Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 33
|Taegen Ianlynn||Elf level 1||Tan skinned wood elf of magnificent physique. Doesn't hide it.|
|Flamthwynn||Magic-user leve 1||An older gentleman sporting fashionable dark blue robe with purplish overtones. Seeking arcane objects and offensive spell.|
|Blutvarth||Fighter level 1||A skinny man with sharp features, curly hair and a sneering smile. He swears that he is friendlier than he looks.|
|Eccy Throi||Elf level 1||Wears a dark green cloak to hide his bulging muscles and crippling anxiety.|
|Ulster||Fighter level 2||A former caravan guard with a promise to fulfil.|
|Rad||Thief level 1||A young, short and malnourished rogue.|
|Adkin the Butcher||Fighter level 3||A hot headed warrior quick to fury trained by Marco Vitelli, retired quartermaster of the army of the Invincible Overlord.|
|Rhovar||Fighter level 3||A generic Nordic guy.|
|Dave John Basic||Fighter level 3||A village boy with an affinity for stabbing rats.|
Warmshade 12th, Waterday
Slow fire burned under the cauldron with pale green liquid.
“Should we get out?”
“I think this might be our best chance to defeat that evil mushroom...”
“We still haven't found Sinai!”
“How about one more room?”
The adventurers agreed that those burdened with awesome treasure they've just plundered from alien mushroom's chambers should start heading south, towards suspect exit, while the rest will investigate north. Western passageway, the one they came in through, was still blocked by heavy portcullis.
Carefully moving on, the explorers found themselves in the most alien chamber so far. The walls were bulging and warping as if they were melted into shape. A familiar stream went through a grate in the floor, crashing on something hard below.
A round, oddly shaped desk was in the center; a bizarre recliner next to; and a large, warped cabinet extruded from the western atrocity of a wall. Flamthwynn recognised the place as some perverse take on library. Stroking his chin, he announced that he'll be studying the contents of this chamber. Eccy Throi joined in, seeking the spell book his Master sent him after. Rad went for the cabinet. DJ Basic sought rats.
Rest of the party proceeded north, upstream. There they found a massive chamber full of large, human-sized pods hanging from the ceiling. Dozens, and dozens, and dozens...
At this moment Blutvarth the Lizardman begun screaming and shivering—another disgusting metamorphosis was taking place! His scales started peeling off, his yellow eyes burst with force, his razor sharp teeth fell out, and his tails spasmed so hard it broke in places. At the end of this macabre show, Blutvarth the Pink Human was left one the ground, a naked, shrivelling excuse of existence.
He did get some help from the party, but they were more interested in parchments on the table and contents of the cabinet. Indeed, Flamthwynn could read some of them. It were mostly ramblings of a mad person. Calculations of nutrient requirements, plant growth cycles, an the like. He did find an illustration of a cage-like shaped. The text next to it said:
Rad scoured the cabinet for traps. Having found none, he smugly opened it, only to have the cabinet shriek loudly. Alarmed, the thief was joined by Eccy, DJ Basic, and Flamthwynn in smashing it. After they properly beat it up, they proceeded to plunder its innards. They've recovered three scroll cases, presumably with scrolls in them, eight heavy tomes on horticulture, and one large, leather-bound, locked book. The last one was taken by Eccy.
Flamthwynn and Eccy stayed in the library, while the rest joined Adkin and the gang. Together, they went further upstream, and played exterminators for an hour. That's how long it took them to cut down just a little bit over a hundred pods. By the time they were done, all were thoroughly covered in minced fish paste, rotten vegetation, and an assortment of colourful gooey substances.
As this took place, Flamthwynn studied more of the alien notes. An illustration of familiar U-shaped plant with slimy tendrils on the underside had “Shothuar” scribbled next to it. The following unfinished note caught his attention as well:
”...the unexpected result of the experiment has been forced into a larger cavern, where it has, so far, remained peaceful. I can keep it back with its discipline stick, but it has become a very irritating obstacle.”
What about Blutvarth? Well, I'm happy that you remembered him, for he was better off whilst being ignored. Flamthwynn the Master Alchemist, persuaded the young warrior to drink another vial of blood red liquid, which was “most definitely” a healing potion.
Too weak to think or argue, the man downed it all in one go. It went out as fast as it come down. Blutvarth vomited blood all over himself. Eccy and Flamthwynn masterfully evaded the vomit projectiles. The elf couldn't believe how incompetent this lot is.
“Feeling better, boy?”
Too weak to exist, Flamthwynn interpreted the boy's wobbling head as yes. From now, both Herat and Eccy had to assist him. Remembering that Rad felt better after drinking the pale green liquid from the bubbling cauldron, Master Alchemist's next brilliant suggestion was to go for it.
