The evening started off simply enough, with you having nothing better to do but join the rest of the cast-offs of society in the Sleeping Lion. Being a mercenary can sometimes be exciting, but mostly it is just boring. That’s what strong drink is for.
The basic truth is that there is nothing else to do with your life. You’re powerful. You can handle yourself in a fight, you know that much. And so you came to Gloomhaven, looking for sporadic work guarding trade caravans and loading cargo ships.
So far, however, the most action you’ve seen has been in this run-down tavern. Pretty much every night some disagreement between patrons turns bloody, and suddenly you’re not bored anymore.
Turns out tonight is no different. Some Inox bumps into a man’s drink, and it turns out the man isn’t too friendly toward Inox. Then, wouldn’t you know, the Inox isn’t too friendly toward humans who aren’t too friendly toward Inox.
Things naturally devolve from there. The next thing you know, chairs are flying across the room and no one even remembers how the fight began. It’s every mercenary for themselves, and that boredom isn’t going to allieviate itself.
You’ve beaten so many people senseless in the brawl that you start to get a little light-headed, much like a night with too many drinks. As the carnage wanes in the background, you lean against a table, overcome with an emotion.
Dissatisfaction. Normally these fights are the only thing that dispels it, but tonight, not even the thrill of a good brawl can fill the void inside of you.
Your life should mean more than this. You are wasting away in this den of wrath and debauchery. Given enough time, no doubt you will fade away into the background too, indiscernable from the rest of these drunks.
But it’s not too late. You can still take your fate into your own hands and find true adventure. You just need to make the decision to change, so you decide to climb aboard a ship headed out into the eastern sea.
Everything in your rational mind is telling you to avoid this ship — the overwhelming stench of caustic smoke, the loud banging as the rickety engines rattle around, and the vague mumblings of the captain about what lies in the ship’s hold — all of it is telling you to walk away, but somehow your sense of adventure gets the better of you.
Despite her aloof demeanor, you catch a faint hint that Dreyl, the Quatryl Captain, actually does seem pleased to have you aboard. As the ship weighs anchor and sputters out of harbor, the grimace on her face could almost be construed as a smile.
“I may actually have hit a small bit of luck havin’ you lot aboard,” Drey says. “A contingency plan in case this thing goes sideways.”
You try to press her on what exactly she means by “thing,” but instead, Dreyl goes into a long, meandering story about how she used to be a smuggler. She and her best friend Luce worked for a man named Barty Half-Ear, building and repairing engines for his ship so that he could evade capture and have the upper-hand in a battle.
Dreyl and Luce lived well enough until one of the engines blew out during a bloody combat, leaving the ship vulnearable to be boarded. Barty lost many of his men in the ensuing carnage. As punishment for the failure, Barty killed Luce in front of the crew and threw her overboard.
You can see Dreyl shake with rage as she describes the events. “Just slit poor Luce’s throat and made me watch as she bled out on the deck. I screamed and screamed, but couldn’t do nothin’ else.”
She then describes how she escaped Barty’s ship and has been planning her revenge ever since.
It is at this point that a knot starts to form in the pit of your stomach. You begin to notice that the ship has not been following a straight course, but, rather, has been zig-zagging through the water since you left Merchant’s Bay, almost as if you are hunting something.
“There the bastard is,” Dreyl suddenly spits. “Stupid sod hasn’t even changed his patrol pattern in all these years.” You see a small white sail out on the horizon. As Dreyl lays down on the throttle, the sail grows quickly and steadily larger. You stare in wide-eyed horror as your ship continues to speed closer until you can see the shapes of men scrambling around on the deck. They look horrified, too.
An explosion rips through the air from cannon fire, but Dreyl expertly manuevers the ship in evasion. Your ship is much smaller and has no apparent weapons, but that doesn’t seem to faze Dreyl at all.
You desperately ask what she is planning, but she just stares ahead in grim determination and mutters, “We’re gonna sink the bastard, even if it kills us all.”
Before you can object to her line of reasoning, you are thrown to the ground as Dreyl flips a switch and the death trap lurches forward at an alarming speed. Dreyl has maneuvered around to the stern of the larger ship and you now race straight ahead on a clear ramming course. All you can do is brace yourself before the two ships collide and everything goes white.
