“Wounded coming through!” Joseph Pope hollered to the guards outside the main doors.
Grimwardens men scrambled to ope the heavy stone door a little wider as he helped the blinded Lucious through them and into the sunlit docks area. Behind them Felix led Termerian stumbling and shaking from the magic drain on his system into the arms of another of the mercenary band.
When the two mages had been led to the ruined tower the rest of the band had set up as a base. Grimwarden pulled Joseph aside. “Ok recruit, what happened in there? Did you get the last target? Where are the others, and who the hell is the blind guy!”
Joseph shook his head, it was not like he wasn’t tired or nothing: But the dwarf wasn’t going to stop till he had an answer so he straightened himself as best he could and put on his most winning smile:
“Yes. No idea they were right behind us. He was trapped in there and helped us out. Last thing Dark Odo conjured hurt his eyes I think. I could use a beer right now, as well boss.”
Grimwarden blinked. Maybe unused to what he considered a wet behind the ears newbie talking back to him so bluntly. The the dwarfs craggy face cracked a smile. With a thump on the back that nearly made Joseph sprawl on the floor he grinned at the man. “oh course ye do! right come sit with me and fill me in. You got the main mark that’s the main thing indeed!” Drawing Joseph to his spot by the fire he grabbed a couple of guards. “You two take a peek back inside see if you can round up the stragglers. Got it!?”
A few minutes later the strangely ebullient dwarf handed Joseph a leather travel tankard of cheap ale. “Right tell me every thing, you got proof of her death I take it?”
Joseph nodded as he drank the brew down.
“Good fetch it out and I’ll show ye a little trick we were given” Unrolling an ornate looking vellum scroll he read the names “Dark Odo” and “Vivlock the foul” aloud over the grisly trophies. As he spoke their names an ethereal voice echoed from the scroll. “Deceased! Justice served”
“Master Zathabar gave me that to verify things and so we can collect our bounty from whatever local authority that recognises the kings warrant is in where we are.” he explained. “Now fill me in, between sips o course!”
Dutifully Joseph retold the scout teams adventures including the final take down of the rogue apprentice mage and her creatures. Nodding Grimawrden seemed pleased.
“Not bad both targets down fer only one loss of our own, though a couple of the lads out here got a scratch or two as well. Shame about Arvid, but so it goes in this game. You think that dark sorcerer would sign on for a bit to replace ‘im?”
Joseph thought it over. He wasn’t sure that would be a good thing judging by the mans unpredictable nature but instead he just nodded. “I don’t know how much use he’d be right now I think the thing at the end got his sight.”
Grimwarden just smiled. “Ah well thats not too much of an issue. I expect I c’n heal that with a bit o prayer though I’ve a mind to let Phaedra have a crack at it first as she’s late coming back. I’m thinking we may need more magical back up as I see the elf’s gone and done for himself!” he said with a laugh.
“What do you mean?”
“Oh I seen that look before in spell casters, tap your own life energies too hard and too fast for their unholy arts and it leaves you weak as a kitten for days. I was planning on a week or so’s R’n’R when we get back to NewSandport but I suspect even with that Tem may be needing to take a back seat a while longer by the look of him? We’ll see.”
As I mentioned as an aside the other night, I was fully intending to grant you all a weeks down time to justify training/healing/examining treasure etc. Temerian does have severe spell burn and probably wont be 100% after a week. So as Dave & Matt suggested they might want to take alternate characters out for a spin this seems like a good way of putting Tem/Felix or anyone onto the reserve list for a session or two as you wish. Just bear in mind that secondary characters will be a shade behind principles in XP and that the adventure is based on the fact that the majority of you will be 2nd level. It may be you will be able to just level before you hit the main thread of the next arc but you cant count on that so I suggest no more than half of you change out characters.
Seeing Joseph & Felix lead the injured sorcerers back towards the docks, “Rats” Magee shook his head. He’d barely managed to get in here and folk were heading out the door! Looking over to where Phaedra was bandaging a scratch on Mogars forehead; he asked.
“Well what about your two? There gotta be more loot to find in a bloody burial crypt!”
Phaedra adjusted her hood and replied. “I am sure their is. But we are not here to rob the honoured dead, Mister Magee!” She declared – a note of warning in her voice.
“Fkkn peasants aint got shit anyhow..” He muttered.
“What was that!” the cleric barked.
“Erm! I was just thinking aloud that she..” he pointed to the bloodstain that marked Dark Odo’s final resting place “… or her creatures mighta left something still. This place’s been looted and fought over a few years, the looters may have left some stuff that wasn’t grave plunder that’s all. I reckon it deserves a quick look just to check it out?”
“Spider..” Mogar mumbled as his bandage slipped again over one eye.
“What mate?” Asked ‘Rats’
“They didn’t bury no spider, so there’s gotta be some things out of place. Besides I thought I saw something back there?”
‘Rats’ looked at the big guy sceptically. He’d already cased the sticky and now scorched ruin of the spiders nest. Still if it got the pair of ’em going he might get his chance to loot still. He nodded. “Alright lets check it out again, but after I wanna at least see where the main passage leads. Ok!?”
“I am curious to know what causes this low whistling howl” Phaedra admitted. The other two blinked and concentrated a moment. Yeah the faint whistling noise was ever present like hearing the trees hiss with the wind outside your bedroom window.
“Exactly!” Declared ‘Rats’ with a grin “Probably out to put that in our final report anyhow, right?”
Phaedra nodded a little hesitantly in agreement as Mogar stumped back off to the side passage where they had burned the spiders webs.
After a few moments wading through the sticky half burned webbing Mogar grunted with satisfaction “Found something!” The warrior half dragged a skeletal corpse out of the ruined webs.
Phaedra coughed as the ashes kicked up and swirled around them. “Drag the dead one free Mogar” she instructed. Turning to ‘Rats’ she nodded. “You were right that gear is not of the local make I can see that from here. A looter most like .
‘Rats’ agreed with the woman. Inwardly he was cursing he’d missed the corpse before they torched the webbing! Still any coin the deader had would still be good; just a little grubby.
A few minutes work had the body and its remaining gear back out into the wider hallway. Whomever they had been they had invested in some decent gear at least. The three set the small pile of coin and still good supplies to one side to go into the general pool. But each made sure to pick out a trophy item. Mogar took the sword as it looked pretty despite the layer of ash and grime. Rats was admiring the workmanship of the crossbow the unknown man had carried. The string was charred and ruined but that would be an easy fix once they got back to town. But apart from that its was a quality bit of gear.
Phaedra knelt by the mans body whispering a prayer for the departed. What ever it was she held in her hand ‘Rats’ was pretty sure wasn’t her Holy symbol. The rogue smiled as apparently the cleric wasn’t above a tasteful bit of looting either, in the right cause of course!
After setting the mans remains in an empty crypt the trio turned their attention to the main hallway once more…
Seriously dudes! Have you any idea how annoying that was? You basically ran for the door before I could introduce more loot for you??? Hrmm gonna have to be a bit less “subtle” in future sessions I can see that now – especially if I want to salt the loot with plot hook items.
