23 Illumination 508
The party stands in the entryway of the central pyramid at Salvi, deciding their next move. Passageways beckon to the left and to the right. A hideous demonic statue, its arms outstretched and its hands forming some sort of baptismal font dominates the room. Savaric searches the statue but finds nothing out of the ordinary. The ranger then looks for tracks in the dusty entryway, but finds none. The party then decides to head left, with Savaric leading the way.
After following a long corridor, the half-orc comes to an arched doorway leading into large room, the boundaries of which reach beyond the limits of Savaric’s darkvision. He can see disturbing, somewhat primitive wall paintings of priests summoning demons and having congress with them and not much more. Surm summoned forth dancing lights and cast them into the room to shed more light upon the subject.
With more light shed upon it, the party can discern that the room is a huge sanctuary, supported by pillars painted with pictures similar to those seen by Savaric on the walls. In the center of the room is a huge stone altar with bones chained upon it. At the rear of the room are two, separate, steel doors and a large hideous demonic statue. After some debate, the party decides to head toward the left-most of the steel doors as Savaric checks the path for traps. Surm sends the dancing lights toward the altar and statue in case anything untoward should happen there.
As the party slowly makes its way through the room, Surm sees shadows gather at the altar, coalescing into a humanoid form with dully glowing eyes. The form howls and then flies toward the party! It has a form similar, but not exactly the same as, the shadows that the party has fought before. The glowing eyes are filled with anguish and hate. The party takes up positions surrounding the form and begin to do battle. Brother Thorne’s prayers seem to have little effect upon the creature. It touches Rilka, sapping her of her health and vitality. But, finally, the creature is dispatched with an angry blow from Rilka’s glowing blade.
Finally, the party makes it to the steel door, finding it devoid of traps and unlocked. Savaric opens the door and looks down a long hallway, noting a couple of arched doorways and another steel door. The hallway curves back down to the left and looks like it curves down further away to the right, around the other side of the sanctuary.
The party then decides to search the altar in the center of the sanctuary. They note that it has grooves etched into it, designed to catch blood and funnel it into receptacles at each of the four corners. Brother Thorne prays for the soul of the departed sacrifice victim on the altar. The party also searches the bronze idol and finds nothing of interest. Surm goes ahead and opens the other steel door, which opens into the long hallway that Savaric has already looked down. The party then spends more time in the sanctuary as both Savaric and Mõrvar search out the entire room, finding nothing.
Next, Savaric is sent through the right-most steel door and into one of the arched doorways in the adjacent hall into a room dominated by a large, dried-up fountain. Rotted cushions litter the floor. More arched doorways lead to the left and curtained doorways lead up into another chamber. A wooden door leads down. The party decides to leave the fountain room for later and follow the hallway down around the sanctuary. Savaric leads the way.
At the end of the hall, the corridor the curves again and ends in a broad staircase leading down with a wooden door beside it. The door opens into a large linen closet with several large cupboards filled with ancient, well-made linens. The closet has another door that corresponds to the wooden door in the lower part of the fountain room. The party takes this shortcut back into the main corridor and checks out the steel door in the hallway.
The door is declared unlocked and free of traps, so Savaric opens it and enters. It appears to be a dressing chamber of some sort, probably for the priests of the temple. There are six large wardrobes in the center of the room, each with sets of well-made (if ancient) vestments inside. There are also dressing tables along the walls. No one, including Brother Thorne, can identify the religion being practiced here.
The final arched doorway opens into a large dining room with two long banquet tables dominating the room. A sideboard is set at one side of the room and fraying rugs are set upon the floor. There are arched doorways to the right of the room.
The party decides to leave the dining room for now and follow the hallway along the other side of the sanctuary wall. Following the corridor, they find that it curves once and ends in a broad staircase leading up.
Now the party decides to return to the dining room and search it more thoroughly. As Surm and Savaric begin to search, Savaric sees a shadow break away from near the sideboard and begin to glide toward Surm. An alarm is called and the party converges on the creature. Though Surm is injured, Rilka manages to dispatch the creature. The room is searched and two sets of silverware are taken from the sideboard.
The arched doorways lead into a spacious kitchen area filled with old utensils and such. A steel door leads off from the top of the room and arched doorways lead off from the right into the fountain room. The party searches the kitchen and the fountain room, finding nothing of interest.
From the fountain room, the party enters the curtained-off room at the top. The curtains break away with age and decay revealing a spacious bedroom with a small bookcase, a bronze bath tub and large bed. The books are fragile and written in an unknown script, though many are illustrated and obviously erotic in nature. A debate ensues as to whether or not it will be worth their while to take them, and it is decided to leave them.
The party then returns to the kitchen and searches the steel door. No traps are found and the door is unlocked. Inside is a storage room with barrels and broken sacks of old grain and such. Surm and Savaric search the room and find nothing. Mõrvar, on the other hand, is convinced that something is in this room and takes a long time searching it out. At first, he finds nothing. But finally, after much trial and error, he does find a secret door behind the barrels.
Savaric finds no trap on the secret panel and opens it. It opens into a narrow corridor leading back down toward the sanctuary area. He leads the way, looking for traps. Eventually, the corridor leads to a locked steel door. The half-orc checks the door for traps and finds none. Surm steps forward and begins fiddling with the lock. After much trial and error, he eventually trips it and opens the door. At this point, Mõrvar announces to everyone that it is probably nightfall.
