With the chess battle under way, the party came to the correct conclusion that they needed to follow the rules of chess, but what rules to follow and how they would apply to the match would have to be figured as they fought for their lives. As they discovered, every time they made a violation of the rules, the game board hurt them. The pawns of their side also couldn’t move of their own volition, and required a King to order them (which was Sig Ollivander in this case).
The White Pawns and even their own Black Pawns proved to be the most hindering, for their restricted piece movement sometimes couldn’t be accommodated for the Pawns single-minded actions. Those who weren’t restricted by this were the casters, who made good use of their abilities against the stronger chess pieces and especially the White King, which they had to defeat in order to win. This same strategy was used by the White Set as well, however, with the Bishops casting Flame Strike and the Queen Cone of Cold almost against the entire Black Set. Battered down by the enforced rules and spell assault, Striker sought to instantly end the fight with a Destruction spell, yet it had no effect upon the White King. Sig’s own Disintegrate worked far better, and the White King became a pile of dust after the second ray. This prompted the remainder of the White Set to surrender, but they quickly plane shifted away when the party refused.
Congratulating them on their victory, the Black King walked over to the far wall and tapped a place near the floor, were a tiny portal an inch tall opened up for them. Explaining this was the path they needed to follow to continue on the Rouge’s Test, the party used the shrinking staircase to become the right height (though upset of the fact, for they wished to leave the place at gargantuan or colossal size). Realizing the armadillo would likely try to eat them, they shrunk the animal along with them and left it behind as they walked through the portal.
The hallway eventually opened up, and they came upon a octagonal room filled with six paintings depicting Olidammara in many great moments of his history (including the shattering of a gem belonging to Wee Jas as detailed in the story read by Zach). To assist them in their possible troubles, Razeil Kashar cast Find Traps and searched the area while it was also detected for magic, turning up no results. Choosing to ignore the paintings, the party continued on.
The path continued till they came to a bottomless pit (above, below, and to the sides) with a gap of 30 feet to be crossed on the path. Items dropped down the pit went out of sight of even Zach’s darkvision. The party managed to convince Neolezreich to have someone ride upon him across the pit, even though he claimed to never to be a rider again. One by one they managed across, with Zach deciding to throw caution to the wind and jumped across all on his own. With everyone across, they continued on.
The path eventually ended upon an unlocked door into a seeming living quarter, furbished well for one seeking to relax. To the right was a water basin in front of a mirror, with a doorway past it. A shelf filled with countless unmarked books was on one side of the room, while the other stood a pantry filled with the scent of delicious food. A lead table stood upon a carpet, surrounded by comfortable and adjustable chairs for eating or reading, all of which was watched over by three statues. Each of these statues were using their hands to either cover their ears, eyes, or mouth (in that order, left to right).
The majority of the party was drawn to the statues, which didn’t turn up any secrets when investigated, but bid appear the animate and communicate with whoever mimed certain actions the statues were doing. The statues animation was also found to be an illusion, and in reality were really not moving at all. They were solid to the floor, and while it was brought up if they should be broken from their place, it was ignored.
Meanwhile, Xavier went to the pantry and it was revealed to have an assortment of delicious foods which replenished themselves when taken out. The bookcase was also explored, and the majority of the books had such titles as Tome of Leadership and Influence and Manual of Bodily Health, while a smaller percentage were romance novels, and even a smaller percentage contained simply bizarre titles (yet seemed to speak of topics akin to the Tomes and Manuals). At first the party refrained from reading the books to discover their contents, but after a certain number of books were taken off, all books were magically shuffled back into the shelves, uncertain as to where they were placed. The party eventually got around this by placing taken books in a nondimensional space, but other than that, when and how books went back to the shelf was never discovered. When certain tomes or manuals were read, the readers mind was assaulted and quite literally burned (Striker fell to such a curse). When a romance novel was read, the reader couldn’t help but speak out loud, though each reader never got far due to other party members physically stopping them. This kept the party wary of reading the books, so a good number were simply kept within their bags.
Neolezreich at first kept his distance from the room, letting the others discover what was within while he let his acute sense of smell work from him. The most prominent smell came from the pantry, which was filled with an assortment of food (as Xavier was discovering), followed by faint odors from behind the doorway near the water basin. Judging by the faint smell of feces, he deduced the room was a bathroom (concurred when Raziel investigated), yet the smell was overpowered by sweet smelling flowers and other scents to give the impression there was no feces as all, and only those with an acute sense of smell could note it. By this point Neolezreich came in and drank from the water basin, which replenished itself with water. This magic was eventually tested by dumping water down the toilet, effectively creating a never-ending flow of water, which strangely seemed to disappear after 50 feet rather than continue falling.
Magic was eventually detected through the room, and while it was all overwhelming, it was discovered the statues, pantry, bookshelf, water basin and mirror were all magical. While Neolezreich drank from said water basin, he noted the mirror, which was missing a single gem from the assortment of gems which were placed around it, and the reflection was different from the rest of the room. The positions of the deaf and mute statues were switched, and the carpet under the lead table (which Neolezreich noted as well) was not the happy face of Olidammara posing, but of a female version of Olidammara. The party came to believe they needed to somehow get to that room through the mirror, and finding the missing gem would help in that goal.
