On day 251 – 303 Law, Marime discovers a heretofore unknown passage leading down from what was previously believed the lowest basement.
Marime, in a state of no small amount of boredom and in a state of aroused curiosity on hearing of the Temple of a now-snuffed potential Goddess, stumbles upon an illusion-masked door in the Temple to Arvana Sanys. After listening at it, hearing wind and water, he makes way quickly upstairs to inform other members of the group. First encountered, Glorian and Sheeba in the Grand Library. After being notified of this, they begin heading upstairs as Marime sprints up the stairs to find others.
In short order, he finds Moz and Joshua in the dining area – Moz idly writing down a lengthy dissertation on Wildspace travel while Joshua suns himself near the pillar of superheated light. It’s quickly decided that the door would be investigated, and Joshua wakes and subsequently informs Aika of the plan. While they both get geared up, Moz continues writing, Gnimish, Goh and Ismek (all in their proper respective places) continue sleeping, Itsasne proceeds with her morning greeting of the sun and Glorian leads Sheeba down to the base of the stairs in preparation of the exploration of the door and what lies on the other side thereof.
After a short excursion, a horde of four score zombies is found and in short order – mostly by the graces of one Aika Coppergate – dispatched. A bit of party shuffle finds Klava at a mostly rotted door with a bit too much anger, and after barreling through the door and finding only decaying supply crates, he is poisoned by smashing one such crate. Pushing on, the group find an octagonal room with a loose floor panel concealing some treasure. Beyond, a hallway leading to another supply closet – this one filled with unlabeled bottles, phials and flasks. Further still, a room of twelve sealed wooden cases. One is opened, at range, by Gnimish’s skill with remote lock manipulation and proves to be filled only with dirt. Moz, ever alert, realizes that it is likely that this is the sign of vampiric habitation and brings forth Sheba to magically view for such. After an extended skirmish with both a vampiric troll and a vampiric halfling, the party sends for more healing.
Undaunted, and freshly restored, the crew push further into the delve and find what Brother Joshua eventually identifies to be Dawntime Era Orcish script. The opposite tunnel leads deeper still, to a disused cistern and a wall showing signs of recent – within the last several centuries – use of a concealed passage. Continuing, they come to the first taunting puzzle chamber. Four busts each with a placard, and when properly appeased these guardians open the way forward, a giant metal plug screwed deeply into the floor.
Another puzzle room is revealed beyond, and quickly played to rest as four elemental barriers fall before the collective wit of the group. And another puzzle beyond in the form of six multi-colored statues which prove to animate into Caryatid Columns. Once destroyed, only one final statue remains with further puzzlement in store for the group. Ismek, ready to set out to scout for traps, realizes the human limitations of his eyesight and, by chance alone, finds himself possessed of a wish by which to correct these shortcomings. Sheba augurs correctly and they all proceed down the correct set of stairs into the next area – with Ismek plying his thiefly trade and disarming a lethal trap halfway down.
The hallway beyond is strewn with gold and trinkets aplenty and a carved stone face with gaping maw at the end. Ismek again triumphs over another deadly trap, this one a killing floor of balances and weights wherein the ceiling would flatten anyone so hapless as to trigger the trap.
Klavia, bored, investigates the next room. A burial chamber for someone in lavish regalia, bearing a sword, a crown, a ring and a scroll. Klavia, after genuflecting before this regal figure, claims the greatsword and realizes its inherent superiority over the rapier he’d been loaned after the destruction of his last blade to the Columns. Gnimish investigates the mouth and pockets a candle and a spellbook – cursed, unfortunately – before the jaws snap shut on his summoned tentacles. Upon having his attention caught by Klavia, the pocket archmage investigates the bier. The ring seizes on his attention first and upon slipping it from the body’s finger, it slides onto his. In a flash, Gnimish finds that the ring was also cursed, swapping male Gnomish anatomy for female. Not at all taken aback, after having Moz assist with the refitting of armor and gear, she snags the crown from the figure’s head and finds herself dominated by its sinister power. Destruction she will bring, by her own hand, unto the party.
Through a bit of misdirection, Gnimish vanishes and sends forth an illusion to lure Ismek up the other set of trapped stairs. Too late the realization hits the rogue, followed by the hundreds of razor sharp blades concealed behind the walls of the staircase. Moz, right behind, snatches up the seriously injured human and rebounds down the stairs just in time to avoid triggering another round. With Itsasne’s divine aid, the boy’s wounds are tended promptly and with Moz and Marime standing guard, the Admiral sends the rest – Brother Joshua, Klavia, Aika and Sheba ahead. With Gnimish bringing up the rear and the end. Gnimish’s Staff calls forth a Nalfeshnee to waylay Aika just as Klavia’s eyes lock onto the statue, triggering the berserking quality of his newfound weapon of choice. Joshua’s armor deflects the first blows of the fight, Sheba cries out the alarm and raises an obscuring mist as the demon charges the rear. This, however, is merely but a distraction as Gnimish loses more and more control and quickly finds the destructive urges coursing her mind turning not only towards her boon companions, but to herself. Rushing into the rear flank of the party, Gnimish breaks her Staff of the Magi. In an instant, the space between breaths, Joshua, Klavia, Aika, Sheba and Gnimish are all destroyed in the outpouring energies of a retributive strike.
This brings Moz running at full speed, brought up short as the top of the stairs and much of the floor beyond is a smoking crater in the wake of the destruction. Uncertain as to the fate of his charges, he directs Ismek to disarm the trap that had laid him low and focused on getting his team upstairs to take stock of the casualties.