The door opens into a long room with a trapdoor in the floor at the end of it. There are three cupboards affixed to the walls. Inside the cupboards are three sets of ancient clothes, three belt pouches with 10 gold, 10 silver, and 10 copper pieces each, and weapons. The coins, of an ancient and unknown mint, are taken from the cupboard. Mõrvar wants to take the ancient weapons, as they may be of worth (two are deemed to be masterworks), but he is persuaded to let them be for now as this may be a good place to hole up.
Savaric checks the trapdoor for traps and finds none. He opens it and looks down and smells a whiff of the sea. He also sees the interior of a cave.
The party decides to camp inside this room. They go back and shut the secret door in the storage room and assign shifts for the night.
24 Illumination 508
After an uneventful night, Savaric goes down the trap door ladder. Surm sends down his dancing lights behind him. The rest of the party follow soon after.
Once down in the cave, the party can see that there is an underground river nearby to the trapdoor ladder. There is a rowboat beached nearby. Behind them is a worked-stone wall and a steel door. The large cavern is supported by natural columns. It is damp and smells lightly of ocean. Mõrvar immediately goes to check out the rowboat.
As the rest of the party decides what to do next, Brother Thorne calls out to Rilka. Emerging from the camouflage of the gray stone of the cave is a oozy creature who attempts to slam into the female half-orc! As the rest of the party takes up fighting stances and begin to engage, it becomes apparent that the creature’s ooze is acidic and can damage their weapons and armor. Surm identifies the creature as a " gray ooze " and tells everyone that its touch is acidic and that it is immune to fire and cold. It attacks Mõrvar and attempts to encompass him but fails. Rilka changes her weapon, protecting her magical falchion and attacks with her longsword, losing the weapon but finally vanquishing the creature.
The party then decide to check out the door. Savaric checks the door for traps and finds none. Surm picks the lock and trips it. Savaric looks in to find a modest room with a table and chairs with two cupboards and another steel door leading out. Surm and Savaric search the room, finding more ancient clothes and weapons in the cupboards, as well as belt pouches with the 10 gold, 10 silver, and 10 copper denominations. Once again, the half-orc checks the next door for traps and finds none. Surm unlocks the door.
The door opens into a long a corridor. Gazing down, Savaric can see where the corridor continues or one can turn left. A debate ensues as to whether to turn back and go upstairs—the most likely course of action that their predecessors from the journal took—or to continue in these underground chambers. Finally, it is decided to find out where all of these corridors lead before heading back up.
The party decide to take the side corridor leading left. Savaric leads the way looking for traps—and finds one. Surm attempts to disable the trap, but fails—but fortunately does not spring the trap. He tries again—this time springing it. A large axe swings down from the ceiling, narrowly missing the sorcerer. The trap does not reset itself. The party continues down the hall, making their way around the ominous weapon.
Finally, the party comes to a dead end. Surm and Savaric search and Surm finds a secret panel in the wall. No traps are found and the panel is opened. It opens into yet another long corridor leading to the left and to the right. The right corridor ends in a broad staircase leading up. The party decides to leave this for now and return to the previous corridor.
The corridor turns twice, ending in a steel door. Before approaching the steel door, Savaric pauses, sensing the presence of magic. Surm searches the area and, in fact, finds a magical trap, which he then disables, saving his friends the trouble of having the area filled with fire.
Savaric then searches the door for traps and finds none. Surm then approaches and begins to disable the lock on the door when a magical arrow of acid appears and embeds itself in Surm’s chest. The party manages to neutralize further damage with water, but Surm is quite put out with Savaric’s trap-finding ability. Finally, Surm manages to unlock the door and open it.
Inside the room are a variety of objects on stone pedestals:
- Bronze sculpture of a warrior woman
- Jade sculpture of a cat
- Coral sculpture of a dancing girl
- Bronze sculptures of two comely courtesans, one male, one female
- Painting of a weeping man
- Ivory and copper necklace with matching bracelet
- Coral necklace with matching earrings
- Silver armbands etched with dolphins
- Jade and silver brooch
- Silver dragon ear cuffs
Surm and Savaric search the room for traps and find none—though they do find a secret panel at the top of the room. Searching the panel for traps, they find one and Surm manages to disable it. They open the panel, revealing a smaller room with 4 bags set upon the floor and another set of pedestals and objects:
- Gold wristbands with emerald insets, etched with wyverns
- Platinum scepter with gold inlay
- Gold armbands etched with griffons
- Gold and silver and pearl inlay shadow-caster of woodland animals
The bags are revealed to be filled with more coins, of various denominations, of that strange mint. Mõrvar returns to the first room and appraises the various items on the pedestals. After a brief discussion, the party decides to leave their finds here, as it seems to be a safe room and the traps have been found and disabled.
The party then go back to the stairs and travel back up to find that, as suspected, they are the broad stairs they found beside the linen closet. They then go back down the stairs and follow the final hallway to its conclusion, where it ends in a steel door. Once again, Savaric checks its for traps and Surm unlocks it—eventually, after much trial and error.
The door opens up into a holding chamber with ringed with a series of barred cells. Several of the cells still hold the skeletons of humans. Savaric and Surm search out the room, finding nothing but a cabinet filled with old torture implements. Brother Thorne says a prayer over the souls of the fallen prisoners while Rilka insists on Surm unlocking the cells with remains in them to search them out. Mõrvar wants to use his acid splash on the lock to unlock them. Finally, the party decides to give it up and head to the next level of the pyramid. . .