Midday on the 24th day of Barrakas.
Special Note: Yay! Jason was able to attend this session, so to cover what happened with Chomper: Jay wanted to do the Gryphon Master class, so… back during the morning, the chrysalis cracked open revealing a large winged version of Chomper. Thorn was able to use him as a mount, so while he looks like a giant winged Chomper, he’ll act in game as a Gryphon Mount.
Now the story continues.
As the session opened the party was standing before three doors, each for the remaining party members who hadn’t completed a test yet. One showed a large flame, one a single eye above two cogs, and one had animal tracks leading to a spear. Gaius suggested that they attempt Corvus’s test next, and the party agreed.
When they passed through the door, they found a large room, that’s only features were in it’s four corners, and a fountain set in the middle of the right-hand wall. Each corner of the room had a discolored floor tile, that the team had come to understand as starting points. Three of the four corners also contained a unique set of objects.
Starting with the corner on their left, and proceeding clockwise: The first had an old faded fresco on the wall, the second had a stone table built into the wall, with three boxes on it, the third had a stone face set into a wall with two jugs, and the fourth was empty of all features except for the discolored tile.
Corvus started with the corner containing the face and two jugs. When Corvus stepped onto the tile, a field of energy sprang up cutting him off from the rest of the party, but leaving him with a path between the tile and the fountain. The face animated, and said, “I am thirsty. I would like some water from that fountain; however I can only drink so much. I require one unit of water. A few sips too much, and I will choke and become angry, and then I will punish your friends. A few sips too little, and I will not be satisfied, and I will punish your friends. I am also impatient, so your friends will suffer for as long as I thirst.”
Corvus did not want to make a mistake, so he sat and thought about the puzzle before him for a bit. Outside of the puzzle area, his friends were overcome with a wave of heat and thirst, that caused them to be greatly fatigued, as if they had been without water for several days. Corvus finally thought he had the solution, so he rushed over to the fountain with the 3 unit jug, and filled it. He returned to the face, and poured the three units of water into the 5 unit jug. He then rushed back to the fountain, and refilled the 3 unit jug. Outside his friends continued to suffer, and began to weaken from the pain. Finally Corvus returned with the filled 3 unit jug, and poured it into the 5 unit jug, filling the jug, and leaving only a single unit in the 3 unit jug. He then poured the jug’s contents into the open mouth of the stone statue, ending the challenge.
The rest of the party was a little angry with the nature of Corvus’s challenge, but seeing no other alternative, Corvus went to the tile with the three boxes.
Corvus again stepped onto the tile, and was walled off from his friends. A voice spoke to him saying, “Before you are three boxes; one contains red balls, one contains green balls, and one contains both red and green balls. They are labeled incorrectly. If you ask I will show you only one ball from one of the boxes. Each time I do, your friends will be punished. When you are ready you may remove all of the labels, and then place them back in the order of your choice. If you are wrong, your friends will be punished.”
Again Corvus took his time trying to puzzle out the nature of this challenge. He asked to see one of the balls, from a box, but felt no closer to the solution, and eventually asked for another ball from a different box. On both occasions his friends felt as though a portion of their own innards were ripped from them, and then shoved back in. The pain was massive, and they began to question whether or not they would be bale to withstand Corvus’s test. Corvus though felt like he might have things right, and changed the labels on the boxes; he managed to get the labels right, and the challenge was ended.
By this time, Gaius had had enough of the tests, and decided to try and squeeze into the challenge tile before the fresco with Corvus. Once they were both in, the painting cleared up, and looked as good as new. They looked, as the image animated, and they saw two small dwarven children on a swing together, they were both sporting the beginnings of beards, and were almost impossible to distinguish from each other, except that one had red hair, and the other had black hair. While they stared at them, the child with black hair said, “I’m a boy.” The child with red hair said, “I’m a girl.” Then a voice spoke and said, “These are the children Gromril would have had. One of them is a boy and the other is a girl. One of them is a liar. What color is the boy’s hair? Answer incorrectly, and your friends will be punished.”
