INTO THE DARK
Standing outside the black maw that led into the underdark, Peron felt an unease come over him, then I voice inside his head gently whispered. “Do not trust Peyton. He wore the signet ring of your family, as your father’s voice, until that day Palant came to this dark place. What brought him here and why did he take the ring back from your brother only to lose it within the underdark?”
Valued questions, and troubling, not the least of which being that the message was magically sent from Anlyth Gythanyal, his oldest and dearest friend. He saw the elf ranger lurking in the cliffs overhead, watching over the party’s advance.
Peron grimly entered the dark cave, his compatriots close behind.
As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, a voice called out. “Hey boss, we weren’t expecting you so soon. Have you brought us more long ears? The master will be pleased.” Peron took note of a large hobgoblin sentry and played along. Nod, overhearing the conversation, altered his appearance so that he looked like one of Peron’s kin, and entered, moving into a great vaulted cavern filled with goblins, who immediately mistake him as “the boss” as well.
The rest of the party filed in as well, including the two half-elf brothers, Karryn and Tarryn. This made the hobgoblin and a room full of goblins nervous. Soon, an ogre entered the room with his goblin retainers. He too initially mistook Nod for “the boss”, but he saw through the ruse when Peyton entered the dark corridor.
“You’re not the boss,” the ogre bellowed. “He’s the boss!” The goblins scrambled. The hobgoblin fled. “What do we do, boss?”
Peyton replied, “Do with them what you must.”
And the fight was on.
None of these creatures were a match for the seasoned adventurers. The swords and axes of Peron, Nod, and Kari cut down the goblins with ease, and Nammosi’s firebolts were deadly precision. The proverbial big boom came from Elrian, whose well placed fireball decimated the field.
Peyton made a hasty retreat, killing the half-elves as he made circuitous flight through the caverns before descending deep into the bowels of the underdark, with the party in hot pursuit.
While all were blessed with darkvision, Peron exceptionally so, as the adventurers made it to the bottom of the 100 foot ladder, they found their vision diminished in this dark and foul place. This was no mere cavern they found themselves in — this was an ancient construct of finely worked stone. The room was round, with a chest splayed open nearby, but they had no time for treasure. Somewhere ahead, Peyton, the betrayer, fled.
Moving forward, they cautiously entered a vast and ancient tomb, where two ghouls were feasting on some sort of remains. Peyton was just ahead of them, and Nod and Kari were quick to chase after the villain, leaving their companions behind.
Peron dropped one of the ghouls with well placed arrows, but the other was elusive, as it crept through the ink black to rise up before Elrian whose heavy footfalls gave his location away. The beast was ferocious, felling the bladesinger with a savage attack that seemingly came from the very dark itself. El’s magical blade fell from his hand, it’s enchanted light being swallowed by the darkness. As unconsciousness consumed him, his last sense was that of the carrion-eater climbing atop his body, its foul breath on his face, and it’s twisted and cruel teeth descending onto his exposed flesh…
to be continued