From the Elemental Plane of Fire, the group consisting of Arcaelus, Brightiron, Doctor Roqet, Gilda, and Nuria have journeyed far and endured many difficult moments while inside the Vault of Wonders. From terrifying denizens from different realms, to the hazards of ever-shifting rooms, and deadly traps. After escape almost certain doom, the group found themselves deeper into the Vault with continued hopes of finding the treasure deep within. Their continued expedition led them a large room with equally large statue until a crimson barrier erupted around the exits preventing no escape for what awaited them.
A loud hum resonated throughout the large room, the obsidian jeweled eyes glowed from the hulking statue in the center, and a crimson energy surrounded the exits to the room. The group poised for danger, but unsure of how to escape their current predicament. Brightiron thought to remove the jeweled eyes from the statue but there were firmly still planted into the object, Nuria and Arcaelus could hear sounds of unpleasant creatures approaching the room. Rainer and Roqet hid between the exits in the hopes of surprising whatever approached. Gilda propped her warhammer next to her side with her shield ready.
Large creatures of various sizes and widths, many with claws and teeth began to pour from two of the exits and into the room. The onslaught began with Brightiron tried his mettle with the warhammer gifted to him by a spiritual merchant back in the City of Brass. The sound of thunder rained with every successful strike from the weapon. Arcaelus unleashed spells to slow down the enemy combatants in the hopes of granting his friends more time to determine how to how to break free from the apparent trap. Roqet and Rainer picked off stragglers from the pack of fiendish creatures, the large muscle-bound bard smacked several creatures with his golden brass knuckles, while Rainer slipped through the crowds with his Nether weapon. The fiends ranged from short stubby things to winged ones with large bird-like beaks and claws but more and more kept coming down the corridors.
Brightiron decidedly struck the statue with his hammer and after a few mighty swings, the statue collapsed and released a wave of infernal energy. All except Nuria took some heat from the shattered statue, once the barrier was gone, it did not take much to persuade the fiends to flee. It was becoming a battle of attrition for the group, with no possible end in sight. They could only fathom the reason why so many other creatures were trapped within this space, if not for similar reasons as well. Gilda was unsure where she fitted with all everything, she retrieved a broken gem that hung on her like a necklace. The dwarf cleric remained lost in her thoughts, staring idly at the broken gem while the group tended to their wounds. The longer she stared at the broken gem, the more she believed she could hear soft whispers emanating from it until a soft glow bloomed from it.
Arcaelus approached the bewildered dwarf, asking if such a thing had ever happen in the past. Gilda replied that the broken gem had glowed many times before, and it always resulted in her going somewhere else. She wasn’t sure where some of the places were but knew that the gem was linked to her in some way. The glowing now was different, she said, remarking that it began to softly pulse like a heartbeat. Arcaelus recognized this pulsing as it eerily reminded him of Aydan’s Animus Gem that found back in Illinathar. The wizard felt uneasy with the appearance of another potential Gem of Azuroth but determined that its appearance only confirmed one possible notion: the Vault of Wonders housed another gem as well.
Arcaelus informed Rainer of his revelations, both were not quite fond with the prospect that another Gem of Azuroth was at work again. Though their pressing concern of surviving the impossible Vault was at the forefront of their minds, they decided they would deal with the gems when the opportunity presented itself. After tending to their wounds, the group chose another corridor to follow until they found themselves in a large room that resembled some elaborate ballroom. The group walked with trepidation until another rumble occurred again, this time parts of the floor began to collapse into a seemingly infinitely dark abyss to nowhere. The group ran for their very lives until the found a tall set of stairs and climbed it to the top. The wood and stone eventually stopped and the group narrowly avoided certain death.
Gilda’s gem began to glow brighter, which made Arcaelus suspect that the other gem was not far. At the end of a long corridor, a large set of metallic doors with etchings of a great battle stood between them and whatever was beyond. The dwarf’s gem pulsed quicker and brighter now, they were certainly close. Gilda recognized the drawings from an ancient battle between two forces, fighting over a mystical gem or some kind. One of the kings who lost was forced to safeguard the gem for all of eternity while the other buried the fallen king. The doors were heavy but with the goliath, it seemed rather easy to push inward.
Before they advanced further, the group heard rattling behind one of the columns only to find another fire genasi, a tiefling, and an azer. It was the other group they had managed to evade back in the Elemental Plane of Fire. Nuria introduced the group to her supposed step-brother, along with her ex-boyfriend of a tiefling. The azer was simply a guide that was hired to traverse through the wilds of the elemental plane. Nuria’s brother inquired if they managed to drive the illithids away, to which Arcaelus grew increasingly worried for the wizard had only heard tales of the foul creatures and planned to never encounter them. The group inform them that they had not run into any of the foul creatures though few even knew that to look for, knowing that the supposed “treasure” was possibly beyond those doors, there was a temporary truce. Unfortunately, the goliath barbarian did not believe to share the spoils and entombed them in a single sarcophagus, placing a heavy boulder on top of it. Now the competition was out of the picture.
Inside, the group found a desert room with an altar at the top of a set of stairs, there were several columns filled with more imagery from the door. They approached deeper into the room until the dwarf’s gem glowed brightly and emitted its own wave of energies. Arcaelus, Brightiron, and Rainer worried something would happen and prepared themselves for whatever foul powers awakened with the power of the accursed gem. From the sides of the large room, the party noticed tall sarcophagi that rattled until wrapped skeletal arms bursted through them. At the top of the altar, another skeletal arm erupted outward, a small and ominous chant began to sound throughout the room. The door behind them abruptly closed, even the goliath’s strength was not enough to open it again as a magical seal prevented him from doing so. A tall, linen-wrapped skeletal figure with a golden crown stood at the top of the altar, speaking on an ancient tongue that none of the group could decipher. The group had little recourse but to fight for their lives now.
The group were assaulted by the powerful undead, along with the conjured swarms of locusts, gripping sands, and foul curses bestowed upon them. Nuria and Gilda tried to fend off the undead with their divine connections but resorted to summoning their spiritual guardians instead. Arcaelus became cursed and his spells backfired on him, while Brightiron wailed on the undead husks that advanced closer and closer to the group. Rainer was stuck in a hard place between protecting his friends while striking the enemy, not to mention being struck with the edges of spell after spell. Once the way became clear, Brightiron charged forward at the lead undead at the altar. The two squared off until Nuria unleashed a powerful column of divine flames on it. Eventually the last of the undead mummies fell and the group breathed a sigh of relief. At the top of the altar, the group found an ornate scroll which upon further inspection allowed them the ability to see anywhere. Countless names of places and locales in various languages spanned and swirled within the magical scroll. When asked about the Vault itself, an apparent map appeared that revealed its center where they hoped the true treasure resided.
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