Ezekiel and Mikael voted to give the scroll of Protection from Undead to High Priest Yra. Those “cleric types” really do stick together. (Mikael said, if Ez heard an “inner voice” suggesting it, he’d best follow it, because “inner voices,” y’know. Raven suggested that Ez just wanted to secure his usefulness…but he might have been pulling Ez’s chain.)
On a more sombre note, while we were gone, Master Bern decided to move to greener pastures or something. They told us at the tower that he felt the sting of being bamboozled by a crystal ball very deeply, so he decided his talents would be better used elsewhere or something.
He also took Spugnoir with him – which I guess means Sp isn’t too much of a “bad guy”? It’s true the cultist assassin didn’t bother to kill him when he/she went through, and the impression at the tower was that he was more incompetent and greedy than scheming. Live and learn, I guess…makes you feel almost sorry for the guy. Not sorry enough to want him in Homlette, though.
There’s a new mage at the tower to replace him. Apparently he never comes down to the tavern or anything like that, but Lydia says his name is Abi Zol Marn. He’s Suloese, too, so maybe they will get along extra well.
Tressarian was talking with us this morning, and pointed out that he protects me from fire when I hold him. Bottom line, we gave my ring of Fire Resistance to Heiron…so now (if we plan ahead) like five or six of us will be protected against fiery things in the future.
It feels like we’re honest-to-goodness growing up, and getting stronger and more effective. If my mother could see me now…
We started this raid of the Temple in the alchemist’s room (on the north end of the third basement).
While Lydia and Wonillon loaded up every spell component that she said would be useful, the rest of us took another look at the map we’d drawn…and there’s a sense of magic and EVIL beyond the north wall of every northern room on this floor (because they make Tressarian check every single room.)
We pulled out our map of the second floor, and Ezekiel pointed out there might be stairs leading down to that blocked area – the stairs guarded with those runes we can’t look at.
We threw around a few ideas for how to check out that area (scrying, stone-melding, gaseous form) but in the end I think I convinced them to leave it for a while. After all, if the throne in the front hall “goes down,” maybe it goes into that space? And we’re certainly not ready to face down whatever’s at the bottom of that quite yet.
(I’m kind of worried. Raven nominated Tressarian for party leader, and Tres seems to have taken it to heart. Ezekiel is ignoring this development at the moment, but we shouldn’t let it grow out of control.)
Ez decided to check out the “mushroom room” next (it’s on the map the female assassin gave us, but it’s clear by now she left out certain details). We went past the “evil purple room” and up the corridor to the “mushroom room” – which is just that…there are funguses everywhere, faintly glowing, some growing taller than me from the floor, some growing from shelves on the walls.
At first, only Mikael and Ezekiel saw this, since they went first (Mikael had asked Obi-Hai for “control plants”).
The rest of us stayed in the corridor. We heard them talking to somebody, and then:
“Oh no! The mushrooms drove him mad!” said some woman (trouble!) and a female figure in armor slashed Mikael (and as though a sword wound weren’t bad enough, she slapped him, too!).
Ezekiel cried, “I’ll retrain him!” and tossed a nail at him – but Mikael apparently ignored him and sicced his insects on the woman.
Disconcerted as I was, I managed to get an arrow into her (because no one messes with our druid!) and Raven cast faery fire from his ring.
“Be healed,” Ezekiel called, patting the woman’s shoulder – and that’s when we knew for sure that something was wrong, since he wasn’t looking out for his team-mate like he always does.
Simba charged past us and swiped at the woman, who was busy swatting at insects. Mikael and I did some more damage before Raven ran along the wall or something and threw his magic rope around them…
And that’s when the next weirdness struck. Ezekiel got tangled up, all right, but the “woman”…the rope slid around her, slapping nothing but air, and for a moment I thought she had a ring of free action or something, until she turned to flee.
Then, we could see what she really looked like: the bottom half of a lion, with the top half of a naked woman coming out of its neck (I’ll just say I’m glad she was fleeing at the time).
She also split into four, and while Mikael was cracking one of them over the head, the rest of them reached the door at the far end of the room.
