The Tide of Shadows - Chapter 18

Adventure Date: September 13, 2013 - Weekend Of Glory III

Last Updated: July 19, 2014

Tide Of Shadows – Log #18 One More Day’s Light

Pelias and Ro-Lund-Do laid curing hands on Ska’arr.  His flesh had been recently singed by a magical trap and he was still recovering from having a spear stabbed deeply into his thigh.  As his wounds began to close, Ska’arr kept a close watch in case another trap or creature attacked.  The hallway they were in was about 20’ wide and 40’ long.  At the opposite end of the hallway, they could see another set of double doors.

"What are those?" Kneeling down, Kat peered into a small hole dug into the wall about 6" off the ground. She saw that there were small holes dug along the edges of all the walls, all about 6" off the ground. It isn't a trap, but then what are they there for?  Checking the floor for pressure plates, she noticed a white fog begin to swirl out of some of the holes. "Look out! Gas!"  As soon as Kat shouted out her warning, the gas began to vent out more violently.

A slobbering sound could be heard but, in the fog, it was hard to trace its origins.  Out of the fog, humanoid forms coalesced.  Though they looked like humans, one glance at their pale skin, red-lined eyes, and prominent canines marked them immediately – vampire-kin.  From behind them, ghouls rushed forward, their bodies reeking of rot.  Their dirty fangs lashed out as the vampires began throwing spells and then vanishing from sight.  Undead ogres lumbered forward, their clubs swinging and their jaws snapping.

Ska’arr placed himself between the undead and his companions.  His chain swung out, crushing bones and splitting flesh, but to the undead, it was nothing.  Trying to stem the flow of undead, his chain continued to lash out, but the undead continued to advance.

Kat tumbled forward and dove quickly into the fog.  Using the fog for cover, her short sword slashed out, catching an undead ogre in the back of its leg.  Hamstrung, the ogre collapsed.  Darting forward, Kat’s sword was a blur as she severed the ogre’s head from its shoulders.

Shribryn moved into the room to flank Ska’arr, using her own chain to punish any undead who dared approach.  Hearing chanting, Shribryn cried out.  Suddenly, a blast of cold caught Shribryn, Kat, and Ska’arr.  Shribryn and Kat dove nimbly to the side, narrowly avoiding the cold that blew through the area.  Ska’arr’s skin blistered immediately from the cold and his limbs began to lose sensation.  Roaring his outrage, he continued to swing his chain, pumping blood into his numb limbs.  The pins-and-needles sensation almost caused him to drop his chain, but he gritted his teeth and bore the pain.

A raptor leapt forward, disembowelling a ghoul with its hind claw.  Startled by the raptor’s sudden appearance, Kat almost swung her sword when she realized that the raptor was Raven.  “Go get’em!”

Rol-Lund-Do and Pelias were still on the staircase throwing balls of flame and bolts of force energy.  Without warning, they heard a shuffling sound behind them.  A vampire had coalesced behind them and struck out.  Pelias’ arm felt like it had almost been ripped from its socket as the vampire’s claws tore into his arm.  Suddenly, the vampire began to cower.  Scuro had managed to rebuke the vampire.  Using his powerful will, Scuro subjugated the vampire and supplanted its will with his own.  Master.

Defeat all the other undead in the room.  With glee, the vampire spawn and the murk flew forward and tore into their former companions.  A sudden cry caught all their attention.  The undead had managed to swarm over Ska’arr and they tore into his body.  Ska’arr’s cry was cut short as his throat was torn out mercilessly.  Crumpling to the ground, Ska’arr’s blood pulsed out of his body quickly.

“No!”  Thraor shoved Shribryn aside and placed his hand on Ska’arr’s ruined throat.  Staunching the flow of blood with his hand, Thraor prayed desperately.  Thraor’s hand began to glow and colour returned to Ska’arr’s face.  His eyes fluttered open as he looked around with confusion.  “Lie still,” Thraor said.  “You almost travelled the final journey, but I managed to get to you in time.”  Thraor flinched as a large club began to descend towards his head.  Refusing to abandon Ska’arr, Thraor braced himself and prayed to survive.

Suddenly, the club was swept aside as the vampire spawn under Scuro’s control tackled the undead ogre and pummeled it until it was no longer functional.  With the additional aid, the other undead were quickly overwhelmed.

