Rote-ay-ip Aruthala's Journal in Reverie
Morning came without event. As the sun rose over the horizon, and cut through the sickly green fog, we prepared to return to our exploration of the elven palace. Concerned about the repairs on his ship, Mado chose to stay behind. Only four of us, the elves and half-elves, would partake in this day's adventure. Even my ha-bashe's pets would stay behind this time.
Little had changed on the isle in the center of Tal Varish. Fungus still grew over the glass dome, but Andon's influence kept a path open for us to enter by. Inside the dome, the charred remains of the glass shard pyramid stood silently in the center of the courtyard. The palace at the courtyard's far end awaited us.
From the throne room, in the palace, we descended again into the glassy chamber below. A light set atop Romalar's long bow threw jerky shadows across the walls. I don't know about my friends, but I was wary; I remembered the battle we had so nearly lost the day before.
Carefully, I looked down. The pungent remains of yesterday's foe covered the floor, barely visible in the darkness below the room's upper platform. Holding my Eye Stone in a tight fist, I surveyed the rest of the room: the platform, the four short stairs, and the four evenly spaced doors they led up to.
The four doors were smooth glass, each with a simple knob attached to its center. With the help of the Eye, I could see long lost souls flickering through the doors. I could also hear things: Moaning from the South, screams from the North, giggles from the East, and maniacal laughter from the West.
After relating my observations to my companions, and after some discussion, we chose to go South.
While the rest of us looked on, Romalar struggled with the door. The knob was solid, not made to turn. The door was securely shut; No pushing or pulling could make it budge. In surprisingly little time, Romalar's half mortal heritage was showing through, and he prepared to cut his way through the recalcitrant portal.
I was quite amused, but felt it was time to step in. Some elven subtlety was called for. I slid forward to stand directly before the door. With a gentle touch on the handle, I spoke softly in my native tongue, and commanded the door to open. And so it did.
Through the doorway, we found a short hallway. At the end of the hall was a strange spherical room. When Romalar entered the room, the entire room began to roll. Before the doorway could rotate out of reach, I also stepped into the sphere, leaving Andon and my bashe behind.
Together, Romalar and I rolled the room over from the inside. As the doorway rotated up toward the top, we heard a click and saw a vent come into view through the doorway. A hissing sound ... and I could not move. I could not move or talk, and I fell like dead weight to the curved floor. Somehow Romalar resisted the effect, and rolled the doorway back to Andon and Gwen in the hall.
The paralysis didn't last long: I smelled something, perhaps coming from Andon, and vitality returned to my limbs.
Undaunted, Romalar and I try it again. We rotated the room to the side. We triggered another trap and gas hissed into the sphere. And again I collapsed to the ground, while Romalar resisted the effect. I felt ashamed for my weakness.
This time Romalar continued to roll the sphere around, until the doorway opened into a room. It was a bedroom, with a bed, and chains, and dessicated humanoid remains still chained to the bed.
I was still aware, although paralyzed, and saw Romalar flinch back. Later he told us about the ghostly woman's form that rose from the bed. I could not see, but I heard the soft voice: "Corvy, is that you." Romalar quickly rotated the sphere, turning the doorway away from the haunted room.
Once again in the effluence of Andon, I quickly recovered. And then we chose to all enter at once, and meet this ghost together. We all entered the sphere and rolled the entrance to the other side.
I stepped into the bedroom. The woman's ghost rose from the bed as before. She asked about "Corvy" -- perhaps Corvid Alloriem, the one time King of Tal Varish. I was wary about telling her that Corvid was dead; that his soul rested in my pocket, held in a small diamond gem.
The woman seemed unstable, and I quickly began to also worry that she would attack us. I also knew that my skills of persuasion leave much to be desired. So I decided to trap her soul, for our protection. For a moment she seemed to resist. I whispered a prayer to Strith and found new strength to overcome her resistance.
Her soul was too strong to fit in my small gem. I was only partially successful at containing it. While much of her spirit was trapped, other souls were freed. More than freed: they had taken some of the woman's spiritual energy. They started to coalesce into incorporeal undead creatures, and then to attack us.
