Log 18: Pit fights and Shopping Sprees
TLDR of session:
The blob constricted, as the skin it was in contact began dissolving away. Rusticus was being digested, and could do nothing about it. He struggled as his flesh began to peel away, yelling in pain and fear. Naro looked down from above, standing on the edge of the pit. Indecision gripped him, fear for his own life holding him back from diving in to assist his ally. He shook his head, as one of his many arms grasped at the air towards Rusticus. Naro looked at the arm, looked at Rusticus, and finally said "Alright. ALRIGHT. You're right Markus. We gotta do this." Naro stepped off the edge of the pit, hands glowing with magical energy. The sleeping willow swung a branch at Naro, just barely missing, as Naro put his hands on Rusticus. Naro looked at the dwarf, and asked "You want out? DO YOU WANT OUT? I NEED YOUR CONSENT DO YOU WANT OUT?" Rusticus, mouth full of corrosive ooze, nodded feverishly. "MMmMMmMM!" In a blink, Naro and Rusticus vanished. The ooze fell back down to the ground; it was slightly larger than before. It once again began moving mindlessly in circles around the sleeping willow. The tree's branches again swung in the non-existent wind.
Tiddles and Opal were still comforting the freshly revived Ryder, when Naro and Rusticus appeared next to them. Rusticus, mouth now no longer full caustic ooze, immediately began yelling. Still raging, he began grasping at his burned and dissolved skin. "OH GOD holy SHIT nine rings in the deep my GOD this HURTS!" Opal quickly ran over and placed a hand on one of his arms. She marked him with a Hex Scar , allowing her to heal him from a distance. Using her magic, some of Rusticus' wounds began to close up. Rusticus wavered where he stood, then fell over, passing out. Tiddles quickly walked over and unstoppered a health potion. He tilted the dwarfs head back, and poured the contents down his throat. As the magic coursed through his system, large patches of flesh began to heal over again. The pained snoring from Rusticus became calm, and the dwarf seemed more at ease. "Well. What did I miss while I was dead?" Asked Ryder, eyebrows raised. Opal took him by the shoulder. "Well." She started. "Y'all died, then we almost died, then we moved a crystal... uhhh..." She looked over at Tiddles. "We unlocked the machine that rewrites bracelets. While we, er, Xora used the machine, Naro and Rusticus went through a secret passage. We heard screaming, and then they appeared." Finished Tiddles. "Where is Xora anyways?" Opal held up a dim, cracked bracelet. "After bringing Ryder back, her bracelet cracked 'n turned dull. Seems to have lost its power. After that, she seemed pretty tired, and she retreated back into it. Guess the hibernating still works with these 'ol cracked dim bracelets." Opal put the bracelet into her pouch. Naro stared intensely down at Rusticus. The others looked at Naro, then looked down at Rusticus as well. "I'M TIRED." Said Naro loudly. He lay down on the floor, and rolled out his bedroll. "Markus says we're sleeping too." "We should probably have someone keep watch right...?" Asked Tiddles, slowly. As Ryder lay out his bedroll, and lowered himself onto it, he shot Tiddles a look. "Sound good, thanks Tiddles." Ryder passed out as well. Opal lay on her bedroll, and thanked Tiddles similarly. The bard sighed, and sat down. "Guess I get first watch."
