The woman, it turned out, was named Hasari. She was indeed a Sweettalker monk, part of the original team that the librarians had sent into the workshop, and the wife of Perotus, the dead halfling. The party found all this out when they brought her back to the Therassic tower. What had shattered her mind, however, was unknown. The death of her husband probably had something to do with it, but there were undoubtedly other factors.
The party decided to leave that mystery for later and return to the library, for there were many rooms left to explore. In the next one they came to they found two of the strange, gibbering creatures they had encountered in the tunnel beneath Felisa’s house. They were accompanied by a tiny, brain shaped creature that reached out to take control of people’s minds. Milacent, fortunately, was protected by the Seducer’s Bane. Scratchy, unfortunately, was not, and ended up putting several arrows into Theodora before the party managed to defeat the creature.
“Yeah, I had to do that,” Scratchy said, “I was magically compelled. Yeah, totally involuntary.”
“Shut up,” replied Theodora.
The hallway past the mind-controlling creatures zigzagged until it came to another door. When they opened it, the party saw a cylindrical room with a five-foot dais at its center. On top of the dais was a flat platform with a lever sticking out of it, and next to that a grotesquely fat gnome with what appeared to be blood seeping out of his eyes.
“I saw one of those in the bath,” Milacent whispered to the others, “Bloatmages, they’re called. They enhance their magical powers by engorging themselves with extra blood. They’re disgusting.”
The bloatmage, for his part, responded to seeing the party with his own, very different opinion of himself. “I am Luonim the Vast!” he proclaimed, “Fear me! For I control the spinning of the world!” Interestingly enough, he was speaking in Thassilonian.
“I’ll handle this,” Theodora said. She strode forward into full view of Luonim and answered, again in Thasillonian, “Silence, gnome! You will now serve me! The Runelord Sorshen!”
Luonim staggered backward, apparent fear in his eyes. Theodora strode into the room confidently, but as soon as she was inside Luonim lunged forward at the lever, his fear gone. “Now see my power!” he shouted, “Even the Runelords are helpless before me!”
The doors slammed shut and the room began to spin rapidly, throwing Theodora back against the wall. It was momentarily disorienting, but she quickly regained her composure and reached out with a Mage Hand to push the lever back, stopping the spinning. The rest of the party rushed in through the once-again open door as Luonim faded out of sight, the telltale words of an Invisibility spell echoing through the room. That was little defense against Milacent, however, who lashed out at the spot where she sensed he was. A spurt of blood fell to the floor, and that was all the information Zelcor needed to cast his Glitterdust, revealing the enemy gnome in an outline of sparkling dust. Now able to see him, Theodora cast the Suggestion spell that had been used so effectively against her own party. “Surrender and serve me!” she commanded.
Luonim the Vast fell to his knees, sobbing. “Please forgive me for my insolence, Mistress!” he cried, “Please do not ensorcell me and subject me to horrible tortures of a sexual nature!”
“Well, just do what I say then,” Theodora answered.
“Shall I slay the other gnome to prove my worthiness?” Luonim asked, gesturing toward Zelcor.
“No, that’s quite alright.”
“The mighty Sorshen can handle two gnomes!” Zelcor added helpfully.
They interrogated Luonim as best they could, but to little avail. Like Hasari, he had been driven to madness, and did little more than rant about his power. He was fairly useful in combat, though. In the next room the party entered there were creatures that hid in bright light; Zelcor’s glitterdust spell appeared on them as dark motes, and Luonim summoned a lantern archon, a glowing light creature of his own, to help in the attack. In the room after that, a giant alien plant creature nearly killed Zelcor, and Luonim’s fireballs were essential in bringing it down.
This last room was a strange one in an already strange place. Its ceiling appeared to be open to the night sky, yet that sky held two moons. Theodora determined that the sky was an illusion, but the unfamiliar moons were odd, as was the fact that the plant creature they had fought was not one that Theodora could trace. Scratchy, for his part, had learned to use nature magic to enhance his sense of smell, and though the thing was definitely a plant, it smelled like no plant he had ever been near.
Milacent, on the other hand, was more concerned with the aching in her arms. She still hadn’t recovered fully from the weakness that had been inflicted on her at the start of the day, and the copious fighting since then hadn’t helped things. Zelcor had been badly injured by the deadly plant, and Theodora was just about out of healing spells, . Everyone made the decision to return to the library to rest and recover. When they did, they turned Luonim over to the librarians. “You can’t take me!” the gnome declared as they dragged him away, “I am a servant of the Runelord Sorshen! Mistress, tell them!”
“Don’t mind him,” Theodora said, “he’s craaaazy.”