DM When last we left our heroes, they had bested more giants, as well as routed a significant portion of the giants’ bugbear minions. Having explored further, they found orc slaves imprisoned in abject misery, and dwarves working at a forge. Leaving the orcs in prison, they freed the dwarves and met their enigmatic leader, Goldemar. They now plan their next move for the giant stronghold. Will that move spell escape, victory…or doom? Read on and find out!
Julian “I hope that we have already slain the better part of the defenders,” Julian guesses, “but should there be more heavy fighting, Goldemar, you and yours will want weapons and armor. I’ll have our men show you what is available.”
Julian He escorts Goldemar and company back to the band’s makeshift fortification and arranges for them to be armed up.
Julian Meanwhile he suggests to Kryss and Shael that they should investigate the ruckus coming from the northern passageway they passed by earlier.
DM Goldemar turns and addresses the dwarves in Dwarven. “We are close to freedom now, but we may have to fight to gain it. Take up what arms and armor these brave men offer you. I will see that the badger’s share of the fighting is borne by myself. When we can win free, I shall see that you are sent off to tell our canton the tale.”
Shael Shael stands around looking a little impatient. He purses his lips as he looks around one of the corners into the hallway beyond.
Shael “Oh.” Shael says, suddenly hearing Julian’s suggestion from several minutes ago. “Yeah, let’s go.”
Julian And so they do.
DM The ruckus has died down a bit since they passed it before, but there is still shouting and screams. Heading north, the trio finds a bugbear guard finishing off a female orc, it seems from what is left of her skull that she has not been the source of the noise for a few minutes at least. The bugbear tucks himself back into his breaches and shouts as doom bears down upon them.
DM The noise from the orcs is deafening, these are not the southern broken orcs by a longshot. They howl threats and bare their fangs at their captors through the bars of the cage.
DM Threats in Orcish, but the intent seems unmistakable, as is that of the shit they fling at the goblinoids.
Julian That shout may be his last as Julian cleaves into him before he can even finish re-dressing.
DM He dies, falling atop his victim with a gurgling scream.
DM The other bugbears move quickly, forming up and flinging javelins at Julian. The weapons bounce off his armor.
Kryss Kryss rushes into the room and sends Shatterspike after 2 of the bugbears.
DM The splattered corpse of the first douses the second in gore.
Shael Shael follows behind and gestures, a wave of force careens through the air towards the survivor of Kryss’ attack.
DM He does not survive Shael’s.
DM “Wait, wait, the giants made me do it!” screams the last bugbear in Common as his fellows dies.
Julian As quickly as the fight began Julian moves to end it, relieving the screamer of first one arm, then a second, and lastly his head in a series of quick cuts.
Kryss Kryss looks around the room, “You’re letting the orcs free, aren’t you?” Kryss asks Shael.
DM The screamer’s pleas fall on deaf ears. Julian’s, and the orc nearest the cell door, who flings a particularly heinous looking heap of foulness deftly into the bugbear’s face right before Seure burns it away.
Shael Shael frowns at Julian. Glancing at Kryss he shrugs slightly, but then nods to show his preference.
Kryss “Maybe try talking to them before we break down the doors?”
Julian Julian assesses how the orcs react to all this before making any decisions. He also keeps a lookout for flying shit.
DM The orcs are positively frenzied. They shake the bars of their cage, screaming, chanting, shouting, roaring.
DM None of it in Common.
Kryss “Maybe give them a while to calm down?” Kryss suggests.
Kryss “They’ll likely calm down after a few days without food or water.”
DM “Death! Death to the rapists of the orog princess!” Shael picks out in the chants.
DM “Let me eat their filthy corpses!”
Kryss Kryss steps over to the destroyed orc corpse. “Can you do anything for her Shael?”
DM “I was just going to shit into their mouths, damn humans!”
DM “Kill the giants!”
DM “Join the Orog King!”
DM “They can never take our freedom!”
Shael “They’re not fans of these fellows —” he mentions before moving to the woman with a nod to Kryss, “I can…” he kneels beside her and channels his divine magic.
Kryss “Hey we already killed these guys. Relax!” Kryss says to the orcs while Shael works his magic.
