In the mists, the characters debated what to do when they returned to the garden. Bruna (the military strategist) realized that if they all lay down, even if they were put to sleep, they would stay on the ground. So they tried it… the mist deposited them face down and though half the party fell asleep, no one fell into the grab grass.
The awake characters woke the sleepers and they crawled back up the path away from the lilies. More debate later, they decided they would just go through the forest and try to work their way around the dangerous plants. So they hiked into the thick underbrush. Twenty minutes in, they stumbled into a pit trap that dropped Jayna, Bruna, and Cronyan into a 20’ pit. Though they were hurt, no one was seriously injured.
It was at this point the party realized they didn’t have any rope.
Jayna offered to climb out (clinging to the shadows in the pit), and she could /just/ carry Cronyan out. She suggested Bruna take off her armor and then she could carry her out and return for the armor after.
“You’d do that?” the hireling asked incredulously.
“Why wouldn’t I?” Jayna asked.
“It just seems like… a lot of… work for you.”
Jayna shrugged. “Why wouldn’t I want you in your best shape and in your armor when something tries to come after us? I’m not a necromancer, I have no use for your dead body. I’d rather have your attractive body standing between me and the things that want to kill me and your armor helps you do that,” Jayna said with a wink and a smile.
The warrior woman blushed but got out of her armor and allowed the magically augmented priestess to climb her up the wall.
While this was happening, a group of three giant weasels shuffled out of the underbrush. The weasels were surprised by the party, but not immediately hostile. Long Tom took this opportunity to cast ‘Speak with Animals’ as someone else tossed rations out for the creatures to eat. A conversation ensued in which Long Tom asked if the weasels knew how to get out of the forest and lead them to the door out of the garden in the east while avoiding the golden lilies.
“We know way around bright sleeps,” they said.
“Will you show us?”
“More of this?” they asked, indicating the rations they were gobbling up.
So the party traded with the weasels and then, once everyone was out of the pit, they made their way to the eastern door.
The eastern door was guarded by a dolmen that dripped blood. No one wanted to test getting bloodied, so they let Cronyan hold his magic shield covered with a fur and use it to form a barrier. He had to make a save the moment the blood touched his shield, but succeeded and nothing seemed to happen. Unfortunately for him, and the rest of the clever party, the blood provided a benefit rather than a penalty. Still, it was a clever idea that, in normal circumstances, would have helped.
Beyond the dolmen was a vast throne room. Two skeletons in decayed but rich dress sat on the thrones, the smaller one holding a jeweled scepter. Ranks of skeletons stood on the walls, and a group of courtiers all stood in mid-pose as though court was still being held. The clerics fingered their holy symbols, eyeing the skeletons and expecting them to come to life at any minute.
What they weren’t expecting was for Cronyan to throw down his shield, turn on them with eyes that were pin-pricks of madness, and begin uttering an arcane incantation! The party was surprised, but luckily they saved versus the Hold Person spell he cast. Then the very confusing battle was on.
Not knowing what was happening, everyone threw spells at him in hopes that they could control or stop him, while he began another incantation. No one wanted to take a swipe at him though, fearing hurting their friend. He laughed off a sleep spell from Anika and resisted Lucian’s Charm, but Jayna’s Hold Person cut off his spell in mid-sentence (which was good since it was Summon Invisible Stalker). Kenan-Tal cast a Protection from Chaos spell and began concentrating to ward off evil spirits. Everyone crowded into the area, dragging Cronyan’s frozen body with them.
They were unable to move, and nothing seemed to happen. Klangor started concentrating to sense Chaos and eventually saw a powerful glow emanating from the scepter. Anika and Lucian flung bursts of fire and acid at it, destroying it (and giving Anika an idea for further exploration later). They lost the 5000gp scepter, but figured destroying whatever the hell it was trying to possess them was worthwhile.
A search of the room later led them to discover a hidden cache of crown jewels hidden behind the damaged thrones which left them feeling quite wealth.
