Belmarniss can now sorta muddle along in the local common thanks to aggressive use of comprehend languages to hand-translate books after roping a local into teaching her the alphabet. Also she hates teleport traps with every fiber of her being. Also she has figured out at this point that she somehow leveled in sorcerer instead of wizard during the business with the pirates and has no idea why that happened or whether it will happen again. And she has sold this stupid arrowhead to two different curio shops and given up as it seems to be cursed. And she just needs to keep doing what she does, she guesses, till she can teleport herself home. The Yawning Portal is a nicely ironic name.
"I've never actually been in a primal magic zone and don't know if they're the same here, give me the quick rundown?"
"Spells sometimes work, sometimes not, sometimes randomly enhanced. When spells not work, random weird effects like Rod of Wonder on drugs."
"Is it even worth my going in? I suppose the random enhancements might make it worth trying on balance."
"I can't say I like the idea of leaving you alone with only... this gentleman who apparently does not have spells prepared... to protect you from the Valsharess' assassin," Jojo says diplomatically.
"I mean, the balor will not be any happier to see me. We could also just go to the palace, let her and this place soften each other up for us? We already have a shard, she can't get the whole mirror together without confronting us."
"-right, that's another option. Yeah, let's head to the palace and pick up the frame instead. Uh, Petyr, would you mind preparing a couple of Sendings for when we get back?"
"I'll try," the erstwhile wizard sighs, and pulls a book out of his pocket.
"A real world traveler needs to be versatile!" encourages Belmarniss, and she heads west.
The rest of the party joins her.
The palace is a lovely bit of architecture, clearly designed for a flying populace. There are a lot of external landings, and entrances and exits on every level.
"Deekin wish Deekin had wings sometimes," Deekin mutters. "Seems very convenient."
"Yeah, I love flying and don't care for it being numbered in minutes per day. Maybe with magic items so weirdly cheap on this planet I should pick up an item for it."
Deekin shrugs. "We go back to Waterdeep, collect hundred thousand gold from Durnan, Belmarniss maybe get Wings of Flying. Take big chunk out of reward, but get to fly all the time."
They cautiously enter the antechamber of the palace. It's full of massive spiderwebs, and, not coincidentally, a contingent of massive spiders with the upper bodies of drow. They hiss at the intrusion and raise their weapons.
"- hi! Are you, uh, the palace guards?"
One of them actually laughs. The rest charge.
They're unsurprisingly fast, on eight long legs. Jojo is faster. He meets the tide of giant spider-people and begins the process of stemming it.
Deekin calls out, "Deekin thinking these be regular driders!" Then he hastes everyone and strikes up his favorite combat song.
"Yeah I was afraid of that." Let's try out the TENTACLES spell as long as we're on a theme of "too many extremities" here, shall we.
The tentacles pour out of the floor in a thoroughly upsetting fashion, and a few of them manage to grab driders and start squeezing.
Garrus fires off a volley, catching one rampaging drider in the throat and several others in the general thoracic region. The chargers are no longer looking so hot.
The drider that laughed is no longer laughing. She waves her arms and hisses out a few eldritch syllables, and there's a blast of unholy energy in the midst of the party. Garrus swears loudly.
Belmarniss goes with Steal Breath in spite of the fact that she has not yet re-worked it to not leave her with a very personal impression of her enemies' gingival issues.
The drider's breath tastes, somewhat predictably, like elven flesh of varying freshness. She screams silently, enraged.
Jojo's glowing fists take care of the remaining chargers, and he in turn charges the cleric. She goes down pretty quickly without spellcasting or meat shields.
Maybe if she Ice Spears some driders that evaded the tentacles they'll get within tentacle range trying to evade the spears, or just get hit by the spears, that's all the same to her.
And soon enough the room is clear.
"Huzzah," Deekin says unenthusiastically. "Driders continue not to be major threat. -to us big high-level party, major threat to winged elves maybe. On to throne room?"
"Yeah. Hopefuly it's not hidden in some irritating way."
There's a flight of stairs leading up, which Deekin suggests seems like a good route to try first.
"Deekin not actually sure why stairs," he notes as they ascend. "Maybe for handicap accessibility? Maybe foreign dignitaries visit mountaintops way more than Deekin think?"
"Kids who can't fly yet?"
"Aw, now Deekin picturing baby avariel in slings, cute."
"I don't know what mammals see in their wriggling young."
"They're sweet once they can talk."