Know, O thief, that these things are mine,
For I am the Dark Pharaoh, the crawling chaos.
Take what is mine and your blood will boil,
As I reveal to you my other faces and true glory.
Watching the canoe slip back into the mists the Iron Ravens examine their surroundings. The stairs are wet and slick, covered in phosphorescent moss making it Difficult Terrain to climb. The maw of the fish structure is not blocked and with Jurgen and Sascha leading the way they enter the first chamber. There are double doors ahead and halls that lead both left and right. To the left is a rotted old curtain, moldy in the humid air. To the right are portcullis bars with what appear to be cells further in. The air is filled with quiet croaking noises.
Jurgen complains about the light spell on his shield but understands the usefulness in having the rest of the party being able to see what he fights or what might be coming from the front. Sascha on the other hand quite likes the light emanating from her Wolf Mask.
Jurgen stomps his way over to the left, hearing the sounds of stirring creatures. His shield is the first thing to part and push the curtain aside, the light from the face of the shield illuminating the inside. Hisses and warbling cries erupt as the inhabitants are near blinded by the light. Spears and shields are grabbed and combat is joined.
Jurgen bears the brunt of it. His hammer getting stuck to shields as he strikes at them but he manages to keep hold of his weapon. One of the fish men makes a break for the stairs at the end of the room and descends into the darkness. Sascha quickly comes over to support and with spells and melee the Kuo-toa are quickly dispatched. Unwilling to follow the one fleeing creature Sascha simply stands watch over the stairs as the rest of the Ravens check out the passage with the portcullis.
From the darkness beyond come two voices pleading for release. Finding the control, Jurgen raises the portcullis and enters slowly. ready for anything. He finds three cells, two of which are occupied. One is a small halfling male and the other a skinny human. Both begin begging to be released but it quickly turns into accusations against the other as they warn the party to not trust The other guy. Sigfrith wryly asks them if they might be a True or False puzzle. When asked the halfling says his name is Cherrit, he calls the other White-Eye in a derogatory tone of voice.
When one starts to accuse the other of being a spy or a Kuo-Toa sympathizer the other immediately retaliates with similar accusations. Not much is learned from them as when one offers information about the complex the other immediately calls him a liar. When asked if they’d like to be simply left in the cells they both say “No…”
Jurgen opens the cells and White-Eye asks if anyone has a spare weapon that he might be able to borrow. He assures the group that he can get himself out of here on his own and thanks them for helping him. When someone mentions the bodies in the other room he heads there to pick up a spear and shield. Cherrit simply stands among the taller folk and mutters about letting his former prison mate go. On his way out White-Eye once again points at the halfling and repeats his deep distrust of him. Jurgen growls out a warning that if he finds either of them dead on the way out he will make sure to find the one responsible.
Lucius meanwhile has been examining the double doors leading north. During his time looking he sees that the walls are decorated in fish men frescoes and that one of the designs to the right of the door is a new painting of a squat figure in plate mail. The only thing off about it is that the head of this figure has been replaced by a black sphere. He Arcane Locks the door in case anyone thinks of coming this way but makes sure to include the full party in the password.
Once White Eye has left Cherrit summons up a small ball of light and salutes the group, cheekily winking that they should have trusted him as all halflings are trustworthy fellows. He then slips out of the maw and down the stairs.
Aldonis mutters something about Pokey going missing but no one seems to take it seriously.
Deciding to not use the stairs the call Sascha back to the main hall and have Aldonis check the double doors for traps. Satisfied that there are no physical traps in place he picks the lock and Lucius opens the door causing the _Glyph of Warding_ to go off. Twisting to the side Aldonis avoids the vast majority of it while Lucius is saved by his Arcane Ward.
