We decided to explore in the hole those assholes escaped through. And skirted the mess Reeshka made before. Most of us were being sufficiently quiet; Ceor manage to sound like cookware falling on the floor in leather armor. We spotted a light source and went to investigate.
It turned out to be a large chamber with curiously regular stalactites and stalagmites. At one end was an altar with a curious glowing blue stone. Magical, of course. I think it was a variant of a continual flame spell. And there was a shimmer of school-less magic all over the room. Upon closer examination, it proved to be a smooth sphere, with a blue glow just under the surface, and a dull gray surface underneath. I think it might be a burned out ioun stone. I might have to do some experiments with it. After quite a lot of staring and Ceor swinging me around, I decided it could go in my bag. After shoving everyone away from it, we continued.
Miaako heard something moving around ahead. We saw another thing glowing, but it wasn’t my field. Divine magic, not arcane. We decided to go the other way first. There was a pit in the way, naturally. Upon closer examination, there proved to be two skeletons on the other side, guarding a chance. We figured we might as well check the other way.
I know Ceor means well, but I do wish he’d quit shoving me into walls in an effort to make sure he enters rooms before me.
When we went the other way, we could hear some sort of creature moving around. Turned out to be a ghoul. That’s probably what the ward was for. It ended up taking a good chunk out of Ceor’s arm, but then was quickly smashed into jelly.
Once that nuisance was taken care of, we found an offshoot of the river. Probably how Those Assholes got away. There were signs of a boat, anyway. Once that was established, we went back to deal with the skeletons.
There are these things called guns. Like a crossbow, but nastier.
They had them.
Reeshka fired a crossbow bolt in what I’m convinced was surprise, since she missed incredibly badly. And then Ceor decided the best place to be was where I had no line of sight to anything. Then it was decided that we would not be engaging them today.
I decided to examine the hall of pillars to see if I could determine the source of the weird school-less magic. We found a cavity inside one of the pillars. My staff was inside. Reeshka nibbled on it and pronounced it cold iron. Then continued to nibble on it until I knocked her into a wall. There wasn’t a single mark on it, despite the fact that kobold teeth can easily leave scratches on iron. That seemed like an appropriate cue to leave.
As we were on our way out, Reeshka’s attention was drawn to a pile of rubble. After sniffing it a bit, she found a shield. And decided it would make a good roof. Ceor seemed disinclined to take it away from her.
Once we got topside, we scavenged enough materials to put together a makeshift bridge, and went back down to see if we could deal with the skeletons. Then Ceor promptly fell into the pit and a skeleton shot me. Ceor managed to get back up, and I did some good. And got shot again and lost consciousness. Reeshka corrected that, and I then took one of the skeletons apart. Ceor, meanwhile, was busy getting hit in the face with the rifle but and Miaako was paying more attention to the chest than the fight. The skeleton then fed him the butt of the gun.
And then I blew it up.
Miaako went straight to the chest, of course. While he was examining it, Reeshka handed her roof over to Ceor, stating he could use it better. Miaako found a needle trap on the chest. Ceor seemed to think it would explode and shoved me in the corner, but Miaako disarmed the trap.
He then proceeded to spend twenty minutes unlocking the chest.
There were two bags, one of which was 220 silver pieces, and the other of about 20 assorted semi-precious gems, none of which were particularly valuable. Maybe 25 gold each. Miaako found a scroll, and then thought it would be funny to attempt holding it out of my reach and laughing.
I was nice, I only froze him to the floor.
Turned out to be another letter from Bloodstone, indicating that these were the funds for the upkeep of the fort. I only wanted to see if it was something one of the CASTERS could use to their benefit, so I gave it back. After ten minutes of rambling, self-aggrandizing begging, Reeshka consented to heal him enough to get back upstairs.
Reeshka and I spent some time looking at the shield-slash-roof, and determined that it was made of something called living steel. I know because Reeshka’s teethmarks gradually faded out of it.
My staff had the symbol of the crossroads on it. Seems like I heard somewhere that one of the kingdoms lost in the Mage War that created the Western Wastes had the crossroads symbol as a primary component of their heraldry; Taltreni, I think. Something else to research. It feels so natural to me that I shouldn’t have any problems transferring the arcane bond I placed on my original staff.