After extensive amounts of travel and numerous near-death encounters, we made it to the foot of the Curna Mountains, were we met a bard by the name of Elaric. His group had been slaughtered by a great beast, so we decided to take him with us. After all, we couldn’t just leave him alone in a place like this, and I must say, he has most certainly come to our rescue more than once!
Eventually, we made it to the valley of shrines with our new friend in tow. Unfortunately, it seems that these temples have been terribly desecrated. They were covered in excrement (among other things), and there were traps everywhere. It also appears that my mere presence triggers a trap that summons an army of the undead. Luckily, we discovered a hidden chamber in the Shrine of the Red Knight that remained untouched by evil hands. We camped there for the night.
The next day, we searched the Shrine of Torm. Sadly, it seemed identical to the one before. Unfortunately, it seemed that we couldn’t get this temple’s hidden chamber open, so we decided that this was not the source, and left.
In the end, we decided to travel to the burial grounds across the way… which didn’t quite go as well as we had hoped. We… well… we kind of ended up burning down a huge section of the forest trying to fend off a cluster of giant spiders… Needless to say, Tiberius wasn’t too pleased about that. Neither was Pandora, but I’ll get to her in a bit.
After a bit of a falling out with Tiberius, we learned how much trouble we would have been in without him, and we gained a much greater appreciation for him… or at least, I did. Luckily, he decided to continue on as our guide, and once again saved our hides. This time, from a manticore, of all things! Unfortunately, its mate caught sight of us, but we were able to lose it in the forest.
We walked, and walked, until we came across our destination: the burial grounds. Houn searched for traps, but he said it was safe. A brief explosion that sent me flying from the archway proved him wrong. We continued on into the crypt until we came upon an antechamber, where there was a large fountain. Within it, was a disgusting mass of what seemed to be congealed blood and bones. The second I stepped into the antechamber, the fountain erupted with skeletons headed straight for us. We fought them off and retreated, and it turns out, that the fiends couldn’t leave the crypt.
Houn began taunting the creatures by throwing rocks at them, while we were healed by our lovely Ruby. Eventually, the skeletons left, and we decided to make camp.
The next day, we happened upon a young ranger by the name of Pandora. She seems nice enough, though she wasn’t too pleased when she found WE were the cause of the fire… however, she was much kinder in her scoldings than Tiberius, though that’s not really saying much!
Soon, Oriseus began to search the burial ground, but it wasn’t long before he ran out looking like he had seen the end of the world. Ruby told us that he was in shock, and we gave him some room. Elaric and I tended to the fire as our new companion searched for the herbs needed for tea, and for some reason, Houn and Nardo decided to head back inside.
Before long, Oriseus regained at least some of his composure and came to join us, telling us the chilling tale of what he had seen.
According to him, there were bodies. Countless, mangled bodies of women and babes, more than he had ever seen at once. He was adamant about leaving then and there.
Perhaps we should have listened.
I began helping Pandora find the herbs for the calming tea for Oriseus, and while we were gone, the others seemed to have re-entered the tomb. We arrived back at camp, and Oriseus came running out, screaming that Nardo was lost, and that we needed to leave. Within a few moments, Ruby and the others burst out as well, followed by a great, hulking mass of stench.
The creature was dragging Nardo’s body behind him. It stopped just before it reached the entrance. It was a very foul thing, in scent, shape, and tongue, and the things it said to me will plague my darkest dreams. We all fled as fast as we could.
After bells and bells of running, we eventually stopped around dusk. By now, Ruby, who had been in hysterics, had come to her senses, though still seemed to be in shock. Oriseus told us what he could about that… THING. This “Hezrou”, as he called it, was a demon. A very powerful demon that was immune to most magic, and was incredibly strong. He told us that if we had stayed to fight it, it would have been certain death.
As we began to question whether or not we had completed our mission, the beast appeared before us out of thin air. We had no idea how it found us, and it wasn’t about to tell us. It taunted us, calling us cowards as he swung poor Nardo’s body by a chain.
It told us that it would do the same to us. Except me. It began laughing about how I would have it worse. How I would be the one to bring forth his spawn, and that he would ensure that I survived to see it happen.
I was terrified. I tried to back away, but it teleported to me and grabbed me by the throat and lifted me into the air, choking me.
Unfortunately for it, I wasn’t going to let it have me without a fight.
I gathered up the last of my strength and aimed a blow at its stomach. Thank the gods, it landed, and I was dropped.
The Hezrou was stunned, I seemed to have knocked the air out of it. Curiously, there was a white mark where I had hit it.
Unfortunately, that’s where things go dark…
When I awoke, I was terrified to open my eyes. I prayed I was dead. I didn’t want to see what the demon had done to me. Everything was sore.
But then I heard my companion’s voices… but, I thought, did that mean that they had died, too?
Hesitantly, I sat up and looked around.
According to Elaric, he and Ruby managed to defeat the creature by, of all things, HEALING it to death! I suppose it makes sense, holy magic against a demon… we shall have to remember that if we meet another one. He also said that Pandora, Houn, and Oriseus had fled when the battle had started.
We walked over to Nardo’s body. It was completely mangled- his, uh, nethers had been completely removed, and a hook had been shoved into his body through the hole where they once were. Somehow, he had survived the torture the creature had put him through, though his mind had been lost. There was nothing we could do to help him, so Elaric put him out of his misery and we held a small burial service.
As usual, Tiberius appeared after a safe amount of time. Apparently, we had pleasantly surprised him by surviving. After a brief chat, he agreed to go on ahead to find our comrades, and we would catch up later.
Eventually, we made it back to the tomb. I must say, everyone seemed a bit shocked to see us alive, even after Tiberius had delivered our message. Though, truth be told, I was still surprised we were alive, so I guess I can’t blame them.
After a quick catching up over breakfast, Oriseus declared he was going back in.
Truth be told, I was very hesitant to go back in. Between the skeletons and the possibility of even MORE demons like the Hezrou, I was terrified. Moreover, my mere presence in there could endanger the lives of my friends… and with Nardo gone… I just couldn’t risk it. So, I stood guard outside while the others explored.
Less than a bell later, Pandora came and found me. At first, I thought something was wrong, but apparently, it was completely safe, and she had come to get me and escort me down.
It was a rather winding path, but we tracked them down before long.
As we were looking around the room, we came across a wall. What happened next, however, is quite the tale…