After some discussion of the limitations of our bodies to withstand the rigors of the Burning Sage’s keep, two of our party have sadly decided they must remain with Gorblam’s folk. Thankfully, the priest has himself agreed to accompany us for a time, at least until we destroy the undead that still threaten his people.
Fruben and the Druid seem to have the weakest constitution and Gorblam managed to protect the Killorian and the Gnome with his divine providence. After some hesitation I did the same for myself. It was my initial intention to keep Bahamut’s gifts in reserve against needing to wield his power to heal my companions, however the oppressive heat of this place has changed my mind. I must be in top form if we are to triumph.
A quick investigation of the area by Quoice has revealed nothing but empty hallways and I accepted my companion’s suggestion that we might investigate the Sphinx before venturing further. They are rumored to be quite knowledgeable. Perhaps it could aid us.
Before we reached its chambers though, we passed a door and heard something behind it. Loath to leave an enemy behind when we might encounter more in front, a consensus to investigate was reached. I kicked in the door without ceremony and strode in confidently to confront what lay behind.
I was prepared for undead, however the monster that leaped out with claws reaching for my flesh was a half-starved troll instead. Having been stuck here for some time it was thrown into a frenzy upon seeing so much fresh meat. Although we were able to fairly quickly dispatch it; I sustained some small injury. I am apparently not the only one with healing gifts; Jolokar used a slightly alien but quite effective touch that sealed the slashes the beast gave me.
Also I value Absylon’s knowledge about properly disposing of it; the flask of lamp oil I soaked it in made a good funeral rite. I may never get the scent of the burning troll or its disgusting lair out of my nostrils. My relief at the monster’s demise was short-lived, even to my ears within my full steel helm the sound of scrabbling and doors slamming beyond the room we were in.
Hearing enemies on the other side of door sent my companions into a flurry of activity, but before they could fling the door open, I tossed a spike and hammer to Quoice ordering him to spike the door we’d come through lest we be surrounded. Turning back, I shouldered the door open to reveal a reptilian monster that I could only assume is the creature Bruuhl standing behind ranks of skeletal undead. Their eyes burned with unholy light.
Calling upon Bahamut’s cleansing vengeance, I held forth my holy symbol and summarily banished the scum from the Prime Material Plane. Bruuhl’s feral scream of rage set my teeth on edge, however Absylon and Jolokar were already positioning themselves and attacking.
With a terrible smile, she lowered a black staff topped with a human skull that had curling ram’s horns sprouting from it and pointed it at me. A bolt of black and silver energy crackled from it, slamming through my shield, my armor and my body. I staggered back, my life force leeching away and my vision momentarily going black.
A shout of defiance brought me back to myself, Jolokar, Absylon and Gorblam had backed Bruuhl into a corner. Even Quoice was firing arrows at her from across the room. Their fierce determination and certainty of victory bolstered my own rattled nerves. The door behind me burst open and all I could see beyond was the burning eyes of the dead.
Summoning Bahamut’s strength once more I sent the spirits of the undead back to the Plane of Shadow where they belonged. I noted with sadness that these skeletons were of a similar stature to Gorblam. These had likely once been his comrades. My heart hardened further against Bruuhl; she must be slain.
The battle raged on, she summoned rats the size of hunting mastiffs to fight for her, and seemed immune to the attacks leveled at her through physical means. Even the mightiest strikes were less effective than they should have been; her scaly hide deflecting the majority of the damage.
Gorblam unleashed a spell of holy fire upon her and while she was wreathed in the blinding light I could dimly see Jolokar and Absylon striking out with their weapons. When my vision cleared, the monster who had corrupted my brother lay on the smoldering stone floor with her head hacked off and my companions were leaning on their weapons, smiling with the heady rush of victory.
After some small discussion, we decided to rest here for a few hours so that we could recover from the battle. I felt it would be prudent to wait at least eight hours so that Gorblam and myself could recover our magical power. With Bruuhl gone now, it wasn’t likely anything dangerous would threaten us. At least that is our hope.
Before I retired, I assisted Gorblam in conducting the rites to send his former followers to their properly intended afterlife instead of an eternity of enslavement. Afterword I gave praise and thanks to Bahamut in all his grace, power and wisdom for granting me these stalwart companions. Now if only I could shake this feeling of terrible foreboding about my brother. If my gut is to be trusted, this has been but the first trial I must endure before I am able to redeem him. The Platinum God be praised I have these strong and capable warriors at my side.