Riddle Me This!
With Slim’s plan trapping Ashla, Zandu, Irabeth, and Rat-Egan in a room with the Lady of the Labyrinth, they immediately try to get the sphinx talking. Ashla and Zandu tease out the information that it is bound by oath and ancient magic to serve the master of the Vivified Labyrinth, a rakshasa named Bahor. The sphinx seems unhappy to be serving such a creature, but cannot betray her master. However, Ashla and Zandu are able to infer that “Bahor” is likely Glorio Arkona.
Meanwhile, Slim and Arlynn try to rush back to the teleport room to catch up with the rest of the party. Slim is incensed that the rest of the party abandoned his plan after he teleported through.
“Everyone hated your plan,” Arlynn explains.
Unfortunately, getting back to the teleport orbs requires activating the Labyrinth. This disrupts Ashla’s efforts to deescalate the encounter with the sphinx, as the half-elf and Rat-Egan are suddenly sealed off in a rotating chamber while Zandu and Irabeth are isolated with the monster.
The sphinx summons a deadly darkness and then attacks, but Irabeth keeps its attention long enough for Arlynn and Slim to materialize in the room. Slim frees Vencarlo and presents him with Blackjack’s rapier, which the fencing master uses to join the fight. Though the Lady of the Labyrinth seems resistant to magic, the collective fury of the adventurers eventually brings her low.
Once the sphinx is slain, Vencarlo urges the party to rescue Neolandis, who he claims is not in the Labyrinth at all but rather in a secret chamber just outside it. Though still wary, the adventurers agree to have the fencing master lead them of the maze and to an illusory wall around a corner by the main entrance.
A Dance of Devils
Arlynn kicks in the door (after Slim unlocks it), revealing a well-equipped torture chamber. Tied to a rack on the far side of the room is a heavy-set man with graying hair and a square jaw, being ministered to by a beautiful, multi-armed fiend known as a Beatific One.
“Helms down, shields up, Iomedae eternal!” Arlynn shouts, charging inside.
“My dear, you’re wearing far too much clothing for my tastes,” Zandu declares, blasting her with lightning bolt.
Ashla moves up the side of the room past several iron cages, whispering “Please do not try and grab me.”
The Beatific One responds to this incursion by summoning two additional Vudrani fiends, these ones twisted dervishes armed with daggers. Ashla, Arlynn, and Slim all cross swords with the six-armed fiend—simultaneously—while Vencarlo attempts to free Neolandis. Egan and Zandu hang back, trying to pelt the evil outsiders with spells while dodging the dervishes’ blades.
Ashla loses her sword to the Beatific One, but returns the favor by disarming it and stealing its longsword. As the tide turns, the creature casts an enchanting ribbon of dancing colors that enthralls Irabeth and Neolandis. Vencarlo nicks the half-orc with a thrown dagger, jolting her from her stupor. Bellowing a battle cry in Orcish, she proceeds to cleave the Beatific One in half.
The party confers with Neolandis briefly and he urges them to get out of the city before the Queen has them all killed. They need to regroup at a place of safety.
The Fall of House Arkona
Emerging from the labyrinth, the party is confronted by Glorio, who flys down to catch them on one of the rickety rope bridges ringing the cavern. The Lord Arkona refuses to let them leave, given what they’ve learned about him. He strikes them with a lightning bolt, but before he can unleash his full power he is disrupted by a commotion above.
Vimanda bursts into the cavern at the head of a phalanx of Gray Maidens, who she commands to slay the Rakshasa impostor. The Maidens let fly with a volley of arrows and Glorio turns to face this new threat. The adventurers take this opportunity to flee downstairs to the waiting barge.
The Watcher in the Water
However, their aquatic escape is interrupted by the arrival of an enormous reefclaw. It grabs Slim, then Irabeth, then Arlynn and Slim again, dragging each into the salty water. Egan wildshapes into a water elemental to help the stranded swimmers. Ashla loses her shortsword in the fray.
Zandu, out of spells, turns to his rod of wonder in desperation. But as the fight drags on, he is able to do little more than create grass. Finally, he grips the scepter in both hands.
“Please, I beg you, in the name of all that is holy and magical, do something useful.”
He raises the rod once more—only this time, a lightning bolt springs for from it and smites the monster.
Across the River and Into the Woods
As the barge emerges onto the darkened river, the party douses their lights, while behind them the Arkona Palace blazes brightly against the night sky. Water-Egan guides them across the river and right under the nose of a warship, finally landing them on the far shore.
The gnome then takes the soggy, exhausted adventurers to a copse of trees to rest for the night. As the others bed down. Arlynn wonders how she can make use of her royal voucher.