Caller in Darkness

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Caller in Darkness

Player DM: Xenarchy

The Party

Kirutas - Egalrin Ranger 2

Kanyk - Egalrin Monk 3

Garthos - Human Fighter 4

Owen - Human Cleric 3

Arissa - Human Sorcerer 4

And special guest:

Sophia - Human Cleric 9


Reactivating the pumps to clear the mines.

Lots of zombies - CR 2

Persuading the hobgoblin miners.

The Caller in Darkness (custom) - CR 6

The Scene Begins

Each of you has received a letter from the Guild of Explorers, written in quite an urgent tone. It details that a group of Blarite hobgoblin miners - veterans of the war in Sendor - have gone missing and that the last thing heard from them was that something broke out in their mine. Scouts report is that the mine is flooded and access is difficult. There's no trace of what caused it.

Arrival at the Mine

The trip up to the mine is an uneventful one and mildly scenic. The cliffside is dotted with marks of shallow survey and one large opening to the main mine entrance. An empty mine cart sits on the rails. The environment seems bleaker and darker despite the sun in the sky. Everything is so grey and lifeless and merely looking upon the wooden structures and metal heaps seems to suck the life out of you. It is very cold here, the chill permeating the bone without raising goosebumps on the flesh. This is an evil cold.

Kanyk stands quietly at the entrance to the mine, his piercing eyes investigating the area thoroughly. His hands hang loosely at his sides, his wings coiled up on his back. He moves towards the entrance slowly, stepping just inside it to take a further glance around. He feels the cold, yes... he feels the 'unnatural' feeling about this place. But it doesn't seem to have any visible effect on him, other than the concerned look his facial features take on.

Sophia looks... rather disturbed, as she comes to the mine, her eyes narrowing a bit, "I don't think it needs to be said, but there is something fell at work here." She glances at the others, and smiles faintly, "If you wanted my professional opinion, anyway."

Owen has changed out his robes and stole for a gleaming chain shirt and a light blue tabard bearing the Blue Rose of Althea as it's standard. His staff is in one hand, the leash to Bixby in the other. He shudders as he enters the presence of the bone-chilling malevolence, taking a moment to take the medallion on the end of his wrist-tied rosary and give it a brief kiss. Bixby, to her credit doesn't run away immediately, but begins to growl and whine, uneasy in her enviroment. "Shhh, girl. You don't have to go in there. It'll be okay."

Kirutas accompanies the others, making like a the pathfinding ranger that he is, even if it wasn't even a difficult trip to the mine at all. Once again he finds himself around total strangers, though is pleased to finally have another of his own kind on such an adventure. The same unease chills his own nerves, faint shivers below his dark red feathers travel up his spine. "Hm.. Yes. Evil." He crouches near the entrance of the mine, off to one side, longbow at the ready as his fierce slanted eyes peer into the deep cavern.

Arissa isn't smiling at all, in contrast to Sophia. She just looks very quiet... perhaps disturbed by the environs. "You're right. It is obvious... but it reminds us to be cautious all the same. I just wish we could get more details before we entered." As they near the mines, she brings a morningstar in-hand, tense as she walks...

Upon reading that letter, Garth had absolutely leapt into action. Rather than enjoying the views, the large man had been serious the entire way to their destination, focused more than ever before on the task ahead.

Now that they stand at the mine and that he can feel the chill crawl into the marrow of his bones, with narrowed eyes he draws his weapon from its sheath and hunkers down to a battle-ready stance. "But we do." he asides to Owen. Statement of fact, that - there's little fear there. A glance is given between the two priest-healers, and he asks: "Have you any prayers to offer before we get in there?" Mundane or magical - he's fine with either.

The mine entrance looms like the maw of a great earthen beast. It exudes a dark hunger, somehow, yet when looking at it closely there is nothing at all out of the ordinary about this hewn stone supported by wood. The darkness stretches deep into its throat. The mine cart rails disappear into those depths. A few old torches sit in brackets, but they are unlit.

Owen takes the lionheart hound to a nice safe distance and takes her leash off. "Stay. Stay. I'll be back soon." He commands, giving her a good petting before he returns to the party. "I would defer to my superior," He bows his head and gestures to Sophia, "But if she would rather delegate the task to me, I would be glad to. In either event, I have these rings I would like to present. They bear the focus of a blessing of empathy, that I might bear the brunt of some of your wounds and keep you standing in battle, should it come to that." He produces 3 simple platinum bands that bear a rose stamp on the top, matching the one he himself wears.

Sophia smiles slightly, "By all means, go right ahead." She makes a gesture towards Owen, "I regret that we were not introduced prior to this, but I would not mind if you led a brief benediction before entering this place."

Kanyk offers a brief glance towards Kirutas. He hadn't expected to see another Egalrin here, but for the time being, Kanyk doesn't say much. He simply looks around as the group moves inwards, trying to keep near the front of the group, keeping his eyes focused and his head on a swivel. He notices the torches, but he does not require them, since he has a natural affinity for seeing in the dark.

Arissa looks at the rings, having at least a vague idea how they work. She then faces Owen, surprised. "Really you would bear that risk upon yourself? That is very bold and selfless of you..." She sounds quietly impressed, in any case. A glance around the others gathered, then Arissa adds: "Unfortunately, I have little I can share ahead of time. Most of my magic is... too short-lived."

Garth is happy to accept one of the rings with Owen's nudging, slipping it on the pinky finger of one hand. They're not resizable, see. He's a bit puzzled, but gives the priest a nod nonetheless. Seems he trusts one bearing Althea's symbol enough in his judgement. He drives the tip of his sword into the ground, bowing his head in anticipation of the blessing.

Kanyk gives Owen an analytical look. He approaches the cleric, taking a ring from him, quietly, and slipping it onto a finger as well. A brief nod is offered to him, and the Egalrin Monk resumes his place near the front of the pack, keeping his head on a swivel as he tries to take advantage of his keen senses in order to be of the most assistance he can to the group.

Kirutas gives peripheral glimpses toward the others in the party as they go about their preparations, and seemingly about to have a prayer. However, this eaglefolk archer stays on guard duty, sharp eyes watching down the shaft of the mine, flicking here and there with instinctive alertness for anything that might decide to come pay them a visit.

GAME: Owen casts Light.
GAME: Owen casts Guidance.

