Tebryn casts daylight into the room and counters the deeper darkness.
Igor goes into the room and finds the circuitry when he searches. He then disables the circuitry.
"Good," says Tebryn. "Now the Temple can't sense anything on this level of the tower." He moves into the room, followed by everybody else.
Everybody can now see that this is a luxurious chamber, draped in black brocades. A large bed stands in the corner opposite the doorway and to the left. Its frame is of black mahogany and the bedclothes are black silk and sable fur. A dresser stands beside the bed. A small bookcase laden with books and scrolls stands in the opposite corner. A black woven rug lies on the floor in front of the shelves.
Brianna goes over to the bed and first sits and then lies down on it. "This is really comfortable," she says. She sits up and grins at Veracity. "I bet this is Irae's bedroom. Too bad. Otherwise this could be our new camp."
Yol and Tebryn move over to the bookcase and discover that all the books are religious texts relating to the faith of Kiaransalee. Yol wants to take them with her. Tebryn convinces her to wait until we've defeated Irae before looting her room.
"Based on what we saw when we used see invisible from outside the Temple," says Tebryn, "symmetry tells me that there should be a portal to the Material side of the Temple one level up and the largest room of the Temple will be two levels up. No guarantees, but my money says that Irae will be there. Let's go up one level, disable the circuitry in all the rooms there, and go back to the Material Temple through the portal and plan further."
"There's no hole up," says Igor. "There's this shadowy wall here. Didn't you say you thought it might be a portal"
"I think that's just a Material wall, Igor," says Tebryn. "If so, we can just walk through it."
Igor immediately gets up and does exactly that. "There's a hole in the ceiling," he calls.
"No surprise," says Tebryn. "I guess we should buff up and go through it."
"Perhaps Paelinn could scout for us," suggests Yol.
"Good idea!" says Tebryn.
Yol instructs her spectre. "Paelinn, You will explore the level directly above us and come back to report to me when you are done. But remember, Hel is good to you. Do not be distracted by death priestesses of lesser deities. Come back immediately if you see Irae. Do you understand?"
Paelinn inclines her head, hatred burning in her eyes.
"Good," says Yol. She bolsters her undead slave. "Go now."
Paelinn rises through the ceiling.
We wait. And wait. And wait some more.
"Where is Paelinn," wonders Yol. Her lips tighten and she frowns more than usual. "She should have been back long ago."
"I'll scry her," says Tebryn. He pulls out his crystal ball and gazes into it. "Ah, I see her. She's just hovering and not moving."
"Can you see her surroundings?" asks Yol.
Tebryn moves the sensor around. "Uh oh," he says. "I see Irae. And some zombies. Some revenants. A bebilith." He puts the crystal ball away and looks up, frowning, his brow wrinkled.
"I think you've lost your spectre, Yol," he says. "I don't understand how this happened. Either she disobeyed you and went up two levels, rather than simply exploring the portal level, or Irae is using the portal level, rather than the top floor of the Ethereal Temple, for some reason. Not what I expected!"
He stands. "Let's go down. We need to talk about this in a safer place. As if anywhere in the Temple is 'safe'."
Everybody leaves Irae's bedroom, Igor closes the door, and the party descends through the Temple past the Orb to the bottommost and smallest level.
"What made you think there'd be a portal one level up, brother?" asks Veracity.
"You recall when you and I looked at the Temple from outside?" asks Tebryn. "When we had see invisible active, we could see the Ethereal Temple and it appeared to be an inverted mirror image of the Material Temple. Each side of the Temple was sort of like a cone, with a large base narrowing to a small tip, wrapping around the Black Orb in the center."
Veracity nods. "Yes. And we've explored the Material Temple from base to tip and disabled the circuitry in every room."
"Exactly," says Tebryn. "Not counting the basement, we cleared and disabled eight levels in the Material from base to tip. The portal to the Ethereal Temple was on the second level. The Orb was visible from the fourth and fifth levels; it was not visible in the three levels below and the three above, although its chill still affected us on level six."
Kress fidgets. "Why are you saying this, Tebryn? We know where Irae is. Let's just go and destroy her!"
Tebryn glares at him. "I'm explaining what we've deduced about the geometry of the Temple," he says. "It could help us plan. It should help us plan."
Kress smiles and shrugs. Tebryn glares at him some more and continues. "Since the Material and Ethereal sides were externally symmetrical, I expect they are internally symmetrical as well. Therefore, I expect the Ethereal Temple probably has eight stories, just like we found in the Material Temple. When we stepped through the portal on the second floor of the Material Temple, we found ourselves at the very tip of the Ethereal Temple and as we've gone up, the rooms have been getting larger and larger. We've now seen six of the levels, so there should be two more above us."
He ponders. "The first Ethereal level corresponds to the second Material level," he says, ticking off the levels on his fingers as he speaks. "The third level on the Material Plane was Paelinn's bedroom. No chill from the Orb there, and also none on the second Ethereal level, either." He frowns. "Actually, just look at it like this. We've explored the Ethereal equivalent of the eighth through third levels of the Material Temple. The Orb and its chill have been exactly where you'd expect them to be. Irae's bedroom was on the equivalent of the Material Temple's third floor, where Paelinn's bedroom was. If the symmetry continues to hold, next level up is the equivalent of the Material Temple's second floor and would have a portal back to the tiny room on the Material Temple's eighth level and the level above that will be the largest room of the Ethereal Temple."
He frowns. "And that is why I was so surprised that your spectre encountered Irae only one level up. That should have been where the portal was." He sighs. "Well, it's her Temple. No reason she can't move around in it, although I'd have expected her to be engrossed in her research. In any case, this means we don't have access to the portal to the Material Temple. We'll just have to do our planning here."
We decide to camp for the night so that we can recover spells and then go wait in ambush in Irae's bedroom.
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|Copyright © 2006 by Brianna Sollandry <brianna at hambo dot com>||
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu
R'lyeh wgah-nagl fhtagn.