Dear Diary….shadows of evil

Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure: “The Temple of Elemental Evil”

Ezekiel and Lydia pooled their money together and bought the Phylactery of Freedom from Paralysis back from the Chapel of St. Cuthbert. Ezekiel says if he’s going to risk going up to undead to hit them, he’d better have some protection…and I think that’s smart thinking.

I paid Heiron his salary for the month. I was kind of worried that maybe there was an extra month in there we owed him for, but he said he didn’t remember counting that.

Wonillon was waiting for us when we got back. He hasn’t said whether he found any action while we were gone, but he’s game to go back to the Temple with us.

Heading out first thing in the morning.

****

24 Readying

Quiet night at the campsite. Reached the Temple about midday.

Everything seemed quiet in the nave, or main floor, of the Temple, and we took our time to look around, since last time we just kited down the stairs as fast as we could.

The main, center hall of the Temple has an altar that might be made of crystal, though I’m not sure. There’s a well a few yards beyond it, and in the top is a hollowed out indent with a human shape – limbs splayed. I think it’s stained with something dark, and it makes me upset to look at.

There were broken crystal vessels around it and a crystal knife – all bearing the marks of destruction.

The two “wings” branch off from the center hall to east and west (where the staircases are), and in the north-west angle we found a door to a vestry.

Not much in the vestry except the remains of a bonfire – wood and cloth – and a pile of robes that were probably ivory once…but someone’s been using them as a latrine too long for them to be recognizable.

Past the crystal altar, the floor tiles change color again, and a wide staircase leads down. The steps are grey with flecks of color, and there’s a stone railing at the far end has alternating supports – white, blue, green – topped with a red rail or cap. It’s organized enough I think it must mean something…but it’s hard to say what.

When we went down the stairs eventually (once we were done with the ground floor) they ended in a landing in front of doors…doors with runes or something, but none of us are sure what, because we couldn’t stand to look at them. Even Ezekiel went toward them and then turned around with a shiver.

Something very bad is beyond there, I think.

Anyway, the central hall continues past the stairs, and there’s a huge bronze caldron or something in the middle of the floor. It has feet that raise it a foot above the floor – and, as Raven says, they could drop me right in it without hitting my head (which is not funny).

The bottom still has charcoal in it, although it’s impossible to tell how old they are. The bronze chains hanging above it, though, are old enough that only one of them remains…the others are just corroded rings. And the edge of the caldron is dented, as though someone went at it with a hammer or ax.

The end of the main hall has a dais, complete with throne – and there’s a door in the east wall covered with ugly pictures (although someone had hacked most of them so you couldn’t tell what the whole thing was).

Inside must have been a dining room or party room…there were couches and barrels everywhere…skeletons of humans (and other things?) were piled around, very messy.

Raven found a tattered red robe on the floor, but it was kind of stained and icky.

While Ezekiel checked out the couches (good thing for him he didn’t catch another disease!) I inspected a woodpile in the corner and found two crimson robes in good condition.

Well, at least they looked wearable, but I wouldn’t want to go around with skulls embroidered all over my clothes, and I’m not sure the crimson and lavender really went together.

Anyway, someone will probably pay us for them, so we’ll take them along.

Finished with that room, the only thing left on the ground floor was the dais. There are four obsidian steps that lead up to the platform, and the semi-circular wall behind is basalt (as far as I could tell).

There’s a saying carved in it – in Common, so they wanted everyone to understand it:

“The power of elemental death brings mortals low but raises the nameless one high.”

Ezekiel and I couldn’t agree who the “nameless one” would be, but neither of us like the idea of an Bad Guy getting power from the death of innocents.

The dais itself had huge tiles of different colors, and I’m sure they meant something, though I’m not sure what.

[sketch]

Ezekiel and Yeti ventured out onto the floor – until Raven warned them that one of the tiles was trapped, and they went another way.

Ezekiel made it up to the throne – he says it’s basalt, and carved with grinning skulls and demon faces.

He says there was no sign of a hidden compartment or anything…and what’s more, it had no scratches or signs of damage – not even after he whacked it with his mace.

No doubt about it, that throne is up to something.

But we had no idea what, so the only thing left was to head down to the second level of the dungeon.

Ezekiel and Yeti borrowed my map again, and we snaked through the corridors…so much easier to do that when all the guards are dead. We didn’t even run into any ghouls, which is nice (though Ezekiel might not agree).

We headed to the spiral staircase Raven found – a ten foot stair in a twenty foot tube. I guess when you hire ogres, you’ve got to build your evil temple plenty big.

We reached the bottom, and found two passages splitting off. We headed south-west (Yeti and Wonillon both confirmed this for me) and not far down the passage we spotted a room.

The only light was ours, and by it we saw a stony minotaur, seated, in front of a small pool of some kind. There were murals on the walls – new initiates, we think, getting the tour of the Temple’s “pleasures.”

Ezekiel stepped forward into the room – and the minotaur jumped up and smacked him with a flail.

I had an arrow ready, as always, so I speared the creature right in his bull-ish nose.

Yeti threw his hammer, Mikael waved his hand and cast faery fire…and Heiron and Raven fired missiles into the blackness around the minotaur (Raven bought a stock of javelins, so he’s trying them out).

I missed my next few shots, but the minotaur was busy pulled the arrow out of his nose – and by then Yeti’s hammer had gotten back to him, and he threw it again – smashing the minotaur to the floor in a pile of gak.

By then it was pretty obvious it wasn’t really a statue – though it was wearing leather armor dirtied to resemble stone. (Heiron told me he was so surprised to see it move that he forgot about his stance, and that must be why he missed all his shots. At least he’s learned one important lesson: making weak excuses for your bad performance.)

Raven found a crack in a javelin he threw, but hopes he can repair it.

Wonillon dug around under the minotaur’s throne, and found a bag of thirteen agates – plus a scroll that says “protection from all elements.” Pretty cool! Mikael is hanging on to it, in case of need.

There is a corridor leading out of the room to the south, but everyone checked for secret passages anyway…everyone except me, because I’ve learned how bad I am at that.

Mikael even asked Corby to look for secret passages, and she flapped right over to the east wall and scrabbled at it with her claws.

Wonillon and Raven both checked it for traps, but couldn’t find any.

We readied our weapons (Lydia pulled out an egg) and then Yeti and Ezekiel found a trap when they opened the door and a big ol’ beam covered in spikes swung down and knocked them on their butts.

In the room beyond, we spotted men in armor – and, assuming they weren’t captured prisoners – Heiron and I both launched arrows (although this time I missed, and he got the guy in the throat).

Wonillon leaped over our party leader, into the next room, and knifed a guy. Heiron shot another one. Raven leaped forward, and at Mikael’s command Corby and Cuddles swarmed through the door.

I checked my stance and took my shots, taking a guy down (he looked like a commander or something, though I could be wrong).

I caught a glimpse of Cuddles biting someone – and then the guard turned grey and went limp. I’m so glad Cuddles is on our side.


Find the previous entry here.

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One thought on “Dear Diary….shadows of evil

  1. Pingback: Dear Diary….killing people and taking their stuff - Kimia Wood

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