After taking turns at watch and having an uneventful night, the party woke up and began stretching their sore muscles. Rusticus rubbed at his fresh patches of new skin, still feeling severely injured. "So," Started Tiddles. He looked over at Naro and Rusticus. "Want to lead us over to whatever it was that nearly killed you?" Rusticus looked over at Ryder. "Only if he brings Kir." Ryder dusted himself off. "Lets see if this still works after dying..." He thrust his arms upward, and a swirling dark energy surrounded him. The magic spread outward and refocused on a spot near him on the floor, and out of the energy rose Kir. Ryder pat Kir on the side, and nodded at Naro, who began leading the way. The moved across the hallway they had camped out in, and Rusticus pointed out the secret passage that was half hidden behind some empty boxes. Ryder eyed the passage way; it was about 5' wide, and maybe twice as tall. He looked at Kir, standing at least 15' tall, and 10' wide. "Uhhhh... Mighta called Kir back too soon. Lets let him go first, see if he can make it through." Suggested Ryder. He directed Kir into the hallway. The massive armored man took a step into the tight hallway, and tried to force himself sideways into it. There was a sound of metal scraping on stone as Kir became immediately stuck. Ryder stepped up behind Kir and tried pushing with all his might, but Kir was simply too large to fit. "Alright alright never mind, pull yourself back out Kir." As Kir stepped back from the tight space, Naro and Rusticus walked past him. Opal, Tiddles, and Ryder followed, with Ryder pausing a moment to give a nod to Kir. "Just stay here for now." As the party moved down the hallway, the light faded around Kir, leaving him in darkness, waiting. Ryder caught up with the party as they exited the passage. As he approached, he heard Rusticus and Naro explaining the area they were in. "..and yeah that pedestal there has a key hole in it. It's cold there for some reason. Then that door at the back of the room there, that leads to the area with the pit, the ooze, and the tree. We didn't really look around in there too much yet." Rusticus and Tiddles were at the head of the group. They both leaned around the corner of the door, and Rusticus began pointing things out. Ryder, at the back of the group, increased his pace. He passed Naro and Opal, and took a few steps up into the cold area. He looked briefly at the stone pedestal in the center of the room, complete with key-hole, before making sure he had plenty of space around him. He grabbed the lapels of his Anchorplace Robes , tugged, and vanished in a flash of white light. Opal took a step back, and stumbled, dazed. Two bolts of light zipped through where she stood, knocking her backward and stunning her. In a flash, Kir was standing where Ryder once stood. "My STARS what the hell was that?" Opal yelled, as Naro helped her to her feet. Echoing down the passage way they heard a small "Soooorry!". Footsteps approached them again. "I didn't know exactly how that worked. Didn't think it'd stun you like that. Sorry!" Ryder once again exited the passage way, again behind everyone. He dusted off his robes. "I guess I know how it works now. Lets uhh... see what Rusticus and Tiddles are doing?" Opal shook her head. "Nah. I'm just gonna rest myself back here. Y'all go ahead. I don't want no dissolved flesh, thank you very much." Naro and Ryder left behind, and approached the door, just as Rusticus entered the room. Naro looked to Tiddles, and asked in a hushed voice. "Whats he doing?" "He said he's used to looking around in dark areas, so he's gonna scout ahead to see where to go." Responded Tiddles. The three of them watched the stout shape of Rusticus, hammer glowing brightly, moved around the room. The light shone upon the walls, showing years of disuse as the walls were covered in vines, while the ground was covered in rubble and boulders. Rusticus moved swiftly around the outside of the room, passing by a door at the south end of the room, making his way full around the pit. The dwarf returned, and looked expectantly at Tiddles. "Well?" Asked Tiddles. "Well what?" "Well, what did you see?" Rusticus paused. "Shit. I forgot to look." Tiddles suppressed a groan. "C'mon. I'm going too this time." Tiddles and Rusticus left the doorway again, heading to the south wall of the room. Here, Tiddles took a look at the large stone door that Rusticus had previously passed. "You know if it's open or not?" Rusticus shrugged. "I didn't check." Tiddles sighed, and walked up to the door. First he pushed, then he pulled, then he invited Rusticus to push and pull. The door remained solidly shut. The two of them turned, and returned to Naro and Ryder. They found Naro away from the entrance, staring intently down into the pit. "There's a key there." Naro pointed with one of his arms. "Right... there. Inside the red ooze blob thing. It's