If you aren't following along with Artemis' Pact, thought these a few great moments.
"Now repeat after me," 7 Rabbit begins. "SAN SEJKAJ TLALI TLAKAME..." He trails off as a winged shape eclipses the stars.
Like a black hole in the sky, visible only as the stars it passes in front of disappear, the shape spirals larger and closer. A feeling of existential dread falls over you as it approaches, along with a feeling of unfathomable distance shrinking at dizzying speed, as if the creature as plunging out of a deep pit suspended overhead with its far reaches among the stars themselves.
The circling shape dips out of site behind the trees for an instant and when it heaves itself back into the sky it is close enough that features can be made out. It is a gangly black humanoid figure suspended from vast bat-like wings. Needled talons spring from its fingers and the tip of its curiously pointed tail, and where its face should be is nothing but a black featureless mask.
The creature descends into the center of the circle and hangs in the air in front of Artemis, wings flapping lazily, its blank head thrust towards him as if peering or sniffing at him.
"A night gaunt!" squeals 7 Rabbit. "The Lord of the Great Abyss has sent one of his servants to observe your investiture! Oh, you are truly blessed!"
The night gaunt's tail begins to whip back and forth, faster and faster, and each time it pumps Artemis's robe begins to glow a little brighter, glimmering as with starlight.
Bob takes the healing infusion and hesitates with it at his lips. "Yer sure this won't hurt me?"
Bob will take the healing infusion on the first round of combat, so that it will last for the encounter.
As soon as Artemis approaches the body, he realizes that it is not a skeleton as he had thought. (Note: I never said they were skeletons!) The skin is drawn tight across the corpse's bones, but it has not decayed away: in fact, it looks unnaturally tough and leathery. Suddenly the body twists and lashes out with a claw-like hand towards Artemis's leg! He jumps back out of the way and three of the five corpses suddenly let out snarling moans and begin to rise to their feet!
The ghouls' simple minds are easy to manipulate. Misdirecting their hunger into desire of keeping all the prey for himself, Shale forces one of them jump backwards and attack savagely the remaining undead.
“I’ve been fished! By wardrobe ruining aci…oh.ow owowow I can’t move, Gil!”
As her competence in hiding could be clearly overmatched at this time by the large bug on the wall, from within the coils of the sticky line, Lilli just manages to wave her hand roughly towards the large insect she can still just see; her dweomercraft illuminates the area around it with her own magical light spell.
She follows this cantrip up with a probing distraction of slightly more power; the creature’s senses are assailed with a brief repeating pattern of bursting stars that apparently threaten to overwhelm the insect’s eye clusters.
Latterly, she flicks the remnants of the line away. It must have worked lose by her motion and the kicking of her feet as she reacted to the insect's attack.
“Owww, wait...I think I’ve got most of this stingy sticky stuff off. At least it’s not in the face.”
Karma steps back putting as much distance between him and the ghoul flesh seeker, "BURN UNDEAD ABOMINATION" KARMA CRIES unleashing a flaming bolt of holy energy at the culmination of his prayer of smiting! The sacred flame burns into the ghoul and burning into the insects surrounding Artemis.
A flock of bats startles and flaps off down the tunnel, squeaking madly. You scramble after them. The tunnel twists and turns, and you pass numerous side passages. Sometimes the bats dart into natural tunnels or through small holes in the rock that all but Lilli must force themselves through. At other times they enter wide galleries laid with cart tracks, whose rock faces bear the marks of pick and shovel. Most of the times the flock is out of sight in the darkness, but you follow the sound of wings. Eventually even that fades, and you follow fresh droppings. Usually the path leads clearly upwards, but occasionally you are led down a side tunnel that seems to wind back the way you came. Invariably, just as you are about to give up, the tunnel twists and heads upwards once again.
But soon you find yourself in a labyrinth of caves whose floor is slick with guano, with no way to tell which is freshest. You try a few exits by guess, but now the caves have turned on you, and every path which seems that it should lead up and out soon levels out and plunges steeply into the earth.
And now that you have no guide to follow, the caves have become far more confusing. Sometimes on entering a tunnel it will abruptly slant in an unexpected direction, or an opening that looked too small to enter will prove to be huge on approach - or vice versa. At last you turn into a dead end, retrace your steps - you are certain you retraced them exactly! - and find yourself in a different place than you were before. Either something in here is clouding your sense of direction, or the caves themselves are shifting behind you!
You find yourself at the foot of a great cavern, its walls honeycombed with tunnels. A rail track crosses the cavern floor, connecting a wide tunnel sloping up in one wall with an equally wide tunnel sloping downward in the other. Part of the wall has collapsed into a scree of rubble, and you can see another hole near the top, but climbing the scree to get to it looks tricky. The other tunnels are featureless clones of the maze you've been navigating since you lost track of the bats.
Artemis starts to see the worry in the eyes of his companions. Heck, poor Bob is near rigid with fright. Now the twisting tunnels of the caverns are stymieing the group at every turn. There is only one thing left to do...
"Chin up there, Bob. I can see the worry building. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little worried, too. Everyone here is worried."
He turns and faces his companions, volume building, "But this isn't the moment to pause. To falter. To second guess ourselves. What we accomplish here... tonight... this is the stuff that bards make into tales. ...Nay, legends! This here situation, it is not something to shy away from. Not something to worry. Not something to fear!"
"This is our moment to overcome! We need to embrace this! To run into the next room grinning at what is to come next! We aren't going to fail! The group of us, together, we are going to succeed. We will overcome these pesky critters, these turning tunnels. This will be the most exciting night of your life! This is the night, Bob, that you can tell your kids that you looked the devil in the face and spit in his eye! Are you with me!"