We survey the room, looking for ways to improve our advantage.
Towards the rear, the floor slopes gradually upward to a deep green pool, in which we can see small wriggling worm-like creatures.
Then begins a strange and very tactical battle.
The Mind Flayer takes great care to stay away from us, having seen previously the skill and power with which we can engage with enemies at close quarters.
It remains aloft, and attempts to disorient us with its mind affecting powers and magic.
However, our collective faith and belief in our quest, and our conviction that this beast must die for the greater good of all, proves to be more powerful.
Many times we feel waves of fear and despair pass over us, only to recover quickly and press on.
On only one occasion is Heloric affected, breaking off the battle to move to throw his weapons aside – but Velen quickly changes his song to restore him, and he swiftly rejoins the fight.
Unfortunately, our ability to effectively deal with an enemy from a distance is not at all impressive.
To make matters worse, this beast seems to be somewhat resistant to fire damage – rendering most of Cirians and my own ranged attacks of little use.
However, even when 2 large Octopins drop from the roof to join the fray, we are still able to slowly chip away at their defences and damage them more and more.
Eventually the 2 Octopins are dead, and suddenly the Mind Flayer breaks off the engagement and disappears completely.
We believe it to have returned to the plane of hell from which it came – let us hope and pray we are correct.
We search the area thoroughly, finding a door behind one of the columns.
We find money, and books and maps of Greyhawk, including the tunnels beneath.
A ledger is written in an indecipherable language – so we decide to rest here so I can prepare spells to interpret it.
We are all sadly depleted in abilities so it seems a propitious strategy.
The night passes unevenfully.
In the morning, Cirian destroys the pool with his fire – killing the worm-like creatures – while I read the ledger.
It tells of business dealings between the Mind Flayer and one Loris Raknian, the Director of the Free City Arena. Apparently the “Apostolic Scrolls” have been sold to him – we know these to be the scrolls written on the missing pages torn from the book stolen from the library many moons past.
We also find out that Loris had paid the Mind Flayer to assassinate all the members of our party.
It seems, from this information, that our participation in the upcoming Games in Greyhawk may be more interesting than we had previously surmised. Apparently the head of these games wishes us all dead!!
Learning this, Ezio confides in us all information he learned some while ago – not deemed of significance until now.
He tells us that Aramils father was the champion of the games from Greyhawk. He left her for another, much wealthier woman – and threatened to kill her if she didn’t leave.
We press on through another set of double doors and find ourselves in a large chamber.
A huge statue of a vulture-headed humanoid figure dominates the room.
There are jars and vats filled with a variety of animal parts.
4 eyes on stalks are in one. There are some blank books, one chained closed.
We note a stuffed doll, looking exactly like Cirian, which has been speared with spikes.
There is a petrified pseudo-dragon, a bronze figurine of a griffin, a sword and a dagger.
Intrigued, Cirian touches the doll, intending to remove the spikes – and immediately the statue animates and we are faced with a huge vrock.
This is a very difficult fight. This beast is able to replicate its appearance many times, and we frequently find ourselves to be attacking nothing more than an illusion.
I am fortunate on one occasion to reach Heloric just in time to prevent his death.
Had the vrock not been blind at the time, thanks to Cirians mastery of his craft, I would not have been able to tend to him, and we would have lost our noble and selfless comrade in this evil and disgusting place.
But no – by Blerreds grace we triumph yet again, and the vrock dies under Ezios blows.
Finally we are rid of all our enemies down here.
We are quick to gather ourselves together and prepare to leave.
We loot the area – ensure there are no more hidden rooms or passages – retrace our steps to the room with the large marble brain, smashing it into a million pieces as we pass through.
We pick up the 5 prisoners and make haste back to Greyhawk, there to gather our strength, cash in our treasures, and determine our next course of action.