After their rest the group returned to the inner chamber with the pool dedicated to Tamara. Carden drank first and straightened as he walked back from the small landing of the pool. When he did not say anything, Droom strode forward and dipped his mug in the waters and drank deeply. The dwarf explained that the waters seemed to refresh him and warm him as if lifting bodily fatigue and providing a clarity suggesting that fear was but a state of mind that is not needed. Aelith, Tamnai and finally Valdis drank from the waters to gain its beneficial properties.
Gathering in the portal room, Valdis guided all to step within the circle he scribed. With Skrite still bound and Shleek and Chackras within the circle as well, the runes flared under the arcane mastery of Valdis. A flash of light and the distortion of teleportation occurred and then the group were standing in several inches of snow within the stone circle they used before. Shleek immediately bolted away in the snow neither looking back or slowing his stride. The group watched as the kobold sprinted beyond sight before turning their attention to Chackras. Skrite was struggling to escape his bounds as the group explained to Chackras that they were free. The female kobold looked at Carden remorsefully repeating that she would serve, but the party were not willing to accept such service. Aelith gave Chackras his winter cloak as she was already starting to shiver and pointed toward the empty lodge. Carden gave her a dagger for defense and reiterated that she should find shelter. Upon mentioning the rope that bound Skrite, Chackras took the dagger and slid it slowly into the struggling kobold’s neck until Skrite stopped moving. She stated, “fanatic” and then smiled at Carden while saying, “you need rope.” The group watched as Chackras strolled toward the empty lodge with the heavy winter cloak dragging across the snow as if she was a queen striding toward her palace.
Tamnai produced the large conch and waited for everyone to agree before she blew into it. It released a low reverberating sound and then the group felt the disorienting effects of teleportation again. The party appeared atop a glowing glyph carved into the floor of an alcove in the corner of a rough-hewn chamber. The moist slick walls are covered with bioluminescent lichen, snails, starfish, and barnacles. Tiny, harmless crabs crawl across the floor, avoiding the sigil. The group paused and listened as they heard music: a powerful female voice accompanied by the deep, haunting tones of a masterfully played pipe organ. It issues from within a spiral staircase across from the arrival alcove. The area is obviously sized to giants as the stairs are nearly 4 feet in height and the hallways leading from the central room are 30ft in height. Next to the staircase was a 40-foot-wide circular pool with an obvious large submerged passageway at the bottom. Aelith called forth a spell to deepen the shadows about the group and prevent their footprints in the sandy floor as the group started to explore the nearby hallways.
The hallway to the left of the entrance alcove ended in a life-size stone statue of a female storm giant holding a harp and wearing a gown of purple coral. Two ironbound oak doors measuring 15ft tall by 7ft wide lay on the south wall of the corridor. Neither door had a lock and strangely contained furnishings sized for humans or elves consisting of five comfortable beds, a circular rug, a barrel of drinking water, an empty dresser, and an empty wardrobe.
A similar hall stretched to the right of the entrance alcove with a statue at the end depicting a male storm giant blowing a pink and blue conch shell. Giant-sized doors to either side of the statue lead to similar quarters, but sized for giants. A giant door in the far wall opened into a storage room holding various crates and barrels containing food and wine. None of the rooms were occupied.
A narrow hall also led from the central room with the entrance alcove. It led to a circular chamber with a small boiling pool at its center with steam rising from it. The ceiling here was almost 50ft high and the humid room’s walls were dripping heavily. Determining that the clouded pool held little interest, the group exited back into the central chamber. As the group approached the stairs, the narrow hallway sent out a loud hissing noise from the geyser erupting within. Everyone slowly and quietly ascended the giant stairs toward the music.
Creeping to the landing, the room beyond was enormous. Music filled the hall beyond which was split into two levels; a 15-foot-high raised ledge hugging the walls of the half of the room across from the group. Gently sloping ramps led up to the ledge. The acoustics within the hall were excellent as they reverberated off barnacle-covered pillars of hewn rock rising to meet the vaulted ceiling over 100 feet above. A huge crystal window allowed additional light to cast beautiful patterns on the walls from the ocean beyond. Under the crystal window was an enormous crab with colored nodules and hollow flutes of beautiful coral growing out of its shell. The creature was a living instrument. As one of the nodules on its shell was tapped, the motion caused the crab to exhale a burst of air through one of its coral pipes, producing a deep tone similar to that of a pipe organ. Performing next to the ledge were two elegantly dressed storm giant women. One was singing, while the other provided instrumental accompaniment by tapping on the crab’s shell with a pair of whalebone mallets. It appeared as if the pair were
entertaining several high-ranking visitors: a regally dressed cloud giant male, a female fire giant in red-hued armor, a dragon-scaled cloaked frost giant male, and a stone giant male with gemstones embedded into his flesh. The giant gather around mussel-shell tables and a giant coral fountain in the lower part of the room. The coral fountain spouts water, which the giants drink from their conch shells. Watching the visitors flanking the stairs you hide upon are two storm giants wearing helms. A 40-foot-wide dim hall led away to your far right while a 20-foot-wide arch was just to the left of stair exit. Another stairwell can be seen on the ledge to the left of the window as you face it.
The group slowly descended back down the stairs to discuss their way ahead.