Inevitable Evil

Into the Depths...

Into the ruins we go...

The party awoke early to the sounds of something moving through the woods. Stealthily venturing forth, the party noticed a short figure with vivid blue hair travelling through the world, none other than another comrade from the Vancian Academy! Sent by Boern, she seemingly stumbled upon the party by more luck than skill.

 Gathering their things, the party readied themselves for the task at hand: venturing into the depths of the ruins…and the kobold's home turf. Re-opening the secret door they had discovered, they descended down the dank and dark tunnel. Coming out in a small alcove, the party paused a moment to look around. This hand-dug tunnel lead to an underground section of the ruins that had been incorporated. In the light provided by Phaeris's torch, they saw the beginnings of a stone corridor. Moving forward, the party cautiously advance (with their goliath companion Bogdon unfortuantly doing his best to squeeze in his girth behind them). The magical light illuminates a 40 foot or so corridor, leading to a set of heavy wooden doors. Perhaps a dozen feet up is a slight recess in the side of the coridor.

 The party ventures up to the recess in the wall and carefully examines what they find. An ancient door is sealed shut before them. Intricate and wild arcane symbols are carved all over the door, but most of them have been blasted out of existance. The few that remain, as far as the party can recognize, is some form of a Wall of Force that has been incorporated into the stone door; the rest had been marred into a state of either non-functionality or unreadablility by blasts of magic or damange to the door. Carved into the stone around the door were symbols of some draconic language, and an unmistakeable skull and crossbones. After a good deal of arguing and deciding it was beyond their capabilities to try and see what lied behind the door, the party moved on down the corridor. Kicking the doors open, the party stumbled into a large room.

The room, a quick glance, was an ancient mess hall of some sort, and sitting at these ancient tables…were a mess of kobolds! Momentarily stunned at the party's sudden entrance, they snatched up their weapons in favor of their meal and rushed at the party. Fortunatly, the party was quick to react, and rushed forward, dispatching the surprised kobolds quite swiftly. Picking over the room revealed little else, and the party moved on through the set of doors on the other end of the room.

Opening the door revealed a partially collapsed stone corridor, stone and earth blocking it at both ends. On the opposite wall two doors were easily visible. The closer one was a massive iron-bound wood door, easily large enough for four people to walk in abreast, still in relatively good shape. Next to it was a much smaller door, of very different make. Gnome symbols for fire were inscribed into the door, and it was made out of a preciesly forged piece of metal.

The party argued for some time which door to go in, and after some suggestions by Grimm, they tested the metal door. After a few tries with nimble fingers, the latch was unlocked. A small bit of stale air wafted out, carrying an acrid smell with it. Venturing in, it looked to be an old lab of some sort. Various powders and tools, from another time were left in place, although none usable. Poking around, they discovered several barrels of what appeared to be Alchemists Fire, sealed in barrels and still usable. The warforged Phaeris noticed another small box on a bench and examined it. Inside it contained some dried bunches of Pyrolichen , a useful spell component.

Retracing their steps, the party, with a good bit of muscling, forced open the massive pair of doors, revealing a large chamber; a dull orange glow emanating from within. Venturing cautiously in, they discovered a rather large chamber, filled with wreckage of all sorts. Some sort of fight had occured here, but long ago. Remnants of what appeared to be carts and seige weapons were scattered about. Dominating the center of the room was some sort of device, gleaming with fire in it's clear belly. Crude but sturdy repairs had been made to it, and it was servicable. Clearly, this was the weapon that had been used to attack the town.

As the party examined the device, several of the party were fascinated with the flames, held in place but with no clear container. Staring at the swirling flames, they began to make out features, such as gaps in the flame that resembled eyes and a mouth. Realization dawned upon them; this was no ordinary or alchemical fire, this was an elemental! Someone had harnessed the beast to the machine, drawing upon it to power the weapon.