As wounds were being healed, Pelias confronted Ro-Lund-Do.  “You control the undead!  You’ve been lying to us this entire time.”

“I am being pragmatic,” Ro-Lund-Do retorted.  “We were being assaulted from all sides by these undead.  What better way to reduce their numbers while increasing ours simultaneously?  The results speak for themselves!”  Pelias opened his mouth to give an angry response.  “Plus, several of the vampires escaped.  We will need the aid of these controlled undead to win our way through.”

Before they could argue further, Ska’arr groaned as he tried to get up.  “We will continue this discussion after,” Pelias promised.

“The anticipation is torture!” Scuro replied sarcastically.

As the fog cleared, Kat noted that the other double doors in the hallway were open.  Interesting.  Edging along the wall, she peered into the next area cautiously.  The circular room was immense.  Kat’s eyes widened.  In the middle of the room, etched into the floor, was a large pentagram.  It was hard to make out – a thick layer of blood caked most of the floor.  Three slate podiums surrounded the pentagram.

Kat motioned Pelias and Scuro forward.  She was at the end of her knowledge about the arcane, so she called the experts forward.  As the two spellcasters reached her, Shribryn hissed a warning.  The soft whisper of spellcasting was missed by all but her.  Globes of darkness engulfed the podiums shrouding them from sight.  “There are at least two spellcasters in there!” Shribryn cautioned.

More undead shuffled out of the orbs of darkness.  Raven tensed as she leapt forward.  Her hind claws gutted the first undead from breastbone to groin as her jaws tore out the throat of another ghoul.  The others ran into the fray, but it soon became obvious that these undead were no match for the party.  In short order, several more ghouls and undead ogres lay dismembered on the floor.

As the orbs of darkness vanished, they could see no signs of other undead guardians.  Kat was pensive.  There have been way too many surprises around here.  Focusing her energies, she closed her eyes.  If anyone had been close enough, they would have seen Kat’s eyes sparkle with more than their usual mischief.  As she opened her eyes, the world seemed to become more crisp in appearance.  Everything seemed incredibly clear and nothing could stay hidden from her eyes.

A door stood in the southwest section of the room.  A small opening could be seen in the southeast section of the room.  Leaving the others to heal themselves, Kat moved closer to examine the opening.  She could see that it led to a small room filled with filth.  I guess I know where those undead were living.  Holding her breath, she entered the room, sifting through the filth for any signs of hidden doors or treasure.  Disgusted, she moved swiftly so that she could leave the room as quickly as possible.  Her speed proved troublesome.

As her hand passed through a mound a decaying matter, she felt a sharp pain in her palm.  Jerking her hand back, she could see a shard of broken pottery had stabbed into her hand.  Pulling the shard out, she could see that it was covered in putrid material.  That is not good.  Finishing her search, she ran back to Pelias.

Ska’arr had been searching the podiums, but found nothing of interest.  Turning, he saw Pelias crouched down, closely examining the pentagram.  Ska’arr could just hear some snippets of Pelias talking to himself.  “...pentagram was not part of the original room...  It was used for summoning, but the runes seem strange.  There are runes for the summoning, runes to subjugate, but no runes to hold whatever it was they were summoning.  It would be the height of folly to summon extradimensional beings with no way to protect yourself from them...”

Scuro was speaking surreptitiously to the vampire minion he now controlled.  “Are there any secret areas within this area?”  Nodding its head, the vampire glided away noiselessly back to the hallway.  Scuro followed close behind – a place so steeped in undead must have necromantic lore hidden away somewhere.  And he would be the first to find it.

Pushing on the wall, Scuro heard a small but distinct clicking sound.  Slowly, a section of the wall opened up to reveal a small chamber behind.  Within the chamber, an open, upright coffin stood, partially filled with earth.  I understand – the vampire’s lair.  Looking down, Scuro saw the small holes within the hidden door.  Clever.   Very, very clever.  The doors to the vampire crypt were useful, but for the vampire, not necessary for it to enter or exit as long as the holes were not completed plugged.  Scuro’s minion pushed on another part of the wall.  Another section of the wall opened up.  In total, Scuro found four crypts.

Each crypt had some gems and a sack of coins.  Hanging within one of the crypts, Scuro found a chain with a set of keys on it.  Gathering the treasure from each crypt, Scuro began to question his vampire slave.  “What is the purpose of the pentagram?”  The minion’s mouth began to water.  “They would call forth celestials and tanar’ri, and devour them whole.”

