Session Sixty-Five: Entering The Gauntlet

“Everyone ready?” Theodora asked her fellow party members, but she knew the answer. There was nothing left to do now but use the teleporter. She knelt down and touched the horicalcum point of the Sihedron to the corresponding arm of the rune on the floor.

BAMF

They were in a roughly diamond-shaped room, the walls plated in sheets of horicalcum carved with numerous depictions of King Xin, and the same Sihedron rune on the floor. There was little time to contemplate the artwork, however, as the room had an inhabitant that moved to violent life as the party appeared. Smoke swirling about the room congealed into a vaguely humanoid four-armed shape that Theodora recognized as a Bythos Aeon, a guardian of the byways of time. She called out Word of Chaos to stun it, but its natural spell resistance protected it. The spell did manage to deafen poor Fleabait, however.

“Agh! Theodora’s turned against the party!” Scratchy exclaimed, before being talked down by the others. He also noticed that he’d been slowed, but saw that the light coming from the Flamma Horacalcum had turned an odd color. He moved away from it and the effect went away. Everyone realized that this was the light of the artifact interacting with the time-bending properties of the horicalcum in the walls. Scratchy suppressed his urge to blame the gnome holding the Flamma Horacalcum and turned to fire arrows at the Bython.

Milacent and Helanda joined in the attack, and soon the thing was mere smoke drifting about. Theodora regarded the walls of the room. If they were indeed coated in expensive horicalcum, the wealth contained in them was astronomical. “When we get out of here, I’ll buy Magnimar,” she proclaimed.

Zelcor, for his part, was examining a strange contraption held aloft by a single stone statue of Xin between two pillars. The object was a one-foot-long glass bulb held aloft by seven spidery limbs, and inside the bulb whirled a cloud of pale blue smoke. When Theodora looked into it, the smoke cleared to reveal a vision of Augustille the prophet troll, sitting in his room in Kaer Maga. “Augustille!” Theodora called out to him, “Can you hear me?”

“What? Where are you?” Augustille replied.

“It’s me, Theodora! I’m in the risen king Xin’s palace!”

“You’re where?” Augustille cried out, increasingly agitated. Theodora tried to explain, but the troll grew increasingly agitated, eventually collapsing onto the floor and screaming out, “The Dead King! The Mad King! The Risen King!” It was then that Theodora realized the glass was a window into the past, and she had just given Augustille the vision that would bring him to Magnimar. “Cool,” she thought, then looked around the room. They had explored it completely, and now there was nothing to do but move to the next vault. She knelt down and touched the adamantine point of the Sihedron to the rune on the floor.

BAMF

They were in another diamond-shaped room, this one lined in black metal, again with a rune on the floor. Seven dark crystal statues stood at the edges, two of which the party recognized as the runelords Xanderghul and Sorshen. All of them were holding forth their hands in a sign of tribute. There was a sound of cracking crystal, and the statues all shifted slightly, as if expecting something. When the party didn’t respond all seven of them picked up halberds that had been leaning against the wall and attacked. The party members, who had been expecting exactly this reaction, responded likewise. The battle that followed was short and swift, and ended with the ground covered in shattered crystal. Two of the statues, those of Xanderghul and Sorshen, had been holding hunks of adamantine before the fight. Theodora took these and found that one of them was actually a disguised adamantine longsword. Even without the skymetal from the walls, this place was turning out to be extraordinarily profitable. And now there was nothing to do but move on to the next room.

BAMF

The next metal in the sequence was djezet, and true enough the next room was coated in red metal that seemed to ripple and run before the intruders’ eyes. Brass-mounted lenses orbited a massive bowl filled with rust-red liquid in one corner of the room, and as the party watched much of that liquid oozed out of the bowl to form into two identical humans that took the shape of King Xin.

“Kneel before me and obey, barbarians!” the false kings commanded, but the party had other ideas, and responded with their signature forms of violence. Soon the two ooze-kings were dead, and the party was taking as much of the djezet out of the bowl as they could carry in their bags of holding. It was then time for the next room.

BAMF

This room was lined in white metal, and held mounds of pale white inubrix ingots. In one corner there was an exquisite-looking scimitar, but between it and the party two dark, ghostly shapes hovered, twin points of light appearing where their eyes should be.

“Wraiths!” Helanda shouted, and from her side she drew Silverfang, the undeadbane rapier she had brought from the Lady’s Light. The rest of the party joined in, and soon that fight was over as well. The scimitar was an inubrix blade capable of harming incorporeal forms, and the party took it for the next time they’d have to fight something without a body. And then it was time to move again.

BAMF

The next room was noqual, the semitransparent green metal that interfered with spellcasting, and Zelcor and Theodora found a need to concentrate intensely before casting any spells. There were guardians here too, massive humanoid creatures of earth, quartz and black crystal. The party wasted no time in moving to strike them down, and when that ugly business was done they gathered up the various noqual armor and weapons that were scattered about the room. Milacent yawned. There were two more skymetal vaults to go, and Xin’s defenses had proved underwhelming. “I hope he puts up a better fight himself,” she thought, as she watched Theodora lower the next point of the Sihedron to the rune on the floor.

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