Reborn

Session 24

You squeeze through the drainage tunnel and emerge in a small chamber filled with a cold pool. A narrow ledge along the east wall appears to be the home of a small creature and a rusty, iron grate in the north wall leads to a similar chamber. A faint, reflected light from above limns the water and rock in the next room. The grate is locked and, despite its condition, has been recently used. Movement and a splash in the next chamber leads you to believe that whatever lives on the ledge is hiding ahead.

After a few minutes of frustrated attempts, a loud metallic click signals that the grate is unlocked. You apply some grease to its hinges and silently open it. There is a gasp and a splash, but no other sign of the creature. Cautiously, you step through the grate into the next room. You see the sky through a tall chute in the ceiling, obscured only by a bucket and an arm. You are at the bottom of a well! As you gather on what scant dry land is available and form a plan to exit through the well, you hear several more splashes and deep breaths; whatever creature calls these caves home seems determined to avoid a meeting.

An air elemental is called to your aid and it pulls down the bucket and rope. You secure it and shimmy up to survey the scene. The well sits near the center of an open-air plaza in Kal-ninka’s slums. There are five exists to the plaza that, regardless of direction, lead into tunnels that echo with lizardfolk activity. You quickly duck back into the well as a pair of unarmed Seravash move across the plaza from the east, thankfully ignoring your position, and disappear up the stairs to the north. A few minutes later, the same pair crosses back across the plaza, each carrying a hatching egg. Shadowy tendrils escape from both of the eggs.

You start moving up into the plaza. The climb is difficult and one of you falls into the well’s waters! Disoriented and cold, you struggle to swim before you are fished out. Once out of the water, you are certain that the creature, probably a juvenile lizardfolk, living in the well helped you in the water; it remains hidden. You finish your ascent.

You decide to investigate the area producing shadowy eggs and head up the stairs into the northern tunnel. A short, broad hallway leads into a cluster of shanties and turns west along the cliff, winding stairs provide passage out of the slums. You hear the the sounds of armored lizardfolk escape one of the structures nearby and move to investigate. Unfortunately, you are heard as you approach the door and a vicious combat ensues.

Two well-trained Seravash confront you. They hold a position at the door for a handful of desperate seconds before a retreat. After one calls for the other to flee and fetch the captain, you bowl your way into the room and cut off their escape. Cornered, the lizardfolk fight with determination, and give ground only with a tax of blood. The fight leaves you tired and wounded, and magical means are needed to restore your vigor before searching the stairs in the back room.

The stairs lead to a basement and deeper. The sounds of Seravash moving crates can be heard from down the hallway on the first basement and chanting drifts up from the lower floors. Better to not leave enemies at your back, you decide, and prepare for a fight. You sneak down the hallway and surprise the lizardfolk, caught packing supplies and weapons for transport. You land some early hits and drive the Seravash into a defensive cluster, but the tide turns when reinforcements arrive from the side room.

Dark magic manifests as a writhing mass of cold shadows that cripples and wounds; even the undisciplined workers are armed with razor sharp claws. Each lizardfolk that falls exacts a price. The captain, a powerful half-fiend with eyes of infernal flame, is stupefied by your own magic and unable to command his kin, but his brute strength is impressive. He forces you to fall back and use healing magic to continue the fight. Finally, he falls and the demoralized lizardfolk are put down.

The floor is slick with blood. You are exhausted, but sure that you must press on. The adjoining room is more organized, crates and barrels are stacked ceiling high. During inspection of the room, you notice that one set of barrels is part of a false wall. You destroy it, revealing a hidden parlor. Bookshelves filled with neatly organized volumes and scrolls line the south wall, an ornate stone hearth dominates the west wall and a richly-upholstered armchair sits next to a stone grate in the center of the room. You hear the sound of some powerful snuffling as the door swings open.

Convinced that you heard an invisible attacker, you dash into the room to grab some scrolls and dash out, but as you cross near the grate a human voice calls out in common, “Who’s there?” After a few false starts at greetings, you meet Aum, a creature capable of taking human form, trapped as a pet by Kal-injau’s magic for as long as the daemon prince lives. He seems to know a bit about the island’s history, including the orb that Kal-injau sought and Ikari’s meddling, but is reluctant to part with his secrets. He admits that he is from the island of Zosa, or Kal-zosa, just north of the mainland and that his parents live at a temple there.

Aum reveals that the lizardfolk don’t know of the room and you decide to rest there. You clean up what you can and disguise the secret entrance before retreating into the parlor for a long rest.

Comments

Eladris

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