Probably do another (or even more) of these epilogue type posts as I get my notes in order in preparation for another story arc.
Right got this underway the following day and resolved to work on it in chunks. As both Tem & Felix were away this time I arranged to have them sidelined for the session with a little creative licence. I was almost certain the Party would save them… Took a few liberties with the exact sequence of events but as ever translating rounds of combat to a story board doesn’t exactly flow so this is my approximation. Hope it scans to you all 🙂
“I don’t think I want to swim anymore..!” Felix declared looking down at the water filled room forlornly.
“If Dark Odo and her cronies came this way they’d have to” Mogar rumbled from the back.
“Not if she used her magic. Let me see..” Mused Temerian. Making a few quick passes in the air he conjured another floating disk of force. “It will just about take my weight or that of master Felix. If you then throw us a rope..?” he left the thought hanging.
“Yeah that’ll work” Replied Joseph with a confidant grin. “I’ll throw it to you.”
First Felix was gently floated down towards the stairs on the right of the room. Then gingerly Temerian followed. Truth be told the disk barely held under the elfs slender form but he was not going to admit that to the rest of them!
“What happens here?” a strange voice announced from behind them. Snapping around the group was surprised to see the strange sorcerer called Lucius had approached them from behind.
“Water filled room again.” Joseph replied eyeing the weirdly tattooed man. “Whats it to you? Aren’t you supposed to be get re-acquainted with your friends or something?”
“They are as useless as always; they are too soft! I could bear it no longer, and at least you people have power, I want some revenge for the inconvenience this “Dark Odo” has caused me.” The dark man shrugged. “I left them holed up in one of the bedrooms, so they should be safe, they promised to guard your companions body and that of your other quarry the Jailer fellow as well. I said I would tell you this and offer my services as you were a man down. They are in no position to be of any service to anyone right now!” Lucius spat with some contempt at his former comrades.
The group shared a look. This odd fellow was not one of them but it was true they had lost a man, and he had to be of some use if he had survived an ambush and evaded capture without help for a while. “It is fated he joins us” Phaedra whispered, a far away look in her eyes just visible under her trademark hood.
“Very well” Joseph agreed still eyeing the fellow. “Just follow our lead and make yourself useful ok?”
“I can make many things Useful, my mistress demands it!” the Sorcerer replied cryptically.
A rope sailed out and Tem tied it to a spike he had driven in to a crack in the wall, while Felix eyed the double doors with interest next to them.
“Very well you should be able to climb or slide down now… ” Temerian stopped mid sentence as he had observed the water begin to churn in the midlle of the room. “..ware!” he manged just as a trio of Lizard folk leaped from the water!
Two of them crashed into Tem and Felix knocking them into and through the door as it burst open. Momentarily stunned by the sudden ferocity of the attack the pair lay winded at the mercy of the Lizard warriors!
Not again! Thought Joseph, but I got something that will make them think twice about more coming out of the water. Wresting a couple of Oil flasks from his pack he poured them on the greenish water below.
Phaedra caught his eye and nodded. Shaking her bone wreathed fetish stick a small flame began to dance on the end of it.
Mogar wasn’t the kind to hang about when there was a fight brewing. Leave the others to dither and call it planning; he acted. Slapping a strap over the rope line he hurled himself down the taught rope to land right behind where the Lizard folks stood over his surprised companions.
Seeing the oil now fully on the water Phaedra sent the little dancing flame from her rod to ignite the lamp oil which began to flame and spread its yellow tendrels of fire across the surface of the scummy water.
“That is not a fire!” Cackled Lucius striding forward now that Mogar had gone. Raising his hands in a cupped fashion he pointed at the trailing lizard warrior still in the pool. “This is a fire!” With a hissed word reddish purple flame blossomed between his palms and a cone of fire wreathed the Lizard man and igniting the remaining oil all at once. The creature wailed and cavorted in the unholy flame. Till no one could be sure if it was alive or dead.
Meanwhile Mogar had skewered the nearest Lizard man from behind killing him instantly. The second made a half hearted stab at Temerian but its spear sparked off the Mage shield he had cast earlier. As his companion fell it spun about to face Mogar.
Watching from above Joseph cursed and grabbed his bow. “You had better hit something this time or I am making firewood outta you!” he whispered to the bow as he drew an arrow back to his ear. Letting fly he saw the shot whistle past Mogar’s ear and strike the Lizard man in the shoulder. “You get to live a little longer” he told the bow, while reaching for anther arrow.
Mogar took a half step back to steady himself. Wary in case it made another leaping attack, and this probably saved his life. With a ratting crash a Portcullis dropped from the ceiling directly above where he had stood. The fallen Lizardman was impaled upon its lower spikes with some force. Force that could have killed Mogar with ease. From the passage way where his friends lay sprawled a handful of Goblins came running around the corner, mostly brandishing spears but two held a large net. Cackling they tossed it across the Elf, Halfling and Lizard warrior from behind and began to beat them with their spear butts. From around the corner almost swaggering came a Hobgoblin captain.
With an evil tone of menace in his voice he began taunting first his captives then Mogar as the big warrior strained to lift the fallen portcullis. Impotently Mogar struggled with the heavy gate, nearly tearing a muscle in his back, but to no use. The gor’bayen laughed and taunted the warrior as he stepped away from the massive gate.
“Silence! Fools!” a strident voice declared in perfect Goblin tongue. For a moment all stared as Phaedra strode to the edge of the balcony and waved her fetish stick menacingly. “You interfere with Fate at your peril!” She declaimed. “Open that gate immediately!” Before the started creatures could reply she slid down the rope and landed lightly beside Mogar, her half hooded eyes blazing with passion. Even the Hob goblin leader paused in his mockery and took a pace or two forward to examine this strange woman that spoke his tongue.
Back on the platform Joseph replaced his bow and slid down on the line motioning Lucius to follow. But the Mage had another idea, casting a spell he scanned the pool, as he suspected something magical lay within its depths. Though he had no intention of diving to find it. A second more unholy incantation later the blackened Lizard man corpse twitched and moved once more. Ordering the thing to go dive and search for a prize the Sorcerer joined the others below where Phaedra was daunting the creature with her eyes and voice alone.
“I know not your “Fates” woman!” The Goblin sneered. “Deal with human fates if you will, your elf and Halflings fate is mine to choose!” he declared turing his back on the angry woman.
Slowly Phaedra raised her fetish stick and uttered a single word. “Kneel!”
Shocked as the spell mastered him the Hobgoblin fell to his knees, helpless in the Witch Womans grasp. Standing next to the Bars she reverted to her characteristic whisper. “You have tempted fate. Tempt it again and I shall speak another word: ‘Die’ and then you can explain to the Three who are One your impudence. Open. This. Gate. or die!”
Suddenly terrified the Hobgoblin craned his head back to look into her remorseless eyes. Daunted he began to jabber and shout at his goblin troopers.
