Sunday, July 18, 2010


Only one incident occurred during the evening, where footsteps were heard in the outside corridor, and the next morning the room that held the bonesnapper at the end of the hallway found opened. Venturing near to once again shut it, the twins Ular and Tula were surprised by the reptilian creature, yet they managed to kill it with the help of Cadelaine’s magic missiles. The bonesnapper’s lair was searched, and nothing of value was discovered except for filth from the creature.

The party continued on to the stone bridge leading from the chapel over the dark crevice. The bridge led to a dark tunnel, so Cadelaine turned invisible and crossed the unlit stone bridge (which was slick and had no handholds) in total darkness so as not to upset the bats. Carefully investigating the hallway, she came to a t-section that was lit by torches and contained four of the guards with the usual greasepaint and bronzed plate armor. Sneaking back to the group, as they discussed what to do, the lizardman prisoner took that moment to jump off the bridge into the darkness! A splash was heard far below, and it was decided that he wasn’t worth pursuing (and may have been killed by the great fall into the underground river). At any length, he was now gone and they wouldn’t have to spend time taking care of him.

Still in darkness, the party slowly made it’s way across the 50 foot stone bridge. At a halfway point, a trap was triggered by Mongo’s weight, and he fell threw a pit in the bridge to freefall until he triggered his sword Sentinel to fly him back to the bridge. Now carefully avoiding the open section of the bridge, the party slowly made it to the tunnel where Cadelaine and Mongo quietly moved within….just as three of the guards came around the corner, curious to the small noises they had been hearing! Endefal hit the area with a Silence /15, as Kumar used Hold Person on the three guards. They were quickly disposed of, however, not before the 4th guard rushed to the west end of the corridor and shouted for help! Mongo and Kal used their Rings of Jumping to leap into the room for combat. They killed the three guards within, but not before one of the guards pulled down a lever that opened a barred entrance in the rear of the room. Immediately, a gigantic roar was heard, and an albino lion came bounding out of the darkness! Kal immediately threw a Hold Animal, and after securing the great cat, a Charm Mammal was used to entice the lion to follow it’s new master….Kal.

Meanwhile, at the east end of the hall a door had been thrown open, and hordes of white painted warriors began pouring out of the entrance into the hallway. Nadal, Gra-Gra and Sholo began battling the warriors, with Mongo and Endefal leaping into the fray to help. Using his innate Sanctuary power, Endefal pushed past the dozens of warriors around the corner to see the extent of the horde. However, once discerning that the opponents were coming out of two rooms of barracks and numbered nearly 30, he was set on by a quartet that had noticed him, and driven to the ground.

Meanwhile, Mongo, Nadal and Sholo began making slow and steady progress through the warriors, and soon the hallway was full of dead bodies, blood, brains, gore and literally painted floor to ceiling with body tissues. At one point Gra Gra, heavily injured was forced to leap out of the fray and to his master Kal for healing, bleeding from almost a dozen spear thrusts. Seeing Endefal brought down, Mongo again leaped forward using his ring to land atop the foes, striking out with both swords to clear a path for the priest. Fighting from the rear, with Sholo and Nadal from the front, they caught the screaming warriors in a vise and slowly tightened it. Almost 20 minutes later, the four party members stared at each other as the last opponent fell. The hallway had become a butcher’s shop as 27 dead warriors lay strewn in pieces across the 60 or so feet of the corridor. In the frenzy of battle the companions had neglected to keep anyone alive for questioning, but at least at this point the way was clear to explore further on down the passageway.

First, however, the room they had found guarded by the warriors had to be searched, as the party had located two locked chests within. Cadelaine examined them carefully and noted glyphs on each chest, looking menacing. The chest being made of heavy stone, Endefal used his Stone Shape spell to refashion on opening in the front, avoiding the glyphs’ and avoiding actually opening the lids of both chests. It seemed to be the right move since neither glyph was set off. Several items were pulled from inside both chests, including a sack of ancient gold and platinum pieces; a sack of 50 low quality gems; a jeweled ceremonial mace; a ruby encrusted, skull shaped goblet; and most interestingly of all a platinum box that contained two glass eyes that Alando detected as radiating magic.

