20 Desnus 4709 – Morning
As we are at a dead end with dozens of Torbles behind the metal grid fence, we have no choice but to return to the last T-junction and continue following the symbols of Iomedae. Korvus casts another light spell and we are on our way again. Siras takes the front position on the side-walk on the right, followed directly by Elaith and Korvus. I am on the side-walk on the left just behind Korvus with a bow in my left hand and two arrows in my right. By walking on the other side-walk of the sewage canal I have a better position when I have to use my bow and these sewers seem infested with all kinds of monsters.
We proceed carefully. After a few minutes Siras notices that the sewer has partially collapsed. This part seemed older and in worse condition than the area where we started yesterday but I had not expected this. The corridors here are covered with many moulds and fungi, and up ahead near the collapse there is a spectacle of colours. Fortunately Korvus seems quite knowledgeable in this area and he informs us that there are purple shrieker toadstools up ahead. When they sense movement, these toadstools will start creating an ear deafening sound. Once set off it takes some time before they can shriek again.
We decide to activate the shrieker toadstools from a distance of about ten meter. Korvus throws his light stone towards. As expected, the toadstool start making an ear deafening sound. What Korvus had not noticed however that there was another mould close to us that could react the shrieking by creating its own sound. I drop my bow and arrows to cover my ears but it is too late and the sound too hard. The hurt is incredible and I can feel blood on my hands. I do not know when the sound stops as I cannot hear anything any more. In addition to deafening us, the moulds send sprays of spores in all directions, covering all four us.
Siras and Korvus seem unaffected by the sound blast but Elaith is in as bad a condition as I am. Siras says something but I cannot hear him. Then he gestures frantically that we should follow him. I pick up my bow and arrows and follow him. We head back all the way to the dead end where we left a partially devoured Pollido behind. As we are safe here, Siras calls on the power of Iomedae to heal Elaith and me. Once we can hear again, Siras tells us that there are Hell Knights on the others side of partial collapse.
As we do not want to try and retrace our steps to Vizio’s Tavern of try to find an exit somewhere, we have no other choice than to face the Hell Knights. In addition, if the symbols of Iomedae do not lead us to an exit, another is likely to be close because of the presence of the Hell Knights, and I am more than anxious than to leave this dark damp infested hell hole. We start going back towards the partially collapsed corridor when we are taken by surprise again. The Hell Knights had crawled through the corridor and are closer than we expected. Fortunately for us, they are Armigers (Hell Knights in training) and they are as surprised as we are. Neither side hesitates and starts to attack.
Elaith and Siras move forward and I start shooting. Korvus starts casting spells as support to disturb the Hell Knights. My first two arrows miss. Elaith is more successful with his charge. Siras knocks himself unconscious again and this time with his long spear. It seems Iomedae does not want him to attack these foes as well. What is worse, even though fallen, one of the Hell Knights still stabs Siras to ensure that my ally will never get up again. This enrages me more than a little. I kill the man with my arrows before he can cause any more harm, hoping that Siras is still in such a state that the lesser magical healing that we posses works.
Elaith disposes of another Armiger and then he has to face the last one, which is giving him a difficult time. As my quiver is almost empty, I decide to drop my bow and charge the Armiger. Still enraged by what I just witnessed, I kill the last Hell Knight with a savage kick.
Korvus ran after me and cures Siras. I sigh from relieve. I feel like embracing him but hold back, not knowing what his reaction will be. When I calm down again as I return to collect my bow, I realise what I just did. In my anger I just killed two more men. What am I doing? How can I do this? I never used to be like that. How can I let my rage control me? Cohel has taught me better. As soon as I can, I must return to him.
Our next challenge is the small opening left by the partial collapse. Siras and I get through easily but somehow Elaith and Korvus get stuck. With a little pulling and pushing we get them through the opening. Directly behind the partial collapse there is a crossing where we continue following the symbol of Iomedae. We have no clue where the Hell Knights came from. A little further down the road we notice more purple shrieking toadstools. This time we keep a greater distance, ensure there are no dangerous other moulds or fungi in our neighbourhood and I shoot a copper piece at the toadstools. We enjoy a spectacular and loud show but that is it.
At the same T-junction where I just activated the toadstools a kind of brown mould covers the floor and there is no way we can cross it without jumping. Korvus recognises it and says it is very dangerous. Any living being coming within 5 feet is drained of all heat. If you stay in the proximity of the Brown Mould for too long, you die. This makes it quite certain that the Hell Knights did not come from this direction and I say we should go back to the last crossing and find the exit the Armigers used. Nobody listens.
Siras, who also seems fed up with these sewers and believes in the symbol of his deity, decides to take a gamble and tries to jump over the Brown Mould. He succeeds but during his flight all energy drained from him and he collapses as he lands in the corridor to the right. He does not get up again.
There is a little panic as Korvus, Elaith and I do not know if our ally still lives. We discuss what to do next. We cannot cross the Brown Mould to help him and it seems we cannot destroy it. The only option we have left to help Siras is try to find another way to him. My suggestion is that I stay behind with my bow so that I can guard Siras should any enemies appear, and Elaith and Korvus go back to the last crossing and turn left. As we were not paying attention to our surroundings while making plans, we are caught by surprise as arrows are suddenly shot in our directions. The arrows come from the direction of the Brown Mould. When we take a look in that direction, we notice four Goblins on the other side.
