The Adventures of Asjhic R'wati Maratha

Part 4- The Horror

Sollus 24th, 1506TH

As we entered Haven, a great commotion arose from the gate to Parlainth, as Kilgar, Elgar and Shakiram entered the city in a great haste. From afar, we saw her shout and gesticulate, and Elgar ran into one of the alleys, holding a bundle of scrolls. As we drew nearer, Shakiram and Kilgar were so busy talking between themselves that they scarcely noticed us. The windling looked very tired, and boasted a deep bandaged gash. Kilgar was on the verge of collapsing, with three wounds and barely standing on her feet. But before I could even begin grumbling about the Passions giving them the opportunity to perform magnificent deeds in the ruins rather than our much-uneventful trip, Kilgar started toward us. She explained that they went inside accompanied by two trolls, and that they both perished, and that they are going back immediately to try and save one of them. When Kar heard that these valiant warriors are Thelgar and Gresha, he protested vehemently, but Kilgar already thrust into my hand an object they found among the ruins and told me to go and sell it. Grasping the beautiful artifact, I ran to find my friend Archiana, Floranuus himself barely keeping pace with my haste.

I found her in her house, entertaining a remarkable elven lady. On her hearing we need help, Archiana helped me sell the exquisite glasswork Kilgar gave me for two hundred silver. Moreover, when the pretty elf heard we are going into the ruins for a dangerous rescue mission, her eyes lit up like shooting stars, and she immediately volunteered to join us! She turned out to be a valuable addition to us, for she is Syvillenea, an illusionist of some renown, and her spellcasting prowess was to become extremely helpful in our situation. At any rate, we hurried to meet Kilgar and buy the magical healing potions needed to restore our wounded to health and one of the trolls to life. After undue haggling Kilgar managed to buy the needed supplies, but at the dear price of pawning Ilfarian's inheritance. Yet we went to the gates, reassured of success, Thystonius already working its passion within my chest. Luckily, this passion was chilled somewhat, for when we stopped at the gate for Kilgar to heal her wounds, I have seen a root shoot from between the pavement stones and trip our weaponsmith and she fell to the ground unconscious! I have seen this spell at work once, and quickly glanced around before applying the healing potion to her prone body. Sure enough, Shakiram flew to us from someplace, babbling about danger and fear and suicide, insisting that Kilgar passed out from the strain her mind was under and infected wounds and whatnot. He would've invented a Horror controlling her, the little coward, anything to keep us out of the ruins! But I knew better. The potions I administered, together with a healing spell Syvelenara had cast, brought Kilgar to her senses and to relative health. We left the flying chicken to his devices and hastily made our way into the laneways of the Forgotten City.

The almost familiar way took us deep into the ruins, but as we neared the first trap on the main road, we saw about twenty little human-like creatures scurrying to and fro around the site of the blade trap. As we approached them, an arrow shot from someplace in the wall and hit Polwex. The riddle solved itself – these little monstrosities were moving and repairing the traps in the cursed place! Elgar tried to catch one of them, but he tripped and fell flat on his face, and the whole bunch disappeared into a dozen crevices and holes before I even managed to flap my tail twice in anger. We proceeded quickly but cautiously. On the road Kilgar told us that we were going into the Smalls, an area of small overground ruins to the north, that used to be the residential zone for Parlainth's now-dead citizens. She told us to look out for Tombara, the undead (and apparently unkillable) obsidiman that they met in the ruins today, the one Vor rescued from its prison on our first treasure hunt not a month ago, the one we have met on the road to Cherrypit. Oh, I will let him have a taste of my newly forged Scale-splitter! Kilgar did a magnificent work on my ancestral sword, and though she etched some ugly runes on it the blade felt extremely well-balanced in my hand, and it was altogether sharper than before. It was not long before I could realize my threat.

After meeting a group of dull-witted adventurers, we left the main road and entered deeper into the northern part. Outright we came upon a shambling pile of bones and pieces of armaments, which lunged at us! We could not hit it at first, and things looked quite grim even to me, and then both Elgar and the bone-thing froze like two statues and started glowing with unearthly light! At first I thought it was sucking the life out of the helpless Elgar, but as it shuddered in pain I realized it was some spell our nethermancer had cast, which was now taking its toll on the wretched undead. We renewed our attacks on our unprotected foe, but Elgar did not fare too well as his own magic nearly struck him down. However, as Syvilrea uttered a few words, the halo around it became sickly green instead of blazing blue, and Elgar managed to prevail over the vile thing. Meanwhile, Kar tore a large chunk of its armor, and Scale-splitter sliced through this opening, tearing bones and metal apart and blasting the wretched undead to little bits. After some healing, we moved on, only to be beset by Tombara, who wickedly struck me down and froze me in place! But as I started freezing slowly to death, my friends dispatched of him and he disappeared in the all-too-familiar cloud of green-black gas, and the evil magic wore off quickly. We proceeded to our destination, only to find the bodies of Thelgar and Gresha gone, and the two statues that killed the trolls waiting for us! They first moved to intercept us, but then turned around and apparently went away. Kar's exceptional tracking powers showed us, however, that we were to take the same course. So we hurried deeper and deeper into the ruins of sundry shops and houses, through dusty lanes, by crumbled walls, through the shadows of ancient alleys, fast and deadly and ready for whatever might come to hinder our way.

