I’m writing this note quickly before taking my rest for the night, thankful I am that one of the members of our party had some parchment and a quill so that I may jot down a count of my adventures, the brothers will undoubtedly enjoy a good read once I return.
Let’s start back a bit…
Leaving out early on the morning of the 4th day, we were lucky and found good spots to camp that night, as well as the night of the 5th day of travel. The two full days of travel seemed to bleed together as there wasn’t much talking, everyone intent on getting to their destination and carefully watching their footing. Throughout the two days there was never a sign of the two Deep Gnomes. Along the way I pondered their disappearance…were they trying to get away from the party for their own personal reasons? Were they trying to scout ahead? Were they led away by an unknown force? Or, could they have been malicious from the start, and this was their first opportunity to actually break free without having to explain to the rest of us what they were doing? All good questions, but questions without answers until we come across the diminutive little creatures.
As we made our way to an acceptable camping spot, I noticed the geography change…from the softer and wetter clay to much more solid bedrock. My senses tell me we are also now descending deeper into the Underdark.
Setting camp and taking turns at the watch, the night went by uneventfully.
Waking on the 6th day, we made our way in the same direction as the day before, mostly due Northwest towards Sloobludop, or so Shuushar insists. If he has malicious intent, he hides it well, but I won’t rule anyone out as I know a person’s true nature is not always worn on their sleeve. The tunnels have widened a bit and we are now able to travel in pairs side by side. I am up front, it seems logical given my ancestry and superior eyesight compared to my other comrades from the surface. I notice the many chutes that seem to be connecting into the tunnel we are following, almost as if giant ants or bees had made a maze of the area. I know the Underdark is full of tunnels, for many reasons, but I still keep my eyes peeled like usual, awaiting an unknown and unwelcome predator. Up ahead in the distance, after passing many such chutes, something caught my eye…movement, and something slightly hairy disappears up into a chute. I quickly called a stop to the caravan and alerted everyone to what I saw.
Inching forward carefully, I can just make out some clothing and what appears to be a Drow hand crossbow leaning against the wall and floor. Relaying the information, we look more closely and agree it seems like the clothing and items that our Deep Gnome companions were wearing. I wasn’t sure what to make of this pile…why would they shed their clothing and weapons willingly? On high alert now, I scan the area looking for potential threats and excited to have to do so. The monotony of the 2 day trek was wearing on me; my body was craving a challenge and I am eager to solve this puzzle! Looking back I noticed a strange look on Galathalas’ face, his head cocked slightly to the side as if he’s hearing something, but he said nothing to me so I assume he is once again having an internal conversation with himself.
Looking up the chute, I reflexively cast Dancing Lights up into the shaft to see what is to be seen. It goes up a bit but then turns, preventing us from really seeing anything further. The walls seem easy enough to climb though. Before we can attempt the climb, Stool puffs out his spores, allowing for easy communication among the entire party. As they drift up the shaft we can all hear another sound…could it be Topsy and Turvy? We ask them telepathically, “Topsy and Turvy!? Are you there? Are you hurt?”, and we can hear a reply back, as if they are speaking to us…but the thoughts are unintelligible in our heads.
Not sure what else to do, we decide to ascend the shafts and see what is up there. Derendil seems a likely person to start this up as his natural ability to scale walls would make him the most efficient.
He happily agrees and makes his way to the chute. Continuing to use the spores for communication, we follow his progress mentally as he ascends and rounds the corner, eventually coming out into a tunnel above that is similar to our own, but appears to open up more. He isn’t sure but he thinks he may have seen something at the far end of his vision.
Ian turns to Shuushar and asks, “Dos this tunnel above lead in the same direction as our current tunnel?”
“*Gurgle* I know not this tunnel’s path, I’ve only been on the way we travel now, but if it runs along above us it may very well gurgle end in the same location…and it may be a dead end after days of travel,” Shuushar responds in his watery voice.
The party agrees that we could at least check it out and return back down to our current path should we need to. One by one we start to climb, making our way up top.
Once there we spread out and keep our eyes peeled, moving forward, I also see something scamper away right at the edge of my vision. We move forward, sending the lights out and around as far as able, hoping to shine a dim light on anything lurking in the shadows. The area is much, much larger than we initially thought…walking along a walkway across a ravine that goes down to large pools of luminescent water, a ceiling soaring higher than we can see. We slowly make our way across the natural rock bridge, only to be taunted another time by the barely seen movement of two creatures at the edge of our vision.
