Tuesday, February 24, 2015

PBeM: Chapter 3.5: The Squatters in Onyx: Part 4

GM

As everyone leaps out of the way, the walkway gives one final shudder and comes down, making a terrible racket. The mass of metal and wood crashes down on Donovan, but seems oddly 'springy'. Boards bend and chunks of metal bounce off of him, but the weight is still enough to give Donovan some severe bruising.

Donovan

There is a scream from Donovan, followed by a number of muffled grunts as the pieces of walkway fall on him, each quieter than the one before. Despite the supernatural softness of the pieces, Donovan's flesh is softer. As the last pieces clatter to the ground, sliding down into the pool, all sounds from Donovan cease.

Frantiska

Frantiska rises shakily to her knees and looks at the passage she is now stuck in. She can just make out the sounds of yelling and combat down the corridor. She turns back out of the hole and looks at the carnage -- she is unable to see Lyra at this angle, and there is no sign of Donovan, but she manages to catch Hrud's eye and pantomimes climbing down and then back up. She turns to her one companion in the tunnel, "Teldicia, I'm going to go see what those cries were. Please stay here and help the others get up." She draws her blunted shortsword, doubting that she has the room to pull a bow in these cramped tunnels, and begins crawling forward on her knees and her other hand, letting her eyes shift into the infrared to accommodate the darkness and looking for the telltale heat signatures of the kobolds' passing.

Hrud

Frustrated at being left behind, but aware that one of his companions is in dire need, the barbarian lowers himself from the lip of the opening in the stomach and slides down to the pile of rubble where Donovan lies.

Lyra

Lyra looks around frantically, grabbing a twisted length of metal as she picks her way through the debris over to Donovan, and uses it as a lever to move some of the debris off of him.

GM

Lyra shoves a few more chunks of debris off of Donovan and looks him over. None of his injuries look serious at first, but he does not appear to be breathing. When she turns him over, she finds that she has a good view of his brain through a deep crack in the left-rear of his skull and the orbit of his left eye has been flattened.

Lyra

Lyra staggers back a step, then another, and abruptly turns and empties the contents of her stomach into the acrid water, retching and sobbing.

Hrud

Hrud sighs heavily upon seeing the fatal wound. He bends down and gently - for him - hauls the older man's limp form out of the debris and foul water, carrying it over to the stairs leading up out of the water. But the time for mourning is interrupted by distant battle. There are other companions still alive and quite possibly in danger.

Walking back down into the water, he grabs the largest piece of the walkway and props it against the wall where, until a moment ago, Frantiska had been, checking to see if it will allow the two of them to reach the ledge above.

Having finished stacking the remnants of the walkway to the best of his ability, Hrud returns to Donovan's corpse and begins stripping it of items - though not of clothes. After setting everything aside, he selects the fine bracers and the extra Fang of Mace to carry. Glancing up, he notices Lyra staring at him, but the girl is already so pale, he can't tell if she's still feeling ill or angry at what must appear to her as his attempts at merely looting a corpse.

"Iku cara saka seng numpaki kanggo njupuk karo wong item saka kanca menyang perang, utamané nalika avenging pati. Kene, njupuk iki." he says, pushing Donvan's backpack and beltpouch into her hands.

"Padha kudu kita." he says to Lyra. Then, nodding at the silent form on the steps beside them, adds, "Kita bakal bali kanggo Dawn-of-Man."

Hrud move to his makeshift scaffold and pauses long enough to administer a couple doses of Yamtwit's Sacred Ghi, taking it up the rope and climbing into the passage above. When he reaches the top, he lowers the end of the rope to Lyra, nodding at her to follow.

Lyra

Lyra sobs and hugs the pack to her chest at Hrud's habitual mispronunciation of Donovan's name.

After taking a few moments to compose herself and rearranging things to free her hands, she carefully makes her way up to the ledge

Hrud

Practically yanking Lyra into the tunnel, Hrud quickly takes in the rope and starts crawling after Frantiska - determined not to let the party get any more separated than it already is.

Lyra

Lyra briefly considers which is more improper -- crawling in front of someone while wearing a dress, or crawling behind a barbarian that favors loincloths as a fashion statement before following Hrud while trying to avoid looking at him, instead keeping an eye out for side passages and murder holes above them.

____________________________________________________________

Meanwhile, in the upper passage...


GM

The kobold with the injured arm tries desperately to club Ryesha with his good arm, but keeps getting tangled with her spear and her, slightly, greater mass pressing down on him.

The old kobold, meanwhile, uses the distraction created by his remaining guard to wiggle out of the melee and begin crawling away, making it as far as the next intersection of the passage and disappearing around a corner to the left.

Winona/Ryesha

Winona, determined to get Yamtwit back on his feet, grabs the entire stock of clarified butter that he had given her and pours it over him, bathing all of his wounds and force-feeding several flasks down his throat.

Ryesha, still pinning the kobold, lets go of the spear, leaning in on the thing with her forearm across its neck. With her other hand, she pulls one more knife and stabs the thing in the gut.

Yamtwit

Yamtwit gets unsteadily to his feet, using the shillelagh as a crutch. "Where'd the scary one go?" he asks Winona.