Joseph could understand the fellows words well enough, they didn’t translate exactly to Common but to say he was about to crap himself would would have been close enough. Hurriedly two of the Goblin troops cam back around the corner weapons drawn. But at a word from their commander they put the swords away and called back to their fellows. Slowly some hidden block and tackle squealed as they hauled the Portcullis back up into the ceiling.
As soon as she could fit underneath the slowly rising metal Phaedra stepped forward and laid a hand on the still transfixed Hobgoblins shoulder. “Wise choice” she whispered to his large pointed ear. “Now take us to our companions, and I shall speak well of you to the Morae.” Allowing him to rise to his feet she motioned him to go on. His troopers still looking at the scene with deep suspicion, backed away from the group around the corner.
Lucius at the back of the group rubbed his hands together as the charred Lizard man Zombie dragged a chained skeleton to the edge of the steps. Sadly this was nearly naked and long despoiled by tide and death. “Go back again idiot creature!” He waved his arms at the Husk of their foe impatiently. Looking down at the twice impaled Lizard corpse he repeated the incantation. Hopefully the thing could still swim without the portion of its tail Mogar had taken as trophy. Two more useless skeletons were dragged from the depths before he gave up for now. The rest of them were following the Goblins, he could return for the prize later he reasoned. With his grisly servants in tow Lucius hurried after the group.
Passing a door, the group had moved along the passage way and been ushered in to the Goblins guard post. Ancient barracks furniture stood here and their in various states of repair. The weapons racks were part filled with added spears and small weapons. But more to the point the remaining two Goblins looked up from where they had strapped Felix & Temerian to crude torture benches. One waved a heated poker and said something to the Hobgoblin questioningly.
The creature shook his head still in terror of the Witch woman. As Lucius arrived Phaedra shared a look with Mogar and Joseph.
“Ahh what have they done to the little one?” Lucius stated almost curiously. Quite casually he and the more intact Zombie walked to where Felix lay bound and semi conscious from the beating he had taken. The Goblin torturer had not yet started his grisly work it seems. Very good he thought, now they can be indebted to me! With a flourish he produced a dagger from his sleeve and suddenly slashed at the Goblins throat. The short humanoid had better reflexes than that however. Obviously wary of the group and not having seen Phaedra’s intimidating acts the creature ducked away and swung back at the wizard with the scalpel it was holding.
Suddenly the whole group exploded into action! With squeeze on his shoulder Phaedra paralysed the Hobgoblin fully, then stepped around to look the creature in the eye. “This is your fate” she whispered then bashed the things skull in with her bone fetish stick. Grotesquely the thing remained upright under the spells hold while the skull sagged in place broken in two.
Mogar drove felled the goblin nearest to him with a sudden blow then forward to engage the One by Lucius. Joseph strode closer to to Temerains would be tormentor and kicked the brazier of coals towards it. The creature skittered back but burned itself on its own Poker as his tried to strike the rogue back! The last Goblin was engaged by the fire blackened zombie.
Slashing again with his knife Lucius foot slipped on the debris covered floor sending the knife tumbling from his hand. “Ahhh enough of this!” he cried and his hands swept up together in a cup shape. Another blast of fire incinerated the creature. The satisfied smirk fell from his face as he saw the table upon which Felix lay strapped was also ablaze.. Hurriedly the Sorcerer retrieved his knife and sawed at the leather straps holding the Halfling down.
Meanwhile with Mogars Help the other torturer had been dispatched and the Zombie held the last fast in its grip. With a mighty heave the Goblin was dashed head first to the unyielding stone floor. Its brains spattering as its skull was crushed.
Freeing their companions the companions bound thier wounds as best they could. The Gor’bayen had marked Temerian as a Mage it seemed and rendered him unconscious. Felix had fared only a little better. His head spun from the blows and while Phaedra’s healing hands took the pain away, the short one declared he needed a sit down.
“Stay here and look after Tem.” Phaedra suggested to the halfling. “With a blow to the head I would rather he awoke on his own without further spell craft. Sometimes the healing should not be forced.”
“Pity we didn’t capture at least one alive” Joseph ruminated. “We might have learned if Dark Odo had come this way..?”
“I heard one of them say that she had run past their post an hour or so past.” whispered Pheadra. “She cried they were to be wary of intruders but left no specific instructions to them.”
“She must be going to some other bolt hole then?”
“Yeah but if she goes outside the rest of the squad’ll get her good” Offered Mogar. It was true she had to be somewhere still within the complex most likely, as unless there was yet another way in Grimwarden’s squad holding the Base camp would have seen and likely shot her full of Bolts.
“We press on then?” Asked Lucius. “If my memory serves then through that far door we shall come to the entry of the Crypt where I and my former companions entered previously. You can go outside or to the crypt itself only from their I think.”
“We press on for now, not too far then we’ll double back to see if Temerian and Felix are feeling well enough to continue I suggest” Stated Phaedra.
“Very well,” Lucius agreed “But I think we can have some temporary replacements till they recover..” his eyes gazed upon the corpses of the fallen.
“More of your dead things!” Spat Mogar in disgust.
“They are not dead my friend” Lucius protested “I deal not in the undead! My Mistress has taken their fallen husks and gives it new life for an hour or so before returning their forms to the soil too feed a new generation! See here..!” The sorcerer pointed to a huge gash one of the “Not Zombies” had sustained. Inside the corpse was filled with white fungus like filaments.
Phaedra peered at the white tendrils with interest. The slightly musky moist smell of mould and earth greeted her nostrils. The wizard spoke the truth these were not undead, but animated by the rapidly growing fungus within. Likely they would not last more than an hour or two before it broke the shells of the creatures down. A strange life then but a living thing none the less.
Mogar spat. He didn’t care about the hows and whys of it, as long as the creepy Sorcerer kept those things away from him and in front of the enemy he could deal with it.
Peering through the door the party could see a large roughly octagonal room. Doors lay tot he North east and west, the latter wide open and indeed partly off thier hinges. Phaedra stepped up to peer into the darkness by the open gate. Then stopped short as she saw the bodies upon the floor.
Three corpses long dead lay their in a sprawl. Two had been hacked to death that was easy to see.. but the last? No the poor sole had starved it seems, tragic. Stepping over and past them she looked into the half shadowed entrance to the main Litchway. A gentle sound of running water came to her ears over the incessant low moaning of the winds in the crypt. From the doorway she could see a massive statue of a man with arms open wide. Something was inscribed on its plinth but she could not read t from the doorway. Looking at the mans face she saw with horror and disgust the over large distended fangs on the creature…
The rest of the group had been scouring the room. It seemed bare. The eastern door was blocked by another portcullis arrangement but through the cracked open main doors they could see glimpses of the wharf outside. Nobody could have come that way recently at least.
The northern door was tried next. Confidently Joseph squatted down to look at its lock, but no light came through the key hole so he tried the latch first. Somewhat unexpectedly the door swung inwards and he peered inside.
