A Mage from Poisonwood Pt.5: Green Hell

We found ourselves at the foot of the hill atop which stood the green tower surrounded by a high green hedge maze. Covering the hillside in patches were hundreds of yellow, purple and blue lotus flowers. Tweena and Drogo easily made it to the top by prowling through the poison spraying flowers but the yellow lotus is valuable to me and I couldn’t resist snatched a bit of a flower before teleporting to the top. The flowers convulsed and hillside became wreathed in a fog of poison lotus pollen. We hurried to the entrance of the hedge maze. Drogo entered followed by Tweena but I waited at the entrance doubting the place was not trapped or creature haunted. The topiaries inside of the entrance by a fountain began to move and attack. I identified them as a pair of Bane Hedges, magical plant monsters one shaped like a cat the other a gryphon. We made quick work of the creatures but not before both I and Drogo were scratched suffering the distracting itch of the toxic sap. Dolus and Nami heard the fight and walked from a side path in the maze to us. They had found the maze when they had wandered away from our camp and became lost within it for a few days. Tweena took lead and we continued on deeper into the maze. Her sense of direction was impeccable and soon we were very near the green tower leading us into the courtyard at its foot. She spotted an assassin vine and shot it with her crossbow. More crept from the hedge walls and we soon realized that they were all part of a giant single plant. I destroyed two tentacles with my acid bolt and Drogo was able to find kill the central part of the plant. We rounded the corner to enter the tower courtyard proper and I could see that the tower appeared to not have been built but rather grown. The group came to a sudden halt with Tweena and Drogo spotting a pair of Bane Hedges and an animated statue which were moving from their positions at the front gates towards us. The battle lasted for a good while the statue taking me a while to wear down with acid as I was the only party member able to remotely deal damage to its stone body.

After the statue collapsed into sizzling rubble the polished bronze doors to the tower opened of their own accord and we entered cautiously. We entered a large room with a high ceiling and a grand staircase to the north leading to the next level. We could see a bridge spanning the space above us at least a few floors up. On either side of us were locked doors which appeared to have been mundane craft unlike the organic/alien architecture and design of the rest of the place. We searched through the tower taking our time. We found the rooms at the ground level were just storerooms and found our way to a circular hall which occupied the second floor and two more store rooms which led to a circular stairway leading up into the third floor where we found a lab, library and scrying room a millennia of dust was over everything. There was a chamber by the scrying room at the end of a walkway a large statue stood and thus we avoided it but Tweena attempted to pick the lock of the door next to it which we later found opened into the laboratory and failed. The statue immediately animated and attacked but battle was curtailed when the statue pursued us onto the narrow bridge and the other four were able to overwhelm it and knock it off the ledge causing it to crash into the bottom floor. The bridge spanned between the library and magic laboratory which were next to each other and the large scrying room. We followed the staircase by the scrying chamber which spiraled up onto a well-lit platform attached to a mezzanine on the fourth floor. Sunlight beamed into the tower from above the top of the tower seemed to naturally allow in narrow beams of yellow daylight as it appeared to be constructed of living vines and leaves twisting up to a spire point. We found a room filled with curbed planters where dozens of mature lotus flowers were blossoming with a large green one at the opposite end and opposite that room we found a cluster of four more chambers, living spaces. We proceeded to the large stair we found on the platform which led up to the top chamber. When we came to a stop I fumbled through my newly acquired gear just in case there might be something useful while the others spread out into the single huge fifth level chamber.

I had six scrolls containing the Neutralize Poison, Mind Shield, Control Plant, Commune with Nature, Animate Plant and Purification spells. Moneywise I had 1 gold talon and 2 rubies. I was also carrying an alchemist’s kit, 1 bottle of assassin’s vine wine, 4 jars of magic extracts which were taken from a Doom Blossom, Gas Root, Ghoul Hair and Dragonscale (all monstrous or lethal plant creatures) and a glass vial of lotus seeds. I had all of this in a newly acquired gunny sack which also was stuffed with an alchemy booklot lifted from the library. Figuring I was duly equipped and seeing the others hadn’t run into any danger (my curiosity about the mage-corpse was also to blame) I decided to teleport to the foot of the steps by the throne. The corpse on the throne had green shriveled skin. It was wearing a green dragon-hide robe with a gold necklace and large emerald around its neck under the green beard. Next to the throne in a planter and surrounded by a glass dome was a black death’s head lotus, possibly the most lethal creature known to the world. After scoping out the immediate area and careful not to get too near the throne I teleported back to snatch up Nami to see if she could shed some light on the corpse as she was after all, a necromancer. She was unable to approach, after much prodding on my part, the corpse as it appeared to be surrounded by a force field of some kind. Drogo was meanwhile checking the side 3-walled side chambers when he tripped and knocked into a bee’s hive. He was attacked by a swarm of angry bees and 6 giant bees. A Deathblossom (yet another monster flower) was close to where he was and began to fight as well. I assisted with a Mass Paralyze spell to neutralize the bee swarms and blasted a giant bee with acid. The fight was long but only Drogo in the end was badly hurt. We again began to snoop around and then Tweena in a chamber opposite the one where Drogo had been attacked was snatched up by a tentacle. We wound up fighting a Greenvise. The battle was short with Drogo scoring the deathblow. I returned to the throne as all threats within this room seemed to have been exorcised. I studied the circle about the throne which I noticed after a closer inspection for 2 hours while the others checked the circular chambers behind the throne. I was able to learn the spell used, Impenetrable Circle in that time. I then immediately tried to cast a counter-spell to lift the circle from the throne and its corpse without alerting the others but failed. I then realized the corpse was probably not actually dead and was being contained within the circle especially after Nami told me the guy wasn’t dead. Suddenly Drogo smashed the glass containing the death’s head lotus hoping I could harvest it.

