Sunday, 5 March 2017

What Lies Below the Swamp

After trudging through the swamp for the better part on an hour, our muscles burning with exhaustion, we come to an abrupt stop. Before us, rising out of the swamp like a mangled hand from a shallow grave, is a dilapidated old fishermans shack. Surrounding the disintegrated wooden platform is a line of common people. A young boy steps forward from their ranks and bellows a defiant scream that unnerves us and the flocks upon flocks of ravens lining the surrounding trees.

These people are no doubt suffering from a curse that has befallen this land. And with every step we take closer to the shack we can feel the affects taking hold of us as well. While it would have been best to simply bypass the farmers, something came over our barbarian friend and in a very short time the peasants were no more. This blood lust has grown considerably since Patrin found his great ax in the Temple of Sulprax. We may need to bring him to a priest for I fear it may be cursed.

The tree stump that supports the back portion of the shed was covered by a locked iron lid. This was no doubt the entrance to the hags lair. Using a clever combination of fish, fire and ax we are able to penetrate the portal.

Bits of wood and grubs fall to the ground as we shimmy down the rotting tree stump and into a large, well it, chamber beneath the swamp. A quick movement near a table catches our eyes but we could not make out what caused it. Roots drop down from the ceiling and everything is coated in a sheen of wetness.

Before we have a moment to completely take in our surroundings a barrage of  Quicklings emerges form the holes in the walls. These creatures move so fast that our only reaction is to take their blows and watch them scurry back into the walls. Fortunately I prepared the right transmutation for this scenario. Patrin and Zedheir were able to dispatch them pretty quickly once I slowed them down. We barely had enough time to drink some potions before the room began to fill with smoke.

In the next room we are meet by a sweltering heat. A bonfire crackles and pops as we enter this completely dry chamber, its flames falling well short of the vaulted ceilings. A large bellows sits near the bonfire and lining the far wall of the chamber are three sleeping cots. Various books, kettles and other detritus litter the floor, and beyond the fire is a gigantic pile of bones, scraps of flesh and skulls of various animals. A strange humming noise permeates the silent room, and it is growing steadily louder.

Dangling ominously from a chain above the fire is a skull made of iron. Patrin, in what I can only surmise is an attempt to knock the skull into the fire, strikes it with his javelin. The clamor of the evil bell awakens a flesh golem from the rubble of body parts in the corner.  As an experienced fighter of flesh golems I know what to do; stay out of Zedheir and Patrins way. The monstrosity is quickly destroyed but not before a team of Redcaps Gnomes appear from a hole in the ceiling at the far end of the room. My companions aim their focus at these new foes as I investigate the Talisman. As I attempt to remove it from its chain I again trigger its evil chime. As before, all of the dead in the room are reanimated. As we defeat them we decide to add the bodies of the dead to the fire. This new fuel causes the fire to blaze so hot that the skull melts away. Safe again, we decide to take a short, much needed, rest to regain our strength.

Through a secret door we find a long narrow, slick looking walkway. Open cages and platforms dangle precariously over a writhing black mass on either side of the isthmus. Light flickers from a fire beyond what appears to be a cage made from stalagmites. Three voices emanating from the direction of the fire are arguing and bickering rising to a crescendo and then falling into silence as you hear a small, barely audible sob say, “Please, dont turn me into you…”

At the end of the pathway there is a wall of force keeping us from entering. Not to be thwarted, Zedheir runs along the wall and I spider climb to a break in the stalagmites. Patrin on the other hand just brakes the stalagmites. Its not long before we have defeated the two green hags and the black hag flees in terror. With Shayen now safe we return her to her home and her older sister. After we recuperate from this adventure we will set out to rescue her twin, Vicia, from the vampires.