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Summary LVI: The Stone Soules vs. the Dark Servant-- The Final Chapter

Ok here goes:

We tried the proposed -Find the Path- scroll and it failed-- it turned out
to be nearly impossible for it to work.

Xavier -Aid-ed himself and touched the robe, then put it on. Nothing out of
the ordinary happened and the robes were deemed safe for clerics as well.

With Star helping mentally, Raven looked up at the runes and got the message
about the three rooms. Hoping that maybe picking a fruit with a
non-personal aura object like a sword would prevent the damage, Rangorn
swung at the branch with his knife.

Out of character: the first of a thrilling series of rolls by your truly.
Edwin said: don't roll a one-- and I did.

Luckily he just dropped the knife, and swung again-- this time the knife
came away notched but the branch was unharmed. Next he swung Raven's
magical bastard sword at it-- it was unharmed, but so was the bastard sword
(good thing).

Raven then tried to pry the fruit off with two swords doing a scissor-like
thing-- the normal system shock roll was the result. Oh well-- Raven gained
a point of Constitution out of it!

Next Rangorn searched the floor near the bush for secret panels- nope.

I'm not sure exactly when this spell shift happened-- somewhere in the
middle of the following trips downstairs. I'll just quickly note the events
of the spell shift:

1) Rangorn made two spectacular rolls and discovered the dwarven heirloom in
15 minutes in the hands of the dead ogre in one of the rooms. Rangorn and
Mordrick were not attacked by will o'wisps or anything like that.

2) Most party members were healed.

3) Rangorn went with a -Fly- spell on into the altar room. He searched it
but did not touch anything, and found nothing of interest. It was a very
plain room.

Meanwhile exploration of the icy area continued:

Star explored the ceiling area of the octagonal room (with the panels)-- no

Theo, Rangorn, Raven, and Deirdre each touched two panels (except Theo) and
the center of the room became purple. Deirdre blew the horn. The center
appeared to bubble up and then form the top of a purple column that started
rising toward the ceiling. Slowly the outside purple part faded to
transparency and a smaller inner black column became visible. Deirdre
stopped blowing when it reached the halfway point, but it kept rising
anyway, until it touched the ceiling soundlessly and stopped.

There was a swirling black mist where the outline of purple was. Between
the purple and black pillar was a spiral staircase leading down. Deirdre
put a hand close to the mist and got cold burns THROUGH THE ROBE. Rangorn
swung a bag at it and the bag bounced off it like a physical wall, and the
bottom of the bag was rimmed with frost. However, using a process that I
was unfortunately not present for (details from Zack, Sean, and Jack)
involving the thuribles and incense sticks and various other unholy items, a
passage opened in the mist.

The path would only remain open as long as the incense at the top burned
(despite the cold), so there was some kind of time limit. A lot of the
items burned much longer than we would have expected (magical properties).
Finally, the whole staircase was closed everytime we came down, so
apparently it would go down on its own after a certain amount of time.

As soon as the party of four entered the stairs they noticed a disorienting
effect about the amount of time spent on the stairs as wound down deeper.
Soon afterwards all 3rd and 4th level spells of Alegra were inaccessible (we
were close). Furthermore, the cold was MUCH more intense than before-- the
thuribles and incense was necessary to keep things warm so they didn't
damage the wielder. Still the thuribles were still burning when they
reached the bottom-- a huge room with a stone slab about 12 feet by 4 feet.
Above the stone slab was the Dark Servant, sleeping. We wisely did not try
to join him there.

Next to the slab was a smaller box, with two prism shaped holes on the
sides. It was immovable, as were the incense holders and candelabra in the
room. Ceydric lost most of his vision (temporarily) from looking near the
Dark Servant for two long and thus did not go down on the final trip. Raven
was actually affected mentally and became depressed for awhile, obsessed
with thoughts of freeing the Dark Servant. He wisely abstained.

The final part of the ceremony was still a mystery. We sent down Raven,
Rangorn, Deirdre and Star to try to figure it out (Ceydric couldn't see, Eli
had forgotten a 3rd level spell upon coming up the stairwell again, Star has
other abilities, Rangorn could search for secret doors and panels, Deirdre
was that kind of woman and had -Knock- in memory, Warwick was nervous about
some recurrence of his near curse, Tristan was not going no matter what).
Raven had consumed a lucky day.

Deirdre cast -Knock- on the box near the slab, which reflected it back at
her. (No really harmful affect, just weird) Raven then tried calling out
the name of the Dark Servant once-- it stirred. We stopped abruptly.
Apparently it could be woken up, just not freed. He tried saying the name
of the place. No effect. A big argument ensued, and time was running out,
so Deirdre took charge. She tried to chant the name of the Dark Servant
repeatedly. This was disastrous-- Deirdre was blasted into nothingness, as
was her equipment (including a ring+1, and ioun stone). It was a terrible

Star, Raven, and Rangorn argued. Raven and Star outvoted the (admittedly
terrified) Rangorn and decided to blow the horn. The ground shook-- saving
throws all around. Rangorn with his usual luck failed miserably, but
fortunately Raven and Star were fine. Rangorn's robe tore open and he tried
to hold it shut. He made a break for the stairs, and it shredded
completely, killing him before he had gone 20 feet.

But a secret door had opened in the wall. Raven and Star ventured inside,
and found some containers. He said the Dark Servant's name once, and they
opened. He found more incense, thuribles, everything they would need for a
return trip, and 2 PYRAMID SHAPED things. Raven stuck them into the slots
and the box opened, revealing a bag and a box which matched the description
we had received. Raven and Star took Rangorn's body and the box and bag
upstairs. Fortunately the deadly 40 poison needle trap was accidently set
off during the trip up when the bag bumped once, spilling out the needles.
It could have been MUCH worse.

We opened the box and bag up, and found "about 3 gross" gems (we assume 333)
and a book-- hopefully we can annihilate Tellah now.

We tried for speed and sent the gems (in Eli's belt) along with an AWAY team
of Warwick, Tristan, Eli, Alegra, Ludo, Mordrick, 2 mules, and Rangorn's
body. They got to the dwarven settlement in five days, and managed to keep
their arrival quiet, though all doubts about Mordrick were erased by the
hero's welcome he received. We retired to the vale where we had stayed all
those weeks previously and contacted Menstat on Tristan's sixth scrying attempt.

Meanwhile, the party back at the Temple (Theo, Ceydric, Raven, Xavier,
Star, and Sahrak) was met by two Realmish shocktroopers, one of them
a monk. They were saved serious trouble by the recovery of the two former
Realmish prisoners, who smoothed over communications. Eventually they were
told to move along, as the place was deemed dangerous. Hah!

They moved to the hidden vale were the cache of stuff was, and six days
later the others returned. Our next actions are to return to the dwarven
settlement, probably with the cache of stuff.

The morals:

1) Playing with hideous trapped evils is unwise.
2) Shocktroopers don't have much personality.
3) "We're not in this for money. We're in it for a *&$@load of money!"

Party confidence is "just chill."



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