The group rests for the night, recovering from their battle with the Abbess. The following day, they head back to the monastery for further reconnaissance.
Alexander climbs on the roof, only finding a single chimney from which he can smell bread baking. Finding little of interest on the roof, he heads back to the garden. There, he sees no one moving, so he signals the rest of the group, and they all pile into the garden.
Alexander spends a few moments opening the western door in the garden, and then steps into a large room, obviously some type of shrine. For large, natural earth columns support the ceiling, and a large slab of stone rests in the center of the room, clearly an altar. Before the altar, wide steps descend below.
Three figures in stone armor stand behind the altar. Noticing Alexander, one of the figures calls out to him.
“I see you there. Enter!”
Cautious, Alexander enters the room. Two of the men, clearly guards of some type, move forward to place themselves between Alexander and their leader.
“I am Qarbo, priest of the Black Earth. Who are you and what are you doing here?”
Qarbo is oily and sarcastic, speaking with a smirk on his face. Alexander attempts to bluff him, trying to convince Qarbo that he was sent to help the monks here with against the Feathergale Knights.
“Who sent you? Are you here alone?”
Alexander mentions that he has a companion waiting in the garden.
“Tell your friend to come forward so that we can speak.”
Alexander tries to stall while Gilbane, Graeyd, Sulannus, and Ciandara get into position out in the garden. Qarbo clearly knows that Alexander is lying, so he motions to his guards to attack.
The rogue deftly slips away, running out into the garden. He and his companions wait tersely for Qarbo and his companions.
One of the guards moves by the door that leads out to the garden while the other moves to the opposite door, disappearing further into the monastery.
Qarbo steps in front of the door leading out to the garden and casts a spell. A loud, ringing sound erupts, catching Alexander, Gilbane, and Graeyd in the area. Nearly deafened and slightly damaged by the spell, Gilbane and Graeyd rush forward, only to be intercepted by the guard. Ciandara steps forward, casting Hold Person on Qarbo and succeeding. Seeing that the priest is paralyzed, Gilbane allows Graeyd and Alexander to take care of the guard while he smites the priest. Qarbo quickly falls.
Unfortunately, the second guard comes back into the room with a large number of reinforcements.
A large number of monks, along with a few more of the men dressed in the stone armor rush into the room and quickly surround the party. One of the stone-armored men casts slow on the group, hitting Alexander and Sulannus. Graeyd soon falls to the concerted attacks, then Alexander, and Gilbane soon after that. Realizing that the monks have the situation handled, the priest tells the group to capture them and then leaves the room.
Ciandara moves forward, quickly healing Gilbane. Gilbane remains on the ground, pretending to be unconscious while Ciandara uses her Channel Divinity to damage a large number of the monks. Meanwhile, Sulannus, still slowed, attempts to fire into the room, hoping to clear some of the enemies before they are completely overwhelmed. Ciandara casts burning hands, killing two of the monks, but she then falls to their efforts. Gilbane quietly uses lay on hands to heal himself, but continues to pretend to be unconscious. The last of the monks quickly surround Sulannus and beat her into unconsciousness, and then they drag the group down the stairs into a large room.
The floor here is simple packed, red earth. The west end of the room is dominated by a row of thick iron bars, beyond which a large, insectile creature hisses at the group. The creature is clearly blinded, but its claws have been replaced with large, serrated blades. Beyond the strange creature, an iron door leads further to the west, and a similar closed iron door exits to the east.
The party is quickly stripped of their armor and equipment and bound. Two of the stone armored guards remain behind, and the monks head back upstairs. The guards spend several minutes talking, smirking about the two elven women.
Gilbane, still pretending to be unconscious, attempts to break his bonds. Finding a loose stone on the floor, he spends several moments rubbing the ropes binding his hands against the stone. Eventually, he breaks free without the guards noticing.
One of the guards decides that he’s bored and heads upstairs, hoping to get something to eat. The second guard calls up that he wants a tankard of ale, then goes back to roaming the room. As he passes Gilbane, the paladin leaps up, using his Channel Divinity to cause mystical vines to wrap around the guard. He utters a Healing Word to awaken Graeyd, then yanks the guard’s Morningstar out of his hands and starts beating on the guard.
Graeyd awakens, using his channel divinity to heal all of his companions in the room. Alexander moves over to help Gilbane, and the two of them trade off the Morningstar between them so that they can beat on the guard. The guard struggles against the mystical bindings, so Ciandara moves in behind him to hinder his escape efforts. Sulannus also steps in, using Shocking Grasp to assist.
Soon, the guard is knocked into unconsciousness. Gilbane, getting an idea, begins stripping the guard of his stone armor.