Tyranny of Dragons

A Roll of the Dice
An Entry from Rolen's Journal

 

A roll of the dice. I watched Sorrow’s eye dart from die to die counting the score spread on the patch of clay. I sighed and adjusted my sunglasses, minding the sun flaring over her horns. I straightened my back against a couple of tangled turgent trees with shades of purple bark peeling away like the skin of a snake. I could feel them peel off under my pressing against the bark in the quiet moment.

It’s what had to be done. We were at an impasse. Cephas was a valiant warrior, yet had a righteous penchant for going rogue which could lure us into unneeded trouble. He was confident fool, I thought. Risking our entire mission — the only reason I still draw breath — because of… why? And now he’s got himself captured for no reason at all and so, it’s hard to find a reason to save him. And yet we need him to move forward. Maybe.

So we ask the gods. We cast lots.

Remembering now, from the somewhat drunken stoop of this tavern as darkness soaks the sword coast, I don’t really recall if it was even or odd. Whichever it was, the answer was to not save Cephas. We went back to the outside of town and scouted the location of the dragon cult’s connections and went for an early drink to start the day. It was now decided to leave Cephas for now, and we’d wait here and stay risk free until the Cult arrived.

All the argument was over, and yet now there was an energy in the air. I think I started to feel it pulse off of Orlando, who in character had even more bravado. He seemed to me to be winding up like a rope twisted around a branch. At first I thought it was just me, but as we neared the tavern early in the day I could tell his attitude wasn't one of restful waiting, but of pacing and sword and slash. I have no insight yet as to why, but I felt the same. Maybe it’s being so cooped up. As my powers have grown, as we’d defeated things others couldn't — to hide from this Guild and to listen to local warnings — in the light of our fight against the mighty and sprawling Dragon Cult, felt all wrong.

My eyes waited on Orlando for the twist inside him spin open. My gut proved true, and Orlando announced he was going to go after Cephas, alone or with whoever would come. I immediately stood and knew this was the course. Sometimes getting an answer helps you cut through the bullshit debate and realize which way you should go, and this had suddenly felt like one of those times. I morphed into a twin of Orlando’s bombast character and let my own winding spiral out, in a character I rarely have shown since I left the depths of the Underdark. It felt good to be extroverted, acceptable looking and decidedly powerful.

We all followed, with Sorrow in disguise as well, and Bodyknock invisible behind. Through the gate, we went to the wide and started drumming up public support loudly. We made a scene.

All the past months of dreams, all the learning and entering this new world as a magic user and fighter. No more powerlessness. It all swelled in me like an ocean storm rising to the least few days like chickens in a coop. And then it all unleashed itself in personality, as I heard myself loudly spouting before the crowd and carrying on like a politician or gloating champion.

I don’t recall what we said, just that we whooped them into a chant or two and stormed for the entrance to the Undercellar, hell-bent and ready to fight — praying for a fight.

When the guards didn't instantly comply with our demands, we blasted them, and another die had been cast. I knew they wouldn't work on a simple threat. In a moment of attack and positioning, we had the guards in our possession and one dead, with another sent away to fetch the Fetcher. I took a guard as a human shield and readied a Eldritch blast at the empty doorway. Both my shield and I heaving large breathes as we waited, I ran my mind through the new incantation I’d been learning in secret and had an inkling I’d soon need. It felt good to be on a saving mission, but mostly just to not feel powerless again. To not feel as I did watching my family and village burn around me at the hands of the cult. A fight against the Fetcher felt like a fight against the powerlessness of my youth, against the powerless feeling of being burned and killed with my family, and a flashing rage set me further on edge.

A crowd chanting outside, a room of guards fearfully eyeing each other in our grasp, and our groups anxiety focusing into intense poised energy. We were ready for the Guild.

I remember him coming around the corner with an entourage, one we’ve seen a few times, but this time with a new face – something different about it there. I don’t know who moved first, but the second I could, I didn't wait for conversation but blasted that new face. I didn't detect magic, but I assumed it (maybe feared it, with all the warnings and fears we’ve heard from or contacts who know the Guild). And a moment later, when I saw that new face focus their eyes and whisper and successfully block a mighty spell by hurled at the group from Sorrow, I saw what needed to be done.

My single minded obsession and practicing in secret paid off.