After searching the room thoroughly, Kal introduced the newest member of the group: the albino lion Simba, who came from a long line of lions bred by the underground warriors as protectors and guardians. Simba was the last of his kind, and while suspicious of the party (he had been trained to attack and kill anyone not wearing the ceremonial greasepaint or bronze armor) he has placated by the charm and the thought of exploring outside his long lived in lair. Kal made a mental note to use Animal Friendship on the great cat before the charm wore off, so as to totally befriend the beast.

Investigating past the mass slaughter of the native warriors (where Endefal, following his custom, had created a gigantic pyramid of heads from the downed warriors), the party found two large, dirty barracks type rooms, as well as a set of stairs leading down. The stairs eventually led to a gigantic room, with several intriguing features. First, the large room (over 140 ft long and 60 ft wide) appeared to be some sort of temple, and was rent in the center by a large, 25 ft wide crack that like the other crevices found so far led into darkness. On the far side of the caverns sat a massive altar, while in the near side there lay hundreds and hundreds of bodies in various states of decay, putting off a charnel odor of awful proportions. The bodies were piled sometimes as much as 10 feet high on this side of the crevice, although the party could discern a pathway leading out and to the left among the piles of dead.

Alando stated that this was a tenet of the religion of Ert, to let bodies decay naturally and not cremate or bury them, and judging from the amount of bodies (about 400, it was reckoned) this must be the burial area of Ertian worshippers for quite awhile. As the party stepped into the chamber, the symbols of Ert on the back of their hands began to lightly glow.

Wary of battling undead, Endefal led the small group of Cadelaine, Mongo and Nadal down the pathway to end near the crevice and a large stone box. Using her abilities Cadelaine was able to pick the lock and remove several items: a wooden box containing two diamonds, a jeweled statuette of a woman; and a giant sheaf of old papers with ancient writing upon them. During this endeavor, carrion crawlers began crawling over the edge from the crevice to do battle with the explorers; luckily, no one was struck down by the tentacles of the creatures, and seven of the giant bugs were killed.

As Nadal, Mongo and Endefal battled the crawlers, Sholo entered the room to assist, but as he passed between two pillars the light of the room dimmed and a rustling was heard. Suddenly, the dead began rising from where they lay! 40 skeletons rose from the ground and began attacking. Endefal managed to destroy seven of them, while Kumar and Alando turned another 14, but that still left 19 to fight. The party ran with all haste out of the room, just as another 40 skeletons rose from the ground! This was beginning to have the looks of something very deadly, so Cadelaine pulled her Wand of Fire out and sent a fireball into the room (as the party ran down the hall). The explosion destroyed over 40 of the skeletons, and the others did not give chase. Alando theorized the fact that Sholo did not have a mark to Ert on his hand must have somehow activated the undead.

During the excitement, suddenly Tulu spoke up that his brother Ular was nowhere to be found! Frantically, he ran back down the hallway to locate him, but nothing was seen….except for a large rat in the hallway that scampered away. Ular wasn’t found, and it looked like perhaps he had contacted lycanthropy from the wererats that had bitten him earlier….and the stress of the undead attacking had caused him to change. Tulu was understandable upset and inconsolable, as he had never known a time without his twin brother by his side.

Venturing back down the passageway, the party saw that there were now no skeletons standing in the room as the stench of burning flesh filled their nostrils. Wanting to avoid the undead and search the opposite side of the room, Mongo and Kal (in giant bat form) flew the party over the crevice one by one until everyone stood on the north side of the chasm staring at the odd altar.

Investigating around the alter, several small holes were found in the floor surrounding the area, Flying to the altar, Mongo set off some sort of trap….suddenly, a demonic, laughing figure rose from flames at the altar, as more jets of flame shot up through the small holes surrounding it! Throwing holy water on the demonic face, the vial broke and splashed water…on what Mongo then saw was a stone statue! Very realistic, it was undoubtedly placed as some sort of fake guardian of the area…..soon it began to lower into the ground inside a circular tube.