DM “Fuck the giants!”
DM “Kill bash Kill bash Kill bash Kill bash Kill bash Kill bash Kill bash Kill bash Kill bash!”
Kryss “Yea maybe let’s set the whole lot of them on fire,” Kryss says.
DM “Shut your fucking mouth, Kilbash.”
Kryss “Except Kilbash. He sounds like my sort of fellow.”
DM “Gobo stew unless the pink skins take it with em!”
Julian Julian stops Shael from wasting his spell. “She’s been dead for a little while.”
Shael “Ah.” He sighs and mentions, “Didn’t sleep well.”
DM “Give the metal door openers fucking humans!”
Julian “Are they saying anything important?” Julian tries to judge the orc hostility by the cessation or continuation of flying shit.
DM One of the orcs starts throwing himself into the door bodily. It is clear the door will give far after his fleshy frame does.
DM No shit is flying at the humans yet, though the orcs look like a riot waiting to happen.
Shael Shael shares their words with his companions, “I don’t think it can hurt to let them go, but we can’t leave them here.”
Julian “Maybe once they calm down?”
Shael Shael chuckles, “They will do the opposite if we leave them in there.”
Kryss “Then let’s return when we have time to deal with them.”
Shael He starts looking for the mechanism to release them in case his companions decide to allow it.
DM One orc screams out at the top of his lungs, “SAAAAHHHHHHHKKKKKKKKIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLL!”
Julian “I mean, there’s nowhere for them to go right now anyway. The exit is collapsed.”
Kryss “I feel safer without the lot of them wandering around with us.”
DM “Ogrillons are abomination, fellow orcs, let us follow the legend of ancient Oracur, and all rise to become Orog. Cast off the real chains, which bind your minds!”
DM “You going to flap those lips so much, do it around my dick!”
DM “LET US OOOOOOUUUUUUUTTTTTTTT!”
DM “Kill the oppressors!”
DM “Kill the giants!”
DM “Kill bash!”
Kryss “I wish they’d shut up.”
DM “Shut up, Kilbash.”
DM “Kill everything!”
Julian “Fine. We’ll consider coming back to let them out once there is an out to let them to.”
Shael Shael shrugs, “They just want to kill the giants, eh? We have that in common at least… either we should help them or move on.”
Julian Julian indicates with a gesture that they will leave and come back later.
Julian Then he leaves.
Kryss Kryss follows him.
DM The orc slamming himself into the door finally breaks something vital and falls to the ground senseless.
Shael Shael loiters and notes the orc hurting himself. He heads over to the cell and kneels several feet away before invoking Serra’s blessing upon the o*Shael* “The Spirit of Serra raised Brindri high and commanded her to keep the balance.”
DM The orc gets up, blinking in confusion at Shael.
Shael He nods to the other orcs afterwards, with a sad smile he turns away and follows after his companions.
DM “The sahkil are coming,” the orc whispers as Shael leaves.
Shael He glances back and frowns, he looks after his companions and taps his fingers against his legs pensively. “They’ll die if we take them with or leave them there…” he sighs deeply and at length, “…let’s hurry.”
Shael Shael breaks into a jog, outpacing his companions in what he has apparently decided is now a race.
Kryss Kryss looks at Julian and shrugs before jogging off after him.
DM As they head further east, the wall of rubbish has been knocked down, and Alhandra, Sir Rochefort and Boren are battling it out against primitive looking troglodytes, who all have purple glowing eyes. Two orcs likewise try to fend off the reptilian horde.
Julian Julian tries to get the troglodytes’ attention with a pair of javelins.
DM One of the creatures falls, the spears sticking in its back.
Shael Shael charges into their midst, his katana lashing out at those who get in his way.
Kryss Kryss’ nose keeps him from advancing into melee but he does throw a handful of javelins with deadly precision.
DM Other javelins fly out from the northern tunnel, and one sticks right in Sir Rochefort’s shoulder, spinning the knight around.
DM He lays about, as do his companions, laying trogs low left and right. The orcs hold a fighting position at the east, trying to keep the trog advance from getting past them.
DM The trogs with glazed purple eyes lash out.
