Broken Moon

The Living Museum

Following a night’s rest, the group once again began their exploration of Schloss Caromarc. Justifiably wary of the trap which had almost killed them the previous day, they began by carefully examining the rope bridge leading to the next building, first with mundane means and then using Detect Magic. Satisfied that the trap had not reset, and another Erinyes was not poised to swoop down upon them, Tataco carefully crossed, reaching the other side and sending the magical Rope of Climbing back to the party to secure them a handhold as they moved to the next landing.
This building they now stood before was unlike the others. It was ornate, carved out of marble, and appeared to be two stories high, the front dominated by a large stained-glass window depicting a rearing unicorn. To the right and left of the heavy wooden door were two beautiful nymph statues, also carved of marble. Still cautious of traps, the party once again used Detect Magic on the door before opening it. Their caution was well-rewarded, as the portal had been enchanted with a magical Alarm spell, presumably set to inform the caster or some guard when the door was opened.
Kendra was able to dispel the low-level magic without incident, and, still moving slowly, the party continued within. The room before them was lined with shelves housing all manner of curious beasts and organisms, hovering suspended in bell jars filled to the brim with sickly green liquid. Parva, excited at the discovery, searched around, and was able to find a vial containing what he identified as a dose of Violet Venom, which he stored for future use. Three doors led from the room to the north, west, and south. Knowing from Sterbird’s scouting that the exit and path to the rest of the complex lay to the north, the group decided to begin exploration with the door to the south.
The southern portal opened to a room similar to the last, filled with strange creatures in jars and dominated by a huge manatee skeleton hanging from the ceiling. An odd creature, seemingly half-monkey and half-fish from the waist down watched them lifelessly from its jar as they scoured the room, finding nothing of interest until they discovered a hidden door in an alcove to the west, leading to a flight of steps which climbed upward.
Still cautious, but moving more quickly now, the group climbed the staircase, emerging in a room filled with stuffed and mounted beasts of the air and sky. The preserved wing of a roc hung from the ceiling as two stuffed harpies perched on shelves, arms spread wide. A door to the north led presumably to the rest of the compound, while a ladder led up to a trapdoor in the ceiling. Tataco, moving stealthily, climbed the ladder and pushed open the trapdoor, an action which caused a sudden hissing sound as the room above and below filled with a thick, noxious gas.
The fumes burned at their eyes and skin, so thick that moving through it was difficult and they were unable to see far into the murk. Dekhaim, thinking quickly, activated a spell to summon a gust of wind, pushing the fog to the edges of the room as the rest of the party made their escape. Banjo, Dekhaim, and Taco rushed back down the stairs, while Yuuko, Kendra, and Parva opened the door to the north and stepped through, closing it behind them.
Though it took some time to dissipate, the acid fog did not follow them, and the three on the second floor were free to explore what appeared to be a storage room, holding benches and boxes of every size and shape. They were joined a short time later by the others and, together, they went to examine the crates filling the southwestern corner of the room. Now suspicious of everything around her, Yuuko used her ability to detect evil on the boxes, and was rewarded with two sources in one of the foremost, small, but of middling power.
The party took up places around the box, readying weapons, spells and bombs as Sterbird hefted the wooden lid off the crate. Immediately, two severed heads, their snake-like hair writhing and twisting upon their rotting scalps, burst forth from the packing, shrieking and contorting their faces in rage. Before they even had a chance to act, however, a flurry of attacks from the group all but shredded one of the beheaded, sending it careening to the floor. Yuuko slammed the other with her katana, the forceful swing sending it flying through the air like a ball, even as Kendra splashed it with a forceful blast of acid from her spell. The head, covered in acid and still screaming, rushed through the air, dissolving as it went, until only a splatter of grime and muck smacked against the wall opposite and slid to the floor.
