Children of Nimón

Chapter Six

Every Dream Home a Heartache

Dee rushes down to the cellar to find the others gathered in the corridor. The Wendigo roars and develops flesh. Crux approaches while Sheera reviews the dwarven runes but deduces nothing. Lavanya reasons that the beast is in pain. Alan approaches and taunts the beast and its profane presence in the hallowed dwarven halls.

The beast’s vocal chords begin to form and it begins to speak Abyssal, it’s eyes locked on a terrified Dee. Crux approaches cautiously, and it flails its greataxe at Dee in fear. Sheera approaches with a pack of rations and offers it to the beast. The beast eats, pained, and bows his head to Sheera. Sherra offers up her waterski and the beast chugs it. Lavanya tries to ask why he’s here, and the beast tells her “You must all run! The destructor, the bringer of unsolvable mazes is here. You must flee!”

“Why are you afraid of Dee?”
“She is the bringer of unsolvable mazes!”

Lavanya notices an small slit with wind coming through. Ish draws a series of shapes with chalk by the entrance. Alan, displeased with the situation, but Lavanya gives him permission to chop his head off if he attacks. Dee hesitantly begins to approach, hands up. As she approaches, he roars and raises his axe. Dee walks away as Ish comments “that was probably bad idea” as he sketches his symbols. The beast attempts to push past Crux, but she effortlessly keeps him at bay. He raises his axe and she strikes him in the leg with her staff and causes him to stumble. She karate chops him twice.

“They don’t breed good in Hell!”

Sheera moves aside and continues to investigate the scene of the corridor. She sees a depression in the wall, a small hole in the wall that resembles a keyhole. She continues to reason that the creature is simply trying to be free, though the others are less convinced. Lavanya misty steps away and fire bolts the beast in the shoulder. She notices Ish drawing on the floor and reasons that the symbols on the floor are focusing circles.

“Since when do you use magic!?”

Ish responds by drawing his shield as Alan brings up his axe. “Seems we have a conundrum: you want to leave, but I want to smash you to bits.”
“I think it’s safe to smash him to bits!” Crux cries out.
Alan swipes but misses, smashing his axe against the stone.

Dee hears the commotion and runs back into the hall, jumping over the focusing circle. Dee cries out and commands the beast to cease. It screeches as it she comes back into view and attempts to rush Dee. Alan misses but as it charges past, Crux delivers a sweeping kick causing it to stumble. The beast rushes over Ish as it charges at Dee. Crux pursues, leaping over Ish and drives her blade between it’s shoulder blade. The beast howls as Crux breaks it arm in attempting to disarm the beast.

Sheera continues to investigate the keyhole and while she doesn’t find anything to fit the hole, she sees a faint light coming through between the cracks in the wall behind her. Using her sword, she drives it in between and chips away a few stones, revealing a false wall concealing a dwarven mosaic:

“Your inheritance is the key. My father, and his father before him, held sharp dominion over these realms”. The mural shows a dwarven king with arms wrapped out and downward around a dwarven prince.

Lavanya shoots off another fire bolt which narrowly misses Crux, but burns off more of the beast’s flesh. Ish uses his viper strike (poison spray) on the beast. Alan rushes up the corridor and whiffs it again. Dee leaps up angrily and, lantern in one hand and sword in other, she jams the blade deep into its developing eye. She leaps over the back.

“You want the greataxe?” Lava asks Alan.
“Better I get something out if it.”

They find a string of beads wrapped around its neck. Crux doesn’t recognize the pieces found on the beast but suspects the necklace is has historical, almost tribal, importance. The beast lays down dead, almost fully reborn.

Sheera makes a rubbing of the mosaic as Ish and Lavanya watch. Ish asks if Alan bled, wondering if dwarven blood might be royal as well. Lavanya attempts Find Familiar but realizes she is without components. Lavanya confronts Ish about magic use, which he denies and Dee supports him. Alan spends his time reviewing the corridor.

After being confronted by Crux and the others, he goes into the keyhole as a spider, much to the party’s surprise. Inside the keyhole, Ish is hit with a blast of force out of the keyhole with a howl of wind, hitting Lavanya in the face on the way out. He waits on the tip of Lava’s nose and she lowers him to the ground. Alan cuts his hand open and drips blood on one of Lava’s arrows. She unlocks the key and the stones glow with amber light. Alan looks at the arrow and realizes he might have the wrong key, and realizes that the key might actually be something on his person: his father’s razor. He coats it in more blood and inserts it. More amber light pours into the room and the chamber begins to shape. The high pitch sound erupts into a painful shriek into silence. The room looks different, and the razor is now coated in glowing intricate geometric shapes and lines.

