Aust Thale

Assuming that Val is referring to him, Respen moves toward the Criosphinx, waving the lot of them back and drawing his staff magically into his hands. It was change to a bow if he needed it too, but range wouldn't protect them from the monsters in this place. Deciphering the script was considerably easier than guessing the riddle this time. He speaks the answer to the riddle to the criosphinx as if sharing it in a conversation. He speaks in Draconic. "Balance."

And waits for the response.

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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
GM: The following information was learned at the same time as my previous post, I simply forgot to convey it. Sylvar had already made the necessary Bardic Knowledge and Knowledge (Arcana) checks. I am combining Sylvar's checks with Dewydd's, so all of what follows takes that into account. Since it was learned simultaneously with the other info, no further time passes.

Sylvar says, "Look here, at these tiny symbols, on the paws of all of the Sphinxes! It's an ancient code, separate and apart from the mystical language of the Sphinxes. I think I can summarize it: The former Sphinx Empire was vast, and the Sphinxes themselves were direct servants of the gods, created by the gods to guide, protect, and instruct the 'lesser races' (read: all non-Sphinx races); else, the symbols say, can one explain their power, wisdom, and beauty? This is why they now test travelers with riddles, and devour those who cannot answer, as a last remnant of their ancient duty to ensure that only the wise and strong survive. Hmmm, not sure how I feel about that...

The former empire, now known by some as 'the vanished realm,' was ruled by a great queen named Ankharet The Blessed, gifted with immortality and power beyond all others. Under her aegis, the Sphinx Empire grew and prospered for millennia, and all was as it should be... blah blah blah. Man, these Sphinxes like to go on and on about themselves, don't they? Hmmm... let me see....

No mention of the statues, just something about the Hieracosphinxes being the 'fearless claws' of enforcement, defenders of the realm... uhh.. let's see... Criosphinxes were Ankharet's messengers, carrying her directives to her subjects, and overseeing the building of great monuments... blah blah blah... Androsphinxes gathered knowledge and interpreted law... blah blah... Gynosphinxes were her daughters, she was proud of them, blah blah, they ruled under her as regional governors, blah blah blah...Oh wait, look at this:

Ankharet was corrupted when the gods of the underworld gave her a gift, a crown of great power called The Shadowcrown, which she used to kill her consort, the great Golden Wyrm named Kozuragen. Wow, she killed him because she didn't want to share her power, according to this. And then she blamed his assassination on the Naga Council, who were longtime rivals of the Sphinx Empire. It says here that Kozu's daughter, Meraph The Golden, teamed up with Ankharet to wage a crusade of conquest and vengeance against the Nagas.

Oh wait, LOOK AT THIS: I will read it directly, instead of summarizing. It says, '...Enraged by what she thought was the treachery of the Nagas, Meraph and her army came close to wiping the Nagas out completely. But Khubsheth, Meraph's consort, had been granted prophetic powers by the gods, and in a vision he discovered the truth of her father's death, and her mother's corruption. He revealed it to both her and the rest of her army on the morning of the final battle. Stricken with guilt and grief, Meraph fled, leaving her army in disarray.'

Wow, that's some heavy stuff. It says here that Khubsheth begged Meraph to return and to confront her mother. It says that Khubsheth ceased making war against the Nagas, and turned Meraph's amy against the queen, declaring war upon Ankharet, citing her betrayal of her people as just cause; but despite being a prophet, Khubsheth was not suited to be a general; by the time Meraph returned, her rebel army had suffered many key losses under Khubsheth's leadership. Years of guerrilla-style civil war followed, and although Meraph's army finally triumphed over the queen, they spent the very life blood of the empire doing it. When the war ended, the Sphinx Empire was shattered and broken, all of its once splendid cities in ruins, and all of the lesser races had fled to other lands. Man, what a bummer.

And look at this part: '...Ankharet still enjoyed the blessings of the gods, one of which was the power never to be harmed by one of her own kind. It was prophesied by Khubsheth, after having another vision, that those fated to destroy Ankharet The Cursed, as she was now called, had not yet been born. Indeed, they would not be born for thousands of years to come, and they would be born to the lesser races. With this knowledge, Meraph and Khubsheth set upon the only path open to them. What they could not destroy, they would imprison, to wait out the long millennia until the prophesied heroes were born.'

