The air seems stale down in this caverness maze. Acrid and dusty. It is as if every breath we take is some poltergeist that has long lost the will to even frighten. It leaves its foul residu in our mouths and souls. I hate this place. There is a reason I left the Underdark and it is places like this. Places where the living have delved too deep and unleashed things that shouldn’t even be. Perfect place to find that fiend with the viper for hair, Marlos. Soon the Heroes of Red Larch will defeat you. And if we can’t, well let us just say I will find a way to entomb us all. He will never see the blinding light of day. I promise. At least that is what the voices in the deep of my soul say. The Great Old One reaches out and says worse things from time to time, but I try to ignore him even though it gets harder and harder to resist.
“Send your enemies to our void my dearest pet.. I will reward you.”
I ignore it by standing still,slowly closing my eyes and saying the names of my friends. I think Drongar sees my discomfort and i quickly hide my face in a shadow.
We step out of Fendira’s magical hut. I am rested and i can feel the magic energies within me regenerated but I can not say this for the rest of the group. The battle versus the undead lich creature had left us a little worse for wear. Not wounded, just exhausted a little. The King of Besilmer’s vasir had been in such chagrin at the loss of his beloved king that he had transformed himself into such a vile creature that he couldn’t see the difference between friend or foe. He might return, we should stay alert.
Amongst the ruins of the room, Fendira found a dwarven spiked helm with a golden wicket. She feels it’s psychic power and attunes to it. I see a strange squint her eyes. The attunement was not a simple task, yet she makes no mention of it.
Smitty takes immediate charge, as usual. With his enchanting and ensorcelling voice he leads us back to the violet crystal cave where he had earlier spotted many tracks heading west.
“This is a more traveled path, which means… more adventure my friends!” he says with a grin ear to ear.
As we travel the path we keep a keen eye out for earth cultists. I can see Fendira keeping her gaze lower. A smart decision, keeping her gaze low as to not come face to face with Marlos. She has as much reason to see that Medusa defeated as I do. Probably more. I only want vengeance, she wants justice.
The sound of liquid flowing can be heard ahead. We cautiously enter an opening to a large room. A fissure in the wall spews thick boiling mud, creating a strange pond of the the unholy substance. At the deep end, a large, fully armoured Mirmadan stands plucking mud myfits from the goo.
Nasaug, goes into his Druid pouch and pulls out ashes from the burned leaf of mistletoe and a sprig of spruce. He sprinkles it on us and says a few words. He enchants us and we can may now pass by this obstacle without a trace. The only problem, a 10 foot gap of the mud pond stand between us and stotal furtivity.
Fendira grabs Kilrin and rides her broom across the gap without detection. I Leap with an otherworldly bound and also make no sound. Drongar, in full plate has to get a head start to jump, but succeeds and not a scrape or grinding sound can be heard from his full plate armor. Nasaug also takes a running leap and is not heard.
But my Shield guardian can not leap. I instruct him to quietly go through the mud. I should have left him at the entrance, but I have gotten attached to the strength and attunement we share. The Mirmadan is immediately alerted to the density change in the mud and orders an attack.
I attack first, blasting some of the myfits with agonising eldritch. They are damaged but not defeated. Smitty pulls out a tiny ball of bat guano covered in sulfur. He blows upon it and a mighty fireball explodes upon them. The myfits are all melted than dried into clay in an instant. The Mirmadan shrugs it off and pulls out a devastatingly cruel looking maul made of rust color rock. Fendira does not give him a chance to even react. With a small white rock chip she summons Snilloc’s Snowball Swarm. The Mirmadan is being pelted and grumbles is annoyance. Nasaug open his hands and claws extend from his fingertips. He runs through the mud and rakes the Mirmadan but to little effect. Drongfar runs directly behind Nasaug. I close my eyes for an instant as Drongar activates the sunbalde. The blistering sunlightblade resonates with such awe, it must be the sound of angels. Drongar calls for a divine smite as he slashes down powerfully.
The Mirmadan bleeds red clay but its doesn’t stop him from swinging the cruel maul at Nasaug. Lighting seems to swirl around the haft and then hits like the large spark on Nasaug. The loud clapping sound rings through the cavern. Nasaug is submerged for a moment under the mud. When he comes up, its thick and viscous quality has trapped Nasaugs legs and arms in the mud. He is trapped. My heart beat fast.