Scuro was surprised at the answer.  “Who would do that?  And why?”

The minion grinned.  “My former masters.  It amused them to hear celestials shriek in pain and tanar’ri beg for mercy.  Plus, it provided my former masters with sustenance.”

Scuro digested that piece of information.  “Where is the Dragon’s Eye?  Where is the Tome of Moradin?”

The minion shrank back slightly.  “Forgive me, master.”  The minion was shaking visibly.  “I have heard of those items, but I do not know where they are hidden.  My former masters talked about them once, ages ago, and I overheard them, but I do not know where they hid those treasures.”

As Scuro continued his questioning, Kat clutched her injured hand to her chest.  The throbbing agony had reached a point where the nerves had begun to go numb.  Walking up to Pelias, she kicked him in the shin to get his attention.  In no mood to be disturbed, Pelias rounded on Kat but bit back his angry words as he saw the pain she was in.

“Try to open your hand,” he said soothingly.  Struggle as she might, the swelling in her injured hand was so severe she couldn’t move her hand.  Pelias gently peeled back the sleeve of her shirt.  He grimaced when he saw an angry, red discolouration creeping up her arm.  Pulling out a small knife, he made small, shallow incisions to reduce the swelling and to bleed out the impurities.  Kat lip bled as she bit down hard.  No matter what he did, the infection continued to spread.  Kat’s eyes teared up when she realized the severity of the situation.

“Am I going to lose the arm?”  Her voice trembled.

Pelias shook his head no.  Without saying a word, he opened his belt pouch and pulled out a strange necklace.  The binding was crudely made with tough leather and housed a peculiar-looking stone.  As Pelias placed the necklace around Kat’s neck, she felt the warmth emanating from the stone. 

“Remember this little beauty, Kat?”  When she looked up at him questioningly, he eased her worried mind.  “It is a heartstone necklace.  The magic is powerful and will draw away the toxins within your body.”  He gently kicked her shin.  “You’ll be as good as new shortly and ready to kick more shins.”

Kat smiled gratefully as the heartstone quickly absorbed the poisons in her body.  Almost immediately, the swelling went down and the pain in her hand and arm disappeared.  Kat twiddled her fingers experimentally.  “See,” Pelias said, “as good as new.”  Seeing the wound healed, Pelias removed the necklace from around Kat’s neck and replaced it back into his belt pouch.

Ro-Lund-Do rejoined the others and tossed the keys to Ska’arr.  “Make good use of these.  They were in the crypts of the vampire minions.”

Ska’arr walked up to the southwestern door and tried to open it.  It refused to move.  Applying more strength, he found that the door was locked.  As he drew back his chain to bash down the door, Shribryn gently coughed to get his attention.  “Maybe before you smash the door down, you should try unlocking it.”

Ska’arr grinned helplessly.  “But I like smashing things.”  Taking out one of the keys Ro-Lund-Do gave him, he placed it into the door’s keyhole.  He heard a gentle clicking noise as he unlocked the door.  “Smashing the door down would have been more cathartic.”  Pushing the door open, he saw that the room behind was filled with shelves and numerous books.  A table sat in the middle of the room and was covered in scrolls and books.  A reader stood beside the table held a single tome.

Ro-Lund-Do rushed forward.  “No need to risk yourselves further,” he said magnanimously, “I will scan the area for any magical traps.  Stay back to keep yourselves safe.”  With some coaxing, he managed to get the others to exit the library.  Extending his senses, he felt for fluctuations in the ether around him.  In short order, he determined that two scrolls left lying on a table were magical in nature, but they were hardly the only treasure in the room.

Several other scrolls lay scattered about the room, and upon closer inspection, they seemed to be written by a mad man.  They made little to no sense and painted disturbing images.  The books in the room were focused on the mastery of necromancy.  As Scuro read the title from the tome on the reader, his hands began to shake.  The Nycoptic Manuscripts!  These were treatises he had written thousands of years ago.  These were obviously not the originals that he had penned – those had been lovingly etched into the flayed flesh of the Phaerimm.  But a copy of the Nycoptic Manuscripts would prove to be useful.  Placing the Nycoptic Manuscripts into his satchel, Scuro vowed once more to reclaim that which he had lost.  After a moment’s thought, he added the magical scrolls to his satchel as well.  Since they are necromantic in nature, they won’t be useful to anyone who has not mastered the necromantic arts.

