Sludge Skating

Standing on the rocky bank of the slude river, Nat keeps insisting that our destination is down below the sludge. But there’s no way we can go swimming in it, and there are no paths around it. Dalish even burns the toe of his boot to make sure. Exhausted from the trip down here and the fight with the oozes above, we decide to take a short rest and heal up a bit.

Afterwards, Dalish wants to try flying out to scout the river. So, I tie a rope around him in case of disaster, and he heads out. Eventually, we have to add another rope to let him go a bit further. When he gets back, he reports some silver snakes on the wall, and other iconography worked int the stone. There’s a bit of a bulge in the water that followed him, but doesn’t attack, and went away when he got back to shore.

Then the random attacking begins. Remy shoots the river, nothing. Someone tries a tiny spark, but it doesn’t light the sludge. A flamebolt simply burns a tiny bit. Gerhard tosses out a Ray of Frost, and a section freezes solid. Success! This seems like the way forward. But that doesn’t stop the rest of them. They toss out more and more elements, while I fume in frustration. Clearly Frost Works!

As this winds down we discuss Gerhard using Wall of Force in case of emergency, but otherwise, we’ve got a pretty solid plan. The three folk with Ray of Frost will make a bit enough path for us all to walk down the river together. It’ll melt behind us, but if we move fast enough, it should be fine. It’s slow going, but it does work. When we reach the snakes, the studious ones try and study them for a moment, but they’re just shiny snakes telling us we’re going the right way.

The sludge river narrows as the stone around us becomes more and more worked. More of the pattern survives here, showing the mountain above us and six god figures blowing ice over it and a snake deep within guarding a black blob. Well, that seems pretty straight forward, if dramatic.

Eventually, we get to a huge cavern of worked stone with a temple in the middle. This place is filled with stalagtites and stalagmites, but in the center is a worked temple area where the sludge is erupting from. There is a massive silver serpent statue overlooking a recently destroyed fountain. The fountain is the source. It seems our friends may have been the ones to cause this damage and the river of sludge.

Dalish and Remy discuss digging a hole beside the fountain, but we don’t know how deep or how to dig through solid stone. I point out the Snake, and Dalish and Nat take a look. Someone has cut bits off it, and recently, too. It used to have large jeweled eyes and fangs. What about Dimension Door? We’re not sure where we’re going. What about freezing the flow? Well, okay, but then what? Nat sends her arcane eye down the sludge, and about 40 feet down is a small cavern that leads to a large cavern where the other group is encased.

Dalish wants to go down with Klyce to investigate, but Klyce doesn’t want to be touching the sludge, so he asks me to levitate him. It take way more tries that it out to, but I manage it. I Hate This Place! The cavern shakes and rumbles and the sludge starts geysering out of the hole. Nat says she can see a huge monster down there and our friends are actually encased in its body, lets her eye drop and manages to cast control water to split the stream enough for the rest of us to climb down a revealed ladder.

Dalish puts up a fog cloud and makes the rest of us pretty useless for a bit, but when it drops, it’s clear that the monster has been putting our friends in the way of our attacks. It also has managed to grab a few of us, as well. It’s a rough fight, and I hardly manage to do much of anything, but eventually we put it down. I’m not sure how, I was unconscious at the time. We do, however, have to bring quite a few of the other group back from the grave in the process.

Once everyone is up and mobile again, we get out of there and head back to the hotel.

Rescue Party

The minotaur goat monster resists all my spells, but between Remy’s shooting, Klyce turning into a giant ape, and some other folk getting through with their spells, we manage to put him down. Klyce rips the shard out of his forehead. When Nat puts the two shards together, they vibrate, but don’t quite match each other. The new on gives the same visions as the first, but the ones we have found no longer appear. The glacier still does, though, which is upsetting.

Then everyone gets obsessed with the hole the monster came out of. It’s covered in mucus and there’s a pool of it in the bottom. So gross! Nat climbs down on a rope. The liquid rusts her crowbar immediately, and burns her hand. I insist Klyce pull her back up immediately before she jumps in. So, instead, she sends an arcane eye down and moves it around until she finds something, then goes down to grab it. As soon as she’s up, I teleport everyone back home before she can go back down again.

Upon arrival, the guys look at what she found, and discover it’s a stone so soaked in the acid that it now can absorb acid damage to the user. We take a rest and I try to send to Locke in the morning. Still no response. Nat tries scrying on them while the rest of us discuss if we should go find them or go find the last known shard first. She is able to find them under the glacier down south. The whole cave is full of viscous tarry muck. In a small circular chamber, she can see Shelly suspended, encased in yellow/black hard mucus.

Well, that seems bad enough, we’ve got to get down there as soon as possible. They aren’t dead, but who knows for how long. So, we head out to the shops and get cold weather gear and food for the journey. Nat has scryed, so she can teleport us down, but from there, we don’t know how long or how cold it will be.

