Amongst the wreckage of the dryad attack sits a large green gemstone. As it seems to be glowing with magic, Elgold grabs it eagerly. He tests and probes the object with his arcane skills but cannot divine its purpose. Having made no headway he stows it away in a pouch.
Only a short way along the corridor there is a locked door. Ilwyn picks the lock and cautiously the party push the door open. There is a room filled with cages on both sides, with each seeming to hold at least one tortured or mutilated corpse. However, at the far end there is the form of a man, sitting upright in his cage, his slight motions indicating he is still alive. As the party approaches him his head turns and everyone can see that he looks like Boreas.
“Careful!” shouts Enna. “He may be another false Boreas.”
“If he’s caged, I’m betting he’s the real one,” says Haleth, grimly.
“Help me!” croaks Boreas, shielding his eyes from the light of Haleth’s shield. Then he notices Enna and suddenly seems fearful. “What are you doing here?” he gasps.
The ranger, purse-lipped, says “The Lady Angharrad brought me here. What I want to know is why are YOU here?”
“It’s Eruwen. Or whatever Eruwen turned into… she brought me here and caged me.”
Egged on by Enna, Boreas haltingly explains that when he eloped with Eruwen two years ago they travelled far, trying to evade Enna’s hunt. Then around a year ago the Eladrin seemed to change in subtle ways. She began to ask Boreas about The White Way.
“That’s the second time Boreas has mentioned The White Way. What’s that?” asks Haleth.
“It’s a secret,” frowns Enna. “It is the reason I have been hunting down Boreas. It’s my duty to make sure he never gives those secrets away.”
“Are you going to kill me?” shivers Boreas.
Enna shakes her head. “Only if you try to fight or flee or give up the secret. I’d prefer to take you back alive. You’ll be a captive, of course, but I can promise you’ll be treated well.”
Enna pauses, head tilted to one side. “What I find strange about this story is that Eruwen already knows the secrets of the White Way. Why would she ask you for them?”
Boreas agrees. He found it odd at the time but however insistent Eruwen became he always managed to change or avoid the subject.
“You think that she was no longer Eruwen?” interrupts Enna.
“Maybe it was her and she transformed…” ponders Boreas.
“-Or maybe she was captured and replaced,” interjects the elf. “Which makes me wonder where the real Eruwen is.”
“I don’t know,” murmurs Boreas, glumly. “In many ways the Eruwen that brought me here was still the noble lady I fell in love with. She led me across the sea to this temple, urging me to come to an important place of fey worship. When I saw this place I thought it was an altar to Angharrad. And then they imprisoned me.” He groans. “As soon as I was caged, Eruwen laughed and mocked me. Then the glamour lifted and I was in this stinking place.”
“What happened to the other prisoners?” asks Haleth, gesturing at the bodies in the cages.
“They killed them or allowed them die from thirst or hunger,” moans the captive. “They gave me food and water. They wanted me alive, you see. They would come in here once in a while and ask me questions…”
“And what did you tell them?” asks Enna.
“Nothing, elf! I knew that my life depended on saying naught.” Boreas smiles grimly. “So are you going to let me out?”
“Yes,” wonders Haleth, “What shall we do with him?”
“I say we do nothing,” says Enna, flatly. She grabs some food and water from her belt and passes it though the bars to Boreas. “Let’s keep him here until we’ve cleaned out the temple of its corruption.”
“You can’t leave me here!” shouts the prisoner. “Take me with you!”
“We’ll be back,” says the elf. “Just as soon as this place is safe again.”
Then Elgold speaks. “Just to make sure you can’t get out, or no-one can get at you, I shall seal your cage lock with a ritual.” Enna nods agreement and with that the Wizard begins the brief ceremony that seals the lock and gives its key only to the party members.
Leaving Boreas sobbing in the small prison, the party begins to advance further down the corridor. At the end, is another door, sealed and locked. Enna and Ilywn notice that the approaches seem to have some kind of trap set in the walls that would fire bolts at interlopers. Gingerly, the goblin does his best to gum up the works of the trap’s mechanism.
