So, this week in the Anduwin Chronicles….
Darkness all but surrounds the party in the tunnel. The lantern Granuaile lit barely seems to puncture the cold and uninviting shadow. The sounds of explosions and gunfire still echo in the chamber about the group, but as they press onwards, the dark becomes quieter, with just the footfalls against stone, and water dripping to the floor in a gentle, near silent rhythm. The group travel down deeper smelling a damp and putrid scent until before them, a series of barrels sits. Going through them there are signs of moss, and rotting food, from long long ago. Brant takes some time to look for signs of Thieves Cant, but the containers are so old and mouldy that he is unsuccessful. He thinks that this cave, given its proximity to the city, and its relative secrecy, may have been an old smugglers route. Finding nothing of value, the party decide to press on with some thoughts of safety. If this is indeed a smuggling route then there may be a way out the other side, but there are thoughts of what awaits the group, and whether it be friend or yet more foes.
The tunnel widens into a natural cavern, and further down, 428 notices a room covered in huge bulging purple roots with a thick silvery liquid seeping off them. The roots themselves crawl across the cavern’s surfaces above, and below, and the pools of silver gather where the flooring dips, or stream along the roots and vines. Brant and Journ’ee begin to test the silver liquid, using a combination of techniques from Journ’ee’s time as an explosives and detonations expert, as well as Brant’s own alchemical training. The two soon discover it is acidic and highly corrosive. Seeing this Journ’ee suggests it reminds him of the Roots of Evil, and that he feels evil itself seems to be growing and feasting on the destruction in Bukká Mortainé right now. Stabbing the roots with a dagger Granuaile releases more silver acid, which initially gushes out then the silver slows to a trickle. This is likened to cutting flesh, and silver is behaving much like blood, providing something to the vines, but also spurting out when the plant is cut. It is only after this revalation that the half-orc realises that the silver has melted the dagger used for Granuaile’s cut. Sivaras’ bear form begins to shed fur, leaving a scattering of hairs across the dark flooring, as she returns to her feminine guise. Once she is herself again, and whilst Journ’ee and Brant conduct their respective experiments, she puts her spell book down, and begins the process of finding out if this liquid or anything else around the group carries an Aura of Magik. She marks out runes, drawing their shapes with her staff in the ground, and then begins to chant her spell. The light goes out, and the silver seems to emit a glow of its own, confirming that it is indeed magik, or at the very least some part of it is.
428 takes his time whilst the studies of the liquid and the various magiks occur, and begins to search the space. As he does so, he notices a slight sliver of something on the chamber ceiling. When he draws attention to what he saw no one else sees it. Journ’ee, having finished his science chooses to keep his eyes upwards and clasps eyes with a creature. He is frozen in place and seems unable to move, in much the same way as Brant himself is able to bewitch people. Realizing that there is a creature in this chamber Brant rolls a vile of venom across the floor to cause a distraction. A blur of motion is sudden as a creature skitters across the chamber at immense speed to bite into the vile. The distraction successful. It rushes the vile, and bites it as it keeps moving, vanishing from view once more.
The next that is known of the creature is when it drops from the ceiling and immediately grapples Sivaras. She is used to beating foes with her magik and mind, and so to physically escape this hold is nearly impossible. In the glow of the silver acid a massive creature with a thick carapace, antenna and crab like claws can be seen holding the druid to its own body. It stands on two muscular hind legs nearly twelve feet from floor to antenna tip, with four arms growing from its abdomen, the top two of which end in claws. The bard takes action again, and tries to parkour his way up the crustacean, in order to be on top of it. Once there, he begins to slash and hack at it, hoping to chop off antennas while Granuaile’s Bladed Magi training is used again. This time, she unleashes another bolt of flaming energy. Still smaller than the blasts cast by Magnus. The giantkin rushes the enemy’s massive form, and draws his axe whilst he runs. As soon as he is near enough, 428 hacks at its legs. The three attacking the crustacean seems to be enough to cause it to lose its grip on Sivaras, as she is thrown towards a pool of the silver acid but just manages to catch herself on the vines. There doesn’t seem to be any acid on this vegetation, and she narrowly misses a fall into acid of who knows how deep. Journ’ee commands his magikal rope to lasso the druid and helps to pull her from the vine, to the cavern floor. The dwarf pulls Sivaras back to the party and away from acid and holds her, for a moment too long. Granuaile changes tactic, and aims her magik at the acid plant on the ceiling above the creature. Clear and forceful energy beams from her open palm and snaps the structure. Silver acid from within cascades onto the beast with the bard still holding on on top of its head. Fortunately Brant was able to tumble out of the way, avoiding the acid, whilst still brandishing his blade to remove the creature’s method of seeing. 428 stops swinging his axe, realising that the creature’s carapace is too thick, but he sees the impact the poured acid has had, and so decides to drag the creature to an acid pool. He manages to slowly pull it towards the acid whilst the rest of the group continues to hurl various attacks and spells at it. Knowing that Brant is dexterous and can tumble well, having seen him summersault, roll and freerun, 428 flips the crustacean into a suplex, driving it into the acid pool. Brant tries to roll away but when his acrobatic skills are needed the most, he slips in something on the creature’s head. Perhaps acid, perhaps some of its blood from his sword strikes. Whatever it is, he goes into the acid as well.
