Chapter 08:

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Session Number: 8
Date: Sunday 14th September 2014
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Kyra Clr2 (2725 xp) (Yeran) (kills: 3 skeletons)
Lem Brd1 (1810 xp) (Fergus) (kills: none)
Merisiel Rog2 (2725 xp) (Ash) (kills: none)
Valeros Ftr2 (2570 xp) (Craig) (kills: 2 skeletons)

XP Awarded: 303

(The PCs level up)

"So, catch me up," Valeros says. "What happened?"

"We saved your arse," Merisiel says.

"I appreciate that. Did they all die?"

"I killed one!" Lem adds. "It's the first thing I've ever killed!"

"Let me shake your hand! Well done. Because by … all sorts of things that shouldn't be, they pack a wallop when they hit. So we're all good then?"

"Uh-huh."

"Shall we have a look at this room they were in? Is it clear?"

"Don't know."

"We should probably be careful, then."

Valeros leads the others back into the crypt, tracking the right wall. At the first intersection made by the crypts, he yells "Hello?" There is no response. The seven burial alcoves passed thus far have all been empty. Lem Detects Magic but finds none.

"This is supposed to be where they laid Kassen to rest," Valeros says. "It sounds like they laid quite a few more to rest, too. Maybe the people that died on this quest are put here." He retraces his steps, looking for any inscriptions on the crypts. There are none.

The group keep heading west. At the end of a long corridor of crypts to the south is a door. Valeros leads them the long way around, to the northwest corner first, then south to the door.

"Merisiel, Your time to shine."

Merisiel opens the door.

"You didn't even look for traps!"

Beyond the door is a fifteen foot wide, long chamber with a rectangular pool set into the middle of the floor. The water looks cloudy and stagnant. What once must have been marvellous murals covering both walls are now scorched and ruined, the original subjects lost. At the far end is a closed portcullis.

"We've been looking for a gate," Valeros says. He takes a deep breath, then listens.

Does the water look at all initiativey?

Kyra senses that the water in the pool is both magical and poisonous. She informs the others.

"Just gonna try something here," Valeros says. "Let's get into our positions."

"What are you trying?"

"It'll be fun."

"No."

"He's going to yell," Merisiel says.

"I'm not gonna yell. I'm not that stupid."

Kyra snorts. "The fact that you said 'I'm not that stupid' makes me think the thing you're actually going to do is really stupid."

"It's not stupid!"

Valeros retrieves his empty potion bottle and tosses it into the pool. Splash! It sinks from view, leaving a series of ripples disturbing the water's surface. He hears a faint fluttering sound ahead in the distance. Lem hears it too. "It sounds like birds' wings."

"It's more likely to be bats," Merisiel says.

"Can you check the floor?" Valeros asks. Merisiel obliges, but doesn't find anything dangerous.

"Does anyone know of a fluttering thing that burns stuff?" Valeros asks.

"A fire-breathing butterfly," Kyra replies flatly.

Merisiel's gaze falls on the water's surface. She sees a rotting reflection that leaks out towards her. She feels a bubble of fear welling up in her stomach as the creature comes out of the pool. "Aaaaaaaaahhhh!" she screams, and runs out of the room.

"Hey, what's going on?" Valeros asks as she sweeps by, arms waving in the air. He draws his swords and pays attention to where the elf has come from. Kyra draws her scimitar. "Do not go in there!" she says, and takes up the chase. Lem draws his sword, worriedly.

"You alright?" Kyra yells after Merisiel.

"Aaaaaaaaaaaahhh!"

Initiative:

Lem 17
Valeros 13
Meris 11
Kyra 2

The fluttering sound gets a great deal louder as a large swarm of bats pours through the portcullis.

"Shut the door!" Lem screams, readying his sword. Valeros slams the door shut. Merisiel continues running towards the upper level with Kyra in pursuit.

"Stop running! What happened in there?"

"Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh!" She then stops and turns around.

"The thing in that pool was going to eat my face off. While I was still alive."

"Shit," Kyra says. "Valeros is gonna die again. Are you hurt in any way?"

"I think I'm fine."

"Let's head back."

Back at the door, Valeros drops to the floor to see if the bats might be able to pass under. The door snugly fits to the floor such that only insects would be able to get through. The fluttering sound recedes.

"I think they're going away. Shall I open the door?"

"OK."

Valeros stands, then listens at the door. "You know those stories you hear about people wandering into caves and they spook some bats that fly out… Do you think that's what it was? 'Cause my Da' said something about that. You startle them, and they'll fly right past you and they won't touch you. That's what he said. They might want to come out!" He then opens the door. The room is empty.

"They went away!" Valeros whispers. "They couldn't get through so they went back. They're probably really scared!"

Kyra and Merisiel return. "Don't go in!" Kyra says.

"Why not?" Lem asks.

"Because something in the pool wanted to eat Merisiel's face."

Valeros thinks. "You saw magic on the pool, didn't you?"

