With the looting of the sarcophagus, the group moves to investigate the tunnel heading from the southern edge of this cave. It brings them to a door that opens to an empty guard room, connecting further to a mostly empty armoury and the unfinished spike floor trapped room. From there they continue further into the complex finding themselves back into the hall they were led to by the bandit they interrogated earlier. Investigating the doors they hadn’t previously reveals an interrogation chamber and a prison with several cages.
With nothing else to find they decide to re-enter the roughly hewn lava tunnels they were in before. Going right instead of left this time and thankfully finding the pile of rubble that had disgorged the snake swarms earlier to be quiet and nonthreatening.
They pass unhindered through a smaller cave and come to another larger one with a familiar pile of bodies within. Jurgen feels his flesh crawl and he feels Odin guide him to use his Divine Sense. It reveals that the pile is indeed a pile of Zombies but it also reveals that the room has been desecrated.
As Jurgen and Sascha move in the bodies animate, absolutely silently, and within a few more steps they also become unable to make any sounds. The room has been blanketed with a silence effect.
The fight that occurs within that room is strange and otherworldly as axe, hammer, spells and arrows are fired off in silence. The undead prove difficult to put down as the unholy aspect of the room bolsters their natural resilience but Elrik’s Holy mace smashes them down effectively.
Searching the pile of bodies finds that its more of the corpses from the beach but there is nothing of value here.
Moving along they exit the silenced section and carefully make their way down another 20ft of tunnel. Ahead the air grows hazy and heavy with some kind of incense. Sascha coughs, clearly not liking it while Jurgens dwarven constitution means he barely registers it.
Scanning the room from the tunnel reveals a black volcanic stone altar, a small ‘basket’ type contraption beside it, a half dozen braziers burning some kind of incense and two fairly large stalagnate’s. Eevi identifies the burning incense as some kind of herb or flower but can’t pinpoint what it is exactly. Behind the altar the far wall is riddled with holes.
Jurgen lifts his shield and hefts his hammer before boldly stepping in. Sascha and Lucius follow while the rest of the group stay within the tunnel, wary of that hazy, smoky room. The smoke seems to cloy the vision of the Paladin, Barbarian and Wizard but a few teary blinks later they are unaffected.
From behind the pillar two shapes seem to flow upright. One is dressed in robes with a strange hooded head piece while the other resembles some horrific cross between a lizard and a humanoid, it also bears a shield.
With a soft sibilant voice, the hooded figure, the one the guard identified as Enemy – Sisava, looks at Lucius and says ‘Thiss fight iss your doom, go home’
Lucius stops and blinks and realizes that this fight will be his death. Turning he leaves at a run. The group watch him leave in disbelief.
Jurgen and Sascha rush forwards to be met by the Reptilian shield bearer hopping over the altar but staying within 10’ of it’s master. A second one rushes out from behind the stone column to his right, hidden from view.
Elrik casts a Guiding bolt, intent on blasting Sisava but finds his spell fizzling as it is Counter-spelled by his target. With a grunt of Supreme annoyance he reaches for his mace.
Eevi and Sigfrith bolster the group with cantrips of their own, targeting the second Reptilian Guard.
Jurgen is assaulted by both of the guards, claws and bites ripping into his chain mail and bouncing off his shield as he cracks his hammer into the shield bearer.
Sisava points at Sascha but only succeeds in getting her attention.
Sascha peels off and vaults the altar, engaging Sisava. She rages but is off balance for her first strike, missing and tearing a chunk off the altar. Hundreds of Snakes begin to pour in from the back wall.
Aldonis fires an Arrow at Sisava and sees that it curves before hitting its target, hitting the shield bearer instead. He blinks, wondering if the smoky haze affected his vision.
Lucius continues to move away. Intent on finding a spot to rest before he heads home.
Sisava stares intently at Sascha, his strange pale green eyes boring into her, trying to overwhelm her will but finds that her Berserker Fury (20) shrugs off his spell.
Her great axe doesn’t miss as he reels back in pain. She calmly ignores the mass of snakes beginning to swarm.
Another arrow from Aldonis, meant for Sisava, deviates and badly wounds the shield bearer.
