Returning to the Drow encampment, the Matron called them into her chambers and ordered them to begin seeking out the Yuan-ti within the city with the goal of tracking down their leadership. After acquiring more gear, the group returned to the tunnels beneath the city and found that the Yuan-ti were now pursuing them as well. After a couple of battles in the tunnels, they managed to capture a yuan-ti and return it to the Matron. Malaxder attempted to use his magic to find out what the Matron wanted from the yuan-ti, but wasn’t able to glean anything useful before they began torturing it. They knew from their first encounter with the yuan-ti that more powerful leaders were in the upper levels of the temple they ventured into the first time. They decided to re-infiltrate that ruin and try to engage the serpent folk on the upper levels this time. They informed the Matron of their plan, and left the encampment.
Returning to the ruin, they quickly made their way to the upper levels, where they overheard a strange conversation. One voice was raspy and brusque, the other booming and deep. The raspy voice stated that it had found a Dream Stone. The booming voice demanded that the owner of the other voice continue to search for more Dream Stones, after bringing the one it had to him beneath the city. The raspy voice assented, and the communication stopped.
Sneaking into the upper level, the found a large open room with 12 pillars in it, each writhing and twisting with bizarre arcane magic. As Malaxder approached the pillars to examine them, he spotted yuan-ti guards patrolling the large room and tried to retreat. Anton, however, had no intention of being subtle and shouted a challenge to distract them from Mal’s attempt to hide, and battle began.
As the fight raged, more and more snake people came from the side rooms, and finally the owner of the raspy voice appeared, flanked by four heavy guards – a spirit naga, it’s giant serpentine form twisting around the doorway as it cast it’s defensive spells and waded into the battle. Tierel did her best to flank it and try to steal some of the magical effects it was using, as Anton and Arsen waded into combat against it’s guards. Mal, Ral and Baph stood back and hammered the creature with their spells and powers, and while it flung fireballs into their ranks and sacrificed it’s guards to save itself. The pillars seemed to act in some strange way to affect psionic abilities, repeatedly disrupting Baph’s attempts to lash out with his powers. Finally, Anton and Arsen overwhelmed the guards and Baph managed to deal the monster a powerful psychic blow, killing it and ending the threat. Searching the body of the naga, they found the Dream Stone, although it was not theirs surprisingly.
As the others checked for remaining yuan-ti and Tierel searched for treasure, Mal examined the pillars once again. After a few moments he determined that they were some form of communication device, apparently attuned to similar structures elsewhere. He did not think that they were originally part of this structure but had been added later. After a bit of fiddling, he determined that he could try and activate the pillars and speak with whoever was on the other side. After a bit of discussion, Mal decided to activate them and see who he got on the other line.
The booming voice responded almost immediately. Mal told it that he and his allies had killed the naga, and they had the Dream Stone. The voice asked what he wanted, and Mal said he wanted more knowledge, and a chance to speak face to face. The voice agreed to meet him, and reward him handsomely in exchange for the Dream Stone. He directed them to a tunnel beneath a temple to Arawai in the north of the city, decorated with bronze dragons. Arsen immediately recognized that temple as the one that the Drow had told them would contain the cure for the Blood of Vulkoor, and that they had been warned the Matron also knew what it contained. After giving the directions, the pillars magic ended and the voice vanished.
Returning to the Drow encampment with trophies of their kills to present to the Matron, they informed her that the power behind the yuan-ti was apparently hidden beneath the city, and they would need to proceed to the temple in the north. The Matron smiled and informed them that beneath that temple was a fountain which contained a terrible poison. She gave them a large gourd to fill from the fountain, and warned them against drinking from the fountain before sending them on their way.
Outside the audience chamber, confusion began to set in. The pool she described seemed to be the same pool as the one that held the curative potion they were looking for. But the Matron couldn’t have known that they knew about the potion, the building they were in was supposed to be shielded from scrying. Or was it? Was the Matron lying? Were the other Drow lying? Who could they trust?