Here a huge octagon-shaped building with seven domes has been turned into an indoor forest. The seven domes are made of thick panes of clear glass that let sunlight filter into the garden forest. The domes are nearly 100 feet high. Many trees of various types, some reaching a height of 80 feet, are planted in the garden. Numerous flowers, grasses, and bushes have also been planted. A stream meanders through the forest, widening into a fountain-pool in the middle of the garden. The north-west section of the forest slopes upward to form a 20’ high hill. A 10’ wide path wanders through the garden. The path was designed as a kind of scenic tour. The plant growth here is so thick that they were only able to see into an area 10’ wide on either side of the path. Beyond this area, the forest grows too thickly for anything to be seen clearly. The most that can be noted are vague movements, swaying branches, etc.
They set off down the path.
The path runs southeast -northwest here, continuing forward in a series of S-shaped curves. The trees along this part of the path are larger than any trees you have seen thus far.
You hear branches rustling on both sides of the path. At the limit of your sight you see a number of grotesque shadowy forms to both sides of the road apparently following you.
They stopped for a moment to look around to make sure no one or nothing was following them. Still feeling odd and maybe somewhat paranoid, they moved on down the path.
Around a bend in the path they saw an amber-skinned woman with long golden hair sleeping in the middle of the path. A unicorn is sleeping next to her. The woman is wearing a dress the color of yellow daffodils. Her head rests on a rolled up saffron-colored cloak. One arm is draped around a small wooden chest.
They tried to sneak past the woman but she woke and began to speak with them. She asked their names. She said she was Kavitha and that she apologized for being so sleepy. This beautiful forest was so conducive to taking naps. She asked if they were guests of the house and if any of them had seen Flynrich, that she would like to speak with him. Nameless said that Flynrich was dead but they were looking for items that would help in getting him back from his tomb. Kavitha was confused at first but she did recognize a few of the names of the items that Nameless said they were looking for. Kavitha then said Oh, I do not think you will be bringing his tomb to you. Rather, you will be traveling to where-ever it now is located. I do not know for sure but my memories is long though I am young. She then brought her chest for all to see. This is magical chest. When I open it an item that the box has chosen for you will appear on top. Only take that item. Mason received 2 black pearls, Gilbee received moonstones, Stumbleduck received a plain looking stone, Cerridwen also received 2 black pearls, Nameless received 15 agates. They thanked her and she reminded them to let Flynrich know to stop by and see her. They asked about the door just to the south. She said it does not work. It will not open. Then they moved on down the path.
A 10’ wide wooden bridge spans a meandering stream. The path continues across the bridge. On the side of the bridge closest to you, you see a humanoid with the head and horns of a billygoat saying: “Please don’t eat me, Mr. Troll, my brothers, who are right behind me, are much bigger and fatter than I am.”
A deep gruff voice from beneath the bridge answers, “All right, you may pass, I’ll wait for your brothers.” The billygoat exits across the bridge.
They all went into stealth except Stumbleduck who stuck out like a sore thumb. He approached the bridge and saw a troll stick his head out from under the bridge:
“Trip, trap, trip, trap! “ went the bridge.
“Who’s that tripping over my bridge?” roared the troll. “Oh! I know it is that bilygoat’s brothers. Time for my meal!” And the troll climbed out and ran over to Stumbleduck. Gilbee said we are not those brothers, more of our brothers are coming behind us. They are even fatter than we are. The troll looked around and then stared at Stumbleduck. Are you some kind of ventriloquist? Nameless mentioned that they had not harmed his sister. The troll ignored him and went in to attack. The troll was tough but soon it was defeated from their combination of fire spells. Mason saw a small pile of rocks below the bridge. It looked like the troll had made the pile. Mason walked down to check it out. Gilbee said No! Stay on the path. I have been in too many enchanted forests. It was too late. Mason found what he thought was a geode but he would need to have someone open it to find out. It was the amber colored large crocodile followed by regular crocodiles that caught his attention. Nameless let the others know of the beasts and they all joined in to defeat them. Nameless remembered talks of a breed of crocodile that the Gamgees had bred, a gamgee crocodile. That is what the amber colored one was. The did a quick search and found that one of the crocodiles had an Alarm gem. They then moved on towards the center fountain.
In the center of the indoor forest is a circular pool of water. The pool is fed by a stream which wanders through the forest. In the middle of the pool is a fountain. The fountain is shaped like three interlinked gargoyles. The gargoyles spray water from their mouths. Embedded at the base of the trio of statues, you see the lid of a metal chest. The lid is padlocked.
Mason decided to check things out. Nameless pulled his hood up to be invisible and then climbed on Mason’s back. They were focused on the gargoyles and were surprised when the floor of the fountain began to move and a pseudopod reached up to grab Mason. The group attacked as the giant amoeba tried to make Mason its meal. Cerridwen cast Animal Friendship and asked the amoeba to stop attacking. The amoeba did so and made its way over towards where the stream met the fountain in the northwest corner of the area. Mason used a Chime of Opening to unlock the padlock. Inside he found 3,000sp and an ornate silver key. He remembered that they needed to first search for the Gate of the Silver Keys. He said we may need this to open that gate.
They did another search and then moved on. They came to a set of double doors to the north. Finding them unlocked, they went inside.
This large building is the Gamgee family chapel. Brightly colored stained glass windows are inset into the walls. The pews are made of intricately carved oak and have plush velvet cushions. The floor is wood parquet, making a colorful pattern. The entire building seems strangely garish and lewdly decorated for a religious house. Lined up along the south, east and west walls are 24 marble statues. The statues, while carved wearing saintly gowns, actually seem to mock saintliness. The sarcastic, leering faces of the statues all bear a distinctive Gamgee family cast.
