Temple of Elemental Evil

11. The Augury Chamber

5/13/11: Friday the 13th~! We played at John's house. Matt's grandmother made us delicious brownies.

Carric Cendoria - Elf Seeker
Fayte Bonesunder - Human Paladin
Heron - Half-elf Fighter
Jurod/Jolene - Changeling Mage

* NPC Hirelings: Mardix the man-at-arms, Vellic the druid, Harmony Helltiger the rogue and Rania the thief.

The adventurers were working for the Earth Temple. They were returning to the village of Nulth to rest. They had a lock of Raina's hair, and planned to use a raise dead ritual on her. Romag, high priest of the earth temple, wanted them to bring back 3 people to sacrifice.

It was incredibly foggy. Riding on the cart, they could barely see five feet ahead of them. Vellic asked what the plan was for the sacrifices. Heron felt that handing over people to sacrifice was going too far. He thought they could disguise themselves with magic and pose as sacrifices, and then escape and attack. He felt that if the heroes handed over sacrifices, those sacrifices would make the temple more powerful.

Fayte suggested just abducting some of the evil denizens of Nulth and handing them over. Heron and Jolene felt that was an evil thing to do. 

They heard the flapping of large wings in the fog above them. Something was getting closer to them! Vellic bailed out of the cart and took cover under some trees. 

An ancient, evil voice called out: "Bonesunder. Which of you fleshbags is Bonesunder?"

Fayte called out: "I am Bonesunder!"

The creature, a dracolich (!), swooped down towards the cart and breathed deadly energy on them. The heroes were wracked with necrotic energy. The horse and mule were panicking. Carric was able to calm them as the dracolich disappeared into the fog, flying away.

It said: "The Supreme Commander has ordered me to retrieve a gift for you! Know that I am Bedlam, and that I look forward to your demise, Bonesunder!". Fayte clutched the hilt of her weapon and uttered a grim prayer to the Raven Queen. 

The heroes continued on the path to Nulth. They saw something on a branch - it was Proudwing Soar. The falcon let out a all and flew toward Olwynn to report to its' master, Mystery Pandemonium. Something fell off the branch of the tree.

They stopped the cart. Carric and Heron climbed out and checked. It was a wounded sprite. It had been burned. Carric brought it on the cart, and with Heron's aid, healed it and fixed its' wing. It happily began to fly around making tinkling noises. Mardix noted that Otis had said he had owls and sprites working for him. Heron confirmed this with the sprite and asked it to go tell Otis they were coming.

The heroes rode into Nulth. A woman on the street holding a baby gave Heron his fortune: "You're going to die soon." She demanded one gold. They had a dispute and she flung a knife at him. The heroes got away from the nutty lady. They brought Raina's hair to Mother Screng's shop. Mother Screng was actually Canoness Y'dey, a cleric of Clarissa in disguise. She agreed to stay up through the night to cast raise dead on Raina.

They visited with Otis. He said the sprite, Nippy, was hurt by one of the fire temple's tiny fire creatures. Otis said the fire creatures often headed to Nulth and back to the temple. The heroes told Otis about the sacrifices and asked for advice.

Vellic, Jolene and Mardix stepped outside and decided to head for the hostel. As they walked through the foggy, muddy street, Mardix told Jolene that when he was younger, he worshiped Storm the god of war. But now that he was older, he worshiped Io. 

As they neared the hostel, they saw five sailors drinking from a jug. They saw Jolene and one said "She looks pretty clean! The name's Turble. What about it babe? Wanna go to the Boatmen's tavern?"

Mardix cursed at him. Turble threw a stone at him. The man at arms was ready to attack, but Jolene held him back. They made their way to the hostel. The rest of the party joined them there shortly after.

Dick Rentsch reeked of cologne. He called Fayte over. He told her "You're sleeping in my compartment tonight, babe." She informed that her body and soul belonged to the Raven Queen. He didn't get it.

