Episode 47: the Heist, Part 3
Ara, Keen, Sirlius and Yuna quickly reversed course back up the shaft as Magnus was yanked away from them. Ara, swiftest of foot, emerged first into the alcove to see Magnus grappled by a bizarre creature, its conical, rock-like form bearing close resemblance to a stalactite but for its horrible gaping eye, its toothy maw and its writhing tentacles. Even as he watched a second creature scuttled down the side of the wall and lashed out. The slender monk was unable to avoid the attacks and soon found himself lifted off the ground.
Magnus broke free of his captor and began struggling to free Ara, yelling for the party to run. Sirlius, who had attempted to engage the creatures with necrotic magic and finding their thick, stony carapace difficult to puncture, made for the ventilation shaft but was struck down by multiple attacks from whip-cracking tentacles.was unable to avoid the attacks and soon found himself lifted off the ground.
Magnus broke free of his captor and began struggling to free Ara, yelling for the party to run. Sirlius, who had attempted to engage the creatures with necrotic magic and finding their thick, stony carapace difficult to puncture, made for the ventilation shaft but was struck down by multiple attacks from whip-cracking tentacles.
Magnus succeeded in pulling Ara free and the party reversed course back down the shaft, A bloodied and broken Ara at their lead, Magnus and Yuna dragging Sirlius between them. Again and again the long tentacles snaked after them, grabbing onto the prone form of Sirlius, but each time Magnus and Yuna would break free. One of the creatures began trying to squeeze its way into the shaft, blocking the other but intent on giving chase.
Seeing this Keen doubled back, pushing past his retreating companions and summoning his dancing rapier Levani, faced down the horrible creature. Unfortunately he soon found himself grabbed by stony tentacles, and pulled into the face of the creature, it’s long, needle-like teeth piercing his flesh. Having gotten Sirlius out of range of the monster’s long tentacles, Yuna unleashed a torrent of divine energy at the creature, which shrieked, spasmed, and dropped Keen. He ran, and soon the creature retreated back into its alcove with its companion, its meal now out of reach.
The part collapsed there, backs against the wall of the narrow shaft, to rest and heal both from Yuna channeling a mote of her own divinity into healing magic as well as more mundane field medicine. Magnus reached out using the residium telepathy to his companions, save Sirlius, to inform them that he believed it possible to refine some of the raw residium he carried in his pack in such a way as to allow Sirlius to be joined to them, granting access to both the telepathy and the teleportation properties of their binding.
Sirlius returned to consciousness while this telepathic conversation was happening, and touched the Raven’s Feather for guidance. They found their consciousness pulled from their physical form, and soon stood upon the black sand of the Shore. There he encountered a small tiefling boy playing in the sand. Though circumspect, Sirlius realized the boy was an aspect of the god Drahnus, with whom he had entered into a pact, dedicating service in exchange for power. The boy complained that Sirlius took direction less well than his predecessor, and chided him that he should not rely overmuch on the Raven’s Feather, saying “If you keep coming here, they will notice.” The child dismissed Sirlius then, and the vision faded, but not before he heard the boy say, “Go left.”
The party completed their rest and resumed their descent into the mountain, following the downward slope of this cramped and narrow shaft. Eventually the shaft split, and the party debated whether to go left or right. Unable to agree, Sirlius huffed and began following the left-most shaft. Not wanting to get separated, the rest of the part followed, and they found themselves crab-walking, nearly sliding down a steep tunnel. They followed this for several hundred feet until it abruptly ended in a vast, empty cavern; empty but for a metal bridge or walkway a few feet directly beneath them. Sirlius attempted to rappel the short distance to the walkway, but immediately slipped and landed hard on his back with a loud, booming CLANG that echoed into the blackness. The rest of the adventurers made their way safely to the walkway, which they could see now extended hundreds of feet into the darkness in either direction. The interior of the space was pitch black, though they could detect a faint odor of cooking.
As they debated which way to go Keen noticed a pinprick of light approaching from one direction – guards, alerted by the sound of Sirlius’s impact? Whatever the source, the party decided to go the other way, and made their way along the metal gangway. After a couple of minutes they arrived at a T junction, one gangway leading out into the dark vastness of the cavern. Seeing another light source not far away, the party waited at the intersection while Keen followed the gangway along the mountain wall to the end, whereupon he discovered a passageway in the rock leading to a small chamber containing a hearth, a cookpot, and an emaciated, wiry creature muttering away to itself in Dwarven. It turned, seeming to regard Keen with huge, bulbous, white eyes; he realized the creature was completely blind.
Since Yuna spoke Dwarvish the party approached the creature, and she realized that the muttering was a kind of chant: long sequences of numbers followed by a description. Bank account numbers, she realized, as the ancient creature repeated the same number and the word “Dragonhead” the party first received in a Raven’s Feather vision of Sirlius opening the bank vault. Other descriptions included “Soul Prism,” and “Platinum Repository,” and “Jewel Collection.”
The creature seemed unaccustomed to visitors, and paid little attention to the party. It referred to itself as “The Caretaker,” saying it needed to “do the rounds” and exiting its tiny living quarters proceeded to lead the party back to the intersection, out into the blackness of the cavern. As they followed they realized this space, whatever it was, was criss-crossed with these iron gangways. The Caretaker eventually disappeared down a ladder. Quickly following, the party found it in a square room, about 40ft to a side, in the centre of which was a beholder chained and set into the floor: its face and eye stalks all pointed down into the metal floor and shackled, and its spherical body partially dissected exposing its grey matter. The air stank of rot and putrescence. The beholder began to writhe and struggle as the Caretaker approached, and with a bucket and slop brush slathered a fluid of some sort across the beholder’s brain. It immediately calmed, and Yuna deduced that the liquid must be some sort of narcotic. Magnus realized that this bizarre spectacle was part of the security system leading to the Pashtum Bank vault itself; they must be standing directly above it. The Caretaker replaced the bucket on its hook, and made to exit the chamber.
Modified Roper Status: Bitey
Bank Security System Rating: Gross, Evil?
Encounters Avoided: 2
RP Rating: Awesome!