Not quite sure as to it's function, the party thoroughly dismantled and destroyed, ensuring it would take the kobolds a good deal of time to restore it to functionality, if ever. Investigating the rest of the room, they also found how the kobolds were able to get the weapon to and from the ruins. A rickety and questionable lift seemed to function, and was not too far from Thornbrair.

Searching the room, the party discovered a hastily concealed tunnel entrance, leading further down into the ruins.

Descending down the tunnel, it quickly turned back to dirt a distance, before it emerged in another part of the underground ruin, a small stone corridor. Cautiously peering out, they observed a small alcove recessed into the wall, and the tunnel turning a sharp 90 degree turn a few feet after that.

Peering into the alcove revealed a statue, holding a ceremonial sword in a well-crafted scabbard. Cautiously Grimm approached, thinking the sword had some value other than a weapon. Watching for traps and other devices as he approached, it was to no avail. As he approached the statue, it leapt forward, smashing into him. Seeing starts and not too much worse for the wear, he snatched the sword and quickly retreated to the cooridor.

Rounding the corner showed the cooridor extended at least a hundred feet or so, with a series of doors on either side. Exploring the series of doors revealed a number of traps, either on the doors or in the rooms. The various rooms were either collapsed or empty, but several useful items were discovered as the pressed on.

Moving down the sloping pathway, it wove down further into the ruins. Turning a sharp corner, the party saw a set of double doors, one fallen down and dilapidated from age. Through the threshold they noticed some sort of stone pillar perhaps ten feet from that, and a large room beyond. Moving forward, they failed to notice a hair-thin trip wire strung out across the corridor, an with a snap, it zipped into the wall!

A groan of stone on stone resounded in the chamber, and a small boulder dropped into the stone corridor! Quickly picking up momentum, it rumbed down the slope, hot on their heels. Dashing forward, they narrowly avoiding being crushed, leaping to the side as it crashed into the pillar just beyond the doorway. Catching their breath, the party did a double take. Lazily stretched out on a carpet in front of an elaborate stone door lay a sphinx. Looking at the party through half lidded eyes, she glanced them over before resuming her apparent nap.

A quick glance around the room revealed two more doors, a rickety wooden door to the left, and an overly elaborate door on the right, inlaid with gold foil and with intricate carvings, and the one in the center with the sphinx. A muttered spell in the party revealed that while she had no spells or chams up, the carpet and something underneath it emanated powerful magics.

Only when they tried to move past her did she pay attention to them.

"yawn...Ah, I wouldn't do that, if I were you," she lazily drolled. "I'm not supposed to let anyone in."

Grimm spoke up. "Well dear Sphinx, is there anyway we could gain entrance?"

The Sphinx seemed to think a moment, half-lidded eyes glancing over the party. "...well, I do suppose that it has been a long time since…well since." She smiled amusedly. "But I require some amusement. It is…traditional for us to test those who wish passage past us. Answer a few of my questions and I'll let you by."

In time honored tradition, she asked the party some fairly classic riddles (classic to sphinxes, that is), and with a groan moved a short way to let them by.

Moving up to the door, it took the effort of several party members to shove the heavy stone door open, revealing merely a 10×10 foot recess into the wall.

Puzzled, they ventured forth, and with a small pop, vanished, only to reappear in a seperate room. Save for a stone pillar and a stone bench, the room was barren. Upon inspection however, there were two containers on the table, with a shimmering translucent on between them. In a shallow basin, there was water. It seemed a simple test, to fill up the translucent one using odd-sized jugs.

After some trial and error, they managed to fill up the magical jug, and a small rumbling emanated from the stone pillar, revealing what appeared to be an old scroll. Examination revealed it to be an old map of what appeared to be Siendart. Grimm inspected it with detect magic, and was stricken blind before he could even examine it. Clearly it contained powerful magics.

Returning the way they had came, they reappeared in the same chamber, but the sphinx was gone, and the stone door appeared to be a smooth wall.

The party slumped down for a few moments, resting from their run ins.

 

 

__________

 Party has found a magical map of powerful origin.

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