With the new day the first order of business was the cremation of Strother. Tossing the body through the iron rings the party was not surprised when massive bursts of flame consumed the body. The fact that the flame was green was a bit disquieting, but not shocking. Returning to the elemental room the party sent several divers down, each one doing something different. When all was said and done they discovered a captive aquatic elf, freed him and brought him to the surface.
The man initially mistrusted the group, believing that he was being tricked. But, as they gave him food and healing be began to come around. Before long the party had his trust and he retrieved the bowl of summoning used to call the elemental that had killed Strother. In return the party gave the man some clothes and a spear.
With their new ally they began exploring the structure again, looking for a way out. The locked doors near the rings of fire frustrated the party for several days as they discovered door after door, each one mechanically locked in addition to magically double locked. The party also returned to a room they had left alone until now, a large chamber full of glowing orbs resting on pedestals. Touching the orbs summoned a bugbear of some skill, and though the bugbear attempted to summon allies of his own, the party outnumbered them so severely that they stood little chance. After discovering the explosive nature of the orbs after breaking a few, the party left the room to return to the locked doors.
Prepared to open up to three doors the party tried once again to see what was beyond. After days of trying to get through this passage they were relieved when the third door opened to reveal a passage and beyond that a cavern. But, as they moved forward they quickly discovered that they were not somewhere they wanted to be. Gargolax was the first to see the huge dragon, but when Roland spotted the sleeping gargantuan beast the party quickly fled.
Out of options the party returned to the spiral ramp to ponder their fate. At this time the aquatic elf begin asking questions about the runes, prompting Roland to try to “activate” them. Though only initially successful on one, the result was not positive. The doorway leading to the basilisk pens had tried to activate from the wrong state, crushing the door and destroying the mechanism. A successful activation of the rune that covered the entry passage seemed to have a similar effect.
It was during the next night that the aquatic elf was seen during the third watch walking around. Fritz raised the party, cornering the elf before he could return to his pool. He claimed to be “stretching his legs” but at least one member saw through the lie. As the group discussed what to do about it a large rumble shook the ziggurat. Fritz was the first to investigate, seeing the aquatic elf coming to investigate as well. Blinded by suspicion Fritz shot the defenseless elf, killing him. Not even Roland could stop the paranoid soldier from finishing the job, lopping the elf’s head off.
Another discussion, this one without Fritz and Gargolax, was held to discuss how much they could trust their new found companions. At the moment there was little they could do though, so they simply reunited and began to explore the newly opened passage. Unfortunately, the passage ended with a corridor with 10 locked doors lining the walls. Frustrated the party returned to the ramp.
Once back at the ramp the group noticed sounds above them. After listening at the stone for several minutes the group was fairly certain there were reptilian bugbears above them, attempting to break through the stone block. There was little that could be done about it, but a few members of the party gathered the summoning orbs from the pedestal chamber and brought them to the base of the spiral ramp using clothing, backpacks and whatever else they could find that would allow them to move them without touching them.
It’s now the eighth day beneath the ziggurat, and the food and water of the group has run out. With a dragon in front of them and a bugbear army behind them there is little doubt that this will end one way or another soon enough.
:: Important Names
Ad Edin – Aquatic Elf trapped in the Ziggurat