The party reconvened at the edge of the pit briefly before descending back down the spiraling staircase to where the shimmering doorway stood. Zenath missed the party’s departure and was left behind with his seskii.
Deliberating at the blue, shimmering doorway yet again, Xi bravely stepped through to the other side, where he found himself in a dark hallway. Gripping his dagger, he pushed his will through it, and it began casting a soft, yellow light around him, illuminating the entryway. He picked up a rock and threw it back toward the shimmering doorway, and it sailed over the others and into the darkness of the pit below. The others followed him through, though Xarvox ‘gently’ helped Burris along.
The walls of the hallway they were in were decorated with mural after mural of a glamorous woman in various scenes of rulership. In some she was riding a chariot, others she was sitting upon a throne, in others she was before masses of other people, and in others kings and queens were paying her tribute. Burris confirmed that this was Queen Starloscet, and they all were able to gather that she was well-loved and revered by her people and the surrounding lands. Depicted in some of the imagery was a sheathed sword with a blue-entwined hilt. Burris excitedly laid claim to the Impossible Blade, but was quickly put in his place by the others. Lena quickly sketched the murals, hoping they might prove useful later.
The hallway continued a ways before opening into a large room. Rows of benches filled the room, all facing toward the centerpiece on the far wall, an image of Bach placing the Queen into Aurturi’s Pit, and at the bottom lay a large, bloated creature with a single large red with a number of smaller eyes. Upon close inspection, Xi realized that the large eye and two of the smaller eyes protruded ever so slightly from the surface of the wall. He pressed one, and it receded into the wall and back out.
Odd, Xarvox, and Xi then pressed all three eyes at the same time. Again, they receded then came back out with no other effect. Pressing Burris for information about the key he promised, he told them they needed to press the large eye then both the smaller eyes. Having done so, the wall split in three, revealing a hidden staircase.
At this point Burris refused to go any further explaining that he had fulfilled his part of the bargain and it was time the others did theirs. Xarvox attempted to intimidate him into explaining why he was afraid to go further, but Burris held his ground. Xi wondered aloud why they shouldn’t kill him then
They descended, entering a metallic, oblong room. At the end of it was a pile of twigs, branches, and mud casting a soft, yellow light into the room. Revealed by both that light and the light of Xi’s dagger, a purple blob lay in the middle of the room. Xarvox tried sneaking up on it, but the creature sensed him coming and rose to its feet.
Debating between attacking and talking to the creature, it was decided that it would be best to attempt a conversation. It revealed itself as Auturi, the Lord of Death. Brief introductions were made, and he mistakenly thought Xi was 20 millenia old; he was willing to let them feel the ‘sting of death’ despite them being so young, if that was what they truly wanted.
When pressed for information, he explained that he had been created to bring death, and once he stings a person, they can continue on their journey into the pit. As no one was willing to face their death, they retreated back to the memorial room and found the mechanism to close the door. Lena and Xenath retreated back up the hallway to the shimmering doorway, looking for Burris, to no avail. Xenath cautiously put his pinky through the energy field, and once assured of there being no ill-effect, entered the shaft once again.
Shortly thereafter, everyone gathered outside the hallway on the platform in the shaft, pondering their next move. Lena brought forth a cypher she had that would do a scan of an area up to 1500′ feet away. She sent it down the shaft and a few minutes later received the full transmission of a pit that continued beyond the range of the cypher. It did reveal a couple of dark shadows on the walls, one directly below the platform.
Tying some of their ropes together, Xi clambered about 60′ down and found another entryway. At this point, Zenath arrived with his seskii and was brought up to speed on all that had transpired. They each carefully climbed down the rope into the opening and followed the large tube a short distance where it ended at a large wall. In the center of the wall was a single symbol, which matched a symbol on the slip of paper Avindar had given them.
Having pressed the symbol, the wall rolled to one side, revealing another wall with another symbol that matched the journal entry they held. They opened and closed the doors, following the pattern on the paper until the last door stood open. The tube continued a short distance before opening up into a rectangular room. At the far end stood two open doorways.
Xi and Radinator strode into the room, triggering a trap. They both were able to dodge the arrows that shot out, but they stood still, frozen in fear. Odd recalled the brief interest he had taken in booby traps and carefully examined the room. He could discern where there were likely to be pressure plates and where it would be safe to walk, and they began to make their way across the room.
Radinator, unfortunately, strayed a bit too far from Odd’s instructions, and fell onto the spikes at the bottom of a 30′ deep pit. Xi illuminated a piece of rope and lowered it to him to help him out. Using the light of the rope, Radinator examined the bottom of the pit and found the skeletal remains of others who had fallen. He was able to find 16 shin and a synthsteel helmet. Upon closer examination, he saw that the helmet was able to activate a 9′ long pandimensional tentacle. Smiling broadly, he put it on and climbed out of the pit.
Everyone took a breather at the end of the room and discussed which doorway they would enter: the one on the right or the one on the left. After much deliberation, it was decided they’d go through the left door….