We sat to catch our breaths on the island near the temple and it quickly became apparent that we would need to replenish our resources more before fighting our way through the tower and over to the gatehouse to find Leptor's laboratory. (As a side note, it appears that my bite is not infected, thank Tamrith). A short note found on Leptor's body shortly before he vanished lent more confusion than actual information, as it insinuated that this maniacal human had at one time been the great dwarf Baltron's apprentice. After a brief discussion we went back to the mysterious deserted city to find a secure building to rest in. Rufo scouted ahead and found a lavish, if nerve racking, building that looked more recently abandoned than the rest of the city. We checked it out, but it gave Adderwood and Kanar a strange feeling, so we left it alone. There was a small servents outbuilding in the back that we decided to use as our defensive point, as it had only one door and was still within the outer gate surrounding the property. Adderwood and I spoke briefly about the artifacts we'd recovered, and I experimented with wearing both the ring and torc of Daimisan and Aedrinia. I was exceedingly confused and enlightened with nothing more than a headache as i began to see the same scene from their weding through both of their eyes simultaneously. Somehow i even managed to see the hint of myself looking back in the other's eyes. It's difficult to describe, and more difficult to experience. I returned the ring to him and shall not try that again. The rest of the day passed uneventfully as the group slept, save for a strange vision i had while meditating that the rest of my fellows apparently shared. In this vision Leptor was staring out at us from burning black flames, ranting and railing. Little of the vision (the rest refer to it as a dream, i can only believe them though i've never dreamed as such) stuck in our minds and we were mostly left with a feeling that we had made an enemy of a dangerous lunatic.
We awoke and went directly to the teleport pad and stepped back into Baltron's keep. It appeared that the Cult of the Black Flame had been busy in the time since we'd last set foot in the tower. A number of crates of ammunition and food stuffs had been moved around the tower, apparently being sent to support a war effort in the White Knuckle Mountains. A small group of orc workers were arranging more boxes in the alchemist's lab, but were swiftly dispatched. We started making our way cautiously to the gatehouse as planned. We weren't even out of the second floor when Kanar was struck from behind by an invisible hag. I didn't get a good look at the beast before wading into combat, but it seemed to be the same one we'd left in the White Knuckles. The hag was joined by two of her 'sisters' in evil and Dukek, Novarg and I squared off against one each and the trio of witches was soon dead at our feet. Bariel had bearly begun to patch up the disgusting claw-marks left by the hags when a tremendous roar came from down the hallway, leading to the teleport pad. Novarg, Dukek and I did what we do best and formed a wall at a choke point, hoping to take on whatever crowd of creatures was coming one at a time. Adderwood, however, floated above the doorway and launched another room-clearer at the horde, slaying every last one of them. Again, we bearly had time for respite when we heard the sounds of monstrous activity down the hall. Kanar used her growing magical abilities to take the form of a cloud and scout ahead, finding two trolls, a shambling mound and an orc cultist just coming off of the teleporter. The rest of us were too far away to box them in there, so we remained in the entry room and lured them towards the doorway. Adderwood used a few well placed spells to weaken them up, and the rest of us managed to take them down with very little fuss.
Searching the bodies of the hags and the cultist earned us next to nothing. The noticed lack of a teleporter key though, seemed to point to the idea that somebody or something is sending a small army through to attack us from the White Knuckle Mountains. Our two most direct courses of action now appear to be attacking Leptor's laboratory in the gatehouse with a small army coming at us a small piece at a time, or heading back to the White Knuckles to attempt to stem the tide at its source. Perhaps we'll be able to find some aid with the Bear humans who live down the mountain from the cave. We'll soon find out, although as each hour passes i grow more worried about the unchecked influence of the grimorden in the world. We must find that gem, and we must find that flame. It seems that countless lesser obstacles are being thrown in our way, but we cannot forget our purpose for coming this far.