The room in its size was a mirror to the goblins guard post, but all the furniture was hopelessly smashed and reduced to ruin. More importantly as he looked inside three men standing by a far door swung about to look at him in surprise.
“Who are you!” the apparent leader demanded brandishing his sword at Joseph Pope.
Without missing a beat the rogue produced a package from his pack and held it up. “JP Couriers, I have a delivery for Dark Odo, you know where she is?” he asked his voice as full of fake innocence as he could manage.
“Dark Odo?” The man replied puzzled. “Never heard of ’em. Whats that you got for them anyhow?” He continued eyeing the box in Josephs’ hand.
“Dunno” Joseph replied with a dead pan look. “I just brings ’em I dint look inside that be-more-n-me-jobs-worth mate. So you not see the mage then huh?” Hopefully his companions would be at his back bu now.. But noo they were wandering all over the Hallway it seemed!
“Mage?!” The man replied “Oh we got a Mage in there!” he thumbed towards the door.
“Really?” Joseph relied interested. “Whats they like?”
“Called Amdor he said when we asked him for a service.” The man replied “I’m Venman by the way this is me firm:” he said indicating the two thuggish looking types still standing by the door. “We tracked him here after he skipped out on us without making even one of the potions we asked for! led us a chase through the long corridor out there and back he did, but ewe got hit cornered now!”
“I see…” Joseph began then noticed his own companions had begun filing into the room behind him. “… Oh these are my associates as well” he answered Venaman’s wary and quizzical look as the first of the group entered the smashed guard room. Quickly he explained Venmans objective to the rest.
“I can get that door open fer yer” Mogar offered tieing down his steel cap harder and taking a step back.
“He really can” Joseph stated confidently to Venman. With a nod to the big warrior.
Mogar charged the door almost head first. The old wood held for a split second then burst inwards. Mogar came down on one knee inside the smaller room and quickly saw a figure cowering behind an over turned table. The Mans brightly painted staff and embroidered robe was easy enough to spot, and looked nothing like the description of the Woman ‘Dark Odo’ they were sent to kill or apprehend!
With a cheer Venman and his boys charged into the room. Joseph and the others were surprised when a fourth unexpectedly rose from hiding and shouldered their bow and followed his fellow through the door.
Lucius peered in to the short but brutal fight in the small storeroom. This wizard whomever he was was out of magic it seemed and the four thugs were working him over badly enough. No knives but plenty of punches & kicks and repeated demands for “wheres our Potions!” Turing back to his bemused companions he waved them forward. “Gentleman and lady I suggest we leave them too it or maybe we use the distraction to our advantage?”
“What do you mean Sorcerer?” Phaedra whispered.
“Never fight if you need not.” He replied and ushered his coterie of Zombies though the door, which he shut behind them…
The faces of the others dropped open in an “O” of surprise; except Mogar’s. Maybe the wizard was not so bad he had a black sense of humour the warrior reflected as the sounds of threats turned to shouts of fear and rage as the Zombie creatures attacked all within the room!
And thats where I leave it. 3500 words is more than enough LOL But not so bad done in a couple of sittings. Hope you liked it. Until next time folks.
Right gonna try and sneak this out before tonight’s session so I don’t get the two confused in my head… 🙂
As another arrow bounced uselessly off the shield, the nearby door opened and the two surviving Goblins and Human woman dashed through the open portal. From his angle Felix could have sworn it was a female figure half hidden in the shadows beckoning them inside the room.
“What happens here?” Phaedra whispered, the two rescued prisoners clad only in blankets following her close behind.
“They fought, we won” Temerian replied in his usual terse manner.
“Mogar was going to hit me!” Felix wailed confusedly to the cleric.
“Mogar is not himself, a magic compulsion I think” Temerian clarified seeing the surprised look on the clerics face at the halflings pronouncement. “Can you help him, he is badly hurt also.”
“Many are hurt I see” Phaedra replied as she surveyed the carnage in the room through the force shield. Seeing Arvids crumpled form she frowned at Felix. “How is the strange one?” she asked the halfling in a soft voice.
Felix bent over the fallen cleric and came away with tears in his eyes. “I think he’s dead” For a moment the companions stared at the strange fellow for a moment in silent tribute, then Phaedra said:
“May your gods take you to your just fate Arvid Klerx.” She hobbled over to where Joseph Pope still half sat on the recumbent form of Mogar the warrior. “Is he bound tight?” She asked the Rogue.
“Yep, when he comes to he’ll be barely able to wriggle”
“Very well I shall attempt to heal him and as my Mistresses the fate take a dim view of sells that alter a mans will maybe they will break any lingering enchantments”
“That is good” Temerian muttered. He had observed their foes leave and the door slam shut once more. More importantly his arcane senses felt a surge of unknown magic right after the door closed. Clearly the Mage was not finished, set back perhaps but not finished. “Attend” he barked. “Our enemies have fled for the moment, come let us enter and see what clues they have left behind!” Without waiting for a discussion he ended the magical barrier and strode into the room.
Seeing the possibility of loot Felix and Joseph quickly followed: After perhaps a half hour the group surveyed their situation.
Phaedra had managed indeed to free Mogar from his magical compulsion and with his wounds healed the big man joined the hunt for clues or loot with gusto. In fact it was he that had spotted the suspicious weights in the cover of the commanders bead – real gold pieces some of the first the group had won from this lair of iniquity! The most dramatic find was some kind of luminous Oil that Felix “discovered” with an over zealos blow of his hand axe, splattering him with the glowing liquid. Still a few doses remained of the stuff (whatever it was) that they scooped carefully into a new container.
The Prisoners too had fared better, the bunk rooms for the fallen guards had supplied old but serviceable changes of clothes for the both. Sadly neither Paxon’s holy symbol or Pinella’s spell book had been a part of the loot. Having left the door where their opponents had fled till last at a Nod from Temerian Joseph approached it gingerly. This close he could see what appeared to be spy hole cut into it. Thrusting a short metal rod in and out of it as a precaution first he risked a peek through it. Another guard bunk room as best he could make out. Another door lay on the far side, marked the enemies escape route. He turned to the simple lock and laid out his tools. But nothing he tried would make the door budge though the lock itself took but a moment.
“They’ve jammed it or something” he cried in disgust to the others.
“Only to be expected” Temerian grunted. “Let me then” Without further explanation the Mage drew his enchanted quill from his breast and sketched a now familiar rune into the air.
Bolt after bolt or magical enegy smashed into the wood. Holes appeared and still the thing held firm. Eventually the Mage had to stop. Looking at the gaping blast points and the fact that one of the doors hinges was totally sundered he said: “Magically sealed. We must either wait out the spell or hack every trace of the door down.”
Mogar grunted and with Joseph’s help he gathered up some of the fallen weapons and they systematically tore down what remained of the esorceled doorway.
