Campaign of the Month: March 2008
The Nemedian Chronicles
Dhak Chapter 9 Entry 4
The hour drew near and we knew we must make our way to Nadinidus' manor. It was too soon for our liking and the Hyrkanian still needed time to recover from the ministrations of the Mitran healer. He looked like hells – it was obvious the so called healer was not of the skill of the Stygian physicians of the south. I knew every advantaged must be exploited and checked even the moon for a sign of astrological predeliction. Soon though we came to the sewer entrance and it was time to move in.
The fat priest Barthias had told me how to navigate to the manor's underchambers. The stink was nigh-overwhelming as we trudged along the narrow ledge that banked the underground river of filth. Shortly we came to a wide room where Barthias said the hidden door would be. The footing was treacherous and both Tullweim and Xacksmith splashed into the fetid cesspool while making their way. They would be smelling of shit the rest of the night if not longer now. My balance was true, however, and luckily so as I had plans to make it past the guardroom Barthias had mentioned. In short order Xacksmith found the hidden latch and a narrow doorway opened. After stepping through I removed from my pack an item I had required on a whim some weeks ago on the road from Ophir – a black, fine quality priest's robe. Fortuitously, very similar to the robes of the Mitrans. Donning the robe and handing my Stygian bow to the Aesir for safekeeping I advised my companions to wait until I had safely passed before storming the guard chamber.
The short corridor led to a door, and I let myself into a poorly lit chamber. Three guards stood about and came to, but did not seem immediately suspicious of my presence. In a subtle but commanding tone I advised them I was here for the meeting, and indeed they found this entirely plausible. Unmolested I made for the opposite door and closed it behind me. Now in a narrow hallway, I waited. It would not be long.
The silence was broken by muffled steps but I instantly recognized the heavy tread of the Aesir. I slowly drew my blades and made ready. Steel clang and shouts sounded through the door, and surely enough it was soon flung open by one of the frantic guards seeking to no doubt make his escape and alert the entire manor. Satisfaction glowed on my face at having outmanuevered the fool and my steel drove deep. He backed away from my withering attack and headlong into the Cimmerian's path who wasted no time in finishing him off. Quickly as it had begun the three lay dead, and we moved up to check the hallway. After a short distance it branched to the right and I knew this to be the larder where the priests held their secret meetings. Suspicious that they had perhaps heard something I listened at the door, and indeed heard concerned voices. Blast! it was short, but it had startled them to some degree. I quickly moved back to the guard chamber and bade the party be silent. We heard the door open and one of the priests stepped out, but did not see us. He went back his way, I retrieved my bow from Tullweim and we followed close behind.
Abandoning now all pretext Tullweim stormed in on his heels and cut the fool down. Knowing we must act swiftly Cuana and Xacksmith moved in and the killing began in earnest. Some dozen priests had gathered in this single room and looked up in surprise. They were soft and fat, though as I suspected had some last-ditch magical defenses. However we had blocked the door's single room and this only temporarily delayed their slaughter. Here two priests under the barbarian's battle-blade, there another crumpled as I sent a black-shafted arrow into his throat, alongside his companion freshly murdered by the Hyrkanian. I saw our friend Constanus at the back, reaching into his cloak and directing his subordinates. We fought ferociously but the senior priests were able to ensorcel the Aesir and I recognized the hypnotism magic that I myself favor. He pitched over headlong followed by Cuana and I knew they had been bewitched, but appeared at least to merely be sleeping.
From behind us I heard a mighty trample and knew the battle had drawn the remainder of the manor guard. I had hoped to move farther into the catacombs before this but it appeared the battle would be settled here first.
The situation was dire as only Xacksmith and I stood, and the guards were closing behind us. The Hyrkanian moved the sleeping Cuana and unceremoniously awakened him with indelicate jabs of his sword. Seeing the guards round the corner behind me I reached for a special powered preparation and cast it at my feet. A deafening thunderclap sounded and smoke billowed about, concealing me for a few precious seconds. The sound roused the sleeping Nordheimer and again he Cuana closed in to finish the priests. I moved out of the hallway fully into the room looking for Constanus, but he had gone! Through some means he had slipped out past me through the smoke. The room stank of sewer-shit and blood, and now we had to deal with the men-at-arms. I moved up to hold the door and engaged the lead guard. They were well equipped and stalwart; I took several gashes before Tullweim moved in to provide a more formidable obstacle for them.
We had an advantage holding the doorway and would not have to fight their full number at once there. Their captain moved up to face the Aesir but before he could try to break his defense I took the Heart and laid an onerous curse on him. He shrank down to the size of a marionette and ran screaming back under the legs of his men. There was no shortage of bodies now, and no sooner had Tullweim downed the next guard I commanded him rise and sent the shambling dead man at our foes. Shocked but undeterred the guards cut him down and continued to throw themselves at the barbarian who blocked their progress in.
I grew vexed that these fools chose not to respect my power and continued accosting us after its obvious demonstration. Very well then. We'll simply kill each last one of them.