GM

Frantiska crawls for some ways, with the passage curving away to the left and slightly downward before hooking back to the right. About thirty feet ahead of her is a four-way intersection from which she can hear sounds of scuffling and voices. She sees a kobold come racing from the left-hand of the intersection and turn to his left and disappear behind a curtain directly across from her without even a glance in her direction. About halfway between Frantiska and the intersection there is a wooden door on the left, from which she can hear the faint sounds of something moving around.

Frantiska/Yamtwit

Seeing the blur of the small figure running across the passage, Frantiska reaches for her bow, then remembers that she really does not have room to fire in these tight passages. Grumbling she considers her options--through the curtain, ahead left, or the nearby door--and decides to deal with things systematically. She crawls as quietly up to the small door as she can, checking to see if it is locked, and looking for any obvious mechanisms that might indicate a trap of some kind.

Yamtwit, meanwhile, hefts his club and stalks up to the corner where he assumes the witchdoctor ran, gesturing for the Tyrran sisters to follow. He stops just before the intersection and peaks his head out slowly, looking in every direction for possible ambushes before proceeding.

GM

Hrud, Lyra, and Teldicia crawl only a short ways before they round a bend and spot Frantiska a short ways ahead of them poking at a small wooden door. Just past Frantiska, the light from the hammer illuminates Yamtwit's head peeking out of a side passage. Just past Yamtwit, the passage ahead is obscured by curtains made of weasel fur covered with large, irregular splashes of blood or red paint.

Frantiska fiddles with the door and finds that it is designed to swing inward and 'locked' from the outside with a simple hook and eye latch. The hinges are on the inside, just visible through the crack around the frame. She can see no other movable pieces or devices connected to it.

Frantiska/Yamtwit

Frantiska gives a small start when the blue glow from Hrud's hammer lights up the passage, then breathes a small sigh of relief when she looks up to see friends coming from either direction. She holds a finger up to her lips to indicate that they should be quiet. She shoves against the door, just to make sure the latch holds, figuring that whatever is on the other side can wait, then points towards the weasel-hide curtains.

Yamtwit grins broadly and turns, lifting one side of the curtains out of the way with his shillelagh to peer inside.

Skaegedde

Seeing the door flex a little and hearing something outside, Skæggede reaches out with a foot to nudge her companion and strains feebly again at her restraints, hoping to break free before the kobolds come calling again. "Psst!" she whispers, "Wake up! They're coming back..." Blessed Ao, she thinks, please don't let them have brought the weasels again. I hate weasels...

GM

Frantiska's keen elven hearing pick up on the faint, whispering voices on the other side of the door. While she cannot make out the words at this distance, the voice is a good deal deeper than kobold voices and tinged with a faint hint of panic.

Frantiska

Frantiska gestures Yamtwit and Hrud over near the door. "Ada sesuatu di balik pintu. Tidak anjing wajah. Kedengarannya takut," she explains in a harsh whisper.

GM

As Yamtwit lifts the curtain, the light falls on a slight bump of upturned earth right behind the curtain which appears to be growing slowly. By the time Frantiska tries to call him back, the lump has grown to about the height of a kobold. With a cracking sound, two arm-like protuberances burst from its sides and it tears free of the floor.

Yamtwit

Yamtwit curses, "Put bon mache paseke trik nouvèl plis gen Kobold san!", and swings for what passes for a head on the little earth elemental with his shillelagh.

Hrud

Sick of playing games with the kobolds, Hrud slides up beside Frantiska, swinging his legs forward. Rolling back and drawing his knees to his chest, the barbarian kicks the door inward as hard as he can.

GM

The door bursts off its hinges and flies a good five feet before landing with a thud. Inside you see a fully-bearded, blue-eyed dwarven woman and a halfling man with long dark hair tied to opposite walls by heavy ropes. They are restrained in a very uncomfortable-looking position, with their arms bent under and behind their backs, and slightly above the line of their shoulder-blades, so that they hang leaning far forward. When the door bursts inward, the halfling is drowsing where he stands, while the dwarf woman is stretching to kick him awake.

Winona/Ryesha

Rye gathers up her knives, wiping them on the kobolds' fur, then jogs up behind Yamtwit with Winona crawling along behind her. When the small rock-monster appears, she lets out a frightened squeak and tosses a knife at it, or rather, over its head to clatter against a wall.

Winona's eyes light up with what can only be described as joy on seeing a creature of, presumably extraplanar origin. She casts extradimensional detection, just to be sure, then tries to strike up a conversation, her voice sounding like the rumbling of stones cascading down a hill. «Hey! Are you really an earth elemental?! I've always wanted to meet one of your kind! You're shorter than I imagined. Anyways, what is life on your plane like? What do you eat? Have you ever run into one of the Baatezu on your plane?...Ooh! Sorry about the goblin and his stick!»

Miero

The halfing jerks awake at the sound of the door crashing. "Oi!" His head jerks up, nearly wrenching his shoulders out of their sockets. "Hey!" he calls through gritted teeth on seeing something other than a kobold on the other side of the door. "Help a fellow out, eh?!"

