Just as Aderian made to empty his boots of water, they turned to the sound of splashing water as a waterlogged zombie crawled out. To its shriveled flesh clung a ragged loincloth and three giant leaches, long dead. “Turn back ye raiders of the forgotten shrine!” it croaked. “The savior was never meant to return. Let me pass so that golden sunlight might free my soul.”
Azrak, nearly forgotten among the crew, gripped his hammer with savage intent, but was held back. “We can talk to it,” explained Tienarth.
“I will answer three questions, then I demand you let me pass. My soul must be freed by sunlight.”
Despite a growing urge towards violence, Azrak was convinced to ask questions. First, he asked what was behind the door at the end of the long hallway. The answer was a large monument to the savior. Asking about the pool, they learned of the lost head from a statue. About the city of Doukreg, they asked about a map, and the spirit spoke of a street map carved in stone.
With questions answered, the spirit shuffled towards the exit. Azrak swung his hammer, crushing the skull from behind. The figure let out a chilling howl that gave Azrak pause. “You broke your word,” declared Urgesh, the half-orc barbarian. He lifted up the still form to carry it out of the shrine. When he passed under a beam of sunlight, the body quickly dissolved into a puff of steam.
They immediately left the shrine to return to the ruined city. After half an hour of climbing, they followed Urgesh to where two great avenues crossed. In the center, spared the destruction of Molokotu, stood a four-sided stele bearing carved maps. All around them were ruined buildings crushed beneath the mighty feet of the iron giant. Azrak was urged to decipher the dwarven runes from which they estimated where they would find a bank.
After tracing through streets filled with rubble, they came to the ruins of what they assumed was a bank. Aderian communed with his bag, seeking the closest treasure. Jerker began pulling aside large chunks of walls to reveal two ancient dwarven coins. The meager treasure disappointed, and they agreed to return the shrine.
Back in the shrine, Elgar prayed to the Anointed One for guidance. His figure briefly illuminated. He suddenly had directly knowledge of a great evil deeper into the shrine. They began working to get over the pool by using a rope attached to the bridge. Jerker assisted by giving them each a violent shove. Urgesh, Aderian, Azrak and Elgar each let go on the other side and tumbled into the long hallway.
Tienarth, taking care not to fall in to the water nor wanting to attempt he dismount from the swinging rope, produced his magic rope which he attached near the top of one of the columns. From this arrangement he was able to rappel around the column. Jerker followed him.
Along the long hallway were a number of alcoves, each holding a statue. They looked at these briefly, then moved to the door at the end of the hallway. Beyond it was a room with a huge brass statue. Twenty feet tall, the figure was a dwarf with four arms and source scimitars held high. Jerker hurled a stone which clanged loundly off the face. Elgar sensed a level of evil in the statue but also sense a stronger source of evil to the west.
Down the western passage they found the head of a devil, ten feet tall and bathed in fire. Molten lava surrounded it. It howled in pain and begged them to pull a lever on the western wall. They refused, despite long protests from the devil.
Skirting the lava, they tried a door to the south where a small room held a pillow, a candle, ink, a quill and a long scroll. A few apologies were written on scroll. Aderian picked up the scroll and attempted his own apology.
Perhaps unsatisfied with a lack of genuine foes, Azrak settled into picking a fight with Urgesh. Bickering turned a bold challenge from the half-orc. “Hit me!” he commanded the dwarf, who obliged with a solid blow with his magical hammer. The barbarian took a moment to catch his breath. It suddenly occurred to him that a quaff of his potion of growth would help protect himself from the dwarf’s aggression.
Stymied by the slippery exit of the pillow room, the group moved east where Urgesh faced an undead thing in a cloak. Rage built up and he felt control slipping away. The crypt thing tore at his flesh, but boiling rage and magical enlargement help make the fight conclude quickly.
The rest of the crew dashed out of the room and hammered a spike in to the floor. Having dropped the monster, Urgesh’s raged spurred him to find the next closest opponent. He pounded on the door while Jerker held it closed. Fortunately, a he managed to get his rage under control before he broke through the door.
Exhausted, he stumbled back into the shrine room to grab the best-looking of the oversized scimitars from the statue. He felt its magic flow through him. It was the perfect size for his enlarged form.
Back in the room where Urgesh fought the crypt thing, they found several jail cells. Aderian grabbed a pair of silver manacles. Tienarth read through a diary that he noticed mentioned the savior and his trusty scimitar, Vambier.
Various items in the cells leaped into the air and dropped. Old whips hanging on the wall cracked then fell into tatters. These seemingly harmless pranks were quickly disregarded, as were all the other contents of the cells, including a strange arm made of rock.
Several tunnels caked with mud lead out of the cells, but they chose not to explore them. Instead, the returned to the pool room and scaled the big columns. Above the western column, the ceiling bore a bas-relief of a glaring dwarf face. Aderian and Jerker suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of guilt which they professed. Non-stop regret annoyed the rest of them and proved a hindrance to the two fighters.
Over at the eastern column, a matching bas-relief resembled a demon. Urgesh made for the door and pushed it through a layer of mud beyond it. In the center of a cavernous room stood a one-armed rock creature. Moments later it burst into action to attack the half-orc. They traded blows with vigor.
Jerker, slowed by his despair, stood in the doorway and hurled a stone at the rock creature. It struck Urgesh instead. The one good arm of the rock monster landed against the barbarian’s head, ruining his helmet and sending it flying. Jerker trudged slowly into the mud to fight the monster. Elgar followed and laid healing hands on the fallen barbarian.
Tienarth fired a magic missile, and Jerker bashed with his crystal sword, destroying the earth elemental. Presently, an invisible force shoved Tienarth from the column. He plunged into the stagnant pool. Aderian stabbed with little effect at the invisible foe. Tienarth climbed back up on the column and used a web spell to trap the invisible stalker. Stuck and visible by the webs hanging over it, they were able to destroy it.
- Giant scimitar called Vambier
- Silver manacles
- Diary of Alamend the Minstrel
- Combat 3,475
- Crypt Thing 555 xp
- Earth Elemental 1,975 xp
- Invisible Stalker 945 xp
- Aderian (fight) 643 xp
- Azrak (stubborn, underground) 591 xp
- Elgar (faith, offers help) 648 xp
- Jerker (fight) 643 xp
- Tienarth (acquire knowlege, use magic) 591 xp
- Urgesh (aggressive, combat as test, fight, rage) 596 xp