After a week of shopping, gathering supplies, waiting for Jeric’s shiny new mithral armor, and Santos recruiting Darious (who turned out to be of fair [not black] skin), The Golden Saviors (as our heroes have been named by the masses of Valencia) finally gathered themselves together. After a song and dance (almost literally) by Niven the Bard (in which he tells the rest of the group he will be striking off on his own to spread the story of The Golden Saviors’ victory in the ziggurat), our great and valorous band head out to the Mage’s dig site.
Walking, as opposed to riding astride steeds (as precious Mifune could not be left alone), The Golden Saviors strolled out to the dig site to find nothing more than ruins devoid of any obvious entrance. They decided to move out of the clearing and off the path to sleep under the stars (as no one thought to grab any tents). The next morning (and after a quick lap around with nothing to be found), Alexander detected magic and discovered what he suspected to be an illusion covering the entrance. Picking up a stone, the Wizard tossed it through, not into, the place the magic obfuscated. At that moment, all was made clear to the group – aside from Taran (who, for some reason, didn’t make the connection… again).
Using this new information, Sigfried slipped in through the hidden entryway. “Essence is everywhere. The walls are covered with it,” reported the Ranger. After being told what was going on, the party’s de facto de-trapper, Taran, disarms a tripwire, safely setting off the spike trap. Now that the doorway is safe, the group enters and sees the massive amount of Essence making the use of torches unnecessary for the time being.
The Ranger makes the move forward, creeping to the first fork. He looks carefully to the right and checks to the left when an arrow comes from that end of the hall and strikes him in the shoulder. There, at the far end of the corridor, are two men dressed all in black looking rather dread and quite pirate-y. Sigfried moves into attack. He finds he can’t make it to the aggressors that put an arrow in him as he is blocked by a wall – a wall that isn’t there. A wall that seems they can attack through, while our heroes are denied. The Ranger decides I’ll go back. Alexander begins to chant an incantation as wind and dust lightly swirl at his feet. The glinting Duskblade steps forward and taunts the men in black. “Come out, come out, wherever you are.” Taran edges to the corner. Santos, bold and in heavy armor, takes a stance in the open encouraging his companions. “This is where we show our mettle.” Darious uses this moment to come forward and stand with Santos. These brave men are fired upon from the end of the hall. Armored or no, Santos takes one in the leg (perhaps a little more metal would have been appropriate).
With no one entirely sure how the invisible wall actually functions, the Ranger draws and looses two arrows in quick succession – only to have them shatter in mid-air, mere feet from the dread men. Alexander, ready to unleash his spell, quickly moves ahead to get in range of his target and lets the spell roll out. A bright flash of light appears, briefly masking that which seemingly forms from nowhere. A large, pure white polar bear materializes behind the now-frightened (and surrounded) assailants. Fluffy begins his attack. With the aid of their large friend, it doesn’t take long for the group to significantly overpower the men; killing one and forcing the other to submit.
After disarming the lone attacker, our heroes begin to explore the area to find there is a hidden room on the other side of the wall. Jeric, using his mighty mightiness breaks though the wall and enters – triggering the trap that awaited him. Using quick thinking and quicker magic, Jeric is able to dimension hop to safety giving him the perfect chance to loot the chest and pocket the gems found there. “I’ll hold on to these," Jeric whispers to himself. Alexander takes note of this and remembers to mention it when the group gets back to town.
Moving further along, a “leaking” door stands before the troupe. Leaking… with blood. Blood on which Darious and Eric (the non-armed, former assailant) slip as they push to open the stuck door. Inside, the room is awash with blood. Seeing his chance, Eric immediately makes a break for it. As he works his way across the room, the Ranger draws and fires two arrows straight into his back, dropping him.