Lyra

Keeping an eye out for kobolds approaching from the rear as Hrud kicks the door in, Lyra tests out if she has enough range of movement to make use of Donovan's crossbow.

Skaegedde

The dwarf-woman lets out an audible sigh of relief. "Ao være lovet! Yo, det er en dværg hammeren. Hvor har du det?" She looks at the barbarian, realizing that he probably didn't understand her and switches to common. "Hey, big guy. Nice hammer, good dwarven work. Do you, mind cutting us free?"

Miero

"Oi! You're not going to bore him talking about your Ao bullshit again?" The halfling allows himself to droop to a more comfortable position. "Besides, he's clearly Eraka, dumb fuck probably doesn't understand a word you're saying Skaeg." He looks at the barbarian, and puts on his best begging puppy face, making his eyes look big in the way that only a halfling can, "Jaran-pacangan. Pitulung kita njaluk tangan kita bebas, eh? Banjur ngutangi kula agul-agul supaya aku bisa nggawe karo snicker-cemilan ing sawetara kobo necks."

Hrud

It takes Hrud a moment to size up the two strangers."Hvorfor har du gentager dig selv?" he says, walking over to the dwarf woman. With a slash of his broadsword, he severs her bonds. Looking at the halfling, he asks, "Kan denne ene have tillid?"

Miero

"Oi! Big horse-lover talks like a dwarf?" The halfling shakes his head, "Looks like I'm the one left out." He flinches when the man starts swinging his sword in the tight confines of the cell. "Hey! Nonton ngendi sampeyan lagi ngayunke bab sing!" He twists his head around to look out the door, at the trio of elven women crouching behind the barbarian. "Can one of you ladies tell your big lug of a friend to mind his pig-sticker?"

Skaegedde

"Without any hint of an accent in fact..." Skaegedde rolls her shoulders to get the kinks out and bows to the big man. "Thank you. Sorry for repeating myself, I was not aware that you spoke my language. I suggest we stick with the common tongue though, out of politeness to my cell-mate. As for whether he can be trusted? The kobolds took him prisoner, which is enough of a sign that he is on the right side for my tastes." She pops her neck loudly, then begins smoothing her thick, luxurious beard. "How many kobolds are left? Did you already off them all?"

Miero

"Sing tengen, sampeyan krungu dheweke, aku minangka dipercoyo minangka Tyrran getih. Irung minangka resik minangka bayi kang. Cukup kula njaluk bantuan jancok sing metu saka tali iki!"

Lyra

Lyra peers past Hrud at the kobolds' prisoners, trying to ignore the disparaging remarks regarding Hrud's intellect.  "Are either of you injured?  We don't know how many kobolds there were to begin with, but we've killed ... a rather large number on the road led by a caster with snake spine earrings, four kobolds inside the skull, six in the spine, three or four weasels, and I'm not sure how many in the group over the murderhole near the esophagus and on the walkway around the stomach...."

Miero

"Good times!" The halfling smiles despite his obvious pain, "Sounds like you'all've been busy. NOW CAN SOMEONE PLEASE CUT ME FREE SO I CAN FINISH THE JOB?!"

Frantiska

Frantiska looks carefully at the two prisoners, trying to let her mind relax, listening for The Moon Maiden's insights. After a moment, despite the difficulty of concentrating with Yamtwit fighting an elemental in one corner and the halfling yelling in the other she speaks, "They're fine, Lyra. Any mischief they may be plotting is clearly directed at the kobolds. Hrud, biarkan mereka bebas dan memberi mereka senjata. Kita membutuhkan semua bantuan yang bisa kita dapatkan."

She pivots as best she can in the narrow confines, and crawls, sword in hand to go aid the goblin and the halfling.

GM

The small elemental looks very confused as Winona starts talking to it. It just manages to begin a response, saying «Uuummmm . . . Yes?», when Yamtwit's shillelagh comes down on the top of what passes for it's head. The enchanted club pounds into the creature, sending shards of rock flying in all directions and reducing it to not but a pile of rubble.

Yamtwit

Yamtwit does a little victory dance and trips over his own feet, landing on his bum. He hops to his feet and brushes the curtain aside again, looking in to see where the witchdoctor ran to.

GM

A short passage extends past the curtain, then opens up into a much larger space, stretching a good distance ahead and bending out to the left. The light from Hrud's hammer leaks out just enough to hamper Yamtwit's infravision, leaving most of the room beyond in shadowy darkness. What light does penetrate the passage glints tantalizingly off of a pile of dark, rounded, glass objects stacked against the right-hand wall, and Yamtwit's poorly focused infravision makes out the deep glow of a bed of smoldering coals in the center of the room. As Yamtwit looks on, the room is suddenly bathed in a solid, uniform blanket of heat, completely obscuring his infravision. A wall of that heat seems to be moving outwards, towards him, until, lit by the wan light of Hrud's hammer coming from the other room, he sees it to be a thick wall of choking, black smoke.