They both instantly suffer an incredible burning from the acid and the pain of it knocks Brant to unconsciousness. The creature is also knocked out by pain, but both are still alive. The acid continues to work, eroding the shell and the softer inside continuously, leaving the beast dead. Whilst that burning continues, 428 realises Brant isn’t to be seen. The giantkin wades into the acid to find him. 428 manages to find Brant’s body and throws it out of the pool with no finesse. The bard is badly burned, but is alive. As soon as Sivaras sees the halfling thrown from the pool, she whispers a healing spell to Brant. Green white light bathes him, as the magik cures the bard, but does not seem to be able to close the burns and wounds on his skin. He is stable, but remains unconscious. 428 then wades out of the acid looking as burnt and damaged as Brant does. He is completely naked as the acid melted all of his none magikal items, leaving just his enchanted axe unharmed.
The group tend to themselves quickly, before they decide to move, realising that it may not be safe here, having only just survived the attack from one of those creatures. The unconscious but alive Brant is laid on Julio and the battered and bruised group travel onwards until the tunnel seems to grow into another small cavern which Granuaile surmises may be the crustaceans’s lair.
An hour is taken to rest after a challenging battle, and whilst resting, and tending wounds properly, the party take stock of their surroundings. In the lair are stacks of papers, leather and metals. All sorted into piles, arranged by material. Whilst searching Lady Granuaile uncovers the pieces to make plate armour. There is also a damaged book with dwarven writing inside. Journ’ee translates the tome for the rest of the group. It tells of an expedition to a dark place. The expedition itself apparently ended in tragedy. After the rest, Brant wakes, and inspects his body. He turns his cloak to better hide the healing scar tissue on one side of his face and body, and pulls his cloak’s hood up, to add shadow to his now mutilated visage.
Continuing through the clearly dangerous smuggling tunnel, Granuaile leads the group to a vast thousand foot wide perfectly spherical structure. A huge room, with five metallic discs. Journ’ee is quiet, but then reminds the party of his time when he was transported to another place. Journ’ee indicates that it was a structure like this, with metallic discs that teleported him, and so believes this devise too can transport people to another plane.
Travelling into the domed chamber, the party make their way to the centre of the sphere via a tall narrow metal spiral staircase. At its heart, there lies a small stone bowl of silvery liquid. Much the same as in the crustacean’s chamber. However, in this bowl, the group notices that there are more purple vines and roots. They appear to be originating from this place, this bowl. Sivaras again begins to sense the Aura’s of Magik, and is overwhelmed by the colossal amounts of explosive elemental magik coming from the bowl. Hiding beneath this elemental destructive energy, she also senses an illusion, and some transportative enchantment. The bowl may not be what it appears and Journ’ee may indeed be correct about the items ability to transport people to other places. Realising this, the group turn to look at the dwarf who would normally have said something smug about him being correct when so many others doubted him. However, Journ’ee appears to be overcome by some other entity’s will and walks forward. He activates the bowl, but it is unclear how, other than reaching his hand towards the vines. The metal rings begin to spin. Rotating at increasing speed. The rings whirl and the magik builds. From each disc the magik emits a glow of heat from their motion, but also of something more arcane in nature. The glow builds into a crescendo of light until the group is surrounded by a blinding radiance. The light becomes too much and overloads everyone senses. When feeling and sensation return, the party find themselves in a lush green paradise with calm air and marble stone beneath buildings. In the clear beautiful sky, hang two moons – one deep red moon, the other a vacant grey. Before the party a figure walks down lengthly marble steps between two imposing columns. The tall figure is thin, and hairy, a humanoid covered in a layer of ginger brown fur. He wears a green leather trench coat and has a pair of technological goggles resting on his forehead. Brant, Granuaile, and 428 recognise this man as Rhogar Sandlewood, a fallen party member.
And that’s where we left off…