Chapter Eighteen

July 23, 2011


          After hearing Ular’s story, we decide to cover the ground we left behind us of the temple, and return to the courtyard.  We check the octagonal tower on the opposite side we went into first.  It is a mirror of the other room, and we assume it must lead to the other staircase that led to the barracks.  As I go to check for traps at the top of the stairs, the stone seems to come to life and take form in front of me.  It is a gargoyle! 

As we begin to fight, the beast swipes two massive claws at me, then grabs my arm in his jaw.  I cast Dancing Lights right in front of his eyes in an attempt to blind him.  At the same moment, Ulric bulrushes the beast and knocks it down the stairs, but I manage to rip my arm free and keep my feet.  The two tumble down the stairs, and Korvinean follows at full speed, and strikes it with his mace.  Briggette, Brianna and I all follow down as well.  Just as I reach the bottom of the stairs, I see Ulric grappling the beast in a mighty bear hug.  He squeezes and we hear a cracking sound as the creature goes limp in his arms.  I go back up and search the area where the gargoyle was hiding.  We find a hoard of copper pieces, at least 4,000 of them.  There are also some gold coins hidden within the pile.

We head back up to the courtyard, and up the stairs at the back of it.  They end in double bronze doors which are both trapped and locked in a rudimentary fashion.  We open the doors, and Ulric enters, with me right behind him.  We are in a long arched hallway with a large, elaborate compass rose carved into the floor.  A drawing of a hand points to the right, and there is a curtained room on each side of the entry.  The one to the right appears to be a coat room, and, not wanting to leave anything behind us, we check the other as well.  Ulric enters, and sees what looks like another coat room.  As he is just about ready to leave, a slender warrior steps forth from the shadows and issues a challenge.  Ulric sees that he is an elf in armor, and says, “Halt, sir!  Put your weapons away—we mean you no harm.”

“Who are you?”

“I am Ulric von Zurwald.  My companions and I are here to find the source that is turning your rivers red.  We also come to rescue the mind-controlled elves from the evil witches.”

“I am Alki,” the elf replies, extending his hand.  Ulric introduces the rest of us.  “I am a servant of the goddess of beauty; as I am devoted to beauty, I am devoted to Rahasha.  She is obviously touched by the goddess.”

“Ah, well this fine man is her fiancé,” Ulric says, indicating Hasan.  We invite the elf to join us, and head down the hall to the right.  It opens into a domed natural cavern.  In the corner, there is a raised dais with another statue of the same bearded man.  There is an alter in front of the statue, and a pile of folded cloth in front of the alter.  We continue down the hallway leading out of the cavern.  This hallway has three alcoves cut into each side before it opening to the left and right, as well as continuing forward.  We see shadow figures moving near the end of the hallway, and though we normally would turn to the right, we decide we must check out the people at the end of the hallway.  Ulric steps forward, and suddenly disappears.  We notice that the group of figures at the end of the hallway has also lost a person; we must be seeing a mirror.  We all follow through the area where Ulric disappeared, and find the chalk mark we left in an earlier teleportation area.  We make our way back to where we were, and this time turn down the hallway to the right.  Again, Ulric disappears, and we all follow.  We again recognize where we’ve come out, and wind back through to the original hallway.  This time, we  turn left into another ten foot wide hallway that is arched at the ceiling.  It looks like it has been hewn from the stone.  Halfway down, there is a curtain on the right side.  I check it for bells, and finding none, Ulirc throws it aside and we see five robed figures sharpening their swords.

Ulric says, “Gentlemen, lay down your blades and throw away your arms!”  These men appear to be more of the Siswa elves, so we work to subdue rather than kill them.  Briggette uses her flail to trip one of them, but he pulls her down instead.  She does not let go, however.  Korvinean uses a mace to knock out another.  Brianna punches one of them, and he goes down.  I grab my coin purse and hit the one fighting Ulric, rendering him unconscious as well.  Ulric turns and interposes himself between one of the elves and Briggette, and takes that one out as well.  We bind the unconscious elves, and put them in one of the cells we passed earlier.  We find two sacks with two panthers painted on each, each filled with silver.  Ulric takes that money and places it in the coffers in the front cloak room.

We continue down the hallway, and come to another junction like the one with the teleporters from earlier.  Ulric throws a coin down the hallway, and it hits a wall and bounces back.  It does the same in the other direction, but this time, when he walks forward to retrieve the coin, he is attacked.  There are four men in armor, and one of them shouts, “Wait!  They’re not Siswa!”

Ulric lifts his shield, and says, “Put your weapons away!”

“Who are you?” their apparent leader says.

“I am Ulric von Zurwald!”

“That doesn’t tell me anything…” he trails off.  Ulric explains why we are here and asks why they are here.  They were following someone who went behind a shrine on the road, and they all disappeared, ending up here.  They have been stuck here for two days trying to find their way out, but with all of the teleportation devices, they can’t get out.  We lead them back to the entrance to the temple by the route we came, and they go on their way with a parting warning that there is a woman in the compound who can make you see things that aren’t there.  We continue around the hallway to an area that mirrors the other side, except that these alcoves contain statues of various elves.  The one in the center on the left has a gold necklace with a large black jade which has a circle carved from the center.  We place the ring we got from Ular’s room into the pendant, and they merge into one larger piece.  There is a giant flash of bright light.  Ulric removes the pendant, and on the back, it says “Rahasha.”  I ask our mage if this might be a command word, and he says it might.  He says that if he had a pearl to crush and about thirty minutes, he could give us much more information.  We have a pearl in party treasure, and give it to him.

