- Caverns near Nidusu, Tyrday, 25th of Zepha, 8633 (day 38) –
Dave watches horrified how the blade of his sword dissolves, irretrievably damaged by the acid of the ooze-like creature. The enemy has been dealt with but at what price?! Even a creature with his intelligence realises immediately that this is not a good thing!
Helpfully Faizo suddenly remembers that he heard a rumour in Mayfort that there was a large cavern system below the mountain populated with many an evil creature. Dave sarcastically applauds Faizo for remembering this important bit of information directly after they encountered an evil creature in a cavern under the mountain.
The heroes quickly decide what to do and a combination of pride and bravery pushes them onward and forward. They quickly make their way past the remaining ooze-like creature and manage to slip past it without it striking out.
Having come to the exit in the cave they see that it opens into a large cave. Dave being the only one who can really see in the dark, he can see that it opens into a large cave. To get into the cave they will need to traverse down a rocky slope and be careful not to fall down it. Kai and Faizo however misjudge the loose nature of the rocky surface as they cannot really see that well in the dark and both slide down and are fortunately to be able to stop their slide a few meters down.
Unharmed they continue their downward progress. However when Dave scans the area in front of them again he suddenly sees three silhouettes appear on the far right of the cave. The sound of bones being rattled together suggests the nature of these new arrivals.
It does take not long for them to realise what these creatures are as suddenly three arrows whistle through the air. Kai and Faizo see the arrows break against the rocks next to and above them. Dave however sees an arrow strike his arm!
Without hesitation he picks up a large rock and throws it towards the skeletal archers. It hits one of them, shattering the archer into pieces. The other two archers continue advancing on the heroes.
Kai decides the best thing to do is lie down to make it difficult to hit him. Faizo however charges forward grabbing his beloved Evolon in the process.
Dave takes another pot shot with a rock, this time missing it. By this point Faizo has almost reached the archers but manages to take one down with the reach of his glaive.
Dave has another go at rock throwing and the third one is again shattered and collapses in a heap of bones. Dave eagerly searches for loot but finds nothing of value while Faizo studies the broken armor the archers wore but finding no clue as to the origin of these undead foes.
They decide to press on into a tunnel that is in front of them. However it leads to more graves that have been empties from below. Realising that they have no clue where these graves open into they decide against opening a grave from the inside out and return to the cave. Here they find an exit at the far right of the cave (far right as seen from original point of entry into the cave).
By now Kai has thought of an innovative way of providing a light source. He casts light onto a rock and they throw it forward 20 meters or so. They walk towards and pick up the rock to throw it ahead of them once more. This way they always have a light source ahead of them.
Going into the tunnel they notice that the floor has signs of a lot of recent traffic passing through. They proceed a little more careful now. And when they see the tunnel opens into another, even bigger cave, they proceed with extreme caution into the cave.
Fortunately the slope is such that they can easily walk down it. Arriving at the bottom they see that the cavern floor is littered with bones. Faizo picks one up and sees that there are bite marks on them. Also a lot of the bones are either shattered in pieces or broken.
A bit unnerved they are brought to instant vigilance when they pick up a scuffling sound to their right. Kai throws the light rock in the direction of the source of the sound. As the rock lands they see a dog or wolf like creature scamper away into the shadows.
Convinced the creature is not a danger to them they walk over and corner it against the wall. It turns out to be a hyena. As Kai tries to talk to it Faizo offers it the bone he was holding. The hyena, although in a defensive stance, seems not afraid of our adventurers and it eagerly takes the bones Faizo offered.
They consider what to do but decide to ignore the creature when Kai is again unsuccessful when trying to communicate with it. Also Leng seems uninterested in the animal. When they walk away the hyena however does seem to follow them at a safe distance. Perhaps another animal companion?
They quickly find another exit to their left and start to follow this. When they come at a large bend they hear noise ahead. It sounds a bit like the boney sounds the archers they met earlier made. They decide that Dave will scout ahead, being the only one who has dark vision as the light stone is sure to notify anyone or anything of their impending arrival.
As he walks away Kai and Faizo see that the hyena walks past them to follow Dave. Faizo is immediately suspicious as Dave had in no way tried to interact with the animal. He mutters quickly to Kai to ‘do something’. Kai tries to come up with an ingenious plan but fails and they are forced to watch the animal disappear with Dave into the darkness ahead.
Dave in the meantime makes careful progress further into the tunnel. He soon reaches the end and sees it opens into a massive cave. He pushes himself against the wall and edges forward to the entrance into the cave. Having manoeuvred himself into a position where he can safely take stock off the situation he sees five skeletal soldiers about 30 meters ahead of him. They seem to be heading to the tunnel he is in.
Right at that time his warrior instinct takes over and he lunges backwards sensing a great danger developing there. He is just in time to see the hyena change into some kind of aberration. The creature’s body seems to be made of equal parts bone, leathery flesh. It’s feet are that of a goat and its hands are massive claws. It’s eyes light up red, revealing a face like a skull with sharp teeth lining its beak. It’s body is half covered by a worn black robe.
Dave reacts immediately by shouting ‘Kai, Faizo, hyena, monster’ and turns around and runs into the cave towards the undead soldiers.
Kai and Faizo hear the panicked words of Dave echo through the tunnel and run towards it. Having arrived at the entrance, they see Dave running away from them with the creature chasing him. They can also see to their dismay that the creature is easily catching up with the fleeing barbarian.
Faizo doesn’t hesitate and aims his crossbow and an arrow catches up with the creature planting it in his back. At this point Dave, either stupidly or brilliantly, tries to retrieve his grappling hook and rope whilst running. It turns out to be stupid idea as he fails to grab the item from the bag of holding. At this point the creature, a Ghul, catches up and plunches his claws into the torso with Dave taking considerable damage from the attack. He doesn’t hold onto Dave however and while in forward motion Dave gets another brilliant or stupid idea and suddenly stops, turns around, kneels on one knee and offers it a bone he had on him. As Faizo and Kai look in either awe or disbelief they see the chasing Ghul hit Dave in the shoulder knocking it out of balance and over Dave.
Kia meanwhile calls upon nature to deliver a rhinoceros and with nature obeying the druid the beast appears out of thin air in front of them. However, not having dark vision and basically being blind, it stampedes straight ahead. Dave just barely manages to roll out of the way. The rhinoceros continues and knocks over three skeletal soldiers before disappearing into the darkness.
Kai also issues Leng with a ‘defend Dave’ command. However from Leng’s viewpoint the rhinoceros was the last thing to attack Dave and it chases after the stampeding beast.
Faizo meanwhile shoots of another arrow but misses. The Ghul has composed himself and closes the distance with Dave biting him in the shoulder. Dave is now seriously wounded and he suddenly remembers the boots of teleportation he is wearing and in the blink of an eye he is behind Faizo and Kai.
Kai now being the foremost adventurer is attacked by the Ghul and two soldiers taking light damage as most miss, the creatures apparently misjudging the small size of the gnome druid.
Realising serious artillery is called for, Fayzo casts a Flaming Sphere spell. The resulting globe of fire is directed towards the Ghul however is able to jump out of the way.
Dave watches on, and not having been this desperate before, severely wounded and attack after attack failing, is overcome by melancholy and grabs his lute and starts playing a sorrowful song. As the first string is touched the sound reverberates through the cave. Immediately Kai and Faizo see the creatures ahead of them shudder at each string of the lute being played…