September 8, 2019
The adventurers sailed the flying boat back to the Monastery of Ultimate Order with the intent of coming clean about their predicament, hoping desperately for the monks’ sympathy and avoid a fight. Nevertheless, Scheff cast an invisibility spell on Saria before they were even in sight of the levitating tower so that she could sneak around more effectively. Circling the structure preparing to land, it appeared to be deserted for there was no sign of the monks at all.
Docking at the loading area, the adventurers announced themselves loudly while the rogue scouted ahead. Sure enough, a monk was hiding in the spiral stairwell spying on the party. Saria crept past him literally unseen and investigated the rest of the building, at one point slipping and falling while attempting to climb the exterior walls. She eventually reported back to tell the party the place was deserted except for the lurking monk who had vanished after the commotion of Saria’s falls.
The party headed downstairs, making salutations of peace. In spite of that, they were ambushed by three monks hurling darts tipped with sleeping poison before engaging in hand-to-hand combat. Shuni and Ranger, the two strongest fighters, went down in a drugged slumber, followed by Scheff who was quickly beaten down. The rest of the party quickly gave up the fight once Master Waitani joined in and they surrendered.
Master Waitani had only spared the party because he wanted to know the fate of Brother Jakim. They told him everything: that Jakim was safe, that he had been charmed and left behind at the rock pool because the party was compelled to get the seven treasures due to their enthrallment to Nyarthep and the water weirdlings implanted in their heads. They didn’t want a fight, but the monks were understandably on the defensive and struck first. Master Waitani took pity and told them their only hope is to have a Greater Restoration spell cast on them to purge them of the weirdlings, but only have two days remain before they shrivel and die, constricting around the brains of their hosts and killing them in the process.
In the Skylands there is a mystical flying serpent called the Couatl. It is known to be a powerful immortal Agent of Good and might be persuaded to help. Master Waitani suggested trying to reach the Couatl through the Aarakocra, bird-men who roam the Skylands and use the same rock pool as the monks. The party was denied any of the treasures held in the monastery, so they would be returning to Nyarthep empty-handed, which is enough to decide the matter.
Accompanied by Sister Natto, the party boarded the flying boat once more to return to the rock pool, now late in the day. There they encountered the Aarakocra who initially took an aggressive approach until calmed by Sister Natto, who speaks Auran. The misunderstanding was cleared up and Shuni helped Natto and Jakim load the boat with water while Tharius negotiated with the lead bird-man.
The Good-aligned Aarakocra see a chance to help thwart Evil and agree to help the party find the Couatl, but in exchange they must prove themselves. As lords of the air, Aarakocra are natural claustrophobes and they need a party to enter the underground lair of a Red Dragon and slay it.