He pulls out a spellbook and casts.  He crushes the pearl into some wine and drinks it.  After some time, he tells us, “The ring and the pendant together make a circle of power for 30 feet around the pendant.  Within the circle, no evil magic will work unless it is a permanent item.  It will only work three times, but will work for a full minute each time.  I believe once all the charges are used, they ring and the pendant will break apart and simply become jewelry again.”  I keep the necklace, and make a mental note not to say “Rahasha” while wearing it.

Continuing forward, we find another cavern with faded frescoes.  This room mirrors the other front cavern, but has no cloth.  Ulric decides to move the clothes from one altar to the other, and I notice a slight glow to the altar.  We decide to leave this alone.

We make our way back down to the room where we poured the wine down the statues throat and the portcullis opened.  Following my advice, we use the “serial number” as a sort of path, and follow it until we end up back in the dragon room.  This time when we exit the dragon room, we end up in the empty room next to the treasury, but now the ceiling is 50 feet up.  There are decorative carvings on the ceiling, and a chain suspended from the center.  It holds a necklace containing a beautiful black stone.  After a moment of us pondering how to get to it, I drink a potion of Alter Self and turn into a harpy.  I fly up to the chain and take off the necklace without incident.  When I land, I decide to stay in harpy form until I need my hands just in case we need to fly again.

We follow the same procedure with the thirsty statue until we’ve opened and explored all the doors, with similar results each time.  On our final trip into the dragon room, we decide that Briggette should place the opal in the small dragon’s eye.  I move around behind the dragon so that I might be behind any suddenly appearing creatures. 

As Briggette begins to reach for the eye socket with Ulric’s help, we hear “I would really appreciate if you would not do that.”  Several of us fall down unconscious.  Two elven women are in the room with us.

Briggette continues to place the opal as two magic missiles strike her.  As the opal is seated into place, nothing happens.  One of the women laughs and says, “It’s not ready yet, but we are!”  Korvinean walks up to one of them and knocks her out with the handle of his mace.  He then proceeds to tie her up—making sure to include her hands and fingers, as well as gag her.  Brianna steps up as the other begins to cast and slams her in the face, breaking her jaw and knocking her out.  Korvinean ties this other woman as well.

We decide to go looking for a talking obelisk; it is the only thing from the wine induced dreams we have not seen in actuality.

“Quill, do youknow where a talking obelisk is?” Ulric asks.

“He’s rude.  I haven’t seen him in years, but he’s rude.”  We walk out of the room as we are talking, and Korvinean sees a rather obvious secret door right in front of us.  I change back into my normal form and check it for traps before opening it.

This opens into a room that is fifty feet tall with arched ceilings and walls that are covered with frescoes of hurricane force winds and bent over trees.  We are on a raised platform behind an altar, and we can feel a wind cycling through the room.  Painted on the wall is a painting of a hand pointing up.  There is a door at the far end of the room.

This door is steel and covered with runes.  The door is not trapped but it is locked.  However, the lock is on this side, so I simply throw the bolt.  We move on into the room.  It is 30 feet across, and across the room are 3 ten foot alcoves.  On the inside, the doors are gold, and there is a 15 foot tall stone obelisk in the center of the room standing on a platform.  The frescoes on the wall are

“What am I supposed to do here?” Ulric asks the quill, but before the feather speaks, we hear a deep booming voice ring out through the room.

“Answer me and I’ll answer thee in truth but to questions three.  What is your name?”

“Ulric von Zurwald.”

“What is your quest?”

“To seek the source of the bloody river.”

“Do you know the first name of the last creature you killed?”

Ulric thinks for a moment, then answers, “no.”

After a brief discussion among the group, Ulric asks what we are supposed to do in order to activate the dragon statue.  The obelisk informs us that we should bring the opal to him.  We do so, and he instructs us to put it in the top of the obelisk.  There is a bright light, and then the opal seems to take on the light, and begins to pulse.  We then remove the opal from the obelisk and ask it if our enemy has any particular weaknesses.  He says, “To defeat the witches, place the eye in the statue.”

We return to the dragon room, and place the eye once again.  This time, the two blue eyes in the other dragons become red, and there is bright flash of blue light that blinds all of us for a moment.  Then the statues break and fall apart, and the red eyes disappear. 

I say, “Rahasha,” and a white pulsing light flows from me into the room.

Both of the central dragon’s eyes turn blue and rather than falling apart, it neatly splits in half and falls away.  The throne remains, and is filled with a white light.  The light coalesces into a human form which seems to be looking directly at Briggette.

“I am Elias, what is your name?”

“Briggette Bellyn, a servant of Cuthbert.”

“I see you have finished what I began so long ago.  Tell me, why are you here?”

“To seek the source of the bloody river,” she replies and goes on to explain our mission.

“I built this tower where I did on purpose.  Under this throne, there is a door.  Through this door you will find the source of your bloody river.  Are you ready for what lies beyond the door?”

Ulric grins, “We could use a day’s rest, but otherwise, yes.”

After much more conversation, we discover that we are seeking a piece of Mormo that has obviously fallen into the river and is fouling it.  We find out that all of the platinum statues we saw are people who unwittingly entered his guarded treasure room.

We spend a day resting, while Hasan goes to release and lead all the other people out of the temple.  Then Ulric goes into the door below the throne.  A large, glowing chain with a hook on the end falls out of the ceiling as the floor opens.  We see a large, green, scaly fingertip that is about fifteen feet in length.  Ulric takes the pendant, activates it, and uses the hook to lift the fingertip.  The chain retracts itself into the ceiling, and we close up and seal off the room with great care.  We make our way out of the compound and secure all the treasures we have procured.  We double check throughout the caves and buildings to make sure everyone is out.


The next day, we head back into town and speak with the elders of the city.  We explain what had happened and make some suggestions about ways they can protect themselves moving forward.  We promise to petition Ulric’s father for aid and men, and make preparations to head home.