“Did you find anything of use?” Raven asked.

Ro-Lund-Do grimaced and shook his head.  “Unfortunately, no,” Scuro explained, “nothing that would help us in our quest.  Let us move on.”

Ska’arr examined the writings as well but found them to be very unsettling.  Throwing aside the scrolls in disgust, he left the room and closed the door behind him.

While Ro-Lund-Do had been examining the books and scrolls, Kat grew bored.  Deciding to give Shribryn a bit of a scare, she snuck up on Shribryn.  As quietly as she moved, Shribryn senses were too razor sharp.  The gentle tremor in the stone, the slight shift in the air, the gentle padding of Kat’s feet, all were blaring alarms for Shribryn.

Turning to Kat, Shribryn smiled.  “How can I help Kat?”  Kat was in an awkward position.  She had just started to crouch down to spring upon Shribryn.  Shribryn knew Kat was slightly miffed at being caught so easily.

Trying to keep her dignity, Kat thought for a moment.  She snapped her fingers.  “How about a race around the room?  Whoever finds the most secret items gets a foot rub!”  Shribryn smile grew wider.  “Agreed.” 

Shaking hands, Kat suddenly blurted out, “On-your-marks-get-set-go!”  Kat and Shribryn raced around the perimeter of the room.  They made a quick circuit around the room.  As they poked and prodded the walls and floor, they found three separate secret doors, but no signs of any traps.

Pelias and Raven nonchalantly stepped in front of both Kat and Shribryn.  Without missing a beat, Kat ran up the wall, just past Raven’s head and landed nimbly beside her.  Shribryn evaded Pelias with equal agility.  Performing a cartwheel, she flipped over top Pelias’ head and landed gracefully.  Though they giggled like small children, they maintained their focus.  A small misstep could lead to severe harm or death.  Or maybe something worse.

When Shribryn and Kat met at the other end of the room, Shribryn cried out, “Done!  Found two secret doors!  How about you?”  Kat grinned.  “I guess I owe you a foot rub.  I only found one secret door.”

“If you are through amusing yourselves, there is work to be done.”  Scuro’s one was cold and unamused.  “Need I remind you that we are in hostile territory and none of you are keeping watch.”

Kat chirped back, “Don’t worry.  If we are caught unawares, you could always win them over with your charming personality.”  Scuro scowled, but the others chuckled.

“We still need to find the Tome of Moradin and the Dragon’s Eye,” Ska’arr reminded them.

Nodding in agreement, they dropped their playfulness and took on a much more serious air.  Approaching the first secret door, Kat pressed on a small stone on the wall.  The secret door swung inwards, revealing a room filled with the stench of death.  Skulls were strewn about and the only other piece of furniture was a table covered with parchments.  (NEED DESCRIPTION OF ROOM FROM NANAO)

Kat stepped back with a shudder.  Without a word, Raven stepped forward and extended her senses, searching for any magical auras.  Sensing none, Raven signalled Shribryn over.  Stepping gingerly into the room, Shribryn searched for any other hidden compartments or passageways.  The others watched as she stepped lithely over skulls and other obstacles found on the floor.

“She’s blind, right?” Kat said.  “Cause it sure doesn’t look that way to me right now.”

“Maybe we should remove the badge she has on her horse,” Ska’arr replied, “the one that grants her preferential stalls when we stable the horses.”

Shribryn shook her head.  As she passed her hand along the back wall of the secret room, she felt a slight draft.  Tracing the source of the draft, she found a slight crack in the wall.  Passing her hands along the hidden door, she found no signs of traps or other surprises.  She tried to open the hidden door, but found it too heavy for her to move.  “Found another one!  It’s clear of any nasty surprises, but I can’t seem to open it.  Ska’arr, would you do the honours?”

Placing his hands firmly on the hidden door, Ska’arr began applying pressure.  A creaking noise could be heard as blood pumped furiously into Ska’arr’s arms and shoulders, but the door would not budge.  Shribryn coughed gently to hide her grin.  “The door opens outward.  You need to pull on it.”  Ska’arr’s face turned red as the others burst out laughing.  Sliding a metal bar into the crack of the wall, Ska’arr heaved.  With a screech, the door opened.