"It is my purpose to bear. Though I must confess, I have taken a vow to never raise my hand in anger against my fellow man, so do not expect me to join you in the front lines. I will minister to your wounds with zeal and support you the blessing of Heaven's Queen, but that is all I will do." Owen replies. He hands the rings off to Arissa, Garthos, and Kanyk, and then produces a small flask of holy water. He dips his thumb to the opened top and wets his fingers, annointing the forehead of each would-be adventurer, "We gather here today to perform godly works, to sruggle to make right that which is wrong, to rid the world of it's evils, no matter how great nor small they may be. I call upon the blessings of Heaven's Queen to aid us in this endeavor and to protect all of those that would vanquish evil and provide succor to the innocent. To be a candle in the darkness, to by the shield to our souls. In Heaven's name...Amen." His blessings, mundane and magical alike, cause the tip of his staff to glow and whoever happens to go first to feel a little more pumped and competent.

GAME: Arissa casts Light.

Arissa accepts the ring with a little hesitance but eventually puts it on hand with a soft "Thank you," then... winces at the water-blessing ceremony Owen does after that. No complaints or resistance, but she acts much like someone squeamish around medical needles would be. Nonetheless, when he begins bringing forth magical light... a few Celestial words and gestures, followed by tapping a finger to her morningstar, causes the weapon to glow as well.

"Amen." Garth echoes, before hefting the sword and resting it lightly on his shoulder, the metal of his armor protecting him from the blade. And with that, he turns his attention - and his stride - minewards.

Into Darkness

The darkness is dispelled for a short distance by the various sources of light but the darkness still crawls loathesomely against the penumbra. The shadows hint at quivering, crawling things but when the light is shone there, there is nothing but chipped stone. A dampness hangs in the air, increasing as the party descends along the long tunnel. Soon there is a still water flooding the tunnel ahead, shallow at first but increasing in depth toward the distance.

Kanyk keeps a good distance between himself and the rest of the group, his Eagle eyes seeing things more easily in the dark. He keeps his form low and his steps light, trying to minimize the evidence of his presence. He casts a glance over his shoulder every now and then, just to keep himself from roaming too far ahead of the others. He moves from shadow to shadow, head rotating this way and that, keeping his wits about him.

"The hells happened here?" Garth mutters. His shoulders have tensed since the entry into the mine, a clear sign of discomfort from the feeling of paranoia that permeates the place. His pace is slower than he could push, careful. A quiet splash has him glance down suspiciously into the water, gaze lifting to regard it as it deepens ahead. "No other way to go but forward, yeah?" he whispers to the folks behind him. Maybe he missed a side tunnel! His stride slows more - he does not wish to make the wrong step now. His weapon is momentarily sheathed as he is likely forced to wade into it and press on.

Arissa follows the group well enough, though she pauses at the sight of flooding. "I've no idea how far this runs... it may be impossible to swim through it for so many reasons. I can bring forth those who could swim in it easily, yet... I've no way to ask them to return and share their findings." A few head-shakes as she admits with obvious shame, "I am at a loss for a solution."

Perception checks to find alternate routes (taking 20, rolls logged to prove modifiers).
GAME: Kirutas rolls perception: (6)+11: 17
GAME: Kanyk rolls perception: (1)+11: 12
GAME: Owen rolls Perception: (5)+4: 9
GAME: Arissa rolls Perception: (1)+1: 2
GAME: Garthos rolls Perception: (7)+5: 12

After a thorough search, the party manages to find any number of half-hearted attempts at side passages, exploratory digs at short veins of ore. There are all the shovels, buckets and picks they could ever dream of. Yet through all this, the shadowy presence still presses on them, calling to the deep. What is interesting is an access tunnel running alongside the main one with rough but sturdy pipes along its length and leading outside. Here is where the runoff from the pumps flows out of the mine.

( Sophia had to leave at this point. )

Sophia uses freedom of movement on Kanyk (proxied).

Kanyk offers one more quick glance towards his comrades before he looks towards the water. He starts to move towards it, keeping his eyes on the pipe as he starts to slosh through the water. It was already thigh high on him... but with the effects of the spell cast upon him, he felt no hindrance whatsoever. As he walks deeper and deeper, he pauses, inhaling deeply, before he starts to move forward until his head dips beneath the surface.

Garth stands at the water's edge, listening for sounds of trouble. Never know what kind of horror might pop out of the darkness in a place as creepy as this. And, well. He waits. There is little else for him to do.

Kirutas gives a silent bow of his head to Kanyk as he bravely volunteers for the undertaking. He himself backtracks to more shallow water, still on guard and alert. Now it's the waiting game, and a little anxiety setting in, watching the water closely for anything.

Arissa stands a little behind and beside Garth, watching the water... one hand tensed, ready to begin invoking magic. "I hope this goes simply enough for him..."

Owen has his staff set aside, hands feeding out more rope to the waterborne Egalrin as he scouts out. "Godspeed." He murmurs.

The water offers no resistance to the egalrin. It's like walking in open air except for the not being able to breathe part. It's very disorienting. Eventually, there's a shaft that moves upward and the mechanisms follow that direction out of the water. Down below, the pipes move further into the drowned mines.

Kanyk looks upwards, noticing the mechanisms that lead up there. And the pipes that go further down. He grabs hold of some rock and starts to pull himself upwards, following the mechanisms. A few small bubbles start to flow from his nose as he moves upwards.

Kanyk climbs the shaft.
GAME: Kanyk rolls climb: (7)+8: 15

After grabbing hold of a ledge of rock, the Monk moves upwards, until he grabs ahold of some wood. This eases his climbing, his talons aiding him as he moves up the shaft. His head pokes through the water and he inhales deeply, looking around. He keeps pulling on the rope, letting his comrades know he is fine.

At the top of the shaft is a broken section of ladder. Someone meant for it to be hard to get up here. There is a mechanism with wheels and a couple of levers, sitting idle. This must be the pump itself, as it's attached to the pipes.

Garth waits. He's not the most patient sort, and he keeps glancing Owen's way and the way of the rope. And waits. Waits. At least he's not pacing yet?

"He keeps pulling the on the rope. He is fine so far. Have faith, Num...What's your given name? I'm not going to call a man Numbers." Owen replies with just a mild bit of good-natured sarcasm in his tone.

Kanyk punches the pump.
GAME: Kanyk rolls strength: (1)+4: 5
Save vs steam vent.
GAME: Kanyk rolls reflex: (10)+6: 16

A pressure gauge cracks and hot steam bursts out of it, but the monk is agile enough not to catch any of the scalding heat. The pressure soon drops and the venting stops.