floating in the middle of it." As Naro pointed down into the pit, the tree in the middle of the room began to shake more vigorously. While no wind reached the tree, its branches began to sway, and a fine light powder drifted gently down over top the heroes. Tiddles coughed. He waved Naro and Rusticus away from the edge of the pit, and they retreated back to where Ryder and Opal waited for them. Opal eyed the powder covering them. "Wow, lucky y'all are awake still." She leaned in closer, wiping some of the powder off Tiddles' shield with her finger. "Looks like it's a sleeping willow out there. Probably don't want to go breathing in any more of this powder." Naro scratched his head for a moment. "Well, we need to go out there and get that key anyways." Tiddles turned around, and strode back out the door. He kept a wary eye on the tree, but focused his attention on the blob slowly circling the tree. He waited until the blob was just in front of him, then smashed his sword on his shield, unleashing a magic blast at it. The red ooze vibrated slightly along with the sound, but largely ignored it. The tree in the middle of the pit violently shook. More yellow powder filled the room, and a branch was swung rapidly at Tiddles. As the bard ducked the blow, he turned and yelled. "Okay, alright, I need help now!" Naro looked behind him to see what was going on. He turned and ran in, signalling Opal, Rusticus, and Ryder to follow. Naro looked at the fine sleep powder in the room again; his fists were useless if he was asleep. He let magic flow through his hands as he cast a spell, creating a massive wall of wind stretching from one end of the room to the other, separating the party from the tree. The yellow powder no longer drifted on their side of the room, trapped by the wind wall. Opal simultaneously thanked and cursed Naro. "Well now we'll be awake, but how am I s'posed to throw a tarot card through that!" She stowed her cards, and fished through her bag, bringing out a glass flask full of amber liquid. She shrugged, and tossed it at the tree. The flask bounced off the tree's bark with a dull "THUNK", landed beside the corrosive ooze, and shattered; fire leaped from the ground, and covered the ooze. However, wherever the fire touched the ooze, it went out immediately, and the red blob continued ignoring it. "Huh." Is all Opal got out before Rusticus rushed past her. The dwarf moved as fast as his legs would take him, heading towards a pile of boulders he had spied before. He wasn't going back in the pit this time; this time he'd throw boulders from the edge. Ryder cautiously walked out and observed the battle. He turned and looked back, then waved Kir out beside him. As he did that, he saw Opal pull a furled piece of paper from her pack. Opal quickly read through the scroll, reading aloud the magic words scribed into the page. Her hand glowed, and she directed the energy into the pit. Huge 20' tall walls of fire erupted out of the ground. The flames formed a square within the pit, cutting through both the tree and the corrosive blob. The blob ignored the heat of the fire, and continued its mindless circling. Meanwhile, the tree in the center of the pit began violently shaking. A fine yellow powder once again began to fill the room; held back by the wind wall, the powder fell only on the blob and the tree. Both were unaffected. The tree however, uprooted its self. It had powerful looking roots at the base of its trunk that pushed and pulled at the ground around it, moving the tree away from the fire that was scorching it. The tree backed its self into a corner, as far from the flames as it could. Rusticus followed the tree with his eyes. He picked up the largest stone he could realistically toss, aimed, and hurled it at the tree. A large chunk of bark was gouged from the tree, and the tree retaliated by swinging a branch at the dwarf, just barely missing. "I AM NOT GOING BACK DOWN THERE" Rusticus yelled. Tiddles nodded in agreement; he had no interest in entering the pit. He glanced at the wind wall, then ducked his head and strode through it, the wind tearing at his clothes. Making it through unscathed, he reached into his bag to pull out a flask of a greenish liquid -- acid. Tiddles tossed the flask at the tree, shattering it against the bark. The acid appeared to barely affect the tree, while being totally ineffective against the blob. "Hey, Opal!" Tiddles called. "What is this blob thing anyways?!" Opal peeked around the corner of the door again. Looking down, she took her first full long look at the blob. "Oh shit, that's why it's been causing us so much trouble!" She said. "It's a carnivorous blob! Resists acid, resists electricity, immune to acid-" Tiddles swore. "Drains our constitution, and heals its self." Opal continued. "This thing is a right beast!" Ryder overhead this, and looked up at Kir. "Alright, like we practiced." Kir took