11 Transformation 509
As the party stands in the room with three dead illithids, Surm and Savaric search and loot the bodies. All they carry are the dark cloaks and the strange serrated swords they have encountered before. Rilka is still injured from her encounter with the carnivorous blob. Surm asks her if she wants to pull back and leave or stay. She says she wants to stay. Savaric pulls out his wand of cure serious wounds and gives her some healing, but her life-force is still drained.
At the north end of the room is a portcullis. They peer through it to see walls with veins of multicolored crystal. In the center of the room is a large metal humanoid construct, seemingly made of the same strange metal that is used on the doors. They decide to leave the golem be.
They, instead, open the southern door to reveal a room with more of the crystalline veins running through the walls. The floor is comprised of tiles of different sized and different colored crystals. Savaric heads into the seemingly empty room to search it out and, after a couple of steps, feels a wave of magic wash over him, filling the room. Suddenly appearing in the chamber are three large creatures—skeletal with cadaverous insectoid bodies that include a long tail with a stinger. As the party engages with one of the monstrosities, the other two disappear. Savaric finishes off the creature with a barrage of arrows that send it flying back. The other creatures seem to have left.
At this point, the party decides to backtrack to the entry room of the complex and try another door that was left untouched on their previous foray into the Ysarian city. This door opens into a small, empty room. They then return to the room with the strange statue and head into a door they left behind. This reveals a room occupied by three of the foul intellect devourers that they have encountered before—only this time, they do not have duergar hosts. The party goes in and does battle with the creepy aberrations. Two are completely slaughtered, but one (dubbed “Thad”) is mostly intact—having only taken damage from Savaric’s arrows. Surm draws the gold rod given to him by the scholars at the University of Kalimsport and says the command word. Thad’s corpse is suddenly enveloped in a clear sphere of magical force that can be moved by Surm’s mind.
They open a door at the north end of this room to reveal with crystalline veins running through its walls and a series of multi-colored crystal tiles set into the floor. Surm casts detect magic and determines that the floor is, indeed, magicked. He decides to try and dispel the magic instead of possibly summoning more strange creatures to fight. After two failed attempts to dispel the magic, he gives up. Rilka enters the room and springs the trap—summoning two of the strange bony, cadaverous insectoid creatures that they encountered before.
As the fight rages on, Surm realizes that these are summoned creatures, and thus can be dispelled. He casts dispel magic, sending one of the creatures back from whence it came. He casts again, dispatching the second one as well.
Taking the south door of this room, the party discovers two more illithids, which are quickly dispatched. This room has a doorway leading to another room.
This room is dominated by a large metal and crystal abstract statue (8’ tall and 5’ wide). It radiates a faint magical aura. There is another door beyond the statue. After examining the statue extensively, and being disturbed by its alien design, the only thing that is determined about it is that is is eerily warm to the touch. They move on to the next door, which is locked—though, with the makeshift key they got off the duergar, Surm makes short work of it.
Opening the door, another long, narrow room is revealed. The center of the room holds five large crystals arranged in a square, with the fifth crystal in the center. The crystals are about 1’ wide and 4’ tall. They are clear, but iridescent. Surm casts detect magic on them and determines that not only are they strongly magical, but their type of magic is shifting wildly.
Surm enters the room. As soon as he hears his footfall hit the stone, the crystals start thrumming in discordant frequencies. After various experiments with the crystals, it appears that they do nothing but hum as soon as a sound is discerned in the room. Nothing blocks Surms path to the next door. Rilka hits upon the idea of trying to match the tone of one of the crystals to see if that does anything. After a bit of persuading, Surm pulls out his flute and matches his tone to one of the crystals.
The crystal begins to glow and a Surm is then bathed in energy from the crystal. He feels a force within him making him stronger and he finds that he can direct it to where he needs it most—though the effect is probably temporary—only lasting a day. He decides to make himself physically stronger.
He tries another crystal and finds that its energy, which also emerges from the crystal and blasts him, is for healing. Excitedly, Rilka tries singing to the tone and succeeds in healing herself of most of her life loss.
They try a third crystal and Surm is blasted with negative energy—draining him of both life and vitality. He has lost the temporary boost to his strength as well. He matches tone with the healing crystal and restores himself.
Needing to know what all the crystals do, Surm tries a fourth crystal. This one bestows true seeing on all in the room (Rilka, Surm, and Savaric—the half-orc guards remain in the previous chamber). This, too, is known to be a temporary effect—lasting only about half an hour.
Finally, there is the fifth and final crystal. Surm matches its tone and energy shoots out from it to the other crystals, pooling the energy in a nexus above the fifth crystal. Suddenly, an image appears in the air above the crystal. It is a fearsome sight—the creature is grotesquely large with four arms—two puny, but two huge and ending in lobster-like pinchers. Spines line its back and horns top its head.
Everyone in the room hears, in their mind, a terrible voice saying something in a language that none of them understand. Surm tries to communicate with it, to convince it that they can’t understand it. The creature repeats his words, clearly frustrated. Surm tries to communicate some more, but to no avail. It finally just utters an unknown, but curt, phrase.
Then the crystals begin to shudder and a narrow hole seems to be ripped through the scrim of reality. The tip of a large pincher begins to emerge from the rip in the air…