Friday, May 21, 2010

Episode 25: 5/16/10

The Party:
Ashelia Raminas, elf ranger 4/rogue/3
Nineve, human knight/7
Xicar, human cleric/7
Haroldur, human wizard 3/cleric 4

We begin our decent into the pit. As we move down the hole (through various mundane and magical means), we are attacked by waves of wind warriors! Haroldur makes good use of his long-forgotten crossbow, and at one point I manage to leap heroically onto a Wind Warrior mid-flight and stab it in the air. We fight our way to the bottom of the cavern and find ourselves in a large cavern at the base of a waterfall.

Glowing fungus grows on the walls and ceiling of the cavern, dimly illuminating the area. We proceed with caution and I discover a magical trap! I try to disarm it, but I run into some difficulty. With Xicar's help, we realize that there are in fact three traps. I try to disarm the second one, and meet with success.

We move cautiously past the traps and approach a very incongruous gargoyle statue in the center of the cavern. As I walk up to examine it, it lunges at me with its horrible teeth! Turns out, it is in fact a Nabasu demon! It offers some resistance, and Xicar can't take it's terrible gaze and gains a negative level.
We finish it off just as a few Shadow Mastiffs rush in and charge us. The mastiffs are followed by some Shadows, more shadar-kai, and Shadow Orcs! It's death o'clock!

We fight a very pitched battle. At first, both sides seem to be evenly matched, but we're taking heavy damage and their reinforcements keep coming. In the midst of the chaotic din of combat a strange and compelling creature stalks into the chamber. She has the form of a beautiful horned woman from the waist up, and that of a vicious hunting cat from the waist down. Somehow, the look of abject and merciless cruelty in her eyes is more unsettling than the strange combination of woman and feral cat. She raises her bizarre, long-fingered hands in a commanding gesture and speaks several strange words in a ringing voice. Our opponents slowly lower their weapons, eyeing us warily, while also watching the strange horned woman with expressions of fearful respect.

We soon learn that this strange creature, a Shadow Sphinx, is called Sivit. She speaks Undercommon, Draconic, Infernal, and Abyssal. Most of us can understand at least one of those languages - we translate for those who can't. The situation is tense, but it seems Sivit sees no reason for further unnecessary losses and is willing to negotiate. After a few skillful verbal maneuvers we convince her that we are of the same mind. We reach a truce - she and her shadar-kai will let us proceed unhindered if we will help her with a "situation" they're having. She explains that she has a problem, and she believes the solution to that problem is nearby. However, the entity who can help her refuses to deal with her. Sivit thinks it may deal with us, however (probably because we're not obviously evil giant sphinx-women).

She directs a pair of shadar-kai to show us The Problem. They take us down a corridor which branches off from this main room to a long chamber. In the center of this chamber, completely blocking the way through, is a 40-foot tall Statue of Doom. It looks inactive at the moment, but the area around it is littered with bodies of fallen shadar-kai, and the statue's huge hammer is still glistening with the blood of its foes. By the looks of things, not a single shadar-kai has managed to make it past this obstacle. Our guides indicate to us (through pantomime) that getting any closer to the statue will trigger the "splatting" sequence. Xicar makes a joke about shoving that is not well-received...

We return to Sivit and she escorts us to her potential solution, grumbling to us that this elemental knows the secrets to the chamber but completely refuses to deal with her. It is obviously a sore point. She leads us down another passage and stops suddenly, saying this is as far as she'll go. Sivit stalks back to the rest of her minions as we press on.

The stony passage twists and turns as we climb upward. Shortly the rough passage opens into a small chamber whose walls are carved with intricate reliefs. The chamber is very cold. Crusted ice and frost cake the floor and walls, and our breath smokes in the air. The frost-covered reliefs glitter in the light, and almost seem to move. They show various Storm Kings, Amsophar among them, paying homage to a strange female figure emerging from a pool of ice and snow.

We continue on to the next room, which is even colder than the last. Drifts of snow cover the floor, and caked frost covers everything else. Cold bluish light fills the chamber and causes the ice and snow to sparkle. A rough, snow-covered stairway winds around the side of this chamber towards the light. A waterfall spills in frozen, glittering beauty from a platform above onto the unmoving surface of an icy pool. As though the chamber weren’t already strange enough, snow falls soft and silent, from somewhere far above. For a moment, the marvel of the strange sight fills us with childish wonder and delight. In fact, Haroldur flops onto the ground and makes a snow angel, and we all laugh as we admire his handiwork.

After carefully climbing the rough stairs, we find ourselves atop a platform overlooking the frozen pool below. A pair of frozen waterfalls frame a pool of ice and slush in glistening beauty. As we approach, the icy surface of the pool swirls and churns, forming a column that rises from the turbulent surface. Quickly the column forms into the shape of a beautiful woman composed of glittering snow, her icy blue eyes regarding each of us briefly before she says something in a strange, tinkling language. Oddly enough, we find that we can understand her perfectly, as she bids us welcome to her chambers.


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