The Azure Shroud of Doom

Beneath the Temple, Part 1

The Temple of Ungu

Dramatis personæ:
Hobb the Fighter…………………………………………………………a sellsword, currently without a master
Ragner the Cleric………………………………………………………..a devotee of Khorne, god of Bloody Conquest
Veiger the Druid………………………………………………………….an elven protector of the natural world
Wolfwood the Paladin………………………………………………….a champion of Law, devoted to his quest

An ancient temple sacred to the hated serpent-god Ungu, dedicated by the legendary Queen Ya hundreds of years ago, until recently occupied by the Spider-Witch Florimel. Refugee goblins infest the upper chambers, and the insane and aberrant sorceress has been killed, her body cast into the pit.

The curtain rises on our daring trio on a platform jutting over an endless abyss, once used to offer sacrifices to the serpent-god Ungu. Taking some time to explore around the sacrificial pit, leading to a brief experimentation in gravity by Wolfwood, the adventurers decided to explore into the depths. Tossing a torch into the pit revealed that the wall below them had collapsed inwards, creating a sloping pathway into an open cavern below. With insightful Hobb securing a rope to one of the nearby pillars, they carefully made their way down the wall with only minor incident.

Skirting around the ruins of Florimel’s corpse, the party discovered a series of dried and desiccated goblin corpses hanging from metal rings set into the rock ceiling. Those furthest from the pit were wrapped in some kind of silken webbing, strangely familiar to faint lines of spider silk that had lined the walls of the pit. Upon realizing that the occupant of the final bundle still writhed and moaned, they sliced down, revealing a semi-conscious elf.

No sooner was the elf freed than the group was set upon by a ravenous quartet of cave rats. Still injured from their trials above, the party lay about with sword, shield, and hammer, joined by the groggy elf, and quickly dispatched the menacing rodent.

Given a chance to rest, the elf introduced himself to the group as Veiger, elven druid and warden of nature. The elf, bound to slay unnatural monsters invading the forests, had been waylaid by the Bloodbelly goblins, bound and rendered unconscious. Someone, or something, had brought him below the temple and hung him from the ceiling, left to season like so much meat. Veiger was pleased to hear of Florimel’s defeat and offered to accompany the trio of humans while they explored the rest of the caverns under the temple and attempted to find an exit.

Devout Ragner, servant of Khorne, scouted the passage before them. Peering ahead of them, he was startled by a silken noose flying towards him from the darkness. Deftly slicing it from the air, he warned his companions to prepare for an assault. Two foul beasts leapt from the shadows, lashing out with claws and webby ropes. Tall they were, though their torsos were compact and fat, with long arms and legs, and grasping fingers and toes that ended in sharp talons. The beasts’ faces were flat, with long, pointed ears, large bugged eyes, bare slits for noses, and wide mouths with glistening fangs. Their flesh was mottled and slick, with patches short wiry hairs across the backs and shoulders, and spouting here and there from limbs.

The ensuing battle was short and rather one-sided, though unfortunate Hobb discovered that the creatures possess the ability to spit a foul poison, leaving him weak and temporarily blinded. Enigmatic Veiger revealed his ability to shapeshift into the creatures of his beloved forests and took upon the guise of a bat, using echolocation to investigate the passage and large cavern that opened before them. He retook his elven form to communicate his findings to the party.
After carefully washing out Hobb’s eyes, the group continued on finding themselves before a large natural chamber, the ceiling vaulted high above them. An odd assortment filed the room, wilted and rotting vegetation, various collections of cave mushrooms and lichens, and against one wall, several hutches of sticks and woven vines containing nearly a half-dozen rabbits, blind and hairless.
Heedless Veigar rushed forward to inspect these puzzling animals, accidentally triggering a tripwire which set a wooden log, spiked and heavy, swinging down into the group. Veiger took a sharpened branch to the shoulder, though Wolfwood tried to push him free in time. With his wound bandaged, Veiger called upon his connection to the natural world and attempted to speak with the rabbits, but they had little information to offer, knowing little of what happened outside of the wooden cage they lived in.

With Veiger’s permission, Wolfwood slaughtered the rabbits and the group prepared to hole up for the night, lighting a fire to roast the coneys. Lighting a fire and roasting meat may not be the wisest choice while in unexplored caverns without taking certain precautions, as the party of adventurers soon discovered.

Bounded out of side passages of the chamber came six of the sordid creatures the group had fought before, three aside. One quickly entangled Hobb in a webby noose, and as Ragner rushed to aid him, bold Wolfwood charged to attack the trio attempting to flank the party. Veiger crouched down and, with a beastly roar, rose up in the hulking shape of a bear. In the form of this rampaging beast, Veiger frightened off one of the vile creatures and crashed bodily into another, rending its stomach and buying Ragner time to free Hobb. The wrathful warrior whirled upon his attacker, planting his sharp, serrated blade deep in the third creature’s gut.

Ragner, Hobb, and Veiger turn about, ready to assist Wolfwood, only to find the paladin standing triumphant, covered in foul ichor, battered and bloodied, with the bodies of his fetid foes stretched out before his feet, the severed head of the largest creature resting nearby.

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