Gag on, gag off. The lady being questioned appears to be genuine. Not necessarily from being afraid or trying to be helpful, but more out of not fully comprehending what her situation is and just sort of speaking without putting thought behind it. She continues: "Rael was Eladrin like me, and a prolific student of the School of Enchantment. He seems to have been able to maintain some of his spell-casting abilities. He is knowledgeable but I recommend caution. I was careless. He might yet succeed in turning me insane."
From how she speaks of it, you deduce she still thinks she is wearing the ring. As she continues, she begins to look around frantically, as if searching for someone: "Is he here yet? Don't let him come out. I better take him away. We have a trial to finish." She looks disoriented once again.
She doesn't seem to notice that she is bound. The Eladrin then concludes her piece, talking directly to Dredge: "Come Nalariel, that Balhannoth has yet to be slain!"
Lot agrees with Karwin, partially: "If you guys don't feel sleepy, then we might as well just move forward. Her ramblings won't be of much help, I think."
Led by Karwin, the group starts moving towards the magic circles that Nox found, dragging the bound Eladrin along. She continues to talk: "For a very long time, I think... I can't remember it all, but I know our enemy lurks nearby. Nalariel, do not delay. We must rescue Rael."
A few seconds later, Nox shows the group the circles, as well as the bottle sitting at their center. The Teleportation Circle is active (no need for arcana checks this time.)
“Now hold on for a second. Don’t you think we should sleep properly while we know that we are alone, except for this elf? There is no sense walking into a potential ambush when we could recover our depleted magic reserves first.”
The party returns to the cozy grassy room and makes preparations for their rest. Nox sets his Alarm around the Eladrin and orders the owl to take watch overnight. The rest of the party settles in and takes a deserved rest.
Over the next 8 hours, the group rests peacefully. The Alarm does not go off and the owl reports no trouble. Left beaten, bleeding, weak, and confused, you find the Eladrin in a unconscious but stable condition upon rising the next day (although it is hard to know time while within the trials).
(OOC: I'll also assume one of you took the bottle and studied it during the long rest. Nox, let's say, found out that the bubbling potion is a Potion of Fire Resistance).
(@All: Congratulations! You have reached 12th level! That's right, two level-ups at once!)
Dredge sleeps deeply, and when morning comes, rises early to meditate, preparing spells according to the hint of the potion of fire resistance. After this is all done, he cautiously slips the ring of mind shielding onto his finger, waiting to hear the voice again.
**OOC: One more level until elemental wildshaping!**
Dredge finishes preparing and puts the ring back on. In his head, he hears: "Ah, I assume you are ready to talk now. Very well. I guess introductions are in order. My name is Rael and I used to be a trialist, as I assume you are now if you took the ring from its previous bearer. Myself and this ring will help protect you. In return, I only ask that you help me find a way out of this piece of enchanted jewelry. Do we have a deal?"
(OOC: Alright folks. Since everyone has already leveled-up, I am going to assume you are ready to move on. The dialogue with the ring or otherwise can keep going, of course, but I'll expedite things a bit so we don't let the action lull for too long. Unless any of you feel strongly about it, I'll assume that you are all going through the Teleportation Circle in my next post.)
Dredge replies in his mind. “First, I want to know one thing: you say that you personally will help to protect me. Can you still cast spells from in there? What kind of power do you have? Could you drive me mad as the last bearer seemed to be? Tell me this honestly, swear not to do that last bit, and we have a deal.”
As all four warriors walk to the magical circles, Rael continues its secret conversation with Dredge: "In the name of the deal we are about to form, I will respond truthfully, but know that I would have rather kept this information to myself. In this form, I can only cast a couple of spells as all my other tricks would require the use of symbolic marks to act as catalysts (somatic component). I don't usually need to worry about arcane reagents (material components) and this ability I have successfully retained. Alas, as you are the only one who can hear me, I am afraid you are the only possible target of my two spells, and I take it you wouldn't want to be charmed... But I can help you with information. For instance, do not trust the previous bearer of this ring. She is the reason my party of trialist, which she was part of, failed to advance."
At this point, the party reaches the circles, which are already activated. One by one you step through, being transported to a large square-shaped arena, where the ground is made of dry, beaten sand. The first 20 feet worth of wall-height surrounding this space is made of the same stone that covers most of the walls you have seen so far. Above that, many more feet of wall are covered in that same swirling liquid-stone magical effect the party has become familiar with. The group cannot see the ceiling in this area, be it because it is too high or because of the special Daylight effect placed at strategic points. There is nothing in this arena besides Grixx, the barbarian you have all seen before the very beginning of the trials. He was assigned to the other team, but now, here he is , in the same arena as you all.
(At this point, I'd like to invite you to a new thread. I promise it will all make sense soon. There are a few messages there already but they do not pertain to this team, so don't feel obligated to read them. For now, we'll be gaming here: The Trial - Vale Tudo.)