17 Rova 4712
After dispatching the derro and her human companion, Fenster the Blight, Searos began to wonder about Fenster’s odd behavior. That, coupled with Rhondal’s disinterested attitude toward the combat, made the half-elf investigate the wand Atlatia wielded. His suspicions were confirmed when he and Gedryr discerned that the wand cast Charm Person.
Realizing they murdered a citizen of Magnimar, Searos quickly said, “Umm…best not tell people about all this…”
Then he moved on.
Finding a curved hall of solid wood cell doors, the cleric found the prone, naked, bruised bodies of three human in three of the six cells. Observing each, Searos discovered that they were unconscious and in bad shape. Calling his wounded comrades over, he channeled Erastil’s power and a wave of positive, healing power washed over them and two of the prisoners.
One, a female, woke with a shriek and Searos moved to calm her. In FDM, Searos managed to calm the terrified prisoner, who identified herself as “Hannah” as he explained who our heroes were, and that they were here to rescue these prisoners.
Getting what information he could from Hannah, Searos moved to the next victim, a Tian man who Hannah claimed was fed all sorts of drugs. Waking the man, the prisoner retreated in fear to the corner of his cell, muttering in a strange tongue. Gedryr, master of many languages, was called forward to see if he could communicate with the prisoner.
He was unable to.
Randomly, Kellfrid, Ulfen warrior, tried her native Skald.
The prisoner, a sailor who docked in the seaside capital of Kalsgard often, spoke her language. His name was Toshiro Kurasawa and he explained that the “tiny blue creatures” kidnapped four people, the three in the cells, and a “foul smelling brute who was taken away not long ago, he thought, “but he had lost track of time since he’s been in this cell.
Moving on the final cell, and able to awaken that prisoner, a cook at The Old Fang, Alistair, who recognized Searos from his time staying there. Alistair recalled the same information as the other two prisoners and Searos, confirmed that they were here to rescue these unfortunate souls.
Meanwhile, Rhondal was working hard on picking the locks, but these stout cell doors were beyond his skill.
Realizing that they’d have to find the cell keys, Searos broke the news to the prisoners that they’d have to stay in this prison a bit longer, and, if any derro come, act as though they’re still unconscious. But, no matter what, Searos declared, “I will find you…”
Assuming that meant that our heroes would return with keys, the prisoners waited naked, in their cells and the group departed.
Returning the main chamber, Lockerbie Brast informed the group that nothing stirred. Our heroes then had Lockerbie come down from the balcony and feast on the dead while he watched the area. Offering Fenster first, thus eliminating evidence of the murder, Lockerbie dug in heartily.
Feeling secure, the group headed to the final door before they would turn their attention to either stairwell leading down. Rhondal quickly picked the lock and the group moved through the door into a hallway.
It was dark.
Their magical light could not penetrate this unusual darkness, but Gurion’s Darkvision was not obstructed, so he entered it, heading further down the hall. Soon he was set upon by a creature which seemed to float upon him from the ceiling. Opening like a hideous octopus, its thin, hook lined tentacles, connected by a fleshy web, gripped the dwarf, covering him.
Recognizing the creature as a Darkmantle, Gurion braced himself for the inevitable constricting the beast would do. It did, and as his breath was being squeezed from his body, a derro stepped out from behind the hallways corner and plunged a weird looking spear into the dwarf. Quickly flicking a switch on the spear, the derro released some kind of liquid into Gurion.
The dwarf felt some type of poison surge through his body, but his hearty dwarven constitution seemed to overcome it. Then, breaking the grip of the Darkmantle, the dwarf stepped back, called out these foes to his comrades and began to fire arrows into the weird Underdark creature, and missed terribly.
Kellfrid, coming to her friend’s aid, braved the creepy magic in order to kick ass. Charging blindly straight ahead, holding Icicle firmly, she missed her target.
Almost immediately, the Darkmantle flew to cover the Ulfen warrior, its claws digging into her flesh. The derro attacked the barbarian, stabbing her several times while Gurion’s bow sang and his arrows flew.
The rest of the group decided their plan of attack: Searos stayed close, providing healing when called upon. Gedryr, hugging the wall, moved forward, somehow avoiding the battle, took a hallway to the left and soon left the range of the magical darkness and found himself in some sort of operating room, illuminated by the same glowing fungus found elsewhere. Rhondal, unable to fight in the magical darkness, guarded the rear, watching the stairwell down.
