28 – 29 Rova 4712
Waking refreshed in the boggard’s temple, our merry band gathered two vials of the “magic juice” brewed by the boggards to make the “giant snapping grabber bugs” docile and headed off into the caverns.
After a half hour of marching through the dark, damp cavern passage, the group came upon a sizable cavern. The domed ceiling rose to a height of nearly twenty feet, while in the center stood a seven-sided monument of black, polished stone. Standing on top of the monument was a statue of what appeared to be a female figure, broken away at the chest.
As the group made their way to investigate the monument, a group of three “giant snapping grabber bugs” emerged from their dark corners hungry for something, or someone, to snap or grab. Gurion, the dwarven deep walker, was first up and the three bugs snapped and grabbed with relish.
Wounded, the dwarf retreated to his comrades and they braced for their attack. Fighting was fierce until Kellfrid, Ulfen raider, remembered she had the vials of “magic juice” and threw on at the bugs.
The giant snapping grabber bugs seemed to slow and grow docile, allowing the group to pass.
Huzzah!!! Well done, group, was the general feeling until the group’s elf wizard, Gedryr, decided that a ball of flame would be a nice addition to the bugs resting area.
Although happily lethargic before the flame, the bugs’ terror of the flame trumped their lethargy and they reacted with a furious assault.
Biting, slashing, magic, arrows and more magic finally did little. But less magic and more letting the bugs return to their drowsing state did.
Then, after a few, pointed looks to the elf, our heroes investigated the chamber.
They found an odd portion of a name, “Aval xi” inscribed within some broken away arcane runes, but they were unable to neither decipher name nor spell. With nothing left to do they pushed on.
They march until they the rough walls of the corridor gave way to worked stone, with walls made of blue-veined white marble. This chamber’s ceiling was supported by columns of masterfully sculpted women warriors, each wielding phallic two-headed guisarmes.
A pitch black, ten-foot-square shaft leading downwards in the middle of the room was spied by Gurion as he approached, but his well-honed deep walker senses revealed that four of the columns were actually constructs waiting to strike.
They quickly and mercilessly did, as the dwarf attempted to parry and counter their blows. But, the dwarf soon realized that the columns marble bodies were stout, and punishing to his weapons. Kellfrid charged to support her comrade as Gedryr realized spells were almost worthless against these foes. Searos, the half-elf cleric, pumped magical healing into his comrades as the battle raged.
The dwarf and human woman went through what weapons they had as they faced these unnatural foes, finally had to grab the guisarmes of fallen columns to continue the fight. Rhondal, the Varisian rogue, stood guard toward the rear, neither wanting to risk his weapons nor his arrows against the enemy.
However, even with Sea and Stone cracked and broken, the wielders of those weapons, the spirit of the sea and of stone, Kellfrid and Gurion, finally destroyed the columns.
The party searched the room, then began their investigation of the unnaturally dark shaft. Gedryr discovered that the shaft was under the effect of three permanent spells: Deeper Darkness, Silence and Feather Fall.
With this revelation, Gurion descended the shaft, letting go and floating safely to its bottom, 50 feet below. The rest of the group, realizing if they go down, they may have to go up, tied some rope together and secured it to a non-animated column and tossed it down the shaft. Feeling what they hoped was Gurion, giving them the “OK” tug on the rope, the rest descended the shaft.
And there they found themselves in an underground chamber, the bowels of the Lady’s Light that is both beautiful and awe-inspiring. As would be appropriate to the Runelord of Lust, the chambers and hallways are filled with beauteous and highly erotic sights. The walls of Lady’s Light are made of same white, blue-veined marble as in the vault above. The rooms are lit by thousands of Continual Flames hanging from the ceiling on light, silver chains.
As our heroes perceptified the room, the found gracefully carved columns of Sorshen, Runelord of Lust, supporting a 25 foot ceiling and extending down the hallways to the east and west. But, more interestingly, they found, sitting atop an elegant marble platform, a white marble sarcophagus.
Investigating the sarcophagus, the group found a depiction of a nearly naked Sorshen resting with arms crossed. Eager to find what’s in the sarcophagus, our heroes looked to Rhondal to search the coffin for traps.
The rogue set about his work and felt confident that there were no traps waiting to be sprung and attempted to slide off the sarcophagus lid. With help from his colleagues, the Varisian slid the lid aside to reveal Sorshen, the Runelord of Lust, apparently sleeping, clad only in a sheer, very revealing, nightgown and adorned in glittering jewels.
Reaching for a gem, the rouge saw Sorshen appear to wake and her face take on a furious appearance. As she awoke, she grew twice her size and raised her fist to level Rhondal in one powerful strike. Right as her fist came down, Rhondal realized it was a powerful spell activated by a magical trap protecting the Runelord’s body.