Kryss “Is he really charging deeper up the hall?” Kryss asks Julian.
DM Sir Rochefort is assailed with clubs, though he remains on his feet.
Shael Shael slips past Sir Rochefort into the horde, a subtle spell hastens his reflexes and he lashes out with Khionesoul.
Julian Julian dashes into battle, leaving the javelins aside and turning to his sword.
DM The troglodytes, normally scared off by displays of magic such as flame and ice blasts, or glowing sun swords, maintain their mindless attack in the face of their slaughter.
Kryss Kryss sighs and picks up from a jog to a sprint trying to keep up with his friends.
DM Alhandra rushes one of the troglodytes, putting it down, while Sir Boren leaps at the orcs, wielding his blade in a deadly arc.
Shael “Hey! No!” he commands Boren, “Fight the threat in front of you, don’t make enemies you don’t need!”
Shael “Bad Knight…” he mutters to himself, bringing his attention back to the fight at hand.
DM Boren gives an incredulous look at Shael, but tries to check his swing.
DM Shael’s interference keeps him from killing the orc he is fighting, although the orc is hardly grateful for the ‘mercy’, given the long ugly wound in his arm.
DM Sir Rochefort cuts down two more trogs before him and charges along with Shael.
DM The pair avoid a hail of spears with ease.
DM The massive lizard running along the ceiling does surprise the knight, though the trogs pay it no mind, their minds bent to another task.
DM The creature’s tongue snatches him up into its jaws.
Julian Julian takes over the job of hacking down troglodytes.
DM Two more fall against the floor of the cavern.
Julian Someone taller will have to deal with the monster on the ceiling, or maybe there is a throwing axe around?
Shael Shael shifts forward to get closer to the monster on the ceiling, slashing Troglodytes out of the way. His UnMetal weapon transforms and stabs towards the ceiling.
Kryss Kryss rushes up beside Shael, ignoring the trogs at this point. He nudges his friend and closes his eyes, pushing all his willpower into the candlelighting spell Shael taught him years ago. A mote of ember darts out from between his hands and lands on the creature on the ceiling, bursting and covering it in flame.
Kryss He opens his eyes. “Did it work?”
DM Sir Rochefort’s eyes are as wide as Kryss’s.
DM Boren tries to back off from the angry orcs as easy as he can.
DM Alhandra rushes up the tunnel to try and provide support.
DM Rochefort struggles in the grasp of the lizard.
DM The lizard chomps down hard on Rochefort, cracking his armor, while it lashes out with its tail, clipping Kryss in the face.
Julian Julian hacks into arms, legs, torsos like so much wet paper.
DM The trogs fall around him like snow.
Julian Julian sheathes his sword and shoulders his shield. “Sir Rochefort!” He tries to find handholds and footholds in the wall to come to the knight’s aid.
Julian If only he were a foot or so taller, maybe bracing against opposite walls would make this a lot easier.
Shael Shael growls as the creature is well outside his reach, but Sir Rochefort is not beyond his aid. He calls once more on Serra’s aid for the man, “Let go of all that harms you. Cast your burdens into the darkness.”
DM Julian gains ground, ascending rapidly up to near the lizard. What he intends to do with the lizard remains unknown to any but himself. Rochefort looks almost as surprised at the climb as he did at the fire bolt.
Shael He then runs further along the hallway to check for any other threats.
Kryss Kryss is up the wall in 3 large leaps and Shatterspike endeavors to negotiate Rochefort’s freedom by leaving large, happy gashes in the side of the lizard’s head.
DM He finds a massive open cavern, with more huge lizards running along the walls and ceiling, and dozens more troglodytes. These trogs mill about without the glowing purple eyes of the ones in the tunnel.
DM Kryss’s attack causes the lizard to hiss and whirl.
Kryss Kryss catches Shatterspike and launches her back into the lizards spine.
DM Not content to let it flee, his savage attack causes the creature to plummet from the ceiling into the ground. It lies still, Sir Rochefort beneath the corpse.
Kryss Kryss drops to the ground with a flip and lands lightly beside Julian and the knight. “I fear Shael may have already found us more troubles.” he jerks a thumb towards the end of the hallway.