"Yes. And poison."

"That pool is cursed."

Lem moves towards the open door. Both Kyra and Valeros yell, "Wha? No! Don't go in there!" Kyra makes to grab the halfling but he is too slippery. He steps into the room and looks at the water.

"Don't go any further!" Valeros says. "Merisiel got freaked out…" Lem keeps moving forwards. "No! Stop!"

Valeros gripples grabs Lem but misses. Lem looks into the pool and sees a fetid creature with glowing red eyes reach out for him. The creature's arms encircle his throat before he realises it is a figment.

"Interesting," Lem says, pushing down the well of fear that threatened to envelop him. "There's some kind of monster illusion on this water." He hears the fluttering noise, faint in the distance, and moves towards it.

"Whoa whoa, not on your own!" Valeros yells.

"Come with me, then."

"Alright."

Valeros catches up with Lem, actively avoiding looking at the water. Despite his best attempts, something draws his eye towards it. He sees a stagnant, repugnant version of his Da' appear in the pool, swords in both hands.

"Shit!"

It swings both blades at Valeros' neck. For some reason, he cannot raise his arms in defence. He knows with certainty that he is about to die… then knows with certainty that it is not real. The blades pass through him with no effect and the creature slowly sinks back beneath the surface.

"That's not Da'!" Valeros says, looming over the pool. He spits into the water. "Scum."

"What's in the water?" Kyra asks.

"Whatever you don't want to see. It tried to make me see my dead Da'. Who's not dead! And it draws your eye no matter how much you try not to look at it. If you want to come through, blindfold yourself."

"What did you see in the pool, Lem?" asks Kyra.

"A red-eyed creature that tried to strangle me."

"It doesn't seem safe."

"Then stay here," Valeros says. "Chances are this gate isn't moving without turning the wheel anyway. I'll go and have a look."

Valeros and Lem approach the portcullis, blades out. There is no opening mechanism evident. On the other side is another long chamber with more catacombs. The fluttering sound can still be heard, albeit faintly. Lem looks around on the floor for any guano. He sees none.

"Weird. Where there are bats, there should be bat shit. I wonder whether they were illusions as well."

"Are you some sort of druid as well?" Valeros says.

"I'm just being logical."

"Maybe they're like rabbits and always shit in one place."

"They could shit in the water, I guess. Try lifting the portcullis."

"I don't see the point. We know how to open the portcullis. You want to stay here while I go open it?"

"OK."

Valeros heads back to the chamber entrance. "I'm gonna go turn the wheel," he says to Merisiel and Kyra. "You stay here." He thinks a bit. "Actually, you know what? That's a batshit idea. What if I get mauled over there? Or what if I open that, and you all get mauled? We're all going."

"OK."

Valeros and Lem leave the room and close the door behind them. The party then make their way back to the submerged room with the wheel. It appears much the same as it did previously. Valeros backtracks to the room with the frogs, picks up a corpse and drags it back to the room. He then hurls it into the centre of the room. Splash! Then nothing further besides ever-widening ripples.

"Alright, let's go in," Valeros says.

The fighter wades into the room, tracking the left-hand wall, two swords held at the ready. He steps forwards and finds not more floor but a shelf! He falls forwards into the water, battling to keep his head above the murky surface.

"Stop! There's a ledge!" Valeros yells, rather superfluously. Simultaneously, six skeletal creatures emerge from the water to the right of the entrance, filthy water dripping from their bones.

Initiative:

Merisiel 19
Kyra 14
Lem 11
Valeros 9

TOR1
"Kyra, do your radiant thing!" Valeros yells. A skeleton swipes twice at Lem but misses.

"I've got nothing!" Kyra replies.

"Where do we want to fight these guys?" Merisiel asks.

"Not in the blue algae room!" Valeros splutters. "And not here!"

Merisiel beats a retreat. Two skeletons lash out in reply: one misses and one hits. She continues getting the hell out of there.

"Can you get out, Valeros?" Kyra yells.

"Yup! Now that Merisiel has left! Thanks, Merisiel!"

Kyra closes and slashes her scimitar at a skeleton to her right. The blades strikes bone but does no visible harm. Valeros feels something grab his ankle and begin pulling. He takes the deepest breath he can, and then disappears beneath the water's surface. Kyra sees it. "Shit, he's gonna die again," she says. Skeletons close; Kyra and Lem hack at them ineffectually. A skeleton attacks Lem twice, and one lash hits for 3 damage. "Ow!" Lem withdraws, avoiding the ensuing flurry of AOOs. "Where's Valeros?" he yells.

"I don't know!" Kyra answers.

