After dropping off the stoned dwarf, the party returned to the park and walked farther down the garden path, until they spotted some vines laying suspiciously across the path, with skeletons suspended in them. "This is obviously a trap," most of them observed, "Let us stand back and blast the tree to cinders at range."
Unfortunately, the tree had enough reach with its vines to grab the party from the maximum range of most of their attacks, and used that reach to drag them closer and closer, so they had to actually fight it. They killed a few of the vines, at first, until Varnix realized that the tree could only control a certain number of vines at once anyway, and there were HUNDREDS -- it wasn't going to run out. They had to kill the main trunk!
So Beware teleported everyone right up to the trunk so that they could do that. "Are you insane?" Ariel asked, retreating further back. Apparently, he was -- because now the tree had them right where it wanted them, and pulled them into its mouth and started chewing.
On the other hand, the party was remarkably tough to chew up, and they did manage to kill the tree before anyone was seriously hurt. They recovered a few hundred teeth from the skeletons tied up in the vines, and kept moving.
After a few hundred feet, they came to what was probably one of the strange symbols from the map -- the stream went up at a 45 degree angle, to a little door way up in the 'sky'. Testing the water revealed that swimming was a bad idea -- the water was acidic and might hurt them or their equipment. But the boatman, rowing back and forth along the stream, had no trouble making the trip along this ramp, so they paid him a dozen teeth to carry four of them, and Warren rode on Asm's back since she could apparently walk on water. At the top, they were dropped off on a little landing, and made their way into a network of tunnels.
The tunnels seemed safe, at first, but they didn't want to head inwards because if they weren't already in the 'protection zone', that would surely take them there! Instead, they started searching around outwards and laterally, looking to find a staircase up to the roof. What they found were a bunch of closed doors, and a bunch of tunnels collapsed by rubble. So they picked a door and went inside.
The room had four giant alligator statues wielding swords and shields, on a little ledge at the 'outward' edge of the room where they'd come in. The rest of the room was 15 feet below, and shaped vaguely like a giant toilet. There was a pool of water near the ledge, two glowing pillars in the middle, and an altar near the far end. Asm rushed across the room to examine the altar, and started pushing buttons.
First, she sealed them in by making massive stone walls slide down to block all the doors. Next, she started the water pouring out of the pool, flooding the room. That woke up the otyugh, who started trying to kill Heyyou. When Heyyou fought back, that woke up the alligator statues, who started beating on the rest of the party who'd been waiting in 'safety' up on the ledge.
Arial and Beware coordinated their knockback attacks to shove all the alligators off the ledge, into the water -- which wasn't such a good idea. Alligators + water = faster alligators! They also did a ton of damage to the statues in the process, though, and killed two of them. Which made them explode. The first was too far away to hurt anyone, the second did a huge chunk of damage to Beware and Arial because it was not too far away to hurt anyone. OW!
Then the alligators swam to attack the group of people -- Varnix, Asm, and Warren -- who had run across the room and were desperately trying to stop the rising water. Heyyou finished off the otyugh, taunted the alligators onto himself, and then detonated them in a chain reaction. KABOOM! KABOOM! *blub blub*
The explosions actually took him down, but he was the Bearer of the Root, and it regenerated him even while unconscious, so he was back awake before the party had a chance to rescue him -- all the enemies were dead, so they would have been able to do that pretty easily.
Asm also found the combination to lower the water and open the doors. "I'm sorry, guys!"
Varnix: "It's okay, it worked out in the end. You were just being a bit... chaotic."
Beware: "Chaotic Stupid. Lawful Stupid is 'it's evil, kill it!' Chaotic Stupid is 'oooh, shiny!'"
However, thanks to her curiosity, they now had a room where they could seal all the entrances, and safely rest again. This time, almost certainly too deep in the keep for the shadows to easily find them. The main impetous to rest at that point was to transfer the +4 enchantments off the giant swords the statues had been using, though -- the swords were way too big to carry, but Warren had some nonmagical weapons to dump the enchantments onto.
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