Moving forward the group enters another hall and find another pair of doors. Jurgen makes a helpful “Check for magical traps this time Laddie!” comment even as Lucius and Aldonis both examine the door and find no traps. Magical or Physical. Opening these doors reveals a large room over a hundred feet wide and long. It also seems that they are on a middle level as the room itself opens up in the center beyond a railed balcony going thirty feet further down into darkness and up another thirty feet. When Jurgen enters and approaches the edge his darkvision can dimly see four Kuo-Toa’s at the bottom facing a Large Statue, easily seventy feet tall with the shape of a woman but having the head and claws of a lobster. As he looks up the eyes of the statue go from a very dim glow to a brighter red radiance that lights the entire room in dim red light.
The four figures at the bottom immediately brandish their pincer staves and start to make their way to stairs on the bottom left and right. Each seems to be suddenly surrounded by a glowing aura of protection. Splitting up Jurgen and Aldonis go left while Sascha and Eevi go right. Sigfrith and Lucius stay near the double doors and begin to sling spells. The fight at either set of stairs becomes a bottleneck as only one creature can fit at a time. Even as Jurgen smashes his hammer into one and Sascha slices another they find that the Kuo-Toa behind their partner reinvigorates them with healing spells making it a slow process.
Aldonis notices that near the waist of the statue, on a platform that surrounds it, a door opens and another Kuo-Toa peeks out, wondering what the commotion is all about. Seeing the adventurers it immediately points a finger at Lucius and Sigfrith and summons an Insect Plague . Lucius staggers out of the buzzing stinging cloud moving towards Jurgen and Aldonis while Sigfrith falls out nearly collapsing. The Kuo-Toa then ducks back behind the door. Meanwhile the fight on the stairs continues grinding slowly, Sascha and Jurgen slowly getting the upper hand. Sigfrith Cures himself, Lucius _Fire Bolts_ while Eevi Viciously Mocks. The next time the caster comes out from behind the door he decides to leap the small gap onto the balcony Jurgen and Aldonis find themselves on and casts a Lightning Bolt! Lucius and Aldonis are caught in the line of effect. Aldonis once again seems to make an Uncanny Dodge but Lucius takes the brunt of it. For it’s efforts that caster gets an arrow fired at it and it soon flees back towards the door. Before it slips back behind it though it points at finger at Aldonis and yells something in a croaking, warble voice.
Lucius immediately calls out “Aldonis’ been Disintegrated!” Sascha looks over and seeing her teammate missing lets her fury spill over. Jurgen’s enemy goes down first, followed by the one Sascha is fighting. Magic and Hammer take out the next and Jurgen bounds over the gap between platforms with his Boots. He places himself at the door and readies an action for when the Kuo-Toa caster comes out next.
And he waits.
Sascha and Eevi chase the last on on their side to the bottom and kill it.
The eyes of the statue pulse red and flash a moment as three creatures form on the platform behind Jurgen. Two Gibbering Mouth Covered Aberrations and a lady in a White Hooded Robe with a scrap of white cloth covering her eyes. The ‘Veil’ has a stylized red eye marked upon it. Immediately an insane wailing is heard as the Gibbering Mouther’s lurch into motion. The one closest to Jurgen spits out a glob of chemicals at Lucius and Sigfrith that explodes in a flash of brilliant light before sliding towards Jurgen and biting him. Lucius is blinded and begins to crawl away hoping the railing will provide him with cover. The other does the same for Sasha and Eevi but both manage to avoid their eyes. It then rolls itself off the balcony to fall before them. It misses Sascha with its bite. The hooded figure calmly nocks and fires three arrows at Sigfrith, hitting twice and dropping the Æsir.
Jurgen turns to disengage and help Sigfrith but the ground around him and the aberration shifts and oozes beneath his feet, preventing any movement as its wails overcome his senses and he attacks it once on autopilot. Sascha strikes hers twice before she too is overwhelmed by the cacophony that the Mouther shrieks. She clutches at her temples and wanders away from the fight trying to escape.
The hooded figure once again nocks and fires three arrows, this time at Lucius. Again two find their mark while one is deflected by the balcony banister. Lucius is pinned to the wall and falls unconscious.
