Having vanquished an invisible assailant in the the antechamber of the Temple of the Bones, the party decides to follow the line of red carpet leading down one of the many departing corridors. Benquil goes first, hugging the left wall. Soon the wide corridor makes a slight turn to the right and widens further to 25 feet wide, forming a vast hall with statues lining either side.
Benquil keeps to the left side peeking at the plaque on each statue as he goes. One sticks out, Aminia Del’Armgo, sharing his surname. Her plaque indicates she developed the “Fire Ink” and established a “dark library.” The date on the plaque suggests she achieved this nearly 2000 years before, shortly after the initial exile of the drow. Behind her right ear on the status is hidden the symbol of Brimahil.
Another statue, distinguished as the first leader of the exiled followers of Lolith, is Benquil’s namesake for his middle name: Barrison. Benquil and Leo examine the statues, determining what it would take to abscond with them. It seems possible, but they decide they can leave that task for later.
Beyond the hall if the statues, the corridor again narrows to 10 feet wide and turns right again, leading to an octogonal chamber with a large, low-quality crystal ensconced in a pedestal at its center. On the wall behind the pedestal a frieze of Lolith with 8 spidery arms spread wide. Above the frieze letters that glow brightly on infrared read in middle drow “embrace me and I will embrace you.”
Not comfortable following those ominous instructions themselves, they pull one of Hilbrent’s facsimiles (on loan) from Benquil’s sack of hauling and command it to embrace the frieze. It does its best, flattening itself against the wall. Upon witnessing this comic display, Benquil commands the facsimile to hug the displayed crystal. It vanishes upon doing so and Benquil hears a soft cackle. Looking to the frieze he can see Lolith’s benevolent smile replaced with a mocking smirk.
Now annoyed, Benquil whispers to the others to withdraw and launches a crossbow bolts into the crystal from about 20 get away. Shards break off the crystal and Benquil’s infrared vision goes dark for a few seconds. When it returns he can see a wrathful scowl on the frieze of Lolith.
Benquil is not shaken from his desire to destroy the crystal and casts a spell to create a slab of stone above the crystal, diving into cover as it falls. He glances back around the corner and sees his slab vanished, like the facsimile. Leo offers to help, casting a storm of material destruction in the room. They watch as the storm shreds the soft crystal at its center, tearing at the carpet at pocking the stone in the floor and walls. As Benquil looks for damage to the frieze, he sees the figure of Lolith stepping out from the wall.
Benquil flees back to the antechamber while Leo crouched behind a statue on the North side of the hall. Lamila too awaits in the antechamber. The massive statue pass Leo unaware and reaches the antechamber, but seeing none of them there begins to return. Emboldened, Leo emerges from his hiding place and leaps toward the statue, cutting deeply into it with his massive sword at the shoulder. His sword sticks and he clings to it at the statue spins, grabbing for him.
Leo starts to feel queasy as the statue searches for him and abandons his sword, running to the antechamber and imploring Benquil to teleport his sword out of the statue. Benquil begins casting to do so, thinking he needs 40 feet of range, but a different plan comes to mind. He adds some detection and earth to spell, thinking to teleport the statue only out of the temple and off a cliff.
As the statue enters the antechamber, Lamila rushes forward hoping to sever an arm. Her axe embeds deeply into an arm, but becomes stuck like Leo’s sword. The statue grabs her with six arms as she fights off two and she starts to feel the queasiness Leo had felt. The struggle continues as Benquil frantically casts and Lamila weakens the grasp of two arms while the free two start to get purchase and the others crush her and she can feel her armor deforming. The sickness grows more potent just as Benquil finishes his spell.
The statue vanishes, sword and axe and Lamila clattering to the ground. Benquil and Leo run to the door and see it fall to the cave floor 20 feet below where it’s right leg shatters. It starts to limp of to the South and Leo jumps down after it, landing with catlike grace. Benquil follows, his goose rider kit causing him to fall slowly while Leo pursues the slow fleeing statue. The statue seems to know it is being followed and turns to face them. Leo stops, encharging one of his arrows with earth destruction and loosing it into the statue’s good leg, disintegrating it from ankle to hip. It collapses, but crawls forward quickly on its eight arms. Leo leaps over it as Benquil arrives to see it approaching.
Match, who disliked the idea of entering the claustrophobic spaces of the temple, had been watching from the cavern entrance. Seeing the statue appear he had launched into flight. He now descends you the statue, dropping his magically heavy rug onto the statue and slowing its crawl. Soon it stops and lies still not far from Benquil’s feet. Match retrieves his rug into his bracelet and the statue remains still.