Meanwhile Felix was happily sitting in a corner admiring a small pile of coins and other odds and ends that had fallen into his pocket. But he was not just playing; he was also keeping half an eye upon the far door. Just as well as slowly as if apologising for making a sound it swung open and a hideously tattoo head nervously peeked through the door way.
“Well hello!” Felix said loudly as the strange fellow tried to slip into the room quietly. The man jumped in his skin a the apparent appearance of an axe wielding Hobbit right beside him. The others looked over startled from the other end of the room. Mogar turned ready to charge down on the intruder.
“Lucius!” Cried Pinella startling them all with the relief in her voice! “Stay your weapons noble rescuers We know this man”
“You sure its a man?” Phaedra muttered under her breath as she took in the Tattos and arcane symbols etched into the mans face and arms
“Yes this is Lucius Singultus, a sorcerer of our company” Paxon stated struggling to his feet. The cleric did not sound exactly thrilled about it to the rest of the group.
Pinella ran to the man with more enthusiasm. “We thought you dead! how did you escape their ambush?”
The sorcerer flashed the woman a bitter smile “With guile and skill my dear woman and no little cost to my power. I take it these others are friends then? Noble ‘heros’ come to do what you and Paxon failed to do?” The bitter tone in the mans voice softened just for a moment. “Forgive me I have been evading capture for a while now and my temper is not what it should be.”
“Of course” Pinella replied generously. “Come meet the others and then sit and tell us all about it!”
[End session 4 for those interested – was not planning in detailing the actual looting in this in excruciating detail, hardly makes for great ease of reading]
With the rescued vouching for the strange sorcerer the party returned to the matter in hand. The three had weapons at least and the Sorcerer had some power at least so leaving the three of them to hold this line of retreat and to get re acquainted, they pressed on.
But not very far. With disgust Joseph threw down a bent lock pick. “Same as the last or I’m a Hobbit!” he spat giving the spell locked door an evil look. His arms still ached from hacking th elast one to splinters before the spell locking it had too little door left to hold them at bay.
“You’re too tall Mr Pope” Felix cheeped from down nearer the floor.
“Only logical to reinforce both doors” Stated Temerian with resignation. One day he hoped to learn some enchantment to break spells, but for now brute force was needed once more.
A full ten minutes past before they had again hewn the door to matchwood. Before they party pressed on Temerian raised a hand. “Wait a moment if we are following our enmies there may be unknown dangers. Allow me a further spell:” A moment later a weird tingling was felt by everyone. “That should last a couple of hours, and will defend you somewhat from harm” declared the mage with satisfaction.
The ruined door led into quite a different area indeed. The gentle fall of water and a strange whispering noise in the air filled their ears as they surveyed a large open space. To their left Hobbit high iron railings overlooked a shimmering pool fed by an ornate fountain set on the far wall. Muti coloured lights topped seven posts on the railings. The smell of old tobacco and incense hung in the air. Clearly Magic had been worked in this chamber not long ago.
Just to their left a walkway was cut overlooking the pool, heading over it in a gentle arc leading up to the fountain, which now looked less appealing as as their eyes grew accustomed to the strange lighting, they could see it was shaped into a large mouth open Skull… Roughly opposite them was a large sofa set commanding an easy view of the dancing light on the waters of the pool. A low table stood nearby with an ornate water pipe still showing signs of recent use. A half open box of more smoking weed lay nearby. In the far door a large door beckoned them onward.
Cautiously they moved into the room.
“Pipes still warm” Felix announced from the Lounge corner.
“Looks like they cleared some stuff out” Joseph remarked pointing to some recent scuff marks as if something moderately heavy had been hurriedly swept off the table.
“No matter that” Temerian commented pointing at the one obvious door.
“Yes” declared Phaedra, “check that first then if need be come back here.”
The group headed over to the door, dreading it was also going to be magically sealed. But happily only a complicated lock barred their way. With only a bit of cursing Joseph had the thing open and they peered inside. A large well appointed bedchamber greeted them. Moving in they tore through the obvious hiding places. Mogar taking unholy pleasure in stripping the bed down to it feather mattress covering the whole thing in a light dusting of white feathers. Still their destruction of the bed revealed a (sadly) empty secret compartment in its frame.
“Ohh fun!” Cried Felix leaping onto the ruined bed after Mogar had finished with it. Like a child the little halfling cavorted to through the feathers many of them sticking to the still glowing Oil that had splashed on him in the previous rooms.
“Do you have any idea how ridiculous you look?” Joseph asked the hobbit when he had quite done.
“Whats ‘Ridiculous’ mean?” Felix replied in child like innocence.
“Talk your way out of that” Phaedra murmured as she passed Jospeh Pope II
While Joseph and Felix talked over how being lit up like a candle was not necessarily good for sneaking about in shadows. Phaedra, Temerian and Mogar considered their options.
“Secret escape path it has to be” Mogar stated. “Place has had several of them so far must be one more”
“You are likely correct” Temerain agreed, “Though I have yet to notice anything like it. Which is strange as seeing what is out of place is a skill of my race.”
“I may not be in here then” Phaedra offered in her quiet voice. “The light in the room with a pool is tricky and faint. Even elf eyes might miss something unless you were close to it in such conditions”
“That is so” Temerain agreed. “So we must search that room more diligently”
“Felix, Joseph come we are leaving” Mogar called to the two.
Back in the lounge are the group spread out a little carefully examining their areas. Felix peering through the bars of the railings almost immediately saw something reflecting the light at the bottom of the pool.
“Oh a Shiny!” he exclaimed, and before the others could do more than turn around the Hobbit had clambered over the railing and dove into the pool after the elusive “shiny treasure”
Gathering at the railings and looking incredulously at the feather covered Halflings glowing form as he dove down. Mogar and Jospeh shared a look and began uncoiling a length of rope to retrieve the Halfling who had probably not thought of how he was going to get back up after his swan dive.
“Wait what is that!” Temerain exclaimed pointing at two shadows in the water that were now bearing down upon the glowing Halfling!
Beneath the water Felix had seen the two lizard men enter the Pool from its out flow hole. He’d never had to fight underwater before, this would be fun! One stabbed at him with some kind o spear but the impact stopped short with a kind of blueish spark. Temerian magic! Feeling invincible the hobbit attacked back with a will.
“Enemies of course!” Joseph remarked dropping his rope and gathering up his bow. Snapping a hurried shot at the trailing figure he stared as the water deflected the arrow away from his target.
Temerian blasted at one with his magic once more, while below; protected by the Magic shield Felix slew the second after a brief struggle. Popping up for air the halfling spluttered up at the concerned faces of his companions. “Lizard folks! Two of them but there all gone… oh bugger!” Out of the corner of his eye he saw more shapes swimming up the outlet…
Two lizard folk leaped gracefully out of the water and assaulted the watchers. But Mogar and Phaedra were ready for them. Mogars sword slashed a deep furrow in the creatures chest so it landed awkwardly and badly hurt. Phaedra’s response was more subtle. Pointing a slim finger at the other she muttered a plea to the Morae. Frozen like statue the second Lizard Warrior dropped to the stone floor rendered immobile.
