So there we were all just about dead piled into an orcish leaders room with a bear against the door like a big, furry doorstop. We took some time to rest and recover and in the process of recovery also worked our way into a chest in the corner of the room. Z seemed obsessed with just smashing it open and despite her best efforts she only really seemed to make a dent in the floor. Once opened, it was like the best thing that had happened to our group since getting out of jail. We found a quiver of six bolts that I would come to discover resized themselves when I had the quiver on to fit my hand crossbow. Later on I learned that the each of the bolts did something different when fired and would eventually return to the quiver. Some came back sooner than others. It really all depended on exactly what they did. There was also a pretty decent wand in there that Shojin claimed.
When we were done finding new stuff to better ourselves, we set up our first watch and that was when things got… real. I waited until everyone was asleep and I apologized to Shojin for the thing I did with the orc bodies next to the road. I know he never would have known but it bothered me. At least it did until we talked about his philosophy and why he was willing to fight some orcs and not others. Since he was willing to share this somewhat secret part of himself, I felt it only prudent to do the same and so I told him my real name, Violet Underbough. I also told him the truth about where I came from.
And then there were the noises from the hallway. Looking over the bear and through the keyhole we could see orcs that looked similar to those we had killed moving around in the hallway. In addition to that the bodies that had been in the hallway were no longer there. But the “patrols” never seemed to move closer to the door to the room we were in. As such, when it came time for Z and Fayne to take over on watch we let them know what was up and caught some shut eye.
After what for us passed for a good night sleep, I offered to do some recon. I sent one of my babies down the hallway just slowly walking on the floor while I looked through her eyes. What I saw made no sense. The patrol of orcs in this place was looking more and more suspiciously similar to the dead orcs from the prior day. Although day is a relative term in this case because time was just sort of blending together the longer we were down in this place.
Ultimately it didn’t matter because one of them appeared to hear me and then they all started moving down the hallway towards our refuge. Well crap. We made some hasty preparations and locked the door to buy a little time for ourselves, but undead strength pounding on the doors was quickly closing that window of opportunity. When the door finally opened we functioned like a well-oiled automaton.
Which is to say, we were clunky and pretty much tripping over each other and only just barely successful. Gods but we are awful. And when it was done, some of the bodies started to get back up forcing us to kill them again. Which forced us to put them down again and once that was done we began to systematically dismember the bodies, although it looked like little more than crazy people cutting up dead things and piling them in the corner. And with that we put the bear back in front of the door and hid out in our little refuge with a pile of orc parts in the corner. Totally normal, for us anyways.
After a short rest we were again on our way out to search of what lay at the heart of this place and so off we went. I took point and was assessing the first room we came across and when I didn’t find anything I simply crossed the threshold and the next thing I know I’m falling. I am not good at my job. And it was as I was getting up that I found myself beset on what felt like all sides by some both seen and unseen attacker, and my attacker was a big blue and white spider that kept moving appearing and disappearing. And as I’m down in this hole fighting for my life all I can hear from above me is Z calling out “Don’t hurt it, I want it as a pet”. Yeah, I have a lot of choice in the matter as the thing is quickly making short work of my on my lonesome. Shojin was making his way to the ground near me as the thing finally bit me and I slipped into unconsciousness.
When I came to everyone was more or less in the pit I’d fallen into and I was confused as to what was going on. It didn’t matter though, eventually the spider was dispatched and I was left to heal myself, again. Of all of use being terrible at our jobs, Z seemed to be about the worst of us. She was more bloodthirsty than that Gnoman character we knew and all he seemed to know was killing, killing and more killing. Since nobody seemed interested in helping me now that I was conscious, I climbed up out of the hole we had fallen into told the lot of them to piss off and went back to the room we were using for a base. Once there I locked the door, put myself in the chest we’d opened and locked the lid from the inside. I needed time to recover before I did anything else. I wouldn’t get it but it was what I needed.
