Finding out that our new friend knew about as much as we did on the topic of why he was found in a tomb passed out, we decided to press on and attempt to find a way out of the ancient city.
Moving through the tunnels was relatively uneventful once we discovered that most doors down here would not lead us anywher important. Most doors simply went into another family’s mausoleum with nothing of interest that we were “allowed” to take. I became very apparent that we were VERY deep into the underbelly of this place.
A few of the passages went no where and one in particular had been subject to a massive cave in. We could see that there was another passage above up, but with no way to reach it safely the party moved on the other direction.
While walking the party passed a rather large chest sitting strangely in the middle of a hallway. Passing it by, since we had made a promise of no looting to our dwarven friends…we came upon a great cavernous room. Stepping over the threshold created an interesting effect for some of the party. The doorway seemed to be enchanted with a sleeping spell. Upon further inspection we noticed 6 small holes on either side of the doorway. After trying various appendages in the holes, we determined they had to be key holes, but where were the keys?
Gralin, growing tired of waiting around went back to the large chest we had just passed and smashed in the top. Inside we found 6 small rods. We grabbed all 6 and took them back to the holes. We inserted them and the runes around the doorway glowed once and went dark. Stepping through the arch, it seemed as if it had worked and the spell no longer affected us.
The large room we were in seemed to be the burial chamber for a specific type of person, merchants in fact. Doors leading off the main chamber had family names of different merchants that had been worthy of being buried here. At the far end of the room the party discovered a marge altar of sorts. Paying his respects, Marrtok(the T is silent) left a small offering of ale on the altar.
There were 2 doors at the end of the great hall. Trying the door on the right we managed to get it open and the room was completely dark. Stepping in quietly, Elise quickly returned to us telling us of 3+ skeletons standing inside, on the outer walls of the room. A staircase leading up in the center of the room seemed to be the way we needed to go, Lulu had informed us that we were obviously deep underground and so heading up seemed to be our best answer.
Entering the room one at a time and expecting an attack at any moment, we were all very surprised when it never came. Marrtok(the T is silent)‘s offering must have done its job and appeased these malevolent guardian spirits, but it was more likely that they sensed Seebo’s greatness and thought better of wasting what little “life” they had left.
Moving on up into another passage the group saw another altar similar to the one they had passed in the great hall. It had to have been set up by the predecessors to make sure the ones entering the lower chambers were going for “pure” reasons and not for looting purposes.
The trekking through the tunnels went on for quite some time. The group had no idea how many days they had been in the tombs. Taking short rests from time to time and a longer one if needed they passed through what felt like a large portion of the city. We came upon a that seemed to be locked. Elise tried the handle and upon touching it metal spikes shot out, surely meant to skewer the hands of someone not as slight as her Eladrin form. A whispering of sorts could be heard on the other side of the door.
Once we figured out the trick to opening the door we opened it very quickly. When it had been opened we heard a great voice proclaim something we did not understand as well as a great number of skittering claws. Being startled we slammed the door shut again. While we tried to come up with a plan the skittering on the other side continued and soon a very loud digging and banging sound was heard. Whatever was there wanted to be on our side of the door and by the sound of it would be there very quickly.
Deciding it would be better to fight these things before they either 1) came in to get us or 2) brought the tunnel down around us we decided to go through the door and meet it head on. All the while a chanting could be heard from something obviously intelligent out there.
Once the door was open the scratching and pounding immediately ceased and everything was cast into pitch black. This was not a normal darkness, the whispering chant could still be heard. This was some kind of magic. We entered the room and stayed close to the wall, thinking to brighten the situation Seebo tossed his torch into the room to try and see how large it might be. Once the torch left his hand it was swallowed by the darkness and did not light anything up the way it should have. Something powerful was causing this darkness, but why? To disorient us? As a stall tactic to get away from the power that was Seebo?
Trying to get around the room that was pitch black we stayed pressed against the wall, except Elise who decided that she would see how far across this room might be. Getting to the other side something in the darkness reached out and stroked her face. Swiping at it with her blade, she made contact and the creature screeched and ran. “If you hit them, they run!” At the same moment one of the creature swiped at Gralin’s leg. Infuriated, Gralin smashed his axe downward just managing to cip the nasty thing and sending it running.
Soon after the darkness lifted a bit and we were surrounded by what could only be Duergar, the dark “cousins” to the Dwarves. The five that were surrounding us were the ones chanting and dressed in black robes. While they were chanting streams of tangible shadowed seemed to be weaving itself from each Duergar to another and back again making a kind of net of shadow above us. At the far end of the rather large hallway, where it had caved in a bit stood 2 more Duergar and a huge armored thing. No face could be seen in the huge entity’s helmet.
