We now had 7 of the little crystal arrowheads and checked the door across the hall for presumably the last piece. We opened the door to reveal four glassy-eyed 8’ tall statues of gargoyles, holding gems evidently representing the four elements. Each gargoyle sported four arms.
I prayed for Sanctuary, should these statues reveal some threat, as the more martial of our party crept in to investigate. Reynard pulled out a sack of sand to “indiana Jones” one of the gems (in reference to some scholar-adventurer from a parallel universe that I saw in a dream-vision from Ronan one time), but when he touched the blue gem it abruptly shattered into dust! The door then slammed shut with a kind of reverberating electrostatic hum, sealing out Blake, Kalli, and Ander! Immediately a hissing sound began to emanate from the statue before Reynard.
It smelled like vomit, and we all started itching. Hrolf had the presence of mind to recognize a gas attack of some sort, and his heathen god allowed him to conjure up a Zone of Sweet Air around those of us trapped in the room. I then prayed to Dispell any magic sealing the door… there was a “zap” as though an electrical field had discharged, and seconds later Reynard went charging at the door, barreling it open, and bowling over Blake the bard just beyond. I then swirled up the air into a Dust Devil, and dispersed the extant gas.
We took a deep, clean breath, and returned our focus to the statues. Stefan now touched his Fire Axe to the red gem. It, too, shattered, and now part of the floor began to rumble! The Baron then quickly moved to touch the “wind” gem, which similarly shattered, as Hrolf bent to the part of the floor that was rumbling and prayed to Shape stone handles out of the floor… he and Stefan grasped them and lifted a large cobblestone block up and out. Inside was the last crystal arrowhead! Hrolf grabbed it and we withdrew from the room before anything else could go wrong..
We instructed Ander to seal the door back up so no more gas could leak out through the temple, and moved to the outer door area. Blake and Reynard approached, dodging a few darts that whistled out from some fell trap. They began to open the door. Its outline began to glow, as trails of sparks traveled around the frame. Kalli stepped up next to the door… just in time for a fire trap to explode in her face! She was comically singed, not too badly. Now the doors opened, revealing a trapezoidal room lit by a glowing blue sword embedded in a hunk of black crystal. Eerie! Kalli stepped in, followed by Siberian. Our new gnomish comrade waddled up to it, grabbed it, and flexed her bulbous muscles as she yanked it out. The doors slammed shut (of course)! Inside, I am told that the walls and ceiling became transparent, and it was like a mirror-room, with a skeleton clinging to the ceiling. Jewels on the hilt of the sword in the gnome’s hand began emitting beams of light. Kalli quickly removed her helm and placed it over the sword hilt to block the beams, but then the sword levitated itself up to stick into the ceiling near the skeleton. Our implacable paladin followed it up, smashing the sword, which plunged the room back into darkness as the walls became opaque once again. They found a crescent-shaped object in a drawer in the crystal pedestal and came back out, whining about how us “gentlemen” let the ladies deal with that scenario on their own.
Reynard signaled that the next door was clear, so we opened it to reveal a small chamber with a 10’ diameter pool of softly glowing water. Peering down into it, one could detect the glitter of coins about 15’ deep. Kalli looked wary, as though she detected a malevolent presences, but Stefan casually flipped a coin into the pool and watched it sink into the depths. Blake generated a Wizard Eye which floated down after the coin to scry on the bottom, and he told us he saw some kind of case with handles down there. Kalli leaned over to try to make it out, but a watery pseudopod snapped out and tried to grab at her! She slashed it with Francis, and Stefan stepped in and struck with his Ice Axe too. It didn’t like the cold, and it wrapped around the armored half-elf, yanking him to plunge into the pool and dragging him to the bottom!
Hrolf purified the water to banish one of the water weirds, but there were still more! I prayed to create my own Watery Fist pseudopod to play tug-o-war with Stefan’s body, and Kalli took a deep breath and dove down after the Baron, motor-boating her way through the water weird as she swished her Bag of Holding through the water, hoping to disrupt the thing’s tentacular grasp on Stefan. Hrolf finished purifying the water, we dragged a sputtering Stefan to the surface, and then managed to retrieve the case, which turned out to contain a copper coffer. While Stefan and Kalli dried off using my Towel +1 from Ignax’s Bath House, Reynard unlocked the coffer, revealing a small mithril rod.
Then Ander came trotting back up, having sealed the last door, and urged us to continue on. We did so, and Hrolf opened the next door into a chamber of mirrors. The dwarven priest withdrew a vial of the “holy water” from that Temple of Knowledge in Phlan, and spattered the ink all over the mirrors to make their reflective tricks more obvious. Still, uncharacteristically-clumsy Kalli blundered into one, the rest of us struggled to stifle a chuckle. But she then discovered a mirrored chest, containing gold, gems, bracers, a ring, and yet another mithril pin. On our way out, we decided to smash the mirrors in our wake, but doing so revealed a secret compartment in the room! Here was a large pile of gold and treasure, a crystal ferret figurine, a want, another mithril rod, and an amulet that seemed to speak to Stefan! It’s name was apparently Agothanon and it could heal its wearer.
As we walked to what might be the final room, we began tinkering with the pieces we had collected, and assembled the rods, pins, crescents, and arrowheads into a kind of chaos symbol. Was this the key we needed? The last door’s seams began to glow and spark like the previous set of doors, and then opened to reveal… a massive Beholder! Hrolf squealed a little, as he and Stefan slammed the doors back closed.
I began to Pray furiously as Blake conjured up some Mirror Images of himself to distract the abomination, and we kicked the doors back open. Kalli charged in flailing at the thing, which seemed to flicker as she struck it… she found a light beam behind it and struck that. Now a few odd things happened at once. The Beholder disappeared. Blake’s Mirror Images disappeared and he turned to stone. Ander Rockhead disintegrated. A sphere appeared near where the Beholder had been. Presently, Ander the dwarf reconstituted, and Blake appeared to soften and return to flesh. Kalli grabbed at the sphere and Hrolf trotted up to tap it with his axe. It shattered and dropped an adamantium piece! How much of what just happened was an illusion or hologram? Ander ran over to look at the adamantium piece, almost in a frenzy, and Kalli, startled, slashed at him… her blade passed through! He flashed and then appeared as a 6’ tall human! “Hold,” he said, and introduced himself as Perconius and congratulated us on finding all the key fragments. He wanted us to go forth to the lower levels. Stefan and Blake tried to seize him but he disappeared again in a swarm of insects! We heard footsteps. Blake cast Detect Invisibility and I prayed for True Seeing. I almost didn’t spot him but… there he went! I darted off after him, chasing him up the stairs, Kalli hot on my heels. Blake spotted him and launched a few Magic Missiles. Finally at the top of the stairs, I tackled him!
He plead for us to spare him, and we figured out that he was under some sort of geas to stop the Temple. He claimed to worship some kind of mystic/magic god. We decided to spare him, though Kalli asked for his heirloom ring of invisibility. To the lower level!