Session Log 2022-01-31

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Klaitos kneeled down to inspect the moat of faintly-glowing chaos magic inscribed around the entrance archway. Though he was unfamiliar with their patterns and whorls, he was able to discern that it would be no trifling matter to disrupt them - the trap was not one complex effect but dozens upon dozens of clustered, crude, triggered bursts of chaos. Using the Lantern Eye, he was able to determine that the trap wasn't connected to (or powering) the archway behind him. In order to render it passable, he began inscribing small runes of draining in gaps between the carved stone. Ekkels watched over his shoulder to correct him as he undertook the tedious counterworking.

Ignis and Robin started down opposite paths into the labyrinth, following the left- and right-hand rules separately. Robin noticed the pungent earthy smell again, intensifying and fading down different paths. Eventually, they passed by each other, separated by the scratched glass of a trellis wall. Their expedition failed - Ignis wound up back at the entrance, while Robin stumbled once more upon the Torch corpses. She used her notes to lead her back to the entrance.

She and Ignis watched as Klaitos and Ekkels finished a narrow bridge of power disruption across the span of the chaos-rune moat. Satisfied that an escape was possible, if not urgent, they turned to follow Robin's last foray into the labyrinth, following her nose to see if she could find the source of the earthy stench.

With her notes, she followed a new path, up and down, turn after archway after turn, the smell worsening and worsening. This led her to an exit - a stone archway as large as the entrance to the maze, identical in structure but lacking any obvious elven poetry, a tree carved into the top where the original had a flower. Passing through, the party found a soil-covered balcony on the side of a vast wall of thick bark. Narrow walkway-ramps climbed the wall left and right of the entrance, a short wooden wall serving as the only guardrail between soil-covered floors and the vast empty space beyond.

Ignis, inspecting the wall, noticed that chunks were missing - faintly-glowing decompositional mushrooms were gradually eating through the dead wood. The earthy smell of the rot pervaded the space, answering the unasked question of what Robin had followed with her nose. There was some inscriptions on the top of the wood wall, but with the rotted-away chunk missing, it wasn't fully legible. Emboldened by having emerged into a new area, but wary of their past experiences with gravity, the party tethered themselves together with rope. Placing the short-legged Ekkels in Klaitos's backpack, the party employed the right-hand rule and began to climb the narrow paths.

They walked long distances from platform to platform, here and there making out a vast branch emerging from the wall and vanishing somewhere out in the gloom. Occasionally, they encountered forks in the road - smaller portal archways built into the wall, that took them to other platforms or other ramps - and passed through them as suited the right-hand rule. They climbed up and down the soil-lined pathways of the bark wall in the disorienting darkness of the vast space.

At some point, their passage forward required them to climb a perilously broken - but not apparently rotting - section of soil-pathway on a scarred region of the wall. Robin and Ignis were able to make the lunge, but Klaitos missed a step and found himself teetering. He attempted to catch himself with a gust of stormy wind, but was unable to muster the focus in the instant of peril. Ignis and Robin tried to pull the rope taut, but only wound up compromising the former's footing as well. Ekkels, feeling his ride suddently tilt, emerged from Klaitos's backpack and seized control of his wind powers. A front of dusty air rushed violently up the wall, tipping Ignis back to stability and buoying the hardly-weightless Klaitos gently to their destination.

Newly wary of the risks posed by the wooden paths, the party stopped at the platform beyond the broken path and considered where they found themselves. Klaitos noted that they were fairly "deep" into what seemed to be much more than a simple tower - at the heart of a twisted landscape, on a floor unfolded into a noneuclidian complex, within a maze-like and ominously dead art dungeon. He wondered aloud if something extremely dangerous was at play, that could so thoroughly cast this place into darkness.

Ignis surmised that the tower itself was a remnant of disastrous Torch weaponization of Aether Age relics circa the Wars of Expansion. The tower's architecture and wonders predate the rise of the Torch, but they bear signs of the empire's capture, experimentation, and likely accidental destruction. This dead place, therefore, was more likely due to the same aetheric power outage as the vast doors from the first floor: a garden left to dry and rot in the absence of some magical sun lamp. He wasn't sure, though, if there'd be any interesting relics left within.

Robin, barely listening to the details on pre-Torch elven art history, had a thief's hunch that there would be some kind of weird interesting artifact lying around here somewhere. If it had been cleaned out with any certainty, the Torch wouldn't have left it so little barricaded, or at least they wouldn't have left their corspes to mummify in the dark. Moreover, every thiefling in the Torch Empire has heard legends of the strange arcanic treasures of ancient pretentious Elves. If the Torch couldn't clear this place out, there's definitely something worthwhile left behind.

Newly motivated by the promise of treasure ahead, the party resumed their right-hand-rule march onward. They came upon a particularly noxious stretch, but saw nothing amiss besides a small cluster of glowing mushrooms in the center of the path. Robin passed by cautiously, but it was Ignis's armored weight that cracked the floor. The soil spilled away to reveal fractured, rotting wood. Ignis fell into the sickening pit of woodrot and glowing fungus. The floor of the pit was already visibly warped and cracked, and bent further slowly under his weight.

Robin scanned her surroundings, sprinted ahead, and leapt. She cast her portion of the party tether around a nearby "twig" - an outgrowth of megabranch the width of a palm tree - and used it as a makeshift pulley. Klaitos, eying the collapsing path warily, threw himself across the gap, leaping as the next section began to crumble beneath him. He hauled on the rope as he stepped away from the collapse. Together, they were able to yank Ignis, and he leapt to cling to ledge beyond. Klaitos, begrudgingly, pulled Ignis to his feet by the rot-slick gauntlet.