By Jaap-Peter Hazelhoff
Chapter 55 - Unwelcome Company
Berdusk, 1371 DR, Eleint, 10th day, afternoon; somewhere down in the sewers
Matteo wriggles past Immerine and Jezbodiah to take a closer look at the suspected strand of algae. Closer examination reveals that it is a piece of thin rope or such that has an outer layer covered by algae growth. Pulling a little more on the rope reveals a frayed end. The way the rope is strung has an uncanny resemblance to a trip wire, one that has been sprung. Following the rope up with his eyes and moving a little closer, Matteo peers into the pipe from which it emerges. Holding the sunrod closer he sees some sort of spring-mechanism about five feet into the pipe. Telsom in the meanwhile keeps his attention focused as much as possible on the pipe, while not neglecting the rest of the surroundings. The young paladin, now even more alert hears a small splashing sound behind him. It could have been Tempest, but the splash sounded a little too soft and smooth for the half-orc. Back in the chamber Tempest peeks over his shoulder at the others while remaining his stoic vigilance against anything that might come at them from the other two channels. “Found anything?” He asks.
Immerine smiles at Matteo and runs one hand down his back as he gazes at the pipe. “I thought all noblemen were used to the ruggedness and stench of the sewers, my lord. Oh wait… I forgot that is what you call society. Shall we see what is in this pipe that holds your attention?” Immerine moves forward bringing her staff up to the level of the pipe. Matteo starts as Immerine’s hand runs down his back and he jerks upright in startled surprise. Turning to face her he is about to say something when he realizes that she is ignoring him and about to touch her staff to the pipe. His mouth works soundlessly for a moment before he finds his voice. Laying a hand on her wrist he quickly jerks it away and almost glares at her. “Wait a moment, that strand used to be a tripwire. There is some sort of spring loaded mechanism up the pipe, I didn’t see whether it is still loaded or not.” Not quite trusting her, Matteo steps to the side away from the pipe. Immerine’s forward momentum is jerked to a halt when Matteo grabs her wrist. Going with the tug she steps into him, her face inches away from his. When he moves to the side of the pipe she moves to the opposite side, her face a blank slate. “There is one way to find out if it is still loaded…” She reaches out with her free hand to grab the frayed end of the cord. “I suggest everyone spread out away from the pipe.” Jez merely rolls his eyes at the foolishness of Immerine and Matteo. “I think the pipe contains some spring loaded mechanism. That’s obvious as the strand running into the pipe.”
Spinning around in the water, Telsom holds up a hand to Immerine asking her to halt as he lowers himself towards the water scanning its surface for anything out of the ordinary. Scanning the water and concentrating, Telsom detects a vague hint of evil; it comes from the tunnel where the combined sewage flows into. “It would be easier if you burn the strand with a cantrip or a torch.” Jez says, as he steps further away from the pipe, nodding his cowled head in approval to his own comment. “It will deactivate the trap.” Jez mutters as he moves closer to Telsom and trying to step behind the Sunite paladin. Lip curling up, the young paladin lets out a small snarl as he spins his broadsword in his hand. Not taking his gaze off the tunnel where the sewage merges, the holy warrior begins to move towards it. “Immerine, I’ll need light if I’m to rid us of the little devil spying on us. Be a dear and shine your staff into that tunnel.” Immerine smiles sweetly at the paladin, dropping the old trip wire and hoping both Jez and Matteo fall flat in the muck. She wades closer to the tunnel Telsom indicated and shines forth her staff.
As the ‘tripwire’ falls back into the sewage, all that happens, is some muck spattering the already soiled clothes of the Sembian investigator. Immerine swings her staff in the direction of Telsom, narrowly missing the heads of Matteo and Jez, and she squeezes her way past the two. The half-elf merely tries to turns his head and from the corner of one eye he attempts to wink at the witch; however in the cramped environment Jezbodiah, trying to get out of the witch’s way, bumps into the stick rising from the sewage. The motion dislodges the stick and the pull of the sewage tugs it in the direction of the chamber. Flowing agonizingly slow past Jez and in the direction of Telsom and Immerine, one piece of the stick remains underwater while the other part sticks out of the muck. “Interesting…” Jez says as he quickly loses interest in Immerine and Telsom’s discovery “I wonder if this stick is a lever?” Jez proceeds to the levers and sheaths his shorts swords once again. With gloves donned, he places one hand on each lever and proceeds to push one away from his body and the other towards him. He does this slowly as to NOT to break the sticks.
The swinging light from Immerine’s staff causes the shadows to dance wildly and the Kelemvorite half-orc turns around looking at what his friends are doing. When Tempest turns, Telsom gets a better view of the chamber and the tunnel into which the sewage flows. Close to the edge of vision, Immerine and Telsom, unaware of the floating stick behind them, can see a rat-like shape swimming away. A much larger rat then the ones encountered previously. Taking a deep breath, Telsom rushes forward his shield held before him, with his broadsword skimming the surface of the filth behind him. “From roses to feces… wouldn’t father be proud.” He says between gritted teeth as the moves quickly after the rat shape. Immerine gives chase immediately behind Telsom. “I know I’m not. Paladins rushing off into who knows what sort of trouble, leaving behind his companions… you cannot get rid of me this easily Telsom!!!” The witch says hot on Telsom’s heels. “I’m unused to explaining my actions Immerine, perhaps when this is over I shall for a change.” The young warrior calls over his shoulder. “I don’t know why… I never intend to explain my actions. Keep your secrets paladin. Let’s catch up with that rat.” Immerine smiles mischievously.