The statues disappeared several blocks ahead of us into an entrance to a shady block. We followed cautiously into a claustrophobic maze of buildings, until sunlight blazed suddenly as we emerged out of it into a round clearing of totally ruined houses. Heaps of stone and mortar lay all around, and the tracks led right to the middle of it. We saw some bodies lying there. Kar flew towards them. Kilgar took out the last-chance salve and started to run. I ran after them, as one of the bodies started to move! It could have been Thelgar if he had been alive, but he could not have been alive – his head was missing, and all that remained was the lower jaw – yet he still rose slowly to his feet, as if alive!!! Kar and I stood dumbfounded, and then charged him as one. As Thelgar started to realize he became a cadaver man, we hewed him to the ground. He did not defend himself, he just lay there and groped for his head, screaming wildly, as we dealt him blow after blow, until finally putting him out of his misery. As I took out the lantern from my backpack to burn his remains, I saw that Gresha's fate was similar. Kilgar did apply the salve, but he jumped on his feet screaming and trying to gouge his eyes out. He knocked Kilgar over and started running in circles, his screams echoing through the desolated quarter, until he tripped over something and collapsed. Polwex raised an alarm – the two "statues" were at the entrance to the place, gazing intently at us. I turned around to see Elgar standing over Kilgar's and Gresha's prone bodies. Somehow, Kilgar just sat there in mid-rising, unable to get up. Kar stood beside me, his gaze transfixed to a spot behind me, as if something altogether odious was standing there, leering at us, basking in our fear and grief. Kilgar's glazed eyes were looking the same way. A quick glance told me that somethinwas moving inside the ruins. The others saw it as well, for they gathered nearby and started with their magical manipulations. Syvillera stood in front of the stone-men, speaking slowly yet clearly in some arcane language. I trembled with agitation. My heart was pounding in my chest. I knew that unless I will do something, anything, a terrible thing is going to happen to all of us. My entire being rose in a prayer for Floranuus to give me speed, for Thystonius to lend me strength, and for Rashomon to fill my heart with love for my friends, so I can do what has to be done. I leaped up with tremendous speed towards the horrible thing that lurked in the doorway of a near-dilapidated house, my sword swinging through the air like the wrath of the elements, and my soul was suddenly filled with such unearthly rage that my lips started to foam and I uttered an unnatural battle cry!! Blood swelled in my eyes, it filled my ears, I could taste blood in my mouth, and surely my tail was leaving a bloody trail behind me as I beat the ground in my violent charge. The monster moved only a little to face me and my sword sliced into its horny armor like it wasn't even there. My victorious shout was echoed by a horrible scream from behind me. I turned around to see Kilgar collapse as a globe of darkness erupted from her, hiding my companions from sight and leaving me alone to face the Horror who, to my amazement, was completely unscathed! I vowed that I shall avenge my friends there and then, and while fighting him I saw the central beam that was holding the roof in its place. Lunging and confusing the Horror with my sword and tongue, I bypassed it, leaped on its slimy back and into the small building, and hacked into the wooden brace with all my might. Scale-splitter sang through the air and hit the beam, only to get stuck midways in it! I pulled and struck the pole with my tail, as a blow from the Horror sent me reeling to the ground. A horrible cracking sound was heard, and I tried to leap out of the collapsing structure to safety, when a wave of darkness hit me and I passed out.

I woke up in agony. From the tip of my crest to the tip of my tail, everything in my body was burning with pain. The darkness surrounded me, and I could barely breathe. I strained my muscles and moved inch by inch, until I managed to rise into the pale afternoon light of the blessed sun. Blessed be Garlen! The entire building lay in rubble around me. Of the Horror, of the statues, of my friends, there was nothing left, except for my backpack that lay where I dropped it. My trusty sword was battered and beaten. I sighed heavily and made my way towards what I remembered was the way back. I came upon things that I recognized as belonging to the group and took with me as much as I could. As I was passing giant insectoid creatures, a large form loomed over me. Tombara. I out-maneuvered him and swiftly ran through a maze of alleys into the main laneway, until I lost sight of the hulking brute. As I neared the gates, I heard him chasing me once more. Looking to the side, I saw Gresha's unconscious, arrow-pierced form lying near a lightning lizard's corpse… Or at least I hoped it was its corpse. This was the place of the trap, then. Numerous arrows lay by the walls, and I leaped through the air to avoid the pressure plates, only to be skewered by half a dozen bolts! As I lay there panting, within inches of my life, the obsidiman charged me through the trap. He was immediately pierced by a dozen arrowheads and fell on the ground. I struck him a blow as I rose, but he jumped to his feet as well. I gave him my famous "tail-and-tongue" move and retreated hastily into the blessed safety of Haven.

Coming towards me were Elgar, Shakiram and Syvlena, headed to bring Gresha inside. I went with them, but Tombara was nowhere to be seen. They told me that Kar and Kilgar were both killed, but were brought back in time for help to be administered. We gathered at our room in Zuul's inn to keep vigil over them until they wake up… All of the others were alive and well, at least as far as I could tell. Due to bringing our friends back from the dead, however, we were apparently in serious debts. Polwex assured me that this is nothing a few kernels of elemental fire won't fix, and we do have some.