L'lanon

40 Finishing the Old Palace Trial

The party has found the following figurines:
Golden statue of maiden with flowers, 18 hotness, under guard room (everyone recognizes it from the maze trial)
Silver figurine of a praying woman, under cot in dungeon
Dark oak statue of a hammer under cushion of throne
Electrum statue of a book behind the bookcase
Figurine of steel sword behind wall emblem

After playing the cube, Marda and Wubbe look through the library, which is positioned on the second floor along the walls, with the center section looking down into the grand ballroom. Both are located at the end of the northern east wing. Marda finds and picks up the chess set in the sitting area; the chess set is distinct with a marble crown and an obsidian gavel. After Wubbe shatters a plate against the stone floor in the kitchen (no one else reacts), the two go into the dining room, where they find a sealed bottle of wine. Marda opens the bottle, and pours some into a 6-inch tall glass goblet and drinks from it; she also pours a bowl full for Wubbe. The wine is especially distinct in flavor, since it has aged for so long. Marda and Wubbe take the chess pieces, the goblet, and the wine back to the throne room.

Lilith returns to the throne room with a poseable rubber figure and a jade platform with eight spokes sticking out from the sides, four coming in from one side, four coming out the other side.

The party then deliberates how to fill the first four alcoves sized to fit the figurines. Clarion arranges the figurines as follows: jade platform, golden maiden, obsidian gavel, and the steel sword. The party also fills in the other four alcoves according to the trials that (by story) they have already completed. The alcoves begin to glow.

There is a lever in the throne room. Pulling the lever activates a portal. Cory sits on the throne and even holds the book and crown, but nothing else changes. So Cory puts down the figurines and walks through the portal; most of the party follows Cory. Wubbe and Clarion stick behind to try an experiment. Wubbe goes through the portal with the book in the fourth alcove; Clarion goes through the portal with the crown in the fourth alcove. Everyone finds themselves back in the Cat’s Paw.

Yish asks Cory what his interpretation of this trial was. Cory thinks it was a trial to make the right decision and then take decisive action. Clarion tries to determine who made the right choice via the blue stone’s brightness, but it is difficult to tell who made the right choice based on this brightness.

(The party is now caught up in the timeline, with the challenge of temptation being the second to last of the trials.)

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VERMIN Gem Trials: terribly recorded

The group begins the next challenge and finds themselves crammed into a small jail cell. It’s a tight fit but everyone is still currently dressed. We leave the cell and and wander the castle. Bard knows enough that things don’t make sense as far as castle location but is probably the old lalanon castle. They find a gold statue about 2 inches tall and end up in the throne room where we find a device? and several alcoves with spots for things we place the statue in the appropriate spot. It is decided that the statues represent our previous gem trials. We saw the same statue in the maze challenge. Yish casts message and acts as a call center to be a center of information. Cory and Clarion head to royal quarters. Wubbe and Marda head towards the guest receiving area including the kitchen. Hiss heads back towards the dungeon. Lilith heads to the Lesser west? Area. Hiss begins looking everywhere for little statues. He finds and pockets a silver figurine of a praying maiden. He then proceeds to pocket anything that vaguely matches the provided description. He returns to the throne room and finds a dark oak figurine under the throne cushion.
Clarion and Cory start in the private sitting room. Cory looks through the books being more interested in reading than finding the figurines. Clarion interrogates Cory about his plans to retake the kingdom. Cory wants to give the kingdom back to the people Cory fantasizes about how the kingdom used to be with the king being very close to his people and being mostly a figure head and hates how the current kingdom has changed what’s important to money. COry’s grand plan is to use the crystal to convince what few people who don’t already support him to support him as king. They find the journal of the last king before the war (about 6 generations of kings ago) Cory holds on to this. They find a electrium figurine behind some books in the library. Cory looks behind the royal crest and finds a steel figurine.

Marda and Wubbe read and play the Cube

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The Bronze Cave, Part 2

Clarion desires to take apart the ogre spider to see if its parts are valuable. The party also examined the body in the webbing that the spider had dropped before facing the party.

