Felipe pulled her attractively wolfish snout from the chest of Gorechain the bemused devil, dripping with black bloody entrails, and the demon bellowed his last scream of rage as he melted into dripping ooze, banished back to the lowest pit of hell to squirm maggot-like in the filth of the deepest cess pit of all. As Gorechain shrieked his last and his limbs turned to a gooey mess of black slime, the crystal case that held a beating heart fell from his grasp. Tucked under the devils arm while he swung his deadly chains, now it was free to tumble to the flagstones.
Poppy leapt for the heart, grabbing it in her hands even as the crystal that once surrounded and protected it seemed to break into smaller and smaller pieces, disentegrating. Poppy grasped a live twitching heart in her hands, slick with the hot blood oozing from ts orifices. Behind her came a gasp, as one on the ghosts playing silently at one of the tables seconds before suddenly became a living person, falling backwards and clasping at his chest, where an open wound and broken rib cage show a cavity where the heart belonged.
The man was Xvart Amber, one of the children of Obitallo Amber, who they came to rescue. They leapt into action. Felipe rushed over with the heart and placed it into the chest, using her knowledge of the naural orde of living things, to put it in correcxtly. It took Poppys nimble fingers though, to slide it under and through the rib cage. Ria used her divine healing to have the veins, and ventricals begin knitting back together.
Hex, an expert in blood, created an arcane bond between the two. he slashed his arm and let his blood flow freely over Xvarts trembling heart, which began to absorb his blood. Thokk, a brusque and often uncaring brute, nonetheless took pity on the purple pantsed dandy, and knelt at his head. He gently slapped him, first one side, then the other, while cajoling him to stay with them. Finally sharia knelt beside the man and laid her healing hands on him. Whispering a few words to the spirit of the flame which lived within her, she turned the energy into divine healing flames, that knit his ribs, his muscles, and finally his flesh back together.
The mans eyes rolled in his head as he lay on the cold stone, trying to recover from the emergency open heart surgery. Slowly the color began returning to the ghost white skin of his cheeks. He had trouble remembering the past, and had no memory of his ordeal with the devil who held his heart.
As Xvart stood wobbling in the training chamber, the rest of the adventurers moved to investigate a swmall locked closet to the south. After swiftly picking the lock – a fine piece of work from a famous locksmith in Shalazar – Poppy smiled to see a large bronze bound chest in the room. There were also two rolls of canvas, and a barrel holding a pair of sledge hammers. As Poppy moved closer to get a better look, a huge fist formed from one side of the chest and took a swing at her chin, but nimble Poppy dodged out of the way.
Thokk was right behind Poppy, and he noticed the tools and the canvas start to tremble and shake. Suddenly the two canvas rolls leapt into the air. One extended itself into a long sheet and tried to wrap itself around Poppys neck. She twisted out of the way. The other canvas roll twisted one long end into a knot and slapped it toward Thokk, but it clanged off his chainmail briefs.
Ria noticed the two softly glowing globes of light that hovered fifteen feet overhead became agitated and started moing about erratically. Having the drop on them, she played it safe and blasted them with a jolt of holy light. The will o’ wisps were not amused. Being dual purposed guardians of the enchanters dungeons, as well as givers of light, they became angry and their lights winked out, making them practically invisible. The heroes found the best method of finding them was to rush wildly around the room and the wisps would find them, becoming invisible to attack.
The chest continued to pound away with its fists, the canvas slapped, and two hammers tried to smash nails down through Thokks feet. The bwrbarian swept both animated weapons away with a swing of his great axe, but he stood in front of the doorway into the small closet, so Sharia had to crawl betweejn his legs to get in there. As she stood up, one of the object mimics arms transformed and wrapped Sharia in a giant tongue-like appendage, before Hex saved her by using his teleportation magic to trade places. (He saves this power for whenever a damsel is in distress, works well with the ladies.)
