The World of Arith

Separate Ways V

Flocktime, 3rd Ten-day

Brost
Following the trail of the bugbears, Brost, Rampage, Ortho, Feldmar and Bragar soon walk turn the corner into a natural cave. There waiting for them are three shadow-humans, also known as shadar-kai. The two warriors move to engage them, while the witch stays in the back. Unfortunately for the witch, Rampage moves much faster than her warriors and charges her. While one of the warriors moves to intercept the other party members, the second moves to protect the witch. Despite his best effort, the witch is soon forced to bring up a veil of necrotic shadows around her and retreat out of range of Rampage. The three shadar-kai however are no match for the warriors of Hammerfall and Brost. The witch falls first, followed quickly by the two warriors.

Following the passage, the echos of the drow voices are easily heard. “Are you done with that portal yet” “Yes I’m almost done, why don’t do something to make yourself useful.” “The Matron will reward us greatly for bring back a protoype.” “Haagenti will be pleased” Soon the bickering stops, and the sound of ritual chanting begins as you follow the tunnel to the dead end cavern. The two bugbears guard the entrance while two of the drow stand around the third who is intoning the final piece of the ritual that will open up the portal to their homeland.

Fullsun, 1st Ten-day

Torra and Diego
Concerned about following the beholder down the stairway, Torra looks for another way down. Unable to find one, she an Diego descend the stairway used by the gauth. Coming out into a north-south corridor, Diego moves to the door in the north, while Torra checks out the door in the south. The northern door doesn’t budge, or more accurately budges but doesn’t open while the southern door is opened by two small tentacled creatures. As Diego backs away from the northern door, it to is opened, but by a Jendarri warden warped beyond belief. While the warrior holds his greatsword with the poise of an accomplished warrior, two tentacles snake out from behind his back as he moves to engage Diego.

And to go from bad to worse, the gauth beholder emerges from a side door as the fight begins. The small tentacled things drop quickly, allowing Torra and Diego to concentrate on the corrupted warden and beholder. However, they are soon surprised when three more of the lashers run up from the south., and although two of them fall soon enough, when the third runs back south it is turned around by another tentacled creature. As Diego is assaulted by the beholder’s sleep rays and central eye, Torra has difficulty when the new creature grabs her and begins draining her life force. Soon, the battle turns from a seemingly easy battle to one for survival as Diego succumbs to the sleep ray and drops unconscious. Torra and Diego are covered with bruning red and purplish scars by the poison and acid secretions in the tentacles. Thinking that the battle is dire, Torra conjures a wall of thorns filling much of the corridor. Caught in the thorns and between the thorns, the aberrations soon fall.

Not feeling any other spirits, corrupted or otherwise on this level, Torra and Diego begin searching rooms until they find the staircase down. On the third level, there are few places to go. The passage south leads to a sealed tomb, not likely the source of corruption and quite likely to add to their troubles if unsealed. Though tempted, Torra leads Diego north.

The northern passage becomes rough and uneven and eventually ends in a huge underground cavern. Chained with spectral chains in the center of the cavern is the Great Stag, a protector spirit that once led people to safety. Only Torra sees that its antlers have changed to ghostly tentacles and its shaggy fur moves in ways it shouldn’t. Diego is unsure of attacking until a tentacle sweeps out and attacks Shiva. While Diego charges in, Torra attempts to stand back. Unfortunately, the creature calls to Torra and brings her close enough to attack. As she again attempts escape, it demands her return, she is unable to escape.

The spirit however, is not invincible. Though the creature attacks with all of its might, the spirit of the Stag struggles to free itself. The spirit inside helps alleviate some of Torra’s and Diego’s wounds at every stage of combat. Shiva is summoned and destroyed multiple times and every inch of Torra’s skin is covered with tentacle lash scars, but finally the two friends inflict enough damage that the spirit inside again regains control.

It thanks the young shaman for freeing it, and explains that it will be able to hold the corruption off for a time now. Someday however, the corruption inside will become too strong, and it will again call out and summon more to be corrupted. Only by facing its corrupter directly, possibly in the Far Realm itself, can the Stag truly be free. The Stag them exhales on Torra’s chest, where a nasty group of scars forms into a heart-shaped tattoo.

Theri duty done, Torra and Diego attempt to leave the ruins, where they are faced by Tal’than. After staring intently at the two for several minutes, he tells the Barrowguard they are uncorrupted and free to pass.

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Autumnfyr

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