After waking up, Grom heads to Will’s smithy to pick up his newly repaired armor. On his walk back, everything slows down. The rest of the party notices this as well. As the party hears an otherworldly wind and the tinkling of discordant chimes, time snaps back into place and the world goes black.
One by one the party comes to, many of them wretching after whatever transpired, to find themselves in immediate danger in a small tomb with the ceiling collapsing one room over and an old man (Zymer) out of breath but oddly more interested in the tomb and a cracked wall with faintly glowing text on it.
Zymer’s inspection determines that the tomb is Sastheru’s, an entity associated with the Waters of Life.
A few blows from Grom’s hammer and some bear pushes from Lyra reveal a passage into a natural cavern with a well at one end. The natural cavern halts the rock fall.
After an uncomfortable conversation with the party, Zymer reveals that they are nowhere near Dreham and are in the south-western deserts of Oscadius.
Zymer translates the writing on the door as ancient Yuan-ti that reads “the Lady of the Waters aids those that ask” and realizes that in his muttering to Hiss, he said “This is bad, need to get my bearings…”. Some interpretation of the words appears to have summoned the party to the middle of The Pilgrim Sands as Mira confirms with detect magic showing the faint remains of conjuration magic on the door.
After noticing a gleam within the now broken-open tomb, Zymer braves the collapsing ceiling with protection from his arcane ward and retrieves Sastheru’s Molt, a magical belt that can turn into an animated rope upon command.
In the mean time, Grom determines the water is desecrated, Oath detects a great evil presence to the south using his compass, and Hiss scouts the mostly-submerged tunnel into a larger chamber.
The party descends into the waters with Oath and Grom locating valuables beneath their feet. It looks as if this may have once been a well for travelers to refill their stores on long journeys, with many of them leaving an offering to the Lady of the Waters.
Through a small channel, the party emerges into a larger basin of foul water and is set upon by the very water itself. Two large entities and several small assail the party, trying to drown several of them, disappearing into the waters after both large entities were defeated.
During the battle, many of the party discovered new abilities. Jasper teleported with the dagger Flicker to find that it pulled at his soul. The pull seems to lessen with each successful use. Drugan discovered that he could put the mimic’s adhesive ability to good use, gaining advantage on a foe grappled by the graft.
Through a combination of Lyra‘s spider form and Zymer’s new belt, everyone ascends to a golden door with more Yuan-ti inscribed on it and a trickle of filthy water running out from the bottom of the door.
Zymer determines that the door reads “Those who serve the Lady of the Waters are welcome”. Mira determines that the Lady of the Waters is likely Celeste, goddess of the moon and tides, though perhaps not as she is unaware of the gods and goddesses worshiped in this part of the world. Zymer recalls that the wording of Yuan-ti magic seems to be very literal. After much deliberation, Drugan, who had been looking at the stonework, asked what was wrong and if Mira was waiting for someone to open the door for her as Zymer and Mira were in a heated debate after Zymer determined Mira was the Lady of the Waters and pushed her into the door. Zymer’s interpretation was half-correct as Mira was a lady of the water, though Drugan’s attempt to open the door must have been interpreted as service while shoving her forcefully into the door was not…
The Scales of Life
Upon opening the door, the group is assailed with a sense of dread. Two gigantic human-headed skeletal snakes arise across the room encircling something dark and awful. Those who rush into the room feel their very life-force attacked. The skeletal serpents repel the early attacks and attempt to cast curses back upon the party. Quick thinking by Zymer and Oath fizzle the incoming spells and the party unloads with an array of melee prowess and a dazzling display of spells of their own. As one snake falls, a dark form emerges radiating malevolence so strong that most avert their eyes or feel that they want to.
At this point, Lyra, in giant spider form, discovers that the abilities of her staff have begun to meld with her beast form. Her spinnerette glows with druidic symbols as she unleashes a web at the remaining Naga.
The last snake goes down to Drugan’s sword, Shimmer, and as he turns to face the mummified humanoid, their eyes meet and Drugan falls to the ground unconscious. Jasper blindly leaps into the air and delivers the killing blow as Flicker lodges in the impossibly elongated mouth. The sense of dread disperses and the body crumbles to black sand.
Grom rushes to Drugan’s aid and returns him to consciousness. The small decanter that had been trickling forth sludge now began pouring forth fresh water. Could this be the Waters of Life that Zymer was seeking?
The party bars the door they entered and rests in the relative safety of this magnificent temple. Another exit to across the room with more text upon it remains closed and a large scale on a dais in the middle of the room remains unexplored with its heavier end containing an opalescent scaled feather and its raised end seemingly full of the same foul water the party trudged through on the way to the temple.