Chapter 7 - A Downward Detour

The next morning they emerged to find nobody waiting for them outside the secure shelter. They retuned to the acolytes’ room where Roark had found the trap door in the floor. They opened the portal to see what lay beneath.

The room below was tiled with blue ceramic of various hues. Small puddles of water dotted the floor, and the walls were lined with ancient Olman statuary, lithe human figures and fiendish beasts with snakelike bodies and multiple arms. The statues were boldly deteriorated, in some cases scarcely recognizable beyond a vague body shape. There were twelve statues in all, each standing nearly ten feet in height. The stone trapdoor through which Roark was gazing was set in the middle of the ceiling and if there had ever been a way of reaching it from below, it had long since rotted away. An archway led out of the chamber to the north.

Roark tied a length of rope to his waist and asked the others to lower him down slowly. Before touching down on the ground, he hung there for a moment, his body suspended inches above the floor, and he searched for potential traps. Discovering none, he stepped cautiously, and examined every area of floor around him as well as the statues. He found nothing suspicious until he examined the section of floor just inside the northern entrance of the room. Holes in the stone above and below the archway indicated the mechanism of a portcullis, currently opened, presumably, and the floor inside the chamber and adjacent to it was a pleasure plate. The plate was, perhaps, too large to jump.

Duxsil was able to extract a ladder from his magical robe and lower it down to Roark, who rigged it as a kind of bridge over the trigger mechanism. While he scouted the passage beyond, the others began descending into the room to follow him.

The long corridor hooked around revealing a pit in the ground leading to a well of boiling water. A very narrow ledge was the only obvious way around and they had to take many precautions. To the left were stairs leading back up, presumably back to same level they had just come from. To the right was a solid door that was jammed shut. After muscling the door open, they found the way onward was flooded – not so much that they could not continue, but enough that they would be up to their waists in water (at least the human sized among them. The water was murky and rancid-smelling.

Halfway up the corridor they encountered some gaps in the wall on the left side. While examining them, Roark was unfortunately surprised when an enormous ooze reached out to examine back, forcing them to fight with fire despite being half submerged in water. With that obstacle dealt with, they pressed on.

The passage again turned and opened up into a 70 by 70 foot square chamber that was still just as flooded as the corridor. The bas-relief figure of a feathered serpent was carved as a single frieze that ran on the walls of this chamber near the ceiling.

This chamber was flooded to a depth of 8 feet here, its floor being 4 feet lower than those in the hallway. As the party began entering the cavern, three large creatures with toad-like faces, black skin, and metallic wire-like appendages protruding from their skin rose from the water to attack. Duxsil attempted to trap the hezrou demons using a wall of force, only to discover they had the ability to teleport. It quickly became clear that they were outmatched, so the party withdrew quickly. Luckily it seemed that the hezrou were not interested in perusing them far beyond the waters of the larger cavern.

Back at the statue room, there was a mishap with the ladder bridge and the pressure plate was activated, causing the portcullis to slam shut. Then four of the statues started to move. Luckily everyone was separated from the golems by the portcullis. As such, they were at their leisure to dispatch the constructs from a safe distance before raising the bars and returning back up to the acolytes’ chamber.

Continue to Chapter 8...

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