The party continues forward, since the prospector wishes to take a sample from the deepest part of the mine. Eventually, the party finds themselves in a large circular area. It seems that the miners had dug into this cavern. Unlike other parts of the mine, which were stripped clean. This whole cavern glistens from the light the party is carrying with them. It seems that there are many crystals around this cavern. Yish perceives that at the cavern floor, there is a living rock creature. He informs the party and asks the prospector. The prospector identifies the living rock creature as a rock troll; he says he wouldn’t want to fight the thing, although he is interested in looking at the crystals on the other side. Marda notices that the cavern is not naturally formed, though there is no masonry. Yish notices that the crystals are reflecting multiple colors, so he presumes that there must be all sorts of precious stones. Clarion desires to take some with her, though the rest of the party .

The party successfully sneaks past the sleeping rock troll. The floor is level, meaning that someone decided not to continue digging deeper. The floor is also well worn, as if this area used to be much frequented. Even Yish cannot recall what history this place may have. Thus, it is clear that the dwarves from less than 100 years ago had found this unnatural cavern but had decided not to continue further.

The party moves down a corridor, cutting through cobwebs that take up the entire space in front of them every two feet. Every 10 feet, there are open doorways, looking into rooms that have worn down shelves and well worn blocks that may have once been used to hold a cot. All organic material, except for some spider eggs, has long decomposed. Perhaps this was a residential district.

At the end of the corridor, the party find a smooth stone wall. It is the finest dwarven work Marda has ever seen; even the stone blocks are hewn so perfectly that it is difficult to see the seams. In the wall is an obvious door. The prospector has no knowledge of any of what he sees. Yish moves to open the door; it opens toward him, and there is no lock; but no grease on the hinges and much calcification leads to a rather loud noise as Yish opens the door. The room on the other side has large stone tiles. There is dust everywhere. In the room are two parallel staircases that lead up to a raised platform. The door the party comes through is behind one of these. There is another door behind the other staircase. There is also a door on the platform. There is a double-door on the wall opposite.

Hiss detects no strong signatures in front of it, but a faint magical aura comes from everything. As the party moves forward, they notice, as their feet pick up the ¼ inch of dust covering the floor, that the tiles are colorful and and arranged artistically. Clarion creates water to show more of the art. Unlike typical Dwarven work, this floor has no markings identifying who made this; however, the style suggests that the royal Dwarven artisans had a hand in this work. There are chains hanging from the ceiling, suggesting that there used to be chandeliers in the room. The sconces have no torches.

Further investigating, Hiss detects stronger magic back in the direction of the rock troll as well as from behind the door at the top of the platform. Clarion mends the doors hinges before Yish effortlessly pushes open the door, which slides open silently. The room now open is quite small. In the center is a basin, about the size of a bird bath, which still has liquid in it. In the center is a magical gem that is clear but reflects all colors, depending on how the light reflects off of it. Clarion and Yish then discuss how best to take the gem out of the basin. First, Clarion dips the street meat into the basin and then pulls it out. It is slightly wet physically, but Clarion sees that the meat is glowing with magic aura, although the glow tapers off over time. Hiss uses mage hand to lift the stone out of the liquid; as it comes out of the liquid, it begins to physically glow brighter and brighter. Hiss drops the stone back into the liquid, though the stone doesn’t stop glowing as brightly. Clarion decides to fill her water skin with the liquid and lets Hiss mage hand the stone into the water skin. The prospector is interested in giving the stone to his associated guild of Dwarven archaeologists, in case the stone has historical value. Yish demands being the third author on the paper that will be published from this discovery; Clarion looks forward to being paid.

The party moves to the double-door, which is the first to have a lock. This time, the locking mechanism is on the side where the party is. Marda notices that the lock is made so that in the correct configuration, the door will lock if it closes behind the one who walks through.

So the party decides to try the other small door. This corridor has no cobwebs, though the side rooms are empty. At the end of the corridor, the party finds themselves back where the rock troll is, though now opposite the side they had originally entered. The party also sees that the rock troll is sitting up, though it is not facing the party.

The party returns to the double-doors. Hiss volunteers to remain in the room as the others walk through the double-doors. Yish casts message on Hiss so that they can communicate with each other. The doors are heavy, but Hiss is able to open the doors by themself, in case they must open the door. As Clarion slips through the doors, magical aura builds up from the water skin. Clarion hands the water skin to Hiss, and the party continues. The corridor on the other side ascends. The other side of the doors has large carved runes. These runes are written in ancient Dwarvish. Yish casts comprehend languages to read the runes; he reads “burial”, “safety”, “holy”, and “protect”.