Tempest looks a little nonplussed as Telsom and Immerine splash by wading quickly through the muck. Sensing some sort of trouble he grips his mace tighter and hurries along after the two. Fortunately for Matteo his sunrod is still providing a wealth of light, allowing him to watch the three disappear into the third tunnel. Along the line of his vision he sees Jez reach out to the slow floating ‘lever’. As the young half-elf’s hand closes around the thing, he lifts it out of the sewage, revealing a short spear. Through the dripping muck, the weapon’s head appears slightly bent and blunted. As Immerine and Telsom rush off Matteo looks up in surprise. “Now what?” He mutters to himself. “Jez!” He calls. “After that lot, we can’t afford to get separated for some reason down here.” Matching actions to his words Matteo wades after the disappearing trio. “Right! No more kobolds for me.” The half-elf replies. Seeing the light fade into darkness, Jez takes the blunted spear and proceeds to follow Matteo before he becomes lost in the darkness.
Despite Telsom’s best efforts, he can’t keep up with the fast swimming rat. The muck, which reaches up to well over half his upper legs, slows his movement down considerably. Yet the young paladin moves faster then the others, determined as he is to catch the evil creature. Immerine tries to keep up with Telsom, but finds the sewage to obstruct her movements even more in the wake of the paladin’s passing. Slowly she sees the young man move closer to the edge of her staff’s light-circle. Multiple splashing sounds and the bobbing light of a sunrod indicate that the others are following in the rat-chase. Suddenly, for a split second, Telsom feels a different sort of resistance as he lifts his foot. Then, as if in slow-motion he hears a click from his left. Looking in that direction he sees one of the smaller sewage pipes at roughly chest level. Hurling out of the pipe is a rusty-headed spear, aimed straight at the paladin. Immerine sees the lightning fast movement of the spear and the desperate maneuver of Telsom to avoid the trap. The man’s movements are to no avail, the force of the spear punches straight through the young man’s new armor and hurtles him against the opposite wall. A flabbergasted Tempest sees his companion slam against the opposite wall, a spear haft sticking out of the man’s abdomen. Without further ado, the half-orc pushes through the sewage towards his fallen comrade. Matteo and Jezbodiah, unable to see clearly what happens in front of them, only the grunt of pain and the sound of Telsom smacking into the wall provide an initial indication that something is wrong; then Tempest starts sprinting forward through the muck.
First wincing as he comes in contact with the wall, Telsom grunts as he supports his weight on the wall with his shield and arm. Looking down at the weapon protruding from his flesh and armor, the paladin’s eyes widen in shock. “Lovely.” he hisses between clenched teeth. “Beshaba’s Whims!” Gasps Jez, “That had to hurt.” Wading through the sewage and refuse, Jez makes a stronger push towards Immerine and Telsom, overcoming Matteo if needed. He reaches behind his back and withdraws his short sword. He keeps his recent discovery, a blunted spear firmly gripped in the other. “Telsom!!” Immerine shouts and hurries forward to the young paladin. She examines the wound and shakes her head. “Tempest, quickly, I need your help.” The young witch pulls off her backpack and begins rummaging through it all the while chastising the paladin half-heartedly. “Stupid, stubborn fool …watch where you are going instead of focusing so intently… Single-minded bravery… See what you get when you don’t wait? Now you have hurt yourself… and in these filthy conditions!”
“As much as I would have rather avoided the wound… it’s best that it was me.” The wounded paladin says between strained breaths. “Where a wound in this cesspool might prove deadly to you or the others in the long run, I’ve nothing to fear… Sune protects me from all manners of disease… not from all manner of wounds it would appear.” A small laugh escapes the paladin’s lips but quickly turns into a cough, which brings up a small gout of blood. “A disease is not necessarily what I am talking about.” Snaps the irritated witch, “Cold, damp, and shock are far more dangerous to you at the moment. Drink a sip of this!” She presses her precious flask of Rashemi firewine into the paladin’s hands. Telsom shakes his head, his lips pursed tightly together as pain rushes through his body as he tries to move. Closing his eyes, the paladin reaches down feeling the area where the spear penetrated his flesh. As the half-elf rogue advances, he can hear Immerine chide and order Telsom on his brash actions. Looking at Telsom and Immerine, he says holds the blunted spear to both of them and speaks, “My hunch was correct. This is what I pulled out of the muck and dung.” He shakes his head at Telsom, who now has a spear in his chest I see you found another one of these spear traps; looks like we’re inside someone’s hunting grounds.”
Standing back away from the others in the sewer tunnel to avoid getting in the way Matteo regards proceedings with a cool eye, though he gives Telsom a tight, grim nod when he catches the man’s eye. Jez looks at Immerine and says, “Need any help?” Immerine frowns at Telsom and places her flask back into her backpack. “It would have deadened the pain and what I am about to do may cause you to pass out. If you choose to do this the hard way, so be it.” The witch looks worried as she examines the wound. “Jez, please keep our stubborn friend erect so he does not drown in the muck around us. From within her healer’s kit she withdraws a small, very sharp knife. “This will hurt, but cannot be helped. I need to increase the size of the hole slightly in order to remove the spear. Following that I will heal you, do you understand?” Immerine asks, looking into the paladin’s eyes. “Tempest will have to snap off the majority of the spear first… then cut away.” The paladin hisses through clenched teeth. Sheathing his short sword once again, Jez leans the blunted spear against the wall. “Do you have any leather straps or a belt?” He says as he supports Telsom to stay upright and away from the muck. “This looks like its going to hurt more than a bit and I don’t want you to bite off your tongue.” He stops for a moment, then continues whispering into Telsom’s ear. “You may want to take a swig of that firewine.” Telsom looks to Jez with disgust clear on his face. “If I’d wanted it, then I would have taken Immerine up on her gracious offer.”
“Well then, I hope you have the stamina. Lliira guide you through your pain.” Jez says. “Immerine, I’m not a healer. How and where do you want me to hold him?” Tempest has stepped up to the wounded paladin, and watches Immerine examine the wound, while he quietly does the same, evaluating her techniques. “I’ll snap the haft, just a couple of inches above the wound. That should allow you enough room to cut the spearhead out milady.” The half-orc turns to Jezbodiah. If you step around to the other side, the two of us can hold him steady, “I don’t believe it is time yet for Telsom to visit my lord on his way to his lady, however we must be careful not to stress the wound too much. The spear might have damaged vital organs.”
