The party studied the portals and experimented by throwing items into them.
Some items were unable to enter one portal, but disappeared entirely when thrown into the other.
Brave Wubbles the halfling stuck his head into the accepting portal to try and take a peek, but was sucked in. The rest of the party quickly decided they had better join him!
They were transported to another cave system, where they were greeted by more Black Pheasant couriers, this time of the Anubian race (a race of desert dwellers with heads resembling a jackal).
After dispatching the hostiles, the party continued through the underground caves, fighting bats, avoiding black pudding monsters and eventually encountering a strange loner named Slodka, Purchaser of Souls who offered them thousands of gold pieces for the rights to their soul after their death.
None of the heroes took the deal, but they did converse with Slodka and learned that one of the dark portals could take them to the city of Toros, home of the minotaurs, deep in the red lands.
They decided to save that adventure for another day and continued searching for the cave exit which they eventually found.
The sun was blinding, and after a period of adjustment they realized they were outside the desert village of Careb. A place that the party once visited way back in Session 16.
Heading into Careb, they were intercepted by a bold wizard who demanded they all pay a 200 gold toll in order to pass. Due to their weakened state, they decided to pay rather than risk a fight with this strangely confident, lone wizard.
In Careb, they healed themselves, took care of various errands and even found the same local girl they encountered back in Session 16.
The girl explained that Terris and his gang of wizards (who were likely invisible) were harassing and demanding tolls from everyone on the outskirts of the village and that everyone was too afraid to stand up to them.
The party decided this would be their next quest…
However, prior to all of this, Fizban had received a private message from his god Entomon, that either Venn Woodenbleeder or the dragon needed to die as they were outbalancing his influence within the party.
Venn also had received special instruction from his god Drakkar, to protect his dragon and not let anyone near it.
Despite the message, Fizban approached and fed the dragon some infected maggots without any intervention from Venn.
The next day, the dragon grew ill and died. The party suspected (especially Wubbles) that it was Fizban’s doing but none of them could prove it as Fizban denied responsibility. Although he did appear to become stronger and more powerful immediately after the death of the dragon…
The dragonless party, then headed out to engage Terris’s gang of wizards in what would prove to be an intense magical battle. Wubbles was dropped early with magic missiles, but the heroes fought hard using some strategically placed silence spells to slow down the wizard’s spellcasting abilities.
Eventually 3 wizards were killed and their valuable spell books recovered. Terris however was able to escape and survive another day…