Kanyk attempts to operate the pump.
GAME: Kanyk rolls intelligence: (16)+0: 16

Kanyk nimbly leans to the side as he hears the hiss from the machine. He didnt know ANYTHING about it, but he assumed that the machine didn't like him chopping it. It spits out hot steam, but he is out of harms way already, watching the steam as it erupts just in front him. He takes a step back, and... perhaps it was pure intuition? But something inside him compels him to start pulling levers. And he does so.

The machine starts chugging mournfully, and soon it's operating. The pipes rattle and somewhere below, the water starts draining away. The level in the tunnel lowers, slowly and steadily.

The Depths Drained

Kanyk returns to the rest of the group as the water starts to subside. He walks up to them, untying the rope from himself. Yes... he is dripping wet. And the smell of wet Egalrin is definately present. Almost like wet dog, but more birdy. He shakes his head a bit, excess water flying off him. He does the same with his wings, which gives anyone near him a generous spritzing.

Kirutas blinks his slanted eyes twice, canting his head aside as he watches with curiosity as the water starts to retreat preceeded by the strange noises in the pipes. "...Well, then. It seems my comrade was successful," the ranger comments, standing fully from his kneeling position. A faint wince, followed by a dry chuckle is given once Kanyk emerges again in his water-spraying glory. "Well done, friend."

Arissa winces as Kanyk emerges, noticing the scent and water-spray... but it's not a huge deal for her; a few simple chants and hand motions bring up idle magic to get the water off and start to dull the smell. Between gestures, she nods to Kanyk. "Excellent. You seem well enough? Once you have caught your breath, we should proceed."

"Nice job!" goes Garth to Kanyk, with a small grin, once he sees the water is receding. He almost forgets they're in a dark, bonechilling mine for a moment at the image of drenched bird. It's not dignifying at all! He holds back any laughter, though, just clearing his throat and waiting for the water to drain.

Owen coils the the rope once taken off the eaglefolk monk, giving him a clap on the shoulder before he does his best to wring the silk rope out and stuff it back into his pack. "Hope that doesn't rot. I'll have to make sure I leave it out to dry once we finish the business at hand."

Kanyk bows his head respectfully towards all the praise. He then looks to Arissa. "It took little to no effort. I am fine to continue on." A nod is offered quickly towards Kirutas, Garthos, and Owen, before the Monk resumes his position at the head of the group, keeping his form low as he moves forward. Seems like he is ready to get this over with and get out of the cave, just as much as everyone else.

"If you're dashin' in front to keep an eye out for us, do so - we'll be right behind ya. Otherwise, it's time we got movin'." Garth tells Kanyk, now that the water is shallow enough to not have to swim in. He allows the monk to get ahead if that is his wish - otherwise, he takes the lead happily, trudging through what is left of the flood forwards, hopefully with the rest in tow.

Kanyk does his best to take a quiet lead, keeping his form quiet and low, but otherwise also trying to remain in Garthos' sight, so that a quiet hand signal can be offered him. The Egalrin Monk keeps his head moving this way and that, keeping an eye open for anything that might be of potential harm or interest.

Kirutas readies his longbow once more for action, though there is none just yet. He proceeds onward already when the Monk goes ahead once more. He trails at a distance off to the side just like before, keeping his focused gaze ahead down the tunnel, essentially taking up a position to cover Kanyk's back if needed.

The formerly silent mine is now echoing with the sound of chugging pumps and rushing water. At the end of the tunnel is that mine shaft, with the mechanisms above and precarious vertical drop downward. The walls are braced with wood, but the water flowing down over them as it drains out may make things tricky.

Owen reshoulders his pack and grabs his staff, renewing the blessing of light upon it as ensure it doesn't falter at a bad moment, then falls in towards the back of the group. Met with the shaft, he frowns and pulls out a copper piece, and breathes Althea's light into it before throwing it down the shaft to get a better look.

Arissa offers a light "Forgive me," to Kanyk. "I had not thought to imply you were overly taxed by that." She's quiet, shy with her apology as she follows the group. As they come to the shaft drop, she looks down it even as Owen prepares a coin. "Would you have me proceed down there? I might determine how best we may all get down." Her morningstar is stowed in favor of a parasol, unfurled... and notably over-engineered; no doubt the work of gnomes.

The lit coin falls down the shaft, illuminating hastily chiseled marks on the walls. There must have been blood smeared into those cracks once recently, but the water has washed most of it away. The coin splashes into a puddle at the bottom. Most of the water is gone now, leaving the tunnels safe to traverse.

Kanyk steps up to the edge of the descent. Naturally, his wings unfurl as he does so, unfurling easily to their full extent. He looks down there. "May I suggest that me and my fellow Egalrin go down there and have a look? Perhaps see if there is a safe way of getting everyone else down there with us?" He peers towards the edge.

Checks to identify the marks on the walls.
GAME: Arissa rolls Knowledge/Religion: (9)+2: 11
GAME: Owen rolls Knowledge/Religion: (19)+8: 27
GAME: Kanyk rolls knowledge/religion: (14)+6: 20

To Arissa only: 'Those symbols on the walls might be of some kind of religious importance. Never seen them before, though.'

To Owen and Kanyk only: 'Thul. These are marks of the god of undeath. Not only that, they appear as crude marks of fear and warding. Not to keep anyone out... but to keep something in.'

As the Egalrin monk starts to descend into the chasm, he notices those markings on the wall. His visage suddenly tenses. "Thul. The God of Undeath." He mutters these words out solemnly, but anyone could hear what he said in these caves. He looks up to the others. "They look like some type of warding symbols, but I do not understand them beyond that. Perhaps our friends in the clergy might know more?"

Kirutas is a few moments right behind the monk, unfulring his own dark red wings (which still show the hints, strangely, of very faint dark purple on his feathers), taking one step off the edge and glides his way straight down the shaft, to the next level below. After landing, he looks to Kanyk with a questioning gaze, "The God of Undeath..?"

Owen begins to slowly put knots in his coil of rope. Enough for twenty feet of climb. "I'm no mountain climber, but I'm sure I can handle a simple climb down a rope. Going up might be a....Hold on." He drops the rope and picks up his staff, shining them on some markings. "This is Thul's mark. They're crude. Perhaps tribal of some sort of goblinoid or gnollish bent. I couldn't say for certain. You are correct, friend...They are wards. Thul is often not so much loved as he is feared. These marks here and here? They are meant to contain evil, as you can see by the indentations. Those are directional." That little theological education finished, Owen pulls himself back up, thumbing his rosary. "I will go down second. If there are undead down here, fists alone may not ward them off."

