With this single word, the seven foot tall, 460 pound Rakshasa Sorcerer who’d been posing as I-am-not the Kobold Wizard caused the ratipede to vomit Weddumlir Aleshield the Dwarf Sheild Knight of Baldnoggin onto the LIBRARY carpet, freeing him from certain death.
Acindor the Human Fighter, Odin Thunderhammer the Dwarf Fighter, Dumplin Ages the Halfling Barbarian and her devils dogs, Meldor Ironforge the Dwarf Wizard, Nathan Garney the Human Cleric of Everly, and Kudac the Half-Orc Cleric of Baldnoggin stared at the rakshasa with equal parts suspicion and awe. Half of them assumed he was just some sort of tiger man. The others knew the rakshasa from stories as outsider fiends who worked for dark outsider gods. Trouble by any other name.
This one had been in their midst for at least since they’d faced the red dragon Pyrrha Imperium, perhaps earlier. Maybe even as early as when the front gates of Obscurus‘ MANSION had suddenly opened, much to the consternation and surprise of the kobolds who guarded it. What was it doing with them? What was it up to? Was it helping them? Or did it only look like that? Was it behind the dark forces that kidnapped Kaid the Goliath Barbarian, David the Half-Elf Wizard, Fil the Half-Elf Cleric of Zephyr, and Clementine the Aasimar Paladin of the outsider god Bahumut?
I-am-not surveyed them with a steady gaze, fully aware of their suspicions. While the considered him, he commanded the animated chained bookshelf under his thrall to move to block the elevator in anticipation of the Red Circle’s arrival. Acindor decided that determining the rakshasa’a intentions would have to wait until later. With the Red Circle in pursuit, they needed to find an exit quickly.
Meldor heard the voice of Obscurus speaking to him telepathically, urging him to fly up to the next level of the magical Library. Deciding to trust their host, Meldor flew up to the next floor and came to hover around the fireplace. There he noticed a sunburst pattern on the floor, a small circle within a larger circle divided into segments. One of the segments was decorated with a set of footprints.
The rakshasa cast dimensional door and appeared beside Meldor. Noting the pattern on the floor, I-am-not magically suggested that Meldor should stand on the footprints. When Meldor complied, he felt something click beneath his feet. A moment later, the floor segments began descending forming a spiral staircase. When the gravity stairs came to rest at the floor below. When the last member of the party had passed him, Meldor too made his way up the stairs. The stairs followed him up.
As the moved away from the first floor, they noted that the elevator was making its way to the ground level. When the lofty doors opened, the animated bookshelf began chain whipping the occupants, causing them to shut the doors hastily and pick a new floor.
The party quickly spitballed ideas to impede the Red Circle. Thinking quickly, the rakshasa cast a minor illusion, making it appear to the elevator’s occupants had the lift had stopped between floors.
Meanwhile, Obscurus mentally suggested to Meldor that he fly up to the third floor. Meldor had little trouble locating another set of gravity stairs. Dutifully, he stood on the activation step to cause the stairs to descend to his comrades.
As they raced up to the LIBRARY’s third level, the elevator doors opened on the second floor. Confounded by the rakshasa’ s illusion, the War’tode members of the Red Circle leaped out of the elevator but overcompensated, supposing they were stuck between floors. As a result, they leapt too high and ended up bouncing off the ceiling. The War’todes landed in an angry heap, their heads sore. As they got to their feet, they spotted their quarry getting away on the ascending gravity stairs. Activating the clawed mechanism on their left arms, they shot out a grapnel line to the third floor. When the grapnel anchored itself, it pulled its respective shooter through the air to the third level.
The tortle member of the Red Circle stayed in the elevator, choosing instead to pilot the lift to another floor.
Dumplin Ages considered the War’todes and informed her death dogs, “We’re going to stay away from the frog people. The frog people are bad news.”
Realizing that there was probably another set of gravity stairs on the top level, Meldor flew up to the fourth floor. Unlike the other levels, only one slim corridor bounded by a balcony overlook accessed the elevator at the level. Curiously, there was what appeared to be the frame of a portal at the end of the balcony corridor in front of which was a pedestal upon which was a conspicuous tome. None of the elevator accesses had such a doorway frame. The dwarf wizard realized it must have something to do with the book of magic on the lectern.
