Chapter 7 - "Now, will you go down there and tell Mr. Roper that I promise we are going to be quiet from now on?"

As the group went single file down the precarious path, hugging the wall, Viselys asked Irgzid about what was up ahead.

"There is a passage," Irgzid answered. "It is…guarded, I guessss you would say, by a creature."

"How do we get passed it?" Viselys asked.

"My people presented it with a sacrifice. Slavesss," Irgzid said as if it made complete sense and wasn't at all a question of morality.

The party made it to the bottom of the path and gathered to discuss their next move in light of this information. Liamae and Duxsil exchanged a look, glanced at the Oman sharing a thought, then looked to Viselys.

"No," Viselys said before either spoke. "It is my duty to return the Olman to his people. We make other arrangements with the creature. If it doesn't agree, we fight it. It can have free reign upon our carcasses should we fail."

"Fine, we kill it," Liamae acquiesced. "Leaves possible bait for later."

"You surprise me, Liamae, with your blood thirsty attitude."

Liamae arched an eyebrow at Viselys. "It isn't blood thirst, merely utilization of resources, nothing personal. One must prioritize and weigh acceptable risks."

Viselys frowned at that, and opted to focus on their next step. "Ken-ji, do you think you could summon a creature that we might use as bait?"

"I could, but it will only last so long as its essence is alive. Once it is devoured, it will cease to be entirely," Ken-ji explained.

"So once it is eaten the gaurdian creature will be full for what a minute? Two?" Saris asked trying to understand.

"Essentially," Ken-ji nodded.

"Hopefully that will give us enough time to pass. If this works, we must move quickly without alerting the creature," Viselys said.

"I do not wish to be in front for thisss," Irgzid said, clearly communicating his confidence in the plan in spite of his reptilian facial expressions, which were very difficult to decipher.

Viselys nodded and motioned for Ken-ji to summon a sacrifice, which turned out to be a bear. With the bear beside him and the rest of the group following, Viselys walks forward into the line of sight of the creature. It appears to be a large pillar of petrified wood with an eye and gaping maw.

"A roper," Urol whispered, though this meant little to the others.

"We've brought you your tribute for safe passage," Viselys announced.

"You don't look like the usual bipeds," the roper said.

"Yes, but as we understand your presence here we have brought you the required payment for passage as indicated by our friend," Viselys said as he gestured to Irgzid in hopes that it would convince the roper to accept the offer.

"Bring it to me," the roper demands.

Viselys motioned for Ken-ji to direct the bear forward. The roper reached out with its tentacle arms to pull in the bear and devours it.

"So we pass?" Viselys asked Irgzid softly as the roper ate the bear.

"Usually the sacrifice isn't so willing, but I guesss thisss isss it," Irgzid offered uncertainlly.

Viselys had directed everyone to begin passing as the roper began eating. He then stood facing the roper as the other filed behind him. Without warning the roper lashed out, attacking Viselys. Saris shot off a few arrows, landing one hit.

"Did you see that?" Ken-ji asked as he turned to Viselys only to realize that Viselys was being reeled in by the roper. Quickly he turned to the others. "Did any of you see that?"

"What?" Saris asked as the others looked from the roper reeling in Viselys to Ken-ji. Clearly no one had seen whatever it was that Ken-ji and his sharp cat-eyes had seen.

"It is vulnerable to fire," Ken-ji answered.

"Fire ball," Duxsil said with a smile.

"Wait! What?" Viselys shouted as he managed to hold his ground against the pull in of the roper.

Ken-ji attempted to cast a wall of fire, but the roper was unaffected. "It must have some kind of spell resistance."

"Well, that's just great!" Saris spat.

Duxsil, however, was undeterred by this bit of information and cast his fire ball anyway. As luck would have it, not only did he successfully hit the roper, but he reduced it to ash and cinder causing Viselys to fall flat on his butt as he pulled against the roper's tentacle.

"S'Thar does like the long shot," Liamae said with a smile.

As Viselys got to his feet, Ken-ji noticed something in the roper ashes. With the help of the others they uncovered quite a bit of treasure. Apparently, eating slaves hadn't been its only food source and the treasure indicated that others may have wandered by and been devoured.

Among the ashes they found 5 garnets (100 gp/ea) and 43 platinum coins. This prompted a more thorough search of the cavern floor, and after about 10 minutes of searching the party also found a silver and ivory scepter worth 1200 gp, a +1 disruption flail, a cloak of protection +3 and a staff of frost with 24 charges.

After divvying up the treasure and stowing the rest in the bag of holding the group pushes on further into the darkness.

Continue to Chapter 8...

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