Telsom chuckles, but then winces, pain flashing across his face. “No more talk.” The paladin says as he brings his hand to his mouth, murmuring and then kissing his fingertips. As a rosy glow encompasses the end of his hand, Telsom reaches down, holding his hand to the side of the wound giving Immerine space to work. Gritting his teeth, Telsom hisses. “Do it.” Immerine nods once and moves with the skill of an experienced healer. The small knife is so sharp; Telsom feels only the tiniest of pinpricks as it opens his wound. The hardest part is removing the spear head from the battered and torn flesh. Immerine moves as quickly as she can without causing the paladin any undue pain. Once it is removed, she calls on the last vestiges of her healing power. Tempest watches Immerine work. He smiles when he sees her open the wound, and it looks like the idea would never have occurred to him. After the spear is out, he will move in closer and begin calling to Kelemvor. “Oh mighty Kelemvor, if it’s not this brave man’s time to see you, please allow your servant to heal his wound.” Immerine’s skilled hands and sharp knife allow the spear to be removed from Telsom’s body. The young paladin moves his hand over the wound trying to stop the flow of blood with aid of his divine patroness. Despite his efforts, the blood seeps through his fingers and judging by the pale complexion on the man’s pain contorted face, he has lost quite some blood already. It takes the combined efforts of the witch and the servant of the Lord of the Dead to knit the wound and still the flow of blood.
The mystical energies fill Telsom with a cool and fresh energy which, visibly, returns some of his strength. Already exhausted this morning, Immerine feels much of her strength flow into the paladin and she sees that her effort is rewarded, though it takes Tempest’s aid to staunch the flow of blood and heal the wound. A quick reaction from Tempest prevents both the weakened paladin and the weakened witch to sink into the mud. “That’s incredible…” Utters Jez, “That was… By Lliira, that was… All I can say is amazing! Here, let me help Immerine,” he says to Tempest. “Do you need any assistance my good lady? I’m good to lean on… amongst other things.” The last is said with a wink and in good humor. “I’ll be ready to go again in a few moments… let me catch my breath.” The paladin says as his body almost collapses into the muck below. Immerine turns too quickly as she avoids Jez’s touch and she goes down on one knee. Only the support of her staff prevents her from falling into the muck as she clings to it tightly. She snaps quickly, “Do not touch me, without my permission!” She withdraws from the tight knot of people and hangs back as far against the opposite wall as she can get. Dark ebon strands of hair are plastered across her bloodless cheek in a strange mock tattoo. Her eyes follow the paladin’s movements wearily, “Neither you nor I are ready to move on …” She stands stiff as she tries to regain her strength by sheer will alone. As Jez attempts to reach out with his hand to help Immerine in her struggle, he retracts his hand and speaks humbly. “My Lady, may I seek your permission. May I offer my services to you?”
Closely watching the makeshift surgery and healing of Telsom and then the interaction between Immerine and Jez, Matteo remains just out of the way. Shifting his gaze from the young witch he glances away from her and Jezbodiah, down the tunnel. “While you are catching your breath I’ll just have a look down here to make sure you are safe.” He murmurs in a quiet voice before threading his way through the group and slowly making his way forward. Tempest sighs loudly and then goes off a little ways down the tunnel after Matteo. Immerine looks first at Jez’s outstretched hand and then at Matteo’s back, “No Jez…” She continues softly while still staring at Matteo’s departing form, “There will be no more service. I will not allow you to do this as you truly do not know what you ask. Too much has been done in the name of service to no avail. In the end it does not matter…” Taking a deep breath she slowly heads off after Matteo, her head bowed and her shoulders slumped as if under a great weight. Sounding disappointed, Jez replies to Immerine’s and Matteo’s disappearing forms. “Well, at least let me take the point. I can see farther and deeper in the darkness than any of you. Don’t want to have another accident with the spear now do we?”
Carefully Matteo makes his way forward through the muck, paying attention to the openings in the sewer’s walls and peering across the surface of the sewage for any signs of danger. Peering into the dark beyond the circle of light thrown by Matteo’s sunrod, Tempest tries to look for any danger further ahead. A weary Immerine, shoulders slumped and head bowed follows the two a couple of paces behind, despite her own proclamation of not being fit to continue. Jezbodiah, after a quick glance at the recovering paladin, quickly follows the other three, seeing the two sources of light moving further away. Being able to see in less light then humans, it remains prudent with tripwires and such to have a little more light at hand. Carefully testing to see if there is any residual effect from the erstwhile wound, Telsom rises steadying himself against the wall. The damaged armor seems to be the only indication of the wound he received mere moments ago. Sword in hand Telsom makes his way after the others. The roguish half-elf makes his way foreword through the muck before him. “I hate cold water…” He mutters under his breath. “…Can’t wait for a hot bath.” He rubs his hands against his sleeve to warm them from the gnawing cold weather. Now and again, he turns his head to see if Telsom is following. Finally, stopping with the others, he says. “Okay, which way are we going?”
After carefully traveling through the sewer for a couple of yards, Matteo’s vigil is rewarded as he spots another piece of string hanging down from a tube into the sewage. As he halts to inspect the suspect pipe Tempest taps him on the shoulder. Following the half-orc’s pointing finger with his eyes, Matteo straightens a little to better see what the Kelemvorite is pointing at. Another fifty yards or so down the channel there seems to be another intersection of main channels. Nodding his head at Tempest’s gesture Matteo silently indicates the dangling string to the others so that they may avoid any peril it contains. Leaning closer to Tempest he murmurs in a low, quiet voice, “Do you want to have a quick look ahead? No point us bringing up light and letting the whole world know we are coming.” Tempest nods his head at Matteo, and rechecks the weight of his mace and shield. He moves through the sewage carefully avoiding the trap, and trying to be as silent as possible to investigate the next intersection.
