A breathless quiet descends over the strange chamber after the cleric of Dahak falls. Once the rush of combat fades, the group begins to spread out to examine their surroundings more closely.
Initially, the flowing, irregular swells and rifts of the walls appeared to be natural stone. But in the pulsing light of Ty’s light spell, you begin to see a few straight lines and right-angled corners protruding from the walls in various spots.
Inkakahd raps the end of his staff against the floor, causing the crystal atop it to light up. Using it to examine one of these odd sections he frowns, then traces a few glowing runes in the air before it. “It would appear this is indeed not a natural cavern, but rather a series of chambers carved and worked by mortal hand. But I cannot imagine the energies that swept through here, causing stone to flow like molten wax. I know of no mortal magics that could do such a thing.”
The body of the slain cleric lies propped against the wall, eyes still wide in disbelief at its own demise. Blood, black in the dim magical light, seeps in an ever-widening pool from its lifeless corpse. Like the other Chauru-ka, it appears to be equal parts baboon and human, clad in a chain shirt decorated with bits of bone, fur and feathers. On its left hand is a menacing clawed gauntlet, made of what at first appears to be dull red metal and worn leather.
This is a pretty cool item. CINDERCLAW GAUNTLET ITEM 5 UNCOMMON EVOCATION MAGICAL Price 150 gp
Usage: worn on 1 hand; Bulk L This sharp-taloned +1 striking spiked gauntlet appears to have been crafted from dragon scales, with claws built from iron. In addition to the typical weapon traits, a Cinderclaw gauntlet has the versatile S trait. On a critical hit, the Cinderclaw gauntlet deals an additional 1d6 fire damage.
Activate [reaction] command;
Trigger Your attack roll with the Cinderclaw gauntlet is a critical success.
Effect The creature you hit must succeed at a DC 19 Fortitude save or be sickened 1 by the gauntlet’s acrid smoke. Creatures that don’t need to breathe are immune.
In addition to the gauntlet, it has: +1 chain shirt, a gold religious symbol of Dahak (worth 20 gp), hatchet, and an oversized golden arrowhead in the form of a stylized bird of prey:
Usage worn; Bulk — This arrowhead-shaped charm is not meant to be affixed to an arrow, but instead to be carried in a pocket or inside of a quiver. A hunter’s arrowhead is etched with images sacred to the elven god Ketephys. If you carry one on your person, you are infused with great skill at hunting, and gain a +1 item bonus to Survival skill checks and attack rolls against any creature you’ve currently designated as your prey for the Hunt Prey ranger ability (note that the bonus to attack rolls is an item bonus, and therefore not cumulative with an item bonus from a magic weapon). A hunter’s arrowhead is also a religious symbol of Ketephys.
Activate [reaction] command; Frequency once per day; Trigger: You would miss with an attack made with a bow. Effect You get a +2 circumstance bonus to your attack roll. This can turn a miss into a hit.
Renali’s eyes light up seeing the arrowhead. “That is it! That is what this wretched creature touched to the archway in the temple of Ketephys! This is how the portal that took me from home was activated!”
Leaving these partially-melted chambers, the party finds a large circular chamber with a domed ceiling arcing overhead, barely visible in the light of Ty’s spell. To the north, a double door stands in the side of a squared-off column protruding from the wall, while to the south an open archway leads to a stairwell leading up that’s been blocked by rubble. In the center of the room stand six statues of elves, all facing outward and arrayed around a dry fountain. Empty benches sit in four alcoves to the east and west, nestled between six stone archways built into the wall. Each of these archways bears a different type of decor, but with the exception of the one you’ve entered through, each archway leads nowhere—they are filled with plain, featureless walls of polished stone. Words in Elvish are engraved at the top of each archway:
Lotusgate (the one you came thru): This aiudara is destroyed, but what remains is still decorated with designs of lotuses and icons sacred to Alseta. This side of the portal is obviously irreparably damaged.
Jewelgate: This aiudara is decorated with images of crystals, and its upper arch bears designs like those of stalactites. Icons sacred to Yuelral adorn the aiudara.
Duskgate: Decorated with images of sunsets and beautiful architecture in what appears to be a desert or savannah, this aiudara is devoted to Findeladlara.
Huntergate (this one is diametrically opposed to the one you came thru. There are still visible scorch marks on the floor in a line leading to Lotusgate, as well as on the statues between them): Images of hawks and moons, interspersed with jungle vegetation and trees, decorate this aiudara, along with icons sacred to Ketephys. Renali points to this archway as the one she and the cultists came thru.
Vengegate: This aiudara is adorned with images of wasps, whips, and the waves of the open sea, along with icons sacred to Calistria.
Dreamgate: Butterflies, stars, and images sacred to Desna adorn this final aiudara.
The statues all represent the diety each portal is dedicated to. With the exception of Calistria and Desna, the others are deities almost exclusively revered by elves.
The double doors to the north looked to be intricately carved from a porous green stone in delicate patterns of leaves and intertwined ivy. As you approach, the eastern door grates open. huge arms and legs unfolding from behind it. In a heartbeat, it takes on the form of a huge elven warrior in outlandish plate armor carved from stone, the door itself a massive shield. Its head swivels to look down on you with a sound of rock grinding on rock. Its deep voice rumbles in elvish: “The custodian of Alseta’s Ring dwells beyond. Only those who carry her blessed sign may pass.”
After a brief moment of confusion, Damien quickly rummages through his backpack and produces the silver symbol of Alseta that had been found in the Citadel’s storeroom. At that the stone guardian takes one lumbering step to the side, dropping to one knee and lowering its head.
Stepping cautiously past the now-immobile guardian, the party finds a plain, rectangular room, containing several empty chests, old wooden tables, and mostly barren shelves. It may have once been used as a vault or records room, but today, only a few scraps of paper remain.
While most of the papers seem like old records and invoices, one scroll on a shelf is still held shut with the Order of the Nail seal. Within you find an official document, granting legal rights and ownership of Citadel Atearein to the deed’s possessor. You now own a castle in a very real and legally binding sense.
Out in the circular chamber, touching the Hunter’s Arrowhead to the archway marked Huntergate does indeed produce a reaction. With a thrum of power, the stone within the arch shimmers and wavers for a moment, transforming into a billowing veil of gold and silver mist, but then flashes with fiery radiance before it returns to solid stone.
Once again Inkakahd steps forward, tapping his staff on the floor. He frowns as examines the bluish-white traceries of magic that feebly skitter around the archway before disappearing. “It would appear that this… as the elves would say, Aiudara, has become disconnected to The Weave.”
Seeing the look of undisguised disappointment on Renali’s face, he smiles brightly to her. “Do not despair, my dear. This can be repaired. It merely requires some study.”