Gabriel, Valen, Ark & Shecky contemplated what to do while in the SE corner of the room an Earth Elemental threw itself against the door to the room containing Blars & Schlomo, and two additional elementals (SW & NE) patrolled in tight patterns in the room. Valen sent Ulo into the room to see how the elementals would react, given the recent change in their behavior. The nearest elemental zoomed immediately to Ulo, smashing him unconscious. Ark raced in to save the wolf, narrowly escaping the elementals himself.
Unsure what to do, despite the immediate danger the SE elemental posed to Blars & Schlomo (group1), Valen & Gabriel & Ulo (group2) decided to investigate the area around the Earth Temple for clues, while Ark & Shecky (group3) began to try various tactics to distract the SE elemental, all to no avail. Shecky, upon finding a spell scroll in the pile of earth that was the NW elemental before Schlomo killed it, surmised that, if group1 could reach into their elemental and snag the scroll from within it, it, too, might be killed. Group1 soon got its chance, as the SE elemental smashed the door open. Blars and Schlomo both pushed through the elemental, taking extensive damage, but found no scroll inside. They ran to safety, having ultimately saved themselves, barely escaping the elementals, who all gave chase.
Meanwhile, group2 found nothing of great note in the immediate temple area, save that Gabriel, upon concentration on the glowing runes covering another large set of doors (upon which only he and Blars can even gaze), was led to believe that, given some time, he could figure out how to undo the enchantment and unlock those doors. They re-joined to the rest of the weary, broken party, and all decided they need to rest. Shecky led them to a room he’d investigated which appeard to be long disused.
As the party rested, certain party members heard commotion in the hallway during their watch. Each guard relayed an increasingly confused story to the next (some via charades, thanks to Ark’s vow of silence). Upon waking, they pieced together the following:
- There was great commotion among the Earth temple guards
- lots of angry shouting was heard when the guards (seemingly) discovered the burnt Bugbreas in the rat pit
- lots of angry shouting when the destroyed elemental was discovered
- patrols were increased a great deal during the 8 hour rest
- there was a regular scraping sound indicating the guards were doing something undetermined
- based upon the guards shouts and conversations, it seems they blamed the Fire Temple for the deaths, and were eager to kick some “fire-eater” ass
Upon stealthily peeking out of the room, the party found dark hallways where once they were torchlit. The torches had been removed from their sconces (the scraping sound).
Blars went to his belongings to search for something in the Box of Holding, only to find that it was missing! The party quickly determined Wonnilon must have stole it in the confusion of the battle with the elementals (or sometime before that moment), and took it when he left. There was much cursing.
Noting the apparent increase in patrols, the party decided to stick to unused, dusty hallways and rooms, all wearing their black, fiery-elemental-eye cloaks. They discovered a ramshackle library and sorted through it’s mostly destroyed contents, finding nothing of great note. A room which advertised meditation and future-seeing intrigued the party, but it was decided that discretion was the better part of valor so far as divination in an evil temple was concerned.
A secret door in the back of the divination room led to a large, open room with a high, vailted cieling and many supporting beams. It appeared to have once been a throne room or audience chamber of some kind – a grand stone throne had been hacked to bits, and dust covered everything. The party was quickly attacked by a swarm of filthy, greasy, blood-sucking mosquito-birds the size of hawks (stirges). After trying to fight the incredibly fast flighying beasts for a few rounds (and even killing a few), the party fled back through the secret door, agreeing that flying things are hard as heck to fight in high-ceilinged rooms [adventure lesson].
Scouting ahead in a darkened hallway, Ark heard the approach of a pair of guards on patrol. Using Ark as bait, the party prepared an ambush. The guards were warier this time than in the post-rat-pit instance, and the party had to rush them. They were dispatched quickly, and one saved for questioning. Ark & Valen then scouted ahead, finding two more guards at a closed door on a few hallways away. The immediate area around them was torchlit, unlike most of the tunnels since the recent rest. It was decided they must be guarding something important. The captured guard would not reveal who or what they were protecting, but it was clear it was someone important. They were able to infer that there were lots of guards, and that they might (might) be guarding Romag, who they’d learned is the High Priest of the Earth Temple.
The party snuck to the guarded door and quickly dispatched the two guards. From then on it was push into a room, attack, and move through, blitzkrieg-style. The guards inside, a mix of humans, kobolds and bugbears, put up a fierce fight, but were badly outmatched. Even so, their sheer numbers meant the party suffered extensive damage. As they fough three rooms in, two human figures in full plate mail entered from the far side of the room and began unleashing spells, wreaking hell on the party. As the party turned its attention to the two spellcasters, Valen saw one of the chainmail-clad guards sneak out through a door to the north. They party dispatched the two evil clerics with some difficulty, having been already weakened. One of the clerics (a youngish, tall, sandy-haired man) was captured alive (tho unconscious). The other, only a few years older (perhaps late 20s), was killed. The younger cried out “Romag” when he was killed.
The clerics dispatched, Valen followed the fleeing swordsman north into a lavishly decorated room – clearly Romag’s quarters. The fleeing swordsman was nowhere to be seen. Bloodied and down on spells, the party looted the bodies, while Gabriel and Blars joined Valen in Romag’s chambers.
Where did the swordsman go? And, with Romag and his guards dispatched, has the Earth Temple been destroyed?
Time remaining until the scheduled changing of the Tower Guards: 4 days, 10 hours