Back to the Sewer!
Septemra 20, 887 Af.
Having destroyed the hostile fungi in the sewers, the party took a moment to inspect the area. There were some corpses present on the garbage peninsula, and a close inspection showed them to likely be sewer workers. The group did not have long to search, however, as they heard the stealthy approach of something big approaching from underwater.
They closed ranks, and watched as three enormous alligators, likely attracted by the previous sounds of battle, rose up from the filthy water. Sharlot, tired and hoping to end the battle quickly, attempted to rouse her companions with inspiring songs, at the same time as she unleashed her magic by viciously mocking her foes. While the beasts couldn't understand her words, they still withered under the assault. Kasret started shooting his crossbow as quickly as he could, trying to land as many hits as possible before they made it to land. Carta stepped forward, planting himself in place to take the brunt of the assault, while Durdeg moved beside him and set V5 loose to damage the great beasts as they approached. Sif, meanwhile, took it as an opportunity to try out a spell she did had not cast in a combat situation before, summoning a five foot wide ball of flames behind two of the 'gators. The sewer was light up by the ball of flame, and the party set upon the reptiles.
The group swiftly damaged the creatures, although not without taking some hits themselves. Kasret's blade was a blur as he found weak spots on the closest beast, but he was unable to avoid the attacks in return. He was bitten badly, and while his strength was enough to pull free of the locking jaws, he was bleeding freely. The reptiles were using their tails to great effect, whipping them around, and Kasret was nearly knocked out of the fight. He pulled back, using his crossbow to continue to deal damage, but stay out of harm's way.
Durdeg, Carta, and V5 showed that they had become a fighting team to fear, as they were able to flank the beasts, keeping their attention and doing heavy damage. The 'gators didn't know which way to turn, as any direction they tried led to one of the three able to get them from behind. While the creatures did some damage to the trio, they it wasn't enough. Between Carta's sword, V5's jaws, and Durdeg's metal fist, they penned them in and methodically whittled away.
Sif kept her sphere of fire in place, and the two 'gators it was near continued to burn. Between that, the damage Kesret was able to do, and the unrelenting strikes from Carta and Durdeg, the first two 'gators went down. Sif shifted her power to bear on the final beast, rolling the flaming sphere towards it and flinging magical energy towards it. V5 pounced, sinking its teeth into the creature, as the rest of the party converged. It couldn't last long, and the party soon had the corpses of the beasts they had been sent to destroy.
The size and weight of the creatures was substantial, and the group decided to tow them to the exit before doing anything else. When they got there, they used the immovable rod and block and tackle to hoist the bodies out of the water where they could stay clear of anything else that might come for them. By this point, Sharlot was feeling ill from the filth, and left to clean up and prepare for her show the next day. The rest decided to take a bit more time making sure that the sewers were safe - or at least safe enough.
They found some nooks and crannies, including an area that appeared to be a home for the local homeless. They kept alert and kept moving, with Sif's owl familiar seeking anything that might be waiting for them. While it was down a side hall, the rest of the group began to hear high pitched squeaking, and the sound of many things thrashing in the water. Sif's owl came back and winged towards the noise, where it saw an uncountable horde of rats pouring down the tunnel. The owl sensed the fear in the creatures as it returned to the group. The party quickly retreated, looking for an alcove to hide in. They found one big enough for everyone to fit, and Sif erected an illusory wall to hide them. They heard the water churning and the rats squealing as they passed, then they heard something large splashing along behind them. When it had passed, they peeked out of the illusion, and saw an ogre smashing the rats with a club and eating any he hit, raw. the party pulled back, and let the threat fully pass. Realizing that it was late and they may not be in the best shape to explore the near endless sewers, they returned for the 'gators, and left for the night.
They dragged the 'gators out, and found a wagon to transport them. They returned them to the Mysterium, and got their bounty and some money for the bodies. With that, they went to their respective lodgings, cleaned up, and slept the sleep of the just.
Septemra 21, 887 Af.