The fight rages on. Sascha gets it back together and kills her target. Eevi takes stock of the situation and starts to climb the stairs she had just come down. Jurgen manages to regain his senses and leaps across the gap to get to Sigfrith and Lucius. He manages to deflect the things attack of opportunity. Sigfrith is slipping fast, his breathing shallow and skin pallid but Jurgen lays his hand on him and to stabilize and revive him. The hooded figure takes aim, only this time she goes for Eevi who is wounded but not out. Sascha charges up the stairs to engage the hooded figure, her sword finding its mark once, rending the robes. Jurgen heals Lucius who finds he has regained his sight but decides to crawl away from the fight anyways.
Jurgen returns to the main platform to help engage the Gibbering Mouther and the Lady of Arrows, smashing his hammer into the former. Sascha picks up on his idea to whittle down the number of enemies on the field and helps him kill it as the Hooded woman calmly reaches up to pull down her blindfold. Green Glowing snake eyes glare at the Dwarf and Vanir even as snakes begin to wiggle out from the hood. Sascha and Jurgen quickly avert their eyes which hampers their ability to strike her. She drops her bow and strikes back with a multitude of snake fangs and a wickedly sharp sword.
Sigfrith casts a spell but fails to avert his eyes. He feels her stoning gaze start to overtake him. Sasha and Jurgen continue to hold her attention in melee and she finally Disengages to get to the door and knock on it. At which point Jurgen barrels into her shield first shoving her off the balcony to fall thirty feet to the floor below and into the darkness. Sigfrith shakes off the effect and finds himself not turning to stone. Jurgen is peering over the edge but sees nothing but floor thirty feet below. Lucius readies a spell but can’t see into the shadows. Eevi rushes up the stairs and as she gets to the door that Sascha just drove a Rage driven shoulder into, realizes she didn’t see the bow that the Medusa dropped.
Aldonis picks the lock and Sascha enters the room, she finds the priest in a pool of water that covers the whole floor. She tries to strike the Kuo-Toa Priest but finds some magical effect prevents her from completing the attack. Jurgen rushes down the stairs and starts a frantic search for the Medusa but can’t find any trace of her. Eevi backtracks to see if she maybe missed the bow but finds it is indeed gone. Aldonis slips into the room and tries to fire arrows at the Priest and finds he also can’t finish his action. “Yea, of course” he spits. The priest moves to the door, protected by his spells, and closes it, placing his hand on a Glyph of Warding that Arcane Locks the whole thing. When Sascha fails to hit it a second time it raises its hands and with magical command Control’s Water raising the water level within the room twenty feet straight to the roof. Aldonis lets his bow float as he whips out his rapier. The Sanctuary the priest had is broken by its hostile act he sticks it with the pointy end. His magical ring allowing him to attack without difficulty. Sascha Recklessly attacks and together they corner the priest and begin to cut him down.
Eevi starts to hack at the stone door with her magical Shortsword as Jurgen scratches his head, searching the base of the statue. Lucius keeps his action readied to blast with a Fire Bolt should anything make itself visible.
Pulling his rapier free of the now dead priest, Aldonis looks at Sascha and both look up as the water level starts to drop, the power of the spell broken by the creatures death. Jurgen moves up to the platform, only Lucius is still on the Balcony. The Medusa fires three arrows at him dropping him again. Jurgen leaps down and engages her and as the rest of the party try to open the door for Sascha and Aldonis he fights her alone. But in his eagerness he looks right at her as his hammer connects and feels himself rooted to the spot, his limbs growing heavy. Taking advantage of his Restrained condition the Medusa breaks off, taking a glancing hit from Jurgen’s hammer, to get to a section of wall where she slides a hand over a panel and a secret door opens. Darting into the darkness she disappears again as the panel slides closed.
Jurgen closes his eyes, wondering if this is the end when he hears Eevi sing out “You can do Eeet!”, with her Inspiration he shakes off the Stoning effect.
The door to Sascha and Aldonis is finally opened. The group are out of breath and almost out of magic. It might be time to retreat and regroup as loud crocodilian sounds can be heard coming from behind double doors on the bottom floor.