Sep 15, 2008

Darkness and Light: The Secret

After defeating the demon dragon previously, the party spent a couple of days in the city of Dun Eamon. Due to their flashy entrance (it's not everyday a party of adventures shows up at the city gates with a dead large red dragon), their reputation preceded them throughout town.

Staying once again at the Market Tavern, they found all manner of townsfolk interested in hearing their tale, not the least of which was the serving girl, Molly, who seemed to have developed a little crush for the half-elf ranger. Whenever she had the chance (usually when she should be working), the young girl would sit and listen to Hunter's stories and talk about her own dreams of being an adventurer one day soon.

While the defeat of the dragon was a great accomplishment, it still didn't bring them any closer to finding the Gem of Amara, and that meant going back to the temple ruins. On the night before leaving, Bergin visited the bathhouse for a long soak and a massage, this time joined by the monk.

After a few days journey, the party was once again underground. They checked a few rooms they hadn't searched before and found an empty living quarters and another filed with various (clearly stolen) religious items, including a small statue to Zivilyn and a few coin boxes used to collect for the poor.

As they were about to enter another room, they heard some noises from inside. Cautiously, the party opened the door and found an ogre looting through whatever belonging had been in the room. The ogre and his companions, a pair of slightly snake-like humanoids (known as a "slig" in the Dragonlance setting) turned toward the open door. After a few tense moments, the ogre spoke claiming that "Me here first, this all mine!"

It seems in the time the party was away from the ruins, one or two (or three) wanders came down here looking for easy loot. The party was willing to let the ogre keep the trinkets he picked up, and even traded a few of their things for a parchment. It contained some spells that were useless to the simple behemoth. The room also had an ancient torture device, a well in the floor, where people were chained by the wrists and left to dangle in the cramped, dank space. They even found a skeleton still attached to a set of manacles, the poor soul having probably been left to starve to death all those decades ago...

Afterward, as the party continued looking for the gem, they noticed an elaborate stone mosaic on the floor, outside the dragon's lair. While bits and pieces of it had been destroyed over the years, enough remained to show an elaborate procession of monks carrying fallen members along a hallway and into a great chamber. In the chamber, atop a huge stepped dais, the head of the order conducted a ceremony over a dead monk. Beyond the chamber, the dead cleric was stripped of clothing, flesh, and finally bones before it's spirit moved on to the river of souls.

As the party looked the mosaic, they realized the great chamber was one of the underground rooms, the one with strange evenly spaced holes in the walls. It turns out those holes were used to anchor a huge wooden stage to the back wall, a stage that had collapsed or been torn down in the intervening years. While the party did search for secret doors and passages, when the search the back wall of this room, they were looking 10 too low.

With this new information, the party returned to the domed room and this time was able to find a hidden passage. Once inside this new area the ground was much cleaner and ancient magical lights still illuminated the hallways... clearly this part of the ruins hadn't been explored in years...