“I’ll hold them off,” Ezekiel bellowed, and body-slammed Raven…only he tripped and landed on the floor. Mikael told Cuddles to “hug” Ezekiel, while he and I advanced into the room to make sure the enemies were gone.
With Cuddles taking care of Ezekiel, Raven freed his rope and joined us. By that time, the “woman” was long gone, and we’d never catch up with her – especially weaving our way through all the mushrooms.
Raven spotted some that he says are rare, but totally safe and tasty. He gathered some of them, but I’m not sure I’m that adventurous.
I’m not sure if it’s something Lydia did, or if he just needed time, but Ezekiel finally started talking like himself again. Seems a little grumpy that somebody else got into his head, but other than that he has moved on because that’s what he does.
Lydia says the creature was a “lamyri.” I don’t think Mikael could convince it to be his friend, even with magic.
Rather than chase up and down stairs after it, we decided to hope the insects finished the lamyri off, and returned to the “evil purple room.” Ezekiel cast his “Detect Traps” spell (still getting used to that idea) and had me bring Tressarian around the room while he looked at everything. (Honestly, I’m just a weapons rack some days.)
I guess we spent enough time in there, looking around, that the lights decided to attack. It looked so weird, I wish I could draw it. The light from inside the lamps actually floated out toward us – but they played tricks so that all the shadows from the statues and such didn’t move. I’m just glad we noticed them before they were on us.
Lydia threw bright sparkling bolts from her hand at one of them. Mikael and Sgt. Bearington bashed and tore into two others. The rest of us…not so well. Maybe they weren’t enough like “evil fire”? Tressarian just wasn’t on his game, and only bit them a few times.
You wouldn’t think floating lights could hurt you so bad…or take that much punishment. But the burns on my face and arms taught me different. (Ezekiel patched them up, of course, but the memory is still there.)
Mikael cracked one with his staff and knocked it to the floor. Heiron, also, speared one with an arrow — it flickered and went out. Raven stabbed one with a dagger, and its ethereal body oozed off the blade, lifeless.
The blows weren’t all on one side, though. Mikael’s pets got burned so badly they fled the battle. He had to coax them back so he could heal them.
Well, with the last of the enemy dead or chased away, we focused on the monster statues.
Ezekiel said his magic told him that the scroll tube in front of the beholder probably had a fire trap on it. Wonillon is protected from those things, so he went and tried to disable it. I mean, I assume he didn’t mean for the huge fire-ball to erupt. Everything is fine – except the scroll and case.
The mummy’s bottle wasn’t magical (smelled like acid, so we left it), but the staff it held was…and trapped with a “glyph of warding,” Ez said. He tried to protect himself with “protection from evil,” but I guess it still got him, and his eyes turned white! He staggered around for a bit until Lydia put Keotim’s Ointment on his eyes.
The wight’s urn (we thought it was silver, Wonillon says it’s platinum) had a very loose top. Ez wasn’t sure if it counted as a trap or not, but since Wonillon has the necklace of adaptation, the dust that poured out didn’t bother him. He called it “sneezing and choking” dust, and sprinkled some water to make it die down so the rest of us could come back in.
What else? A couple of the statues had magic jewelry that didn’t try to do anything to us when we took them. The dragon’s box had a load of gems inside, although Tres also says that the box itself is probably magical. Ez assured us the manticor’s crossbow was safe to pick up, so we did…only it has no string. I’ll have to look at it more closely if I get the chance.
Raven says he figured one of the daggers he’s been using has a resevoir of poison in the handle. That’s what happens when you steal evil people’s weapons and use them. He has to decide if he should keep using it without rinsing it out first. (Mikael says Cuddles uses poison…but he’s a snake; you wouldn’t expect him to do anything else.)
It was only early afternoon, but we decided the day had been exciting enough, so we took the stairs to Bel-Sornig’s suite and hunkered in. Ez closed Sgt. Bearington’s wounds, and Mikael changed himself into a raven and back to heal himself.
Gotta keep an eye on Raven that he doesn’t sneak any of those mushrooms into dinner.
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