Serine knew this was a bad idea, but before she could prepare the group, Branan walked through the main entrance of the tower, and immediately triggered a trap.
The group was pulled inside the tower and after shaking off a bit of dizziness, they saw that they were in a square room with no windows or doors (strange since they had just come through a door). The walls were lined with furniture, and there were two staircases — one going up, and one going down. After a brief discussion, they decided to head up.
As they entered the next floor up, they found themselves in a room that somehow appeared wider than the floor below. Like the floor below, there were no doors and no windows, and only two staircases — the one they had just come from and a second one heading up to the next floor. They headed up.
The next floor up was a circular room, with four doors heading in different directions. The group noticed that there were no markings on any of the doors, and although the room was lit up, a thick darkness prevented them from seeing anything through the doorways.
Not sure how to proceed, they picked a doorway and walked through it. Nerryn and Serine took the lead, looking for traps and lighting their path. After a little while, they walked through a doorway and realized they were back in the room that they had started in. Marking those two entrances as explored, they picked one of the two remaining doors and walked through.
They walked through darkness for some time, but eventually reached a well lit room of mirrors. Beyond the mirrors was a door — Nerryn suggested checking for traps, but failed in her attempt, causing each of them to gaze into a mirror. Horror after horror began to be revealed to each of them, except for Branan, who found a way to escape the enchantment. Eventually each of them was freed, although Nerryn felt the affects of the mirror for the rest of their time in the tower.
They quickly moved through the door at the end of the room, and found themselves standing in a circular chamber. Along the side of the wall was a staircase heading up — leading the way, Branan walked up the stairs to the next level. Along the walls of this room were many enchantments and spells in ancient languages — there were also numerous, large crystals that seemed to be placed in strategic and intentional places. At the center of the room was a crystal tube, which appeared to contain a fire elemental.
Branan approached the crystal tube and called out to the elemental, but there was no response. Serine, having more experience with elementals than Branan, moved him aside and asked if it had a name — the elemental began to pulsate. They began to ask it yes or no questions, one flash yes, two flashes no.
Are you trapped here? – Yes -
Did you choose to be here in this tower? – No -
Do you wish to return to your own plane? – No answer -
If we set you free, will you aid us? – Unclear answer -
Would you offer your services to the High Druid? – Yes -
Are the crystals on the wall key to your captivity? – Yes -
Would breaking the crystals harm you? – No response -
Noticing that the stairs along the wall continued up, they decided to explore the tower a bit more. For two more levels each floor contained ancient writings and crystals on the walls, and the crystal tube remained in the center of the room. Walking up the stairs again, they finally reached the top floor. Here they discovered a magnificent telescope like mechanism that Serine surmised was the way that the Superior’s kept eyes on the vast cities of the Dragon Empire. The mechanisms in this room, though, were quiet, as the Tower of Highrock had long ago faded from the view of the Archmage. As Serine peered out the window, it seemed to her that they weren’t that far off the ground, although she was certain this was the magic of the tower creating that affect.
Peering at the spells on the wall, Serine discerned that they all had three themes in common — focus, control, and containment. At this point, a disagreement formed as to how to move forward. Marduke wondered aloud as to whether or not they could contain the elemental (assuming they could even free it), which annoyed Alatir on account that they had entered this tower with no real ability to contain an elemental in the first place. Growing even more agitated was Nibil, who pointed out that they didn’t even know how to free themselves from this tower.
As Marduke expressed his concern that the building might collapse if they found a way to remove the elemental, Nibil, his rage rising, headed down the stairs, with Nerryn in tow. In a rare moment of anger, Alatir punched one of the crystals on the wall, which caused it to emit vein like electrical sparks up the wall and to the ceiling.
Branan, his curiosity piqued, placed his burning hands on two of the crystals, which exploded in a blaze of vein like electrical sparks throughout the room. Branan looked over at the elemental in the tube and saw that it was pulsating brighter than at any other point since their encounter with it.
Nibil, now on the first floor of the tower, was cursing violently at Branan, which prompted Alatir to say aloud that he missed sad Nibil.
Serine, aware that guards had been alerted to their presence, told the group that they had to leave. Branan, inspired by his burning hands, began to light crystal after crystal on fire. As runes around the room continued to explode, he told the elemental that he would be willing to carry it in his burning hands should they find a way to free it from the crystal tube. As Branan continued to destroy crystals, the crystal tube began to melt, and suddenly the elemental was free. Seizing its opportunity, the elemental entered into Branan’s burning hands, but wasn’t content to stop there. Now in full possession of Branan’s body, the elemental made its way down the stairs towards NIbil and Nerryn.
Frantically, the group ran into the hall of mirrors, but as possessed Branan entered, the mirrors shattered, injuring Nibil, whose swearing had now reached a fevered pitch.
They made their way all the way to their initial start point, and took the set of stairs that headed down. The sounds of guards were approaching from every direction. The room at the bottom of the stairs had eight doors, but possessed Branan blew the seven false doors away — they ran through the remaining door, down a long hallway, and reached a room with several windows looking out over Horizon.
Serine looked over the ledge of the windows and noticed that they only appeared one or two floors up from the ground — she realized it appeared exactly the same as when they were in the furthest reaches of the tower. She had no idea how high they actually were.
Suddenly, possessed Branan jumped onto the ledge of the window — the elemental was attempting to leave his body, but he was fighting to keep it contained within him. With the sounds of the guards approaching, the group began to discuss what to do with Branan.
As they argued, Serine looked over at Branan and saw what was coming next. He looked at her, then out the window, then back at her, and suddenly, without any control of his body, jumped. Serine ran to the window and, to her amazement, saw that it had been a short fall, and that he had survived it. She jumped out the window next, followed by the rest of the group.
Marduke landed badly, but suffered only minor injuries. Everyone else seemed fine, except of course for the fact that Branan was on fire and Serine was sparking lightning all around her on account of the magical spell she had used to land safely.
Serine thought to herself…I wonder if anyone will notice.