Session XV

Stark, Bunny, Koringa, Eiluned, and Spiderssen awoke feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world – or at least their employers at the Red Temple. They made their way back to town, and after selling a bunch of loot and stocking up on potions, headed to the RT to make their report.

Dinos was unavailable, and thus the party met with Nika, who had been the one who hired them in the first place. She was uninterested in any of the “treasure” they showed her (the amulet of St. Cyrus, the book of St. Cyrus’ writings), except for the Red Temple circlet. She seemed puzzled by this and asked where they found it. Stark did most of the talking and told her about their meeting with the Scalehide Clan, and asked what she (and the temple) wanted “down there.” Nika admitted that the Red Temple had been trading with the Scalehides, and explained that the resources – water and minerals – in the Scalehide caverns possessed magical powers which they had been harvesting to help create the Red Temple’s special unguents, etc. The party accused the Temple of making the Scalehides sick, but Nika denied this, saying – as the Scalehides had – that they had been sick for some time when they started trading. When asked what the Temple had given them in exchange for their resources, she said “something harmless that provided hope.”

The party was pretty disgusted that the Red Temple had essentially hired them to commit genocide – though they did glaze over the fact that they had accepted the offer – and stated that they would not kill the Scalehides. (Koringa idly asked how much she would pay them to do so; she said about 1000 gp). They would, however, see to it that the RT got what they wanted without having to wipe out the last of the dying race. Because of their intransigence, Nika released them from their contract and said they were free to pursue whatever they wished to pursue. However, she pointed out that the Red Temple was the most popular church in Southlake, and was far more well-connected than the PCs. They said they would return within three days with a solution, and she said that if that was the case, then perhaps they might renegotiate a deal, but dismissed them anyway. Stark attempted to charm the lovely priestess into meeting him individually to discuss the matter, but she ignored his smooth insinuations.

After lunch, the party brought the twisted amulet of St. Cyrus to a curiosity shoppe. The owner said he could give them 10 gp for it, but that it wasn’t really his kind of thing, and provided the name and address of a dealer in more arcane items. However, the party chose to return to the caverns. Upon their entry into the Scalehide camp they were once again met at spearpoint, but King Kags and the rest of the clan were more friendly to them than before. Stark told the king that the Red Temple was determined to eradicate them, which raised a belligerent, though not surprised, watermelon-cantalouping throughout the room. Kags said that the Temple wanted the waters of the caverns, and access to “the Gate.” The Gate, apparently, is a means of “being elsewhere” which the Scalehides guarded, but had never used successfully.

Stark tried – at some length – to convince the King that the tribe should move, but the idea was repugnant to them. As the last of their race they would make their stand on their own terms. The party asked if they could see the Gate, and King Kags konsented. Stark asked if he would accompany them, but the King could spare no men, nor himself, as they had much contemplation to do regarding their fate. After some questioning, which revealed that the water in the “lake room” on the floor above was the same water that was so mystically charged – though it itself was not charged – the Lizardfolk showed them the way down.

Descending a great stone staircase, the party found themselves in a similar cavern to the ones above. Exits lay to the northwest and east, and one of the holes in the rock was large enough for a small person to get into. Bunny tied a rope around her waist and made her way in, and started down a short path toward a steady red glow. She stumbled onto a nest of 5 fire beetles with glowing eye-stalks! They attacked her, wounding her severely, before the party was able to pull her out. The fire beetles followed, and after a round of combat Spiderssen put the fire beetles to sleep, which was followed by the party squashing them and removing their eyestalks for later use. Bunny healed up and went back in the hole to explore.

In the beetles’ nest she found an axe and helmet of unfamiliar style. The short tunnel terminated in a slightly smaller room whose northern wall was dominated by an exquisitely carved mural of an elegant, humanoid lizard figure doing battle. However, the mural was apparently unfinished, since the other combatant was unrepresented.

Returning to the rest of the party, they chose the eastern passage, and shortly came to another intersection, with passages to the north and south, and a faint dripping sound coming from somewhere. Stark led the party south, but as the rest of the party passed under the low archway, they screamed to find themselves covered in green slime, which was dripping from the archway. Acting fast, Eiluned demanded that Stark burn it off of them, and so he did (Spiderssen, however, drank a Cure Disease potion and neutralized the slime). Spiderssen then used his torch to burn off the rest of the slime from the archway.

As the party moved southward, the passage sloped gently downward and the air became crisp and sweet. A poorly-hewn staircase lead down and to the east, but before they could continue the party heard a skittering sound which heralded the arrival of four giant rock spiders! A brutal combat ensued. Spiderssen was about to cast another Sleep spell, but Stark dissuaded him, telling him to save it for later. This was unfortunate, because Stark soon found himself bitten by one of the spiders, upon which he fell into a poisonous coma! Over the course of combat, the spiders put serious bites on both Spiderssen (the irony!) and Eiluned, both of whom avoided poisoning – but sustained so much damage that they fell to the floor and began bleeding out. Fortunately, the party had recently restocked its supply of Cure Light Wounds potions, and everyone barely escaped death while still dealing crushing blows to the spiders.

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~ by erranttiger on June 27, 2012.

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