The group slept late, recovering from the late night exertions. When Sif and Durdeg met with Venfaren, he let them know that the ritual would be that night, and they should gather the people that would join them. They set out to take care of some minor business around town, then meet with the others. Durdeg acquired his exquisite new suit, giving himself something to wear around town, while Sif dove into research. Carta spent some time with his family, trying to find out what was going on with the Tiefling criminals in the River District. While they attempted to help, Carta was not able to get a lot of useful information on how to help the people of the city. He did, however, learn that the family of an old acquaintance was at the heart of the matter, ad it gave him some serious things to consider. He gathered his followers, and they moved to the Golden Arrow.
Meanwhile, Sharlot performed her lunch show, and Kasret went looking for a truly good sword. He wished for a place like Jim Jobob's Adventurers Emporium from back home, where at least he knew he could find the things he needed. Finding a shop with magic to sell was possible here, but the prices shocked him. He would have to find a way to increase his funds if he wanted to buy one.
Eventually, the group gathered and made their way to Venfaren's tower. Venfaren seemed unsurprised by Kasret, indicating familiarity with Bugbears in general and Kasret in particular. He ushered them into the ritual chamber, sat them evenly around the circle, and began the spell. An hour passed as the arch mage performed the various steps of the spell. Finally, he sat at his place on the circle, and as his chanting came to a close, the painting disappeared.
Colors swirled as the magic took hold, then the room returned to clarity. Venfaren looked aged by the experience, and with terror crossing his face, he told the group he had waited too long. He opened a door behind a tapestry, and the group filed in, headed into the sewers. Almost immediately, they saw an opening with a carved skeletal fist clutching a coin. As they proceeded through the cold sewer, they realized one by one that what they saw and felt was the vision imposed by the spell. They proceeded, however, seeking the will of Kolero.
As they followed the stairs up from the main tunnel, they heard chanting ahead. Sif's owl flew in, and Sif could see that a ritual was in progress - a bloody one, with eleven bodies already strew about a circle with a thirteen pointed star. Sif charged forward, knowing that such a ritual could not be allowed to finish. The owl attempted to interfere, but slammed into a wall of force surrounding the circle.
Carta was right behind her, and they were able to make it into the room before the undead guardians inside could stop them. Four skeletons had risen from the floor, and a pair of ogres, long dead and animated by some foul spell, moved to block the entrance. Carta was surrounded by a pair of skeletons, while Sif drew the other two and on ogre. Sif ignored them, focused on ending the ritual. As the chanting priest slit the throat of the 12th robed figure, blood from the wound cascaded over the candle lit in front of them. The candle went out, and the priest started to move to the final sacrifice. Sif sent her will against the priest, forcing him to fall to the ground and grovel.
Trapped on the other side of the other ogre, Durdeg reached deep and unleashed his powerful arm to drive the creature back. He succeeded, then followed up and pushed it back again. Leaving enough room for V5 to get through, the mechanical protector charged forward, knocking the undead giant back again, and opening a path to the room. Sharlot sang an inspiring song as she and Kasret followed in, and used her magical mockery to assault the ogre. Kasret joined in, his blade singing as he carved into the monster. They bunch together made quick work of the ogre, which also let them move to help the others.
Carta had his skeletal foes in hand, quickly smashing them to bits. He moved to help Sif as well. Sif was hard pressed, and still hoping to keep the ritual from finishing. But before she could react, the priest rose and cut the throat of the final victim. As the blood doused the last candle, darkness began to swirl in the center of the circle. The priest walked into the darkness, quickly obscured from view. Sif summoned her will again, and sent it to draw the man back out. She was successful, and the priest returned, but not as they expected. As the remainder of the undead were wiped out by the party, the priest staggered towards Sif, the compulsion complete. It was his last act, however, because the darkness did something to him, and his face melted away from the bone in front of their eyes.
As the priest died, the darkness contracted, coalescing into a humanoid form. It swirled together, taking on the form of a well dressed, fiendishly handsome man. As he looked around the group, he saw Kasret standing over the dead ogre, and something shifted in the room. The figure was a few inches taller than the Bugbear, looking down on them all. His black hair was combed back, showing a sharp widow's peak.a touch of grey at the temples gave him a distinguished look, befitting the noble bearing and expensive clothes. His eyes pierced into them, with scarlet irises and slightly yellowed sclera. He took each one of them in, sizing them up. The group felt the divinity and recognized who had been summoned -Diabolus himself.