The moment I could, I cast a spell of darkness so dark that even I couldn't see through it. I put it in the swell of the back of the unknown new faced magician protecting Fletcher and his crew. The ball of dark enveloped them.

In a haze of anxious fury, we shot all we could into that dark, and as they scurried into the hall, so did the dark. Being able to see in the dark helps this deeper pitch stick out like a sore thumb. Shooting random blasts into the small ball was easy enough, and soon we heard the sounds of surrender as a single man crawled out on hands and knees begging us to stop.

It’s seemed to be only a minute or so of battle in all. Just a surge of shots into and out of the dark, and then only one was alive.

All that I recall after that is the walking of tunnels to the cells, and the group setting up this survivor, who, like all gang deputies, was eager to take his bosses Job. We helped set him up as the new Guild boss of the Undercellar and we freed Cephas.

I hope he never knows the plan was not to rescue him at all. That, it just might be merely the cooped up winding of tension finally released. The tired -of-waiting group of violence-addicted adventurers needing to taste steel.

It is now, as I rest into yet another pint, feeling more power than I thought possible, with the buzz of hefty liquor that I rarely touched before all of this started, that I can almost look beyond our mission. What happens if we don’t all die? What happens if we defeat the dragon cult in the end?

Perhaps the winding of the rope until another injustice lands in our path. Doomed to seek not comfort but combat. The thought crosses my mind and I take a drink to shake away the thought. The cult is too big, the job too far beyond what I can imagine. I almost feel that powerless ache again, at the thought of what’s ahead in waging war on the cult. But. With this strangely powerful group of ruffians, who aren't too honorable to do what it I fear it will take in the end to stop the Dragon Cult, we may have a chance.

I must return my mind to my reading and continue build up myself anyway I can find for what’s ahead. But with the events of today, I wonder how long we’ll last as mere spies without the taste of blood. What chance do we have at holding our swords as we stare at the evil ones sitting within our pounce — to wait is important, the mission is clear. But the reaping of vengeance feels better than wine. It tastes much better than death.

Ask we step out in the night the cold air makes my shoulders shudder. The memories of death bathe my mind. I’m so tired of dying. So tired of powerlessness. I need this new feeling of sturdy aggression.

I must learn and fight at every opportunity, Or I’ll never return to these lands of the living again and get my vengeance. This is my very last chance. I must be ready for every roll of the dice.

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Escaping the Undercellar
Episode 4 part 10

Session 20 – Sept 04, 2017

18th of Leaffall, night to 19th, night

 

The party decided to try and blend in at the Bearded Pipe and ordered some drinks and sone Goldleaf tobacco.  After about 10 minutes they asked the owner for directions to the nearest exit to the city. Then they proceeded in the direction of the Splendid Jug but after seeing a sign in the Savage Lot for the Guiser they dropped in to see Nasparl, a sardonic male half-elf illusionist who wears an eye patch and sells disguises. After another 10 minutes of being fitted with disguises, Ribbons accompanied by 2 guards enters the Guiser and begins questioning the party. Cephas and Rolen successfully persuade Ribbons that they are not the people he's looking for. The invisible Boddynock was waiting outside the Guiser and he overheard Ribbons say to his guards as he was leaving, "Keep an eye on this lot."

After a few minutes of planning, Orlando and Cephas left the Guiser first and headed towards the Splendid Jug. They didn't get very far before they were stopped by 2 guards and questioned once again but this time by the Fetcher. The pair successfully deceived the Fetcher that they were merely enjoying a night out for some drinks, gambling and companionship. The Fetcher then suggested Brandi's as a suitable establishment and pointed in the direction they should go. They thanked the Fetcher and proceeded toward Brandi's. Meanwhile Rolen and Sorrow left the Guiser, moved toward the Splendid Jug without any trouble, surfaced in the Upper city beside the Harbreeze bakery and made their way back to the Blade and Stars.

Cephas and Orlando made their way to Brandi's, with Boddynock invisibly in tow, and ordered some drinks. Brandi, a human woman who is pleasantly attractive for her age, asks the men if they would like some companionship. Orlando does not hesitate at the opportunity and selects a fetching blond from the available companions at the bar. They finished their drinks and Cephas left for the surface with the invisible Boddynock following him, while Orlando and his companion find a private room.  Fifteen minutes later Orlando surfaces in the Wide and finds Cephas and Boddynock waiting and they head back to the Blade and Stars. The party then rests for the night.

