As I sipped and supped my evening grog and protein at HQ, Moon Moon, Tayo, and Rod burst through the front door. Apparently their expedition to the temple of Zehir was faring well, but they needed some help from old Meravar. Plus, they were behind on chores.
Upon arriving at the temple, alone, I heard the unmistakable sounds of a french horn emanating from an entrance. Remembering that Orgöst, disgusted by the surging popularity of his most recent musical endeavor, the maraca, started playing the french horn, I followed its muted tones to find Orgöst and Tielliana waiting for backup.
A faint, slow, mechanical and stone ticking could be heard.
Fork in the road: go down a hallway or up the stairs. We chose the hallway. This 20-ft. tall hallway contained about an inch of water and bore large grates near the ceiling. About halfway down the hall, I stepped on a pressure plate that began filling the hallway with water and also alerted some very large snakes of our presence. Two of these snakes attacked, only to meet their demise at the business ends of my blade and Orgöst’s Magic Missile.
At the end of the hallway, I yanked a lever to stop the insurgence of water. We then noted that the ticking sound was speeding up, and coming from the way we came, so we decided to go back to investigate, before venturing further down this hall.
Up the staircase, we find a large room with a narrow, rickety bridge leading to a small landing. On that landing, we could see three bodies, a chest filled with treasure, and a large gem. Orgöst carefully made his way across the bridge, casted Detect Magic, and found a magical presence on one of the bodies.
From the other side of the room, Tielliana expertly guided a Mage Hand to snag the gem from its pedestal. Upon doing so, green gas emanated from tiny holes in the floor around the treasure. Tielliana’s Mage Hand then placed a stone back on the pedestal, stopping the release of the presumably poisonous gas. Orgöst took the magic item from the body, later identified as a Rope of Climbing, Tielliana used her Mage Hand to take coins from the treasure heap, and I used the lid from a large sarcophagus as a sled and loaded it with as much silver as I could muster.
That’s when we noticed the ticking was getting much faster and the stone door was beginning to close. We hightailed it out of the room, spoils in hand/sled.
Back to the hallway.
Continuing down the hallway a bit, we were greeted with the sound of orcish commands – too bad none of us understand orc. Though I could discern that the orc was not cursing (Tayo taught me how to say curses in orcish).
Orgöst and Tielliana applied a perfect orc disguise on me, which I then used to convince the orcs that the adventuring party was escaping. Following me, my new orc friends and I gave chase back down the hall. The rest of my party heard our approach and readied attacks for the orcs as we rounded the corner.
It was a tough battle against an unusually tough orc and his ordinary orc brethren. Tielliana used her Vicious Mockery and told an orc “You have a shitty imagination, dreadful goals, and you’re pretty goddamn stupid.” I put my sword through one orc face, and another had his face and jaw shorn off by my arcing blade. The aforementioned tough orc did not go down so easily. He used a flute to place a magical fear into Tielliana and me, and he was able to leap over the entire party in single bounds. Upon one such occasion, the tough orc earned himself a more porous taint at the end of Orgöst’s rapier. At this point, the orc baddie dealt serious damage to my two comrades, placing them in death throes. Things were looking grim as I was alone and unable to land a blow on my enemy. Fortunately, my Malcanthet-granted warlock protection kicked in at exactly the right time. Tough orc landed a good attack against me, only to have a magical cold course up his blade and into his veins. Orcs don’t like having their blood frozen, so he died. Then I stabilized my friends and grabbed the big orc’s Pipes of Haunting and Ring of Jumping.
Wrapping things up, we saw another pedestal, holding on it the Snake’s Eye we were in search of. Tielliana once again used her Mage Hand to pilfer the prize and replace it with a similarly sized stone to stop the flow of green gas.
We returned to town, caught up with Brother Gu-Gu-Gu-Guire at the Church of Pelor who cautioned us about Ze-Ze-Ze-Zehir, found a note from Hildo at HQ vaguely warning us about the mines, and I bed Mary yet again.
What’s the chicken scratch next to his signature?
Next steps: Now that we have the three gems that match the recesses next to the magical door in the mines, it’s time to venture back to the mines… But first, let’s talk to Hildo.