Chapter 48

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          Navero, male human cleric, 5th level
          Dania, female 1/2-elf MU, 4th level
          Kortul, male human fighter, 5th level
          Kory, male elf bard, 4th level
          Topash, male elf druid, 4th level
          Serga, male half-ogre fighter, 3rd level
          Lao Tsu, male human monk, 3rd level

There were some other books in the library, all of which seemed to be
associated with the death cult occupying the temple now.  Most of the
books were about herbal preparations, poisons, and alchemy, with very
little devoted to any kind of religious writings.  One book we found,
describing initiation rites into the temple, was shocking and more
than a little disgusting.  The worship of death and disease appeared
to appeal to the worst instincts of our fellow sentients, the lust for
power and the desire for longevity or immortality at all costs.

Kory: "Ewww.  What a repulsive bunch.  I vote we wipe them off the
     face of the earth.  They don't have wedding feasts or anything,
     and I would never, EVER, want to attend one of their funerals!"

Navero: "Well... we don't just want to do that.  I mean, death exists
     for a reason, and it will have its god, no matter what we do.
     But the way these people worship, and the things they're trying
     to gain through their worship, must be put to a stop."

Topash: "Heaven forbid that we should ask the gods for power, or a way
     to cheat death.  Oh, that would be just awful."

Navero: "But it's not just denying death for themselves, they want to
     deal it out to everyone else, just because they don't like them."

Lao Tsu: "And then they wirr go off to anothel prace, except fol when
     they come back to give us advice and comprain flom us stepping on
     theil toes." (chuckles)

Kory: "Hey, I like funerals.  They always want musicians at the wake,
     and then everybody gets really wasted and starts giving all their
     money away."

Serga: "That must be good for you."

Kory: "Hey, for me, the local economy, everybody but the dead guy, and
     he doesn't care."

Dania: "There's nothing else much here, guys.  Let's go back and look
     in some of those other entrances."

Kory: "I got an idea.  Why don't we go upstairs and surprise the
     priests while they're having their little ceremony?"

Topash: "I'm sure they'll be happy to see us."

Dania: "And do you think you can fight off a temple-full of angry
     clerics, all of whom probably know lots of death and disease

Kory: "Hmmm... lets go look through the rest of the temple.  Maybe
     after they all come back downstairs and go back to their little
     cloisters, we can sneak out and get away from this place."

Dania: "What a wonderful idea.  Let's go."

Navero: "What about the temple?  As long as it exists, it's going to
     be a blight on the earth, a source of evil and death for all
     around it.  We must do something."

Dania: "Fine.  You fight the high priest.  We'll take care of the

Navero: "Well... we need to do something."

Kory: "Hey, why don't we loot the reliquaries?  Sure, we'll probably
     have to scrape all the slime off, but think of the damage it will
     do to the faith of the low ranking clerics."

Topash: "And, of course, they might be worth money."

Kory: "A side issue.  Let's book!"

     After a little more arguing, we trekked back up to the four way
intersection just outside of the octagonal entrance hall.  The hall
was off to our right; to the left, the corridor went 20 feet and
opened up into a dark room.  Ahead, the corridor went 20 feet and
ended with a door.

Serga: "Uh... which way should we go?"

Dania: "Check for traps."

Kory: (Turns to Lao.) "After you."

Lao Tsu: "No, no.  This unwolthy one cannot compale with youl abirity.
     I must stand back and watch youl skirrs with awe."

Kortul: (Grumbles.)

Topash: (Looks back.) "What's the matter?"

Kortul: "What's yellow monkey saying?"

Topash: "He's saying he is unworthy."

Kortul: "Hmph."

Topash: "He also says he is in awe of Kory's skills."

Kory: (Calls back) "And why shouldn't he be?"

Lao Tsu: "What wele they saying?"

Dania: "That we need to get on with this.  Both of you, look for
     traps.  Lao, you take the one with the door."

Lao Tsu: "What ale you saying?"

Dania: "Go look for more pressure plates up there."

Lao Tsu: (Looks at rest of party.) "Do you heal this woman?"

Navero: "Only when she gets hurt."

Kory: "And when she hasn't been too bitchy."

Lao Tsu: "Why is this woman hele, may I ask?"

Dania: "What are you saying?"

Kortul: "She casts lightning bolts."

Navero: "And sometimes fireballs and magic missiles."

Kory: "She's also a good missile attracter."

Lao Tsu: "Ah, so... a medium."

Kory: "More of an extra small."

Dania: "Kory, talk about your manhood some other time.  Are there any
     traps down there?"

Kory: "Hmmm... I don't see nuthin'.  How about you, Lao?"

Lao Tsu: "This unwolthy one does not see any mole of the plessure
     prates.  I do not think there are any hele, fol thele ale many
     footprints on the frool."