The next morning Sorrow, Cephas and Rolen went to the Elfsong Tavern. Sorrow purchased information from the bartender while Rolen and Cephas enjoyed some drinks. On their way back to the Inn, an old man slipped a note into Rolen's hand it said,"Meet me at 321B Tumbledown Street tonight." The party rested and waited unitl evening and then went to Tumbledown. Arriveing at the location from the note, the party met their Harper contact Emryl Elarrask. They discussed their situation and options and then decided to sleep for the night before making any final decisions.

 

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The Wizard Cave Finale
Episode 4 part 9

Session 19 – Aug 28, 2017

18th of Leaffall, night

 

The party squared off with Helaina Zuvv, now turned Wight, and her zombie throng. Getting the jump on the undead menace, Healina was taken down rather quickly and zombies soon fell one by one. With Helaina's soul being released, Voril's soul was also free and slowly faded away while thanking the party on their return.

The party now faced the long walk back to the Undercellar. Before they left, the adventurers argued to great length trying to decide what to do with the amulet. Do they give it up like they promised to do? Or do they keep for themselves because it could be very useful to their mission of following the Cult of the Dragon? Consensus was difficult but they finally agreed to hand over the amulet to the Fetcher as promised. Once they arrived to the entrance of the Undercellar tunnels, the plan went out the window and Cephas told the Fetcher they could not find the amulet. Unconvinced, the Fetcher filled the chamber with a poisonous gas. Orlando and Boddynock had succumb to the gas but Rolen, Cephas and Sorrow were able to resist. Sorrow knocked opened the door and they quickly made their escape carrying their fallen comrades.

Now they faced the twisting maze of tunnels leading to the Undercellar proper. Thankful Rolen knew a thing or two about tracking and after a few successful checks they were able to find the entrance. Still under the guise of invisibility, Rolen was able to stealth along and assess the impending threat before they arrived. So the party hid down one of the tunnels to allow the pack of guards to walk by and then they cautiously made their way into the Undercellar. 

A few short passageways and a couple of secret doors later, the party finds themselves at Lucinda's Love Ladies, a Festhouse of fine reputation. They quickly asked for directions and then turned south to the Bearded Pipe.

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The Wizard Cave continued
Episode 4 part 9

Session 18, August 21, 2017

18th day of Leaffall, afternoon to evening

 

The party continued to search the library and discovered a secret door behind one of the bookshelves. The secret door reveal stairway to the 2nd Floor. At the top of the stairs was a door guarded by 2 suits of armor saying, "None shall pass without the glass." Boddynock presented the Amulet of Zuvv and armor stepped aside. The party discovered a bed chamber with a stone door at the far end etched with a bunch of numbers. They soon discovered a few more items etched with numbers and a piece of parchment on the desk with a clue to the meaning of the numbers. Lead by Rolen the group began assembling a cipher from the items in the room and quickly discovered the phrase etched on the door. Once the phrase was spoken the door opened to reveal a small room with a spiral staircase and the ghost of Voril Zuvv.

The ghost of Voril immediately asked, "Are you the prophet of the Ancient One?" as he scanned the rugged band of adventurers hoping someone would answer. Orlando quickly responded with, "I am he." Voril's ghost was pleased and began explaining his plight and requested they remove the undead menace in the cellar that was once his wife Helaina. They accepted Voril's mission but first they ventured to the roof of the tower looking for a hidden extra dimensional space. On the roof the found a riddle in Draconic etched into the floor but before they could solve it they were attacked by two poltergeists. Once those invisible pests were extinguished they solved the riddle and were transported to a dark place lit only by a platinum rod suspended 10' above a stone pedestal. The pedestal had a bowl on it with another riddle in Draconic etched into the rim of the bowl. Concluding that the answer was "air" Rolen blew into the bowl and the rod that suspended above them slowly descended. As Rolen reached up to grasp the rod, Orlando quickly stepped in and snatched it and said, "With this rod I will be the harbinger of the Ancient One and his instrument of retribution." No argued or contested his claim and the party went back down to see Voril's ghost.

