Dancing Clouds 4th, 3123 Under the Light
Leaving three of my party to hold the rear, I with the remainder, descended into the depths on the trail of the necromancer.
We followed the stairs, straight and narrow deeper and deeper into the dark. From below, we began to hear a faint chanting echoing from the depths to far away to pinpoint. It took a few minutes, with me in the lead, Fekla between and the woman in the rear.
Suddenly, the path flattened out and I found myself in a dimly lit tomb. Around me, I could smell the scent of dry rot and something dusty, but I could not make out the source in the flickering torches. Stepping inside, I was suddenly aware of a faint creaking and clicking echoing in the near silence.
Moving further in, sword and shield at the ready, I was surprised by motion to my right in a series of alcoves that seem to have been used to once hold victims for nefarious purposes. But, just as I turned, nightshade clad skeletons lumbered out of every nook and cranny.
They struck hard, reeling me with blows. Behind me, Fekla bellowed and laid into them with her ax, but neither ax nor sword appeared to do much damage. From the corner, our necromancer raised up to fire a bolt of darkness. The alakar woman was on him in an instant, striking him with her sword, but the darkness surrounding him clawed at her, frosting her armor in the chill of death.
Then, out of nowhere, a goblin tumbled from a collapses portion of the cieling. How he came to be there, or why I only found out much later. But, his presence heralded a change in our fortunes. Though, the goblin was injured in the fall, his companion, an orc warrior who dropped from the hole a second later was far from it.
No sooner had his boots struck flagstone, when he hurled a throwing ax in the direction of the necromancer, wounding him, but not killing him. In fear, the necromancer fled again, descending down another flight of stairs.
We would have followed, but I and Fekla were bottled up in the door by a wall of skeletons and were having trouble doing any significant damage. Though it took him a moment to recover, the diminutive goblin managed to draw and fling a knife, catching one of the five skeletons in the back of the head, shattering his scull.
But first blood was the last taste of victory we achieved for some time. Even though we flanked and surrounded the skeletons, our bladed weapons simply could not damage the ancient, animated bones.
Around me, my allies grew more and more frustrated as blow after blow seemed to glance harmlessly off our foes. Our only consolation was that they seemed to have similar difficulty. At least, until a lucky blow pierced my abdomen, driving me to my knees.
My allies rushed to my aid, desperately drawing attention away from me as I called upon Archanon for healing. With his strength, I surged to my feet and felled a foe. I summoned and honored dead who crushed another.
Realizing the key to victory was bludgeoning weapons, my allies grabbed whatever they could, old legs from furniture which has been used by the previous inhabitants, and in Fekla’s case, a lid to one of the five sarcophagi.
However, when the Alakar tried to smash a skeleton, the dry rotted wood shattered in her hands. Her second blow, with he shield missed the skeleton by Fekla’s leg and struck the ogress. Fekla, who had already hurled away the lid in anger, reached down, ripped away the Paladin/priest’s shield and hurled it away as well.
We all quickly realized the ogress’ growing anger, and quickly moved away to get clear of her increasingly violent outbursts. The goblin managed to retrieve the shield and moved ahead to scout, while we let Fekla vent some of her frustration on the final skeleton, which she bodily snatched up and smashed into a wall.
Once the room was clear, we paused a minute to gain blessings once again before descending any further. Once done, with the goblin scouting ahead, we continued, this time with the enraged Fekla in the lead.
Down we went, and very nearly walked into an ambush, when our scout returned and stopped us just outside of a large room. He indicated that there were Shayakar, necromancers and werewolves in the room ahead.
Fekla barely nodded before barging in and charging a trio of werewolves forming a line in the center of the room. The res of the allies followed. I had just stepped inside, when a figure in black on a dias opposite the door raised his hands and unleashed a storm of roiling black tendrils of smoke. they coiled around, quickly filing the room. And suddenly, everyone ahead of me was engulfed in darkness.
From inside the cloud I heard the sounds of combat; the orc bellowing, arrows shattering against armor, the howl of wolves and the chant of necromancers. Most disturbing, I heard Fekla laughing with malicious glee. A second later, the Alakar woman stumbled out of the cloud and I realized at that moment that whatever ritual our enemy had been performing here was completed.
Though I got but a glimpse, I am certain that the creature on the dias was a powerful vampire of some form. Alone, he would have been all but impossible to defeat. Together with his guardians, he was unassailable. With this realization came decision. I bowed a knee and beseached Archanon for aid against this ancient foe.
Beside me, the Celestial spirit knelt beside and added his power with mine. Unbidden, my Alakar friend joined as well. And so, in the midst of chaos, darkness and battle while our friends fought and bled, we prayed, our voices rising to the heavens.
In answer, the room began to shake, chunks of ceiling falling around us. And then, like a meteo, a bolt of pure, white light crashed into the room, momentarily halting battle.
In that bolt of a light, massive wings spread and a Celestial Guardian Angel of the 3rd Order appeared. With a wave, it banished the darkness surrounding us and leveled its holy blade at the chest of the Vampire Lord who, taking stock of the situation turned, stepped into shadow with two of his guardians and vanished. To where, or how, I know not.
Nevertheless, without their commander, the enemy forces began to crumble, though I must admit, those that remained fought to the last. Now able to see, and healed by the Angel who then ascended to the heaven’s, Fekla exacted a terrible toll on our enemies. The Orc, the goblin and the Alakar all acquitted themselves admirably. Even I and my Celestial companion counted on of the Shayakar as our contribution.
Though it felt like hours, the combat was over in moments leaving us in control of the field, and yet, I fear the victory must go to our enemies.
Now that we had a moment to take stock, I examined the ritual site and the bodies of the victims only to discover something horrible. Five individuals, all young had had their throats slit and the blood collected for the Vampire to feed. Worse yet, the victims included a young Eldakar druidess, a young dregordian sailor girl, a young male dwarf smith, a young male aevakar and last, a young human man from a local Church of Light. In effigy, each of the ascended had been slain, their avatar’s blood used to raise whatever dark thing was entombed in this ancient crypt.
Worse, it had escaped to into the norther wildlands to continue whatever dark plot the forces of Darkness now embarked upon.
I only pray that we can find it in time.
We have secured the sight and ensured that none will enter without our permission. I am sending for more priests to aid in the cleansing and eventual destruction of the tomb and crypt, but I fear that this is but the beginning.
As soon as the situation is under control here, I shall return to Echer’Naught.