Wherein the heroes encounter the horror of the Crucible.
After the fight, Broken is feeling pretty rough. He perks up quite a bit after drinking his heal potion. Meander has some wounds from the spears thrusts, but is determined to continue. Red and ToughBark are relatively unscathed.
The group discusses the problem of Jet, but doesn’t know what to do. They can’t bring Jet’s body to town as who would believe a little girl was behind some of the killings. And worse yet, they brought Jet into town. She was probably the cause of the wolf attack that night. End the end, they leave her body where it lay on the stairs.
During the discussion, Broken goes down to work on the Stone Man. The group is accustomed to his tinkering while repairing the occasional damage the Stone Man incurs. However, it eventually dawns on the group that this is something more. He starts removing bolts from the metal struts in the golems leg, muttering, “Yeah, I think this should slide.” After making a few more tweaks, he commands, “Golem… High Speed!” The golems legs spread. The struts slide up along the knees and the golem lifts up another three feet, towering above the group. When the legs shrink back down, the golem comes down with a crash. “Hmm, I think I might need more support here.”
The group takes a more careful look at the room. The stairway opens into a large rectangular room. Intricate carvings line the walls. In the center of the room is a broken obsidian obelisk. Hammers, picks and small chunks of obsidian lay around the obelisk.
The group moves into the room to begin the search when Red motions the group back. He hears something dragging, but doesn’t see it. It seems to be coming from the opposite side of the room. They creep down to see one of the Kobolds crawling away, leaving a smear of blood across the floor. Meander walks over to put the Kobold out of its misery, putting a spear through its chest.
Broken goes back to the golem and resumes tinkering, this time repairing the damage from the fight. ToughBark starts to search the bodies of the fallen Kobolds. The guards were wearing leather armor of a unknown skin type. They were carrying spears, a sling and a dagger. They had no visible ammunition. The stone working tools they were using were crude, but over time they had damaged the obelisk none the less.
Red moves over to inspect the obsidian obelisk. He tells the group that it is an oddly formed piece of obsidian. It wasn’t carved in this shape. Magic might have been involved. There probably was something in the middle, as there is a hollow space in the middle.
After exhausting the contents of the small room, the group discusses directions. Hallway span out in each of the cardinal directions, with the staircase to their south. They choose the western hallway, which they can see ends in a doorway.
They start following Stone Man down the hallway, followed by Meander and Red, then Broken and ToughBark. Halfway to the door, a hallway connects to the north. It appears empty as far as they can see.
When they get to the door, Stone Man opens the doors. They swing towards the group, opening into the southern end of a long room . It appears to have been a barracks, completely unadorned. Rows of uncomfortable stone beds line the west wall. As the group enters the room, a buzzing sound fills the air. From cracks and crevices in the ceiling come a group of large mosquitos, similar to the ones in the forest. However, they seem much more aggressive, having been starved without food in the ruins.
The first swoops down at Broken and its dagger like proboscis stabs into his chest, attaching itself. Two more swoop down and attack Stone Man. Meander moves over to help Broken and thrusts his spear at the mosquito on Broken’s chest, stunning the creature. Broken yanks out his poniard and starts attacking the mosquito as well.
Red summons a large rock, launching it at the other mosquito buzzing around Broken. The rock knocks off one of the mosquitos legs, but it seems unaffected.
ToughBark moves into the room, readying an arrow, and looses at one of the mosquitoes around Stone Man. The arrow glances off its armor and spins the creature around in the air, but it seems otherwise unaffected. Stone Man tracks one of the mosquitoes swarming around him and swings his great sword through one of the mosquitoes, splitting it into parts.
Broken starts to feel weaker. The stunned mosquito recovers and starts to drain his blood. The other mosquito swoops down to attack Broken, but he sweeps up his rapier to parry the attack, blocking the dagger-like appendage.
Two mosquitoes still swarm around Stone Man. One slips through a chink in his chest armor, weakening the golem. Stone Man attempts to block the other mosquito, but it swoops around the great sword and strikes his head, causing the golem to loose sense of sight.
Meander spear thrust glances off the mosquito’s armor while Broken chops another leg off the mosquito with his rapier. Red forms another rock by scooping up stone from the floor, lobbing it at the other mosquito around Broken, stunning it.
The mosquitoes surrounding Stone Man continue to try to feed from his stoney body to no real effect. He can’t see the mosquitos, nor can he sense them with hearing, but he keeps swinging. One of the mosquitoes around Broken flits over to attack Red, dodging out of the way of his attack. ToughBark nocks another arrow but it clinks against the wall, the mosquito easily flying out of the way. Meander swings the spear at the mosquito of Broken’s chest, swatting it across the back, but still not dislodging it.
The mosquito drains more blood from Broken, leaving him pasty white. He falls unconscious. Stone Man gets hit again in the head, this time disabling his sense of hearing. He is oblivious to Broken’s plight and continues to swing wildly at the creatures.
The mosquito strikes Red but can’t seem to penetrate his armor. Meander strikes the mosquito on Broken again, and can’t seem to puncture the hard outer shell. ToughBark looses another arrow, striking one of the mosquitos around Stone Man in the back, stunning it.