Julian As the lizard begins to plummet from the ceiling with Sir Rochefort underneath, Julian launches himself from the wall and tackles his rival headlong towards safety.
DM Or so it was assumed! Lord Julian swept in to snatch Sir Rochefort out from danger just in time, much like he snatched Shella from the knight on her wedding day!
DM Instead, Alhandra bears the brunt of the creature falling, and is crushed beneath its tonnage.
DM “Sir Kryss, if I could bother you?” she grunts from under the reptile.
Julian Julian leads Kryss and Sir Rochefort in trying to shift the massive bulk off their comrade.
Julian “Bozen!” he calls for more muscle.
DM The reptile is slick with the blood of troglodyte corpses, that it popped like overripe grapes in its fall.
Shael Standing at the opening of the Cavern, Shael calls out – “Are y’all badguys?” in Primordial, guessing that’s the best place to start communicating, and he’s clearly ready to keep fighting if they are.
DM It takes the four of them to get the corpse off Alhandra, who heaves a grateful breath once she is free.
DM The troglodytes, once Shael yells at them, rush to defend their cavern, wielding crude stone clubs.
DM They do not appear to understand Primordial.
Shael He tries the other languages he speaks — he is not attacking yet, though.
DM Some of them flee the other way, retreating further into the cavern.
DM “What you want, soft skin?” demands the largest warrior once he is hailed in Draconic.
Julian “Right. So. Be careful of standing under these when Kryss is nearby with his axe.”
Shael “We’re looking for a way back above-ground, we were fighting the giants but their fort was demolished and the exit blocked by someone.”
DM “You still in giant fort.”
DM “We keep away from giants, but giants move, take caves.”
Shael Shael shrugs a little as if that doesn’t really matter, “Yeah, are y’all with them?”
Shael He nods, “Yeah, thought that might be the case – we’re at war with ‘em, they’re invading our homes too.”
Shael “Going to take as many down as we can on our way out; and not to be immodest but that means pretty much any of ’em we find.” he smiles briefly, ferally.
DM “Xulgaths not want soft skins near. Not pink soft skins, not green soft skins,” he gestures south when he says that. “Soft skins bring death and ruin.”
DM “Go, leave Xulgaths to nests in peace.”
Shael “The worms?” he nods, “We have non-combatants nearby – we’ll try to find another defensible spot; but if y’all don’t attack us I think I can speak for the others’n we won’t attack y’all either.”
Shael Shael bows his head, “Then farewell.”
DM “…if cannot find way out, Xulgaths let you use river. Stay at peace.”
DM “Giant giants outside fort, bury fort in rock. Xulgaths not care, make home more safe.”
Shael “If we must, we will gift your community —” he bows fully and says, “— do beware, the Sahkil may be coming… if they do, I will fight against them as well to protect yours and ours.”
Julian “Come on. Let’s get back to the prison.” Julian pokes around the defeated foes for anything of interest.
Julian “No giants left down here.”
Shael He waits long enough to be polite, then charges like a breeze past his companions — he’s heading to check the north side of the prison, but he does pause long enough to catch his breath from the haste spell and to cure the orc of the wound the Knight inflicted.
Shael “Those who endure in the face of suffering, those whose faith shines long in evil days, they shall see salvation.” he benedicts, quite adeptly verbing the wordage.
Julian Julian drops the wounded back off at base camp and then follows the distantly charging Shael.
Shael “Oh, made peace with the guys – please don’t fight them anymore, they’ll help us out if we can’t find another way!” he hollars back from well down the hallway.
DM The northern tunnel curves around to the west, the ceiling reaching greater heights as it goes.
Kryss Kryss sighs and jogs along, trying to keep up. “This is like no other adventure I’ve ever been on.”
Julian “Cause honestly it isn’t the most unexpected thing I’ve ever seen Shael do.”
Julian “Did you catch why the rush now by the way?”
Julian “I think he said something about peace.”
DM The path continues west, although a northern cavern beckons as well.
Kryss “Something about the orcs. I think he wants to finish up before were honored bound to provide them a meal.”