Arissa smiles briefly as she jumps down the shaft and lets her gyroparasol float her gently to the ground... but quickly becomes reserved and quiet upon seeing the same symbols others are inspecting. A few Celestial words follow, eyes closing... and after several seconds, they open again. "They seem more symbolic than anything else. There is no magic about them that I can find."

"Mm-hmm." says Garth, happy to drop down the shaft using the now-knotted rope. He does so effortlessly and with quite the expedience. Then again, one would expect him to do that, what with muscles like his, dropping down into the puddle at the bottom with a splash.

Kanyk sighs somewhat as he slowly lands. He nods softly towards Owen, and then peers to Kirutas. "Yes. The God of Undeath. If these wards are like the priest says, then, we may be facing some sort of undead creature in these tunnels. It would explain the chilling nature of this place." He continues forward, once more taking a stealthy scout role. "We must move cautiously."

Owen clambers his way down with a decent amount of effort. He's no weakling, but rope-climbing isn't his specialty. "Ugh, at least the knots will help on the way up." He consoles himself. He picks up his staff, dropped down before the climb and looks over the ground, picking up three of the most aerodynamic looking stones from the floor. "I have a scroll that will bless a trio of stones with holy power. Simplistic, but greatly effective against undead abominations. If we spot any, I will read the blessing and hand them off to those of you that feel you have good aim and a strong throwing arm."


As light spills into this lower passage, it lights up a figure ahead. The orange skin is patchy and its hair and clothes are dishevelled and waterlogged. He turns, one rotted eye staring sightlessly in an odd direction. The other locks onto the party with a hungry stare. What was once a hobgoblin miner reaches out an arm and moans. The sound is echoed by more behind him.

At the sight of the undead hobgoblins, Kanyk steels himself, getting into a defensive stance. He casts a glance over his shoulder, and he extends a hand to Owen. "Please, give me one of those stones. And be swift, priest. We will need to act without hesitation."

No surprise round.
Round 1
Zombie hobgoblins partial-charge Garthos and Kanyk.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (5)+6: 11
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (6)+6: 12

Two rotting, sodden figures rush out of the dark as fast as zombies can rush. This isn't very fast, but somehow they manage to act before anyone is able to react to their presence. The former hobgoblins groan with a burbling sound, water spilling from their mouths as they slap uselessly at Garthos and Kanyk.

There are more behind them...

Kirutas attacks a zombie.
GAME: Kirutas rolls 1d20+5: (14)+5: 19
GAME: Kirutas rolls 1d8+2: (2)+2: 4

Kirutas already has the first zombie trained in his sights, longbow drawn to it's fullest, narrowed eyes focusing in swiftly as he lets the arrow fly. It sails right between Kanyk and Garthos with precise trajectory, though it likely just hits the zombie in the shoulder with little more effect than damaging it.

Owen channels positive energy to harm.
GAME: Owen rolls 2d6: (7): 7
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+3: (13)+3: 16
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+3: (7)+3: 10
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+3: (17)+3: 20
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+3: (16)+3: 19

Owen pushes forward to seal the gap. He might suck at hand to hand combat, but he doesn't entirely suck at frying the undead. He raises his glowing quarterstaff high and brandishes his rosary, "In the Name of Althea, Burn, Unclean Abominations!" Under the harsh holy glow, the rotting flesh of the zombies begins to sizzle and smoke.

Kanyk delays.
Garthos attacks a zombie.
GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+4+5+1+1: (9)+4+5+1+1: 20
GAME: Garthos rolls 2d6+15: (3)+15: 18

Garth's eyes narrow. The sword is drawn, and in the same motion, the man brings it down, slicing through the undead creature and leaving it a heap of rotten flesh and watery entrails. "Get back here! We can't let them swarm us!" he calls to Kanyk, casting a concerned glance towards Owen, who is so valiantly holding the line with him at this time.

GAME: Arissa casts Bless.

Arissa looks up at the sounds of moaning undead, staring at them... and her mood makes a sudden and abrupt change. Shy reservation gives way to her eyes glowing fully gold, a beaming smile forming as she begins to sway her hips from side to side, then twirl about and chant excitedly in Celestial even as she puts her parasol away. As she finishes the twirl, she jumps, lands, and thrusts her palms forward...

...Resulting in an 'explosion' of gold-white light! When it fades, those around her may feel a bit of the same righteous courage and joy that has overwhelmed Arissa.

Kanyk flurries a zombie.
GAME: Kanyk rolls 1d20+6: (17)+6: 23
GAME: Kanyk rolls 1d20+6: (19)+6: 25
GAME: Kanyk rolls 1d6+4: (1)+4: 5
GAME: Kanyk rolls 1d6+4: (1)+4: 5

The Egalrin monk's hands are ablaze. He hits the zombie directly in front of him, and then hits the zombie next to him as well. After doing this, the Egalrin monk takes a large step back, rallying to the call of his comrades. He keeps his front facing towards the approaching enemies, however, so that he may always be on the defensive should he need to be.

Round 2
Kanyk makes an attack of opportunity.
GAME: Kanyk rolls 1d20+8: (2)+8: 10
The zombies attack Garthos and Kanyk.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+4: (13)+4: 17
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+4: (7)+4: 11
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+4: (9)+4: 13

The drowned hobgoblins press forward, flailing and groaning wetly. Their meaty fists pound at Garthos and Kanyk but they are too slow to lay any real harm on them. Their slaps leave films of decay where they fail to break through armour.

Kirutas attacks a zombie.
GAME: Kirutas rolls 1d20+6: (10)+6: 16
GAME: Kirutas rolls 1d8+2: (6)+2: 8

Kirutas quickly fetches another arrow from other his shoulder, notching it with practiced ease. Drawing back the string to its fullest tension, he aims down the shaft of the arrow as the Kanyk and Garthos tangle in close combat with the zombies. The moment he finds an opening between bodies, he looses the arrow, striking true on one of Kanyk's assailants with a gnarly splatter of zombie juice. Ewww.