Immerine stops a few feet from Matteo and leans heavily against the wall. For once she is silent and lets the Sembian direct the next actions of the group. She looks back over her shoulder to make sure Telsom is following and able to keep pace. With a tightly drawn face, Telsom keeps up with the others; his shield held firmly in hand, his sword held mere inches above the water. Immerine smiles wanly at the young paladin as he draws near. She takes a deep breath and wishes she hadn’t when the odor re-assails her nostrils. “Ugh!” She says before she realizes she even spoke then shakes her head returning to silence as the weariness she feels begins to overtake her again.
The painful memory of the spear penetrating his side, Telsom cautiously follows the others, not wanting to be pierced again. Nothing flies out at the paladin this time, small solace but not much of a comforting thought. Matteo’s find proves there are still more traps around. Jezbodiah, seeing Immerine look back at Telsom peeks over his shoulder as well. Seeing the paladin is keeping up, the half-elf steps past Immerine who leans wearily against the curved wall of the sewer, a look of distaste and tiredness on her face. Between the light circles of Immerine’s staff and Matteo’s sunrod Jez stops – a pace or so behind the Sembian. Jezbodiah’s eyes scan the area in front of his companion. A thin wire emerges from the muck and runs up to a small drainage pipe. The pipe – not unlike the one where Telsom was wounded – seems to be in disuse. A little dried muck is crusted on the rim of the opening and inside Jez sees a small glint of metal. “Ooops… There’s one.” He says pointing to the drain pipe with a glint of satisfaction. He stops and grabs Matteo’s shoulder with his free hand. “Don’t trip the wire.”
Tempest, having taken care not to trigger the lethal trap, sloshes through the sewage towards the intersection. Despite his effort in trying to be silent, the half-orc can’t avoid the sounds his progress makes. Hoping the sound is soft enough not to warn any enemies he carefully presses on. The half-orc is only a couple of yards from the intersection when, some twenty yards from his position, he spots movement – a couple of heartbeats to late. As he registers the movement in the darkness of one of the side-tunnels two mechanical clicks sound, immediately followed by the distinct ‘twang’ of a bowstring. With sickening thud of metal on metal, one of the projectiles pierces the links of the Kelemvorite’s chain armor.
Some forty yards behind the half-orc the others hear the sound of the bolt impacting on Tempest’s chainmail, less then a heartbeat followed by another bolt slamming into the wall of the sewer a yard or two away from Matteo and Jezbodiah. As the bolt slams into the wall only yards away from him, Jez snaps loudly, “Cyric’s balls! That’s it! For now on, I take the front! No offense, but if you people keep tripping these wires and what not, we’ll never get out of here alive.” As he moves forward, he can be heard saying, “I hope Tempest is alright.” Jez immediately unsheathes his two short swords and moves forward, cautious of the tripwire, watching for open drainage pipes and the nasty surprises they hold. Immerine hisses in annoyance. “Use your senses half-elf! This is an ambush. There were two clicks and the singing of a bowstring and nothing came from the pipe. Everyone away from the tunnel entrance – Now!” Immerine moves with sudden rejuvenation as she presses forward. She pulls out a single shiny coin then juts her staff around the corner. Angling the coin so as to catch the light from around the corner she hopes to see enough to make out what is there.
When Tempest looks up from where a crossbow bolt has imbedded itself into his armor and a little blood seems to be welling up, he sees some small figures scurrying in the darkness ahead of him. They seem to be engaged in reloading their weapons. From the corner of his eyes the half-orc thinks he spots some movement in the tunnel to his right. But when he darts a quick look into that direction he doesn’t see anything. Saying a quick prayer to Kelemvor, Tempest starts an attempt at running forward through the muck, pushing waves of sewage in front of him, in an attempt to reach the obscured archers before they have a chance to reload their weapons. Swearing under his breath Matteo begins to move forward through the muck, drawing his borrowed sword with his free hand as he does so. In his haste the Sembian accidentally triggers the trap he had found. Only a lightning quick reflex allows him to avoid the lethal spear, which slams loudly into the opposite wall. Cursing under his breath, Matteo regains his balance and moves forward squeezing past Jez and then Immerine. He glances at Tempest’s wound but doesn’t stop, stepping just around the corner to the mouth of the tunnel on his left.
Ignoring Immerine’s warning, the brash half-elf moves toward the intersection as well, catching up with Matteo and Immerine. By the time the three enter the intersection, Tempest has made his way almost across it and is about to enter the tunnel where the archers – with the added light from staff and sunrod they can now be clearly identified as kobolds – are raising their reloaded weapons for another shot. Telsom following the group, having seen the trap spring just behind the hasty Sembian, advances more carefully. As he looks forward to see what his companions are doing, excited barking sounds come from the leftmost tunnel of the intersection, followed by a rattling sound overhead – as if wooden cog-wheels have started to turn. Reacting as quickly as they can the four people in the intersection try to get out of harm’s way; Matteo, having moved close to the left tunnel, dives into the muck, and Immerine stumbles back into the tunnel from which she emerged, tripping and landing on her behind – sinking almost up to her neck into the sewage.
