- Caverns near Nidusu, Jannaday, 26th of Zepha, 8633 (day 39) –
With the sound of the lute ringing through Kai’s ears he throws his staff into the air and transforms into a lion, catching the falling staff theatrically between his jaws. Then lowering it to the ground he leaps forward and position himself next to Faizo.
Fayzo is ready to unleash another flaming sphere and as the ball of fire rolls forth the Ghul tries to get out of the way. The rhythmic pulsing of his body though hampers his movement and he is engulfed in flames. Almost simultaneously Fayzo points his head towards the bloody skeletons and unleashes a breath of fire that envelopes the skeletons. When the light diminishes again all that is left are two piles of scarred bones on the cavern floor.
With Leng still chasing the rhinoceros the attention again turns to the lute playing barbarian bard. Bolstered by the surprise success his melancholic song is having he immediately switches to a more happy upbeat tune and announces that the sight of the slaying of the skeletal has given him a ‘boner’. Starting his new happy song he however notices that this time the undead creatures in front of him no longer react to the song.
He thinks quickly on his feet and instantly switches to one of the Raging Few’s many hits, the classic ‘Don’t Drool You Filthy Ghul’. The party is relieved to see the undead creatures shudder almost violently to the faster cords being strung.
Despite being hampered by the violent cords involuntarily affecting his muscles, the Ghul lunges forward and wildly slashes at Fayzo. He hits Fayzo squarely on the head grazing his face causing a bleeding to start that does not immediately seem to stop.
The battle has become close quarters now and any tactical advantage is lost by both sides. Fayzo again tries to hit the Ghul with his flaming sphere but he misses on both occasions, the Ghul seemingly anticipating the repeating attack.
Exasperated he tries twice to stab the creature with his glaive. However he fails both times, the second time missing the Ghul by an inch.
Kai by now accustomed to his lion form uses his claws to good effect and plants several hits on the vile creature.
Dave seems back to his normal self and decides to run forward and, whilst continuing to play his lute (now playing Eat Stool You F#cking Ghul), jump up in the air, do a round house kick and decimate the monster with the sheer force of his kick. The execution is a solid 10 but it takes all the concentration the dim barbarian can muster and his kick grazes the head of Ghul instead of really connecting.
The Ghul retaliates by slashing at Dave’s head, causing a wound to open as well where blood gushes out.
By now however it is obvious that the Ghul is almost finished and Kai once more springs into action, jumping onto the Ghul whilst slashing the creature with his claws. Mid-flight the Ghul completely disintegrates and by the time Kai lands back on the ground all that is below him is the robe and the stench of the undead foe.
The adventurers have overcome their sternest test yet much to the relief of said adventurers whom immediately start to focus on the wounds that have been caused. Whilst tending to each other they are suddenly surprised by a movement of air and as they look up they are flabbergasted to see in front of them the elder from Nidusu, Elizar.
He immediately tells them not to fear him and that he is here to help. A conversation ensues where he confesses he has not been entirely honest about who he is. In times now gone by he was one of the grand wizards in the region. He fought many a battle against evil forces and having secured the safety of the region he retired from public life content to live out his days in peace and quiet.
When he encountered the zombified woman he was first in a state of denial and refusing to acknowledge what the presence of the undead must mean but with the adventurers arriving he was shaken out of his naïve state of mind.
Just now he had picked up on a magical lute being played and using this as a target he teleported to the location knowing he would meet the brave group. He went on to explain that at his age his great strength was waning and he could not partake in the fight. In fact he seemed to hint at that it was unwise for him to be even seen by the potential evil forces.
He urged the adventurers on to further explore the cave until they would find the cause of the zombies and expressed confidence that, having found the creature, they would be able to slay the assumed necromancer and end the evil that is brewing.
He handed over three potions of moderate healing and asked Dave to hand over the sheath of his broken sword. When Dave handed over the remnants of his once proud companion he turned around and with suddenly light emanating from his hands he turned back once again and handed over a new sword to Dave. Dave showed off his barbarian origins by almost shrugging his shoulders and muttering an ‘oh thank you’ to Elizar. And with that Elizar disappeared as sudden as he had arrived.
Fayzo, critical half-elf that he is, immediately examined the potion he received, while Dave didn’t hesitate and was already downing his potion. Dave seemingly unaffected by the potion, Faizo shrugged his shoulders and also drank his potion. Kai saved his for later as he was not that badly hurt by the fight.
Fayzo and Dave (Kai still being in lion form) then discussed what to do next. They decided that it was a good time to rest. They made themselves as comfortable as possible and decided who would stand guard first.
After the hard fight the rest was oh so good. However not many hours into their blissful sleep they are awoken by Kai who, in lion form, seems to gesture towards the far end of the cave which they had not fully explored yet.
They immediately jumped to their feet and started to slowly follow Kai and Leng. As they got closer to the other side of the cave they could now also hear what the animals heard before. The rattling of a chain.
