The Maze That Moves
Having rested up from their battle with the rakshasa, the party tracks down the secret door that Lord Glorio Arkona told them about. They follow a twisting tunnel for a hundred feet, finally reaching a set of double doors that swing noiselessly open when touch. Investigating the long chamber within, they find it divided in the middle by a well-worn crease running floor to ceiling. At the very far end of the chamber is a lever. Slim determines that the lever activates a mechanical system to rotate the room. With one tug, the chamber swiftly but smoothly turns 90 degrees, connecting to another room beyond where another lever waits in a corner.
The party ignores the lever to instead investigate a door. Slim carefully creaks it open and peers into the following room, inadvertently activating a symbol of pain inscribed on the floor. A wave of agony slams into them, leaving several of them distracted by lingering aches. Slim manages to disable the symbol and the party surveys the room. A hallway leads off to the left while a closed door stands to the left.
After Zandu determines there is no magic beyond the door, they enter and discover a small room with three chests. Each is inscribed with what appears to be a Vudrani riddle but which Slim guesses is instead a threat. After detecting and disabling the poison trap on the first chest and determining that the third likely releases a poison gas, they decide to open the middle chest, whose inscription reads “Life within but Death without.” Inside they find a very ornery cobra, which gets caught on Arlynn’s spiked gauntlets and finished off by a magic missile from Zandu. After retrieving a stash of potions from the chest and stowing away the poison gas chest, they turn their attentions to the hallway.
Slim ventures down it, wearing a Red Mantis helmet set to Darkvision. He notices a frightful mural of people—including himself—being devoured by jungle predators. Rounding the corner into the room beyond, he accidentally sets off a symbol of slumber and keels over. When he doesn’t return, Arlynn investigates and is soon snoozing on the floor as well. It is up to Ashla to drag them away from the symbol and then toss a tarp over it, her elvish blood protecting her from the magical slumber.
After waiting for their companions to wake and for the symbol to deactivate, Slim returns to disarm the symbol from beneath the tarp. Zandu then carefully investigates the next room and after sensing a magical aura within it, leads a blindfolded Slim to its location, where he once again tries to disable it and successfully deactivates another symbol.
Finding nowhere else to go, the adventurers return to the chamber with the second lever, which Slim casually activates—triggering the symbol of insanity placed upon it.
The Madness of Super Blood Explosion
Slim lashes out with his rapier of human bane, skewering Zandu. Irabeth immediately grabs the rogue and wrestles him to the ground, where she keeps him pinned as he begins babbling in a string of tongues. Zandu keeps switching between moments of lucidity and futilely pummeling on Irabeth’s plate mail. Ashla yammers a stream of nonsense, intermittently cutting herself with her swords. Arlynn lashes out against those around her and against herself. Down on the floor, Cat-Egan tries not to be trampled while futilely attempting to dispel magic on the lever.
Slim continues to babble and struggle as Irabeth holds him down, causing her to start cursing in Orcish. “Sharamûl tarbûrz! Brishzel ak dahâmabizub farkh sharat-ûr!”
Their freak out is interrupted by the arrival of Vimanda Arkona. After mutually inspecting each other’s fingers, Vimanda explains that she was trapped in the Labyrinth for weeks by a rakshasa posing as her cousin Glorio. She had journeyed to Korvosa from Westcrown in Cheliax to quietly investigate Glorio’s recent erratic behavior. Vimanda claims that the symbols were placed by the “beast of the Labyrinth” and she says that there is a cleansing fountain elsewhere that can cure the party of their ailments. Irabeth ties up Slim, while Zandu, Ashla, and Arlynn are able to bind themselves up during brief moments of lucidity. Vimanda dispels magic on the lever and then, working with Egan, reorients the Labyrinth so that she and Irabeth can drag the party to the cleansing pool.
Upon being restored to sanity, Arlynn detects evil on Vimanda while Slim immediately seizes her hand to inspect it. He finds nothing wrong with her anatomy but removing a strange magic ring. Vimanda says it is a ring of mind shielding she stole from the false Glorio’s study and has been wearing to protect herself from the rakshasa’s mind reading powers. She demands to have it back and Slim grudgingly obliges.
Vimanda insists that the party head back upstairs to confront Glorio, saying that she can disable some of the Labyrinth’s threats once he is gone. After some debate, the adventurers agree to leave the maze, though they are far from convinced that the Arkona maiden is who seems.
He Said, She Said, We Left
Vimanda leads the party back up the chasm, over the bones of the fungal guardian splayed out on the rope bridge. In the mushroom garden itself, Zandu detects the presence of the other two guardians, but they don’t attack the party due to Vimanda’s presence. The sorcerer, meanwhile, disguises himself as the slain rakshasa.