Grimly satisfied with the outcome, Yuuko moved to investigate the floor above while Parva and Dekhaim combed through the boxes. Nothing within the crates was as exciting as what had just occurred, however, and they found not much more than a variety of stuffed birds and animal bones. Meanwhile, above, Yuuko and Tataco had found the room the acid fog had sprung from, and were disappointed to see that it was entirely empty, save for a single small amulet on the floor.
The charm was shaped in the menacing shape of a skull with a gag binding its mouth – the symbol of the Whispering Way. Without hesitation, Yuuko crushed it, and the party reunited before continuing downstairs to the first hub room.
From here, they decided to try the western door, which opened into a larger room filled with shelves stuffed with curios, watched over by a stuffed Bulette which roared soundlessly in the center. None of the items were of much interest, save for a stone glowing with arcane turquoise light in odd patterns across its surface in the corner. Though they used every method at their disposal, no-one in the party could determine the stone’s purpose, and they eventually left it on the shelf, intent on coming back later to solve its mystery.
Banjo, however, was not so easily swayed, and stayed within the room as the others left, bear eyes locked unflinchingly upon the stone. Slowly, despite Dekhaim’s attempts to rein him in, he stepped closer and closer to the stone until, with a sense of determination, he placed one paw upon the pattern. Immediately, energy burst from the stone, whispering and twisting in the air as it rushed from its origin directly into Banjo’s backpack. When it was finished, the bear sat down with a satisfied grunt, apparently quite pleased with himself.
Dekhaim took the logical step and searched Bearingston’s backpack, but found nothing out of the ordinary until he came to Mantidora. The tiny Manticore was unconscious, her breathing heavy and her body hot to the touch. Parva, using his combined knowledge of medicine and magic, was able to determine that while Mantidora was in no danger, she had suffered a sudden influx of power, and her body had temporarily shut down in order to deal with it. Having no choice but to wait and see what the power would bring, Dekhaim carefully placed the tiny form back in Banjo’s backpack.
Returning to the door in the north, the group found a small, rectangular room with a stairwell leading down in the back right corner. Of more interest, however, were the twin sarcophagi which stood on the eastern and western walls. In the center of the room was a pile of chain, enough to wrap around one of the caskets and contain whatever was inside, but now cast uselessly to the ground. Extremely suspicious of this development, Yuuko moved inside and detected evil on both of the coffers. The one to the east registered nothing, but the sarcophagus to the west held an evil presence of middling strength. Repeating their tactics from earlier, the party spread out and readied their weapons, Yuuko standing to the side with her katana raised as Banjo shoved the casket’s heavy lid to the side.
The mummy within had not been idly waiting, however, and burst forth in a flurry of motion, ready for combat. A sense of dread washed over the party as the unholy creature staggered forward, and while they were able to release several attacks before it attacked, Parva, Tataco, and Banjo were struck paralyzed by its suffocating presence. At the same time, the sarcophagus on the eastern side opened, revealing a mouth full of slavering asses and pointed teeth within. Galumphing forward, the mimic slammed into Tataco, fitting the paralyzed ranger partially into its mouth before crunching down.
Meanwhile, the mummy, while powerful, was not displaying great intelligence as it chose to face down Yuuko. Its flailing blows failed to connect as she moved gracefully out of the way and cut at it with her katana. Parva had shaken himself out of his stupor and threw a bomb into the melee, the fiery explosion proving especially effective on the undead’s dry, cracked skin and bandages. With the creature so weakened, Yuuko slew it with another cut of her katana, and turned only to find both Tataco paralyzed and Sterbird stuck fast to the mimic’s skin, even as the creature slowly devoured them, showing every sign of enjoyment.
Kendra cast a spell of Stoneskin on Taco, saving him from further wounds, as Dekhaim and Sterbird wore down the mimic and eventually killed it, the creature’s adhesive dissolving as it fell lifelessly to the floor, releasing Tataco and his bird friend.
Exasperated, but not seriously injured, the party turned their sights to the staircase in the northeastern section of the room.

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