Taking some time to figure out where exactly it came from they were confident the sound was stationery. They continued their forward progress and soon they could see two tunnels. With the sound coming from the smaller left tunnel they enter it. Not long afterwards Dave can see chains on the wall and bones and remains lying on the floor. Then he makes out the shape of a lizardman tied with a chain to the wall.
At the same moment they hear a draconic voice quietly asking them who is there. They round up around the lizardman and Fayzo acts as interpreter. The lizardman introduces himself as Slosh, a member of the tribe of Gabrycg (The Shadowy Marsh in human tongue). He is a scout and part-time guide in the upper and lower cave systems. It was on one of his scouting missions that he was caught by a Ghul and brought here. He was with several humans but he tells the adventurers they were used as snacks by passing cave giants. He is the last snack remaining and strongly urges the group to free him and get out of here as fast as possible.
The group however is not keen on the idea and they discuss the option to use the lizardman as live bait. However Fayzo is disgusted by the idea and while the other two are still mulling over the idea he frees Slosh from his chains.
He wastes no time and starts walking towards the exit of the tunnel. The others soon follow and Dave quickly ties the arms of Slosh, not convinced that he can be trusted.
Slosh realising he is in a bad bargaining position continues to lead them forward. Meanwhile they discuss what it is they want to do. First Slosh offers to lead them out of the cave but as he realises the group is intend to go deeper into the cave, he offers them to lead them to the ‘meeting hall’ of the evil forces that are gathering in this section of the caves.
Not entirely sure what the guide means they nonetheless decide to follow the lizardman. He takes them on a walk through many tunnels, taking a left here, then taking a right there. The group tries to memorise as much as they can of the route taken but have to concede that it would be hard to backtrack without the help of the lizard guide.
Eventually he stops and gestures towards a small opening under the ceiling of the tunnel. He says that this is a safe shortcut to the aforementioned meeting hall. However the group doesn’t trust it and demands he takes them the normal unsafe route.
He grudgingly complies and shortly afterwards they arrive at an intersection with a larger tunnel that again seems well trodden. Slosh gestures them forwards and they continue onward on the smaller trail. It finally curves around and they see an opening in front of them opening up into a massive cave.
From their vantage point the cave has a waterfall on the left hand side coming out of the wall and creating a stream that winds it ways down the left hand side of the cave disappearing into a massive schism that dissects the cave in two parts. Two bridges cross the schism to essentially an island locked in between the schism and the right hand wall. On the island there are dozens of zombies locked on the island by two large gates on the bridges.
Slosh whispers that they have arrived at the meeting place of the evil forces that have moved into the cavern system. He gestures everyone to lie down and wait until something happens.
They don’t have to wait long before a thumping sound far in the distance reaches their ears. It becomes louder and louder and they realise a large creature must be approaching the cavern.
Shortly after a row of vile evil creatures walks into the cave. It is led by a ghul, followed by a cave giant which is leading a large group of zombies. These are flanked on each side by two more ghuls. Circling around the group are five needle teeth children who are excitedly scurrying around and through the group of zombies.
At the end of the group is a humanlike creature who Slosh identifies as the leader of the group and the one who is responsible for all the upheaval in this area.
Staying as silent as possible the group watches in horror how the cave giant suddenly lunges and grabs one of the zombies and starts to eat the undead creature, biting it in half, guts pouring out of the victim.
The giant is loudly berated by the human in the group. He then gives orders to get all the zombies over the bridge onto the sort of prison island. He then proclaims he needs to inform the boss that another shipment is ready and walks off with the children in tow.
Slosh quickly gestures the adventurers to follow him as this is the chance to corner the leader and make him pay for all the trouble he has caused. He says he knows where he is going and he can lead them to that cave through a different route so not to alert the human to their presence.
What follows is another trek through the caves with twists and turns following each other in quick succession. Once they arrive at the hole in the ceiling Slosh demands they take this shorter route as to have any success at catching the human unawares.
Dave however struggles to get through the small tunnel and much to the dismay over everyone he takes his sword and cuts off Slosh’s tail proclaiming it will grow back. He then uses the blood pouring from the severed part as a lubricant.
No one agrees with the action taken by Dave, least of all Slosh himself who must be thinking he is travelling with a group of lunatic hobos now. However the need of the situation pushes them forward.
They get to the end of the tunnel and crawl out of the smaller tunnel into the larger one they had travelled through before. Ahead of them, walking into a reasonably well lit cave is the human who Fayzo suspects must be a necromancer.
They all decide that the time to act is now and fire of a various barrages of arrows and magical strikes. As it’s from some distance they have varied success and the humanlike turns around and shouts: “Í am Skargul, I heal from harm and bleed when mended! I cannot be harmed, your lives shall be ended!”. As it’s in draconic only Fayzo can understand this however.
After this ominous proclamation, Skargul unleashes a frightening stream of negative energy that looks very lethal. Alerted to the fact this this enemy is for real and not to be taken lightly they all mentally prepare for a tough encounter.
Kai tries to escape an attack by the children by leaping into the arms of Dave. As soon as he has done that they suddenly disappear.
A shocked Fayzo is left behind to face the enemies all alone.