The Chronicles of 'Team B' - Chapter 21 - The Beast is Cast Down
Agapia uses a power bestowed upon her by Kivi to force Svetlana to remember her past. A tear rolls down the young woman's cheek as she recollects, but soon, the same glazed look returns to her face. It will take more work to get the captives to overcome the power of the enchantment, Agapia tells Yuri, but she thinks she should be able to do it over time. Wondering how the water acts on those who consume it, Yuri and Lokan decide to take Nuri into the bath to force him to try the water. Leaving the fierce Alden to once again guard the captives and prisoners, they bring him along, and force him to kneel by the side of the pool. This proves to be a mistake. An initially invisible presence causes the air in the chamber to heat up, which causes Yuri to faint. In the resulting confusion, Nuri breathes on his ropes binding him, and frees himself. Agapia and Augusta come to their companions' aid while Yuri regains consciousness, and begins to press Nuri, and the hairy and naked nechist' spirit, which is soon identified as a bannik. Agapia uses magic to push Nuri into the pool, and the party retreats outside the path, waiting for their enemies to make their move. But Nuri ducks out of the room, and summons a fireball which causes more havoc than that of his brother, and scorches all except Agapia. She quickly rouses Augusta, who resuscitates Yuri, and then Lokan. The party, though badly burnt, counterattacks. Yuri charges in and subdues Nuri, though the bannik vanishes. Lokan rebinds him so that he can no longer find a way to burn away his bonds, he is gagged, and placed in one of the chief concubine's bedrooms. The party survives, barely, but they are now covered with serious burns, and their situation looks dire, should Yaqub return. While Augusta takes a rest to pray for the Lord to intercede on their behalf, Lokan and Agapia proceed to the kitchen to look for oil. If Yaqub comes down through the chute behind the throne, he might be in for a nasty surprise if they oil the rungs leading down the chute. Lokan's sensitive nose smells out a vat of oil near the fire pits, but also a few scented oil bottles secreted beneath one of the work benches. The five vials, along with several vials of a clear, water-like substance, have labels in Rakhman, so Lokan and Agapia take them to Augusta, who identifies them as burn salves and holy water. Perhaps the group's luck has turned. Lokan, Alden, Yuri and Augusta apply the salves, and magically, their burns vanish, and freedom of movement returns. Lokan applies the cooking oil to the rungs in the throneroom chute, some of the party members consume the holy water, or receive ministration from Augusta and Agapia to return to full health, and then, the party decides to take up positions in the fountain courtyard near the underground park and the kitchens, because it seems like the most central location. Augusta and Agapia hide in the hallway near the kitchen, while Lokan, Zinovii, Yuri and Alden take up positions behind the columns near the park. Within the hour, the sounds of a furious Yaqub are heard. He seems to have entered the lair through the cave, and now approaches the party, screaming that he knows exactly where they are, and that the hour of their fiery death has arrived. The party applies their fire resistance salves, and dips weapons in the poison - both items Lokan acquired in Udyn. Yaqub strolls confidently into the courtyard in human form, and is immediately assaulted by arrows and bolts fired by the heroes hiding behind the columns. The paralysis takes effect, and the monster is frozen in place, so Yuri, Lokan and Alden move in to melee, while Agapia comes in form the side with her dagger, and Augusta brings down heavenly fire and a luminous spear. Yaqub does manage to spit fire at Lokan, but it just barely sprays him. Yuri turns Yaqub toward the wall to prevent him from exhaling any more fire, and then he is quickly subdued, which causes him to transform into a serpent. Suddenly the beast vanishes! Most of the heroes retreat, not knowing what will happen next, but soon the serpent reappears, facing Alden, who stayed behind in the courtyard. The wolfman leaps out of the way, and runs, but the beast, still paralyzed, is unable to expel any more fire. The party renews its assault from behind the columns, and then advances again. The beast disappears once more, and reappears facing the gallery, but is never able to breathe. The beast is finally brought down by Agapia's dagger. Yuri pierces it with his spear, and then removes its head. Black blood seeps out onto the stone floor, and onto the serpent slayer. Yaqub's death brings forth a torrent of bellowing from the serpent-wife atop the hill. The group considers engaging her, since they came out of the fight with Yaqub relatively unscathed, but Agapia resists attacking the creature: unlike Yaqub, it has done nothing wrong, as far as any of them know. The bellowing ends soon, and Yuri begins to fear that the serpent-wife has flown off toward the city. He and Agapia ascend the stairs in the chute, and see her silhouette, flying south over the river. Agapia uses her magical voice to attract her attention, and Yuri fires arrows to goad her into returning, but it is all in vain. If the serpent hears them, it is intent on its course of action.
- 3 vials of holy water
- 5 flasks of magical burn salve
- Nuri is subdued
- Yaqub is slain
- Svetlana briefly recovers her memory