The party moves up the corridor and turns left around the corner. The corridor is blocked by a cave in; not the corridor itself, but rubble that came down from a vertical shaft. This vertical shaft is completely packed, so no fresh air nor light can be detected.

Unsure what else to do, the party decides to switch Marda with Hiss and have Hiss carry the stone down the corridor. As the stone passes the threshold, again, the magical aura builds up, and cracks begin to appear in the ceiling. As the stone gets farther from the door, the cracks open wider, and rubble begins to fall from the ceiling. The party decides to move the stone back through the door. This stops the ceiling from continuing to collapse, but the prospector is ready to get out as soon as possible. Hiss agrees. Clarion takes back the water skin.

As the party enters the room with the rock troll, Marda’s clumsiness alerts the rock troll, who sees all of the party. The rock troll stands up, revealing that it had been lying on a dais with the ancient Dwarven rune for “king”. Clarion immediately casts obscuring mist. The rock troll can be heard walking in the fog, not making any indications of charging. As Clarion approaches the opening through which the party originally entered the cavern, caving in can be heard from behind. She swears and steps back into the mist. Yish encourages the prospector to get out now. He chooses to do so, consulting the map he had been making to be sure not to go down paths not yet explored.

The party now prepares to fight the cave troll. Hiss casts a ray of frost in the direction of the rock troll; the ray leaves a trail of frozen mist, which drops to the ground and gives Hiss a chance to see the rock troll through that line until the mist fills in that hole. But Clarion dispels the mist, letting everyone see each other. Clarion also rolls the magical stone toward the rock troll, in hopes that the light would scare it. The rock troll watches the stone roll between its legs but otherwise takes on notice of it. The magical energies build up again, though there is no imminent collapse. With judicious use of ear-splitting scream, Hiss manages to slay the rock troll.

Clarion picks up the stone; Hiss mage hands the stone onto the dais. The stone is glowing brighter than before. Clarion picks the stone back up into the water skin. The party enters a passage at the ground level of the cavern; it goes down into a chamber that vertically mirrors the corridors and rooms above. Once in the basin chamber (with the basin held upside down from the ceiling), Hiss mage hands the stone into the basin.

When the stone enters the upside down basin, the light drips out from the stone into the basin, acting like a liquid. The light then spreads out in veins around the room. The dais has separated, pulling back to reveal a hole in the ground. In it, there is a sarcophagus. The statue on top of the lid is gripping a book; there are various magical items surrounding the statue. Yish reads the book and discovers that it is a short history of this ancient Dwarvish king. There is a prophecy of a future catastrophe; the vaults built here are in preparation for the catastrophe.

The crystal seems now to have lost most of its magical power, but a smaller amount remains. Hiss studies it later on to discover that it is a Silent Spinel.

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37 The Bronze Cave, Part 1

As Clarion sits in the office, Yish knocks on Nen’s door. Nen is hunched over his desk, looking a little hung over. He shushes Yish, who responds by calling him “fresh as a flower”. Nen begins to tell Yish about the jobs available. First is from an old prospector to look through a mine. At this point, Yish suggests that there are good coffee shops in the area. Nen pulls out a 44 oz thermos of coffee and assures Yish that he’s already aware.

Yish assigns Hiss to “spoopy patrol”, since “spoopy ghost girl” isn’t around. Yish takes inventory, recognizing that he still has a pound of flour. Clarion confirms Yish’s question about fire power by reminding him of her spark spell and pulling out a paper candle (a firework).

The mine used to be used for obtaining bronze. Yes, the copper, tin, and lead veins all converged in perfect proportion next to a magma chamber that melted them together and raised them into a vein. The magma chamber has long since been emptied (no history records how that came to be).

The prospector is a stocky dwarf sporting ½ inch thick spectacles and adorned in a suit. His beard is trimmed short except in the center, which is braided in a shape similar to a tie. He asks the party to protect him and his work crew as they investigate the mine. They set off to the mine.

The mine has not been used for several years. As a dwarven mine, it was well made, and so despite not being lighted, it seems to be in good shape. Yish lights his lantern as Hiss casts dancing lights and Clarion casts light. The mine begins branching, so Yish suggests always taking the right path in order to achieve a depth first search. Hiss is not very invested, since they thinks it is ridiculous that all of them being there for the job is unnecessary, so they reads their book. They occasionally looks around to detect ghosts. Marda sees occasional hedgehogs and scattered bones of rather small animals throughout the mines.