From here the party tried a many number of things: moving the lead table to the side and examining the carpet and eventually under the carpet. Trying to remove the mirror and other items not held down (held fast, possibly by Sovereign Glue), bring the armadillo to the room (via Neolezreich), eating a meal at the table (armadillo as well), and casting an assortment of spells upon the statues along with certain actions. Feeling they exhausted their options, they got fed up and decided to smash the statues, at the very least possibly finding the gem within the rocks. They began beginning with the deaf one, the destruction of the statue triggered the magical trap upon in in a destructive fashion, disintegrating everything around it in a 5 foot radius and almost disintegrating Roondar Spooney Smith as well. Thad finished up on the rest of the statues, first the blind one (not trapped), and then the mute (which was, and Thad resisted the disintegration).
It was noted that air was escaping through the cracks of the rubble left behind from the disintegration, as if the air pressure was weaker on the other side. Thinking it would allow them to continue upon their path, Thad broke through the wall, and was immediately sucked into the void that he immediately recognized as the Astral Plane (noted to him when he saw it during the fight with Dravo). Looking back, he noted that the entirety of what they have been through was disguised as debris hollowed out for the Rouge’s Test. As Thad continued to fly out into the void propelled by the sudden vaccum he created, Raziel threw out one end of the rope he carried and jumped through the hole with the other end, catching Thad. Striker grabbed onto the other end quickly and pulled them back in, sealing off the hole with the lead table.
Beginning to realize where they were (and therefore could not escape via teleportation for where they would go didn’t exist on the Astral Plane), the party became increasingly at not having found the gem, and then thought that by simply breaking the mirror they would likely be thrown into another location akin to what happened when Thad broke through to the Astral Plane. Instead, the mirror was smashed to pieces leaving noting but the frame, revealed just the wall behind it. Out of options, the party remembered the toilet in the bathroom and the fact light, vision, items, etc. disappeared after 50 feet, and decided to climb down into the depths and see what they could find.
Raziel was the first to go down first, and discovered that everything disappeared 50 feet down because it was a gate which lead to another toilet pit, this one which he had to climb up in order to get to the opening. Not only did this mean putting their hands and feet against the caked tube, but items which fell down from the other side threw themselves into the ceiling of the mirror bathroom, which was now dripping upon their heads (all of which was freaking out Raziel’s clean freak tendencies). A sending was sent from the other side to Raziel, who replied in a panic while washing himself at the mirror water basin and mirror (broken), giving the rest of the party that they were in deep trouble (eventually finding otherwise). Neolezreich eventually began emptying the water basin on his side, which washed everyone off on the other side in a few minutes, before climbing through the tunnel himself (armadillo in tow).
Finally in the mirror world reading room, the party made a mad rush for the door, hoping to get done with the test as soon as possible, only to find it locked. Throwing caution to the wind, Raziel pulled off a portable ram from his robe of useful items and busted down the door, setting off the fireball trap and damaging all those using the ram. Coming back to the bottomless pit, they tried to make use of the same strategy as before, only to find that gravity was reversed over the pit, the rider almost falling off when Neolezreich did a barrel roll to reorient himself. The decided to use a rope to climb across, and had Neolezreich catch anyone who fell. Zach was the last to cross as well, and jumped across the reverse gravity pit to minimal falling damage on the other side.
The party then quickly passed through the mirror world octagon art room, which this time instead of six works of art were six walls caked with feces, which Raziel quickly prompted them to move on from. Back at the chess room and still only one inch tall, colossal sized Kings noted their entrance and asked if they would be interested in playing chess, to which they violently refuted. They all managed to bypass the gargantuan door either by crawling under it or through the keyhole, noting a figure playing a lyre, who for all purposes could have very well been Olidammara. And he was (or at least an avatar of his being).
Olidammara noticed them when they began to walk around him, asking if they were enjoying themselves in his Retreat. When asked why couldn’t the challenges be more simple, he causually said what would be the fun in that. Noting that Neolezreich was carrying the armadillo (his mirror), Olidammara began to ask who abused the animal and his habitat, making Zach and Neolezreich dance irresistibly (and cursing Neolezreich as well so that his strength was weakened, since he committed graver offenses). When party members began to rebuff him for his actions, he made them dance as well, eventually prompting the remaining members to just dance upon their own so as not be under the effect of a spell (Garland being the only one refraining, after showing the ruby teardrop he had taken to Olidammara).
While dancing, Raziel asked how they could leave this place, to which Olidammara pointed out the mirror on the the wall behind them (placed where the party originally entered the Rouge’s Test), but they were too small to reach the mirror, saying they could use the staircases to return to proper size (which were now going up instead of down). Not knowing if the staircases were also reversed in mirror world, they made a dash for them, and Olidammara began throwing his dice at them, which were now just as tall as them as they crashed to the ground around them. The majority of the party took the left staircase, while Neolezreich took the right staircase, it being the original one which enlarged him, yet the staircases indeed were flipped in mirror world and he had to fly back to the other one.
Finally back to their normal size, they made a dash for the mirror and were attacked by Olidammara dice once again, though Thad simply caught them, seeing as he was no longer at threat to the miniscule dice. Upon catching it, Thad became effected by a random magical effect, which each party member took advantage of when Olidammara threw his dice at them in turn. Some were beneficial (such as a limited wish granted to Raziel), while others were curses (negative levels given to Sig). Garland was the last to pass through, who simply allowed the dice to bounce off his head before he walked through the mirror.
The room they stood in was 30 foot cubed, of the same stonework as the rest of the Retreat. The only noticeable feature of the room after a quick look was the mirror they walked through, which was now solid and only reflected the room they stood in. Raziel only had a minute to ponder the limited wish, and wished to have his biological father brought back to life, to which the universe responded by dropping 1500 gold pieces upon his head. Soon after, three figures walked through the mirror (Thad, Raziel, and Zach, who were the first three to walk through), appearing to them in full health, and began to attack the party.