It seems like there is only one way to go since going back out to the beach means fighting more fish people. Isadora and I secure the steel-framed door behind us with a crossbar and headed down the stairs. Yes, down the stairs in the middle of a tiny tropical island. I don’t understand this place at all. With my sword lighting the way we descend at least 30 feet (again, we’re on a tiny tropical island) before finding ourselves in a hallway. There are two closed wooden doors at each end and two paintings on the walls, facing one another, one depicting a ghost rising from a hut, and the other was a forest archway.
The scale of this place is much bigger than the Caves of Woe. The widths and heights of the corridors are at least 10 feet and everything is made of polished stone. Impressive, especially since we’re well below sea level on a tiny tropical island, and everything is dry down here. Speaking of the sea, we can still hear the faint sounds of the waves and wind rolling over the sandy shore. Hopefully the fish people don’t like being out of the water and won’t pursue us down here. In any case, we can’t hear anyone trying to smash in the door. As I wipe the floor with my finger I can feel the dust, much to my relief.
Then it hits me. This is ridiculous! Why the hell are we on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere, creeping around a dungeon for some stupid book. If that old hag Jana wasn’t so lazy, she’d get off her rocking chair and fetch it herself. I shared my thoughts with Isadora and she agreed. Also, how did this become my problem? Perhaps I should have left Isadora in the Caves Of Woe? I didn’t express these thoughts to Isadora.
While Isadora listened at a door, I checked out the arch painting, approximately 5×4 feet in size. For some reason I felt the need to look behind it. Perhaps it was because Rick had a painting in our cabin covering a secret compartment. I was not really expecting to find anything so you can imagine my surprise to see a large hole behind the painting. Ii looked like it was chiseled through the thick wall. I stuck my sword through the hole for light, and saw a small room with a stairway going down at the far end. While Isadora held my sword I placed the archway painting on the floor next to the hole. I then checked behind the ghost and hut painting but there was nothing but stone wall behind it.
We climbed through the hole, descended the steep stairs another fourty feet, and found ourselves in a long rectangular room. Now we were far enough down that all was silent. No more sounds of wind and waves from above. In one direction was a long hallway leading into darkness. In the other, a closed door and another downward staircase. The centerpiece of this room was a bronze statue of a bear-sized ferret, perched elegantly on a stone pedestal. The craftsmanship was amazing. It almost looked alive.
Since we weren’t on a museum tour, we continued through the door and entered a large chamber containing nothing but a stone sarcophagus. The top slid off relatively easily and inside we found a large triangular serrated tooth, a page torn from a spellbook (Stone Shape), a blood stained cloth, and a leather pouch full of salt.
We then backtracked past the bronze ferret and headed down the long corridor, which lead to a large square room with a steel circular staircase leading up through the center of the room. Also each side of the square room had a door, including the side we came in. The corners of this room all had large paintings of a hero battling some scary nondescript giant beast. None had hidden passages behind them.
We then went through one of the doors and found ourselves in a room with more sarcophagi and a statue of a large steel wolf in the corner. Two more paintings depicting strange creatures proved to not conceal any passages. Two of the sarcophagi proved empty when we slid the lids off.
Unfortunately for us, the third sarcophagus was a bit more interesting. When we started sliding the lid, we heard the scrape of metal on stone behind us. It turns out that the steel wolf was now alive and not very happy.
Since it was two on one, we seemed to naturally move into a flanking formation with me trying to keep it’s attention. After some hacking and slashing and me getting bit on the arm, the beast fell and remained motionless. The bite really hurt but luckily the reward of the stuff we found in the sarcophagus eased the pain.
- a dead mouse
- bone dice engraved with runes
- leather gloves
- a lodestone
“Well, THAT was worth it,” said Isadora.
After we explored more rooms and passages, finding nothing but more paintings and empty sarcophagi, we found ourselves back at the bronze ferret and the two staircases. Since we didn’t want to backtrack and go up we decided to decend deeper. But if this statue was anything like the other, we might have some issues. Isadora stayed close behind me as we slowly made way to the staircase. As we were about to go down I heard a familar sound of metal on stone. Not again! The ferret had come alive, left it’s pedestal, and was now advancing toward us. Isadora flanked the beast and after a couple of seconds of clanging sword on metal, the beast fell. As I was checking on Isadora I realized that we are somehow triggering the statues. When we fought the steel wolf it could of attacked when we were searching the room, but it didn’t. It only attacked when we got close to the sarcophagus. The ferret attacked when we got near the staircase. I guess this was a good sign, were heading in the right direction… I hope.
We continued down the steep stairs another twenty feet and wound up in a large room with two doors in the far corners and two more paintings opposite one another on the door-less walls. Between the two doors was indentation displaying a large stone gargoyle, larger than the ones I’ve seen protecting fancy building in The Twins. Not again, I thought.
Assuming the trigger for animating the gargoyle was somewhere in this room I rolled some pebbles I pockeded days prior toward each door. Nothing happened. We checked behind the paintings, keeping an eye on the gargoyle. Nothing. I then surrounded the gargoyle in fog, hoping that it’s vision would be obscured if triggered. I realized that this was a poor idea because now neither Isadora or I could see the gargoyle. Let’s not do that again, I thought.
Hoping for the best Isadora and quickly, and blindly, barged through the left-most door, shutting it behind us. As Isadora listened at the door for any sign of the gargoyle coming to life, I saw that we were in a smaller, mostly rectangular room containing a sarcophagus and painting. Thankfully all was quiet behind us. Relief. Nothing behind the painting but the sarcophagus held more random interesting items.
- A notebook full of drawings and notes resembling this island dungeon. The last page with any writing contained the sentence: There must be a hidden door here somewhere.
- A contract smeared with blood. It looked to be an agreement between someone at The Elium and whoever signed the document to retreive a book. That rings a bell. Mother Jana wasn’t kidding when she said people have died retreving this book before. I thought she was just trying to scare us.
- A magical scroll with the spell name starting with “Rev”, but I couldn’t make out more than that.
We thoroughly scoured the room, finding nothing else, especially no secret doors. Perhaps the secret passage is through the other door? We went back to the previous room. The fog was still there but now just obscuring the floor, spreading slowly. The gargoyle was still lifeless.
We then went through the other door, keeping an eye on the gargoyle. No movement. This room looked like the mirror image of the one on the other side of the gargoyle. There was another sarcophagus and painting. Again, nothing behind the painting. Sliding the lid off the tomb, the smell of rotting flesh slapped us in the face. A corpse of a dead man, probably weeks old, was laying inside, surrounded by some odd items.
- a flask of red wine
- an empty glass vial
- a scroll of Lesser Restoration
This fella seems like he may be the owner of the notebook and contract from the other room.
~~ end of session ~~