Pharast 4th, 4711 A.R., Fireday
Hex 15.28, Mouth of Doom
Jade, Kryfir, Chem and Argento had reached a dead end – or so they thought. Kryfir ran his hands carefully along the stones of the wall, and found that an entire section swung on a hinge. He pushed the secret door open and they entered the next room. Garion, Andronitus, Bellabee, Rana and Accolon were catching up, busy exploring behind them.
Jade entered the room carefully. It was an empty chamber with passages leading north and south. The north passage was closer, so she peered around the corner, and something moved, lashing out at her. A gelatinous cube lunged toward her, filling the 10-foot wide north corridor. The nimble monk sprang backward, almost knocking over Kryfir who was following close behind her.
The Oread monk launched a barrage of unarmed strikes at the cuboid ooze, causing membranes to rupture inside it. Chem started quickly mixing reagents as she saw what they faced. She thought she could neutralize the acidic attacks of the ooze if given enough time. Argento was just behind her.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Antacid,” she replied flatly; she didn’t want to get distracted. She held it up, and entered the room behind Kryfir, ready to toss her admixture.
“It’s probably not going to work,” he shook his head, and stabbed the ooze with his ghost touch shortsword. Clear jelly leaked out of the wound.
Kryfire nocked and loosed several arrows in rapid succession that pierced through the cube. It sputtered and began losing its shape, disintegrating into a slimy, quickly expanding puddle.
Chem put her concoction away, shaking her head in disappointment.
The remains of the gelatinous cube’s previous meals revealed themselves as its clear viscera oozed into the cracks between the floor’s flagstones. A suit of chainmail armor, some coins, a skeleton, a purple gem, a spearhead and a handful of arrows were among the remains.
Chem handed their bag of holding to Kryfir, who scooped up the armor and arrows, coins and gem, which went inside. Argento pocketed the spear head. Chem frantically scooped gelatinous stuff into test tubes before it all leaked away.
Rana caught up to them. Accolon, Andronitus and Bellabee retired to the entrance to stand watch. Chem sent pinky down the long southern hall to scout. The little rat scampered back shortly after, looking panicked.
“Skeletons! Lots of skeletons!” he squeaked as he scampered back to her, circling her nervously. Chem drank a shield extract. She moved ahead a bit, cautiously. Her helmet candle faintly illumined a wall to her right that was riddled with fossilized skeletons, frozen in time.
Argento shot one with an arrow, just to see what would happen. It plinked off a stone skull and fell to the ground. He ‘hrm’d.’
To the right there was another chamber, past the wall, through an open archway. Every wall inside that room was likewise covered in fossilized skeletons.
Rana brandished her scythe and entered. She felt a rush of energy as the walls suddenly started disgorging skeletons into the room, no longer fossilized. They clattered to the floor as piles of bones, and slowly started re-forming in a horrific scene. At the same time, a stone slab fell from over the entrance archway, and crashed to the floor with a boom. Rana was sealed inside. The skeletons started to surround her, and also began bleeding, covering their bones and the floor in sticky crimson.
Chem quickly fused a bomb, told the others to stand back, and tossed it at the sealed portal. Some debris showered them, but the stone slab remained.
Kryfir found a notch in the floor under the stone that they could lift from. Jade squatted in front of it, and lifted, straining her whole stony body in an attempt to raise the slab.
Inside, Rana growled, eyes blazing and scythe red-hot. She planted her feet and swung her scythe in mighty arcs, splintering one skeleton, sending bones flying toward the far wall. The ones behind her raked at her with sharp, cold bloody claws.
Jade had lifted the door enough for them to squat down and peek underneath. They heard Rana growling and raging, saw her swinging her scythe powerfully.
“We’re coming!” Chem assured her.
Garion huffed as his short legs carried him toward the commotion. He saw Jade straining to open the stone portal. She had her back to it, and her thighs were straining hard. The cleric prayed, and imbued her with the strength of Angraadd. They heard Rana howl in pain from inside the room.
Kryfir nocked an arrow and aimed it at the portal, waiting for a shot. Jade was bolstered with new strength, and began slowly raising it, sweat covering her. Inside, Rana smashed two more, yelling in rage as the smashed, bloody bones hit the walls. Jade had the door up, Kryfir sent two arrows into the mix of bones.
Chem tossed a positive-energy infused bomb into the midst of them, a flash of pure light that was anathema to the undead. Four of them disintegrated at Rana’s feet. Garion channeled his god’s healing energies to turn the last two to dust. Everything was quiet, except for the sound of Rana and Jade breathing hard. The walls of the room looked like there were never any skeletons there at all. Chem tapped her with her healing wand, reducing the claw marks on her back to sealed scars.
Turning left revealed a short passage leading north that terminated at a closed door. In front of it sat a pair of boots and a single glove. Jade cautiously inspected them, and the door. It was covered with some kind of sticky substance, she determined. Chem poked around at it a bit, and confirmed that it was sovereign glue – it formed an almost unbreakable bond with anything that touched it.
Jade kicked the door in, and it flew open. Inside the small room was a chest sitting up against the far wall, and a skeletal hand beside it. It looked as if it had been sawn off at the wrist.
Kryfir pulled out his bedroll and began slicing it up, as they believed the glue also coated the floor. He tossed it out as a welcoming mat so they could reach the chest safely. Kryfir checked it out, it seemed to be bolted to the floor but untrapped. He opened it – it was full of coins. Several hundred were dumped into the bag of holding – 501 precisely; all gold, with one silver piece. Kryfir pocketed the latter, just in case.
They returned to the entrance room via the portcullis alcove. Argento spiked the pit trap so they could pass unhindered. As they walked past the northernmost door – the only alcove undecorated by iconography – a magic mouth appeared in the blank space. It intoned a tired warning about the dangers of entering this place, ‘Rappan Athuk,’ it said – the ‘Dungeon of Graves.’
They moved along single file to the eastern wall. There were two alcoves on that wall – one they had already probed, and another that Argento learned didn’t lead anywhere. The door handle was the trigger for a pit trap. They prepared to delve into the eastern side of the complex.
Argento heard something coming from behind the north door. A shadowy black demonic figure passed through it. Garion was surprised as it moved straight past him, muttering something in Abyssal. It seemed very much at home, and barely gave them a second glance as it moved to the portcullis archway and began resetting the trap that Argento had disabled.
Garion had an idea about what this Invidiak demon could do to them, and he politely walked the other direction as it went about its business. They all shot each other confused and concerned (and some amused) glances, but they continued on with an unspoken ‘agree to disagree’ arrangement with the shadow demon.
They traversed the eastern passage, and turned north at a 4-way intersection. It continued north for about 20 feet, then terminated in a dead end, with doors leading east and west. Jade moved up to inspect them, and barely avoided a pit trap that opened under her feet at the threshold. She wasn’t worried though – the shadow demon would put it back. Argento moved up and spiked the pit closed so they could walk on it.
He opened the east-facing door, revealing a smallish square room, lit by a few candles. Four reavers stood around inside, weapons drawn.