Crux recognizes a staleness in the air. She tastes decay in the room. Dee feels the walls again and feels not stone but bone. Lava goes back to the main cellar and finds Aelia and Bruus are gone, the party now alone. All the barrels are intact and unburned. Sheera carries off one of the barrels and begins to head topside. Crux searches the corridors and finds the mural no longer vibrant but now greyed.They follow Lava and Sheera up top and find a town square. She hears fleeting whispers in the air, followed by a soft muttering sound, the shuffling something against wood.

Alan remarks on the dark beauty of the place, loudly. Lava and Crux see a strange, circular object being dragged away to the sound of some muffled strange language. Lava suspects it to be orcish in nature. Sheera finds traces of decayed dwarven items preserved by this place. Lava tries to stealth but fails and catches Crux on her way down. Crux stays behind and watches while Lava gathers the others. Sheera finds a well filled with coagulated blood.

Lava fires off fire bolt after fire bolt in every direction. Something tugs at Alan’s mind and he catches sight of a building to the north. From what he can see, he recognizes it as a temple from the city that he grew up in, a temple devoted the dwarven god Iorvith, God of Hammer and Hearth.

Ish passes over the threshold and Lava pulls him aside as a bone spear shoots out of the chamber, zipping past and jamming into Sheera’s barrel. The barrel leaks a purple substance: the blood of grapes. In the temple, a statue of the god with a hammer in each hand across his face behind a hearth. The temple itself is desecrated, covered in bone dust. Alan approaches a brazier and tries to relight it. Lava offers to relight with prestidigitation. The hearth bursts into weird, grayish white light. Alan and Lava clean up the statue. Crux asks if the god has any enemies, to which Alan replies “I don’t know a dwarf who doesn’t have an enemy.” Alan sees bed chambers and four dwarven beds with foot lockers at each.

As Alan retrieves an amulet in the shape of a hammer hanging from a rusty chain. As he takes it, Sheera shrieks! Coming down the bridge is a small army of undead of various races. Crux tears a piece of her tunic off, wraps it around the head of her staff, and uses the flame from the brazier to light it ablaze. The vision of the shambling dead recalls to mind the nightmare Sheera had about the dead woven into the landscape of some strange dream world. Sheera rolls her broken grape barrel down the bridge and slams into them; the couple in the front take the most damage as the wood explodes against their bodies, while the ones nearest the edge tumbles off the edge of the bridge. Lava conjures a shatter spell, lifting the stones off the bridge and exploding them against the zombies in a loud echo. The sheer force of the spell cracks the bridge, shifting it. Ish asks the group if they want him to “burn or control”, to which the ground unanimously votes “burn”. Ish chucks a small moonstone orb into the air and conjure a blue moonbeam from it, striking at the zombies. Dee approaches and throws a series of ball bearings down the bridge. Alan follows suit with bearings of his own. Sheera rushes forward and ropes around the pillar, creating a trip wire. The first line of zombies falls prey to Alan and Dee’s trap and fall prone.

Lava casts shatter once again in her attempt to break the bridge and she continues to chip away at both it and the horde. Crux throws a zombie into the ball bearings and burns it with her fire staff. Ish guides his moon beam closer to the party. Dee retrieves a piece of fabric and fashions a molotov cocktail from a flask of oil, setting it on fire with Crux’s now flaming staff and chucks it into the horde. Alan uses his recently acquired axe and cleaves its limb from its body. The zombies continue forward, moving past the moonbeam and ball bearings to Alan and Crux. Just as the horde clogs the entrance over the bridge, the bridge finally gives way and falls, pulling down with it the bulk of the horde. The bridge falls out of hearing, never being heard. Lava fires a jet of acid and blasts one zombie in the face. The residual acid falls off and melts the other’s torso. Two zombies attempt to knock into Crux but they miss. Another shambles across the bridges and slams into Lava but she releases magic from her arcane ward. The zombies continue, Crux swings and hits with her flaming staff and kicks one off the bridge. Ish summons a thorn whip and yanks a zombie away from Lava. Dee throws a second flask, burning one whole and lighting two ablaze. Alan calls out to the others to retreat into the temple before cutting into a zombie. Sheera fastens the trip wire onto a javelin before retreating to attack the zombie against Ish.

Crux is surrounded and almost taken down by the zombies. Ish rushes forward with his arcane needle and thread and begins to heal her but trips and falls as he does, getting slammed by a zombie. Dee fells a nearby zombie while Alan commands Ish to roll away. Sheera attempts to grab Ish and pull him away but Ish protests. Instead, Sheera bashes the skull on another nearby zombie, clocking it in the head and knocking it from the bridge. Lava continues to rain down acid on the zombies as they continue to move.

The zombies bring Crux down and as she lay motionless, she separates into two beings. The white haired elf fells two zombies as the brunette human lay motionless. Dee attacks then flees while Alan attacks and misses. Sheera goes to support and cracks it in the head with her hammer, and kills a second. Lavanya fells the last rime-covered, limb missing zombie with a single fire bolt.

