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When we last left our intrepid heroes, they had just talked to the Temple of Lathander (god of dawn, athletics, and youth) about the Temple of the Darkening Dawn, ruled by (so they thought) a corrupt priest or con man along with… some kind of illusion? Magic item? Guy in a glowing rubber suit? At any rate, with some kind of talking fireball. The temple seemed to be cruel and collecting money under false or at least very shady pretenses. The priest they spoke to said he would send three clerics to see if this “god” was a true manifestation of divinity or if this was simple a nest of self-deluded fools. They would leave in the dawn, naturally.

The group got a spot of rest (Evelyn just stayed up all night, because she was used to staying up until the most fashionable of hours) and showed up at the entrance to the Warrens the next morning to escort the three priests, Brothers Darvin, Dorn, and Randal. Garden showed up dressed to the nines in his purple Order of the Vine suit and sash, looking as far from the whiney “nephew” he had portrayed the previous day. He got ahead of the group to do a touch of scouting.

Once in the Blade, he earned the distinctive wet sounds of Rich, the octopus sorcerer who resided inside his water elemental familiar. Turning towards them and asking what they’d heard, Rich wrote that there had been a bit of a hullaballoo the night before in the general area of the Darkening Dawn. He also asked for a drink, as the hullaballoo had been rather distressing. Garden pulled out a flask of wine and poured it into the water elemental, who turned purple.

“Exxxxxxxxcellent,” Rich wrote, a wee bit unsteady, and sloshed off, out of the way of impending trouble. Garden luckily found no further trouble, and the group caught up with him near the Temple.

As a point, as Lathander is a patron of athletes, all three of the priests were in quite good shape. And good-looking. Evelyn immediately started chatting up the loveliest of the three, because she likes pretty things, while Steven glared.

The door to the Temple was barred from the outside, and Evelyn and William could detect a bit of magic through the cracks. The priests removed the bar and flung the doors open. The Temple was deserted, aside from a glowing ball of blue flame hovering above the altar. (Though the group had seen a ball of purple flame there during the service yesterday.) The group advanced warily, as the thing was quite magical, when suddenly it broke apart in a dozen wiggling lines of light!

The things rushed the party, some of them emanating a magical fear that Steve’s stalwart courage and refusal to give in to being controlled helped ameliorate. The priests and the party battled them fiercely, the priests laying about with their maces to devastating effect, Charissa and Garden shooting them, William trying to dissolve them with magical acid darts, and Shandri blessing the group. At one point Evelyn managed to used Margul, the dreaded freeze, the paralyze one of the wiggling things, turning it into a floating bar, which Garden skewered neatly.

Evelyn was then rendered asleep by the creatures’ magic, and one of them wrapped itself around her throat and tried to strangle her. Princess tried to claw it away from her mistress’ throat, and Steve decided to take action at the same time. He hurled the line-creature away, following it with the closest possible weapon. Princess. Creature and cat thudded into the wall in that order, cat crushing the creature into motes.

That was the last of them, luckily. Everyone then woken up and dignity more or less restored, they went to inspect the area. The group found a hidden door into the vestry that held several gray robes (such as the congregants had worn), and had a smooth hole in the ceiling, the diameter of the purple ball of fire.

Looking around carefully at more his eyeline, Garden spotted some dust in mid-air, and discovered there was an invisible chest in the corner! He picked the lock by feel, but nearly had his finger chopped off by a spring blade trap. He disarmed that carefully (now that he knew it was there) and opened it up. It was, to be noted, pink inside from where Evelyn had tried to use prestidigitation to color it pink in an attempt to make it show up. It hadn’t worked. Inside was a goodly bit of gold, gems, a few weapons, and a couple other valuables. These were some of the Temple’s ill-gotten gains, apparently, left behind when someone must have forgotten about the invisible chest.

They divided it amongst all present, including the priests, who would tithe their share, as they continued their investigation. Intrigued by the hole in the ceiling and where it might go, William and Charissa came up with a plan. William cast light on one of Charissa’s bullets, which she then fired up into the hole. It hit the ceiling quite a distance above, but there was enough of a glimpse to show that the tunnel made a turn. Armed with this information, Randal summoned a celestial hawk, who flew up the shaft and then came to report (in Celestial, that Randal translated) that the tunnel terminated in a corner of the Blade.

Looking about some more, Garden found a second secret door, leading to a spherical room. There were very fresh carvings about the Darkening Dawn around the middle of the room, and a sickly-sweet crust on the floor. William made wall rubbings (with some help from a Tenser’s floating disk spell and a bit of mage hand), and the party retreated outward and onward…

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Timothy
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