The marble statues in the room which we already inspected and which I had identified as magic but which were not a danger at the time immediately animated and attacked. I faced down 1 of the things by myself using my acid to wear it slowly away the other 3 lured the second statue tot eh ledge by the stairs toppling it to the flood below. They called me over after I finished destroying the first statue and blasted the second while they assisted but we were only able to destroy it after it had gotten back up the stairs. After the battle we decided to retire sleeping in the throne room careful to keep our distance from the black lotus.

During the night I spent my watch learning the Control Plant spell eager to use it come morning. When dawn finally came I used my new spell on the Black Death’s Head Lotus forcing it to allow us to harvest some pollen and petals from it. We traveled back down to the library where we were going to spend another day as Drogo and Tweena were still somewhat hurt and needed more rest. The door was barricaded, Dolus set a noise trap and I took the opportunity to learn some more spells from my scrolls. I learned the Mind Shield, Animate Plant, Purification, Neutralize Poison, and Commune with Nature spells. While resting Nami played her pan pipes badly and Dolus drank down a bottle of assassin’s vine wine getting knocked unconscious by its narcotic effects. Not surprisingly we all heard heavy footsteps just outside of the library doors shortly thereafter.

In the morning I cast Neutralize Poison on myself as I was still suffering from the Bane Hedge venom. After a brief breakfast of stale trail rations we positioned ourselves ready for Tweena to open the doors as she detected something waiting outside of the door. It was a statue, the one they had pushed off of the bridge. The fight was brief as it was badly damaged with me dealing the final blow. We left the tower with Drogo leading us back to Farmers’ Keep after a few days.

I sequestered myself in my room while I used the alchemist’s kit to produce 1 acid arrow and 1 alchemist’s fire grenade while the others changed our haul for coin. After 3 days I gave the acid arrow to Drogo and the grenade to Dolus. That done I went to seek out the town’s resident alchemist whom I easily found. His name was Ebaik. I approached him with a proposition to use his lab with his assistance to formulate an antitoxin for the Death’s Head Lotus poison. He agreed in exchange for some of the antitoxin and a bit of the black lotus. As part of the deal he gave me an 11th level enchanted ring of breath without air that I could use upon my return to the green tower. Unfortunately while we were working in his lab he made a critical error and poisoned himself. Fortunately I was able to find an Arch-Cure potion in his shop which saved his life. I sat with him for a while and just before I left him at evening he told me that he was planning to leave for Rockhollow in order to replace the alchemist that had been there since he seems to have disappeared.

The next morning I met back up with the group. We decided to return to the tower so to clear out the two rooms we had missed. Traveling we were assailed by 2 Dragonscale Plants both of which I was able to seize control of and 4 Deathpods, from which I harvested their brain-nodes.

In the tower Drogo kicked down a door which Tweena had failed to open and had broken her lock picks on. As soon as it crashed to the ground 3 flying weapons shot out and attacked him with an animated stone statue following. We fought a good fight I of course took out the statue with the help of my pet Dragonscale plants and their strong entangling tentacles while the others took out the animated weapons. The room was empty otherwise. We spent the night in a storeroom off of the foyer on the ground floor with my Dragonscale plants on guard by the door.

In the morning we went to an unexplored room, one of the living rooms, at the fourth floor. After we entered the room after Tweena picked the lock on the door the two medium-sized statues in the room sprang to life. I teleported further in to the far side of the chamber to a small table and chair where a silver goblet sat, snatched it up and while the others battled I found and identified a teleport circle at the center of the room. There was a desk in an adjoining chamber which the ratling opened while inspecting the room with Tweena after the statue was dealt with. It was booby-trapped with a Black Death’s Head Lotus pollen trap which the ratling was able to escape but which poisoned the dungeoneer. I used my only dose of Death’s Head anti-toxin to prevent her death but she did not regain consciousness. After I did this I noticed a gold and ruby ring in the open drawer which I snatched up when no one was looking. Inside was a signet set, 50 silver, 500 copper, 100 platinum pieces, and 10 gold talons which was to be kept in the group funds until we could divide it.

We set up for the night in the chamber to let Tweena recover. During my watch I walked to the lotus chamber protected by my Breath Without Air enchanted ring to converse with the green lotus flower. Green lotuses are intelligent, possess telepathy and can control any other lotus flowers near them. It didn’t have much information other than it was waiting for its master to awake and as far as it knew he had been “sleeping” for the past few hundred years or so and would do so for several hundred to a thousand more. I took the opportunity to harvest some yellow, red and blue pollen from the flowers. We traveled back to town the following morning.

At the outskirts of Farmers’ Keep I released the Dragonscale plants from my power after harvesting some scales from then as spell components. Later in my chambers at the inn which I rented for the next 7-day we split the loot. I received 2 gold talons, 20 platinum pieces, 100 copper pieces, 10 silver pieces and I kept the goblet, the ring and the signet set. Nami rented a common room for herself and the rest of the team.

To Be Continued…

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