Jezbodiah and Tempest are not so lucky, maybe it was a moment’s hesitation or the slippery footing, suddenly they find themselves lifted of their feet and hoisted into the air as ‘vines’ on the walls of the intersection suddenly go taught and raise a sturdy net from the floor up. With increasing speed the net contracts and rises further up towards the ceiling as some sort of counterweight descends down from above. By the weak light of Immerine’s staff Matteo glances down the side passages for any immediate threat and snaps, “Be quiet! No need to tell whoever set the net we are all here.” Obviously not amused at their current predicament and with being on his hands and knees in a sewer, he fumbles about in the water for his sunrod. The half-elf rogue swears loudly as he suddenly finds gravity working in the opposite direction and no floor beneath his feet. “A counter-weight… Tempest…” He says. “…Can you reach one of my daggers?” With his short swords still in his hands, Jez attempts to cut a small opening in the net, but finds his arms pinned by the net and the weight of Tempest pushing against him. Quietly, Tempest does as he’s told, reaching for one of Jez’s daggers, squirming so he can move his hand in such a way that he can reach one of the half-elf’s boots. With his other hand, he’ll try to grab one of the healing potions he was given. Tempest’s actions cause the net to sway; the cogs above creak dangerously as the half-orc manages to reach one of the potions in his belt. Now to get the flask closer to his mouth…
Immerine’s staff wavers crazily while the witch flounders to regain her feet in the murky mess. The look on her face speaks words that need not be said aloud… or in company – any company. She looks up at the pair swinging in the net overhead and across to the counterweight. “You look ridiculous Jez. Come down from there at once!” She winks at him and smiles brightly, “Better yet, stay put – it will keep you out of my way.” She moves carefully to the counterweight and studies it trying to find a way to release it and drop those above into the muck below and free them. “There’s plenty of room if you can find the time to climb up here.” Jez re-examines his precarious position and continues, “Uh second thought Immerine, I smell better than you, but not by much.” He speaks gaily in the best fashion expected of any Lliiran as muck steadily drips from the slimy net holding the unfortunate half-elf and Kelemvorite. “Don’t let us drop. I will try to cut an opening in net and climb down, if I can.”
Stalking around the corner, his eyes glazed over with pain and holy guidance, Telsom seeks out the largest group of kobolds his mouth a thin crease in his face. Seeing a couple of the small creatures beyond the two trapped companions, the paladin wades past Immerine and ducks underneath the dripping net, closing in on the enemy. Two of the little creatures have apparently reloaded their crossbows. Wide eyed at the determined approach of Telsom, both of them shift their aim at the approaching Sunite warrior and let their missiles fly. Quickly Telsom moves his shield to deflect the incoming bolts, catching one with a loud impact on his shield. The other flies past the shield and embeds itself partially in the paladin’s armor scratching the man’s shoulder. In the mean time Matteo has found the sunrod, lifting it above the level of the sewage while regaining his footing, he suddenly finds himself staring at two spear wielding kobolds and in the shadows beyond he can spot even more movement. The two creatures yap excitedly and stab their spears at the Sembian. Perhaps the sudden appearance of the sunrod threw of their aim; only one of the spears strikes a glancing blow, nicking Matteo’s right arm slightly and drawing some blood.
Immerine, inspecting the mechanism holding her two companions trapped in the air, suddenly feels something bumping against her legs. As she looks down to inspect what it is, her bright smile vanishes quickly: two large rat-like creatures are clamping themselves at her legs, attempting to sink their teeth in the woman’s flesh. She frowns and brings the butt of her raised staff down as hard as she can on one of the filthy creatures. “What do you know Matteo… there are bigger rats in the sewers than you.” She says glibly as she tries to stab one of the rats. Sensing the danger the critter let’s go of her leg and Immerine’s staff plunges next to her leg into the sewage. The other rat manages to climb higher onto the witch’s leg and painfully sinks its teeth into the woman’s thigh. Matteo’s lips tighten at Immerine’s words though he does not take his eyes from the two small creatures before him… Remaining silent he takes a half step backwards and raises his sword against their attack. Sensing an opportunity, the two kobolds launch another set of attacks as behind them another kobold and a big rat emerge from the shadows. Deftly parrying the attacks, Matteo avoids the spears with relative ease. However it won’t be two adversaries attacking him only much longer, behind the two creatures the big rat dives under…
After swallowing some of the healing potion, Tempest turns invigorated and with grim determination to the net. Using Jezbodiah’s dagger he starts cutting the tough and slippery ropes that make up the net; first one, then a second piece of rope snaps. The sawing movements in the confined space don’t make it easier for the unfortunate Jez. The whole contraption starts to swing slowly, sending more agonizing squeaks from above and advancing their progress down. “Tempest… uhhrrr, you’re crushing me…” Jez grunts as his face is pressed against the netting. “Hurry up… with the net quickly. Immerine and Matteo are in trouble.” Unable to help his companions, Jez continues to watch the battle unfold. Looking at the rat sink its teeth into Immerine, Jez says, “That’s gotta hurt…”
One of the wicked little creatures in front of the young paladin throws its crossbow. Telsom, bringing up his shield easily deflects the improvised missile and lunges with his sword at the offending monster, narrowly missing the creature. The other kobold has taken a little more time in putting its crossbow away and reaches for the small spear leaning against the wall. As Telsom shifts his attention to try and anticipate its next move he suddenly hears a soft, almost rhythmic yapping from the deeper shadows in the sewer. As the yapping stops, a coruscating beam springs forth from the darkness, illuminating briefly another kobold. This one is pointing a finger at the paladin, a finger from which the ray springs almost unerringly forward. To the paladin’s amazement, the light plays over the metal of his armor and small tendrils of light find their way between the links and small openings. The invading light send a shiver through the young man’s body and suddenly the sword in his hand feels a little heavier, the same goes for the shield which now drags a bit more on his arm…
With increasing speed the net and the two trapped heroes is sinking lower towards the muck. Trying to keep his calm Tempest keeps working to create large enough an opening for Jezbodiah and himself to crawl through. At the same time Jez tries to cut through the net with his short swords hoping he can escape and reach his friends. “Hang on! We’ll be down as soon as we can…” The half-elf’s words are cut short when under the combined weight of the two struggling men the net sinks into the sewage. Just in time Jezbodiah can take a gulp of rank sewer-air before he goes completely under with the half-orc on top of him. A wave of claustrophobic panic hits the Lliiran when suddenly the world turns into a disgusting darkness. Sensing his companion’s distress, Tempest redoubles his efforts and manages to open the gap a little wider, yet to the Kelemvorite’s frustration it is not yet wide enough to squeeze his frame through. Immerine hisses involuntarily as the rat digs in with its teeth. She reaches down with her hand to grab the creature and pull it free, while moving toward the ledge to get out of the water. The young witch gets a hold of the foul creature and she tears the beast from her leg, widening the wound. Quickly she clambers on the ledge hoping to get out of reach of the other rat, while swinging the first one against one of the sewer walls. With a sickening thud the beast slams into the wall, yet as it lands on the ledge, it quickly regains its footing and scrambles toward Immerine again. Immerine almost slips as the precarious footing and her stooped posture put her off-balance. Steadying herself against the wall with one hand and leaning on the staff for extra support she manages not to fall face-first into the sewage.
