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.