751. June 3 cont.
Once they got back, we tried to surmise how Xanfire died, whether Kuzma was involved. I urged the others not to worry too much.
In the secret passage, we found no sign of traps. Also, the door can’t be closed from the inside as the handle has been molded over with stone. Certainly the evidence points to Kuzma, but he denied it. He was quite interested in seeing the body though.
We then searched the hidden passage. It was a complex series of passageways leading up into the bluff. Every fork in the passages was trapped. I left markings on each passageway in case of magics designed to get us lost. Eventually gave up and went back down. On the way, the staff found us. It used fire to get out of the barrel and hypnosis to get past Rudolph unnoticed.
It was time to go. Used the new spellbook to prepare shrink item and shrunk it. Found Kuzma in the side room with the excavated things. He took an interest.
Noticed the murals depicting sacrifice, torture, sex, gluttony is ancient evidence of the goddess Bast. As you get further from the altar, the murals get worse and more playful in a sadistic way. Things set up a little like a theater.
Thanks to my mention that Xanfire could be pretending to be dead, Kuzma and Krajkah had to have his head off while I went to the lab. Found several poisons: black marsh spider venom, flaying spider venom, and wyvern poison; also found black finger. The spiders could be found in Nova Vaasa or nearby. Wyverns though. Quite unusual.
We took all the animals with us as we left the cave. Esera sealed it up with stone shape. The trek out of the forest was uneventful thankfully. The plains, not so much. An unnatural storm with hail and lightning quickly overtook us. It was too difficult for most to control their horses. The Vaasi horses find me more agreeable than any in my past. More fey magic?
Bellrauthien was the first to get hit by lightning, me the second. A dead figure approached, similar to the one in the market but this time heavily armored. Plains cats also appeared, wrapped in cloth as well. Esera used magic to calm the horses by the wagon.
Seemed a good a time as any to try the staff. I summoned a viper and if I understood the magic right, it was fiendish. I also shot fire out of the staff, the less powerful fire. Bellrauthien’s snake wrapped around the mummy and Bellrauthien destroyed it. As it dissolved, the weather cleared up and the cats were gone. The little ghostly bird woman was seen again and it headed northwest.