Continuing towards the Templar district, the party found a rickety, old wooden platform suspended by ropes in a pulley system. The apparatus was quite worn and precariously teetered over a 250 foot drop, with an opening on the bottom and another about 150 feet from the top, in the side of the shaft wall. They secured themselves with better rope and descended on the platform, except Malachi who would continue later in gecko form. Sure enough, the elevator platform collapsed, first at the pulley, leaving the rope for Bright Eyes and Kid to hang on to long enough to re-secure their own ropes further down. Then the rest collapsed, sending the wooden platform tumbling after them, though they just managed to swing into the opening before it plummeted by.
This opening led to a long manmade tunnel and after continuing for some time and dodging pit traps that led further downward, the group left the tunnel through a hole in the wall that led back into a winding cave system. This lead to what they believed to be Tembo's Teeth, a series of natural tunnels with man-made openings and structure punctuating the cavern. Ignoring temptations, including a nearby cavern that may have lead to the iron armory, the group continued to the likely base of the ziggurat. Malachi attempted to locate the spear and detected it was a bit above them but in the direction they were travelling.
They came to a fork. One branch contained a magical portal and the other branch to a room where a circular magical barrier cordoned off the center of the room. The spear was somewhere above them when they were in the cordoned off room, so the party explored there first. There were seven statues strewn about, each with a name at its base. They were: Kalak, Dregoth, Sacha, Myron, Kalid-Ma, Wyan, and Sielba. The statute of Kalak appeared to depict him and the party recognized the name Kalid-Ma as the Sorceress-Queen of Kalidnay, the ancient homeland of the Orphan Company. Sielba also seemed familiar as the name of a sorceress Queen, though no one could place where she ruled, clearly not one of the extant city-states of the Tablelands. The party also saw 7 slots in the ground on the other side of the wall from which they entered. There was another path leading to this circular room from the other direction that they came from. When the party picked up a statute to examine it more closely, words appeared on the surface of the magical barrier:
Troll Scorcher was the first to fall
crushed by the weight of his sin.
Betrayers next toppled Bodach’s wall,
slaying the good lord within.
Kalid-Ma turned her city to night
and slipped into eternal void
once Dregoth fell to his rival’s might,
the fate she sought to avoid.
Kobold-Curse died after Wyan the Pure
while Dregoth still reigned with his wife.
The King of Guistenal, that wicked usurper,
fell to Sielba’s and your knife.
With that you wiped your regal hands clean
as peace settled over the strife.
But you neglected to tend the chained Pyreen,
now you too shall be but a tree of life.
The party tried to piece together the possible references of titles to Sorcerer Kings, but they did not know enough about these figures, most of whom they had never heard mention of in the chronicles or otherwise. Kid decided to step through the portal instead and see where it lead: a large, decrepit, and confusingly laid out library. The party deduced that they had teleported all the way to the Labyrinthine Library, far to the east of where they had just been, though still deep under the city. The library was covered in large mushrooms, some of which had been hacked to pieces. There size increased to incredible proportions down certain passageways, as large as a person, and some as large as buildings. The party avoided these passages.
A recently lit torch hung in a sconce, suggesting they were not alone. Also the absence of some dust suggested books had been disturbed. The party's search yielded two two discernible patterns in the disturbed books: they either concerned historical leaders and battles or referenced figures holding themselves out as gods. The books held a trove of knowledge that was shocking in how foreign it was. Kid read quickly and what caught his eye was a passage about "scorcher" which was one of three legendary swords, the others being silencer and scourge. They were made by an ancient powerful master who had once led 15 champions, champions who would become the sorcerer kings and queens. Other sections referred to him by name and title. Rajaat, the War Bringer.
Bright Eyes perused the sections on would be deities and discovered references to the former "emperor god" of Tyr who held himself out as a divine being, not a mere mortal but something greater and older and more powerful. A sun god. Given the apparent fate of him and his temple, the party seemed skeptical of his claims.
Eventually noises caught the party's attention and they found, in a tight alley of books, the priestess of Melora they had encountered in the Elven market. She seemed happy to see them and said she was sent here by her goddess to aid them, that this was divine providence, and that they had to kill Kalak to prevent him from becoming an abomination of a false god. She claimed to have been led by Melora out of the dungeon she was kept in to deep within UnderTyr. She had looked for the temple of Melora, having heard legends of it, but failed to find it. What she did find was a portal to a library with texts that referenced the gods. Though she believed many of them to be false, she had spent hours down here trying to learn what she could.
The party wasn't too keen on the loon, but saw no harm to allowing her to tag along. She said her name was Epione and warned that others were here in the library, she had heard the voices of at least one man and woman talking. The party continued their search and began to detect that many books that had been disturbed were not returned, and all the books they did search skirted around the details that they needed to attach title to name. The others in the library must have taken the important texts. Scouting ahead, Trigger encountered the others, a woman who appeared to be a Templar and a man who quickly nocked an arrow on the sight of the kes'trekel, along with 4 guard drakes, not true drakes but obedient lesser beings created by the sorcerer kings.
The party debated what to do upon Trigger's return and was soon interrupted by the lady. After some posturing and revealing of useless information that showed they knew something and didn't mind showing it, she invited them to come back and examine the books they had found to try to solve the issue together. She them to a large study area where the party found Sukir, who had been tortured to death it appeared. Epione lamented that she could have saved him if she had been here sooner, but that it was too late now, drawing more eye rolls for the convenience by which the situation always seemed to just be outside of the powers of her goddess.
The party also kept an eye out for the other man and could not find him. As they peered at the texts he loosed a deadly arrow that would have been fatal had Bright Eyes not fortuitously moved away. Likewise the Templar Mage began casting a spell as her drakes surrounded the party. A fierce battle ensued, the Templar unleashing a torrent of fire on the party as the drakes relentless attacked with no concern for the injuries they took from the magic. The would be assassin was hounded and rendered mostly ineffective by Kid, but Bright Eyes and Malachi had their hands full with the Templar herself, even with Epione's healing magic aiding them.
After a brutal series of attacks by the surrounding drakes and a powerful fireball blast, Malachi fell, succumbing to his injuries and drifting off to a peaceful, eternal slumber. Bright Eyes lay unconscious and Kid was prepared to retreat to gather the rest of the company from the library. But first Epione walked into the still smoldering flames, not to the unconscious Bright Eyes, but to the very dead Malachi. She whispered a prayer to her goddess and Malachi gasped in agony, life returning to him along with the pain of all the burns and slashes. She smiled at Malachi and then brought Bright Eyes back to her feet.
Despite being nearly exhausted of spells and all almost dead, the party eked by. Malachi became a crodlu to shield his allies with his newfound considerable health. Kid relentlessly hacked at the Assassin until he fell. And a spell from Bright Eyes dropped the Mage just as she used a magical orb to restore her power and prepare what would have certainly been a final spell to end the battle.
Near death, the party glanced around the smoldering room and the bodies of their enemies and assembled their bounty.