Valeros has not fallen into a hole; rather, the floor steps down ten feet across the entire width of the room. Or nearly: there is a solid stone bridge that spans the gap, level with the rest of the floor. He sees the creature that has his ankle; another skeleton. Yet another is moving closer. Unlike him, they have no need of air. He smashes his free foot against the creature's forearm, breaking its grasp. He then strikes for the surface - difficult with two swords drawn, but his Da' taught him how to swim. His head breaks the surface and he refills his lungs. He swings his leg over the edge and climbs onto solid ground. He shakes the water from his hair and surveys the room. Skeletons everywhere… His path of retreat blocked… He has improved his position, but he realises he isn't getting out of here…

"Tell my Da' I love him!" he yells to the others.

Six skeletons sense an imminent kill and close around the fighter. One rakes at Kyra as it passes, claws scoring bloody gouges across her chest. Valeros stabs at one but his long sword merely passes through its ribcage. The skeleton then claws at the fighter, missing both times.

TOR2

Yes, everyone survived the first round!

A skeleton attacks Kyra in the passageway and misses. She sheathes her scimitar and draws her wand of Cure Light Wounds, poking it at the skeleton before her who bats it away with fibia and tibia. Another attacks Valeros, one hits. Lem inspires courage. Valeros hears the halfling's voice and his eyes steel over. He knows what he has to do. He turns towards the water where he knows two skeletons lurk and launches himself across it, swimming for the other side… and the wheel. He may not be able to get out, but he'll make sure his companions can! Three skeletons lash out at him as he dives; one hits, one misses and one misses very badly, its spine cracking under the strain. It collapses and does not rise.

First kill, and no one can claim it!

Another skeleton takes its place. Kyra attacks it with her scimitar and hits despite it having cover. It is a crit! Flame of the Dawn Flower happens (undead are now subject to critical hits!) and the creature takes normal damage and is burned by Saranrae's holy fire.

TOR3
A skeleton swings at Kyra who has cover, hitting once for 3 damage. Merisiel looks down the corridor. "So are we fighting these guys?"

"Valeros is stuck in there!" Lem says. "We have to!"

Merisiel moves up towards the action. Kyra raps the skeleton before her with her wand, the healing magic consuming it. Four skeletons are still visible. A skeleton steps forwards and attacks Kyra, missing twice. The skeleton before her attacks and also misses. Lem stays and inspires. Valeros pulls himself out of the water and starts crossing the stone bridge back towards the action. A skeleton sees him close and moves towards him, attacking twice but missing.

TOR4
One of Kyra's foes attacks and misses. Merisiel moves past Lem and Kyra, tumbles towards a skeleton, fails and bounces back (provoking an AoO that misses), tries again and succeeds. There is one AoO that she fails to negate by tumbling; it hits heavily. She is now in the room, bleeding, but flanking a skeleton with Kyra. Kyra attacks with the wand again, this time bolstered both by Lem's singing and Merisiel dividing the creature's attention. The wand strikes the skeleton's ribcage. Its chest is enshrouded by positive energy and explodes; the creature falls to the floor. A skeleton steps to the side, Kyra and Merisiel AoO, Merisiel does 5 piercing and Kyra 5 slashing. The attacks do nothing. It hits Kyra for 6 damage. Lem sings and watches. Valeros steps and attacks: Longsword nat20 confirmed for double damage and the target is disarmed (literally: it loses an arm). It dies. He moves forwards into a flanking position with Kyra, yelling "You mothers!"

TOR5
One of the skeletons facing Kyra turns to meet this new threat. It claws at Valeros, missing twice. "I'll have you now!" Valeros growls. Merisiel attacks the one she flanks but misses. She stays put. Kyra uses the wand again: AC10 misses. A skeleton attacks Merisiel but misses. Lem sings. Valeros attacks #25 that he flanks with Kyra. His longsword misses, his shortsword strikes true but not hard enough to mark the creature.

TOR6
"Attack me, not her!" Valeros cries. The skeleton pays no attention and swings at Merisiel, a bony fist slamming into her chest heavily. Merisiel goes down and sinks beneath the water, sliding closer to death. Kyra blasts another skeleton to pieces with her wand, then steps closer to Merisiel.

"Come on, you unholy son of a bitch!" Valeros yells. "Come get me!"

Lem moves into the room, avoiding a skeleton's clawed swing, and lifts Merisiel's head above the water's surface.

"Right, you unholy mess of a mother!" Valeros yells. "I hate you!" He steps into flanking position. Both of his swords miss their target.

TOR7
Kyra reels from a clobbering from her foe. Merisiel is unconscious but stable, her head in Lem's hands. Still reeling, Kyra manages to touch the Cure Light Wounds wand to herself, healing some of her wounds. Lem keeps Merisiel's head above water and keeps singing. Valeros' blades arc towards his opponent; the long sword cracks a rib.

TOR8
The skeleton retaliates but misses Valeros. Kyra steps away from her foes and Rebukes Death; Merisiel regains consciousness but she is still staggered. Lem steps closer to the skeleton while holding Merisiel's head. The skeleton tracks his movement, presenting its back to Valeros. "Die, you sack of bones, die!" Valeros yells, and plunges his longsword into the creature's spine. Vertebrae snap and the skeleton disintegrates.

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