The City of Cauldron

Day 32 continued

Theo and Gavriel made a mad dash for the temple entrance. They knew everything looked grim, and escape seemed the only thing to do. As they entered the main foyer Theo stopped Gavriel. “We can’t just leave our friends,” he said. “Let’s circle back through that room that had the mummy and see if we can catch up with them.” Gavriel was reluctant, wanting to just get out as quickly as possible. “We don’t even have a way to get across the river, though.” Theo said, “Besides, we’ll have better chances of all making it if we can stick together.” Gavriel finally agreed.

The two circled through the empty prison room, back behind the murky chamber of water, and through the hallway beyond. It eventually came to an abrupt stop. “Hmm.” Theo mused. “I wonder if…oh, yep.” There was a secret switch that allowed the wall to swing aside. Gavriel and Theo cautiously slipped through and found themselves under the platform with the idol of Blibdoolpoolp. The cloud of fog that Celestine had summoned still shrouded their presence from the priests on the other side of the room. The pinprick of red light before the idol was growing larger and brighter. Theo sneaked up to investigate, and Gavriel followed shortly after. Theo looked for some means to destroy the idol or disable the magic spot of light, but to no avail. He noticed there were two doors behind the statue. He and Gavriel peered inside and saw what seemed to be another Kuo Toan priest and a Duergar. Theo and Gavriel had a brief discussion about whether or not they should try to quickly and quietly take out the duo behind the secret door, try to shoot the pin prick of light, or just follow their friend’s route of escape. Good sense finally prevailed and they decided to follow their friends. They made their way down from the platform, through the mist, and beyond the door Celestine, Logahn and Jerome had gone through.

The door opened into a dark chamber with three hallways. Theo scouted ahead through the eastern hallway, he found what seemed to be a room divided up into crafting stations. There were no signs of the rest of the party, but sounds from deep inside the room, caused him to cautiously back out. He and Gavriel then tried the hallway to the right. Inside they found a large room that was mostly filled with water. In the far corner there was a flight of stairs, with a pair of Kuo Toan guards floating dead in the water, their bodies riddled with sword wounds. As Theo and Gavriel dipped their toes in the water to make their way to the staircase a swarm of horned larval creatures rushed at them, biting them with acid dripping teeth. The pair hopped out and looked for a different way across. They went to the corner of the room, as close to the stairs as possible without getting in the water, and then dashed across before the swarm could respond. They bounded up the stairs to the closed door at the top. A voice from the other side spoke, “Who eez eet?” “It’s your favorite goblin,” said Theo, glad to have found the rest of the party.

Celestine, Logahn, and Jerome had all made their way in this same direction, dispatching the two kuo-toans on the way.

Jerome let Theo and Gavriel into the room at the top of the stairs. It was not a big room and the party of five only just fit inside. There was another door on the other side of the room. Theo checked to make sure it wasn’t trapped and discovered an nasty device that would have sliced up whoever tried to open the door. He disabled the mechanism, unlocked the door, and peered inside. On a pile of clay jars sat a black dragon, enthusiastically rubbing one out. He looked up and said menacingly, “Who are you, and how did you get down here?”
“Who? Me? Ah, just a guy, doing stuff, and…uh, why don’t I just close this back up, and ah, leave you to it?” Theo stammered as he closed the door and relocked it. “Dragon, big, black dragon.”

But that was the least of the party’s worries.

Where are you?

A female voice spoke clearly into each of their minds.

I’m going to find you. There’s no point hiding.

“Who are you?” Jerome asked aloud.

She giggled. I am Aushanna, erinyes of the Nine Hells, and your executioner.

“Come and face me, if you dare!” Jerome said.

Oh, I will. Once you stop hiding.

The party began descending the staircase.

“We found your dragon.” Theo (or another party member?) said.

Oh, you found our little pet? So that’s where you are.

As the party came into the room with the large pool of water a winged female popped into existence. He wings held her aloft as she pulled an arrow back in a great bow which engulfed in flames.

The party quickly went back up the stairs hoping that the close quarters of the room they had just come from would offer them a tactical advantage. Oh, hiding again? The party took up positions around the door in case she came in that way. Then poof she appeared in their midst. I’m contractually bound by the Kuo-toans to destroy any intruders on their precious shrine. Nothing personal. It’s just business

Suddenly a circlet of light appeared above Jerome’s head. His eyes darkened as Le Tickler gleamed in his hands, "[Something dramatic like “die, devil-bitch”]." The party, already surrounding her, closed in and began to poke, stab and hack at the devil. Celestine brought down a curse upon the devil, which significantly improved the odds. Jerome managed to get two precise hits in dealing a great blow to the fiend. She teleported away with a cry and went silent.

