With health and Karma pools restored, the party with the Unchained returned to the Temple and descended through the levels to their farthest point of exploration. Through the door where Dremnin had sprung a needle trap and in the halls beyond, they found two burial chambers with a total of five large sarcophagi, one of which was broken and empty. As these were dead name givers associated with Rashoman, the Unchained left them undisturbed.
Through the next doorway, which had been beaten down by the last two stone giants, they found hallways going north and south off into the darkness. Dremnin found evidence of Trejak following the south passage, so they set off with the scout in the lead and Urgral following closely, ready and alert for any sign of trouble. A long straight passage turned left at the end, then after a very short walk through a small room they turned left again and came face to face with a raised platform where one of the stone giants had rested. A short walk to the right revealed that there was a door in the center of a long wall along the left side of this wide hallway, with an empty platform on either side of the door. Trejak had made no attempt to enter the door, so the Unchained left it alone.
The footsteps showed where Trejak walked down a long, wide staircase located on the right wall of the hallway with the statue bases, further into the Temple, so the Unchained followed cautiously. At the end of the staircase, the party entered what must have been a large receiving hall, with double columns along the outer walls, and an open concourse down the center. As the group walked into the hall, they seemed to scatter as they investigated. Someone saw movement down inside a large hole in the floor, and as Dremnin walked closer to investigate, the trap was sprung on them all.
In the flash of an eye each member of the group was separated from the others by the sudden appearance of a maze of high walls, with each wall being constructed by what seemed to be a mesh of steel-like threads. There was just enough room for a name giver to walk between the walls of the maze, and Dremnin found himself alone, listening to the sounds of surprise from his friends who were hidden in such situations all around him. The sound of a strangled cry from the ork Grodnag let them all know he was being attacked, and all around the maze the Unchained tried to move and find each other. Apparently the spiders, known as Jehuthra, had no trouble negotiating the maze as they seemed able to pass through its walls without pausing. Skram and Urgral apparently found at least one Jehuthra in their section of the maze, as the sounds of battle rang out accompanied by the squeals of injured spiders.
Dremnin found Vridich in a wide spot in one room, and they were soon joined by Stilicho. As they tried to determine how to react, Suulin came running to them from the west followed by Dagmar. The light from Dremnin’s bullseye lantern lit the little clear area, and Dremnin saw movement advancing toward them from the northeast.
Before anyone could react, a Jehuthra popped in through the wall in the passage to the south and cast what appeared to be a web on Dremnin, encasing him in a sticky cocoon of icy, acidic webbing. As Stilicho turned to attack the Jehuthra that had encased Dremnin, another came in behind him and immobilized Suulin in a similar web cocoon as she tried to free Dremnin. However, Skram then appeared from the northeast, followed by Urgral, and the three Unchained made short work of both spiders. With the spiders defeated, the walls of their maze fell and the web cocoons dissolved. The Unchained gathered four Jehuthra webs from the receiving hall as treasure for their troubles. Alas, the ork, Grodnag, had succumbed to the Jehuthra and was no more. His passing was unlamented.
Another set of stairs beckoned them at the opposite end of the chamber from whence they had entered, so the party once again descended lower into the Temple proper. As they emerged from the staircase, they found themselves in a long, narrow ceremonial hall which had statutes along the walls in several places. As they advanced through the Temple, ahead of them they spotted a circle of light that seemed to be moving. As the party drew nearer, Urgral and Dagmar recognized it as something called a Spectral Dancer. It was the work of a Horror, whereby a name giver was killed and trapped in a kind of stasis from which they could not communicate. In this case, a lovely elvish woman danced and smiled, inviting one of the Unchained to join her. Dagmar said that only by someone dancing with her could she be freed.
First casting Abate Curse, Urgral stepped up to dance with her and she moved to join him. It took a few moments, and those observing saw Urgral gracefully swirling around the dance floor with her, but then the Horror Stalker broke the curse and the dancer disappeared. Her curse was ended and her soul was now at peace. Thus the group reformed and moved toward the end of the Temple, where they saw what had been a concealed doorway now lying open and silent. Trejak’s footsteps led within, so the group followed warily.
Inside the secret room, the Unchained found Trejak standing quietly, smiling at them and welcoming them. Around him lay assorted pottery, some broken and spilling what appeared to be ashes on the floor. There was a pile of books scattered in one section of the floor, and a central ceremonial table held what appeared to be ritual garments and a battle axe. Along the back wall of the room was a large chest. There was no sign of a monstrous Horror in the secret chamber; only a quiet, smiling Trejak.
Trejak was the human slaver who had captured a then naïve Skram while he traveled in the wilderness and sold him into slavery, so the Taildancer moved forward and swung his Thunder hammer with all his might, driving the smiling slaver to the floor. Trejak made no effort to defend himself and received the full weight of the blow, which wounded him grievously. This made Skram stop, and all the Unchained looked on Trejak with suspicion, for he was usually a cringing, evil man. Urgral looked at the slaver with Astral Sight and immediately knew that the slaver was fully possessed by the Horror that had defiled the Temple. Thus the Unchained bound him and held him on the floor while they searched for and gathered the treasure found in the room.
Now they had to decide what to do with the Horror in Trejak. Dremnin suggested that Stilicho pray to Rashoman for guidance, as this was Rashoman’s own Temple and Stilicho was his only Questor. The scout mentioned that the Horror may be bound in this room through some special defensive magic, and that they had better make sure what they were doing before they took Trejak and his possessing Horror outside that room. Once outside the wards, the Horror might be freed to run amok. Killing the slaver would probably mean that the Horror would simply infest one of the Unchained. For once, the slaver had performed a service to Barsaive, as he held the Horror within him where it could not be of any harm to others. At the least, they could simply seal Trejak inside the Temple and deal with the Horror later.
Now it was up to Stilicho to decide how to best handle this situation, and the Unchained waited.
5th Circle Scout Adept
Questor of Astendar