Lyra

Lyra carefully scoots to where she can lean past Hrud, retrieves Donovan's stiletto and boot sheath, as well as her own from her left boot, and hands them to the dwarf.  "Pick one, he can use the other after you cut him down.  I also have a heavy crossbow, a hand crossbow, and a sling, or we can backtrack to scrounge something up from the kobolds back in the stomach after we deal with the immediate threat."

Skaegedde

The dwarf woman takes the knives gingerly, holding them as if they were some kind of strange-smelling fish, "Thanks," she says, not too enthusiastically. She passes the shinier one to the halfling, who, judging by the murderous gleam in his eye, knows just what to do with the stiletto, then stalks out the door, pausing to look back at Hrud, "Fik en anden hammeren store-fyr?" Seeing the smoke seeping into the corridor, her eyes narrow. "Ved lort-gennemblødt mindre guder, kan det ikke være godt!" she mutters. Then she sees the goblin standing in the opening to the passage, "De dørstoppere er i ledtog med nisser! Skynd dig, dræbe det, før det angriber!" She draws the knife from its sheath and holds it out in front of her as one might a tiny spear or perhaps a toothpick.

Hrud

Hrud follows the dwarf's gaze to Yamtwit. "At man? Han er på vores side. Pas på, selv om han gerne malke ting." Seeing how she is clearly uneasy about using a dagger, the barbarian extends the Yargrund to her, "Her kan du bruge denne til nu. Men bo tæt, jeg har brug for lyset. Giv den anden til den lille med den store mund."

Skaegedde

She takes the hammer and grins broadly, "Tak! Jeg vil gøre god brug af det!" She tosses the other stiletto to the halfling. "Let's go smash some kobolds!"

Miero

The halfling rubs where the ropes have been chaffing his wrists, then takes the stilettos and smiles at Lyra. "Thanks miss, these'll be perfect." He tucks the sheathe into his belt and twirls the two blades through his fingers, one in either hand. "The name's Miero," he says as he heads for the door. Stepping into the hall he sees the smoke and casually pulls the neck of his tunic up over his mouth and nose. "I'm guessing the kobos are that way, eh?" Without waiting for an answer, he charges blindly into the thickening smoke with the two blades held low before him.

Winona/Ryesha

Winona finally crawls around the corner and looks immensely relieved to see Lyra, Frantiska, and the others. She coughs on the smoke and crawls towards the rest of the party, keeping as low as she can.

Rye, meanwhile, looks very surprised when the halfling man comes prancing out of the cell and charges into the smoke. She turns to follow Winona to go talk to the others, but something in the back of her mind pushes her in the other direction. With a sounds that is half frightened squeak and half war cry, and all adorable, she pulls a pair of her own knives and runs into the smoke with him.

GM

The halflings go careening through the smoke and come out on the far end of the room. The bed of coals appears completely cold now, with all the smoke coming off of it propelled out into the corridor, as if by some unfelt breeze, leaving this half of the room free of obscurement. Lying on the ground next to the coals is the body of the old kobold, lying curled on on his side with his head "downwind" of the burned-out fire and obscured by the smoke.

The room is filled with curiosities: One wall is piled high with blue, glass jars of varying sizes, most of them are empty, but three appeared to be filled with eyeballs, and another, large one holds a thriving ant colony. One lidless, empty jar near the top of the stack has a label pasted onto it which reads in very clear common, "Do not open. World-destroying angel inside." A crude desk made from a wooden plank laid across a couple of rotten crates sits opposite the wall with the jars. Laid out on the desk are a large collection of loose needles, both bone and metal, an amputation saw, 4 blue-glass jars filled with live leeches, several other jars filled with various bubbling liquids, sparkling dusts, or thick black tar, and several vaguely kobold-shaped dolls made of mud and hemp. A one foot tall wooden lawn gnome sits in the center of the desk, looking like it has been repeatedly burned, hit, cut, scratched, and otherwise defaced, with a pair of metal needles sticking out of each eye. Seven small turtles (or perhaps tortoises) wander about the room, passing in and out of the smoke slowly and shedding a wan light from black-candles stuck to their shells by melted wax, each candle flame a different color: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white. In the corner is a haphazard pile of treasures: a small wooden chest, an ivory handled cane, 2 gold candlesticks, a silver stein, and a silver astrolabe. The far corner of the room, past the kobold's body, is still heavily obscured by smoke.

Ryesha/Miero

Ryesha coughs and rubs the smoke out of her eyes as she looks around at the scary, old kobold's unusual belongings. Seeing the body lying half in the smoke, she cautiously walks over to the kobold and nudges him with her foot, keeping her knives at the ready. When he does not respond, she sheaths one knife and grabs his ankle to slide him out of the smoke. When he still does not respond, she creeps up to the head end and checks his vitals, keeping her knife against his throat in case he moves.

The halfling man watches as the wary, knife-wielding, girl with considerable interest--more so than the room itself. When she starts examining the kobold, he steps up behind her, making not a sound, and startles her by speaking, "Sveiki glīts, kādi ir jūsu vārds?"

Ryesha jumps, then hazards a glance back at the man who had run past her earlier. "Es esmu Ryesha, māsa Ryesha no Tyr, ja jūs vēlaties, lai būtu precīzi, un tas puisis ir miris kā durvju naga."

