After departing the vault that contained a part of the Rod, the group—-somewhat beat up—-returned to the Lizardfolk town to rest. Andra needed a long time to recover. Wendeam and van Rijn spoke with Myhrryn, the Ee’ar survivor of the Vault. She seemed… off. Once she was outside she seemed better, but refused to go into any building with enclosed walls and to fear even roofs.
More scouting revealed a Beast of Chaos—-their trails not being subtle it was easy to follow—-and Wendeam, van Rijn, and Myhrryn killed it using arrows and crossbow bolts from the sky. The beast proved to be tough and hard to hit but did not require magical ammunition. Upon approaching it with the Rod it appeared to change back to a mundane animal.
As Andra recovered, he worked on many cosmological calculations of the location of Ambartzumian. He also spoke with the lizardfolk but felt alienated from them. Ariel studied their herb lore.
Wendeam continued scouting and, strangely, heard a voice in his mind: “We call on a Lawgiver. Honor the pact! We need aid!” He ignored it but over time the voice grew louder. Eventually he asked what to do and felt a strong pull, and knew how to get there to the askers, though he knew it was not in this plane. He answered the call and appeared, floating above a strange temple of massive proportions with a flock of birdmen—-the aaracokra—-doing an elaborate dance in the sky. An older one, the shaman who led the dance, approached, and invoked the old pacts. Wendeam realized that these pacts were true and saw that the aaracokra were pressed by massive winged apes, who were approaching in the distance. The shaman, Thanu, spoke in Auran about how the grahluks were in the service of a cloud giant sorcerer named Yakupiniyage, who enslaved the aaracokra in his cloud fortress a day’s flight away.
At van Rijn’s behest, Ariel determined the location that Wendeam had traveled to and began opening the portal. Andra and van Rijn chose to go, and Myhrryn, somewhat savagely, picked up her bow to go with. Both were prepared with flight.
Wendeam began a crossbow duel with the grahluks, who proved to be able shots themselves. The aaracokra began flying around wildly and two with bows returned fire themselves. At this point van Rijn, Andra, and Myhrryn appeared. van Rijn moved up to interpose to prevent the grahluks from entering melee, calling one out to duel. Andra used Chromatic Orb to paralyze one, which fell to the ground. Archery fire brought down a third, which continued its cruel barrage of crossbow bolts. The battle went on for a bit. van Rijn began a duel with the one remaining grahluk but nobody seemed to accept it, most notably the aaracokra, who began to barrage it with javelins and arrows. Eventually all the grahluk were killed.
After more cosmological calculation, Andra determined that this plane was yet distinct from any other place he had been but determined its location. He used Sending to have Ariel open the gate again, but assured Thanu that, after the chimera in Ambartzumian was defeated, the group would return to deal with the cloud giant.