DM The north face of the area is being cleared, and a few tools are scattered about. The place is otherwise unremarkable and empty…it seems to be where the miner was working.
DM A tunnel heading further west and sloped down seems to be tailor made for Shael’s charge.
Shael Shael charges down that tunnel.
DM Unfortunately, it leads to another unlit and unremarkable place with a few tools left lying around. The echoes in this room do not match those of the larger, previous one.
Shael He charges into a tight U-Turn and heads back down the other fork.
Shael While he’s passing Julian and Kryss he says, “The Sahkil are coming.”
DM The chamber at the end of the corridor holds piles of skins, five cots, several stools, two tables, and several chests and sacks. Two massive stone giants rest on the cots.
Kryss “If you don’t slow down you’re going to run right into a couple of stone gia… Oh come on!” Kryss says.
DM They look up with dull glares as the lords burst in.
Shael “Oh, hey—” he says in Primordial, hoping they understand, “—are you allies of the Hill Giants here?” he tilts his head to the side, willing to offer them the benefit of the doubt before trying to cut them into bite sized pieces.
Kryss Kryss and Julian jog up to join him a bit later.
Shael “Or, maybe you know the way out?”
DM The giants do not appear to understand Primordial the way their lord did. They try to make motions with their hands, shooing the humans away.
DM “We have no interest in fighting you, humans,” says one in Jotun.
DM “It will be of no use, Roka, they’ll attack. Look at them, absolutely covered in blood.”
Shael Shael taps his fingers against his legs with an impatient sigh. “Out?” he asks in common, he tries a few other languages and also translates for his friends that they don’t want to fight.
Shael He holds up his hands peacefully, “Roka?” he points to himself, “Shael.”
DM The giants, perhaps predictably, only respond in Jotun. “Shael. Go away. We cannot understand you, but you understand us, yes? Go away, we do not want to hurt you.”
Shael Shael chuckles when they suggest they might be able to hurt him, but he shrugs as if to indicate he doesn’t know how. He turns around with his hand shading his eyes as if looking over the horizon, and then looks back over his shoulder at the giants and tilts his head to one side.
DM “If the other giants catch you here, they will hurt you, bad. They are doing bad things here.”
DM “Roka, this is dumb, it cannot understand you. Let’s just smash them and be done with it.”
DM “You can’t save every little thing that crosses your path.”
Shael Shael looks at the other giant and rolls his eyes. “I really need to learn Giant.” he looks at Julian and Kryss and motions for them to back off. Then he looks saucily at the antagonistic giant.
Julian Julian takes his cue from Shael and backs up.
Shael Shael also backs up several paces and waves as if to say goodbye, but gives the Giant another moment to say anything he might want to in farewell.
DM “Calm down, Piedra. It’s going, see? Just like the lizards, they’re more scared than they are dangerous.”
DM “You just need to shunt them towards the door and they’ll get out on their own. It’s better than letting them get trapped in here with no food or way to open the door.”
DM Piedra sighs. “We could have saved a few minutes if we just…” the giant claps two massive hands together.
Shael Shael snorts, and is almost ready to take the challenge – the UnMetal twitching around his arm. “They are so condescending…” he says to Kryss and Julian, “…just, wow.”
DM “Life is precious, even if it’s little life, Piedra.”
Julian “Well, it doesn’t seem like they want to fight us. And stone giants have not been troubling people out in our lands.”
Julian “Let’s leave them be.”
Julian Julian turns to go.
Shael He nods in agreement, “They might show us the exit… but, I’d rather like to finish off the last of the villains down here before we leave and I don’t know that they’d encourage it.”
Kryss “I’m not 100 percent certain what just happened here,” Kryss says cluelessly.
Shael Before leaving, Shael tells Roka, “The Sahkil are coming — do not be afraid.” he is calming and comforting, certain that all will be well.
DM As they head north up the eastern tunnel, they feel a queer chill in the air. They recall that several orc slaves fled this way during the fight with the giants. The light, even that from Seure, does not bend or flicker properly here. In fact, it feels that the darkness is more than simple absence of light, but tangible…and hungry.
Shael “Found them.” Shael says, undaunted, as he charges into the darkness.