Miero mutters under his breath, "Tirāns eh? Ja ir izpētījuši." Then, louder, "Atdzist, es esmu Miero." He walks over to the pile of treasure and checks out the chest.

Rye stands up from the kobold's body, "Nice to meet you Miero. I'm going to go get the others..." She sheathes her remaining knife, covers her mouth, and heads back through the smoke. Once clear, she waves the rest of the party over, "Looks like old kobo had an aneurysm or something...he's stone dead. You all should come in here, there's a lot of weird things, and a pile of shinies that might be part of that tribute we were looking for."

Skæggede

Skæggede smiles and hefts the glowing hammer she'd been lent by the barbarian, "Aha! My stuff!" She heads into the smoke, holding the hammer high to try to penetrate the choking blackness with it's glow.

Yamtwit

Yamtwit coughs and backs away from the smoke. Squinting against the irritating vapors, he begins to chant, low and rhythmically. At about the same time that Ryesha comes running out to a small, swirling wind blows up out of nowhere, coalescing into a two-foot-tall tornado with a pair of glowing blue eyes in the center. Yamtwit points and the dust devil whirls into the room, sucking the particulates out of the air, suspended in its body. It then rushes past Frantiska and Teldicia, out into the stomach chamber where it deposits the remains of the smoke in the semi-acidic pool before returning to its home plane.

GM

As the smoke dissipates, you can see that the corner of the room, back and left from the passage where you entered, is hung with well-made, frilly, white-lace curtains, cordoning off a small sleeping area piled with blankets, a patchwork quilted down comforter, and a pure white fleece. Two books, one large and crudely-bound with wooden planks, and the other small and bound in black leather, rest on the pile of bedding, along with a bundle of charcoal and several loose sheets of rolled parchment. A large bronze brazier sits on a low tripod next to the bedding. On a small shelf carved into the wall over the bed is a small wooden whistle with a childlike carving of a bird hewn into its foot and a wooden rattle carved into the shape of a gnomish skull and painted a bright, cherry red.

Miero, satisfied that the small chest is not trapped, opens it to find an iron ring hung with ten keys and a copper brooch resembling a stylized spider resting on a mound of silver coins.

Ryesha/Winona

Once the smoke has cleared, Rye strides back into the witchdoctor's room, with Winona crawling at her heels. Winona casts a quick detect magic and looks around the room.

Hrud

Hurd sees the books and papers lying around and briefly contemplates replenishing his supply of wipes. Noticing Frantiska nearby, he reconsiders.

Lyra

Lyra tries to get a better angle of observation of the turtles meandering around the room.  "Something seems to be keeping the turtles from leaving.  See how they turn away from the doorway as if they bumped into something?"  Lyra shakes her head.  "I'm not sure what to make of the candles though."

After another minute in thought, Lyra looks rather startled.  "Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white?  Certain kinds of priests craft magical candles.  If they are what I suspect, I would consider dousing the red, yellow, and purple."

Hrud

Despite having no clue what the young woman just said, Hrud could tell that she was thinking of messing with the dog-faces' magic. Hefting the twin broadswords, he casually drifts next to the side of the room's entrance, where he can put his back to a wall. No good will come of this, he thinks.

Winona/Miero/Ryesha

Winona turns to Lyra and the others and begins pointing things out, "The intruments, the brooch and keys in the chest, that goat hide, those three jars, the candles on the turtles, and all the written stuff are magical." She crawls over to the books and begins rummaging through the papers with considerable interest.

Miero takes the brooch and pins it on his shirt, then turns and looks around at the other things Winona indicated. Seeing the books he fast-walks over to Winona and snatches the smaller, black-bound book out of her hands just as she's starting to open it. "That one is mine," he says simply, tucking it into his pants.

Winona looks crestfallen as Miero snatches the smaller spellbook from her, but she gathers up the rest and stashes them in her pack. She then turns back to Lyra, "Don't magical candles trigger when you snuff them? If they are anything potentially harmful, I would suggest we grab everything we can drag and get out of here before they go out..."

"I'm definitely down with that," the halfling interjects. "Anyone of you folks got a spare bag I can start shoving swag into?"

Ryesha wanders over to stare at the piled blue jars. "Sister?! Do you think this is real?" she asks, pointing to the one with the 'Do not open, world-destroying angel inside' label.

Lyra

"The kind mystics create are more potent the longer they burn, if I recall correctly.  Charm, mind reading, and truth telling are the ones I'm concerned about.  I think the other colors are actually beneficial.  Green for luck, white for purity, blue for ... oh, I never had a good mnemonic for that one."  Lyra stops abruptly.  "It actually takes a fairly powerful caster to even make magic candles.  What did he die from?"

Winona

Winona walks over and looks at the body, "Good question. I don't see any wounds," she kneels down and checks him more thoroughly, "but he's not breathing and his heart has stopped. Judging from the grimace on his face, he died painfully. A heart-attack? Maybe the stress of the fight and the chase were just too much for someone so old?"