     The opposite corridor had a stripe of ground-in dirt down the
center, the product of many years of treading feet.  The left corridor
was dustier, and looked mostly unused.  Kory found another pressure
plate under the dust, a big one; it took up the whole corridor.  But
it was only five feet wide; we were able to jump it easily.
     The room looked like a bizarre place of worship.  There was the
skull, and candelabra, and the familiar torture racks and scourges.
On the wall opposite the door, a huge stone skull was set into the
wall, with dried blood all over the jaws, and a tunnel leading from
the jaws down into the wall behind.

Topash: "The jaws do look like they'd open."

Kory: "Well, how do you think the blood got there?  Let's pry it open
     and lower someone down."

Kortul: (Wedges torch into corner of jaw, starts levering the thing
     open.  It resists very stubbornly.)

Serga: "Let me help." (Gets other corner.  Jaw comes open in short
     order.  Beyond it is a long shaft curving down.)

Navero: "I'll go down there and look."

Dania: "You sure?"

Navero: "I think so."

Topash: "Smear some of that anti-slime unguent on first.  There are
     probably some down there."

Navero: "Uh, ok."

     We lowered Navero on a rope through the jaws of the skull, which
fortunately did not bite down on him as he climbed in the mouth.  The
shaft was very long, much longer than the length of rope we had
brought with us.  Navero didn't see a thing down below but more shaft,
now descending vertically into the bedrock.  There was nothing else in
there, so we hauled him out and left, jumping the pressure plate and
going to the last door.
     The door was unlocked; on the other side, we saw a huge open room
with several rows of tables and benches; it looked like a dining hall.
There was a huge tapestry on the opposite wall, depicting things that
we didn't think would promote good digestion, and an entrance in the
leftmost wall.

Kory: "Quiet.  I think I hear something."

Dania: "Where?"

Kory: "Through the side entrance.  Hear that."

Navero: "It sounds like someone cooking something."

Serga: "What should we do?"

Dania: "Get him.  Nav, can you cast a Silence spell?"

     Navero cast Silence, 15' radius, and we approached the kitchen.
Inside, we could see two people in long green robes busying themselves
over a huge cauldron; it smelled of vegetable soup.  Kortul charged,
coming out of the radius of the Silence spell just as he reached the
kitchen.  The two looked up just in time for one to get a sheathed two-
hander in the face, and the other got dumped in the soup.

Dania: " !" (Swears silently and runs up to the room.)

Serga: (Lumbers forward.)

Kory: (Sprints forward.)

Navero: (Runs forward, with Silence spell centered on himself.)

Kortul: (Hit hit hit hit on one poor cook.)

Topash: (Fades back to guard door, grabbing Lao Tsu as he does.)

Dania: (Tries to cast Sleep spell on cooks, but Silence is still up.
     Swears silently and bashes the cook, who is still in the soup.)

Kory: (Tackles Kortul's cook, throwing him to the ground, and sits on

Serga: (Grabs cook from soup and knocks him over head with shield.)

Navero: (Looks around, trying to decide what to do.)

Lao Tsu: "What is it?"

Topash: "I do wish Kortul would learn to work with the rest of us a
     little better.  Communication would help a great deal."

Lao Tsu: "It is vely difficurt to communicate with such quiet folced
     upon us.  Pelhaps the smerry walliol thought it best to stlike
     befole we wele noticed."

Topash: "True.  I wonder if either of them will survive?"

Kortul: (Stomps on cook one last time.)

Kory: (Sits on cook and feels for a pulse.)

Dania: " !" (Waves at Navero, making a slash across her throat with
     her hand.)

Navero: (Looks cluelessly at Dania.)

Cook 2: (Blub.)

Cook 1: (Clings to Kory and silently whimpers.)

Topash: "Perhaps if we'd made a plan of attack before going in."

Lao Tsu: "Pelhaps."

Dania: " !!" (Makes slashing motion again.)

Navero: (Ohs and cancels Silence spell.)

Cook 1: "Eeeeeek!"

Kory: "If you move, I'm going to kill you."

Cook 1: "Why do you want to kill me?  I'm only a cook..."

Kortul: (Pulls Cook 1 by hair out of soup.) "You listening?"

Cook 2: (sputters.)

Dania: "Couldn't you wait?"

Kortul: (Glares at Dania.) "They're alive."

Dania: "I was going to cast a Sleep spell!"

Kortul: (Shrugs.)

Kory: "Oh, that wouldn't be nearly as much fun.  Don't you think so?"

Cook 1: (whimpers)

Kory: "Now, now, don't be like that.  We're just friendly visitors,
     and only want to ask you a few tiny little questions."

Cook 1: "He bwoke by dose!"

Kory: "Come on, it'll heal in no time. (Tosses dagger and catches it.)
     You aren't going to let a little thing like that get in the way
     of our friendship, I hope."

Serga: "Should we get him out of the soup?"

Dania: "Why?  The fire went out anyway."