Jurgen cracks his hammer into it, dropping the shield guard as Elrik advances to engage the second guard, Mace hefted in one hand and shield up high.
Sisava hisses at Sascha and disappears into a silvery mist, reappearing 30 feet away behind the column the second guard had come from, blocking line of sight from the others. A second swarm of snakes forms and begins to slither it’s way towards Sisava.
Sigfrith enters the room to get a bead on the enemy but finds it difficult to see through the thicker haze in the room. His eyes stinging, his eyesight fades and he finds himself completely blind. Coughing he falls back, hands out trying to find the exit. Eevi grabs him by the arm and drags him to safety. Eevi asks him to cancel his light spell while she quickly examines him. Sigfriths light goes out, putting the tunnel into shadows and Eevi can see that Sigfrith has been poisoned but she can’t tell how long it will affect him.
Sigfrith just grunts and shuffles past her into the zone of silence behind them.
Sascha rushes towards Sisava but isn’t able to reach him, she is also not attacked and finds her Rage slipping away. Clear headed she reorients to help with the last Guard. The first snake swarm, finally fully formed, slithers after her.
Having failed to affect Sascha twice Sisava focuses on Jurgen and finds that the Dwarf’s will is not quite as strong as his constitution.
Jurgen is polymorphed into a Tiny Viper. (With a Tiny Beard) Confused, the small Viper coils into a corner, trying to avoid being stepped on. The second swarm of snakes ignores him.
Somewhere, in the halls of the ruins, Lucius blinks and finds that Sisavas earlier Suggestion is just a load of Bawls. He turns and sprints back with the intent to lay a magical smack down.
Sascha and Elrik put the remaining guard down as the fight moves towards the center of the cavern. Sisava attacks Sascha, his arms seemingly shredding and splitting into dozens of snakes, but fails to land a blow. The swarms engage with Elrik and Sascha, Elrik manages to absorb most of it with his shield while Sascha nimbly keeps her feet and legs out of striking range.
Sisava weathers Eevis Vicious Mockery and Hisses angrily, words pouring from him in a language no one understands. A lethargic aura radiates from him, targeting Jurgen, Sascha, Elrik, Aldonis and Eevi but the Adrenalin is too high as everyone resists the compulsion to sleep.
Lucius runs past a blindly retreating Sigfrith, intent on getting back into the fight.
Aldonis fires another arrow at Sisava, thinking that now that the shield bearer is down he might strike true, and critically injures him. Sisava reels in pain and never sees the Great Axe that cleaves into his neck, nearly decapitating him. His lifeless body falls to the ground.
Lucius, words of power ready to burst from him, looks on in disappointment. ‘Dammit, didn’t get here in time’
Jurgen reverts to his natural self at the far end of the cave.
The snake swarms disperse, as though some controlling force has released it’s hold on them, and scatter towards the back wall retreating through the holes they came from.
Eevi retrieves Sigfrith who had managed to wander back a fair distance, keeping to the right hand side.
Searching they find that the shield radiates magic, Aldonis warns the group that it may be cursed as it seemed to attract missile fire. They also find a scroll being held rolled up by a ring and a wand. (Ring of Swimming, a Scroll of Protection vs Plants and one of the Wands of Water Control).
They find little else of value in the room, the ‘basket’ is actually a part of the floor, stone that has been shaped and within a deep empty darkness. Aldonis drops a stone within and listens to see how far it falls. He does not hear it hit anything. Later this is repeated with Lucius casting a light spell on a coin and dropping it. The light falls for a long long time, and is only barely seen as it bounces off something far below.
Leaving Sisavas lair they make a quick camp in the barracks nearby. Eevi and Elrik wrap up Sigfriths eyes with a few odds and ends from their herbs and with the passing of a short rest his sight returns.
Bolstered by the bite to eat and the return of Sigfrith’s vision the group heads back into the ruins looking to explore the long hall that Eevi had been attacked in way back.
When they get there Aldonis leads the way down the hall, his Dungeon Delving skills save him from falling into a pit trap as they approach the next set of Double doors.
The doors are unlocked and Jurgen enters fearlessly.