Oh, man. This Ankharet must be really bad news. And listen to this last part: '...Meraph was filled with guilt for her failure to prevent the catastrophe and brokenhearted over her part in the downfall of her both hated and beloved mother. In the end, she bound herself in the tomb as penance, to await her final release with the death of Ankharet.'

Sylvar ponders the implications of the symbols; as do the other party members as they absorb what has just been explained to them.

Dewydd and Sylvar, each of whom have been pondering the matter, both suddenly remember key details at the same exact time!

Dewydd says, "Wait, aren't these things called Stone Kith Sphinxes? And don't they have breath weapons?"

Sylvar nods, "Yes, if I remember correctly, I think the Heiracosphinxes breathe fire, the Androsphinxes have a deafening scream like an explosion of sound, the Gynosphinxes breath noxious fumes that are rumored to cause insanity, and the Criosphinxes... uhhh...I think they..."

Dewydd snaps his fingers, "They breath petrifying gas. And all of these things are tough as nails, moreso than even a Stone Golem. Let's hope we can figure out these riddles."

At this point, Respen answers the riddle, and apparently, his answer is correct. The door in front of the Criosphinx opens, as the stone guardian speaks!

Criosphinx Kith says, "Behold, the first test of doom! Beyond door number two lies the River of Darkness! Your reward, should you succeed, is Anshek, the second key!"

EVERYONE: What do you do?
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth

Judging only by what you can see RIGHT NOW:

1) The door is open.

2) It opens into a hallway, which is 10 ft. wide, and 20 ft. tall.

3) The hallway is completely dark.

4) There is a faint, "briney" smell coming from the hallway. Like the strong odor of onions.

Sylvar B.

Sylvar begins to sing.

Shadows fade away
Not long for to stay
When the will-o'-the-wisps
Come a calling

Darkness turns to light
When the air is alight
When the will-o'-the-wisps
Come a calling

OOC: Sylvar conjures Dancing Lights making them the shapes of Will-o'-the-wisps. He commands them to float around the entrance to the hallway.

He looks at Tam... "There you are friend, some light to reveal any hidden traps."


Thallok slowly makes his way to the doorway carefully watching each step he makes watching out for any traps that may be around. He stops directly in front of the opening. He looks down the hallway to see what if anything he can see.

OOC: GM, can you roll any checks that might be needed.

Sylvar B.

Sylvar will have the lights immediately above the person leading the party into the hallway. They will spread out to ten feet in front of them. ( Max possible range according to PHB)

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Sylvar's light source does not hamper Thallok's inherent Nightvision; Thallok can see 60 feet down the hallway. The floors, walls, and ceiling are carved straight and smooth. Past Thallok's range of vision, the darkness is impenetrable, although apparently non-magical.


Tam, as before, carefully examines all of the floors, walls and ceilings (up to 60 feet in) to make note of anything that could be a trigger. Since everything is so smooth, he looks for subtle cuts that would denote a pressure player, push trigger or opening to release valve or door/trapdoor opener.

He also looks for the too ordinary. In such a plain hallway, something seeming overtly "normal" would strike Tam as "abnormal". In his guild training, Tam learned to look out for the too elaborate and the too normal. These were usually triggers for any myriad of trap, or traps.

Sylvar B.

As Tam goes looking for traps Sylvar redirects the dancing light to follow him to provide illumination. Sylvar trails within range of the lights to direct them at whatever Tam appears to be inspecting closely. He is careful not to let them touch the walls.
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Taking out my old spellbook, a quill, and ink, I begin to jot down the story of the sphinx's told by the hieroglyphs. "Might as well make myself useful while traps are checked for. Why do people use traps? Whatever happened to just confronting your enemies, face-to-face? I definitely prefer open battle to skulking about in forgotten tombs and ruins," I think aloud while scribbling quickly.

Voidrunner's Codex

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