Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cursed Darkness

Freja shook her head. “I don’t like this. We shouldn’t be here. This place is evil.” Temperalus was adamant. “We could learn valuable information here. We need to explore, gather information, and take back what we’ve learned to Mountain Hide.” As Freja and Temperalus continued to argue, Finfer and I busied ourselves with examining the brass bowl on a pedestal by the door, while Willow walked around the room, looking in between benches, on the floor, and at the symbols painted on the walls. “Look,” I said to Finfer. “There are marks here that indicate this has been moved before, and frequently.” Willow, not finding anything of interest, had come back to see if we had discovered anything, so the three of us gave a good push to the side of the pedestal. A loud click echoed through the room, followed by the sound of gushing air coming from the back of the room by the altar, distracting Temperalus and Freja from their disagreement. We looked at one another, wandered to the altar to investigate the sounds, and discovered a staircase had appeared under the podium. Freja, her curiosity overshadowing her previous concerns, said “Temperalus, think you can find something to bar the door? I’m convinced. We need to go down there.”

Temperalus found some candelabras to bar the door, and we started down the stairs. It was pitch black. Being elves, Willow and I could see fairly decently in the dark. Being drow and a warlock, Freja and Temperalus could see quite well. Finfer, however, could not see anything. Temperalus crept down the stairs as quietly as he could, and returned a moment later with a report. “More benches like these, a table at the far end, several undead creatures. I don’t believe they spotted me, but they will be aware that the altar is open. We need a plan.” he said. Finfer thought for a moment. “I could throw my drift globe down there, for light for us, and hopefully to distract the undead so we can remove them.” he offered. Temperalus told Finfer how many stairs he needed to descend and where to throw before he lit the orb, so Finfer crept down as instructed and threw his orb, lighting it at the last possible moment. As soon as we saw the brilliant light coming up the staircase, we ran downstairs with our weapons at the ready, and came face-to-face with a large group of undead, some with the flesh still rotting, others mere skeletons.

Finfer was mid-attack when I reached the bottom of the stairs, with a bleeding gash on his arm. Freja, directly in front of me, turned, waved a hand, whispered a blessing, and a soft light enveloped Temperalus, Willow, and I. I ran to the left, drew my short sword, and took the head off of a skeleton. Finfer darted for the nearby benches, running between the creatures, using his small stature to his advantage, but still managed to get cut on his shoulder. It was pure chaos; dark bolts of Temperalus’ magic, arrows from Willow and I, and bolts from Finfer’s crossbow flew in all directions, hitting and missing the undead creatures. Massive swings from Freja’s sword sent bones and bits of flesh flying. A few undead dropped, but there were so many of them to battle in a small space. The undead, wielding swords and clubs, were attacking with no rhyme nor reason, simply going after the closest one of us near them, using their numbers to their advantage. Three of the creatures spotted Finfer amongst the benches, and moved in for the attack. One of them hit him fairly hard, and it was clear he was struggling to keep conscious, while trying to defend himself. Temperalus, seeing the trouble Finfer was having, rushed over to assist. “I assume you want these creatures off you?” he asked. “If it’s not too much trouble.” Finfer replied weakly. Temperalus took the attention away long enough for Finfer to run over between me and Freja. No sooner than Finfer arrived, Willow morphed into a giant spider and bit two undead directly in front of her, severing their heads. Finfer and I took out a few others, Freja sliced one in half, and Temperalus dispatched the last of the three by the benches.

Once the chaos of the battle subsided, we took a moment to catch our breath and take a look around. There was a table at the far end of the room, with a handful of benches facing it, and a door behind it. As we looked around, Freja moved among us, assessing our wounds and healing as needed. I wandered around through the benches, but found nothing. Willow and Temperalus inspected the table, which turned out to be an altar. Covering the altar was a large tapestry that contained a phrase in a strange language, that appeared to have been written in blood. “I recognize this language.” Temperalus said. “This looks to be a prayer to Vecna. I recommend not touching anything, unless it is unavoidable.” We agreed, and proceeded through the door behind the altar, Finfer’s drift globe leading the way and casting an eerie glow into the room. It was a smaller room that contained several sarcophagi and a couple more skeletal undead. The lid on a sarcophagus was off and leaning to one side. “I don’t like this.” Freja whispered. Temperalus and I quickly removed the skeletons as another creature slowly sat up from the open sarcophagus. Covered in bandages and oozing a foul-smelling liquid, it climbed out of the sarcophagus and slowly started making its way toward us.

“I believe that would be a mummy.” Temperalus said, very matter-of-factly. “What is a mummy?” I asked. “Something very bad.” Freja said. “We need to leave. Now.” She was very insistent. Willow, still as a spider, ran past us and past the mummy, to put it between us. It tried to grab her as she went by, but it moved too slowly and she was too quick. Finfer and I split and moved to either side, boxing it in. Both of us shot. Our attacks seemed to do little damage. The mummy approached Freja and let out a low, rumbling growl. Freja dropped her sword and started shaking violently, but then was completely still, staring straight ahead with unblinking eyes. “What was THAT?!” I cried. “Kill it before it does it again.” Finfer said. Temperalus, Finfer, and I all unleashed multiple attacks simultaneously, and the mummy finally dropped to the ground.

Willow shifted back into an elf and rushed to Freja. “How is she?” I asked. “She is paralyzed. It is as if she is... scared.” Willow said. “I do not understand it.” Temperalus had been looking around, but came up behind us. “She’s cursed.” he said. “This is a problem.” Finfer had been looking around the remaining sarcophagi and the walls of the room. “The rest of these are all still sealed.” he called out. “That is good” Willow said, “I don’t want to fight another one of those.” Temperalus started pacing. “This is a problem.” he repeated. “We need to get her back to town. She will start to come around soon, but she will need to see a priest, or she will die.” Before Willow or I could respond, Finfer appeared. “I found a secret door.”

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