When Fenrir emerged, at last, from the Fortress, he did not expect to find: his Tabaxi Rogue/Cleric comrade passed out from oxygen deprivation…nor the enormity of the World Serpent charging towards them. However, he least of all expected to find Blurp, an obese Bullywug Wizard with no memory how he arrived at the top of the Iron Mountain.
Before any of Brazen Storm could question this strangeness, the impending approach of the great snake spurred them into desperation. Dilista spotted a Temple-like structure two miles from their position; grabbing Hawk, Fenrir led the charge.
Entering inside, the Tiefling Bard and Halfling Rogue too succumbed to the lack of oxygen and collapsed; carried by the Werewolf and Bullywug (who seemed strangely unaffected by the environment around him), the two soon find themselves in an endless hallway with endless doors encircling him. Though they are delightfully surprised to find their companions revived by the new supply of air.
But a thundering crash stole their attention as a colossal skull crashed through the entrance to the Temple.
The World Serpent was upon them at last.
However, the Serpent spoke to them in the language of Giants; when asked if capable to communicate in common, the Serpent did not understand. Grimsby, in a brilliant show of thought, attempted to communicate using “The Language of Rats” and found that the World Serpent was learned in the Goblin tongue.
He demanded to know why they had intruded on his Temple, though Fenrir noticed that the creature seemed greatly uncomfortable about something. Working together (in a strange ventriloquist act), Hawk and Grimsby managed to communicate the nature of their quest to the Serpent, who shudders at the mention of Amadeus’ name. However, it is at the mention of the Elder Dragon: Vorrazeal, the Essence of Life that the Serpent asks who the party is.
Hawk, using his abridged knowledge from Dilista and Fenrir, comes clean about the history of Brazen Storm, and Hathonier’s heroic sacrifice to seal away Umbrygal, the Essence of Death. As he recalls the events of their Quest in the Underdark and the subsequent transformation of Jericho into a Primordial Titan, finally filling Grimsby and Blurp on the very reason they are going to the Nine Hells to stop the arrival of The Essence of Destruction, the World Serpent seemed shocked and impressed by their adventures.
The Serpent reveals, to Dilista and Fenrir’s horror, that he too is suffering from Umbrygal’s curse. Knowing full well the dangers of the Elder Dragon’s curse, the Werewolf strikes a bargain with the World Serpent. If they can free him of his curse, then the Serpent will help them get into the Nine Hells. The Serpent promptly agrees and opens his jaws wide; with one final drink and Hawk leading the way with a loud pub song, the valiant adventurers of Brazen Storm allowed themselves to be swallowed by the great snake.
Upon entry into the World Serpent’s Gullet, our intrepid heroes find themselves astonished by the presence of a pocket dimension, complete with a full ecosystem…and fauna with hungry intentions.
The two Rogues, working in tandem as a strange totem pole, charged in together, making quick work of the Fanged Catfish monsters; Dilista and Blurp made an unusual alliance as Bard and Wizard began blasting away at their subaquatic attackers. Fenrir, however, noticing a much larger “Boss Fish” in the back, immediately set his barbaric eyes on it. While he managed to deal significant damage to it with his new sword, the ambush creature trapped Fenrir and dragged him into the slimy depths; but the Werewolf is able to save himself by using his Boots of Dimension Door to escape. As the party continues to tear into the attacking Catfish, the “Boss Fish” decided against further action and disappeared into the depths.
Grimsby, in another brilliant flash of forethought, attempted to communicate with the Serpent from within and was successful. They learn that the ecosystem is due to Umbrygal’s curse and should fade if they defeat the parasite within him, advising to head further south to find it. Fenrir, having taken significant damage from the fight, decided to duck into the Fortress to recover; leaving the remaining adventurers to continue onward.
Several hours later, the party is set upon in an ambush by four Crab-like creatures, as well as their leader: a Hermitaur! The party, at first, does well against these new foes: Hawk and Grimsby double-teaming the Hermitaur while Dilista and Blurp bombarded the smaller crabs with magic. However, the Hermitaur leapt high into the air (retreating into its shell for cover). Blurp was able to foresee the attack and jump out of the way, but could only watch in horror as the Halfling, Tabaxi, and Tiefling became trapped underneath the massive crustacean. Dilista and Grimsby were both able to escape, but Hawk was pummeled (nearly to death) by his captor.
As Dilista finished off the crabs with a Shatter spell, the Hermitaur took flight in attempt to escape. However, the unlikely combination of Grimsby and Blurp stopped the creature with one of the Halfling’s javelins. As it dies, it reveals its sentience and utters manages to choke out its final few words.
As the party rejoins Fenrir inside the Fortress to rest (Dilista even delivering an annoyed slap to him), they are left to ponder the Hermitaur’s ominous message:
Once you come face-to-face with Nakarkos, you will pay…