Chapter 3: Will of the Couatl
Astral Date 003
As the room sealed shut, the portal that the party had entered through flickered back to life. Only two members of the party managed to get through before it was shorted out again by the rising waters. The pyramid’s curse shroud expanded and so did the shimmering veil that removed the hopeful’s halos of protection. After a little poking and prodding the group determined that the solution to this trap lied in the two 10 foot dials that had come up from the floor on opposite sides of the room. They were quite sturdy and needed to be turned at the same time. The first time the team managed this, Murk Dredges began slipping into the room with the water. They seemed determined to keep pulling the party away from their task. The waters continued to rise and the groups’ endurance was tested as they held their breaths trying to achieve four synchronized dial turns. The third turn was a turn for the worst as Kraken Tentacles bursts from the floor in the places where the statues had settled. The team was beaten and battered and pulled and held and nearly drowned, but the final turn was made and the room drained out through the now open door.
Down the wet staircase they crept cautiously approaching the unknown. The party arrived at a platform in a very wet room. They noticed a similar light to the ones that had previously granted them protection from the pyramid’s curses coming from four pedestals along the back wall. The entire area was filled with the curse haze and all those who hadn’t stepped in the immunity columns were seriously feeling the effects. The group also spotted some pressure plates and a trip wire. Most curiously though, they were only 10 feet away from the body of a dead Sphinx. It had obviously put up quite a fight. Its claws dripped with black blood and there was a thick trail of the stuff leading under a door near the pedestals.
The overzealous leader of the group immediately stepped of the platform with gusto. The team was surprised to find that he left a trail of light behind him that no one could cross. They tested the pedestals and gathered no leads. A little splitting up was in order because each person was leaving an impenetrable light wall in their wake. Some false walls were found and the team set out. The pyramid would not be so easily conquered though. Before they got to far they heard a guttural laughter that sounded like it was coming from the walls themselves. It eventually focused and faded into the sealed room from before, and then its door began to rise.
The giant room was quadrisected again and each corner held an elemental manifestation to match the column of light it protected. The fire section contained a caged fire elemental which scorched the room back and forth like a blow torch. The earthen sector had a gravity elemental which hindered ranged weaponry and cause chunks of ceiling to fall down on the team. The air quadrant contained a wind elemental in cyclone form threaten to suck up and spit out anyone caught in it’s path. Lastly the area that first appeared to be normal water was actually a pit of Astral Sea “water.” Additionally, these areas were patrolled by Fire, Earth, Storm, and Star Mephits respectively. Once the door fully raised, the party was confronted with the manifestation of the pyramid itself, a Beholder Eye Tyrant. Under normal circumstances it would probably have disintegrated the whole lot of them on sight, but its central eye had been clawed to bits by the Sphinx. Its eye stalks were more than enough to take out these lowly intruders, so it charged in anyway.
The party used a little awkward maneuvering to keep most of enemies at bey while they figured out the final puzzle. A few rays were fired (Searing, Confusion, Disintegration) and a few traps were triggered (Floor Spikes, Tripwires, Poison Darts), but they made consistent progress in acquiring their protective halos. Along the back passage Yuusha and Kasabian found room loaded with treasures. Luckily their keen eyes spotted a pretender amongst the chests and they killed it before it could strike.
More careful navigation and some lucky whirlwind action allowed the group to deliver their halos of light to the central chamber and deactivate the pyramid. They found a portal in the room where the Tyrant had entered and jumped in prayed it was an escape route. Luckily for them it was. The tumbled out of the pyramid and found that the other two party members had long since returned to the boat and the crew was considering leaving because they party was assumed dead.
They failed at their task of getting this mysterious cube recharged, but on reflection they realized there had never been any person or place that could do such a thing… Had they been sent of a fool’s errand? The party is back on their craft, but they’re abandoned in a desert in the elemental chaos fleeing a pyramid that’s sinking into the abyss. Time to regroup! But what’s going on up their in the World Fall!?