Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 68


Character Class Description
Ert Fighter level 1 Lean and dexterous fighter with disheveled hair and wincing eyes.
Algon Thief level 1 Handsome and friendly heartthrob; shifty at heart.
Hist Fighter level 1 Young, overeager, and clean-shaven. Muscles practically bursting out of his armor.
Tarkus the Promising Cleric level 1 Follower of Bachontoi, God of Red Wisdom.
Rashomon Elf level 2 A dangerous looking elf.
Llyfed Elf level 3 Thin and balding elf whom also happens to be Rashomon's friend.
Brent Goose Cleric level 5 An eccentric, but charismatic, cleric seeking the Holy Bird. White robes and black cloak conceal his tall, frail and anemic frame. His eagle-like nose is exposed for all to see.

Maggotfeast 8th, Earthday

“Move! Quick, get into the temple!” Algon yelled at Briaron and acolytes standing guard outside.

A winged, large, black serpentine creature was incoming at great speed. Its horrible shrill could be heard for miles, waking Ert, Hist, Rashomon, Llyfed, and Dorn whom had been trying to rest during the day.

Two acolytes stood frozen; Algon, Briaron, and two others ran into the temple just as the black dragon flew over them.

House crew barred the shutters and closed the doors. Algon fled into the heart of the temple, where exhausted Camus sat on the floor. Brent Goose sat next to him, while Tarkus the Promising jumped up and ran to check where other two acolytes were.

Three clerics—Camus, Brent, and Tarkus—spent the whole day conducting a ceremonial ritual to close the Sinkhole of Chaos; a wound in the very fabric of reality festering in the heart of the temple. It should be no surprise that such endeavourment requires great effort; so much so that it left the clerics completely drained.

Tarkus ran into the chamber where one of the temple entrances was. then through the secret passageway connecting it to the other one, and then up to the stone slab acting as heavy doors. He pushed but it was so heavy!

Man of Law he is, he summoned all the strength he had left and pushed once more. As the doors opened he inhaled strong acidic smell burning his nose hairs. One of the acolytes laid on the floor, his flesh a bubbly, melted mess. Bones were exposed here an there. The man was still whizzing; his death was one of pure agony until his very last moment.

Illustration by kickmaniac

Unwilling to retreat just yet, Tarkus pushed his head out, looking for the other acolyte as well. This one was to the left; same horrible fate as the other one. The cleric let the doors slam shut. Then he ran back into the central chamber.

And what a sight had he encountered there! Algon “I'm hiding in darkness. What?” in a little alcove; Camus with a rejected facial expression sitting on the ground; Brent “I'm too weak to do anything” Goose; and others just standing there.

Tarkus the Motivational Speaker got the surviving two acolytes to join him. They ran back to the temple exit and dragged heavy stone bench in front of the doors. Then they went to other temple exit and prepared an ambush. If they go down, they'll do so on fighting terms!

Eons passed as everyone waited.

High-pitched shrill would remind them what they are waiting for.

Waiting they kept.

And then temple shook.

And then it shook again, and loud, breaking noises echoed throughout Ghinarian Hills.

And temple shook once more; and horrible scream followed.

And then temple shook for the last time as something broke into the entrance barred by Tarkus.

Algon, whom had came out of the hiding during on of the tremors, suddenly saw a flash of daylight to his right. A then a black, slithering, scaly mass filled the corridor.

There are no words that can sufficiently convey how quickly did these adventurers run out of that temple.

Standing at the edge of the cliff they could see Ert, Hist, Rashomon, Llyfed, and Dorn running out of the stone building to join them.

Tarkus and acolytes were helping Camus walk.

Algon decided to take the shortcut by scaling 40 feet down the escarpment. Still sweaty from the stress and panic, he slipped, lost footing, and fell. A wet, crunchy splash was heard by all.

Hist felt excruciating pain with every step; like his arm was melting. Ert on the other hand, felt certain weakness in his body. Adrenaline pushed them both onwards.

At this moment the party on the temple plateau learned what was the source of tremors.

A sixty feet tall eagle idol of Shang Ta had been toppled down. Its large body laid broken on the staircase: its head smashed to pieces. Wings were nowhere to be seen.

Night was about to fall any moment now.

Standing at the low plateau, they party discussed their options.

“Monsters here have a pattern. They attack us and then they leave. Maybe this one will leave too?”

“We are all wounded, exhausted, and now also without supplies. We should head back and live to fight another day.”

Tarkus and Ert decided to remain here and monitor the temple.

The rest lit up their torches and started their descent towards Ahyf. After few hours of march they found the safest spot and made a cold camp. They'd wait for Tarkus and Ert until sunrise.

The duo never came.

“Son, I cleaned your wound as much as I could. We have to get you to Ahyf as soon as possible. My notes and herbs and salves are there. I'll be able to help you there.”

Camus knew the situation was worse than that. Necrosis was already setting in. But he did not want to break Hist's spirit. Perhaps he misunderstood the young man, whom had stoically endured everything so far.

They descended from Ghinarian Hills on the morning of Maggotfeast 10th. A patrol from Ahyf accosted them. Camus was missing for more than a week and they were worried the man had fallen. No, they were not happy to learn two of their own died atop the hill.

Hist was rushed into Ahyf. His options were grim: wait next day until Camus had sufficient rest and prays for divine guidance or have surgery right now or decide how he wants to die.

“I will wait.”

On the dawn of Maggotfeast 11th Camus prayed to Thoth for divine strength to heal this young man dedicated to the cause of Law.

He laid his hands on the mans black wound.

He said all the right words.

He did all the right moves.

The scarring was gone.

But decay and rot was still destroying Hist from inside.

“Do what you have to do.”

“Can he operate with a mace?” someone less versed in surgical matters was heard.

Camus did his best.

It was not good enough.

Hist passed away due to great bloody loss following the amputation of his arm.

“How much longer shall we wait?”

“It's night, do you think we'd see it leave?”

The duo decided to retreat back to Ahyf as well.

They travelled without torches and with very little moonlight.

They too decided to cold-camp.

Much to their surprise, once the sun came up they were not where they expected to be.

Luckily for them, they could spot the temple summit a mile or so away from them.

Tarkus noticed Ert was shivering.

“Are you cold?”

“No, I'm hot... I'm burning...”

The duo hiked back to the temple; they reasoned they could find the trail leading to Ahyf there. Otherwise they'd risk weeks of meandering around the hills. Given they had no food nor water, that was a rather a risky option.

With great effort, little luck, and much hardship they party descended Ghinarian hills at the end of Maggotfeast 11th. Too hungry, thirsty, and exhausted to force march during the night, they decided to sleep and go on in the morning.

Sun woke only one of them.

Tarkus buried his friend and then dragged himself to Ahyf.

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