The skeletal abomination, Murthok Huul was quickly felled by the party as soon as he rose out of the pit, though Remnus caught a rather extraordinarily painful Slay Living spell before it was destroyed. A bit of magical healing was all it took for him to be good to go though and the party went right back to the task of exploring the level. The first thing on their list was the floating platform and the seemingly endless pit that was right nearby. Stretching down as far as the eye could see, the party figured this was probably the way down to the next level and promptly left it for later.
The next room was a bit of a curious one: a natural stone cavern smoothed out and carved to act as a crude sort of museum judging by the odds and ends placed on the various stone pedestals. A peculiar helmet made from the head of a cyclops was one of the items on display which the party immediately took an interest in, what with the eye following them as they were walking around. Avarita managed to deduce the helmet was magical and suggested someone who was NOT her wear the skin of the horrible beast. Next on the list was a black cat who appeared to be sleeping on the pedestal and refused to wake up when poked. While Avarita stared at it curiously, Chaaz inspected the items for magical auras, finding most of them to be emanating something…
Oddly enough though, the strange, squishy brain on one of the pedestals stopped emanating magic without explanation. Had Quesh not pointed out that the beast was looking an AWFUL lot like an Intellect Devourer the party may have just brushed it off instead of stabbing the brain to death. Though it was resilient, the creature was felled before it was much of a threat, leaving the party to inspect the rest of the relics, finding the skymetal replica of a shark’s tooth to be probably what Abernard was looking for, and the cat to be a simple taxidermy cat enchanted to look like it was only asleep.
Moving on, the party found the body of a dead drow getting up to gnaw on them. Fortunately, their brush with death prepared them for what was coming and when the hellwasp swarm burst from the corpse the swarmbane clasped sword wielders of the party made short work of it with a little lightning support from Avarita.
With revenge finally theirs, the party entered the strange marble bathhouse to find two succubi lounging inside it. Rightfully paranoid, the party demanded information from them and for them to keep their damn distance. Noticing that they were carrying the sword of the extremely powerful guardian of the floor, the two demons wisely decided to retreat and teleported away with great haste.
With the floor cleared, the party ascended the spire again to return to The Automaton Forge for some well deserved pampering and relaxation. Invidia and Chaaz volunteered to return to town to gather supplies and sell loot., Remnus decided he was going to take on the monumental task of resurrecting the adult dragon the party had fought on Level 10, and Quesh and Avarita decided they would take on the difficult task of getting massaged and pampered by the magical servitors on that level.
And so they did.
The trip to town was uneventful, not that the Echo woods was particularly threatening to such seasoned adventurers. Chaid DiViri was eager to know of the trials of the spire, so eager in fact that she invited herself to come with them on the next trip. Not seeing any reason she shouldn’t, Chaaz and Invidia allowed her to prepare as they talked to Abernard about the relic and the payment for the maps. And what a payment it was. Pockets overflowing with wealth, the pair stocked up on magical reagents and fine foods before returning to the spire, Chaid in tow, eager to interrogate them about the spire. Though her presence was odd, it didn’t stop the party from relaxing in the spa yet again and enjoying a truly hearty meal prepared by the automatons before it was bed time.
When morning arrived, the party awoke refreshed and were greeted by a delectable spread of bacon, fruit, toast, jams and juice, prepared so well that they felt magically fortified for the trials ahead. And so off they went, back to floor 13 to figure out how to make the elevator go down. Luckily it was little more than Avarita standing on it and shouting ‘Down’. Fortunate indeed that everyone else was in range to hop on the platform before it descended the TWO MILES the shaft stretched into the ground. The party was at a very real risk of dying of boredom by the time they reached the ground and found themselves in front of a foyer with two giant imposing doors flanked by two alcoves bearing statues.
Tragically, one of the alcoves had more than a statue… it had the body of the wizard Tiawask… dead for months by now and killed by a magical trap that Avarita was able to spot. In the palm of the statue was a red ioun stone, the party identified as an Eastern Star Ioun Stone. Almost instantaneously figuring out this puzzle, the party had one of the zombies stuff the western star ioun stone into the opposite statue… only to have it be zapped by a slay living spell. ..Deciding that maybe the Western Star stone should go in the WEST statue, the party quickly switched the stones and slotted them into the statue’s palms, unlocking the giant bronze doors. Avarita, of course, scouted the door before anything could happen and spied a giant clockwork statue lording over four trembling, half naked humans that were chained to the floor in a kow-tow position in front of the statue, their eyes and mouths sewn shut.
Still, the sight did nothing to dissuade the party and Invidia pulled open the doors just as bold as you please. The statue turned its glowing red eyes towards the brash adventurers and loudly declared that they were trespassing on the demesne of Nhur Athemon, the lich and that they should prepare to die.
We’ll see how that turns out next week.