Desert of Desolation

The Inner Sanctum of Martek

   Day 75 (continued) With the sixth and final crystal minaret now in hand, the band  proceeded through the enormous hallways of the crystal cathedral towards the central chamber. As they drew near however, the band saw that there were many people standing about the large dais as if they were guarding it. Soon the band recognized the people to be Percivilis and 17 of the Palan-teen, all of whom appeared to have various injuries as though they had recently been involved in a battle.

   Percivilis addressed the band and told them he would forgive them for abandoning them and taking the Star Gems. Then he asked them to hand over the Star Gems, still apparently believing that he was the one who was destined to fulfill the quest. The band, of course, disputed his claim, but before anything could be resolved, a fireball suddenly flew out of one of the darkened hallways and exploded atop the dais, killing the vast majority of the Palan-teen! This was quickly followed by 23 Guilders, who charged out of their hiding places in the shadows of the darkened hallways. Although the Guilders also appeared to be injured, they quickly swarmed around the remaining Palan-teen and attacked them. Meanwhile an invisible Trifakas struck the band with some devastating spells. The first was a confusion spell, which caused the band's two best warriors, Stilgar and Besender, to fight each other. Lerris was then hit with a domination spell and told to "Go away", causing him to leave the battle. Following that, Dayel, who had been throwing up walls of fire to try and hold back the Guilders, was struck with a feeblemind spell and likewise taken out of the battle. Things looked very grim at this point, and eventually all of the remaining Palan-teen were killed, though many of the Guilders also died in the process. 

   Fortunately, the band had some unexpected allies show up to assist them. They were Leah, Arven, Elysion, Elis and Raji, all of whom the band had encountered previously on their quest through the desert. Though they were not as experienced as the members of the band, they proved to be just enough to help turn the tide of the battle, so that Aerial, Ava, Bahn and Percivilis could take down the remaining Guilders and then turn their attention to the Guildmaster, Bandik. By this point, Trifakas had become visible, though he still had mirror images up protecting him, as well as his two henchmen, Pawnis and Sardok. Gradually, one by one, each of the band's enemies fell before them until only Trifakas remained. And though he tried several times to escape with his magic, he was unable to get a spell off uninterrupted and like the others, he too was eventually cut down.

   When the battle was over, all the members of the band were gathered up and healed as much as possible, though there was nothing they could do at this point to restore Dayel's mind. Apparently realizing now, how capable and necessary the band was to the quest, Percivils apologized for his words and actions previously and from that point on agreed to follow the band's lead. When they were ready, Lerris placed the final minaret into the miniature Citadel, and immediately afterwards, everyone standing nearby was lifted up from the floor, shrunk down in size and pulled towards the miniature model of the Citadel where they were then teleported into a chamber. 

   This chamber was actually an entry hall with three flights of steps leading up to a pair of golden double doors and a fountain of healing water on the second landing. Two passageways led off to the left and right. Since one of the golden doors hung slightly open, the band investigated them first and found a vast but dimly lit chamber beyond. Here, a single pillar of light shined down from an immense domed ceiling, striking the top of a round platform 20' above the floor. Stairs rose up the sides of the platform to the skeleton of a man, bathed in the brilliant light. On the skull of the skeleton was a metal headpiece that reflected the light into three beams, each of which struck a great, 30' tall statue of a djinn wearing a high turban and holding a large scimitar. These were standing at three different points in the floor around the platform. Around the chamber were three more sets of golden doors just like the ones the band had just come through. A small dark figure was hunched against the door on the far side of the room and there were four others, what appeared to be cryptknights, guarding the chamber.

   Upon displaying any of the Star Gems, the cryptknights, moved no closer and held their ground. The hunched figure on the far side of the room turned out to be the skeleton of what may have been a long dead slave. The band noticed that each of the statues had holes in the fronts of their turbans about the size of the Star Gems, and there were two more such holes in the platform at the head and foot of the skeleton that lay atop it. Based on past experience, it seemed pretty obvious what needed to be done. So Lerris climbed up each of the statues and placed a Star Gem in each of the turbans. Then the band placed the two remaining Star Gems in the platform. 

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arkhemedes

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