… and next was to decide what to do with the other captives. There was a spirited debate on the pros and cons of freeing the cannibals for starters, Riley in particular not keen on potentially becoming the tribesmen next meal if they were released. In the end, the party decided to let them so free, but would try to recruit the other captive to help finish exploration of the temple. They had no luck there; Bo and Sana were uninterested in anything to do with the temple but wished simply to leave. The merchant brothers Pothos and Bathos worked to convince the party to abandon any further delving into the temple. Instead, they tried to get the party to escort them back to their base on the coast, enticing them with a share of the profit from their elephant ivory trade if they helped guard the next caravan. Kern in particular was intrigued, but the party still wanted to recover Erijay’s sword and loot the rest of the complex. So the merchant brothers joined Bo and Sana, and the four set out to flee the temple. Kern followed invisibly and silently well behind to make sure they left. He saw them encounter a small band of bullywugs, who slew Bathos, but were themselves slain by the lighting fast Bo and the feline Sana. Literally the feline Sana, as she transformed into a tiger and tore the head off of the last bullywug. Once the remaining three had exited the pyramid, Kern returned to find another argument in progress. Saaniya insisted that since she had helped rescue Kern and Erijay as the jungle spirit Bjorn requested, she was going to leave with the treasure she was promised. Much wrangling ensued, but in the end the thief agreed to a choice of the remaining chests in the hidden room. And to make sure she could get the treasure out, she spoke to the four cannibals in their own language and recruited them as bearers to carry the gold. Saaniya also agree to sell the Censor of Controlling Air Elementals to the party for a few minor magic items and a share of the jewelry.
Haggling complete (and after Kern ensured invisibly that Saaniya and the cannibals did leave as promised), the party barricaded themselves in the head yg-ti’s room to get some rest. Mercifully, the night passed and they were not discovered, so they awoke refreshed and ready to trash the rest of the temple. Heading down the only corridor not yet explored, Kern slipped ahead and discovered it ended in a platform jutting into another cylindrical room. This was unlike the first, as its walls were covered in slime covered pods or nests. These were interconnected with tendrils and tubes. Vaguely visible inside were humanoid figures, and crawling between them through the tubes were snakes of all kinds. A continuous flow of ichors dripped down the walls from the darkness above. This was all being tended by a flock of the flying snakes, several of whom noted Kern’s light below and flew to investigate. Kern retreated back to the party, who slew the curious snakes. Seeing no other way to go, the party pressed forward. Darnorth prepared to levitate up the shaft to look for another exit, but just as he stepped of the edge he saw a massive snakelike creature climbing up towards the party. It had a cobras head and body, but human arms and torso, and lashed into the dwarf with its fangs again and again. Kern and Erijay attacked to beast to distract it and save Darnorth, but the dwarf decided to take matters into his own hands and smite it with the flamestrike from his ring. The burned monster slipped from the wall and fell into the darkness below. Darnorth floated down to make sure it was dead, and in addition to its corpse discovered a mass of other humanoid bodies in various stages of decay. He also found a scroll case with a scroll of ward against magic. Floating back up past the party, he also found another platform to the right, about 70’ above the level of the first. With help from the party, he rigged up a rope bridge and everyone moved across.
They found themselves in another corridor, and Kern once more scouted ahead, finding a room shaped like a half sphere at the end. Here he saw a fearsome guardian, a yg-ti / medusa halfbreed, armed with Erijay’s constrictor sword and a huge shield. Luckily Kern did not meet her gaze, and the still invisible thief slipped back to tell the party. They decided to go in with swords and spells blazing, but with eyes averted. Which did make hitting the creature a challenge. It first cast a fear spell, driving off Gurruks snakes, as well as Vorn and Kern. While Riley chased after the fleeing party members to cast dispel magic on them, the yg-ti/medusa constricted Erijay with its snake tail and slowly started crushing the elf. A series of web spells kept it from doing much else, however, and the party was able to strike it down, Erijay landing the fatal blow and claiming ‘her’ sword before it hit the ground. She then looted the corpse to claim another pair of star gems, one ruby and one sapphire.
The party now became aware of a sickly green glow in the room, emanating from a strange opening in the west wall. Looking in, they saw a huge ectoplasmic sphere suspended in another spherical room. It had hundreds of tendrils and tubes running to and through the south wall. Gurruk questioned the snakes, who told him he was looking at the ‘heart of Yg’, and they were in the presence of the god itself. Sending the snakes away (figuring the sight of the party attacking its god wouldn’t go well), the party decided to try destroying the thing. Darnorth bite into it with his sword, and struck easily. However, a geyser of acid sprayed all over the dwarf causing massive burns. Backing away, the party tried peppering it with missiles, but still some of the acidic goo splashed them. Stopping their assault, they were trying to decide what to do when someone noticed Vorn. The swarthy cleric was standing staring through the opening, entranced by the sight, and swaying back and forth. And before anyone could react, Vorn cried “For Veldes!” and threw himself through the opening and into the pulsing sphere. It engulfed the cleric, and started to vibrate and oscillate wildly. Around them the temple dungeon began to shake. “Run” someone shouted, and as fast as their treasure laden legs could carry them, they party rushed back through the temple and burst into daylight at the top of the pyramid. With a final shudder, the rumbling below stopped, and the silence of the ruined city fell upon them.