Continuing down the hall, our fabulous faction diligently searches. Good Fortune turns up no traps, however an odd looking flagstone door is found. Jeric and Santos try to push the door open but are unable to budge it. Sigfried and Darious join, again to no avail. A hand print decides to make its appearance at just that moment. Sigfried, without much thought, places his hand on the print and the door begins to slide open. Inside lies a vast and dusty room. Before them stands a large winged statue. Santos finds he doesn’t like the room; it feels old to him – very old. The walls are adorned with several tapestries depicting what may come of joining with The Light. Upon investigation, touching the tapestries causes the worn and weathered wall hangings to crumble and turn to dust. When Sigfried touches one of them, the room comes to life as the torches on the wall blaze alight. Alexander, searching his mind, realizes the now hovering statue is a celestial create of the Light. Announcing its name as Ezekiel, the Angel commands no one proceed. As usual, the Ranger just doesn’t listen and continues his march forward. Ezekiel unsheathes the huge sword he carries and Darious attacks immediately. Alexander, knowing what the creature is, attempts to be the voice of reason. He shouts to his fellow adventurers to lay down their weapons. The Angel easily deflects the attack coming from Darious and begins to move toward Sigfried. As it passes by, Santos, Jeric, and Darious all use the opportunity to take fruitless potshots at it. Undeterred, Ezekiel strikes, and strikes hard, at Sigfried. Taran consumes a bull strength potion. Just before the Ranger sets to swing at the being of Light, the Wizard (deciding not to leave his companions to fight alone) mumbles “Gods damn it!” to himself and casts haste on the group. This gives the Ranger a chance at some major damage. With repeated swings and hits, Sigfried begins to flay the creature where it floats.
Seeing this and realizing it is the moment he needs, Jeric begins to channel powerful magic to ready himself for the strike he will make. Taran, with a cry of “Kiai! Bonsai!” swings and tears into the Angel’s wing. Pure Light pours forth from the wound. That, however, only lasts for a moment. The gash begins to seal up, but not before Taran lands another blow to the same spot. Noting Jeric gathering strength, Alexander summons the powers within him. With the waving of his hands, the Wizard enlarges Jeric to stand ten feet tall.
Beaten down from the Angel’s return attack, Sigfried downs a potion and regains some of his vitality. Santos, clearly unhappy with the turn things have taken, begs for the madness to end even as he makes a swing with his mace. The attack misses its mark; as if the Cleric’s heart really wasn’t in it. The “large and in charge” Jeric swings his chain with seemingly reckless abandon. Striking and sending electricity down the length of his weapon into the Angel on his first attempt, he unfortunately misses and barely ruffles feathers on the next two. Possibly due to the high dose of current just received, Ezekiel appears fatigued while swinging at the renewed Ranger. The beleaguered Angel drops its sword to the ground. Taran, in prime position, swings like a child pretending to be a pin wheel. The former Samurai unleashes a chaotic, five-swing attack while yelling, “Yield! Santos, make him yield! YIELD!!!” Though chaotic, Taran’s attack lacked accuracy; merely two of the blows connect.
“You can’t win here, creature. Yield!” bellows Jeric as he drops his chain. He then wraps his now-massive arms around the Angel and both fall to the floor. Darious, seeing a chance to help out, tries to pile on the grapple only to be batted away in the struggle. Furious, Ezekiel tries to break free to no avail. The improved size and strength of Jeric is too much to overcome. Taran, lording over the two in the tussle, asks “Do you yield?” “I will never!” cries back the Angel, leaving the Ronin no other recourse but to stab at the creature once again. And again, and again. Every time, he deals damage. Alexander, seeing Sigfried is still not on completely solid ground, charges Veritas with a cure light wounds spell. The faithful familiar delivers the succor to the Ranger. Unhindered by massive injury, Sigfried unleashes a fury of blows finally destroying and killing Ezekiel.
