Nothing but blackness.
That is all I remember at first after collapsing in a heap of blood and pain before the horror known as ‘The Abomination’. Then I remember stirring, I was briefly aware of a hand shaking me, and then a dull but harsh pain welled up in my mind. I opened my eyes to light, and I saw the faces of Vridich and Skram above me. I tasted blood.
“Thank Florannus, you’re alive!” Skram said with a relieved look on his face as he helped me sit up.
I was still in a lot of pain and woozy. My head pounded as though I had been blasted by Skram’s great war hammer. I noticed that even in unconsciousness, I still held my sword.
Vridich knelt beside me and looked me in the eye without emotion. "We gave you a healing potion which should help you get back on your feet." He started to put away the contents of his healers kit. "However, you have suffered a great deal of wounds, so should try to take it easy."
I nodded. My mind was still swimming from the agony I had suffered. I shook my head to clear it. It hurt to do so, but I was born to the sword, and if another fight was coming I had to be ready, wounds or no. Taking it easy was not something I could count on being able to do.
I looked around the room, things were still swimming a bit. There were bodies of undead, more cadaver men, laying about. I vaguely remembered them coming into the room as I fell. Dremnin and Suulin were helping provide first aid to some of the towns folk in the gray cloaks. A couple of them were hurt pretty bad, one in particular was burned badly from Suulin’s torch. Two were dead. One lay in a heap from a mortal sword wound, and another lay motionless, smoldering on the ground from Suulin’s fire, also apparently dead. The others were huddled together, some weeping, others in a state of silent shock.
I looked over my shoulder as the remains of the horror dripped from the alter behind me. Skram had finally felled the beast after a mighty blow from his hammer. It’s hide was now a semi-liquified mass of goo and dead tentacles on the alter.
Urgral was tending to the lifeless form of the man who had been inside of the beast. It could only be Malgrim Mortaka. At last he may know peace, I thought.
I started to stand. I nearly fell, but Skram helped me get to my feet. my head was pounding and I felt weak, as though I hadn’t slept in a month. Slowly I regained some of my strength. We gathered up our gear and Skram addressed the poor villagers who were as dazed and confused as I was, probably more so. He instructed them to stay put while we finished out search of the area. Then we would come back to get them. We went to a few more rooms and hallways without discovering much. We then came upon a room with large square tiles with a red and white checkered pattern on the floor. At the end of the room appeared a large pile of treasure. Urgral started forward and quickly discovered that the tiles were trapped with some sort of weird fire trap that ironically dropped bags of coins after blasting him with flame. After getting burned by flames a few times, he figured out the pattern and got to the pile of treasure only to discover it was an illusion and no treasure existed. I would later tell Quorra about this illusion, which she said was a basic permanent spell that any decent illusionist could create, at least for a short period of time.
Lastly we made our way to a pit of slimy mud that separated two sections of hallway. We were all thinking that there could be anything down there, but it had to be some sort of trap. We had to be careful but who knew what items (or how many foolish treasure hunters) may be laying below the surface. We also realized that if there was something worthwhile in that muck, it would likely be well preserved.
Per my suggestion, Skram went back to the room where all of the weapons and equipment were and got the Pole Axe we saw there, he then began poking around in the mud with it to see if anything was beneath it.
There was something beneath it.
After about the third swirl of the weapon’s haft, Dremnin shouted at Skram to get back. The surface was moving in many places. At first they were small, moving bumps below the surface but soon we recognized they were the heads of some creatures. More undead perhaps? Whatever they were there were a lot of them. Each was covered head to toe in the slippery mud, which wrapped around them unnaturally, as though they were made of it.
I organized us a few yards down the hall in a wide section where we could have the advantage in numbers. The beasts (later I would learn they were known as mud gobs) came in waves. In the mud and in numbers, they would have extremely dangerous. Yet in the narrow corridor where they could only fight two abreast, they were easy pickings. In spite of repeatedly killing those in front, they were quickly replaced by the ones in the rear, doggedly moving forward to receive our blades. It was almost like fighting undead. The only trouble we had in killing them was that their bodies seemed to want to wrap around and stick to our blades. Skram’s hammer and tail mace got stuck in one of them, but luckily at that point their numbers were mostly whittled down to where we were just mopping them up.
After they were dead I took a break, I was still fatigued and hurting from my struggle with the Abomination and the fight with the mud gobs took a lot out of me. Skram waded into the now lifeless mud pool and dug a few things out, among them was what appeared to be a large green stinking troll sock. Vridich claimed it had magical properties.
Even in my weakened state I had to smile with humor at the wonder of that.
Lastly we went back to the library and spent several hours collecting the most intriguing and valuable books there. Among them was a fascinating book about Rashomon, called “The Fall Of Rashomon”. Rashomon was the Passion of choice of my pre-Scourge ancestors. Rashomon is said to have gone mad during the Scourge and turned into the diabolical Raggork. I was immediately interested and facinated by this book. The author had written a whole series of books on the Passions. I was practically drawn to them, longing to discover their secrets. I would have to wait though, for above all I needed to rest and heal. We collected all of the books that we, and the townsfolk who were with us, could carry. Then we made our way back to Haven, the horror slain, the city saved, and my mind weary.