Navero: "It's still awful hot.  He might die."

Cook 2: (Looks very red indeed, and not just from bleeding scalp.)

Cook 1: "Please don't hurd be, please don't hurd be, I'll tell you
     where da temple treasure is!"

Dania: "Treasure?"

Kory: "Treasure?"

Kortul: (Unsheathes two-hander.) "Where?"

Cook 1: "He's godda hid me again!"

Dania: "Kortul, back off.  And get this one out of the soup."

Serga: "Ok." (Pulls cook out with one hand and shakes him so bits of
     vegetables fall on floor.)

Navero: "Um... I'm sorry about my friends, they're kind of excited.
     Now, we would like to know about the temple.  Is everyone but you
     worshipping upstairs?"

Dania: "And what about the treasure?"

Kory: "Dania, Dania, ease up.  First, where are the other priests?"

Cook 1: "Ubstairs.  Celebrashun.  Da visitor cabe, and we have ta
     abuse him."

Topash: (Looks out door to see if anyone is coming.  No one is.)
     "Speaking of abuse..."

Navero: "How long do they expect to be amusing the visitor?"

Cook 1: "Twenty binutes. Everbody supposed to come for lunch in twenty

Navero: "Twenty minutes?"

Dania: "Shit.  Think fast.  What do we do?"

Kory: "Loot and pillage and burn.  Where's the treasure?"

Cook 1: "Dorth.  Behind curtain."

Kory: "Great!  Dania, the sleep spell."

Navero: "Wait.  First, thank you.  You don't know what good you've
     done for the world."

Cook 1: (Sneers at Navero.) "Yah.  Sure."

Navero: (Casts Cure Light, heals most of cook's injuries.) "Now we can
     put them to sleep."

Dania: "Great." (Casts Sleep.  They go under.)

Kortul: (Has gone to look behind tapestry in dining hall.  There is a
     wooden door bound with iron in the middle of the north wall.  It
     is locked.)

Serga: "Where should we put them?"

Dania: "Hide 'em in a cupboard someplace."

Topash: "I wouldn't suggest that, seeing as the priests will be down
     soon, and we may need to hide from them.  I suggest bringing them
     along, and stowing them behind that door Kortul has found.  After
     Kory opens it, of course."

     Kory went to pick the lock, but first found that the door was
trapped; a wire in the lock that would have sprayed him with a
reservoir of some greenish substance.  After disabling it, he went to
work on the lock, which proved rather difficult.

Kory: "Hmm... I don't they want anybody going in here."

Dania: "No shit?"

Topash: "Well, try to hurry.  Time is growing very short."

Lao Tsu: "That is not tlue.  My mastel once tord me a stoly: A man
     asked me, 'Whele does a man go when he dies?' I answeled, 'I know
     not.'  The man asked, 'Why not?' I said 'Because I have not died

Topash: (Blinks.) "Uh... yes.  Of course."

Lao Tsu: (Smiles.)

Kory: "There, that's got it!"

     We all went through, and Kory locked the door again behind us.
The corridor beyond was very long, with one branch going off to the
left.  We slowly walked down, keeping a close eye on the floor, walls
anc ceiling.

Dania: "Should have asked that stupid cook about traps."

Topash: "Too late now.  Take the branch."

Dania: "Why?"

Topash: "Dust on the floor.  It seems the path less travelled by."

Kory: "When did we turn into rangers?"

Dania: "Just be a good enough thief not to get caught by anything."

Kory: "Speaking of which... tripwire."

Topash: "Can you do anything about it?"

Kory: "What I usually do." (Steps over it.) "Coming?"

Navero: "Can Serga put them down here?"

Kory: "Looks like as good a place as any, you know, and... yow!  We
     have another pressure plate, and if I'm not mistaken, a murder
     hole in the ceiling!  Look on the walls for a switch."

Dania: "What's beyond that?"

Kory: "Bend in the corridor." (Leaps across and looks around the
     corner.) "And... the jackpot!"

Dania: "You see it?  Treasure?"

Kory: "Yeppers!  And I'll bet it's just lousy with traps.  Hot damn,
     that it a mighty impressive pile, if I do say so myself."

     Eventually we found the switch that deactivated the corridor trap
(we think it was a combination pit-and-acid-spray one) and made our
way up to the little room at the end of the hall.  Inside was gold,
and silver, and gemstones, and several magic items, including two
swords, a set of gauntlets, several scrolls, and a bunch of potions,
including a whole rack of the anti-slime unguent.  We tied the cooks
up and left them snoring out in the hall, while we went through the
loot and tried to find something we could use to get out.

Daniel Parsons                "Think they'll look in here?"           "They'll notice the cooks are gone.  But
                              perhaps the fact that the outer door is
                              locked will disuade them."
                              "Does that strike you as being likely"
                              "Given our usual luck, probably not."

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