We head down and are immediately assaulted by sleet, hail, cold and wet. I toss up some weather control to put the worse away from us. Nat pulls out the mirror bits and leads us on, down into a steep crevice to the bottom. It is covered in an oily layer that burns my staff end. Klyce reminds us we have climbing gear and boot spikes, so we put those on and keep following our path.

The ice closes over our heads, and folk throw up their lights. We trek for hours down these icy, oily caves. Until it finally opened up into a small cave coated on every surface with this acidic oil. It’s thicker here, and seems to be flowing back up the way we came.

Then eight goopy, black masses drop from the ceiling and begin attacking us, melting off Nat’s clothes again. I manage a thunderstep away from the one attacking me. But my lighting again is useless, and I can’t manage to cast anything offensive. I do manage some healing spells for folk. Klyce manages to finish off the last one, and we hurry out of there.

Into a much bigger cavern with some worked steps and a dias. We are looking over a full on river of sludge this time. It’s a bit warmer down this far, and Nat says it looks familiar.

Labyrinth Adventures

We decided to head to the Labyrinth Desert next, and flew over on the creepy bird for four and a half days before landing at the base of the foothills. I tried to contact Hank each night, but he never replied. Philomena hasn’t heard from them either. Well, I guess we’re going to have to go rescue them soon.

Okay, so big labyrinth and then a plateau above it. It’s a lot bigger than I thought. Miles and miles of both foothills and mountain. Where do we go? Nat pulls out the shard we had collected below the waterfalls to see if it leads her. After a few minutes, she starts heading for a path. We all fall in and follow her into the maze. After only a few minutes, the familiar sensation washes over us as magic is dampened.

We head deeper and deeper, and the high walls soon punge us into darkness. We light up torches and spells and keep pushing. Into an open area where six paths converge. In the center are six worn statues of large predatory cats whose eyes and claws are inlaid with red jasper. In the center is a star-shaped stone. The statues face each path, and are not magical in and of themselves. Klyce heads into the center of the circle and this time I can understand them, too.

It was a lot, but something like: One path becomes six becomes one. Each man takes the path alone. All men live alone and die alone.

Okay, six paths, who is staying here? We discuss for a short moment, Remy thinks he should stay because he doesn’t have a god. But we decide to draw straws instead, and Dalish gets the short one and stays. The rest of us head down the paths.

My path is slightly winding, and there’s some grumbling of the stone as I walk for about ten minutes with no side passages. Finally, there is a dead end with a much nicer jaguar statue. This one has clearly been preserved by magic. Its eyes light up and a circle appears around me as I approach. The voice speaks out again. Wait for the others to finish. So, I wait, for quite a while. I start poking the statue a bit, but stay in my circle until finally, the voice spoke again. The paths have been walked, let the hunt begin.

The eyes and the circle dim and go out. Turning around, the path behind me has changed. I have to get back to the group, if there’s a hunt, they’re going to need me. So, I start running back down the paths, looking for the way back to the star. I run smack into a massive hairy creature standing on two feet with iron horns and the face of a goat. It clubs me, knocking me back a few feet away. I thunderstepped my way further back and ran. A couple footsteps followed, but then they were gone.

I don’t look back. I run and run and run. Until I eventually run into Remy. He looks even worse than I do, so I heal the both of us up a little bit, and we move on, looking for the others. We run into Klyce who has his sword out and looking eager to fight that horrible thing. I heal the guys up a bit more. But it doesn’t want to attack a group, it seems. We wander for a while longer until we finally find our way back to the center, where Nat, Gerhard, and Maribeth are waiting. Gerhardt immediately starts patching everyone up, but as we move closer to the broken center, the statues’ eyes light up.

The voice chimes in again: The trial is complete, the hunter becomes the hunted.

The monster arrives in the center, looks around angrily. Then he seems to realize what has happened, and fear flickers across his face. Then he almost sighs with resignation, takes in a breath and grows bigger, beginning to glow red like the statues.

Kracken and Shopping Episode

Something massive passed by the small island in the center, and Dalish disappeared. A moment later Dalish reappears next to us on the shore, and huge tentacles are grabbing people up off their feet. Bullets, spells, lightning, and curses fly. Klyce turns into a shark and jumps into the water to take it on its own turf. I try to take control of the storm it has summoned, but that does no damage to it. I pull deep from the odd energy of the Fae King and curse the thing. Shortly thereafter, Remy finishes it off with a few more shots. Klyce pulls a mirror shard out of its forehead while the cavern begins to shake. Wasting no more time, I teleport us back to our hotel in Buenos Aires.

Klyce and Philomena head out to dinner while the rest of us rest up and discuss what we’re doing next. There’s a lot of back and forth about the desert with the mountain and the desert with the labyrinth, and honestly, I’m not sure which one we’re headed towards. Either way, we decided to take a day off to find some mana and do some shopping.

Remy and I head out to a place Philomena has found that sells mana on the down low. We gather money from the group and manage to secure just over 1000 motes. We pack it up in a covered wagon to take it back to the hotel. They give us a tip on where to go for magic items, as well. Gathering up the rest of the group, we head out to see what kind of magic supplies we can find.