Owen channels positive energy to harm.
GAME: Owen rolls 2d6: (10): 10
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+3: (4)+3: 7
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+3: (16)+3: 19
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+3: (7)+3: 10

Owen continues to wield his holy symbol forward, sweat beading down his brow as he acts as a conduit of life-giving energy, "BY ALTHEA'S WILL, I WILL BURN THE EVIL FROM YOUR BONES!" Magical DAGGERS of holy light stab into the undead creatures, causing two to burst into flames briefly before dropping to the ground.

Garthos attacks a zombie.
GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+4+5+1+1+1: (6)+4+5+1+1+1: 18
GAME: Garthos rolls 2d6+15: (6)+15: 21

Garth gives an impressed glance Owen-wards, nodding his gratitude. He trudges forward with that telltale clanking, bringing his sword down in an overhead slash that... splits the unfortunate creature lengthwise, causing a spray of stale water and other... unsavory things. "... ugh." goes Garth. "Mighta overdone it a bit there." A bit.

Combat Ends

Kirutas watches on as the last zombie is dispatched, entirely impressed by the sheer talents of this group assembled. Magic, swords, fists flying everywhere. "Well met, everyone. That seemed almost too easy," he comments to all present, sharp eyes perusing the battered and disturbing gross zombie remains all over the ground.

The last of the horrid things falls lifeless on the ground in two separate pieces. There are a few final twitches and it's quite sickening to see the innards squirm by necromantic animation, but after a second it ceases. These hobgoblins had been here, underwater until the pumps were turned on and the flooding drained. Deeper down the tunnel, a chilling darkness beckons.

Owen sighs, wiping his forehead with his already damp sleeve. His bottle of holy water is produced once more and he pauses. "Is that the last of them?" He asks before delivering a quick Last Rite for each of the hobgoblins with a few muttered prayers of Celestial and some sprinkles of holy water. He pauses to inspect the few that weren't too badly butchered, looking for the original cause of their death. Suddenly his staff's glow turns into a blacklight and a The Who song starts playing.

Arissa blinks a few times as Garth plows through the last zombie... she's sympathetic to how he might feel, bringing up idle magic energy once more to begin cleaning off the group. "It... seems those symbols did them little good. I wish they had left the mine if they felt things were so bad that they had to attempt rituals and omens to shield themselves..." She's quietly disappointed, smile fading even as the glow in her eyes dims back to normal.

Owen identifies the cause of death.
GAME: Owen rolls heal: (17)+12: 29

Owen checks the bodies carefully, "The eyes are sunken...They died by drowning. Now they're all wet." He puts on his smoked lenses glasses and stands up.


The Cold Fear

Kanyk begins to dust himself off, his face still quite serious. He looks at the undead corpses, slightly nudging one with his foot as if to make sure they have finally passed on... and then he begins to walk around the room, searching quietly, keeping to himself.

Garth sheathes the sword after the magical cleaning is done. "We'll haul them outta here once we're done." he says with some determination. "They deserve a proper funeral." He actually even moves the mangled corpses aside (yes, he'll need more cleaning), so they aren't being trod on when the adventurers push onwards.

In a more serious tone, he closes their eyes and pulls himself to his feet. "Perhaps their spirits will know some peace now. Let us press forward and make sure this fate befalls noone else. Is everyone alright? I got a bit caught up in the heat of the moment and wasn't paying attention."

Kirutas likewise starts to search about the narrow tunnel, keen eyes looking for any details that may be of use, while the bodies are examined, people are getting cleaned up.. All of that. However, that evil chill is still in the air, and it makes his skin crawl beneath his thick feathers. "There's still something here, isn't there?" He'd query aloud.

The tunnel leads on, splitting into many side-passages where the miners followed the ore. You could get lost in this maze, if straying off the straight line of the main tunnel, where a mine cart's rails lead along. At the end, there's another shaft up, this one with a pulley system in place. The pulley from the previous shaft must have been broken or lost at some point.

Owen tugs the rope off the pulley, and inspects the length with a magnifying glass carefully. "It doesn't look tampered with or in bad shape, but we'll have to get up another way. I don't trust anything in this gods forsaken place. Who wants to climb up and secure this?"

Arissa follows behind Owen, staring at his back with an unusual intensity... but nothing comes of it in the end. As he speaks, she offers in a reserved voice: "I could... grant wings of sorts to any of us here who wish them. You would only be moving straight up or down under my direction, but it will work...?" She sounds unsure.

With the hobgoblin corpses neatly set aside... as neatly as one can set aside something that died and then then cut up and made to die AGAIN... Garth straightens, and with a look of solemn determination on his face, pushes on. A glance at the rope, up the shaft - to see if the light from the two spellcasters even reach that far. Then he glances at Owen. "Can climb normally, too. Do so happily." he says to him and Arissa. "Could use a light, though." Blind as a bat. Stupid human eyes!

"Not a problem. Althea is happy to illuminate the matter." With a quick blessing, Owen touches Garthos' belt buckle and it begins to glow. "I'm sure Garthos would be greatful to avoid the climb, but he might want to save his strength for hauling us up since I was so cautious that I cost us an easy way up, I'm afraid"

"It's alright, Priest. Your caution is appreciated, none the less," Kiru assures Owen, as he also stands below the upward rising shaft, peering up through the darkness above, though standing out of the way of those working to make their way up to the top, magic style.

GAME: Arissa casts Levitate.

Arissa smiles to Garth. "Of course. Allow me to..." Owen beats her to it; he makes Garth's belt light up, and just after he does so she makes a slightly hurt noise... as if something had struck her. She regains composure after that, speaking to Garth, "You won't have to. Allow me..." Celestial chants ensue, a gold glow around her hands. The glow disappears after a few seconds, enveloping Garth... and when it fades?

He now has a pair of miniaturized, white feathery wings extending from his back. Arissa retrieves her morningstar into one hand afterward, and speaks lightly: "Place yourself under the gap and tell me when you're ready? I will guide you up there."

Garth mutters something incoherent under his breath. Probably on the topic of the absolutely adorable cherub wings he now has. He trudges over. "Ya can keep focus on the spell while movin', yeah?" he asks, and with her not saying no? Goes to pick her up in his arms. "Right." and then, with sorcerer in tow, does indeed position under the shaft so she can do her thing!

The coil of rope is slung over Garth's shoulder, also. Just so this does not become an issue in a second.

(Kanyk had to leave at this point.)

"Someone's here!" A goblinoid voice shouts. At the top of the shaft there's a wider chamber. In it, there twelve shabby-looking hobgoblins sitting in a circle and muttering quietly. One of them has a hammer and chisel, slowly working on adding more dark sigils to the walls. There are already many similar markings all over. The hobgoblins turn and stare at Garthos and Arissa. They look filled with fear.