Letting out a sigh of frustration, the paladin pushes forward attacking the opponent that had eluded him thus far and despite the weariness in his arms and legs he manages lay his opponent open from collarbone to halfway its ribcage. Yelping in pain and twitching in its death-throes the creature sinks into the sewage almost dragging the Telsom’s sword with it. An exited yapping comes from the sorcerous creature when its fellow is cut down; shaking a spear furiously at the paladin it seems to urge the other kobold on. Trying to be as menacing as possible the small creature advances towards Telsom, trying to find a weakness in the man’s defenses. Despite his sudden lethargy Telsom manages to deflect the thrust without too much effort, setting the stage for a new sequence of thrusts and parries.
In the other side tunnel Matteo is being pressed by three of the rat-tailed creatures and an unseen danger from below. Seemingly coordinating their attack, the three kobolds stab one after the other in an attempt to overwhelm their opponent. Matteo’s agility and his prudence in moving closer to the wall help him avoid being on the receiving end of the wicked little spears. Deftly parrying the attacks, the Sembian looks for an opening. As the second kobold overreaches itself Matteo steps in and brings his sword down, severely wounding the creature. Dropping its spear the wounded kobold tries to stop the spurting flow of blood, while his two fellows attempt to shield him from further attacks. The stabbing and slashing continues back and forth with the two kobolds managing to drive Matteo a little back. Then the Sembian sees an opening and thrusts his word into it, hoping to score another fatal blow. In the last moment the deadly strike is turned away as the defending kobold manages a desperate parry with the butt-end of its spear. Then Matteo feels something latching on to his boots, little claws trying to find a hold on his boots and legging.
Turning on the sorcerous kobold, Telsom continues to attack, this time going for the sorcerer. Careful not to slip in the muck in his weakened state, Telsom keeps his feet at shoulder width using his shield to deflect the spear as he tries to find weakness in the kobolds battle style. The second kobold interferes and places itself between Telsom and sorcerer. Seeing that the fight is going against them, the kobold sorcerer yaps a few times before in haltingly common asking, “Please, fight stop, we no fight, we stop, you win.”
The big rat scurrying towards Immerine, a baleful light gleaming in its eyes, stops in its tracks at the yapping from the side tunnel. Giving one last evil look at the young witch, it dives into the muck. Seeing the rat disappear, Immerine steps into the muck again to aid Tempest in his struggling with the net. The half-orc has managed to widen the opening, tearing at the tough fibers with his hand and a dagger. With Immerine’s aid he is able to extract himself out of the net, sending them both but-first into the sewage.
Bubbles of air float rapidly towards as Jez holds his breath and prays to Lliira for his life. Then he feels the weight of half-orc lift and starts clawing up to surface to get air. Emerging from the murky water gasping for air Jez finds himself staring into the evilly gleaming eyes of a large rat. “Uhhhahhhh!” Jez gasps as he lifts his head from the sewage and waste. He exhales loudly as the sound of relief and satisfaction, although putrid, echoes throughout the sewage system. His heavy respiration takes in all the foul sewage air he can. He coughs and gags then looks directly at the large rat who looks at him with an obvious evil intent in its eyes. It’s as if he can see its sinister smile. “No…” Jez says, “Bad rat. Don’t think about it.” Then he punches the rat in the face as hard as he can then Jez momentarily gropes in the muck for his sword. After a few attempts he locates it, but the insulted rat has dived under and is nowhere to be seen.
Tempest slowly gets up, trying not to slip in the muck as he listens to Telsom’s demands. Standing firmly on his own feet again, the half-orc readies his mace and shield, ready to join the fray if the response is not good. “Suomi!!” curses the witch as she falls back again into the muck and mire. This time she gets up more slowly and sputters as she turns her head from side to side trying to stop the stench from entering her already fouled nose. Using her staff for support, Immerine steps from the sewage to the ledge again. Half-crouching and dripping wet the young witch regards the situation with obvious dismay and ready fro another attack when suddenly she hears some yapping followed by the Telsom’s commanding voice.
“The girl… The priestess of Kelemvor… Where is she!” Telsom demands as he lowers the tip of his blade towards the ground, his hardened gaze focused on the sorcerer. Slightly cowering before the fierce looking paladin the kobold looks at the towering human with an almost comical dumbfounded expression on its vaguely canine snout. It yaps something to its companion who cocks its head and in a human-like gesture shrugs its small shoulders. Taking a half step back from the kobolds before him, Matteo glances down at whatever is pawing at his boot and gives an irritated kick to free his leg, shaking the unseen attacker loose. Not turning from the creatures before him, he keeps his sword readied but listens for the response to Telsom’s question. The kobolds in front of the injured Sembian have lowered their weapons and taken a few steps back into the tunnel.
“No girrrl, no she of Kelorrr.” The kobold answers Telsom in a quivering lightly growling voice, its ratty tail hanging low, almost between its legs. “Rrufrral not know.” Cocking its head even more side ways it almost slides up towards Telsom acting suspiciously like a submissive dog, “Rrufrral help big boss? No tell otherrr bosses?” Behind the sorcerer Telsom can see two furry shapes bobbing up to the surface. Concentrating lightly upon the shapes confirms his suspicion; two of the vile evil big rats. Always ready for danger, the paladin’s weight shifts slightly to his back leg, as he slides it behind him a short distance giving him more leverage in the muck. Loosening and tightening his grip on his broad sword the holy warrior responds to the sorcerous kobold. “I will accept your aid and part ways with you shortly if you give your word never to turn on myself or any of these others again… These other bosses you speak of. Where can we find them?” Sliding its way even closer to Telsom, the kobold sorcerer cocks its head under an almost impossible angle, looking at the paladin with – what could be – pleading eyes. “Rrrr… Rrufrral show? Big boss follow? No hurrrt?”
