The group reconvenes after a break, experimentation and exploration occur around the Abyss. Many new passages and possibilities were found.
Zantar (Human? Mage): Sorceror
Jack (Half-Nymph Hunter): Archer
Zaire (Human Ninja): Dark Rogue
- Played by SyC
Artix the Uncanny (Gnome Inventor): Artificer
- Played by Cr4ka
Moonshai, Disciple of the Great Dracolich (Kobold Warlock):
Underneath a dense canopy of vines and brush the small band of souls and perhaps lost souls venture forth. Hoping to find some sort of answer to explain any of the strange occurrences that have befallen them and the world above. In a faint call, almost a whisper yet surprisingly clear,
"There is a clearing up ahead, you gotta come see this" informed Zaire the Invisible.
"Now what?" responded Moonshai in an annoyed tone while looking sideways at weasel twice his size. Thinking to himself, "How did I, the worshipper of the Great Dracolich, the future Tribe Leader of Small-kin, end up babysitting this thing?"
The dire weasel just licked his face.
A little up ahead the locally proclaimed "vampire" Nymph was swinging his naginata in a vigorous and masterful manner slicing off vines that got in the way. Although being one with nature generally meant not destroying a plant simply because it was in the way, but there was something odd about these vines, something that just didn't sit right with Jack.
Right behind him a figure with a majestic hawk perched on his shoulder, Zantar "the undead", was double checking his magical components. Pouch with various mineral dusts, check. Small animal bones and feathers, check. Then a small sigh of pride escaped his mouth as he patted a small pouch on his belt. His newest addition, the perfect blend of sulfur and grade A quality bat guano. Check.
Oblivious to the upcoming clearing, a hunched figure stumbled close behind Zantar. Artix's attention focused on some piece of mechanism in his hands. Out of his mouth came a spur of whispering noises which generally sound like a bunch of hissing. But to any nearby time travellers that could slow down time about 10 fold, they would hear some odd cursing, something to do with too many elbows getting in the way.
As the trail opened up a great pink crystal towered above the treetops all the way up to the ceiling of the cavern. Trapped inside the pink, the skeletal remains of a draconic creature of old. Around the crystal a skeletal centipede spiralled almost as if constricting the whole structure. Around, were a series of ring indents and on each ring atop a stone base stood a statue depicting a combat stance centered on the crystal itself. These statues portrayed a hardy barbarian, a heroic fighter, and a cunning wizard, all but the barbarian with their weapons clearly missing.
Some 50 ft above two huge gouts of water were hitting the crystal as if two colossal sized giants were having a pissing contest, but neither was willing to give up. By an unknown magic the water seemed to dissipate into nothingness upon impact. This motion intrigued the local artificer with a slight fear of water who at this point began constructing a 51 ft poking stick. At the same time Zaire and Zantar began investigating the statues.
"The base of each statue contains a notch that perfectly fits inside the circular grooves," reasoned Zaire "Then perhaps it may be possible to move these statues along the grooves."
There was a short struggle as they attempted to push the fighter statue along the groove, but it was quickly determined that the statues are far too heavy, as if they were made from an extremely dense material such as stone. With physical efforts leading nowhere Zantar's greed took over. Knowing that statues in this particular temple/cavern/dungeon are prone to have secret compartments with goodies, he began casting a spell to detect secret treasures. Coincidentally Zantar just recently began to master the deviously hilarious language of draconic and decided to use it to cast his spell. Well due to his noviceness in the draconic tongue he mispronounced the phrase "secret treasure" and instead ended up saying "secret passage" thus resulting in a different magical effect. Due to this minor alteration he located some secret tunnels up in the dense tree canopy surrounding the clearing. Everyone flashed back to a previous ambush.
"Tatzlwyrm," they all spoke in unison.
The general consensus was to stay clear of the secret tunnels. Except for Jack who decided, that despite the likelihood of the results, someone must investigate the tunnels and began scaling a tree.
After an anticlimactic experience with the statues Zaire turned his attention to the giant pink rock. After circling it a few times and looking for some proper foot holds he decided to run up the vertical wall of the crystal. Perhaps if anyone could actually see Zaire then he may have been slightly embarrassed at that moment, because it was the first time in his life that he could not run up a vertical wall. This was due to some odd repulsion field that pushed back when he approached the center.
Eventually Artix completed his 51ft pole and maneuvered it into one of the gouts of water. The momentum of the flying water caught the edge of the pole and pulled it violently towards the crystal, causing the pole to explode into a shower of damp splinters. Which in some oriental lands is known to be a pleasant acupuncture technique when the correct types of wood are used, this was not that case.