After two such instances of this cat-and-mouse routine, we all feel that we’re being toyed with. We don’t know if it’s Topsy and Turvy under a spell, or if it’s them at all, but our instincts are telling us to not follow any further. We start making our way back and will just have to trust that the Deep Gnomes had their reasons for their departure…if these creatures are them, then we are better off without them, and if not we should continue on in hopes of running into them.
Once back to the shafts, we descend one by one with Galathalas being the last one down. I was the second one down, immediately after Derendil, and noticed that Gal wasn’t down right after Ian. Just then, I heard a yell from above, obviously one of concern from the sound of the voice, Gal’s voice. I am not as near a chute as the others who came down behind me, so Ian and Lutien ascend before I can. While they are climbing up one chute I pick anohther near and with all haste spiderclimb up it as quickly as possible, my shortsword dangling from my side as my fingers search for grooves in the rock wall one after the other. Once I get there, I find what seems to be some sort of ethereal demon. Not knowing what I’m dealing with but knowing those that depend on the darkness don’t appreciate the light, I reached down into my Drow heritage and casts Faerie Fire across the head and shoulders of the demon nearest my companions. There’s a viscous glob on the ground, apparently Gal tried to restrain it but it seems to have slipped through…and during the fight, I noticed Lutien draw and fire an arrow off into the distance, to a secondary enemy apparently, but follows up the shot with a frustrated sound, apparently having not hit his mark. These demons it would seem take more than a mundane weapon to slay them because it’s highly unlikely Lutien missed his mark…
Ian steps up next, brandishes his sword and holy symbol and barks out a quick spell, then slices across the fiend’s midsection, scoring a hit with his enchanted weapon. The wound didn’t seem to look bluish like other wounds have when hit with his rapier, I make sure to make a mental note for the future that these spawn may ignore damage of the cold variety.
Not wasting any time, I step forward, feint to the right side with my shortsword held low, then pivot around and make an upward slash along the left flank of the ghastly demon, it wails out as the magical weapon strikes true. My instinct is to lash out with a roundhouse as well, but I know before striking that my training hasn’t progressed to the point that my body would do much good against the likes of such a being. Pulling back, I draw some of the Ki forward from my abdomen to prepare for a dodge should the beast or his ally decide to attack my way next.
At that moment, Eldeth comes barreling out of one of the chutes and charges headlong for the creature. She chants in Dwarvish as she gets close and her shield appears to hum with power, extending slightly as she gets closer. She slashes out at the beast, further damaging its shadowy flesh. It wails in protest as it turns to her.
Galathalas moves slightly from behind his cover to lash out with an Eldritch Invocation, sharp words slither through the air as a bolt of energy blasts from his hands and beam unerringly into the chest of the rather worn looking demon. It shrieks and falls back a step, not defeated but looking worse for wear, and much, much angrier.
Before the demon can re-orient itself, Ian steps forward and slashes out again at the demon, this time though the demon doesn’t fair as well. With a magic infused voice it seems, Ian screams out “THE POWER OF KELEMVOR COMPELS YOU!!” and his sword nearly hums with divine energy as he brings it crashing down on the demon. The radiant infused weapon seemed to part the upper half of the beast from his lower half, cleaving him right in two, ending the fight as abruptly as it began.
Seeing the radiant glow and wanting no part of it, the other demon screeches off into the northern passage, away from the party.
With no time to catch our breath, we descend once again, this time with Galathalas in the lead only to see the demon that left, buzz by us more quickly than we can react, down the chute and back down the tunnel from which we came. We know not what it was after or why it was going that way, but we decide to cut our losses and move on in the original direction with all haste. We are curious as to what has transpired with the two Deep Gnomes, but we felt it prudent to move ahead. On top of it, there’s a curious sound that we can all hear, that of kids crying, voices drifting in and out with no apparent source…something none of us can explain, and none are too eager to try and track it down, so we make our way forward.
We traveled ahead at a normal pace, looking for a decent spot to camp but failed to find even a remotely defensible position. Several of the party members looked worn and weary but we had to push on. After another 7 hours we came across a spot that would work well enough for the night. Taking our turns at watch, we decide to take shifts of two in case of a problem. I plan to take my watch with Buppido, and both of us agree that it could be beneficial to keep ourselves as hidden as possible to be able to give surprise to their enemies should one attempt an attack during the night. The plan is to sit far enough apart to not be in each other’s way should a fight erupt, but close enough for some very quiet conversation while on duty…