Our situation remains somber, yet I’d venture to say it is far from bleak. Even under these difficult circumstances, each of us has managed, in his own way, to further develop his prowess—I know I’ve found the wherewithal to add a few tricks to my repertoire. I also feel my offensive coordination with Malakar has improved. Perhaps we have some sense that our tribulations are nearing an end; I like to believe our hope is not misguided.
Of course, we are not like to forget that this place is dangerous. At one point, we came upon a bronze door with a most peculiar knob, cool and refreshing, if Malakar was to be believed. Renleon had a strange fascination with the thing, but ultimately we were able to convince him to step aside long enough to open the door. Inside, we found a maze whose walls encased haunted souls who pounded against the inner surface and cast a dreadful aura.
Malakar made some reference to alleys behind the Hall of Long Blades, which Leïkos promptly corrected to the Hall of Blackjacks. Those two have an impressive collection of misadventures in the City of Brass from which to draw tactical insight for virtually an occasion. Such insight was soon put to the test, as we were promptly attacked by four-armed skeletons wielding nasty scimitars. One of them made an invocation to one Super Mahreeo, who I can only surmise is some sort of evil god. Strange that one can travel so far and wide and still come across undiscovered mythologies.
The skeletons were joined by a pair of wailing ghosts that reminded me strongly of banshees. During the battle, both Leïkos and Renleon were rendered unconscious, a discouraging development. After being revived, Renleon certainly made up for lost time, dispatching both ghosts with an enthusiasm that was almost disturbing. The fellow has issues for sure, and I feel he has suffered the effects of the pyramid more than any other, perhaps in part due to his odd relationship with Vyrellis.
After tending our wounds, we traveled further and came to a room with a curtained area and a large black stone surrounded by four pillars. The curtain was a rich fabric displaying a spired castle embroidered in silver thread. Malakar sent Shadowclaw past the curtain where he reported finding the statue of a castle that produced an unnerving sense of homesickness for those who looked upon it. While trying to make sense of our surroundings, we were set upon by several small, shadowy humanoids whose quick and agile movements presented a certain amount of danger. They supported yet another instance of our foe Karavakos, who harassed us with an assortment of dark wizardry. We ultimately were victorious, though not before Leïkos again fell unconscious under the onslaught. He being our tactician and healer, I find this trend quite disturbing. Clearly, some changes must be made to prevent him from being placed in that position.
As it turns out, this latest Karavakos was not one of the pieces of his fractured soul that we have sought, but merely a spiritual shadow of that power-mad Tiefling. Oddly enough, this entity seemed to have no idea he was other than the genuine Karavakos, even as we defeated him. So our adventure continues. I have faith in our eventual success, but we have not faced our last dangers, I am sure.