Panthers. Still chasing after the Rahib, we encountered panthers. We’re not quite sure why but they were lounging about in a bedroom the Rahib had just passed through. Kayoshin turned and fled the room while we were still making “here kitty kitty” entreaties. Turns out her reaction was the smartest, as the cats were not particularly friendly. But there’s no animal behavior a few nearly-mortal wounds wont fix. The kitties have now been moved to a cell to recover, but I’m already getting ahead of the story.
Back to the panther’s room. Verdant violently tossed the bed but found nothing. We continued searching nearby rooms. One had a table spread with papers, upon which were drawings of three women – the three elf maidens! Marisa, Silva, and Rahasia. (spelling probably wrong for some). Around the drawings were many diagrams and inscrutable divine and/or arcane things. On seeing this, Karamail was impressed and exclaimed “They can understand women! Or at least, they are trying to understand women!!”. I believe someone took the diagrams, possibly Brandr. What could go wrong.
The next door opened into a large hall where four elves in armor stood guard facing away from us. They were facing doors in the far wall, as though they expected an army to come through it. They were not expecting us though and so they were quickly subdued. And I took their swords. Counting the 5 I put in the bag of holding, it was quite an arsenal.
Beyond was a very large cell block, in which were only two prisoners. The first was Hasaan, the second a turbaned character named Baik Talor. Kayoshin asked Hasaan some tricky questions to establish his identity, and I gave him a sword. Baik Talor talked with us for a while and told us the following:
He comes from the same nation as Tangor and had been following Tangor here. He is from a small contingent there who is afraid that Tangor’s mission here is going to cause trouble. He has heard of the Hand/Heart/Body legend, only in that whoever holds all three may undo the Great Evil. He guesses vaguely that the Great Evil concerns the lawless lands to their East. However he did not realize how powerful that they were in and of themselves.
He did not know who the “shadow assistants” were.
When asked if he knew who Tangor served, he said the Theocracy. Then when we talked about the letter though, the one that said “The one who we serve will be protected”, he became pensive and said “they seem to believe that these items will harm the Master”. Apparently the Master is some shadowy thing atop their theocratic order?
He wasn’t categorically in favor of killing Tangor, but evidence of great evil being wrought by him would change that. So… what the hell, we let him out. I gave him a sword. We’re keeping a pretty close eye on him.
The cell on the end had a hole in the ceiling, the bottom end of a shaft that stretched 50 feet up. From the objects at the bottom we figured out that this was the well shaft we’d seen in the sort-of guided tour section of the temple above us. Verdant managed to rig the grappling hook on her crossbow somehow and fired the hook up above the well, so her and Kayoshin and Brandr were able to shimmy up. Verdant and Kayoshin went to the statue and managed to get the pendant off only after touching it with the ring. This produced a flash of light, fused the two items together, and the writing on the back is now clearly readable. Although… I confess I didn’t read it myself. You’d have to ask them.
Kayoshin and Verdant high tailed it back down the well but Brandr lingered a while for some reason that escapes me. He had to fake his way past a group of siswa in the hallway but he made it back eventually. He dropped down with us right as we were carrying the semi-conscious panthers into the cell, and debating whether we should wait for Brandr before locking them in. Just Kidding!!
Off we went then, back to the Bedroom of Purported Pantheric Proclivities, in the back of which we had found an important looking secret passage. It led back and down until we came to the actual ancient wizard-ey tower, the tower upon which this mountain was once so vindictively dropped, in the old war between, the tower’s Wizard and er…. yea. magic folks. Ones not to be trifled with, I would guess. The tower was a little the worse for wear and some rubble and broken battlements lay about it, but shockingly, still pretty towerlike. We went in.
The corridors are 10 feet wide, and 30 feet high, with walls that are streaked with soot. We weren’t in the damn tower a minute before 2 thieves tried to jump us. One is now dead and the other very nearly so. We interrogated him a bit but he didn’t have much to tell besides that he had followed a flash-looking sort in expensive dark armors down (Tangor?), and that they’d gotten lost since. We relieved them of their 200 gp and a bottle of wine.
An exchange I jotted down:
Karamail: Shall we search his buddy?
Gertie: His body or his buddy, because we already searched his body.
