Session Log 2022-03-17
The party studied the bough room carefully, trying to figure out what, if any, hint was provided by the old elven poetry. Klaitos observed that, whatever the bough was, it was innately magical enough to manifest some power after however long it had been left unnattended in the darkness, likely qualifying it as "the valuable elven artifact" Robin had previously surmised to be at the heart of this place. Ignis considered that the infestation of deadly, visitor-unfriendly magebane was unlikely a planned feature of the original art dungeon, and that there was not intended to be an obstacle to climbing the hill.
Klaitos realized that rhe magic-eating ooze spread slowly enough through the tightly-woven hill that a magical working could be used to carefully lure it from the summit. Ekkels' loyalty to his friends nearly spurred him to step forward and volunteer his magical power as risky bait. Robin, however, stopped him, suggesting that her illusions might be better for maintaining a safe distance. She loosely donned Ignis's favorite tunic - a useful rag in case the slime touched her - and conjured the image of a large dinosaur. The magebane trickled downslope in pursuit of her illusion magic.
Ignis, Klaitos, and Ekkels grabbed ahold of the bough, covering one side with their hands to evoke a half-moon. The weave of branches roiled under their hands. Ignis attempted to pull at it, but found it fixed in space. Klaitos noticed it curling above his hand and grabbed ahold. It unfolded somehow into a ladder of wooden branch rings, stretching upward with each hand- and foot-hold to which the climbers reached, unbowed by their weight.
Robin watched Klaitos, Ignis, and Ekkels ascend as she circled the room, followed by the illusory dinosaur and the creeping stain of magebane. Noticing the base of the bough-ladder was starting to curl back in on itself, she dropped the illusion and dashed back up the hill. She leapt and was just able to grab ahold of the bottom of the growing ladder. However, an errant stain of magebane had followed her stuck to her shoe. She acrobatically shucked the loose tunic while hanging onto the ladder, wiped away the slime, and disdainfully abandoned the tunic.
Klaitos, at the top of the ladder, watched it grow before him to reach the floating exit. He stuck his head through to find he had returned to the original portal-arch room. The portal above the bough was linked to a opening behind one of the wall flower-sculptures, hidden from view for anyone looking from the floor. Climbing through, he saw no other such hidden passages along the same wall, but he did spy an engraved sun in the ceiling and a stone door worked into it just above the secret exit.
The party climbed the bough-ladder through the hidden exit and entered the stone doors. A brief, windowless stairwell led to what appeared to be the library previously scouted by the Little Dudes. The room was taller than the other rooms of the tower - two broad mezzanines above dividing it into three levels - but there was no obvious way up. A stone pillar stood at the center of the room, something uncanny about the space it occluded from view. The bookshelves, sadly, were fire-damaged and what books remained seemed mostly rotted or ash.
The space seemed empty, and so the party peered around the column. They found an entirely different stretch of library beyond - the cylindrical chamber crossed more than 360 degrees. Klaitos peered out the window, wary of more spacetime nnonsense, and found that they seemed to be on the third floor of the tower. Continuing around the pillar, the party found themselves walking four laps to return to where they had started.
Along the way, they found piles of library desks, chairs, and tables, scorch marks, a metal ladder to the first mezzanine and a fortification of upturned furniture. Ignis noticed a pattern of asymmetrical stars repeating on the central pillar. Recalling his lessons, he knew each to be a distinct constellation prominent in a different part of the year. Though calamity had turned the concept of a "season" into a historical footnote, he was able to note them as Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer stars.