The two disparate halves of the Crimson Blades reunite and swap stories of their experiences. Flint introduces Sheira to the other half of the party. Once they are up to speed, they decide to investigate the nearby chamber, whose light is spilling out into the passage.
An Enchanting Gallery
Kyra and Egan give the gallery a once-over first while using their rings of invisibility and spot no immediate threats. The rest of the party then enters the gallery, which features erotically charged paintings and sculptures that nonetheless all seem to be part of some larger visual story.
The adventurers notice two piles of rubble that give off the faint traces of enchantment magic, but by far the most interesting item in the room is the large mirror on the far wall, which does not display any of their reflections. Hanging directly opposite the mirror is a large painting of nymphs frolicking in a pond. On careful inspection, they notice that the mirror’s reflection of the painting doesn’t quite add up. In the mirror, one of the nymphs appears to be wearing the amulet.
Through some trial and error, the adventurers discover that they can step into the painting, causing the nymphs to come alive. The fey creatures claim that they were trapped in the painting long ago and can only be released by obtaining a fruit from a sacred tree at the center of the dungeon, guarded by a horrible monster.
The adventurers soon deduce that the “nymphs” are in fact disguised succubi. Even so, they strike a deal to get a fruit for the succubi in exchange for unlocking the path forward.
The Fruit of Victory
Following the succubi’s directions, the adventurers make their way to a large, high-vaulted chamber where an enormous tree grows, sprouting golden fruit. The chamber is filled with a large number of disturbingly life-like statues.
The sculptor quickly reveals itself as an enormous medusa matriarch. The snake-woman with the petrifying gaze slithers into the chamber, accompanied by an eye-less giant. When the adventurers prove resistant to her gaze, the medusa and her thrall begin picking up and hurling the stone statues at the party. Nonetheless, the adventurers are ultimately able to defeat them both.
They obtain some of the tree’s golden fruit, which Remmy discovers give off waves of pleasure when consumed. Searching among the statues, they find Sheira’s brother Timmet and are able to reverse his petrification by pressing a slice of fruit into his stone mouth.
Searching the area, they find a side chamber where they discover Flint’s friend Damon deep in conversation with a young medusa, daughter of the slain matriarch. They manage to extricate Damon peacefully and learn that he had captured the medusa’s interest enough to keep her from turning him to stone. Flint recalls that Damon’s always seemed to be blessed by fortune. Damon is able to lead them to the body of Flint’s remaining absent friend, Roderick. They collect the body to resurrect later.
Their errand complete, they take the fruit back to the succubi to complete the bargain. After trading the fruit, they place the medallion around the neck of the appropriate demon. On doing so, the mirror across the painting shimmers and turns into a portal to another chamber in the dungeon.
The party advances through the portal, discovering that it leads to an antechamber with a heavy steel door that hangs half-open. Inside, they can hear the sound of clashing steel and a loud imperious voice commanding “Keep the creature occupied, but don’t kill it!”
They push the door open all the way.
After abandoning the Burnt Saffron, Amprei, Nox, and Freya (still dominated by the Crown of Fangs) regroup with a band of mercenaries assembled by the Chelaxian ambassador. They enter Castle Korvosa through the secret passage and descend to its dungeon level, where Amprei performs a ritual to at the strange stone plug to teleport them into the vault below.
After defeating the glass golem guardians, Amprei helps shuttle his band through the two teleport circles, arranging things so that he, Nox, and the senior mercenaries all end up in one group. He writes off the others as expendable. Amprei uses his medallion to navigate through the vault passages, eventually arriving at the gallery.
Not willing to trust the other alone, Nox and Amprei enter the painting together. Amprei simply dominates the succubi, compelling them to wear his medallion. Once the portal opens, he commands his Ulfen bodyguard, Wulfrik Mikkelson, to carry the entire painting through the portal with them. When Wulfrik emerges on the other side, he is holding only the amulet, which Amprei reclaims.
Freya unlocks the steel door, but Amprei insists that they hold. The room is surely guarded, and he asks what sort of guardian a master of enchantment magic would select. They determine that it is most likely a compelled creature of some kind, and Amprei insists that it must be kept distracted, but not killed.
Entering the room, they find that it holds two life-sized statues of a male fire giant and female frost giant, which stand off to the sides, casting a watchful gaze on the gilded sarcophagus in the center of the chamber. Also guarding the sarcophagus is a large, tentacled monstrosity with two jackal heads.
Nox commands Freya to take cover, while Amprei shouts for the mercenaries to distract the monster while he sets up his equipment. He tells them “Keep the creature occupied, but don’t kill it!”