When your vision returns, what lies before your eyes is a scene of chaos. The demolished bow of Dreyl’s ship has punched a hole straight into the back hull of the larger vessel and water is pouring in at an alarming rate. Twisted metal and splintered wood litter the scene where the two ships have merged, and a foul, acrid gas rises up out of the ruined engines, permeating the area.
“The bombs,” Dreyl coughs, lying wounded on the floor. “They didn’t go off... use them... to kill Barty...”
There are indeed a number of small explosives that appear to have fallen out of a central casing due to the crash and now litter the floor. You’re not especially inclined to follow the instructions of this suicidal Quatryl, but the crew on board the larger ship seems to be recovering from the collision, as well, and they don’t seem to happy about what happened. Perhaps the bombs could come in handy.
With one last blow, Barty groans and keels over. He is still alive, begging you to spare his life. Before you can act, however, a massive explosion from below rocks the ship, and the entire structure begins to lurch and split apart.
It seems like Dreyl finally managed to get her explosives to work. You need get off this ship before the situation gets any worse. Looking out of Barty’s shattered cabin window, you see the outline of a small island on the horizon. With any luck, you’ll be able to find a dinghy on this doomed vessel and make your way back to dry land. You may even have time to take something — or someone — with you.
Your lust for adventure apparently has its limits. Faced with the choice between reckless excitement and securing the safety of the mad Quatryl who tried to kill you, well, it’s an easy choice. Looking down at the shivering, battered figure of Dreyl lying in the center of the boat, you can’t help but feel sympathy for her.
Her madness was driven by an understandable anger and need for revenge. Plus, she may be the only one who can help you get back to civilization.
Halfway around the north side of the island, the cliff walls thankfully recede and give way to a sandy shore. You beach the boat and carry Dreyl to dry land.
Your healing skills are able to stabilize her and bring her back to consciousness, but her burns are alarmingly severe. She can do little but moan in agony.
“Bloodroot...” she gurgles.
Yes. Your remember that a salve of bloodroot can allieviate burns, and it is very possible that the root could be found on this island. Dreyl seems to think so, at least.
You stare off into the trees beyond the beach, thinking things through. You face a couple of problems. One is that there are very strange noises coming from the inner island — a low, eerie sound with a regular rhythm, accompanied by random, high-pitched screeching. It is off-putting to say the least.
Your other problem is that bloodroot is nearly indistinguishable from daggeroot, a highly toxic plant that causes debilitating poison with any amount of contact.
Dreyl moans again, and your resolve solidifies. You will brave the strange forest to help her recover. It doesn’t take long to find those problems, though.
You race back to the shore, laden down with enough bloodroot to cover the small Quatryl’s body in a soothing salve. It takes an hour to make the paste and apply it, but when it is finally done, Dreyl’s moaning subsides. In another hour, she finally begins to speak again, though it is interupted by soft sobs.
“I’m sorry...” she whispers. “I was just so... Luce... why did you save me?”
Dreyl begins to cry uncontrollably and it takes some time to calm her down once again, all the while, the strange low chanting continues from the forest.
The Quatryl says she can help you get off this island and back out onto sea in an adequate ship if you can bring her enough building materials.
“It’s really up to you lot,” she says quietly. “I have no reason for livin’ anymore, other that to make up for my selfishness.”
Not wanting to be ambushed later by a pack of vengeful Vermlings, you pursue the fleeing figure back into the forest. Catching it or getting a clear shot proves more difficult than anticipated, however.
The Vermling continues to gain ground until you are barrelling through the trees with only vague idea of the direction you should be headed. Suddenly, you burst out into a clearing full of the small creatures, all of them dressed in the same colorful attire of plants and feathers.
At your arrival, the Vermlings hiss menacingly, but they do not appear to be armed. You are about to brandish your own weapons when one of them yells above the crowd.
“Wait!” It says. “These are ones I saw! These are ones who kill Blackbiters! They are not enemy!” You haven’t quite arrived at that conclusion yourself yet, but you stay your hand as the Vermling walks closer to you.
“You kill many Blackbiter and their demons, yes?” He asks. Not sure what to do, you nod. “Good! You help kill more of them, yes?”
You nod again and the crowd of Vermlings visibly relaxes. You talk more with the one who recognized you, named Antgut, and you learn that this Vermling tribe, the Hollowbones, has been warring with the Blackbiters for many years. Only recently, though, did the Blackbiters begin employing the aid of demons.
Antgut is afraid the demons will turn the war in the Blackbiters favor, and the Hollowbones were preparing to attack their enemy’s temple when you appeared.