Behind the door was another, smaller room.  The only furniture in the room was a finely-made casket.  Shribryn entered the room cautiously, tapping the floor in front of her.  With the echoes indicating no pits, she continued to the casket.  Tapping the casket, she could sense no signs of hidden compartments that might house needles or gas or any other traps.  Smelling the wood, there were no scents that would indicate poison in any form.  Feeling it was safe, she placed her hands on the lid to open the casket.

The lid refused to open.  Searching for a locking mechanism, Shribryn was frustrated when she couldn’t find one.  “Ska’arr, again a little help please.”

Closing his eyes, Ska’arr began to incant.  A small clicking sound could be heard within the casket.  Taking the lid once more, Shribryn opened up the casket.  Inside, she found a pouch filled with coins, but nothing else.

“Well, that was slightly disappointing,” Raven noted.  “On to the next hidden area.”

As they exited the first hidden room, they saw Kat already unlocking the second secret door.  Noticing the others staring at her, she shrugged her shoulders.  “What?  You were taking so long and I got bored.”  Another audible click could be heard.  “Why break with tradition?  Ska’arr, if you could...”

Ska’arr walked up to the door and pulled.  The next room was sparse and seemed to be completely empty.  Walking into the room, Ska’arr saw two arrows coalesce in front of him.  Glowing a sickly green, the arrows tore into his armor and the flesh underneath.  A sizzling sound could be heard – agonizing pain shot through Ska’arr’s chest as acid ate away.  Quickly pulling out a wand, Ska’arr spoke the words of command through clenched teeth.  The wand glowed and the pain subsided immediately as his wounds began to close.

“Oh my,” Kat said.  “My bad.  I guess I missed that one.”  Kneeling down, she began examining the entrance of the hidden room.  Damn, a pressure plate.  Pulling out small slats from her backpack, she gently placed them beneath the plate, wedging it in place.  That should do it, but just to be safe...  Taking a few steps back, Kat leaped into the room, well beyond the pressure plate.  Landing softly, she turned around with a grin of triumph.

In an instant, two more green glowing areas slammed into her and began eating away.  Ska’arr quickly stepped up to her and passed his curing wand over her wounds.  “Guess you still missed it.”  Sticking out her tongue, Kat once again knelt down and examined the entrance to the room.  Throwing some dust into the air, she saw a slight shimmer.  Damn, a magical aura.  The pressure plate was a dud.  Marking where the magical trip line was, she began to explore the room in earnest.  At the back of the room, one of the wall tiles was loose.  Moving it over, she saw a small keyhole – an interesting discovery.

“Hey Ska’arr,” she called over her shoulder, “pass me those keys Ro-Lund-Do found.”

Ska’arr placed the keys in Kat’s hand, but held the end of one of the keys firmly.  Impulsively, Kat was about to try a key in the hidden keyhole but she found the hand wouldn’t budge.  “Shouldn’t you check for any other surprises first?” Ska’arr chided.

“Good point.”  Scouring over the door, she found no sign of any traps.  “We’re good.”  Placing the first key in the keyhole, she heard Ska’arr move back.

Turning, she saw that he was jokingly covering his head.  “Not that I don’t trust your ability to disarm traps...”  Kat tossed a stone at his head.  Turning the key, the hidden door opened soundlessly.

The secondary hidden room held a large sarcophagus.  Candles burned around the room.  Four tall, elaborate candlesticks surrounded the sarcophagus.  Surprisingly, though much time had passed, the flames of the candles still flickered.  Scanning the room for any surprises, Kat and Ska’arr approached the sarcophagus.  (NEED A DESCRIPTION FOR THIS ROOM)

“Well, we’re already ahead,” Ska’arr commented.  “Everburning candles are always useful.”

Kat had been circling the sarcophagus, closely examining it.  The sarcophagus seemed to have no further hidden compartments, but it was locked tightly.  Trying the second key, the lock opened easily.

SKa’arr sighed heavily.  “I guess you want me to open the sarcophagus.”  Kat simply grinned.  As the lid of the sarcophagus lifted up, a clawed hand lashed out, catching Ska’arr’s arm.  As Ska’arr pulled back, the creature was pulled up, its fangs dripping.  Ska’arr could feel a numbness spreading up his arm.  “Ghoul!”