Voril suggested that if the party intended to rest they could use the servants quarters down the hall, and so they did. After a long rest Sorrow discovered the password to activate the amulet of Zuvv, which turned the wearer invisible. She then passed it back to Boddynock.

The party then ventured on to the cellar and as neared the bottom of the stairs they discovered a nauseating stench of decaying flesh. Enduring the foul odor they found a hallway with 4 doors, 3 of which had small windows cut into them and barred to protect the observer from what was inside these cells. Each cell had a ghoulish figure that tried to attack anyone near the door by reaching through the aperture but barely being able to fit it's hand through the bars. One by one these prisoners were put down by Rolen, Orlando and Sorrow and then the party opened the fourth door. 

A larger chamber lay beyond the door with a floor covered in a debris of bits of glass, porcelain and parchment and several decomposing bodies. As soon as the party entered the chamber, 6 zombies began to rise from the floor. Without hesitation Cephas ran in to attack the hoard head on while Rolen, Orlando and Sorrow hit the zombies with Eldritch blasts and Firebolts. Once the zombies were put down the party opened another door to discover Helaina Zuvv, now turned Wight and a throng of 6 zombies waiting devour them…

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The Wizard Cave
Episode 4 part 8

Session 17 – Aug 14, 2017

18th day of Leaffall, morning

 

Having just entered the Wide, Orlando noticed a sign leading to the entrance of the Undercellar. After descending the stairs to the Undercellar, the party was met by a few guards and after a brief verbal exchange a gaunt, bearded man entered and ask the group what they wanted. Orlando and Rolen explained they were looking to find the Wizard Cave. The thin man then suggested they talk to The Fetcher. The party was blindfolded and taken for a short walk through the passages of the Undercellar to an office where they met The Fletcher, an obese, walrus-mustached, middle-aged man. The Fetcher was willing to show them the way to the Wizard Cave if in return they brought back the amulet of Zuvv from the Cave. The party agreed.

After being blindfolded again, the party was taken through the passages of the Undercellar once more for about 5 minutes until they stopped and their blindfolds were removed.  The Fetcher wished them luck and they proceeded along the dark passage deeper and deeper under the city. After about half an hour the passage opened to a large cavern approximately 75' wide and 150' deep to their left and a gigantic chasm of indeterminate size to their right. There was also a 40' tower at the edge of the chasm 100' ahead. Ignoring the warning written on the door, Boddynock unlocked the doors and the party ventured in.

Once inside they were greeted by 4 Specters in the meeting chamber. Cephas quickly turned two of them away and the other two were taken out by volleys of Eldritch blast and fire bolt from Orlando, Rolen and Sorrow. Further investigation of this chamber lead Orlando to a cloak room where he was attacked by a Cloak of smothering. Luckily Cephas came to his aid and with help of the others he removed the cloak and shred it to pieces. The incident was not without it's reward as Orlando discovered a Cloak of Protection among the cloaks and robes within the cloak room. As soon as they exited the cloak room two Specters emerged in the Meeting Chamber. They were quickly dispatched but not before Sorrow took a critical blow and suffered from life drain, which has left her vulnerable.

The party also discovered a library or reading room which held several bookcases with hundreds of books and a desk. Orlando search one bookcase a found an interesting tome entitled "The Dawning of Wisdom". Boddynock searched the desk and found a locked drawer that contained a spell scroll, a healing potion and a finely crafted box containing the amulet of Zuvv. 

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On to Baldur's Gate
Episode 4 part 7

Session 16 - July 31, 2017

Leaffall 14th day to 18th day 

 

Leosin joined the adventures for breakfast again this morning and suggested they make their way to the docks as soon as possible. Before they left they decided to visit a few shops and the Shrine of Bahamut as well. At the shrine Cephas used his ring to open a hidden compartment revealing a piece of parchment, much like the one found Helm's Bluff. Upon studying the inscription they deduced that they were to look for a tower in an under ground cavern beneath the city of Baldur's Gate.

After 3 days sailing on the River Chionthar, the arrived at the docks of Baldur's Gate in the early evening. They procured some fish and chips from a greasy hut on the docks and then sought lodging at the Blade and Stars, where settled down for the night, as a storm brewed outside.