two steps back from the edge of the pit, then broke out into a run. His footsteps reverberated in the small stone room; shaking everything as the big knight hammered each foot into the ground. He approached the edge of the pit, planted one boot down, and launched himself into the air. Kir sailed gracefully through the wind wall, and slammed into the trunk of the sleeping willow. The great armored man wrapped an arm around the tree in a death hug, while using his free arm to strike at it. The tree tried to resist, but the weight of Kir and the heat of the flames was too much for it. In a cascade of fire and smoke, the tree surrendered to the punishment it was receiving. It collapsed to the ground in a pile of ash, dropping Kir into the pit. The carnivorous blob capitalized on the opportunity. It rapidly approached Kir, and engulfed him. The blob immediately got to work on digesting its new prey. Naro looked down into the pit. "Well. Kir's got it in there I think. No way in hell we're jumping in." Markus appeared to agree with him, as the arms stayed far from the pit. Naro instead dashed through his wind wall, following behind Tiddles. Naro's hands once again glowed with magic as he touched Tiddles' shoulder. The bard's outline began to blur, and he became harder to hit. Rusticus meanwhile changed targets, and started throwing rocks at the blob. "YAH. Take that! And This!". The rocks sailed down from above, occasionally striking the blob, sinking straight through its gelatinous flesh, and ripping chunks out. Despite the barrage of stones, the blob was growing stronger. Every second it drained more from Kir, it grew larger. Ryder looked over at Opal. "We need some more help here! What's it weak to?" He asked, before quickly casting a spell, enhancing Kir's strength. Opal yelled back. "Uhh.... oh! It's ice! I got this y'all!". Opal conjured a solid ball of snow and ice within her hand, and threw it with all the force she could at the blob. The ball exploded in a shower of cold, and the blob visibly recoiled against the damage. The spot the snow and ice had hit was darker, and withered a bit. "Whatever that was, keep doing that!" Yelled Rusticus, as he tossed another rock. "And you two, Kir needs your help!" Said Ryder, looking to Tiddles and Naro. Both of them heeded the call. Tiddles continued around the edge of the pit, and leaned over to grasp Kir's shoulder. He could just barely reach; the pit was about 15' deep, and Kir was about 10' tall. Kir glowed brightly for a second at Tiddles' touch, then began moving faster. Naro followed Tiddles example, and put the same spell on Kir as he had on Tiddles. Kir's outline began to blur just the same. Kir, feeling stronger, grasped his sword as best he could while in the blob's embrace. He swung horizontally at and within the blob, tearing a sizeable chunk out of it. The blob reacted, and attempted to constrict Kir. However the part of the blob that held Kir slipped, and the eidolon was released from the blob's grasp. As Ryder used his connection to heal some of Kir's wounds, the rest cheered Kir on. Rusticus threw another rock, while Naro and Tiddles stepped back from the pit. Tiddles fed a soul coin into his bracelet, and his hands began to blur. He rapidly tapped two rhythms at once on his shield, playing two songs at once, harmonizing their effects. Kir was revitalized, and took another massive swing at the blob. A large chunk of ooze was cleanly severed from the main portion of the blob. It again attempted to retaliate, but it attacked with a frozen portion of it; the frozen portion tore off, and splattered against the wall behind Kir. More cheers went up as the blob faltered. Opal seized her chance, and darted out from around the door frame she was hiding behind. As she stepped past the wind wall, she grabbed her tarot deck, and filled a card with magical energy. She aimed and threw the card at the blob. The card sailed end over end toward it's target; it hit center mass, slicing directly through the red ooze. The blob paused. It began to slowly fall to the sides, in two clean pieces. Tendrils of ooze connecting the two halves snapped as it separated. With a sad "splat", each half of the blob hit the ground, and the enemy was no more. "Three cheers for Kir!" Called Tiddles. The party responded with a resounding "Hurrah!", and Ryder directed Kir to climb up out of the pit. Naro looked down and saw the stone key laying in the remains of the blob. He hopped down into the pit, then climbed the ladder out. "Lets go try this key, yeah?" He asked. The party took the key to the prior room. It sunk into the slot, turned, and a resounding click was heard back in the pit-room. They turned and walked back in there. The light shining from Opal and Rusticus showed the door at the end of the room was now open. Through the open door, stairs were visible; the party grabbed their things, and began the climb.