The half-elf readies his other short or retrieves it (or which ever comes first). He sloshes through he muck and sewage towards Telsom’s general direction and keeps both his ears and eyes open and his swords ready. Once Telsom finishes his interrogation, Jez speaks harshly. “I was chasing a young street urchin earlier yesterday. I chased him into the sewers, or I believe so. I encountered one of your hunting parties. Did you see a young boy in the sewers sometime yesterday?” Seeing the wet and muck dripping half-elf converge on it and speaking harshly, the kobold cringes and hides from Jezbodiah by moving around Telsom’s legs. In a pleading, frightened tone it addresses the paladin; “Big boss help? Otherrr big one not hurrt? Big boss prrrotect?” Keeping an eye on the kobolds before him, Matteo continues to listen to the conversation between Telsom and the kobold sorcerer. After a few more seconds he glances behind to check how his other companions are faring.
Immerine remains perched where she is. Her chest rises and falls as she tries to gain a few moments rest. Her eyes are bleary and her nose twitches at the odors around her. She shivers involuntarily while half-listening to the conversation the little fetid creature carries on with the paladin. The scowl on the witches face a clear indication she doesn’t want to stay any longer then necessary in the sewers. Seeing that both she, Jezbodiah and Tempest – who is stoically trying to clean most of the muck from his armor and weapons – are soaked through and through, the prospect of leaving the sewers is not a bad one. When Matteo returns his attention to the two kobolds in front of him, nothing changed, save for the fact that the two seem to follow their leaders behavior and appear submissive and non-threatening.
Adjusting his shield so that he has use of his hand, Telsom reaches into his belt pouch and removes a gold coin. “Big boss will protect… and reward you, most powerful servant.” The paladin says as he passes the coin to the kobold. “Answer the other big one’s question this time. I’ll see that he does not interrupt us again.” With that, the paladin glances over his shoulder at Jez a glare on his face. “Go see to the others and leave me to this.” He says with a harsh tone but conspiratorial eyes. “Big boss and most powerful servant have matters to discuss.” The kobold sorcerer cringes as the half-elf makes another step in his direction and hesitates before accepting the coin. “Fine by me, but I’m not a healer.” Jez replies. “Ask them my question please. I am interested in the waif I was chasing yesterday. Well, rather concerned.” Then he turns around and looks at his other companions. The kobold sorcerer breathes a sigh of relief and looks with a mix of relieve and submission up to Telsom’s face. “Rruffrral not know nestling of angrrry big one.” Seeing the beginning of a scowl on the paladin’s face the kobold hurriedly adds, “Show nest of big bosses? Rruffrral show big boss.” Appearing almost like a submissive dog, the sorcerer is looking up at the paladin with large eyes.
“Lady Immerine, how are feeling?” Jezbodiah asks; genuine concern visible through the dripping muck that covers the shivering half-elf from top to toe. “Is there anyway I may be of service.” Immerine opens her mouth to send a biting reply to Jez, but then shakes her head as she realizes he really is just concerned. “I am cold, exhausted and tired of walking through muck. There is no way you can help as you have already admitted you are not a healer. The sooner we are finished with our business here, the better. Then I can tend my wounds and get warm. Check on Matteo… he seems awfully quiet and was facing several more of the creatures.” Her gaze flicks towards the Sembian and a look of concern washes over her face, quickly to be replaced by her usual mask of indifference.
Jez turns and proceeds in his general direction. “Matteo, Sir, need any help with these kobolds?” Glancing at Telsom, a faint smile of wry amusement tugs at the corner of Matteo’s mouth, though it soon passes. “No,” he replies in answer to Jez’s query, “I do not think these creatures will bother us any further at the present moment.” Looking past Jez towards Tempest and Immerine, Matteo wipes down the blade of his borrowed sword and sheathes it. “Are the others alright?” He asks Jez quietly, still looking in their direction. “Tempest appears to be fine but I hurt his feelings, I think I did.” He pauses and continues. “And for Immerine…” He looks at Matteo first, he can see a worried gaze in his eyes, “She can be as expected, sore but demanding and wet, wet like me. I think she strained herself healing Telsom.” Matteo’s lips thin at Jez’s reply and his expression hardens. “I warned her…” He mutters under his breath, “But she never listens.” Turning back towards Jez he nods his thanks and says, “Thank you, Master Wisp. Would you mind keeping an eye on our dog-like friends here just in case they decide to get adventurous? The Lady Immerine had a similar problem with her healing this morning, I’ll see if she is any worse for her efforts this time.”
“Sure.” Jez replies and strolls through the sewage and towards the kobolds. “Okay, since Prince Handsome is entertaining your leader, I have a question. Did either of you see a young waif run through the sewers yesterday. Hmmm, I lost him only to meet a few of your friends with nice crossbows.” The two kobolds cringe away a little further into the sewer as the muck covered half-elf looms over them in the tunnel. Exchanging glances, one of the two yaps something in Jez’s direction, and repeats the sound when a look of non-comprehension appears on the half-elf’s face. Glancing once more at his companion the two risk a furtive glance past Jezbodiah in the general direction of the sorcerer.
