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And So

Alayi’s Journal

We stood at the bottom of the shaft, looking around the room. There were three exits, one to the north, and two more east and west. Alunys studies them for an evil taint, while I searched the southern wall for any sign of a hidden door. When neither of us found anything, Tomas said he was curious about the northern route, so Defender marched into it. We followed but soon ran into a collapsed section of the tunnel. There was a smaller passage branching off near the rubble, however, so in we walked.

The new passage led to a half-collapsed chamber. Dire rat sized tracks crisscrossed in the dust on the floor. Alunys heard the sliding of stones, whispered a warning to me, and I looked at the rubble but saw nothing. I began to back out of the room anyway, but now Tomas was asking us what was going on, and Defender walked past me into the room for a closer look. I pulled my bow as Defender caught sight of several large rodents coming our way and began swinging his sword!

The rats were large, with bony armor and acid saliva burning the stone when it dripped from their jaws. Defender slew one, I missed with my scimitar and pulled my bow, and Alunys announced that the rats themselves were evil! She smote at them, while Defender killed a second and Tomas cheered him on from the doorway. Alunys was swinging her warbow at one, while I traded shots with the last, getting bitten in the process. We quickly finished them off and Alunys healed me up.

Defender had walked yet further into the room; now he shouted to us that there were more rats coming, and Alunys saw evil around them as well. Now, I knew that horrid rats are not usually evil, but neither are golems. Something odd is going on! But for the moment, we had three more rats on our hands. Defender was doing most of the work, and I noticed that Tomas had wandered off somewhere (“to his death, probably”, I muttered under my breath), but we stayed in that room until all of the evil rats had been destroyed and the room searched.

We walked back to the main room, looking and listening for any sign of Tomas. None, but an arrow left on the floor pointing down the eastern exit, so we followed. We soon heard a commotion, and ran, finding Tomas locked in battle with a giant spider! He killed it on his own, however, so we followed the tunnel as it sloped downward, until we reached water. Defender continued on into the water (I swear, that Tomas is as finicky as a cat!); although it wasn’t very deep we waited for him to scout ahead.

He was soon back, telling us of a large room with slabs of stone and strange runes. Since Tomas still didn’t want to get wet (and Defender refused to carry him), we headed back to check out the western route, too. Defender and Alunys led the way - so they were the ones who fell when the floor collapsed! A forty-foot shaft, and our friends at the bottom. I lamented the fact that I was the only one to bring rope, which was now our ladder out of the ruins, and watched Defender and Alunys begin a very slow climb up.

Tomas got bored waiting, and jumped across the gap to the other side. I followed, warning the others to climb to the inside, then waited for them while Tomas roved ahead in search of something new. He was back before the others climbed out, telling us about spiderwebbing all over the walls ahead. I healed Alunys a bit when she got out, hoped Defender would last until he had time to repair himself, and got out my bow. We walked down to the webbing, using Tomas’ flaming torch to burn through the webs until we reached the end of the hall, and a large room could be seen. Hmm... do we clear all of this out?


We decided to go for it, and moved forward into the webs. We were talking about how best to burn them away - the torch in Defender’s hand, a blue flame in Alunys’, but the *whoosh* of the webs going up in smoke quickly got a reaction. As large shadowy spidery forms began to skitter through the webbing, Tomas fired his crossbow while I held my fire, waiting for them to close in. Sure enough, a spider soon got within Defender’s reach and was smashed - and then several more swarmed him!

The spiders were biting at Defender but not even hurting him, so we stayed back and shot at the ones on the ground. A single arrow was usually enough to kill one. Alunys was using her blue flame to set them ablaze as well. We moved slowly into the room, still burning the webs away, and a high arched ceiling began to come into view. Still more spiders attacked, too, and their bites hurt! The floor was covered in bones, and we could see a pit in the floor at the end of the room. First, however, we had to deal with the spiders - big, bigger, biggest! And dropping from the ceiling or swarming across the floor, they were determined to do us in.