Nasaug and Drongar are very dear to me. I can not let this creature hit him again. With but a thought I send the shield guardian to try and pull him out. His great strength should be enough to rescue him. But the mud, after having been heated and cooled by our magical attacks encumbers the shield guardian and it also gets stuck, right in front of the Mirmadan, unable to help Nasaug.
Smitty pulls out a piece of Iron and a tinder with he ignites. He then proceeds to burn the piece of Iron. The Mirmadan’s armor begins to heat and become incandescent.The Mud-emental is still resisting the damage, pulling more new myfits from the pond. These new myfits leap on the shield guardian, preventing it from freeing itself from the muddy death trap.
Kilrin sends a barrage of powerful magic missiles and Loganth sends firebolts. The cavern is illuminated in all sort of brilliant colors. I have only seen such fireworks in Waterdeep during a festival. I can feel my eyes burning from the light. More mud splatters and more myfits are formed. This is a tough foe.
Nasaug has enough, he says a strange word and he ignites himself on fire. His body contours and shifts and he is metamorphosed into a fire elemental. He quickly frees himself from the mud. He gives a primal scream to the mirmadan. He then engulfs the mud-emental with his fiery flesh and its shrieks in pain. Anger is quite visible across Nasaug’s face. The Mirmadan melts into his own pond.
After we catch our breath, we notice two exits from this room. One that goes north but seems to go upwards, while another to the west. We go westward. The passage we enter is an enormous room, with a ceiling over 80 feet high. How could the dwarves have carved this. I stand in awe.
At the end of the large room, and near the ceiling is a bridge. We cautiously move forward, but are quickly attacked by a horde of Hook horrors. I used to despise these creatures. How many of them had stolen away and eaten childhood friends of mine? That was until I left my homeland of Menzoberranzan and discovered the torture and ill treatment my people had done to their breeding grounds. These giant monstrous looking Raven creatures with their skeletons on top of their hide and hook for arms seem more something to be pitied than hated now.
WE defend ourselves with violent purpose. Kilrin even calls forth a feathered serpent to aid. Its majestic plumage and terrifying roar frightens the leader of the Hook Horrors who seems to send a signal of retreat to his comrades. The others climb on the walls and escape. A few are cut down by Drongars blade and Nasaugs flames. But the leader of these monstrosities is not so lucky. The great Cuatal ensnares him in his long constricting tail.
Suddenly I feel the creatures thoughts. More like intincs that echoes through my mind. He is frightened. I move forward and telepathically ask him where are the cultist. He does not listen, he just wishes to escape. I try to send him thoughts of our hatred, and mission to defeat the cultists. I even send him and mental picture of the creature Marlos. Even though this frightens him more, his will wants to help. He asks to be free and we let him. He goes to the north wall and does a series of tapping gestures upon the rocks. A secret door opens and he gestures that that is our path. Before I can thank him, he has already scaled the walls to regroup with is clan.
We travel through a small tunnel, again filled with violet crystals. We hear the sounds of metal work and something can be heard bubbling as if boiling. We enter the Earth cult’s foundry. There, many cultists and a stone giant are working at building objects made of stone and crystal. We even see a breastplate of armor made of crystal. Such odd craftsmanship.
We also spot a chained hooded dwarf. He seems to be the only prisoner and he is forced to work. Another slave. My blood boils and I feel the twisted tendrils of the Great Old Ones begging me to use his power. I can feel the tentacles within my brain the same way a Illithid’s would before it would devour my brain.
We attack. The first attack, as it has become our norm is a fireball upon them, making sure to exclude the dwarf slave. The Great Old One urges me on and I have no will to resist this time. I unleash the vile Hunger of Hadar upon them. With my mind I rip the fabric of this dimension and let black ooze from an otherworldly dimension enter. Disturbing slurping sounds can be heard from within. The cultists and giant are enveloped by the dark inky sphere and I know they are blinded. But then it hits me. I have just made us blind to their positions and placement. Stupid move Grugain, very stupid.
In a loud thundering movement, the Stone Giant leaves the dark sphere and stomps towards us holding a cauldron of hot molten magma. He dumps it upon Drongar who, as usual is always on point. Our fearless Knight of the Order of the Gauntlet takes the brunt of it well, then get hooded by the cauldron, that the stone giant placed upon his head.
The Chaos makes me hesitate. I stop concentrating on the hunger of hadar, in case th cultist have something planned. Again, a stupid move. They had left the sphere of dark bile and placed themselves in a firing squad. It reminded me of Drow stings before they are about to execute someone with their crossbows.