About the sixth branch, Yish hears clattering against a wall and rhythmic clicking, like of fingers drumming. Some sound metallic, others sound fleshy (squishy). Yish draws attention to this and asks Hiss what he thinks of the sounds. Hiss pays attention a little more and notices more animal spirits wandering about than usual. The spirit of a middle aged buck then approaches the party, passes by, and runs away. Hiss informs Yish of this strange apparition and puts away their book, stealthing ahead and dismisses dancing lights. As Hiss approaches the sounds, the sounds stop and they can’t see any ectoplasm. Hiss casts dancing lights again. Immediately above them, they see an ogre spider—-the size of an elephant, with metal-hard chiton—-before it descends upon them. As Hiss screams, the party rushes forward to help.

The spider hucks some webbing onto Hiss as it drops its previous prey aside. Hiss shouts back that there is a really big spider and frantically requests aid as they try to slip out of the webbing. The spider manages to get in a bite onto Hiss (although no venom reaches them) before Yish casts solid note, encasing the spider’s mandibles and preventing it from biting. Repeatedly failing to muster the strength to break the solid note with its mandibles, the spider dies without doing further damage.

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36 Ceda and the Gem-Encrusted Rapier

Having returned to the Cat’s Paw for another trial, the party joins Cory for the usual ritual. They are transported into an arena-like setting with natural stadium seating rising up to 40 foot sheer stone walls. There are no exits except for the sky above the encircling. The brass dragon in the center, not yet fully mature, is surprised to see everyone suddenly appearing around it. It kicks up a sand storm, blinding Cory in the process, and Hiss, interpreting this action as hostile, launches magic missiles at it. Yish tries to calm down the dragon by speaking to it in Draconic; it responds with a dismissive look, as if asking why she should trust him after what the others have done to her. Yish immediately pulls upon his knowledge to recall that brass dragons live in desert areas, often solitarily. They also like shiny treasures. Yish then tells everyone, in Common, to stand down, and then, continuing in Common, he offers a gem encrusted rapier if the dragon will allow for a conversation. The party complies. Seeing this, the dragon warily moves out of the center and waits for Yish to continue.

Yish takes the rapier off his waist and throws it halfway between him and the dragon. He begins, now in Draconic, by explaining that everyone is a co-worker, except for the blinded man, whose entourage they are. The dragon’s name is Ceda. She is young enough to still be part of her mother’s nest. She was flying around the nest, looking for a snack, when she suddenly found herself in the arena surrounded by everyone. Yish asks why she doesn’t just leave, to which she responds that this was her plan. Yish urges her to proceed with her plan. Ceda grabs the rapier with her mouth and prepares to jump into flight. Marda channels energy to heal the dragon. She, as a teenager among dragons, gives the slightest indication of acknowledging something nice done to her, and she launches up into the sky, past the walls. Immediately afterwards, a blue portal appears in the center of the arena.

Marda is happy as a peach at having helped a dragon, so she steps out through the portal. Hiss follows. Wubbe decides to look around. He finds a few bronze weapons and helmets in the upper seats of the arena; he also finds a small crate filled with dragonhide. Cory is still shaking the sand out of his eyes as Yish explains what occurred. Clarion decides to place calls on the demon network to see if she can figure out the nature of this trial. After calling Hiss and then Nen, she places a call to her demon supervisor and asks for information on her location. The demon network is not equipped to identify her location via call, but he is able to get her location based on something else that is not explicitly said in the conversation but is known to both of them. With that, the demon informs her that she is in the northeastern continent of L’lanon, a continent different from the continent where Bandu is located.

In the end, everyone leaves through the blue portal, finding themselves back at the Cat’s Paw. Cory is still very bewildered by the experience, but is able to assure Yish that they had passed the trial based on the glowing of the stone. As for how well they performed, which was Yish’s original query, Cory is unable to give a response involving a satisfactorily measurable performance indicator. Clarion returns to the office and confirms that the call with Nen actually happened (he gives a face palm for Clarion’s efforts). Yish then goes to the shop and purchases a masterwork rapier to replace the rapier he gave up.

