5E The Kalarian Precipice - Chapter Five

"Annit!" Carthum shouts, his tone raising in fury at the demon.

Foul demon! Its choice of targets was obvious- but he would give the demon something else to focus on!

The half-orc stepped forward, moving to bring his mace down on the demon's head.

<To attack= 14. Damage 8>
 

Jeovanna

Villager
Jeovanna: Kravikus Comes!

Kravikus is trapped, though still just as deadly.

Yet his head is laid at her feet and she would not pass up such an opportunity! He had shown resistance to blades already, but that simply meant she must hit him harder!

"Face me, demon! Or are you too afraid?" Jeovanna snarls.

A heavy downwards swing at their trapped target!

<To hit=20, damage 14>
 

Metea

Villager
Dain & Metea: Kravikus comes!

And here there comes a choice; two of their members already injured, and Annit now critically so- getting her clear of another blast of flame from Kravikus is necessary. With a burnt, leg, though, could she sprint out of range?

Dain's chest still ached from the burning acid, but his legs were fine! Without waiting for permission, he would sweep the rogue up over one shoulder- her slim figure making any weight there utterly negligible- and dashed down the wagon-churned pathway. He had a destination in mind- the same place he had taken refuge before- and so far, no spiders! Dain set Annit down carefully.

His bow! Or he could rush back.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Metea's misty visions was disrupted, but it mattered little now. Kravikus was up to his shoulders in rubble.

She'd strike out with a blast of eldritch pain at the big demon- aim right for the ear!

<Eldritch blast- 18 to hit, 16 damage>
 

Otiroth

Villager
Otiroth: Kravikus Comes!

Dain had gotten Annit out of range of Kravikus' firebreath... maybe. Good. He'd seen Annit use her bow before, and every little bit counted! They could handle this... for now!

Speaking of which...

The sorcerer was running low, even with draconic blood boiling in his veins. He imagined the fire-spewing Kravikus would not be particularly impressed by firebolt! Otiroth joined in Metea's magical ranged assault- she went for one side of the demon's head, he went for the other, four darts of red magic flying from his fingertips to strike at the demon.

Perhaps it would have been better for all of them, if Kravikus had not answered the imp's call!

<Spell casting: Magic missile, 2nd level slot to create 4 darts. 17 damage>
 

97mg

Villager
The burnt-legged rogue does not resist Dain’s rescue effort, as he zips in and hurries away with her back into the dark. Behind them, the sounds of Kravikus taking a battering ring through the passage. The heavy thud of a mace, the slisssh of a sword against fiendish flesh, the explosion of magical darts, a crackling of energy that could be none other than Metea.

Contained in his hole, Kravikus is repeatedly targeted in the head. It is the only part of him accessible after all! Otiroth’s magical missiles end it once and for all. The beast’s head explodes like a melon smashed with a warhammer, his skull splitting into pieces and scattering across the floor.

“Ah ha! Better to be a head, than have no head at all!” Magaw says jokingly. Then he turns to Jeovanna and the priest, with a more serious expression in those hollow pits for eyes.

“We must hurry away from here. Kravikus will be missed, and the fiends will not take to the rumours of his demise nicely.”
 
Carthum was silent for a moment after Kravikus' demise- but he nodded to Magaw.

Move on? Indeed. But now, they were trapped between a rock and a hard place. Carthum would first head to Annit and Dain- lay his hands upon the rogue to undo some of the damage she had taken, unless she declined as Dain did.

<Spell casting: Cure wounds. 12 healed>

"The path may be one large circle- the ratbird that fled made it to some place ahead of us. Continuing on down this path may well lead us on to another gathering of demons- if any remain at all," Carthum said.

Magaw had indicated that most of the demons had left before, but his comments now spoke differently. The skull would know. Either way, they were not really in a position to battle further. Carthum had seen enough of death for the day as well...

Forward, potentially into a cavalcade of demons? Or back, without any promise that they would not run into trouble or find themselves upon the same path?
 

Jeovanna

Villager
Jeovanna licks her teeth, and observes Kravikus' demise for a moment. Fitting. But the demon is already buried, and unburying him is perhaps a fool's effort. Even if they did, how would they find anything amongst the rubble and demon? Her trap is gone, but she will get another, if they make it to the surface.

"We go forward, or we go back, but neither is ideal. Skull, was this demon a warden here? Do you know? Or merely another lackey?" He seemed to suggest the other demons that were left would be upset- but it mattered little if they were scuttling creatures.

If the imp had reported their arrival to Kravikus, perhaps it did so to anything else that may be waiting. Her comrades were flagging in strength.

She'd bend down and pick up one of the demon's horns, crack it against the wall to get rid of any excess bits that were not needed.

If they were to continue down this trail so vulnerable, they would need to create their strength.
 
