With the crystal creature shattered, the party was eager to heal up and head to the next level. Though they paused long enough to wring the last droplets of life out of the alchemy lab for a few potions and salvage a nice set of bracers, they quickly headed towards the strange, magical lift. The Steward stopped them momentarily to mention that his perusals of the memory banks of the control system allowed him to give them another spire transport token and two shimmering ioun stones that served as memory cores to the now defunct intelligence that controlled the creche.
The party rode the magical lift down a 200 foot pit and found themselves at the top of a platform overlooking a carved marble hallway and a set of double doors. More importantly though, emblazoned over the set of double doors was a symbol of a crowned skull, gigantic and in all it’s glorious detail. Quesh, seeing the full crest for the first time, recalled her arcane studies and remembered that this was the symbol of a truly powerful wizard named Nhur Athemon, an Azlanti prince who was dedicated to necromancy and tried to raise undead as truly living creatures instead of the shambling mounds of necrotic energy they usually are. He fled Azlanti to get away from the authorities that hunted him but eventually his apprentices were found and betrayed his location to the Knights of the Ioun Star. They stormed his stronghold and slew him on the spot.
Now having an idea of WHO this mysterious figure behind the crowned skull is, the party was armed with a bit more knowledge. Also swords, which were helpful against the Tophets that guarded the doorway. The Julia sisters, in a strange sort of competition, each destroyed one of the constructs, with Avarita summoning a magical, shadowy pit that consumes all who falls into it, and Invidia slicing the other one to bits with the power of sword.
With the golems dispatched, Avarita did her usual scouting thing and spied a few giant plants in the main gardens and then found a… theater of all things. It was curious enough for her to creep into the room and look into the orchestra pit where a massive gibbering mouther was lying on the floor. After she noped the hell out of that room, she informed the party who decided it was time for plan ’Murder Plants."
“Murder Plants” started off strong with the party spotting a giant fly trap that was attempting to conceal itself in the undergrowth. Though it got a single bite on Invidia, the plant was quickly chopped to ribbons. The party quickly moved on to the strange, spire-warped moss creeper. It shot pollen the moment anyone approached it… luckily it was Zombtaur that approached. Unaffected by the pollen, the minotaur shrugged and the party descended on the creature. Though its tendrils had a shockingly long reach, the party closed in with little trouble… only to have the creeper disgorge three zombie-like creatures from its vine-coated frame…. one of which bore a striking resemblance to Victor the Victorious. The party blasted and cleaved through the plant and its poor thralls until there was nothing left and the party salvaged poor Victor’s equipment. He was surprisingly well-geared… little wonder he was so confident.
With the plants deadified, the party moved on to the strange theater. While Invidia stood at the doorway and the party decided how best they could handle a mouther, an imp appeared in a puff of smoke on the stage and asked if they’d like to see a show. He then shot the mouther with his wand of lightning bolt, prompting it to let out a horrible wail of insane gibbering that drove Chaaz, Invidia and Remnus into a state of utter confusion. Avartia took a terrible gash from her sister and Remnus though it would be a good idea to pray REALLY hard to Urgathoa by way of smacking himself in his own head with his holy symbol. Chaaz, however, kept his sanity long enough to decapitate the imp and the party descended on the horrid abomination of mouths and teeth. While they fought, five ghostly, insane whiffs of smoke appeared and attacked the party as well, but the incorporeal creatures couldn’t manage to touch the dexterous melee fighters and were all quickly dispatched. Remnus managed to control one though, who was commanded to tell him about Nhur Athemon before he was offered up to Invidia and Chaaz for… “Diplomacy”
With the Allip “diplomacized” all over the place, the party moved on and Avarita ascended a steep stairwell and peeked magically through a door… to spy a giant skeleton man sitting on a throne. Knowing that this would not NOT an easy fight, the party took some time, buffed themselves and summoned some extraplanar help before they let Remnus open the door and try to talk to the undead creatures. Strangely, this was not THE crowned skull the party was searching for. The undead terror only declared his master bade him to defend the halls and defend them he shall. With diplomacy not an option, the party descended on him with a flurry… and Avarita tossed him into yet another pit. …Unfortunately for her, it can fly.
How will the combat end up next week? We’ll see.