Ashes of the Empire

Turin's Journal 3

In addition to the blocked path to the south, there were tunnels leading to the north and the east. The water was flowing in from the north and then heading down to the south and east, with the eastern tunnel likely emptying out into Lake Thallia. Karrauk believed that the tomb we sought would be found to the northwest of us, closer to the location of the fort. He decided to scout out the eastern tunnel first to make sure there weren’t any possible dangers that could come at us from behind. The tunnel had a few drains emptying out from the walls but otherwise seemed to contain little of interest.

We headed down the northern passage a short distance when I began to hear the sounds of something moving around in the darkness. I stopped Karrauk and indicated to him that there was something up ahead. He crept down the tunnel and discovered two large mangy sewer rats about the size of small dogs digging in the refuse around a bend in the tunnel. Karrauk drew his bow and then signaled to me that there were two threats ahead and I should approach quietly. I drew my crossbow and did my best to approach silently, but the rats heard me coming. As we engaged the two rats we were surprised to find a third one coming in from a different passage.

We each fired a shot at the rats before having to fall back and draw our melee weapons, a scimitar for Karrauk and a club for me. I attempted to throw my noxious aromatic at one of the rats in hopes of slowing it down, but all I managed to do was splash Karrauk. The third rat swam through the sewage in order to get to Karrauk, but fortunately he was able to stab the first rat causing it to flee back down the tunnel to the west. Not long after, I was able to club the rat attacking me driving it down the east tunnel. Karrauk fought to keep the third one off of him but unlike the others it was foaming at the mouth and seemed unwilling to back down, even after I had shot it twice. Eventually Karrauk slashed it and it tried to flee but as wounded as it was he was able to quickly catch it and finish it off.

After recovering from the fight Karrauk decided to scout down the eastern tunnel. A short distance down the tunnel it turned to the north and Karrauk could see there were a few burning humanoid-sized rat skulls attached to the tops of wooden poles. Behind them was a wooden arch with slats of wood forming a fence. When he described what he had seen to me Karrauk also mentioned that he has heard of a race of ratmen, which might explain where the skulls came from.

We decided to try the western passage and a short distance down it we saw a collapsed tunnel leading to the south where one of the rats was licking its wounds. Farther down Karrauk spotted some webbing with small insects on it. He tossed a stone at it, which was unable to go all the way through, and shortly thereafter the webs began to move and we heard a rustling sound. A large swarm of spiders emerged from the webs and began to move towards Karrauk.

Karrauk began to withdraw from the webs and I fired a bolt at the spiders with little effect. They began to build webbing over the water to reach Karrauk, despite his efforts to damage the webs with his scimitar. The spiders soon swarmed over him and started biting. I used Burning Hands to try and drive the spiders off and while the flames seemed effective at killing them, it wasn’t enough to deter them. Karrauk was able to escape from the swarm and pulled out his Any-Tool. The spiders began to swarm me and bite as I moved farther away from the webs and attempted to use Spark to light their webs on fire. Karrauk changed his Any-Tool into a shovel and moved farther down the passage away from the spiders in order to retrieve the rat corpse to try and distract the spiders.

When we got far enough from the webs the spiders began to withdraw, so I moved forward again and used Spark to light some of the webs they were heading towards on fire. This drove the spiders back at me, where they began biting once again. I retreated again and used Create Water to douse the swarm and temporarily disperse it. Karrauk reached the rat corpse and picked it up with his shovel, and began heading back towards the swarm. I hit the spiders with water again, but it wasn’t enough to keep them spread out. The spiders swarmed over Karrauk biting him, so he dropped the corpse and moved to a safe distance. The spiders were momentarily interested in the rat corpse, but quickly headed back to their webs. We decided that we weren’t likely to make it farther in this direction without preparing something to deal with the spiders so we headed back down the eastern tunnel to try the other passage.

As we moved around the bend in the eastern tunnel Karrauk spotted some writing on the wall in a language neither of us recognized. The writing was done using some kind of red pigment, possibly blood, and while it didn’t appear fresh it also wasn’t very old. As Karrauk got closer to the skulls they turned and faced him, following his movements, and as I got closer two of them began to watch me. We decided to avoid the fenced in area and instead took a turn back to the west. After traveling down the western tunnel for awhile it turned back to the north leading to a t-junction with a strange looking northern wall. The eastern direction ended in an area with drains pouring out from the walls and emptying through a small opening on the eastern wall, while the western tunnel continued as far as we could see.

Out of the darkness a rat approached from both directions. Karrauk shot two arrows in quick succession at the eastern rat causing in light injury. I readied and loaded my crossbow, but the rats closed in on us before I could fire a shot. Karrauk hit the eastern rat with his scimitar causing it to flee out the eastern grate, while I held off the other rat with my club. Suddenly, a huge centipede came out of the northern grate and crawled along the ceiling towards Karrauk and bit him. It was clear that this centipede’s bite had some sort of effect on Karrauk, but he fought on anyway. Karrauk hit it twice with his scimitar severely wounding it and driving it away. The centipede did its best to flee but its injuries were too severe and it collapsed a short distance away. Karrauk then moved around behind the final rat and, while I distracted it, and killed it with his scimitar.

We examined the northern wall and found it to be a smoother surface made of large stone blocks fitted together, rather than the smaller rougher bricks most of the sewers are made of. Karrauk believed it was likely we had reached the fort and that these stones were a part of its foundation, made of much older stone. As we continued down the western tunnel we again began to see spider webs. While the tunnel continued on to the west, there was a split leading off to the south where most of the webs were concentrated. Our past experiences led us to believe we were not equipped to deal with the spiders, but it might be possible to get around the webs in order to continue on through the western tunnel. We headed back to the entrance of the sewers in order to retrieve one of the torches we had seen lighting the entrance. When Karrauk attempted to remove one from the wall one of the hooded figures guarding the southern gate called out for him to stop. He offered two imperial copper coins in exchange for the torch, which was quickly accepted.

We took the torch back to the spider webs and Karrauk jumped through part of the webbing swinging the torch to clear as much as possible, while I used Spark to burn away more. The spiders once again swarmed and quickly began to bite Karrauk. He continued through the webs and reached the western side, doing his best to burn a clear path. The spiders advanced on me but I was able to keep at a safe distance as I used Create Water to keep them at bay. Karrauk continued to burn away the webs drawing the attention of the spiders once again, but they soon retreated down the southern passage away from the flames. I ran through the opening Karrauk had created and we continued on.

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