On my campanions fought! The newcomer, Rakor, looked into a side-chamber and I did the same. There was a sarcophagus inside, with desecrated Tormish writing on it. No doubt it was looted by the desecrators. I heard cries of despair and looked back into the main chamber where the battle raged. I saw Sahil surrounded by the restless dead, and surely near to death! They would have chopped him to bits. In a desperate act I shouted the command word for the holy staff I carried since we found it by the assassin vine. It had saved us from the foul demons that turned Danjo and Shino to jelly, and back again. This time I called upon it’s greatest spell. I knew it would obliterate the undead, and maybe harm the fountain too.
The searing light that exploded in the room was beyond the bright sun at noon in the desert! It was white hot and it burned my eyes and my exposed skin! It probably killed all my fleas! I reeled, dropping the staff and momentarily forgetting where I was. There were cries from my companions…of pain? Despair? I knew not, so I opened my eyes and the world was all dark! It was not the dark of the deep underground. It was not the dark of a black cloud. It was utter, complete, and implacable nothingness. Slowly the realization sunk in. I was blind. I blinded myself with the spell. From the complaints I could hear, I blinded everyone else and nearly killed some. I heard Rakor’s voice. He told us the skeletons were all destroyed. He took control. He took me by the collar and led me away. I followed him…blindly! We ended up in the room we passed earlier. We decided it had been the chamber of the care-taker. We locked the door, and started to talk of werewolves.
It was Makota who brought them up. We started to think about how we could defend ourselves in the werewolves tracked us here. It was as obvious as a frigate among sloops, we had no chance of surviving that fight. We decided our best bet was to disguise the cave entrance as the den of a dire bear…a bigger predator than a werewolf, and hope they wouldn’t come in. We gathered foul blood that sprayed from the fountain using Malakai’s old shirt. I cast a spell to disguise the cave front and I sat “watch.” I concentrated on the illusion for bell upon bell. I’ve never tried to sit and maintain an illusion for so long. Makota stood watch outside and passed us a signal when the werewolves showed up. I created growling sounds of a dire bear, (I remember the sound quite well). Soon Makota was among us and he said the wolves had left.
The next day I woke in a cold sweat. I dreamed of the port in Assur, and collecting fees from incoming ships. When I woke, I had forgotten I was blind, until I opened my eyes and could not see. Then the cold sweat broke out and I think I was shaking. I know Sahil was blind. He was talking, praying, when suddenly his voice…changed… somehow, it took on a deeper timbre, it was more resonant. His words became unintelligible, and somehow “more holy.” I was enrapt by the sound, then his hand, or rather, a hand, rested on my shoulder and another draped across my eyes. Slowly light appeared at the far limits of my sight. Gradually, around the edges, the light filled my vision more and more. Holy Chauntea, Curna, and Ilmater!! Sahil restored my sight, and the sight of everyone else! Maybe Sahil was merely a vessel, or maybe he was the well itself! It’s beyond me to know, and I’ve never concerned myself with matters of the gods.
After resting fully we decided to explore deeper into the caves. I cast a spell to reveal secret doors and discovered one right outside the door of our room! We passed it many times but it was cunningly wrought. Only the magic of my spell was able to make it obvious. We opened the door and suddenly skeletons appeared around us in the hallway. Sahil, Rakor and I quickly raced into the newly revealed hallway. Seeing how narrow it was, I knew it was the perfect choke point. I knew that one might fighter like Danjo, with support from Sahil and Shino, could stand in the gap and defeat the nearly mindless skeletons one-by-one with little danger to himself.
Apparently the pair from Waa are ignorant to such tactics, or, they see me only as a person who needs protecting. They ignored my suggestions for them to enter the passageway and fight one at a time. As a result they were being attacked on both sides by skeletons. Makota was next to enter the secret passage, after Rakor and Sahil headed further in to explore an escape route. Unfortunately for Makota, there was another cunningly wrought creation, but this time it was a wickedly built pit trap 30 feet deep! Rakor fell unconscious at the bottom and slowly the doors of the trap started to ratchet closed.