Seeing that the others had this in hand Jospeh again began shooting down at the others, Temerian lined up for another bolt of power. But for a moment his concentration wavered. he had, he knew been pushing his powers to their limits, and this time the magic failed to answer. Their was a soundless detonation matched by a immediate ache in his skull and all that happened was a gentle rain of ash instead of the incendiary bolt of power he had desired. Eyes watering the Mage took an involuntary step back from the railings.
Below Felix was actually enjoying himself. twice more the spears had missed of glance sparking off his magical defences. He had slashed one of the creatures with his axe too so all was well. Suddenly one spear pierced the magical screen and he felt the spear head gouge him. it was not a nice feeling! realising he might be in actual trouble Felix attacked back desperately.
Joseph had manged to wind one of the dark shapes in the water. Ironically the glowing half was easy to track and he was doing his best only shoot whatever one was furthest from Felix as they swam about him.
Mogar squared up to his opponent. Like Felix the creatures return swipe had sparked off the invisible sorcerous barrier. Mogar had no such obstacle. With a massive swipe he took its head off. Seeing Temerian had stepped back from the railings and was shaking his head as if stunned or something the Warrior glanced down to where Felix was still fighting in the water. All seemed to be well until he saw the red of Halfling blood in the water mixing with the the blue green ichor of the Lizard folks briefly before being swept out by the current.
Phaedra dimly registered that the Mage had apparently tempted fate one spell too many. But before she could see to him or anyone else she knew her paralysis would only last a few moments. Striding to the frozen Lizard warrior she dealt it a swift but massive blow to the head with her Bone cane. The skull crushed under the fetish’s weight like a watermelon. Now she could see to the others.
With an effort Felix had managed to kill the one he wounded but the second was still darting in and out. Sooner or later its could breach his protection, besides he was getting tired he could hardly dodge right under water. Suddenly the lizard man was transfixed by a huge shape that plunged sword forst through the water, pinning its very dead form to the floor of the pool.
Up top the others stared incredulously as Mogar dove from the railing his sword held out in front of him lke a giant harpoon. With the velocity that a hundred pounds of chain-mail can impart the warriors unorthodox charge transfixed the last lizard man. In fact the impact was so severe it took him several precious moments to free himself from the corpse and recover his embedded blade. By the time Josephs rope splashed near by him he was glad to to get out of the water.
Seeing he was again alone, Felix paddled up to the outlet just in case more of those lizardy things was coming in? Seeing none he resolved to take a careful look around the pool. it paid off as affixed to a rusted iron spike and chain he discovered a leather bag sealed with wax against the water. While he wouldn’t open it under water it felt heavy and coin like bulges could be felt so all was well indeed! With a great deal of satisfaction he dived down to see what the shiny was at last. it was in fact a ladies hand mirror. Quite a nice one, with a bit of ornamentation on it so he went to grab it for his collection.
As his hand closed on the handle a wave of fatigue swept over him and inexplicably the Halfling passed out sound asleep; fifteen feet below the surface…!
Trying to haul the big heavy warrior up was taxing indeed! Temerian shook off his headache and was about to give Joseph and Phaedra a hand with the big man when his arcane sense felt something occur d=from within the pool. Leaning over he could see Felix lieing face down under the water. Something reflective still gripped in his hand. Warding rune! He was almost sure of it. He had studied them a little but lacked the enchantment to attempt one himself. Wracking his mind he essayed another spell – cautiously this time.
A faintly glowing disc of force formed under Felix’s still form. Slowly lifting the Halfling clear of the water before he could drown. As soon as he saw the Hobbit was unharmed but sleeping only. Temerian sent the construct of force back down to assist with hauling Mogar back to dry land.
As soon as Mogar was safe Phaedra again invoked the Morae to heal Felix of the stab wound he had suffered. In turn the now awakened Hobbit poured the contents of the leather bag out for all to see. hundred.. nay thousands of coin fell bouncing to the floor. Mostly copper of course but a goodly portion was of silver and perhaps ten percent were gold! Quickly he pocketed a couple of small gems he spotted as the tumbled out. But that was only (hobbit) fair, as he had done all the work finding it after all…
When the contents of the bag had been gathered up once more and the party a little dried out they began to search again. As he had thought Temerian discovered a false panel at the end of the walk way by the fountain. Pressing a recessed button he yelped in pain as something scratched his finger! The wound was not serious but he looked at it concernedly as the party cautiously proceeded down the passageway.
It opened out onto a balcony overlooking a large ornately decorated chamber. The ever present pattern of bones and flames was evident everywhere, especially along the small opening in the ceiling that still showed traces of soot and fire exhaust along its sides and edges. Dimly sunlight from the cliff above could be seen far above. The decor of the room while rich was sadly faded and covered in a greenish mouldy growth. Stagnant water covered the floor and three sets of steps lead down into it from three sets of double doors; one each to the left right and directly ahead of them.
And again that’s where I’ll leave this section of narrative. Slightly more happened but I’ll tack that onto the next instalment as I did here. Had notice a couple of folks might not make it so while I have an idea how to sideline their characters now best to see how it can be played out. Especially as Lucius Singultus the rune etched sorcerer should be making his debut as a PC this coming session 🙂
Catch up time! For last session, maybe later I can find the energy for a session write up for Simon and anyone else that’s watching – we’ll see.
Base XP for the session: One extended encounter Difficult level/Life threatening so base 3 Xp
Ben – Mogar- Warrior- Solid work as usual Ben! Loved the diligent search technique, shame the reward wasn’t as spectacular but so it goes. Effectively solo’d one lizard man that leaped out of the Pool and who can’t love the mental image of the sword first swan dive into the water. Well done cap’n’ Ahab! +2 Xp
Dave – Felix – Halfling – Played to all the characters strengths again! Looted (but didn’t take it all) imprudently snatched at the shiny when wiser heads woulda said “Wait!” And as a bonus went full potato in the water with the Lizard warriors. Also included is a “What the hell with the Self feathering” Award for crazy RP. +3 Xp and +1 Luck
Lori – Phaedra – Cleric – Ah the shadow lady steps (briefly perhaps) from the shadows! Played to your card well, Solid work in the combat as well also effectively solo’ing the other Jumping Lizard man warrior [Paralysing it then a smashing coupe de grace!] Followed by a session of Healing on those that had need (Felix/Mogar) Throw in some cautiously wise advice and we have the complete clerical experience in one encounter! +3 Xp
Mat. – Temerian – Elf Mage – Ah aced the Shield spell again (with Felix’s help) but that probably saved the little guys life as I know he would have been hit two or three times more without it. Still first spell blow back as well so its not going all your way. But superior overall very much playing to type. +2 Xp
Sam – Joseph Pope II – Rogue – Played your card type spot on this time! Thoroughly Rogued throughout, sadly some of the goodies you were searching for are being carried by your target as she tries to relocate behind a secondary line of defence as you have collectively rousted her from her apartments. +2 Xp +1 Luck (EDIT: at max Luck will gain extra 5 XP)
Rats Magee & Lucius Singultus absent to Work/Sickness etc
As I said before: I keep a reduced average of the party’s XP per session (Arn’t spreadsheets useful!) so that will go on their total count so they wont be desperately behind when they resume (they will still be behind those that could make it naturally otherwise its unfair.)
