Galadeus, despite being aware of the power of the terrible creatures in the chambers, nevertheless plunged in on his own and was hit and paralysed, getting rescued by Elysia. She, working in co-operation with Ferros, was able to use a Web spell to pin one ghast into a corner so that they could push the stone lever without interruption. Her wand of Illumination came in handy on two occasions, blasting a ghast and a ghoul into fragments. Galadeus also needed rescuing a second time when, having a truly bad run of luck, he managed to get paralysed again in another chamber.
It was a chaotic battle, with everyone (except, ironically, Gullhar) getting involved. Nevertheless, in the end, all their undead enemies were defeated and they were able to push the final stone lever into place.
At this, the statue rose from its plinth and walked to the middle of the room, where it turned and stood still once more. With a grinding noise, the plinth slid aside to reveal a flight of stairs leading downwards. The party, never one to pass up a temptation like this, started down the stairs. Galadeus was in the vanguard. Elysia sent Relic on ahead to scout and he returned with visions of the end of the passage; there was a ten foot section of floor made of iron grating and the ceiling above matched it.
|Never trust a floor that looks like this|
II - red
III - gold
IV – lurid green
Galadeus stepped onto the iron grating to see what would happen. Nothing did. The floor grating was loose and moved slightly but apart from that, all seemed well. Galadeus came back out again and Ferros sent in one of his two remaining zombies. Once again, nothing happened. Alurax threw in some ghoul bones to see if they might cause the floor to tip over sideways.
Before Ferros could recall his zombie, Galadeus stepped onto the grating once again and with that, there was a clanking, grinding noise and the floor grating rose up, taking the ranger and the zombie with it. Both vanished from view. There was a horrible scream, a number of sickening crunches and then blood started to run down through the grating.
Those party members who were not watching the horrific spectacle noticed that where the floor grating had been, a shaft dropped down into the darkness below.
About a minute later, down came the grating again with a very badly injured Galadeus (who had five bleeding holes in him) and a very inactive zombie. Elysia cast Unseen Servant to drag Galadeus to safety, where he was stabilised and healed by Ferros.
Feeling certain that this was a trap with more than one surprise in store for them, the party studied the numerals to try and establish what they might mean. Slowly but surely, they deduced that the red number two indicated that the weight of two people would lead to bloodshed. From that, they were able to work out that three people would lead to gold, presumably treasure or something else desirable and that four people’s weight would take them to somewhere sickly green, either poison or something even worse – in any case, not conducive to health
Alurax, Galadeus and Gullhar decided to test the hypothesis and climbed onto the iron grating. With a clang, the grating began to descend. As they went down the shaft, they began to smell an acrid scent that grew stronger the further they went. It started to burn their noses and make their throats sting. Just as it seemed that it would become unbearable, the grating juddered to a halt. The three of them were facing an open corridor. They stepped off and started to edge their way down. Behind them, after a minute or so, the grating began to ascend again.
Up above, Elysia and the rest of the group watched nervously as the grating rose towards them. When it arrived in place and there was nobody there, worries increased. Nevertheless, they decided to try their luck after some lengthy discussion on how they might get back up again if they needed to. Ferros’ last zombie was left to stand guard and Elysia used a reversed Enlarge spell once they reached the bottom to cause the floor grating to fall away and plunge further down the shaft. Now, when the roof grating rose to its original position, she could use Fly to carry the party one by one to the upper level.
They followed the passageway and soon found their comrades at the top of a flight of stairs that curved down and to the right. At the foot of the stairs, they found a walkway that ran alongside an underground river. A similar walkway was on the far side. Using Relic to do aerial reconnaissance, they found that to their left, the walkway snaked around a dock that opened onto the river. To their right, there was a bridge that overlooked the river, but no visible windows to it. A little further down towards the bridge, there was another flight of stairs that led up and around to a door.
|Where do these lead? Why, to adventure, of course!|
Galadeus and Alagon moved up the stairs and prepared to kick in the door. As they did so and piled into the room beyond, three javelins whistled through the air and struck home. The lizard men that had thrown the missiles then charged into the attack whilst another lizard man ran for reinforcements.
In a short but tough battle, Galadeus was sent crashing back down the stairs, badly injured (he seemed to having a rough time this session – twice paralysed, skewered to within an inch of his life and then clawed by lizard men) whilst Alagon took two vicious bites from the angry lizard men attacking him.
Gullhar pulled the unconscious Galadeus to safety while Ferros ran up the stairs to support his comrade. While Elysia prepared a Sleep spell, Alurax saw something very interesting in the waters of the underground river – a shark’s fin breaking the surface. It swam past him, then turned and swam back down the river again. Alurax was able to use his Trident of Warning to determine it was indeed a shark, but what was it doing in the river?
Meanwhile, Elysia had fired off her Sleep spell, felling three lizard men on the stairs and enabling the party to withdraw in good order. They reformed at the foot of the stairs to consider their next move.