It’s a hidden alley full of magical vendors when we find it. Right, first thing, we get a Bag of Holding to carry the massive kegs of mana. Then we head over to a guy named Gary to buy a bunch of scribing supplies. Everyone goes a bit feral then, going from vendor to vendor buying all sorts of things. I help as many as I can get decent prices, or at least less than they initially ask for. I buy a bag of tricks for Maribeth and sending stones for Nat. She gives me one to hold onto since we’re the two most likely to be doing the teleporting for the group. We also manage to find a potion seller and get 20 healing potions of a couple different strengths.

When we get back. Nat tries out the boots and gloves she bought. The boots sing quietly while she sneaks, and the gloves start shouting if she tries to steal things while wearing them. Well, that’s fun. Hopefully everything else we bought isn’t quite so unreliable.

Dangerous Waters

After the library, we meet back up and decide that we are going to divide the targets between our two groups. Dalish wants to see the waterfalls, so we decide to head in that direction. The Iguazu Falls are to the north, and his creepy, undead, monstrous bird can carry nearly the entire party. Klyce flies himself along the way. We travel at night, for unknown reasons, but the guys think that a big dead bird might attrack unwanted attention in the day time. Whatever, I think it’s scarier at night, honestly. We arrive at sunrise on the third day, and it is just as magnificient as Nat said.

But no time for beauty, apparently, though there was time to fly all the way here. We begin taking sweeps around, looking for any sort of cave or temple. Let them look, I’m just enjoying the sights. Then, we glance over and Klyce and Nat are plummeting down the falls. They splash down gentle as feathers before we reach them and we all gather up on some big rocks at the bottom.

“Found it.” Klyce tells us that there was a section that suppressed his eagle form. Klyce decides he’s the best option for scouting since he knows where it was and is most likely to survive climbing through the rushing water. So, we all sit on the rocks as he flies up and disappears into the water a ways off from where he fell. A few minutes later, he comes shooting out of the waterfall again, this time with a massive waterspout propelling him.

Found it again. He heads up, convinced that we all are too weak to survive his path, and investigates some more. The third time, he comes out under his own power, it’s too much, he needs our brains afterall. So, we formulate a plan to dive bomb ourselves through the last waterfall, and just hope our momentum carries us through.

It works! We all tumble into a cave and find a wall where Klyce has pass walled instead of opening the door. When we all get close to it, six of the seven fish around it glow, but we don’t pay it much mind, and head on in. Magic is dampened in here, but Dalish doesn’t collapse, so that’s a good start. Klyce takes us to a room with a pedastal in the center with a dagger on it. Around this, are four statues of beautiful, half naked women with a hole in each of the throats. We move forward and one of the guys goes to the dagger. A weird voice comes out, but Remy can understand it.

The fae have infiltrated many times in the past. If you are worthy, you can identify the fae. Make the wrong choice and consequences will befall you. Or something like that. Then each of the statues spoke. Remy translated them roughly as:

Three was with me when the assassination happened.

Four is known for never telling lies.

I was accomplishing a task when it happened. It is definitely Four.

One was acting suspicious at the time. One must have done it.

Gerhard tries first, and stabs #2, but he starts to turn to stone. Klyce says he has already tried #3. We listen to the voices again, and then Gerhard stabs #4. It sinks in and twists. Then the pedastal begins to rotate downwards to reveal a set of stairs. We all move forward into this strange place and down the twisting stairs.

There is a very large chamber at the bottom with ghostly blue lights. There are stone wheels on the floor and complex piping running all over this room. The voice here, Remy says, explains that we have to get water across the room, from one massive pipe to the other, but no water is coming out of the first pipe. Klyce’s expression falls, just a little, he may have messed up the water system with his hole in the wall. Nat sends HeyHey up to look, and yes, it leaves out into the resevoir that Klyce drained. HeyHey goes to look the other direction and sees a massive underground lake with glowing blue light in the center.

We set the wheels turning and get the pipes all lined up, but we still need water. Nat then sits down to concentrate on flooding the resevoir with her magic, and it works! We get the water flowing, and each pipe glows blue as the water arrives. When the water gets to the far end, another path opens up for us to leave this chamber.

We head down another set of stairs, all the way down to the lake. The blue light is about 200 feet out in the lake and about 5 feet above the water. Dalish floats out over the edge of the water. No issue, so he continues, out to the center, to see the light. We have a slightly shouted conversation about what he finds.

The light comes from a ghostly flame in a small brazier on a rock outcropping. There is also a pedastal with a small platform, holding a pictogram of an obsidian shard. It gives off strong divination and abjuration magic. He says there’s a pattern of tentacles on the pedastal and the island. I really want him to push on the pictogram to see what happens. Eventually, he does and there is a pulse of magic through the entire cavern. There is the sound of grinding stone, the water viabrates, sloshes, and churns between us, and then swells toward the island.