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35 Trial of Doors

That party returns to the back room of the Cat’s Paw. Cory has cleared out the room for extra space. Cory then takes the blue stone and speaks the magical phrase.

The party finds itself with Cory in a dark room, although they can see each other, as if they each were glowing. A old man appears in the room. He beckons to them as a door appears beside him. He opens the door, revealing piles of gold and treasure. He then tells them that if they give up “this path”, they can take all of the gold with them; he even promises that they can take whatever they carry with them out of the trial (unlike in previous trials). Yish believes that everyone is either stupid or liars, so he doesn’t trust the old man (Marda is surprised to hear that Yish thinks she is a liar; Yish corrects her misunderstanding).

The old man then silently closes the door to the treasure. A second door appears, and he slides it open (it’s a sliding door). The room seems to open into a vast library, filled with current and past knowledge. Hiss is tempted to enter the room, even asking if he could take a peek without penalty. The old man reminds the party that the choice is between the current offer or to continue with the trials. Hiss has always wanted to be a wizard, but he feels obligated to stick with the party so that he earns his internship credits. Hiss has further questions, which the old man answers: Hiss can access the library whenever he wants in the sense that whenever he uses the blue crystal. After the old man closes the door, the door disappears, leaving the party without Hiss.

The old man then turns as a pair of doors appears. He opens them to reveal a room filled with magical arms and armor, the finest produced by Wizards of the Coast. Marda asks if there is anything that would allow her to talk to animals in there. The old man answers no, although Yish tries to convince her that there is a billyclub of squirrel command in there. Yish’s persuasion was not high enough. Again, the old man waits for the party to make a decision before closing the doors.

The old man walks over to a curtain that has appeared. It opens into a room filled with potions and medical equipment. He promises that any one illness can be cured using this equipment. Yish convinces Marda that it could help her save animals. Marda unwittingly enters the room and happens upon a Cauldron of Resurrection. As Marda picks up the item, the old man closes the curtain, and Marda finds herself in the back room of the Cat’s Paw.

The old man then turns to a slide up garage door. He lifts it up, revealing magical items that augment abilities. Prominently displayed are a set of wings, but other items are also available. Lilith is interested in improving her hotness and general appeal, but she resists the temptation. The old man closes the door, puts on a pad lock, and the door disappears.

The old man now pulls up a cellar door, which opens to stairs going down into darkness. The old man promises that anyone who goes down the stairs will be able to start a new life. Yish asks the old man why he doesn’t go down himself, since this place seems hecka boring. The old man chuckles but gives no other response. Yish tells him that he is pleased to get a chuckle out of him. The old man shuts the cellar, muttering to himself about how everyone is content with life. Yish assures him that he is not content with life but that misery is his muse.

The old man then reaches up to a cord, pulling down a revolving door. There seems to be every worldly pleasure in there. Specifically, the room allows one to master a performance ability to entrance another. Lilith enters to improve her acting skills, causing others to believe anything she says with respect to her exorcism skills. The old man closes the revolving door, and the party is left without Lilith.

The old man turns to the remaining party, reaches into his robes, and draws out a Kris-knife hilt. He informs them that a weapon built with this hilt allows the wielder to gain all spell-like abilities of a creature the wielder kills with this knife, replacing any such effect from previous killings. The old man tries to accommodate Wubbe, but Wubbe feels unsure about using human weapons.

Finally, the old man pulls out a ring, which enables the wearer to teleport anywhere in the world with which he is familiar, with a small group of people. Wubbe would have been interested if it could teleport him to new places.

Yish tries to engage the old man in conversation by asking why the old man doesn’t choose to go into his doors. Yish tries to lead the conversation toward causing an existential crisis for the old man. The old man responds by explaining that he is a projection created for this trial and that none of Yish’s attempts would cause an existential crisis.

The old man then tells the party that they have passed the test, at which point, a lever appears, which he pulls, and the party falls through the floor, reappearing in the back room of the Cat’s Paw.

Yish asks Cory for a bowl of cereal. Cory points Yish to the barmaid and tells him that he eats cereal elsewhere. Wubbe wonders where Cory goes for cereal. Yish orders a bowl of cereal from the barmaid. She pulls out a slightly old box of Pixie-ohs; the milk is fresh, though it comes from a goat in the backyard. Yish is not certain whether he is hipster enough to drink goat’s milk, but he forces himself not to make any reaction. The barmaid gives the toy that came in the box to Yish. It is of the least favored character of a current series airing on the Angel Network. Of course, because of the unpopularity of this character, it is Yish’s favorite.

