We decide to fight our way through the chamber. Because we have the advantage of surprise, we kill the ghouls, ghasts and wights easily in battle, and continue on through the caves.
The communication device that Flint is carrying in his pocket suddenly sputters to life. It is Zasheir, reporting that the 3D mapping is online, and that the device has the capability of making the sender appear in whatever form they wish. The implication is that Lamentation may not be the red-haired, strapping, horned, beet-red Tiefling that he appears to be.
We start again through the caves, only to stop short when we hear a hissing voice ahead. It is a half-snake, half human Yuan-Ti, an indigenous serpent, who is searching for cultists to kill. Cid casts a Pass Without Trace spell, and we manage to sneak past him. After a long trek through the caves, we encounter two cultists who step directly into our path. Arjhan quickly prevents Kurshk and Flint from foolishly pushing past the cultists. “Twilight falls on the world of men,” states a cultist. “For the Dragons are coming,” replies Arjhan. Arjhan affirms the cultists’ assumption that we have indeed been undercover for a long time, and thanks them for using an old password in deference to our outdated cult robes. Arjhan leads us boldly past them.
We pause and study the 3D plans again. Arjhan points out the three areas that were off-limits last time he was here – the teleportation circle off the gathering hall, another area off the sanctuary, and another area off the armory. Arjhan believes Lamentation is likely in one of the latter two areas. While we are discussing this, Arjhan suddenly says, “Feldor is here!” and ducks down a hallway to hide. The rest of us pull our hoods closely over our faces and look innocent, hoping the mage from whom we stole the communication device does not recognize us. Although Feldor looks at us curiously in passing, he does not recognize us.
As we continue toward the teleportation circle, we see a blonde woman in plate armor with several cultists in tow, marching toward the armory. Flint stares at the receding figure in recognition and freezes. Lydia notices Flint’s shock, and quickly hums an effective, calming melody. Arjhan at this moment rejoins us from another direction, and Flint, who has recovered his poise, leads us to the entrance to the teleportation room, where a couple of cultists are standing. The cultists greet us, and following Arjhan’s lead we confidently walk past them into the room.
In this room there are at least 30 cultists, some simply hanging out, others keeping guard. Apparently our naïve plan to kill the guards and summon our forces will need rethinking. We talk quietly among ourselves, remaining inconspicuous. Can we spoof a message from Lamentation to clear the room? As we discuss this, the blonde woman in plate armor bursts into the room with several cultists in tow. Flint stops in mid-sentence. He watches the woman, her aura of command unfamiliar but her features identical to his missing fiancée, Pensiar. Flint’s face turns to stony mask and he pulls his hood tighter to remain hidden. But the woman abruptly walks straight up to him and pulls back his hood. She gasps, but recovers quickly. Lydia puts her hand to her rapier in readiness.
“Are you a new recruit? I don’t know you,” the woman says. Flint whispers, “Pensiar, what are you doing?” He states, more loudly, “Yes. We are new recruits.” She says, “Do you think you know me, recruit?” Flint quickly replies, “My mistake. I believe we are assigned to your command.” The woman replies she needs no new recruits for her mission, then pauses as if considering new plans. “Perhaps we will speak later,” she says, and abruptly turns away to rejoin her troops. An incantation for the portal (which apparently had been intoned a full 10 minutes before) finally takes effect. The portal pops up, and Pensiar and her cultists march through. It vanishes with a small pop.
Lydia can barely contain her curiosity. “Is it her? Is she our ally? Or does she not know you?” Flint replies, with absolute certainty, “She knows me. She has not exposed me. So she is still acting autonomously.” We all quietly speculate on possible explanations for Pensiar’s behavior – if it is truly her – but can reach no conclusion. If she keeps her intention of meeting with Flint again, more will be certainly be revealed.
Arjhan finally returns us to the matter at hand. He sums things up: “Pensiar may or may not prove helpful. Feldor is going to be a problem. And we still have Leucis, who hasn’t contacted us again. We might have two allies in here, if we can figure out how to make use of them. It comes back to this room, and how to clear it out.”
We decide it might be a good idea to scout things out in the forbidden hallways, looking for Leucis.