As quickly as the ghoul had attacked, Kat responded.  Her shortswords flew from their sheaths, creating a pair of glittering arches.  The ghoul had no time to defend itself.  The shortswords were a blur as the ghoul’s head seemed to leap from its shoulders.  The ghoul’s body collapsed back into the sarcophagus.

“Well, that was easy,” Kat said as she wiped the smelly gore from her blades.  The interior of the sarcophagus was lined with what would have been expensive silk.  But the ghoul’s foulness had ruined it all.

“Hello, what is this?”  Ska’arr reached into the sarcophagus and pulled a sack from beneath the ghoul’s body.  The clinking sound of coins and gems brought a smile to his face.  “Well, this has not been a complete waste of time.”

“What?” Kat retorted.  Placing her fists on her hips, she scowled.  “Spending time with me is a waste?”  Ska’arr could only chuckle at Kat’s righteous indignation.  Heading back to the trapped doorway, they squeezed past the magical trigger and managed to leave the hidden room without setting off the trap once more.

“Two down,” Shribryn commented, “one to go.”  Heading to the third secret door, Kat quickly searched and unlocked it.  The third hidden room was similar to the second – sparse.  A single door on the northern wall proved to be the only point of interest.  After checking it for any traps, Ska’arr opened the door to find a casket in the next room.

“Not another!” Ska’arr moaned.  With his chain ready, Kat flung the casket open.  Surprisingly, there was no creature inside.  Resting at the bottom of the casket were seven vials.  Passing them to Pelias, he examined them closely.  As he turned the vial, he could see a viscous, silvery liquid within.  “Silversheen.  A useful bit of alchemy.”  Passing a vial to everyone, they placed them within easy reach.

“I do not know about you,” Throar said, “but I am bloody exhausted.  Plus I am out of spells.”

Pelias nodded in agreement.  “I am out of restorative magic, and if we encounter any more undead or other opponents, I would be hard-pressed to provide support.”

Raven closed the secret door.  “We have what appears to be an abandoned and hidden area.  This is as safe a place to rest as any.”

“Though this place is relatively safe,” Shribryn cautioned, “we should still maintain a watch.”

Within short order, the party bedded down to rest while Pelias and Throar took first watch.  The “evening” passed by uneventfully and everyone felt more refreshed after resting.

As they broke camp, Throar saw Ska’arr gently patting Baron Longtooth on the head.  A look of sorrow crossed Ska’arr’s face.  Approaching Ska’arr, Throar gently asked, “I would grant you a boon.  You and your companions saved me and have helped to gain a measure of justice for my fallen comrades.”

Ska’arr looked at Throar, not comprehending.  “I gained a life, so I would return one to you.”  Ska’arr’s eyes glimmered with hope.  Gently opening his backpack, he carefully removed Lord Farragut’s shrouded body.  Placing his companion’s body on the ground, Throar began tracing runes around Lord Farragut.

As the others watched in awe, only Scuro sneered.  Foolish dwarf.  You seek to ease Ska’arr’s pain, but you only add to it.  There are forces here beyond your comprehension – restless spirits that seek freedom.  Your intentions are good, but the road to the Underworld is paved with them...

As Throar chanted, the runes glowed brighter and brighter.  Beseeching his deity, Lord Farragut’s body began to glow as brightly as the runes.  As Throar reached the climax of his spell, the aura around Lord Farragut’s body was overcast with a shadow for just an instant.  Lost in the magic rushing through him, Throar never noticed.  With a final word, the runes flared and vanished.

Lord Farragut’s eyes opened slowly.  Sniffing the air gingerly, he homed in on his true-friend’s scent.  Tears of joy rolled down Ska’arr’s face.  His companion was back.  A feeling of warmth and happiness flowed into Ska’arr’s mind.  Overwhelmed with joy, he never noticed the small kernel of darkness within Lord Farragut’s mind – an area that he couldn’t access.

Placing his hand on Throar’s shoulder, Ska’arr tried to give thanks, but words failed him.  Throar merely smiled.  Lord Farragut scurried up Ska’arr and crawled into his knapsack.

With one exception, the others were overjoyed with Lord Farragut’s return.  Scuro’s face was neutral, but he sensed the Other in Lord Farragut.  Whether this would prove beneficial to Scuro or not remained to be seen.  If he could chain this errant spirit down, he could glean more secrets and increase his power further.

