The Amber Golem thundered towards them, as the witches on their brooms zoomed past in terror. Omar shuffled forwards as the group prepared to run. He held out a skeletal hand, and the golem stopped in its tracks. Relieved, the group again set about their business of investigating the amber vaults. Marek was inside the ruined vault, and besides a fine sheen of amber dust on his clothes, seemed fine. Mahel walked to a nearby sarcophagus and touched it. In her mind, she was on a vast mirror-like lake, surrounded by fog in all directions. When she looked down at her reflection, she saw staring back at her an inverted version of herself, which was actually the goddess, Fekre. After conversing with Fekre, she agreed to obtain her “dark gift” if it promised not to alter her physical appearance. The vestige, admitting that it was unable to lie, agreed. A dark hand rose from the surface of the water. Mahel bent down to grasp it…. Mahel awoke from communing with this spirit, finding that she now had the power to cast the powerful contagion spell, but had paid the price of now reeking of filth. “Fuck you, Fekre,” she grumbled.
Finding another vault with an arcane lock, Marek dispelled the lock and Omar used his power over the Amber Golem to smash the doors after Ulfrik was unable to open it. Ulfrik went in to the vault, and seeking his own gift, touched several amber sarcophagi. He communed with the Vestige of Savnok, the Inscrutible an ancient god who he played cards with (and lost). He then communed with the flying horror, the Vestige of Tarakamedes, the Grave Wyrm who promised him the gift of flight. Unsure as to what the price to be paid for this gift would be, he declined. He also had a somewhat brief and flirty encounter with Vestige of Shami-Amourae, The Lady of Delights, an ancient succubus-like goddess. None of these gods had what he desired, so he left them empty-handed.
While Mahel went on her own (as usual) back to the amber vault in the northern section of the temple, the remaining four investigated a catacomb of amber coffins, bereft of any sign of life. Ulfrik got a super-spoopy vibe, and ushered the others to leave in a hurry.
Finding yet another vault, Marek disenchanted the door, and they made their way inside. Marek, unable to control himself, touched another Amber Sarcophagi and accepted another dark gift – a gift that came with a dark price – the blood in his veins turned to pitch black. Although his peers seemed troubled by Marek’s increasingly disturbing countenance, Marek stayed mum on the matter. Ulfrik also reached out to commune with the other dark gods in this room, finding first that he spoke with the illusive Vestige of Vaund the Evasive, and then finally meeting and accepting the gift of the Vestige of Seriach, the Hell Hound Whisperer. This gift was the ability to understand Infernal and also to summon two hell hounds to fight at his side, but only once. What the price to be paid for that would be, he did not know…
They reached a stairwell and continued up to a long corridor. The walls of this twenty-foot-wide, seventy-foot-long arched corridor were sheathed in amber. The southern half of the hall was scorched by fire, and a charred corpse lay on the floor, under a burned fur cloak. Several amber doors led from this hall, and three arrow slits were cut into the east wall. Clearly this was where the group of Flameskulls launched their attacks. Marek found a Staff of Frost on the charred corpse (most likely a previous victim of the floating evils), and although it was clearly a wizard’s implement, he fought viciously over it with Dr. Haavik. Marek’s thirst for magic seemed unquenchable and getting worse. Ulfrik furtively opened the door to the south, and came face to snout with a dire wolf!
The wolf was the “pet” of a group of mountain berserkers, led by a female dressed in studded leather armor. After a battle that ended up with the berserkers decimated by the powers of the intrepid adventurers as well as their undead compatriot, Ulfrik took the somewhat charred and tattered armor from the female, intent on giving it to Mahel, something for which she’d been looking for a long time. The five, beaten and battered, retired to Omar’s study (finding Mahel, trancing on top of a bookshelf) where they wrapped themselves in their furs, and did their best to rest and recuperate. Clearly they needed to complete their investigation of the temple; powers that could help them in their fight against Strahd still remained undiscovered. And Dr. Haavik still had not found the skull of the silver dragon Argynvost, if it was even here. As the lights were snuffed out one by one by Omar on his way back to his study, only one light remained: a candle held by Dr. Haavik. Just before he blew it out, he said silently to himself, “I’m coming, Master.”