The group was not sure what to make of this room. Nameless especially was confused as though him and Flynrich never talked much about religion it was never in a derogatory way. Nameless felt maybe that it was Flynrich’s family that was like this and Flynrich left them. They checked out the altar but did not see anything. They stayed away from the statues after what they had been through with the last two statues they had found in the Gamgee house.
They moved over to the east side of the room and opened the one door. Stumbleduck and Nameless moved and saw three more doors along the east wall. Stumbleduck opened the one to south and saw a sparsely furnished cell. Seated on the Wooden slab which serves as a bed were three zombies dressed in amber monk’s robes. The Gamgee zombies stood up and moved to attack. The other two doors opened and more zombies appeared. The doors on the other side of the chapel also opened up and even more zombies were moving towards them. Stumbleduck rushed of out the area but Nameless was surrounded by the Gamgee zombies. He give a little smile and then cast Fireball at his feet. It took out all but three of the zombies while with his resistances, he took minimal damage. Stumbleduck cast Guiding Bolt, Cerridwen cast Faerie on the bulk of the zombies to the west. Krix cast Fire bolt, Gilbee cast Magic Missile, they each took out one of the zombies. Mason turned the larger group of them destroying them with his Channel Divinity. The rest fell quickly.
They went north and through the door on the eastern side of the room. They went up a corridor and made a left and saw a door to their left. As Stumbleduck was checking to see if the door was locked he heard “Please come in but do be quiet. I can’t stand loud noises” They opened the door and saw a halfling sitting at a table reading through some papers and a few books. He welcomed them and asked their business. Nameless said that they were looking for the following items as well as a Silver Gate. The halfing, whose name was Charles, said he did not know of a Silver Gate but he recognized the names that Nameless read to him. “Wait did you hear something?” It was quiet for a bit and then Charles continued.
Those are place names from our old home, the planet we came from. Nameless asked him did he know of anyway to get back to their home. Why would we want to do that. “We left for a reason. His voice became lower, almost a whisper…You see. They don’t like magic there. They kill you for doing magic. They would kill you, because you can do magic. We had to leave. None of us want to go back. “
“Wait…did you hear that?”
They hear a distant cracking boom and shortly they see this woman running down the hall towards the room. She looks crazy undead and she is yelling Charles’s name at the top of her lungs. Her hair is disheveled, her grave clothes are tattered, her fingernails broken and her hands are bloodied from what they suspect is digging herself out of her grave.
Charles screams She is back from the dead. The undead thing destroy her. She yells back Charles you will pay for your carelessness. Die fool! The group stands in the way
Nameless casts Fire Bolt on her doing some damage but but it does not seem to phase her. Mason knows she is not undead but not sure what else is going on. Mason tackles her and grapples with her. She struggles and tries to bite him. Stumbleduck grabs on to her legs to keep her still. Gilbee casts Calm Emotions on her but it does nothing. Nameless uses the Rope of Climbing to tie her up but still Mason and Stumbleduck hold on to her. Gilbee asks Charles to explain. Charles said that his sister had died from some illness that was not understood so he buried her. And then her spirit started shouting at me from beyond the grave and now she is back to take me with her. Gilbee said I am afraid you buried your sister alive. Charles did not believe it. They asked him to leave the room so he went through the door into a library. They could not see what was going on but they could hear movement and Charles repeating oh please, just stop. This is too much.
Mason casts Greater restoration on her and she begins to relax. Her breathing is still heavy but she is not longer trying to attack or bite Mason. Nameless released the rope and they let her up and she began to talk.
My name is Madeline and Charles, my brother, thought I was dead. Didn’t even check me over that well. And even though we have clerics and paladins in our family, did he ask them for any assistance? No! Where is my armor, brother? Where did you put your sister’s treasure? Have you sold them? No, I know you have them. Tell me now.
They looked into the library. Charles was okay but he was surrounded by dancing robes.
Madeline laughed and said serves you right. The robes continues to surround him in a square dance type pattern. Madeline walked over to a large chest and opening it she found all of her items but her armor. “Where is the armor?” she said. If you do not have it, Seredoc I am sure he does or knows where it is. Charles never answered her.
She said to the group. Here take these books. I am not sure what they are but you having them will not make my brother happy. She handed over three ancient books. The first two were spellbooks, one went to Mason, the second one to Gilbee. The third was given to Nameless. Nameless knew it was special, beyond a standard magical item just by touching it. There was a heavy clasp, wrought to look like angel wings, that the book’s contents secure. Nameless unhooked the clasp and opened the book. It was a Book of Exalted Deeds, the definitive treatise on all that is good in the multiverse, the fabled Book of Exalted Deeds figures prominently in many religions. Rather than being a scripture devoted to a particular faith, the book’s various authors filled the pages with their own vision of true virtue, providing guidance for defeating evil. Nameless remember a conversation with Flynrich. It was said that Boccob was the god that had been the one behind putting this book together. Once the book is opened, Nameless must spend 80 hours reading and studying the book to digest its contents to attune to it and gain its benefits.
Nameless looked up from the book and asked Madeline if she knew about the items on the sheet of paper “To those Who would be free”. She repeated what Charles has said, that they were place names on their old planet that they had left years before. And no she did not want to go back there and did not know how one would get back there. She had never heard of the gate of the silver keys either. She said maybe Flynrich would know more. Nameless said that he was dead and that was why they were looking for these items, to either bring him back from his tomb or to travel to his tomb and bring him back. Madeline replied That is too bad that he is dead. He would know what to do. Oh well. Good luck with that.
She turned to Charles who was stumbling around the library trying to avoid the dancing robes “I promise not to kill for at least a week but do be on the lookout. I am going to my room.” She huffs and leaves the room.