Be our guests

Session 23 January 2022

In our downtime before our long rest, I managed to learn the spells identify and counterspell. I’ve read Spites’ spellbooks and these two jumped off the page. Afterward, I went to sleep.

Zeph did not sleep well at all because he heard a lot of noise from the hallway – many footsteps. Maybe that was Muiral? We step outside the guest room. “Ha! The cleaners came by!” Valentine jokes. The balcony is now free of rubble and the Lolth statue that we’ve destroyed is neatly stacked on the side. 

“I’ve found a secret passage yesterday,” says Farryn. “Let’s go there, or to the Troglodytes.”

We decide to go to the passage. We descend the staircase to go to the place Farryn found, see that the pile of bones (the piles that turned into Shambling Mounds) are stacked up again – and bigger than before. Let’s avoid that place. 

“Hey, Helena! Come closer!” Valentine shouts from the door a bit up ahead. “Oh, I mean Enola.” 

I am confused. Did she really forget my name for a second? And who in the nine hells is ‘Helena’? 

“Let’s open this door.” 

I prepare the knock spell for this and after a couple of minutes, I manage to open the door with a loud BANG. The inside of the door is completely covered in blood – dried up, but disgusting nevertheless. We enter a sort of pre-hallway and see a statue of a masked rogue drow. I walk past it and feel suddenly a sharp pain in my arm. The statue grins: it’s hit me with a shortsword. In a reaction, I use earth tremor. The whole ground starts shaking and I expect to see the statue collapse and the grin disappear, but nothing happens to it. Valentine shoots an eldridge blast, but that doesn’t do a thing either. We give up and walk after Zeph and Farryn.

We sneak through the passageway and see a larger room. It is filled with a bulb of darkness, and I can see a door. As I try to walk further, Valentine stops dead in her tracks. She is stunned by something that she saw. I know she can see through darkness, so I tell the party. Farryn tries to shove her out the line of sight of the bulb. However, he pushes a bit too hard and she falls backward. On the positive side, when she hits the floor, she’s no longer stunned. Rubbing the back of her head she says: “What the f*ck was that?! Autsj! Oh man, I saw a horrible statue just now.” During this conversation, Zeph has flown further towards the door. He returns to tell us that the door is open. “Come on, come on, don’t be so tardy…” says Farryn.

With a hand covering her eyes, Valentine walks after us to the door. Under her breath, she whispers to me: “Is Farryn cursed again, or is he just permanently grumpy?” 

“I’ll ask him,” I reply.

I walk up to Farryn and ask why he is so hurried all the time. “I just don’t like you resting all the time. We don’t have TIME for that. I just want to explore!” 

“I get that, Farryn. But, please show some respect and understanding for the mages around here. For us to be able to help the party, we’ll need some rest now and again – especially Valentine.” 

Farryn scoffs but understands. Our short discussion ends when we walk up to two other doors. One looks normal, the other one is decorated with a note that says ‘danger’ and blood. Farryn slams the doors: the normal one opens, the other doesn’t. We enter the room and walk into some kind of armory: there are rusty old weapons everywhere. “Is there anything magical in here?” asks Farryn. 

“Perhaps, but if you want me to investigate, I’ll have to sit for fifteen minutes, so I can perform my ritual,” says Valentine. Farryn sighs and looks VERY annoyed, but doesn’t fight her on it. Instead, he starts playing his flute very vigorously and sharply.

We walk a bit further and enter a space with some archery targets, and a mirror. In front of the mirror, we see a couple of dead bodies. We immediately think the mirror is some kind of portal. In the mirror, Zeph sees a wizard holding a wand. To mimic the image and open the portal, he gets his wand of conducting out and points it to the mirror. The portal opens. We see a hallway with lights, and from Smokeys’ stories, we recognize it as level one. Oh my god! We can go HOME. Back to Waterdeep… That would be SO NICE. However, the rest choose to continue exploring this level and keep this as a way out after we did that or need to flee. Among the pile of bodies, Zeph finds a helmet. We want to find out what it is and take our time to investigate, but Farryn has had it: he wants to continue walking. To make him stop grumbling, we follow him back to the ‘danger’-door. We open it and see a room where we’ve been before: a glass spider hangs from the ceiling, surrounded by drow statues. This was the room where Valentine was held shortly by a wall of force. We turn around and continue our way past the darkness, through another door. We see the drow statue surrounded by moonbeam again. With a curve, we all walk around it. In the great hall with Shambling Mounds, we find someplace we haven’t been to yet. This room is totally destroyed and ransacked. We investigate for a moment: I help Zeph lift a carpet, but we only find much dust. I have some time to identify the helmet Zeph found: it is a helmet of protection. As we’ve investigated almost everything in this area, we decide to give Farryn what he wants: a quest to the Troglodytes

On the top of the stairs behind the door to the Troglodytes, we see two of them keeping watch. Valentine walks down. 

“Hi! OH…” 

I reckon there are more of them, according to the surprise in her voice.

“What are you doing here?” 

“My friends and I took a wrong exit I’m afraid… How do we get back to the Wizard Academy?”

“You’ll have to go back to the banshee church, and from there, go up again.”

Another drow approaches. “No… no… Vliss. They are here for other reasons.” he says. 

The drow comes closer. “What are you really doing here? Are you coming for the darkness of Lolth?”

“Yeah. That is the REAL reason.” Valentine says convincingly. 

“Oh, don’t worry. If that’s the real reason, let’s go meet the priestess then.” 

“Can’t we come back tomorrow? I think we need some time to prepare ourselves and clean up our appearances.” Valentine says hesitantly. 

“We can go now. Why wait, children. The children of Lolth are accepted for who they are,” he leads the way. “Come, come children!” 

