The heroes had an audience with Talis the White and a mysterious half-elf at the hunting lodge in the mountains. Talis was revealed to be a childhood friend of Eve, but had since joined the Cult of the Dragon. The half-elf was a traveling bard researching the psychology of cult fanaticism, and decided to join the heroes on their adventures.
Talis wanted to be the White Wyrmspeaker of the Cult of the Dragon, but was betrayed by Rezmir when she supported another in Talis’ stead. With Castle Naerytar compromised, Rezmir ordered her followers to clean up loose ends by having Talis eliminated, but they failed to take her out. Rezmir retreated to Skyreach Castle, a flying fortress commanded by a cloud giant named Blagothkus located near the village of Parnast. The floating castle also contained much of the treasure stolen from the Sword Coast, guarded by a powerful white dragon described by Talis as “snow-white Glazhael the Cloudchaser, a handsome dragon of the pure northern breed.”
During the discussion with Talis, the party was attacked by chromatic cultists, seeing Talis in league with the Cult’s enemies. After dispatching the cultists, the adventurers flew on trained riding wyverns to Skyreach Castle, determined to track down the hoard and face Rezmir once and for all.
They approached the flying citadel unchallenged, flying a multi-colored banner given to them by Talis. They spied ogres manning oversized ballistae on watch towers and groups of cultists drilling in the courtyard as they landed on the lower level near the stables. A swarm of kobolds took charge of their mounts and led them into an enormous stable.
The castle was carved from a giant iceberg. The walls and doors were opaque ice, hard as stone. Everything about the castle was much larger than expected. Ceilings were 30 feet high and doors were 20 feet tall, the handles 8 feet above the ground. It was obvious the fortress was built for giants.
The adventurers headed across the courtyard toward the barracks, mistaken for new recruits and largely ignored — at least for the moment.
Each character received 1,600 XP