Crossing the open area where the tunnels meet, Matteo makes his way over towards Immerine, taking care to avoid the worst of the floating refuse. As he draws near he slows and, in a soft voice, asks, “Are you alright, my lady? Is there anything I can do?” Immerine draws away by habit, but forces herself to relax when she finds there is nowhere to go. She smiles wanly at Matteo, “No, my lord, nothing that rest will not correct. Unless you are willing to… no, never mind… you would never consider it.” She chuckles darkly at her thoughts then looks towards Telsom. “So many different people here, so many new things to try and understand…” She yawns, gags and almost falls off the narrow ledge. “Ye gods the stench!” She curses softly. “You might be surprised what I would consider doing, minun aatelisnainen” Matteo murmurs, his face expressionless. He makes no move to catch or support her when she almost loses her balance, instead turning so that he can keep Telsom in view. Immerine raises an eyebrow at Matteo’s response but keeps her face averted towards Telsom.
Tempest stands with mace and shield at the ready for the whole exchange. Finally, when it looks like no progress is being made, he gives a quick cry of frustration. “But what are we going to do about Portia? We need to find her, and she must be down here somewhere!” His voice wavers with frustration. “New rule!” Telsom shouts as he turns on Tempest pointing his blade at the large cleric. “You silence yourself when in the company of intelligent beings or we’ll gag you! Your outburst does nothing to save your precious Portia… if anything they’ll hinder our progression.” Eyes hard and full of rage, the paladin looks back to the kobold before him. “My questions… answer them.” Cowering before the wrath of the ‘big boss’ Rruffrral whimpers and its tail all but disappears between its legs. “T-t-tell b-boss Rr-rruffrral did. No nestling of big one. D-don’t s-strrike poorr Rruffral.”
Tempest shuts his mouth with an audible clack as he glowers at the paladin. Gripping mace and shield even tighter the half-orc remains silent, though his expression clearly reveals his impatience. Sitting on the ledge Immerine leaves Matteo’s comment for what it is and though looking in Telsom’s direction, she seems turned in upon herself with a cold and dangerous expression on her face as she wrinkles her nose in disgust. A flash of irritation is briefly visible as an uncontrollable shiver runs across her frame. Frowning almost imperceptibly, Matteo maintains the neutral expression on his face revealing nothing at Immerine’s silence.
Eyes darkening in anger Telsom frowns down at the whimpering kobold clutching his leg. “These big bosses, how many are there? Do any of them carry this symbol?” Telsom asks as he pulls forth the symbol of Velsharoon from his belt pouch. Cowering before the paladin’s scowl the kobold looks at the stylized symbol on a buckle of sorts, the light of Immerine’s staff playing briefly along the surface of the crowned skull. Fearful of the paladin, the sorcerer shakes its head. “Not know bonehead. Rr-ruffrral not see before with B-big bosses. They trravel in small p-pack. Rr-ruffrral can show wherre.”
In the other tunnel Jez picks up on the kobold’s visual cues and nods his cowled head at the kobolds. “Oh I see.” He mutters and moves his position to lean against the sewer wall, enough to keep his eye on the huddling kobolds but also to keep his eye on Tempest and the others. He leans back and opens his ears to the unfolding conversations between Telsom and the Kobold and between Matteo and Immerine. Upon hearing Telsom’s outburst Jez pulls the cowl down and waits for the paladin to turn his back and begin questioning the kobold sorcerer again. With his cowl down and away from his lower jaw, Jez sticks his tongue out, but briefly in the general direction of the Sunite paladin.
“Very well. Show me my servant.” Telsom says to the kobold before him, motioning the creature to lead the way. Jezbodiah continues eye the kobold while using his short swords to clean the muck and gunk from his cowl and cloak. He remains in a cautious state when finally Telsom and his interrogated guest finally speak. “Finally, some action.” The impatient half-elf quips. “Ya ready Tempest?” He asks the half-orc while turning to Immerine, “Milady, do you require my services?” Jez’s voice is fluent and warm with concern, but sounds a little bit stuffy, as if the young man has caught a cold. Tempest merely shakes his head he’s ready, not wanting to anger the group anymore with his talking. Shifting his stance the half-orc makes way for the kobold sorcerer and the three other dog-like creatures to lead the way to where Portia might be held. As soon as Telsom steps past, the half-orc glances briefly at the paladin. Shrugging his shoulders he falls silently in line behind his companion.
Immerine smirks, “And what services would those be, Jez?” Her gaze settles on Matteo and her eyes light in challenge. In the low light Jez feels heat rising to his cheeks. “Nay milady, not those services your thinking. You seem weakened after healing Telsom. Perhaps, you can use my shoulder for support.” Sighing wearily the witch replies, “I doubt you know what services it is I am thinking Jez. And I doubt I know what services you are thinking. As far as support, I have my staff and it will do until we finish this quest,” she trails off in a soft hum and she tries to think of anywhere but a cold sewer. “Probably not,” he says. Jez can be seen rubbing his forearms to keep the cold at bay. It does little good as even under his cloak and shawl he can be seen shivering. “Soaked to the bone…” He mutters. “What I do for a torch, or a blazing fireplace, or an hour in a steam room. I shall think of better things.”
Slowly Immerine rights herself, leaning on her staff. Stoically Matteo watches the young witch get to her feet, following her every move with his eyes but otherwise not moving. Once the Rashemen woman stands straight, she gestures for Jezbodiah to go and follow Telsom and Tempest. A slight frown of concern forms on the half-elf’s brow. Deciding not to argue with the tired woman he moves to follow his companions, once in a while throwing a glance back to see whether Immerine can keep up. When Immerine also suggests for Matteo to precede her, the Sembian simply shakes his head. “No, you’ll go first. In your state you’re liable to slip and fall or otherwise fall behind.” Matteo’s face is set and hard, but for a brief glimmer of concern showing in his eyes as the light of Immerine’s staff and his sunrod plays across his face. Turning his gaze away from Immerine he catches Jez’s attention briefly. “Here, you hold this.” The Sembian says as he tosses the sunrod to the half-elf. Deftly catching the sunrod, Jez nods once to Matteo and moves to follow Telsom and his ‘servant’.
The content of Twilight Dawn are the property and copyright of J P Hazelhoff, and are not to be published or redistributed without permission.
Return to the Twilight Dawn main page
Return to Campaign Logs