“Before we fight,” Antgut explains, “We need power of ancestors. We make ritual feast, and would be honor if you join us.” Antgut explains that the most important task in the feast is the cooking of the meat. Drake carcasses, recently harvested from a nearby cave, must be butchered, brought to the cooking cave, and then returned to the banquet table, all the while a totem of the enemy tribe is danced around and attacked.
“It is very important meat cooked well and totem destroyed,” Antgut says. “Sacred task, but I see you kill Blackbiter already. Ancestors choose you for task.”
With the meat delivered, the dancing and singing of the Hollowbone tribe ends abruptly and dramatically. As you clear out the rest of the vipers, you notice that the meat emits a faint golden glow. Disconcerted, you see the tribe crowd around the table and begin to feast. Antgut approaches you.
“We thank you greatly,” he says with a smile. “Without you, ritual surely fail.” You begin to hear an odd cacophony of noises around the table as Antgut continues.
“I lie, though,” he admits. “Ancestors give us power, but not power to fight. Power to flee.”
At this, you recognize the sounds around the table as those of birds cawing. Before your eyes, a number of Vermlings begin to change shape. They writhe on the ground in pain, flapping their arms wildly. Slowly, their limbs become wings, their mouths become beaks, and their feet become talons.
“You can eat meat, too,” Antgut says noncommittally. “I not know if it work on non-Vermlings, but it all I can offer for help.” He turns and begins to walk toward the table.
Seeing movement in the tower up above has cemented your decision, and you begin to race up the stone steps. As you ascend, the pyramid eventually tapers into a giant spire shooting up into the sky. You grab the hand holds carved into the vertical face of the stone structure and begin to climb.
Halfway up the tower, carried upon the ever-increasing winds, you begin to hear the sounds of commotion below you. A multitude of Vermlings are pouring out of the base of the pyramid and moving up the stone steps after you. Completely unable to fend them off while clinging for your life, you have no choice but to continue climbing upward toward the zenith.
Farther still up your ascent, with the swarm below hot on your heels, you begin to hear troubling sounds from above as well — the sound of a woman yelling. You recognize the voice as Dreyl’s. You climb as fast as you can, finally reaching a large, open, circular platform to stand on. Above you, you can see two more smaller platforms, and it seems like Dreyl’s voice is coming from the very top.
Getting there will not be easy, however. Demons and more of the wretched Blackbiters block your path. “When we sacrifice the small one,” one of them taunts. “The demons will make this island ours!”
You arrive at the top of the spire to see two Vermlings huddled around an altar. Dreyl is tied up on top of it, throwing a non-stop stream of profanities at them.
It looks like she has been cut in numerous places, and a troubling amount of her blood has been collected in a bowl at the altar’s center. It glows with a dark energy.
“You are too late!” One of the shamans cackles. “We have called down the aid from the stars! Soon all our enemies — including you — will be burned in never-ending sky fire! We will show you death!”
It is time to free Dreyl and show them how gravity works.
With the platforms secured from both above and below, you finally have time to take stock of the situation, free Dreyl from her bonds, and heal her wounds.
Completely cut off from the ground by a pack of gibbering Vermlings, you discuss your options and mention the strange meat you were given by the Hollowbones.
“Are you mad?” Dreyl says. “Did the Vermlings bite you one too many times and give you the red fever? Eat that horrid, diseased meat on the off-chance it turns you into birds? That’s ridiculous! Surely there must be another way.”
As Dreyl continues to scold you, a blinding ray of light shoots down from the sky onto the altar. The central column of the tower begins to glow red-hot, all the way down to its base at the pyramid. Before you know it, the entire structure is shaking wildly and fissures begin to form in the ground far below.
“I guess we’re out of options!” Dreyl yells. “Hand over that meat before we all fall to our deaths!”
Without thinking, you begin to ingest the foul-tasting flesh as quickly as possible. Midway down the spire, the stone cracks, and the platforms you are standing on careen toward the earth, flinging you out into the open air.
You are preparing for the end when your arms suddenly sprout feathers. You begin to flap them wildly as other odd changes to your body occur. It is incredibly painful and disorienting, but you soon find yourself soaring through the air as a bird, along with Dreyl and the rest of your party.
You have significant misgivings about how long this transformation will last, but the island below continues to crack and split, leaving less and less habitable earth on which to land.