Rusticus led the way up the stairs. He began hearing faint sounds of a crowd, along with light jovial music. Ahead of him the stairs turned to wood, and he saw what appeared to be an empty storage room. Rusticus exited the stairs, and entered a small dusty room. Casks were neatly packed against the walls, and crates were stacked in rows. Through the only other door in the room, he saw an empty tavern, dirty cups still sitting on empty tables. His dwarven eyes searched for anything resembling a potion, anything to heal him, as his skin still ached from the encounter with the ooze. The dwarf moved quickly through the empty tavern. Naro, Opal, and Ryder followed, interested to see what was going on. Tiddles however, spotted what appeared to be a full cask, large dark lettering on it read ALE. He broke from the party, heading straight towards the ale cask. Tiddles grabbed the nearest cup, and using his rapier, stabbed a hole in the top of the cask. Amber liquid poured forth from the hole, messily filling the cup Tiddles held. The bard drank his fill, and then grabbed an empty bottle from his pack, placing it into the stream. As the ale fountain tapered off, and the flask was filled, Tiddles turned to see what the rest of the crew was getting up to. "...yup, we're not from there. Never even heard of Wandermere." Rusticus was saying, as Tiddles exited the empty tavern. The dwarf was standing in front of an elderly human, who appeared to be a shop keeper. Naro and Opal stood a bit behind, while Ryder sat upon Kir's shoulders. "Hmm." Said the old lady. "Well, you can call me Mak. I sell wigs. Welcome to Blackridgepool , you happened to arrive just at the right time to explore our market festival a bit." The party quickly introduced themselves, as Mak told them about the shops and the people in the market square. There was shops selling paintings and potions, figures, dyes, feather tokens and more. Tiddles and Opal perked their ears up when Mak mentioned the feather tokens. They broke from the group, and left to find the merchant. Meanwhile, Rusticus moved straight towards the gentleman selling paintings, and more importantly, potions. Deciding there was nothing else they were interested in, Naro and Ryder followed Rusticus. "Hellloooo there!" Called the merchant. "New faces I see! New people to buy my paintings! I've got landscape, I've got abstract, sometimes I paint por-" "What potions do you have?" Interjected Rusticus. The merchant faltered, and frowned. "I-I'm afraid all I've got is health potions." The frown deepened as he saw Rusticus pull Soul Coins from his bag. "And we don't really trade in soul coins here. Reminds us too much of those we've lost." Rusticus tucked the coins away, and raised an eyebrow. "What'll you take for your strongest potions then?" The dwarf and the merchant began bartering. Rusticus started drawing magical items and old unused potions from his bag, and soon a deal was struck. Naro and Ryder followed their friend's example, and also brought out their unused goods. "By the way..." Began Ryder, slowly. "How much extra for one of your landscape paintings?" "You want one?!" Asked the merchant, obviously excited. "You know what, take it for free! I'm even gonna throw in an extra potion for you! I'm always so happy when people appreciate art, so please, take it as a gift!" Ryder graciously thanked the man, and rolled the painting up, putting it in his bag. He was already thinking of what he wanted to do with the work of art. Rusticus finished packing, and turned back to the merchant. "One more question!" he asked, as the merchant's frown returned. "Where's the nearest healer?" The merchant shrugged. "You'd probably have luck at the ship builders guild." The three of them turned and left the painting and potion stall. They spotted Opal and Tiddles returning to them, and moved to meet the two. Tiddles had a few more feathers in his hat, and Opal held out her hand, showcasing yet more of the tokens. "We bought feather tokens!" She said, happily. "Interesting system of bartering they got here. We bought some feathers that turn into campfires, some that turn into giant floating eagle's talons, some that turn into whips and rams and boats... these are really cool!" Tiddles nodded in agreement. He held out a furled piece of paper. "We also got this sketched map of the area! It's been recommended we go to the library, they have a history of this floor there." "Library y'all!" Echoed Opal in excitement. Rusticus slid closer to the map. "Hey, where's the ship builders guild on that?" Tiddles furrowed his eyebrows, and studied it. He pointed at a spot on the middle north end of the map. "Looks like it's here." Rusticus waved. "Thanks!" As the dwarf made his way alone to the north, the rest of the party shared a look. They hefted their packs, and agreed to head to the library. After briefly consulting the map, and seeing that the library square was to the east, they turned and left the market square.