Deciding to investigate further, Endefal stone shaped the opening to give them access below. Flying down, Mongo found a long disused room with the idol statue sitting on a pillar of stone. Nothing else was in the room except for a tunnel that led to a dead end…and a secret door, as Cadelaine discovered.

Soon, a rope was tied at the top and the entire party was lowered or climbed down the shaft, with Kal having to carefully take Simba (who did not want to enter the deep dark hole) until all stood in the dusty circular room below the earth. Trying the secret door, Cadelaine opened it to see a giant cavern filled with a large pedestal about 50x40 filled with pillars…and troglodytes! 14 of the monstrosities guarded the pedestal with their large javelins. The entire chamber was huge and she could not see the back of it in the dim light. Thinking this would be a good situation to thin out the monstrous ranks without being seen, Cadelaine used her Wand of Fire to shoot a fireball into the midst of the trogs! The fireball exploded, almost killing all the amphibious beings. As they lay groaning in pain and screaming out into the dark, Cadelaine hit them with another fireball, killing all of them!

Unfortunately, an alarm had gone up and obviously a trog guard from another part of the cavern had seen the flash, for as Cadelaine leaned out to fire her wand again, a shower of javelins flew at her from the darkness! Two struck her solidly, knocking her unconscious and causing her to collapse, dropping the wand! Cadelaine was quickly dragged inside as Alando pulled her down the corridor to stabilize her, and as Endefal opened the secret door to grab the wand, troglodytes lay in wait to attack! Mongo and Kal (who had shape changed into a crocodile) joined the battle, pushing the trogs outside the tunnel and into the cavern. Soon, Nadal, Sholo, Gra Gra and Simba joined in as almost 20 trogs went to the attack, the amphibious monstrosities clawing and biting at the party members. Two large subterranean lizards were sent into combat by the trogs, but were killed by Mongo with help from Kal and Endefal. Meanwhile, the stench of the trogs at separate times caused Kumar and Endefal to fall on all fours to vomit themselves empty, as the rest of the party managed to avoid their fate.

The combat was ongoing when shouts were heard back in the cavern…Alando and Desteri were battling each other! Kumar rushed back to pull his friend Alando away, but not before Desteri had struck him a nasty blow. It seemed that Alando had caught the fighter searching the body of the unconscious Cadelaine, ostensibly to search for healing potions or magic items he could use in the fight. Meanwhile, outside the cavern the battled raged and the party began to despair they would be intact at the end of the combat as the enraged trogs proved dangerous foes. Finally, though, the group had hacked through 18 of the creatures, and the entire chamber was once again quiet and deathly still. Wanting to leave before more reinforcements came, the party quickly hustled down the tunnel to the idol chamber, Kal sealing the secret door behind them using Stone Shape. When the bloodied party reached the idol chamber, Alando tattled on Desteri’s actions, and as Desteri tried to defend himself, Mongo decided he had heard and seen enough from the mercenary fighter over the last few days…a few quick strokes, and the headless body of Desteri, slowly toppled to the ground, blood spilling from his neck stump onto the dusty floor. Alando and Kumar paused to take anything of value off the mercenary fighter’s body, and Nadal spit on the corpse and said good riddance. Cadelaine was flown up the shaft to the altar room, and one by one (nervously watching the tunnel for signs of pursuit) the rest of the party followed, most climbing the rope or being hauled upwards. Once safe, the party pulled up the rope itself…unless the trogs or their allies could fly, their escape seemed to have been effected without pursuit.

Resting in the large altar room and avoiding the holes the flame jets shot through, the party made plans to spend the night…..a few of the party were heavily injured, and the priests were entirely out of healing magic. With the shaft below being nearly impassible, and the crevice to the south being a good buffer from what might come there, this seemed to be the best place to make rest and discuss the plans for the morrow. Cadelaine was tended to, with Alando taking care of her by bandaging and dressing her terrible wounds at the tips of the javelins, but he soon noticed that the javelins must have been dipped in something….the half elven mage/thief had developed a fever, and already looked quite ill.

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