Adventure Recap Third Series, #4 Played 16 April 2014
EPISODE 4: “The Darkmen”
Date: 4th day of Palvelun, (late winter) Westland Year 323
Place: Under Blood Island,
Stepping away from the carnage of bloody bodies of the men littering the floor, Eilonwy raises up the lantern she carries to get a better view of whatever may be making noises down the hall leading away from this chamber. She sees, far down the hall beyond the glow of her light, another light, red and at floor level. Did someone leave a campfire smoldering? There is no smell of smoke. Further, the red glow seems to be moving. As she squints into the darkness, the others peer around the corner to see what has captured the sorceress’ attention. Argon, Trumble and Xehryon all watch as Abraham declares “I’ll go check it out.”
Abraham moves with the grace that is her elven birthright, sticking to the wall, and making little sound. As she leaves the circle of lantern light, she enters the red glow and the wandering embers stop moving. Peering close, she sees that the red glow comes from a large beetle, about the size of a large housecat, with two glow glands not unlike a firefly. The giant insect stands unmoving, watching the elf. Abraham simply walks back to the group. “It’s just a bug.” she proclaims.
‘You see a glowbug?!” shouts one of the reviving bandits “Capture it!” After a moments pause, he remembers to add “But be careful, they can bite a man’s arm off!”
‘It went the other way.’ Abraham flatly states.
“No, no. Don’t let it gat a way! It’s the only light in here beside your lantern.” The man seems distraught at the thought of the glowbug getting away.
Rubbing at the bruise he received from being punched by the dwarf, the bandit speaks up; “ We want to come with you! If you can fight this well, you may be able to find a way out of here! I can help guide you past the traps.”
“Most of your group are in no condition to travel.” Argon points out “ We beat them up pretty bad. Do you want that one of you travel with us, and the rest stay here? If we find another way out, we can come back to get them.”
“Eh, the’re a bunch of backstabbing thieves. Screw ‘em!” the bandit pronounces after some thought. “I am called Ramey, and this other fellow rubbing his jaw is called Fish. We can be helpful!”
“How long have you been in here” Eilonwy asks
“There is no way of knowing! It feels like years! We tried to make our home under the small shaft in the roof that let’s light in, but the Nightwolves drove us away!” Ramey spits on the ground as he says the name of his torturers.
“Do you know these halls?” Xehryon asks.
“Somewhat very well. Mostly we only find our way by touching the walls. If we are lucky, there is a mouse to catch. We burned all the wood furniture we found long ago.”
Agreeing that Ramey and Fish can tag along, the group pushes on into the dark hall, Eilonwy holding her lantern up high. After a few turns of the hallway, they come across a great hall, complete with bas relief wall decorations of abstract geometric shapes and swirls. At the end of the hall, another door.
Abraham looks to see if there may be a booby trap on the door. He finds none, but the door is swollen stuck in its frame, so he forces it open with a bang! The chamber beyond looks like a type of crude throne room. There is a large stone chair draped with a few ancient looking pelts, and a stone coffer or table standing next to the chair. The seat faces the door, and behind it another corridor leads into darkness.
Abraham inspects the stone box, to see if lifting the lid will trigger a trap. She sees no such mechanism, and with a heave, the stone slab comes up. Schwing! A flash of lantern light reflects off a spring loaded blade as it arcs from side to side, slicing open Abraham’s belly. The lid crashes down to the floor as she sinks to the ground holding herself in pain. Cassandra looks to the wounded elf, as the others peer into the box.
Gold! The box is full of coins. But the stamp on the coins is unfamiliar to anyone.
It is decided that the large lizard shaman should carry the coins, as he seems to be strong, and even Ramey admits he was once a thief, but coins do little good at this moment.
Behind the throne, down the corridor, is a dead end with what appears to be a window frame that has been filled in with stone. “Still don’t know what type of stone that is.” Grumbles Trumble.
“This I do know.” Squawks Culain “This is stone that has been magically created. The magic that made it is long gone, but the stone remains, just as real as anything in the world.”
Eilonwy mutters her words of power and makes gestures with her free hand. “I will see if there is magic here now.” she explains. Culains alights on the floor and watches her ritual. “Crude technique, but I see lot’s of potential in you! That’s why I asked you to come!”
“Are you going to help me improve my technique?” Eilonwy asks
“I have spent many years watching wizards work mighty magic. I could teach you something” the raven says
“So, you are a familiar that escaped!” opines Xehryon
“Humph” is the only response he gets.
Following a few more passages, the group searches for hidden door and discovers another stone sealed window arch. Beyond that, there is a sharp yell, in a guttural voice “Orka gree! Tresh!?! Gree hunan! Hunan Eee! Eee!” The words are nonsenseical, but the tone is a fierce command! Then they come rushing out of the chamber they were readying themselves in; The Darkmen! Ramey and Fish press themselves against the wall and cower. Argon asks for a blessing of virtue.
Trumble, having heard the stories of the Darkmen for hours now, throws himself emotionally into a blind fury, and then physically into the new enemy, screaming “Darkmen eh? This is Melinda!” as he swings his war axe deep into the ribs of the tall Darkman creature. Up close, they looked tall like humans, but broad like a dwarf. Their faces were flat and broad, and angry.
While Abraham tumbled, literally, into the fray, Cassandra and Xehryon hurled arrows and daggers. Eilonwy called forth a few magical bolts to shoot at the enemy, while Trumble and Argon used axe and spear to dispatch the dark warriors. In half a minute it was all over. Ten bodies lay on the floor, and Eilonwy is already pushing her teammates to save one of the fallen for interrogation.
“No! Kill the Darkmen! No, I’ll do it!” yells Ramey from behind the group. He runs to the battle site drawing his sword, with Fish close behind. But at the entrance, Trumble is staggering in pain and rage, swinging his axe absently. The ex-bandits halt well outside the dwarves’ reach, and after another half minute, Trumble collapses, exhausted from the adrenaline rush, and it seems he did indeed take a solid hit from one of the Darkmen. With Trumble lying in the bloody gore, and Argon stabilizing some of them, Fish and Ramey content themselves with having witnessed the destruction of some Darkmen. “But where are the rest?” Fish asks.
Bruised and bleeding, the group decides this is a good place to sit for a while and recover from the two combats they have been in so far today. As Eilonwy adds oil to the lantern and unwraps the provisions given to her by the Blood Sails, they group chats about what they have learned, and share observations about the fights. Those skilled in healing, bandage those wounded, and then everyone relaxes, as much as is possible twenty feet away from where ten men-beasts were slaughtered.
To be continued