Although the ride to their destination would take at least a day, Baltric sensed the urgency of their task and used his arcane knowledge to summon a group of otherworldly eagles to carry the party swiftly to the caves. Upon arrival, they could see a large cave opening at the base of a sheer cliff being guarded by two Hill Giants.
Using some primal skills, Arduin tricked the Giants into wandering off into the woods in search of something. As the party approached the cave opening, an even larger Giant stormed out of the cave, yelling to his lieutenants, “Return to your post!” The party battled the three Giants, but especially furious was Arduin who felled the Giant leader in two blows. Bishop cornered a second Giant while Baltric sealed the third behind a wall of flame. Leshanna and Lupina were providing backup when a returning party of Gnolls and an Ogre fell upon the group. But even these fell easily to the onslaught of the party. One of the Gnolls attempted to escape to the cave but was slowed by Baltric and stopped by Leshanna. Although Arduin fell into an acid trap, he was unscathed and escaped easily.
Moving further into the cave, the party began to sense something was wrong. Leshanna, Bishop, and Baltric, all trained in the arcane arts sensed unusual magics nearby, and it became stronger as they moved into the cave. They came across some Orcs working on something while a Hobgoblin and a Gnoll Shaman were talking. Attacking the Orcs without mercy, the party fell on the monsters. As the Orcs fell, their bodies floated away down a shallow river. The hobgoblin and gnoll were made of sturdier stuff and battled furiously. Soon they fell as well and the party proceeded on their way.
Their sense of foreboding increased with each step as the Baltric nearly faltered under the pressure from the strange magic in the air. Entering a large cavern, they learned the source of the strange magic. A Mind-Flayer had settled in and had brought a bit of the Far Realm with him. The magic twisted the very space of the cavern, but this was only visible to Leshanna, Bishop and Baltric. They agreed to attempt to warn the others of the strange space that seemed to float about the room. At this point, Thom rejoined the group, having sensed their need.
Bishop used a spell to understand the guttural mutterings of the MInd Flayer and his thralls, two demons. He was in search of a powerful magical item, something spoken of in lore but that had remained hidden for millennia. Only in the past few weeks had its presence become known and it was nearby. The Mind Flayer was searching the area, using his psychic powers to enthrall many monsters to do his bidding.
The party attacked the Mind Flayer but were set upon by two Umber Hulks as well as the demons. The party battled heroically, but the psychic powers of the Mind Flayer were too great for Lupina who was dominated and began to attack her friends. Soon, through sheer force of will, she broke the spell and went on the offensive. The party fought valiantly, but it was Thom’s speediness and trickery that were too much for the demons. Bishop controlled one of the Umber Hulks while Baltric managed the other. Arduin set his sights on the MInd Flayer himself. Although he was able to psychically slow down the Barbarian, he saw what was happening and decided to head for his portal. As he began to utter the incantation to open the portal and touch the magical amulet around his neck, he kept one eye on the approaching barbarian. To his chagrin, Thom stepped in his way and stabbed the Mind Flayer in the back while he wasn’t looking. Arduin soon fell on him as well, as well as Bishop and the others. As the life ebbed from him, he continued to try to activate the portal, but it was to no avail.
Searching the cavern a bit, the party came across a book of notes written in the language of the Mind Flayer. Baltric could make out the words but it still didn’t make sense: it was written in code. Not to be deterred, Baltric used a Speak to the Dead spell, and began questioning the MIndFlayer. The book was written in an extraordinarily complex code using all manner of obscure mathematics. The secrets of the book would not be revealed that day. But they also learned that the Mind Flayer was in search of the same Orb that the evil witch, Fatale, made off with from the Vampire’s lair. They also learned that the Mind Flayer had a partner, his “Sibling”, who would certainly continue the search for the Orb, and would decidedly want to reacquire the Book..