As the group of ex-slaves moved out of the Great Hall of Derin Kuyu, they chose to go east, and away from the source of the dreadful roar that had echoed through the Kaer only a few moments before. Dremnin led the group through an ancient, small administrative chamber of some sort, where they checked for anything that might give them ready access to knowledge about the Kaer itself. Luckily, Fafnir, the dwarven scholar, came up with a map that had been fairly well preserved, and they all saw the extensive layout of a once mighty habitation of Name-Givers. Given the layout, Vridich, the elven Nethermancer, suggested they move into the tunnels to the North and explore in that direction. Little did they realize that an awful doom was even then closing in on them.
With the human Scout, Dremnin, in the lead and his newfound human charge, little 9 year old Hannah, following close behind, the group proceeded down to the end of one of the passages which opened into a large room. They stopped to listen, and Dremnin swore he could faintly hear the sound of a child’s laughter, a sound that made no sense in a Kaer apparently dead for centuries. As no one else heard it, Dremnin cautiously proceeded to the right, discovering quickly that this chamber had been used for Kaer dwellers’ amusements. On one wall, he found an old dagger stuck in a board, which he promptly pulled out and looked at Hannah. The rest of the group began to fan out and expand their search area, with Vridich going to the narrow passage on the NW side of the chamber, and Ardor moving into the wider center of the passage to the NE, and Urgral the Dwarven Horror Stalker walked over to guard the entry to the West. Vridich suddenly realized he was by himself in a dark and unexplored passage of a Horror-infested Kaer, and quickly allowed the human Swordmaster, Luck, to move into losition ahead of him in the NW passage.
It was at that point in time that things began to go horribly wrong. The sounds of children laughing came louder now to their ears, and Luck was the first to drop his guard and smile, as though everything was as fine as a Spring day at home. Ardor called out a warning from the NE, and before he could respond, Dremnin felt a spell of peace and tranquility fall over him. Fafnir tried to shake him out of his stupor, saying “Hey, snap out of it lad”, but it was no use. While Hannah watched in disbelief, her guardian smiled serenely, picked up a small end table and walked calmly around the corner to join Ardor… coming face to face with a beast from nightmares. It was hanging from a position on the side of the stone wall, and initially resembled a small child crouching low and facing the Name-Givers. But that is where any similarity to a Name-Giver ended for this abomination. It was a horror-construct, made from a once living child, now with tentacles along what was once its belly. Though he was unaware of it at that moment, Swordmaster Luck was facing the same creatures in the hallway Nethermancer Vridich had so wisely vacated.
Dremnin saw the creature’s back open like an insect’s carapace, and three nasty tentacles emerged, each one tipped with a razor sharp needle-like point. As it attacked him, the spell of friendship and well-being evaporated from Dremnin, and he narrowly avoided getting stuck as the tentacles all lashed out and tried to insert a tip into him. Striking back at the thing, Dremnin managed to land a solid blow with his shortsword and managed to knock it off the wall onto the floor, where it now emitted a most awful screaming sound as it writhed about tring to regain its footing. Ardor now chose to enter the fray with his fellow worshiper of Florannus, and tried to hit the creature. However, two more creatures behind the defenders now scuttled quickly out of the darkness to engage Ardor and Dremnin, but the sound of some sort of Arcane Mutterings came floating toward them from the Human Troubador, Suulin, who lent the fighting duo her contribution to their defense.
But just as Dremnin was about to strike again at the creature on the floor before him, it suddenly got its footing and lashed out with its three wicked tentacles again. This time, the human Scout was not so fortunate, and one of the sharp tips entered his skin, injecting some sort of serum which now rendered him a non-combatant. To Ardor’s disbelief, Dremnin sheathed his sword and proceeded to walk away to the NE, compelled by some fell magic to follow an unknown course. As he led the Name-Givers’ procession, Dremnin moved purposefully along, followed by his compatriots who, one by one, received the same suggestion following a strike by those awful lashing tentacles. Vridich even tried to stop Swordmaster Luck’s movement by tackling him, after seeing a huge, hideous mole-like being ahead of him. To his utter horror, he watched as Dremnin calmly walked up to the monster, waited while it opened its mouth, then crawled into that gaping maw and was swallowed without a whimper. For Dremnin, the world faded to black and he lost consciousness.
Dremin, Scout Adept
(To be continued…)