While Thassilo headed back to the tavern because Octavious suddenly got sick, and Skitter stayed in the entry chamber digging through the moat for more treasure, Trellyan and Will stepped into the next chamber past the gate to the old temple of the Deep One.
- Portal Cavern -
Inside, they found a circular room with 4 alcoves and a shallow pool in the middle. Starting clockwise from the door, there was a shark statue, a whale statue, an empty pedestal and a crocodile statue in each alcove.
After some initial trial and error, the party remembered that these represent the servants of the Deep One: the hunter (shark), the singer (whale), the trickster (octopus) and the guardian (crocodile).
Trellyan found the octopus head inside the pool, hidden at the bottom through an optical illusion. He found that the eyes of the octopus could be pushed in, and a glowing rune appeared inside the pool.
Will then (unwillingly) found out that the hunter was asking for blood, when he accidentally cut a finger on a tooth. This activated a second rune.
The third rune was unlocked when Trellyan created an octarina by shaping water, and played three notes that were faintly heard behind the statue.
The fourth rune was unlocked when Will held a torch to warm the crocodile.
This activated a portal inside the pool, and the stairs that originally only led a few steps into the pool now led way down, beyond the reach of their eyes.
- Stairwell -
Will and Trellyan continued down the stairwell, where suddenly two ethereal tentacles dropped from the ceiling, one grabbing Will around the neck. His first attempt at cutting it off didn't succeed, but with Trellyan's help he managed. That's when the second tentacle threatened to wrap around Trellyan's throat and rip his head off, but with quick reflexes Will could step in and deflect the attack with his shield.
Next they came across a large block of stone that fell from the ceiling, with a poor sod trapped under it. With his entire lower body squished, he should be dead, but a strange magic kept him zombified and somewhat talky. As it turns out, he was hired by a lady named Xerxena to venture down below.
Skitter then caught up with the group, and took point. A few meters down the stairs he accidentally triggered a trap that spewed a slimy grease down the stairs below. Even worse, he accidentally stepped on an illusory stair two steps down and could barely retreat his foot before he fell.
The party tied a rope around the big block back up, and Skitter made a jump across. Will tried the same, but even though he was secured by a rope his foot and hand slipped and he fell a few feet down a spiky pit. He managed to drag himself up again with Trellyan's help, but it took quite a bit of bandaging to patch his feet back together.
- Ziggurat Chamber -
The party entered a giant, rectangular chamber, with a moat around the outer perimeter. Two stairwells led down to the moat from where they entered. From there, big stepping stones crossed the moat. Unfortunately, as Skitter noticed, Ironfin had commissioned another shark, one that could shoot laser beams from his eyes. After some debate, the party decided to fight the shark, with Skitter taking the plunge into the moat and the rest of the party shooting it from the sides. After a harsh battle, a Ray of Frost from Trellyan finished it off.
Immediately, they were greeted by a slow-clapping Thrall woman. Her skin was tattooed in black and white to give her the appearance of a skeleton. She carried a massive two-handed sword on her back. Behind her shuffled to zombiefied hirelings.
She introduced herself as Xerxena. She immediately offered the party to work together. She was willing to give them half of the treasure they uncover, as long as she would walk away with the piece of the Jolly Roger. Trellyan pointed out that they could demand the same, to which she offered that yes, they could have the Jolly Roger, with the veiled threat that she would spread rumors of their possession and every pirate and assassin in the vicinity would seek them out.
Before the matter could be resolved, zombies started to assemble around them, dragging themselves up from the moat and piecing together from the parts of defeated zombies. The party ended up running up to the top of the ziggurat to make a stand, and as the zombies kept coming, escaped through the sarcophagus at the top.
That's where Trellyan insisted they go back and check the other buildings around the ziggurat that they hadn't investigated yet. Trellyan, with some help from Skitter, built a gunpowder bomb and threw it among the zombies around the sarkophagus. A loud boom later, most of the area was killed, and remaining zombies quickly dispatched by Will and Xerxena.
The party then investigated the pond of the whale, without quite figuring out the secret it holds.
In the temple of the shark, they found that a bow had already been looted from a statue.
In the crypt of the octopus, Trellyan somehow managed to walk through a wall and return with a staff.
In the ziggurat of the crocodile, Will carefully extracted a snake amulet without being constricted to death by two large boas, thanks to some help from the witch queen.
- Rest for the night -
The party then headed on through the sarcophagus again, and found a nice fresh water stream which they followed up. They found a larger cave with a bridge and a treasure on top of it, which turned out to be a mimic. The mimic was no match for Skitters daggers though.
- Treasure chamber -
The next day, the group found the main vault, protected by a heavy iron door. With help from Xerxena and Trellyan, which Skitter managed to disarm all traps and open the door. (With Trellyan looting a one-use wand of fireball).
Inside the vault were two giant skeletons and a bone naga waiting. Xerxena had known of the naga through a scrying spell she had spend a small fortune on, and brought a special spear to dispatch it. In a rather anti-climactic fight, she quickly took down the naga in three strikes, while the rest of the party took care of the giants.
The session ended with Xerxena and the group in a standoff over the destroyed guardians, waiting for who would make the first move for the piece of jolly roger that hangs above their heads.