The party began to discuss what to do next.
“Should we…just sneak out of the temple?”
“We should keel the dragohn!”
“If we leave, will she still find us?”
“Yeah, let’s kill the dragon.”
“Maybe we should leave and regroup?”
“Killing Dragons sounds fun.”
“I DON’T think we should try to kill the dragon” argued Celestine, and Gavriel agreed.

Cooler heads did not prevail and Theo moved to the door to the masturbating dragon’s chamber. He pulled out his Gloves of Reconnaissance and held them against to door to see what the dragon was doing on the other side. The dragon was right in front of the door, just waiting. Theo relayed this to the party and everyone got into position around the door. Theo moved to open it, but before he could it burst open and the dragon roared and hissed and slobbered. Most of the party steeled themselves against the dragon’s ferocious act, but Gavriel became frightened and began to run from the scene.

The party began to fight the dragon, but it was a fierce foe. The beast spewed it’s acid breath burning the likes of Gavriel, Celestine and Logahn while Jerome fell victim to its flurry of attacks. He fell to the ground, crumpled and bloody. Celestine was engaged already and too far away to react in time, but Theo had just enough time to run to his compatriot. He drew a potion of Cure Serious Wounds from his robe and cradled Jerome’s head in his lap, but it was too late. “I didn’t…hate…all gobleens,” the fallen swordsman whispered as his spirit left his body.

Overwhelmed, and clearly outmatched the party began to flee. “If you will leave that human with me, I will let you all leave alive.” The dragon said, pointing to Celestine. But the party would not betray their beloved cleric just to save their own skins. As they fled the dragon continued to drive them out. Gavriel and Logahn fell into the water at the bottom of the stairs and the horned things swarmed over them. “Ahahahaha! Feast, my children!” The dragon boomed from the top of the stairs. It dawned on the party then that the swarm was not made of eel or lizard creatures, but tiny dragon Wyrmlings.

The party scattered. Logahn and Celestine headed through a portcullis in the water room, Theo ran back into the main foyer immediately outside of the water room, Gavriel [went somewhere]. Logahn and Celestine found a Kuo Toa mating room at the end of the watery hall, all the while sustaining damage from the swam of Wyrmlings. A company of Kuo Toan guards burst into the foyer just as Theo was opening the door to the middle room. He hurried inside and found a great hall with pools of water and what seemed to be reanimated corpses. At the end of the hall he found an altar with a sacrifice bound to it, adjoining the altar room was another great hall, and then an area that seemed to be under excavation. The company of temple guards refused to enter this room.

Celestine, Logahn and Gavriel fled the Wyrmlings and the water room and started to fight the guards as they fled. Theo joined them, also fleeing. The party made its way back to the main temple room with the great statue of Blibdoolpoolp. There the Erynes devil reappeared, flying in the middle of the giant room, and began to shoot arrows at the fleeing party, While the Kuo-toan priests unleashed their lightning bolts. One by one they climbed the Rope of Climbing they had left hanging there, and made for the temple steps, the guards in slow pursuit. They got to the steps and found no boat, just the human and the halfling they had freed from the prison. The human was choking the halfling and they had to pull him off the smaller being. When the two strangers realized danger was right behind they both ran off in different directions

The devil popped into being above the steps. I’ll make a deal with you. I am bound by the Kuo Toans to help them as long as their statues stands. If you will destroy it. I will leave you to your own devices, if you will also leave me to mine.

“Very well,” said Logahn, even as Celestine declined. The cosmos bore witness to Logahn’s deal with a deep unsettling feeling in his chest.

Unfortunately for you, I’m still force to destroy you. But should you manage to escape, return and destroy the statue

When the party jumped off the stairs into the river, the devil held off her attacks. It seemed if they were not on the holy grounds themselves she had no obligations. This was not true, however, for the kuo-toan guards who were on their heels.

The guards finally made their way to the steps and began to shoot crossbows at the remaining party members. Logahn could not doff his armor fast enough, and he and Gavriel fought to the bitter end while Theo, barely alive, slowly swam across the river.

Theo and Celestine dejectedly returned to Cauldron to nurse their wounds and find new allies to exact just revenge on the froggy dwellers in the underdark.

RIP: LOGAHN, GAVRIEL & JEROME.

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