Dala, Dick's lover, walked over to Carric. "Hey Carric, want a blow job?". Carric said no, that it had been a long day. She got dejected. She asked if she smelled. She started to cry.

Fayte saw this, and went to buy another potion of friendship from Mother Screng and came back to the hostel. She gave it to Dala. Harmony rolled her eyes and headed out into Nulth to see if there was anything worth stealing.

Dala didn't trust Fayte and got angry. She pulled a dagger out of her boot and tried to stab her. Fayte easily avoided. Dala stabbed again, Fayte effortlessly dodge. Fayte punched her in the face and dragged Dala outside. Dala was crying. Jolene went out too. 

Jolene asked her why she stayed in Nulth, and that Dick protected her. Dala asked for tips on how to woo Carric. Somehow this led to Fayte teaching Dala how to say "I want to lick your butt hole" in dwarven. 

Dala headed back in and tried to slip the potion into his drink. He saw her, though, and thought she was trying to poison her. He headed toward her, about to punch her. Heron tried to get in the way. Dick swung at him, but Heron easily dodged. Jolene tried to cast hypnotism on Dick, but the spell went awry. Carric tried to grab him, but Dick shoved him aside.

Dick punched Heron. Heron grabbed him and dragged him outside. Dick continued to struggle. Wat came out and got Dick to calm down. Heron told Dick to stop being cruel to his girlfriend. Dick did not like being told what to do, and told Heron he'd be sleeping in the street tonight. Heron punched him. Fayte came out and punched him.

Dick was offended. Heron kept yelling at Dick. Dick told Fayte she was also sleeping in the street. Dick kicked Dala out too. Jolene told Dala she should be working in the brothel. Dala threatened her. Jolene's eyes flashed angrily, and Dala got scared and left.

Fayte, Heron and Carric slept in Otis' stable. The rest slept at the hostel. Before Jolene fell asleep, Mardix pulled out a holy symbol of Io and prayed in draconic. He explained that he was asking Io to get rid of Jurod once and for all.

In the middle of the night, a little fire creature flew in and made Mardix an offer to turn on the Earth Temple. Mardix swatted at it and it flew out the room. 

The next morning, Jolene remained. She did not change into Jurod overnight. Vellic said he had a strange dream about a snake eating a mouse, and the snake's eyes caught fire.

The heroes regrouped and explored the village. A light rainstorm hit. The heroes were approached by two handicapped wenches. One had an eyepatch and the other was missing a leg. Heron began to tell a long story, and she cut to the chase and felt his belt pouch, which contained a lot of gold. She asked him to take her out to breakfast. He said no.

The other tried Carric. No luck. The handicapped wenches gave up. Heron told them to leave Nulth, "it sucks here". Heron, out of pity, gave each of them a gold. They hugged him and felt his belt pouch.  They visited Screng. Raina was alive, asleep on a table.

The heroes woke her up. Raina was shocked. She couldn't believe the heroes had been nice enough to raise her. She offered blow jobs and to eat pussy as a way of saying thanks. Heron stepped out. Fayte explained to him that blow jobs was probably a form of currency in Nulth. 

The adventurers went to the boatmen's tavern. Jolene gave a Nulth scum a gold. She wanted to know where the sailors were (the one who threw the rock at Mardix... she wanted him to be one of the sacrifices). He pointed them toward the boat on the river  nearby.

The heroes went outside and took a look. The crew were all drunk and passed out from revels on the previous night. Preston the tax collector saw the heroes, and warned them that the captain of the boat, Tolub, was very tough. He also was in good spirits, as he sold the house to a "bunch of robed people" (the freed prisoners). 

The heroes headed to the house and met with the freed prisoners. They said the deva gave them money. They planned on making their way back to their home, Dunnwynn, city of thieves.

The heroes headed back to the boat. They didn't see anyone around. They walked onboard, picked up three passed out drunken sailors.  They carried them off and put them on the cart.  They tied them up, gagged them, and made their way through the pouring rain to the temple grounds. 

