Scene 8: Apartment in the Tunnel; part 1
Rustling and shuffling is heard behind the door of apartment number 213 in tunnel Gnome Skull, but the door is not answered. Light continues to leak eerily from the gaps between the 'door' and the 'doorway,' which was really just a plank of wood covering a somewhat door-shaped hole. With no answer from inside, the party opened the door (sans their friends Ulias and Edorfine who were 'arrested' at the beginning of the tunnel by the orc gang members).
The passageway that led up to the door is now so narrow in this part of the tunnel that people can only really stand single file, and the same is true for the hallway into the small apartment. The angle from the hallway into the actual room of the apartment is awkward, such that one in the hall cannot really see anything that's going on inside the apartment.
Not even a few feet into the hallway, the party is met by a rather peculiar monk. He has the bones of fingers sewn to his face, and once Aaralynn catches a glimpse of him, it is more than apparent that he radiates evil (though even people without Detect Evil probably could've figured that out). Immediately a conflict breaks out.
The party slowly presses the monk back into the apartment, who actually doesn't seem all that reluctant to go. Gavin hangs back in the tunnel for awhile, and Axton discovers a secret door halfway down the hall that he spends a few moments attempting to unlock…to no avail.
For several rounds the party can't seem to land a hit on this "skeleton monk-" somehow he evades nearly every attack. Not only does he evade the party's numerous attacks, including some from rather heavy hitters like Abrang, he succeeds in landing a few hits on them. After drinking some strange, green potion, when he struck party members they wound up in a strange paralysis for several rounds of combat wherein they were totally frozen and unable to move at all, but completely aware of everything around them. After Abrang, Alzad, and the Constable all wound up paralyzed, things were looking pretty bad for the party. Aaralynn finally managed to make her way into the room somewhere in the midst of this and began making rounds on healing those in the worst shape, though there was nothing she could do about the paralysis. After Abrang recovered from paralysis, among others (like Drardam), things finally started looking up for the party…and a bit dismal for the monk. Finally, hits began to land on him. Sometime during the uphill climb of the fight, just as Aaralynn made her way to Drardam, he came out of his paralysis and went completely berserk. In the eyes of Aaralynn, who could sense those ill of heart, he glowed a glaring purple colour…he was evil in that moment. His eyes glowed with violet fire as he turned on his own party, making attempts to kill Aaralynn, who had only been attempting to keep her party safe. Unable to work on more party members during the attack, Aaralynn was forced into the defensive until someone else knocked him out. During this, someone else managed to knock down the monk as well, and for the moment, combat finally drew to a close.
An unconscious Drardam remains on the floor for a few moments only to come around and be met by an incredulous and outraged Aaralynn interrogating him about what the actual fuck just happened. After some amount of sputtering about not remembering anything (again) and definitely having no intentions to hurt her, Aaralynn relented, but remained even more suspicious than she had before. He also mentioned something about a symbol, which after having trouble describing what it looked like, he drew and showed to Aaralynn. It looked somewhat like the tattoo that the human victim who used to live in this apartment had on his arm. Aaralynn pressed him hard about where he'd seen this, but he denied remembering. After pressing more and getting no results, she gave up, but remained determined to find out what was up with him. She healed him begrudgingly. He was a party member, after all, and he wasn't glowing anymore, so he was no longer a threat…for now.
The monk, though not yet dead, lays sprawled on the floor, seemingly unconscious, while the party begins to search the apartment for anything of use to their investigation. Multiple crumpled up papers were found, many of which seemed to be drafts of construction plans for a single floored 'building' of some sort. The apartment is a wreck, papers and items strewn everywhere. The only 'clear' surface in the room is a stone table that has strange writing on the side. The table has long dried blood on it, as well as several, rather rancid organs from various creatures, at least one of which probably was an animal rather than a person of some kind or other.
While the party was still searching, the monk came to, though his wakefulness would be brief. He pulled a knife from somewhere on his person, sat up, and said, "I sacrifice myself to The Destroyer!" and slit his own throat. This provided yet more evidence that the team was dealing with something much larger than themselves…a supposedly extinct cult to the nastiest divine entity in their world.