As there is no place where we can take cover the only option we have is to start shooting back with the little ammunition we have left. Only Korvus has quite a lot bolts left for his crossbow but his aim is not so very good. The first volley of Goblin arrows missed us but with the action going their aim increases. First Korvus is seriously hit and a few seconds later I catch an arrow between my ribs. I cry out in pain and retreat a few steps hoping that it will be harder for the Goblins to reach us with their small bows. As I am out of ammunition anyway, Korvus gives me his crossbow. By that time Elaith has killed one and disabled another Goblin. My first shot with the crossbow misses. I have only held one a few times and it certainly is not my preferred weapon. My second shot hits one of the two remaining active Goblins and then they decide to flee. We decide to let them go.
I feel horrible with the arrow still protruding from between my ribs. From my pouch belt I take the potion of healing we received from Janiven when we entered the sewers. The effect is the same as for Siras’s prayer to Iomedae. The arrow is pushed out and the wound heals. While I am healing myself, Korvus thinks of a way to kill the Brown Mould. Among the belongings of Pollido was a scroll with a spell called Burning Hands. I watch on as my ally casts the spell. Flames come from his outstretched hands that he points at the Brown Mould. To my great surprise, the mould starts to inflate itself as it starts absorbing the energy. The energy it gets however is more than it can handle and in the end it explodes.
The way is free for us now to go to Siras. I get up, pick up my bow and Korvus’s crossbow and join my friends. The corridor where Siras lies is a dead end, but at the end there is a ladder leading up to a trap door of some kind and next to the ladder is a symbol of Iomedae pointing up. By the time I reach Siras, he has already gained consciousness at the hands of Korvus. As my friends seem to be okay, I walk over to the ladder and start climbing it. My allies shout at me to not be to hasty. Who knows what kind of traps are hidden up there.
To all our surprise, the trap door suddenly opens up and we see the face of Janiven. She looks troubled and we have to hurry to safety. The Hell Knights are in quite a state now that some of them seem to have died. I climb out into a small alley where a tall bald strongly built man is the only other creature present besides Janiven. Next to the exit there is a building with the a statue of of the God Aroden. I recognize it at once. I have seen images in the history books I keep at home. Aroden died a hundred years ago and was more or less succeeded by Iomedae. The building seems to be some kind of old shrine of Aroden that has been forgotten over time.
Once everyone is safely inside the shrine, the strong bald man first closes the trap door to the sewers and then the door of shrine. He takes place next to the door as if he is some kind of guard and introduces himself as Ermelos. I hardly listen to him as I look into the central room of the shrine. There are a dozen more people present here next to my allies, Janiven and Ermelos, and most of them are looking at us. I feel very uncomfortable at once, in sharp contrast to Siras, Elaith and Korvus. There are people here from many different countries, and most seem commoners. To my surprise I also see a female Halfling and a female Gnome. Some people look at us with suspicion, others with disdain and a few seem more open minded. Among those present I only recognise Morisino.
Why am I here? I am a noblewoman who has the blood of several Hell Knights on her hands. They will never accept me and I am endangering these people. Even though dishevelled, I stand tall and proud before them. I cannot hide my heritage as it has been drilled into me and soon people will look past the dirt. More than a little nervous I take in m surroundings.
As my allies start acquainting themselves with some of the people here I turn to Janiven. I return her bow to her giving compliments about it’s craftsmanship and regret to tell her that I had to use all the arrows. She smiles at me and does not accepts the bow. I may keep it as it seems that I have proven my skill with it in the sewers. I feel uncertain but accept gracefully. Proven skill means dead Hell Knights.
Next I inquire if there is place where I can take a bath as I have been travelling through a sewer for the better part of a day. In addition to that, I have been wounded twice with no chance to clean anything so my blood is everywhere as well and my clothes are covered in sewage as well as mould and fungi remains. Janiven tells me there is bath in one of the rooms behind the central room. My intention to sneak out of central room unnoticed fails. A gypsy like man has overheard my conversation with Janiven. I might be pretty from a distance but many men shy away when they see the scar below my right eye. This one does not. With a big smile he introduces himself as Risardo and tells me he comes from a small town called Sandpoint which is located in Varisia. Not wanting to betray my heritage immediately, I tell him I am Aeliana, leaving out my last name. I might be impoverished lesser nobility and most likely name does not ring a bell but I do not want to take any chances. I respectfully decline his offer and hurry of to my bath.
The bath is cold but I do not care. First I clean myself and then my clothes. My clothes are the hardest part. I manage to clean them but I cannot fix the two holes. I wrench my clothes as well as I can but they are still dripping when I put them back on. I do not put my sandals back on. I hate walking on wet sandals so I attach them to my belt with the straps. With the brush from my pouch I comb my hair.
When undressing, I become aware of my signet ring of House Rasdovain. My thoughts go to my mother and my uncle Martius. They must be very worried that I did not return home last night. I have always been home before dark and now I did not arrive at all. When I am clean I must return home as soon as I can. I hope my uncle has not used his contacts with the Dottari to have them look for me. What am I going to tell him though? I cannot tell my uncle the truth, that I delivered the final blow to four Hell Knights. That I was down in the sewers all night because Martius will be sure to discover what happened down there last night. I cannot say I spent the night with friends because I hardly have any. Whatever I say, he will try to check out my story through his numerous contacts and he almost always knows when I am lying. He can sense it when someone is lying and he has told me I am an open book. In other words, I am doomed.
When I am ready and have no reason to delay any more, I sigh and leave the bathroom to join the others. Janiven is just informing Elaith, Siras and Korvus that the Dottari and Hell Knights are quarrelling over who may pass judgement over Arael. I can see it troubles Janiven, and she hopes it will the Dottari.