Kingdom of Arboria, Year 2, Month 11
Day 1.5? 1.7?
We finally found a place to rest. It's a hell-hole filled with dried blood, torture instruments, and Centaur feces, but, you know, it has a certain homey quality to it. More of a hovely quality, really. Like a literal hole in the ground. Formerly shared with the denizens of hell.
The shrine room was simultaneously a temple to some horrid deity and a gateway to this lovely corner of the dungeon. The tables were altars, and the cups were filled with dried blood. After poking around for a while, Kris carefully scrubbed out the cups and then gave us the all-clear to proceed. He assures us that by doing so he disabled some kind of horrible fire trap. Sometimes I think he is making stuff up just to pretend to earn his keep.
Beyond the shrine room we found a hallway of hewn stone, half finished. Passageways end in side alcoves; stairs ascend four steps and stop in midair. Of course, our ability to admire the shoddy architecture was cut short by a… demon? I guess? It inquired of Kris in whose name he dared to enter the chambers, and Kris replied (quite honestly, I might add) "In the name of Gelros Zhevons!" Well, the demon creature (apparently, a psychodemon, according to Gelros… although how the mental state of a pyschotic demon differs from a regular one I don't know) didn't respect that.
The psychodemon was a hard target. First, it clawed and grappled Kris. Second, Kris squirmed free. Third, it clawed and grappled Kris. You get the idea. Shella hit it, Jaric hit it, Narzeth cast his boneshattering spell (a couple times, it was apparently resistant), and generally everyone poured on the fury. It declined to die, for a while at least. Eventually, the demon emitted a cloud of noxious, stinking gas, which made Shella mad. So Shella finished it off. Done; moving on.
Meanwhile, a soul eater appeared. Everiel (she's coming in handy, that one) turned one on the psychodemon, which it happily helped murder. I then shot it to death. Another appeared and I shot it to death too. Good riddance.
At the end of the passageway (in the room we currently occupy), we found the centaur, Xamanthe, unconscious, bloodied, and paralyzed. Jaric healed her and released her from paralysis with a scroll, at which point she recovered and began conversing with Gelros in Sylvan. Xamanthe acknowledges being in way over her head and is thankful for the rescue. Upon entering the tomb, she was defeated by the cyclops zombies and brought to this place. She related being tortured by an emaciated cyclops with a single gem for an eye. She wants to go home.
We're spent for today; I've lost track of how many hours it has been since we slept. Much as none of us wants to sleep in this place, it seems the safest option to hole up where we are until we've rested and regained strength. Xamanthe has agreed to wait with us before we move.
Day… we'll call it 2, I guess
I'm writing in a lull in our exploration. This… morning seems an incorrect word, but I'll use it anyway… we woke cold and stiff in Xamanthe's temporary home, the torture chamber. During the "night," Shella had encountered and dispatched one of the zombies; on inspection it appears to be one we'd already destroyed once before. Someone, or something, is repairing them. If I had to guess, it would be this gem-eyed cylcops, who is beginning to sound a lot like the Vordekai of the centaur legends.
We escorted Xamanthe out of the fortress, retracing our steps to the entrance without incident. Outside, it was late morning. Bessie has left; her tracks lead back out of the valley. I can't blame her. Xamanthe headed out the same way. We, because we are fools, turned around and went back in.
When we woke earlier, I had the foresight to summon a centipede to scout the remainder of the fortress for us. At about the time that we returned to the shrine, it was back. I learned a little: the next chamber contained beings that made my vermin friend uneasy, and beyond there was a room full of heat, smoke, and sulpher. Finally, it found another path to the river, which is a useful insight.
We moved cautiously down the hallway and into a large chamber supported by two massive pillars. Here, unsurprisingly, we found soul eaters. Three, this time. We've learned now how to deal with these: Shella engaged and we dispatched them quickly. Now for the interesting part: to the right (as you enter the chamber) is a crack that leads to a passage filled with smoke and fumes. We haven't decided how to get through that yet, but fortunately there was another passage.
Straight ahead there was a door leading into the rock. Beyond this door lay a room with a huge cyclopean fresco and another, secret door, which Kris found behind a statue. This one was locked, both magically and with ordinary means. Narzeth dispelled the magical lock and Kris picked the regular one. Beyond was The Eye.
The Eye is a large gemstone fashioned as an eye and attached to the wall of the chamber. The whole room is so strongly magical even I can feel it. The walls are all covered in smaller painted images of eyes, all looking at that one central gemstone. Narzeth and Gelros studied it; Narzeth believes it may allow teleportation. Everything about that room suggests potent and dangerous magical rituals.
So, naturally, we've decided to steal it. (Well, perhaps "steal" is too strong a word when this entire place is clearly the lair of some evil villian whose very existence is a threat to our lands, but at the least we're claiming it as spoils of war.) So here I am writing, while Shella is in there with a crowbar working on removing it. What could possibly go wrong?
- Disable Stygian fire trap (9,600 XP)
- Defeat pyschodemon and soul eaters (14,400 XP)
- Rescue Xamanthe (quest XP to follow later)
- Defeat more soul eaters (XP?)
I got an eye, I got an eye, I got an eye, hey hey hey hey!