Jul 22, 2008

Darkness and Light: The Serpent, and the Statue

The party made camp above ground atop the ruins of the Temple of the Flaming Fist. They spent the night resting and treating their wounds from the barbarian attack they were lucky to have survived.

* Bergin cast divine spells to heal the most wounded members of the party,
* while Hunter used his herbal skills to treat the others.
* Adow studdied the books and papers he'd found in one of rooms below,
* while Greybear, Theo, and Jeswin helped make camp and prepare dinner.

That night, while Hunter was on watch, he saw a wounded eagle being swatted around by a "playful" bear cub. He was able to befriend the little animal and send him on his way before the cub did any further damage to the eagle. With great skill, Hunter removed an unusually large black thorn that had temporarily crippled the bird. The rest of the evening passed by without further disruption.

The next day the party returned to exploring the underground complex, still searching for the Gem of Amara. The party continued down the same hallway where they encounter the barbarian the previous day. The first room two rooms seemed to be training areas, with the walls covered in carvings of monks fighting all manner or men and monsters. The second room also contained rugs, food, and other gear the hobgoblin traveled with. Additionally, these walls were also marred with scratches and gouges that looked like words and phrases. Since no one could read that particular language, the exact meaning wasn't discovered.

Traveling further down the hall, the party entered wide open area. Just then, flying around a corner at the far end of hallway, a large reddish dragon appeared that reeked of sulfur, with bits of light and heat leaking out from under it's scaly hide. Landing in front of the group, the dragon unleashed a wave of flame from it's huge mouth. Everyone was caught in the flames, some suffering it's effects more than others.

red dragonAs the party tried surrounding the creature, it unleashed various attacks, from it's terrible bite, to a pair of sharp front claws, as well as slapping opponents with it's wings and even it's tail. Nowhere was safe from attack.

With the battle going badly and everyone hurt, the group retreated above ground as quickly as possible. Luckily the dragon did not pursue. Topside, the group spent a couple of days healing before returning underground to explore other pathways in the hope of avoiding the dragon.

large monstrous spiderDown one particular path they started to enter a huge chamber but got caught up in the thin but strong webbing of a pair of large spiders. Theo was quickly pulled free of the entanglement while the rest of the party killed deadly arachnids. Entering the room, they noticed several large cocoons in the corners of the room... to their suprise, one man-sized cocoon was still wiggling as if trying to free itself from the webby tomb. As the part cut away the encasement, it turned out to contain a ghoulish monstrosity and not a helpless human life. Adow quickly destroyed the creature while Bergin said a quick prayer for its soul.

The room was huge, measuring over 50 feet square, with a large domed ceiling depicting row upon row of monk warriors standing ready for battle. The room was pretty empty except for the usual bits of debris collecting in the corners of the room. Along the far wall, the party found two sets of strange holes evenly spaced. The holes were empty, except for some old bits of splintered wood. Otherwise, the room held nothing of interest, nor any clues as to what the holes were for.

At a dead end, the party went about exploring one of the other pathways... Down the next hallway, the first door was closed and no sounds could be heard from within. Peeking inside, they saw a large red spotted centipede curled up in the center of the room, apparently dead. In the back of the room were two other centipedes that immediately started crawling toward the opening. At the right moment, the party slammed the door shut crushing the creature while other party members attacked the part of the creature stuck in the hallway. This worked more or less for both creatures, with only one or two party members getting nipped by the creatures mandibles. Inside the room, the party found a collection of old useless tools. Where there was metal, it was covered in rust, where there was wood, it was rotted and crumbed at the slightest touch.

an allipContinuing down the hallway, the party went around a corner and hear faint mumbling around the next corner. As the turned, they saw a vaguely humanoid form composed of black wisps of ethereal smoke seemingly chanting before a statue. As the party approached it turned to confront. While many of the party's attacks slipped around or through the ghostly being, it could be affected by magical weapons and spells. With each magical attack, more and more of the inky smoke disappeared until it finally dissolved away.

As the party surveyed the room they noticed a dead body in one corner. Long dead, this person was now reduced to bone and bits of cloth. Jesswin noticed that the cloth resembled what he'd seem of the monk's garb in the Temple. Unlike other rooms where dust and debris would collect, this room remained relatively clean.

The most disturbing feature of the place, was the central statue on the far war. Cast in fine bronze, the statue depicted a man, his eyes wide like a madman covered in barbs of bone that tore through the flesh. The most disturbing feature of this macabre artwork was the mouth. Seemingly stretched to human limits, a large python snake was shown coming out of the throat, it's body wrapping around the torso and leg before coming up the back. Both heads, ophidian and human, had the same general look and sinister appearance.

At the base of the statue was an inscription in an ancient language. It read:

DaiHauk Triumphant

Adow was able to recall that DaiHauk (pronounced Dayhawk) was one of the Fallen, a godling cast out of the divine realms at the end of the All Saints War. The design of the statue showed that it was created at the same time as the temple, it was not a later addition after the complex fell... Adow and Jesswin began to notice subtle snake images in the wall sculptures that adorned almost every room.

As the party searched they found a secret passage that lead to another door and a hidden hallway leading back toward the main entrance. Through the other door, which was hidden on the other side, the party entered a large hall that everyone felt lead dangerously close to where the infernal dragon was first encountered.

Rather than explore further, the party returned topside. It appeared that another fight with the dragon could not be avoided.

The party set off for Dun Eamon, a nearby trading town, to gather supplies for an assault on the dragon's lair...