Jack's luck ran out when he fell out of the tree with the secret tunnels and barely managed to not break his face, but fate is a bitch and some things are just meant to happen, just not yet.
As ingenuity dwindled Zantar decided that a more spiritual approach was in order and began an interpretive dance.
"What are you doing?" asked Artix as he watched Zantar make a fool of himself.
"I am performing a spiritual dance to entice whatever memories out of the crystal and into my audience," Zantar responded.
"Hmmm, and then what?"
"Well that's easy, we snatch 'em and figure out what the deal is with this here crystal."
Still unsure with the validity of the plan Artix decided to begin some vague religious spirit summoning chant. Partially hoping to help this plan along, but mostly to make this look like a proper ritual incase anyone else was looking.
Magic works in weird ways and this time it decided to convince Artix that not holding things with hands was totally normal.
"I'm still not seeing any memories, perhaps some psychedelic herbs could help…" implied Zantar, while dancing like a crown bearer carrying a 400lb elaborate headpiece.
Seeing absolutely no downside to this suggestion and a huge stockpile of herbs Artix begins to search through the herbs with his feet. Any other herbalist would cringe at the sight of a delicate shadow rose, whose market value could purchase a small town, being crushed between the dirty toes of a gnome. Nevertheless an Illusioner's cap was located and ingested by the sole dancer.
As Zaire and Jack decided that being injured and having no powers was unacceptable they decided to rest. Consequently the interpreted dance was delayed until more psychedelic conditions present themselves.
"How are my pupils?"
Having nothing to do the group backtracked to a safer location near the crying statue fountain. Keen to show his acrobatic abilities, Zaire tumbled into a tight spot in the fountain causing a clicking noise upon landing on the floor. He then proceeded to fall asleep.
"How are my pupils?"
"Normal," doubted Artix, and having realized that holding with hands was a good idea, decided to double check the drugs eaten by Zantar. It was not an Illusioner's cap.
Then a strange fog befell the area. Ideas of compressed corn and bacteria processed milk clouded the minds of past. When the fog settled…
A mechanical valve protruded out of the fountain where Zaire had slept. It was rotated sunwise and counter-sunwize but the result was the same, nothing.
The rude valve which refused to do anything regardless of how much attention it was getting, ended up getting the silent treatment. Upon realizing that Jack was no longer in the vicinity of fountain area the remaining humanoid creatures and weasel continued down a newly found dried creek with a conveniently naginata cut tunnel.
Somewhere down the path a nymph was furiously hacking at a wall of vines that dared not move aside when asked nicely. Due to some temporal discrepancies but more likely due to Zaire's ability to run really quickly as compared to everyone else, a ninja and a nymph stood before an opening covered with a whole lot of vines.
"Send in the clones!" demanded Jack.
"Cmon just do it."
"Well then hold me up while I check this out."
"Fine," conceded Zaire.
Perhaps Fate stopped being lazy and finally caught up to Jack, or perhaps this was a way for the vines to get revenge for their fallen comrades. Regardless because as Jack pulled apart some vines a small blupe of lava splashed on his right cheek. On the plus side he no longer needs to open his mouth in order to breath through it. No further inquiries into the opening where made.
We all know that magic is strange and since this place is full of it perhaps that is why Moonshai decided to speak as if he had an opinion to say. He also developed a sense of empathy upon seeing Jack's horrendous hole in the side of his face. After some careful consideration,
"Well he did give one of my most trusted friends a proper burial," Moonshai decided that Jack was indeed worthy of one charge of the wand of cure moderate wounds. Perhaps this is the start of a beautiful friendship, but it is definitely the start of a lot of mooching off Moonshai.
The party realized that the creek from the fountain leads to the crystal and the grooved rings. This meant that perhaps turning on the fountain could in some way benefit them and cause unexpected results. Having absolutely no idea how mechanisms work in this fortification, they decided that the pump-like machines a few hundred feet below the fountain must be related.
Determined to get the only friendly "mechanic" to the pumps, Moonshai began to experiment with his carrying capabilities while flying. He was lifting some gnome sized rocks before realizing that gnomes are stubborn and they prefer not to get burned by lava elementals.
Instead the humanoids and weasel scaled down to the main river and embarked on a raft ride to the laboratory on the opposite side of the fortification. Along the northern section of the river, Artix recognized the location of his first brief encounter with the Urthak. It was a wide rock hill with a waterfall crashing at the top. This was the same water that flowed through the kobold temple near the surface and contained strange mind altering abilities.
The rest of the journey was short and was only delayed by an opening in the lava treatment section of the fort. Barely avoiding a party split, the group arrived before the windows to the laboratory. Where a ninja clone attempted to jump through the glass, but instead bounced off it with a satisfying thump and a small bump on his head.