Heading south, they entered a room entirely painted blue. The furniture, walls, and carpet were all blue and the room smelled of incense. After a search revealed nothing, they opened the door to the east.
A chilled wind blasted from behind the door as they looked into a white room. Snow and ice covered the interior, and the few pieces of furniture poking up from the snow were painted white. A massive six legged, white lizard creature turned to face them as they entered and, hissing, rushed the surprised party.
Unfortunately, Cronyan didn’t have his Shield spell up and took a terrible beating from the creature’s claws. The next round, Cronyan went down in a spray of blood while the party fired arrows and Raakaa leapt on its neck. It tore into Raakaa and tossed his limp body to the ground only to have Anika scream in anger and frustration and release a Fire Burst on the creature. It howled as its body caught flame but kept fighting. Klangor rushed the breached and received a mauling, but when it looked like the creature’s bite would tear off his head, he shoved his shield in its mouth (which the creature broke) and used that distraction to sever its neck.
I ran the creature wrong (what a surprise) in that its frost aura should have been damaging the whole party, but it was still a dangerous fight that left Cronyan’s scarred by a claw wound to the face and Raakaa had one of his eyes torn out. It was a rough fight (even forgetting to give the monster Cleave…which since I treat it as a special ability for monsters, I just didn’t give them xp for it).
After they looted the creature’s treasure, everyone faded into the mist (Long Tom’s player had to leave) and I decided to ‘bank the xp’ at that point since they had two really good hauls and one of the players was one who didn’t get to play often and thought it might push him to level four (it was just shy, sadly).
After some xp and Klangor leveling, Kenan-Tal and Lucian faded back into the room without Long Tom and his compatriots. They moved to the next room to the east and they encountered a green room that smelled like the woods. The only thing in the room was a tall, powerfully built warrior who wore all green armor, animal skins, and who’s skin was completely green. He greeted the party, welcoming as he leaned on a massive great sword. Behind him was a doorway.
The party talked to giant man for several minutes. As usual, they explained their plight and he indicated that the door behind him might lead to a way out. They only need to cut his head off with the two-handed sword he held and they could go through the door as they pleased.
Unfortunately, the only people in the current party that could wield the weapon were Bruna (3rd level fighter) and Nethran (1st level spellblade). Both thought this was a bad idea and wanted no part of it. So the party retired and decided to go through the other set of doors leading out of the ball room.
The next room they searched led to the Library of the Ambervilles. Inside they found a massive room covered in books. Sitting in a plush leather chair reading a book was a man with the head of a collie dog. He looked up at the party and shut his book.
Engaging him in conversation, they discovered his name was Claude and, unlike the other Amberites they’d met so far, he seemed lucid and even claimed to worship Kalen, the God of Man and War (the human version of the Silver Lord, the god that Klangor worshiped . This cemented the group with the man who talked at length about his family, how he was sorry for their actions and how he tried to make amends for them even though they had cursed him with the head of a dog as a cruel jest. When they explained their plight, he said that there may be something of help in the library, but he would need them to pay 5000gp if they took anything. The party gave him Richard’s crown, which caused him to pause, but he said that Richard’s reverence of the Lord of Beasts was destined to bring him to such a fate. He seemed to hold no grudge against the party. They covered the rest between them.
It took hours to search the library, but they found 3 scrolls that looked interesting. One had a curse, but Lucian shook it off quite quickly. The other was a scroll of several spells, all third or higher level. The last was a letter, addressed to ‘Those Who Would Be Free’. After reading the letter, they asked Claude a few more questions, specifically about Stephen Amber. He explained that Stephan was their Patriarch, the most powerful prince that Amber had ever known, but that he had died and many rumored it was by his wife’s hand.
Claude offered to cast spells on the party if they desired, considering he was (he claimed) a Patriarch of Kalen. Then the mists claimed them again.