“Well, ain’t that a sight for the ages,” Barty says as he stands over you. “Some mad sellswords crash into my ship, leave me for dead, force me to piece together a new boat from the wreckage, and then suddenly they appear in the stark middle of the sea looking for rescue.
“Not only that, but you still have this traitorous Quatryl with you!” He jabs at Dreyl with an oar. “What kind of world is this, where the likes of her can yet be breathin’?”
“You murderous bastard!” Dreyl spits out as she coughs up sea water. “Only after I see you dead will I allow myself to die.”
“Murderous!” Barty feints indignation. “Why, correct me if I’m wrong, lass, but did I not just save your skin? Would you like me to throw you back into the sea?”
Dreyl yells in anger, and you step in to stop the altercation from turning bloody. You point to the horizon, reminding everyone that a storm is approaching. You’ll be able to sort out your differences when and if you get through that alive.
“Aye,” Barty says while Dreyl sulks in silence. “Thanks to you, this ship is a broken fraction of what she once was, and I have no crew. I can steer us through, but I’ll need your help. I sense the work of the angry sprits of the sea.”
“This isn’t over, Half-Ear!” Dreyl shouts over the growing sounds of the storm. “Just stay away from me until we’re through!”
Before the storm even clears and the rest of the angry creatures and pushed back into the sea, Dreyl and Barty are back at each other’s throats, with Dreyl brandishing a mean-looking electric baton in Barty’s direction.
“It’s time for you to pay for Luce’s murder, Half-Ear,” Dreyl says.
“Oh, please,” Barty scoffs. “Your friend had been stealing from me for a long time, and everyone knew. Had to make an example. It’s as simple as that.”
“So you kill her in cold blood?” Dreyl says. “If you had no mercy then, why should I show you any now?” Dreyl swings the baton at Barty, and he dodges out of the way.
“Put that toy down ‘fore you hurt yourself, girl,” Barty chides. “Do you think those mercenaries you tricked will side with you on this one? You poor saps need me to navigate to dry land.”
“I don’t care, you human piece of garbage!” Dreyl yells. “As long as I can see you take your last breath, nothing else that happens afterwards will matter!”
“Come now, friends” Barty addresses you, dodging another swing from Dreyl. “We clearly have a problem here. This crazed Quatryl and I ain’t gonna last on the same ship together. Her stupidity overwhelms me. It’s time to choose.”
Instead of choosing, however, you continue to try to live with both of them.
You move toward Barty with grim determination, but your vision begins to blur, and your knees buckle as the whole cabin spins around you.
“A pity,” Barty sighs. “I had truly hoped we’d be able to get along — I have your antidote right here after all — but that damned Quatryl is still clouding your judgement, and it looks like I just can’t take the risk.”
Your vision goes white around the edges, and your consciousness fades in and out as Barty speaks. “Don’t worry. The poison won’t kill you. Why break something you can still profit from?”
The next thing you know, you find yourself face-down in a bed of hay, your head pounding fiercely. You try to move, but make little progress due to fatigue and the iron chain around your ankle. You are in a prison of some sort, surrounded by metal bars and a hard stone floor. As you groan and shift up into a sitting position, a figure approaches your cage.
“Well, I’ll be,” an obese Orchid says, peering through the bars. “That lying sack of refuse actually told the truth. Me, I thought you’d never wake up, but the Prophet had faith in the smuggler’s antidote.”
The Orchid laughs with joy, his purple, scaled skin straining to hold in his excessive fat. “Barty told us you were quite powerful, but equally stupid, so I hope you provide the Prophet with some worthwhile entertainment.
“Rest up. Your first fight will be arranged for tomorrow.”
The Orchid walks off and you spend the rest of the day huddled in your dimly lit cage, trying in vain to determine how much time has passed and where exactly you ended up. After an interminable amount of time, the fat orchid returns dragging behind him many great lengths of chain.
“All right, it is time for your fight,” he says. “We’ve put together something really special for you, so try not to die too quickly.”
He pauses for effect. “One way to die quickly is to attack me or attempt any sort of escape. It will not end well for you. I’m going to go into your cages one by one and attach your leg irons to one of these chains. Just follow the chain out that back door into the antechamber of the fighting pit. You’ll find your equipment there, and when you are ready, we’ll begin the show.”
Not knowing what else to do, you comply with the Orchid’s commands and equip your gear in the antechamber as massive waves of cheers and yells from outside rattle the doors to the fighting pit. One voice rises above the din, but as you strain to hear it, the doors to the pit suddenly burst open.