Within they see a huge room that fades into darkness. Within the light they carry and the sight of those with darkvision are several large worktables, covered with bits and pieces of scrap metal. Somewhere further back in the darkness they hear a strange skittering sound echo off unseen walls but it quickly stops and fades into silence.
Attracted by the work spaces Lucius enters and passes Jurgen receiving a look of disapproval from the dwarf. As the party begin to filter in the room Lucius makes it to one of the long worktables and from behind it rises the skeletal body of a snake, topped with a strangely humanoid skull.
Lucius immediately Fire Bolt’s it.
It responds in kind with a Lightning Bolt catching several of the group behind in a jagged line of electrical power.
Despite managing to get himself mostly out of the way Elrik goes down. The others are singed and hurt but still standing.
Lucius taunts the Guardian and is attacked with a powerful bite. The poison that courses through his veins overwhelms him and he falls unconscious.
Rushing forwards Jurgen and Sascha Engage the creature. Before he gets into the fray Jurgen does a Lay of Hands on Lucius to bring him to consciousness (1hp).
As Lucius recovers consciousness and sees his allies fighting it he taunts it again from the ground and fires another bolt of fire at it. Seemingly enraged he is attacked again but is missed. That distraction is enough to let the rest of the group finish it off.
Reviving their Cleric the area is lit with light spells and torches before being searched.
Eevi recognizes that this chamber must have originally been used as a spawning chamber for some race that had eggs or birthed into pools.
Aldonis finds the lever that controls the pit trap outside, he puzzles out that it locks into place when the trap is closed or unlocks it to let unwary fools fall to their doom.
Lucius and Sigfrith examine the scraps of plans, bits of metal and tools and determine that this workshop was used to build some sort of cage. Beyond that nothing else can be found and learned here. Aldonis’ theory of a main entrance being found here is, unfortunately, wrong.
Returning back the way they came, swimming through the green algae waters, keeping an eye open for further creatures, the group climbs the cliff that had the gondola originally and leave via the lava tube. Elrik leads them along the path that Shensen and the elves had guided him through and within hours they are back at the southern Cauldron Gate.
It is night and raining, the gates are closed but are opened when Jurgen pounds on the smaller individual entrance announcing to the ‘Who goes there?’ query with ‘It be the Iron ravens ladie, now open up the gate’. Entering they are recognized by the guards there, a few making comments about how the Ravens are doing good in the City. As the group leave the guards they hear one pipe up ‘I still think the Stormblades are better’.
The group notices a murder of crows perched on the buildings watching them as they make their way to the Temple of Athena. At the temple they are quickly ushered in by an Acolyte (not Ruphus) are a disheveled Jenya quickly makes an appearance. It is obvious that she was resting. She is happy to see them safe and sound and asks about their whereabouts over the last three days.
The group hands over 7 of the 8 missing wands, apologizing for not having found them all. Jenya merely blinks at the sticks in her hands unable to reconcile the apology with the recovery of almost all the wands. A smile spreads across her pretty face and she orders food and towels be brought. She also dispatches Ruphus and two other Acolytes to fetch representatives from the religions of Apollo, Heracles and Hades.
She speaks with the party, getting them to tell her of the deeds they have committed. She asked them if they recovered any of the items from Sarcem’s body, which causes her smile to falter a moment. And is pleased when Aldonis offers the ring, Lucius the Charm and Elrik the Mace. She declines the mace and charm, saying that those are gifts now from the church. She does take the ring though.
She asks if the group caster’s would be willing to help with flood control and as Eevi, Sigfrith and Lucius volunteer the messengers return with a very fit and handsome Cleric of Heracles, a young female Paladin of Apollo and no Cleric of Hades. Jenya frowns at this and begins to make plans with the other two church representatives on flood patrol duty. She gives the Paladin of Apollo 1 wand, the Cleric of Heracles 2 and keeps 4 for the Temple of Athena.
The group learns that Annah, the Paladin of Apollo, is the only remaining representative of her temple. Her two senior clerics have passed, one of old age and the other through an act of violence unsolved.
With the promise to return to help with flood patrol the group heads home to rest.