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Sarbado, the general who assists the archon, called in Vecna, Gudrun, and Tancred. He told them that topsider agents in Brightstone were reporting that a human blood cult called the Summoners Argent was making noise about mounting an expedition to the Gorecyst. That was a corrupted corner of the Caskbound Pocket where Hellifino, a God of Ur, once battled a blood demon for weeks before vanquishing it. Where the battle unfolded, and the demon fell, the ground was corrupted and it became known as the Gorecyst.

The dwarves knew that a few decades ago a trio of medusa moved in, but they kept to themselves, so no one bothered to root them out. Also, the local wildlife was tainted with blood diseases and dangerous to visitors.

To the Cyst

The dwarves agreed to set out and investigate to see if all was well in the Gorecyst or if some further action was needed. They traveled for a few days, skirting the unhealthy center of the Pocket, and passed the settlement of followers of the Gods of Ur known as the Cysters of Mercy (mostly men.) They headed up to Tipsy Ridge, overlooking the Gorecyst, where a lone watch tower monitored the situation.

The lookout was an elderly dwarf who lived alone, with his liquorlizards and beetle pets. He insisted the sullen, unhealthy glow that suffused the plants and animals of the Gorecyst had changed its rhythm. They observed for a while from the tower, and resolved to get a closer look after they visited the Cysters of Mercy. When they visited the religious settlement, they heard stories of the ancient battle from the earnest believers, and they got a night’s rest before heading in.

After several hours they reached the Gorecyst. Its edges had been staked out with standing stones of warning, and the growths had continued 100 feet or so past the standing stones. As the dwarves approached, they saw one was covered in what looked like scabs. Upon closer inspection, the “scabs” turned out to be wings of blood moths, who tormented them briefly before Gudrun chopped them all out of the air with vicious axe sweeps. Where their blood fell, the mushrooms glowed.

Medusas

They headed in further, and were shot from ambush by a medusa. Averting their eyes as best they could while still fighting, they took her on. Gudrun was turned to stone, but the others survived the brutal fight more or less intact. They hefted their companion’s statue and returned to the Cysters of Mercy, who had an alchemist/healer expert with a vial of what was reputed to be the blood of a God of Ur, who managed to change Gudrun back to her fleshy self. After a few days for that process, they returned.

This time, they were attacked by both remaining medusas, and the following battle was savage. The first one fell quickly, but as they faced the other, Gudrun (already reeling from multiple snake bites) turned to stone, and Tancred struggled for victory only to be turned to stone also. The battle was down to Vecna and the badly injured medusa, and they raked at each other mercilessly–but the medusa survived long enough to turn Vecna to stone as well.

Whiskey Forge

The dwarves regained consciousness in Whiskey Forge, and found that when they did not return, the Cysters came out to look for them and retrieved the three statues (though the dead medusa were nowhere to be found, so a cure was difficult to manage.) They were shipped back to the clan home, where significant resources were bent to their recovery. Still, they did kill two of the three medusa, and they risked all for the clan, so Sarbado was grateful for their service.

He also told them that when the next expedition went to the Gorecyst, they would be considered veterans and likely sent along.

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