You see a circular stadium before you with a central area full of blood, bones, and dismembered corpses. Hundreds of shouting Orchids sit in the concentric rings of seats looking over the pit. You have little time to take better stock of the situation, though, as there is a gargantuan bear in the pit with you. Its truly massive shape is covered in scars and fresh wounds. It looks incredibly angry.
The crowd gasps as the bear falls to the ground dead, overcome by its wounds. You breathe a sigh of relief, looking over the impressed crowd. You see a small female Orchid in white robes emerge from under an awning and stare down at you. You feel her gaze penetrate your soul.
“They can take more,” she says simply and then returns to her seat.
The crowd gasps again as cages around the perimeter of the pit are opened, releasing a number of deadly drakes.
This time the crowd cheers as you finish the last of your foes, and, once again, the robed Orchid emerges and stares down at you.
“They can take more,” she says. “Show me the Doctor’s latest creation.”
The crowd immediately becomes silent and you can hear some commotion from behind the robed Orchid. Suddenly, the ground beneath you begins to shake, and an explosion from the center of the arena knocks you back.
As the smoke clears, you see a giant shape rising slowly from a hole in the floor of the pit. A golem made of metal and stone towers over you.
The heat from the Golem finally subsides, and you look up once again to the robed Orchid, dreading what she will say next. As she emerges from the awning, the cheering crowd once again falls silent.
“True specimens of combat,” she announces. “We have been entertained. Return them to their cages to await our future desires for diversion.”
The chains around your ankles grow taut, drawing you back into the antechamber doors. You have no desire to perform in this prison until you are killed. You may be weak, but now could be your best chance for escape.
You follow the Orchid into the darkness as he weaves a path through twisting and forking passages. Multiple times on the path, after you have passed through some corridor, he moves a false wall into place behind you to stop anyone from following. On the one hand, you feel safe, but on the other, you are totally lost and vulnerable.
Eventually the passageway opens up into a large stone room and you see three more Orchids sitting around a wooden table, discussing a number of blueprints scattered across its surface. They look up at you as you enter.
“So you were correct, Ashtooth” one of the sitting Orchids says to the one you followed. “This is good. Using them is the most ideal plan.”
You start to object, but Ashtooth raises a hand to silence you. “There is no need to speak. We will explain everything you need to know, and then you will execute the plan. It is the only way for you to escape this island.”
The Orchids sit you down at the table and begin to speak. Their manner is much different than the manner of those you encountered outside. They are far more calm and deliberate.
The Orchids explain that this island is not far off from the mainland where they are from, and its residents have become increasingly problematic over the last few years. Apparently a charismatic Orchid emerged from the mainland society and began teaching that the true path was not one of knowledge and meditation. The true path was to follow her and embrace hedonistic pleasures, trusting that this prophet would take care of their needs.
“Our lifestyle is not easy,” Ashtooth says. “But it is necessary. And anyone who can call our people away from their task has nothing but evil in their hearts. The Prophet must be destroyed. When you do that, her followers will disperse, and you will be free to leave the island without interference. If you do not destroy her, there is no way to avoid the ones currently looking for you.”
Ashtooth explains the plan, showing maps of the old tunnels of a ruined Quatryl fortress that lead into the keep where the Prophet resides. You study the blueprints until you are sure you can find your way into her inner sanctum.
The Orchids assure you that the tunnels will be clear, but when you near the main keep, you run right into a group of patrolling undead and a passageway clearly trapped against intruders.
You open the door to find an old Quatryl with his back to you, hunched over a giant creature of metal and stone in the middle of a laboratory. It is similar to the golem you encountered in the fighting pit, however, this one is hollow.
“My mistress said you would be coming,” he coughs. “All those traps... I thought I’d have more time.” The Quatryl climbs up onto the golem and inserts himself into the central metal chamber. The golem begins to move like a marionette, mimicking the movements of Quatryl inside.
“Oh well,” he says. “I haven’t quite figured out proper waste containment, but it will have to do for now.”
You beat down the Doctor’s “waste” product until it stops moving and then move over to the ruined golem where the Doctor is still coughing inside.
“I’m not sure what I expected,” the Doctor laughs quietly. “You did destroy my rocket golem after all.
“Still, I find myself confused as to how you found this place. Are you working for my mistress’s enemies? And if so, why? I’d be happy to arrange an audience with her for you. Surely you could arrive at a beneficial arrangement with her.”