While Rusticus made his way to the ship building guild, to eventually receive a full healing treatment, the rest of the party made their way east. After a brisk 5 minute walk, weaving through the meandering paths among the houses, they found themselves next to a large flat square. Around it was a shallow moat with fast moving water, and in the middle was a massive spout of water shooting up into the sky. As it cascaded down, the water flowed into the moat. Opal and Tiddles approached, seeing a dwarf male observing the water flow. "Hoy there!" said the dwarf, as the duo approached. "You seem new round these parts, never seen you before. This here's the Ring Gate park, and you arrived just in time to see the Ring Gate fountain spew forth." The dwarf nodded at Opal and Tiddles. "My name's Naut Struijk" In the distance, Naro and Ryder stood and waited, watching the water shoot up and fall down. Ryder turned to Naro, "Nice fountain" he said. Naro nodded. Meanwhile Opal asked Naut some questions. "What's a Ring Gate?" Naut shrugged. "You should probably check the library for that. Well, for more information I suppose. There used to be two of these Ring Gates, one here and one at Wandermere." Naut shuffled his feet a bit. "Then the war happened, which you can read about at the library. Long story short, their Ring Gate fell in the ocean. Now, fun thing about Ring Gates, they can transport up to 1,000 lbs of matter per 24 hours. So what you're seeing here..." he pointed at the water fountain. "Is water from the bottom of the ocean being forced through our Ring Gate. After the war, after this started spraying water everywhere, we decided to make it into a fountain." Tiddles pondered this. "Why are you here watching?" Naut continued. "Oh I watch because it's my turn. We take turns seeing what else comes out other than just water. We're trying to track down the lost Ring Gate you see, and if we study what comes out, maybe we'll find it. Most of us believe it'll wind up in Black Ruins anyways tho." Opal asked another question. "Any wildlife come through?" "Ah, the Ring Gate aint big enough for nothin more than a Toxotil . Small little fish that soak up the toxins in the water." "Do they taste good?" Asked Opal. Naut shrugged. "How should I know, aint never been hungry here." "Oh, right. Well. Thanks for the info, we're actually just on our way to the library anyways." Responded Opal. She and Tiddles waved thanks, and returned to Naro and Ryder, relaying what they had learned. "Library is just over this way I think" Said Naro, as they began walking.
The library square was another large flat piece of land, separated by moats. Small bridges connected it to the main land area. As they approached, the party saw the library was split up into four different buildings. A group of people stood about in the center of the square, debating something. Opal excitedly took the lead. "Excuse me! Can you tell me where the library is?" The person Opal hailed, a short red-haired Gnome with round glasses, turned to look at Opal. "Uhhh, well, there's 4 buildings here, 4 different libraries. Head librarian is really the one you want to talk to though!" The Gnome pointed at the large bald human standing to his right. The large man stuck out a hand. "Names Dirk. We got 4 buildings here, as Emmerasn said. One behind me is the fiction writing building. We love our art and stories here." Dirk turned around, and pointed at another building. "That there's the history building. Next to it is the paintings and portraits building. And finally, the one closest to you is empty. We're trying to figure out what to put there." Opal piped up. "What if y'all do a nature exhibit there, put the species of this floor on display?" Dirk's eyebrows raised as far as his face would allow. His voice, previously deep and dispassionate, broke in excitement. "That's a fantastic idea!" Dirk took the other librarians by the shoulders, and led them over to a small shack in the middle of the square. They began excitedly talking, and drawing plans on a scrap of parchment between them all. The party was largely ignored at this point, and thus made their way over to the history library. Upon entering, their eyes widened at the sight of countless books. They were arranged in haphazard stacks among the floor, and also in neat rows among the shelves. Opal frowned at the dichotomy between the two organizational styles. The party got to work on researching the area they were in. They pulled up a history of Wandermere , a History of Blackridgepool , and a book on both the First and Second Seperatist War . Naro and Ryder dug up small articles on the different landmarks of the floor, including The Deep of Greenminster and The Waves of Sommerson . One such landmark article, on Mammoth Hill , detailed how the stairs to Floor 5 were located at the top of Mammoth Hill. As the party sat down to a long evening of researching, time again began to slow. This time it didn't freeze, instead stretching one evening into weeks.