C9: Scouring the Shrines
After crossing the tiled entryway of I’jin’s shrine, the party allowed Fats to navigate through the ensuing maze of tunnels. Locating several false paths and dead ends while wall walking, fats swiftly located a door. The party opened the door to find i’Jin’s puzzle box. When touched by Fats a spirit left the lantern. This time it was a small lizardfolk who emerged. He looked at Fats who already had the spirit of Shagambi within him an flicked a hand, willing the puzzle box from him. Catching it deftly, Fats handed the box to Wynni. The spirit flashed Wynni a ‘grin’, tossed a spirit coin at her and said, “I never stick to the plan. I am Whisp; I will help you.” With that, Whisp walked into Wynni.
Outside, Fats climbed a palm tree while the party looked about. He spied another temple up the main path but also spied something far more interesting. A mystic circle of amber light was glowing on the roof of I’jin’s shrine. Investigating, Fats touched the circle with his foot and vanished. The party made their way up to the top of the shrine, using rope to aid Bitey. They looked for Fats but saw no sign of him.
Meanwhile, Fats found himself on a tall plateau rising from within the caldera of lava. Towering above Omu, he spied a vine rope spiked into the edge, providing means to return to the city proper. Finding another temple, he investigated. Figuring his friends would soon follow, he passed between the entrance stones adorned with large snakes. Stopping at the palm tree nearest the shrine’s stone door, he tied his infinite string to it and left his catnip bag to mark his spot and provide a trail.
It was then he noticed the four immense jaculi staring at him from the trees. Reacting swiftly, Fats sprinted for the shrine wall, his string trailing him. He scaled it easily but the serpents pursued him swiftly. On top of the shrine Fats spied a similar glowing circle, this time in green.
The party, having arrived via teleport circle looked eagerly for Fats. Bitey scented the tabaxi and led Blackstripe in the direction of the catnip bag. Following, Wynni spied the large serpents scaling the shrine and attacked. Tharidorn likewise entered the battle, deadly icicles strafing the serpents. The heroes quickly dispatched the snakes but still no Fats in sight. This is because Fats had leapt from the shrine and engaged a jaculi along the back side of the shrine.
The immediate danger past, Fats decided to test the green circle. he appeared in front of I’jin’s shrine. he scaled the shrine once again only to come eye to eye with an enormous reptile peering over the roof of a building one street away! The scaled horror let out a mighty bellow and advanced through the streets. Fats…jumped back through the amber circle and rejoined his friends.
At the entrance to the temple of Moa, the party read the inscription above the door and walked down the hall, Fats taking the lead. About half way down they noticed arrow slits covered in webbing to their right and left. The narrow hallway did not allow for much in the way of mobility. Peering inside, they saw one room that held a snake statue with a puzzle cube in its jaws. The other room held a similar statue that had had its head removed, the puzzle cube on the ground.
“Moa teaches us that secrets hide the truth”
Walking forward, the party entered a room holding a pedestal with a puzzle cube atop it and a moss covered inscription. Eight statues with arrow-less bows stand around the room all facing the pedestal. Fats and Tharidorn checked out the room with the beheaded statue. Wynni cleaned off the moss and uncovered the story of Moa and Wongo.
That night, a su-monster broke into Ubtao’s palace and stole a pail of water for the Omuans. When the god came running to find it, the su-monster hid the pail in a jaculi’s burrow. Ubtao asked the jungle animals where his water was hidden, and Moa the jaculi was too honest to lie. When Wongo the su-monster found out how Moa had betrayed him, he vowed to catch the jaculi and eat him up.
Having read the inscription and knowing Moa prizes honesty AND that he mentions truth coming from the serpent’s jaws, Tharidorn and Fats head to the other statue while Wynni and Blackstripe investigate the main room and broken statue. Tharidorn notices that there is a green gem that has fallen out of its housing in the mouth of the intact statue. He replaces it and the stone jaws of the serpent retract to allow them to take the puzzle cube.
Tharidorn then takes the green gem.
All eight statues attack with Bitey taking serious hits. Tharidorn fireballs the room as Wynni and Blackstripe endure the bulk of the first volley. As the statues advance, Tharidorn returns the gem to it’s housing and the statues return to their posts…the destroyed one reforming and the others all repairing any damage.
Blackstripe mentions that she’s located a pit trap in the entryway but that it is only 5 feet across. Wynni sees that green slime is at the bottom. Fats stands on the side of the wall and moves to help Tharidorn walk out. The pair narrowly escape falling into the it a the rest of the hallway collapses.
While Blackstripe ponders her means of exit, Wynni decides to look at the pedestal. A puzzle cube sits upon it. She decides to pick it up which causes the statues to again arm their bows and attack. As she tries to replace the cube is evaporates into greenish vapor.
Again taking withering fire, Bitey dodges the incoming hail of arrows. Fats attempts to shield Blackstripe. Thinking fast, Wynni casts Dispel Magic on the pit trap which causes the pit dividers to spring up, allowing the party to springboard out of the shrine!
Briefly resting and tending to Bitey, Tharidorn inspects the cube when a second lizardfolk spirit emerges from the lantern, this one bearing feathers and a staff. ” Wee Jas protects. I must always speak the truth. I am Runt. I will help you. ” The spirit then walked into Tharidorn.
Returning to the I’jin temple via the green teleporter, the party scouted and spied the feather crowned Tyrannosaur farther up the main path. They made their way to the new temple they spied earlier. Approaching the shrine to Wongo, Wynni stood aghast as the voices of hundreds of monkeys assailed her ears as she passed between the obelisks at the entrance. Casting Speak with Animals she heard many varied calls by the simian horde. Tharidorn likewise cast Speak with Animals but heard only variants of “Moa will die” over and over. Approaching the shrine the party saw 5 paths leading in with Tharidorn seeing the central path having a pedestal far within it. They read the inscription.
Better to be Wongo’s friend than his enemy.
The shrine had a central room with a pedestal upon which a large evil looking monkey balanced upon his tail, hands and feet cupped to either side of him. Reading the inscriptions, the party surmises they must be / find Wongo’s friend.
“Wongo’s friend knows the where to pour the water”.
They must also pour water into the correct appendage. Stone masks are carved into the sides of the walls and it isn’t long before Blackstripe has looked through the lion mask and Fats has looked through the remainder. Each bears an inscription and they decide that the Vulture was Wongo’s friend and to pour water into the left hand. Tharidorn had remained outside, fearing that the spirit of Moa inside him could trigger a response. But he advances to use Mage Hand to our the water. Fats joins him. As the water pours, the portcullis above each entry slams down and a puzzle cube emerges from Wongo’s mouth. A harsh rasping voice echoes through the chamber.
“Take the prize and curse your friends or fight my children to claim it. What is your choice?”