Jeric picks up and lays the body of the Angel back on the pedestal. Santos informs the group they have two minutes before he attempts to commune with his god and restore the Angel. Quickly, the Ranger makes towards a hidden door behind one of the tapestries. This entrance also brandishes a palm print and Sigfried opens it the same as before. Alexander, already weary of Sigfried’s actions, uses the rod taken from the defeated thieves to seal the Ranger in the secret room. Sigfried, not very pleased with this, begins to strike out at the invisible wall with no avail. At the same time, Santos kneels and prays before the broken Angel. Light accompanied by a charge of divine energy flows into the room. The Angel regains consciousness and begins to speak to Santos in an ancient language. Ezekiel then sheaths his sword, fades away and disappears. Santos, clearly upset about the whole experience tells Alexander to release Sigfried from his confinement. Stepping out of the small room, the Ranger shows what he discovered within – Lord Cathist’s Sword. The newly recovered weapon is clearly beautiful (solid black with an unearthly gleaming) yet gives off a palpable feeling of… wrongness. “I was sent to destroy this sword,” are the only words the Ranger mutters.
Back in the hall, the troupe continues through the maze of corridors deeper into the tunnels that they believe will lead them to the Mage. Finding a chest covered in blood, Taran moves to open it hoping to reveal vast treasures. Without warning, however, the chest quickly shifts! A tangle of “arms” wrap up the Ronin akin to a boa constrictor with its prey. “It’s a mimic!” yells out Jeric. The Ranger, quick to see what is happening, rushes to Taran’s aid. Unluckily for the Ronin, Sigfried manages to drop one of his swords to the ground. The sword, and his arm, wind up stuck in the tacky surface of the mimic upon his attempt at retrieval. Darious, well aware he is unable to do much to help, turns to watch the hall for attack from the rear. This allows the rest to try and free Taran The Stuck.
Jeric places a hand on Taran and dimension hops to teleport him away from the “chest.” Alexander takes this cue and frees the Ranger with his own casting of dimension door. With the majority of the group teleporting past Darious, the new follower of the Light is exposed to the mimic. The aberration closes in but misses. The group retreats from the monster in order to strategize. Taran, not familiar with the mimic’s abilities, draws out his sword then a potion only to find the slime left on his hands will not allow him to release the items. Using his new rod to put up a wall, Alexander stops the advance of the mimic, severing the stretching tentacles coming from it. The ooze falls to the floor and ceases to show any signs of life. The rod, having expended its capabilities, grows dim. Alexander holds onto it in case the need arises to bring down any walls previously put in place.
The mimic is enraged by its impeded movement and thrashes about. Ooze spews on the wall of force and the sickening stuff slowly slides down. Sigfried draws his bow and releases two flaming arrows into the center mass of the animated chest. The Cleric uses this time of relative safety to chant and draw in power for his next spell. All those able loose arrow after arrow into the mimic. Jeric, who appears to be running low on his high-power spells, does minimal damage as he fires a ray of frost. Santos unleashes his searing light at the mimic, clearly weakening it. Another volley of arrows from the Ranger finally downs the pseudopod. With the creature dead, all the items stuck to the mimic or its slime begin to loosen and become free. Allowing the Cleric to retain what spells left to him, Alexander draws forth a wand to cure those in need.
Restored and healthy, the group turns a few more corners to reveal a wooden door. Taran puts his ear to it and can hear a clicking sound coming from the other side. He opens it slowly trying to be careful not to trigger any traps or alert anyone to his presence. The door, not trapped, opens to an empty room. Ornate spirals of green stone spread across the floor. The clicking can be heard clearly and consistently. After some quick searching, Jeric finds an open doorway and enters the room only to have it close behind him. Thinking quickly as the walls of the room begin to move in on him, the Duskblade once again dimension hops to safety as the walls can be heard smashing together.
At the far end of the green stone-spiraled room lies yet another door behind which arguing can be heard. The Ranger, taking the lead this time, slowly opens the door a crack. The voices beyond stop immediately, seeming to notice. Taking this as a sign the element of surprise is gone, Sigfried draws his bow, knocks an arrow and kicks the door open wide. As it swings open, the floor below the Ranger gives way. Using his quick reflexes, Sigfried shifts his weight forward with the kick. He narrowly avoids falling into the pit suddenly below him and rolls into the next room. As Sigfried finishes his possibly life-saving roll (get it – “saving roll”), the group looks up to see what is waiting for them: more thiefly-dressed bandit types, taking cover behind overturned tables and the like. About 15 or more of them.
This is going to be a long day…