After gathering up the treasure and items they were searching for from this large chamber, our heroes decided that a bit of rest was needed in order to regain their drained abilities. Kel tried to bless the area in hopes of beating down the evilness of the place if just for a little while while they rested. A couple bandages of recovery, a number of healing spells and nearly a full day of rest happened before they were ready to continue on. During this resting period Zerak did some looking into the strange viscous liquid on the table that Vadin Cartwright had. He determined that the substance was made from the substance of the Abyss and it gave off a most certainly evil aura. And so he warned everyone not to touch it or even get too close to it.
First up was the cleansing and re-consecration of the secret temple/altar to Sarenrae. Jobi worked very hard to get this area cleaned and ready for it to receive Sarenrae's blessings once again. When all the candles were in place and lit and the incense was burning on the freshly cleaned altar, Jobi knelt down and began her chant:
She had to repeat this chant for two full hours without interruption. The rest of the party waited outside the secret doors, for there was no real room to stand without fear of knocking over a candle (which also could not happen for a successful ritual). They watched all around for any signs that something evil may try to come and interrupt her and they did not have to wait for very long. About half an hour into the ritual, seven shadows materialized out of the walls and started to converge on Jobi.
Zola immediately resorted to using her searing light spells to attack the evil creatures from afar, thus avoiding stepping into the room and possibly disturbing the candles. Her spells were very deadly to the shadows, bring some of them down with just one casting. Blackwell started attacking using his magic bow and redirected its attention away from Jobi and onto him. Kel channeled positive energy, damaging nearly all of the shadows at the same time and got the attention of one of the shadows away from Jobi as well. Plus she used Moonbane, the sword that they were asked to retrieve since it had the ability to fully damage incorporeal undead. The shadow that focused on Kel was a bit more powerful than the others and after only a couple of successful hits by the shadow against her, she dropped to the floor because her strength was nearly gone, almost to the point of her dying and becoming a shadow herself!
Zerak had summoned a couple of lantern archons to try to distract the shadows in the temple from Jobi and summoned a hound archon to get in between the stronger shadow and Kel, hoping to distract it enough so it wouldn't kill Kel. It succeeded in prying it's attention from Kel but the lantern archons were much less successful and were not able to distract any away from Jobi.
Meanwhile the shadows in the room were basically beating on Jobi, draining her strength at an alarming rate. Fortunately, she was able to keep her concentration and not falter with the re-consecration ritual. Asphodel flew into the room and began attacking the shadows one at a time, using all of her physical attacks against a single foe until it was destroyed, which in this case, usually didn't take more than a round each. But even at this fast pace that they were able to vanquish these shadows, there were enough of them that they nearly killed Jobi as well. Her strength was just a depleted as Kel's was. It was the fact that the two women were on the verge of death and the ritual nearly disrupted that prompted Blackwell to use his Deck of Many Things Card to teleport into the room. He successfully avoided knocking any candles over and then attacked one of the last remaining shadows with his new ghost-touched sword and was able to destroy it before it had another chance to attack Jobi.
With all the shadows destroyed, Asphodel hovered in the temple near Jobi for the rest of the time she had to perform the ritual, since if Jobi sustained just one more hit from a shadow she would die and become one herself. Fortunately for our heroes no more shadows or evil creatures showed up to attempt to thwart their activities.
At the end of the ritual all the candles flared up and the whole room became as bright as the summer noon day sun. Our heroes saw Jobi, or rather just an outline of her since it was so bright, slump over at the end of her chanting then rise up and float in a bright light. They also heard her distant screams of pain and cries of joy. After a few minutes the bright light fades and Jobi slowly sank to the floor and gently collapsed on the hard stone floor. The party quickly wrapped her with more of the bandages of recovery and she slept for many hours. Upon the altar a silver holy symbol of Sarenrae and a crimson sash appeared. Once she awoke sh gathered up the items from the altar and the party continued to rest from the very draining battle with the shadows. Healing took several bandages of recovery, a number of healing and restoration spells and another full day for the party to feel ready to continue on.
In order to rest in safety, they decided to travel back to the elven encampment in the forested area near Garmore Abbey and (hopefully) impose a little on Sir Berrian and his companions. When they arrived at the clearing, they were greeted as friends and were quickly looked after since it was apparent to the elves that many of the group were suffering from injuries; ones that normally took a long time to heal. After our heroes described what had happened inside the first level of the the catacombs with Jobi cleansing a secret temple/altar to Sarenrae, the elves were truly happy for them and immediately set upon helping the injured with healing water from their wellspring, restoration spells, healing spells, and just plain good cooked food and a safe place to sleep.
When they were ready the next day or so, our stalwart band headed back up and down into Dragon's Roost towards the secret door they found in the large chamber. Blackwell was able to find and disable the traps on the door and once opened, revealed a long, narrow, steep-winding stairway heading further down into the depths of the Dragon Roost mound. When they reached the bottom of the stairs, a small landing ended in a blank wall and Blackwell found all three walls had traps on them. He deftly disabled all three of these and then found and unlocked the secret door. Asphodel attempted to quietly open the door, but the door was having none of that and made loud scraping and grinding noises. And unfortunately, this alerted the creatures in the room behind the door. They found nearly a dozen gnolls lounging around in a very large room. Zola quickly leaped out of the secret passage and engaged the closest gnoll and the battle was on!
This battle, though having many combatants, was not nearly as deadly as the battle with the undead in the rooms above. The gnolls called for reinforcements and soon there were nearly two dozen of the foul creatures to battle. But through some spell use, like black tentacles, lightning bolt, and summoning a rhino from Zerak, and mgic missiles from Jobi, some sneak attacks from Blackwell, plus some good old fashioned head bashing from Kel, Asphodel, and Zola. the party quickly made minced gnoll out of them and could then turn their attention to the room they found themselves in.
The party also finds another secret door in the wall almost directly opposite the secret door they had entered from. And this one also appears to not have been disturbed for many, many years.
Our adventures are taking a small break but will return in two week's time when we will discover what else is contained in the ancient minotaur halls below Bahamut's Dragon Roost Temple...