After clearing the upper and main floors of the fortress, the Party found a signet ring bearing the image of a Falcon. Remembering a seal on the floor of the basement with the same insignia, they managed to activate an elevator-like device that lowered them into an obsidian chamber and an entryway into what appeared to be another of the temples. The Queen of the Drylands minions seemed to be more organized down here. More of an honor guard.
As the party progressed, they quickly noticed that the temple was quite different from the other temples they visited. It seemed to be mostly clockwise curving rooms and stairs leading down. However, much of the temple seemed to be in bad shape. The floors were cracked and showing some sort of corruption of an elemental nature. At one point in time, the corruption was so bad, that it seemed to sheer off an entire part of the temple. At the void, there seemed to be only a huge space of darkness with no legitamate floor.
After what seemed like hours, the party finally reached the temple’s crystal chamber. It too was suffering from the elemental corruption. There was a rift in the floor, almost ten feet wide in some places, and while there were horribly sharp shards of crystal to stop one’s fall, the rift seemed to be an endless pit. In the middle of the rift was a swirling gate of chaotic elemental energy. At the opposite end, a huge snake with the head of a woman shrieked to her gaurds to kill the party for their affront to her, the Queen of the Drylands. A brutal fight broke out, with a pivotal opening salvo from the party to get Solomon next to the Queen to prevent her from being an effictive contributer to the battle. The grizzled fighter landed the final blow, cleaving the head off from the creature. The remaining allies of the Queen quickly took that opportunity to flee into the swirling energy in the rift.
A quick search of the area turned up the statue of none other than an older Rina. She seemed to have been mid-ritual when she was turned to stone. Some quick thinking on Erbrin’s part revealed the events leading up to her being turned to stone by casting a ritual himself. It seemed that the crystal floor was cracking and Rina had abandoned hope to stop the elemental gate from opening. Instead, she cast almost all of her ritual supplies into the garderobe and set herself to turning herself into stone. Reobtaining the ritual supplies, the party found a scroll of remove curse which would be able to free the woman.