Julian Julian gives the strange shadows a black look and lays the holy symbol of Apollo on his breast, redoubling Seure’s light.
DM They come upon a pool of water. They find the orc deserters here, horribly killed, by what looks as though every bone in their body was torn out of their flesh at the same time.
Shael He looks aside at Julian and asks, “Do you see anything?” his charge momentarily halted.
Julian “I do not trust the shadows here. God will reveal whether any trap lies hidden from our sight.”
DM The stones feel greasy, even through their feet, and everything appears sickly in color, as though it had been drained of that quality which provided such.
Julian Julian works the spell to make it so.
DM Viewed with the eyes of God…
DM The walls, sahkil lurk within them…or rather, they lurked. The expressions on the grotesque fiends’ faces is madness, terror, stark raving fear. Whatever they encountered in this place, drove those who frighten demons, those who terrify daemons, those who break the minds of devils…drove them utterly insane.
Julian “Impossible…” Julian whispers.
Shael “Hmm?” Shael wonders.
Julian “I don’t understand what I’m seeing. But…”
Julian He explains to Shael.
Kryss “Gross. What’s in the water?” Kryss asks.
DM The walls writhe.
Shael “The Old Ones are scratching at the barriers of our world, looking for a way in…” he considers the room, “…perhaps the veil is thin here?”
Julian “Beware… the walls…” Julian’s eyes dart back and forth.
Shael Shael glances at Julian and says, “Relax – there is nothing to fear. I will protect you.” he smiles.
DM A sahkil pours out of the wall into a puddle of ectoplasmic goop. Droplets pick their way up and leap onto the wall, forming letters.
DM “happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain, and happy the town at night whose wizards are all ashes.”
Shael “Psh.” Shael scoffs, “You’re a wizard.” he blows a raspberry. “C’mon, these punks don’t have the guts to fight us straight on. It’s all smoke and mirrors.”
DM “the soul of the devil-bought hastes not from his charnel clay, but fats and instructs the very worm that gnaws; till out of corruption horrid life springs, and the dull scavengers of earth wax crafty to vex it and swell monstrous to plague it. Great holes secretly are digged where earth’s pores ought to suffice, and things have learnt to walk that ought to crawl.”
Julian “I will read no more.” Julian moves to end the crippled sahkil.
Shael “No, don’t do that — never acknowledge an illusion.” he moves to stop Julian.
Julian He pauses as Shael brings him up short.
Shael “It’s fine, just trash talk pretending to know more than we do.” he shrugs a little bit, “I mean, not bad trash talk to be honest —” he tips an imaginary hat towards the Sahkil, “— but, we already know all that.” he points to the words, “Just means the world’s bigger than mortals can see and there’s more war than just the one we’re fighting here, eh?”
Shael “You make it sound all fancy and it sounds spooky, but it’s just common sense, really.”
Julian “Very well, Lord Shael. But it is not an illusion.”
Shael “There are illusions and there are illusions.” he smirks, “Even if it is ‘Real’, it is not ‘Truth’. The Dark Prophecies are the same as ours, when you look down the paths your bias guides you towards the future you want to see.” he motions towards the words, “Just so — nothing to be scared of, though. Nothing to worry about.”
Shael “Ready?” he looks at Julian, and also at Kryss to make sure his draconic friend isn’t worried.
Julian Julian backs away six or so steps before turning, then abruptly turns on his heel and moves to the other branch of the hall.
DM The chamber at the end of the corridor leading northwest contains various tools for digging and stone masonry – shovels, pickaxes, hammers, drills, chisels, baskets, and so forth, many sized for giants but some for smaller creatures.
DM The door to the north is locked with a huge padlock.
Julian Julian pauses for Shael to burst it. “Keep in mind, Lord Shael.”
DM The chill is less here, but the stench is greater. Something assails the senses that cannot be properly quantified. As though the flavor of stomach bile had been stretched out into a faint web across one’s face.
Julian “I know myself to be mightier than a sahkil.”
Julian “Knowledge bought at cost.”
Julian “Whatever passed here was far mightier as well.”
Shael Shael charges the door!! He stops and looks back at Julian, “Huh? I was gonna bust it down…?”