Ro-Lund-Do was troubled.  The others should know about the spirit residing in Lord Farragut.  Opening his mouth to warn them, Scuro clamped it shut.  Do not be a fool.  We will use this situation to our advantage.  Victory does not go to the strongest or the bravest.  It goes to the one who is best prepared, who is best able to manipulate events.  If this spirit proves useful, then we will have a hidden ally who we can call upon at our whim.  If not, then we reveal the true nature of Lord Farragut’s return, gaining the praise and trust of these yokels.  Either way, we will benefit.  It is about control.  It is always about control.  Wordlessly, Ro-Lund-Do joined the others as they finished gathering their equipment.

Returning to the surface, the party headed towards the next building.  The third building was flanked by three statues.  Who the statues depicted was uncertain since the statues had been defaced.  An expression of anger was painted on Throar’s face.

Finding no traps or any other signs of danger, Raven opened the door.  Once more, a ten-foot wide corridor led to a staircase going down underground.  Glowing orbs hung from the walls, providing faint light throughout the corridor.

As Kat moved to lead the way, Scuro stopped her.  “Let Prima guide our way.”  The wavering silhouette of a humanoid stepped out of Ro-Lund-Do’s body.  Pelias’ expression soured.  The murk glided forward and down the stairs.

As Prima reached the bottom of the stairs, she looked about.  The stairwell opened up into a massive hallway.  Several passageways dotted the hallway but seemed devoid of life.  Returning back to its master, she reported what she had seen.  After a brief discussion, the party decided to proceed down.

Kat crept down the stairs and carefully glanced into the hallway.  As Prima described, the hallway was massive with six other passageways attached to it.  Seeing no signs of danger, Kat signalled for the others to come forward.  Ska’arr and Kat led the others into the hallway.

Their senses tingled as they made their way to the center of the hallway.  Suddenly, darkness fell upon Ska’arr and Kat.  “Trouble!”  Charging forward into the darkness, Ska’arr swung his chain wildly, hoping to drive any enemies back.  Kat took the opposite approach – tumbling backwards out of the darkness, she drew her dagger and waited for an enemy to appear.  As it was, she didn’t have to wait long.

Two figures stepped out of the darkness – a male and a female.  Initially, Kat mistook them for gold elves – they were tall, displaying the elves’ noble bearing, with bronze skin and golden hair.  But as she took in more detail, she knew they were not elves.  Their skin was covered in fine scales.  Their batlike wings unfurled as their pointed tails swung behind them.  They looked similar to each other – not twins, but definitely siblings.  Both raised their hands and pointed them with evil intent.

Kat threw her dagger, but it went wide.  More figures were emerging from the darkness and there was no time to think.  Drawing her shortswords, she rushed forward.

The moment the commotion started, the others jumped into the fray.  Rushing forward, Shribryn drew her chain.  With each step she took, she became harder and harder to see.  Their enemies lost sight of her as she became invisible – the odds were now even.

Pelias stepped forward and began to chant.  As he caught sight of their enemies, the spell almost died on his lips.  “Daemonfey.”  They were nightmares to haunt a madman’s dreams.  The half-fiend, half-elf hybrids were thought to be imprisoned by elven mages.  Thousands of years ago, these grotesque aberrations had been hunted down to near-extinction, and the remnants were trapped in a state of perpetual sleep by the elvish arcanists.  How could they be here?  Focusing his energies, Pelias released his divine might, bolstering the others so that they might have a chance against these legends that had come to life.

Ro-Lund-Do was about to step forward when he heard a familiar giggle behind him.  Turning, he saw Kat grin mischievously as she slid her shortsword into his side.  Blowing a kiss, Kat vanished before his eyes.  Clamping his hand upon his side, Ro-Lund-Do managed to stem the flow of blood that poured out of his body.  Drawing on the ancient strength within him, he forced his torn flesh to knit itself shut.  Though the pain was almost unbearable, his hands and voice were steady as he summoned a protective field around himself.  Kat had stabbed him from behind!  Where was she?  It was time to return the favor.

 Raven dashed forward, searching for an opponent to smash.  A pair of black rays, crackling with negative energy shot out.  One blasted through her while the other tore into Ro-Lund-Do as he entered the hallway.  She could feel an unnatural chill creep over her entire body.  Throwing her arm up, she called forth a cloud of mist, blocking the view of her unseen assailant.