As the party continued their search, Aaralynn took particular notice of the writing that lined the edges of the stone table, and was somewhat baffled by her colleagues' inability to read it…clearly it was common (or at least it looked that way to her). Upon saying she could read it, she was urged to tell them what it said. When she read the words, which were, "I sacrifice thy blood. I sacrifice thy soul. I sacrifice all to The Destroyer, for through sacrifice I gain friends." When she read it, however, while it sounded to her like she was speaking common, the others heard only a bone crushing and rattling noise which was blood curdling. Every single one of them was terrified, save Abrang, who heard what the rest heard, but somehow, just barely managed to hear past the blood curdling noise and hear the actual words as well. When she was done, and the party recovered a bit, they drilled her about what the actual fuck that just was. Insistent that she only read what was written, which was in fact in common, and that the rest of them were just losing their damn minds and somehow became illiterate today, Aaralynn was utterly oblivious to the noises that had just come from her own throat. In frustration, Axton carefully copied the symbols, which to everyone except Aaralynn just looked like strange scratches, and showed them to Aaralynn. She looked in confusion at him, those were clearly NOT the symbols written on the table. They were just weird symbols and scratches of some sort. The rest of the party insisted that it was what was written on the table, and eventually she relented and conceded that perhaps it was just some form of writing they couldn't read but she could. She summarized what she'd read for them, which gave more evidence to the entire party that they were looking potentially at cult killings. A few party members searched the monk's body, and after finding little of note, they all took 'a break.'
During this 'break,' Gavin, Axton, Drardam, and Alzad, all had an orgy together, which managed to provoke slight applause from Abrang as post-war/combat public sex celebrations were a common custom among dwarven troops.
After a bit of discussion, it was determined that Aaralynn, Abrang, and Constable Ungart were all going to ship out to visit the evidence locker and fetch reinforcements to come collect evidence from the apartment; Alzad was going to the mayor and insisted Gavin come along, and Axton and Drardam were going to stay in the apartment in case anything else went awry.
Scene 9a: Axton and Drardam waiting in apartment 213
While the others were out, Axton and Drardam found themselves with very little to do. After waiting around for a short while and having, thankfully, nothing particularly eventful happen, they went back to (repeatedly) screwing just to pass the time.
Scene 9b: Gavin and Alzad at the mayor's office
While Axton and Drardam were waiting back at the apartment, and Aaralynn, Abrang, and Ungart were off to the local police headquarters, Alzad led Gavin to the town hall for a meeting with the mayor. While they were there, they informed the mayor of what had just occurred. In response to this, the mayor "gave" (for lack of a better word) them a hired cave trooper to aid in their mission, telling them that they were to go back and investigate the secret door and try to figure out what the hell was going on in his city. In addition, he gifted 'Sir' Gavin with two things. The first of these was a set of claws that had formerly been part of a dragon for him to wear over his hands, and the second was a magical box of dragonskin condoms, which would replace one every time one was taken out to be used, and was therefore limitless in its supply. With their new ally, the cave trooper, the pair set back out for the apartment.
Scene 9c: Aaralynn, Abrang, and Ungart at police headquarters
While the others were either waiting in the apartment or visiting with the mayor, Aaralynn, Abrang, and the constable made their way to the police headquarters of Greenfire Valley. Abrang and Aaralynn to view the evidence locker, and the constable to fetch a team to investigate the apartment. When Ungart informed the captain of why the other two were present, the captain looked Aaralynn up and down and growled disgustedly to Ungart to not let the unclean one touch anything. With that, Ungart took them to the evidence locker. After a bit of time, he told them he needed to go do something and to not touch anything, and followed it by saying under his breath, "touch whatever you want, I'm probably going to lose my job for letting you in here anyway."
Looking over the evidence, the pair noticed something rather strange. The coroner's report said there was nothing unusual about the bodies, and nothing conclusive could be drawn from them. Aaralynn and Abrang working together, however, noticed that both human bodies in the room had the same tattoo, the mark of The Destroyer, that the human victim that the apartment belonged to had. They were also missing their hearts, and had been drained of their blood. Based on a small amount of what looked like brain matter around their nostrils, it appeared their brains had been 'drained' as well. This case kept getting stranger and stranger…and what's more…why didn't the coroner notice and/or note these peculiarities in the murder victims?
When Ungart returned, he gruffly ushered them out of the room. On their way out, they saw a bulletin board with all kinds of requests magically showing up on it, including multiple for battering rams to be delivered to apartment 213.
The trio then began to make their way back to the apartment.
Scene 10: Apartment in the Tunnel; part 2
Back in the apartment, Alzad and Gavin have rejoined Axton and Drardam. A full investigation and evidence collection team from the city has appeared, led by a rather studious seeming drow who spent most of his time walking around and intently scribbling on his notepad. The apartment is absolutely crawling with people. Teams of dwarves were separating evidence, bagging it, boxing it, and moving it into neat sections/piles so that it could be taken out of the tunnel and back to the evidence locker. Even the semen left on things from the party's sexual escapades has somehow been separated from everything else and put into a labeled bag.