The next morning they went to visit Ozgood's Oddities & Eccentricities in Heapside to have a few items identified and Sorrow was able to purchase a Hat of Disguise. They also discovered that access to the under ground cavern was probably through the Undercellar. So, they set out to find access to the Undercellar in the Wide.

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Ah! Elturel
Episode 4 part 6

Session 15 - July 10th, 2017

13th day of Leafall

 

The party awoke and were greeted by Leosin for breakfast. During breakfast Leosin invited the party to join the competition that afternoon to show their skills and prowess, to demonstrate their abilities and talents. Afterward they were invited to participate in the main event of the evening, "The Hell Hound Championship" a free for all fight to the end where only one remains. 8 combatants entered the arena but after only 3 had fallen, Rolen boldly approached the High Observer to put an end to the games in light of the urgency of the impending threat by the Cult of the Dragon. Rolen was able to persuade the High Observer sufficiently enough to end the fight and continue the conversation later that night.

Onthar Frume, Leosin and The High Observer summoned the party for a private meeting later that evening. Onthar summarized what information has been attained and what they know of the Cult of the Dragon's plans. It was then suggested that the party go to Baldur's Gate to follow the hoard of treasure the Cult was transporting from the camp in the Greenfields to Baldur's Gate and see where it ends up. Presumably the treasure will end up at the location where the Cult will be performing their ritual to raise Tiamat. Once that location is known a mass offensive can be coordinated with the factions of the Sword Coast. While the party is following the hoard, Leosin and Onthar will set out to meet with the leaders of the other factions of the Sword Coast to rally them to the cause.

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Strangers On the Road to Elturel
Episode 4 part 5

Session 14 - July 03, 2017

10th of Leafall, night to 12th of Leafall, night

 

Just after the party went to sleep, as the second watch began, Orlando was attacked by a colony of Stirges. He immediately called out to his friends for help and they rose quickly to heed the call. With speed and precision, Sorrow took out half the invaders with her magic missiles and the rest where crushed by the others in about 12 seconds. Two of the party's horses had been badly hurt from the Stirges' blood drain but Cephas healed them… mostly, and the party resumed their slumber.

The next morning as they continued on the Arrow's Path north to Brawnhylst Cove, they came across a stranger. Kane was an Earth Genasi guard from Eastkeep who had been attacked by the Cult of the Dragon five days earlier. His village was nearly destroyed but he managed to escape and he has been on the road ever since plotting his revenge. Cephas and Rolen extended the party's generosity and gave Kane some food and drink and allowed him to join them on their way to Elturel.

They arrived in Brawnhylst Cove, a fishing village on the south bank of the Chionthar River, around supper time and they made their way to the Sunken Barge, the local Tavern. Once they entered the tavern they were met with stares of suspicion and uncertainty as patrons were surprised with their appearance of this ragtag group of travelers. Rolen decided to impress the patrons with a display of dancing lights and then Orlando played off his cue to announce that they were part of a traveling circus that would put on a show at midnight. Sadly most of the patrons seemed uninterested and returned to their meals. 

Not long after the group had gotten their drinks, a company of Hellriders entered lead by Lord Drevahl. Cephas and Rolen struck up a conversation with Lord Drevahl and alerted him to the impending threat of the Cult of the Dragon. He took note and suggested they speak with the High Observer Thavus Kreeg in Elturel. The party then asked if they may join the Hellriders as they ride back to Elturel in the morning . Lord Drevahl agreed and after everyone had a bath (seperately), they turned in for the night.

The party joined the Hellriders early the next morning and they rode fast to Elturel to arrive around 8pm. After stabling their horses outside the city, they made their way to the Tavern called A Pair of Black Antlers to meet up with Leosin. Upon entering many of the patrons seemed ready to draw their swords as they noticed Rolen but fortunately the bartender, Grimshaw Rakstavden, subdued their intent with a quick word. The party then requested to speak with Leosin and shortly after he greeted them with a warm welcome and everyone else was set at ease. The party discussed their findings at the cave and the intent of the Cult of the Dragon and Leosin was very pleased with the amount of information the party had discovered. He immediately paid them as promised and began to celebrate with drinks and food and dancing.

Around midnight Leosin suggested the party seek accommodations at the Owlbear Inn, which they did and then promptly turned in for the night after a quick night cap.