His focus fell the on Sif and Durdeg, leaning in close and breathing in their auras. The Devil came to some sort of conclusion, and spoke to the group. "What have you done to time?" he asked, his eyes glittering with curiosity. Durdeg held himself tight, revealing nothing, and Sif followed his lead. The rest of the group seemed surprised, which gave the Devil an opening.
He turned to Kasret, and his eyes narrowed. "You aren't supposed to be here," he told the hunter. "None of your kind are supposed to be here. How?" Kasret stared up at him, baring his fangs in defiance. "No matter," Diabolus said, and pointed a finger at Kasret. A blast of darkness, like a tear in the world, arced to Kasret, and he screamed as he collapsed to the ground. He stopped moving, and his body disappeared from the chamber. Outside of the vision, he awoke back in the ritual room, still feeling echoes of the agony from the spell and grateful for the summer warmth of the ritual room.
Diabolus turned, the room shifting with him, and approached Carta. He looked down at Carta from a few inches advantage, hissing slightly. "Paladin," he said with contempt. "Why are you here? This," he said, gesturing, "is from Kolero. Why would you have anything to do with such chaotic beings?" Carta stood up for his companions, telling the Deity that they were good people, and he was happy to work with them. Diabolus smiled and gave a slight chuckle.
He turned to Sharlot, leaning close. He noticed her lute, and stared deeply in her eyes. He stopped suddenly, chuckling to himself. "Sharlot?" he said, his grin growing wider by the second. "The Sharlot? Oh my," he said, now booming with laughter. "That is a wonderful little happenstance." He laughed a bit more, before turning to Durdeg.
"Well, hobgoblin, what have you done?" Durdeg stared into the face of evil, and choose not to answer.
"Why should I answer you?" he retorted. "What do you want?"
The Devil nodded slightly, and replied, "And why should I answer you? How about this? I will trade you a true answer for a true answer. I believe you know who I am, and know that I will keep to my bargain."
Durdeg did indeed know that, but he also knew not to bargain with a Devil. He refused to answer anything, and after a moment Diabolus sighed. "We could have learned so much from each other. With that, he drew a symbol with his finger on Durdeg, then stepped back and pointed at him. The same blackness streaked at him, and he fell to the ground, but didn't quite succumb. Diabolus' nodded appreciatively, then waved his hand and brought a wall of spinning blades into existence around Durdeg. It ended quickly, and Durdeg woke up to find himself back with Kasret and the motionless forms of the others.
"How about the rest of you?" Diabolus asked. "Will any of you enter into a fair bargain?" The rest of the party tried a slightly different tack - giving true but worthless answers and hoping for more information in return. Diabolus gave his own worthless answers, and eventually decided that he had had enough. He let lose enough information that the group understood that something had happened with the ritual to allow the past and future to mix, although the group got the idea that this was information he wanted them to have. Then he banished the dream forms of Carta, then Sharlot. Finally, after what seemed like a long wait to those hoping for the spell to end, Sif finally awakened.
Venfaren also awakened, and apologized. He had never had anything like that happen before, and told them he hadn't seen anything after they entered the sewer. The group asked about going in to find the same place, and Venfaren told them they had no sewer entrance here. He then used a combination of spells to pluck the location from Sif's mind and show the easiest route to it. It was indeed their sewer, and they set out to try to disrupt the ritual before it could happen.
They quickly arrived to find that the place was relatively shabby, and populated by just six cultists, all asleep in the back of the room. Sif webbed them into place, while she prepared to hypnotize them. When she did so, all but two were mesmerized. Carta, Durdeg, and Kasret made quick work of those two, and then tried to decide what to do with the others. They wanted to learn something, so they went for a live capture. Kasret used his iron bands to wrap up the most powerful looking, and Durdeg used his mechanical wonder to knock the others into a longer state of unconsciousness. They slung the prisoners over their shoulders, and returned to Venfaren.
Feeling good about the incident, they turned the prisoners over. Kasret, Sharlot, and Carta left to have a well earned night's sleep. Sif and Durdeg asked Venfaren to interrogate the prisoners, and he agreed, although he wanted to prepare for it for the next day. Venfaren told Sif he was proud of her, and presented her withVenfaren's first spellbook. Sif took it gladly, and Sif and Durdeg went off to sleep.
Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild