After everyone has cleared the door and its immediate vicinity, Phud reaches out to touch the door to push it open. The door silently opens without so much as a groan or a pop. A triumphant grin spreads on the massive half-orc's face, then freezes in place. Phud feels his limbs harden and, ere he can recant his extended arm, is frozen fast in place directly in front of the now open stone door, grin intact.
A sickly green glow exudes from the large open chamber below. With Phud frozen in the doorway, however, it's difficult to see past to make out details. The chanting that Arden earlier detected is now clear enough for all to hear. Rhys and Wyleck immediately recognize the rhythmic quality to the chanting as some sort of religious embellishment on a worship ceremony.
[sblock=Rowan, Rhys]Rowan: The door was warded with a necromantic spell. Rowan's prohibited school is necromancy, making it difficult for him to know just what has been cast, but it does appear that Phud is now paralyzed. Rhys: Rhys recognizes that Phud has been magically paralyzed.[/sblock]
"Thoroughly unprofessional," comes Rowan's voice as he notes Phud's predicament. The hafling shakes his head again and tries to peer around the half-orc's muscular legs in an attempt to see what is happening beyond.
Still thoroughly conscious yet unable to move in the slightest, Phud's frozen form hulks in the doorway. From where Rowan stands a goodly ways back, he is nearly totally unable to discern what the devil might be going on inside the cavernous room beyond. The chanting begins to crescendo; by the sound of the many voices joined in unison, whatever ceremony is being conducted may soon come to an end. A better look into the room will necessitate coming closer to the doorway.
Rowan steps up close behind Phud and tries to peer around his frozen companion. The cautious halfling leans around only enough to look into the chamber ahead, using the half-orc as a shield. The conjurer calls to mind a spell, and prepares to cast it at the first sign of danger.
Spellcraft +9 or Knowledge: Arcana +7 to recognize the ceremony
Rowan steps up close to the doorway and, using Phud as a shield, peers past the open stone door. Before a large open chamber lies a small room with shields stacked on the floor and dozens of spears and tridents neatly hanging from two racks flanking the door through which Rowan peers. After the small armory, Rowan spies a 10-ft wide and 15-ft corridor leading to a set of double wooden doors thickly embellished with lobster claws. Halfway down the corridor, a pair of torches sits perched in sconces at an angle, their green fire casting a sickly pallor into the hallway but otherwise illuminating things well enough for Rowan to see. The tooled wooden doors hang open to reveal what looks to be a stone-balustraded balcony of sorts. The balcony itself is crafted of unpolished green marble and overlooks a large ceremonial open chamber. The intense rhythmic croaking comes from the chamber. Even at this distance and hiding behind the paralyzed Phud, Rowan makes out the top of what must surely be a truly enormous stylized lobster statue. Just precisely what lies down below, however, is beyond the reach of Rowan's sight, but as he stands and gazes, the croaking reaches its final height and with a fantastically loud "Boo-YOP!" in unison, is brought home to a stop. All is quiet for a count of three, then someone or something from down below begins to hiss in brooding tones. Rowan, Rhys, and Wyleck recognize spellcasting when they hear it.
[sblock=Rowan, Wyleck]There is a priest down there casting a divine conjuration spell.[/sblock]
Phud's thoughts return to his days as bouncer at the Golden Cockatrice. He remembered Frane and Vaja warning him not to mess with the pretty birds in the cage, lest he end up like the statue next to the cage. Had he now ended up like that statue? There wasn't any pretty birds around. But there was that door. Phud the statue. He wondered how his companions would be able to carry him out of here back to the Golden Cockatrice. He wondered what Frane and Vaja would say about 'Phud the Statue'. Would they put him next to the cage? Would they warn everyone from the pretty birds lest they end up like Phud? Next he wondered what the statue in the Golden Cockatrice must be thinking right now. Perhaps the statue wished he had not tried to touch the pretty birds. Many things to think about, lots of time to think about it. Phud wished he could lower his arm. Wait! Was he still breathing?
"See? Didn't I say temples were always bad news? Yssal, help me pull Phud form the doorway before he's seen, lest we get to tangle with that inevitable demon unprepared." Wyleck moves forward, careful not to touch the door, cross the frame, or peer into the room.