The fight in the darkened hallway raged, and while the Darkmantle was soon killed, Kellfrid was forced to withdraw, leaving Gurion to handle the derro single-handedly.
Searos, meanwhile, hearing Gedryr shout what he found and the directions to get there, followed the wall as well, coming to the chamber with Gedryr.
The derro, while a cunning foe, was no match for rugged dwarf, and soon, Portique, the third of the four derro operating in this area, was lying dead on floor.
As Gurion was engaging Portique, Gedryr and Saeros investigated Portique’s lab. On the lab’s operating table laid a body of a man, seemingly rotted from the inside out, and attached to a strange box that dug into the man’s chest.
Searos’ investigation revealed the contraption to be an Extraction Scarificator, which had pulled out all of the bodily humors of this person, killing him. Investigating the body, to confirm his diagnosis, Searos and Gedryr noticed the man’s face, though withered and rotted, bore a striking resemblance to Rhondal. The Varisian tattoos throughout his body seemed to match Rhondal’s, as well.
Remembering a comment Rhondal made just recently to the group, Searos realized this must be Rhondal’s missing father. Hearing the party near, the half-elf went quickly to the rogue, and prepped him for what they had found.
Rhondal went to the table and verified that, yes, this was his missing father. Asking for a moment, which the group gladly gave him, Rhondal said his goodbyes, then turned to his comrades, and said, “The last one dies hard.”
Maybe even with a vengeance.
Agreeing with their rogue, the group headed down the straight flight of stairs, ready to bring the pain.
Gurion, leading in the Underground FTOJ, was the first down the stairs, and found himself face-to-face with two small, winged creatures that looked like identical miniature female derros. Moving to attack them, they attacked first, flying to him, biting the dwarf with their wee teeth then flying off.
An arrow flew from the dwarf, nicking one, as Kellfrid came to join the fight. Then, from behind a wall, came a female derro alchemist who through her bomb at the duo, which exploded, bathing them in flaming acid.
While he was burning, Gurion realized that the flying creatures were tiny, identical versions of this derro.
The rest of the group headed forward to face this threat, but the winged creatures bites on Rhondal and Kellfrid dropped them into lifeless heaps on the floor. Searos and Gurion’s bows sang as Gedryr’s cast his offensive spells.
But, this final derro was wily, and cast Invisibility to hide herself, then would launch her bombs on her unaware foes. Searos, learning her trick, cast magical water over her last position, identifying it for a moment and allowing his allies to target her.
But, that advantage was short lived, and the derro continued her alchemical assault. Soon, though, the winged creatures were killed, leaving the derro alone against her foes, but she was more than up to the task, felling the cleric, the party’s healer at one point.
Knowing their survival depends on their healer, Gurion scrambled to pour a potion down Saeros’ throat while absorbing the full blow of the acid bomb from his foe. Gedryr was not able to be fully effective against the derro as her natural resistance to his spells was difficult to overcome.
With two of their team down, the trio of Gedryr, Saeros and Gurion did what they could, but the derro maintained the upper hand.
Soon, though, Kellfrid and Rhondal awoke from their slumber to join the attack only to have the derro levitate out of their range. The battle was going poorly, and our heroes were up against the wall.
Things looked bleak for the group, as they could not bring down their levitating foe and the derro’s aklys continued to bite unmercifully into their bloodied flesh.
Then, overcome with his hunger, charging down the stairs, the lacedon, Lockerbie Brast, leaped onto the derro, his razor sharp claws and jaws tearing into her flesh. Pulling her down to the ground, our heroes unmercifully hacked the creature to pieces.
Searching the room, while Lockerbie feasted, the group found a set of keys and the treasure accumulated form the victims they’ve kidnapped during their rampage.
Heading back upstairs, our heroes decided to investigate the circular stairwell leading into the blackness below. As they did this, Saeros was overcome by a vision of the Sihedron and the next shard in the series, the black Shard of Greed. The vision led to a feeling pulling him toward the wall to the south.
“The shard is here, somewhere,” the cleric announced, and the group began to thoroughly search the room.