“Aaaaaaahhhhh~” the cosmic dragon woman said in relief as she dipped herself into the warm bubbly hot spring. Cynthia didn’t really care for the location of their base. Baltigo was a wasteland. No bars, no restaurants, certainly no clothing stores. Everytime the Army needed something, they had to discreetly go to the next island over, or just make it themselves. But the one thing that the dragon woman loved about Baltigo, was it’s natural soothing hot springs. 

Relaxing against Dragon’s chest as she cuddled into him, she could help but let out another relieving “Aaaaaaaahhhh~”. A nice hot soak after a mission was the best. She took another sip of her sake as her tail coiled around Dragon’s chest. Exceptional hot springs, good sake, and her man beside her, truly, Cynthia was at peace. 

“Dragon-kun~” Cynthia only called him Dragon-kun when she wanted to tease him. “You’re not nervous about being naked with little ol’ me in the hot spring, are ya?” she said with a smirk as she cuddled up to him again. 

Strongholds of Undeath Portals - The Cavern in the High Ice

The High Ice is a frozen wasteland located on a plateau in northern Anauroch. The harsh environment and its monstrous inhabitants deter all but the most foolhardy adventurers. An unprepared party will easily become lost and disoriented amid the monochromatic landscape, and it may even starve or freeze to death – if the group doesn’t fall prey to something first.

These environmental factors make it highly unlikely that anyone will stumble on Zzarka’s stronghold by accident.

Even the archwizards who dwell in the City of Shade have so far overlooked the lich’s well-hidden dwelling.

Being undead, Zzarka can ignore these hazards. The cold means nothing to her and she doesn’t need to eat. Even the mind-numbing song of the frost worms has no effect on her. She allows these creatures to travel unhindered through her icy lair since she sees them as valuable natural guards.

Zzarka spent years carving a massive cave complex beneath the glacier ice, and then she filled it with skeletons, zombies, and other undead servants.

She created these servants from living slaves that she brought through the portal from Thay and abandoned in the caves to determine how long mortal creatures would last if, by some quirk of fate, they happened to stumble upon her hiding place. From the laboratory in her tower, Zzarka scryed upon her cruel experiment.

She was always very pleased with the results.

portal beneath the ruins of the lich’s tower, near Lake Thalambar in Thay, leads to the heart of the cavern complex. The portal is keyed in that it requires an undead creature capable of casting spells to activate it.

Once it is activated, the portal remains open for six seconds. Any other creatures that touch the portal during this time period are also transported to Zzarka’s ice cave. Afterward, the portal seals itself again.

The portal opens into a large, dark cavern in the ice. No natural light penetrates this deep into the glacier.

Those without darkvision perceive little but cold.

This void is unsettling to mortals who are unprepared for it. Some of Zzarka’s living slaves cried out that they’d been struck blind after being thrust through the portal. Their shouting frequently drew frost worms, or worse, and Zzarka would be deprived of a body upon which she could cast create undead.

Reasoning that she ought to perform experiments that took into account the presence of the worms, Zzarka took to gagging her slaves before sending them through the portal.

Should someone light a torch in the cavern, the heat causes some of the tiny ice needles on the ceiling to fall.

Millions of these needles cling to the ceiling, and

Any loud sound, such as combat, produces the same effect.

Once inside the ice cavern, adventurers have to contend with frost worms and the undead horrors Zzarka created. Scores of skeletons and zombies wander through the ice tunnels – all of which move silently and have darkvision. Travellers who are especially unlucky may run into Torin or Lars Blackspike, two of Zzarka’s lieutenants that inhabit the ice caves from time to time. Even they do not know if the old lich still exists.

They have not seen her, or felt her presence, for a hundred years. But they still behave as if she exists, just in case, and they deal with intruders accordingly.

Buried deeper still in glacial ice is an artefact that dates from the time of the phaerimm and the fall of Netheril. Zzarka’s initial tests showed the thing to be a powerful repository of the life drain magic with which the phaerimm planned to obliterate the world. She coveted the artefact for herself, but she feared that it might become unstable if she used magic to excavate it.

Therefore, Zzarka set a crew of zombies to the task of digging it out of the ice. The work is slow, but zombies are patient creatures. A century later they are probably still there, digging …

Torin Zsan is fiercely loyal to his mistress, and he anxiously awaits her return. She has been gone for over a century, but as the undead measure time, this is barely the passing of an instant. In the meantime he carefully guards Zzarka’s strongholds, at least the ones of which he is aware, should she need a safe place to store her phylactery when she gets back.

Lars is a cruel, unpredictable creature of pure evil. He fears Zzarka, but he is beginning to suspect that his mistress has been destroyed permanently. If he decides that Zzarka is no longer a threat to him, he tries to seize as much of her former holdings and power for himself as he can.