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34 Flashback to Goblins

Nen has a special job for the party. Yish is slightly buzzed this morning, so he winks coyly at Nen. Nen’s job is to eliminate a Barghest stirring up trouble in a nearby goblin nest. The party sets out to kill, as Marda put it, the goblin’s president.

The party arrives at a cave. It smells like a goblin cave with carrion (like Chuck E. Cheese, Yish notes). Yish decides to cast tongues on himself and scream insults at the goblins; he wants their attention. As the party engages the goblins, Yish then sings a slightly drunk version of “Kiss from a Rose” to inspire courage in his teammates. The Barghest etherealizes, becoming invisible to all except Hiss. Yish changes his tune to “The Middle”. The Barghest is annoyed that both Hiss and Lilith can still see it. Yish then realizes that the Barghest has used the blink spell and so will likely be forced out of etherealness if a lot of mass is passed through it. Clarion summons a large metal weapon and walks into its space, swinging around. Although Clarion’s hits don’t connect, the Barghest blinks back into the Material Plane and so gets displaced from where Clarion is standing. The Barghest has a hotness of 12; apparently, it was pampered in its upbringing and so also lacks the typical damage reduction. The Barghest manages to cast charm monster on Hiss, but Clarion manages to slay the Barghest soon after.

It remains unclear whether Lilith or Clarion was actually there.

Further in the cave, the party finds two tied up female goblins. Presumably, the goblins the party has killed were trying to establish a new colony, and these two were meant to produce offspring. Yish tried to strike up a conversation with them (he knows Goblin), but they refuse to speak (although the party dispatched their captors, they aren’t friendly to non-goblins). Yish offers a business card and invites them to join VERMIN. Yish also gives them some food and water, and releases them, and asks them not to attack, and then leaves a dagger. After Yish releases them, the two scurry to the other side, putting their backs against the cave wall, and watch Yish. Yish leaves them to make their choices.

Marda later asks Yish whether he passed out PETA-MOO cards to the goblins. Yish lies to her, and Marda completely believes him. Marda happily gives Yish more cards to replace the ones he supposedly gave out.

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33 Call to Action

In the morning, the Demon Network broadcasts a special announcement to all of its customers, informing them of a new service that will be coming in two weeks. There is talk of the center of Bandu being integral to this new service.

The party visits Cory at the Cat’s Paw. They find him with the princess (hotness level 6/20), who is his daughter. The party wonders how the princess can be the daughter of the prince. Cory explains that the usurper is his uncle and that at the time of the usurpation, he could not take his daughter with him. The uncle chose to adopt her as his own child to cover up the usurpation incident. Since then, Cory and his uncle have repeatedly taken the girl back and forth.

Cory asks the party to investigate and disrupt whatever is happening in the center of town. Clarion suggests that Cory should instead take back the throne; after all, once he’s in power, it would be easier for him to take control of the situation. Cory begins to reject Clarion’s idea, citing the fact that he’d have to finish all of the challenges before the two weeks are over. At this point, Cory really likes Clarion’s idea and asks the party to support him in this endeavor. Yish is willing to comply, since missing a week of work wouldn’t be too bad for his budget. Hiss is indifferent, although he is surprised that this internship turned out to be something quite different from what he imagined it would be.

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32 Clearing the Mountain Pass

Nen reports that trolls are causing problems in a neighboring kingdom. Wubbe reveals that half of his herd was once eaten by a group of trolls. Thus, he was in favor of exterminating the trolls. Marda, shocked to hear that trolls would dare to eat ponies, immediately supports Wubbe’s decision. The party begins to make plans to deal with the trolls, taking stock of alchemist’s fire available to them.

After traveling to the region, the party finds itself in a mountainous area. While walking along a ridge, the party encounters a troll. The party handles the troll fairly well, which causes the troll to call for another. However, the troll dies as its friend appears. The second troll, angered by the death of the first, charges into combat, but the party dispatches this one as well.

With the pass rid of two more trolls, the party gets paid well the following day at work, and the troll body parts are sold at market.

