19 Reaping, 592 CY (Continued)
Bransen did what he could for those who had been strength drained, and the adventurers moved back to the chamber with the illusory pillars. Deg was sent to investigate the small east room, and he saw more murals and a semi-circular fountain on the east wall still pouring water. He took the gold statues from each of the four niches in the north and south walls, and came back out to the others. Looking over the halfling’s shoulder, Greyjek’s true seeing revealed for him a magical portal suspended in the center of the chamber. He identified it as one leading to a magnificent mansion, and promptly dispelled it.
A shadar-kai and his three death slaadi minions (disguised as shadar-kai, which did not fool Greyjek and his heightened awareness) were dumped unceremoniously into the small chamber. The shadow fey’s eyes blazed, and he expressed his displeasure by blasting the adventurers with lightning before vanishing from sight. The slaadi managed to implode Ashton before Greyjek could banish them all, but the shadar-kai managed to escape from the room despite Bransen’s blade barrier. When they’d determined that he wasn’t lying in quiet ambush nearby, they collected Ashton’s remains and retreated to the surface where Bransen conjured his own magnificent mansion and resurrected the magus.
20 Reaping, 592 CY
Refreshed from their exertions by a good night’s sleep, the adventurers all enjoyed a heroes’ feast the next morning. Long term defensive spells and powers were cast/manifested, and the adventurers made their way for the third time to the illusory pillar room. This time, Deg went west into the small chamber there, and he immediately stopped when a loud hissing suddenly sounded from in front of him. Seeing no source, he proceeded through the room unharmed. Only Bransen was wounded by the invisible snake guardian spell before Greyjek dispelled it.
The halfling proceeded to investigate the narrow hallways beyond, determining the path that led to the Egg Chamber. Then, they backtracked and went out the southern exit of the illusory pillar room into a long, wide east-west hallway. To the east, they entered a doorway on the north wall into a small barracks with an inert shield guardian. Magical murals were on the walls within, but the party could not determine their function, and so they left it be. Figuring there to be only one remaining chamber, they hatched a plan that they hoped would give them the drop on the remaining Cagewrights (despite the snake alarm spell they’d tripped earlier).
Only one of the two portcullises opened when Deg flipped the switch and it did so with a very loud bang. Cursing, they quickly gathered in a narrow hallway near the entrance and began their short-term protective spells/powers. A poisonous mist erupted in the hallway, but they were all protected from it because of the heroes’ feast they’d enjoyed that morning. Still, Ashton had to dispel it so he could see everyone to target them with quickness.
Greyjek entered the room and saw three obvious targets: the two elves that Deg had described to them all and Thifirane Rhiavadi with her beholder eyestalk graft from Vhalantru. He manifested an area dispel and then noticed the globe of invulnerability around Lady Rhiavadi, so he dispelled that, too. He was channeling more energy than he could safely, and it took a toll on his physical form. Still, he shredded through the spells with little trouble.
The drow moved into the hallway to block the others from entering and tried to go toe to toe with Jarvyk. Even without his extra protections, the dwarf would have been quite a challenge for the dark elf, but with every bit of magical and psionic enhancement available to him, the poor Cagewright didn’t really stand a chance. Bransen ignored the obstacle by going ethereal and walking through the wall. Ashton and Deg brought the thunder from range, eliminating any options the drow might have considered. He died shortly thereafter.
His death rattle caused the elven archer to cry out in anguish from below. She grabbed hold of her amulet and vanished from the Prime Material. Greyjek killed Lady Rhiavadi next only to be attacked by the hidden shadar-kai mage, whose attempt to dispel the elan’s protections failed utterly. The others filtered into the room after the dark elf fell, but they could not see the hidden shadow fey. Deg caught a glimpse of him lurking in the gloom of the egg chamber before he, too, vanished from the Prime. Searching the rest of the complex with Deg’s keen eyes, the Silver Phoenixes came up with a few more treasures, but no more Cagewrights. Greyjek traced the plane shifts and determined that they’d retreated to Carceri, the prison plane.
It seemed the Phoenixes might be bound for the planes one more time.