Skaegedde

Skæggede walks over and grabs the ring of keys from the chest. "Været på udkig efter dem," she mutters. She then goes and grabs a blanket from the pile of bedding, lays it out on the floor and starts piling the ivory cane and the various gold and silver ornaments on it. "Who needs a bag?" she says to the halfling. She then turns to the makeshift desk. "Aha! Min også!" she says, grabbing to vials and stuffing them into her sash. "Ros Ao! Nu er alt jeg har brug for er mine våben og rustninger."

Yamtwit/Frantiska

Yamtwit saunters in and looks around, "Wow! What a lot of junk!" Overhearing Lyra and Winona talking, he walks over to where they are crawling beside the body. "You really think the old creeper just bought it from natural causes? Did you check for poison? Maybe he killed himself when he saw Fran coming from the other passage and realized he was trapped."

He walks over to the desk and looks at it almost admiringly. "Lots of good stuff here," he says to no one in particular, grabbing the jars of leeches and making sure the lids are on tight before putting them in his bag. "Not as good as butter, but sometimes they're can help with maladies of the blood." He uses his club to carefully slide the pile of needles in on top of them, then throws in the amputation saw, "Never know when you might need these either..."

Frantiska crawls in last. "I would have expected more from the way the villagers were talking about their tribute," she says. She crawls over beside Lyra, "We should be right above the fundamentum here." She looks around to get her bearings, then points at the wall of jars, "I would expect those ropes connected to the ceramic door in the stomach to run in here, or there to be another room on the other side of that wall..."

Skaegedde

The dwarf casts a disapproving look at the goblin, "Leeches and saws and needles and butter? What do you expect to be doing with those? Not trying to heal I hope...Ao redde os, goblinen er som primitiv som dørstoppere!" She grabs the other bottles and flasks that have stoppers, looking in briefly to make sure she is not grabbing some foul-smelling kobold poultice or the like.

Lyra

With a frustrated groan, Lyra nudges a lid out of the bed of coals with Donovan's staff before scooting back to give the jar and candles as much distance as possible.  "Does opening a bottle labeled DO NOT OPEN seem like a reasonable cause of death?"

Lyra gives the lid another nudge.  "I think Yamtwit is probably right.  Destroying angel is also a type of deadly white mushroom related to the death cap.  I don't suppose anyone knows what the poisoning symptoms are?  Besides, if it were an actual angel ... shouldn't the container be a magical flask or something rather than a glass jar?"

Yamtwit/Frantiska

Yamtwit nods vigorously along with Lyra's assessment, "That's right, when my tribe was trying to find things that we could eat back when we were Scabeaters instead of Cheeseaters, we tried lots of mushrooms. The destroying angel was a little white one that looked like a penis. I remember my second cousin on my father's side, Carrotwit, ate one and he basically exploded. There was blood and shit everywhere!"

Frantiska's face turns a little green and she asks, "How long did that take?"

"Oh, about an hour..."

Winona/Miero/Ryesha

Hearing this, Ryesha grabs the whistle, rattle, fleece, and the lace curtain (because she's sure she can make something cute out of those) and tosses them onto the blanket that the dwarf lady has been filling. She helps the dwarf fold it closed and starts dragging it towards the passage, "In that case," she says, "let's get out of here before the old guy makes a mess all over the place..."

Winona nods and crawls after her. "There was another passage strait ahead, now our left, out there..."

Miero shuts the chest full of coins, easily hoists it up onto his shoulder, and follows them.

Yamtwit

Yamtwit turns to look at Hrud, who has been quietly hanging out by the wall, realizing that he doesn't understand a thing anyone is saying. "Jaran-kanca, aku pracaya lawas asu-pasuryan poisoned piyambak karo roh jamur, kang bakal nggawe wong njeblug. Kita kudu kanggo njaluk metu cepet. Pemanah-nyonyah ngandika sing ana sing arep kamar liyane kanggo njupuk asam menyang weteng. Milanipun dalem panjenengan badhe sing cara." He hefts his shillelagh onto his shoulder and turns to the door, then turns back and looks at the desk one more time. "Apa kita njupuk iki boneka ora nyenengake karo kita?"

"Oh, lan njeblugake sarana sing wong bakal duwe diare tenan ala sawise sampun seda..."

Miero/Ryesha

Miero speeds up to fall into step beside Rhyesha. "Tātad, tas, kas noved gudrs plašs, piemēram, sevi, lai kļūtu Tirāns?" he says, grinning.

Ryesha doesn't so much as look in his direction, but just keeps pulling the blanket full of loot as she says, "Tas Tyrran, nav Tirāns, un es pievienojos, jo bez likumiem mēs nebūtu labāk, nekā šie kobolds."

Lyra

As everyone makes ready to leave, Lyra looks back at the tortoises.  "Do we have something we can leave the tortoises to eat and drink?  I don't know how long they're going to be trapped in there, and it seems cruel to just leave them...."

Yamtwit

Yamtwit stops and looks at Lyra curiously, then shrugs. He reaches into his backpack and pulls out a wheel of cheese, which he crumbles and scatters on the floor before leaving.