Gaius was convinced he knew this puzzle, because he believed he had heard it before. He then asked one of the dwarven children, “If I asked your sibling what color the boy had what would he say?” The picture did not respond, and as they wondered what to do next, Armigero, Gaius, and Thorn’s heads became a wash with a fiery burning, and for those with hair, some of it fell out. Corvus thought for a bit longer, and finally decided that the boy’s hair was red. When he spoke this aloud, the challenge ended.
Corvus and Gaius approached the final corner with some trepidation, but as they entered, Gaius was yanked back to the middle of the room. Corvus stood on th tile, and noticed that his glass I was now missing as well. He spun around and saw Gaius, Uther, Thorn, and Armigero tossing his glass eye back and forth between them. His good eye itched, and he could not resist scratching at his eyelid. In the brief time that he was blinded, he heard a crash and shatter. When he opened his eye he saw the glass eye shattered on the ground between his four friends.
Gaius said, “It wasn’t me!” Uther said, “It was Armigero!” Thorn yelled, “No, it was Uther!” Armigero said, “Uther is lying.”
A voice told him, “Only one of your friends is actually telling you the truth. Who broke your eye? A wrong answer will punish your friends.”
Corvus tried to put all of the evidence together, but he initially guessed incorrectly by accusing Uther. His friends were pounded with the sensation of their right eye being stabbed as a result. Corvus realized his mistake, and came back with a guess of Gaius, which proved right.
After the end of the forth challenge, Corvus heard a voice in his head tell him that he must now face and defeat his own reflection, but that he would be given the chance to rest first. The party rested for a bit and regained their health, and when they were ready a massive statue of Corvus appeared amongst them. The party readied themselves for combat, and so did the statue.
Gaius struck first with a blast of lightning, and immediately a chunk of the statue fell off and became a stone copy of Gaius. The dopple-Gaius responded with a bold of lightning as well, and it struck the real Gaius with the same force that he had sent forth. Thorn charged the dopple-Gaius, and was rewarded with an attack from a dopple-Thorn mounted on a dopple-Chomper that broke free from the main statue. Armigero attacked the main statue, and another chunk fell of forming into a dopple-Armigero, that returned the blow. The now normal-sized statue of dopple-Corvus stood waiting, and Corvus struck out at it as well, only to be attacked back in kind.
Several rounds of action went by with the party trying to attack the different statues, each time they had their damage returned to themselves. Armigero even tried to attack the real Corvus, and when he did, he knocked poor Corvus unconscious. In the end the party realized that they could not fight themselves and hope to win, so Gaius surrendered to his own form, and as he did, it too surrendered to him, and disappeared. One by one the party members surrendered to their own forms, and were rewarded by their counterparts disappearing from the battlefield. When the dopple-Corvus disappeared the challenge was over. The party wondered what the nature of that final test truly meant, and the frustration was evident, but in the end a mask lock appeared in the center of the room, and Corvus placed his face into it to unlock it. It was interesting to the party to note that Corvus’s mask bore a blade where the right eye was at, but when Corvus removed his glass eye, he could lay his face into the mask without the blade reaching to deeply. This mask could only be unlocked by Corvus, unless someone else wanted to lose an eye for the cause.
Three doors appeared this time. The party had expected only two, but since they had now completed three tests, a new door appeared to test them with their final goal. The new door was solid black in color, and its surface looked like it was boiling.
The party decided that each of them must at least attempt their tests, so they opted to ignore the new door for now. They instead chose Armigero’s door.
Passing through the flame door the party found a large room that had an intricate maze-like pattern of grates set into the floor. Looking down into the grates the party saw that the maze was set to a depth of ten feet into the ground, and was filled with water. One part of the grate, in the middle of the room, was discolored like the tiles in the previous rooms. Following the teams normal pattern, Armigero stepped onto the discolored grate. The grate disappeared, and Armigero fell into the water below. Corvus ran up to check on him, and both he and Corvus could see that the grate was back in place now. Upon close examination, it looked to be a solid part of the other grating, like it could never be removed in the first place.
Armigero was trapped below. Luckily Warforged don’t breathe, so he trudged along the bottom, heading towards the front left corner of the maze. As he went the party followed from above, and kept an eye out for any trouble. Eventually Armigero made it to a slightly more open space in the maze, and there he found a hole in the floor of the watery maze. Looking at the hole, he found that it was a depression in the shape of his holy symbol. Armigero removed his holy symbol, and placed it into the hole. When he did, the tile around the hole became loose, and he turned it. There was an audible click, and the holy symbol popped back out.
