DRAMATIS PERSONAE:Vegarious (Changeling 3)
Ranza (Changeling 3)
Jonesomon (Specialist 4)
Jonesomon (Specialist 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 4)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 4)
Joined by Vergarious as they stood in the corridor, the party opted to explore further, even though Gnarl was in pretty hard shape. Continuing around the circular corridor, they came to a door. It was made of the same translucent material as the rest of the complex, with a doorknob in the centre. Jonesomon scanned for traps and found nothing. But Hobbs received a nasty surprise when he reached out to touch it; a chill of unnatural cold shot up his arm, freezing and numbing. He next tried the doorknob and got the same response; and discovered the door was locked anyway. Opting to ignore this door (and it's twin at the other end of the passage) for now, the party instead headed down a new corridor that split off perpendicular before curving back towards the north. Along the flat section of wall between the two was an unusual, animated picture. Contained within a box frame, it was animated and almost three dimensional. It depicted a fey lord on a charger, leading a fey host in battle against a human army. Jonesomon was able to discern it depicted a scene from way back in time, sometime shortly after the days of the D'war. Poking, prodding and attempted ignition uncovered no useful information, so once more the party moved on.
At the end of the new corridor was another door, just like those previously encountered. Except this one was not trapped. It opened into a long room, above which floated a strange layer of crystalline dust. Surrounding the centre was a low wall, around an opening in the floor that allowed access and view to the room below. At one end there was also a set of stairs leading down. The party was careful and methodical, searching for traps as they moved into the room. Suddenly a section of floor ahead lit up and shot a column of brilliant blue light towards the ceiling, fading and disappearing after just a few seconds. Shortly after another column of light engulfed Hobbs as he stood looking down the stairs, blinding the hedgefey temporarily. The others carefully led him downstairs and out of the danger zone. From upstairs, the room appeared have have metal pillars holding up the ceiling. In fact, it was a series of large metal chimes hanging around the perimeter of the room. At the far end was another door. The party split at this point, some headed for the door and others staying in the chime room. Beyond the door was a plain room containing two rectangular shapes. Upon closer inspection, they were revealed as sarcophagi. Each was filled with some sort of hard clear resin. One was empty except for a crown, metal tube and astrolabe type mechanism encased in the resin. The other contained the preserved body of a fey lord, surrounded by treasure; scepter, goblet, rod, and mirror. The resin itself was very hard; could barely be scratched with even magical weapons. Out in the chime room, Gnarl playing around with the musical instruments a bit, and was rewarded with a strange high-pitched trilling sound. And a trickle of fine dust from the ceiling, which made everyone yell 'stop!' to the wood gnome, fearful that the ceiling might crash down on them.
Feeling somewhat underpowered and under prepared, the party decided to head back above ground and rest until the full moon. By then everyone would be be healed up, and they assumed something significant would happen with the moon pool by then. On their way out, Vegarious and Ranza, in turn, explored the central dome once more. Vergarious, entering invisible, noted only one stone guardian in the room, and it did not seem to notice her. Ranza, entering while visible, was seen and she beat a hasty retreat as the guardian started to advance. Both noted a faintly glowing blue patch in the centre of the room.
Back in Wickerwood, they rented rooms at the "Nine Cups and a Cask" for the week to take their rest. They also decided to head back to Wild Gerta and Thorguld Red-Nose, to get more healing help and perhaps some information on the mysteries of the keep; the fey chambers below it and the strange idol from the tower. Ranza and Vergarious headed off to see the witch, who greeted them as creepily as before. Matters went downhill fast when Ranza realized they couldn't really afford to buy healing potions at Wild Gerta's inflated prices, but the witch was insistent that they'd made a deal and it had better be kept. In the end, Ranza traded 500sp for information on the moon pool. Wild Gerta told her the moon was a source of power for the fey lords, and that the pool they described was likely true water. This substance was enchanted by the rays of the moon, and exhibited anti-magical properties. If placed in anything other than a vessel of noble metal though, it lost its power due to contamination and fouling. The pool itself was likewise susceptible to contamination, but the light of the full moon would re-sanctify it. Taking the information in, Ranza turned to leave. But Wild Gerta grabbed her arm, and then bit her hand. As a reminder, the witch said, of their previous and still extant deal for healing.
Meanwhile, Ganrl and Jonesomon headed out of town to Thorguld's shack, finding the burly man at home this time. Unfortunately, he immediately turned on Gnarl, slapping away the strange idol the wood gnome carried and started to hit Gnarl about the head. All the while screaming something about smelling the spore of that witch on him! Gnarl retreated, and Jonesomon calmed the mountain man down. It seems Thorguld was being serious when warned them last time about dealing with Wild Gerta; he had some sort of hate on for the old buzzard and now refused to deal with Gnarl. But he did deal with Jonesomon, selling two healing poultices. Asked about the idol, Thorguld told him it was probably a representation of one of the old Wood Gods, primordial spirits of the Forest of Wyrd once worshiped by many before the coming of the Church of the Three Virtues. While many of the Wood Gods were benign and even helpful, this one he felt was of darker purposes. And noted it reminded him of the weird pagan rituals practiced by the charcoal burners in the hills above Coldhome, a village to the north.
On the night of the full moon, the party headed back into the dungeon. There they found the moon pool clear and pure once more. Gnarl used his silver flask to carry some to the black cube and then to the sarcophagi, pouring it out to see it it had any effect. But no luck. Ranza also decided to wash her hand where the witch had bitten her; the persistent stinging at least went away. They then headed for the as yet unexplored doors, and were surprised to find them unlocked and no longer trapped. Heading inside, they were likewise surprised to see it occupied. Sitting on a small bed was a strange doll-like creature; formed of porcelain and the knuckle and finger bones of some giant creature. When asked, she said her name was Lithilith and she was a servant of Nimon the Gloaming Lord. Sitting next to her was a massive, dire wolf like creature with oddly blue-tinged fur. Further questioning did not reveal much, as her answers were cryptic and interspersed with strange trilling humming when she didn't want to answer. They found out the full moon had unlocked the doors; otherwise she couldn't leave the chamber unless someone activated the glowing blue patch in the domed room. They also learned that it was Nimon who lay in the chamber below, and there was no lady or other who did/should occupy the second sarcophagi (Ranza, keeping past experience in mind, used detect invisible to confirm there was no one in the sarcophagi or hiding elsewhere.) Asked about and then brought to the cube chamber, Lithilith became agitated and confused and would not or could not tell them anything. She was also unclear about Nimon; was he dead, in stasis, or something else? Why was he here and what exactly was she doing here?
Getting a very bad feeling, the party decided to leave Lithilith and the wolf behind, and head down to the burial chamber. But they'd forgotten about the second door, and she and the wolf followed them, she humming that trilling song all the way. Was there a connection between her song and the chimes? What would happen if they played the song on the chimes? But they then worried what would happen if they somehow released Nimon; could they deal with him, plus Lithilith and the wolf, plus the still extant stone guardians if things turned hostile? So many questions to ponder ....