Julian “And lastly…”
Julian “Gods, whatever’s past there fucking stinks.”
Shael “Oh.” he shrugs, “Yeah, maybe —” he considers for a moment but doesn’t seem terribly impressed still. “— still no reason to be worried.” he smiles brightly, “I am the protector, eh?”
Julian “If you’re going to break it down, hurry.”
DM Shael’s attack puts a massive dent in the door.
Shael “Oh, yeah, sure.” he whirls around and begins assailing the door with magic – force slamming into it, finding every structural niche to exploit.
Kryss Kryss yawns and leans on Shatterspike.
DM Four blasts finally shatters the door open, leading them to…
Kryss “Well done, sir.” Kryss says.
DM …a second padlocked door.
DM And a tunnel moving off to the northeast, but mostly the padlocked door. Beyond the ruined door, the smell fades.
Shael Shael charges around the corner. ~~WOOMWOOMWOOMWOOMWOOMWOOMWOOOMWOOMWOOMWOOM~~ His magic assails the next barrier.
Kryss “Are we sure that he’s ok?” Kryss asks Julian/
DM The door cracks in half, and finally nothing stands between them and…Chief Ruk’s booze.
DM Inside, in addition to several large barrels, and various kegs, thirteen casks of exceptional wine, holding 5 gallons each, are stored here. Each of the casks has a bung seal with a blob of black wax impressed with a death’s head.
Julian “I’m not LESS sure than I have been for the last seven years.”
Shael He tilts his head and considers the room after a quiet spell of revealing. Without waiting too long, he charges back along the corridor; at the junction he jams his thumb towards the booze, “Booze.” he states flatly before heading off down the corridor.
Kryss “I wonder what’s locked in there?” Kryss asks about the padlocked door as they pass it.
DM The door hangs off its hinges, it is this very room that held the booze Shael speaks of.
Julian Julian observes with no more than mild surprise that the diviner has answered Kryss’s question even before he asked it.
DM The rest of the tunnel leads to a dead end.
Julian “Well, come on. If there’s nothing we need to linger for, let’s be gone.”
DM The smell returns as they move through the room outside the winery, and fades back into the dull drabness near the well.
Kryss Kryss sniffs around the room, trying to pinpoint the source.
Shael Shael, meanwhile, seems discontent with just assaulting doorways. He levels the Staff of Khazan at the dead-end, suspicious of its intent – of course, and invokes a powerful spell.
DM The passage opens up into nothingness. He hears a whisper in the tunnel, too faint to distinguish its words.
DM Kryss’s nose is unable to find the actual source of the smell…it appears to permeate the air throughout here.
Shael Shael goes and gets Kryss and Julian, “There’s whispering.” he explains as he brings them back to the dead-end.
Julian “I don’t see anything that could be whispering.” Julian concludes after investigating.
Kryss “I think he’s gone around the bend,” Kryss says.
Kryss “Whatever means crazy.”
Shael Shael frowns at them, “Mean.” he looks back down the corridor he created and mutters, “I think we could cleanse out the stain of evil from the puddle-room; at least maybe a little bit.”
Julian “Yeah. Shael, come on. This is too much.”
Shael He shrugs and follows.
Julian The party heads south.
DM They pass by the despondent orcs. No more moans come from their cells. As they make their way to the southern tunnels, they spot an orc guard staring blankly ahead. He does not challenge them nor even appear to acknowledge their approach.
DM A door leads off to their right as they come upon the orc.
Julian Julian pauses to look in on the despondent orcs.
DM They all sit on the ground in their filth, ignoring their horrific wounds and maimings, staring blankly ahead.
Julian “Shael. I’ve changed my mind.”
Julian “We’ll release the other orcs now. Bring them to where those two guards were.”
Julian “Let’s go.”
Shael “No use to it, they’re just like these now.” he predicts.
Julian Julian goes.
DM The silence in the once rowdy orcish chambers heralds Shael’s prediction. All of the orcs sit on the floor and stare.
Julian “But if the sahkil were laid low… what is this?”
Shael “Best hurry, they’re basically spell components and we’ve not much time.”
Shael Shael charges the door!
