024. Knocking on the Door

 

They make it to Haven Cave that night, and all of them decide to sleep and sup in the Inn.  Have Cave is a small town build in the side of the mountain, with an Inn, a Pub, and a Temple.  When Barlo enters, he gets accusing looks from the dwarves within.  Tully vouches for the party and buys everyone a round at the bar.

The dwarves sing and laugh while Barlo and company tell the dwarves of their fight with the fearsome Giants.  Everyone raises glasses to the Giant Slayers, and spit on the floor at the mention of the wicked queen from Parthen.  As they bond over ale and tales of daring do, Barlo drunkenly tells Tully that the boy they have brought with them is his future king.  Now, Tully knows the mission that Team Triple Toss is one, and how important they are to the fate of Cloudstone and the Cradle.

Toggaf stairs at the red moon, now 4 days past full.  He hears rumors of undead and other evil creatures such as giants increasing their attacks since the full moon.  He connects this increase in attacks to the ritual thatPresto was performing, and notes that this is the first full moon since that fateful day that they killed Presto, thwarted Kazzen and rescued the sapling.

A dwarf bar maid starts hitting on Barlo, asking him about his gods and offers to show him and Tully the temple.  They eagerly follow, but find out that temple is not a euphemism, but is in fact the temple of theMountain Maker, with symbols of crossed hammers and a statue of a fat and happy god sitting on a golden pyramid.

As they sit and talk about their gods and compare religions, a chill wind blows from the north wall of the temple, and the candles sitting on the marble platform blow out...

Despite the creepy vibe from the temple at Haven Cave, the party heads up the path once more.  They passWater Gate, then finally ascend to the cloud-covered heights of Cloud Gate.  They have to proceed slowly since the visibility is only about 5 feet ahead, but soon they make it to the solitary staircase leading up to the beautiful Jade wall marking the entrance to Cloudstone.    A single door, 3 feet by 6 feet, marks the unassuming entrance to the great kingdom.  Far too small for Ekrak, so the party must go alone.