The fight continued. Soon the mimic was put down, the canvas tents were torn up and the sledgehammers were destroyed. The wisps were harder foes to kill. They could envelop their foes in a nimbus of green lightning which drew strength and energy into them, healing them. They were also insubstantial, meaning all damage was cut in half. These factors combined to make them no easy enemy, but when one of them finally succumbed to the focused attacks of the party, the remaining wisp surrendered by floating to the floor and rolling back and forth sadly. They let it carefully float back to its original position, casting light in the room dimmer than before.
During the fight, they noticed that the doors leading down into this dungeon were closed and that a thick black goo covered them. Hex, an expert in all things infernal, knew that it was devil slime. Either the dungeon was being dragged down into the abyss, or a bubble of hell was reaching upwards to envelop the world. The devil slime built up in all the corners, edges, and perimeters of abyssal boundaries. The floor too had a sticky residue of bubbling goo. There was also a palpable feeling of evil, like the throbbing drum beat of a heart that was felt rather than heard. Where three demons once vied for control of the enchanters dungeon, now two had consolidated the power of the banished third.
After a rest spent questioning the punch-drunk apprentice Xvart, or Sfart for short, they learned that he was the least of the three apprentices, and had never been past this the entry training room. He knows that the Frog God door was forbidden but that his youngest sister wanted to find out what was behind the door. Amber mansion was built on the foundations of an older structure, and the door led to deeper older things best left alone, so the e3nchanter Obitello Amber had told his apprentice-children.
They also found out that Shalazar Shackleton, or Shazzy Shack, was an entrepeneur-explorer who left his oldest sister Ismaleda at the alter in SHalazar. It was this act that led to her joining the expedition with the Amber Enchanter to set up this mansion on the faraway isle.
Meanwhile they were moving through the opened frog god door. The chamber beyond was completely dark and smelt musty. Rather than a solid floor, metal grating provided the walking surface, with the splashing of water from below. They could see multiple dark shapes moving in the water beneath them. poppy used her magic goggles to see one such shape: a savage flesh-ripper shark, many times larger than herself tore through the darkness below. Ria was able to use her knowledge of underworld design (it was a college requirement) to note that the area below them was of the same dimensions as that which they were walking through; i.e. that the level below was a mirror image of the section above.
That was below. Ahead was a long wide dripping passage. Off to one side was an alcove with e statue of the frog god. He was bulbous and sat on a stone bench with his slender legs folded. Upon his knees rested a stone tablet with strange writing. The idols eyes were huge polished but unfaceted emerald orbs, fist-sized. When they were pried out, a jet of steaming water soaked the theif, but the slight discomfort was worth the 250 gold estimated value of the gems. Hex and Ria got the first pair. By reading the strange script, they could test their knowledge of religion to grant a boon of prophetic fortune. Hex saw a vision of a future battle, and glimpsed where he might twist the blade all that deeper, killing a foe otherwise merely wounded. Poppy caught a vision of herself trapped by a huge brute who blocked the doorway. She could not escape, and was thus slain,l but in her vision she saw were the foe favored his left side, and she saw the space that would allow her to slip from sure doom to survival. Yeah thats right. Maybe it will happen tomorrow, maybe in ten years time, or maybe never at all, bu if and when it does, it pays to have fortune on you side.
The hallway turned left, and there were two doors on one side of the hall, double doors at the end, and another stone idol against the far wall. This statue was of a huge manta ray with long pointed fangs with its wings draped around a stone chair, that looked like it was meant to be sat in. Felipe conjured her panther who leapt into the chair. As he adjusted in the seat, he suddenly stiffened, and the manta rays fanged head swung forward on its hinges to stab into the panthers neck. Then the head hinged back and the panther was freed from its paralysis, shaken and wounded but alive. Nobody else opted to sit in the chair, but Poppy and felipe each retrieved a 250 gp emerald from the eyes of the vampire manta ray.
The two rooms to the south each held a half completed ritual written in primordial. Ria was able to decipher them. THe first was a ritual to bring “cleansing fire.” The second ritual caused a “rising of the waters.” Neither ritual enticed completion, so they moved on to the double doors at the end of the hall.