The rest of the party followed Kira through the misty archway and with a lurch, they found themselves in another passageway facing a weathered wooden door. The passageway was illuminated with luminescent gray moss which was growing between the stones of the walls. Flickering firelight shone beyond the wooden door.
Although the group briefly debated on whether or not to take a rest, they decided to push on and see if they had indeed been transported to the Lands Within the Wind. The door opened easily enough and a rotting shambles of a laboratory was revealed. Sheets of red-gray mold were lining the walls and an oily black fungus appeared to have consumed most of a few large tables. Three stone vats stood on the far side of the room.
The group began to examine the room and made several interesting discoveries. Kira and Kezmit determined that the black mold was foul, but not harmful but the the red-gray mold had many spores and could be quite harmful. Li-Am searched the tables and Jarvix searched the rest of the room being careful not to disturb the molds. He found a slight draft in one corner, and believed there to be a concealed passageway. Heedless of the dangers, Iorskan set some of the mold on fire with his torch and partially revealed the concealed door.
The burning of the mold didn’t harm Iorsaskan, but it appeared to enrage the room’s inhabitatnts – strange fungus men similar to those encountered in the Face in the Stone. These however appeared to be twisted and could not be reasoned with. The fight was not long, with Li-Am burning the fungus creatures with power hellfire. Jarvix used his skills with the Way to move the creatures around but in doing so disturbed one of the vats, releasing swarms of angry scarabs.
In the aftermath of the combat, Gwyn discovered a gem-studded mithral key in the vat containing the beetles. Elleandra looked over the contents of the tables and book shelves, but found nothing of any value. The group finished clearing away the mold around the concealed door and moved down a short section of hallway before coming to another obstacle. An open pit about 10 feet deep and forty feet long filled the passageway in front of them. A thick layer of dripping yellow-green fungus could be seen covering its floor.
After a bit of discussion Jarvix summoned a floating disk to help ferry the group across the pit, avoiding the dangerous molds. Once safely across a quick search of the remaining sections of hallways discovered only one exit, a stone archway. Suspecting it was the way out of the tomb, the group entered the archway.
The party found themselves back in the hallway with three stone arches in the Shadow Tomb. Having only one arch unexplored, the party decided to venture through it. Once again there was a lurching sensation and they appeared in a small hallway ending in a weathered wooden door. This hallway was filled with unrecognizable glyphs and sigils, some vaguely reminiscent of holy symbols. The symbols were flaring with a violet light along the walls.
When the door was opened, a dark laboratory could be seen with cluttered shelves and over-sized table strewn with equipment and scrolls. A faint haze of mist could barely be seen twisting above three stone vats set across the chamber. As the party was taking in the room and attempting to determine the next course of action, they were set upon by a trio of ghouls.
Although the party was surprised, the ghouls were quickly finished off. Jarvix ensnared them with a shard conjured with the Way while Elleandra assaulted the creatures already unstable minds with images of flesh-devouring sprites. Gwyn finished off the last as she channeled her magic into her dagger, striking true.
A thorough search of this room revealed many interesting piece of information. Elleandra discovered the remnants of what appeared to be plans for the Fey Engine discovered in the Garden of Graves as well a plans for a different, but similar device that they suspected could be a Shadow Engine. She also discovered another strange key around the neck of one of the ghouls. Satisfied with their findings, they proceeded out of the room and down a flight of stairs.
They came upon a shimmering bridge of force that was covering a 30-foot-long and 10-foot-deep pit. Hundreds of sharpened spikes could be seen at the bottom of the pit. Jarvix discovered the hard way that the force bridge would sometimes give out and he found himself trapped in the pit for quite some time. Eventually the party was able to use the magical hook they had discovered earlier to traverse the trap and they discovered another archway leading back to the hallway.
Back in the shadow tomb, the party retraced their steps to the only unexplored passage they were aware of. Following the hallway for a short distance, they came across a foul ossuary filled with shattered bones, dismembered bodies, and the stench of death was before the party. The boneyard was crossed by twisting bridges of flesh and bone rising 20 feet above the floor.
Elleandra moved out onto the bridge, holding tight the the hook and rope, trusting that if she fell, her allies would be able to save her. Faint at first, an unearthly moaning began to rise. From the boneyard, ghostly shapes began to take form in tight ranks, shrieking as they soared onto the bridges. Several dozen phantoms stood along the bridge blocking all the avenues of escape.
The party determined that the ghosts were intelligent guardians protecting the sanctity of this mass grave, when the spirits were willing to discuss rather than simply fight. The spirits did not trust that the party’s intentions were good and Li-Am’s attempt to convince them with promises was not well received. After a bit of debate they spirits were finally convinced when the party offered up a magical rod that was discovered earlier. This, somewhat symbolic sacrifice, was well received and the spirits moved aside to let the party pass.
Rough walls of black stone glistened with necrotic fluid and the sounds of its steady drip echoed in the darkness beyond. The party moved through a series of twisting passageways, leading to many dead ends. There appeared to be many buried within the walls and small chambers, but nothing of value was immediately detected.
Li-Am discovered a small pouch that appeared to be intact and containing coins and possibly gems. Tempted by the treasure, he eventually decided to leave it be, much to the relief of his companions, who reminded him of the encounter with the ghosts that they just had.
At the end of the corridors stood a pair of rune-scribed mithral doors. Wide keyholes in each door pulsed with white light – one in the shape of a skull; the other, a faceted gem. Elleandra and Gwyn placed the keys they had recovered in the matching doors and with a shimmering of powerful magic, they doors dissolved away revealing a large chamber beyond.
The Shadow Engine
A broad circular chamber was revealed beyond the doors, its floor sunken 20 feet below. In the center of the chamber, a fantastic device could be seen suspended on top of a pillar of shadow energy. The fantastic device consisted of a spinning web of platinum cables and black iron rods set with hundreds of blazing gems. The crackling pillar of energy could be seen rising from the floor and disappearing into the engine…