Edit: I also forgot to include a total of any small items/coin that you got from your rapid “once over” of the gaurds/minions rooms. Here it is now in toto:
94 Sp total
180 Cp total
a small, rusted oval piece of iron with a toothed edge ? (Make of it what you will)
Pouch of some kind of Powder (1 oz – one dose)
Jug of cheap wine
Plus as I said a change of clothes for 3 Humans (one female) and a dwarf
If I have got my bookkeeping straight then you all should have something like this at this point:
Secondary/New characters will come in at an XP level about 25% below your primary’s. Absentee characters gain a portion of the average award for the session they missed.
About an hour had past and not much to report. A couple more of the vampire birds had flown in and now that we were expecting them got shot down before they could do any mischief. The look outs had seen signs of Lizard folks swimming in the bay but none had come up where we could see them. Still we were keeping an eye out just in case they massed for an attack or anything.
A few minutes later Arvid the clerk or some silly name came boiling out of the tunnel where he and a couple of the others had gone in to explore. I admit I had been nervous when the group had opted to split in two like they did. But I had my orders not to interfere just watch and see what became of them.
“Hey Arvid where are the others whats happening in there!” One of the watchmen called out; One Magee or something pretty good shot with a crossbow that’s all I remembered about him.
“No time to stop my friend” the man called as he ran up to the concealed door. We have found some body thats all I know I think we have one of the rogues we look for I tell you more later!” he cried as he wiggled into the tight secret space the Elf had discovered previously.
Damn I hated that! What the hell was going on in there? Why’d he come out alone? While I was thinking it over word came in from the squad i sent out to scout the area.
“What to report soldier?”
Well we found tracks in the softer ground outside the land path sir. Band of Orcs or something like it came this way less than a day ago.
That was not good. “How many?” I asked
“Hard to say at least a score from the tracks, they were pretty small for Orcs buts how it looked to us.”
“Ok double the guard.” This was great the Lizaerd folks massing in the water and now there was a chance an Orc warband was inside already? Ye gods what next!
OK Running behind here so am dropping this in as a retrospective record:
Base XP for the session: One extended encounter (one and a half encounters I suppose!) Difficult level/Life threatening so base 3 Xp
Ben – Mogar- Warrior- Good RP I really liked how you blunted the effects of being charmed by playing up your “Accent Card card” this session. Probably saved a party members life as you could have likely killed one in a single blow had you blindly attacked. +2 Xp also +1 Luck for surviving Tem’s rather rough subdual technique by the flip of a coin!
Dave – Felix – Halfling – Always fun to watch you play the little guy, Going to be interesting how Temerian does when his Luck battery is on fumes mind you! Especially loved using the controlled party members as cover! As another halfling said ones : “A defensive Blocker I’m not!” +1 Xp
Mat. – Temerian – Elf Mage – Ahh some seriously good Mage cannon work tonight! The dice godz are with theee! +1 Luck for taking the risk. Clever thought to wall off the Party with a force barrier. Mind you can work both ways as you saw as it gave them a chance to retreat deeper into the complex possibly setting booby traps behind them. Still good thinking on your feet. Also played to your Cards dictum very well +3 Xp
Sam – Joseph Pope II – Rogue – Played to your cards strength again I see, nice try at talking your way out of a 3 vs 2 fight when they discovered you breaking into the bridge +2 Xp
Sadly we saw (with mutual consent) the End of Arvid Klerx this time. Still I can say Toms got a great concept for his replacement (I trust that scares you as it should!)
Phaedra & Rats Magee absent to Work/Sickness etc but I keep a reduced average of the party’s XP per session (Arn’t spreadsheets useful!) so that will go on their total count so they wont be desperately behind when they resume (they will still be behind those that could make it naturally otherwise its unfair.)
If I have got my bookkeeping straight then you all should have something like this at this point:
Jospeh Pope II 25
Arvid Klerx (Deceased) 22
Rats Magee 20
Secondary/New characters will come in at an XP level about 25% below your primary’s. Thus currently Toms new one for example will start on 15 Xp
Right now I had better to last Wednesdays XP award next LOL! Story time will have to come later I am afraid folks!
Instinctively I ducked and rolled away from the waters edge. Coming to a crouch I scanned the area. Two huge bird like creatures had dropped from the shadowy recesses of the grotto above us. One had swooped at me and was now circling back the Other had latched onto one of the men.
With an Oath and a cry of revulsion the fellow tore the thing from him and hurled it to the ground. Grotesquely its long snout writhed like an octopus’s tentacle and dripped the troopers blood. Vampire birds!
Chanting a simple spell of warding. I watched as the archers in the squad filled the air with shots at my assailant, two bolts took it down but the thing wouldnt die and instead flopped about the Wharf pathetically until another man finished it off.
The other took back to the skies, weather to escape or to have another swooping attack I couldn’t tell. In a moment it was full of bolts and splashed into the shallow waters of the bay.
I grimaced, that was unfortunate. “Good shooting all of you,” I called rejoining the men in the tower.. “But the blood in the water might stir up any Lizard folk I am thinking. So stay sharp archers. You see any of those scaly bastards shoot it, don’t wait for orders.”
“Got something over here!” called one of the two bowmen on the ruined coastward tower.
“What is it?”
“As I followed that stirge down I saw something in the wreck. Looks like its still full of cargo. I can see a metal box lying on top of the sunken deck.”
“Huh OK take two more and look into it. Far as I am concerned anything found is salvage. Take a careful look and drag anything worth having back to the tower.”
A tense half hour passed.
No sign of the Lizard folk, but the boys dragged a few salvageable items from the barge. Nearly lost one of them to some kind of giant freshwater leech that was using the rotting wood as its nest, but the haul was worth it. Nice gold cup and a few other nick nacks to go in the war chest.
Probably not the best idea to sell them off in Newsandport though. At a guess the “Lads” just pillaged the last funeral barge sent here after the attack… Still the dead don’t mind, just the fanatics of the local cult. “Eternal flame” my arse, call it what it is: A death cult. Lets hope the daredevils in squad one don’t try and flog anything off incautiously they loot from the Temple interior. I just know they’ll pocket some of what they find; only to be expected. Lets just hope they is discrete about it!
So smaller write up here as we split the time between finishing off the levelling process and changing scenes. But I want to keep these going if I can.
From the prow of the fishing ship the distant coast that once held the Sandlanders settlement slowly cam into focus. Three, well two and a partial tower sat in the mouth of what appeared to be a sea grotto. The captain steered the boat towards one of the two barge bays all the while nervously looking at the water about the ship. He explained that it was not uncommon for lizard folk to attack ships that ventured too close to this shore and that as soon as the troop was disembarked he’d retreat further back into the bay.
