In which we had some adventures and found ourselves in a sticky situation.
Before we returned to the city with Calreisent, we attempted to round up the escaped creatures in this antechamber to the Banewarrens. A large metal statue attacked Nadeira when she was foolish enough to open a door unaided. Leto suggested that it had malfunctioned. He seemed to think that it was not intended to run into the door and fall to pieces. I tend to agree, though the magical fluid spraying around the room due to Otto’s fidgeting was better than any planned trap could have been. Both Otto and Calreisent were injured by the blast.
In the next room, an angry troll climbed out of a pit and attacked us at once. It was very difficult to fight – it seemed impervious to all but the strongest of blows. After Leto, Otto and Calreisent were swept up by a magical cyclone, Nadeira seemed to be considering escape. Then, to our surprise, the troll faded away to nothing. A door closed on the other side of the pit and the men were released from the wind storm. Leto found some glass shards and decided that the wind had been a magical effect.
As we crossed the pit, we heard screaming in the far room. A dying female half lion lay in a pool of her own blood, seemingly alone until something appeared and attacked Nadeira. The creature must have fled immediately, for we did not land any blows try though we might. (Fighting an invisible creature is difficult – try it sometime and find out.)
The hallway leading from this room was lined with runed doors, all ajar. Only two appeared to have activated wards, but nothing was in them any longer. One was possibly the prison of the dark elf we slew in the streets above – we took the amethysts from the useless prison to fund our further expeditions.
Down the circular stair we found an enormous chamber with a large iron vat in one corner. The vat was full of worms and other vermin, but unlike true vermin this mass of filth worked together. A humanoid form made up of insects and every creepy-crawly known oozed out of the pit and attacked us. It did not have very good aim, having no true eyes, but it was a difficult fight nonetheless.
As we finished each challenge, another presented itself. We heard voices coming from the room of the warding generator. There we found a group of beings trying to gain entry to the Banewarrens proper. Four goblins were easily dispatched once Leto remembered that his fire spells would not do me too much harm. The lion man fought off three of us bravely for quite some time. Calreisent fell while protecting me from the troll – I may never manage to look at him without wincing again. We managed to save Calreisent’s life this time – I fear what will happen in the days to come. His utter lack of any instinct for self preservation will surely be his undoing.
We left the Banewarrens for Saint Gustav’s immediately, taking Calreisent and his companion Rasnir’s body with us. Brother Fabitor received his friend Calreisent with obvious relief, and begged us to accompany him to the Cathedral of Saint Balian, where he was to meet with the church fathers. They did not like hearing our news. A division among the elders of the church of Lothien became apparent at once – one group was in favor of resealing the Banewarrens with all speed, while the other wished to use the items in the Banewarrens to protect the city against a coming evil.
It was decided that we would attempt to understand the spell of warding used through application of a scroll of Legend Lore. Naturally we consulted with Zavere before undertaking this quest. He asked us to speak with Jevvica Nor or the Inverted Pyramid. She suggested that the grail mentioned by those we fight against is the Black Grail, an artifact that contains the secrets of death. She begs us to stop the incursions into the Banewarrens before the Lothienites begin another arcane purge – this time in Ptolus.
After casting the spell, we took the knowledge granted to us to Brother Heth of the church of Lothien and to Lord Zavere. Brother Heth was interested in the key, but not the chance of resealing the doors. Lord Zavere suggested that the Vlada’ams might have the key, as they had the withered hand of Danar among their treasures.
Lord Zavere suggested that we might set a trap to catch the key. He felt that the Vlada’ams were not going to sit idly by while the Banewarrens were ransacked, pilfered, or otherwise disturbed. He suggested that we might gain the key after their contingent was inside and sent us off with the all-Key to do just that. His attitude suggested that if we accidentally locked somebody powerful in the place when we were done it would be beneficial to the city.
Lord Zavere is a ruthless man.
We decided to stop putting off the inevitable and head into the Banewarrens immediately. Wandering around with the All-Key does not improve our mood any, after all. Calreisent was still on duty, though not immediately in sight when we arrived. He said that more creatures were snooping around while we were away. We were put on our guard against a mind flayer and his entourage.
As Nadeira approached the door, it spoke in a language so old none of us recognized it. The doors opened, and we all grew pale as shadows poured out. I asked Calreisent to pray for us, and we closed the door behind us. It settled into place with an ominous boom, which echoed down the corridors of this place like the crash of a closing sarcophagus in an ancient tomb.