We loaded poor u-Heury’s body into the wagon, and made it to Eastdale without further incident. The prelate of St Ygg was quite willing to intercede on the boy’s behalf once we emptied our pockets. He will need weeks of bedrest before he can recover fully, and the rest of us were not at our best. I negotiated the sale of my load of lumber from Westkeep at precisely 10gp profit, and we discussed where to go next. Eventually we decided on the incandescent grotto, and a pair of new recruits spoke up, Invar and Draca. A wizard and a warrior, respectively. Draca was in full plate mail, clanking up a storm and moving very slowly. Eventually we got him to take it off and let the mule carry it. More henchmen weren’t really an option because our purses were all rather flat after donating to St Ygg. At least the commercial transaction is itself an act of worship to my lady of labor!
We came prepared to face the gurgling monster, but chose to explore the rooms behind the skeletons instead (since the skeleton’s were close by and the skeletons themselves were dead). We had a robe with us, one that Bern had found and determined was magical since he was last here. It is black silk and covered in weird magical writing that invar was about to read. Something about Dominion of the faceless.
Behind the skeleton doors is a u shaped corridor linked both doors together, and a new pair of doors. One has a melting skull (east) and the other a fist.
Stria put on the robe and opened the skull door, revealing a room filled with more robes. And Some kind of black ooze thing fell on Invar, who was right behind her. And unfortunately he had the lantern. It looked like he was dead right there, but the black thing wasn’t and we were out of light. I withdrew a bit and started trying to light a torch. Draca hit it with his sword and then with a crowbar; neither seemed effective. The thing ate his shield, and then took a couple bites out of him in return. Stria started passing out robes once I got my torch lit, and we lured the thing off of Invar; Ahnjela dragged the unconscious recruit our of the combat zone.
The ooze seemed afraid of the torches, and unwilling to attack anyone in a robe, so we all put them on. The ooze squeezed through cracks in the stone and returned to it’s ambush position. Ahnjela somehow manage to revive Invar, and I explained how healing works; I, Oscar, roll a small six sided die to determine how much to charge for the grace of Denara’s healing, and Denara heals a commensurate amount of their wounds. Both graciously donated to Her holy cause, and their wounds were fully healed.
I was accused of gambling with their lives, but I assured them I am a reformed gambler, and in fact I had joined the church of Denara because I had learned my lesson: the house always wins. As a priest of Denara, I am not gambling, I am running the game!
We took a few minutes to catch our breath, and Invar mentioned he had learned something from the experience of being oozed. I have no idea what that could possibly have taught him, but kudos for looking on the bright side!
We gathered up our coins and brought the kid’s body back to town. The Ygg priests were more than happy to bring him back to life in return for a boatload of money. He needs bedrest for a while, but he’ll be good as new. The rest of us pondered where to go next to find loot to refill our diminished coin pouches. Some wanted to go back to the Caves of Chaos, some the library, some the Grotto. Ended up going to the Grotto.
The party decided not to tackle the gurgling monster just yet. We tiptoed into the room the skeletons had been in, since we could go through their doors now, hoping not to make too much noise and alert the gurgler. The skeleton doors ended up connected by a half circle hallway. Two doors in that hallway, one with a skull on it, and one a fist. Then I guarded while people poked and prodded for secret doors or traps, babbling about what the robe might be for, and what to do. Invar said the design on the robe said something, but it was just another riddle. I finally put on the robe, since everybody else was too chicken shit to do it. Too much talking, and not enough doing. Oh, look at that, NOTHING HAPPENED. I was prevented from opening the fist door by some sort of static barrier. I went out to the closet room and tried that lever to see if something different happened if the person was wearing the robe. Not so much. Strobe lights and for a second I was overwhelmed by killing rage. Since I generally want to kill things all the time anyway, I managed not to succumb to doing it mindlessly. Tried the fist door again, but the lever didn’t do anything. I tried the skull door, and it opened.
I could dimly see a short hallway with robes on hooks. Then Invar came up behind me with his lantern, and something black and oily dropped onto him. I was pretty sure he was dead. His lantern also went out, plunging us into darkness. I grabbed three robes from the hooks. Threw one to Ahnjela, and one to Oscar, telling them to put it on. I couldn’t reach Draca, but tossed one for him over my shoulder while I tried in vain to light a torch. I was standing right next to the monster, but it ignored me. The monster attacked Draca, and he and Ahnjela hit it, but did no damage with edged or blunt weapons. We needed fire. Oscar finally got a torch lit and approached. Ahnjela retreated after lighting a torch from Oscar’s torch, and Oscar came up behind Draca. After I lit my torch from Oscar’s torch, I switched places with Draca, who was looking worse for wear. Oscar wanted me to go all the way around and flank the monster. He was right last time about going the long way around, but not this time. I was the only one with a robe on, since nobody listened to me about putting them on. I was the only one the monster wouldn’t attack. I was between the monster and the rest of the party. I had to stay where I was. I swiped at the monster with the torch, and it oozed its way back up to hide in the ceiling.
I tossed Draca the robe. Ahnjela started pounding on Invar’s chest, and he actually came to. The mage is tougher than he looks. I grabbed a robe for him too and bullied everyone into putting the damned robes ON, not draped over their shoulders. Invar and Draca negotiated with Oscar for healing, which his goddess granted, and we let them rest before continuing on.