I made an incredible effort to divine the working of the contraption but some unseen power prevented me from disabling it. Thinking quickly Sahil formed the shape of a tree and fell into the gap of the closing trap door! While the unthinking brutes in the hallway battled the skeletons, I nimbly crept under the trap doors and discovered how to defeat the trap. I called for Rakor, who gave me a hammer from his backpack and I finally disabled the trap door. I was able to barely make out Makota’s unmoving form. Finally, after a fight that was much harder than it needed to be, Danjo and Shino defeated the skeletons and came into the passage. Not before Shino got his heel tendon cut! I’m really glad they decided to ignore my sound tactical advice. Otherwise he would never have experienced the pain of a severed tendon. Anyway, We rigged a rope around Sahil’s form and he changed from a tree, back into himself. Then I lowered myself down to Makota and gave him a healing potion and we were both lifted from the pit!
As we sat, breathing heavily and taking stock of our situation, Rakor said he found a doorway not 75 feet away. He said it had strange writing and torches that lit by themselves at his approach. We also discovered some levers just inside the secret door that had concealed our passage. They levers opened and closed the secret door, and reset the trapdoors. Realizing this passage was very cleverly hidden and might protect us should the werewolves overcome their fear of the “dire bear,” we closed the secret door and delved deeper. No shit, there was a heavy iron door with a very good lock on it. I was able to unlock it with my special tools and we discovered an empty cave beyond. We entered the cave and saw an iron cross-bar with which we could bar the heavy iron door. PERFECT! This should keep those werewolves out, should they discover the secret door!
The cave was small, with two visible exits. One was a similar iron door, and the other was a small waterway. Looking into the darkness with a spell of illumination we observed some human-size frog-like creatures in the water. The fled from sight, luckily. I’m sure if I had suggested we stand on the shore and fight the frogs, Danjo and Shino would have waded in over their heads and drowned.
Makota attempted some surgery on Shino’s leg, and Danjo went into a fervent prayer that lasted hours, it seemed. Suddenly we were all in some sort of shadow world. We appeared before strange creatures. I’ve not seen the like since, you-know-when and I was a prisoner of you-know. There were tiny fey beasties all over in this mushroom forest. They seemed to thrive on suffering, which Shino certainly was doing. There was a strange woman on a cruel throne. I think we saw an image she wanted us to see, not her true form. She said she would heal Shino, but he would have a debt to pay. I was just glad to have him healed again. Like I said before, I don’t meddle with gods, or fey, if I can avoid it. Suddenly we were back in the cave. Oh joy…
So we were back in the cave. We were debating on our course of action, when we heard a voice beyond the iron door which we discovered in this room. The voice asked if we were spirits. I did not reply. Sahil and Shino, I think, did. They said “no, are you?” Then we heard nothing. Makota really wanted to explore down the waterway and get the hell out of the caves and away from the werewolves. I cast a spell on him to allow him to walk on the ceiling like a spider. He really liked that. He explored the waterway and said it only goes another 30 feet or so, and there is an underwater tunnel going into darkness. He went into that tunnel to explore.
We decided that we weren’t ready to flee, so we opened the iron door and ventured down to a T-intersection. We could hear a voice with a strange accent telling us he was tied in a pit and giant insects underground were hunting for him. It sounded like a trap. That damn Makota got us all jumpy by talking about a creature called a leucrotta that mimics voices and lures fools to their death. Well, the more it talked the more I realized it was a Chultan accent mixed with a Calishite accent. No damn leucrotta would know that shit. We finally found him, a human with very dark brown skin, chain in a pit surrounded by ankegs! We fought the ankhegs. I got in close and stunned some with a spell, then I removed his shackles amid the battle! It was exhilerating, but I don’t want to do that much more often! He calls himself Weshteck, and he seems to be a formidable fighter and spellcaster.
As we were recovering from that battle, the air got suddenly cold! A dark, shadowy form emerged from the stone floor and attacked Makota! We fled back to the room and barred the door, then it attacked through the door! We fell back and I started looking real close at the waterway! Somehow Rakor, Shino and Sahil used their powers to destroy the shadow. I examined Makota and he was near death. He couldn’t even hold up is head. Then we heard some werewolves (that’s what I assume) come down the stairs and bash on the barred door. I was ready to flee at that point, back into the cave where the shadow came from, because we can bar that door behind us. Plus, if we went in the water, Makota would drown.
My companions convinced me that the creatures on the other side, would not possess the power required to bend the steel bars that hold the iron door closed. We decided to rest and a few bells later the werewolves left. I really hope they don’t wait around for us. For now, we rest. Sahil has said he can supply us with food indefinitely. We have fresh water. We can stay here awhile. Makota had earlier suggested we wait until the leucrotta starved to death. I think Weshteck is glad we didn’t take that advice!