Arissa starts to say something, though Garth has her in-hand by then; she makes a surprised but tiny gasp, then calms down... and has a similarly short laugh as she focuses on the 'wings' she gave him, bringing the pair up into the tunnel... and they get quite a reception. She calls out to them, even though they look more scared than aggressive, "Stay your hand! Really we are here to aid you and set this matter right." Aware that she has a weapon in-hand even as she says that, she reaches around Garth's arms as best she can to stow the morningstar...

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. Calm down. We're here to help!" goes Garth, gently setting Arissa down on firm ground and then stepping off the thin air himself. "We're from Alexandria. Been sent here to see what happened." he explains as he unfurls the rope. "Just gonna help the others up, yeah?" he says, securing the rope if there's anything to secure it to and tossing it down for the rest of the party to be able to climb, with his help if needed. "There's folks up here!" he calls to the rest, what with them unable to see.

The hobgoblins start standing up. They have no real weapons with them besides a few simple tools and knives, and their picks are not made for combat. One of them steps forward. "Did the Caller send you to us? Have our prayers been answered?" The others watch, fearful and in no way giving off that sense of courage and vigour that the sunset children are reknowned for.

Kirutas tilts his head again at the sounds up above, furrowing his avian forehead a little. Once the rope is tossed down, he catches it and untangles whatever ends might be from the tumbling fall. Soon, he's on his way up with a firm grip, hand over hand, bird-like feet clutching along the length of the rope on his way up also trying to get there as quick as he can. "I'm coming up!" He calls ahead.

Owen listens for the faint goblinoid voices. "Are any of them hurt!?" He calls up to Garthos as he waits his turn to at the rope. His staff is set aside for the time being, to be reclaimed on the trip back.

Arissa makes a check to recognise any significance of the epithet 'The Caller'.
GAME: Arissa rolls Knowledge/Religion: (2)+2: 4

Arissa blinks a few times as Garth lets her go. It's a pretty mundane thing to do, but she seems momentarily distracted by it before her attention returns to the hobgoblins. "They have, and we can tend to any wounds afflicting you." She steps closer toward them, both to try to establish some sort of rapport and give room for the other adventurers to climb up. "Would you let us tend to you, and share what you know of what has befallen this mine?"

"Not any more than you'd expect!" Garth offers to Owen after a quick glance hobgoblin-wards. "Just look like they've been stuck here a while." Which is to say skinny and miserable. He pulls mightily at the rope as needed to aid the climbing efforts of his companions. He glances at Arissa a moment, then, but elects to keep his mouth shut. He doesn't have a clue as to what they're talking about, but maybe she does. She looks confident!

Kirutas grapples the rocky edge of the tunnel with his fingers once he's at the top, and hauls himself the rest of the way up, kneeling low next to the edge and giving Garth a quick nod, "Thank you," he speaks lowly to him, as to not draw attention away from Arissa and her attempts with the hobgoblins. He likewise starts to help expedite the last member to the top, pulling on the rope also in assistance then grabbing and hauling the priest the rest of the way up once he can be reached.

The hobgoblins move back when they hear the voices of others. The most confident amongst them (which isn't saying much), says, "The Caller in Darkness. It is Thul's divine punishment for breaking our pact with him. He sent it to call us back to the old faith, and we followed. All that he asks is a sample of our flesh - of our brothers - and we are allowed to live. If you are here... it will call you next, and when it takes you, it will rest for a time and we will be safe."

Owen secures the rope to himself and gives it a tug, grabbing his staff before he's hauled up. Lazy bastard. Little does he know he's going to have to go Jesus vs. Moneychangers on these heathen fools in just a moment. He'd have brushed his hair and gotten the grime from his face, if he did.

GAME: Arissa rolls Diplomacy: (3)+8: 11

Arissa looks over the gathered hobgoblins and realizes what the others have; they don't need healing, they need food and... reassurance, in light of the grim remarks given just now. "I said your prayers had been answered... simply not by who. I know something of divine contracts, and yours is void as you receive no benefit from it." She begins to dig through her supplies, producing a small pouch of trail mix which she then walks up to offer to the hobgoblin speaking to the group. "It would be better if you were able to live honestly and not in fear. This is what food I have upon me, and I give it freely. As for Caller and so much punishment upon you..." A hand flicks through her hair, then she smiles. "We are here to prevent precisely that, and have power enough to readily make it so. Will you let us help you?"

(Kirutas had to leave at this point.)

"Fuck." Garth's eloquent. He does pull Owen up, fast, a surge of adrenaline taking over there momentarily. Once Owen is safely up, he turns to regard the hobgoblins. There's a frown on his face. "Ain't never been your pact. You're free people. Ya get to choose your own fate. Ya understand?" A pause, and then he repeats the claim - free people. Choose their own fate. This time, though, he makes it in their native tongue, and although not perfect and fumbling for words a moments, the sheer passion he has for what he's saying outweights the awkward pauses for thought. "If ya wanna be lackeys of the corpsebotherin' bastard of a god, that's your call - but we ain't his, and anythin' that comes 'callin' is gonna get a sword to its face."

One of the hobgoblins peers down the shaft. "The water's gone! That's how they... no! The Caller will come! It comes!" The hobs are struck with terror and back up against the wall. "You have unleashed doom on the world! Thul guards us from this curse for our sacrifice to Him, but it was our own! You have let it upon the outside! Go, die in Thul's name so it will rest and we can flood the mines again!" He attempts to shove Arissa and Garthos back toward the shaft.

Kanyk just remains quiet, something he is usually good at doing. As the Hobgoblin goes to push Garthos and Arissa, he is there, his hands coming up to brace the two of them and prevent them from falling. He gives an icey glare to the hobgoblin before he speaks. "Thul will not protect you. He would turn you into undead wretches, just as he did your comrades below. Steel yourselves and come with us if you want to leave these caves alive."

GAME: Owen rolls Diplomacy: (18)+10: 28

Owen clambers up to the top and takes the rope belt off, soaking in the words of Garthos and digesting the information. He looks at the carved wards and the tools in the hands the hogoblin miners and takes several deep breaths, his face contorting into a mask of anger. In the goblin tongue, he barks, "I know nothing of your ways, save that they are those of a fool. To supplicate yourself before the Lord of Undeath is to curse your flesh and your eternal soul. What has This 'Caller' done for you but brought death and damnation, while it was The Mithral Lady that brought your salvation. Hang your heads in shame, Arvek Nar. The old ways have brought you nothing but pain and suffering, to backslide now is nothing more than the true sign of weakness."

