A Djura tribal leader offers a shortcut through the mountains to avoid Bellathirrin territory. His abrupt departure is too suspicious to resist following him into dark places….
The adventurers struggle in the fight against the seemingly evil tree and do their best to only knock the villagers unconscious. About mid-way through the fight, a young female gnome comes strolling into the clearing, playing a tune on her (instrument?). She pauses, taking in the fight scene, before leaping into the fray to knock out villagers with the party. Kyra and Cana manage to chop down the tree, the gnomish stranger assisting them. The rest of the group finish taking care of the people, but not without Ghesh brutally killing a young man with a magically crafted ice shard.
Following the fight, Thyra immediately rushes over to the dead body and gives Ghesh a talk on how it’s not right to kill innocent people. The rest of the party talks to Ellabreena, the gnome who had come to their rescue. She tells them that she is a wandering bard, learning and sharing stories of her travels. She asks if she can accompany them and she nicknames them the Non-Lethals. The party laughing with a nodding approval from the other two bards, Gertrude and Gunvor, gladly welcome her into their ranks.
The villagers eventually come to, no longer in a possessed state of mind. The villagers looking around at their surroundings with bewildered looks in their eyes, ask how they came to be in the forest. Some of the members of the Non-Lethals explain all what has transpired within the last 24 hours to them. As the group help the remaining 16 farmers return to their homesteads, a large half-orc bearing the markings of a Djura tribesman enters the clearing pushing a wide wheelbarrow carrying three bound and gagged figures. Krusk recognizes that the half-orc is Godash, a Djura tribe leader, one that he knows quite well. The two catch up and talk while the rest of the party get the humans to their farmland. Godash says that he knows a faster way to the Empyrean Tower—one that avoids Bellathirrin territory for the most part—and offers to take the party through it. The party tells the farmers to not go eating strange fruit again and then follows Godash.
Godash takes the adventuring party through a pass tucked within a rift among the mountains for two days. After passing the deepest part of the mountains that showcased a recent rock slide, similar to the one the party had encountered several days ago, the party and Godash stopped in front of a cave mouth. Godash bids them farewell and wheels his captives into the cave with Krusk right on his heels. The rest of the party argue whether or not to follow after him, Cana slipping unnoticed into the cave. Eventually, Kyra and Gertrude notice that Cana has disappeared, no doubt into the dark cave. Reluctantly, the Non-Lethals follow after the half-orc and the halfling.
When everyone enters the cave they find themselves surrounded by darkness, at least until Thyra casts light on her warhammer and Ghesh casts it on his staff. Once the room fills with light, in the center of the 15 foot tall, hexagon shaped room, is a scary-looking statue with six arms. One set of arms rise above its head ready to strike. Another set are at its side as if holding something and a third set with outstretched as if accepting something. The group crowds around the strange statue unable to identify what religion or even what cult it could be. However, the one thing that they can glean from the room is that it might have once been a temple of some sort.
Cana still hiding in the shadows, suddenly leaps onto the statue from behind, causing the statue to rock forward and open a door to the right of the party. Ghesh terrified out of his mind, races down the newly opened corridor, triggering two traps. He manages to dodge a spear-trap, but gets struck by a series of darts that erupt out of the left wall. Upon triggering a pressure plate on the ground, another stone door rumbles up into the ceiling revealing another room.
The rest of the party recovers from the jump-scare and tracing Ghesh’s steps, ultimately avoiding the places on the ground that made the traps come to life in the first place. They join him in the room which is filled with rubbish and crude valuables like goblets and leatherstrips. An altar depicting a rising sun stands in the corner, three unlit candles set into the wall above it. Ghesh and Kerrian spend several minutes trying to figure out what to do before lighting the candle on the left. Once the candle accepts the flame, another door slides open in similar fashion to the other two doors.
Like the first door, this one reveals another long hallway. Kerrian and Kyra identifies that there are four pressure plates on the ground. Kerrian uses Eldritch Blast on two of them, causing a 10-foot wall of stone to jut out of the right side of the passage and leaving a 5 foot by 10 foot walking space. Unsure if activating the other pressure plates might seal the passageway completely, the entire party crowds on the far side of the wall. Kerrian chooses correctly and another door slides up.
The new room, similar in design to the previous one, is littered with bones. The bones are knee-high in certain areas of the room; waist-high to Breena and Cana. Along one corner of the wall is another altar bearing another trio of candles, this time with the image of mid-day. Ghesh tried lighting the center and right candles, but nothing happens. Meanwhile, Breena, Gertrude, and Gunvor search among the piles of bones. Breena discovers a miniature statue of the one they had seen upon entering the place. However, the arms on the figure curl against its chest. Thyra inspects the state of the bone, realizing that they have been in the room for generations, still somewhat preserved thanks to varying degrees of frostbite. Ghesh, with some assistance from Kerrian, unlights the right candle, leaving the flame on the center one be. A door slides a third of the way down, an open gap spewing a breath of cold air into the room. As Ghesh and Kerrian turn back to figure out how to open the door more, Kyra and Cass hoist Breena and Cana up onto the partially opened doorway. Suddenly the door rumbles sharply down, the gnome and halfling barely hanging on. The two then slip into another passageway.