A wizard member of the investigative team was giving instructions to a rather inept young dwarf. He requested that the young dwarf give him paper to write something, and rather than just handing him the parchment blank request scroll he was holding, he wrote "paper" on it and began to say the incantation to send it to the request board, earning him a firm slap upside the head. The wizard took the paper from him, scribbled out the word "paper" and wrote down a request for battering rams, closed the scroll, said a short incantation, and the scroll seemed to evaporate into green smoke. It was at this point that Axton heard the conversation and asked what they were doing with the scrolls…and why battering rams are being requested. That locked door was in a narrow hallway at an angle, after all…it wouldn't be accessible by a battering ram! The wizard exclaimed something to the effect of, "why didn't I think of that?!" and scribbled down something on another request scroll, with which he also magically sent off. Gavin and a few other party members attempted to kick in the door themselves…resulting only in minor injuries for the party, and not a single dent in the door. A vain attempt.
With everything packed up and the apartment thoroughly cleaned out, the party and their new ally agreed to turn in for the night and come back in the morning to deal with the door, which Alzad said he had a plan for.
Before they turned in for the night, Axton and Drardam went and purchased a 'charm person' potion for Axton to use on Drardam in case of another emergency like the one that had happened in the apartment when he tried to kill Aaralynn, or the one in the bar when he successfully killed a dwarven civilian.
Scene 11: The dungeon begins
The following morning, the party met Alzad at the apartment. With Alzad was a rather tired and grumpy and cramped looking orc with a horned helmet. With Aaralynn's special vision, he glowed a very dim purple…he was evil. He, however, seemed to have no intentions of harm. She remained watchful but took no action. There were also two dwarven guards who appeared very sleep deprived, having stayed up all night to guard the apartment and the door.
At Alzad's command, the orc got down on all fours with his head pointed at the door and charged and rammed it several times until it cracked open. He stood up as much as he was able, looking rather dazed, and Alzad thrust a bag of gold pieces into his hands and sent him off. With the door now busted open, a glowing purple text in that same strange language appeared above the door. Aaralynn read it and relayed what it said to her party members, "All those that enter, be drained." Given its evil aura, and multiple party members identifying it as magic of some sort, they weren't about to just waltz through without thought. After a bit of discussion, they came to the conclusion that Aaralynn would cast "protection from evil" on Axton, who would then rush through the doorway as quickly as possible and scout the other side for traps. Unfortunately, the spell failed to protect him from the effects of the evil magic. As he raced through the door, his pores seemed to become holes directly attached to his blood vessels, and blood ran from his whole body. Thankfully, it did not last long, and Axton was overall fine. After he scouted the other side, he found no traps nearby, and the rest of the party agreed to, one by one, get through the door as quickly as possible. Some escaped the effects of the spell, some were damaged by it, but all survived. Those in the worst shape, Aaralynn healed.
After they had more or less safely passed the entryway, they determined a 'marching order' down the narrow and crudely carved passageway before them, and began to walk onward. After a time they came to a strange room, which some members of the party managed to identify as being under the river. The room was cut cleanly, almost like a rectangular box. Either side (where they entered through and where they were headed) had a portcullis of adamantine built into it. Lining the sides were poles/pipes, which Abrang was able to identify as a type of bomb, Drardam was able to identify as being magical, and which gave off an evil aura to Aaralynn. Abrang, with his extensive knowledge of war and dwarven tactics was able to identify this as a common dwarven war tactic for invading cities. The portcullises would drop and the bombs would be triggered, the explosion contained to the small chamber would collapse the ground above it, allowing troops to invade the city through underground tunnels. While dwarven planning and construction type was clearly present, the space was not dwarven craft, but rather (as determined by Abrang) goblin craft with goblin tools and methods. However, it is a very close mimicry of dwarven craft to the untrained eye.
After a bit of investigation of the room, the group agrees to continue forward out of the room (in case anyone set off the bombs or had the doors drop) and continue their speculations as they walked.
During their so far, otherwise uneventful trip through the tunnel, party members continued speculating about what they might be dealing with, and who could be involved that could afford the supplies to make that room. Some things brought up included the strange absence of observations in the coroner's report (made notably more strange by Ungart's assertion that usually the coroner was a very observant and meticulous man), that the coroner had been acting strange lately…weirdly happy in a way, the fact that charm person potions can have that effect, and that in the early days of the cult, charm person potions were used to get outside members of society to do their bidding. Additionally, a party member mentioned that the church was one of the only entities in the area that could afford the materials to build the chamber they passed through, to which Aaralynn took great offense. However, Aaralynn had something to offer as well- there was a man she'd met a few times at noble functions who was practically rolling in money and always gave off a bit of an evil aura who she found not unlikely at all to involve himself with something like a cult to the most evil entity in their world.
After a lot of walking, the party noticed a strange green light up ahead and halted their progression, unsure of what they might be walking into. Axton went ahead to scout and see if he could see anything without entering the room. What little he managed to see from the furthest point he felt it was safe to walk to was a room full of green fog-like mist, and what appeared to be…vibrating fungi..?
and that ends episode 3