Raven heard the soft pad of a foot a few feet in front of her.  It was a small thing, but it was enough.  Tumbling forward, she threw herself onto her opponent.  Gripping her around her neck, Raven’s knees drove repeatedly into her opponent’s gut, blasting the air from her lungs.

A blast of flame tore into another group of daemonfey, scattering them.  Pelias grin disappeared as the fallen daemonfey were quickly replaced with more abominations.  The battle raged on.

Kat leaped out of the fog, a mad look in her eyes as her blades cut a deep furrow across Ska’arr’s body.  “Have you gone mad?” Ska’arr yelled.  Then, another Kat leaped out from the fog, her blades dug deep into the first Kat’s back.  Driven upwards, the blades tore through Kat’s heart.  Standing above the image of her own corpse, Kat watched as the body slowly melted into ooze.

“They’ve created copies of us!  Beware!”  With that, she spun around and swept her blades under Raven’s leg, causing her to spill on the ground.  Raven’s foot brushed the hair on Kat’s head.  “It’s another copy!”

Shribryn suddenly appeared as her chain slammed down on Raven’s simulacrum, shattering it.  As it dissolved into ooze, she saw Raven, her fists slamming into a daemonfey’s side.  Hearing a sharp crack, Shribryn knew that Raven had broken some of the daemonfey’s ribs.  With a shove, the daemonfey threw Raven back.  “I’ll be back for you!” she cried out as she began to vanish from sight.  Before she could fully disappear, Raven’s foot caught her squarely in the chin.  The daemonfey’s head snapped back violently as her body solidified and collapsed to the floor.  The daemonfey’s head rolled loosely on a broken neck – she would never harm another.

A maniacal Ro-Lund-Do stepped out of the fog, his arms moving as he chanted.  As his spell was about to be completed, a ball of flame engulfed him.  His spell lost as the fires consumed him, Ro-Lund-Do shrieked in agony and fell to the ground.  The flames continued to burn and all that remained was a charred corpse.  The corpse then melted into a puddle of ooze.

“How did you know it wasn’t Ro-Lund-Do?” Shribryn asked.  Pelias didn’t answer.  “Enemies may still be about.  Let us flush them out!”

Moving as a unit, the party spread out and searched for their opponents.  When it became apparent that none were present, they regrouped.  The darkness had, by that time faded, as well as the mist that Raven had summoned.  Among the puddles of ooze, there were the bodies of six daemonfey scattered about.  “Let us search the bodies for clues,” Ska’arr suggested.

“Some of their bodies have melted,” Raven noted.

“But their equipment remains,” Pelias countered.  “There may be some information that can be found.”

As they began to gather the equipment left behind by the simulacrums and the dead daemonfey, a dark cloud formed overhead.  Suddenly, great hailstones hammered down on the party.  “Look!” Kat pointed down the far end of the hallway.  Dashing forward, she sought to catch their assailant when, without warning, she ran onto a section of floor that was slick.  Her feet flying out from beneath her, she fell hard to the ground.  But even as she fell, she twisted her body, flipping her feet over her head and quickly regained her feet.  But whoever had cast the spell was gone.

It soon became apparent that the simulacrums carried nothing of use.  The daemonfey had some useful equipment, but had no clues as to where they came from or what their goals were.  As Ska’arr searched the area for traces of their opponents, he saw a willowy figure in robes.  The figure was shrouded, so much so that Ska’arr couldn’t make out any of the person’s features.  Running forward, the robed figure vanished from sight.

As Ska’arr reached where the figure had been, he found a small piece of parchment on the ground.  Picking it up, he found a note written in Chondathan.  I have my EYE on you.  Another mystery.  Returning to the others, he found that they had begun exploring the rest of the area.

The entrances in the hallway led to various chambers.  Searching through the chambers, they found that they were filled with filth.  It was obvious that ghouls and other undead had been “housed” in these chambers.  One of the chambers held bedrolls and some adventuring gear, but nothing informative.  At one end of the hallway, they found a trophy room, for lack of a better word.  The trophy room was filled with the heads of numerous intelligent humanoids.  The flesh on the heads was in various states of decay.  Raven’s face was grim.  The trophies were barbaric – Raven vowed to avenge those who had suffered this indignation.