The heaving form of the Glabrezu stands before me, fuming at the last of his minions destroyed.
Behind him I hear the nonsensical, cackling taunts of The Scribbler.
As the others surround him he casts a spell.
Mahd and her summoned Dire Tiger start lashing out indiscriminately in Confusion about them… and with our elvish wizard in his thrall, we may need to end this quickly!
Not daring to steal a glance behind where her demonic spider may have also turned, I hold Repentance aloft and call on Iomedae to guide my blade.
Charging headlong into the Glabrezu I Smite it. Three blows to cleave the demon in twain.
Advancing through the ruin of green innards and twitching limbs, Wynter and I round on The Scribbler. He’s ready for me though and a magically animated Glaive intercepts me.
You can see the frustration on Athene and Mori’s faces.
They want to press the advantage on the outnumbered, outflanked villain but Mhad (thankfully no hand to hand expert) and her (unfortunately) more adept minion are landing blows on friend more oft than than foe.
The Scribbler slaps Wynter across the muzzle. The Wynter Wolf howls as she seems to shrivel before my eyes!
Iomedae has more work to do here today.
Enraged, I close my eyes with a last prayer to smite my enemies.
The Scribbler looms over me and I drive upwards, punching through his breastplate, flames smothered as I drive it to the hilt.
He looks down at me, eyes still flickering when Wynter rallies and tears out his throat.
The Scribbler has scrawled his last…
We spend a few moments dancing around the still affected Mhad and friend, both still swiping at any who go near, until the magical effect dissipates.
It’s time to regroup.
The Scribbler has a few minor curiosities and all that remains of the Glabrezu now is two piles of ash. Words of healing are spoken and we reassess the situation. Three paths lead forward. A pair of heavy double doors, a narrow fog filled crack in the wall and what appears to be a small door at the end of the collapsed temple chamber.
Beginning with the fissure I dispel the fog to reveal a small wooden door. Single file, I lead us through an unlocked door into a small round room, with a clear pool of water. Runes on the wall mark this as Lamashtu’s so we crowd in cautiously. I sense no inherent evil, nor does the water smell, or look foul. I should probably leave it alone but it might be important to know more. Moriava consecrates the font and I dare to taste from the pool (saying a prayer as I do).
It is not poisoned… thankfully, but it tastes far fouler than it appears.
A little dissatisfied we return to the the double doors.
They are unlocked but open only to another blanket of fog, and dispelling the enchantment is no longer an option.
I fire an arrow into the mist but if it lands somewhere, I don’t hear it.
I have visions of a gaping chasm…
As I notch a second arrow Mori lights it up… but it too is swallowed wholly by the murk without trace. I turn back to my companions but receive only the same dumbfounded I no doubt share… and yet we must go in…
I look around for a suitable probe.
Athene starts talking about ‘10 foot poles’ like they’re something all adventurers carry around with them… all the while trying to hide the halberd strapped to her back. I guess the magical weapon’s hardened oak shaft and steel blade is too fragile for the task.
It’s a little short for my liking but a spear will have to do.
The floor is stone,
Is that the wall? It can’t be, it sounds like I’m in some great hall. This is… wrong.
As I emerge past the bank of mist I realise that some magical obfuscation is at play. What felt like a great hall is a surprisingly narrow corridor with three nondescript wooden doors.
We rank up and try the furthest door.
Behind it a room filled with the rubble of another collapse. Runes cover the walls but it is otherwise of little interest.
But wait, where is Mahd and Athene?
Mori and I file back into the corridor, hoping that the fog has not claimed them, only to find Athene on her hands and knees, up to her elbows in some ancient latrine… Clearly the effects of that confusion spell still linger though I didn’t realise it had affected her… Perhaps she’s looking for Goblin treasure…
Mahd casually emerges from the last door, a scrap of paper in hand.
At least she has discovered something useful, a transcribed a message from the wall inside:
“On Eastern shores of steaming mirror, at end of day when dusk is nearer, where seven faces silent wait encircled guards at Runeforge Gate”
Athene seems to think it has something to do with the main temple here but I’m not so sure.
I am not the thinker amongst us, but it seems to me to clearly describe this Rune Forge Gate we seek; perhaps how to find, use or enter it. ‘Seven silent faces wait’, statues maybe, perhaps the great constructs of the Rune Lords?
I suppose we’ll see…
We double back to the main chamber.
It is a menacing place in the magical light, with its statues of bulging, claw footed jackal women and a gigantic visage of Lamashtu staring up from the floor.
We halt immediately when we reach the small archway.
Opening to a long irregular room the flagstones are slick with fresh blood, morsels of flesh and tattered cloth that could well belong to our wayward guardsman. For some at least, it seems we’ve come too late.
Following the bloody corridor around, we arrive at another arch and a collection of empty cells beyond. We skirt the chamber around a large pillar. It is quiet. And empty…
Which is when a pack of monstrous hounds leap from the darkness!