Petra's latest update on the adventure...
I dreamt of the ocean several nights ago. I could feel the sway of it against my legs, the taste of salt water on my lips, and the sound of seagulls crying out. But the colors were muted as if I were watching the world from inside a cloud. The blue sky, white and the water, a dark grey. I then woke in a dripping sweat, thirsty and parched despite the moist, damp air down here. It seems as if it's been months since I have felt fresh air filling my lungs.
So now I meditate more than sleep. I am becoming annoyed and frustrated much too easily. I wonder if anyone feels the same as I. My party and I have not discussed the obvious fact that we've been tricked to come here. It seems that each fight we have encountered, each enemy we have faced has been ready for us. I do not know what awaits us but I am certain we do not have the advantage of surprise. I do know that the last battle could have been avoided if we hadn't stopped to camp. We could not go on however without taking time to mend, to reverse the crippling disease that the zombie's had inflicted. Fenris is still with us. We are all still standing.
After camping, a few of us became sickened. This is not surprising given the state of our surroundings. When ready to continue Hugin scouted ahead and came upon several hobgoblins trying to beat their way through a huge crate that was blocking the corridor. He tells us this and then Lady Cendrine declares that we must give them a chance to surrender. She is filling her new title admirably. Hugin engages the goblins despite her instruction. Either he does not hear her or chooses to ignore her. Perhaps it is the latter. Fate is in his favor however because he trips a trap causing the crate lid to fall over on one goblin, taking it out of combat for a time. Inside the crate were dire rats and a wererat. We then engage; Euphrosyne fires bolts of magic, Hugin slashing wildly at rats surrounding him and I tumble into battle striking the wererat which bites into my thigh. The pain is great but I am able to keep my footing. I then turn on one of the direrats which I miss and fall sideways, striking my temple into the wall and my vision blurs. I manage to see Fenris and tiny Largeir dispose of several dire rats using their bows and sling.
Through my double vision I can make out a sword sticking out of the inside of the crate wall. Long black steel, glowing blue runes written on the blade. I catch a glimpse of Lady Cendrine to my side and her bastard sword, glowing red underneath the dark vermin blood meaning the sword in the crate is filled with evil magic. Then bright, white light fills my vision and I see Fenris crumple to the ground, his body motionless. I want to help him but I cannot move. I close my eyes tight, shake my head and open them. I see more clearly now and in a blink the crate is gone and in it's place a huge, four legged, skeletal beast snarling at us with long, needle sharp spikes growing out of it's back. Behind this creature I see others; a half-orc, more goblins and an decrepit shell of a man staring us down, in his hands barely lifting it off the floor is the evil, black steel runic sword.
As Largeir leaves battle to heal Fenris I tumble in quickly but fail to surprise the creature and it snaps at my limbs, grazing my shoulder with it's razor sharp teeth. It shoots several spikes at Lady Cendrine who is behind me. I see Hugin ahead of me on the other side of the creature between it and the half-orc. He is trapped but fighting. I tumble away behind Lady Cendrine just as I see Largeir's single sling bullet catch the creature in the face. Hugin and she barrel into the creature. After several well placed blows it disappears.
Ahead of them the half-orc is now holding in his hands a sphere of liquid silver, glowing and emitting a deep hum. I have seen the sphere that the orc is holding from one of Euphrosyne's many tomes on magic. It's a shrapnel sphere and it can devastate anyone who is near when it's thrown. Lady Cendrine declares that he surrender or perish. The orc grins then at me; thin green lips over his rotten, jagged teeth. I tumble up and aim a blow to disarm him knowing that if I succeed and he drops the sphere I could die along with Hugin at my side. I miss and the orc throws the sphere over me and into my companions. It hits the grounds and explodes, tiny pieces of metal now embedded into the floor, ceiling and walls around us. Among all of us Dwybryn and Fenris take the impact of the shrapnel at full force. Euphrosyne sends a bolt of magic, more powerful than I have seen at the orc. Fenris, despite his injured state, finishes the orc with a skillful bombardment of arrows.
All while this is happening, the wizard with the runic sword had been peppering us with arcane blasts. Largeir casts his roiling orb of flame towards one of the mirror images the wizard has created of himself. The image dissolves along with the others. Lady Cendrine, Euphrosyne and myself encounter the goblin that didn't surrender as Largeir takes aim at the wizard who then vanishes. Now we see three more half-orc's enter the fray. We dispose of them quickly. Hugin, in a moment that looking back now is amusing, had brained himself with his own weapon while in battle with the orcs. As a result he has lost any memory of the last few hours and seems very confused. I would feel worse for him had I not seen it happen.
We then carry on and into the next room. Through the acrid, smoky air we see a dead body hanging by a noose, a bag over it's head. The surrendered goblin tells us about this room, offering us some of the halfling simmering away in a cauldron. I can see Hugin is struggling with the situation, clearly wanting to kill the goblin because it had eaten intelligent flesh. The idea of halfing stew is disgusting to me but to someone or something it may be their only source of nourishment. I cannot punish a living being for simply wanting to keep from being hungry.
We turn our attention to the dead body and upon closer inspection uncover a note. It says that his rations had been poisoned. After removing the bag from his head we discover that he is the merchant from Cillimar who had sold us rations before we left. I feel cold suddenly, freezing, in spite of the stale, searing air around us. My insides churl and even though I do not think I am poisoned the entire situation nearly brings me to my knees.
Fenris does not linger and moves away from the group and into the next room, checking for any hidden traps. He finds a peephole in the furthest wall and a catch in the floor underneath it. As he tries to disarm the trap on the catch he trips it but isn't hurt. The secret door grinds open slowly revealing a small alcove carved into the stone. The air is moist here but cool. I see Fenris step in cautiously and walk up to shelving that holds a small coffer. He detects a trap on the coffer, aims to disarm it and is sprayed with acid that burn his skin, leaving tiny trails of smoke from his hands. As I write this, Lady Cendrine is bandaging him using his own bandages. We shall stop here but only momentarily to gather enough strength to continue.
- Petra -