“We want to go upstairs…” says Zeph. 

The drow responds: “No, Muiral is a big problem there. He cuts off our patrols and fights against our reign on this level.”

“Maybe we can honor Lolth by stopping Muiral first, and then introduce ourselves to the priestess?” 

“Children… You don’t have to be ready. Let’s first go to the priestess. After, you can finish this task.”

“What shall we do?!” whispers Valentine.

“Let’s go to the priestess,” whispers Farryn.

“No, no, we’re not ready,” I say hoarsely.

Despite my arguments, Valentine follows the drow, making us tag along. “Let’s meet the priestess first,” she says.

“Of course children; follow me.”

We follow the drow into the base. We see a giant cave-like space with many drow and a ledge. Off that ledge, we can see some giant spiders in the distance, and one who even flies. Near the staircase, I can see a drow riding a giant lizard, and more Troglodytes guarding the area. Our guide pushes something on a stone wall and a stone rolls away – showing a staircase. On top of the stairs, a giant crystal spider crawls away quickly when we pass. We enter a grand hall with spider webs covering the floor and pillars. In the center of this hall, we see a cage with halflings that play instruments – the classical music they play is very sad. Next to the cage, there is a pool with statues around. In the south, we see a spider-like throne. Our guide walks past it to a door and opens it. Through a curtain of spider webs, we enter the priestess’ room. More spiders and drow are mending webs on the pillars and ceiling. In the middle of the room, we see someone who can only be the priestess. 

“Priestess! I’ve found new followers.” the guide points at us. 

She comes closer. “Welcome, welcome. I am Vlonwelv Auvryndar.” 

Valentine kneels. “Hello, priestess of Lolth.” Farryn kneels as well, and I attempt to make a small bow, not knowing how to act in these kinds of situations. 

“Hello, children. I’ve sensed you traveling here. Do you want to sleep? Food? Where is your fairy-friend?”

From the moment we were walking through this stronghold, Zeph turned invisible for his own protection. Now, he turns visible again. “HERE I AM!” he says. “I’m hungry,” he adds.

“Yes, food. Of course.” the priestess says.

“Can you see the future?” Valentine asks.

“Yes of course. One of the powers of Lolth is divination. I’ve prayed to Lolth to answer our Muiral-related problem, and you all came up in every vision I had about it.”

That sounds kind of cool. We might be the chosen ones for this particular task, I think to myself. 

“What do you know about our future?” I ask.

“You’ll bring an end to Muiral and help us to reign this level and the one below us,” she says. “On the next level is the home of house Freth. We are at war and Lolth told me you will be the key in the war. House Freth are vicious drow, with wrong ideas of how our society should look. Our house is the TRUE house and should be the one to rule these levels. We are the true heir, we are the true pure drow.” 

Zeph again mumbles something about ‘being hungry’. 

The priestess hears this and says: “Nhilisstra, bring my guests to their rooms, and prepare dinner.” 

“Um, I don’t want to be frank, priestess, but I’d like to share my room with my sister.”

“Of course.”

Along the way, we pass different rooms. In one, we see a sort of fighting pit: one bare-chested drow challenges others to fight him. We watch for a bit and see him battle a drow until he is bloodied. In another room, we hear some music. A short bit later, we arrive at the dining hall and take a seat. 

“Enjoy, I’ll bring food soon.” 

Farryn cannot sit still for long and wants to investigate something. He asks for my help with mage hand. The hand opens up a compartment in the fireplace – it is empty. 

Zeph is laying the table. However, with great difficulty: he doesn’t know how to. I help him and s-l-o-w-l-y explain where goes what. When Farryn joins us at the table, Zeph is done. Nhilisstra joins us too, urged by Farryn. During dinner, we talk about Muiral and the tattoos Nhilisstra has on her skin. The right hand of the priestess is skilled at tattooing, he tells us. How we should defeat Muiral is information that the priestess will tell us. After dinner, we walk back to the priestess. Along the way, Farryn tells me about the portal he found in the dining hall. He recognized the mirror as the twin of the portal in Ottos’ castle engraved with TUOYAW (‘wayout’).

Back with the priestess, Zeph first asks for the person that can tattoo in this place – Zress. 

“Lolth has a plan for all of you. Muiral has the most important needle of all. You only have to get the needle from his body, then Zress can tattoo you and give you the thing you want.” 

Zeph is really excited but also scared for the confrontation with Muiral. 

“Muiral separates people from their groups using a wall of force.” tells the priestess. 

“Then we need someone to use as bait,” says Zeph. 

“For Lolth, we’ll do anything.” Farryn states. 

The priestess tells us the whereabouts of Muiral during the day – the altar with the banshees, the room with the crystal spider on the ceiling, etc.” We’ve been to all of those places, and also almost encountered Muiral. We decide to go to the altar first.

Arriving at the altar, Farryn, Valentine, and I hide, while Zeph acts as bait for Muiral. “Ohhhhh, ooohhh nooooooo. My wing is broken… PLEASE save me!” he acts. Nothing happens for a couple of minutes, so we investigate the room. When we conclude there is nothing and no one here except for the bodies on either side of the room, we move to the cristal ceiling-spider, where Valentine was separated from the group earlier by a wall of force.

Zeph flies into the area Valentine was in, and IMMEDIATELY, Valentine feels a wall of force separating Zeph from us. In the middle of the room, Zeph says: “Ohhh, no, I hear some movement! My end is near! My wing hurts, I cannot get away!”

All statues around Zeph come to life and close in on him. “Oh, my wing doesn’t hurt at all!” Zeph laughs and flies up. 

Suddenly, Muiral shows himself… 

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