Julian “You seem to have some idea what’s going on, even if you’re not saying.”
Julian “Lead the way.”
DM Alhandra calls out from behind them. “Lord Julian, Lord Shael…something came over everyone.” Goldemar and Sir Rochefort are with her.
Julian “Alhandra?” He turns to her, his voice tight. “Tell me.”
Shael “Nah, not how it works.” he replies, “I’m just a good guesser.” he looks the others up and down and mentions, “Yeah, the lizardy things are probably the same… probably not the Stone Giants, though.” he remarks clinically. “I’ma… I’ma go fix it, ’kay?” he urges, hoping the others will stop interrupting his attack on the door.
DM “This isn’t what I signed up for,” the brash knight announces. “We were supposed to be killing giants.” He scratches at his cheek. Alhandra looks worried. “Something just came over them. A few of them are scratching, but then they all just sat down and started to stare.”
DM Rochefort does not appear to notice that Alhandra referred to his actions.
DM Goldemar heads after Shael.
Julian “Out of the blue?”
Shael He frowns faintly at Goldemar, but more at the others past him — he can’t imagine they would be impressed by his method of breaking down doors.
Julian Kryss goes to help him in a less suspicious manner.
DM As Julian approaches the paladin, he notes that her colour is off, much the same as the room with the pool. She swipes at the sweat on her forehead, and nods. “The room got a bit dark, and then…they just started sitting.”
Julian “Something has started going wrong suddenly, all round here.”
Julian “Trust in God and ask His grace, Lady Alhandra…”
DM The rebel orcs have piled finished and rough stones against the north side of the door to keep it closed. The wooden door is bound with moldering bands of bronze, and a heavy bronze bolt secures it. Beyond the door, the corridor that leads to the southwest is disused, dusty, and reeks disgustingly. Kryss and Shael make quick work of the door and head in.
Julian “And stay close.”
DM The room Shael enters is lined with faintly glowing purplish-green stone, engraved with disturbing shapes and signs that seem to stare out from the walls and columns that shift positions when the viewer’s back is turned. Touching the walls sends a chill up one’s spine.
Shael Shael charges around the room to get a good look at everything and circles through to the southern antechamber if nothing catches his attention – I mean, it’s pretty attention grabbing but this room won’t keep him unless it can drop the bass.
DM At the far west end of the temple is an altar of pale, yellow-gray translucent stone. It feels greasy to the touch but has no obvious effect upon those who touch it. Behind this altar is a flight of low, uneven stairs that lead to a semicircular alcove with a back wall made of a purplish-black, glassy-appearing substance.
DM The visible walls of the corridor leading south bear faint traces of disgusting murals and bas-relief depictions of nasty things. After about 40 feet, the way is completely blocked by tons of stone blocks and rubble.
DM Sir Rochefort cries out and grabs his face.
DM “There’s a face inside!”
Julian Julian tries to stop the man from hurting himself. “Shael?” he calls to the wizard within. “How’s the solving it going?”
Julian “Do you need help?”
DM Does he need help, Loyal Readers? Does he need something more than help? Find out next week!
Julian In the wake of Shael’s mentioning the death of the fomor, Julian’s thoughts go back to the twisted hill giant and his apes.
Julian He returns to the corpse to investigate.
DM Looking at the hill giant, he pokes and prods at the corpse, whose twisted features appear even more hideous in death. Suddenly, a black flash of energy sparks between his hand and the cheek of the creature, and leaves him with a stinging sensation. On the creature, however, the hill giant flesh begins to crack, then crumble, then slough off completely.
DM As it falls away, the fomor, which was wearing the flesh of the hill giant, lies revealed. It’s mottled purple flesh and twisted, unaligned features are even more grotesque than what its presence within the hill giant appeared.
Julian Julian shares a look with his companions and shakes his head.
Julian “Shael, do you think you can find anything out here? Or anything else I can do to help you? If not… I’m going to go put those sahkil remnants to death.”
Shael He tilts his head to the side and murmurs, “I’m not sure how you can kill them more… but, that’s fine.” he turns to the corpse and mentions, “We’ll just have a little chat.” with a vaguely pensive frown.