Hrrrrm, should probably jot down something for the future historians, and the bards...
After our slumber is interrupted by some more lame rogue/fighters, we cross the creaky bridge into The Rift. The general layout of the Rift is a bunch of stout towers built on EVIL foundations, connected by a web of suspension bridges. If you don’t understand how building foundations can be EVIL, well, I guess you just had to be there...
The first tower contains a giant blood golem lording over its blood-splattered room of human guts and entrails. The stupid thing just whirrs and stands there, so we decide to skip it. Instead we pick a fight with a variety-pack of skeletons.
The second tower contains the spartan quarters of Malfurion Stormrage (note name ripped off from World of Warcraft--I know, Tracy: it was "Malkarion"). He’s the local anti-paladin commander, and he appears to spend his time standing fully-armed and armored in the center of his largest room. Although he is vastly powerful, there’s only one of him and six of us. So HE is transformed into a blood-splattered room of human guts and entrails. It took our group of meat grinders all of six seconds. Beat that, Blood Golem! We find some more loot and a letter referencing a gorgon.
The third “tower” appears to be the far edge of the valley as well as the gorgon lair. There’s a giant, dark cave opening and a “very realistic statue” nearby. Ha! The only possible more-obvious evidence of a gorgon would have been a herd of metallic cows chewing the cud... Although we spot some paths beyond the cave, we decide to retreat. (The DM specifically rewards us for our cowardice, so we think we made the right choice.)
The fourth tower contains a cabal of priests enthralled with some sort of ritual. A bellows is somehow involved. Air elementals? We ambush the three and their pet, getting blasted a bit by their powerful staves. Ultimately we divide and conquer and turn eagerly toward the next tower.
In the end, there are several bridges and routes that we have not explored, and our Dragon nemesis continues to beckon.