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Blind Spot

Drusilia’s Journal

Sunday, Wealsun 2, 592 CY

As we seem to be able to do in the most dire situations, our group worked together like a well-oiled machine for the remainder of our excursion into the beholder’s lair. Part of this may have been because there were very few ways in and out, most of which were not easily accessible by humanoids. But no matter— we did accomplish our goal!

Pockets again scouted ahead, and when he came to a dead end, he continued the only way left to us— 100’ straight up a vertical shaft. He secured a rope for us when he made it to the top and then disappeared before we’d all climbed the rope. Amazingly, none of us fell (I’m always sure I will!) and the strain between the party’s newer members and pre-existing ones seems to have eased somewhat.

We walked a short distance, and found ourselves at the entrance to a small chamber, face to face with Xorn, who was flanked by two illithids and an umber hulk. Laying prone in front of them was the unconscious body of Pockets! I didn’t stop to think, I just ran the rest of the way into the lair, as far from the front of the beholder as I could, and let fly a flame strike, knowing that the antimagic field in front of the beholder’s central eye would protect the fallen elf from my spell.

I could tell that the beholder, umber hulk and at least one of the illithids had been damaged by my spell. The eye tyrant shot three rays of some sort at me while the mind flayers attempted to inflict their will upon me— only the willpower provided by my faith in Pelor kept me from falling to either threat, and allowed me to cast searing light back at the creatures. I could hear Ghelt behind me hacking through the umber hulk, though I didn’t realize at the time that the rest of my comrades were still in the tunnel, prevented from entering Xorn’s lair by the beast’s immense bulk! Just as I did realize I was alone fighting the beholder and illithids, Fafnir came tumbling past the umber hulk and cast one spell at the beholder, which killed it instantly. At that moment, Ghelt made it past the corpse of the umber hulk and decapitated the crispier-looking illithid. The other plane-shifted away, obviously aware that it was no match for the dwarf! Only now could Valon and Aramil enter the room, and Aramil lamented that he could have done more had he a bow.

Fafnir set to work hacking off the black beholder’s eyestalks, and we saw that there was a tunnel down from where the creature had hovered. Fafnir suggested that it was likely a treasure chamber, and proved to be correct! Pockets happened to be awake and aware by this point, and several of us climbed down into the treasure room, with Ghelt and Aramil guarding the entrance. We found thousands in coins and artwork, as well as a few potions, wands, a scroll, magic ring and oily (but magical) banded mail. Thank Pelor we had the sense to buy equipment that can hold tons of gear and treasure without weighing us down!

We quickly returned to the salamander city and went through the same routine of presenting ourselves in an unthreatening manner. King S’sleksis’n (whose name I am not sure I’ve ever pronounced correctly, even with ten days’ practice) hailed us as heroes and allowed us access to the temple and city. We actually spent the next ten days within visual range of the temple, though we did attempt to rest and learn from these curious creatures while the opportunity allowed. The king told us that the portal only opens in their temple every one hundred years, so we are quite lucky that we were only two weeks early!

Ironically, the arch provided us entrance to the Temple of the Void at the very moment we heard war drums begin in the salamander city— from the steps of the temple we could see mind flayers and duergar flooding into the city. Even from that distance, I could pick out one duergar on the ledge overlooking the city that was different— wearing adamantine armor and with a hellish light in his eyes, he barked orders at the others, while easily deflecting bolts shot at him with his axe. We didn’t have time to choose between fighting Durll in the city or destroying the Heart— I hope King S’sleksis’n and his people did not suffer grievous damage from the illithids and grey dwarves.

As we started going through the portal one at a time, I looked back and saw a familiar, dreaded form standing on the steps to the temple with his back to us. I feared Ghelt would run back to confront the lich, but it appeared as though Arkon was helping keep the temple free of the infiltrators. We just didn’t have time to deal with him either.

We apparently arrived unharmed (though some of us were knocked out) in the Temple of the Void. We awoke in a marble hall of about 30’ by 50’, with open arched windows letting in a breeze that came across sand dunes. We could even see the sun in the sky (I had somehow expected this temple to be surrounded by “nothingness”). A massive pair of closed bronze doors stood at one end of the room. Not knowing quite what to expect or do next, we opened the doors, which lead to a circular chamber with three more sets of bronze doors, a sunken floor, and four alcoves with stone statues of spear-carrying warriors in them. Aramil attempted to entire the room and the statues sprang to life. We beckoned him to come back quickly, hoping the statues would resume their non-moving state, but they attacked, so we had no recourse but to destroy them. We can see now that each alcove has a keyhole in it, but of course, we don’t have any keys!

Posted by Kristin on September 17, 2003, 18:02 | Drusilia’s Journal