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The Maze

It’s Tuesday, the day previously agreed with Cory to do the second dungeon of the blue crystal. As agreed, the party goes to the Cat’s Paw; the backroom seems to have been dried up since the last mess they had made. Cory seems frustrated about the ruined documents, since he wasn’t able to extract very much information. Everyone squeezes in, even Wubbe. Hiss thinks that Wubbe smells bad.

Cory explains that the first task he had foreknowledge of from his father but that he knows nothing else about the rest of the tasks. Cory then whispers to the stone, which causes a blue portal to open, sucking everyone in. Clarion attempts to scare Hiss (since Hiss has not yet experienced this) by screaming out, but Hiss trusts Lilith’s calm composure and accepts being sucked in. When Clarion notices that Hiss is not freaking out, she stops her act, expressing some disappointment at not having duped Hiss. Wubbe (also not having experienced this before),

Everything goes dark and people feel woozy. They find themselves in a hanging cage and see three other hanging cages. Two are filled with monsters, the other had a golden statue of a human woman with flowers around her (18 hotness). As the members gain consciousness, they see a rectangular maze lit underneath them. After a moment, all of the cages fall into the maze, one for each corner. As they land, the lighting disappears in the hallways. Four torches in the corner where they land remain lit.

Hiss ties a rope to his waist, asks Lilith to hold onto the other end, and casts levitate on himself and dancing lights. He floats up to the top of the wall and peers over into the hall on the other side. The walls are 12 feet high, and the hallways are 10 feet wide. The party begins traveling through the maze. Hiss sees flickering lights in the distance. Clarion begins to tease Hiss, who retaliates by casting levitate on her and leaving her floating; Clarion counter-retaliates by casting obscuring mist. The party gets upset; Yish tells the two to stop being mean to each other. Hiss dismisses levitate on Clarion, telling her to stop being a bully, and Clarion dismisses obscuring mist with a very defiant expression on her face.

The dwarves’ dark vision proves useful in navigating the maze. Along the walls are a track that seems to hold something, but there is nothing immediately obvious nearby that fits into the track. Yish charts their course on some paper he’s brought with him. As the party enters a hallway, Wubbe and Clarion notice something disappearing into the east. Wubbe excitedly follows. Clarion begins to arm herself, to which Cory suggests that there shouldn’t be need to engage in combat. The party follow Wubbe to find a wood golem chained to the track in the wall. Marda is intent on freeing the wood golem; Clarion wants to light it on fire. The wood golem notices the party, but decides to ignore them. Yish remembers that golems are incapable of speech, since they are programmed to do one thing. Marda attempts to ask it how its day is; as Marda steps into reach space of the golem, the golem reaches out and touches Marda. She is enveloped in vines, and then the vines recede to reveal a wooden statue of Marda. Cory wants to move away from the golem.

The party leaves the Marda statue, since it is too close to the wood golem, and they manage to escape the golem. After escape, Hiss finds that on the other side of the wall is another golem. The party continues down a few more hallways. Lilith catches herself as she is about to step on a pressure plate; but Wubbe tramples along into the pressure plate. A crashing noise comes from the north, and some dust appears from that direction. Hiss knows that whatever caused that noise is farther up north.

The party attempts to move faster. They hear another crashing sound, and Hiss sees a wall fall over. The party now moves even faster. Hiss sees more walls buckling. More hasty traveling, and the party sees a golem punch through a wall; another golem seems to have sprinted forward, standing next to the other golem. The party finally rushes forward into the room with golden statue. Clarion touches the statue; a bright light flashes, and she disappears. The rest of the party follows her lead.

All of the party finds themselves dumped out into the backroom of the Cat’s Paw, through a blue portal. Even Marda is there. Yish is very happy to see Marda safe and restored. Clarion asks whether Cory is found worthy. Cory whispers to the stone, after which the stone glows brightly. Clarion asks if she is worthy to be queen; Cory whispers to the stone again and hands the stone to her. The stone glows just as brightly in Clarion’s hand.

Cory wants to meet up again tomorrow for the next challenge. Hiss expresses concern that he might have class that day, but quickly deduces that the professor probably won’t be at class and so figures that he could meet for the next challenge. Cory is appalled that Bandu-U seems to be in a bad state. Hiss, being a concerned citizen, begins to ask Cory about his political stance on various situations. Yish warns Cory to leave and takes the suggestion himself when Clarion adds animal rights to the list of platforms Cory is to explain.

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