I’d just fallen asleep when I heard someone trying to open the door to the room my new home was in. Great, more things that would try and kill me. I just kept still and quiet and hoped they would leave me alone. They didn’t. It wasn’t long before what started as someone messing with the door turned into someone beating the door and working to force it open. And as loud and disorganized as it sounded it had to be my “companions”.
Once the door had been forced open, I could hear them talking and looking for me which after a short time turned into someone trying to open the chest I’d taken refuge in. I said nothing. When they couldn’t get it opened then started shaking it. I still said nothing. They picked it up and shook it. I said nothing and tried to hold still. Then I heard one of them talking about seeing a patrol that was both near us and heading towards the entrance to this damnable crypt. And I remembered.
I remembered how we all met on the road to that tiny town not so long ago. I remembered that punk with the whistle and our time in jail. I remembered our trial. I remembered the brothel and our time on the road to get to this point. There was one thing that was constant through all of that. Us. We were who we were. For better or worse and warts and all. But through it all I remembered that feeling of betrayal with that stupid spider. Z and I would hash this out at some point, but not if we died before hand.
So I popped the lid opened and moved towards the door. As I was passing through the door to the room, it looked like they were still figuring out how they were going to fix it. I moved quickly and quietly towards the entrance behind, but not to far, the guard patrol that had just exited. Next to the stairs leading out into what appeared to be nighttime, there was a lever that looked like it should work a portcullis gate thing. I pulled the level and it did lock us in. Which is better maybe than knowing these guards were going to come back and beat our half dead selves the other half of the way.
This got me thinking, how long had we been in here? It was starting to feel like days, but without the sun or moons it was impossible to know just how long we’d been here.
This next part is a little disjointed because a lot happened in a short period of time. I voiced my anger at how things went over the stupid spider and threatened to leave. Things escalated quickly to the point that Shojin snatched up one of my birds and we then got into a war of spells while I kept telling him to return my bird. When it was all said and done the only thing that ended our conflict was the intervention of Fayne and offers to ride her bear. I of course accepted. But I also made it clear that if anyone messed with my birds again, I would make them suffer. I then popped my bird into that place between places I can keep them sometimes and then brought it back on my shoulder. I also let Shojin know that I could have done that the entire time. What I didn’t tell him was that I was just trying to give him the chance to be decent. So, everyone but Fayne appeared to be angry at me at this point. I probably shouldn’t have told Z to sleep with one eye open. It was petty. So we rested again, trying to get ourselves back into something approximating fighting shape.
And then we went further inside. Skulking down hallways and through secret doors we found ourselves faced with a mystery in the form of what looked to be a cavern at the bottom of a well. It was apparently night as moonlight found its way into the room around us. Gods but we had been in here for so long.
From what I can only guess was the bucket at the top of the well there came a soft chuckle. As we started to move into the room to investigate, A hidden gate slammed into the floor behind and between us, separating the group in half. Just great. This was exactly what we needed. Fayne was stuck outside with her bear. Not that it mattered, because at that moment the… thing was upon us. It looked a bit like a glowing, floating head that just kept giggling like an idiot. Also, the bucket was it’s helmet or hat or would it just have been armor if it was just a head surrounded by bucket. I don’t know. It was just really weird.
It didn’t matter though, cause this thing whatever it was was trying to kill us. But the odds being what they were and us getting kicked all over creation at this point led us to be somehow so way victorious. And to the floor fell what appeared to be a really big gem. Z and I both went for it, but I got it first. Some malevolence presence within the stone felt like it was pushing its way into my mind. I was able to overpower it, but realized I wanted nothing to do with this.So I dropped it back to the floor and having some small idea what was going on with the stone resolved to convince any people that regardless what happened or where we ended up that Z was possessed by an evil spirit wherever we ended up.
The bigger take away from this encounter though was that this dungeon could go to hell. I was just done and said as much. I informed the group that I was leaving and they could come with me or stay and I didn’t really care what their choice was at that point. If I never saw this dungeon again it would be too soon. Everyone else followed me out the door and towards the road where this terrible stopover took place taking solace in the thought that things could not get any worse.