Karamail: His buddy.
Gertie: Thank you for using disambiguated terms.
We took a bit of a break then, and did some healing. Brandr said “I can take the carpets out and we can relax”, at which was the hope expressed that this was not a code for anything. Turns out he meant the fancy carpets we’ve been lugging around in the bag of holding all this time.
Anyway, this tower is beyond ancient, and as we started exploring we were finding nothing but dust and cobwebs. We were just starting to let our guard down, opening doors to more and more empty rooms when, A Red Dragon breathed out a forge-hot fire and instantly killed all of us. or at least, almost all of us. I was fine! Likewise Turban dude, who I now watched warily. He became unsettled and I should probably avoid toying absently with the manacles on my belt. It was just one of two impressive illusions set to guard the area though. The other illusion was of a great treasure, where when you run towards it, you bonk your head a bit. Between the two, the red dragon that kills everybody with fire is really the more menacing but who am I to say.
What they were guarding, is a wall of light. If you walk into it then it just mirrors you about 180 degrees and you find yourself walking into a room full of the companions you were just walking away from. BUT, if you walk through it backwards, whilst unnecessarily shuffling your feet in a strange manner, you end up somewhere else. Possibly the foot shuffle is extraneous but we’ll never know.
The next room had 2 rows of tables upon which sat various lab equipment like beakers and such. Everything was covered in a thick layer of dust. At the far end of the room were two alcoves, and in between the alcoves hung a jaunty pink ladies hat in remarkably good condition. Gertie picked up the hat and feeling kinda classy, sauntered her way into an alcove where both her and the hat disappeared. the hat reappeared on the peg but Gertie did not.
Suffice it to say, we all followed suit and wore the hat into the same alcove to be teleported away. What lay beyond was very fancy bedroom – floors and walls and even ceiling were covered in carpets and veils and pillows. Deep within all this lay the elf maiden Sylva.
Brandr and I took some cautious steps towards the maiden. As he turned towards me, I think to signal the plan in his mind, I showed my support for the excellent plan by getting a pair of manacles ready.
Xandros: “Oh. Oh no, sorry. You know, I completely misread this situation”.
Thus instead of manacling her, we rescued her. We talked to her a bit. I gave her a sword. The party is getting kinda big at this point.
The next room is a fancier bedroom with a chest and a bed and perfumes and unguents and weird shit in jars. Verdant violently tosses the bed which scares the hell out of Sylva and we laugh. Verdant runs with it. “My grandpa died in a bed. No bed will survive!!!”
There was also another fancy ladies hat, and another alcove. We have posited that this is the way back to the beaker room.
Beyond was a corridor that led right and left, each opening up into similarly symmetric rooms. The room on the left was full of treasure, but given the treasure illusion we’d just seen, we paused there. Kristek and Karamail chose to venture forward anyway and not until too late did we see the strange device on either side of the corridor. A flash of light and a bolt of energy from these devices, and Kristek and Karamail are now life-sized platinum statues.
Newly statuesque, they each levitated and floated back away from the treasure and then through a pair of doors that now opened in the far wall. We followed them into that corridor, where we found innumerable other platinum statues. Oh dear. Karamail’s statue had come to rest in an alcove but Kristek’s continued floating on down the hall. We’re not quite sure where he ended up. At the end that way was an elevator room. We tried putting a statue on the magic elevator disc thing and it could indeed carry a ludicrously heavy statue up and back.
Way back the way we came past the two bedrooms was another door. In the room beyond was a giant seated bronze statue with his head tilted back and his mouth agape. “I judge by taste” said a plaque at his feet. Around him on the three other sides were three lowered porticullises. Beyond each porticullis, narrow passageways led away and turned quickly.
Time for some wine. But first a test. Brandr opened the bottle and drank some of the wine eagerly and… fell unconscious. We gave it to the statue anyway cause, hell, it was either that or the blue goo or one of our potions. The far porticullus opened.
We waited for Brandr to awake, and when he did he told us of a dream. Three dragons had been staring malevolently at a single smaller dragon, which smaller dragon had only one eye.
Obviously our highest priority is to return Karamail from his statuesqueness, but lacking any path to do so, we continue to explore and rescue elf maidens.