AiS #017: Death in the Darkness

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Returning to the Orc’s Head, the adventurers were surprised to learn Orm had decided to leave the party to find employment as a man-at-arms or perhaps as a mercenary. Saddened by this news, the heroes raised many ales to their companion and wished him well.

The next morning, Johann and Jeremiah were still unwell, although Jeremiah seemed to be improving under Veronwe’s care. Orithur and Thangrimm visited the Father’s Hall and Nuluani Sehiateir removed the pernicious curse affecting Orithur. Thangrimm would have to return the next day for his curse to be removed as she her curse-removing powers were depleted for the day.

After wandering about town for a bit, bored the heroes decided to nip over to Greystone and give Luestiss the wine they had promised. Some time trolling the city’s brothels in search of a “hireling” willing to spend a week in Luestiss’ watery embrace unsurprising failed to find any suitable candidates. Realising the search was futile, Jeremiah finally agreed to spend a week with the sea nymph in return for the dark wood figurehead.

Gather the requisite supplies, the party—riddled with disease and curses—set out. Loading Taneli’s boat, Jeremiah noticed several rough, swarthy-looking seaman watching what they were doing; he recognised a few of them as from the Ama. Thus, when the party finally set sail they were alert and noticed a narrow, dangerous-looking galley putting to sea shortly thereafter. The vessel—perhaps the Ama—followed them for sometime, but eventually peeled off to head directly toward the Murkwater.

The party reached Greystone without incident and shortly thereafter had transported the barrel of wine, a barrel of freshwater and provisions for Jeremiah to Luestiss’s subterranean realm. Luestiss was delighted to see them, but slightly less delighted that Jeremiah was the one to stay with her—she well remembered the treacherous half-elf’s attempt to steal her beloved diadem. She demanded Jeremiah keep no weapons with him while he stayed with her, and he reluctantly agreed.

After a short conversation, the depleted party decided to explore the two other water-logged passageways flowing passed Leustiss’ home.

The first passageway ended in a dead-end after about sixty feet.

Death lurked in the other.

Splashing up the passageway, the party advanced two a breast, Toliyrath and Thangrimm in the lead. Thangrimm’s keen eyes picked out a strange sparkling oil-like substance floating on the water at the extent of the party’s light. Johann subsequently identified the creature as a crystal ooze—an aquatic variant of a grey ooze. He recalled it was immune to many kinds of damage, but was slow and barely sentient. Toliyrath also remembered they could swim very quickly.

The party decided to kill it. Sadly, the fight did not go well.

While they were still preparing, Thangrimm threw some oil against one wall in an attempt to distract the creature. This general commotion in the water aroused the lurking predator to action. As some of the party retreated to a better position, the ooze shot forward with blinding speed, wrapping itself around Toliyrath who was immediately engulfed and paralysed in its acidic, crushing embrace. Desperate healing spells by both Veronwe and Orithur who rushed back to aid their companion only delayed the inevitable. As the doomed wizard’s companions hacked at the creature it crushed and melted the life out of the brave wizard. Moments later it attached itself to Thangrimm, but by then the creature’s strength was failing and it was quickly slain.

The party were stunned; one of their own was dead.

Quickly gathering up their companion’s remains the party discovered, as Luesitss has said, the water got much colder and a deep drop off lurked at the end of the cave. They dared not investigate any further. Retreating to bid farewell to Jeremiah, they returned—with heavy hearts—to Languard. There they returned Toliyrath’s remains to his family and sunk into a great melancholy. In the space of just 24 hours, Orm had left the party, Jeremiah had been consigned to a week of unknown exertions with Leuestiss and Toliyrath was dead.