Arissa backpedals as the hobgoblin shoves her back; she's going with it, smile undiminished as she looks aside to Kanyk. "They don't need to. They are tired and frightened... we cannot make demands of them to go anywhere until they are wholly safe." She's near the edge now, looking to the hobgoblins even as Owen and Kanyk's criticisms are made clear. "I don't imagine you'll convince them with words alone... we should repeat our offer when we bring proof." She then winks to the hobgoblin gathering, starting to climb down... and pausing as she gets the feeling Owen's last words may have hit a very keen nerve with them... and possibly a good one.

The hobgoblins are taken aback at Owen's speech. The shell of their fear keeping them bound to the old ways of Thul is cracking. "We're... we have no choice. The Caller keeps us here. We must obey Thul or we die. If the Caller could be bound and trapped, then maybe... maybe..." A glint of hope shines in his eyes. There's something there, a trace of redemption lingering in the back of his mind. He could come back from this.

Garth sneers, disappointment in the hobgoblins evident on his face. Hobgoblins of Blar... war veterans, one and all... turning their back on their freedom and giving themselves back to Thul. It angers him. His teeth grind a bit. When he speaks, his voice is quiet: "A couple years ago ya all raised your weapons as one to defend your home from Thul's corruption and to get yer freedom. And ya earned it. Don't throw it away now. If ya can help us beat this Caller o' yours, do so. If not... well. I hope it's down there, so we can climb back up with its head in a mo'." A grin, there.

GAME: Owen casts mending.

Owen steps into the midst of the hobgoblins, his anger slowly subsiding, but not completely dissappearing. He stoops to pick up a handful of the broken stone from their most recent chiseling of a ward. "The warrior speaks true. You always have a choice, and to choose these has done nothing but guaranteed you a slow death by starvation, your spirits forfeit to the Seller of Souls. The Queen of Heaven is my goddess, and my faith is my shield. Her compassion can forgive all, and mend all wounds, you have but to ask, and redemption will at hand." With a few gestures and muttered words in celestial, he pushes the stone chips across the sigil, causing it to dissappear as if the stone had never been touched.

There is hope instilled in them. It's a little, but the journey back to the light is made in small steps here. "Please go, undo this evil if you can," says the hobgoblin. "We will follow if you can seal it. And maybe..." He is hesitant to speak of betraying Thul now, while the thing still lurks, but the idea is in his mind.

Caller in Darkness

With the hobgoblins taken care of... kind of... Garth takes to making sure the rope is tied nice and tight, and then descends down it, bracing his feet against the side of the shaft as he goes.

GAME: Owen casts Shield Other.

Owen waits until the rest of the goblins are down, along with Garth and Arissa, then slides down the rope after tossing his staff down. A quick blessing to aid their holy endeavor, and Owen is ready to go forward to kick ass for Heaven's Queen.

GAME: Arissa casts Bless.
GAME: Arissa casts Levitate.

Arissa waits for the others, producing a magic rod that lights up as she begins chanting almost in sync with Owen, though her words are different; she produces the same 'explosion' of holy light as before to embolden those that remain to fight, and conjuring up a set of mini-angel wings for herself before preparing a wand in-hand. "This is what I can give you for now. I am ready if you are." She's quiet, but intently focused...

There is a definite difference in the air once the group gets down the shaft again. There is a deep chill, like they felt upon arriving at the mines. It crawls along the flesh, seeping into the bones and calling for them from the deep darkness. The Caller waits. It knows they are there.

GAME: Owen casts Bull's Strength.

Owen borrows Arissa's rod, feels up on Garthos's muscles...."In the Name of Althea, I dub thee Fist Wizard."

So, yes. Magicked to the teeth, Garth looks more than ready to take ANYTHING on. "Right, then, beastie. I bet the Iron Mountain would like your head on a pike, and I'm sure Althea won't mind. Show yourself!" he goes, and is then indeed moving. Moving to find this creature and give it a good walloping.

A dark voice echoes in the minds of the party, clawing at their thoughts.


Saves vs fear.
GAME: Owen rolls Will+3: (8)+7+3: 18
GAME: Arissa rolls Will+2: (4)+6+2: 12
GAME: Garthos rolls Will+4: (16)+4+4: 24
Arissa is shaken for 8 rounds.

A thing peels out of the darkness ahead of the party. It is a horrific thing of flesh and bone, roiling together in shapeless gore. Partially formed faces bubble up from its wet surface to scream before melting away again. The heaving mass pulls itself forward on skeletal claws, filling up the tunnel. It howls a dread chill and surges forward.

"Fuck you sideways, ya sorry excuse for a creature." Garth retorts to the mental taunt, spitting on the ground, and unlike the creature, his words are entirely audible. And probably echo, what with the tunnel. Pleasant fellow. "Time to send your ugly-ass soul back to Thul, with my regards!"

No surprise round.
Round 1
Attempts to identify the creature.
GAME: Arissa rolls Knowledge/Religion-2: (10)+2+-2: 10
GAME: Owen rolls Knowledge/Religion+1: (15)+8+1: 24

To Owen only: 'It is a loathesome unique entity of fear and decay spawned by ancient Thulite rites. It feeds on fearful worship and has been weakened and angered by its followers being turned away, but its strikes may still carry a virulent touch.'

Garthos attacks the Caller in Darkness.
GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+4+5+1+1+1+2: (11)+4+5+1+1+1+2: 25
GAME: Garthos rolls 2d6+15+2+1: (8)+15+2+1: 26

So with those words, Garth surges forward, probably entirely too high on adrenaline (and magic). His sword comes free of its sheath as he moves and is brought with insane strength across the creature, its impact drowned out by the warrior's furious yell. It is an absolutely savage blow that sends bits of horrible, mutated flesh flying and splattering across the floor.

The Caller in Darkness attacks Garthos.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+10: (11)+10: 21
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+10: (4)+10: 14
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d8+4: (3)+4: 7
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Garthos for 4 points. 37 remaining.
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Owen for 3 points. 21 remaining.
GAME: Garthos rolls Fortitude+1: (3)+7+1: 11
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d4: (3): 3
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Garthos's strength for 3 points. 3 total damage.