Meanwhile, the rakshasa appeared behind two of the War’tode assassins and gave them a shove over the balcony. One fell three stories all the way to the ground floor. The other reacted quickly enough to use his grapnel shooter mid-fall to swing down to the second floor.
As Meldor activated the gravity stairs, the tortle spellcaster emerged from the elevator onto the fourth floor. Seeing Meldor, he created a cloud of daggers between the dwarf wizard and himself, blocking access to either the elevator or the inactive portal.
Odin Thunderhammer threw his javelin at the closest War’tode to him, spearing him in the side. Still unwilling to engage the frog-people, Dumplin Ages urged her death dogs to run for the gravity stairs, “Go! Go!” The death dogs enthusiastically bounded toward the stairs.
The rakshasa formerly known as I-am-not picked up the injured Wart’ode assassin by the legs and swung him like a club at the other War’tode, but his target used its grapnel shooter to escape to the fourth floor. The War’tode the rakshasa used as a weapon squirmed free. The 400-pound sorcerer barred his tiger teeth at the assassin which intimidated him so badly that he immediately fled. His grapnel shooter allowed him to retreat to the fourth floor behind the tortle.
Weddumlir made his way to the fourth floor, but the moment he gazed upon the tortle assassin, he saw a vision of a Red Circle that sprouted spider legs. He froze in fear. Acindor likewise saw a vision of the Red Circle and found himself running away from the tortle through the LIBRARY’s fourth floor stacks.
Kudac, who had already had a first impression of the Red Circle, was now immune to their sorcerous effect. Seeing no way past the cloud of daggers, the half-orc cleric readied himself for battle. Nathan Garney ascended the gravity stairs and tookstock of the situation. He noted the conspicuous portal behind the Redd Circle assassins and the equally suspicious magical tome. He also realized that this floor shouldn’t exist since Obscurus’ MANSION was only a three-story structure with the exception of the OBSERVATORY. Deciding it was noteworthy, he advised his comrades that the floor they were on shouldn’t exist and that magic was likely involved and then cast sacred flame at the tortle. The tortle turned around and took the brunt of the assault on its shell, minimizing the spell’s effect. The attack was sufficient to break the tortle’ s concentration, dissipating the cloud of daggers.
The War’tode on the first floor got to his feet and attempted to use his grapnel to ascend to help his comrades, when the ratipede attacked him. The ratipede picked him up and shook him like a terrier shaking a rat. While the Red Circle assassin managed to squirm free, he was tossed unceremoniously across the floor in a bloodied heap.
Unaware of his comrade’s plight, the War’tode on the second floor aimed his grapnel shooter at the rakshasa on the third floor. The sorcerer moved just in time. As it whizzed past his face and retracted back to the War’tode, the rakshasa considered the assassin with an air of offended anger. The War’tode hiding behind the tortle was still too shaken by his encounter to act, while the remaining War’tode on the fourth floor had to contend with a jammed grapnel shooter. Seeing that his comrades were out-of-sorts, the tortle cast a spell to bring the odds back in their favor.
The adventurers saw something shimmer into place where the cloud of daggers had been. At first, they weren’t really sure what they were looking at. Then they noticed a few books floating in that space as if they were drifting through in slow motion through water or…
“Jelly!” Odin spat, having just made his way up the gravity stairs and realized what they were seeing.
Dumplin Ages began sending her death dogs up the stairs too. Meldor chomped at the bit, knowing he had to stay on the last step of the gravity stairs until his comrades ascended.
The rakshasa reached up to the fourth floor railing and hefted himself up. The War’tode fled in terror, leaping down to the floor below to escape the rakshasa, hurting his knee in the process. The tortle’ s eyes narrowed when he saw the rakshasa. The tortle hastily spoke a word that surrounded himself in a silvery mist and used his misty step spell to place himself on the third floor below the gelatinous cube.