They took (dragged?) Blutvarth to the vat. The boy dunked in his head and took large gulps. Others left him to it, not wishing to risk getting themselves soiled. This time the contents stayed in the boy's belly, and he did feel... warm. Which helped, since he was still naked after the transformation.
By now the Exterminators have rejoined the Healers. The party was now where they were at the beginning of this story—in the cauldron room.
“Let's get out!”
Following southern path led them down the tunnel which entered into yet another large chamber. Entrance was flanked by the upside-down plant cups.
“Shothuar!” Flamthwynn yelled, proving himself actually useful. The plants flattened against the cave wall.
A gravelly, rumbling voice echoed through darkness. It spoke in elven:
“Who goes there? Have you returned to torture me more?!”
Hesitantly entering the cave, the party quickly found the source of this disturbing voice. A twelve foot tall, six-men wide tree was planted in the south-west corner. Its roots were mortared, and many branches were chained to the ground.
“You are not that accursed mushroom... Free me! Free me so I can trash this place!”
“Watch out!” Rad yelled as he noticed two blood-red carpets slowly descending from above. “That's it, we are out of here!”
And so they ran north, upstream, finding themselves at the familiar T-junction. Lowered portcullis was to their right. They were on the right track. Low, hateful grumbling echoed from behind them.
Moving further upstream, the party once again went into the chamber with cages. A dwarf was still imprisoned. The dwarf that turned out to be a horrific black monster last time it escaped.
“Let's kill him!”
“What if the cage is magical and anyone inside looks like a dwarf?”
“Let's open it and see?”
“What if it isn't and it kills us after we let it out?”
“I have an idea.”
The idea was Flamthwynn, and yes, it included passing the liquid to the person being “helped.” In this case it was a vial of ink and a piece of parchment. Surely whatever was inside could write something? Alas, the dwarf was as uncommunicative as it had been before.
Without much else to do, the party proceeded upstream, to exit. They traversed slowly, making sure that the exquisite tapestries don't get damaged. Once again the went for the left tunnel, taking them through the room with fish-mincer. On their way to the the four-way junction with wood divider, DJ Basic noticed something odd to his left.
There was a dry tunnel they've always ignored since they assumed it to be a dead end. Also, entrance into it was basically a collection of ropy pillar of fungus growth spanning from floor to ceiling. But this time it seemed as if these pillars were moving towards them.
“Guys, check this out...”
“What are you seeing?
“I'm not sure...”
“How shall we resp–”
Before Adkin had the chance to finish his sentence, a massive mound of vegetation shambled out of the fungal wall. It engulfed both Adkin and DJ Basic in a single attack. They found themselves in a green hell, with endless tendrils constraining their limbs.
Rhovar immediately dropped the tapestry he was holding, and joined the fray. Flamthwynn, Eccy and few others fled upstream. Taegen the Invisible, Rhovar, Rad, Ulster gave it their best, but haven't managed to land more than two blows.
Having absorbed two of their members, the monster retreated back into the fungal overgrowth. Party desperately tried to hit it with their missile weapons, including burning oil, but once again missed. With a heavy heart, they too retreated upstream.
Adkin and DJ Basic fought the tendrils with all their might.
“Oh, no, you green demon, you will go down with me!” Adkin muttered. He would've rather set himself on fire, than die within this glorified pile of leaves. Gathering just enough strength to take out and uncork two of his oil flasks fueled his rage even further.
Flint and steel were. Damn, in which pocket were they? As he struggled to reach them, the innumerable tendrils overpowered him once again. Few constrained around his neck.
DJ Basic also struggled immensely. At one moment he nearly got out, but got pulled in at last moment. He heard Adkin grunts of defiance; he heard the uncorking. Then he heard the vials bouncing off the ground; the clang of flint hitting the hard cavern floor. And then his grunts were the only one.
Until they too, were no more.
“We haven't found Sinai. We lost two more...” Herat lamented as the survivors were greeted by the village boy, their guide.
“There will be time to mourn. But not now.”
Warmshade 13th, Earthday
They rested at Bathdawn, and with the crack of dawn rode off in two separate directions.
Rad, Flamthwynn, Taegen Ianlynn, Eccy Throi, Ulster, and Herat rode to Tenoch, intent on making their meeting with Minn Almar on Warmshade 14th. They reached their destination by the end of fourth watch.
Rhovar and Blutvarth took all the treasure to Antil. They were to gather reinforcements, sell the treasure, and get proper healing for Blutvarth, before joining others in Tenoch. Five giant wolves surprised them in the woods just after they had crossed the majestic river Highcourse.
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