After bandaging minor wounds sustained from getting shoved into the pit, we took a few moments to cautiously explore our immediate surroundings. The closest interesting bit of terrain was a 4×10 grid of openings in the stone, each space looking like it would fit a hand (with all fingers extended). Off to the right was a round space marked by different colored stone which encircled a bunch of pillows. Directly in front of us, we could see some walled-off areas with large metal doors. At the back of the pit, on the left side, was a two-story tower, the top of which was at the same level as the ground above the pit.
A few feet from the pillow area, we discovered a small pool of water, about 3 feet deep, with something at the bottom. Being the cautious adventurers we are, it was decided that we put Gigantus in a harness and lower him into the pool so that we could inspect what was at the bottom without actually getting too close to the pool. Gigantus described the area as being similar to the holes in the 4×10 grid. He bravely stuck his hand in it and a ring with blue tinted glass became bound to him. Not knowing what to think of this, he put his other hand in and the same thing happened.
Considering the similarity between the hole at the bottom of the pool and the holes in the 4×10 grid, Gigantus decided to put his hand in one of the spots in the grid on the row marked “1”. The ring became unbound and when he pulled his hand out, the grid spot glowed blue. However, the grid would not accept the other ring Gigantus had, not in any row, or in any other spot on the first row. We resolved to continue exploring.
Continuing on the right side of the maze, we next found a walled off area that sectioned off a small room, with large metal doors. Not finding any way of opening them, we moved further along the wall on the right side. In the back, we found 8 pieces of glass inset into the brick floor. Beyond that was a statue of a leopluridon as well as a bookcase. Not finding any traps near the glass-bricks, we took a closer look and found that they each covered a hand-shaped hole, similar to the 4×10 grid and the pool of water. However, although the glass could be tapped on and appeared to be solid glass, it could not be broken. Tatsu decided to try his luck at reaching his hand through the glass and into the hand-shaped hole, and the glass let his hand pass through it. As he put his hand into the hole, the glass solidified around his arm and would not allow him to remove his hand, while at the same time, a ring became bound to the hand.
All of the sudden, from the nearby walled off room, the large metal doors opened and a group of Orcs came out to give us battle. Poor Tatsu was unable to remove his arm and could only lay on the ground whilst his friends met the Orc’s challenge. They were no match for us, but did inflict damage. The peasants rejoiced! After waiting a bit, Tatsu was able to pull his arm out and break the glass. The ring on his finger had a bit of black tinted glass in it.
Gaylord and Vra’uul meditated a bit to find any magical items the Orcs may have been carrying and to see what else in the area was magical. The Orcs had nothing of value. The statue and the bookcase, however, were far more interesting. Both had a magical aura. After spending a few minutes scrutinizing the statue, no reason for the aura was found. The bookcase, however, proved to be illusory and served to hide another hand-shaped hole. This one yielded a ring with green tinted glass.
The rest of the back of the maze was taken up by the tower. We decided not to go up the stairs into it but instead explored the area right next to it. The tower looked to be surrounded by a “bottomless pit” and next to that, a small alcove with statues and a large space which was continually aflame. Through the flames, another bookcase is visible.
The Intrepid Otto bravely decided to have a couple of ropes tied to him and launch himself over the pit, avoiding the fire traps, to the area outside the alcove. In it were 3 small statues. After carefully searching for traps (and finding none) and a shut off switch for the fire (and finding none), Otto entered the alcove area. Yeah, it was trapped. Several scythes swung down and cut both him and his two ropes. Yeah, it hurt. Fortunately, his bravery was rewarded as he found a hand-shaped hole and used it to put one ring on each hand. Both rings had yellow tinted glass.
As Otto gained some treasure for his pain, some Orcs came bounding out from a hidden part of the wall next to the fires! Their movement was hampered by the flames, which allowed us to funnel them a bit. The Orcs fought desperately and we took damage before taking them down. A short rest was in order while we regrouped and determined what to do next. The crowd again gave us a cheer for our combat prowess and the bit of bloodsport they had just witnessed.
Seeing as we now had 5 more rings, we moved over to the 4×10 grid and again tried to figure out its purpose. Gaylord played with the pillows, Vra’uul stood guard, and more rings were put into the grid. After the first row had been filled, there was a flurry of activity from the spectators watching us from the rim of the pit. Baraata conferred with some of the men near him, who looked through some documents. After a moment, one of them, who had been holding a small flask of some kind, threw the flask on to the pillows.