As the group watched Rhondal duck and take cover from nothing, Gedryr stepped forward to investigate the body. The elf detected the powerful aura of necromantic magic and identified the body as a clone of the Runelord. Then he shrewdly understood the implication that since this clone was in perfect stasis and had not been activated, the Runelord of Greed is still very much alive. Somewhere.
Gedryr, well-versed in the exploits of the Heroes of Sandpoint and their battle against Karzoug, the Runelord of Greed, did not want Sorshen to have access to this body if the need arose. Explaining the situation, our heroes set about destroying this clone utterly.
But…Not before looting it properly.
With that done, and Gedryr finishing his sketch work, the sound of gently flowing water to the west was heard and that’s where our group headed. When they reached the end of the north-turning hallway, they discovered a balcony overlooking a subterranean river that flowed smoothly to the east. The cavern itself was strikingly lit with faerie fire and dancing lights revealing a breathtaking array of earth tones among the natural stone, which was polished and smooth.
After Gedryr made his sketches, the party returned to the crypt, then headed east along a hallway mirroring the hall to the west. This time, however, they found themselves in front of a red metal door. Gurion, recognized it as djezet, the same metal found in the Crow, and with twelve frames of artwork carved into the wall, the group realized this was a door whose opening mechanism similar to that of the Paradox Box they “solved” at their first meeting, several weeks ago.
After deducing the puzzle, the door slowly, silently and easily opened to the north, revealing a white sand beach extending from the cavern walls, down to the slowly flowing river. Two wooden skiffs were moored to four-foot-tall mooring posts protruding from the sand.
Kellfrid, eager to feel the wood of a waterborne vessel, even just a small wooden skiff, made her way to the boats and began to eye the craftsmanship, until Gedryr ruined her fun by informing her that the boats radiated magic.
With a grumble and a quick, sullen kick of the sand the Ulfen raider stormed off…
…Which allowed Gedryr and Searos to investigate the skiffs better. They discovered that the boats themselves were magically made and emanated conjuration, possibly teleportation, magic.
With that done, the group then decided to pile into the two boats and pole themselves around. Heading west, they passed the balcony on which the stood earlier, then came to a cascade of water that poured from the wall at the western end of the cavern, ancient, glowing magical runes surrounded the metal grate from which the water poured, to the south, their left, an oval stone platform protruded from the wall, on it stood a twelve-foot tall statue of the Runelord of Lust.
The investigation of the platform revealed little, except that the statue’s eye sockets were hollow, in fact the whole statue appeared hollow and filled, almost to eye-level, with water. A moderate enchantment magic radiated from the statue, but what the magic was, neither Searos nor Gedryr could discern.
The group returned to their skiffs and poled to the east, following the current. Passing their starting point, our heroes poled on, through the narrow carven passage then into an immense, awe-inspiring cavern ahead. Dozens of tiny colored motes of light flitted and danced in the air, illuminating this vast, cathedral-like grotto. A forest of delicate stalactites hung from the ceiling 30 feet above the pool of water. To the east, the water foamed as it cascaded downward into some lower cavern, while to the southwest, another small beach of white sand slopes upwards from the shore to a large stone door.
A seven-sided stone platform sat ahead in the middle of the pool, an artificial island whose surface sat a mere six inches above the water level. Three-foot-tall stone mooring post protruded from each of the seven corners while above it all a twenty-foot-tall glass statue of Sorshen stood proudly.
At this point, Kellfrid, a child of the sea and sailing, stopped feeling the stone below her pole and began to feel the pull of current, drawing them to the churning waterfall ahead. Knowing she could maneuver the boat with just the pole (an Ulfen child could…in his sleep, she thought to herself) but her land-loving colleagues couldn’t, she ordered Searos, who shared her skiff, to toss the mooring line onto the post while she held out her pole for Rhondal or Gedryr to grab.
But, this action was abruptly interrupted as soon as Searos moored the skiff. The towering statue of Sorshen animated and began to furious assault the woman and half-elf with razor sharp, glass bladed hands.
Forced to fight, Kellfrid abandoned aiding her companions and began to plunge Icicle into the glass golem. Searos’ bow hummed as he fired arrow after arrow into the glass statue, but the golems blades hit true and hard, cutting the duo apart, rendering Kellfrid bloody and unconscious, compelling Searos to halt his attack and heal both himself and Kellfrid.
Meanwhile, the other skiff began to drift dangerously close to waterfall. Gurion opened fire on the golem while Rhondal tossed one of their ropes to the rather occupied Searos. Gedryr, not wishing to go over the edge and able to Fly, cast that spell upon himself and grabbed the grappling hook in his bag.
Kellfrid, healed back to consciousness and full of rage, continued her attack upon the golem while Searos managed to grab Rhondal’s rope before it fell into the water. Gedryr tossed the hook end of his rope to Rhondal and ordered him to attach it to the boat as he flew off to the beach.
