Continuing on into this dungeon.

The next chamber beyond is a high vaulted dome for the ceiling, and about 10 feet square. The floor is inset with a beautiful tile mosaic of a knight fighting a chimera. On a door to the left, "safe" is written in chalk. Ahead is a stone double door, and there is a narrow passage leading from the right.

Alissa steps forward to examine the room for traps, but the mosaic chimera emerges from the floor and attacks, bathing Shale and Alissa in fire. Shale deals some mighty smites and we kill it, Alissa's arrow shattering it. The mosaic pieces settle back into the floor again.

The room goes quiet again.

We take the passage to the right, avoiding a pressure trap in the floor, and we find ourselves in another room, filled with the scent of incense with walls draped with tapestries depicting mystic scenes from the multiverse. Through a small hole some natural light shines into the room, and standing against the wall are several sarcophagus.

To the right, are two double doors made of pressed bronze, and across the way from where we came in is a smaller door.

We go through the smaller door, and find ourselves in a room that looks like it was a library, although very little of the scrolls and tomes it presumably once contained remain.

The room grows cold suddenly, and a ghost of a woman appears. She demands to know who has come to loot Diderius's tomes.

Alissa says she's not here to loot, but to stop another man who wishes to do so.

"Fine, then the deserts will take you if you have," the ghost responds. "I will defend this room and all its treasures with all my might."

We decide not to mention that we don't see any treasures here, just an empty room with a ghost. We do ask it who it is, and the ghost says she was one of Diderius's apprentices, until one of the tomes was misplaced and she was banished.

Shale asks the ghost if the tome was found, if it would help her, but the ghost seems uncertain.

She doesn't seem to know what Varrum is after either, although when asked what happened to Diderius, she does mention there is a divination pool that was Diderius's most prized possession.

Ahah, so that's why Varrum is here.

It seems the pool requires some sort of personal sacrifice, and over time, the pool's demands grew steeper. If the offering was not of sufficient value, then the supplicant would be driven insane. The art of asking the question is also important, which was one of Diderius's great skills.

We also learn from the ghost that the pool is located beyond the double doors in the chimera room, and the door marked safe was where a well used to fill the pool was located, as it takes a lot of water.

We leave the room, and the ghost fades away.

We head through the bronze double doors, revealing a throne room with a massive dias resembling a cloud concealing a glowing sun.

A massive man with a great white beard and purple toga sits upon it. At his feet is a pile of treasure of silver and copper and worthless bits of jewelry.

The man's voice rumbles. "Those who seek Diderius's insight must lay tribute so that Diderius may work his mighty magic."

We each leave a sapphire, and pass the man by, heading up to a stairs to the side.

The stairs lead up to a room. Five bearded devils are sitting around a table, talking politely. Luke tries to talk Shale out of attacking them, since this place has a lot of illusions.

Shale breathes deeply. "No, I can smell their fiendish stench."

The devils seem to be intently ignoring us, but they do seem to be paying special attention to a corridor to our left that leads slightly upward. A small stream of blood dribbles down from a cultist who met an untimely death when they were apparently running from something up there.

The bearded devils can speak common, and seem happy to answer Luke's questions, and they suspect the corridor is a treasure vault of some sort. They seem amused when asked how came to be here.

Varrum and his cultists summoned them to prevent anything else from coming down the corridor. Of course, going up there would be safe from them, so long as we did not come back down again.

They seem reluctant to speak of Varrum's goals, but when Luke offers a sapphire, they say what we already know. Varrum lost something important and needs the pool to find it again. Lord Azriel, the Archduchess, would prefer that Tiamat leaves the nine hells, so she has provided their services to Varrum.

They gesture towards the other doorway. Beyond that is another entrance to the divination pool.

The room that holds the divination pool is a long gallery. On either side of the pool are sets of double doors, bulged inwards slightly. A pile of spent arrows bearing the mark of the Yaun-ti god Merrshaulk fill several corpses surrounding the pool.

The pool is empty, and seems as if it has not been used in quite some time. There is a sluice that looks to lead from the well, however.

We open the next door leading farther in, with Shale in the lead. Within lies what looks to be Diderius's final resting place. The room is tall, maybe twenty feet, and is lit by braziers that are still burning probably from some sort magical fuel source. A massive sarcophagus lays prominent in the center of the room, and all around the room are frescas which seem to describe the lost gods of Netheril, and the entire room is covered with a thin layer of dust.

Shale approaches the sarcophagus, and a voice booms from nowhere and everywhere. "You approach Diderius in repose, I know what you speak."

Shale speaks of Varrum and the voice booms again. "The Yaun-ti have taken the dwarf away," and a passage opens behind the sarcophagus, revealing several lizardmen.

We kill several, and they retreat down the hall. We pursue them, and I almost slip to my death down a hole.

But soon, the lizardmen lay dead, but our battle is not yet finished, as two snakehead berserker looking guys grab scimitars and start swinging them. We approach them, and notice a passage the leads off seems to undulate as if we had partaken of too much drink.

The snakeheads throw some javelins and disappear down into the room ahead. Luke casts a shattering spell in the room, and they are both dead.

There are two statues in this room, and snakes poor out of the walls and into the the statues.

I twin my haste spell and cast it upon Shale and Alissa, but my spell has an adverse effect and I grow too large and stuck within the tunnel.

Alissa misty steps past me, and I hear fighting as my companions fight the two helmed horrors. Finally, I shrink back down, and my companions return to me.

Shale wants to rest, but having unintentionally avoided the bulk of the last fight, I stand watch near the hallway.

We're interrupted as more snake heads and a Yaun-ti priest attack us, along with several lizardmen.

We kill the lizardmen, but the snakeheads are making good use of cover to throw javelins at us.

Alissa and Shale runs after the priestess and slays her, while Luke and I ready an attack to retaliate when they throw more javelins at us.

The attack never comes, as they are distracted by Alissa and Shale killing the priestess from the other direction, and so we follow Alissa and Shale into the other room.

Shale, Luke, and Alissa all go down with only one of the snakeheads remaining. Throw a firebolt at him and hurry down the tunnel.

He catches up to me, and I quicken my spells to cast two fireballs at him. He barely survives the first, but the second finishes him off.

Chad suggests that further fighting might not be needed here, and the quest is not failed yet. That's all.

Perhaps this can be salvaged. Yes. We can still do this. I can still do this.

With some difficulty, I manage to put on Shale's armor, and her shield and her sword, and I head down the hallway.

I reach a throne room of sorts. Several Yaun-ti occupy the room, and giant stone serpents are engraved into the walls. The yaun-ti seem apprehensive as I enter the room, unsure of what to do.

On a stone alter lies a dwarf in purple robes, and a high priests stands over him.

The priestess speaks. "I know not who you are, but I will turn this dwarf over if you leave this place in peace. He has promised riches, but his presence has so far only brought ruin."

I say there is no need for quarrel, but ask if the dwarf has the mask.

No, he does not. No surprise there, he hadn't gotten a chance to look for it yet.

One of the snakeheads brings the dwarf to me.

Our deal is concluded.

We make our way back into desert, a good distance from where Diderious's tomb.

I keep watch, and in the morning, we have a few questions for Varrum.

Varrum is eager to make himself useful, and he knows about the council, and wants to turn informant in exchange for protection.

He did find out the location of the mask after all though. The cult already found it, and the mask is at the well of dragon...