1 May (Continued)
The party smashed open the flesh wall and braved the slimy chamber beyond, trying to determine if it hid any further secrets they would need to defeat Karavakos and escape the pyramid. A few minutes of fruitless searching for the “heart” that the foulspawn had mentioned coupled with the pain they endured just being within the chamber led them to abandon the room. They decided it was time to make their way up to the next tier of the prison. At the top of the stairs, they saw another stair directly ahead of them leading further up. A hallway heading left and right offered alternative paths.
They chose the left and proceeded down that way and around a corner to the right to a set of double doors. These opened into a crypt – the nauseating stench of death and decay wafted from the darkness ahead. The ceiling was barely high enough for the tall cushani to walk upright, and the darkness seemed almost malevolent in its intensity. They entered the chamber by the light of their everburning torches and noticed that the walls contained several niches holding dry bones and the scraps of funeral wrappings. Cage noticed the gleam of rodent eyes lurking in one such niche and warned the others of it.
They crossed the chamber cautiously and came to another door on the opposite wall. When Thrakath gripped the handle to push it open, he found it locked. More importantly, the contact seemed to trigger a trap. They heard the doors they’d entered slamming shut behind them and a sinister shrill squeaking sounded from all around them. A ghostly figure emerged from the central crypts and raked its claws at the cushani, but the big cat evaded the attack. Belgarde had backtracked toward the door and got swarmed by charnel rats. The others reacted swiftly to rescue the psion, but they all heard the ominous sounds of coffins creaking open from somewhere in the darkness.
Battle wights armed with longswords that trailed shadow emerged from the hallways and engaged the adventurers. Though sorely outnumbered, the adventurers still outclassed the rats and undead inhabiting the crypt and swiftly made an end of them. Searching the chamber revealed some hidden treasure including several gems and a magical orb, which the tiefling happily claimed for himself. Once Soveliss finally picked the lock on the locked exit, the party proceeded into the hall, deciding to risk encountering more danger despite their low reserves of strength.
At the end of the corridor stood another pair of doors, with another hall heading to the right into darkness. They cautiously opened the doors to find a room lined with a double row of pillars forming a narrow cross-shaped path that cut the chamber into four quadrants. Each quadrant contained a dull glowing statue that did nothing to dispel the darkness in their respective corners. Even the heroes’ light did not seem to cross the threshold of the pillars to illuminate within.
Feh entered first, hearing but not seeing something shuffling in the darkness. He was attacked suddenly by a four-armed skeleton wielding as many scimitars. The blades struck true, and the githzerai’s blood splashed to the stone floor. The others joined the attack, Thrakath protecting the monk from additional attacks, but he could not stop the ghostly skull that smashed into Feh’s mind and sent him reeling between the pillars to the right of the entrance. He found himself confronted with two more of the bony tomb guardians, and only the warlord’s aid prevented him from getting cut to ribbons by their onslaught. He also noted that he could no longer see out of the quadrant.
The fight grew desperate, though Cage forced the first skeletal defender out into the hall where he could duel it without interference. Several vampire spawn emerged from the left quadrant, and though they each fell swiftly something kept reanimating the damned minions. Belgarde entered the left quadrant first and found himself facing another skeletal figure with three skulls. The skull lord turned its full attention upon the tiefling, but Feh came barreling in shortly thereafter. Thrakath succumbed to his injuries not once but twice, while Soveliss tried desperately to keep his allies on their feet. It seemed the big cat had finally come to the end of his endurance.
Cage finished off the tomb guardian, and moved in to stabilize the dying warlord before joining the others in finishing off the undead. Soveliss banished the skull lord to the Feywild long enough for the tomb guardians to be destroyed, and the conscious party members waited quite a while before the bard’s spell wore off. When it did, the skull lord was pummeled and smashed from all sides before it could do anything else. They performed a quick search of the entire chamber, but found no treasures nor anything else lurking. They got Thrakath back on his feet enough to limp back to one of their defensible camps and collapsed, exhausted.