The monstrosity bubbles and froths, faces in expressions of rage boiling up over its surface. A clawed appendage slashes out and rakes across Garthos. Its bony fingers with their exposed tendons leave a black, festering mark. Thanks to the spell on the warrior, some of that harm is shared with Owen.

GAME: Arissa casts Summon Monster I.

Arissa blinks at Owen's request for the rod, staring at him... she hesitates for several seconds, then hands the rod over to him with silent reluctance, and reclaiming it with similarly hesitant hands once he has finished enhancing Garth's body. Perhaps unnerved, she nonetheless begins looking around as that cold feeling intensifies...

...and takes hold in her mind. A slight gasp is the first hint of it, followed by her eyes glowing more brightly yet not being accompanied by a smile, no swaying and 'dancing' about with sheer energy... she simply begins chanting quietly, eyes closed as a white circle of light forms on the ground, magical runes swirling around within it...

GAME: Owen casts Spiritual Weapon.
GAME: Owen rolls 1d20+2+4+1: (15)+2+4+1: 22
GAME: Owen rolls 1d8+1: (4)+1: 5

Owen fights back the fear pressing on him and surges forward, celestial chants and holy gestures pouring from him. He thrusts his staff forward and a phantom crystalline version of his weapon shoots from it, then flies to Garthos' side to join him in battle with a solid smash against the unholy flesh.

Round 2
Garthos attacks the Caller in Darkness.
GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+4+5+1+1+1: (7)+4+5+1+1+1: 19
GAME: Garthos rolls 2d6+15: (10)+15: 25

Garthos sags forward a moment, his sword quivering in his grasp as the creature touches him. Gritting his teeth against the icy feeling it leaves, he steels himself and lets out another roar of absolute fury. "ANGORON! LEND ME SOME OF YOUR STRENGTH!" he bellows, nearly frothing at the mouth as he spins the sword right around, cleaving deep into the creature again with an upward slash, putting holes in its disgusting frame.

The Caller in Darkness attacks Garthos.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+10: (9)+10: 19
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+10: (4)+10: 14
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d8+4: (3)+4: 7
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Garthos for 4 points. 33 remaining.
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Owen for 3 points. 18 remaining.
GAME: Garthos rolls Fortitude+1: (6)+7+1: 14
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d4: (4): 4
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Garthos's strength for 4 points. 7 total damage.


The Caller in Darkness flails its grotesque limbs at Garthos. New appendages form as others melt back into its failing flesh. One sharp end of a broken femur strikes across him, scarring his body with a deep, black gougue where it passes.

Arissa summons a celestial eagle. It attacks.
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+5: (4)+5: 9
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+5: (16)+5: 21
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+5: (11)+5: 16
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+3: (3)+3: 6
GAME: Arissa casts Magic Missile.
GAME: Arissa rolls 2d4+2: (7)+2: 9

Arissa's circle suddenly shifts along the ground to be behind the undead beast, an eagle with gold headfeathers rising from it and making an avian shriek! It starts to tear into the undead...

...Even as Arissa opens her eyes again, shouting with frantic worry in Celestial: "(I'm not going to be discarded! Fall!)" Hand held overhead, she creates a pair of gold-white magic spheres, crying out as she swipes the hand downward and sends the orbs into the Caller... and it's struck down!

Combat Ends

When the final blow is struck, the grotesquerie of Thul explodes outward, showering the tunnel in flopping gore. The ligaments, muscles and organs that were fused into its form slop about helplessly for a few moments before ceasing. There, in the middle where the creature stood, is a small obsidian idol, no more than a foot tall. It bears a frightening skull for a face and sits in a menacing pose.

Owen sneers, and commands his staff to smash the idol, while the cleric goes forward, brandishing holy water and a small bottle of holy oil to cleanse the broken pile of flesh. "Althea's will be done. Are you well, Garthos?"

The idol vibrates when struck but bears no obvious damage. The corpses of the hobgoblins lying in the tunnel start to shudder and creep, spasmically, toward the idol, just an inch at a time. A few scraps of flesh near it adhere to its surface and start flexing...

GAME: Arissa casts Grease.

Arissa stares at the idol as it begins to draw flesh toward itself. Alarmed, she forgets to speak in a language most people will understand, continuing in Celestial: "(There is no time to relax! It hasn't been defeated yet!)" Then she begins trying to coat it in magical gels, hoping the flesh won't be able to stick to it due to her spell...

Garth looks at the idol. Looks at the bits of flesh. Then idly steps on a detached hand that's trying to crawl near it. CRUNCH. Hey, he's still got it! At least while the strength-bolstering spell lasts. "Douse that thing in holy water." he says, leaning heavily on his sword. "We outta get out of here. Find a way to destroy it." He looks unwell, now that the adrenaline is slowly draining. "Ugh. And fix whatever it did to me."

Owen shudders, putting a hand over his mouth. He takes it away and composes himself, muttering "Gods in Heaven," but dumps out the rest of his holy water onto the now greasy idol and flesh, then the holy oil for good measure. And then the contents of the hip flask in his satchel (after a good pull for courage), and then finally a consecration of Bless. After all that, he pulls the idol out of the fleshpile with his staff if it hasn't been destroyed that easily, and ignites the remaining flesh with a tindertwig. He looks over to his own and Garthos' wounds. "I can't fix this....not just yet. I'll have to pray to Heaven's Queen for the proper blessing in the morning. Perhaps Mother Sup-...Sophia can mend your ailments."

Arissa's grease does help slow its regrowth considerably and the holy water burns off what little it had regained. The rate of accumulation of flesh and bone is no threat for now, and thankfully the party brought along an experienced cleric (who happens to be waiting outside) to undo this cursed relic.

Meanwhile, the two Egalrin are helping the hobgoblins get to safety outside the mine. Thul's evil has been undone, and they are able to - with time and help - escape from the dark ways they had fallen into during this crisis.

Garthos, albeit weakened, is happy to chat with the hobgoblins as they walk back towards Alexandria - either in Common or a smattering of Blar-dialect Goblin. They'll probably have to correct his grammar. Maybe they'll find that entertaining despite their own sorrows. Oh, and although he is no priest, he totally pitches Angoron as a good idea for a new deity to devote to. What? He can't let the clerics have ALL the fun in that regard!

Owen pushes Althea on his own, but not that hard. Who really wants a congregation of a bunch of smelly hobs? Well, Althea. Which is why he makes the attempt. And on the way home, he fixes himself and Garthos up. And laments pouring out all of his brandy.