GM

Beating feet from the curiously dead, old kobold, the party rounds the corner to the left. The passage continues to slope downward and bend to the left, ever so slightly, before opening up into a honeycombed warren of dens and sleeping chambers. You pass through numerous oddly shaped burrows, carved into the dragon's ribs, spleen, and liver. Each has one or two piles of bedding (a mixture of sheep skins, weasel furs, and appropriated blankets), the remains of a cookfire (mostly dead coals but a few with embers still flickering, and the various trappings of kobold tribal life--pots of war paint, bows and spears in various states of repair, cooking implements, childrens toys (mostly small percussive instruments and hempen dolls), and the like. You crawl through dozens of such rooms, winding your way through the dragon's major arteries, passing two more outlets into the upper portion of the stomach, then find a much less natural passage going strait back towards the neck and sloping upwards.

Skaegedde

Skaegedde hauls the blanket-bag along behind them, wondering if it wouldn't be a better idea to find a relatively safe place to leave their loot rather than dragging it all over the cave complex. As they go, Skaegedde pokes around the dens and warrens looking for something else she can use to beat kobolds with, so as to not monopolize the barbarian's beautiful hammer. Eventually she comes up with a couple of stiff goat-hide tunics that can pass for armor and a sturdy, spiked morningstar. "Tak," she says, handing the hammer back to Hrud.

When they reach the passages overlooking the stomach she stops and sets down the loot sack for a bit. "Wow? What happened here?" she asks, waving a hand at the wreckage of the collapsed walkway and all of the kobold corpses scattered about.

Lyra

Lyra tries not to cry.  "There ... there was an ambush.  After that was dealt with, too much weight on the walkway collapsed it."  Her voice cracks halfway through.  "Mr. Donovan di ... didn't make it.  We should come back for the body once we're finished."

Frantiska

Frantiska maneuvers around to pat Lyra's shoulder, trying to ignore the ache in her back and knees from being on all fours for so long. "We'll do just that, Lyrathwen," she says, trying to keep her own dislike of the lecherous old charlatan out of her voice. "But for now..." she glances in the nearest den, "we've killed a lot of kobolds in here and on the road, and all of these rooms look recently abandoned. Either we've killed them all, or they fled, or they have another ambush point nearby." She pauses, "There is also the fact that there are plenty of signs of children about--toys at least--and we have seen none of the like. So perhaps some of them fled with their young when it became clear that they were being invaded. If that is not the case, and they are hiding nearby, we may have to temper our actions to avoid harming the innocent. Either way, now is the time for vigilance..."

Skaegedde

Skaegedde grunts and nods, "Nice work! I will pray to the Hidden One for you friend." She walks back and grabs the other side of the bag that she and the halfling girl had been dragging, then points at the passage going back up, "That way then?"

Winona/Miero/Ryesha

Winona looks out into the stomach, "Either we go up, or we try to find a way to those holes up on the sides, or we head into the intestines...which seems like a good place for a never-ending winding maze of traps and ambushes, don't you think?" She lays down flat on the floor, rolls onto her back, and stretches as best she can. "Bunny, why don't you grab the goblin and our two new friends and scout ahead. Crawling in armor isn't any fun..."

Miero steps up and sets the chest of coins down on Winona's chest, eliciting an angry, grunting, gasp. "Alright then," he says drawing the stilettos, "you watch the loot and we'll go hunting." He looks at Skaegedde, Yamtwit, and Ryesha and makes a 'follow me' gesture with his head before heading up the passage at a slow jog.

Ryesha sighs, drops the blanket and pulls out her own knives, "I guess I don't really have a choice". She spares a look down at Winona with the thought that maybe she is getting a little too much experience in the field, then heads after the other halfling.

GM

The passage slopes gently up for about fifty paces of a halfling, then opens into a large chamber, a mirror of the lungs where you were previously ambushed. Left-hand wall has been carved away to reveal a knot of corded, petrified muscle tissue with a massive opal, larger than an adult kobold (and that is only the exposed portion), lodged in it. A crude altar has been built into the back wall, made from piled skulls--mostly a mix of human and lizardmen--and topped with a clean, black altar cloth, trimmed with cloth of gold. Dozens of skeletons are stacked against the right-hand wall, their bones scored and pitted, as if they had been cleaned by immersion in acid. Some of them have a faint metallic sheen--likely the result of residues from dissolved metals fusing with the bone. A capstan has been set into the middle of the room, set with four handles, with two ropes running down into holes in the floor.

Ryesha

Seeing the spectacle of the altar, Ryesha mutters, "Wait here," and back down the corridor a few feet before turning and sprinting back to where Winona and the others are waiting. "Sister, Lyra, Frantiska. You guys are going to want to see this..." she says, panting.

Frantiska/Yamtwit

Frantiska crawls after the halfling girl, really wishing she could smoke right now.

Yamtwit, meanwhile, looks around the small shrine, considerably less excited than Ryesha. "What a mess..." he says, walking around the pile of corpses. He then steps back over to the capstan and gives one of the bars a little jiggle. "Any guesses what this does?" he asks his new companions.

Hrud

Following the others into the room, Hrud is entranced by the large gemstone. The barbarian walks up to it and run a hand along the smooth exposed portion.

