Wednesday, September 23, 2020

House of Worms, Session 199

The party pressed onward in their exploration of the second level of the Temple of Ages, hoping to find Khángor, the priest of Ksárul who possessed knowledge of the Llyáni ritual needed to deal with the entity known as Muzhrán. The first chamber they explored was filled with a strange mold or fungus, which past experience had taught was something to be avoided. It was at this point that Keléno asked if the group could return to the strange double altar they'd seen elsewhere on the level. He was reminded of the layout of certain temples of Hrü'ü and wondered if perhaps, somehow, the Temple of Ages might have been dedicated to the Master of Negation, albeit one inexplicably older than any in the Five Empires.

Since his clan mates had long ago decided it was often better to indulge Keléno's whims than block them, they returned to the shrine where the double altars were located. The priest of Sárku spent a great deal of time examining the altars, hoping to find writing, markings, or symbols of some kind that might identify the being to whom these altars were consecrated. He could find none, much to Keléno's disappointment (and Lady Srüna's annoyance – she had already expressed her opinion that the activities of the characters were "duller than I expected" and openly pondered about "the attraction of traipsing off into ruins").

Keléno's curiosity sated for the moment, they returned to their explorations. The group pointedly avoided the chamber with the fungus and instead approached another door. Made of dark and heavy wood, Grujúng opened it and entered, his two-handed N'lüss sword drawn. What he found was not opposition but another corridor, with a bend up ahead and a door to his immediate right. Nebússa followed him into the corridor, while the others waited. Nebússa offered to scout ahead, in order to see if there were anything interesting around the bend ahead. He was, after all, trained in stealth. As the rest of the group moved into the corridor, Kirktá offered to stay behind to keep watch on the rear. 

Despite his training, Nebússa proved less adept at stealth than he would have liked. He turned the corner and found himself face to face to one of three Thúnru'u. Known as "eaters of eyes," these massive, blubbery beasts are often employed as guards by sorcerers. The closest one smacked Nebússa squarely in the torso, while the two behind fought to reach him as well, letting out bellowing roars. Grujúng sprang into action to aid his comrade. Keléno also moved ahead in order to provide healing if necessary. Qurél then joined Kirktá to ensure that no additional enemies appeared from behind them.

Such fears were justified, as a half-dozen snake-headed Qól appeared, armed with swords, and slithering their way down from the north. Qurél, being a former legionnaire, suggested to Kirktá that they ought to fall back to the doorway to the other corridor, as this would provide them with limited cover and, more importantly, prevent their being swarmed by the Qól by funneling them into their readied weapons. The pair fell back into the opposite end of the same corridor where the others were engaging the Thúnru'u.

Grujúng fared well against the mammoth beasts, felling one and suggesting that Nebússa slide past another to face the third. This he did and the two of them fought well against the Thúnru'u. Keléno then decided that Qurél and Kirktá could probably use his aid more. His instincts proved correct, as he arrived just as a Qól delivered a near-mortal blow to Kirktá. Keléno was able to use his magic to heal the young priest of Durritlámish, while Qurél demonstrated his prowess against the serpentine foes.

By the time this occurred, Nebússa had slain another of the Thúnru'u and rejoined the others, taking up a position in the second rank with his spear. Keléno also made use of his eye of Krá the Mighty to dispatch one of the Qól. Grujúng likewise joined his clan mates, having defeated the last of the Thúnru'u. Upon his arrival, he cleaved through two of the Qól, which provided an opening for Qurél, who finished off the remaining one.

Their enemies slain, the party tended to their wounds and concluded that they would have to be more careful as they continued their explorations. Clearly, this portion of the Temple of Ages was well guarded. Whether that boded well for their hopes of finding Khángor remained a matter of dispute.

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