The Chronicles of 'Team B' - Chapter 18 - The Heart of a Dog. And Fathers and Sons.
Chaos breaks out, as the party rushes about the hallway, trying to figure out what to do - their presence has been noticed! Alden jumps out of the way of the pendulum as it makes a return trip toward him, and draws back. The bell continues to toll, and soon, sounds of barking and yapping are heard behind the heavy oaken door. The wolves in the party determine that the yapping sounds like a language, though not one they recognize. These must be Yaqub's shaggy, snouty servants. Soon, the bell stops ringing, and the door opens, inward. Almost immediately, two arrows fly at the party from somewhere inside. Yuri decides to take initiative, and together with Lokan, rushes the pendulum scythe, grabbing it as it makes its way up, and suspending it in the air, allowing the rest of the group to run inside. Only Zinovii and Yushko do not follow - it is unclear whether they are cowering in the hallway, or hiding in the spiral stairwell. As the party runs inside, a dogheaded humanoid who had been hiding behind the door steps out, and tries to spear the intruders. He is dressed in lamellar, but his outfit is not identical to that of the vizier's soldiers. Augusta calls down the Lord's radiance on him, while Yuri and Lokan rush inside. The arrows continue to fly, and one of them strikes Yuri, who has already faced a day of pummeling from foes, and brings him down. Alden backs up Augusta, while Agapia removes the arrow, and miraculously manages to revive the cossack. Up ahead, there is a squat structure where the shooters are located. Lokan tries to find an access point, and runs behind it, finding yet another humanoid, armed with a sabre, apparently barking out orders, and guarding a door leading up to the shooter's platform. He is soon joined by Alden and Augusta, who have managed to subdue the doghead hiding behind the door. The shooters continue to fire, but with a burst of energy, the newly revived Yuri leaps up, and climbs up the structure to the shooters' platform. They are shocked by his audacity, and unable to effectively counter him. While Agapia tries to blow them out the rear window by summoning gusts of wind, Augusta continues to invoke the Lord's might, and brings one down, while Yuri manages to subdue the other. The leader is pressed by Alden and Lokan, slashing, stabbing, and biting him, though he turns to face Lokan, who is getting cheap shots behind him with a dagger. At one point, Lokan runs through the door, up the stairs, to aid Yuri against the shooters, though he soon returns. The leader then calls out two more shooters from some dark passageway behind the guard outpost. One of them brings shoots Agapia, and hits an artery, causing her to bleed out. But the leader is subdued by the two wolves. While the others retreat behind a corner, they are rushed by Alden and Lokan, and pounded down before they can reload their crossbows. Collectively, the party manages to prevent Agapia from bleeding to death, though she remains unconscious. Then Augusta heals Yuri and Lokan, as well as the doghead commander, to extract information from him.Augusta manages to find a common language with him in the form of a rudimentary Rakhman, but Lokan's attempts at intimidation, and Alden's start on eating one of the shooters prove ineffective: the commander is unafraid to die, and himself begins to threaten the party with what will happen once Yaqub arrives. Lokan tries to bind his muzzle with a piece of wire, and is severely bitten twice for his efforts. He does appropriate the leader's sabre, however. The investigation of the lair then begins. Up ahead, past the guard platform, there are a series of doors on the lefthand side of the doorway. The hallway stops in a dead end. The first door is locked, and Lokan asks through Augusta whether the commander has a key to it. He says no, but Lokan soon finds a key on his person, and uses it to open the door. Inside, he finds a pile of straw and scraps of the dogheads' food, though after digging around, he also finds a miniature silver pitchfork in the debris. The other doors are unlocked, and are similarly furnished. These are the dorms of the dog-headed guardians. Subsequently, the party turns into a perpendicular passage (where the crossbowmen initially ran into). It continues on into darkness, but the group discovers another passage to the right, running parallel to the one where the dogheads' dorms were located. A humanoid statue stands in the middle of the passage, and when questioned, the commander explains that this is the area where they train for combat. the statue is riddled with arrow and bolt holes, as well as slash marks. The passage ends in a curious triangular room, apparently raised on a platform. A wooden statue with some sort of occult marking on its head stands in that alcove. When the party tries to push the commander next to it, it lashes out at him. The group then falls back, and savages the statue with spears until they destroy it. Tipping it over proves impossible, as it stands on a solid base. The room bounces a bit when the group enters, but no secret portal is discovered anywhere on the walls, or at the apex of the triangle. The commander is not responsive to prodding about how to get past the strange room - he simply says that the dogheads 'do not go there'. Continuing along the passage perpendicular to the training hallway, the group finds a locked door on their right, and another door at the end of the passage, though it also turns left at that door. The doghead tells them that the door straight ahead leads deeper into the lair. It turns out to be unlocked, but after entering, Lokan and Alden discover a huge pit leading far down into the hill. This pit is apparently the dogheads' latrine, and the commander laughs snidely, suggesting that the group climb down into the pit. Instead, they proceed to the left, and find another door on the left hard side. It proves to be locked, but Lokan succeeds in using his picks to open it up. Inside the room, the wolves see a mill-like mechanism, along with a staircase leading to the top of the tall room, some bins, and a round cask full of liquid. It all looks strangely familiar. A realization strikes Yuri: Yaqub is the father of Zbigniew the Miller, and his vague threat that his father will kill them suddenly becomes clear. Just then, a frightful roaring is heard in the distance - the serpent, it seems, has returned!
- A sabre
- A miniature silver pitchfork
- Pendulum trap is neutralized
- Dogheaded guardians defeated
- Part of Yaqub's complex is searched
- The relationship between Yaqub and Zbigniew is seemingly uncovered