Winona/Miero/Ryesha

Miero walks up beside Hrud to look at the massive gem, "Wis sampeyan entuk linggis, wong amba?"

Winona crawls after Ryesha and comes into the room. "What horrible blasphemy is this?" she says, sounding exactly the wrong kind of excited one would expect in such situations. "Are these some kind of sacrifices to the dead dragon?" She crawls over to the bodies and looks at them, then back at the capstan, "Do you think that is what they used to let the acid into the stomach? Clean off the corpses with the dragon's acid, then pile them here near the heart as a kind of payment?"

Ryesha just shudders. "What do we do about it?" she squeaks.

"Ooh, Bunny, desecrating evil shrines is fun!" She crawls over to the altar and sits up, her helmed head just scraping the ceiling, even seated. She adjusts her glasses and pulls out her holy symbol, field brazier, several sticks of incense, and a couple flasks of holy water. "First we'll want to burn this altar cloth..." she says, opening the brazier and blowing the hot coals back into life...

Frantiska/Yamtwit

Frantiska and Yamtwit both move closer to Winona, equally fascinated by what she is doing.

Hrud

Hrud shakes his head, then stops, his semi-permanent expression of confusion lifting for a moment, and says, "Dawn-of-Man." The barbarian then turns and heads out of the room, back to the stomach where Donovan's body still lay on the steps - along with the old adventurer's remaining gear. Making sure he has the crowbar, Hrud grabs as much as he can carry and hauls it back to the room. Setting the pile of possessions down, he walks back over to the massive gemstone with a smile, hefting the crowbar. Carefully trying to avoid damaging the smooth surface of the stone, he slides the end of the crowbar into the section of fossilized tissue, trying to chip away at the opal's stony prison.

Winona

Once the coals in the field brazier are glowing nicely, Winona takes a fork from her mess kit and uses it to carefully lift the black and gold altar cloth and place it in the brazier. As the cloth begins to smolder, she raises her hands into the smoke and intones, "Gone. Gone. Gone even farther is perfect justice." As the cloth catches, she parts the smoke with her hands and deftly drops a pair of incense cubes into the flame, santalwood for the dispelling of evil vapors and junniper and rose hips for sight. "May the presider over courts be my vanguard. May all evils flee me and the essential procedure present no troubles." She gestures broadly, gathering the smoke towards her and inhales deeply. The lifts her holy symbol, holding it in the column of smoke directly above the fire. She nods to Ryesha and they begin to chant a common mantra in tandem:

"Mighty Tyr. Cleanse this place. May all beings be free from enmity and danger. May all beings be free from mental suffering. May all beings be free from physical suffering. May all beings be free from suffering. May all beings protect themselves joyfully. I have been blinded by the net of injustice. Tyr, judge and minister, come near and treat me with mercy. Your discernment, like the fire at the end of an age clears away the mere appearance of injustice in the mind; please bestow it upon me.”

She stands, lifting a flask of holy water and splashes it over the bone altar chanting again, "Gone. Gone. Gone even farther is perfect justice." Ryesha takes the other flask, doing and saying likewise.

Winona places her holy symbol back around her neck and takes her massive, silver-headed flail in two hands. "Tyr. Even-handed One. May your single all-seeing eye look down on the evils of this place and judge them. As we judge the physical, may you judge the spiritual. As we cleanse the stone, may you cleanse hearts. As we crush the face of evil, may you crush the spirit of evil. Whatever foulness resides in this place, may this simple act see it destroyed and your justice done..."

Ryesha nearly yells the final mantra, "Come perfect justice!", her voice coming out as a frightened squeak, then takes a quick step back and ducks as Winona swings the two-handed bludgeon sideways in a wide arc, putting as much of her weight behind the blow as she can from her seated position, and snapping her shoulders to add extra whip to the chain as the head smashes into the side of the bone altar.

GM

The pile of skulls practically explodes from the force of the blow. Bone fragments fly in all directions, bouncing of walls and pelting the party with shrapnel. The ground gives a brief heave and a sudden wind knocks you all off of your feet and nearly sucks you out of the room as you hear the unmistakable sound of a dragon's roar echoing all around you. As the sound and the tremor fade, you see that the massive gem lodged in the wall has crumbled into a fine powder that gives off a faint golden glow.

Miero

Miero picks himself up off the floor, eyes wide with surprise, and starts looking through the wreckage of the bone altar and the pile of bodies for anything valuable. "Beshaba's blackened teets, Tyrant! What the fuck did you just do?"

Hrud

Hrud is chipping away slowly and carefully (for him) around the large opal when the sudden tremor and ghostly roar engulfs him. Part of a flying skull hits him in the back of the head, causing him to lurch forward, accidentally bringing the crowbar into contact with the stone. When the stars have cleared from his eyes, he looks down to see the opal has crumbled into dust. The barbarian looks around awkwardly, hoping no one noticed him break it.

Lyra

Lyra brushes the bone dust and shrapnel from her cloak and hair, coughing a bit from the rich incense.  "Was the heart gem used to bind the dragon's spirit here?"