Having informed Kelvin of their success (and received various hand knitted items as thanks) the party continued on to Caerlin, where they delivered the 3 giant eagle chicks to the Griffon Master. After taking care of some business in town, they headed for home. They were just branching off down the path to their estate when suddenly a shadow passed overhead- a massive floating island with a castle perched atop it, moving through the sky. As they stared upwards, a few pages of lilac coloured parchment fluttered down, all saying the same thing- “Here for a limited time only- The Cloudtop Casino! Come for gambling, good food, and great views!” Each included a small map with an X near the city of Silverdeep.
Always up for some gambling, Creed was eager to head over- but first they had to get the baby owlbear off their hands. Returning to the manor, they met with their staff. Wesley presented a rather crestfallen Norris with his new charge, and the party headed out, with the owlbear now safely stashed in the stables (at least for the time being).
Hitching a ride on the cart that delivered their supplies, the party made the journey in record time (though not in comfort). The castle loomed up ahead, and scores of excited (and rich) looking people waited down below. While they waited for their turn on the platform, Creed impressed them all with his somewhat questionable knowledge of sky castles. Soon they made their way up, and found themselves in a large courtyard. While the rest of the party quickly got to gambling, Sharpe wandered about and offended the castle guards, insisting the master of the castle wanted to see them. After being threatened, he rejoined the group, which now contained a flaming, musical, fish lord (Adama), a sentient flubber belonging to Wombert, and a newly divorced Mystogan.
They went to grab a bite to eat, and were approached by the same guard who had turned Sharpe away earlier. Rather chagrined, he informed them that the masters wished to speak with them. The party were led into the central tower, where they met the two cloud giant twins, Mithos and Rathos. The giants had heard that the famed “Heroes of Caerlin” had come to their castle, and had a proposition for them. A dwarven woman had stolen their most valuable gambling item- a chalice that allowed the gambler to wager years of their life for a chance at immortality. They followed her here, to the outskirts of Silverdeep, and were hoping the party would follow her and retrieve the chalice for them. They promised a rich reward- items from their treasury, or perhaps one of their exotic flying creatures. The party agreed, and signed the contract the giant’s provided.
On the way out, however, they noticed a previously obscured area of the castle was open to them- a tunnel leading down into a cavern lined with crystalline quartz. This was the home of the ancient air serpentess, Aura. She informed the party that the dwarven woman, Velka, had indeed stolen the chalice- but that she did so due to her believe that it was corrupt and evil. Aura told the party they had a choice; to assist Velka in her task, or carry out their original agreement. Regardless of what they chose, the giants would be watching, due to the party’s signing of the magical contract. With much to think about, the party headed for Silverdeep, in search of Velka.
Entering the dwarven city, they quickly learned that they would need to prove themselves if they wished to gain any information, or access to Velka herself- due to the fact that Velka was a distinguished paragon in the eyes of the dwarves. After hearing of trouble in the mines, the party convinced Folgrim, the head of the mining caste, to let them deal with the problem as a way of proving themselves to the dwarves. Folgrim warned them that the creature that had emerged was extremely dangerous, and had slain many dwarves already.
With that dire warning in their minds, the party headed deep into the dark mine shaft ahead. After wandering for quite some time, they set up camp, keeping an uneasy watch for the inevitable attack. Thanks to Creed’s warning, they had time to prepare themselves as a massive behir came rushing down the tunnel towards them. A deadly battle ensued, with Sharpe being swallowed by the creature. Wombert and Adama also fell to it’s vicious strikes, but it was felled in the nick of time by the combined efforts of Mystogan and Creed, who kept their distance. Mystogan quickly attended to the fallen Sharpe, and soon had the rest of the party up as well. They cut trophies from the beast as proof of their efforts, and settled back down to finish a much needed rest.