Chapter 09: Basically, We Find A Happy Family And Kill It

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Session Number: 32
Date: Sunday 13 December 2009
Venue: Alain's
PCs & Players:

Emily Ftr3/Rog2 (Craig) (kills: 1 kitten, 1 kitten [nonlethal], 1 cat [nonlethal])
Enok Rgr5 (Alain) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal5 (Craig) (kills: 1 kitten)
Troll Wiz5 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

The party find skeletal remains of a humanoid clad in pieces of wrecked armour. The remains are of a short, tailless humanoid. Its bones are well-proportioned, indicating it probably wasn't a dwarf. The unfortunate soul appears to have been eaten - there is little meat remaining, some broken bones, and its skull is cracked. Enok thinks that the creature died about a week ago. Amongst the remains is a pouch with 1sp & 2cp, and a dagger. The corpse may have been dragged here - no footprints that match the remains' boots can be found on either side. About 20 yards beyond Enok spies another humanoid body similar to the previous. It has been more obviously dragged here from farther down. Its skull is also smashed in. The area smells of rotting flesh. Mixed with it Enok smells something else, something out of place. There is no sound. Another 10 yards in, the unnamed smell is noticeably stronger. Troll recognises it as unburnt lantern oil. 30 yards farther on the oil smell grows ever stronger. There are more bodies along the way, some in piles of 2-3 individuals. Some are rather fresh, some are older. The party warily continue.

Around 20 yards beyond the group find a shear in the passageway. The floor is broken by a rock-filled fissure and a similar open fissure is in the ceiling. Each wall bears a large, roughly vertical crack that disappears raggedly into the distance; the left wall downwards, the right upwards. The break does not appear to have been caused by anything artificial; there are no pipes or any other construction evident. The smell of lamp oil continues to get stronger straight ahead where the passage continues, in contrast to the fissures left and right.

Troll and Enok crawl down the left fissure. The way is broken and twisty, Enok's lantern only illuminating 3-5 yards of passageway at a time. Less than 10 yards in Troll smells something dank and animalish, like damp fur. Not much farther on Enok spots tufts of black fur, some 3-4 inches long, caught on rocks. The two return to the passageway and climb up the right fissure, leaving the girls to guard the opening leading down. Enok soon notices that the animal smell is not present in the ascending fissure and they return.

Rowaine takes point as the party venture into the descending fissure. Beyond where Enok initially went, the fissure narrows to barely 4½ feet tall. Black fur tufts are in evidence everywhere. The smell of cat gets much stronger. The fissure hairpins and abruptly opens into a roughly circular 15 ft wide chamber. Rowaine's lantern light reflects off three sets of eyes…

Rowaine enters the cavern, carefully approaching the beasts. They are indeed cats - jet-black and about 2 ft tall at the shoulder, although there is something kittenish about them, an awkwardness of youth. They start to cry, their ears going back in fright. A huge roar echoes from the distant heights in response.


Rowaine quickly circles the chamber, looking for any other exits. The cubs lash out at her but meet only metal. Rowaine chops at one, wounding it, while Troll looses a Fiery Burst that catches all three cubs. They cry out in pain. Enok hears something leaping down the tunnel and covers it with his bow. He barely manages it before a huge black cat bounds in, raking and biting him.

Rowaine kills a cub that flanks Enok. Troll launches another Fiery Burst at the kittens. Emily stabs at a kitten with her long sword, dropping it.

"Rowaine!" cries Enok. "Don't kill it!" Rowaine momentarily pauses, then bats the remaining kitten away with the flat of her axe blade. Troll Fiery Bursts the big cat. Emily notes Rowaine's actions and follows her lead, slapping the flat of her long sword's blade at the last remaining kitten. It is knocked unconscious. All attentions falls on the enraged mother cat!

Rowaine and Troll swap positions, bringing Rowaine in range of the big cat (and Troll out of range!) Her axe stroke misses while Troll continues peppering the creature with Fiery Bursts. Rowaine and Enok withdraw a step while Emily checks on the kitten. The mother cat moves into the chamber. Enok and Rowaine both flank the creature, but neither's attack connects. Emily is similarly unsuccessful. Troll is raked by the cat and falls to the ground, disabled. Rowaine Lays Hands on him and he awakens. Rowaine, Troll and Emily all score big hits but the cat still stands!

The cat leaps through an opening and rakes again at Troll, who again falls unconscious. Rowaine moves protectively over Troll while the cat covers her unconscious cub, sniffing at it and growling. Rowaine moves to engage but is checked by Enok.

"Rowaine! Leave her, she is only interested in her cub. She will not bother us."

"We can't just leave it here, to prowl on any other unsuspecting travellers," Rowaine argues.

"We cannot just kill her! She's a mother with a cub! Surely you can understand that?"

"What about taking her to the surface?"

"No - she'd pose too much danger to the people up there."

Rowaine again Lays Hands on Troll and he wakes up. The cat sees him move and lashes out with a huge paw. Troll is unhurt but instantly retaliates with a Fiery Burst, killing the cub and further wounding the mother. The huge cat attacks Troll again mauling him into unconsciousness once more. Rowaine and Emily slap at the big cat with the flat of the blade, and the cat is knocked unconscious. Rowaine heals Troll again.

"What now?" Rowaine asks. "Do we carry them out?"

"The cub is dead. The mother has nothing to protect any more. Poor thing…"

Enok sadly sinks to one knee, begging forgiveness of the mystery of the wild. He ensures that the mother will never regain consciousness.

Craigo returns home after tonight's session and is greeted eagerly at the door by his little black cat. The universe sighs…

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