When the arachnid corruption, made even worse by Orcus’ foul touch, is cleansed from the Temple of the Raven Queen, the spiderwebs melt from the walls and ceilings of the great temple. The temple, though long forgotten, it yet hospitable. Staircases run along two walls of the center chamber. They lead up to priest cells, empty except for loosely furnished beds. You have found perhaps the most important thing one could find in the Underdark: A sanctuary, at least of sorts.
Beyond the statue where you battled the spider lies a tunnel, carved into the wall of the temple. The priest of Orcus escaped through it, and it seems to be the most vulnerable part of the temple, but also its only easy access to the rest of the Underdark, as the spider-caverns through which you came in are a maze.
Still, you are no closer to the Shield of Azdak, and the Underdark is still an incredibly dangerous environment. Food and water are still in short supply.
You rest for the first night, and awake hungry and still worn out from the previous 3 days of the Underdark (days being a relative term). Still, it was nice to have an actual bed to sleep in.
The question is: Now what, fated travelers? Where does your desperate quest take you now?
Cordelia rummages through a rupsack at the foot of the Great Queen of the Dead, clicking irritably. After a few frustrated moments she quits and sits, leaning against the monument.
“Friends, we are running dangerously low on provisions. Even with rationing, it seems we could only make our food last for a little under a week. As unpleasant as it may sound, I believe we need to seek out a civilization down here. We could purchase food, equipment, and we may be able to enquire more about Ahzdak’s Shield,” Cordelia sighs.
Roland sways and blinks slowly. His face is ashen and the many cuts on his body (particularly his hands), are purple and swollen. His voice is hoarse. A spotty beard covers his jaw. Refusing to eat spiders has definitely started to take its toll.
He croaks, “I…I agree with cordelia. It has been so long since a jeffrey could be here to provide me with sustinence.”
He raises his lute to play a small riff of notes but his trembling hands do not obey him. The uncomfortable music is quickly cut short by the loud “plink” of a breaking string. He jolts in pain as a new cut appears on his finger. He places the finger in his mouth and let’s his lute drop to his side.
“We must press on. Through that tunnel! I shall charm the food out of the hands of the merchants so that we may eat. And once we have eaten and found renewed strength, I shall charm the clothed off of whatever dark and beautiful women we encounter.”
He winks, then realizes that he has made this remark in front of cordelia as well. He shifts his feet awkwardly.
“Oh, ha ha, and perhaps cordelia will find a nice young drow lad who is morose and brooding in an attractive way.”
Nex seems oddly strengthened after the restoration of the Raven Queen’s temple. His sense of fulfillment, of pride, for the service he has performed in Her dark name is palpable, and his adulation gives lends him an air of serenity and gentleness few have ever witnessed the dangerous elf possess. However, at Cordelia and Roland’s words, Nex shrugs off his reverie and addresses the group.
“We have been blessed with this place of death, but we still must live. The spider’s give scant sustenance. The drow may have our only means of survival. I’ve never tasted drow blood.”
Nex looks to the tunnel.
“Perhaps the cultist knew where he was going. It’s the most likely way out of here. Also, I’d like to catch up to him, unless something has eaten him. I like to finish the job.”
Nex looks to Roland, the barest tinge of sympathy softening his eyes.
“You’ve done well, Bard. Your powers of persuasion shall come in handy with whatever civilized creatures we encounter. That said, remember: last time you romanced something, we had to fight vampires.”