Weddumlir stared hard at the gelatinous cube, recalling their encounters with the Corrupted. “Hand me a torch!” Weddumlir shouted at Acindor as he thrust into Acindor’s pack impatiently.
“What are you doing?” Acindor protested. “get out of my stuff!”
Wedd ignored him and snatched the torch.
Kudac and Acindor both sacred flame at the War’tode nearest them, damaging it mightily.
Nathan Garney flipped his sacred coin to Ripley, praying for guidance. For his effort, he received a brief vision of the book on the podium glowing and then the portal glowing shortly afterward. While he knew that they needed to get past the gelatinous cube that blocked the entire balcony corridor in order to reach the book and portal, Nathan decided he really didn’t like the idea of a foe at their rear, so he too cast sacred flame at the War’tode Kudac and Acindor had targeted, bloodying it.
The War’tode on the first floor used his grapnel shooter to retreat to the second floor. The War’tode on the third floor targeted Odin with its grapnel shooter. The grapnel locked onto Odin, piercing armor and flesh. A moment later, the grapnel line retracted causing the War’tode assassin to fly through the air toward Odin. It slashed Odin with its razor edged shield as it sailed past him. Odin tried to attack the offending War’tode with his hammer but he missed.
The tortle, also on that floor, moved to a position beneath the majority of the adventurers on the fourth floor.
The War’tode on the fourth tried to similarly attack Kudac, but his shot missed, Kudac tried to catch the grapnel line as it passed by him, but it missed and retracted back to the assassin’s shooter gauntlet.
While she wanted nothing to do with the frog folk, Dumplin Ages did not hesitate to sicc her death dogs on the tortle. The tortle used his staff to deftly move the first death dog out of the way as its snapping jaws passed by. The second death dog managed to savage him before the tortle was able to fend the two-headed creature off. The tortle staggered as the death dog’s poisonous bite began to take effect.
The rakshasa stepped out of the cube’s range and then cast levitate on the suspicious book and then scooped it up in its backpack.
Weddumlir’ s impatient reached its end. He cast scorching ray at the tortle spellcaster. The burned and bloodied tortle locked gazes with Meldor and growled something in its language that sounded suspiciously like a threat.
Weddumlir tossed his torch at the gelatinous cube. He expected the cube to ignite but his grin vanished as the torch entered the jelly and snuffed out with a hiss. As he watched it float inside the cube, he realized that this cube was like the Corrupted Jelly he’d faced in the CHAMBER OF CORRUPTION. The attack had very little effect on the cube.
Weddumlir started to reach into Acindor’s pack again, but the human fighter told him, “Use your own stuff. I’m not your packbearer!”
“Right,” Wedd said, setting his jaw. Having no means to really attack it yet since the spellcaster s were otherwise occupied, he said a prayer to Baldnoggin and cast his sureshield’ s force field to keep the cube from attacking them in the meantime.
Kudac used his mace to attack the War’tode the party had been targeting on the fourth floor. The hit was solid and left the War’tode assassin staggering on his feet. Acindor cast sacred flame, knocking it back toward the balcony rail. Nathan cast sacred flame at the barely conscious War’tode, who staggered backward over the balcony rail and fell four stories to his death.
The ratipede startled as it landed next to it unexpectedly. The monster turned its gaze skyward, realizing live prey was readily available above him.
The gelatinous cube surged forward to engulf Weddumlir but his force field held and the creature was only able to move him backward a few inches.
The War’tode who’d been intimidated by the rakshasa was snapped out of his cowardice by his brother’s death. He shot a hurried grapnel at the rakshasa but missed. The War’tode on the second floor used his grapnel to join his comrade and the third floor.
Likewise outraged and partially blinded by the pain of his injuries, the tortle caused black tentacles to erupt from the floor in the space in front of him. Both of the War’tode assassins took bludgeoning damage from the tentacles and found themselves hurt hard in their grip. Odin and one of Dumplin Ages’ death dogs within range of the tentacles were both in the tentacles area but both managed to deftly escape their grasp`. The tortle howled in outrage realizing he’d only managed to hurt his own comrades with his vengeful spell.
The ratipede climbed up the elevator shaft and emerged on the third floor.