The eggs eventually hatched, revealing powerful magical items. Eumelia claimed the staff of charming, Bryn took the boots of speed, Galienne claimed the dimension-shifting cape, and Kalevi kept the chaotic rod of wonder. The last of the year wrapped up with the erection of a garrison, town hall, and extra city walls around Kythera, Kalevi still concerned about the impending barbarian threat. On the first of Fortunadi, her suspicions were well-founded as she was attacked in the night by a few barbarians and a shaman persistent in burning her house down. She called for help but managed to down most of them personally with sonic blasts. She found some wands of flame and healing, useful when forced to use the healing wand on the last survivor. He tried to escape in death by biting his tongue, but Kalevi’s quick action kept him alive but mute.
She brought the shaman with her to the capital, arriving on the third. Kal was able to help with dealing with him since he knew the shaman’s culture and ways. They learned by reading his surface thoughts that there were seventy-two tribes working under the rule of an ancient red dragon. This act was annoying since he kept thinking in goats. Kal reminded us that not all barbarians to the south had banded in such a manner. His tribe and its neighbors were more northern and not under the sway of the dragon. The lords decided to ride south and negotiate with such tribes in hopes of warding off the impending threat. They asked Kal to come with them since he was most familiar with the area. The shaman, impaired verbally and unable to cast spells, was turned over to the temple of Shekastra for practice on caring for the invalid.
The group traveled and explored for the next few days. On the seventh, they charmed and butchered an auroch for food. They continued until the tenth when they found a burnt out village on a hill. They battled and won against two fire lions, clearly the cause of the fire. In the ashes, Eumelia found magic boots that would protect her from the elements. The group realized that the grass was growing improperly, so they deduced that the hill was unnaturally formed. Kalevi found a divination-powered leyline over the hill and stepped into it, forgetting that an ongoing magical effect within a leyline was a bad idea. Her body slumped to the ground, but her consciousness continued along the leyline, earning a bird’s-eye view of the southern lands. She was able to see the various tribes at rapid speed, but she eventually ran into the barrier that rose from the water and lost herself as she spread out over its surface. Galienne, Eumelia, and Bryn knew that she would be out for a while, so they worked on their own while Kal watched over Kalevi and the mounts.
Eumelia found some friendly gophers to talk to and learned that the hill was hollow. She found the entry point past the illusion, and the group turned off the effects, revealing a much smaller hill and a door with three locks. Bryn used his magic to eat the locks off with acid. They came to a very small opening that required Eumelia to crawl and the others to be very uncomfortable, so they came to the surface to wait for Kalevi. She eventually woke up and joined the other lords to the new obstacle. She saw magical traps on the other side of the hole, so she knew she had to get over there in a manner able to work. She pulled out the rod of wonder granted by the chicken and started to activate it through the hole. After creating a couple pockets of darkness, a cat, and a rat, she managed to shrink herself to half Eumelia’s size. She walked through and disabled the center trap, leaving the side traps alone. Past the traps was a giant stone door. Kalevi called the rest of them over and guided them through the darkness since she was the only one able to see. She instructed Galienne and Bryn to pull open the huge door. She also stopped them from falling into a pit with a zombie ogre resting at the bottom. Bryn took care of that problem with a fiery sphere. There was a fork at the pit, and the group chose to move to the left. That direction required trouble with a living jelly, a mummy, and a gas trap that left Kalevi sick. Since they used a lot of their power, they chose to return to the surface to rest. Since Kalevi was tiny, she rode in Galienne’s bosom the whole way.
Upon return, they found that Kal and the mounts had disappeared. Some giant footsteps were visible nearby, so Bryn tracked them. At nightfall, they found a hill giant’s camp. Kal was stuck in a cage while the mounts were already dead and on spits. The group decided to rest and deal with the giant in the morning. Breakfast was preceded by charming the giant and convincing him to let Kal go and come with them. They all traveled back to Kythera to rest up and gather new mounts.