Chapter 4: A Twisted Pact / by Anthony Morales

The heroes form an uneasy alliance with a member of a forgotten race of abominations, the Yuan-Ti, to race the syndicate to a ruined Yuan-Ti temple near Kevnik and recover a Yuan-Ti artifact.

We left our heroes as they fled a cave full of giant spiders. Adahn tripped a wire which released a net that trapped Adahn, Macro and Leon. 

We find our heroes, tired and injured after fighting a cave full of spiders, trapped under a net, the tip of a scimitar pointed at them. At the other end of the scimitar is a female Yuan-ti of the long forgotten race of snake-people. She says in Common "Give me the map." In no position to argue, the heroes hand over the map. 

The Yuan-ti, Hasathi, tests their loyalties by accusing them of working with the Syndicate thugs. Our heroes convince her otherwise. Certain of their loyalties, and now of their dispositions, Hasathi reveals to the heroes that the map is written in a Yuan-Ti language and marks the safest path through the temple at Kenvik. She believes a sacred relic may still be there and fears the Syndicate may recover it before her people can. Their destinations, and perhaps their goals, aligned, the heroes agree to help Hasathi get through the temple to get her artifact while they further their search for the phylactery of Baroness Zorome. 

The party make good time, following the Yuan-Ti along animal trails and faded paths. At Kenvik, the heroes restock and leave word at the inn for Pip the gnome Druid who is traveling to meet them via merchant caravan. 

The ruins near Kenvik are overgrown, the exposed stone structure mostly reclaimed by the surrounding forest. The one story temple sits atop a small hill. A crumbling walled courtyard leads to the open entrance. Digging tools and dungeoneering supplies are piled in the courtyard. Friezes on the walls once depicted giant snakes eating various races: men, elves, dwarves, and halflings. Hasathi is shocked to see the crest of House Myoor carved into the walls, defacing the friezes.  

Inside the Yuan-Ti temple, the party investigate the grottos along the walls. A fairly new statue of Baroness Zorome stands in the main grotto. They fight off a wight when released from a trapped sarcophagus. Macro disarms a trapped sarcophagus. Within it a wight tries to get out, but the party holds the cover down. Adahn readies his shield and the party release the wight. Adahn shoves the wight back but suffers the wight's Life Drain. As he shoves the wight back the party fall on the wight dismembering it.

In a side chamber, a tunnel straight down for 30 feet. Macro the halfling and the Yuanti fall down while climbing landing with a thud in a dusty room filled with pews with one exit. The Yuan-Ti reviews the map, but it's written in an ancient Yuan-Ti script. She makes her best guess and they move into the room opposite  their own. Four dead Myoor hirelings litter the ground, still fresh. Four ghouls feed on them, see the fresh meat enter the room and close on the party. They never stood a chance. 

Down the hall from, in front of the next door are more dead Myoor soldiers, all pierced from spears in the ceiling. Macro carefully checks for are to understand how the trap works but finds no trap mechanism. They turn to Hasathi who reads the map and determines the door is trapped. Perhaps they can get passed if they leave the door alone? They pull the bodies aside and carefully walk past the door. Macro turns back to the door - he doesn't like to leave a challenge untested. 

At the end of the hall is a crossroads, a small rectangular room with 3 doors and a tunnel above. While Macro checks the door and Hasathi tries to understand the map Adahn notices a few drops fall from the tunnel. Suddenly, an ochre jelly drops into the room. The heroes slicing swords and axes split the jelly into many smaller jellies which the party smash and burn.

Hasathi believes the map indicates south as the safest path to the shrine. As they pass through egg hatcheries (which are warm). They find more dead Myoor solders. Macro notices that all the soldiers are carrying an identical, peculiar, empty bag. Macro takes one. They enter the shrine. The room is circular, an enormous carving of Atmeria covers the walls. Giant serpents with jeweled eyes  consume the country. A cold envelops them and a ghost appears, screams "Nooo!" and attacks them. When the ghost sees the Yuan-Ti he focuses on the Yuan-Ti, ignoring the party until he kills drops her. Adahn steps in front, to protect their companion and to give Leon time to stabilize her. The ghost lets out a crazed scream and leaps into the chest of Adahn possessing him. A horrified Adahn sees his body, ruled by the ghost, turn to Hasathi, raise his sword and stab the Yuan-Ti. Dead.  

Macro steps toward the gold box. Within lies a jeweled fang. He takes it and draws the attention of the ghost. The ghost threatens to kill them all. Macro convinces the ghost that they won't give the fang to the Yuan-Ti, that they were looking for the phylactery of Baroness Zorome. The ghost tells them about the Myoor soldiers desire to take the fang and destroy the map on the wall. "The map?" says Macro. "What map?" The ghost shrugs. He tells them the Fang is only one part of Vasnagi, a dagger sacred to the Yuan-Ti. "I bet the jewels mark places on the map." says Macro. He says they will take the Fang so the Yuan-Ti don't get it and that they'll copy the map but destroy it so they won't find the other pieces. 

The ghost releases Adahn. Horrified that his body and sword were used to kill a helpless individual, he storms from the room. Macro and Leon get to work copying the map and taking the jewels from the wall.