Dain - Trick or Treat

The conversation had been hushed, hurried, and intense. Should they proceed as before, with weapons ready and eyes alert? Or do they try a more subtle approach? Dain would have liked to continue on as before, his blade before him and trying to avoid trouble through covert movement. But the skill set of the party was varied, and perhaps a new tactic could be tried.

So it was that they advanced down the cart path with their fate tied to trickery rather than stealth. Annit and Jeovanna in the front, with Otiroth and Carthum trailing. Metea was acting the part of the successful bounty hunter while Dain was in the far back, carrying the weapons of those feigning captivity while bearing mystical marks of submission. He did not enjoy acting, nor was he good at it, but the only way his sword was being taken from him is if he were slain. That was that.
 

Metea

Villager
Metea: Trick or Treat

Dain might not have enjoyed acting. But Metea?

Metea loved it.

She wore the frenzied excitement of a successful hunter well, as it mirrored her true excitement. Her tail, she managed to keep mostly under control, swishing slowly from side to side. In her hands she gripped the rope they had brought out- her invocation having turned it into a nasty-looking (but only looking!) chain, and she'd give it the odd tug now and then, just to 'encourage' the others to hurry. So what if no one saw them at the moment? There was never a bad time to practice ones' art!

"Hurry up, you lot," she'd scold them, testing out her thaumaturgy once more, pleased as the earth harmlessly trembled around them.

She was sure her patron would be proud!
 

Otiroth

Villager
Otiroth Trick or Treat

Otiroth mostly kept his head down. It wasn't merely playing the part. Exhaustion helped a bit, too. Had it only been a few hours since they had seen the great chasm? He wouldn't mind the cool splash of water now.

Metea tugged on the ropes, and Otiroth did give a quick glare at her back that looked quite authentic. She was pushing it!

But, at least she was having a good time. And Otiroth was trailing along behind all three women, so he had a decent view.

He'd focus on maintaining his prestidigitation sigils, though they didn't take too much effort. Metea and Dain would probably be happy to hear that such magical symbols did not stain the skin! But they did leave a magical signature, to any who cared to look.
 

97mg

Villager
Annit & Magaw: Trick or Treat

Annit was barely conscious, shivering with shock, pale and soaked with sweat when the priest had arrived. “Carth… Dain…” she mumbled as half-orcen hands went to work.

The sensation was incredible, the release, the feeling of cool softness that floated up her darkened and flame-touched legs. A large majority of the pain was lifted from her, leaving only minor burns and a light blistering behind. She came around quickly, and was stunned to see the results.

“Thank you!”
She said, smiling, “praise Suru!”.

Soon enough, Annit was able to stand, stretch, and work with the team in their efforts to disguise the truth, the fact they were not really... prisoners of a half-breed fiend.

Magaw of course looked on with intense curiosity. It wasn’t every day the old skull got to watch a magical leg massage in progress. A feeling of envy struck. Legs. He almost missed his own, sometimes. Moreso, he missed perhaps the opportunity to stroke a lady’s slender limbs...

Carthum, now here was clearly a man of faith and godliness. Under normal circumstances it would have made one such as Magaw rather uncomfortable, but the group’s survival depended on the priest, and Magaw… he wanted them to survive too. The skull might not have been a fitting example of an honest, law-abiding Kalarian, but he did care, he did know when a debt was to be paid. An undead owing his freedom and “life” to someone? Magaw respected that strange irony.

He hovered around the group as they assembled and prepared their illusionary status as captives.

“Ingenious!”


They were ready for business, and Magaw would offer what useful information he could.

“Friends, few fiendish residents remain, that is true, and now quite a few less I suppose. A long while ago these passages were full of red and furious activity. Imp’s shoving mindless miners about, lesser beasts such as Kravikus keeping order, and higher ranks also, sometimes strutting through these cracks. I would see sacks, obviously heavy and loaded, dropped into an old iron cart upon these tracks, and then trundled off to where we head. What lies there I do not know."

What was once a hive of hellish activity, is now little more than an outpost me thinks. But guarded still, by what might be a skeleton-crew. Kravikus, Botiloth, Grimok, they are names and faces I remember, the only devils of note that I can recall seeing in recent time.”


The skull floats over to Metea then, with a question.

“Fine lady, would you mind if I were to travel in close proximity to your backpack? This face you see, though handsome and memorable, is not one any local inhabitants would respond well to.”

<Will pop in a map and next section soon. Feel free to post if you want while you wait :) >
 

Jeovanna

Villager
Jeovanna: Trick or Treat

Jeovanna growled a bit as Metea yanked on the rope, but otherwise, played along. She was, after all, easily irritated.

