L:15 We should have taken the elevator
Curious about the shaft
Nict: ...We were looking down a square shaft with a chain running down the center of it. Tarralon decides we need to investigate although time is pressing, we agree to check it out. I use my power to light a piece of rope and lower it into the shaft. It coils at the bottom, but I can't see anything around it. Thad looks down at the pit & is able see the bottom. Seeing the bottom, our bard decide it's a good plan to go into the shaft & check & see what he can make of the mechanisms that should get it to move. Unable to discern anything he climbs back up.
After a lengthy discussing, we continued up the tower resolved to talk our way past the lizardmen whenever we can & killing them when we can't.
Dario: Having infiltrated the central building of the lizard wizards while the ritual we seek to stop has begun we spend far too much time exploring this shaft. It is far too hot in there for us to survive the slow ride our load would bring to bear on the device. I am impatient to move along but I keep that mostly to myself.
Nict: Eventually, we come across a cart shaped to be pulled up around the tower's winding halls. The cart holds a ten foot tall caldron filled with a black-ish bubbling concoction that I don't recognize although Thad seems to have an inkling what it is. By this cart, there are 3 lizard men talking & repairing a chain that is used to pull this cart up. Tarralon is pretty successful at bluffing us past them.
We come across a second cart & my companions decide to help slow down the ritual by freezing the contents & sabotaging the chains. When they are done, we continue up.
We pass a third cart but we decide sabotaging one is enough for now so we continue up until we find a checkpoint where four lizard wizards are discussing the slow progress of the carts. Tarralon & I try to negotiate permission to continue on, but they ignore us & pull up the last cart we passed. I'm happy we did not attempt to mess with this one. When we try to push our way through, we anger them enough that we start a fight.
Dario: Credit is due to Tarralon and Nict for talking our way past the lizard wizards who are manning the carts. While I have no reservations about fighting them, I am loathe to waste effort that need not be expended.
A thousand points of light
Nict: As we begin our attack, I decide to put my training at Donovan's farm to the test & pull out the amulet to boost my power... That was probably a mistake. When I activated the amulet, I destroyed my target of my magic, but I also suddenly feel the presence of every worshiper of Homara within I don't know how far. I even feel Chloe! I feel their alien eyes on me & then I feel Menecara, but then I feel that she sees me in return. In fact all their attention fixes on me in that moment. I takes all my will to shove down the madness of their foreign thought and to get through the fight, but I do it. I toss the amulet down & shaking, try to explain what has happened & our increased need to move.
Thad lifts the amulet in a cloth, but it now seems inert. It brings madness, but my desire for it is still so strong. I take the amulet back as soon as the shaking stops and hide it back into my shirt.
I think back on the vision I saw of all the lizard men, and I realize that through all the hate and anger they feel, they are feeling hope because of this ritual. I tell my misgivings to Dario. Being a paladin, I thought maybe he could tell me if stopping the ritual was a right thing. All he tells me is that some things that are good for some are not good for all.
Dario: The amulet that Nict wears betrays us to the lizard wizards, revealing our location and ruining any element of surprise that we might have had. The world balances this out by giving us the location and numbers of them, but given how many more of them there are I am not pleased.
So then we take the elevator
Nict: I realize they are expecting us down the halls now. We need an alternate way up. I remember seeing how the lizardmen activate the carts with levers & find a panel by the elevator. I use my flame to open the panel box & find a lever & decide to test it. Upon testing it, I find that it lifts a platform in the square shaft on the inside of the tower. When it's just below us I hear voices and know that lizard men are on the lift so I stop it just short of our floor. I jab at them with my sword until Tarrolon starts helping by throwing frost into the box. Dario comes and asks me to lift the box to our level. I do & we fight the remaining lizard men. When the last falls. We enter the card & ascend to the top of the tower.
At the top of the tower, there are a LOT of lizard men. It's the same scene from our vision when I first got the amulet. Menecara dances and chants the lizard men chant with her and drums beat all around her. The dreamdust is being burned in the ritual and beside her stands Dinol Thong...
Dario: Using a combination of the arcane ice and water skins we rise to the top of the tower aboard this elevator unhurt though soaked with sweat. At the top we exit into a hallway and hear the rushing of wind. Beyond is a sea of lizard wizards going about the ritual, paying us little attention.
All eyes are on the comely and nearly naked woman conducting the ritual, adamantine staff in her right hand. Behind her is a cauldron the size of Donovan's home, filled to the brim with what I assume is Dream Dust. Light shoots out in six directions, even though there are seven temples. In the sky above I see a featherless bird-terror, precisely the form that Thaddeus described the orc woman turning into.