Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure “The Temple of Elemental Evil”
After questioning the prisoner, we had a quick consultation in Lawful Good (if he’s an assassin, I’m going to be very mad).
The problem was what to do with the prisoners, while we went after the Head Cleric of the Water Temple before he was alerted. Ezekiel decided to put Heiron, Raven, and the animals in charge of keeping the prisoners (one rescued and one captured) safe, while the rest of us tried dealing with the cleric (to leave the Water Temple leaderless, you see).
That worked out, because Cuddles will be digesting for quite some time, and moves much slower at the moment…and also I don’t want Heiron on the front lines for a bit. We’ll be fighting some dangerous people, and I just can’t risk someone else’s life like that.
While we were having our discussion, someone discovered a door behind a tapestry on the wall – a door with no handle and an iron shutter. That was no problem for Lydia, who still made it open by snapping her fingers or something.
On the other side, just as my map had indicated, there was an angular room – basically a pass-through to the smallest barracks (the first one we cleared, with a zig-zag shape). There’s a stool for a sentry, and a line of twine running through eyebolts into the barracks wall. I think it’s obviously some kind of trap (or alarm), but we haven’t investigated what it does yet.
It also fits into my theory about what the guards were doing – they were fleeing up this way to get help from the barracks…not knowing that we had already killed them all.
Ezekiel led us back around to the minotaur room and into the passage that opens to the south. This corridor is very long, which he hoped meant it was leading us around the main body of the temple to bring us to the cleric’s quarters.
After 150 or 160 feet, we reached a door at the end of the corridor. When Ezekiel threw the door open, I could see bugbears – for once in our lives, we surprised them.
They wore grey kilts and cloaks with a big black square emblazoned on them, and carried spears and battleaxes. That’s all I saw before I shot one through the throat.
Wonillon charged into the room, and Lydia tossed an egg – then swore, because she couldn’t create the cloud with our team in there.
Ezekiel and Mikael followed his lead (Mikael getting in some good smacks with his staff) and I took out another bugbear before they had time to react.
We’d killed a couple more when the last one standing started howling. Of course that meant reinforcements, so I slid along the wall just inside the door to cover the door across the room.
The reinforcements were some gnolls (chainmail) and a few more bugbears (scale mail) – all in those same grey uniforms. I shot down a couple of them, and they tried to return fire – but the arrows went over my head. Raven says they expected me to be taller, but I don’t see his point.
Ezekiel shouted for Lydia, and she raced into the room…but she couldn’t do Stinking Cloud with such a cluttered battleground. She did stand in front of me, though, so I missed two shots.
Mikael and Ezekiel both bashed their opponents to the ground, though, so that’s good.
I think I counted twelve bodies when we were done. They had some decent money on them, but I haven’t bothered to pile the bodies somewhere. They’re just bugbears and gnolls, after all…and smell pretty bad.
Their room was stuffed with odds-and-ends of furniture – couches, cushions on the floor, tables, a barrel and a cask –and the wall-hangings were plain solid colors – grey, ivroy, white.
In between the hangings were plaster paintings, and these were also different than in other parts of the Temple: scenes of tornadoes and such ripping homes apart (so the violence thing was still a motif).
It makes sense in retrospect.
The door across the room led into a hallway, and we advanced carefully – with the prisoners in back, so they could be protected. Yeti volunteered to help with that job, which freed Raven up to come to the front lines if needed.
While I stood in the hall to watch for enemies, Ezekiel opened the very next door – it led south.
This room had a grey carpet, and a cabinet with a number of things…including some wax candles, some old clothes, and some honey.
Raven helped himself to the honey, so I helped myself to the candles (he says he already has candles, but you never know what you might need)
There were also piles of tapestries, rugs, and such on the floor as bedding, so I guess the bugbears and gnolls also slept in here sometimes.
Ezekiel called me into the room before he opened yet another door to the east…so when he did, I could clearly see a man in heavy armor beyond.
The man said, “How many times, Garosh?” – and then my arrow glanced off his armor. (Good thing I restocked from the gnoll archers.)
Wonillon, Raven, and Ezekiel charged in to confront him – but Ezekiel’s mace bounced off the man’s armor and whacked Raven.
I shot again, and somehow speared Wonillon through the arm. Raven told me, “The bad guy was taller than that, Elwyn,” but I feel no need to take archery lessons from a monk (even if he can catch arrows from the air).
Mikael must have been surprised to see me do this, because he ran forward and swung at the enemy, then dropped his staff altogether.
By the time we were done with all that slap-stick routine, the man in armor was fleeing behind a curtain at the back of his bedroom. Raven and Mikael dashed after him, followed quickly by Wonillon.
I’m not as fast as they are…and the last thing I wanted was to be surprised by a flanking enemy in the hallway behind…so I stayed where I could hear any cries for help from our rear forces, and could hopefully hear if anyone was coming down the hallway at us.
Ezekiel said something like, “Wait for me!” (or was it, “It’s pointless to flee”?) and disappeared through the curtain.
I called to the rear forces to move into the room with me, and with them less “in the open” (couldn’t be flanked so easily) I moved into the armored man’s bedroom.
I had no idea how far the chase had gone, or whether they could catch him at all – but before I had too long to wonder, Wonillon showed up…carrying Raven, who seemed frozen with his arms in that weird stiff-fingered position he calls a “stance.”
Shortly after, Ezekiel showed up, lugging the armored cleric with him – dead.
While he searched the cleric’s bedroom (they tell me the deceased was a cleric because he cast some spells on Raven…they didn’t work on Mikael somehow), Lydia detected that the cleric’s chainmail, mace, dagger, and cloak were all magical.
We gave her the dagger, since she didn’t have a magic one yet, and once Raven de-stiffened and could move again, we gave him the cloak.
The bedroom wasn’t super fancy – a few pewter dishes, some books and scrolls on a shelf, plus some human and demi-human skulls on display (wouldn’t you like to not know where those came from!). Ezekiel also found a cassock of silver cloth with that same black rectangle beaded with jet…apparently the official vestments.
Lydia asked our prisoner about the dead man, and he told us it’s “Kelno,” the Cleric of the Air Temple (thus it makes sense that the motifs all changed).
He explained that Air, Fire, and Water are all on this level – but the Water Temple is the “Lesser Temple”…and they’re all fighting over that position.
Makes sense…the Greater Temple is on the level below (I think?) and the Lesser Temple is the favored spot right after them. The elemental temples have something to fight over, and the Greater Temple has a reward to offer those who are most loyal.
The prisoner (he has a name, right?) also laughed at us for not knowing any of this…but it’s pretty hard to learn things when we keep killing anyone who could talk to us (and also when we’re so bad at questioning people).
Mikael had been investigating the hallway Cleric Kelno fled down. It had a stockpile of weapons and armor, a chest, and a fountain with a gargoyle head spitting milky water into the basin (I won’t be drinking any of that!).
There’s a secret door off an alcove here, and the passage curves around to a staircase leading further down. That will have to wait until later!
Lydia got the chest unlocked (that is really coming in handy!), and we took a bunch of money for the bag of holding.
Ezekiel says he wants to return to the hallway by where we killed the gnolls, and follow it around north.
After a little bite to eat, though. The prisoner at least can’t march all day on an empty stomach, and killing bugbears is hungry work.
[sketch of involved area]
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