With the monkey demon defeated and Urol hanging in a cage above a roaring fire, the only opponent standing in the way of the group was the animated statue of the two-headed, four-armed creature.
Using a variety of attacks, ranging from acid magic to the enchanted weapons that had been found during their time on this island, the party slowly chipped away at the stone golem that prevented them from rescuing Urol from his dangling perch.
After fighting the creature for a minute or so, the form of the golem began to shift, its unnatural features becoming even more unearthly. It let out a (minimally) terrifying howl. As its wounds opened and closed over time, otherworldly demonic faces could be seen howling from within the stone-like creature.
Continuing to pummel the creature with spells and weapons, the golem's form seemed to stretch out, becoming taller and thinner and even looking at its arms and torso caused headaches in those who stared for too long.
The golem was eventually defeated, though not before inflicting a grievous petrifying wound on Sahrthin. Examination would later reveal that this wound would only be healed through a combination of magics.
After gaining entrance to the cage, Urol's recently-deceased corpse was found. His body was left behind in the cage as the group moved on towards the hidden door that was at the rear of the demonic temple.
Moving into the octagonal chamber beyond the door, rickety wooden stairs led upwards into the darkness. Noting the precarious condition of the staircase, the group moved cautiously up into the darkness, arriving at a platform with a single door.
Opening the door revealed a dusty octagonal room containing a trio of stone chests bound with copper bindings and plates. An examination of the chests revealed that they were all trapped with a magical warding.
Despite being tempted to open them immediately, Logan was asked to examine them with his arcane knowledge, and he determined that the wards were both a) particularly deadly and b) tied to a single copper plate affixed to the front of each chest. He felt confident, however, that he could remove the trap with some assistance, which is exactly what he did. Three times.
The chests contained a combination of old Olmecan gold coinage and several unusual Olmecan magical items, including a particularly nasty-looking macahuitl. These items were divided among the group.
Continuing upwards, the staircase ended in a single white-stone octagonal room whose sole unique feature was a series of Olmecan sentences written on the wall just below the ceiling. Examining the sentences, Ro'ak, using his ability to read Olmecan, determined that there were eight prayers or invocations to this Demogorgon. Before discussing whether it would be wise to do so, Ro'ak read one of the sentences aloud, and a single door appeared in the wall. The door opened normally, leading to the wilderness outside; an exit had been found.
Not leaving well enough alone, Ro'ak read another sentence from the room and was immediately struck down and lay dying on the ground. Initial attempts at healing him, both magical and otherwise, proved to be ineffective. However, a potion of healing brought him back from death's door.
Quickly deciding that it would be best to leave this accursed place and continue their search for Darlon and the Vanderborens.
The fog that had hung heavy in places had started disappearing in places, revealing a jungle that was not nearly as foreboding as it had been a day before.
Considering their options, finding Darlon's path seemed unlikely, as he and his party had made quite a few tracks throughout the region over the past week. With the magic of this accursed place faded, however, finding the most recent tracks would be a challenge.
One that Carric would easily overcome.
Following the tracks to the south, after several hours of travel, the group noted that they were entering an abandoned village, one where many of the buildings had had stone walls, but nearly all were cast into ruin.
And as they followed the tracks through the abandoned town, they turned a corner to witness a combat in progress some several-hundred feet away. A single tyrannosaurus rex was engaged in a battle against a cohort of Olmecan skirmishers and a handful of non-Olmecan archers.
Without waiting to see what would happen, the group rushed in to assist in the battle against the beast. Several of the Olmecans fell to the brutal attacks of the dinosaur before it was eventually slain by the combined attacks of the archers and the group.
The leader of the archers, Malificious Dracoslarin, introduced himself. As other introductions were being made, and questions asked, the archers indicated that they had not seen Darlon or his companions. As the Olmecans (and certain party members) concluded removing flesh and other items from the defeated dinosaur, Malificious offered to send his falcon with a note southward towards the gate of Tanaroa, where anyone traveling to Farshore would likely have to pass through.
The group began to move southward, but somewhere along the way, they had managed to lose track of the Vanderborens. Moving at top speed, they decided that it would be best to ensure they reached the gate first; after all, they were, at worst, only a few hours behind them. And they had no idea they were being followed, so surely they would be stopping to rest.
That is until Bargathungar persuaded Logan to use sending magic to contact Lavinia to offer to join her "evil" campaign and that they were close to them. Lavinia opted to not respond.
The group, leaving some members behind as they could not keep up with the forced march, arrived at the wall of Tanaroa. Malificious and Ro'ak inquired whether anyone matching the description of the Vanderborens had passed through, but nobody had. Not even any Pelorites, missionaries that had come from distant places to preach the ways of their enlightened god to whom they see as these unenlightened people.
And of Malificious's falcon, no sign had been seen either.
Something has definitely gone awry.
Next Week: Trekking to Farshore?