Meanwhile, Taleth quickly found himself in a fine pickle as about four or so Beast Men and one or two Minotaurs quickly surrounded the ranger and he found himself being attacked from three sides at once. Quickly seeing the predicament he was in, he withdrew from his attackers around the corner into an alcove and fought with his back to the wall so that he couldn’t be flanked by his foes. He was still outnumbered three to one and was sorely pressed despite his impressive armored protection. Back at the door, Teth-en-Aire managed to cast a lightning bolt across the room through the group of monsters that was stacked up against us several layers deep and killed and badly burned a number of them as the acrid smell of burnt ozone filled the dank dungeon air. Evelyn threw her silenced dagger across the room so that the spellcasters in the first group could cast spells and it landed on the floor next to a door across the room from the fountain. Kaira was not in a spellcasting mood though as her and Kalaneikos were pressed from all sides by the throng but they held their position and fought on with their spears.
Back on the right side at the main entry, the main force was starting to make some headway through the mob due to the exertions the three strong sword arms of Cyrcla, Lucias and Bellinorn and with the magical support and archery of Asclepius, Ferris and Gradwin behind them. Gradwin continued to direct his little poisonous snake swarm into the midst of our enemies and their poisonous fangs began to take a toll on them. Evelyn had managed to cut down a few more victims and met up with Bellinorn who likewise had hacked his way to her to link up the two groups even though the group at the door was still not quite fully in contact with the group on the right side yet. Teth-en-Aire finally managed to hack his way past the giant statue of Athena to the fountain and jumped in screaming “come in after me you dogs!” while swinging his sword Cold Cleaver wildly in the air. We knew that the water of the fountain was somehow poisonous to the evil inhabitants of the place since a couple of them had been turned to stone previously when they had tried to drink from it, and their stone statue like forms still remained standing next to the pool in the midst of all of the fighting. It was a smart move on his part as they would be reluctant to enter the enchanted waters of the fountain and it wasn’t likely to harm him since he was of a lawful nature.
There were still more than half of the original number of occupants fighting in the room but the Minotaur bodies were starting to pile up and the Beast Men that were cut down merely vanished when they died and returned to their plane of origin in Hades or Tarterus. Taleth the Ranger was still holding his own with his back to the wall but was starting to get pretty beat up and the two characters at the door were still desperately trying to hold back the mob which surrounded them on all sides. Eventually, the group on the right felled more foes and began to swing their way towards the others at the door and towards Teth-en-Aire at the Fountain. The tide of the battle was finally turning in our favor as it ebbed and flowed like the churning waves of a tidal sea of steel and bloody carnage.
Evelyn, Bellinorn and Gradwin finally managed to link up with Kaira and Kalaneikos at the door. The rest of the group on the right including all of the other arcane spellcasters made their way to the fountain as the remaining Beast Men and Minotaurs either fell back or were cut down where they fought. Lucias hacked his way past the group at the door and around the corner to link up with Taleth and helped him to dispatch the three remaining creatures that still had him hemmed in around the corner. One of the Beast Men who saw that their plight was desperate at this point ran away from the group and went into a room on the left of the fountain through a door and promptly closed it behind him. Another one ran into a room opposite the main entrance to the right of the fountain on the far wall. Meanwhile, Ferris cast Summon Monster I on the door on the left in the hopes of ambushing the Beast Man and any reinforcements he brought with him through the door. We knew the evil Maenad was here somewhere but didn’t know which door she would emerge from.
With most of the arcane spellcasters now either standing at or in the fountain (Teth-en-Aire, Asclepius, Ferris and Cyrcla), Cyrcla took the opportunity to cast Mirror Image on herself as a precaution against reinforcements and suddenly there were five Cyrclas standing there. As if on cue, the door on the right far wall opened up and five demonic looking bestial creatures with acidic spittle frothing from their cruel fang filled mouths came out of the room and three surrounded Cyrcla on three sides. The other two Acid Beasts headed towards Gradwin, Kaira and Kalaneikos near the door.
Gradwin did manage to do one thing for the Maenad though while under her spell – he directed his swarm of poisonous vipers into the fountain where Asclepius, Teth-en-Aire and Ferris were now standing. Asclepius just stood in the fountain gibbering like a madman while the snakes swarmed all around his legs and the other two, startled at this development, jumped out of the fountain just as fast as their happy feet could take them (they did the snake dance LOL). Meanwhile, Cyrcla who had been facing the three Acid Beasts single handedly, withdrew to safety on the far side of the room after they eliminated three of her four mirror images and Ferris managed to cast web on them which kept them from attacking Asclepius in the fountain or any of the others at least for the time being.
The group was also fortunate that the two strongest fighters in the room were around the corner where Lucias had just helped Taleth to eliminate the last of his attackers and so they were spared the affects of the Confusion spell. The two quickly sprang into action along with Bellinorn and Kalaneikos to attack the Beast Men who protected their master the Maenad. It didn’t take long for the four fighters to cut down the escorts and finally, the big bad boss monster Maenad. The rest of the group directed their fire on the five Acid Beasts and quickly dispatched them with a combination of arrows, magic missiles and sword strokes to finally end the massive swirling melee. In all the group managed to defeat some twenty or more Beast Mean (including some blind ones), six Minotaurs, five Acid Beasts and a Maenad in a brief but savage melee that lasted no more than fifteen minutes or so of game time (but 2 ½ hours of action packed melee in real time). We were fortunate to have taken no serious casualties as well – once the Maenad was dispatched Asclepius came to his senses and jumped out of the snake filled pool and Gradwin likewise came to his senses and stopped concentrating on his Sticks to Snakes spell as well.
The three elves, the wizard and the cleric wizard all turned their attention to the fountain at this point. Before we entered the Halls of the Blind, Kaira had cast a Divination spell on the place to ask her god Athena for information about the Temple of Athena and Hall of the Fountain of the Confessors. Athena had replied with a booming voice in her mind “Our Temple has been infested by Minotaurs and their hellish cousins the Beast Men. Beware the Maenad, she is a powerful spell caster and is a creature that is native to the plane of Faerie. Only those who are of a good nature should drink from the fountain.” So with this warning in mind, Teth-en-Aire read the inscription on the scroll held by the giant statue of Athena that stood before the fountain.
The inscription instructed the reader to recite the Litany written on the scroll in Promethean (the language of the Angels) before drinking from the water that flowed out of the horn held by the Dryad statue that was the source of the water that poured into the fountain. So Teth-en-Aire read the Litany and drank from the fountain and his Intelligence was increased by one. He was followed by Asclepius, and Cyrcla and they were likewise rewarded. Ferris was reluctant to drink from the fountain since he was of a neutral alignment but threw caution to the wind and read the litany and drank the flowing water from the magical fountain as well. As the pure, cool and cleansing water washed through him, his body and spirit were purified and he was swept with the lawful will of Athena – he did not receive the benefit of a raised intelligence but instead, his alignment was changed from Neutral to Lawful and all of the dark and shadowy fears, motivations, inhibitions and thoughts that had resided in his mind were swept cleanly away as if by a refreshing spring breeze. Kaira also read the litany and drank from the fountain as well and was rewarded by her god Athena for helping to free the place of the vile infestation with an increase to her Wisdom score.
TO BE CONTINUED…