After killing the disenchanting abomination, Kethaveltril Aleanlylth begins the long task of disarming the traps that the creature missed. During this time, Grimr wonders if he should recharge the glove that bestowed him with the gift of the feytouched. His hope is to further enhance his beauty, but he decides to shelve that particular project. The group approaches a new hallway with a sharp corner, so Keth decides that it would be to everyone’s advantage if he camouflaged himself and scouted ahead. After a few moments he does not return, and the others round the corner to see what has transpired. The hallway goes sixty feet down and ends in two doors; one to the east and one to the west. Keth is nowhere in sight, and whatever he was witness to remains a mystery to the others, but Thalon (Rah) Baeqlylth and Yndara Xaphan catch a glimpse of yet another horror peeking its twisted head out of the eastern doorway. It is an undead abomination; it has eyestalks fused to what were once eyesockets, great hulking bones that are fused together, its anatomy makes little sense in the eyes of all but mad deities. It is clearly the creation of a mad spellcaster, or worse; a god with a cruel sense of humour. It looks around for a moment and does not appear to see anyone. Then, suddenly, a white sand begins to trickle from the creature’s jaw. As it pools on the floor, a thick black bile begins to drip directly on top of the powder. It bubbles for a moment as the creature pulls its head back into the room and closes the door, then the mixture slips in between the cracks in the stonework floor. When the group approaches the hallway, Yndara decides that a Glyph of Warding might protect them from whatever that creature is. As she and Thalon advance to place the Glyph, the strange mixture the creature exhuded proves to be a trap. A disembodied voice threatens the Cleric and erupts from the floor. It is a hulking behemoth of bone, reconfigured in disturbing ways. Thinking quickly, Yndara hits it with a powerful Searing Light, and our heroes engage in combat. Keth is still well hidden, which becomes a problem when Adriane accidentally misses the monster with the spell Burning Hands, but accurately hits Keth. His hiding spot is quickly revealed when he catches on fire. Eventually, Naelurec strikes the fatal blow, and they decide that perhaps the east door is not their next move. Instead, they enter the western door and find themselves in a strange room. There is a pit in the center of the floor, and four gleaming white slabs of stone in the corners of the room. The slabs are movable, and marks on the floor reveal what might be a pattern. There are also three pillars with ancient writing.
Once Adriane casts Comprehend Languages, the party learns of an ancient hero named Fardal who once ventured to save his lover from the grip of the evil lord Kass. While on the quest, Fardal was betrayed by his three attendants. The attendants had each been bribed by Kass to complete one part of a ritual to slay the champion. They were successful, and entombed Fardal alive in a heavy sarcophagus. Fardal spent his final hours praying to his god, Kos, an ancient god of battle. Unfortunately, Fardal’s death also meant that his lover would never be freed, and Kass twisted her beyond redemption. She was driven insane, and became the Mistress of Pain that now appears to rule this dungeon.
On close inspection, the pillar also reveals that there is a secret configuration to align the slabs. The party moves the slabs and a black sarcophagus rises from the pit. In the sarcophagus, they discover Fardal’s last remains, a magic ring, a sliver of unusual stone, and a scroll case. In the scroll case, Adriane finds a letter that the champion wrote as he died; in it, he absolves his betrayers and weeps for his lost love. When Keth dons the ring, he sees the last moments of the champion’s life; unfortunately, Fardal did not asphyxiate to death. Instead, he died slowly of starvation, and the reason was because of the ring. The ring grants the power of breathless life: the wearer no longer has the need to breathe, and can survive underwater, in a cloud of choking gas, and even in a vacuum.
Moved by the story of Fardal, Thalon decides to dedicate his life to Kos. Instantly, he is transported to Kos’s domain, and his new deity tells him to forsake all weapons but his favored bardiche. He also tells Thalon that battle is not just for the sake of battle, and that there must be cause. It also becomes clear that he accepts only the strongest followers. Thalon now becomes a Champion of Kos.
As the party moves on, they find a stairwell. They ascend and find themselves in a room with the Mistress guarded by five attendants. The Mistress is running frantically around the room, attempting to remove a mask that has been nailed to her face. With each pull, she screams in agony and moans in ecstasy. Her only words before she fades into nothingness are “Why do I feel this way?” repeated over and over. Grimr attempts to talk the guards into letting the party have an audience with the Mistress, but they are turned down. Thankfully, the guards allow passage into the next hallway. Again, there is a set of doors to pass through; this time, one to the north and one to the south. Grimr and Keth walk ahead and go through the door to the south. On their way, they encounter a strange ghost-like creature that looks like an infant. When Grimr tries to touch it, its bones slump to the floor and it becomes a disgusting bag of flesh. After several minutes, the rest of the party follows suit and they find themselves in a room with several pillars. Unfortunately, Thalon realizes that the two that went ahead are being fed upon by a deranged creature. Thalon severs the hand of the creature, which had wormed its way into the veins on Keth’s leg and drained some of his constitution. After killing the creature, the party heals and examines the room. One of the pillars is capable of being rotated, and Thalon begins to pull it clockwise. Tapestries fall from the ceiling, illustrating even more of the story of Fardal: The champion and his lover had a baby girl who they gave to a fey queen for her own safety. Raised by the fey, their daughter became a bard that wrote songs and poems of sorrow.
When the party exits the room and prepares to enter the southern door, they see a strange warrior in bone armor. Thalon approaches him and says that if he desires combat that he should look no farther. He strikes the strange warrior, but to no effect. Now it is his opponent’s turn, and he knocks Thalon out cold. He approaches the group and drags Thalon with him. He announces himself as a “Guardian”, but does not specify what he guards. Instantly, he recognizes something inside Grimr, and tells Grimr that he was “not ready” for “the thing that now grows inside him.” He reveals that the throne Grimr sat upon was some kind of ritual, and that the orb that so rudely invaded his colon was the vessel for some kind of growing creature that Grimr has now been hosting inside his body. The vessel shattered too early, and therefore the creature must be removed. Unfortunately, that involves some rather delicate… handiwork. The Guardian promises to be as gentle as possible, and that he will be as quick as he can. However, Grimr doesn’t believe a word the Guardian says. Having less than ideal experience with intrusion upon his anal cavity, Grimr rallies the others to try and stop the Guardian. Yndara casts Hold Person, but it is easily repelled. The Guardian paralyzes Grimr, and Yndara holds Grimr’s hands to comfort him as the “extraction process” begins. After a few uncomfortable moments, the Guardian has found what he’s looking for and attempts to remove it. It steadfastly refuses, and gives him quite a bit of trouble. In a last-ditch effort to stop the Guardian, Naelurec casts Ray of Enfeeblement on him while he struggles to pull the creature from Grimr’s body. Adriane follows that up with a Ray of Enfeeblement of her own, ensuring that the Guardian will not remove anything from Grimr’s body this day. The Guardian resigns to leave, warning the two spellcasters that they will not like the seeds they have sown this day, and that they will regret what they have done. He also mentioned something about Five Terrors… but did the party listen to his words? What is growing in Grimr’s body? What will happen if he charges the glove again? Perhaps more answers will be revealed past the next door.