At the end of this hallway, the opposite wall is completely coated in a sheet of dark frost that seems to be slowly creeping towards Breena and Cana’s end of the hall. Ghesh, upon hearing them explain the wall of ice, climbs over the door and drops down beside them. Not fearing the cold—since he was a white dragonborn that was also semi-immune to the cold—Ghesh tries to melt it with fire spells. Nothing works. Cass and Thyra throw over two ropes for the two smaller women to climb back over on. The cold finally starts to affect Ghesh as well and he climbs back over.
Everyone feeling somewhat defeated, Gertrude and Gunvor play a sad melody as the rest of the Non-Lethals pace around the room, their white breath staining the air around them. Kyra accidently kicks a shiny object across the room. It is a key! Breena suddenly starts to connect the key and the strange little statue back to the large one in the hexagon room. “The statue might actually have to hold items!” she cries.
Breena, Cana, Cass, and Kyra backtracks the way the party came, searching the other room for potential things for the statue to carry. Thrya tends to Ghesh in the meantime. The four adventurers, now armed with two silver goblets, the key, a ring, and the idol that Breena found, make their way to the large statue. The rest of the group, finding the bone room to be too chilly, heads towards the statue room. The frost begins to crystallize on the door as Gertrude files out last.
Back in the room with the creepy figure, the four women piece together the puzzle. Cass places the goblets into the hands at the creature’s side. Kyra sticks the key in one of the outstretched palms. Breena shoves the ring onto the statue’s thumb. Nothing happens. Then Breena removes the ring and sets the idol on the open palm. In an instant, a door to the left of the statue opens up. With a whoop, Breena runs blindly down the hallway, forgetting to check for traps.
She gets the full blow of spears that jab upward out of the floor, nearly stumbling into unconsciousness. Ghesh magically appears on the other side of the hallway in a more safe manner and rushes into the new room. He and the rest of the group make it into the room identical in shape to the other two. This chamber only contains an altar with three unlit candles, an image on the wall showing a sunset. Kerrian and Ghesh, finally understanding how the candle sequence works, only lights the right candle wick. Another stone door rumbles up revealing yet another passageway. Thyra heals Breena, but has her hang back so that she doesn’t get hurt again.
Ghesh, wanting to be first, heads down the corridor and carefully activates the pressure plates. He pauses when he sees a skeletal corpse in the frozen motion of being punctured by a spear trap. He quickly searches it, finding a leather bound journal hiding just beneath a raggedy cape. Carrying it with excitement, he makes it the other side and into the new room.
The rest of the party chase after him. In this room they find a shovel, another altar—this time with no sun—and something different. In the corner across from the altar stands a fountain in the shape of a grotesque screaming face, spouting a bubbly clear liquid. Ghesh and Kerrian turn their attention to the candles, but when they light them and nothing happens, they give up. Instead, the two arcane users flip through the journal which holds their fascination much more. While some of the party steps up to figure out what to do with the candles, Thyra and Breena takes a look at the fountain. Thyra takes a small sample from it and some of it splashes on her finger. It stings, but she determines that it’s a liquid with a mild acidic quality.
Meanwhile, Kyra and Cana figure out that maybe the candles need to be blown out to symbolize night. They do it, and a door to their left open up about halfway. Cass, thinking back to the goblets in the six-armed statue, connects the liquid to the goblets. Cass runs back to the room they had started in armed with acid filled vials. The party waits in an awkward silence for Cass to fill the goblets. As Cass does so, she notices frost collecting in the doorway of the room to her right. Luckily, pouring the liquid into the cups work. The door in front of the party slides down the rest of the way.
This time it’s not a corridor. It’s a another square room, but this one is smaller than the others. Ghesh, Kerrian, Cana, and Breena walk in to find that the floor tilts back and forth. They steady themselves and then take a look at the wall to their left. The wall is covered in 12 pegs. Breena and Cana pop a couple off, causing a spray of the same acidic water to gush out. Kerrian and Ghesh notice the thickening wall of ice right in front of them. They all hurry and rip more pegs off the wall, more liquid gathering around their ankles.
Suddenly, the four of them watch as the liquid flows to the right of them, towards some unseen passageway. They call to the others to come into the room. As soon as Gertrude, the last of the party to set foot on the wobbly floor, the floor tilts violently to the right. Unable to maintain their balance, the Non-Lethals tumble down the slanted passage into darkness and oblivion.
(added by lauraabowman5)