You are not interested in negotiation.
You draw your weapons as the Prophet rises to her feet and dusts off her robe.
“Again you surprise me,” she says. “I will give a warning: I know your capabilities. I know you are about to die. You should flee.”
The Prophet moves faster than you expect and exits the room through a door in back, leaving you with her many guards.
You open the back door and see the Prophet at the end of a long hallway.
“I can see the many futures you hold,” she calls out to you. “The many paths you could have taken. But you have made the wrong choices. The path you are on leads to your death. I will show you.”
The Prophet raises her hand, and your vision goes blurry. The hallway before you feels off-kilter, and your head spins. You lose your balance and fall to your knees, watching in horror as the scene in front of you vibrates and splits apart. The hallway slowly becomes two hallways heading off in different directions. The Prophet stands simultaneously at the ends of both.
“Turn back or die,” she says and then disappears behind the doors at the ends of the halls.
You see the Prophet standing at the back of a small room at the end of the hall. No doubt she also stands at the back of the other room at the end of the other hall. You finally have her cornered, but she doesn’t look concerned.
“You do not understand the infinite strands of time spreading out in all directions,” she states. “You cannot hope to defeat me.”
The Prophet grunts as you strike her one last time. A look of confusion crosses her face.
“A mistake...” she whispers. “I thought I understood. Your path... it opens up before you. But this path... for me... is closed.”
She falls over, and, as she lands, the two hallways and two rooms snap back into focus and instantly merge together, forming but a single hall, a single room, and a single corpse of a white-robed Orchid on the ground.
With the Prophet dead, you return to Ashtooth in the ruined tunnels as planned. The Orchids display little emotion as you relate what took place in the keep. They simply nod their heads and offer a reserved thanks.
“This is good,” Ashtooth says. “We had doubts the plan would succeed, but now the Prophet’s followers will disperse and return home. And you — you will once again have your freedom.”
Ashtooth leads you through another set of winding, forking paths until you arrive at an archway leading into the open air. Ahead you see a number of small ships moored to a pier.
“We must stay behind to see the rest of our plan through,” Ashtooth says. “But you should go. Take a ship and be free.”
As you go to leave, Ashtooth holds out a talisman to you. “Take this,” he says. “With it, you will always be welcome among my people. They are but a short journey from where we are. The Quatryls are farther south along the coast. And the one who sold you — I suspect he is headed back toward the western continent.”
It takes some effort to navigate safely through the crags surrounding the cliff face and find a place to moor your own boat, but once it is done, you eagerly make your way into the cave, looking for one last adventure. And in this regard, the cave does not disappoint.
After navigating through a series of narrow spaces and sharp descents, you come to a large open cavern whose walls flicker at the edge of your torchlight. And at the far end of the space, you see a figure you’d recognize anywhere as he fiddles with a number of large sacks of gold. Your arrival catches his attention, and hey looks up with a face of pure shock and bafflement.
“It can’t be...” Barty mutters, trying to get his bearings. “Like a bad penny you lot are. I would think this was the work of the dark spirits that linger here, trying to play a trick on me, but even they could not be so cruel.”
Barty hefts his bags of treasure in one hand while his other reaches for a switch on the wall. “It’s a shame. I liked this hideout, but I guess I’ll have to find some place else to store all the money I got for selling you to the Orchids.”
He presses the switch and sprints away from you down a corridor. You move to give chase, but are suddenly thrown to the ground as the entire cave begins to vibrate wildly. The passageway behind you collapses completely, and in front of you, a large boulder falls from the ceiling, blocking off Barty’s escape route as well.
And if that wasn’t enough, you feel the presence of an evil energy. Dark shapes begin to rise up out of the shaking earth in anger. You need to get out of this room before you are buried in rubble.
You continue to limp through the tunnel as it descends into the darkness, the rumbling and crashing of the collapsing passage still close behind you.
Visions flash through your mind of the comfort and niceties that awaited you, had you returned to Gloomhaven or visited the eastern continent. But instead, your curiousity got the better of you. Barty, completely surprised, still managed to get the better of you, too.
In fact, you are wondering where Barty could have gotten to when the path in front of you suddenly turns downward into a sheer drop off.
You stand on the edge of an abyss. You glance back to see that the vengeful collapsing cave is still rumbling toward you. You look back down at the empty darkness below, hesitate, and then leap into the unknown...