“Climb one o those towers..” he began “… light a lamp at the highest point and I’ll no to come an’ fetch ye. But I’ll not stay closer than a mile otherwise.”
“We’ll take care of that.” Grimwarden grunted squinting at the two remaining towers. The cranky Dwarf possibly assessing them for the most structurally sound.
Joseph, Felix and Tem began to examine the main doorway in detail. It was a large affair some 20′ high festooned with the Bone & flame motief of the local cult, now the once grand decoration was sadly weatherbeaten. But still traces of bright paint glinted from portions of the carved stone. Arvid seemed more interested in the western entrance and the rickety bridge leading to the coastal path for now. Phaedra stood in the middle of the wharf, hooded as always but seemingly watching everything from beneath her shoud. Mogar glanced about looking for enemies perhaps, and they all threw more than one suspicious glance at the half concealed and temptingly half open set of double doors on the seaward side of the wharf. The darkness of the temple interior awaited. But nobody wanted to try the obvious route it seemed!
“Ah hah!” came the cry from the fellows by the door. A small perhaps three foot square section in the doors lower right section had come away revealing a small compartment and a leaver. Fastening a rope to the leaver Joseph pulled it fully flat to the floor, and from somewhere to the east a dull rumbling vibration as of stone shifting could be just made out. Could it be they had disarmed a trap on the most obvious way in?
“Wait there is more inside!” Someone said as Temerian half stooped into the compartment and did something within. “Second secret door inside..” the Taciturn elf half explained to the rest.
It was true the back of the Leaver compartment had come away revealing a crawl space. “I’ll never get down that little hole” grunted Mogar eyeing it suspiciously. “Well maybe if you took of all that heavy gear you might just…” Mogar glared daggers at the group. Clearly the idea of taking his armour off wasn’t sitting easily with the warrior!
“I can manage easily enough!” chirped little Felix. The halfling barely had to bow his head to walk into the smaller space.
“What do you see!?”
“Not much it turns west and heads deeper in as far as I can make out.” he replied. “I’ll explore!” Without further ado the alfling edged into the small passage way.
“I can fit as well” declared Tem, the wirey elf dropping to his knees and squirming in after the Hobbit.
“I as well” Phaedra stated abruptly. The small woman also following Temerian on her knees into the darkness.
“Leave them, I have found the true way inside!” Arvid half cackles from the edge of the wharf. Joseph & Mogar stomped over to where the strange cleric was gesticulating expansively. “See I thought there would be a passage. Did not the local priests say the place was overrun after an earth tremor? The great Godz whom I serve revealed to me that there had then to be a crack int he stone through wish their enemies entered! We may do the same!” he said triumphantly.
“‘Cept we cant swim like Lizard folk” Mogar muttered eyeing the water filled rift in the grotto’s edge.
“You might not have to big guy” Jospeh grinned unspooling a length of rope. “I can rig up something to help you I think. Gimme a minute or two” Swiftly the rogue clambered out on the fractured and uneven rock of the grotto. Every ten feet or so he paused to bash a spike deep into the grotto’s sea weathered stone.
At the edge of the visible fissure he paused. “Yeah goes in as far as I can make out. Gonna need torches or something from here on in.”
“Go on nimble one!” Declared Arvid. “The Lord of light that I serve will guide our way” Recklessly the strange cleric sprang onto the rock clinging to the line tied to the rock wall. At the edge he paused and muttered something strange and a glowing disc began to hover int he air near Joseph and he edged deeper into the dark water floored crevice.
“Yeah, now I see it there is a side passage that heads towards wherever that big door woulda led I’d guess” Joseph stated squinting in the passage now illuminated by the Clerics light.
“We head towards that then!” Exalted Arvid.
In a few moments more the three of them clung to the rock by the side passage. Looking at the way the water flowed over the stony bed it was clear that the water of this passage was maybe 4’ deep only. Suddenly Arvid slipped and demonstrated the depth. Chest high the priests fervour seemed undampened. And instead slowly he rose upon his glowing disk out of the water and int the passage way.
“Look some crafted structure my friends!” He cried pointing up at what appeared to be wooden panels set near the ceiling of the fissure.
Felix snuck forward happily along the rough hewn passageway. Really this wasn’t much smaller than uncle Jeremiah’s closet he had hidden in as a lad. Edging up to the first twist in the passage he peered cautiously around the edge. But there was nothing to see. Still the crudely made crawl-way edged deeper into the side of the cliff. Behind him the quiet elf and equally Taciturn human woman toiled along on their hands and knees. The bells and bones of Phaedra’s stick making the loudest sound in the confined space… She never felt nervous yet she felt as if she was being followed, but she could neither turn nor hear anything behind her in the cramped darkness.
“Going south now I think?” He whispered over his shoulder and carried on. But only a few steps revealed the depressing site of the diggings end. “Looks like a dead end chaps – sorry!” Felix stated apparently unconcerned that if true there wee now two big ungainly types between him and the way out!
“Unlikely” Stated Temerian. “I shall look. I lie flat and you climb over me so I may see.” Obediently Felix clambered across the supine elf. Trying ever so hard not to laugh as he did so.
“Yes I see it, it was above your eye Halfling” the ELf declared reaching up near the top of the crawlspace. A faint jingle of a chain was the only warning as another panel abruptly dropped out of the wall to one side. Tumbling into the revealed room Temerain looked about. It was some sort of chamber. Not crudely fashioned as the crawl-way but obviously well made. But more importantly he now faced a half naked man who was turning about in startled surprise at his sudden appearance.
From one knee Tem took in the battered sleeping cot behind the man and the struggling figure of what seemed to be a female cruelly tied to it. It seems his appearance had interrupted villainy most foul! Observing the man flailing for the giant sword leaning against the wall near him Temerian brought his powers to play and a shield of force sheathed his form.
With an Oath the foul looking man charged forward and smashed his blade down on Temerians head. With an actinic flash the mage’s ward held and the deadly edge stopped short of taking the elf’s head off. Dropping into the room little Felix stared at the combatants. “That’s not very nice!” he said sadly “Why can’t we talk this out?” he muttered wistfully.
“This not nice man he hurt woman!” Tem snapped back irritated perhaps at the innocent Halflings naivety. “Be nice to her and stop him!”
“Oh Ok!” stated Felix drawing his knife and stabbing at the mans waist.
Tem drew his quill and sketched a symbol into the air. A moment later the pock facd ravager was sprawling back as two blasts of eldrich force. Shaking his head the warrior braced himself to spring back when suddenly he stiffened. Two slim steel needles protruding from his shoulder and neck. Silently Phaedra observed the dieing man before retrieving her thrown darts.
Ok close enough. To any unrelated reader. Yes they really have split into two parts. And no I don’t know how best to reunite them at this point…!