We fought the new formed wraiths, but half our attacks seemed to pass harmlessly through them. Gwen called lightning, Andon's gaze shot magic missiles, Romalar cut with his celestial sword, and I attacked with my fiend-bane sword. Despite our difficulty hitting these creatures, the battle seemed to be going well.
We soon learned that we were in serious danger. The wraiths' attacks, while seemingly minor, had the power to permanently damage our health. And the small gem that now contained both Corvid's and the woman's souls was starting to pulse and shake; it was about to explode, or something even more terrible.
I was seriously wounded -- damaged by the wraiths' touch -- and had only moments to deal with my overloaded soul gem. While my ha-bashe and my other companions fought on, I spied a large sapphire necklace. I grabbed the necklace, and by the power of Strith transfered the woman's spirit and that of her lover -- Corvid -- into the sapphire together.
The battle was soon over, and we all still lived. But some of us -- myself included -- were permanently drained of health. We searched the room and took all the treasure we found -- I took the bed and chains because they interested me. But I felt sick. And even though I was as strong as before, I had to pause often, racked by fits of coughing.
@@@@@@Glasya offered me a deal. She would heal me and my
companions. But in return she wanted a part of me, a part of my future. I had
little choice. My thoughts were dark as I accepted her proposal.
We returned to the ruined palace in Tal Varish, and descended again to the trapped chambers underground. As before, Romalar and the others struggled to open one of the four doors, this time East. And as before, they fail at all attempts, but it opens easily at my command.
Beyond was another short hall, ending in the same gimbaled airlock as we had found to the South. Romalar and Andon go first. Rolling the airlock up and over, they make it safely into the room beyond.
Inside they found a stoner's paradise: narcotic smoke, comfy cushions, jars of strange preserved creatures, a cabinet of a hundred drawers, and a six foot tall hookah in the center of it all. Smoke swirled out from one mouthpiece of the hookah -- the source of the narcotic vapors in this room.
Seeing no immediate threat, Romalar returned through the airlock for the rest of us. Gwen and I followed him back into the room beyond, rolling the airlock up and over.
While Andon, Gwen, and I examined the room and inventoried the one hundred drawers, Romalar left to examine the airlock. As soon as he turned the airlock door away, I heard a muffled rushing sound; I listen closely to the smooth airlock wall, and heard the rush of flames and sounds of agony beyond.
I could not force the airlock back around. Gwen and Andon came to help, and my bashe's magic parted the glassy stone wall of the airlock. Andon then stepped through into the inferno beyond, hoping to pull Romalar out before it was too late. But the flames and fumes had clouded his mind, and he lashed out at Andon, and then pushed back into the room to attack me.
So began a regrettable fight. None of us -- Gwen Andon, and myself -- wanted to hurt our ally. For a moment I though he may have calmed down, and I took his sword and sat him down on a cushion. But it did not last, and in a daze, Romalar stood and started smashing the jars at the back of the room.
In one jar was most of a pixie. When its jar broke, the pixie started to cream and thrash about on the floor. Romalar stomped on it. All of a sudden he disappeared, but we could still hear him thrashing and gibbering at the back of the room.
We launched a variety of other magical, but hopefully non-lethal attacks at Romalar, but it was finally Ashra's breath weapon that ended the fight. When Andon's annoying lizard breathed, we were all turned to mist, and could do nothing but wait for the effect to wear off.
While waiting, and floating, and mingling with the narcotic fumes, our attention was caught by a mental voice. It came from a long snake -- a dragon? some sort of celestial? -- that had been freed from one of the jars. He was talking to Ashra, but we could all hear him. He had lost his wings; he did not know where he was nor how he had gotten there. But he seemed to know something of the outer planes, and of places like the enigmatic islands of White and Black.
Andon gathered up the snake and brought him out of this dungeon. Once we recovered from forced gaseousness, Romalar used his adamantium sword to free the airlock to roll again, Gwen freed and befriended the smoke elemental in the hookah, and I made off with many of the exotic drugs we had found in the hundred drawered cabinet.