Seeing what he though was an opening in one of the cultist’s defenses Seebo bravely charged the unarmored fool. As he neared the cultist however he slowed down, not out of his own volition, but because something in their magic was pushing against him. When he was almost within reach of the Duergar it became impossible to move any closer and Seebo was pushed backuntil his weapon would not reach the dark dwarf.
Elise on the other hand was somehow able to get right behind another of the chanters and begin her assault. Strangely though the chanter did not stop his magic, nor did he seem to be feeling the damage being done to him, or at least not in the amount that he should have been. As Elise and Pepper attempted to drop one of the cultists wounds began to appear on the others. As the two ladies continued attacking the cultists Marrtok(the T is silent), Gralin and Seebo went about slaughtering the small shadow creatures that seemed to come out of no where and surround the party.
A great clanking sound drew the party’s attention to the other end of the room where the huge thing had been. “YOU WILL BE DESTROYED BY SHADOW!” it rasped as it stalked toward us. Upon entering the writhing area of shadows, the net changed direction and seemed to be flowing into it as well. Gralin charged the thing and noticed as he got closer to it he seemed to be speeding up, the opposite of the cultists. Once he reached the armor plated creature he delivered a great blow, sparks showered the area, but the thing seemed to not notice the damage it received. The group of Duergar and this thing were sharing each others pain. The wounds were not being delivered to any one body, but spread out among all of the ones involved in the ritual.
Skirting around to the other side of the armored monstrosity Seebo managed to distract it for a bit giving Gralin a better chance of landing a powerful blow to do some serious damage to this group of shadow priests. Laughing off the attacks that were being delievered to it the creature swung at both Gralin and Seebo. Elise and Pepper were continuing to focus on the cultists, hoping some of the power would be lost if they could remove one from the ritual. Lulu and Marrtok(the T is silent) continued removing the shadow things from our vicinity so we could focus our attention on the “larger” problem.
The great thing took notice that it’s priests were being hurt more and more, seeing this it willing took a ritual dagger from its belt and cut its arm, the stuff that flowed out was not blood and went directly into the shadow streaming from it and invigorated the chanters. Elise and Pepper managed to down a cultist finally and that strand of shadow stuff was broken. As they moved to another one, the closest cultist to the dead one drew energy from one of the creatures we had managed to kill and redirected its power into the dead body of it’s fellow priest. This needed to end quickly, Seebo thought. Seeing an opportunity as the great suit of armor turned its attention to Gralin, Seebo yelled for his comrades to focus ALL their attention on the main enemy. At the same time he reared back and rammed all the power he could into his tiny shoulder into the back of the thing’s knee. It worked somewhat, causing the thing to falter just enough to drop its guard and allow the entire party to deliver a massive wave of attacks one after the other.
The great suit of armor broke apart as the shadowy vitality holding it together thinned and was dispersed into the remaining chanters who gave up on their prospects of raising the ones that had fallen before them and disappeared into the dark caverns that they knew.
Catching his breath Seebo kicked the great helmet across the floor. “Hey! I could definitely use a helmet, and it would serve as a trophy to my power,” he thought chasing after the black spiky thing clattering across the floor. Picking it up and realizing it really wasn’t as big as he had previously though he placed it upon his head. It fit perfectly!
TAKE THAT OFF!!!! Elise yelled at Seebo. “That is an evil, evil object and can not be trusted”
“Um, its a helmet, Miss. I’m pretty sure that an inanimate object like this can’t be ‘evil’”
“I KNOW WHERE THAT THING IS FROM AND IT IS ABSOLUTELY EVIL. YOU CAN NOT BE TRUSTED WHILE YOU WEAR IT. IT WILL CORRUPT YOU AND DRIVE YOU TO HURT US ALL. TAKE IT OFF THIS INSTANT, OR I WILL BE FORCED TO REMOVE IT FOR YOU, BY FORCE IF NECESSARY.”
“You say that thing is evil, but you are the one saying that you will hurt him if he doesn’t take off a helmet? It sounds like you are the evil one here….cleric.” Gralin stated, walking up behind the Eladrin, carrying the shadow thing’s great mace.
“They must be blessed before you can wear or wield them! Are you all crazy? You saw that thing attack us!” Elise proclaimed.
“Yes we did, and we saw it be destroyed too. Which means what ever was making this armor do that stuff is gone, its just armor now.” Seebo stated matter of factly.
“This is not the end of this discussion, gnome.” and Elise stalked off to see to Pepper.