The Age of Worms

Session Thirty-Nine

Q. “What’s got two thumbs, no armor, and no shield?” A. Scar-Eater.

Sunday, 16 Sunsebb CY 595 (continued)

Tyrrell asks the red-scaled guardian down the hall, “What would it take to go past you?”, to which the guardian replies, “Well…you did just slaughter my friend.”

The party explains that dismissing is not the same as “slaughtering”, but he’s understandably angry that he no longer has anyone to talk to. He has been here an awfully long time and it could get quite lonely without company. Riddle offers to dismiss him home as well, and while he seems hesitant, in the end he sticks his head around the corner and Riddle casts the spell on him. The party sincerely hopes both he and Smoughed made it to their home planes and not some random one. Riddle is staggered by his efforts to make the spell work, however, so the party decides to take some rest before moving on.

During the hour, Riddle gets a good look at the Vaati script in the longsword room for the first time. He tells the others the words offer extremely high praise for the Glorious Icosiol, and the Incomparable Army of the Wind Lords. The runes are epic poetry about the Battle of Pesh. Jane suggests they look at the doors that opened onto blank walls earlier, to see if Riddle’s presence among them makes any difference to the tomb’s architecture, but it does not.

After an hour, Riddle is ready to continue exploring the tomb, so Tyrrell returns to the hallway with the large Wind Lord statue, where he soon sets off another deafening trap. To the left, the doors at the end of the corridor are open to a 30-foot-long room filled with super-heated air (which makes sense, since the floors are covered in glowing coals). Riddle casts fly on Tyrrell so he can search the room without touching the floor. He drags a large stone chest back into the hallway and picks the lock. Inside he finds 2,300 gold pieces, a knitted copper drawpurse containing 350 platinum pieces and two large honey-colored topazes worth about 600 gold each, a narrow brass scroll case containing a wand of invisibility, and four thick crystal decanters containing a special efreeti brandy worth about 200 gold pieces per bottle.

Tyrrell goes down the opposite hallway and examines the door. While it is neither trapped nor locked, he does notice that sound does not travel much past the edge of the door. Archie confirms that Allustan’s tracks lead to this door. The rest of the party scooches out of the hallway while Tyrrell opens the doors. The moment he does, the room goes from pitch black to being bathed in purple light. It is a large room with a balcony. Hanging between four chandeliers there is a huge black sphere. Each tier of lights in the chandeliers are tiny carved silvery humanoid wind warriors battling against warriors of Chaos. The wagon wheel spokes of the chandeliers are identical to the talisman of the sphere the party found in the Whispering Cairn a couple of months ago. There are frescoes on the walls of the lower level depicting the same black plate-mailed clockwork creature from before. Tyrrell returns to the party.

When Scar-Eater approaches the threshold of the room, a blazing purple rune appears in the center of the sphere. Scar-Eater recognizes it as the personal symbol of a creature called Bwimb, a general from the para-elemental plane of Ooze, who had been allied with the Queen of Chaos all those years ago. Studying the magic of sphere itself, the best Scar-Eater can come up with is that its purpose is to call sustenance to this chamber.

The clockwork creature itself is a Marut Inevitable, created to confront and destroy those who attempt to defy death. The words coming out of its mouth as it reaches for a large crystal seal (like the one Spitgob wanted) are “Pesh”, “ Aaqa”, and “Icosiol”, in that order.

Tyrrell enters the room to search the floor for traps and the next thing anyone knows, he is being grappled by a gargantuan black pudding. He manages to keep it from eating through his items but its acid is biting into him terribly.

Scar-Eater responds quickly, dimension hopping Tyrrell away and turning invisible. Archie tears into it with an arrow…only to create another black pudding by splitting the first one in half. Gulp. Archie wisely stops firing and delves into his knowledge of oozes and puddings. “Get out of there!” Riddle yells to Scar-Eater while preparing to close the doors of the room. Jane and Long Fist hurry to heal Tyrrell while the first pudding lashes out at Scar-Eater, despite the fact that he can’t be seen. When he reappears to the party a moment later, it is without his armor or shield.

Scar-Eater tries to extract himself from the room with a dimension hop but he can’t concentrate on both the grapple and the spell and it fails. Tyrrell draws the wand of produce flame and deals some damage to it. Archie starts yelling out facts about oozes: “Piercing and slashing don’t do anything to it except split it in two, and it’s got blindsight to sixty feet!” Jane begins to call lightning.

Riddle teleports himself, Scar-Eater, and Long Fist safely out of the way and Tyrrell tumbles forward to shut the doors. They come up with a plan to pull the doors open with rope from a location out of the range of its blindsight so Jane can pelt the oozes with lightning bolts until they are dead. And that’s exactly what happens.

Riddle graciously hands his armor over to Scar-Eater, and Long Fist similarly hands over the blinding shield, so the party can move on and investigates the doors on the upper balconies. The first leads to a small well-appointed room that apparently is the tomb of Icosiol’s favorite courtesan, Marisella. There are ashes in a nastily-trapped urn (likely hers), and several small checks. Inside them Tyrrell finds a wand of eagle’s splendor that Long Fist takes, three dusty tablets bearing a love poem to Marisella, some dissolving silk gowns covered in hundreds of small pearls and turquoises (which Tyrrell harvests), and a spectacular platinum necklace worth about 5,000 gold pieces. Jane asks Riddle if he thinks it’s all right to take these things, and he responds to the effect that if the coin will help the cause, he doesn’t think anyone can afford to be sentimental.

The party returns to following Allustan’s footsteps through the opposite door. The hall goes twenty feet and then slopes steeply down, into darkness below. They move down the hall until they begin to see a room bathed in pale light ahead. It is rectangular with many columns, lit by two wheel-shaped chandeliers. The entire room is covered with thick, greasy, ropy cords and strands of shadowstuff, as though something from that Plane has used it as a lair. There are blue doors atop a short flight of stairs across the way, and single doorways to the north and south. The southern door is the only one not guarded by longsword-wielding statues. Tyrrell searches the entire room.

Behind the north door, Tyrrell hears a low rushing sound like a river. When he opens the door, his suspicion is confirmed. He sees a stone bridge poised over a rushing river of blood…just like the one mentioned by the Vaati when they chastised Riddle a few days ago. The pilings of the bridge are eroded, and the arches are visibly barely holding. On the other side there is a fortified gatehouse with two huge 15-foot doors covered in clockwork gears. Tyrrell closes the door.

The southern door is not trapped, and it looks like the locking mechanism has been cleverly disabled using tools of a manufacture and style he is not familiar with. Curious, Archie checks the tracks around the room, and sure enough, picks up a set of non-Allustan tracks heading to the door. They seem to be from the same time frame as Allustan’s tracks. Archie wonders aloud if they don’t belong to the Marquis that Spitgob mentioned before.

Tyrrell opens the southern door. It is a long-abandoned shrine, covered in dust. He sees a glimpse of some banded mail and a sword rack filled with rotted hilts and blade detritus. In the wall above the shrine there are two small niches. In one sits a statue of a regal Wind Duke, and the other is empty. Something stolen, perhaps. There is no time to ponder it, however, as a dread wraith squelches out of the wall and attacks Tyrrell. It announces, in Vaati, that “no more shrine treasures shall be stolen by the foot soldiers,” in the middle of the brief and brutal battle with the party.

After the fight, Scar-Eater takes the +3 electricity resistance banded mail so he can at least give riddle back his mithril armor. Archie picks up the other tracks in this room, but they lead nowhere.

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