Slim recites the code phrase before opening the trap door under the jade elephant skeleton and the Arkona maiden leads them upstairs to Glorio’s room. She then hangs towards the back while Arlynn kicks down the door to confront him. Slim takes the opportunity to slip into the shadows.
The party presents Glorio with Vimanda’s accusations, while he chastises them for letting the rakshasa out of the Labyrinth alive. Arlynn is unable to detect an evil aura from either of them and each refuses to back down from accusing the other (with Vimanda notably keeping out of sight of Glorio, despite Irabeth’s efforts to pull her forward).
The party questions Glorio about the rakshasa-themed motifs of the Labyrinth and he explains that his family built their fortune on trade with the Impossible Kingdoms of Vudra and have grown fond of its culture. Vimanda instead claims that the family’s trade empire succeeded only thanks to a secret alliance with a rakshasa that dwelt below the palace but which has since assumed Glorio’s form and brought more of its kind to Korvosa. Ashla questions Glorio about his butler Carnochan, while Zandu brings up the dead rakshasa, but neither gets a conclusive answer from either Arkona.
Arlynn decides to try a different test, asking first Vimanda and then Glorio to take hold of her sword, which had been infused by her divine bond. Neither of the two flinched or showed signs of injury from handling the sword, but the flames flickered as if struck by a gust of wind each time the two Arkonas took the blade—confirming their evil natures.
Lurking in the shadows, Slim makes his own calculation about which side to back and stabs Vimanda in the back with his rapier of human bane, noting that the blade did not strike her as hard as it should have. Glorio takes this opportunity to wish the adventurers luck and slams the door to his chambers shut, inadvertently trapping Rat-Egan who had snuck inside.
Outside, Vimanda flies out over the enclosed garden. She lambasts the party for attacking her, warning that Glorio will not let any of them escape alive knowing what they know. Slim reveals that she is not human and demands to know her true name. Vimanda insists that she is who she claims to be, but admits that she is secretly a tiefling, revealing a set of shrunken vestigial wings on her back.
Glorio, meanwhile, peers down at Rat-Egan. “Go on, little druid, and join your friends.”
Egan squirms out under the door and with his return, the party decides to give up the confrontation entirely and return to the original rescue operation. As they begin descending the stairs, a frustrated Vimanda blasts a hole in a window and flies out of the palace.
It’s a Trap! Again!
After returning to the Vivified Labyrinth, the party explores the chamber that Vimanda emerged from. It is a long hallway lined with eerily life-like preserved tiger heads. Slim finds a bypass switch to temporarily disable the trap, while Ashla discovers a secret door at the very end of the otherwise dead-ended hall. The party races down the hall and into the next chamber, a circular room dominated by a fountain featuring a statue of an enormous snake with dozens of arms grasping swords.
Not pausing to investigate, the adventurers continue on into the next room, another long hall lined by pairs of iron maidens decorated with images of weeping women. Zandu wanders into the hall far enough to set off its trap, which Slim realizes is on a delay. The party makes another made dash across the room, with Slim vaulting over most of the party to reach the far door. Behind them, the time-delayed trap in the snake fountain room goes off.
Slim opens the door to the fourth room, which is lined with a wasp mosaic. Zandu flys into the center of the room and holds there, while the others race past him into an adjacent hall. Moments later, the wasp room begins to undulate with thousands of tiny needles jabbing out of the walls, ceiling, and floor. Zandu, floating in the center, is unharmed.
Once the needles subside, Zandu and Arlynn investigate the nearby meditation room, which contains an enchanted black pillar that can restore spells.
Let’s Split Up to Cover More Ground
The adventurers then continue up the hallway to another strange room with four glowing orbs—black, white, green, and gold—tucked into niches in the walls. At the far end are two levers. Zandu determines that the orbs have conjuration magic on them, as does the western lever, which is locked into the “down” position. Slim warily raises the western lever to the upright position, but nothing appears to happen. He then tries the eastern lever, which rotates the Labyrinth another 90 degrees, revealing two heretofore undiscovered rooms—one empty and abandoned save for a hidden lever (which simply rotates the Labyrinth), and one holding only rubble and bones.
Returning to the room with the two levers, Slim looks more closely at the glowing orbs, guessing that they might be teleportation devices. He suggests splitting the party up into three groups, each touching a different orb. The others are more skeptical, but as soon as they acquiesce to splitting up, Slim touches the black orb and vanishes. Arlynn hurriedly follows him, while the others decide to stick together and touch the green orb.
Slim and Arlynn appear back in the meditation chamber, beside the black pillar.
“Well that didn’t take us very far,” Slim says.
Ashla, Irabeth, Zandu, and Cat-Egan materialize in a completely new room, one stained with blood and dominated by a large green throne on which lounges a fiendish-looking sphinx. To either side of the throne are statues of tiger-headed men holding manacles. Shackled to the statue on the left is a battered and bruised Vencarlo Orisini.
“I see you got my message,” he calls out cheerily.