The mosquitos finally give up on the golem, after discovering that the golem has no blood to drain. They swarm around the other members of the group.
Meander finally jabs through the mosquitos armor, killing the one attached to Broken. Red attacks the mosquito buzzing him, but it darts aside and back in to attack, sliding across his armor. A mosquito swoops up from underneath ToughBark, attaching onto his groin. He draws an arrow back, pointing it straight down, dislodging and pinning the mosquito to the ground.
Meander spins around and strikes one of the mosquitos attacking Red. He swipes off a wing in the process, and the mosquito spins to the ground and starts crawling.
One of the mosquitos flies around for Meander. Meander turns towards it, spear in hand, but the buzzing beast flits out of the way.
Broken groans and opens his eyes. He is extremely pale and weak from the blood drain and rests for a moment to gather his wits. Red strikes at the mosquito, but again it darts out of the way. Another mosquito appears suddenly by ToughBark and attaches to his chest. ToughBark attacks it, skewering it through the chest.
Meander get angry at the buzzing insects and charges the mosquito flying around him, crushing it between his body and the wall.
Broken silently tells the golem to stop attacking and starts attempting to heal some of the damage, but is still too rattled from being so weak.
Red swings his rod, connecting with the last mosquito, knocking it to the ground. Meander runs over and kicks and stomps on the mosquito until it stops moving.
The whole group takes a moment to recover from the frantic fight. Broken looks over some of the golems wounds, and manages to restore the golem’s sight, but the other wounds will take more time. Broken himself is incredibly weak from the blood loss. He is white as a sheet and shaky.
Red, ToughBark and Meander start searching the room. Whoever lived in here had a meager, horrible existence. The beds are small, maybe children live here. The people had no signs of any possessions, nor any place to put them.
There is another exit on the north side of the eastern wall. Double doors open to a hallway running east. Down the corridor, the hallway crosses another going north-south. The light is too dim to see where it ends. The group follows Stone Man into the hallway. He marches to the crossing and then swivels to the north, assuming an aggressive stance. Broken says, “It is an unidentified illuminated object.” Then golem moves up into the hallway. Meander grimaces as he starts accelerating his pulse.
Far down the northern hallway is a floating ghostly form of a halfman in full plate. It is illuminated by an evil glow and an ominous hiss comes from it. The walls and floor sizzle as it passes by. It drags a bloody axe behind it as it floats a full foot above the floor. No wonder people claim the place is haunted.
Meander sprints around the corner and spots the ghost halfway down the corridor. Momentarily startled, he skids to a halt by the group. Red starts casting a spell, while ToughBark waits to see how the group reacts. Stone Man takes a step forward, while the ghost progresses down the hallway towards them.
Meander goes all out, sprinting down the hallway towards the ghost. He puts out his spear and just before he reaches the ghastly creature, he splats against something. He is stuck. His skin begins to tingle, followed quickly by sharp pain as he starts to burn like the hallway.
Broken starts animating the torch to cast fire blasts at the ghost. Red finishes casting his spells. ToughBark nocks an arrow and shoots it at the ghost. The arrow stops near Meander, several feet from the front of the ghost. The wood smokes and sizzles, disintegrating and the flints fall to the ground.
Meander starts to slosh around a bit in the goo that is trapping him. He slowly starts to work his way out, but is still stuck and burning horribly, floating down the hallway in front of the ghost.
Broken animates the torch on the golem’s arm, but the fire blast goes awry and leaves a sooty black streak on the wall.
As the ghost gets closer, the shimmering of a gelatinous wall become visible between the group and the ghost. The wall goes floor to ceiling, with Meander firmly inside. The armor and weapons are now obviously not a part of a ghost, but a previous victim of the gelatinous cube sliding down the hallway.
Red throws a stone, which causes ripples to course through the cube as the stone is absorbed and suspended by the cube. Stone Man steps up and swings his great sword at the cube. The blade cuts a vicious swath through the cube as it shudders from the impact.
Meander struggles in the cube’s embrace. He is still held tight, but slowly working his way out. Broken sends another fire blast at the cube. It strikes the surface and singes it a bit. ToughBark unleashes another arrow. When the arrow hits the surface of the cube, ripples shudder across its surface. With a final shake, the wall falls as acid splashes and flows across the corridor, covering the floor.
Stone Man’s feet start to burn, so he backs out of the acid. Meander is freed, smoke wafting off his dragon scale armor ruined and pitted from the acid. He grabs the plate and axe and walks out of the acid pool. His skin is raw and bleeding.
The axe is a very geometric axe. One end is a wood chopping axe. The other end is a spike, that could go through the thickest mail. It would be a big axe for the halfman in plate, but is a normal sized axe for Meander. A bright glow emanates from the axe illuminating the hallway.
The party waffles on what to do. Do they go back and check the halfway house for the kids? They don’t know how much Jet lied to them. There were signs of Kobolds at the campsite. Should they stay? They do currently have the advantage of surprise at the moment, since they defeated the guards and did not let any get away. If they leave, the kobolds will find their dead kin and may post more guards. The group agrees to stay and search.