“Its not uncommon for people undergoing heavy stresses to develop multiple personalities~” Ish says this as Cruxxia leaves and sort of trails off as she leaves.

Ish confronts Crux about her dual self while the others head west. Alan feels an eerie familiarity with this place, as if he grew up there.

They come upon a room and they enter Alan’s childhood home and inside he sees piles of bones from various beings, with a single path cleared. Alan is confronted by a black being, its face white as bones carrying a bone sword and a brown sack of something. The being brings his blade across Alan, and he feels a poison seep in. Dee stabs at the being and strikes but the physical wound heals as she draws the blade back. Lava fires off a single, pathetic fire bolt. Sheera attempts to javelin it but it misses. In response, the creature empties the sack and out comes a naked, bloodied half orc. He attempts to take Alan into the sack, but Alan shrugs it off. Ish rushes in and casts frostbite on the creature. Crux runs up and strikes the creature with her flaming staff, which chars it flesh from tar black to stone grey. Alan cuts into the creature with his ruby battle axe. It tears off chunks of his torso flesh. As Dee hacks at the beast, she recognizes the half-orc man clinging to life. It’s her friend from the ship, and she shouts his name in shock! Lava attempts to fire bolt again but misses. Sheera tears the brown sack out of its hand with her grappling hook.

The being reaches out trying to reach out and grab Alan but overreaches. Ish heals the half-orc with his cure wounds suture kit spell. Crux continues to smash it with her flaming staff as Alan continues to chip away at the beast with his ruby axe. As the creature turns from Crux, Alan greets him with an axe to the face. His body falls and Lava lights the body ablaze. Ish tends Benny with his healing skills.

Alan sees a hunched figure in the shadows as others investigate the house.
“Another one of you? See what I did to your friend!”
“Alan, is it you?”
“Dad?”
“No, it’s me, Alan. Don’t you remember me?”
“Come out into the light!’
The creature comes into the light. It is his fiancee, carrying a bundle. But, her body is corrupted, as if a walking corpse. In her arms, the bundle reaches up with small dwarven hands. Alan drops his arms. Lavanya realizes the small bed she was looking at was a crib, she turns to see Alan approaching the mother and child.

“Get away from it! It’s not what you think!”
“Everything else here is real enough.”
“No,

Lava tries to convince Alan to leave, who seems to have given up sanity. He threatens that if start to stop him, he will force his way through. The baby begins to shriek as the fiancee pleads with Alan to not leave her. Finally, he stutters a bit and looks his betrothed up and down. He slowly steps away, entertaining the possibility that Lava may be right. The beings reach out and cry. They leave the pair, screaming and pleading. Sheera hears a small giggle at the edge of her torchlight. In the dark, she sees a small figure do a jig before falling out of range.

Alan is cupping his ears and Lava escorts him away. Ish examines Benny at Crux’s behest. Together, they follow Lava, while Alan is still hysterical. Lava hears the same giggles pulling in and out of range. They make it back to the summit. Ish and Crux carry Benny out while the others gather supplies to carry out, with Lava using Floating Discs. Lava asks Alan for more of his blood on the razor, handed over with shaky ends.

They return topside and in what seemed like a few hours was actually only minutes for Aehlia and Bruus. Alan strides past everyone and goes back into the house. Lava fills Aehlia in Aehlia fears that the Arcanist may have access to these dark tunnels. Lava beseeches to go back down to retrieve supplies, but the other vehemently oppose. Benny comes to and mutters about the twisted things below. Dee calms him and together with Ish and Crux, take him back to his quarters to rest.

Lavanya and Aehlia discuss the strange phenomenon. Aehlia urges to collapse the cavern, but Lava convinces her to not, instead using it as a potential extra shelter. Dee and Crux’xia spend their time bedside with Benny while Lava spends her night researching the strange book she retrieved. She hears another giggle. Aehlia hears the giggles turn to playful banter. Aehlia threatens to kill them but the voices scoff it off. She hears them in the parlor in the rafters. The voices fade and in their place is a parcel, wrapped in parchment and tied with black flesh. She opens the package with mage hand and inside she finds the matching locket of her beloved niece. When asked where she can find them, they utter: “In the mountain.”

++++++++++++++++++++++

PAST: Ace of Wands & The Hanged Man®
A civilization is made and those in it begin to settle into the trappings therein, each attempting to make that which they they were designed for.
The efforts at this point are selfish, hoping only to survive the night.

PRESENT: King of Swords & Ace of Cups®
Judgement was held, its results entirely unexpected.
Those that are in fault contains a false heart, a creature of mutation and revolution.

Future: The Devil & Seven of Pentacles
Business with a creature of vulgar emotions will be conducted.
Predestination will be a topic of conversation, and fate will be woven.

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