Serpent's Skull

Death in the Dark

Our heroes venture down into the Caves of the Mother, where a grisly fate awaits.

While the 4 curious adventurers plan their attack below in the caves, Sorsha realizes it’s been quiet for longer than she is comfortable with. Leaving Ishirou to continue his labors on repairing the lighthouse, she proceeds downstairs. All appears to be fine with the cannibal’s children and Marrok. Ever mistrustful of Marrok and the children, she sends Billy, the rescued cabin boy, upstairs to keep watch for Ishirou. She then begins her descent into the caves below and a careful trek through the caverns, following the tracks of her allies.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party argues about the best course of action to get into the lair of the undead creatures they have been hunting. The creatures have continued to retreat towards that cavern, and must now have fortified their position. The only problems: a short swim through the waters of the cave, followed by a 20 foot climb through a darkened shaft.

Narissa had already dealt with part of the issue, having attached a grappling hook to the top of the shaft in her former scouting attempts. However, that still left them with a swim. The two armored in plate looked warily at the water. Sven began a laborous removal of armor, while commanding the others to stay on the shore until he’d climbed above. “Except for you” he ordered, pointing to Ninti, “You stay here, I’ll come running if I need you, don’t want ta lose you to the waters.”

Everyone agreed, except for Ninti. It was best, they all insisted, that she wait there. The climb would take her longer than the others, and the swim would be even worse for her. Reluctantly, she agreed to stay on shore and wait for their return.

In another part of the cave, Sorsha continued her speedy trail through the caves, looking for whatever signs she could find to see which way her companions had gone. Off in the distance a echoing sound came to her. It could only be Sven, and another attack of indigestion. She stalked quickly through the caverns, now sure she was on the right path.

Sven slipped into the dark waters and swam easily to the rope. He climbed quickly to the top, but paused before he climbed in to wait for Narissa below. Narissa was shocked by the cold as she jumped in, and took a moment to get her bearings in the waters. Sven, having given up waiting, climbed into the cave above, and was immediately met by the screeching of lacedons as they bit and tore at his emerging head. He clambered up into the chamber, taking his warhammer in both hands and cursing the ugly creatures. Taking in the chamber, he saw three of the creatures approaching him, and saw a fourth running off into another passage, shrieking its unearthly howl. Pinned in to the small opening of the cave, he continued to beat the monsters with his hammer.

One by one the others arrived in the upper caverns, including Sorsha, who had finally arrived in time to join her companions in battle. Shuffling from the back passage of the dark chamber, came a deformed female figure. What flesh was left on her bones hung loosely and had a sickly purple hue. Impressed with the heroes tenacity to come this far, she offered them eternal life as one of her “children.” Disgusted by the affront to nature that stood before them, the party vehemently refused. Uttering a curse, she screamed, “if you will not be my children, then you will die!”, and darkness descended on the cavern.

Sven fought valiantly, as the only one able to see through the magical darkness laid upon the room, he pushed the evil creature back toward her lair. The occasional firey blast lit up the room, and the thwack of arrows could be heard in the darkness, along with the clanging of steel. One by one, bodies could be heard hitting the cave floor, but the darkness still persisted.

Pacing the water’s edge in the cave below, Ninti decided she was done waiting, and hopped into the water, armor and all. She swam quickly to the rope and ascended easily. Entering the room, she took in the ghastly situation. There, her companions lay dead, strewn among the corpses of the ghouls. She ran quickly to the sound of the battle, joining Sorsha, who still fired bravely at the evil creature. Immediately, she recognized the symbol around the creature’s neck, a serpent’s skull, the symbol of Ydersius; the creature was the Headless God’s priestess.

Pouring her essence into keeping Sorsha alive, she advanced on the evil cleric. The Mother continued to strike at Sorsha, eventually knocking her to the ground, blood pooling around her. Summoning all of her positive energy, Ninti advanced on the cleric still, bringing all of her diving vengeance to bear. Eventually, with a shriek of anger, the evil being lay still. Ninti quickly assessed her companions and was able to stabilize Sorsha, but the others were gone.

Realizing they could not be allowed to complete the transition to the hideous ghouls they had just destroyed, the two companions sadly burned the bodies of their fallen friends, and headed up to face another day on Smuggler’s Shiv…

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Thlayli JasonTryon

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