They brought the three sailors down to the Earth Temple area. They met with the gnolls in the room with the quadruple crossbow.

Suddenly, a bloody earth temple guard burst into the room. "Fire temple! Attacking!" he gasped. The heroes raced to the east hallway, where a pile of dead earth temple corpses lay. Up the hallway, the fire temple soldiers had somehow found a secret door that lead to the library near the actual, massive, earth chamber. Four magma hurlers guarded the thin secret tunnel beyond the secret door.

The hurlers launched magma bolts that struck Carric and and Fayte, magma splashing and hitting allies close by. Heron charged down the hall and began to pummel the nearest magma hurler, causing it to leak brown ooze from its' fresh wounds. 

Fayte summoned SkullStrider, her skeletal horse, and rode it down the hallway and killed the hurler. The magma creatures backed into the thin hallway, pelting the heroes as they followed. The hallway was so thin that the adventurers had to go single-file, which made it slow-going. 

Fayte and Heron were in the lead, bloodied and scorched from a series of magma bolts.  More enemies awaited in the library. A fire temple champion, a genasi with a fullblade was there, along with four human fire temple cultists. A spectral image of the Fire Temple High Priest, Prefect Allrem, was there looking at the books.

Suddenly, Romag stepped through the library wall and let out wave after wave of attacks that knocked the cultists prone. Then he summoned his crystal minions to pummel them. the image of Allrem cackled and floated through the wall, and hovered amongst the heroes. He questioned their prowess and told them they'd bend their knee to fire.

As the battle wore on, Heron indicated to Allrem that the heroes were open to defecting to the earth temple. Allrem cackled gleefully and said he'd send one of his salamanders (tiny fire creatures) to Nulth to further the talks. 

Fayte finally charged down the hallway, trampling and killing a magma hurler. The temple champion also fell under her horses' hooves. The heroes pounced on the prone champion, pummeling him. Then SkullStrider reared up and caved in his skull (a critical!).  Allrem was most impressed with how they dealt with his champion.

Romag slaughtered the cultists in the library. Allrem floated away, cackling. The heroes and Romag rested in the library. Fayte noticed a few books on the shelves:

The Tenets of Chaotic Evil:

Volume 1 - Double Dealing
Volume 2 - Self-Advancement
Volume 3 - Treachery, etc.

As they rested, they had a visitor... Hedrack, Supreme Commander of the temple! Hedrack again noted that Romag needed to come below and learn how to be a doomdreamer. He also said that it was time for more sacrifices, as the temple was ready and the time for unity between the temples was at hand. Romag mentioned that the deva had freed many prisoners, and Hedrack said that the deva must be caught. 

Hedrack turned to Carric and told him to step forward. "There's something else!". He reached into Carric's mind, but Carric resisted.  "I can't... hmmm". Hedrack said he respected the power of Carric's will.

Hedrack then turned to Jolene. Mardix stood between them. Hedrack dominated Mardix and forced him to stand aside. "Jolene, you will not do. The temple of elemental evil has use for Jurod!". Hedrack forced Jolene to change into Jurod! "Embrace the tenets of Chaotic Evil! Let none stand in the way of your desires! Hartsch shall teach you a spell! Go to him!".

Jurod headed to Hartsch's room.  He entered. Hartsch, the voidsoul genasi and right hand man of Romag, told him to enter. He told Jurod to take off his shirt. "Chaotic Evil means taking what you want. And I want you. And when I've had my way with you, then and only then will I teach you the spell Rot Earth!"

Jurod took off his clothes. Hartsch was surprised at what he saw. But he still did what he wanted. When he was done, Hartsch taught him the spell. Then he said "You've done good work friend. We will go far. Remember, the Supreme Commander is more important then the Earth Temple."