They chant evil sounding words and a cascade of bolts of lighting descend upon us. Good thing for some of us, the entrance of the foundry is narrow and we have ample cover. But Loganth, Drongar and Nasaug take the thunderous attack head on. Nasaug had followed Fendira lead, and warded himself with a potion of protection from lightning earlier so he withstands the assault very well. Loganth with his dexterity is also able to avoid some of the attack, only suffering some superficial burns. The poor Stone giant is fried instantly. The smell of burnt flesh fill the room.
My miscalculation was costly. Drongar was directly in the entrance and so he takes the full force of the attack. I can see the arcs of lightning burning his scaly flesh. Smoke is coming out of his ears and eyes sockets. He collapse. I do not know if he is dead or alive. All I know is the rage. It is like the Sword of vengeance has left a permanent vestige of itself in me.
I send a devastating volley of the most hate filled eldritch I can muster in there direction. Hitting them and repelling one out of formation.
“How Dare you! How Dare YOU!!!!!!” I yell. The movements of my hands and the sound of my yelling are in unison. The purple energy streams and screeches towards them like a volley of arrows. But my rage clouds my incantation and it get mixed with some of the magical energy that surrounds the earth cultist. It warps the fabric of time and space. One of the cultist gains the benefit of invisibility because of my attack.
They attempt another volley of lightning in retaliation to my attack, but Smitty is fast enough with the counterspell to dash their attack.Nasaug leaps at them in his fiery elemental form and burns them.
Fendira’s small stature hides power. She casts a large sphere of magical energy upon them like a rolling boulder. It hits them and its acidic consistency delivers a pure punishing blow to the casters. Only one remains and he tries to escape through the opposite tunnel.
I center my mind and rage. I concentrate on my breathing, Ii open my eyes and with precision, I fell him with one single eldritch blast. He doesn’t even jerk or twitch. He was dead before he hit the floor.
Smitty and Kilrin quickly administer spells of healing upon Drongar. I am relieved to see him rise. I move forward and apologies to my faithful and courageous companion. We then both take a potion of protection from lightning just in case this sequence repeats itself.
Smitty frees the dwarf. He introduces himself as Rundorth, a smith and member of that fable dwarven delegation. He has been trapped here for quite some time. We ask him if he knows where Marlos is, so we might stop his summoning of the evil Ogrémoch.
He tells us to go through the temple and the node is directly to the east of it. He says we can not miss it as the tremors are getting more powerful and they come from there. We ask him if he would help us to fight. He smiles and says he would gladly help us. He flexes his arms and we see a strength that can rival the strongest Orc. We give him a war hammer and he joins the hunt.
We enter the temple. It is the largest of the caverns we have yet traveled through. It is eerie and frightening at the same time. We follow the tremors and the chanting. We here the deafening sound of grinding stone upon stone. We follow, throwing caution to the wind. We enter into the Earth Node.
The sight is off purechaos. Rocks and Crystals defying gravity. Floating about everywhere. Cultists chanting a song that can make any army tremble. And The Prophet, Marlos, standing at the base of a monolith. The monolith is a gangiantic gumble of ever changing rocks.He lifts his War Hammer in the air triumphantly and Turns and looks at us. We lower our gazes slightly not to meet his petrifying gaze.
“Well, Well we are a tad late” He says while he and his snakes, hanging and dangling around his head, have condescending grins. “Well, you are late to stop us, but you are right on time, to see your DOOM!”
As he accentuates the word Doom, the Node splits open and a gateway to the plane of elemental earth opens before our eyes. We are flung back by both cool and warm air. I feel like a few years of my life spills out of me. I try to avert my gaze from the blinding, scorching light yet I can not stop looking. It holds my gaze focuses as a literal mountain steps out. The Rod of Alertness warns me of pure evil.
It is Ogrémoch, one of the prince of elemental evil. He like an earth elemental but twice the size of the red dragon we faced. What am I saying? He is THE Earth elemental. I can image all other evil earth elementals seeping out of the crevices, and openings across his body like he is a mountain sized, sentient, ant hill. He is the progenitor of all evil elementals.
He takes a giant step forward. The ground shakes. I am sure they can feel the tremor from here to Red larch.
Then… its speaks “YOUR WORLD WILL BREAK!”
To be concluded