Drawing weapons, the party prepared to do battle with the gibbering thing. At this point Darnorth, Riley and Guruk suddenly disappeared, leaving just Kern and Erijay to face the loathsome creature. It lashed out at Kern and bit deep with several of its fanged mouths. At the same time, the noise rose to a crescendo, confusing Erijay into inaction. Unable to handle the creature on his own, Kern put on the ring of invisibility. When the creature then turned to attack Erijay, he grabbed the elf and pulled her into the teleporter, and both were transported back to the finished halls. Not sure what to do now that half the party was indisposed, Kern and Erijay decided to at least explore a little more of the area. First though, Kern went back to the trophy room where Morg had fallen. He wanted to collect the bagged lizards’ head. Carefully tying the bag on the creatures head, he cut it off and added it to his collection of odds and ends.
After a little head scratching, the two moved further down the room. The middle case was smashed, it’s contents missing. The last contained a red ruby the size of Kern’s fist. It didn’t take long for the merchant to knock over the case and retrieve the ruby while Erijay looked on from a distance. At once, Kern became suspicious of the elf, convinced she coveted the massive gem. Drawing his sword, he threatened Erijay, warning that the elf would taste his steel before she would get her hands on his precious treasure. Eyes on the elf, he backed out of the room and headed off to explore and find a way out with his find. Erijay at first tried to talk him into hiding the gem away for now so they could explore together, but when that didn’t work she instead followed him, silently, at a distance. Then, when Kern was distracted, she entangled the merchant in a web spell. While Kern raged, Erijay used a 10’ pole to knock the gem out of his hand. It rolled off into the corner of the room, and Kern came back to his senses. After some hurried apologies on both sides, Erijay cut him free and they proceeded to explore the room, while taking care to avoid getting near the gem which now sat in one corner. The walls of the room they found themselves in were lined floor to ceiling with storage drawers and cabinet, large and small. There were perhaps a hundred or more. On the wall next to the door was an array of clear glowing gems, 24 in all. Kern tried to first open a drawer but found it was held fast, with no obvious locking mechanism. Surmising that the gems have something to do with it, he pushed one to see what would happen. At once, the two doors started to swing shut and there was the ‘hissing’ sound of gas leaking into the room. Kern dove for a door, while Erijay jammed a 10’ pole into the opening. Between them, they were able to hold the door open a crack. Kern stuck his face out into the corridor while the elf struggled to open the portal and free him before getting gassed. It took some time, but eventually Kern was able to squeeze out of the room, and the door slammed shut behind him.
Looking for easier loot, the two checked the next room. There they found a spiral stairway going up (and ending at a blank stone ceiling) and a statue of a satyr holding a pixie in its hand. Closer examination showed that he statue sat on a track that led back to the stairway, and that the back was shaped to fit into the stairway entrance. While of interest, there was on obvious way to get past the blocked stairway, so they moved onto the next room. Here Kern carefully checked the door, and discovered a poison needle trap in the handle. Disarming this and then unlocking the door, the pair entered what was once an opulent bedchamber, now a little time worn. A massive canopy bed made of redwood stood in one end of the room, draped in purple silk. The walls likewise were hung with purple silk and black tasseled cords, while in the ceiling sat a massive crystal chandelier that glowed with magical light. A bookcase and desk completed the setup, and at the desk sprawled a skeleton in purple velour robes. Once convinced the skeleton wasn’t going to move on its own, Kern moved it himself, to find that it lay face down in a book. Pulling this away, he was surprised to find the book contained not paper but instead was studded with a mass of hooked suckers that had apparently been attached to the skeletons former face. While perhaps once alive, the ‘book’ was now desiccated and dead. Meanwhile, Erijay searched the bed and bookshelf. The bed reveled nothing of interest, and most of the books were long decayed and useless. One, however, still had some pages. It seemed to be an innocuous diary, but reading between the lines the elf sensed it was actually instruction or directions to locate some powerful magical treasures. Unable to decipher it at this point, she tossed it in her pack for future reference. A search of the wall behind the bed also reveled what appeared to be a secret door, but neither elf nor merchant could figure out how to open it.
Which now left them with the storage room. Going back, Kern carefully open the door and confirmed the gas had dissipated. Going inside again (but again avoiding the ruby at the far end of the room), he decided to give the gems/buttons another try. But first barred the two doors open to prevent a repeat of the gas trap. And there followed a complexes series of combination of buttons and a complex series of consequences. These included:
- Sounds of the doors locking and unlocking;
- Statue by the stairway moved along the track to close off the entrance; opened gain with another button combination;
- A ‘whoop whoop’ alarm sound several times;
- Release of globes/bubbles containing various slimes and moulds that attacked the characters;
- Floor and ceiling moved to try crushing the intruders; opened up gain after a while;
- Several drawers opened, one of which contained some gold, gems and an old set of plate mail;
- A ‘schink’ sound from the bedroom, which on investigation proved to be one of the desk legs opening revealing a stack of platinum coins;
- And finally sounds of stone moving in the room with the stairwell.
While Erijay wanted to go back and collect some purple silk for her room, in the end both she and Kern decided to call it a day (or night since it was now getting dark). Especially since Darnorth, Riley and Guruk were still missing. The elf did examine the plate mail. It was of an old style, and on the breastplate was carved about 40 names. All were archaic, and there was space for one more. Undaunted, the elf maid donned the armour. It shrank to fit her smaller size, and in the empty space was magically carved her name. There were no other immediate effects. And with they, the two went back to their camp (where luckily their horses were still tethered) and settled in for the night.