicate that the nearby brine dragons probably stole it. You head southwest along the breach, the slippery tidepools exposed during low tide make travel difficult.
After twenty minutes you round a short promontory and look into the brine dragons’ cove. A deep cave and a trio of sahuagin guards are lit up by the setting sun. Unaware of your passage, the sahuagin pace before the lair as you creep into firing range. As you draw near, you spot your boat high on the beach! In your excitement you slip on the rocks and the sound of your armor carries over the surf. The sahuagin turn and fire heavy crossbows, one bolt finds its mark. You rush across the incoming tide and split your forces: two rush to man the ballista on the back of the skiff, two rush into melee with the sahuagin.
Despite being outnumbered, the sahuagin maintain morale — until the heavy thunk of the ballista sends a bolt deep into one sahuagin, staggering it. The guardians fall back but are surrounded and cut down before the lair’s inhabitants can be alerted. Lesh clambers across the rocks to hide in the skiff.
Without waiting, you charge into the brine dragons’ cave and are met with immediate and fierce resistance. A saltwater merrow, stooped to the cave’s height of eighteen feet, lashes out with wicked claves. The cave’s apparent owner, a dragon with scales the color of kelp but no bigger than a horse, commands you to flee before summoning a cloud of mist around itself. You dissent and lash out at the merrow, scoring deep gashes in its lanky arms and legs. Sahuagin guards enter the chamber from a shadowed entrance near the back and rain bolts into the melee.
The combat appears to be going your way until the dragon reappears from the dissipating mist with a powerful breath attack. A line of acid cuts through your ranks, nearly sending some to the nearest lifepool. The dragon, surrounded now by summoned creatures, lashes out with teeth, claws and wings, cutting through even the heaviest armor. The dragon allows you to retreat.