“Potion, potion, potion, key … ooh! A disguise kit! Look at these ears! And this tiara! This would be perfect for impersonating an elven princess!”
“Is it magical?”
“No, but these potions are.”
“Lemme see! Lemme see!”
“Wait your turn!”
“Uh, guys? Is anybody bothered by this incredibly lifelike statue standing here?”
Milacent’s entreaty brought an end to Scratchy and Theodora’s squabbling as they strolled over to have a look. They were exploring the room the medusa had come from, which turned out to contain a heated stone bath and various assorted soaps and oils of exceptional quality, plus the aforementioned disguise kit. What had caught Milacent’s attention, however, was the amazingly detailed and lifelike statue of a half-elven woman that stood perched in a corner.
“Oh, it’s a person that’s been turned to stone,” Scratchy replied.
“Well, there was a medusa here, so it’s either that or a golem, and it’s not a golem,” he said, and as he did he held up the Golembane scarab they had used back in the Lady’s Light. It showed no reaction at all.
“Shouldn’t we save her?”
“Well, we do have one dose of stone salve,” Theodora added.
“What? Where did we get that?”
“Back in the Crow, I think.”
“Is she worth using it on? We don’t even know if she’s friendly.”
“She might turn against us.”
“Wait, I think we’ve met her.”
All eyes turned to Zelcor.
“Yeah, we met her briefly in Heidmarch Manor. She’s one of Sheila’s Pathfinder friends. Her name’s Cora, or Kara, or Coriander or something.”
With the revelation that she was a member of the Pathfinder Society the party decided the woman was worth their one dose of stone salve. They rubbed it over her stone form and in short order she was a living, breathing, flesh-and-blood person again.
“Medusa!” she said with a start. Then looked around confusedly.
“It’s okay Korrigan,” Zelcor began, “the medusa’s dead.”
“Koriah,” she replied, “My name’s Koriah Azmeren.” She furrowed her brow and asked, “Have we met?”
Introductions were made all around, and it turned out they had indeed met before, albeit briefly, in Heidmarch Manor. Koriah was the one who had recovered the Thassilonian paradox box they had opened upon their first visit to the manor, and she had since inquired about their progress whenever she had stopped in Magnimar. She was impressed by their recovery of four of the shards, but at the moment she had another, more pressing concern.
“Have you guys seen my father?” she asked.
The party looked at her quizzically.
“Half-elven cleric of Desna? Looks like me?”
Her father had been the reason she had come here, Koriah explained. She’d been travelling nearby when he’d contacted magically, telling her the abbey was under attack. She had made her way here to rescue him and felled several giants before running afoul of the medusa. Now she was understandably concerned about his whereabouts.
“We haven’t seen him,” Theodora responded, and then a light swept over them. The same multi-colored light that had been sweeping across the sky at regular intervals, ever since they’d arrived. The light that shone from the top of the hundred-fifty-foot tower of pure white marble that stood, unscathed, in the middle of the courtyard. “But I have an idea where he might be.”
The party plus Koriah rushed to the double doors at the base of the tower, and she began to bang on them, calling out for her father. After a few minutes, they creaked open, and father and daughter were tearfully reunited.
“Speak the word ‘Pharasmae'”, Koriah’s father said, “It’ll let you past the Forbiddance spell that protects the tower.” And with that he invited them in.
Koriah’s father, Casamir, brought them to the top of the tower, and after the tears and thanks subsided he told them the story of the attack. It had begun with an earthquake, and then the giants and redcaps rampaging into the abbey. Casamir had been the lighthouse keeper, and as the attack raged he retreated to the safety of the tower. He wasn’t sure if there were other creatures involved in the attack, but he knew who led it: Ardathanatus, the former priest of Pharasma who had murdered his colleagues and fled a hundred years ago.
Theodora listened to the story intently, then asked the question the rest of the party had also been wondering: had Ardathanatus been carrying anything resembling a shard of strange metal?
“Why yes,” Casamir replied, “he was carrying a triangular piece of green crystal, and he seemed to be paying special attention to it. Why? What is it?”
“Oh nothing,” Theodora told him, “Just a little bit of magical curiosity.” Koriah shot him a sideways glance but said nothing.
“There’s another thing you should know,” Casamir added, “I think the abbey’s priest of Nethys, Zolerim, aided in the attack by killing the Abbot. I don’t know why he would turn against the abbey that way, but if you should meet him, beware.”
Casamir finished the conversation by telling them that after taking the abbey Ardathanatus had passed through a magically locked door into the ancient tunnels below the abbey. The key to the door was the one they had found in the medusa’s room. It was also a combination lock, so the key had to be turned in a certain sequence, but they found it by going back and searching the old abbot’s library. The invaders had cleared out all the books and replaced them with their own collection of abyssal literature, but scribbled on the inside back cover of one they found a poem:
Two to left for annis hag.
Three to right for banshee nag.
One to west for greenie crone.
Two to east for spinster lone.
Two to dusk for wife in tears.
Three to dawn for witch’s leers.
The combination opened the door, which opened with a disquieting hiss. Roughly a minute later, it slammed shut, but the party knew how to open it, and they decided to put off venturing into the tunnels until later. They performed a sweep of the abbey buildings, clearing out some imps and another redcap that had stayed out of the fight before. They found makeshift cages with graffiti scratched on the inside, bemoaning the occupants’ capture by redcaps, and they found newly-created sausages, which Scratchy’s nose confirmed were made from human meat. In the pantry they set off a trap that released one of the acid-spewing tentacle beasts they had fought earlier. “They’re called qlippoths,” Theodora informed them after it was dead, but everyone was more interested in getting their bites and acid burns healed.
Once they were sure the abbey buildings were free of enemies, the party set up camp in the safest place they could find, the lighthouse. As they settled down to rest, Theodora noticed Scratchy gathering up the bath oils and salts they had gathered from the medusa’s room.
“What are you doing with those?” she asked.
“How much did you say they were worth?”
“Can probably get 80 gold for them in Magnimar.”
“80 gold,” Scratchy said, “or a really nice bath!”