Jurod re-joined the group. Romag had another target for the heroes - the broken tower up above. A new faction was using it as a base, run by a woman named Smigmal Redhand. He urged them to search the tower, as he'd heard there might be a secret passage that leads to a lower level. 

Fayte remembered that the dragon-riding knight they'd met on the road, Sir Lohim - wielder of Retorter - had mentioned Smigmal, and that there was a bounty on her head. 

The adventurers bid Romag farewell, and decided to do some exploring before dealing with the broken tower. They entered a hexagonal room with bones and debris on the floor.

Up in the rafters were 18 stirges! The stirges swooped down and tried to suck blood from the heroes. Carric was hit a number of times. Heron set about crushing them with his staff, killing four. Carric killed a few with elemental spirits. Jurod used a shock sphere spell to kill more, and Fayte sliced another bunch with her blade. Skullstrider crushed the last two under its' hooves.

The heroes searched the room, and found a secret door. The passage beyond led to a mysterious augury chamber. There was a seat in the center of a depression. Jurod could sense that there was a link to a presence in the room that could answer questions. A nearby drawer had a bunch of totem-like items that had to be cast into the depression. Then, the question could be asked.

Carric felt strange. The room seemed to be connecting to his mark on his cheek. It began to pulse. He began to see magical theories and formulas in his eyes. It was the formula for the spell Galasis' Force Bomb.

Jurod sat and asked "What type of demon are they trying to summon?"

A voice said "THE DEMON YOU ASK OF MUST BE SHUNNED. I CANNOT TELL YOU THE TYPE, BUT I CAN TELL YOU IT IS ALREADY HERE."

Heron sat and asked, "What is the source of my strange memories, and Hedrack's reference to a strange man in my past?"

The voice said, "WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW - THE SOURCE OF YOUR MEMORIES IS..."

Then from down the hall came Hedrack! He floated into the room. He said to Carric, "You! Cendoria! This time I'm going to find out what I want to know!" He tried to read his mind. Carric resisted. "Again you vex me! our mind is strong!"

Then he turned. "The Augury Chamber! Ahh! Heron, I have an answer to your question! Open your mind to me boy!". Vellic resisted. Hedrack tried again, and this time, Heron remembered everything - the thing in the lake that was making babies for Lord Pallidious to use to keep himself alive.

Heron shouted in horror.

"Use the Augury Chamber any time you like. Cendoria, get in here boy! Ask the chamber anything you like!"

Jurod sat down and asked, "How can I rid myself of Jolene?"

The voice said, "IF YOU WANT TO RID YOURSELF OF JOLENE, YOU MUST GO LOWER INTO THE TEMPLE.IT MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE. YOU WILL SACRIFICE MUCH."

Hedrack said, "We can kill Jolene. Would you be willing to go down below? I might know someone who can help. It may come at a grave price."

He turned to Carric. "Cendoria, get on it!". Carric didn't move... Hedrack dominated him and forced him to sit. "Ask it any question you like! The power of the Augury Chamber will set you free!".

Carric asked, "How do I remove the curse of Galasis?"

The voice said, THE CURSE CAN ONLY BE REMOVED BY GALASIS HIMSELF. BUT GALASIS IS WATCHING YOU NOW HERE IN THE AUGURY CHAMBER!"

Hedrack shrieked, "No! No!". He hovered back into the secret hallway in terror.

Carric had a vision of a beautiful woman with a ferret (exarchs of Galasis). The ferret spoke in his mind. "My name is Burrage! You have the formula of Galasis' Force Bomb in your mind! Let's see if we can take him out right now! Use the spell!"

Carric stood up, a spectral image of Galasis overlapping him. He cast the spell. A massive bolt of force rocketed out of the chamber and down the hallway. It hit the wall next to Hedrack with an explosion.

Hedrack shrieked, "Galasis?! In the temple?!? I must tell my lady Lolth!". Hedrack floated away.

The sigil on Carric's cheek pulsed. His curse had become enhanced.