S18: Out of the Darkness…
Dateline: The Crypt of Green Flames
The surviving members of House Ne’eroun, having met up with the warlock sage, Zubyr, travel deep beneath the Crypt of Green Flames in search of the corrupting influence poisoning the local ley line.
The steep, sloping tunnels become uncomfortably warm and humid as the party descends. As their path levels off they enter a series of slick tubes that pulse in a rhythmic cadence. Following scabrous furrows in the floor, they make their way to the center of the complex, encountering and dispatching more of the ravenous white worms. There, in the large chamber, a blasphemy transpired.
The worm faced creature from above…was not a singular presence! Three more of the undead occupied places around a rune covered altar comprised of polished bone. Atop the altar, a figure lay bound by taut sinew. Here, the miasma of necrosis was palatable and the House acted from surprise nearly felling one suffragan and buying time as the ritual stuttered.
Ardul’Amal, knowing she had handily banished one such creature, strode forth, the power of Lolth pouring from her hands.
Olwen charged the wounded suffragan and dispatched it with her mighty warhammer.
Shoopin aided Amal with spell and “mother’s” words of encouragement, helping spur her onward.
Zubyr drew forth his weapon and intercepted two shadows attempting to flank Amal.
The suffragans, feeling the ritual begin to falter and with one of their members down, commanded hidden minions to devour the interlopers. Shadows and white worms entered from within side chambers. The House though dispatched these minions of festering rot until only the two suffragans remained. One of the undead grasped Zubyr with a blighted claw and dark pestilence lanced up his chest and neck. With a hollow impact, he fell to his knees his head bent forward in agony. As both suffragans converged on her, Ardul’Amal called to her sister and servant to fell these curs once and for all.
Glancing left, Amal saw what her sister and servant has seen. Four new shadows had risen from the floor not twenty feet from her. Looking to her right at the shining armor of her last remaining sibling, Amal caught Olwen in a gaze that seemed to extend far longer than the seconds it lasted. Olwen smiled and nodded to her sister and then nudged Shoopin.
“Farewell. Dear Sister.” Shoopin said in Olwen’s voice.
Olwen and Shooping turned and retreated towards the cavern entrance…
…and the doorway of expanding emerald flame that was manifesting in their path. The pair stopped as the doorway disgorged a hulking duegar who headed directly for the intended sacrifice. Next came a woman in bright plate who ignited a flaming sword upon entering. She charged the suffragans. A gnome stepped through and though small, she anticipated the actions of her fellows and caused their targets to glow with holy fire.
The duegar ended the threat of the ritual by freeing the wailing sacrifice with a sweep of his greataxe. He looked at the duegar captive, still raving madly, gave him a look and shrugged “ye reap what ye sow, laddie” and threw him into the middle of the hungry shadows.
The knight cut away the flesh of the suffragans, the last of their number reduced to ash with the gnome’s help.
Ardul’Amal , having sustained grievous wounds, leaned heavily against the wall of the chamber. She seemed to be muttering to herself. With a quiet, deadly malice she looked at her sister, spat a curse and grasped Zubyr’s arm. They vanished into the floor amidst a ring of purple lightning.
The knight and her companions set the rest of the undead alight and then, smiling sidelong at Olwen and Shoopin, exited the way they had entered. As the duegar stood in the doorway the entire cavern began to decompose. He looked at the remains of House Ne’eroun and chuckled “Lass, laddie…ye might want ta get a move on, this wagons leavin”.
And with that, Olwen and Shoopin stepped out of the darkness and into…