One of the statues looked straight at her. Ryjah screamed and grabbed Thornstaff pulling him off balance. “It… it looked at me.” she stammered to Thornstaffs irritated glare, her eyes wide with fear.
Thornstaff glanced at Kalishan “Are you sure that the pipe is here?” he checked.
“Of course I am!” Kalishan snapped.
The statue took a few steps towards them with a clinking echo. Ryjah felt Thornstaff tense as several more statues turned to face them silently but to her relief, they made no other move. The first statue that had moved beckoned for them to follow it. Ryjah glanced up at Thornstaff who followed it at Kalishans urging.
The statue led them to one of the walls and placed its hand on it. The pictures on the wall rearranged themselves to form two words The Pipe? It looked to them for confirmation. “Do you know where it is?” Kalishan demanded “Take us there!”
The statue turned and led them through many twisting paths and corridors, several led to rooms filled with artifacts and enchanted items that were worth hundreds and even thousands of gold. But they walked by it all, Ryjah had a death grip in Thornstaffs arm and refused to let go. She wondered how the pipe could be worth more than all of this. Finally the statue stopped at the beginning of a long hallway that glowed with a soft light from the ceiling, walls and even the floor. At the end of the hall on a lone pedestal was a glass pipe.
Ryjah thought that it looked a little disappointing but Kalishan did not seem to. He started for it at once. The statue shook its head and raised a hand to stop him. “Why do you stop me?” Kalishan demanded.
The statue shook its head and pointed to the glowing hall then to itself. "You want us to get you the pipe?" Thornstaff asked.
The statue shook its head again then pointed to them then the hall then to itself. "You want to come with us?" Kalishan guessed.
The statue shook its head again in exasperation then tapped its fingers to the wall and floor of the hall with a soft clink of glass on glass. Ryjah frowned a little. Both the statue and the hall were made of glass but she still didn't understand why it wouldn't let them go into the hall. The statue seemed to understand this and gestured for one of Thornstaffs arrows. Ryjah looked at the statue in confusion and then looked to Thornstaff letting go of him so that he could remove an arrow from his quiver. But he seemed to be mystified as he passed the arrow to the statue. The statue took the arrow and tossed it into the light. As soon as the light touched the arrow it turned to glass and shattered upon impact with the floor.
Ryjah gasped in horror as the statue nodded and clinked away leaving them alone in front of the hall. "Well I guess that's that then." Ryjah said "The pipe can't be important enough to risk turning into glass. Can it?"
Kalishan looked shocked "Missie! Did you see how many statues there are? They must of tried to reach the pipe and failed! It has to be important if so many have tried to obtain it and to be protected by such powerful magic!"
"Many of the people here were dressed for war, they had no need for a magical pipe. Dragonborns and Dwarves have no need for them and yet there were several. Is there something that you aren't telling us?" Thornstaff said as he studied the hall frowning.
"They were probably companions of those who did! I don't know why they were dressed that way but I do know that I NEED that pipe!" Kalishan told Thornstaff in a pleading tone.
Thornstaff turned away much to Ryjahs relief "No. Its too dangerous if you need the pipe so badly then you will have to get it yourself."
"Please just reconsider that choice a moment. I'm sure you can do it. The most powerful druid in Mellaidor. If anyone can do it, its you!" Kalishan said silkily.
Thornstaff hesitated, indecision evident as Kalishan continued "Its not that hard and I know you can do it. As a way to repay me for your apprentices slight."
Thornstaff looked back towards the hall and turned towards it partway to Ryjahs horror "Thornstaff don't-" she began just as he stopped short.
He snarled at the bard "Stop using your magic on me! Get the pipe yourself! Come Ryjah, we're leaving now."
There was a shift in the bards attitude as Kalishan sneered and before Ryjah realized what was going on he grabbed her from beside Thornstaff and held a knife to her throat. Ryjah froze upon feeling the cold steel at her throat and looked to Thornstaff in fear as Kalishan growled "You will get the Pipe for me or she dies."
Ryjah couldn't help trembling when she saw Thornstaffs expression of fury he took a step towards Kalishan with a feral growl already starting to shift. Kalishan dug the knife into her throat. Ryjahs breath hitched as she felt warm blood trickling down her skin. Thornstaff froze but didn't stop growling. Ryjah remembered her earlier thought that sometimes he was more animal than elf and hoped very much that he would be able to control himself. Kalishan said something probably another threat but Ryjah didn't hear it through her haze of fear and shock.
Ryjah saw Thornstaff throw down his weapons scowling as thorny vines burst form the ground in the hall growing at a rapid pace. The vines covered the walls, floor and ceiling.
They were quickly turned to glass but Thornstaff was ready for that and new ones grew as soon as the old turned to glass, and for a time the hall was turned dark though the occasional beam of light still shone through the shifting vines. Thornstaff glanced at her one last time before running into the hall. Ryjah choked back a scream, she didn't want him to go. As Thornstaff ran, he changed into a lithe golden cat with black spots and dodged the beams of light with ease. In her haze, she couldn't identify the cat Ryjah held her breath as Thornstaff ran at full speed through the hall as the new vines grew and shattered those made of glass sending them down in sprays of broken glass and light that Thornstaff had to avoid as well as the thorns of his own vines. Thornstaff made it to the end of the hallway, grabbed the pipe in his mouth, turned and started back. Halfway through one of the broken vines on the floor rose up and tried to grab Thornstaffs feet to trip him up. The growing vines slowed for a moment as Thornstaff dodged the glass, nearly dropping the pipe. Several more shafts of light broke through.
"Hurry Thornstaff!" Ryjah screamed, forgetting in her anxiety about the knife, which dug into her throat again at once
"Quiet girl." Kalishan hissed.
But Thornstaff had regained his footing with a snarl and the vines grew back again as he ran forward, often narrowly dodging shafts of light. Kalishan released her once Thornstaff was close enough and pushed her away. Ryjah tumbled away from him and put a trembling hand to her bleeding neck. Thornstaff emerged from the hall a moment later, shifting back into himself and staggering against the wall. Ryjah quickly went to stand next to him, she would have tried to help him but she knew how he felt about that. Ryjah couldn't help but notice that he had several shallow but bloody cuts.
"The Pipe! Give me the Pipe!" Kalishan shrieked in gleeful anticipation.
Thornstaff gave him a look of pure disgust and slapped the pipe into Kalishans waiting hands. Kalishan grinned and didn't even appear to notice the red marks that it made on his hands then shoved Thornstaff back into the light cackling "Cant have any witnesses!"
Kalishan held Ryjah back as Thornstaff stumbled back into the light, tripping on the glass vines and turned to glass, then shattered on the ground. Ryjah was frozen with horror when she felt a shove and she stumbled into the light as well and was turned to glass.
Kalishan escaped from the temple to what end Ryjah never knew, But because of his actions she was forced to wander the castle as a statue for as long as the magic of the temple remained.