Flawed Creation

Game 5: The Ruins of Hedra-Inktu

The corpse found in the ankheg lair was so badly mauled and damaged by acid that little was salvagable. The party members were able to recover two small metal vials, which turned out to be potions of healing, items which the unfortunate human had not had time to use. There was also a scabbard at his waist, though no accompanying weapon was to be found.

After spending the remainder of the afternoon and all of the following night recovering from their wounds, the party continued their exploration after Elhara’s morning prayers. They cleared several stairways leading underground, finding little of interest. They were beginning to get the impression that the ancient inhabitants of the city had not all perished in a sudden act of destruction, but rather had been able to effect an organized withdraw from whatever had claimed the city, taking with them nearly all of their possessions.

As they moved about the ruins, the party came across signs of a days-old struggle, and saw a longsword lying upon the ground, obviously the weapon of the ankheg’s latest meal. The bard examined the weapon, and found it to be magical, but his dabbling in the arcane arts left him ill prepared for further identification, so he asked the wizard, Vindurinn, for assistance. The learned eladrin examined the weapon at length, determining its unique properties. Since Talerion was the only party member who used a longsword in combat, he claimed it as his own.

One particular stair led to a large underground chamber which still had a few stone bookcases standing, though most had collapsed with the passage of time. The floor of this area was sloped, as if due a land shift of some magnitude, and groundwater had pooled and become stagnant over a large area. Stone repositories of various size were set upon the ground around the perimeter of the oddly shaped room. After attempting to move one which was surrounded by water, it was discovered that they were all affixed to the floor. Closer inspection showed that each side and the top were each individual pieces of worked stone, and that they fit nearly perfectly together. Regardless, they were still sealed with mortar, and a dagger was used to scrape this away and pry the lid from the container. The water had managed to permeate the container, and the paper it had once held was now utterly destroyed, causing the water inside the container to become cloudy as it was agitated.

The party made a circuit of the room, opening each repository in succession. None of those where the floor had been flooded bore anything useful, and even the majority of those where the floor was dry had allowed in air over time, reducing the contents of the containers to worthlessness. Four of the repositories, however, had manage to protect their contents from the ravages of time. In one was a set of magical cloth armor, stitched with runes of arcane power. Two of the others held silver amulets, which were easily identified by Vindurinn. The last container was somewhat larger, and held two tall stacks of papers. Although the ink was nearly completely faded, the wizard was able to tell from each of the top sheets that this was a written record or history of this place. The bard attempted to move one of the sheets, which crumbled to dust beneath his fingers, and no such attempts were made again. The lid was replaced, and a message sent to Argo Scumbler by means of the enspelled scrollcase concerning this matter.

Some time later, the group were in the process of clearing another stair opening when a number of beasts within were disturbed, A swarm of rats and two dire rats emerged from below and frantically began attacking the warden and the bard. Mere seconds later, several winged creatures with long proboscises flew out. Most retreated for the safety of the surrounding trees, but two turned in mid-flight and targeted the PCs, causing ongoing damage as they drained blood from their victims. The warden was in a bad position, partially down the stairs, her retreat cut off by the rats. Ill fortune struck the party, resulting in this battle being more difficult than it should have been, but in the end they prevailed. The rest of the day yielded nothing of interest.

The following day, they discovered another underground chamber of immense size, though still not as big as the building which served as Skrignak’s base. A large stone door initially blocked the way, but the stone facade on the surrounding wall had fallen away, revealing the stonework locking mechanism within, and the party was able to pass with relative ease. Six massive stone columns supported the vaulted ceiling overhead, though some stone had still crashed down over time. Another doorway rested in the far wall, over 200’ away, and the side walls contained horizontal openings which contained shapes made of mortar or terra cotta. A great many of thes had crumbled and fallen away, revealing the skeletons of soldiers within. After moving closer and not being able to identify the faded raiments, the party headed for the door on the far side.

The door was similar to the one the had recently come through, although the facade here was still intact. There was a per protruding from the wall and several slotted paths it could follow, so the characters had a good idea of how to open the door. The warden, the strongest member of the group, pulled upon the peg with all her might. It moved grudgingly, but as it did so, numerous cracking noises could be heard from the room behind them. They turned to see nearly twentl skeletons armed with rusted longsword emerging from their earthen cocoons, those that had not been compromised by the passing of the ages. Four skeletal archers appeared on the upper tiers of each side, and the characters fought for their survival against overwhelming numbers.

The skeleton warriors seemed to be destroyed easily enough, their bones dry and brittle, and the adventurers began to take heart. The archers fired their bows, and their bone arrows did minimal damage when they hit. When they missed and shattered upon the stone, however, a new warrior would spawn there, creating a replenishing army for the party to fight. Things appeared dismal at first, with the party’s original plan proving too dangerous. A few shouted comments brought about another strategy, and the tide began slowly to turn. The warden and cleric climbed the stairs to one of the upper tiers, pressuring the archers themselves. After a grueling encounter, the characters emerged victorious, though battered and worn down, their resources nearly depleted.

NOTE: Beginning next game, the bard will be replaced by a ranger, and another player will be joining. The ending to this encounter will be altered to accomodate this, so the next entry in the Adventure Log will begin with the revised conclusion to this combat before continuing on.

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