Author Topic: Session 53 – Into the Maze of the Shrine  (Read 3284 times)

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Session 53 – Into the Maze of the Shrine
« on: January 02, 2007, 10:36:27 PM »
Session 53 – Into the Maze of the Shrine

Having just defeated the strange beasts outside the great door that bore the seal of the Jaidor Talisman, the party rested, healed and repaired their armor.

When this was done, they turned their attention to the tall double doors in front of them. Although not as impenetrable as the Death’s Door, these doors nonetheless looked formidable. A disintegration spell had already been unsuccessful. The party decided to try their magic against the stone wall beside the door. They used a Passwall spell (actually several such spells) to bore a tunnel through the stone wall, directly next to the right door. They assumed a corridor lay beyond the door and they angled their passwall spells accordingly at a slight angle to pierce the hallway. It was successful and they soon found themselves on the far side of the door.

Inside they found an opulent chamber. Marble floors and walls, decorative columns and curtains of white silk. Directly across the chamber was another set of doors, but these had no locks and were more decorative that the last set. They seemed to be fashioned from steel and marble, trimmed in silver and gold. The marble blocks of the floor were arranged in a large geometric pattern which converged to a central circle. As they party entered this chamber, a flicker of light appeared within the central circle on the floor. This light flickered and blossomed into an incorporeal being… a humanoid shape that seemed to be composed of light and smoke.

The party halted their advance, weapons at the ready. The being gestured to them and spoke…

“Welcome to the Shrine of the Jaidor Talisman… herein lies that wondrous artifact and that lives through it… Sarkurothim, The Devourer of Flesh, The Evolution of Ages, The Sum of All Races. Despair ye, who look upon him."

You come now to the Shrine of the Talisman. That which was fashioned long ago by the Seeds of Sarkurothim, the Shapeless Ones. Here they toiled to fashion a Shrine befitting of his glory. What was achieved through the Power of the Talisman was nothing short of divinity.

The Great Maze, originally crafted to keep out all but a Shapeless One, is a wondrous blend of Shrine, Temple and Labyrinth. A perfect union of magic and mundane, organic and mechanical, life and death.  Herein lies the Answers to all Questions. There are those who have tried to ascertain the hows and whys of the Shrine Maze. But how can we, mere mortals, possibly think to comprehend the mind of a God?

I am Dulobar, a humble servant of the Sarthak Communion Buranzakar, placed here for the benefit of all Sarthak.

The being studied the group for a moment, as if, having finished its speech, now saw them for the first time.

You are not Sarthak. And you are not shapeshifter…. You will not survive the maze. Do you really think it wise to trespass on Sarthak holy ground with such impudence?

"Wise or foolish, we are going into the Maze." replied the party, "We are headed for the Shrine of the Talisman".

I strongly urge you to turn back now and protect what is left of your lives.

“We will not turn back”, said Ugita.

Very well. If I cannot deter you, then I must welcome you to the Shrine of the Jaidor Talisman.

I will now allow you to introduce yourself so that your names may be recorded in the Book of the Talisman and kept for future generations. Who now dares to penetrate the Shrine Maze?

“Why should we reveal our names to you?” growled Rothgar.

What the Maze sees, the Sarthak see. The Sarthak delight in the torment of lesser races. Those who come here to challenge the Maze prove grand entertainment for the Masters and Lords of the great Sarthak city of Buranzakar which lies beneath your feet. Therefore, do try to put on a good show. And know that WHEN you die, your death is not in vain. For the Sarthak have enjoyed your struggle. Now, may I have your names? For prosperity’s sake?

“No”, said Ugida.

“Callister Drabbyn!” shouted Callister Draabyn, never one to shy away from the spotlight. “Captain of the Third Wind! Knight of the Rukemian Empire! Defender of the-“

The rest was muffled as Rothgar and Ugita managed to clamp a hand on Callister’s mouth.

Very well, said the apparition… I shall list you as Callister Drabbyn and company.

The apparition vanished and the party found themselves alone in the room with the double doors at the far end waiting for them.

Ugita decided that it would be prudent to contact his deity and speak with the spirit world about this maze. He sat in prayer for a long time. In essence, he was casting a Legend Lore spell. The others knew this would take a while and set to repairing armor and sleeping.

Finally, after a long while of thought and prayer, Ugita stood. The rest of the party watched as the shadows in the room darkened and the smoky, shadowy avatar of Oxolai took form.

It spoke…

Shapeless, shiftless did they come
Across the world did they run
To dungeons deep, where secrets sleep
To guard their freedom precious won

Across two years they built the maze
They labored long through endless days
Their leader wise but so untried
Dreamt greater things beyond his gaze

He dared to tame the Talisman
He sought to free its power to run
Through magic bent, his mind was rent
Befouled of reason, quickly done

The seed of evil quickly spread
And doubts brought fear which turned to dread
Ill wrought magic, Fate spun tragic
While others fought and died, two fled

The Talisman was not denied
Those who struggled quickly died
Far from the sun, they become one
And so the final godbeast comes

Minds not merged could not agree
A single goal they could not see
Conflicts came, to traps ordained
A pure ideal was not to be

The shaking land did lead the way
From places deep they came one day
And found the mines, from ancient times
Beneath the wilted lands they lay

The maze was like a puzzle locked
To those whose minds will not be blocked
They cracked the maze, in but three days
And found a power they would not mock

They heaped prestige upon its name
Rebuilt the maze and honor claimed
Magic bound in crystal crown
As it was built, now it remains.

The heroes debated this cryptic riddle for a great while and finally came together in understanding. This cryptic riddle agreed with what the party already knew and filled in some holes...

The morphians had come here centuries ago to hide the Talisman. They built the Maze of traps to protect it, a maze of traps such that only a morphian could get through. During the construction, Aracles, the leader, learned to control the power of the Talisman and became drunk with power. He lost sight of the original mission and decided to use the Talisman, rather than bury it forever. A conflict arose in the group of morphians between different factions. Some wanted to stay true to the mission and bury the Talisman surrounded by traps. Others wanted to use the Talisman. Conflict erupted into battle and in the climactic clash, two morphians escaped. They armed the finished traps behind them as they left.

Inside the maze, Aracles wielded the Talisman and used its powers to merge the other morphians to him. All the morphians physically merged into one great shape shifting beast.

Having listened to the cryptic riddle, Ugita concluded that the merging of the morphians drove them mad. Their minds remained separate and they were in conflict. Once merged, they formed one vast mind which struggled and eventually went insane. And this thing… this great, shifting, murderous, mindless godbeast was waiting at the center of the maze, in the Shrine of the Jaidor Talisman, all these centuries.

Martin checked the double doors and found them locked. He pulled out his thieves tools and quickly undid the lock. They were not trapped. Beyond the doors, the party found a wide set of stone steps leading down. Cautiously, they took the stairs down into the darkness. They had three sources of light – 2 continual light objects and Teela’s flaming sword.