Hall of the Howling Pillars
After acquiring the Bloodhorn Blade in the Hall of the Crimson Whip the party decided to go down the corridor to the next room. In that room were creepy pillars made of the twisted bodies whose souls were imprisoned in the Hall after failing the trial of Baphomet. The bone-chilling howl coming from the pillars left no doubt in their minds that this was the Hall of the Howling Pillars.
Keira took one look around the room and said “I’ll let the big boys go first.”
Eglath took that as his cue to go, pushing past her while proclaiming “Eglath huge!”
Amber, Max, and Vengorax went with Eglath, while Splug and Keira followed behind at a safe distance. Soon the group encountered some evistros, as if the pillars weren’t bad enough on their own. The evistros proved to be very strong enemies. Keira cursed as her expertly thrown daggers merely nicked one of the creatures. They also fought savagely. It wasn’t long before the boy, Nemus, was covered in blood and claw marks. Amber wished that she could get close enough to protect him, but had to settle for parrying an attack against Max, then giving the demon a savage stab with her other blade. Meanwhile, the pillars were doing damage as well as attempting to send the adventurers fleeing in terror. They didn’t realize that the goliath was not only unphased, but also a little confused by their flashing red eyes.
“Why pillars wink at Eglath? Eglath no want flirt.”
Soon after that he killed one of the demons, severing its vocal chords, not giving it the chance to let out any wretched screams or curses as it died.
Eventually they managed to kill the other demon as well, then made their way to Keira, who was in a room with a rather impressive altar, as well as another demon – a bar-lgura. Amber was in such a rush to defend the only other female in the party that she tripped, sending her swords flying. One of them flew into Eglath and even the demon held its breath waiting to see what the goliath would do. Amber let out an audible sigh of relief when her giant friend merely said “Love tap,” shrugged, and handed her back her sword. While the party was distracted by both the bar-lgura and Amber’s miss-step more demons entered the fight. The fight went well, aside from Nemus also injuring Eglath. It wasn’t long before all of the demons were taken down, save the bar-lgura leaving the altar free to be searched by Keira while the rest of the party finished off the bar-lgura.
To her disappointment there was no hoard of treasure, but the bell was there. She reached for the bell, which was covered in spikes, and strangely had no clapper.
“Well it’s not shiny, but at least it’ll be usefu—” her words were cut off as she let out a loud scream when the spikes from the bell shot into her hand, causing the clapper to appear. When the bell rang it released crimson energy, making the entire party to go into a berserk rage and tear the bar-lgura limb from limb.
With the big mean nasty guy down, Keira managed to release the bell, to be gingerly stored away until it was needed, and the party set out in search of the last piece they needed for the ritual.
The Hall of Enforced Introspection
The group of adventurers next found themselves in a room that was concealed by a large black curtain. Eglath, knowing no fear, immediately strode forward and ripped the curtain down, revealing several mirrors framed with leering bronze faces. Eglath didn’t appreciate the mirror making a face at him, so he made one back while looking into it and was teleported. After seeing that happen Max decided that it would be best if the room was checked by himself and Nemus, because it was likely that they would only teleport someone who could actually cast a reflection. His hypothesis proved correct, so they moved forward in search of Eglath, who had ended up in alone in a tight hallway with a gnoll at the end of it. They could just barely hear him shout “Eglath just kill three demons. You sure you want attack? Eglath rape you with your own spear!”
Soon Max and Nemus realized that they weren’t alone in the room. Several skeletons had entered the room while they were examining the mirrors, and if they had still possessed brains they would have wished that they hadn’t. Nemus and Max were able to do a massive amount of radiant and necrotic damage to the skeletons, even a couple of them flying. One of the flying skeletons ripped through another set of curtains and destroyed two of the mirrors. Eventually they cleared the room and found an altar with a mask of black lacquered wood resting on top of it. Not long after that, Eglath and the gnoll were teleported into the room. Keira killed it, slicing off its head to make sure no residual necrotic energy in the room would reanimate it.
The Trial of Baphomet
After finishing up in that room they decided to explore the other rooms for treasure, but all of the other doors were locked and unable to be picked or broken down. With nothing else to explore they instead saw if they could activate the runes that they had found in the other rooms. Eglath took the sword, Max took the book, Vengorax took the mask, and Nemus took the bell. The others waited outside the different rooms, trying to coordinate things so that the items were all placed inside the runes on the floor at the same time. They managed to drop them all at the same time, but still nothing happened.
They tried actually using the items next. Eglath used the sword to draw some of his own blood, Max read from the tome, Vengorax put on the mask and was surprised to see that he could see in infrared vision, and Nemus rang the bell. This method worked and caused all of the doors to open.
Unfortunately the locks on the doors weren’t the only things loosed by the ritual. Soon there were crossbow bolts flying in the room with Nemus, and a large boulder rolling along the skid marks on the floor. Vengorax ran through the western door after hearing a roar that terrified him, and was hit by the boulder. Nemus was soon hit by the crossbow bolts, but thankfully the traps in the other two rooms had been disabled earlier. There was another loud roar from the central room as the green dragon went on the prowl. With this much to deal with Keira decided to at least take out one of the traps and disabled the crossbow turrets. Nemus took out the boulder with a huge blast of energy from his goddess just as it was about to hit him. Now they thankfully only had the green dragon to deal with. It was bad enough; huge, with its fangs dripping poison.
The party fought (mostly) valiantly against the dragon and soon had it nearly dead. At that point the dragon stopped attacking and asked them to spare its life in exchange for information. After much discussion the group, some more reluctant than others, decided to take the offer. The dragon told them that nearby there was a room in where there was a gnoll, three evistros, some undead, and also a bar-lgura. There were also slaves in the room being offered in sacrifice to Yeenoghu. After giving them this information the dragon disappeared, as apparently it was just the soul of a dragon imprisoned there and no true dragon at all. This made those who had protested letting the creature live feel a bit better about it before the party set out in search of the room the dragon mentioned.