Meanwhile Elgold is at the door. It seems to have a seal of the spider goddess Lolth on it. And there are two holes there that look as if they need to be filled with something. Instinct makes him reach for the pouch containing the glowing gemstone. Yes, it looks as if it would fill the hole. Elgold resolves not to try fitting the gem to the door until he has found a second such gem. Everyone agrees that they should search for the jewel’s counterpart.
Through winding corridors the heroes advance. The thief Ilwyn and keen-sensed Enna take the lead, alert to any threat. Ilwyn finds the triggers for the bolt trap and manages to disarm them.
Heading south, the party eventually comes across a small alchemical storage room. His eyes bright with an inner fire, Elgold enthusiastically rummages around, snaffling items of spell components that he secretes away in his pockets. He also finds some mysterious vials filled with bright-coloured pigment. There are five of them: red, orange, yellow, green and blue. They don’t appear to have any function, but thinking they might be useful the wizard stows them in his pack.
The storage room has an exit door and carefully the party open it. Before them is a chamber with three entrances, and in the centre of the room is a rust-coloured warding circle. Above the centre floats a small vial, similar to the vials of colour that Elgold found, but black. Around the circle are five small rust-coloured spots on the floor.
The mage ponders the problem, and quickly formulates a solution. Taking the pigmented vials from his pack he commands a magic hand to unstopper the red vial and gently pour a drop into the northernmost spot. Immediately it begins to glow the same bright red as the pigment. Going clockwise Elgold pours drops from the remaining vials on the other spots. Next is orange, then yellow, green, blue, as if forming a colour wheel. Each spot glows with the colour that is dropped on it. As soon as the last drop is in place the warding circle fades out of existence and the black vial floats gently to the floor.
Cautiously, Elgold leans forward to pick the vial up. He unstoppers it but there’s nothing inside. More poking and probing reveals nothing. It’s a mystery that the wizard will get back to later, so he stows the vial away.
Enna thinks they should leave by the east door to the chamber. There’s a corridor there that she recognizes from their last visit. There are a couple of doors down the way that she wants to explore.
As the party exits the chamber, they hear a rustling noise. Whirling around, they realize that swarms of Bloodweb Spiders are beginning to flow like water out from dark cracks in the walls. Then blocking their route in the corridor appear a pair of Flesh Spiders, clicking their mouthparts hungrily at the adventurers.
Haleth goes at the Flesh Spiders, thinking they would be easy to take down. But frustratingly they keep dodging out of the way or scuttling back beyond his reach. He can’t seem to lay a finger on them.
The rest of the group deal with the Bloodweb Spiders, stamping them out, but then they are surprised by a brace of Phase Spiders that wink into existence beside them, bite and wink away to safety. A second pair soon joins in, blinking in and out of existence around the party members. Attempts to charge the spiders only has the effect of teleporting the attacker away to a safe distance.
Battle is joined, with Enna shredding one of the Phase Spiders with her accurate shooting and Caecius lunging at the others. Elgold, ever helpful, drops great clouds of fire and acid onto Caecius, hoping to catch only the spiders around him. But Caecius suffers in the blast too and is badly hurt.
The Phase Spiders are tricky beasts. One poisonous bite makes Enna sink unconscious to the floor. Caecius manages to nudge her back awake, but then Elgold succumbs to the bite of another spider.
However, the power of the party soon begins to tell. A couple of good hits take out the elusive Flesh Spiders, while the teleporting Phase Spiders, fixated with trying to finish the fallen Elgold off, are themselves slashed at and pierced by arrows until they also fall. Surrounded by the remains of Lolth’s servants, the party gather themselves together, shaken but still in one piece.
- 2 x Bloodweb Spider Swarms
- 4 x Flesh Spiders
- 4 x Phase Spiders
- 100gp of spider parts.
- Black Vial
Experience per Member
- Encounter 1 – 520 XP
- Bonus – 400 XP
- Running Total – 17,553 XP