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On the Road to Elturel con't
Episode 4 part 4

Session 13 - June 19, 2017

The 9th Day of Leafall, morning to 10th day of Leafall evening

 

After taking a short rest in the crypts of Helm's Bluff, the chamber began to fill with water.  The party had to make an expedited escape and eventually surfaced from the crypt soaking wet.  The band of adventurers quickly saddled up and made way for Sharpstone Outpost. They arrived at the fortified outpost near sundown and after a brief exchange with Sgt. Tulvrin Landrik they were allowed entry.  

After stabling their horses they went immediately to the Sharpstone Pub and began tying one on. Several quick drinks were had and before long Orlando began a pompous display of self aggrandizement to which not a single patron paid any attention. He then approached the bartender to inquire about getting a "massage" to which he sternly replied "NO!". Orlando did however manage to catch the eye of a middle-aged not so fetching, curvaceous patron looking to have some fun. He convinced his new found friend, Medella to sing him a song and she did so with expertise and with much "ego strokage." That was all Orlando needed to then invite Medella up to his room were they enjoyed each others company for five minutes.

Meanwhile the rest of the group awaited the arrival of Sgt. Landrik and when he finally arrived they shared a pint. Orlando and Cephas discussed their dealings with the Cult of the Dragon and their mission to thwart the cult's plans with the Sgt. Landrik. He suggested the party consult with Captain Dosk in the morning. Soon Boddynock, Cephas and Sorrow retired and Rolen scouted the bar for a willing lass who could provide "services" for one of his unsuspecting friends.  Rolen managed to convince one young filly to do just that and he brought her up to Boddynock's room. After 3 attempts she finally managed to wake Boddynock and proceeded with her services to the delight of the young Gnome adventurer.

The next morning after breakfast the group set out first to meet with Medella the seamstress. Orlando placed an order for a flamboyant cloak and five matching heads for him and his friends. Their next stop was at the Bronze Helm an equipment shop owned by Torbek Bronzebottom a friendly but daft male Dwarf who unwittingly became the butt of many jokes from the misfit band of travelers. After awhile Torbek grew impatient and expelled the party so they went to meet with Capt. Dosk.

Although Orlando and Cephas were thoroughly convincing, the Captain followed protocol and directed the party speak to the High Observer, Thavus Kreeg a priest of Torm and a superior in rank and influence. On their way out of Sharpstone they stopped briefly at the temple of Torm and Leif Pennington an old human cleric blessed them with the courage of Torm.  After a full days travel they stopped to rest for the night…

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Helm's Bluff con't
Episode 4 part 3

Session 12 – June 05, 2017

9th Day of Leafall, morning

 

After exterminating the Giant Spider threat, the party explored the crypt and discovered a secret door. The door revealed a long stairway leading down 60' to a chamber with Dwarven letters on the floor. The party successfully navigated the puzzle floor and opened the door at the other end of the chamber which lead to a magically darkened cavern. Sorrow took the lead with her staff and felt her way along the hidden floor to the door at the other end of the cavern while the others followed. After a few attempts to find a way to open the door Orlando finally found the gold nugget and they proceeded through a 10' x 10' passage to another crypt. Upon entering the crypt, they activated 4 skeletons and quickly dispatched three of them before Orlando activated a mummy from the central sarcophagus. It was not long before Sorrow once again disintegrated the foe a blaze of fire. 

Boddynock then successfully unlocked and disarmed two chests discovering a few potions, a pair of bracers and a bag of tricks. With everyone at the ready with ranged attacks they moved further into the crypt and activated 4 more skeletons. Orlando used his mage hand to experimented with the bag of tricks.  He pulled out the fuzzy ball and threw it at the far wall and summoned an ape which in turn activated a mimic disguised as a chest.  With most of the skeletons now dismantled and the mimic engaged with the ape, the rest of the party launched ranged attacks while Orlando moved in for the final blow on the mimic. 

With the mimic now dissolved, Orlando noticed a false wall behind the mimic's location. After the ape cleared out the false wall they discovered a norrow passage to a small chamber, which only big enough for Boddynock to fit through. Once Boddynock when through the passage he discovered a statue holding a bowl in one hand and a pendant in the other. He also noticed an inscription at the base of the statue with four elemental symbols around it. After solving the riddle, he pour water into the bowl and the statue released the amulet. 

 

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