Tomas stayed by the door again, shooting at spiders as he could get a clear shot. Defender was determined to do most of the fighting, as the spiders’ poison didn’t hurt him at all. He got in my way a few times - I’ll have to apologize for booting him in the butt the one time. Finally, we finished off the last spider, and were able to search the room in peace. The walls were covered with scenes from a goblinoid city. It had an altar to the dragon Eberron, and strange runes on the walls again. Defender was doing some quick repair work while Tomas went over the altar, sliding back a secret panel and pulling out a locked box.

He quickly had the box open, revealing an everburning torch, a small mirror, a sack of coins, a gem, and a small gold statue of a dragon. Alunys went through the coins, trying to figure out their age or region, but they were unfamiliar to her. So, we turned our attention to the pit in the floor. When all we saw was water, we decided it was time to take a break! Defender bashed away for eight hours, then stood watch while the rest of us got some much-needed sleep. He then finished his repair job, but not before I climbed the rope and checked on Fang. She was enjoying the wilderness!

Although Tomas noticed a pulley system above the pit, and Defender discovered the remains of a ladder down the side of the pit, I thought it safest to leave our one rope where it was. Defender climbed down the pit, while we talked over which pool of water to wade through first - this one, or the eastern route? When Defender reached the bottom (and the water here, too, was only about three feet deep), Tomas grabbed an extra torch and dashed off to check if the glow could be seen at the other pool. While he was gone, Defender described what he was seeing - carved stone walls, bones in niches, and exits to his left and right. When Tomas returned (no luck on a connection between the rooms), we all climbed down into the crypt together.

The exits led off to the left and to the right. Defender headed right. The passage was ten feet wide, with more niches full of bones along the walls. Defender was looking for “stuff” but I was pretty adamant that that was a bad idea. Luckily, we didn’t see anything to test our resolve. The skulls in the niches were humanoid, but not human. I am pretty sure they were hobgoblins. There were smaller branches off the tunnel, but they ended after a short distance, holding more burials. About a hundred feet down the passage, however, we entered another chamber. This one had large columns down the length of it, and stone statues of hobgoblin soldiers against the walls.

This chamber, unlike the others we’d entered, had a set of stone doors at the end of the hall. Better yet, a circular indentation in the middle looked like the lock to fit the disc! Alunys looked for evil while Tomas fit the disc into the indentation, then twisted it - and the lock opened! We shoved at the doors, pushing against the water on both sides, until we could enter the next chamber. This one held a raised altar, above the waterline. Along the walls were six skeletons, dressed in corroded armor. We stepped inside, expecting the skeletons to come to life, but... nothing. Tomas headed for the altar.

On it, he found a clay tablet. It was covered with undecipherable marks - more of the runes like we’d seen on the walls. I’d rather we left it sit, and maybe make a copy somehow, but Alunys decided it was safe to pick up. She felt that it was important to take away the item that the “evil” wanted. The back of the tablet was blank, there was nothing on the table beneath it. I wrapped it up in my bedroll for safety, and we stashed it in Defender’s pack. Tomas checked the altar for any hidden compartments, found nothing, and we left the altar room, locking the door behind us.

We decided to check out the left hand passage before climbing out (no one looked forward to that climb). This one led us past many more burial niches, and ended in another chamber, although this one had no doors. Tomas searched the room and discovered a concealed door. On opening, he found a staircase leading up. So, up we went. The steps led us into a new room, with only one exit - and the passage had collapsed. I thought hard about all of our wandering, and decided that this was not the other side of the collapsed passage by the rats’ room, but we still had reached a dead end. Yet, as I stood there, I noticed a breeze...

The fresh air was coming into the room from somewhere over our heads. We found an air shaft in the corner, a narrow opening that led straight up. I could make out a faint light at the top, so I asked Defender to lift me up, and began to climb. I went slowly, but after thirty feet or so, I reached vegetation. I poked my head through the overgrowth, and found myself in the forest. It looked familiar, so I whistled for Fang, who quickly found me! I asked the others if I should get the rope, they yelled back “Yes!”, and soon everyone was back aboveground, although Defender has a few new scratches to buff out.

It’s only noon, so we’ve decided to head down one last time. We want to check out the other flooded chamber. Even Tomas, since he got soaked in the crypt anyway...

Posted by Kate on March 30, 2007, 22:37 | Alayi’s Journal