(This entry refers to Session Summary 10)
So Gurg, the hill giant we beat up, ended up being pretty friendly once we’d calmed him down, but not so nice that he didn’t want to lower his price of 50 iron bits per day of guiding us around the Desolation. We figured that so long as we have the spots Kassen pointed out for us on the map, we could probably manage by ourselves. We thanked him for the offer, and didn’t charge him for dinner or beer, and I think he was a bit confused by that.
That next morning we decided to make our way to the nearest of those spots he’d marked for us, some kinda crypt. The road wasn’t too bad, but it was a slog walking through the Ashen Wastes proper. Luckily some ghoul wolves were the only things of consequence to come at us on that leg of the trip, and we kicked their asses in less time than Brother Vang would spend up in the air if I chucked him, y’know? There was this ghoul too, but he seemed pretty harmless so we just let him follow us for a laugh.
It looks like I was the only one of us who actually paid any attention to laying out search grids and stuff, so I took charge in laying out our pattern for scouting out the six square miles of nothing where this place could have been, and we managed to find it with hours of daylight to spare. The place was pretty big, with buttresses and a dome, and the architechture and artwork reminded me of all the iconic Aroden images you see all over Absolom. Pandora managed to find a secret door, but there didn’t seem to be any mechanism for opening if from the outside. Rather than try to hack through a few feet of stone, we decided to sleep there overnight so Ansemle could magic it open first thing in the morning. He HAD gotten a spell ready that made a giant tent out of spider webs, so we could sleep off the ground.
We woke up a few hours into the night (yeah, I had the same dream again, another step closer to the forge) to hear some things chewing on the webbing. I stepped outside to check it out, and these flying heads all came at me! Luckily I had the element of surprise, and had managed to flex everything just as they bit down… not one even broke the skin! They kinda gave up on me after that, so it was just a matter of clean up until more of those chocolate chip head demons showed up. Luckily we were pretty much ready to go at that point, and the rest of the night ended without incident. Well, there was some acid rain, but I think I slept through it.
The next day we went into the temple, and Meryk could see some demon bug things flying inside some kind of dimensional vortex thingy. Just as he was about to plink the shit out of them, some dwarves with fire beards came out of nowhere and started to fight us. And even though they were attacking us with provocation, and we had a priest of the Inheritor right there with us, they weren’t evil. Pandora cried out something about fence-sitting, but I was too occupied with the flying things SUCKING ALL THE BLOOD OUT OF MY BODY. I swear I heard one of those empty straw slurping sounds before I blacked out.
I don’t usually remember too much about those blackouts, but I can still remember my anger keeping me going. I knew, somehow, that if I stopped to relax, my body would stop working somewhere, and that would be that. I felt the Man in Metal there, angry with me (not at me, for once), bolstering the feeling. At some point, I could feel myself going deeper, almost to the point where I couldn’t go back, when I thought I heard Kassen’s voice say “No, not yet.” Then I finally must have gotten enough magical healing to come to, because I felt a splash of blood cover me, and the walls, and the floor. Meryk had killed the things that had drunk all my blood, and nobody had bothered to figure out how to get it back in me.
So I did what I always do, and kept fighting. There was a moment when I felt something, a sense of dread, and feinted instead of swinging at one of the dwarves. He’d had his hands ready to catch the blade, and would have snapped Krant’s Joy in half if I’d gone through with the foolish swing. I think there’s, like, an allegory in there somewhere?
Anyway, we finally finished kicking everything’s ass, Brother Vang was able to keep my heart from exploding like it had every right to do, and we slept inside the crypt, free from the stuff roaming the Wastes. Going deeper into the crypt, we found an inner chamber under the dome, and we suddenly hit with noxious death gas! We ran out of the room, but Meryk could see through the cloud to the man-spider up on the ceiling. Brother Vang tossed me a potion of spider-climb, but I figured we could do better with dragging the bastard down to the ground and gang stomping him, so I fed the potion to Leone. Spider-cat!
Then things went kinda blurry, and I vaguely remember everyone looking at me like I was some kind of terrible danger, and all of them getting small, and what a good idea it seemed at the time to bash myself in the head with the pommel of my sword. Damn wizards and their mind-freak spells. He tossed a ball of force at Leone while I was acting nuts, trapping him at the apex of the ceiling. But that wasn’t the worst of it: Meryk was the only one hitting the guy, and in return Meryk got turned into a statue! Then there was more poison gas, so I grabbed his statue and ran outside along with everyone else.
Another Pathfinder group had just arrived at the crypt, The Poisoned Lodge, and even if there name was a bit more ominous than The Thirteenth, they seemed cautiously friendly. One of them even palmed me some pesh, which I try to avoid abusing, but is nice to have after stressful situations like this.
One the cloud cleared out, we ventured back in, but the man-spider was gone. Luckily poor, terrified Leone had managed to cling to the ceiling above the gas, and wasn’t harmed. We explored a bit deeper, and in the very next chamber we found the body of a man laying on a slab. And he WOKE UP, like he’d just been napping for a few centuries! Which, as it turns out, he had been.
The guy’s name is Argos, and he told us he’d been one of the offices in the last battle of Tsar, and this temple had been a sleeper cell of righteous dudes who would remain in stasis until they were needed again. Unfortunately someone (probably that spider bastard) had broken the magic hourglass that was supposed to wake him up, and he hadn’t been there to open to door to where his soldiers had been sleeping…
Yeah, it was bad. At least Brother Vang managed to help clean up the situation with some of his channeling, but it was pretty obvious that Argos had been shaken up by it. I feel bad for him, but at least we’ve got another guy on our side in all this. He told us about how the last fight had been organized, and we learned that not only the forces of men and heaven, but even the lawful devils of Hell had sided together to keep Orcus from rising to power. It’s a terrible cliché, and I had being cliché, but the name that sticks in my mind the most out of all of it is the Legendary Sword Demonbane. I like when names describe what something does.
He was nice enough to let us divvy up the armory with the Poisoned Lodge, so now once we get back to the Camp and get Meryk fixed up, we can keep exploring the Ashen Wastes. It only gets harder from here, but if we can get more help for Team Has A Pulse, it’s all worth it.