(Edit: fixed G+ formatting error)
The fight against the mosaic chimera was more troubling than I'd imagined. Though we'd fought a dragon together, the tiled terror, though defeated, must have held some existential terror to Peren and Mel, the Waladin and Druid who had pleaded with the Council to let them join our quest. They retreated through the dungeon at top speed and that was the last we saw of them.
I hoped dearly that they weren't holding the party's gold...
And then, with a small disturbance in the dead air of the tomb, Gina appeared. She nodded at us, swung her battleaxe a couple of times to loosen her arms, and we continued on.
The west door, marked "Safe", led to a well. We'd looked there. The double doors to the north were barely barred against something that had been trying to get out, or in, and clearly weren't anything we wanted to toy with.
That left the sloping, chute-like passage to the southeast (the map is rotated clockwise 90 degrees, or minus pi/2 radians if you're metric). A tile representation of a sun marked the start of the passage. We remembered that we were supposed to be seeking light and avoiding darkness, or so Diderius' voice had told us, so we started down the hall.
About halfway down, it looked like part of the floor was a pressure plate. Zalandrin, after much investigation, gingerly triggered it. The tile sun slid aside and from beneath rose a sphere of bone, which began to trundle down the hallway, gathering speed. The others ran screaming like ... scared screaming people, but I stood calmly and spoke but a single word as the sphere bore down on me:
That sphere stopped and shot back up the corridor like a bullet from a boomstick. It shattered noisily against the far wall of the tile room.
I casually joined my cowering comrades at the bottom of the chute, brushing imagined specks of dust from my sleeve.
The room beyond was empty. A painting on the double doors to the north showed people bowing while lifting their hands to honor someone we could not clearly see. A noiseless voice instructed us to submit as one would to the dead goddess Mystra if one would seek to pass on. We all bowed and lifted our hands in front of the door, and it creaked open.
Inside was a godlike man seated on a throne, with treasure and items of less value scattered at his feet. Though a wind we couldn't feel moved the stone god's hair and beard, he was nonetheless not living. We all added some treasure to the pile, and all felt enlightened.
The southern double doors, the ones we hadn't come through, had an illustration of an enormous library. We opened the doors, and found that the library was empty. Without stepping inside, I sent a Mage Hand to see if the shelves were really empty, or if it was an illusion. They were really empty. The dust disturbed by the Hand, though, settled on an invisible creature moving all around the library. I sent the Hand to touch it, and it stopped, coming into sudden visibility. It was a ghost of a woman who rushed at us, enraged at us disturbing her endless rounds.
Once we'd assured her that we had no intention of looting the empty library, she went back to her rounds and we moved on.
Zalandrin opened the west door, and his elven ears could hear the quiet tones of learned discussion coming from the room below. Moving as stealthily as elves don't, he stomped down the short stairs but did not disturb the talkers. He peeked around the corner and saw five demons casually holding forth. Taking his bow in his hand and an arrow in the other, he slid out along the southern wall. The demons stopped a moment to look at him, then continued with their discussion.
The rest of us followed but still the demons were unconcerned. They were hardcore.
I put on my kobold costume AS ONE DOES, cast Tongues on myself, and went respectfully to their table. That did pause their conversation, and they stared at me as I begged their pardon and told them about our mission. They knew of Varram, and in fact were part of Varram's party. They'd been instructed to wait in this room while Varram and the others continued through the northern door, and so that's what they were doing. Waiting in this room. They'd had no instructions to kill anyone, and so they weren't going to kill us. Nobody told them to bar the way north for anyone, and so we were free to continue on, if we'd like.
I thanked them, moved away respectfully, and informed the others of all I'd heard. Zalandrin
swiftly sent two arrows plunging into the eye of the one on the end
hadn't heard the bit about them not being hostile, but once explained, he lowered his bow and nodded at the demons, who continued to talk among themselves.
The demons had mentioned that the stairs to the south led to a treasure room, but a quick jaunt down the stairs showed a door spiked shut with the word "DANGER!" written on it.
Circling carefully around the demons, we went through the north door, around a short passage, and into a room where there'd clearly been a battle. Blood everywhere. A large brass cistern at the west end of the room seemed to have contained a monster, possibly? A dead human with a spear through him, dressed in purple robes, was the only casualty we could see, but the bloodstains led to a northern door that had a picture of a man -- Diderius, we now knew -- at rest. We opened that door and found a gleaming sarcophagus. As we neared it, a voice told us that it knew of our mission and that Varram, the mage we were seeking, was just beyond. He would open the path to peril for us.
Part of the wall slid aside to show a tunnel carved crudely into the rock -- and six lizardmen, who calmly looked at us and lifted their weapons.
I put one to sleep with a song, then killed it while it was helpless as the others did their part. I'm not sure if any of us took damage from the fight. I was kinda thinking that maybe we should have taken on those demons after all...
That was it for the night. Thanks to +Scott Geeding
for stopping by to play Gina :-) We'll be having a new face joining our little band somehow in two weeks -- looking forward to that!