Passing through the portal, we continue our trek.
The neighborhoods seem to get more ornate as we progress. The
atmosphere, reminding us we are under millions of gallons of water, is
disheartening. It feels…… thick. The emberflies continue to light our
way. The passages narrow to a path. A gate blocks our way. To our
left is a mound of rubble. Something tops it. Echo, the most nimble of
us (unusual being a humie) climbs the rubble. Standing in front of her
is the Ashman. He invites the group up after greeting her. He is
standing in the middle of a circle. Echo and Rod recognize it as a
Circle of Summon Devils. His skin looks like glowing coals.
reminds us that the enemy of his enemy could be his friend and that the
enemy we have in common is ‘Scorch’, a demon. He tells us that beyond
the gate is a vault that contains something he wants. If we obtain it
for him, he will get us past the next barrier which is otherwise
impenetrable, a wall of animated corpses. Without his help, he claims,
we will not have enough power left to defeat Scorch and his minions.
The item he wants is a crown, made from arrogance. He is telling us
Continuing, he informs that the crown is in multiple
pieces and that he will provide us with information on even greater
enemies. We agree to work with him and he relates to us a story:
dwarven king ruled the island and demanded his priest make him a crown.
The crown was made but the priest made a second, later known as the
fanatics crown, creating blind loyalty and dominion over those that
served him. It was this king that caused the destruction of the island.
The crowns jewels were separated into power, dominion and loyalty.
Three stones must be placed on the crown.
Ashman gives us a box
and warns us not to touch the crown. Three trials must be completed,
the crown assembled, then brought back to him. He will then clear the
way for us and owe us several favors which we may claim now or later.
We walk down to the gate. A pair of huge knockers hang from leering
faces. It opens easily when we use the knockers. A building ahead of us
is the vault. Behind it is a lake. Coming from the side of the
building is the wall that Ashman told us about. From the ground to the
roof is a writhing mass of animated corpses, moaning and squirming.
Echo pokes it and narrowly avoids being grabbed by numerous hands.
Returning to Ashman, he tells us the first three trials are related to
the items we need to recover. The fourth is a trial of desire, we need
to reject our greatest wants. He gives us his name… Cinder. We move on
to the vault. A giant building. Runes carved in many places. Entering
the building is a long corridor. There appears to be some ancient
traps that no longer work. At the end of the corridor is a circular
hall, domed. Three doors lead out from it outside of the one we’ve
entered from. A fence blocks off the back and in the distance is the
lake and island. In the center of the room is another summoning
circle. This one for Jinn. In the middle of the circle is a lamp.
Rod prays for guidance. He says we should bypass the temptation. We
ignore the circle and lamp and move to the first door. It is filled w/ a
reddish hue. In the center is an obelisk, at it’s peak is a glowing
gem. Supposedly the gem of power. There are four statues. Three man
height. One giant. All sense as presences. I attempt to pull it out
using telekinesis. It stays put. Echo summons a phantom to try and grab
it. As soon as it touches the stone, the statues begin to move towards
us. Rod and I charge one, Echo, King and Ackdor charge the other. Two
shoot arrows at Ackdor, another hits me w/ a lightning bolt. The melee
continues. Ackdor continues to get hit w/ arrows while we strike
various golems. After the three destroy the one w/ the sword, I notice
that our hits on the magic user have had no effect. I realize that like
calls to like. Echo destroys it immediately w/ her ball lightning. I
drop my shield and sheath Melina, the archer is mine. His fear causes
his next shots to fly off target. The rest of the group focuses on the
giant. I quickly eliminate the archer and then we all turn on the
giant. It eventually falls. The obelisk crumbles and we gather the gem
in the box.