After that though, all hell broke loose. Three wraiths slid out of the walls, and surrounded the party above. The creatures proved to be quite a challenge for the team. Each blow from the wraiths would weaken the party cutting them off from some of their more potent healing magics. With the party already weakened by their previous tests, this battle might prove to be too much for them.
Meanwhile below, Armigero moved through the maze trying to find another lock. As he did, he saw a disturbance in the water move towards him. This would prove to be another form of wraith as well, but this one was composed of the water itself as well. The creature attacked Armigero, producing a field of deepest cold, and entropy. Armigero responded by calling on the Silver Flame to bless his weapon, and struck out at the creature with his holy might. The blow was massive, even through the resistance that moving through the water caused.
Armigero would exchange blows with this creature for a bit longer, but the thing could not withstand the force of Armigero’s faith powers. Up above the party was able to start eliminating their enemies, but the pain they suffered was only magnified, when they found that their slain foes simply rose again to fight on. The party’s resolve did not waiver, but their confidence briefly did. Eventually the team was able to steer their enemies into a central location, and bring them all down. After that they played Whack-a-Wraith, and kept the undead fiends busy while Armigero found and released the other three locks. After the last lock was turned, the three remaining wraiths disappeared, and a mask on a pillar rose from the ground, in the water, under the discolored grate. Armigero placed his face against the mask, and the grate above released, and Armigero rose out of the water.
Two doors appeared this time, Thorn’s and the black door. The party knew that they did not have enough energy to go on at this time, and settled into the test chamber to rest and grab some guarded sleep.
Refreshed by their rest the party went into the final testing room, wondering what kind of test would be in store for Thorn.
Thorn’s room proved to be quite large, but somewhat featureless. They saw five discolored tiles set into the floor in much the same way as the pips on the five side of a six-sided die. Other than that they saw that the feeling reached to a 20 foot height.
Thorn rode his Chomper-Gryphon forward, and had the mount step onto the middle tile. When he did, a mask descended from the ceiling, mounted onto a pillar. Thorn flew up to the mask, and laid his face against it, hearing a click, and causing the mask to ascend again.
The party decided that this must mean that their were four other masks to click through. By this point of the “Testing” process, they knew things would be getting difficult soon, so they readied themselves, and waited as Thorn rode his mount to the next trigger space. It too released a mask from above, but this time when he flew up to it, two massive green and warty humanoids appeared, bearing massive chains. One of them lashed out at Thorn, and wrapped the chain around him, preventing him from being able to reach the mask above. Joining the massive chain wielders, were three demons, wrapped in chains themselves.
The battle opened when the troll that had snagged Thorn yanked him off his mount, and slammed him to the floor in between the three chain demons. This sent the battle off to the races, as the party wrestled with their enemies. With the two trolls directing traffic, by ensnaring the party members with their chains, the demons ran wild, focusing their attacks on Thorn. They apparently did not want him to complete his test.
The party worked really well together this time though, and while the trolls seemed to be able to recover from the wounds set upon them, the demons did not enjoy the same advantage. The party would gang up on a demon at a time, and eliminate it. The trolls did their best to try and keep Thorn and Armigero tied to one place, but through the party’s use of magics, arcane and divine, they were able to shake loose from the trolls attacks, and kept from being sent flying like Thorn experienced earlier.
The battle was going well, and the team seemed to have things in hand, when the two trolls gave up on catching their enemies, and started whipping their massive chains around their bodies, mowing down the party, and the trolls’ allies as well. This turned things for a bit, but the party kept to their tried and true tactics, and hammered on a single troll till it went down. It rose a bit later, but by that time, Gaius was able to get close, and burn the troll down, guaranteeing it’s final death. With only one troll left to beat, the team surrounded and finished the creature. The troll put up a good fight, but in the end the party was too tough, and they finished it.
Thorn remounted, and unlocked his four remaining locks.
As the session closed the party was staring at their final door, and Armigero contemplated getting his final revenge on the man that had killed his mentor.
Evening on the 24th day of Barrakas.