Otherwise, the barbarian carried the dwarf along and kept an eye on their surroundings. While Otiroth looked beaten down and Dain wore mystical symbols on his flesh, Jeovanna actively looked like a wild animal trying, but unable, to see a way to escape. Even though the rope was only really draped around them, the illusion of chains was enough to bother her.

Gods, she'd sooner chew off her own arm than be in true captivity such as this!

The potential for there to be two other demons as, if not more, dangerous than Kravikus did not fill her with any particular confidence. This plan was a mad one, but so were the mines, and it seemed as good a path as hoping they could skulk through the shadows.

At least, to replace her missing trap, she now had a demon's horn hidden away in her pack.

She missed her sword!
 

97mg

Villager
The cartwheel scars continue upon the passage’s floor, as it slowly descends, straight and true. Walls of basalt, with sections of dark coals within winding veins surround you, though something about this track appears different. This is not some random crack formed from the movements of a once angry and violent earth. Nor is it formed by human hand, worked with tools of iron and steel.

This tunnel is largely circular in cut, as you make your way forwards. Here and there, along the edges of the tracks there are small piles of grit. Black crushed stone. Sharp rib-like protrusions bulge from the rock at what look like regular intervals too, as though you walk down the throat of some ancient, still and massive creature’s neck. The occasional gouge in the wall, are they teeth marks? It almost looks like your way forwards was chewed from the stone by some tunneling worm…

It is a long walk, before dimly in the distance, on the edge of the range of the Tiefling’s darkvision, there is an opening. Another cavern.

In the floor is an expansive area depressed by some foot or so. The stonework different, though still dark. Beyond it the shape of a doorway appears to be carved into the rock. In it's center a formation, hexagonal, and below it a row of further markings and runes perhaps, that are difficult to make out from this distance…

<Map coming soon...>
 
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Carthum was at the end of their prisoner chain. His armor still on, and his shield at his back at least meant he still had some feeling of being able to defend himself. Hopefully his shield, positioned as such, would not be questioned- with the 'chains' in play, it did not look as if he could get his hands on it.

Suru could as easily approve of strength of mind as of strength of flesh and steel. They were sure to be a spectacle- but there were perhaps certain spectacles that demons would expect to see.

It was sobering, though. The demons left behind in this mostly abandoned mine... demons of prestige perhaps, but the truly powerful ones would have been called back to other duties.

For them to help Kalair- they must continue ever deeper.
 
Dain was in the rear, and what little he could see was obscured by the shifting bodies of his comrades. They had committed to their ruse, and now they must see it through. Metea was enjoying it a little too much for his liking, but there was little he could do about it.

Maybe she was just a better actor than he was. That wasn't hard to believe.

It was incredible how the darkness had opened itself up to him. His eyes scanned around him, exploring the shadows.
 

Metea

Villager
Metea grinned at Magaw. A grin to match the natural grin of the skull, even. She was feeling generous! "Sure, ride along if you want. Or hop inside," she'd undo the strap of her pack.

After a moment of contemplation, she paused, then pulled out her book and slipped it into a pouch at her hip. Everything else in there, even the gemstones, could be spared... but not the book! It was a present from her patron!

And she'd hate to have to ask for another one too soon!

They'd head down the hall, everybody playing their parts with varying levels of accuracy. When they reached the next room, Metea paused a moment, then nodded. "Let's take a look, 'eh? No good just standing around."

Cautiously, she'd head in, though stopping before they reached the actual furrow in the ground. Metea took in what her tiefling eyes could see.

And, the others needn't have worried- she wasn't about to stick her hand in whatever rune was way over there!
 

Otiroth

Villager
Otiroth: Trick or Treat

"This path could have been chewed by a burrowing creature. Surely much faster than chiseling it by hand," Otiroth mused. He might have been 'chained', but his position gave him a unique perspective on investigating matters.

But the large room? That was something else entirely.

He squinted, but could not make out much of what was beyond the reach of their torchlight. Such a big room could be a waiting or sorting area for gemstones and slaves... or it could be a waiting room to visit a great demon sitelord. One fared better for them than the other!
 

Jeovanna

Villager
"Hrmph. Like what. A mole? A worm?" Jeovanna muttered back. For some reason, she could not think of any other burrowing animals at the moment, but then, she rarely concerned herself with such animals. Not worth hunting.

There was a big difference between burrowing animals and one that simply lived in burrows!

Otherwise, Jeovanna remained somewhat quiet. Despite all her grimacing, she was trying to play along. That she could really not see much at all helped make the area at least foreboding; perhaps they were stealthier in this torchless crawl than they were when sneaking along with their torches and glittering lights before.
 
Walking through the dark was both comforting and not. Carthum may have been able to see in the dark, but light brought color. And righteousness! He could summon a light at any time, though, and using it to investigate the door seemed a necessity.

Or not? Demons could see in the dark, could they not?
 

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