Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Wilds - The Trail Goes Cold

Last time the party was quasi-pursuing a group of troglodytes through the dungeon, hoping to finish off the pack before the creatures set an ambush or doubled back. The group got sidetracked when they rescued a human... slave? prisoner? food-source? from a pit in one of the nearby chambers. Carrying on...

As the others dither over what to do, Rawon seizes the initiative. "Someone give Tesso a weapon, and let's go back to exploring. We need to find where these creatures went!" He ducks back into the secret corridor, heading west. The others, still debating, and Tesso, still weaponless, follow at speeds ranging from enthusiastic to reluctant.

The elf opens the west secret door and checks the hall. Nothing. Looks south. The doors are closed, as the others left them. He moves to those doors and listens. Silence. "North then," he says, trotting to the edge of the pit and leaping the corner. He leads the way to the small N-S corridor that was not completely explored, and enters, after checking the west passage. As expected the narrow hall is a T, connecting to the slanted pillar hall. The group checks the S and W doors to be sure the trogs haven't looped back around. Nothing.

"Where did the cursed things go?" exclaims Durego. "Maybe we got 'em demoralized."

"Maybe they're setting a trap," says Ingvild. The thief turns to Tesso, "How many of these things did you see?"

The man shrugs. "It was always dark, there were three that brought me here, and at least one more. Once I was in the pit..." he shivers. "I couldn't really see much."

"Let's check these doors. Raúguey, you're up," says Rawon.

The group checks the two doors in the T hall. The north opens into a dusty room, 20x10, with another door at the far end. As Raúguey and Ingvild check that, Maro frowns and studies the N wall. "Something here... A ha!" There's a click, and a narrow secret door slides open, leading into the big E-W hall. "So many rooms, what was this place?" he wonders aloud.

"Maybe it wasn't anything. Maybe it grew this way. Maybe it's alive," says Ohwatoo. "Look at these walls, they're smooth stone, not like the chambers to the east. This was carved from native rock."

"Door opening!" calls Raúguey, shoving the W door. This opens into another small dusty chamber 15x10, with yet another door on the W wall.

"That should be the pillar hall," says Ohwatoo, scribbling a note on his map. The others open the door, and it is. As the group moves into the hall, the two elves perform a more careful examination of the rooms, looking for any other secret doors. Nothing.

"May as well check the next door," says Raúguey. Mordikarr nods and takes up a watch position at the NW end of the hall, leaving the others to watch the other doors, all of which are open.

The last door opens into a five-sided room, 20x15, more or less, that connects up to the T hall to the E. The floor here is covered with bones, some old, some fresh. The terrible stench and buzzing flies give everyone pause. "Those... those are human bones," whispers Locky.

Raúguey nods. "The trogs are poor housekeepers. Let's let the dead lie." He pulls the door shut.

As the others deal with the stench-filled room, Rawon and Maro move past and examine the statue and tapestry at the south end of the slanted hall. The statue was once a human-like figure, now more a defaced lump. The tapestry was once red and green, but is now a sort of dirty brown. It might have once had a seal or circular pattern on it, but detail is gone and the entire thing is half-rotted. Maro tugs on one end and the whole thing rips free of the rusty rings that supported it, revealing bare wall. A careful search reveals no further detail.

Locky peers down the south corridor into unexplored territory. "Where to?" he asks.

OOC: at this point Maro and Tesso exchange a few words, and Maro offers the man his spare blade. Tesso accepts.

After an extensive debate about using the Dwarf Kettle for Tesso and Maro's benefit, the group pulls back to the chamber of pits, hastily fills the container, and gives the pair a dose each. Locky and Mordikarr consume the extra doses (Locky is always willing to drink an extra cup of broth!) [2 HP healed Maro, leaving him with 1 HP damage] The change in Tesso is immediate. He loses the grayish pallor of hunger and stands a bit straighter. "Whatever that was, it was good!" he exclaims, munching on a piece of trail bread. He looks into the eastern hall, then stoops and picks up two of the short javelins and one of the heavy axes used by the trogs. Turning to Maro he says, "Take your sword back good elf, I'll make use of these. I was a woodcutter before I was a soldier."

"We've wasted enough time here," growls Raúguey. "Durego lead a group down the east, the rest with me." He starts down the corridor out the west door of the chamber of pits. "Open west doors if you find them," he calls over his shoulder. Mordikarr, Locky, and Ohwatoo follow Raúguey, Durego, the elves, and Tesso go with Durego. Ingvild and Dagmarten hesitate and give each other a knowing look (and a weary headshake), then they split, Ingvild with Durego, Dagmarten with Raúguey.

The corridors continue their parallel courses for about 60 feet south of the Chamber of Pits, each ending in double doors. 40 feet south there are doors, two pairs of double doors in the west passage, a single western door in the east. "Well he said open west doors, let's try this first," says Durego.

Ingvild is already at the door, checking for traps. beyond the door he hears a sudden *creak-slam*. "Either Raúguey is impatient or we have company!" he whispers. "Go!" he continues, yanking the door wide.

Durego and Maro rush through the opening, and find themselves in an E-W hallway, about 40 feet long. At the far end, broad stairs lead north and down. A small 15x15 foot chamber lies opposite the stairs, a squared-off pool or fountain in the center. The others are just coming through the double doors at the far end. "See! It worked!" crows Raúguey.

"Wait a minute!" calls Maro. Let's look for tracks before we traipse all over the place. The others pause, giving Mordikarr and Rawon a chance to examine the floor of the hall, chamber and stair, while Ingvild advances along the south wall to the chamber and checks out the pool.

"Lots of tracks, in and out of both doors, down the stairs, and leading over to the pool. Maybe they used it as a water source?"

"I wouldn't want to drink that," says Ingvild, frowning at the brownish-green soup that fills the basin. "But something did. There are splash marks and tracks all around this. Hard to say what made them though. What about the stairs?"

"They go down quite a ways," says Rawon, who stands a few steps down, holding aloft his glowing arrow. "Further than I can see." He sniffs. "Smells old and musty and damp down there. I say we leave it for now."

The others nod, and after brief consideration head south, this time all in the western hall. The doors at the end are iron-framed wood, heavier and a bit more ornate than the rest of the area. Ingvild checks them and then Raúguey and Mordikarr pull them open, revealing an oddly shaped chamber. The north portion is a raised platform fitted with a number of heavy stone chairs and benches. This overlooks a pillar-lined lower floor marked with a large pentagram in the center. Smears of what could only be blood mar the stone slabs of the lower floor, and there is a faint odor of sweat and something else, the musky odor of some beast or creature. Stairs at either end of the platform lead down to doors, and additional doors lead out of the lower chamber. There is a single grate in the floor along the south wall, streaks and smears of red indicating it is some sort of drain.

"Do you... do you think that blood is from people?" whispers Tesso.

"Hard to say lad, hard to say," says Durego, sickened by the spectacle before him.

OOC: Everyone is near the W hall entry to the Pit. There are signs that this space has been used recently and frequently. The drop to the lower level is about eight feet, and there is a low iron rail along the edge. The blood stains on the floor are a mix of old and new. The pentagram is similar to the one in the Summoning Room.

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