Starting things off with a bang, Avarita threw her sister through the air at the clockwork juggernaut with a magical spell. Invidia took full advantage and cut the clockwork monstrosity almost entirely to ribbons… but not before it could let loose a blast of super-heated steam on the party which caught several people in its blast. Though Chaaz effortlessly finished it off, he, Quesh and Avarita were singed quite thoroughly. Avarita was especially hurt by it, which made her quite angry. One might say it made her steamed.
With the monstrosity broken, the party inspected the wreckage to find several curious items. One, its eyes appeared to be made of large, red crystal balls of a size to match the semi-conspicuous belt sockets in the room’s statues. The party put two and two together REAL quick and inserted the orbs in the statues to reveal the rest of the dungeon having been hidden behind them.
Of slightly LESS obvious use was a large, mechanical clockwork heart that ticked like a heartbeat and exuded supremely powerful magics. It was quite fortunate that the party inspected it and found the terrifying magics first lest the cursed artifact compel them to place it to their chests and have it replace their heart. With all the protective spells on the artifact, the party settled on “It’s probably a phylactery” before moving on with the dungeon.
Avarita happily scouted ahead of the group and the party was able to pick whatever encounter they wanted… and they started with a group of seemingly undead knights. Upon opening the bedroom a particularly nasty looking knight was standing in, the knights charged the party, screaming to attack and defend Nhur Athemon… except for the female knight who was revealed to be Lady Estrekan, the woman who slew Nhur Athemon in the first place. With a raspy, withered voice, she told them to flee and drew her greatsword. Several more knights joined in the fray the moment the lady was attacked, but the party handled the knights effortlessly and left them all in unconscious heaps.
With the combat over, Quesh casually instructed the swarm of insects she had summoned to fly to the corner of the room… inadvertently activating a powerful Prismatic Spray trap on the steps which blasted the swarm of insects into the plane of fire.
Better them than the party though, THAT’S for sure.
After making a note NOT to go on the steps, the party went to Lady Estrekan and revived her briefly so they could talk to her. Sadly, the lich’s vile magics made sure she made every attempt to escape her bonds and attack the party, even while she explained she knew nothing of the lich’s weaknesses and could not die unless her armor or the lich were destroyed. After knocking her out again, the party resolved to find a way to free the knights and continued exploring.
The next room they opened was… weird. It was just a hallway with what Quest could only describe as a “Time Vortex” at the end of the hallway. Most of the party wisely elected to stay the hell away from it, but Remnus was FAR too intrigued by it to simply turn a blind eye and bravely dashed into the room, stopping about fifteen feet in after noticing that he aged about 8 years. Shockingly undeterred, he continued towards the time vortex which shifted his age to a shockingly spry 21 years by the time he reached the portal.
Inside the portal, Remnus found himself half inside another space.. and spied a strange, human-like figure that was phasing in and out of existence. The figure revealed himself to be Togarin, one of Nhur Athemon’s apprentices who betrayed him long, long ago. The lich imprisoned his spirit in this time vortex and commanded his body to labor eternally for him. Begging Remnus to stop the lich from the blasphemous use of his body, he offered the cleric three skulls… knowing that whatever living creature Togarim’s body has become without his spirit, could never stand the sight of evidence of their deaths. He also informed Remnus that whatever blasphemous form of life Nhur Athemon was creating, its victim’s souls would be bound to him eternally until the lich’s death. Sadly, Togarim was short on other useful information like, say, weaknesses but Remnus thanked him all the same and returned to the party with his information and his new, youthful glow.
Ultimately, the party decided that they would keep exploring the level and soon found themselves at a library, face to face with two female sorceresses. Though they greeted the party pleasantly enough, NO ONE was fooled for a second by the strange presence of two attractive females in the depths of a dungeon. Though they had a rather comical exchange, the succubi dropped the act and attacked the party. Or they WOULD have attacked the party if one of them wasn’t immediately put to sleep by Quesh. Though the other tried to use her charm magics on Invidia, her will was a bit too strong and the succubus found herself wounded and facing certain death… luckily for her, succubi have a LOT of avenues of escape and she used ethereal jaunt to vanish in front of their eyes and make a quick getaway.
With the succubus roaming around, the level will be just that more dangerous. Will the party face her later on? Will they find Nhur Athemon and end his atrocities? We’ll find out next time.