Leo approaches the statue warily and brings the blunt side of his massive sword down on its head. It cracks a little, but doesn’t revive. Satisfied, they return to the temple. Benquil returns to the room of the destroyed crystal. He’s interested in the space behind the frieze but finds nothing there. He starts feeling nauseated and leaves the ravaged room.
Their next priority is the trapped corridor left of the carpeted one. Benquil shoots the brass cord with his crossbow and it jerks, throwing darts in a hemisphere from one side of the corridor. The trap still appears to be in place and Benquil carefully steps over it, proceeding to the room beyond. Leo, meanwhile, taps the line repeatedly with his staff, releasing a couple more waves of darts before the line lies slack across the way. The darts are poisoned and they each take a few. The room beyond the trap is lined with benches, apparently some kind of waiting room.
Stairs lead down from the waiting room and Benquil goes ahead of the others. The corridor below is long but he tries a door on the right, finding it unlocked. The room beyond is massive but low-ceilinged, full of high tables covered with lab equipment. Benquil starts grabbing beakers, test tubes, decanters, and oil lamps and loading the. into his rucksack of holding. Just as Leo and Lamila arrive at the open door, though, he pulls on a lamp that is trapped and explodes, burning him despite significant protection from his firesilk cloak and starting fires in the lab. They quickly extinguish the fires and make a cursory search of the rest of the lab, finding 5 other doors out of it. They start with the door nearest their entry to the right, finding it locked. Benquil sets about trying to pick it and the lock animates briefly, clamping onto the picks and chewing them up.
Lamila tries breaking the door down, but the metal is strong. Benquil casts a short teleport spell to get through the door and finds an ingredient closet. He starts loading beakers of acid, oil, and alcohol, along with unrecognized substances, into his forearm tattoo of holding.
Meanwhile, Lamila tries on the ring she stole from the invisible antechamber assailant while hacking him up for cover. As she puts it on, Leo’s voice gets cut off. She tries to walk through the door but bumps up against it. Discouraged, she attempts to remove the ring and finds she cannot. She becomes flustered, but eventually notices that the next closest door, opposite their entry to the lab, has been opened.
Benquil and Leo, tethered with the invisible rope, had passed through the door. To the left they see a door of bars. They find it locked and their dark vision is hindered by the bars so they can only see the line of bars beyond. Benquil casts a light spell beyond the bars, exposing a mirrored cage across the way and a narrow passage between the cage leading to the right. They double back and enter a room they find unlocked. It is full of shelves loaded with scrolls. Benquil eager opens one and finds it’s ink blazes in the infrared. Over the next half hour he loads all the scrolls into his merchant’s purse, perusing a few of them as he goes.
Meanwhile, Leo makes a pass around the the surrounding corridors, finding a classroom, a few locked doors, a guard room, and that the corridors all double back around on this level. He also finds a stairway down and another back up to the level above. He returns to find Benquil still raiding the record room.
Lamila, following the trail of open doors, also find her way to the record room, where she can see scrolls vanishing. She watches for a while until all the scrolls are gone and realizes she is getting hungry. Benquil and Leo are also hungry and sit down to some rations, suddenly realizing Lamila is not with them. They assume she is capable on her own and go on eating. Lamila can see the food on the ground when they set it down, but can’t touch it, not with her hands or her axe. Eventually, frustrated, she creates a beacon of light with her rod obtained at the Festival of the Migrant. The light is visible to the other two and they become suspicious, but assume it is Lamila.
They try to communicate in vain for a time until Benquil prays to Brimahil for help. The message he gets back is “brace yourself” immediately followed by a rush of clarity and memory in which he remembers the invisible assailant, the way he behaved, that Lamila went mad and cut him up, and that he had been wearing a mirror around his neck. He produces the mirror and its shards from his pack.
As he takes it out, Lamila can see it, and she can see Benquil in the reflection. They put the shards together and Leo repairs the mirror magically. Benquil puts the mirror on the ground and Lamila is able to pick it up. She learns she can hear and touch anything she can see in the mirror. Eventually, she attempts to put the ring finger into the mirror and it goes in until the ring clinks against its reflection in the mirror. She tries other fingers and in the process, one brushes against the ring on the other side. Realization strikes her and she reaches into the mirror with one hand, removing the ring in the reflection.
They all finish their lunch and prepare to continue their exploration of the temple.