Searos, unknowingly holding onto a now useless rope, pumped healing into his fighting comrade as she made her way from the skiff to the island, Uflen woman locked in a battle to the end with a glass woman. But, useless that rope was no longer, as Gurion Redember deftly snatched it up with his bow hand, holding onto it firmly, as he fired arrow after arrow at the glass golem.
Gedryr, meanwhile, tied his end of the grappling hook’s rope onto himself and began to fly his way to the west, slowly pulling the boat with him.
With the boats now secure, the remaining four Heroes of Magnimar turned their full attention to the glass golem. Soon, under a flurry of arrows and spear thrusts, the golem shattered into thousands of harmless pieces.
Down on spells and healing magic, and bleeding profusely from many wounds, the group knew it must rest of the day to heal and recover. They made their way to the sandy beach where they made an interesting discovery.
Gedryr had discovered two seven-foot-long mounds of sand, breaking the otherwise smooth contours of the beach. A long oval shield with the Rune of Lust painted on it sat reverently atop each mound.
So, our heroes dug the mounds up, revealing the rotting corpses of two, plate mail encased woman warriors: Grey Maidens of Korvosa. After poking about the corpses for a few minutes, and finding only finely crafted armor, shields and swords, they rested for the day.
The day, then night, went by uneventfully; the only break in the silence of the cavern was our heroes banter and snoring. When they felt rested, and able to pray and study, the magic duo did that, and then the group ate and pushed on, through the door in the cavern wall.
As the group passed through the door, they entered the marble-walled rooms of the Lady’s Light again. This room was covered by detailed murals depicting wanton acts involving otherworldly beings of every description. The murals cover every vertical surface, but stop abruptly after turning down the hallway to the south…apparently abandoned by the artist.
Studying the art, the studios Gedryr noted the subtext of the art: subtle suggestions of deep spiritual rot and decadence. He also found the artists name and dedication: “This mural is a most humble gift for my mistress, Sorshen…Amivadeus Yasrin”
Moving on, through the winding corridors, the party next came upon a long hallway, ending in a stout portcullis barring the way to the room beyond. As they headed east, towards the portcullis, a deathly pale man, lean and ripped with long, bone-white braided hair stepped forth, behind the portcullis. Wearing only tight-fitting, crimson britches, elegant black boots and a crimson cape, he spoke, pleasantly, to our heroes.
“Ah…Visitors. Delightful! If you’re friends, I’ll open this gate myself,” he said as he tapped the portcullis with his well-crafted rapier, “but, if you are foes, please understand, I cannot. Now, friends or foes…What is the password?”
“Er…Ummm….” our heroes initially replied, then began shouting out all manner of Thassilonian sounding words and names.
None were the password.
“Oh, you’re foes. Too bad,” the man replied, “I now have no choice but to kill you if you try to enter this chamber. Good day…”
With that, he strolled calmly out of sight as our heroes cautiously made their way forward.
A quick inspection of the gate revealed no door handle, but Rhondal found something that might trigger it open, and he began to attempt to open the locked portcullis.
As he was trying to open it, the pale man returned and coolly informed Rhondal that he “cannot allow you to do that…” before plunging his rapier deep into the rogue, unleashing a crackling burst of electricity as it pierced the Varisian’s skin.
Still the rogue attempted to open the gate, while his comrades sprung to the attack, but behind cover of this portcullis, striking the pale man proved difficult. However, the pale man did not find it as difficult to repeatedly plunge his rapier into the rogue, at one point even seeming to draw power from the lifeforce drained from Rhondal.
Arrows shot forth from Searos and Gurion’s bows, while Gedryr sprang to Rhondal and cast an Invisibility spell on the rogue to eliminate him as a target. Kellfrid attacked the pale man at a safe distance with Icicle.
Or so she thought. Weary of having no one to hit with his rapier, the pale man unleashed a Burning Hands spell upon the Shieldmaiden and strolled to his longbow. Kellfrid did not find this magical assault appealing and switched to her bow.
Rhondal, meanwhile, was still trying to pick the lock of the gate.
A battle of arrows and magic was being fought, with the pale man on the winning end. Searos was forced to switch from the attack to triage as the pale man’s arrows and magical attacks were taking their toll on his comrades, while the pale man had taken few hits.
Searos, who had been studying the pale man as he was keeping his comrades alive, detected some sort of magical control over him.
Still Rhondal worked at the lock.
Arrrows flew and blood soaked the marble hallway, but the fight raged on.
Finally, Rhondal managed to pick the lock, but the gate proved too heavy for him to lift alone. Calling for aid with the portcullis, his comrades, bloodied and battered and low on healing magic, were wary of continuing the fight.
The pale man, upon hearing the lock open, retrieved his rapier and said, “Ah…good. Now, let us continue this in a more dignified manner…” as he strode forward, confidently towards the group.